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Ephesus before Paul left it, although he was compelled to leave it sooner than he had intended; that Paul left Timothy at Ephesus, although nothing of the kind is said in the Acts; and that Timothy quitted Ephesus, and joined Paul in Macedonia, before he wrote his second Epistle to the Corinthians, although it was intended, which was also just now mentioned, that Timothy should remain at Ephesus, and Paul go thither to him. This train of events is, in my judgment, improbable in the highest degree.
I still wish to notice more particularly one of the passages, already referred to, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, which was written after Timothy had set out for Macedonia and Achaia : St. Paul says, “ Send him (that is, Timothy) forward in peace, that he may come to me, for I expect him with the brethren:” these brethren must be Titus and his companions, whom St. Paul sent to Corinth with his first Epistle, and whose return he had intended to wait for at Ephesus; but we know that Paul was forced to leave Ephesus before the return of Titus, and therefore, we may infer, before the return of Timothy, who was expected with Titus. If this reasoning be allowed, it is decisive upon the question.
Upon the whole, the date of the year 57, suits
so ill with the contents of the Epistle, and it is so difficult, not to say impossible, to reconcile it with a variety of acknowledged facts, that I am inclined to reject it, and to accede to the opinion of several learned men (r), who think that this Epistle was written subsequent to St. Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, and therefore, after the period at which the Acts of the Apostles end: and as St. Paul was liberated in the year 63, I place the writing of this Epistle, and the journey to which it refers, in the year 64. In support of this opinion I shall observe, that it was plainly Paul's intention, when he had hope of being released, to go both to Colosse and into Macedonia; for to Philemon, who was an inhabitant of Colosse, he says, “ Prepare me also a lodging, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you (s);” and to the Philippians he says, “I trust in the Lord, that I also myself shall come shortly (t)." It is admitted that these two Epistles were written at the end of St. Paul's first imprisonment at Rome; and if he executed his intention of going to Colosse immediately after his release, it is very probable that he would also
visit (r) Pearson, Le Clerc, L'Enfant, Cave, Fabricius, Mill, Whitby, &c. (s) V. 22.
(t) C. 2. v. 24.
visit Ephesus, which was near Colosse, and go thence to Philippi. It is also probable, that during St. Paul's long absence of seven years, some corruptions inight have made their way into the church of Ephesus, and that Paul should leave Timothy to correct what was amiss, with an intention of returning to Ephesus himself, when he had visited the churches in Macedonia.
But it must not be concealed, that to this date two things arc objected: First, it is urged, that if St. Paul wrote this Epistle in the year 64, he could not, with any propriety, have said to Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth," since if he were only twenty years of age, and he could not well be younger; when he first became St. Paul's companion and assistant in the year 51, he would in the year 64 be thirty-three, to which age it is thought the Apostle would not apply the word youth. To this it may be answered, that Timothy might be younger than persons usually were, who were intrusted with such commissions. He certainly was young when compared with the importance of the business in which he was engaged, and St. Paul thought that he stood in need of particular instructions and directions from himself. Or Timothy might be younger than those whom he had to oppose, or those whom he had to correct, and on that account Paul might fear that people would not be disposed to submit to his authority; or this passage might have reference to some circumstance which had occurred at Ephesus, and which is not transmitted to us. In any case, the word youth seems to be of so indefinite a signification, and is so often used in a relative sense, that we cannot draw from it any positive conclusion concerning the precise age of a person to whom it is applied (u). But the force of this objection is entirely destroyed by the consideration, that St. Paul, in his second Epistle to Timothy, gives him this precept, “ Flee also youthful lusts (x);" for it will afterwards appear that the second Epistle to Timothy was written during St. Paul's second imprisonment at Rome, and consequently after the year 64, and yet even then the Apostle considered Timothy as a young man.
The other objection arises from St. Paul's declaration to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, in the year 58, “ That they should see his face no more (y),” which is considered as a prediction
that (u) Aulus Gellius, lib. 10, cap. 28, informs us, that Servius Tullius, in classing the Roman people, divided their age into three periods; childhood, which extended to the age of seventeen; youth, from seventeen to fortysix; and old age, from forty-six to the end of life.
(*) 2 Tim. c. 2. v. 22. () Acts, C. 20. v. 25.
that he should never go to Ephesus again; whereas the date assigned by us to this Epistle necessarily implies that he was at Ephesus in the year 64. But we must remember that, though St. Paul was an inspired apostle, his Inspiration by no means extended to every thing which he said, nor did it enable. hịm to foresee exactly what would happen to him: this appears in the clearest manner from this very speech to the Ephesian elders; “ And now, behold,” says St. Paul, “ I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there, save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions await me (%).” Thus he expressly declares the limited and partial nature of Inspiration; that the Holy Ghost had revealed generally that he was about to suffer bonds and afflictions, but that the communication went no farther; and if he did not know the particular" events which awaited him even at Jerusalem, whither he was then going, much less probable is it that he was enabled to foresee with certainty, whether he should ever be at Ephesus again. The declaration, therefore, that the Ephesian elders would no more see his face, appears not to have been dictated by the Holy Ghost; it was merely " the conclusion of his own mind, the de
sponding (2) Acts, c. 20. v. 22 and 23 VOL. I.