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tory in the Acts, as relates to his transactions at Philippi; and, through that, of the intelligence and general fidelity of the historian.
THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.
No. I. THERE is a circumstance of conformity between St. Paul's history and his letters, especially those which were written during his first imprisonment at Rome, and more especially the epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians, which being too close to be accounted for from accident, yet too indirect and latent to be imputed to design, cannot easily be resolved into any other original than truth. Which circumstance is this, that St. Paul in these epistles attributes his imprisonment not to his preaching of Christianity, but to his asserting the right of the Gentiles to be admitted into it without conforming themselves to the Jewish law. This was the doctrine to which he considered himself as a martyr. Thus, in the epistle before us, i. 24. (I Paul) “ who now rejoice in my sufferings for you"-" for you,” i. e. for those whom he had never seen ; for a few verses afterward he adds, “I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you and for them in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.” His suffering therefore for them was, in their general capacity of Gentile Christians, agreeably to what he explicitly declares in his Epistle to the Ephesians, iv. 1.: “For this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles.” Again in the Epistle now under consideration, iv. 3. : “ Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.” What that “mystery of Christ" was, the Epistle to the Ephesians distinctly informs us: “ Whereby when ye read ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages, was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellou-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” This, therefore, was the confession for which he declares himself to be in bonds. Now let us inquire how the occasion of St. Paul's imprisonment is represented in the history. The apostle had not long returned to Jerusalem from his second visit into Greece, when an uproar was excited in that city by the clamour of certain Asiatic Jews, who “having seen Paul in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him.” The charge advanced against him was, that“ be taught all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place; and farther, brought Greeks also into the temple, and polluted that holy place.” The former part of the charge seems to point at the doctrine, which he maintained, of the admission of the Gentiles, under the new dispensation, to an indiscriminate participation of God's favour with the Jews. But what follows makes the matter clear. When, by the interference of the chief captain, Paul had been rescued out of the hands of the populace, and was permitted to address the multitude who had followed him to the stairs of the castle, he delivered brief account of his birth, of the early course of his life, of his miraculous conversion ; and is proceeding in this narrative, until he comes to describe a vision which was presented to him, as he was praying in the temple; and which bid him depart out of Jerusalem, "for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts xxii. 21. “ They gave him avdience,” says the historian, "unto this word; and then lift up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth!” Nothing can shew more strongly than this account does, what was the offence which drew down upon St. Paul the vengeance of his countrymen. His mission to the Gentiles, and his open avowal of that mission, was the intolerable part of the apostle's crime. But although the real motive of the persecution appears to have been the apostle's con. duct towards the Gentiles; yet, when his accusers
came before a Roman magistrate, a charge was to be framed of a more legal form. The profanation of the temple was the article they chose to rely upon. This, therefore, became the immediate subject of Tertullus's oration before Felix, and of Paul's defence. But that he all along considered his ministry amongst the Gentiles as the actual source of the enmity that had been exercised against him, and in particular as the cause of the insurrection in which his person had been seized, is apparent from the conclusion of his discourses before Agrippa : “I have appeared unto thee,” says he, describing what passed upon his journey to Damascus, “ for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee, delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision; but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and of Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and to do words meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me." The seizing, therefore, of St. Paul's persons, from which he was never discharged till his final liberation at Rome: and of which, therefore, his imprisonment at Rome wasthe continuation and effect, was not in consequence of any general persecution set on foot against Christianity ; nor did it befal him simply as professing or teaching Christ's religion, which James and the elders at Jerusalem did as well as he (and yet, for any thing that appears, remained at that time unmolested); but it was distinctly and specifically brought upon him by his activity in preaching to the Gentiles, and by his boldly placing them upon a level with the once-favoured and still self-flattered posterity of Abraham. How well St. Paul's letters, purporting to be written during this imprisonment, agree with this account of its cause and origin, we have already seen.
No. II. Chap. iv. 10. “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: I. he come unto you, receive him ;) and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision."
We find Aristarchus as a companion of our apostle in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts, and the twentyninth verse : “And the whole city of Ephesus was filled with confusion; and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's compa. nions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre." And we find him upon his journey with St. Paul to Rome, in the twenty-seventh chapter, and the second verse: “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus's band : and, entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coast of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us." But might not the author of the epistle have consulted the history; and, observing that the istorian had brought Aristarchus along with Paul to Rome, might he not for that reason, and without any other foundation, have put down his name amongst the salutations of an epistle purporting to be written by the apostle from that place? I allow so much of possibility to this objection, that I should not have proposed this in the number of coincidences clearly undesigned, had Aristarchus stood alone. The observation that strikes me in reading the passage is, that together with Aristarchus, whose journey to Rome we trace in the history, are joined Marcus and Justus, of whose coming to Rome the history says nothing. Aristarchus alone appears in the history, and Aristar. chus alone would have appeared in the epistle, if the author had regulated himself by that conformity. Or if you take it the other way; if you suppose the history to have been made out of the epistle, why the
journey of Aristarchus to Rome should be recorded, and not that of Marcus and Justus, if the ground-work of the narrative was the appearance of Aristarchus's Dame in the epistle, seems to be unaccountable.
“ Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas.” Does not this hint account for Barnabas's adherence to Mark in the contest that arose with our apostle concerning him? “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do; and Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark ; but Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work ; and the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other : and so Barnabas took Mark and sailed unto Cyprus." The history which records the dispute has not preserved the circumstance of Mark's relationship to Barnabas. It is no where noticed but in the text before
As far, therefore, as it applies, the application is certainly undesigned.
“Sister's son to Barnabas." This woman, the mother of Mark, and the sister of Barnabas, was, as might be expected, a person of some eminence amongst the Christians of Jerusalem. It so happens that we hear of her in the history. “When Peter was delivered from prison, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.” Acts xii. 12. There is somewhat of coincidence in this; somewhat bespeaking real transactions amongst real persons.
No. III. The following coincidence, though it bear the appear. ance of great nicety and refinemerit, ought not, perhaps, to be deemed imaginary. In the salutations with which this, like most of St. Paul's epistles, concludes, “we have Aristarchus and Marcus, and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision," iv. 10, 11. Then follow also, “Epaphras, Luke the beloved physician, and Demas.” Now as