« AnteriorContinuar »
would appear more frequently than it does, had not the rules of good writing taught the ear to be offended with the iteration of the same sound, and oftentimes caused us to reject, on that account, the word which offered itself first to our recollection. With a writer who, like St. Paul, either knew not these rules, or disregarded them, such words will not be avoided. The truth is, an example of this kind runs through several of his epistles, and in the epistle before us abounds; and that is in the word riches (alovtos), used metaphorically as an augmentative of the idea to which it happens to be subjoined. Thus, “the riches of his glory,” “his riches in glory,” “riches of the glory of his inheritance," " riches of the glory of this mystery,” Rom. ix. 23. Ephes. iii, 16. i. 18. Colos. i. 27. : “ riches of his grace,” twice in the Ephesians, i. 7. and ii. 7.; "riches of the full assurance of understanding,” Colos. ii. 2.; "riches of his goodness," Rom. ii. 4.: “riches of the wisdom of God,” Rom. xi. 33.; “riches of Christ,” Ephes. iii. 8. In a like sense the adjective, Rom. x. 12.“rich unto all that call upon him ;" Ephes. ii. 4. " rich in mercy;" 1 Tim. vi. 18.“ rich in good works.” Also the adverb, Colos, iii. 16.“ let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” This figurative use of the word, though so familiar to St. Paul, does not occur in any part of the New Testament, except once in the Epistle of St. James, ii. 5. "Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith?" where it is manifestly suggested by the antithesis. I propose the frequent, yet seemingly unaffected use of this phrase, in the epistle before us, as one internal mark of its genuineness.
No, III. There is another singularity in St. Paul's style, which, wherever it is found, may be deemed a badge of authenticity ; because, if it were noticed, it would not, I think, be imitated, inasmuch as it almost always produces embarrassment and interruption in the reasoning. This singularity is a species of digression which may properly, I think, be denominated going off at a word. It is turning aside from the subject upon the occurrence of some particular word, forsaking the train of thought then in hand, and entering upon a parenthetic sentence in which that word is the prevailing term. I shall lay before the reader some examples of this, collected from the other epistles, and then propose two examples of it which are found in the Epistle to the Ephesians. 2 Cor. ii. 14. at the word savour: “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place (for we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other the savour of life unto life; and who is sufficient for these things?) For we are not as many which corrupt the word of God, but as of sincerity, but as of God; in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Again, 2 Cor. iii. l, at the word epistle : “Need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or of commendation from you? (ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men; forasmuch as ye are manifestly de clared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.") The position of the words in the original, shews more strongly than in the translation, that it was the occurrence of the word EncoTon which gave birth to the sentence that follows: 2 Cor. iii, 1. El un xorr ζομεν, ώς τινες, συστατικων επιστολων προς υμας, η εξ υμων συστατικων; ή επιστολη ημων υμεις εστε, εγγεγραμμενη εν ταις καρδιαις ημων, γινωσκομενη και αναγινωσκομενη υπο παντων ανθρωπων φανερουμενοι ότι εστε επιστολη Χριστου διακονηθεισα υφ' ημων, εγγεγραμμενη ου μελανι, αλλα πνευματι θεου ζωντος ουκ εν πλαξι λιθιναις, αλλ' εν πλαξι καρδιας σαρκιναις.
Again, 2 Cor. iii. 12, &c, at the word veil: “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech : and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which abolished. But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of
the Old Testament, which veil is done away in Christ; but even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart : nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away (now the Lord is that Spirit ; and where the Spirit of the Lord - is, there is liberty). But we all with open face, boholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are chauged into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint
Who sees not that this whole allegory of the veil arises entirely out of the occurrence of the word, in telling us that “ Moses put a veil over his face," and that it drew the apostle away from the proper subject of his discourse, the dignity of the office in which he was engaged; which subject he fetches up again almost in the words with which he had left it: “therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.” The sentence which he had before been going on with, and in which he had been interrupted by the veil, was, “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.”
In the Epistle to the Ephesians, the reader will remark two instances in which the same habit of composition obtains; he will recognise the same pen. One he will find, iv. 8–11. at the word ascended : “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first unto the lower parts of the earth ? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some apostles,” &c.
The other appears, v. 12—15. at the word light : For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret: but all things that are reproved, are made manifest by the light; (for whatsoever doth make manifest is light; wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light :) see then that ye walk circumspectly."
No. IV. Although it does not appear to have ever been disputed that the epistle before us was written by St. Paul, yet it is well known that a doubt has long been enter. tained concerning the persons to whom it was addressed. The question is founded partly in some ambiguity in the external evidence. Marcion, a heretic of the second century, as quoted by Tertullian, a father in the begin. ning of the third, calls it the Epistle to the Laodiceans. From what we know of Marcion, his judgment is little to be relied upon; nor is it perfectly clear that Marcion was rightly understood by Tertullian. If, however, Marcion be brought to prove that some copies in his time gave ev Aaodikecq in the superscription, his testimony, if it be truly interpreted, is not diminished by his heresy ; for, as Grotius observes, “cur meâ re mentiretur nihil erat cause." The name ev Epeow, in the first verse, upon which word singly depends the proof that the epistle was written to the Ephesians, is not read in all the manuscripts now extant. I admit, however, that the external evidence preponderates with a mani. fest excess on the side of the received reading. The objection therefore principally arises from the contents of the epistle itself, which, in many respects, militate with the supposition that it was written to the church of Ephesus. According to the history, St. Paul had passed two whole years at Ephesus, Acts xix. 10. And in this point, viz. of St. Paul having preached for a con. siderable length of time at Ephesus, the history is confirmed by the two Episties to the Corinthians, and by the two Epistles to Timothy. “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost," 1 Cor. xvi. 8. “ We would not have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia," 2 Cor. i. 8. “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia," 1 Tim. i. 3. “And in how many things he ministered to me at Ephesus thou knowest well,” 2 Tim. i. 18. I adduce these testimonies, because, had it been a competition of credit between the history and the epistle, I should have thought myself bound to have preferred the epistle. Now, every epistle which St. Paul wrote to churches which he himself had founded, or which he had visited, abounds with references, and appeals to what had passed during the time that he was present amongst them; whereas there is not a text in the Epistle to the Ephesians, from which we can collect that he had ever been at Ephesus at all. The two Epistles to the Corinthians, the Epistle to the Galatians, the Epistle to the Philip pians, and the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, are of this class; and they are full of allusions to the apostle's history, his reception, and his conduct whilst amongst them; the total want of which, in the epistle before us, is very difficult to account for, if it was in truth written to the church of Ephesus, in which city he had resided for so long a time. This is the first and strongest objection. But farther, the Epistle to the Colossians was addressed to a church in which St. Paul had never been. This we infer from the first verse of the second chapter : “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.” There could be no propriety in thus joining the Colossians and Laodiceans with those“ who had not seen his face in the flesh,” if they did not also belong to the same description.* Now, his address to the Colossians, whom he had not visited, is precisely the same as his address to the Christians, to whom he wrote in the epistle which we are now considering: "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints.” Col. i. 3. Thus, he speaks to the Colossians, in the epistle before us, as follows:“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you in my prayers," chap. i. 15. The terms of this address are observable. The words “having heard of your faith and love,” are the very words, we see, which he uses towards strangers, and it is not probable that he should employ the same in accosting a church in which he had long exercised