By George Salmon
THE PAULINE EPISTLES.
It is a satisfaction to me to escape from the quaking sands of apocryphal legends, and step on the firm ground of the Pauline Epistles. Of these there are four which, as you know, Baur does not question; and later critics, who have no bigoted attachment to received opinion, find themselves obliged to make further acknowledgments. Hilgenfeld and Davidson agree in owning 1 Thessalonians, Philemon, and Philippians: Renan positively rejects none but the Pastoral Epistles, but has doubts besides concerning the Epistle to the Ephesians. But Baur is far from marking the lowest point of negative criticism. He found disciples who bettered his instruction, until it became as hard for a young Professor, anxious to gain a reputation for ingenuity, to make a new assault on a New Testament book, as it is now for an Alpine club man to find in Switzerland a virgin peak to climb. The consequence has been that in Holland, Scholten and others, who had been counted as leaders in the school of destructive criticism, have been obliged to come out in the character of Conservatives, striving to prove, in opposition to Loman, that there really did live such a person as Jesus of Nazareth, and that it is not true that every one of the Epistles ascribed to Paul is a forgery. And certainly it is not only to the orthodox that the doctrine that we have no genuine remains of Paul is inconvenient; it must also embarrass those who look for arguments to prove an Epistle to be un-Pauline. I leave these last to fight the battle with their more advanced brethren. I have constantly felt some hesitation in deciding what objections it was worth while to report to you. On the one hand, it is waste of energy to try to kill what, if let alone, will be sure to die of itself: on the other hand, there is the danger that you might afterwards find notions, which I had passed by as too contemptible for refutation, circulating among half-learned people as the latest results which 4 eminent critics had arrived at in Germany. But in the present case, I think I am safe in deciding that it is practically unnecessary for me to trouble myself about the opinions of those who carry their scepticism to a further point than Baur.
Let me say this, however, that I think young critics have been seduced into false tracks by the reputation which has been wrongly gained by the display of ingenuity in finding some new reason for doubting received opinions. A man is just as bad a critic who rejects what is genuine, as who accepts what is spurious. Be ye good money-changers is a maxim which I have already told you (p. 18) was early applied to this subject. But if a bank clerk would be unfit for his work who allowed himself easily to be imposed on by forged paper, he would be equally useless to his employers if he habitually pronounced every note that was tendered him to be a forgery, every sovereign to be base metal. I quite disbelieve that the early Christian Church was so taken possession of by forgers that almost all its genuine remains were corrupted or lost, while the spurious formed the great bulk of what was thought worth preserving. The suspicions that have been expressed seem to me to pass the bounds of literary sanity. There are rogues in this world, and you do well to guard against them; but if you allow your mind to be poisoned by suspicion, and take every man for a rogue, why, the rogues will conspire against you, and lock you up in a lunatic asylum.
In this lecture I must confine myself to discussing the genuineness of Epistles, and I am glad that I can assume your acquaintance with Paley's admirable Horœ Paulines. How very wide a field the general subject of the life and work of Paul would present, if I attempted to enter it, is evidenced by the mass of literature which of late years has been occupied with it. A beginning was made by Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul; since then we have had works on St. Paul by Mr. Lewin and by Archdeacon Farrar, each in two large volumes. Renan, approaching the subject from another point of view, expressly devotes one volume to St. Paul, and finds himself obliged to give also to that Apostle's work a considerable portion both of the previous and of the subsequent volumes of his history. Then there are very interesting small volumes published by the Christian Knowledge Society on separate parts of the Apostle's labours St. Paul in Greece, St. Paul in Asia/ &c. Much additional information is to be found in the Introductions to the Epistles in the Speakers Commentary, and in Bishop Ellicott's. But chief among recent aids to knowledge of St. Paul may be reckoned Bishop Lightfoot's three volumes of Commentaries a work, the discontinuance of which we have seen with regret, perhaps not quite selfish. For it may be doubted whether the gain which the present generation in England receives from his episcopal labours compensates the loss which the Church at large has suffered in the interruption of the production of work which would have been of permanent value. Postponing the consideration of the Epistle to the Hebrews, I deal now with the letters which bear Paul's name. These divide themselves into four groups, separated by intervals of time of somewhere about five years: (1) the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, (2) the four acknowledged by Baur, (3) the Epistles written during the Roman imprisonment, (4) the Pastoral Epistles.
With regard to the Pauline Epistles generally, it may be remarked that the very early and general recognition which they obtained throws fatal obstacles in the way of the theory that the party which rejected Paul's apostleship had any very long or wide possession of the Church. It is with reserve that I can appeal to Peter's Second Epistle in proof of the authority of the Pauline letters, because the genuineness of that Epistle is denied; but, whether written by Peter or not, it is unquestionably an early document; and it is clear that at the time of its composition, a collection of Pauline letters had been made and was regarded as of high authority.1 There is abundant other evidence at what a very early period the Pauline letters passed from being the special property of the Churches to which they were severally addressed, and were formed into a collection for the use of the Church at large. This was unquestionably the case at the end of the second century, when first Christian literature becomes abundant; for we find Irenaeus, Clement, and Tertullian, not only owning the authority of the thirteen Pauline Epistles, but apparently unconscious that there could be two opinions on the subject. We have in the Muratorian Canon (see p. 49) the order in which the Epistles stood towards the end of the second century in the collection in use in the Church of Rome. Going back to the first half of the second century we find that Marcion used a collection of ten Pauline letters, which formed his Apostolicon, these being the same as the thirteen recognized in the Western Church, with the exception of the three Pastoral Epistles. Marcion is notorious for his exaggerated Paulinism; but though more than one answer to him is extant, there is no indication that any of his orthodox opponents met him by questioning that Apostle's authority, reverence for which was common to both parties. But we may be sure that the orthodox did not learn that reverence from Marcion, and that it was not his example which set the Catholic Church on forming a collection of Pauline letters. We are, therefore, safe in inferring that such a collection must have been formed before Marcion's time. It is now universally acknowledged that the Church's Gospel was not formed by enlargement of Marcion's Gospel, but, on the contrary, Marcion's by mutilation of the Church's Gospel; so we may reasonably conclude that the Church's collection of thirteen letters is more ancient than Marcion's collection of only ten. It is natural to think that it was the existence of a collection of Pauline letters which set the example of making other collections of Christian letters. Thus we learn from Euseb. iv. 23, not only that there was extant a collection of the letters of Dionysius of Corinth, including even some addressed to individuals, but further, that in the lifetime of Dionysius himself, his letters had thus passed into general circulation; for he complains of corruptions made in the text of his letters by emissaries of the devil. It is more important to remark that Polycarp's epistle reveals that before tidings of the martyrdom of Ignatius had yet reached the East, a collection of Ignatius's letters had already begun to be formed, one Church writing to another to request copies of the letters in its pos session. The probable inference that the Churches which set about making a collection of Ignatian letters were already in possession of Pauline letters, is put beyond doubt by the contents of Polycarp's epistle. It is not merely that Polycarp is evidently in possession of a large collection of Pauline letters for he makes undoubted use of the Epistle to the Romans, of both to the Corinthians, of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, both Thessalonians, and both to Timothy but he assumes also acquaintance on the part of his readers with the Pauline letters; not only his letters to their own Church, of which he makes express mention, but also those to the Corinthians and the Thessalonians. New Testament quotations are much more rare in the epistles of Ignatius than in that of Polycarp; but there is express mention of the Pauline letters, and besides a very large number of coincidences of expressions with these letters, a few unmistakeable quotations, in particular from the Epistles to the Corinthians and Ephesians. Remembering, then, that Ignatius died in the reign of Trajan, and that Polycarp quotes the Epistles to Timothy, we are justified in inferring that the collection of thirteen Pauline letters was in general Church use before A.D. 113. Going back, then, to the Epistle of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, we know for certain that at least one letter, addressed to a different Church, had found its way to Rome, namely, that to the Corinthians themselves, to which an express appeal is made. Finding thus that, at the date of Clement's letter, Pauline letters had passed out of the keeping of the particular Church to which they were addressed, we are justified in inferring, from several coincidences of language, Clement's acquaintance with other Pauline letters; and it is to be noted that those coincidences are most distinct in the case of one of the most questioned of Paul's epistles that to the Ephesians, and quite sufficiently distinct in the case of others those to Timothy. Since we know, then, for certain, that in the year 95 the letter to their own Church was not the only Pauline letter in the possession of the Church of Rome, it becomes highly probable that they had in use the whole collection of thirteen letters which we find in general use less than twenty years later, and many traces of the use of which are to be found in Clement's letter. If we ask, then, at what period the collection was made, nothing seems to me more probable than that it was when the news of Paul's death be came public that different Churches set themselves to collect and compare the letters of his which they possessed. And though Zahn's reasons come much short of demonstration, his conjecture is probable enough, that the collection was first made at Corinth, the epistles to which Church occupy the first place in the Muratorian list.
Returning now to what has been said (p. 347), we see what an early date St. Luke's non-acquaintance with Pauline letters obliges us to put on the book of the Acts. But it is the less necessary to insist on this point, since both Clement and Polycarp, whose testimony we have used to the existence of a collection of Pauline letters, likewise make distinct use of the Acts.
It is quite unnecessary to produce other second-century testimony to the authority of the Pauline letters; and if, therefore, I think it worth while to give a proof of the reverence in which Paul's authority was held in the time of Justin Martyr, it is not that there is any real necessity for showing that that father was no dissentient from the general opinion of the Church, but because the piece of evidence seems to me interesting in itself, and has only recently been brought clearly to light.2 Only two works of Justin have come down to us with tolerable completeness, and are universally recognized as genuine, the Apology and the Dialogue with Trypho. The subject of the one being the controversy with heathenism, and the other that with Judaism, both works were intended to influence readers external to the Church; and, accordingly, although in countless passages Justin's use of the New Testament writings is evident to one already acquainted with them, he never formally quotes any of them except (as already mentioned, p. 224) in one case, the Apocalypse. These two works, however, offer abundant evidence of Justin's acquaintance with the writings of St. Paul, whose ideas, and even whose language, he repeatedly reproduces. Proofs will be found in Westcott's N. T. Canon, p. 168, and also in a paper by Thoma in Hilgenfeld's Zeitschrift, which I have already had occasion to quote for another purpose (p. 72). Indeed, as Justin tells us that he wrote a treatise in answer to Marcion, he could not possibly have engaged in that controversy without a knowledge of the Pauline writings. Thoma, how ever, imagines that the fact that Justin does not quote Paul by name implies that he did not attribute to him Apostolic authority. But this inference is inconsistent with the influence that Paul's writings evidently exercised over Justin's thoughts; and is certainly not justified when we remember that it is not Justin's habit to quote any Christian writer by name, seeing that he wrote for persons who recognized Apostolic authority neither in Paul nor in anyone else. It is not superfluous, however, to produce another testimony. Methodius, who was bishop of Olympus,3 in Lycia, in the very beginning of the fourth century, was an admirer of Justin, whom he quotes more than once. The quotation with which we are now concerned occurs in a work by Methodius on the Resurrection, an extract from which has been preserved by Photius (see p. 363). But here we have occasion to see the convenience of the modern device of inverted commas, which enables us to see at a glance how far a quotation is meant to extend. The want of some such mark left it uncertain how much belonged to Justin and what to Methodius. Otto, in his edition of Justin, only prints one sentence as Justin s: the next sentence is introduced with a φησί; but it is free to the reader to take this as a word used by Photius in continuing his extract from Methodius, or as itself part of the extract, and as used by Methodius in continuing his extract from Justin. The doubt has been set at rest by the recovery of the passage of Methodius through a source independent of Photius.4 It has thus become apparent that the second sentence, which contains a formal quotation from Paul, belongs to Justin as well as the first; and internal evidence confirms this conclusion. Both Methodius and Justin assert the doctrine of a literal resurrection of the body; and both have to answer the objection that Paul has said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. xv. 50). Methodius first gives his own answer, namely, that what Paul here means by flesh is not literal flesh, but only the irrational impulse to fleshly lusts. But he goes on then to cite Justin's way of dealing with the same objection, in which quite a different answer is given. True, says Justin, the body does not inherit the kingdom of God; it is inherited by the kingdom of God. That which lives inherits; that which is mortal is inherited. If the kingdom of God, which is life, were inherited by the body, life would be swallowed up by corruption. But now life inherits that which had died, that so death may be swallowed up by life unto victory, and that the corruptible should become possessed by incorruption. The complete difference of this reply from that which Methodius himself had given is evidence enough that he is here quoting the words of another. We could easily believe without confirmation, that a work which Methodius writing soon after A.D. 300 ascribed to Justin really belonged to him. But some confirmation is found in the fact that an earlier writer, Irenaeus, who also used Justin, has got hold of the same maxim εἰδεῖτἀληθὲςεἰπεῖνοὐκληρονομεῖ ἀλλὰ κληρονομεῖται ἡ σάρξ (Iren. v. 9). Now what we are concerned with here is not the goodness of this solution of Justin s, but the fact that in the middle of the second century the authority of Paul's Epistles was owned alike by heretics and orthodox. Heretics thought that they had gained a palmary argument if they could produce a saying in these letters which seemed to make in their favour; and the orthodox felt it to be a matter of necessity that they should in some way reconcile their teaching with the sentence so produced.
I. The Epistles to the Thessalonians. The foundation of the Church at Thessalonica is recorded, Acts xvii. It took place in the year 52, on Paul's second missionary journey. The first Epistle professes (iii. 6) to have been written on the return of Timothy, whom Paul had sent from Athens on a mission to the Thessalonian Church. This would be at Corinth (Acts xviii. 5) at the end of 52, or beginning of 53. I am inclined to dismiss, as absolutely frivolous, the objections which Baur and his followers have made to the acceptance of this date. For there is one passage in the Epistle a passage which Baur has been so uncritical as to reject as un-Pauline which carries on the face of it the stamp of early date. I mean the paragraph (iv. 13-1 8) which treats of the future happiness of those Christians who had died before the time when the Apostle wrote. The passage manifestly belongs to the time when it was thought likely to be an exceptional thing for a Christian to die before the second coming of our Lord, and when those who themselves expected to meet their Master on His coming needed to be consoled lest those dear friends whom death had carried off should lose somewhat of the felicity destined for the rest. Evidently it was only at the very beginning of Christianity, when the second coming of our Lord was yearly expected, and when deaths as yet had been but few, that the destinies of those who departed before the Second Advent could trouble the minds of surviving friends, or that they could be supposed in danger of losing something which the mass of Christians would enjoy. Add to this, that if the Epistle had been, as has been imagined, fabricated after Paul's death, the forger would never have attributed to the Apostle the words we which remain words implying a belief on his. part that it was possible he might live to witness our Lord's coming.
Looking on these considerations as absolutely decisive, I care little to discuss petty objections.5 It is a little in consistent that, critics who condemn the book of the Acts as unhistorical, constantly, when they come to discuss Paul's Epistles, make disagreement with the history in the Acts a ground of rejection. In the present case the Epistle corrects an erroneous impression which the reader of the Acts might easily receive I mean the impression that Paul only spent some three weeks in Thessalonica. The foundation of so flourishing a Church as the Epistle describes must have taken longer time; and we learn from Phil. iv. 16 that his stay was long enough to allow time for his Philippian friends twice to send him a gift of money. He gained at Thessalonica two of his most attached friends Jason, whom we find afterwards in Paul's company at Corinth (Rom. xvi. 21), and Aristarchus, who had been charged with conveying the Thessalonian contributions of money to Jerusalem (Acts xx. 4), and whom we find afterwards sharing Paul's journey to Rome and his imprisonment (Acts xxvii. 2, Col. iv. 10, Philem. 24). Thus we perceive that the preaching on three Sabbath days, which Luke records, only represents that part of the Apostle's work which was done in the Synagogue. After that he must, as on a previous occasion at Antioch in Pisidia, have turned to the Gentiles; for the Gentile element predominated in the Thessalonian Church (1 Thess. i. 9, ii. 14). But we find from Luke's narrative of what occurred in several cities, that nothing was more resented by the Jews than that one of their own nation should, instead of acquiescing in the decision passed on his doctrine by the religious heads of their community, disdainfully separate himself from his countrymen, and gather round him a schismatical society of Gentiles. We find, in the Acts, that on account of this con duct, which was regarded by the Jews as little less than apostasy, Paul was hunted by persecution from city to city. Five times, you will remember, he received from the Jews the forty stripes save one (2 Cor. xi. 24). If Baur had borne these facts in mind, he would scarcely have found a stumbling-block in the language in which Paul (ii. 14-16) expresses his indignation against the Jews who forbade him to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved. There is no warrant for asserting that the words the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost (ii. 16) must have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem. The wrath is the indignation of Dan. viii. 19, xi. 36; and εις ̓τέλος is a common Old Testament phrase (Josh. x. 20; 2 Chron. xii. 12, xxxi. i).
Again, it ought not to be thought strange that in this Epistle we should only read of the opposition Paul met with from unbelieving Jews, and that nothing should be said of his controversies with Jewish Christians. The letter was addressed to a Church which, as far as we know, had not yet been visited by any Christian preacher but Paul and his company. One trifling discrepancy with the Acts may be admitted. The Acts (xvii. 14) describe Silas and Timothy as remaining behind at Beroea when Paul was sent to Athens. But it appears (1 Thess. iii. 2) that Timothy had accompanied Paul to Athens, and had been sent back by the Apostle, in his anxiety to learn news of his Thessalonian converts. The two accounts agree in the main fact that Paul was left by himself at Athens, and the trifling disagreement shows that one account was not borrowed from the other.
Baur notes several coincidences between this and other Pauline Epistles,6 but strange to say he uses these to disprove the Pauline authorship. He holds that a letter, to be genuine, must be Pauline, but not too Pauline. If it contain phrases or thoughts for which we cannot find a parallel in Paul's acknowledged letters, Paul did not write it; but if the flavour of Paulinism be too strong for Baur's delicate susceptibilities, he detects a forger who betrays himself by a clumsy imitation of his master. By such methods of criticism it would be easy to prove any document spurious.
The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. I said (p. 34) that I had at one time thought of treating the books of the New Testament in chronological order, beginning accordingly with St. Paul's Epistles. If I had not found other reasons for choosing a different course, I should have been warned by Davidson's example to see how much there is arbitrary and uncertain in the chronological arrangement. Adopting that plan, he began the first edition of his new Introduction with this Second Epistle to the Thessalonians; for he had accepted an idea of Grotius, which has been received with approval by some subsequent critics, that the letter which we, in conformity with universal Christian tradition, call the Second Epistle, came in order of time before that which we count the First. The arguments in support of this opinion do not seem to me strong enough to induce me to spend time in discussing them with you. In Davidson's second edition, the First Epistle heads the list of New Testament books; we have to look a long way down before we come to the Second; for it is now pronounced to be not genuine, but a later book than the Apocalypse of St. John. On the greater part of the arguments used for rejecting the book, I hardly think that Davidson himself can place much reliance. Thus, on comparing the opening of the two Epistles, he pronounces the Second un-Pauline, because, whereas Paul in the First Epistle had said we give thanks, the Second Epistle says * we are bound to thank God always as is meet: whereas Paul had contented himself with speaking of his converts faith and love, this writer exaggerates, and says that their faith groweth exceedingly and their love aboundeth. There is a great deal more of what I count childish criticism: that is to say, criticism such as might proceed from a child who insists that a story shall be always told him in precisely the same way. For instance, the commencement of ii. n with the words And for this cause/ is pronounced to be un-Pauline. Paul, we are gravely told, would have said, For this cause without the and. When the list of un- Pauline phrases is exhausted, Davidson, following Baur's lead, goes on to condemn the Epistle for its too great likeness to Paul. The ideas are often borrowed or repeated from the First Epistle, and it is dependent on other Pauline Epistles.7
I hardly think it can be any of these arguments which induced Davidson to alter the opinion he expressed in his first edition, where he says (p. 27) The opinion of those critics who defend the authenticity of the First Epistle, but reject that of the Second, seems most improbable, and is a mediatizing view that cannot stand. Both must go together either in adoption or rejection. Baur is consistent in rejecting them; Hilgenfeld will have few followers in maintaining the Pauline origin of the one, and disputing that of the other How is it, then, that the prophet should so soon do his best to falsify his own prediction by becoming a follower of Hilgenfeld himself?
The reason for rejecting the Epistle can scarcely have been drawn from any of the small cavils of which I have given you specimens. The stumbling-block is found in the prophecy of the Man of Sin (ii. 1-12). It is not necessary for me to entangle you in any of the controversies which spring out of questions of interpretation of prophecy. We are here only concerned with the question of authorship whether there is anything improbable in the supposition that such a prophecy should have been delivered at the date it must have been, if this Epistle was really written by St. Paul. Now considering the paucity of documents from which our knowledge is derived of the growth of opinion in the Apostolic age, and for half a century after the death of the last Apostle, I cannot sufficiently admire the courage of critics who, from their own sense of the fitness of things, assign dates for the first appearance of each phase of ritual or doctrine, and then condemn any document that refuses to fall in with their theory. It is true that apocalyptic prediction is in our minds chiefly associated with the Book of the Revelation of St. John; but I know no reason whatever for imagining that it was only about the year 70 that the minds of Christians began to occupy themselves with the thoughts of the second coming of our Lord, and the circum stances that should attend it. Those who own the First Epistle must allow that at the time when that was written the second coming of our Lord had a prominent place in the Apostle's teaching. There are traces also that the prophecies of Daniel were studied in connexion with that event; and in this Christians seem to have had the sanction of their Master. Taking the very lowest view of the authenticity of the Gospels, it still seems to me unreasonable to doubt that the 24th Matthew and the parallel chapters of the other Gospels record in sub stance a real discourse of our Lord. The description (Matt, xxiv. 30, 31) of our Lord coming in the clouds of heaven (see also Matt. xxvi. 64), and sending His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, seems to me to have prompted both St. Paul's phrase, the last trumpet, in 1 Cor. xv. 52, and the description in 1 Thess. iv. of our Lord descending with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, when His people should be caught up to Him in the clouds. It is undeniable then that, long before the year 70, eschatological speculation was a subject of Christian thought. We have not materials to write its history, and I marvel at the assurance of the man who pretends that he so knows all about the progress of Christian ideas on the subject in the fifteen years between 54 and 69, that while he feels it to be quite credible that such a forecast of the end of the dispensation as is contained in 2 Thess. ii. might have been written at the latter of these two dates, he is quite sure it could not have been written at the former. There would, indeed, be some foundation for such an assertion, if it could be said that the view presented in the Second Epistle contradicts that taken in the first; but this is not so. The one Epistle presents our Lord's second coming as possibly soon, the other as not immediate as needing that certain prophetic preliminary signs should first be fulfilled. It is quite conceivable that the teaching of the same man should present these two aspects. If no argument for late date can be founded on the passage in 2 Thess. which I have been discussing, I know of no other worth attention. We do not quite know what interval of time separates the two Epistles. Perhaps it may be longer than is generally supposed.
In respect of external attestation, no New Testament book stands higher than these Epistles. They are repeatedly used without suspicion by Irenaeus, Clement, and Tertullian.8 They are included in the list of Pauline Epistles given in the Muratorian Fragment which I have quoted (p. 50), They were included in the Apostolicon of Marcion in the first half of the second century. There are what I count traces of their use by Clement of Rome (c. 38), while their employment by Ignatius and Polycarp is so distinct that the argument can only be evaded by denying the authenticity of these remains.9 The passage about the Man of Sin is plainly referred to by Justin Martyr (Trypho, no).
I must not omit to notice the token of genuineness given at the end of the Epistle, namely, that the salutation was written with the Apostle's own hand. All Paul's Epistles end with the salutation in an expanded or abridged form, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. And it appears that even though the rest of the Epistle was written by an amanuensis (as was that to the Romans by Tertius), the salutation was written by the Apostle's own hand. It is remarkable that precautions against forgery should have been so early found necessary. The Apostle shows also his fears of it in cautioning the Thessalonians not to be misled by any Epistle as from him. It is remarkable also that this expression, In every epistle so I write (iii. 17) should be found in only the second of Paul's Epistles which have reached us. The inference seems plain that Paul must have written other letters that have not come down to us. And this is a conclusion intrinsically not improbable, and which I see no reason for rejecting. For I suppose there is no greater reason for thinking that every letter of an inspired Apostle must necessarily be extant, than there is for thinking that we must have an account preserved of every sermon he preached. We know from the end of St. John's Gospel, what our own reason would have otherwise told us, that the portion of our Blessed Lord's own words and deeds which His Spirit has preserved to us, bears no proportion to that which has been allowed to remain unrecorded. In the case of Apostolic letters we can conceive that the earlier, before the Apostle's authority was fully recognized, would be less carefully preserved. If one whom we dearly love is removed from us by death, we trea sure up the relics of his writings, and often regret our own carelessness in having allowed papers to be destroyed which, because the writer was still with us, we valued lightly, but now would give much to recover. There is no improbability, then, in the loss of Apostolic letters, unless God worked a miracle to preserve them. We may believe that if the loss would have deprived us of knowledge necessary for our salvation, He would have interfered miraculously; but otherwise we have no ground for asserting that God would supernaturally prevent the loss of any of the written words of the Apostles, when He has permitted the loss of so many of the spoken words not only of them but of our Blessed Lord.
Another passage which implies a letter of Paul, not included in our Canon, is 1 Cor. v. 9, I wrote to you in my Epistle not to keep company with fornicators, which though it has been interpreted to mean in the Epistle he was then writing, is, I think, better understood as referring to a lost previous letter. Colossians iv. 16, speaks of a letter from Laodicea. On this Laodicean letter I refer you to Lightfoot's note10 (Colossians, p. 340), merely saying here that I believe the letter has been rightly identified with that which we know as the Epistle to the Ephesians.
II. We come now to the four Epistles whose genuineness is acknowledged by Baur, viz. Romans, First and Second Corinthians, and Galatians. There being no necessity to give formal proof of what is not seriously disputed, I do not trouble myself to lay before you the external attestation to these Epistles, but will only remark that, though amply sufficient, it is not at all superior to that which can be produced on behalf of some of the epistles which Baur disputes; nay possibly, perhaps, not quite as strong. But what has silenced controversy is the note of early date stamped on these Epistles by the character of their contents. St. Luke has informed us (Acts xv.) that warm controversy arose in the Christian Church at an early period of its history on the question whether it was obligatory on Gentile converts to Christianity to submit to the rite of circumcision. This question evidently would arise, as an urgent practical one, the first time that heathen were admitted in any numbers into the Church, and would have to be speedily settled one way or other; and, in point of fact, it was settled so rapidly that Christian literature is almost silent on the subject. It is dealt with in the letters now under consideration, which not only bear indisputable marks of common authorship, but have every appearance of having been written at nearly the same time. In no other New Testament book do we find any trace of a struggle to impose on Gentile converts the obligation of circumcision, nor is there any sign of controversy on the subject in the documents of the subApostolic age, such as the Epistles of Barnabas and Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas. Nay, the pseudo-Clementine Homilies, though intensely Jewish in their character, and bitterly opposed to Paul, make no attempt to re-open this question; and the principle for which Paul contended is acquiesced in, namely, that uncircumcised men might be members of the Christian Church. There can, therefore, be no doubt as to the early date of letters which exhibit this long-buried controversy as the burning question of the day.
A second note of early date is what these letters disclose as to the resistance made at the time of their composition to the acknowledgment of Paul's Apostolic authority. With the multiplication of Churches, claiming Paul as their founder, his Apostleship soon ceased to be disputed within the pale of the Christian Church; nay, from a very early period he came to be habitually spoken of as the Apostle, a title which he no doubt owed to the fact that his letters soon ceased to be the exclusive property of the several Churches to which they were addressed, and became the manual of Apostolic instruction used in the public reading of widely-separated Churches. But it appears that the party which insisted on the necessity of circumcision set aside Paul's opposition by disparaging his authority as inferior to that of the original Twelve. Consequently in two of the Epistles now under consideration the assertion and establishment of Paul's claims to Apostolic authority have a prominent place. It is, therefore, a note of high antiquity that it should have been necessary, when these letters were written, to give elaborate proof of what very soon no one within the pale of the Church dreamed of doubting.
St. Luke informs us (Acts xv.) that it was after Paul's first missionary journey in which the door of faith had been opened to the Gentiles, that controversy was first raised at Antioch by visitors from Jerusalem, who insisted on the circumcision of the new converts. We are told that, in consequence of these disputes, Barnabas and Paul went up to Jerusalem, where an arrangement was made as to the obligations of Gentile Christians, on terms satisfactory to Paul. We are told, then, that Paul made, in company with Silas, a second missionary journey, in which he made known the terms of this arrangement to the Churches previously formed, and, no doubt, gave corresponding instruction to the new Churches which he founded. Among these new Churches were those of Macedonia; and it is a confirmation of St. Luke's account of the success of Paul's visit to Jerusalem in the suppression of disputes for a time, that in the Epistles to the Thessalonians Paul complains of no adversaries but the unbelieving Jews, and finds it necessary to give no warning against Jewish Christians, who strove to impose the yoke of circumcision on the Gentiles. There is a striking difference of tone when we take up the Epistle to the Galatians, which has every mark of having been written under a tumult of fresh feelings of surprise, grief, and indignation, roused by the tidings that converts, whom he had had every reason to be lieve to be warmly attached to him (iv. 15), had given a credulous hearing to men who disparaged his authority, and had been induced by them to believe, in opposition to what St. Paul had taught them, that they could not be saved unless they submitted to circumcision, and other Mosaic ordinances.
Accordingly, the Epistle begins by an assertion of his Apostleship. It is known that the name Apostle was given by the Jews to the envoys despatched by the rulers of their race on any foreign mission, especially to those charged with collecting the Temple tribute. We learn from the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (see Lect. xxvi.) that in the Jewish Christian Churches the same name continued to be given to missionaries sent forth from the mother Church. We may, therefore, reasonably conjecture that the name Apostle was claimed by the visitors from Judea, who, as formerly at Antioch, inculcated on the Gentile Churches the necessity of circumcision. We can thus understand the emphasis with which Paul declares at the outset that he was an Apostle, but not as being, like them, an emissary sent by men; nay, further, that the Divine commission which he claimed to have received had not been given him through the instrumentality of men, but directly by our Lord Himself. He proceeds, by a narrative of his own history, to vindicate his claim to speak with authority independent of the other Apostles, showing at the same time that his teaching had their full sanction.
Passing, then, from the personal question, he argues that the Gentiles, by submission to the law of Moses, would surrender their claim to an inheritance of earlier date than Moses, namely, the covenant of promise made by God with Abraham, 400 years before Moses. The promise was given to Abraham because of his faith He believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness and it was made to Abraham and his seed. That seed was Christ, and they are to be counted the true seed of Abraham who are Christ s, and who have the faith of Abraham. As for those Israelites after the flesh, who were under bondage to the Mosaic Law, they might be children of Abraham, but not heirs of the promises to Abraham. Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman; the one born after the flesh, the other through the promise. As then, so now, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit. But what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondmaid and her son; for the son of the bondmaid shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
But, though the heirs of promise must not now be under bondage to the law, there had been a time when they had been rightfully under subjection to it. The heir, as long as he is a child, is under subjection to tutors and governors appointed by the father. The law had a temporary use in training and preparing for Christ those who had for a time been placed in subjection to it. It made men conscious of sin, and pronounced a curse on disobedience, from which itself was powerless to deliver. Thus, the impossibility of obtaining justification by the law being made evident, it became clear that it is only by faith that the just can live faith in Christ, who has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. So under the tutorship of the law, men were taught to seek salvation through faith through the promise to Christ; a promise not limited to one nation, for God said to Abraham, In thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed. It matters not whether a man be Jew or Greek, bond or free; if he be Christ's he is Abraham's seed, and heir of his promise.
An abstract has here been given of so much of the argument of the Epistle to the Galatians as is necessary for comparison with the Epistle to the Romans, which of all Paul's letters has the closest affinity with the Epistle under consideration.
To speak, first of the points of likeness, we find (Rom. iv. 3) the same Old Testament passage quoted, Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Gal. iii. 6), and, it may, he added, with a formula of citation used also in Galatians (iv. 30), * What saith the Scripture? And the same argument is founded on it. The promise was made to Abraham not through the law, not as earned by any works, but through the righteousness of faith: it was antecedent to the law; nay, antecedent to the institution of the rite of circumcision; the promise, therefore belongs to those who have like faith to that which Abraham had before he was circumcised. Thus, in fulfilment of the promise that Abraham should be father of many nations, his children are not limited to the Jewish nation. Nay, those who are merely his descendants after the flesh, are not his true children. Neither because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children; but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called." That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God: but the "children of the promise" are counted for the seed (Rom. ix. 7, 8). This is the same argument as that which leads up (Gal. iv. 28) to the statement, We brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise.
Again in the Epistle to the Romans, as well as in that to the Galatians, the Apostle has to deal with the difficulty, how is he to reconcile his admission that the Mosaic Law came from God, with his teaching that it is not binding on Christians? And in Rom. vii. he expounds a doctrine as to the temporary uses served by the Mosaic Law identical with that in the Epistle to the Galatians; so that the former exposition has been employed to clear up ambiguity in the latter (see Gal. iii. 19).
Beside the general agreement in the arguments by which in both Epistles the same thesis is maintained, viz., that by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. ii. 16; Rom. iii. 20), there are considerable verbal agreements, so numerous as not only to leave no doubt that both letters had the same author, but also to suggest that the composition of the two could not be separated by any long interval of time. Thus the words of the thesis just quoted are taken from Psalm cxliii. 2, but modified in both places in the same way, viz., by the introduction of the phrase, the works of the law, and by the alteration of no man living into no flesh. The 7th of Romans just referred to speaks (15-23) of the conflict in a man between the law in his members and the law in his mind, the result of which is that his conduct is constantly different from that which his will approves. There is a quite parallel passage (Gal. v. 17), and in both places the remedy for the misery of this conflict is shown to be to walk by the Spirit. A few examples of parallel passages may be added:
This list, which might be considerably extended, is enough to put beyond controversy the close affinity of the two Epistles. But there is a striking difference. We do not find in the Epistle to the Romans any of those autobiographical details with which the Epistle to the Galatians opens. The writer seems to feel himself under no necessity to vindicate his Apostleship, or his right to speak with as much authority as the original Twelve. Paul's claim to be an Apostle is made in the opening salutation, and repeated (xi. 13), but it is not treated as likely to be contested, or as needing proof. Further, the Epistle to the Romans is a calm exposition of Christian doctrine, without any trace of the personal feelings which exhibit themselves so strongly in the Epistle to the Galatians. No doubt this difference is to a certain extent accounted for by the fact that Paul in writing to the Church of Rome, a place that he had not yet visited, was addressing comparative strangers; while, in writing to the Galatians, he could not but be deeply moved by grief and indignation, that converts who had once shown the strongest personal attachment to him should now appear to be abandoning his teaching. This consideration sufficiently accounts for the difference of tone between the two letters, but not for the absence of any indication that the writer expected his claim to Apostleship to be contested; and, therefore, the most natural inference is, that the Epistle to the Romans was written later than the Epistle to the Galatians, and at a time when Paul's authority had ceased to be disputed.
This inference is confirmed when we include in our examination the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. This Epistle exhibits Paul as then opposed by men who disparaged his Apostolic authority, as much hurt by the ingratitude of some of his converts, and as anxious in his mind as to the reception he should meet with when he should arrive. The Epistle to the Romans, written after his arrival in Corinth, shows that the attempt to dispute his Apostleship had entirely collapsed, and that he could write in complete tranquillity of mind. There is strong likeness less, however, in verbal expression than in general tone of feeling between the manner in which disparagement of Paul's authority is dealt with in 2 Cor. and in Galatians.11 But though the personal question is dealt with in 2 Cor., we do not find there the argumentation against the necessity of circumcision which occupies so much of the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians. This favours Lightfoot's view, that the tidings which elicited the Epistle to the Galatians reached Paul later than the composition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. The First Epistle to the Corinthians is not without coincidences with that to the Galatians,12 though fewer in number, as is natural, if Lightfoot's arrangement of the order of the Epistles is right. It does not need explanation, that circumcision should, in the last passages which I quote in the note, be treated as a thing indifferent, but that the insisting on circumcision as necessary to salvation should be treated (Gal. v. 2) as subversive of the Gospel of Christ.
The generally received chronology of Paul's life assigns the second missionary journey in which the Apostle went through the Phrygian and Galatian country to the years 51 and 52, and the third journey in which he visited the same districts again to the year 54. Then succeed three years at Ephesus, shortly before leaving which place, in 57, he writes the First Epistle to the Corinthians. From Ephesus he travels through Macedonia, and arrives at Corinth, before leaving which place, in 58, he writes his Epistle to the Romans.
Before quitting this subject I must say something as to the ambiguity of the name Galatia. It may be a geographical term, denoting the district lying north of Phrygia and Cappadocia, which derived its name from the Gallic tribes which found a settlement there, and which was divided into three cantons, whose principal cities were: Pessinus, at the lower or south-western extremity, where it borders on Phrygia; Ancyra, in the centre; and Tavium, in the north-eastern extremity, where it borders on Pontus. Or, Galatia may denote a political division, viz., the Roman province of Galatia, which included, in addition to Galatia proper, which has been just described, part of Phrygia, Pisidia and Lycaonia; and, in particular, the cities of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, Paul's visits to which on his first missionary journeys are related at length by St. Luke. Accordingly Renan and others suppose that it is the Churches of these cities which we are to understand when Paul speaks of the Churches of Galatia. But it is to be observed that St. Luke never uses the word Galatia in reference to these cities. It is in his account of St. Paul's second and third missionary journeys that he speaks of him as traversing the Phrygian and Galatian country (xvi. 6), and as revisiting the Galatian country and Phrygia" (xviii. 23). This language would lead us to think of St. Paul, not as evangelizing Galatia proper, but only as, in the course of his northward journey, going through the border land, which, though politically Galatia, was geographically Phrygia. St. Paul's letter, however, addressed to the Galatians (and see, in particular, iii. 1) favours the opinion that the Apostle did preach the Gospel in Galatia proper. And we are the less disposed to press any argument from St. Luke's silence, when we observe how very little is told of the Apostle's work in Asia on this occasion. St. Luke appears to have first joined Paul's company at Troas (Acts xvi. 10), where he finds the Apostle attended by a new travelling companion, Timothy. St. Luke would naturally hear from this new friend the circum stances of his joining Paul, and these, accordingly, are told in the Acts, but scarcely anything else about Paul's labours before Luke had joined him. We gather, however, from Acts xvi. 6, that it had been Paul's original intention to travel west ward from Antioch in Pisidia through the Roman province of Asia, meaning probably to reach the sea at Ephesus. We do not know in what way the Divine intimation was given which caused him to alter his course in a northerly direction; but we may reasonably conjecture that hindrances to his journey in the westward direction presented themselves which either he himself or some prophetic member of the party instructed the rest to recognize as providential guidance. We are tempted to connect with this the statement Gal. iv. 13, the most obvious meaning of which is, that Paul's work in the Galatian district arose out of an illness of his. The illness of the Apostle may have caused arrangements to fall through (and, possibly, more than once), which had been made for the journey into pro consular Asia. Renan concludes, from the fact that St. Luke next tells of Paul's arrival on the borders of Mysia, which lies far to the north-west of Antioch or Iconium, that his journey must have been altogether in that direction, and that we can not suppose him to have gone to Galatia proper, which would be much to the East of his way. But it is not correct to describe Paul as in this missionary journey making for Mysia or any other particular place. He was evidently prepared to follow God's providential guidance whithersoever it might lead him. We cannot tell what invitations to join their party he may have received from Jewish acquaintances proceeding in the Galatian direction, or what assurances of hospitable reception when they reached their destination. Both Pessinus and Ancyra were cities to which Jewish commercial speculation had made its way. We may infer from Gal. iv. 13 that a return of illness obliged the Apostle to spend a much longer time in the Galatian country than he had originally intended.
Though I understand the Galatians addressed in the Epistle to have been inhabitants of some part of Galatia proper, I lay little stress on explanations that have accounted for the suddenness of the Galatian abandonment of the Gospel as taught by Paul, by the fact that these people were largely of Celtic extraction, a race proverbial for fickleness. It may be doubted whether Celts formed the predominating element in the Churches of Galatia, which no doubt were also largely recruited from the Greeks and Jews, who in considerable numbers dwelt in the same country. But, in any case, men of different nationalities share in a common nature, and people often make mistakes in fancying they see tokens of national peculiarity in what is but the result of the working of the common human nature. When the Galatians were first converted they knew no other Christian teacher than Paul; but they learned from him to recognize Jerusalem as the head quarters of the religion, and they had heard of the Twelve as having received Apostleship from Christ Himself. It needs no theory as to the race-extraction of these converts to account for their being profoundly influenced when teachers came among them, claiming to speak with the authority of the parent Church, and informing them that new conditions must still be complied with before they could be recognized as perfect Christians. Nor need we wonder if, when they pleaded that Paul, who had founded their Church, had never insisted on these conditions, they were staggered at being told that Paul himself had been but a new convert, and was not one whose authority could be set in opposition to that of the Apostles whom Christ had appointed.
Before quitting this group of Epistles, I may mention some doubts that have been raised as to the concluding chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. The Epistle, previously to this, closes with a benediction at the end of chap. xv. Let me say, in passing, that we have one concluding benediction too many in the Authorized Version. Both at xvi. 20, and 24, we have The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. The oldest authorities differ as to which place this benediction ought to occupy; but there is no good MS. authority for putting it in both places. The Revised Version omits it, v. 24. In some MSS. the concluding doxology (xvi. 25-27) is put at the end of ch. xiv. In addition to the fact that the Epistle seems to finish without chap, xvi., it has been remarked as strange that Paul should have known so many at Rome, which he had never visited, while he sends no salutation to individuals in his Epistle to the Church of Ephesus, where he had lived three years. On these grounds some reject this chapter. Renan imagines that the Epistle was a circular addressed to different Churches, with a different conclusion for each, and with his usual courage he picks out their several portions. He assigns the list of names to whom salutations were sent, as the conclusion of the Epistle sent to one Church, that of Ephesus; the list of names from whom salutations are sent as the conclusion of that to another, and the doxology as of that to a third. Strange not to see that these three fit together, and make an harmonious whole.
I cannot seriously discuss what is asserted with so little evidence. It is no uncommon thing with ourselves to add a postscript to a letter, and there is nothing to call for explanation if Paul, even though he had brought his letter to a close in the 15th chapter, should add a postscript. Considering how people pressed to Rome from all parts of the Empire, we have nothing to wonder at if Paul had many friends at Rome, even though he had not visited it. When he did eventually visit Rome, there were friends there who came to meet him, some as far as Appii Forum, a distance of forty-three miles. It is, I own, a little surprising that the Epistle to the Ephesians does not contain a corresponding list of salutations. However, what has been ingeniously urged on the other side is worth mentioning. It is said that a man writing to a large circle of friends, because it would be invidious to mention some names and omit others, naturally might prefer to mention none: and that, accordingly, in Paul's Epistles to the Churches where he had personally laboured, those of Corinth and Thessalonica, no names are mentioned; while several names occur in the conclusion of the Epistle to the Church of Colossae, a place where the Apostle apparently had never been.
I should not think it impossible that the Epistle to the Ephesians, as originally written, may have contained a post script chapter of private salutations like that which ends the Epistle to the Romans, and that this postscript was not copied when the Epistle was transcribed for the use of other Churches. But, another, and more common explanation is, that the Epistle to the Ephesians was a circular not written to that Church exclusively. Certain it is, some of the most ancient copies omitted the words ἐν Ἔφέσῳ in the inscription. Origen, for instance, read, the saints that are, and explained rots τοὶς οὖσιν as the saints which are really so; and in this he is followed by St. Basil. And the omission of Ephesus is found in some very ancient MSS. at this day (א, B). But since Origen's explanation is extremely improbable, Archbishop Ussher conjectured that the original letter was a circular, containing after the words the saints that are a blank for the name of the Church addressed. Marcion filled it up with the name Laodicea, and called this the Epistle to the Laodiceans.
Lightfoot has noted (Journal of Philology, n. 264) certain peculiarities in some MSS. which make it probable that an edition of the Epistle to the Romans also had some circulation in which both the name Rome in the address and the last two chapters were omitted. On these peculiarities he founds the hypothesis that the Apostle, at a later period of his life, wished to give a wider circulation to the Epistle he had written to the Church of Rome; that, in order to adapt it to this end, he omitted the mention of Rome in the beginning, as also the last two chapters containing personal matters; and that he then, for the first time, added as a termination the doxology, xvi. 25-27. This hypothesis was combated by Dr. Hort in the same Journal (in. 51), and again defended by its author (in. 193). The discussion will well repay study; but the true solution of the problem belongs to a period earlier than any extant Christian history the period, namely, when the Epistles first passed out of the exclusive possession of the Churches to which they were addressed, and became the common property of all Christians.
III. The Epistles of the Imprisonment. Among these, I think it necessary to say little concerning the Epistle to the Philippians, Baur's objections to its genuineness having been pronounced futile by critics not disposed to think lightly of his authority Hilgenfeld, Pfleiderer, Schenkel, Reuss, Davidson, Renan,13 and others. Baur has pronounced this Epistle to be dull, uninteresting, monotonous, characterized by poverty of thought, and want of originality. But one only loses respect for the taste and skill of the critic who can pass such a sentence on one of the most touching and interesting of Paul's letters. So far is it from showing signs of having been manufactured by imitation of the other Epistles, that it reveals aspects of Paul's character which the other letters had not presented. In 2 Cor. we see how the Apostle could write when wounded by ingratitude and suspicion from children in the faith who failed to return his affection; in this Epistle how he could address loving disciples for whom he had not a word of rebuke. Elsewhere we are told (Acts xx. 34; 1 Cor. ix. 15; 2 Cor. xi. 10; 1 Thess. ii. 9; 2 Thess. iii. 3) how the Apostle laboured with his own hands for his support, and declared that he would rather die than let the disinterestedness of his preaching be suspected; here we find (iv. 10-19) that there was no false pride in his independence, and that when there was no likelihood of misrepresentation, he could gracefully accept the ungrudged gifts of affectionate converts. Elsewhere we read only of his reprobation of Christian teachers who corrupted the simplicity of the Gospel; here we are told (i. 18) of his satisfaction that, by the efforts even of those whose motives were not pure, the Gospel of Christ should be more widely published.
The Epistle to Philemon being now generally accepted by all critics whose opinion deserves respect, I need say nothing about its genuineness, and have no time for other comments which that charming letter suggests.
The Epistle to the Colossians. The external attestation to this letter is all that can be desired. It is only within the last fifty years that anyone has doubted it. It is used without suspicion by Irenaeus, Clement, and Tertullian, and was included in Marcion's Canon. The description of our Lord (Col. i. 15) as πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως is copied by Justin Martyr twice verbally (Trypho, 85, 138), and twice in substance (84. 100). The same expression is used by Theophilus of Antioch (ii. 22). Davidson owns (ii. 177) that, as far as external evidence goes, the Epistle is unanimously attested in ancient times.
We turn then to the internal evidence; and the most trying test is to examine the personal references at the end of the Epistle. On the face of these there appears a close connexion with the letter to Philemon.14 The same names occur in both Epaphras, Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas as names of Paul's companions, Onesimus as a bearer of both letters, Archippus as one of those addressed. Yet there are differences which preclude the idea that the Epistle to the Colossians was manufactured out of the shorter Epistle. The longer Epistle names Jesus, surnamed Justus, in addition to those mentioned in the shorter; while it says nothing about Philemon, the principal personage in the latter. Tychicus is named as the principal bearer of the longer Epistle; but from the nature of the case, Onesimus alone would be entrusted with the shorter. Again, the title fellow-prisoner15 is given to Aristarchus in the Epistle to the Colossians; but in that to Philemon, it is given not to him, but to Epaphras. Combining the Epistles, we obtain a clear and consistent account of the occasion of both. The fugitive slave Onesimus, formerly a resident at Colossae, is converted at Rome by Paul, who desires to send him back to his master. There is also with Paul at the time another Colossian, Epaphras, apparently the evangelist of the Churches on the Lycus (i. 7), through whose affectionate remembrance of these Churches the Apostle has heard much of their prosperous spiritual state (iv. 12, 13). He therefore joins Onesimus with Tychicus, whom he was sending on a mission to the Churches of Asia, and while giving the former a private letter to his master, entrusts them jointly with a public letter to the Church. Archippus, who is addressed in the salutation of the shorter letter, is commonly supposed to have been a son of Philemon: if not that, he could only have been the chief minister of the Church to which he belonged. It would seem from the order in which he is mentioned that the scene of his labours was not Colossse, but Laodicea. Possibly at the time of writing, Philemon might also have gone to reside there. If this were so, it would be natural that there should also be a public letter to the Church over which Archippus presided; and we find from iv. 16, that in point of fact there was a companion letter to be found at Laodicea. I feel little doubt that this is the letter, a duplicate of which was taken by Tychicus to Ephesus. where Paul had resided so long, and which we know as the Epistle to the Ephesians. But we have not yet come to discuss that letter: suffice it, then, to say now, that on the supposition of the genuineness of the Epistle to the Colossians all the details of Paul's history which are indicated come out with perfect clearness; while, if you want to con vince yourselves of the unreasonableness of the opposite supposition, you have only to take the Epistle to Philemon acknowledged to be genuine and try to conceive how a forger would be likely to utilize its contents for the manu facture of a letter intended to pass as contemporaneous. I am sure no forger could devise anything which has such a ring of truth as the Epistle to the Colossians.
What, then, are the reasons why we are to reject a document coming to us with the best possible credentials, and presenting several characteristics which seem to exclude the hypothesis of fraud? Three reasons are alleged. The first I shall not delay to discuss at length: I mean the argument founded on the occurrence of certain words in this Epistle which are not found in Paul's previous letters. I cannot subscribe to the doctrine that a man writing a new composition must not, on pain of losing his identity, employ any word that he has not used in a former one. Even Baur, who acknowledged only four Epistles, could hardly employ this argument consistently for there are great dissimilarities between the First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians but when the Pauline authorship of the Epistles to the Thessalonians and to the Philippians is acknowledged, as it now is, by all the best critics, it is admitted that we may disregard the objections made by Baur to these Epistles on the ground of differences of phraseology; and it is recognized that it is not unnatural that certain differences of language should show themselves in letters written by Paul at some distance of time from each other. In the course of a few years the vocabulary of any man is liable to be modified, but more especially is this likely to happen to one who, as Paul did, goes about a good deal, and converses with many new people.16 Critics strangely forget the probable influence on Paul's language of his two years residence in Rome. In the next century Rome was a hot-bed of heresy, all the leading Gnostic teachers having established schools there. We can not but think it likely that in the first century also religious speculators of various kinds should find their way to Rome, and strive to gain disciples. What more natural than that some of them should visit the Apostle in his lodgings, and compare doctrines with him? And might it not be accounted a note of spuriousness if letters alleged to be written after a long residence in Rome exhibited acquaintance with no phases of thought but those which are dealt with in the earlier letters?
The second objection is drawn from the Christology of the Epistle, the view of our Lord's Person and work which it presents being in close resemblance to the Logos doctrine of St. John. But is it so impossible that the doctrine of two Christian teachers should resemble each other? We have evidently here to do with an objection in which one brought up in the faith of the Church can feel no force before he has unlearned a good deal. But, without assuming anything as to the unlikelihood of Apostles disagreeing on a fundamental doctrine, when once it is acknowledged that the Johannine writings, instead of only originating late in the second cen tury, were the work of a contemporary of St. Paul, then the interval in time between the composition of the Epistle to the Colossians and of the Gospel of St. John is reduced so much, that it becomes very rash to declare that what was accepted as sound doctrine at the later of the two periods could not have been believed in at the earlier. Add that, when we acknowledge the Epistle to the Philippians, the celebrated Christological passage (ii. 5-11) forces us to attribute to Paul such high doctrine as to our Lord's pre-existence and as to the pre-eminent dignity which He enjoyed before His humiliation, that I cannot understand how it should be pronounced inconceivable that one, whose conception of Christ was that expressed in the Philippians, should use concerning Him the language we find in the Colossians.
The third objection is the Gnostic complexion of the false teaching combated in the Colossian Epistle, which, we are told, could not have characterized any heresy existing in the time of St. Paul. But how is it known that it could not? What are the authorities which fix for us the date of the rise of Gnosticism with such precision that we are entitled to reject a document bearing all the marks of authenticity, if it exhibit too early traces of Gnostic controversies? The simple fact is, that we have no certain knowledge whatever about the beginnings of Gnosticism. We know that it was in full blow in the middle of the second century. The Church writers to whom we owe our best knowledge of it wrote at the end of that century or the beginning of the next, and were much more busy in refuting the forms of heresy then prevalent than in exploring their antiquities. But if we de sire to describe the first appearance of Gnostic tendencies, we have, outside the New Testament books, no materials; and if we assign a date from our own sense of the fitness of things, we are bound to do so with all possible modesty. Bishop Lightfoot, says Davidson, following Neander, thinks that the Judaic Gnosticism combated in the Epistle to the Colossians was a heresy expressing " the simplest and most elementary conceptions " of the tendency of thought, so-called; one whose speculations were so " vague and fluctuating," as to agree with St. Paul's time. From this view Davidson dissents, regarding the heretical tenets of the Colossian teachers as more definite than Lightfoot re presents. I myself fully believe the bishop to be in the right; but for the purposes of the present argument I count it absolutely immaterial whether he is or not. When we have got a well-authenticated first century document, that document is evidence as to the state of opinion at the time when it was written; and whether the amount of Gnostic opinion which it reveals be much or little, we have no reason for rejecting its testimony, unless we have equally good countervailing testimony. But countervailing testimony deserving of regard, in this case there is none. Davidson says: Lightfoot labours without effect to date the opinions of the Colossian errorists before A.D. 70, for in doing so he is refuted not only by Hegesippus, who puts the first exhibitions of heretical Gnosis under Trajan, but by Clement of Alexandria, who dates them under Hadrian, and by Firmilian of Caesarea, who dates them long after the Apostles. Firmilian of Caesarea! he might as well have said Theophylact. I think he misunderstands Firmilian; but it is useless to discuss the point; for what possible value can attach to the opinion which a writer of the middle of the third century held as to the extent to which Gnosticism had prevailed two hundred years before his own time?
There is no surer test of the merit of an historian than to observe what are the authorities on which he builds his story. If you find him relying on such as are worthless, you may know that he does not understand his business. It would be unjust to Davidson if the present example were offered as a fair specimen of his sense of the value of authorities; and if he has not produced better, it is because there were no better to produce. If he appealed to the early haeresiologists his cause would be lost; for, following the lead of Justin Martyr, they commonly count Simon Magus as the parent of Gnosticism,17 so that if their authority is to be regarded, the heresy existed in Apostolic times. Hegesippus, the earliest of the authorities on whom Davidson relies, wrote in the Episcopate of Eleutherus, that is to say, some time between 175 and 189. He is therefore more than a century later than the times concerning which he is appealed to as a witness; and he is later than Justin Martyr, whose testimony I have just quoted on the other side.18 But, strange to say, Davidson himself thinks (ii. 38) that Hegesippus was acquainted with 1 Tim. vi. 20, and thence derived the expression Gnosis, falsely so called. Hegesippus, therefore, must have believed that Gnosis existed in the Apostle's days. Thus it will be seen that the authorities that can be used to fix the date of the first appearance of Gnosticism are conflicting and untrustworthy; nor do I believe that, even if we had fuller information, it would be possible to name a definite date for its beginning. For I tike the true history to be, that there came a wave of thought from without, in consequence of which certain ideas foreign to Christianity floated vaguely about, meeting in different quarters more or less acceptance, for some time before any one formed these ideas into a system. With respect to the history of this undeveloped stage of Gnosticism, I hold the Epistle to the Colossians to be one of our best sources of information; and those who reject it, because it does not agree with their notions of what the state of speculation in the first century ought to be, are guilty of the unscientific fault cf forming a theory on an insufficient induction of facts, and then rejecting a fact which they had not taken into account, because it does not agree with their theory.
The Epistle to the Ephesians. Among the letters which bear the name of Paul, says Renan (Saint Paul, xxiii.), the Epistle to the Ephesians is perhaps the one of which there are most early quotations, as the composition of the Apostle of the Gentiles. On internal grounds Renan has serious doubts as to the Pauline origin of this Epistle, and he throws out the idea that it may have been written under the Apostle's directions by Timothy, or some other of his companions; but he owns that the external evidence in its favour is of the highest character. It is a matter of course to say that it is recognized by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and in the Muratorian Fragment. The fact that it was among the Pauline Epistles owned by Marcion makes it unnecessary to cite authorities later than 140. There is what seems to me a distinct use of the Epistle by Clement of Rome; for when he exhorts to unity by the plea, Have we not one God, and one Christ, and one Spirit of Grace poured out upon us, and one calling in Christ? (c. 46), I cannot think the resemblance merely accidental to one Spirit, one hope of your calling (Eph. iv. 4). There can be no doubt of the use of the Ephesians in what is called the Second Epistle of Clement; but though I think this is certainly older than the age of Irenaeus, I do not know whether it is older than that of Marcion. The recognition of the Ephesians in the letter of Ignatius to the same Church is beyond doubt. He addresses the Ephesians (c. 12) as Παύλου συμμύσται, a phrase recalling Eph. iii. 3, 4, 9, and goes on to say how Paul makes mention of them ἐν πάσῇ ἐπιστολῇ, a puzzling expression, which obliges us to put some force on the grammar, if we translate in all his Epistle, or on the facts, if we translate in every Epistle. The recognition of our Epistle is express in the one case, probable in the other. There are other phrases in the Ignatian letters which remind us of the Epistle to the Ephesians, of which I only mention his direction to Polycarp (c. 5), to exhort the brethren to love their wives, even as the Lord the Church (Eph. v. 25, 29). Polycarp's own letter refers (c. 12) to words of Scripture, Be ye angry, and sin not, and Let not the sun go down on your wrath the former sentence being no doubt ultimately derived from Ps. iv. 5, but only found in connexion with the latter in Eph. iv. 26. Hermas more than once shows his knowledge of the text, Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God (iv. 30), (see Mandat, x. i, 2). There is another topic of evidence, the full discussion of which will come later on; I refer to the fact that the First Epistle of Peter shows traces of acquaintance with the Pauline Epistles, and in particular with those to the Romans and Ephesians. This fact is recognized by Renan, who is much impressed with the evidence it offers of the early acceptance of the Epistle to the Ephesians as Paul s, and as a document of authority (Saint Paul, p. xxii.). Renan, being disposed to accept Peter's Epistle, but having doubts about that to the Ephesians, is rather perplexed by this fact, which proves the priority of the latter; and he suggests that it may have been Peter's secretary who turned to account his knowledge of the Epistle ascribed to Paul (L' Antechrist, p. vii.); but this very gratuitous suggestion does not affect the inference as to the relative date of the two Epistles. Several critics, who do not accept either Epistle, agree as to the fact of a connexion between them. If, as has been already suggested, the Epistle to the Ephesians had the character of an encyclical, it would be natural that a copy should be preserved for the use of the Church of Rome; and we should then have a simple explanation of the fact that Peter, writing at Rome, should find there in constant use these two letters of Paul in particular that to the Romans and to the Ephesians.
What, then, are the reasons why it is sought to reject so weighty a mass of external evidence? You will, perhaps, be surprised to hear that one of the chief is the great likeness of this Epistle to the Epistle to the Colossians. The fact of the close affinity of the two letters is indisputable,19 but the explanation which Paley gave of it is perfectly satisfactory, namely, that in two letters, written about the same time on the same subject by one person to different people, it is to be expected that the same thoughts will be expressed in nearly the same words. Now the Epistle to the Ephesians is specially tied to that to the Colossians by the fact that both letters purport to have been carried by the same messenger, Tychicus, the paragraph concerning whom is nearly the same in both (Eph. vi. 21, 22;20 Col. iv. 7, 8). That the letters which the Apostle wrote to be sent off by the same messenger to different Churches should be full of the same thoughts, and those thoughts frequently expressed in the same phrases, is so very natural, that instead of the mutual similarity deserving to count as an objection to the genuine ness of either, this correspondence of the character of the letters, with the traditional account of the circumstances of their origin, ought to reckon as a strong confirmation of the correctness of that account.
Yet this explanation of the similarity of the two Epistles is commonly dismissed by sceptical writers with small consideration. De Wette, for instance, condemns the Epistle to the Ephesians as but a verbose amplification of the Epistle to the Colossians. He says, Such a transcription of himself is unworthy of an Apostle, and must therefore be the work of an imitator.21 The idea that it is unworthy of an Apostle to repeat himself, springs from the tacit assumption that the first of the two Epistles was a work published for general circulation (though indeed it is not uncommon to find authors repeating themselves even in such published works); but I am at a loss to see why an Apostle might not say the same things when writing to different people. No one finds any difficulty in the supposition that an Apostle might write a circular letter that is to say, that he might send to different Churches letters couched in identical words. What greater impropriety would there be if, instead of directing a scribe to make a copy of his first letter, he dictated a second of like tenor for the use of a different Church? Nor is the case much altered if, after the second letter had been written, he found that it added so much to what had been said in the first, as to make him wish that his disciples should read both (Col. iv. 1 6).
Those who ascribe the two Epistles to different authors are not agreed which was the original, which the imitation. Mayerhoff, the first assailant of the Epistle to the Colossians, made the Ephesian letter the earlier, and he has found some followers. But the more general, and as I think the more plausible, opinion reverses the order. Indeed, the personal details in the Epistle to the Colossians, and its connexion with the Epistle to Philemon, have caused it to be accepted as Pauline by some who reject the Ephesian letter. But what I regard as a complete refutation of the hypothesis of imitation on either side has been made by one of the most recent of German speculators on the subject Holtzmann.22 He has made a critical comparison of the parallel passages in the two Epistles, and his result is, that the contest as to their relative priority ends in a drawn battle. He gives as examples seven passages in which he pronounces that the Ephesians is the original, and the Colossians the imitation; and seven others in which he comes to the opposite conclusion,23
The natural conclusion from these facts would be that the similarity between the Epistles is not to be explained by conscious imitation on either side, but by identity of authorship.24 The explanation, however, which Holtzmann offers is that only a certain nucleus of the Epistle to the Colossians is genuine that a forger taking this for his guide, manufactured by its means the Epistle to the Ephesians; and then, pleased with his handiwork, proceeded to interpolate the Epistle to the Colossians with pieces taken from his own composition. And such was the success of this attempt, that not only was the forged Ephesian Epistle universally accepted as St. Paul s, but no one cared to preserve the unimproved Colossian Epistle. Holtzmann, expurgating our present Epistle to the Colossians by removing this adventitious matter, publishes what he offers as the real original Epistle. The engineer Brindley declared that the reason rivers were made, was to feed navigable canals. Some German writers seem to think that in the ancient Church apostolic documents were only valued as the possible basis of some ingenious forgery. I might seriously discuss this theory of Holtzmann's if I could find that even in his own school he had made a single convert to it.25 If you study the Epistle in Lightfoot's Commentary, you will find that each of those proposed expurgations is a real mutilation of the argument; and the chief merit of Holtzmann's work is his success in showing that the theory that the Ephesian Epistle is the work of an imitator of the Colossians gives no adequate explanation of the facts.
I have said enough to show that no good reason for rejecting the Epistle to the Ephesians can be drawn from its like ness to the sister Epistle to the Colossians. But I think that the real cause of hostility to this letter is not this, but rather the contradiction which it offers to modern theories of early Church history. According to these, the feud between Paulinists and anti-Paulinists continued long into the second century, and it was only at this comparatively late period that there arose the conception of the Catholic Church embracing Jew and Gentile on equal terms, and giving to Paul and Peter equal honour. Men have refused to believe that the book of the Acts could have been written by a companion of Paul, even ten or twenty years after that Apostle's death, because they could not think that the conciliatory school, to which this book clearly belongs, could have arisen so early. But if we accept the Epistle to the Ephesians, we must own that Paul was himself no Paulinist, as Baur understands the word. He clearly belongs to the era of the Catholic Church, concerning which he has so much to say; and he even speaks of the holy Apostles (iii. 5) as might one who had no cause of quarrel with the Twelve.
And certain it is that in this Epistle we read nothing of St. Paul's controversy with those who forbade him to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved, nothing of his controversy with those who wished to impose on Gentile converts the yoke of circumcision. All such controversies are clearly over at the time of writing. Those whom he addressed, though Gentiles (iii. 1), have won the position of recognition as fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God (ii. 19). But is there anything incredible in the sup position that Paul himself lived to see the dying out of the controversy that had once raged so violently? Controversies soon die out in the face of accomplished facts. I have myself seen many hot political controversies about the first Reform Bill; about the abolition of the Corn Laws; about the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. As long as any practical end could be obtained, the battle raged fiercely; but when a decision was made, which there was no hope of overturning, all parties acquiesced in the inevitable, and took no interest in wrangling over the old dispute. So it was with the dispute as to the obligation of Mosaism. When emissaries came down from Jerusalem, assuring Paul's Gentile converts that unless they were circumcised Christ should profit them no thing, and when many of these converts appeared ready to give ear to such teaching, it was natural that the Apostle should protest loudly against a doctrine which subverted the whole Gospel he had taught. But he counteracted it in even a more effectual way than direct opposition. He and his disciples went on making new converts, and founding new Churches among the Gentiles, on whom no obligation of Judaic observance was laid, until it became hopeless for the zealots for the Mosaic Law in Palestine to dream of excommunicating so large and powerful a body. Nine or ten years of Paul's preaching were enough to put the position of the Gentile Churches beyond danger of assault. No one can doubt that at the time of Paul's Roman imprisonment there were Christian Churches in Ephesus and other cities of Asia, in Greece, in Syria, in Rome itself, containing a multitude of Gentile converts, who did not observe the law of Moses, and who, nevertheless, did not doubt that they were entitled to every privilege which union with Christ conferred. Gentile Christianity was by this time an accomplished fact, and it shows inability to grasp the historic situation if a man expects Paul's letters at this date to exhibit him still employed in controversial defence of the position of his Gentile converts, or if he is surprised to find Paul taking for granted that the barrier between Jew and Gentile had been thrown down.26 It is as great an anachronism to expect to find Paul, at the time of his imprisonment, maintaining the right of a Gentile to be admitted into the Christian Church without circumcision, as it would be to expect to find a statesman of the present day dilating on the right of a Jew to be admitted into Parliament without swearing on the true faith of a Christian.
But though we can see that, at the time the Epistle to the Ephesians was written, there was no need of a struggle to claim for Gentiles admission on equal terms to all the privileges of the Gospel, we can see also that this struggle was then not long over. We take it now as a matter of course that we have a full right to every Christian privilege, and we should be amazed if anyone denied our title on the ground that we are not children of Abraham, or do not observe the Mosaic Law. The writer of this Epistle asserts it as a truth that in Christ the distinction between Jew and Gentile has been done away, and that the Jew has no longer any exclusive position of pre-eminence; but to him this truth is no matter of course, but an amazing paradox. He is astonished as he contemplates this mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel (iii. 4). He is thankful that to himself the revelation of this mystery had been made, and that by the grace of God he had been employed to publish it to the world. Cavils have been raised both against the exaggerated humility of less than the least of all saints (iii. 8), which has been taken for a mere imitation of 1 Cor. xv. 9, and against the boastfulness of iii. 4, where the language, it said, is that of a disciple of Paul, who had witnessed the victory of his principal in the general recognition of Gentile Christianity. But let it be acknowledged that Paul lived to witness that victory himself, and that at the time he wrote his Gentile disciples were affected by no stigma of inferiority, and is it possible that he could be exempt from some human feelings of triumph at the greatness of the revolution which, through his means, had been brought about? That revolution he looked on as indicating no change in the Divine plans. It had been God's eternal purpose thus through Christ to adopt the Gentiles into his kingdom; and it was Paul's great glory that God should have vouchsafed to choose him, unworthy though he was, to receive the revelation of a mystery unknown to former ages, and to be made God's instrument for publishing it to the world. I am persuaded that anyone who studies the freshness and novelty with which the doctrine of the non-exclusive character of Christianity is regarded in the Epistle to the Ephesians, will feel that this is a document which cannot be pushed down to the second century.27
It has been objected that Paul could never have directed the Colossian Church to procure what was but a diffuse and vapid copy of the letter addressed to themselves. Let me point out that though the two letters deal with the same themes, one who had read either would find in the other a varied presentation of doctrine. In the Colossian Epistle the dignity of the Head of the Church is set forth with a fulness greater than in any other Pauline Epistle; in this Epistle the dignity of the Church itself has been exhibited. We are so familiar with the idea of the Catholic Church, that we cannot easily conceive how great an impression must have been made by the wonderful unlikeness of the Christian organization to anything the world had previously witnessed. In every great town throughout the empire there was now a community in which equality was the rule, and all the distinctions which had kept men apart counted for nothing. Jew and Gentile, Greek and Barbarian, were united in mutual love; the slave and the freeman had like privileges, male and female were on equal terms. There was no exclusiveness; any who desired to join was welcome. And all these several communities were but parts of one wider organization. Distance of place counted as little as difference of social condition. All were brethren in a common faith: eager to do good offices to each other because bound by love to a common Lord, whose glorious reappearing was the common hope of all. The Christian Church impressed the imaginations of men, whose own claim to belong to it was not admitted. According to Valentinus the Church on earth was but the visible presentation of a heavenly Aeon which had existed before all time. And in this Valentinus agreed with what I count to be older heresies (Iren. i. xxx. i, Hippol. v. 6). Let no one say that it needed a century before such a phenomenon as this could arrest the attention or impress the imagination of men. The phenomenon existed in Paul's time. The unity of the Church was manifested when so many congregations of his converts made collections for the poor saints at Jerusalem; when his disciples sent money for his own support to distant cities; when as he drew near to Rome brethren came as far as Appii Forum to meet him. His remaining letters (and he probably wrote many more) testify how many different communities claimed his care. Paul's earlier Epistles, especially those to the Corinthians, show that his mind had dwelt on the fact that Christians formed an organized body, which he describes as the temple of the living God; as a body of which each particular saint was a member, Christ the head. These figures are repeated in the Epistle to the Ephesians (i. 23, ii. 20, iii. 6, iv. 16, 25), but he adds a new one.28 The closest tie of earthly love is used to illustrate the love of Christ for His Church; and then, by a wonderful reflection of the illustration, the love of Christ for His Church is made to sanctify and glorify Christian marriage, husbands being exhorted to love their wives, even as Christ the Church.
You will find some critics using very disparaging terms as to the literary excellence of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Questions of taste cannot be settled by disputation, but a critic may well distrust his own judgment if he can see no merit in a book which has had a great success; and I do not think that there is any N. T. book which we can prove to have been earlier circulated than this, or more widely esteemed. At the present day there is no more popular hymn than that29 which but turns into verse the words of this Epistle; and holding the opinion I have already expressed as to the probability of the Apostle John's having visited Rome, I cannot but think that when he beheld in apocalyptic vision the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. xxi. 2; see also xix. 7; xxi. 9; xxii. 17), he only saw the embodiment of a conception familiar to him from his knowledge of an Epistle highly valued by the Roman Church.30 I very strongly believe that it was the language (Eph. i. 4) about the election of the Church before the foundation of the world which was the source not only of the Ophite and Valentinian conceptions to which I have just referred, but also of the language employed by early orthodox writers. Hermas (Vis. ii. 4) speaks of the Church as created before all things, and of the world as formed for her sake; and the so-called second Epistle of Clement of Rome (c. 14) speaks of the spiritual Church as created before the sun and moon, as pre-existent like Christ Himself, and like Him manifested in the last days for man's salvation. It is idle to discuss the literary excellence of the Epistle to the Ephesians, if I am right in thinking that it has had so great influence on Christian thought.
IV. The Pastoral Epistles. I now come to the group of Pauline Epistles against which the charge of spuriousness has been made most confidently. Renan, who does not venture positively to condemn any of the others, and who has only serious doubts about the Epistle to the Ephesians, seems to have thought that his reputation for orthodoxy in his own school would be seriously compromised if he showed any hesitation in rejecting the Pastoral Epistles; and, accordingly, apocryphal, fabricated, forged, are the epithets which he commonly applies to them. Yet, not very consistently, he constantly uses them as authorities for his narrative.31 Yet it is certainly for no deficiency of external attestation that these Epistles are to be rejected. Irenaeus, Clement, Tertullian, the Muratorian Fragment, Theophilus of Antioch, the Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons, unquestionably re cognize them. Polycarp, at the very beginning of the second century, uses then largely, and there are what I count distinct echoes of the letters in Clement of Rome,32 and in Justin Martyr. I must speak in a little more detail about Hegesippus.
Baur has given students of early Church History so many new ideas, that they would have great cause to be grateful to him, if it were not that these ideas are for the most part wrong. I admire the ingenuity of Baur, as I admire the genius of Victor Hugo. But I think L' Homme qui rit gives as accurate a representation of English History in the reign of James II. as Baur does of the early Christian Church. I do not know any of Baur's suggestions wilder than that about Hegesippus and the Pastoral Epistles. I have already (see p. 422) referred to a place in which Eusebius in his own words gives the sense of a passage in Hegesippus employing there the words, knowledge, falsely so called. Baur thinks that Eusebius found these words in Hegesippus; and though this cannot be proved, I think it very likely; for we constantly find that where Eusebius, instead of transcribing a passage, gives a summary of it, he is apt, as is very natural, to incorporate many of his author's words. It seems likely, then, that Hegesippus is to be added to the number of those who use the Pastoral Epistles. But instead of drawing this conclusion, Baur infers that the Pastoral Epistles use Hegesippus; a frightful anachronism, in which few of his disciples at the present day venture to follow him; because, whether the Pastoral Epistles be Paul's or not, both external and internal evidence forbid our ascribing to them so late a date as the end of the second century. Baur has no better reason for his opinion than that Hegesippus, being an anti-Pauline Ebionite, could not quote St. Paul. But for so de scribing Hegesippus there is no evidence. He was a native of Palestine, no doubt; but Eusebius, who was certainly no Ebionite, has no suspicion of his orthodoxy. Hegesippus approved of the Epistle of the Roman Clement, which has a strong Pauline colouring, and he was in full communion both with the Church of Rome and with other leading Churches of his time.
The only set-off to be made against the proof of the universal reception of the Pastoral Epistles by orthodox Christians is the fact of their rejection by some heretics. For the other Pauline Epistles we have the testimony of Marcion; but these three were not included in his Canon. We hear also of Basilides having rejected them. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. ii. 11) attributes this rejection solely to doctrinal dislike, naming in particular the verse about ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις, just referred to, as the cause of offence. St. Jerome, in the preface to his Commentary on Titus, also complains of the arbitrary conduct of these heretics in rejecting Epistles which they did not like, without being able to produce good reasons to justify their rejection; and he says that Tatian, though he rejected some of Paul's Epistles, yet accepted that to Titus with particular cordiality. From this it has been commonly imagined that the Epistles which Tatian rejected were those to Timothy. There is no evidence to prove this, but the thing is likely enough. At least the First Epistle to Timothy contains matter offensive to an Encratite, in its condemnation of those who forbade to marry and commanded to abstain from meat, and in its advice to Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach's sake. Yet the First Epistle to Timothy and that to Titus so clearly stand or fall together, that to accept the one and reject the other is a decision which commands no respect. The same traits which would make an Epistle disliked by Tatian would make it also disliked by Marcion, who shared his Encratite principles; and Marcion was so very arbitrary in his dealings with the Gospels, that his rejection of Epistles does not count for much, especially when these Epistles have the earlier attestation of Polycarp.
If, therefore, the battle had to be fought solely on the ground of external evidence, the Pastoral Epistles would obtain a complete victory. The objections to these Epistles on the grounds of internal evidence may be classed under three heads; and the facts on which these objections are founded must be conceded, though we dispute the inferences drawn from them.33
(1) There are peculiarities of diction which unite these Epistles to each other, and separate them from the other Pauline letters. For instance, all three open with the salutation, Grace, mercy, and peace; in the other Pauline letters it is Grace and peace. The phrase sound doctrine διδασκαλία ὑγιαίνουσα, and other derivatives from ὑγίης in this metaphorical sense, are to be found repeatedly in the Pastoral Epistles, and not elsewhere. So, likewise, the word εὐσέβεια, and the phrase, this is a faithful saying. The master of a slave is called δεσπότης in these Epistles, κύριος in the others. The appearance of our Lord at His second coming is ἐπιφάνεια, not παρουσία, as in the earlier Epistles. Several other examples of the same kind might be given, but these are enough to illustrate the nature of the argument. The inference which sceptical writers draw from it is, that these three Epistles have a common author, and that author not St. Paul.
(2) The second topic is, that the nature of the controversies with which the writer has to deal, and the opponents whom he has to encounter, are different from those dealt with in Paul's other Epistles. The writer does not insist on the worthlessness of circumcision and other Mosaic rites, on the importance of faith, or on the doctrine of justification without the deeds of the law. On the other hand, he insists more sharply than in the other Epistles on the necessity of good works. For the false teachers whom he had in view appear to have prided themselves on their knowledge, and the word Gnosis seems to have then already acquired a technical sense. But this boasted knowledge consisted merely in acquaintance with unprofitable speculations about endless genealogies, which only ministered questions; while they who possessed it neglected the practical side of religion, confessing God with their mouths, but in works denying Him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. In opposition to such teaching, the writer insists sharply on the necessity that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works, should avoid foolish and unlearned questions and genealogies, and contentions and strivings about the law, inasmuch as these are unprofitable and vain. The false teaching combated seems to differ a good deal in complexion from that opposed in the Epistle to the Colossians, and to have a more Jewish cast (Titus i. 14). It has also been contended that the directions to Christian ministers in I Tim. and Titus imply a more developed hierarchical system than do Paul's acknowledged letters. These common characteristics of the Pastoral Epistles lead us to believe that they were written at a later time than Paul's other Epistles, and when the perils of the Church were different. The use, concerning the false teachers, of the word heretic (Titus iii. 10), has also been noted as a sign of lateness; but it must be remembered that heresies are enumerated among the works of the flesh (Gal. v. 20).
(3) There is great difficulty in harmonizing these Epistles with the history in the Acts. The Epistle to Titus implies a voyage of Paul to Crete; the First Epistle to Timothy implies other travels of Paul, for which we cannot easily find room in Luke's history. Take, in particular, the Second Epistle. This was written from an imprisonment in Rome; for we are told (i. 17) how Onesiphorus, when in Rome, searched diligently for the Apostle, and found him. And on his way to Rome we are told (iv. 20) that the Apostle left Trophimus at Miletus, sick. Now, when Paul was last at Miletus, on his way to Jerusalem, he did not leave Trophimus there; for we find that Trophimus accompanied Paul to Jerusalem, and that one of the causes why the Jews of Asia set on Paul in the Temple was that they had seen this Trophimus with him in the city, and supposed that the Apostle had brought him into the Temple (Acts xxi. 29). St. Paul's voyage from Caesarea to Rome is carefully traced by St. Luke, and we find that he did not touch at Miletus on his way. I will not trouble you with some far-fetched attempts to reconcile this statement about Trophimus with the supposition that the imprisonment from which the Second Epistle to Timothy was written is the same as that recorded by St. Luke. In my judgment these explanations utterly fail. Further, we are told in the verse just referred to that Erastus abode in Corinth; and the most natural explanation of this is that Paul had left him there; but we find from the Acts that the Apostle had not been in Corinth for some years before his Roman imprisonment, and Timothy had been with Paul since his last visit to Corinth, so that there was no occasion to inform him by letter about it. Once more, the verse about the cloak, or, as some translate it, the case for books, that Paul left at Troas (a verse, I may say in passing, which no forger would ever dream of inserting), would imply that Paul had been at Troas within some moderate time of the epoch when the Apostle was writing, for it is hardly likely he would have left articles on which he seems to have set much value to lie uncalled for at Troas for many years. But the last visit to Troas recorded in the Acts is distant some seven or eight years from the date of the Roman imprisonment. Other proofs of the same kind could be multiplied.
Now, of these three difficulties, the first, arising from peculiarities of diction, is one which we have already learned to disregard. The Epistles which I have previously examined exhibit in Paul's writings very great varieties of expression, showing him to be a man of considerable mental pliability, and not one whose stock of phrases would be likely to be stereotyped when he came to write these letters. But I willingly concede that the argument from the diction makes it likely that the Pastoral Epistles were written at no great distance of time from each other, and probably at some distance of time from the other Epistles. For in Paul's Epistles we find great likeness of expression between Epistles written at nearly the same time as, for instance, between the Romans and Galatians between the Ephesians and Colossians, while the different groups of Epistles differ considerably in words and topics from each other. This is what we find on examining the different works of any author who has written much, viz. considerable resemblance in style between works of the same period; but often modifications of style as he advances in life. Now, though each group of Paul's Epistles has its peculiarities of diction, there are links of connexion between the phraseology of each group and that of the next in order of time; and there are such links between that of the Pastoral Epistles and of the letters of the imprisonment. Thus the Pastoral Epistles are said to be un-Pauline, because they call the enemy of mankind the devil and not Satan/ as Paul does. But the name the devil occurs twice in Ephesians (iv. 27, vi. u). The name ἐπιφάνεια, applied to our Lord's second coming, is said to be un-Pauline; but is found in 2 Thess. ii. 8 (see also the φανεροῦν of Col. iii. 4). The οἰκονμία of the Ephesian Epistle (i. 10, ii. 2, 9) reappears in the most approved reading of 1 Tim. i. 4. The co-ordination of love and faith, in Eph. vi. 23, is said by Davidson (ii. 214) to be un-Pauline, but to be found also in 1 Timothy. And so it certainly is (i. 14, iv. 12, vi. u; 2 Tim. i. 13, ii. 22); but I should not have dreamed of building an argument on what seems to me one of the most common of Pauline combinations; for instance, the breastplate of faith and love (1 Thess. v. 8). The stress laid in the Pastoral Epistles on coming to the knowledge of the truth εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας (1 Tim. ii. 4; 2 Tim. ii. 25, iii. 7; Tit. i. 1) has been imagined to indicate a time after Gnostic ideas as to the importance of knowledge had become prevalent; but the term ἐπίγνωσιςis is frequent in Paul's Epistles (see in particular Eph. iv. 13; Col. i. 9, 10, ii.2, iii. 10). Dr. Gwynn (Speaker's Commentary On Philippians p. 588) has noted several coincidences between 2 Tim. iv. 6-8, and Philippians; in particular, the use of the three words σπένδομαι, ἀνάλυσις, ἀγών, the first two words being in the N. T. peculiar to these two Epistles, and the third being also in the N. T. a rare and exclusively Pauline word. On the whole, there is nothing in the diction of these Epistles which is not explained by the supposition that these three are the latest of St. Paul's Epistles, and that they were written at no great distance of time from each other.
We are led to the same conclusion on trying to harmonize these Epistles with the Acts. I have already mentioned the difficulties attending the supposition that the Second to Timothy was written from the imprisonment recorded in the Acts. The other two Epistles present equal difficulties. The First to Timothy intimates that Paul had been in Ephesus not long before; for it begins by saying, As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia. But on Paul's first visit to Ephesus mentioned in the Acts, he left it, not for Macedonia but for Jerusalem. On his second visit he did leave it for Macedonia; but instead of leaving Timothy behind, he sent him on before. It has been said that Paul's three years spent at Ephesus did not exclude occasional absences, and that in one of these he had gone to Macedonia a journey imagined for the sake of this Epistle. Yet the whole tone of the Epistle implies that it was not written during a temporary absence, but that Timothy had been left in charge of the Church at Ephesus for a considerable time. When, further, it is proposed to take out of Paul's three years at Ephesus time for a journey to Crete, in which to leave Titus there, and a winter at Nicopolis spoken of in that Epistle, so large a gap is made in the three years at Ephesus that Luke's silence becomes inexplicable. Renan spends some twenty pages in proving satisfactorily enough the failure of all existing attempts to find a place for these Epistles in the period of Paul's life embraced by the Acts; but he passes over almost in silence the solution which removes every difficulty: that Paul was released from his Roman imprisonment, that he afterwards made other journeys, and wrote the Epistle to Titus and the First to Timothy, and was then imprisoned a second time, and wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy. The distance of time which, according to this solution, separates these Epistles from the rest, at once accounts for the peculiarities on which I have already commented.
What is said in answer to this is, that Paul's release from his Roman imprisonment is unhistorical that it is a mere hypothesis invented to get rid of a difficulty. But this answer exhibits a complete misconception of the logical position; for it is really those who refuse to entertain the idea of Paul's release who make an unwarrantable hypothesis. Paul's re lease from his Roman imprisonment, we are told, is unhistorical: so is his non-release. In other words, Luke's history of the life of Paul breaks off without telling us whether he was released or not. Under these circumstances a scientific inquirer ought to hold his mind unbiassed towards either sup position. If new evidence presents itself, no good reason either for accepting or rejecting it can be furnished by any preconceived opinion as to the issue of Paul's imprisonment. Now the Pastoral Epistles are a new source of evidence. They come to us with the best possible external attestation; and our opponents will not dispute that if we accept them as Pauline, they lead us to the conclusion that Paul lived to make other journeys than those recorded by St. Luke. We accept this conclusion, not because of any preconceived hypo thesis, but because on other grounds we hold the Epistles to be genuine. But it is those who say, we cannot believe these Epistles to be Paul s, because they indicate a release from his imprisonment which we know did not take place, who really make an unwarrantable assumption.
I am compelled to elaborate a point which seems to me too plain to need much argument, by the confidence with which a whole host of Rationalist critics assume that the Pastoral Epistles can only be received on condition of our being able to find a place for them within the limits of the history recorded in the Acts. Reuss, for instance, who gives a candid reception to the claims of the Second Epistle to Timothy, for which he thinks he can find a place within these limits, rejects the First Epistle and that to Titus, because he cannot force them in. Let us take, then, the argument about the Epistle to Titus, and it will be seen whether it is the acceptors or the rejectors of that Epistle who make an un proved hypothesis. We accept the Epistle because of the good external evidence on which it comes; and we then draw the inference, Paul at some time visited Crete. Not that we had had any previous theory on the subject, but solely because this Epistle which we consider we have good reason to regard as Paul's states that he did. Nay, reply our opponents, the Epistle cannot be Paul s, because he never visited Crete. How do you know he did not? Because we have in the Acts of the Apostles a full history of the Apostle's life, which leaves no room for such a visit. Well, we are pleased to see you attribute such value to the Acts of the Apostles, as a record of Paul's life not only accurate but complete. But the history of the Acts breaks off at the year 63. May not Paul have visited Crete later? No; he could not have done so, for he never was released from his Roman imprisonment. But how do you know he was not?
Which of us now is making an unproved assumption?
If we were arguing against a disciple of Darwin, and if we contended that the Darwinian theory could not be true be-, cause the six thousand years for which the world has lasted does not afford room for the changes of species which that theory asserts, would he not have a right to call on us for proof that the world has only lasted so long? Might he not smile at us if we declared that it was he who was making an unproved assumption, in asserting the possibility that the world might be older? So, in like manner, those who assert that the Pastoral Epistles cannot be Paul s, because there is no room for them in that part of his life which is recorded by St. Luke, are bound to give proof that this is the whole of his active life.
If the Pastoral Epistles did not exist, and if we were left to independent speculation as to the issue of the Apostle's imprisonment, we should conclude that the supposition of his release was more probable than the contrary. We learn from the conclusion of the Acts that the Jews at Rome had not been commissioned to oppose his appeal; and since, until the burning of Rome in 64, the Imperial authorities had no motive for persecuting Christians as such, we should expect that the case against Paul, stated in such a letter as the procurator was likely to send (Acts xxv. 25, xxvi. 32), would end in such a dismissal as that given by Gallio. And this was Paul's own expectation both when he wrote to the Philippians (Phil. i. 25, 26; ii. 24) and to Philemon (v. 22). Possibly we have the Apostle's own assertion of his release as an actual fact. At least, when later he is looking forward to a trial, with no sanguine anticipations as to its issue, he calls to mind (2 Tim. iv. 16) a former hearing, when, though earthly friends deserted him, the Lord stood by him, and he was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. St. Chrysostom (in loc.) understands the lion here of Nero, and the verse as intimating that Paul's trial ended in an acquittal.
However this may be, certain it is that there was in the early Church a tradition of St. Paul's release, quite independent of the Pastoral Epistles. I have quoted (p. 49) the passage in the Muratorian Fragment which speaks of Paul's journey to Spain, a statement which assumes his release from imprisonment; and it is at least probable that Clement of Rome also recognizes the journey to Spain, when he speaks (c. 5) of Paul's having gone to the extremity of the West. On this evidence Renan accepts the fact of Paul's release (L' Antechrist, p. 106); only he will not let it count anything in favour of the Pastoral Epistles, believing that the Apostle on his release went, according to the evidence just cited, to the West, and not, as these Epistles imply, to Asia Minor. For myself, I should think it less probable that the Apostle carried out the earlier intention expressed in the Epistle to the Romans than the later one expressed in the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon. But it is not impossible that he might have done both. The evidence is too slender to warrant any positive assertion as to the Apostle's movements: and we appreciate more highly the obligations we owe to the Acts of the Apostles when we find how much in the dark we are as to St. Paul's history as soon as that book no longer guides us. My object has been merely to show that those who assert that St. Paul was not released from his Roman imprisonment assert not only what they cannot prove, but what is less probable than the contrary. And when once the possibility is admitted of Apostolic labours of St. Paul later than those recorded in the Acts, all the objections that have been urged against the acceptance of the Pastoral Epistles immediately lose their weight.
Two objections to the late date which I have assigned to these Epistles deserve to be noticed. One is that Paul, writing to Timothy, says, Let no man despise thy youth (i Tim. iv. 12); whereas many years must have elapsed between the time at which we first hear of Timothy in the Acts, and the date which I have assigned to these Epistles. But when we consider the office in which Timothy was placed over Elders, with power to ordain them and rebuke; and when we- reflect that the name of Elder must, in its first application, have been given to men advanced in age (certainly I suppose not younger than forty-three, the legal age for a consulship at Rome), we shall see that even if Timothy were at the time as old as thirty or thirty-five, there would still be reason to fear lest those placed under his government should despise his youth. The other objection is that the First Epistle to Timothy was evidently written after a recent visit of Paul to Ephesus; and if we suppose this visit to have taken place after the Roman imprisonment, we appear to contradict what Paul said at Miletus to the Ephesian Elders, I know that ye all among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God shall see my face no more (Acts xx. 25). Our first impression certainly is that these words imply prophetic assurance; yet when we look at the rest of this speech we find the Apostle disclaiming any detailed knowledge of the future, I go unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there, save that he had this general know ledge that the Holy Ghost witnessed in every city, saying, bonds and afflictions abide him. If we are entitled thus to press the force of οἶδα, we might assert confidently that the Apostle was released from his Roman imprisonment, for he writes to the Philippians (i. 25), I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith, that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. A little before, however, in the same chapter, I know in one verse (19) is modified by according to my earnest expectation and my hope in the next: and when Paul says to Agrippa, Believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest, I suppose he is not speaking of supernatural certain knowledge of Agrippa's heart, but merely of the strong persuasion which he entertained concerning the king's belief. Thus, we see that, whatever our first impression might have been, the Apostle's mode of speaking elsewhere quite permits us to understand that, in Acts xx. he is not speaking prophetically, but only expressing a strong belief, founded on grounds of human probability, viz. his knowledge of the persecutions which certainly awaited him, and his intended journeys to Rome and Spain, which were likely to take him far away from Ephesus.
Renan, as you may believe, makes no difficulty in con ceding that Paul when he spoke at Miletus had no infallible knowledge of the future. But that, he says, is not the question. It is no matter to us whether or not Paul pronounced these words. But the author of the Acts knew well the sequel of the life of Paul, though unhappily he has not thought proper to tell us of it. And it is impossible that he should have put into the mouth of his master a prediction which he well knew was not verified. I so far agree with Renan that I think it likely that if the author of the Acts had known of a subsequent return of Paul to Ephesus, he would have given some intimation of it in this place. But this only yields another argument in favour of the position in defence of which I have already contended, viz. that the book of the Acts was written not long after the date to which it brings the history, viz. the end of Paul's two years residence in Rome.
It were, perhaps, enough to show that the objections break down which have been made to receiving the external testimony in favour of the Pastoral Epistles; but in the case of one at least of these Epistles, the Second to Timothy, the internal marks of Pauline origin are so strong, that I do not think any Epistle can with more confidence be asserted to be the Apostle's work. To the truth of this the assailants of the Epistle bear unwilling testimony. There are passages in the Epistle which cling so closely to Paul that it is only by tearing the letter to pieces that any part can be dissociated from that Apostle. Thus, of those who reject the Epistle, Weisse, Hausrath, Pfleiderer, and Ewald, recognize the section iv. 9-22, or the greater part of it, as a fragment of a genuine Pauline letter; and to this view Davidson gives some kind of hesitating assent. Hausrath, Pfleiderer, and Ewald further own the section i. 15-18.
To my mind there cannot be a more improbable hypothesis than that of genuine letters of Paul being used only for the purpose of cutting patches out of them to sew on to forged Epistles, while the fragments left behind are thrown away and never heard of again. You will observe, too, that in this case the parts of the Second Epistle to Timothy which are owned as genuine are just those filled with names and personal details, in which a forger would have been most likely to make a slip. It is tantamount to a confession of defeat to surrender as indefensible all that part of the case which admits of being tested, and maintain that part only with respect to which prejudices and subjective fancies do not admit of being checked. Just imagine that the case had been the other way. If we were forced to own that the passages which dealt with personal details were spurious, with what face could we maintain the rest of the Epistle to be genuine?
If we test the remaining part of the Epistle we shall find the genuine Pauline ring all through. Let us note first the exordium of the Epistle. The writer commences by thanking God for the unfeigned faith which is in Timothy, and tells him that without ceasing he has remembrance of him in his prayers night and day. Now, take Paul's ten other letters, and eight of them commence with thanking God for what he has heard or knows of the religious progress of those whom he addresses. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians is scarcely an exception, for that too begins with thanksgiving. The only clear exception is the Epistle to the Galatians, which is a letter of sharp reproof. None of the other New Testament Epistles resembles Paul's in this peculiarity. Of the eight Epistles which begin with thanksgiving, seven also have in the same connexion the mention of Paul's continual prayer for his converts. It is characteristic of St. Paul, that even when writing to Churches with which he has in many respects occasion to find fault, he always begins by fixing his thoughts on what there was in those persons deserving of praise, and by calling to mind his constant prayer to God on their behalf. Yet this characteristic of St. Paul is by no means obtrusive in his writings; very few have noticed it. You can answer each for yourselves, whether, if you had been desired to write an Epistle in St. Paul's style, it would have occurred to you in what way you must begin. Strange that this characteristic should have been observed by an imitator so careless as to be unable to copy accurately the salutation, Grace and peace/ with which Paul's Epistles begin! The most plausible argument I can think of putting into the mouth of anyone who still maintains this Epistle to be non- Pauline, is that the forger has taken for his model the Epistle to the Romans, which begins in precisely the same way. Nay, there is a further coincidence, for the next topic is also in both Epistles the same, namely, that there was no reason for being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ before the face of the hostile or unbelieving world. But the hypothesis of conscious imitation is in various ways excluded. In the first place, the mode of commencement is different in the other Epistle to Timothy and in that to Titus; so that the forger, if forger there was, must have stumbled on this note of genuineness by accident, and without himself knowing the value of it. And, secondly, so far from there being the close imitation of the Epistle to the Romans which the hypothesis assumes, the writer completely abandons that Epistle and its leading ideas, the controversy concerning faith and justification being wholly absent from the Pastoral Epistles. And more generally, there is a freeness of handling utterly unlike the slavishness of an imitator; while the ideas introduced seem naturally to rise from the circumstances of the writer, and not to have been borrowed from anyone else.
I would in the next place call your attention to the abundance of details concerning individuals given in these Epistles. A forger would take refuge in generalities, and put into the mouth of the Apostle the doctrinal teaching for which he desired to claim his sanction, without running the risk of exposing himself to detection by undertaking to give the history of Paul's companions, of which he must be supposed to know little or nothing. On the contrary, with the exception of the last chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, there is no part of the New Testament so rich in personal details as these Epistles. Twenty-three members of the Apostolic Church are mentioned in the Second Epistle to Timothy. And these are neither exclusively names to be found elsewhere, in which case it might have been said that they had been derived from the genuine writings; nor all new names, in which case it might be said that the forger had guarded himself by avoiding the names of real persons, and only speaking of persons invented by himself; but, just as might have been expected in a real letter, some ten persons are mentioned of whom we read in the other scanty records of the same time which have descended to us, the remaining names being new to us.
In the case of the old names new details are confidently supplied. Thus we have in the Epistle to the Colossians, Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you; in that to Philemon, There salute thee Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow-labourers. Now note the treatment of these four names in the Second Epistle to Timothy. There we read, Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world. Only Luke is with me. If this was forgery, what a wonderful man the forger must have been so to realize the personality of Paul's attendants, as to undertake to give their history subsequent to the time covered by the authentic records, and to put a note of disgrace on one who, as far as the genuine Epistles went, had been honourably recognized as Paul's fellow-labourer! The Second Epistle to Timothy has also to tell of Marcus. He is supposed not to have been at the time with Paul, but is commended as useful to him in the ministry. If a forger had wished to represent one of Paul's companions as failing him in his hour of trial, he would surely have selected not Demas but Marcus, who is probably the same as he whose previous desertion of Paul caused the rupture between him and Barnabas. Lastly, of Aristarchus the Pastoral Epistles have not a word to tell, although his name ought to have come in in that enumeration of his attendants which the Apostle makes in accounting for his being left alone. The true explanation probably is that Aristarchus was dead at the time. But if it was a forgery, how is it that the forger, who can so courageously give the history of Paul's other attendants, fails in his heart when he comes to speak of Aristarchus? We may also comment on the clause Titus to Dalmatia. Surely, if it were forgery, the forger would have been consistent, and sent Titus to Crete. It is a note of genuineness when a document contains an apparent contradiction which is not real; for forgers do not needlessly throw stumbling-blocks in their readers way. Now the statement, Only Luke is with me 7 (iv. n), seems inconsistent with the list of salutations (v. 21). But we see in a moment that the former verse does not mean that, save for Luke, the Apostle was friendless at Rome, but only that the company of personal attendants who travelled about with him had all been scattered, leaving only Luke behind. Now if we had been left to form our own conjectures we should have imagined that Paul, brought a prisoner to Rome, would have been completely dependent on the society and support of the Christians of the Church which he might find there. We should hardly have thought of him as this Epistle exhibits him, as if he had made this missionary journey of his own choice, surrounded by his little band of deacons, sending them on his missions, and feeling himself almost deserted when he has but one of his retinue in attendance on him. This state of things, not consciously disclosed in the Epistle but revealed in the most incidental way, could never have been taken for granted in this manner except by one who lived so close to the Apostle's time as to have perfect cognizance of the conditions in which he lived at Rome.
Of the members of the Roman Church whom he mentions, one is certainly a real person, Linus, whom very early tradition asserts to have been the first bishop of the Church of Rome. The Roman Church to this day, and we have reason to think that the practice is at least as old as the second century, commemorates in her Eucharistic service the names of Linus, Cletus, Clemens. These are commonly supposed to have been, after the Apostles, the first bishops of Rome (see Irenaeus, iii. 3), and, by the confession of everyone, were leading men in that Church in the latter part of the first century. Clement, in particular, became the hero of a number of legends, and was believed to have been an immediate disciple of the Apostles. Yet neither the name of Cletus nor of Clement appears in this list which, if the work were a forgery, we must therefore suppose to have been anterior to their acquiring celebrity. Linus does appear, but in quite a subordinate position Eubulus, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. If the letter is genuine, it is quite intelligible that Linus, who at the time the Epistle was written was a leading disciple, though not then the principal one, might have held the chief place in the government of the Church after the Apostle's death; but if the letter 1 was composed after he had held that place, we may be sure there would have been some stronger intimation of his prominence here. Two other persons mentioned in the same connexion are possibly persons of whom we read elsewhere. One of Martial's epigrams relates to a marriage between Pudens and Claudia, and a very ingenious case has been made by putting together the notices in Martial and Tacitus to show that this Claudia was a British maiden and a Christian. The close contact of the two names in the Epistle is striking, but I cannot pronounce it more than a curious coincidence. One more personal reference I will direct your attention to the twice-repeated mention of the household of Onesiphorus. You know, or will know, the controversial use that has been made of this passage. But from the salutation being to the household of Onesiphorus, not to Onesiphorus himself, we may reasonably conclude that Onesiphorus was either dead, or at least known to the Apostle not to be with his house hold at the time this letter is written. There is no difficulty about this if all be real history. But that a forger should have invented such a refinement, yet in no way have called attention to it, is utterly incredible.
I could add many more arguments; but the impression left on my mind is that there is no Epistle which we can with more confidence assert to be Paul's than the Second to Timothy. When this is established, the judgment we form of the other two Pastoral Epistles is greatly influenced. If these two had come by themselves, the way in which both begin would excite suspicion. They do not open as do Paul's other Epistles, but commence by telling that Paul had left Timothy at Ephesus, Titus in Crete. This is information which his correspondents would not require; and we are reminded of the ordinary commencement of a Greek play in which information is given, not for the benefit of any personage on the stage, but for that of the audience. Yet as we proceed, our suspicions are not confirmed; and we must own that there is no reason why St. Paul should not begin a letter to a disciple by reminding him of the commission he had entrusted him with. Critics of all schools agree that the three Pastoral Epistles have such marks of common authorship that all must stand or fall together. The three topics of objection which I have mentioned as urged against the Pastoral Epistles turn, when any one of the Epistles is acknowledged, into arguments in favour of the other two. We cannot say, for instance, that the diction is un-Pauline, when there is the strongest possible resemblance to the diction of an Epistle which we own to be Paul's. The admission of the second Epistle forces us to believe that Paul was released from his Roman imprisonment, and then all the marks of time in the other two Epistles fit in with the late date which we are thus able to assign to them. I see nothing in the development indicated of Church organization which is inconsistent with the period we assign to these letters. That Paul, who ad dressed the bishops and deacons of the Philippian Church (Phil. i. 1; see also Acts xx. 28), should give directions for the choice of such officers is only natural. If it were true that these Epistles intimated that there was only one ἐπίσκοπος in each Church, I should have no difficulty in believing it on their evidence. But in my opinion this is more than we are warranted in inferring from the use of the singular number in 1 Tim. iii. 2; Tit. i. 7. The omission to say anything about deacons in the latter Epistle is more like what would occur in a real letter than in the work of a forger. It is not easy to see when the forger could have lived, or with what object he could have written; or why, after having succeeded in gaining acceptance for one of the Epistles, he should hazard detection by writing a second, which seems to add very little.
As for the general Pauline character of these letters, there cannot be a better witness than Renan, who, while still continuing to assert them not to be genuine, every now and then seems staggered by the proofs of authenticity that strike him
He says, in one place, Some passages of these letters are so beautiful that we cannot help asking if the forger had not in his hands some authentic notes of Paul, which he has incorporated in his apocryphal composition (L' Église Chrétienne, p. 95). And he sums up (p. 104): What runs through the whole is admirable practical good sense. The ardent pietist who composed these letters never wanders for a moment in the dangerous paths of quietism. He repeats that the woman must not devote herself to the spiritual life if she has family duties to fulfil: that the principal duty of woman is to bring up children: that it is an error for anyone to pretend to serve the Church if he has not all duly ordered in his own house hold. The piety our author inculcates is altogether spiritual. Bodily practices, such as abstinence, count with him for little. You can feel the influence of St. Paul: a sort of sobriety in mysticism; and amid the strangest excesses of faith in the supernatural, a great bottom of rectitude and sincerity.
1) It is by no means clear to what particular passage in Paul's letters reference is made in 2 Pet. iii. 15; but I cannot agree with Zahn, to whom in this section I am much indebted (N. T. Canon, pp. 811-839), in the improbable explanation that the collection of Pauline letters, known to 2 Peter, included one not embraced in the collection which has come down to us.
2) I am indebted for my knowledge of it to a paper by Zahn (Zeitschrift f. Kirchengeschichte, viii. I., Dec. 1885).
3) This is the account of the earliest writers who cite him; later autho rities quote him as Bishop of Patara, also in Lycia, and Jerome stands alone in making him Bishop of Tyre. It is almost certain that in this Jerome made a mistake, of the origin of which Zahn gives an ingenious explanation. Zahn thinks that the idea that Methodius was Bishop of Patara is also a mistake, originating in the fact that the scene of one of his dialogues is laid in that place.
4) See Pitra, Analecta Sacra, in. p. 614; IV. p. 201.
5) One of those petty objections is worth repeating, because it turns on a curious coincidence, the discoverer of which, Holsten (Jahrbucher f. Prot. Theol. 1877) regarded it as proof demonstrative that our Epistle is later than the Apocalypse. In Rev. ii. 2, we read, I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience: in 1 Thess. i. 3, Your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope. Here Holsten contends we have the work of a later Paulinist, who has married the three Johannine words, works, labour, and patience, to the three Pauline, faith, hope, and charity.
6) i. 5, 1 Cor. ii. 4; i. 6, 1 Cor. xi. 1 i. 8, Rom. i. 8; ii. 4, 1 Cor. ii. 4, Gal. i. 10, 2 Cor. i. 17; ii. 5, 2 Cor. vii. 2; ii. 6, 9, 2 Cor. xi. 9; ii. 7, 1 Cor. iii. 2.
7) 2 Thess. iii. 8 repeats 1 Thess. ii. 9; and iii. 10, 12, expands 1 Thess. iv. n, 12; 2 Thess. iii. 14, follows 1 Cor. v. 9, ii; compare also 1 Cor. iv. 14. The Lord of peace (iii. 16) is taken from 1 Cor. xiv. 33, 2 Cor. xiii. ii; 2 Thess. ii. 2, iii. 4, iii. 13, are derived from Gal. i. 6, v. 10, vi. 9, respectively. The reader must decide whether he will take these coincidences as arguments for or against the Pauline authorship.
8) For example: Iren. v. 6; Clem. Al., Strom, iv. 12; Tert. De Res. Cam. 24.
9) Ignat. ad Polycarp. I, ad Ephes. 10; Polycarp, cc. 2, 4, n. I am disposed to agree with Zahn, that when Polycarp speaks of epistles to the Philippian Church, it is because the Epistles to the neighbouring Thessalonian Church were united in his collection with the Epistle to the Philippians. Polycarp uses 2 Thess. i. 4, as if addressed to the Philippiaiis.
10) The reader will find in Lightfoot the forged Epistle to the Laodiceans, which was clearly intended to pass for the Epistle referred to in the Colossians. It is only extant in Latin; but Lightfoot gives good reasons for believing the original language to have been Greek. It is short, and is a mere cento of passages from the genuine letters, containing scarcely a single original word. It was in circulation in St. Jerome's time (De Viris Illust. 5), and had previously been mentioned by Theodore of Mopsuestia (in Coloss.iv. 16, i. 314, Swete). It is doubtful whether it is this Epistle which is referred to in the Muratorian Fragment (see p. 50); for we should not otherwise take this forgery to be so early. Marcion had in his Canon an Epistle to the Laodiceans, but this was only what we know as the Epistle to the Ephesians (Tert. adr. Marc, v. 17).
11) Lightfoot gives the parallels: Gal. iii. 13, 2 Cor. v. 21; Gal. vi. 7, 2 Cor. ix. 6; Gal. i. 6, 2 Cor. xi. 4; Gal. iv. 14, 2 Cor. xii. 7; Gal. vi. 15, 2 Cor. v. 17; Gal. iv. 17, 2 Cor. xi. 2; Gal. i. 20, 2 Cor. v. 11; Gal. iii. 3, 2 Cor. viii. 6; Gal. i. 9, v. 21, 2 Cor. xiii. 2.
12) 1 Cor. ii. 3, Gal. iv. 13; 1 Cor, iv. 6, Gal. v. 9; 1 Cor, vii. 19, Gal. v. 6, vi. 15.
13) A Frenchman cannot construct a drama without a love story; and Kenan, by the help of this Epistle, with some countenance from Clem. Alex. (Strom, iii. 6), has contrived to find one in the life of St. Paul. He translates (Saint Paul, p. 148) γνήσιε σύζυγε (Phil. iv. 3) ma chere epouse; and when afterwards he has occasion to speak of Lydia, does so with the addition, sa vraie epouse (U Antechrist, pp. 18, 22). Hilgenfeld, who will not be suspected of any undue bias in favour of Episcopacy, interprets the passage of the president of the Philippian Church: Anstatt mit Kenan in γνήσιε σύζυγε die Purpurhandlerin Lydia von Paulus als "meine liebe Gemahlin" angeredet werden zu lassen, denkt man besser an den eigentlichen Vorsteher der philippischen Gemeinde (Einleitung, p. 345). If this president were Epaphroditus, the bearer of the letter, then the address to him, without mention of his name, would be quite intelligible (see Dr. Gwynn's note in the Speaker" 1's Commentary). Paul's earliest Epistle (i Thess. v. 12) attests the existence of an organised Christian ministry (see the bishop of Derry's Introduction in the Speaker's Commentary]; the present Epistle (i. 1) informs us that there were Church Officers called ἐπίσκοποι and διάκονοι. Both titles are found again in the Pastoral Epistles. The former, as the name of a Church officer, only appears once elsewhere in N. T., in Paul's speech at Miletus (Acts xx. 28). The inference from Phil. iv. 3, that one of the Church officers had some pre-eminence over the others, does not seem to me to be negatived by the fact that no notice of such pre-eminence appears in Polycarp's Epistle to the Philippians.
14) On this connexion Davidson, in his discussion of the Epistle to the Colossians, does not say a single word; Hilgenfeld touches on it very lightly. Kenan's literary instinct often keeps him straight where German critics had gone astray. He had not been without difficulties as to the larger Epistle, but he finds it impossible to get over the fact of the connexion of the two. He says of the Epistle to the Colossians (Saint Paul, p. xi.): Elle presente meme beaucoup de traits qui repoussent Phypothese d un faux. De ce nombre est surement sa connexite avec le billet a Philemon. Si Pepitre est apocryphe, le billet est apocryphe aussi; or, peu de pages ont un accent de sincerite aussi prononce; Paul seul, autant qu il semble, a pu ecrire ce petit chef-d oeuvre.
15) The most probable meaning of the title is that these disciples shared St. Paul's lodgings, and thereby voluntarily subjected themselves to some restrictions of liberty from the surveillance of the soldier in charge of him
16) What I have said above was suggested by a remark of Dr. Mahaffy, which he has been good enough to put in writing for me:
The works of Xenophon show a remarkable variation in their vocabulary. Thus, i. and II. of the Hellenica, which are his earliest writings, before he travelled, contain very few lonisms, Dorisms, &c., and are written in very pure Attic. His later tracts are full of un- Attic words, picked up from his changing surroundings; and, what is more curious, in each of them there are many words only used by him once; so that, on the ground of variation in diction, each single book might be, and indeed has been, rejected as non-Xenophontic. This variation not only applies to words which might not be required again, but to such terms as εὐανδρία (Comm. 3, 3, 12), varied to εὐψυχία (Ven. 10, 21), εὐτολμία (quoted by Stobseus), ἀνδρειότης (Anab. 6, 5, 14), all used only once. Every page in Sauppe's Lexilogus Xen. bristles with words only used once in this way. Now, of classical writers, Xenophon is perhaps (except Herodotus) the only man whose life corresponded to St. Paul's in its roving habits, which would bring him into contact with the spoken Greek of varying societies.
17) See Irenaeus, I. xxiii. 4.
18) The work of Hegesippus is lost; and in this case we have not even an extract from it, but only the report which Eusebius gives (iii. 32), in his own words, of the substance of what Hegesippus had said. For want of the context we cannot make a positive affirmation; but it appears to me that when Hegesippus says, that down to the times of Trajan the Church remained a pure and incorrupt virgin, he had specially in view the Church of Jerusalem (compare Euseb. iv. 22). The Elkesaites were the heretics with whom Hegesippus, as a Christian of Palestine, would have most to deal, and the reign of Trajan was the very date they claimed for the revelation of their peculiar doctrines. They held a kind of doctrine of development, believing that the latest growth of time was the best, and that the full truth was not to come until error had preceded it. Until Paul had promulgated his erroneous doctrines, the revelations of Elkesai were not to be made. Hegesippus gave a different account of the matter. While the Apostles were alive heresies were obliged to burrow in secret; but when their sacred choir had departed, and the generation had passed away which had been vouchsafed the hearing of their inspired wisdom, then the preachers of knowledge, falsely so called, ventured to invade the Church, as if now bare and unprotected.
19) Out of the 155 verses contained in the Epistle to the Ephesians, 78 contain expressions identical with those in the Colossian letter (Davidson, ii. 200).
20) From the word also in Eph. vi. 21, Baur inferred the priority of the Colossian letter.
21) In like manner, Renan (Saint Paul, xvii.), Comment Paul a-t-il pu passer son temps a contrefaire un de ses ouvrages, a se repeter, a faire une lettre banale avec une lettre topique et particuliere?
22) Holtzmann, Professor of Theology, formerly at Heidelberg, now at Strassburg. His most important work is on the Synoptic Gospels. That here cited is Kritik der Epheser-und Kolosserbriefe, Leipzig, 1872. He has lately published an Introduction to the New Testament.
23) These are: Priority of Ephesians Eph. i. 4 = Col. i. 22; Eph. i. 6, 7 = Col. i. 13, 14; Eph. iii. 3, 5, 9 = Col. i. 26, ii. 2; Eph. iii. 17, 18, iv. 16, ii. 20 = Col. i. 23, ii. 2, 7; Eph. iv. 16 = Col. ii. 19; Eph. iv. 22-24 = Col. iii. 9, 10; Eph. v. 19 = Col. iii. 16. Priority of Colossians Col. i. i, 2, = Eph. i. i, 2; Col. i. 3-9 = Eph. i. 15-18; Col. i. 5 = Eph. i. 3, 12, 13; Col. i. 25, 29 = Eph. iii. 2, 7; Col. ii. 4-8 =Eph. iv. 17-21; Col. iv. 5 = Eph. v. 15, 16; Col. iv. 6 = Eph. iv. 29.
24) The anacolutha of the Epistle to the Ephesians (compare, for instance, iii. 1, iv. 1) afford another proof that we have here, not the calm work of an imitator of another man's production, but the fervid utterances of an original writer, whom a rush of fresh thoughts occasionally carries away from what he had been about to say.
25) Hilgenfeld, in his Journal for 1873, reviewing Holtzmann's book, expresses his complete dissent from his conclusions; and having complimented the author on the ability of his performance, winds up with Aber sollen wir in der Wissenschaft wirklich weiter kommen, so haben wir, meine ich, objectiver zu verfahren.
26) Davidson objects (ii. 213) that Paul's language in this Epistle suits an author who knew the widespread fruit of the Gospel among Gentiles, and witnessed its mighty effects, long after Paul had departed, but is scarcely consonant with the perpetual struggle carried on by the Apostle against a Judaizing Christianity upheld by Peter, James, and John. But there is evidence that Paul himself knew the widespread fruit of the Gospel among the Gentiles, and witnessed its mighty effects; and there is no evidence that his struggle against Judaizing Christians was perpetual, or that Peter, James, and John, were his opponents: unless we take Baur's word rather than the Apostle's own.
27) I have noted (p. 31) the Pauline trait that the writer (ii. 11) feels it an affront that the name uacircumcised should be applied to his Gentile disciples.
28) Yet see 2 Cor. xi. 2; and Is. liv. 5, lxi. 10; Jer. iii. 14.
29) The Church's one Foundation.
30) According to modern sceptical writers the author of the Apocalypse was an enemy and a libeller of St. Paul; but the real St. John read and valued St. Paul's writings. For if the Epistle to the Colossians be really Paul s, it scarcely needs the quotation of particular phrases to show that the Christology of that Epistle is reproduced in the Apocalypse; but we have the very phrases πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν (Col. i. 18) in Rev. i. 5, and the ἀρχή of the same verse, with πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως (Col. i. 15), in ἡ ἀρχή τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ (Rev. iii. 14). The writing of the names of the Apostles on the foundations of the heavenly city (Rev. xxi. 14) had been anticipated in Eph. iii. 20; and there is a close resemblance between Eph. iii. 5, and Rev. x. 7. There are very many other verbal coincidences which quite fall in with the supposition of St. John's acquaintance with the Epistle to the Ephesians, though they would not suffice to prove it.
31) See Saint Paul, 124, 132, 419, 439, but especially L' Antechrist, pp. 100, 101, which are altogether founded on these Epistles. At p. 103 he feels the necessity of making an apology, and says, Nous usons de cette epitre comme d une sorte de roman historique, fait avec un sentiment tres-justede la situation de Paul en ses derniers temps. There could not be clearer testimony from an unwilling witness to the internal marks of truth presented by the Epistle which he cites.
32) In addition to several in the previously known portions, see the newly recovered chapter lxi., in particular the phrase ο ̔βασιλεύς τῶν αἰώνων (1 Tim. i. 17).
33) In what follows I repeat several things which I said in an article on the Pastoral Epistles in the Christian Observer for 1877.