« EelmineJätka »
“ our prayers, remembering without ceasing 6. your work of faith, and labour of love,” 1 Theff. chap. i. ver. 3. To Timothy :
“ I thank God, whom I serve from my fore"“ fathers with pure confcience, that with
“ out ceasing I have remembrance of thee
As great difficulties stand in the way of
they had received. This is the way in which the direction is explained by the greater part of commentators, and is the most probable sense that can be given to it. It is also probable that the epistle alluded to was an epistle which had been received by the church of Laodicea lately. It appears then, with a considerable degree of evidence, that there existed an epistle of St. Paul's nearly of the same date with the epistle to the Colossians, and an epistle directed to a church (for sạch the church of Laodicea was) in which St. Paul had never been. What has been observed concerning the epistle before us, shews that it answers perfectly to that character.
Nor does the mistake seem very difficult to account for. Whoever inspects the map of Asia Minor will see, that a person proceeding from Rome to Laodicea would
pro: bably land at Ephesus, as the nearest frequented sea-port in that direction. Might not Tychicus then, in passing through Ephesus, communicate to the Christians of that place the letter, with which he was charged? And might not copies of that letter be mul
tiplied and preserved at Ephesus? Might not some of the copies drop the words of defignation εν τη Λαοδικεια *,
εν τη Λαοδικεια *, which it was of no consequence to an Ephesian to retain ? Might not copies of the letter come out into the Christian church at large from Ephesús; and might not this give occasion to a belief that the letter was written to that church? And, lastly, might not this belief produce
* And it is remarkable that there seem to have been fome ancient copies without the words of designation, either the words in Ephesus, or the words in Laodicea. St. Basil, a writer of the fourth century, speaking of the present epistle, has this very singular passage : And “ writing to the Ephesians, as truly united to him who “ is through knowledge, he (Paul) calleth them in a “ peculiar sense such who are; saying, to the saints who are “ and (or even) the faithful in Christ Jesus; for so those “ before us have transmitted it, and we have found it in “ ancient copies.” Dr. Mill interprets (and, notwithstanding some objections that have been made to him, in my opinion rightly interprets) these words of Basil, as declaring that this father had seen certain copies of the epistle in which the words “ in Ephesus” were wanting. And the passage, I think, must be considered as Basil's fanciful way of explaining what was really a corrupt and defective reading; for I do not believe it possible that the author of the epistle could have originally written siyoss Tois Bou, without any name of place to follow it.
the error which we suppose to have crept into the inscription ?
As our epistle purports to have been written during St. Paul's imprisonment at Rome, which lies beyond the period, to which the Acts of the Apostles brings up his history; and as we have seen and acknowledged that the epistle contains nó reference to any transaction at Ephesus during the apostle's residence in that city, we cannot expect that it should supply many marks of agreement with the narrative. One coincidence however occurs, and a coincidence of that minute and less obvious kind, which, as hath been repeatedly observed, is of all others the most to be relied
upon. Chap. vi. ver. 19,20, we read, “ praying “ for me, that I
that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 66 for which I am an ambassador in bonds." " In bonds," şv ahurei, in a chain. In the twenty-eighth chapter of the Acts we are informed, that Paul, after his arrival at Rome, was suffered to dwell byhimselfwith a soldier,
that kept him. Dr. Lardner has shewn that this mode of custody was in use amongst the Romans, and that whenever it was adopted the prisoner was bound to the soldier by a single chain; in reference to which St. Paul, in the twentieth verse of this chapter, tells the Jews, whom he had affemblad, 66 For this cause therefore have I called for
you to see you, and to speak with you, “ because that for the hope of Israel I am « bound with this chain,” anu anuo IV TAUTTU Deporterpeas. It is in exact conforinity therefore with the truth of St. Paul's situation at the time, that he declares of himself in the epittle, πρεσβευω εν αλυσει. And the exactners is the more remarkable, as anuois (a chain) is no where used in the fingular number to express any other kind of custody. When the prisoner's hands or feet were bound together, the word was doneos (bonds), as in the twenty-fixth chapter of the Acts, where Paul replies to Agrippa, “ I would to God " that not only thou, but also all that hear me “ this day, were both almost and altogether “.such as I am, except these bonds," Tapexτος των δεσμων τουτων. . When the prisoner