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" who have for my life laid down their “ necks; unto whom not only I give thauks, “ but also all the churches of the Gentiles.' In the eighteenth chapter of the Acts, we are informed that Aquila and Priscilla were Jews; that St. Paul first met with them at Corinth; that for some time he abode in the same house with them; that St. Paul's contention at Corinth was with the unbelieving Jews, who at first “ opposed and
blafphemed, and afterwards with one ac“ cord raised an insurrection against him ; that Aquila and Priscilla adhered, we may conclude, to St. Paul throughout this whole contest; for, when he left the city, they went with him, Acts xiii. 18. Under these circumstances, it is highly probable that they should be involved in the dangers and perfecutions which St. Paul underwent from the Jews, being themselves Jews; and, by adhering to St. Paul in this dispute, deserters, as they would be accounted, of the Jewish cause. Farther, as they, though Jews, were assisting to St. Paul in preaching to the Gentiles at Corinth, they had taken a decided part in the great controversy of that day,
the admission of the Gentiles to a parity of religious situation with the Jews. For this conduct alone, if there was no other reason, they may seem to have been entitled to " thanks from the churches of the Gentiles. They were Jews taking part with Gen-, tiles. Yet is all this so in directly intimated, or rather so much of it left to inference in the account given in the Acts, that I do not think it probable that a forger either could or would have drawn his representation from thence; and still less probable do I think it, that without having seen the Acts, he could,
mere accident, and without truth for his guide, have delivered a representation fo conformable to the circumstances there re
The two congruities last adduced dependupon
the time, the two following regard the place, of the Epistle.
1. Chap. xvi. 23. “ Erastus, the chamberlain of the city, saluteth you”—of what city? We have seen, that is, we have inferred from circumstances found in the epistle, compared with circumstances found in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the two Epistles
to the Corinthians, that our epistle was written during St. Paul's second visit to the peninsula of Greece. Again, as St. Paul, in his epistle to the church of Corinth, 1 Cor. xvi. 3, speaks of a collection going on in that city, and of his desire that it might be ready against he came thither; and as in this epistle he speaks of that collection being ready, it follows that the epistle was written either whilst he was at Corinth, or after he had been there. Thirdly, since St. Paul speaks in this epistle of his journey to Jerusalem, as about instantly to take place; and as we learn, Acts xx. 3,
that his design and attempt was to sail
that journey immediately from Greece, properly so called, i. e. as distinguished from Macedonia; it is probable that he was in this country when he wrote the epistle, in which he speaks of himself as upon the eve of setting out. If in Greece, he was most likely at Corinth; for the two Epistles to the Corinthians shew that the principal end of his coming into Greece was to visit that city, where he had founded a church. Certainly we know no place in Greece in which his
presence was so probable : at least, the placing of him at Corinth satisfies every circumstance. Now that Erastus was an inhabitant of Corinth, or had some connection with Corinth, is rendered a fair subject of presumption, by that which is accidentally said of him in the second Epistle to Timothy, chap. 1. v. 20, “Erastus abode at “ Corinth.” St. Paul complains of his folitude, and is telling Timothy what was become of his companions: “Erastus abode 5 Corinth; but Trophimus have I left at “ Miletum, fick.” Erastus was one of those who had attended St. Paul in his travels, Acts xix. 22; and when those travels had, upon fome occasion, brought our apostle and his train to Corinth, Erastus staid there, for no reason fo probable as that it was his home. I allow that this coincidence is not so precise as some others, yet I think it too clear to be produced by accident; for, of the many places which this fame epistle has asligued to different persons, and the innumerable others which it might have mentioned, how came it to fix upon Corinth for Erastus? And, as far as it is a coincidence,
it is certainly undesigned on the part of the author of the Epistle to the Romans : because he has not told us of what city Erastus was the chamberlain ; or, which is the same thing, from what city the epistle was written, the setting forth of which was abfolutely necessary to the display of the coincidence, if any such display had been thought of: nor could the author of the Epistle to Timothy leave Erastus at Corinth, from any thing he might have read in the Epistle to the Romans, because Corinth is no where in that Epistle mentioned either by name or description.
2 Chap. xvi. 1-3. “I commend unto you " Phæbe, our sister, which is a servant of " the church which is at Cenchrea, that ye 66 receive her in the Lord, as becometh “ faints, and that ye assist her in whatso
ever business she hath need of " she hath been a succourer of many, and “ of myself also.” Cenchrea adjoined to Corinth ; St. Paul therefore, at the time of writing the letter, was in the neighbourhood of the woman whom he thus recommends. But, farther, that St. Paul had before this