Page images

« Ghost witnesseth in every city that bonds " and afflictions awaited him.” Now that his fears should be greater, and his hopes less, in this stage of his journey than when he wrote his epistle, that is, when he first set out upon it, is no other alteration than might well be expected; fince those prophetic intimations to which he refers, when

“ the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city,” had probably been received by him in the course of his journey, and were probably similar to what we know he received in the remaining part of it at Tyre (xxi. 4), and afterwards from Agabus at Cæsarea (xxi. 11).

he says,

No. VI.

There is another strong remark arising from the same passage in the epistle; to make which understood, it will be necessary to state the passage over again, and somewhat more at length.

“ I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord " Jesus Christ's fake, and for the love of " the Spirit, that ye strive together with

me in your prayers to God for me, that

E 3

66 I may

“ I may be delivered from them that do not “ believe in Judæa—that I may come unto

you with joy by the will of God, and may

with you be refreshed.” I desire the reader" to call to mind that part of St. Paul's history which took place after his arrival at Jerusalem, and which employs the seven last chapters of the Acts; and I build upon it this observation-that supposing the Epistle to the Romans to have been a forgery, and the author of the forgery to have had the Acts of the Apostles before him, and to have there seen that St. Paul, in fact, " was not delivered from the “ unbelieving Jews,” but, on the contrary, that he was taken into custody at Jerusalem, and brought to Rome a prisoner—it is next to impossible that he should have made St. Paul express expectations so contrary to what he saw had been the event; and utter prayers,


apparent hopes of success, which he must have known were frustrated in the issue.

This fingle consideration convinces me, that no concert or confederacy whatever fubfisted between the epistle and the Acts


of the Apostles; and that whatever coincidences have been or can be pointed out between them, are unsophisticated, and are the result of truth and reality.

It also convinces me that the epistle was written not only in St. Paul's life time, but before he arrived at Jerusalem; for the important events relating to him which took place after his arrival at that city, must have been known to the Christian community soon after they happened: they form the most public part of his history. But had they been known to the author of the epistle—in other words, had they then taken place—the passage which we have quoted from the epistle would not have been found there.

No. VII. I now proceed to state the conformity which exists between the argument of this epistle and the history of its reputed author. It is enough for this purpose to observe, that the object of the epistle, that is, of the argumentative part of it, was to place the Gentile convert upon a parity of situation with the Jewish, in respect of his


E 4

religious condition, and his rank in the divine favour. The epistle supports this point by a variety of arguments ; such as, “ that no man of either description was justified by the works of the law — for this plain reason, that no man had performed them; that it became therefore necessary to appoint another medium or condition of justification, in which new medium th Jewish peculiarity was merged and loft ; that Abraham's own justification was anterior to the law, and independent of it; that the Jewish converts were to consider the law as now dead, and themselves as married to another; that what the law in truth could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God had done by sending his Son : . that God had rejected the unbelieving Jews, and had substituted in their place a society of believers in Christ, collected indifferently from Jews and Gentiles.” Soon after the writing of this epistle, St. Paul, agreeably to the intention intimated in the epistle itself, took his journey to Jerusalem. The day after he arrived there, he was introduced to the church,


What passed at this interview is thus related, Acts xxi. 19: “When he had faluted them, “ he declared particularly what things God “ had wrought among the Gentiles by “his ministry: and, when they heard it,

they glorified the Lord; and said unto

him, Thou seest, brother, how many " thousands of Jews thereare which believe;

and they are all zealous of the law; and

they are informed of thee, that thou teachest “ all the Jews which are among the Gen“ tiles to forsake Moses, saying, that they "S ought not to circumcise their children,

neither to walk after the customs.” St. Paul disclaimed the charge; but there must have been something to have led to it. Now it is only to suppose that St. Paul openly professed the principles which the epistle contains; that, in the course of his ministry, he had uttered the sentiments which he is here made to write ; and the matter is accounted for. Concerning the accusation which public rumour had brought against him to' Jerusalem, I will not say that it was just; but I will say that, if he was the author of the epistle before us, and if

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »