Page images
PDF
EPUB

nen.

in itself, as others were affected by it; the joining in idolatrous sacrifices; the decorum to be observed in their religious assemblies, the order of speaking, the filence of women, the covering or uncovering of the head, as it became men, as it became wo

These subjects, with their several sub-divisions, are so particular, minute, and numerous, that, though they be exactly agreeable to the circumstances of the perfons to whom the letter was written, nothing, I believe, but the existence and reality of those circumstances, could have suggested to the writer's thoughts.

But this is not the only nor the principal observation

upon the correspondence between the church of Corinth and their apostle, which I wish to point out. It appears, I think, in this correspondence, that although the Corinthians had written to St. Paul, requesting his answer and his directions in the several points above enumerated, yet that they had not faid one syllable about the enormities and disorders which had crept in amongst them, and in the blame of which they all shared ;

but

but that St. Paul's information concerning the irregularities then prevailing at Corinth, had come round to him from other quarters. The quarrels and disputes excited by their contentious adherence to their different teachers, and by their placing of them in competition with one another, were not mentioned in their letter, but communicated to St. Paul by more private intelligence: “ It hath been declared unto me, my so brethren, by them which are of the house " of Chloe, that there are contentionsamong

you. Now this I say, that every one of

you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, " and I of Cephas, and I of Christ” (i. 11, 12). The incestuous marriage with his father's wife,” which St. Paul reprehends with so much severity in the fifth chapter of our epistle, and which was not the crime of an individual only, but a crime in which the whole church, by tolerating and conniving at it, had rendered themselves partakers, did not come to St. Paul's knowledge by the letter, but by a rumour which had reached his ears: “ It is reported commonly " that there is fornication among you, and

66 such

66 of a man

F 3

6 such fornication as is not so much as “ named among the Gentiles, that one 66 should have his father's wife; and ye are

puffed up, and have not rather mourned " that he that hath done this deed might 66 be taken away from among you” (v. 1, 2). Their going to law before the judicature of the country, rather than arbitrate and adjust their disputes among themselves, which St. Paul animadverts upon with his usual plainness, was not intimated to him in the letter, because he tells them his opinion of this conduct, before he comes to the contents of the letter. Their litigiousness is censured by St. Paul in the sixth chapter of his epistle, and it is only at the beginning of the seventh chapter that he proceeds upon the articles which he found in their letter; and he proceeds upon them with this preface: “ Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me” (vïi. 1); which introduction he would not have used, if he had been already discussing any of the subjects concerning which they had written. Their irregularities in celebrating the Lord's fupper, and the utter perversion of the institu

tion which ensued, were not in the letter, as is evident from the terms in which St. Paul mentions the notice he had received of it: “ Now in this that I declare unto

you, I praise you not, that ye came to

gether 'not for the better, but for the 66 worse ; for first of all, when ye come

together in the church, I hear that there “ be divisions among you, and I partly believe it." Now that the Corinthians should, in their own letter, exhibit the fair side of their conduct to the Apostle, and conceal from him the faults of their behaviour, was extremely natural, and extremely probable: but it was a distinction which would not, I think, have easily occurred to the author of a forgery; and much less likely is it, that it should have entered into his thoughts to make the distinction appear in the way in which it does appear, viz. not by the original letter, not by any express observation

upon

it in the answer, but diftantly by marks perceivable in the manner, or in the order, in which St. Paul takes notice of their faults.

No. II. Our epistle purports to have been written after St. Paul had already been at Corinth :

• I, brethren, when I came to you, came not “ with excellency of speech or of wisdom” (ii. 1): and in many other places to the same effect. It purports also to have been written

upon

the eve of another visit to that church : “ I will come to you shortly, if the “ Lord will” (iv. 19); and again, “ I will “come to you when I shall pass through Ma“ cedonia" (xvi. 5). Now the history relates that St. Paul did in fact visit Corinth twice; once as recorded at length in the eighteenth, and a second time as mentioned briefly in the twentieth chapter of the Acts. The same history also informs us, Acts xx. 1, that it was from Ephesus St. Paul proceeded upon his second journey into Greece. Therefore, as the epistle purports to have been written a short time preceding that journey; and as St. Paul, the history tells us, had resided more than two years at Ephesus before he set out upon it, it follows that it must have been from Ephesus, to be con

fistent

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »