« PreviousContinue »
theus and Erastus.” Now in the epistle also you remark that, when the apostle mentions his having sent Timothy unto them, in the very next sentence he speaks of his own visit : “ for this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is
beloved son," &c. “ Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you ; but I will come to you shortly, if God will.” Timothy's journey, we see, is mentioned in the history and in the epistle, in close connexion with St. Paul's own. Here is the same order of thought and intention ; yet conveyed under such diversity of circumstance and expression, and the mention of them in the epistle so allied to the occasion which introduces it, viz. the insinuation of his adversaries that he would come to Corinth no more, that I am persuaded no attentive reader will believe that these passages were written in concert with one another, or will doubt but that the agreement is unsought and uncontrived.
But, in the Acts, Erastus accompanied Timothy in this journey, of whom no mention is made in the epistle. From what has been said in our observations upon the Epistle to the Romans, it appears probable that Erastus was a Corinthian. If so, though he accompanied Timothy to Corinth, he was only returning home, and Timothy was the messenger charged with St. Paul's orders.--At any rate, this discrepancy shows that the passages were not taken from one another.
No. IV. Chap. xvi. 10, 11.-“ Now, if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear; for he
worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do: let no man therefore despise him, but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me, for I look for him with the brethren.”
From the passage considered in the preceding number, it appears that Timothy was sent to Corinth, either with the epistle, or before it : “ for this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus.” From the passage now quoted, we infer that Timothy was not sent with the epistle; for had he been the bearer of the letter, or accompanied it, would St. Paul in that letter have said, “If Timothy come ?” Nor is the sequel consistent with the supposition of his carrying the letter; for if Timothy was with the apostle when he wrote the letter, could he say, as he does, “ I look for him with the brethren ?” I conclude therefore, that Timothy had left St. Paul to proceed upon his journey before the letter was written. Farther, the passage before us seems to imply, that Timothy was not expected by St. Paul to arrive at Corinth till after they had received the letter. He gives them directions in the letter how to treat him when he should arrive: “ If he come," act towards him so and so. Lastly, the whole form of expression is most naturally applicable to the supposition of Timothy's coming to Corinth, not directly from St. Paul, but from some other quarter; and that his instructions had been, when he should reach Corinth, to return. Now, how stands this matter in the history ? Turn to the nineteenth chapter and twenty-first verse of the Acts, and you will find that Timothy did not, when sent from Ephesus, where he left St. Paul, and where the present epistle was written, proceed
by a straight course to Corinth, but that he went round through Macedonia. This clears up every thing; for, although Timothy was sent forth upon his journey before the letter was written, yet he might not reach Corinth till after the letter arrived
and he would come to Corinth, when he did come, not directly from St. Paul at Ephesus, but from some part of Macedonia. Here, therefore, is a circumstantial and critical agreement, and unquestionably without design ; for neither of the two passages in the epistle mentions Timothy's journey into Macedonia at all, though nothing but a circuit of that kind can explain and reconcile the expressions which the writer uses.
No. V. Chap. i. 12.
“ 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.”
Also, iïi. 6. “ I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”
This expression, “I have planted, Apollos watered,” imports two things; first, that Paul had been at Corinth before Apollos : secondly, that Apollos had been at Corinth after Paul, but before the writing of this epistle. This implied account of the several events, and of the order in which they took place, corresponds exactly with the history. St. Paul, after his first visit into Greece, returned from Corinth into Syria by the way of Ephesus; and, dropping his companions Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, he proceeded forwards to Jerusalem ; from Jerusalem he descended to Antioch ; and from thence made a
progress through some of the upper or northern provinces of the Lesser Asia, Acts, xviii. 19, 23: during which progress, and consequently in the interval between St. Paul's first and second visit to Corinth, and consequently also before the writing of this epistle, which was at Ephesus two years at least after the apostle's return from his progress, we hear of Apollos, and we hear of him at Corinth. Whilst St. Paul was engaged, as hath been said, in Phrygia and Galatia, Apollos came down to Ephesus; and being, in St. Paul's absence, instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, and having obtained letters of recommendation from the church at Ephesus, he passed over to Achaia; and when he was there, we read that he “ helped them much which had believed through grace, for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly." Acts, xviii. 27, 28. To have brought Apollos into Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital city, as well as the principal Christian church ; and to have shown that he preached the Gospel in that country, would have been sufficient for our purpose.
But the history happens also to mention Corinth by name, as the place in which Apollos, after his arrival in Achaia, fixed his residence: for, proceeding with the account of St. Paul's travels, it tells us, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came down to Ephesus, xix. 1. What is said therefore of Apollos in the epistle coincides exactly, and especially in the point of chronology, with what is delivered concerning him in the history. The only question now is, whether the allusions were made with a regard to this coincidence. Now, the occasions and purposes for which the name of Apollos is introduced in the Acts and in the Epistles are so independent and so remote, that it is impossible to discover the smallest reference from one to the other. Apollos is mentioned in the Acts, in immediate connexion with the history of Aquila and Priscilla, and for the very singular circumstance of his “knowing only the baptism of John.” In the epistle, where none of these circumstances are taken notice of, his name first occurs, for the purpose of reproving the contentious spirit of the Corinthians ; and it occurs only in conjunction with that of some others: “Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ.” The second passage in which Apollos appears, “I have planted, Apollos watered,” fixes, as we have observed, the order of time amongst three distinct events : but it fixes this, I will venture to pronounce, without the writer perceiving that he was doing any such thing. The sentence fixes this order in exact conformity with the history; but it is itself introduced solely for the sake of the reflection which follows:-“ Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.”
No. VI. Chap. iv. 11, 12 “ Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands."
We are expressly told in the history, that at Corinth St. Paul laboured with his own hands: “ He found Aquila and Priscilla; and, because he was of