« PreviousContinue »
Macedonia. riod, 4770.
The Salutation. Vulgar Æra, 67.
i Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commanddemonstrate the truth of the Gospel, See 2 Tim. i. 6, 7. Yet it is not probable that Timothy had two ordinations ; one by the elders of Lystra, and another by the apostle ; as it is most probable tbat St. Paul acted with that peobvTeplov, or eldership, mentioned i Tim. iv. 14. among whom, in the imposition of hands, he would undoubtedly act as chief.
Timothy, thus prepared to be the apostle's fellow-labourer in the Gospel, accompanied him and Silas, when they visited the Churches of Phrygia, and delivered to them the decrees of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, freeing the Gentiles from the law of Moses, as a term of salvation. Having gone through these countries, they at length came to Troas, where St. Lnke joined them, as appears from the phraseology of his history, Acts xvi. 10, 11, &c. In Troas a vision appeared to St. Paul, directing them to go into Macedonia. Loosing therefore from Troas, they all passed over to Neapolis, and from thence went to Philippi, where they converted many, and planted a Christian Church. From Philippi they went to Thessalonica, leaving St. Luke at Philippi; as appears from his changing the phraseology of his history at verse 40. We may therefore suppose that, at their departing, they committed the converted at Philippi to the care of St. Luke. In Thessalonica they were opposed by the unbelieving Jews, and obliged to flee to Berea, wbither the Jews from Thessalonica followed them. To elude their rage, St. Paul, wbo was most obnoxious to them, departed from Berea by night, to go to Athens, leaving Silas and Timothy at Berea. At Athens Timothy came to the apostle, and gave him such an account of the afflicted state of the Thessa. lonian converts, as induced him to send Timothy back to com- · fort them. After that St. Paul preached at Athens, but with so little success, that he judged it proper to leave Athens, and go forward to Corinth, where Silas and Timothy came to him, and assisted in converting the Corinthians. And wben he left Corinth they accompanied him, first to Ephesus, then to Jerusalem, and after that to Antioch, in Syria. Having spent some time in Antioch, St. Paul set out with Timothy on his third apostolical journey; in which, after visiting all the churches of Galatia and Phrygia, in the order in which they had been planted, they came to Ephesus the second time, and there abode for a considerable period. In short, from the moment Timothy first joined the apostle, as his assistant, he never left bim, except when sent by him on some special errand. And by bis affection, fidelity, and zeal, he so recommended himself to all the disciples, and acquired sucb authority over them, that St. Paul inserted his name in the inscription of several of the lettors which he wrote to the Churches, to shew that their doctrine was one and the same. His esteem and affection for Timothy, the apostle expressed still more conspicuously, by writing to him those excellent letters in the canon, which bear his name, and which have been of the greatest use to the ministers of Christ ever since their publication ; by directiog them to discharge all the duties of their function in a proper magner.
The date of this epistle has been a subject of much controversy, some assigning it to the year 56, 57, or 58, which is the common opinion ; and others to 64 or 65. I have adopted, with Dr. Doddridge, the hypothesis which seems to have prevailed most generally, that it was written about the year of our Lord
Julian Pe- ment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which Macedonir.
57 or 58, when St. Paul bad lately quitted Ephesus on account of
The Bishop further objects to the epistle's being written at
e 2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith : Grace, Ephesus.
Ars. Churches there and in Greece, which must necessarily take up 57. a considerable time, whereas, in his Epistle to Timothy, he
speaks of his intention to return very soon. (I Tim. iii. 1$. iv.
The Bishop further argues, that it appears from the Epistle
In favour, however, of the later date assigned to this Epistle, it has been farther observed, that Timothy was left in Crete, to oppose the following errors.
i. Fables invented by the Jewish doctors, to recommend the observance of the law of Moses, as necessary to salvation.--2. Uncertain genealogies, by which individuals endeavoured to trace their descent from Abraham, in the persuasion that they would be saved, merely because they had Abrabam for their father.-3. Intricate questions, and strifes about some words in the law; perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, who reckoned that which produced most gain, to be the best' kind of godliness; and 4. Oppositions of knowledge, falsely so named. And these errors, it is said had not taken place in the Ephe. sian Church, before the apostle's departure; for, in his charge to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, he foretold that the false teachers were to enter in among them after bis departing (Acts xx, 29, 30.) I know that after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your ownselves, shall men arise, speaking perverso. things, to draw away disciples after them. The same thing, it is said,
Julian Pe- mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ Ephesus.
appears from the two Epistles which the apostle wrote to the
Again, in the first Epistle it is said, the same persons, doc-
Tim. ii. 16. The same commands, instructions, and encourage-
To the late date of this first Epistle there are three objec-
1. It is thought that, if the first Epistle to Timothy was written after the apostle's release, he could not with any propriety have said to Timothy (chap. iv. 12.)“ Let no man despise thy youth.” In reply to which it is said, tbat Servius Tullius, in classing the Roman people, as Aulus Gellius relates, (lib. x. c. 28.) divided their age into three periods: childhood, he limited to the age of seventeen ; youth, from that to forty-six ; and old age, from that to the end of life. Now, supposing Timotby to have been eighteen years old, A.D. 50, when he became Paul's assistant, he would be no more than 32, A.D. 64, two years after the apostle's release, when it is supposed this Epistle was written. Wherefore, being then in the period of life which, by the Greeks, as well as the Romans, was considered as youth, the apostle with propriety might say to him, “ Let no man despise thy youth."- It is not howover probable, that St. Paul alluded to the artificial distinctions of the Roman law, instead of the actual age of Timothy.
$ 2. 1 TIM. i. 3, 4.
left him at Ephesus— To oppose the Jewish Zealots, who
2. When the apostle touched at Miletus, in his voyage to Je.
Dr. Paley defends tho later date from the superscription of the second Epistle to the Corintbians, which is spurious-from the apparently short interval between St. Paul's leaving Epbesus, to go into Macedonia, and the writing the second Epistle to the Corinthians, in the beginning of which Timothy is joined with St. Paul; to which it may be answered, that Timotby might have left Ephesus for a short time only, and soon returned. He endeavours to overcome the insuperable difficulty in the opinion that the Epistle was written so late-that it necessarily implies that St. Paul visited Ephesus after bis liberation at Rome, which appears so contrary to what he said to the Ephesian Church, that they should see his face no more. Dr. Paley finds only some presumptive evidences, that the apostle must have visited Ephesus—tho Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon were written wbile the apostle was a prisoner at Rome: to the former he says, “ I trust in the Lord, that I also myself shall come shortly :" and to the latter, who was a Colossian, he gives this direction—" But withal, prepare me also a lodging, for I trust that, through your prayers, I thall be given unto you." An inspection of the map will shew us, that Colosse was a city of Asia Minor, lying eastward, and at po great distance from Ephesus; Philippi was on the other, i. e. the western side of the Ægean Sea. Now, if tbe apostle executed his purpose, and came to Philemon at Colosse, soon after his liberation, it cannot be supposed, says Dr. Paley, that he would omit to visit Ephesus, which lay so pear it, and where he had spent three years of his ministry. As he was also under a promise to visit the Church at Philippi shortly, if he passed from Colosse to Philippi he could hardly avoid taking Ephesus in his way.
Arguments of this theoretical nature ought to weigh but little, when they defend a proposition which seems opposed to the plain and literal meaning of Scripture. When St. Paul told the elders of Ephesus that they should see his face no more, it was so solemnly announced, that it may be considered as spoken by the spirit of propbecy with wbich ho was gisted.
Macknight has argued at great length that St. Paul spoke his strong persuasion only. Dr. Paley, in adopting the same by.