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city, that is, in the reign of Claudius; and says that, when he has performed that good office, he will come, by way of Rome, into Spain. Now, whoever has read, with proper attention, the history of Paul's travels, written by his friend and fellow-traveller, Silas or Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, must be convinced, that Paul never had the least idea of travelling into Spain; and that he did not go to Rome, till, by the partiality of Festus to his persecutors, he was constrained to appeal unto Casar. From the same history it is evident also, that when Paul arrived at Rome, for the first time, in the reign of N ero, there was no Christian Church there, as indeed it is not at all probable there should have been ; because Paul was the Apostle particularly chosen and delegated for that purpose, and he, accordingly, first preached the Gospel to the distant Gentiles, as recorded in the Acts. From the same history, there is every reason to believe, that the Gospel had never been preached beyond the limits of Asia, till Paul was, in a vision, admonished to go into Macedonia, and from thence into Greece; yet, Paul is made to write this Epistle to the Christian converts at Rome, whilst he was preaching the Gospel at Corinth. Who then was that other Apostle to the Gentiles, who so far preceded Paul, as already to have reached Rome, without preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the intervening countries of Asia Minor and Greece, and to have founded a Church there, early enough for its being spoken of throughout the whole world, when Paul, in the execution of the commission miraculously given to him by Christ himself, had advanced no farther than Macedonia and Greece P Besides, from the last chapter of the Acts, it appears incontestably, that they were not Christians, but Jews, who met Paul at Appii Forum ; that his first step, when he arrived at Rome, was to call together the Jews resident there, and exculpate himself for having appealed to the Emperor; that those Jews, far from knowing the Gospel to have been already preached and received at Rome, declared themselves totally ignorant concerning it, except that it was every where spoken against, and were desirous to be informed of its doctrines by him; that they all assembled for that purpose, at his lodging, on an appointed day, when he preached to them the New Covenant of the kingdom of God the whole day, and pointed out to them those passages of ife Law of Moses and the prophets, wherein it was predicted ; that upon their disagreeing and leaving him, he said, “Be it known to “you, that the salvation of God is sent (that “is, the Gospel is to be preached) to the “Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” Whereas, according to this Epistle, it must have been known already to the Jews of Rome, that the Gospel had been preached to the Gentiles of that city, and that they had received it. These palpable, and as they seem to me, irreconcilable contradictions, oblige me utterly to reject this Epistle, called Paul's, and to regard it only as one of the many spurious forgeries of the second century, unwortly the least serious attention. I cannot, however, forbear remarking farther the inconsistency of this writer, (which indeed must generally be discernible in all falsifiers)in making Paul personally acquainted with so long a list of members of the Church at Rome, where he had never been, amongst whom we find Aquila and Priscilla, and even his own mother, to whom he sends salutation in the last chapter, v. 13. Of the two first, Luke tells us, that, about or rather before the pretended
dius. And, if there is any reason to believe that Paul's mother was then living, is it credible, that an old woman of Tarsus, in Cilieia, whose son was so wonderfully appointed to preach the Gospel, and who was occupied in that commission in Asia and Greece, should leave her native country and such a son, and ramble after other preachers of the Gospel, at so advanced an age, to the far distant metropolis of Italy 2 But, in the eleventh chapter, the author clearly betrays himself to be, not Paul, but some person who lived and wrote some time after the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews; for to these events alone, can the following sentences refer : v. 12, “If the fall of them.” (the Jews) “be the riches of the world, and “the diminishing of them the riches of the “Gentiles, how much more their fullness f" Again, v. 15, “If the casting away of them “be the reconciling of the world, what shall “the receiving of them be?” Again, v. 21 and 22, “If God spared not the natural “branches, take heed lest he also spare “not thee. Behold the goodness and severity “ of God: on them which fell severity; but “towards thee goodness, if thou continue in “his goodness; otherwise, thou also shalt be “cut off,” &c.
II. THE Epistle to the Ephesians is also writ. ten in the name of Paul, but under a supposition that a Christian Church was settled at Ephesus, before Paul himself preached the Gospel there; for, c. i. v. 15 and 16, the writer makes him say, “Wherefore I also, “after I heard of your faith in the Lord Je“sus and love unto all the Saints, cease not “to give thanks for you,” &c. and c. iii. v. 1, &c., “for this cause, I Paul, the Prisoner of “Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles, if ye have “heard of the dispensation of the grace of God “which is given to me to you-ward; how that “by revelation he made known unto me “the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words); “whereby when ye read, ye may understand “my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.” This supposition, however, cannot possibly be allowed by any one who credits the history of the Acts of the Apostles; for in that we are expressly told, c. xviii. and xix. that Paul himself preached the Gospel at Ephesus, first in the synagogue of the Jews, at two different times, and afterwards in the school