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of Tyrannus, for the space of two years; and to read over his valedictory discourse to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, at Miletus, Tecorded Acts xx. is amply sufficient to convince every impartial mind, that Paul could never have written to the Ephesians in the above quoted language of this Epistle. Some critics indeed, without the least proof, suggest that this Epistle was originally inscribed to the Church of Laodicea, and not of Ephesus; but if there was really any satisfactory evidence, that, notwithstanding the great dissimilarity of the names, the transcribers of all the existing copies had conspired to make so extraordinary a change, still the difficulty would not be removed ; because, according to the Acts, Paul was the first preacher of the Gospel at Laodicea also, and every other part of Asia Minor
The same insuperable objection lies against the Epistle to the Colossians, which is manifestly fabricated by the same opificer who composed that to the Ephesians. In c. i. v. 4-9, the author makes Paul say, that it was Epaphras who first preached the Gospel to the Colossians; and that it was from him he had heard of their faith and love in Christ Jesus. And, c. ii. v. 1, he makes him expressly declare, that neither they nor the Lacdiceans had seen his face in the flesh. · Yet Colosse and Laodicea were both cities of Phrygia, where Luke: assures us,* Paul, accompanied by himself, repeatedly preached the Gospel to every city in order.
III. THERE are also some circumstances on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Titus, which render them both apocryphal in my estimation ; bat as they may not, perhaps, be thought by others to afford the same satisfactory demonstration of their spuriousness, as I persuadé myself I have produced in the three preceding: cases, I only mention them by the way; and submit them to the mature consideration of those who, as well as myself, may think it of the first importance, to both the teacher and learner of the Gospel, sto separate truth from fabulous falsehood, - and the genuine scriptures of Christ's primitive disciples from the presumptuous fictions and forgeries of the fathers of the grand apostasy in the second and third centuries.
In the very first verse of the Epistle to the Philippians, there is a distinction made beitwech the general congregation of the Saints or Christians, and the Bishops and Deacons, which is not to be found in any other epistolary address of Paul ; and which, if it be not an interpolation, savours very strongly of a much later, age than that of the Apostles. At verse 13-18, compared with c. iv, v. 22, we are informed, that through the notice taken of him during his imprisonment, many of the Emperor Nero's court were converted to Christianity, a fact in the highest degree improbable, and far from being confirmed by Luke or any Roman historian; and that many disciples of the Gospel, who, to be many, must have been converted before Paul's arrival at Rome, which Luke's history, makes quite incredible, emboļdened by his success, preached the Gospel there at the same time that he did, some of them, good Christians! only enviously for contention and strife's sake, in hopes to vex and teazę him; all which seems irreconcilable to the account given us in the last chapter of the Acts. In c. 11. v. 2, the Philippians are bid to beware of dogs and of the concision, expressions never used by Paul in any other writing. The latter seems a very improper, unbecoming manner of speaking of a divine ordinance, which, as the Mosaic Covenant was not then actually abrogated, still subsisted, and was even practiscd by Paul himself on his disciple Timothy, though he was only the son of a Jewish mother by a Greek father. And if by the former we are to understand the Cynic philosophers, what was there in their numbers, doctrincs, or lives, that could make Paul point them out as so peculiarly inimical to Christianity above the other philosophic sects? In chap. iv. v. 3, he intreats his yokefellow, whom, however, he does not name, to
! .acts-xvi. 61-xviii. 33
fielp those women who labour with him in de the Gospel;" yet Luke assures us, that none but he and Timothy accompanied Paul into Macedonia and Greece: and, 1 Cor. c. ix. v. 5, Paul himself plainly intimates, that though some other Apostles and preachers of the Gospel were accompanied by their wives or female relations, he and Barnabas had no woman who attended them. In the fifth verse the writer says, the Lord is at hand; apparently meaning that the predicted coming of Christ was nearly approaching; but that is directly contradictory to Paul's own explicit doctrine in the serond chapter of his second Epistle to the Thessalonians.
In verses 10-19, we find the author describing himself as in a state of affliction and pecuniary
distress, and very seasonably relieved by the supply they had sent him by Epaphroditus; reminding them, that at his first preaching the Gospel in Macedonia, they were the only Christian Church who gave him any thing; and that they, two or three times, relieved his necessity, when he was at Thessalonica. Yet Luke tells us, that, no accusation being sent to Rome by the Jews against Paul, he was under no affliction and very little restraint, being permitted to dwell where he pleased, under the guard of a single soldier; and that he “ dwelt two whole years in his “ own hired house, and received all that came “in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God " and teaching Christianity boldly, no man 5 forbidding him.” And we know that Paul's constant boast was, that he always* maintained himself by his own labour, and never made his preaching the Gospel a charge to any body; and thongi., 2 Cor. xi. 9, he says, that the Macedonian converts supplied that pecuniary deficiency, which was occasioned by the persecutions that interrupted his manual labour, far from intimating that the Philippians had been particularly benevolent and liberal towards him, at his first preach
* 1 Cor. ix. 15 and 18. See also Acts xx. 38–35.