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Chap. xv. 30. “ Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from them that do not believe, in Judea."-With this compare Acts xx. 22, 23:
“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there, save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.”
Let it be remarked, that it is the same journey to Jerusalem which is spoken of in these two passages ; that the epistle was written immediately before St. Paul set forwards upon this journey from Achaia; that the words in the Acts were uttered by him when he had proceeded in that journey as far as Miletus, in Lesser Asia. This being remembered, I observe that the two passages, without any resemblance between them that could induce us to suspect that they were borrowed from one another, represent the state of St. Paul's mind, with respect to the event of the journey, in terms of substantial agreement. They both express his sense of danger in the approaching visit to Jerusa. lem: they both express the doubt which dwelt upon his thoughts concerning what might there befal him. When, in his epistle, he entreats the Roman Christians, “ for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, to strive together with him in their prayers to God for him, that he might be delivered from them which do not believe, in Judea,” he sufficiently confesses his fears. In the Acts of the Apostles we see in him the same apprehensions, and the same uncertainty : " I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there.” The only difference is, that in the history his thoughts are more inclined to despondency than in the epistle. In the epistle he retains his hope “ that he should come unto them with joy by the will of God;" in the history, his mind yields to the reflection," that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited
him.” Now that his fears should be greater, and bis hopes less, in this stage of his journey than when he wrote his epistle, that is, when he first set out upon it, is no other alteration than might well be expected ; since those prophetic intimations to which he refers, when he says, “ the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city,” had probably been received by him in the course of his journey, and were probably similar to what we know he received in the remaining part of it at Tyre, xxi. 4; and afterward from Agabus at Cæsarea, xxi, 11.
There is another strong remark arising from the same passage in the epistle; to make which understood, it will be necessary to state the passage over again, and somewhat more at length.
“ I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from them that do not believe, in Judea that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.”
I desire the reader to call to mind that part of St. Paul's history which took place after his arrival at Jerusalem, and which employs the seven last chapters of the Acts; and I build upon it this observation that supposing the Epistle to the Romans to have been a forgery, and the author of the forgery to have had the Acts of the Apostles before him, and to have there seen that St. Paul, in fact, “ was not delivered from the unbelieving Jews,” but, on the contrary, that he was taken into custody at Jerusalem, and brought to Rome a prisoner-it is next to impossible that he should have made St. Paul express expectations so contrary to what he saw had been the event; and utter prayers, with apparent hopes of success, which he must have known were frustrated in the issue.
This single consideration convinces me, that no concert or confederacy whatever subsisted between the Epistle and the Acts of the Apostles; and that whatever coincidences have been or can be pointed out between them, are unsophisticated, and are the result of truth and reality.
It also convinces me, that the epistle was written not only in St. Paul's lifetime, but before he arrived at Jerusalem; for the important events relating to him which took place after his arrival at that city, must have been known to the Christian community soon after they happened ; they form the most public part of his history. But had they been known to the author of the epistle -in other words, had they then taken place the passage which we have quoted from the epistle would not have been found there.
No. VII. I now proceed to state the conformity which exists between the argument of this epistle and the history of its reputed author. It is enough for this purpose to observe, that the object of the epistle, that is, of the argumentative part of it, was to place the Gentile convert upon a parity of situation with the Jewish, in respect of his religious condition, and his rank in the divine fa. vour. The epistle supports this point by a variety of arguments; such as, that no man of either description was justified by the works of the law for this plain reason, that no man had performed them; that it became therefore necessary to appoint another medium or condition of justification, in which new medium the Jewish peculiarity was merged and lost; that Abraham's own justification was anterior to the law, and independent of it; that the Jewish converts were to consider the law as now dead, and themselves as married to another; that what the law in truth could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God had done by sending his Son; that God had rejected the unbelieving Jews, and had substituted in their place a society of believers in Christ, collected indifferently from Jews and Gentiles. Soon after the writing of this epistle, St. Paul, agreeably to the intention intimated in the epistle itself, took his journey to Jerusalem. The day after he arrived there, he was introduced to the church, What passed at this interview is thus related, Acts xxi. 19.: “When he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry: and, when they heard it, they glorified the Lord; and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law; and they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying, that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs." St. Paul disclaimed the charge; but there must have been something to have led to it. Now it is only to suppose that St. Paul openly professed the principles which the epistle con. tains; that, in the course of his ministry, he had uttered the sentiments which he is here made to write; and the matter is accounted for. Concerning the accusation which public rumour had brought against him to Je. rusalem, I will not say that it was just; but I will say, that if he was the author of the epistle before us, and if his preaching was consistent with his writing, it was extremely natural: for though it be not a necessary, surely it is an easy inference, that if the Gentile convert, who did not observe the law of Moses, held as ad. vantageous a situation in his religious interests as the Jewish convert who did, there could be no strong reason for observing that law at all. The remonstrance there. fore of the church of Jerusalem, and the report which occasioned it, were founded in no very violent misconstruction of the apostle's doctrine. His reception at Jerusalem was exactly what I should have expected the author of this epistle to have met with. I am en titled therefore to argue, that a separate narrative of effects experienced by St. Paul, similar to what a person might be expected to experience who held the doctrines advanced in this epistle, forms a proof that he did hold these doctrines; and that the epistle bearing his name, in which such doctrines are laid down, actually pro. ceeded from him.
No, VIII. This number is supplemental to the former. I pro. pose to point out in it two particulars in the conduct of the argument, perfectly adapted to the historical cir.
cumstances under which the epistle was written; which yet are free from all appearance of contrivance, and which it would not, I think, have entered into the mind of a sophist to contrive.
1. The Epistle to the Galatians relates to the same general question as the Epistle to the Romans. St. Paul had founded the church of Galatia : at Rome he had never been. Observe now difference in his manner of treating of the same subject, corresponding with this difference in his situation. In the Epistle to the Galatians he puts the point in a great measure upon authority: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.” Gal. i. 6. “I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man; for I neither received it. of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Chap. i. 11, 12. "I am afraid, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” iv, 11, 12. “I desire to be present with you now, for I stand in doubt of you.” iv. 20. “Behold I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” v. 2. “This persuasion cometh not of him that called you.” v. 8. This is the style in which he accosts the Galatians. In the epistle to the converts of Rome, where his authority was not established, nor his person known, he puts the same points entirely upon argument. The perusal of the epistle will prove this to the satisfaction of every reader; and as the observation relates to the whole contents of the epistle, I forbear adducing separate extracts. I repeat therefore, that we have pointed out a distinction in the two epistles, suited to the relation in which the author stood to his different correspondents.
Another adaptation, and somewhat of the same kind, is the following:
2. The Jews, we know, were very numerous at Rome, and probably formed a principal part amongst the new converts; so much so, that the Christians seem to have been known at Rome rather as a denomination of Jews, than as any thing else. In an epistle consequently to the Roman believers, the point to be endeavoured after