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Mr. Wetstein0 appears to have been of the same opinion. TillemontP likewise placeth this epistle in the year 63, immediately after the apostle's being set at liberty; who, as he says, was still at Rome, or at least in Italy. Basnage 1 speaks of this epistle at the year 61, and supposeth it to be written during the apostle's imprisonment. For he afterwards speaks of the epistle to the Ephesians, and says, it' was the last letter, which the apostle wrote during the time of his bonds. L'Enfant and Beausobre, in their general preface to St. Paul's epistles, observe,' thats in the subscrip'tion at the end of the epistle it is said to have been
*written from Italy. The only ground of which, as they
* add, is what is said, ch. xiii. 24. "They of Italy salute 6 you." This has made some think, that the apostle wrote
*to the Hebrews, after he had been set at liberty, and when 'he was got into that part of Italy which borders upon * Sicily, and in ancient times was called Italy. Nevertheless,
*there is reason to doubt of this. When he requests the 6 prayers of the Hebrews, that "he might be restored to * them the sooner," he intimates, that he was not yet
*set at liberty.' Accordingly, they place this epistle in the year 62.
There is not any great difference in any of these opinions concerning the time, or place of this epistle: all supposing, that it was written by the apostle, either at Rome, or in Italy, near the end of his imprisonment at Rome, or soon after it was over, before he removed to any other country.
I cannot perceive why it may not be allowed to have been written at Rome. St. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians was written at Ephesus. Nevertheless he says, ch. xvi. 19, " The churches of Asia salute you." So now he might send salutations from the christians of Italy, not excluding, but including those at Rome, together with the rest throughout that country.
The argument of L'Enfant and Beausobre, that Paul was not yet set at liberty, because he requested the prayers of the "Hebrews, that he might be restored to them the sooner," appears not to me of any weight. Though Paul was no longer a prisoner, he might request the prayers of those to whom he was writing, that he might have a prosperous journey to them, whom he was desirous to visit, and that all impediments of his intended journey might be removed. And many such there might be, though he was no longer under confinement. Paul was not a prisoner when he wrote the epistle to the Romans. Yet he was very fervent in his prayers to God, that he might have a prosperous journey, and come to them, ch. i. 10.
0 Wetst. N. T. tom. II. p. 387. in. p S. Paul. art. 46.
1 Ann. 61. num. ii.—vi.
r Epistolarum omnium, quas primis in vinculis exaravit apostolus, ea, quae ad Ephesios, ultima esse videtur. Ibid. num. vii. 8 Pref. gen. sur les epitres de S. Paul. num. Hi.
For determining the time of this epistle, it may be observed, that when the apostle wrote the epistles to the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon, he had hopes of deliverance. At the writing of all those epistles, Timothy was present with him. But now he was absent, as plainly appears from ch. xiii. 23. This leads us to think that this epistle was written after them. And it is not unlikely, that the apostle had now obtained that liberty, which he expected when they were written.
Moreover in the epistle to the Philippians he speaks of sending Timothy to them, ch. ii. 19—23. "But 1 trust in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state." Timothy therefore, if sent, was to comeback to the apostle. "Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me." It is probable that Timothy did go to the Philippians soon after writing the abovementioned epistles, the apostle having gained good assurance of being quite released from his confinement. And this epistle to the Hebrews was written during the time ot that absence. For it is said, Heb. xiii. 23, " Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty. With whom, if he
come shortly, I will see you. Know ye that our brother
Timothy is set at liberty :"or'bas been sent abroad.' The word * is capable of that meaning. And it is a better and more likely meaning, because it suits the coherence. And I suppose that Timothy did soon come to the apostle, and that they both sailed to Judea, and after that went to Ephesus; where Timothy was left to reside with his peculiar charge.
Thus this epistle was written at Rome, or in Italy, soon after that Paul had been released from his confinement at Rome, in the beginning of the year 63.
And I suppose it to be the last written of all St. Paul's epistles, which have come down to us, or that we have any knowledge of. 1 Et quidem paullo post inissas hasce [ead Philippenses'] literas, libertatem
a^eptus, Timotheum in Macedonian! misit, uti liquet ex Hebr. xiii. 23
Neque enim verbis istis signification vult apostolus, Timotheum tum temporis, secum una vinculis liberatum fuisse, sed a se ob certa negotia fuissedimissum. Mill. Proleg. num. 68.
Who was the bearer of it, is not known. At the end of the epistle in some manuscripts, is a subscription to this purpose: 'that it was carried from Italy by Timothy.' feut that subscription is esteemed of no authority by all learned men in general, Beza in particular. I put below u part of what he says. It is inconsistent with what is said of Timothy, ch. xiii. 23. Timothy was to accompany the writer: the epistle was sent before.
That the Epistle inscribed to the Ephesians was written to them.
THE epistle to the Ephesians is one of the acknowledged epistles of St. Paul. There never was any doubt among christians, who was the writer. But there has been, especially of late, a dispute concerning the persons to whom it was sent: some thmking that the common inscription is false, and that this is either a general epistle, or that it was sent to the Laodiceans. Of this opinion isa Mill in his Prolegomena to the New Testament, who has had many followers. Some of whom must be here mentioned by me. Mr. James Pierce,b who likewise speaks of Mr. Whiston as of the same opinion. Thec author of a Latin letter, or dissertation in the third volume of Mr. La Roche's Literary Journal, published in the year 1731. That letter is anonymous. But the writer is Artemonius, otherwise Samuel Crellius, author of Initium Evangelii S. Joannis Apostoli restitutum. This I was assured of by Mr. La Roche, the editor. W. Wall in his Critical Notes upon the New Testament. Dr. Benson.d The author of a letter at the end of the second
u Puto igitur hanc subscriptionem non satis considerate adscriptam fuisse a quopiam, qui occasionem ex eo arripuerit, quod Timothei et Ttalorum mentio facta fuerat. Nam etiam et in Claromontano codice, et in Syra interpretatione non exstat. Bez. ad cap. xiii, in fin.
a Quidni igitur scripta fuerit ad Laodicenses? Proleg. num. 74. vid. ib. num.71—79. et num. 237. b See an advertisement at the end
of his paraphrase upon the Ep. to the Philippians, p. 114, &c.
c See La Roche's Literary Joumal for April, May, and June, 1731. vol. III. p. 165—183. Et Conf. Artemonii Initium Evangel. S. Joan, restitutum. p. 212. edit. Londini. 1726. d See Dr. Benson's History of
the first Planting the Christian Religion, Vol. II. p. 270—276. first ed. p. 290—297. 2d. ed.
volume of Dr. Benson's History of the first Planting the Christian Religion. Which learned author has also since published a postscript to that letter, which is at the end of the third volume of the same work of Dr. Benson. The unknown author of an edition of the New Testament, in Greek and English, in two volumes octavo, published at London in 1729. Campegius Vitringa, the son, professor of divinity in the university of Franequer, wrote a dissertation on the same side of the question; and not having therein finished his design, his successor, Mr. Venema, added another dissertation, both together making more than one hundred and thirty pages ine quarto. Lastly, Mr. J. J. Wetstein in his notes upon the beginning of this epistle. WVoalso has put a mark under the text, showing Laodicea to be, in his opinion, the right reading, instead of Ephesus. I here mention no more. But perhaps some others may be taken notice of hereafter.
The common reading however has been defended byf several. I mention two authors of great note. One is Le CIerc,& in his Ecclesiastical History, whose words I have placed below. He had seen Mill's argument, and slighted it. He thought that few would be moved by it. However, he briefly considers, and answers the principal objections, taken from Eph. i. 15; iii. 2, and 4. As for any other arguments, he says, they are of too little moment to be opposed to the general consent of christian writers. So that, says he, there is no reason, why we should doubt, whether this epistle was written to the Ephesians.
e Dissertat. de genuine titulo epistolae D. Pauli, quae vulgo inscribitur ad Ephesios. Ap. Campeg. Vitring. Fil. Diss. Sacr. Franequera. 1731. p. 247—379.
'Vid. J. C. Wolf. Curae in N. T. tom. IV. p. 1—13. I may be allowed likewise to take notice of a Commentary upon the epistle to the Ephesians, published in the Dutch language, by Peter Dinant, a leamed minister at Rotterdam, in the year 1721. Of which an honourable account is given in the Bibliotheca Bremensis, where we are assured: Ampla operi pramisit Prolegomena, in quibus primo loco apostolum Paulum vere epistolae ad Ephesios
scriptorem esse demonstrat Agit deinde de Epheso, ejusque, cum apostolus
hanc epistolam conscriberet, statu: de Dianae cultu Hinc refutat Grotium,
qui Marcionem secutus non ad Ephesios, sed Laodicenses, scriptam hanc epistolam credidit. Sententia quoque Usserii, qui non ad solos Ephesios, sed plures ecclesias destinatam, adeoque pro encyclica habendam putat, examinatur, ac rejicitur. Bibliotheca. Hist. Phil. Theolog. Classis quints Fasc. tertius. p. 533,534. Bremae. 1721.
s Postea scripsit epistolam ad Ephesios, quam viri quidam docti [Joan. Millius, in Prolegom. ad N. T. cujus conjectura paucis, credo, probabitur:] suspicantur ad Laodicenos datam, sed sine ullo sat firmo argumento. Volunt quidem in hac epistola quaedam esse, quae Ephesiis non conveniunt, ut cum cap. i. 15. Paulus se ' audisse fidem et caritatem' Ephesiorum ait, quas ipse per se norat, non ex auditu. Sed nihil vetat, quin Romae audiverit, Ephesios constanter eas virtutes coluisse, ex quo ipse eos viderat, eoque in hisce verbis respexerit. Similiter, et quae habet cap. iii. 2. 'Si tamen audistis dispensationem gratiae Dei, quae data est mihi in vobis,' in Ephesios optime quadrant, siita intelligantur, ut si, Greece, ce ye non sit dubitantis, sed adfirmantis, et significet' quandoquidem,' ut cap. iv. 21, et alibi. Ejusdem cap. iii. 4. ait Paulus posse eos, ad quos scribit, 'legentes intelligere prudentiam ejus in mysterio Christi,' quam non tam lectione eorum, quae in hac epistola antecesserunt, quam ex praesentis sermonibus intellexerant Ephesii. Sed nihil nos cogit eo confugere. Nam revera poterat hoc intelligi, vel ex iis quee stipelionbus capitibus leguntur. Alia argumenta, leviora multo, et omnium VOL. VI. 1
The other writer is Whitby, in his preface to this epistle. A part of which I cheerfully transcribe here. 'That this 'epistle to the Ephesians was indeed written by St. Paul, 'and directed to them, and not to any other church, we 'cannot doubt, if we believe either the epistle, or Paul 'himself. For, first, it begins thus, " Paul an apostle of 'Jesus Christ to the saints which are at Ephesus." And in 'this reading all the versions, and all the manuscripts 'agree. Secondly, in the close of the epistle he speaks to
* them, " That you may know my affairs, and how I do, 'Tychicus, a beloved brother, and faithful minister in the 'Lord, shall make known unto you all things; whom I 'have sent unto you for the same purpose."— Ch. vi. 21,
'22. And in the second epistle to Timothy, he says, '" Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus," 2 Tim. iv. 12.
*Moreover, thirdly, all antiquity agrees, that this epistle 'was written by Paul to the Ephesians.' And what follows.
Those arguments appear to me a sufficient defence of the present reading. Nevertheless the other opinion, contrary to Le Clerc's expectation, has of late much prevailed: as appears from the number of the patrons of it above named. And as the arguments of those two learned men, whose writings are well known, have not been judged satisfactory; there can be little reason to expect, that any thing said by me should be of much weight. And, indeed, it has sometimes happened, that certain opinions have had a run, and it has been in vain to oppose them: though afterwards they have fallen of themselves, being unsupported by any good evidence.
However, as a fair occasion offers, I shall enlarge upon the arguments just mentioned, in favour of the present reading in our Bibles. After which I will particularly consider the objections brought against it.
christianomm consensui opposita, non adtingam. Quare an ad Ephesios scripta sit hffic epistola, nihil est cur dubilemus. Cleric. H. E. Ann. 62. num. viii.