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his account of the epistle to the Laodiceans speaks to the same purpose.
In like manner I have for a good while been of opinion, that the Latin version of this text was the occasion of the mistaken notion of Marcion.
When I formerly gave an account of a Latin Commentary upon thirteen of St. Paul's epistles, written about 380, J took notice, that * the translation of Col. iv. 16, followed by that author, was, " that ye read the epistle of the Laodiceans." Et vos ut eam, quse est Laodicensium, legatis. The same translation is in the Commentary of Pelagius. Et ea, qua? Laodicensium est, vobis legatur. Which affords good proof, that this was the translation, which was in the Latin version, then in use. I also observed in the same place, that this expression is ambiguous. It may import an epistle, written by the Laodiceans: or an epistle, which was their property, as having been written to them. I have since found the same observation inh Estius. So Secundinus, the Manichee, in his letter to Augustine, by the epistle of the Ephesians plainly means the epistle to the Ephesians. For his words are these: 'Against' whom the apostle, in the epistle of the * Ephesians, says, "he wrestled." For he says: "we 4 wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principa6 lities, and powers,'" Eph. vi. 12.
It is not unlikely, that a good number of the Latins, by "the epistle of the Laodiceans," in Col. iv. 16, understood an epistle written to the Laodiceans. And Marcion also, having before him the Latin version, and understanding the words in that sense, concluded, that St. Paul had written an epistle to the Laodiceans. At length he was brought to think, that the epistle, intended by St. Paul, was the epistle inscribed to the Ephesians. Accordingly, he sometimes quoted it with that title. This will be the more readily admitted, when it is considered, that Marcion made use of the Latin version of St. Paul's epistles. So say both k Mill, and * Wetstein.
s See Vol. iv. ch. cix. num. ii. 8.
h Fefellet tamen hos omnes ambiguitas verborum hujus loci, prout Latine leguntur. Quod enim dicitur, * eam quae Laodicensium est/ intelligi potest, vel ad quos, vel a quibus epistola scripta sit aut missa. Et quidem priori modo Latini fere intellexerunt. Sed hanc ambiguitatem dissolvit Graeca lectio, quae sic habet: 'Et eam quae ex Laodicea est, ut et vos legatis.' Est ad loc. 'Contra quos se apostolus in Ephesiorum epistola certamen subiisse fatetur. Dicit enim, se non contra camem et sanguinem habere certamen, sed adversus principes et potestates. Secundin. ep. ad Aug. sect. i. Ap.Aug. T. VIII. k Vid. Mill.Proleg. num. 378. et 606.
1 Ac principio, quod a nemine adhuc animadversum puto, (nisi a J. Millio
And now, I suppose, it may appear, what regard is due to the authority of Marcion in this matter.
Thus I have at large stated and considered all the material objections against the common reading at the beginning of this epistle, the epistle to the Ephesians. And the solutions that have been offered, seem to me satisfactory. And from the universal agreement of all copies in that reading, and the unanimous testimony of all christian writers for the first twelve centuries, it appears, that there is no more reason to doubt of the genuineness of the inscription of the epistle to the Ephesians, than of any other of the acknowledged epistles of St. Paul.
This disquisition has been of greater length than might have been wished. But if any things have been set in a truer light than usual, it will be acceptable to some.
That the Churches of Colosse and Laodicea were planted by the apostle Paul.
IT has been of late a prevailing opinion, that the christians at Colosse and Laodicea were not converted by St. Paul. But to me it seems, that there is no good ground for it.
Says Theodoret, in his argument of the epistle to the Colossians, prefixed to his Commentary, 'Somea are of opi
*nion, that when the divine apostle wrote this epistle, he 'had not seen the Colossians. And they endeavour to * support their opinion by these words, " For I would that
*ye should know, what great conflict I have for you, and 'for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my 'face in the flesh," ch. ii. 1. But they should consider, that 'the meaning of the words is this, " I have not only a
* concern for you, but I have also great concern for those 6 that have not seen me." And if he be not so understood,
*he expresses no concern for those who had seen him, and
Prol. 378. suboluisse putemus) comperimus? Marcionis codices N. T. nonex Gratis exemplaribus, sed ex versions Latina veteri sive Italica conflatos fuisse, &c. Wetsten. Prolegom. p. 79. • Theod. tom. III. p. 342, 343.
'had been taught by him. Moreover the blessed Luke says
*in the Acts, " And after he had spent some time there, lie
* departed, and went over all the country of Galatia, and 'Phrygia, in order," ch. xviii. 23. Colosse is a city of
*Phrygia. And Laodicea, the metropolis of the country, is 'not far from it. How was it possible for him to be in
*Phrygia, and not carry the gospel to those places? And 'in another place the blessed Luke says, " Now when they 6 had gone throughout Phrygia, and the region of Galatia, 'and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word
*in Asia,"' ch. xvi. 6.
So says that very learned writer in the fifth century. And those observations had led me to divers considerations, inducing me to think, that the churches of Colosse and Laodicea had been planted by Paul, and that the christians there were his converts.
1. The apostle was twice in Phrygia, in which were Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis. Says St. Luke, in the places already cited by Theodoret, Acts xvi. 6," Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia, and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia." And ch. xviii. 23, "And after he had spent some time there, [at Antioch,] he departed, and went over all the countries of Galatia and Phrygia, in order, strengthening the brethren." To which St. Luke refers again, ch. xix. 1, "Paul having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus." St. Luke does not mention any cities by name. But there is no reason to say, that he was not at Colosse. It is much more reasonable to think, that in one, or rather in both those journies, Paul was at Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, chief cities of Phrygia. For, as Theodoret says, how was it possible, that he should be in that country, yea, and go " through it," and "all over it," and not be in the chief places of it? St. Luke has not particularly named any places in Galatia, in which Paul was; but he must have been in several towns and cities in that country, where he planted divers churches, Gal. i. 1, 2. So was he, in like manner, in several cities of Phrygia : where also, in all probability, he planted divers churches.
This argument alone appears to me conclusive. The accounts which St. Luke has given of St. Paul's journies in Phrygia, are sufficient to assure us, that he preached thegospel there, and made converts, and planted churches in the chief cities.
2. Ch. i. 6, "Which bringeth forth fruit, as it does also in you, since the day ye heard it, and knew the grace of God in truth." Of this St. Paul was assured. Which renders it probable, that he was their father, or first teacher. He speaks to the like purpose several times. Ch. ii. 6,7. See likewise ch. i. 23. St. Paul knew that they had been rightly taught the gospel. Nothing more remained, but that they should persevere in the faith, which they had received, and act according to it.
3. Epaphras was not their first instructor in the doctrine of the gospel. This may be concluded from ch. i. 7, the words following those quoted above from ver. 6, " Asb ye have also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow-servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ." The Colossians had been taught by Epaphras. But he was not their first instructor. However he had faithfully taught them, agreeably to the instructions which they had received.
Theodoretc upon ch. i. 7, 8, well observes, 'that the
*apostle bestows many commendations upon Epaphras,
* calling him "beloved," and "fellow-servant," and a '" faithful minister of Christ," that the Colossians might 'have the greater regard for him.' If Epaphras had first taught the Colossians the Christian doctrine, I think the apostle, when recommending him to their esteem and regard, would have added, " by whom ye believed," or " by whom ye were brought to the fellowship of the gospel," or somewhat else, to the like purpose. That would have been a great addition to what is said at ver. 7, before cited, and to what is said of him, ch. iv. 12, 13, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he has a great zeal for you, and for them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis."
"Epaphras, who is one of you." Would the apostle have used such an expression concerning Epaphras, if the church of Colosse had been founded by him ? Impossible. He says as much of Onesimus, who was but just converted, and was now first going to appear among them as a christian. His words at ver. 9, of the same chapter, are, " Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you."
I imagine, that St. Paul does the more enlarge at ver. 12, 13, upon the affectionate concern which Epaphras had for these christians, being apprehensive of some prejudices taken up against him, that might obstruct his usefulness among them. For he had brought the apostle an account
b Ka0u>£ xrai f/m&rc euro ETra^pa. c Ubi supra, p. 344.
of the state of this church. Which, though it was true and faithful, was not in all respects agreeable: as is concluded by commentators from what St. Paul writes in the second chapter of this epistle.
4. St. Paul does in effect, or even expressly, say, that himself had dispensed the gospel to these Colossians, ch. i. 21—25. I shall recite here a large part of that context, ver. 23-25, " If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard whereof I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the church. Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil," or fully to preach, " the word of God." And what follows to ver. 29.
St. Paul therefore had been the "minister of God" to these Colossians, as well as to other Gentiles. Nor would they have been excluded, but included among other Gentiles, to whom he had preached the word, if commentators had not been misled by a false interpretation of those words in ch. iv. 1, 2, of which we have already seen Theodoret's account, and shall say more presently. Those words having been misinterpreted, a wrong turn has been given to these likewise.
5. Chrysostom, in his preface to the epistle to the Romans, speaks to this purpose,' Id see the apostle writing to the 'Romans and the Colossians, upon the same things indeed, 'but not in the same manner. To them he writes with 'much mildness, as when he says - Rom. xiv. 1,2. To 'the Colossians he does not speak of the same things, but
*with greater freedom. "If therefore," says he, "ye be 'dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world"
*and what follows, ch. ii. 20—23.' Does not this observation lead us to think, that the Colossians were the apostle's own converts, to whom a different address from that used toward others might be very proper? And there are other passages of this epistle beside that alleged by Chrysostom, which might be taken notice of, as confirming the same observation.
6. Ch. ii. 6, 7, " As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: grounded, and built up