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APOSTLES AND EVANGELISTS.
ST. PAUL'S EPISTLES.
I. The Introduction. II. The tivo Epistles to the Thcssalonians. III. The Epistle to the Galatians. IV. The first epistle to the Corinthians. V. The first Epistle to Timothy. VI. The Epistle to Titus. VII. The second Epistle to the Corinthians. VIII. The Epistle to the Romans. IX. The Epistle to the Ephesians. X. The second Epistle to Timothy. XI. The Epistle to the Philippians. XII. The Epistle to the Colossians. XIII. The Epistle to Philemon. XIV. The Epistle to the Hebreics.
I shall now endeavour to settle the time of St. Paul's epistles, of which Origen said : 'Ifa any man reads them * with attention, I am persuaded, he will admire the writer's 'abilities in expressing great things in vulgar language; or, * if he does not admire them, himself will appear ridiculous.'
It cannot but afford satisfaction to know the order of time in which they were written. It will not only be attended with pleasure, but will also contribute to the right understanding of them. For wrong dates have beenlhe occasion of many mistakes. Baronius observes, that some have imagined the shipwreck at Melita, related in Acts xxvii. to be one of the three mentioned by St. Paul, 2 Cor. xi. 25, not considering, that the second epistle to the Corinthians had been written several years before. I have put the passageb in the margin, as quoted by Lewis Capellus. The author of the commentary upon thirteen of St. Paul's epistles, in the fourth century, made c the same mistake, and several others of a like kind, in explaining the paragraph of 2 Cor. xi. 25, 26.
* See Vol. ii. ch. xxxviii.
Of St. Paul's fourteen epistles, thirteen have been generally received by catholic christians in all times. I therefore need not now allege the testimonies of ancient christian writers, which may be seen in the preceding volumes of this work. But as the epistle to the Hebrews has been sometimes doubted of, I shall observe the evidences of its genuineness. With regard to the others, I shall do little more than show the time when they were written. And I would take it for granted, that they who are disposed to examine the arguments in this chapter, have first read the history of St. Paul, in the preceding chapter: which will be of great use, and prevent the trouble of numerous references,
The first and second epistles to the Thessalonians are now generally allowed by learned interpreters and chronologers
b Quantum juvet, quamque sit utile, certo tenere tempus, quo Pauli epistolae ab eo fuerimt scriptee, recte observavit Baronius ad A. C. 58, sect xlii. Sed hie, inquit ille, et illud necessario monendum putamus lectorem, nonnullis accidisse, ut temporum ignoratione in maximos errores incidant, putantes nimirum naufragium apud Melitam passum, quod Lucas narrat, Act. xxvii. unum e tribus fuisse a Paulo enumeratis, 2 Cor. xi. non animadvertentes, secundam istam epistolam ad Corinthios longeante illud naufragium esse scriptam. Quamobrem scrupulosa, quae videtur, in historia temporum indagatio, quantam conferat ad veram atque germanam Divinae Scripturae interpretatio
nem, quisque facile judicabit. Haec rectissime Baronius. Itaque hac in
parte operam nostram ejusmodi indagatione post alios collocavimus. Lud. Cap. Append, ad Hist. Apost. p. 63.
c 'Nocte et die in profundo maris fui.'] Hoc factum est, quando missus est Romam, cum appellasset Caesarem. Tunc desperatione vitae in alto, idest,
in profundo maris fuit, mortem ante oculos habens. 'Periculis in mari.'
Jam superius dixit: 'Ter naufragium feci, nocte et die in profundo maris fui.' Quod aliud periculum fuit in mari? Sed hoc est periculum, quando in mari, hoc est, in navi, milites cogitaverant omnes custodias occidere, ne quis enatans efFugeret. Quod periculum centurio prohibuit inferri, ne Paulus occideretur, ut eum vivum Romam produceret. In 2 ep. ad Cor. xi. 25, 26. p. 202 ap. Ambros. in App. tom. II.