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other apostles. They would be sent by fit messengers, and be faithfully delivered. And they might be accompanied with some proper directions, such as we find in several of St. Paul's epistles: as that in the first epistle to the Thessalonians, requiring it to be read to all the brethren ; and that in the epistle to the Colossians, iv. 16, that it should be read first among themselves, and then sent to the church of the Laodiceans; and that they likewise should read the epistle that would be brought to them from Laodicea. All which considerations must induce us to think, that no sacred writings of apostles, composed for the instruction and edification of christian people, their friends, and converts, could be easily lost. IV. There are no sufficient reasons to believe, that any sacred writings of the New Testament have been lost. , Let us however see what they are. For divers difficulties have been thought of. I. St. Paul says, 2 Thess. ii. 1, 2, “Now we beseech you, brethren,_-that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” These words, as I apprehend, afford not any proof that St. Paul wrote more epistles to the Thessalonians, than those which we have. For a person, who had never written one letter before, might use such expressions, if he had any ground to suspect that some men were disposed to forge letters in his name, 2. 2 Thess. iii. 17,” “The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is the token in every epistle ; so I write.” But I think he might say this, though it were the very first epistle written by him : provided he thought that he should have occasion to write more, and had reason to suspect that there were some men who might be disposed to falsify his name. Nor does it follow that he afterwards wrote any more epistles to the Thessalonians. However, he could not be certain that he should not have occasion to
" Atqui hujus rei nullum fuisset periculum, nulla monendi necessitas, nisi varias acceperunt Thessalonicenses epistolas a Paulo missas. Qui enim unam ac alteram Solummodo ad ecclesias scribebat epistolas, illius nomen falsae epistolæ ad ecclesias datae non facile mentiri poterat. J. Ens, ubi supr.sect. xxix. p. 46. ° Illud idem iterum agnoscit apostolus, statim allegato, cap. iii. 17, dato signo epistolis suis peculiari, quo nullae epistolæ a se missae carent.—Sedicit ypapew, “scribere.' .. Quod paucis admódum epistolis vix congruum videtur; praesertim quando dicit, se otra, Ypapew, ut salutatio propriá manu sit signum ev traon stricoxy, ‘in quâcumque epistolá.'—Quid erat periculi, quod datis epistolis committeretur fallacia, si nullas, præter et post hasce duas, ad illos daret epistolas Id. ib. sect. xxx. p. 46, 47.
write to them again. And he might judge it to be very likely that he should write more letters, either to them, or to others. This declaration, then, was a proper mark, which might be of use to the Thessalonians, and to others, and a security against all impositions of that kind. 3. 2 Cor. x. 9, 10, 11, “That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such an one think this, that such as we are in word by letters, when we are absent, such will we be also in deed, when we are present.” Hence it is argued, that P the apostle had before now written more than one, even several letters, to the Corinthians. To which I answer. It is very common to speak of one epistle in the plural number, as all know. And St. Paul might well write, as he here does, though he had as yet sent but one letter to those to whom he is writing. And from so long a letter, as is the first to the Corinthians, men might form a good judgment concerning his manner of writing letters, though they had seen no other. 4. 1 Cor. v. 9, “I wrote unto you in an epistle, not to company with fornicators.” Hence it is argued, that's St. Paul had written an epistle to the Corinthians, before he wrote the first of those two, which we have. Consequently, here is proof of the loss of a sacred writing, which would have been canonical, if extant. And it must be acknowledged, that several learned men have concluded as much from this text. Others however see not here any such proof. And on this side have argued Whitby and t others. And I think it is of no small weight, that several ancient writers understood the apostle to say:
P Cum duobus illis ex epist. ad Thessalonicenses locis conferam Pauli dictum ad Corinthios. 2. x. 9, 10, 11.—Quibus verbis apostolus statuit, quod non unam epistolam, Sed plures, ad Corinthios scripserit. Id. ibid. Sect. xxxiii. p. 49. ° Inter illas est epistola quædam——ad Corinthios scripta ante illam, quae nobis prima est, de quá apostolus: Eypalpa ipuv ev rp strus oxy, “scripsi vobis in epistolà.' I Cor. v. 9. Ens, ib. sect. xxxiii. p. 51. * Ex quibus verbis hoc concludo, ante hanc ad Corinthios epistolam aliam exstitisse, ubi Paulus a conversatione cum fornicatoribus eos dehortatus fuerit. C. M. Pfaff. ubi supr. p. 46. Hinc autem apparet, aliam ante hanc a Paulo Scriptam fuisse epistolam ad Corinthios, quae post interciderit. Estius in loc. Wid. et Grot. in loc. H. Wits. de Wit. Paul. Ap. Sect. 8. n. xxi. Mill. Prolegom, n. 8. * See him upon the place. * Wolf, curae in loc. Fabric. Cod. Apocr. N. T. p. 918, &c.
“I have written to you in this epistle.” So " Theodoret, "Theophylact, and W Photius in OEcumenius. They suppose that the apostle here refers to somewhat before said by him in the same epistle, and in this very chapter, ver, 2, or 6, 7. And that hereby is meant this epistle, seems to me very evident. That interpretation suits the words. . And there are divers other places, where the same phrase is, and must be so rendered, Rom. xvi. 22, “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle,” O pay as Tm vertotoMov. 1 Thess. v. 27. I charge you by the Lord, that this epistle “be read unto all the holy brethren,” avaqvvo.6m vat tmw eTwo town v. 7 a.o. Tots aquous. And I Thess. iv. 6, “That no man go beyond, and defraud his brother in any matter:” or “in this matter,” on virepBauvetv cat TNeoverteuvev Tig Tpaquatt Tov ačexpov avors.” Fabricius says, the y words, “I have written unto you,” may be understood as equivalent to, “I do write.” And it may be remembered, that * some while ago I quoted an ancient writer, who gives this interpretation, ““I * have ‘ written unto you,”’ that is, ‘ I write.” And intending, I think, somewhat to be afterwards said by the apostle in this epistle: which appears to me to be right. Many like instances might be alleged. I shall put in the margin some passages" from A. Gellius, where it is said: ‘I have sub
* Ovic ev ax\g, a\A' ev Tavry. IIpo 8paxsov Yap son' Ovk oudars, ārt pukpa &vpun öNov to pupapa Zuplot; Theod, in loc. * Ev troug Etruoro&g : Ev avry tavry. Ezreton Yap surrey avorspo, ört ekkabaparé rmv Taxatav Zvumv, rov tropwevkota, Ög 6sönkwral, awurrousvog, ël’ oi sãm\8to ro pun ovvapuyvvoffat Tropwoug' towg introvomoav av Štu travrov rov tropwov, rat row trap''EX\mat xwpt.800at 68t. 'Eppinvevel towvy tript trowy trapmy yet)\s. Theoph. in. loc. " IIs sypassy; Ev Óug Meyev, kat 8xt max\ov strev6maars, k. A. Kat TraMivekka.0apars rmv traXavav čvpumv, K. A. Toug tropwoug Ta koope tars..] Iva pin vogtowow, opsi\eiv kat roug rav ENAmvov tropwoog pun ovvapuyvvoôat, Örsp my advvarov roug roMyotksot, Ötop9erat avro. Apud. CEcum. in. loc. * I might refer to many other texts of scripture, and to passages of other Writers, Matt. xxvii. 8. swg rmg onuspov. xxviii. 15.--pexpt rmg ampspov. —Apoc. i. 3. Kat of arsovreg rec Aoyec rmg trpopmrsiac. Idest, ravrng Tpopm retaç, quomodo accepit Latinus. Grot. in loc. So Liban. ep. 1174. p. 558. EusXAs pew, kat un öovrog pa rmv striso}\mv, K. A. Etiamsi ego has literas non scripsissem. Ep. 1177, p. 559. Kat pany raksivo 6m Mov, Ört so atroXavost rmg trapa as trpovouac, puera rmv striso}\my—post traditas has it era.S, e * Possunt etiam verba, sypala juv, reddi, ‘scribo vobis,' &c. Bib. Gr. 1. 4. cap. v. tom. III. p. 154. * See Vol. v. p. 58; See likewise Vol. iv. p. 592. * “Scripsi vobis.'] Pro scribo. Wel ideo praeteritum dicit, quia, cum legeretur, tempus scribendi praeteritum esset. Sedul. Comm. in loc. Ap, PP Lugd. T. VI. p. 540. C. * Verba Varronis subjeci. A. Gell. Noct. Att. 1, 2 cap. 20.
“joined the words of Varro :’ that is, I shall subjoin them. In another place, ‘ I have transcribed the words of Plu* tarch.” And in like manner often : when the words of an author had not yet been transcribed, but were to be transcribed soon after. In John iv. 38, our Lord says to the disciples: “I sent you to reap that whereon ye have bestowed no labour.” Nevertheless the disciples had not yet been sent forth by him. But knowing what he designed to do, and also knowing before-hand what would be the circumstances of their mission, he says to them : “When I shall send you to “ preach the gospel, you will find the case to be as I now “represent it.’ In like manner St. Paul, having in his mind the whole plan of the epistle which he was writing, and considering some directions which he should give in the remaining part of the epistle, says: “I have written unto you.” . If it be asked, where are those directions ! I answer: I think they are in the tenth chapter of this epistle, where the apostle cautions against idolatry, and dangerous temptations to it, and against doing what might be understood to be religious communion with idols and idolaters. These things I apprehend the apostle then had in his mind. What he says therefore here in ch. v. 9, 10, 11, is to this purpose: “I shall in this epistle deliver some cau‘tions against a dangerous and offensive intimacy with ‘ idolaters: but when I do so, it is not my intention to “prohibit all civil commerce with Gentile people, “who * are fornicators, or covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters.” * For at that rate you could not live in the world. But “here I am speaking of such as are professed christians. * “And I have now written unto you,” that is, I now charge “you, and require it of you : “If any man called a bro“ther,” a professed christian, “be a fornicator, or covetous, “ or an idolater, or an extortioner, with such an one, no not “to eat:” that is, not to have any conversation with him.’ Compare 2 Thess. iii. 14, 15. That appears to me the most probable account of this text. But if any hesitate about the reference to a place that follows in the remaining part of the epistle, I still Propterea verba Atteii Capitonis ex quinto Librorum, quos de Pontificio Jure composuit, Scripsi. Ib. 1. 4. cap. 6. Verba ipsa Plutarchi, quoniam resinopinata est, Subscripsi. Ib. cap. 12. Ex quo libro plura verba adscripsimus, ut simul ibidem, quid ipse inter res gestas et annales esse dixerit, ostenderemus. Ib. l. 5. cap. 18.
Ipsa autem verba Chrysippi, quantum valui, memoria adscripsi——In libro enim rept trpovolac quarto dicit.——Ib. 1.6, cap. 2.
hope I may insist upon it, that ev 7) estaTown, which we have rendered in an epistle, does, and must signify, “ in this “ epistle.’ 5. 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16, “And account, that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation: even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, has written unto you.” Hence it is argued, that “ St Paul wrote several letters to the dispersed Jews, which are now lost. I answer, that this argument depends upon the supposition, that the epistles of St. Peter were sent to believing Jews: which is far from being certain. It is more probable, as was " formerly shown, that St. Peter's epistles were sent to believing Gentiles in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, or to all christians in general in those countries. To which christians Paul had indeed sent several letters. To them were sent his epistles to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians. To which might be added, his two epistles to Timothy, then residing at Ephesus, the chief city of Asia. To these, and other epistles of the apostle Paul, St. Peter might refer. Nor can I see any reason at all to doubt, whether the epistles of Paul, intended by St. Peter, are not still in being. 6. 3 John, ver. 9, “ I wrote unto the church.” Hence * some have argued, that St. John wrote an epistle to the church, where Diotrephes affected to have pre-eminence, which is now lost. Indeed this text has exercised the thoughts of many critics, as may be seen in Wolfii Curae. However, the words may be translated thus: “I had written,” or “I would have written to the church.” This version has been approved by f some. And to me it appears very right. If this interpretation be admitted, there is no reason to conclude, that 3 any writing of St. John has been lost.
° S. Petrus, 2 ep. iii. 15, 16, plures literas ad dispersos Hebraeos allegat, quae jam dudum periere. Neque enim, uti Millius putavit, f. x. col. 2. hic citatur epistola ad Hebræos, quae exstat, &c. Pfaff ubi supra, p. 47. Conf Ens, ubi supra. Sect. xxxvi. xxxvii. p. 53, 54.
* See before, p. 26.1, &c.
* Eodem modo et literae S. Joannis ad ecclesiam, in quâ Diotrephes 6 pi\otrowreviov erat, scriptae et 3 Joh. ver, 9, memoratae, periere. Pfaff. ib. p. 47. f See Whitby upon the place, and Dr. Benson. And see before, p. 292, note ".
& “Some would from hence gather, that St. John wrote an epistle which is * now lost. But the primitive christians were not so careless about preserving ‘the apostolic writings. There is not the least hint among the ancients, that “there ever was such an epistle. And the apostle's words, in this place, are “fairly capable of another interpretation.”—Dr. Benson upon the place, p.703.