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the error which we fuppofe to have crept into the infcription?
As our epiftle purports to have been written during St. Paul's imprifonment at Rome, which lies beyond the period, to which the Acts of the Apoftles brings up his hiftory; and as we have feen and acknowledged that the epiftle contains no reference to any tranfadtion at Ephefus during the apoftle's refidence in that city, we cannot expect that it fhould fupply many marks of agreement with the narrative. One coincidence however occurs, and a coincidence of that minute and lefs obvious kind, which, as hath been repeatedly obferved, is of all others the moft to be relied upon.
Chap. vi. ver. 19,20, we read, "praying "for me, that I may open my mouth boldly "to make known the myftery of the gofpel, "for which I am an ambaflador in bonds." "In bonds" ev aXvc.ei, in a chatty. In the twenty-eighth chapter of the Acts we are informed, that Paul, after his arrival at Rome, wasfufferedtodwellbyhimfelfwithafoldier,
that that kept him. Dr. Lardner has fhewn that this mode of cuftody was in ufe amongft the Romans, and that whenever it was adopted the prifoner was bound to* the foldier by a fingle chain; in reference to which St. Paul, in the twentieth verfe of this chapter, tells the Jews, whom he had affemblad, "For this caufe therefore have I called for '* you to fee you, and to fpeak with you, "becaufe that for the hope of Ifrael I am ** bound with this chain" ryv aXv<rw Tocvt^v •uregiKtipai. It is in exacT: conformity therefore with the truth of St. Paul's fituation at the time, that he declares of himfelf in the epiftle, T<rpe<r£evu ev aAy<re;. And the exa<!tnefs is the more remarkable, as xXu<ri? (a chain) is no where ufed in the fingular number to exprefs any other kind of cuftody. When the prifoner's hands or feet were bound to- • gether, the word was fair pot (bonds), as in the twenty.fixth chapter of the Afts, where Paul replies to Agrippa, "I would to God **' that not only thou, but alfo a.11 that hear me "this day, were both almoft and altogether ".fuch as I am, except thefe bonds" .zs.tx^KTuv fao.puv Tovtuv. When the prifoner
was confined between two ibldiers, as in the cafe of Peter, A£ts, chap. xii. ver. 6, two chains were employed; and it is faid, upon his miraculous deliverance, that the "chains" (<xXv<rei$, in the plural) " fell from his hands." Aao.poj the noun, and St<rput the verb, being general terms, were applicable to this in common wjth any other fpecies of perfonal coercion; but aXv<ris, in the fingular number, to none but this.
If it can be fufpe&ed that the writer of the prefent epiftle, who, in no other particular, appears to have availed himfelf of the information concerning St. Paul delivered in the A&s, had, in this verfe, borrowed the word, which he read in that book, and had adapted his expreffion to what he found there recorded of St. Paul's, treatment at Rome; in fhort, that the coincidence here noted was effected by craft and defign; I think it a ftrong reply to remark, that, in the parallel paffage of the epiftle to the Coloffians, the fame allufion is not preferved: the words there are, "praying alfo for us, "that God would open unto us a door of "utterance to fpeak the myftery of Chrifty
"for which / am alfo in bonds" & o &irfAui. After what has been fhewn in a preceding number, there can be little doubt but that thefe two epiftles were written by the fame perfon. If the writer, therefore, fought for, and fraudulently inferted, the correfpondency into.one epiftle, why did he not do it in the other? A real prifoner might ufe either general words which comprehended this amongft many other modes of cuftody; or might ufe appropriate words which fpecified this, and diftinguimed it from any other mode. It would be accidental which form ofexpreffionhefell upon. But an impoftor, who had the art, in one place, to employ the appropriate term for the purpofe of fraud, would have ufed it in both places.
THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS.
TY7HEN a tranfaction is referred to * • in fuch a manner, as that the reference is eafily and immediately underflood by thofe who are beforehand, or from other quarters, acquainted with the fact, but is obfcure, or inperfect, or requires inveftigation, or a comparifon of different parts, in order to be made clear to other readers, the tranfaction Ib referred to is probably real; becaufe had it been fictitious, the writer would have fet forth his ftory more fully and plainly, not merely as confcious of the fiction, but as confcious that his readers could have no other knowledge of the fubject of his allufion than from the information of which he put them in pofleffion.