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the firft epiftle the defcription of the coming of Chrift is accompanied with the mention of this very circumftance of his faints ** being collected round him." "The Lord ** himfelf fhall defcend from heaven with a ** fhout, with the voice of the archangel, and "with the trump of God, and the dead in "Chrift fhall rife firft; then we which are ** alive and remain fhall be caught up toge. ** ther with them in the clouds, to meet the "Lord in the air." i ThefT. chap. iv.' ver. 16, 17. This I fuppofe to be the " ga- . "thering together unto him" intended in the fecond epiflle; and that the author, when he ufed thefe words, retained in his thoughts what he had written on the fubjecT: before.
3. The fecond epiftle is written in the joint name of Paul, Silvanus, and Titnotheus, and it cautions the Theffalonians againft being mifled "by letter as from us*' (u; SI yptov). Do not thefe words * SI npuvj appropriate the reference to fome writing which bore the name of thefe three teachers? Now this circumftance, which is a very clofe one, belongs to the epiftle at Y *. prefent prefent in our hands; for the epiftle which we call the firft epiftle to the Theflalonians contains thefe names in its fuperfcription.
4. The words in the original, as far as they are material to be ftated, are thefe: ei; To Fmi Ttz.xfug <raXevdyvat vpct; U.tto Tv vov,
uyri Six TrveupotTo;, pijTe J Si eTruTToXys, u; $i yp<av, us on
Tv XpiiTTis. Under the weight of the preceding obfervations may not the words jitijre $tct Xoyx, Jmijte J/ iiriirToXi;;, a; & yftuv, be conftrued to (ignify quafi nos quid tale aut dixerimus aut fcripferimus*, intimating that their words had been miftaken, and that they had in truth faid or written no
* Should a contrary interpretation be preferred, I do not think that it implies the conclufion that a falfe epiftle had then been publifhed in the apoftle's name. It will completely fatisfy the allufion in the text to allow, that fome one or other at Theflalonica had pretended to have been told by St. Paul and his companions, or to have feen a letter from them, in which they had faid, that the day of Chrift was at hand. In like manner as Acts xv. I, 24, it is recorded that fome had pretended to have received inftruftions from the church at Jerufalem,
THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.
FROM the third verfe of the firft chapter, "as I befought thee to abide ftill at Ephefus when I went into Macedonia," it is evident that this epiftle was written foon after St. Paul had gone to Macedonia from Ephefus. Dr. Benfon fixes its date to the time of St. Paul's journey, recorded in the beginning of the twentieth chapter of the Acts: "And after the uproar (excited "by Demetrius at Ephefus) was ceafed, "Paul called unto him the difciples, and "embraced them, and departed for to go "into Macedonia." And in this opinion Dr. Benfon is followed by Michaelis, as he was
which had not been received "to whom they gave no "fuch commandment." And thus Dr. Benfon interpreted the paljage f/.im 6poii0.9ai, ^n &<* mnvfynot, Hute Sia, wirt & e?nr<^)];, u< 01 ypott "nor be difmayed by any revelation, or difcourfe, or epiftle, which anyone (hall pretend to have heard or received from us."
Y a: preceded preceded by the greater part of the commentators who have confidered the queftion. There is, however, one objection to the hypothefis which thefe learned men appear to me to have overlooked; and it is no other than this, that the fuperfcription of the fecond epiftle to the Corinthians feems to prove, that at the time St. Paul is fuppofed by them to have written this epiftle to Timothy, Timothy in truth was with St. Paul in Macedonia. Paul, as it is related in the Acts, left Ephefus "for to go into Mace"donia." When he had got into Macedonia he wrote his fecond epiftle to the Corinthians. Concerning this point there exifts little variety of opinion. It is plainly indicated by the contents of the epiftle. It is alfo ftrongly implied that the epiftle was written foon after the apoftle's arrival in' Macedonia; for he begins his letter by a train of reflection, referring to his perfecutions in Afia as to recent tranfactions, as to dangers from which he had lately been delivered. But in the falutation with which the epiftle opens Timothy is joined with St. Paul, and confequently could not
.at that time be " left behind at Ephefus." And as to the only folution of the difficulty which can be thought of, viz. that Timothy, though he was left behind at Ephefus upon St. Paul's departure from Afia, yet .might follow him fo foon after, as to come up with the apoftle in Macedonia, before he wrote h,is epiftle to the Corinthians; that fuppofition is inconfiftent with the terms and tenor of the epiftle throughout. For the writer fpeaks uniformly of his intention to return to Timothy at Ephefus, and not of his expecting Timothy to come to him in Macedonia: "Thefe things write I unto
"thee, hoping to come unto thee Jhortly, but "if I tarry long 'that thou mayeft know "how thou oughteft to behave thyfelf" (chap. iii. ver. 14, 15). 'fill I come give "attendance to reading, to exhortation, to "doctrine" (chap. iv. ver. 13).
Since, therefore, the leaving of Timothy behind at Ephefus, when Paul went into Macedonia, fuits not with any journey into Macedonia recorded in the Acts, I concur with Bifhop Pearfon in placing the date of this epiftle, and the journey referred to in Y 3" it,