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gards what he writes as a compojition, which the author of a forgery would, of all others, be the firft to do, notions of order, in the arrangement and fucceffion of his thoughts, prefent themfelves to his judgment, and guide his pen.
Chap. i. ver. 15, 16. "This is a faithful "faying, and worthy of all acceptation, ** that Chrift Jefus eame into the world to ** fave tinners, of whom I am chief. How"beit, for this caufe I obtained mercy, that "in me firft Jefus Chrift might fhew forth '* all long-fuffering, for a pattern to them *' which mould hereafter believe in him to "life everlafting."
What was the mercy which St. Paul here commemorates, and what was the crime of which he accufes himfelf, is apparent from the verfes immediately preceding: "I thank Chrift Jefus, our Lord, who "hath enabled me, for that he counted me "faithful, putting me into the miniftry, ** who tvas before a blafphemer, anda perfe
** cutor and injurious; but I obtained mercy•, "becaufe I did it ignorantly in unbelief" (ch. i. ver. 12, 13). The whole quotation plainly refers to St. Paul's original enmity to the Chriftian name, the interpofition of providence in his converfion, and his fubfequent defignation to the miniftry of the gofpel; and by this reference affirms indeed the fubftance of the apoftle's hiftory delivered in the Acts. But what in the paffage ftrikes my mind moft powerfully, is the obfervation that is raifed out of the' faft: "For this caufe I obtained mercy, "that in me firft Jefus Chrift might fhew "forth all long-fuffering, for a pattern to ,** them which fhould hereafter believe on "him to life everlafting." It is a juft and fblemn reflexion, fpringing from the circumftances of the author's converfion, or rather from the impreffion which that great event had left upon his memory. It will be faid, perhaps, that an impoftor, acquainted with St. Paul's hiftory, may have put fuch a fentiment into his mouth; or, what is the fame thing, into a letter drawn up in his name. But where, we may aik, is fuch an impofZ tor
tor to be found? The piety, the truth, the benevolence of the thought ought to protect it from this imputation. For, though we fhould allow that one of the great mafters of the ancient tragedy could have given to his fcene a fentiment as virtuous and as elevated as this is, and, at the fame time as appropriate, and as well fuited to the particular fituation of the perfon who delivers it; yet whoever is converfant in thefe enquiries will acknowledge, that to do this in a fictitious production is beyond the reach of the underftandings which have been employed upon any fabrications that have come down to us under Chriftian names.
CHAP. CHAP. XII.
THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.
IT was the uniform tradition of the primitive church, that St. Paul vifited Rome twice, and twice there fuffered imprifonment; and that he was put to death at Rome at the conclufion of his fecond imprifonment. This opinion concerning St. Paul's two journeys to Rome, is confirmed by a great variety of hints and allufions in the epiftle before us, compared with what fell from the apoftle's pen in other letters purporting to have been written from Rome. That our prefent epiftle was written whilft St.Paul was apri/bner, is diftinctly intimated by the eighth verfe of the firft chapter: ** Be not thou therefore aihamed of the "teftimony of our Lord, nor of me his pri"foner." And whilft he was a prifoner at Rome, by the ilxteenth and feventeenth Z 2 verfes verfes of the fame chapter: ** The Lord > "give mercy unto the houfe of Onefipho"rus; for he oft refrefhed me, and was not "afhamed of my chain : but when he was "in Rome he fought me cut very dili"gently, and found me." Since it appears from the former quotation that St. Paul wrote this epiftle in confinement, it will hardly admit of doubt that the word chain, in the latter quotation, refers to that confinement; the chain by which he was then bound, the cuftody in which he was then kept. And if the word chain defignate the author's confinement at the time of writing the epiftle, the next words determine it to have been written from Rome: "He was "not afhamed of my chain; but when he "was in Rome he fought me out very diljtf gently." Now that it was not written during the apoftle's firfl imprifonment at Rome, or during the fame imprifonment i\\ which the epirtles to the Ephefians, the Coloffians, the Philippians, and Philemon, were written, may be gathered, with confiderable evidence, from a comparifon of thefe feveral epiflles with the preient.