« AnteriorContinuar »
been able to execute; and this feeming breach of his word, and the delay of his vifit, had, with fome who were evil affc&ed towards him, given birth to a fuggeftion that he would come no more to Corinth.
Chap. v. ver. 7, 8. "For even Chrift, "our pafibver, is facrificed for us; therefore "let us keep the feaft, not with old leaven, "neither with the leaven of malice and "wickednefs, but with the unleavened "bread of fincerity and truth."
Dr. Benfon tells us, that from this paflage, compared with chapter xvi. ver. 8, it has been conjectured that this epiftle was written about the time of the Jewifh paflbver; and to me the conjecture appears to be very well founded. The paflage to vrhich Dr. Benfon refers us is this: "I will tarry at Ephefus until Pentecoft." With this paffage he ought to have joined another in the fame context: "And it may be that I "will abide, yea and winter with you:" for, from the two paflages laid together, it follows that the epiftle was written before
Pentecoft, Pentecoft, yet after winter; which neceflarily determines the date to the part of the year, within which the paflbver falls. It was written before Pentecoft, becaufe he fays, " I will tarry at Ephefus until Pentecoft." It was written after winter, becaufe he tells them, "It may be that 1 may abide, yea, and winter with you." The winter which the apoftle purpofed to pafs at Corinth, was undoubtedly the winter next enfuing to the date of the epiftle; yet it was a winter fubfequent to the enfuing Pentecoft, becaufe he did not intend to fet forwards upon his journey till after that feaft. The words, " let us keep the feaft, "not with old leaven, neither with the lea** ven of malice and wickednefs, but with "the unleavened bread of fincerity and "truth," look very like words fuggefted by the feafon; at leaft they have, upon that fuppofition, a force and fignificancy which do not belong to them upon any other; and it is not a little remarkable, that the hints cafually dropped in the epiftle, concerning particular parts of the year, mould coincide with this fuppofition.
THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE
IWILJL< not fay that it is impofiible, having feen the firft Epiftle to the Corinthians, to conftruct a fecond with oftenfible allufions to the firfr.; or that it is impofiible that both fhould be fabricated, fo as to cany on an order and continuation of ftory, by fucceffive references to the fame events. But I fay, that this, in either cafe, muft be the effett of craft and defign. Whereas, whoever, examines the allufions to the former epifHe, which he finds in this, whilft he will acknowledge them to be fuch, as would rife Ipontaneoufly to the hand of the writer, from the very fubject of the correfpondence, and the fituation of the correfponding parties, fuppofing thefe to be real, will fee no particle of reafon to fufpect, either that the claufes containing thefe allu
fions were inferiions for the purpole, or that the feveral tranfa&ions of the Corinthian church were feigned, in order to form a train of narrative, or to fupport the appearance of connection between the two epiftles. I. In the firft epiftle, St. Paul announces his intention of pafling through Macedonia, in his way to Corinth: "I will come to you "when I fhall pafs through Macedonia.'* In the fecond epiftle, we find him arrived in Macedonia, and about topurfue his journey to Corinth. But obferve the manner in which this is made to appear: "I know "the forwardnefs of your mind, for which ** I boaft of you to them of Macedonia, "that Achaia was ready a year ago, and "your zeal had provoked very many: "yet have I fent the brethren, left our "boafting of you mould be in vain in this "behalf; that, as I faid, ye may be ready, "left haply, if they of Macedonia come "with me, and find you unprepared, we, "that we.fay not you, be aftiamed in this "fameconndent boafting''(chap.ix. 2,3,4). St. Paul's being in Macedonia at the time of writing the epiftle, is, in this paflage, inH 2 ferred ferred only from his faying, that he had boafted to the Macedonians of the alacrity of his Achaian converts; and the fear which he exprefles, left, if any of the Macedonian Chriftians fhould come with him unto Achaia, they fhould find his boafting unwarranted by the event. The bufinefs of the contribution is the fole caufe of mentioning Macedonia at all. Will it be infinuated that this paflage was framed merely to ftate that St. Paul was now in Macedonia; and, by that ftatement, to produce an apparent agreement with the purpofe of vifiting Macedonia, notified in the firft epiftle? Or will it be thought probable, that, if a fophift had meant to place St. Paul in, Macedonia, for the fake of giving countenance to his forgery, he would have done it in fo oblique a manner as through the medium of the contribution? The fame thing may be obferved of another text in the epiftle, in which the name of Macedonia occurs: "Furthermore, when I came "to Troas to preach the gofpel, and a door f * was opened unto me of the Lord, I had ?,* no reft in my fpirit, becaufe I found not