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man's foundation. Now, therefore, vv. 19. 23., after he had fully preached the gospel wherever he could do so without intruding on the province of any other man, from Jerusalem even unto Illyricum; when he had no more place for such labour in those parts, he naturally turned his thoughts at length to a new and yet more distant field for evangelic cultivation. And having for many years, v. 23., entertained a great desire to come unto the brethren at Rome, the apostle now declares, that in case of his taking the journey which he had meditated into Spain, he would see them in the way, hoping for their assistance also to forward him thither.
What knowledge of facts, it may here be asked, and, humanly speaking, what encouragement, could have impelled the apostle, when at Corinth, to think of so extraordinary an enterprise ? For the name of Spain, be it remembered, except in Rom. xv. 24. 28., is never once mentioned in the sacred volume; and in that enumeration of Jews at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, A. ii. 5., though they are said to be “out of every nation under heaven,” strangers from Spain there are none. And yet it must have been in the prospect of finding some of the children of Israel established on that coast, that agreeably to his line of procedure every where else Paul would ever have thought of commencing to preach the gospel in Spain.
Only suppose him once to have known of any settlement of Jews in that country: and their very remoteness and destitution would form, to a spirit of Christian heroism like his, a sufficient motive to go there and offer to them, in the first instance, his “ kinsmen according to the flesh,” the glad tidings of salvation through the name of Christ Jesus.
Fortunately, then, we possess in the persons of Aquila and Priscilla, early sojourners in Rome, A. xviii. 2., peculiar advantage from that position for their knowing the existence and state of their Jewish brethren on the coast of Spain, and from their afterwards meeting Paul at Corinth, the certainty that he might profit by their intelligence. Then, too, at the very time that he wrote thus to the Roman church, Aquila and Priscilla were once more domiciled in that city; and to them, his “helpers in Christ Jesus,” if he had gone to Rome, he would have immediately betaken himself.
By the kind information of Professor Hyman Hurwitz, I am enabled also to state it as the opinion of many learned men of his nation, that there were Jews in Spain long prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, and that many of the Jews brought by Pompey to Rome had found their way into that country either as slaves or as free men for the sake of commerce.
Thus much for the apostolic journey as originally projected. That is, we are quite satisfied, and readily concede, that after his last recorded visit to Jerusalem, had he not been apprehended there, St. Paul might have immediately set off for Rome; and when he had first been “ somewhat filled with the company” of the brethren there, Rom. xv. 24., by the co-operation of Aquila and Priscilla amongst others, he might have been forwarded to some known settlement of Jews on the eastern coast of Spain.
But what is gained by this concession? Does it follow, that under a total change of circumstances when five years had elapsed, he was then bound to carry such a design into execution ? If so, some definite time must be fixed for it. After liberation from his first in prisonment at Rome? The sacred narrative, as developed in these pages, forbids that idea. On his return from what is here called the Fourth Progress, and before his second imprisonment? The developement of the period connected with that event equally excludes any such supposition.
Waiving the farther consideration of internal evidence from the Acts, which never mention Spain, and from the seven latest epistles which are utterly silent on the subject, let us pass at once to the testimony which authors of a subsequent age bear to the negative or the affirmative side of the question.
I assert, then, without fear of contradiction, that down to the time of Eusebius inclusive, no writer (except it be Caius the Presbyter, to whom the Note II., at the close of this, shall be devoted,) can be produced as vouching for the fact of Paul's journey to Spain.
In the very first rank of authors quoted to prove the
affirmative, Clemens, long after his own time for distinction surnamed Romanus, has been brought forward, as affording indisputable testimony to the fact in question; whereas the famous passage in s. 5., from that Epistle to the Corinthians, if the common principles of interpretation be followed, affords the strongest evidence which all but direct negation can supply, to the contrary.
Here, then, is the original Greek, with the lacunæ in the text, as filled up by Patricius Junius, the first editor,
Δια ζήλον ο Παύλος υπομονής βραβείον απέσχεν, επτάκις δεσμά φορέσας, παιδευθείς, λιθασθείς, 1. κήρυξ γενόμενος έν τε τη ανατολή και εν τη δύσει,
, 2. το γενναίον της πίστεως αυτού κλέος έλαβεν, 3. δικαιοσύνην διδάξας όλον τον κόσμον, , 4. και επί το τέρμα της δύσεως ελθών, , 5. και μαρτυρήσας επί των ηγουμένων,
6. ούτως απηλλάγη του κόσμου, , και εις τον άγιον τόπον επορεύθη, υπομονής γενόμενος μέγιστος υπογραμμός. .
And here is the plain English of it, Through bigotry, Paul obtained the reward of longsuffering After seven times wearing bonds, after being scourged, after being stoned.
1. after preaching the gospel in the East and in the West, 2. he received the glorious renown due to his faith : 3. having taught righteousness to the whole world, 4. and having gone to the limit of the West,
5. and having born his testimony (as a martyr) before the governors,
6. he then departed out of this world, and went his way to that holy place, after having exhibited in his
person the greatest pattern of patient endurance.
Now what I maintain without scruple, is this : that the local designation in line 4. must, in natural continuity of sense, be taken as that also of line 5. And since, in line 5., the scene intended must be the city of Rome, no other meaning in the natural construction of sentences can be given to
line 4. which immediately precedes it. The two lines will then be thus translated,
4. having gone to the limit of the West, i.e. Rome, 5. and having borne his testimony,
i.e. been condemned as a martyr, before the governors there. Or to fix more clearly still the just apprehension of the whole matter: if the Greek words in line 4. were calculated (which I deny) to suggest the idea of Spain from the pen of Clemens, then to prevent Spain from being taken as the locality of martyrdom also in line 5., completeness of sense would demand some addition to the following effect. Less than this would not suffice :4. και επί το τέρμα της δύσεως ελθών,
and having gone to the extremity of the West, to Spain, εκείθεν δε υποστρέψας,
and having returned from thence, from Spain, 5. είτα μαρτυρήσας επί των ηγουμένων, after that having been condemned before the governors as a martyr in Rome, &c. &c.
The objection thus developed, which lies against the formality of the expression, as showing that the language is deficient for the purpose, might of itself go near to settle the point at issue.
But a stronger remark, more substantially affecting the question, is in reserve.
Neither Clemens could intend, nor could the Corinthians understand in those words of line 4. that Spain was signified.
East and West are relative terms, which can only be understood by ascertaining the point of reference in the mind of the speaker; as that again must be determined by knowing him and his notions on the subject, the notions also of the persons addressed, and even those of the parties who are the subjects of discourse.
Keeping all this in mind, we may fairly ask, When Clemens, himself more an eastern than a western, writes concerning Paul, whose chief labours had lain in the East, to the Corinthians, whose position naturally gave them an eastward inclination; would those Corinthians, on reading the passage here exhibited, without any significant hint from the context, discover in the words επί το τέρμα της δύσεως, that not imperial Rome, but some obscure spot in remote Spain, was there intended ? All circumstances fully taken into consideration, I affirm that they could not so understand the language of Clemens; nor if such had been his meaning in writing to them, could he ever have left it in words of such inevitable uncertainty. Spain was very little likely to be known or thought of, on the coasts of the Ægean sea : Rome must have formed the limit of their general acquaintance with the West.
Briefly, then, and to conclude this part of the discussion, Clemens, heretofore the “ fellow-labourer” of the now sainted apostle, could hardly fail to determine the extreme points of his travels in the way in which they stood actually recorded. By the terms in line 1., έν τε τη ανατολή και εν τη δύσει,
, Clemens would probably allude to Paul's own designation,
Rom. xv. 19. From JERUSALEM, and round about unto ILLYRICUM, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And in using the stronger phrase in line 4.,
επί το τέρμα της δύσεως, , it is likely enough, that he had in mind that memorable passage of the Acts,
xxiii. 11. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul; for as thou hast testified of me in JERUSALEM, so must thou bear witness also at ROME.
Those cities, indeed, we may consider as the two limits divinely marked for the apostolic missions of Paul. Spain, after all, was only the occasional object of thought to the apostle: no authority from his divine Master appears to have directed him to any such enterprise.
When I said that to the time of Eusebius inclusive, no writer (except Caius the presbyter, who shall be duely estic