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Epiphanius, and Jerome, be objected as of somewhat earlier date and authority than that of Chrysostom, I am duely aware, from a work (of the 16th century) reprinted at Chichester in 1819, by the late venerable Bishop Burgess,
De Pauli apostoli itinere in Hispaniam
Disputationes duæ, auctore Pererio Valentino, that those writers are there so quoted; and I do not mean to deny that they have in the main been quoted truely. But I confidently maintain that after the time of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, mere obiter assertions of Paul having gone into Spain are entitled to no serious regard; as having originated much in the same way, in which, it is here conjectured, the mind of Chrysostom might have conceived that splendid dea, if he had not caught it from the suggestion of others.
On the supposed Authority of Caius, the Presbyter.
In the Reliquiæ Sacræ of the learned and excellent Dr. Routh, vol. iv. pp. 1...37., there is given Fragmentum incerti auctoris de canone S. Scripturarum, with large annotations from the pen of Dr. Routh, and including extracts from Muratori, its first editor, and from Freindaller, its latest.
That paragraph of the fragment, p. 4., which begins “ Acta autem omnium apostolorum ... seems to have been welcomed as strongly contributing to establish for a fact profectionem Pauli ab urbe ad Spaniam proficiscentis.” Those words are decisively so considered by Mr. Greswell, Dissertations, &c., vol. iv. pp. 225, 6.
My objections to the validity of such inference from such authority are the following, stated with as much brevity, as the case will allow, to those readers who have Dr. Routh's book before them.
That paragraph, then, as it now stands, attributes to St. Luke in the Acts a declaration of the martyrdom of St. Peter, for which the editor refers, in the Note, to John xxi. 18, 19., as if that were its verification ; and for the journey of St. Paul to Spain, which also St. Luke is affirmed to have declared, the editor refers to Rom. xv. 24. 28., as if that afforded the satisfaction required.
Now is it possible, let me ask, that he who originally wrote thus, if such indeed was his meaning, could have been himself an intelligent man? Or if intelligence be allowed in the first instance to the writer, are we not driven to conclude, that the original manuscript must have suffered strange corruption in the hands of its several transcribers, to exhibit such striking signs of error and obscurity as it now does ?
For argument's sake, let us overlook what is thus grossly objectionable, and let us concede that the passage, even as it stands, records an early opinion in favour of St. Paul's having travelled into Spain. What is the whole amount of its value, taken at the highest, at Muratori's own estimate? but that Caius the presbyter, at the close of the second century, was author of the fragment, and in those words delivered his own belief of the journey alluded to.
Even so much concession of its being genuine and true would still carry little weight in the balance against other facts and considerations, which are here advanced on the con
But fortunately, perhaps, a clue seems to be afforded by internal evidence at once to account for that opinion of the anonymous writer, and to show the invalidity of its foundation. The editor of the fragment, at pp. 4, 5., on the paragraph which follows that already mentioned, clearly indicates, that he understood the principal epistles of St. Paul to have been taken by the author of it in this order of succession : to the Corinthians in the first, to the Romans in the seventh and last place of the whole !
Therefore, Caius the presbyter (or whoever it was else) if he proceeded at all logically on that calculation to its natural consequences, must have imagined that only a short interval before St. Paul's coming as a prisoner to Rome, preceded the declaration (Rom. xv. 24. 28.) of his design to visit Spain, and that the very first step which he took after his deliverance, would be to execute that intention.
From false premises thus assumed (in common with others, perhaps,) by the author of that fragment, the false conclusion would follow naturally enough, that Paul did accomplish the purpose which, under those circumstances, he had announced. And on this easy hypothesis, with so much gross neglect of apostolic chronology, besides other points of ignorance alleged against him by his own editors, the erroneous imagination of that author may, I think, be fairly accounted for, reducing the value of his authority in the scale to very little above nothing.
And no consideration, let me add, but that of very deep and sincere respect for the names mingled up with this question, could have induced me to bestow on the point before us a serious and continued attention, far beyond what, from its own merits, it might otherwise demand.
Which, from the conjecture on Titus iii. 13. in s.2.,
may be assigned to p. 123. of this work.
s. 1. On the Epistle to the Hebrews. s. 2. On the two persons who might have been the
bearers of it.
s. 1. In the title to his HORÆ PAULINÆ, Dr. Paley distinctly says, The Truth of the Scripture History of St. Paul, evinced by a comparison of the Epistles which bear his name, &c.; and immediately in the Exposition of the argument, he says again, The volume of Christian Scriptures contains thirteen Letters purporting to be
pp. 70, 1.
written by St. Paul. The Epistle to the Hebrews, which certainly does not bear his name as the other epistles bear it, is thus excluded by Dr. Paley from that catalogue: which exclusion must, then, have arisen from some want of clear and entire satisfaction in his mind as to its having been the genuine or the direct work of St. Paul.
In his Evidences of Christianity, published four years after the HoRÆ PAULINÆ, Dr. Paley speaks more explicitly. “I allege this epistle [to the Hebrews] without hesitation : for, whatever doubts may have been raised about its author, there can be none concerning the age in which it was written. No epistle in the collection carries about it more indubitable marks of antiquity, than this does,” &c. &c. NOTE.
Edit. 1825. After all the doubts, however, and disquisitions which have arisen on this subject, and notwithstanding what must always be felt, the marked difference of style and manner which distinguishes that from the other writings of the apostle ; I yet very sincerely receive the Epistle to the Hebrews as essentially stamped with the apostolic authority of St. Paul himself.
That it should wear so much the character of an argumentative discourse and so little present that of an epistolary address, is, at all events, the natural consequence of its immediate object, to reason on the high mission and divine nature of our blessed Lord with the Hebrew Christians from their own sacred books : to which Hebrew Christians, however, generally speaking, St. Paul had become more or less obnoxious, as the apostle of the Gentiles, and the assertor of their evangelical liberty.
The greater part of that class of men would of course be strangers to the person of St. Paul : and yet some of them could hardly fail to recognise the writer, towards the close of the epistle, when he acknowledges the compassion which they had shown to him in his bonds, x. 33, 4., while at Cesarea apparently, and the joyful contribution of their goods to the relief of his necessities there.
Writing in a situation so very peculiar, though St. Paul did not like immediately to avow himself as the author, yet, from other indications of a personal nature, it may appear, that he did not ultimately intend to disavow it or to conceal himself. Two passages, pointed out as very decisive, are the following:
xiii. 19. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. - 23. Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty ; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
But, singularly enough, although those passages might be sufficiently clear at the time of writing, in the present day, it must be confessed, some ambiguity hangs on both of them : for neither does the one Greek word in v. 19., &TOXATArTalô, belong to the phraseology of St. Paul, nor can the other, v. 23., åtonerup évov, be so certainly claimed, in that signification, as entirely to forbid a different meaning which the context does not exclude, being allowed by his friends to depart.
It may not, however, be impertinent or unprofitable to remark, that for establishing the great point proposed in the H. P., even if the Epistle to the Hebrews had been always received as from the pen of St. Paul, still it could not be made tributary to the purpose of Dr. Paley ; from its being necessarily destitute of those many references to places, persons, and facts, materials, so richly found in the thirteen epistles, to show undesigned coincidence with the Acts. But then this acknowledged peculiarity in that epistle, so long as