« AnteriorContinuar »
other considerations are not wanting to counterbalance it, may not be allowed to carry decisive weight in settling so complex a question as that of its authorship.
s. 2. Out of the notion (first briefly started by Luther, in GENES. xlviii. 20., and lately much favoured abroad) that Apollos might be the author, a different idea has arisen in my mind; an idea, original perhaps, and yet not beyond the range of probability, which would discover the commissioned bearers of it to the Hebrews in Judea.
In ACTS xviii. 24...28. Apollos, we are told, being an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, passed over from Ephesus to Corinth; and there mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, showing by the Scriptures, that Jesus was Christ, the Messiah. Ir therefore at a later day any man but St. Paul could be the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, or if the hand of any other man could be employed under his direction to write it, Apollos, it must be allowed, was altogether peculiarly qualified for that purpose.
And for such a sacred purpose, why should we doubt or deny, that a guiding inspiration might be given to the pen of such a writer?
But, at all events, if to secure for that great doctrinal argument a favourable reception with the Hebrews addressed as such, it was necessary somehow to introduce the epistle in the first instance and try its effect, without declaring St. Paul to be the author of it; no Christian brother was more likely, with pleasing eloquence and in a conciliatory spirit, to deliver and recommend it to an audience of learned Jews, than Apollos.
Under this latter impression, especially, I have been sometimes inclined to fancy, that we have an unexplained text ready to bear application to that very end. And
if any calculation of time, place, and circumstance, in these matters, would otherwise allow, it has struck my mind to interpret the following words of Paul to Titus, as of much more distinct importance than at first sight may be thought:
TIT. iii. 13. Bring (or forward) Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
Now, as it is very clear that so critical a task as that of presenting the epistle without its writer's name, would never be consigned to any common messenger, we may well suppose, that St. Paul would select the most intelligent of his friends and followers to be authorised and instructed accordingly.
Here, then, we have Apollos eminently accomplished and zealous in the cause, with Zenas the lawyer (interpreter and teacher of the law), announced as on some important mission from St. Paul; and they are particularly commended to Titus to be by him forwarded from Crete with all possible diligence, more probably, at least, to the coast of Palestine than to any other that can be named.
THE PRINCIPAL PERSONS AND PLACES
THE CONTINUOUS HISTORY.
APOLLOS, native of Alexandria.
i. His name first appears in that digression assigned to it,
ii. Where after being for some time a faithful minister
iii. That he might be no longer the cause of religious di-
v. Till in the Epistle to TITUs, iii. 13., and engaged in
N.B. On the name of Apollos, as possibly requiring to be connected with the Epistle to the Hebrews, vide Appendix G, pp. 187, 8.
AQUILA and PRISCILLA,
Remarkable Jews of the dispersion.
i. Aquila, A. xviii. 1. ...born in Pontus, afterwards settled at Rome,
But driven from thence with his wife Priscilla by the edict of Claudius, and settled in Corinth, where Paul abode and wrought with them, being tent-makers.
ii. A. xviii. 18, 19. Paul, on leaving Corinth, took them with him to Ephesus; where, after Paul's departure, they had the opportunity, ibid. 26., to instruct Apollos in the Christian revelation, which he had known but imperfectly before.
iii. They stayed there till Paul's second visit to that city, A. xix. 1., when in writing to the Corinthians, 1 COR. xvi. 19., he says, "Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house."
iv. After that date, and during the interval (H. P. 17, 18.) of Paul's travelling elsewhere, A. xx. 1, 2., there appears time quite sufficient for them both to have gone to Rome and to have been heard of as resident there;
v. When Paul at Corinth, A. xx. 2, 3., in writing to the Romans, ROM. xvi. 3., mentions them with particular kindness. "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus," &c. pp. 68, 9. of this work.
vi. Finally, it seems probable, that they settled at Ephesus or near that city; as may be gathered from the salutation to them, 2 TIM. iv. 19., along with Onesiphorus's household certainly at Ephesus; which Timothy, on his then arranged visit to Ephesus, was instructed to deliver.
When we survey these different movements, in the personal history of Aquila and Priscilla, it is obvious to remark, that by means such as these a very extensive intelligence would
easily be carried on through different parts of the Roman world; while to the intercourse of Christian brethren and Christian churches, that facility and frequency of communication must have proved highly favourable. The readiness with which Aquila and Priscilla in particular moved from one distant place to another, and the thanks which "all the churches of the Gentiles," ROM. xvi. 4., gave to them, taken together, may seem to indicate, that Aquila's working with his own hands, A. xviii. 3., was only a temporary exigency, to a man otherwise not poor and most certainly generous.
ERASTUS, the Corinthian.
The name of Erastus occurs in the following passages,
i. To account for Erastus, A. xix. 22., being now found in Asia, it is fairly supposed, at A. xviii. 18. p. 52., that on St. Paul's then leaving Corinth, both Timothy and Erastus (as being mentioned conjointly, A. xix. 22.) bore him company from thence, A. xviii. 22., to Jerusalem and to Antioch, and so, on his Third Progress, xix. 1., to Ephesus also.
This opinion of the early day at which Erastus first joined the apostle, I now consider as marked with the highest probability: the notion of his having afterwards been one in the deputation from Corinth, pp. 61, 2., is highly improbable.
However that may be, Erastus along with Timothy was now sent from Ephesus by Paul on a preparatory mission to Philippi; and as it appears (2 COR. i. 1.) that Timothy was still in Macedonia when Paul arrived, Erastus also might still be there. In that case, they would both minister (Timothy certainly did) unto the apostle, during his travels in the northwest of Greece, A. xx. 2., till on his return he reached the capital of Achaia.
ii. Roм. xvi. 23. At all events, when Paul, soon after writing from Corinth, concludes his Epistle to the Romans, "Erastus, the chamberlain of the city," he says, "saluteth