Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

However, he briefly considers, and answers the principal objections, taken from Eph. i. 15. iii. 2 and 4. As for any other arguments, he says, they are of too little moment to be opposed to the general consent of Christian writers. So that, says he, there is no reason, why we should doubt, whether this epistle was written to the Ephesians.

The other writer is Whitby, in his preface to this epistle. A part of which I cheerfully transcribe here. • That this epistle to the Ephesians was indeed written by St. Paul, and • directed to them, and not to any other church, we cannot doubt, if we believe either the * epistle, or Paul himself. For, first, it begins thus, “ Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ to the • saints which are at Ephesus.” And in this reading all the versions, and all the manuscripts

agree. Secondly, in the close of the epistle he speaks thus to them, “ That you may know • my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother, and faithful minister in the Lord, • shall make known unto you all things; whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose. • Ch. vi. 21, 22. And in the second epistle to Timothy, he says, “ Tychicus have I sent to

Ephesus.” 2 Tim. iv. 12. Moreover, thirdly, all antiquity agrees, that this epistle was written by Paul to the Ephesians.' And what follows.

Those arguments appear to me a sufficient defence of the present reading. Nevertheless the other opinion; contrary to Le Clerc's expectation, has of late much prevailed : as appears from the number of the patrons of it above named. And as the arguments of those two learned men, whose writings are well known, have not been judged satisfactory; there can be little reason to expect, that any thing said by me should be of much weight. And, indeed, it has sometimes happened, that certain opinions have had a run, and it has been in vain to oppose them : though afterwards they have fallen of themselves, being unsupported by any good evidence.

However, as a fair occasion offers, I shall enlarge upon the arguments just mentioned, in favour of the present reading in our Bibles. After which I will particularly consider the objections brought against it.

1. The present reading at the beginning of this epistle, “ to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus," is the reading of all Greek manuscripts, and of all ancient versions, the Latin, Syriac, Persic, Arabic, Ethiopic, and all others. It is altogether inconceivable, how there should have been such a general concurrence in this reading, if it had not been the original inscription of the epistle.

2. It may be argued from the epistle itself, that it was written to the Ephesians.

Says the apostle here, ch. ii. 19-22; “ Now therefore ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles, and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. In whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” It has been observed that · St. Paul frequently accommodates his style to the persons to whom he is writing. In the first epistle to Timothy, sent to him at Ephesus, he useth architect style. So particularly, ch. ii. 15. In like manner here the apostle may be well supposed to allude to the magnificent temple of Diana, on account of which the people of Ephesus much valued themselves, as appears from Acts xix. 27, 28, 34, 35.

I might, perhaps, refer likewise to ch. iii. 18, but forbear, it being an obscure text.

And that the epistle was sent, not to strangers, but to Christians, with whom the apostle was well acquainted, I suppose to be certain from internal characters. But the shewing that is deferred till by and by.

3. That this epistle was sent to the church at Ephesus, we are assured by the testimony of all catholic Christians in all past ages.

This we can now say with confidence, having examined the principal Christian writers from the first ages to the beginning of the twelfth century. In all which space of time there

of time there appears. not one who had any doubt about it.

The testimony of some of these is especially remarkable, on account of their early age, or their learning, or some other considerations.

One of them, remarkable for his early age, is Ignatius, who was bishop of Antioch in the latter part of the first, and the beginning of the second century, and suffered martyrdom at Rome in the year 107, or, as some think, in 116. In a letter of his to the Ephesians, written

• See Dr. Benson upon 1 Tim. iii. 15.

[ocr errors]

at Smyrna, as he was going from Antioch to Rome, he says, “Ye are the companions in the • mysteries of the gospel of Paul, the sanctified, the martyr- (or highly commended] deservedly • most happy, at whose feet may I be found, when I shall have attained unto God, who through' out all his epistle makes mention of you in Christ Jesus.'

He plainly nieans the epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, in which the apostle commends those Christians, and never blames them.

So I wrote in the first edition in 1734, when I collected the passages of Ignatius, bearing testimony to the books of the New Testament. Afterwards, in 1735, was published the letter above-mentioned at the end of the first edition of Dr. Benson's History of the first planting the Christian religion. Which occasioned my adding a note upon that quotation from Ignatius, at p. 154—156, of the second edition of the first volume of this work in 1748.

• The learned writer of that letter, instead of μνημονευει υμων would read μνημονευω υμων: - meaning that Ignatius himself mentioned the Ephesians in every epistle. In answer to which • I said, that conjecture appears to be without foundation : forasmuch as in all the editions of

Ignatius's epistles the verb is in the third person: not only in the Greek of the smaller epistles, · which I translate, but also in the old Latin version of the same small epistles. Qui in omni

epistola memoriam facit vestri in Jesu Christo. So likewise in the Greek'interpolated epistles, 6 and in the Latin version of the same. There is therefore no various reading. And a new *one ought not to be admitted, unless the sense should require it. Which it does not appear * to do here. For Ignatius is extolling the Ephesians. And one part of their glory is, that • the apostle throughout his epistle to them had treated them in an honourable manner.'

So I wrote in the note just referred to. And though that learned writer has been since pleased to publish a postscript to his letter, he has not produced any manuscript, or version of this epistle of Ignatius, where the verb is found in the first person.

However, in order to support his proposed reading he excepts to our interpreting the word pump oveue', of an honourable mention. In answer to which I did in the same note produce proof of the word's being used sometimes for an honourable, or affectionate mention or remembrance. And the noun uvmporuvcv, is evidently thrice used in the New Testament for an honourable memorial, Matt. xxvi. 13; Mark xiv. 9; Acts x. 4. Of these examples I have been reminded by a learned friend.

That learned author excepts likewise to our interpretation of ev FUCY ETISONN," throughout all his epistle," and would translate, “ who make mention of you in every epistle:” that is, as he understands it, Ignatius tells the Ephesians, to whom he is writing, that he made mention of them in every one of his epistles. În answer to which I said in the above-mentioned note, that Pearson had well defended the interpretation, for which we contend. And I alleged a part of the note of Cotelerius upon this passage of Ignatius. But by some means Valesius is printed there, instead of Cotelerius. •I now transcribe that note of Cotelerius at length. Frustra sunt, et Andabatarum more digladiantur viri literati, non videntes, ev TROY ETISORY esse in tota epistola, ad Ephesios nimirum scripta, quâ illos laudat valde, ac semper commendat, ut fuit ab Hieronymo observatum. And I shall place here two instances of the use of the word tac, which appear to me altogether similar, and therefore to the purpose. One is taken from the fifth chapter of Ignatius's epistle to the Ephesians, where he says, · If the prayer of one or two be • of such force, how much more that of the bishop, and the whole church. xal teous Exxayo HS The other is in St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, ch. ii. 21 ; “ In whom all the building, the whole building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple to God.” Ev w waca οικοδομη κ. λ.

Indeed, Ignatius has mentioned the Ephesians in every one of his epistles, except that to Polycarp. But it is very unlikely, that this should be his meaning here. He is extolling the Ephesians, as companions of Paul in the mysteries of the gospel, and the like. To say to them presently afterwards, and in the same period, that “ he made mertion of them in every one of his epistles," would have an appearance of much vanity: with which, I think, Ignatius was never charged. And at the same time it would be very flat and insipid. Moreover, it is observable, that this is not one of the last epistles, which Ignatius wrote. But, according to the order in which they are mentioned " by Eusebius, it is the very first of his seven epistles.

or

* Παυλά συμμωσαι το αγιασμεν8, το μεμαρτυρημεν8, αξιο- • Vid. Euseb. H. E. 1. 3. cap. 36, and this Work, Vol. i. μακαρισ8--- ος εν παση επιςολη μνημονευει υμων εν Χρισω 1778. Ignat. ep, ad Eph. cap. xii.

P. 314.

There is therefore no reason, why we should hesitate to admit the sense, in which this place has been generally understood by learned men.

We also find this sense in some ancient writers. Jerom observes, that a when the apostle wrote to the Corinthians, he had occasion to blame them for fornication, for strifes and contentions : but there is no fault found by him in the Ephesians. To the like purpose Primasius in * the preface to his Commentary upon St. Paul's epistles, and of his argument of the epistle to the Ephesians in particular.

So that either those ancient writers understood Ignatius, as we do, or else they were led by the epistle itself to form the same idea of it that we suppose him to have had.

What Ignatius means by the apostle's mentioning, or being mindful of the Ephesians throughout all his epistle to them, is happily explained by bishop Pearson ; whose words I shall transcribe below, as his work is not in every body's hands. Indeed this is a proper character of this epistle, as may be easily perceived. Nor did any of the ancients for that reason hesitate to allow, that it was sent to the church at Ephesus.

I hope, that I have now justified the present reading, and common interpretation of this passage of Ignatius.

The learned writer, with whom I have been arguing, concludes his postscript in this manner. • Should what has been offered not prove satisfactory, the difficulty will still remain, • how to reconcile the present reading in Ignatius, with Dr. Mill's reasons against St. Paul's

epistle being written to the Ephesians.- - The most plausible solution of which seems to be r that in Mr. Locke.' And what there follows to the end.

I think we should cheerfully accept of Mr. Locke's, or any other reasonable solution of the difficulty, if there be any. This, so far as I am able to judge, is better than to attempt the alteration of a passage in an ancient author, without the authority of any manuscript when there is nothing in the coherence, that necessarily requires it. And much better, than to alter a text of the New Testament, contrary to the authority of all manuscripts, and the concurring testimony of all ancient Christian writers.

Beside that passage, there are in Ignatius's epistle to the Ephesians, many allusions and references to St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. Which shews, that he believed that epistle to have been written to the church at Ephesus. Those allusions (though not all of them) were taken notice of by us long ago. And Dr. Jortin having observed, that' Ignatius in his twelfth chapter takes notice of St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, and his martyrdom, adds, · And as • he was writing to the same church, he often alludes to the apostle's letter to them.'

But there is one word in the twelfth chapter of Ignatius's epistle to the Ephesians, of which I have not yet taken sufficient notice. I mean the word guppivoci. “ Ye are,” says he, “ the companions of Paul in the mysteries of the gospel :” or, “ye are partakers of the mysteries of the gospel with Paul.” This is said out of a regard to St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. And it fully shews, that Ignatius thought that epistle to have been sent to the church, to which himself was then writing. For that is their distinguishing character: at least it is a character, which is more especially the character of the Christians, to whom that letter is written.

I formerly : gave an account of Palladius, author of a Dialogue of the Life of Chrysostom,

d

a Corinthii, in quibus audiebatur fornicatio, qualis nec inter

-quæ scripsit S. Ignatius, S. Paulum 'in totâ epistola gentes, lacte pascuntur, quia necdum poterant solidum cibum • memoriain eorum facere in Jesu Christo.' Hæc a martyre capere. Ephesii autem, in quibus nullum crimen arguitur, non otiose aut frigide, sed vere, imo signanter et vigilanter ab ipso Domino cælesti vescuntur pane, et sacramentum quod dicta sunt. Tota enim epistola, ad Ephesios scripta, ipsos a seculis absconditum fuerat agnoscunt. Ep. ad Marcell. Ephesios, eorumque honorem et curain maxime spectat, T. II. p. 628. ed. Martian animadvertat magnam inter et summe bonorificam eorum memoriam ad posteros transCorinthios et Ephesios esse distantiam. Illis quasi parvulis mittit. In aliis epistolis Apostolus eos, ad quos scribit, sæpe atque lactentibus scribitur : in quibus erant dissensiones, et acriter objurgataut parce laudat. Hic omnibus modis schismata, et audiebatur fornicatio, qualis ne inter gentes qui- perpetuo se Ephesiis applicat, illosque tamquam egregios dem.- Ephesii vero, apud quos fecit triennium, et omnia Christiavos tractat, evangelio salutis firmiter credentes, et Spieis Christi aperuit sacramenta, aliter erudiuntur, &c. In ep. ritu promissionis obsignatos, coucives sanctorum, et domestiad Eph. cap. v. T. IV. P. i. p. 389, 390.

cos Dei. Pro iis sepe ardenter orat, ipsos hortatur, obtestab Ephesii sane nullâ reprehensione, sed multâ sunt laude tur, laudat, utrumque sexum sedulo instruit, suum erga eos digni, quia fidem apostolicam servaverunt. Primas. Præf. ad singularem affectuin ubique prodit. Pearson. Vind. Ignat. Comm. in S. Pauli Ep. ap. Bib. P. P. T. X. p. 144. H. Part. 2. cap. x. sub init.

Ephesii sunt Asiani. Hi, accepto verbo, veritatis persti- e See Vol. i. p. 319, 320. terunt in fide. Hos conlaudat Apostolus, scribens eis Româ ! See the first volume of his remarks upon Ecclesiastical Arguin. ep. ad Eph. ib. p. 217. A.

History, p. 56.

& This Vol. p. 4. VOL. III.

e carcere,

2 Y

[ocr errors]

about the year 408. In that work Palladius has an argument, in which he observes, that Paul

had called the Cretan's liars, Tit. i. 12 ; the Galatians stupid, Gal. iii. 1; and the Corinthians • proud, 1 Cor. v. 2. On the other hand “ he calls the Romans faithful, the Ephesians uUGHI,

initiated, to whom also he writes in a sublime manner, and the Thessalonians lovers of the • brotherhood.'

When Palladius says, that St. Paul called the Romans faithful, it cannot be doubted, that he refers to Rom. i. 8. And when he says that the Thessalonians were called “ lovers of the brotherhood,” he must intend i Thess. iv. 9, 10. When he speaks of the Ephesians as “initiated,' it may not be so easy to determine the text particularly intended by him. But probably it is Eph. i. 9, or that joined with others, such as ch. iii. 3, 4-6, and 9, and v. 32, ch. vi. 19. For in this epistle the word “mystery occurs frequently.

However, hereby we are assured, that this was, especially, the character of the Christians at Ephesus. And we plainly perceive, that Ignatius supposed that epistle to have been written to them.

Nor will my readers, possibly, blame me for prolixity, if I here allege a passage of Jerom where he says, “That still there are in the churches remainders of the same virtues, or vices, • for which they were remarkable of old. The Romans are still faithful and devout, the Corin•thians proud, the Galatians stupid, the Thessalonians lovers of the brotherhood.' In that place Jerom says nothing particularly of the Ephesians. But in his Commentary upon the epistle to them he often observes, that no epistle of St. Paul was fuller of mysteries : which occasioned obscurity, and rendered it very difficult to be explained. And in a place already cited, he says of the Ephesians, that they had received the mystery hid from ages: that is, they were initiated, or were partakers of the mysteries of the gospel with Paul. And to the like purpose in several passages, just transcribed at the bottom of the

page. By all which, I think, it must appear very evident, that Ignatius supposed St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians to have been really written to them. And his judgment is decisive : for he could not be mistaken. So says the writer of the letter above-mentioned; whose words are these : • I have been the longer,' says he, upon these passages of Ignatius, by reason of the

weight his authority might justly claim in this case, was it certain, that he had spoken of this • epistle of Paul, as written by him to the Ephesians. For if this epistle was written in the ninth • year of Nero, and that of Ignatius in the tenth of Trajan, as bishop Pearson placeth them, the distance of Time will be but forty-five years. So that Ignatius being then far advanced in age, could not well be ignorant of the truth of this matter. And besides, Onesimus was bishop of Ephesus at the time Ignatius wrote his epistle to that church, is mentioned in it, and had lately • made Ignatius a visit. So that had there been any doubt concerning this affair, he could • easily have set him right.'

It might have been added, that Ignatius, at the time of his writing his epistle to the Ephesians, had with him Burrhus, a deacon of the church at Ephesus, and Crocus, Euphus, and Fronto, all members of the church at Ephesus, who were then with him at Smyrna. Who likewise, as may be supposed, afterwards carried his letter to Ephesus.

If therefore by what has been said it appears evident, that Ignatius has spoken of this epistle

6

αναπαλιν πιςος Ρωμαιες αποκαλων, και μυας ecclesiarum tam mystice scripserit, et abscondita seculis reveΕξεσιες, οις και υψηλοτερον επιςελλει, και φιλαδελφες Θεσσα- laverit sacramenta. Pr. 3. in ep. ad Eph. T. IV. p. 375. λονικείς, μονοις περιεγραψεν τας επαινες; 8 παντως. Pallad. Non vobis molestum sit, si diu in obscurioribus immoremur. ap. Chrys. T. XIII. p.71. E.

Causati enim in principio sumus, inter omnes Pauli epistolas, b Usque hodie eadem vel virtutum vestigia permanent, vel hanc vel maxime, et verbis et serisibus involutam. Comm. in errorum. Romanorum laudatur fides. Ubi alibi tanto studio ep. ad Eph. Ibid. p. 369. et frequentiâ ad ecclesias, et ad martyrum sepulcra concurri- Decenter quoque Ephesiis, qui ad scientiæ summam contur? -Non quod aliam habent Romani fidem, nişi hanc scenderant, scribitur, quod sint lux in Domino. In cap. v. quam omnes Christi ecclesiæ.; sed quod devotio in eis major p. 383. sit, et simplicitas ad credendum.-

Corinthios quoque notat,

Ephesii vero, apud quos fecit triennium, et omnia eis. quod indifferenter vescantur in templis, et inflati sapientiâ secu- Christi aperuit sacramenta, aliter erudiuntur. Ib. p. 390. Tari, resurrectionem carnis negant. Macedones in caritate Hæc idcirco universa replicuimus, ut ostenderemus, quare laudantur, et hospitalitate, ac susceptione fratrum. Unde ad apostolus in hac vel potissimum epistolâ obscuros sensus, et cos scribitur. • De caritate autem fraternitatis, non necesse ignota seculis sacramenta congesserit. Pr. i. in ep. ad Eph. ib. habemus scribere vobis. Ipsi enim vos a Deo didicistis, ut diligatis invicem. Etenim facitis illud in omnes fratres in uni- Ephesii — sacrainentum quod a seculis absconditum verså Macedoniâ. In ep. ad Gal. Pr. 2 T. IV. p. 255.

fucrat, agnoscunt. Vid. supr. p. 3.15. not. a Satis abundeque ostendi, quod beatus Apostolus ad vullam • Vid. ep. ad Eph. cap. ii.

pe 322.

of Paul, as written to the Ephesians (as I think he does) we have made out what must be reckoned of great weight in this matter.

However, it is not Ignatius's testimony only that is decisive. There are many other ancient writers, whose testimony also is satisfactory and decisive.

For by Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, writers of the second and third centuries, this epistle is expressly quoted as written by Paul to the Ephesians. They so quote this epistle, without hesitation, as freely and plainly as they do the epistles to the Romans, the Galatians, the Corinthians, or any other of the acknowledged epistles of St. Paul.

It is quoted in the like manner by all writers in general of every age, Latins, Greeks and Syrians. I would particularly observe, that it is so quoted by Jerom, who also wrote a commentary upon this epistle, and had seen many ancient manuscripts and editions of the New Testament: who never expresseth any doubt, whether this epistle was written to the Ephesians, nor takes notice of any various reading in the inscription of it. For which I refer to his chapter, in the fifth volume of this work. This epistle is quoted in the like manner by Athanasius, Epiphanius, Gregory Nazianzen, and all the writers of every age, and of different and remote countries.

We may also observe here, that in the fifth century there were some Christians who had a notion, that this epistle was written to the Ephesians before the apostle had seen them. It is likely that this notion was founded upon Eph. i. 15. Nevertheless, they still thought the epistle to have been written to the Ephesians; which is a proof that they knew nothing to the contrary, and had never heard of any various reading in the inscription of this epistle. Among these is Euthalius, who' in his prologue to St. Paul's epistles considers the two epistles to the Romans and Ephesians as epistles written to Christians, whom the apostle knew by report only. This is remarkable. It shews, that he had no various reading in this place. If he had, he would have taken notice of it. Euthalius was a learned man. He put out an accurate edition of the catholic epistles, and of St. Paul's epistles, with a general prologue to them. And he had consulted, beside others, the manuscripts in the library at Cæsarea in Palestine. Nevertheless he had not met with any various reading.

And in the argument of the epistle to the Ephesians, now placed in the edition of Euthalius, it is said, that the epistle to the Ephesians was sent by Paul from Rome to them, when he had not yet seen them, and had only heard of them. I do not ascribe this argument to Euthalius. The reasons were assigned a formerly. Euthalius wrote a prologue to St. Paul's epistles. But it does not appear that he wrote arguments to each of his epistles severally. The same thing is also said of the epistle to the Ephesians in the Synopsis of Scripture ascribed to Athanasius. These I reckon one and the same, but different from Euthalius.

And I may here take notice of a small inaccuracy in Mr. Wetstein, who' in his notes upon the beginning of the epistle to the Ephesians, quotes both the prologue to St. Paul's epistles, and the argument of the epistle to the Ephesians in particular, as Èuthalius's: though in his Prolegomena, in his account of what Euthalius had done, he had observed, and rightly, thats those arguments were not composed by Euthalius, but by another.

I therefore here suppose two, that is, Euthalius, and another, who wrote the arguments of St. Paul's epistles severally; who may be the same that composed the synopsis ascribed to Athanasius.

However, beside these, there may have been about this time some others of the same opinion. For Theodoret in his preface to the epistle to the Ephesians observes, there were some, who said that Paul wrote to the Ephesians before he had seen them. But he shews it to be a false and absurd opinion, and concludes, saying: · It' is manifest, therefore, that the apostle had preached the gospel to them, before he wrote to them.”

This affords a good argument that there was not in the fifth century, nor before, any notice • Πεμπτη η προς Εφεσίες κειται, πιςες ανθρωπες, και παρα- • Ταυτην επιςελλει απο Ρωμης, 8πω μεν αυτες έωρακως, μενοντας, ής εν τη προγραφη το μυςηριον εκτιθεται, παραπλη- axecas de megt autwr. Ap. Athan. T. II. p. 194. ed. Bened. σιως, τη προς Ρωμαιος: αμφοτεροις δε εξ ακοης γνωριμoίς. | Vid. N. T. Vol. II. p. 238. Euthal. ap. Zacagni. p. 524.

& Vid. ejusd. Prolegom. Vol. I. p. 75. 6 See this Vol. p. 38, and Vol. ii.

--τον δε θειοτατον Παυλον μηδεπω τες Εφεσιες τεθεαμεΤαυτην επιςελλει απο Ρωμης, επω μεν έωρακως αυτές, νον, την δε επιςολης προς αυτές γεγραφεναι. Theod. T. III. axoras wapi autwe. Arg. ep. ad Eph. ib. p. 633. d See this Vol. p. 39.

p.

123.

i Δεδεικται αρα σαφως, ως προκηρυξας αυτους το ευαγγέλιον ότως γεγραψε την επιςολην. Ιb. p. 292.

p. 290.

« ZurückWeiter »