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This argument alone appears to me conclusive. The accounts which St. Luke has given of St. Paul's journies in Phrygia, are sufficient to assure us, that he preached the gospel there, and made converts, and planted churches in the chief cities.
2. Ch. i. 6. " Which bringeth forth fruit, as it does also in you, since the day ye heard it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” Of this St. Paul was assured. Which renders it probable, that he was their father, or first teacher. He speaks to the like purpose several times. Ch. ii. 6,7.. See likewise ch. i. 23. St. Paul knew that they had been rightly taught the gospel. Nothing more remained, but that they should persevere in the faith, which they had received, and act according to it.
3. Epaphras was not their first instructor in the doctrine of the gospel. This may be concluded from ch. i. 7, the words following those quoted above from ver. 6. • As“ ye have also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow-servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ.” The Colossians had been taught by Epaphras. But he was not their first instructor. However he had faithfully taught them, agreeably to the instructions which they had received. Theodoreto
upon ch. i. 7, 8, well observes, that the apostle bestows many commendations upon Epaphras, calling him “beloved,” and “ fellow-servant,” and a “ faithful minister of * Christ,” that the Colossians might have the greater regard for him.' If Epaphras had first taught the Colossians the Christian doctrine, I think the apostle, when recommending him to their esteem and regard, would have added, “by whom ye believed,” or “by whom ye were brought to the fellowship of the gospel,” or somewhat else, to the like purpose. That would have been a great addition to what is said at ver. 7, before cited, and to what is said of him, ch. iv. 12, 13. “ Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in aŭ the will of God. For I bear him record, that he has a great zeal for you, and for them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.”
“ Epaphras, who is one of you.” Would the apostle have used such an expression concerning Epaphras, if the church of Colosse had been founded by him ? Impossible. He says as much of Onesimus, who was but just converted, and was now first going to appear among them as a Christian. His words at ver. 9. of the same chapter are, “ Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.”
I imagine, that St. Paul does the more enlarge at ver. 12, 13, upon the affectionate concern, which Epaphras had for these Christians, being apprehensive of some prejudices taken up against him, that might obstruct his usefulness among them. For he had brought the apostle an account of the state of this church. Which, though it was true and faithful, was not in all respects agreeable: as is concluded by commentators from what St. Paul writes in the second chapter of this epistle.
4. St. Paul does in effect, or even expressly say, that himself had dispensed the gospel to these Colossians, ch. i. 21-25. I shall recite here a large part of that context, ver. 23-25. “ If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard- -whereof I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the church. Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfil,” or fully to preach,
“ the word of God.”
And what follows to ver. 29. St. Paul therefore had been the “ minister of God” to these Colossians, as well as to other Gentiles. Nor would they have been excluded, but included among other Gentiles, to whom he had preached the word, if commentators had not been misled by a false interpretation of those words in ch. iv. 1, 2, of which we have already seen Theodoret's account, and shall say more presently. Those words having been misinterpreted, a wrong turn has been giveň to these likewise.
5. Chrysostom, in his preface to the epistle to the Romans, speaks to this purpose, I see
• Καθως και εμαθετε απο Επαφρα. b Ubi supra, p. 344.
• Όταν γαρ ιδω Ρωμαιοις και Κολοσσαευσιν υπερ αυτων μεν επιςελλοντα, ουχ ομοιως δε υπερ των αυτών, αλλ' εκεινοις μεν
μετα πολλης της συγκαταβασεως. . Κολοσσαευσι δε ουχ έτω περι των αυτων, αλλα μετα πλειονς παρρησιας. κλ, Proæm. in ep. ad Rom. T. IX. P:
*the apostle writing to the Romans and the Colossians, upon the same things indeed, but not in • the same manner. To them he writes with much mildness, as when he says-Rom. xiv. « 1, 2. - To the Colossians he does not so speak of the same things, but with greater freedom. •“ If therefore,” says he, “ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world”_and • what follows, ch. ii. 20—23. Does not this observation lead us to think, that the Colossians were the apostle's own converts, to whom a different address from that used toward others might be very proper? And there are other passages of this epistle beside that alleged by Chrysostom, which might be taken notice of, as confirming the same observation.
6. Ch. ii. 6, 7. “ As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him : grounded, and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye liave been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Certainly these exhortations of the apostle are the more proper, and forcible, supposing the Colossians to have been first taught and instructed by him. Nor had he any occasion to be more particular. They knew who had taught them. But I think that in this, or some other of the places, where he reminds the Colossians of what they had heard, and had been taught, if those instructions had been received from another different from himself, that would have appeared in the expressions made use of by him. In short, if they were converted by the apostle, there could not possibly arise in his mind a doubt whether they remembered who had been their first teacher, and who were his fellow-labourers who had accompanied him in his journies, when he was in their country. And therefore there was no need to remind them of himself more expressly than he has done. The thing is supposed all along.
7. The presence of Epaphras with Paul at Rome is an argument that the Colossians had personal acquaintance with the apostle. Indeed Grotius upon ch. i. 7, says, “that Epaphras is - the same as Epaphroditus, mentioned in the epistle to the Philippians. But Beausobre well observes upon the same place: • This may be the same name with Epaphroditus, Philip. ii. 25. • But it is not probable, that it is the same person. St. Paul had sent Epaphroditus to Philippi. • But Epaphras was still at Rome. And there is reason to think, that he was a prisoner there. • See Philem, ver. 23. If Epaphras was sent to Rome by the Colossians to inquire after Paul's welfare, as may be concluded from ch, iv. 7, 8, that token of respect for the apostle is a good argument of personal acquaintance. And it is allowed, that Epaphras had brought St. Paul a particular account of the state of affairs in this church. Which is another argument that they were his converts.
8. Ch. i. 8. “ Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit:” that is, says Grotius, • how you love us on account of the Holy Spirit given to you. Or, as Peirce, •
declared unto me the love you bear to me upon a spiritual account.' Or, as Whitby, Your • spiritual and affectionate love to me, wrought in you by the Spirit, whose fruit is love.' All thus understanding it of their love of the apostle, and rightly, as seems to me. Nothing else can be meant by it. For before, at ver. 4, he had spoken of “their love to all the saints.' This I take to be another good proof of personal acquaintance. And the place is agreeable to what he writes to the Thessalonians, allowed by all to be the apostle's converts. 1 Thess. iii
. 6. “ But now when Timothy came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity: [that is the same with Col. i. 4. “ Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of your love to all the saints:"] and that ye have good remembrance of us always."
9. Ch. iii. 16. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching, and admonishing one another, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your licarts to the Lord.” This shews, that the Colossians were endowed with spiritual gifts. And from whom could they receive them, but from St. Paul ? Apostles only are allowed to have liad the power and privilege of conveying spiritual gifts to other Christians. This text therefore has been a difficulty with such as have supposed that Paul never was at Colosse. But now that difficulty is removed.
10. Ch. ji. 1, 2. “ For I would, that ye knew, what great concern I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh: that their hearts might be comforted.” This quick change of persons upon the niention of such as had not seen the * Quomodo nos diligatis propter Spirituin Sanctum vobis 'others such gifts and powers.' Dr. Benson upon the Acts,
Vol. I. p. 157, first edit. p. 162; second edit. In like manner Though several of the Christians had spiritual gifts, and other commentators. And see Acts, ch. vii. 5-25. * miraculous powers, none but apostles could confer upon
datum. Grot. in loc.
apostle's face, seems to imply, that the Colossians, to whom he is writing, had seen him. For if the Colossians had been among those who had not seen him, he would have expressed himself in this manner: “ I would that ye knew, what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that your hearts might be comforted.” But upon the mention of such as had not seen him, he says: “ that their hearts might be comforted.” “And having finished his testimony of concern for such “ as had not seen his face,” he returns to the Colossians, to whom he was writing, and says, ver. 4. “ And this I say, lest any man should begiule you with enticing words.”
Theodoret, beside what he had said in the preface to this epistle, which has been already transcribed, speaks again to this purpose in his paraphrase of ch. ii. 1, 2. • I would have you be ' persuaded of my great concern for you, and for the Laodiceans: and not only for
and the Laodiceans, but likewise for all who have not seen me. And that this is his meaning, appears • from what follows: “ that their hearts may be comforted.”
He does not say «« their:" that is, of such as had not seen him."
11. Ch. ii. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying, and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” It is here implied, if I am not mistaken, that the apostle had been with them, and had been present in the assembly of the believers at Colosse.
12. What is said ch. iv. 7-9.“ Al my state shall Tychicus declare unto you,” and the rest, best suits the supposition of personal acquaintance, as before hinted. Indeed, I think it to be full proof, that Paul was acquainted with them, and they with him.
13. The salutations in ver. 10, 11, 14, from Aristarchus, Mark, Luke, Demas, suppose the Colossians to have been well acquainted with St. Paul's fellow-travellers, and fellow-labourers. And Timothy's name is in the salutation at the beginning of the epistle. Consequently, the Colossians were not unknown to the apostle, nor unacquainted with him. And the like salutations are also in the epistle to Philemon, an inhabitant of Colosse.
14. Ch. iv. 15. “ Salute the brethren, which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. Ver. 17. And say to Archippus: take heed to the ministry, which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.” This shows, that Paul was well acquainted with the state of the churches in Colosse and Laodicea. And it affords an argument that he had been in that country, and particularly at Laodicea. He salutes the brethren there, and Nymphas by name, and the church in his house. It is probable, says Theodoret, that he was one of the • faithful in Laodicea, who had made his house a church, adorning it with piety. As for Archippus, the same Theodoret says, • That some had supposed him
to have been minister at • Laodicea: but,' says he, the epistle to Philemon shews, that he dwelled at Colosse, where . Philemon was.' See Philem. ver. 2.
15. Ch. iv. 3, 4. Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am in bonds : that I may make it manifest, as
And ver. 18. “ Remember my bonds." Such demands may be made of strangers. But they are most properly made of friends and acquaintance.
In a word, the whole tenour of this epistle shews, that the apostle is not writing to strangers, but to acquaintance, disciples, and converts.
16. Finally, an argument may be taken fxom the epistle to Philemon, an inhabitant of Colosse, sent at the same time with this to the Colossians.
From ver. 19th of the epistle to Philemon, I suppose it to be evident, that he had been converted to Christianity by St. Paul. Indeed this might be done at some other place. But it may as well have been done at home.
And St. Paul's acquaintance with Philemon, and the Christians at Colosse, may be inferred from several things in that epistle. At ver. 2, ke salutes Apphia by name, probably wife of Philemon: and Archippus, probably pastor at Colosse, at least an elder in that church: who; as before observed, is also mentioned Col. iv. 17. Once more, at ver. 22, St. Paul desires Philemon « to prepare him a lodging."
him a lodging.” Whence I conclude, that Paul had been at Colosse before.
* Οτι δε ταιτα κατα ταυτην αυτω την διανοιαν είρηται και τα επαγομενα δηλοι ένα παρακληθυσιν αι καρδιαι αυτων. Τενες εξασαν, τετον: Λαοδικείας γεγενησθαι διδασκαλόν. Ουκ ειπεν υμων, αλλ' αυτων, τατ' εςι, των μισεπω τεθεαμείων. Theod. ib. p. 350, 351.
We might argue also from the characters of Philemon and Archippus, in the first two verses of the same epistle. The former the apostle calls his “ fellow-labourer,” and the other his « fellow-soldier." Which expressions imply personal acquaintance, and that they had laboured with him in the service of the gospel in some place. And what place can be so likely as Colosse? There are many, of whom St. Paul speaks in his epistles, as his “ fello w-labourers," or « fellow-helpers," or “ fellow-soldiers:" concerning whom it may be made to appear, that he and they had laboured together in some one place. And why then should these two be exceptions ? Yea, it may be reckoned not improbable, that Archippus had been ordained by St. Paul himself an elder at Colosse. Whether Philemon likewise was an elder there, I do not say: though he may have been so.
From all these considerations it appears to me very probable, that the church of Colosse had been planted by the apostle Paul, and that the Christians there were his friends, disciples, and converts. And if the Christians at Colosse were his converts, it may be argued, that so likewise were the Christians at Laodicea and Hierapolis. None of which places were far asunder.
OF THE SEVEN CATHOLIC EPISTLES.
I. The Antiquity, and the Reason of that Denomination. II. Called also canonical. III. Con
cerning their Reception in several Ages. IV. Their Order.
HERE are seven epistles, which we call catholic. The antiquity of this denomination may Ja
made manifest from a few quotations. Eusebius having given an account of the death of ames called the Just, and our Lord's brother, concludes : Thus · far concerning this James, who is said to be the author of the first of the epistles called catholic. In another place
says, “That in his Institutions Clement of Alexandria had given short explications of all the • canonical scriptures, not omitting those which are contradicted. I mean the epistle of Jude,
and the other catholic epistles.' They were so called therefore in the time of Eusebius, and probably before. Of which likewise we have good proof. For St. John's first epistle is several times called a Catholic epistle by Origen, ` in his remaining Greek works, as well as in others. It is likewise d so called several times by Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria. Athanasius, Epiphanius, and later Greek writers received seven epistles, which they called catholic. I only observe here farther, that they are so called likewise by Jerom.
They are called catholic, or universal, or general, because they are not written to the believers of some one city, or country, or to particular persons, as St. Paul's epistles are, but to Christians in general, or to Christians of several countries. This is the case of five, or the greater part of them, with which the two others are joined. Moreover when the first epistle of Peter, and the first of St. John, were called catholic by the most early Christian writers, the two smaller of St. John were unknown, or not generally received.
II. These epistles are several times called canonical bys Cassiodorius, about the middle of the sixth century, and by the writer of the prologue to these epistles, ascribed to Jerom, though
• Τοιαυτα και τα κατα τον Ιακωζον, και η πρωτη των ονομα- Judas, frater Domini, parvam, quæ de septem catholicis est, ζομενων καθολικων επιςολων ειναι λεγεται. Η. Ε. 1. 2. c. 23. epistolam reliquit. Ib. cap. 4.
Or, as Leontius expresseth it, “They are called catholic, μη δε τας αντιλεγομενας παρελθων" την Ιεδα λεγω, , because they are not written to one nation, as Paul's epistles, και τας λοισας καθολικας επιςολας. Ιb. 1. 6. сар.
but in general to all.' See this Vol. p. 77. c See of this work, Vol. i. p. 540.
8 Octavus codex canonicas epistolas continet Apostolorum «.. και το ευαγγελιoν τo κατα Ιωαννην επιγεγραμμεναν, και η sed cum de reliquis canonicis epistolis magna nos cogitatio ETIFOAN ý xaloa.xy.. Ap. Euseb. 1. 7. cap. 25. p. 273. D. fatigaret, subito nobis codex Didymi Græco stylo conscriptus Vid. ib. p. 274. B. And in this work, Vol. i. p. 635.
in expositionem septem canonicarum epistolarum Domino -scripsit duas epistolas, quæ catholicæ nominan- largiente concessus est. De Instit. Div. Lit. cap. 8. tur. De V. I. cap. i.
Vid. et Cassiodorii Complexiones canonicarum epistolarum Jacobus -unam tantum scripsit epistolam, quae
septem. tem catholicis est, Ib. cap. 2.
• Prologus septem epistolarum Canonicarum. Ap. Hieron. tom. I. p. 1667
p. 66. D.
not his. The reason of which appellation is not certainly known. Nor is it easy to perceive the propriety of it. Du Pin says : . Some · Latins have called these epistles canonieal, either con
founding the name with catholic, or else to denote, that they also are a part of the canon of the • books of the New Testament.'
III. Of these epistles two only, the first of St. Peter, and the first of St. John, were universally received in the time of Eusebius. However, the rest were then well known. In proof of which I shall allege one passage only from him. · Here,” says he, it will be proper to enumerate • in a summary way the books of the New Testament, which have been already mentioned. And • in the first place are to be ranked the four sacred gospels. Then the book of the Acts of the
apostles. After that are to be reckoned the epistles of Paul. In the next place, that called « the first epistle of John, and the first of Peter. After these is to be placed, if it be thought fit, & the Revelation of John.And among the contradicted, but yet well known to the most [of • approved by many] are that called the epistle of James, and that of Jude, and the second of Peter, and the second and third of John.'
And in the preceding volumes of this work we have observed all the seven to have been received by Athanasius, Epiphanius, Jerom, Augustine, and many other writers : but the Syrian churches received a three only of these epistles. Nor does it appear, that more were received by • Chrysostom or Theodoret. And Amphilochius, in his lambic poem, says, ' Of: the catholic epistles some receive seven, others three only.' However, as we proceed, we shall particularly consider the claims of the disputed epistles, under the names of those to whom they are ascribed.
IV. Before I conclude this introduction, I would take notice of the order of these epistles, because there is some variety in ancient authors. In the passage cited from Eusebius at the beginning of this chapter, he says, that the epistle of James was the first of those called catholic. In the passage, since taken from him, where he mentions these epistles according to the degree of authority which they had obtained, he first speaks of the first epistle of John, and the first of Peter. Nevertheless, when he comes to those that were contradicted, the epistle of James is first named. This is the order in the festal epistle of Athanasius : Seven epistles of the apostles," says he, called catholic: of James one, of Peter two, of John three, and after them, of Jude
one.' Which is our present order. The same order is observed in the catalogue of Cyril of Jerusalem, the council of Laodicea, Epiphanius, Gregory Nazianzen, Amphilochius, Jerom's letter to Paulinus, Euthalius, Gelasius, bishop of Rome, the Alexandrian manuscript, the Stichometry of Nicephorus, patriarch of Constantinople, Leontius, J. Damascenus. The same order is in Bede's prologue to these epistles, largely transcribed by us in its proper place: where he assigns reasons of this order, and particularly, why the epistle of James was placed first. In other authors is a different order.“ By Rufinus they are rehearsed in this manner : • Two epistles of the apostle Peter, one of James, the brother of the Lord, and apostle, one of • Jude, three of John: the Revelation of John. One may be apt to think, that St. John's three epistles are here mentioned last, that they might not be separated from the book of the Revelation. In the canon of the third council of Carthage, they stand in this order: • Two' epistles • of the apostle Peter, three of the apostle John, one of the apostle Jude, one of the apostle James.' In Augustine’s work of the Christian Doctrine: • Two" epistles of Peter, three of John, one of Jude, and one of “James.' In the catalogue of pope Innocent : « Three " epistles of John, two epistles of Peter, an epistle of Jude, an epistle of James. In the commentary of Cas. siodorius ° upon these epistles they are in this order : • Two epistles of Peter, three of John, of Jude one, of James one.'
p. 52, 53.
# Diss. Prelim. I. 2. ch. 2. sect. ix.
d See Vol. ii. p. 488, 489. and p. 620. and this Vol. • Vid. Euseb. H. E. 1. 3. cap. 3. cap. 24. et cap. 25.
--αις εξης την φερομενην Ιωανν8» προτεραν, και ομοιως e Vol.ii. p. 602, 607, 608. This Vol. p. 11, 12. την Πετρ8 κυριωτεον επιςολης. των δε αντιλεγομενων γνω
και -καθολικων επισολων τινες μεν επτα φασιν, οι δε τρεις ριμων και εν όμως τους πολλοις η λεγομενη Ιακιωξε φερεται, και Moras. Amphil. p. 132. ver. 310, 311. And see Vol. ii. η Ιεδα ητε Πετρε δευτερα επιςολη, και η ονομαζομενη δευτερα p. 473.
400. 406 TPITT, Iwanys. Ibid. c. 25. in. See also in this Work, Vol. i See this Vol. p. 78, 79.
k Vol. ii. p.573. ii. p. 309.
! P. 575.
n P. 628,
• This Vol. p. 61.
m P. 57.9.