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at Melita. breasts of all, when he had broken it, he began to eatsional air which the whole narrative wears, agrees not understood by the Christians in tbe ship as a love singularly with all we know and have reason to believe feast, or a celebration of the Lord's Supper, as some of the beloved physician :" see on ch, 16. 40. think. but a meal to recruit exhausted nature, which
CHAPTER XXVIII. Paul shows them by his own example how a Christian | Ver. 1-31. THE WINTERING AT MALTA AND NOT partakes of. Then were they all of good cheer, and they | ABLE OCCURRENCES THERE -- PROSECUTION OF THE also took some meat - 'took food;' the first full meal | VOYAGE TO ITALY AS FAR AS PUTEOLI, AND LANDsince the commencement of the gale. Such courage in JOURNEY THENCE TO RoME - SUMMARY OF THE desperate circumstances as Paul here showed is wonder-APOSTLE'S LABOURS THERE FOR THE TWO FOLLOWING fully infectious. 38-40. when they bad eaten enougo, &c. YEARS. 1. knew the island was called Melita. See on With fresh strength after the meal, they make a third ch. 27. 39. The opinion that this island was not Malta and last effort to lighten the ship, not only by pump-to the south of Sicily, but Meleda in the Gulf of Venice ing, as before, but by throwing the whole cargo of wheat |--which till lately had respectable support among cominto the sea (see on v. 6). when it was day they knew petent judges-is now all but exploded; recent examinanot the land. This has been thought surprising in sailors tion of all the places on the spot, and of all writings and accustomed to that sea. But the scene of the wreck is principles bearing on the question, by gentlemen of the remote from the great harbour, and possesses no mark- highest qualifications, particularly Mr. Smith (see on ed features by which it could be recognised, cven by a ch. 27. 41, having set the question, it may now be native if he came unexpectedly upon it (SMITH), not affirmed, at rest. 2. the barbarous people - so called to speak of the rain pouring in torrents (ch. 28. 2) which merely as speaking neither the Greek nor the Latin would throw a haze over the coast even after day broke. language. They were originally Phenician colonists. Immediately on landing they knew where they were showed ns no Little ('no ordinary') kindness, for they (ch. 28. 1), discovered a creek with a shore. Every creek kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the of course must have a shore; but the meaning is, a present rain ('the rain that was on us'--Dot now first. practicable shore, in a nautical sense, i.e., one with & falling, but then falling heavily) and becaase of the cold smooth beach, in contradistinction to a rocky coast (as -welcomed us all, drenched and shivering, to these
. 41 shows.) into waich they were minded, if ... possible, most seasonable marks of friendship. In this these to thrust the ship. This was their one chance of safety. "tarbarians" contrast favourably with many since, taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea. | bearing the Christian name. The life-like style of the The Marg, is here evidently right, 'cut the anchors narrative here and in the following verses gives it a away) they left them in the sea.' loosed the rudder-bands, great charm. 3. when Paul had gathered a bundle of Ancient ships were steered by two large paddles, one sticks (a quantity of dry sticks'). The vigorous activity on each quarter. When anchored by the stern in a gale, of Paul's character is observable in this comparatively it would be necessary to lift them out of the water and trifling action. (WEBSTER & WILKINSON.) and laid secure them by lashings or rudder-bands, and to loose them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat. Having these when the ship was again got under way. (SMITH.] laid itself up among the sticks on the approach of the hoised up the mainsail--rather, 'the fore-sail,' the best cold winter season, it had suddenly recovered from its possible sail that could be set in the circumstances. torpor by the heat and fastered its fangs) on his hand. How necessary must the crew bave been to execute Vipers dart at their enemies sometimes several feet at all these movements, and how obvious the foresight a bound. They have now disappeared from Malta, owwhich made their stay indispensable to the safety of all ing to the change which cultivation has produced. 4-6. on board (see on v, 31). 41. falling into a place where No doubt this mau is a murderer his chains, which they two seas met. Mr. Smith thinks this refers to the would see, might strengthen the impression) whom . channel, not more than 100 yards broad, which sepa. vengeance suffereth not to live. They believed in a rates the small island of Salmone from Malta, forming a Supreme, Resistless, Avengring Eye and Hand, however communication between the sea inside the bay and that vague their notions of where it resided. shook off the outside the fore part stuck tast, and remained immove-beast and felt no barm. See Mark, 16. 18. they looked aole. "The rocks of Malta disintegrate into extremely 1 (continued looking') when he should have swollen or minute particles of sand and clay, which, when acted | fallen down dead (familiar with the effects of such bites) upon by the currents or surface agitation, form a de and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds. posit of tenacious clay: but, in still waters, where these and said ... he was a god from "a murderer" to "a causes do not act, mud is formed; but it is only in God," as the Lycaonian greeting of Paul and Silas from creeks, where there are no currents, and at such a depth "sacrificing to them" to "stoning them" ch. 14. 13, 19). as to be undisturbed by the waves, that the mud occurs. What has not the Gospel done for the uncultivated A ship, therefore, impelled by the force of a gale, into portion of the human family, while its effects on the
creek, with such a bottom, would strike a bottom ot educated and refined, though very different, are not less mud, graduating into tenacious clay, into which the marvellous. Verily it is God's chosen restorative for fore-part would fix itself, and be held fast, while the the human spirit, in all the multitudinous forms and stern was exposed to the force of the waves.' [SMITH.] gradations of its lapsed state. 7, 8. possessions of the hinder part was broken. The continued action denoted chief man the First man', of the island. He would by the tense here is to be noted-was fast breaking.' hardly be so styled in the life-time of his father, if his going to pieces. 42-44. the soldiers' counsel was to kill distinction was that of the family. But it is now astae prisoners, lest any ... should escape. Roman cruelty, certained that this was the proper official title of the which made the keepers answerable for their prisoners Maltese representative of the Roman Pretor of Sicily, with their own lives, is here reflected in this cruel pro- to whose province Malta belonged; two inscriptions posal. the centurion, &c. Great must have been the baving been discovered in the island, one in Greek, influence of Paul over the centurion's mind to produce the other in Latin, containing the same words which such an effect. All followed the swimmers in commit- Luke here employs. who received us (of Paul's company. ting themselves to the deep, and according to the di- but doubtless including the "courteous" Julius) and vine pledge and Paul's confident assurance given them, lodged us three days courteously-till proper winter-lodgevery soul got safe to land yet without miracle. ings could be obtained for them. the father of Publius (While the graphic minuteness of this narrative of the lay sick of a fever-'fevers' The word was often thus shipwreck puts it beyond doubt that the narrator was used in the plural number, probably to express recurbimself on board, the great number of nautical phrases, ring attacks. and of a bloody flux-'of dysentery. The which all critics bare noted, along with the unprofese medical accuracy of our historian's style has been
toward Rome. observed here.) to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, I to strike their top-sail on landing. By this they were thereby precluding the supposition that any charm easily recognised as they hove in sight by the crowds resided in himself) and laid his hands on him, and healed that we find gathered on the shore on such occasions. him. Thus, as our Lord rewarded Peter for the use of (Hows.) 14, 15. Where we found brethren--not "the his bost (Luke, 6. 3, 4, &c.), SO Paul richly repays brethren" (see on ch, 21. 4), from which one would conPublins for his hospitality. Observe the fulfilment clude they did not expect to find such. [WEBSTER & here of two things predicted in Mark, 16. 18, the "tak- WILKINSON.) and were desired ("requested') to tarry ing up serpents," and "recovering of the sick by laying with them seven days. If this request came from Lands on them." this done, others ... came and were Julius, it may have proceeded partly from a wish to baled-'kept coming to (us) and getting healed,' i.e., receive instructions from Rome, and make arrancefaring our stay, not all at once, (WEBSTER & WILKIN- ments for his journey thither, partly from a wish to sox.) who also honoured us... and when we departed gratify Paul, as he seems studiously and increasingly to ther Laded us, &c. This was not taking bire for the bave done to the last. One can hardly doubt that he was miracles wrought among them (Matthew, 10.8), but such influenced by both considerations. However this may grateful expressions of feeling, particularly in provid. be, the apostle had thus an opportunity of spending a ing what would minister to their comfort during the Sabbath with the Christians of the place, all the more voyage, as showed the value they set upon the pres- refreshing from his long privation in this respect, and ence and labours of the apostle amongst them, and as a seasoning for the unknown future that lay before such as it would have hurt their feelings to refuse. him at the metropolis. 80 We went toward Rome. And Whether any permanent effects of this three-months' from thence, when the brethren (of Rome) heard of nsstay of the greatest of the apostles were left at Malta, by letter from Puteoli, and probably by the same conwe cannot certainly say. But though little dependence veyance which took Julius's announcement of his ar. is to be placed upon the tradition that Publius became rival. they came to meet us as far as Appii ForumLisbop of Malta and afterwards of Athens we may well town forty-one miles from Rome. and the Three Taverns believe the accredited tradition that the beginnings of thirty miles from Rome. Thus they came to greet the the Christian church at Malta sprang out of this me- apostle in two parties, one stopping short at the nearer, morable visit. 11. we departed in a ship of Alexandria see the other going on to the more distant place. whom on ch. 27. 6) which had wintered in the isle-no doubt when Paul saw, be thanked God-for such a welcome. driven in by the same storm which had wrecked on How sensitive he was to such Christian affection all his its shores the apostle's vessel:- an incidental mark of Epistles show. (Romans, 1. 9; &c.) and took courage consistency in the narrative. whose sign - or figure- his long-cherished purpose to "see Rome" (ch. 19, 21.) head: the figure, carved or painted on the bow, which there to proclain the unsearchable riches of Christ, and wave name to the vessel Such figure-heads were the divine pledge that in this he should be gratified (ch. andently as common as now. was Castor and Pollux-the 23. 11). being now about to be auspiciously realized. tutelar gods of mariners, to whom all their good for | 16. when we came to Rome--the renowned capital of the tupe was ascribed. St. Anthony is substituted for them ancient world, situated on the Tiber. the centurion in the modern superstitions of Mediterranean (Roman- | delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard - the ist, sailors. They carry his image in their boats and Pretorian Prefect, to whose custody, as commander of ships. It is highly improbable that two ships of Alex- the Pretorian guard, the highest military authority in andria should have been casually found, of which the the city, were committed all who were to come before owners were able and willing to receive on board such the Emperor for trial, Ordinarily there were two such a number of passengers (ch. 27. 6. We may then Prefects; but from A.D. 61 to 62, one distinguished reasonably conceive that it was compulsory on the general-Burtus Aframus, who had beep Nero's tutor owners to convey soldiers and state-travellers. (WEB -held that office; and as our Historian speaks of "the STER & WILKIxson.] 12, 13. landing at Syracuse--the captain," as if there were but one, it is thought that ancient and celebrated capital of Sicily, on its eastern this fixes the apostle's arrival at Rome to be not later coast, about eighty miles, or a day's sail, North from than the year 62, (WIES.) But even though there had Malta. We tarried there three days-probably from the been two when Paul arrived, he would be committed state of the wind. Doubtless Paul would wish to go only to one of them, who would be ''the captain" who ashore, to findout and break ground amongst the Jews got charge of him. (At most, therefore, this can furnish and proselytes whom such a mercantile centre would no more than confirmation to the chronological evidattract to it; and if this was allowed at the outset of the , ence otherwise obtained.) but Paul was suffered to dweil voyage ch. 27. 3), much more readily would it be now by himself with a "the") soldier that kept ( guarded') when he had gained the reverence and confidence of all himn. (See on ch. 12. 6.) This privilege was allowed in classes with whom he came in contact. Atany rate we the case of the better class of prisoners, not accused of cannot wonder that he should be regarded by the Sici any flagrant offence, on finding security -- which in lians as the founder of the church of that island. from Paul's case would not be difficult among the Christians. thence we fetched a compassie., proceeded circuitously, | The extension of this privilege to the apostle may have or tacked, working to windward probably, and availing | been due to the terms in wbich Festus wrote about themselves of the sinuosities of the coast, the wind not him: but far more probably it was owing to the high being favourable. (SMITH.) What follows confirms I terms in which Julius spoke of him, and his express this and came to Rhegium-now Reggio, a seaport on I intercession in his behalf. It was overruled, however, the South West point of the Italian coast, opposite for giving the fullest scope to the labours of the apostle the North East point of Sicily, and at the entrance of compatible with confinement at all. As the soldiers the narrow straits of Messina. after one day the south | who kept him were relieved periodically, he would thus wind blew 'a South wind having sprung up; being make the personal acquaintance of a great number of now favoured with a fair wind, for want of which they | the Pretorian guard; and if he had to appear before the had been obliged first to stay three days at Syracuse, | Prefect from time to time, the truth might thus peneand then to tack and put in for a day at Rhegium. the trate to those who surrounded the emperor, as we learn, mert day to Puteoli-now Porzuoli, situated on the north- from Philippians, '1.12.13, that it did. 17-20. Paul called om part of the magnificent bay of Naples, about 180 l the chief of the Jews together. Though banished froin roiles North of Rhegium, a distance which they might the capital by Claudius, the Jews enjoyed the full make. running before their "south wind," in about benefit of the toleration which distinguished the first twenty-six hours. The Alexandrian corn-ships enjoyed | period of Nero's reim, and were at this time in conprivilege peculiar to themselves, of not being oblised 'siderable numbers. wealth, and influence settled ab
at Rome. Rome. We have seen that long before this a flourishing discussion being felt by both parties to be exhausted. Christian Church existed at Rome, to which Paul after Paul had spoken one word - one solemn parting wrote his Epistle (see on ch. 20.3), and the first mem- testimony, from those Scriptures regarded by both bers of which were probably Jewish converts and pro- allke as "the Holy Ghost speaking" to Israel. Hearing selytes. (See Introduction to Epistle to Romans.) yet ye shall hear, &c. See on Matthew, 13. 13-15; and John, was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of 12. 39-40. With what pain would this stem saying be the Romans (the Roman authorities, Felix and Festus) wrung from him whose "heart's desire and prayer to ... I was constrained to appeal ... not that I had aught God for Israel was that they might be saved." and who to accuse my nation of-9.d. Iam here not as their accuser "had great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart but as my own defender, and this not of choice but on their account! Romans, 10.1; 9. 2.) the salvation of necessity. His object, in alluding thus gently to the God is sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear. See on ch. treatment he had received from the Jews, was plainly | 13. 44-48. This "departure to the Gentiler" he had to avoid whatever might irritate his visitors at the intimated to the perverse Jews at Antioch (ch. 13. 46, first; especially as he was not aware whether any or and at Corinth (ch. 18. 6): now at Rome-thus in Asia, what information against him had reached their com. Greece, and Italy.' (BENGEL) the Jews departed, and munity. For this canse ... have I called for you,... had great (much' reasoning among themselves. "This because ... for the hope of Israel (see on ch. 26. 6, 7) I verse is wanting in many MSS. (and omitted by several am bound with this chain-9.d. This causo is not so recent editors), but certainly without reason, Promuch mine as yours; it is the nation's cause: all that bably the words were regarded as superfluous, as they is dear to the heart and hope of Israel is bound up seem to tell us what we were told before, that Paul with this case of mine.' From the touching allusions "departed" (see o, 25). But in v. 25 it is the breaking which the apostle makes to his chains, before Agrippa off of the discourse that is meant, here the final de first, and here before the leading members of the Jew I parture from the house.' (OISHAUSEN.) 30. in his own ish community at Rome, at his first interview with hired house (see on v. 23), yet still in custody, for he only them, one would gather that his great soul felt keenly "received all that came to him," and it is not said his being in such a condition, and it is to this keenness that he went to the synagogue or anywhere else. with of feeling, under the control of Christian principle, that all confidence, no man forbidding him - enjoying, in the we owe the noble use which he made of it in these two uninterrupted exercise of his ministry, all the liberty cases. 21, 22. We neither received letters out of Judea of a guarded man. concerning thee, &c. We need not suppose (with Tho
K and others that there was any dishonest con- Thus closes this most precious monument of the becealment here. The distinction made between himself, ginnings of the Christian Church, in its march from against whom they had heard nothing, and, his "sect," East to West, among the Jews first, whose centre was as "every where spoken against," is a presumption in Jerusalem; next among the Gentiles, with Antioch for favour of their sincerity; and there is ground to think its head-quarters; finally, its banner is seen waving that as the case took an unexpected turn by Paul's ap-over imperial Rome, foretokening its universal tripealing to Cesar, so no information on the subject would umphs. That distinguished apostle whose conversion, travel from Jerusalem to Rome in advance of the labours, and sufferings for "the faith which once he apostle himself, we desire (* deem it proper ') to hear of destroyed" occupy more than half of this History, it thee what thou thinkest-what are thy sentiments, views, I leaves a prisoner, unheard, so far as appears, for two do. The apparent freedom from prejudice here ex- years. His accusers, whose presence was indispensable, pressed may have arisen from a prudent desire to would have to await the return of spring before starting avoid endangering & repetition of those dissensions for the capital, and might not reach it for many months; about Christianity to which, probably, Suetonius al- nor, even when there, would they be so sanguine of ludes, and which had led to the expulsion of the Jews success--after Felix, Festus, and Agrippa had all pro. under Claudius. [HUMPHRY.] See on ch. 18. 2. 23, nounced him innocent-as to be impatient of delay. 24, there came many considerable numbers' into his | And if witnesses were required to prove the charge adlodging. The word denotes one's place of stay as a vanced by Tertullus, that he was "a mover of sedition griest Philemon, 22), not "his own hired house," men among all the Jews throughout the Roman) world' ch. tioned v. 30. Some Christian friend-possibly Aquila 24. 5), they must have seen that unless considerable and Priscilla, who had returned to Rome (Romans, 16. time were allowed them the case would certainly break 3)-would be glad to receive him, though he would down. If to this be added the capricious delays which soon find himself more at liberty in a house of his own. the emperor himself might interpose, and the practice to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God I of Nero to hear but one charge at a time, it will not seem opening up the great spiritual principles of that king strange that the Historian should have no proceedings dom in opposition to the contracted and secular views in the case to record for two years. Begun, probably, of it entertained by the Jews. persuading them concern- betore the apostle's arrival, its progress at Rome under ing Jesus--as the ordained and predicted Head of that his own eye would furnish exalted employment, and kingdom, out of the law and the prophets-drawing his beguile many a tedious hour of bis two years' imprison. materials and arguments from a source mutually ac- ment. Had the case come on for hearing during this knowledged from morning till evening. "Who would period, much more if it had been disposed of, it is not wish to have been present ?' exclaims Bengel; but hardly conceivable that the History should have closed virtually we are present while listening to those Epistles' as it does. But if, at the end of this period, the which he dictated from his prison at Rome, and to his Narrative only wanted the decision of the case, whilo other Epistolary expositions of Christian trnth against hope deferred was making the heart s the Jews. and some believed ... some not. What sim- 12), and if, under the guidance of that Spirit whose seal plicity and candour are in this record of a result re- was on it all, it seemed of more consequence to put peated from age to age where the Gospel is presented the Church at once in possession of this History than to a promiscuous assemblage of sincere and earnest to keep it back indetinitely for the sake of what might enquirers after truth, frivolous worldlings, and pre- come to be otherwise known, we cannot wonder that judiced bigots! 25-29. when they the Jews) agreed not it should be wound up as it is in its two concluding among themselves-the discussion having passed into verses. All that we know of the apostle's proceedings one between the two parties into which the visitors and history beyond this must be gathered from the were now divided, respecting the arguments and con- ' Epistles of the Imprisonment-Ephesians, Philippians, clusions of the apostle. they departed-the materials of Colossians, and Philemon-written during this period,
Tate of Events
in Life of St. Paul. ed the Pastoral Epistles-to Timothy and Titus which has never been doubted. But that the appeal which in our judgment, are of subsequent date. From the brought him to Rome issued in his liberation, that he former class of Epistles we learn the following par-was at large for some years thereafter and took some ticulars: f1) That the trying restraint laid upon the wide missionary circuits, and, that he was again arrastle's labours by his imprisonment had only turned | rested, carried to Rome, and then executed - was the his influence into a new channel; the Gospel having in undisputed belief of the early Church, as expressed by consequence penetrated even into the palace, and per- Chrysostom, Jerome,and Eusebius, in the fourth century. raded the city, while the preachers of Christ were em- up to Clement of Rome, the "fellow-labourer" of the boldened, and though the Judaizing portion of them, I apostle himself (Philippians, 4. 3), in the first century. observing his success among the Gentiles, had been The strongest possible confirmation of this is found in kert to inculcate with fresh zeal their own narrower the Pastoral Epistles which bear marks throughout of Gospel, even this had done much good by extending I amore advanced state of the Church, and more matured the truth common to both (See on Philippians, 1. 12-18; forms of error, than can well have existed at any period 4.99: 21 That as in addition to all his other labours, / before the appeal which brought the apostle to Rome: "the care of all the churches pressed upon him from which refer to movements of himself and Timothy, that day to day* (2 Corinthians, 11. 28), so with these churches cannot without some straining (as we think) be made be kept up an active correspondence by means of letters to fit into any prior period; and which are couched in a and messages, and on such errands he wanted not manifestly riper style than any of his other Epistles. faithful and beloved brethren enough, ready to be em-1 (See Introduction to Timothy, and Titus, and Notes.) ploved - Laike: Timotheus: Tychicus; (John) Mark: All this has been called in question by modern critics Derras: Aristarchus; Epaphras; Onerimus; Jesus, called of great research and acuteness (Petavius, Lardner, De Jastus; and, for a short time, Epaphroditus (See on Wette, Wieseler, Davidson, &c.). But those who mainColossians. 4. 7,9-12, 14: Philemon, 23, 24; and Introduc- tain the ancient view are of equal authority and more tion to Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon.) That numerous, while the weight of argument appears to us the apostle suffered martyrdom under Nero at Rome to be decidedly on their side.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS CONNECTED WITH THE LIFE OF
THE APOSTLE PAUL.
Certainty in these dates is not to be had, the notes of time in the Acts being few and vague. It is only by connecting those events of secular history which it records, and the dates of which are otherwise tolerably known to us-such as the famine under Claudius Cesar (ch. 11. 28), the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by the
e emperor (ch. 18. 2), and the entrance of Porcius Festus upon his procuratorship (ch. 24. 27)—with the intervals specified between some occurrences in the apostle's life and others (such as ch. 20,31; 34. 27;28. 30; and Galatians, 1., and 2.), that we can thread our way through the difficulties that surround the chronology of the apostle's life, and approximate to certainty. Immense research has been brought to bear upon the subject, but, as might be expected, the learned are greatly divided. Every year has been fixed upon as the probable date of the apostle's conversion, from A.D. 31 (Bengel) to A.D. 42 (Eusebius). But the weight of authority is in favour of dates raming between 36 and 40, a difference of not more than five years; and the largest number of anthorities is in favour of the year 37 or 38. Taking the former of these, to which opinion largely inclines, the following Table will be useful to the student of apostolic History A.D. 37. . . . PAUL'S CONVERSIOX, . . .
Acts, 9. 1. . First Visit to Jerusalem,
* 9. 26; Ga. 1. 18. First residence at Antioch,
11. 30; 12. 25.
" 13. 2; 14. 26.
" 14. 28.
“ 15. 2-30; Ga. 2. 1-10.
(on which see Notes.) 51.63, or 54, SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY,
" 15, 36, 40; 18. 22. 53 or 54, Fourth Visit to Jerusalem,
" 18. 21, 22.
* 18. 22, 23.
" 18. 23; 21. 15.
Fifth Visit to Jerusalem,
“ 21. 15; 23. 35.
" 27. 1; 28. 16.
" 28. 30.
1 & 2 Tim, and Tit.
Martyrdom at Rome,
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE
THE GENUINENESS of the Epistle to the Romans has never been questioned. It has the unbroken testimony of
up to Clement, the apostle's "fellow.labourer in the gospel, whose name was in the book of life (Philippians, 4.3), and who quotes from it in his undoubted Epistle to the Corinthians, written before the close of the first century. The most searching investigations of modern criticism have left it untouched.
WAEN and WHERE this epistle was written, we have the means of determining with great precision, from the epistle itself compared with the Acts of the Apostles Up to the date of it the apostle had never been at Rome (ch. 1. 11, 13, 15). He was then on the eve of visiting Jerusalem with a pecuniary contribution for its Christian poor from the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, after which his purpose was to pay a visit to Rome on his way to Spain (ch. 15. 23-28). Now this contribution we know that he carried with him from Corinth, at the close of his third visit to that city, which lasted three months (Acts, 20, 2, 3; 34. 17). On this occasion there accompanied him from Corinth certain persons whose names are given by the historian of the Acts (Acts, 20. 4), and four of these are expressly mentioned in our epistle as being with the apostle when he wrote it-Timotheus, Sosipater, Gaius, and Erastus (ch. 16. 21, 23). Of these four, the third, Gaius, was an inhabitant of Corinth (1 Corinthians, 1. 14), and the fourth, Erastus, was "chamberlain of the city” (ch, 16. 23), which can hardly be supposed to be other than Corinth. Finally, Phebe, the bearer, as appears, of this epistle, was a deaconess of the Church at Cenchrete, the eastern port of Corinth (ch. 16. 1). Putting these facts together, it is impossible to resist the conviction, in which all critics agree, that Corinth was the place from which the epistle was written, and that it was despatched about the close of the visit above mentioned, probably in the early spring of the year 58.
The FOUNDER of this celebrated church is unknown. That it owed its origin to the apostle Peter and that he was its first bishop, though an ancient tradition and taught in the Church of Rome as a fact not to be doubted, is refuted by the clearest evidence, and is given up even by candid Romanists. On that supposition, how are we to account for so important & circumstance being passed by in silence by the historian of the Acts, not only in the narrative of Peter's labours, but in that of Paul's approach to the metropolis, of the deputations of Roman "brethren" that came as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns to meet him, and of his two years' labours there? And how, consistently with his declared principle-not to build on another man's foundation (ch. 15. 20)--could be express his anxious desire to come to them that he might have some fruit among them also, even as among other Gentiles (ch. 1. 13), if all the while he knew that they had the apostle of the circumcision for their spiritual father? And how, if so, is there no salutation to Peter, among the many in this epistle-or, if it may be thought that he was known to be elsewhere at that particular time-how does there occur in all the epistles which our apostle afterwards wrote from Rome not one allusion to such an origin of the Roman Church? The same considerations would seem to prove that this church owed its origin to no prominent Christian labourer; and this brings us to the much litigated question,
For WHAT OLABS of Christians was this epistle principally designed-Jewisb or Gentile? That a large number of Jews and Jewish proselytes resided at this time at Rome is known to all who are familiar with the classical and Jewish writers of that and the immediately subsequent periods; and that those of them who were at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts, 2. 10), and formed probably part of the three thousand converts of that day, would on their return to Rome carry the glad tidings with them, there can be no doubt. Nor are indications wanting that some of those embraced in the salutations of this epistle were Christiang already of long standing, if not among the earliest converts to the Christian faith. Others of them who had made the apostle's acquaintance elsewhere, and who, if not indebted to him for their first knowledge of Christ, probably owed much to his ministrations, seem to have charged themselves with the duty of cherishing and consolidating the work of the Lord in the capital. And thus it is not improbable that up to the time of the apostle's arrival the Christian community at Rome had been dependent upon subordinate agency for the increase of its numbers aided by occasiopal visits of stated preachers from the provinces ; and perhaps it may be gathered from the salatations of the last chapter that it was up to that time in a less organized, though far from less flourishing state, than some otber churches to whom the apostle had already addressed epistles. Certain it is that the apostle writes to them expressly as a Gentile church (ch. 1. 13-15; 15. 15, 16); and though it is plain that there were Jewish Christians among them, and the whole argument presupposes an intimate acquaintance on the part of his readers with the leading principles of the Old Testament, this will be sufficiently explained by supposing that the bulk of them, having before they knew the Lord been Gentile proselytes to the Jewish faith, had entered the pale of the Christian Church through the gate of the ancient economy.
It remains only to speak briefly of the PLAN and CHARACTER of this epistle. Of all the undoubted epistles of our apostle this is the most elaborate, and at the same time the most glowing. It has just as much in common with a theo logical treatise as is consistent with the freedom and warmth of a real letter. Referring to the headings which we have prefixed to its successive sections, as best exhibiting the progress of the argument and the connection of its points, we here merely note that its first great topic is what may be termed the legal relation of man to God as a violator of His holy law, whether as merely written on the heart, as in the case of the Heathen, or, as in the case of the Chosen People, as further known by external revelation; that it next treats of that legal relation as wholly reversed through believing connection with the Lord Jesus Christ; and that its third and last great topic is the new life which accompanies this change of relation, embracing at once a blessedness and a consecration to God which, rudimentally complete already, will open, in the futuro world, into the bliss of immediate and stainless fellowship with God. The bearing of these wonderful truths upon the copo dition and destiny of the Chosen People, to which the apostle next comes, though it seem but the practical application of them to his kinsmen according to the flesh, is in some respects the deepest and most difficult part of the whole epistle carrying us directly to the eternal springs of Grace to the guilty in the sovereign love and inscrutable purposes of God; after which, however, we are brought back to the historical platform of the visible church, in the calling of the Gentila,