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“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas forsook me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is useful to me for ministering. But Tychicus I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, bring when thou comest, and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord will render to him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he greatly withstood our words.”—2 Tim. iv. 9–15.

“Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus. Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus I left at Miletus sick. Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus saluteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.” vv. 19–21.

It would scarcely be exceeding the limits of legitimate hyperbole to say that these two passages prove the authenticity and genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles; that they are sufficient to show that these letters are an authentic account of the matters of which they treat, and that they are genuine letters of the Apostle Paul.

In the first of these expositions it was pointed out how improbable it is that a portion of one of these letters should be genuine, and not the remainder of it; or that one of the three should be genuine, and not 407 the other two; and a fortiori, that two of the three should be genuine, and not the remaining one.

The passages before us are among those of which it has been truly said that they “cling so closely to Paul that it is only by tearing the letter to pieces that any part can be dissociated from that Apostle.”9797   Salmon’s Historical Introduction to the New Testament, p. 426, 3rd ed., to which the writer of this exposition is under great obligations. The book should be in the hands of every student of the N. T. The internal evidence is here too strong even for those critics who deny the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles as a whole. Thus Renan and Weisse are disposed to admit that we have here embedded in the work of a later writer portions of a genuine letter of the Apostle; while Ewald, Hausrath, and Pfleiderer accept not only these verses, but the earlier passage about Phygelus, Hermogenes, and Onesiphorus as genuine also. Similar views are advocated by Hitzig, Krenkel, and Immer, of whom the two first admit that the Epistle to Titus also contains genuine fragments. And quite recently (1882) we have Lemme contending that only the central portion of 2 Timothy (ii. 11 to iv. 5) is an interpolation.

These concessions amount to a concession of the whole case. It is impossible to stop there. Either much more must be conceded or much less. For, (1) we cannot without very strong evidence indeed accept so improbable a supposition as that a Christian long after the Apostle’s death was in possession of letters written by him, of which no one else knew anything, that he worked bits of these into writings of his own, which he wished to pass off as Apostolic, and that he then destroyed the genuine letters, or 408 disposed of them in such a way that no one knew that they had ever existed. Such a story is not absolutely impossible, but it is so unlikely to be true, that to accept it without clear evidence would be most uncritical. And there is not only no clear evidence; there is no evidence at all. The hypothesis is pure imagination. (2) The portions of this letter which are allowed by adverse critics to be genuine are precisely those in which a forger would be pretty sure to be caught tripping. They are full of personal details, some of which admit of being tested, and all of which can be criticized, as to whether they are natural and consistent or not. Would a forger be likely to risk detection by venturing on such dangerous ground? He would put into the letter those doctrines for which he wished to appear to have St. Paul’s authority; and, if he added anything else, he would take care not to go beyond vague generalities, too indefinite to be caught in the meshes of criticism. But the writer of this letter has done the reverse of all this. He has given an abundance of personal detail, such as can be found in only one other place in the New Testament, and that in the concluding portion of the Epistle to the Romans, one of the indisputable writings of St. Paul.

And he has not been caught tripping. Hostile writers have subjected these details to the most searching criticism; and the result, as we have seen, is that many of them are constrained to admit that these portions of the letter are genuine productions of the Apostle. That is, those portions of the Epistle which can be subjected to a severe test, are allowed to be by St. Paul, because they stand the test; while those which do not admit of being thus tested are rejected, not because there is any proof of their being spurious, 409 but because critics think that the style is not like the Apostle’s. Would they not be the first to deride others for such an opinion? Supposing that these details had contained absurdities or contradictions, which could not have been written by St. Paul, would they not have maintained, and reasonably maintained, that it was monstrous to surrender as spurious those sections of the letter which had been tested and found wanting, and to defend as genuine the other sections, which did not admit of being tested?

Let us look at the details a little more closely. Besides St. Paul and Timothy, twenty-three Christians of the Apostolic age are mentioned in this short letter. A considerable number of these are persons of whom we read in the Acts or in St. Paul’s other letters; but the majority are new names, and in most of these cases we know nothing about the bearers of the names beyond what is told us here. Would a forger have given us this mixture of known and unknown? If he ventured upon names at all, would he not either have given us imaginary persons, whose names and actions could not be checked by existing records, or else have kept closely to the records, so that the checking might tell in his favour? He has done neither. The new names do not look like those of imaginary persons, and the mention of known persons is by no means a mere reproduction of what is said of them elsewhere.

“Demas forsook me, having loved this present world.... Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is useful to me for ministering.” A forger with the Acts and the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon before him would have made Mark forsake Paul, and Demas be commended as useful to him; for in the Acts (xv. 38) Paul had to condemn Mark for slackness, 410 and in the Epistles to the Colossians (iv. 14) and to Philemon (24) Demas with Luke is waiting on the Apostle in his imprisonment. And yet how natural that the Apostle’s condemnation should rouse Mark to greater earnestness, and that the Apostle should recognize that earnestness in this farewell letter? And how consistent with human frailty also that Demas should have courage enough to stand by St. Paul during his first Roman imprisonment, and yet should quail before the greater risks of the second! That the Apostle’s complaint respecting him means more than this, is unlikely. Yet some have exaggerated it into a charge of heresy, or even utter apostasy. We are simply to understand that Demas preferred comfort and security away from Rome to the hardship and danger of a Roman prison; and therefore went to Thessalonica. Why he selected that town we are not told, but there being a Christian community there would be one reason.

“Titus to Dalmatia.” Why should a forger send Titus to Dalmatia? The Pastoral Epistles, whether a forgery or not, are all by one hand, and seem to have been written within a short time of one another. Would not a forger have sent Titus either to Crete (Tit. i. 5), or to Nicopolis (Tit. iii. 12)? But if Titus went to Nicopolis, and failed to find Paul there, owing to his having been meanwhile arrested, what more probable than that he should go on into Dalmatia? The forger, if he had thought of this, would have called attention to it, to ensure that his ingenuity was not overlooked.

“But Tychicus I sent to Ephesus.” The meaning of the “but” is not quite clear. Perhaps the most probable supposition is that it indicates the reason why 411 the Apostle needs a useful person like Mark. “I had such a person in Tychicus; but he is gone on a mission for me to Ephesus.” How natural all this is! And what could induce a forger to put it in? We are told in the Acts that Tychicus belonged to the Roman province of Asia (xx. 4), and that he was with St. Paul at the close of his third missionary journey about nine years before the writing of this letter to Timothy. Three or four years later we find Tychicus once more with St. Paul during the first Roman imprisonment; and he is sent with Onesimus as the bearer of the Epistle to the Colossians (iv. 7) and to the Ephesians (vi. 21). And we learn from the sentence before us, as well as from Titus iii. 12, that he still enjoys the confidence of the Apostle, for he is sent on missions for him to Crete and to Ephesus. All these separate notices of him hang together consistently representing him as “the beloved brother,” and also as a “faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord,” whom St. Paul was accustomed to entrust with special commissions. If the mission to Ephesus mentioned here is a mere copy of the other missions, would not a forger have taken some pains to ensure that the similarity between his fiction and previous facts should be observed?

“The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, bring when thou comest, and the books, especially the parchments.” Here the arguments against the probability of forgery reach a climax; and this verse should be remembered side by side with “Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake” in the First Epistle (v. 23). What writer of a fictitious letter would ever have dreamed of inserting either passage? To an unbiassed mind they go a long way towards producing the impression that 412 we are dealing with real letters and not with inventions. And this argument holds good equally well, whatever meaning we give to the word (φελόνη) which is rendered “cloke.” It probably means a cloke, and is a Greek form of the Latin penula. It appears to have been a circular garment without sleeves, but with a hole in the middle for the head. Hence some persons have made the astounding suggestion that it was a eucharistic vestment analogous to a chasuble, and have supposed that the Apostle is here asking, not for warm clothing “before winter,” but for a sacerdotal dress for ritualistic purposes. But since Chrysostom’s day there has been a more credible suggestion that the word means a bag or case for books. If so, would the Apostle have mentioned both the book-bag and the books, and would he have put the bag before the books? He might naturally have written, “Bring the book-bag,”—of course with the books in it; or, “Bring the books and the bag also.” But it seems a strange way of putting the request to say, “The book-bag that I left at Troas with Carpus, bring when thou comest; the books also, especially the parchments,” as if the bag were the chief thing that he thought about. It seems better to abide by the old rendering “cloke;” and, if this is correct, then it fits in well with “Do thy diligence to come before winter.” Yet the writer in no way draws our attention to the connexion between the need of the thick cloke and the approach of winter: and the writer of a real letter would have no need to do so. But would a forger have left the connexion to chance?9898   The striking parallel to this request afforded by that of William Tyndale is pointed out in Farrar’s St. Paul, ii. p. 571. Tyndale writes from his prison in the Castle of Vilvorden to ask, “idque per Dominum Jesum,” for warmer clothing, and above all for his Hebrew Bible, grammar, and dictionary.

413 Whether Alexander the coppersmith is the person of that name who was put forward by the Jews in the riot raised by Demetrius (Acts xix. 33), is not more than a possibility. The name Alexander was exceedingly common; and we are not told that the Jew in the riot at Ephesus was a smith, or that Alexander the smith was a Jew. In what way the coppersmith “showed much ill-treatment” to the Apostle, we are not told. As St. Paul goes on immediately afterwards to speak of his “first defence,” it seems reasonable to conjecture that Alexander had seriously injured the Apostle’s cause in some way. But this is pure conjecture; and the ill-treatment may refer to general persecution of St. Paul and opposition to his teaching. On the whole the latter hypothesis appears to be safer.

The reading, “The Lord will render to him” (ἀποδώσει), is shown by an overwhelming balance of evidence to be preferable to “The Lord reward him (ἀποδώη) according to his works.” There is no malediction. Just as in ver. 8 the Apostle expresses his conviction that the Lord will render (ἀποδώσει) a crown of righteousness to all those who love His appearing, so here he expresses a conviction that He will render a just recompense to all those who oppose the work of His kingdom. What follows in the next verse, “may it not be laid to their account,” seems to show that the Apostle is in no cursing mood. He writes in sorrow rather than in anger. It is necessary to put Timothy on his guard against a dangerous person; but he leaves the requital of the evil deeds to God.

“Salute Prisca and Aquila.” A forger with the 414 Apostle’s indisputable writings before him, would hardly have inserted this; for he would have concluded from Rom. xvi. 3, 4, that these two well-known helpers of St. Paul were in Rome at this very time. Aquila was a Jew of Pontus who had migrated from Pontus to Rome, but had had to leave the capital again when Claudius expelled the Jews from the city (Acts xviii. 2). He and his wife Prisca or Priscilla then settled in Corinth, where St. Paul took up his abode with them, because they were Jews and tent-makers, like himself. And in their workshop the foundations of the Corinthian Church were laid. Thenceforward they became his helpers in preaching the Gospel, and went with him to Ephesus, where they helped forward the conversion of the eloquent Alexandrian Jew Apollos. After much service to the Church they returned once more to Rome, and were there when St. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Either the persecution under Nero, or possibly missionary enterprise, induced them once more to leave Rome and return to Asia. The Apostle naturally puts such faithful friends, “who for his life laid down their necks” (Rom. xvi. 3), in the very first place in sending his personal greetings; and they are equally naturally coupled with the household of Onesiphorus, who had done similar service in courageously visiting St. Paul in his imprisonment (ver. 16). The double mention of “the household of Onesiphorus” (not of Onesiphorus himself) has been commented upon in a former exposition (see No. XXVIII.).

Of the statements, “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus I left at Miletus sick,” no more need be said than to point out how lifelike and natural they are in a real letter from one friend to another who knows the persons mentioned; how unlikely they are 415 to have occurred to a writer who was inventing a letter in order to advocate his own doctrinal views. That Trophimus is the same person as the Ephesian, who with Tychicus accompanied St. Paul on his third missionary journey (Acts xx. 4; xxi. 29), may be safely assumed. Whether Erastus is identical with the treasurer of Corinth (Rom. xvi. 23), or with the Erastus who was sent by Paul with Timothy to Macedonia (Acts xix. 22), must remain uncertain.

“Eubulus saluteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia.” With this group of names our accumulation of arguments for the genuineness of this portion of the letter, and therefore of the whole letter, and therefore of all three Pastoral Epistles, comes to an end. The argument is a cumulative one, and this last item of the internal evidence is by no means the least important or least convincing. About Eubulus, Pudens, and Claudia we know nothing beyond what this passage implies, viz., that they were members of the Christian Church in Rome; for the very bare possibility that Pudens and Claudia may be the persons of that name who are mentioned by Martial, is not worth more than a passing reference. But Linus is a person about whom something is known. It is unlikely that in the Apostolic age there were two Christians of this name in the Roman Church; and therefore we may safely conclude that the Linus who here sends greeting is identical with the Linus, who, according to very early testimony preserved by Irenæus (Hær., III. iii. 3), was first among the earliest bishops of the Church of Rome. Irenæus himself expressly identifies the first Bishop of Rome with the Linus mentioned in the Epistles to Timothy, and that in a passage in which (thanks to Eusebius) we have the original Greek of 416 Irenæus as well as the Latin translation. From his time (c. A.D. 180) to the present day, Linus, Anencletus or Anacletus or Cletus (all three forms of the name are used), and Clement have been commemorated as the three first Bishops of Rome. They must all of them have been contemporaries of the Apostle. Of these three far the most famous was Clement; and a writer at the end of the first century, or beginning of the second, inventing a letter for St. Paul, would be much more likely to put Clement into it than Linus. Again, such a writer would know that Linus, after the Apostle’s death, became the presiding presbyter of the Church of Rome, and would place him before Eubulus and Pudens. But here Linus is placed after the other two. The obvious inference is, that, at the time when this letter was written, Linus was not yet in any position of authority. Like the other persons here named, he was a leading member of the Church in Rome, otherwise he would hardly have been mentioned at all; but he has not yet been promoted to the chief place, otherwise he would at least have been mentioned first, and probably with some epithet or title. Once more one asks, what writer of fiction would have thought of these niceties? And what writer who thought of them, and elaborated them thus skilfully, would have abstained from all attempt to prevent their being overlooked and unappreciated?

The result of this investigation is greatly to increase our confidence in the genuineness of this letter and of all three Pastoral Epistles. We began by treating them as veritable writings of the great Apostle, and a closer acquaintance with them has justified this treatment. Doubts may be raised about everything; but reasonable doubts have their limits. To dispute 417 the authenticity of the Epistles to the Corinthians, Romans, and Galatians is now considered to be a sure proof that the doubter cannot estimate evidence; and we may look forward to the time when the Second Epistle to Timothy will be ranked with those four great Epistles as indisputable. Meanwhile let no student of this letter doubt that in it he is reading the touching words in which the Apostle of the Gentiles gave his last charge to his beloved disciple, and through him to the Christian Church.

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