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Such a second imprisonment was in itself not at all unlikely after the great fire in 64 A.D., when the Christian religion was put under the ban; and we know the apostle had no lack of enemies to give information against him. If we are right in dating the first epistle 67 A.D., we may assign this one to 67-68 A.D.

4. Character and Contents. We have here the apostle's last will and testament in favour of the Church, in the form of a farewell charge to his beloved child Timothy. He still hoped to see him once again, and repeatedly urges him to do his best to come to him shortly—“before winter," while navigation is still practicable (iv. 9, 21). His yearning for Timothy's society in his lonely prison reminds us of our Lord's desire for the sympathy and prayers of His disciples on the eve of His Passion ; and in this epistle, as in our Lord's teaching during the week preceding His death, there is blended with a sublime confidence in the speaker's own future, dark foreboding of approaching trial and temptation for the Church. He warns Timothy of the “grievous times” to come (iii. 1), and exhorts him to adhere steadfastly to the teaching he had received from the apostle on the foundation of the Scripture "inspired of God,"

” and to take security for such teaching being continued by “faithful men who shall be able to teach others also” -bidding Timothy emulate his own example in the endurance of hardship and in the practice of self-denial for the sake of the Gospel.

A peculiarity of this as of the other pastoral epistles is the introduction of short and weighty statements with the words, “Faithful is the saying.” In ii. 11-13 we have what is probably part of a Christian hymn, expressing the faith in which the apostle would have Timothy to meet his trials.

CHAPTER XIX

THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS

1. Authorship.—This is a question which cannot be answered with any degree of certainty. The earliest witness on the subject is Pantænus of Alexandria, in the latter half of the second century, who assigned the epistle, as Eusebius tells us, to the Apostle Paul. In keeping with this opinion we find that the Eastern Church generally regarded it as the work of Paul; but some of the most learned of its bishops and teachers were constrained by internal evidence to depart somewhat from the traditional view. Their idea was that Paul might have written the original, and one of his disciples have translated it into Greek; or that the apostle might have supplied the thoughts, and some disciple have put them into words. In this sense Origen maintains that the thoughts were worthy of the apostle, but “who it was that wrote the epistle, God only knows certainly."

The opinion of the Western Church was for a long time adverse to the Pauline authorship. Clement of Rome, who wrote before the close of the first century, frequently quotes the epistle, but never claims for it the authority of Paul. If he believed that the epistle was written by Paul, it is difficult to account for the ignorance of the Roman Church on the subject in succeeding generations—all the more so because of the connection of the epistle with Italy (xiii. 24). It was not till the close of the fourth century, and in spite of its traditions to the contrary, that the Western Church accepted the epistle as a writing of Paul's.1

Even if the external testimony in favour of the Pauline authorship were much stronger than it is, a study of the style and structure of the book would compel us to adopt a different view. Instead of the rugged, impetuous, and occasionally disjointed style of the apostle, we have here polished diction and carefully-constructed sentences. “The movement of this writer resembles that of an oriental sheikh with his robes of honour wrapped around him; the movement of St. Paul is that of an athlete girded for the race. The eloquence of this writer, even when it is at its most majestic volume, resembles the flow of a river; the rhetoric of St. Paul is like the rush of a mountain torrent amid opposing rocks.” In addition to this general dissimilarity of style there are so many well-marked differences in detail, that the idea that Paul wrote this epistle has now been generally aban

1 But it is interesting to observe that the Westminster Confession does not include it among St. Paul's epistles.

2 (1) There is in this epistle a marked absence of the opening salutation and thanksgiving usual with St. Paul.

(2) There is an acknowledgment on the part of the writer that he and his readers were indebted in some measure for their knowledge of the Gospel to “them that heard” the Lord (ii. 3), whereas Paul repudiated for himself any such dependence on the testimony of others (Gal. i. 11-17).

(3) In quoting from the Old Testament the writer of this epistle makes use of such phrases as “God saith,” “the Holy Spirit saith," “he testifieth,” which are not found in St. Paul's writings.

(4) He invariably quotes from the Septuagint in its Alexandrian MS., without regard to the Hebrew, whereas Paul often corrects the Septuagint by the Hebrew, and when he quotes from the Greek version, follows the text found in the Vatican MS.

(5) He never designates the Saviour as “our Lord Jesus Christ” Christ Jesus our Lord” (expressions which occur nearly seventy

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doned. Nor can we even regard it as the translation of a Hebrew work of the apostle's, which was a conjecture of Clement of Alexandria. Not only is it possessed of such a rhetorical grace and finish as is scarcely attainable in a translation, but in several other respects it bears unmistakable tokens of having been originally written in Greek.1 But although we cannot assign the epistle to St. Paul, this need not impair our sense of its value as an acknowledged portion of the New Testament. Its value is independent of its human authorship. “If it should be found that a noble picture which had been attributed to Raphael was not by that artist, there would not be one masterpiece the less, but one great master the more” (Thiersch).

While the evidence is conclusive against the epistle having been written by Paul, there is yet reason to believe that it was the work of one of Paul's school. The writer appears to have been acquainted with some of Paul's epistles, and he uses many words which are found nowhere in the New Testament except in Paul's writings, or in his speeches as reported by Luke. He also refers to Timothy as a personal friend—although in different terms from those used by the apostle (xiii. 23).

By which of Paul's friends or associates the letter was written it is difficult to say. Neither Clement nor Luke

2

times in Paul's epistles), but generally speaks of Him as “Jesus,” or “ Christ,” or “the Lord.”

(6) Greek particles of frequent occurrence in Paul's writings are entirely absent from this epistle ; while some are found here that are never used by Paul.

1 It has numerous plays on Greek words, and contains expressions that have no equivalent in Hebrew; it makes its Old Testament quotations direct from the Septuagint, in some cases even building an argument on forms of expression which do not occur in the Hebrew text.

2 Cf. ii. 8 and 1 Cor. xv. 27; ii. 10 and Rom. xi. 36 ; ii. 14, 2 Tim. i. 10 and 1 Cor. xv. 26 ; v. 12-14 and 1 Cor. iii. 2 ; vi. 10 and 1 Thess. i. 3 ; x. 30 and Rom. xii. 19; xii. 14 and Rom. xii. 18.

(whose names were suggested as early as the third century) can be credited with the work, so greatly do their styles differ from that of the epistle. Luther's conjecture that Apollos may have been the writer is favoured by the description of the latter in Acts xviii. 24-28, viewed in connection with the internal characteristics of the epistle, and it has been widely accepted. But if Apollos was the writer, it is difficult to account for the complete disappearance of his name from the traditions of the Church, more especially in the East.

There is another name, in itself not at all an improbable one, for which we have the authority of Tertullian of Carthage, who wrote in the beginning of the third century. That presbyter refers to Barnabas as the author of the epistle, in terms which would imply that this was no new supposition; and his testimony is all the more important because he had been at one time resident in Rome and knew what was the current belief of the Church there. In many respects the name of Barnabas answers the requirements of the case. As a Jewish Christian who enjoyed the confidence of the apostles and was on intimate terms with the Church at Jerusalem, of which he had been an early benefactor; as Levite, familiar with the usages and customs of the Jewish sanctuary; as a native, and frequent visitor, of Cyprus, sufficiently acquainted with Hellenistic literature to be able to preach to Hellenists, and at one time (according to an ancient tradition) a teacher, like his nephew Mark, at Alexandria, with which Cyprus was closely connected; as a good man full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, whose surname of Barnabas, “son of exhortation” (conferred on him by the apostles), marked him out as a man of great persuasive influence :—in all these respects this Churchleader was well fitted to be the writer of a 56 word of exhortation” (xiii. 22)—in the Greek language and after

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