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INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.
which they occur, with a mark of distinction belonging to each, could hardly be the effect of chance, without any truth to direct it: and on the other hand, to suppose that they were picked out from these passages, and brought together in the text before us, in order to display a conformity of names, is both improbable in itself, and is rendered more so by the purpose for which they are introduced. They come in to assist St. Paul's exculpation of himself, against the possible charge of having assumed the character of the founder of a separate religion, and with no other visible, or, as I think, imaginable design*.
Section IX. ☆ Chap. xvi. 10, 11. “ Now, if Timotheus come, let no man despise him.”_Why despise him? This charge is not given concerning any other messenger whom St. Paul sent; and, in the different Epistles, many such messengers are mentioned. Turn to 1st of Timothy, chap. iv. 12. and you will find that Timothy was a young man, younger probably than those who were usually employed in the Christian mission; and that St. Paul, apprehending lest he should, on that account, be exposed to contempt, urges upon him the caution which is there inserted, “Let no man despise thy youth.”
SECTION X. ☆ Chap. xvi. 1. “ Now, concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to tlie churches of Galatia, even so do ye."
The churches of Galatia and Phrygia were the last churches which St. Paul had visited before the writing of this Epistle. He was now at Ephesus, and he came thither immediately from visiting these churches : “ He went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia, in order, strengthening all the disciples. And it came to pass that Paul, having passed through the upper coasts” (viz. the above-named countries, called the upper coasts, as being the northern part of Asia Minor), “ came to Ephesus.” Acts xviii. 23. xix. t. These, therefore, probably, were the last churches at which he left directions for their public conduct during his absence.
* Chap. i. 1. 6 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother, unto the church of God, wbich is at Corinth.” The only account we have of any person who bore the name of Sosthenes, is found in the eighteenth chapter of the Acts. When the Jews at Corinth had brought Paul before Gallio, and Gallio had dismissed their complaint as unworthy of his interference, and had driven them from the judgment-seat; "then all the Greeks,” says the historian, “ took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment-seat.” The Sosthenes here spoken of, was a Corinthian; and, if he was a Christian, and with St. Paul when he wrote this Epistle, was likely enough to be joined with him in the salutation of the Corinthian church. But here occurs a difficulty-If Sos-' thenes was a Christian at the time of this uproar, why should the Greeks beat him? The assault upon the Christians was made by the Jews. It was the Jews who had brought Paul before the magistrate. If it had been the Jews also who had beaten Sosthenes, I should not have doubted that he had been a favourer of St. Paul, and the same person who is joined with him in the Epistle. Let us see, therefore, whether there be not some error in our present text. The Alexandrian manuscript gives TAYTES alone, without ói 'Elaynes, and is followed in this reading by the Coptic version, by the Arabic version, published by Erpenius, by the Vulgate, and by Bede's Latin version. Three Greek manuscripts again, as well as Chrysostom, give - 10081106, in the place of ó 'Eddynes. A great plurality of manuscripts authorise the reading which is retained in our copies. In this variety it appears to me extremely probable that the historian originally wrote Tartes alone, and that oi 'Exiques, and å lovācuss have been respectively added as explanatory of what the word TAYTES was supposed to mean. The sentence, without the addition of either name, would run very perspicuously thus, “ και απηλασεν αυτους απο του βηματος: • επιλαζομενοι δε παντες Σωσθενην τον αρχισυναγωγον, ετυπτον εμπροσθεν του βηματος" and he drove them away from the judgment-seat; and they all,” viz. the crowd of Jews whom the judge had bid begone, “took Sosthenes, and beat him before the judgment-seat.” It is certain that, as the whole body of the people were Greeks, the application of all to them was unusual and hard. If I were describing an insurrection at Paris, I might say all the Jews, all the Protestants, or all the English, acted so and so ; but I should scarcely say all the French, when the whole mass of the community were of that description."-See the Note on Acts xviii. 17. where the subject mentioned here by the learned Archdeacon, is particularly considercd.
INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.
Although two years intervened between his journey to Ephesus and his writing this Epistle, yet it does not appear that during that time he visited any other church. That he had not been silent when he was in Galatia, upon this subject of contribution for the poor, is farther made out from a hint which he lets fall in his Epistle to that church : “Only they (viz. the other apostles,) would that we should remember the poor, the same also which I was forward to do.”
SECTION XI. § Chap. iv. 18. « Now, some are puffed up, as though I would not come unto you."
Why should they suppose that he would not come? Turn to the first chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and you will find that he had already disappointed them: “I was minded to come unto you before, that you might have a second benefit; and to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judea. When I, therefore, was thus minded, did I use lightness ? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? But, as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.” It appears from this quotation, that he had not only intended, but that he had promised them a visit before ; for, otherwise, why should he apologise for the change of his purpose, or express so much anxiety lest this change should be imputed to any culpable fickleness in his temper; and lest he should thereby seem to them, as one whose word was not, in any sort, to be depended upon: Besides which, the terms made use of, plainly refer to a promise, « Our word toward you was not yea and nay.” St. Paul therefore had signified an intention, which he had not been able to execute; and this seeming breach of his word, and the delay of his visit, had, with some who were evil affected towards him, given birth to a suggestion that he would come no more to Corinth,
Section XII. ☆ Chap. v. 7, 8. “ For even Christ, our pass-over, is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Dr. Benson tells us, that from this passage, compared with chapter xvi. 8. it has been conjectured that this Epistle was written about the time of the Jewish pass-over; and to me the conjecture appears to be very well founded. The passage to which Dr. Benson refers us is this : “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” With this passage he ought to have joined another in the same context: “And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you;" for from the two passages laid together, it follows that the Epistle was written before Pentecost, yet after winter; which necessarily determines the date to the part of the year within which the passover falls. It was written before Pentecost, because he says, “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost." written after winter, because he tells them, “ It may be that I may abide, yea, and winter with you." The winter which the apostle purposed to pass at Corinth, was undoubtedly the winter next ensuing to the date of the Epistle ; yet it was a winter subsequent to the ensuing Pentecost, because he did not intend to set forwards upon
his journey till after that feast. The words, “ let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” look very like words suggested by the season; at least they have, upon that supposition, a force and significancy which do not belong to them upon any other; and it is not a little remarkable, that the hints casually dropped in the Epistle concerning particular parts of the year, should coincide with this supposition.
LONDON, Oct. 1, 1814.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EPISTLE
CORINTH, to which this and the following Epistle were sent, was one of the most celebrated cities of Greece. It was situated on a gulf of the same name, and was the capital of the Peloponnesus, or Achaia; and was united to the continent by an isthmus, or neck of land, that had the port of Lecheum on the West, and that of Cenchrea on the East, by which it commanded the navigation and commerce both of the Ionian and Ægean seas. It is supposed by some, to have been founded by Sisyphus, the son of Æolus, and grand-father of Ulysses, about the year of the world 2490, or 2500, and before the Christian æra 1504 years. Others report that it had both its origin and name from Corinthus, the son of Pelops. It was at first but a very inconsiderable town; but at last, through its extensive commerce, became the most opulent city of Greece, and the capital of a powerful state. It was destroyed by the Romans under Mummius, about 146 years before Christ, but was afterwards rebuilt by Julius Cæsar.
By its port of Lecheum, it received the merchandise of Italy and the western nations; and by Cenchrea, that of the islands of the Ægean sea, the coasts of Asia Minor, and the Phænicians.
Corinth exceeded all cities of the world, for the splendour and magnificence of its public buildings, such as temples, palaces, theatres, porticoes, cenotaphs, baths, and other edifices; all enriched with a beautiful kind of columns, capitals, and bases from which the Corinthian order in architecture took its rise. Corinth is also celebrated for its statues, those especially of Venus, the Sun, Neptune and Amphitrite, Diana, Apollo, Jupiter, Minerva, &c. The temple of Venus was not only very splendid, but also very rich, and maintained, according to Strabo, not less than 1000 courtezans, who were the means of bringing an immense concourse of strangers to the place. Thus riches produced luxury, and luxury a total corruption of manners; though arts, sciences, and literature, continued to flourish long in it; and a measure of the martial spirit of its ancient inhabitants, was kept alive in it by means of those public games, which, being celebrated on the Isthmus which connects the Peloponnesus to the main land, were called the Isthmian games; and were exhibited once every five years. The exercises in these games were leaping, running, throwing the quoit or dart, boxing and wrestling. It appears, that besides these, there were contentions for poetry and music ; and the conquerors in any of these exercises, were ordinarily crowned either with pine leaves, or with parsley. It is well known that the apostle alludes to those games in different parts of his Epistles, which shall all be particularly noticed as they occur.
Corinth, like all other opulent and well situated places, has often been a subject of contention between rival states; has frequently changed masters, and undergone all forms of government. The Venetians held it till 1715, when the Turks took it from them, under whose dominion it has
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.
ever since remained. Under this deteriorating government, it is greatly reduced; its whole population amounting only to between 13 and 14,000 souls. It lies about 46 miles to the east of Athens; and 312 south-west of Constantinople. A few vestiges of its ancient splendour still remain ; which are objects of curiosity and gratification to all intelligent travellers.
As we have seen that Corinth was well situated for trade, and consequently very rich ; it is no wonder that, in its heathen state, it was exceedingly corrupt and profligate. Notwithstanding this, every part of the Græcian learning was highly cultivated here ; so that before its destruction by the Romans, Cicero (Pro lege Manl. cap. v.) scrupled not to call it totius Græcie lumen, The eye of all Greece. Yet the inhabitants of it were as lascivious as they were learned. Public prostitution formed a considerable part of their religion ; and they were accustomed, in their public prayers, to request the gods to multiply their prostitutes ! and, in order to express their gratitude to their deities for the favours they received, they bound themselves by vows, to increase the number of such women ; for commerce with them, was neither esteemed sinful nor disgraceful. Lais, so famous in history, was a Corinthian prostitute, and whose price was not less than 10,000 drachmas. Demosthenes, from whom this price was required by her, for one night's lodging, said, “I will not buy repentance at so dear a rate.” So notorious was this city for such conduct, that the verb xogubna (solo to Corinthize, signified to act the prostitute; and Koguvola xogy, a Corinthian damsel, meant a harlot, or common woman. I mention these things the more particularly, because they account for several things mentioned by the Apostle in his letters to this city: and things which, without this knowledge of their previous Gentile state and customs, we could not comprehend. It is true, as the Apostle states, that they carried these things to an extent that was not practised in any other Gentile country. And yet, even in Corinth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, prevailing over universal corruption, founded a Christian Church !
Analysis of the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
This Epistle, as to its subject matter, has been variously divided; into three parts by some, into four, seven, eleven, &c. parts by others. Most of these divisions are merely artificial, and were never intended by the Apostle. The following seven particulars comprise the whole
I.-The Introduction, ch. i. 1-9.
tuous person, ch. v. vi. and vii. IV.-The question concerning the lawfulness of eating things which had been offered to idols,
ch. viji, ix. and x. inclusive. V.-- Various ecclesiastical regulations, ch. xi-xiv. inclusive. VI.— The important question concerning the resurrection of the dead, ch. xv. VII.-Miscellaneous matters, containing exhortations, salutations, commendations, &c. &c.
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
THE CORINTHIANS. .
Chronological Notes relative to this Epistle.
Year of the Constantinopolitan æra of the world, as used by the emperors of the East in their diplomata, &c. and thence
also called the “civil æra of the Greeks,” 5564_Year of the Alexandrian æra of the world, or Greek ecclesiastical epocha, 5558—Year of the Antiochian æra of the world, 5518—Year of the Eusebian epocha of the creation, or that used in the Chronicon of Eusebius, and the Roman Martyrology, 4281-Year of the Julian Period, 4761-Year of the Ussherian æra of the world, or that used in the English Bibles, 4060—Year of the minor Jewish æra of the world, 3816—Year of the greater Rabbinical æra of the world, 4115-Year since the Deluge, according to archbishop Ussher, and the English Bible, 2404—Year of the Cali Yuga, or Indian æra of the Deluge, 3158—Year of the æra of Iphitus, or since the first commencement of the Olympic Games, 996—Year of the two hundred and eighth Olympiad, 4-Year from the Building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor, who flourished in the time of the first Punic war, and who is styled by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, an accurate writer, 803. (This epoch is used by Diodorus Siculus)-Year from the building of Rome, according to Polybius, 807—Year from the building of Rome, according to Cato and the Fasti Consulares, and adopted by Solinus, Eusebius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, &c. 808—Year from the building of Rome, according to Varro, which was that adopted by the Roman emperors in their proclamations, by Plutarch, Tacitus, Dio Cassius, Gellius, Censorinus, Onuphrius, Baronius, and by most modern chronologers, 809. N.B. Livy, Cicero, Pliny, and Velleius Paterculus, fluctuate between the Varronian and Catonian computations--Year of the epocha of Nabonassar, king of Babylon, or that used by Hipparchus, by Ptolemy in his astronomical observations, by Censorinus and others, 803. (The years of this æra constantly contained 365 days, so that 1460 Julian were equal to 1 161 Nabonassarean years. This epoch began on Feb. 26, B. C. 747; and, consequently, the commencement of the 803d year of the æra of Nabonassar, corresponded to the IVth of the Ides of August, A. D. 5.5.)—Year of the æra of the Seleucidæ, or since Seleucus, one of the generals of Alexander's army, took Babylon, and ascended the Asiatic throne, sometimes called the Grecian æra, and the æra of Principalities, in reference to the division of Alexander's empire, 368—-Year of the Cæsarean æra of Antioch, 104—Year of the Julian æra, or since the Calendar of Numa Pompilius was reformed by Julius Cæsar, 101-Year of the Spanish æra, or since the second division of the Roman provinces among the Triumviri, 94. (This epoch continued in use among the Spaniards, till A. D. 1383, and among the Portuguese till about A. D. 1422.)-Year since the defeat of Pompey, by Julius Cæsar, at Pharsalia in Thessaly, called by Catrou and Rouillé, the commencement of the Roman empire, 104-Year of the Actiac, or Actian æra, or proper epocha of the Roman empire, commencing with the defeat of Antony by Augustus, at Actium, 86—Year from the birth of Jesus Christ, 60-Year of the vulgar æra of Christ's nativity, 56---Year of the Dionysian Period, or Easter Cycle, 57--Common Golden Number, or year of the Grecian or Metonic Cycle of 19 years, 19, or the seventh Embolismic-Jewish Golden Number, or year of the Rabbinical Cycle of 19 years, 16, or the second after the fifth Embolismic-Year of the Solar Cycle, 9-Dominical Letters, it being Bissextile or Leap-year, DC; D standing till the twenty-fourth of February, or the sixth of the Calends of March, (the two following days after Feb. 23, or the seventh of the Calends of March, being named the sixth of the same month,) and the other letter for the remainder of the year-Jewish Pass-over, (15th of Nisan,) Saturday, April 17, or the XVth of the Calends of May-Number of Direction,