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AFTER HIS FIRST IMPRISONMENT AT ROME.
Julian Pe- testimony. "Hesterni sumus," says Tertullian," et vestra Italyriod,4776-7. omnia adimplevimus, urbes, insulas, castella, municipia, conci- SpainVulgar Æra, liabula, castra ipsa, tribus, Palatium, Senatum, forum (ƒ). Britain.
4. In the fourth century (A.D. 270-340,) Eusebius says that some of the apostles passed over the ocean to the British isles, επι τας καλουμενας Βρετανικας νήσους (g); and Jerome, in the same century (A.D. 329-420,) ascribes this province expressly to St. Paul, and says that, after his imprisonment, having been in Spain, he went from ocean to ocean, and that he preached the Gospel in the western parts (h). In the western parts he included Britain, as is evident from a passage in his Epitaphium Marcellæ (i).
5. In the fifth century (423-460,) Theodoret mentions the Britons among the nations converted by the apostles; and says that St. Paul, after his release from imprisonment, went to Spain, and from thence carried the light of the Gospel to other nations (k). He says also that St. Paul brought salvation to the islands that lie in the ocean (1), ταις εν τω πελαγει διακειμεναις νησοις την ωφελειαν προσηνεγκε. If there could be any doubt whether the British island were meant by the island that lies in the ocean, we have, besides the passage of Nicephorus, before quoted, the following of Chrysostom, who thus describes them: και γαρ αι Βρετανικαὶ νησοι αἱ της θαλαττης εκτος κειμεναι, και εν αυτῷ ουσαι τω Ωκεανώ, της δυναμεως του ρήματος ησθοντο (m). 6. In the sixth century (560-600,) Venantius Fortunatus says thus of St. Paul :-Transit et Oceanum, vel qua facit insula portum, Quasque Britannus babet terras, quasque ultima Thule. This passage has been sometimes besitatingly admitted, as if verse were necessarily the vehicle of fiction. But that the testimony of Venantius Fortunatus is not to be ascribed to the license of poetical exaggeration; and that the language of Clemens, Jerome, and Theodoret is neither ambiguous nor hyperbolical (n); we may judge from an authority, which will not be suspected of making any undue concessions in favour of the evidences of Christianity, but who was well acquainted with the political facilities which the Roman empire at that time afforded for the universal propagation of the Gospel. "The public highways," says Mr. Gibbon, "which had been constructed for the use of the legions, opened an easy passage for the Christian missionaries from Damascus to Corintb, and from Italy to the extremity of Spain or Britain (o),"
To the ancient authorities here cited, we have to add the concurrence of the very learned and judicious modern writers referred to before, p. 321. We may add further, the testimony of Archbishop Parker (p) :-Paulum ipsum Gentium doctorem, cum aliis gentibus, tum nominatim Britannis, nunciasse post priorem suam Romæ incarcerationem, et Theodoretus et Sophronius Patriarcha Hierosolymitanus affirmant. Hoc quod Pontificii incredibile atque adeo impossibile statuunt, cum vero maxime cohæret: and of Camden-Certum est Britannos in ipsa Ecclesiæ infantia Christianam religionem imbibisse (q), who cites Theodoret and Sophronius, and Venantius Fortunatus, in testimony of St. Paul's journey to Britain. Cave also, in his life of St. Paul, quotes the same writers, and says, that by the island that lies in the ocean, Theodoret undoubtedly meant Britain. Such strength of ancient and modern authorities ought, if I may judge by my own convictions, to put the subject of St. Paul's preaching the Gospel in Britain beyond all controversy or doubt.
The general evidence thus adduced by Bishops Stillingfleet and Burgess appears to be quite sufficient to prove the fact, that
Julian Pe- St. Paul came to Britain; but I cannot assent to the early date Italyriod,4776-7. which is assigned to this event by Gildas, Jerome, and Euse- SpainVulgar Era, bius. On this point it seems the authorities on which they de- Britain. pended led them into error.
The testimony of Josephus is opposed to those of Jerome, Eusebius, and Gildas; and as he lived nearer to the times in question and as the date assigned by him to the recall of Felix, is perfectly consistent with the other dates, and leaves sufficient time for all the apostle's travels, before his second return to Rome, I consider the authority of Josephus preferable to that of the subsequent writers. The decision of the question depends on the date of the recall of Felix, and this cannot be certainly ascertained.
Bishop Burgess has discussed the question of the dates of St. Paul's voyage to Rome, the recall of Felix, and the apostle's subsequent tour to Spain and Britain, with his usual skill and learning. Among other reasons for assigning the year 56 to St. Paul's voyage to Rome, and consequently his release from imprisonment to the year 58, he mentions the following, which appear however to be capable of easy solution.
i. Gildas says that Christianity was introduced into Britain before the defeat of the British forces under Boadicea.
This might have been done by others than the apostles.
2. An ancient British record informs us, that Caractacus returned from Rome to Britain in the year 58, A.D. and that the royal family introduced Christianity.
St. Paul, therefore, might have been invited into Britain by some of the Britons, who may have seen his friends, and perhaps his Epistle, at Rome; but it does not follow that he must necessarily have accepted that invitation as early as 58, nor before his various other duties permitted. His deliverance from his first imprisonment appears to have been the most favourable opportunity that presented itself.
3. The removal of Pallas, the brother of Felix, in the second year of Nero, implies, that Felix would be removed about the same time. It appears from Tacitus (Annal. 1. 12.) that he was dependant upon his brother's power.
It is not by any means certain that Nero would necessarily have recalled Felix ou this account. Felix had rendered great public service to the province, in clearing it of robbers. On the contrary, Josephus tells us, that Pallas, even in the sixth year of Nero, obtained the pardon of his brother. The truth seems to be, that though Pallas was no longer a favourite, his influence with Nero had not entirely declined at the Roman court-Agrippina, at least, retained her authority over Nero, and Pallas his influence with Agrippina, and by her means Felix may have been continued in his office.
4. Josephus tells us that Nero pardoned Felix when Pallas was high in favour with him. This necessarily implies that it was early in the reign of Nero.
It may mean when Pallas, though out of office, was more in
The space between 63 and 68, the probable date of St. Paul's
It does not appear, from a careful examination of the dates of
of 58, the latest and most usual date, that there is sufficient
A very ingenious anonymous writer, in the 19th Number of
The venerable and learned Dr. Hales, in his valuable "Essay on the origin and purity of the primitive Church of the British isles, and its independence upon the Church of Rome," considers Lles, or Lucius, to be the first person who established Christianity in Britain. It does not seem necessary to enter further into his arguments than to observe, that he has succeeded in demonstrating the absurdity of venturing to come to any positive conclusions in the affirmative, especially as St. Paul has omitted all notice of his journey to Britain in his Second Epistle to Timothy. There still, however, appears to be sufficient evidence to justify my adoption of Bishop Burgess's opinion, that St. Paul preached in Britain, which is supported also by the authority of Parker, Cambden, Usher, Stillingfleet, Gibson, Nelson, Rowland, Collyer, and Bishop Pearson.
(a) Orig. Britt. p. 38. (b) Hist. L. ii. c. 40. apud Usher, Antiq.
13 From his journey to the West we may conclude that he went
"We have seen," say L'Enfant and Beausobre, in their gene-
customed to go from time to time to Jerusalem, and to take the
Having been at Jerusalem, I suppose that he visited divers
(a) Le Clerc, H. E. An. 62, n. v. ap. Lardner, vol. iii. p. 522, observes,
14 From Jerusalem it is probable he went to Antioch in Syria, he having always made this route in his former journeyings. This is Lord Barrington's opinion; but Dr. Lardner thinks he went from Judea to Ephesus, and there left Timothy, whom he had sent for two years before, to come to him from Ephesus to Rome. From Ephesus, Dr. Lardner thinks, he went to Laodicea and Colosse, and possibly returned to Rome by Troas, Philippi, and Corinth. I have preferred the opinion of Lord Barrington.
15 He had promised Philemon to come to him at Colosse, ver. 22.-" Prepare me also a lodging; for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you." We may conclude, therefore, that St. Paul visited Colosse.
16 The Philippians had liberally contributed to the support and comfort of St. Paul, while he was in prison at Rome, Phil. iv. 15, 16. And we may conclude that he would have endeavoured to go round by Philippi to thank them, and to confirm the Church, as he had expressed his intention of doing, Phil. i. 25. and Phil. ii. 24.
Chap. i. ver. 25.—“ And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith."
Chap. ii. ver. 24." But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly."
Chap. iv. ver. 15, 16.-15. "Now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no Church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
16. "For even in Thessalonia ye sent once and again unto my necessity."
17 We know that he went to Corinth, for he left there Erastus sick, (2 Tim. iv. 20.) which he could not do in his first journey to Rome, for then he did not go near Corinth, as we may justly infer, by the account St. Luke gives us of his voyage.
18 From Corinth he goes to Troas, and there leaves his cloak and parchments (2 Tim. iv. 13.), for he cannot well be supposed to have left them there in his former voyage, when he had the collections to carry with him to Jerusalem; and when he had hired a ship, on purpose to convey him, his things, and companions.
19 At what time St. Paul went to Miletum is uncertain. He left there Trophimus sick (2 Tim. iv. 20). As this is the next place he mentions, after saying he had been at Troas, we are justified in referring it to the present period.
20 St. Paul now sails to Italy, and goes to Rome, where he finds a very different face of affairs from the time of his first being there. The Christian religion was now treated not only as a new, but as an impious superstition, and the Christians as abominable people, who deserved to be hated of mankind, Suet. in Ner. c. 16. Tacit. Annal. 15. 44. This, perhaps, was owing to the calumnies, which the Jews spread of them every where, and which, perhaps, also the Gnostics, by this time, gave too much countenance to. Therefore St. Paul, as one of the chief of his sect, was cast into so close confinement, that Onesiphorus “with difficulty found him out," (2 Tim. i. 16.) and was in such danger, that no man stood by him, (2 Tim. iv. 16.) However, St. Paul made such an apology for himself and the Christian religion, that he was for some time delivered out of the mouth of the lion, and the Christian religion became more fully known, (2 Tim. iv. 17.) During his second imprisonment at Rome, he sends Titus (who came hither with him from Nicopolis) to Dalmatia, (2 Tim. iv. 10.) and, after his first and second defence, he writes his second Epistle to Timothy. That epistle seems to have been directed to him in some place, from whence he was to take Ephesus in his way to Rome, as may be gathered from chap. xi. 14, 15. and iv. 19. from whence it would not be