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taken up five months; and these added to the two years and four months before mentioned, make his abode in Ephesus; from his first arrival, to the riot, in the whole, only two years and nine months. Wherefore, the remaining months of his three years abode at Ephesus, must have passed after the riot; unless we are of opinion, that his transactions from the time of his leaving the school of Tyrannus, to the riot, occupied eight months. However, as some of the Asiarchs were his friends, Acts xix. 31. there is nothing improbable in supposing, that he remained in safety at Ephesus, or in the country adjacent, even after the riot; especially if he no longer taught publicly, but contented himself with instructing and comforting the disciples in their own houses, and employed himself privately in settling the affairs of the churches of Asia, before his departure for Macedonia.
The apostle, during his long abode in Ephesus and its neighbourhood, gathered a very numerous Christian church, which was as remarkable for the quality, as for the number of its members. According to Strabo, Ephesus was the greatest trading town in Asia, on this side Mount Taurus. It was also the residence of the Roman Proconsul, who governed the province of Asia, and the seat of the Courts of Justice; consequently, it was the place to which men of fortune, and learning, and genius resorted. Being thus inhabited, we cannot doubt, that among those whom Paul converted, there were people of distinction. In particular, some of the converted, who had formerly been magicians, were men distinguished by their natural parts, and by their literature; as may be inferred from the value of their books which they burned, amounting to fifty thousand pieces of silver, supposed to be equal to five thousand pounds of our money. The Asiarchs, also, or priests of Diana, who had the care of the games celebrated in her honour at Ephesus, and who are called Paul's friends, may have been converted, or in a disposition to be converted. Nay, the town-clerk, in his speech to the multitude, shewed that he entertained a good opinion of the Christian teachers, and of their doctrine, Acts xix. 37. The church at Ephesus, therefore, merited all the pains the apostle had bestowed in gathering it, and the care which he afterwards took to secure it against the erroneous doctrines and vicious practices, which the false teachers endeavoured to introduce into it. See Pref. to 1 Tim. sect. 2.
From 2 Cor. ii. 12, 13. we learn, that on leaving Ephesus after the riot, the apostle did not go straightway into Macedonia, but abode awhile at Troas, where also he had great success in preaching. Nevertheless, having no rest in his spirit, because he did not find Titus, whom he expected to meet in his way from Corinth to Ephesus, he took leave of his disciples at Troas, and went forward to Macedonia. There Titus, at length, came to him, and made him happy by the account which he gave him, of the good disposition of the Corinthians towards him, their spiritual father. In Macedonia, the apostle received the collections, which the churches in that province had made for the poor of the saints in Judea; then went to Corinth, where he remedied the disorders which had taken place in that church; and having received their contributions, with those of the other churches of Achaia, he proposed to sail from Cenchrea to Judea. But, understanding that the Jews lay in wait for him in Cenchrea, he altered his resolution, and returned through Macedonia. From Macedonia he went by sea to Miletus, and sent for the elders of Ephesus to meet him there; and when they came, he delivered to them the pathetic exhortation, recorded Acts xx. 17.-35. then sailed away to Syria. But he no sooner appeared in the temple at Jerusalem, than the unbelieving Jews who had come from Asia, raised a great tumult against him, in which he must have been killed, if he had not been rescued by the Romans; but which ended in his imprisonment, first in Jerusalem, after that in Cesarea, and last of all in Rome.
Shewing that the Epistle, which, in our Canon, is inscribed to the Ephesians, was actually written to them, and was not originally inscribed to the Laodiceans.
Since the publication of Mill's edition of the Greek New Testament, many learned men have adopted his opinion, that the epistle in our Canon, inscribed To the Ephesians, was not written to the Ephesians, but to the Laodiceans. This opinion Mill hath endeavoured to support by the following arguments; 1. The testimony of Marcion the heretic, who, as Tertullian reports, said the Epistle to the Ephesians was written to the Laodiceans; or called this the Epistle to the Laodiceans.-2. St. Basil, in his second book against Eunomius, insinuates, that the first verse of the epistle to the Ephesians, ran originally in this manner: To the saints who are, and to the faithful in Christ Je
sus, without the words, in Ephesus.-3. Certain passages in the epistle itself, which, in Mill's opinion, are neither suitable to the character of the Ephesians, nor to the habits which subsisted between them and their spiritual father, Paul.
But to these arguments Lardner, who maintains the common opinion, opposes, 1. The agreeing testimony of all the ancient MSS. and versions of this epistle now extant; particularly the Syriac, Vulgate, Persic, and Arabic, all which, without exception, have the words e Epe, in Ephesus, in the first verse. For, as he very well observes, "It is inconceivable how there "should have been such a general agreement in this reading, "if it was not the original inscription of the epistle."
2. The unanimous consent of all the ancient fathers, and Christians writers, who, without exception, bear witness, that this epistle was written to the Ephesians, and never entertained the least doubt of it. This argument is well represented by Lardner, who, after the most accurate search into every thing pertaining to Ecclesiastical Antiquities, hath thus written: Can. vol. ii. page 394. "That this epistle was sent to the church at "Ephesus, we are assured by the testimony of all Catholic "Christians of all past ages. This we can now say with con"fidence, having examined the principal Christian writers of "the first ages, to the beginning of the twelfth century; in all "which space of time, there appears not one who had any "doubt about it." Of these testimonies, that of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, in the end of the first century, is very remarkable. In a letter, which he wrote to the Ephesians, from Smyrna, in his way to Rome, he says, chap. xii. “Ye are the "companions in the mysteries of the gospel of Paul the sancti“fied, the martyr, deservedly most happy; at whose feet may "I be found when I shall have attained unto God, who, a
επιτολή (for όλη επισολή, as πασα οικοδομη, Ephes. ii. 21. is put "for dan,) throughout all his epistle, makes mention of you in "Christ." Mynμovevel úμav, Makes honourable mention of you. So the Greek phrase signifies, Matth. xxvi. 13. Mark xiv. 9. Acts x. 4. Ignatius means, that Paul commended the Ephesians, and never blamed them throughout the whole of his epistle, as he did some others, in the letters which he wrote to them. This is exactly true of the present epistle to the Ephesians. Moreover, by calling them ovμuvso, companions, or partakers of the mysteries of the gospel of Paul, he alluded to those passages in the present epistle to the Ephesians, where the gospel.
is represented as a mystery made known to the apostle, and by him to them. Ignatius having thus plainly described our epistle to the Ephesians, there can be no doubt of the genuineness of its inscription. For if that epistle was written in the 9th of Nero, and Ignatius' epistle in the 10th of Trajan, as Bishop Pearson supposes, the distance between the two epistles will be only forty-five years; consequently, Ignatius being of age at the time Paul is supposed to have written to the Ephesians, he could not be ignorant of the truth concerning it. But, without citing more testimonies, it is sufficient to observe with Lardner, in the general, "That Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Ter«tullian, Origen, and Cyprian, writers of the second and third "centuries, quote this epistle as written to the Ephesians, as "freely and plainly as they do his epistles to the Romans, Gala
tians, Corinthians, or any other of the acknowledged epistles "of Paul; and that it is quoted in like manner, by all the "writers of every age, Latins, Greeks, and Syrians." ii. page 408.
3. As to Marcion, on whose affirmation Mill lays so great a stress, Lardner observes, that his credit is very little in an affair of this kind. For Tertullian, who says Marcion called this the Epistle to the Laodiceans, says also that Marcion rejected the epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus. And though Grotius has remarked, that in speaking of the epistle to the Ephesians, Marcion had no temptation to falsify, the answer is, All the catholic writers of that age, have called this the Epistle to the Ephesians, and they had no temptation to falsify; for they had no interest to serve by it. And if Marcion ever said this epistle was written to the Laodiceans, meaning thereby that it was written, not to the Ephesians, but the Laodiceans, he affirmed what was false; as we are expressly assured, by the unanimous testimony of men who had no interest to deceive us in this matter, and who could not be deceived themselves.-Farther, though Tertullian hath said that Marcion called this the Epistle to the Laodiceans, he hath not said, that Marcion founded his opinion on the authority of any ancient MSS. he had ever seen. On the contrary, there is reason to believe, that the copy of this epistle which Marcion used, was inscribed, not to the Laodiceans, but to the Ephesians; as Lardner has shewed. Besides, as it is not said that Marcion founded his opinion on any ancient MSS. he had ever seen, so neither is it said, that any person who had opportunity to know the matter, told him that this epistle was written,
not to the Ephesians, but to the Laodiceans. We have good reason, therefore, to believe, with Lardner, that if this was Marcion's opinion, he took it up without inquiry; being led to it, perhaps, as others since his time have been, by the mention that is made, Col. iv. 16. of an epistle from Laodicea.
4. With respect to St. Basil's insinuation, that the words, in Ephesus, were wanting in the original inscription of this letter, Lardner hath observed, that if any ancient MSS. wanted these words, they were so little regarded, as not to be followed by any of those who transcribed the scriptures. For there are no MSS. now extant, in which that reading is preserved. And, even though it had been preserved in some, they could have no authority; because the omission of the words, in Ephesus, would make this a general epistle; contrary to chap. i. 15. which shews, that it was addressed to some particular church, of whose faith and love the apostle had heard good accounts, and whom he begged not to faint at his afflictions for them, chap. iii. 13. Contrary also to chap. vi. 21, 22. which shews, that the members of this particular church were well acquainted with the writer, and took such an interest in him, as to be comforted by the knowledge of his affairs: Nay, contrary to ver. 23, 24. of the same chapter, where the benediction is given, first to the brethren of a particular church, and then to all who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
5. To the passages in this epistle, quoted to prove that it could not be written to the Ephesians, Lardner opposes a variety of other passages, which agree better to the Ephesians than to any other people; particularly those which shew, that the apostle was well acquainted with the persons to whom he wrote. For example, chap. i. 13. where he says, By whom, (Christ) after ye believed, ye were scaled with the Spirit of promise.—Also in the end of chap. i. having spoken of Christ as filling all his members with his gifts and graces, he adds, chap. ii. 1. Even you who were dead in trespasses and sins.-Chap. iv. 20. But ye have not so learned Christ. 21. Seeing ye have heard him, and have been taught concerning him, as the truth is in Jesus. Now could the apostle say these things, unless he had been well acquainted with the persons to whom he wrote; or rather, unless they had been instructed, and endowed with the spiritual gifts, by himself? Farther, if the apostle had not been well acquainted with the persons to whom he was writing, and if they had not been his own converts, would they have taken such an interest in him,