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the enemies who threaten him-a nation up in arms against him, his own son heading the rebellion, his wisest and most trusted counsellor in the ranks of his foes (2 Sam. xv-xvii). Never, not even when hounded by Saul, had he found his position one of greater danger. The odds were overwhelmingly against him. This is a fact which he does not attempt to hide from himself: How many are mine enemies; ' 'many rise up against me;' many say to my soul;''ten thousands of the people have set themselves against me' (verses 1, 2, 6). Meanwhile, where are his friends, his army, his counsellors ? Not a word of allusion to any of them in the psalm. Yet he is not crushed; he is not desponding. Enemies may be thick as the leaves of the forest, and earthly friends may be few, or uncertain, or far off. But there is one Friend who cannot fail him, and to him David turns with a confidence and affection which lift him above all his fears. Never had he been more sensible of the reality and preciousness of the divine protection. If he was surrounded by his enemies, Jehovah was his shield. If Shimei and his crew turned his glory into shame, Jehovah was his glory. If they sought to revile and degrade him, Jehovah was the lifter-up of his head. Nor did the mere fact of distance from Jerusalem separate between him and his God. He had sent back the ark and the priests, for he would not endanger their safety, and he did not trust in them as a charm, and he knew that Jehovah could still hear him from his holy mountain' (verse 4), could still lift up the light of his countenance upon him, and put gladness in his heart (Psa. iv, 6, 7). Sustained by Jehovah, he had laid him down and slept in safety; trusting in the same mighty protection he would lie down again to rest. Enemies might taunt him, (verse 2), and friends might fail him, but the victory was Jehovah’s, and he could break the teeth of the ungodly” (iii, 7, 8).' The historical standpoint of a writer is so often intimately con
the nected with his situation at the date of writing, that place as well as both the time and the place of the composition should composition. be considered together. The locality of the incidents recorded should also be closely studied and pictured before the mind. It adds much to one's knowledge and appreciation of biblical history to visit the lands trodden by patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. Seeing Palestine is, indeed, a fifth gospel. A personal visit to Beer-sheba, Hebron, Jerusalem, Joppa, Nazareth, and the Sea of Galilee, affords a realistic sense of sacred narratives connected with these places such as cannot otherwise be had. The
The Book of Psalms, New Translation, with Introductions and Notes. Introduction to Psalm iii. Andover, 1876.
the time of the
decalogue and the laws of Moses become more awful and impressive when read upon Mount Sinai, and the Lord's agony in the garden thrills the soul with deeper emotion when meditated in the Kedron valley, beneath the old trees at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
What a vividness and reality appear in the Epistles of Paul when we study them in connexion with the account of his
Journeys and apostolic journeys and labours, and the physical and Epistles of political features of the countries through which he Paul. passed! Setting out from Antioch on his second missionary tour, accompanied by Silas, he passed through Syria and Cilicia, visiting, doubtless, his early home at Tarsus (Acts xv, 40, 41). Thence he passed over the vast mountain-barrier on the north of Cilicia, and, after visiting Derbe and Lystra, where he attached Timothy to him as a companion in travel, he went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, where, notwithstanding his physical infirmity, he was received as an angel of God (Gal. iv, 13). Passing westward, and having been forbidden to preach in the western parts of Asia Minor (Acts xvi, 6), he came with his companions to Troas. “The district of Troas," observes Howson, "extending from Mt. Ida to the plain, watered by the Simois and the Scamander, was the scene of the Trojan War; and it was due to the poetry of Homer that the ancient name of Priam's kingdom should be retained. This shore had been visited on many memorable occasions by the great men of this world. Xerxes passed this way when he undertook to conquer Greece. Julius Cæsar was here after the battle of Pharsalia. But, above all, we associate this spot with a European conqueror of Asia, and an Asiatic conqueror of Europe, with Alexander of Macedon and Paul of Tarsus. For here it was that the enthusiasm of Alexander was kindled at the tomb of Achilles by the memory of his heroic ancestors; here he girded on his armour, and from this goal he started to overthrow the august dynasties of the East. And now the great apostle rests in his triumphal progress upon the same poetic shore; here he is armed by heavenly visitants with the weapons of a warfare that is not carnal, and hence he is sent forth to subdue all the powers of the West, and bring the civilization of the world into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 1
After the vision and the Macedonian call received at this place, he sailed from Troas and came to Neapolis, and thence to Philippi, the scene of many memorable events (Acts xvi, 12-40), and thence on through Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, and Berea, to
Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, vol. i, page 280. Fourth American Edition. New York, 1855.
Athens. There Paul waited, alone (comp. 1 Thess. iii, 1), for his companions, but failed not meanwhile to preach the Gospel to the inquisitive Athenians, "standing in the midst of the Areopagus (Acts xvii, 22). After this he passed on to Corinth, and founded there the Church to which he subsequently addressed two of his most important epistles. From Corinth, soon after his arrival, he sent his first epistle to the Thessalonians. From this standpoint how lifelike and real are all the personal allusions and reminiscences of this his first epistle! But that letter, in its vivid allusions to the near coming of the Lord, awakened great excitement among the Thessalonians, and only a few months afterward we find him writing his second epistle to them to allay this trouble of their minds, and to assure them that that day is not so near but that several important events must first come to pass (2 Thess. ii, 1-8). A grouping of all these facts and suggestions adds vastly to one's interest in the study of Paul's epistles.
Without pursuing further the course of the apostles life and labours, enough has been said to show what light and interest a knowledge of the time and place of writing gives to the Epistles of Paul. The situation and condition of the churches and persons addressed in his epistles should also be carefully sought out. His subsequent epistles, especially those to the Corinthians, and those of his imprisonment, would be shorn of half their interest and value but for the knowledge we elsewhere obtain of the persons, incidents, and places to which references are made. What a tender charm hangs about the Epistle to the Philippians from our knowledge of the apostle's first experiences in that Roman colony, his subsequent visits there, and the thought that he is writing from his imprisonment in Rome, and making frequent mention of his bonds (Phil. i, 7, 13, 14), and of their former kindnesses toward him (iv, 15-18).' Thorough inquiries into the narratives of Scripture have evinced
the minute accuracy of the sacred writers, and silenced Such inquiries silence inddel many cavils of infidelity. The treatise of James Smith
on the Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul' furnishes an unanswerable argument for the authenticity of the Acts of the Apostles. The author's practical experience as a sailor, his residence at Malta, his familiar intercourse with the seamen of the Levant, and his study of the ships of the ancients, qualified him
'Stanley's History of the Jewish Church, Farrar's and Geikie's works on the Life of Christ, and Farrar's, Conybeare and Howson's, and Lewin's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, are especially rich in illustrations of the subject of this chapter.
Third Edition. London, 1866.
DATE OF APOCALYPSE.
pre-eminently to expound the last two chapters of the Acts. His volume is a monument of painstaking research, and throws more light upon the narrative of Paul's voyage from Cæsarea to Rome than all that had been written previously on that subject.'
The great importance of ascertaining the historical standpoint of an author is notably illustrated by the controversy over the date of the Apocalypse of John. If that pro- standpoint
the Apocalypse. phetical book was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, a number of its particular allusions must most naturally be understood as referring to that city and its fall. If, however, it was written at the end of the reign of Domitian (about A. D. 96), as many have believed, another system of interpretation is necessary to explain the historical allusions.
Taking, first, the external evidence touching the date of the Apocalypse, it seems to us that no impartial mind can fail to see that it preponderates in favor of the later date. But when we scrutinize the character and extent of this evidence, it seems equally clear that no very great stress can safely be laid upon it. For it all turns upon the single testimony of Irenæus, who wrote, according to the best authorities, about one hun- mony hangs on dred years after the death of John, and who says
that in boyhood he had seen and conversed with Polycarp, and heard him speak of his familiar intercourse with John.' This fact would, of course, make his testimony of peculiar value, but, at the same time, it should be borne in mind that at an early age he removed to
? The following passage from Lewin is a noteworthy illustration of the value of personal research in refuting captious objections to the historical accuracy of the Bible. “It is objected to the account of the viper fastening upon Paul's hand,” says Lewin, “ that there is no wood in Malta, except at Bosquetta, and that there are no vipers in Malta. How, then, it is said, could the apostle have collected the sticks, and how could a viper have fastened upon his hand ? But when I visited the Bay of St. Paul, in 1861, by sea, I observed trees growing in the vicinity, and there were also fig-trees growing among the rocks at the water's edge where the vessel was wrecked. But there is a better explanation still. When I was at Malta in 1863, I went with two companions to the Bay of St. Paul by land, and this was at the same season of the year as when the wreck occurred. We now noticed on the shore, just opposite the scene of the wreck, eight or nine stacks of small faggots, and in the nearest stack I counted twenty-five bundles. They consisted of a kind of thorny heather, and had evidently been cut for firewood. As we strolled about, my companions, whom I had quitted to make an observation, put up a viper, or a reptile having the appearance of one, which escaped into the bundle of sticks. It may not have been poisonous, but was like an adder, and was quite different from the common snake; one of my fel. low-travellers was quite familiar with the difference between snakes and adders, and could not well be mistaken.”—The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, vol. ii, page 208.
* Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book v, chap. xx.
the remote West, and became bishop of Lyons, in France, far from the associations of his early life. It would, therefore, have been no strange thing if he had somewhat confounded names and dates. His testimony is as follows: “We therefore do not run the risk of pronouncing positively concerning the name of the Antichrist [hidden in the number 666, Rev. xiii, 18), for if it were necessary to have his name distinctly announced at the present time, it would doubtless have been announced by him who saw the Apocalypse; for it is not a great while ago that it (or he] was seen (ovde yào trò Trooù xpovov éwpáron), but almost in our own generation, toward the end of Domitian's reign."! Here it should be noted that the subject of the verb éwpáon, was seen, is ambiguous, and may be either it, referring to the Apocalypse, or he, referring to John himself. But allowing it to refer to the Apocalypse, we have then this testimony to the later date.
But what external testimony have we besides? Only Eusebius, who lived and wrote a hundred years after Irenæus, and who expressly quotes Irenæus as his authority.' He also quotes Clement of Alexandria as saying that “after the tyrant was dead” John returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus. But it nowhere appears that Clement indicated who the tyrant was, or that he believed him to have been Domitian. It is Eusebius who puts that meaning in his words, and it is matter of notoriety that Eusebius himself, after quoting various opinions, leaves the question of the authorship of the Apocalypse in doubt. Origen's testimony is also adduced, but he merely says that John was condemned by “the king of the Romans,” not intimating at all who that king was, but calling attention to the fact that John himself did not name his persecutor. All other testimonies on the subject are later than these, and consequently of little or no value. If Eusebius was dependent on Irenæus for his information, it is not likely that later writers drew from any other source. But that the voice of antiq. uity was not altogether uniform on this subject may be inferred from the fact that an ancient fragment of a Latin document, probably as old as Irenæus' writings, mentions Paul as following the order of his predecessor John in writing to seven churches. The value of this ancient fragment is its evidence of a current notion that John's Apocalypse was written before the decease of Paul. Epiphanius dates John's banishment in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, and the superscription to the Syriac version of the Apocalypse
Adversus Haereses, v, 30.