Verse 22. "The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit." - This is a prayer addressed to Christ by one of the most eminent of his apostles; another proof of the untruth of the assertion, that prayer is never offered to Christ in the New Testament. He prays that Christ may be with his spirit, enlightening, strengthening, and confirming it to the end.
Grace be with you.] These words show that the epistle was addressed to the whole Church, and that it is not to be considered of a private nature.
Amen.] Omitted by ACFG and some others. See the note on this word at the end of the preceding epistle. The principal subscriptions, both in the versions and MSS., are the following:-
The Second Epistle to Timothy was written from Rome.
To the man Timothy.
- AETHIOPIC, Nothing in the VULGATE.
End of the epistle; it was written from the city of Rome when Timothy had been constituted bishop over Ephesus; and when Paul had stood the second time in the presence of Nero Caesar, the Roman emperor. Praise to the Lord of glory, perpetual, perennial, and eternal! Amen, Amen, Amen.- ARABIC.
"The Second Epistle to Timothy is ended, who was the first bishop of the Church of Ephesus. It was written from Rome when Paul had stood the second time before Nero, the Roman emperor." - PHILOXENIAN SYRIAC.
Written from Rome, and sent by Onesimus.
The MSS. are also various:-
The Second Epistle to Timothy is finished; that to Titus begins.
The second to Timothy, written from Laodicea.
- CODEX ALEXANDRINUS.
The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy, ordained the first bishop of the Church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome when Paul was brought the second time before Nero Caesar.
- COMMON GREEK TEXT.
There are other slighter differences in the MSS., but they are unworthy of note.
That the epistle was written from Rome, about the year 65 or 66, and a little before St. Paul's martyrdom, is the general opinion of learned men. See the preface.
The reader has already been apprized that this is most probably the last epistle the apostle ever wrote; and it is impossible to see him in a more advantageous point of view than he now appears, standing on the verge of eternity, full of God, and strongly anticipating an eternity of glory. For farther observations, see the conclusion of the first epistle.
ON verse 16 I have mentioned the apologies of the primitive fathers, or their vindications of Christianity against the aspersions and calumnies of the Gentiles. Several of these writings are still extant; of the whole I shall here give a short account in chronological order.
1. QUADRATUS. St. Jerome relates that this man was contemporary with the apostles, and one also of their disciples. There is only a fragment of his apology extant; it is preserved by Eusebius, in Hist. Eccles, lib. iv. c. 3, and was addressed to the Emperor Adrian about A. D. 126, on whom it is said to have had a good effect.
2. ARISTIDES, according to Eusebius, was an Athenian philosopher, and contemporary with Quadratus; he wrote his apology for the Christians about the same time, (A. D. 126,) and addressed it to the same emperor.
St. Jerome gives some remarkable particulars of him in his book Of Illustrious Men. "He was," says he, "a most eloquent philosopher, and after his conversion he continued to wear his former habit." His apology was extant in the days of St. Jerome, but is now utterly lost.
3. JUSTIN MARTYR flourished about A. D. 140, and presented his first apology for Christianity to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and the Roman senate, about A. D. 150; and his second apology was presented to Marcus Antoninus about A. D. 162 or 166. These two very important apologies are come down to us nearly entire, and are exceedingly useful and important.
4. ATHENAGORAS wrote his apology for the Christians about the year 178.
He is said to have sat down to write AGAINST the Christians; and that he might the better confute them he read over the Scriptures, and was so thoroughly converted by what he read, that he immediately wrote an apology FOR them, instead of an invective against them. This piece is still extant.
5. TERTULLIAN, who flourished about A. D. 200, was the earliest, and one of the chief of the Latin fathers: he was born in Carthage, and was a presbyter of the Church in that city. His apology was written about A. D.
198, or, according to some, 200. It appears to have been addressed to the governors of provinces, and is allowed to be a work of extraordinary eminence, and a master piece of its kind. It is still extant.
6. MARCUS MINUCIUS FELIX flourished towards the end of the reign of Septimius Severus, about A. D. 210. His apology for the Christian religion is written in the form of a dialogue between Caecilius Natalis, a heathen, and Octavius Januarius, a Christian, in which Minucius sits as judge. "This work," says Dr. Lardner, "is a monument of the author's ingenuity, learning, and eloquence; and the conversion of a man of his great natural and acquired abilities to the Christian religion, and his public and courageous defense of it, notwithstanding the many worldly temptations to the contrary, which he must have met with at that time, as they give an advantageous idea of his virtue, so they likewise afford a very agreeable argument in favour of the truth of our religion." WORKS, vol. ii., p. 367.
To the above, who are properly the Christian apologists for the first 200 years, several add Tatian's book against the Gentiles; Clemens Alexandrinus' Exhortation to the Gentiles; Origen's eight books against Celsus; Cyprian Of the Vanity of idols; Arnobius' seven books against the Gentiles; the Institutions of Lactantius, and Julius Fermicus Maturnus Of the Errors of Profane Religion. All these works contain much important information, and are well worthy the attention of the studious reader. The principal part of these writings I have analyzed in my Succession of Sacred Literature, and to this they who cannot conveniently consult the originals may refer.
As the word apology generally signifies now an excuse for a fault, or "something spoken rather in extenuation of guilt than to prove innocence," it is seldom used in its primitive sense; and for some hundreds of years no defense of Christianity has borne this title till that by the late bishop of Llandaff, entitled, An Apology for the BIBLE, in a Series of Letters addressed to THOMAS PAINE. This is a very masterly work, and a complete refutation of Paine's "Age of Reason," and of any thing that has yet appeared, or can appear, under the same form. Ever since the days of St. Paul, God has raised up able apologists for the truth of Christianity, when it has been attacked by the most powerful partisans of the kingdom of darkness; and each attack and apology has been a new triumph for the religion of Christ.
Finished correcting for a new edition, Dec. 23, 1831.