while a prisoner at Rome ; with his relation to Timothy ; and with the
manner in which he employed him ; and as we have not a syllable of
testimony that they are applicable to any other person ; I do not see how
we can be justified, in denying that the evidence deducible from them is
sufficient to render it quite probable, that Paul was the author of our
(2.) In Heb. xiii. 18, 19, the writer asks the prayers of those whom
he addressed, that he might speedily be restored to them ; and in Heb.
xiii. 23, he expresses a confident expectation of " speedily paying them
a visit." From these passages it is clear, that the writer was then in a
state of imprisonment ; and, also, that he was assured of a speedy libe-
ration, which would enable him to pay the visit that he had encouraged
then to hope for.
Compare this, now, with the situation of Paul at Rome, during the latter
part of his imprisonment there. In his epistle to the Philippians, (written
during that period,) he expresses his entire confidence that his life will
be prolonged, so that he shall yet promote their religious profit and joy ;
TOVTO 7r7roi6w oi$a, on fievw KCU o-v/XTrapa/xevw Tracriv v/itr, <c r
116 19. INTERNAL EVIDENCE.
irpoKoiriv Kal X P^ fr iriyreus, Phil. i. 25. Again, in Phil. ii. 24, he
says, ireiroida e kv Kvpt'w, on /cat avroe raxe'wc iXewro/Mrt, I trust in the
Lord, that I myself shall speedily come [to you.] In the epistle to
Philemon, (also written during the same imprisonment, (he says, iXirifa
yap, OTI Sia TUV Trpofftvx&v vp&v xapurdfiffopai vpiv, for I hope, that by
your prayers I shall be restored to you, ver. 22. So confident was Paul
of this, that he bids Philemon prepare lodgings for him, !roi>ac juot
fyviav, ver. 22.
It appears very plainly, then, from these passages, that the writer had
a satisfactory assurance in his mind of being speedily set at liberty ;
although, it is probable, a formal declaration of his acquittal had not yet
been made by the Roman emperor. This last conclusion I gather from
Phil. ii. 23, where Paul declares to the church whom he is addressing,
" that he shall send Timothy to them immediately, we o.v avftu TO. Trepl
ifjiE, whenever I shall know how my affairs issue." By this it appears,
that he was in daily expectation of receiving official notice of the deter-
mination of the emperor in respect to his case, but that he had not yet
received it. That he had private information, however, of the way in
which his case was likely to terminate, and information which pretty fully
satisfied his mind, is evident from the manner in which he speaks in the
passages quoted above, of his intended visit to the Philippians, and to
Supposing, now, as soon as an intimation was made by the Roman
emperor, that Paul would be set at liberty, that intelligence respecting
it was immediately communicated to the apostle, by those of Cesar's
household (Phil. iv. 22,) who were his Christian friends ; and supposing
that, agreeably to his promise made to the Philippians ii. 23, he then
immediately sent away Timothy to them ; and supposing still further,
(which surely cannot be regarded as improbable,) that there was some
little delay informally making out his sentence of acquittal, and carry-
ing it into execution by actually liberating him from prison ; then
how obviously easy and natural is the expression in Heb. xiii. 23,
" Know that our brother Timothy is sent away; with whom, if he
speedily return, I shall pay you a visit?" On the supposition that the
close of the epistle to the Hebrews was written at this juncture of time,
nothing can be more probable than that the promised mission of Timothy t
adverted to in Phil. ii. 23, is referred to in Heb. xiii. 23; and conse-
quently that a.7ro\e\vfjLevov here means sent away, dismissed, (as all must
acknowledge it may mean,) and not, liberated, or, set at liberty.
I 19. INTERNAL EVIDENCE. 117
The circumstances adverted to, or implied, in Heb. xiii. 23, Phil,
ii. 23, and Philem. ver. 22, h,ave other correspondencies which deserve
particular notice. In the two latter passages, it is plain that the writer
expects his liberty, and means to send away Timothy to Philippi. In the
former, he is assured of his liberty, and only waits for the return of
Timothy, in order that he may set out to visit the Hebrews whom he had
been addressing. In case Timothy did not return speedily (ra^ioy,) it is
plainly implied in Heb. xiii. 23, that the writer meant to set out on his
journey without him. There was, then, some uncertainty in his mind,
respecting the time when Timothy would return. How well all this
accords with the journey of Timothy to a place so remote from Rome as
Philippi, cannot fail to strike the mind of every considerate reader.
Now, laying aside all favouritism for any previous opinions respecting
our epistle, can it be reasonably doubted, that here is a concurrence of
circumstances so striking, as to render it highly probable that Paul wrote
it ? More especially so, when we consider that the epistle must have
been written, about the same period of time when these circumstances
happened i for it proffers -internal evidence of being written before the
destruction of Jerusalem; and yet written so late, that the period when
the Hebrews were first converted to Christianity is adverted to as being
already a considerable time before, Heb. v. 12, and is called rag Trportpov
//*pae, x. 32. Now, the imprisonment of Paul, at Rome, happened pro-
bably A.D. 62 or 63, which was some thirty years after the gospel had
begun to be preached abroad, and about seven years before the destruc-
tion of Jerusalem.
Taking all these circumstances together, it must be acknowledged
that there is an extraordinary concurrence of them, which cannot but
serve much to increase the probability that our epistle was written by
Paul, near the close of his liberation at Rome.
The objections which Bertholdt makes against the arguments just
presented, do not seem to be weighty. " Would Paw/," he asks, " pro-
mise to revisit Palestine, when the people of that very country had
sent him into captivity at Rome ? A very improbable circumstance,
But a nearer consideration of the circumstances attending Paul's case,
will remove the appearance of so great improbability. For, first, Paul had
been kept a prisoner, at Cesarea, two years before his removal to Rome,
Acts xxiv. 25 27 ; and at Rome he lived two years more, in a similar
condition, Acts xxviii. 30. These, with the time occupied by his going
118 19. INTERNAL EVIDENCE.
to Rome, and returning from it, would make nearly a five years' interval
between his leaving Palestine and revisiting it. Might not some of his
fiercest persecutors have died during this period ? Or, might they not
have laid aside their furious, persecuting zeal ?
But, in the next place, supposing our epistle to have been sent to the
church at Cesarea, where Paul had been treated with so much kindness
during his imprisonment ; could there have been any fear in his mind,
with respect to paying them a visit? And even if we suppose that
Cesarea was not the place to which the letter was directed, but that it
was sent to the Christians at Jerusalem ; yet the objection brought for-
ward by Bertholdt will not be of much validity. Paul was not to be
deterred from going to Jerusalem, by the prospect of persecution. From
the time when he first made his appearance there, after his conversion,
the Jews had always showed a bitter enmity against him, and persecuted
him. Yet this did not deter him from going, again and again, to that
city. And why should it now deter him, any more than formerly ?
Besides, he was now liberated from the accusations of the Jews, by
the sentence of the emperor himself. Would they venture to do again,
the very thing which the court of Rome had decided to be unlawful ?
Might not Paul well expect, with the decision of the emperor in his hand,
to find his personal liberty for the future respected ?
" But," says Bertholdt, " we have no account that Paul paid a visit
to Palestine, after his liberation."
True. But what argument this can furnish, against the probability
that he did pay such a visit, I do not perceive. Bertholdt himself, in
the very paragraph which contains this objection, says, " Who does not
know, that the accounts of what befell the apostles, and primitive
teachers of Christianity, are very incomplete ?" Every one knows, that
Luke breaks off the history of Paul, with the account of his imprison-
ment at Rome. Has any writer given us a well-authenticated supplement
to this ? And can the want of any history of Paul, after the period of
his imprisonment at Rome, be a proof that he never travelled to any
particular place, or that he did not live and preach there ? Surely this
cannot be urged with any show of propriety.
I add only, that analogy would lead us to suppose that Paul, when
liberated, would go to Palestine, and then to the other churches in Asia
Minor. Such was the general course of his travels ; see Acts xviii.
&, seq. It is altogether consonant, then, with the usage of Paul, t7
suppose that he would visit the church at Palestine, after his impiison
^ 19. INTERNAL EVIDENCE. 119
ment at Rome ; and therefore natural to suppose that Heb. xiii. 23,
refers to such an event.
(3.) If the reading in Heb. x. 34, " for ye had compassion on my
bonds," (rote &<r^o7e ;/ov,) be correct, it is another argument that Paul is
the author of our epistle ; for his bonds in Palestine, whither the letter
was sent, are well known. That he obtained compassion there, parti-
cularly during his two years' imprisonment at Cesarea, will not be
questioned. But as the reading fafffjiois JJ.QV is controverted, and cefffjiioic
(the prisoners') is preferred by some good critics, I do not think proper
to urge this argument ; although the evidence is about equally in favour
of cieoyioTc /uov, Sefffjiolg, and Seffp,iotQ.
(4. The salutation in Heb. xiii. 24, agrees with the supposition that
Paul wrote this epistle ; affTra^ovrat fyude oi d;ro rrje 'IraX/ag. Paul,
writing from Rome, which had communication, of course, with all parts
of Italy, and with the Italian churches, may very naturally be supposed
to have sent such a salutation. Indeed, the circumstances render this
The objections made against this, do not strike me as forcible. Eich-
horn alleges, that oi cnrb rife 'iraXiag must mean people who had come
from Italy, i. e. who had left Italy, and were locally out of it, when the
writer sent a salutation from them. Consequently, he concludes, the
writer of the epistle could not have been Paul, during his imprisonment
This interpretation, however, is not founded in the usus loquendi of
the Greek language. From the many proofs of this, which might be
offered, I select only a few cases. Matt. xxi. 11, 'Ivffovg 6 cnro
Na^apeY, Jesus the Nazarene ; oi a?ro QecrffaXoviKrjQ 'LovScuoi, the Thes-
salonian Jews. In this last case, the Jews at Thessalonica, not out of
it, are meant ; as is plain from the last part of the verse, which speaks
of them as going to Berea, after they had heard the report of Paul's
preaching there. So oi OLTTO 'lepoo-oXvyuwj/ ypajujuartle, the Jerusalem
scribes, Matt. xv. 1.
In the same manner, other prepositions, of the like signification with
a?, are used with the article : e. g. oi EK ipideiag, the contentious ; ol etc
j'Ojuov, sticklers for the law ; TO e ovpavov, heavenly ; oi e*c Trje Kaiffapog
oiKtag, Casar's domestics.
So far is Eichhorn's remark from being well founded, in regard to the
meaning of such a phrase as oi airo rrjg 'IraXmg, that one may venture to
say, it is incapable of such a meaning as he gives it. It is only when
120 19. INTERNAL EVIDENCE.
O.TTO, in such a connexion, is preceded by a^tcrrq/it, aya/3cuVw, f&
e'pxo/^ai, KCLTd/Salva, &c. that it denotes, being out of a country. Ol a?ro
denotes, belonging to. Consequently the salutation in Heb. xiii. 24,
means simply, The Italians [i. e. Italian Christians] salute you.
But here again, it is asked, " How came Italians to salute a church in
Palestine? If Paul wrote our epistle, at Rome, why did he not say,
affTrafrvrat vpag ol O.TTU r?fe 'P^pje? What acquaintance had the Romans
with the church at Palestine ?
This objection, however, will not bear examination. The Romans
surely were Italians; and it is a matter of indifference, whether the
writer at Rome said ol awu Tijg 'Pwp/e, or ol cnro rrjg 'IraXmc, if he meant
to send only the salutation of Christians who resided at Rome. But is
it at all probable, that there were not Christians often at Rome, from
various parts of Italy, who were acquainted with Paul, and who cherished
a friendly interest for the church whom he was addressing ? If these
also, as well as the Romans, wished to send the expression of their
friendly regards to the Hebrews ; what other phraseology could Paul
have adopted, that would be more appropriate than ol UTTO rife 'IraXmc,
which would embrace Christians in general, who lived in the country
where the writer was ?
Then, why should this be thought so strange, when an example of the
very same nature may be produced from the acknowledged writings of
Paul ? This apostle, writing from Ephesus (1 Cor. xvi. 8,) to the church
at Corinth, says, The churches of Asia salute you, xvi. 19. May not
the same questions be urged here, as objectors urge in the case above ?
May we not ask, How could the Asiatics be personally known to the
Corinthians ? And why should Paul speak of the churches of Asia, and
not of that at Ephesus ? Plainly, the reason of this was, that Christians
from different parts of Asia Minor, (which is here meant,) were collected
together in Ephesus, its capital, where they had intercourse with Paul,
and knew that he was addressing the Corinthians, and desired an expres-
sion of their brotherly affection toward them. What is more common,
every day, than for single individuals, or societies of men, who have never
had any personal intercourse together, to exchange friendly salutations ?
Could not Paul as well send the salutation of ot UTTO rife 'IraXme, as of
ol OtTTO rife 'AfflCLQ ?
Such are the various circumstances adverted to in our epistle, whicn
serve to render it probable that Paul was the author of it. From its na-
ture, this evidence is indirect; but evidence of such a kind is, not unfre-
20. INTERNAL EVIDENCE. 121
q.:2ntly, as convincing as that which appears to be more direct. The pre-
fixing or suffixing of a writer's name to an epistle, is a more easy and
obvious method of interpolation; than the insertion of minute circum-
stances, which imply a very intimate acquaintance with a writer's condi-
tion and circumstances.
Will any one undertake to show, that the circumstances, which are
brought into view above, may be more probably attached to some other
person than to Paul ? If not, then the probability from them is in favour
of Paul as the author of our epistle.
20. Evidence that the epistle is Paul's from a similarity of senti-
ment, and also from the form, method, style, and diction of the
The preceding section treated of the facts or external circumstances,
to which various passages of our epistle adverts ; and what is gathered
from these may be called, in a certain respect, a kind of external evi-
dence. But a comparison of our epistle with the other acknowledged
writings of Paul, remains yet to be made. This is a species of evidence,
on which some have relied with great confidence ; and it is remarkable, that
it has been appealed to with equal confidence, both by those who defend,
and by those who assail, the Pauline origin of the epistle to the Hebrews.
Even in very ancient times, so early as the third century, the same occur-
rence took place. One might, perhaps, naturally enough conclude from
this, that no very satisfactory evidence on either side would be obtained ;
but that the epistle contains things to which both parties may appeal,
with some tolerable show of reason. Before coming, however, to such a
conclusion, we ought at least to make a thorough investigation, and to
weigh well all the arguments which are adduced to support the respective
opinions to which I allude.
A comparison between our epistle and the acknowledged letters of
Paul, may have respect to the doctrines taught in both ; or to the form
and method, as well as the style and diction, of the epistle. When these
shall have passed in review before us, the allegations, with regard to a
dissimilarity between the epistle to the Hebrews and other epistles of
Paul, may be further discussed.
122 21. INTERNAL EVIDENCE.
21. Similarity of DOCTRINES between the epistle to the Hebrews,
and the acknowledged epistles of Paul.
Are the sentiments, in our epistle, such as Paul was wont to teach ?
Do they accord with his, not only in such a general way as we may easily
suppose the sentiments of all Christians in the apostolic age harmonized
with each other, but have they the colouring, the proportion, the charac-
teristic features of Paul's sentiments ? Are they so stated and insisted
on, as Paul is wont to state and insist on his ?
The resemblance in respect to doctrine may be arranged, for the sake
of perspicuity and distinction, under the following heads :
I. General preference of Christianity above Judaism.
There can, indeed, be no reasonable doubt, that all the apostles and
primitive teachers of Christianity, who were well instructed in the princi-
ples of this religion, must have acknowledged and taught its superiority
over the ancient religion of the Jews. The very fact, that they were
Christians, necessarily implies this. But still, it is quite certain, that
the preference of the new above the ancient religion, is taught by Paul
in a manner different from that of other writers of the New Testament ;
and with more emphasis, in his writings, than in any other parts of the
The grounds of preferring Christianity to Judaism, may be classed
under the following particulars.
(1.) The superior degree of light, or religious knowledge, imparted
by the gospel.
In his acknowledged epistles, Paul calls Judaism, ra crrat^a rov
KOffjjiov, Gal. iv. 3 ; and again, TO. affOevrj ical Trw^a ffroi\<tia t Gal. iv. 9.
He represents it as adapted to children, vrjTrtot, Gal. iv. 3, who are in a
state of nonage and pupilage, Gal. iv. 2, or in the condition of servants
rather than that of heirs, Gal. iv. 1.
On the other hand, Christians attain to a higher knowledge of God,
Gal. iv. 9 ; they are no more as servants, but become sons, and obtain
the privileges of adoption, Gal. iv. 5,6. They are represented as rt'Xaot,
1 Cor. xiv. 20; as being furnished with instruction adequate to make them
avtipae TtXdovg, Eph. iv. 11 13. Christianity leads them to see the
glorious displays of himself which God has made, with an unveiled
21. INTERNAL EVIDENCE. 123
face, i. e. clearly, 2 Cor. iii. 18 ; while Judaism threw a veil over these
things, 2 Cor. ii. 13. Christianity is engraven on the hearts of its
votaries, // diaKovla TOV irvEvjjiaroG, 2 Cor. iii. 8 ; while Judaism was
engraven on tablets of stone, cvrervTro/ieVq kv Xidoic, 2 Cor. iii. 7.
Such is a brief sketch of Paul's views in respect to this point, as pre-
sented in his acknowledged epistles. Let us now compare these views
with those which the epistle to the Hebrews discloses.
This epistle commences with the declaration, that God, who in times
past spake to the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days,
spoken to us by his Son, Heb. i. 1, ii. 1, seq. Judaism was revealed
only by the mediation of angels, ii. 2 ; while Christianity was revealed
by the Son of God, and abundantly confirmed by miraculous gifts
of the Holy Ghost, ii. 3, 4. The ancient covenant was imperfect, in
respect to the means which it furnished for the diffusion of knowledge ;
but the new covenant provides that all shall know the Lord, from the
least to the greatest, viii. 9 11. The law was only a sketch or imper-
fect representation of religious blessings ; while the gospel proffers the
blessings themselves, x. 1. The worthies of ancient times had only
imperfect views of spiritual blessings ; while Christians enjoy them in full
measure, xi. 39, 40.
(2.) The gospel holds out superior motives and encouragements to
virtue and piety.
Paul represents the condition of the Jews, while under the law, as
like to that of children, immured and kept under the eye of masters and
teachers, Gal. iii. 23, iv. 2 ; as being in bondage, Gal. iv. 3 ; as ser-
vants, iv. 1 ; as children, iv. 3 ; and as having the spirit of bondage,
Rom. viii. 15. This servile spirit, which inspired them with fear, Rom.
viii. 15, gives place, under the Christian religion, to the spirit of adop-
tion, by which they approach God with filial confidence, Rom. viii.
15 17. Christianity has liberated us from pedagogues, and made us
partakers of the privileges of sons and heirs, Gal. iii. 25, seq. iv. 4, seq.
The liberty of the gospel affords urgent motives for the practice of vir-
tue, Gal. v. 1, seq. v. 13, seq. The spirit imparted under the gospel
furnishes aid, and creates special obligation, to mortify our evil passions
and affections, Rom. viii. 12 17. Circumcision is now nothing, and
uncircumcision nothing ; but obedience to the commands of God is the
all-important consideration, 1 Cor. vii. 19. Not circumcision or uncir-
cumcision is matter of concern, under the Christian religion, but a new
124 21. INTERNAL EVIDENCE.
creation, i. e. a spiritual renovation, Gal. vi. 15, and faith which worketh
by love, Gal. v. 6.
Turn we now to the epistle to the Hebrews. There we find, that the
sacrifices prescribed by the Jewish law, could not quiet and purify the
conscience of the worshipper, ix. 9 ; nor deliver him from the pollution
of sin, in order that he might, in a becoming manner, worship the living
God; which is effected only under the gospel, ix. 14. The law served
to inspire its votaries with awe and terror, Heb. xii. 18 21 ; but the
gospel with cheering confidence, xii. 22 24. Now, we may obtain
grace to serve God in an acceptable manner, xii. 28. We have a cove-
nant established on better promises than the ancient one, viii. 6 13 ;
and are urged by more powerful motives to a holy life under the gospel,
It must be admitted, in respect to the particulars of the comparison
just drawn, that the diction of the passages generally, in the epistle to
the Hebrews, presents no very striking resemblances to that in Paul's
acknowledged epistles. But this, as will be easily seen by inspecting all
the passages drawn into the comparison, may very naturally result from
the different topics with which the passages from our epistle stand con-
nected. The mode of introducing these topics is different, because it
arises from different occasions of introducing them. But the fundamen-
tal ideas in both are the same. Other writers also of the New Testa-
ment urge the obligations of Christians to peculiar holiness of life ; but
what other writers, except Paul, urge it from comparative views of the
Jewish and Christian dispensations ?
(3.) The superior efficacy of the gospel, in promoting and ensuring
the real and permanent happiness of mankind.
Paul represents the law as possessing only a condemning power, and
subjecting all men to its curse, in consequence of disobedience, Gal. iii.
10. It is the ministry of death, 2 Cor. iii. 7 ; the ministry of condem-
nation, 2 Cor. iii. 9 ; by it none can obtain justification or pardoning
mercy, Gal. iii. 11, Rom. iii. 20.
On the contrary, Christianity is the ministry of pardon, rrjc %iKaioovvriQ,
2 Cor. iii. 9 ; it holds out forgiveness of sins for the sake of Christ, gra-
tuitous pardon on account of him, Rom. iii. 24, 25, Eph. i. 7. Through
him, we are allowed to cherish the hope of future glory, Rom. v. 1,2;
and this without perfect obedience to the law, Rom. iii. 21, Gal. ii. 16 ;
Acts xiii. 38, 39. And to such blessings, under the gospel, is attached
21. INTERNAL EVIDENCE. 125
a most important circumstance, in order to heighten their value, viz.
that they are perennial, and not (like the Mosaic institutions) liable to
abolition, 2 Cor. iii. 1 1 .
In correspondence with all this, the epistle to the Hebrews represents
the Mosaic dispensation, as one which was calculated to inspire awe and
terror, Heb.xii. 18 21 ; the offerings and sacrifices which it enjoined,
could never tranquillize and purify the conscience of the worshipper,