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by Joseph Sutcliffe
THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
St. Paul is the most copious, profound, and luminous writer of all the holy apostles. He calls himself “less than the least of all saints,” but Chrysostom calls him the greatest of saints; and he was regarded by all mankind as a prodigy of talents. He has created a new world of happy and enlightened language for the church. Laying aside the rhetoric of the schools, he speaks with the sublime of eloquence and wisdom. He penetrates the depths of religion, developes the shadows of the law, and cites the prophets in a superior mode of argument. His heart and mind were fountains of eloquence, flowing with an impetuous stream. He supports himself in argument with admirable exuberance of thought, and closes with full conviction on the mind. Opposition is silent in his presence. Every battle with the pharisees was a victory, and every contest with gentile philosophy was a triumph. St. Peter attributes the divine wisdom of his epistles to the gift of God, for indeed when his epistles are weighed and studied, we must admit that no man could attain to that wisdom without divine inspiration.
The chronological order of his epistles, as laid down in the Testament printed at Mons, under the papal sanction, is given in the first column, that of archbishop Usher in the second.
Mons. Usher. 1 To the Thessalonians A.D. 52 54 2 To the Thessalonians 52 54 To the Galatians 56 58 1 To the Corinthians 57 60 2 To the Corinthians 57 60 To the Romans 57 60 To the Philippians 62 64 To Philemon A.D. 62 64 To the Colossians 62 64 To the Ephesians 62 64 To the Hebrews 62 64 1 To Timothy 66 65 To Titus 66 65 2 To Timothy 66 66
The rabbins who arranged the parchments of Isaiah have put the strong and sublime words which he delivered when the two allied kings had invaded Judea, in the front of his prophecies, though delivered in the middle of his ministry. Jerome, who lived in Rome before he became bishop of Milan, has done the same with regard to the epistle to the Romans; and as Rome was the imperial city, he might do it with better grace. But to read these epistles in their chronological order may be done with some advantage.
the Fifth Week after Easter