« ZurückWeiter »
2 Tim. iv. 20. For that Titus was in Rome with Paul during his second imprisonment, is certain, from 2 Tim. iv. 10. where the apostle informed Timothy, that Titus was one of those who had fled from the city through'fear, and had gone into Dalmatia : but whether with, or without his approbation, the apostle doth not expressly say.—What became of Titus afterwards, is no where told us in scripture. But some ancient writers mentioned by Whitby, in his Pref. to Titus, say that he died in the 94th year of his age, and was buried in Crete : From which they conjecture, that he returned to Crete after St. Paul's death : for the time of which, See Pref. to 2 Tim. sect. 3. last paragraph.
Of the Introduction and Progress of the Christian Faith in Crete.
Among the three thousand who were converted by Peter on the memorable day of Pentecost, Cretes, that is, Jews, natives of Crete, who had come up to Jerusalem to worship, are mentioned, Acts ii. 11. These, being of the same disposition with the Jewish converts, who, after the death of Stephen, preached the word to none but to the Jews only, Acts xi. 19. would, after their return home from Jerusalem, confine their preaching to the Jews, who, as Josephus informs us, were very numerous in Crete. We may therefore believe, that the first Christians in Crete, were mostly of the Jewish nation. It is true, Barnabas went into Cyprus, after he separated himself from Paul. · But it is not said that he went into Crete, either on that or on any other occasion. And even though he had preached in Crete, as he had not the power of imparting the spiritual gifts to his converts, it cannot be thought that his preaching in that country would be attended with very great success. The same may be said of any other Evangelist or Christian prophet, who happened to preach the gospel to the Cretians. I therefore think the numerous conversions of the inhabitants of Crete, which made it necessary that elders should be ordained in every city, must be ascribed to the labours of some apostle, who, by working miracles, and conferring the spiritual gifts on his converts, made such an impression on the minds of the Cretians, that many of the idolatrous inhabitants, and some of the Jews embraced the Christian faith.
Now, that St. Paul was this apostle, seems probable from his leaving Titus in Crete, to set in order the things wanting among the Christians there, and to ordain elders in every city. The modelling and governing the Christian churches, certainly belonged to the persons who had planted them. Accordingly, most of the churches in the Gentile countries having been planted by the apostle Paul, he modelled, corrected, and governed the whole, either in person, or by his assistants, without any interference from his brethren apostles ; just as the apostles of the circumcision, modelled, corrected, and governed the churches planted by them, without any interference from him.
If the foregoing reasoning is just, the account given in sect. 1. may be admitted ; namely, that St. Paul sailed into Crete, after he was released from his first confinement at Rome ; that at his landing in Crete, he went through the different cities, and converted many of the inhabitants ; and that being in haste to perform his intended visit to the Hebrews, he committed the care of modelling and settling the churches in Crete to Titus, and then set out with Timothy for Judea.-These transactions I think happened after the apostle's release from his first confinement at Rome, because, though he touched at Crete in his voyage to Rome to prosecute his appeal to the Emperor, being a prisoner, he would not be allowed to go through the island to preach : consequently, if he made any converts on that occasion, thay must have been but few.
Of the Island of Crete, and of the Character and Manners of its Inha.
bitants. Crete, where Titus exercised his ministry when the apostle wrote his letter to him, is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, and lies to the south of the Archipelago. In length from west to east, it is about 250 miles, in breadth about 50, and in circuit about 600.-Anciently it was famous for its hundred cities ; for the arrival of Europa on a bull from Phænicia ; for the laws of Minos, one of its kings ; for the loves of Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, and of his daughter Ariadne ; for the labyrinth, the work of Dædalus ; for the destruction of the Minotaur ; but above all, for the sepulchre of Jupiter, with his name inscribed upon it. See Titus i. 12. note 2. And to finish the mythological history of Crete, it was famous for mount Ida,
where Jupiter is said to have been preserved from his father Saturn, and educated by the Curetes, Corybantes, or Idaei Dactyli.
According to ancient authors, Crete was originally peopled from Palestine. This fact Bochart hath rendered probable, by observing, Canaan, lib. i. c. 15. That that part of Palestine, which lies on the Mediterranean, was by the Arabs called Keritha, and by the Syrians Creth; and that the Hebrews called its inhabitants, Crethi, or Crethim, which the LXX. have translated, Kentes, Cretians, Ezek. xxv. 16. Zephan. ii. 5. That these prophets do not speak of the island of Crete, is plain, from their joining the Philistim with the Crethim, as one and the same people. Accordingly it appears, that the Crethim were a part of the Philistim ; Crethi, or, as it is in the Chaldee paraphrase, Creth, being declared, 1 Sam. xxx. 14. 16. to be the land of the Philistines.-Bochart adds, That the Crethi in Palestine were noted archers, and that some of them were employed by King David as his life guards. Sce 2 Sam. viii. 18. xv. 18. xx. 23. 1 Kings i. 38. i Chron. xviii. 17. in all which places, they are ealled in our translation, Cherethites ; but the original word is, Crethi, which the Chaldee paraphrast interprets, Archers. These Crethi of Palestine, it is thought, had their name from a Hebrew word, which signifies, to destroy, because they made great havoc with their arrows; to which there is an elegant allusion, Ezek. xxv. 16. Vehicrathi eth Crethim, which our translators have rendered, I will cut off the Cherethites ; but the literal translation is, I will cut off the cutters off, namely, the Crethim.
Sir Isaac Newton also is of opinion, that Crete was peopled from Palestine, as appears from his Chronology, page 13. where he saith, “ Many of the Phænicians and Syrians, in the year “ before Christ 1045, fled from Zidon, and from King David, “ into Asia Minor, Crete, Greece, and Libya ; and introduced “ letters, music, poetry, the Octaeteris, metals, and their fabrica" tion, and other arts, sciences, and customs of the Phænicians. " --Along with these Phænicians, came a sort of men, skilled “ in the religious mysteries, arts, and sciences of Phænicia, and 6 settled in several places, under the names of Curetes, Idaei
The Crethi from Palestine, who settled themselves in Crete, seem to have given their own name to that island. In their pew habitation, they continued to be famous archers, (see Tournefort, vol. i. page 83.) and to exercise all the arts which they for
merly practised in Palestine ; especially that of navigation, which they employed in piracy. They brought with them likewise all the vices of the Canaanites, being exceedingly addicted to gluttony, drunkenness, and lust. Withal they were extremely covetous, and notorious liars ; in so much that to speak like a Cretian, became a proverb for telling lies, and deceiving : and a Cretian lie, signified the greatest and most impudent lie.-Epimenides, one of their own poets, and Strabo, a native of Crete, have branded the Cretians as notorious liars ; particularly Epimenides, who, in a verse quoted by Paul, Tit. i. 12. charged them not only with lying, but with gluttony and idleness. And the apostle, ver. 13. declared, that these vices constituted their true character.-In fine, Polybius, lib. vi. tells us, that the Cretians were the only people in the world, who found nothing sordid in money, whatever way it was gained.—This account of the character of the Cretians, shews the propriety of the apostle's injunction to Titus, chap. i. 13. Rebuke them sharply, that they may be healthy in the faith. Mr. Tournefort, who visited Crete in the beginning of this century, tells us, vol. i. page 84. that its present inhabitants are more virtuous. The gospel, it seems, hath led them to change their manners.
Crete is now called Candia, from its chief city, which bears that name. In the year 1204, the Venetians took Canea, the second greatest city in Crete, and with it the whole island. That city they held till the year 1645, when the Turks conquered it, and almost entirely expelled the Venetians from Crete, which they have kept possession of ever since.
After the gospel was planted in Crete by the apostle, and his assistant Titus, it took such deep root there, and spread itself so widely through the island, that it hath subsisted there ever since ; and is at present the religion of the natives, who are in general of the Greek church. These, on payment of a stated tribute to the Turks, are allowed the exercise of their religion without molestation.
Tournefort saith, vol. i. p. 23. The environs of Canea are exceedingly beautiful. From the city, to the nearest mountains, there are large forests of olive trees, interrupted by fields, vineyards, gardens, and rivulets, bordered with myrtles : But two thirds of the country are mountains. Crete, however, in respect of its size, climate, and soil, is one of the finest islands in the Mediterranean. And were it cultivated with as much care as it was in former times, it would produce all the necessaries
and luxuries of life in the greatest abundance : so that the accounts which ancient authors have given of the number of its cities, and of the multitude of its inhabitants, are by no means exaggerated.
of the Time and Place of writing the Epistle to Titus.
Because the apostle desired Titus to come to him at Nicopolis, chap. iii. 12. when he should send to him Artemas or Tychicus to supply his place in Crete, the transcriber, who added the postscript to this letter which our translators have turned into English, hath dated it from Nicopolis in Macedonia ; following in that conjecture Chrysostom and Theodoret. But if the apostle had been in Nicopolis when he wrote to Titus, hc would not have said, I have determined to winter there, but he would have said, to winter here. This circumstance, together with the apostle's not mentioning his bonds in any part of his letter to Titus, shows that he was at liberty when he wrote it. I therefore agree in opinion with those who think the apostle wrote his epistle to Titus from Colosse, while he abode there in the course of this his last apostolical journey, which ended in his second imprisonment at Rome.-Benson says, “ the Syriac “ version, at the conclusion of this epistle, hath intimated that “ it was sent to Titus by the hands of Zenas and Apollos. But “ that conjecture hath been added by a later hand, and is not 6 well grounded. For from chap. iii. 13. they seem to have “ been coming to the apostle from a distant country, and not to “ have been lately with him."
of the Purpose for which the Epistle to Titus was written.
The first converts to the Christian faith in Crete, being, as was observed, sect. 2. those Cretian Jews to whom Peter preached on the memorable day of Pentecost, and those Jews in Crete, to whom Peter's converts preached the gospel on their return from Jerusalem, they were all, or most of them, very zealous of the law of Moses. Wherefore, when Paul came into Crete, and converted numbers of the idolatrous inhabi