"ALEXANDER THE COPPERSMITH."
(TO TER EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.")
Szn,—Before discussing the precise weight to be attached to St. Paul's "hasty denunciation" of Alexander the Coppersmith, it seems worth while to inquire whether such a denunciation was ever really uttered.
The earliest manuscripts and the best modern critical authori- ties agree in reading (II. Tim., iv. 14), not, "The Lord requite him!" but, "The Lord will requite him,"—a prediction, not a curse. Dr. Tischendorf, who adhered to the common reading up to his seventh edition, adopted this emendation in his eighth. In fact, since the discovery of the Sinaitic MS. there has been little or no doubt as to what is the correct form of the passage.
Whatever might be said of the apparent imprecation, I presume that no one will condemn the Apostle for declaring this adversary of the truth to be left to the just judgment of God. The moral difference between the two forms of expression was long ago per- ceived. "Non alt rethlat, sed react," writes Augustine. It would appear, then, that St. Paul does not need in this case Mr.
Lyttelton's ingenious apology.—I am, Sir, &c., G.