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PAUL RETURNS TO ANTIOCH-CHAP. X.
ACTS xii. 25 18
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
years after his conversion, and he altered it then from a Jewish
At Paul's second journey to Jerusalem, he received from
Lord Barrington supposes that he had some view of the glory of heaven, for his encouragement in the difficulties he had to encounter, and makes a singular conjecture concerning the "thorn in the flesh," of which St. Paul speaks in his relation of bis vision to the Corinthians, which he supposes to have been some bodily infirmity caused by the heavenly glory, which was too great for him to bear; as stammering, or a convulsive motion in the muscles of his face, which made him fear the Gentiles, who paid great regard to eloquence and outward appearances, would despise him, as Moses was afraid of appearing before Pharaoh for the same reason. He therefore besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from him; but after he was assured that Christ's strength should be made perfect in his infirmities, he gloried in his weakness.
There were none of the apostles at Jerusalem at Paul's second journey there, probably that it might be manifest that he received his mission from no man; and of this circumstance he often particularly informs us, that he received his message from Christ alone (a).
(a) See Hales's Analysis, vol. ii. part ii. p. 1211 -Miscellanea Sacra, Essay iii.-Doddridge's Family Expositor, notes on Acts xxii. and Dr. Lardner.
18 Mr. Fleming would place this passage after the account of the death of James, and in the interval between the committal and the deliverance of Peter from prison. Dr. Lardner, whose authority I follow, adheres to the present order of the sacred text, and argues that the commission of Barnabas and Saul was not given till after the death of Herod (a).
(a) Flem. Christology. vol. ii. p. 230. and Lardner's Credibility, book i. chap. ii. sect. ii. vol. i.-Ap. Doddridge's Family Expositor, vol. iii. P. 88.
Vulgar Era, Period for preaching the Gospel to the idolatrous Gentiles, and St. Paul's first Apostolical Journey.
The Apostles having been absent from Jerusalem, when
ACTS xiii. 1-3.
1. Now there were in the church that was at Antioch, Antioch. certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away'.
The learned and judicious Hooker (a) has conjectured that Barnabas and Saul were now set apart for their apostleship, to supply the vacancies in the original number, one having been killed by Herod, the other appointed Bishop of Jerusalem. Dr. Hales (b) approves this opinion. It is much to be regretted that the seventh book of the Ecclesiastical Polity is one of those which we cannot be certain, received the last corrections of their author, or indeed were certainly written by him. The conjecture, however, is that of one who had carefully studied the Scripture narrative, and is by no means improbable.
As St. Paul and Barnabas had been already peculiarly set apart to their high office, we cannot attribute their authority to the prophets and teachers in the Church at Antioch, who here officiated by an especial command of God, through the Holy Spirit. St. Paul expressly declares that he was not an apostle by man. We are assured, too, in another passage of Scripture, that without all doubt the less is blessed of the greater: if St. Paul, therefore, had derived his commission as the apostle of the Gentiles from the Church at Antioch, the prophets who set him apart must have been either superior or equal to him. They were not superior, for the apostles are always ranked above any other class of ministers in the Christian Church-if they were equal, they must have been elevated themselves to the rank of apostle, as a learned divine has attempted to prove (c).
The apostles were in one sense of the word, each of them apostles to the whole world: but insomuch as each took his peculiar department, he might be called the apostle of that district or division of their Lord's vineyard. Thus we are assured that the twelve took each of them his province, and ecclesiastical history gives us the name of their several districts. It is not improbable that when the Holy Spirit had separated them for the apostolic office in general, that St. Paul and Barnabas con
Julian Period, 4756. Vulgar Æra,
ST. PAUL BEGINS HIS FIRST JOURNEY-CHAP. XI.
Saul, in company with Barnabas, commences his first Apos-
sented to become the apostles of the Church at Antioch in par-
Among the prophets who were now in the Church at Antioch,
There is an account in Josephus of one Manaen (says Dr. Biscoe) an Essene, who foretold concerning Herod the Great, that he should be a king, whilst he was yet a boy at school: and when it actually came to pass that he was king, being sent for by Herod, and asked how long he should reign, whether ten years? he answered, Yes.-Twenty years? Yes; thirty years. Upon which Herod gave him his right hand, and from that time held in great esteem such who were of the sect of Essenes. Mr. Zachutus, a Jewish writer, says, that this Manaen was vice-president of the Sanhedrim under Hillel, and that Shammai succeeded him; that he went off into Herod's family and service with fourscore eminent men; that he uttered many prophecies, foretold to Herod when he was yet very young, that he should come to reign; and when he did reign, being sent for, foretold that he should reign above thirty years. The Talmudists also say, That Manaen went out, and Shammai succeeded him. But whither went Manaen? Abai says, he went into the service of the king, and with him went fourscore pair of disciples, clothed all in silk." It is very probable that a son of this Manaen, or some nephew, or other kinsman to whom he gave his name, was educated in the family of Herod the Great. The young. Manaen might be of the same age, and have the samo preceptors and tutors as had Herod Antipas, one of the sons of Herod the Great, and for that reason be said to be brought up with him in particular. This Herod Antipas was, after his father's death, tetrarch of Galilee, and is the person who put John the Baptist to death. Josephus says, of the first named Manaen, that he was reputed a man of an excellent life. The Talmudists tell us, that when he left the vice-presidentship of
ACTS xiii. part of verse 4.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, de- Seleucia. parted unto Seleucia.
From Seleucia, to Salamis and Paphos, in Cyprus, where
ACTS xiii. part of ver. 4-13.
4 And from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they
had also John to their minister.
6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorceror, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus :
7 Which was with the deputy' of the country, Sergius
the Sanhedrim to go into Herod's service, he went into all man-
(a) Hooker's Eccles. Polity, lib. vii. sec. 4. p. 337. (b) Hales's Anal.
1 Sergius Paulus was the first convert of the idolatrous Gentiles. He was a magistrate: and, by his conversion and influence, the preaching of St. Paul would probably excite still greater attention. The conversion of a magistrate, as the firstfruits of the idolatrous world, may be intended to shew to us that the Divine Author of Christianity appeals in a more especial manner to those who are vested with authority and power, to embrace his religion, and to sanction and protect it to the utmost.
It is observable here, says Bishop Marsh, that the Evangelist Luke, relating these transactions of Paul in Cyprus, gives to Sergius Paulus, the Roman governor of that island, the Greek title of Avvaros, which was applied only to those governors of provinces who were invested with proconsular dignity. And on the supposition that Cyprus was not a province of this description, it has been inferred, that the title given to Sergius Paulus in the Acts of the Apostles, was a title that did not properly belong to him.
A passage, indeed, has been quoted from Dion Cassius, who, speaking of the governors of Cyprus, and some other Roman provinces, applies to them the same title which is applied to Sergius Paulus. But as Dion Cassius is speaking of several Roman provinces at the same time, one of which was certainly governed by a proconsul, it has been supposed that, for the sake of brevity, he used one term for all of them, whether it applied to all of them or not. That Cyprus, however, ought
ELYMAS IS STRUCK BLIND-CHAP. XI.
Julian Pe- Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Salamis, riod, 4756. Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. Vulgar Era,
8 But Elymas the sorceror (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
9 Then Saul (who also is called Paul3), filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a And immediately there fell on him a mist and a
not to be excepted, and that the title which he employed, as
(a) Bishop Marsh's Lectures, part V. pp. 85, 86. An engraving of
2 The word Elymas is derived, by Pfeiffer, from the Arabic by, sciens, sapiens. See his Dubia vexata, p. 943. Loesneri observ. ad Nov. Testam. e Philone Alexand. p. 204, and Kuinoel.
3 It is uncertain on what account the name of Paul is used by
(a) See on this point Witsii Melet. Leidens, p. 47. (b) Jerome, lib. i.