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PA RT II.
CHAPTER THE SEVENTH.
OF ST. PAUL. 1. History of St. Paul to his Conversion.-II. To the
End of his First apostolical Journey.—III. To the beginning of his Second apostolical Journey.-IV. To the End of his Second apostolical Journey.-V. To the End of his Third apostolical Journey.--VI. To his Release from his First Imprisonment at Rome.--VII. To his Death.-VIII. His Character, and
Observations upon his Epistles. 1. St. Paul(a) was born at Tarsus, the principal city of Cilicia, and was by birth both a Jew and a citizen of Rome (b). He was of the tribe
(a) In the Acts of the Apostles, he is called Saul till the ninth verse of the thirteenth chapter, and afterwards he is always called Paul. No satisfactory reason has been assigned for this change. Vide Benson's History of Christianity, vol. 2. p. 28, and Lardner, vol. 6. p. 234, and the authors quoted by him. Perhaps the best conjecture is that of bishop Pearce; “Saul, who was himself a citizen of Rome, probably changed his name, i.e. his Hebrew name, Saul, to the Roman name Paul, out of respect to this his first Roman convert, i. e. Sergius Paulus, Acts, c. 13. v. 7." Vide Pearce in loc.
(b) Acts, c. 21. V. 39. C. 22. V. 25.
of Benjamin, and of the sect of the Pharisees (c). In his youth he appears to have been taught the art of tent-making (d); but we must remember, that among the Jews of those days a liberal education was often accompanied by instruction in some mechanical trade (e). It is probable that St. Paul laid the foundation of those literary attainments, for which he was so eminent in the future part of his life, at his native city of Tarsus (f); and he afterwards studied the Law of Moses, and the traditions of the elders, at Jerusalem, under Gamaliel, a celebrated Rabbi(g).
St. Paul is not mentioned in the Gospels; nor is it known whether he ever heard our Saviour preach, or saw him perform any miracle. His
nané first occurs in the account given in the 34. Acts of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, to which
he is said to have consented (h): he is upon that occasion called a young man, but we are no where informed what was then his precise age.
The (c) Philipp. c. 3. v. 5. (d) Acts, c. 18. v. 3.
(6) Vide Doddridge's Note upon Acts, c. 18. v. 3. There was a maxim among the Jews, that "he who teaches not his son a trade, teaches him to be a thief.”
(f) Strabo, lib. 14, tells us, that at this time Tarsus was distinguished as a place of education,
(8) Acts, c. 22. V.4.
The death of St. Stephen was followed by a seyere persecụtion (i) of the Church at Jerusalem, and Paul became distinguished among its enemies by his activity and violence (k). Not contented with displaying his hatred to the Gospel in Judæa, he obtained authority from the high priest to go to Damascus, and to bring back with him bound, any Christians whom he might find in that city. As he was upon his journey thither, his miraculous conversion took place, the cir- 35cumstances of which are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (l), and are frequently alluded to by himself in his Epistles (m).
II. Soon after St. Paul was baptized at Damascus, he went into Arabia (n); but we are
(i) This persecution is supposed to have lasted about four years, from the year 34 to 38.
(k) Acts, c. 8. v. 3.
(m) Gal. c. 1. V. 13. I Cor. c. 15. v.9. 1 Tim. c. 1. v. 12 and 13.
(n). This journey into Arabia is not noticed in the Acts. It is mentioned by St. Paul himself, Gal. c. I. v. 17. It seems equally doubtful, whether he preached at Damascus before he went into Arabia, and whether he preached while he was in Arabia, as Scripture is silent upon both points. St. Luke says, Acts, c. 9. v. 20, that he“ straightway preached Christ,” but he may possibly
not inforined how long he remained there. He returned to Damascus, and being supernaturally qualified to be a preacher of the Gospel, he immediately entered upon his ministry in that city. The boldness and success with which he enforced the truths of Christianity so irritated the unbelieving Jews, that they resolved to put him to death (O); but, this
design being known, the disciples conveyed him 38. privately out of Damascus, and he went to
mean, after he returned from Arabia ; and some have thought, that it was ordered by Divine Providence, that there should be an interval of retirement and quiet between Paul's violent persecution of Christians and his zealous propagation of the Gospel. Nec hoc, says, St. Jerome, segnitiæ apostoli deputandum, si frustra in Arabia fuerit; sed quod aliqua dispensatio et Dei præceptum fuerit, ut taceret. In Gal. c. 1. V:17
(0) Acts, c. 9. v. 23.
(P) Acts, c.9. v. 27. It does not appear in what manner Barnabas was himself informed of Paul's conversion.
Damascus, they acknowledged him as a disciple. He remained only fifteen days among them (9), and he saw none of the Apostles, except Peter and James. It is probable that the other Apostles were at this time absent from Jerusalem, exercising their ministry at different places. The zeal with which Paul preached at Jerusalem had the same effect as at Damascus : he became so obnoxious to the Hellenistic Jews, that they began to consider how they might kill him (»), which when the brethren knew, they thought it right that he should leave the city. They accompanied him to Cæsarea, and thence he went " into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, where he preached the faith, which once he destroyed (s).”
Hitherto the preaching of St. Paul, as well as of the other Apostles and Teachers, had been confined to the Jews ; but the conversion of Cor- 40, nelius, the first Gentile convert, having convinced all the Apostles, that “to the Gentiles also God had granted repentance unto life,” Paul was soon after conducted by Barnabas from Tarsus, which had probably been the principal place of his residence since he left Jerusalem, and they