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St. Paul withdraws
PART. 11. being first brought into these parts of the world from
this city, hence we call them by the name of Damasks. But after all Damascus is not more famous either on account of its great trade or fine gardens, than it is on account of the conversion of St. Paul, the history of whose
travels or voyages I shall now proceed with. 3.
St. Paul being restored to his sight by Ananias, staid
not long in Damascus, but retired forthwith into Arabia, into Arabia. which is a large country, extending from the river Eu
phrates to Egypt, and so lying to the east and south of the Holy Land. This country took its name from its inhabitants being a mingled people h; composed of the Ishmaelites, Madianites, and Amalekites; the word Arab denoting in the Hebrew language to mix or mingle: and the derivative Ereb, or Arabim, a mixed multitude. The country has been from early times distinguished into three parts, Arabia Felix, or the Happy, to the south, so styled from its rich products, and famous for the Queen of Sheba, who came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and whose kingdom was situated in this fertile country; Arabia Petræa, so called either from its capital Petra built on
a rock, or from the rockiness of the whole division, being Mount Si- full of mountains, among which is mount Sinai, or Ho
reb, so famous in sacred Scripture. Not far from which, south or south-west, within the bounds of Arabia Petræa,
was situated the i land of Madian, whither Moses fled out Madian.
of Egypt, and which was doubtless so called from Madian, a son of Abraham by Keturah. As Arabia Petræa lies to the north of Arabia Felix, so still more north, or rather north-east, lies the third division, called, from its natural barrenness, Arabia Deserta. This reaches up to the very neighbourhood of Damascus ; -and therefore it is not to be questioned, but that this was the peculiar part of Arabia, into which St. Paul retired after his conversion. And as Christ after his baptism withdrew into the wilderness of Judea, before he actually began to preach;
h Jer. xxv. 20. 24.
i Acts vii. 29, 30. Gal. iv. 24, 25.
so it is no improbable conjecture, that St. Paul after his CHAP. I. conversion withdrew into the Deserts of Arabia, there to receive the knowledge of the Gospel by immediate revelation from Christ; and that, this being done, he returned to Damascus k, and after this his return, straightway preached Christ in the synagogues.
It will not be improper to observe here, that as Damascus lies in the neighbourhood of Arabia; so at the time of St. Paul's being there, it was under the dominion of Aretas, king of Arabia Petræa, and a prince tributary to the Roman empire. This Aretas placed a Governor under him in this city, who had likewise jurisdiction over the whole Syria Damascena, and kept his constant residence in this city, as a place of great importance. To this same Governor it was that the Jews, when they would have killed St. Paul, made their address, persuading the Governor to apprehend the Apostle, possibly under the notion of a spy, there being war at this time between the Romans and king Aretas. Hereupon the Governor kept the city with a garrison, being desirous to apprehend St. Paul : but this being known to the Apostle, the disciples took him by night, and through a window let him down in a basket by the wall, (the place being still shewn to travellers, as Mr. Maundrell has above informed us,) and so he A. D. 37. escaped, and came m to Jerusalem.
St. Paul returns to Jerusalem.
m Gal. i. 18. Acts ix. 26.
k Gal. i. 17.
goes to Cæ.
Of St. Paul's Travels from Jerusalem to Cæsarea, Tarsus,
and Antioch, till his second return to Jerusalem after his
ST. PAUL having made his escape out of Damascus, after a short as has been related in the foregoing chapter, sets forstay at Je- ward for Jerusalem, where, when he a arrived, he adrusalem,
dressed himself to the Church. But the Disciples, knowing the former temper and principles of the man, shunned his company, and were all afraid of him, and could not believe that he was himself become a disciple. At length Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles Peter and James, declaring to them the manner of his conversion; that he had seen the Lord in the way to Damascus, and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how he had gone so far already as to preach boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. Hereupon St. Paul was very familiarly entertained by the said Apostles and the rest of the brethren at Jerusalem, where he staid no more at this time than b fifteen days. For he likewise here, speaking Voldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputing against the Greeks or Hellenist Jews, brought upon him the malice of the unbelieving Jews, so far as that they sought to kill him. Whereupon being warned of God in a vision, that his preaching would not find acceptance in that place, and that therefore he should leave it, and betake himself to the Gentiles, he was accordingly .conducted by the brethren to Cæsarea; of which place take this account from Josephus C, the Jewish historian, book xv. chap. 13. of his Antiquities.
There was a certain place by the sea-side, formerly A descrip- called Straton's Tower, which Herod looked upon as a
tion of Cæsarea.
very commodious tract of ground to raise a city upon. CHAP. II. He drew his model, set people to work upon it, and finished it. The buildings were all of marble, private houses as well as palaces; but his master-piece was the Port, which he made as large as the Piræeus d, and a safe station against all winds and weathers, to say nothing of other conveniences. This work was the more wonderful, because all the materials for it were brought thither at a prodigious expence from afar off. This city stands in Phoenicia e, upon the road into Egypt, between Dora and Joppa, two wretched sea-towns, where there is no riding in the harbours with a south-west wind; for it beats so furiously upon the shore, that merchantmen are forced to keep off at sea many times for fear of being driven aground. To encounter these difficulties of the place, Herod ordered a mole to be made in the form of an halfmoon, and large enough for a royal navy to ride in. He directed also prodigious stones to be let down there in twenty fathom water; stones of fifty feet in length, eighteen feet over, and nine feet deep; some greater, some less. This mole was two hundred feet in extent; the one half of it served to break the setting of the sea'; the other half served for the foundation of a stone wall fortified with turrets, the fairest and largest of them being called by the name of the tower of Drusus, from Drusus the son-inlaw of Augustus, who died young. There were several arched vaults also, that served for seamen's cabins. There was likewise a key or landing-place, with a large walk upon it, around the port, as a place of pleasure to take the air in. This port opens to the northward, which is the clearest quarter of the heavens. On the left-hand of the entrance into it, there was a turret erected upon a large platform, with a sloping bank, to shoot off the washing of the sea; and on the right hand were two stone pillars over against the tower, and both of an height.
e He elsewhere reckons it in Judea.
d The port belonging to Athens.
PART 11. The houses about the port were all uniformly built, of
the most excellent sort of marble. Upon a mount in the middle stood a temple, dedicated to Cæsar, which was of great use to mariners, for a famous sea-mark. There were in this temple two statues or images, the one of Rome, the other of Cæsar ; and from hence the city took the name of Cæsarea, celebrated no less for its materials than for the workmanship. The contrivance of the vaults and common-shores was wonderful too, being laid at equal distances one from another, and so discharging themselves into the sea. Only there was one conveyance, that went across all the rest; and as it carried off all the filth of the town, so it made way for the tides to swill and wash the passages, and to make all sweet and clean. Herod built also a stone theatre, and upon the south side of the harbour, a spacious amphitheatre, with a goodly prospect toward the sea. He spared, in short, neither for money nor pains, and in a matter of twelve years this work was brought to perfection. Thus far Josephus in the place above cited; who in book iii. chap. 14. of the Wars of the Jews, tells us withal, that the greater part of the inhabitants of this city (which he here calls the fairest city of Judea) were Greeks.
To the foregoing account of Josephus it may be proper to add, that though this city is called Cæsarea in the New Testament, yet it is frequently styled, by way of distinction from others of the same name, Cæsarea Palestinæ, as being the metropolis of Palestine, and the seat of the Roman proconsul. Here it was that St. Peter f converted Cornelius and his kinsmen, the first-fruits of the Gentiles. Here lived Philips the Evangelist. Here Paul h defended himself against the Jews, and their orator Tertullus. Here in the amphitheatre it was that Herod Antipas i was smitten by an angel of God. And as for the times after the New Testament, here was born Euse
f Acts x.
h Acts xxiv.