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SECOND PART OF THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY
ST. PAUL's TRAVELS.
Chap. I. §. 3. It is no improbable conjecture, that St. Paul after his conversion withdrew into the deserts of Arabia, there to receive the knowledge of the Gospel ;—and that, this being done, he returned to Damascus, and after this his return, straightway preached Christ in the synagogues.] Though St. Paul's withdrawing into Arabia be not mentioned, Acts ix. yet the probability of the conjecture above mentioned is founded on this, that St. Paul expressly tells us, Gal. i. 15—18. that when it had pleased God to reveal his Son unto him, that he might preach him among the Gentiles, he immediately conferred not with flesh and blood, nor went up unto Jerusalem;-but into Arabia. Where it is remarkable, that the very same word súdéws is used here by the Apostle, when he says, he sudéws, immediately or presently, conferred not with flesh and blood, as is used by St. Luke, Acts ix. 19. where it is said that St. Paul sudéws, presently, preached Christ in the synagogues at Damascus; and whence some draw an argument, that St. Paul preached in the synagogues at Damascus, before he went into Arabia. Whereas the other opinion seems much more probable, from what is said, Gal. i. For, 1. here St. Paul expressly relates, that he did go into Arabia, and return again to Damascus, and then go to Jerusalem. Wherefore, since this journey into Arabia is not mentioned Acts ix. but it is there only taken notice of, how upon the Jews lying in wait for him, he escaped them by being let down the wall of Damascus in a basket; and that having so escaped, he came to Jerusalem; hence it is most probable, that St. Paul's going into Arabia was before his leaving Damascus this time, mentioned in Acts ix. Because the reason which made St. Paul leave Damascus that time, which is mentioned in Acts ix. would scarce let him think it advisable to return to Damascus. But, 2dly, the Apostle declares, Gal. i. 12. that he received not the Gospel from man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ; and this is most probably thought to be the meaning of the expression, ver. 16. I conferred not with flesh and blood, i. e. I conferred not, or consulted not, with any man to inform myself of the doctrine of the Gospel. For the next words following evidently require such an acceptation, viz. nor went I up to Jerusalem to them that were Apostles before me. Where by the connection, nor went I up, &c. with I conferred not, &c. plainly is denoted one and the same subject or business; i. e. that, as St. Paul went not up to Jerúsalem to those that were Apostles before him, to be instructed in the Gospel; so neither did he confer with any one at Damascus concerning the doctrine of the Gospel. And that by flesh and blood is here denoted any man, seems probable from Matt. xvi. 17. where our Saviour says to Peter, that flesh and blood had not revealed it to him, i. e. not any man. Wherefore, 3dly and lastly, it being evident from what has been said, that St. Paul did receive his instruction in the Gospel by revelation from Christ; and St. Paul expressly telling us, Gal. i. 16. that immediately (after the vision, and his being restored
to sight) he conferred not with flesh and blood, nor went up to the other Apostles, but went into Arabia ; it seems an opinion very well grounded, that what St. Paul went into Arabia for, was to receive instruction in the nature of the Gospel, by revelation from our blessed Saviour himself; and also that he went into Arabia, cúfews, presently, or immediately after the restitution of his sight; and so before he ever preached at Damascus. And surely the word immediately does refer not only to, I conferred not, Gal. i. 16. but also to, nor went I up, &c. but I went into Arabia, ver. 17. So that St. Paul expressly asserts, that, BÚDéws, immediately (as soon as he was able, i. e. had recovered his strength and sight) he went into Arabia; and, consequently, what is said, Acts ix. 20. of his preaching immediately in the synagogues at Damascus, cannot be rationally understood, till after his return to Damascus.
Chap. II. §. 9. Hence St. Paul being bred up in his youth in the schools of Tarsus, became somwell acquainted with Heathen authors.] Since it is not rational to suppose miraculous knowledge, where a thing may be known by ordinary means; and since we do not find that the reading of Heathen authors was encouraged, if allowed of, at Jerusalem; hence it is most probable to suppose, that St. Paul attained the knowledge he had of Heathen writers at Tarsus, where he was born, especially this being an ancient university, or seat of literature. Nor does any thing related in the history of the Acts contradict this opinion. For surely St. Paul might be taught school-learning at Tarsus, in his younger years, or while he was a boy, and yet, when he came to be about sixteen, be brought up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel. And whereas it is said, Acts xxvi. 4. My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among my own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews. The Greek whereof is this: Tju pèy Šv Biwolv μου την εκ νεότητος, την απ' αρχής γενομένην εν τώ έθνει μου εν
Ιεροσολύμοις, ίσασι πάντες οι Ιεδαίοι. Where the expression The fx vebentas does, I think, truly import thus much, viz. that the Jews of Jerusalem did know his manner of life (not from his childhood, but only) from his youth, i. e. after he came to be sixteen or thereabouts, And the other expression, την απ' αρχής γενομένην εν τώ έθνει μου εν 'Lepooonúuoss, does, I think, truly import this, viz. that though not before, yet he had from the very beginning of his youth lived at Jerusalem. So that neither does this text, if rightly understood, contain any thing repugnant to the opinion embraced by learned men, that St. Paul was taught the Heathen authors at Tarsus, while he was a boy, or in the former part of his youth, taken largely, and as it is frequently, to denote all one's younger years.
Chap. VII. §. 5. This country (viz. Media) doubtless took its name from Madai, one of the sons of Japhet.] This is the opinion generally received, and at first view seems most probable, by reason, not only of the affinity between Madai and Media, but also of the use of the word Madai in the Hebrew Bible, to denote always the country we call, from the Greeks and Latins, Media. But upon further inquiry I have found reason to recede from this opinion, and rather to embrace another, which the reader will find largely insisted on in my Historical Geography of the Old Testament, Part I. chap. iii. sect. ii. g. 48, 49, &c.