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presenting some circumstances, or using some phrase or expression not then in use. The plea of forgery, therefore, in later ages, cannot be allowed; and if Saint Luke had published such a history at so early a period, when some of the apostles, or many other persons concerned in the transactions which he has recorded, were alive, and his account had not been true, he would only have exposed himself to an easy confutation, and to certain infamy.
perfect unison with the history, and tend to confirm it; for the doctrines and principles are every where the same. The Gospels close with references to the facts recorded in the Acts, particularly the promise of the Holy Spirit, which we know from the Acts was poured out by Christ upon his disciples after his ascension; and the Epistles, generally, plainly suppose that those facts had actually occurred, which the history relates. So that the history of the Acts is one of the most important parts of sacred history; for, without Since, therefore, the Acts of the Apostles are in themit, neither the Gospels nor the Epistles could have been so selves consistent and uniform; the incidental relations agreeclearly understood; but by the aid of this book the whole able to the best ancient historians that have come down to us; scheme of the Christian revelation is set before us in a clear and the main facts supported and confirmed by the other and easy view. Lastly, the incidental circumstances, men- books of the New Testament, as well as by the unanimous tioned by Saint Luke, correspond so exactly, and without testimony of so many of the ancient fathers, we are justly any previous view to such a correspondence (in cases, too, authorized to conclude, that, if any history of former times where it could not possibly have been premeditated and pre- deserves credit, the Acts of the Apostles ought to be received contrived) with the accounts that occur in the Epistles, and and credited; and if the history of the Acts of the Apostles with those of the best ancient historians, both Jews and is true, Christianity cannot be false; for a doctrine so good Heathens, that no person who had forged such a history, in in itself, so admirably adapted to the fallen state of man, later ages, could have had the same external confirmation; and attended with so many miraculous and divine testimobut he must have betrayed himself, by alluding to some cus-nies, has all the possible marks of a true revelation.2 toms or opinions which have since sprung up, or by misre
ON THE EPISTOLARY OR DOCTRINAL WRITINGS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, PARTICULARLY THOSE OF SAINT PAUL.
ACCOUNT OF THE APOSTLE PAUL.
I. The Birth and Education of Paul.-His Persecution of the Disciples of Christ, and his Conversion.—Observations upon it.-II. His subsequent Travels and Labours, to his second Visit to Jerusalem.-III. His third Visit to Jerusalem, and subsequent Labours, to his fourth Visit to Jerusalem.-IV. His Journeys and Labours, to his fifth Visit to Jerusalem.-V. To his first Imprisonment at Rome.-VI. His subsequent Journeys, second Imprisonment, and Martyrdom.-VII. Character of Paul.-VIII. Observations on the Style of his Writings.
I. SAUL, also called PAUL (by which name this illustri- | from his quotations of several Greek poets. 10 From Tarsus, ous apostle was generally known after his preaching among the Gentiles, especially among the Greeks and Romans), was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a descendant of the patriarch Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin, and a native of Tarsus, then the chief city of Cilicia. By birth he was a citizen of Rome, a distinguished honour and privilege, which had been conferred on some of his ancestors for services rendered to the commonwealth during the wars. His father was a Pharisee, and he himself was educated in the most rigid principles of that sect. His sister's son and some others of his relations were Christians, and had embraced the Gospel before his conversion. That he was early educated in Greek literature at Tarsus, may be inferred from that place being celebrated for polite learnings and eloquence, and also The subject of these coincidences has already been noticed in Vol. I. pp. 49-51. supra. Dr. Paley's Hore Paulina amplifies the argument above suggested, and is indispensably necessary to a critical study of the
2 Dr. Benson's Hist. of Christianity, vol. ii. pp. 333-341,
Dr. Lardner has shown that this is the most probable opinion. Works, 8vo. vol. i. pp. 227-229.; 4to. vol. i. pp. 124, 125. Such also is the opinion of John Arntzenius, who has written an elegant dissertation on Saint Paul's citizenship. (See his Dissertationes Binæ, p. 195. Utrecht, 1725.) It is not an improbable conjecture that the cloak and parchments, which St. Paul charged Timothy to bring to him (2 Tim. iv. 13.), were the Roman toga and the certificates of his citizenship, which might be of service to him in his approaching trial before the emperor. Shuttleworth's Paraphrastic Translation of the Apostolical Epistles, p. 369.
Acts xxiii. 6. xxvi. 5. Phil. iii. 5.
Acts xxiii. 16-22. Rom. xvi. 7. 11. 21.
Strabo the geographer, who lived in the same age as St. Paul, characterizes the inhabitants of Tarsus, as cherishing such a passion for philosophy and all the branches of polite literature, that they greatly excelled even Athens and Alexandria, and every other place where there were schools and academies for philosophy and literature. He adds, that the natives of Tarsus were in the practice of going abroad to other cities to perfect themselves. (Lib. xiv. vol. ii. pp. 960, 961. edit. Oxon.) This circumstance accounts for Saint Paul's going to Jerusalem, to finish his studies under Gamaliel.
In every ancient seat of learning eloquence held a principal rank; and each species of it was denominated from the place where it was most practised, or in the greatest perfection. Thus we read of the chaste Attic eloquence, and of the florid Asiatic; and Tarsus also gave name to its peculiar mode, which, however, is least known, because, from the very nature of it, its productions were not likely to remain. The Tarsic eloVOL. II. 2 S
Saul removed to Jerusalem, where he made considerable proficiency in the study of the law, and the Jewish traditions, under Gamaliel, a celebrated teacher of that day." He appears to have been a person of great natural abilities, of quick apprehension, strong passions, and firm resolution; and was thus qualified for signal service, as a teacher of whatever principles he might embrace. He was also blameless in his life, and strictly faithful to the dictates of his conscience, according to the knowledge which he possessed: this is evident from his appeals to the Jews, and from the undissembled satisfaction he expresses on a serious comparison and recollection of his former and later conduct. (Acts xxiii. 1. xxvi. 4, 5. Phil. iii. 6. 1 Tim. i. 13. 2 Tim. i. 3.) His parents completed his education by having him taught the art of tent-making,12 in conformity with the practice of the Jews, with whom it was customary to teach youth of the highest birth some mechanical employment, by which, in cases of necessity, they might maintain themselves without being burthensome to others: and his occupation appears subsequently to have had some influence upon his style.13 For some time after the appearance of Christianity in the world, he was a bitter enemy and a furious opposer of all who professed that faith; and when the protomartyr Stephen
quence was employed in sudden and unpremeditated harangues; and Saint Paul, long accustomed to compositions of this sort, transferred the style and manner from speaking to writing. (Dr. Powell's Discourses, p. 250.) This circumstance will account for the abruptness and other peculiarities in the apostle's letters which are more fully considered in the close of this section.
10 Thus, in Acts xvii. 28. he cites a verse from Aratus; in 1 Cor. xv. 33. he quotes another from Menander; and in Tit. i. 12. a verse from Epi. menides. See an illustration of this last passage, supra, Vol. I. p. 81. 11 Acts xxii. 3. xxvi. 5. Gal. i. 14.
12 Michaelis makes St. Paul to have been a maker of mechanical instruments (vol. iv. pp. 183-186.); but all commentators are of opinion that he was a manufacturer of tents, for which, in the East, there was always a
13 To a man employed in making tents, the ideas of camps, arms, armour, warfare, military pay, would be familiar; and St. Paul introduces these and their concomitants so frequently, that his language seems to have been such as might rather have been expected from a soldier, than from one who lived in quiet times, and was a preacher of the gospel of peace. Pow ell's Discourses, p. 254.
was stoned, Saul was not only consenting to his death, but actually took care of the clothes of the witnesses who had stoned him.
any mark of a libertine disposition. As among the Jews, so among the Christians, his conversation and manners were blameless.-It has been sometimes objected to the other aposA. D. 34. After this event, Saul took an active part in the tles, by those who were resolved not to credit their testimony, persecution of the Christians, not only at Jerusalem, but also that having been deeply engaged with Jesus during his life, throughout Judæa (Acts viii. 3. xxii. 4. xxvi. 10, 11.); and they were obliged, for the support of their own credit, and procured letters of commission from the high-priest and from having gone too far to return, to continue the same proelders, or sanhedrin, to the synagogue of the Jews at Da- fessions after his death; but this can by no means be said of mascus, empowering him to bring to Jerusalem any Chris-Saint Paul. On the contrary, whatever force there may be tians, whether men or women, whom he might find there. in such a mode of reasoning, it all tends to convince us, that He also obtained letters to the governor of Damascus, we Saint Paul must naturally have continued a Jew, and an may presume, to permit them to be removed from his juris- enemy to Christ Jesus. If they were engaged on one side, diction. (Acts ix. 2. xxii. 5. xxvi. 12.). While Saul was he was as strongly engaged on the other. If shame withheld on his journey thither for this purpose, his miraculous con- them from changing sides, much more ought it to have version took place, A. D. 35, in the manner recorded in the stopped him; who, from his superior education, must have ninth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and to which been vastly more sensible to that kind of shame, than the Saint Paul himself has numerous references in his Epistles. mean and illiterate fishermen of Galilee. The only other The conversion of such a man, at such a time and by such difference was, that they, by quitting their master after his means, furnishes one of the most complete proofs that have death, might have preserved themselves; whereas he, by ever been given of the divine origin of Christianity. That Saul, quitting the Jews, and taking up the cross of Christ, cerwho possessed such distinguished talents and acquirements, tainly brought on his own destruction. from being a zealous persecutor of the disciples of Christ, became all at once a disciple himself, is a fact, which cannot be controverted without overturning the credit of all history. He must, therefore, have been converted in the miraculous manner in which he himself 'declares that he was converted, and of course the Christian revelation must be from God; or he must have been either an impostor, an enthusiast, or a dupe to the fraud of others. There is no other alternative possible.
1. If he was an impostor, he must have declared what he knew to be false, and he must have been influenced to such a conduct by some motive or other. But the only conceivable motives for religious imposture are the hopes of advancing one's temporal interest, credit, or power; or the prospect of gratifying some passion or appetite under the authority of the new religion. Now, that none of these motives could influence Saint Paul to profess the faith of Christ crucified, is manifest from the state of Judaism and Christianity, at the period when he renounced the former, and embraced the latter faith. Those whom he left were the disposers of wealth, of dignity, and of power, in Judæa; those to whom he went were indigent men, oppressed, and kept from all means of improving their fortunes. The certain consequence, therefore, of his taking the part of Christianity was the loss not only of all that he possessed, but of all hopes of acquiring more whereas, by continuing to persecute the Christians, he had hopes, rising almost to a certainty, of making his fortune by the favour of those who were at the head of the Jewish state, to whom nothing could so much recommend him as the zeal which he had shown in that persecution. As to credit, or reputation, could the scholar of Gamaliel hope to gain either by becoming a teacher in a college of fishermen! Could he flatter himself that the doctrines which he taught would, either in or out of Judæa, do him honour, when he knew that "they were to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness!" Was it then the love of power that induced him to make this great change? Power! over whom? Over a flock of sheep whom he himself had assisted to destroy, and whose very Shepherd had lately been murdered! Perhaps it was with the view of gratifying some licentious passion, under the authority of the new religion, that he commenced a teacher of that religion! This cannot be alleged; for his writings breathe nothing but the strictest morality, obedience to magistrates, order, and government, with the utmost abhorrence of all licentiousness, idleness, or loose behaviour, under the cloak of religion. We nowhere find in his works, that saints are above moral ordinances; that dominion is founded in grace; that monarchy is despotism which ought to be abolished; that the fortunes of the rich ought to be divided among the poor; that there is no difference in moral actions; that any impulses of the mind are to direct us against the light of our reason, and the laws of nature; or any of those wicked tenets by which the peace of society has been often disturbed, and the rules of morality often broken, by men pretending to act under the sanction of divine revelation. He makes no distinctions, like the impostor of Arabia, in favour of himself: nor does any part of his life, either before or after his conversion to Christianity, bear 1 See particularly 1 Cor. xv. 9. Gal. i. 13. 1 Tim. i. 12, 13. Various opi. nions have been entertained by learned men respecting the date of St. Paul's conversion. The date assigned in the text is that adopted by Bp. Pearson. Dr. Lardner fixes that event to the end of 36, or early in 37.
vol. vi. pp. 236-239.; 4to. vol. iii. pp. 252,
2. As St. Paul was not an impostor, so it is manifest that he was not an enthusiast. Heat of temper, melancholy, ignorance, and vanity, are the ingredients of which enthu siasm is composed; but from all these, except the first, the apostle appears to have been wholly free. That he had great fervour of zeal, both when a Jew and when a Christian, in maintaining what he thought to be right, cannot be denied ; but he was at all times so much master of his temper, as, in matters of indifference, to "become all things to all men," with the most pliant condescension, bending his notions and manners to theirs, as far as his duty to God would permit; a conduct compatible neither with the stiffness of a bigot, nor with the violent impulses of fanatical delusion. That he was not melancholy, is evident from his conduct in embracing every method which prudence could suggest to escape danger and shun persecution; when he could do it without betraying the duty of his office or the honour of his God. A melancholy enthusiast courts persecution; and when he cannot obtain it, afflicts himself with absurd penances; but the holiness of Saint Paul consisted only in the simplicity of a godly life, and in the unwearied performance of his apostolical duties. That he was ignorant, no man will allege who is not grossly ignorant himself; for he appears to have been master not only of the Jewish learning, but also of the Greek philosophy, and to have been very conversant even with the Greek poets. That he was not credulous, is clear from his having resisted the evidence of all the miracles performed on earth by Christ, as well as those that were afterwards wrought by the apostles; to the fame of which, as he lived at Jerusalem, he could not possibly have been a stranger. And that he was as free from vanity as any man that ever lived, may be gathered from all that we see in his writings, or know of his life. He represents himself as the least of the apostles, and not meet to be called an apostle.. He says that he is the chief of sinners; and he prefers, in the strongest terms, universal benevolence to faith, prophecy, miracles, and all the gifts and graces with which he could be endowed. Is this the language of vanity or enthusiasm ? Did ever fanatic prefer virtue to his own religious opinions, to illuminations of the spirit, and even to the merit of martyrdom? It is therefore in vain for the enemies of Christianity to attempt to resolve this miraculous conversion of Saint Paul into the effects of enthusiasm. The power of imagination in enthusiastical minds is, unquestionably, very strong; but it always acts in conformity to the opinions imprinted upon it at the time of its working, and can no more act against them than a rapid river can carry a vessel against the current of its own stream. Now, nothing can be more certain than that, when Saul departed from Jerusalem for Damascus, armed with authority from the chief priests to bring the Christians, who were there, bound to Jerusalem, whether they were men or women (Acts ix. 2.), an authority solicited by himself and granted to him at his own express desire,-his mind was most strongly possessed with an opinion against Christ and his followers. To give those opinions a more active force, his passions at that time concurred, being inflamed in the highest degree by the irritating consciousness of his past conduct towards them, the pride of supporting a part in which he had voluntary engaged, and the credit which he found it procured him among the chief priests and rulers, whose commission he bore. If, in such a state and temper of mind, an enthusiastical man had imagined that he
preached the Gospel to the Jews, who, rejecting his testi-
saw a vision from heaven, denouncing the anger of God | returned to Damascus, A. D. 38. (Gal. i. 18.), and boldly against the Christians, and commanding him to persecute them without any mercy, it might be accounted for by the natural power of enthusiasm. But that, in the very instant of his being engaged in the fiercest and hottest persecution against them, no circumstance having occurred to change his opinions or alter the bent of his disposition, he should at once imagine himself called by a heavenly vision to be the apostle of Christ, whom, but a moment before, he deemed an impostor and a blasphemer, that had been justly put to death upon the cross;-this is in itself wholly incredible, and so far from being a probable effect of enthusiasm, that just a contrary effect must have been naturally produced by that cause. But, still further to show that this vision could not be a phantom of Saint Paul's own creating, let it be observed, that he was not alone when he saw it; there were many others in company, whose minds were no better disposed than his to the Christian faith. Could it be possible, that the minds of all these men should be so strangely affected, as to make them believe that they saw a great light shining about them, above the brightness of the sun at noon-day, and heard the sound of a voice from heaven, though not the words which it spake (Acts xxi. 6. 9.), when in reality they neither saw nor heard any such thing? Could they be so infatuated with the conceit of their own fancies, as to fall down from their horses, together with Saul (Acts xxvi. 14.), and be speechless through fear, when nothing extraordinary had happened either to him or to them; especially considering that this apparition did not appear in the night, when the senses are more easily imposed upon, but at mid-day? If a sudden frenzy had seized upon Paul, from any distemper of body or mind, can we suppose his whole company,-men of different constitutions and understandings,-to have been at once affected in the same manner with him, so that not the distemper alone, but also the effects of it, would exactly agree? If all had gone mad together, would not the frenzy of some have taken a different turn, and presented to them different objects? This supposition is so contrary to nature and all possibility, that unbelief must find some other solution, or give up the point.
3. Having shown that Saint Paul was neither an impostor nor an enthusiast, it remains only that we inquire whether he was deceived by the fraud of others? This inquiry, indeed, may be despatched in a very few words. For who was or were to deceive him? A few illiterate fishermen of Galilee. It was morally impossible for such men to conceive the thought of turning the most enlightened of their opponents, and the most cruel of their persecutors, into an apostle, and to do this by fraud in the very instant of his greatest fury against them and their Lord. But could they have been so extravagant as to conceive such a thought, it was physically impossible for them to execute it in the manner in which we find his conversion to have been effected. Could they produce a light in the air, which at mid-day was brighter than the sun? Could they make Saul hear words from out of that light, which were not heard by the rest of the company? Could they make him blind for three days after that vision, and then make scales fall off from his eyes, and restore him to sight by a word? Or could they make him and those who travelled with him believe, that all these things had happened, if they had not happened? Most unquestionably no fraud was equal to all this.
Since, then, Saint Paul was neither an impostor nor an enthusiast, nor deceived by the fraud of others, it follows that his conversion was miraculous, and that the Christian religion is a divine revelation.1
II. Shortly after his baptism, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him, Saul went into Arabia (Gal. i. 17.); and during his residence in that country he was fully instructed, as we may reasonably think, by special revelation, and by diligent study of the Old Testament, in the doctrines and duties of the Gospel. Three years after his conversion he 1 See Lord Lyttleton's Observations on the Conversion of Saint Paul (from which the above remarks are abridged);-a treatise to which it has been truly said, "infidelity has never been able to fabricate a specious answer." "Lord L. had," says his biographer, "in the pride of juvenile confidence, with the help of corrupt conversation, entertained doubts of the truth of Christianity: but he now" (in his maturer years) "thought the time come, when it was no longer fit to doubt or believe by chance, and applied himself seriously to the great question. His studies, BEING HONEST, ended in conviction. He found that religion was true." (Dr. Johnson's Lives of the Poets, vol. iii. p. 383.) Dr. Graves has some excellent observations on the conduct and writings of Saint Paul, in his Essay on the Character of the Apostles and Evangelists, pp. 115-124. 181-218., which show that he was in no respect influenced or directed by a spirit of enthusiasm.
In the year 42, Saul, accompanied by Barnabas, proceeded to Antioch, where they taught with great success for one year. (Acts xi. 26.) During their abode in this city there came prophets from Jerusalem, one of whom, named Agabus, signified by the Spirit that there should be a dearth throughout the land of Judæa, which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar, commencing in the fourth, but raging chiefly in the fifth and sixth years of that emperor. In order to relieve their suffering brethren in Judæa, a collection was made by the Christians at Antioch, each according to his ability; and was sent to the church at Jerusalem by the hands of Barnabas and Saul (Acts xi. 27-30.), a. D. 44. The trance or vision mentioned in Acts xxii. 17. is supposed to have taken place during this second visit to Jerusalem.
III. A. D. 44. Having discharged this trust, Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem to Antioch, taking with them Mark the nephew of Barnabas (afterwards the evangelist) as an assistant in their approaching mission to the Gentiles, to which Barnabas and Saul were soon after separated by the solemn and express appointment of the Holy Spirit.
A. D. 45. Being thus sent forth, they departed, with Mark as their minister, to Seleucia, a sea-port town near the mouth of the Orontes, twelve miles below Antioch, and about five from the sea; whence they sailed to Cyprus, the native country of Barnabas, and preached the word of God at Salamis, the nearest port to Syria, at first in the Jewish synagogues according to their custom. Thence they crossed to Paphos, the capital of the island, where Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, resided. This magistrate, being desirous to hear the word of God, sent for the apostles; but Barjesus, a Jewish false prophet and sorcerer, opposed them, and sought to pervert the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, full of the Holy Spirit, struck the sorcerer with blindness, for a season, as a punishment for his wicked interference. This astonishing judgment, confirming the doctrine of the Lord, converted the proconsul to the faith. (Acts xiii. 1-12.) As Saint Luke, who has recorded the labours of the great apostle to the Gentiles, calls him no longer Saul, but Paul, learned men have conjectured that the change was made by Saul himself in honour of the proconsul, who was probably his first convert from among the idolatrous Gentiles, or, perhaps, the first Gentile of high rank who was converted.3
A. D. 46. "Paul and his company" sailed from Cyprus to the coast of Asia Minor, and preached at Perga, a city of Pamphylia, situate about twelve miles from the sea. Here Mark separated from them, and returned to Jerusalem. Thence they proceeded to Antioch, the capital of Pisidia, where, notwithstanding the opposition of the Jews, Paul and Barnabas converted great numbers, both of the proselyted and of the idolatrous Gentiles; but, being driven thence by the machinations of the unbelieving Jews, they proceeded to Iconium in Lycaonia. (xiii. 13-52.) Here they converted many to the faith; but, being in danger of being stoned, they proceeded to Lystra, where Paul, working a miracle on a cripple, was at first considered as a god, but was afterwards dragged out of the city, stoned, and left for dead. (xiv. 1— 20.) He rose up, however, perfectly whole; and, quitting Lystra, on the following day, he proceeded to Derbe, and preached the Gospel in Galatia and Phrygia, regions adjoin
2 Acts ix. 23-25. Gal. i. 17, 18. 2 Cor. xi. 32, 33.
It was customary among the Romans to assume the name of a bene. factor whom they highly esteemed. Thus the Jewish historian Josephus took the name of Flavius, in compliment to Vespasian, with whom he was in high favour. This circumstance sufficiently refutes the unfounded assertions of a late reviler of the Scriptures, who, wilfully disregarding ail positive evidence to the contrary, has asserted that Luke has compiled his narrative from two tales!!!
ing to Lycaonia, whence Paul and his assistants returned | ed, together with Damaris, a woman of some rank, besides through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch in Pisidia, confirm- others of inferior note. (Acts xvii.) ing the new converts in the faith, and ordaining elders in every church. Having thus traversed all Pisidia, they retraced their way to Perga in Pamphylia, and, embarking at Attalia, returned to Antioch in Syria, after a circuit of about two years. (xiv. 21-27.)'
A. D. 47, 48. During their residence at Antioch, which is supposed to have been full two years, certain persons came from Judæa, and taught that there was no salvation without circumcision and other legal ceremonies. These false teachers Paul and Barnabas withstood; and it was at length agreed to send a deputatian to Jerusalem, to obtain the decision of the apostles and elders on this question. For this purpose Paul and Barnabas were deputed: and, travelling through Phoenice and Samaria, they arrived at Jerusalem A. D. 49, where it was decreed that the proselyted Gentiles were not obliged to observe the law of Moses as a term or condition of salvation. (Acts xv. 1-29.) After the council of Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, and made some stay there, probably during the remainder of the year 49, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many assistants. (30-35.)
About the beginning of the year 50, Paul proposed to Barnabas to take another circuit throughout the churches they had planted in Asia Minor. But Barnabas being desirous of having his nephew Mark for their minister, Paul objected to him who had deserted them in their former journey to Pamphylia. (xiii. 13.) A sharp contention arose, which terminated in their separation; and Barnabas sailed with Mark to Cyprus, to visit the churches which had been planted there by Paul himself; while Paul, choosing Silas for his companion, departed from Antioch with the approbation of the church. Passing through Syria and Cilicia, they confirmed the churches in those countries; and thence proceeded to Derbe and Lystra in Lycaonia, to preach the Gospel a second time to the Gentiles, and to publish the decrees of the apostolic council of Jerusalem. At Lystra Paul took Timothy as his assistant; and, departing thence with Silas, they went through Phrygia and Galatia, publishing every where the decrees. (Acts xv. 35-41. xvi. 1-6.) Being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel in Asia, strictly so called, they arrived at Mysia; and being in like manner forbidden to proceed to Bithynia, they passed by the Lesser Mysia (which separated Bithynia from the region of Troas), and came to the city and port of Troas. Here they were joined by the evangelist Luke. (xvi. 7, 8.),
A. D. 50. While they were at Troas, Paul and his assistants were called to preach the Gospel in Macedonia by a vision that appeared to Paul during the night. In obedience to the heavenly monition, they sailed directly from Troas to Samothracia, and next day to Neapolis, and thence to Philippi, a city of Macedonia Prima, and a Roman colony.2 Here Paul converted Lydia, and dispossessed a damsel who had a spirit of divination, for which last transaction Paul and Silas were beaten with rods and imprisoned; but, being liberated (Acts xvi. 9-40.), they passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica. Here he preached in the synagogue, and some believed, while others persecuted him. Being obliged to quit that city, Paul and his assistants went to Berea, where they preached with great success; but the unbelieving Jews, coming from Thessalonica, stirred up the people against them. Paul, therefore, leaving Silas and Timothy at Beræa, departed to Athens; where he disputed daily in the synagogue with the Jews, and in the marketplace with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. These men conducted him before the supreme court of Areopagus for trial, on the capital charge of being "a setter forth of strange demons." Before this tribunal, composed of senators, philosophers, rhetoricians, and statesmen, Saint Paul delivered his most eloquent and masterly apology; in which, while he retorted the charge of his accusers, he instructed the people, to whom he preached the living God, to them unknown.3 Although many of his hearers ridiculed the sublime doctrines which he taught, particularly that of the resurrection, yet some of his audience were better disposed, and desirous of further information; and one among his judges was convert
1 Bishop Pearson allots three years for these journeys of the apostle, viz. 45, 46, and 47, and something more. But Calmet, Tillemont, Dr. Lard: ner, Bishop Tomline, and Dr. Hales, allow two years for this purpose, viz. 45, and 46, as above stated; which period corresponds with our Bible chronology. 2 That this is the proper rendering of Acts xvi. 11., see Vol. I. p. 90. See some observations on this Discourse of Saint Paul, in § VIII. pp. 6, 327. infra.
A. D. 51-53. From Athens, Saint Paul proceeded to Corinth, the capital of Achaia, and distinguished for the number, quality, opulence, and learning of its inhabitants, and for the celebrated games solemnized on its isthmus, which (as well as the gymnastic exercises for which Tarsus was eminent) have furnished the apostle with very numerous and elegant allusions and phrases. At Corinth he tarried a year and six months, i. e. the latter part of the year 51, the whole of 52, and the early part of 53. His principal associates in the ministry, besides Timothy and Silas, who came to him from Thessalonica, were Aquila, a Jew of Pontus, and his wife Priscilla, who had lately come thither from Rome, whence the emperor Claudius had banished all the Jews on account of their turbulence, and with whom he worked at their common trade of tent-makers for his livelihood. From this city he wrote his two Epistles to the Thessalonians, and perhaps also that to the Galatians. The success of Saint Paul in preaching the Gospel at Corinth and in Peloponnesus, so irritated the unbelieving Jews, that they dragged him before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia; who, prudently refusing to interfere in religious opinions that were not detrimental to the state, drove them from his tribunal. (xviii. 1— 17.), After continuing some further time at Corinth, Saint Paul embarked at Cenchrea, the eastern port of Corinth, for Ephesus, where he left Aquila and Priscilla, and proceeded thence to Cæsarea and Jerusalem: from which latter city he returned to Antioch. (18-22.)
IV. A. D. 54-56. After some stay at Antioch, Saint Paul visited the churches of Galatia and Phrygia, and came to Ephesus, where he found Aquila and Priscilla (Acts xviii. 24-28.), and conferred the Holy Spirit on twelve of John the Baptist's disciples. Saint Paul, as usual, preached first in the synagogues, but, being opposed by the Jews, he afterwards taught in the school of one Tyrannus with great success, and wrought numerous miracles. (xix. 1-20.) During this residence, probably about the beginning of the year 56, Saint Paul received a letter from the Corinthians, to whom he wrote his first Epistle. But being assaulted by Demetrius, a silversmith, and others of his profession, who were employed in making silver shrines in which the images of Diana were to be enclosed, and were apprehensive that their trade would suffer from his preaching, Saint Paul quitted that city, where he had gathered a numerous church. (Acts xix. 21-41. xx. 1.)
A. D. 56. On his departure from Ephesus, Saint Paul went first to Troas, expecting to meet Titus on his return from Corinth. (2 Cor. ii. 12, 13.) Here he preached a short time with great success, and then proceeded to Macedonia, where he received the collections of the Macedonian Christians, for their poor brethren in Judæa.
A. D. 57. In his progress from Macedonia into Greece, he is supposed to have preached the Gospel on the confines of Illyricum, as mentioned in Rom. xv. 19. Saint Paul continued three months in Greece, principally, it is supposed, at Corinth (whence he wrote his Epistle to the Romans); and having received the money which the churches had collected for the poor Christians in Judæa, he sailed from Philippi to Troas, and thence to Miletus, whither the elders of the Ephesian church had come to meet him by his appointment, to whom Saint Paul gave a most affecting farewell charge. (Acts xx.)
A. D. 58. From Miletus, Paul and his company sailed directly to Cos, next to Rhodes, and thence to Patara: here, finding a vessel bound to Phoenicia, they embarked, and, leaving Cyprus on their left, they landed at Tyre. After waiting seven days, they sailed to Ptolemais, from which port they went on foot to Cæsarea, where they lodged with Philip the evangelist. During their stay here for several days, the prophet Agabus foretold the imprisonment of Paul, who, persisting in his determination to go to Jerusalem, was at length permitted to depart: he accordingly arrived there, for the fifth time, just before the feast of Pentecost, A. D. 58, and was gladly received by the brethren. (xxi. 1-18.)
V. A. D. 58. The day after their arrival at Jerusalem, Paul and his assistants related to James and the elders of the church "what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry; and when they heard it they glorified the Lord." Shortly after this, some Asiatic Jews, probably from Ephesus, seeing Paul in the temple, whither he had gone to
While Saint Paul was in Macedonia, he wrote his second Epistle to the Corinthians.
assist some of the brethren to discharge a vow of Nazarite- | arrived at Rome, where his active exertions in preaching the ship, excited the multitude to kill the apostle, who was with Gospel caused him to be imprisoned a second time. How difficulty rescued from their fury by Lysias, the chief captain long Paul continued in prison at this time, we know not, or tribune of the temple guard. On the following morning, but from the circumstance of his being brought twice before Paul was conducted before the council, when he declared the emperor Nero or his prefect, Dr. Macknight thinks it himself to be a Pharisee. A contest having arisen between probable that he was confined a year or more before he was the Pharisees and Sadducees, members of the sanhedrin, put to death. As the Neronian persecution of the Christians Lysias, being apprehensive for Paul's safety, commanded the raged greatly during this second visit to Rome, Paul, knowsoldiers to rescue him, and directed the council to accuse him ing the time of his departure to be at hand, wrote his second before Felix, the procurator of Cæsarea. (Acts xxii. xxiii.) epistle to Timothy; from which we learn, that, though the Five days after, Ananias, the high-priest, accompanied by apostle's assistants, terrified with the danger, forsook him the elders and by a certain orator named Tertullus, proceeded and fled, yet he was not altogether destitute of consolation; to that city, and accused him to Felix of sedition, heresy, and for the brethren of Rome came to him privately, and minisprofanation of the temple. These charges were denied by tered to him. (2 Tim. iv. 12. 21.) Concerning the precise Saint Paul, who gave an account of his faith; but the gover- manner of Saint Paul's death, we have no certain information, nor, though convinced of his innocence, being unwilling to but, according to primitive tradition, he was beheaded on the displease the Jews, and also hoping that Paul would have 29th of June, A. D. 66, at Aqua Salvia, three miles from Rome, given money to be liberated, ordered the apostle to be kept and interred in the Via Ostensis, at a spot two miles from the in easy confinement, and allowed his friends to visit him. city, where Constantine the Great afterwards erected a church A few days after this transaction, Felix, at the request of his to his memory. "But his noblest monument subsists in his wife Drusilla, sent for Paul, who gave them an account of immortal writings; which, the more they are studied, and his faith in Christ, and reasoned so forcibly concerning right- the better they are understood, the more they will be admired eousness, chastity, and a judgment to come, that the profli- to the latest posterity for the most sublime and beautiful, the gate governor's conscience was alarmed. "Felix trembled, most pathetic and impressive, the most learned and profound and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a specimens of Christian piety, oratory, and philosophy." convenient season, I will call for thee." That season, however, never came; and Felix, two years afterwards, when recalled from his government, left Paul in prison in order to gratify the Jews. (Acts xxiv.)
A. D. 60. Felix was succeeded in the government of Judæa by Festus, who sat in judgment on Saint Paul, and having heard the accusations of the Jews against him, and his defence, proposed a new trial at Jerusalem in order to ingratiate himself with the Jews. But this was declined by Paul, who appealed to the emperor. Shortly after this, Agrippa king of Chalcis, and his sister Bernice, having come to Cæsarea to congratulate Festus, the latter communicated Paul's case to him, and brought the apostle forth to plead his cause before Agrippa. Accordingly the apostle vindicated himself in so masterly a manner, as to extort an acknowledgment of his innocence from Agrippa himself (Acts xxv. xxvi.); but, having appealed to the emperor, it became necessary to send him to Rome, where he at length arrived in the spring of the year 61, after a very tempestuous passage, the particulars of which are related in Acts xxvii. and xxviii. 1-16. Here he was permitted to reside in his own hired house, with a soldier to whose custody he was committed. On the third day after his arrival, he sent for the chief of the unbelieving Jews, to whom he explained the cause of his imprisonment, though with little success; and afterwards, during the two years of his confinement (from the spring of A. D. 61, to the early part of 63), he received all that came to his house, preaching the Gospel without any impediment whatever. (Acts xxviii. 17-31.) During this first visit to Rome, Saint Paul wrote his Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon.
VI. As Luke has not continued Saint Paul's history beyond his first imprisonment at Rome, we have no authentic record of his subsequent travels and labours from the spring of A. D. 63, when he was released, to the time of his martyrdom. But, from the intimations contained in the Epistles which he wrote from Rome during his first confinement, some learned men have conjectured that he sailed from Italy to Judæa, accompanied by Timothy and Titus; and, leaving Titus in Crete (Tit. i. 5.), he proceeded thence with Timothy to Judæa, and visited the churches in that country, to which he had lately sent from Italy (perhaps from Rome) the Epistle which is now inscribed to the Hebrews. Having visited the churches in Syria, Cilicia, and Asia Minor, Paul and Timothy continued some time at Colosse; and, leaving Timothy at Ephesus, Paul proceeded to Macedonia, visiting the churches. From this country he wrote his Epistle to Titus, and also his first Epistle to Timothy. Having also visited the churches of Greece, and probably that of Corinth for the second time, Saint Paul passed the winter of 64 at Nicopolis, a city of Epirus; thence he proceeded to Crete, and perhaps to Corinth for the third time; and early in 65
With what admirable propriety Saint Paul suited his address to the characters of Felix and Drusilla, see Vol. II. Part II. Chap. II. Sect. II. § 4. and p. 327 infra.
It is not known by what means St. Paul was delivered from prison. Calmet conjectures, with great probability, that the Jews durst not prose. cute him before the emperor.
Such is the supposition of Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 37.
VII. Such were the life and labours of Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ," which have justly been considered as an irrefragable proof of the truth of the Christian revelation. How indefatigably he exerted himself to make known the glad tidings of salvation, the preceding brief sketch will sufficiently evince. "One of the most striking traits in the character of this extraordinary man was, his readiness to understand, and his promptness to enter into, the great design of Jesus Christ to give the world a universal religion. His mind, with wonderful facility, threw off the prejudices of his Jewish education, and expanded to the vastness of this enterprise. It is remarkable, too, that, after he had cast off the yoke of Jewish ceremonies, and abandoned his first religious connections, he manifested no bitterness of spirit towards his former friends. On the contrary, his kindness was unwearied, and his disposition to accommodate his practice to their prejudices, as far as he could do so without sacrifice of principle, was remarkable. Perhaps a higher example of firmness united with liberality, was never exhibited by any mere man. His history shows also a noble instance of intellectual and moral courage. His design was, to spread the gospel throughout the whole world. (Rom. i. 5.) He went to his work in full expectation of success, without any human means but the use of reason and persuasion. His confidence in the power of truth seems to have been unlimited and unwavering." Hence "we see him in the prosecution of his purpose, travelling from country to country, enduring every species of hardship, encountering every extremity of danger, assaulted by the populace, punished by the magistrates, scourged, beaten, stoned, left for dead: expecting, wherever he came, a renewal of the same treatment and the same dangers; yet, when driven from one city, preaching in the next, spending his whole time in the employment, sacrificing to it his pleasures, his ease, his safety; persisting in this course to old age (through more than thirty years); unaltered by the experience of perverseness, ingratitude, prejudice, desertion; unsubdued by anxiety, want, labour, persecutions; unwearied by long confinement, undismayed by the prospect of death."
But this great luminary of the Christian church did not confine his labours to the preaching of the Gospel. He wrote fourteen Epistles, in which the various doctrines and duties of Christianity are explained, and inculcated with peculiar sublimity and force of language; at the same time that they exhibit the character of their great author in a most amiable and endearing point of view. His faith was a practical principle, influencing all the powers and faculties of the soul; his morality was of the purest and most exalted kind. He "derives all duties from the love of God in Christ as
Lardner, Works, 8vo. vol. vi. pp. 234-301.; 4to. vol. iii. pp. 251-234., whose dates have chiefly been followed. Dr. Benson's History of the First Plant
Dr. Hales's Analysis of vol. ii. book ii. pp. Dr.
ing of Christianity, vol. i. pp. 144-290. vol. ii. passim. Pritii, Introd. in
Paley's Hore Paulinæ, p. 379. See also some valuable remarks on the character of Saint Paul in Dr. Ranken's Institutes of Theology, pp. 391 -395.