« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
as his zeal; and that neither his language, nor his conduct were those of a man anxious for authority. In his Epistle to the Galatians, he says: "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." In his Epistle to the Ephesians, he says, "I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace given unto me by the effectual working of his power: unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ"." To the Corinthian converts, he writes, "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase; and again, in another place, he says to the Corinthians, "I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God"." To the Philippians, he writes: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
ambitious of power or applause, would not thus have acknowledged his own demerits; but St. Paul's is evidently the language of one who was desirous of the praise, not of men, but of God, and whose heart and affections were fixed on things above. When, indeed, calumniators sought to decry his character, and thereby to injure that Gospel which he preached, then it was, and then only, that for his own sake, and the Gospel's, he asserted his indefatigable labours, and appealed to his manifold sufferings in the cause of Christ; and yet, on such occasions, his language is that of an ingenuous man to whom it was painful in the extreme to be constrained to pronounce his own panegyric. Thus, after recounting to the Corinthians what he had done and suffered for the Gospel, he adds, “I am become a fool in glorying, ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you, for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest Apostles, though I be nothing.”
Enough, I trust, has been already said to shew St. Paul could not have been influenced by the desire of power or of opulence, the prevailing motives to which Gamaliel Smith ascribes his
Mr. Gamaliel Smith does not accuse St. Paul of being a visionary enthusiast; and therefore it did not come within the scope of my understanding, to shew that St. Paul's zeal
conversion; but, as we proceed in our investigation, other opportunities will occur for reverting to the subject of St. Paul's disinterestedness and humility, of which virtues we shall find him giving the most signal proofs on various occasions. We may observe in the mean time, that the account which has been already given of the vision which he saw on his way to Damascus, affords the most satisfactory solution of St. Paul's conduct, and fully accounts for his having embraced the religion of Jesus, that religion, which before his conversion he had so zealously laboured to extirpate.
St. Paul's Visit to Arabia.
Ir St. Paul had been actuated by such motives as those which Gamaliel Smith imputes to him, it would have been his interest to have immediately established some connection with the Apostles at Jerusalem. Instead of doing this
for Christianity could not arise from enthusiasm; but Lord Lyttleton has ably demonstrated that St. Paul's conversion, and subsequent conduct, was totally uninfluenced by fanatic delusions. See Lord Lyttleton's excellent Observations on the Conversion of St. Paul.
he goes into Arabia, and delays, for a period of three years, to hold any intercourse with any of the Apostles. This circumstance alone may convince_us, that there was not the slightest collusion between St. Paul and the other Apostles, and is perfectly consistent with Paul's declaration to the Galatians, that "he received the Gospel not of man, neither was he taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." The revelation which was made by Christ to St. Paul was complete; consequently there existed no necessity for his going to Jerusalem immediately after his conversion to consult with the other Apostles: hence, he says, "when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were Apostles before but I went into Arabia and returned again unto Damascus." Gamaliel Smith says, "Paul repaired to Arabia; so in his Epistle to the Galatians (Gal. i. 17.) he himself informs us: in that little known country, he continued three whole years, so also in the same place he informs us there it was that he experienced that success, whatever it was, that went to constitute the ground of the recommendation, given him by Barnabas to the Apostles.
From thence he returned to Damascus." Here is one instance of that artful mixture of truth and falsehood, of which there are so many speci
mens in Gamaliel Smith's publication. That St. Paul went into Arabia and from thence returned to Damascus, is true, but that he remained three whole years in Arabia, Gamaliel Smith is not warranted in saying: for independent of St. Paul's stay at Damascus immediately after his conversion, which was for certain days, and sufficiently long to afford him opportunities for preaching in the Jewish synagogues, and confounding the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, we must take into the account St. Paul's visit to Damascus on his return from Arabia. St. Paul after alluding to his conversion says, "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were Apostles before me, but I went into Arabia and returned again unto Damascus." Thus we may perceive how incorrect is Gamaliel Smith's assertion, that Paul continued three whole years in Arabia, and hence we may see the necessity of narrowly examining his representations. Again, how contrary it is to the fact, to say, that "it was in Arabia that Paul experienced that success, whatever it was, that went to constitute the ground of the recommendation given of him
⚫ Page 75.