Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

by Barnabas to the Apostles." Whatever success St. Paul might have in Arabia, and I am by no means inclined to undervalue it, it was so far from being the ground on which Barnabas recommended him to the Apostles, that Barnabas did not even notice it. Look at the account. "And when Saul was come to Jerusalem he assayed to join himself to the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the Apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus." Acts ix. 26, 27. Here we see that it was the vision-that vision which Gamaliel Smith says, (p. 91) "Paul would not venture to submit any account of to the jealous scrutiny of the Apostles," that vision it was, that formed one of the principal grounds of the recommendation of Paul, at his first interview with two of the most distinguished Apostles, viz., Peter and James. We have already seen with how much assurance Gamaliel Smith denied Paul's preaching at Damascus, yet that bold preaching, by which he confounded the Jews, appears also to have been another ground for the recommendation given of him by Barnabas. Thus we see, that


[ocr errors]

when submitted to the test of enquiry, Gamaliel Smith's assertions prove most unfortunate. Mr. Gamaliel Smith asserts that there was probably no such person as Ananias at Damascus," and that Paul "had no companions” on his way thither, but without wasting time, I will only refer my reader to what is related in the ninth chapter of The Acts of the Apostles,an authority which, I think I need not now say, is entitled to at least as much credit as Gamaliel Smith.

[ocr errors]


The Jews at Damascus conspire against St. Paul.

WE have already seen that St. Paul after his conversion boldly preached in the synagogues at Damascus, and confounded the Jews by proving that Jesus was the very Christ, and it appears that incensed against him, (as on this account they naturally would be,) on his return from Arabia to Damascus they took counsel to kill him, and not only did they lay wait for him, but in order that he might have the less chance of escape, by their insinuations, or other means,

they obtained a special guard from the person who was governor under Aretas king of Arabia, to keep the gates. The disciples, however, were not regardless in the mean time of St. Paul's safety, but desirous of preserving the life of one who was justly dear to them, from having proved himself so able a defender of the Christian cause, and from his having confounded their malignant enemies the Jews, they contrived the means of his escape, which was effected by letting him down by the walls of the city in a basket. The corresponding accounts of the circumstance are as follows a:

And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: but their laying await was known of Saul, and they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. Acts ix. 23, 24, 25.

In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. 2 Cor. xi. 32, 33.

a These two accounts evidently relate to the same circumstance, and yet they are told in such a different way, that the person who wrote one, cannot be supposed to have copied his relation of the matter from the history given of it in the other, and it is from such striking, yet undesigned coincidences, that we have such strong ground for considering The Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul's Epistles, authentic.--Paley,


In the above statement will be found a complete refutation of Gamaliel Smith's fiction, about the Jews being desirous to apprehend Paul "in a regular way," for having set at nought the commission from the high priest. Had the Jews thought it either just or prudent to proceed against St. Paul, on that account, he gave them abundant opportunity of doing so, when he preached boldly in their synagogues at Damascus. The real cause of their conspiracy against him, is undoubtedly to be found in his having preached, that Christ was the Son of God. This was a subject, that must have come home to their guilty consciences, and filled their hearts with fearful anticipations of future retribution.


St. Paul's Visit to Arabia is not inconsistent with what is related in The Acts of the Apostles.

ST. Paul's visit to Arabia is not mentioned in The Acts of the Apostles, and on this subject

in his masterly performance, entitled "Hora Paulina," has shewn the truth of the Scripture history of St. Paul, by a comparison of the Epistles which bear St. Paul's name with The Acts of the Apostles, and with one another

b Page 82.

Gamaliel Smith says, "In design, rather than accident, or heedlessness, or want of information, may be found the cause of a silence so pregnant with misrepresentation." If, indeed, it had been said in The Acts, that St. Paul made no such visit, or if the visit was incompatible with what is there related, it might have been justly said, that the historian had been guilty of mis-representation, but this is not the case; and I may here observe, that whether St. Luke did, or did not, know of St. Paul's visit to Arabia, it was evidently not his intention to give a history in "The Acts of the Apostles," of all that occurred to Paul or the other Apostles, during the thirty years over which his account extends, but of such facts and circumstances as he deemed most interesting and important.

There are several circumstances omitted in The Acts, that are mentioned by St. Paul'. This visit of St. Paul to Arabia is one. The visit


Page 85.


St. Luke, says Mr. Biscoe, in his masterly work, The Hisfi tory of The Acts confirmed from other Authors, has most probably omitted the relations here mentioned, as also that of the severe sufferings of St. Paul, enumerated 2 Cor. xi. 24, 25. because they most likely happened in the first nine or ten years after his conversion, during which time he preached the Gospel in Arabia, (Gal. i. 17.), Syria and Cilicia, (Gal. i. 21.) and when St. Luke was not with him. See also Mr. Robinson's note on Acts ix. 19.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »