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HAVING lately met with a Book entitled, "Not Paul but Jesus," upon the perusal, I found it abounded in gross misrepresentations, and unjust accusations. Professing to be a candid enquiry into the conduct of the Apostle Paul, the Work in question seemed evidently dictated by a spirit of hostility towards Christianity itself. Where the facts relating to the history of the Apostle are not mis-stated altogether, they are so distorted and discoloured, as to wear an appearance totally foreign to their real nature. It must, however, at the same time be allowed, that some of the arguments are brought forward with such an air of plausibility, and truth and falsehood are so artfully interwoven with each other, that it is easy to imagine they might, at first sight, stagger a careless and superficial enquirer: those persons, indeed, who are content to form their notions
of Christianity, from the representations of its enemies, without examining into its evidence themselves, might be inclined to consider the distorted portrait, which the Author has drawn, as a faithful likeness of the Apostle of the Gentiles. But I am well persuaded that those, who, with candid and impartial minds, examine the real conduct and pretensions of St. Paul, will be so far from concurring in the opprobrious malignity, with which he is assailed, that additional reverence and delight, will be the result of their enquiry. Indeed, if ever there was a person, who exhibited a desire to adorn, by his life and conversation, the pure and heavenly precepts of the blessed Jesus; if ever there was one, who to the most fervent zeal, united the most rational and exalted devotion, who combined firmness with moderation, wisdom with humility, and toleration with truth, or who to abilities most splendid, added in a just cause industry most persevering; if ever, in short, there was one, who more than another, followed the steps of his divine Master, that man was St. Paul. To vindicate such a character, from the most malignant imputations, and to advocate the cause
of truth, so shamefully violated by the Author of "Not Paul but Jesus," has been my object in the following pages. Those who have investigated the testimony by which the Gospel Revelation is supported, may, perhaps, think that I have imposed upon myself a needless task, as they will naturally suppose, that scarce any readers would be deceived by the shallow sophisms, and false inferences, by which an attempt is made to invalidate the writings, and destroy the character of St. Paul. To such my reply is, that there are persons who are apt to imagine, that infidel publications, if unanswered, are unanswerable. Others may be of opinion, that it would have been better not to have given additional notoriety to a work that deserves to slumber in oblivion and contempt. But if only one person should encounter the publication, "Not Paul but Jesus,” and desirous of seeing its arguments refuted, should find such refutation in the following pages, I shall deem the time and labour, expended in the composition of them, not fruitlessly employeda.
a Since the first part of my Reply was written, I have perused an excellent pamphlet of the Rev. T. S. Hughes,
At the hands of the ministers of the Gospel, and from those of the Established Church in particular, the public have a just right to expect a defence of the doctrines of Christianity: I considered, therefore, that a portion of that leisure, which was afforded me by an intermission of the more active duties of my profession, would not be ill applied in an endeavour to refute the misrepresentations of such a writer, as is the present object of animadversion. How far the arguments I have made use of, are calculated to convince others, I must leave to my readers to determine. But, whatever be the result of the present undertaking, I shall always have the satisfaction of reflecting, that my sole aim was to vindicate what, after
late Fellow of Emmanuel College, on the same subject. Had I entertained any idea that the able exertions of the Christian Advocate would have been called forth against such an adversary, my own labours would most probably have been superseded. As, however, Mr. Hughes has at present abstained from a minute confutation of his opponent, and as I find, upon a careful perusal of his book, that we have in many instances arrived, by different methods, at the same result, I have not thought it necessary to withdraw my Work. In revising it for publication, I have frequently referred with pleasure to a new edition of The Acts of the Apostles, by the Rev. Hastings Robinson, M. A. Fellow of St. John's College, of which only the first nine chapters have hitherto been published. I am glad to find that my own opinions are, for the most part, confirmed in the notes to that Work.