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in which it was exerted by any one of inferior rank,* but in the account of Peter's controversy with Simon Magus it is all but expressly said that no other possessed it. Philip, it seenis, had converted many of the Samaritans, and amongst them Simon himself. This having been made known to the Jerusalem church, Peter and John were sent to Samaria, “who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as yet he was fallen upon none of them [clearly because Philip was not an apostle]: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”+ Did Paul, then, possess this privilege, from which even the seven deacons were excluded, or is there any passage where it is ascribed to him? There is a remarkable passage, I not altogether free from inconsistencies, however, in which certain disciples are introduced who had not so much as heard whether there was a Holy Spirit, but upon whom Paul conferred the gift by the laying on of hands. These persons were evidently Christians; for the word “disciples” used absolutely always means believers on Christ, and the question of Paul, “ Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ?” implies the same thing. Apollos, moreover, though it is expressly stated that he was “ instructed in the way of the Lord,” like other disciples, knew only the baptism of John. It does not appear, then, in what respect these disciples can have differed from hundreds more, who were converted by those scattered abroad at the time of the persecution to which Stephen fell a victim; unless, indeed, it is implied that the intervention of an apostle was always necessary in order to complete what others had begun, as would seem to have been the case at least in regard to the Samaritan converts. At all events, it seems to us unquestionable that the main feature in the passage now referred to, is not the fact that there were some Christians whose discipleship was imperfect, but the proof which it supplies that Paul was invested with the exclusively apostolic power of imparting the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. To establish this point is the purpose for which the narrative is introduced at all, and it is worth while to notice how the writer draws attention to its main argument by the dramatic form into which he has thrown it.

In examining the historical credibility of the book of Acts, we have thus far confined ourselves chiefly to its internal character. But unquestionably a far surer criterion of its truth

* Except, strangely enough, in the case of Paul himself, who received the Holy Ghost through the laying on of Ananias' hands (Acts ix. 17). This is perhaps an oversight of the author. We cannot admit that it invalidates the argument in the text. † Acts viii. 5-17.

| Ib. xix. 1-6.

$ Ib, xviii, 25.


than any resting on intrinsic probability, would be the agreement or disagreement of its statements with those of the principal personage whose life it records. It would appear, therefore, to be a most fortunate thing that there exists in one of Paul's epistles a brief summary of the leading incidents in his life, and this with especial reference to the very question a universally acceptable solution of which is thought to be the main design of the Acts, viz., the relation in which Paul and his world-wide gospel stood to the twelve and to Jerusalem Christianity. Yet this collateral testimony of the apostle himself, so far from producing any decided result, has given rise to more discussion than almost any other question in which it has been necessary to educe the truth from partial and apparently conflicting statements. On the one hand, the harmony between the Acts and the epistle to the Galatians is so defective as to yield a strong case to those who come prepared to find and to admit a departure from fact on the part of the author of the former work. And, on the other hand, the disagreements, though obvious enough, are not so important or striking as to render all hope of reconciliation ridiculous. We do not, indeed, think it possible to harmonise the account in Acts xv. of the council at Jerusalem with Paul's brief notice of a visit he paid, fourteen years after his conversion, to the head-quarters of Palestinian Christianity; but whether this latter may not be proved to refer to another of the five journeys to Jerusalem recorded in the Acts, is a possibility which we must not reject until it has been shown to be untenable. It appears that, long ago, Chrysostom, and afterwards Luther, referred the journey noticed in the second chapter of Galatians to a period later than that of the Jerusalem council. And Dr. Wieseler, in his full and satisfactory commentary on the Galatians, adopts the view which identifies this journey with the fourth mentioned in the Acts.* In support of this view, he advances, as we shall presently show, many very strong, if not conclusive, arguments; and the difficulties which attend its adoption seem to us not altogether insuperable. We cannot admit, however, that this view, should it be satisfactorily made out, at all disproves the existence of a design on the part of the author of the Acts to reconcile divergent tendencies. On the contrary, it is a farther evidence of such a design, though it may go a long way to vindicate the character of the latter portion of the work.

Before proceeding to investigate the question of the apostolic council, we shall take this opportunity of pointing out a few discrepancies between the notice in Acts of that portion of Paul's life which immediately followed his conversion, and his own cursory glance over the same period; discrepancies which seem to us, on the whole, in favour of Baur's view. Paul, as he himself

• Acts xviii, 22,


tells us, immediately after his conversion went to Arabia ; and, without having visited Jerusalem at all, or having had any interview with the apostles, returned to Damascus. His first visit to the Jewish metropolis took place after the lapse of three years, when he went up for the purpose of making the acquaintance of Peter, and probably—though he does not say so-of having his apostolic mission recognised by him. Peter, with whom he spent fifteen days, was the only one of the apostles whom he saw. He met also James, the Lord's brother, who, whether an apostle or not, might be considered as possessed of equal rank. It is probable that this James was not the apostle, the son of Alpheus, though Paul's words do not make this quite clear, and the evidence is very nicely balanced. These assertions are affirmed in the most solemn way: “Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.” It is further stated that the apostle was at this time personally unknown to the churches of Judæa, which had only heard, with grateful joy, the report of his conversion.* Now in accordance with the view we have hitherto advocated, it would clearly be in the interest of the book of Acts to represent the establishment of a good understanding between Paul and the twelve as taking place as speedily as possible. And that this impression is actually produced, no unprejudiced reader will deny. All mention of the journey to Arabia is omitted from every one of the three narratives, and the visit to Jerusalem is brought into close connection with the conversion. The writer, indeed, does not conceal that some time elapsed between the two events, but he certainly avoids indicating so long a space of time as three years. He states that Saul straightway preached Christ in the synagogues of Damascus; that he confounded the Jews who dwelt there; and that after some time (ús ťT Impoûvto ýuépai ixavai), a conspiracy having been formed against him, he escaped from the city and went to Jerusalem. Of course ημέραι ικανοί may mean “ three years," just as it might mean a hundred; and, indeed, the real time can hardly have been unknown to the writer. The phrase, however, conceals much more than it reveals, and so little is the reader permitted even to infer the truth, that he is told that when Saul attempted to join the disciples, they were afraid of him, as if no certain intelligence of him had yet reached them from Damascus. Barnabas then brought him to the apostles, and (for the first time, as it would seem) announced how the Lord had appeared to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. The concluding statement, that "he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem," is obviously not in strict harmony with the fact that Paul was unknown by face to the churches of Judea.t In all • Gal, i. 15-24.

† See Acts ix. 19-28.

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this narrative, however, we admit, there is no inconsistency with its parallel that may not, with some little care, be rendered evanescent. But in this very fact the purpose of the narrator is manifest; for it must be remembered that on any theory, more perhaps on Baur's than any other, he was writing for those who possessed Paul's epistles, and was himself acquainted with them: so that there is no reason to charge him with any thing more than a somewhat distorted representation of fact.

In approaching now the question of the Jerusalem council, and its relation to the account given by Paul, in the second chapter of the epistle to the Galatians, of an interview with the leading apostles, let us in the first place endeavour to state, without regard to one theory or another, what Paul's own narrative really amounts to. Fourteen years after a certain point of time previously noticed-probably his conversion-the apostle went up to Jerusalem in company with Barnabas, and attended by a young Greek named Titus. This journey was undertaken in obedience to a strong inward impulse, of such a nature that it could be deemed nothing less than the command of God himself. Arrived at his destination, Paul immediately proceeded to lay before the church the gospel which he had preached, and still continued to preach, amongst the Gentiles; holding, however, a separate conference with the heads of the church,-—“ those who are thought so much of,” as he names them,-in which his object was to obtain from them an acknowledgment of his apostolic commission. So much seems to be explicitly stated in verses 1 and 2; and the apostle then proceeds to give an account of each of these conferences, the public (verses 3-5) and the private (6-10). In the former a violent opposition was offered to him, and it was even demanded that the first step towards introducing the law amongst the Gentiles should be taken by circumcising Titus. This opposition, however, proceeded from certain persons described as false brethren, who had joined the Christian communion without any appreciation of the freedom of the Christian spirit, and with the intention of bringing Gentile believers into bondage to the law; and there is no intimation that it was directly countenanced by any of the apostles. On the other hand, there is room to infer that, these last may have had some sympathy with the movement, and certainly it is implied that they were not forward in crushing it. The unconquerable energy of Paul, supported by Barnabas, achieved the victory and vindicated the liberty of the gospel; but the pillars of the Jerusalem church seem to have held back, and the way in which Paul speaks of them shows how far he was from regarding them as wholly on his side. Passing on now to those verses which describe the private con


ference, we learn that James, Peter, and John, persuaded by the actual results of Paul's missionary labours, consented to acknowledge that he and Barnabas equally with themselves were gifted with the grace of the Spirit, and finally gave them the right hand of fellowship, on the understanding that each party should work in that field of labour for which it seemed best adapted. There was no limitation whatever as to the admission of the Gentiles into the church of Christ; the only condition required, and by Paul most willingly conceded, was, that contributions for the poor saints in Judæa should continue, as before, to be collected from the wealthier members of the Gentile churches.

Now the discrepancies between this narrative and that contained in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts are too obvious to need any detailed notice. It will be sufficient briefly to call to mind the more prominent. In the first place, Paul, according to the Acts, was sent to Jerusalem by the Christians at Antioch as one of a deputation, and there is therefore no mention, as there was no need, of a divine impulse. Again, according to the history a meeting is held of the apostles and elders and the whole church (verses 6 and 22), at which the question of circumcision is publicly discussed, addresses are delivered by the leading persons present, and finally a formal resolution come to that letters should be sent to the Gentile churches, relieving them from the necessity of circumcision, but at the same time imposing upon them certain restrictions known by the name of the precepts of Noah. Now of this meeting, of this decree, and of these letters, the apostle Paul knows absolutely nothing. That he makes no mention of them is simply matter of fact; and the only way of escaping the difficulty is to maintain, with Neander, that several private interviews may have preceded the public conference, and that the one need not exclude the other. We admit that there would have been nothing surprising in the omission, on the part of the historian, of any accidental meetings Paul might have had with the other apostles, though it would be strange enough that he should have passed over one of so much importance as that described in the epistle to the Galatians. But it is surely wholly unaccountable that an event of such moment as the council at Jerusalem, with the resolutions adopted there and consented to by Paul and Barnabas, should have received not the slightest notice from the apostle at the very time when he was discussing his relations to the mother church. Besides, the private interview mentioned by Paul really does exclude the public conference. In the one case, the freedom of the Gentiles in Christ Jesus is acknowledged by the three chief apostles without limit or qualification ; in the other, it is acknowledged with certain limitations (not afterwards recognised by the apostle, 1 Cor. viii.);

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