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in their diligence or courage), the narrative proceeds with the separate memoirs of that eminent teacher, whose extraordinary and sudden conversion to the re. ligion, and corresponding change of conduct, had be. fore been circumstantially described. This person, in conjunction with another, who appeared among the earlier members of the society at Jerusalem, and amongst the immediate adherents * of the twelve apostles, set out from Antioch upon the express business of carrying the new religion through the various provinces of the Lesser Asia. During this expedition, we find, that in almost every place to which they came, their persons were insulted, and their lives endangered. After being expelled from Antioch in Pisidia, they repaired to Iconium. At Iconium, an attempt was made to stone them; at Lystra, whither they fled from Iconium, one of them actually was stoned and drawn out of the city for dead. These two men, though not themselves original apostles, were acting in connexion and conjunction with the original apostles ; for after the completion of their journey, being sent on a particular commission to Jerusalem, they there related to the apostles || and elders the events and success of their ministry, and were, in return, recommended by them to the churches, as men who had hazarded their lives in the cause."
The treatment which they had experienced in the first progress, did not deter them from preparing for a second. Upon a dispute, however, arising between them, but not connected with the common subject of their labours, they acted as wise and sincere mea would act; they did not retire in disgust from the service in which they were engaged, but, each devoting his endeavours to the advancement of the religion, they parted from one another, and set forwards upon separate routs. The history goes along with one of them; and the second enterprise to him was attended with the same dangers and persecutions as both had met with in the first. The apostle's travels hitherto had been confined to Asia. He now crosses, for the first time, the Agean Sea, and carries with him, amongst others, the person whose accounts supply the information we are stating.* The first place in Greece at which he appears to have stopped, was Philippi in Macedonia. Here himself and one of his companions were cruelly whipped, cast into prison, and kept there under the most rigorous custody, being thrust, whilst yet smarting with their wounds, into the inner dungeon, and their feet made fast in the stocks.t Notwithstanding this unequivocal specimen of the usage which they had to look for in that country, they went forward in the execution of their errand. After passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica; in which city, the house in which they lodged was assailed by a party of their enemies, in order to bring them out to the populace. And when, fortunately for their preservation, they were not found at home, the master of the house was dragged before the magistrate for admitting them within his doors. Their reception at the next city was something better : but neither had they continued long before their turbulent adversaries, the Jews, excited against them such commotions amongst the inhabitants, as obliged the apostle to make his escape by a private journey to Athens.ỹ The extremity of the progress was Corinth. His abode in this city, for some time, seems to have been without molestation. At length, however, the Jews found means to stir up an insurrection against him, and to bring him before the tribunal of the Roman president.ll It was to the contempt which that magistrate entertained for the Jews and their controversies, of which he accounted Christianity to be one, that our apostle owed his deliverance. I
* Acts iv. 36.
+ Acts xiii. 2. Ibid. ver. 51.
Acts xiv. 19. V Acts xv. 12-20.
This indefatigable teacher, after leaving Corinth, returned by Ephesus into Syria; and again visited Jerusalem, and the society of Christians in that city, which, as hath been repeatedly observed, still continued the centre of the mission.** It suited not, however, with the activity of his zeal to remain long at Jerusalem. # Acts xvi. 11.
+ Ibid. ver. 23, 24. 33. 1 Acts xvii. 1-5.
Jbid. ver. 13. Acts xviii. 12.
Ibid. ver. 15. ## Ibid. ver. 22.
We find him going thence to Antioch, and, after some stay there, traversing once more the northern provinces of Asia Minor.* This progress ended at Ephesus; in which city, the apostle continued in the daily exercise of his ministry two years, and until his success, at length, excited the apprehensions of those who were interested in the support of the national worship. Their clamour produced a tumult, in which he had Dearly lost his life. Undismayed, however, by the dangers to which he saw himself exposed, he was driven from Ephesus only to renew his labours in Greece. After passing over Macedonia, he thence proceeded to his former station at Corinth. When he had formed his design of returning by a direct course from Corinth into Syria, he was compelled, by a conspiracy of the Jews, who were prepared to intercept him on his way, to trace back his steps through Macedonia to Philippi, and thence to take shipping into Asia. Along the coast of Asia, he pursued his voyage with all the expedition he could command, in order to reach Jerusalem against the feast of Pentecost. His reception at Jerusalem was of a piece with the usage he had experienced from the Jews in other places. He had been only a few days in that city, when the populace, instigated by some of his old opponents in Asia, who attended this feast, seized him in the temple, forced him out of it, and were ready immediately to have destroyed him, had not the sudden presence of the Roman guard, rescued him out of their hands. The officer, however, who had thus seasonably interposed, acted from his care of the public peace, with the preservation of which he was charged, and not from any favour to the apostle, or indeed any disposition to exercise either justice or humanity towards him; for he had no sooner secured his person in the fortress, than he was proceeding to examine him by torture.
From this time to the conclusion of the history, the apostle remains in public custody of the Roman government. After escaping assassination by a fortunate
# Acts xviii. 23.
Acts xix. 1. 9, 10.
discovery of the plot, and delivering himself from the influence of his enemies by an appeal to the audience of the emperor,* he was sent, but not until he had suffered two years' imprisonment, to Rome. He reached Italy, after a tedious voyage, and after encountering in his passage the perils of a desperate shipwreck. But although still a prisoner, and his fate still depending, neither the various and long-continued sufferings which he had undergone, nor the danger of his present situation, deterred him from persisting in preaching the religion; for the historian closes the account by telling us, that, for two years, he received all that came unto him in his own hired house, where he was permitted to dwell with a soldier that guarded him,“ preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence.”
Now the historian, from whom we have drawn this account, in the part of his narrative which relates to Saint Paul, is supported by the strongest corroborating testimony that a history can receive. We are in possession of letters written by Saint Paul himself upon the subject of his ministry, and either written during the period which the history comprises, or, if written afterward, reciting and referring to the transactions of that period. These letters, without borrowing from the history, or the history from them, unintentionally confirm the account which the history delivers, in a great variety of particulars. What belongs to our present purpose is the description exhibited of the apostle's sufferings ; and the representation, given in the history, of the dangers and distresses which he underwent, not only agrees, in general, with the language which he himself uses whenever he speaks of his life or ministry, but is also, in many instances, attested by a specific correspondency of time, place, and order of events. If the historian put down in his narrative, that at Philippi the apostle“ was beaten with many stripes, cast into prison, and there treated with rigour and indignity ;''$ we find him, in a letter to a neighbouring church,|| remind
* Acts xxv. 9. 11,
# Acts xxiv. 27. # Acts xxvii.
Acts xvi. 23, 24. # 1 Thess. ii. 2.
ing his converts, that," after he had suffered before, and was shamefully entreated at Philippi, he was bold, nevertheless, to speak unto them (to whose city he next came) the gospel of God.” If the history relate,* that at Thessalonica, the house in which the apostle was lodged, when he first came to that place, was assaulted by the populace, and the master of it dragged before the magistrate for admitting such a guest within his doors; the apostle, in his letter to the Christians of Thessalonica, calls to their remembrance “ how they had received the gospel in much affliction.”+ If the history deliver an account of an insurrection at Ephesus, which had nearly cost the apostle his life ; we have the apostle himself, in a letter written a short time after his departure from that city, describing his despair, and returning thanks for his deliverance. If the history inform us, that the apostle was expelled from Antioch in Pisidia, attempted to be stoned at Iconium, and actually stoned at Lystra; there is preserved a letter from him to a favourite convert, whom, as the same history tells us, he first met with in these parts; in which letter he appeals to that disciple's knowledge “ of the persecutions which befel him at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra." If the history make the apostle, in his speech to the Ephesian elders, remind them, as one proof of the disinterestedness of his views, that, to their knowledge, he had supplied his own and the necessities of his companions by personal labour ;|| we find the same apostle, in a letter written during his residence at Ephesus, asserting of himself, " that even to that hour be laboured, working with his own hands.”
These coincidences, together with many relative to other parts of the apostle's history, and all drawn from independent sources, not only confirm the truth of the account, in the particular points as to which they are observed, but add much to the credit of the narrative in all its parts; and support the author's profession of being a contemporary of the person whose history he
* Acts xvii. 5.
+ 1 Thess. i. 6. Acts xix. 2 Cor. i. 8–10. Acts xiii. 50, xiv. 5. 19. 2 Tim. iii. 10, 11. Acts xx. 34.
11 Cor. iv. 11, 12.