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Title: Not Paul, But Jesus
Author: Bentham, Jeremy
Language: English
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  Not Paul, But Jesus

  Philosopher of Sociology, Jurisprudence,
  &c., of London.

  With Preface Containing Sketches of His Life and
  Works Together with Critical Notes by John
  J. Crandall, Esqr., of the New Jersey Bar--author
  of Right to Begin and Reply


Jeremy Bentham, an eminent English judicial or jural philosopher, was
born in London, February 15, 1748, and died at Westminster, his
residence for six years previously, June 6, 1832. His grandfather was a
London Attorney; his father, who followed the same profession, was a
shrewd man of business, and added considerably to his patrimony by land
speculations. These London Benthams were probably an offshoot from an
ancient York family of the same name, which boasted a Bishopric among
its members; but our author did not trouble himself to trace his
genealogy beyond the pawnbroker. His mother, Alicia Groove, was the
daughter of an Andover shopkeeper. Jeremy, the eldest, and for nine
years the only child of this marriage, was for the first sixteen years
of his life exceedingly puny, small and feeble. At the same time, he
exhibited a remarkable precocity which greatly stimulated the pride and
affection of his father. At five years of age he acquired a knowledge of
musical notes and learned to play the violin. At four or earlier, having
previously learned to write, he was initiated into Latin grammar, and in
his seventh year entered Westminster School. Meanwhile, he was taught
French by a private master at home and at seven read Telemaque, a book
which strongly impressed him. Learning to dance was a much more serious
undertaking, as he was so weak in his legs.

Young as he was, he acquired distinction at Westminster as a fabricator
of Latin and Greek verses, the great end and aim of the instruction
given there.

When twelve years old, he was entered as a Commoner at Queen's College,
Oxford, where he spent the next three years. Though very uncomfortable
at Oxford, he went through the exercises of the College with credit and
even with some distinction. Some Latin verses of his, on the accession
of George III, attracted a great deal of attention as the production of
one so young. Into all of the disputations which formed a part of the
College exercises, he entered with zeal and much satisfaction; yet he
never felt at home in the University because of its historical monotony,
and of all of which he retained the most unfavorable recollections.

In 1763, while not yet sixteen, he took the degree of A.B. Shortly
after this he began his course of Law in Lincoln's Inn, and journeyed
back and forth to Oxford to hear Blackstone's Lectures. These lectures
were published and read throughout the realm of England and particularly
in the American Colonies. These were criticised by the whole school of
Cromwell, Milton and such followers as Priestly and others in England
and many in the Colonies in America. Young Bentham returned to London
and attended as a student the Court of the King's Bench, then presided
over by Mansfield, of whom he continued for some years a great admirer.

Among the advocates, Dunning's clearness, directness and precision most
impressed him. He took the degree of A.M. at the age of 18, the
youngest graduate that had been known at the Universities; and in 1772
he was admitted to the Bar.

Young Bentham had breathed from infancy, at home, at school, at college
and in the Courts, an atmosphere conservative and submissive to
authority, yet in the progress of his law studies, he found a striking
contrast between the structural imperialism of the British Empire as
expounded by Blackstone and others of his day, and the philosophical
social state discussed by Aristotle, Plato, Aurelius, the struggling
patriots of France, and the new brotherhood, then agitating the colonies
of America.

His father had hoped to see him Lord-Chancellor, and took great pains to
push him forward. But having perceived a shocking contrast between the
law as it was under the Church imperial structure and such as he
conceived it ought to be, he gradually abandoned the position of a
submissive and admiring student and assumed a position among the school
of reformers and afterwards the role of sharp critic and indignant

He heroically suffered privations for several years in Lincoln's Inn
garrett, but persevered in study. He devoted some of his time to the
study of science. The writings of Hume, Helvetius and others led him to
adopt utility as the basis of Morals and Legislation. There had
developed two distinct parties in England: The Radicals and
Imperialists. The Radicals contended that the foundation of Legislation
was that utility which produced the greatest happiness to the greatest

Blackstone and the Ecclesiastics had adopted the theory of Locke, that
the foundation of Legislation was a kind of covenant of mankind to
conform to the laws of God and Nature, as interpreted by hereditarily
self-constituted rulers.

Bentham contended that this was only a vague and uncertain collection of
words well adapted to the promotion of rule by dogmatic opinions of the
Lords and King and Ecclesiastics in combination well calculated to
deprive the people of the benefits of popular government. He conceived
the idea of codifying the laws so as to define them in terms of the
greatest good to the greatest number, and devoted a large share of the
balance of his life to this work.

In 1775 he published a small book in defense of the policy of Lord North
toward the Colonies, but for fear of prosecution it was issued by one
John Lind and extensively read. A little later he published a book
entitled "A Fragment on Government." This created a great deal of
attention. Readers variously ascribed the book to Mansfield, to Camden
and to Dunning. The impatient pride of Bentham's father betrayed this
secret. It was variously interpreted as a philosophical Treatise and a
Critical Personal Attack upon the Government. But he persevered in the
advocacy of his principals of Morals and Government. He hoped also to be
appointed Secretary of the Commission sent out by Lord North to propose
terms to the revolted American Colonies. But as King George III had
contracted a dislike to him, he was disappointed in his plan of
Conference with the Colonies. His writings were, however, more
appreciated in France. He was openly espoused as a philosopher and
reformer by D'Alimbert, Castillux, Brissat and others. But in the
meantime some such men as Lord Shelbourne, Mills and others became his
friends and admirers, and encouraged him to persevere with his
philosophical Code of laws, largely gleaned from the ancient
philosophers of liberty and equality which had been smothered and
superseded by military and Church imperialism.

In 1785 he took an extensive tour across the Alps and while at Kricov on
the Dou, he wrote his letters on Usury. These were printed in London,
which were now welcomed by the people largely on account of his
reputation in France as a philosopher of popular government. In the
meantime, Paley had printed a treatise on the Principle of applying
utility to morals and legislation. He determined to print his views in
French and address them to that people then struggling for liberal

He revised his sheets on his favorite penal Code and published them
under the title of "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and
Legislation." The Principles enunciated in this treatise attracted the
attention of the liberals in France, as well as England and America.
Mirabeau and other French publishers spread his reputation far and wide.

Meanwhile, Bentham with the idea of aiding the deliberations of the
States General of France, and encouraged by the liberals on both
continents, and especially such men as Franklin, Jefferson and others,
printed a "Draft of a Code for the organization of a Judicial
Establishment in France," for which services the National Assembly
conferred on him the Citizenship of France by a decree, August 23, 1792,
in which his name was included with those of Priestly, Paine,
Wilberforce, Clarkson, Mackintosh, Anacharsis, Clootz, Washington,
Klopstock, Kosiosco, and several others.

In the meantime, in his travels, he conceived an extensive plan of
Prison reform which he strenuously urged the Crown Officers and the
English Parliament to adopt. After several years of strenuous labors and
the expenditure of a large part of the patrimony left him by his father,
the enterprise was thwarted by the refusal of the King to concur with
Parliament in the enterprise. This scheme is fully set forth in the
histories of the reign of George III. But to avoid persecution under the
drastic penal Codes of England, Bentham boasted that he was a man of no
party but a man of all countries and a fraternal unit of the human race,
he had come to occupy at home the position of a party chief.

He espoused with characteristic zeal and enthusiasm the ideas of the
radicals, who, in spite of themselves, were ranked as a political party.
He went, indeed, the whole length, not merely republicanism, but on many
points of ancient democracy including Universal Suffrage and the
Emancipation of all Colonies.

No matter how adroitly the Contention was managed, the Imperialists
insisted that it was merely resurrecting the historic struggle of the
days of Cromwell and his "bare bones." The Church establishment by way
of the Lords and Bishops and Bishop Lords was the real foundation of the
Crown rule in all its ramifications. This superstructure was protected
by all forms of penal laws against "lease" Majesty and even the
appearance of Church Creed heresy. The Radicals always confronted by
Crown detectives were compelled to be very wary in their attacks upon
this that they called imperial idolatry and were compelled to move by
indirect and flank attacks.

The upheaval by Martin Luther in the reign of Henry VIII at the Council
of Trent and others over the Divine authenticity of the Athanasian Creed
never abated among the humanitarians of England or France. But in the
presence of criminal inquisitions too barbarous to mention, the Radicals
were handicapped and were compelled to work strategically and by pits
and mines beneath the superstructure of Church imperialism. The Church
structure as established in Europe is by common consent based upon the
hypothesis of Divinity in the life, works, and dogmas of one Saul of
Tarsus, or as denominated Paul, or the canonized St. Paul. The
substantial Creed might well be denominated Paulism. Hence the legendary
Paul has been one of the points of attack by the rationalists of the

While many of the contemporaries of Bentham both in England, America and
the Continent denied the verity of the whole Mosaic cosmogony and
historiology, yet Bentham seemed to ignore this task as superserviceable
and unimportant. He and his school of Radicals were devoted to the life
works and teachings of Jesus. Jesus was the idol of his school and he
heartily espoused the task of eliminating Paul as the nemesis of Jesus
and his Apostles, and a character invented and staged by imperialists to
subordinate the toiling classes to the production of resources to
subserve their personal luxuries.

Bentham began writing a philosophic analysis of the Church's pretensions
concerning the divine agency of Paul. After several years of examination
and study, and while he was writing his famous treatise entitled "The
Rational of Judicial Evidence" afterwards collected and published by
Mill, he finished the manuscript criticisms of Paul and entitled them
"Not Paul but Jesus."

For fear of prosecution for direct heresy or denunciation of the Creed
of the Church, he evaded the use of his own name as writer of the
Criticism and used the name of Conyers Middleton, a Cambridge Divine,
who by his writings had created a great deal of disturbance. He had been
convicted twice for heresy. He had been dead fifty years when Bentham
introduced him in the first lines in the Introduction to his Criticisms
herein published (See Introduction). Bentham, no doubt, intended to
evade prosecution, as it will be seen that his name does not appear in
the book, and yet at the same time used the name most obnoxious to the
Church in all its history.

In 1729 Middleton published his "Letter from Rome" in which he boldly
essayed to demonstrate that the then religion of the Roman Church was
derived from their heathen ancestral idolaters. He published other works
on the uses of miracles and prophecy. But Bentham's "Not Paul but Jesus"
did not long remain anonymous. It was read extensively in France and
America. But this treatise formed a part of the labor of his life, which
was to promote the theory of the social state based upon "The greatest
good to the greatest number, and subordinate the whole to rational
calculations of utility." These views he continually urged in the form
of Codification so as to eliminate all pretensions of hierarchical
control by historical divine prophets, the faithful souls and agents of
Kings and princes. In the meantime, he was indefatigable in his attacks
upon the English System of Jurisprudence, which was being operated in
America as a kind of paternal inheritance. Dumont, in 1811, compiled
from the manuscripts of Bentham a complete code which was readily
adopted in France, because it conformed so closely to the old Roman
procedure which was held tenaciously in France.

In the meantime, by importunity of Lord Brougham and others, and
particularly of his friends in America, such as Adams, Franklin and
others, he wrote to Madison offering his services to draw up a complete
code of laws for the United States. Mr. Madison caused these ideas to be
spread broadcast by pamphlets as pamphleteering was much in vogue for
such purposes in those days. But on account of our dual form of
government, and as the code would apply to the States separately, the
scheme as a whole failed. But some of the Governors, especially those
of Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Hampshire, got hold of the manuscripts
and many of the provisions were adopted and still obtain.

In the meantime, Mr. Mill had collected his manuscripts on "The
Rationale of Judicial Evidence" and published them in 5 vols. They
shortly became a part of the libraries of the lawyers and statesmen of
England, and especially in the United States. His manuscripts on "Not
Paul but Jesus" were extensively read and universally admitted to be
rational and sound in point of rational jural demonstration. During this
time, Thomas Jefferson had been writing on the same subject and after
reading the prints of Bentham, he abandoned the part directed to the
criticism of Paul, but he arranged chronologically all of the verses
from the four gospels that pertain to the career of Jesus, omitting,
however, every verse or paragraph that to his mind was ambiguous or
controversial, and every statement of fact that would not have been
admitted as evidence in a Court of Justice. The original copy of what is
denominated as "Jefferson Bible," is now preserved in the National
Museum at Washington. It was purchased by the Government as a memento of
the author of the Declaration of Independence.

This "The Thomas Jefferson Bible" has lately been republished by David
McKay, 604 S. Washington Sq., Philadelphia. The treatise "Not Paul but
Jesus" was published in 1825. The printing art was not as well advanced
as at present, and the division of subjects for discussion and
correlation were not arranged strictly methodically, so the Editor has
rearranged some of the titles with a view to improve the order of
sequence. With this change, every word has been preserved.

It will all the time be borne in mind that the examination is Judicial
and the Character Paul had to be staged from many points of view and
examination. Jeremy Bentham has revolved him in the limelight of
inquisition with a thoroughness that commands the attention of all
thoughtful readers. With this view the Editor hopes to be justified in
its republication by the reading and inquiring public.

                                             J. J. CRANDALL.


Illustrious, in the church of Jesus in general, and in the church of
England in particular, is the name of CONYERS MIDDLETON. Signal was, and
is, the service rendered by him to the religion of Jesus. By that bold,
though reverend, hand, it now stands cleared of many a heap of
pernicious rubbish, with which it had been incumbered and defiled, by
the unhallowed labours of a succession of writers, who,--without
personal intercourse with the founder, any more than we have now,--have,
from the mere circumstance of the comparative vicinity of their days to
those in which he lived, derived the exclusive possession of the
imposing title of _Fathers of the Church_, or, in one word, _The

So able, so effectual, has been this clearance, that, as it has been
observed by the Edinburgh Reviewers,--speaking of course of protestants,
and more particularly of English protestants,--till one unexpected
exception, which it mentions, had presented itself, they had thought
that in no man's opinion were those writers any "longer to be regarded
as guides, either in faith or morals."

One step further was still wanting. One thorn still remained, to be
plucked out of the side of this so much injured religion,--and that was,
the addition made to it by _Saul of Tarsus_: by that _Saul_, who, under
the name of _Paul_, has,--as will be seen, without warrant from, and
even in the teeth of, the history of Jesus, as delivered by his
companions and biographers the four evangelists,--been dignified with
the title of _his_ apostle: his _apostle_, that is to say, his
_emissary_: his _emissary_, that is to say, _sent out_ by him: sent out,
by that Jesus, whose immediate disciples he so long persecuted and
destroyed, and whose person,--unless dreaming of a person after his
death, or professing to have dreamt of him, is seeing him,--he never

In the course of the ensuing examination, the subject of _miracles_ has
come, unavoidably, under consideration. On this delicate ground, it has
been matter of no small comfort to the author, to behold precursors,
among divines of different persuasions, whose reputation for piety has
not been diminished by the spirit of critical inquiry which accompanies
it. Such were Mede, Sykes, and others, whose ingenious labours were, in
the case called that of the _daemoniacs_, employed in the endeavor to
remove the supernatural character, from what, in their eyes, was no more
than a natural appearance. On the success of these their labours, any
judgment would here be irrelevant. Not altogether so the observation,
that in no instance does it appear to him that any such latitude of
interpretation has been employed, as that which, on that occasion, was
found necessary for the conversion of _devils_ into _diseases_.

The _dissentions_ which, at all times, have had place among persons
professing the religion of Jesus, are but too notorious. The
_mischiefs_, produced by these dissentions, are no less so. These
dissentions, and these mischiefs--in what have they had their source? In
certain words. These words, of whom have they been the words? Of Jesus?
No: this has not been so much as pretended. Of Paul, and of Paul alone:
he giving them all along not as the words of Jesus, but as his own
only:--he all along preaching (as will be seen) in declared opposition
to the eleven who were undisputedly the apostles of Jesus: thus, of Paul
only have they been the words.

That, by these words, and, consequently, by him whose words they were
and are, all the mischiefs, which have been imputed to _the religion of
Jesus_, have been produced,--in so far as the dissentions, from which
these mischiefs flowed, have had these words for their subjects,--cannot
be denied. But, moreover, in these same words, that is to say, in the
doctrines delivered by them, cannot but be to be found the origin, and
the cause, of no small part--perhaps of the greatest part--of the
_opposition_, which _that religion, with its benevolent system of
morals_, has hitherto experienced. If this be so, then, by the clearing
it of this incumbrance, not only as yet unexampled purity, but
additional extent, may not unreasonably be expected to be given to it.

It was by the frequent recurrence of these observations, that the author
of these pages was led to the inquiry, whether the religion of Paul,--as
contained in the writings ascribed to Paul, and with a degree of
propriety which the author sees no reason to dispute,--whether the
religion of Paul has any just title to be considered as forming a part
of the religion of Jesus. The result was in the negative. The
considerations, by which this result was produced, will form the matter
of the ensuing pages.

If, by cutting off a source of useless privations and groundless
terrors, comfort and _inward peace_ should be restored or secured;--if,
by cutting off a source of bitter animosity,--good-will, and peace from
_without_, should be restored or secured;--if, by the removal of an
incongruous appendage, acceptance should be obtained for what is good in
the religion commonly ascribed to Jesus;--obtained at the hands of any
man, much more of many, to whom at present it is an object of
aversion;--if, in any one of these several ways, much more if in all of
them, the labours of the author should be crowned with success,--good
service will, so far, and on all hands, be allowed to have been rendered
to mankind.

Whosoever, putting aside all prepossessions, feels strong enough in
mind, to look steadily at the originals, and from _them_ to take his
conceptions of the matter, not from the discourses of others,--whosoever
has this command over himself, will recognise, if the author does not
much deceive himself, that by the two persons in question, as
represented in the two sources of information--the Gospels and Paul's
Epistles,--two quite different, if not opposite, religions are
inculcated: and that, in the religion of Jesus may be found all the
_good_ that has ever been the result of the compound so incongruously
and unhappily made,--in the religion of Paul, all the _mischief_, which,
in such disastrous abundance, has so indisputably flowed from it.

1. That Paul had no such commission as he professed to have;--2. that
his enterprize was a scheme of personal ambition, and nothing more;--3.
that his system of doctrine is fraught with mischief in a variety of
shapes, and, in so far as it departs from, or adds to, those of Jesus,
with good in none;--and that it has no warrant, in anything that, as far
as appears from any of the four gospels, was ever said or done by
Jesus;--such are the conclusions, which the author of these pages has
found himself compelled to deduce, from those materials with which
history has furnished us. The grounds of these conclusions he proceeds
to submit to the consideration of his readers.


The work may be conceived as divided into five parts.

1. In Part the first, the five different, and in many respects
discordant, accounts given of Paul's conversion, which, in these
accounts, is of course represented as being not only _outward_ but
_inward_, are confronted, and, so far as regards inward conversion,
shown to be, all of them, untrue: and, immediately after, the state of
things, which produced, accompanied, and immediately followed, his
outward conversion,--together with the time and manner in which that
change was declared,--is brought to view. This part occupies the first
two chapters.

2. Part the Second is employed in showing,--that, from the first
commencement, of the intercourse, which, upon the tokens given of his
outward conversion, took place at Jerusalem between him and the
apostles, Acts 9:27, to the time when,--in consequence of the
interposition of the Roman commander, to save him from the unanimous
indignation of the whole people, more particularly of the disciples of
the apostles,--he was conveyed from thence under guard to Rome, a space,
according to the commonly received computation, not less than six and
twenty years, (Acts 21 and 23), no supernatural commission from Jesus,
nor any inward conversion, was,--either by those distinguished servants
and companions of Jesus, or by their disciples at Jerusalem,--believed
to have place in his instance. This part occupies eight chapters: to
wit, from the 3d to the 10th inclusive.

3. In Part the Third, in further proof of the insincerity of his
character,--in addition to an oath proved to be false, are brought to
view two unquestionably false assertions:--each having for its subject a
matter of prime importance,--each deliberate and having in view a
particular purpose: the one, a false account of the number of the
witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus; 1 Cor. 15:6; the other, a
prediction of the end of the world before the death of persons then
living; 1 Thes. 4, 15, 16, 17. This part occupies Chapters 11 and 12.

4. Part the Fourth is employed in showing,--that no proof, of his
alleged supernatural commission from the Almighty, is deducible, from
any account we have, of any of those scenes, in which he is commonly
regarded as having exercised a power of working miracles. For, that not
only he himself never made exercise of any such power,--on any of those
occasions, on which the demand for it, for the purpose of overcoming the
disbelief entertained of his story by the Apostles, was extreme,--but,
neither on those, nor any other occasions, did he ever take upon himself
to make reference, to so much as any one instance of any such proof of
special authority from the Almighty, as having been exhibited by him on
any other occasion: that, for the belief in any such gift, we have no
other ground, than the relations contained in the history called "_The
Acts of the Apostles_," or, for shortness, _The Acts_: and that such
throughout is,--on the one hand, the nature of the occurrence itself, on
the other hand, the character of the representation given of it,--that,
to a disbelief in the exercise of any such supernatural power, it is
not necessary that any such imputation as that of downright and wilful
falsehood should be cast upon the author of that narrative: the
occurrences in question being, mostly, if not entirely, such as lie
within the ordinary course of nature,--but, upon which, either by the
fancy, or by the artifice of the narrator, a sort of supernatural
colouring has been superinduced. For this purpose, these supposed
miracles are, each of them, separately brought to view and examined.
This part occupies the 13th chapter.

5. Part the Fifth is employed in showing, that,--even if, on all these
several occasions, the exercise of a power of producing supernatural
effects had, by unequivocal statements, been ascribed to Paul by the
author of the Acts,--such testimony, independently of the virtual
contradiction given to it by the above-mentioned circumstantial
evidence,--could not, with any propriety, be regarded as affording
adequate proof--either of the fact of Paul's having received a divine
commission, and thereby, having become, inwardly as well as outwardly, a
convert to the religion of Jesus--either of that radical fact, or so
much as of any one of the alleged achievements, which, upon the face of
the accounts in question, are wont to present themselves as miraculous:
for that, in the first place, it is only by error that the history in
question has been ascribed to Saint Luke: it being, in respect of the
account given of the circumstances accompanying the ascension of Jesus,
inconsistent with the account given in the gospel of Saint Luke, when
compared with Acts 1:3 to 12,--and as to those attendant on the death of
Judas, inconsistent with the account in Saint Matthew 27:3 to 10 and
Acts 1:16 to 20: and moreover, such being the whole complexion of his
narrative, as to render it incapable of giving any tolerably adequate
support to any statement whereby the exercise of supernatural power is
asserted. This part occupies Chapter 14.

In Part the Sixth, to give additional correctness and completeness, to
the conception supposed to be conveyed, of the character of Paul and his
attendant historiographer, jointly and severally considered,--a conjunct
view is given of _five_ reports of his five trials, as reported in the
Acts. This part has been added since the publication of the
above-mentioned Summary View. It occupies Chapter 15 of the present

Chapter XVI. and last, winds up the whole, with some general
observations on the self-declared oppositeness of Paul's Gospel, as he
calls it, to that of the Apostles: together with an indication of a real
Antichrist, in compensation for the fabulous one, created by Paul, and
nursed by the episcopal authors and editors of the Church of England,
translators of the Bible: and by Chapter 12 of the present work, the
imaginary Antichrist is, it is hoped, strangled.

At the time of the publication of the Summary View,--for the more
complete and satisfactory demonstration of the relative insufficiency of
the narrative in question, a short but critical sketch was, as herein
stated, intended to be given, of the parts not before noticed of the
_History of the Church_,--from the ascension of Jesus, being the period
at which that narrative commences, to that at which it terminates,--to
wit, about two years after the arrival of Paul at Rome, Acts 28: the
history--to wit, as deducible from the materials which, in that same
narrative, are brought to view: the duration of the period being,
according to commonly received computations, about 28 or 30 years[A]:
the author of "_The Acts_" himself,--if he is to be believed,--an
eyewitness, during a considerable portion of the time, to the several
occurrences which he relates.

On this occasion, and for this purpose,--the history in question had
been sifted, in the same manner and on the same principles, as any
profane history, in which, in a series of occurrences mostly natural, a
few, wearing a supernatural appearance, are, here and there,
interspersed: as, for instance, in Livy's, and even in Tacitus's Roman
History: on the one hand, the authority not being regarded as affording
a sufficient foundation, for a belief in the supernatural parts of the
narrative; nor, on the other hand, the sort of countenance, given to the
supernatural parts, as affording a sufficient reason, for the disbelief
of those, which have nothing in them that is unconformable to the
universally experienced course of nature.

In respect of _doctrine_, the conclusion is--that no point of doctrine,
which has no other authority than that of Paul's writings for its
support, can justly be regarded as belonging to the religion of
Jesus,--any more than if, at this time of day, it were broached by any
man now living: that thus, in so far as he is seen to have _added_
anything to the religion of Jesus, he is seen to set himself _above_ it
and _against_ it: that, therefore, if this be true, it rests with every
professor of the religion of Jesus, to settle with himself, to which of
the two religions, that of Jesus and that of Paul, he will adhere: and,
accordingly, either to say, _Not Jesus but Paul_,--or, in the words of
the title to this work, _Not Paul but Jesus_.[B]


[A] To prevent, if possible, an embarrassment, which might otherwise be
liable to have place on the part of the reader,--and therewith, the idea
of inconsistency, as having place here and there in the work,--the
following indication may be found to have its use.

A cloud of uncertainty, to the length of one or two years, hangs over
the duration of the period embraced by this work: namely, that between
the point of time at which the conversion of Paul is stated to have
taken place, and the point of time at which the history, intituled The
Acts of the Apostles, as therein declared, concludes:--a point of time,
posterior by two years to that of his arrival at Rome.

[B] For making the requisite separation, between the two religions of
Jesus and the religion of Paul,--an instrument, alike commodious and
unexceptionable, has--for these many years, though, assuredly, not with
any such view,--been presented to all hands, by Doctor _Gastrell_, an
English and Church of England Bishop: namely, in a well-known work,
intituled _The Christian Institutes_: date of the 14th Edition, 1808. It
is composed of a collection of points of faith and morality, and under
each are quoted the several texts, in the New Testament, which are
regarded by the author as affording grounds for the positions indicated.
If then, anywhere, in his composition of the ground, passages, one or
more, from this or that Epistle of Paul, are employed,--unaccompanied
with any passage, extracted from any of the four Gospels,--the reader
may, without much danger of error, venture to conclude, that it is to
the religion of Paul alone, that the point of doctrine thus supported
appertains, and not to the religion of Jesus. As to any of the Epistles,
which bear the name of any of the real Apostles of Jesus,--a
corresponding question may perhaps be here suggesting itself. But, with
regard to the design of the present work, scarcely will they be found
relevant. For, when compared with the sayings of Jesus as repeated in
the four Gospels, scarcely will they be found exhibiting any additional
points of doctrine: never, pregnant with any of those dissentions,
which, from the writings of Paul, have issued in such disastrous
abundance. Only lest they should be thought to have been overlooked, is
any mention here made, of those documents, which, how much soever on
other accounts entitled to regard, may, with reference to the question
between the religion of Jesus and the religion of Paul, be, as above,
and without impropriety, stated as irrelevant.



     _Showing at one view, under the head of Paul's Conversion, the
     different accounts from which the inference is drawn that the
     Conversion was outward only, not inward._


Ch. ix. 1-9.

    1.--But Saul, yet breathing threatening and slaughter against the
    disciples of the Lord, went unto the High Priest, and asked of him
    letters to Damascus unto the synagogues, that if he found any that
    were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to
    Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh
    unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone around about him a light out
    of heaven: and he fell upon the earth, and heard a voice saying unto
    him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou,
    Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for
    thee to kick against the pricks: (1) but rise, and enter into the
    city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men that
    journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing the voice,--but
    beholding no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes
    were opened, he saw nothing; (old version "no man") and they led him
    by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days
    without sight, and did neither eat nor drink.


As per Acts xxii. 3-11.

    I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city,
    at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict manner
    of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as ye all are
    this day: and I persecuted this Way unto the death, binding and
    delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the High Priest
    doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom
    also I received letters unto the brethren; and journeyed to
    Damascus, to bring them also which were there unto Jerusalem in
    bonds, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my
    journey, and drew nigh unto Damascus, about noon, suddenly there
    shown from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the
    ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why
    persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said
    unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they
    that were with me beheld in deed the light, but they heard not the
    voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord?
    And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it
    shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
    And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by
    the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.


As per Acts xxvi. 9-20.

    I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things
    contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this I also did in
    Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prison, having
    received authority from the Chief Priests, and when they were put to
    death, I gave my vote against them. And punishing them oftentimes in
    all the synagogues, I strove to make them blaspheme; and being
    exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto foreign
    cities. Whereupon as I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and
    commission of the Chief Priests, at midday, O, king, I saw on the
    way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining
    round about me and them that journeyed with me. And when we were all
    fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying unto me in the Hebrew
    language, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee
    to kick against the goad. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And the
    Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But arise, and stand
    upon thy feet: for to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint
    thee a minister and a witness both of thee, to appoint thee a
    minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me,
    and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee; delivering thee
    from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee, to
    open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from
    the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins
    and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me.
    Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly
    vision: but declared both to them of Damascus first, and at
    Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the
    Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works
    worthy of repentance.


I. As per Paul to Corinth. i. xv. 8.

    And last of all, as unto one born out of due time, he appeared to
    me, also.

II. As per Paul to Gal. i. 12, 15, 16, 17.

    12. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but
    it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.

    15. But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even
    from my mother's womb,

    16. And called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I
    might preach him among the Gentiles; immediately I conferred not
    with flesh and blood:

    17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles
    before me: but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned unto


_I. Acts Account._

ix. 10-16.

    10. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and
    the Lord said unto him in a vision, Ananias! And he said, Behold, I
    am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go to the
    street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas
    for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth: and he
    hath seen a man named Ananias coming in, and laying his hands on
    him, that he might receive his sight. But Ananias answered, Lord, I
    have heard from many of this man, how much evil he did to thy saints
    at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to
    bind all that call upon thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy
    way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the
    Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him
    how many things he must suffer for my name's sake.


_I. Acts Account._

ix. 17-22.

    And Ananias departed, and entered into the house; and laying his
    hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord even Jesus, who appeared
    unto thee in the way which thou camest, hath sent me, that thou
    mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And
    straightway there fell from his eyes as it were scales, and he
    received his sight; and he arose and was baptized; and he took food
    and was strengthened.

    And he was certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
    And straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is
    the Son of God. And all that heard him were amazed, and said, Is not
    this he that in Jerusalem made havock of them which called on his
    name? and he had come hither for this intent, that he might bring
    them bound before the chief priests. But Saul increased the more in
    strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving
    that this is the Christ.

_II. Paul's Account._

As per Acts xxii. 12-16.

    xxii. 12. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well
    reported of by all the Jews that dwelt there, came unto me, and
    standing by me said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And
    in that very hour I looked up on him. And he said, The God of our
    fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the
    Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. For thou shalt be
    a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And
    now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy
    sins, calling on his name.



     _Paul's Conversion._[1]--_Improbability and Discordancy of the
     Accounts of it._



(_See_ TABLE I., _in which they are confronted_.)

In one single work, and that alone, is comprised the whole of the
information, in which, in relation to this momentous occurrence, any
particulars are at this time of day to be found. This is that historical
work, which in our edition of the Bible, has for its title _The Acts of
the Apostles_; for shortness, let us say _The Acts_.

Of this same occurrence, in this one short work no fewer than three
separate accounts are visible; one, in which the story is related by the
historian in his own person; two others, in each of which Paul is
introduced as giving his own account of it. Of these three accounts, no
two will be found agreeing with each other. By the historian, Paul when
introduced as speaking in his own person, is represented as
contradicting not only the historian's account, but his own account. On
each occasion, it should seem, Paul's account is adapted to the
occasion. On the first occasion, the historian's account was not exactly
adapted to that same first occasion. By the historian's ingenuity, Paul
is accordingly represented as giving on that same occasion another and
better-adapted account. On the second occasion, neither was the
historian's account nor Paul's own account, as given on the former
occasion, found suitable to this fresh occasion; on this same fresh
occasion, a suitable amendment is accordingly framed.

Here, at the very outset of the inquiry, the distance of time between
the point of time on which the occurrence is supposed to have taken
place, and the time at which the historian's account of it was penned,
are circumstances that present a claim to notice.

The year 35 after the birth of Christ is the year which, according to
the received accounts, is assigned to the occurrence. According to these
same accounts, the year 63 is the date given to the last occurrence
mentioned by the historian, Acts 28: after which occurrence, two years
are stated by him as having elapsed, at the time at which the history
closes. Here then is an interval of about 30 years, between the time at
which the occurrence is stated to have happened, and the time at which
these three mutually contradictory accounts of it were framed.

In regard to this radical occurrence in particular, namely Paul's
conversion,--for the foundation of this his report, what evidence was it
that the reporter had, or could have had in his possession, or at his
command? One answer may serve for all; the accounts given of the matter
by Paul himself.

With Paul, then, what were this same reporter's means and mode of
intercourse? In the year 59, and not before, (such is the inference from
his own words) did it fall to his lot to be taken into the train of this
self-denominated Apostle. Then it is, that for the first time, in the
several accounts given by him of Paul's migrations from place to place,
the pronouns _us_, Acts 20:5, and _we_ make their appearance. From 34 to
59 years are 25. At the end of this interval came the earliest
opportunity, which, for anything that appears, he could have had of
hearing from his master's own mouth, whatsoever account, if any, it may
have been the pleasure of that same master to give, of an occurrence, in
relation to which there existed not among men any other percipient

Having accompanied his master during the whole of his progress from
Jerusalem, the historian speaks of himself as being still in his train
on his arrival at Rome. Acts xxviii. 16, "And when we came to Rome," &c.
It is not precisely stated, nor can it very determinately be inferred,
whether at the point of time at which the history closes, the historian
was still at that capital; the negative supposition presents itself as
the most probable. Posterior to the closing of the real action of the
history, the penning of it will naturally be to be placed.

"Paul, says the Acts xxviii. 30, dwelt two whole years in his own hired
house, and received all that came in unto him," &c. When this last verse
but one of the history was penning, had the historian been living with
Paul, he would naturally have given us to understand as much; instead of
_dwelt_, he would have said _has been dwelling_.

By the tokens of carelessness afforded by the omission of so many
particulars, which in every work of an historical nature the reader will
naturally expect to see specified; such as the name of the historian,
the particulars, occasion and manner of his being taken into the company
of the illustrious missionary, and the time of that event;--by these
tokens, two inferences, how different soever their tendency, seem at
once to be suggested. One is, the genuineness of the narrative. A
writer, who was conscious that he was not the man he was thus
representing himself to be, viz. the companion of the missionary, would
hardly have slid in, in so careless a manner, the mention of so material
a circumstance. The other is, the slenderness of the author's
qualification for the task thus executed by him; the lowness of his
station in the scale of trustworthiness, and consequently the smallness
of the probative force, with which a mass of evidence thus circumstanced
can reasonably be considered as operating, in support of any alleged
matter of fact, which, (either by the extraordinariness of its nature,
or the temptation which the circumstances of the case afforded for
entire fiction or misrepresentation), presents itself as exposed to
doubt or controversy.

A supernatural conversion, and the receipt of a supernatural commission
for the delivery of a fresh body of doctrine; such are the two events,
which, though in their nature so perfectly distinguishable, were
according to this narrative combined in one:--the conversion from an
unbelieving, cruel, and destructive persecutor of the new fellowship,
into a most zealous supporter and coadjutor: the body of doctrine such
as if it amounted to anything, could not but have been--what the person
in question declared it to be--a supplement to the religion taught by
Jesus while in the flesh;--a supplement, containing matter never
revealed to, and consequently never taught by, his Apostles.

Now then, of all these supernatural occurrences, which, by the nameless
historiographer, are related to have happened to Paul, if anything had
really happened to him--on this supposition, (so many as were the
different sets of disciples of his, inhabitants of so many mutually
distant provinces, no fewer than eight in number); is it in the nature
of the case, that in no one instance, in any of his numerous Epistles,
he should have felt the necessity of stating and accordingly have
stated, to any of these his disciples, the circumstances attending the
event of his conversion--an event on which alone all his professions
were founded? circumstances to which, as stated in his historian's
narrative, could not from their nature have been known to any human
being other than himself?

Yet, in no one of all his Epistles, to any one of these his disciples,
of any such particular, either in the way of direct assertion, or in the
way of allusion, is any trace to be found. Of _revelation_, yes: of
_revelation_--this one most momentous indeed, but at the same time most
mysterious and uninstructive word, repetitions we have in abundance. But
of the time and manner of the alleged communication, or of the matter
communicated, nothing is anywhere said.

In these considerations may be seen a part, though but a part, of those,
on which, in due season, will be seen grounded the inference,--that at
no time, in all the personal conferences he had with the Apostles, was
any such story told by Paul, as is related by the author of the Acts.

On the supposition that the narrative, such as it is, is
genuine,--taking it as a whole, a very important source of division,
from which it will require to be divided in idea into two parts or
periods, here presents itself. Period the first, containing the portion
of time _anterior_ to the historian's admission into the train of the
supposed Apostle: Period the second, containing the portion of time
_posterior_ to that event: this latter portion continuing, as far as
appears, to the time at which the history closes.

In this latest and last-mentioned period are comprised all the several
facts, or supposed facts, in relation to which any grounds appear for
the supposition that the historian was, in his own person, a percipient

In relation to all the several facts, or supposed facts, anterior to
this period,--the best evidence, which, for anything that appears, ever
came within his reach, was composed of such statements as, in the course
of his service, it may have been the pleasure of the master to make to,
or in the hearing of, this his attendant. Whatsoever may be the grounds
of suspicion that may be found attaching themselves to evidence passing
through such a channel, or issuing from such a source; other evidence
will, if taken in the lump, present itself as being in comparison much
less trustworthy. All other evidence consists of statements, coming from
we know not whom, at we know not what times, on we know not what
occasion, each of them with we know not how many reporting witnesses,
one after and from another, through so many different and successive
channels, between the percipient witness or witnesses, and the last
reporting witness or witnesses, from whom the historian received the
statement in the way of personal intercourse.

The period of _rumour_, and the period of _observation_--By these two
appellations it should seem, may the two periods be not altogether
unaptly or uninstructively distinguished.

With reference to the period of rumour,--whether, it was from Paul's own
statement, or from a source still more exposed to suspicion, that the
historian's conception was derived,--one consideration presents itself,
as requisite to be kept in mind. This is, With what facility, especially
in that age, upon an occurrence in itself true, and including nothing
that lies without the ordinary course of nature,--a circumstance out of
the course of nature, giving to the whole a supernatural, and to use the
ordinary word a miraculous, character, may, in and by the narrative,
have been superinduced.[2] Fact, for instance, as it _really_ was--at
the word of command, (suppose) a man, having the appearance of a
cripple, stands up erect and walks: untrue circumstances, one or both
superinduced by _rumour_--the man had been so from his birth; from his
birth down to that same time he had been an inhabitant of that same

In the chapter on Paul's supposable miracles, about a dozen occurrences
of this description will be found. On each one of these several
occasions, the propriety of bearing in mind the above-mentioned
consideration, will, it is believed, not appear open to dispute,
whatsoever on each several occasion may be the application made of it.



I. ACCOUNT.--_As per Acts_ ix. 1-9.

     ix. 1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter
     against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,--and
     _desired_ of him letters to Damascus to the _synagogues_, that if
     he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might
     bring them bound unto Jerusalem.--And as he journeyed, he came near
     Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from
     _heaven_:--and he fell to the earth, and _heard a voice_ saying
     unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?--And he said, Who
     art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou
     persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.--And
     he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to
     do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it
     shall be told thee what thou must do.--And the men which journeyed
     with him stood speechless, _hearing a voice_ but _seeing no
     man_.--And Saul arose from the earth; and _when his eyes were
     opened, he saw no man_; but they led him by the hand, and brought
     him into Damascus.--And he was _three days without sight, and
     neither did eat nor drink_.


    xxii. 3. I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in
    Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and
    taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers,
    and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.--And I
    persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into
    prisons both men and women.--As also the high priest doth bear me
    witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I
    _received_ letters unto the _brethren_, and went to Damascus, to
    bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be
    punished.--And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was
    come nigh unto Damascus _about noon_, suddenly there shone from
    _heaven_ a great light round about me.--And I fell unto the ground,
    and _heard a voice_ saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
    me?--And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am
    Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest.--And they that were with me
    _saw indeed the light_, and were afraid; but _they heard not_ the
    voice of him that spake to me.--And I said, What shall I do, Lord?
    And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it
    shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to
    do.--And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led
    by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.


    xxvi. 9. I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many
    things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.--Which thing I
    also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in
    prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when
    they were put to death I gave my voice against them.--And I punished
    them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and
    being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto
    strange cities.--Whereupon as I went to Damascus with _authority_
    and _commission_ from the _chief priests_,--at _midday_, O king, I
    saw in the way a light from _heaven_, above the brightness of the
    sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.--And
    when we were all fallen to the earth, _I heard_ a voice speaking
    unto me, and saying _in the Hebrew tongue_, Saul, Saul, why
    persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
    And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou
    persecutest.--But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared
    unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness
    both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in
    the which I will appear unto thee;--delivering thee from the people,
    and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee.

On comparing the three accounts of Vision 1st, the particulars will be
found referable to twelve heads. Under no more than two of the twelve,
will the conformity among them be found entire.

Where disconformity has place it may be clear or not clear of
contradiction. Clear it may be of contradiction, when it consists either
of mere deficiency or mere redundancy, or of both: deficiency or
redundancy, according as it is this or that account, which, on the
occasion of the comparison, is taken for the standard.

On the occasion in question, such is the importance of the occurrence,
that the proper standard of reference and comparison is that which is
most ample: that which, if not strictly speaking complete, wants the
least of being so. On the part of the historian, speaking in his own
person, omission is in such a case without excuse.

Not so, necessarily, in the case of a person whom the historian speaks
of as giving that person's own account of that same occurrence. What may
be is, that in the nature of the occasion in which the person is
represented as speaking of it, there is so much of suddenness, by reason
of impending danger, or urgent pressure, that, of the quantity of time
necessary for complete utterance, and even of that necessary for
complete and correct recollection, more or less was wanting.

On the occasion of that account of the matter, which is the first of the
two on which the historian represents Paul as giving an account of this
momentous occurrence,--this justification for want of completeness, or
this excuse for want of correctness, might naturally enough have place.
For it was while pleading for his life at Jerusalem, before a mixed
multitude, no inconsiderable part of which were endeavouring at the
destruction of it, that Paul is represented as delivering this first of
his two accounts:--call that _the supposed unstudied or unpremeditated

Not so, on the occasion on which he is represented as delivering the
second of these same two accounts. On this occasion, it is true, he is
represented as pleading in his defence. But it is pleading in and before
a regularly constituted judiciary, and after time for preparation in
much greater abundance than he could have wished:--call this _the
supposed studied or premeditated account_.

In this view, the proper standard of comparison can not be dubious. The
historian being himself, in all three accounts, the immediately
reporting witness, and having had his own time for the forming of them
all,--that which he gives in his own person, and which therefore
naturally occupies the first place, should, in respect of both
qualities, as well as in that of clearness, have been, (and, setting
aside deceptious design, naturally would have been), as perfect as it
was in his power to make it. To the others alone could any excuse be
afforded, in respect of any one of those requisites, by any circumstance
peculiar to the respective cases.

What is above being observed--Of the ten following instances of
disconformity, seven will be found to be cases of simple deficiency,
three of contradiction.

In those which are cases of simple deficiency, it will be seen to have
urgency for its justification or excuse; for the others there appears no
justification or excuse.[3] Of the twelve distinguishable heads in
question, under two alone, viz. that of _place_ and that of _time_, will
the conformity be found complete. _Place_, a spot near to Damascus, in
the road leading from Jerusalem to Damascus: _Time_, meaning time of
_day_,--about noon. But, in the quality of trustworthiness deficient as
all three accounts will presently be shown to be, it will be seen how
little is contributed, by conformity as to the mere circumstances of
time and place.

Now then let us see the subjects, in relation to which a want of
conformity is observable. To save words, the shortest form of
description possible will throughout be employed.

                    {1. The light seen.
                    {2. The dialogue.
  _Omissions_       {3. Falling to the ground.
                    {4. Language of the voice.
                    {5. Kicking against the pricks.

                    {6. The Lord's commands.
                    {7. Paul's companions' posture.
  _Contradictions_  {8. Paul's companions' hearing or not hearing.
                    {9. If hearing, what they heard.
                    {10. Nothing seen but light.

1. _Light seen._ Between Acts account and Paul's 1st or supposed
unstudied account, no disconformity worth remarking. In Acts it is a
"_light_," in Paul 1st a "_great light_";[4] in both it is about midday.
But in Paul's 2d or supposed studied account, it is above the brightness
of the sun at that time of the day.

In Acts the passage is simply narrative: in Paul's 1st, the urgency of
the occasion left no room for flowers. But in Paul's 2d, time being
abundant, flowers were to be collected, and this is one of them. In the
ordinary course of nature there exists not upon earth any light equal in
brightness to that of the sun; especially the sun at midday, and in such
a latitude. Supposing the light in question ever so much greater than
the midday sun, neither Paul nor this his historian could, without a
miracle on purpose, have had any means of knowing as much. For a miracle
for such a purpose, the existence of any effectual demand does not seem
probable. For the purpose mentioned,--namely the bereaving of the power
of vision every open eye that should direct itself towards it,--to wit,
so long as that same direction should continue,--the ordinary light of
the sun would have been quite sufficient. At the time and place in
question, whatever they may have been, suppose it true that, though
midday was the time, the atmosphere was cloudy, and in such sort cloudy,
that without something done for the purpose, a light productive of such
effects could not have been produced. Still, for this purpose, a
specially created body of light different from that of the sun, and
exceeding it in intensity, could not be needful. The removal of a single
cloud would have been amply sufficient:--a single cloud, and that a very
small one.

       *       *       *       *       *

But if the light was really a light created for the purpose, and
brighter than that of the sun; of circumstances so important, mention
should not have been omitted in the standard narrative.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here then is either a deficiency in the standard narrative,--and this
deficiency, as already observed, an inexcusable one,--or a redundancy in
the subsequent account: a redundancy, the cause of which seems
sufficiently obvious: a redundancy--in that account which, being
premeditated on the part of the historian, is given by him as being
premeditated on the part of the speaker, whom he represents as
delivering it: a redundancy,--and that in a word a falsehood: a
falsehood, and for what purpose?--for deception: the hero represented by
his historian as using endeavours to deceive.

2. _Dialogue._ Per Acts, the Dialogue contained five speeches: to wit,
1. The voice's speech; 2. Paul's; 3. The Lord's, whose voice, Paul and
his historiographer[5], from what experience is not said, knew the voice
to be; 4. Paul's; 5. The Lord's. In Paul 1st, speeches the same in
number, order, and, save in one phrase about kicking against the
pricks, nearly so in terms. But in Paul 2d, the number of the speeches
is no more than three: and, as will be seen below, of the last the
import is widely different from that of any of those reported in the
other two accounts.

3. _Falling to the ground._ Per Acts and Paul 1st, by Paul alone was
this prostration experienced. Per Paul 2d, by his unnumbered companions,
by the whole company of them, as well as by himself. Deficiency here on
the part of the proper standard; so, in the case of the unstudied
speech. In the studied speech it is supplied.

4. _Language of the voice._ Per Acts and Paul 1st, of the language
nothing is said. Deficiency, as in the case last mentioned; to wit, in
the regular history, and in the unstudied speech. In the studied speech
it is supplied. Stage effect greater. Agrippa, to whom it was more
particularly addressed, being, under the Roman viceroy, a sort of king
of the Jews,--what seems to have occurred to the historian is--that it
might be a sort of gratification to him to be informed, that his own
language, the Hebrew, was the language which, on this occasion, was
employed by that voice, which by Paul, by whom it had never been heard
before, was immediately understood to be the Lord's; _i.e._ Jesus's;
_i.e._ God's. The character, in which Paul was on this occasion brought
by his historiographer on the stage, being that of a consummate orator,
furnished with all his graces,--this compliment was among the rest put
into his mouth. Moreover, by Jesus no language, for aught that appears,
but the Hebrew, having been ever spoken, hence the account became the
more consistent or credible.

5. _Kicking against the pricks._[6] "Hard for thee to kick against the
pricks." Per Acts, this proverbial expression is employed by the voice,
as soon as it turns out to have been the Lord's. In the supposed and
hasty unstudied speech, it is dropped. This is natural enough. In Paul
2d--in that studied speech, it is employed: it stands there among the

6. _The Lord's Commands._ Commands delivered to Paul by the Lord. Under
this head there is a disastrous difference; a sad contradiction. Per
Acts, the command is for Paul to go into Damascus: there it stops.
Follows immediately an article of information, which is, that at that
time and place there is no information for him; but that, sooner or
later, some will be ready for him. After he has arrived at Damascus, it
shall there, by somebody or other, be told him, it is said, what he is
to do. So likewise in Paul 1st, in the unstudied speech, he is, in like
manner, to learn not merely what he is to do, but everything that he is
to do. Lastly comes, Paul 2d, the studied speech. By the time the
historian had arrived at this point in his history, he had forgotten
that, according to his own account of the matter, no information at all
had, during the road scene, been given to Paul by the Lord's voice; by
that voice which was so well known to be the Lord's. That the supposed
studied speech, by the charms of which the favour of the King was so
happily gained, might be the more impressive,--he makes his orator, in
direct contradiction to the account which, on the former occasion, had
by him (the historian) been given, enter, on the very spot, into all the
details of the Lord's commands.

When the time had come for composing this supposed studied speech,--the
historian had, it should seem, forgot Ananias's vision, that subsidiary
vision, which we shall come to presently, containing a further promise
of the Lord's commands and instructions; and which, after all, unless it
is by this studied speech that they are to be regarded as given, are not
given by him anywhere.

7. _Paul's companions--their posture._ Per Acts, though he fell, they
stood it out. Per Paul 1st, not said whether they fell or stood it out.
Per Paul 2d, they fell. The supposed studied oratorical account is here
in full contradiction with the historical one.

8. _Paul's companions--their hearing or not hearing._ Per Acts, they not
only saw the light, but heard the voice. Per Paul 1st, they did NOT hear
the voice. In the supposed hasty and unstudied speech is the oratorical
account made to contradict the historical one. In this particular, which
of the accounts was true? If the historical, the haste must, in the
oratorical, be the apology, not only for the incompleteness but for the
incorrectness. In Paul 2d, nothing is said about their hearing or not

Supposing the story in any of the accounts to have had any truth in it,
there was a middle case, fully as possible and natural as either of
these extreme and mutually contradictory ones. It may have been, that
while some stood their ground, others fell. And the greater the numbers,
the greater the probability of this middle case. But as to their number,
all is darkness.

9. _Paul's companions--if they heard, what it was they heard._ If they
heard anything, they heard, as far as appears, whatever Paul himself
heard. Per Acts, it is after the order given to Paul to go on to
Damascus,--with the promise thereupon, that there and then, and not
before, he should receive the information he should receive; it is after
the statement made of his hearing all this from the voice, that the
further statement comes, declaring that it was by Paul's companions also
that this same voice was heard. But this same voice was, it is said, the
Lord's voice. That when the voice had answered to the name by which Paul
called it, to wit, the name of Lord, it stopt there, so far as concerned
Paul's companions;--and that it reserved what followed, to wit, the
above-mentioned order with the promise, for Paul's single ear; true it
is, this may be _imagined_ as well as anything else: but at any rate it
is not _said_.

If Paul 2d--the studied oratorical account--is to be believed, all the
information for the communication of which this miracle was performed
was, as will be seen, communicated here upon the road: viz. immediately
after the voice had been called by him _Lord_. But, if this was the
case, and, as above, Paul's companions heard all that he heard,--then so
it is, that the revelation was made as well to them as to him;--this
revelation, upon the strength of which we shall see him setting himself
up above all the Apostles; himself and that Gospel of his own, which he
says was his own, and none of theirs. Now then--these companions--was it
upon the same errand as his that they went, to wit, the bringing in
bonds to Jerusalem all the Damascus Christians? If so, or if on any
other account they were any of them in a condition to need
conversion,--they were converted as well as he; or else, so far as
concerned them, the miracle was thrown away. Companions as they were of
his, were they or were they not respectively attendants of his?
attendants going under his orders, and on the same errand? Unless, by
the Jerusalem rulers, on the part of the Damascus rulers, both will and
power were depended upon, as adequate to the task of apprehending the
followers of Jesus and sending them bound to Jerusalem, such these
companions ought to have been, every one of them--supposing always on
the part of this about-to-be Apostle an ordinary prudence: that sort and
degree of prudence with which no ordinary police-officer is unprovided.
Some persons under his orders he must have had, or he could never have
been sent on so extensively and strongly coercive an errand.

These companions, if, on this occasion, any such or any other companions
he had, had each of them a name. To this vision, such as it was, they
being each of them respectively, as well as himself, whether in the way
of sight and hearing both, or in the way of sight alone, percipient
witnesses, their names, in the character of so many percipient
witnesses, ready upon every proper occasion to answer in the character
of _reporting_ witnesses, would have been of no small use: of use, were
it only for the giving to this story a little more substance than it has
in the form we see it in.

As to Ananias--the supposed principal actor in the scene next to
Paul--for him, indeed, supposing any such person to have existed, a
name, it is seen, was found. But, with a view to any purpose of
evidence, how little that name amounted to, will be seen likewise.

In this vision of Paul's, as it is called,--was any person seen, or
anything but light--light at midday? No; positively not any person, nor
as far as appears, the light excepted, anything whatsoever. Per Acts,
chap. ix:8, when "his eyes were opened,"--so it is expressly said,--"he
saw no man." This was after he had fallen to the earth; for it was after
he arose from the earth. But, it was before he fell to the earth, and
thereupon heard the voice, that, according to this same account, he saw
the extra light--the light created for the purpose: and, forasmuch as at
the conclusion of the dialogue with the five speeches in it--forasmuch
as at the conclusion of it, such was the effect produced upon him by the
light, as to render him at that time stone-blind, requiring to be led by
the hand, it could not from the first have been anything less effective.
Per Acts, in this state he continues all the way as far as Damascus, and
for three days after his arrival there. So likewise in the supposed
unstudied speech, Paul 1st. But in the studied speech, Paul 2d, there is
no blindness; the blindness is either forgotten or discarded.

But the curious circumstance is, his being led by the hand--all the way
to Damascus led by the hand:--led by the hand by these same companions.
Now these same companions, how was it that they were able to lead him by
the hand? All that he saw was the light, and by that light he was
blinded. But all that he saw they saw: this same light they saw as well
as he. This same light, then, by which he was blinded--were they not
blinded likewise by it? Was it a privilege--a privilege reserved for a
chosen favourite--a privilege which it cost a miracle to produce--the
being blinded when nobody else was blinded?

Blinded then as they were, how came he to be led by them, any more than
they by him? Can the blind lead the blind? Let Jesus answer. Shall they
not both fall into the ditch?

Oh! but (says somebody) it is only in Paul 1st,--in Paul's supposed
unstudied speech, that the historian makes them see the light that Paul
saw. Answer. True: but neither in his own person does he say the
contrary. As to their seeing, all he says is, that _they_ saw no man,
"hearing a voice but seeing no man." (ver. 7.) But by the same account,
(ver. 8.) "When _his_ eyes were opened, he saw no man;" so that, though
in what he says in his own person the historian does not mention this
which he mentions, speaking in Paul's person,--yet he does not
contradict it.

10. _Paul's companions. What part, if any, took they in the
conversation?_ Per Acts, they stood speechless: and it is after the
dialogue has been reported, that this is stated. In the unstudied
speech, nothing is said about their speech. In the studied speech, with
reference to them, no mention is made of speech; any more than of sight
or hearing.

But, forasmuch as, according to Acts, whatever Paul saw and heard, they
saw and heard likewise; how happened it, that by no one of them, so much
as a word, on an occasion so interesting to all, was said--or a question
put? To be sure it was to Paul alone, that by the voice, whosever it
was, any address was made. It was his concern:--his alone, and none of

So, indeed, some might think; but, others in their situation, quite as
naturally might think otherwise. Sooner or later, at any rate, they
would recover whatever it was they lost: sight, if sight; speech, if
speech. Whenever recovered, speech would thereupon range with but the
greater freedom, for the restraint which, for a time, had been put upon
it:--range over the whole business, including whatever secrets Paul had
been put in possession of:--the commission, the sweeping and
incarcerating commission he had been intrusted with by the rulers, and
the unperformed promise that had been made to him by the voice, which
being at midday, accompanied by an extraordinary light, was of course
the Lord's voice. These things would naturally, by these his companions,
have been converted from secrets into town-talk.

Nay but (says somebody) though it _is_ said he saw no _man_, it is _not_
said, he saw not the Lord: and elsewhere he may be seen saying--saying
in the most positive terms, that he did see the Lord[7]. And if he did
see the Lord anywhere, why not here as well as anywhere else?

"_Saw no man._" Yes: so says the English version. But the original is
more comprehensive:--Saw no person, says the original: that is, to speak
literally, saw no one of the masculine gender. No one what? No one
person of this gender: this is what the word means, if it means
anything. No person; and therefore no Lord: no God; if so it be that,
when applied to denote God, the word person means God, or as some say, a
part of God.

Note, likewise,--that, when the companions are spoken of,--both in the
translation and in the original, the object to which the negative is
applied is expressed by the same word as when he, Paul, is spoken of.



TOPIC 1.--_Ananias's Description._

Of the vision itself there being but one account, by this singleness
discordancy is saved.

But, of the description belonging to Ananias there are two accounts.
One the historical, as before: the other, the unpremeditated
oratorical account supposed to be given by Paul in the first of
his two supposed speeches, as above; and, room being thus given for
discordancy,--discordancy, as of course, enters--or at any rate a
strong suspicion of it.

Per Acts, Ananias is a disciple: a disciple, to wit, a Christian; a
disciple immediately of Jesus or his Apostles: for, such is the
signification attached to the word _disciple_ in the Acts: such he would
on this occasion be of course understood to be; for, otherwise the word
would be uncharacteristic and insignificant.

Materially different is the description supposed to have been given of
this same Ananias by Paul in that same supposed unpremeditated speech;
so different as to be not without effort, if by any effort, reconcilable
with it.

He is now a disciple of Jesus and the Apostles; of that Jesus, by whom
the law, _i.e._ the Mosaic law, was after such repeated exposure of its
inaptitude, pronounced obsolete. He is now not only spoken of as being,
notwithstanding this conversion, a devout man according to that same
law; but, moreover, as having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt
there, to wit, at Damascus. Of the Jews? Yes; of "_all_" the Jews.

If, notwithstanding his conversion to a religion by which that of the
Jews was slighted and declared to be superseded, he was still so happy
as to be the subject of this good _report_, which is as much as to
say--of a correspondently unanimous good opinion; this, it would seem,
would have been the man to preach to them that religion: especially if
that part of the story were true, according to which he was
distinguished by the same supernatural sort of communication; this man,
who was already a Christian, this man, and not Paul, who of all opposers
of Christianity had been the most fierce and the most mischievous, would
naturally have been the man to receive the supernatural commission.
Supposing his vision real, and the reports of it true, no difficulty,
rationally speaking, could he have found in obtaining credence for it at
the hands of the Apostles: those Apostles, at whose hands, from first to
last it will be seen, never was it the lot of Paul, with _his_ vision or
visions, to obtain credence.

The audience, before which this speech was supposed to be delivered, of
whom was it composed? With the exception of a few Romans, to whom it was
probably unintelligible unless by accident, altogether of Jews; and
these--no one can say in what proportion, probably in by much the
largest, Jews not christianized. Hence then the sort of character, which
the occasion and the purpose required should be given, to this supposed
miraculously formed acquaintance of the person who, upon the strength of
this acquaintance, was to be numbered among the Apostles.

TOPIC 2.--_Mode of Conversation._

By this vision is produced a dialogue. Interlocutors, the Lord and
Ananias. In the course of the dialogue, speeches five: whereof, by the
Lord, three; the other two by Ananias.

In and by the first pair of speeches the Lord calls the man by his name:
the man answers, Behold, says he, I am here, Lord. In the English
translation, to atone for the too great conciseness of the Greek
original, the words "_am here_" are not improperly interpolated. Giving
to this supposed supernatural intercourse what seemed to him a natural
cast--a cast suited to the occasion--seems to have been the object of
the historian in the composition of this dialogue. But, upon so
supernatural a body, a natural colouring, at any rate a colouring such
as this, does not seem to fit quite so completely as might have been
wished. On the road, when the voice,--which turned out to be that of the
Lord, that is, being interpreted, Jesus's,--addressed itself to Paul,
this being the first intercourse, there was a necessity for its
declaring itself, for its declaring whose it was; and the declaration
was made accordingly. Here, on the other hand, no sooner does Ananias
hear himself called by his name, than he knows who the person is by whom
he is thus addressed. Taken as it stands, an answer thus prompt includes
the supposition of an already established intercourse. Such intercourse
supposed--in what way on former occasions had it been carried on? Laying
such former occasion out of the question--in what way is it supposed to
be carried on on the occasion here in question? On the occasion of his
visit to Paul,--the Lord, to whomsoever he may have been audible, had
never, from first to last, as we have seen, been visible. On the
occasion of this visit of his to Ananias--was the Lord audible only, or
visible only, or both audible and visible? If both audible and visible,
or even if only visible,--the mode of revelation was more favourable to
this secondary and virtually unknown personage, than to the principal

Between mortal and mortal, when it is the desire of one man to have
personal communication with another whom he supposes to be within
hearing, but who is either not in his sight or not looking towards
him,--he calls to him by his name; and in token of his having heard, the
other answers. From man to man, such information is really necessary;
for--that the requisite attention has place where it is his desire that
it should have place, the human interlocutor has no other means of
knowing. Not considering, that the person to whom the information is
supposed to be conveyed is a sort of person to whom no such information
could be necessary, the historian represents his Ananias as giving to
the Lord, as if to a mere mortal, information of his presence. Behold,
Lord! I am here.

TOPIC 3.--_Lord's Commands and Information: Want of particularization a
disprobative Circumstance._

The conversation being thus begun, the interlocutors proceed to
business. In speech the 3d, Lord delivers to Ananias, the devout Jew, a
command, and thereupon a piece of information. The command is--to repair
to a place therein described, and find out Paul: the information
is--that at the time then present Paul is praying; and that, at an
anterior point of time not designated, he had seen a vision.

In the command, the designation of the place wears, upon the face of it,
the appearance of that sort and degree of particularity, the exaction of
which is, in these days, in which genuine visions are never exemplified,
matter of course, on every occasion on which it is the real intention,
of those on whom it depends, that through the medium of personal
testimony the truth should be extracted. On every such occasion, the
object in question, whether it be an event or a quiescent state of
things, is endeavoured to be individualized: and, for the production of
this effect, the individual portion of space, and the individual portion
of time, are endeavoured to be brought to view together.

On the occasion here in question, towards the individualization of the
portion of space some approach is made: the town being foreknown, to
wit, Damascus, the _street_ is particularized; it is the street called
_Straight_: as in Westminster we have _Long-ditch_, and in London
_Crooked-lane_. Moreover, the _house_ is particularized; it is the house
of Judas. To this Judas had any one of those marks of distinction been
added, which in that age and nation we find to have been common,--as in
the instance of the too notorious Judas the Iscariot, _i.e._, the
inhabitant of Iscara, and in that of Judas Barsabas, _i.e._, the son of
Sabas, or, as we should say, Sabasson, not long after mentioned, Acts
25:22,--it would have been something. But, destitute of such limitative
adjunct, _Judas_ of itself was nothing. In that age and country, even
without reckoning notorious traitors, there was never any want of
Judases. Not inferior in plenty were Ananiases: in the Acts we have
three of them;--this private inhabitant of Damascus: the High Priest,
whose seat was at Jerusalem; and the husband of Sapphira: and in
Josephus they vie in abundance with the Johns and Jesuses.

But, on the occasion in question, and to the purpose in question, though
a distinctive adjunct as above would have done something, it would have
done very little. In the field of time,--seven-and-twenty years at
least, and we know not how much more, according to the received
chronology, was the distance between the event in question, and the
report given of it in this history. Neither in Damascus nor yet in
Jerusalem was any such thing as a newspaper,--not even an enslaved
newspaper, in existence; no, nor yet so much as a printing-press,--not
even an enslaved printing-press. For writing, the materials were
expensive; and handwriting was the only mode of copying. Publication was
not, as under the printing-press, promiscuous: unless by accident, for
an indefinite length of time, into no other hand did any copy find its
way, other than those of the author's confidential friends, or friends
separated from the author by a greater or less number of removes, as it
might happen; but all of them linked to one another by the bonds of
amity, and unity of principle and practice.

In such a capital as Damascus, Straight Street might have been as long
as Oxford Street; and, unless the style of building in those earlier
days had much more of convenience and luxury in it than in these latter
days, was much more crowded. Conceive a man at this time of day, going
to Oxford Street with the intention of finding the house, in which,
thirty years ago, a man of the name of Brown or Smith had his
residence,--to wit, on some indeterminate day, of the number of those
included within the space of an indeterminate number of years; and this,
for the purpose of ascertaining whether, on this indeterminate day, and
by this Smith or this Brown, a vision, not seen by anybody else, had
been seen. Suppose a man in Rome set out on such an errand--and then say
what would be the probable result of it.

TOPIC 4.--_Vision reported to Ananias by the Lord as having been seen by

Of the report then given of this anterior vision, the character is too
remarkable to be given, as it were, in a parenthesis: it is therefore
referred to a separate head. Acts ix. 12. "And Paul hath seen in a
vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him that
he might receive his sight."

TOPIC 5.--_Ananias's Objection to the Lord's Commands to visit Paul--He
informs the Lord what he had heard about Paul._

By the two first speeches of this dialogue, we are given to understand
that Ananias had already held intercourse with the Lord; an intercourse
which, the nature of the two parties considered, could not have been
other than a supernatural intercourse: yes, and on this very subject:
for, if not on this particular subject, the subject of it, whatever it
was, could not but have called for notice and communication. But, no
sooner does this next speech commence, than we are given to understand
that there had not--could not have been any such intercourse: for if
there had been, what follows would have been rendered useless and
needless. Upon receiving the command, Ananias's first thought is--to
endeavour to excuse himself from paying obedience to it; for in this
endeavour it is, that he gives the Lord a piece of information; to
wit--of what, in relation to Paul's character, he (Ananias) had heard.
Acts ix. 13: "Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this
man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem. And here he
hath authority from the Chief Priests to bind all that call on thy
name." Thus then, commands known to have been the Lord's, having that
instant been received,--the man by whom they have been received--so
small is the confidence, reposed in the Lord by this his favoured
disciple--instead of paying obedience to them, answers them by an
objection. This objection, prepared for it or not prepared for it, the
Lord, as might well be expected, immediately overrules.

A question that here presents itself is--Since it was from _many_, i.e.
_many men_, that Ananias had heard, not only what everybody had been
hearing for weeks, or months, or years,--viz. of the evil that Paul had
been doing to the Jerusalem saints, but of the authority that he had so
lately received, to bind at Damascus all the Damascus saints he could
find--since it was from so many, who then were these many? How was it,
that in the compass of the three days (ver. 9), during which Paul had
remained without sight or nourishment, a commission,--to the execution
of which secrecy was so obviously necessary,--had to such a degree
transpired? Suppose the secret to have thus transpired,--two results
would, in any natural and credible state of things, have been among the
consequences. The persons thus devoted to destruction would have made
their escape; the commission by which alone the supposed proceedings
against them could have found a justification or a cause, not having
been delivered. On the other hand, hearing that Paul was there, and that
he either was, or pretended to be, in the house in question, or in some
other, in the extraordinary condition above described,--the persons
spoken of in the Acts under the name of _the Synagogue_, would not have
left him there, but would have convened him before them, and, if he
really had any such commission, have caused it to be produced, and read
it: convened before them, not only Paul with his supposed commission,
but those companions of his that we have already heard of, if any such
he had[8].

But of these there will be occasion to speak in another place.

TOPIC 6.--_The Lord's Answer, obviating the objection, and giving
intimation of his designs in favour of Paul._

This objection, no sooner has the Lord overruled it, than he undertakes
to answer it, and to explain to this his so singularly favoured old
disciple the intentions he had formed in favour of his intended new
convert, whose conversion is, however, as yet but in progress (ver. 14):
"But the Lord said to him, Go thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto
me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of
Israel:--For (continues the Lord) I will show him how great things he
must suffer for my name's sake." Being, and therefore at the time of
Paul's vision purposing to be, in relation to his designs for Paul, thus
communicative to this same Ananias, who is a perfect stranger to this
same Paul,--to what purpose, on the occasion of his supposed visionary
intercourse with Paul, should _the Lord_ have stopped short; reserving
the communication, for the intention of giving it him at second-hand by
the mouth of that same stranger? This is one of the swarms of questions
which an account of this sort could scarcely fail to present to any
inquiring mind.

Meantime, as to the Lord's having thus stopped short, this we shall see
is in full contradiction with the account which the historian makes him
give in his supposed second reported speech, to wit, the supposed
premeditated one, spoken before Agrippa, who, under the proconsul
Festus, was king of the Jews, and who, on that occasion, is spoken of as
being assessor to the said proconsul Festus. On that occasion the Lord
is represented as explaining himself more fully to Paul himself, than
here, for the benefit of Paul, through Ananias.



We now come to the visit, which, we are to understand, was, in reality,
paid to Paul by Ananias, in consequence of this vision, in obedience to
the command imagined to be given in it.

Note that, though, in the original--in _the including vision_, as it may
be called--the command is given to inquire in the house in question for
the person (Saul) in question,--this is _all_ the command which, in that
least visionary of the two visions, is delivered. In the first instance
to make the inquiry, and in conclusion to go his way--this is all to
which the commands given to him in the direct way extend themselves. To
accomplish the object of this intercourse--to do anything towards it
beyond the making of this inquiry--he has to take hints and to draw
inferences:--inferences from the Lord's speech, which is thus continued,
Acts ix. 12: "And (Paul) _hath seen in a vision_ a man named Ananias
coming in, and putting his hand on him that he might receive his sight."
From having been told what--in a vision, to wit, this _contained or
included vision_--this same Paul had been _fancying_ he _had_ seen him
(Ananias) do--from this he was to conclude that it was the Lord's will
that he (Ananias) _should_ do _in reality_ that which Paul had been
fancying him to have done; though the only effect, for the doing of
which it had so been fancied to have been performed, had never been
produced. This was what he was to conclude was the Lord's will; although
the Lord himself, who (if any person) should have known how to speak
plainly and beyond danger of misconception, had forborne to tell him as

On the occasion of this important visit--this visit of Ananias to
Paul,--the double light--the light cast by the first of the two
oratorical accounts--to wit, the supposed unpremeditated one, upon the
historical one--recommences.

Follows now--and from both sources--the account of the interview, and of
the cure performed in the course of it.

ACTS' ACCOUNT.--Ch. ix. ver. 17-22.

    And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting
    his hands on him, said: Brother Saul, the Lord, _even_ Jesus, that
    _appeared_ unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that
    thou mightest receive thy sight, _and be filled with the Holy
    Ghost_.--And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been
    _scales_: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and _was
    baptized_.--And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then
    was Saul _certain days_ with the disciples which were _at
    Damascus_.--And straightway he _preached_ Christ in the synagogues,
    that he is the Son of God.--But all that heard _him_ were amazed,
    and said: Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this
    name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might
    bring them bound unto the Chief Priests?--But Saul _increased the
    more_ in strength, and _confounded the Jews_ which dwelt at
    _Damascus_, proving that this is very Christ.

PAUL'S ACCOUNT.--ACTS, Ch. xxii. ver. 12-16.

    12. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a
    good report of all the Jews which dwelt _there_,--Came unto me, and
    stood, and said unto me: Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the
    same hour I looked up upon him.--And he said: The God of our fathers
    hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and _see_ that
    Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.--For thou shalt
    be his witness unto all men of what thou hast _seen_ and heard.--And
    now, why tarriest thou? arise, and _be baptized_, and wash away thy
    sins; calling on the name of the Lord.

TOPIC 1.--_On visiting Paul, Ananias's Introductory Speech--Preliminary

I. In the historical account, the speech has in it several
distinguishable parts.

I. "Brother Saul."

First comes the address, in which Saul, the future Paul, is addressed by
disciple Ananias by the name of _brother_. If, as between Jew and Jew,
this was a common form of salutation,--so far everything is in order.
But, if it was only in consideration of his having been denominated a
disciple, to wit, of Jesus,--the salutation is rather premature: the
conversion, supposing it effected, is, at any rate, not yet declared.
Not only in the historical account is this appellation employed, but
likewise in the oratorical one.

The attention of Paul being thus bespoken by his visitor, mention is
thereupon made of the purpose of the visit.

I. In the first place comes a recital. "The Lord (says he), even Jesus,
that _appeared_ unto thee on the way as thou camest, hath sent me"....
Unfortunately, according to the historian himself, this assertion, as we
have seen already, is not true. In no manner or shape did the Lord
Jesus, or any other person, make his appearance;--all that _did_ appear
was the light--the light at midday: so he has just been writing, and
before the ink, if ink it was that he used, was dry, already had he
forgotten it.

This, however, is but a collateral averment:--a recital, an episode,
matter of _inducement_, as an English lawyer would phrase it.

TOPIC 2.--_Declared Purposes or Objects of the Visit._

Purpose the first. "That thou mightest," says Ananias, "receive thy
sight." Thus says Ananias in the historical account: in the supposed
oratorical one he is more concise. No supposed past occurrence referred
to:--no purpose declared. "Receive thy sight" are the words.

Purpose the second. That thou mightest "be filled with the Holy Ghost,"
says the historical account. But in a succeeding passage what is the
purpose, which, in the supposed oratorical account Ananias is made to
speak of, in the design that it should be taken for the purpose which
the Lord by his commandment meant to be accomplished? Not the being
filled by the Holy Ghost; only the being baptized. "And now, why
tarriest thou? (Acts xxii. ver. 16) Arise and be baptized, and wash away
thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Well but (says somebody)
receiving the Holy Ghost, and being baptized,--by these two
expressions, is not one, and no more than one effect--one and the same
effect--to be understood? No, in truth, if the historian himself is to
be believed. Turn to another chapter--the very next chapter before this,
Acts 12 to 17, and there you will see, that the being baptized was one
thing, the receiving the Holy Ghost another thing, and much more. For
administering the ceremony of baptism, a single Apostle, Philip, was
sufficient: whereas, for the causing the Holy Ghost to be received,
nothing less was requisite than the cooperation of two Apostles, and
those two commissioned by the rest.

So serious always, according to this historian, was the difference, that
it was after he had been already baptized, and baptized gratis in a
crowd, that for the power of conferring this benefit, whatever it was
that it was composed of, Sorcerer Simon made to the two Apostles, those
offers--those pecuniary offers--which are said to have been no sooner
made than rejected. Acts 13 to 24.

TOPIC 3.--_Actual Effects of the Visit, and the Application in
consequence made in the course of it._ Effect 1. _Scales fall from Eyes,
and Sight is received in consequence._

In the historical narrative, the effect is as complete as it is
remarkable. Fall from his eyes a portion of matter of the nature or
resemblance of scales: whereupon he receives sight forthwith.

In the supposed oratorical account, whatsoever had been meant by scales,
nothing is said of them. Neither is the declaration made of the
completeness of the case quite so explicit. One look he gave--gave to
his wonder-working surgeon--and instead of its being given forthwith--to
give this one look required, it should seem, if not a whole hour, at
any rate so little less, that any time less than an hour could
not--such, in this supposed unpremeditated speech, was the anxiety felt
for correctness--could not be ventured to be particularized.

The more closely these scales, or things resembling scales, are looked
at, the more difficult will it be to find them amount to anything. In no
cure, performed upon eyes in any natural way, in these our days--upon
eyes that have lost their sight--do any scales fall off, or anything in
any degree resembling scales;--in no disorder of the eyes, known to have
place in these our days, do scales, or anything like scales, come over
the eyes. By the taking of matter from the eyes, sight, it is true, is
every now and then restored: but this matter is not matter, foreign in
relation to the eye and exterior to it; but one of the component parts
called _humours_ of the eye, which, by losing its transparency having
suspended the faculty of vision, is let out by a lancet; whereupon not
only is the faculty of sight restored, but the part which had been
extirpated restored likewise; and without any expense in the article of

On the supposition of falsity,--quere the use of this circumstance?
_Answer._ To afford support to the conception, that memory and not
imagination was the source from which the story was derived. True it is,
that, instead of support, a circumstance exposed to contradiction would
be an instrument of weakness: if, for example, on the supposition that
Paul had no companions on the road, names indicative of really existing
and well-known persons had been added, to the intimation given in the
_Acts_, of the existence of such companions. But to no such hazard was
the story of the scales exposed: not to any great danger, on the
supposition of the existence of Paul's Ananias: not to any danger at
all, upon the supposition of his non-existence.

But, upon this occasion, now again once more present themselves--present
themselves to the mind's eye--Paul's companions. That they were blinded
at all can scarcely, it has been seen, be believed, if on this matter
the historian himself is believed. For, per Acts ix. 8, "they led him by
the hand:" so, per Paul 1st, Acts xxii. 11, "When I could not see for
the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those that were with
me, I came unto Damascus." But if, notwithstanding so it was that _they_
too were blinded,--how was it with _their_ eyes? Had _their_ eyes scales
upon them? did these scales ever fall off?--if so, by what means were
they made to fall off? _their_ evidence would have been not much, if
anything, less impressive,--and it would have been much less open to
suspicion,--than Paul's evidence, supposing him to have spoken of these
scales--which the historian, to whom, if he is to be believed, their
existence is so well known, did not take upon him to represent Paul as
saying that he did. But if so it was, that, though rendered blind as
Paul's, no scales were superinduced upon, nor consequently made to fall
off, the eyes of those nameless and unknown persons,--how came they to
be superinduced upon and made to fall off from the eyes of their
singularly favoured principal? If, for a length of time more or less
considerable, they really were made blind,--it was, if the historian is
to be believed, by the same cause by which, in the instance of Paul's
eyes, this same effect was produced:--the same cause, to wit an
extraordinary light at noonday. If, whatsoever was the matter with them,
the eyes of these ordinary persons could be set to rights without a
miracle, what need could there be of a miracle for the producing the
same desirable effect in the person of this their leader or master,
extraordinary as this same leader or master was?

TOPIC 4.--_Baptism--was it performed? when, where, by whom, &c.?_

The baptism thus spoken of--was it performed? Yes: if you will believe
the historian, speaking in his own person, speaking in his own
historical account: "And forthwith," in the first place, "Paul
recovered his sight;"--then, when, his sight having been recovered, he
was able to go about as usual,--he arose and was baptized:
baptized--that is say, as from this expression taken by itself any one
would conclude--baptized, as soon as he arose, to wit, as soon as water
could be found for the purpose: that water, which his guest Ananias,
foreknowing what was to come to pass, and what was to be done to make it
come to pass, might naturally be expected to have provided, and this
without any supernatural foresight: in a word, without the expense of
any additional miracle in any shape:--the water being thus ready upon
the spot, and he in equal readiness to administer it.

This, according to the historian, speaking in his own person: but, when
the time comes for giving an account of the matter in the person of Paul
himself,--to wit in the supposed unpremeditated oratorical
speech,--then, for whatever it was that stopped him, (whether the
supposed urgency of the occasion on which the supposed speech was
supposed to be made, or any thing and what else,) so it is, that he
gives not any such information: he leaves the matter to hang in
doubt:--a doubt, which, down to the present day remains unsolved.

A command to this effect is spoken of as having been given: thus much
is said. But, what is not said is--whether to this same command any or
what obedience was paid.

Thus it is that, instead of an _effect_ which it seems desired that we
should consider as being produced, what we see directly stated as being
produced, is nothing more than a _command_--a command, by which, as by
its cause, we are to suppose the effect to have been produced. What is
more, in the same blind way, is intimation given us, of another and very
different effect--_the washing away of sins_--as if produced by the
first-mentioned physical operation;--namely, by that of a man's being
dipped in, or sprinkled with, water: and thus it is, that from a mere
physical operation of the most trivial nature, we are called upon to
infer a spiritual and supernatural effect of the most awful importance;
the spiritual effect stated as if it were produced by the physical
operation, to which it has no perceptible real relation--nothing but the
mere verbal one thus given to it; produced by it, and following it, as
of course--just as if sins were a species of dirt, which, by washing,
could as surely be got off as any other dirt.[9]

And was he then really baptized? If so he was, then also if, speaking in
the person of his hero, the historian is to be believed,--then also, by
this ceremony, the name of the Lord being at the same time called
upon,--then also were his sins washed away; his sins washed away; the
sinner, therefore and thereby, put into the same case as if the sins had
not any of them been ever committed. How can it be understood otherwise?
for if, in and by this passage, intimation--sufficiently perfect
information--is given, that the ceremony was performed--then also is
sufficiently perfect information given, that such was the effect
actually produced by it. "Arise" (Ananias is made to say)--"_Arise and
be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord._"

This is no light matter: if so it really were, that according to the
religion of Jesus, by such a cause, such an effect was on that occasion
produced;--that such effect could, in a word, on any occasion, in any
case be produced,--that _murders_, or (not to embarrass the question
with conceits of local jurisprudence) _killings_ of men--killings of men
by persecution carried on, on a religious account--slaughters of
Christians by non-Christians--could thus, as in Paul's case, be divested
of all guilt, at any rate of all punishment, at the hands of Almighty
Justice;--if impunity could indeed be thus conferred by the sprinkling a
man with water or dipping him in it, then would it be matter of serious
consideration--not only what is the _verity_ of that religion, but what
the _usefulness_ of it, what the usefulness--with reference to the
present life at any rate, not to speak of a life to come: what the
usefulness of it; and on what ground stands its claim to support by all
the powers of factitious punishment and factitious reward, at the hands
of the temporal magistrate.[10]

TOPIC 5.--_Performance of the Promise, supposed to have been made by the
Lord, in favour of Paul, to Ananias._

If the supposed promise is inadequate to the occasion, the supposed
performance is still more inadequate with reference to the promise.

In the supposed promise are two distinguishable parts, and in neither of
them is the one thing needful to be found. Of these two parts, the only
one in which in any direct stage the matter of a promise is contained,
is the one last mentioned: it is the promise to show him, (Paul) what
sufferings he will have to undergo in the course of the career, whatever
it is, in which he is about to engage: to wit, in name and profession,
the preaching the religion of Jesus: "for I will show him," says the
Lord, according to the historian,--"I will show him how great things he
must suffer for my name's sake." If so it was, that upon this promise,
such as it is, performance never followed, the regret for the failure
need not be very great. Whatsoever were the sufferings that he was
predestined to undergo, that which was _not_ in the nature of this
foreshowing, was--the lessening their aggregate amount; that which _was_
in the nature of it was--the making an addition to that same afflicting
aggregate; to wit, by constant and unavoidable anticipation of the
approach of such sufferings.

Of this talk, vague as it is, about sufferings, the obvious enough
object was--the giving exaltation to the idea meant to be conveyed of
the merits of the hero:--an object, which, by this and other means, has
accordingly, down to the present day, in no small degree been
accomplished. So much as to sufferings: as to enjoyments, by any idea
entertained of the enjoyments derived by him from the same source, this
design would have been--not promoted, but counteracted. But, when the
time arrives, whether the mass of suffering was not, to no small amount,
overbalanced by that of his enjoyments--meaning always worldly
sufferings and worldly enjoyments--the reader will be left to judge.

Here then we have the only promise, which in any direct way is
expressed:--a promise which, in the first place would have been useless,
in the next place worse than useless.

TOPIC 6.--_Indirect Promise, that Paul shall spread the Name of Jesus._

In the whole substance of this promise, if there be anything, which,
with reference to the professed end--to wit the giving extension to the
religion of Jesus--would have been of use, it is in the foregoing part
that it must be looked for. In this part then, if there be any such
matter to be found, it will be this: to wit, a promise that he (Paul)
shall bear, and therefore that he shall be enabled to bear, the name of
the Lord, to wit, the name of Jesus, before the classes of persons
specified, to wit, the Gentiles, and kings, and children of Israel: Acts
ix. 15. But, only in an indirect way is this solely material part of the
promise expressed: "He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name," &c.
_i.e._ When I chose him, it was my design that he should do so. But, in
the case of the Lord, according to the picture drawn of him by this
historian, how very inconclusive evidence _intention_ is of _execution_,
there will, in the course of this work, have been abundant occasion to

Bear the name of Jesus? so far, so good. But for this function no such
special and supernatural commission was necessary: without any such
commission, the name of Jesus had been borne to the people at large, if
in this particular the Gospel history is to be believed. Luke ix. 49,
50: "And John answered and said, 'Master, we saw one casting out devils
in thy name: and we forbad him, because he followed not with us.' And
Jesus said unto him, 'Forbid him not, for he that is not against us, is
for us.'" How inadequate soever, with reference to the professed end, to
wit, giving extension to the religion of Jesus, the promise was
perfectly adequate, and commensurate, to what we shall find to be Paul's
real design; to wit, the planting a Gospel of his own, as, and for, and
instead of, the Gospel of Jesus. The Gospel of Jesus was the Gospel of
Jesus: and the Gospel, which, availing himself of the name of Jesus, it
was Paul's design and practice to preach, was, as he himself
declares,--as we shall see him declaring in the plainest and most
express terms,--a Gospel of his own; a Gospel which was not the Gospel
of the Apostles, and which, for fear of its being opposed by them, he
kept studiously concealed from those confidential servants and real
associates of Jesus, as may be seen in the following passages: Gal. i.
9, 11, and 12; "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach
any other Gospel unto you, than that ye have received, let him be
accursed.--But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was
preached of me is not after man.--For I neither received it of man,
neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Gal.
2:2: "And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that
Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles; but privately to them which
were of reputation, lest by any means, I should run, or had run, in

In the course of Paul's dialogue with the voice on the road--that voice
which we are given to understand was the Lord's, _i.e._ Jesus's--the
promise supposed to be made to Paul, it must be remembered, was--the
promise to tell him, when in the city, what he was to do. "What thou
must do," says the historian in his historical account:--"all things
which are appointed for thee to do," says the historian in the supposed
unpremeditated oratorical account, which, in this so often mentioned
first of the speeches, he is supposed by the historian to have

Among all these things,--one thing, which it is manifestly the design of
the historian, as it was that of his hero, to make men believe, was
accomplished: to wit, the satisfying them what was the religious
doctrine, for the dissemination of which the expense of this miracle
was incurred. This, moreover, is the promise; which, in the reading of
the story everybody looks for: this too is the promise which in the
reading of this same story, the believers in the religion of Jesus have
very generally been in the habit of considering as performed. Not in and
by this history, however, will they have any such satisfaction, when the
matter comes to be looked into. For, in respect of this information,
desirable as it is,--Paul is, in this strangely supposed intercourse,
put off--put off to another time and place: put off, for no reason
given, nor for any substantial reason that can be imagined. Further on,
when a show of performing the promise comes to be made, then, instead of
accomplishment, we have more evasion. Instead of furnishing the
information to Paul himself--to Paul directly--for, when the time and
place for performance comes, performance--what the Lord is not supposed
so much as to profess to do, what he professes to do is--to make the
communication to this man, who, his existence being supposed, was an
utter stranger to Paul--namely to this Ananias. Well, and for the
conveying the information, in this indirect and inadequate way--for
conveying it to and through this same Ananias--what is done?--as we have
seen, what amounts to nothing.

When, for affording the information--had any information been intended
to be afforded--the time and place are come; when Ananias and Paul have
been brought together; what is it that, from the information afforded us
by the historian, we are to understand, passed? _Answer_, that, after
the scales had fallen from his eyes, Paul was baptized; that he ate
meat, and that after he had eaten meat he was strengthened:
strengthened, we are warranted to suppose, by the meat which he had so
eaten. Moreover, that somehow or other, in this large city he was
certain days--number not specified,--with certain disciples--neither
names nor number specified,--and preached Christ in the synagogues,
saying that he was the son of God.

Thus far then we are got; and, of the supposed revelation, in all this
time nothing revealed. Promises, put-offs, evasions--and, after all, no

Among the purposes of this work, is the satisfying the reader--not only
that Paul received not any revelation from the Almighty; but that, even
upon his own showing, never did he receive any such revelation: that, on
pretence of his having received it from the Almighty by a special
revelation, he preached indeed a certain doctrine; but that this
doctrine was partly one of his own, contrary to that of Jesus's
apostles, and therefore contrary to that of Jesus: and that, in the way
of revelation, he never did receive anything; neither that doctrine of
his own which he preached, nor anything else.

TOPIC 7.--_Doctrine, supposed to be preached by Paul at Damascus in the

Straightway, if the historian is to be believed;--straightway after
being strengthened by the meat;--and straightway after he had passed the
certain days with the disciples;--then did Paul preach Christ in the
synagogues--preach that he is the son of God.

Here, had he really preached in any such places--here would have been
the time, and the best time, for telling us what, in pursuance of the
supposed revelation, he preached. For, whatever it was, if anything,
that he ever learnt from his supposed revelation, it was not till he had
learnt it, till he made this necessary acquisition, that the time for
beginning to preach in the synagogues in question or anywhere else was
come. And, no sooner had he received it, than then, when it was fresh in
his memory--then was the time for preaching it. But, never having
received any such thing as that which he pretended, and which the
historian has made so many people believe, he received,--no such thing
had he to preach at any time or place.

Whatever of that nature he had had, if he had had at any _time_,
Damascus was not the _place_, at any rate at _that time_, for him to
preach it, or anything else, in synagogues--in any receptacle so
extensively open to the public eye.

Preach, in the name of Jesus--in the name of that Jesus, whose
disciples, and with them whose religion, he now went thither with a
commission to exterminate,--preach in that name he could not, without
proclaiming his own religion--his own perfidy;--his own rebellion,
against the authorities, from which, at his own solicitation, the
commission so granted to him had been obtained:--his own perfidious
contempt--not only of those Jerusalem rulers, but of those Damascus
authorities, from whom, for that important and cruel purpose, he was
sent to receive instruction and assistance. At some seven-and-twenty
years distance in the field of time, and at we know not what distance in
the field of space, probably that between Rome and Damascus, it was as
easy for the historian to affirm the supposed preaching, as to deny it:
but, as to the preaching itself, whether it was within the bounds of
moral possibility, let the reader judge.

TOPIC 8.--_Supposed Amazement of the People of Damascus at this Paul's
supposed preaching of Christ in the Synagogues there._

Had there really been any such preaching, well might have amazement
followed it. But there was no such preaching, therefore no such
amazement. Had there been real preaching, and real amazement produced by
it--what would have been the subject of the amazement! Not so much the
audacity of the preacher--for madmen acting singly are to be seen in but
too great frequency: not so much the audacity of the speaker, as the
supineness of the constituted authorities; for, madmen acting in bodies
in the character of public functionaries have never yet been visible.
And if any such assemblage was ever seen, many such would be seen,
before any one could be seen, whose madness took the course of sitting
still, while an offender against their authority, coming to them single
and without support,--neither bringing with him support, nor finding it
there,--continued, at a public meeting, preaching against them, and
setting their authority at defiance.

TOPIC 9.--_Matter of the Revelation, which, in and by the supposed
unpremeditated Oratorical Account, is supposed to have been made._

Forgetting what, as we have seen, he had so lately been saying in his
own person--in the person of Paul,--he on this occasion, returns to the
subject: and more evasive is the result.

On this occasion--this proper occasion--what is it that he, Paul, takes
upon him to give an account of.--That which the Lord had revealed to
him?--revealed, communicated in the supernatural way of revelation, to
him--Paul? No; but that which, according to him,--if he, and through him
the historian, is to be believed,--the Lord communicated to Ananias
concerning him--Paul. The Almighty having minded to communicate
something to a man, and yet not communicating to that man any part of
it, but communicating the whole of it to another! What a proceeding
_this_ to attribute to the Almighty, and upon such evidence!

Still we shall see, supposing it communicated, and from such a source
communicated--still we shall see it amounted to nothing: to
nothing--always excepted the contradiction to what, in relation to this
subject, had, by this same historian, been a little before asserted.

Observe what were the _purposes_, for which, by this Ananias, Paul is
supposed to be made to understand, that God--the God, says he, of our
fathers--had chosen him.

1. Purpose the first--"To know his will." His will, respecting what? If
respecting anything to the great purpose here in question, respecting
the new doctrine which, to this Paul, to the exclusion of the Apostles
of Jesus, is all along supposed to have been revealed. Of no such
doctrine is any indication anywhere in these accounts to be found.

2. Purpose the second--"And see this just one." Meaning, we are to
understand, the person all along spoken of under the name of the Lord;
to wit, Jesus. But, in the vision in question, if the historian is to be
believed, no Jesus did Paul see. All that he saw was a light,--an
extraordinary strong light at midday; so strong, that after it, till the
scales fell from his eyes, he saw not any person in any place: and this
light, whatever it was, was seen by all that were with him, as well as
by him.

3. Purpose the third--"And shouldest hear the voice of his mouth." Oh!
yes; if what the historian says in that other place is to be
believed--hear a voice he did; and if the historian is to be again
believed, that voice was the Lord's. But, by hearing this voice, how was
he distinguished? those that were with him, according to the historian's
own account, heard it as well as he. And what was he the wiser? This
also, it is hoped, has been rendered sufficiently visible--just nothing.

Purpose the fourth and last--"Thou shalt be his witness (the Lord's
witness), of everything thou hast seen and heard:"--that is, of that
which was nothing, and that which amounted to nothing.

Unhappily, even this is not all: for, before the subject is concluded,
we must go back and take up once more the supposed premeditated and
studied speech, which, on the second occasion, the self-constituted
Apostle is supposed to have made to the Sub-king of the Jews, Agrippa,
sitting by the side of his superior--the Roman Proconsul, Festus.

In the course of this long-studied speech,--to whom, is the
communication, such as it is,--to whom, in an immediate way, and without
the intervention of any other person, is it supposed to be made? Not to
Ananias;--not to any such superfluous and unknown personage;--not to
Ananias, but to Paul himself: viz. to the very person _by_ whom this
same communication, supposed to have been made to him, is supposed to be
reported (Acts xxvi. 16 to 18): to this principal, or rather, only
person concerned:--to this one person, the communication, such as it is,
and to him the whole of it at once, is supposed to be made.

Here then is this Ananias discarded:--discarded with this vision of his,
and that other vision which we have seen within it: the communication,
which, speaking in the first place in his own person,--and then, on one
occasion, in the person of this same hero of his--the historian had just
been declaring, was made--not to Paul, but to Ananias;--this
all-important communication, speaking again in this same third person,
but on another occasion--the discourse being supposed to be a
long-studied one--he makes this same Paul declare, was given--not to any
Ananias, not to any other person--but directly to him, Paul, himself.

Let us now see what it amounts to. In the most logical manner, it begins
with declaring the _purposes_ it is made for; and, when the purposes are
declared, all that it does is done. Ver. 16. "But now: rise, and stand
upon thy feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose."...In
this purpose are several parts: let us look into them one by one.

1. Part 1. "To make thee (says the Lord) a minister and a witness, both
of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I
will appear unto thee." But, as to the things which he had seen, by this
same account they amounted to nothing but a glare of light. Here then
was the light to _bear witness of_, if it was worth while: but, as to
the _ministering_, here was nothing at all to minister to: for the light
was past, and it required no ministering to, when it was present. Had it
been the light of a lamp--yes; but there was no lamp in the case.

Thus much, as to these things which he had seen. Thereupon comes the
mention of those things "in the which, the Lord is supposed to say, I
will appear unto thee!" Here, as before, we have another put-off. If, in
the way in question, and of the sort in question, there had been
anything said, here was the time, the only time, for saying it. For
immediately upon the mention of this communication, such as it is,
follows the mention of what was due in consequence of it, in obedience
to the commands supposed to be embodied in it, and by the light of the
information supposed to be conveyed by it. "Whereupon, says he, King
Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision..."

Part 2. The purpose continued.--"Delivering thee from the people, and
from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee." This, we see, is but a
continuation of the same put-off: no revelation, no doctrine, no Gospel
here. As to the doctrine--the Gospel--that Gospel which he preached, and
which he said was his own, no such Gospel is on this occasion given to
him; and, not being so much as reported to have been given to him on any
other occasion, was it not therefore of his own making, and without any
such supernatural assistance, as Christians have been hitherto made to
believe was given to him?

As to the deliverance from the people and from the Gentiles, this is a
clause, put in with reference to the dangers, into which the
intemperance of his ambition had plunged him, and from whence in part it
had been his lot to escape. Here then the sub-king and his Roman
superior were desired to behold the accomplishment of a prophecy: but
the prophecy was of that sort which came after the fact.--"Unto whom now
I send thee..." In this they were desired to see a continuation of the
prophecy: for, as to this point, it was, in the hope of the prophet, of
the number of those, which not only announce, but by announcing
contribute to, their own accomplishment.

Part 3. The purpose continued.--"To open their eyes, and to turn them
from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God..." Still
the same nothingness: to his life's end a man might be hearing stories
such as these, and still at the end of it be none the wiser:--no
additional doctrine--no additional gospel--no declaration at all--no
gospel at all--here.

Part 4. The purpose continued and concluded... "that they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by
faith that is in me." Good. But this is not doctrine; this is not
gospel; this is not itself the promised doctrine: but it is a
description of the effect, of which the promised doctrine was to be the

Now it is, as we have just seen, that Paul is represented as commencing
his preaching, or sallying forth upon his mission; preaching, from
_instructions_ received in a supernatural way--received by revelation.
Yet, after all, no such _instructions_ has he received. Thrice has the
historian--once in his own person, twice in that of his hero--undertaken
to produce those instructions. But by no one, from first to last, have
they anywhere been produced.

Truly, then, of his own making was this Gospel which Paul went
preaching; of his own making, as well as of his own using; that Gospel,
which he himself declares to his Galatians was not of man, was not,
therefore, of those Apostles, to whom the opposition made by him is thus

When, after having given in his own person an account of a supposed
occurrence,--an historian, on another occasion, takes up the same
occurrence; and, in the person of another individual, gives of that same
occurrence another account different from, and so different from, as to
be irreconcileable with it; can this historian, with any propriety, be
said to be himself a believer in this second account which he thus
gives? Instead of giving it as a true account, does he not, at any rate,
in respect of all the several distinguishable circumstances in which it
differs from the account given in his own person--give it in the
character of a fable? a fable invented on the occasion on which the
other person is supposed to speak--invented in the intent that it shall
promote the purpose for which this speech is supposed to be made? Yet
this account, which in the eyes of the very man by whom it is delivered
to us, is but a fable, even those to whom in this same character of a
fable it is delivered--this account it is that _Christians_ have thus
long persisted in regarding, supporting, and acting upon, as if it were
from beginning to end, a truth--a great body of truth!--O Locke! O
Newton! where was your discernment!

On such evidence would any Judge fine a man a shilling? Would he give
effect to a claim to that amount? Yet such is the evidence, on the
belief of which the difference between happiness and misery, both in
intensity as well as duration, infinite, we are told, depends!



By the nature of the acts which are the objects of it, the command, we
see, is necessarily pregnant with information: but now comes the
information given as such--the piece of information with which the
command is followed. This information--in and by which another, an
antecedent vision, is brought upon the carpet, and communicated--has
been reserved for a separate consideration.

This information is in its complexion truly curious: to present a clear
view of it, is not an altogether easy task. The information thus given
by the Lord--given to this Ananias--this information, of which Paul is
the subject, is--what? that, on some former occasion, neither time nor
place mentioned, he, Ananias, to whom the Lord is giving the
information, had been seen by this same Paul performing, with a certain
intention, a certain action; the intention being--that, in relation to
this same Paul, a certain effect should be produced--to wit, that of his
receiving his sight. The Lord declares, Acts ix. 12, to Ananias, that
Paul "had _seen in a vision_ a man, Ananias himself, coming and putting
his hand on him, that he (Paul) might receive his sight."

Well then--this action which the Lord thus informs Ananias that he,
Ananias, had performed,--did he, at any time and place, ever perform it?
Oh, no; that is not necessary: the question is not a fair one; for it
was only in a vision that it was performed. Well then--if it was only in
a vision that it was performed, then, in reality, it was never
performed. The Lord said that it had been performed; but in so saying
the Lord had said that which was not true. The Lord had caused him to
believe this--the Lord knowing all the while that it was not true. Such
is the deed, which, according to our historian, the Lord relates himself
to have achieved.

But the _intention_, was that true? Oh, no; nor was there any need of
its being so: for the intention, with which the act was supposed to be
performed, was part and parcel of the divinely-taught untruth.

The effect, the production of which had been the object of the
intention, was it then--had it then been--produced? Wait a little; no,
not at that time. But the time was not then as yet come; and now it is
coming apace.

But this effect--what is it? a man's receiving his sight; this same
Paul's receiving his sight; this same Paul, of whom Ananias knew
nothing, nor had ever heard anything, except what he had just been
hearing--to wit, that, by a man of that name, he, Ananias, had once been
seen--seen to do so and so--he, all the while--he, the doer, knowing
nothing of what he was doing--knowing nothing at all about the matter.
However, only in a vision did all this pass; which being the case, no
proper subject of wonder was afforded to him by such otherwise somewhat
extraordinary ignorance.

But this sight--which, at the hands of this seer of visions, to whom
this information is thus addressed, this stranger, whose name was still
_Saul_, was to receive--how happened it that it was to him, Ananias,
that he came to receive it? This faculty--at his birth, was he not, like
any other man, in possession of it? If he was, what was become of it? In
this particular, the information thus supposed to have been given by
Omniscience, was rather of the scantiest.

Supposing the story to have any foundation in truth,--such, to Ananias,
it could not but have appeared; and, supposing him bold enough to ask
questions, or even to open his mouth, a question, in the view of finding
a supply for the deficiency, is what the assertion would naturally have
for its first result. No such curiosity, however, has Ananias: instead
of seeking at the hands of Omniscience an information, the demand for
which was so natural, the first use he makes of his speech, or rather
would have made of it, if, instead of being imagined in a vision, the
state of things in question had been true, is--the furnishing to
Omniscience a quantity of information of a sort in no small degree
extraordinary. For, hereupon begins a speech, in and by which Ananias
undertakes to give Omniscience to understand, what reports, in relation
to this same Paul, had reached his (Ananias's) ears. What he is willing
thus to _speak_ is more, however, than Omniscience is willing to _hear:_
the story is cut short, and the story-teller bid to "go his way." "Then
Ananias," says the text, Acts ix. 13. "Then Ananias answered, Lord, I
have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints
at Jerusalem. And here he hath authority from the Chief Priests to bind
all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way;
for..." &c.

But, though thus cut short, he is far from being in disgrace. So far
from it, that he is taken into confidence. Then comes--still in a
vision, and the same vision--information of the till then secret acts
and intentions of Omnipotence in relation to this same Paul: he had
actually been "chosen" as "a vessel to bear the Lord's name before the
Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:" and the determination
had been taken, says the Lord in this vision, "to show him how great
things he must suffer for my name's sake." "For I will show him," says
the Acts, ix. 16, "how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."
And, with the announcement thus made of this determination, the
historical account, thus by the historian in his own person given, of
this same vision, closes.

Thus highly distinguished, and favoured with a confidence, equalling, if
not surpassing, any which, according to any of the Gospel accounts,
appears ever to have been imparted to any one of the Apostles, how comes
it that Ananias has never been put in the number of the _Saints?_
meaning always the Calendar _Saints_--those persons, to wit, who, as a
mark of distinction and title of honour, behold their ordinary names
preceded by this extraordinary one? Still the answer is: Aye, but this
was but in vision: and of a vision one use is--that of the matter of
which all that there is _not_ a use for, is left to be taken for false;
all that there _is_ a use for, is taken, and is to pass, for true. When,
by the name of Ananias, who, humanly speaking, never existed but in
name, the service for which it was invented has been performed--to wit,
the giving a support to Paul and his vision,--it has done all that was
wanted of it: there is no, further use for it.

Supposing that thirdly mentioned vision really seen, at what point of
time shall we place the seeing of it? In this too there seems to be no
small difficulty.

Between the moment at which Paul is said to have had his vision, if a
vision that can be called in which, the time being midday, he saw
nothing but a glare of light,--between the moment of this vision, of
which a loss of sight was the instantaneous consequence--between the
moment of this loss of sight and the moment of the recovery of it, the
interval is mentioned: three days it was exactly. Acts ix. 9, "And he
was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink."

The time during which, in verse 9, he has just been declared to have
been the whole time without sight,--this is the time, within which he is
declared--declared, if the historian is to be believed, declared by the
Lord himself--to have seen this introductory vision--this preparatory
vision, for which it is so difficult to find a use. And thus it is, that
in a vision, though _vision_ means seeing, it is not necessary a man
should have sight.

Meantime, of all these matters, on which his own existence, not to speak
of the salvation of mankind, so absolutely depends, not a syllable is he
to know, but through the medium of this so perfectly obscure and
questionable personage--this personage so completely unknown to
him--this same Ananias.

Three whole days he is kept from doing anything: during these three
whole days the business of the miracle stands still. For what purpose is
it thus kept at a stand? Is it that there might be time sufficient left
for his learning to see, when his sight is returned, this preparatory
vision, by which so little is done, and for which there is so little



As to the matter of fact designated by the words _Paul's conversion_, so
far as regards _outward_ conversion, the truth of it is out of all
dispute:--that he was _converted, i.e._ that after having been a
persecutor of the votaries of the new religion, he turned full round,
and became a leader. Whether the so illustriously victorious effect, had
for its cause a supernatural intercourse of Paul with Jesus after his
resurrection and ascension, and thence for its accompaniment an _inward_
conversion--in this lies the matter in dispute.

From those, by whom, in its essential particular, the statement is
regarded as being true, a natural question may be--If the whole was an
invention of his own, to what cause can we refer the other vision, the
vision of Ananias? To what purpose should he have been at the pains of
inventing, remembering, and all along supporting and defending, the
vision of the unknown supposed associate? Answer.--To the purpose, it
should seem, of giving additional breadth to the basis of his

Among that people, in those times, the story of a vision was so common
an article,--so difficultly distinguishable from, so easily confounded
with, on the one hand the true story of a dream, on the other hand a
completely false story of an occurrence, which, had it happened, would
have been a supernatural one, but which never did happen,--that a basis,
so indeterminate and aërial, would seem to have been in danger of not
proving strong enough to support the structure designed to be reared
upon it.

On the supposition of falsity, the case seems to be--that, to
distinguish his vision from such as in those days were to be found among
every man's stories, as well as in every history,--and which, while
believed by some, were disbelieved and scorned by others,--either Paul
or his historian bethought himself of this contrivance of a _pair_ of
visions:--a pair of corresponding visions, each of which should, by
reference and acknowledgment, bear witness and give support to the
other: a _pair_ of visions: for, for simplicity of conception, it seems
good not to speak any further, of the antecedent vision interwoven so
curiously in the texture of one of them, after the similitude of the
flower termed by some gardeners _hose in hose_.

Of this piece of machinery, which in the present instance has been seen
played off with such brilliant success upon the theological theatre, the
glory of the invention may, it is believed, be justly claimed, if not by
Paul, by his historian. With the exception of one that will be mentioned
presently[11], no similar one has, upon inquiry, been found to present
itself, in any history, Jewish or Gentile.

The other pair of visions there alluded to, is--that which is also to be
found in the Acts: one of them ascribed to Saint Peter, the other to the
centurion Cornelius.

Paul, or his historian?--The alternative was but the suggestion of the
first moment. To a second glance the claim of the historian presents
itself as incontestable. In the case of Peter's pair of visions, suppose
the story the work of invention, no assignable competitor has the
historian for the honour of it: in the case of Paul's pair of visions,
supposing _that_ the only pair, the invention was at least as likely to
have been the work of the historian as of the hero: add to this pair the
other pair--that other pair that presents itself in this same work of
this same history--all competition is at an end. In the case of even the
most fertile genius, copying is an easier task than invention:
and, where the original is of a man's own invention, copying is
an operation still easier than in the opposite case. That an
occurrence thus curious should find so much as a single inventor,
is a circumstance not a little extraordinary: but, that two separate
wits should jump in concurrence in the production of it, is a
supposition that swells the extraordinariness, and with it the
improbability, beyond all bounds.



Per Acts, in the historical account, is stated the existence of a
commission:--granters, the Jerusalem rulers; persons to whom addressed,
Paul himself at Jerusalem; and the synagogues, _i.e._ the rulers of the
synagogues, at Damascus: object, the bringing in custody, from Damascus
to Jerusalem, all Christians found there: all adult Christians at any
rate, females as well as males; at Paul's own _desire_, adds this same
historical account (ix. 2.); "for to be punished," adds Paul 1st
supposed unpremeditated oratorical account, xxii. 5. In the supposed
premeditated oratorical account, Paul 2nd, the existence of authority
and commission granted to him by the Chief Priests is indeed mentioned,
xxvi. 12: but, of the object nothing is said.

In the unpremeditated oratorical account, such is the boldness of the
historian, nothing will serve him but to make the orator call to witness
the constituted authorities--the Jerusalem rulers--whoever they were,
that were present,--to acknowledge the treachery and the aggravated
contempt he had been guilty of towards themselves or their predecessors:
towards themselves, if it be in the literal sense that what on this
occasion he says is to be understood: "As also the High Priest doth bear
me witness, and all the estate of the Elders, from whom also I received
letters," &c., Acts xxii. 5. In the premeditated oratorical account, the
boldness of the orator is not quite so prominent; he says--it was "with
authority and commission from the Chief Priests" at Jerusalem, that he
went to Damascus; but, for the correctness of this statement of his, he
does not now call upon them, or any of them, to bear witness.

In respect of the description of the persons, of whom the Jerusalem
rulers, exercising authority in their behalf, were composed,--the
conformity, as between the several accounts, is altogether entire. In
the historical account, it is the authority of the High Priest, and the
High Priest alone, that is exercised: in the unpremeditated oratorical
account, it is that of the High Priest and all the estate of the Elders:
in the premeditated account, it is that of the Chief Priests: nothing
said either of High Priests or Elders.

Neither, in the supposed unpremeditated oratorical account, is it
stated--that, at the time and place of the tumult, the rulers thus
called to witness, or any of them, were actually on the spot. But, the
spot being contiguous to the Temple--the Temple, out of which Paul had
been that instant dragged, before there had been time enough for
accomplishing the determination that had been formed for killing
him,--the distance, between the spot, at which Paul with the surrounding
multitude was standing, Paul being under the momentary protection of the
Roman commander--between this spot and the spot, whatever it was, at
which the question might have been put to them, or some of them, could
not be great.

On the part of the historian, the boldness, requisite for the ascribing
the correspondent boldness to the orator, may be believed without much
difficulty. The materials for writing being at hand, there was no more
danger in employing them in the writing of these words, than in the
writing of an equal number of other words.

Not so on the part of the orator himself. For, supposing the appeal
made, the multitude might have saved themselves the trouble of putting
him to death: the constituted authorities whom he was thus
invoking--those rulers, against whom, by his own confession, he had
committed this treason--would have been ready enough to proceed against
him in the regular way, and take the business out of the hands of an
unauthorized mob.

The truth of the story, and for that purpose the trustworthiness of the
historian, being to be defended at any rate,--by some people, all this
contradiction, all this mass of self-contradiction, will of course be
referred to _artlessness_, or, to take the choice of another eulogistic
word, to _simplicity:_ and, of trustworthiness, this amiable quality,
whatever may be the name given to it, will be stated as constituting
sufficient proof. No such design, as that of deceiving, inhabited, it
will be said, his artless bosom: no such design was he capable of
harbouring: for, supposing any such wicked design harboured by him,
could he have been thus continually off his guard?

But--by all this self-contradiction, the quality really proved is--not
artlessness, but weakness: and, with the desire of deceiving, no degree
of weakness, be it ever so high, is incompatible. By weakness, when
risen even to insanity, artfulness is not excluded: and, in the
fashioning, from beginning to end, of all this story, art, we see, is by
no means deficient, how unhappily soever applied.

But the story being such as it is, what matters it, as to the credence
due to it, in what state, in respect of probity, was the author's mind?
Being, as it is, to such a degree untrustworthy and incredible, as that,
in so many parts of it, it is impossible it should have been true, the
truth of it is impossible: what matters it then, whether it be to the
weakness of the moral, or to that of the intellectual, quarter of the
author's mind, that the falsity is to be ascribed?

Not only in the whole does this history, anonymous as it is, present
satisfactory marks of _genuineness_,--that is, of being written by the
sort of person it professes to be written by, namely, a person who in
the course of Paul's last excursion was taken into his suite; but in
many parts, so does it of _historic verity_. True or not true,--like any
other history ancient or modern, it has a claim to be provisionally
taken for true, as to every point, in relation to which no adequate
reason appears for the contrary: improbability, for example, of the
supposed facts as related, contradictoriness to itself,
contradictoriness to other more satisfactory evidence, or probable
subjection to sinister and mendacity-prompting interest.

But, under so much self-contradiction as hath been seen,--whether _bias_
be or be not considered, could any, the most ordinary fact, be regarded
as being sufficiently proved?

Meantime, let not any man make to himself a pretence for rejecting the
important position thus offered to his consideration;--let him not, for
fear of its being the truth, shut his eyes against that which is
presented to him as and for the truth;--let him not shut his eyes, on
any such pretence, as that of its being deficient in the quality of
_seriousness_. If, indeed, there be any such duty, religious or moral,
as that of _seriousness_; and that the stating as absurd that which is
really absurd is a violation of that duty;--at that rate, _seriousness_
is a quality, incompatible with the delivery and perception of truth on
all subjects, and in particular on this of the most vital importance:
seriousness is a disposition to cling to falsehood, and to reject truth.
In no part has any ridicule _ab extra_, been employed:--ridicule, by
allusion made to another object, and that an irrelevant one.[12]



Meantime, if all these miraculous visions and other miracles must needs
be supposed,--a cluster of other miracles, though not mentioned, must be
supposed along with them: miracles, for the production of which a still
greater mass of supernatural force must have been expended. Here, their
existence being supposed, here were those companions of his, who,
unknown in names and number, saw or saw not all or anything that he saw,
and heard or heard not all or anything that he heard. These men, at any
rate, if so it be that they themselves, blind or not blind, led him, as
it is said they did, into the city, because he could not see to guide
himself,--must, in some way or other, have perceived that something in
no small degree extraordinary had happened to him: so extraordinary,
that, in the condition in which he was, and in which, if they saw
anything, they saw him to be--no such commission, as that, for the
execution of which, if, as well as companions, they were his destined
assistants, they were put under his command,--could, in any human
probability, receive execution at his hands. If they were apprised of
this commission of his, could they, whether with his consent or even
without his consent, avoid repairing to the constituted authorities to
tell them what had happened? This commission of his, so important in
itself, and granted to a man of letters by men of letters, could not but
have been in writing: and accordingly, in the form of letters we are, by
the historian, expressly informed it was. Of the existence of these
letters, on the tenor of which their future proceedings as well as his
depended,--these conductors of his, if _he_ did not, with or without his
consent would of course have given information, to the rulers to whom
these same letters were addressed. Not being struck dumb, nor having,
amongst the orders given by the voice, received any order to keep
silence, or so much as to keep secret anything of what little they had
heard, they would scarcely, under these circumstances, have maintained
either silence or secrecy. The historian, knowing what he (the
historian) intended to do with his hero--knowing that, at three days'
end, he intended not only to make scales fall from his eyes, but to fill
his belly,--might not feel any great anxiety on his account. But Paul
himself, if he, in the condition he is represented in by the
historian,--was, for three days together, with scales on his eyes, and
nothing in his stomach: and, at the end of the three days, as ignorant
as at the beginning, whether the scales would, at any time, and when,
drop off, and his stomach receive a supply: in such a state surely, a
man could not but feel a curiosity, not unattended with impatience, to
know when and how all this was to end. Under these circumstances, by
some means or other, would all these tongues have been to be stopped:
otherwise, instead of the house of Judas in Straight-street, Paul might
have had no other place, to receive his visitor in, than the town jail,
or some one other of those strong places, into which visitors do not
always find it more easy to gain entrance, than inmates to get out.

These tongues then--Paul's tongue, his companions' tongues--this
assemblage of tongues, all so strongly urged to let themselves loose--by
what could they have been stopped? If, by anything, by a correspondent
cluster of miracles--nothing less.

That, from Jerusalem, about the time in question, Paul went to
Damascus,--and that it was with some such letters in his
possession,--seems, as will be seen presently, altogether
probable;--also, that when there, he acted in the way his historian
speaks of, betraying the confidence reposed in him by the constituted
authorities, and joining with those whom he had solicited and received a
commission to destroy;--that these were among the circumstances of his
alleged conversion, seems probable enough:--though he, with all the need
he had of miracles, if any were to be had, gives not--in what he
himself, writing to his Galatian converts, says of his conversion--any
of the slightest hint of them.

As to his conversion--meaning his _outward_ conversion, which was all
that was necessary to the production of the effect so notoriously
produced by him--to _that_, it will be seen, no miracle was necessary:
nothing but what belonged to the ordinary course of things. As to
companions on the journey--whether he had any or not; and if he had any,
whether they were attendants on his orders, or acquaintances of his not
under his orders; or mere strangers into whose company accident threw
him--all this we must satisfy ourselves, as well as we can, under the
ignorance of.

That, for giving effect, by his means, to the sort of commission he went
entrusted with, the power of local authorities was trusted to, is a
supposition altogether natural. For bringing to Jerusalem "bound, for to
be punished (Acts ix. 2. xxii. 4), all the Christians that could be
found in Damascus, both men and women," if the Damascus rulers were
favourable to the persecuting design, no large force from Jerusalem
could be needful. Even a small one would be superfluous: and, by a
force, great or small, sent from the one set of constituted authorities,
a slight would be shown to the other.



Of Paul's _outward_ conversion--conversion from the character of an
authorized persecutor of the religion of Jesus, to that of a preacher of
a religion preached in the name of Jesus--such, as we have seen, is the
account given in the Acts; given by the author of the Acts, and by him
alone. For, what ought never to be out of mind, if instead of two
different accounts--declared by him as having been, on different
occasions, delivered by Paul--he had given two hundred, still they
would have been his:--not Paul's, but his.

All this while, now for little less than 1800 years, from Paul's own pen
we have an account of this his conversion: and, of any such story as
that of its being effected through the instrumentality of visions,--in
this account of his, not any the slightest trace is to be found;--not
any the slightest allusion to it.

At the time of his giving this account--supposing this story of the mode
of his conversion true--supposing even that, though false, it had been
got up and propagated--at the time of his giving the account which bears
such unquestionable marks of being his, was the occasion such as to
render it probable, that he could thus have omitted all allusion, to an
occurrence at once so extraordinary and so important? If not, then so it
is--that, by the silence of Paul himself, the story related by his
historian is virtually contradicted.

The occasion here in view is--that of his writing the so often
mentioned, and so often about to be mentioned, Epistle to his Galatian

At the time of his writing this letter, so we shall have occasion to see
over and over again in the tenor of it, he was acting in
opposition--declared and violent opposition--to the Apostles: struggling
with them for the mastery; declaring that to them he was not beholden
for anything;--that the Gospel he preached was not their Gospel, but a
Gospel of his own, received by him directly from Jesus;--declaring, that
in Jerusalem itself, the seat of their authority, he had preached this
Gospel of his, which was not theirs; but confessing, at the same time,
that when he did so, it was in a secret manner, for fear of the
opposition, which he well knew, had they known of it, they could not
but have made to it.

In this state of contention--supposing any such miracle as that in
question wrought in his favour--was it in the nature of the case that he
should have failed to avail himself of it?--to avail himself of the
account which the truth--the important truth--would have so well
warranted him in giving of it? Supposing it true, had there at that time
been witnesses to it--any percipient witnesses--the supposed
Ananias--the supposed companions on the road,--would he have failed
making his appeal to their testimony? Supposing even that there were
none such left, the truth of the occurrence--of an occurrence of such
momentous importance, would it not have inspired him with boldness,
sufficient for the assertion of it, with all that intensity for which
the case itself furnished so sufficient a warrant, and which the
vehemence of his character would have rendered it so impossible for him
to avoid? Supposing even the story an utter falsehood, yet, had it been
at this time got up and promulgated, could he, if he saw any tolerable
prospect of its obtaining credence, have failed to endeavour to avail
himself of it?

No, surely. Yet, in this his address, made to his Galatian disciples,
and to all such inhabitants of that country, as he could see a prospect
of numbering among his disciples--in this address, written under a sense
of the necessity he was under, of making for his support against the
Apostles, the most plausible case his ingenuity could enable him to
make,--not any, so much as the slightest, hint of any such miracle, does
he venture to give. _Revelation! revelation!_--on this single word--on
the ideas, which, in the minds with which he had to deal, he hoped to
find associated with that word--on this ground, without any other, did
he see himself reduced to seek support in his contest with the Apostles.
Revelation? revelation from Jesus? from the Lord, speaking from heaven?
from the Almighty? On what occasion, in what place, at what time, in
what company, if in any, was it thus received? To no one of these
questions does he venture to furnish an answer--or so much as an
allusion to an answer. Why?--even because he had none to give. He had
been a persecutor of the disciples of Jesus--this he confesses and
declares: he became a preacher in the name of Jesus--this he also
declares; a preacher in the name of him, of whose disciples--the whole
fellowship of them--he had been a persecutor--a blood-thirsty and
blood-stained persecutor. His conversion, whatever it amounted to, how
came it about? what was the cause, the time, the place, the mode of it;
who the percipient witnesses of it? To all these questions,
_revelation_; in the single word is contained all the answer, which--in
this letter--in this plea of his--he, audacious as he was, could summon
up audacity enough to give. Why, on so pressing an occasion, this
forbearing? Why? but that, had he ventured to tell any such story, that
story being a false one, there were his opponents--there were the
Apostles, or men in connection with the Apostles--to contradict it--to
confute it.

Had he made reference to any specific, to any individual, portion of
place and time, the pretended facts might have found themselves in
contradiction with some real and provable facts. But, time as well as
place being left thus unparticularized,--he left himself at liberty, on
each occasion, if called upon for time or place, to assign what portion
of time and place the occasion should point out to him as being most
convenient;--best adapted to the purpose of giving lodgment to an
appropriate falsity;--and without danger, or with little danger, of

At distinct and different times, _five_ interviews we shall see him
have, with the Apostles--one or more of them: the first interview
being,--according to his own account, as given in this very Epistle,--at
little if anything more, than three years' distance from the time of his
quitting the occupation of persecution. Then, says he, it was, Gal. i.
17 and 18, that "I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him
fifteen days." In all these days, is it possible, that, if the
conversion miracle had really taken place as stated in the Acts, with
the companions on the road and Ananias for witnesses,--he should not
have related to Peter, and, if not spontaneously, at any rate in answer
to such questions as a man in Peter's situation could not fail to put,
have brought to view, every the minutest circumstance? This then was the
time--or at least _one_ time--of his trial, on the question, _revelation
or no revelation_. Here then, when, with such vehemence, declaring--not
his independence merely, but his superiority, in relation to the
Apostles--and _that_ on no other ground than this alleged revelation,
was it, had the judgment in that trial been in his favour--was it
possible, that he should have omitted to avail himself of it? Yet no
such attempt, we see, does he make:--no attempt, to avail himself of
the issue of the trial, or of anything that passed on the occasion of
it. Altogether does he keep clear of any allusion to it: and indeed, if
his historian--the author of the Acts--is to be believed,--with very
good reason: for, whatever it was that, on that occasion, he said, in
the Acts it is expressly declared that, by the disciples at least, he
was utterly disbelieved. Acts ix. 26: "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," &c.
Why it was, that, after the disciples had thus unanimously declared him
and his story unworthy of credit, the Apostles gave him notwithstanding
a sort of reception;--and that, by no countenance, which they on that
occasion gave him, was any ground afforded, for the supposition that any
more credence was given to him and his story, by them than by the
disciples at large,--will be explained in its place.


     TABLE--_Showing, at one View, the Passages, from which the
     Inference is drawn, that Paul's inward Conversion was never
     believed, by any of the Apostles, or their Disciples._

_Explanations._--The Interviews here seen are between Paul and one or
more Apostles. Number of Interviews five,--of Visits the same: whereof,
by Paul to Peter, four,--by Peter to Paul,--one: besides the one
supposed fictitious. Of the Accounts, Paul's as far as it goes, is taken
for the standard. Of Paul's Epistles the genuineness is out of dispute:
Acts history is anonymous. Paul's evidence is that of an alleged
percipient witness. His historian's,--as to these matters, mostly that
of a narrator,--narrating--but from hearsay, Probably from Paul's.

INTERVIEWS, A.D. 35 (I); A.D. 52 (III).

As per Paul, Gal. A.D. 58.

1. _Introduction._

Gal. 1:1. "Paul, an apostle, not from men, neither through man, but
through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead,
and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this
present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father: to whom
be the glory for ever and ever. Amen."

2. _Independence Declared._

Gal. 1:6. "I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called
you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another
gospel: only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the
gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach
unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him
be anathema. As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man
preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him
be anathema. For am I now persuading men, or God? or am I seeking to
please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of

"For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was
preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it
from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of
Jesus Christ."

3. _Conversion Spoken Of._

Ver. 13. "For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the
Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God,
and made havock of it: and I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many
of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for
the traditions of my fathers. But when it was the good pleasure of God,
who separated me, even from my mother's womb and called me through his
grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the
Gentiles; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went
I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me: but I went away
into Arabia; and again I returned unto Damascus."

4. _Account of Interview I._

Ver. 18. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas,
and tarried with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none,
save James the Lord's brother. Now touching the things which I write
unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Then I came into the regions of
Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown by face unto the churches of
Judea which were in Christ: but they only heard say, He that once
persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havock; and
they glorified God in me."

5. _Account of Interview III. II._

Gal. 2:1. "Then after the space of fourteen years I went up again to
Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. And I went up by
revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the
Gentiles, but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any
means I should be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus who
was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: and that
because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to
spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring
us into bondage: to whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not
for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But
from those who were reputed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it
maketh no matter to me: God accepteth not man's person)--they, I say,
who were of repute imparted nothing to me: but contrariwise, when they
say that I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision,
even as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision, for he that wrought
for Peter unto the apostleship of the circumcision wrought for me also
unto the Gentiles."

6. _Partition Treaty._

Ver. 9. "And when they perceived the grace that was given unto me,
James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to
me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto
the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision; only they would that we
should remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do."

7. _Jealousy, Notwithstanding._

Ver. 11. "But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I resisted him to the
face, because he stood condemned. For before that certain came from
James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they came, he drew back
and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision. And
the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even
Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that
they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said
unto Cephas before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the
Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to
live as do the Jews? We being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the
Gentiles, yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
law, save through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ
Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the
works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be
justified. But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we
ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a minister of sin? God
forbid. For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove
myself a transgressor. For I through the law died unto the law, that I
might live unto God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and
yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live
in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who
loved me, and gave himself up for me. I do not make void the grace of
God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for


_Paul's Jerusalem Visit I._

Reconciliation Visit.

(_Departure from Damascus._)

Acts 9:23-30. "And when many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel
together to kill him: but their plot became known to Saul. And they
watched the gates also day and night that they might kill him: but his
disciples took him by night, and let him down through the wall, lowering
him in a basket."

(_Arrival at Jerusalem--Results._)

Ver. 26. "And when he was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself
to the disciples: and they were all afraid of him, not believing 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 at Damascus he had preached boldly in the
name of Jesus. And he was with them going in and going out at Jerusalem,
preaching boldly in the name of the Lord."


Ver. 29. "And he spake and disputed against the Grecian Jews; but they
went about to kill him. And when the brethren knew it, they brought him
down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus."



In Paul's First Account.

Acts 22:17-21. "And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to
Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, and
saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of
Jerusalem: because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning
me. And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in
every synagogue them that believed on thee: and when the blood of
Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting,
and keeping the garments of them that slew him. And he said unto me,
Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles."


_Paul's Jerusalem Visit II._

Money-Bringing Visit.

Acts 11:22-30. "And the report concerning them came to the ears of the
church which was in Jerusalem: and then sent forth Barnabas as far as
Antioch: who, when he was come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad;
and he exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave
unto the Lord: for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of
faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. And he went forth to
Tarsus to seek for Saul: and when he had found him, he brought him unto
Antioch. And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they were
gathered together with the church, and taught much people; and that the
disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

"Now in these days there came down prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit
that there should be a great famine over all the world: which came to
pass in the days of Claudius. And the disciples, every man according to
his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in
Judea: which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of
Barnabas and Saul."


_Paul's Jerusalem Visit III._

Deputation Visit.

As per ACTS xv. 1-21.

Acts 25:1-23. "And certain men came down from Judea and taught the
brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses,
ye cannot be saved. And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension
and questioning with them, the brethren appointed that Paul and
Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the
apostles and elders about this question. They therefore, being brought
on their way by the church, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria,
declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto
all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were
received of the church and the apostles and the elders, and they
rehearsed all things that God had done with them. But there arose up
certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful
to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.

"And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider of
this matter. And when there had been much questioning Peter rose up, and
said unto them,

"Brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among you,
that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and
believe. And God, which knoweth the heart, bare them witness, giving
them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and he made no distinction
between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why
tempt ye God, that ye should put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples,
which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that
we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in like manner as

"And all the multitude kept silence; and they hearkened unto Barnabas
and Paul rehearsing what signs and wonders God had wrought among the
Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered,

"Brethren, hearken unto me: Symeon hath rehearsed how first God did
visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to
this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

    "After these things I will return,
    And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen;
    And I will build again the ruins thereof,
    And I will set it up:
    That the residue of men may seek after the Lord,
    And all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,
    Saith the Lord, who maketh these things known from the beginning
      of the world.

"Wherefore my judgment is, that we trouble not them which from among the
Gentiles turn to God; but that we write unto them, that they abstain
from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is
strangled, and from blood. For Moses from generations of old hath in
every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every


_Peter's Visit to Antioch._

Acts 15:22-33. "Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with
the whole church, to chose men out of their company, and send them to
Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas called Barsabbas, and
Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote thus by them, The
apostles and the elder brethren unto the brethren which are of the
Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting: Forasmuch as we
have heard that certain which went out from us have troubled you with
words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment; it seemed
good unto us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them
unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded
their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent
therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also shall tell you the same
things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to
us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that
ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from
things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep
yourselves, it shall be well with you. Fare ye well.

"So they, when they were dismissed, came down to Antioch; and having
gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle. And when
they had read it, they rejoiced for the consolation. And Judas and
Silas, being themselves also prophets, exhorted the brethren with many
words, and confirmed them. And after they had spent some time there,
they were dismissed in peace from the brethren unto those that had sent
them forth."


_Paul's Visit._

As per ACTS xviii. 19-23.

(_Supposed Fictitious._)

"And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there: but he himself
entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. And when they
asked him to abide a longer time, he consented not; but taking his leave
of them and saying, I will return again unto you, if God will, he set
sail from Ephesus. And when he had landed at Cæsarea, he went up and
saluted the church, and went down to Antioch. And having spent some time
there, he departed, and went through the region of Galatia and Phrygia
in order, stablishing all the disciples."


_Paul's Jerusalem Visit IV._

Invasion Visit.

(_Visit Proposed. A.D._ 56.)

Acts 19:20-21. "Now after these things were ended, Paul purposed in the
spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to
Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. And
having sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timothy
and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while."

(_Visit Again Proposed. A.D._ 60.)

Acts 20:16. "For Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus, that he might
not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening, if it were
possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.

"And from Miletus he went to Ephesus, and called to him the elders of
the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them,

"Ye yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, after
that manner I was with you all the time, serving the Lord with all
lowliness of mind, and with tears, and with trials which befell me by
the lots of the Jews: how that I shrank not from declaring unto you
anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house
to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God,
and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in
the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me
there: save that the Holy Ghost testifieth unto me in every city, saying
that bonds and afflictions abide me. But I hold not my life of any
account, as dear unto myself, so that I may accomplish my course, and
the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel
of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I
went about preaching the kingdom, shall see my face no more."

Acts 21:7-9. "And when we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived
at Ptolemais; and we saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.
And on the morrow we departed, and came unto Cæsarea: and entering into
the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we abode
with him. Now this man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy."

(_Visit Opposed. A.D._ 60.)

Ver. 10. "And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea
a certain prophet, named Agabus. (See Acts xi. 27.)

"And coming to us, and taking Paul's girdle, he bound his own feet and
hands, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at
Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him
into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we
and they of that place besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul
answered, What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart? for I am ready not
to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord
Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will
of the Lord be done."


_Paul's Jerusalem Visit IV._

Invasion Visit--Results.


Acts 21:15-36. "And after these days we took up our baggage, and went up
to Jerusalem. And there went with us also certain of the disciples from
Cæsarea, bringing with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple,
with whom we should lodge.

"And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly."

_Test, Proposed for Riddance._

"And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the
elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he rehearsed one by
one the things which God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
And they, when they heard it, glorified God; and they said unto him,
Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of them
which have believed; and they are all zealous for the law: and they have
been informed concerning thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are
among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise
their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore?
they will certainly hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we
say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; these take, and
purify thyself with them, and be at charges for them, that they may
shave their heads: and all shall know that there is no truth in the
things whereof they have been informed concerning thee; but that thou
thyself also walkest orderly, keeping the law. But as touching the
Gentiles which have believed, we wrote, giving judgment that they
should keep themselves from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood,
and from what is strangled, and from fornication."

_The Test Swallowed._

"Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them
went into the temple, declaring the fulfilment of the days of
purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them."

_Indignation Universal._

"And when the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when
they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude, and laid hands
on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth
all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place: and
moreover he brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath defiled this
holy place. For they had before seen with him in the city Trophimus the
Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple. And
all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they laid hold
on Paul, and dragged him out of the temple: and straightway the doors
were shut. And as they were seeking to kill him, tidings came up to the
chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in confusion. And
forthwith he took soldiers and centurions, and ran down upon them: and
they, when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, left off beating
Paul. Then the chief captain came near, and laid hold on him, and
commanded him to be bound with two chains; and inquired who he was, and
what he had done. And some shouted one thing, some another, among the
crowd: and when he could not know the certainty for the uproar, he
commanded him to be brought into the castle. And when he came upon the
stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of
the crowd; for the multitude of the people followed after, crying out,
Away with him."


[1] Of the word _conversion_, as employed everywhere and in all times in
speaking of Paul, commonly called Saint Paul, the import has been found
involved in such a cloud, as, on pain of perpetual misconception, it has
been found necessary, here at the outset, to clear away. That, from
being an ardent and destructive persecutor of the disciples of the
departed Jesus, he became their collaborator, and in _that_ sense their
ally,--preaching, in speech, and by writing, a religion under the name
of the religion of Jesus, assuming even the appellation of an _Apostle_
of Jesus,--_Apostle_, that is to say, special envoy--(that being the
title by which the twelve most confidential servants of Jesus stood
distinguished), is altogether out of dispute. That in this sense he
became a _convert_ to the religion of Jesus, and that in this sense his
alleged conversion was real, is accordingly in this work not only
admitted, but affirmed. Few points of ancient history seem more
satisfactorily attested. In this sense then he was converted beyond
dispute. Call this then his _outward conversion_; and say, Paul's
_outward conversion_ is indubitable. But, that this conversion had for
its cause, or consequence, any supernatural intercourse with the
Almighty, or any belief in the supernatural character of Jesus himself;
this is the position, the erroneousness of which has, in the eyes of the
author, been rendered more and more assured, the more closely the
circumstances of the case have been looked into. That, in speech and
even in action, he was in outward appearance a convert to the religion
of Jesus; this is what is admitted: that, inwardly, he was a convert to
the religion of Jesus, believing Jesus to be God, or authorized by any
supernatural commission from God; this is the position, the negative of
which it is the object of the present work to render as evident to the
reader, as a close examination has rendered it to the author. The
consequence, the practical consequence, follows of itself. In the way of
doctrine, whatsoever, being in the Epistles of Paul is not in any one of
the Gospels, belongs to Paul, and Paul alone, and forms no part of the
religion of Jesus. This is what it seemed necessary to state at the
opening; and to this, in the character of a conclusion, the argument
will be seen all along to tend.

[2] See Ch. 15. Paul's supposable miracles explained.

[3] In regard to the matter testified, that is, in regard to the object
of the testimony; it is, first of all, a requisite condition, that what
is reported to be true should be possible, both absolutely, or as an
object of the elaborative Faculty, and relatively, or as an object of
the Presentative Faculties,--Perception, External or Internal. A thing
is possible absolutely, or in itself, when it can be construed to
thought, that is, when it is not inconsistent with the logical laws of
thinking; a thing is relatively possible as an object of perception,
External or Internal, when it can affect Sense or Self-consciousness,
and, through such affection, determine its apprehension by one or other
of these faculties.

A testimony is, therefore, to be unconditionally rejected, if the fact
which it reports be either in itself impossible, or impossible as an
object of the representative faculties.

But the impossibility of a thing, as an object of these faculties, must
be decided either upon physical, or upon metaphysical, principles.

A thing is physically impossible as an object of sense, when the
existence itself, or its perception by us, is, by the laws of the
material world impossible.--Hamilton's Logic 460.--Ed.

[4] "_Light_,--great _Light_."--It will be noticed that this "light" is
presented first objectively as a phenomenon, a thing, But what is
"light"? The universal answer is "That force in nature which, acting on
the Retina of the eye produces the sensation we call vision." This
vision is the total of the subjective effect of that agency of Nature,
the subjective realization through the functions of the Cerebellum. But
functions are accomplished through agencies called organs. The retina is
one of these organs. Through the operations of these organs and
cerebellum subjective apprehension is produced as an effect, but in some
cases of very forcible apprehensions they are interpreted as a diseased
condition of the organs of sense. Ideas sometimes acquire unusual
vividness and permanence and are, therefore, peculiarly liable to be
mistaken for their objective prototypes and hence specters, spectral
allusions which are very common in cases of emotional excitement.

Further, it will be noticed all the time that the reporter, Luke, wrote
what Paul, or some other person or rumor had previously communicated to
him. Now Luke, was accustomed to pen these wonders, these superhuman
Chimerical prodigies. Take the example of the trial of Stephen, Acts 7.
After the Charges of the Complainants, Ib. 6-9, "Libertines" and others
had been heard by the High Priest, he inquired of Stephen personally as
to the verity of the charges, And Luke reports his responses, And then
to make sure of portraying fully the Emotional conditions of the
witnesses and the spectators, he reports, V. 54. "When they heard these
things, they were cut to the heart and they grabed on him with their
teeth; but he, Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost looked up
steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at
the right hand of God, and said, Behold I see the heavens opened, and
the son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out
with a loud voice, and stopped their ears and ran upon him with one
accord, and cast him out of the City and stoned him, and the witnesses
laid down their clothes at a young man's feet whose name was Saul."

This Saul, now Paul, must have acted as overseer or umpire. Paul, is by
chronologers reckoned to have been about 12 years of age; But it will be
seen that Luke, the narrator, is just such a superserviceable witness as
wholly impairs his credibility. He says first, Stephen was in fact
filled with the Holy Ghost, saw the glory of God, for he evidently was
gloriable, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God; and that in
addition thereto he states that Stephen, said he saw the same
wonders--with the addition that the heavens were opened, &c. If he had
been cross-examined and asked whether little Paul, did not behold all
these wonders, he no doubt would have answered in the affirmative and
volunteered the statement, That they all saw these wonders, the high
priest, the accusers, by-standers, and human canines that gnashed their
teeth upon Stephen. Consult any author on Psychology on the subject of
Emotions, Exstatic illusions, &c.

But in the assembly inquisitors of Stephen, Paul and others before the
high priests, what special law or cannons were they accused of
violating? Answer, one cannon is quite conspicuous, to wit:--Ex. 22:28.
"Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of the people."

When the inquisitor the high priest found the accused guilty, he was
delivered over to the witnesses for execution. The detectives enjoyed
the luxury of doing the stoning. If Christ's limitation had been in use,
to wit:--that none but the guiltless should throw stones, the accusing
sleuths might have been less zealous.--Ed.

[5] Historiographer is used purposely by the author to denote a
specialist for the occasion.

[6] "Goad" is the word used in the Douay Testament and in the late
revisions of The Protestants.

[7] Cor. 15:8--"As unto one born out of due time, He appeared unto me

[8] Another question that here presents itself is--How could it have
happened that, Jerusalem being under one government, and Damascus under
another (if so the case was), the will of the local rulers at Jerusalem
found obedience, as it were of course, at the hands of the adequate
authorities at Damascus? To the question how this _actually_ happened,
it were too much to undertake to give an answer. For an answer to the
question how it may be _conceived_ to have happened, reference may be
made to existing English practice. The warrant issued by the constituted
authorities in Jerusalem expected to find, and found accordingly in
Damascus, an adequate authority disposed to back it. In whatsoever
Gentile countries Jews, in a number sufficient to compose a synagogue,
established themselves, a habit naturally enough took place, as of
course, among them--the habit of paying obedience, to a considerable
extent, to the functionaries who were regarded as rulers of the
synagogue. Few are or have been the conquered countries, in which some
share of subordinate power has not been left, as well to the natives of
the conquered nation as to any independent foreigners, to whom, in
numbers sufficient to constitute a sort of corporate body, it happened
from time to time to have become settlers. After all, what must be
confessed is--that, in all this there seems nothing but what might
readily enough have been conceived, without its having been thus

[9] It is well known that this dogma of Original sin--a disease that the
human family enjoys by sad inheritance, Christ treated with negligible
indifference. He dealt with the problems of man in a social state, as
socially conditioned only. A human being conditioned as isolated from
neighbors, friends and society, he did not as he scientifically could
not deal with, He discoursed upon social duties, however sublimely, N.B.
Acts 18:15, "But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go and rebuke
him between thee and him alone, If he shall hear thee thou hast gained
thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or
two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be
established. And if he shall neglect to hear them then tell it unto the
church. And if he neglect to hear the church, let him be to thee as the
heathen and publican, Amen I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall bind on
earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on
earth shall be loosed also in heaven."

Now without quibbling about the translation this scheme of social
arbitration contains the ultimate of justice, It contains the only
working hypothesis within any social condition of mankind. There is no
such thing as justice in the abstract or concrete, It is like heat and
electricity, a mere mode of motion, a form of action. And when a
controversy between Citizens is fairly submitted to the judgment of
normal men the voice of their consciousness, being the ultimate organ of
nature's Creator, must be "binding" so far as man is concerned socially.

And as there does not appear to the natural man any appeal to heaven,
the arbitrament of man in the special case carries the seal of the
eternities and forecloses all further controversy. The speech of the
honorable Consciousness of Man is the voice of the Creator of his

[10] Since what is in the text was written, maturer thoughts have
suggested an interpretation, by which, if received, the sad inferences
presented by the doctrine, that misdeeds, and consequent suffering that
have had place, could by a dip into a piece of water be caused never to
have happened, may be repelled. According to this interpretation, the
act of being baptized--the bodily act--is one thing; an act of washing
away the sins--the spiritual act--another. The effect produced is--not
the causing the misdeeds and sufferings never to have had place, but the
causing them to be compensated for, by acts productive of enjoyment, or
of saving in the article of sufferings, to an equal or greater amount.

[11] See Ch. xvii. §. v. 4. Peter's and Cornelius's visions.

[12] See Bentham's _Church of Englandism examined_.


     _Outward Conversion--how produced--how planned._



How flourishing the state of the church had at this period become, will
be seen more fully in another place. Long before this period,--numbers
of converts, in Jerusalem alone, above three thousand. The aggregate, of
the property belonging to the individuals, had been formed into one
common fund: the management--too great a burden for the united labours
of the eleven Apostles, with their new associate Mathias--had, under the
name so inappositely represented at present by the English word
_deacon_, been committed to seven trustees; one of whom, Stephen, had,
at the instance of Paul, been made to pay, with his life, for the
imprudence, with which he had, in the most public manner, indulged
himself, in blaspheming the idol of the Jews--their temple.[13]

Of that flourishing condition, Paul, under his original name of Saul,
had all along been a witness. While carrying on against it that
persecution, in which, if not the original instigator, he had been a
most active instrument, persecuting, if he himself, in what he is made
to say, in Acts xxii. 4, is to be believed,--"persecuting unto the
death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women;"--while
thus occupied, he could not in the course of such his disastrous
employment, have failed to obtain a considerable insight into the state
of their worldly affairs.

Samaria--the field of the exploits and renown of the great sorcerer
Simon, distinguished in those times by the name of _Magus_--Samaria, the
near neighbour and constant rival, not to say enemy, of Jerusalem;--is
not more than about five and forty miles distant from it. To Paul's
alert and busy mind,--the offer, made by the sorcerer, to purchase of
the Apostles a share in the government of the church, could not have
been a secret.

At the hands of those rulers of the Christian Church, this offer had not
found acceptance. Shares in the direction of their affairs were not,
like those in the government of the British Empire in these our days,
objects of sale. The nine rulers would not come into any such bargain;
their disciples were not as cattle in their eyes: by those disciples
themselves no such bargain would have been endured; they were not as
cattle in their own eyes.

But, though the bargain proposed by the sorcerer did not take place,
this evidence, which the offer of it so clearly affords,--this evidence,
of the value of a situation of that sort in a commercial point of view,
could not naturally either have remained a secret to Paul, or failed to
engage his attention, and present to his avidity and ambition a ground
of speculation--an inviting field of enterprise.

From the time when he took that leading part, in the condemnation and
execution, of the too flamingly zealous manager, of the temporal
concerns of the associated disciples of that disastrous orator, by whom
the preaching and spiritual functions might, with so much happier an
issue, have been left in the hands of the Apostles--from that time, down
to that in which we find him, with letters in his pocket, from the
rulers of the Jews in their own country, to the rulers of the same
nation under the government of the neighbouring state of Damascus, he
continued, according to the Acts ix. 1; "yet breathing out threatenings
and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord."

Of these letters, the object was--the employing the influence of the
authorities from which they came, viz. the High Priest and the Elders,
to the purpose of engaging those to whom they were addressed, to enable
him to bring in bonds, to Jerusalem from Damascus, all such converts to
the religion of Jesus, as should have been found in the place last

In his own person the author of the Acts informs us--that, by Saul,
letters to this effect were _desired_[14]. In a subsequent chapter, in
the person of Paul, viz. in the speech, to the multitude by whom he had
been dragged out of the Temple, in the design of putting him to death,
he informs us they were actually _obtained_[15].

It was in the course of this his journey, and with these letters in his
pocket, that, in and by the vision seen by him while on the road--at
that time and not earlier--his conversion was, according to his own
account of the matter, effected.

That which is thought to have been already proved, let it, at least for
argument's sake, be affirmed. Let us say accordingly--this vision-story
was a mere fable. On this supposition, then, what will be to be said of
those same letters?--of the views in which they were obtained?--of the
use which was eventually made of them?--of the purpose to which they
were applied? For all these questions one solution may serve. From what
is known beyond dispute--on the one hand, of his former way of life and
connections--on the other hand, of his subsequent proceeding--an answer,
of the satisfactoriness of which the reader will have to judge, may,
without much expense of thought, be collected.

If, in reality, no such vision was perceived by him, no circumstance
remains manifest whereby the change which so manifestly and notoriously
took place in his plan of life, came to be referred to _that_ point in
the field of time--in preference to any antecedent one.

Supposing, then, the time of the change to have been antecedent to the
commencement of that journey of his to Damascus--antecedent to the time
of the application, in compliance with which his letter from the ruling
powers at Jerusalem the object of which was to place at his disposal the
lot of the Christians at Damascus, was obtained;--this supposed, what,
in the endeavour to obtain this letter, was his object? Manifestly to
place in his power these same Christians: to place them in his power,
and thereby to obtain from them whatsoever assistance was regarded by
him as necessary for the ulterior prosecution of his schemes, as above

On this supposition, in the event of their giving him that assistance,
which, in the shape of money and other necessary shapes, he
required--on this supposition, he made known to them his determination,
not only to spare their persons, but to join with them in their
religion; and, by taking the lead in it among the heathen, to whom he
was, in several respects, so much better qualified for communicating it
than any of the Apostles or their adherents, to promote it to the utmost
of his power. An offer of this nature--was it in the nature of things
that it should be refused? Whatsoever was most dear to them--their own
personal security, and the sacred interests of the new religion, the
zeal of which was yet flaming in their bosoms, concurred in pressing it
upon their acceptance.

With the assistance thus obtained, the plan was--to become a declared
convert to the religion of Jesus, for the purpose of setting himself at
the head of it; and, by means of the expertness he had acquired in the
use of the Greek language, to preach, in the name of Jesus, that sort of
religion, by the preaching of which, an empire over the minds of his
converts, and, by that means, the power and opulence to which he
aspired, might, with the fairest prospect of success, be aimed at.

But, towards the accomplishment of this design, what presented itself as
a necessary step, was--the entering into a sort of _treaty_, and forming
at least in appearance, a sort of junction, with the leaders of the new
religion and their adherents--the Apostles and the rest of the
disciples. As for _them_, in acceding to this proposal, on the
supposition of anything like sincerity and consistency on his part,
_they_ would naturally see much to gain and nothing to lose: much indeed
to gain; no less than peace and security, instead of that persecution,
by which, with the exception of the Apostles themselves, to all of whom
experience seems, without exception, to have imparted the gift of
prudence, the whole fraternity had so lately been driven from their
homes, and scattered abroad in various directions.

With the Christians at Damascus, that projected junction was actually
effected by him: but, in this state of things, to return to Jerusalem
was not, at that time, to be thought of. In the eyes of the ruling
powers, he would have been a trust-breaker--a traitor to their cause: in
the eyes of the Christians, he would have been a murderer, with the
blood of the innocent still reeking on his hands: no one would he have
found so much as to lend an ear to his story, much less to endure it. In
Damascus, after making his agreement with his new brethren, there
remained little for him to do. Much had he to inform himself of
concerning Jesus. Damascus--where Jesus had already so many
followers--Damascus was a place for him to _learn_ in: not to _teach_
in:--at any rate, at that time.

Arabia, a promising field of enterprise--Arabia, a virgin soil, opened
to his view. There he would find none to abhor his person--none to
contradict his assertions: there his eloquence--and, under the direction
of his judgment, his invention--would find free scope: in that country
the reproach of inconsistency could not attach upon him: in that foreign
land he beheld his place of quarantine--his school of probation--the
scene of his novitiate. By a few years employed in the exercise of his
new calling--with that spirit and activity which would accompany him of
course in every occupation to which he could betake himself--he would
initiate himself in, and familiarize himself with, the connected
exercises of preaching and spiritual rule. At the end of that period,
whatsoever might be his success in that country, such a portion of
time, passed in innocence, would at any rate allay enmity: such a
portion of time, manifestly passed, in the endeavour at any rate to
render service to the common cause, might even establish confidence.

At the end of that time, he might, nor altogether without hope of
success, present himself to the rulers of the church, in the metropolis
of their spiritual empire: "Behold, he might say, in me no longer a
persecutor, but a friend. The persecutor has long vanished: he has given
place to the friend. Too true it is, that I was so once your persecutor.
Years spent in unison with you--years spent in the service of the common
cause--have proved me. You see before you, a tried man--an ally of tried
fidelity: present me as such to your disciples: take me into your
councils: all my talent, all my faculties, shall be yours. The land of
Israel will continue, as it has been, the field of _your_ holy labours;
the land of the Gentiles shall be mine: we will carry on our operations
in concert; innumerable are the ways in which each of us will derive
from the other--information, assistance, and support."

To Arabia he accordingly repaired: 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 of him by
Barnabas to the Apostles. From thence he returned to Damascus: and, in
that city, presenting himself in his regenerated character, and having
realized by his subsequent conduct the expectations raised by his
promises at the outset of his career[16]; he planned, and as will be
seen, executed his expedition to Jerusalem: the expedition, the object
of which has just been brought to view. "Then," says Paul himself, "I
went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."
Gal. 1:18. There, says the author of the Acts, Acts 9:27, 28, "Barnabas
took him and brought him to the Apostles ... and he was with them coming
in and going out of Jerusalem."



This same Ananias--of whom so much has been seen in the last
chapter--Paul's own imagination excepted, had he anywhere any existence?
The probability seems to be on the negative side: and, in the next
section, as to whether Paul's companions on the road are not in a
similar predicament, the reader will have to judge. But let us begin
with Ananias.

At Damascus, at any rate--with such power in his hands, for securing
obsequiousness at the hands of those to whom he was addressing
himself--with such power in his hands, Paul could not have had much need
of anything in the shape of a vision:--he could not have had any need of
any such person as the seer of the correspondent vision--Ananias.

For the purpose of aiding the operation of those considerations of
worldly prudence, which these powers of his enabled him to present, to
those whom it concerned,--there might be some perhaps, who, for yielding
to those considerations, and thus putting themselves under the command
of this formidable potentate, might look for an authority from the Lord
Jesus. But, forasmuch as, in this very case, even at this time of day,
visions, _two_ in name, but, in respect of probative force, reducible to
_one_--are so generally received as conclusive evidence,--no wonder if,
at that time of day, by persons so circumstanced, that _one_ vision
should be received in that same character. At Damascus, therefore, on
his first arrival, there could not be any occasion for any such
corroborating story as the story of the vision of Ananias. At
Damascus--unless he had already obtained, and instructed as his
confederate, a man of that name--no such story could, with any prospect
of success, have been circulated: for the purpose of learning the
particulars of an occurrence of such high importance, the residence of
this Ananias would have been inquired after: and, by supposition, no
satisfactory answer being capable of being given to any such
inquiries,--no such story could be ventured to be told.

Such was the case, at that place and at that time. As to any such
evidence, as that afforded by the _principal_ vision, viz. Paul's
own,--perhaps no such evidence was found necessary: but, if it _was_
found necessary, nothing could be easier than the furnishing it. As to
the _secondary_ vision, viz. that ascribed afterwards to a man of the
name of Ananias,--at that time scarcely could there have been any need
of it--any demand for it; and, had there been any such demand, scarcely,
unless previously provided, could any such correspondent supply have
been afforded.

In other places and posterior times alone, could this supplemental
vision, therefore, have been put into circulation: accordingly, not till
a great many years after, was mention made of it by the author of the
Acts:--mention made by him, either in his own person, or as having been
related, or alluded to, by Paul himself. Even the author of the
Acts,--though in this same chapter he has been relating the story of
Ananias's vision,--yet, when he comes to speak, of the way, in which,
according to him, Paul, by means of his protector and benefactor
Barnabas, obtained an introduction to the Apostles, viz. all the
Apostles, in which, however, he is so pointedly contradicted by Paul
himself,--yet speaks not of Barnabas, as including, in the
recommendatory account he gave them, of Paul--his vision, and his
merits--any mention of this supplemental vision:--any mention of any
Ananias. Acts 9:27.

At Damascus, howsoever it might be in regard to the Christians--neither
to Jews, nor to Gentiles, could the production, of any such letters as
those in question, have availed him anything. Such as had embraced
Christianity excepted, neither over Gentiles nor over Jews did those
letters give him any power: and, as to Jews, the character in
which--after any declaration made of his conversion--he would have
presented himself, would have been no better than that of an apostate,
and betrayer of a highly important public trust. To men of both these
descriptions, a plea of some sort or other, such as, if believed, would
be capable of accounting for so extraordinary a step, as that he should
change, from the condition of a most cruel and inveterate persecutor of
the new religion, to that of a most zealous supporter and leader,--could
not, therefore, but be altogether necessary. No sooner was he arrived at
Damascus, than, if the author of the Acts is to be believed, he began
pleading, with all his energy, the cause of that religion, which, almost
to that moment, he had with so much cruelty opposed. As to the story of
his vision,--what is certain is--that, sooner or later, for the purpose
of rendering to men of all descriptions a reason for a change so
preëminently extraordinary, he employed this story. But, forasmuch as of
no other account of it, as given by him, is any trace to be found;--nor
can any reason be found, why that which was certainly employed
afterwards might not as well be employed at and from the first;--hence
comes the probability, that from the first it accordingly was employed.



In the preceding chapter, a question was started, but no determinate
answer as yet found for it: this is--what became of the men,
who--according to all the accounts given by Paul, or from him, of his
conversion vision--were his _companions_ in the journey? At Damascus, if
any such men there were, they would in course arrive as well as he, and
at the same time with him. This circumstance considered, if any such men
there were,--and they were not in confederacy with him,--the imposition
must have been put upon _them_: and, for that purpose, he must, in their
presence, have uttered the sort of discourse, and exhibited the sort of
deportment, mentioned in the above accounts.

To this difficulty, however, a very simple solution presents itself. _He
had no such companions._ Neither by name, nor so much as by any the most
general description,--either of the persons, or of the total number,--is
any designation to be found anywhere:--not in the account given in the
Acts; not in any account, given by himself, in any Epistle of his; or,
as from himself, in any part of the Acts. In the company of divers
others, a man was struck down, he says, or it is said of him, by a
supernatural light: and, at the instant, and on the spot, has a
conversation with somebody. Instead of saying who these _other_ men are,
the credit of the whole story is left to rest on the credit of this
_one_ man:--the credit, of a story, the natural improbability of which,
stood so much need of collateral evidence, to render it credible.

Not till many years had elapsed, after this journey of his were these
accounts, any one of them, made public: and, in relation to these
pretended companions--supposing him interrogated at any time posterior
to the publication of the account in the Acts,--after the lapse of such
a number of years, he could, without much difficulty, especially his
situation and personal character considered, hold himself at full
liberty, to remember or to forget, as much or as little, as on each
occasion he should find convenient.



ACTS ix. 19-25.

    And when he had received meat he was strengthened. Then was Saul
    certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.--And
    straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son
    of God.--But all that heard him were amazed, and said: Is not this
    he that destroyeth them which called on his name in Jerusalem; and
    came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the
    chief priests?--But Saul increased the more in strength, and
    confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is
    very Christ.--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

The conception, which it was the evident design of this passage to
impress upon the mind of the reader, is--that, as soon almost as he was
arrived at Damascus, Paul not only went about preaching Jesus, but
preaching to that effect openly, and without reserve, in all the
synagogues: and that it was for this preaching, and nothing else, that
"the Jews," thus undiscriminating is the appellation, purposely it should
seem, employed, "went about to kill him:" that thereupon it was, that he
made his escape over the wall, and having so done, repaired immediately
to Jerusalem.

In this conception, there seems to be evidently a mixture of truth and

That he addressed himself, in a greater or less number, to the
disciples,--must assuredly have been true: to the accomplishment of his
designs, as above explained, intercourse with them could not but be
altogether necessary.

That, when any probable hope of favourable attention and secrecy were
pointed out to him--that, in here and there an instance, he ventured so
far as to address himself to this or that individual, who was not as yet
enlisted in the number of disciples,--may also have been true: and, for
this purpose, he might have ventured perhaps to show himself in some
comparatively obscure synagogue or synagogues.

But, as to his venturing himself so far as to preach in all synagogues
without distinction,--or in any synagogue frequented by any of the
constituted authorities,--this seems altogether incredible.

To engage them to seek his life; to lie in wait to kill him; in other
words, to apprehend him for the purpose of trying him, and probably at
the upshot killing him,--this is no more than, considering what, in
their eyes, he had been guilty of, was a thing of course: a measure,
called for--not, for preaching the religion of Jesus; not, for any
boldness in any other way displayed; but, for the betraying of the
trust, reposed in him by the constituted authorities at Jerusalem: thus
protecting and cherishing those malefactors, for such they had been
pronounced by authority, for the apprehending and punishing of whom, he
had solicited the commission he thereupon betrayed. Independently of all
other offence, given by preaching or anything else,--in this there was
that, which, under any government whatever, would have amply
sufficed--would even more than sufficed--to draw down, upon the head of
the offender, a most exemplary punishment.

In this view, note well the description, given in the Acts, of the
persons, by whose enmity he was driven out of Damascus; compare with it
what, in relation to this same point, is declared--most explicitly
declared--by Paul himself.

By the account in the Acts, they were the persons to whom he had been
preaching Jesus; and who, by that preaching, had been confounded and
provoked. Among those persons, a conspiracy was formed for murdering
him; and it was to save him from this conspiracy that the disciples let
him down the wall in a basket.

Such is the colour, put upon the matter by the author of the Acts. Now,
what is the truth--the manifest and necessary truth, as
related--explicitly related--by Paul himself? related, in the second of
his letters to his Corinthians, on an occasion when the truth would be
more to his purpose than the false gloss put upon it by his adherents as
above? The peril, by which he was driven thus to make his escape,
was--not a murderous conspiracy, formed against him by a set of
individuals provoked by his preaching;--it was the intention, formed by
the governor of the city. Intention? to do what? to put him to death
against law? No; but to "_apprehend_" him. To apprehend him? for what?
Evidently for the purpose of bringing him to justice in the regular
way--whatsoever was the regular way--for the offence he had so recently
committed: committed, by betraying his trust, and entering into a
confederacy with the offenders, whom he had been commissioned, and had
engaged, to occupy himself, in concert with the constituted authorities
of the place, in bringing to justice.

"In Damascus," says he, 2 Cor. xi. 32, 33, "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."

And on what _occasion_ is it, that this account of the matter is given
by him? It is at the close of a declamation, which occupies ten
verses--a declamation, the object of which is--to impress upon the minds
of his adherents the idea of his merits: viz. those which consisted in
labour, suffering, and perils: merits, on which he places his title to
the preference he claims above the competitors to whom he
alludes:--alludes, though without naming them: they being, as he
acknowledges therein, ministers of Christ, and probably enough, if not
any of them Apostles, persons commissioned by the Apostles. Greater, it
is evident, must have been the danger from the ruling powers of the
place, than from a set of individual intended murderers:--from the power
of the rulers there could not be so much as a hope of salvation, except
by escape: from the individuals there would be a naturally sufficient
means of salvation; the power of the rulers presenting a means of
salvation, and that naturally a sufficient one.

Note here, by the by, one of the many exemplifications, of that
confusion which reigns throughout in Paul's discourses: the result, of
that mixture, which, in unascertainable proportions, seems to have had
place--that mixture of nature and artifice. It is at the end of a long
list of labours, sufferings, and perils, that this anecdote presents
itself. Was it accordingly at the end of them that the fact itself had
taken place?--No: it was _at_ the very commencement: or rather, so far
as concerned preaching, _before_ the commencement. Only in the way of
allusion--allusion in general terms--in terms of merely general
description, without mention of _time_ or _place_, or persons
concerned,--are any of the other sufferings or perils mentioned: in this
instance alone, is any mention made under any one of those heads: and
here we see it under two of them, viz. _place_ and _person_: and
moreover, by other circumstances, the _time_, viz. the _relative_ time,
is pretty effectually fixed.

Immediately afterwards, this same indisputably false colouring will be
seen laid on, when the account comes to be given, of his departure for
Jerusalem: always for preaching Jesus is he sought after, never for
anything else.

According to this representation, here are two governments--two
municipal governments--one of them, at the solicitation of a functionary
of its own, giving him a commission to negotiate with another, for the
purpose of obtaining, at his hands, an authority, for apprehending a set
of men, who, in the eyes of both, were guilty of an offence against
both. Instead of pursuing his commission, and using his endeavours to
obtain the desired cooperation, he betrays the trust reposed in him:--he
not only suffers the alleged malefactors to remain unapprehended and
untouched, but enters into a confederacy with them. To both governments,
this conduct of his is, according to him, matter of such entire
indifference, that he might have presented himself everywhere, as if
nothing had happened, had it not been for his preaching:--had it not
been for his standing forth _openly_, to preach to all that would hear
him, the very religion which he had been commissioned to extinguish.

In such a state of things, is there anything that can, by any
supposition, be reconciled to the nature of man, in any situation,--or
to any form of government?

Three years having been passed by him in that to him strange country,
what, during all that time, were his means of subsistence? To this
question an unquestionable answer will be afforded by the known nature
of his situation. He was bred to a trade, indeed a handicraft
trade--tent-making: an art, in which the operations of the architect
and the upholsterer are combined. But, it was not to practise either
that, or any other manual operation, that he paid his visit to that
country. When he really did practise it, he took care that this
condescension of his should not remain a secret: from that, as from
everything else he ever did or suffered, or pretended to have done or
suffered, he failed not to extract the matter of glory for himself, as
well as edification for his readers. In Arabia, his means of subsistence
were not then derived from his trade: if they had been, we should have
known it:--from what source then were they derived?[17] By the very
nature of his situation, this question has been already answered:--from
the purses of those, whom, having had it in his power, and even in his
commission, to destroy, he had saved.

And now, as to all those things, which, from the relinquishment of his
labours in the field of persecution to the first of his four recorded
visits to Jerusalem, he is known to have done, answers have been
furnished:--answers, to the several questions _why_ and by what _means_,
such as, upon the supposition that the supernatural mode of his
conversion was but a fable, it will not, it is hoped, be easy to find
cause for objecting to as insufficient.



Not altogether without special reason, seems the veil of obscurity to
have been cast over this long interval. In design, rather than accident,
or heedlessness, or want of information,--may be found, it should seem,
the cause, of a silence so pregnant with misrepresentation. In addition
to a length of time, more or less considerable, spent in Damascus, a
city in close communication with Jerusalem, in giving proofs of his
conversion,--three years spent in some part or other of the contiguous
indeed, but wide-extending, country of Arabia--(spent, if Paul is to be
believed, in preaching the religion of Jesus, and at any rate in a state
of peace and innoxiousness with relation to it)--afforded such proof of
a change of plan and sentiment, as, in the case of many a man, might,
without miracle or wonder, have sufficed to form a basis for the
projected alliance:--this proof, even of itself; much more, when
corroborated, by the sort of certificate, given to the Church by its
preeminent benefactor Barnabas, who, in introducing the new convert, to
the leaders among the Apostles, for the special purpose of proposing the
alliance,--took upon himself the personal responsibility, so inseparably
involved in such a mark of confidence.

In this state of things then, which is expressly asserted by Paul to
have been, and appears indubitably to have been, a real
one,--considerations of an ordinary nature being sufficient--to
produce--not only the effect actually produced--but, in the case of many
a man, much more than the effect actually produced,--there was no
demand, at that time, for a miracle: no demand for a miracle, for any
such purpose, as that of working, upon the minds of the Apostles, to any
such effect as that of their maintaining, towards the new convert, a
conduct free from hostility, accompanied with a countenance of outward
amity. But, for other purposes, and in the course of his intercourse
with persons of other descriptions, it became necessary for him to have
had these visions: it became necessary--not only for the purpose of
proving connection on his part with the departed Jesus, to the
satisfaction of all those by whom such proof would be looked for,--but,
for the further purpose, of ascribing to Jesus, whatsoever doctrines the
prosecution of his design might from time to time call upon him to
promulgate;--those doctrines, in a word, which, (as will be seen), being
his and not Jesus's--not reported by anyone else as being Jesus's--we
shall find him, notwithstanding, preaching, and delivering,--so much at
his ease, and with unhesitating assurance.

A miracle having therefore been deemed necessary (the miracle of the
conversion-vision), and reported accordingly,--thus it is, that, by the
appearance of suddenness, given to the sort and degree of confidence
thereupon reported as having been bestowed upon him by the Apostles, a
sort of confirmation is, in the Acts account, given to the report of the
miracle: according to this account, it was not by the three or four
years passed by him in the prosecution of their designs, or at least
without obstruction given to them;--it was not by any such proof of
amity, that the intercourse, such as it was, had been effected:--no: it
was by the report of the vision--that report which, in the first
instance, was made to them by their generous benefactor and powerful
supporter, Barnabas; confirmed, as, to every candid eye it could not
fail to be, by whatever accounts were, on the occasion of the personal
intercourse, delivered from his own lips. "But Barnabas (says the
author) took him and brought him to the Apostles, and declared unto them
how he had _seen_ the Lord by the way, and that he had spoken to him,
and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus." Acts

When in the year 57, Paul,[18] to so many other boastings, was added the
sufferings he would have us think were courted and endured by him, while
preaching in the name of Jesus, that gospel, which he proclaims to have
been his own, and not that of the Apostles, little assuredly did he
think, that five years after, or thereabout, from the hand of one of his
own attendants, a narrative was to appear, in which, of these same
sufferings a so much shorter list would be given; or that, by an odd
enough coincidence, more than seventeen centuries after, by a namesake
of his honored patron, Doctor Gamaliel, the contradiction thus given to
him, would be held up to view.

In the second of his epistles to his Corinthians, dated A.D. 57,--the
following is the summary he gives of those same sufferings. Speaking of
certain unnamed persons, styled by him false Apostles, but whom reasons
are not wanting for believing to have been among the disciples of the
real ones,--"Are they," says he, 2 Cor. xi. 23, "ministers of Christ? I
speak as one beside himself, I am more: in labours more abundant: in
_stripes_ above measure: in prisons more frequent: in deaths, oft.--Of
the Jews five times received I forty stripes, save one.--Thrice was I
beaten with rods; once was I stoned: thrice I suffered shipwreck: a
night and a day have I been in the deep." Thus far as per _Paul_.

Add from his former Epistle to the same in the same year, battle with
beasts, one. "If, after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at
Ephesus, what advantageth it me," continues he, 1 Cor. XV. 32, "if the
dead rise not, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

Let us now see how the account stands, as per _Acts_. On the part of
this his panegyrist, whether any such habit had place as that of cutting
down below their real amount, either the sufferings or the actings of
his hero, the reader will have judged. Of both together, let it not be
forgotten, the Acts' account comes some five years lower, than the date
of the above tragical list: in it are included those sufferings and
perils which we have seen, namely, those produced by the voyage to Rome,
and which, at the time of Paul's list, had not taken their commencement.
Now then for the Acts' list. Stripes, nine-and-thirty in a parcel, none:
difference five. Beatings with rods, saving one possible one, of which
presently, none; difference, three. Stoning, one[19]. Shipwreck, as yet
none: the accident at Malta being three years subsequent. "Night and day
in the deep,"--according as it was _on_ or _in_ the deep--either nothing
at all, or an adventure considerably too singular to have been passed
over. _Diving-bells_ are not commonly supposed to have been, at that
time of day, in use; but whoever has a taste for predictions, may, if it
be agreeable to him, see those same scientific instruments or the
equivalent in this Gospel of Paul's predicted.

As to the parcels of stripes, the self-constituted Apostle takes credit
for, they would have been,--supposing them administered,--administered,
all of them, according to law, meaning always the law of _Moses_: for,
it is in that law, (namely in Deuteronomy XXV. 3) that the clause,
limiting to nine-and-thirty, the number to be given at a time, is to be
found. Of these statements of Paul's, let it not pass unnoticed, the
place is--a formal and studied Epistle, not an extempore speech: so that
the falsehood in them, if any, was not less deliberate than the Temple

Of all these same boasted bodily sufferings, eight in the whole, when
put together,--one was, at the outset, reserved for consideration: let
us see what light, if any, is cast upon it by the Acts. One beating, the
Acts informs us of: and it was a beating by order of magistrates: and
accordingly, a beating according to law. But the law, according to which
it was given, was not Jewish law: the magistrates, by whose order it was
given, were not Jewish magistrates. The magistrates were heathens: and
it was for being Jews, and preaching in the Jewish style, that Paul, and
his companion Silas, were thus visited. It was at Philippi that the
affair happened: it was immediately preceded by their adventure with the
divineress, as per Acts 16:16; 34, Chap. 13: and brought about by the
resentment of her masters, to whose established business, the
innovation, introduced by these interlopers, had given disturbance: it
was followed--immediately followed--by the earthquake, which was so
dexterous in taking irons off. Whether therefore this beating was in
Paul's account comprised in the eight stripings and beatings, seems not
possible, humanly speaking, to know: not possible, unless so it be, that
Paul, being the wandering Jew, we have sometimes heard of, is still
alive,--still upon the look-out, for that aërial voyage, which, with or
without the expectation of an aërostatic vehicle, we have seen him so
confident in the assurance of.

Remains the battle with the beasts. What these same beasts were, how
many there were of them,--how many legs they respectively had--for
example, two or four--in what way he was introduced into their
company,--whence his difference with them took its rise,--whether it was
of his own seeking, or by invitation that he entered the lists with
these his antagonists,--how it fared with _them_ when the affair was
over,--(for as to the hero himself, it does not appear that he was much
the worse for it);--these, amongst other questions, might be worth
answering, upon the supposition, that these antagonists of his were real
beings and real beasts, and not of the same class as the arch-beast of
his own begetting--Antichrist. But, the plain truth seems to be, that if
ever he fought with beasts, it was in one of his visions: in which case,
for proof of the occurrence, no visible mark of laceration could
reasonably be demanded. Meantime, to prove the negative, as far as, in a
case such as this, it is in the nature of a negative to be proved,--we
may, without much fear of the result, venture to call his ever-devoted
scribe. To this same Ephesus,--not more than a twelvemonth or
thereabouts, before the date of the Epistle--he brings his
patron,--finds appropriate employment for him,--and, off and on, keeps
him there for no inconsiderable length of time. There it is, that we
have seen, Chap. 13, §. 7., his handkerchiefs driving out devils as well
as diseases: there it is, and for no other reason than that _he_ is
there--there it is, that we have seen so many thousand pounds worth of
magical books burnt--and by their owners: there it is, that with a
single handkerchief of his,--which so it were but used, was an overmatch
for we know not how many devils,--we saw a single devil, with no other
hands than those of the man he lodged in, wounding and stripping to the
skin no fewer than seven men at the same time. If, then, with or without
a whole skin at the conclusion of it, he had really had any such
rencounter, with one knows not how many beasts, is it in the nature of
the case, that this same historiographer of his, should have kept us
ignorant of it? To be shut up with wild beasts, until torn to pieces by
them, was indeed one of the punishments, for which men were indebted to
the ingenuity of the Roman lawyers: but, if any such sentence was really
executed upon our self-constituted Apostle, his surviving it was a
miracle too brilliant not to have been placed at the head of all his
other miracles: at any rate, too extraordinary to have been passed by
altogether without notice. The biographer of Daniel was not thus

After all, was it really matter of pure invention--this same battle? or
may it not, like so many of the quasi-miracles in the Acts, have had a
more or less substantial foundation in fact? The case may it not have
been--that, while he was at Ephesus, somebody or other set a dog at him,
as men will sometimes do at a troublesome beggar? or that, whether with
hand or tongue, some person, male or female, set upon him with a degree
of vivacity, which, according to Paul's zoology, elucidated by Paul's
eloquence, entitled him or her to a place in the order of beasts?--Where
darkness is thus visible, no light can be so faint, as not to bring with
it some title to indulgence.

Of the accounts, given us by the historiographer, of the exploits and
experiences of his hero while at Ephesus, one article more will complete
the list. When any such opportunity offered, as that of presenting him
to view, in his here assumed character, of a candidate for the honours
of martyrdom,--was it or was it not in the character of the
historiographer to let it pass unimproved? To our judgment on this
question, some further maturity may be given, by one more law-case, now
to be brought to view. Under some such name as that of the _Ephesian
Diana_, not unfrequent are the allusions to it. _Church of Diana
silversmiths versus Paul and Co._ is a name, by which, in an English law
report, it might with more strict propriety be designated. Plaintiffs,
silversmiths' company just named: Defendants, Paul and Co.; to wit, said
Paul, Alexander, Aristarchus, Alexander and others. Acts, 22:41. Action
on the case for words:--the words, in tenor not reported: purport,
importing injury in the way of trade. Out of the principal cause, we
shall see growing a sort of cross cause: a case of assault, in which
three of the defendants were, or might have been, plaintiffs: cause of
action, assault, terminating in false imprisonment. In this
exercetitious cause, defendants not individually specified: for, in
those early days, note-taking had not arrived at the pitch of
perfection, at which we see it at present. That which,--with reference
to the question--as to the truth of the beast-fighting story,--is more
particularly material in the two cases taken together,--is this: in the
situation, in which these junior partners of Paul found themselves,
there was some difficulty, not to say some danger. Pressed, as he
himself was afterwards, in his invasion of Jerusalem,--pressed in more
senses than one, _they_ found themselves by an accusing multitude. What
on this occasion does Paul? He slips his neck out of the collar. So far
from lending them a hand for their support, he will not so much as lend
them a syllable of his eloquence. Why? because forsooth, says his
historiographer, Acts xix. 30, 31, "the disciples suffered him not:"
_item_, v. 30, "certain" others of "his friends." When, as we have seen
him, spite of everything that could be said to him, he repaired to
Jerusalem on his _Invasion Visit_,--he was not quite so perfectly under
the government of his friends. On the present occasion, we shall find
him sufficiently tractable. Was this a man to be an antagonist and
overmatch for wild beasts?

Now as to the above-mentioned principal case. Plaintiffs, dealers in
silver goods: Defendants, dealers in words. To be rivals in trade, it is
not necessary that men should deal exactly in the same articles:--the
sale of the words injured the sale of the goods: so at least the
plaintiffs took upon them to aver: for, in such a case, suspicion is not
apt to lie asleep. The church of Diana was the Established Church, of
that place and time. To the honour, the plaintiffs added the profit, of
being silversmiths to that same Excellent Church. To the value of that
sort of evidence, which it is the province of silversmiths to furnish,
no established church was ever insensible. The evidence, furnished by
the church silversmiths of these days, is composed of _chalices_: under
the Pagan dispensation, the evidence furnished by the church
silversmiths of the church of the Ephesian Diana, was composed of
_shrines_. When, with that resurrection of his own, and that Gospel of
his own, of which so copious a sample remains to us in his
Epistles,--Paul, with or without the name of Jesus in his mouth, made
his appearance in the market, Plaintiffs, as we have seen, took the
alarm. They proceeded, as the pious sons of an established church could
not fail to proceed. Before action commenced, to prepare the way for a
suitable judgment,--they set to work, and set on fire the inflammable
part of the public mind. The church was declared to be in danger, ver.
27: the church of Diana, just as the church of England and Ireland would
be, should any such sacrilegious proposition be seriously made, as that
of tearing out of her bosom any of those precious sinecures, of which
her vitals are composed. In Ephesus, it is not stated, that, at that
time, any society bearing the name of the _Vice Society_, or the
_Constitutional Association_, was on foot. But, of those pious
institutions the equivalent could not be wanting. Accordingly, the
charge of _blasphemy_, it may be seen, ver. 37, was not left unemployed.
So the defence shows: the defence, to wit, made by the probity and
wisdom of the judge: for, by the violence of the church mob,--who, but
for him, were prepared to have given a precedent, to that which set
Birmingham in flames,--the defendants were placed in the condition of
prisoners: and the judge, seeing the violence, of the prejudice they had
to encounter, felt the necessity, of adding to the function of judge,
that of counsel for the prisoners.

But it is time to turn to the text: not a particle of it can be spared.

ACTS xix. 22-41.

     22. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him,
     Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a
     season.--And the same time, there arose no small stir about that
     way;--For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made
     silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the
     craftsmen;--Whom he called together with the workmen of like
     occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our
     wealth.--Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but
     almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned
     away much people, saying, that they be no gods, which are made
     with hands:--So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set
     at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana
     should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom
     all Asia and the world worshippeth.--And when they heard these
     sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is
     Diana of the Ephesians.--And the whole city was filled with
     confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of
     Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord
     into the theatre.--And when Paul would have entered in, unto the
     people, the disciples suffered him not.--And certain of the chief
     of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that
     he would not adventure himself into the theatre.--Some, therefore,
     cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused;
     and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.--And
     they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him
     forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made
     his defence unto the people;--But when they knew he was a Jew, all
     with one voice, about the space of two hours, cried out, Great is
     Diana of the Ephesians.--And when the town clerk had appeased the
     people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth
     not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great
     goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from
     Jupiter?--Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against,
     ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.--For ye have
     brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches,
     nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.--Wherefore, if Demetrius, and
     the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man,
     the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one
     another.--But if ye inquire anything concerning other matters, it
     shall be determined in a lawful assembly.--For we are in danger to
     be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause
     whereby we may give an account of this concourse.--And when he had
     thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

The _Judge_ by whom the principal cause was tried, and the plaintiffs
non-suited, is styled, we see "_the Town Clerk_:" the more appropriate
and respected title would not on this occasion have been ill-applied to
him. Except what we have here been seeing, we know nothing of him that
is _positive_: but, seeing thus much of him, we see that he was an
honest man: and an honest man is not ill portrayed by negatives. He had
no coronet playing before his eyes: no overpaid places and sinecures for
relatives. He had not been made judge, for publishing a liturgy of the
church of Diana, with an embroidery composed of his own comments,--or
for circulating, with anonymous delicacy, a pious warning, never to be
absent from the shrine of Diana, when the sacred cup was, proffered by
the hands of holy priests. Accordingly, when the charge of _blasphemy_
was brought before him,--being a heathen, he found no difficulty in
treating it, in that gentle and soothing mode, in which, when, from the
bosom of an established church it enters into a man, the spirit, which
calls itself the spirit of Christianity, renders him so averse to the
treating it. If, when his robes were off, he spoke of Diana what we now
think of her,--he did not, when they were on, foam or rave,
declare--that all, who would not swear to their belief in her, were not
fit to be believed, or so much as fit to live.

By him, one man was not robbed of his rights, because another man, when
called upon as a witness, refused to perjure himself. By him, a man was
not refused to be heard as a witness, nor refused protection for the
fruits of his industry, nor deprived of the guardianship of his
children, because he waited to see Diana, before he declared himself a
believer in her existence. In the open theatre was pronounced the
judgment we have seen. He did not, by secret sittings, deprive men of
the protection of the public eye. He did not, we may stand assured--for
we see how far the people of Ephesus were from being tame enough to
endure it--he did not keep men's property in his hands, to be plundered
by himself, his children, or his creatures, till the property was
absorbed, and the proprietors sent broken-hearted to their graves. He
did not--for the people of Ephesus would not have endured it--wring out
of distress a princely income, on pretence of giving decisions,
declaring all the while his matchless incapacity for everything but
prating or raising doubts. He did not display,--he could not have
displayed--the people of Ephesus could not have endured it--any such
effrontery, as, when a judicatory was to sit upon his conduct, to set
himself down in it, and assume and carry on the management of it. He
would not have sought impunity--for if he had sought it in Ephesus, he
would not have found it there--he would not have sought impunity, in
eyes lifted up to heaven, or streaming with crocodile tears.

Thus much as to his negative merits. But, we have seen enough of him, to
see one great positive one. When, from the inexhaustible source of
inflammation, a flame was kindled,--he did not fan the flame,--he
quenched it.

The religion of Diana having thus come upon the carpet, a reflection
which could not be put by, is--spite of all efforts of the church
silversmiths, in how many essential points, negative as they are, the
religion of Diana had, on the ground of usefulness, the advantage of
that, which _is_ the religion of Paul, and _is called_ the religion of
Jesus. Diana drove no men out of their senses, by pictures or
preachments of never-ending torments. On pretence of saving men from
future sufferings, no men were consigned by it to present ones. No
mischievous, no pain-producing, no real vice, was promoted by it. It
compelled no perjury, no hypocrisy: it rewarded none. It committed, it
supported, it blessed, it lauded, no depredation, no oppression in any
shape: it plundered no man of the fruits of his industry, under the name
of _tithes_. For the enrichment of the sacred shrines,--money, in any
quantity, we may venture to say, received: received, yes: but in no
quantity extorted. One temple was sufficient for _that_ goddess.
Believing, or not believing in her divinity,--no men were compelled to
pay money, for more temples, more priests, or more shrines.

_As to the religion of Jesus, true it is, that so long as it continued
the religion of Jesus, all was good government, all was equality, all
was harmony: free church, the whole; established church, none: monarchy,
none; constitution, democratical. Constitutive authority, the whole
community: legislative, the Apostles of Jesus_; executive, the
Commissioners of the Treasury: not Lords Commissioners, appointed by a
King Herod, but trustees or _stewards_; for such should have been the
word, and not _deacons_,--_agents elected by universal suffrage_. In
this felicitous state, how long it continued--we know not. What we do
know, is--that, _in the fourth century_, _despotism_ took possession of
it, and made an instrument of it. Becoming _established_, it became
noxious,--preponderantly noxious. For, where _established_ is the
adjunct to it, what does _religion_ mean? what but _depredation_,
corruption, oppression, hypocrisy? _depredation_, _corruption_,
_oppression_, _hypocrisy_--these four: with delusion, in all its forms
and trappings, for support.

So pregnant is this same boasting passage--1 Cor. xv. 32, the labour it
has thrown upon us, is not altogether at an end. By what it says of the
resurrection, the memory has been led back, to what we have seen on the
same subject, in one of Paul's Epistles to his Thessalonians: brought
together, the two doctrines present a contrast too curious to be left
unnoticed. Of the apparatus employed by him in his trade of
_disciple-catcher_, his talk about the resurrection, was, it may well be
imagined, a capital article. Being, according to his own motto, _all
things to all men_, 1 Cor. ix. 22, whatever it happened to him to say on
the subject, was dished up, of course, according to the taste of those
he had to deal with. To some it was a _prediction_: for such, we have
seen, was the form it assumed when the people to be wrought upon were
the Thessalonians. To others, when occasion called, it was a statement
concerning something _past_, or supposed to be past. On an occasion of
this sort it was, that the name of Jesus, another article of that same
apparatus, was of so much use to him. True it is, that to the doctrine
of the _general_ resurrection in time future, he had, it must be
remembered, no need of declaring himself beholden to Jesus: at least, if
on this point, the Acts' history is to be believed: for, of the
Pharisees,--the sect to which Paul belonged--of the Pharisees, as
compared with the other sect the Sadducees, it was the distinctive
tenet. But, of the then future, the then past, as exemplified in the
_particular_ case of Jesus, could not but afford very impressive
circumstantial evidence. Of this momentous occurrence, there were the
real Apostles, ready to give their accounts,--conformable, it may be
presumed, to those we see given, as from them, by the four Evangelists.
These accounts, however, would not suit the purpose of the
self-constituted Apostle: in the first place, because they came from
the real Apostles, with whom, as we have so often seen, it was a
declared principle with him not to have had anything to do: in the next
place, because the Apostles were too scrupulous: they would not have
furnished him with witnesses enough. His own inexhaustible fund--his own
invention,--was therefore the fund, on this occasion, drawn upon: and,
accordingly, instead of the number of witnesses,--say _a score_ or two
at the utmost--he could have got from the Apostles,--it supplied him
with _five hundred_: five hundred, _all at once_: to which, if pressed,
he could have added any other number of percipient witnesses whatsoever,
provided only that it was at _different_ times they had been such.

So much for explanation: now for the announced contrast. Whoever the
people were, whom he had to address himself to,--they had contracted, he
found, a bad habit: it was that of _eating and drinking_. Reason is but
too apt to be seduced by, and enlisted in the service of her most
dangerous enemy--_Appetite_. Not only did they eat and drink; but they
had found, as it seemed to them, _reason_ for so doing. They ate and
drank--why? because they were to die after it. "Let us eat and drink,"
said the language we have seen him reproaching them with, 1 Cor. xv. 32.
"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

The case is--that, in pleasure, in whatever shape they see her,--all
men, to whose ambition supernatural terrors supply an instrument of
dominion, behold their most formidable rival. Against such a rival,
wonderful indeed it would be, if their hostility were not
proportionable. No morality accordingly do they acknowledge, that does
not include, with or without other things, hatred,--with or without
contempt, of pleasure. Such, too, as is their morality, such is their
law. Death is scarce severe enough, for a pleasure, which they either
have, or would be thought to have, no relish for. So at least says what
they teach: but, teaching how to act is one thing; acting accordingly,
another. Thus we all see it is, in so many instances: and thus, without
much danger of injustice, we may venture to suppose it may have been, in
that of the self-constituted Apostle.

Not so Jesus: no harm did he see in eating and drinking, unless with the
pleasure it produced greater pain. With this reserve, no harm,--for
anything that appears in any one of the four histories we have of
him,--no harm did he see in anything that gives pleasure. What every man
knows--and what Jesus knew as well as any man--for neither in words nor
in acts did he deny it--is,--that happiness, at what time soever
experienced,--happiness, to be anything, must be composed of pleasures:
and, be the man who he may, of what it is that gives pleasure to him, he
alone can be judge.

But, to return to eating and drinking. Eating and drinking--he gives his
men to understand--even he, holy as he is, should not have had any
objection to, had it not been for this same resurrection of his, which
he was telling them of: eating and drinking--a practice, to which,
notwithstanding this resurrection of his, and so much as he had told
them of it, he had the mortification to find them so much addicted. So
much for his _Corinthians_. It was, as we see, _for want_ of their
paying, to what he was thus telling them about the resurrection, that
attention, to which it was so well entitled,--that _they_ still kept on
in that bad habit. But his _Thessalonians_--they too, as we have seen,
had got the same bad habit. Well: and what was it that gave it them?
What but their paying too much attention to this same resurrection of
his, dished up in the same or another manner, by the same inventive and
experienced hand. In conclusion, on laying the two cases together, what
seems evident enough is--that, in whatever manner served up to them, his
resurrection, whatever it was, was considerably more effectual in making
people eat and drink, than in weaning them from it.



Gamaliel--in the working of this conversion, may it not be that
Gamaliel--a person whose reality seems little exposed to doubt--had
rather a more considerable share, than the above-mentioned unknown and
unknowable Ananias?

Gamaliel was "a doctor of law" Acts 5:34--a person of sufficient note,
to have been a member of the council, in which the chief priests, under
the presidency of the High Priest, Acts 5:24, took cognizance of the
offence with which Peter and his associates had a little before this
been charged, on the occasion of their preaching Jesus. Under this
Gamaliel, had Paul, he so at least is made to tell us, studied, Acts
22:3. Between Paul and this Gamaliel, here then is a connection: a
connection--of that sort, which, in all places, at all times, has
existence,--and of which the nature is everywhere and at all times so
well understood--the connection between _protegé_ and protector. It was
by authority from the governing body, that Paul was, at this time,
lavishing his exertions in the persecution of the Apostles and their
adherents:--who then so likely, as this same Gamaliel, to have been the
patron, at whose recommendation the commission was obtained? Of the
cognizance which this Gamaliel took, of the conduct and mode of life of
the religionists in question,--the result was favourable. "Let them
alone," were his words. Acts v. 38. The maintenance, derived by the
_protegé_, on that same occasion, from the persecution of these
innoxious men--this maintenance being at once odious, dangerous, and
precarious,--while the maintenance, derivable from the taking a part in
the direction of their affairs, presented to view a promise of being at
once respectable, lucrative, and permanent;--what more natural then,
that this change, from left to right, had for its origin the advice of
this same patron?--advice, to which, all things considered, the epithet
_good_ could not very easily be refused.


To the self-constituted Apostle, false pretences were familiar. They
were not--they could not have been--without an object. One object was
power: this object, when pursued, is of itself abundantly sufficient to
call forth such means. But, another object with Paul was money: of its
being so, the passages referred to as above, will afford abundant
proofs. A man, in whose composition the appetite for money, and the
habit of using false pretences are conjoined, will be still more likely
to apply them to that productive purpose, than to any barren one. In the
character of a general argument, the observations thus submitted, are
not, it should seem, much exposed to controversy.

But, of a particular instance, of money obtained by him on a false
pretence,--namely, by the pretence of its being for the use of others,
when his intention was to convert it to his own use,--a mass of evidence
we have, which presents itself as being in no slight degree probative.
It is composed of two several declarations of his own,--with, as above
referred to, the explanation of it, afforded by a body of circumstantial
evidence, which has already been under review: and as, in the nature of
the case, from an evil-doer of this sort, evidence to a fact of this
sort, cannot reasonably be expected to be frequently observable,--the
labour, employed in bringing it here to view, will not, it is presumed,
be chargeable, with being employed altogether without fruit.

First, let us see a passage, in the first of his Epistles to his
_Corinthians_, date of it, A.D. 57. In this, we shall see a regularly
formed system of money-gathering: an extensive application of it to
various and mutually distant countries, with indication given of
particular times and places, in which it was his intention to pursue it:
also, intimation, of a special charitable purpose, to which it was his
professed intention to make application of the produce of it, at a place
specified: namely, Jerusalem.

First then comes, 1 Cor. 16:1-8. A.D. 57.

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to
the churches of _Galatia_, even so do _ye_.--Upon the _first day of the
week_, let every one of you _lay by him in store_, as God hath prospered
him, that there be no gatherings when I come.--And when I come,
whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring
your liberality unto _Jerusalem_.--And if it be meet that I go also,
they shall go with me.--Now I will come unto you when I shall pass
through Macedonia; for I do pass through _Macedonia_.--And it may be
that I will abide, yea and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my
journey whithersoever I go.--For I will not see you now by the way: but
I trust to tarry a while with _you_ if the Lord permit.--But I will
tarry at _Ephesus_ until Pentecost." At Ephesus, where he becomes an
object of jealousy, as we have seen, to the church-silversmiths; and,
from his declared business at those _other_ places, some evidence surely
is afforded of what was his probable business in _that_ place.

Next let us see a passage in his Epistle to his _Romans_: date of it,
A.D. 58. Here, in two instances, we shall see the success, with which
this system was pursued by him: as also a maxim, laid down by him--a
maxim, in which the existence of this same system, on his part, is
acknowledged: a maxim, in which his hopes of success in the pursuit of
it, are declaredly founded.

Rom. 15:24-28. A.D. 58.

"Whensoever I take my journey into _Spain_, I will come to you; for I
trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward
by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.--But now I go
unto _Jerusalem, to minister unto the Saints_.--For it hath pleased them
of _Macedonia_ and _Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor
saints which are at Jerusalem_.--It hath pleased them verily: and their
debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made _partakers of their
spiritual things_, their _duty_ is also _to minister unto them in carnal
things_.--When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them
this fruit, I will come _by you_ into _Spain_."

In the instance in question, money (we see)--of the quantity of course
nothing said--is mentioned by him, as being actually in his hands: the
purpose, for which it was there,--and to which he would of course be
understood to intend applying it,--being also mentioned by
him:--applying it, at Jerusalem, to the use of the poor saints. So much
for _professed_ intentions. Now then for _real_ ones. Answer, in his own
words: that those Gentiles, who by him had been made partakers of his
spiritual things, might, as in "_duty_" bound, "minister" to him, so
much the more effectively "in carnal things:" that he, who preached,
what he called the Gospel, might, as he had been preaching to his
Corinthians also (1 Cor. ix. 14) be enabled so much the more comfortably
to "live by" it.

"The poor saints which are at Jerusalem:"--_the_ poor saints--to wit,
not here and there a saint or two, but the whole Christian population
living together on a common stock--if now, A.D. 58, they were living, as
A.D. 53 they were (Acts ii. 44; vi. 1) and, in this particular, from the
beginning to the end of the history, no change is mentioned--in
Jerusalem--was it in the nature of man, in that state of men and
things,--was it in the nature of men and things, that any man, who had
any knowledge of their situation, and of the terms on which Paul, from
first to last, had been with them, could for a moment have thought of
lodging, for _their_ use, any the smallest sum of money in _his_ hands?
as well might it be said, at this moment--a man, whose wish it was to
convey money to Spain, for the use of the Cortes, would choose the hand
of the Duc d'Angouleme to send it by. All this time, _there_ were the
Apostles of Jesus--patrons of those same saints: and, anywhere more
easily than _there_, could he be. That, with this money in his hands,
among his objects was--the employing more or less of it in the endeavour
to form a party there, may not unreasonably be supposed, from what we
have seen of that _Invasion Visit_, by which his designs upon Jerusalem
were endeavoured to be carried into effect. For, according to Acts
19:21, already when he was at Ephesus, as above, was it his known
design, to try his fortune once more in Jerusalem, and after that in
Rome. This may have been among his designs, or not. Be this as it may,
this would have been no more than a particular way, of converting the
money to his own use.

Not that, if at this time, and for _this purpose_ from even the quarters
in question, money had come, as he says it had, there was anything very
wonderful in its so doing. As to _us_ indeed _we_ know pretty well what
sort of terms he was on, from first to last, with the community in
question: _we_ know this, because his historiographer has made us know
it. But, as to the people of those same countries respectively,--at
their distance from Jerusalem, what, in their situation, might easily
enough happen was,--not to have, as to this point, any adequate
information till it was too late to profit by it: and, that such would
be their ignorance, is a matter, of which he might not less easily have
that which, to a man of his daring and sanguine temper, would be a
sufficient assurance.

One thing there is, which, on the occasion of any view they took of this
subject, may perhaps have contributed to blind their eyes. This is--the
fact, of his having actually been concerned, in bringing money to
Jerusalem, for a similar purpose, though it must be confessed, not less
than fourteen years before this: to wit, from Antioch, as stated in
Chapter V., speaking of _that_--his second Jerusalem Visit, by the name
of the _Money-bringing Visit_.

But,--what may easily enough have happened, distance in time and place,
together considered, is--that to those particulars, which composed no
more than the surface of the business, _their_ knowledge was confined:
while _we_, though at the distance of more than seventeen centuries,
know more or less of the inside of it,--let into it, as we have been, by
the author of the Acts.

As to their arriving sooner or later, at the suspicion, or though it
were the discovery, that the money had not, any part of it, reached the
hands it was intended for, nor was in any way to do so,--what bar could
the apprehension of any such result oppose, to the enterprise,
systematic, as we see it was, of the creator of Antichrist? When, to a
man, who occupies a certain situation in the eye of the political world,
calls for accounts are become troublesome,--Scipio might have informed
him, if he had not well enough known of himself, how to answer them.

When a charge made upon you is true--evidence full against you,
and none to oppose to it,--fly into a passion, magnify your own
excellence--magnify the depravity of your adversaries. This mode, of
parrying a charge, is perfectly well understood in our days, nor could
it have been much less well understood in Paul's days. As for _his_
adversaries, Paul had a storm _in petto_ at all times ready for them:
for the materials, turn to any page of his Epistles: whatever, in this
way, he had for rivals,--_that_ and more he could not fail to have for
accusing witnesses. To the creator of Antichrist--sower of tares between
Pharisees and Sadducees,--whatever were the charges, defence, the most
triumphant, could never be wanting: arguments, suited with the utmost
nicety, to the taste of judges. He would warn them, against false
brethren, and liars, and wolves, and children of Satan, and so forth:
he would talk to them, about life and death, and sin and righteousness,
and faith and repentance, and this world and that world, and the Lord
and resurrection: he would talk backwards and forwards--give nonsense
for mystery, and terror for instruction: he would contradict everybody,
and himself not less than anybody: he would raise such a cloud of words,
with here and there an _ignis fatuus_ dancing in the smoke,--that the
judges, confounded and bewildered, would forget all the evidence, and
cry out _Not Guilty_ through pure lassitude.

As to us,--the case being now before us, what shall be our verdict?
Obtaining money on false pretences is the charge. Guilty shall we say,
or not guilty? Obtainment on a certain pretence, is proved by _direct_
evidence--his own evidence: proof, of falsity in the pretence, rests, as
it could not but rest, on _circumstantial_ evidence.

One observation more: for another piece of circumstantial evidence has
just presented itself: it consists of the utter silence, about the
receipt of the money or any particle of it,--when, if there had been any
such receipt, occasions there were in such abundance for the mention of
it. A.D. 57, in his first to his Corinthians,--there it is, as we have
seen, that he urges them to lay by money for him, declaring it is for
the saints at Jerusalem; and that on this same errand it is, that he is
going to Macedonia,--and that in his way to Jerusalem he will give them
another call, to receive, for that same purpose, the intermediate
produce of these proposed _saving-banks_. In his letter to the Romans,
written the next year, A.D. 58--written at Corinth,--then it is, that he
has already made the said intended money-gathering visit, and with
success:--with success not only in Macedonia, as he had proposed, but in
Achaia likewise: and, with this money in his hand, and for the purpose
of delivering the money to those for whom he obtained it;--for this
purpose (he says) it is, that he is at that moment on his way to
Jerusalem--the place of their abode. This is in the year A.D. 58. Well
then: after this it is, that he takes up his abode at Ephesus. And when,
after his contests with the church silversmiths there, he departs from
thence, whither does he betake himself? To Jerusalem? No: he turns his
back upon Jerusalem, and goes for Macedonia (Acts xx. 1.) then into
Greece, where he stays three months; and purposes, Acts 20:3, to return
through Macedonia. A.D. 60, it is, that, for the first time, Acts 20:16,
any intention of his to visit Jerusalem is declared, he having coveted
no man's silver or gold, as his historian, Acts xx. 33, makes him assure
us. When, at length he arrived there, what his reception was, we have
seen. Had any of the _money_ been received there, would such as we have
seen have been the reception given to the _man_? When, by the Christians
at Jerusalem, Agabus was sent to him, to keep him if possible from
coming there,--is it in the nature of things, that they should have
already received any of it, or been in any expectation of it? In what
passed between him and the Elders, headed by the Apostle James, is any
the slightest allusion made to it? When, in Cæsarea, all in tears, Acts
21:12, 13, his attendants were striving, might and main, to dissuade him
from going to Jerusalem,--did he say anything about the money--the money
he had been so long charged with? Oh no; not a syllable: to Jerusalem he
is resolved to go indeed: Oh yes: but not the shadow of a reason can he
find for going there.

When arrived at Jerusalem, the brethren, says the Acts 20:17, received
him gladly. The brethren: yes, what adherents he had, would of course
receive him gladly, or at least appear to do so. But the money? On their
side, was anything said about the money? Not a syllable. Either at this
time by his own hand, or any time before, by other hands, had they
received this money, or any considerable part of it, could they have
received him otherwise than not only gladly, but gratefully?

All the time, the hero was thus employed in money-craving and
money-gathering, the historian, let it never be out of mind, was of the
party: four years before, A.D. 53, had he been taken into it; yet not
any the least hint about these money-matters does he give. So far indeed
as regarded what was avowedly for Paul's own use, neither could the
receipt nor the craving of the money from their customers, have been
unknown to him; for this was what they had to live upon. But the letters
his master wrote--wrote to their customers everywhere--letters, in which
the demand was made, for the so much more extensive purpose,--of these,
so many of which have reached these our times, the contents may to him
have easily enough remained a secret: little reason had he to expect,
none at all to fear, the exposure,--which now, at the end of more than
seventeen centuries, has, at length, been made of them,--confronted, as
they may now be, with the particulars he himself has furnished us with.


[13] Acts vii. ver. 47. Speech of St. Stephen. "But Solomon built him an
house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as
saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what
house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my
rest?" In itself, perfectly comfortable all this, to the dictates of
reason and the instruction of Jesus: but not the less clear blasphemy
against the Mosaic law.

[14] Acts ix. ver. 1 and 2. "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings
and slaughter against the Disciples of the Lord, _went_ unto the _High
Priest_,--And _desired_ of him letters to Damascus to the Synagogues,

[15] Acts xxii. ver. 5. "As also the High Priest doth bear me witness,
and all the estate of the Elders: from _whom also I received letters_
unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there
bound unto Jerusalem for to be punished."

[16] Yet, for even at the outset, after certain "days spent with the
disciples," and employed of course in receiving from them the necessary
instructions, he preached Jesus with such energy and success as not only
to "confound," Acts ix. 19 to 24, the unbelieving among the Jews, but to
provoke them to "take counsel to kill him."

[17] Paul, says--2nd Cor. 11:6--"For though I be rude in speech yet am I
not in knowledge nay, in everything we have made it manifest among all
men to you-ward, or did I commit a sin in abasing myself that ye might
be exalted, because I preached to you the Gospel of God for naught? I
robbed other Churches, taking wages of them that I might minister unto
you; and when I was present with you I was in want, I was not a burden
on any man; for the brethren, when they came from Macedonia supplied the
measure of my want, and in everything I kept myself from being
burdensome unto you and so I will keep myself. As the truth of Christ is
in me no man shall stop me of this glorying in the regions of Achaia,

When ever we get a Temperamental and psychological view of Paul, we see
verified the deductions of the author of this treatise, that he was a
transparent imposter. An unscrupulous adventurer. With talent well
adapted to dogmatically command the attention of the ignorant and
especially those of organized hereditary idolatry, the extreme vanity,
the vain glorious pretensions of this new priest was well adapted to
obtain obsequious complacence from such people. He always presents
himself in a controversial spirit of self-exaltation.

His egotistic diction could hardly be made more manifest than in the
terms above quoted, to wit:--"I robbed other Churches taking wages of
them that I might minister unto you, &c." It presents a striking
contrast to the benevolent and fraternal spirit of Christ and his

[18] N.B. The editor at this place inserts pages of discussion--which
the author exhibited by way of an appendix. At the expense of a little
redundancy and incongruity the editor inserts it in this place.--Ed.

[19] According to the Acts' account, this same stoning, if it was the
same, was much in the style of that same resurrection of Eutychus, which
we have seen in Chapter xiii. §. 10. As to Paul, when this martyrdom had
been suffered by him,--"some" says Acts xiv. 19, were "supposing he had
been dead:" and on that supposition, "drew him out of the city." Paul,
on the other hand, thought otherwise: he supposed himself alive, and, on
that supposition, he walked off, as if nothing had been the matter with
him. "Certain Jews ... say verses 19 and 20, having stoned Paul, drew
him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the
disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and
the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe."


     _Paul disbelieved.--Neither his divine Commission nor his inward
     Conversion ever credited by the Apostles or their Jerusalem
     Disciples.--Source of Proof stated._



Void, as we have seen, of all title to credence, is the story of Paul's
commission from Jesus:--void may it be seen to be, even if taken by
itself, and without need of resort to any counter-evidence. Who could
have expected to have found it, moreover, disproved by the most
irresistible counter-evidence--by the evidence of the Apostles
themselves? Yes: of the Apostles themselves, of whom it will plainly
enough be seen, that by not so much as one of them was it ever believed:
no, not to even the very latest period, of which any account has reached
us: namely that, at which the history of the Acts of the Apostles
closes, or that of the date of the last-written of Paul's Epistles,
whichsoever of the two may be the latest.

In regard to the story of his conversion, its cause, and manner,--it has
been seen, that it is either from himself directly, or from an adherent
of his, the author of the Acts,--who had it from himself, unless Ananias
was a person known to the author of the Acts, and heard by him,--it is
from Paul, and Paul alone, that all the evidence, which the case has
happened to supply, has been derived.

In regard to the degree of credence given, to his pretence to the having
received a commission from Jesus, still the same remark applies: still,
either from himself, or from the same partial, and, as will be seen, not
altogether trustworthy, narrator, comes the whole of the evidence, with
which the case happens to have furnished us.



Jerusalem, according to the Acts, was the headquarters of the noble army
of the Apostles: the ordinary residence of that goodly fellowship:--a
station, which they none of them ever quitted, for any considerable
length of time.

In the course of the interval, between the date assigned by Paul to his
conversion, and that of the last particulars we have of his
history,--mention, more or less particular, may be found of four visits
of his--distinctly four related visits, and no more than four,--to that
metropolis of the new Church. On no one of these occasions, could he
have avoided using his endeavours, towards procuring admittance, to the
fellowship of the distinguished persons, so universally known in the
character of the select companions and most confidential servants of
Jesus: of that Jesus, whom, in the flesh at any rate, he never so much
as pretended to have ever seen: _from whom_ he had consequently, if they
thought proper to impart it, so much to learn, or at least to wish to
learn: while _to_ them he had nothing to impart, except that which, if
anything, it was only in the way of _vision_, if in any way, that he had
learned from Jesus.

That on three at least of these four occasions, viz. the 1st, 3d, and
4th, he accordingly did use his endeavours to confer with them, will be
put out of dispute by direct evidence; and that, in the remaining one,
namely that which in the order of time stands second,--successfully or
not, his endeavours were directed to the same purpose,--will, it will be
seen, be reasonably to be inferred from circumstantial evidence. In the
character of an additional occasion of intercourse, between him and one
of the Apostles, namely, Peter, the chief of them,--will be to be added,
that which will be seen taking place at Antioch; immediately upon the
back, and in consequence, of the third of these same visits of his to

As to the mode of his conversion as above stated,--the _time_, for him
to have stated it to them, was manifestly that of the first of these
four visits;--say his _reconciliation-visit_: and that, of that first
visit, to see them, or at any rate the chief of them, namely, Peter, was
the object,--is what, in his Epistle to the Galatians, we shall see him
declaring in express terms.

After all--that story of his, in which the supposed manner of his
conversion is related, as above,--did he so much as venture to submit it
to them? The more closely it is examined, the less probable surely will
be seen to be--his having ventured, to submit any such narrative, to a
scrutiny so jealous, as theirs, under these circumstances, could not
fail to be.

One of two things at any rate will, it is believed, be seen to a
certainty: namely, Either no such story as that which we see, nor
anything like it, was ever told to them by him; or, if yes, it obtained
no credit at their hands.



For proof, of the disbelief, which his story will, it is believed, be
found to have experienced, at the hands of those supremely competent
judges,--the time is now come, for collecting together, and submitting
in a confronted state to the reader, all the several particulars that
have reached us, in relation to these four important visits.

Between the first-recorded and the last-recorded of the four, the length
of the interval being so considerable as it will be seen to be, namely,
upwards of 17 years at the least,--and, in the course of the interval,
so numerous and various a series of incidents being to be seen
comprised,--the consequence is--that this one topic will unavoidably
spread itself to such an extent, as to cover the whole of the
chronological field of the history of the Church in those eventful
times. A sort of necessity has thus been found, of taking a view of the
principal part of all those several incidents, in a sort of historical
order, in a succeeding part of this work: hence, of that which, for the
proof of what has just been advanced, will here be necessary to be
brought to view,--no inconsiderable portion will be an anticipation, of
that which belongs properly to the historical sketch, and, but for this
necessity, would have been reserved for it.



Thick clouds, and those covering no small portion of its extent, will,
after everything that can be done to dispel them, be found still hanging
over the field of this inquiry. But, if to the purpose of the present
question, sufficient light be elicited; in whatever darkness any
collateral points may remain still involved, the conclusion will not be
affected by it.

As to the credibility of Paul's story,--taken in itself, and viewed from
the only position, from which we, at this time of day, can view it,--the
question has just been discussed.

That which remains for discussion is--whether, from the Church, which
Paul found in existence--the Church composed of the Apostles of Jesus,
and his and their disciples--it ever obtained credence.

On this occasion, to the Apostles more particularly must the attention
be directed: and this--not only because by their opinion, that of the
great body of those disciples would, of course, on a point of such vital
importance, be governed; but, because, in the case of these confidential
servants and habitual attendants of Jesus, the individuals, of whom the
body is composed, and who are designated by one and the same
denomination, are always determinable: determinable, in such sort, that,
at all times, wheresoever they are represented as being, the eye can
follow them.

To judge with what aspect Paul with his pretensions was viewed by them,
always with a view to the main question--whether, in any particular, the
alleged supernatural cause of his outward conversion, and thence of his
presumable inward conversion, ever obtained credence from them;--one
primary object, which requires to be attended to, is--personal
intercourse; viz. the sort of personal intercourse, which between him on
the one part, and them, or some of them, on the other part, appears to
have had place.

Of this intercourse, the several _interviews_, which appear to have
had place, will form the links. Correspondent to those _interviews_
will be found to be so many _visits_: all of them, except one,
visits made by him to the great original metropolis of the Christian
world--Jerusalem:--the scene of the acts and sufferings of the departed
Jesus:--the ordinary abode of these his chosen disciples and successors.
If, to these visits of Paul's is to be added any other interview,--it
will be in another city, to wit, Antioch: and, in this instance, between
Paul, and not, as in the case of the other visits might naturally be
expected, the Apostles in a body; but one, or some other small number of
members, by whom a visit to that place was made, in consequence of their
having been selected for that purpose, and deputed by the rest.

Of the interviews corresponding with these visits, the real number,--and
not only the real number, but the number upon record,--is unhappily, in
no inconsiderable degree, exposed to doubt; for, considering the terms
they were upon, as we shall see, at the interviews produced by Paul's
first Jerusalem visit, it does not by any means follow, that, between
the persons in question, because there were two more such visits, there
was, on each occasion, an interview.

Two of them, however, at any rate, if any degree of credence whatever be
given to the documents, remain altogether clear of doubt: and whatever
uncertainty may be found to attach upon any of the others, may be
regarded as so many fixed points: fixed points, forming so many
standards of reference, to which the others may in speaking of them be
referred, and by reference to which the reality and time of those
others, will be endeavoured to be ascertained.

For the designation of the visits which produced these two
unquestionable interviews, the terms _Reconciliation Visit_, and
_Invasion Visit_, will here be employed: the former being that which
gave rise to the first-mentioned of the two interviews, which, after the
conversion, appear for certain to have had place between the rival and
contending powers; the other, to the last.

1. By the _Reconciliation Visit_ is here meant--that visit--by which was
produced the _first_ interview, which, after the conversion of Paul, had
place between him and any of the Apostles. Its title to this appellation
is altogether unquestionable. After these proceedings of Paul's, by
which the destruction of so many of the Christians had already been
effected, and that of all the rest was threatened,--it was not
possible, that, without a reconciliation,--if not an inward at any
rate an outward one,--any interview, on both sides voluntary, should
have taken place. Of the Apostles, Peter was the acknowledged chief:
that it was for the purpose of seeing Peter, that a visit of Paul's to
Jerusalem--the first of those mentioned by him--was made,--is
acknowledged by himself: acknowledged, in that Epistle of his, to his
Galatian disciples, of which so much will have to be said, Gal. i. and
ii.[20] Without the assistance of some mediator, scarcely was it in the
nature of the case, that, in any way, any such reconciliation could have
been effected. In the person of Barnabas,--a most munificent patron, as
will be seen, of the infant church,--this indispensable friend was

According to the received chronology, the time of this visit was A.D.
38. In the account, given in the Acts, Acts 16:6, of the conjunct
missionary excursion made from Antioch by Paul and Barnabas--an
excursion, the commencement of which is, by that same chronology, placed
in the year 53,--Galatia stands fifth, in the number of the places,
which they are spoken of as visiting. Of any visit, made in that
country, either before this or after it, no mention is to be found in
the Acts, except in Acts 18:23: on which occasion, he is spoken of as
revisiting Galatia, "strengthening the churches."[21]

Of what passed on the occasion of this visit, the account, given as
above by Paul, will be seen receiving explanation, from what is said of
this same visit in the Acts.

ACTS ix. 26 to 30.

     26. 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.--And he was with them
     coming in and going out at Jerusalem.--And he spake boldly in the
     name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they
     went about to slay him.--Which when the brethren knew, they brought
     him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

2. By the _Invasion Visit_ is here meant--that visit of Paul to
Jerusalem, by which his arrestation, and consequent visit to Rome in a
state of confinement, were produced. _Invasion_ it may well be termed:
the object of it having manifestly been--the making, in that original
metropolis of the Christian world, spiritual conquests, at the expense
of the gentle sway of the Apostles: spiritual acquisitions--not to speak
of their natural consequences, temporal ones. It was undertaken, as will
be seen, in spite of the most strenuous exertions, made for the
prevention of it: made, not only by those, whose dominions he was so
needlessly invading, but by the unanimous remonstrances and entreaties
of his own adherents.

The date--assigned to the commencement of this visit, is A.D. 60.
Interval, between this his last recorded visit and his first, according
to the received chronology, 22 years.

Neither of the occasion of it, nor of any individual occurrence which
took place in the course of it, have we any account--from any other
source than the history of the Acts. Paul's account is all in generals.

3. Paul's Jerusalem Visit the Second.--According to the Acts, Acts
11:30, "which also they did, and sent it to the Elders by the hands of
Barnabas and Saul," between these two indisputable interviews of Paul's
with the Apostles occurs another visit, herein designated by the name of
the _Money-bringing Visit_. Under the apprehension of a predicted
dearth, money is sent from the Antioch to the Jerusalem saints.
Barnabas, and with him Paul, are employed in the conveyance of it. Time,
assigned to this Visit, A.D. 43. Of this visit, not any the least trace
is to be found in any Epistle of Paul's. Yet, in this Epistle of his to
his Galatians, he will be seen undertaking in a manner, to give an
account, of every visit of his to Jerusalem, in which, with reference to
spiritual dominion, between himself and the Apostles, anything material
had ever passed.

By this silence of Paul's, no counter-evidence is opposed, to the
account given of this visit in the Acts. What may very well be is,--that
he went along with the money, and departed, without having had any
personal communication with any Apostle, or even with any one of their

4. _Deputation Visit._ Paul's Jerusalem Visit the Third--say his
Deputation Visit. According to the Acts,[22] Paul being at the Syrian
Antioch, certain men came thither from Judea, teaching, that Mosaic
circumcision is necessary to Christian salvation. Dissension being thus
produced, Paul, and Barnabas as usual with him, are dispatched to confer
on this subject with the Apostles and the Elders--Time, assigned to this
visit, A.D. 52. Interval between the first and this third visit--years

In addition to the first Jerusalem Visit, mentioned as above by Paul, to
wit, in the first chapter of his Epistle to his Galatians,--in the
second, mention is made of another.

Of the incidents mentioned by Paul, as belonging to this other visit,
scarcely can any one, unless it be that of his having Barnabas for a
companion, be found, that presents itself as being the same with any
incident mentioned in the Acts, in the account given of the above named
Deputation Visit. But, between the two accounts, neither does any
repugnance manifest itself: and, forasmuch as, in a statement, the
purpose of which required that no interview, in which anything material
passed between him and the Apostles, should pass unnoticed,--he mentions
no more than one visit besides the first,--it seems reasonable to
conclude, that it was but one and the same visit, that, in the penning
of both these accounts, was in view.

As far as appears, it is from the account thus given by Paul of the
second, of the two visits mentioned by him as made to Jerusalem, that
the received chronology has deduced the year, which it assigns to the
Deputation Visit, as recorded in the Acts.

In Paul's account alone--in Paul's, and not in that in the Acts--is the
distance given in a determinate number of years. According to one of two
interpretations, 17--the number above mentioned as adopted in the
current chronology--is the number of years mentioned by Paul as
intervening between those two visits. But even in this place, a
circumstance that must not pass altogether unnoticed is,--that,
according to another interpretation, to which the text presents itself
as almost equally open, the length of the interval would be considerably
greater. Galatians i. 17: "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which
were Apostles before me: but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto
Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter,
and abode with him fifteen days." After what period?--after that of his
conversion? or after the expiration of this his second visit to
Damascus? Reckoning from this latter period, the interval may be ever so
much greater than that of the three years: for, to the three years may
be added an indefinite length of time for the second, and even for the
first, of his abodes at Damascus. But, as we advance, reason will appear
for concluding, that, being in the eyes of the Damascus rulers, as well
as the Jerusalem rulers, a traitor--in the highest degree a traitor--his
abode at Damascus could not, at either of these times, have been other
than short as well as secret.

Gal. ii. 1: "Then, fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem
with Barnabas, and took Titus also." This being supposed to be the
Deputation Visit, these fourteen added to the former three, make the

5. _Peter's Antioch Visit._--In Paul's Epistle, addressed to his
Galatians, as above,--immediately after the mention of his own second
Jerusalem Visit as above, comes the mention of an interview, which he
says he has at Antioch with Peter: "Peter being come," he says, "to that
place." Gal. ii. 11. In the Acts, 15:22, immediately upon the back of
the accounts of the Deputation Visit, as above,--comes an account of
what may be called a _counter Deputation Visit_. Of the former
Deputation Visit, according to the Acts, the result is--from the
Apostles, the Elders, and the whole Church, a _letter_, concluding with
a _decree_: and "by men chosen of their own company," this letter is
stated as having been carried to Antioch: and, with these men, so
chosen, Paul and Barnabas are stated as returning to Antioch, from which
city, as above, they had been deputed. As and for the names of "chosen
men," those of Judas, surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, are mentioned:
"chief men among the brethren" is another title by which they are, both
of them, distinguished. To these, no other names are added: in
particular, not that of Peter. Thus far the Acts.

As to Paul, in the account _he_ gives, of the discussion, to which,
after--and apparently, as above, in consequence of--his _secondly
mentioned_ interview with Peter at Jerusalem,--no mention is made either
of Judas Barsabas, or of Silas: of Peter--and him alone--it is, that, on
this occasion, any mention is made. Peter comes, as it should seem, to
Antioch from Jerusalem; which last city seems to have been his ordinary
abode. But, on this occasion likewise, in addition to this visitor,
mention is again made of Barnabas, of whom, as far as appears, from the
time of the Reconciliation Visit down to this time, Antioch was the
ordinary abode. In relation to each of these several Visits, a brief
preparatory indication of the topic or topics, which will be brought to
view, when an account comes to be given of it, may in this place have
its use.

I. _Reconciliation Visit._--On this occasion, a difficulty that
naturally presents itself--is--if the relation is in substance true, and
the occasion is the same--how it can have happened, that if Peter was at
Antioch--Peter, the universally acknowledged chief of the Apostles--no
mention should be to be found of him in the Acts: instead of him, two
men as yet unknown--this _Judas Barsabas_, and this _Silas_--neither of
them of the number belonging to the goodly fellowship of the
Apostles,--being the only persons mentioned.

But, for this difficulty, conjecture presents a solution, in which there
is nothing either in itself improbable, or inconsistent with either of
the two accounts--that of Paul as above, and that in the Acts. This
is--that those two were the men, and the only men, deputed in the first
instance: but, that after them, at no long interval, came thither to
their assistance that chief of the Apostles. Whether the importance of
the question be considered--to wit, whether, upon being received as
Christians, Gentiles should be obliged to submit to Mosaic
circumcision--whether the importance of the question, or the
strenuousness of the debates to which it is spoken of as having given
rise, Acts 15:2, be considered--the visit of the chief of the Apostles
at Jerusalem, to the scene of controversy at Antioch, presents not any
supposition, to which any imputation of improbability seems to attach.

ACTS xv. 1 to 34.

     1. And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren
     and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye
     cannot be saved.--When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small
     dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and
     Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto
     the Apostles and Elders about this question.--And being brought on
     their way by the Church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria,
     declaring the conversion of the Gentiles, and they caused great joy
     unto all the brethren.--And when they were come to Jerusalem, they
     were received of the Church, and of the Apostles and Elders, and
     they declared all things that God had done with them.--But there
     rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,
     saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them
     to keep the law of Moses.--And the Apostles and Elders came
     together for to consider of this matter.--And when there had been
     much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and
     brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among
     us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the
     Gospel, and believe.--And God which knoweth the hearts, bare them
     witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us:--And
     put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by
     faith.--Now therefore why tempt ye God to put a yoke upon the necks
     of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to
     bear?--But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus
     Christ, we shall be saved even as they.--Then all the multitude
     kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring
     what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by
     them.--And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying,
     Men and brethren, hearken unto me.--Simeon hath declared how God at
     the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for
     his name.--And to this agree the words of the Prophets; as it is
     written,--After this I will return, and will build again the
     tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again
     the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:--That the residue of men
     might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name
     is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things.--Known unto
     God are all his works from the beginning of the world.--Wherefore
     my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the
     Gentiles are turned to God:--But that we write unto them, that they
     abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from
     things strangled, and from blood.--For Moses of old time hath in
     every city, them that preach him, being read in the synagogues
     every sabbath-day.--Then pleased it the Apostles and Elders, with
     the whole Church, to send chosen men of their own company to
     Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; _namely_, Judas surnamed Barsabas,
     and Silas, chief men among the brethren.--And they wrote letters by
     them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send
     greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and
     Syria and Cilicia.--Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which
     went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your
     souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised; and keep the law; to whom we
     gave no such commandment:--It seemed good unto us, being assembled
     with one accord, to send chosen men unto you, with our beloved
     Barnabas and Paul;--Men that have hazarded their lives for the name
     of our Lord Jesus Christ.--We have therefore sent Judas and Silas,
     who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.--For it seemed
     good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater
     burden than these necessary things;--That ye abstain from meats
     offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and
     from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do
     well. Fare ye well.--So when they were dismissed, they came to
     Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they
     delivered the Epistle.--Which when they had read, they rejoiced for
     the consolation.--And Judas and Silas, being prophets also
     themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed
     them.--And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go
     in peace from the brethren unto the Apostles.--34. Notwithstanding
     it pleased Silas to abide there still.

GALATIANS ii. 1 to the end.

     1. Then fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem with
     Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.--And I went up by
     revelation, and communicated unto them that Gospel which I preach
     among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation,
     lest by any means I should run, or had run in vain.--But neither
     Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be
     circumcised.--And that because of false brethren unawares brought
     in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in
     Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.--To whom we
     gave place by subjection, no not for an hour; that the truth of the
     Gospel might continue with you.--But of those, who seemed to be
     somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God
     accepteth no man's person) for they who seemed _to be somewhat_, in
     conference added nothing to me.--But contrariwise, when they saw
     that the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the
     Gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter:--For he that wrought
     effectually in Peter to the Apostleship of the circumcision, the
     same was mighty in me towards the Gentiles.--And when James,
     Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace
     that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right
     hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the heathen, and they
     unto the circumcision.--Only _they would_ that we should remember
     the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.--But when Peter
     was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to
     be blamed.--For before that certain came from James, he did eat
     with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew, and
     separated himself, fearing them _which were_ of the
     circumcision.--And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him,
     insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away by their
     dissimulation.--But when I saw that they walked not uprightly,
     according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them
     all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and
     not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do
     the Jews?--We _who are_ Jews by nature, and not sinners of the
     Gentiles,--Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
     law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in
     Jesus Christ that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and
     not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no
     flesh be justified.--But if while we seek to be justified by Christ
     we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the
     minister of sin? God forbid.--For if I build again the things which
     I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.--For I through the law
     am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.--I am crucified
     with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in
     me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith
     of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.--21. I do
     not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness _come_ by the
     law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Of the falsity of his story concerning the manner of his
conversion,--one proof, that has been given, has been deduced from the
inconsistency, of the several accounts which we have of it--all of them
originally from himself--as compared with one another.

Of the erroneousness of the notion of his having ever been in the eyes
of the Apostles what he professed himself to be--of this, and at the
same time of the want of correctness, and trustworthiness, in every
account, which, by him, or from him, is to be seen rendered, of his
proceedings, adventures, and dangers--proof will, on the ensuing
occasions, be afforded, by evidence of this same kind: by similar
instances of inconsistency, which will be all along brought to view.

On the occasion of his _first_ visit to Jerusalem--to the metropolis of
Christendom--will be to be noted--1. The cause and manner of his
arrival. 2. The circumstances of his abode--its duration, and business.
3. The cause and circumstances of his departure. 4. The general result
of this his expedition.

1. Of the cause of his visit, and manner of his arrival, we shall see
two different accounts: namely, one, given by himself directly, in an
epistle of his to his disciples in Galatia; the other, by a man, who
afterwards became his adherent and travelling companion--namely the
author of the Acts.

2. Of the duration and business of his abode, we shall see, in like
manner, two different accounts, delivered respectively by those same

3. So, of the cause of his departure;--from the same two sources.

4. So, of the circumstances of it.

5. Of the general result of this same expedition of his, we have no
fewer than three different accounts: namely, the same two as above; with
the addition of a third, as reported, in the Acts, to have been given by
Paul himself, in the course of the speech he made, at the time of his
fourth visit, to an assembled multitude, headed by the constituted
authorities among the Jews:--when, after having been dragged by force
out of the Temple, he would--had he not been saved by a commander of the
Roman guard--have been torn to pieces.

On this occasion, we shall find, that, by his own confession, made for a
particular purpose--for the purpose of saving his life--under an
exigency which allowed no time for the study of consistency, and
recorded by the blindness and inconsiderateness of his biographer;--we
shall find, that the account, whatever it was, which, on the occasion of
this his first visit, he gave of himself to the Apostles, failed
altogether in its endeavours to obtain credence.



Of the occasion and particulars of the second of these four visits, we
have but one account: viz. that which is to be seen in the Acts.

Compared with what belongs to the other visits, that which belongs to
this is but of small importance. The information, to be collected from
it, will, however, be seen to be this: namely, that this was the second,
of the attempts he made to join himself to the Apostles: and that it
succeeded no better than the first. It did not even succeed so well:
for, notwithstanding the claims which the business of it gave him to
their regard--it was to bring them a sum of money, the fruit of the
liberality of the Church at Antioch--he could not so much as obtain
admittance into the presence of any one of them. Without much
hesitation, this may be affirmed. If he had, he would have made mention
of it: for, it will be seen, that, whatsoever apparent countenance he
ever succeeded in obtaining from them, it was his care to make the most
of it.



Of the occasion, and particulars, and termination, of the _third_ of
these four visits, we have two, and but two, accounts: one--that given
in the Acts; the other--that given by Paul himself, as above, in his
letter to his Galatians: that in the Acts, the only one which goes into
particulars; and which must accordingly be taken for the basis of the
narrative, and in that character be brought to view in the first
instance: that given by Paul himself confining itself to generals; but,
as far as it goes, much more to be depended upon, and affording much
more instruction, than that given in the Acts.

Among its immediate consequences, this third visit appears to have had
some sort of intercourse between Paul and Saint Peter at Antioch--the
next most considerable seat of the new religion after Jerusalem; at
Antioch, to which city, Paul,--who, with Barnabas, had been settled
there,--was on his return: Peter being then on a temporary visit, made
to that place, for the final settlement of the business, by which the
last preceding visit of Paul to Jerusalem had been occasioned.

At the time of this visit, the residence of Paul was at this same
Antioch. The occasion of it was--the dissemination there, of a doctrine,
which, by certain persons not named, had been imported thither from
Jerusalem: a doctrine, according to which it was taught to the
brethren--"Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot
be saved." For the settlement of this important matter,--Barnabas, with
Paul for his companion, besides other companions not named, was, by the
brethren at Antioch, now, for the second time, sent, as a delegate, to
the brethren at Jerusalem.

On every one of these three visits, it was under the protection of this
Barnabas (it will be seen) that Paul had presented himself:--on the
first of them, for the purpose of making known his conversion, and, if
possible, forming a connection with the brethren there;--the second, for
the purpose of bringing them money, the fruits of the respect and
affection of the brethren at Antioch;--the third time, for the
settlement of this important point of doctrine. As for Barnabas, he was
a _Cypriot_, who, as will be seen, had an establishment at Jerusalem:
and who, by his indefatigable zeal, added to his unrivalled munificence,
appears to have obtained an influence not exceeded by any but that of
the Apostles.

Of this same Deputation Visit, being the third of the recorded visits of
Paul to Jerusalem,--followed by, and coupled with, one of Peter to
Antioch--Gal. ii. 11, the place of Paul's residence,--two most important
results, or alleged results, are mentioned: the first, mentioned by the
author of the Acts alone, the decree, of a council, composed of the
Apostles and certain other persons, by the name of Elders, at
Jerusalem;--which decree, together with a letter, was from thence sent
by the hands of Judas Barsabas and Silas, to the brethren at Antioch;
Paul and Barnabas being of the party, on their return to that same
place: the other result, mentioned by Paul alone, a sort of _partition
treaty_, by which the field of doctrinal labour, and thence of spiritual
dominion was divided between him, (Paul), on the one part, and the
Apostles on the other. The _Jewish world_, for a less ambiguous
designation would hardly find a sufficient warrant, to remain with the
Apostles; the _Gentile world_, to be left free to the exertions of the
declared convert and self-constituted Apostle. As to the _decree and
letter_, reasons for questioning the authenticity of these documents
will be hereinafter brought to view, Ch. 6. Of the _partition treaty_,
the reality presents itself as altogether natural and probable--and, by
circumstantial as well as direct evidence, sufficiently established: by
direct evidence supported, by circumstantial evidence confirmed.



Of the occasion of the fourth and last of these four visits--call it
_Paul's Invasion Visit_--we have, though but from one immediate source,
what may, to some purposes, be called two distinct and different
accounts, included one within another: to wit, that which the historian
gives as from himself, and that which he puts into the mouth of his
hero, whose adventures he is relating. On this subject, from the mouth
of the hero, the historian has not given us, and probably could not give
us, anything but mystery. From the circumstances, it will be seen,
whether the appellation _Invasion Visit_, by which this last of his
recorded visits to Jerusalem is here distinguished, is not fully

Neither, of the occurrences which took place during the course of it,
nor of the mode in which it terminated, have we any more than one
account; viz. the account which, speaking in his own person, is given of
it by the author of the Acts.[23]

But, upon one part of this account--and that a part in itself in no
small degree obscure--light, and that such as, it is believed, will be
found to dispel the darkness, will be seen thrown, by an article of the
Mosaic law: upon which article, light will be seen reciprocally
reflected, by the application here recorded as having been made of it.
This regards the _Temple scene_:--an expensive ceremony spun out for
days together only to produce the effect of an _Oath_.

On the occasion of this visit, in spite of a universal opposition on the
part of all concerned--his own adherents and dependents, as well as his
adversaries of all classes included,--Paul, for reasons by himself
studiously concealed,--and, if brought to light at all, brought to light
no otherways than by inference,--will be seen making his entry into
Jerusalem, as it were by force. In the hope of freeing themselves, as it
should seem, of this annoyance, it is,--that the rulers of the Christian
church, insist upon his clearing himself from certain suspicions, in the
harbouring of which the whole church had concurred.[24]



On the occasion of this portion of history, it seems particularly
material, to bring to view an observation, which, on the occasion of
every portion of history, it will, it is believed, be of no small use to
have in remembrance.

In comparison of self-written biography, scarcely does any other
biography deserve the name.

Faint, indeterminate, uninstructive, deceptive, is the information
furnished by any other hand, of whatsoever concerns the state of the
mental frame, in comparison of what is furnished by a man's own. Even of
those particulars which make against himself,--even of those motives and
intentions which he would most anxiously conceal,--more clear and
correct, as far as it goes, if not more complete--is the information
given by him, than any which is commonly afforded, even by an impartial
hand. By a man's own hand, not unfrequently is information afforded, of
a sort which makes against himself, and which would not, because it
could not, have been afforded by any other hand, though ever so hostile.
He states the self-condemnatory mental facts, the blindness of
self-partiality concealing from his eyes the condemnatory inference: or,
even with his eyes open, he lays himself under the imputation: bartering
merit in this or that inferior shape, for the merit of candour, or for
the hope of augmenting the probative force of his own self-serving
evidence, in favour of every other merit for which it is his ambition to
gain credence.


[20] Gal. i. 18. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see
Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."

[21] Of any mention made of Galatia, in any of the Books of the New
Testament, the following are, according to Cruden's Concordance, the
only instances: 1 Cor. xvi. 1. "... have given order to the churches at
Galatia." Times, assigned to these Epistles, A.D. 59. 2 Tim. iv. 10:
"Crescens is departed to Galatia." A.D. 66. 1 Pet. i. 1: "to the
strangers scattered in Galatia." Date A.D. 60.

[22] Acts xv. 1-4. 1. "And certain men which came down from Judea taught
the brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of
Moses, ye cannot be saved.--When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no
small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul
and Barnabas and certain other of them should go up to Jerusalem unto
the Apostles and Elders about this question.--And being brought on their
way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring
the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the
brethren.--And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of
the Church, and of the Apostles and Elders, and they declared all things
that God had done with them."

[23] Be this as it may, that he must have been in the way to hear, from
various persons present, accounts, such as they were, of what was said
by Paul,--seems to follow almost of course. This seems applicable even
to the _latest_ of the two occasions; for, though the place, Cæsarea,
was some distance from Jerusalem, 56 miles,--yet the distance was not so
great, but that the persons, who were attached to him, might, for the
most part, be naturally supposed to have followed him: and in particular
the historian, who, according to his history, continued in Paul's suite
till, at the conclusion of this his forced excursion, he arrived at

But, on the subject of _possible materials_, one concluding query here
presents itself. On a _subject_ such as that in question, on an
_occasion_, such as that in question, for a _purpose_ such as that in
question, a _speech_ such as either of those in question, might it not,
by a person in the historian's situation--not to speak of other
situations--be just as easily made without any special materials, as
with any the most correct and complete stock of materials?

[24] Between Paul's third visit, and that which is here reckoned as his
fourth, another is, by some, supposed[I.] to, have been taken place; on
which supposition, this concluding one, which is here styled the fourth,
ought to be reckoned the fifth.

But, for the support of this supposition, the grounds referred to for
this purpose do not seem sufficient:--not that, if the supposition were
true, any consequence material to the present purpose would follow.

For this supposition, what ground there is, consists in a passage in the
Acts:--Acts 18:20, 21, 22.

20. When they, the Jews at Ephesus, desired [him] to tarry longer time
with them, he consented not;

But bade them farewell, saying, I _must_ by all means _keep this feast
that cometh in Jerusalem_; but I will return again unto you, if God
will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

And when he had _landed_ at Cæsarea, and _gone up_, and saluted the
_church_, he _went down_ to Antioch.

There we have the grounds of the supposition. But, what is the support
they give to it?--declaration, affirming the existence of an intention,
is one thing; actually existing intention is another. Even supposing the
existence of the intention in question,--intention is one thing;
corresponding action, another. Jerusalem is not mentioned. Cæsarea
being on the sea-coast, Jerusalem is indeed in the interior: and
therefore, it may be said, is a place, to which, if a man went from
Cæsarea, he would "_go up_:" but, from Cæsarea, it being on the coast,
a man could not go to any place in Judaea not on the coast, without
_going up_.

So much for _place_:--and now as to _time_. The time mentioned as the
object of the _intention_, is the _passover_; but, that the time, at
which, being _gone up_, Paul "_saluted the church_"--this being all
which, upon this _going up_, he is here stated as doing--that this time
was the passover, is not stated.

As to the _salute_ here stated as given to the _church_,--at the
conclusion, and as a material part of the result, of this inquiry, it
will appear plain beyond all doubt, that, if by "_the church_" be
understood any member of it at Jerusalem, besides two, or at most three,
of the Apostles,--according to this interpretation, from the time of his
Conversion Visit to Damascus antecedently to his first visit to
Jerusalem, down to the last visit here reckoned as his fourth--there
never was a day on which the _church_ would have received his salute.

What will also be rendered manifest is--that it was an object with the
author of the Acts, to induce a belief, that Paul, before the conclusion
of his first visit, was upon good terms with the church, and so
continued to the last: and that, to this end, a purposed
misrepresentation was employed by the historian.

Not that, in regard to the visit here in question, to the purpose of the
argument--it makes any sort of difference, whether it had place or had
not. If it had place, neither the conclusion, nor any part of the
argument, will be seen to require any variation in consequence.

     [I.] Wells's _Historical Geography of the Old and New Testament_,
     ii. 271. Ch. 5. Of Saint Paul's Travels and Voyages into Asia.
     "St. Paul" (says Wells very composedly) "_having kept_ the passover
     at Jerusalem, went thence down, &c."--And for this the Acts are
     quoted as above: but the Acts, it will here be seen, say no such


     Paul disbelieved _continued_.--_First of his four Visits to
     Jerusalem after his Conversion_; _say_ Jerusalem Visit I. _or_
     Reconciliation Visit.--_Barnabas introducing him from Antioch to
     the Apostles._



Already on another occasion, and for a different purpose, have the two
accounts, between which this self-contradiction manifests itself, been
brought to view: viz. on the occasion of the accounts, given or
supposed to be given, by Paul, of the cause and manner of his
conversion:--accounts given in the first place, in writing, and
consequently, with all requisite time for deliberation, in his Epistle
to the Galatians:--given, or supposed to be given, in the next place, by
a speech spoken, namely, that which, in the Acts is reported as spoken
by him, on the occasion of his trial, to Festus and Agrippa:--Festus,
the Roman Proconsul, Agrippa, the Jewish King.

In the whole account of this matter, as given by Paul in his Epistle to
the Galatians, how much of truth there probably was, and how much of
falsehood or misrepresentation,--has been seen already in some measure,
ch. II. i. 5, and will be seen more fully as we advance.

As to his motive for this visit, he has endeavoured to keep it to
himself: but, by the result, according to the account he himself gives
of it, it is betrayed. It was--to effect the so much needed
_reconciliation_:--his reconciliation with the Apostles:--the Apostles,
in relation to whom his disregard is professed, the need he had of them,
no otherwise than virtually, nor yet the less effectually confessed.
Without an interval of considerable length between his conversion and
this visit, all such reconciliation would have been plainly hopeless.
From this circumstance, the length, as alleged by him, of his abode in
Arabia, receives obvious and highly probative confirmation. The
confirmation is, indeed, reciprocal. The nature of his situation, proves
the need he had, of an interval of considerable length, before any hope
of reconciliation could be fulfilled, or, naturally speaking, so much
as conceived: by this circumstance, his abode in some other country is
rendered probable to us: and this other country may, for aught we know,
as well have been the country mentioned by him--to wit, _Arabia_,
as any other: and, thus it is, that this assertion, of his having
been three years in Arabia, between the time of his departure from
Jerusalem to Damascus, and his return to Jerusalem to see Peter, is
confirmed:--confirmed, by the natural length, of the interval, requisite
to the affording any, the least chance, that Peter could be induced to
meet upon terms of amity and intercourse a man, in whom he beheld the
murderer of a countless multitude of human beings, linked to him by the
closest bonds of self-regarding interest, as well as sympathy and
brotherly love.

As to contradiction, contradiction cannot easily be much more pointed,
than it will be seen to be, between the account in respect of time, as
given in this instance by Paul, and the account given of it by his
historiographer in the Acts. On a double ground, it is Paul's account
that claims the precedence. Of _his_ account, such as it is, the rank,
in the scale of trustworthiness, is that of _immediate_ evidence; that
of his historiographer, no higher than that of _unimmediate_
evidence:--evidence once removed; having, for its most probable and
least untrustworthy source, that same _immediate_ evidence. Paul's
evidence is, at the same time, not only more circumstantiated, but
supported by the reasons which he has combined with it. Not till three
years after his alleged miraculous conversion, did he go near to any of
the Apostles.--Why?--Because, though, _at_ that time, for reasons which
he has left us to guess, he had regarded himself as having considerable
need of them,--_till_ that time he did not regard himself as having any
need of them. And, why was it, that, for so great a length of time, he
did not regard himself as having any need of them?--The answer he
himself gives us, Gal. i. 10: ... "do I seek to please men?--I certify
to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me, is not after
man.--For I received it not of man, nor was I taught it but by the
revelation of Jesus Christ.--When it pleased God, who 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 me; but I went
into Arabia, and returned _again_ unto Damascus.--Then after three years
I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen
days.--But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord's

Thus far Paul himself. Let us now see, what is said in regard to the
time, by his subsequent attendant and historiographer. Acts ix ... "as
he (Saul) journeyed, he came near Damascus, and, suddenly there shined
round him a light," &c.--ver. 8. "And Saul arose from the earth, and ...
they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.--And he was
three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.--And there was
a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord
in a vision...--...go into the street called _Straight_, and inquire
in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus...--17. And Ananias
... entered into the house, and ... said, Brother Saul, the Lord ...
hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight ...--And ... he
received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.--And when he had
received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the
disciples which were at Damascus.--And straightway he preached Christ
in the synagogues,...--22. ... and confounded the Jews which dwelt at
Damascus,...--And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took
counsel to kill him.--... 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.--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."

With what the historiographer says in his own person, agrees, as to the
particular point now in question, what, in the studied oration, he puts
into Paul's mouth. In that account likewise, immediately after the
mention of what Paul did at Damascus,--follows, the mention of what he
did at Jerusalem: and, as to everything done by him among the Gentiles,
not only does the mention of it come after the mention of what was done
by him at Jerusalem, but, between the two, comes the mention, of
whatever was done by him, in any of the coasts of Judea. Acts 26:19.
"Whereupon, O, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly
vision:--but showed, first unto them of Damascus, and of Jerusalem, and
throughout all the coasts of Judea; and then to the Gentiles, that they
should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance."

Here then, according to Paul's own account, after his visit to Damascus
from Jerusalem, he visited Arabia, and moreover Damascus a second time,
before he made his visit to Jerusalem to see Peter: before this visit
did he make both those other visits; and, in making them, pass three
years, with or without the addition, of the time, occupied by his first
visit to Damascus,--and the time, occupied by his abode in Arabia.
According to Paul's own account then, between his second departure from,
and his arrival at, Jerusalem from thence, there was an interval either
of three years, or of so much more than three years. On the contrary,
according to both the accounts given of the matter by his
historiographer in the Acts, there was not between the two events in
question, any interval other than such as the journey from the one to
the other--about 130 British miles as the crow flies, say about 160,
allowance made for turnings and windings,--would require.

Now, as between Jews and Gentiles, _alias_ heathens:--to which of these
two descriptions of persons, were his preachings addressed in the first

According to his Epistle to his Galatians, preaching to the heathen
being his peculiar destination, this accordingly is the vocation upon
which he proceeded in the first place: and we have seen how probable it
is, not to say certain, that, in this particular, what he asserted was
true. His appointment being to "the heathen," he conferred not with
flesh and blood: _i.e._ with the Apostles, their immediate disciples, or
other flesh and blood of the Christian persuasion: for, of any such
conference--of any assistance or support from any such quarter, he has,
in this same Epistle, been declaring and protesting--most vehemently
protesting--that he had no need. Neither then for the purpose of
conference with "those who were Apostles," as he says, "before him," nor
for any other purpose, went he up to Jerusalem: no, not till either
three years after his conversion, or three years, with the addition of
another term of unmeasurable length.

Now then, how stands this matter according to the Acts--according to the
speech put into Paul's mouth by the author of the Acts? Instead of the
Gentiles being the description of persons, to whom, in the first
instance, he applies his labours,--it is the Jews. What he _shows_ is
"_shown_," in the first place, to those "of Damascus;" then "at
Jerusalem;" then "throughout all the coasts of Judea;" and, not till
_then_--to the Gentiles: of his abode in Arabia--of any visit of his to
Arabia--not any of the slightest mention, or so much as allusion to it.
But, all this while, for anything that appears to the contrary, Arabia
was completely open to him: whereas, after the offence he had committed
against the authority of the ruling powers at Judea, it was not, morally
speaking, in the nature of things that he could have continued in any
place coming within that description--have continued, long enough to
make any sensible impression: and, in Jerusalem in particular, in this
same Epistle to the Galatians, from which the above particulars are
taken,--it was, as he himself declares, only in secrecy, that, even
fourteen years after this, he ventured to disseminate those doctrines,
whatever they were, that were peculiar to himself, 2nd Gal.: 1, 2.
"Then, fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas,
and took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation, and communicated
unto them that Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but _privately_
to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had
run, in vain."

Thus stands the contrariety:--the contrariety, between Paul's own
account of his own proceedings, and the account, which, by the author of
the Acts, he is represented as giving of them, on another occasion.
Says Paul _himself_, in his own Epistle to his Galatians--After my
conversion, it was to the Gentiles that I applied myself first: to the
Jews, not till afterwards; nor then, to any considerable extent. Says
the author of the _Acts_, in a speech, which he puts into the mouth of
Paul--It was to the Jews that he applied himself first, and _that_ to a
great extent: to the Gentiles, not till afterwards.

Thus stands the contrariety, taken in itself. As to the _cause_, it will
neither be far to seek, nor dubious. In the differences of situations,
occasions, and purposes in view--in the differences, that had place in
respect of all those particulars--it will be found.

On the occasion, on which Paul himself speaks, what was the persuasion
which it was his endeavour to produce? It was--that, for a number of
years, commencing from the moment of his conversion,--with no persons,
who, to this purpose, could be called _Jews_, had he, to any such
purpose as this, had any intercourse: for, this being admitted, it
followed, of course, that, if, on the subject of the religion of Jesus,
he had really received the information he declared himself to have
received, it was _not_ from the Apostles, that he had had it, or any
part of it. "On them (says he) I am perfectly independent: to them I am
even superior. With Jesus _they_ had no communication but in a natural
way; with the same Jesus _I_ have had communication in a supernatural
way:--in the way of '_revelation_.' My communication with him is,
moreover, of a date posterior to theirs--to any that they can pretend
to: in so far as there is any contrariety between that I teach and what
they teach, it is for theirs, on both these accounts--it is for theirs,
to yield to mine. From God is my doctrine: in opposition to it, if
either they, or any other men presume to preserve, let the curse of God
be on their heads. ver. 8. Accordingly, at the time of my first visit to
Jerusalem after my conversion, no communication had I with them, for, no
such communication, teaching as I did from revelation, could I stand in
need of, I had already passed three years at least in Arabia, teaching
to the Gentiles there my peculiar doctrine. This peculiar doctrine, as I
made no scruple of teaching it to those Gentiles, as little, on the
occasion of that visit of mine to Jerusalem, did I make any scruple of
teaching it to Jews as well as Gentiles. True it is, I did not then
teach it publicly:--I did not teach my peculiar doctrine, so publicly as
they did theirs. But, as to this comparative secrecy, it had for its
cause the advantage of being free from opposition; for, had the fact of
my teaching this doctrine so different from theirs--been known to
them,--they might have opposed it, and thus my labours might have been

Whether, in the representation here given of what he says to his
Galatians, there be any misrepresentation, the reader may judge.

On the occasion, on which _his historian_ represents him as speaking,
what now, as to this same matter, was the persuasion, which the nature
of his situation required him to endeavour to produce? It was, that Jews
were the sort of persons, with whom, during the period in question, he
had, to the purpose in question, been holding intercourse: Jews, even in
preference to--not to say to the exclusion of--Gentiles: so far is he
from being _now_ represented, as stating himself to have held converse
with Gentiles, to the exclusion of Jews; which is, that of which he
_himself_ has been seen taking so much pains to persuade his Galatian
disciples. Yes: as far as competition could have place, Jews, on this
occasion, in _preference_, at least, to Gentiles: for, on this occasion,
what he was labouring at was--to recommend himself to the favour of his
Jewish Judge, King Agrippa, Acts 26:8-21, by magnifying the services he
had been rendering to the Jews, his very accusers not excepted:
services, to the rendering of which, close and continued intercourse,
during that same period, could not but have been necessary.

On this occasion, being accused of--his historian does not choose to say
what,--his defence was--that, of the persecution he was suffering, his
preaching the _resurrection_ was the only real cause: that, having been
born and bred a Pharisee,--in preaching that doctrine, so far from
opposing, he had been supporting, with all his might, the principles
maintained by the constituted authorities: adducing, in proof of the
general proposition, the evidence furnished by a particular fact, the
resurrection, that had place in the case of Jesus, Acts 25:19: that
when, in his conversion vision, Jesus gave him his commission, the
principal object of that commission was--the instruction of the
Gentiles: to wit, by informing them--that, to such of them as would
believe in the resurrection, and repent of their sins, and do works
accordingly,--the benefit of it would be extended: that to this mandate,
it was true, he did not ultimately fail to pay substantial obedience:
yet, such was his affection for his brethren the Jews,--that it was not
till, for a considerable time, he had been conferring on _them_ the
benefit of his labours, that he betook himself to the Gentiles. Acts
26:19. "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:--But showed
first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the
coasts of Judea; and _then_ to the Gentiles, that they should repent,
&c.--For these causes the Jews caught me in the Temple, and went about
to kill me."

The repugnancy (says somebody), the repugnancy, is--not between Paul and
Paul--but between Paul and the author of the Acts; and, since the facts
in question are occurrences in which Paul himself was either agent or
patient, to the author of the Acts, and not to Paul, is the
incorrectness, wherever it be, to be imputed. Be it so: for the purpose
of the argument at least, be it so: but, if so it be, what are we to
think of the author of the Acts? Take away the author of the Acts, what
becomes of Paul? Take away the authority of the Acts in the character of
an inspired writer--writing from supernatural inspiration, after an
immediate and continued intercourse, in some unexplained and
inexplicable manner, with the Almighty,--what remains, then, of the
evidence, on the ground of which the mighty fabric of Paul and his
doctrine has been erected?

A man, who is thus continually in contradiction--sometimes with himself,
at other times with the most unimpeachable authorities--what credence
can, with reason and propriety, be given to his evidence, in relation to
any important matter of fact? at any rate, when any purpose, which he
himself has at heart, is to be served by it? Of such a man, the
testimony--the uncross-examined and uncross-examinable testimony--would
it, of itself, be sufficient to warrant a verdict, on a question of the
most inconsiderable pecuniary import? how much less then, on questions,
in comparison of which those of the greatest importance which the
affairs of this life admit of, shrink into insignificance? Even, suppose
veracity, and every other branch of probity, unimpeached and
unimpeachable,--if such confusion of mind, such want of memory, such
negligence, in relation to incidents and particulars, of too immensely
momentous a nature, to escape, at any interval of time, from the most
ordinary mind;--if such want of attention, such deficiency, in respect
of the most ordinary intellectual faculties and attainments, are
discernible in his narrative,--what solid, what substantial ground of
dependence can it furnish, or even leave in existence?

Of this sort are the questions for which already no inconsiderable
warrant has, it is believed, been found; nor, if so, throughout the
whole remaining course of this inquiry, should they ever be out of mind.



On this head, in addition to, and in explanation of, the sort of
narrative given in the Acts,--information, of the most instructive and
impressive stamp, may be seen furnished by himself: at the head of it,
may be placed that, which may be seen in his Epistle to his Galatian

At Jerusalem was the board-room in which sat the Council of the
Apostles: of those men, to whom their bitterest enemies would not, any
more than their disciples and adherents, have refused the appellation of
constant companions and selected disciples of the departed Jesus. To
them was known, everything that, in relation to Jesus, was known to any
one else: and moreover, in unlimited abundance, particulars not capable
of being known by any one else.

As to Paul, let us suppose him now a believer in Jesus; and, on this
supposition, note what could not but have been the state of his mind,
with relation to those select servants of Jesus.

In them he beheld the witnesses--not only of the most material and
characteristic acts and sayings of their Master, but of his death, and
its supernatural consequences--the _resurrection_ and _ascension_, with
which it had been followed.

In them he beheld--not only the witnesses of his _miracles_, but a set
of pupils, to whom such powers of working the like miracles--such
miraculous powers, in a word, as it had pleased him to impart,--had been

In their labours, he beheld the causes of whatsoever prosperity, he
found the society, established by them, in possession of.

In himself, he beheld the man, who, with such distinguished acrimony and
perseverance, had done his utmost, for the destruction of that society,
into which, for the purposes, indication of which has been so clearly
given by his own pen, he was preparing to intrude himself.

To form an ostensible cause for his intrusion,--in addition to such
information, as, by means of his persecution, it had happened to him to
extract from those whom he had been persecuting, what, on his part, had
he?--He had his own learning, his own talents, his own restless and
audacious temper, and the vision he had got up:--the baseless fabric of
that vision, a view of which has just been given.

Of the representation thus given of the matter,--whether we take his own
account of it, or that of the Acts,--suppose the truth to rest upon no
other ground than this vision, with or without that other vision, which
has been seen so slenderly tacked to it, and so strangely inserted into
it,--thus slender is the ground, on which we shall find him embarking
upon his enterprize,--assuming to himself, without modification or
apology, the name of _an Apostle_,--thrusting himself into the society,
and putting himself altogether upon an equality, not to say more than an
equality, with the whole company of the men, whose title to that
appellation was above dispute:--those of them who, among the chosen, had
been the most favoured, not excepted.

GALATIANS i. 11-23.

     11. But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached
     of me is not after man.--For I neither received it of man, neither
     was I taught _it_, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.--For ye
     have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion,
     how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted
     it:--And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in
     mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions
     of my fathers.--But 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 me; but I went into Arabia, and
     returned again unto Damascus.--Then after three years I went up to
     Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.--But other
     of the Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.--Now the
     things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie
     not.--Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;--And
     was unknown by face unto the Churches of Judea which were in
     Christ.--But they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in
     times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

Thus, however indistinctly and incoherently stated, stands the matter,
on the surface of both these accounts. On the surface. But, by a little
reflection on the nature of the case--the obvious and indisputable
nature of the case--as collected from all accounts, as already brought
to view in a preceding chapter II, we shall be led to another
conception, and the only tenable one.

The plan of worldly ambition--that plan by which we have already seen
his outward conversion produced--had been not only formed, but acted
upon:--acted upon, during a course of at least three years: of three
years, employed at Damascus in preparation,--in Arabia in probation.
What remained, and was now become necessary, was--some sort of
countenance from the Apostles: from the Apostles, and thence, if
possible, from the rest of the then existing Church. Necessary
altogether was this countenance for his support: for, to this plan the
_name_ of Jesus was essential. It was in that _name_, that all his
operations were to be carried on:--in that name, from the use of which
it was to be universally understood, that it was according to
directions, and with support, from the departed Jesus, that by this, his
newly-enlisted servant, everything was said and done.

In Damascus--yes:--in Damascus, where were the only persons, with whom,
for the purpose of his dominion, he could with safety communicate: that
is to say, persons, whom his commission from the Jerusalem authorities
had placed under his power. In Arabia--yes: where, though he had made no
progress of which he saw any advantage in giving any account--he at any
rate had not experienced any opposition, of such a sort as to engage him
to drop his scheme. In those comparatively distant countries--yes. But,
in Jerusalem--the birthplace of Jesus and his religion,--in that
metropolis, within which, or the near neighbourhood of it, all the
witnesses of its rise and progress--all the proselytes, that had been
made to it, were collected,--and from whence, and to which, the votaries
of that religion, out of which it had sprung, would be continually
flocking from all quarters;--in this place, for a man, known so
notoriously to them all as a persecutor, in whose scheme of persecution
they had all of them been involved,--for such a man to have, all on a
sudden, begun preaching and acting, in the name of that Jesus, whom, to
use his own language, he had persecuted--such an enterprise as this,
which, even with the utmost support which it was in their power to give,
would have been audacity, would, without some sort of countenance from
them,--have been downright madness.

To perfect success it was necessary, that not only these shepherds of
the Church pasture, but, through them the whole flock, should thus be
brought under management. So far as regarded those same _rulers_, we
shall find him, in a certain degree,--and even, with reference to his
purpose, in a sufficient degree,--successful. But, with reference to the
Disciples in general, and to all those rulers but three,--it will be
seen to have completely failed.

Circumstanced as he was, to those rulers alone, was it possible for him
to have addressed himself, with any the smallest hope. To any assembly
of the faithful at large, to have repaired with no better recommendation
than his vision story,--even with Barnabas, ready, as we shall see, to
take him by the hand,--would have been plainly hopeless. Not less so
would it have been--to present himself to the Apostles,--if, in support
of such proposition as he had to make,--nothing more apposite, nothing
to them in their situation more credible, than this same vision
story,--had been capable of being produced. On them, therefore, the case
seems already pretty well ripe for the conclusion, that, no such story
was ever attempted to be passed. But, setting aside that aërial
argument,--inducements of a more substantial nature, such as we shall
find brought to view by Paul himself, were neither on this occasion
wanting,--nor could, at any time, have been out of the view of that same
Barnabas, whom we shall see appearing so often, in the character of his
generous patron and steady friend. "On this plan, might Barnabas say to
them,--On this plan, which he has chalked out for himself, he will be
acting--not only not in opposition to, but even in furtherance of, your
wishes and endeavors. Grecian as he is,--skilled in that language, and
that learning, which serves a man as a passport through the whole of the
Gentile world,--it is to that world that his labours will confine
themselves; a field surely ample enough for the most comprehensive
views. To you he will leave,--and leave certainly without privation, and
therefore naturally without regret,--that field, of which you are
already in possession,--and, by the boundaries of which, your means of
convenient culture are circumscribed."

"On this plan,--not only will your exertions remain unimpeded, but the
influence of the name of Jesus--that name, on the influence of which
those same exertions are so materially dependent for their
success,--will, in proportion to Paul's success, be extended."

In a discourse, to this effect, from the generous and enlightened
mediator,--may be seen the natural origin of that agreement, which,
further on in its place, under the name of the _partition treaty_, there
will be occasion to bring, in a more particular manner, under review.

But, what is little less evident, than the propriety and prudence of
this plan, viewed at least in the point of view in which it might not
unnaturally be viewed by Barnabas, is--the impossibility, of coming
forward, with any tolerable prospect of success, with any such plan in
hand, in presence of a vast and promiscuous assemblage. To engage, on
the part of any such assemblage, not to say any steady confidence, but
any the slightest hope,--that, from an enemy even to death, the same man
would become a partner and assistant,--would require a most particular
and protracted exposition, of all those facts and arguments, which the
requisite confidence would require for its support:--a detail, which no
such assembly would so much as find time to listen to, were it possible
for it to find patience.

Even in the case of the Apostles themselves,--taking the whole council
of them together, the nature of the plan, it will be seen, admitted not
of any successful negotiation. Accordingly, to the chief of them alone,
to wit, to Peter, was it so much as the intention of Paul to make any
communication of it in the first instance: and, in the whole length of
the intercourse, such as it was, that he kept up with, them--in all the
four visits, in the course of which that intercourse was kept up--being
a period of not less than twenty-five years, to wit, from the year 35 to
the year 60,--with no more than three of the eleven, will he be seen so
much as pretending to have had any personal interview: _they_ not seeing
him, except when they could not avoid it; and _the others_ never seeing
him at all.



After his conversion--after the time at which, if he is to be believed,
he saw that first-mentioned of his visions--that vision, by which the
most strenuous opponent of the new religion was changed into one who, in
profession, was the most active of its supporters,--what was the course
he took? Did he repair immediately to Jerusalem from whence he came? Did
he present himself to the eleven Apostles--to the confidential
companions of the departed Jesus, to lay before them his credentials? to
report to those by whom everything about Jesus that was to be known to
man was known--what had been experienced by him?--by him, Paul, by whom,
till the moment of that experience, nothing of it whatever had been
known? Not he, indeed. Behold what he says himself.

Instead of so doing, off he goes, in the first instance to Arabia; from
whence, at the end of a length of time not specified, he returns to
Damascus. At length, however, to Jerusalem he does repair: at length,
into the presence of those against whose lives he had so long
conspired,--he now uses his endeavours to intrude himself.

At length? at the end then of what length of time? At the end of three
years? Yes: but from what point of time computed? From the time of his
conversion on the road,--or from the last day of his stay at Damascus,
upon his return thither from Arabia? By that man, let an answer to these
questions be given--by that man who can find grounds for it.

Thus much, however, may, at any rate, be said:--of the length of this
interval three years is the minimum.

In what view did it occur to him to seek this conference? in what view
to make the attempt? and in what view delay it?

1. As to his view in seeking it,--it must be left to inference:--to
conjecture, grounded on circumstances.

2. Being engaged, as he was, in the plan of making converts to a
religion, called by him the religion of Jesus,--and this among the
nations at large--among others besides those in the bosom of whose
religion the founder of the new religion had been born;--feeling, as it
seemed to him, the need, of information in various shapes--concerning
the acts and sayings of Jesus;--not having, for the purpose, had, as
yet, access, to any of the persons, to whom the benefit, of an interview
with Jesus, upon terms of peculiar confidence, had been imparted;--he
was desirous, of taking this--his only course--for rectifying the
misconception, under which, to no small extent, he must probably have
been labouring,--and filling up the deficiencies, under which he could
not but be labouring.

3. Obvious is the need he had, of countenance from these universally
acknowledged chiefs, of the religion professed to be taught by him.

Good, says some one: but, having, from the first, been thus long
labouring, under the need of information,--how happened it, that he so
long delayed, the exertions he made at length, for the obtaining of it?

The answer is surely not unobvious.

Had the time, of his presenting-himself, been when the memory of his
conversion was fresh,--when the memory, of the vision, by which it was
to be stated as having been effected, would, supposing it really
experienced, have been fresh also,--in such case, the narrative, true or
untrue, would have found, opposed to its reception, all imaginable
repugnance, in so many ulcerated minds: and, on the supposition of its
being untrue, he--the supposed percipient and actually narrating
witness--he, who knew nothing about the subject of his testimony, would
have had to submit himself to the severest imaginable cross-examination,
at the hands of those, to whom everything about Jesus was matter of
perfect knowledge.

Thus the matter would have stood, in the first instance. On the other
hand, as time ran on, several results, favourable to his design, would
naturally have taken place.

1. The exasperation, produced by the experience of the persecution
suffered at his hands, would have been diminished.

2. His own recollection, of the particulars, might be supposed less

3. The curiosity, respecting them, would have become less eager.

4. Time might have given admission to behaviour on his part, of a sort,
by which distrust might be lessened, confidence strengthened.

Well; now we have him at Jerusalem,--and for the first time after his
conversion. When thus, at Jerusalem,--of those whom he went to see, whom
did he actually see? Answer, Peter for one; James, whom he styles the
Lord's brother, and who, according to him, though not literally a
brother, was, however, a kinsman of Jesus:--these two, according to his
own shewing; these two, and no more. "Then after three years I went up
to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But of the
other Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord's brother." Gal. 1:18,



Such as hath been seen is Paul's account of the matter:--Paul's own
account, of the interval that elapsed, between his conversion, and the
first of his subsequent visits to Jerusalem:--to the residence of the
Christians, whom he had been persecuting, and of the rulers, under and
by the authority of whom, the persecution had been carried on. Such,
loose as it is, is his account, of the interval between these two
events: and of the place, in which, either almost the whole, or at any
rate the greatest part of it, was passed.

Such was Paul's own account of his own proceedings,--at the distance of
twenty-five years and more. Compare with it, now, the account, given by
his historiographer--given, of the interval, that, according to him, had
place, between these same two events. Acts 9:19-29.

Here, no three years' sojournment in Arabia: no visit to that country:
no notice, of any place, other than Damascus, as being a place, in which
the whole, or any part, of the time in question, was passed. In a
position, with respect to each other, scarcely different from that of
contiguity,--are the two events brought together. The blood of their
disciples scarce washed from off his hands, when, with Barnabas for his
introducer, he presents himself to the Apostles!

At the very time, when the Jerusalem rulers, would have been expecting
to receive from him, the proofs of his punctuality, in the execution of
the important plan, of official oppression, of which, at his own
instance, he had been solemnly constituted and appointed the
instrument; when, after going over to and forming a league with the
criminals, for such they must have been called, whom he had been
commissioned by these rulers to bring to justice;--at this very time it
is, that he returns to the seat of their dominion:--to the place in
which, at that very time, his return to them, with the intended victims
in captivity, could not but be the subject of universal expectation!

Let any one now judge, whether, in any state of things, natural or
supernatural, the sort of conduct thus supposed is credible.

At Damascus, instead of presenting himself to the Damascus rulers, to
whom the commission of which he was the bearer was addressed,--the first
persons, whom, according to this account, Acts 9:19, he sees, are "the
disciples," _i.e._, the persons whom, by that commission, he was to
arrest: and, with them, instead of arresting them, he passes "certain

These certain days ended,--does he thereupon, with or without an
apology, present himself to these same rulers? Not he, indeed. Not
presenting himself to them, does he, by flight or otherwise, take any
measures, for securing himself, against their legitimate and necessarily
intended vengeance? No such thing:--instead of doing so, he runs in the
very face of it. He shows himself in the Jewish synagogues, in the
public places of worship: and there, instead of preaching Moses and his
law, he preaches Christ,--that Christ, whose disciples he was
commissioned to extirpate.

This breach of trust--this transgression, which, however commendable in
itself, could not but,--in the eyes of all those by whom, or for whom,
he was in trust,--be a most flagitious and justly punishable act of
treachery,--could it even from the first, for so much as two days,
together, remain unknown? Not it, indeed: if, in this particular, to
this same conversion story, as related by this same author, any credit
is due. For, according to this same account,--in this same journey, and
at the very time of his conversion vision, was he alone? No; he had
companions: companions, who, whatsoever became of him, would, at the
very time of his entrance, unless any cause can be shown to the
contrary, have entered thither in due course. Well, then--ask the men in
authority,--"This Paul, in whose train you came,--where is he, what has
become of him?" Such would of course have been the questions put to
these, his companions, even on the supposition, that by these same
companions, no visit had, of their own accord, been paid to these same
rulers, under whose authority they went to place themselves.

At length,--and the days which by this time had elapsed were
"_many_,"--he finds it expedient to quit Damascus. He is driven from
thence: but by what force? By the exercise of the legal authority of the
offended rulers? in a word, by public vengeance? No: but by a private
conspiracy--nothing more: for, to these rulers,--so different are they
from all other rulers,--whether their authority is obeyed or contemned,
has, all the while, been matter of indifference.

ACTS ix. 19-30.

     19. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was
     Saul _certain days_ with the _disciples_ which were at
     Damascus.--And straightway he preached _Christ_ in the synagogues,
     that he is the Son of God.--But all that heard him were amazed, and
     said, Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name
     in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring
     them bound unto the chief priests?--But Saul increased the more in
     strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving
     that this is very Christ.--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_.--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.--And he was with them coming in and
     going out at Jerusalem.--And he spake boldly in the name of the
     Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about
     to slay him.--30. Which, when the brethren knew, they brought him
     down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

In the above account--a remarkable incident is presented, by the
occasion and manner of his escape from Damascus. In part, it has for its
support an assertion made by Paul himself; but, as usual, as to part it
is scarcely reconcileable with the account he gives of it. In respect of
the adventure of the _basket_, the two accounts agree: and thus the
occasion is identified and fixed. It is in respect of the description of
the persons, by whom the attack upon him was made or meditated, that the
accounts differ. According to the Acts, the hostile hands are those of
the Jews, who are spoken of as so many unauthorized and criminal
conspirators: but, according to Paul, they are those of the constituted
authorities--a governor acting under a king.

     31. "In Damascus"--says he, in 2 Cor. 11:32-33--"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."

Now, supposing the adverse force to have been that of a band of
conspirators, it was natural for them to watch the "city gates": a more
promising resource they could scarcely have had at their command. But,
suppose it to have been that of the governor,--what need had he to watch
the gates? he might have searched houses. By the reference made, to a
matter of fact, which, supposing it real, must in its nature have been
notorious--to wit, the existence of a king, of the name in question, in
the country in question, at the time in question--a comparative degree
of probability seems to be given to Paul's account. A curious
circumstance is--that, in this Epistle of Paul's, this anecdote of the
Basket stands completely insulated; it has not any the slightest
connection with anything that precedes or follows it.

In the Acts' account, as already observed, Chap. 4, it looks as if it
was immediately after the adventure of the basket, that he went on this
his first visit to the Apostles at Jerusalem: for, as we see, it is
immediately thereupon that his arrival at that city is mentioned. If so,
the abode he had _then_ been making at Damascus, was probably _after_
his return from Arabia: that return from Arabia, which we have seen him
speaking of in his Epistle to the Galatians, Gal. i. 15. "When it
pleased God ... to reveal his son to me, that I might preach him to the
heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood; Neither went
I up to Jerusalem, to them which were Apostles before me; but I went
into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. _Then after_ three years,
I went up to Jerusalem, to see Peter." &c.

"After three years?"--three years, reckoning from what _time_? Here we
see the ambiguity, and along with it the difficulty. If reckoning from
his conversion,--then we have the three years, to be spent--partly in
Damascus, partly in Arabia: in Damascus, in obtaining, perhaps, from the
Christianized Jews--in return for the impunity given to them by the
breach of the trust committed to him by the Jerusalem rulers--money, for
defraying his expenses while in Arabia. If, reckoning from his escape
from Damascus in a basket, then we have three years, during which not so
much as any the faintest trace of him is perceptible. All, therefore,
that is clear is--that according to his account of the matter, there was
an interval of at least three years between his conversion, and this
first of his subsequent Jerusalem visits--this visit of his to
Jerusalem, to see the Apostles.

Between the two interpretations,--in respect of length of time, observe
here the difference. According to one of them, between the conversion
and the first Jerusalem visit, we have an interval of three years, and
no more: and, in this interval, three lengths of time--one passed in
Damascus, another in Arabia, a third, terminated by the basket
adventure, passed also in Damascus, are all included: the entire
interval determinate: but its parts, all of them, indeterminate.
According to the other interpretation, we have also three lengths of
time: the first, indeterminate, passed in Damascus; the second, as
indeterminate, passed in Arabia; the third, passed in Damascus, and this
a determinate one--namely, the three years. Thus, upon the first
supposition, the interval consists of three years, and no more: upon the
second supposition, it consists of three years, preceded by two lengths
of time, which are both indeterminate, but one of which--that passed in
Arabia--may have been to any amount protracted.

Upon either supposition,--it seems not unlikely, that it was immediately
after his escape from Damascus, that this first visit of his to
Jerusalem took place. And, the greater the preceding interval of time,
whether passed in Arabia or Damascus, the less unpromising his prospect,
that the resentments, produced by the provocations given by him to the
Christians, by his persecution of them,--and to the Jewish rulers, by
his treachery towards them,--should, both, have to such a degree
subsided, as to render even so short a stay, as that of fifteen days
which he mentions, consistent with personal safety. Yet, as we see in
the Acts, are these two events spoken of as if they had been contiguous:
at any rate, it is in contiguity that they are spoken of.

Uncertainties crowd upon uncertainties. At the time of Paul's
conversion,--had Damascus already this same king, named Aretas, with a
governor under him? If so, how happens it, that, of this state of the
government, no intimation is perceptible, in the account given of that
conversion in the Acts? Was it--that, at that time, there existed not
any such monarchical personage? but that, before the adventure of the
basket, some revolution had placed him there?

According to Paul's account,--the state of things, produced in Damascus
by his exertions, was somewhat curious. On the face of this account, in
ordinary there was no _garrison_ in Damascus: it was only by special
order from the monarch, and for no other purpose than the bringing to
justice--or what was called justice--the person of the self-constituted
Apostle,--that a garrison was put into the town, with a governor for the
command of it.

What a foundation all this for credence! and, with it, for a system of
religious doctrine to build itself upon!--religious doctrine--with the
difference between eternal happiness and eternal misery depending upon



Between these two accounts, such being the discordance--where shall we
find the _cause_ of it? Answer: in the different views, in which, at the
time of writing, the two accounts were penned: in the different objects,
to the accomplishment of which, at the time of penning their respective
accounts, the endeavours of the two writers were directed.

The author of the Acts--what, then, was _his_ object? To obtain for his
patron--his chief hero--alive or dead--a recognition, as universal as
possible, in his assumed character of an Apostle. The more complete the
recognition, bestowed upon him by those most competent of all
judges,--the more extensive the recognition he might look for, at the
hands of all other their fellow-believers.

Sufficient was this--sufficient for the general purposes of the
party--in the eyes of a person other than Paul, even though that other
person was a protegé, a retainer, a satellite.

Sufficient this was not, however, to the arrogance of the head of the
party--Paul himself: at least, at the time of his writing this his
letter to his Galatian converts.

Think you, says he, that any relation, I have ever borne to any of those
who were Apostles before me, had, on my part, anything in it of
dependence? Think you, that I ever stood in need of anything at their
hands? Think you, that I had ever any more need of them, than they of
me? Not I, indeed. The Gospel, which I have always preached--neither
from them did I receive it, nor from them, in preaching it, did I ever
seek or receive any assistance. Gal. i. 11, 12. Think you, that I stood
in any need, or ever supposed myself to stand in any need, of any
acceptance or acknowledgement at their hands? Not I, indeed. When my
revelation had been received by me, did I present myself to them, for
any such purpose as that of remuneration and acceptance? Not I, indeed.
I went not to them: I went not so much as to Jerusalem, where they then
were: I conferred not with flesh and blood:--off I went to Arabia; and
when my business in Arabia was at an end, even then, did I repair to
Jerusalem? Not I, indeed. I returned again to Damascus. True it is, to
Jerusalem I did go at last.--But when?--Not till three years
afterwards. Well--and, when I was at Jerusalem, how many, and which of
them, think you that I saw? Think you, that I put myself to any such
trouble, as that of seeing them all together? the whole herd of them?
No. Peter was naturally a chief among them: with him I had accordingly
some business to settle:--him, accordingly, I saw, as also James, whom,
as being a brother, or other near kinsman, of Jesus, I had a curiosity
to see.

Paul himself wrote at one time; this his disciple at another: each of
them pursued the purpose of the time. Not on this occasion, at any
rate,--perhaps not on any other, was there anything, that either wrote,
concerted between them.[25] Of this want of concert, what has just been
seen is one of the consequences.

Reserved as we have seen him, in regard to time and other
circumstances,--one circumstance more there is, for which our curiosity
is to no small amount, debtor, to the author of the Acts. This
is--information, of the means--of the channel, through which Paul
obtained the introduction, which, without mention made of the object, we
have seen him acknowledging that, so far as concerned Peter, he was
desirous of: and _that_ to such a degree, as to undertake a journey from
Damascus to Jerusalem, some 120 or 130 miles, for the purpose.

Repugnancy, so natural, and naturally so vehement--even at the end of
three years, or the still greater number of years--by what means could
he remove it, or so much as flatter himself with a prospect of being
able to remove it? To this question, it is to the author of the Acts
that we are indebted for an answer: and that answer a satisfactory
one:--it was by the assistance of Barnabas, that the object, so far as
it was accomplished, was accomplished.

To the religion of Jesus, after as well as before this,--to the Apostles
in particular before this,--Barnabas was a supporter of no small

At the time when the financial arrangements were for the second time
settled;[26]--when, from the substance of the opulent among the
faithful, enough was collected for the support of all the
indigent;--among those, by whom, on this second occasion, lands and
houses, were for this purpose sold, particular persons are, on this
second occasion, for the first time mentioned. The first place is
occupied by this Barnabas: and not till after him come Ananias and
Sapphira--the unfortunate pair, of whose fate mention will have to be
made in another place.

Joses was, it seems, the original name--the proper name of this
beneficent protector: Barnabas, the _Son of consolation_, Acts 4:36, was
no more than a title of honour,--a token of gratitude. A title of
honour? and by whom conferred? Even by the Apostles. By Barnabas,
therefore, whatsoever thereafter comes to be reported as done,--it is by
_the Son of consolation_ that we are to understand it to have been, and
to be, done.

As to the arguments, by which this son of consolation succeeded,--in
prevailing, upon two, and, if we are to believe Paul, no more than two,
of these so lately persecuted or threatened servants of Jesus,--to be,
for a few days, upon speaking terms, with him, who so lately had been
their deadly, as well as open enemy,--it is from imagination, with
judgment for her guide, that they must, if at all, be deduced from the
surrounding circumstances of the case.

As to these arguments, however,--whatever were the rest of them, of two
of them a hint is given by the author of the Acts: these are,--the
story of the conversion,--and the boldness of the preaching, which at
Damascus was among the first-fruits of it. Those which, under the
guidance of judgment, imagination would not find much difficulty in
adding, are,--the evil--that might result from his enmity, in case the
advances then made by him were rejected,--and the useful service, which,
by the blessing of God, might be hoped for at his hands, if admitted in
the character of an ally and cooperator: at any rate, so long as the
whole field of his exertions, and in particular the geographical part of
it, continued different from theirs.

With Peter, on whatever account, it was Paul's own desire to hold a
conference:--so we have seen him declaring to the Galatians. To this
Peter, whom he was desirous of seeing, and whom at length he succeeded
in seeing,--to this Peter did he then himself tell the story of his
vision, of his conversion, and the mode of it? If at any time he
did,--at any rate, if the author of the Acts is to be believed,--it was
not till Barnabas, the son of consolation, had told it for him. Had it
been by himself that his story had been to be told in the first
instance,--he would thereby have stood exposed to cross-examination:
and, among those things, which Barnabas might in his situation say for
him,--were many things, which, if at all, he could not, with anything
like an equal prospect of good effect, have said for himself. To any
asseveration of his own,--in any promises of future amity, it was not in
the nature of the case, that from his own mouth they should give
credence. But, when by Barnabas, of whose zeal in their cause they had
received such substantial proofs--when from this son of consolation they
received assurance, that Paul had actually engaged himself in that line
of service, which he professed himself desirous to embrace;--that he had
engaged so far, that no prospect of safe retreat could reasonably be in
his view;--then it was, that, without imprudence, they might, venture to
hold at least a conference with him, and hear and see what he had to say
for himself.

As to the account, given on this occasion by Barnabas, of the famous
vision,--had it been but preserved, it would probably have been no less
curious than those which we have been already seeing. Though we cannot
be precisely assured in what way,--we may be pretty well assured, that,
in some way or other, additions would have been to be seen made in it,
to the list of _variations_.

But, the great advantage,--producible, and probably produced, by
the opening of the matter, as performed by Barnabas,--was this:
in company with those arguments, by which the sincerity of Paul was
to be demonstrated,--would naturally come those, by which intimation
would be given, of the advantage there might be, in forbearing to
apply too strict a scrutiny, to this important statement. The
interests, which, in the character of motives, pleaded for the
acceptance, of the advance made towards reconciliation and mutually
advantageous cooperation,--would, in this manner, prepare the way,
for receiving, without any troublesome counter-interrogation, the
important narrative: or, perhaps, for considering the matter, as
already sufficiently explained, by the son of consolation,--in such
sort that, to the new Apostle, the trouble of repeating a narrative,
which he must already have so frequently found himself under the
necessity of repeating, might be spared.

The greater was the importance, of the service thus rendered to Paul by
the son of consolation,--the more studiously, in giving the account, as
above, of the intercourse with the Apostles at Jerusalem,--the more
studiously, would he avoid all mention of it.[27]



Fifteen days, if Paul is to be believed--fifteen days, and no more,--was
the length of time, during which his intercourse with Peter continued:
Gal. i. 18, that same length of time, and no greater, it may without
much rashness be inferred, was his stay at Jerusalem.

These fifteen days,--or whatever, if anything longer, was the duration
of his stay in that seat of their common religion,--in what occupations
were they employed? It is in the Acts, if anywhere, that this question
will receive its answer. It was in "disputing against the Grecians."
Acts 9:29.

That such should have been his occupation, is in his situation
altogether natural.

Of a sort of _partition treaty_, as having, at one time, been entered
into between himself and Peter,--Paul, in his so-often mentioned
letters to the Galatians, informs us in express terms. As to the time,
which, on that occasion, he has in view,--it was, according to
appearance, not the time of _this_ his first visit, but of the third. At
that third visit, the treaty was, at any rate, either entered into for
the first time, or confirmed: receiving, at the same time, what was on
both sides agreed upon, as an amendment requisite to add to it, in
respect of clearness, correctness, or completeness.

But, at this visit, it seems altogether natural, that, with more or less
of these same qualities, a treaty of this sort took place. By the sort
of relation, produced between them, by the state of interests,--the
existence of an agreement of this sort seems sufficiently probabilized:
and, from the few words, in which, by the author of the Acts, mention is
made of the Grecians, and of Paul's disputes with them,--the inference
receives the confirmation afforded by _direct_ evidence.

With the Grecians then it was, that these disputations of Paul were
held. Why with the Grecians, and no other? The reason is no mystery.
Greek was the language of Paul: Greek, for anything that appears, was
not the language of Peter, or of any other of the Apostles. Applying
himself to the Grecians, and to them alone,--Paul might, to any amount,
have given additional extent to his own dominion, without subtracting
anything from theirs.

Not productive, it should seem, of much fruit,--was this portion, of the
new Apostle's labours. No sooner are we informed, of the boon thus
offered to these Grecian Gentiles, than comes, moreover, the further
information, that some there were, that "went about to slay him. Which
when the brethren knew, they brought him," it is added, "to Cæsarea,
and sent him forth to Tarsus." Acts 9:29.

Meantime, those men, who went about to slay him,--who were they?
Possibly they were Grecians, if by the disputation in question, the
annoyance produced was so intolerable to them, as to be productive of a
wish and enterprise thus flagitious: and, if the evidence afforded by
the rules of grammar be in this case regarded as conclusive,--the
pronoun _they_ having for its last possible antecedent the substantive
_Grecians_--these, and no other, must have been the intended murderers.
On the other hand, among the heathen--the philosophical disputants of
this nation,--disputations, having any such abstractions for their
subject, were not wont to be productive, of any such practical and
flagitious consequences. Among the heathens, moreover, it appears not,
that, antecedently to his conversion, the zeal of Paul had led him to
put any to death: on the other hand among the Christianized Jews, his
fellow-religionists, the number of persons, of whom he had put to death
some, and in other ways plagued others, was unhappily but too great. By
the religion _into_ which they had been converted,--revenge, it is true,
was not (as in that which they were converted _from_) magnified, but
prohibited: but, the influence of it has never been equally efficient
upon all minds.

Be this as it may,--upon his leaving Jerusalem, it was to the region of
Syria and Cilicia, that, at this time, he betook himself. So, in his
letter to his Galatians, he himself says, Gal. 1:21; and, by what is
said in the Acts, he is not contradicted, but confirmed. By himself what
is mentioned is--the _region_, viz. Syria and Cilicia: by the Acts what
is mentioned is--the _cities_, viz. Cæsarea and Tarsus.
Cæsarea,--whether at that time it was in Syria or not,--was, at any
rate, little, if anything, out of the way, from Jerusalem to Tarsus.
Cæsarea was a town upon the coast:--one among those maritime towns,
which, whether parts or not of Syria, are in the way between the inland
city, of Jerusalem, and the coast of Cilicia: with which coast, by a
river,--Tarsus, marked in the map with the mark of a capital town,
appears to communicate.

In speaking of this change of place, the terms employed by Paul, are
general terms,--"_I came._" By what _means_ he came, he does not
mention: nor does there appear any particular reason why he should have
mentioned them.

In the Acts, the account is more particular:--he was, in a manner,
forced from the one place to the other:--he was, at any rate,
_escorted_: it was by "_the brethren_," he was so dealt with. "Which
when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him
forth to Tarsus." Acts 9:30.

By the brethren?--Yes.--But by what brethren? By the general body of the
Christians, or any that belonged to it? No:--for, it was from their
wrath, that he was making his escape. No:--not by the justly exasperated
many; but by such few adherents as, under such prodigious disadvantage,
his indefatigable artifice and energy had found means to conciliate.



In relation to this subject, we have two, and no more than two,
accounts,--both from the same pen,--that of the historiographer in the
Acts; and these two accounts, as usual, contradictory of each other.
The first, in the order of the history, is that given by him in his own
person: Acts 9:27, 28, 29. The other, is that given by him in the person
of Paul: namely, in the course of his supposed first-made and
unpremeditated speech,--when, on the occasion of his last visit to
Jerusalem--his Invasion Visit, he was pleading for his life before the
angry multitude. Acts 22:17, 18, 19, 20, 21.

Now then, let us compare the two accounts.

Speaking in his own person,--it is to the fear of certain Grecians, that
the historiographer ascribes Paul's departure for Jerusalem. In
disputing with them, he had been speaking "boldly in the name of the
Lord Jesus": and _thereupon_,--and as we are desired to believe,
_therefore_,--came certain designs and endeavours to slay him. Designs?
on the part of whom? Answer:--on the part of those same Grecians: cause
of these designs and endeavours, irritation, so it is intended we should
suppose,--irritation, produced in the breasts of those same
Grecians;--and produced by the dispute.

Now, as to the words of the historiographer, speaking in his own person.
It is immediately after the mention of Paul's transactions with the
Apostles and the other disciples, that after saying, Acts 9:28, that
"... he was with them coming in and going out of Jerusalem," the
narrative continues thus: ver. 29; "And he spake boldly in the name of
the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians, but _they_ went about
to slay him: ver. 30; Which when _the brethren_ knew, they brought him
down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus."

Such is the account given, of the departure of Paul from Jerusalem, on
the occasion in question--given by the historiographer, speaking in his
own person, of the manner of the departure, and at the same time of the
cause of it. Behold now how different is the account given, of the same
matter, by the same historiographer, in the same work, when speaking in
the person of his hero. Nothing now as to any disputes with Grecians:
nothing now of these, or any other human beings, in the character of
beings who were angry with him, and _that_ to such a degree, that, to
save his life, it was deemed necessary by his adherents,--styled on this
occasion "_the_ brethren," to take charge of him, as we have seen, and
convey him from Jerusalem to Cæsarea and elsewhere.

The case seems to be--that, between the time of writing the account
which has just been seen, and the time for giving an account of the same
transaction in the person of the hero, as above,--a certain difficulty
presented itself to the mind of the historiographer: and, that it is for
the solution of this difficulty, that he has recourse, to one of his
sovereign solvents--_a trance_. The difficulty seems to have been this:
The class of persons, whom, on that first visit of his he had
exasperated, were--not "_Grecians_," or any other Gentiles, but
Christians: Christians, the whole body of them--Apostles and Disciples
together: the same class of persons, to which belonged those who, on the
occasion of this his last visit--the _Invasion Visit_--were to such a
degree exasperated, by this fourth intrusion of his, as to be attempting
his life. How hopeless any attempt would have been, to make them
believe, that it was not by themselves, but by a set of Heathens, that
his life was threatened on that former occasion, is sufficiently
manifest. Here then comes a demand, for a substitute, to that cause,
which, distant as the time was, could not, however, be altogether absent
from their memory: and which, so far as it was present, could not but
heighten their exasperation:--this substitute was _the trance_.

The cause of the departure is now--not the fear of any human being, but
the express command of "_the Lord_":--a command delivered in the course,
and by means, of this same _trance_. Moreover, as if, from such a
quarter, _commands_ were not sufficient of themselves; on the present
occasion, it will be seen, they came backed by _reasons_. Was it that,
as the historiographer has been telling us in his own person, certain
Grecians were exasperated? No: but that the persons, to whom, with
Barnabas for his supporting witness, Acts 9:27, he had been telling his
story, gave no credit to it: so that, by a man with his reputation in
this state, nothing in the way of his business was to be done.

But now let us see the text. It comes immediately after that passage, in
which Paul is made to speak of Ananias, as giving orders to him, in the
name of the Lord: orders, concluding in these words: Acts 22:16: ...
"arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of
the Lord." This said,--his story, as told to the multitude, continues
thus: "And it came to pass that, when I was come again to Jerusalem,
even while I prayed in the temple, I was in _a trance_: And saw him
saying unto me, Make _haste_, and get thee _quickly_ out of Jerusalem:
_for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me_. And I said,
Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those that
believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I
also was standing by, and consenting to his death, and kept the raiment
of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee
far hence unto the Gentiles. And they gave him audience unto this word,
and then lifted up their voices and said, Away with such a fellow from
the earth; for it is not fit that he should live."

It may now be seen, how useful and convenient an implement this same
trance was: how well adapted, to the occasion on which it was employed.
Taken by itself, this story about the enraged Grecians might serve to
impose upon readers in general: but, to the knowledge of the really
enraged Christians, whose wrath he was endeavouring to assuage,--it was
not only too palpably false to be related to them, but too much so, to
be even for a moment supposed to be related to them: hence came the
demand for the supernatural cause. Nothing, it is evident, could be
better suited to the purpose. The assertion was of the sort of those,
which, how palpably soever untrue, are not exposed to contradiction by
direct evidence: and which, supposing them believed, ensure universal
respect, and put all gainsayers to silence.

An incident not unworthy here of notice, is--the sort of acknowledgment
contained in the words--"for they will not receive thy testimony
concerning me." In this may be seen--a confirmation of the important
fact, so fully proved on the occasion of the first or _Reconciliation
Visit_: and we see--with what consistency and propriety, the mention of
it comes in, on the present occasion: namely, in a speech, made to a
multitude, of which, many of those,--by whom he had been disbelieved and
rejected on that former occasion,--must of course have formed a part.

Such is the fact, which, after having communicated to us, in his own
person, Acts 9:26, "they were all afraid of him, and believed not that
he was a disciple," the historiographer is frank enough to communicate
to us a second time, through the mouths of Paul and "the Lord," the one
within the other. _True_ enough this information: and, moreover, at
Jerusalem, as well when the historiographer was writing, as when Paul
was speaking, _notorious_ enough: or we should hardly have had it _here_
and _now_. But, what a truth to put into the mouth of Paul, whose title
to credence for his claim, is so effectually destroyed by it!

To return to what, on the occasion of the first visit, is said by the
historiographer, in his own person, about the Grecians. That it was
false, as to the main point,--namely, that it was by the fear of those
same Gentiles that he was driven out of Jerusalem,--is now, it is hoped,
sufficiently evident. But, as to his having held disputation with
them,--in this there seems not to be anything inconsistent or
improbable: and this part, supposing it true, might, in so far as known,
help to gain credence for that which was false.

A circumstance--not altogether clear, nor worth taking much trouble in
the endeavour to render it so, is--on the occasion of this dialogue, the
change made, of the supernatural vehicle, from a _vision_ into a
"_trance_." Whatsoever, if any, is the difference,--they agree in the
one essential point: namely, that it is in the power, of any man, at any
time, to have had as many of them as he pleases: hearing and seeing,
moreover, in every one of them, whatsoever things it suits his
convenience to have heard or seen.--"I saw a vision:" or, "I was in a
trance": either postulate granted, everything whatsoever follows.

This _trance_, it may be observed, is of a much more substantial nature
than any of the _visions_. By Paul in his _road vision_,--vision as it
was,--neither _person_ nor _thing_, with the exception of a quantity of
light, was seen: only a voice, _said to be the Lord's_, heard. In this
trance, the Lord is not only heard, but seen. In those visions, that
which is said to have been heard, amounts to nothing: on the present
occasion, what is said to have been heard, is material to the purpose,
and perfectly intelligible. Not that there could be any use in Paul's
_actually_ hearing of it: for what it informed him of, was nothing more
than that which, at the very time, he was in full experience of. But, in
a situation such as his, it was really of use to him, to be _thought_ to
have heard it: and therefore it is, that, in the speech ascribed to him,
he is represented as _saying_ that he heard it.


[25] In the current chronology, this Epistle to the Galatians is placed
in the year 58; on the part of the author of the Acts, the first mention
of his being in the company of Paul is placed in the year next
following, to wit, 59. Note, that at the end of the Epistle to the
Galatians, it is stated to be written from Rome: yet, according to the
current chronology, his arrival at Rome, in custody, from Jerusalem,--at
which time unquestionably he had never as yet visited Rome,--did not
take place till the year 62.

[26] First time, Acts ii. 45. Second time, Acts iv. 34.

[27] "I conferred not with flesh and blood." (Gal. ii. 16.) "Of those
who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to
me." Not till "after three years" did I go "up to Jerusalem to see
Peter." With language in this strain, it would have harmonized but
indifferently, to have added, "nor should I have seen him then, had it
not been for Barnabas."


     _Paul disbelieved_ continued.--_Jerusalem Visit II._
     _Money-bringing Visit._--_Barnabas accompanying him from Antioch._



At his own house it was, that we last left our self-declared Apostle: at
his own birthplace--Tarsus: what we have next to see is--what drew him
from thence.

All this while there were other disciples that had not been idle. To the
new religion, already was Antioch, Antioch in Syria, become a new

Upon the dispersion of the Jerusalem Christians, occasioned by
the judicial murder of the sainted trustee of the poor's
fund--Stephen,--some of them, among whom were some natives of
Cyprus,--in which island was situated the property of the son of
consolation, Barnabas,--had betaken themselves to that same island,
others to that same city of Antioch in Syria.

ACTS xi. 19-24.

     19. Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that
     arose about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice and Cyprus, and
     Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.--And
     some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were
     come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord
     Jesus.--And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number
     believed, and turned unto the Lord.--Then tidings of these things
     came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they
     sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.--Who,
     when he came and had seen the grace of God, was glad; and exhorted
     them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the
     Lord.--For he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith:
     and much people was added unto the Lord.

Of these, some addressed themselves exclusively to the _Jews_: others
ventured so far, as to make an experiment upon the _Grecians_.
Unfortunately, these terms are, neither of them, wholly free from
ambiguity. By the word _Jews_, may have been meant either Jews by
_birth_ and _abode_, or Jews by _religion_: by the word _Grecians_,
either Jews who, born or dwelling within the field of quondam Grecian
dominion, used the Greek as their native language,--or Greeks, who were
such, not only by language, but by religion. In this latter case, their
lot was among the Gentiles, and much more extraordinary and conspicuous
was the importance of the success.

"They which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel." Such, in his
own words, 1 Cor. 9:14, is the maxim laid down by Paul, for the
edification of his Corinthian disciples. To save doubts and disputation,
he prefaces it with the assurance--"even so hath the Lord ordained." No
great need of support from revelation, seems to attach upon a maxim so
natural, and so reasonable: from the time of the first planting of the
Gospel, it appears to have been, as indeed it could not fail to be,
universally acted upon; saving such few exceptions as a happy union of
zeal, with sufficient pecuniary means, might render possible.

How, under the Apostolical aristocracy, it had been acted upon in
Jerusalem, has been seen already. The time was now come,--for its being
established, and acted upon in Antioch.

At Jerusalem, under the spiritual dominion of the Apostles,
lived a man of the name of _Agabus_. Among the endowments,--of
which, in the character of _qualifications_, a demand was by some
understood to be created, by the business of propagating the new
religion,--qualifications, a list of which, according to his conception
of it, Paul, 1 Cor. 12:10, has given us,--was one, which, among these
endowments, was called the "_gift of prophecy_":--a gift, under which,
as under that of speech in general, particularly when applied to
occasions of importance, the faculty of _prediction_--of forming correct
judgments respecting future contingencies--would, if not necessarily,
very frequently at least, come to be included.

In the instance of the _prophecy_ here in question, this same
prospective faculty, it should seem, was actually included.

The _fact_, for the purpose of predicting, or giving information of
which, this useful emissary was, on the present occasion, sent from
Jerusalem to Antioch,--was--that of signifying, that there should be a
great dearth: an _inference_ deduced from it, was--that, at this same
Antioch, for the relief of the brethren at Jerusalem, _contributions_
should be collected, and sent to Jerusalem.

ACTS xi. 27-30.

     27. And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto
     Antioch.--And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and
     signified by the spirit that there should be a great dearth
     throughout all the world; which came to pass in the days of
     Claudius Caesar.--Then the disciples, every man according to his
     ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in
     Judea:--Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands
     of Barnabas and Saul.

In the calamity of _dearth_ may be seen one of those events, of
which--especially if the time of it be not predesignated with too rigid
an exactness--a prediction may be hazarded,--and even by any
man,--without much risk of falling under the disgrace attached to the
appellation of _a false prophet_. Of this observation, an
exemplification seems to have been afforded, in the present instance.
With not unaccustomed prudence,--"the spirit," by which, on this
occasion, the calamity was "signified," forbore, as we see, from the
fixation of any particular year--either for the prophecy, or for the
accomplishment of it. "The days of Claudius Caesar" are mentioned as the
time of the accomplishment. By agreement of all chronologists,--the
duration of his reign is stated as occupying not less than thirteen
years. Whether this same reign had then already commenced,--is not, on
this occasion, mentioned: from the manner in which it is mentioned, the
negative seems not improbable; if so, then to find the time which the
prophecy had for finding its accomplishment to the definite term of
thirteen years, we must add another, and that an indefinite one.

According to the situation, of the individuals by whom the word is
employed,--_worlds_ vary in their sizes. Of the dearth in question, the
whole world, "all the world," is, by the author of the Acts, stated as
having been the afflicted theatre: "great dearth throughout all the
world." Acts 11:28. As to the rest of the world, we may leave it to
itself. For the purpose then and now in question, it was and is
sufficient--that two cities, Jerusalem and Antioch, were included in it.
The calamity being thus universal,--no reason of the ordinary kind is
given, or seems discoverable--why, of any such contribution as should
come to be raised, the course should be--from Antioch to Jerusalem,
rather than from Jerusalem to Antioch. Inquired for, however, on
religious ground,--a _reason_ presents itself, without much difficulty.
What Rome became afterwards, Jerusalem was then--the capital of _that
world_, which now, for the first time, received the name of _Christian_.
According to one of the sayings of Jesus--if Paul, his self-appointed
Apostle, is to be trusted to--of them it was pronounced "_more blessed
to give than to receive_":[28] but in the eyes of the successors of St.
Peter at all times,--and at this time, as it should seem, in his own--it
was _more blessed to receive than give_.



Of the _amount_ of the eleemosynary harvest, no intimation is to be
found. As to the _consequence_ of it, Barnabas, we see, is the man
stated as having, with obvious propriety, been chosen for the important
trust: Barnabas--of whose opulence, trustworthiness, steadiness, and
zeal, such ample proofs, not to speak of those subsequent ones, which
will be seen in their place, had already manifested themselves. In
consequence of the information, already received by the Mother Church
in Jerusalem, of the prosperity of the Daughter Church, Acts 11:20, 21,
planted, as above, in the capital of Syria,--this most active of all
Christian citizens had been sent to give increase to it.

But, of the talents and activity of Paul, his indefatigable supporter
and powerful patron had had full occasion to be apprized. Accordingly,
without the aid of this his not less indefatigable helper, still was the
strength of the rising church, in the eyes of the patron, incomplete. "A
prophet," says a not ill-grounded proverb, "has no honor in his own
country." In his native city, among the witnesses of his youth, Paul had
indeed found _safety_: but, as the nature of the case manifests, in a
circle, from which respect stood excluded by familiarity, safety had not
been accompanied with _influence_: and, in eyes such as those of Paul,
safety without influence was valueless. Under these circumstances,--the
patron, going to Tarsus in person in quest of his protegé, could not
naturally find much difficulty in regaining possession of him, and
bringing with him the so highly-valued prize, on his return to Antioch.
"Then," says the Acts, 11:25, 26, "departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to
seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch."

At this place, with their united powers, they had been carrying on their
operations for the space of a twelvemonth, when the petition for
pecuniary assistance was received there.

As for Paul,--from the moment of his conversion, notwithstanding the ill
success of his first attempt,--the prime object of his ambition--the
situation of President of the Christian Commonwealth--had never quitted
its hold on his concupiscence. Occasions, for renewing the enterprise,
were still watched for with unabated anxiety:--a more favourable one
than the one herein question, could not have presented itself to his
fondest wishes. The entire produce, of the filial bounty of the Daughter
Church, was now to be poured into the bosom of the necessitous Mother.
For the self-destined head of that rising Church, two more acceptable
occupations, than those which one and the same occasion brought to him,
could not have been found:--First, the collection of the
contributions;--and then the conveying of them, to the place of their
destination. Of the labours of such agents, in such circumstances, the
success, we are told, they found, was a natural result. "Then," says the
Acts 11:29, 30, "Then the disciples, every one according to his ability,
determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea:--Which
also they did; and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and
Saul." Thus much as to the _public_ purpose. Very different was the lot
of Paul's _personal_ project. What the elders could not have any
objection to the receipt of, was--the money. But, what they had an
insuperable objection to, was--the receipt of the yoke of this their
outwardly-converted, but once already rejected, persecutor. This second
enterprise,--though still under the same powerful leader, and produced
by such flattering prospects,--succeeded no better than the first.
Five-and-twenty verses after, we are told of the _termination_ of this
their second Jerusalem visit; and this is all we hear of it: "And
Barnabas and Saul," says the Acts 12:25, "returned from Jerusalem, when
they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose
surname was Mark." This same John Mark they got by their expedition: and
this, for anything that appears, was all they got by it.

Between the mention of their arrival at Jerusalem, and the mention of
their departure from thence,--comes the episode about Peter:--his
incarceration and liberation under Herod; and the extraordinary death of
the royal prosecutor,--of which, in its place. As to the interval,--what
the length of it was, and in what manner, by Paul, under the wing of the
Son of Consolation, it was occupied,--are points, on which we are left
altogether in the dark: as also, whether the _time_ of these adventures
of Peter, the _mention_ of which stands inserted between the mention of
the two occurrences in the history of Paul, was comprised in that same


[28] Acts 20:35. It is in the parting scene--when about to break from
his dissuading disciples, and enter upon his invasion project--that Paul
is represented as saying to them: "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus,
how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." Whence this
self-appointed and posthumous Apostle of Jesus got these words of
Jesus--if such they were--must be left to conjecture. In the works of
the four received biographers of Jesus, with _Cruden_ and his
_Concordance_ for guides, all search for them has been fruitless.


     _Paul disbelieved continued.--His third Jerusalem Visit.--Paul and
     Barnabas delegated by Antioch Saints, to confer on the Necessity of
     Jewish Rites to Heathen Converts to the Religion of Jesus._



We come now to the transaction, on the occasion of which, the grand
object of Paul's ambition received, in part, its accomplishment: namely,
that, by which,--though without any such popular election as, in the
instance of Matthias, had been necessary to constitute a man an
associate to the Apostles,--he was, in some sort, taken by them into
fellowship, and admitted, with their consent, into a participation of
their labours.

This occasion was--the dispute, which, in the Syrian Antioch, took
place, according to the author of the Acts, on the question--whether,
under the religion of Jesus, circumcision was necessary to salvation: a
question, in which,--whether explicitly or no,--was implicitly, it
should seem, and perhaps inextricably, understood to be involved, the so
much wider question--whether, under that same new religion, the old
ceremonial law should, in any part of it, be regarded as necessary.

On this same occasion, two important subjects present themselves to view
at the same time: the one, a question of _doctrine_ relative to
circumcision, as above; the other, a question about _jurisdiction_, as
between Paul on the one part, and Peter, with or without the rest of the

As to what concerns the debate about circumcision, we have no other
evidence than the statement of the author of the Acts.

As to what concerns the jurisdiction question, we have the evidence of
Paul himself, as contained in his letter to the Galatian converts: and
an original letter, howsoever dubious the correctness of the author in
respect of matters of fact, is more trustworthy than a multitude of
anonymous narratives.[29]

In respect of the progress made by the religion of Jesus,--Antioch, it
has already been observed--the Syrian Antioch--had become a second
Jerusalem; and, so far as concerned the Gentiles at large, its maritime
situation gave to it a convenience, that was not shared with it by that
inland city.

At the time here in question,--the Gentiles had received more or less of
instruction, from three different sets of teachers:--1. from the
disciples who had been driven from Jerusalem by the tragical death of
Saint Stephen; 2. from Saint Peter, principally on the occasion of the
excursion made by him to Lydda, Saron, Joppa, and Cæsarea; and 3. from
Paul and Barnabas, on the occasion, and by the means, of the long tour,
made by them for that special purpose, as above.

At this maritime metropolis of the faith, the new religion was spreading
itself,--and, as far at least as depended on exemption from all
disturbance from without, in a state of peace and tranquility;--when, by
a set of _nameless_ men from Judea,--if to the author of the Acts credit
is to be given on this point, for by him no mention is made of any one
of their names,--the harmony of the Church was disturbed.

Converts as they were to the religion of Jesus, yet,--in their view of
the matter, if the author of the Acts is to be believed, without
circumcision, no salvation was to be had.

By Paul it is said, "they came from James," Gal. 2:12, which is as much
as to say that they were sent by James: and accordingly, when James's
speech is seen, by him will these scruples of theirs be seen advocated.

If the Gospel history, as delivered by the Evangelists, is to be
believed,--nothing could be more inconsistent, on many occasions with
the practice, and at length with the direct precepts, of Jesus, than
this deference to the Mosaic law: if human prudence is to be
regarded,--nothing could be more impolitic--nothing more likely to
narrow, instead of extending, the dominion of the Church. On this
principle, no man who was not born a Jew, could be a Christian without
first becoming a Jew, without embracing the Mosaic law; and thus loading
himself with two different, and mutually inconsistent, sets of

From Paul, this conceit,--as was natural,--experienced a strenuous
resistance. No recognition as yet had Paul received, from the body of
the Apostles. In Jerusalem, for anything that appears,--though this was
at least seventeen years after the death of Jesus--they remained
alive--all of them:--at any rate the two chiefs of them, if Paul is to
be believed, who, Gal. i. 19, says he saw them, namely, Saint Peter "and
James, the Lord's brother": which two, he says, he saw, out of a number,
the rest of whom, he studiously assures his Galatians that he did not
see: though by his historiographer, Acts 15:4, by his all-comprehensive
expression, "_the Apostles_," we are desired to believe, that he saw all
of them.[30] Whichever be the truth,--at Jerusalem, the metropolis of
Judaism, no employment could, under these circumstances, be reasonably
expected for Paul: whereas, _out_ of Judea,--wherever the language of
Greece was the mother tongue, or familiarly spoken,--the advantage,
which, in every address to the Gentiles, he would have over those
unlearned Jews, was universally manifest.

Such, however, were the impressions, made by these unnamed manufacturers
and disseminators of scruples, who, if Paul is to be believed, came from
James the brother of our Lord--that, by the whole Church, as it is
called, of Antioch, a determination was taken--to send to Jerusalem, to
the Apostles and the Elders that were associated with them, a numerous
mission, headed by Paul and Barnabas, who are the only two persons
named. Accordingly, out they set, "after having been brought on their
way," says the author of the Acts, 15:3, "by the _Church_," which is as
much as to say, by the whole fraternity of Christians there established.



Against the pretensions of a man thus supported, vain, on the part of
the original and real Apostles, would have been any attempt, to resist
the pretensions of this their self-constituted rival: they, Barnabas and
Paul, were received, says the author of the Acts, of the Church and of
the Apostles and Elders.[31]

Arrived at Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas told their own story--related
their adventures and experiences--declared, to use the language of the
Acts 15:4, all things that God had done unto them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Notwithstanding the utmost exertion of Paul's ever-ready
eloquence,--some, it is stated, there were, who, believers as, in a
certain sort, they were in the religion of Jesus,--were not to be
persuaded, to give up so much as a single tittle of the Mosaic law:
these were, as it was natural they should be, of the sect of Pharisees.
"There rose up," says the Acts 15:5, "certain of the sect of the
Pharisees which believed, saying that it was needful to circumcise them
(the Gentiles), and to command them to keep the law of Moses."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of these private discussions, the result was--the convocation of an
assembly of the managing body, in which, associated with the Apostles,
we find others--under the name of _Elders_.

How, on an occasion, on which the proposed subject of determination was
a question of such cardinal importance to the religion of Jesus;--how it
should have come to pass, that the Apostles, to whom alone, and by whom
alone, the whole tenor of the acts and sayings of Jesus had been made
known--made known by an uninterrupted habit of exclusive intimacy, and
especially during the short but momentous interval between his
resurrection and ascension;--how it should have happened, that, to the
Apostles, any other persons not possessed of these first of all titles
to credence and influence, should have come to be associated,--is not
mentioned. Upon no other authority than that of this author, are we to
believe it to be true? On the supposition of its being true,--there
seems to be, humanly speaking, but one way to account for it. That which
the Apostles, and they alone, _could_ contribute to the cause, was--the
authority and the evidence resulting from that peculiar intimacy: what
they could _not_ contribute was--money and influence derived from
ordinary and external sources: to the exclusive possession of these
latter titles to regard, will, therefore, it should seem, be to be
ascribed, supposing it credited, the circumstance of an incorporation
otherwise so incongruous.

"Received," say the Acts 15:4, they were.--But by whom received?--By the
Church, by the Apostles, by the Elders, says that same history in that
same place. By _the_ Apostles: to wit--so as any one would conclude--by
_all_ the Apostles--by the whole fellowship of Apostles.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whether in any, and, if so, in what degree that conclusion is correct,
we have no determinate means of knowing.

       *       *       *       *       *

If, however, it was so to the utmost,--nothing appears in favor of the
notion, that between Paul on the one part, and the Apostles and their
disciples on the other, there existed at this time any real harmony.
For, in what character was it that he made his appearance? In that of a
commissioned envoy, from the whole body of the Church, established in
that station, which was next in importance to Jerusalem, to which he was
sent. And who was it that, at that time, as on both the former times,
he, Paul, had in his company? Still his constant patron and associate
Barnabas--the munificent friend and patron of that church which he was
visiting--the indefatigable Barnabas.

By Paul himself, in his Epistle to the Galatians, 2:9, 10, 11, the idea
of any such extensive cordiality,--say rather of cordiality to any the
smallest extent,--is pretty plainly negatived.[32] On that occasion, it
was that of the Partition Treaty, what his interest required was--that,
on the part of the Apostles and their disciples, the concurrence given
to it, should appear as extensive as possible. If then they had all of
them, really and personally concurred in it,--or even if the contrary
had not been notorious, this is the conception which he would have been
forward to convey and inculcate. No such notion, however, does he
venture to convey. When speaking of them in general terms--of no
affection on either side, more kindly than that of ill humor, does he
give any intimation. Gal. 2:6. "Of those who seemed to be somewhat,
whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepted no man's
person: for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing
to me."

When, again, he comes to speak of the sort of intercourse, such as it
was, which he had with the Apostles,--who are the persons that he speaks
of? All the Apostles? the body of the Apostles in general?--No: James,
Cephas, the Hebrew name of which Peter is a translation, and John: these
three, and no more. These are the men, whom, to him Paul and his
protector Barnabas in conjunction, he on that same occasion speaks of,
as "giving the right hand of fellowship:" to wit, for the purpose of the
Partition Treaty, the terms of which immediately follow.

And, even of these men, in what way does he speak? As of men "who seemed
to be pillars:" so that, as to what concerned the rest of the Apostles,
he found himself reduced to speak no otherwise than by conjecture. And
this same "right hand of fellowship"--what was their inducement for
giving it?--It was, says he, that "they perceived the grace that was
given unto me": _i.e._, in plain language, and ungrounded pretension
apart,--the power, which they saw he had, of doing mischief:--of
passing, from the character of a jealous and restless rival, into that
of a declared enemy: into that character, in which he had originally
appeared, and with such disastrous effect.

Immediately after this comes the mention of the visit, made by Peter to
Antioch: and therefore it is, that, no sooner is Peter--that chief of
the Apostles of Jesus--mentioned,--than he is mentioned, as a man whom
this Paul "withstood to his face, because he was to be blamed." Gal.

Peter was to be blamed: those other Jews that were come to Antioch from
James--they were to be blamed. Barnabas, under whose powerful
protection,--by the Church at Jerusalem, her justly odious persecutor
had, at three different times, been endured,--he too was to be blamed.
He too was, at that time, to be blamed; and, as will be seen presently
after, openly quarrelled with; and, if on this point the Acts are to be
believed, parted with. Acts 15:39. "And the contention was so sharp
between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so
Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus."



Of what passed at this assembly, the only account we have--the account
given to us by the author of the Acts--is curious:--curious at any rate;
and whether it be in every particular circumstance true or not,--in so
far as it can be depended upon, instructive.[33]

We have the persons mentioned as having spoken: they are, in the order
in which they are here enumerated, these four:--to wit, Peter, Barnabas,
Paul and James. Of the speech of Peter, the particulars are given: so
likewise of that of James: of Barnabas and Paul, nothing more than the

Against the Mosaic law _in toto_, we find Peter; and such contribution
as he is represented as furnishing to this side of the cause in the
shape of argument. On the same side, were Barnabas and Paul: what they
furnished was matter of fact:--namely, in the language of the Acts,
"what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by
them:"--in plain language, the success they had met with among the

On this question, on the side of the chief of the Apostles, were--the
manifest interest of the religion of Jesus as to extent of
diffusion,--the authority derived from situation,--the express command
of Jesus as delivered in the Gospel history,--and Jesus' own practice:
not to speak of the inutility and unreasonableness of the observances
themselves. Yet, as far as appears from the author of the Acts,--of
these arguments, conclusive as they would or at least should have
been,--it appears not that any use was made: the success, he spoke of as
having been experienced by himself among the Gentiles,--in this may be
seen the sole argument employed in Peter's speech. Thus,--in so far as
this report is to be believed,--thus, upon their own respective
achievements, did,--not only Paul but Peter,--rest, each of them, the
whole strength of the cause.

Spite of reason, religion, and Jesus, the victory is in this account,
given to James--to Jesus' kinsman, James. The motion is carried: the
course proposed, is a sort of middle course--a sort of compromise. At
the hands of Gentile proselytes, in deference to the Mosaic law,
abstinence from four things is required: namely, meats offered to
idols, blood, things strangled: these, and the irregularities of the
sexual appetite,--whatsoever they were, that were meant by the word,
rendered into English by the word _fornication_.

If any such decision were really come to,--by nothing but
necessity--necessity produced by the circumstances of place and
time--will it be found excusable. Abstinence from food killed in the way
of sacrifice to heathen gods, on the occasion of public sacrifices: yes;
for, for such food, little relish could remain, on the part of persons
devoted to the religion of Jesus: from fornication, yes; for, for a
sacrifice in this shape, even among the Gentiles, some preparation had
been made by stoicism. But, as to blood and things strangled,[34] that
is to say, animals so slaughtered as to have more blood left in their
carcasses than the Mosaic law would allow to be left in them--animals
slaughtered otherwise than in the Jewish manner,--thus forbidding
teachings of the religion of Jesus, to eat a meal furnished by Gentile
hands,--this, as above observed, was depriving them of their most
favourable opportunities, for carrying their pious and beneficent
purposes into effect, by adding to the number of believers.

Altogether remarkable is the consideration, upon the face of it, by
which, if the historian is to be believed, this decision was produced.
"For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being
read in synagogues every sabbath day," Acts 15:21. May be so: but what
if he has? what is that to the purpose? Good, if the question were about
the Jews: but, it is _not_ about the Jews: the Gentiles, and they only,
are the subjects of it. And the Gentiles--what know or care _they_ about
Moses? what is it that is to send _them_ into the synagogues, to hear
anything that is "read in synagogues"?

By this imaginary abstinence from blood,--for, after all, by no exertion
of Mosaic ingenuity could the flesh ever be completely divested of the
blood that had circulated in it,--of this perfectly useless prohibition,
what would be the effect?--Not only to oppose obstacles, to the
exertions of Christian teachers, in their endeavors to make converts
among the Gentiles,--but, on the part of the Gentiles themselves to
oppose to them a needless difficulty, in the way of their conversion, by
rendering it impossible for them, consistently with the observance of
this prohibition, to associate with their unconverted friends and
families at convivial hours. Thus much as to what concerns the

Since, and from that time, the religion of Jesus has spread itself:--we
all see to what extent. Spread itself: and by what means? By means of
the decision thus fathered upon the Apostles? Upon the Apostles, the
Elders, and the whole Church?--No: but in spite of it, and by the
neglect of it.

Charged with a letter, containing this decision, did Paul, together with
his friend Barnabas, return from Jerusalem,--if the author of the Acts
is to be believed,--to the society of Christian converts, by which he
had been sent thither: charged with this letter, carrying with it the
authority of the whole fellowship of the Apostles. Paul himself--he
Paul--what sort of regard did he pay to it? _He wrote against it with
all his might._ No more Jewish rites! No more Mosaic law! Such is the
cry, that animates the whole body of those writings of his which have
reached us.



Of a decision, agreed upon and pronounced to the above effect--a
decision expressed by a decree;--and of a copy of that decree, included
in and prefaced by a letter addressed to the saints at Antioch,--were
Paul and Barnabas, along with others who were associated with them, on
their return to that city, the bearers:--that is to say, if, as to these
matters, credence is given, to the statement, made by the author of the
Acts; by whom the alleged decree and letter are given, in words, which,
according to him, were their very words:--these words are those which

ACTS 15:22 to 32.

     22. Then pleased it the Apostles and Elders, with the whole church,
     to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch, with Paul and
     Barnabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren.--And they wrote
     letters by them after this manner: The Apostles and elders, and
     brethren, _send_ greeting unto the brethren which are of the
     Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.--Forasmuch as we have
     heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with
     words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye _must_ be circumcised, and
     keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:--It seemed good
     unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto
     you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,--Men that have hazarded
     their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.--We have sent
     therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things
     by mouth.--For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay
     upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;--That ye
     abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from
     things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep
     yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.--So when they were
     dismissed, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the
     multitude together, they delivered the epistle.--_Which_ when they
     had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.--And Judas and Silas,
     being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many
     words, and confirmed _them_.

Supposing it genuine,--a most curious, important and interesting
document, this letter and decree must be allowed to be. Supposing it
genuine: and, in favor of its genuineness, reasons present themselves,
which, so long as they remain unopposed, and no preponderating reasons
in support of the contrary opinion are produced, must decide our

Not long after the account of the acceptance given at Antioch to this
decision,--comes that of a conjunct missionary excursion from that place
made by Paul, with Timotheus, and perhaps Silas, for his companion. At
the very commencement of this excursion--if, in the decree spoken of,
this decree is to be understood as included; and there seems no reason
why it should not be, they are represented as taking an active part in
the distribution of it. Acts 16:4. "And says the historian, as they"
(Paul, &c.) "went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees
for to keep, that were ordained of the Apostles and Elders that were at

That, by Paul, this token, of association with the Apostles, should at
that time be exhibited and made manifest, seems altogether natural. It
affords a further proof, of the need, which, at that period of his
labors, he regarded himself as having, of the appearance--the outward
signs at least--of a connection with the Apostles.

True, it is, that the persuasion of any such need is altogether
inconsistent with that independence, which, in such precise and lofty
terms, we have seen him declaring in his Epistle to his Galatians,--is
sufficiently manifest. But, in the current chronology, the date,
ascribed to that Epistle, is by five years posterior, to the date
ascribed to the commencement of this excursion: date of the excursion,
A.D. 53; date of the Epistle, A.D. 58: difference, five years: and five
years are not too great a number of years, for the experience of success
and prosperity, to have raised to so high a pitch, the temperature of
his mind.[36]

Even before this time, we find him even outstretching the concessions,
which, in that decree, in the case of the Gentiles, in compliance with
the scruples of the Jewish disciples they had to deal with, we have been
seeing made by the Apostles, in favor of the Mosaic law.
Abstinence--from meat offered to idols, from blood, from things
strangled, and from fornication--composed all the Mosaic observances
exacted in that decree. To these, he, in his practice, at this time,
added another, and _that_, in respect of extent, in a prodigious degree
a more important one: to wit, the submitting to circumcision. For, to
this painful observance,--in which a submission to all the other Mosaic
observances was implied,--he had already subjected his new convert
Timotheus, whom, in this excursion, in addition to Silas, he took with
him for a companion. Born of a Greek father as he was,--adult as he
was,--he took him, says the historian, and circumcised him. Circumcised
him--and why?--"_Because of the Jews, which were in those


[29] Acts xv. 1 to 4:--"1. And certain men which came down from Judea,
taught the brethren, _and said_, Except ye be circumised after the
manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.--2. When therefore Paul and
Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they
determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go
up to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders about this question.--3.
And being brought on their way by the Church, they passed through
Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they
caused great joy unto all the brethren.--4. And when they were come to
Jerusalem, they were received of the Church, and of the Apostles and
Elders; and they declared all things that God had done with them."

[30] Gal. i. 18, 19. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to
see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.--9. But other of the
Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."

Acts 15:4. "And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of
the Church, and of _the_ Apostles and Elders; and they declared all
things that God had done with them."

The cause of this contrariety lies not far beneath the surface. Paul had
one object in view; his historiographer another. In the two passages,
they wrote at distant times, and with different purposes. In his address
to his Galatian disciples, Paul's object was to magnify his own
importance at the expense of that of the Apostles: to establish the
persuasion, not only of his independence of them, but of his superiority
over them. The generality of them were not worth his notice; but having
some business to settle with them, Peter, the chief of them, he "went"
to see, and James, as being "the Lord's brother," he vouchsafed to see.
On that particular occasion, such was the conception which Paul was
labouring to produce: and such, accordingly, was his discourse. As for
the historiographer, his object was, of course, throughout, to place the
importance of his hero on as high a ground as possible. But, in this
view, when once Paul had come to a settlement with the Apostles, the
more universal the acceptance understood to have been received by
him--received from the whole body of Christians, and from those their
illustrious leaders in particular,--the better adapted to this his
historiographer's general purposes would be the conception thus
conveyed: accordingly they were received, he says, "of the Church, and
the Apostles, and Elders."

[31] Acts xv. 4. "And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were
received of the Church and of the Apostles and Elders, and they declared
all things that God had done unto them."

[32] Gal. ii. 6. "But of those who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever
they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person: for
they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me.--And
when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the
grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right
hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto
the circumcision.--Only they would that we should remember the poor; the
same which I also was forward to do.--But when Peter was come to
Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed."

[33] Acts 15:5-21. 5. "But there rose up certain of the sect of the
Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise
them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.--And the Apostles
and Elders came together for to consider of this matter.--And when there
had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and
brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us,
that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel and
believe.--And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving
them the Holy Ghost, even as _he did_ unto us;--And put no difference
between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.--Now therefore why
tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which
neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?--But we believe that
through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as
they.--Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to
Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought
among the Gentiles by them.--And after they had held their peace, James
answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:--Simon hath
declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of
them a people for his name.--And to this agree the words of the
prophets; as it is written,--After this I will return, and will build
again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build
again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:--That the residue of men
might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is
called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.--Known unto God are
all his works from the beginning of the world.--Wherefore my sentence
is,--that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned
to God:--But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions
of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from
blood.--For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him,
being read in the synagogues every sabbath day."

[34] After the word blood, the mention made of things strangled seems to
have been rather for explanation than as a separate ordinance. Of
strangling, instead of bleeding in the Jewish style,--what the effect
would be, other than that of retaining blood, which the Mosaic ordinance
required should be let out, is not very apparent.

[35] Another observation there is that applies even to the Jews. By
Moses were all these several things forbidden. True: but so were a vast
multitude of other things, from, which (after the exceptions here in
question) the prohibition is, by this decision, taken off. These things,
still proposed to be prohibited, as often as they entered a synagogue,
they would hear prohibited: but, so would they all those other things,
which, by this decision, are left free.

[36] In the account of this excursion, Galatia--now mentioned for the
first time in the Acts,--is mentioned, in the number of the countries,
which, in the course of it, he visited. It stands fourth: the preceding
places being Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Phrygia. Acts 16:1 to 6. In Acts
18:23, "He ... went over [all] Galatia ... strengthening the disciples."

[37] Acts 16:1 to 3. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and behold, a
certain disciple was there named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman,
which was a Jewess and believed: but his father was a Greek:--Which was
well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.--Him
would Paul have to go forth to him, and took and circumcised him,
because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that
his father was a Greek.


     _Paul disbelieved continued.--After His Third Jerusalem Visit,
     Contest Between Him and Peter at Antioch._ PARTITION TREATY: PAUL
     _for Himself_: PETER, JAMES _and_ JOHN, _for the Apostles_.



GALATIANS ii. 1 to 16.

     1. Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with
     Barnabas, and took Titus with _me_ also.--And I went up by
     revelation, and communicated unto them that Gospel which I preach
     among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation,
     lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.--But neither
     Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be
     circumcised:--and that because of false brethren unawares brought
     in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in
     Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.--To whom we
     gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of
     the Gospel might continue with you.--But of those who seemed to be
     somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God
     accepteth no man's person: for they who seemed to be somewhat in
     conference added nothing to me;--but contrariwise, when they saw
     that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, _as
     the gospel_ of the circumcision _was_ unto Peter;--For he that
     wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the
     circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:--and
     when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived
     the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the
     right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and
     they unto the circumcision.--Only they would that we should
     remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.--But
     _when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face_,
     because he was to be blamed.--For before that certain came from
     James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he
     withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the
     circumcision.--And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him;
     insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their
     dissimulation.--But when I saw that they walked not uprightly
     according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them
     all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and
     not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do
     the Jews?--We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the
     Gentiles,--knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
     law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in
     Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,
     and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall
     no flesh be justified.

So much for the question about Jewish rites.

We come now to the state of affairs between Paul and Peter. Concerning
this, we have little, as hath been seen, from the author of the Acts:
from Paul himself, not much: but what there is of it is of prime

On this occasion, to judge from the account given in the Acts,--between
Paul and Peter, all was harmony. In their principles, in their speeches,
they may be seen pleading on the same side: arguing, and arguing in
vain, both of them against the superior influence of James: of that
James, of whose written works, in comparison of those we have from Paul,
we have so little. But presently, on one side at least,--we shall see
contention--preserving contention--and rival ambition, for the cause of

In this pregnant and instructive letter,--Paul's second letter to his
Galatians,--the authenticity of which seems to be altogether out of the
reach of doubt,--among the particulars, that bear relation to this the
third visit, the following are those, by which the greatest share of
attention seems demanded at our hands.

In the first place, let us view them in the order in which they _stand_:
that done, the degree of _importance_ may determine the order in which
they are _considered_.

1. Fourteen is the number of years, between this third visit of his to
Jerusalem, reckoning either from the first of his visits made to that
same holy place after his conversion, or from his departure from
Damascus after his return thither from Arabia.

2. On this journey of his to Jerusalem, he has with him not only
Barnabas, as mentioned in the Acts, but _Titus_, of whom no mention is
there made.

3. It is by revelation, that this journey of his was undertaken.

4. The Gospel, which he then and there preaches, is a Gospel of his own.

5. Private at the same time, and for reasons thereupon given, is his
mode of communicating it.

6. Titus, though at his disposal, he leaves uncircumcised.

7. _False brethren_ is the appellation he bestows upon those, who, on
this occasion, standing up for the Mosaic law, give occasion to this

8. Elders, Apostles, kinsmen of Jesus,--be they who they may,--he, Paul,
is not on this occasion a man to give place to any such persons: to give
place by _subjection_: say rather in the way of _subordination_.

9. Unnamed are the persons, on whom the vituperation he discharges, is
poured forth. Thus much only is said of them: namely, verse 12, that
they "came from James," the brother of our Lord. Contemptuous throughout
is the manner in which he speaks of all those persons whom he does not
name. Quere, Who are they, to whom, in everything that goes before that
same verse, he is alluding? It seems from thence, that it was with
James, from whom they received support, that those scruples of theirs,
out of which sprung these differences and negotiations, originated.

10. Leaving the Jews to Peter--he claims to himself as his own the whole
population of the Gentiles.

11. To this effect, an explicit agreement was actually entered into;
parties, he and Barnabas of the one part; James, Peter, by his Hebrew
surname of Cephas, and John, of the other part.

12. Of this agreement, one condition was--that, of such pecuniary
profit, as should be among the fruits of the labors of Paul among the
Gentiles, a part should be remitted, to be at the disposal of Peter.

13. Paul, at the time of this visit, stood up against Peter.

14. The cause, of his doing so, was--an alleged weakness and
inconsistency in the conduct of Peter, and his gaining to his side--not
only Jews of inferior account, but Barnabas.

15. The weakness and inconsistency consisted in this: viz: that whereas
he himself had been in use to act with the Gentiles, yet after the
arrival at Antioch of those who came from James at Jerusalem,--he from
fear of the Jewish converts, not only ceased to eat with the Gentiles,
but to the extent of his influence forced the Gentile converts to live
after the manner of the Jews.

16. On the occasion of this his dispute with Peter, he gave it
explicitly as his opinion,--that, to a convert to the religion of Jesus,
Jew or Gentile,--observance of the Mosaic law would, as to everything
peculiar to it, be useless, not to say worse than useless, Gal. 2:16,
"for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

1. As to his place in relation to the Apostles. His was not inferior to
anybody's: upon terms altogether equal did he treat with the Apostles:
in and by the first partition treaty,--he, with Barnabas for his
colleague,--Barnabas, from whom, according to the Acts, he afterwards
separated,--obtains the whole of the Gentile world for the field of
their labors. Thus elevated, according to his account of the matter, was
the situation, occupied by him on the occasion of this his third visit
to Jerusalem, in comparison of what it had been at the time of his
first,--and, to all appearance, at the time of the second. At the time
of his first visit, the Apostles,--all but Peter and James, upon which
two Barnabas forced him,--turned their backs upon him: upon his second
visit, none of them, as far as appears, had anything to do with him:
now, upon his third visit, they deal with him upon equal terms: and now,
not only Peter and James, but John, are stated as having intercourse
with him.

2. Of this partition treaty, important as it is, no mention is to be
found in the Acts. From first to last,--in the account given in the
Acts, no such figure does he make as in his own. In the Acts, of the
speech of Peter, and even of that of James, the substance is reported:
of Paul's, nothing more than the subject: viz. his own achievements
among the Gentiles: against Paul's opinion, as well as Peter's, the
compromise, moved by James, is represented as carried.

3. As to the cause, or occasion, of his third visit to Jerusalem. In the
account given in the Acts, it is particularly and clearly enough
explained. It is in conjunction with Barnabas that he goes thither: both
of them, to confer with the Apostles and elders, on the subject of the
notion, entertained by numbers among the Jewish converts, that, by
conversion to the religion of Jesus, they were not set free from any of
the obligations imposed by the law of Moses.

Of this commission,--creditable as it could not but have been to
him,--Paul, in his account of the matter, as given to the Galatians,
makes not the least mention. No: it is not from men on this occasion nor
on others, it is not from men, that he received his authority, but from
God: it is by revelation, that is, immediately from God, and by a sort
of miracle.

4. What, in obedience to this revelation, he was to do, and did
accordingly, was,--the preaching of a gospel of his own; a gospel which
as yet he had not preached to any body but the Gentiles. Preaching? how
and where? in an assembly of the whole body of the believers in Jesus,
the Apostles themselves included? No: but privately, and only to the
leading men among them: "to them which were of reputation."

A gospel of his own? Yes: that he did. Further on, it will be seen what
it was: a Gospel, of which, as far as appears from the evangelists, no
traces are to be found, in anything said by Jesus: especially, if what,
on that occasion, he, Paul, taught by word of mouth at Antioch, agreed
with what we shall find him teaching in his Epistles.

5. "False brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out
our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring up into
bondage." Liberty? what liberty? evidently that liberty which consisted
in exemption from the ceremonials of the Mosaic law. Who then were these
false brethren, these sticklers for the ceremonial law? If the account
in the Acts is to be believed,--they were the greater part of the
fraternity of Christians in Jerusalem: a party so considerable, that
Peter, the chief of the Apostles, though in his sentiments on this
subject so decidedly and completely opposite to them, was obliged to
give way to it: and, as to several of the obligations,--by which, as
above stated, no small obstacle was opposed to the progress of the
religion of Jesus,--the whole body of the Apostles found themselves
under the like necessity. If he himself is to be believed, Gal. 2:12,
the men in question were men, who, if they continued in those scruples
in which they went beyond the brother of our Lord, had, at any rate, in
the first instance, received from that highly distinguished personage
their instructions. And shortly after this, Acts 16:3, in deference to
this party, Paul himself "took Timothy, a Gentile, and circumcised
him." But, supposing the public transactions, thus reported in the
history of the author of the Acts, to have really had place;--namely,
mission of Paul and Barnabas, from the Christians of Antioch to
Jerusalem,--mission of Judas Barsabas and Silas, from the Apostles and
elders, with Paul and Barnabas in their company, to Antioch,--letter of
the Apostles and elders sent by them to the Christians of Antioch,--all
this supposed, how erroneous soever in their opinions, in affirmance of
the obligatoriness of these ceremonials,--this majority, to whose
scruples the whole body of the Apostles saw reason to give way,--could
they, by this self-intruded convert, be considered as persons to whom
the epithet of _false brethren_, would be admitted to be applicable?

6. Does it not seem, rather, that this story, about the deputation of
Paul and Barnabas to the Apostles and brethren at Jerusalem from the
Apostles at Antioch, and the counter deputation of Judas Barsabas, and
Silas, to accompany Paul and Barnabas on their return to Antioch,
bearing all of them together a letter from the Apostles at
Jerusalem,--was an invention of the anonymous author of the Acts? or
else a story, either altogether false, or false in great part, picked up
by him, and thus inserted?

7. Mark now, in this letter of Paul, another circumstance: and judge
whether it tends not to cast discredit on what is said of Peter in the

In the Acts account we have seen Peter in the great council, supporting,
in a sort of speech, the liberty side--of the question,--Jesus against
Moses,--supporting it in the great council, in which, in that same
account, Paul, though present, is, as to that point, represented as
silent: in that same account, shall we see Peter, five years before this
time, addressing himself to the Gentiles,--using this same
liberty,--and, when called to account for doing so, employing _his_ pair
of visions, his and Cornelius's, Acts 10:30-41, in and for his defence:
we shall see him in this new part of his career,--in this part, for
which he was by both education and habits of life so ill qualified,--we
shall see him so much in earliest in this part of his labors, as to have
expended miracles,--a supernatural cure, and even a raising from the
dead,--for his support in it.

Had any such facts really happened--facts in their nature so
notorious,--would Paul, in this letter of his to the Galatians, have
spoken of Peter, as if he had never made, or attempted to make, any
progress in the conversion of the Gentiles? Speaking of the sticklers
for Moses, as well as of Peter,--would he have said "When they saw that
the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the Gospel of
the circumcision was to Peter?" Gal. 2:7, "For he that wrought
effectually in Peter to the Apostleship of the circumcision, the same
was mighty in me toward the Gentiles?"

That, in some way or other, Peter had tried his hand upon some persons
who were Gentiles--in this there is nothing but what may well enough be
believed: provided it be also believed--that, in the experiment so made
by him, he had little or no success:--for, that after the expenditure of
two such miracles of so public a nature, besides a pair of visions,--he
had after all made so poor a hand of it, as to be content to give up to
Paul the whole of his prospects from that quarter,--does it seem

8. As to the partition-treaty itself,--whatsoever were the incidents
that had brought it about, nothing could be more natural--nothing more
probable--nothing more beneficial to the common cause--to the religion
of Jesus, meaning always so far as the religion taught by Paul was
comfortable to it. Each retained to himself the only part of the field,
for the cultivation of which he was qualified: each gave up no other
part of the field, than that, for the cultivation of which he was _not_

9. Gal. 2:12. "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with
the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew, and separated
himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

10. "But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the
uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision
was unto Peter.

11. "And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars,
perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas
the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and
they unto the circumcision.

12. Gal. 2:10. "Only they would that we should remember the poor; the
same which I also was forward to do.

13. "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face,
because he was to be blamed.

14. "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the
Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew, and separated himself,
fearing them which were of the circumcision.--And the other Jews
dissembled likewise with him: insomuch that Barnabas also was carried
away with their dissimulation.

15. "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the
truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a
Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why
compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"

16. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by
the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that
we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of
the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

Note, in this same letter, the mention made of Peter's eating with the
Gentiles. "For before that certain came from James, he, Peter, did eat
with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated
himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision."

Note here, an additional reason for discrediting the whole story of
Peter's expedition,--_miracles_ and visions included,--as reported in
the Acts. In regard to the _visions_,--from this circumstance it may be
seen, that either no such visions were, as stated in the Acts 11:1-13,
related by Peter, on his defence against the accusations preferred
against him on this ground,--or that, if any such relation was given, no
credit was given to it: for, it is after this, and, according to
appearance, long after,--that, according to the Acts 15:1-33, not less
than five years after, the meeting at Jerusalem took place; that
meeting, at which, at the motion of James, the adherence to the Mosaic
law was indeed in part dispensed with; but, so far as regards the
practice charged upon Peter as an offence,--namely the eating with the
Gentiles, insisted on and ordained.

If Paul's evidence was good and conclusive evidence in support of Paul's
visions,--how came Peter's evidence not to be received as good and
conclusive evidence in support of Peter's visions? Paul's evidence, with
the visions reported by it, was not better evidence, in support of his
claim to the Apostleship,--than Peter's visions, if the account in the
Acts is to be believed, in support of the abrogation of the Mosaic law.
Yet, as, according to the author of the Acts, by Paul's account of his
visions, the Apostles were not any of them convinced; so here, according
to Paul, by Peter's account of his visions, if ever really related to
the fellowship of the Apostles, and to the elders,--their
associates,--that same goodly fellowship was not convinced.



Of this important treaty, mention may have been seen above. In the
financial stipulation which may have been observed in it,--may be seen a
circumstance, by which an additional degree of credibility seems to be
given, to Paul's account of the transaction; at the same time that light
is thrown upon the nature of it. Paul alone, with his adherents, were to
address themselves to the Gentiles: but, in return for the countenance
given to him by Peter and the rest of the Apostles, he was to _remember
the poor_; which is what, says he, "I also was forward to do." Now, as
to the remembering the poor, what is meant by it at this time of day,
was meant by it at that time of day, or it would not have been meant by
it at this:--supplying money, need it be added? for the use of the poor.
Whatsoever, in relation to this money, was the intention of the
rulers,--whether to retain any part in compensation for their own
trouble, or to distribute among the poor the whole of it, without
deduction;--in other words, whether profit as well as patronage,--or
patronage alone, and without profit,--was to be the fruit;--human nature
must, in this instance, have ceased to be human nature, if, to the men
in question--Apostles as they were--the money could have been altogether
an object of indifference. According to a statement, to which, as above,
ch. ii., though contained in this anonymous history, there seems no
reason to refuse credence,--community of goods--a principle, even now,
in these days, acted upon by the Moravian Christians--was a principle,
acted upon in those days, by the Jewish Christians. The property of each
was thrown into one common stock: and the disposal of it was committed
to a set of trustees, who--it is positively related--were confirmed,
and, to all appearance, were recommended by,--and continued to act under
the influence of,--the Apostles.

On neither side were motives of the ordinary human complexion--motives
by which man's nature was made to be governed--wanting, to the
contracting parties. By Peter and the rest of the Apostles, much
experience had been acquired, of the activity and energy of this their
self-constituted colleague: within that field of action, which alone was
suited to their powers, and within which they had stood exposed to be
disturbed by his interference, within that field to be secured against
such interference,--was, to them and their interests, an object of no
small moment. Such seems to have been the consideration, on the part of
the acknowledged and indisputable Apostles.

Not less obvious was the advantage, which, by the stipulation of this
same treaty in his favour, was in a still more effectual manner,
secured to Paul. That, when the whole transaction was so fresh,--all
that Paul was able to say for himself, with all that Barnabas was able
to say for him, had not been sufficient, to induce the Apostles to give
credence to his story about the manner of his conversion,--in a word, to
regard him in any other light than that of an impostor,--is directly
asserted by the author of the Acts. So again, in his unpremeditated
speech to the enraged multitude, Acts 22:18, "They will not receive thy
testimony concerning me," is the information which the Acts make him
report as having been communicated to him by the Lord, when "while I
prayed in the Temple," says he, ver. 17, "I was in a trance." Should a
charge to any such effect happen to encounter him in the course of his
labours;--should he, in a word, find himself stigmatized as an
impostor;--find himself encountered by a certificate of impostorship;--a
certificate, signed by the known and sole confidential servants, as well
as constant companions, of that Jesus, whom--without so much as
pretending any knowledge of his person, he had thus pretended to have
heard without seeing him,--and at a time and place, in which he was
neither heard nor seen by anybody else;--it is obvious enough, in any
such case, how formidable an obstruction of this sort was liable to
prove. On the other hand, so he were but once seen to be publicly
recognized, in the character of an associate and acknowledged labourer
in the same field,--a recognition of him in that character--a virtual
recognition at least, if not an express one--would be seen to have taken
place:--a recognition, such as it would scarcely, at any time after, be
in their power to revoke: since it would scarcely be possible for them,
ever to accuse him of the principal offence, without accusing themselves
of the correspondent connivance. Note, that, of this treaty, important
as it was--this partition-treaty--by which a division was made of the
whole Christian world--no mention, not any the least hint, is to be
found in the Acts.

Thus much for this third visit of Paul's to Jerusalem, reckoning from
the time of his conversion: thus much for this third visit, and the
partition-treaty that was the result of it. In and by his fourth visit
to that original metropolis of the Christian world,--we shall see how
this same treaty was violated--violated, without any the slightest
reason or pretext, or so much as an attempt, on the part of his
anonymous biographer,--either by his own mouth, or by that of his
hero,--to assign a motive. Violated--that is to say, by and on the part
of Paul: for, of Peter, no further mention is, in all this history, to
be found.

The truth is--that, instead of "the Acts of the Apostles," the History
of Paul--namely, from the time of his conversion to the time of his
arrival at Rome--would have been the more proper denomination of it. Of
any other of the Apostles, and their acts,--little, if anything, more is
said, than what is just sufficient, to prepare the reader, for the
history of Paul, by bringing to view the state of the Christian world,
at the time of his coming upon the stage. As to Saint Peter,--the
author's chief hero being all along Saint Paul, in whose train, during
this last-mentioned of his excursions, he represents himself as being
established,--what is said of Saint Peter and his achievements, stands,
as it were, but as an episode. And though, by this historiographer, no
mention is made of the _partition-treaty_, it has eventually been of use
to us, by serving to show what, at the time of entering into that
engagement, was the situation of St. Peter; and how good the title is,
which the transaction presents to our credence,--as being so natural,
because so manifestly for the advantage of both the contracting parties,
as well as of the religion of Jesus, in so far as that of Paul was
conformable to it.



The time, at which this partition-treaty took place, appears involved in
much obscurity, and presents some difficulties: question--whether it was
at the first, or not till the third, of these visits--of these four
visits of Paul's to Jerusalem.

The consideration, by which the assigning to it the time of the first
visit has been determined, is--that it was at this first visit, that the
demand for it, in respect of all interests concerned, namely, that of
the religion of Jesus--that of the existing Christians in general,--as
well as that of the individuals particularly concerned on both
sides,--took place: that, from that time, so, as far as appears, did the
observance of it: and that it was not till a long time after, that
either symptoms, or complaints of non-observance, seem to have made
their appearance.

4. Among the conditions of the treaty, the financial stipulation has
been brought to view:--party to be remembered, the poor--then under the
gentle sway of the Apostles: party, by whom they were to be remembered,
Paul--their recognized, though, for aught appears, no otherwise than
locally and negatively recognized, associate. In and by the Deputation
Visit, on the part of Paul, with the assistance of Barnabas,--we see
this stipulation actually conformed to and carried into effect. From the
Christians at Antioch to the Apostles at Jerusalem,--for the benefit of
the poor, at that metropolis of the Christian world, by the conjoined
hands of Paul and Barnabas,--money, it has been seen, was actually

On the other hand, an observation which, at first sight, may seem to
shut the door against this supposition, is--that whereas in his letter,
to his Galatians, Gal. i. 18, 19, after saying, "I went up to Jerusalem
to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days," and adding, "But other
of the Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord's brother"; he, not
more than fourteen verses afterwards, Gal. 2:9, in the verse in which
his account of this important treaty is continued,--speaks as if it was
at that very time that he had seen--not only the above two Apostles, on
this occasion designated by the names of James and Cephas--but John
likewise: and that this must have been his third Jerusalem visit,
because it is after _mention_ made of that same third visit, which, in a
passage intermediate between these, namely, Gal. 2:1, is stated, in
express terms, as being by fourteen years posterior to his first
visit,[38] that this circumstance, of his seeing John likewise, is
mentioned as having had place.

But, in neither of these considerations, is there anything, that
presents itself as conclusive, against the supposition--that whatever
treaty there was, took place at the first visit.

1. As to the first, at that time it is, that for giving intimation of
the treaty, _giving the right hands of fellowship_ is the expression
employed: and that if this union were to be taken in a literal, and
thence in a physical sense, as an agreement in which, as a token of
mutual consent, the physical operation of junction of hands was
employed,--here must have been an actual meeting, in which John was seen
as well as the two others--and, consequently, on the supposition that
the account thus given by Paul, is, in this particular, on both
occasions correct,--this must have been a different meeting from the
first: on which supposition, on comparison with the account given in the
Acts of Paul's second visit,--there can be no difficulty in determining
that this visit cannot have been any other than the third. But, so
evidently figurative is the turn of the expression,--that, even in the
language used in this country at this time, slight indeed, if it
amounted to anything at all, would be the force, of the inference drawn
from it, in favour of the supposition of mutual presence. To signify an
agreement on any point--especially if regarded as important--who is
there that would scruple to speak of his having given the right hand of
fellowship to another, although it were known to be only by letter? or,
even through the medium of a common friend, and without any personal

2. As to the other consideration, whatsoever might be the force of it,
if applied to a composition of modern times--after so many intervening
centuries, during several of which the arts of literary composition
have, with the benefit of the facilities afforded by the press, been the
subject of general study and practice;--whatsoever on this supposition
might be the force of it, applied to the style and character of Paul,
little weight seems necessary to be attached to it. Of the
confusion--designed or undesigned--in which the style of this self-named
Apostle involves every point it touches upon, not a page can be read
without presenting samples in abundance, to every eye that can endure to
open itself to them: in this very work, some must probably have already
offered themselves to notice; and before it closes, many will be
presented in this express view: the point in question belongs to the
field of chronology: and, of the perturbate mode of his operation in
this field, a particular exemplification has been already brought to
view, Ch. 2, in a passage, in which, of a long train of sufferings and
perils,--some real, some to all appearance not so--the one first
undergone is last mentioned.[39] From the order in which two events are
mentioned by this writer, no argument, in any degree conclusive, can be
deduced, for the persuasion, that that which stands first mentioned, was
so much as intended by him to be regarded as that which first took

In the very passage, in which the giving the right hands of fellowship
to him and Barnabas is mentioned, and immediately after these very
words,--it is said--that "we _should go_ unto the heathen, and they unto
the circumcision." Thus, then, the conjunct excursion of Paul and
Barnabas--an excursion, not commenced till about ten years after this
same first visit, Acts 13 and 14, is mentioned, as an incident at _that_
time future. True it is, that the word directly expressive of the future
is, in the English translation, but an interpretation, and as such
marked. But, had any prior excursion of this kind taken place before,
there seems no reason to suppose, that the event, which, by the context,
would surely have been taken for an event then as yet to come,--would,
had the intention been to represent it as no more than a repetition of
what had taken place already, have received a form, so ill adapted to
its intended purpose.

But, two verses before, stands that, in which mention is made of the
circumstance, by which, according to Paul, the course taken by the
Apostles, in respect of their entering, into this treaty, is brought to
view. "But contrariwise," says he, Gal. 2:7, "when they saw that the
Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as _the Gospel_ of
the circumcision was unto Peter:" 9. "And when James, Cephas, and John,
who seemed to be pillars, _perceived_ the grace that was given to me,
they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we
_should go_ unto the heathen," ... &c.

Now these _perceptions_--the perceptions thus ascribed by him to the
Apostles--when was it that they were obtained? Evidently at no time
whatever, if not at the time of his _first_ visit: for, these were the
perceptions--say rather the conceptions--the conveyance of which is
beyond dispute manifest, not only from the whole nature of the case,
according to the accounts we have of it, but from the account expressly
given by the author of the Acts; and that account, in some part
confirmed, and not in any part contradicted, by Paul himself, and in
this very epistle.[40]

To conclude. That, at the time of the Deputation Visit, Visit III., the
treaty in question could not but have been on the carpet, seems, it must
be confessed, altogether probable, not to say unquestionable. But, that
at the time of the Reconciliation Visit, Visit I.,--it was already on
the carpet, seems, if possible, still more so. For, without some
understanding between Paul and the Apostles--and that to the effect of
this same treaty (the impossibility that Paul's conversion story should
have been the cause, having, it is believed, been hereinabove
demonstrated) without some understanding of this sort, neither the
continuance ascribed to the Reconciliation Visit, nor the existence of
either of the two succeeding visits, to wit, the Money-bringing Visit,
and this Deputation Visit, seem within the bounds of moral


[38] Gal. 2:1. "Then fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem
with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also."

[39] 2 Cor. 2:32. "In Damascus, the governor under Aretas the king kept
the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me,"
&c. namely, on his conversion.

[40] To this same Partition Treaty, allusion seems discernible in Paul's
Epistle to his Roman adherents. Romans 15:15 to 22. "Nevertheless,
brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you, in some sort, as
putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of
God,--That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles,
ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles
might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.--I have
therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which
pertain to God.--For I will not dare to speak of any of those things
which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient by
word and deed,--through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the
spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I
have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.--Yea, so I have strived to
preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon
another man's foundation:--but, as it is written, To whom he was not
spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall
understand.--For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming
to you."

[41] From this passage in Paul's Epistle to his Galatians[II.], compared
with a passage in his first Epistle to the Corinthians[III.]--the Bible
edited by Scholey, in a note to Acts xv. 39, (being the passage in which
the rupture between Paul and Barnabas is mentioned), draws the
inference, that, after this rupture between Paul and Barnabas, a
reconciliation took place.

     [II.] Gal. ii. 9. "They gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of
     fellowship, that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the

     [III.] 1 Cor. ix. 6. "Or, I only, and Barnabas, have not we power to
     forbear working?"

From the passage in question, if taken by itself, true it is that this
supposition is a natural one enough. For, according to all appearances,
the date of this Epistle to the Corinthians is posterior to that of the
rupture: and, from the conjunct mention of the two names, if there were
no evidence on the other side, it might naturally enough be supposed
probable, how far soever from certain, that the intention was thereby,
to report the two persons, as operating in conjunction, and even in each
other's company. But, to the purpose of the argument no such supposition
(it will be seen) is necessary. Labouring they both were herein
represented to be, and to all appearance were, in the same field, viz.
the field of the Gentiles: labouring, after and in conformity to this
same treaty--the agreement made by them with the Apostles--the partition
treaty so often mentioned. But, from this it followed not, by any means,
that they were labouring in the _same part_ of that field. For the
purpose of the argument, the question was--What was the sort of
relation, that had taken place, between these two preachers on the one
part, and their respective disciples on the other? It is of this
relation that it is stated by Paul, and stated truly, that as between
him and Barnabas, it was the same: both being actual labourers in their
respective parts of the same field: both being equally at liberty to
cease from, to put an end to, their respective labours at any time: not
that both were labouring in the same place, or in any sort of concert.
"Or I only, and Barnabas, have not we, says Paul, power to forbear

Thus inconclusive is the argument, by which the existence of a
reconciliation is inferred. Against evidence so weak, the contrary
evidence seems decisive. After mention made by him of the rupture,--had
any reconciliation ever taken place, within the compass of time embraced
by his history, would the author of the Acts have left it unnoticed?
That, among his objects was the painting every incident, in colours at
least as favourable, to the church in general, and to Paul in
particular, as he durst,--is sufficiently manifest. By a rupture between
two such holy persons,--a token, more or less impressive, of human
infirmity, could not but be presented to view: and, to any reflecting
mind--in those marks of _warmth_ at least, to say nothing worse, which,
from first to last, are so conspicuous, in the character and conduct, of
this the historian's patron and principal hero, ground could scarce fail
to be seen, for supposing--that it was to _his_ side rather than that of
Barnabas--the generous and ever-disinterested Barnabas--that the blame,
principally, if not exclusively, appertained.


     _Interview the Fourth.--Peter at Antioch.--Deputies to Antioch from
     Jerusalem, Judas and Silas.--Paul disagrees with Peter and
     Barnabas, quits Antioch, and on a Missionary Excursion takes with
     him Silas. What concerns the Partition Treaty, down to this Period,
     reviewed.--Peter and the Apostles justified._



We now come to the last of the four different and more or less distant
occasions on which a personal intercourse, in some way or other, is
recorded as having had place, between Paul on the one part, and the
Apostles or some of them on the other, antecedently to that, on which
Paul's history, so far as any tolerably clear, distinct, and material,
information has descended to us, closes. Of this interview, the scene
lies at Antioch: Peter having, for some consideration no otherwise to be
looked for than by conjecture, been led to pay a visit, to that place of
Paul's _then_ habitual abode, after, and, as seems probable, in
consequence of, Paul's third recorded visit to Jerusalem--his
_Deputation Visit_.

Let us now cast an eye on the documents. Respecting Paul's disagreement
with Peter, the only one we have, is that which has been furnished us
by Paul himself. It consists of the following passage in his Epistle to
his Galatians.

GALATIANS 2:11 to 16.

     But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face,
     because he was to be blamed.--For before that certain came from
     James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he
     withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the
     circumcision.--And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him;
     insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their
     dissimulation.--But when I saw that they walked not uprightly
     according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before
     _them_ all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of
     Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles
     to live as do the Jews?--We _who are_ Jews by nature and not
     sinners of the Gentiles,--knowing that a man is not justified by
     the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we
     have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the
     faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works
     of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Let us now see the account, given in the Acts, of what passed in
Antioch, in relation to Paul, Barnabas and Silas,--during a period,
which seems to be either the same, or one in contiguity with it,
probably antecedent to it.

ACTS 15:35 to 41.

     Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching
     the word of the Lord with _many others_ also.--And some days after,
     Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren,
     in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see
     how they do.--And Barnabas determined to take with them John whose
     surname was Mark.--But Paul thought not good to take him with them,
     who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to
     the work.--And the contention was so sharp between them, that they
     departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark and
     sailed unto Cyprus;--And Paul chose Silas and departed, being
     recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.--And he went
     through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

With regard to Paul's separation from Barnabas, departure from Antioch,
and taking Silas for a companion,--we have nothing from Paul himself:
nothing, from any other source, than, as above, the Acts.

In Paul's account, however, may be seen a passage, Gal. 2:13, by which
some light is thrown upon the breach of Paul with Barnabas. In the Acts,
though the _"contention" is said to be "sharp,"_ no cause is stated for
it, other than a difference respecting the choice of a companion:
namely, on an excursion, which they are represented as having agreed to
make, in the company of each other, as before.

But, according to Paul, he had had cause of complaint, against his old
friend Barnabas, on another account. Barnabas had sided with the
Apostles: Barnabas had been "carried away with their dissimulation"; by
the dissimulation of those Apostles of Jesus, the virtuous simplicity of
the self-constituted Apostle, so he desires his Galatian disciples to
believe, had been foiled.



In no place can this man exist, but to exercise hostility or provoke it:
with no man can he hold intercourse, without acting towards him, if not
in the character of a despot, in that either of an open and audacious,
or in that of a secret adversary, or both. Against Peter, at Jerusalem,
in his Deputation Visit, he is intriguing, while he is bargaining with
him. With the same Peter, when arrived at Antioch, he quarrels: for, at
Antioch, Peter was but a visitor--a stranger; Paul, with Barnabas for
his constant supporter, was on his own ground: no betrayed rulers
_there_ to fear--no persecuted Christians. He quarrels--so he himself
informs his Galatians--he quarrels with the chief of the Apostles: he
"withstands him to his face." Why? because, forsooth, "he was to be
blamed." In conclusion, to such a pitch,--by the degree of success,
whatever it was, which by this time he had experienced,--to such a pitch
of intemperance, had his mind swelled--he quarrels even with Barnabas:
with Barnabas--in all his three antecedent visits to Jerusalem, his
munificent protector, and steady adherent: with that Barnabas, in whose
company, and under whose wing, one of his missionary excursions had
already been performed. Acts 11:19-27; Ib. 2:37-40.

At Antioch, the number of his competitors could not but be considerable:
at Antioch, the number of years, which he appears to have passed in that
city, considered,--the number of his enemies could not be small. He
accordingly plans, and executes, a new missionary excursion. He stands
now upon his own legs: no Barnabas now,--no necessary protector, to
share with him in his glory: to share with him, in equal or superior
proportion, in the profit of his profession: in that profit, the image
of which, in all its shapes, was flitting before his eyes,--and which we
shall accordingly see him gathering in, in such unequalled exuberance.
He now looks out for a humble companion--an assistant: he finds one in
Silas: that Silas, whom, with Judas Barsabas, we have seen come to
Antioch, deputed by the Apostles and their disciples, to conclude, in
that second metropolis, the negotiation, commenced in the first
metropolis of the new Christian world. Deserter from the service in
which he was sent, Silas enlists in that of the daring and indefatigable
adventurer. Thus much, and no more, do we learn concerning him: for, in
the picture drawn in the Acts, no character is given to him, except the
being found in company with Paul, in some of the places which Paul
visits: except this exercise of the locomotive faculty, nothing is there
to distinguish him from the common stock of still-life.

From this fourth recorded epoch in the intercourse between Paul and the
Apostles, we now pass to that which stands fifth and last, to wit: that
which was produced by his fourth and last visit to Jerusalem:--his
_Invasion Visit_, A.D. 62.

In the interval, come four years,--occupied by a series of successive
excursions and sojournments,--in the course of which, all mention of
Silas is dropped, without remark: dropped, in the same obscure and
inexplicit manner, in which the historian affords to the reader,
supposing him endowed with the requisite degree of attention, the means
of discovering, Acts 16:10, that not long after the commencement of this
same period, the historian himself, whoever he was, was taken into the
train of the self-constituted Apostle. To the reader is also left the
faculty, of amusing himself in conjecturing, about what time, and in
what manner, this latter event may have taken place; an event, from
which such important consequences have resulted.

Of these portions of Paul's life, some view will come to be taken, in a
succeeding chapter, under another head:--under the head of Paul's
supposed miracles: for, it is in the account given of his achievements
and adventures, and of the transactions in which, in the course of this
period, he was engaged,--it is in the course of this account, that we
shall have to pick up, the supposed accounts of supposed miracles,
which, in this part of the Acts history lie interspersed. This review
must of necessity be taken, for the purpose of placing in a true light,
the evidence, supposed to be thus afforded, in support of his claims to
a supernatural commission.

To this change of connection on the part of Silas,--from the service of
the Apostles of Jesus to that of the self-constituted Apostle,--the
character of _defection_ on the part of Silas,--_seduction_ on the part
of Paul,--may here be ascribed without difficulty. By the Apostles, one
Gospel was preached--the Gospel of Jesus:--we see it in the Evangelists.
By Paul, another and different Gospel was preached:--a Gospel, later and
better, according to him, than that which is to be seen in the
Evangelists:--a Gospel of his own. If, even down to this time, mutual
prudence prevented an open and generally conspicuous rupture,--there was
on his part, at any rate, an opposition. If, to men, whose conduct and
temper were such as they uniformly appear to have been,--any such word
as _party_ can, without disparagement, be applied, here were two
_parties_. He, who was _for_ the self-constituted Apostle, was _against_
the Apostles of Jesus. In a word, in the language of modern party,
Silas was a _rat_.



In regard to the Partition Treaty,--taking the matter from Paul's first,
or Reconciliation Visit, A.D. 35, to his departure from Antioch, on his
missionary excursion, after the interview he had had at that city with
Peter,--the state of the affairs, between Paul and the Apostles, seems
to have been thus:--

1. On the occasion, and at the time, of his first Jerusalem Visit--his
Reconciliation Visit--a sort of reconciliation--meaning at least an
outward one--could not,--consistently with the whole train, of what is
said of his subsequent intercourse and interviews with the
Apostles,--could not but have taken place.

2. Of this reconciliation, the terms were--that, on condition of _his_
preaching in the name of Jesus,--_they_ would not, to such persons in
Jerusalem and elsewhere, as were in connection with them,--_speak_ of
him any longer in the character of a persecutor: for, by his
disobedience and breach of trust, as towards the Jerusalem constituted
authorities,--such he had put it out of his power to _be_ any longer:
not speak of him as a persecutor, but, on the contrary, as an
associate:--he taking up the name of Jesus: and preaching--never in his
own, but on every occasion in that holy, name.

3. On this occasion,--it being manifest to both parties, that, by his
intimate acquaintance with the Greek language, and with the learning
belonging to that language, he was in a peculiar degree well qualified
to spread the name of Jesus among the Gentiles in general;--that is,
among those to whom the Jewish was not a vernacular language;--whereas
their acquaintance with language was confined to their own, to wit, the
Jewish language;--on this occasion, it followed of course, from the
nature of the case, and almost without need of stipulation,
that,--leaving to _them_, for the field of their labours, Jerusalem, and
that part of the circumjacent country, in which the Jewish alone was the
language of the bulk of the population,--_he_ should confine his
exertions, principally if not exclusively, to those countries, of which
Greek was, or at any rate Hebrew was not, the vernacular language.

To him, at that time, it was not in the nature of the case, that
absentation from Jerusalem, or any part of the country under the same
dominion, should be matter of regret. Within that circle, he could not,
for any length of time, abide publicly, for fear of the legal vengeance
of the constituted authorities: nor yet among the Christians; although
from their chiefs he had obtained, as above, a sort of prudential
endurance; considering the horror, which his persecution of them had
inspired, and the terror, with which, until his conversion had been
proved in the eyes of all by experience, he could not as yet fail to be

Whatever was the object of his concupiscence,--whether it were the
fund--and we have seen how attractive the bait was--which, at that time,
in that metropolis of the Christian world, offered itself to an
ambitious eye,--still, though his opportunities had as yet confined his
exertions to the _second_ city in that increasing world, his eyes never
ceased looking to the _first_.

Twice, accordingly, between the first of his Visits,--his Reconciliation
Visit--and this his last interview with Peter,--we see him visiting that
inviting spot: each time, protected and escorted by the munificent
Barnabas and his influence--to make him endurable: each time with a
public commission--to make him respected:--the first time with money
in his hand--to make him welcome.

That, all this while, neither _good faith_ nor _prudence_ were capable
of opposing to the violence of his ambition, any effectual check,--is
abundantly manifest.

That _good faith_ was not, we learn distinctly from himself. For though,
from the very nature of the two correlative situations, it is out of all
question, as above, that, without some agreement to the effect above
mentioned, he could not, even with the benefit of every possible means
of concealment, have been preserved for two days together from the
vengeance which pressed upon him, from _below_ as well as from _above_;
yet still was he, by his secret intrigues, Gal. 1:11, violating the
treaty, at the expense of those upright, patient, and long-suffering
men, to whose observance of it, he was every day indebted for his life.



Of the financial stipulation, the account we have has been seen:--an
account given by one of the parties to it--Paul:--the other party
being--the Apostles. In the instance of Paul, in the demonstration,
supposed to be given of it, the worldliness, of the motives which gave
birth to it, has in a manner been taken for granted. Well, then, if in
the one instance such was the character of it,--in the other instance,
can it have been any other? The question is a natural one; but not less
so is the answer. For note, the stipulation is express--that, by
Paul--by Paul out of the profits of his vocation--the poor, meaning the
poor of Jerusalem--the poor among the disciples of the Apostles--should
be remembered. Remembered, and how? Remembered, by payment of the
money--into the hands, either of the Apostles themselves, or, what comes
to the same thing, some other persons, in connection with them, and
acting under their influence. Now, then, once more. Of the man, by whom
the money was to be _paid_--of this man, the motives, you say, were
worldly: is it credible then, that they should have been less so, in the
instance of the men by whom they were to be _received_?

Answer. Oh! yes, _that_ it is. Between the two cases, there is this
broad difference. Whatever Paul might receive, he would receive for
himself: whatever, after payment made, under the treaty, to the use of
the Jerusalem poor, he retained,--he might retain for his own use. But
the Apostles--that which, if anything, they received, in the name of the
poor, and as for the use of that same poor,--would they--could they, for
their own use, retain it, or any part of it? Not they, indeed. Not in
their hands were the poor's funds: not in theirs, but in a very
different set of hands:--in the hands of a set of trustees--of the
trustees already mentioned in this work, Ch. 2--of those administrators,
whose function, to every reader who has not the Greek original in view,
is so unfortunately disguised by the word _Deacons_. And these deacons,
by whom appointed? By the Apostles? No; but, by the whole communion of
the saints--by the whole number of the members of the Christian
commonwealth;--and in the way of free election,--_election, on the
principle of universal suffrage_. Monarchists and Aristocrats! mark
well!--_of universal suffrage_.

So much for the treaty itself. Now, as to the subsequent conduct of the
parties, under it, and in relation to it. As to the partition--Paul to
the Gentiles, Peter and his associates to the Jews--such was the letter
of it. Such being the letter--what, at the same time, was the spirit of
it? Manifestly this: on the one hand, that the field, to which Paul's
exertions should apply themselves, and confine themselves, should be
that field, for the cultivation of which, with any prospect of success,
he was exclusively qualified: on the other hand, that the field, to
which their exertions should apply themselves and confine themselves,
should be that, for the cultivation of which, they were--if not
exclusively, at any rate more peculiarly, qualified. In a word--that, of
all that portion of the world, that presented itself as open to the
exertions, of those who preached in the name of Jesus,--they should
reserve to themselves that part which was already in their possession,
to wit, Jerusalem, and its near neighbourhood, together with such parts
of Judea, and its neighbourhood, of which their own language, the
Hebrew, was the vernacular language: this minute portion of the world
reserved, all the rest was to be left open to him: over every other part
of it he was to be at liberty to cast forth his shoe. Judea--the country
of the Jews? say, rather, the Jews themselves:--the Jews wherever found:
for, revelation apart, it was in _language_, that Paul's
pretensions--his exclusive qualifications--consisted. The Apostles spoke
nothing but Hebrew: Paul was learned, and eloquent, in a certain sort,
in Greek.

In regard to the interpretation to be put upon this treaty,--suppose any
doubt to have place,--in the word _Gentile_, would obviously the seat
and source of it to be to be found. Suppose, on the one hand _persons_
to be the objects, of which it was meant to be designative,--then, let
there be but so much as one single uncircumcised man in Jerusalem, or
elsewhere,--to whom, in the view of gaining him over to their communion,
the Apostles, or, with their cognizance, any of their disciples,
addressed themselves,--here would, on _their_ part, be a breach of the
treaty. Suppose, on the other hand, _places_ to be the objects, of which
it was meant to be designative,--on that supposition, within that tract
of country, within which alone, the necessary means, of communicating
with the bulk of the population, were in their possession,--they might
apply themselves, to all persons without restriction: and this, still
without any real breach of the agreement--of the spirit and real import
of the agreement.

In respect either of _persons or places_, by the agreement, according to
this--the obvious sense of it--what was it that Paul gave up? In truth,
just nothing. Had his mind been in a sober state,--strange indeed, if
the field thus afforded by the whole heathen world, was not wide enough
for his labour: in all parts of it he could not be at once; and the most
promising parts were open to his choice. Cessation of Paul's
hostilities excepted, what was it that the Apostles gained? Not much

As already observed--what was not gained by it, is what is above: what
was really gained by it, is what follows.

What Paul gained was--exemption from the annoyance, which otherwise he
would everywhere have been exposed to have received, by being designated
as the quondam notorious persecutor, and still unreconciled enemy, of
the Apostles and their disciples:--in a word, of all others who preached
in the name of Jesus.

That which the Apostles actually gained, was--that confirmation and
extension of their influence, which followed of course, upon every
extension, received by that field, within which the influence of the
name of Jesus was extended.

That which, besides what is above, they _ought to_ have gained, but did
not gain, is--exemption from all such annoyance, as could not but be
inflicted on them, in proportion as Paul, preaching to persons, to whom
_they_ had access, a Gospel which was his, and not theirs,--should,
while in pretence and name an associate, be, in truth and effect, an
adversary and opponent.

This is what--though they not only should have gained, but might also
reasonably have expected to gain--they did _not_ gain. For, not to
insist any more on his secret intrigues in Jerusalem itself, and his
open opposition in the second Jerusalem, Antioch, as above; we
shall--when we come to the next and last of his interviews with the
Apostles on the occasion of his Invasion Visit--see, to what lengths the
madness of his ambition carried him, in that birthplace and metropolis
of the Christian world.

By the sort of connection, which, notwithstanding such obvious and
naturally powerful principles of discrimination, have on each occasion,
been visible, as between the undoubted Apostles, and this self-styled
one--three distinguishable questions cannot but, from time to time, have
been presenting themselves:--1. The sort of countenance--partial, cold,
and guarded as it was--shown by the old established and goodly
fellowship to the ever-intruding individual--is it credible? 2. Can it,
in fact, have been manifested, in conjunction with a disbelief, on their
part, of his pretensions to a degree of supernatural favour with the
Almighty, equal or superior to their own? 3. And, if not only possible,
but actual--was it, in point of morality, justifiable?

By a few obvious enough considerations, an answer--and, it is hoped, a
not altogether unsatisfactory one,--may be given to all these questions.

As to whatever was natural in the course of the events, Barnabas was
necessary to the rising Church: and Paul was, all along, necessary, or,
at least, was so thought, to Barnabas.

1. Barnabas was necessary to the Church. Already, it has been seen, how
preeminent was the support received by it from his munificence. In him,
it had found at once the most liberal of benefactors, and, unless Peter
be an exception, the most indefatigable of agents. On the part of no one
of even the chosen servants of Jesus, do proofs of equal zeal and
activity present themselves to our view.

In an ensuing chapter, we shall see Peter trying his strength among the
Gentiles. Yet, from the direction thus given to his Apostolic zeal, no
violation of the treaty, it will be seen, can with justice be imputed to
him, if the interpretation above given to the word _Gentiles_ be

1. In the first place,--according to the Acts, the date of this
excursion is _antecedent_ to that third interview, which took place on
the occasion of Paul's third Jerusalem Visit--his Deputation Visit: that
is to say, to the time, at which, and not before, though, if the above
reasoning be just, in a sort of general terms the preliminaries had been
agreed upon, the general preliminary arrangements were followed,
confirmed, explained, and liquidated, by more particular ones.

2. In the next place--of all the places,--which, in the course of this
excursion of Peter's, are mentioned as having been visited by
him,--there is not one, that Paul is mentioned as having ever visited:
whereas, in the first of them that is mentioned, the Apostles are
mentioned as having already a band of disciples.[42]

3. In the third place,--the date, assigned to this excursion of Peter's,
is, by several years, antecedent even to the first, of the several
excursions of Paul's, of which mention is made in the Acts. In the
received chronology--date assigned to the commencement of Peter's
excursion, A.D. 35; date assigned to Paul's first excursion, A.D. 45.

While Peter was thus occupying himself, Paul was still at Tarsus:[43] at
Tarsus--his own birthplace--whereto,--in consequence of the danger, to
which his life had been exposed by his first Jerusalem Visit, his
Reconciliation Visit,--he had taken his flight.[44]

4. In the fourth place,--notwithstanding the perpetual hostility of
Paul's mind, as towards Peter and the rest of the Apostles,--on no
occasion, on the score of any breach of this article in the partition
treaty, is any complaint, on the part of Paul, to be found. When
dissatisfaction is expressed, doctrine alone is mentioned by him as the
source of it: doctrine, the ostensible; dominion, the original and real

Spite of the treaty,--spite of the manifest interest, of the only
genuine religion of Jesus--the Gospel taught by the Apostles,--still in
places to which they had access--in places in which, in consequence,
they had formed connections,--he persisted in intruding himself:
intruding himself, with that Gospel which he says himself, was his, not
theirs--and not being theirs, was not Jesus's:--intruding himself, in
places, in which, even had his Gospel been Jesus's, _their_ connections
being established, there existed no demand for him and _his_. Can this
be doubted of? If yes, all doubt will at any rate be removed,
when,--spite of all the endeavours that could be employed, either by
them or by his own adherents, to prevail upon him to desist,--we shall
see him entering Jerusalem on his Invasion Visit: as if, while, for
preaching the religion of Jesus, all the world, with the exception of
the Jewish part of it, was not enough for this intruder,--the Apostles
of Jesus--eleven in number, with their elected associate,
Matthias,--were not, all together, enough, for that small part of it.

The _name_ he preached in, _that_ indeed not his own, but Jesus's: but
the _doctrine_ he preached--the Gospel, as he called it--not _Jesus's_,
nor anybody else's, but his own. All this, as he has the assurance to
declare,--all this did he preach without their knowledge. And why
without their knowledge? because, as he himself has the still more
extraordinary assurance to _declare_--for _confession_ is the result not
of assurance, but weakness--because, as he himself acknowledges,--if so
it had been, that this Gospel of his had come to the knowledge of the
Apostles--of those associates, to whom he was all along holding out the
right hand of fellowship, this Gospel of his could not have been
listened to--this preaching of his would have been in vain.

Already, however--for in this he may be believed--already, throughout
this _first_ intercourse, though the expression is not used till he came
to speak of the _third_,--already must the right hand of fellowship have
been held out, and on both sides: and, what followed of course,--and was
not only affirmed by his statement, but demonstrated by the result,--on
this last occasion was the treaty again brought upon the carpet and
confirmed, after such modifications as it may naturally have received,
from the consideration of intervening incidents.


[42] Acts 9:32. "And it came to pass, as Peter passed through all
quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda."

[43] Acts 11:25. "Then departed Barnabas for to seek Saul." A.D. 43.

[44] Acts 9:30, "Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to
Cæsarea and sent him forth to Tarsus."


     _Paul disbelieved continued--The Fourth and Last Jerusalem Visit.
     The Purpose concealed: Opposition universal; among his own
     Disciples, and among those of the Apostles._



Of this momentous visit to say what were the real objects, must in a
great part be left to conjecture:--to inferences drawn from the known
circumstances of the case. By himself, as will be seen, they were
concealed with the most persevering anxiety.

But, in default of direct evidence, the point may without much danger of
error be settled by circumstantial evidence. The common objects of
political concupiscence--money, power and vengeance--were all before his
eyes: _money_--in no less a quantity than that of the aggregate mass of
the property of the whole church:--that fund, for the management of
which, the Apostles' seven trustees, under the name of Deacons, were not
more than sufficient:--that fund, by which the repulsed concupiscence of
the sorcerer of Samaria had so lately been excited:--_power_, that
which was exercised by the direction of the consciences of the whole
number of the faithful, some time before this, not less in number than
three thousand: _vengeance_, for the repeated rebuffs, by which, at the
interval of so many years from each other, his endeavours to supplant
the Apostles had been repelled.

In a general point of view, ambition,--rival ambition,--the same motive
which sent Caesar to Rome, may be stated as having sent Paul, at this
time, to Jerusalem: to Jerusalem--the metropolis of the Christian world,
by design; and thence, eventually and undesignedly, to the metropolis of
the whole civilized world.

By two opposite desires--two antagonizing but correspondent and mutually
explanatory desires--desires, in both parts intense and active, the
external marks of which are sufficiently visible in two different
quarters,--the nature as well as prevalence of this motive, will, it is
believed, be found sufficiently proved:--a desire, in the breast of the
self-constituted Apostle, to establish himself in the original
metropolis of the Christian world:--a desire on the part of the
Apostles--of the Apostles constituted by Jesus--to keep him out of it.



Ephesus, at which place he had arrived not long after his departure from
Corinth, where he had made a stay, as it should seem, of more years than
one,[45] touching in the way at Cenchrea, where he shaved his head for
the performance of a vow--Ephesus is the place, at which, by the author
of the Acts, Paul is for the first time made to speak of himself, as
harbouring, having in mind the making of this visit: and on that
occasion, the visit is spoken of, as being the subject of a settled
determination, and in particular as being the time fixed upon by him for
the execution of this design. Acts 18:20, 21. "When they, the Jews at
Ephesus, desired him to tarry longer with them, he consented not; but
bade them farewell, saying, I must _by all means keep this feast_ that
cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again to you if God will."

As to the keeping of this or any other feast at Jerusalem or at any
other place--if it was under any such notion as that of contributing to
his own personal salvation by any such Mosaic work, it was an object
inconsistent with his own principles--with his own so repeatedly and
strenuously advocated principles:--and the like may be said of the
head-shaving and the vow, performed by him, at Cenchrea, in his way to
Ephesus from Corinth: and moreover, in this last-mentioned instance,
more particularly in contradiction with a precept so positively
delivered by Jesus, namely, _Swear not at all_,--if, under swearing, the
making of vows is to be understood to be included.

Of this design, the next intimation which occurs in the Acts, is in the
next chapter, Acts 19:21, "When these things were ended," namely, the
discomfiture of the exorcists, and the burning of the books of curious
arts at Ephesus,--"Paul, it is said, _purposes in the spirit_, when he
had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying,
After I have been there, I must also see Rome."

Fortunate it is for the credit--either _of the spirit_, or of Paul, or
of the author of the Acts, that it was on this second occasion only, and
not on the first, that it was _in the spirit_ that he proposed to go to
Jerusalem by the then next feast: for, notwithstanding the "_must_" and
the "_by all means_,"--so it is, that between those his two
determinations as above, no less a space of time than two years is
stated as elapsing, on one occasion, at one and the same place.[46] And
this place--what was it? it was Ephesus: the same place, at which, on
his departure from it, the first determination was declared: after
which, and before this his second visit to Ephesus,--he is represented
as having visited Cæsarea and Antioch.

The next mention, is that which occurs in the next chapter, chapter
20:16. "Paul," we are there told, being then at Miletus, "had determined
to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he
hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of

At Miletus it is, that he sends for, and receives, from Ephesus, a
number of his adherents in that place. Upon their arrival, he is
represented as making a formal speech to them: and now, he not merely
proposes in the spirit, as before, but is "_bound in the spirit_," to go
thither.[47] Vain would be the attempt to ascertain, with any approach
to exactness, the interval of time, during which the operation of the
spirit remained in a sort of suspense between _purpose_ and
_obligation_: it may have been months, only: it may have been years.

While, by one spirit, Paul was thus urged on, every now and then,
towards Jerusalem;--by the same spirit, or by another spirit, he was
pulled back.[48]

In the very next verse, Acts 20:22, in which he speaks of his being
"bound in the spirit unto" that place, not knowing, as, in his speech,
he thereupon adds,--"not knowing the things that shall befall me
there,"--he goes on, and says: "Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in
every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of
these things," says he, ver. 24, "move me, neither count I my life dear
unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the
ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel
of the grace of God."

To raise, in the breast of Paul, the expectation, that of his proceeding
in the course it was his way to take in preaching that religion, to
which, from a persecutor, he had, in appearance, become a convert,
affliction, in a variety of shapes, might prove to be the
fruits,--needed no information from the spirit; if, by receiving
information from the spirit, he meant any communication of a
supernatural kind--anything beyond information in the ordinary
shape;--be the effect--be the purpose, good or bad,--such is the lot,
that awaits innovation in the field of politics--the spiritual part
included, as well as the temporal--at all places, and all times.

A passage, which now presents itself, helps to show how easily and
copiously, out of a few words, written in ancient times, mysteries and
miracles have been manufactured in modern times. In Acts 20:22, we have
seen Paul, "_bound in the spirit_," as he is made to assure us, to go
unto Jerusalem. In the next chapter, 21:4, we find disciples ... who
said to Paul, "_through the spirit_," that he should _not_ go up to
Jerusalem. Oh! what a useful word this word _spirit_! Let a man say
plainly and simply, I shall go, or be going, to Jerusalem--or, Don't go
to Jerusalem,--his words go for no more than they are worth: in either
case, with a proper proposition to introduce it, add the word "spirit,"
the matter becomes serious. Out of a word or two, you thus add to the
Godhead a third person, who talks backward and forward for you, and does
for you whatever you please.

At so small a price, even to this day, are manufactured, every day, a
sort of _verbal_ miracles, which, as many as are disposed, are welcome
to improve into real ones.

To reconcile men to this expedition of Paul's, the spirit was the more
necessary,--inasmuch as it was not in his own power, or even in that of
any one of his numerous attendants and dependants, to assign so much as
one ostensible reason for it.

That, to the advancement of religion--of the religion of Jesus--no such
presence of his was necessary;--that no good could result from it;--that
much evil could not but result from it;--was obvious to all eyes. Of the
original number of the Apostles,--for aught that appears, not less than
eleven were still remaining on the spot: men, to every one of whom, all
acts and sayings of Jesus were, by memory, rendered so familiar:--men,
on the part of some of whom, and, at any rate, on the part of the chief
of them, Peter,--there was no want of zeal and activity. While to these
men a single city, or, at the utmost, one small region--composed the
whole field of exertion--the whole earth besides is left open by them
to Paul: still, such is the ravenousness of his ambition, nothing can
content him, but he must be intruding himself--thrusting his restless
sickle into their ripening harvest.



All this--is it not enough? Well then, take this one other--this
concluding proof. In the teeth of all their endeavours, and among them,
some that will be seen extraordinary enough, to prevent it,--was
undertaken the fourth and last of his four recorded visits to their

But, in the first place, in the utter indefensibility of the design,
shall be shown the _cause_, of the opposition so universally made to it.

Tired of a mixture of successes and miscarriages,--disdaining the
conquests he had been making in so many remote, and comparatively
obscure regions of the world,--he had formed--but at what precise time,
the documents do not enable us to pronounce--the determination, to
exhibit his glories on the two most illustrious of theatres:--in the two
capitals--Jerusalem, of the Jewish, and now of the Christian world;
Rome, of the whole classical heathen world:--and in the first place,
Jerusalem, now, for the fourth time since his conversion. It was at
Ephesus, as we have seen, this determination was first declared.

To Rome, he might have gone, and welcome: namely, in so far as his
doctrines could have confined themselves within the limits of those of
Jesus: which, however, it will be seen, they could not: but, success
being moreover supposed, nothing but good could such visit have had for
its result.

But, by a visit to any place other than Jerusalem, various were the
points of spleen and ambition, that could not have been satisfied.
Nothing would serve him, but, over that Edom Jerusalem, he would, in the
first place, cast forth his shoe.

Unless the eleven most confidential servants, selected by Jesus himself
to be the propagators of his religion, were altogether unworthy of the
task thus allotted to them,--nothing to the good purposes of that
religion could be more palpably unnecessary, nothing to the purposes of
peace and unity more pernicious, than the intrusion thus resolved upon.
That the number of these legitimately instituted Apostles had as yet
suffered any diminution, is not, by any of the documents, rendered so
much as probable. Neither in the works of Paul himself, nor in that of
his historiographer, is any intimation to any such effect to be found.
In their own judgments, had there been any need of coadjutors--any
deficiency of hands for the spiritual harvest,--they well knew how to
supply it. Of the sufficiency of such knowledge, they had given the
most incontestable proofs: the election of Matthias was the fruit of it.
They showed--and with a disinterestedness, which has never since had,
nor seems destined to have, any imitators--that, in the Christian world,
if government in any shape has divine right for its support, it is in
the shape of democracy;--representative democracy--operating by
universal suffrage. In the eye of the Christian, as well as of the
philosopher and the philanthropist, behold here the only legitimate
government: the form, the exclusion of which from the Christian world,
has been the object of that league, by which, by an unpunishable, yet
the most mischievous--if not the only mischievous--sort of blasphemy,
the name of Christian has been profaned.

This method of filling offices, was no more to the taste of Paul, than
to that of a Napoleon or a George. He determined to open their eyes, and
prove to them by experience, that monarchy,--himself the first
monarch--was the only legitimate form of government. The difficulties of
the enterprise were such as could not escape any eyes:--least of all his
own: but to die or conquer was his resolve: so he himself declares.[49]
What, in case of success, would have been the use made by him of it? The
fate of the Apostles may be read in the catastrophe of Saint Stephen:
the vulgar herd would, in his eyes, have been as declaredly foolish as
the Galatians. Gal. 3:1. "O, foolish Galatians!" Who did bewitch you,

The invasion was not less inconsistent with good faith, than with
brotherly love, peace and unity. It was a direct violation of the
_partition-treaty_: that treaty, of which he gives such unquestionable
evidence against himself, in the boast he makes of it to his Galatians.
Gal. 2:9. "When James, Cephas (Peter), and John, who seemed to be
pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me
and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the
heathen, and they unto the circumcision."



To find so much as the colour of a reason for this perfidy, was too much
for the ingenuity of his attendant panegyrist. In the eyes of the whole
body of his attendants, of whom the historian was one, so completely
unjustifiable was his design in every point of view,--they joined in a
remonstrance to him, beseeching him to give it up.

ACTS 21:12 to 14.

     And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place,
     besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.--Then Paul answered, What
     mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be
     bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord
     Jesus.--And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The
     will of the Lord be done.

At no such loss, however, was Paul himself: for this, and for everything
else it was his will to do, he had a reason ready made. It was no less
concise and economical than convenient: a word, and no more than a word,
was the price paid for it:--_revelation_ was that word.[50] So he
assures his "foolish" Galatians: and if they were foolish enough to
believe it, these, though first, have not been last, in the career of

Allow a man but the use of this one word, so it be in the sense in which
Paul here uses it--admit the matter of fact, of which it contains the
assertion,--the will of that man is not only sufficient reason, but
sufficient law, for everything: in all places, and to all persons, his
will is law. The will of this man is the will of that God, by whom this
revelation of it has been made to him: the will of God, what man shall
be audacious enough to dispute?

The motives, which gave birth to this act of perfidy and hostility, will
now be visible enough, to every eye, that dares to open itself to them.
At the time in question, they were too manifest to need mentioning: and
at the same time too unjustifiable, to bear to be mentioned by his
dependent historian, when speaking of the opposition, which, even on the
part of his own dependents, it produced. They besought him--with tears
they besought him: but, as to the reflections by which these tears were
produced, they could not bear the light: it was not for a declared
adherent to give them utterance. The sort of colour, put upon the
project by Paul, with the help of one of his phrases--this was the only
colour that could be found for it. It was for the _name_ of the Lord
Jesus, Acts 21:13, that he was ready--"ready, not to be bound only, but
also to die." For the name? O, yes, for the name at all times; for, in
the name of Jesus, he beheld from first to last his necessary support:
and of the Lord Jesus, nothing, as we shall find,--nothing from first to
last, did he ever employ but the name. But, to be bound at Jerusalem--to
die at Jerusalem--to be bound--to die--supposing this to take
place,--where--to the religion of Jesus--would be, where could be, the
use of it? There, at Jerusalem, the Apostles--the real Apostles of
Jesus:--executing, without either dying or being bound for it, the
commission, which to them had been really given by Jesus.



Thus indefensible and deplorable, in the eyes even of his own
dependents,--it may be imagined in what light the invasion presented
itself at Jerusalem, to those who found themselves so cruelly menaced by

At the first place, at which, after a voyage of some length, they landed
on their way to Judea,--they found the alarm already spread. This place
was Tyre: there they found "disciples," Acts 21:4, "who said to Paul,"
and "through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem." It was
through _their spirit_, that they bade him not to go; but _his
revelation_, as we have seen, bade him to go, notwithstanding:--his
revelation was too strong for their spirit. If it was from the _Lord
Jesus_, as he all along informs us, that his revelation came, while
their spirit was the _Holy Spirit_, otherwise called the _Holy
Ghost_,--already another schism was produced: a schism, in a council
still higher than that of the Apostles.

At Ptolemais, on the road from Tyre to Jerusalem, they stayed but one
day: Acts 21:7, not long enough, it should seem, for any fresh marks of
opposition to this enterprise to manifest themselves.

Continuing their approach to the metropolis, the next day they came to
Cæsarea, Acts 21:4, "The house," then "entered into," was that of
Philip, there styled the Evangelist, one of the seven trustees, who,
under the name, rendered in the English translation by that of Deacon,
at the recommendation of the Apostles, had been chosen by universal
suffrage, for the management of the pecuniary affairs of the Church.
Here they took up their quarters: and here a fresh scene awaited them.

In the person of a man, whose name was Agabus, the Apostles and their
associates had found, as we have seen, an agent of approved talents, and
usefulness: to him they had been indebted, for the most important
service, of a temporal nature, which the history of the church in those
days furnishes:--the supply of money already received, as above
mentioned, from the first-born daughter of the church--the church of
Antioch, in Syria. At this place, Cæsarea, as a last resource, this
same Agabus, or another, was, as it should seem, dispatched to meet--at
any rate did meet--the self-appointed Apostle in his way; and, in the
character of a _prophet_, for so _this_ Agabus is styled, strained every
nerve, in the endeavour to divert the invader from the so anxiously
apprehended purpose.

Whoever he was, employed on this occasion, but employed in vain, were
all the treasures of his eloquence. The Holy Ghost was once more, and by
name, set in array against Paul's Lord Jesus. The powers of verbal and
oral eloquence were not thought sufficient: action--and not only of that
sort which, in the eyes of Demosthenes, was an object of such prime
importance, but even pantomime--was employed in aid. Acts 21:11. As to
argument--fear in the bosom of the Church, for a life so precious, was
the only one, which the skill of the orator could permit him to employ:
as to fear for their own sakes, and resentment for the injury which they
were predestinated to suffer,--these were passions, too strongly felt
to be avowed. "He took Paul's girdle," Acts 21:11, "and bound his own
hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews
at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him
into the hands of the Gentiles."

Supposing the Agabus mentioned on this occasion, to be the same Agabus
as he who was mentioned on the occasion of the apprehended
dearth--supposing this to be he--and no reason presents itself in favour
of the contrary supposition--well known indeed must he have been to
Paul, since it was by his means that Paul was indebted for the
opportunity of paying, to Jerusalem, that second visit of his, from
which, as we have seen, so little fruit was reaped.

The singular circumstance here is, the manner, in which, on this second
occasion, mention is made of this name--Agabus: "a certain prophet named
Agabus," Acts 21:10. Whether this was, or was not, the same as the
former Agabus,--this mode of designation presents itself as alike
extraordinary. If he _was_ the same,--in that case, as, by the addition
of the adjunct "a certain prophet," a sort of cloud is thrown over his
identity,--so, by so simple an expedient as that of the non-insertion of
these redundant words, the clouds would have been dispelled. If he was
_not_ the same,--so expressive being the circumstances, by which
identity stands indicated--namely, the quarter _from_ whence the same;
the quarter _to_ which the same; the importance of the mission, and the
demand for talents and influence, in both cases so great; on this
supposition, to prevent misconception, no less obvious than urgent was
the demand, for some mark of distinction, to be added on this second
occasion: in a word, for that sort of mark of distinction, which, on
other occasions; may, in this same history, be seen more than once
employed: witness _that John_, twice distinguished by the name of _John,
whose surname was Mark_. Acts 22:25, _ib._ 25:37.

Hence a suspicion, nor that an unnatural one--that, in this history, the
part, in which the name Agabus occurs for the first time, and the part,
in which that same name occurs for the second time, were not the work of
the same hand.

With or without the assistance of the Holy Ghost, with the like
importunity, though in a tone corresponding to the difference of
situation, was a dissuasion, to the same effect, added, with one voice,
by the adherents, of whom the suite of the self-appointed Apostle was
composed, and by all the other Christians then present. "And when we
heard these things," says the author of the Acts, "both we, and they of
that place, Cæsarea, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem." Acts

The Holy Ghost, whom all the rest of the Church had for their advocate,
was no equal match for the Holy Ghost whom Paul had for his adviser.
"What mean ye," says he, "to weep and to break mine heart? for I am
ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of
the Lord Jesus." Acts 21:13. To a Holy Ghost so highly seated,
submission from a Holy Ghost of inferior rank, was the only course left.
"When he could not be persuaded, concludes the historian, we ceased,
saying, The will of the Lord be done."

Paul die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus? He, Paul, this
self-constituted Apostle, who, upon his own showing, had never seen
Jesus? for the name of Jesus, forsooth, die at Jerusalem? at that
Jerusalem, at which the indisputable Apostles had been, and continued to
be, living and labouring, in the service of that same holy name, each of
them, or they are much misrepresented, not less ready and willing, both
to live and upon occasion to die for it, than he could be? Was it then
really to die for the name of Jesus? was it not rather to live? to live
for his own name, for his own glory, for his own profit, and for the
pleasure of depriving of their flock those shepherds of souls, by whom
his pretensions had been disallowed, his glory disbelieved, his advances
received with that distrust and jealousy, for which the long and bitter
experience they had had of him, afforded so amply sufficient a warrant?
men, in whose eyes, though in the clothing of a shepherd, he was still a

What was he to die for? By whose hands was he to die? By no danger,
since he had ceased to be their declared persecutor, had any Christians,
in their character of Christians, whether disciples or preachers, then,
or at any time, been menaced;[51] of no such danger, at any rate, is
any, the slightest, intimation ever to be found: if any danger awaited
him, it was by himself, by his own restless and insatiable ambition, by
his own overbearing and ungovernable temper, that it was created. Had he
but kept to his agreement; had the whole of the known world, with the
single exception of Judea, been wide enough for him: no danger would
have awaited him:--he and Jerusalem might have remained in peace.

What service that _they_ could not, could _he_ hope to do to the cause?
For doctrine, they had nothing to do but to report the discourses; for
proof, the miracles which they had witnessed. To this, what could _he_
add? Nothing, but facts, such as we have seen, out of his own head,--or,
at best, facts taken at second hand, or through any number of removes
from _them_,--and, in an infinity of shapes and degrees, travestied in
their passage.

In this account, the curious thing is--that upon the face of it, the
Holy Ghost of prophet Agabus is mistaken: nothing happened in the manner
mentioned by him: for, in the same chapter comes the account of what did
happen, or at any rate is, by this same historian, stated as that which
happened:--by no Jews is the owner of the girdle bound: dragged by the
people out of the temple,--by that same people he is indeed attempted to
be killed, but bound he is not: for, with his being bound, the attempt
to kill him is not consistent: binding requires mastery, and a certain
length of time, which killing does not: a single blow from a stone may
suffice for it.

As to the Jews delivering him unto the hands of the Gentiles,--it is by
the Gentiles that he is delivered out of the hands of the Jews: of the
Jews, the endeavour was--to deprive him of his life; of the Gentiles, to
save it.



In this important contest, the Holy Ghost of Agabus was predestinated to
yield to the irresistible power of Paul's Lord Jesus. He made his entry
into Jerusalem, Acts 21:17, and the very next day commenced the storm,
by which, after having been on the point of perishing, he was driven, at
last, as far as from Jerusalem to Rome, but the particulars of which
belong not to the present purpose.

What _is_ to the present purpose, however, is the company, which, upon
this occasion, he saw. James, it may be remembered, was one of the three
Apostles--out of the whole number, the only three who, on the occasion
of the partition treaty, could be prevailed upon to give him the right
hand of fellowship. Into the house of this James he entered: and there
what he saw was an assembly, met together for the purpose, of giving him
the advice, of which more particular mention will be made in its place.
It was--to clear himself of the charge,--a charge made against him by
the Jewish converts,--of teaching all the Jews, which are among the
Gentiles, to forsake Moses, and of inculcating that doctrine by his own
example, Acts 21:20-24. Well! at this assembly who were present?
Answer--the Elders--all of them: of the Apostles with the single
exception of James, at whose house it was held, not one: not even
John,--not even Peter:--the two other Apostles, by whom on their part,
the treaty had been entered into:--Peter, the chief of the
Apostles;--John "the disciple," John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7-20, whom Jesus
loved. The nerves of James it appears, from other tokens besides this,
were of a stronger texture than those of either of these his two
colleagues; he alone stood the brunt. As for Peter, he had been so
"withstood to his face" by Paul on the occasion of his first visit,
that he had no stomach to be so withstood a second time.

James, it may be remembered, was the Apostle, at whose motion, against
the opinion and speech of Peter, the resolution insisting upon certain
Jewish observances, on the part of heathen converts to the Church, was

Here then, in support of the proposition maintained, by James,--here,
was an assembly of the rulers of the Church convened: the Elders--the
elected coadjutors of the Apostles all of them present: of the Apostles
themselves, not one: James excepted, whose presence, it is evident,
could not, on this occasion, be dispensed with. Of this assembly, the
object, and sole object, was--the insisting upon Paul's taking, for the
sake of the peace of the Church, a certain measure. Now, the measure
thus insisted upon, what was it? The clearing himself of a certain
charge then mentioned. And this charge, what was it? A charge--of which,
consistently with truth,--of which without such direct falsehood, as if
committed would be notorious,--he could not clear himself. In this case,
one of two things would absolutely be the result. Either he would be
rash enough to commit the falsehood,--in which case his reputation and
power of disturbing the peace of the Church would be at an end; or,
shrinking from the summons, he would virtually confess himself guilty:
in which case likewise, he would find his situation, in the midst of an
universally adverse multitude, no longer tenable.

For this clearance, a ceremony was prescribed to him:--a ceremony, the
effect of which was--to declare, in a manner, beyond all comparison,
more solemn and deliberate than that of anything which is commonly
understood by the word _oath_,--that he had not done anything, of that
which he stood charged with having done, and which it could not but be
generally known that he had done. Witness those Epistles of his, which
in another place we shall see, Ch. 12:--Epistles in which he will be
seen, so frequently, and upon such a variety of occasions, and in such a
variety of language, not only proclaiming the needlessness of
circumcision--its uselessness to salvation,--but, in a word, on all
points making war upon Moses.

No course was so rash, that Paul would shrink from it, no ceremony so
awful, or so public that Paul would fear to profane it. Of the
asseveration, to which he was called upon to give, in an extraordinary
form, the sanction of an oath, the purport was universally notorious:
the falsity, no less so: the ceremony, a solemnity on which the powers
of sacerdotal ingenuity had been exhausted, in the endeavour to render
is efficaciously impressive. Place of performance, the most sacred among
the sacred: act of entrance, universally public, purpose universally
notorious; operations, whatever they were, inscrutably concealed from
vulgar eyes: person of the principal actor occasionally visible, but at
an awful elevation: time, requisite for accomplishment, Acts 21:27, not
less than seven days: the whole ceremony, effectually secured against
frequent profanation, by "charges" too heavy to be borne by the united
power of four ordinary purses.[52] With all the ingredients of the most
finished perjury in his breast,--perfect consciousness, fixed
intentionality, predetermined perseverance, and full view of the
sanction about to be violated,--we shall see him entering upon the task,
and persevering in it. While the long drama was thus acting in the
consecrated theatre, the mind of the multitude was accumulating heat
without doors. The seven days necessary, were as yet unaccomplished,
when indignation could hold no longer: they burst into the sacred
edifice, dragged him out, and were upon the point of putting him to
death, when the interference of a Roman officer saved him, and became
the first link in that chain of events, which terminated in his visit to
Rome, and belongs not to this place.

Thus much, in order to have the clearer view of the plan of the
Apostles, and of the grounds of it, from which will be seen the
unexceptionableness of it, it seemed necessary for us here to
anticipate. But such rashness, with the result that followed--the
Apostles, in their situation, how could they have anticipated it?

Baffled, in their former endeavours to keep the invader from entering
the holy city--that holy city, with the peace of which his presence was
so incompatible, such was the course which they devised and embraced
from driving him out of it. For the carrying of this measure into
effect, a general assembly of the governing body of the Church was
necessary. At this assembly had no Apostle been present, it could not,
in the eyes of the Church at large, have been what it was necessary it
should appear to be. Though, of the whole number of the Apostles, no
more than one was present,--yet, his being the house at which it was
held, and the others, whether summoned or no, being expected of course,
by the disciples at large, to be likewise present,--the Elders being
likewise "_all_" of them present,--this attendance was deemed
sufficient: as to the other Apostles--all of them but the one whose
presence was thus indispensable,--abhorrence, towards the man, whose
career had in their eyes commenced with murder, continued in imposture,
and had recently been stained with perfidy,--rendered the meeting him
face to face, a suffering too violent to be submitted to, when by any
means it could be avoided.

On this occasion, the opinion, which, as we have seen, cannot but have
been entertained by them, concerning Paul and his pretensions to
Revelation, and to a share equal to their own in the confidence of
Jesus,--must not, for a moment, be out of mind.

The whole fellowship of the Apostles,--all others, to whom, at the time,
anything about the matter was known, believed his story to be, the whole
of it, a pure invention. In their eyes it was a fabrication: though we,
at this time of day--we, who of ourselves know nothing about it, take
for granted, that it was all true.

For proving the truth of it, all we have are his own accounts of it: his
own accounts, given, some of them, by himself directly: the rest
ultimately, his being the only mouth from which the accounts we have
seen in the _Acts_ could have been derived. Bearing all this in mind,
let us now form our judgment on the matter, and say, whether the light,
in which the Apostles viewed his character and conduct, and the course
pursued by them as above, was not from first to last, not only
conformable to the precepts of their master, but a model of patience,
forbearance, and prudence.


[45] Acts 18:11. "He continued there, at Corinth, a year and six
months."--18. "And Paul tarried there yet a good while, and then took
his leave."

[46] Acts 19:10. "And this continued by the space of two years; so that
all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews
and Greeks."

[47] Acts 20:22. "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto
Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there."

[48] Acts 20:23. "Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city,
saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me."

[49] Acts 20:24. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my
life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and
the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the
Gospel of the grace of God."

Acts 21:13. "Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break my
heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem
for the name of the Lord Jesus."

[50] Gal. ii. 2. "I went up by revelation."

[51] In Acts 12:1, King Herod is indeed spoken of as having "stretched
forth his hands to vex certain of the Church, and he killed," it is
said, "James, the brother of John, with the sword." Then comes the story
of Peter's imprisonment and liberation. But the cause of these
inflictions had nothing to do with religion: the proof is--nor can there
be a more conclusive one--to no such cause are they attributed.

[52] Acts 21:23, 24. "We have four men, say the Apostles and Elders, we
have four men which have a vow on them:--Them take, and purify thyself
with them, and be at charges with them."


     _Paul disbelieved continued.--His Fourth Jerusalem Visit continued.
     His Arrival and Reception. Accused by all the Disciples of the
     Apostles, he commences an exculpatory Oath in the Temple. Dragged
     out by them--rescued by a Roman Commander--sent in Custody to



Spite of the opposing Holy Ghost,--spite of the Apostles, and their
prophet,--there he is at Jerusalem. Now comes an incident--or say,
rather, a relation--which is altogether curious.

At "Jerusalem," says the history, "the brethren received us gladly,"
Acts 21:17. The brethren? what brethren? the brethren, by whom Agabus,
with his stage-trick, had been sent some sixty or seventy miles'
journey, in the endeavour to keep him at a distance? the thousands of
Jews thereupon immediately mentioned? those Jews, who, though believers
in Jesus, are not the "less zealous of the law," and enraged at Saul
for those breaches of it, with which he is charged?

That, by such of them, if any, by whom--by the appearance he made, with
his suite, it had happened to be more or less overawed,--that by these,
an appearance of gladness was assumed, seems credible enough: look for
those, by whom he could have been received with real gladness--they will
not, it should seem, be very easy to be found.

Not, till the next day after his arrival, do Paul and his suite present
themselves to any in authority in this spiritual commonwealth. The first
person, to whom, on this occasion, he presents himself, is James: that
one of the Apostles, who, with the exception of Peter, is the person,
and the only person, with whom Paul has, on the occasion of any of his
visits, been represented as holding converse. Not with this James--not
with any settled inhabitants of Jerusalem--has he had his lodging: only
with Mnason,[53] a man of Cyprus, whom, lest lodging should be wholly
wanting, they had brought with them from Cæsarea. Of this so
extensively apprehended arrival, there had been full time for ample
notice: among the rulers, those, who, as well as James, chose to see
him, were all present. Who were they? the elders--"all the elders." Of
the Apostles, not so much as one, besides James. Let it not be said,
that, under the word _elders_, the Apostles were meant to be included:
on other occasions, on which elders are mentioned, Acts 15:4; 6:23, the
Apostles are mentioned, as forming a body, distinct, as they naturally
would be,--distinct from these same elders.

Salutations performed, he addresses the assembly in that strain,
which was so familiar to him: boasting upon boasting, and, above
all things, boasting that he does not boast: "declaring," says his
historian;--declaring? what? declaring what was his business at
Jerusalem? declaring what service, in his eyes the cause stood in need
of, at his hands? Not he, indeed: to any such effect, declaration might
not have been altogether so easy. What he declared, and that
"_particularly_," was--what "things God had wrought among the Gentiles
by his ministry." Exactly on this, as on his last preceding visit,--when
all, but himself, were speaking to the question before him--Peter on one
side; after him, James on the other side--nothing, is either he, or his
companion Barnabas, represented as saying, that belongs to the question;
nothing, but "declaring what miracles and wonders, God had wrought among
the Gentiles by them." Between what is represented, as having been said
on the two occasions,--one difference, and no more than one, is visible.
On the former occasion, "miracles and wonders"; on this latter occasion,
no miracles no wonders:--nothing more than _things_. Supposing any of
them particularized--neither miracles nor wonders had, it should seem,
been fortunate enough to obtain credence: for that reason, it should
seem, that, on this occasion, all mention of them is dropped.

Hearing of these _things_, what did these elders? Being things that
"God," as they were informed, "had wrought," they could do no less than
glorify "the Lord." Acts 21:19-20. As in Paul's Epistles, so here, in
the Acts,--by _the Lord_, it is Jesus, who, as far as it appears, is the
person, all along meant to be designated. Here, _God_, it may be
observed, is the person, by whom everything good, that is done, is done:
Jesus--the Lord Jesus--the person, who is _glorified_ for it.

To make his boasts, was _his_ business with _them_: but, to subscribe to
those same boasts, was not _their_ business with _him_.

Their business was--to inform him, of the storm of unpopularity, which
by his audacity he had brought upon himself: to inform him of the storm,
and to point out the only course, which, in their view of the matter,
presented a chance for his escape from it. "Thou seest,"--say
they,--"thou seest how many thousands of Jews there are which believe;
and they are all zealous of the law. And they are informed of thee, that
thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake
Moses; saying, that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither
to walk after their customs," Acts 21:20. "What is it, therefore?" add
they, "the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that
thou art come."



On more accounts than one, remarkable,--and not a little instructive, is
the account we have of this last recorded visit: and, in particular, as
to what concerns the reception he experienced from the ruling powers of
the Church.

It is, in some particulars, more especially to be depended
upon,--inasmuch as, at this important meeting, the author of the
Acts--if he is to be believed--was himself present.

The first remarkable circumstance is--that, on this occasion, Paul, the
self-elected Apostle--instead of taking the lead, and introducing his
companions--keeps behind, and is introduced _by them_: such was the
pliancy, with which--even on this expedition, of invasion and projected
conquest,--an expedition,--undertaken, in spite of everything that could
be done, both on the part of the intended objects of the conquest, and
on the part of his own adherents--such was the pliancy, with which this
man, among whose boasts was that of being all things to all men, could
bend himself to circumstances.

Acts 21:15-18. "And after those days, we took up our carriages, and went
to Jerusalem. There went with us, also, certain of the disciples of
Cæsarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple,
with whom we should lodge." At Jerusalem, not so much as a house, to
harbour them, could they have been assured of, but for this old
disciple--fellow countryman, of Paul's old patron, the Son of
Consolation, Barnabas. Not even with him could they have been assured of
this token of friendship, had he not either been already of their party,
or detached himself to meet them, and afford them the assurance:
although, at Cæsarea,--from some cause, of which, while the effect is
brought to view, no intimation is given,--they were fortunate enough to
obtain a hospitable reception, Acts 21:8, at the house of Philip. This,
however, be it observed, was not Philip, the Apostle, whether it may
have been Philip, styled here the Evangelist:--one of the seven
trustees, or directors, Acts 6:5, to whom, with his six colleagues,
under the name, so inexpressively rendered, in the English, by the word
_Deacons_,--the management of the common fund had, by the suffrages of
the disciples, been committed, must be left to conjecture.

17. "And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren," Acts 21:17,
"received _us_ gladly." What _brethren_? The Apostles, or any one of
them? no: The elders? no. Who then?--Who, but such of the members of the
Church, as, notwithstanding the general repugnancy,--as testified at
Tyre, and afterwards, by prophet Agabus, at Cæsarea,--could, by the
influence of the Cypriot Mnason, or otherwise, be prevailed upon to see

And, _to_ whom was it, that this sort of reception, whatsoever it was,
was afforded? Was it to Paul? No: it was to _those_, who, on other
occasions, were with _him_; but, with _whom_, on this occasion, his
prudence forced his pride to submit to be.

Witness the next verse, Acts 21:18; "And the day following," not till
the day following, "Paul went in with us unto James." _With them_--with
these his attendants--did Paul, then and there, go in:--not _they with

At the house of James--mark well, now--who were the persons present?
Answer--"all the elders." But, forasmuch as these elders were, _all_ of
them, present,--notice, within the compass of the two fragments of two
days,--notice, to and by all of them must have been given and received:
for it has just been seen, whether, between any of them, on the one
hand,--and Paul, or, so much as any one of his attendants, on the
other,--there could have been any such sort of good understanding, as to
have produced any the least personal intercourse, but at, and on, the
occasion of the general and formal meeting:--a meeting, which--as will
be seen presently--had, for its sole object, the imposing upon him, in
the event of his continuance at Jerusalem, an obligation: an
obligation--to a man in his circumstances--it has been seen, of how
perilous and repulsive a nature.

Such, then, was the notice, as to have brought to the place, all the
Elders--All the Elders?--good. But, these _Elders_--Elders among the
_disciples in ordinary_,--on an occasion such as this, what were _they_
in comparison of the Apostles--the only known chosen servants, and
constant companions of Jesus? Well, then, while--at this meeting--this
formally convened meeting--those Elders were, every one of them,
present--what was the number of _Apostles_ present? Answer--Besides
James, not one.

And--why James?--manifestly, because it was at _his_ house, that the
meeting was held.

And--why at _his_ house? Because, on the occasion, and for the purpose,
of the _partition treaty_,--that treaty, so necessary to the peace of
the Church,--on the one hand; and, to the carrying on of Paul's scheme
of dominion, on the other hand;--James was one, of the only three, who
could ever endure the sight of the self-declared Apostle: Peter and
John, as hath been seen, being the two others:--and, because, when, for
the purpose of investing the meeting, in the eyes of the disciples at
large, with the character of a meeting of the ruling administrative
body--the Apostles,--less than that one, if there were any, there could
not be. This one, James--under the pressure of the present
emergency--prevailed upon himself to be: and, to be so irksome an
intercourse--notwithstanding the obviousness of the demand for as great
a number, as could be collected, of that primarily influential body--of
no other of the Apostles, could the attendance be obtained: not even of
Peter, who, on a former occasion, had brought himself to endure the
hateful presence.



Now, then, as to _miracles_. Had Paul, really and truly, ever received
from Jesus, any such preeminent and characteristic appendage and mark of
Apostleship,--here, of all others, was an occasion, on which it
concerned him to make proof of it. Here was an occasion, on which, with
the design, and for the purpose--the palpable, and almost universally
and so strenuously opposed design and purpose--of constituting himself
the superior of the Apostles, he was presenting himself--though in
circumstances of such humiliation--in the character of an equal, with
whom they had treated on equal terms. Here--in order to impose silence
on all gainsayers--here was the occasion, for his bringing to public
view, this most important of all items in the list of his credentials.
The Apostles, to whom--without any exception, by Jesus, if the
Evangelist, Mark 16:15-18, is to be believed--this power had, previously
to his ascension, been imparted,--these, if any, were the men--not to
say the only men--qualified to form a judgment on the question--whether,
by any other individual, and, more especially, by the individual before
them, namely, by this their self-declared colleague, any such
extraordinary power had, on any, and what, occasion, been exercised or
possessed. Of all imaginable occasions, this was the one, on which he
had most at stake, in the being able to make proof of so matchless an
endowment:--of an endowment, which in the character of a proof, in
support of all his claims, would, in the very nature of it, have been so
perfectly irresistible.

Well, then: this proof of his title--did he use every endeavour, or make
any offer, to produce it? No: not so much did he venture upon, as, in
any the most general terms, to assert, or, so much as insinuate, the
existence of it. According to his own statement, what was the general
description of the tokens brought forward by him, for the purpose of
obtaining acceptance? Were they _signs and wonders_? Oh, no! His
historiographer, indeed--in that, or any other such indeterminate, and
conveniently ambiguous phrase--his historiographer, at some twenty or
seven-and-twenty years' distance, might venture, Acts 14:3, to speak of
his exploits--of the effects produced by his exertions: in the like
terms, in writing to his Corinthian disciples, he might, even himself,
venture, for once, to speak of his own exploits.[54] But, before an
assembly, so composed, was this boast, loose, and conveniently
ambiguous, as it was,--in his eyes, too much to venture. Acts
21:19--Behold here the passage: "And when he had saluted them, he
declared particularly"--what? what--signs and wonders? No: but
simply--"what _things_ God had wrought among the Gentiles by his

Had he hazarded so much as the general expression of signs and
wonders--well, and what were these signs and wonders? give us, at any
rate, something by way of a sample of them? In any one of them, was
there anything supernatural? anything--beyond the success, the
extraordinary success--we are to understand, your exertions were
attended with? Questions, to some such effect as this, which, in an
assembly, so composed, had he ventured upon any such expressions, he
could not but have expected to be annoyed with.

The occurrences which, in the course of it, in the character of
_miracles_, he has ventured to present to view, will have been seen in
their place and order. Yet,--notwithstanding the mention there
respectively and severally made of them--no mention of them does he, in
the account given by him of the meeting, venture to put in his leader's
mouth. Why? because--forasmuch as, by Paul himself, no such pretence was
ventured to be made--the meeting was too important, and too notorious,
to render it safe to advance any such matter of fact; the face being
false; or, that any such pretensions were really made.

But, hereupon come two questions.

1. Had any such miracles been really wrought--was it in the nature of
things, that, on this occasion, Paul should have omitted all mention of
them? even so much as the most distant allusion to them?

2. If any such intimation had really been given, by the historian
himself, is it in the nature of the case, that, on this occasion,--he
having been one of the witnesses, in whose presence they had been
performed,--all mention of such intimation should have been omitted?

Well, then--suppose that to both these questions, let it but be a
negative answer or the true one, the consequence is plain--no such
miracles were wrought. Yet, in his narrative, has this man--exhibiting
himself, at the same time, in the character of a _percipient_ witness,
in relation to them--ventured to assert the existence, one after
another, of the whole list of these particularized miracles, not to
speak of the cluster of unparticularized ones.



Such being in their eyes the danger; now comes their expedient for the
arresting of it. It is an altogether curious one: and among those
persons styled _elders_--all the elders--to every sincere and pious
Christian it will naturally be matter of no small satisfaction that no
one of the whole fellowship of the Apostles is to be found.

According to the description here given of it, the expedient is of such
a sort, that--but for the occasion on which it is represented as being
proposed,--scarcely would it be possible to divine what is meant; what
it was that was proposed to be done; or, whatever it was, what could be
the use or effect of it?

"Do therefore this," Acts 21:23, continues the speech attributed to
these elders, "do therefore this that we say to thee: we have four men
which have a vow on them:--Them take, and purify thyself with them, and
be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may
know that those things, whereof they were informed, are nothing; but
that thou thyself also walkest orderly and keepest the law.--As touching
the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they
observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things
offered to idols, and from blood and from fornication.--Then Paul," it
is added, "took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them
entered into the temple to signify the accomplishment of the days of
purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of

In the terms of the historian, the matter of the accusation in question
is this: namely, "that thou," speaking to Paul, "teachest all the Jews
which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses": it then divides itself
into two branches: one is--that "they ought not to circumcise their
children"; the other is--that "they ought not to walk after the
customs":--_i. e._, conform to any part of the habitual
observances--acts and forbearances together--prescribed by the Mosaic

Such is the accusation: such the act charged upon him, in the character
of an offence:--the teaching of the doctrine in question.

In regard to the question--whether the doctrine he is thus said to have
taught, had really ever been taught by him,--much will depend upon the
difference between simple _permission_ and _prohibition_: in English,
upon the difference between _need not_ and _ought not_. If,--in the
doctrine, the teaching of which is thus charged upon him as a
crime,--simple _permission_ was included--if, in speaking of the
converts in question, the saying was--that they _need_ not circumcise
their children--that they _need_ not walk after these customs--this and
no more;--in this case, that the charge, such as it is, was true, is
altogether out of doubt:--if, on the other hand, the act he was charged
with, went so far as to the teaching that they _ought_ not to circumcise
any of their children, or that they _ought_ not to walk after the
customs prescribed in the Mosaic law--on this supposition, the truth of
the charge will at any rate not be quite so clear as in the other case.

According to the English translation, that which is charged as an
offence, was not committed, unless, in the doctrine taught, a direct
_prohibition_ was contained: to a doctrine importing nothing more than a
simple _permission_ to abstain from the acts and forbearances in
question, the charge would not have any application. Not thus
unambiguous, however, is the Greek original; either by prohibition, or
by ample permission, might the doctrine charged as criminal have been

Such is the description of the obnoxious practice, with which Paul is
here stated as having been charged: the practice by which the odium is
stated as having been incurred.

But this imaginary guilt, in what view do they mention it as imputed to
him? In this view evidently, viz., that at their recommendation he may
take that course, by which, in their view, he will escape from the wrath
of which he had become the object. The effect thus aimed at is,--that
the indignation of which he is the object, may be made to cease. How
made to cease? in one or other of two ways: for the nature of the case
admits not of any other: either by proving that _that_ which he had
been supposed to have taught, had not in truth ever been taught by him,
and thus, that no such offence as he was charged with, had, in fact,
ever been committed by him; or that, if any such offence had been
committed, the practice recommended might be accepted as an _atonement_:
or rather as an assurance, that whatever in his past conduct had given
them offence, would not be repeated by him in future.

When the supposed remedial practice has been explained,--then
immediately after comes, we see, a more particular indication of the
good effects, for the production of which it is recommended. These
are--in the first place, that, whatsoever were the doctrines he was
charged with having taught it, it will be generally known that no such
doctrines were ever taught by him: in the next place, that it will in
like manner be known, that by himself no such habitual offence as that
of an habitual violation of the law in question was committed.

Such are the effects, stated as resulting from his performing the
ceremony, the performance of which was thus recommended to him.

This ceremony we see: and what we see at the same time is--that it could
not be, in the nature of it, productive of any such effects.

Here is a certain doctrine, which he had been charged with having
taught. If the case was, that he had taught it; let him have purified
himself ever so purely, whatsoever was meant by purification,--let him
have purified himself ever so completely, let him have paid ever so much
money, let him have shaved his head ever so close,--by any, or all of
all these supposed meritorious acts, how could that be caused, not to
have happened, which in fact had happened? by what means could they
afford proof of his performance of any ceremony, other than those very
same purification ceremonies themselves?

As to the purpose of furthering the temporal interest of the individual
in question; namely, by removing the load of odium, with which at that
time it seems he was burdened,--how far, in relation to this object, the
expedient promised to be an effectual cure, is more than at this time we
can find any ground for saying: as to any good purposes of any other
kind, that it was not in the nature of it to be productive of any, may
be pronounced without much danger of error.

Here at any rate was a ceremony--a ceremony the object of which was--to
apply, to the purpose of ensuring obsequiousness, the power of the
religious sanction.

The object, to which it was meant to apply that form, comes, it may be
seen, under the general denomination of an _oath_. An oath is either
assertory or promissory: if it be an oath of the promissory kind, it is
called a _vow_. An oath which is not a vow cannot respect anything but
what is past: upon that which is past, no human act can any longer
exercise any influence. A _vow_ has respect to something future--to the
future conduct of him by whom the vow is taken: and to this conduct a
man, in and by the taking of the vow, engages to give the form therein

Whatsoever, therefore, these ceremonies were in themselves,--thus much
seems plain enough, respecting the immediate effect they were designed
to answer: namely, either the delivery of a certain species of
_evidence_, or the entering into an _engagement_ to a certain effect:
the evidence being a denial of the act charged: the engagement, a
promise not to practice any acts of the sort in question in future.

Whatsoever was the effect looked for, and intended, by the
ceremony,--thus much we know, if the historian is here to be believed:
namely, that, in conformity to the advice, Paul betook himself to the
performance of it.

But, in so doing, thus much also we know: namely, that he consented to,
and betook himself to one of two things: an act of perjury, if the
effect of the ceremony was to convey an assertion, that he had never
taught, that a Jew, on being converted to the religion of Jesus, _need_
not circumcise his children, or walk after the Mosaic customs: an act of
apostasy, if the effect of it was an engagement never to teach this same
doctrine in future: an act of apostasy--and for what? only to save
himself from the displeasure entertained towards him on unjust grounds
by a set of ill-advised and inconsistent disciples.

Under the general head of _Paul's Doctrines_, particular title _Faith
and Works_, it will be seen what pains he had taken, on so many
occasions, to weed out of men's breasts, Gentiles and Jews together, all
regard for the Mosaic law--to cause them, in the words of the charge,
_to forsake Moses_. "By the works of the law," says he in his letter to
the Galatians, Gal. 2:16, "by the works of the law shall no flesh be

In this same letter, and in the same paragraph,--he speaks, of a speech
which he had made, of a reproof which, at Antioch, he had given to
Peter:--given to him, at a point of time long before the time here in
question, namely, that of his last preceding visit--his third visit to
Jerusalem,--this being the fourth. Let us see, once more, on what
occasion, and for what cause, this reproof: we shall thereby be the
better enabled to judge--how far, supposing the ceremony to have the
effect of an assertory oath,--how far that oath can have been
conformable to the truth.

Speaking of Peter, "Time was," he says, "when he did eat with the
Gentiles: but at Antioch, as above, certain persons came from James":
Gal. 2:12, 13, and then it was that "he, Peter, withdrew and separated
himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.--And the Jews,"
continues he, "dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also
was carried away with their dissimulation." Of his return to Judaism, or
at any rate of the dissimulation which accompanied it, what is the
judgment which, if he is to be believed, he pronounced? Answer, That in
so doing "they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the
Gospel." Thereupon it is, that he charged Peter with inconsistency, and
reproved him for it: "Because," says he, "he was to be blamed." Gal.
2:14. "When I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the
Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest
after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest
thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"

Before me lies a book by Thomas Lewis, M. A., in four 8vo volumes,
entitled _Origines Hebraicae_. In this book, under titles _Vow_ and
_Purification_, my expectation was, to find some explanation of this
matter: as also of the other _vow_ taken by Paul at Cenchrea, Acts
17:18, in the interval between his third visit to Jerusalem, and this
fourth: but no mention is made of either: nor does anything appear, by
which any light can be reflected upon either.

On the four men, whom, in pursuance of the recommendation in question,
Paul is said to have taken, that he might "purify himself along with
them," the intended effect of the ceremony in question is said to
be--the making or performance of a _vow_. But, from the circumstance of
its being a vow in their case, it follows not absolutely that it may not
have been an oath--an assertory oath, in his case.

At Jerusalem, for the taking or performance of a vow, a man was received
into the temple:--a district more extensive by far, it appears, than the
district called _Rules of the King's Bench_ at London: from the account
given by Lewis, as well as by this,--it appears that, on every such
occasion, fees were taken by the priests. As to the four men here in
question--having already, as it is stated, a vow on them, but nothing as
yet done in consequence,--it looks as if it had been by poverty that
they had hitherto been kept from the accomplishment of their purpose: on
which supposition, Paul being the head of a considerable party, and as
such having a command of money,--part of the recommendation seems to
have been--that, to acquire the reputation of liberality, he should open
his purse to these his proposed companions, and pay their fees.

On the occasion here in question, whatsoever was the purpose and
intended effect of the ceremony, what appears from verse 27, Acts 27,
is--that seven days were regarded as necessary for the accomplishment of
it: no mention of this in Lewis.

On this occasion, by the author of the Acts, once more is mentioned the
conciliatory decree of the Apostles and Elders. Still, not a syllable
about it is to be found in any Epistle of Saint Paul, or in any other
of the Apostolical Epistles that have come down to us.

Humanly speaking,--in what motives, in what circumstances, in what
considerations, shall we say, that the causes, final and efficient, of
this temperament--this _mezzo termino_--this middle course--are to be
found? The answer that presents itself is as follows:

Two stumbling-blocks were to be steered clear of:--the scruples of the
Jewish converts, and the refractoriness of the Gentiles. So far as
regarded abstinence from idolatrous feasts, and from meat with the whole
blood in it, killed and dressed in a manner other than that in practice
among the Jews,--conformity, it was judged, need not be dispensed of, at
the hands of the Gentiles: and, so long as they would be content with
meat killed and dressed after the Jewish mode,--the Jewish teachers
might, without giving offence to their Jewish converts, have the
convenience of partaking of the tables of the Gentile converts. As to
the rest--the endless train of habitual observances, by which so large a
portion of a man's life was occupied and tormented, neither these
permanent plagues, nor the initiatory plague of circumcision, though the
affair of a minute, and performed once for all, were found endurable:
neither upon himself nor upon his children would a man submit to have it

After all, if the author of the Acts is to be believed,--it was by the
Jews of Asia, and not by those of Jerusalem, that, at Jerusalem, the
tumult was raised, by which this purification of Paul's was rendered
incomplete, and his stay at Jerusalem cut short: he being removed for
trial to Rome; at which place the history leaves him and concludes.

Of the behaviour observed by the Jerusalem Christians, on that
occasion--Apostles, Elders, Deacons and ordinary brethren all
together--nothing is said. Yet, of these there were many thousands on
the spot, Acts 21:20: all of them of course informed of the place--the
holy place,--in which, at the recommendation of the Elders, Paul had
stationed himself. By the Jews of Asia were "all the people on this
occasion stirred up," Acts 21:27: yet, among so many thousands, no
protection, nor any endeavour to afford him protection, for aught that
appears, did he experience. Yet Asia it was, that had been, to the
exclusion of Judaea, the theatre of his labours: from Asia it was, that
the train of attendants he brought with him, were come--were come with
him to these brethren--"the brethren,"--as if it had been said, _all_
the brethren,--by whom, according to the author of the Acts, they were
"received so gladly."

At this period ends all that, on the present occasion, it will be
necessary to say, of this last recorded visit to Jerusalem. Of the two
inconsistent accounts said to have been given by him of his
conversion--one to the Jerusalem mob, the other to King Agrippa--full
notice has been taken under the head of his conversion: of the miracles
ascribed to him at Malta, mention is here made, in the chapter allotted
to the history of his supposed miracles. Of any other subsequent acts or
sayings of his, no notice will require to be taken in this place. The
matter here in question has been--the sort of relation, stated as having
had place, between this self-constituted Apostle, and those who beyond
controversy were constituted such by, and lived as such with, Jesus
himself: and to this have incidentally been added the causes, which have
continually been presenting themselves, for suspicion, in respect of the
verity and authenticity, or both, of the history, which, under the name
of the Acts of the Apostles, has come down to us, connected by the
operations of the bookbinder, in the same volume with the several
histories of the four Evangelists, and the Epistles--not only of Paul
himself but of others among the Apostles; and with the work styled, as
if in derision, "_The Revelations_."



But the Apostles--says somebody--what are we to think of the Apostles?
If by Paul a _perjury_ was thus committed, were they not--all of them
who joined in this recommendation--so many _suborners_ of this same

The answer will, it is hoped, by most readers at least, have been
anticipated.--Yes or no, if so it be, that it was their expectation that
he would commit it: no, assuredly; if it were their expectation--their
assured expectation--that he would _not_ commit it: that, even in his
person, even after all they had witnessed in him, the union of
profligacy and rashness would never soar to so high a pitch. The
necessity they were under, of ridding themselves of his presence was
extreme:--of ridding _themselves_--and, what was so much more, their
_cause_. Stay in the same town, and in the same company with them, he
could not,--without being either their known _adversary_, or their known
_associate_. Their known _adversary_ he could not be, without either
continuing himself to be an object of universal horror, or else
rendering _them_ objects of horror, to the whole body of their
disciples. Their _associate_ he could not be, without involving _them_
in that odium, with which he himself was, by the confession of his own
adherent and historiographer, covered. Under these circumstances, not to
speak of the cause of mankind, for saving _themselves_ and _their_ cause
from destruction,--what course could they take, so gentle, and at the
same time, to all appearance, so surely effectual, as the proposing to
him this test?--a test, which no man could rationally expect, that any
man in his circumstances would take.



With this occurrence concludes so much of Paul's history, as,--for the
purpose of perfecting the demonstration given, of the disbelief
manifested towards his pretensions to a supernatural intercourse with
the Almighty,--it was found necessary here to anticipate.

In the matter of the chapter--the 13th--in which Paul's supposed
miracles are brought to view,--his history is, as to all those
particulars which seemed necessary to be brought to view for the purpose
of the present inquiry,--deduced to very near the time, at which the
historian of the Acts, having conducted him to Rome, leaves him there:
leaves him there, and with no other notice, than that of his having, at
the time, at which the history closes, passed two years at that capital,
in a sort of ambiguous state between freedom and confinement: waiting to
receive, at the hands of the constituted authorities, the final
determination of his fate.

Meantime, lest anything should be wanting, that could have contributed
to the elucidation on a point of such supreme importance, follows in the
next chapter a concluding and more particular view of the grounds, on
which, on the occasion of his visit to the temple, the intention of
deliberate perjury was found necessary to be imputed to him.


[53] Acts 21:16. "There went with us also _certain_ of the disciples of
Cæsarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple,
with whom we should lodge."

[54] 2 Cor. 12:12. "Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you
in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." Not that, by
the words assigns and wonders, when used by Paul, anything more was
meant, than what, but a few years after, was, according to him, doing,
or about to be done, by Antichrist. 2 Thess. 2:9. "Even him, whose
coming is, after the manner of Satan, with all powers, and signs, and
lying wonders." _Lying_ is, indeed, the adjunct prefixed, in this
instance; but, lying or not lying, if Paul be believed, they failed not
to produce the effect intended by them. Signs and wonders being such
equivocal thing, no great wonder if--writing at Corinth to nobody knows
what disciples of his at Rome, A.D. 58, Rom. 15:18, 19,--he could
venture, if this was venturing, to speak of what he had been doing in
Jerusalem and Illyricum, in the same terms. "For I will not dare to
speak, says he, of any of those things which Christ has not wrought by
me, to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed.--Through mighty
signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from
Jerusalem, and round about, unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the
Gospel of Christ."


     _Paul disbelieved continued.--Paul's fourth Jerusalem Visit
     continued.--Perjurious was the Purpose of the exculpatory Oath
     commenced by him in the Temple._



We have seen the indignation produced by Paul's invasion of the dominion
of the Apostles: we have seen it carried to its height, by his
commencement of, and perseverance in, the exculpatory ceremony, for the
purpose of which he made his entrance, and took up his lodgment in the
temple. We have seen the fruits of that same indignation: we have seen
the general result of them. What remains is--to give a clearer and more
explicit conception, than can as yet have been given, of the _cause_ of

This was--neither more nor less, than an universal persuasion--that the
assertion,--to which, on his part, this ceremony had for its object the
attaching the sanction of an oath,--was, to his full knowledge, false:
the oath employed being, in its form, beyond comparison more impressive,
than any that has been known to be at any time in use, in this or any
other country: and that, accordingly, the confirmation given to the
falsehood, in and by means of that most elaborate and conspicuous
ceremony, was an act of _perjury_: of perjury, more deliberate and
barefaced, than anything, of which, in these days, any example can have

That, on this occasion, the conduct of the self-constituted Apostle was
stained with perjury, is a matter, intimation of which has unavoidably
come to have been already given, in more parts perhaps of this work than
one. But, for a support to a charge, which, if true, will of itself be
so completely destructive of Paul's pretensions--of all title to
respect, at the hands of every professor of the religion of Jesus--no
slight body of evidence could have been sufficient.

For this purpose, let us, in the first place, bring together the several
elementary positions, proof or explanation of which, may be regarded as
necessary, and at the same time as sufficient, to warrant, in this case,
a verdict of _guilty_.

To these charges, is immediately subjoined such part of the evidence, as
is furnished, by the account of the matter, as given in the Acts: in
another section will be brought to view the evidence, furnished by Paul
himself, in his Epistles. The evidence from the Acts is of the
_circumstantial kind_: the evidence from the Epistles is _direct_.

1. To Paul was imputed as a misdeed, the having recommended the
forsaking of the Mosaic law. Recommended, namely, to such disciples of
his as, having been born and bred under it, were found by him settled in
some Gentile nation. Proof, Acts 21:21, ... "They," 'the Jews which
believe,' ver. 20, "are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the
Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying, that they
ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the

2. To a great extent, the imputation was well grounded: for, to a great
extent, it had been his practice, to give the recommendation thus
described. Of this position the proof will follow presently.

3. By Paul, the truth of this imputation was utterly denied: denied by
the opposite denegatory assertion: and, the imputation being as above
well grounded,--in so far as any such denegatory assertion had been made
by him, he had knowingly uttered a wilful falsehood.

4. In proof of the sincerity of this denial, it was proposed to Paul, on
the part of the Apostles and Elders, to give a confirmation of it, by
the performance of a certain appropriate ceremony.

5. The ceremony thus proposed, was one that was universally understood,
to have the effect of attaching, to any assertion, connected with it for
the purpose, the sanction of an oath.

6. Knowing such to be the effect of the ceremony, he gave his assent to
the proposition, and determined, by means of it, to attach the sanction
of an oath to such his denial, as above: and thereby, the assertion
contained in that denial, being, as above, to his knowledge, false,--to
commit, in that extraordinary solemn and deliberate form and manner, an
act of perjury.

7. In pursuance of such determination, he accordingly repaired for that
purpose to the temple and had his abode therein for several days: the
completion of the requisite number being no otherwise prevented, than by
the irruption of the indignant multitude, assured as they were of his
being occupied in the commission of a perjury.

Proof of charges 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Acts 21:23, 24, 26, 27, 28.

23. "_We_, the Apostles and the Elders, or at least the Apostle James,
ver. 18, have _four men_, which have a _vow_ on them;

24. "Them take, and _purify thyself with them_, and be _at charges_ with
them, that ... _all_ may know that those things, whereof they were
informed concerning thee, are _nothing_; but _that_ thou thyself also
walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

26. "Then Paul took the men, and _the next day purifying himself with
them_ entered into the temple, to _signify_ the accomplishment of the
days of purification, until that an _offering_ should be offered for
every one of them.

27. "And when the _seven days were almost ended_, the Jews, which were
of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and
laid hands on him.

28. "Crying out, Men of Israel, help; This is the man, that teacheth all
men everywhere _against_ the people, and _the law_, and this place: and
further brought Greeks also into the temple; and hath _polluted_ this
holy place."

Of the perjuriousness of Paul's intent, a short proof, namely of the
circumstantial kind, is thus already visible, in the indignation
excited,--its intensity, its immorality, and the bitter fruits of it.
Will it be said no? for that the indignation had, for its adequate
cause, his being thought to have spoken slightingly of the law in
question--it being the law of the land,--and that, to this imputation,
the ceremony, it being, as above the performance of a _vow_, had no
reference? Assuredly no: no such interpretation will be found tenable.
True it is, that, by the persuasion, that he had thus been dealing by
the Mosaic law,--by this persuasion, without need of anything else, the
indignation may well have been produced: but it could only have been by
the knowledge, that, upon his having been called upon to confess the
having so done, or to deny it, he had, in this most extraordinary and
universally conspicuous mode, given continuance and confirmation to his
denial--it could only have been by _this_ knowledge, that the excitement
was raised up to so high a pitch. For, What was it that the information
had charged him with? It was the forsaking Moses. What was the purpose,
for which the recommendation was given to him--the recommendation to
perform this ceremony? It was the _purifying_ himself, "that all might
know" that the information was groundless. "That those things," say the
Apostles with the Elders to him, "whereof they," the thousands of Jews
which believe, ver. 20, "were informed against thee were
_nothing_:"--"to _purify thyself_," says the official translation: more
appositely might it have said _to clear thyself_: for in that case, the
idea of an _imputation_ would clearly enough, though but implicitly,
have been conveyed: whereas, to some minds, the idea conveyed by the
word _purify_ may perhaps be no other than that of some _general_
cleansing of the whole character, by means of some physical process, to
which, in so many minds, the psychological effect in question has, by
the influence of artifice on weakness, been attached.

Such then, namely, the clearing himself of the imputation by so solemn a
confirmation of the denial of it,--such was the purpose, for which, in
the most unequivocal terms, his performance of the ceremony was
recommended: such, therefore, was the purpose for which it was
commenced; such, accordingly, was the purpose for which it would have
been consummated, but for the interruption which it experienced:
experienced not from his hands, but from hands among which, there seems
sufficient reason to believe, were the hands, if not of the very persons
by whom it had been recommended, at any rate of those who till that time
had been in use to be guided by their influence.

To this interpretation, what objection is there that can be opposed? If
any, it can only be that which to some minds may perhaps be suggested by
the word _vow_.

But the fact is--this word _vow_ is a mistranslation: the proper word
should have been _oath_. By an oath everyone understands at first
mention an _assertory_, not a _promissory_, declaration: by a _vow_, a
_promissory_, not an _assertory_ one. But an _assertory_ declaration, as
every one sees, is the only sort of declaration, that admits of any
application to the case in question. By nothing that, in Paul's
situation, a man could _promise_ to do, in addition to the performance
of the ceremony, could any evidence be given, of a man's having, or not
having, done so and so, in any time _past_.

That by that which was actually done, that which was essential was
considered as having been done,--is proved, by what is put into Paul's
mouth in relation to this subject, in his defence against the accusation
brought afterwards against him, before the Roman governor _Felix_, by
the spokesman of the Jewish constituted authorities, _Tertullus_. There
it is, that, beyond all doubt, what he is speaking of, is his CLEARANCE,
as above: for there also, the word in the official translation, as well
as in the Greek original, is _purified_: in the past tense, purified.
This being assumed, it follows, as a necessary consequence, that either
in the course of that part, which at the time of the irruption, was
already elapsed of the _seven days'_ ceremony, in the temple; or, what
seems more probable, antecedently to the commencement of it, a
denegatory declaration--a declaration denying the fact charged in the
accusation,--had been made: for, that the ceremony itself was never
accomplished, is what is expressly stated:--of the term of seven days
stated as necessary to the accomplishment of it, no more than a part, it
is said, had elapsed, when the final interruption of it took place.

To return to the time of Paul's entrance into the temple.

Thus, as hath been seen, stands the matter, even upon the face of the
official English translation. But in verse 26, the word employed in the
Greek original, removes all doubt. "Then," says the translation, "Paul
took the men, and the next day _purifying himself_ with them, entered
into the temple." Purifying himself, in the present tense, says the
translation: and, even this alone taken into consideration, the
purifying process, whatever it was, might be supposed to have been but
commenced before the entrance into the temple, and as being thus as yet
in pendency, waiting the exit out of the temple for its accomplishment.
Thus it is, that, in the translation, the verb is in the present tense,
_purifying himself_: but, in the Greek original, it is in the past
tense, _having purified_ himself: so that, in the original, the
purification, whatever it may have been, is in express terms stated as
having, even before his entrance into the temple, already accomplished.

Note that, if the historian is to be believed, he had on this occasion,
the fullest opportunity, of being, in the most particular manner,
acquainted with everything that passed. For, when, as above, the
recommendation was given to Paul, on his appearance before the Apostle
James and the Elders,--he, the historian, was actually present, "And the
day following," says he, Acts 21:18, "_Paul went in with us unto James_;
and all the Elders were present."

Supposing _that_ the true interpretation,--of what use and effect then,
it may perhaps be asked, was the ceremony, of which the temple was the
theatre? The answer has been already given. It cannot have been any
other than the attaching, to the declaration that had been made, the
sanction, of an oath. Without the ceremony performed in the temple, the
declaration was a declaration _not_ upon oath, and as such not regarded
as sufficient evidence:--evidence, in the shape which, the historian
says, had been actually required for the purpose: when the ceremony, of
which the temple was the theatre, had been gone through, and the last of
the number of days, required for its accomplishment had been
terminated;--then, and not before, it was regarded as having been
converted into the appropriate and sufficient evidence. Thus it was,
that this seven days' ceremony was no more than an elaborate substitute
to the English ceremony of kissing the book, after hearing the dozen or
so of words pronounced by the official functionary.

On this occasion, the Greek word rendered by the word _vow_, is a word
which in its ordinary sense was, among Gentiles as well as Jews, exactly
correspondent to our word _prayer_. But, the idea denoted by the word
_prayer_, applies in this case with no less propriety to an _assertory
oath_ than to a _promissory vow_. Directly and completely, it designates
neither. In both cases an address is made to some supposed supernatural
potentate: in cases such as the present, beseeching him to apply the
sanction of punishment to the _praying_ individual, in the event of a
want of sincerity on his part: in this case, in the event of his not
having done that which, on this occasion, he declares himself to have
done, or, what comes to the same thing, his having done that which he
declares himself _not_ to have done: in the other case, in the event of
his not doing that which he has promised to do, or doing that which he
has promised _not to do_.[55]

All this while, it is not in a direct way, it may be observed, that this
word _vow_ is employed, and application made of it to Paul's case: not
in speaking of Paul himself in the first instance, but after speaking of
the _four other men_, whom it is proposed he should take for his
comrades, on his entrance into the temple. "We have four men," James and
the Elders are made to say, Acts 21:23, 24, "We have four men which have
a vow on them: Them take, and purify thyself with them ... that ... all
may know, that those things, whereof they," the multitude, ver. 22,
"were informed concerning thee, are nothing": no otherwise, therefore,
than by the case these four men were in, is the case designated, in
which it is proposed to Paul to put himself.

As to the case these four men were in,--no otherwise than on account of
its connection with the case Paul was in,--is it in anywise of
importance. As probable a supposition as any seems to be--that of their
being in the same case with him: accused, as well as he, of teaching
"Jews to forsake Moses:" for, between their case and his, no intimation
is given of any difference: and, as the _"purifying himself"_ is what is
recommended to him, so is it what they are stated, as standing
eventually engaged to do on their part. If then, in _his_ instance,
purifying himself means--clearing himself of a charge made against
_him_,--so in their instance must it naturally, not to say necessarily,
have meant--clearing themselves of some charge made against _them_.
Moreover, when, as above, he is, in the Greek original, stated as having
actually purified himself, before his entrance into the temple, so are
they likewise; for it is "_with them_," that his purification is stated
as having been performed.

This being assumed, it might not be impossible to find a use for the
word _vow_, even in its proper sense--its _promissory_ sense: for, what
might be supposed is--that before the entrance into the temple, at the
same time with the _denegatory declaration_, a _vow_ was made--a solemn
_promise_--to enter into the temple, and back of the declaration with
the sanction of an oath, by going through the ceremony. But, forasmuch,
as, in the import of the Greek word, no such idea, as that of a
_promise_, is comprised,--the only use of this interpretation would
be--to save the translators from the imputation of an impropriety, with
which it seems rather more probable that they stand chargeable.

All this while, of Paul's conduct on this occasion, to what part was it
that the blame belonged?--Surely, not to the endeavour, to wean men from
their attachment to the Mosaic laws: for thus far he copied Jesus; and
in copying did not go against, but only beyond, the great original. True
it is, that, in so doing, he served his own personal and worldly
purposes: not less so, that, in this subserviency, he found the
inducement by which his conduct was determined: for, by how much
stronger men's attachment would continue to be to the dead lawgiver, by
so much, less strong would it be to the living preacher. But, in so far
as a man's conduct is serviceable to mankind at large, it certainly is
not rendered the less serviceable, or the less laudable, by his being
himself included in the number. The blame lay then--not in teaching men
to forsake Moses: for, thus far, instead of being blame-worthy, there
was nothing in his conduct, that did not merit positive praise. What
there was amiss in his conduct--in what, then, did it consist? Plainly
in this, and this alone: namely, that, on being taxed with having so
done,--instead of avowing and justifying it, he denied it: and, having
denied it, scrupled not to add to the falsehood the aggravation of such
extraordinarily deliberate and solemn perjury, as hath been so plainly
visible. And, to what purpose commit so flagrant a breach of the law of
morality? Plainly, to no other, than the fixing himself in Jerusalem,
and persevering in a project of insane and selfish ambition, which, in
spite of the most urgent remonstrances that could be made by his most
devoted adherents, had brought him thither: for, he had but to depart in
peace, and the Apostles of Jesus would have remained unmolested, and the
peace of Christendom undisturbed.

An article of evidence, that must not be left unnoticed,--is the part
taken, on this occasion, by the historiographer. Nowhere does this
eyewitness take upon himself to declare,--nowhere so much as to
insinuate--that of the charge, thus made upon his hero, there was
anything that was not true: nowhere does he so much as insinuate, that
the declaration by which he says Paul had cleared himself of the charge,
and, as we have seen, _before_ his entrance into the temple for the
purpose of enforcing it by the sanction of an oath,--was anything short
of a downright falsehood. After this, he makes a defence for Paul before
Felix;[56] he makes a defence for Paul before Festus;[57] he makes a
defence for Paul before Festus and Agrippa;[58] and, on no one of all
those occasions, is the defence anything to the purpose. He, indeed,
makes Paul declare, that he, Paul, had always been a strict observer of
the Mosaic ordinances. This may have been either true or false: but,
true or false, it was equally foreign to the purpose. Not improbably, it
was, in a considerable degree, true: for if, while he gave to other Jews
his assurance, that the operations in question, burthensome as they
were, were of no use, he himself continued to bear the burthen
notwithstanding,--the persuasiveness of his advice would naturally be
augmented by the manifestation thus given of disinterestedness. It may
accordingly have been true: but, false or true, it was equally foreign
to the purpose: the question was--not what he had done himself; but what
he had recommended it to others to do.

Thus--from everything that appears, by all such persons as had the best
means of information--the charge made upon him was _believed_,--let it
now be seen, whether we should not be warranted in saying, _known_,--to
be true.

As to "_The Jews of Asia_,"--and the mention made of this class of men,
as the instigators of the tumult--can any support be derived from it,
for the inference, that it was by something else in Paul's conduct, and
not by any such perjury as that in question, that the vent, thus given
to the indignation, was produced?[59] No, assuredly: altogether
inconsistent would any such supposition be, with the main part of the
narrative. Whoever were the persons with whom the manual violence
originated;--whatever were the reproaches cast upon the invader on other
grounds;--the purpose--the sole purpose--for which he entered upon the
ceremony, is rendered as plain as words can make it. It was the
clearing himself of the charge of teaching Jews to forsake Moses: and,
supposing the fact admitted, everything, in the way of justification,
being, before such a tribunal, manifestly inadmissible,--of no such
charge was it possible for him to clear himself, without denying the
truth of it. But, according to the historian, to confirm this denial, by
the solemnity, whatever it was,--was the purpose, and the sole purpose,
of it: of this, the negative assertion, contained in the denial, being
untrue, and, by him who made it, known to be so,--confirming such
denial, by the solemnity,--call it _oath_--call it _vow_--call it
anything else,--was committing an act of perjury: and, to believe that
such his denial was false, and yet not believing him guilty of
perjury--at any rate, on the supposition of the accomplishment of the
solemnity--was not possible. How numerous so ever may have been the
other causes of provocation, given by him--how numerous so ever, the
different descriptions of persons to whom they had been given;--no
disproof could, by all of them put together, be given, by this
solemnity, to the denial in question,--supposing it false.

To the present purpose, the only question is--whether, by Paul, on the
occasion in question, an act of perjury was, or was not, committed?
not--what was the cause, whether that, or any other, of any indignation
of which he was the object. Even therefore, might it be allowed, that a
_vow_, in the sense of which it is contradistinguished from an _oath_,
was performed by him, or about to be performed,--still it would not be
the less undeniable, that it was for the purpose of converting the
simple declaration into a declaration upon oath, that he entered upon
the solemnity: and that, therefore, if in the simple declaration there
was anything to his knowledge false, the consequence is--that by his
converting it into a declaration upon oath, he rendered himself guilty
of perjury.

The observation, thus applied, to what is said of the "_Jews of Asia_,"
will be seen to be applicable, and, with equal propriety, to what is
said about his being charged with "bringing _Greeks into the temple_:"
and, in particular, about his being supposed to have brought in "_The
Ephesian Trophimus_:" and moreover, what may, in this last case, be
observable, is--that this about the Greeks is expressly stated as being
a _further_ charge, distinct from the main one: nor yet is it so much as
stated, that, by any such importation, to what degree so ever offensive,
any such effect, as that signified by the word _pollution_ was produced.

Not altogether destitute of probability seems the supposition, that
these two circumstances--about the Jews of Asia, and about
Trophimus--may have been thrown in, by this adherent of Paul's, for the
purpose of throwing a cloud of confusion and obscurity over the real
charge: and if so, the two circumstances, with the addition of the three
different defences, put into the hero's mouth, on the three several
occasions of the endeavour,--must be acknowledged to have been employed,
not altogether without success.

Here then closes that part of the evidence, which, to the purpose of a
judgment, to be passed at this distance of time from the facts, may be
considered as so much _circumstantial_ evidence: in the next section may
be seen that part, which comes under the denomination of direct



We come now to the _direct_ evidence: that evidence--all of it from
Paul's own pen:--all of it from his own Epistles. It consists in those
"teachings to forsake Moses," which will be now furnished, in such
unequivocal terms and such ample abundance, in and by those fruits of
his misty and crafty eloquence:--in the first place, in his letter to
the disciples, which he had made, or hoped to make at Rome:--date of it,
according to the received chronology, about four years anterior to the
time here in question:--in the next place, in two successive letters to
the disciples, whom, it appears, he had made at Corinth:--both these
addresses, set down, as belonging to the same year as the one to the
Romans. Moreover, in his so often mentioned Epistle to the Galatians,
matter of the same tendency is to be found. But, this last being,
according to that same chronology, of a date posterior by some years to
the time, at which the charge of having preached the sort of doctrine in
question was, on the present occasion, made,--it belongs not to the
present question, and is therefore left unemployed. And, in the same
case, is some matter that might be found in his Epistles to the

1. First then as to the Mosaic "law and customs," taken in the

On this subject, see in the first place what the oath-taker had said to
his _Romans_.

     Rom 15:14. "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there
     is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth anything to
     be unclean, to him it is unclean."--17. "For the kingdom of God
     is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the
     Holy Ghost."

     Rom 3:20. "_By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be
     justified_ in his, God's sight; for by the law is the knowledge of

     Rom. 3:27, 28, 29, 30, 31. "Where is boasting then? It is excluded.
     By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of the faith.--
     Therefore, we conclude, that _a man is justified by faith without
     the deeds of the law_.--Is _he_ the God of the Jews only? is
     _he_ not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:--
     Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by
     faith, and uncircumcision through faith.--_Do we then make void_
     _the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law._"

     Rom. 10:9. "... if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
     Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him
     from the dead, thou shalt be saved.[60]--12. For there is no
     difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over
     all is rich unto all that call upon him.--For whosoever shall
     call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."[61]

     Rom 14:2. "... one believeth that he may eat all things: another
     who is weak, eateth herbs.--Let not him that eateth despise him
     that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that
     eateth; for God hath received him.--_One man esteemeth one day
     above another: another esteemeth every day alike._[62]"

     1 Cor. 6:12. "_All things are lawful unto me_, but all things are
     not expedient:" or _profitable_ margin, "all things are lawful for
     me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.--_Meats
     for the belly_, and _the belly for meats_; but God shall destroy
     both it and them."

     1 Cor. 8:8. "But _meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we
     eat, are we the better; neither if we eat not, are we the
     worse_.--Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will
     eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to

     1 Cor. 9:19-23. 19. "For though I be free from all men, yet have I
     made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.--_And
     unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews_; to
     them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain
     them that are under the law:--_To them that are without law, as
     without law_, being not without law to God but under the law to
     Christ, _that I might gain them that are without law_.--To the
     weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all
     things to all men, that I might by all means save some.--And
     this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof
     with you."

     2 Cor. 3:12 to 17. "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use
     great plainness of speech.--And not as _Moses, which put a vail
     over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly
     look to the end of that which is abolished_.--But their minds
     were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken
     away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away
     in Christ.--But even unto this day, _when Moses is read, the
     vail is upon their heart_.--Nevertheless _when it shall turn to
     the Lord, the vail shall be taken away_.--Now the Lord is that
     spirit; and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Now as to _circumcision_ in particular.

     Rom. 2:25, 26, 27, 28, 29. "For _circumcision verily profiteth, if
     thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy
     circumcision is made uncircumcision.--Therefore if the
     uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his
     uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?_--And shall not
     uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge
     thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the
     law?--For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, neither is
     that circumcision which is outward in the flesh:--But he is a
     Jew, which is one inwardly: and circumcision is that of the heart,
     in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men,
     but of God."

     Rom. 3:1, 2. "What advantages then hath the Jew? or what profit is
     there of circumcision?--Much every way: chiefly, because that
     unto them were committed the oracles of God."

     Rom. 4:9, 10, 11, 12. "_Cometh this blessedness then upon the
     circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also?_ for we say
     that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.--How was
     it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in
     uncircumcision. Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.--And
     he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness
     of the faith which _he had yet_ being uncircumcised: that he might
     be the father of all them that believe, though they be not
     circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them
     also:--And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the
     circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of
     our father Abraham, which he had being _yet_ uncircumcised."

     Rom. 15:8. "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the
     circumcision for the truth of God to confirm the premises made unto
     the fathers."

     1 Cor. 7:18. "Is any man called being circumcised? let him not
     become uncircumcised. _Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not
     be circumcised.--Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is
     nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God._"

From any one individual, who, in either of these distant cities, had
seen any one of these same Epistles,--let it now be seen whether
information of their contents, supposing it credited, would not have
sufficed to produce those effects, the existence of which is so
unquestionable. Not but that the same rashness, which suffered him to
furnish such abundant evidence against himself in those distant regions,
could scarce fail to have given birth to credence in abundance, of
various sorts, and of a character, which, on that occasion, would be
much more impressive.


[55] On this occasion, supposing the purpose of this ceremony to be, as
here contended, no other than that of applying, to a declaration
concerning a matter of fact, the supernatural penal sanction, by which
it was converted into an oath,--a natural enough subject of inquiry
is--to what cause is to be attributed the extraordinary length thus
given to it?--seven days at the least; to which, upon examination, would
be found virtually added, as much greater a length of time, as the holy
person, to whose custody the oath-taker consigned himself, might be
pleased to prescribe. Answer, without difficulty,--the affording time
and pretence for the exaction of his _surplice fees_:--namely, those
established by law,--with the addition of others, to as large an amount,
as the need which the oath-taker had of the accommodation thus to be
afforded to him, could engage him to submit to. As to the length of
time,--in the passage in question, the translation exhibits some
obscurity: nor is it altogether cleared up by the original. A
determinate number of days, to wit, seven, is indeed mentioned, ver. 27,
but immediately before this, ver. 26, comes a passage, from whence it
seems unquestionable, that, whatever were the time a man had been thus
detained, he was not to be let out, until, over and above what good
things it had been made necessary he should bring in with him, a further
payment, and as it should seem, in a pecuniary shape, had been made: "to
signify," says ver. 26, "the accomplishment of the days of purification,
until that an offering should be offered for every one of them." "And
when _the seven_ days were _almost_ ended," continues ver. 27:
immediately after which comes the account of the tumult, by which they
were prevented from being _quite_ ended.

As to the phrase--"_to signify the accomplishment of the days_," what
seems to be meant by it is--to make known when the number requisite for
the completion of the train of operations had been _accomplished_. But,
to make known when that number had been _accomplished_, it was
previously requisite to make known when it had _commenced_: and, for
making _this_ known, the act, probably a public one, of making entrance
into the temple, was employed.

As to the origin, as well as particular nature, of the ceremony,--though
no such word as _Nazarite_ is here employed, on turning to the Book of
_Numbers_, chapter the sixth, it will be manifest, that the ceremony
here in question is the same as that, by which, according to the receipt
there given, any man whatever, whether, and any woman also, must be left
to conjecture, might be converted into a _Nazarite_. _Nazarite_ is from
a Hebrew word, which meant originally neither more nor less than a
person _separated_. A person consigned himself to the custody of "_the
priest of the congregation_:" or, as we should now say, the _parson of
the parish_. The ceremony accomplished, the patient was thereby put into
a state of appropriate sanctity: and, from this metamorphosis, as the
priest and the Nazarite could agree, any inference might be drawn, and
any purpose at pleasure accomplished. Neither to the _extent_ of the
inference, nor therefore to the _purpose_ designed, were any limits
visible. Everything depended upon the priest: for, though of certain
particular operations made requisite, a most particular list is given,
all of them of the most insignificant character in themselves, yet so
thickly and so plainly sown are the seeds of _nullity_, that, when all
the appointed fees, of which there is also an enormous list[IV.], had
been paid, it would still lie at the option of the priest, to pronounce
the whole procedure null and void, unless, and until any such final
compliment as he chose to expect, were paid to him. Among the most
obviously, as well as extensively convenient purposes, to which it was
capable of being applied, is this of which the present case affords an
example: namely, the manufacturing of evidence: could he but find means
to satisfy the priest, a man might, to all legal purposes, and even to
the satisfaction of all appropriately disposed minds, prove, and with
conclusive effect, any thing to be false, which everybody knew to be
true. By fabrication, falsification, or suppression of evidence, what is
the right that may not be usurped? what is the wrong that may not, with
success and impunity, be committed?

In the Mosaic law, immediately before _this_ institution Numbers, chap.
5., comes another, by means of which every man, who was tired of his
wife, might, in another way, with the assistance of a priest--and, for
aught that appears, any priest--clear himself of that incumbrance. All
the man had to do was--to _say_ he was "_jealous_" of her: the priest
thereupon took charge of her. If priest and husband were agreed, "_the
water of jealousy_" did its office: if not, the woman remained
imprisoned. Against the superhuman evidence, afforded by the purifying
process here in question, no quantity of human evidence was to be
available. In like manner, to warrant this poisoning process, not any
the smallest particle of human evidence was necessary: the case in which
it is to be performed, is "_if there be no witness against her, neither
she be taken_," says the text, _Numbers_ 5. 13. Verily, verily, not
without sufficient cause, did Jesus, from first to last, take every
occasion, to weaken the attachment of the people, to a system of law, of
which those institutions afford two, among so many samples. Yet, while
in the very act of depreciating it, is he represented as declaring his
purpose to be the _fulfilling it_: Matt. 5. 17. for, such was the verbal
veil, which the prejudices he had to encounter, rendered it necessary to
him at the moment, to throw over the tendency of his endeavors. Fulfill
the very law he was preaching against? Yes: but in one sense only:
namely, by fulfilling--not the real purpose of it,--the establishment of
the corrupt despotism of the priesthood,--but the professed purpose of
it, the good of the community: in regard to the law, fulfilling, in a
word, whatever there was that was good in it, whatever there was that
deserved to be fulfilled. Jesus, in whose opinion death was too severe a
punishment, for a wife, in the case of a breach, on _her_ part, of a
contract, the breach of which was by the _other_ contending party
practised with impunity--Jesus, who accordingly, in saving the offender,
exposed to merited disgrace the sanguinary law--was doubtless still
further from approving, that parish priests, in unlimited numbers,
should poison innocent women for the accommodation of their husbands, or
sell licenses to commit every imaginable wrong by perjury.

_Vow_ is _oath_: this is not the only occasion, in which the
self-constituted Apostle, if his historiographer is to be believed, took
the benefit, whatever it was, of this ceremony. In Acts 18:16, he
"_shaved his head_," it is said, at Cenchrea:--why?--"for he had a vow
upon him." What the vow was, we are not told; this, however, we know, as
well from Acts 21:26, as from Numbers 6, he could not have got anything
by it, had the parson of the parish of Cenchrea been otherwise than
satisfied with the "_offering_" that was made.

[IV.] In the bargain between vow-maker and vow-sanctifier, the following
list of fees, provided for sanctifier, by _Excellent Church_ of that
country, in those days whatever they were,--may serve to show the use of
it to one of the contracting parties. To complete our conception of the
nature and effects of the arrangement, nothing is wanting, but that
which so unhappily must for ever remain wanting--a history of the
_purposes_, to which from the commencement of the government to the
dissolution of it, the solemnity had been applied on the vow-maker's
side. Of these purposes, we must content ourselves as well as we can
with the sample, for which we are here indebted to the author of the
Acts. The table of fees is as follows:

It is extracted from the Book of Numbers, chapter 6:1 to 21.

Fees to be paid in all cases: fees liquidated in quantity, and thence in

       { 1. He lamb of the first year, one.
    I. { 2. Ewe-lamb of the first year, one.
       { 3. Ram without blemish, one.

Fees, not liquidated in quantity, and thus left to be liquidated in
quantity, and thence in value, by the will of the priest.

       { 4. Basket of unleavened bread, one.
       { 5. Parcel of cakes of fine flour mingled with oil.
   II. { 6. Parcel of wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, one.
       { 7. Meat-offering, one.
       { 8. Drink-offerings--numbers and respective quantities not

Fees payable, on a contingency: a contingency not describable without
more time and labour, than would be paid for by the result.

  III. {  9. Turtle-doves or pigeons, two.
       { 10. Lamb of the first year, one.

IV. Mysterious addition, the liquidation of which must be left to the
Hebrew scholar. Ver. 21. "Besides _that_ that his hand shall get:"
(whose hand? priest's or vow-maker's?) "according to the vow which he
vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation:"--probable
meaning, according to the purpose, for which he performed the
ceremony--the advantage which he looked for from it.

Moreover, by any one whose curiosity will carry him through the inquiry,
causes of _nullity_ may be seen as sedulously and copiously provided, as
if by the _astutia_ of an English judge, or pair of judges, to whose
profit the fees were to be received: effect of the nullity, of course,
repetition; necessity of repeating the process, as in case of _new
trial_ or _arrest of judgment_, with the fees.

Religion was thus no less aptly served at Jerusalem, under Mosaic
institutions,--than Justice is to this day, under matchless constitution
and English institutions, at Westminster.

[56] Paul at the suit of Tertullus, A.D. 60. Acts 24:1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 11,

"And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders,
and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor
against Paul.--And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse
him,--Saying, We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of
sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of
the sect of the Nazarenes:--Who also hath _gone about to profane the
temple_; whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.--And
the Jews also assented, saying, that these things were so.--Then Paul,
after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered,--Thou
mayest understand, that they are yet but twelve days since I went up to
Jerusalem for to worship.--Whereupon certain Jews from Asia _found me
purified in the temple_, neither with multitude nor with tumult."

[57] Paul before Festus alone, A.D. 60. Acts 25:7, 8.

"And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood
round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which
they could not prove:--While he answered for himself, Neither against
the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar,
have I offended anything at all."

[58] Paul before Festus and Agrippa, A.D. 62. Acts 26:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 20, 21.

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself.
Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:--I think
myself happy, King Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day
before thee, touching all the things whereof I am accused of the
Jews;--Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and
questions which are among the Jews; wherefore I beseech thee to hear me
patiently.--My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first
among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;--Which knew me
from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most
straightest sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee.--And now I stand
and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our
fathers:--Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God
day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am
accused of the Jews.--20. But showed first unto them of Damascus and at
Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the
Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for
repentance.--For these causes, the Jews _caught me in the temple_, and
went about to kill me."

[59] "And when the seven days were almost ended," says Acts 21:27, "_the
Jews which were of Asia_, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up
all the people, and laid hands on him."

[60] A cheap enough rate this, at which salvation is thus put up. Of
what use then morality? Of what use is abstinence from mischievous acts,
in what degree so ever mischievous? "Oh! but," says somebody, "though
Paul said this, he meant no such thing:" and then comes
something--anything--which it may suit the defender's purpose to make
Paul say.

[61] Another receipt for making salvation still cheaper than as above.
Not so Jesus. Matt. 7:21: "_Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven_; but he that doeth the
will of my Father which is in heaven."

[62] Behold here the degree of importance attached by Paul to


     More Falsehoods.--Resurrection Witnesses multiplied.--World's End
     predicted.--To save credit, Antichrist invented.



After what has been seen of the seven days' course of perjury, proofs of
simple falsehood will be apt to appear superfluous. To make certainty
more sure, two preeminent ones shall, however, be brought to view. They
may have their use, were it only as examples of the palpableness, of
those falsehoods, which, for so many hundreds of years, and through so
many generations of commentators, are, under favourable circumstances,
capable of remaining undetected. The extravagance of the addition, made
by the audacious stranger, to the number of the Resurrection-witnesses,
as given by themselves:--the predicted end of the world in the prophet's
own lifetime,--and the creation of Antichrist for the purpose of putting
off that catastrophe,--may even be not altogether unamusing, by the
picture they will give, of that mixture of rashness and craftiness,
which constitutes not the least remarkable, of the ingredients in the
composition of this extraordinary character. Moreover, Antichrist being
in the number of the bug-bears, by the images of which many an enfeebled
mind has not yet ceased to be tormented;--putting an extinguisher upon
this hobgoblin may have the serious good effect, of calming a mass of
disquietude, which how completely soever groundless, is not the less
afflicting, to the minds into which it has found entrance.

First, as to the resurrection-witnesses. In relation to a fact of such
cardinal importance, the accounts which have reached us from the four
biographers of Jesus are not, it must be confessed, altogether so clear
as could have been wished. But, on so ample a subject, howsoever
tempting the occasion, anything that could here be offered, with any
promise of usefulness, would occupy far too much space, and be by much
too wide a digression from the design of the present work.[63]

Sufficient to the present purpose will be the observation, that nothing
can be more palpably or irreconcileably inconsistent with every one of
them, than the amply and round number, thus added by the effrontery of
this uninformed stranger, to the most ample that can be deduced from any
of the accounts, thus stated as given by the only description of
persons, whose situation would give to their testimony the character of
the best evidence.

Behold now the account of the number and of the persons in Paul's own
words. It is in the fifteenth chapter of the first of his two letters to
his Corinthians. "Moreover, brethren," ver. 1, "I declare unto you the
Gospel, the good news, which I _preached_ unto you, which also ye have
received, and wherein ye stand.--By which also ye are saved, if ye
keep in memory what I preached unto you unless ye have believed in
vain.--For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also
received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the
Scriptures:--And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day, according to the Scriptures:--And that he was seen of Cephas,
then of the twelve:--After that, he was seen of _above five hundred
brethren at once_; of whom the greater part remain unto this present,
but some are fallen asleep.--After that he was seen of James, then of
all the Apostles.--And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one
born out of due time.--For I am the least of the Apostles, which am
not meet to be called as Apostle, because I persecuted the church of

As to the five hundred brethren at once, with the additions _in petto_,
the more closely the Gospel accounts are looked into, the more entire
will be a Man's conviction of the extravagance of this account. In
addition to the eleven Apostles that remained after the death of the
traitor Judas, it may be matter of question, whether so much as a single
individual can be found, who, in any one of the Gospels, is stated as
having, after the death of Jesus, received from the testimony of sense,
the demonstration of his presence. Of the percipient witnesses in
question, not to waste space and time in needless discussions, taking a
round number, and including both sexes taken together, no number
approaching to twenty can be made out from any one of the four Gospel
accounts, nor from all of them taken together. To what end then
substitute, to less than twenty, more than five hundred? To what, but to
supply by falsehood the deficiency left by truth. The thing to be done
was the coming up to the expectations, whatever they might be, of his
Corinthians. Number twenty,--said he to himself,--may perhaps fall
short: well then, strike out the twenty, and set down five hundred. Thus
did the self-constituted Apostle take a leaf out of the book of the
unjust steward. Luke 16:1-20.

Now then as to mutually contradictory numbers--that given by the four
Evangelists, and that given by this one stranger,--to which shall we
give credence? As to the Evangelists,--whether, in the situation in
which they were, and writing for the purposes for which they
wrote,--these most intimate of the associates of the departed Jesus, and
percipient witnesses of the several facts in question,--all of them
spoken of in the same narration, all of them so fully apprised of the
whole real number--could have been disposed, any one of them, to get
down a number _short_ of the truth,--may be left to anyone to imagine.

But, according to Paul's calculation, the truth would not come up to his
purpose:--to his particular purpose: a number, such as could not fail of
doing so, was therefore to be substituted.

_Five hundred_ was as easily written as _twenty_. Had Jerusalem, or any
place in its neighbourhood, been the place, to which this letter of his
was to be addressed, some caution might have been necessary. But
Corinth--a place so remote from the scene of action--being the abode of
the disciples, to whom this letter of his was addressed,--and the
letters themselves, not destined to be seen by any other than devoted
eyes,--Invention found herself at ease.

Meantime, while Jesus was thus magnified, Paul was not to be forgotten.
Insufficient still would be the cloud of witnesses, unless himself were
added to it. "Last of all," says he, 1 Cor. 15:8, "he," Jesus, "was seen
of me also." Seen by him Paul? at what place? at what time? At the time
of his conversion, when hearing a voice and seeing light, but nothing
else? But the whole constellation of his visions will here be crowding
to the reader's view, and any more particular reference to them would be
useless: suffice it to observe, that on no other occasion, either does
Paul himself, or his historiographer for him, take upon himself to say,
that he had ever seen Jesus any otherwise than in a _vision_,
whatsoever may have been meant by this so convenient term. On no
occasion is it so much as pretended, either by him or for him, that _in
the flesh_ Jesus was ever seen by him. By no fingers of his
murder-abetting hand, had ever been so much as pretended to have been
probed, the wounds of Jesus. Yet, what are the terms employed, by him,
in speaking of the _sight_, he pretended to have had of Jesus? exactly
the same, as those employed by him, when speaking of the evidence,
vouchsafed to the Apostles.



The unsatiableness of Paul's ambition meets the eye at every page: the
fertility of his invention is no less conspicuous. So long as, between
this and the other world, the grave stood interposed,--the strongest
impression capable of being made by pictures of futurity, even when
drawn by so bold a hand, was not yet sufficient for stocking it with the
power it grasped at. This barrier, at whatever hazard, he accordingly
determined to remove. The future world being thus brought at both ends
into immediate contact with the present,--the obedient, for whom the
joys of heaven were provided, would behold the troubles of _the middle
passage_ saved to them, while the disobedient would see the jaws of hell
opened for their reception, without any such halting-place, as might
otherwise seem to be offered by the grave. In particular, by a nearer as
well as smoother road than that rugged one, he would make his way to
heaven: nor would they, whose obedience gave them a just claim to so
high a favour, be left behind.

His Thessalonians were the disciples, chosen by him for the trial of
this experiment. Addressed to them we have two of his Epistles. In these
curious and instructive documents, the general purport--not only of what
had been said to the persons in question on a former occasion, but
likewise of the observation of which on _their_ part it had been
productive,--is rendered sufficiently manifest, by what we shall find
him saying in the first of them. "Good," said they, "as to _some_ of us,
whoever they may be: but, how is it to be with _the rest_? in
particular, with those who have actually died already: not to speak of
those others who will have been dying off in the meantime: for you do
not go so far as to promise, that we shall, all of us, be so sure of
escaping death as you yourself are." "Make yourselves easy," we shall
find him saying to them: "sooner or later, take my word for it, we
shall, all of us, mount up together in a body: those who are dead, those
who are to die, and those who are not to die--all of us at once, and by
the same conveyance: up, in the air, and through the clouds, we shall
go. The Lord will come down and meet us, and show us the way:--music,
vocal and instrumental, will come with him, and a rare noise altogether
there will be! Those who died first will have risen first; what little
differences there may be are not worth thinking about. Comfort
yourselves," concludes he, "with these words." Assuredly not easily
could more comfortable ones have been found:--always supposing them
followed by belief, as it appears they were. But it is time we should
see more particularly what they were.

1 Thess. 4:10 to 18.--"And indeed ye do it," viz. love one another, ver.
9, "toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech
you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;--And that ye study to be
_quiet_, and to do _your own business, and to work with your own hands,
as we commanded you_;--That ye may walk honestly toward them that are
without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.--But I would not have you
to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are _asleep_, that ye
sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.--For if we believe that
Jesus died and rose again, even so _them also which sleep in Jesus will
God bring with him_.--For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that _we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall
not prevent them which are asleep_.--For the Lord himself shall descend
from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the
trump of God: and _the dead in Christ shall rise first.--Then we which
are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the
clouds_, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the
Lord.--Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Hereupon,
without any intervening matter, follows that of the next chapter. The
division into chapters,--though, for the purpose of reference, not
merely a useful, but an altogether necessary one,--is universally
acknowledged to have been a comparatively modern one.

1 Thess. 5:1-11. "But _of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have
no need that I write unto you_.--For yourselves know perfectly, that
_the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night_.--For when they
shall say, Peace and safety, then _sudden destruction cometh upon them_,
as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.--_But ye,
brethren, are not in darkness_, that that day should overtake you as a
thief.--Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day:
we are not of the night, nor of darkness.--Therefore _let us not sleep,
as do others; but let us watch and be sober_.--For they that sleep,
sleep in the night; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the
night.--But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the
breastplate of _faith_ and love; and for an helmet, the hope of
salvation.--For _God hath not appointed us to wrath_, but to obtain
salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.--Who died for us, that, whether we
wake or sleep, we should live together with him.--Wherefore _comfort
yourselves_ together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."

An ingenious game was the one thus played by Paul, if ever there was
one. Of this prophecy,[65] what when once mentioned, is plainly enough
visible, is--this is of the number of those predictions, by which profit
is put in for, and no loss risked: for such is the shape given to it. So
long as the predictor lived, it would remain good and undisfulfilled:
at the end of a certain time--namely, at the end of the life of the
longest liver of the aggregate number of individuals in existence at
that time,--the disfulfillment would indeed take place. But if, by that
time, the predictor had made his exit,--as, in this case, being already
of a certain age, it is tolerably certain he would,--the reproach of
false prophecy would not have reached him: and, even, supposing it to
have reached him, as it would do if he survived the last of them, still
the speculation would not be a very bad one. His _prophecy_, his
_purposes_ would have been fulfilled.

Not altogether without claim to observation, is the manner, in which, by
the adroitness of the soothsayer, the anxiety of questioners is evaded.
That he himself does not know, nor ever expects to know,--that is what
his prudence forbids his telling them. "The day of the Lord so cometh as
a thief in the night:" this is what, in answer to former importunities,
he had at _that_ time told them. "For you yourselves," says he, "know
this perfectly;" that is, in so far as they could know from _his
telling_: this being, in this instance, the only source,--of that
_delusion_, to which he gave the name of _knowledge_. This he had told
them _then_: and more, he takes care not to tell them _now_. "Of the
times and seasons, brethren," says he, "ye have no need that I write
unto you." Meantime, their hopes and fears, and therewith their
dependence upon his good pleasure, are kept still alive: in the first
place, the hope--that, knowing already more than he as yet desires to
disclose, he may by ulterior obsequiousness be prevailed upon to
disclose it: in the next place, the hope--that, though not as yet
possessed of the information, he may at some future period be able to
obtain it, and in that case give them the benefit of it.

To a speculation of this sort,--in how particular a degree favourable
the mode of communication by letter was, is sufficiently visible.
Writing, was an operation not quite so prompt, in those days as in
these. Between Thessalonica and Athens,--from whence, as they tell us,
these Epistles were written,--there was not, it may be affirmed without
much danger of error, any established letter-post: and, even if there
was,--to this or that question, which a man sees in a letter, he makes
or does not make answer, as he finds convenient. Not exactly so, when
the questioner is at his elbow.



We have seen the prophecy: let us now see the effects of it. They were
such as might have been expected. They were such as had been expected:
expected, as may have been observed, at a very early period. But there
was rather _more_ in them than had been expected.

Of the confusion, which, by an expectation of this sort, in a state of
society, so much inferior, in the scale of moral conduct, to any, of
which in this our age and country we have experience, was capable of
being produced,--it can scarcely, at this time of day, be in any man's
power, to frame to himself anything approaching to an adequate
conception. So far as regards peaceable idleness, of the general nature
of it, some faint conception may under modern manners be formed, from
the accounts of the effects produced by a similar prediction, delivered
first in France, then in England, about the time of Queen Anne:--so far
as regards a mixture of idleness and positive mischief in a time of
terror, under ancient manners,--from the accounts, given by Thucydides,
of the effects produced at Athens, by the near approach of death, on the
occasion of the plague;--and, from that given by Josephus, of the
effects produced by the like cause, on the occasion of the siege, which,
under his eye, terminated in the final destruction of Jerusalem by the

According to each man's cast of mind, and the colour of the expectations
that had been imbibed by it,--terror and self-mortification, or
confidence and mischievous self-indulgence, would be the natural result:
terror and self-mortification, if apprehensions grounded on the
retrospect of past misconduct predominated--mischievous indulgence, if,
by the alleged or supposed all-sufficiency of faith,--of faith, of which
the preacher was the object--the importance of morality had, even in the
imagination of the disciple, been thrown into the back-ground:
confabulation without end, in the case of terror; cessation from work,
in both cases.

Had he been somewhat less positive on the head of _time_,--the purposes
of those announcements of his might have been completely, and without
any deduction, fulfilled. The terror he infused could not be
unfavourable to those purposes, so long as it made no deduction, from
the value of the produce of their industry! It was his interest, that
they should "_walk honestly_," lest they should be punished for walking
otherwise:--punished, capitally or not capitally--and, in either case,
bring his teaching into disgrace. It was his interest, that they should
_work_, in such sort, as to earn each of them the expense of his
maintenance; lest, by abstaining from work, they should, any one of
them, impose a burthen upon the charity of the others, or be seen to
walk dishonestly, to the prejudice of the common cause, as above. It was
his interest, that they should, each of them, gain as much as could be
gained without reproach or danger; because, the greater the surplus
produced by each disciple, the greater the tribute, that could be paid
to the spiritual master, under whose command they had put themselves.
Thus far his interest and theirs were in agreement. But, it was his
interest, that, while working to these ends, their minds, at the expense
of whatever torment to themselves, should be kept in a state of constant
ferment, between the passions of hope and fear; because, the stronger
the influence of the two allied passions in their breasts, the more
abundant would be the contributions, of which, to the extent of each
man's ability, they might reasonably be expected to be productive. Here
it was, that his interest acted in a direction opposite to theirs: and
it was by too ardent a pursuit of this his separate interest, that so
much injury, as we shall see, was done to all those other interests.

Of the disease which we shall see described, the description, such as it
is, is presented, by the matter furnished by the practitioner himself,
by whose prescription the disease was produced. This matter we must be
content to take, in that state of disorder, which constitutes one of the
most striking features of the issue of his brain. In speaking of the
symptoms,--addressed as his discourse is to nobody but the patients
themselves by whom these symptoms had been experienced,--only in the way
of allusion, and thence in very general terms, could they naturally have
been, as they will actually be seen to be, presented to view. As to
details,--from them to him, not from him to them, was, it will readily
be acknowledged, the only natural course.

In the same Epistle,--namely in the second, which is the last, but, in a
passage which does not come till after the announcement, which, as will
be seen under the next head, was to operate as a remedy,--stands the
principal part of the matter from whence we have been enabled to collect
the nature of the disease. The chapter is the third and concluding
one:--the words that add nothing to the information, are here and there

1. "Finally, brethren, pray for us ...--that we may be delivered from
unreasonable and wicked men; for all men have not faith.--And we have
confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the
things which we _command_ you.--And the Lord direct your hearts ... into
the _patient waiting for Christ_.--Now we _command_ you, brethren ...
that ye _withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh
disorderly_, and not after the tradition which he received of us.--For
yourselves know how ye ought to follow _us_: for we _behaved not
ourselves disorderly among you:--Neither did we eat any man's bread for
nought_: but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we
might not be chargeable to any of you.--_Not because we have not power_,
but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us.--for _even when
we were with you_, this we _commanded_ you, that _if any would not work,
neither should he eat_.--For we hear that _there are some which walk
among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies_.--Now them
that are such, _we command_ and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, _that
with quietness they work, and eat their own bread_.--But ye brethren,
_be not weary in well-doing_.--And if any man obey not our word by this
Epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be

By anything we have as yet seen, the symptoms of the disease, it may be
thought, are not painted in any very strong colours. But, of the
virulence of it there is no want of evidence. It may be seen, in the
drastic nature of the remedy:--a remedy, for the invention of which, we
shall, in the next section, see the ingenuity of the practitioner put to
so extraordinary a stretch.



We have seen the disorder: we had before that seen the causes of it. We
now come to the remedy--the remedy provided by the practitioner for a
disease of his own creating. Of the shape given to this remedy, the
ingenuity will be seen to be truly worthy of the author of the disease.
It consists in the announcement made, of an intermediate state of
things, of the commencement of which, any more than of the termination,
nothing is said: except that it was to take place, antecedently to that
originally announced state of things, by the expectation of which the
disorder had been produced. Of the _time_ of its commencement, no:
except as above, on that point no information is given. But of its
_duration_, though no determinate information, yet such a description is
given, as suffices for giving his disciples to understand, that in the
nature of things, it could not be a short one: and that thus, before the
_principal_ state of things took place, there would be a proportionate
quantity of time for _preparation_. Satisfied of this, they would see
the necessity of conforming themselves to those reiterated "_commands_,"
with which his prediction had from the first been accomplished; and to
which he had so erroneously trusted, when he regarded them as composing
a sufficient antidote to the poison he had infused. That the warning
thus provided for them would be a very short one, he left them, it will
be seen, no great reason to apprehend. A sort of spiritual monster,--a
sort of an ape of _Satan_, a rival to the Almighty,--and _that_ by no
means a contemptible one--was to enter upon the stage.

What with force and what with fraud, such would be his power,--that the
fate of the Almighty would have appeared too precarious, had not the
spirits of his partisans been kept up, by the assurance, that when all
was over, the Almighty would remain master of the field.

The time, originally fixed, by him for the aerial voyage, was too
_near_. By the hourly expectation of it, had been produced all those
disastrous effects which had ensued. After what had been said, an
_adjournment_ presented the only possible remedy. But this adjournment,
after what had been said, by what imaginable means could it be produced?
One only means was left by the nature of the case.

     2 Thess. 2:1-12. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of
     our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto
     him,--That ye _be not_ soon shaken in mind, or be _troubled_,
     neither by spirit, nor by word, nor _by letter as from us,[66] as
     that the day of Christ is at hand_.--Let no man deceive you by any
     means; for _that day shall not come, except_[67] there come a
     falling away first, and _that man of sin be revealed_, the son of
     perdition;--_Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is
     called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the
     temple of God, showing himself that he is God_[68]--Remember ye
     not, that when I was yet with you, I told you _these
     things_[69]--And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be
     revealed in his time.--For the mystery of iniquity doth already
     work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of
     the way.--And _then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord_
     shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and _shall destroy with
     the brightness of his coming_.[70]--Even _him, whose coming is
     after the working of Satan,[71] with all power and signs and lying
     wonders_[72]--And with all _deceivableness of unrighteousness_ in
     them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth,
     that they might be saved.--And for this cause God shall send them
     strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:[73]--That they all
     might be _damned, who believed not the truth_,[74] but had pleasure
     in unrighteousness."

To this rival of his God--God and rival--both of them of his own
creation, the creator has not, we see, given any name. By this omission,
he has, perhaps, as perhaps he thought to do, rendered the bugbear but
the more terrible. The deficiency, such as it is, the Church of England
translators of the English official translation of the Bible, have
filled up: they have taken it in hand--this bantling of Paul's--and
christened it _Antichrist_. "He," Paul, "showeth," say they, "a
discovery of _Antichrist_, before the day of the Lord come." Such is the
discovery, communicated in the _heading_, prefixed to the second chapter
of the second of the two Epistles: and, of the readers of this so
abundantly and gratuitously distributed Bible, how few are there, by
whom any such distinction as that between the headings and the text is
borne in mind! The right reverend divines in question,--were they the
first authors of this discovery, or was it ready-made to their
hands?--made by that church, from the errors of which their own has been
so felicitously purified? To this question, let those look out for, and
find, the answer,--in whose eyes the profit is worth the trouble.

Not a few are the divines, who have discovered Antichrist sitting in St.
Peter's chair, with a triple crown on his head. In the chair of Luther,
or in that of Calvin, would the triple monarch be disposed to discover
the hobgoblin, if he thought it worth while to look for him. Has he
ever, or has he not, made this discovery already?

"Oh, but," says somebody, "_we_ does not here mean _we_ only who are
alive at this present writing; it means, _we_ Christians of all
ages:--any number of ages _after_ this, as well as this, included. In
the designation thus given, neither the individuals he was addressing,
nor he himself, were necessarily comprehended." This accordingly, if
anything, must be said, or the title of the self-constituted Apostle, to
the appellation of _false prophet_, must be admitted. Oh, yes! this may
be said, and must be said: but what will it avail him? In no such
comprehensive sense did _he_ use it; for, in that sense, it would not
have answered his purposes: not even his spiritual and declared
purposes, much less his temporal, selfish, and concealed purposes. Why
was it that these disciples of his, as well as he, were to be so
incessantly upon the watch! I Thess. 5:6, 7, 8. Why, but because "you
yourselves," says he, ver. 2, "know perfectly, that the day of the Lord
cometh like a thief in the night." Who, on that occasion, could be meant
by _we_, but himself and them? In no such comprehensive sense was it
understood by _them_: if it had been, no such consequences as we have
seen following, could have followed. After the experience he and they
had had, of the mischief produced by the narrow sense put upon the
all-important pronoun, would he have continued thus to use it in that
same narrow sense, if it had not been his wish that in that same sense
it should continue to be understood? Would he have been at all this
pains in creating the spiritual monster, for the declared purpose of
putting off their expectation of the great day, if, but for this
put-off, it would not have come on?[75] In what part of all his
preachings can any distinct ground be seen for any such supposition, as
that any portion of the field of _time_, beyond that by which his own
life was bounded, was ever present to his view? In the field of _place_,
yes: in that field his views were of no small amplitude: for in that
field it was by his ambition that they were marked out: but in the field
of _time_, no symptoms of any the smallest degree of enlargement will
anywhere be found. But, on this occasion, suppose other ages, and those
others to any extent, included in his views: from their including such
future ages, would it follow that they had no application to the age
then present?--But, supposing them understood to apply to that age,
thereupon in comes the mischief in full force.

Any man that has been reading these Epistles,--let him suppose, in his
own breast, any the most anxious desire to raise an expectation, such as
that in question: and then let him ask himself, whether it be in the
power of that desire to suggest language, that would afford any
considerably better promise of giving effect to it.

Of the _nature_ of the _disorder_, as well as of the cause of it,--the
persons, to whom the world is indebted for the preservation of these
remains of the self-constituted Apostle,--have given us, as above, some
conception. Of the _effect_ of the _remedy_, it would have been amusing
to be informed: unfortunately, this portion of his history is not
comprised in the labours of his historiographer.[76]


[63] The account given by Luke of the resurrection and ascension of
Jesus is contained in the last chapter, chap. 24:53. According to this
account, by no men was Jesus seen in the interval between those two
events, besides the eleven Apostles and a few others, all together not
more than enough, to sit down together at meat, in one of the houses of
a village. Luke 25:9, 28, 29, 30. Number of the occasions on which Jesus
was seen by the Apostles, two: the company the same without addition,
and both occasions having place within twenty-four hours. Between these
two occasions it is that Paul sticks in the one of his own invention, in
which Jesus was seen by above five hundred brethren at once.

Point-blank on this head is the contradiction given to this story of
Paul's, by his own attendant and historiographer: namely, in the account
put into the mouth of Peter, speaking to Centurion Cornelius, Acts 10:39
to 42. Expressly is it there said, ver. 40, "Him" (Jesus) "God raised up
the third day, and showed him openly;--Not to all the people, but unto
witnesses chosen before of God even to us, who did eat and drink with
him after he rose from the dead." When in the year 62, or some posterior
year, the author of the Acts was writing his history, nothing, it will
be inferred, did he know of the contradictory account given by his hero,
in writing in a letter written in the year 57.

[64] Follows a sample of Paul's logic wrapped up as usual in a cloud of
tautologies and paralogisms, the substance of which amounts to
this:--Jesus resurrects; therefore all men will do the same. Admitting
the legitimacy of this induction, what will be the thing proved? That
every man, a few days after his death, will come to life again, and eat,
drink, and walk in company with his friends.

[65] By the word _prophecy_ the idea meant to be conveyed in Jewish
language seems to be very generally misconceived. It is regarded as
exactly synonymous to _prediction_. Nothing can be more erroneous. In
New Testament language in particular, it is no less applicable to past
events than to future. Witness, "Prophecy who is it that smote thee."
Luke 17:64. In the Greek, the word is occasion, it meant evidently
neither more nor less than _speak out_. Hence it came to signify
speaking in public: hence again, speaking as a statesman: hence again,
writing as a statesman, as well as speaking. Not that a statesman could
ever or can ever be a statesman, and in the above sense, _a prophet_,
without being a _predictor_ likewise: as often as any proposed measure
is on the carpet, such he must be, or what he says must be nothing to
the purpose. Merely by uttering a prediction concerning future events,
Paul would not have included, in his prophecy, any such pretension, as
that of a supernatural communication received from the Almighty: but,
the one here in question was one which, supposing it true, could not
have come from any other source.

[66] Here we have a sort of retractation. This shows how he was

[67] Here he gives the intermediate warning; thence the respite.

[68] Here we see the rival of Paul's god: and we see how dangerous an

[69] Like enough; but in the same unintelligible style, in which he
tells all men all things.

[70] All's well that ends well: the friends of the Almighty may now
dismiss their fears.

[71] Here we see the rival of the Almighty sunk into the ape of Satan.
What if he and Satan had made an alliance? Happily they could not agree,
or time was wanting for settling the conditions.

[72] All power, with _lying_ to boot. But for the above-mentioned
assurance, who would not have trembled for Paul's God?

[73] This was fighting the ape of Satan with his own weapons. But--this
God of Paul's creation--in what, except an ultimate superiority of
power, is he distinguishable from Satan and his ape? Those, who have
been so quicksighted of late in the discovery of blasphemy, and so bent
on punishing it,--have they ever found so clear a case as this which is
before us? Would not they have begun at the more proper end, had they
begun with the editors of these Epistles?

[74] For this damnation,--on the present as on so many other occasions,
those who are so eager to believe, that all who differ from them on a
question of evidence, will be consigned to everlasting torments, are
indebted to the right reverend translators: the original says
_condemned_. This may be understood to mean--_damned_ in the ordinary
sense of the word _damned_, or whatever less unpleasant result may be
more agreeable.

[75] Of this child of the self-appointed Apostle's brain, it seems not
altogether improbable, that, in case of need, some further use was in
contemplation to be made: with the skin of this bugbear, might, upon
occasion, be invested, any person, to whom, either in the character of a
declared _adversary_, or in that of a _rival_, it might happen, to have
become in a certain degree troublesome: a _declared adversary_,--that
is, either a Gentile or an unbelieving Jew: _a rival_,--that is, one
who, believing in the religion of Jesus, adhered to that edition of it,
which had the Apostles of Jesus for its publishers, or followed any
other edition which was not _his_: one of those, for example, upon whom
we have seen him making such bitter war in his Epistle to his Galatians.
Of the two, the believing rival would of course be much more
troublesome, than the non-believing adversary, from whom, if let alone,
he would not experience an annoyance. Of this rival class were they
whose "_unrighteousness_," 2 Thess. 2:10, had recourse to
"_deceivableness_:" for as to non-believers, no need could they have of
_deceivableness_; to foil him, they had but to turn aside from him, and
stand as they were. Those men, whose unrighteousness had recourse to
deceivableness, who could they be, but the men of the same description
in this respect as those, whom in chapter third of his Epistle to his
Galatians, he complains of as having "bewitched" them; and _that_ in
such sort, as to have made him so far lose his temper as to call them
"_foolish_:" and that _they_ were rivals, is a matter altogether out of
doubt. In a word, rivals were the only troublesome sort of men, who, at
the writing of this Epistle, could, with the nameless monster since
named _Antichrist_, be yet to come.

[76] As for that "_helmet of faith_," which, in the passage first
quoted, he has been seen commanding his disciples to put on--of that
faith, which is the everlasting object of his so indefatigably repeated
"_command_," and which is always faith in _Paul_,--for of Jesus scarcely
is so much as a word, except the name, to be found in any of his
Epistles,--as to this helmet, it is the sort of cap, which a man learned
how to put on, when he had made himself perfect, in what may be called
the _self-deceptive exercise_, or in a word _the exercise of faith_. It
is composed of two very simple operations: at the word of command, the
recruit turns its face _to_ the arguments on one side; at the word of
command, it turns its back to those on the other side. The test of
perfection is--its being able to hold in its embrace, for any length of
time, both parts together of a self-contradictory proposition; such as,
that three _man's-persons_,--to use the German word, or if any _other
sorts of persons_ there are three others,--are but one. When the helmet
sits close enough on his head to enable him to do this, there is no fear
of its falling off. Holding fast to improbabilities, how absurd and
extravagant soever, is thenceforward but child's play to him:--for
example, belief in the future existence of Paul's Antichrist: including,
the coming on of those scenes, in which that _raw-head and bloody bones_
is to be the principal performer.

To this, as to anything else, the mind of man is capable of being
brought, by assurances of infinite enjoyment, in case of his having made
himself perfect in this exercise, or of infinite torment in case of his
neglecting it: of course, still more effectually, by both assurances put
together; and, considering the facility of both operations, easier terms
could not very easily be imagined. A capital convenience is--that, for
producing faith in this way, not a particle of anything in the shape of
evidence is necessary: the place of evidence is supplied by
assurance:--by the intensity, real or apparent, of the persuasion, to
which expression has been given, by what the preacher has said or done.
The more intense the apparent assurance on the one part, the greater the
apparent _safety_, obtained by yielding to it, on the other: and thus it
is, that no absurdity can be so flagrant, that the side on which it is
found may not be embraced, under the notion of its being the _safe_
side. When Paul, with his accustomed vehemence, was preaching the
world's end, so many of his Thessalonians as believed in it, believed,
that believing in it was being on the safe side. On the part of the
preacher, the more vehement and impudent the assurance, the greater on
the part of the disciple, the apparent _danger_ on the disbelieving, the
apparent _safety_ on the believing side.

By this means are produced the signs and wonders we read of in the
Epistles of our modern missionaries; for, how conclusive soever the
evidence may be, which the assertions they employ might call in for
their support,--conclusive to every reasonable mind by which it was
received,--assuredly it is not by the evidence, but by the unsupported
assertion, that, on the occasion of those exploits of theirs,--whatever
credence has place, is produced.


     _Paul's supposable Miracles explained._



But, it may be said, Paul's alleged commission from God was certainly
genuine; for it is proved by his miracles. Look at the Acts, no fewer
than twelve miracles of his you will find. If then taken by themselves,
for want of that accurate conception of the probative form of evidence,
to which maturer ages have given birth, the account of the miracle by
which his conversion was wrought fails of being completely
satisfactory,--look at his miracles, the deficiency will be filled up.
The man, to whom God had imparted such extraordinary powers--powers so
completely matchless in these our times,--can such a man have been a
liar--an impostor? a liar for the purpose of deceit--of giving support
to a system of deception--and that a lucrative one? An imposition so
persevering as to have been carried on, from youth to death, through,
perhaps, the greatest part of his life?

The observation is plausible:--the answer will not be the less

The answer has two branches: one, _general_, applying to all the alleged
miracles in question, taken in the lump: the other _particular_,
applying to the several miracles separately considered.

Observations applying to the whole together are, the following:

1. Not by Paul himself, in any one of his own Epistles, is any such
general assertion made, as that he had received from God or from
Jesus,--or, in a word, that he was in possession of, any such power, as
the power of working miracles.

2. Nowhere in the account given of his transactions by the author of the
Acts, is he in any of his speeches represented as making reference to
any one act of his in the character of a miracle.

3. Nowhere in that same account, is he represented as stating himself to
be in possession of any such powers.

4. Not by the author of the Acts, is he spoken of as being in possession
of any such power.

5. Nowhere by the author of the Acts, is he in any general terms spoken
of, as producing any effects, such as, in respect of the power necessary
to the production of them, approach to those spoken of as having been
produced by Simon Magus; by that declared impostor, in whose instance,
no such commission from God is represented as having been received.

6. Neither on the occasion of his conversion, nor on any other occasion,
is Paul stated to have received from Jesus any such power as that of
working miracles:--any such power as the real Apostles are--in Mark
16:15, 16, 17, 18--stated to have received from Jesus.

Was it that, in his own conception, for gaining credence to his
pretension of a commission from Jesus--from Jesus, styled by him the
Lord Jesus--any need of miracles, or of a persuasion, on the part of
those with whom he had to deal, of _his_ having power to work miracles?
By no means. Of the negative, the story told by him of the manner of his
conversion is abundant proof. Of the efficient cause of this change in
his mind, the account given, is plainly given in the character of the
account of a miracle. But of this miracle, the proof given consists
solely in his own evidence: his own statement, unsupported by that of
any other person, or by reference to that of any other person: his
account, of the discourse, which on the occasion of the vision, in which
nothing was seen but a flood of light, he heard from the Lord Jesus: his
own account, of the vision, which he says was seen by Ananias: his own
account, of that other vision, which, according to Ananias, he, Paul,
had had, but of which Paul himself says nothing.

In the work of his adherent and sole biographer, the author of _the
Acts_,--we have five speeches, made by him, in vindication of his
conduct, in the character of a preacher of the religion of Jesus; and,
from his own hand, Epistles out of number: yet nowhere is any reference
made, to so much as a single miracle wrought by his own hand, unless the
trance which he falls into when he is alone, and the vision which he
sees, when nobody else sees anything, are to be placed to the account of
miracles. Miracles? _On_ him, yes; _by_ him, no. True it is, that, on
one occasion, he speaks in general terms of "signs and wonders," as
having been wrought by him. But vague, in the highest degree, is the
import, as well as wide the extent, of those general terms: nor is it by
any means clear, that, even by himself, any such claim was meant to be
brought forward, as that of having exhibited any such manifestations of
supernatural power, as are commonly regarded as designated by the word
_miracles_. In the multitude of the persons, whom, in places so widely
distant from one another, he succeeded in numbering in the list of his
followers--in the depth of the impression, supposed to have been made on
the heart of this or that one of them--in all or any one of these
circumstances, it was natural he should himself behold, and, whether he
did or no, use his endeavours to cause others to behold, not only so
many sources of wonder, but so many circumstances; all conspiring to
increase the quantity of that confidence, which, with so much industry,
and, as far as appears, with such brilliant success, he was labouring
to plant in every breast: circumstances, serving, in the minds of his
adherents in general, in the character of a sign or proof, of the
legitimacy of his pretension, as above.

But, of any such supernatural power as that which is here in question,
could any such loose and vague expressions be reasonably regarded as
affording any sort of proof? No:--unless whatsoever, in the affairs of
men, can justly be regarded as _wonderful_, ought also to be regarded as
a miracle.

In one passage, and one alone, either in the Acts or in his own
Epistles, is he found laying any claim, how distant and vague soever, to
any such power, as having ever been exercised by him. And, in this
instance, no one individual incident being in any way brought to view or
referred to, what is said will be seen to amount absolutely to nothing,
being nothing more than, without incurring any such interpretation as
that of imposture, is at the present time continually averred by
Christians of different sects.

He who makes so much of his _sufferings_, had he wrought any miracles,
would he have made nothing of his _miracles_?

In the next place, although it must be admitted, that, on several
occasions, by his sole biographer and professed adherent, viz., the
author of the Acts, a sort of colour of the marvellous seems endeavoured
to be laid on; laid on over the incident itself, and over the part,
which on that occasion was taken by him; yet on no one of these
occasions, unless perhaps it be the last--of which presently,--does the
account, given by him of what passed, wear any such complexion as shall
render it matter of necessity, either to regard it as miraculous, or to
regard the biographer, as having on that occasion asserted a complete
and downright untruth.



1. Of these supposable miracles, the first that occurs is that which had
for its subject Elymas the sorcerer.

At Paphos, in the island of Cyprus,[77] Paul and his associate Barnabas
are sent for, by "the deputy of the country," Sergius Paulus, who
desires to hear the word of God. But at that same place is a certain
Jew, of the name of Barjesus, alias Elymas,--a sorcerer by profession,
who "withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith." To
this man, it is not said, either where or when, Paul is thereupon
represented as making a short speech, at the end of which, after calling
him a child of the devil, and so forth; he says to him, "_Thou shalt be
blind, not seeing the sun for a season_. Thereupon," continues the
story, "immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went
about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy," it
concludes, "when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the
doctrine of the Lord."

Supposing this story to have had any foundation in fact,--of the
appearance of blindness thus exhibited, where shall we look for the
cause? In a suspension of the laws of nature, performed by the author
of nature, to no other assignable end, than the conversion of this Roman
governor? At no greater expense, than that of a speech from this same
Paul, the conversion of a king,--King Agrippa--if the author of the Acts
is to be believed, was nearly effected. "Almost," says Agrippa, "thou
hast persuaded me to become a Christian." So often as God is
represented, as operating in a direct--however secret and
mysterious--manner, upon the heart, _i.e._, the mind, of this and that
man,--while the accounts given of the suspension of the laws of nature
are comparatively so few--to speak in that sort of human language, in
which alone the nature of the case admits of our speaking, if the
expense of a miracle were not grudged,--might not, in the way above
mentioned, by a much less lavish use of supernatural power, the same
effect have been produced? viz., by a slight influence, exercised on the
heart of governor Paulus?

Whatsoever may have been the real state of the case,--thus much seems
pretty clear, viz., that at this time of day, to a person whose judgment
on the subject should have, for its ground, the nature of the human mind
as manifested by experience,--another mode of accounting for the
appearance in question will be apt to present itself as much more
probable. That is--that, by an understanding between Paul and
Elymas--between the ex-persecutor and the sorcerer--the sorcerer, in the
view of all persons, in whose instance it was material that credence
should be given to the supposed miracle,--for and during "_the season_"
that was thought requisite, kept his eyes shut.

The sorcerer was a Jew:--Paul was also a Jew. Between them here was
already one indissoluble bond of connection and channel of intercourse.
Elymas, by trade a sorcerer, _i.e._, an impostor--a person of the same
trade with Simon Magus, by whom so conspicuous a figure is cut in the
chapter of this history--was a sort of person, who, on the supposition
of an adequate motive, could not naturally feel any greater repugnance,
at the idea of practicing imposition, at so easy a rate as that of
keeping his eyes shut, than at the idea of practicing it, in any of the
shapes to which he had been accustomed:--shapes, requiring more
dexterity, and some, by which he would be more or less exposed, to that
detection, from which, in the mode here in question, it would be
altogether secure.

But Paul--was he in a condition to render it worth the sorcerer's while
to give this shape to his imposture? Who can say that he was not? Yes:
if to a certain degree he had it in his power, either to benefit him or
to make him suffer? And who can say but that these two means of
operating, were one or other, or both of them, in his power? As to the
sorcerer's betraying him, this is what he could not have done, without
betraying himself.

True it is, that, by acting this under part,--this self-humiliating
part,--so long as Paul stayed, so long was the sorcerer, not the first,
but only the second wonder-worker of the town. But no sooner did Paul's
departure take place, than Elymas, from being the second, became again
the first.



Second of these supposed miracles,--cure of the cripple at Lystra.

This miracle makes a bad match with the before-mentioned one.

Seeing a man at Lystra, neither man's name, nor place's, except in that
general way, nor time, in any way mentioned,--seeing a man in the guise
of a cripple, "_Stand upright on thy feet_," says Paul to him with a
loud voice. "And," continues the story, "he leaped and walked,
steadfastly beholding and perceiving that he had faith to be healed."
Chorus of the people thereupon, "The Gods are come down to us in the
likeness of men."

To the production of an appearance of this sort, what was necessary? a
real miracle? No, surely: so long as a vagrant was to be found, who,
without any risk, could act a part of this sort for a few pence, in an
age so fertile in imposture.

True it is, that this same man, whoever he was, is represented as being
"impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never
had walked." But these words, how much more than any other words, of the
same length, in the same number, did the writing of them cost the author
of this story? As to the correctness of his narratives,--of the
self-contradictory accounts given by him of Paul's conversion, a sample
has been already given. As to detection, supposing this circumstance
false,--detection is what the account thus given of it renders
impossible. For--this same cripple, what was his name? from birth to
this time, where had he been living? Of this nothing is said. That, at
Lystra, or anywhere else, the account was ever made public, is neither
affirmed, nor so much as insinuated: not but that it might have been
published, and, at the same time, though as to everything but the scene
that exhibited itself to outward appearance, false,--might not have
found any person, at the same time able and willing to contradict the
falsity, and thus naturalize the miracle.



While Paul and his suite,--of whom, according to the author of the Acts,
he himself was one,--were at Philippi,--a Roman colony, and capital of a
part of Macedonia,--among their hearers, is Lydia--a purple-seller of
the City of Thyatira. Being converted, she receives the whole party into
her house.

From this house, on their way to prayers,--probably in a Jewish
synagogue,--they are met by a certain damsel, as nameless as the
lame-born cripple, who, being possessed of a spirit of divination, or of
Python, brings to her masters, for masters it seems she had more than
one, much gain by soothsaying. Here then is a female, who, by being
possessed by or with a spirit,--a real spirit, whether devil or a spirit
of any other sort,--is converted into a prophetess, and, doubtless, in
the main a false prophetess.

In the present instance, however, she is a true prophetess: for,
following Paul and his suite, she runs after them, saying, "These men
are the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of
salvation. And this did she many days."

If, instead of a demon, it had been an angel, that took her vocal organs
for the instrument of his communications, it is difficult to say, in
what manner he could have deserved better at the hands of these
"servants," real or pretended, "of the Most High God."

Yet, from some cause or other that does not appear, so it was it
seems,--there was something about her with which Paul was not well
pleased. "Being grieved, he turns and says,"--not to the damsel herself,
but to the spirit, which _possessed her_, or rather, since for the
benefit of her masters, it brought her so much gain, which _she
possessed_,--"I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out
of her."

Amongst the superstitions of that and other ages, one was--the notion of
a property, possessed by such and such words--possessed, by these mere
evanescent sounds--by the air of the atmosphere, when made to vibrate in
a certain manner:--a property, of working effects in endless abundance
and variety, and those, too, supernatural ones. In some instances, the
wonders would be wrought by the words themselves, whatsoever were the
mouths by which they were uttered. In other instances, they required,
for the production of the effects, a person, who being possessed of a
particular and appropriate power, should, for the purpose of giving
exercise to such his power, give them passage through his lips. Of this
latter kind was the present case. The command issued as above, "he," for
it was a he-spirit, "came out of her," the damsel, "the same hour."

When the devil that Josephus saw expelled, came out of the man, the
channel at which he made his exit, being manifest, it was accordingly
specified: it was the man's _nose_. This was something to know:
especially, in relation to an occurrence, the time of which was at so
great a distance from our own. At the same time, however, other
particulars present themselves, by which curiosity is excited, and for
want of which, the information thus bestowed must be confessed to be
rather imperfect. What the shape of the devil was? what the substance?
whence he last came? to what place, to what occupation, after being thus
dislodged, he betook himself, and so forth: not to speak of many others,
which howsoever instructive and satisfactory it would have been to be
acquainted with, yet now that all acquaintance with them is hopeless, it
would be tedious to enumerate.

In the present instance, not only as to all these particulars, has the
historian,--eyewitness as it should seem he was of everything that
passed,--left us in the dark; but, neither has he vouchsafed to afford
us that single article of information, scanty as it was, for which, as
above, in the case mentioned by Josephus, we are indebted to Josephus:
to Josephus--that most respectable and instructive of the uninspired
historians of his age.

In relation to this story, as well as to those others, the same question
still presents itself:--if told of the present time,--if spoken of in
some newspaper, as having happened in the present year,--exists here any
person, even among the most ignorant populace, with whom it would obtain
any permanent credence?

But, a reported state of things--which, if reported as having had place
in the present century, would, by its disconformity to the manifest
state of things, and the whole course of nature, be regarded as too
absurd and flagrantly incredible to deserve to be entitled to a
moment's notice,--what is there that should render it more credible,
when reported as having happened in this same world of ours, at any
anterior point of time?



The passage, in which these events are related, is in Acts 16:19-40,

On this occasion three principal events are narrated;--the incarceration
of Paul, an earthquake, and the liberation of Paul. Between the
earthquake and the liberation of this prisoner, what was in reality the
connection? In the answer there is not much difficulty: The same as that
between the earthquake and any other event that took place after it.
But, by an answer thus simple, the purpose of the narrator would not
have been answered: the purpose was--to induce, on the part of his
readers, the belief--that it was for the purpose of bringing about the
liberation of the self-constituted Apostle of Jesus, that the earth was
made to shake. As to the liberation, by means altogether natural was
that event produced: so he himself has the candour to inform us. Of this
quasi-miracle, or of the last-mentioned one, Philippi, capital of
Macedonia, was the theatre. By order of the magistrates of that town,
Paul and his attendant had been beaten one evening, and thrown into
prison: next morning, came to the jailor an order of these same
magistrates, and in obedience to it the prisoners were discharged. That,
in the minds of these magistrates, there was any connection, between the
earthquake and the treatment they had given to these adventurers, is not
so much as insinuated. The purpose, which it had in view, was answered:
it was the ridding the town of a pair of visitors, whose visit to it had
produced disturbance to existing institutions. Acts 16:20-40.

Be it as it may with regard to the historiographer,--that it was an
object with his hero to produce a notion of a connection between the
stripes and the imprisonment he had undergone on one hand, and the
earthquake on the other, is manifest enough. The person, in whose mind
the prisoner had endeavoured to produce the idea of such a connection,
was the jailor: and, for its having in this instance been successful,
there seems little difficulty in giving credit to the historiographer.
Everything that appears to have been said, either of Paul or by Paul,
tends to show the wonderful strength of his mind, and the facility and
promptitude, with which it enabled him to gain the ascendency over other
minds. In the language of the place and time, he had bid the
fortune-telling damsel cease her imposture, and the imposture ceased.
Acts 16:18. Committed to prison he formed a project for making a
proselyte of the keeper: and, in this too, and in so small a compass of
time as a few hours, there seems reason to believe he was successful. In
his presumption, in daring to execute the sentence of the law upon so
holy a person, the keeper saw the cause of the earthquake; and, whether
by Paul any very strenuous endeavours were used to correct so convenient
an error in geology, may be left to be imagined. Paul, when introduced
into the prison, found no want of comrades: how then happened it, that
it was to Paul's imprisonment that the earthquake, when it happened, was
attributed, and not to any of his fellow-prisoners? Answer: It happened

Of the trade, which, with such brilliant success, Paul,--with this
journeyman of his,--was carrying on, a set of songs with the name of God
for the burthen of them, constituted a part of the capital, and, as it
should seem, not the least valuable. When midnight came, Paul--the
trader in godliness--treated the company in the prison with a duet: the
other prisoners, though they shared in the benefit of it, did not join
in it. While this duet was performing, came on the earthquake; and Paul
was not such a novice as to let pass unimproved the opportunity it put
into his hand.

The historiographer, if he is to be believed, was at this time in Paul's
train, as well as Silas; for so, by the word _we_, in the tenth verse of
this same chapter, he, as it were, silently informs us. The beating and
the imprisonment were confined to the two principals; by his comparative
insignificance, as it should seem, the historiographer was saved from
it. From the relation, given to him by Paul or Silas, and in particular
by Paul,--must this conception, formed by the historiographer of what
passed on the occasion, have of course been derived. It was coloured of
course in Paul's manner: and in his colouring, there was of course no
want of the marvellous. By the earthquake, not only were "foundations
shaken" and "doors opened," but "bands loosened." The "feet" of the two
holy men had been "made ... fast in the stocks," ver. 24: from these
same stocks, the earthquake was ingenious enough to let them out, and,
as far as appears, without hurt: the unholy part of the prisoners had
each of them bands of some sort, by which they were confined; for, ver.
26, "everyone's bands were loosed:" in every instance if they were
locked, the earthquake performed the office of a picklock. Earthquakes
in these latter days, we have but too many, in breaking open doors they
find no great difficulty; but they have no such nicety of touch as the
earthquake, which produced to the self-constituted Apostle a family of
proselytes: they are no more able to let feet out of the stocks, or
hands out of hand-cuffs, than to make watches.

These elucidations being furnished, the reader is desired to turn to the
text, and lay before him: to reprint it would require more paper than he
might choose to see thus employed.

As to the name of God and the name of Jesus, the two names, it should
appear, were not--on the occasions in question--used at random. When the
fortune-telling damsel was the subject of Paul's holy labours, she
having been in some way or other already gained, ver. 17, the case was
already of a sort, in which the name of Jesus Christ, the name under
which the self-constituted Apostle enlisted all his followers,--might be
employed with advantage.

When Paul and Silas were committed to prison, no such name as that of
"Jesus Christ" would as yet have served. Of "Jesus Christ" neither had
the keeper as yet heard anything, nor had the other prisoners. But, of
God, in some shape or other, they could not but have heard all of them:
_God_ accordingly was the name, by which at this time the sensibilities
of the persons in question were to be worked upon. When the earth
trembled, the jailor trembled likewise: he "came trembling and fell
down," ver. 29, before Paul and Silas. And brought them out, ver. 30,
and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Now then was the time come
for the enlistment--for the enlistment in the spiritual warfare against
the devil and his angels: in the as yet new name of "the Lord Jesus
Christ" were these recruits accordingly enlisted, as now, for the
purpose of carnal warfare, in the name of King George. "And they said,"
continues the narration, ver. 31, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved, and thy house."


UNSEEN VISION, A.D. 54.--_Acts_ 18:7-11.

A vision, being a species of miracle, could, no more than a pantomime,
have place without some expense. In the present case, as in any other, a
natural question is--What was the object to be accomplished, upon which
the expense--whatever it was--was bestowed? The answer is--The keeping
his attendants, whoever they were, in the necessary state of
obsequiousness: for no other is perceptible. To the dependants in Paul's
train, it was no very uncommon sentiment to be not quite so well
satisfied with the course he took, as he himself was. Corinth was at
this time the theatre of his labours: of the men, whoever they were, who
had staked their fortunes upon _his_, some,--the historiographer, as it
should seem, of the number,--there were, whose wish it was to change the
scene. In that Gentile city,--the chief ruler of the Jewish synagogue,
Crispus by name--this man, besides another man, of the name of Justus,
"whose house joined hard to" that same synagogue, had become his
converts: "and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were
baptized." Eyes, however, there were, in which the success, whatsoever
it was, was not yet enough to afford a sufficient warrant for his stay.
A vision was necessary, and a vision accordingly, or at least a
something, which was called by that name, made its appearance. "Thus
spake the Lord," says the historiographer, ver. 9, "Thus spake the Lord
to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not
thy peace.----For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt
thee; for I have much people in this city." Nor was the vision without
its effect; for, as the next verse informs us, ver. 11, "He continued
_there_ a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them."

That which, on this occasion, may be believed without much difficulty
is, that the word thus taught by Paul was Paul's word: and, that which
may be believed with as little, by those, whoever they may be, who
believe in his original conversion-vision, is--that it was God's word
likewise. From Paul himself must the account of this vision have been
delivered to the historiographer: for, unless at the expense of a sort
of miracle, in the shape of an additional vision at least, if not in
some more expensive shape, no information of any such thing could have
reached him. In these latter days, no ghost is ever seen but in a
_tete-a-tete_: in those days, no vision, as far as appears, was ever
seen but in the same degree of privacy. A vision is the word in these
pages, because such is the word in the authoritative translation made of
the historiographer's. That which Paul is related to have heard,
is--what we have just seen as above: but that, upon this occasion
he saw anything--that he saw so much as a flash of light, this is
what we are not told: any more than by what other means he became so
well assured, that the voice which he heard, supposing him to have heard
a voice, was the Lord's voice. In these latter days,--inquiries, of
some such sort as these, would as surely be put, by a counsel who were
against the vision,--as, in the case of the Cock-lane Ghost, which
gave so much exercise to the faith of the archlexicographer,
were put by the counsel who were against the ghost; but, by a
sort of general understanding,--than which nothing can be more
convenient,--inquiries, such as these,--how strictly soever in season
when applied to the 19th century of the vulgar ear, are altogether
out of season, as often as they are applied to the commencement of it.

As to the speaking by a vision, the only intelligible way, in which any
such thing can really have place, is that, which under the pressure of
necessity has been realized by the ingenuity of dramatists in these
latter days. Such is the mode employed, when the actors, having been
struck dumb by the tyranny of foolish laws, and consequently having no
auditors, convey to the spectators what information seems necessary, by
an appropriate assortment of gold letters on a silk ground: whether the
Lord who, on this occasion, according to Paul, spoke to the eyes of
Paul, came provided with any such implement, he has not informed us.
Without much danger of error, we may venture to assert the negative:
for, if such was the mode of converse, there was nothing but what might
happen without sign or wonder: and, on this supposition, no addition was
made by it, to those signs and wonders, which, as has been seen, it was
his way to make reference to, in the character of evidence.


FOUL HANDKERCHIEFS.--_Acts_ 19:1-12.

At Ephesus, Paul makes a stay of between two and three years; for "two
years" together, disputing "daily in the school of one Tyrannus," "so
that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both
Jews and Greeks.

"And God," continues the history, "wrought special miracles by the hands
of Paul."

These "_special_ miracles," what were they? Of the whole number, is
there so much as a single one particularized? No; not one. _Special_ as
they are, the following is the account, and the only account given of
them. "So that," continues the history, "from his body were brought unto
the sick, handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them,
and the evil spirits went out of them."

No circumstances whatever particularized, name of the person, name of
the place, description of the time--nothing, by means of which, in case
of falsity _in toto_, or incorrectness in circumstance, the misstatement
might have been exposed,--to what degree of credence, or so much as
consideration with a view to credence, vague generalities such as these,
can they present so much as the slightest claim? If allusions such as
these are to pass proof, where is the imposture, to which proofs--proofs
sufficient in number and value--can ever be wanting?

Opposed as Paul was, wherever he went,--by gainsayers or
persecutors, or both--sometimes successful, sometimes altogether
unsuccessful,--sometimes in a slight degree successful--in so much as
any one occasion, either in this history, or in any one of his own
numerous Epistles, do we find so much as a single one of these
"_special miracles_," any more than of any other miracles, brought to
view by him, or so much as alluded to by him, in the character of proofs
of the commission to which he pretended? Answer: No, not one.

Diseases cured, evil spirits driven out, by handkerchiefs and
aprons!--by handkerchiefs and aprons brought from a man's body! Diseases
cured and devils seared away by foul linen! By Jesus--by any one of his
Apostles--were any such implements, any such eye-traps ever employed?
No; never. As to diseases, if by such means a disease had been
_propagated_, the case would have been intelligible enough. But what was
wanted was a miracle: and this would have been no miracle. The price,
received by the holy wearer for any of these cast-off habiliments--the
price, of the precious effluvia thus conveyed--by any such little
circumstance, had it been mentioned, some light might have been cast on
what was done.

One thing, indeed, may be stated with some assurance: and this is--that,
after a man, well or not well, had received one of these same dirty
handkerchiefs, or of these same dirty aprons, no evil spirit in him was

One other thing may also be stated with no less confidence:--this is
that, infection out of the question, and supposing Paul free from all
contagious disease, if, without handkerchief or apron, the disease would
have had its exit,--by no such handkerchief or any such apron was the
exit of it prevented.

Note, that all this time, according to this man, the author of the Acts,
he himself was in Paul's suite. Yet, taking credit for all these
miracles--taking credit thus for miracles out of number, not so much as
one of them all does he take upon himself to particularize.[78]


BEDEVILED.--_Acts_ 19:13-20.

Thus it is that, as under the last head has been observed, of all these
alleged successful exhibitions, not so much as a single one is

In lieu, however, of these successes of Paul's, something of a story to
a certain degree particularized we have. But this is--what? a successful
performance of Paul's? No: but an unsuccessful attempt of certain
persons,--here termed exorcists,--who took upon themselves to act
against him in the character of competitors.

Well, then: when the time came for demonstrating supernatural powers by
experiment, these exorcists--these impostors, no doubt it was intended
they should be deemed--made a very indifferent hand of it. Good: but the
true man, Did he go beyond these same impostors? Not he, indeed: he did
not so much as attempt it. But, let us hear his historiographer, who all
this while was at his elbow. Acts 19:13-20. "Then certain of the
vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had
evil spirits, the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by
Jesus, whom Paul preacheth.

"And there were," continues the narrative, ver. 14, "seven sons of
Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so." Thus far the

The sons of the chief of the priests? Such men styled not only
_exorcists_ but _vagabonds_? If they are not here, in express terms,
themselves styled _vagabonds_, at any rate, what is here imputed to them
is the doing those same things, the doers of which have just been
styled, not only _exorcists_, but at the same time _vagabonds_. But let
us continue, "And the evil spirit," ver. 15, "answered and said, Jesus,
I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?--And the man, in whom the evil
spirit was, leaped on them and overcame them, and prevailed against
them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." Thus far
the narrative.

To whatsoever order of beings the hero of this tale may have
belonged;--whatsoever may have been his proper appellative,--a man with
two natures, one human, the other diabolical,--a man with a devil in
him, a madman,--or a man in his sound senses counterfeiting a diabolized
man or a madman,--the tale itself is surely an eminently curious one. Of
these human or superhuman antagonists of his--of these pretended masters
over evil spirits--the number is not less than seven: yet, in comparison
of him, so feeble and helpless are they all together, that he not only
masters them all seven, but gets them down, all seven together, and
while they are lying on the ground in a state of disablement, pulls the
clothes off their backs: but whether one after another, or all at the
same time, is not mentioned. Be this as it may, hereupon comes a
question or two. While he was stripping any one of them, what were the
others about all that time? The beating they received, was it such as to
render them senseless and motionless? No: this can scarcely have been
the case; for, when the devil had done his worst, and their sufferings
were at the height, out of the house did they flee, wounded as they

"Jesus I know, and Paul I know," says the mysterious hero, in the
fifteenth verse. Hereupon an observation or two calls for utterance.
Supposing him a man, who, knowing what he was about, counterfeited the
sort of being, who was half man, half devil,--one-half of this speech of
his, namely, _Paul I know_, may without much difficulty be believed.
But, upon this supposition, forasmuch as he acted with so much effect
against these rivals of Paul's,--a supposition not less natural, to say
the least of it, is--that to Paul he was not unknown, any more than Paul
to him: in a word, that on this occasion, between the evil spirit and
the self-constituted Apostle, a sort of understanding had place. Be this
as it may, how extraordinary a person must he not have been, to
undertake the complete mastery of seven men at once! Seven men, all of
them young enough to have a father, not only living, but officiating as
a priest: and at the same time, all of them old enough, if not to
exercise, mastery over evil spirits, at any rate to undertake it!

In Paul's suite, all this time, as far as appears, was the author of
this narrative. The scene thus exhibited--was he then, or was he not,
himself an eyewitness of it? On a point so material and so natural, no
light has he afforded us.

Another circumstance, not less curious, is--that it is immediately after
the story of the unnamed multitudes, so wonderfully cured by foul
clothes,--that this story of the devil-masters discomfited by a
rebellious servant of theirs, makes its appearance. Turn now to the
supposed true devil-master--on this score, what was it that he did? Just
nothing. The devil,--and a most mischievous one he was,--_he_ was doing
all this mischief:--the man, who had all such devils so completely in
his power, that they quit possession, and decamp at the mere sight or
smell of a dirty handkerchief or apron of his;--he, though seeing all
this mischief done,--done by this preëminently mischievous as well as
powerful devil,--still suffers him to go on;--and not any the least
restraint in any shape, does he impose upon him; but leaves him in
complete possession of that receptacle, which, according to the
narrative, he wanted neither the power nor the will to convert into an
instrument of so much mischief. Was it from Paul himself, that, on this
special occasion, for this special purpose, namely, the putting down
these presumptuous competitors, this mysterious being received so
extraordinary a gift? This is not said, but not improbably, as it should
seem, this was the miracle, which it was intended by the historian
should be believed.

Occasions there are--and this we are desired to believe was one of
them--in which the impossibility of a thing is no bar to the knowledge
of it.

"And this was known," continues the narrative, ver. 17, "And this was
known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus: and fear fell
on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified."

Now, supposing this thing known, the fear stated as the result of it may
without difficulty be believed:--fear of being treated as those sons of
the chief of the Jewish priests had been: fear of the devil, by whom
those, his unequal antagonists, had been thus dealt with: fear of the
more skilful devil-master, under whose eye these bunglers had been thus
dealt with.

But the name here said to be _magnified_--the name of the Lord
Jesus--how _that_ came to be _magnified_: in this lies all the while the
difficulty, and it seems no small one.

The _name_, on this occasion, and thus said to be employed, whose was
it? It was, indeed, the Lord Jesus's. But was it successful? Quite the
contrary. It made bad worse. In the whole of this business, what was
there from which the name of Jesus could in any shape receive
magnification? Yes: if after the so eminently unsuccessful use, thus
made of it by those exorcists, a successful use had, on the same
occasion, been made of it by Paul. But, no: no such enterprise did he
venture upon. Madman, devil, counterfeit madman, counterfeit devil,--by
proxy, any of these he was ready to encounter, taking for his proxy one
of his foul handkerchiefs or aprons: any of this sort of work, if his
historiographer is to be believed, he was ready enough to do by proxy.
But, in person? No; he knew better things.

"And many that believed," concludes this part of the narrative, ver. 18,
"came and confessed, and showed their deeds." Yes; supposing there were
any, by whom all this or any part of it was believed,--that they spoke
and acted in consequence, may be believed without much difficulty: and,
with this observation may the story, and the sort of elucidation
endeavouring to be given of it, be left to close.


OWNERS.--_Acts_ 19:19, 20.

Such as it was, the supposable miracle last mentioned was not without
its supposed fruit: destruction of property, such as it was--destruction
of property, and to an amount sufficiently wonderful for the
satisfaction of any ordinary appetite for wonders. But let us see the
text. It follows in the verse 19, next after that, in which mention is
made, as in the last preceding section, of what was done by the "many
who believed."

"Many of them also," ver. 19, "which used curious arts, brought their
books together, and burned them before all men; and they counted the
price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver." "So
mightily," ver 20, "grew the word of God, and prevailed." And there ends
the story of the books of curious arts.

As to the sum total, nothing can be more precise: as to the items, could
the list of them be but produced, this would be indeed a treasure. As to
the denomination _magical_, given in the title of this section to those
books, styled books "_of curious arts_,"--in the text, short is the only
apology that need be made for it. Of the number of those _curious arts_
could not, most assuredly, have been any of the arts included at present
under the name of _fine arts_; of the character of the _arts_ here
designated by the appellation of _curious_, a sufficient indication is
afforded by the story, by which the mention of them is, as above,
immediately preceded. They were the arts, by which effects were
undertaken to be produced, such as the self-constituted Apostle
undertook to produce by so much more simple means. How vast soever were
the collection, what would be the value of it,--the whole taken
together,--when so much more than could be done by everything which it
professed to teach, could be done by about a score or a dozen words, on
the single condition, that the lips by which they were uttered were
properly commissioned lips, not to speak of the still more simple
operation of the touch of a used handkerchief?

Of the state of art and science in the wake of the great temple of
Diana, the representation here given is of itself no small curiosity.
Books of curious arts--all of them arts of imposture--books, employed,
all of them, in teaching the most secret of all secrets--books of this
description, so well known to all men, as to bear a market-price! a
market-price, so well known to all men, as if it were the price of bread
and butcher's meat: and, in the single town of Ephesus, these books so
numerous,--such the multitude or the value,--or rather the multitude as
well as value, of them taken in the aggregate, that the price, that had
been given for such of them as were thus given up, and which are only
part, and, as it should seem by the word _many_, not the larger part, of
the whole number, of those, which, at that same place, were at that same
time in existence,--was, upon summing up, found actually to amount, so
we are required to believe, to that vast sum.

Of the aggregate, of the prices that had been paid, we are told, for
this smaller part of the aggregate number of the books, then and there
existing on this single subject,--inadequate, indeed, would our
conception be of it were we to regard it as not exceeding the value of
the whole library collected by King George the Third, and given by his
successor to the English part of his subjects. _Data_, though not for
numeration, yet sufficient for conception, are by no means wanting. To
consult Arbuthnot, or any successor of his, would be mere illusion; in
so far as the value of money is unknown, prices in money serve but to
deceive. History--and _that_ the most appropriate history--has furnished
us with much surer grounds. Thirty pieces of silver, Matt. 28:3-10, was
the purchase-money of the field, called _the potters' field_, bought for
a burying-ground, with the money received and returned by the traitor,
Judas, as the reward for his treachery. Suppose it no more than half an
acre. What, in English money of the present day, would be the value of
half an acre of land in or close by a closely built metropolis? A
hundred pounds would, assuredly, be a very moderate allowance. Multiply
the hundred pounds by fifty thousand, you have five millions; divide the
five millions by thirty, you have, on the above supposition, 166,666_l_.
and odd for the value of these books. Look to the English translation,
look to the Greek original, the pieces of silver are the same.


DEAD.--_Acts_ 20:7-12.

In this story may be seen another example, of the facility with which,
when men are upon the hunt for miracles, something may be made out of
nothing: the most ordinary occurrence, by the addition of a loose word
or two, metamorphosed into a miracle.

Paul, one evening, was treating his disciples with a sermon: he was at
the same time treating them, or they him, with a supper. The
architecture of the house was such, that, under favourable
circumstances, a fall might be got from the top of it, or thereabouts,
to the bottom, without much difficulty. If any difficulty there was, on
the occasion in question it was overcome. According to circumstances,
sermons produce on different minds different effects: from some, they
drive sleep; in others, they produce it. On the occasion in question,
the latter was the effect experienced by a certain youth. His station
is represented as being an elevated one:--so elevated that, after
the fall he got from it, it may be believed without difficulty, he
lay for some time motionless. Paul "went down" to him, we are told,
and embraced him. The youth received the embrace; Paul, the praise
of tender-heartedness:--this is what may be asserted with a safe
conscience, though it be without any special evidence. Trifling,
however, is the boon he received from that congregation, in comparison
of what he has been receiving from so many succeeding ones--the
reputation of having made so brilliant an addition to the catalogue of
his miracles. By the accident, whatever may have been the interruption,
given by it to the festivity, no end was put to it. Sermon and supper
ended, the rest of the congregation went their way: and with them went
the youth, to whom had anything serious happened, the historian would
scarcely have left us uninformed of it.

On this occasion, between the hero and his historian, there is somewhat
of a difference. The historian will have it, that when Paul reached the
body he found it dead. Paul's own account of the matter is the direct
contrary: so the historian himself informs us. Here then the historian
and his hero are at issue. But, the historian, having the first word,
makes, if we may venture to say so, a rather unfair advantage of it, and
by this same first word gives a contradiction to what he makes his hero
say in the next. "He was taken up dead," says the historian, who was or
was not there: "His life is in him," says the preacher, who was there
beyond dispute.

But let us see the text.

ACTS 20:7-12.

     7. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came
     together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart
     on the morrow, and continued his speech till midnight.--And there
     were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered
     together.--And there sat in a window a certain young man named
     Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long
     preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third
     loft, and was taken up dead.--And Paul went down, and fell on him,
     and embracing him, said, Trouble not yourselves, for his life is in
     him.--When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread,
     and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he
     departed.--And they brought the young man alive, and were not a
     little comforted.

At this time of day, any such contrariety might produce some
embarrassment; but, when it is considered how long ago the thing
happened, no such uneasy sensation is experienced. A supposition, by
which all embarrassment is excluded, is so immediately obvious, as to be
scarce worth mentioning. When Paul reached the body, the soul was
already in the other world; but, with the kisses goes a whisper, and the
soul comes back again. Whether from indolence or from archness, there is
something amusing in the course the historian takes for enlivening his
narration with these flowers: he sketches out the outline, but leaves it
to our imaginations to fill it up.



ACTS 27:20-25.

     And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small
     tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be preserved was
     thenceforth taken away.--But after long abstinence Paul stood in
     the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened to me,
     and not have loosed from Crete, but have prevented this harm and
     damage.--And now I exhort you to be of good courage: for there
     shall be no loss of life among you, but of the ship, _there shall
     be loss_.--For there stood by me this night an angel of that God,
     whose I am, and whom I serve, saying,--Fear not, Paul, thou must be
     brought before Caesar; and lo, God hath graciously given to thee
     all who sail with thee.--Wherefore, Sirs, be of good courage: for I
     believe God, that it will be as it hath been told me.

The sea being stormy, the crew are alarmed. The storm, however, is not
so violent, but that Paul is able to make a speech, and they to hear it.
To keep up their spirits, and, at the same time, let them see the sort
of terms he is upon with the Almighty, he tells them a story about an
angel. The angel had been sent to him upon a visit, and was but just
gone. The business of the angel was to quiet the mind of the Apostle.
The matter had been settled. The precious life was in no danger: and,
not only so, but, out of compliment to him, God had been pleased to
grant to him the lives of all who were happy enough to be in his

In the situation, in which so many lives are represented as being
placed,--no very severe condemnation can easily be passed upon any
little fraud, by which they might be saved. But, is it really to be
believed, that this angel, whom, in a deckless vessel, for the vessels
of _those_ times were not like the vessels of present times, no person
but Paul either saw or heard, was really sent express from the sky by
God Almighty, on such an errand? If not, then have we this additional
proof,--if any additional proof can be needed,--to help to satisfy
us,--that, where a purpose was to be answered, falsehood, or as he would
have called it _lying_, was not among the obstacles, by which Paul would
be stopped, in his endeavours to accomplish it.


WITHOUT HURT.--_Acts_ 28:1-6.

A fire of sticks being kindled, a reptile, here called a viper, is
represented as "coming out of the heat," and fastening on Paul's hand.
On beholding this incident,--"the barbarous people," as the inhabitants
are called, whose hospitality kindled the fire for the relief of the
shipwrecked company, concluded that Paul was a murderer: and were,
accordingly, in expectation of seeing him "swollen, or fallen down dead
suddenly." Nothing of this sort happened, their next conclusion was,
_that he was a God_. As such, did these barbarians, as did the civilized
inhabitants of Lystra, sacrifice to him, or in any other way worship
him? No: these conceptions of theirs reported, there the story ends.

Of this story, what is to be made? At this time of day, among Christians
in general, what we should expect to find is, that it passed for a
miracle. But, if by miracle is meant, not merely an accident, somewhat
singular and extraordinary,--but, by a special act of Almighty power, an
effect produced, by means disconformable to the uniform course of
nature,--it might be too much to say, that even by the reporter himself,
it is for the decided purpose of its being taken for miracle, that it is
brought to view.

If, however, the design was not here, that the incident should be taken
for a miracle,--the story amounted to nothing, and was not worth the
telling. But, if it _is_ to be made into a miracle, where is the matter
in it, out of which a miracle can be made?

The reptile--was it really a viper? Neither the barbarians of Malta, nor
the reporter of this story, nor in a word, at that time of day, any
other persons whatever, were either very complete or very correct, in
their conception of matters belonging to the field of natural history.
At present, reptiles are crawling creatures. At this time of day, when
_leeches_ are excepted, to fasten upon the part they have bitten is not
the practice with any reptiles that we know of. If, instead of _viper_,
the Greek word had been one that could have been translated
_leech_,--the story would have been probable enough, but, were it only
for that very reason, no miracle could have been made out of it. Shaken
down into the fire, that is, into the burning fuel,--a small reptile,
such as a leech, how brisk soever in the water, would be very apt to be
overpowered by the heat, before it could make its escape: with a reptile
of the ordinary size of a viper, this would hardly be the case.

Be this as it may, "he felt,"--so says the story,--"he felt no harm."
How came it that he felt no harm? Because the Almighty performed a
miracle to preserve him from harm? So long as eyes are open, causes out
of number--causes that have nothing wonderful in them--present
themselves to view before this. "The beast," as it is translated, "was
not a viper":--if really a viper, it happened, at that moment, not to be
provided with a competent stock of venom: it had already expended it
upon some other object:--by some accident or other, it had lost the
appropriate tooth. Not to look out for others,--any mind that was not
bent upon having a miracle at any price, would lay hold of some such
cause as one of these, sooner than give itself any such trouble as that
of torturing the incident into a miracle.

To bring under calculation the quantity of supernatural power necessary
to the production of a given effect is no very easy task. At any
rate,--without more or less of expense in a certain shape, nothing in
that way could ever be done. In the case here in question, what could
have been the object of any such expense? Was it the saving the
self-constituted Apostle the pain of a bite? The expense then, would it
not have been less--the operation, so to speak, more economical--had a
slight turn been given to Paul's hand, or to the course of the reptile?
But, in either case, neither would the name of the Lord, nor--what was
rather more material--that of his Apostle, have received that
glorification which was so needful to it.

Any such design, as that of giving an unequivocal manifestation of
Almighty power, such as should stand the test of scrutiny, testifying
the verity of Paul's commission to the end of time,--any such design
could the incident have had for its final cause? A more equivocal,--a
less conclusive,--proof of the manifestation of supernatural power,
seems not very easy to imagine.

Here then comes once more the so often repeated conclusion:--the
narrative began to be in want of a miracle, and the miracle was made.

In those days, among that people, miracles were so much in course, that
without a reasonable number of them, a history would hardly have
obtained credence: at any rate it would not have obtained readers, and
without readers no history can ever obtain much credence.


CURED.--_Acts_ 28:7-10.

"In the same quarters," says the story--it follows immediately upon that
of the viper. "In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of
the island, whose name was _Publius_, who received us and lodged us
three days courteously.--And it came to pass, that the father of Publius
lay sick of a fever, and of a bloody flux, to whom Paul entered in and
prayed, and laid his hands on him and healed him.--So when this was
done, others also which had diseases in the island, came and were
healed.--Who also honoured us with many honours, and when we departed,
they laded us with such things as were necessary."

Of the fevers, which, within the compass of any given spot, and any
given space of time, have place, it almost always happens, that a
certain number go off of themselves. Of, perhaps, all sorts of
fever,--at least of almost all sorts at present known, thus much is
agreed upon by all physicians:--they have at least two regular courses,
one of which terminates in death, the other or others in recovery.
Supposing the person in question to have had a fever,--what is pretty
clear is--that, if _of itself_, it would have taken a favourable
termination, there was nothing, in the forms employed by Paul, viz.,
utterance of prayers and imposition of hands, that could have any
natural tendency to _cause_ it to take an unfavourable one.

But--the course afterwards taken by the fever, was there anything in it
to distinguish it from the ordinary favourable course? If not, in that
case, so far from miraculous, there is nothing that is so much as
wonderful in the case.

Note here two things--the narrator one of the party; the narrative so
loose and uncircumstantial. But _to see_ is one thing; _to narrate_,

Three days, it seems, and no more, did Paul and his suite stay at the
house of this Publius. Was it during that time, or not till afterwards,
that Paul performed on him those ceremonies, of which healing is
represented as having been the consequence? Was it within that same
space of time, or not till afterwards, that the healing is supposed to
have taken place? As to the English word _healing_, it cannot be accused
of being indecisive. But in some languages they have words, by which a
very convenient veil is thrown over the result. In the languages in
question, for the endeavour to heal, whether successful or unsuccessful,
the word employed is the same. The Latin affords one of these convenient
words, _curo_. The Greek has another, _iasato_, and in the Greek
original of this history, this is the word employed.

In a case where a ceremony and nothing else is trusted to, it being
supposed that the patient really has the disease, the safe and prudent
course is, so to order times and seasons, that between the time of
performing the ceremony, and the time at which restoration to health is
expected to take place, the time shall have come for the practitioner to
have shifted quarters; for, in this case, this is an interval more or
less considerable during which it being taken for granted that the
desired result will take place of course, reward, in the shapes of
profit and honour, will pour in upon the scientific head.

Here, as elsewhere, not only no _symptoms_ are particularized, but no
_place_ is mentioned: no _time_ is particularized, no _persons_ are
mentioned as _percipient witnesses_: even the individual who was the
subject of the cure is not mentioned by name.

As to the givers of the supposed honours and presents--persons are
indeed mentioned:--mentioned, but no otherwise than by the name of
_others_. One individual alone is particularized: particularized as
having received the benefit of these ceremonies. This is the father of
Publius. This man, to use the phraseology of the passage, was _also
healed_. But--this man who was he? He was no less a person than the
father of the chief man in the island. Well then, what are the honours,
what the allotment of "_such things as were necessary_?" What were the
proofs of gratitude, afforded by this man, who was so much better able
to afford such presents, than any of those other persons cured? By such
proofs of remuneration, some evidence--some circumstantial
evidence,--supposing them exhibited at a proper time, would have been
afforded, in proof of the reality of the service. But, neither by the
person thus spoken of as healed, nor by his son--the chief man in the
island,--is it said that any such proofs were afforded. For such a
silence when the case of an individual was brought to view, coupled with
the express declaration made, of gifts presented by persons
unnamed,--three cases cannot but present themselves, as being any one of
them more probable, than that, on this occasion, a real miracle was
performed. One is--that there was no disease, perhaps no such person:
another is, that though there was a disease, it went off of itself: the
third is, that it never went off at all.

One thing may be asserted without much fear of contradiction:
and that is, that in this country, if in terms such as these,
accounts were inserted in the public prints;--accounts of diseases
cured without medicine;--diseases cured by nothing but words and
gesticulations;--though the accounts given were ever so numerous, not
the smallest notice would they be thought worthy of,--not the smallest
attention would they receive from anyone, unless it were for the joke's

What is more,--numerous are the publications, in which, encompassed
with circumstantiality in all manner of shapes, not only the names of
the fortunate patients are mentioned, but under the signatures of those
patients declarations made, assuring the public of the reality of the
cure,--and yet, when at the same time, by competent persons, due inquiry
has been made, it turns out after all that no such cure has been

Accounts, which would not be believed were they to come out at a time of
so widely diffused knowledge, are they to be believed, merely because
the time they belonged to,--facts and accounts together,--was, as to all
such matters, a time of universal ignorance? The less a man understands
the subject, the more firmly is he to be believed, as to everything he
says of it? Or is it that, between then and now, _men_ and _things_ have
undergone a total change? and, if so, when did it take place?



Inferences,--conveying more or less of instruction,--may, perhaps, be
found deducible,--at any rate our conception of the whole series taken
together, will be rendered so much the clearer, by bringing the same
supposed marvels again under review, arranged in the order of time.

For this purpose, the time may be considered as divided into three

In the first are included--those, which are represented as having had
place during the time when at the outset of his missionary expedition,
Paul had Barnabas for his associate. Of these there are two, viz. 1. At
Paphos, A.D. 45, Sorcerer Elymas blinded. 2. At Lystra, A.D. 46, cripple
cured. Of this part of the expedition, the commencement, as in the
current account, placed in the year 45.

In the second period are included--those, which are represented as
having had place, during the time when Paul, after his separation from
Barnabas, had Silas for his associate, and the unnamed author of the
Acts for an attendant. This ends with his arrival at Jerusalem, on the
occasion of his fourth visit--the Invasion Visit.

In the current accounts, this event is placed in the year 60. Within
this period, we have the seven following supposed marvels: 1. At
Philippi, A.D. 53, divineress silenced. 2. At Philippi, A.D. 53,
earthquake: Paul and Silas freed from prison. 3. At Corinth, A.D. 54,
Paul comforted by the Lord in an unseen vision. 4. At Ephesus, A.D. 56,
diseases and devils expelled by Paul's foul handkerchiefs. 5. At
Ephesus, A.D. 55, Exorcist Scevas bedeviled. 6. At Ephesus, A.D. 56,
magic books burned by the owners. 7. At Troas, A.D. 59, Eutychus found
not to be dead.

In the third period are included--those which are represented as having
had place, in the interval between his forced departure from Jerusalem
for Rome, and his arrival at Rome.

In the current accounts, this event is placed in the year 62. Within
this concluding period, we have the following supposed marvels: 1. On
shipboard, A.D. 62, Paul comforted by an angel. 2. At Malta, A.D. 62, a
reptile shaken off by Paul without his being hurt. 3. At Malta, A.D. 62,
Deputy Publius's father cured by Paul of some disorder. Year of all
these three last marvels, the same as that of Paul's arrival at Rome.
Total number of supposed marvels, twelve.

To the first of these three periods belong two supposed marvels, which,
supposing them to have any foundation in truth, present themselves as
being, in a greater degree than most of the others, exposed to the
suspicion of contrivance. A moderate sum, greater or less according to
the state more or less flourishing of his practice, might suffice to
engage a sorcerer, for a few minutes or hours, to declare himself
struck blind: a still more moderate sum might suffice to engage an
itinerant beggar, to exhibit himself with one leg tied up, and after
hearing what was proper to be heard, or seeing what was proper to be
seen, to declare himself cured.

This was the period, during which Paul had Barnabas, or Barnabas Paul,
for an associate. In these cases, if fraud in any shape had place,--it
is not without reluctance, that any such supposition could be
entertained, as that Barnabas--the generous, the conciliating, the
beneficent, the persevering Barnabas--was privy to it. But, times and
temptation considered, even might this supposition be assented to, on
rather more substantial grounds, than that which stands in competition
with it: namely, that for the production of two effects,--comparatively
so inconsiderable, and not represented as having been followed by any
determinate effects of greater moment,--the ordinary course of nature
was, by a special interposition of Almighty power, broken through and

Is it or is it not a matter worth remarking--that, of all these twelve
supposed occurrences, such as they are,--in not more than four is the
hero represented,--even by his own attendant, historian, and
panegyrist,--as decidedly taking any active part in the production of
the effect? These are--the blinding of the sorcerer, the cure of the
cripple, the silencing of the divineress, the curing of Deputy Publius's
father: the three first, at the commencement of this supposed
wonder-working part of his career; the last,--with an interval of
fifteen years between that and the first,--at the very close of it. In
the eight intermediate instances, either the effect itself amounted to
nothing, or the hero is scarcely represented as being instrumental in
the production of it. These are--the being let out of prison after an
earthquake had happened--being comforted, whether by God or man, in a
vision or without one--having handkerchiefs, by which, when he had done
with them, diseases and devils were expelled--being present when a gang
of exorcists were beaten and stripped by a devil, whom they had
undertaken to drive out of a man--being in a place, in which some
nonsensical books were burned by their owners--being in a house, in
which a youth said to be dead, was found not to be so--being comforted
by an angel, who had the kindness to come on board ship
uninvited--shaking off a reptile, without being hurt by it.

Whatever store may be set at this time of day upon all these marvels,
less cannot easily be set upon them by anybody than was by Paul himself.
For proof, take the whole tenor of his own Epistles, as well as the
whole tenor of his visions, as delivered by his attendant. Numberless as
were the scrapes he got himself into,--numberless as were the hosts of
enemies he everywhere made himself,--open as all ears were to everything
that presented itself as marvellous,--unable as men were to distinguish
what could be done from what could not be done,--pressing as was at all
times the need he had of evidence, that could arrest the hands of
enemies,--on no occasion do we find him calling into his aid, so much as
a single one of all these supposed irrefragable evidences.


[77] _And they had also John to their minister_, 13:5. What _John_ was
this? Answer, see chap. 15:37 to 40. This appears to have been that
John, whose surname was Mark, who was the cause of the angry separation
of Paul from Barnabas.

[78] Another branch of his trade, already mentioned in this same
chapter, as having been carried on by him in this same place, namely,
Ephesus,--and which, where circumstances created a demand for the
article, appears to have been more profitable than that of expelling
devils or diseases,--is _that_, of which the Holy Ghost was the subject.
This power of conferring--that is to say, of being thought to
confer--the Holy Ghost,--such, and of such sort was the value of it,
that Simon Magus, as there may be occasion to mention in another
chapter, had, not less than one-and-twenty years before this, offered
the Apostles money for it. Acts 8:18-24, A.D. 34. This power, two
preceding verses of the same 19th chapter, namely the 5th and 6th,
represent Paul as exercising: and, whatsoever was the benefit derived,
twelve is the number of the persons here spoken of as having received

Acts 19:5-7. After "they," the above twelve, v. 7, disciples, v. 9,
"were baptized, v. 5, in the name of the Lord Jesus;" when Paul, v. 6,
"had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they
spake with tongues, and prophesied." Here then, if, by thus laying on of
hands, it is by _Paul_ that any operation is performed, it is the
conferring of "the Holy Ghost." But this power, whence had Paul received
it? Not from Jesus, had the self-constituted Apostle received this gift,
whatever it was, any more than he had baptism, by which ceremony, as
appears from Acts 8:16, it was regularly preceded: as in the case of the
magician it actually had been. Not from Jesus: no such thing is anywhere
so much as pretended. Not from the Apostles, or any of them; from two,
for example, by commission from the rest--as in the case of Peter and
John, Acts 8:14-19:--no such thing is anywhere so much as pretended. In
no such persons could this--would this--their self-declared superior,
have vouchsafed to acknowledge the existence, of a power in which he had
no share. On this occasion, as on every other, independently of the
Apostles did he act, and in spite of the Apostles.

As to the "_speaking with tongues and prophesying_," these are
pretensions, which may be acknowledged without much difficulty.
_Tongues_ are the organs most men speak with. As to _prophesying_, it
was an operation that might as well be performed after the fact as
before the fact: witness in Luke 22:64, "Prophesy, who is it that smote
thee?" Read the Bible over from beginning to end, a _prophet_, whatever
else be meant, if there be anything else meant, you will find to have
been _a politician: to prophesy_ was to talk _politics_. Make a new
translation, or, what would be shorter, a list of _corrigenda_, and
instead of _prophet_ put _politician_,--a world of labour, now employed
in explanations, will be saved.


     _Acts, part false, part true: Author not Saint Luke._



In regard to the Acts, a notion, generally, not to say universally,
received, is--that it had Saint Luke for its author: and that,
accordingly, it may with propriety be regarded as a continuation of the
Gospel of that Evangelist, written by the same hand. Were this
conception a correct one, whatsoever shock were given to the credit of
the Acts, would unavoidably extend itself to the Gospel history: at any
rate, to that part of it which bears the name of Luke.

Before this chapter is at an end,--the reader, if the author is not much
mistaken, will not only be convinced that that opinion is untenable, but
see no small ground for wondering, how by any person, by whom any survey
had been taken of the two objects in that point of view, any such notion
should ever have come to be entertained.

Another memento, of which, if made before, even the repetition may in
this place, perhaps, be not without its use, is--that, from nothing that
is here said, is any such conception meant to be conveyed, as that the
history called _The Acts_, is from beginning to end, like that of
Geoffrey of Monmouth's _History of Britain_, a mere falsity. In a
great part, perhaps even by much the greatest, it is here looked upon as
true: in great part true, although in no inconsiderable part incorrect,
to say no worse: and, in particular, on every point, on which the colour
of the marvellous is visible. As to the sort and degree of evidence due
to it, one general assumption there is, by which the whole of this
inquiry has, from first to last, been guided. This is--that, in relation
to one and the same work, whatsoever be the subject of it, credence may,
without inconsistency or impropriety, by one and the same person, be
given and withholden: given, on this or that occasion; withholden, on
this or that other occasion: given, in so far as the truth of the
contents seems probable; withholden, as far as it seems improbable.

For the support of this assumption,--all that, on the present occasion,
can be offered, is--an appeal to universal experience. As to the general
foundations of the law of evidence,--for any excursion into so wide an
expanse, neither this chapter nor any other part of this work would, it
has been thought, be generally regarded as a proper place. What had been
written on that subject has accordingly been discarded.



In the first place then, Saint Luke cannot have been the author of the

The reason is very simple. In respect of the time between Jesus's
resurrection and his ascension,--the one of these narratives gives one
account, the other, another account: and, so wide is the difference
between the two, that by one and the same person they could not have
both been given. According to Saint Luke, the time during which, after
his resurrection, and before his ascension, Jesus was seen by his
disciples, extended not beyond _one_ day: according to the Acts, it
extended as far as _forty_ days. By Saint Luke, that the time was not
more than a day, is not indeed said in so many words; but upon
examination of the text, it will be found, that, consistently with the
particulars given, no longer duration can be assigned to it. In the
Acts, that the time, during which he continued showing himself after his
_passion_, Acts 1:3,[79] to the Apostles, was "_forty days_," is
affirmed in those very words.

The point here in question, be it observed, is not _truth_, but
_consistency_: not the truth of either of the two accounts; but their
consistency, the one with the other: and, instead of consistency, so
palpable is the inconsistency, that the conclusion is,--by no one man,
who did not, on one or other of the two occasions, intend thereby to
deceive, can both of them, morally speaking, have been penned.

Now for the proof. First, let us hear Saint Luke: it is all of it in his
last chapter--the 24th. In verse 10, mention is made of certain women,
three named, others not named. In verses 2 and 3, "they entered into,"
it is said, "the sepulchre," ver. 2, "and found not the body of the Lord
Jesus." In ver. 9, "they returned," it is said, "from the sepulchre, and
told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest." Thereupon it
is, that, of all them, "two" ver. 13, of whom Cleopas, ver. 18, was one,
"went _that same day_ to Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about sixty
furlongs: and while they communed together," it was that "Jesus," ver.
15, "drew near, and went with them," whereupon between him and them a
conversation therein reported, ensued. The conversation,--the same
conversation, as reported in verses from 16 to 27,--continues till their
arrival at the village, ver. 28, namely, Emmaus, as per ver. 13.
According to the next verse, ver. 29, "the day," namely, that same day,
"being far spent," at that same place, "he went in to tarry with them,"
they having "constrained him." Then also it is that, ver. 30, "he sat at
meat with them:" and, ver. 31, "they knew him, and he vanished out of
their sight." Moreover, "at that same hour" it is, ver. 33, that "they
returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them
that were with them, saying," ver. 34, "The Lord is risen indeed, and
hath appeared unto Simon." Then it is also, that, ver. 36, they
reporting what had passed, "as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in
the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." Thereupon
follows a conversation, reported in verses from 37 to 49, in the course
of which he, ver. 43, "did eat before them." Then it is, that,
immediately after the last words, which, in ver. 49, he is stated to
have uttered, come these words, ver. 50, "And he led them out as far as
to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And it came to
pass," says the next verse, ver. 51, "while he blessed them, he was
parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him,"
continues the next verse, ver. 52, "and returned to Jerusalem with great
joy." And, with the next verse, which says, "they were continually in
the temple, praising and blessing God,"--the chapter, and with it the
Gospel, ends.

So much for Saint Luke. Now for the author of the Acts, chapter 1, ver.
3, "To whom," says he, namely the Apostles, ver. 2, "he," namely Jesus,
ver. 1, "showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible
proofs, being seen of them _forty_ days..."

Thus while, according to the author of the Acts the time--during which
Jesus was seen by the persons in question was not less than _forty_
days,--according to Saint Luke, the whole time, during which this same
Jesus was seen by those same persons, was not more than _one_ day. And
who was this historian, who, on the supposition of the identity,
speaking of this all-important scene, on one occasion says, that it
lasted no more than _one_ day; and, on another occasion, professing,
Acts 1:1, to be giving continuance to such his former discourse,
declares, in so many words, that it lasted "forty days"? It is Saint
Luke, one of the Apostles of Jesus;--one, of the eleven, before whose
eyes, everything of that which has just been read, is stated as having

With all this before him, does the editor of the edition of the Bible,
called Scholey's Bible, in a note to the commencement of the Acts, very
composedly assure us, that "from its style, and other internal marks, it
is evidently the production of Luke": quoting for his authority, Bishop
of Lincoln's _Elements of Christian Theology_, vol. 4. Who this same
Bishop of Lincoln was, by whose Elements of Christian Theology,
instruction such as this is administered, let those inquire, in whose
eyes the profit of the inquiry promises payment for the trouble. From
any such particular inquiry, the profit will perhaps appear the less,
the greater appears the probability, that, in the minds of all
Bishops,--from the first that ever committed his instructions in
theology to the press, down to those by whom the Christian world is
illuminated at this present writing,--the same sort of discernment, or
the same sort of sincerity, has all along had place.

When 20,000_l_, a year--or though it were but 20_l_, once told--or,
though it were but salvation from everlasting torment--is to be gained;
gained, by the perception, that two men, the one of whom writes in
point-blank contradiction to the other, are one and the same man,--the
task is not, naturally speaking, of the number of those, by the
performance of which much wonder need be excited.

The sort of improvement, made by the author of the later history, upon
the account given in the earlier, has now been seen. Would anyone wish
to see the inducement? He will not have far to look for it. For making
the impression, which it was his desire to make,--the _one_ day,
allotted to the occurrence by one of the company, was not, in the
estimation of the anonymous writer, sufficient. To render it sufficient,
he calls in the powers of arithmetic: he multiplies the _one_ by forty;
and thus, to the unquestionable satisfaction of a host of
mathematicians,--Barrow, Newton, and so many other mathematical divines,
not to speak of Locke, of the number--thus is done what is required to
be done: thus, by so simple an operation, is the probative force of the
occurrence multiplied forty-fold.[80]



Thus far, the embellishments, made by our anonymous artist, have had for
their ground the work of the original hand: meaning always Saint Luke,
with whom the common error has identified him. Here comes an instance,
in which the whole is altogether of his own workmanship. This is the
story of the "two men in white apparel," by whom, what, in his eyes,
were the deficiencies in the instruction offered by Jesus to the
witnesses of his ascension, may be seen supplied.

Still the same delicacy as before: by his own hand no miracle made: only
a quantity of matter, fit for this purpose, put into the hands of
readers; and to their imagination is left a task so natural and so,

Scarcely, after finishing his instructions to his Apostles, has Jesus
ceased to be visible to them, when, if Acts is to be believed, "two men
in white apparel"--two men, _to_ whom none of them were known, and _by_
whom none of them were known, make their appearance, and from nobody
knows where. But these same two men in white, who are they? "Oh!" says
_Imagination_, for the hints we have already seen given to her are quite
sufficient, "Oh!" says Imagination, "they were angels. Think for a
moment, and say what else they can have been. Had they been men, could
they have been thus unknowing and unknown? could their appearance have
been thus sudden? not less sudden than the vanishing of a spirit? not to
speak of the beautiful white clothes you see they had,--and would they
have been thus dressed? To believe them men, would be to believe in
direct contradiction to Saint Luke; for, in his account of the matter,
as you may see, from first to last, not two men were there in the whole
party, that were not in the most intimate manner known to each other.
But though, by Saint Luke's account, so decided a negative is put upon
all men-strangers, yet nothing is said about angels. Angels, therefore,
they may have been,--you may venture to say they _were_: and the report
made by all persons present, remains nevertheless uncontradicted."

"Another proof, that they cannot have been men, and that therefore they
were angels. Of these beings, who were then unknown to all the company,
what was the errand? It was no less than the giving to the whole company
of the companions of Jesus,--of that Jesus, by whom, after giving to
them such instructions as he thought fit to give to them, they had but
that moment been left,--the giving to them some _other_ instructions,
which he had not thought fit, or else had forgot, to give to them. But,
as by no men-strangers could any such conceit have been entertained, as
that, by the party in question, any such instructions would be listened
to,--so, by no men-strangers can it be that any such instructions were
given:--an additional proof that they cannot have been anything but
angels." Thus readily does the imagination of the reader, answer with
her logic, the call given to her by the imagination of the author.

Angels if they were, they appear not to have been very knowing ones.
Sent, for the purpose of giving information,--and such information,
nothing of that which was known to all those, to whom they came to give
it,--nothing, if they themselves are to be believed, was known to them.
Addressing themselves to the company--the company whom Jesus had but
that moment left,--"Whom saw ye going up," say they, ver. 11, "into
heaven"? Then comes the information, which Jesus, on his departure,
Jesus, we are expected to believe, has not thought fit, or else had
forgot, to give. "This same Jesus," say they, ver. 11, "which is taken
up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen
him go into heaven." Here we have the information and--they to whom it
was given,--what can they have been the better for it?--"Shall so come."
Yes: but when and where, and to what end, and what to do? points these,
as to all which, the information is altogether mute.

One other proof is yet behind. What has been seen as yet is in the first
chapter. The tenth of his eight and twenty chapters is not finished,
where, speaking in agreement with Saint Luke, he now disagrees with
himself. On this occasion, it is by the mouth of Peter that he speaks.
"God," he makes Peter say, Acts 10:41, "God showed him," Jesus,
"openly."--Showed him, let anybody ask, and to whom? "Not," says he, "to
all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us who
did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead." Thus again it
is, that for any men-strangers, not a particle of room is left. But,
for angels, considering the materials they are made of, no quantity of
room can be insufficient: therefore, once more, nothing can these men
have been but angels.


[79] As to the word _passion_, that by this word could not have been
meant the same event as that denoted by the word _resurrection_, cannot
but be acknowledged. But, with regard to the alleged inconsistency, this
distinction will not be found to make any difference: for, as will be
seen, it is not till after his resurrection, that, by Saint Luke, Jesus
is represented as having begun to show himself.

[80] In chapter XII. of this work, section 1, notice has already been
taken, of a similar operation as having been performed by Paul himself:
of the improvement made in _that_ case, the subject was the number of
the witnesses: according to the real Apostle, who was one of the
company, the number, as we have seen, was eleven, and a few more: this
number, whatever it was, the self-constituted Apostle, who knew nothing
about the matter, took in hand, and multiplied till he had raised it to
five hundred. Thus, with or without concert, with like effect,--and it
is almost needless to say, with the same object, and from the same
inducement,--may be seen the master and the journeyman, working on
different occasions, but with well-matched industry, at the
manufacturing of evidence. Add now together the results of the two
operations, and note the aggregate. Number of witnesses, according to
Luke, say,--for the sake of round numbers,--twenty; though there seems
little reason to suppose it so great: addition made to it by Paul, 480.
Number of days,--during which, as above, they continued seeing and
hearing what they saw and heard,--according to Saint Luke, but one:
according to Paul's attendant, 40. Multiply together the two
improvements, that is to say, the 480 by the 40, you have 19,200 for the
sum total of probative force, added by the arguments of the author of
the Acts to the amount of the original quantity, as reported by Saint


     _Law Report.--Jews versus Paul: Trials five, with Observations._



On the occasion of what passed at the Temple, the report of a great
law-case,--to speak in modern and English language,--the case of _The
Jews against Paul_, was begun. The judicatory before which he underwent
that trial,--partly before the Jewish multitude, partly before the Roman
chief by whom he was rescued,--was a sort of mixed and extempore
judicatory, something betwixt a legal and an illegal one: for, as has
been seen in the case of Saint Stephen, and as may be seen in the case
of the woman taken in adultery, and moreover, in the body of the law
itself, a sort of mob-law might, not altogether without ground, be
stated as forming part and parcel of the law of Moses. To this sort of
irregular trial, succeeded, before the definite judgment was pronounced,
no fewer than four others, each of them before a tribunal, as regular as
any the most zealous supporter of what is called legitimacy could
desire. In execution of this definitive judgment it was, that Paul was
sent, on that half-forced, half-voluntary expedition of his, to Rome: at
which place, on his arrival at that capital, the Acts history closes. Of
the reports of these several trials, as given in the Acts,--follows a
summary view, accompanied with a few remarks for elucidation.


MULTITUDE.--_Acts_ 22:1 to 21.

Scene, the Temple. Judges, prosecutors, and--stated as intended
executioners, a Jerusalem multitude. Sole class, by whom any declared or
special cause of irritation had been received, the Christianized Jews,
provoked by Paul's preachings against the law of the land, to which they
as yet maintained their adherence; by his intrusion upon their society,
by which, were it only for his former persecution, he could not but be
abhorred; and by the notorious perjury he was at that moment committing,
having chosen to commit it, rather than cease to obtrude upon them the
object of their abhorrence.

Of the particulars of the accusation nothing is said: but, the above
circumstances, and the subsequent charges made upon him the next day by
the constituted authorities,--who immediately took up the matter, and
carried on a regular prosecution against him,--sufficiently show, what,
if expressed, would have been the purport of them. By the preparations
made for execution, we shall see broken off the defence, before it had
come, if ever it was designed to come, to the substance of the alleged

Points touched upon in it are these:--

1. Defendant's birthplace, Tarsus; parentage, Jewish; religious
persuasion, Pharasaical; education, under Gamaliel, verse 3.

2. Part, borne by him, in the persecution of the Christians, when
Stephen was stoned: his commission for that purpose stated, and the High
Priest and Elders called to witness, verses 4 and 5.

     N.B. Time of _that_ same commission, according to the received
     chronology, not less than 26 years before this.

3. Story, of that first vision, of which so much has been seen: namely,
that from whence his conversion was dated: occasion, his journey to
Damascus, for the execution of that same commission, verses 6 to 16.

4. Story of his trance: for this see Chapter IV. §. 7. In this state,
"the Lord" seen by him.--_Lord to Defendant._ "Get thee quickly out of
Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me."
_Defendant, to Lord._ Informing or reminding said Lord of the details of
the part borne by said defendant in the persecution of Saint
Stephen.--_Lord to Defendant._ "Depart, for I will send thee far hence
unto the Gentiles." Note, Defendant cut short: Lord's patience no match
for defendant's eloquence.

_Judges and executioners._--At the word _Gentiles_, exclamation:--"Away
with him ... he is not fit to live":--clothes cast off, as in Stephen's
case, as if to prepare for stoning him.[81] "Dust thrown into the air."
Present, chief captain Claudius Lysias, who commands him to be "brought
into the castle," and "examined by scourging." While, for this purpose,
they are binding him, on Defendant crying out, "_I am a Roman citizen_,"
the binding ceases, no scourging commences: the next day he is released,
and the "chief priests and all their council" are "sent for," and
Defendant is "set before them."



Judges, chief priests in council assembled: present, the high priests.
Prosecutors, the said judge: other prosecutors, as far as appears, none.
In modern Rome-bred law, this mode of procedure, in which the parts of
judge and prosecutor are performed by the same person, is styled the
_inquisitorial_: in contradistinction to this, that in which the part of
prosecutor is borne by a different person, is stiled the _accusatorial_.

Charges or questions put, not stated.

_Defendant._ "I am a Pharisee ... the son of a Pharisee. Of the hope and
resurrection of the dead I am called in question."

Thereupon, ver. 9, "great cry" ...--"Great dissention." "Chief captain,
fearing lest," Defendant, "Paul should have been pulled in pieces of
them," inuendo the said judges, "commands soldiers," who take him back
into the castle.

"Cry? dissention?"--whence all this? Acts has not here been explicit
enough to inform us. As to Defendant's plea, that it was for believing
in the resurrection that he was prosecuted,--what could not but be
perfectly known to him was,--that it neither was true, nor by
possibility could be so. Among said Judges, parties two--Pharisees and
Sadducees: Pharisees the predominant. "The Sadducees," on this occasion,
says ver. 8, "say there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit;
but the Pharisees confess both." Prosecuting a Pharisee for preaching
the resurrection, meaning always the general resurrection, would have
been as if a Church-of-Englandist Priest were indicted in the King's
Bench, for reading the Athanasian creed. Accordingly--it was a stratagem
of the Defendant's--this same misstatement: such it is expressly stated
to be:--when defendant "_perceived_," ver. 6, "that the one part were
Sadducees, and the other Pharisees,"--then it was that he came out with
it: and, already it has been seen, how effectually it answered its

Enter once more the history of the _trance_. Note here the sudden
termination of Defendant's first Jerusalem visit, alias his
_Reconciliation Visit_, and turn back to Chapter IV. §. 7, Cause of
it,--historian speaking in his own person--"Grecians," Acts 9:29, "went
about to slay him," for disputing with them:--historian, speaking, to
wit, here, in defendant's person, Christianized Jews' disbelief of his
conversion, and of that vision story of his, that he produced in
evidence of it. It is on the occasion of the just-mentioned Temple
trial, that Defendant is made to come out with it. On that occasion, as
hath been seen, it was of no use: but, in this second trial, it will be
seen to be of prime use. That it was told over again at this trial is
not indeed expressly said: but, that it was so is sufficiently manifest.
This and no other is the handle which his supporters in the council lay
hold of: and this they could not have done, had he not, as will be seen
presently, put it into their hands. "The Scribes," says ver. 9, "that
were of the Pharisees' part, arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil
in this man; but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not
fight against God." Well then--this spirit, or this angel, who was he?
Who but that spirit, whom defendant had so manifestly told them of, and
who was no other than that "_Lord_" of his, whom he had seen in the
trance: in the trance, which, while the multitude were beating him,
invention had furnished him with for the purpose.

Mark now, how apposite a weapon the Pharisees found, in this same
trance, in their war against the Sadducees. As to Jesus,--though from
first to last, so far from being recognized by their sect, he had been
the object of that enmity of theirs under which he sunk,--yet, so far
as, in general terms, he preached the _general_ resurrection,--his
doctrine not only agreed with theirs, but was of no small use to them:
it was of use to them, against those political rivals, whose opposition
to their sect was the sole cause of everything that was troublesome to
it. As to Paul,--had he confined himself, to the speaking of Jesus's
_particular_ resurrection,--this indeed was what no Pharisee could be
disposed to admit: but if, by Paul or anyone else, Jesus, or any other
person, was at any time seen in an incorporeal state,--here was a piece
of evidence on their side. With relation to any interview of the
_Apostles_ with Jesus after his resurrection, nothing that Paul had to
say--to say with truth or colour of truth--was anything more than
_hearsay_ evidence: but, as to that, which on this occasion, he had been
relating about the Lord, whom he had seen in his trance,--this, how
false soever, was not only _direct_, but _immediate_ evidence: evidence,
in the delivery of which, the _relating_ witness stated himself to have
been, with relation to the alleged fact in question, a _percipient_

That, on this occasion, Paul dwelt, with any particularity, on the
appearance of Jesus in the flesh after his resurrection, is not said:
and, as it would not have contributed anything to the purpose, the less
particular the safer and the better. _Lord_ or not _Lord_, that which
appeared was at any rate a _spirit_: and for the war against the
Sadducees, a spirit was all that was wanted: no matter of what sort.


TRIAL III. PLACE, CÆSAREA.--_Acts_ 24:1-23.

SCENE, "Governor" Felix's judicatory. Judge, said Governor. Prosecutor,
Orator Tertullus: Present, his clients,--the "High Priest" and "the
Elders." Procedure, accusatorial. Time, "twelve days," ver. 11, "after
Trial 1; eleven, after Trial 2."

I. Counsel's Speech--Points touched upon in it, these:--verses 1-4.

1. Opening compliment to Governor Judge.--His "providence" and

II. 1. Vituperative surplusage, of course, as if in B. R.: though not
paid for, in fees and taxes, by the sheet.--Defendant, "a pestilent

Charges three. To make the matter more intelligible, had the proceeding
been by writing in the first instance, they might have been styled

2. Charge 1. Defendant "a mover of sedition among all the Jews
throughout the world."

3. Charge 2. Said Defendant "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."

4. Charge 3. Defendant "gone about to profane the temple."

5. Statement made of Trial 2, and the termination given to it by Roman
chief captain Lysias, taking said Defendant out of their hands, and
commanding accusers' appearance in this court: verses 7, 8.

6. _Viva voce_ evidence accordant: witnesses, neither quality nor number
stated. "And _the Jews_ also assented, saying that these things were
so." ver. 9.

III. Defendant's defence: verses 10-21.

Points touched upon in it, these:--

1. Defendant's confidence in this his judge.

2. At Jerusalem "to worship" was his errand. The ostensible one, yes: of
the real one,--supplanting the Apostles,--of course nothing said.

3. In the temple, defendant was not "found by _them_," by whom?
"disputing with any man." Disputing? No. It was to take the oath--the
seven-days-long false oath,--that he went there:--this, and nothing
else. The priests, in whose keeping he was, and on whose acceptance the
validity and efficacy of the ceremony depended, were not men to be
disputed with.

4. Defendant not found by them "raising up the people, neither in the
synagogues, nor in the city." ver. 12. No: neither was any such raising
charged upon him: nor would it have suited his purpose. Seditious _acts_
are one thing; seditious _discourses_, another. From seditious acts he
had nothing to gain; from seditious discourses everything: to wit, in so
far as the effect of it was to weaken men's attachment to the law of the
land, and engage them to transfer it to the schism he had raised in the
religion of Jesus.

5. General denial: but not amounting to _Not Guilty_. "Neither _can they
prove_ the things whereof they now accuse me." ver. 13.

6. In verses 14, 15, 16, matter nothing to the purpose. Orthodox his
belief: among the objects of it, the resurrection: void of offence
towards God and man, his conscience.

7. False pretence--object of this his visit to Jerusalem--of this his
_Invasion Visit_--falsely stated. "Now after many years I came to bring
alms to my nation, and offerings." ver. 17.

8. When Defendant was "found purified in the temple," it was "neither
with multitude, nor with tumult." True: but nothing to the purpose: the
priests, in whose boarding-house he was, while the _purifying_, that is
to say, the eating and paying, process was carrying on, were not a
_multitude_: nor would _tumult_ have been either profitable or

9. The men, who so found Defendant there, were "certain Jews from Asia,"
and, if they were accusers or witnesses, ought to have appeared in that
character on the present occasion. "Who ought," says ver. 19, "to have
been here before thee, and object, if they had aught against me." Ought?
why ought they? Defendant called no witnesses: by non-appearance of
witnesses, if against him, so far from being injured, he was benefited.
The proceeding, too, was _inquisitorial_, not _accusatorial_: it
required no accusers. Jews of Asia indeed? as if there were any Jews of
Asia, to whom any more natural or legitimate cause of indignation could
have been given by his misdeeds, than had been given by them to all the
Jews in Jerusalem, not to speak of the rest of the world, or the
Christianized Jews.

10. By Defendant's saying to the judges in Trial 2, that it was for
preaching the resurrection that he stood accused by and before them--by
this, without anything else, the indignation thereupon expressed by them
against him had been excited. "Or else," say verses 20, 21, "let these
same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood
before the council, Except it be for this one voice, that I cried,
standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called
in question by you this day."

Follows the judge's decision, "When Felix," says ver. 22, "heard these
things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and
said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the
uttermost of your matter." Such is stated to have been the decision of
the judge: and, so far as regarded what passed on Defendant's trial
before Jerusalem council, it was clearly the only proper one: a more
impartial, as well as, in every point of view, suitable witness, the
case could hardly have afforded: and, as to the main question, nothing
could be more natural, than that what it had fallen in Lysias's way on
that occasion to observe, might afford instructive light.

Interlocutory order. Defendant recommitted: but access to him free for
everybody. "And he commanded a centurion," says ver. 23, "to keep Paul,
and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his
acquaintance to minister, or come unto him."

In this state continues Paul for "two years": at which time, says ver.
27, "Porcius Festus came into Felix's room: and Felix, willing to show
the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound."

In verses 24, 25, 26, this interval of delay is filled up with an
account, such as it is, of certain intrigues, of which the Defendant was
the subject. The Roman has a Jewess for his wife. The prisoner is sent
for, and wife shares with husband the benefit of his eloquence.
Self-constituted Apostle preaches: heathen trembles: trembling, however,
prevents not his "hoping" to get money out of the prisoner, if this part
of the history is to be believed. "And after certain days," says ver.
24, "when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he
sent for Paul, and heard him concerning," what is here called, "the
faith in Christ." Faith _in Christ_ indeed? After the word _faith_, the
word _Christ_ costs no more to write than the word _Paul_: but in
whatever was said about faith by Paul, which would be the most prominent
figure,--Christ or Paul--may by this time be imagined. As for any faith
which it was in the nature of the case, that the Roman heathen should
derive from the Greek Jew's eloquence, it must have been faith in Paul,
and Paul only. Paul he had seen and heard, Christ he had neither seen
nor heard; nor, for aught that appears, anything concerning him, till
that very time.

"And as he reasoned," says ver. 25, "of righteousness, temperance, and
judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this
time, when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped,"
continues ver. 26, "that money should have been given him of Paul, that
he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed
with him."



SCENE, Cæsarea judicatory.--Judge, new Roman governor, Festus.
Accusers, "Jews," not named, sent by the high priest and his colleagues
from Jerusalem to Cæsarea for the purpose. Defendant still in the
prison at Cæsarea: Roman judge, at Jerusalem. Prosecutors, the council
there--petition to have Defendant brought thither. Judge chooses rather
to go to him at Cæsarea, than thus send for him to Jerusalem.

According to the _historian_, it was for the purpose of causing
Defendant to be murdered, in the way to the judicatory, that the
prosecutors were so earnest as they were to obtain the _habeas corpus_:
according to _probability_, it was for any purpose, rather than that of
committing any such outrage upon the authority of their constituted
superior, with an army at his command. Be this as it may, instead of
sending for Defendant to Jerusalem, the judge returned himself to

"Now," says ver. 1, "when Festus was come into the province, after three
days he ascended from Cæsarea to Jerusalem.--Then the high priest and
the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him.--And
desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem,
laying wait in the way to kill him.--But Festus answered, that Paul
should be kept at Cæsarea, and that he himself would depart shortly
thither.--Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down
with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.--And
when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto
Cæsarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment-seat commanded Paul
to be brought."

Charges, not particularized: said of them, not so much as that they were
the same as before. "Many and grievous complaints against Paul, which
they could not prove": ver. 7--such is the only account given of them.

Defence--points contained in it. As before, no offence, says ver. 8,
against the law--no offence against "the temple." One point added, "Nor
yet against Caesar." Good. But how comes this here? Here we have a
defence, against what, it is plain, was never charged.

_Festus_--judge, to Defendant, ver. 9: "Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem,
and there be judged of these things _before me_?"

Defendant to judge, ver. 10: "I stand at Caesar's judgment-seat, where I
ought to be judged": meaning, as appears from the direct words of appeal
in the next verse,--by a Roman, not by a Jewish judicatory, ought I to
be tried. Against the being judged at Cæsarea, instead of Jerusalem, he
could not naturally have meant to object: at least, if the historian
speaks true, in what he says about the plot for murdering the prisoner
on the road.

2. "To the Jews," says ver. 10, "have I done no wrong." Thus far nothing
more is said than _Not Guilty_. But now follows another trait of that
effrontery, which was so leading a feature in Paul's eloquence, "as,"
continues he, "thou very well knowest." Now what anybody may see
is,--that Festus neither did know, nor could know, any such thing.
Witness the historiographer himself, who, but eight verses after, (18,
19, 20,) makes Festus himself, in discourse with King Agrippa, declare
as much. But the more audacious, the more in Defendant's character; and
the greater the probability, that, in the conflict between the
Law-Report and the narrative, truth is on the side of the Report.

3. Conclusion: ver. 11, defendant gives judge to understand, that if he,
the Defendant, has done any of the things he has been charged with, he
has no objection to be put to death: but in the same breath ends with
saying, "I appeal to Caesar!" submitting thus to Festus's judgment,
whatever it may be, and at the same time appealing from it.

Festus judge: ver. 12, "when he had conferred with _the council_,"
whoever they were,--"Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar thou
shalt go." Here ends Trial IV.



This requires some previous explanation.

A few days after the last preceding trial, came to Cæsarea, says verse
13, _Agrippa and Bernice_: Festus being still there: Agrippa, sub-king
of the Jews under the Romans: Bernice, it may be presumed, his queen:
saluting this their superior, their only business mentioned. Follows
thereupon a conversation, of which Defendant is the subject, and which
continues the length of fourteen verses. Defendant having appealed to
Caesar, judge has determined to send him to Caesar accordingly. But,
considering that, by the emperor, on the arrival of a man sent to him in
the character of a prisoner, some assigned cause, for his having been
put into that condition, will naturally be looked for; and, as the only
offences, the Jew stands charged with, are of a sort, which, while to
the heathen emperor they would not be intelligible, would to a Jew
sub-king, if to any one, be sufficiently so;--thereupon it is, that he
desires his sub-majesty to join with him in the hearing of the cause,
and by that means put him in a way to report upon it.

Speaking of the accusers, "they brought," says Festus to Agrippa in
verse 18, "none accusation of such things as I supposed.--But had
certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one
Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.--And because I
doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to
Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.--But Paul...had
appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus..." Such, as
above noticed, is the declaration which the historian puts into the
mouth of Festus: and this, after having so recently made Paul tell
Festus, that his, Paul's, having done no wrong to the Jews, was to him,
Festus, matter of such perfect knowledge.[82]

Now then comes the trial, Acts 26:1. Scene, at Cæsarea, the Emperor's
Bench. Lord chief justice, Roman governor Festus; Puisne judge, Jew
sub-king Agrippa. Present, "Bernice...chief captains and principal men
of the city." Special accusers, none. Sole speaker, whose speech is
reported, the Defendant.

Points in Defendant's speech, these:

1. Verses 2 and 3. Patient hearing requested, acknowledgment of
Agrippa's special confidence.

2. Verses 4 and 5. Protestation of Phariseeism.

3. Verses 6, 7, 8. Same false insinuation as before,--Phariseeism the
sole crime imputed to him.

4. Verses 9, 10, 11. Confession or avowal, whichever it is to be called,
of his proceedings six-and-twenty years before, against the
Christianized Jews, shutting them up in prison, in pursuance of
authority from "the chief priests," down to the time of his
conversion-vision. See Table I. Conversion Table.

5. Verses 12 to 20. Account of this same vision. See that same Table.

6. Declaration. "For _these_ causes the Jews caught me in the temple,
and went about to kill me."--For these causes? For what causes? If for
being a Pharisee, or preaching the general resurrection, or even the
particular one,--assuredly no. But, if for the breach of trust, in
joining with the state offenders, the Christianized Jews, whom he was
commissioned to apprehend;--joining with those state offenders, and then
bringing out the vision-story for an excuse;--if telling everybody that
would hear him, that the law of the land was a dead letter;--and, if the
denying he had ever done so; and, for giving himself the benefit of such
mendacious denial, rendering the temple an instrument of notorious
perjury;--if it was for all this, that they "went about" indeed "to kill
him,"--but to kill him no otherwise than in the manner prescribed by
that same law,--Jewishly speaking, they were not to blame in what they
did,--humanly speaking, nothing can be seen that is not altogether
natural in it.

7. Conclusion: namely, if not of what he would have said,--at any rate,
of what, according to the reporter, he was permitted to say:--it is
formed by a passage, in which, in continuance of his plan for keeping up
his interest with the Pharisee part of the council, his ingenuity
employs itself in strengthening the connection between the particular
resurrection of Jesus, and the general resurrection maintained by the

"Having therefore," says verse 22, "obtained help of God, I continue
unto this day, _witnessing_ both to small and great, saying none other
things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should
come:--That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that
should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to
the Gentiles."--Lord Chief Justice Festus, "with a loud voice, as he,"
the Defendant, "thus spake for himself--Paul, thou art beside thyself;
much learning hath made thee mad." In the mouth of a Roman, and that
Roman so high in rank, the notion thus expressed had nothing in it but
what was natural enough. As to the _general_ resurrection, _that_ was
one of the above-mentioned "questions about their own superstition,"
which he therefore left to the Jewish judges: as to the _particular_
resurrection, of this he had heard no better evidence than the
defendant's: and what, in discriminating eyes, _that_ was likely to be
worth, the reader has by this time judged.

8. Defendant in reply, ver. 25: Not mad, but sober:--for confirmation,
appeal to the Jewish sub-monarch, then and there present. "I am not mad,
most noble Festus; but speak for the words of truth and soberness.--For
the King knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely; for I
am persuaded, that none of these things are hidden from him; for this
was not done in a corner." Here would have been a place for the five
hundred, by whom, after his resurrection, Jesus was seen at once--see
above chapter--but, upon the present occasion, the general expression,
here employed, was deemed preferable. "King Agrippa," continues verse
27, "believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest."

King Agrippa to Paul, ver. 28. "Almost thou persuadest me to be a

Paul to Agrippa: "I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that
hear me this day were both almost and altogether such as I am, _except
these bonds_." No bad trait of polite oratory this exception.

Assembly breaks up.--"And when he had thus spoken, the King rose up, and
the governor and Bernice, and they that sat with them. And when they
were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth
nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This
man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar."
Observation. In this observation, something of the obscure seems to
present itself. For, Paul himself being the appellant, and _that_ for no
other purpose than the saving himself from death or bonds, he had but to
withdraw the appeal, and, supposing a judgment pronounced to the effect
thus mentioned, this was everything he could have wished from it. But,
Paul having already, to judge from his Epistle to the Romans, laid the
foundation of a spiritual kingdom in the metropolis of the civilized
world,--it looks as if he had no objection to figure there, as we shall
find him figuring accordingly, in the character of a state-prisoner, for
the purpose of displaying, and in the eye of the Caesar of that day, a
sample of his eloquence, in a cause so much greater than any in which
that of the first Caesar could ever have displayed itself. Reason is not
wanting for the supposition, that it was by what passed at the council,
that the idea was first suggested to him: for "the night following, the
Lord," says 23:11, "stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul; for
as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness
also at Rome." The Lord has commanded me so and so, is the sort of
language in which he would naturally make communication of this idea to
his attendants.

The circumstantiated and dramatic style of this part of the narrative,
seems to add to the probability, that, on this occasion, the historian
himself was present. On this supposition, though in the Greek as well as
in the English, they are represented as if they had quitted the
justice-room,--any conversation, that took place among them immediately
after, in the street, might not unnaturally have been overheard by him.
In chapter 24, ver. 23, stands Felix's order of admittance, as above,
for Paul's acquaintance, to minister or come to him. One other attendant
has appeared, in the character of his sister's son, Acts 23:16; by whom
information was given to Felix, that the men there spoken of were lying
in wait for him to kill him. On the occasion of this invasion of his, it
would have been interesting enough to have had a complete list of his

Here ends trial fifth and last: and in the next verse it is, that,
together with other prisoners, and the historian at least for his free
attendant, he is dispatched on his voyage. Acts 27:1. "And when it was
determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and
certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus'
band.--And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, _we_ launched..."


[81] If in any former part of this work, in speaking of this scene, the
persons in question have been spoken of as having actually proceeded to
acts of manual violence, it was an oversight.

As to the examination by scourging,--singular enough will naturally
appear this mode of collecting evidence: declared purpose of it, "that
he," the captain, "might know wherefore _they_," the Jews, "cried out
against him," meaning the defendant. A simpler way would have been to
have asked _them_; and, as to the scourge, what use it could have been
of is not altogether obvious. To begin with torturing a man, and proceed
by questioning him, was, however, among the Romans a well-known mode of
obtaining evidence. But, then and there, as now and everywhere, unless
the United States form an exception, "whatever is--is right," provided
always that it is by power that it is done.

[82] Acts 25:12-27.

"Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast
thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.--And after certain
days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Cæsarea to salute Festus.--And
when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto
the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:--About
whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the
Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.--To whom I
answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die,
before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have
license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against
him.--Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the
morrow I sat on the judgment-seat, and commanded the man to be brought
forth:--Against whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought none
accusation of such things as I supposed:--But had certain questions
against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead,
whom Paul affirmed to be alive.--And because I doubted of such manner of
questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be
judged of these matters.--But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto
the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send
him to Caesar.--Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man
myself. To-morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.--And on the morrow,
when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered
into the place of hearing, with the chief captains and principal men of
the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.--And Festus
said, King Agrippa, and all men which are present with us, ye see this
man about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at
Jerusalem and also here, crying that he ought not to live any
longer.--But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death,
and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send
him.--Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord, wherefore I
have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O, King
Agrippa, that after examination had, I might have somewhat to
write.--For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not
withal to signify the crimes laid against him."


     _Paul's Doctrines Anti-apostolic_.--_Was he not Anti-Christ?_



If Paul's pretensions to a supernatural intercourse with the Almighty
were no better than a pretence;--his visit to Jerusalem, from first to
last, an object of abhorrence to the Apostles and all their disciples;
in a word, to all, who in the birthplace of Christianity, bore the name
of Christian, and were regarded as belonging to the religion of
Jesus;--if, not only to _their_ knowledge, but to that of the whole
population of Jerusalem, he was a depraved character, marked by the
stain,--not merely of habitual insincerity, but of perjury in its most
aggravated form;--if it was no otherwise than by his having declared
himself a Roman citizen, that he escaped from the punishment--apparently
a capital one--attached by the law of the land to the crimes of which he
had been guilty; if, in a word, it was only in places, in which
Jesus--his doctrines, and his Apostles--were alike unknown, that this
self-declared Apostle of Jesus was received as such;--if all, or though
it were but some, of these points may be regarded as established,--any
further proof, in support of the position, that no doctrine of his,
which is not contained in some one or other of the four Gospels, has any
pretension to be regarded as part and parcel of the religion of Jesus,
might well, in any ordinary case, be regarded as superfluous: and, of
the several charges here brought to view, whether there be any one, of
the truth of which the demonstration is not complete, the reader has all
along been invited to consider with himself, and judge. If thereupon the
judgment be condemnatory, the result is--that whatever is in Paul, and
is not to be found in any one of the four Gospels, is not Christianity,
but Paulism.

In any case of ordinary complexion, sufficient then, it is presumed, to
every judicious eye, would be what the reader has seen already: but the
present case is no ordinary case. An error, if such it be, which
notwithstanding all the sources of correction, which in the course of
the work have at length been laid open and brought to view, has now, for
upwards of seventeen centuries past, maintained its ground throughout
the Christian world, cannot, without the utmost reluctance, be parted
with: for dissolving the association so unhappily formed, scarcely,
therefore, can any argument which reason offers be deemed superfluous.

For this purpose, one such argument, though on a preceding occasion
already touched upon, remains to be brought to view. It consists of his
own confession. Confession? say rather avowal: for--such is the temper
of the man--in the way of boasting it is, not in the way of concession
and self-humiliation that he comes out with it. Be this as it may--when,
speaking of the undoubted Apostles, he himself declares, that he has
received nothing from them, and that he has doctrines which are not
theirs, shall he not obtain credence? Yes: for this once, it should
seem, he may, without much danger of error, be taken at his word.

To see this--if he can endure the sight--will not cost the reader much
trouble, Table II. _Paul disbelieved Table_, lies before him. Under the
head of _Independence declared_, in Paul's Epistle to his Galatians,
chapter 1, verses 11, 12, he will find these words. "But I certify you,
brethren, that the Gospel which was _preached of me is not after man_:
for _I neither received it of man_, neither was _I taught, but by the
revelation of Jesus Christ_." Thus far Paul. If then it was not received
by him by the revelation of Jesus Christ--this Gospel of his; nor yet,
as he assures us, "_of man_,"--the consequence is a necessary one--it
was made by him, out of his own head.



Of the name of Jesus, whatever use he may have made--made (as it was
seen) without authority--can any use, made in contradiction to this his
own confession, afford any the slightest ground for regarding _his_
Gospel, whatever it be,--his Gospel, or any part of it,--as belonging to
the religion of Jesus? If so, then are all impostors the persons they
falsely pretend to be--all counterfeit productions of any kind, genuine

While preaching to Gentiles at a distance from Jerusalem, from any use
he could have the assurance to make of so revered a name, it is almost
superfluous to observe, how much he had to gain, and how little to lose.
In a case of this sort, how much soever there may be that is offensive
in the demeanour of the pretended agent eulogizing, no part of it is
ascribed to the pretended principal eulogized: and, in such his eulogy,
the pretended agent is not hampered by any of those considerations, by
which he would stand precluded from all prospect of advantage, had he
the effrontery to lay it in equally strong colours on himself. Thus, in
the case of Paul, from putting in the foreground where he did, the name
of Jesus, there was this great advantage to gain: and, the pretended
principal being never present to disavow him, the consequence was--that,
so long as no accredited and credited agents, of that same principal,
were at hand to contradict his pretensions,--the mere name of this
principal would be no obstacle, to the preaching of doctrines, ever so
decidedly at variance with his.

If, on the other hand,--in a company, in which he was preaching
doctrines of his own, which were not Jesus's,--men should happen to be
present, to whom, by reason of their personal acquaintance with Jesus,
or with any immediate disciples of Jesus, these same doctrines of Paul's
should be perceived and declared not to be Jesus's, here would be an
inconvenience: and, on this account,--wherever, without using the name
of Jesus, or any other name than his own, he could be sufficiently
assured, of obtaining a degree of confidence sufficient for his
purpose,--this course, supposing it successful, would, on several
accounts, be more advantageous.

Here then, on each occasion, or at any rate on some occasions, would be
an option for him to make: namely, either to preach in the name of
Jesus, or else to set up for himself:--to set up for himself, and, on
the strength of a pretended revelation from the Almighty, without the
intervention of Jesus, preach in no other human name than his own.

From a passage, in the first of his two Epistles to his Corinthian
disciples, it looks as if an experiment of this kind--an experiment for
adding nominal independence to real--had actually been tried: but that,
the success of it was not such as to be followed by continuance. For
this suspicion--for it is but a suspicion,--any reader who thinks it
worth his while may see the grounds in the subjoined note.[83]



A child, of Paul's ready and fruitful brain--a bugbear, which the
officious hands of the English official translators of his Epistles,
have in their way christened, so to speak, by the name of
_Antichrist_,--has been already brought to view. See Chap. XII. §. 4. If
there be any persons, to whose religion,--in addition to a devil, with
or without horns and tail,--with or without other spirits, in no less
carnal howsoever unrepulsive forms,--an Antichrist is necessary for the
completion of the polytheistical official establishment; and if, in
place of an ideal, they can put up with a real Antichrist,--an
Antichrist of flesh and blood,--they need not go far to look for one. Of
Saul, alias Paul, the existence is not fabulous. If, in his time, a
being there was, in whom, with the exception of some two or three
attendants of his own, every person, that bore the name of Christian,
beheld, and felt an opponent, and that opponent an indefatigable
adversary, it was this same Paul: Yes, such he was, if, in this
particular, one may venture to give credence, to what has been seen so
continually testified,--testified, not by any enemy of his, but by his
own dependent,--his own historiographer,--his own panegyrist,--his own
steady friend. Here then, for anybody that wants an Antichrist, here is
an Antichrist, and he an undeniable one.

Antichrist, as everybody sees, Antichrist means neither more nor less
than that which is opposed to Christ. To Christ himself, the bugbear,
christened by the English bishops _Antichrist_, was not, by its creator,
spoken of as opposing itself. To Christ himself, Paul himself could not,
at that time, be an opponent: the Jesus, whom he called Christ, was no
longer in the flesh. But of all that, in the customary figurative
sense--of all that, in any intelligible sense, could on this occasion be
called _Christ_--namely, the real Apostles of Jesus, and their disciples
and followers,--Paul, if he himself is to be believed, was an opponent,
if ever there was one.

Paul preached the resurrection of the dead. Agreed. But did not all
Pharisees do so, too? And was not Paul a Pharisee? And Jesus--had he not
in all Pharisees so many opponents? And the real Christians, had they
anywhere in his lifetime, any other opponent so acrid or so persevering
as this same Paul?

Paul preached the resurrection of the dead. Agreed. But _that_
resurrection of the dead which he preached, was it not a resurrection,
that was to take place in the lifetime of himself and other persons then
living? And--any such resurrection, did it accordingly take place?[84]


[83] "Were ye baptized," says he, speaking to his Corinthians, 2 Cor.
ii. 13. "Were ye baptized in the name of Paul?--I thank God," continues
he, "that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius,--Lest any man
should say that I had baptized in mine own name.--And I baptized also
the household of Stephanas; besides, I know not whether I baptized any
other." For an experiment of this kind, it should seem from that
Epistle, that motives were by no means wanting. For, among these same
disciples, in the preaching of his doctrines, he had found himself
annoyed by divers names more or less formidable: there was the name,
though probably never the person--of _Cephas_, the real Hebrew name, of
which, in the four Gospels, written as they are in Greek, _Peter_ is the
translation: there was the name, and not improbably the person--of
_Apollos_, whom, about three years before, Acts 18:18-26, two female
disciples of Paul's, Aquila and Priscilla, had at Ephesus enlisted under
his banners: there was, according to him, _the name of Christ_, though
assuredly, never the person of _Jesus_.

"For it hath been declared unto me of you, brethren," says he, 1 Cor. i.
11, "that there are contentions among you,--Now this I say, that every
one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I
of Christ." Thereupon follows immediately a short flourish of Paulian
eloquence:--"Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye
baptized in the name of Paul?" and so forth, as above.

"Division," says he, "among you:" in this phrase may be seen the style
of modern royalty. Towards a will so intimately connected with the
divine as the royal, no such temper of mind, so intolerable as
opposition, is ever to be supposed: were it on all occasions equally
known--known to all, and alike interpreted by all, no division could
have place: but, some put one interpretation upon it, some another: in
some eyes, this course is regarded as best adapted to the giving effect
to it; in others, that: hence that division, to which, on every
occasion, it is the duty of all to put the speediest end. Now then as to
Paul. This same assumed fatherly affection, under the name of
elder-brotherly--this desire of seeing concord among brethren--what was
it in plain truth? Answer, love of power. Would you have proof? Take in
hand this same Epistle of his to his Corinthians, or, if at verse the
tenth, it will be to this purpose early enough, and read on, till you
come to chapter iv. verses 15, 16. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and
that there be no divisions among you: but that ye be perfectly joined
together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.--For it hath been
declared unto me," and so forth, as above. Read on, and at length you
will come to the essence of all this good advice, 1 Cor. 4:15. "For,
though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ," says he, "yet have
ye not many fathers; for, in Christ Jesus, _I have begotten you_,
through the Gospel.--Wherefore, I beseech you, _be ye followers of me_."

At this time, it should seem that, on the occasion of this his courtship
of the Jews of Corinth, not only was the name of Peter an object of his
declared rivalry, but the name and person of his own sub-disciple
Apollos, an object of his jealousy. "For, while one saith," 1 Cor. iii.
4, "I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not," says he,
"carnal?--Who then," continues he, "is Paul, and who is Apollos, but
ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?--I
have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.--Now he that
planteth and he that watereth are one; and every man shall receive his
own reward according to his own labour." Fifteen verses after comes a
flourish, in which Apollos is spoken of for the last time. "Whether
Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things
present, or things to come, all are yours;--23. And ye are Christ's, and
Christ is God's." At the word _Cephas_ ends, it may have been observed,
common sense: what follows being dust for the eyes: dust, composed of
the flowers of Saulo-Paulian eloquence.

As to Apollos, if so it was, that, at one time, in the mind of our
spiritual monarch, any such sentiment as jealousy, in regard to this
sub-minister had place, it seems to have been afterwards, in some way or
other, removed: for, in his Epistle to Titus, bearing date about seven
years after, namely A.D. 64, the devotion of the subject seems to have
been entire. Speaking to Titus, Tit. 3:13, "Bring with you," says Paul,
"Zenas the lawyer, and Apollos, on their journey diligently, that
nothing be wanting to them."

[84] Paul must have thought that he had the Church at Corinth under
complete control of his hypnotic suggestion or otherwise so much under
his control as to assume the exalted office of Clairvoyant Oracle
without question. He says, 2 Cor. 1-7, "I must needs glory, though it is
not expedient; but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord, I
know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body I know
not; or whether out of the body, I know not, God knoweth). Such a one
caught up even to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in
the body, or apart from the body, I know not, God knoweth); how that he
was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is
not lawful for a man to utter. On behalf of such a one will I glory: but
on mine own behalf I will not glory, save in my weakness. For if I
should desire to glory, I shall not be foolish; for I shall speak the
truth: but I forbear, lest any man should account of me above that which
he seeth me to be, or heareth from me.

"And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations--wherefore,
that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me _a thorn in
the flesh_, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be
exalted overmuch. Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that
it might depart from me.

"And he has said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee."

It would require a Swift, Dryden, Pope, Milton or Knowles to stage the
above so as make appreciable objective quantities out of the above
verbal terms. They might create characters and give them the plumage of
angels, nymphs, spirits, heathen gods, etc., and so feast the
imagination into paranoia.

"Thorn in the flesh." This phrase has baffled the Ecclesiastics. The
earlier Commentators interpreted it to mean Paul's great disappointment
in all his schemes to subordinate the Apostles of Christ to his
personal dominion of which so much has been disparaged by the author.





  Paul's Conversion. Improbability and Discordancy of the
  Accounts of it                                                     1

  1. List of these Accounts, with preliminary Observations.
     Table in which they are confronted                              1

  2. Vision I. Dialogue on the road: Paul hears a voice,
     sees nothing                                                    8

  3. Vision II. Ananias's                                       21, 34

  4. Ananias: his Visit to Paul at Damascus                     26, 57

  5. Vision III. Paul's anterior Vision, as reported by the
     Lord to Ananias. _Acts_ ix. 12                                 62

  6. Visions, why two or three, instead of one?                     64

  7. Commission to Paul by Jerusalem Rulers--Commission
     to bring in Bonds Damascus Christians--Paul's Contempt
     put upon it                                                    69

  8. Companions--had Paul any upon the road?                        72

  9. In Paul's Epistle to his Galatians,--by his silence, Acts
     Accounts of his Conversion are virtually contradicted          77



  Outward Conversion--how produced--how planned                     89

  1. Motive, Temporal Advantage--Plan                               93

  2. At Damascus, no such Ananias probably                          97

  3. On Damascus journey--Companions none                          100

  4. Flight from Damascus: Causes--false--true                     101

  5. Arabia Visit--mentioned by Paul, not _Acts_              108, 113

  6. Gamaliel--had he part in Paul's plan?                         125


  _Paul disbelieved_.--Neither his divine Commission nor his
  inward Conversion ever credited by the Apostles or their
  Jerusalem Disciples.--Source of Proof stated                     135

  1. To Paul's Conversion Vision, sole original Witness
  himself                                                          135

  2. Counter-Witnesses, the Apostles: by them, the Story
     probably not heard--certainly not credited                    136

  3. In proof, so much of the _Acts_ history must here be
     anticipated                                                   138

  4. Topics under his several Jerusalem Visits: _viz_.
     I. Reconciliation Visit                                  139, 143

  5. Topics under Visit II.--Money-bringing Visit                  153

  6. Remarks on Visit III.--Deputation Visit                       154

  7. Topics under Visit IV.--Invasion Visit                        156

  8. Self-written Biography--its superior Value and Claim
     to Credence                                                   159


  _Paul disbelieved_ continued. _First_ of his four Visits
  to Jerusalem after his Conversion--say _Jerusalem Visit
  I_. or _Reconciliation Visit_.--Barnabas introducing him
  from Antioch to the Apostles                                     160

  1. Paul's Proceedings between his Conversion and this
     Visit.--Contradiction. Per Paul, it was not till after
     three Years spent in Arabia; per _Acts_, immediately          164

  2. Grounds of Paul's Prospect of Reconciliation on this
     Occasion with the Apostles and their Disciples                171

  3. Occasion of this Visit, as per _Paul's_ own Account           177

  4. Occasion, as per _Acts_ Account compared with Paul's          180

  5. Cause of the Discordance between the two Accounts             188

  6. Length of this Visit                                          192

  7. Mode and Cause of its Termination                             197


  _Paul disbelieved_ continued. _Jerusalem Visit II._
  _Money-bringing Visit._--Barnabas accompanying him
  from Antioch                                                     203

  1. At Antioch, Agabus having predicted a Dearth, Money
     is collected for the Jerusalem Saints                         203

  2. Barnabas and Paul dispatched with the Money to Jerusalem      208


  _Paul disbelieved_ continued.--_Jerusalem Visit III._
  _Deputation Visit._--_Paul_ and _Barnabas_ delegated by
  _Antioch_ Saints, to confer on the Necessity of Jewish Rites
  to Heathen Converts to the Religion of Jesus                     211

  1. Occasion of this Visit                                        211

  2. The Delegates how received.--Council of Apostles and
     Elders                                                        215

  3. Debates--Course carried by _James_ against _Peter_            220

  4. Result, supposed Apostolic Decree and Letter to
     _Antioch_, which, per _Acts_, Paul circulates                 224


  _Paul disbelieved_ continued. After his third Jerusalem
  Visit, Contest between him and _Peter_ at Antioch.
  _Partition Treaty_: _Paul_ for himself: _Peter_, _James_
  and _John_ for the Apostles                                      228

  1. _Contest_ and _Partition-Treaty_, as per _Acts_ and
     _Paul's Epistles_                                             228

  2. Partition-Treaty--_Probability_, given by the _financial
     Stipulation_, to Paul's Account of it                         238

  3. _Time_ of the Partition-Treaty, most probably that of
     _Visit I_                                                     242


  _Interview the Fourth._--_Peter_ at _Antioch_.--Deputies to
  Antioch from Jerusalem, _Judas_ and _Silas_.--Paul disagrees
  with _Peter_ and _Barnabas_, quits Antioch, and on a
  Missionary Excursion takes with him _Silas_. What concerns
  the Partition Treaty, down to this Period, reviewed.--Peter
  and the Apostles justified                                       249

  1. _Paul's_ Account of this Interview quoted.--_Acts_
     Account of what followed upon it                              249

  2. Paul disagrees with _Peter_ and _Barnabas_; quits
     Antioch, taking _Silas_ from the Apostles                     252

  3. The _Partition Treaty_, and the proceedings in relation
     to it, down to this Period, _reviewed_                        255

  4. Peter and the Apostles justified, as to the _financial
     Stipulation_ in the Treaty, and the succeeding Missionary
     Labours of _Peter_ among the _Gentiles_                       258


  _Paul disbelieved_ continued.--_Jerusalem Visit IV._ and
  last _Invasion Visit_. The Purpose concealed: Opposition
  universal; among his own Disciples, and among those of the
  Apostles                                                         266

  1. Motives to this Visit                                         266

  2. The Visit _announced_ by Paul and _deferred_                  267

  3. The design indefensible                                       272

  4. Opposition made to it by his own _attendants_ and other
     _adherents_                                                   275

  5. Opposition made to it by the _Apostles_ and their
     disciples                                                     277

  6. Plan of the _Apostles_ for _ridding themselves_ of Paul       282


  _Paul disbelieved_ continued.--_Jerusalem Visit IV._
  continued. His Arrival and Reception. Accused by all the
  Disciples of the Apostles, he commences an _exculpatory
  Oath_ in the Temple. Dragged out by them--rescued by a
  Roman Commander--sent in Custody to Rome                         288

  1. At Jerusalem, Paul is received by the _Elders_ and
     _James_; but by _no other Apostle_                            288

  2. Low Tone assumed by him on this Occasion                      291

  3. Posterior to all his supposed Miracles, his Silence
     proves them unreal                                            295

  4. Accused by the Disciples, he commences, at the
     Recommendation of the Apostles, an _exculpatory
     Oath_ in the Temple                                           298

  5. The Design of this Recommendation justified                   308

  6. Dragged out of the Temple by _Jews_ or _Christians_,
     he is saved by a Roman Commander                              309


  _Paul disbelieved_ continued.--Paul's _fourth Jerusalem
  Visit_ continued. _Perjurious_ was the Purpose of the
  exculpatory Ceremony commenced in the Temple                     310

  1. General Proof of the Perjury from the Acts                    310

  2. Proof from the Epistles                                       327


  More Falsehoods.--Resurrection-Witnesses multiplied.--World's
  End predicted.--To save credit, Antichrist invented              333

  1. Resurrection-Witnesses multiplied                             333

  2. False Prophecy, that the World would end in the Lifetime
     of Persons then living                                        338

  3. Disorder and Mischief produced by this Prediction             343

  4. Paul's Remedy for the Disorder, and Salvo for himself.
     _Antichrist_ must first come                                  347


  Paul's supposable _Miracles_ explained                           354

  1. Objections, applying to them in the Aggregate                 354

  2. Supposable Miracle I. Elymas the Sorcerer blinded.--_Acts_
     xiii. 6-12                                                    358

  3. Supposable Miracle II.--At Lystra, Cripple cured.--_Acts_
     xiv. 8-11                                                     361

  4. Supposable Miracle III.--Divineress silenced.--_Acts_
     xvi 16-18                                                     362

  5. Supposable Miracle IV.--At Philippi, an Earthquake:
     Paul and Silas freed from Prison, A.D. 53                     365

  6. Supposable Miracle V.--At Corinth, Paul comforted by
     the Lord in an _unseen_ Vision, A.D. 54--_Acts_
     xviii. 7-11                                                   369

  7. Supposable Miracle VI.--At Ephesus, Diseases and
     Devils expelled by foul Handkerchiefs.--_Acts_
     xix. 1-12                                                     372

  8. Supposable Miracle VII.--At Ephesus, Exorcist Scevas
     bedeviled.--_Acts_ xix. 13-20                                 373

  9. Supposable Miracle VIII.--Magical Books burnt by the
     Owners.--_Acts_ xix. 19, 20                                   380

 10. Supposable Miracle IX.--At Troas, Eutychus found
     not to be dead.--_Acts_ xx. 7-12                              382

 11. Supposable Miracle X.--On Shipboard, Paul comforted
     by an Angel.--_Acts_ xxvii. 20-25                             385

 12. Supposable Miracle XI.--At Malta, a Reptile shaken off
     by Paul without hurt.--_Acts_ xxviii. 1-6                     386

 13. Supposable Miracle XII.--At Malta, Deputy Publius's
     Father cured.--_Acts_ xxviii. 7, 8                            389

 14. Conclusion: the Supposable Miracles classed and
     summed up                                                     393


  Acts, Part false, Part true: Author not Saint Luke               397

  1. By the false Parts, the Gospel not affected: most Parts
     true                                                          397

  2. Time between Resurrection and Ascension--Acts contradicts
     Luke                                                          398

  3. As to Ascension, Acts inconsistent with Luke                  403


  Law Report.--Jews _versus_ Paul: Trials five, with
  Observations                                                     406

  1. Introduction                                                  406

  2. Trial I. Place, Jerusalem-Temple.--Judicatory, the mixed
     Multitude.--_Acts_ xxii. 1-21                                 407

  3. Trial II. Judicatory, Jerusalem Council-Board.--_Acts_
     xxiii. 1-10                                                   409

  4. Trial III. Place, Cæsarea.--_Acts_ xxiv. 1-23                413

  5. Trial IV. Place, again, Cæsarea.--_Acts_ xxv. 1-12           417

  6. Trial V. and last.--Place, still Cæsarea                     420


  Paul's Doctrines Anti-Apostolic.--Was he not Antichrist?         426

  1. Paul's Doctrine was at variance with that of the
     Apostles                                                      426

  2. Of Conformity, use made of the Name of Jesus no Proof         428

  3. Paul, was he not Antichrist?                                  432

       *       *       *       *       *

Punctuation corrected without comment. Original spelling retained with
the exception of the following apparent typesetting errors:

Pg iv "D'unning's" changed to "Dunning's"--"Dunning's clearness"

Pg xxiv "Stright" changed to "Straight"--"street which is called

Pg 13 "read" changed to "road"--"in the road leading"; "was" changed
to "what"--"But what is"

Pg 14 "superservicable" changed to "superserviceable"--"such a
superserviceable witness"

Pg 75 "proveable" changed to "provable"--"real and provable facts."

Pg 79 "he" changed to "the"--"uprightly according to the truth of the

Pg 81 "Casearea" changed to "Caesarea"--"down to Caesarea"

Pg 82 "Cladius" changed to "Claudius"--"in the days of Claudius"

Pg 83 "Gentile" changed to "Gentiles"--"among the Gentiles"; missing
word "brethren" added "unto the brethren"

Pg 84 "the" changed to "they"--"when they were dismissed"; "Casearea"
changed to "Caesarea"--"landed at Caesarea"

Pg 119 "pourtrayed" changed to "portrayed"--"is not ill portrayed"

Pg 120 "woud" changed to "would"--"Ephesus would not"; "coud" changed
to "could"--"could not have endured"

Pg 142 and 226 "Galacia" changed to "Galatia"--"Galatia stands fifth,"
and "over [all] Galatia"

Pg 178 numbering corrected. Original had two 1's.

Pg 179 "narative" changed to "narrative"--"in such case, the narrative"

Pg 222 "cosideration" changed to "consideration"--"is the consideration,

Pg 251 "saled" changed to "sailed"--"Mark and sailed unto"

Pg 261 "has" changed to "his"--"Had his mind been"

Pg 262 "unsatifactory" changed to "unsatisfactory"--"not altogether

Pg 273 "probably" changed to "probable"--"so much as probable.";
"ligitimate" changed to "legitimate"--"the only legitimate government:"

Pg 275 "attedant" changed to "attendant"--"of his attendant"

Pg 280 "distiguished" changed to "distinguished"--"distinguished by
the name"; "dissuation" changed to "dissuasion"--"was a dissuasion to

Pg 292 "and" changed to "an"--"an old disciple"

Pg 296 "irrestible" changed to "irresistible"--"so perfectly

Pg 318 "previoulsy" changed to "previously"--"it was previously

Pg 319 "chcarge" changed to "charge"--"took charge of her."

Pg 337 "be to" changed to "to be"--"not to be forgotten."

Pg 363 "in" changed to "on"--"on their way"

Pg 365 "absurb" changed to "absurd"--"too absurd and flagrantly"

Pg 366 "succussful" changed to "successful"--"instance been successful"

Pg 376 "epirits" changed to "spirits"--"masters over evil spirits"

Pg 386 missing word "be" added--"purpose was to be answered"; "their"
changed to "theirs"--"conceptions of theirs reported,"

Pg 415 numbering corrected, II changed to III; 13 changed to 10.

Pg 438 "Galations" changed to "Galatians"--"In Paul's Epistle to
his Galatians"

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