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came to Jerusalem, and at the end of three years after his conversion. Others rather think that it happened when he and Barnabas came to Jerusalem from Antioch, with the contributions of the christians there for the support of the believers in Judea, in the time of the dearth in the reign of Claudius, and in the year of Christ 44. Of which an account is given, Acts xi. 27-30; ch. xii. 25. Others hesi
But I cannot persuade myself, that this is what Paul intended, when he said to the Corinthians: "am I not an apostle?- -Have I not seen Jesus Christ, our Lord?" nor when he says afterwards in the same epistle: " And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." For there, as I apprehend, he must mean seeing Jesus Christ in person, waking, and with eyes open. Which is quite different from what happens in a dream, vision, trance,
The same answer will suffice for the season of his being
fant, sur Actes xxii. 17. See likewise Dr. Doddridge upon the same place, in his Family Expositor, Vol. III. p. 355. sect. L.
Et tum, opinor, Saülus raptus est in tertium cœlum, post quod tempus anno xiv. scripsit secundam ad Corinthios epistolam. cap. xii. 2. Pearson. Ann. Paulin. A. D. 44. p. 6. 8 Witsius, De Vità Pauli, sect.
3. num. xi. is in doubt, at which of those times Paul had this trance or vision. Saulo Damascum proficiscenti Jesum factum conspicuum, nulli dubitamus. -Nobis aperte favent Ananiæ verba, Act. ix. 17. Illud ipsum testatur Barnabas eo capite, ver. 27: sed et ipse Paulus talia voce refert, Act. xxii. 24. -Comparatum ita erat, ut nemo apostolatûs officio fungi posset, qui corporeis Christum oculis non aspexisset. Itaque in eâ collatà sibi gratiâ exultat Paulus, atque triumphat. Nonne Jesum Christum Dominum ' nostrum vidi?' Quandonam porro vidit, si non vidit, dum Damascum proficisceretur? Non sane in eâ visione, cujus meminit, Act. xxii. 17—21. Fuit enim exstasis, quæ non sufficiebat apostolatui. Neque ad raptum ad tertium usque cœlum referri potest ea manifestatio, quæ apostolo necessaria; sive quia dubitat Paulus, utrum corpore fuerit, an spiritu; sive etiam quia multos ante annos munus obiit apostoli, quam mirandus ipsi raptus contigerit, &c. Basnag. A. D. 37. n. lvii. vid. et n. lviii.
Quod vero multi præter visionem, quæ in viâ Damascenâ contigit, etiam mentionem huc ingerunt illius visionis, quam Paulus sibi Hierosolymam reverso, et in templo oranti narrat oblatam fuisse, Act. xxii. 17, tanquam illud respiciat hoc loco; satis illud refellitur, ex eo quod, ipso Paulo teste, exstatica fuerit illa visio; sive, ut Interpres noster vertit, in stupore mentis' facta. Jam autem ostendimus visionem corporalem hic intelligi debere. Sed neque ad raptum in tertium cœlum, atque in paradisum, de quo scribit, 2 Cor. xii.referenda est hæc visio.- -Non tamen ibi scribit, se Dominum vidisse. Et, ut vidisset, nescire tamen se dicit, utrum in corpore an extra corpus ipsi raptus ille et visio contigerit: et, ut in corpore contigerit, quod est probabilius, exstaticam tamen fuisse, mente videlicet a sensibus corporeis abstractà, convenit inter theologos. Nec, si per sensum oculorum facta fuisset ea visio, Paulus id nescire potuisset. Hic vero certum perhibet testimonium, se corporaliter, ut alios apostolos, Christum vidisse. Estius ad 1 Cor. xv. 8.
"taken up into paradise, and into the third heaven." For such things are visionary. Nor did Paul himself certainly know, whether it was "in the body, or out of the body,' 2 Cor. xii. 1-3, that is, whether he was then personally transported into paradise, or whether the representation was made in his mind without any local removal. And the things, which he then saw and beard, were not to be revealed. He seldom speaks of such matters. When he does, it is not without an apology. For, as it seems, they were, chiefly, for his own encouragement under the many and great difficulties which he met with. This rapture into the third heaven and paradise had been concealed by him above fourteen years, and not mentioned at all, till now in this his second epistle to the Corinthians: as has been observed both by ancients and moderns. But the seeing Christ, for qualifying him to be an apostle, had been often and openly mentioned by him.
But it may be objected, that long after his conversion Paul is numbered among prophets. Acts xiii. 1, “ Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen——and Saul."
To which I answer, 1. If Paul should be allowed to be here ranked among prophets, it will not follow that he was not more than a prophet, even an apostle. St. Peter styles himself an elder, though, undoubtedly, he was also an apostle, 1 Pet. v. 1. Mr. Le Clerc has a fine observation relating to this matter in his Ecclesiastical History: thatm though Paul is mentioned last, he was superior to the rest in point of gifts. But, says he, the first christians were not solicitous about titles and pre-eminence.
2. It is not clear, that Paul is here reckoned among prophets. He seems rather to be distinguished from them. For, very probably, it is not without some reason that Paul is not put first, nor next to Barnabas, but last of all. The
k Δια τέτο και τον χρόνον έθηκε των δεκατεσσάρων ετων εδε γαρ ἁπλως αυτό μεμνηται, αλλα δεικνυς, ότι εκ αν ὁ τοσετον καρτερησας χρονον, νυν αν εξειπεν, e un moλλn ny avayen. Chrysost. in 2 Cor. hom. 26. T. X. p. 681. D. See Dr. Doddridge's Family Expositor, Vol. IV. p. 522.
Cæterum, si ex Spiritûs Sancti donis, sublimibusque revelationibus, prophetarum, doctorumque, qui memorantur, ordo conceptus esset, sine dubio, primum omnium Saülum collocari oportuisset. Sed iis temporibus nondum de primâ sede, dignitateque contentiones erant inter christianos; et qui meritis in rem christianam omnium erant primi, ii se, ex Domini præcepto, quasi minimos gerebant, nec ultimos appellari refugiebant. Cleric. H. E. A. D. 45, num. i.
meaning appears to be this, Now there were in the church at Antioch certain prophets and teachers, as Barnabas, and 'Simeon, and Lucius, and Manaen, and also Saul, whose 'character and station in the church is well known from the preceding history of him in this book.' Whereby indeed he evidently appears to be an apostle.
3. I add one thing more, that I may fully clear up this point. The designation, mentioned, ch. xiii. 2, 3, could not be to the apostleship. For " Paul was not an apostle of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father," Gal. i. 1. Moreover, it is here expressly said, that this ordination, or appointment, at Antioch, was to a particular work or service. "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." And it might be said, that here is no consecration to an office, but rather a benediction for the particular work upon which they were now sent.
As Mr. Hallett says, in the place before quoted, They' were not now separated for the work of the ministry in general, but were separated from the other teachers at An'tioch, to go abroad and propagate the gospel in other countries. When they went out upon this important work, nothing could be more agreeable, than for the church at 'Antioch to pray God to give Barnabas and Paul good success which accordingly they did. They now" recommended them to the grace" or favour" of God," as St. 'Luke says, concerning this solemn transaction, ch. xiv. 26. And after this again, when Paul was sent abroad another 'time to preach the gospel where he had preached it before, he was in the same manner recommended to the grace of 'God, as it is written, ch. xv. 40," Paul chose Silas, and 'departed, being recommended by the brethren to the grace" or favour "of God." Since therefore both times, when "Paul went out from Antioch, to preach the gospel to the same people, the evangelist says, in the same words, that he was 46 recommended to the grace of God;" we cannot suppose that he was any more first made an apostle of the "Gentiles at the former, than at the latter time of his being recommended.'
Upon the whole, it appears to me highly probable, from
n Porro, vere ut dicamus, nil ordinationis est in Antiochensium prophetarum χειροθεσία - -Eam ergo Paulus Barnabasque manuum susceperunt impositionem, quæ benedictionis est, non consecrationis. S. Basnag. ann. 45. num. iii. • Vol. ii. p. 323.
all the accounts which we have of Paul's wonderful conversion, in Acts ix. xxii. and xxvi, that he received his tolical commission from the mouth of Christ in person, when he called to him from heaven, and spoke to him in the way to Damascus. And especially does this appear from Acts xxvi. 15-20, where Paul expressly relates his commission, and the time of it, and declares, as seems to me, that all which had been hitherto done by him, in preaching the gospel to the very time when he was imprisoned, had been done in virtue of that commission. "And he said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. But arise, and stand upon thy feet for I have appeared to thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister, and a witness, both of those things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee: delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee, cis ажоστελw, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light.- -Whereupon, O king Agrippa, 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 and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance."
ως νυν σε
This also exactly suits the manner in which the other apostles were appointed. They were apostles from the time that Jesus Christ called them to attend upon him. See Matt. iv. 18-22; Luke vi. 13. And he often discoursed to them. concerning their commission in its full extent, and the difficulties they would meet with in the discharge of it: giving them also various directions relating to their conduct, when they should come abroad in the world. See Matt. x. throughout, and xvi. 18, 19, and many like places in the other gospels. And before he left them, he expressly said: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations," Matt. xxviii. 19. But they did not at first understand the full extent of their commission, nor presently execute it. At the first they preached to Jews only. And it was several years after Christ's ascension before they preached to Gentiles. So Paul was from the beginning called, and appointed to be an apostle : and by degrees he was qualified for it as his commission opened. And in time he was called out by Divine Providence to the full execution of it. But all along he was an apostle, and acted and taught as such: first preaching to Jews at Damascus, and Jerusalem, and Judea, and other parts, and then to Gentiles. So he plainly says to Agrippa in the place recited just now.
VI. Having thus settled the time of Paul's conversion and apostleship according to the best of my ability, I now intend to give an account of his travels in the service of the gospel. This I do for the sake of showing the date of bis writings. And it would be shorter, and more agreeable on divers accounts, to take in his epistles as we go along. But there being debates about the time of several of them, I think it will be preferable to write his history, without interruption, as briefly as we can, and then observe the order of his epistles.
Paul, having been baptized by Ananias at Damascus, stayed a short time with the disciples there, and then went into Arabia: where, it is very likely, he might meet with some believers. For Arabians are expressly mentioned, Acts ii. 11, among the Jews and proselytes, who heard the apostle Peter's first sermon at Jerusalem after the descent of the Holy Ghost. At which time many were converted to a faith in Jesus Christ. Acts ii. 41.
Whilst Paul was in Arabia, it is reasonable to think, that he was fully instructed, by special P revelation, in the doctrine preached by Jesus Christ, when here on earth, and all the things said and done by him, and his sufferings, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, the fulfilment of the ancient prophecies in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham, and received also the Holy Ghost, in a measure equal to that of other apostles. Whereby he was qualified to preach the gospel, and to testify the resurrection of Jesus, and to prove him to be the Christ, without receiving either instruction or gifts from other apostles.
Having been some time in Arabia, he returned to Damascus," And straightway he preached in the synagogues, that Jesus is the Christ," or "the Son of God." This he did with such strength and cogency of argument, as to "confound the Jews, which dwelt at Damascus." They being greatly provoked, and forming a design upon his life, the disciples found means to provide for his escape. Whereupon he went to Jerusalem, Acts ix. 20-25.
Some think that Paul preached at Damascus soon after he had been baptized by Ananias, and that he also preached in Arabia, and that he had preached three years, before he came to Jerusalem after his conversion. Pearson' supposeth P Concerning the manner of the revelations now vouchsafed to Paul, may be seen Lightfoot in his Comm. upon Acts ix. 1, in the first volume of his works, p. 791. 4 Il veut montrer, qu'il avoit prêché l'évangile trois ans avant que d'avoir vu aucun Apôstre, &c. Beaus. sur Galat. i. 18. Saulus in Arabiâ moratur, ubi per revelationem accepit plenam a Deo notitiam evangelii, ad quod prædicandum immediate vocatus est.