Chapter 10: 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
Section 1: At Jerusalem, Paul Is Received By the Elders and James; But by No Other ApostleSpite 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.
The historian writes,
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
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.