Section 3: On Damascus Journey—Companions None
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.