Jesus's Words

Chapter 3: Paul Disbelieved.—Neither His Divine Commission nor His Inward Conversion Ever Credited by the Apostles or Their Jerusalem Disciples.—Source of Proof Stated

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Section 2: Counter-Witnesses, The Apostles: By Them, The Story Probably Not Heard—Certainly Not Credited

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 Jerusalem.

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.

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