Jesus's Words

Chapter 4: 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

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Section 6: Length of This Visit

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:(Galatians 1:18.) 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. He had disputed 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 but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.Acts 9:30b-31

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, Galatians 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 Caesarea, 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.

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