Jesus's Words

Chapter 8: Interview the Fourth.—Peter at Antioch.—Deputies to Antioch From Jerusalem, Judas and Silas.—Paul Disagrees With Peter and Barnabas, Quits Antioch, and on a Missionary Excursion Takes With Him Silas. What Concerns the Partition Treaty, Down to This Period, Reviewed.—Peter and the Apostles Justified

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Section 2: Paul Disagrees With Peter and Barnabas; Quits Antioch, Taking Silas From the Apostles

In no place can this man exist, but to exercise hostility or provoke it: with no man can he hold intercourse, without acting towards him, if not in the character of a despot, in that either of an open and audacious, or in that of a secret adversary, or both. Against Peter, at Jerusalem, in his Deputation Visit, he is intriguing, while he is bargaining with him. With the same Peter, when arrived at Antioch, he quarrels: for, at Antioch, Peter was but a visitor—a stranger; Paul, with Barnabas for his constant supporter, was on his own ground: no betrayed rulers there to fear—no persecuted Christians. He quarrels—so he himself informs his Galatians—he quarrels with the chief of the Apostles: he "withstands him to his face." Why? because, forsooth, "he was to be blamed." In conclusion, to such a pitch,—by the degree of success, whatever it was, which by this time he had experienced,—to such a pitch of intemperance, had his mind swelled—he quarrels even with Barnabas: with Barnabas—in all his three antecedent visits to Jerusalem, his munificent protector, and steady adherent: with that Barnabas, in whose company, and under whose wing, one of his missionary excursions had already been performed.Acts 11:19-27; Ib. 2:37-40.

At Antioch, the number of his competitors could not but be considerable: at Antioch, the number of years, which he appears to have passed in that city, considered,—the number of his enemies could not be small. He accordingly plans, and executes, a new missionary excursion. He stands now upon his own legs: no Barnabas now,—no necessary protector, to share with him in his glory: to share with him, in equal or superior proportion, in the profit of his profession: in that profit, the image of which, in all its shapes, was flitting before his eyes,—and which we shall accordingly see him gathering in, in such unequalled exuberance. He now looks out for a humble companion—an assistant: he finds one in Silas: that Silas, whom, with Judas Barsabas, we have seen come to Antioch, deputed by the Apostles and their disciples, to conclude, in that second metropolis, the negotiation, commenced in the first metropolis of the new Christian world. Deserter from the service in which he was sent, Silas enlists in that of the daring and indefatigable adventurer. Thus much, and no more, do we learn concerning him: for, in the picture drawn in the Acts, no character is given to him, except the being found in company with Paul, in some of the places which Paul visits: except this exercise of the locomotive faculty, nothing is there to distinguish him from the common stock of still-life.

From this fourth recorded epoch in the intercourse between Paul and the Apostles, we now pass to that which stands fifth and last, to wit: that which was produced by his fourth and last visit to Jerusalem:—his Invasion Visit, A.D. 62.

In the interval, come four years,—occupied by a series of successive excursions and sojournments,—in the course of which, all mention of Silas is dropped, without remark: dropped, in the same obscure and inexplicit manner, in which the historian affords to the reader, supposing him endowed with the requisite degree of attention, the means of discovering, Acts 16:10, that not long after the commencement of this same period, the historian himself, whoever he was, was taken into the train of the self-constituted Apostle. To the reader is also left the faculty, of amusing himself in conjecturing, about what time, and in what manner, this latter event may have taken place; an event, from which such important consequences have resulted.

Of these portions of Paul's life, some view will come to be taken, in a succeeding chapter, under another head:—under the head of Paul's supposed miracles: for, it is in the account given of his achievements and adventures, and of the transactions in which, in the course of this period, he was engaged,—it is in the course of this account, that we shall have to pick up, the supposed accounts of supposed miracles, which, in this part of the Acts history lie interspersed. This review must of necessity be taken, for the purpose of placing in a true light, the evidence, supposed to be thus afforded, in support of his claims to a supernatural commission.

To this change of connection on the part of Silas,—from the service of the Apostles of Jesus to that of the self-constituted Apostle,—the character of defection on the part of Silas,—seduction on the part of Paul,—may here be ascribed without difficulty. By the Apostles, one Gospel was preached—the Gospel of Jesus:—we see it in the Evangelists. By Paul, another and different Gospel was preached:—a Gospel, later and better, according to him, than that which is to be seen in the Evangelists:—a Gospel of his own. If, even down to this time, mutual prudence prevented an open and generally conspicuous rupture,—there was on his part, at any rate, an opposition. If, to men, whose conduct and temper were such as they uniformly appear to have been,—any such word as party can, without disparagement, be applied, here were two parties. He, who was for the self-constituted Apostle, was against the Apostles of Jesus. In a word, in the language of modern party, Silas was a rat.

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