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
Section 3: The Partition Treaty, and the Proceedings in Relation to It, Down to This Period, Reviewed
In regard to the Partition Treaty,—taking the matter from Paul's first, or Reconciliation Visit, A.D. 35, to his departure from Antioch, on his missionary excursion, after the interview he had had at that city with Peter,—the state of the affairs, between Paul and the Apostles, seems to have been thus:—
1. On the occasion, and at the time, of his first Jerusalem Visit—his Reconciliation Visit—a sort of reconciliation—meaning at least an outward one—could not,—consistently with the whole train, of what is said of his subsequent intercourse and interviews with the Apostles,—could not but have taken place.
2. Of this reconciliation, the terms were—that, on condition of his preaching in the name of Jesus,—they would not, to such persons in Jerusalem and elsewhere, as were in connection with them,—speak of him any longer in the character of a persecutor: for, by his disobedience and breach of trust, as towards the Jerusalem constituted authorities,—such he had put it out of his power to be any longer: not speak of him as a persecutor, but, on the contrary, as an associate:—he taking up the name of Jesus: and preaching—never in his own, but on every occasion in that holy, name.
3. On this occasion,—it being manifest to both parties, that, by his intimate acquaintance with the Greek language, and with the learning belonging to that language, he was in a peculiar degree well qualified to spread the name of Jesus among the Gentiles in general;—that is, among those to whom the Jewish was not a vernacular language;—whereas their acquaintance with language was confined to their own, to wit, the Jewish language;—on this occasion, it followed of course, from the nature of the case, and almost without need of stipulation, that,—leaving to them, for the field of their labours, Jerusalem, and that part of the circumjacent country, in which the Jewish alone was the language of the bulk of the population,—he should confine his exertions, principally if not exclusively, to those countries, of which Greek was, or at any rate Hebrew was not, the vernacular language.
To him, at that time, it was not in the nature of the case, that absentation from Jerusalem, or any part of the country under the same dominion, should be matter of regret. Within that circle, he could not, for any length of time, abide publicly, for fear of the legal vengeance of the constituted authorities: nor yet among the Christians; although from their chiefs he had obtained, as above, a sort of prudential endurance; considering the horror, which his persecution of them had inspired, and the terror, with which, until his conversion had been proved in the eyes of all by experience, he could not as yet fail to be regarded.
Whatever was the object of his concupiscence,—whether it were the fund—and we have seen how attractive the bait was—which, at that time, in that metropolis of the Christian world, offered itself to an ambitious eye,—still, though his opportunities had as yet confined his exertions to the second city in that increasing world, his eyes never ceased looking to the first.
Twice, accordingly, between the first of his Visits,—his Reconciliation Visit—and this his last interview with Peter,—we see him visiting that inviting spot: each time, protected and escorted by the munificent Barnabas and his influence—to make him endurable: each time with a public commission—to make him respected:—- the first time with money in his hand—to make him welcome.
That, all this while, neither good faith nor prudence were capable of opposing to the violence of his ambition, any effectual check,—- is abundantly manifest.
That good faith was not, we learn distinctly from himself. For though, from the very nature of the two correlative situations, it is out of all question, as above, that, without some agreement to the effect above mentioned, he could not, even with the benefit of every possible means of concealment, have been preserved for two days together from the vengeance which pressed upon him, from below as well as from above; yet still was he, by his secret intrigues,(Galatians 1:11.) violating the treaty, at the expense of those upright, patient, and long-suffering men, to whose observance of it, he was every day indebted for his life.