Chapter 9: Paul Disbelieved Continued.—Jerusalem Visit IV. and Last Invasion Visit. The Purpose Concealed: Opposition Universal; Among His Own Disciples, and Among Those of the Apostles
Section 1: Motives to This Visit
Of this momentous visit to say what were the real objects, must in a great part be left to conjecture:—to inferences drawn from the known circumstances of the case. By himself, as will be seen, they were concealed with the most persevering anxiety.
But, in default of direct evidence, the point may without much danger of error be settled by circumstantial evidence. The common objects of political concupiscence—money, power and vengeance—were all before his eyes: money—in no less a quantity than that of the aggregate mass of the property of the whole church:—that fund, for the management of which, the Apostles' seven trustees, under the name of Deacons, were not more than sufficient:—that fund, by which the repulsed concupiscence of the sorcerer of Samaria had so lately been excited:—power, that which was exercised by the direction of the consciences of the whole number of the faithful, some time before this, not less in number than three thousand: vengeance, for the repeated rebuffs, by which, at the interval of so many years from each other, his endeavours to supplant the Apostles had been repelled.
In a general point of view, ambition,—rival ambition,—the same motive which sent Caesar to Rome, may be stated as having sent Paul, at this time, to Jerusalem: to Jerusalem—the metropolis of the Christian world, by design; and thence, eventually and undesignedly, to the metropolis of the whole civilized world.
By two opposite desires—two antagonizing but correspondent and mutually explanatory desires—desires, in both parts intense and active, the external marks of which are sufficiently visible in two different quarters,—the nature as well as prevalence of this motive, will, it is believed, be found sufficiently proved:—a desire, in the breast of the self-constituted Apostle, to establish himself in the original metropolis of the Christian world:—a desire on the part of the Apostles—of the Apostles constituted by Jesus—to keep him out of it.