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has been distinctly shown in another place. His father . was a pharisee, and himself was of the same sect. He had a sister, whose son was a christian, and a discreet person, whof was of great service to his uncle Paul, when a prisoner at Jerusalem. His conduct cannot be thought of without admiration and gratitude. Some others of his relations are mentioned by him in his epistle to the Romans, who also were believers in Jesus, and several of them had been so before himself: which may be reckoned a proof of the virtue and piety of this family. Their names are Andronicus, and Junia, whom he calls “ bis kinsmen,” ovryevels us. Rom. xvi. 7. By & which he must mean something more than their being his countrymen. He speaks in the like manner of Herodian, ver. 11, and also of Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, ver, 21. It may be reckoned very probable, that he was educated in Greek literature in bis early life at Tarsus. It is certain, thati he was for a while under the instructions of Gamaliel, at Jerusalem, a celebrated Jewish Rabbi, and that k he made great proficiency in the study of the law, and the traditions, much esteemed by that people. He seems to have been a person of great natural abilities, of quick apprehension, strong passions, and firm resolution, and thereby qualified for signal service, as a teacher of such principles as he should embrace, whatever they were. He appears likewise to have been always unblamable in his life, and strictly faithful to the dictates of his conscience, according to the knowledge which he had. Of this all must d See Vol. i. p. 240, 241. e Acts xxiii. 6; xxvi. 5; Philip. iii. 5. Acts xxiii. 16-22.
& Cognatos suos,' id est ejusdem secum generis, vocat, ut multi exponunt, quia Judæi erant, quemadmodum supra ix. 3, de Judæis in universum dixit, ' qui sunt cognati mei secundum • carnem ;' et sic eum loqui, ut Judæorum qui Romæ erant gratiam sibi conciliet. Verum, quia multi Romæ erant Judæi christiani, et proinde hac generali ratione Paulo cognati; idcirco putant alii, cognatos hic dici magis proprie, ut qui fuerint Paulo contribules, id est, de tribu Benjamin, aut forte etiam propriore sanguinis vinculo conjuncti. Est. in Rom. xvi. 7.
This may be argued from the place of his nativity, Tarsus, which was celebrated for polite literature, and from St. Paul's quotations of several Greek poets, Acts xvii. 28; 1 Cor. xv. 33; Tit. i. 12. Dr. Bentley begins his third Sermon at Boyle's Lecture, which is the second upon Acts xvii. 27, 28, in this manner, I have said enough in my last, to show the fitness and pertinence of • the apostle's discourse and that he did not talk at random, but was • thoroughly acquainted with the several humours and opinions of his auditors. • Aud, as “ Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," so it is • manifest from this chapter alone, if nothing else had been now extant, that •St. Paul was a great master in all the learning of the Greeks. i Acts xxii. 3.
* Acts xxii. 3; xxvi. 5; Gal. i. 14. I
s ectả pharisæum, excellenti magnoque ingenio præditum, literarum judaïcarum imprimis peritum, nec Græcarum expertem. J. L. Moshem. de Reb. Christian. ante Constantin. sect. 1. n. xv. p. 80.
be persuaded, who observe bism appeals to the Jews, upon this head, when they were greatly offended with him; and from the undissembled satisfaction wbicb be expresseth upon a serious recollection of his former and later conduct. For some while, after the first appearance of christianity in the world, he was a bitter enemy and furious opposer of all who made profession of it. Nevertheless be persisted not long in tbat course : but was in a very extraordinary manner converted to that faith bimself, and ever after he was a steady friend, and zealous advocate for it, and very successful in defending and propagating it, diligently improving the gifts and qualifications extraordinarily vouchsafed him for that purpose. These things are recorded in those writings, which are in the higbest esteem, and reckoned sacred among christians, and indeed are well known to all the world.
II. I am desirous to do my best to settle the time of St. Paul's conversion. If we can do that with some good degree of probability, we shall attain to a near knowledge of the time of St. Stephen's martyrdom: concerning both which events there have been very different opinions in former and later ages. Valesius, in his Annotations upon Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, mentions divers opinions of ancient writers' about the time of St. Stephen's death. As the passage may be acceptable to some, I have placed it below.
Among moderns, Cave thought that P Stepben was stoned, and Paul converted in the year of our Lord's ascension, the year 33, or the beginning of the year following:. Pearson supposeth that? Stephen was stoned in 34, and Paul converted in 35, near the end of the year. Having been three years in Arabia, and at Damascus, be came to Jerusalem, near the end of 38; in which year, or the beginning of the following, he went to Tarsus ; where, and in Syria, he was m Acts xxiii. 1; xxvi. 4, 5.
Philip. iji. 6; 1 Tim. i. 13; 2 Tim. i. 3.
• Quo anno Stephanus martyrii coronam adeptus sit, non convenit inter omnes. Alii eodem anno, quo passus est Christus, lapidatum illum volunt. Ita diserte scribitur in Excerptis Chronologicis, quæ cum Eusebii Chronico edidit Scaliger, pag. 68. Et hæc videtur fuisse Eusebii sententia, ut ex hoc loco apparet. -- -Alii vero triennio post Christi inortem martyrium Stephani retulerunt.-Ita scribit in Chronico Georgius Syncellus. Multi etiam ulterius processerunt, et Stephanum anno ab ordinatione suâ septimo passum esse scripserunt. Inter quos est Evodius apud Nicephorum, et Hippolytus Thebanus, et auctor Chronici Alexandrini, qui anno Claudii primo martyrium Stephani adsignat. Vales. Annot. in Euseb. I. 2. cap. i.
P ad fidem Christi conversus, discipulus fit et apostolus, A. C. 33 exeunte, vel saltem ineunte proximo. Hist. Lit. T. I. in S. Paulo.
9 Annal. Paulin. p. 1-4.
four years, that is, 39, 40, 41, 42. Which appears to me a Jong space of time. In 43 he came to Antioch. And baying spent a year there, he came to Jerusalem in 44. So Pearson.
Frederic Spanbeim, who also bas bestowed great pains in examining this point, placeth' the conversion of Paul in the year 40, the last of Caius Caligula: and was inclined to defer it to the first of Claudius, the year 41. Hims Witsius follows. And J. A. Fabriciust declares his assent to the same opinion.
L'Enfant and Beausobre, in their general preface to St. Paul's epistles, place his conversion in the year 36, and his first coming to Jerusalem after it in 39; which opinion I believe to be nearer the truth than any of the foregoing.
There is an event mentioned in the Acts, about which we may receive light from external history. I mean, “ the rest of the churches throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria," Acts ix. 31,
In the former part of this work" it was shown to be very probable, that this rest of the churches of Christ was owing to the state of things in Judea, when Petronius, president of Syria, published the orders which he had received from Caius, to erect bis statue in the temple of Jerusalem, in the year of Christ 39, or 40. Which account was afterwards followed by Dr. Benson in bis' History of the first Planting the Christian Religion. Dr. Doddridge" likewise declared bis approbation of it.
When I formerly argued, that this rest of the churches was occasioned by the above-mentioned order of the emperor Caius, I did not know that any one bad assigned that as the occasion of it. But since, I have perceived, that* S. Basr
i n anno conversionis Pauli, quam non anteriorem esse Caii ultimo, audacter pronuntiamus. De Conversion. Paulin. Epochâ. num. xix. Opp. T. II. p. 321.
& De Vitâ Pauli, Sect. ii. n. 22. ap. Miletem. Leyd. p. 34.
+ Tantum noto in præsenti, me sequi eorum rationes, qui Paulum conversum esse existimant anno quarto sive ultimo Caii, an. 40, et capite truncatum A. C. 68, Neronis xiv. Fabr. Bib. Gr. T. III. p. 151. (f).
u See Vol. i. sect. xü. p. 90— 104. especially near the end of that section.
" See of that work B. İ. ch. 9. sect. iii. at the end.
* Family Expositor, Vol. III. p. 147.
* Mira hæc, et præter omnium expectationem. exorta rerum vicissitudo fuit. Cui non minimum contulit infelix Judæorum status, quibus a Caligulâ vexatis, timentibusque templi violationem Petronio mandatam, Christi discipulorum persecutioni vacare non licuit. Cum enim constituendæ ecclesiarum paci sæpe numero Dei sapientia occasionibus utatur, atque humanis auxiliis; probabilis utique affertur conjectura, eo sopitum fuisse Judæorum furorem, quia propriis pressi miseriis ab inferendà ecclesiæ calamitate prohibebantur. Nec inopinatæ tranquillitatis aptior ulla ratio reddi potest. Ann. 40. num. xvi.
nage had thought of it, and spoke to it very well. I was led to my observations by reading Pbilo, and Josephus : from whom I formed the argument, and overlooked the justmentioned ecclesiastical bistorian.
I supposed that y Petronius published his order in the year 39, or 40. Basnage? and Tillemonta say, in the year 40. By whom I am not unwilling to be determined.
It is allowed, that Petronius was sent governor into Syria by Caius in the third year of bis reign, A, D, 39. And it is supposed by them, tható Petronius came into the province about autumn in the year 39. And Josepbus says, “ that c • Caius, greatly incensed against the Jews for not paying • him the same respect that others did, sent Petronius go• vernor into Syria, commanding him to set up his statue in • the temple: and if the Jews opposed it, to inarch into the • country with a numerous army, and effect it by force.'
Whenever Petronius published that order, whether in the year 39, or 40, I think it was the occasion of the tranquillity of the churches of Christ, spoken of by St. Luke. And I persuade myself, that most people will readily be of the same opinion.
We will now take a paragraph or two in the Acts, ch. ix. 26–31," And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join bimself to the disciples.—–And he was with them, coming in, and going out, at Jerusalem. And he spoke boldly in the naine of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians. But they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then bad - the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified.”
This rest, we may suppose, was not complete, or made extensive and universal, till the year 40 perhaps, nor till near the middle of it. But wben did Paul come to Jerusalem? Before this rest? or, not till after it was commenced ? Basnaged thinks that Paul came to Jerusalem in the year 40. Let us bowever make a few remarks,
y See the place referred to above at note a.
Ubi supra, num. v. a Ruine des Juifs, art. xviii. xix. Hist. des Emp. tom. I.
Sed ex Josephi historia constat, illum in provinciam anno tertio Caii advenisse, circa autumnum. Noris. Cenot. Pisan. Diss. 2. p. 371. Conf. Usser. Ann. 39.
l'ajoc de ev ÖELVQ QepwY, EIC TOOOV de uro Iboatων περιοφθαι μονων, πρεσβευτην επι Συριας εκπεμπει Πετρωνιον--- κελευών χειρι πολλη εισβαλλοντι εις την Ιεδαιαν, ει μεν έκοντες δεχωνται, όταν αυτον ανδριάντα εν τω ναώ τα θε' ειδ’ αγνωμοσυνη χρωντο, πολεμη κρατησαντα τeTO #OLIV. Antiq. I. 18. cap. ix, n. 2. al. cap. xi.
d Ano. 40. num. XV.
· The peace, of which we are speaking, seems not to have commenced, nor the persecution to have ceased, when Paul arrived at Jerusalem from Damascus. For when he “spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus," and disputed with the Grecians, “ they went about to slay bim :" as we have seen in the paragraph just transcribed. And the brethren found it needful to conduct him with care to Cæsarea, and send him thence to Tarsus. Moreover, Peter was at Jerusalem when Paul arrived there, and “ he abode with him fifteen days," Gal. i. 18. But when the peace of the churches was established, Peter left Jerusalem, and visited the saints in the several parts of Judea : as we learn from the history immediately following, Acts ix. 31–43. Once more, it appears from the above-cited paragraph, and the course of St. Luke's parration, that this rest of the churches in Judea did not begin until after Paul had been sent thence. And if it had commenced sooper, in all probability he would have been induced to stay longer there among the Jews, for whose conversion he was ardently concerned. St. Luke's words are, as above: “ Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then bad the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified.”
I apprebend it to be probable, then, that Paul came to Jerusalem at this season, near the end of the year 39, or in the beginning of the year 40. We now proceed.
St. Paul says, Gal. i. 15—18, that " when it pleased God by his grace to reveal his Son in bin, he went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter.” For the time of Paul's conversion therefore we must look back “ three years." And if those three years are to be understood complete, and he came to Jerusalem in the year 40, he was converted not long after the beginning of the year 37, where it is placed bye Baspage. If he came to Jerusalem before the end of the year 39, he might be converted near the end of the year 36.
Let me add. Paul says, “ Afterf three years I went up to Jerusalem :" which may be well understood to mean somewhat more than three years. And then, though Paul should be supposed not to have returned to Jerusalem till the beginning of the year 40, be may have been converted before the end of the year 36.
Shall we now look somewhat farther back, and inquire how long this might be after the death of Stephen ? Lewis . Ann. 37. n. 48.
-μετα ετη τρια.