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for three years ; of which no other account is given than this short one, that “ straightway he preached Christ in the fynagogues, that he is the Son of God; that all that heard him were amazed, and said, Is not this he that destroyed them which called on his name in Jerusalem ? that he increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus; and that, after many days, were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him." From Damascus he proceeded to Jerusalem; and of his residence there nothing more particular is recorded, than that “he was with the apostles, coming “ in and going out; that he spake boldy in “ the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed
against the Grecians who went about to “ kill him.” From Jerusalem, the history sends him to his native city of Tarsus* It seems probable, from the order and disposition of the history, that St. Paul's stay at Tarsus was of some continuance; for we hear nothing more of him, until, after a long apparent interval, and much interjacent nar
* A&ts, chap. ix. ver. 30.
rative, Barnabas, desirous of Paul's assistance upon the enlargement of the Christian misfion, 6 went to Tarsus for to seek him*.' We cannot doubt but that the new apostle had been busied in his ministry; yet of what he did, or what he suffered, during chis period, which may include three or four years, the history professes not to deliver any information. As Tarsus was situated - upon the sea coast, andas, though Tarsus was his home, yet it is probable he visited from thence many other places, for the purpose of preaching the Gospel, it is 'not unlikely, that in the course of three or four years, he might undertake many short voyages to neighbouring countries, in the navigating of which we may be allowed to suppose that some of those disasters and shipwrecks befel him, to which he refers in the quotation
6 thrice I suffered shipwreck, a “ night and a day I have been in the deep.” This last clause I am inclined to interpret of his being obliged to take to an open boat, upon the loss of the ship, and his continuing
* Chap xị. ver. 25:
out at sea in that dangerous situation, a night and a day. St. Paul is here recounting his sufferings, not relating miracles. From Tarsus, Barnabas brought Paul to Antioch, and there he remained a year; but of the transactions of that year no other description is given than what is contained in the four laft verses of the eleventh chapter. After a more folemn dedication to the ministry, Barnabas and Paul proceeded from Antioch to Cilicia, and from thence they failed to Cyprus, of which voyage no particulars are mentioned. Upon their return from Cyprus, they made a progress together through the Lefser Asia; and though two remarkable speeches be preserved, and a few incidents in the course of their travels circumstantially related, yet it is the account of this progress, upon the whole, given professedly with conciseness: for instance, at Iconium it is said that they abode a long time*; yer of this long abode, except concerning the manner in which they were driven away, no memoir is inserted in the
* Chap. xiv. ver. 3.
history. The whole is wrapped up in one short fummary, “they spake boldly in the “ Lord, which gave testimony unto the word “ of his grace, and granted signs and won“ ders to be done by their hands.” Having completed their progress, the two apostles returned to Antioch, "and there they abode long time with the disciples.” Here we have another large portion of time passed over in silence. To this succeeded a journey to Jerusalem, upon a dispute which then much agitated theChristian church, concerning the obligation of the law of Moses, When the object of that journey was completed, Paul proposed to Barnabas to go again and visit their brethren in every city where they had preached the word of the Lord. The execution of this plan carried our Apostle through Syria, Cilicia, and many provinces of the Lefser Asia; yet is the account of the whole journey dispatched, in four verses of the sixteenth chapter.
If the Acts of the Apostles had undertaken to exhibit regular annals of St. Paul's ministry, or even any continued account of his life, from his conversion at Dainascus
to his imprisonment at Rome, I should have thought the omission of the circumstances referred to in our epistle, a matter of reafonable objection. But when it appears, from the history itself, that large portions of St. Paul's life were either passed over in filence, or only slightly touched upon, and that nothing more than certain detached incidents and discourses are related; when we observe also, that the author of the history, did not join our apostle's society till a few years before the writing of the epistle, at least that there is no proof in the history that he did fo; in comparing the history with the epistle, we shall not be surprised by the discovery of omissions; we shall ascribe it to truth that there is no contradiction.
Chap. iii. ver. 1. “ Do we begin again " to commend ourselves; or need we, as " some others, epistles of commendation to
“As some others." Turn to Acts xviii.
will find that, a short time before the writing of this epistle, Apollos had gone