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SAUL IS BAPTIZED-CHAP. IX.

97

Julian Period, 4748. ValgarÆra,

35.

of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he Damascus.
prayeth.

were made the means of grace: for the impression was never
erased from his mind. The Spirit of God" prevented him, and
put into his mind good desires ;" and the consistency of his
subsequent life, proved that He who giveth grace to man,
was present at the hour of temptation. But it would be the
most intolerable presumption, that any man should delay re-
pentance, till his mind was affected in a similar manner.

With respect to the cross of Constantine, I subjoin the cri-
ticism of Jortin; and I am inclined to agree with this eminent
divine, that there was possibly no miracle in this case also;
though the result of the victory was most important, as it de.
cided whether Christianity should become the religion of the
Roman empire. A.D. 811, Constantine being disposed to pro-
tect and embrace Christianity, which his father had greatly fa-
voured, and about to fight Maxentius, prayed to God for his
assistance. As he was marching, he saw in the afternoon, in
the sky, over the sun, a shining cross, with this inscription
(TOUTO víka) joined to it. The sight astonished him, and the
army which accompanied him. This he related to Eusebius with
his own mouth, and sware to the truth of it at a time when
many of the soldiers were living. Αμφὶ μεσημβρινὰς ἡλίου ὥρας
ἤδη τῆς ἡμέρας ἀποκλίνουσης, αὐτοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἰδεῖν ἔφῃ ἐν αὐτῷ
οὐρανῶ ὑπὲρ κείμενον τοῦ ἡλίου συνῆφθαι, λέγουσαν τούτω νίκα.
Horis diei meridianis sole in occasum vergenti crucis tropæum
in celo et luce conflatum, soli superpositum, ipsis oculis se
visisse affirmavit, cum hujusmodi inscriptione. Hac vince.
Euseb. Vit. Const. 1. 28. Concerning this story there have been
these opposite opinions-That it was a miracle wrought in favour
of Constantine and of Christianity; that it was a pious fraud,
a mere stratagem of Constantine's, to animate his soldiers, and
to engage the Christians firmly on his side. Fabricius, as an
honorarius arbiter, comes between both, and allows the fact,
but rejects the miracle. Bibl. Gr. 6. 8.
natural appearance, a 'solar halo,' which sometimes represents
"There is (says he) a
a lucid cross, and this is so rarely seen, that it is no wonder if
Constantine, and they who beheld it with him, accounted it
miraculous, especially at that juncture. If this were no miracle,
yet it tended to the service of Christianity, and to bring about
the great revolution that then happened. There are in histo-
rians, ancient and modern, and in the Philosophical Transac-
tions, decriptions of such phenomena, and also of lucid circles
or crowns, accompanying them. Fabricius gives an account
and a representation of some.
but the great difficulty is the inscription (Tourw vika,) for which
Thus far all goes well enough:
Fabricius offers this solution, that ypapn means a picture,' as
well as a 'writing,' and that λeyεiv, when applied to a picture
or image, means 'to denote,' or imply,' and that the words of
Constantine and Eusebius may be thus interpreted, that by
this he should conquer; which image was a lucid crown, a re-
presentation or symbol of victory. To this I add, that Euse-
bius, by not using the words στοιχεῖα, or γράμματα, nor men-
tioning in what language it was written, seems to speak rather
of an emblem or picture, than of a writing. Add to this, that
in the standard which Constantine ordered to be made in the
form of a cross, in memory of this omen, he placed a crown of
gold and jewels on the top of it, and a cypher denoting the
name of Christ, but not the words roúrw víka. Euseb. Vit.
Const. 1. 31. Amongst the Panegyrici Veteres, the eighth is in
H

VOL. II.

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Julian Period, 4748. Vulgar Æra,

35.

12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias Damascus. coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem :

14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel 66 unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him, said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way

praise of Constantine, and celebrates his victory over Maxen-
tius, but says not a word of the cross. The author of this pane-
gyric was a Pagan. The ninth also, composed by Mazarius, is
silent concerning this prodigy. One of the panegyrists speaks
of a last omen, by which he might mean the cross. See Tille-
mont, H. des Empires, 4. 632. Not. But, after all, it seems
rather more natural to interpret γραφὴν λέγουσαν, of a writing
than of a picture."

(a) Habet regeneratio suos gradus. Primus gradus est contritio
et emollitio cordis, quâ quis adigitur ad sensum peccati et miseriæ;
quo sensu gravatus sitit et esurit liberationem. Secundus gradus est,
agnitio Christi, quà quis de sufficientià Christi ad liberandum con-
victus, seipsum abnegat et ad Christum confugit, eique vivâ fiduciâ
cordis inseritur, et cum filiali fiducia liberationis in ipsum recumbit, et
filialis in Deum amor in corde ejus accenditur cujus ductu et impulsu
servit Deo ingenuâ obedientiâ et novà vitâ. Primus gradus vocari solet
spiritus servitutis et est propriè effectus legis posterior spiritus adop-
tíonis et est propriè effectum Evangelii. Fieri potest ut Cornelius ha-
buerit primum gradum regenerationis, scil. ut fuerit contritus corde et
onustus sensu miseriæ, sitiensque gratiam, eamque quærens; sed non
novit veram viam inveniendi et verum medium quærendi, sed sine dubio
eam quæsivit per propria opera et honestam vitam; quæ tamen opera
Deus propter veram contritionem cordis non aspernatus, sed se iis mo-
veri passus est ad dandos majores regenerationis gradus ad salutem
necessarios. Non enim est contra sanam theologiam, quod primitia
gratiæ regenerantis bene usurpatæ, sint causæ impetrantes gratiam ma-
jorem. Habenti enim dabitur ut abundantius habeat, Matt. xiii. 12.
Moralibus virtutibus, quibus homo seipsum ab aliis per liberum arbi-
trium naturale nonnihil discernit, nullis promissionibus alligata est gra-
tia regenerationis salvifica: sed initiis gratiæ regenerantis bene usur-
patis est alligata, Joh. vii. 17. Et præcipue contritum cor habet mag-
nas promissiones, Psal. li. 19. Isai. Ivii. 15. Stres. apud. Cradock's
Apostolical Harmony, p. 59. (b) Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical
History, vol. ii. Works, vol. ii. p. 159.

6 The word > was commonly used by the Jews to denote either man or woman. St. Peter calls the woman the weaker vessel. St. Paul, alluding to the preachers of the Gospel, observes, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels." Schoetgen quotes the book Zohar on Exod. on Ruth ii. 9.

-the just are here under -אליז אינון צדיקייא דאקרון כלי יהוה

stood, who are called the instruments or vessels of the Lord.”—
Schoetgen. Hor, Heb. vol. i. p. 446.

SAUL PREACHES TO THE JEWS-CHAP. IX.

99

Jalian Pe- as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive Damascus. ried, 4748. thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Vulgar Era,

35.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

Julian Period, 4751.

SECTION XXXIII.

Saul preaches in the Synagogues to the Jews.
ACTS ix. 20-80.

20 And straightway 67 he preached Christ in the synaVulgar Era, gogues, that he is the Son of God.

38.

67 St. Paul, in Gal. i. 16, 17. speaking of his conversion, writes, "Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." Pearson argues from this, that he did not preach in the synagogues at Damascus till after the three years which he passed in Arabia. Michaelis, on the contrary, would connect ver. 20 with 19, on account of the word vows, which word by Dr. Wells, is referred to the return of St. Paul to Damascus. He thinks the passages are to be paraphrased thus:-" After he had received meat, he was strengthened." Presently after which, (according to Gal. i. 16.) he went into Arabia, and having been there instructed in the Gospel, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, (Gal. i. 12.) he returned again to Damascus. "Then," or "now," was St. Paul certain days with the disciples at Damascus, and straightway (namely, after his return out of Arabia,) he preached Christ in the synagogues (a).

Schleusner is of opinion that the word ovμbibálov is to be understood before this clause. See on the full meaning of this word Kuinoel. Schleusner, &c.

Biscoe sufficiently shews that St. Paul as a rabbi, or authorized teacher of the people, was privileged to preach in all synagogues, wherever he went.

St. Luke has not noticed this journey, and as St. Paul bas merely mentioned it in his Epistle to the Galatians, without relating any thing that he then did, we cannot speak of it with any degree of certainty. St. Jerome has determined that the apostle did not exercise any ministerial function, and he supposes that by a dispensation, unknown to us, or by an express command of God, he remained silent. (Gal. i. 12.)(b). It is very likely that it was in this retreat that he acquired by the reading of the sacred writings, and by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the knowledge that he afterwards displayed. It is further to be observed, that there had been in Arabia Petrea, where St. Paul had retired, a sect of" Jewish Christians," which Epiphanius calls Sampseans (c). They adhered in all things to the Jews. There were some of them who abstained from eating the "forbidden animals." This was a sect of Esseans (d), who had embraced Christianity, but who appeared to have only the name of Christians; they studied the law of Moses, and were remarkable for their hospitality and simplicity of life and man

ners.

Julian Pe

21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said, Is Damascus. riod, 4751. not this he that destroyed them which called on this name Vulgar Era, in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

38.

22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him.

25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall, in a basket 68.

69

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem ", he assayed

(a) Geography of the New Testament, part ii. p. 20, 21. ap. Lardner. (b) Lucam idcirco de Arabia præterisse quia forsitan nihil dignum Apostulatu in Arabia perpetrarat. Nec hoc seguitiæ Apostoli deputandum, si frustra in Arabia fuerit, sed quod aliqua Dispensatio et Dei præceptum fuerit ut taceret.-Hier. Com. in Ep. ad Gal. i. 17. (c) Epip. Hæres. Liv. 53. (d) Petav. in Natis ad Hæres. 19. Ossenorum.

68 In 2 Cor. xi. 32. St. Paul mentions as the cause of this stratagem, that the Governor of Aretas kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison for the purpose of apprehending him.

Damascus in Syria had been reduced into a Roman province by Pompey the Great, after the war with Mithridates. A difficulty therefore arises how could Aretas, King of Arabia, be in possession of Damascus, and appoint an ethnarch. In the last year of Tiberius, Aretas had waged war with, and defeated Herod Antipas, for the injury he had done to his wife, the daughter of Aretas. Herod, enraged at his defeat, appealed to Tiberius, who commanded Vitellius, the Governor of Syria, to attack Aretas, and send him dead or alive to Tiberius. Vitellius prepared to obey, but marched his troops back to their winter quarters, on receiving intelligence, while he was at Jerusalem, of the death of the Emperor. At this interval Aretas made an irruption into Syria, and took Damascus, and kept possession of it for some time.

69 The war between Herod and Aretas, the little communication between distant cities, the seclusion of St. Paul in Arabia, the agitation of the Jews, on account of the death of Tiberius, the deposition of Caiaphas by Vitellius, as well perhaps as the desire the priests would naturally feel to suppress the account of the failure of their decree against the Christians of Damascus -sufficiently explain, why the apostles at Jerusalem were ignorant of St. Paul's miraculous conversion, till it was announced to them by Barnabas.

The commentators suppose that St. Paul, during his present sojourn at Jerusalem, while praying in the temple, fell into that extasy or trance mentioned Acts xxii. 17-21. Hales (a) translates the word ižañoσreλw, “I will send thee forth as an extra apostle to the remote Gentiles, selecting thee αipoúμevos σε, from the people of the Jews, and from the Gentiles, to whom (the latter) I am now going to send thee forth vũv añoσréλλw, to turn them from darkness unto light, and from the jurisdiction of Satan unto God, in order that they might receive remission of sins, and an allotment among those that are sanctified by faith toward me."

(a) Hales' Anal. Chron. vol. ii. part ii. p. 1190.

PETER COMES TO LYDDA-CHAP. IX.

101

Julian Pe- to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid Damascus. riod, 4751. of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. Vulgar Era,

38.

27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Julian Pe

SECTION XXXIV.

St. Peter having preached throughout Judea comes to
Lydda, where he cures Eneas, and raises Dorcas from
the dead.

ACTS ix. 32. to the end.

32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout Palestine. riod,4751 to all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt Vulgar Era, at Lydda.

4753.

38 to 40.

33 And there he found a certain man named Eneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.

34 And Peter said unto him, Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

35 And all that dwelt in Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did.

37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper-chamber.

38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

When he

39 Then Peter arose, and went with them.
was come, they brought him into the upper-chamber:
and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing
the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she
was with them.

40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down,
and prayed; and turning him to the body, said, Tabitha,

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