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bly have added much to him, he points out the differences which he had with that Apostle, and frequently intimates that he himself ought not to be considered behind the chiefest of the Apostles.

He is so anxious to make it appear that his own doctrine was mainly original, and independent of the assistance of those followers and relations of Christ-those to whom Christ himself had given instructions how and what to preach—that he says he communicated his Gospel to them.* We may therefore conclude, that in addition to the slight information which he might have obtained of Christ's history, whilst persecuting the church, (and it cannot be supposed that he then took much trouble to inquire into the matter,) he owed his conversion to his own reflections, to visions, and to his interpretation of the Scriptures. These sources are enough to account for the doctrines which he preached; the ideas that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, that he had been raised from the dead, and was soon to appear, having been rendered notorious by the preaching of the disciples, his own resources enabled Paul to complete the scheme on which he mainly insists in his writings, viz., that faith in this Messiah superseded the law of Moses, and permitted an union between Jews and Gentiles.

However often, then, Paul may assert that Christ was raised from the dead, and, although we suppose that in all cases he meant to include the idea that he had appeared to his followers, the value of his belief depends on our estimation of the sources from which it proceeded. Now, whatever they were, they produced another belief in which he was evidently mistaken, viz. that Christ was soon to appear from heaven ;* and the very consideration which would have placed his belief of the former doctrine in a different light, viz., that it depended on the evidence given to a past fact, he does not allow us to entertain.

* See also Rom. ii. 16; xvi. 25; 2 Cor. iv. 3; Gal. i. 11, 12 . But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 2 Tim. ii. 8.

It is remarkable that the Pharisees, although hostile to Jesus in his lifetime, as a reformer and claimant of the throne of David, yet became favourably disposed to his followers after his death.f Whence could this change arise, but from the new doctrine which the disciples then began to spread of the Messiah's resurrection? This was such an interesting argument on the Pharisaic side of that great question of the day, the resurrection of the dead, that, in proportion as it provoked the enmity of the Sadducees, it conciliated towards the disciples the goodwill of their opponents. If it could be urged with any

* This doctrine is urged by Paul with nearly as much force as that of the Messiah's resurrection, and often in conjunction with it

1 Cor. i. 7, So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Phil. iii. 20, For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ ;-iv. 5, The Lord is at hand. 1 Thess. i. 9, 10, How ye turned to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead ;-iii. 13, iv. 1418, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven... then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words; V.33; 2 Thess. i. 7,8; 1 Tim. v. 14.

+ Gamaliel the Pharisee was their advocate. Excepting the case of Paul at Stephen's trial, there is no instance of persecution from the Pharisees in the Acts. They befriended Paul against the Sadducees, chap. xxiii.


plausibility, that the Messiah, the representative of the nation, had been raised from the dead, this was a new and decisive manner of settling the question; which tendency of the doctrine was of itself an evidence on its behalf. And if a few passages from the Scriptures could be adapted to it, this would be, according to the method of reasoning then used by the Jewish sects, more pertinent evidence than the testimony of a crowd of eye-witIf the disciples could but make it appear

that they only said the things which Moses and the prophets wrote, their cause was gained, and further evidence rendered superfluous, in the eyes of many of the most devout Jews.

Paul's manner of arguing is exactly such as might be expected from a converted Pharisee under such circumstances. He speaks of the resurrection of the dead as a thing to be believed on its own grounds: “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead ?" He considers the Messiah's resurrection as the fulfilment of prophecy. “I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” And only twice we find him alluding to the accounts delivered by the disciples. Acts xiii. 30;* 1 Cor. xy. 5—7.

* I do not add here, Acts xxvi. 26, “ For this thing was not done in a corner,” because it seems that by “ this thing" Paul means the whole transactions relating to Jesus as commonly known to the Jews, and these ended in his crucifixion. “ The king knoweth of these things.” Paul could not intend to appeal to Agrippa's knowledge of the fact of Jesus's resurrection, when the whole church admitted that Jesus only appeared to his own disciples. To prove this point he has recourse to the Prophets; which accounts for the

When he had occasion to allude to the personal history of Jesus, he must of necessity repeat what was said by his followers. On joining the church, he received what was currently believed in it concerning Jesus, and this included some stories of his appearance after death. But, from his manner of introducing these stories, it appears that he received them rather because they agreed with the doctrines which he and the church preached, than as the basis on which these doctrines themselves rested.

1 Cor. xv. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures : and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures : and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the Apostles. And, last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am : and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.”

observation of Festus, to whom such a mode of argument would very likely seem extravagant; but a Roman judge would hardly have called Paul mad for appealing to the evidence of credible witnesses.


From this it appears, that one reason which induced Paul to believe the resurrection of Christ was his

persuasion that it was according to the Scriptures. A second was the appearance of Christ to himself, which could only have been in a vision, when, as he says, it pleased God to reveal his Son to him. A third reason will be noticed by and by. Thus prepared, he could not hesitate to receive also the stories of the appearances of Jesus to the other Apostles. But it does not appear, even in this place, that his belief was founded on the evidence afforded to him that those appearances were real occur

His classing them with his own vision puts them even in a more doubtful light than that in which they appear elsewhere.

It is to be observed, also, that there are no intimations in the Old Testament that the Messiah was to rise the third day. Since Paul, therefore, could take up this notion so lightly, he might have also adopted the stories of the appearances to Cephas and the others on no better grounds. *

From the little use which he makes of these appearances in what follows, it seems clear that his confidence in them was not that of a man who had fully investigated them, and become satisfied of their truth.

Ver. 12-20, “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain : yea, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that he raised



* It is generally allowed that Paul is a fervid and imaginative, rather than a matter-of-fact writer. Even in the favourite argument from prophecy, his inaccuracy in quotation and interpretation equals almost that of Matthew.

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