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"ters in other respects, either of diction or argument, they are "certainly removed as far as possible from the habits and com"prehension of a barbarous people.
IV. "St. Paul's history, I mean so much of it as may be col"lected from his letters, is so implicated with that of the other "apostles, and with the substance indeed of the Christian his"tory itself, that I apprehend it will be found impossible to ad"mit St. Paul's story (I do not speak of the miraculous part of "it) to be true, and yet to reject the rest as fabulous. For in"stance, can any one believe that there was such a man as Paul, "a preacher of Christianity in the age which we assign to him, "and not believe that there were also at the same time such "men as Peter and James, and other apostles, who had been "companions of Christ during his life, and who after his death "published and avowed the same things concerning him which "Paul taught? Judea, and especially Jerusalem, was the scene " of Christ's ministry. The witnesses of his miracles lived "there. St. Paul by his own account, as well as that of his his"torian, appears to have frequently visited this city to have "carried on a communication with the church there; to have "associated with the rulers and elders of that church, who were "some of them apostles; to have acted, as occasions offered, in "correspondence, and sometimes in conjunction with them. "Can it, after this, be doubted, but that the religion, and the "general facts relating to it, which St. Paul appears by his let"ters to have delivered to the several churches which he esta"blished at a distance, were, at the same time, taught and pub❝lished at Jerusalem itself; the place where the business was "transacted; and taught and published by those who had attend"ed the founder of the institution in his miraculous, or pretend«ed miraculous ministry?
"It is observable, for so it appears both in the epistles, and " from the acts of the apostles, that Jerusalem, and the society "of believers in that city, long continued the centre from which "the missionaries of the religion issued, with which all other "churches maintained a correspondence and connection, to "which they referred their doubts, and to whose relief, in times "of public distress, they remitted their charitable assistance. "This observation I think material, because it proves that this "was not the case of giving out accounts in one country of what "is transacted in another, without affording the hearers an op
"portunity of knowing whether the things related were credited "by any, or even published, in the place where they are report"ed to have passed.
V. "St. Paul's letters furnish evidence (and what better evi"dence than a man's own letters can be desired?) of the "soundness and sobriety of his judgment. His caution in dis"tinguishing between the occasional suggestions of inspiration, "and the ordinary exercise of his natural understanding, is "without example in the history of human enthusiasm. His "morality is every where calm, pure and rational; adapted to "the condition, the activity, and the business of social life, "and of its various relations: free from the over-scrupulous"ness and austerities of superstition, and from, what was more "perhaps to be apprehended, the abstractions of quietism, and "the soarings or extravagancies of fanaticism. His judgment "concerning a hesitating conscience; his opinion of the moral "indifferency of many actions, yet of the prudence and even "duty of compliance, where non-compliance would produce " evil effects upon the minds of the persons who observed it, is "as correct and just as the most liberal and enlightened moralist "could form at this day. The accuracy of modern ethics has "found nothing to amend in these determinations.
"What Lord Lyttleton has remarked, of the preference as"cribed by St. Paul to inward rectitude of principie, above every "other religious accomplishment, is very material to our pre"sent purpose. "In his first epistle to the Corinthians, chap. "xiii. 1.-3. St. Paul has these words, Though I speak with the << tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am be"come as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though "I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and "all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could "remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And "though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I "give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth "me nothing. Is this the language of enthusiasm? Did ever an "enthusiast prefer that universal benevolence which comprehendeth "all moral virtues, and which, as appeareth by the following verses, "is meant by charity here? Did ever enthusiast, I say, prefer that "benevolence, (which we may add is attainable by every man) to "faith and to miracles, to those religious opinions which he had em"braced, and to those supernatural graces and gifts, which he ima
gined he had acquired; nay even to the merit of martyrdom? Is "it not the genius of enthusiasm to set moral virtues infinitely below "the merit of faith; and of all moral virtues to value that least which " is most particularly enforced by St. Paul, a spirit of candour, “moderation, and peace? Certainly neither the temper nor the opi"nions of a man subject to fanatic delusions are to be found in this "passage." Considerations on the conversion, &c.
"I see no reason therefore to question the integrity of his "understanding. To call him a visionary, because he appealed "to visions, or an enthusiast, because he pretended to inspira❝tion, is to take the question for granted. It is to take for grant"ed that no such visions or inspirations existed; at least, it is "to assume, contrary to his own assertions, that he had no other "proofs than these to offer of his mission, or of the truth of his "relations.
"One thing I allow, that his letters every where discover great "zeal and earnestness in the cause in which he was engaged; "that is to say he was convinced of the truth of what he taught; " he was deeply impressed, but not more so than the occasion "merited, with a sense of its importance. This produces a "corresponding animation and solicitude in the exercise of his "ministry. But would not these considerations, supposing them "to be well founded, have holden the same place, and produced "the same effect, in a mind the strongest and the most sedate?
VI. "These letters are decisive as to the sufferings of the au"thor; also as to the distressed state of the Christian church, "and the dangers which attended the preaching of the gospel. "See Col. i. 24.; 1 Cor. xv. 19. 30, 31, 32. Rom. viii. 17, 18. ❝ 35, 36. 1 Cor. vii. 25, 26. Philip. i. 29, 30. " 1 Thess. i. 6. 2 Thess. i. 4.
Gal. vi. 14. 17.
"We may seem to have accumulated texts unnecessarily ; "but beside that the point, which they are brought to prove, is "of great importance, there is this also to be remarked in every "one of the passages cited, that the allusion is drawn from the "writer by the argument on the occasion; that the notice which "is taken of his sufferings, and of the suffering condition of "Christianity, is perfectly incidental, and is dictated by no design "of stating the facts themselves. Indeed they are not stated at "all they may rather be said to be assumed. This is a distinc❝tion upon which we have relied a good deal in the former part "of this treatise; and where the writer's information cannot be
"doubted, it always, in my opinion, adds greatly to the value and "credit of the testimony," &c.
"In the following quotations, the reference to the author's "sufferings is accompanied with a specification of time and place, ❝and with an appeal for the truth of what he declares, to the "knowledge of the persons whom he addresses, 1 Thess. ii. 2. "2 Tim. iii. 10, 11.
"I apprehend that to this point, as far as the testimony of "St. Paul is credited, the evidence from his letters is complete "and full. It appears under every form in which it could appear, "by occasional allusions, and by direct assertions, by general "declarations and by specific examples."
VII. "St. Paul in these letters asserts, in positive and unequi❝vocal terms, his performance of miracles, strictly and properly "so called, Gal. iii. 5. 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5. 1 Thess. i. 5. Heb. ii. "4.-Rom. xv. 15. 18, 19. 2 Cor. xii. 12. Truly the signs of an "apostle were wrought among you, in all patience, by signs and "wonders and mighty deeds. These words, signs, wonders, and σε mighty deeds, (σημεία, και τέρατα, και δυνάμεις), are the specific "appropriate terms throughout the New Testament, employed "when public sensible miracles are intended to be expressed. "This will appear by consulting amongst other places the follow❝ing texts, Mark xvi. 20. Luke xxiii. 8. John ii. 11. 23.-iii. "2.-iv. 48. 54.-xi. 49. Acts ii. 22.-iv. 30.—v. 12.-vi. 8.— ❝ vii. 16.-xiv. 3.-xv. 12. And it cannot be shown, that they are ever employed to express any thing else.-Farther, these words "not only denote miracles, as opposed to natural effects, but they "denote visible, and what may be called external, miracles, as "distinguished, First, from inspiration. If St. Paul had meant "to refer only to secret illuminations of his understanding, or "secret influences upon his will or affections, he could not "with truth, have represented them as signs and wonders, "wrought by him, or signs and wonders, and mighty deeds, "wrought amongst them.-Secondly, from visions. These would "not, by any means, satisfy the force of the terms, signs, won"ders, and mighty deeds; still less could they be said to be "wrought by him, or wrought amongst them; nor are these "terms and expressions any where applied to visions. When "our author alludes to the supernatural communications which "he had received, either by vision or otherwise, he uses ex"pressions suited to the nature of the subject, but very dif"ferent from the words which we quoted. He calls them
"revelations, but never signs, wonders, or mighty deeds. I will "come, says he, to visions and revelations of the Lord; and then "proceeds to describe a particular instance, and afterwards adds, "lest I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of "the revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh.
"Upon the whole, the matter admits of no softening qualifi❝cation or ambiguity whatever. If St. Paul did not work ac"tual, sensible, public miracles, he has knowingly, in these let❝ters, borne his testimony to a falsehood. I need not add, that, "in two also of his quotations, he has advanced his assertion in "the face of those persons amongst whom he declares the mi"racles to have been wrought.
"Let it be remembered, that the acts of the apostles describe "various particular miracles, wrought by St. Paul, which in "their nature answer to the terms and expressions which we ❝ have seen to be used by St. Paul himself.”
"Here then we have a man of liberal attainments, and in "other points of sound judgment, who had addicted his life to "the service of the gospel. We see him in the prosecution "of his purpose, travelling from country to country, enduring "every species of hardship, encountering every extremity of "danger, assaulted by the populace, punished by the magis"trates, scourged, beat, stoned, left for dead; expecting, "wherever he came, a renewal of the same treatment, and
same dangers; yet when driven from one city, preaching "in the next; spending his whole time in the employment, "sacrificing to it his pleasures, his ease, his safety, persisting "in this course to old age, unaltered by the experience of per"verseness, ingratitude, prejudice, desertion; unsubdued by "anxiety, want, labour, persecutions; unwearied by long con"finement, undismayed by the prospect of death. Such was "St. Paul. We have his letters in our hands: we have also a "history purporting to be written by one of his fellow-travel"lers, and appearing by a comparison with these letters, cer"tainly to have been written by some person well acquainted "with the transactions of his life. From the letters, as well as "from the history, we gather, not only the account which we "have stated of him, but that he was one out of many who act"ed and suffered in the same manner, and that, of those who "did so, several had been the companions of Christ's ministry,