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Acts, chap. xxi. 26, 'when Paul consented to exhibit an example of public compliance with a Jewish rite by purifying himself in the temple, it is plainly intimated that he did this to satisfy “ many thousands of Jews who believed, and who were all zealous of the law.” So far the instances related in one book, correspond with the doctrine delivered in another.
No. VIII. Chap. i. 18. “Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”
The shortness of St. Paul's stay at Jerusa- ' lem is what I desire the reader to remark. The direct account of the same journey in the Acts, chap. ix. 28, determines nothing concerning the time of his continuance there: 66 And he was with them (the apostles) coming in, and going out, at Jerusalem; and he spake boldly in the name 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.” Or rather this account, taken by itself, would lead a reader to suppose that St. Paul's abode at Jerusalem had been longer
than fifteen days. But turn to the twentysecond chapter of the Acts, and you will find a reference to this visit to Jerusalem, which plainly indicates that Paul's continuance in that city had been of short duration : “ And it came to pass, that when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance, and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, get thee quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.” Here we have the general terms of one text so explained by a distant text in the same book, as to bring an indeterminate expression into a close conformity with a specification delivered in another book: a species of consistency not, I think, usually found in fabulous relations.
These words imply that he did not always write with his own hand; which is consonant to what we find intimated in some other of the epistles. The Epistle to the Romans was written by Tertius : “I, Tertius, who wrote
this epistle, salute you in the Lord.” (Chap. xvi. 22.) The First Epistle to the Corinthians, the Epistle to the Colossians, and the Second to the Thessalonians, have all, near the conclusion, this clause, “ The salutation of me, Paul, with mine own hand; which must be understood, and is universally understood to import, that the rest of the epistle was written by another hand. I do not think it improbable that an impostor, who had remarked this subscription in some other epistle, should invent the same in a forgery ; but that is not done here. The author of this epistle does not imitate the manner of giving St. Paul's signature ; he only bids the Galatians observe how large a letter he had written to them with his own hand. He does not say this was different from his ordinary • usage; that is left to implication. Now to
suppose that this was an artifice to procure credit to an imposture, is to suppose that the author of the forgery, because he knew that others of St. Paul's were not written by himself, therefore made the apostle say that this was : which seems an odd turn to give to the circumstance, and to be given for a purpose which would more naturally and more directly have been answered, by subjoining the sa
lutation or signature in the form in which it is found in other epistles*.
An exact conformity appears in the manner in which a certain apostle or eminent Christian, whose name was James, is spoken of in the epistle and in the history. Both writings refer to a situation of his at Jerusalem, somewhat different from that of the other apostles ; a kind of eminence or presidency in the church there, or at least a more fixed and stationary residence. Chap. ii. 12. 6 When Peter was at Antioch, before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles.” This text plainly attributes a kind of pre-eminency to James; and, as we hear of him twice in the same epistle dwelling at Jerusalem, chap. i. 19, and ii. 9, we must apply it to the situation which he held in that church. In the Acts of the Apostles divers intimations occur, conveying the same idea of James's situation. When Peter was miraculously delivered from prison, and had surprised his friends by his appearance among them, after declaring unto them how the Lord had brought him out of prison, “ Go show,” says he, “ these things unto James, and to the brethren.” (Acts, chap. xii. 17.) Here James is manifestly spoken of in terms of distinction. He appears again with like distinction in the twenty-first chapter and the seventeenth and eighteenth verses : “ And when we (Paul and his company) were come to Jerusalem, the day following, Paul went in with us unto James, and all the elders were present.” In the debate which took place upon the business of the Gentile converts, in the council at Jerusalem, this same person seems to have taken the lead. It was he who closed the debate, and proposed the resolution in which the council ultimately concurred: “ Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them which from among the Gentiles are turned to God.”
* The words πηλικoις γραμμασιν may probably be meant to describe the character in which he wrote, and not the length of the letter. But this will not alter the truth of our observation. I think, however, that, as St. Paul by the mention of his own hand designed to express to the Galatians the great concern which he felt for them, the words, whatever they signify, belong to the whole of the epistle ; and not, as Grotius, after St. Jerome, interprets it, to the few verses which follow.