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Luke we find confirmed in the writings of Paul himself.

Paul, who was a Jew by nation, had been educated in the rigid principles of the feet called Pharifees, and formed to eminent learning in the celebrated school of Gamaliel. He was a man of dif tinction among his countrymen, and famous for his zeal in oppofing Chriftianity. His worldly intereft and preferment, the fentiments imbibed from his education, and the prevalent opinion of the Jewish rulers and priests, all concurred to fill him with violent prejudices against the gospel of Chrift. In human view, no man was more unlikely than he, to be converted to the belief of it; and no time was more unpromising for his converfion than that in which it took place. He had just consented to, and affifted in the execution of an eminent preacher of the gospel. Breathing out threatening and flaughter against the difciples of the Lord, he had fought and obtained from the Jewish high priest a commiffion to bind and bring to Jerufalem for public punishment all, both men and women, whom he found profeffing the faith of Jesus Christ. And for the execution of this bloody commiffion, he was now going to Damafcus. His. zeal against the gofpel was, at this time, wound up to the higheft ftrain. Who would fufpect, that this man fhould become a Chriftian?But fo it was: When he came near to Damafcus, he was, at noon, day, fuddenly surprised with a light from heaven, far exceeding the brightnefs. of the fun. This was followed with an articulate voice, calling him by name, expoftulating with him for his. perfecution of the church of Chrift, and warning him of the ruin which he would bring on himself. Struck with conviction of his guilt, Paul inquired, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? The fame voice directed him to proceed on his journey into the city, where he should meet with inftructions adapta

ed to his cafe. In confequence of this vifion he fell blind. He was led by fome of the company which attended him, into the city. There he spent his time in prayer. After fome days a Chriftian difciple came to him, related to him the purpose of the vision, and reftored him to his fight by laying his hands on him in the name of Chrift. Soon after this, Paul became a preacher of the.gofpel. That this wonderful fcene was real, and not im aginary, no man can reafonbly doubt..

There is nothing, in Paul's conduct or writings, that favours of fanaticism; but, on the contrary, he uniformly appears to have poffeffed a good un. derftanding and a found judgment. If he had been an enthufiaft, yet he never would have fancied a revelation in oppofition to his religious princi ples, his worldly intereft, and all his ftrong préju dices. Enthusiasm never takes this turn, but al

ways falls in with fome previous paffion, intereft or humor.

Paul was now actually engaged in a defign to extirpate Christianity, and he was perfuaded, that his defign was laudable. If he had been a fanatic, he might have fancied a revelation in favor of his defign; but it was impoffible that imagination fhould create a light and voice in direct oppofition to a defign, which he had fo much at heart, and which he thought fo pions.

. Befides: This whole fcene was open and pub. lic, and attended with none of thofe circumstances of fecrefy and difguife, which ufually attend the revelations of enthufiafts and impoftors. It took place, not in the night, but in full day-not in a private apartment, or retired defert, but in the high road, and near a populous city-not when Paul was alone, but when he was in the company of a number of people, who all faw the light and heard the voice, as well as he, though they underflood not the words which were spoken. And thefe were

not Christians, but eneinies to Chriftianity, as well ás he.

Nothing can be more abfurd, than to fuppofe, that a number of men; all violent oppofers of the gospel, fhould happen, all at the fame moment, to fancy, that they faw a light, and heard a voice in confirmation of the gofpel, and that one of them fell blind, and continued fo for feveral days, if no fuch thing had taken place.

That this story was not a fiction of the writer, but a fact fully believed by him, is as evident, as any ancient historical fact can poffibly be. It is publicly afferted by Luke foon after it is faid to have happened; and the time, place and circum ftances are pointed out; fo that it might eafily have been difproved, if it had not been true. Paul himself, in two of his public defences, and in the presence of numbers of Jews, relates the ftory, and appeals to it as a proof of his Apoftlefhip, which he would not have done, if there had not been full evidence of the truth of it. He alludes to it alfo in feveral of his epiftles, which fhews, that it was then fully believed in the churches.

This vifion produced in Paul a mighty change. From this time he became a firm, unwavering believer, and a zealous, intrepid preacher of the gofpel. He openly profeffed his faith; that Jefus was the Son of God; and he immediately received baptism the inftituted badge of discipleship. And, be ing divinely instructed, that he was appointed a minifter and witnels of Jefus, he ftraightway preached him in Damafcus, proving that he was the very Chrift foretold by the prophets. From Damafcus, where he first began his miniftry, and where he foon found his life in danger, he privately efcaped to Jerufalem. There he joined the other Apoflies, and fpake boldly in the name of the Lord Jefus Afterward, being ordained by certain prophets and teachers of the church as an Apoftle of the Gen

tiles, he travelled through the various provinces of the leffer Afia: Then he passed into Europe and visited the moft noted places in ancient Greece: From thence he went into Syria, and returned to Jerufalem. Afterward he went over a confiderable part of the fame ground again, confirming the churches, which he had planted.

Wherever he went, he boldly preached this new religion in the moft confpicuous places, efpecially in the Jewish fynagogues; for there were Jews dif perfed in all parts of the Róman empire. In many places he met with great oppofition, chiefly. from the malice of the Jews. He was imprifoned; tortured, whipped, ftoned, and once handled fo, violently that he fell, and was dragged away for dead. But none of these things moved him, neither counted he his own life dear to him, that fo he might finish with joy the miniftry which he had received. God wrought fpecial miracles by his hands in expelling evil fpirits, healing the fick and raising the dead. In many places, churches under his miniftry were planted, improved and increased to great celebrity. Thus he continued his work, until he was made a prisoner at Rome, where he remained two years, confined to his own hired houfe; yet with so much liberty, that he received all who came to him, preaching to them the kingdom of God, and teftifying the things which con cern the Lord Jefus, with all confidence.

Paul could not have conducted in this manner, if he had not believed the gospel to be divine. He could not have had such great fuccefs, if he had not exhibited evidence of its divinity. The miracles, which he wrought, confirmed the testimony which he gave in its favor.

And certainly Luke's narrative of thefe matters must have been true, or it never could have gained credit, nor would he have thought of writing it. For, it should be obferved, this is not a narrative of

Paul's private life, but of his public miniftry. If Paul had never performed fuch travels, preached in fuch places, erected fuch churches, wrought fuch miracles, met with fuch perfecutions, ftood before fuch councils and magiftrates, and made fuch fpeeches in his public defence, the hiftorian, who fhould relate thefe things as recently done, would have gained no credit, but must have met with perfect contempt.

There are thirteen epiftles afcribed to this Paul; and whoever reads them with attention, will easily fee, that they were written by the fame man, whole life and actions Luke has related to us. They breathe the spirit of that celebrated preacher; they contain the fame doctrines, which, Luke fays, Paul preached; and they narrate, or allude to the fame tranfactions, which the hiftorian has afcribed to him. If you read Luke's history, and Paul's letters, you will fee, there is no collufion-no combination to fupport each other's credit. But yet there is a remarkable coincidence of facts; a coincidence which is worthy of notice, as it ftrongly confirms the credit of both writers. For where two men write independently, in a different manner, on different occafions, and without concert, their agreement in the relation of facts must be fuppofed to spring from truth.

Paul's early fentiments and manner of life-his perfecution of the church-his converfion-his preaching in Damafcus-his danger in, and escape from that city-his fufferings-the places to which he carried the gospel-the fuccefs, and the oppofition which he found in them-his affiftance from other Apostles-his imprifonments-his felfdenials -his labors for his own fupport-his conftancy and perfeverance-his miraculous works, are rep refented in his epiftles, as they are related in the hiftory of the Aats, with only this difference; Luke relates them with the freedom and boldnefs

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