Beacon Lights of History, Volume II
John Lord

Part 5 out of 5

citadel or tower on Mount Zion, overlooking the Temple, in which a large
garrison of the enemy had long been stationed, and which was a perpetual
menace. The attack or siege of this strong fortress alarmed the heathen,
who made complaint to the young king, called Eupator, or more probably
to the regent Lysias, who sent an overwhelming army into Judaea,
consisting of one hundred thousand foot, twenty thousand horse, and
thirty-two elephants. But Judas did not hesitate to give battle to this
great force, and again gained a victory. It was won, however, at the
expense of his brother Eleazer. Seeing one of the elephants armed with
royal armor, he supposed that it carried the king himself; and
heroically forcing his way through the ranks of the enemy, he slipped
under the elephant, and gave the beast a mortal wound, so that it fell
to the ground, crushing to death the courageous Maccabaeus,--for the
brothers of Judas, worthy compatriots and fellow-soldiers with him, were
also called by his special name; and although the family name was Asmon,
they are famous as "the Maccabees."

This battle however was not decisive. Lysias advanced to Jerusalem and
laid siege to it. But hearing that Philip had succeeded in gaining
authority at Antioch, he made peace with Judas, and hastily returned to
his capital, where he found Philip master of the city. Although he
recovered his capital, it was only for a short time, since Demetrius,
son of Seleucus, who had been sojourning at Rome, returned to the palace
of his ancestors, and slaying both Lysias and the young king, reigned in
their stead.

With this king the Jews were soon involved in war. Evil-minded men,
hostile to Judas (for in such unsettled times treachery was everywhere),
went to Antioch with their complaints, headed by Alcimus, who wished to
be high-priest, and inflamed the anger of King Demetrius. The new
monarch sent one of his ablest generals, called Bacchides, with an army
to chastise the Jews and reinstate Alcimus, who had been ejected from
his high office. This wicked high-priest overran the country with the
forces of Bacchides, who had returned to Antioch, but did not prevail;
so the king sent Nicanor, already experienced in this Jewish war, with a
still larger army against Judas. The gallant Maccabaeus, however, gained
a great victory, and slew Nicanor himself. This battle gave another rest
for a time to the afflicted land of Judah.

Meanwhile Judas, fearing that the Syrian forces would ultimately
overpower him, sent an embassy to Rome to invoke protection. It was a
long journey in those times. A century and a half later it took Saint
Paul six months to make it. The conquests of the Romans were known
throughout the East, and better known than the policy they pursued of
devouring the countries that sought their protection when it suited
their convenience. At this time, 162 B.C., Italy was subdued, Spain had
been added to the empire, Macedonia was conquered, Syria was threatened,
and Carthage was soon to fall. The Senate was then the ruling power at
Rome, and was in the height of its dignity, not controlled by either
generals or demagogues. The Senate received with favor the Jewish
ambassadors, and promised their protection. Had Judas known what that
protection meant, he would have been the last man to seek it.

Nor did the treaty of alliance with Rome save Judaea from the continued
hostilities of Syria. Demetrius sent Bacchides with another army, which
encamped against Jerusalem, where Judas had only eight hundred men to
resist an army of twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse. We infer
that his forces had dwindled away by perpetual contests. His heart of
hope was now well-nigh broken, but his lion courage remained. Against
the solicitation of his companions in war he resolved to fight;
gallantly and stubbornly contested the field from morning to night, and
at last, hemmed in between two wings of the Syrian foe, fell in
the battle.

The heroic career of Judas Maccabaeus was ended. He had done marvellous
things. He had for six years resisted and often defeated overwhelming
forces; he had fought more battles than David; he had kept the enemy at
bay while his prostrate country arose from the dust; he had put to
flight and slain tens of thousands of the heathen; he had recovered and
fortified Jerusalem, and restored the Temple worship; he had trained his
people to be warlike and heroic. At last he was slain only when his
followers were scattered by successive calamities. He bore the brunt of
six years' successful war against the most powerful monarchy in Asia,
bent on the extermination of his countrymen. And amid all his labors he
had kept the Law, being revered for his virtues as much as for his
heroism. Not a single crime sullied his glorious name. And when he fell
at last, exhausted, the nation lamented him as David mourned for
Jonathan, saying, "How is the valiant fallen!" A greater hero than he
never adorned an age of heroism. Judas was not only a mighty captain,
but a wise statesman,--so revered, that, according to Josephus, in his
closing years he was made high-priest also, thus uniting in his person
both spiritual and temporal authority. It was a very small country that
he ruled, but it is in small countries that genius is often most fully
developed, either for war or for peace. We know but little of his
private life. He had no time for what the world calls pleasures; his
life was rough, full of dangers and embarrassments. His only aim seems
to have been to shake off the Syrian yoke that oppressed his native
land, to redeem the holy places of the nation from the pollutions of the
obscene rites of heathenism, and to restore the worship of Jehovah
according to the consecrated ritual established in the Mosaic Law.

The death of Judas was of course followed by great disorders and
universal despondency. His mantle fell on his brother Jonathan, who
became the leader of the scattered forces of the Jews. He also prevailed
over Bacchides in several engagements, so that the Syrian leader
returned to Antioch, and the Jews had rest for two years. Jonathan was
now clothed with honor and dignity, wore a purple garment and other
emblems of high rank, and was almost an acknowledged sovereign. He
improved his opportunities and fortified Jerusalem. But his prosperous
career was cut short by treachery. He was enticed by the Syrian general,
even when he had an army of forty thousand men,--so largely had the
forces of Judaea increased,--into Ptolemais with a few followers, under
blandishing promises, and slain.

Simon was now the only remaining son of Mattathias; and on him devolved
the high-priesthood, as well as the executive duties of supreme ruler.
He wisely devoted himself to the internal affairs of the State which he
ruled. He fortified Joppa, the only port of Judaea, reduced hostile
cities, and made himself master of the famous fortress of Mount Zion, so
long held in threatening vicinity by the Syrians, which he not only
levelled with the ground, but also razed the summit of the hill on which
it stood, so that it should no longer overlook the Temple area. The
Temple became not only the Sanctuary, but also one of the strongest
fortresses in the world. At a later period it held out for some time
against the army of Titus, even after Jerusalem itself had fallen.

Simon executed the laws with rigorous impartiality, repaired the Temple,
restored the sacred vessels, and secured general peace, order, and
security. Even the lands desolated by the wasting wars with several
successive Syrian monarchs again rejoiced in fertility. Every man sat
under his own vine and fig-tree in safety. The friendly alliance with
Rome was renewed by a present to that greedy republic of a golden
shield, weighing one thousand pounds, and worth fifty talents, thus
showing how much wealth had increased under Judas and his brothers. Even
the ambassadors of the Syrian monarch were astonished at the splendor of
Simon's palace, and at the riches of the Temple, again restored, not in
the glory of Solomon, but in a magnifience of which few temples could
boast,--the pride once more of the now prosperous Jews, who had by
their persistent bravery earned their independence. In the year 143
B.C., the Jews began a new epoch in their history, after twenty-three
years of almost incessant warfare.

Yet Simon was destined, like his brothers, to end his days by violence.
He also, together with two of his sons, was treacherously murdered by
his son-in-law Ptolemy, who aspired to the exalted office of
high-priest, leaving his son John Hyrcanus to reign in his stead, in the
year 136 B.C. The rule of the Maccabees,--the five sons of
Mattathias,--lasted thirty years. They were the founders of the Asmonean
princes, who ruled both as kings and high-priests.

With the death of Simon, the last remaining son of Mattathias, this
lecture properly should end; yet a rapid glance at the Jewish nation,
under the rule of the Asmonean princes and the Idumaean Herod, may not
be uninteresting.

John Hyrcanus, the first of the Asmonean kings, was an able sovereign,
and reigned twenty-nine years. He threw off the Syrian yoke, and the
Jewish kingdom maintained its independence until it fell under the Roman
sway. His most memorable feat was the destruction of the Samaritan
Temple on Mount Gerizim, which had been an eye-sore to the people of
Jerusalem for two hundred years. He then subdued Idumaea, and compelled
the people of that country to adopt the Jewish religion. He maintained a
strict alliance with the Romans, and became master of Samaria and of
Galilee, which were incorporated with his kingdom, so that the ancient
limits of the kingdom of David were nearly restored. He built the castle
of Baris on a rock within the fortifications that surrounded the hill of
the Temple, which afterward was known as the tower of Antonia.

On his death, 105 B.C., Hyrcanus was succeeded by his son
Aristobulus,--a weak and wicked prince, who assassinated his brother,
and starved to death his mother in a dungeon. The next king of the
Asmonean line, Alexander Jannaeus, was brave, but unsuccessful, and died
after an unquiet and turbulent reign of twenty-seven years, 77 B.C. His
widow, Alexandra, ruled as regent with great tact and energy for nine
years, and was succeeded by her son Hyrcanus II. This feeble and
unfortunate prince had to contend with the intrigues and violence of his
more able but unscrupulous brother, Aristobulus, who sought to steal his
sceptre, and who at one time even drove him from his kingdom. Hyrcanus
put himself under the protection of the Romans. They came as arbiters;
they remained as masters. It was when Judaea was under the nominal rule
of Hyrcanus II., driven hither and thither by his enemies, and when his
capital was in their hands, that Pompey, triumphant over the armies of
the East, took Jerusalem after a desperate resistance, entered the
Temple, and even penetrated to the Holy of Holies. To his credit he left
untouched the treasures accumulated in the Temple, but he demolished the
walls of the city and imposed a tribute. Judaea was now virtually under
the dominion of the Romans, although the sovereignty of Hyrcanus was not
completely taken away. On the fall of Pompey, Crassus the triumvir
plundered the Temple of ten thousand talents, as was estimated, and the
fate of Judaea, during the memorable civil war of which Caesar was the
hero and victor, hung in trembling suspense. I will not enumerate the
contentions, the deeds of violence, the acts of treachery, and the
strife of rival parties which marked the tumultuous period in Judaea
while Caesar and Pompey were contending for the sovereignty of the
world. These came to an end at last by the dethronement of the last of
the Asmonean princes, and the accession of the Idumaean Herod by the aid
of Antony (40 B.C.).

Herod, called the Great, was the last independent sovereign of
Palestine. He was the son of Antipater, a noble Idumaean, who had
ingratiated himself in the favor of Hyrcanus II., high-priest and
sovereign, and who ruled as the prime minister of this feeble and
incapable prince. By rendering some service to Caesar, Antipater was
made procurator of Judaea, and appointed his son Herod to the government
of Galilee, where he developed remarkable administrative talents. Soon
after, he was raised by Sextus Caesar to the military command of
Coele-Syria. After the battle of Philippi, Herod secured the favor of
Antony by an enormous bribe, as he had that of Cassius on the death of
Caesar, and was made one of the tetrarchs of the province. In the
meantime his father, Alexander, was poisoned at Jerusalem, and
Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, who had gained ascendency, cut off the
ears of Hyrcanus, and not only deprived him of the office of
high-priest, but usurped his authority. Herod himself proceeded to Rome,
and was successful in his intrigues, being by the favor of Antony made
king of Judaea. But a severe contest was before him, since Antigonus was
resolved to defend his crown. With the aid of the Romans, Herod, after a
war of three years, subdued his rival and put him to death, together
with every member of the Sanhedrim but two. His power was cemented by
his marriage with Mariamne, the beautiful sister of Aristobulus, whom he
made high-priest.

The Asmonean princes were now, by the death of Antigonus, reduced to
Aristobulus and the aged Hyrcanus, both of whom were murdered by the
suspicious tyrant who had triumphed over so many enemies. In a fit of
jealousy Herod even caused the execution of his beautiful wife, whom he
passionately loved, as he had already destroyed her grandfather, father,
brother, and uncle. Supported by Augustus, whom he had managed to
conciliate after the death of Antony, Herod reigned with undisputed
authority over even an increase of territory. He doubtless reigned with
great ability, tyrant and murderer as he was, and detested by the Jews
as an Idumaean. He reigned in a state of magnificence unknown to the
Asmonean princes. He built a new and magnificent palace on the hill of
Zion, and rebuilt the fortress of Baris, which he called Antonia in
honor of his friend and patron, Antony. He also erected strong citadels
in different cities of his kingdom, and rebuilt Samaria; he founded
Caesarea and colonized it with Greeks, so that it became a great
maritime city, rivalling Tyre in magnificence and strength. But Herod's
greatest work, by which he hoped to ingratiate himself in the favor of
the Jews, was the rebuilding of the Temple on a scale of unexampled
magnificence. He was also very liberal in the distribution of corn
during a severe famine. He was in such high favor with Augustus by his
presents and his devotion to the imperial interests, that, next to
Agrippa, he was the emperor's greatest favorite. His two sons by
Mariamne were educated at Rome with great care, and were lodged in the
palace of the Emperor.

Herod's latter days however were clouded by the intrigues of his court,
by treason and conspiracies, in consequence of which his sons, favorites
with the people on account of their accomplishments and their Asmonean
blood, were executed by the suspicious and savage despot. Antipater,
another son, by his first wife, whom he had chosen as his successor,
conspired against his life, and the proof of his guilt was so clear that
he also was summarily executed. In addition to these troubles Herod was
tormented by remorse for the execution of the murdered Mariamne. He was
the victim of jealousy, suspicion, and wrath. One of his last acts was
the order to destroy the infants in the vicinity of Jerusalem in the
vain hope of destroying the predicted Messiah,--him who should be "born
king of the Jews." He died of a loathsome and excruciating disease, in
his seventieth year, having reigned nearly forty years. His kingdom, by
his will, was divided between the children of his later wife, a
Samaritan woman,--the eldest of whom, Archelaus, became monarch of
Judea; and the second, Antipas, became tetrarch of Galilee. The former
married the widow of his half-brother Alexander, who was executed; and
the latter married Herodias, wife of Philip, also his half-brother.

Archelaus ruled Judaea with such injustice and cruelty, that, after
nine years, he was summoned to Rome and exiled to Vienne in Gaul, and
Judaea became a Roman province under the prefecture of Syria. The
supreme judicial authority was exercised by the Jewish Sanhedrim, the
great ecclesiastical and civil council, composed of seventy-one persons
presided over by the high-priest. The Sanhedrim, under the name of chief
priests, scribes, and elders of the people, now took the lead in all
public transactions pertaining to the internal administration of the
province, being inferior only to the tribunal of the governor, who
resided in Caesarea.

Meanwhile the long expectation of the Jews, especially during the reign
of Herod, of a promised Deliverer, was fulfilled, and one claiming to be
the Messiah appeared,--not a temporal prince and mighty hero of war, a
greater Judas Maccabaeus, as the Jews had supposed, but a helpless
infant, born in a manger, and brought up as a peasant-carpenter. Yet he
it was who should found a spiritual kingdom never to be destroyed, going
on from conquering to conquer, until the whole world shall be subdued.
With the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, in which we see the fulfilment of
all the promises made to the chosen people from Abraham to Isaiah,
Jewish history loses its chief interest. The mission of the Hebrew
nation seems to stand accomplished; the conception of one, holy,
spiritual God was kept alive in the world until, in "the fulness of
time," the mighty Romans subdued and united all lands under one rule,
drawing them nearer together by great highroads; the flexible Greek
language gave all peoples a common tongue, in which already the Hebrew
Scriptures had been familiarized among scholars; the life and teachings
of Jesus entered with vital power into the heart and brain of those
devoted followers who recognized him as the Christ,--the revelator of
the universal fatherhood of the One true God; and thenceforward
Christianity becomes the great spiritual power of the world.




The Scriptures say but little of the life of Saul from the time he was
a student, at the age of fifteen, at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the
most learned rabbis of the Jewish Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, until he
appeared at the martyrdom of Stephen, when about thirty years of age.

Saul, as he was originally named, was born at Tarsus, a city of Cilicia,
about the fourth year of our era. His father was a Jew, a pharisee, and
a man of respectable social position. In some way not explained, he was
able to transmit to his son the rights of Roman citizenship,--a valuable
inheritance, as it proved. He took great pains in the education of his
gifted son, who early gave promise of great talents and attainments in
rabbinical lore, and who gained also some knowledge, although probably
not a very deep one, of the Greek language and literature. Saul's great
peculiarity as a young man was his extreme pharisaism,--devotion to the
Jewish Law in all its minuteness of ceremonial rites. We gather from his
own confessions that at that period, when he was engrossed in the study
of the Jewish scriptures and religious institutions, he was narrow and
intolerant, and zealous almost to fanaticism to perpetuate ritualistic
conventionalities and the exclusiveness of his sect. He was austere and
conscientious, but his conscience was unenlightened. He exhibited
nothing of that large-hearted charity and breadth of mind for which he
was afterward distinguished; he was in fact a bitter persecutor of those
who professed the religion of Jesus, which he detested as an innovation.
His morality being always irreproachable, and his character and zeal
giving him great influence, he was sent to Damascus, with authority to
bring to Jerusalem for trial or punishment those who had embraced the
new faith. He is supposed to have been absent from Jerusalem during the
ministry of our Lord, and probably never saw him who was despised and
rejected of men. We are told that Saul, in the virulence of his
persecuting spirit, consented to the death of Stephen, who was no
ignorant Galilean, but a learned Hellenist; nor is there evidence that
the bitter and relentless young pharisee was touched either by the
eloquence or blameless life or terrible sufferings of the
distinguished martyr.

The next memorable event in the life of Saul--at that time probably a
member of the Jewish Sanhedrim--was his conversion to Christianity, as
sudden and unexpected as it was profound and lasting, while on his way
to Damascus on the errand already mentioned. The sudden light from
heaven which exceeded in brilliancy the torrid midday sun, the voice of
Jesus which came to the trembling persecutor as he lay prostrate on the
ground, the blindness which came upon him--all point to the
supernatural; for he was no inquirer after truth like Luther and
Augustine, but bent on a persistent course of cruel persecution. At once
he is a changed man in his spirit, in his aims, in his entire attitude
toward the followers of the Nazarene. The proud man becomes as docile
and humble as a child; the intolerant zealot for the Law becomes broad
and charitable; and only one purpose animates his whole subsequent
life,--which is to spend his strength, amid perils and difficult labors,
in defence of the doctrines he had spurned. His leading idea now is to
preach salvation, not by pharisaical works by which no man can be
justified, but by faith in the crucified one who was sent into the world
to save it by new teachings and by his death upon the cross. He will go
anywhere in his sublime enthusiasm, among Jews or among Gentiles, to
plant the precious seeds of the new faith in every pagan city which he
can reach.

It is thought by Conybeare and Howson, Farrar and others that the new
convert spent three years in retirement in Arabia, in profound
meditation and communion with God, before the serious labors of his life
began as a preacher and missionary. After his conversion it would seem
that Saul preached the divinity of Christ with so much zeal that the
Jews in Damascus were filled with wrath, and sought to take his life,
and even guarded the gates of the city for fear that he might escape.
The conspiracy being detected, the friends of Saul put him into a basket
made of ropes, and let him down from a window in a house built upon the
city wall, so that he escaped, and thereupon proceeded to Jerusalem to
be indorsed as a Christian brother. He was especially desirous to see
Peter, as the foremost man among the Christians, though James had
greater dignity. Peter received him kindly, though not enthusiastically,
for the remembrance of his relentless persecutions was still fresh in
the minds of the Christians. It was impossible, however, that two such
warmhearted, honest, and enthusiastic men should not love each other,
when the common leading principle of their lives was mutually

Among the disciples, however, it was only Peter who took Saul cordially
by the hand. The other leaders held aloof; not one so much as spoke to
him. He was regarded with general mistrust; even James, the Lord's
brother, the first bishop of Jerusalem, would hold no communion with
him. At length Joseph, a Levite of Cyprus, afterward called Barnabas,--a
man of large heart, who sold his possessions to give to the
poor,--recognizing Saul's sincerity and superior talents, extended to
him the right hand of fellowship, and later became his companion in the
missionary journeys which he undertook. He used his great influence in
removing the prejudices of the brethren, and Saul henceforth was
admitted to their friendship and confidence.

Saul at first did not venture to preach in Hebrew synagogues, but sought
the synagogue of the Hellenists, in which the voice of Stephen had first
been heard. But his preaching was again cut short by a conspiracy to
murder him, so fierce was the animosity which his conversion had created
among the Jews, and he was compelled to flee. The brethren conducted him
to the little coast village of Caesarea, whence he sailed for his native
city Tarsus, in Cilicia.

How long Saul remained in Tarsus, and what he did there, we do not know.
Not long, probably, for he was sought out by Barnabas as his associate
for missionary work in Antioch. It would seem that on the persecution
which succeeded Stephen's death, many of the disciples fled to various
cities; and among others, to that great capital of the East,--the third
city of the Roman Empire.

Thither Barnabas had gone as their spiritual guide; but he soon found
out that among the Greeks of that luxurious and elegant city there were
demanded greater learning, wisdom, and culture than he himself
possessed. He turned his eyes upon Saul, then living quietly at Tarsus,
whose superior tact and trained skill in disputation, large and liberal
mind, and indefatigable zeal marked him out as the fittest man he could
find as a coadjutor in his laborious work. Thus Saul came to Antioch to
assist Barnabas.

No city could have been chosen more suitable for the peculiar talents of
Saul than this great Eastern emporium, containing a population of five
hundred thousand. I need not speak of its works of art,--its palaces,
its baths, its aqueducts, its bridges, its basilicas, its theatres,
which called out even the admiration of the citizens of the imperial
capital. These were nothing to Saul, who thought only of the souls he
could convert to the religion of Jesus; but they indicate the importance
and wealth of the population. In this pagan city were half a million
people steeped in all the vices of the Oriental world,--a great influx
of heterogeneous races, mostly debased by various superstitions and
degrading habits, whose religion, so far as they had any, was a crude
form of Nature-worship. And yet among them were wits, philosophers,
rhetoricians, poets, and satirists, as was to be expected in a city
where Greek was the prevailing language. But these were not the people
who listened to Saul and Barnabas. The apostles found hearers chiefly
among the poor and despised,--artisans, servants, soldiers,
sailors,--although occasionally persons of moderate independence became
converts, especially women of the middle ranks. Poor as they were, the
Christians at Antioch found means to send a large contribution in money
to their brethren at Jerusalem, who were suffering from a
grievous famine.

A year was spent by Barnabas and Saul at Antioch in founding a Christian
community, or congregation, or "church," as it was called. And it was in
this city that the new followers of Christ were first called
"Christians," mostly made up as they were of Gentiles. The missionaries
had not much success with the Jews, although it was their custom first
to preach in the Jewish synagogues on the Sabbath. It was only the
common people of Antioch who heard the word gladly, for it was to them
tidings of joy, which raised them above their degradation and misery.

With the contributions which the Christians of Antioch, and probably of
other cities, made to their poorer and afflicted brethren, Barnabas and
Saul set out for Jerusalem, soon returning however to Antioch, not to
resume their labors, but to make preparations for an extended missionary
tour. Saul was then thirty-seven years of age, and had been a Christian
seven years.

In spite of many disadvantages, such as ill-health, a mean personal
appearance, and a nervous temperament, without a ready utterance, Saul
had a tolerable mastery of Greek, familiarity with the habits of
different classes, and a profound knowledge of human nature. As a
widower and childless, he was unincumbered by domestic ties and duties;
and although physically weak, he had great endurance and patience. He
was courteous in his address, liberal in his views, charitable to
faults, abounding in love, adapting himself to people's weaknesses and
prejudices,--a man of infinite tact, the loftiest, most courageous, most
magnanimous of missionaries, setting an example to the Xaviers and
Judsons of modern times. He doubtless felt that to preach the gospel to
the heathen was his peculiar mission; so that his duty coincided with
his inclination, for he seems to have been very fond of travelling. He
made his journeys on foot, accompanied by a congenial companion, when he
could not go by water, which was attended with less discomfort, and was
freer from perils and dangers than a land journey.

The first missionary journey of Barnabas and Saul, accompanied by Mark,
was to the isle of Cyprus. They embarked at Seleucia, the port of
Antioch, and landed at Salamis, where they remained awhile, preaching
in the Jewish synagogue, and then traversed the whole island, which is
about one hundred miles in length. Whenever they made a lengthened stay,
Saul worked at his trade as a sail and tent maker, so as not to be
burdensome to any one. His life was very simple and inexpensive, thus
enabling him to maintain that independence so essential to self-respect.

No notable incident occurred to the three missionaries until they
reached the town of Nea-Paphos, celebrated for the worship of Venus, the
residence of the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus,--a man of illustrious
birth, who amused himself with the popular superstitions of the country.
He sought, probably from curiosity, to hear Barnabas and Saul preach;
but the missionaries were bitterly opposed by a Jewish sorcerer called
Elymas, who was stricken with blindness by Saul, the miracle producing
such an effect on the governor that he became a convert to the new
faith. There is no evidence that he was baptized, but he was respected
and beloved as a good man. From that time the apostle assumed the name
of Paul; and he also assumed the control of the mission, Barnabas
gracefully yielding the first rank, which till then he had himself
enjoyed. He had been the patron of Saul, but now became his subordinate;
for genius ever will work its way to ascendency. There are no outward
advantages which can long compete with intellectual supremacy.

From Cyprus the missionaries went to Perga, in Pamphylia, one of the
provinces of Asia Minor. In this city, famed for the worship of Diana,
their stay was short. Here Mark separated from his companions and
returned to Jerusalem, much to the mortification of his cousin Barnabas
and the grief of Paul, since we have a right to infer that this
brilliant young man was appalled by the dangers of the journey, or had
more sympathy with his brethren at Jerusalem than with the liberal yet
overbearing spirit of Paul.

From Perga the two travellers proceeded to Antioch in Pisidia, in the
heart of the high table-lands of the Peninsula, and, according to their
custom, went on Saturday to the Jewish synagogue. Paul, invited to
address the meeting, set forth the mystery of Jesus, his death, his
resurrection, and the salvation which he promised to believers. But the
address raised a storm, and Paul retired from the synagogue to preach to
the Gentile population, many of whom were favorably disposed, and became
converted. The same thing subsequently took place at Philippi, at
Alexandria, at Troas, and in general throughout the Roman colonies. But
the influence of the Jews was sufficient to secure the expulsion of Paul
and Barnabas from the city; and they departed, shaking off the dust
from their feet, and turning their steps to Iconium, a city of
Lycaonia, where a church was organized. Here the apostles tarried some
time, until forced to leave by the orthodox Jews, who stirred up the
heathen population against them. The little city of Lystra was the scene
of their next labors, and as there were but few Jews there the
missionaries not only had rest, but were very successful.

The sojourn at Lystra was marked by the miraculous cure of a cripple,
which so impressed the people that they took the missionaries for
divinities, calling Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercury; and a priest of
the city absolutely would have offered up sacrifices to the supposed
deities, had he not been severely rebuked by Paul for his superstition.

At Lystra a great addition was made to the Christian ranks by the
conversion of Timothy, a youth of fifteen, and of his excellent mother
Eunice; but the report of these conversions reached Iconium and Antioch
of Pisidia, which so enraged the Jews of these cities that they sent
emissaries to Lystra, zealous fanatics, who made such a disturbance that
Paul was stoned, and left for dead. His wounds, however, were not so
serious as were supposed, and the next day he departed with Barnabas for
Derbe, where he made a long stay. The two churches of Lystra and Derbe
were composed almost wholly of heathen.

From Derbe the apostles retraced their steps, A.D. 46, to Antioch, by
the way they had come,--a journey of one hundred and twenty miles, and
full of perils,--instead of crossing Mount Taurus through the famous
pass of the Cilician Gates, and then through Tarsus to Antioch, an
easier journey.

One of the noticeable things which marked this first missionary journey
of Paul, was the opposition of the Jews wherever he went. He was forced
to turn to the Gentiles, and it was among them that converts were
chiefly made. It is true that his custom was first to address the Jewish
synagogues on Saturday, but the Jews opposed and hated and persecuted
him the moment he announced the grand principle which animated his
life,--salvation through Jesus Christ, instead of through obedience to
the venerated Law of Moses.

On his return to Antioch with his beloved companion, Paul continued for
a time in the peaceful ministration of apostolic duties, until it became
necessary for him to go to Jerusalem to consult with the other apostles
in reference to a controversy which began seriously to threaten the
welfare of their common cause. This controversy was in reference to the
rite of circumcision,--a rite ever held in supreme importance by the
Jews. The Jewish converts to Christianity had all been previously
circumcised according to the Mosaic Law, and they insisted on the
circumcision of the Gentile converts also, as a mark of Christian
fraternity. Paul, emancipated from Jewish prejudices and customs,
regarded this rite as unessential; he believed that it was abrogated by
Christ, with other technical observances of the Law, and that it was not
consistent with the liberty of the Gospel to impose rites exclusively
Jewish on the Pagan converts. The elders at Jerusalem, good men as they
were, did not take this view; they could not bear to receive into
complete Christian fellowship men who offended their prejudices in
regard to matters which they regarded as sacred and obligatory as
baptism itself. They would measure Christianity by their traditions; and
the smaller the point of difference seemed to the enlightened Paul, the
bitterer were the contests,--even as many of the schisms which
subsequently divided the Church originated in questions that appear to
us to be absolutely frivolous. The question very early arose, whether
Christianity should be a formal and ritualistic religion,--a religion of
ablutions and purifications, of distinctions between ceremonially pure
and impure things,--or, rather, a religion of the spirit; whether it
should be a sect or a universal religion. Paul took the latter view;
declared circumcision to be useless, and freely admitted heathen
converts into the Church without it, in opposition to those who
virtually insisted on a Gentile becoming a Jew before he could become a

So, to settle this miserable dispute, Paul went to Jerusalem, taking
with him Barnabas and Titus, who had never been circumcised,--eighteen
years after the death of Jesus, when the apostles were old men, and when
Peter, James, and John, having remained at Jerusalem, were the real
leaders of the Jewish Church. James in particular, called the Just, was
a strenuous observer of the law of circumcision,--a severe and ascetic
man, and very narrow in his prejudices, but held in great veneration for
his piety. Before the question was brought up in a general assembly of
the brethren for discussion, Paul separately visited Peter, James, and
John, and argued with them in his broad and catholic spirit, and won
them over to his cause; so that through their influence it was decided
that it was not essential for a Gentile to be circumcised on admission
to the Church, only that he must abstain from meats offered to idols,
and from eating the meat of any animal containing the blood (forbidden
by Moses),--a sort of compromise, a measure by which most quarrels are
finally settled; and the title of Paul as "Apostle to the Gentiles" was
officially confirmed.

The controversy being settled amicably by the leaders of the infant
Church, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, and for a while longer
continued their labors there, as the most important centre of
missionary operations. But the ardent soul of Paul could not bear
repose. He set about forming new plans; and the result was his second
and more important missionary tour.

The relations between Paul and Barnabas had been thus far of the most
intimate and affectionate kind. But now the two apostles
disagreed,--Barnabas wishing to associate with them his cousin Mark, and
Paul determining that the young man, however estimable, should not
accompany them, because he had turned back on the former journey. It
must be confessed that Paul was not very amiable and conciliatory in
this matter; but his nature was earnest and stern, and he was resolved
not to have a companion under his trying circumstances who had once put
his hand to the plough and looked back. Neither apostle would yield, and
they were obliged to separate,--reluctantly, doubtless,--Paul choosing
Silas as his future companion, while Barnabas took Mark. Both were
probably in the right, and both in the wrong; for the best of men have
faults, and the strongest characters the most. Perhaps Paul thought that
as he was now recognized as the leading apostle to the Gentiles,
Barnabas should yield to him; and perhaps Barnabas felt aggrieved at the
haughty dictation of one who was once his inferior in standing.

The choice of Paul, however, was admirable. Silas was a broad and
liberal man, who had great influence at Jerusalem, and was entirely
devoted to his superior.

"The first object of Paul was to confirm the churches he had already
founded; and accordingly he began his mission by visiting the churches
of Syria and Cilicia," crossing the Taurus range by the famous Cilician
Gates,--one of the most frightful mountain passes in the
world,--penetrating thus into Lycaonia, and reaching Derbe, Lystra, and
Iconium. At Lystra he found Timothy, whom he greatly loved, modest and
timid, and made him his deacon and secretary, although he had never been
circumcised. To prevent giving offence to Jewish Christians, Paul
himself circumcised Timothy, in accordance with his custom of yielding
to prejudices when no vital principles were involved,--which concession
laid him open to the charge of inconsistency on the part of his enemies.
Expediency was not disdained by Paul when the means were
unobjectionable, but he did not use bad means to accomplish good ends.
He always had tenderness and charity for the weaknesses of his brethren,
especially intellectual weakness. What would have been intolerable to
some was patiently submitted to by him, if by any means he could win
even the feeble; so that he seemed to be all things to all men. No one
ever exceeded him in tact.

After Paul had finished his visit to the principal cities of Galatia,
he resolved to explore new lands. We next find him, after a long journey
through Mysia of three hundred miles, travelling to the south of Mount
Olympus, at Troas, near the ancient city of Troy. Here he fell in with
Luke, a physician, who had received a careful Hellenic and Jewish
education. Like Timothy, the future historian of the Acts of the
Apostles was admirably fitted to be the companion of Paul. He was
gentle, sympathetic, submissive, and devoted to his superior. Through
Luke's suggestion, Renan thinks, Paul determined to go to Macedonia.

So, without making a long stay at Troas, the four missionaries--Paul,
Silas, Luke, and Timothy--took ship and landed at Neapolis, the seaport
of Philippi on the borders of Thrace at the extreme northern shores of
the Aegean Sea. They were now on European ground,--the most healthy
region of the ancient world, where the people, largely of Celtic origin,
were honest, earnest, and primitive in their habits. The travellers
proceeded at once to Philippi, a city more Latin than Grecian, and began
their work; making converts, chiefly women, among whom Lydia was the
most distinguished, a wealthy woman who traded in purple. She and her
whole household were baptized, and it was from her that Paul consented
against his custom to accept pecuniary aid.

While the work of conversion was going on favorably, an incident
occurred which hastened the departure of the missionaries. Paul
exorcised a poor female slave, who brought, by her divinations and
ventriloquism, great gain to her masters; and because of this
destruction of the source of their income they brought suit against Paul
and Silas before the magistrates, who condemned them to be beaten in the
presence of the superstitious people, and then sent them to prison and
put their feet fast in the stocks. The jailer and the duumvirs, however,
ascertaining that the prisoners were Roman citizens and hence exempt
from corporal punishment, released them, and hurried them out of
the city.

Leaving Timothy and Luke at Philippi, Paul and Silas proceeded to
Thessalonica, the largest and most important city of Macedonia, where
there was a Jewish synagogue in which Paul preached for three
consecutive Sabbaths. A few Jews were converted, but the converts were
chiefly Greeks, of whom the larger part were women belonging to the best
society of the city. By these converts the apostles were treated with
extraordinary deference and devotion, and the church of Thessalonica
soon rivalled that of Philippi in the piety and unity of its converts,
becoming a model Christian church. As usual, however, the Jews stirred
up animosities, and Paul and Silas were obliged to leave, spending
several days at Berea and preaching successfully among the Greeks. These
conquests were the most brilliant that Paul had yet made,--not among
enervated Asiatics, but bright, elegant, and intelligent Europeans,
where women were less degraded than in the Orient.

Leaving Timothy and Silas behind him, Paul, accompanied by some faithful
Bereans, embarked for Athens,--the centre of philosophy and art, whose
wonderful prestige had induced its Roman conquerors to preserve its
ancient glories. But in the first century Athens was neither the
fascinating capital of the time of Cicero, nor of the age of Chrysostom.
Its temples and statues remained intact, but its schools could not then
boast of a single man of genius. There remained only dilettante
philosophers, rhetoricians, grammarians, pedagogues, and pedants, puffed
up with conceit and arrogance, with very few real inquirers after truth,
such as marked the times of Socrates and Plato. Paul, like Luther, cared
nothing for art; and the thousands of statues which ornamented every
part of the city seemed to him to be nothing but idols. Still, he was
not mistaken in the intense paganism of the city, the absence of all
earnestness of character and true religious life. He was disappointed,
as afterward Augustine was when he went to Rome. He expected to find
intellectual life at least, but the pretenders to superior knowledge in
that degenerate university town merely traded on the achievements of
their ancestors, repeating with dead lips the echo of the old
philosophies. They were marked only by levity, mockery, sneers, and
contemptuous arrogance; idlers were they, in quest of some new

The utter absence of sympathy among all classes given over to
frivolities made Paul exceedingly lonely in Athens, and he wrote to
Timothy and Silas to join him with all haste. He wandered about the
streets distressed and miserable. There was no field for his labors. Who
would listen to him? What ear could he reach? He was as forlorn and
unheeded as a temperance lecturer would be on the boulevards of Paris.
His work among the Jews was next to nothing, for where trade did not
flourish there were but few Jews. Still, amid all this discouragement,
it would seem that Paul attracted sufficient notice, from his
conversation with the idlers and chatterers of the Agora, to be invited
to address the Athenians at the Areopagus. They listened with courtesy
so long as they thought he was praising their religious habits, or was
making a philosophical argument against the doctrines of rival sects;
but when he began to tell them of that Cross which was to them
foolishness, and of that Resurrection from the dead which was alien to
all their various beliefs, they were filled with scorn or relapsed into
indifference. Paul's masterly discourse on Mars Hill was an obvious
failure, so far as any immediate impression was concerned. The Pagans
did not persecute him,--they let him alone; they killed him with
indifference. He could stand opposition, but to be laughed at as a
fanatic and neglected by bright and intellectual people was more than
even Paul could stand. He left Athens a lonely man, without founding a
church. It was the last city in the world to receive his
doctrines,--that city of grammarians, of pedants, of gymnasts, of
fencing masters, of play-goers, and babblers about words. "As well might
a humanitarian socialist declaim against English prejudices to the proud
and exclusive fellows of Oxford and Cambridge."

Paul, disappointed and disgusted, without waiting for Timothy, then set
out for Corinth,--a much wickeder and more luxurious city than Athens,
but not puffed up with intellectual pride. Here there were sailors and
artisans, and slaves bearing heavy burdens, who would gladly hear the
tidings of a salvation preached to the poor and miserable. Not yet was
the alliance to be formed between Philosophy and Christianity. Not to
the intellect was the apostolic appeal to be made, but to the conscience
and the heart of those who knew and owned that they were sinners in need
of forgiveness.

Paul instinctively perceived that Corinth, with its gross and shameless
immoralities, was the place for him to work in. He therefore decided on
a long stay, and went to live with Aquila and Priscilla, converted Jews,
who followed the same trade as himself, that of tent and sail making,--a
very humble calling, but one which was well patronized in that busy mart
of commerce. Timothy soon joined him, with Silas. As usual, Paul
preached to the Jews until they repulsed him with insults and blasphemy,
when he turned to the heathen, among whom he had great success,
converting the common people, including some whose names have been
preserved,--Titus, Justius, Crispus, Chloe, and Phoebe. He remained in
Corinth eighteen months, not without difficulties and impediments. The
Jews, unable to vent their wrath upon him as fully as they wished in a
city under the Roman government, appealed to the governor of the
province of which Corinth was the capital. This governor is best known
to us as Gallio,--a man of fine intellect, and a friend of scholars.

When Sosthenes, chief of the synagogue, led Paul before Gallio's
tribunal, accusing him of preaching a religion against the law, the
proconsul interrupted him with this admirable reply: "If it were a
matter of wrong, or moral outrage, it would be reasonable in me to hear
you; but if it be a question of words and names and of your Law, look ye
to it, for I will be no judge of such matters." He thus summarily and
contemptuously dismissed the complaint, without however taking any
notice of Paul. The mistake of Gallio was that he did not comprehend
that Christianity was a subject infinitely greater than a mere Jewish
sect, with which, in common with educated Romans, he confounded it. In
his indifference however he was not unlike other Roman governors, of
whom he was one of the justest and most enlightened. In reference to the
whole scene, Canon Farrar forcibly remarks that this distinguished and
cultivated Gallio "flung away the greatest opportunity of his life, when
he closed the lips of the haggard Jewish prisoner whom his decision had
rescued from the clutches of his countrymen;" for Paul was prepared with
a speech which would have been more valued, and would have been more
memorable, than all the acts of Gallio's whole government.

While Paul was pursuing his humble labors with the poor converts of
Corinth, about the year 53 A.D., a memorable event took place in his
career, which has had an immeasurable influence on the Christian world.
Being unable personally to visit, as he desired, the churches he had
founded, Paul began to write to them letters to instruct and confirm
them in the faith.

The apostle's first epistle was to his beloved brethren, in
Thessalonica,--the first of that remarkable series of theological essays
which in all subsequent ages have held their position as fundamentally
important in the establishment of Christian doctrine. They are luminous,
profound, original, remarkable alike for vigor of style and depth of
spiritual significance. They are not moral essays like those of
Confucius, nor mystic and obscure speculations like those of Buddha, but
grand treatises on revealed truth, written, as it were, with his heart's
blood, and vivid as fire in a dark night. In these epistles we see also
Paul's intense personality, his frank egotism, his devotion to his work,
his sincerity and earnestness, his affectionate nature, his tolerant and
catholic spirit, and also his power of sarcasm, his warm passions, and
his unbending will. He enjoins the necessity of faith, which is a gift,
with the practice of virtues that appeal to consciousness and emanate
from love and purity of heart. These letters are exhortations to a lofty
life and childlike acceptance of revealed truths. The apostle warns his
little flock against the evils that surrounded them, and which so easily
beset them,--especially unchastity and drunkenness, and strifes,
bickerings, slanders, and retaliations. He exhorts them to unceasing
prayer, the feeling of constant dependence, and hence the supreme need
of divine grace to keep them from falling, and to enable them to grow in
spiritual strength. He promises as the fruit of spiritual victories
immeasurable joys, not only amid present evils, but in the glorious
future when the mortal shall put on immortality. Especially and
repeatedly does he urge them to "have also that mind which was in Christ
Jesus," showing itself in humility, willingness to serve others,
unselfish consideration of others, even the preference of others'
interests before their own,--a combination of the homely practical with
the divinely ideal, such as the world had never learned from any earlier
philosophy of life.

Paul at last felt that he must revisit the earlier churches, especially
those of Syria. It was three years since he had left Antioch. But more
than all, he wished to consult with his brethren in Jerusalem, and to be
present at the feast of the Passover. Bidding an affectionate adieu to
his Christian friends, he set out for the little seaport of Cenchrea,
accompanied by Aquila and his wife Priscilla, and then set sail for
Ephesus, on his way to Jerusalem. In his haste to reach the end of his
journey he did not tarry at Ephesus, but took another vessel, and
arrived at Caesarea without any recorded accident. Nor did he make a
long visit at Jerusalem, probably to avoid a rupture with James, the
head of the church in that city, whose views about Jewish ceremonials,
as already noted, differed from his.

Paul returned again to Ephesus, where he made a sojourn of three years,
following his trade for a living, while he founded a church in that city
of necromancers, sorcerers, magicians, courtesans, mimics,
flute-players,--a city abandoned to Asiatic sensualities and
superstitious rites; an exceedingly wicked and luxurious city, yet
famous for arts, especially for the grandest temple ever erected by the
Greeks, one of the seven wonders of the world. It was in the most
abandoned capitals, with mixed populations, that the greatest triumphs
of Christianity were achieved. Antioch, Corinth, and Ephesus were more
favorable to the establishment of Christian churches than Jerusalem
and Athens.

But the trials of Paul in Ephesus, the capital of Asia Minor, the most
celebrated of all the Ionian cities,--"more Hellenic than Antioch, more
Oriental than Corinth, more wealthy than Thessalonica, more populous
than Athens,"--were incessant and discouraging, since it was the
headquarters of pagan superstitions, and of all forms of magical
imposture. As usual, he was reviled and slandered by the Jews; but he
was also at this time an object of intense hatred to the priests and
image-makers of the Temple of Diana, troubled in mind by evil reports
concerning the converts he had made in other cities, physically weak and
depressed by repeated attacks of sickness, oppressed by cares and
labors, exposed to constant dangers, his life an incessant mortification
and suffering, "killed all the day long," carrying about him wherever he
went "the deadness of the crucified Christ."

Paul's labors in Ephesus were nevertheless successful. He made many
converts and exercised an extraordinary influence,--among other things
causing magicians voluntarily to burn their own costly books, as
Savonarola afterward made a bonfire of vanities at Florence. His sojourn
was cut short at length by the riot which was made by the various
persons who were directly or indirectly supported by the revenues of the
Temple,--a mongrel mob, brought to terms by the tact of the town clerk,
who reminded the howling dervishes and angry silversmiths of the
punishment which might be inflicted on them by the Roman proconsul for
raising a disturbance and breaking the law.

Yet Paul with difficulty escaped from Ephesus and departed again for
Greece, not however until he had written his extraordinary Epistles to
the Corinthians, who had sadly departed from his teachings both in
morals and doctrine, either through ignorance, or in consequence of the
depravity which they had but imperfectly conquered. The infant churches
were deplorably split into factions, "the result of the visits from
various teachers who succeeded Paul, and who built on his foundations
very dubious materials by way of superstructure,"--even Apollos himself,
an Alexandrian Jew baptized by the Apostle John, the most eloquent and
attractive preacher of the day, who turned everybody's head. In the
churches women rose to give their opinions without being veiled, as if
they were Greek courtesans; the Agapae, or love-feasts, had degenerated
into luxurious banquets; and unchastity, the peculiar vice of the
Corinthians, went unrebuked. These evils Paul rebukes, and lays down
rules for the faithful in reference to marriage, to the position of
women, to the observance of the Lord's Supper, and sundry other things,
enjoining forbearance and love. His chapter in reference to charity is
justly regarded by all writers and commentators as the nearest approach
in Christian literature to the Sermon on the Mount. Scarcely less
remarkable is the chapter on death and the resurrection, shedding more
light on that great subject than all other writers combined in heathen
and Christian annals,--one of the profoundest treatises ever written by
mortal man, and which can be explained only as the result of a
supernatural revelation.

Paul's second sojourn in Macedonia lasted only six months; this time he
spent in going from city to city confirming the infant churches,
remaining longest in Thessalonica and Philippi, where his most faithful
converts were found. Here Titus joined him, bringing good news from
Corinth. Still, there were dissensions and evils in that troublesome
church which called for a second letter. In this letter he sets forth,
not in the spirit of egotism, the various sufferings and perils he had
endured, few of which are alluded to by Luke: "Of the Jews five times
received I forty stripes save one; thrice was I beaten with rods; once
was I stoned; thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day have I
spent in the deep; in journeyings often; in perils of rivers, in perils
of robbers, in perils from my own race, in perils from the Gentiles, in
perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea,
in perils among false brethren; in toil and weariness, in sleeplessness
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often; besides anxiety for all
the churches."

It was probably at the close of the year 57 A.D. that Paul set out for
Corinth, with Titus, Timothy, Sosthenes, and other companions. During
the three months he remained in that city he probably wrote his Epistle
to the Galatians and his Epistle to the Romans,--the latter the most
profound of all his writings, setting forth the sum and substance of his
theology, in which the great doctrine of justification by faith is
severely elaborated. The whole epistle is a war on pagan philosophy, the
insufficiency of good works without faith,--the lever by which in later
times Wyclif, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Saint Cyran overthrew a
pharisaic system of outward righteousness. In the Epistle to the
Galatians Paul speaks with unusual boldness and earnestness, severely
rebuking them for their departure from the truth, and reiterating with
dogmatic ardor the inutility of circumcision as of the Law abrogated by
Christ, with whom, in the liberty which he proclaimed, there is neither
Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, but all
are one in Him. And Paul reminds them,--a bitter pill to the Jews,--that
this is taught in the promise made to Abraham four hundred and fifty
years before the Law was declared by Moses, by which promise all races
and tribes and people are to be blessed to remotest generations. This
epistle not only breathes the largest Christian liberty,--the equality
of all men before God,--but it asserts, as in the Epistle to the Romans,
with terrible distinctness, that salvation is by faith in Christ and not
by deeds of the Law, which is only a schoolmaster to prepare the way for
the ascendency of Jesus.

I need not dwell on these two great epistles, which embody the substance
of the Pauline theology received by the Church for eighteen hundred
years, and which can never be abrogated so long as Paul is regarded as
an authority in Christian doctrine.

I return to a brief notice of Paul's last visit to Jerusalem, which was
made against the expostulations of his friends and disciples in Ephesus,
who gathered around him weeping, knowing well that they never would see
his face again. But he was inflexible in his resolution, declaring that
he had no fear of chains, and was ready to die at Jerusalem for the
name of Jesus. Why he should have persisted in his resolution, so full
of danger; why he should again have thrown himself into the hands of his
bitterest enemies, thirsty for his blood,--we do not know, for he had no
new truth to declare. But the brethren were forced to yield to his
strong will, and all they could do was to provide him with a sufficient
escort to shield him from ordinary dangers on the way.

The long voyage from Ephesus was prosperous but tedious, and on the last
day before the Pentecostal feast, in May, in the year 58 A.D., Paul for
the fifth time entered Jerusalem. His meeting with the elders, under the
presidency of James,--"the stern, white-robed, ascetic, mysterious
prophet,"--was cold. His personal friends in Jerusalem were few, and his
enemies were numerous, powerful, and bitter; for he had not only
emancipated himself from the Jewish Law, with all its rites and
ceremonies, but had made it of no account in all the churches he had
founded. What had he naturally to expect from the zealots for that Law
but a renewed persecution? Even the Jewish Christians gave no thanks for
the splendid contribution which Paul had gathered in Asia for the relief
of their poor. Nor was there any exultation among them when Paul
narrated his successful labors among the Gentiles. They pretended to
rejoice, but added, "You observe, brother, how many myriads of the Jews
there are that have embraced the faith, and they are all zealots for the
Law. And we are informed that thou teachest all the Jews that are among
the Gentiles to forsake Moses." There was no cordiality among the Jewish
elders of the Christian community, and deadly hostility among the
unconverted Jews, for they had doubtless heard of Paul's
marvellous career.

Jerusalem was then full of strangers, and the Jews of Asia recognizing
Paul in the Temple, raised a disturbance, pretending that he was a
profaner of the sacred edifice. The crowd of fanatics seized him,
dragged him out of the Temple, and set about to kill him. But the Roman
authorities interfered, and rescuing him from the hands of the
infuriated mob, bore him to the castle, the tower of Antonia. When they
arrived at the stairs of the tower, Paul begged the tribune to be
allowed to speak to the angry and demented crowd. The request was
granted, and he made a speech in Hebrew, narrating his early history and
conversion; but when he came to his mission to the Gentiles, the uproar
was renewed, the people shouting, "Away with such a fellow from the
earth, for it is not fit that he should live!" And Paul would have been
bound and scourged, had he not proclaimed that he was a Roman citizen.

On the next day the Roman magistrate summoned the chief priests and the
Sanhedrim, to give Paul an opportunity to make his defence in the matter
of which he was accused. Ananias the high-priest presided, and the Roman
tribune was present at the proceedings, which were tumultuous and angry.
Paul seeing that the assembly was made up of Pharisees, Sadducees, and
hostile parties, made no elaborate defence, and the tribune dissolved
the assembly; but forty of the most hostile and fanatical formed a
conspiracy, and took a solemn oath not to eat or drink until they had
assassinated him. The plot reached the ears of a nephew of Paul, who
revealed it to the tribune. The officer listened attentively to all the
details, and at once took his resolution to send Paul to Caesarea, both
to get him out of the hands of the Jews, and to have him judged by the
procurator Felix. Accordingly, accompanied by an escort of two hundred
soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen of the guard, Paul
was sent by night, secretly, to the Roman capital of the Province. He
entered the city in the course of the next day, and was at once led to
the presence of the governor.

Felix, as procurator, ruled over Judaea with the power of a king. He had
been a freedman of the Emperor Claudius, and was allied by marriage to
Claudius himself,--an ambitious, extortionate, and infamous governor.
Felix was obliged to give Paul a fair trial, and after five days the
indomitable missionary was confronted with accusers, among whom appeared
the high-priest Ananias. They associated with them a lawyer called
Tertullus, of oratorical gifts, who conducted the case. The principal
charges made against Paul were that he was a public pest and leader of
seditions; that he was a ringleader of the Nazarenes (the contemptuous
name which the Jews gave to the Christians); and that he had attempted
to profane the Temple, which was a capital offence according to the
Jewish law. Paul easily refuted these charges, and had Felix been an
upright judge he would have dismissed the case; but supposing the
apostle to be rich because of the handsome contributions he had brought
from Asia Minor for the poor converts at Jerusalem, Felix retained Paul
in the hope of a bribe. A few days after, Drusilla, a young woman of
great beauty and accomplishments, who had eloped from her husband to be
married to Felix, was desirous to hear so famous a man as Paul explain
his faith; and Felix, to gratify her curiosity, summoned his
distinguished prisoner to discourse before them. Paul eagerly embraced
the opportunity; but instead of explaining the Christian mysteries, he
reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and retribution,--moral
truths which even intelligent heathen accepted, and as to which the
consciences of both, his hearers must have tingled; indeed, he
discoursed with such matchless boldness and power that Felix trembled
with fear as he remembered the arts by which he had risen from the
condition of a slave, and the extortions and cruelties by which he had
become enriched, to say nothing of the lusts and abominations which had
disgraced his career. However, he did not set Paul free, but kept him a
prisoner for two years, in order to gain favor with the Jews, or to
receive a bribe.

Porcius Festus, the successor of Felix, was a just and inflexible man,
who arrived at Caesarea in the year 60 A.D., when Paul was fifty-eight
years of age. Immediately the enemies of Paul, especially the Sadducees,
renewed their demands to have him again tried; and Festus, wishing to be
just, ordered the second trial. Again Paul defended himself with
masterly ability, proving that he had done nothing against the Jewish
law or Temple, or against the Roman Emperor. Festus, probably not seeing
the aim of the conspirators, was disposed to send Paul back to Jerusalem
to be tried by a Jewish court. To prevent this, as at Jerusalem
condemnation and death would be certain, Paul, remembering that he was a
Roman citizen, fell back on his privilege, and at once appealed to
Caesar himself. The governor, at first surprised by such an unexpected
demand, consulted with his assistants for a moment, and then replied:
"Thou hast appealed unto Caesar, and unto Caesar shalt thou go." Thus
ended the trial of Paul; and thus providentially was the way open to
him, without expense to himself, to go to Rome, which of all cities he
wished to visit, and where he hoped to continue, even under bonds and
restrictions, his missionary labors.

In the meantime, before a ship could be got in readiness to transport
him and other prisoners to Rome, Herod Agrippa II., with his sister
Bernice, came to Caesarea to pay a visit to the new governor.
Conversation naturally turned upon the late extraordinary trial, and
Agrippa expressed a desire to hear the prisoner speak, for he had heard
much about him. Festus willingly acceded to this wish, and the next day
Paul was again summoned before the king and the procurator. Agrippa and
Bernice appeared in great pomp with their attendants; all the officers
of the army and the principal men of the city were also present. It was
the most splendid audience that Paul had ever addressed. He was equal to
the occasion, and delivered a discourse on his familiar topics,--his own
miraculous conversion and his mission to the Gentiles to preach the
crucified and risen Christ,--things new to Festus, who thought that Paul
was visionary, and had lost his balance from excess of learning.
Agrippa, however, familiar with Jewish law and the prophecies concerning
the Messiah, was much impressed with Paul's eloquence, and exclaimed:
"Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian!" When the assembly broke
up, Agrippa said, "This man might have been set at liberty, if he had
not appealed unto Caesar." Paul, however, did not wish to be set at
liberty among bitter and howling enemies; he preferred to go to Rome,
and would not withdraw his appeal. So in due time he embarked for Italy
under the charge of a centurion, accompanied with other prisoners and
his friends Timothy, Luke, and Aristarchus of Thessalonica.

The voyage from Caesarea to Italy was a long one, and in the autumn was
a dangerous one, as in Paul's case it unfortunately proved.

The following spring, however, after shipwreck and divers perils and
manifold fatigues, Paul arrived at Rome, in the year 61 A.D., in the
seventh year of the Emperor Nero. Here the centurion handed Paul over to
the prefect of the praetorian guards, by whom he was subjected to a
merely nominal custody, although, according to Roman custom, he was
chained to a soldier. But he was treated with great lenity, was allowed
to have lodgings, to receive his friends freely, and to hold Christian
meetings in his own house; and no one molested him. For two years Paul
remained at Rome, a fettered prisoner it is true, but cheered by
friendly visits, and attended by Luke, his "beloved physician" and
biographer, by Timothy and other devoted disciples. During this second
imprisonment Paul could see very little outside the praetorian barracks,
but his friends brought him the news, and he had ample time to write
letters. He had no intercourse with gifted and fortunate Romans; his
acquaintance was probably confined to the praetorian soldiers, and some
of the humbler classes who sought Christian instruction. But from this
period we date many of his epistles, on which his fame and influence
largely rest as a theologian and man of genius. Among those which he
wrote from Rome were the Epistles to the Colossians, the Ephesians, and
many pastoral letters like those written to Philemon, Titus, and
Timothy. We know but little of the life of Paul after his arrival at
Rome, for at this point Saint Luke closes his narrative, and all after
this is conjecture and tradition.[4] But the main part of Paul's work
was accomplished when he was first sent to Rome as a prisoner to be
tried in the imperial courts; and there is but little doubt that he
finally met the death he so heroically contemplated, at the hands of the
monster Nero, who martyred such a vast multitude of Paul's

[Footnote 4: There has been much doubt as to whether Paul was martyred
during the three years of this imprisonment, or whether he was
acquitted, left Rome, visited his beloved churches in Macedonia and Asia
Minor, went to preach the gospel in Spain, and was again arrested, taken
to Rome, and there beheaded. The earliest authorities seem to have been
agreed upon the second hypothesis; and this is based chiefly upon a
statement made by Paul's disciple Clement to the effect that the apostle
had preached in "the extremity of the West" (an expression of Roman
writers to denote Spain), and also on the impossibility of placing
certain facts mentioned in the second letter to Timothy and the one to
Titus in the period of the first imprisonment. He was certainly tried,
defended himself, and he may have been at first acquitted.]

At Jerusalem and at Antioch he had vindicated the freedom of the Gentile
from the yoke of the Levitical Law; in his letters to the Romans and
Galatians he had proclaimed both to Jew and Gentile that they were not
under the law, but under grace. During the space of twenty years Paul
had preached the gospel of Jesus as the Christ in the chief cities of
the world, and had formulated the truths of Christianity. What
marvellous labors! But it does not appear that this apostle's
extraordinary work was fully appreciated in his day, certainly not by
the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem; nor does it appear even that his
pre-eminence among the apostles was conceded until the third and fourth
centuries. He himself was often sad and discouraged in not seeing a
larger success, yet recognized himself as a layer of foundations. Like
our modern missionaries, Paul simply sowed the seed; the fruit was not
to be gathered in until centuries after his death. Before he died, as is
seen in his second letter to Timothy, many of his friends and disciples
deserted him, and he was left almost alone. He had to defend himself
single-handed against the capricious tyrant who ruled the world, and who
wished to cast on the Christians the stain of his greatest crime, the
conflagration of his capital. As we have said, all details pertaining to
the life of Paul after his arrival at Rome are simply conjectural, and
although interesting, they cannot give us the satisfaction of certainty.

But in closing, after enumerating the labors and writings of this great
apostle, it is not inopportune to say a few words about his remarkable
character, although I have now and again alluded to his personal traits
in the course of this narrative.

Paul is the most prominent figure of all the great men who have adorned,
or advanced the interest of, the Christian Church. Great pulpit orators,
renowned theologians, profound philosophers, immortal poets, successful
reformers, and enlightened monarchs have never disputed his intellectual
ascendency; to all alike he has been a model and a marvel. The grand old
missionary stands out in history as a matchless example of Christian
living, a sure guide in Christian doctrine. No more favored mortal is
ever likely to appear; he is the counterpart of Moses as a divine
teacher to all generations. The popes may exalt Saint Peter as the
founder of their spiritual empire, but when their empire as an
institution shall crumble away, as all institutions must which are not
founded on the "Rock" which it was the mission of apostles to proclaim,
Paul will stand out the most illustrious of all Christian teachers.

As a man Paul had his faults, but his virtues were transcendent; and
these virtues he himself traced to divine grace, enabling him to conquer
his infirmities and prejudices, and to perform astonishing labors, and
to endure no less marvellous sufferings. His humanity was never lost in
his discouraging warfare; he sympathized with human sorrows and
afflictions; he was tolerant, after his conversion, of human
infirmities, while enjoining a severe morality. He was a man of native
genius, with profound insight into spiritual truth. Trained in
philosophy and disputation, his gentleness and tact in dealing with
those who opposed him are a lesson to all controversialists. His
voluntary sufferings have endeared him to the heart of the world, since
they were consecrated to the welfare of the world he sought to
enlighten. As an encouragement to others, he enumerates the calamities
which happened to him from his zeal to serve mankind, but he never
complains of them or regards them as a mystery, or as anything but the
natural result of unappreciated devotion. He was more cheerful than
Confucius, who felt that his life had been a failure; more serene than
Plato when surrounded by admiring followers. He regarded every Christian
man as a brother and a friend. He associated freely with women, without
even calling out a sneer or a reproach. He taught principles of
self-control rather than rules of specific asceticism, and hence
recommended wine to Timothy and encouraged friendship between men and
women, when intemperance and unchastity were the scandal and disgrace
of the age; although so far as himself was concerned, he would not eat
meat, if thereby he should give offence to the weakest of his
weak-minded brethren. He enjoined filial piety, obedience to rulers, and
kindness to servants as among the highest duties of life. He was frugal,
but independent and hospitable; he had but few wants, and submitted
patiently to every inconvenience. He was the impersonation of
gentleness, sympathy, and love, although a man of iron will and
indomitable resolution. He claimed nothing but the right to speak his
honest opinions, and the privilege to be judged according to the laws.
He magnified his office, but only the more easily to win men to his
noble cause. To this great cause he was devoted heart and soul, without
ever losing courage, or turning back for a moment in despondency or
fear. He was as courageous as he was faithful; as indifferent to
reproach as he was eager for friendship. As a martyr he was peerless,
since his life was a protracted martyrdom. He was a hero, always
gallantly fighting for the truth whatever may have been the array and
howling of his foes; and when wounded and battered by his enemies he
returned to the fight for his principles with all the earnestness, but
without the wrath, of a knight of chivalry. He never indulged in angry
recriminations or used unseemly epithets, but was unsparing in his
denunciation of sin,--as seen in his memorable description of the vices
of the Romans. Self-sacrifice was the law of his life. His faith was
unshaken in every crisis and in every danger. It was this which
especially fitted him, as well as his ceaseless energies and superb
intellect, to be a leader of mankind. To Paul, and to Paul more than to
any other apostle, was given the exalted privilege of being the
recognized interpreter of Christian doctrine for both philosophers and
the people, for all coming ages; and at the close of his career, worn
out with labor and suffering, yet conscious of the services which he had
rendered and of the victories he had won, and possibly in view of
approaching martyrdom, he was enabled triumphantly to say: "I have
fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day."


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