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shewed that the birth, doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, had all happened exactly according to the predictions concerning the Christ, contained in the law and the prophets; and from that agreement inferred, that Jesus was their long expected Messiah. 24. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 25. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed ; after Paul had sproken one word, or quotation from Isaiah, in which the Jews' unbelief was foretold. And having thus reproved the unbelieving and disobedient among his hearers, he added, 28. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. For notwithstanding all Paul had said, many of them still retained their sinful and inveterate prejudices against the gospel.
Luke, having thus brought Paul's history down to his arrival at Rome, and having related what happened to him at his first coming, adds a short description of his two years' confinement in that city, Acts xxviii. 30. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came unto him. 31. Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. This singular indulgence, of preaching the gospel without being hindered by any person, Paul enjoyed during the whole of his two years' imprisonment at Rome, because he preached only in his own hired house, and to those who came to him of their own accord. Whereas if in Rome, as at Ephesus and the other great cities where he suffered persecution, he had gone about publicly preaching against the established idolatry, in all probability both the priests and the bigots would have been enraged; and of course the magistrates would have been obliged to interpose. These evils however the apostle avoided. For though he was brought to Rome, by the direction of God, for the purpose of bearing witness there concerning the Lord Jesus, it was not necessary that he should go about gathering the people to hear the gospel, as in places where he was utteriy unknown. His fame as a preacher of the new doctrine, and as a worker of miracles, had reached Rome long before he arrived there, having been published by those who came from the provinces of Greece and Asia. Besides, his imprisonment itself, for preache, ing doctrines and attesting facts so contrary to the common ex. perience of mankind, made a great noise, as the apostle himself insinuates, Philip. i. 12, 13. Wherefore, seeing Paul's house was open to every comer, it is not to be doubted that many resorted to him, daily, some out of curiosity to hear and see the chief of a sect, which was now become so numerous, and who was said to be endued with extraordinary powers; others, from an honest inclination seriously to inquire into the strange things which he spake concerning Jesus of Nazareth, and to examine the evidence, which he offered in support of them. Now to all these the apostle willingly preached, bearing witness to Christ at Rome, even as formerly in Jerusalem. And though Luke has not mentioned it, Paul himself hath told us, that his testimony concerning Jesus was well received, and that he made many converts in Rome, among whom were some even of the Emperor's domestics, whose salutation he sent to the Philippians, chap. iv. 22.-Further, he says that the brethren in Rome, encouraged by his example, perhaps also strengthened by the gifts of the Spirit which he imparted to them, according to his promise, (Rom. i. 11.) preached the gospel more openly and boldly than they would otherwise have done : while at the same time some of the Judaizing teachers preached with the malicious intention of adding affliction to the apostle's bonds; namely, by provoking the magistrates against him, as the ringleader of the obnoxious sect, Philip. i. 14, 15.
An Account of the Letters which Paul wrote during his first Imprison.
ment at Rome. He is at length set at Liberty: • During this his first confinement at Rome, the apostle wrote
four epistles, which are still remaining; namely, one to the Ephesians; another to the Philippians; a third to the Colossians ; and the fourth to Philemon : and after his release he wrote his epistle to the Hebrews. In the epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, Timothy joined Paul: But he is not mentioned in the inscription of the epistle to the Ephesians, though it was written about the same time with the others, and sent along with the epistle to the Colossians. From this circumstance we may infer, that the letters to the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon, were written a little before the letter to the Ephesians, and while Timothy was at Rome; but that after they were finished, and before the letter to the Ephesians was begün, he left the city to go to Philippi, agreeably to the apostle's promise to the Philippians to send Timothy to them soon, chap. ii. 19. and to what he tells the Hebrews, that Timothy was actually sent away, chap. xiii. 23.-The letter to the Ephesians, being written soon after that to the Colossians, and while the matter and form and very expressions of that letter were fresh in the apostle's mind, the two resemble each other so much, that they have been termed triin epistles, and throw light on each other. For which reason, the apostle very properly ordered the Colossians to cause their epistle to be read in the church of the Laodiceans, to which, it is supposed the Ephesians, agreeably to the direction given them by Tychicus, sent a copy of their epistle. If I am right in this conjecture, the epistle to the Ephesians is the letter from Laodicea, which the Colossians were ordered to read in their church, Col. iv. 16.
The apostle's letters just now mentioned, shew that during his confinement in Rome, he was attended by many of his faithful disciples and friends, who had either accompanied him from Judea, or who had followed him to Rome. Of this number was Tychicus, by whom the apostle sent his epistle to the Colossians, chap. iv. 17. and Onesimus, ver. 9. and Murk, Barnabas' sister's son, ver. 10. to whom the apostle was now fully reconciled, and Jesus called Justus ; all Jews by descent, ver. 11. except Onesimus. About this time his faithful friend Aristarchus was imprisoned for his zeal in preaching the gospel. But his other friend Luke had free access to him, all the time of his imprisonment. Demas too was with him, (Col. iv. 14.) and Timothy, (Philip. i. 1.) Besides, the churches of Greece and Asia hearing of his imprisonment, sent some of their most esteemed members, to inquire concerning his welfare, and to minister unto him. Of this number was Epaphras, who came from Colosse, and Epaphroditus from Philippi. These abode a considerable time with the apostle, and gave him all the assistance in their power, especially in the work of the ministry : not to mention the good offices which he received from the Roman brethren, whose esteem and affection he had formerly experienced in their coming all the way to Appii Forum, and Tres Tabernæ, to conduct him into the city.
It is now time to relate, that Paul during his two years' con. finement at Rome, having preached the gospel with great sucçess, and edified the churches of Greece and Asia by the divinely inspired letters, which he wrote them during that period, was
yol. VI. 48
at length released in the spring A. D. 62. answering to the 9th year of Nero. Luke indeed has not directly mentioned Paul's release : But by limiting his confinement to two years, he has insinuated that he was then set at liberty. His confinement at Rome issued thus favourably, through the goodness of his cause, and through the intercession of some powerful friends in Cæsar's family, who had embraced the christian faith, and who were greatly interested in the fortune of one, who was so strong a pillar of the new religion which they had espoused.
It is conjectured that Paul had been released, when he wrote his epistle to the Hebrews; because he says to them, chap. xiii. 23. Know ye that our brother Timothy is sent away, with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. Timothy it seems had been sent to Philippi, according to the apostle's promise, (Philip. ii. 19.) and had been ordered to return as soon as possible ; and the apostle , was waiting his return at Rome, or rather in some of the towns of Italy, (Heb. xiii. 24.) when he wrote his letter to the Hebrews.
CHAPTER XI. Paul's History from the Time he was released from his first Confinement
at Rome, to his Death.
Of Paul's travels and preaching, between his release and martyrdom, we have no authentic record remaining. Nevertheless from the intimations which he has given of his purposes, in the epistles which he wrote from Rome during his first confinement, we may suppose the following sketch of the transactions of the latter part of his life to bear some resemblance to the truth.
Paul sails from Italy to Judea. In his Way he touches at Crete, accompa
nied by Titus and Timothy. Leaving Titus in Crete, he sails with Timothy to judea.
The apostle being released in the spring of A. D. 62. (as was shewn in the preface to the epistle to the Philippians,) embarked with Titus, perhaps also with Timothy, in some of the ports of Italy, designing to visit the churches of Judea according to his promise, Heb. xiii. 23. But in the course of his voyage, happening to touch at Crete, he preached in many cities there ; and either gathered new churches, or increased the churches already gathered.
About this time, Judea was full of robbers and Sicarii, who went about in armed bande,, and plundered the villages, after killing the inhabitants who Nilde any resistance. Impostors also arose, who drew many after them by promising to work for them miraculous deliverances. These disturbances were increased by the extreme severity of the Roman government, which exasperated the people to such a degree, that in asserting their liberty, they raised those seditions which ended in the war, whereby Jerusalem and the Jewish state were overthrown. The mischiefs occasioned by these disorders, falling with equal weight upon the disciples of Christ, as upon others, the apostle, when he received information thereof, judged his presence and advice might be necessary for supporting the brethren in Judea. Wherefore, leaving Titus in Crete, to set in order the things which were wanting, and to ordain elders in every city, Tit. i. 1. he set sail for Judea with Timothy, who if he did not accompany him from Italy, had come to him in Crete.
Being arrived in Judea, Paul visited the church of Jerusalem, and the other churches in that country, to which he had lately sent an epistle from Rome, inscribed to the Hebrews.
Paul and Timothy travel through Syria and Cilicia, and the Countries of
the Lesser Asia, visiting the Churches. They abide some Time at Co. losse, where Paul writes his Epistle to Titus. He leaves Timothy in Ephesus, and goes into Macedonia.
. After spending some time in comforting and instructing the brethren in Judea, Paul, accompanied by Timothy, left Judea to visit the churches of the Lesser Asia; taking, as usual, Antioch in his way, where he had so often and so successfully ministered in the gospel. From Antioch, Paul and his assistants travelled through Cilicia into Galatia, and after that went to Colosse, where he had desired Philemon to provide him a lodging, (ver. 22.) because he intended to spend some time in that city.
While the apostle abode at Colosse, he wrote his epistle to Titus in Crete. Here also he met with Tychicus, who before Paul's release, had been sent from Rome, with the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, (Col. iv. 8.) For in his epistle to Titus, he told him, he would send Tychicus, or Artemas into Crete, that Titus might come to him at Nicopolis, where he proposed to winter. And having finished his business at Colosse, he went forward to Ephesus, in his way to Macedonia. At his departure from Ephesus, the apostle left Timothy there to direct the affairs of the numerous church in that city, 1 Tim. i. 3.
In travelling to Macedonia, the apostle came to Troas, where lodging with Carpus, he left in his keeping (Pedovnu) the cloak, which, according to some, his father had received as the badge