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vindication. Wherefore, it was with the utmost difficulty he escaped condemnation after making his first defence: so that he looked for nothing but a sentence of death, when next brought before his judges.
Impressed, therefore, with the view of his approaching condemnation, Paul wrote his second epistle to Timothy; in which he defired him to come to him before winter, (ver. 21.) and to bring Mark with him, (ver. 11.) that they might receive his last initructions, and allist him in the ministry during the few months he had to live. Withal, to induce Timothy the more cheerfully to come, he told him, he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus (2 Tim. iv. 12.) to supply his place there. From this epistle, we learn also, that although the apostle's alliftants, terrified with the danger that threatened him, forsook him and fled, he was not altogether without consolation. For the brethren of Rome came to him privately, and ministered to him ; as we learn from his sending their salutation to Timothy, 2 Tim. iv. 21.
Most of the particulars above mentioned, the apostle hath suggested in his own letters, especially in his second to Timothy. What followed, we learn from ancient Christian writers, who inform us, That Paul was condemned and put to death, in the 12th year of the reign of Nero, answering to A. D. 66. And two years after that, namely A. D. 68. Nero put an end to his own life, and to this terrible persecution, after it had continued four years, and swept of a prodigious number of the disciples of Christ.
CHAP. XII. Character and Eulogy of the Apostle Paul.
Such was the life, and such the death, of Paul the apostle of Jefus Chrift. In his younger years, being exceedingly zealous of the law of Moses, he persecuted the Christians, as enemies of God and religion. But after Jesus appeared to him, and shewed him his error in denying his resurrection, he forthwith became a zealous and indefatigable preacher of that faith, which formerly he was so active in destroying. In the rolls of fame, Paul ftands deservedly next to his Divine Mafter as a
teacher of religion and morality; being without comparison a greater hero by that undertaking, and much more worthy of admiration, than the greatest of those who have been called Great. The bodily labour which he endured, the dangers which he encountered, the sufferings which befel him, and the courage which amidst all these evils, he exerted in his apostolic office, shew that his virtues, both active and passive, were far superior to those, which the most renowned conquerors have exhibited in the pursuits of ambition, or fame. The end likewise, for which he exerted such an high degree of all the virtues, was more noble ; being not to amass riches, or to acquire power, or to obtain fame, or to conquer kingdoms, or to enslave mankind; but to deliver the nationis of the world from the thraldom of ignorance, idolatry and wickedness, by imparting to them the knowledge of God and of a future state, and by teaching them those duties of religion and morality, on which their happiness both in time and eternity wholly depends.
This noble, this beneficent employment, Paul prosecuted with unremitting diligence for the space of thirty years; all the while foreseeing and experiencing innumerable evils, as the consequence of his generous undertaking, without reaping from it any worldly advantage whatever. Such heroic benevolence is the more to be esteemed, that at the time Paul carried the light of the gospel through the world, mankind were involved in one thick cloud of darkness, which hindered them from discerning those spiritual matters, which as reasonable beings designed to exist through eternity, it was of the greatest importance for them to know. Wherefore, if any person ever merited well of mankind, it is Paul, who with such unwearied activity, and with such labour and loss to himself, imparted to the nations of the world, the knowledge of the true God, and of the way of salvation.
But this moft excellent man is entitled to admiration and gratitude, not from those alone who pui a just value on religious knowledge, but from those also, who esteem nothing but what promotes the interest of the present life. For the gospel, which Paul spread through the world, hath been the source of many
of those good qualities, whereby fuch as have embraced the Christian religion, have been rendered superior to all who have gone before them. More particularly, the gospel hath introduced good faith, which is the foundation of mutual confidence between nations, in their leagues and compacts: it hath banished that fierceness with which the most civilized nations anciently carried on war; it hath diffufed that humanity and complaifance, by which modern manners are so happily distintguished from the ancient: Nay, if I am not mistaken, the gospel hath, by accident, contributed to the improvement even of the sciences and the arts: For by the great objects which it presents to the minds of men, their intellectual faculties have been enlarged and strengthened: and by the rewards of immortality which it promises, its votaries have been inspired with a fenfe of their own dignity, and fuch hopes have been infused into their breafts, as have rendered them not only just, but active, even in the affairs of this life. Let the gofpel therefore, have its due praise, which holds out distinguished rewards in the future life, even to those who mingle in the affairs of the present, and who from just principles, promote the temporal intereft of their fellow creatures. Alfo let the bleffed Paul have his praise, to whom chieily we in this part of the world are indebted for our knowledge of the gospel, and for all the advantages, temporal and eternal, of which the gospel hath been the happy occasion to mankind.
NO 10. I. pag. 7. Stirred up the most zealous members of the fo
reign synagogues in Jerusalem. Vitringa, de Syn. Vet. lib. 1. p. 1. C. 14. tells us from Jewish authors, that there, were 480 synagogues in Jerusalem. And learned men suppose, that of these, a number were composed of Jews from the provinces, who chose to worship God in their native language. Lightfoot (Exercit. Acts vi. 9.) observes, that Jewish authors expressly mention a synagogue which the Alexandrian Jews had at Jerusalem.-With respect to the synagogue of the Li. bertines, there are facts in history which thew who they were. Libertinus or Libertine, is a Latin word, which fignifies a llave who hath obtained his freedom : Also the son of such a person. From Philo we learn that the 8000 Jews, who, as Josephus (Ant. xvii. 13. initio) tells us, joined at Rome the embassy which came from Judea, to petition Augustus against Archelaus, were mostly of this denomination. For he expressly affirms, that the Jews at Rome were generally such as had been taken captives, but were made free by their Roman masters. Tacitus likewise speaks of the Jews, when he tells us, Ann. ii. 85. * that foco of the Libertine race were transported into Sardinia. Belides, Suetonius (Tib. c. 36.) and Josephus (Antiq. xviii. 4. fine.) expressly calls them Jews who were thus transported.
The Jewilh Libertines being so numerous at Rome, and in Italy, it is probable that like other foreign Jews, they had a fynagogue in Jerusalem.-The members of all these foreign fynagogues, being generally very zealous, were most fit instru.
* Actum et de sacris Ægyptiis Judaicisque pellendis : factumque Patrum consultum, ut quatuor millia Libertini generis ea superstitione infecti, quîs idonea ætas, insulam Sardiniam veherentur, coercendis illic latrociniis, et fi ob gravitatem cæli interissent, vile damnum; ceteri, cederent Italia, nili certam ante diem profanos ritus exuilent.
ments to be employed in opposing the disciples of Christ. Ace cordingly they disputed with great vehemence against Stephen. Acts. vi. 9. Then there arose certain of the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia, and of Asia, difputing with Stephen. 10. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
II. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blafphemous words against Mofes, and against God. 12. And they Airred up the people, &c.
No. II. pag. 8. It seems the synagogues in foreign parts had a jurisdiction over their own members. In all the provinces of the Roman empire, the Jews were governed by a fenate of their own: and where they were numerous, they had a chief magiftrate, elected by themselves, who was sometimes called Alabarch, and sometimes Ethnarch.
of the nature and extent of that feparate governmen:, which the Jews exercised over those of their own race, we have the most authentic account, in a decree concerning the Jews of Sardis, of which Josephus has preserved a copy. Antiq. xiv. C. 10 ♡ 17. Gen. edit. page 487. and which deferves a place here. It is as follows, « Lucius Antonius, son of Mark, pro" quæstor and proprætor, to the magistrates, senate, and peo« ple of Sardis, greeting. The Jews which are our citizens, " have shewn me, that they have always had an assembly of « their own, according to the laws of their country, and a « place of their own, in which they decide the affairs and dif6 ferences which concern themselves. Having desired of me, “ that it may be lawful for them so to do, I have decreed that " this (right) be preserved and permitted to them.” Wherefore, Paul had reason to blame the Christians at Corinth, for going to law with one another before the unbelievers, fi Cor. vi. 5, 6.) since they might have decided these differences by their own judges. Josephus has also preserved an edict of Claudius, published in favour of the Jews, in the beginning of his reign. In that edict Claudius observes, as a precedent, “ That'when a Jewish Ethnarch died, Augustus did not forbid “ the creation of a new Ethnarch, willing that all men should “ remain subject to him, but in the observation of their own "customs." And Strabo, in a paffage not now in his works, but cited by Josephus, Ant. xiv. c. 7. § 2. says, “ A good part
of Alexandria is inhabited by this people, (the Jews). « They have likewise an Ethnarch, who administers their afris fairs, decides causes, presides over contracts and mandates, " as if he were the governor of a perfect republic.”