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persons congregating together upon a new and wondrous system then first revealed, and still more must divine power have been necessary to infuse that identity into those who had never seen each other.
St. Paul, then, is now converted, and an Apostle of him whom he had persecuted. For the account of his various travels, and of the sufferings by sea and land which he sustained in that character, I must refer you to the history of the Acts of the Apostles by St. Luke. His own summary of his toils and distresses is sufficiently affecting, and proves that he was not induced to embrace Christianity, or to continue in the promulgation of it, from the temporal advantages which it promised or might afford :
Are they ministers of Christ? I am more ; “ in labours more abundant, in stripes " above measure, in prisons more frequent, “ in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times re“ ceived I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, “ thrice I suffered shipwreck.... In weari“ ness and painfulness, in watchings often, “ in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in
“ cold and nakedness." You will observe that there are in this recital none of the brilliant circumstances that attract by their splendour, and render martyrdom glorious : stripes, shipwreck, and above all cold, nakedness, and hunger shed no honour around the hero by whom they are encountered.
But I pass over these details, (for a cause which you will afterwards perceiver) and direct your attention to a single portion of the history of St. Paul, his voyage to Rome, and his abode in that city. In the situation in which Judea was then placed, being but recently reduced into the form of a Roman province, governed by a Roman Procurator", and paying taxes to the supreme state, men's attention would naturally be attracted to the seat of empire; with this relations the most multifarious must have subsisted, and to this the current
8 2 Cor. xi. 23–27.
h “ Christus, Tiberio imperitante, per Procuratorem “ Pontium Pilatum supplicio affectus erat*."
* Tacit. Ann. I. xv. c. 44.
of all public business must have tended. It was to be expected, therefore, that men who had been selected by Divine Providence for the momentous task of converting the world should turn their eyes with anxiety to the capital of the world : and accordingly we find that this was a pregnant idea of St. Paul during his ministry. He had visited Athens, the seat of science, and he must visit Rome, the seat of empire. He had argued with human learning, the wisdom of the Greeks; and he must also contend with human power.
After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, “ when he had passed through Macedonia " and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “ After I have been there I must also see “ Rome!.” I intreat your attention to the importance which is given in the sacred writings to St. Paul's mission to Rome ; for much is dependent thereon. Not only does the Apostle purpose the voyage himself, as is here declared in his own words, but it is also predicted to him in a miraculous vision of
1 Acts xix. 21.
his Saviour: “And the night following the
Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul; for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Romek."
It is unnecessary here to specify by what judicial process the decision of St. Paul's cause, together with the person of the prisoner, is transmitted to Rome : these circumstances, along with the incidents of his voyage, are related with no casual or superfluous minuteness in the two last chapters of the Acts. He is delivered to the custody of a Roman centurion, by whom he is kindly treated, and with whom he sets sail from Adramyttium: after touching at Sidon, and some other ports, they are driven by a tempest on the island of Melita ; from thence they pass by Syracuse, Rhegium, Puteoli, and the western side of Italy, to Rome; where, says the sacred historian,
“ Paul “ dwelt two whole years in his own hired
house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and
Acts xxiii. 11.
teaching those things which concern the “ Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no
man forbidding him ''
Such is the unalterable record of this Apostle's arrival at Rome, and his abode there. Now you are aware that the professors of another creed found an essential article of their doctrine and discipline on the important fact that one of the Apostles visited Rome, and there founded a Church; but that the Apostle whom they have selected for this purpose, (and if the matter were now first related, I should be thought to speak things incredible and impossible,) the Apostle upon whom they have founded their prescriptive right to rule Christ's flock, is not the Apostle whose voyage St. Luke describes; but another, respecting whose presence at Rome, or in any part of Italy, there exists not, either prophetically or historically, one single word in the writings of the New Testament. What then becomes of their derivative infallibility, and their unbroken succession ? They hang upon a chain,
| Acts xxviii. 30, 31.