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His narrow escape from
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tas, the king, kept the city of the Da- 33 And "through a window in a bag. A M. 1961. Ángo Imp. Ne mascenes with a garrison, desirous to ket was I let down by the wall, and Annoimp.: apprehend me:
cscaped his hands.
ronis Cæs. 4.
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- John 7. 30, 44. Acts 9. 3.
h Josh. 2. 15. Psal. 34. 19.
But it is a question of some importance, How could Da- guments on this subject, appeared to me to be corroborated mascus, a city of Syria, be under the government of an by innumerable probabilities; but I left the conjecture afloat, Arabian king? It may be accounted for thus : Herod Anti- for I did not give it a more decisive pame; and placed it in pas, who married the daughter of Aretas, divorced her, in the hands of my Readers to adopt, reject, or amend, as their order to marry Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. Aretas, judgments might direct them. To several, this sentiment apon this indignity offered to his family, made war upon Herod.peared a monstrous heresy! and speedily, the old serpent had Herod applied to Tiberius for help, and the emperor sent a host of defenders. The very modest opinion, or conjecture, Vitellius to reduce Aretas, and to bring him alive or dead to was controverted by some who were both gentlemen and schoRome. By some means or other, Vitellius delayed his ope- || lars, and by several who were neither: by some who could not rations, and in the mean time Tiberius died; and thus affect candour, because they had not even the appearance. Aretas was snatched from ruin, Joseph. Antiq. lib. xviii. of it; but would affect learning, because they wished to be C. 5. What Aretas did in the interim, is not known; but reputed wise. What reason and argument failed to proit is conjectured that he availed himself of the then favour- || duce, they would supply with ridicule ; and as monkey, was able state of things, made an irruption into Syria, and seized a convenient term for this purpose, they attributed it to him, on Damascus. See Rosenmüller; and see the Introduction || who had never used it. What is the result? They no doubt to this Epistle, sec. ii.
believe that they have established their system ; and their ar.. The governor] Efrapxms; who this ethnarch was, we guments are to them conclusive. They have my full consent; cannot tell. The word ethnarch signifies the governor of a but I think it right to state, that I have neither seen nor province, under a king or emperor.
heard of any thing that has the least tendency to weaken my Desirous to apprehend me] The enemies of the apostle | conjecture, or produce the slightest wavering in my opinion. might have represented him to the governor, as a dangerous Indeed their arguments, and mode of managing them, have spy, employed by the Romans.
produced a very different effect on my mind, to what they Verse 33. Through a window in a basket] Probably the designed :--I am now more firmly persuaded of the probability house was situated on the wall of the city. See the Notes of my hypothesis than ever. I shall, however, leave the subject on this history, Acts ix. 23—25.
as it is : I never proposed it as an article of faith ; I press it
on no man: I could fortify it with many additional argu.. In ver. 2. of this chapter, the apostle most evidently alludes ments, if I judged it proper; for its probability appears to the History of the Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve, as to me as strong as the utter improbability of the com. related in Gen. iji. 1, &c. and which fall is there attributed to mon opinion, to defend which its abettors have descended the agency of a being called uns nuchush; here, and in other to insupportable conjectures, of which infidels have availed places translated $15 serpent. In my Notes on Genesis, themselves, to the discredit of the Sacred Writings. To those I have given many, and as I judge, solid reasons, why the who chuse to be wise and witty, and wish to provoke a conword cannot be understood literally, of a serpent of any troversy, this is my answer :-I am doing a great work, so kind : and that most probably a creature of the simiu or ape that I cannot come down : Why should the work cease, while genus, was employed by the devil on this occasion. The ar- I leave it and come down to you? Neh. vi. 3.
CHAPTER XII. St. Paul mentions some wonderful revelations which he had received from the Lord, 1–5. He speaks of his suffering, in connection with these extraordinary revelations, that his character might be duly estimated, 6. That he might not be too much exalted, a messenger of Satan is sent to buffet him: his prayer for deliverance, and the Divine answer, 7–9. He exults in sufferings and reproaches, and vindicates his apostleship, 10–13. Promises to come and visit them, 14, 15. Answers some objections, 16–18. And expresses his apprehensions, that when he visits them he shall find many evils and disorders among them, 19-21.
St. Paul gives an account of his
being caught up to heaven
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T is not expedient for me doubt- 2 I knew a man in Christ about A. M. 4061. less to glory. I will come to fourteen years ago, (whether in the
Anno Imp. Ne ronis Cæs. 4. visions and revelations of the Lord. body, I cannot tell; or whether out
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& Gr. For I will come.
6 Rom. 16.7. ch. 5. 17. Gal. 1. 29.
NOTES ON CHAP. XII.
being carried literally into heaven, was possible to the Verse 1. It is not expedient for me] There are several | Almighty. But as he could not decide himself, it would be various readings on this verse, which are too minute to be ridiculous in us to attempt it. noticed here; they seem in effect to represent the verse thus : Caught up to the third heaven.]" He appeared to have been “ If it be expedient to glory, (which does not become me,) || carried up to this place, but whether bodily, he could not I will proceed to visions," &c. The plain meaning of the tell; or whether the spirit were not separated for the time, apostle, in this and the preceding chapter, in reference to and taken up to the third heaven, he could not tell. glorying, is, that though to boast in any attainments, or in The third heaven—The Jews talk of seven heavens; and what God did by him, was in all possible cases to be avoided, || Mohammed has received the same from them; but these are as being contrary to the humility and simplicily of the gospel; not only fabulous, but absurd. I shall enumerate those of yet the circumstances in which he was found, in reference | the Jews. to the Corinthian church, and his detractors there, rendered 1. The Velum or curtain, bes. “Which, in the morning, it absolutely necessary; not for his personal vin 'ication, but is folded up; and in the evening, stretched out.” Isai. xl. 22. for the honour of the gospel, the credit of which was cer
He stretcheth out the heavens as a CURTAIN,
spreadeth tainly at stake.
them out as a tent to dwell in. I will come to visions] OTTA5125, symbolical representa- 2. The firmament or EXPANSE, O*pr.
« In which the tions of spiritual and celestial things; in which matters of the sun, moon, stars and constellations are fixed.” Gen. i. 17. deepest importance are exhibited to the eye of the mind, by | And God pluced them in the FIRMAMENT of heaven. a variety of emblems; the nature and properties of which 3. The CLOUDS or ÆTHER, pow.
6 Where the mill. serve to illustrate those spiritual things.
stones are which grind the manna for the righteous." Revelations] Atoxanuteis; a manifestation of things not || Psal. Ixxviii. 23, &c. Though he had commanded the CLOUDS before known, and such as God alone can make known; ll. from above, and opened the doors of heaven; and had rained because they are a part of his own inscrutable counsels. down manna, dic.
Verse 2. I knew a man in Christ] I knew a Christian, 4. The HADITATION, 5101, “ where Jerusalem and the or a Christian man; for to such alone, God now revealed temple, and the altar, were constructed ; and where Michael himself; for vision and prophecy had been shut up from the great Prince stands, and offers sacrifice.” 1 Kings viii. the Jews.
13. I have surely built thee a HOUSE TO DWELL IN, a settled Fourteen years ago] On what occasion, or in what place, | place for thee to abide in for ever. 6 But where is heaven this transaction took place, we cannot tell : there are many so called ?” Ans. in Isai. Ixiii. 15. Look down from IEAconjectures among learned men concerning it, but of what VEN, and behold from the HABITATION 51512 of thy holiness. utility can they be, when every thing is so palpably uncer- 5. The DWELLING PLACE, 119, “where the troops of tain? Allowing this Epistle to have been written some time in angels sing throughout the night, but are silent in the daythe year 57, fourteen years counted backward, will lead this time, because of the glory of the Israelites.” Psal. xli. 8. transaction to the year 42 or 43, which was about the time | The Lord will command his loving kindness in the day-time, that Barnabas brought Paul from Tarsus to Antioch, Acts xi. and in the night his song shall be with me. 16 But how is it 25, 26. and when he and Paul were sent by the church of proved that this means heaven ?" Ans. from Deut. xxvi. 15. Antioch, with alms to the poor Christians at Jerusalem. It | Look down from thy holy habitation pyro the DIFELLINGis very possible that, on this journey, or while in Jerusa- PLACE of thy holiness; and from heaven, Spun and bless lem, he had this vision; which was intended to be the means thy people Israel.. of establishing him in the faith, and supporting him in the 6. The FIXED RESIDENCE, 1999,
" where are the trezmany trials and difficulties through which he was to pass. sures of snow and hail; the repository of noxious dews, of This vision the apostle had kept secret for fourteen years. drops and whirlwinds; the grotto of exhalations, &c."
Whether in the body, I cannot tell] That the apostle was " But where are the heavens thus denominated ?" Ans. in in an ecstacy, or trance, something like that of Peter, || 1 Kings viii. 39, 49, &c. Then hear thou in hear Ex thy Acts x. 9. there is reason to believe ; but we know that, DWELLING PLACE 7nav nor thy FIXED RESIDENCE.
St. Paul gives an account of his
being caught up to heaven. A. M..4061. of the body, I cannot tell; God
I cannot tell; God | 4 How that he was caught up into AM..496. A. U. c. 810. knoweth :) such an one caught up paradise, and heard unspeakable 2.0, c. 810.
Anno Imp.Ne. to the third heaven.
words, which it is not lawful for a 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the man to utter. body, or 'out of the body, I cannot tell; God
5 Of such an one will I glory : yet of myknoweth :)
self I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
Anno Imp. Neronis Cæs. 4.
ronis Cæs, 4.
• Acts 22. 17. A. D. 46. at Lystra, Acts 14. 6.
b Luke 23. 43.
-c Or, possible. ch. 11. 30.
7. The ARABOTH, niw,
where are justice, judgment, But it is needless to wade through their fables. On the mercy, the treasures of life; peace and blessedness; the word paradise, see the Note on Gen. ii. 8. The Mohamsouls of the righteous; the souls and spirits which are re- medans call it unghest in jennet alferdoos, the garden served for the bodies yet to be formed; and the dew by of Paradise; and say that God created it out of light, which God is to vivify the dead.” Psal. Ixxxix. 14. Isai. | and that it is the habitation of the prophets and wise lix. 17. Psal. xxxvi. 9. Judges vi. 24. Psal. xxiv. 4. 1 Sam. xxv. 29. Isai. Ivii. 20. Psal. Ixvii. 9. "All of which are Among Christian writers, it generally means the place of termed Araboth, Psal. Ixviii. 4. Extol him who rideth on the the blessed; or the state of separate spirits. Whether the heavens, niawa ba-ARABOTU, by his name Juh.
third heaven and Paradise be the same place, we cannot abAll this is sufficiently unphilosophical, and in several cases solutely say; they probably are not : and it is likely, that ridiculous.
St. Paul, at the time referred to, had at least two of these In the Sacred writings, three heavens only are mentioned. raptures. The first is the atmosphere, what appears to be intended by Which it is not laveful for a man to utter.] The Jews papa rakiá, the firmament or expansion, Gen. i. 6. The thought, that the Divine name, the Tetragrammaton 11.7 second, the starry heaven; where are the sun, moon, planets, Yehovah, should not be uttered; and that it is absolutely and stars; but these two are often expressed under the one unlawful to pronounce it; indeed they say that the true term Sow shamayim, the two heuvens, or expansions; and pronunciation is utterly lost, and cannot be recovered in Gen. i. 17. they appear to be both expressed by yapo without an express revelation. Not one of them, to the Srun rakiá hashamayim; the firmament of heaven. present day, ever attempts to utter it; and, when they meet And, Thirdly, the place of the blessed, or the throne of the with it in their reading, always supply its place with 378 Divine glory, probably expressed by the word spun Siru Adonai, Lord. It is probable that the apostle refers to some shamayim, hashamayin ; the heavens of heavens. But communication concerning the Divine nature, and the Divine on these subjects the Scripture affords us but little light : 1 æconomy, of which he was only to make a general use in his and on this distinction, the Reader is not desired to rely. preaching and writing. No doubt, that what he learned at
Much more may be seen in Schoettgen, who has exhausted this time, formed the basis of all his doctrines. the subject; and who has shewn, that ascending to heaven, Cicero terms God, illud inerprimabile ; that inexpressible or being caught up to heuren, is a form of speech among the Being. And Hermes calls him avexa&1.4,705, acc7705, SIWT9 Jewish writers, to express the highest degrees of inspiration. pwrouuevos: The ineffable ! the unspeakable ! and that which They often say of Moses, that he uscended on high, us- is to be pronounced in silence! We cannot have views too cended on the firmament, ascended to heaven ; where it is exalted of the majesty of God: and the less frequently we evideut they mean only by it, that he was favoured with the pronounce his name, the more reverence shall we feel for nearest intimacy with God, and the highest revelations re- his nature. It is said of Mr. Boyle, that he never prolative to his will, &c. If we may understand St. Paul thus, nounced the name of God, without either taking off his hat, it will remove much of the difficulty from this place; and or making a bow. Leaving out profane swearers, blasperhaps the unspeakable words, ver. 4. are thus to be under- phemers, and such like open-faced servants of Satan, it is stood. He had the most sublime communications from God; distressing to hear many well-intentioned people making unsuch as would be improper to mention: though it is very scripturally free with this sacred name. likely that we have the substance of these in his Epistle... Verse 5. Of such an one will I glory] Through moTurleed, the two Epistles before us, seem, in many places, desty he does not mention himself ; though the account can to be the effect of most extraordinary revelations.
be understood of no other person : for, did he mean Verse 4. Caught up into Paradise] The Jewish writers any other, the whole account would be completely irrehare no less than four paradises; as they have seven beavens. Il levant,
The apostle is buffeted by
a messenger of Satan.
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6 For though I would desire to through the abundance of the reveAnno Imp.Ne. glory, I shall not be a fool; for I lations, there was given to me a
ronis Cæs. 4. will say the truth: but now I forbear, thorn in the flesh, • the messenlest any man should think of me above that ger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exwhich he seeth me to be, or that he heareth alted above measure.
8 4 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, ņ And lest I should be exalted above measure that it might depart from me.
a Ch. 10. 8. & 11. 16.— See Ezek. 28. 24. Gal. 4. 13, 14.
c Job 2. 7. Luke 13. 16. See Deut. 3. 23-27. Matt. 26. 44.
Verse 6. I shall not be a fool] Who that had got such out of the hands and influence of this deceiver: none, not honour from God, would have been fourteen years silent on even the incestuous person, having been turned finally out of the subject ?
the way, by the false doctrines there preached. I will say the truth] I speak nothing but truth; aud The messenger of Satan] Another mode of expressing the apostle seems to have intended to proceed with some- what he calls the thorn in the flesh; and he seems most thing else of the same kind; but finding some reason pro- plainly to refer to the false apostle at Corinth. The apostle bably occurring suddenly, says, I forbear; I will say no himself was, as he styles himself, to this church, aTC56A05 more on this subject.
Incou Xpusou, chap. i. 1. the apostle of Jesus Christ. The Lest any man should think of me above] The apostle person in question is styled here aryales Ezrar, the apostle or spoke of these revelations for two purposes : first, lest his angel of Satan. It is almost impossible to mistake the apostle's enemies might suppose they had cause to think meunly of him. meaning and reference. Jesus Christ sent Paul to proAnd, secondly, having said thus much, he forbears to speak claim his truth, and found a church at Corinth. SATAN, any farther of them, lest his friends should think too highly the adversary of God's truth, sent a man to preach lies at of him. It is a rare gift to discern when to speak, and when the same place; and turn the church of God into his own to be silent; and to know when enough is said on a subject; synagogue ; and, by his teaching lies and calumnies, the neither too little nor too much.
apostle was severely buffetech. We need seek no other sense Verse 7. And lest I should be exalted] There were for these expressions. Many, however, think that the three evils to be guarded against-1. The contempt of his apostle had really some bodily infirmity, that rendered him gifts and call by his enemies. 2. The overweening fondness
2. The overweening fondness contemptible, and was the means of obstructing the success of his friends. And, 3. Self-exaltation.
of his ministry ; and that the false apostle availed himself of A thorn in the flesh] The word oxożoy signifies a stake, this, to set St. Paul at nought, and to hold him out to and avaox02.0Tigeria to be tied to a stake, by way of punish- ridicule. I have shewn this elsewhere, to be very unlikely. ment :·and it is used, says Schoettgen, to signify the most The best arguments in favour of this opinion, may be oppressive afflictions. Whatever it was, it was in capxi in found in Whitby ; but I forbear to transcribe them, because the flesh ; i. e. of an outward kind. It was neither sin nor I think the meaning given above is more correct. No insinfulness, for this could not be given him to prevent his be- firmity of body, or corporal sufferings, can affect and dising exalted above measure : for sin never had, and never can tress a minister of the gospel, equally to the perversion of have, this tendency. What this thorn in the flesh might be, scattering of a flock, which were the fruit of innumerable has given birth to a multitude of conjectures : Tertullian labours, watchings, fastings, prayers and tears. thought it dolor auriculæ, the ear-ache ; Chrysostom xeqa- Verse 8. I besought the Lord] That is, Christ, as the nanyia, the head-ache ; Cyprian, carnis et corporis multa ac next verse absolutely proves; and the Socinians themselves gravia tormenta, many and grievous bodily torments. I be confess. And if Christ be an object of prayer, in such a lieve the apostle to refer simply to the distresses he had en. case as this, or indeed in any case, it is a sure proof of his dured through the opposition he met with at Corinth ; which Divinity; for, only an Omniscient Being can be made an ebwere as painful and grievous to him as a thorn in his flesh, | ject of prayer. or his being bound to a stake ; for, if he could have devoted Thrice] Several suppose this to be a certain number for himself to destruction, Rom. ix. 3. for his rebellious and an uncertain; as if he had said, I often besought Christ to unbelieving countrymen, what must he have suffered on ac- deliver me from this tormentor: or, which is perhaps more count of an eminent church being perverted, and torn to likely, the apostle may refer to three solemn, fixed, and ferpieces, by a false teacher ? God permitted this to keep the vent applications, made to Christ at different times; at the apostle humble, and at last completely delivered the church last of which he received the answer which he immediately
The apostle glories in his afflictions,
being supported by the power of Christ.
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9 And he said unto me, My grace | distresses for Christ's sake: "for when A.U.C.810. is sufficient for thee: for my strength I am weak, then am I strong. ronis Cas. 4. is made perfect in weakness. Most 11 I am become a fool in glory- ronis Cas. 4. gladly therefore will I rather glory in my ing; ye have compelled me : for I ought to infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest have been commended of you : for 'in nothing upon me.
am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though 10 Therefore • I take pleasure in infirmities, I be nothing. in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in 12 "Truly the signs of an apostle were
· Ch. 11. 30.
b 1 Pet. 4. 14. -c Rom. 5. 3. ch. 7. 4. ch. 13. 4.
e ch. 11. 1, 16, 17.
r Ch. 11. 5. Gal. 2. 6, 7, 8.-1 Cor. 3. 7. & 15. 8,9. Eph. 3. 8.
Rom. 15. 18, 19. 1 Cor. 9. 2. ch. 4. 2. & 6. 4. & 11. 6.
subjoins. It is worthy of remark, that our Lord, in his When we get a particular blessing, we need another to preagony, acted in the same way: at three different times he serve it; and, without this, we shall soon be shorn of our applied to God that the cup might depart from him; and, in strength, and become as other men. Hence the necessity each application, he spoke the same words, Matt. xxvi. of continual watchfulness and prayer; and depending on the 39—44. There is therefore a manifest allusion to our Lord's all-sufficient grace of Christ. See on chap. xi. 30. couduct in these words of 'the apostle.
Verse 10. Therefore I take pleasure] I not only endure Verse 9. My grace is sufficient for thee] Thou shalt them patiently, but am pleased when they occur: for, I do not be permitted to sink under these afflictions. Thy enemies it for Christ's sake; on his account ; for, on his account I shall not be able to prevail against thee.
suffer. For cohen I am weak, most oppressed with trials My strength is made perfect in weakness] The more, and and afflictions, then am I strong; God supporting my mind the more violently thou art afflicted and tried, being upheld with His most powerful influences; causing me to rejoice by my power, and prospered in all thy labours, the more with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. eminently will my power be seen and acknowledged. For Verse 11. I am become a fool in glorying] It is not the the weaker the instrument I use, the more the power of my part of a wise or gracious man to boast ; but have comgrace shall be manifested. See at the end of this chapter. pelled me : I have been obliged to do it, in order to vindicate
Will I rather glory in my in firmities] Therefore, his in- | the cause of God. firmities do not mean his corruptions, or sins, or sinfulness I ought to have been commended of you] You should have of any kind; for it would be blasphemous for any man to vindicated both myself and my ministry against the detracsay, I will rather glory that God leaves my corruptions in tors that are among you. me, than that he should take them away.
The very chiefest apostles] See chap. xi. 1. That the power of Christ may rest upon me. ] Etioxywon Though I be nothing.] Though I have been thus set at ET' Eue, that it may overshadow me as a tent, or tabernacle; nought by your false apostle ; and though, in consequence affording me shelier, protection, safety, and rest. This ex- of what he has said, some of you have been ready to conpression is like that, John i. 14. And the. Word was made sider me as nothing. This must be the meaning of the flesh, xal EOXTYWCEV ev mury, and made his tabernacle among apostle, as the following verses prove. us, full of grace and truth. The same eternal word pro- A kind of technical meaning has been imposed on these mised to make his tabernacle with the apostle; and gives him words, of which many good people seem very fond. I am a proof that he was still the same, full of grace and truth; nothing; I am all sin, defilement and unworthiness in myby assuring him that his grace should be sufficient for him. self; but Jesus Christ is all in all. This latter clause is an Paul, knowing that the promise of grace could not fail, be- eternal truth ; the former may be very true also : the percause of the Divine truth, says, Most gladly therefore will son who uses it may be all sin, defilement, &c. but let him I rather glory in my afflictions, that such a power of Christ not say that the apostle of the Gentiles was so too, because may overshadow and defend me.
this is not true; it is false ; and it is injurious to the characThe words are also similar to those of the prophet Isaiah, ter of the apostle, and to the grace of Christ : besides, it is iv. 5. On all thy glory shall be a defence; God gives the not the meaning of the text ; and the use commonly made of glory, and God gives the defence of that glory. The apostle it is abominable, if not wicked. had much glory or honour ; both Satan and his apostles were
Verse 12. The signs of an apostle were wrought among very envious : in himself, the apostle, as well as all human you] Though I have been reputed as nothing, I have given beings, was weak, and therefore needed the power of God the fullest proof of my Divine mission, by various signs, to defend such glory. Grace alone can preserve grace. I wonders and miracles ; and by that patience which I have