תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

gin of the name of Myses or Moses for the sun: though nothing more than conjecture can be adduced now or hereafter upon the subject. To a people again ignorant of the motions of the earth, the sun appears to set every evening in the waters and to come out of them every morning, so that nothing was more likely than the giving him a name that expressed his coming out or being taken out of the waters.

If for the sake of some point to fix upon, we agree to say, that the first preachers of Christianism rendezvoused at Antioch about the year 100, we shall then be able to trace its course with some precision.

The first scheme seems to have heen an effort to convert the Jews scattered abroad to this version of Paganism, by assimilating the story of Jesus to their expected Messiah. The Epistle to the Hebrews was evidently written for that purpose, at Chap. vii. ver. 14, it is asserted, that Jesus sprung from the tribe of Judah. The Epistle nominally addressed to the Romans, from the second to the fifteenth chapter, is wholly addressed to some Jew or Jews and not to any body of Romans, whioh stauds as another proof, that Christianity had not then reached Rome. The first and last chapters of this Epistle have no connection with or relation to the body of the Epistle, or treatise rather on the comparative merits of Judaism and Christianism. And were it not for an allusion to Spain in the fifteenth chapter, there is uo indication in the body of the work of its having been addressed to any persons near Rome. And that Paul on first setting out on his ministry from Antioch, having avowedly reached no further than Corinth, should have au engagement in so remote a country as Spain, is very improhable. He talks of a walk into Spain as if it were but a day's journey! It is no where else stated in the New Testament that there was a church in Spain so early.

The bulk of the New Testament is an evidence, that io the first effort to start the new religion of Christianism, the'? . was no intention to deviate from the whole law and customs of the Jews; for, though Paul after he had quarrelled with all the other apostles, and set up a new Gospel of his own, hitterly inveighed against circumcision, we read at Acts chap, xvi. ver. 8, that be circumcised Timothy, whose father was a Grecian and mother a Jewess, " because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek." Here is clear case, that circumcision was at first considered an essential part of Christianity, as it is beginning to be among the followers of Johannah Southcote at this time. And this will well account for the passing of the Jews and earl y Christians under the common name of Galileans.

Having hovered round the skirts of Antioch for a time, until be had quarrelled with.all his fellows, Paul started away with his new "Gospel of uncircumcision" towards Greece in Kurope. He might further have had the sharpsightedness to see, that the " Gospel of circumcision" would not produce any effect either upon the Jews or Gentiles. So having had a smart quarrel with Peter at Antioch, see Galatians chap. ii. ver. 11, and also with Barnahas and Mark see Acts chap. xv. ver. 39, he left that neighbourhood and soon Asia altogether, under the common and convenient excuse, as we are told at Acts chap. xv. ver. 6, that he was " forhidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia:" and further at verse 9, that he hud a vision in the night of a man who invited him to " come over into Macedonia." In the onset of Christianity, every thing seems to have been undertaken under the direction of dreams: and such has been its soporific powers, that it has kept all Europe in a dream for near seventeen centuries. I shall be very happy, if I can but make noise enough to awake the people of England out of this long continued dream. I will at least make all the noise i can to rouse them: but if they will fall asleep again, the fault will not be mine.

Whilst we have Paul under weigh from Asia across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, for he does not seem to have opened his commission- (his new fnngled Gospel of uncircumcision) to the ships crew of this voyage, we will endeavour to sketch his portrait, to hang his picture at the head of this epitome of his labours: and be on your guard, Bailey, as to who and what you are about to see: for this chief of the Apostles, this great propagator of the greatest mischief that ever was propagated, was both a curious and a comical little character. I would not go to an Apocryphal book for a description of him, did 1 not find a corroboration of the sketch in the New Testament. Now then, Ecce Homo! Behold the man!

In the book of " The Acts of Paul and Thecla" we are told that, "A certain man named Ouesiphorus*, hearing that Paul was come to Iconinm, went out speedily to meet him together with his wife Lectra, and his sons Simmia and Zeuo, to invite him to their bouse. For Titus had given

* See a corresponding mention of this Onesiphorus by Paul in the Second Epistle to Timothy chap. i. ver. 16.

them a description of Paul's personage, they as yet not knowing him in person, but only being acquainted with his character. They went in the king's highway to Lystra, and stood there waiting for him, comparing all who passed by, with that description which Titus had given them. At length they saw a man coming, of a low stature, hald on the bead, crooked thighs, handsome legs*, hollow-eyed; had a crooked nose; full of grace; for sometimes be appeared as a man, sometimes he had the countenance of an angel." This was Paul! This was the originator of that horrid Christianism, that damnable Gospel of Uncircumcision (see Galatians chap. ii. ver. 7.) which has both degraded,stupified, and desolated Europe to this day. Awake Europeans! Awake and read! Behold the picture of the author of your woes I

Almost every town furnishes au eccentric and a crippled shoe-maker that much resembles this portrait of Paul. In Ashburton, the town of my hirth, there were two of the same stamp, Joseph Jeffery and Robert Nichols; but of the two, old Sloaf Jeffery (a familiar appellative to my ear!) must have carried the nighest resemblance to Paul. I know not if little Stoafbe living; but if living, it would be worth a triflle to exhihit him through Europe as a striking resemblance of Saint Paul the little great originator of Christianity in Europe. Sloaf was a Saint Paul in his way; for, I have known him play many odd and novel pranks, and have participated in them. I hope be may be living to hear of the honour I have done him, by exhibtting him as a likeness of Saint Paul! Though, by the by, I never recollect seeing Sloaf at church or Meeting!

That this sketch from the„" Acts of Paul and Thecla" is not a caricature of Saint Paul, we have proof in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians chap. x. It seems, that the Corinthians had been speaking to Titus of the defects of Paul's person as acknowledged at ver. 10, " For his letters, say they are weighty and powerful; but his.bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." At the first verse it is also said: "1 Paul—who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold towards you." Again at chap. xi. ver. 6, he says: •' Though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest

* It is impossible that a man could at the same tinte have crooked thighs and handsome legs. The defects of the thighs arose from an infirmity that will not allow the idea of a straight or well shapen leg.

among you in all things." And he repeatedly speaks of his defects, weaknesses, and infirmities, as if his body were crippled and unsound. We are not told that Paul was a shoemaker, for high shoes with leather over the instep were not then known, sandals made of metal and wood as well as of leather were the ordinary wear. But we are told, that he was a Tent-maker, and that when at Corinth, he wrought with Aquila and Priscilla, a Jew and his wife, who were of the same craft: Tent-making must have been of a kin with shoe-making, and the Limner who shall paint Paul from my sketch may draw him as a tailor to hide his crooked thighs, or as preaching upon a tuh, a? he pleases.

I cannot be persuaded that this Paul the tent-maker is the same person as the Saul of the first part of the Acts of the Apostles, who was brought up as a pharisee at the feet of Gamaliel. It is quite clear to me, that the writer of the Acts of the Apostles has fabled the sketch of Saul's life, and subsequently, improperly jumbled Saul and Paul together as one person Paul is Paulus a common Roman name. Saul is a Jewish name, at least, an Old Testament name, which has no resemblance to any thing Roman. The Jews were ^particular in having public officers free from bodily defects, and would not have countenanced such a man as Paul as a commissioned accuser of the Christians, and the agent of a High Priest. There is a tradition that Paul turned Christian out of spite because he could not marry the daughter of the High Priest, this for foregoing reasons I do not credit.

Having hung up the picture of Paul, we will now search the Scriptures for his character, as drawn of himself: and a very pretty character we shall find it: one well qualified to accomplish the evils which he has disseminated among mankind.

Epistle to the Romans (falsely so called.) Chap. ii. ver4. Let God be true, but every man a liar.

7. For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also judged a sinner?

8. And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

9. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.

Chap. vi. ver. 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin:

19. Ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity.

Chap. vii. ver. 5. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

8. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.

15. For that which I do 1 allow not: for what I would that 1 do not; but what I hate, that do 1.

16. If then 1 do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17. Now then it is no more.l that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18. For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but bow to perform that which is good I find not.

19. For the good that 1 would 1 do not: but the evil whicb I would not, that 1 do.

20. Now if 1 do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, aud bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24. O wretched man that lam! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

This and the 9th chapter is the Vicar of Cerue all over. Any thing, any vice, may be done and justified, so as it be done spiritually and not carnally! The only necessary excuse is to plead the working of the spirit! This sort of Christianity is the very perfection of hypocrisy: the hane of all morality. And this was Paul's masterpiece: in this he was an adept. In this the Vicar of Cerne assures himself of a fellowship with the Apostle!

In his first Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. x. ver. 23, he says, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not." This corresponds with the extracts from the Epistle to the Romans above, and with his saying that he felt at liberty to become "all things to all men." The contradictions in the several epistles about the propriety of marriage, to one forhidding it, to another encouraging it, show, that Paul had no stable doctrine in morals, and was quite willing to suit himself to all sorts of

« הקודםהמשך »