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AINT PAUL was a native of Tarfus, the

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metropolis of Cilicia, a city famous for riches and learning, and where the inhabitants enjoyed the liberties of Roman citizens; which advantage, St. Paul afferted afterwards before Feftus, as the privilege of his birth-right. He was born about two years before CHRIST, and belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, the youngest fon of Jacob.

The first action we find him engaged in, was the difputation he had with the martyr Stephen, whose death he confented to, keeping the raiment of them that few him. Our Apoftle afterwards became a great enemy to the Chriftian faith, and profecuted all its profeffors with the utmost fury at Jerufalem. Having thus made great havock of the church in that city, he procured a commiffion of the high-priest and council, to feize, bind, and imprifon all Chriftians at Damafcus, and to bring them to Jerufalem.



But in the midst of his bloody career, he was miraculously converted by a voice from heaven, and three days after, was baptized by Ananias, a devout man, and one of the feventy difciples, at Damafcus, where he preached that gospel which he had fo lately fought to deftroy, to the very great aftonishment of those who knew on what occafion he was fent thither.

ST. PAUL did not ftay long at Damafcus after his converfion; but retired into Arabia Petræa, and, having preached fome time there, returned again to Damafcus, where he ftaid three years.

The malice of the Jews, being incenfed for having loft fo confiderable a champion, purfued him clofe. They contrived all poffible means to dispatch him; and, after many other ftratagems in vain, made their request to the governor, under Aretas, king of Arabia Petræa, (into whofe hands, by the defeat of Herod's army, that city had now fallen) that he would gratify them in his deftruction. The gates were day and night moft ftrictly guarded, to prevent his escape; but the difciples let him down over the city-wall in a basket.

He now went up to Jerufalem; where he met with Peter, and James the Lord's brother, and abode with them fifteen days, fpeaking boldly in the name of JESUS, and difputing with the Greeks, who also had confulted how they might kill him; but PAUL praying in the temple, had a trance, in which the Lord bad him depart from Jerufalem, fince they'd not receive his teftimony; adding, that he would fend him to the Gentiles.

PAUL, therefore, left Jerufalem, and, coming to Cefarea Philippi, he fet fail for his native city of Tarfus; from whence, in company with Barnabas, he went to Antioch, the capital of Pifidia, where he continued a whole year, converting multitudes to the faith. Here it was that the disciples first obtained that honourable title of Chriftians.


PAUL and Barnabas afterwards fet forward in their preaching the gospel, planting the Chriftian faith in Seleucia, Cyprus, and other places. At Paphos, (a city in Cyprus) they converted Sergius Paulus, the governor of the island; where Bar-Jefus, a Jewish impoftor, who ftyled himself Elymas, withstanding them, was, at Paul's request, ftruck blind.

From Cyprus, ST. PAUL repaired to Perga in Pamphilia, and, taking Titus with him, travelled to Antioch, where the Gentiles believe, but the Jews gainfay. Whereupon they turned to the Gentiles, and came to Iconium, the metropolis of Lycaonia, a province of Leffer Afia; and after fome ftay here, the malice of the Jews purfuing them hither also, caused them to flee to Lyftra and Derbe, cities of Lyconia. At Lyftra, upon PAUL's healing a cripple, the mob called out, the gods are come down; and bringing facrifices, they would needs have honoured them therewith, calling BARNABAS Jupiter, and PAUL Mercury. But they are foon exafperated against them by the perverse spite of the Jews from Antioch, and ftone Paul, dragging him out of their city for dead; who, coming again to himself, departed next day with Barnabas to Derbe, where he did not continue long, but returned into Syria and Cilicia.

PAUL afterwards coming to Derbe, took Timothy, a young man juft converted, with him; and, in a vifion, is directed to go into Macedonia. Paffing, therefore, through Phrygia, he took fhip, and came to Samothracia, an island in the Ægean Sea, not far from Thrace; and the next day to Neapolis, a port of Macedonia. Leaving Neapolis, he repaired to Philippi, the metropolis of that part of Macedonia, and a Roman colony, where he staid some days, and converted Lydia, and caft out of a maid-servant a spirit of divination, which had brought her master confiderable gain.

Upon this the mafter complained to the magiftrates, who severely fcourged and imprisoned them.


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