2 Corinthians 11:30-33
30. If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
30. Si gloriari oportet, in iis quae infirmitatis meae sunt gloriabor.
31. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
31. Deus et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi novit, qui est benedictus in saecula, quod non mentiar.
32. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the. city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me;
32. Damasci Aretas, regius gentis praefectus, custodiebat urbem Damascenorum, volens me apprehendere. (Acts 9:24, 25.)
33. And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
33. Et per fenestram demissus fui in sporta per muros, atque effugi manus eius.
31. The God and Father. As he was about to relate a singular feat, 2 which, at the same time, was not well known, he confirms it by making use of an oath. Observe, however, what is the form of a pious oath, 3 -- when, for the purpose of declaring the truth, we reverently call God as our witness. Now this persecution was, as it were, Paul's first apprenticeship, 4 as appears from Luke, (Acts 9:23-25); but if, while yet a raw recruit, he was exercised in such beginnings, what shall we think of him, when a veteran soldier? As, however, flight gives no evidence of a valiant spirit, it may be asked, why it is that he makes mention of his flight? I answer, that the gates of the royal city having been closed, clearly showed with what rage the wicked were inflamed against him; and it was on no light grounds that they had been led to entertain such a feeling, 5 for if Paul had not fought for Christ with a new and unusual activity, the wicked would never have been thrown into such a commotion. His singular perseverance, however, shone forth chiefly in this -- that, after escaping from so severe a: persecution, he did not cease to stir up the whole world against him, by prosecuting fearlessly the Lord's work.
It may be, however, that he proceeds to mock those ambitious men, who, while they had never had experience of any thing but applauses, favors, honorable salutations, and agreeable lodgings, wished to be held in the highest esteem. For, in opposition to this, he relates, that he was shut in, so that he could with difficulty save his life by a miserable and ignominious flight.
Some, however, ask, whether it was lawful for Paul to leap over the walls, inasmuch as it was a capital crime to do so? I answer, in the first place, that it is not certain, whether that punishment was sanctioned by law in the East; and farther, that even if it was so, Paul, nevertheless, was guilty' of no crime, because he did not do this as an enemy, or for sport, but from necessity. For the law would not punish a man, that would throw himself down from the walls to save his life from the flames; and what difference is there between a fire, and a fierce attack from robbers? We must always, in connection with laws, have an eye to reason and equity. 6 This consideration will exempt Paul entirely from blame.
1 "De toutes lesquelles nous n'avons point de honte coustumierement, que si nous estions vileinement diffamez;" -- "Of all which we feel ordinarily as much ashamed, as if we had been shockingly defamed."
2 "Vn acte singulier de vray champion de guerre;" -- "A singular feat of a true champion of war."
3 "De iurement sainete et lieitc;" -- "Of a holy and lawful oath."
4 Calvin, when commenting on the passage referred to, (Acts 9:23-25,) makes use of a similar expression: "Hoc tiroeinio ad erueem ferendam mature assuefaetus fuit;" -- "By this apprenticeship he was early inured to the endurance of the cross." -- Ed.
5 "Et qu'ils n'auoyent point conceu telle fureur pour vne chose leger et de petite consequence;" -- "And that they had not conceived such a rage for a slight matter, and one of small consequence."
6 Calvin seems to have here in his eye a passage expressly alluded to by him, when commenting on Acts 9:23-25, from the writings of Cicero, to the following effect: "Etiamsi peregrinum lex arceat a muri accessu, minime tamen peccat, qui murum conscendit servandae urbis causa, quia leges semper ad aequitatem flectendae sunt;" -- "Although the law forbids a foreigner to approach the wall, no offense is committed by the man, who scales the wall with a view to the defense of the city; for the laws must always be made to bend towards equity." -- Ed.