When reading the ninth chapter of Acts, thought turns involuntarily toward the little group of Christians at Damascus. We cannot help picturing what their mental attitude must have been when they knew that Saul of Tarsus—the persecutor who had watched and consented to the stoning of Stephen, Saul, the lawyer who could pick to pieces any defense which they might make, Saul with the power and authority of the chief priests behind him—had actually started for Damascus with the avowed intention of bringing them bound unto Jerusalem.

It would be difficult to imagine a more unpromising outlook for that little group of disciples! Viewed from a human standpoint, there was not one hopeful thing about this episode, not a single loophole by which they might escape. That they loyally trusted in God to deliver them we may safely conclude, but that there was some fear is shown by Ananias' answer to the angel, "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem." We see reluctance on the part of Ananias to come into any personal relation with Saul, until reassured by the voice of God. But Ananias need not have feared, for the Saul of Tarsus who left Jerusalem never arrived at Damascus. In his place came "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God."

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