For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful - He boasts of high powers, and that he can do great things. See on II Corinthians 10:1-2 (note).
But his bodily presence is weak - When you behold the man, you find him a feeble, contemptible mortal; and when ye hear him speak, his speech, ̔ , probably, his doctrine, , is good for nothing; his person, matter, and manner, are altogether uninteresting, unimpressive, and too contemptible to be valued by the wise and the learned. This seems to be the spirit and design of this slander.
Many, both among the ancients and moderns, have endeavored to find out the ground there was for any part of this calumny; as to the moral conduct of the apostle, that was invulnerable; his motives, it is true, were suspected and denounced by this false apostle and his partisans; but they could never find any thing in his conduct which could support their insinuations.
What they could not attach to his character, they disingenuously attached to his person and his elocution.
If we can credit some ancient writers, such as Nicephorus, we shall find the apostle thus described:
\ri720 · ̔ · , · , , , . . .
Nicephor., lib. ii., cap. 17.
\ri720 \cf1 "Paul was a little man, crooked, and almost bent like a bow; with a pale countenance, long and wrinkled; a bald head; his eyes full of fire and benevolence; his beard long, thick, and interspersed with grey hairs, as was his head, etc."
I quote from Calmet, not having Nicephorus at hand.
An old Greek writer, says the same author, whose works are found among those of Chrysostom, tom. vi. hom. 30, page 265, represents him thus: - ̔ , ̔· "Paul was a man of about three cubits in height, (four feet six), and yet, nevertheless, touched the heavens." Others say that "he was a little man, had a bald head, and a large nose." See the above, and several other authorities in Calmet. Perhaps there is not one of these statements correct: as to Nicephorus, he is a writer of the fourteenth century, weak and credulous, and worthy of no regard. And the writer found in the works of Chrysostom, in making the apostle little more than a pigmy, has rendered his account incredible.
That St. Paul could be no such diminutive person we may fairly presume from the office he filled under the high priest, in the persecution of the Church of Christ; and that he had not an impediment in his speech, but was a graceful orator, we may learn from his whole history, and especially from the account we have, Acts 14:12, where the Lycaonians took him for Mercury, the god of eloquence, induced thereto by his powerful and persuasive elocution. In short, there does not appear to be any substantial evidence of the apostle' s deformity, pigmy stature, bald head, pale and wrinkled face, large nose, stammering speech, etc., etc. These are probably all figments of an unbridled fancy, and foolish surmisings.
Other Adam Clarke entries containing 2 Corinthians 10:10:
1 Corinthians 1:17
2 Corinthians 1:23
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