And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them…
We are to understand this extraordinary verse to reveal rather what Paul confesses it was in his heart to do, and in the nature of his own actions to cause others to do, than what he succeeded in doing, in all respects. The two or three touches give us a wonderfully and strangely vivid picture. And suggest, not so much for Paul who confessed and forsook his evil way, but for many others who do neither the one nor the other, how suicidal their course, when, uncontent with the weight of their own responsibilities, they would presume to tamper with the conscience of others, and lade themselves with some share in all that is most dread of the moral nature of their fellows. Let us notice that those who will forcibly seek to interfere with the moral and religious convictions of others do -
I. RUN THE GREAT RISK OF INFLUENCING OTHERS TO SIN AGAINST THEIR OWN CONSCIENCE.
II. PRESUME TO SUPPOSE THEIR OWN CONSCIENCE TO BE THE ABSOLUTELY SAFE STANDARD.
III. EXPOSE THEMSELVES, ON NO GREATER WARRANT, TO STAYING A GOOD WORK THAT OTHERWISE WAS GROWING IN THE HEART OF ANOTHER.
IV. VERY POSSIBLY AVAIL TO MAKE PRONOUNCED BLASPHEMERS, BACKSLIDERS, APOSTATES.
V. BECOME AT LEAST STUMBLING-BLOCKS TO OTHERS, AND CAUSES OF LOSS AND PERHAPS OF INFINITE MENTAL PAIN AND DISASTROUS CONFLICT TO THEM. Against every one of these courted responsibilities Christ's own clearest warnings are offered, and his calmest, most solemn judgments pronounced upon those who taught them. - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.