6. And it happened that as I journeyed and drew near to Damascus about noon, that suddenly a great light shone round about me from heaven.7. And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8. And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.9. And they which were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid: but they heard not the voice of him which talked with me.10. Then I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me, Arise, and go to Damascus; and there it shall be told thee what things be ordained for thee to do.11. And when I saw not by reason of the glory of the light, being led by the hand by those companions which were with me, I came to Damascus.
6. And it happened. Because this history was expounded more at large in the ninth chapter, I will only briefly touch those things which were there spoken. But this is peculiar to this present place, that Paul reckoneth up his circumstances, that by them he may prove that he was converted by God. And this is the third member of the sermon; otherwise this change should have been thought to have proceeded of inconstancy, or rashness, or else it should not have been void of some infamy. For nothing is more intolerable than to start aside from the course of godliness which men have once entered; and also not to do that which they are commanded to do. Therefore, lest any man might suspect Paul's conversion, he proveth by many miracles which he bringeth to light, that God was the author thereof. In the night-season there appear oftentimes lightnings, which come of the hot exhalations of the earth; but this was more strange, that about noon a sudden light did not only appear, but did also compass him about like a lightning, so that through fear thereof he fell from his horse, and lay prostrate upon the ground. Another miracle, in that he heard a voice from heaven; another, in that his companions heard it not as well as he. Also, there follow other things, that, after that he was sent to Damascus, the event is correspondent to the oracle; because Ananias cometh to meet him. Also, in that his sight is restored to him in a moment.
I fell to the earth. As Paul was puffed up with Pharisaical pride, it was meet that he should be afflicted and thrown down, that he might hear Christ's voice. He would not have despised God openly, neither durst he refuse the heavenly oracle; yet his mind should never have been framed unto the obedience of faith, if he had continued in his former state; therefore, he is thrown down by violence, that he may learn to humble himself willingly. Furthermore, there is in Christ's words only a brief reprehension, which serveth to appease the rage of Paul being so cruelly bent. Nevertheless, we have thence an excellent consolation, in that Christ taking upon him the person of all the godly, doth complain that whatsoever injury was done to them was done to him. And as there can no sweeter thing be imagined to lenify the bitterness of persecution, than when we hear that the Son of God doth suffer not only with us, but also in us, so again, the bloody enemies of the gospel, who being now besotted with pride, do mock the miserable Church, shall perceive whom they have wounded.
9. They which were with me. I showed in the other place, that there is no such disagreement in the words of Luke as there seemeth to be. Luke said there, that though Paul's companions stood amazed, yet heard they a voice. But in this place he saith, they heard not the voice of him which spake to Paul though they saw the light. Surely it is no absurd thing to say that they heard some obscure voice; yet so that they did not discern it as Paul himself, whom alone Christ meant to stay and tame with the reprehension. Therefore, they hear a voice, because a sound doth enter into their ears, so that they know that some speaketh from heaven; they hear not the voice of him that spake to Paul, because they understand not what Christ saith. Moreover, they see Paul compassed about with the light, but they see none which speaketh from heaven.
10. What shall I do, Lord? This is the voice of a tamed man, and this is the true turning unto the Lord; when laying away all fierceness and fury, we bow down our necks willingly to bear his yoke, and are ready to do whatsoever he commandeth us. Moreover, this is the beginning of well-doing, to ask the mouth of God; for their labor is lost who think upon repentance without his word. Furthermore, in that Christ appointeth Ananias to be Paul's master, he doth it not for any reproach, or because he refuseth to teach him; but by this means he meaneth to set forth, and also to beautify the outward ministry of the Church.
And even in the person of one man, he teacheth us that we must not grudge to hear him speak with the tongue of men. To the same end tendeth that which followeth immediately, that he was blind, until offering himself to become a scholar, he had declared the humility of his faith. God doth not indeed make blind all those whom he will lighten; but there is a general rule prescribed to all men, that those become foolish with themselves who will be wise to him.