The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 29
The Bible gives a fairly complete account of the life of St. Paul; his conversion, his missionary journeys, and his martyrdom in Rome. But there is a period of time, approximately six years, of which the Bible remains silent. This would be the period after his trial and acquittal in Rome and before his return to Rome to cast his fate with his many converts. These were his Christian brethren who were being put to death by the thousands during the reign of Emperor Nero.
It would be reasonable to assume that during this period, Paul visited Spain as he had planned (Rom. 15:28) and perhaps re-visited some of the churches in Asia Minor. But, Paul had expressed a desire to preach the Gospel to those to whom the name of Christ was not known. There can be no question that Paul had heard of the "Tin Islands" because the Romans had already conquered the greater part of Britain. The Apostle could have met many in Rome and elsewhere who had been there, either as traders or with the Roman army. Having journeyed so near to Britain as Spain and Gaul, it is altogether reasonable to suppose that Paul would have made the short voyage across the English Channel.
The Sonnini Manuscript, better known as the "Long Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles" contains the account of Paul's journey in Spain and Britain. The document, purporting to be the concluding portion of the "Acts of the Apostles", covers a portion of the period after Paul's two years enforced residence in Rome, in his own hired house. It is written in the style of the Acts and reads like a continuation.
It was found interleaved in a copy of "Sonnini's Travels in Turkey and Greece", and was purchased at the sale of the library and effects of the late Right Honourable Sir John Newport, Bart., in Ireland. Sir John's family arms were engraved on the cover of the book. It had been in his possession for over thirty years. With the book was a document from the Sultan of Turkey, granting to C.S. Sonnini permission to travel in all parts of the Ottoman dominions. C. S. Sonnini translated the document from the original Greek manuscript found in the Archives at Constantinople, and presented to him by the Sultan Abdoul Achmet.
Points in favor of the authenticity of the manuscript are:
1. Its being preserved in the Archives of Constantinople.
It has all the appearances of being of an ancient date.
3. It is written in Greek, and in the manner of the Acts.
4. The places and peoples mentioned are called by their ancient Roman names.
5. Its Scriptural brevity and conception of the Divine purpose and plan.
6. Its Gospel-like character is dignified and spiritual.
7. Its prophetic expressions are in a Biblical style.
8. Its ending in the word "amen." (The Biblical Acts of the Apostles and the Book of James are the only two New Testament Books not ending in "amen." This has lead some Bible scholars to believe they are incomplete in their present form).
The following is the contents of the title page of Sonnini's work, in which the English translation of the document was found: "Travels in Turkey and Greece undertaken by order of Louis XVI, and with the authority of the Ottoman Court, by Sonnini, member of several scientific or literary societies of the Society of Agriculture of Paris, and of the Observers of Men." Mores multorum videt it ubes. - Hor., London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees, Paternoster Row, 1801.
The following is the English translation of the Manuscript, the authenticity of which cannot be vouched for.
1- And Paul, full of the blessings of Christ, and abounding in the spirit, departed out of Rome, determining to go into Spain, for he had a long time proposed to journey thither ward, and was minded also to go from thence to Britain.
2- For he had heard in Phoenicia that certain of the children of Israel, about the time of the Assyrian captivity, had escaped by sea to "The Isles afar off" as spoken be the Prophet Esdras, and called by the Romans - Britain.
3- And the Lord commanded the gospel to be preached far hence to the Gentiles, and to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
4- And no man hindered Paul; for he testified boldly of Jesus before the tribunes and among the people; and he took with him cetain of the brethren which abode with him at Rome, and they took shipping at Ostrium and having the winds fair, were brought safely into a haven of Spain.
5- And much people were gathered together from the towns and villages, and the hill country; for they had heard of the conversion to the Apostles, and the many miracles which he had wrought.
6- And Paul preached mightily in Spain, and great multitudes believed and were converted, for they perceived he was an apostle sent from God.
7- And they departed out of Spain, and Paul and his company finding a ship in Armorica sailing unto Britain, they were therein, and passing along the south Coast, they reached a port called Raphinus.
8- Now when it was voiced abroad that the Apostle had landed on their coast, great multitudes of the inhabitants met him, and they treated Paul courteously and he entered in at the east gate of their city, and lodged in the house of an Hebrew and one of his own nation.
9- And on the morrow he came and stood upon Mount Lud and the people thronged at the gate, and assembled in the Broadway, and he preached Christ unto them, and they believed the Word and the testimony of Jesus.
10- And at even the Holy Ghost fell upon Paul, and he prophesied, saying, Behold in the last days the God of Peace shall dwell in the cities, and the inhabitants thereof shall be numbered: and in the seventh numbering of the people, their eyes shall be opened, and the glory of their inheritance shine forth before them. The nations shall come up to worship on the mount the testifieth of the patience and long suffering of a servant of the Lord.
11- And in the latter days new tidings of the Gospel shall issue forth out of Jerusalem, and the hearts of the people shall rejoice, and behold, fountains shall be opened, and there shall be no more plague.
12- In those days there shall be wars and rumors of war; and a king shall rise up, and his sword, shall be for the healing of the nations, and his peacemaking shall abide, and the glory of his kingdom a wonder among princes.
13- And it came to pass that certain of the Druids came unto Paul privately, and showed by their rites and ceremonies they were descended from the Jews which escaped from bondage in the land of Egypt, and the apostle believed these things, and he gave them the kiss of peace.
14- And Paul abode in his lodgings three months confirming in the faith and preaching Christ continually.
15- And after these things Paul and his brethren departed from Raphinus and sailed unto Atium in Gaul.
16- And Paul preached in the Roman garrison and among the people, exhorting all men to repent and confess their sins.
17- And there came to him certain of the Belgae to inquire of him of the new doctrine, and of the man Jesus; And Paul opened his heart unto them and told them all things that had befallen him, howbeit, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; and they departed pondering among themselves upon the things which they had heard.
18- And after much preaching and toil, Paul and his fellow laborers passed into Helvetia, and came to Mount Pontius Pilate, where he who condemned the Lord Jesus dashed himself down headlong, and so miserably perished.
19- Immediately a torrent gushed out of the mountain and washed his body, broken in pieces, into a lake.
20- And Paul stretched forth his hands upon the water, and prayed unto the Lord, saying O Lord God, give a sign unto all nations that here Pontius Pilate which condemned thine only-begotten son, plunged down headlong into the pit.
21- And while Paul was yet speaking, behold, there came a great earthquake, and the face of the waters was changed, and the form of the lake like unto the Son of Man hanging in an agony upon the Cross.
22- And a voice came out of heaven saying, Even Pilate hath escaped the wrath to come for he washed his hands before the multitude at the blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus
23- When, therefore, Paul and those that were with him saw the earthquake, and heard the voice of the angel, they glorified God, they were mightily strengthened in the spirit.
24- And they journeyed and came to Mount Julius where stood two pillars, one on the right hand and one on the left hand, erected by Caesar Augustus.
25- And Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, stood up between the two pillars, saying, Men and brethren these stones which ye see this day shall testify of my journey hence; and verily I say, they shall remain until the outpouring of the spirit upon all nations, neither shall the way be hindered throughout all generations.
26- And they went forth and came unto Illtricum, intending to go by Macedonia into Asia, and grace was found in all the churches, and they prospered and had peace. Amen.