The next example to which we would refer is that of Sergius Paulus, governor of the Island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean. Acts xiii. Speaking of a certain sorcerer, the historian says, he “was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas, the sorcerer, withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” On this account we are informed that Paul rebuked him, and thus spake:— “And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some one to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” Here we are told that the deputy or governor, Sergius, embraced the faith, and became a Christian. If this was false, how quickly it could have been proved so. Sergius was a man of note, a Roman Governor, and of necessity generally known. If he had not become a Christian the statement of the historian would immediately have been exposed as a deliberate untruth, and the character of the governor cleared of the charge: for be it remembered, it was a crime then to become a Christian. This, however, never was done, and it is a most happy, and somewhat singular circumstance, that the emperor Julian, the well-known enemy of Christianity in the year 361, mentions the fact of the conversion of Sergius Paulus, and admits its truth, adding that he and one or two others, were the only men of note who were converted in the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius; for he is careful to confine his assertion within a short space. It will be seen from this, that the conversion of Sergius was a fact so well known that it could not be disputed. If then the history is true in this matter, it must be true in a miracle, for this is the cause assigned why the deputy believed. The miracle and conversion are one story, and if the effect is true, the cause must be.
Thomas Baldwin Thayer, Christianity Against Infidelity, 2nd ed. (Cincinnati: John A. Gurley, 1849), pp. 235-36.