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SECT. 111.]

Antioch in Pisidia.

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them for his iniquities.* And the conduct of Paul at Antioch was strictly conformable to this. He first addressed himself to the Jews, briefly glancing at their history from the period of the exodus of their fathers from Egypt till the times of David, that eminent type of the Messiah ; and from the mention of whom he is naturally led to speak of David's Son—the Saviour promised unto Israel. This, he proceeds to prove, was none other than Jesus of Nazareth, of whose character John the Baptist had spoken in the most exalted terms-whom the Jewish rulers had put to death, but whom God had raised again the third day, and of whose resurrection the apostles were witnesses. The important inference which the apostle deduced from these facts and doctrines is, that “ through this man, Christ Jesus, is preached the forgiveness of sins, and that by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses;" and he enforced the whole by the most awful denunciations against those who should despise his doctrine and reject his testimony.

Many of the Jews had no ear to give to this doctrine; but to the Gentiles it was indeed glad tidings of great joy; and even some of the Jews and religious proselytes took part with the apostles, who exhorted them to continue in the grace of God.

The Gentiles having thus tasted that the Lord is gracious, expressed their earnest desire that the apostles would again preach to them on the following Sabbath; to which Paul and Barnabas consenting, almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. To those who know any thing of the value of the gospel to human happiness, one can scarcely imagine a more interesting spectacle, than the bare idea of such a multitude flocking around these inspired teachers to receive from their lips

* Acts iii. 26.

the words of eternal life. Vastly different, however, was its effect upon the unbelieving Jews;_" they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which the apostles taught, contradicting and blaspheming.” Paul and Barnabas, however, animated with that fortitude which became them as the ambassadors of the Most High, thus solemnly warned them; “ It was necessary that the word of God should be first spoken unto you, but seeing ye put it from you, and thereby declare yourselves. unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles; for so hath the Lord commanded us, saying (by the prophet Isaiah), I have set thee for a light to the Gentiles, that

thou shouldest be for salvation to the ends of the earth." - This intelligence, that such things had been prophesied

concerning them many ages ago, and that the Lord had commanded his apostles to receive them as subjects of his kingdom, without subjecting them to the law of Moses, was most acceptable to the poor Gentiles, who rejoiced in it as those that find great spoil ; and they glorified the word of the Lord. Thus “

as many

of them as were ordained to eternal life believed ;" the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region, and the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”* A persecution was, however, raised against the apostles by the unbelieving Jews, who stirred up the devout and honourable women and the chief men of the city, who speedily succeeded in causing them to be expelled out of their coasts. They therefore shook off the dust of their feet as a testimony against them, and came to

ICONIUM, which was then the chief city of Lycaonia, and even to this day subsists as a considerable town under the name of Cogni, situated at the foot of Mount Taurus. Here also they found a synagogue of the Jews, in which they preached the gospel with such success that a great

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SECT. 111.] The apostles return to Antioch.

53 multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed their testimony. From the number of those who in Iconium are said to have believed, we may infer that it was a great and populous city, as well as perceive the reason of the apostles' conduct in prolonging their stay in it to establish the disciples in the faith, and to comfort them under the persecution which the unbelieving Jews raised against them. But when matters arrived at such a crisis, that the city became divided, one part holding with the Jews and the other with the apostles, the latter, having received intimation that an assault was about to be made upon them to use them cruelly and stone them, they prudently withdrew and fled to

LystrA and Derbe, two other cities of Lycaonia, in which they preached the gospel. At the former of these places, the apostles met with one who had all his days been a cripple, having never walked ; and Paul by a word restored him to the perfect use of his limbs, so that he leaped for joy. This extraordinary cure, performed so instantaneously, excited a kind of extacy and surprise in the minds of the spectators, who shouted aloud in the language of the Cappadocians, that the gods were come -down in the similitude of mortal men. And they named Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercury, because he was the chief speaker. The next thing was to make preparation for sacrificing oxen to them, and crowning them with garlands, as was customary with their heathen deities. But the apostles were very differently minded from Herod (who received the blasphemous adulations of the people upon a far less occasion): they no sooner heard of it than they ran into the midst of them, and after the eastern manner of expressing grief or indignation, they rent their cloathes and exclaimed, “ Sirs, why do ye these things~ we are men of like passions with yourselves, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities to the

living God, who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein, &c.” Nor was it without difficulty that, even with these arguments, they prevailed upon

them to desist from their absurd purpose. Among the fruit of their ministry here, however, at this time, the apostles had the satisfaction of enumerating Timothy, afterwards an evangelist; as well as his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois, whose native city seems to have been Lystra.* But the adversaries of the apostles who had formerly driven them from Iconium, at length pursued them to Lystra, where they seized Paul, drew him out of the city, and stoned him, leaving him, as they thought, dead. While his friends stood around him, however, he rose up and walked into the city, and the following day Barnabas and he took their leave and departed for Derbe, where they preached the gospel with much success, and from thencereturned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, establishing the minds of the disciples in the truths they had received, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and warning them that they must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Upon this second visit, they also ordained elders or bishops in every church, which was done by fasting and prayer, commending them to the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ on whom they believed. After this they passed throughout all the region of Pisidia and came to Pamphilia, where they again preached the word in the city of Perga, and passing through Attalia, sailed for Antioch in Syria, the city from whence they had originally taken their departure.

Thus having accomplished their first journey, they reported to the church all that God had wrought by their hands, and especially how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. This done they took up their abode

• Compare 1 Tim. i. 2. and 2 Tim. i. 5. with Acts xiv. 21. and chap. xvi, 1,2

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SECT. IV.] The decree respecting circumcision. again for a considerable while with the disciples at Antioch.*

SECTION IV.

THE SUBJECT CONTINUED

From the return of Paul and Barnabas after their first journey, to the period of Paul's arrival at Jerusalem with the contributions for the saints; being his second and third journies.

WHILE Paul and Barnabas were prolonging their stay with the church at Antioch, previous to their setting out on a second journey, a circumstance occurred in that church, which, on account of its great importance to all the Gentile converts, appears to have engaged their most serious and fixed attention. It seems that at this particular juncture,

“ certain men came down from Judea, and taught the Gentile brethren at Antioch, that, unless they were circumcised after the manner of Moses, and kept the law, they could not be saved.”+ Some suppose these teachers to have been Cerinthus and Ebion, the founders of two noted sects, of which the mention frequently occurs in ecclesiastical history; but the opinion rests solely upon tradition-a very doubtful guide in all cases, and more especially so in the concerns of religion. It is probable that, whatever were their names, they had formerly been of the sect of the Pharisees; and that when they became professors of the Christian faith, they still retained something of that old

* Acts xiv. 19-28.

Acts xv. 1, 24,

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