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was brought to the knowledge of the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. This is the usual way in which God brings forth the testimony to his own truth ;-some eminent instances of conversion stand in contrast with many painful tokens of rejection, illustrating the words afterwards addressed to this very people. (2 Cor. ii. 16.)
QUESTION. Am I influenced in my judgment on religious truth by the evident opposition of the many, or by the eminent conversion of the few? What effect upon my mind in this respect is produced by some striking instances of consistent religious character in persons whom I should judge unlikely to be so affected ?
O God, who seest all things, and from whom no secrets are hid, teach me to examine the deep things of my heart, that I may never retain any root of bitterness : do thou cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that loving thee above all things, I may overcome every dislike or opposition to thy truth, or to thy people, which might linger within me.
Make me ever sensible of the infirmity which cleaves to my most settled and established opinions and views; and keep me in such gentleness of spirit as may hinder my ever tolerating persecution as a means of promoting thy cause. Give me wisdom, I beseech thee, to discern the power of that testimony which is afforded by the evident conversion of those who are the least likely to give up the world for the trials of the gospel ; and preserve me from being carried away by the force of public opinion against thy everlasting truth. Grant me thus to glorify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. AMEN.
THIRTY-SIXTH PORTION. Paul's departure from Corinth; the conference at Jeru
salem ; and his return to Antioch. PLACE.—Corinth, Ephesus, Cesarea, Jerusalem, Antioch.
May God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I may understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE. Acts, chap. XVIII. verses 18 to 22. GAL. II. 1-14.
And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his 18° leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea : for he had a vow. And he cainé to Ephesus, and left them there : but he himself entered 19 into the synagogue, and reasoneil with the Jews. When they desired 20 him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; but bade them 21 farewell, saying, “I must by all meats keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem ; but I will return again unto you, if God will.” And he sajlęd from Ephesus. And when he had landed at Cæsarea, and gone 22 up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.
Gal. chap. II, verses 1 to 14. Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and commu- 2 nicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately (or, severally) to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titns, who was 3 with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised : and that 4 because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage : to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an 5 hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But of 6 those who seemed to be somewhat, whatsvever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no inan's person : for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: but contrariwise, when 7 they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter ; (for he that wrought 8 effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles :) and when James, Cephas, and Jolin, 9 who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Baruabas the right hands of fellowship; that we
10 should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they
would that we should remember the poor ; the same which I also was
forward to do. 11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, 12 because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James,
he did eat with the Gentiles : but when they were come, he withdrew and 13 separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And
the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas 14 also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that
they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, “ If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews ?”
After the attempt of the Jews, Paul remained many days in Corinth; and at length he determined to go into Syria. This determination appears to have been made by direct inspiration, as we learn from the apostle's statement in his epistle to the Galatians (ii. 2); though it does not appear whether the divine revelation, that he was to go up to Jerusalem, was made to him before he left Corinth, or subsequently in his voyage. He took leave of the christians at Corinth, and set sail from that port, taking with him Aquila and his wife Priscilla, with whom he had been lodging. (See page 237. Acts xviii. 2, 3.) Aquila was at this time under a vow, by which he had dedicated himself as a Nazarite, so as to separate himself from wine and strong drink, according to the Mosaic law. (Num. vi.) During the period of separation, it was required that “no razor should come upon the head” of the Nazarite ; and at the end, he was to shave his head. It would appear therefore that the time of Aquila's separation under his vow expired whilst he was in Cenchrea, the seaport of Corinth; for it was there that he “ shaved his head.” It has been commonly supposed that it was Paul himself who had the vow; and there is some difficulty in deciding whether the original Greek refers to him or to Aquila. It appears however most likely that Aquila is the person intended; but as both the one and the other were christians, it is of little importance to decide which of the two actually made the vow. That fact that christians of their own accord personally observed some Mosaic rites, without requiring others to do the same, is equally established, whether Aquila was under the vow with the knowledge and sanction of Paul, or whether Paul made it himself.
Upon arriving at Ephesus, Paul separated from his companions, who remained there. The apostle did not leave Ephesus without going, according to his custom, to the synagogue of the Jews, and entering into discussions with them, in which he preached the gospel. He appears to have met a better reception from these Jews, than we have seen to have been the case in other parts, for they were anxious that he should continue with them ; which however he was not willing to do, being earnestly desirous to be present at Jerusalem at the passover, then coming ; but he promised that if, in the providence of God, he was enabled, he would afterwards return to Ephesus; and bidding them farewell, he set sail for the remainder of his voyage. For the reason of this earnestness, we must again refer to his epistle to the Galatians. He landed at Cæsarea, and from thence went immediately to Jerusalem.
We find that in doing this, he was joined by Barnabas, from whom he had parted just three years before, when they had set forth in separate directions upon their mission to the Gentiles. (See page 201.) Titus also went with Paul to Jerusalem ; but at what place he joined him we are not informed, this being the first mention made of him. From the manner in which Paul gives the account of this important visit to Jerusalem in his letter to the Galatians we may gather, that the object for which he and Barnabas went there was to settle with the other apostles the distinct authority of their own mission to the Gentiles ; and as Paul went upon that occasion by divine revelation, so we may conclude that Barnabas met him by the same heavenly direction, they being the chosen apostles, who had been specially separated by the Holy Ghost for the work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. (Acts xiii. 1, 2. See page 166.) Some persons (whom Paul calls “false brethren, unawares brought in," and whose object was to turn the liberty of christians into bondage) had influenced the church at Jerusalem to feel in some respects differently from the decision which had been solemnly given in the council in answer to the appeal from the christians at Antioch (Acts xv.; see page 193); and the two apostles to the Gentiles now went to Jerusalem to remedy the evil that was likely to ensue.
Paul first spoke privately and separately to the principal persons in the church at Jerusalem : he was most anxious to establish the divine warrant for the step he had taken, in carrying the gospel to the Gentiles; with confidence and boldness he stood against every one whose opinion seemed to be of a contrary nature. He was not daunted by any superiority of station or of gifts; for no one was able to add to the knowledge which, through the grace of God, Paul had attained to. Titus, who was with him, was a Greek, without any such mixture of Jewish blood as had influenced Paul's conduct with respect to Timothy; and he withstood every attempt to compel Titus to be circumcised. The result of this conference was, that the church at Jerusalem was set right upon the point; James, Peter, and John, who were at the head of it, fully consented to the arrangement by which the charge of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles was committed to Paul and Barnabas, in the same manner as the preaching of the gospel to the Jews had been committed especially to Peter. One only condition was required, in which Paul and Barnabas entirely concurred. The apostles at Jerusalem thought it right that those who went to the heathen should remember to excite the liberality of the Gentile christians, on behalf of the poor christians of the original church of the circumcision; that, as they sowed unto them spiritual things, the poor might reap of their carnal things. *(1 Cor. ix. 11.)
Paul then went to Antioch; the church in which he may be said more properly to have had his home, and from whence he had been sent forth on his missionary journeys. Barnabas and Titus also most probably accompanied him. After a while, Peter also came to Antioch, and conducted himself as one who entered heartily into the arrangement by which the exclusive privileges of the Jews were entirely done away, and the intercourse between all christians, whether Jew or Gentile, was free and without distinction : he partook of ordinary meals with the Gentiles, which