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have too strong a sense of what had been amiss; or might remember it too long: for he was but man. Barnabas, again, might not be free from natural partiality, and Mark was his nephew: for he too was but man. Neither of them followed the example set by Abram, (Gen. xiii. 7,) who said to Lot, the eldest yielding to the youngest; '' Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee! If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right: or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."
But though this contention had for a while the effect of separating them, it was no lasting quarrel. Paul loses no opportunity of making honourable mention of Barnabas in his epistles :4 and concerning Mark, many years afterwards, he writes to Timothy: "Take Mark and bring him with thee; for he is profitable to us for the ministry."5 These were among the last words he ever wrote: and they give us the means of knowing, that " the sun did not go down upon his wrath."
For the future we shall not read of Paul and Barnabas, but of Paul and Silas. These too now went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches: strengthening them in the faith: fixing them in the way they should go, with that authority which belonged to men chosen of the Lord for his service, and who had "hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Numbers of persons, as we have seen, in various towns and
4 1 Cor. ix. 6. Gal. ii. 1—9. Col. iv. 10.
5 2 Tim. iv. 11.
countries, had turned from their false religion, from their "gods which are no gods," and had become followers of the gospel of Christ. But how much was there to turn them aside! How many temptations from within and from without! How great reason to fear, of some who now believed, that they might not "continue in the word," or "endure unto the end!" The apostle, therefore, went amongst them, confirming them : determining them to seek first the kingdom of God; strengthening their souls by his advice, his exhortations, his prayers.
It is with a like intention that the bishop in our church calls before him those who in their infancy have been dedicated to God: receives from them an assurance of their faith: lays his hands upon them, in token of the divine favour; and prays that the Spirit of Christ may dwell in them; that they may be enabled to hold fast the things which they have received. Like the disciples now confirmed by the apostles, they have to contend against an evil nature and an evil world. Like them, they need to be solemnly "commended to God, and to the word of his grace," that they may attain the heavenly "inheritance among them that are sanctified." And the prayer that is offered for them, might no less justly have been offered for the Christians of Syria and Cilicia':—" Defend, O Lord, these thy servants with thy heavenly grace, that they may continue thine for ever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, till they come to thine everlasting kingdom."
PAUL TAKES TIMOTHEUS AS HIS COMPANION, AND IS DIRECTED TO VISIT MACEDONIA.A. D. 53.
Acts xvi. 1—10.
1. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
2. Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
3. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him, because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
4. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
5. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
We meet here for the first time with Timotheus. His own mother, Eunice, a Jewess, and her mother Lois, were both distinguished for their faith :1 and in consequence Timothy had " known the scriptures from his youth." Through the
1 See 2 Tim. iv. 5.
teaching of Paul, when formerly in this country, he had become a disciple of Christ, and well reported of by the brethren. Paul perceived that he was suited to be a preacher of the truth which he held, and would have him to go forth with him. But there was a difficulty in the way. His father was a Greek; and Timothy was one "of the uncircumcision." The Jews would be prejudiced against him; and there were many Jews in those quarters: therefore he took and circumcised him. There were obstacles enough, which could not be removed, against the progress of the gospel. He would create no new ones.
Here then we have the practical distinction between things necessary and things expedient. The Jewish party would maintain that the rites of the Jewish law were necessary to salvation. To these Paul "would give place, no, not for an hour." 2 And he was now delivering to the churches the decree which contradicted such an error. But Paul would "give none offence." There should be no prejudice against Timothy which might prevent any from listening favourably; no pretext for rejecting his doctrine. There is a time to yield, and a time to contend. And this was in St. Paul's judgment the time to yield.
For undoubtedly, both on the part of Paul and of Timotheus, this was a concession: an example of that charity which spares and scruples nothing, when the cause of God may be served and the
2 Gal. ii. 3. Titus, neither of whose parents were Jews, he would not allow to be circumcised.
welfare of man promoted. It proceeded from the same spirit which prevailed with Paul to say, "I will eat no meat while the world standeth, if meat cause my brother to offend." "I have made myself a servant to all, that I might gain the more. Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews. I became all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake."3 He has his reward.
6. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
7. After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
8. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
9. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
10. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them*
Thus the brethren in Macedonia, as well as the brethren of Thessalonica, might know "their election of God." "God had from the beginning chosen them to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto he
3 1 Cor. ix. 19—22.
* At this point of the history, Luke is supposed to have first joined Paul's party. For he here changes the form of his narrative, and says, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia.