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In his epistles, he frequently alludes to this as his habit. He had done the same at Thessalonica. As he writes, (2 Thess. iii. 8, 9,) " Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you. Not because we have not the power, but to make ourselves an ensample to you to follow us." I might have demanded support from you: for it is the will of God that " they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel :"e but I preferred leaving you an example, both of disinterestedness and of industry.
We might ask, perhaps, Could riot he, by whose "hands special miracles were wrought," have furnished himself with all things needful 1 Such was not the will of God, that the power which he imparted to his servants should be exercised for their private use or interest: or that a miracle should effect a purpose which could be accomplished by other means. There were other and natural means by which these wants of the apostle might be supplied. He might supply them by his industry: his converts might supply them by their liberality: and the faith of both parties would be displayed. It proved so. For Silas and Timotheus soon brought with them a remittance from Macedonia.3 And we see the wisdom of Paul's conduct by what he writes to these very Corinthians a few years after, when a jealousy had been excited against him : (1 Cor. xi. 9 :) "When I was present with you, and waited, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me, the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied; and in all things I have kept myself from being burthensome unto you, and so will keep myself."
» 1 Cor. ix. 14.
3 See 2 Cor. xi. 9. Phil. v. 15.
5. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia,* Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews, that Jesus was Christ.
6. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads ; I am clean : from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
Once more,5 Paul is forced to leave his countrymen in all their sin and guilt, for they rejected its only remedy, and to turn unto the Gentiles, for they would hear him. First, however, he delivers his own soul. He shakes his raiment,6 in token of the way in which God would shake them off who refused his call; and testifies that he is "pure from their blood."7 Your blood be upon your own heads. Let not your unbelief be laid to my charge. / am clean. "I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God." He is alluding to the words of Ezekiel, (xxxiii. 3—5,) where the spiritual teacher is compared to the watchman of a city, or sentinel of an army, who is set to blow the trumpet, and alarm the people, when he sees "the sword," the danger, "come upon the land." "Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet,
4 See xvii. 13. 2 Cor. i. 19. * As Acts xiv. 45.
6 See NehSmiah v. l;t. 7 Acts xx. 26, 27.
and taketh not warning, if the sword come and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning: his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh the warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned: if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand."
Does the language of the apostle here seem tinctured with severity? It is the severity of grief, and not of anger. For we know what was in his heart: what he writes to the Roman church; (Rom. ix. 1, 2; x. 1 ;) "I say the truth in Christ: I lie not: my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer for my countrymen is, that they may be saved."
In fact, his parting address implies the most affecting earnestness. The words are those of one who sees a company in which he feels a deep interest, bent upon some enterprise which he knows must end in their destruction. He remonstrates, reasons, exhorts, but in vain: and at last leaves them, saying, You are resolved on death. It is your own seeking. I take all to record this day, I have delivered my own conscience. I have warned you of the end.
7. And he departed thence? and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
8. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized.
There was some ground "which drank in the rain which fell upon it," and "received blessing from God."9 Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, separated himself from his unrepenting brethren, and enjoyed an honour which belonged to few. We learn (1 Cor. xiv.) that he was baptized by the apostle's own hand. And thus was the foundation laid of that Corinthian church, which rose afterwards like one of their own ancient temples, with many a noble ornament and many a polished shaft, to the praise of that gospel which Paul proclaimed, to the glory of that name which the Jews blasphemed. Many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized.
8 Preached no longer in the synagogue.
PAUL IS ENCOURAGED BY A VISION TO REMAIN AT CORINTH. GALLIO REFUSES TO ACT AGAINST HIM.—A.d. 55.
Acts xviii. 9—17.
9. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
10. For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
11. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
There are seasons when the servants of God need especial comfort and encouragement. And there are seasons when he sees fit to communicate such consolation. It was given to Paul at Corinth. He was assured of protection. "Be not afraid; but speak, and hold not thy peace : for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee. He was assured, too, of what still more concerned him, that his "labour should not be in vain in the Lord." / have much people in this city. And here we observe the all-seeing eye, which is ever watchful over the interests of the soul. The Lord knows his own, knows them while they are yet "a great way off," and provides that they shall be brought nigh. Many had already believed and