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all its powers. This is genuine Christianity; the workmanship of God.
“ O Saviour, may we never rest
Till thou art form’d within ;
“ O may we gaze upon thy cross,
Until the wond'rous sight
“ Until released from carnal ties
Our spirit upward springs;
ST. PAUL'S FAITHFULNESS IN REPROVING.
OBEDIENCE TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
AMONG the many duties which compose the walk of the believer, few are more difficult to perform, than that of Christian reproof.
We might naturally expect that the great Apostle would be faithful in the performance of this duty. And so he was. Under every circumstance, however difficult or delicate, arising either from opposition or affection, St. Paul was a FAITH
By the light of Truth, he could discern the least deviation from the path of rectitude; and guided by a spirit of love, he was ever ready to impart the faithful admonition.
Much wisdom, combined with kindness, is required in the reprover, and much humility, blended with thankfulness, in the reproved; for, “ As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.”
Those who reprove must guard against every feeling, yea, even appearance of superiority ; lest, by exciting the pride of the reproved, the intended benefit should be lost.
Notwithstanding the delicacy of this Christian duty, faithfulness must guide its operation, when the occasion requires its severer exercise.
This painful task, the forbearing Apostle had to perform in several instances, which are recorded in the Acts and in his own Epistles. When the Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them," these holy men were obedient to the heavenly mandate.
Having performed the work assigned to them, they sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God, for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. The relation of this missionary tour gladdened the assembled church, and called forth many thanksgivings unto God.
Paul and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord. “ And some days after, Paul said unto Barnabas : Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname is Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they
departed asunder one from the other. Barnabas took Mark, and sailed into Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God; and he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.”
The heavenly-minded Paul was well acquainted with his own heart, when he said to the people of Lycaonia : “We also are men of like passions with you.” Though we cannot expect perfection in this sinful world, where the holiest of men are compassed about with infirmities; yet we must bewail that warmth of temper, which occasioned such excellent men to separate from each other. How instructive is Scripture Biography.-It not only develops the inward principles of the heart, but makes us also acquainted with the nature and effect of those actions, which these principles produce.
The Bible is a faithful record. There we see man in his real character, whether groaning under the slavery of Satan, or rejoicing as the servant of Jesus Christ. Truth requires no covering, and therefore seeks none.
The faithfulness with which the lives of believers are recorded, forms no mean evidence of the truth of Scripture, which rests its veracity, not on the excellence of man, but on the immutability of Jehovah.
The failings of the saints are detailed with the same impartiality as their graces ; nay, are even more minutely described, with the evident intention of humbling our pride, and showing us that salvation is of grace and not of works. The sins of believers, be it ever remembered, cannot be charged upon that holy religion which condemns them, but, upon their own corrupt nature which produces them. Holiness is the peculiar characteristic of the Gospel, and proves it to be from God.
The sacred historian bears testimony to Barnabas, that he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost.
He had willingly given up the world for the Gospel's sake: for being possessed of land, he sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles' feet. John Mark was his sister's son, for whom he felt, no doubt, much natural affection. He was a young disciple, and not sufficiently strengthened in faith, to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Hence he shrunk from the trials which awaited the Apostle in every city; and being most probably overcome by fear, left him at Pamphylia and returned to Jerusalem.
Barnabas, in the spirit of that charity which hopeth all things, was desirous to try him on another journey: but Paul, who well knew the evil of faint-heartedness in the work of the Gospel, and the absolute necessity for a man to be willing to run all risks, if ever he would do good as an ambassador of Jesus Christ, remonstrated with Barnabas upon the instability of John Mark's conduct, and the unsuitableness of taking him, for a companion in labour, who went not with them to the work.
Hence arose that sharp contention which ended in their separation. Though we would not desire