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its nature and tendency. For surely every intelligent person that does so must, like Sergius Paulus, be siruck tuith the docirine of the Lord, as well as with 'he miracles which were wrought to confirm it.

Justly might Paul pronounce that man, who endeavoured to obstruct the progress of divine truth in the world, a child of Satan, and an enemy of all righteousnces. Justly might God, who knew all his secret wickedness and perverseness of soul, smite him with a blindness, which, while it rendered him incapable of seeing the light of the meridian sun, seemed but a doleful emblem of that more fa'al darkness which, through the corruption of his heart, had spread itself over his mind, and prevented the light of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, from shining upon it. Have we not reason to fear, that God may in his righteous judgment punish that iniquity of Spirit, with which many now rise up against the right ways of the Lord (not ceasing to pervert and disguise them, that they may more plausibly and effectually oppose them) with an internal blindness, in which they may qvander on to their destruction ? And if others stupidly permit themselves to be guided by them, what can be expected but that the blind leading the blind, both leaders and followers should fall into the pit ?

SECTION XXIX.

Paul and Barnabas come to Antioch in Pisidia ; Paul fireaches in the Jeque

ish synagogue. Ch. xiii. 13—42.

13

A

ND loosing from Paphos, they who were with Paul, came to

Perga in Pamphilia ; but John, surnamed Mark, withdrew himself from them ihrough fear, and returned to Jerusalem. 14 Nevertheless, they going on from Perga, came to Antioch in Pisi

dia, and entering into the Jewish synagogue on the sabbath-day, 15 they sat down. And after the customary reading of the law and

the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, sa ing,

Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation to the peo16 ple, speak it. Then Paul stood up, and waving his hand, said, Ye 17 men of Israel, and ye that fear God, hearken! The God of this

people of Israel chose our fathers, and raised the people from their

prostrate state, while sojourning in the land of Egypt, and led 18 them out of it with an uplifted arm. And for the space of about 19 forty years he endared their behaviour in the wilderness. And

having cast out seven nations in the land of Canaan, he distributed 20 their country to them for an inheritance. And after these transactions, which lasted about four hundred and fifty years, he

gave

them 21 judges, till Samuel the prophet. And from that time they desired

a king: and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the 22 tribe of Benjamin, for the term of forty years. And having re

moved him, he raised up to them David for a king; to whom also he gave testimony and said, “ I have found David the son of Jesse, a man according to mine own heart, who shall do all

my

will." 23 Of this man's seed, according to the promise, God hath raised up

24 unto Israel Jesus the Saviour ; John the Baptist having (to intro

duce his appearance) before preached the baptism of repentance 35 unto all the people of Israel. And when John was fulfilling his

course, he said, Whóm do you imagine me to be? I am not he ;

but behold there cometh one after me, the shoes of whose feet I 26 am not worthy to unloose. Men and brethren, children of the

family of Abraha:n, and those among you that fear God, unto you 27 is the word of this salvation sent: For the inhabitants of Jerusa

lem, and their rulers, not knowing him, nor the sayings of the prophets [relating to him,] which are read umong them every sab

bath-day, have themselves unde-ignedl!, fulfilled them in condemn28 ing him. And though they could find no cause of death in him, 29 yet they requested Pilate, that he might be executed. And when

they had accomplished all things that were written concerning him, 80 taking him down from the cross, they laid him in a tomb. But 31 God raised him up from the dead : and he appeared for several

days to those that before his death came up with him from Galilee 32 to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people. And we bring

you these good tidings, that the very promise which was made to 33 the fathers, God hath accomplished to us their children, in rais

ing up Jesus ; as it is also written in the second Psalm, " Thou 34 art my son, this day have I begotten thee." And because he hath

raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he hath

said thus by the prophet ( Is.lv. 3.) “I will give you the sure 35 mercies of David." Wherefore also in another place (Ps. xvi.

10.) he saith, “ Thou wilt not permit thine holy one to see cor36 ruption." -Now David having served his own generation according

the will of God, fell asleep, and was gathered to his fathers, and 37 saw corruption. But he of whom this was spoken, whom God rai38 sed up, did not see corruption. Be it known therefore unto you,

men and brethren, that by him the remission of sins is preached 39 unto you : and by him every one that believeth is justified from

all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Mo40 ses. See to it therefore, that what is spoken in the prophets may 41 not come upon you: “ Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and dis

appear (or suddenly pérish); for I perform a work in your days,

a work which ye shall not believe, if any one tell it you.” 42 xxviii. 14. Hab. i. 5.) Buť while the Jews were going out of the

synagogue, [disgusted with Paul's discourse) the Gentiles desired that these words might be spoken to them the following sabbath.

(Is.

REFLECTIONS. That the scriptures have been publicly read in Jewish and Christian assemblies, from the primitive times, is a noble evidence of their genuine authority, which it will be our undoubted wisdom to transmit to those who are to arise after us. From them, succeeding generations will be fully informed of that edifying story which the aposile here briefly recounts ; of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and their settlement in the land of Cunaan, according to the promise of God to their fathers ; and will also learn the ungrateful returns which they VOL. I.

Eee

made to the divine goodness, when they rejected the Lord from being king over them.

The character of David, as a man after God's own heart, who would. fulfil all his pleasure, is surely worthy of being emulated by every Christian : In this respect, may he who is feble among the Lord's peo. ple, be like David! Like him may we all be solicitous to serve our genes ration accoding to the will of God; to do all the good we can in the age

and station in which Providence has fixed us, though it be in a crooked and perverse generation ; gradually striving to mend it as fast as we can, and waiting our summons to fall asleep, as we quickly must, and be gaihered to our fathers? Were we the greatest princes upon earth, we, like David, must see corruption in the grave : But let us rejoice to think, that Jesus, whom God raised up according to his promise, saw no corruption ; and if we are his people, he will ransom and redeem us from it. He, though so outrageously and infamously treated by the Jews, was nevertheless in the most convincing manner declared to be the Son of God, his only begotten Son : Such a resurrection proclaimed him to be so ; and in consequence of it, the sure mercies of David are now given us by him ; and the plenary remission of all the most aggravated transgressions is through him proclaimed: For ever adored be his glorious name! Most thankfully accepted be his overflowing grace! which frees us from the guili of those offences which the law of. Moses condemned without mercy, and takes out the dye of searlet and crimson sins ! Let us take heed lest, if we despise so greai a salvation, we meet with an astonishing vengeance ; the justice of which will be attested and applauded by the messengers of God to the Jewish and the Christian church : All the prophets, and John the Baptist superior to them all, who bore" witness to Christ, and all the apostles and succeeding ministers in every age, have concurred to admonish us of our danger; and they will another day rise up tugeiher in judgment against us, if all these admonitions are given in vain.

SECTION XXX.

The Gentiles at Antioch accefit the gospel; the Jewę reject it, and raise &

persecution against the apostles. Ch. xiii. 43, &c.

43 А

ND when the synagogue was broke up, many of the believe

ing Jews, and of the devout proselytes, followed Paul and Barnabas, professing their faith in the doctrine they taught ; who

speaking to them [further in private) persuaded them to continue 44 in the grace of God. And on the following sabbath, almost the 45 whole city was gathered together to hear the word of God. But

the Jews, who continued prejudiced against the gospel, seeing the multitudes, were filled with zeal, and opposed the things which

were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming, reviling these 46 divine teachers. Then Paul and Barnabas, with great freedom of

speech, said, It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you ; but since

and adjudge yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, behold we turn to the Gen47 tiles. For so the Lord hath charged us saying, “ I have set thee

you thrust it away from

you,

for a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation to 48 the ends of the earth.” And the Gentiles hearing these things,

rejoiced, and glorified the word of the Lord : and as many as 49 were determined * for eternal life believed. And the word of the

Lord was borne on as with a mighty torrent throughout all that 50 region. But the Jews, provoked at this success, stirred up some

devout women of considerable rank, and the magistrates of the

city, and raised a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove 51 them out of their territories. But they shook off the dust of their 52 feet against them, and came to Iconium. But the disciples who

were left at Antioch were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

REFLECTIONS. It is a great comfort to the ministers of the Gospel, that amidst that incredulity which too generally prevails, any are found who will credit it; any to whom the arm of the Lord is revealed, in conquering their prejudices against it: with a chosen remnant of these God will support his faithful servants, O that the instances of that consolation may be more numerous, and remarkable in our days !-It is matter of some encouragement when numbers crowd to attend upon the preaching of the Gospel; for faith cometh by hearing. They who reject the counsel of God against themselves, will no doubt be provoked at such a circumstance ; and the malignity and envy of their hearts will stir up opposition and contention : But God knows how to bring good out of evil ; nor should has ministers he discouraged by the contradiction of sinners, but rather turn themselves to those who may be more willing to hear. In the mean time, let those that thrust from them the word of God, know that, in the language of scripture, they judge themselves unworthy of eternal life ; and since they will not condescend to accept of it on these terms, the great author thereof will not condescend to give it on any other. And the day is coming when we shall see, and the whole world shall see, how much reason they have to glory in that height of spirit which they now shew.

Let it be the daily joy of our souls, that the Lord Jesus Christ was given for a light of the Gentiles, and for God's salvation to the ends of the earth. Through the tender mercies of our God, the day-spring from on high hath visited us. Let us pray that it may arise and shine upon the remotest nations. And indeed if we are entirely unconcerned about its propagation in the world, we have great reason to fear, that we have ourselves no part in the saving benefits which it confers. May the silver trumpet every where sound, to awaken the nations to list themselves in this holy war under Christ, against all the enemies of salvation; and may many appear determined for eternal life, and like these converts of Antioch courageously set them. selves in battle array against every thing which would oppose their progress towards it! Vain then will all the rage of persecution be, by whomsoever it is excited or maintained; though by percons of the highest rank or the most honoured characters. If the messen' ers of Christ be cast out of one place, they will appear wiih renewed zeal in another : And they who are proselyted to Christivity, though in a great fight of affliction, will have the Spirit of Ged and of glory resting upon them; and will be enabled to rejoice, not only in the midst of their afflictions, but on account of them. In the mean while, the dust shaken off from the shoes of the rejected ambassadors of the Prince of peace will be recorded as a witness against those that have despised their message, and will expose them to a final condemnation in the day of judgment, more intolerable than that which was once executed on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, or which their wretched inhabitants are then to expect,

* The word here used is not any where made use of to express the divine. decrees. See a long note of the author upon this

passage.

SECTION XXXI.

Paul and Barnabas go to Lystra, where the inhabitants, struck by a mira

cle wrought on a lame man, ffer them divine honours. Ch. xiv, 1-18.

1

A

ND it came to pass soon after Paul and Barnabas arrived at

Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and spake in such a manner that a great inultitude 2 both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.. But the unbelieve

ing Jews stirred up the minds of the Gentiles, and filled them 3 with malignity against the brethren : for a considerable time how

ever they continued there speaking freely in the cause of the Lord,

who bare witness to the word of his grace, and gave signs and 4 wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city

was divided ; and some were with the Jews, and others with the 5 apostles. But as a violent attempt was made, both of the Gen

tiles and of the Jews, with their rulers, to injure and to stone 6 them, they having received intelligence of it, fed to Lystra, and 7 Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the adjacent country, and there 08 they preached the gospel...And there sat a certain man at Lystra,

who was disabled in his feet, being so lame from his mother's 9 womb that he never had walked. This man heard Paul speaking;

who fixing his eyes upon him, and seeing that he had faith to be 10 healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And 11 he leaped up and walked. And the multitude seeing what Paul 1 had done, liited up their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, 12 The gods are descended to us in the likeness of men, And Bar

nabas they called Jupiter, and Paul Mereury, because he was the 13 leader of the discourse. And the priest of Jupiter, wliose image

was before their city (as being their tutelar deily) brought oxen crowned with garlands to the gates of the place where the apostles

were', and would, with the multitude, have offered sacrifice to 14 them. But the apostles Barnabas and Paul hearing of it, rent

their mantles through indignation, and ran in among the multitude, 15 crying out and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things ? we also are

mere men, subject to the same infirmities with yourselves, and are come hither preaching the gospel to you, in order that you

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