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ACTs xviii. 18-28.
If Gallio, instead of Pilate, had been proconsul in from Christ : but when any one was justified through Judæa when the priests conspired to put Jesus to faith in the Redeemer, Paul and his fellow-apostles death, what would have been the result? But we need allowed the convert unlimited liberty to observe or not not speculate. I have put the question in order to observe the Jewish ceremonial. It is pleasant to supintimate that it should not get an answer. Christ, our pose that Paul himself would rejoice to practise ocuPassover, was sacrificed for us. He offered himself; sionally some of these rites, now that he knew their and all things conspired to fulfil his great design. If it typical meaning. He had often toiled through them had been his will to avoid the cross and leave mankind when they were to him a dead letter: I could conceive to perish, he could have placed a Gallio on Pilate's that it might be a refreshment to him to observe some judgment-seat.
of the old ordinances after they had become to him
spirit and life through faith in Jesus. XXVIII.
We have much to learn yet in the matter of the MANY SHALL GO TO AND FRO, AND KNOWLEDGE
liberty which the gospel brings. We have an inveterate SHALL BE INCREASED.
tendency to lay bonds on ourselves and our neighbours, where Christ meant that we should be free. The tight
ness of this binding confines and weakens the life. The UNDER cover of this providential deliverance, the mis- principle of the rule laid down regarding the second sionaries were enabled to prosecute their work until a marriage of a widow might be extended so as to reach Church was organized in Corinth. Then Paul took many other cases : "She is at liberty ; only in the leave of the brethren,-perhaps of Timothy and Silas, as Lord.” well as of the native converts. His work in Europe for “He came to Ephesus.” Corinth and Ephesus were that time was accomplished. Four Churches had been the great commercial centres of Greece and Asia, the founded. He had completed a square in the Roman New York and Liverpool of those times and regions provinces of Macedonia and Greece. There stands the Cicero made the passage by sea in fifteen days, but he “Quadrilateral," — Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and considered the voyage a long one : thirteen days were Corinth,-erected on the soil of Europe, and manned occupied in the return. by soldiers of Jesus Christ, who will hold it for him On his arrival at the city Paul separated from his against all assaults. The true Heir of the world is fellow-travellers, and instantly began his work, in the infeoffed now in possession of its brightest continent. usual way, by reasoning with the Jews in the synagogue. Here already in germ dwell the ruling race. Here the His ministry at Ephesus on this occasion, however, ma3 plenipotentiary of the Great King has planted the royal | very brief. Determined, for some reason not explained, standard ; and although there may be many recedings to be at Jerusalem during the approaching feast, proand advancings, as in a prolonged battle, it may be bably Pentecost, he resisted the entreaties of his friends, assumed that the Lord will find that signal still floating and took ship for Cæsarea. when he comes again.
Ile reached Jerusalem according to his plan, but the Paul “ took leave” of his friends at Corinth. Though record is silent as to his occupation and experiences a strong inan, he was also a tender one. Tears fell on there. Did he call the Christians together, and “Trethe shore at Cenchrea that day, as afterwards at Mile- hearse” all that the Lord had done by him among the tus. Although this apostle seemed to be a man of iron Gentiles ? Did he make a pilgrimage to Calvary when endurance for the sake of the gospel was required, Did he stand and weep on the spot where Stephe: he manifested an almost feminine softness in his inter-died? We do not know : not one word of informatica course with those who loved him. No letter that I am is given on these subjects. Probably no result bearing acquainted with, either ancient or modern, contains on the kingdom sprang from that visit to Jerusalere; such a list of special and distinguishing love-messages and the Spirit, not ministering to our curiosity, passes as the Epistle to the Romans. The Jewish-Christianit over in silence. To Antioch again the attention of couple with whom he lodged and laboured in Corinth the reader is directed, for that great capital bad ne accompanied him in his journey. Besides their desire become the point of departure and return for the misto continue longer in the company of their instructor, sionaries of the cross. they may have found that their trade could be more Paul did not retrace his steps to Antioch in order to advantageously prosecuted in Asia, the seat of the manu- remain there. After getting and giving refreshment facture.
through intercourse with the Church for a time, he sit I do not think that much importance should be at- out on another missionary tour. Nor did he on ta's tached to the fact, incidentally mentioned here, that he occasion take a new route. Ile traversed Asia Hibur had his head shorn in Cenchrea, before enbarking, on westward on the track of his own former journey. He account of a vow. Paul's idea of liberty under the gos- revisited the Churches that he had formerly plante:I. pel did not go the length of forbidding liberty. He bore to cherish and instruct and edify young and feeble bewitness that those who made any of these observances lievers is recognized as worthy occupation for an apostk. their righteousness before God, shut themselves out even although the work of bringing in the heathen shali
Acts xix. 8.
be for a time postponed on account of it. The little ones of the family are dear to the Master, and therefore dear to all his servants.
CONVINCING AND PERSUADING. Incidentally we learn (1 Cor. xvi. 1) that on this journey he requested contributions for the
Christians in Jerusalem. This is at least one fruit of his brief WHILE Apollos was ministering in Corinth, Paul, in visit to that city. Like his Lord, he went about doing fulfilment of his promise, returned to Ephesus. He had good.
hastened eastward to Palestine, landed at Cæsarea, Here the history leaves Paul for awhile, and intro- hurried up to Jerusalem, and saluted the brethren there. duces some things that happened at Ephesus in his Thence he travelled quickly northward to Antioch. absence. Apollos, a Jew of Alexandria, intellectually From Antioch he started on his third missionary circle. trained in the celebrated schools of his native city, Passing through Asia Minor, doing a little everywhere, learned and accepted the gospel through a true but but remaining long nowhere, he again came to Ephesus, defective ministry. This man came to Ephesus, and the principal city of the whole region, on the western began to preach with great acceptance and power. He coast. It was the entrepot between Greece and Asia. only knew the testimony borne to Christ by John the The missionaries of the earliest age always found their Baptist : but he pressed the truth, as far as he knew way to the great cities. It was a wise method. The it, with great eloquence and great zeal. Priscilla and cities were the pulsing hearts of their several provinces; Aquila heard him, and discerned his spirit. At a glance and principles deposited there soon spread by natural they saw three things : Ist, that he was a true disciple arteries to all parts of the land. The missionaries skilof Christ ; 2d, that he had great power as a reasoner fully seized the chief centres of influence and power. and orator; and, 3rd, that he was defective in his know- On his arrival at Ephesus, he found a little company ledge of the gospel. Here was an opportunity for the of disciples in the heart of the great heathen city. All tent-makers. They could not teach in the synagogue ; the Christianity of the place gravitated toward Paul. but they could instil their knowledge privately into the Like draws to like. The apostle in Ephesus was like a mind of Apollos. They could not preach ; but they bar of loadstone thrust into a great heap of rubbish : could make a preacher.
forthwith all the filings of real steel that existed in the Here we discover the reason why the Lord in his miscellaneous mass were found adhering to its sides. providence, when this pair were expelled from Rome, The attraction and cohesion of kindred spirits is a beauguided their steps to Corinth, where they learned the tiful and beneficent law of the new kingdom. gospel from Paul ; and then induced them to go with We discover in this far-off region some direct results Paul to Ephesus, and remain in that city after their of the Baptist's preaching in the wilderness of Judea. great instructor left it. The same divine care that some of those who heard that preacher must have brought Philip and the Ethiopian prince together in emigrated before the death of Christ and the descent of the desert, brought the tent
makers and Apollos to- the Spirit at Pentecost. They had beheld, at John's gether in the city of Ephesus. He was a capacious invitation, the Lamb of God, and believed to the saving l'essel ; and they possessed that word of the Lord with of their souls ; but they had not obtained the fuller which the vessel must be charged. As soon as they knowledge of the gospel which came after the resurrecmet, they imparted, and he received, what was lacking tion to the chosen witnesses. To these men, and in to make bim an able minister of Jesus Christ. This answer to their prayers for greater light, the apostle of meeting which took place on earth was arranged in the Gentiles was sent, as a vessel, bearing the name of heaven. It is not in man that walketh to direct his Christ more fully revealed. As Philip was sent to the steps ; He who directs them hath done all things well. desert of Gaza, with the water of life to the thirsting " Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even he Ethiop, Paul was sent on the same errand to those shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” twelve men and their companions who panted for the When disciples of Christ, coming from different direc- living water in the desert-place of a huge idolatrous city. tions, meet and hold intercourse, let them watch and The Lord knoweth them that are his, and how to find pray. They may expect to give or to get: perhaps them out. He will never leave them, nor forsake theni. they may both give and get reciprocally.
He entered the synagogue as usual, and “spake After profiting by his intercourse with Aquila and boldly for the space of three months.” In this Book Priscilla, Apollos crossed over into the province of much is made of boldness. The early disciples felt their Achaia, and was of great use to the infant Churches need of it, longed for it, prayed for it, and obtained it. there. Paul had planted ; but he was not able to re- Courage displayed by the preacher implies a cruel main long beside his work. The plants in the scorch- persecution by the enemies of the cross. Strange that ing of that season were ready to die: Apollos arrived when a message from heaven is about to be proclaimed, pportunely to water them. Paul planteå the Church great courage should be requisite in the herald who in Corinth; Apollos watered it; and God gave tlie in- bears it. The message is peace and pardon. Surely a you;
servant of the government may risk himself in the very
heart of a convict prison alone, if he is the bearer of a heaven afar, he uniformly presented as the legitimate royal pardon for all the inmates. In such a case, it and certain issue of a kingdom now established in bewould not be necessary to look out for a man of rare lieving hearts. First, the kingdom of heaven in courage, who might dare to carry the proclamation to and next, you in the kingdom of heaven. Let Christ the convicts. Give him but the message of free pardon, reign in you now, and you will reign with him in that and he may go in unarmed with all safety, like Daniel day. If I leave him standing at the door knocking in the den of lions,
throughout the day of grace, he will leave me standing When Christ himself came to the world—the great at the door knocking when the day of grace is done. convict prison of the universe--came the ambassador Mark the manner of the apostolic preaching : “disfrom God, bringing peace, they said, This is the heir ; puting and persuading.” The first makes the matter come, let us kill him. He came unto his own, and his clear to the intellect, and the second makes it powerful own received him not; and the servant is not greater on the will. The first enables you to know the true, and than his Lord.
the second induces you to do the right. These are the Do preachers of the gospel need courage still ? Not two elements of which all right preaching consists. The in the same sense and of the same kind. They are not proportions may vary indefinitely with circumstances ; put in prison for faithfulness in declaring the whole but every sermon should contain, in some measure, both counsel of God. But as long as the carnal mind is en- constituents. mity against God, there must be opposition to the gospel On the one hand, a discourse should not be merely from some quarter. You may as well expect to escape exposition of doctrine; it ought to persuade as well as from the law of gravitation when you travel to China, as unfold. The preacher may not meet the hearers again, expect that, when so many centuries have run their until he is called to give an account. He ought to becourse, courage is no longer necessary to a preacher of seech them to be reconciled unto God. On the other the cross. The Jews opposed the gospel at an earlier hand, mere exhortation will not suffice. God, who has stage. They opposed the publication of the doctrine : / given us understanding, expects us to exercise it in the we allow the doctrine to pass freely from the preacher's highest of all concerns. He who would persuade his lips, but do not permit the kingdom to come in power brethren to serve the Lord, should endeavour to conover our hearts and lives. If we should denounce as vince them that it is a reasonable service. boldly that form of opposition to Christ which is rife Disputing means reasoning; but this does not imply amongst ourselves, as the apostles denounced that which that religion is founded on reason. Reason is the prevailed in their day, perhaps we should taste some of builder, not the foundation. Reason constructs religion, their experience.
not on itself, but on the Scriptures. There is a good In those days the testing-point lay higher up ; in our deal of pretence on this subject at the present day. days it lies lower down. Then the real struggle oc- Those who affect to be philosophers, freely insinuate curred at the profession ; now it occurs at the practice. that religious people put reason aside when they apThe cross then was to own themselves the disciples of proach the spiritual sphere, and proceed upon faith Christ ; it was this step that cost : the cross with us is | instead. This is a false issue. Reason and faith are not there ; it is easy for us to own his name; the diffi- not antagonistic, so that, in accepting the one, you discard culty lies in so following him that our lives shall be a the other. Reason is no more discarded from religion continual reproof. Their temptation was to fall into than from philosophy. In former times human reason the track of the first son whom the father ordered to occupied too exalted a place in philosophy. It was made work in his vineyard--to say, "I will not.” Our temp- the foundation; and the structure, consequently, tation is to copy the answer of the second, "I go, sir ;" bled and fell. Bacon introduced a radical reform. He and then to spend the day in seeking our own pleasures. removed reason from its usurped position as a foundaThe stress for them lay in the promise ; the stress for tion, and gave it the place of operator. For basis he us lies in the performance. If modern ministers were substituted ascertained facts; on these, as a foundation, as bold in demanding performance, as the apostles were reason was permitted to rear her fabric, and a goodly in demanding profession, perhaps their course would palace meets our view to-day as the result of this new not flow so smoothly.
method. By the Reformation a parallel process was The theme of the preacher was “the kingdom of God.” established in the sphere of religion. As the facts of The preaching of these men was a new thing in the the material or mental creation constitute the basis on world. They were not contented with a niche in the which reason builds a philosophy, so the doctrines and temple for another idol, a day in the calendar for an facts of revelation constitute the basis on which reason additional saint. They demanded the overthrow of all builds a theology. On both spheres reason is the builder, idols, and the establishment of another throne in their not the basis. stead. They proposed a King who should be absolute In regard to the place of reason in the domain of and sole.
religion, two opposite extremes exist. Positivism makes The things that Paul preached did, no doubt, concern reason everything; Popery makes it nothing. The one the kingdom in its final glory; but this kingdom in will make it master ; the other will not permit it ered
to serve. The Protestant principle stands midway be- | prevailed in the times of the Reformation. The countween these extremes. It permits, and demands the try people, after having sold their produce in the marketfree exercise of human reason, but limits it in this square, crept into the neighbouring church and heard domain to what is revealed in the Word: precisely as the Scriptures expounded. Then they retumed to their the Baconian philosophy permits and demands the homes with both gains--one in their hearts, and the other exercise of human reason in the sphere of philosophy, in their pockets. Thus the Word had free course, and but limits it to the observed facts and laws of nature. was glorified throughout the neighbouring provinces.
After expounding the truth, the preacher persuades Besides the preaching of the Word, special miracles liis auditors to comply with it. Exposition is necessary, were wrought in Ephesus. The passage is somewhat lut not sufficient; without it you must fail, but even obscure. There may have been some testimony given with it you may fail. Though the understanding be to Paul's word in that heathen city, on account of the convinced, the will may remain perverse. A man may magicians who plied their craft there, similar to the be convinced that God is lovely, and yet not love God. signs wrought by Aaron in presence of the Egyptian Yon may own that Christ is offered to you, and yet not wonder-workers. In any case, this was not the ordinary accept Christ. You may know truth, and yet follow experience of Paul. It was peculiar and extraordinary. lies. This is a fact in history; it cannot reasonably be An exceptional testimony is vouchsafed to him once in denied, and should not be carelessly overlooked. It is exceptional circumstances, and it is wide as the world a startling and solemnizing discovery. Paul was greatly apart from the degrading and tricky traffic in spurious pored when he found "a law in his members” warring relics, which has become a permanent institution of the against the law of God which was in his mind. His Papacy. understanding was carried ; but his heart still resisted. As the Egyptian magicians in some form imitated the In his own experience he found out the power which signs wrought by Moses, the soothsayers of Ephesuswas able to control the will and mould the life. The in this case disreputable Jews-attempted to work kve of Christ constrained bim, when all other motives wonders in imitation of Paul by pronouncing the name failed. This power, accordingly, he was always ready to of Jesus. There is much material for thought in the apply when he found reasoning to be impotent. He answer given by the possessed maniac to these sorwill beseech his Roman correspondents to yield them- cerers: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are selves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God; but ye?" It is the same in kind with the response of the be beseeches them“ by the mercies of God." He de- Pythoness at Philippi. It is a remarkable declaration. pends on this weight to overcome the inertia of the It is not only out of the mouth of babes and sucklings camal mind, and set beart and life in motion like a that the Lord can draw forth his own praise : he can running stream in the service of God and man. make the wicked praise him, as well as the weak. Such
The two great constituents of the Christian ministry a testimony was borne by an unclean spirit to the Lord are to convince and persuade; to enlighten the under himself: “I know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of standing, and to win souls.
An application of this Scripture is possible to our own
day and our own circumstances. The evil spirit seenus XXX.
to possess, and energize, and wield at will, certain classes THE STRONG MAN CAST OUT BY THE STRONGER.
and sections of the people. They seem 'like the man
who cut himself and wore no clothes, and dwelt among Acts xix. 9–17.
the tombs. They are a torment to themselves, and a Jests, preached by Paul in Ephesus, did not bring terror to their neighbours. They might have clothes, peace to its people. In the first instance there was a and food, and home ; but they wildly cast all these sword. “Divers were hardened and believed not.” away, and live like the beasts. These Jews spoke evil of the “ way.” Christ announced The evil spirits of the present time, like those of hinself as the way, and the only way, to the Father; Paul's day, are subject only to one power. They do not bat when he came to his own, they received him not. give way before reading and writing. New houses and They would have none of him. The servant retired good wages will not drive them out. Even the prison from those who rejected his Master. He obtained and the gibbet fail to scare them. A goodly number of accommodation in the school of one Tyrannus, and the legion have in our sight been cast out; but the tanght there for two years. It is not certain whether work is done by the name of Jesus. Many of them are Tyrannus was a Jew or a Greek. In either case his even now sitting at his feet, clothed and in their right academy was independent of the synagogue, and thus mind. There is no healing for these wounds of the he was enabled to shelter the preacher of the cross. body politic except in the gospel of Christ, borne to the
All that dwelt in Asia heard the gospel. The people hearts and homes of the outcasts by the self-sacrificing from the surrounding country and the adjacent towns love of them that believe. tek an opportunity of hearing the new doctrines when None other than He who made the world at first can they came to the capital on business. This method ) make it new again. “Jesus I know:" this witness is true, even though the evil spirit utter it. Yes, prince they drop their grappling-irons, and pay out line till of this world, thou knowest him to be the Holy One of they strike the ground. They feel in that dark abyssGod. Thou hast felt him crushing thy head each time feel for the lost. By the instrument sent down they that a slave of sin has been ransomed and renewed. grasp the broken cable and haul it up. They bring the Thou, strong man, holding a human soul captive, bound dead to life, and through it thought throbs again in in the thongs of its own lusts, hast felt the power of the pulses of unseen fire from shore to shore. Stronger, wrenching one by one a multitude of victims That lost line seems like a human soul in its sin. from thy grasp. Thou knowest, too, this Jesus in his This creature that God has made for himself, and mercy to men; for often, when thou hast set a snare for qualified to receive and transmit his own divine will, a believer's feet and made him stumble, and when there has fallen, has fallen. The prey seems secure in the was a shout in the camp of the adversary as if one of jaws of the pit. But down in that abyss an instrument Christ's saved were lost again, thou hast been compelled of salvation touches the lost. The powers of darkness to relax thy hold and yield up the backslider to the who thought their victim secure, learned to know both Lord that bought him at the first, and has healed again the Living One on high who planned redemption, and his backsliding
the instrument which he employed in his work. “Jesus Nor is it only Jesus the Saviour whom the evil spirits I know, and Paul I know.” know and acknowledge; they know in the same way Lend me your imagination for a moment, that by aid the ministers whom he employs. “ Jesus I know, and of it I may go yet one step further on the line of this Paul I know.” Christ has personally ascended; it is analogy. Suppose that broken, lost line a conscious by his servants, as his instruments, now that he reaches intelligence, cut off from all communion with his kind down to the lost and saves them. The powers of dark- in that dark abyss despairing. It is dark; there is ness know all who yield themselves instruments of none who can reach him to save. Lost, for ever. Nom righteousness unto God. In this respect the servants imagine that this despairing creature feels some instrushare the Master's lot: “ If they have persecuted me, ment touching him from above — touching him with they will also persecute you."
intelligence, power, and love-touching him with intent The first Atlantic cable was broken and lost. It to save. Suppose he feels himself grasped, and drawn sank to the bottom where the sea was several miles up-up, and ever up, through the dark waters. At deep. Though buoys were left at the spot, they drifted length light begins to dawn overhead, and increases 25 away. Who shall now find the spot in that pathless he rises, like the morning. At length he emerges into ocean where the precious line is lying; and who shall the light of heaven, is restored to life, and enters the bring it up, although the place were known ?
society of his kind again. They find the spot, not by marks on the sea, but by Such is the lost estate of the sinful; and such the the lights that are fixed in heaven. Hovering over it, I redemption that Jesus brings.
as he was so long termed, is laird now; and the fair young matron, with the baby girl in her arins, is Maude
Dunmore, though she no longer bears that name, but “I know that deadly evils compass me,
has been for two years and more the Lady of Viretown. Dark perils threaten; yet I would not fear,
She stands now with her husband at an open casement, Nor poorly shrink, nor feebly turn to flee,
looking out with admiration at the peaceful scene before For thou, my Christ, art buckler, sword, and spear."
them. The bright crimson tints in the sky are reflected VT was a summer evening in the year 1432, on the deep-blue waters of the Firth of Forth as they
and a happy family party were assembled lay that evening still and quiet. In Maude's heart very in Miretown Castle. There were changes grateful feelings were stirring as she gazed. There was
there since the time we wrote of in the peace in inanimate nature, and peace, Christ's partin last chapter—when Maude Dunmore and William Mire- legacy to his own, in her breast; and she was thiuking
, town met after years of separation on the rocky beach of truly to her the “lines had fallen in a very pleasant Crail. The old laird was dead, and young Miretown, place.” And through her husband's niind thoughts