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in among the people, crying

15 So now the ministers of the Gosout, 15 and saying, Sirs, why pel, as individual men, arrogate to do ye these things ? We also themselves no divine freedom from are men of like passions with the common infirmities of human

Yet they claim to be heard you, and preach unto you

for their Master's sake ; and, therethat ye should turn from these fore, speak with authority. vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein : 16 who in times

16 “ The Gentiles are a law unto past suffered all nations to

themselves.” (Rom. ii. 14.) walk in their own ways. 17 St. Paul argues from the evident 17 Nevertheless he left not

truth that God is a God of nature ; to himself without witness, in

the revealed truth, that He is the that he did good, and gave

God of grace. (See chap. xvii. 28.) us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them. 19 And there came 19 Wickedness and cruelty are inthither certain Jews from separable. Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, 22 Thus are we warned by our and Antioch, 22 confirming blessed Saviour. (John xvi. 33.) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they

25 No man must presume to take had preached the word in upon himself the office of the minisPerga, they went down into try, without being outwardly called, Attalia : and thence sailed as well as inwardly moved thereto. to Antioch, from whence they preached unto the people.

26 They fulfilled their work, and had been recommended to

27 They opened the door of faith, the grace of God for the work by giving enlarged opportunity of which they fulfilled. 27 And knowing the Gospel. What noble when they were come, and examples do the apostles afford in

themselves, of uncompromising prinhad gathered the church to

ciple, unwearied exertion, and ungether, they rehearsed all that subdued faith ! God grant us all

26

God had done with them, grace, minister and people ; * tisat and how he had opened the every member of the Church, in his

vocation and ministry, may truly door of faith unto the Gen

and godly serve Him; through Jesus tiles. And there they abode Christ our Lord.” long time with the disciples.

CHAPTER XV.

2

April 18, AUGUST 17, Dec. 15.

St. Barnabas, evening, to ver. 36. The important question discussed in this chapter, was whether faith in Christ would justify without the works of the Mosaic law. Certain of the Pharisees insisted upon circumcision as necessary : urging it upon the Gentile converts to the scandal of the cross, and the division of the Church. And certain men which came down from Judæa taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 This vital question was wisely

When therefore Paul and referred to the authority of the Barnabas had no small dis

Church in council. sension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles : and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem *, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command then to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of 7“A good while ago”--that is, this matter t. ' And when when we first preached the Gospel. there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the

8 God now saveth both Jew and gospel, and believe. And

Gentile by grace I. God, which knóweth the

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* This was St. Paul's third journey to Jerusalemn, after his conversion. + This was the first council held at Jerusalem. # The reasoning of Peter is clear and forcible. “ As now there is no difference in God's sight between Jew and Gentile, and as He accepts the

11 But

hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which peither our fathers nor we

11 If faith save the Gentiles-faith were able to bear ?

saveth the Jews. we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simon Peter is sometimes called 14 Simeon hath declared how Simeon. God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets ; as it is written, 16 The Church of God was spiri16 After this I will return, tually rebuilt by the Messiah-our and will build again the ta

ruined nature was renovated by Him. bemacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God *: 20 but that we write unto 20 These were the attendant vices them, that they abstain from upon idolatry. pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas ; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are Gentiles by grace without the law, surely He will so also accept us, the Jews. It is tempting God, if again we bind ourselves by circumcision, and under the penalty of the former curse, to pledge ourselves to every jot and tittle of the law-when Jesus Christ hath fulfilled it for us, and substituted faith in Him; giving us an easy yoke in exchange for that of Moses, which was too heavy to bear."

Thus St. James, not St. Peter, is the authoritative voice which decided the measures of the first Christian council.

of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia : Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, le must be circumcised, and keep the law : to whom we gave no such commandment: it seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ve abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication : from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch : and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle : which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 32 And Judas and Silas, being 32 Prophets or inspired teachers prophets also themselves, ex

of the word. horted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.. 33 And after they had tarried

33 They departed, bearing with them there a space, they were let the love and blessings of the brethgo in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Ver. 36. 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 was Mark. ** But Paul

38 St. Mark had left them in Pamthought not good to take him phylia. (Acts xiii

. 13.) St. Paul, with them, who departed from displeased at what he considered a them from Pamphylia, and want of zeal, rejected his further went not with them to the

companionship

39 The faithful historian conceals work. 59 And the contention not the account of this contention ; was so sharp between them, though it presents a painful picture that they departed asunder of human infirmity. one from the other : and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus ; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And be went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

ren.

CHAPTER XVI.

APRIL 19, AUGUST 18, Dec. 16. 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 : which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 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. And

* Thus early the Church preserved as they went through the in written documents its decreescities, they delivered them the frame-work of its constitution ; the decrees for to keep, that that each part might be established were ordained of the apostles and rest upon the same doctrines.

5 Its decrees-ordinances and arand elders which were at ticles of faith-could thus be easily Jerusalem. And so were referred to in all cases of doubto; the churches established in whereby much vain discussion and the faith, and increased in

confusion would from time to time

be avoided. number daily. 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, ' after they were come ? In those early days of special to Mysia, they assayed to go trial, the Church was favoured with into Bithynia : but the Spirit proportionate aid and guidance by suffered them not. And they

the Holy Spirit. passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 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. 19 And after he had seen the

10 St. Luke set out from Troas as vision, immediately we en- the companion of St. Paul : theredeavoured to go into Mace- fore he says " uce.” This fact assures donia, assuredly

us of the historian's accuracy : he gathering

recorded events which he witnessed. that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony : and we were in that city abiding 13 How often are we instructed by certain days. 3 And on the this uniform observance of the Sabsabbath we went out of the bath among the early Christians ! city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made ; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

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