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• Be it therefore known unto you, men however great. Therefore, necording to and brethren, that through this Saviour is their usual method, they again began theit preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. preaching in the assembly of Israelites, and It is by his mèrits we are justified from all the Almighty so far assisted their endeathings, which were impossible by the Law of vours, that many, both Jews and proselytes, Moses. Be careful, therefore, lest what was believed. Their success encouraged them foretold by the prophets come upon you. to continue a considerable time in this city, “ Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and to instruct the converts, and confirm their perish; for I work a work in your day, a faith by miracles. But though they had work which you shall in no wise believe, gained a considerable part of the city to tbe though a man declare it unto you."
faith, yet many continued in their infidelity :
the old leaven of Jewish malice began This spirited address of the great apostle
again to ferment, and the unbelieving carried with it its own: weight, and obtained,
Jews, having stirred up many Gentiles from the converted Jews, a request that it
against the apostles, at last prevailed on should again be delivered the ensuing sab
the multitude to stone them. But the apobath; when almost the whole city flocked to
stles, having timely notice of their design, hear the apostle ; at which the Jews were fil
tled from the city and travelled to Lystra, led with envy, and contradicted Paul, ut
where they preached the gospel to the inbatering many blasphemous expressious against
bitants, and those who dwelt in the adjacent the name of Jesus of Nazareth. But their
country. opposition could not daunt the apostles, who boldly declared that our blessed Saviour Among the converts at Lystra was a man had charged them to preach the gospel first who had been lame from his mother's womb, to the Jews, but as they so obstinately re
and never had walked. But Paul, per.. jected it, they were now to address them ceiving that he had faith to be sa ved, thought selves to the Gentiles ; who hearing this, proper to add the cure of his body to that rejoiced exceedingly, magnifying the words
of his soul, knowing that it would not only of the Almighty, and inany of them em | be beneficial to him, but to all the rest of braced the doctrines of the gospel.
the believers, by confirming their faith.
And that the miracle might be wrought in. This increased the malice and fury of the
the most conspieuous manner, he, in the Jews, who by false and artful insinuations,
midst of the congregation, said, in an audi.. prevailed on some of the more bigotted and !
ble roice to the man, Stand upright on thy. honourable women to bring over their hus
|feet. And the words were no sooner probands to their party ; by which means Paul
nounced, than his strength was at once rea and Barnabas were driven out of the city.
e stored, aud he leaped up and walked.. At which the apostles departed, shaking off the dust from their feet, as a testimony of The people who beheld this miracle well: the sense they had of the ingratitude and knew that it was not wrought by any.human, infidelity of the Jews.
power ;. but having been initiated into the
superstitious customs of the heathens, they. From Antioch they went to Iconium, the eried out, The gods are come down to metropolis of Lycania, a province of the | us in the likeness of men. Accordingly Lesser Asia, where they eutered into the 1 they called Barnabas Jupiter, because of synagogue of the Jews, notwithstanding the | his venerable gravity, and Paul Mercury,. ill-treatment they had met with from the from his eloquence. Nor was it long before Jews in other places ; for so great was their the whole city resounded with acclamations ; zeal for the gospel, that they were not to be so that almost all the infrabitants gathered deterred from preaching it by ill-usage, / themselves together, and, preceded by the
priest of Jupiter, and oxen dressed in gar chilled by the northern blasts from too great lands, they came to the house where the
apo a recess : but impregnated with fruits and stles were intending to do sacrifice to them. flowers, by the happy influence of a vital
beat, and crowned with luxuriant plenty, by But as soen as Barnabas and Paul under the benign influence of the season. It is stood their intentions, they were greatly that Omnipotent Being, who “
poises the affected at this 'superstitious design; and balancing of the clouds, that divides a water renting their clothes to express their grief course for the overflowing of waters, and a and abhorrence of the action, ran to them, way for the lightning of the thunder.” Who crying out,
" Ye men of Lystra, ye are “ bind the benign influences of Pleiades, mistaken in the object of your worship; or loose the bands of Orion ?" Or, who can for though we have done many miracles in bring forth Mazaroth in his season, or the name, and by the power of Christ, yet
of Christ, yet guide Arcturus with his son ?” Do these bapwe are no more than men, and subject to pen by chance, or by the secret appointment the same passions with yourselves, and of intinite wisdom? Who can contemplate preach unto you the glad tidings of salva the wonderful properties of the air, the great tion, that ye may forsake the vanities of this treasury of vital breath, and not reflect on world, and turn to the living God, who the divine wisdom that formed it ? If we surcreated the heavens and the earth, the sea, vey the earth, we there discover the footsteps and all the creatures they contain. This of an Almighty Being, who “ stretcheth the Omnipotent Being suffered all nations north over the empty space, and hangeth formerly to walk in their own ways, thougla the earth upon nothing;" filling it with great he never left himself without witness, de. variety of admirable and useful creatures, ing the greatest good to the children of and maintaining them all by the bounty of men, it is he that sendeth rain from hea his hand. It is he that clothes the grass ven, and crowneth the year with fruitful with a delightful verdure, that “ crowns the seasons, filling our hearts with joy and . year with his loving kindness, and causes gladness."
the valleys to stand thick with corn." It is
he that maketh the grass to grow upon the This argument of the apostles had the mountains, and herbs for the service of man." desired effect; and the people were at He adorns the lilies of the field,, that neilast, though with difficulty persuaded to lay trer toil nor spin, with a glory that excels aside their intended idolatrous sacrifice. the pomp and grandeur of Solomon's court. · And surely no argument could be more “ He shut up the sea with doors, and said, proper to affect the minds of his audience. Hitherto shalt thou come and no farther, Is it possible to survey the several parts of and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” the creation, and not discover, in every It is the Almighty Being tbat arrests the place, evident traces of an infinite wisdoni, storm, and smooths the tempestuous bilpower, and goodness! Who can survey lows of the deep ; that delirereth the mariuniversal nature, and not at once see and ner from all bis troubles, and bringeth his admire its great author, who has disposed ship into the desired -haven of safety. How of all created things with such order and reasonable, therefore, is it that we should regularity, as to display, in the clearest worship and adore this omnipotent, this manyer, his own power and glory? Behold kind Creator, and not transfer the honours the sun! How justly is that source of light due to him alone to frail mortals, much less and heat placed in the centre of the plane to dumb idols, the work of men's hands. tasy orb, that each may enjoy its destined share of its prolific beams; so that the earth The apostles indefatigably persevered in is not burnt by too near an approach, nor the execution of their important commission,
declaring wherever they went, the glad | a door had thus been opened for the convertidings of salvation, through repentance sion of the Gentile world. unto life and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. While St. Paul continued at Antioch, that But the malice of the Jews still pursued famous controversy, with regard to the
them ; for some of these bigotted Israelites observation of the Jewish ceremonies in the coming from Antioch and Iconium, exaspe christian dispensation, was set on foot by rated and stirred up the multitude; so that certain Jewisia converts, to the great disturthose very persons who could hardly be re- bance of the whole church: and it was deterstrained from offering sacrifice to thens, low mined to send Pauland Barnabas to consult used them like slaves, stoning them in so with the apostles and church at Jerusalem, cruel a manner, that Paul was thought to that this affair might be settled on the niost be dead, and as such they dragged him out solid foundation. On their arrival at Jeruof the city; but while the christians of salem they first addressed themselves to Lystra were attending on his body, proba- | Peter, James and John, the pillars of that bly in order to carry him to the grave, he church, by whom they were kindly enterarose and returned with them into the city ; tained, and admitted to the right hand of and the next day departed with Barnabas | fellowship: and perceiving by the account to Derbe, where they preached the gospel, given them by St. Paul, that the gospel of and converted many; no danger being the uncircumcision was committed to him as able to terrify them from the work of the that of the circumcision was to Peter, they ministry, and publishing the glad tidings agreed that Peter should preach to the Jews, of salvation in every place.
and Paul to the Gentiles. This being deter
mined, a council was summoned, wherein They did not, however, long continue at Peter declared his opinion, and Paul and Derbe, but returned to Lystra, Iconium, -Barnabas acquainted them with the great Antioch and Pisidia; confirming the chris- things God, by their ministry, had done tians of those places in the faith, earnestly among the Gentiles: a plain evidence that persuading them to persevere, and not be they were accepted by the Almighty, though discouraged with those troubles and perse- uncircumcised, as well as the Jews with all cutions, which they must expect would at their legal rights and privileges : accordtend the profession of the gospel. . And ingly it was unanimously determined, that that the affairs of the church might be con the Gentiles were not under the obligation ducted with more regularity, they ordained of the law of Moses, and therefore that some elders and pastors to teach, to instruct, persons of their own church should be joinaud to watch over them; and then left them ed with Paul and Barnabas, to carry the to the protection of the Almighty, to whose decrees of the council to Antioch, for their care they recommended them by prayer and farther satisfaction in this matter. Nothing fasting
tends more to impede the progress of vital
religion, than a bigotted attachment to inAfter leaving Antioch they passed through essential forms and modes. Pisidia, and came to Pamphylia : and after preaching the gospel at Perga, they went
CHAP. III. down to Attalia.
Transactions of this great Apostle, from Having thus finished the circuit of their the time of the Synod at Jerusalem, till ministry, they returned back to Antioch in
his Preaching at Athens. Syria, from whence they at first departed. Here they summoned the church, and gave TVE controversy concerning the observathem an account of their ministry, the success
tion it had met in different parts, and how great
tian church being decided in favour of St.