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"And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and -with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow," etc. ACTS xvm. 18-28. UNDER cover of this providential deliverance the mis sionaries were enabled to prosecute their work until a Church was organized in Corinth. Then Paul took leave of the brethren, perhaps of Timothy and Silas, as well as of the native converts. His work in Europe for that time was accomplished. Four Churches had been founded. He had completed a square in the Roman provinces of Macedonia and Greece. There stands the "Quadrilateral," Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth, erected on the soil of Europe, and manned by soldiers of Jesus Christ, who will hold it for him against all assaults. The true Heir of the world is infeoffed now in possession of its brightest continent. Here already in germ dwell the ruling race. Here the plenipotentiary of the Great King has planted the royal standard, and although there may be many recedings and advancings, as in a prolonged battle, it may be assumed that the Lord will find that signal still floating when he comes again. Paul "took leave "of his friends at Corinth. Though a strong man, he was also a tender one. Tears fell on the shore at Cenchrea that day, as afterwards at Mi letus. Although this apostle seemed to be a man of iron when endurance for the sake of the gospel was required, he manifested an almost feminine softness in his intercourse with those who loved him. No letter that I am acquainted with, either ancient or modern, contains such a list of special and distinguishing love-
messages as the Epistle to the Romans. The JewishChristian couple with whom he lodged and labored in Corinth accompanied him in his journey. Besides their desire to continue longer in the company of their in-
Paul and A polios. 351 structor, they may have found that their trade could be more advantageously prosecuted in Asia, the seat of the manufacture. I do not think that much importance should be at tached to the fact, incidentally mentioned here, that he had his head shorn in Cenchrea, before embarking, on account of a vow. Paul s idea of liberty under the gospel did not go the length of forbidding liberty. He bore witness that those who made any of these observances their righteousness before God, shut them selves out from Christ: but when any one was justified through faith in the Redeemer, Paul and his fellowapostles allowed the convert unlimited liberty to ob serve or not observe the Jewish ceremonial. It is pleasant to suppose that Paul himself would rejoice to practice occasionally some of these rites, now that he knew their typical meaning. He had often toiled through them when they were to him a dead letter: I could conceive that it might be a refreshment to him to observe some of the old ordinances after they had become to him spirit and life through faith in Jesus. We have much to learn yet in the matter of the liberty which the Gospel brings. We have an invet erate tendency to lay bonds on ourselves and our neighbors, where Christ meant that we should be free. The tightness of this binding confines and weakens the life. The principle of the rule laid down regard ing the second marriage of a widow might be ex
tended so as to reach many other cases; "She is at liberty; only in the Lord." " He came to Ephesus." Corinth and Ephesus were the great commercial centres of Greece and Asia, the New York and Liverpool of those times and regions. Cicero made the passage by sea in fifteen days, but he considered the voyage a long one: thirteen days were occupied in the return. On his arrival at the city Paul separated from his fellow-travellers, and instantly began his work, in the usual way, by reasoning with the Jews in the syna gogue. His ministry at Ephesus on this occasion, however, was very brief. Determined, for some rea son not explained, to be at Jerusalem during the ap-
352 77/(? Church in the House. preaching feast, probably Pentecost, he resisted the entreaties of his friends, and took ship for Cassarea. He reached Jerusalem according to his plan, but the record is silent as .to his occupation and experi ences there. Did he call the Christians together, and " rehearse " all that the Lord had done by him among the Gentiles ? _ Did he make a pilgrimage to Calvary ? Did he stand and weep on the spot where Stephen died ? We do not know: not one word of information is given on these subjects. Probably no result bearing on the kingdom sprang from that visit to Jerusalem; and the Spirit, not ministering to our curiosity, passes it over in silence. To Antioch again the attention of the reader is directed, for that great capital had now become the point of departure and return for the mis sionaries of the cross. Paul did not retrace his steps to Antioch in order
to remain there. After getting and giving refreshment through intercourse with the Church for a time, he set out on another missionary tour. Nor did he on this occasion take a new route. He traversed Asia Minor westward on the track of his own former journey. He revisited the Churches that he had formerly planted. To cherish and instruct and edify young and feeble believers is recognized as worthy occupation for an apostle, even although the work of bringing in the heathen should 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. Incidentally we learn (i Cor. xvi. i) that on this journey he requested contributions for the poor Chris tians in Jerusalem. This is at least one fruit of his brief visit to that city. Like his Lord, he went about doing good. Here the history leaves Paul for awhile, and intro duces some things that happened at Ephesus in his ab sence. Apollos, a Jew of Alexandria, intellectually trained in the celebrated schools of his native city, learned and accepted the gospel through a true but defective ministry. This man came to Ephesus, and began to preach with great acceptance and power. He only knew the testimony borne to Christ by John the Baptist: but he pressed the truth, as far as he knew
Pt, itl and A polios. 353 it, with great eloquence and great zeal. Priscilla and Aquila heard him, and discerned his spirit. At a glance they saw three things: 1st, that he was a true disciple of Christ; 2nd, that he had great power as a reasoner and orator; and, 3rd, that he was defective in his knowledge of the gospel. Here was an oppor tunity for the tent-makers. They could not teach in
the synagogue; but they could instil their knowledge privately into the mind of Apollos. They could not preach; but they could make a preacher. Here we discover the reason why the Lord in his providence, when this pair were expelled from Rome, guided their steps to Corinth, where they learned the gospel from Paul; and then induced them to go with Paul to Ephesus, and remain in that city after their great instructor left it. The same Divine care that brought Philip and the Ethiopian prince together in the desert, brought the tent-makers and Apollos toge ther in the city of Ephesus. He was a capacious vessel: and they possessed that word of the Lord with which the vessel must be charged. As soon as they met, they imparted, and he received, what was lacking to make him an able minister of Jesus Christ. This meet ing which took place on earth was arranged in heaven. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps; He who directs them hath done all things well. " Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even he shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord." When disciples of Christ, coming from different directions, meet and hold intercourse, let them watch and pray. They may expect to give or to get: perhaps they may both give and get reciprocally. After profiting by his intercourse with Aquila and Priscilla, Apollos crossed over into the province of Achaia, and was of great use to the infant Churches there. Paul had planted; but he was not able to re main long beside his work. The plants in the scorch ing of that season were ready to die: Apollos arrived opportunely to water them. Paul planted the Church in Corinth; Apollos watered it; and God gave the increase. 1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books
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