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rank, who were zealous for the Mosaic Law, and these influenced their relations and dependants against the Gospel. The Jews also applied themselves to the magistrates of the city to suppress the new doctrine, and thus raised a persecution against the two Apostles, and expelled them from their coasts; on which, agreeably to their LORD's instructions, they shook off the dust from their feet as a testimony against them, and departed to Iconium; but the disciples who were left behind were filled with great joy, having received the gifts and graces of the HOLY SPIRIT, which enabled them to carry on the interest of the Christian church after the Apostles were gone from them.
PAUL AND BARNABAS GO TO LYSTRA.A LAME MAN CURED.
From Acts, Chap. xiv.
AND it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude, both of the Jews, and also of the Greeks, believed.
But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the LORD, who gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
And when there was an assault made, both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews, with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
They were aware of it, and fled unto Lystra, and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
And there they preached the Gospel.
And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked :
The same heard Paul speak; who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
Which when the Apostles Barnabas and Paul heard. of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? we also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living GOD, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein;
Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave 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.
And there came thither certain Jews from 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, and to Antioch.
Confirming 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.
nd after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia
And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the Grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
And there they abode long time with the disciples.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The cure of the cripple bore such evident marks of a Divine energy, that even unenlightened heathens per
ceived it; but their ignorance made them attribute the power to those who were only the instruments of it.
Jupiter and Mercury were among the principal idols of the Gentiles. Jupiter was reckoned the highest of these imaginary deities, and Mercury was the supposed god of eloquence; it was customary to offer oxen in sacrifice to Jupiter, but it was the highest superstition to imagine that these false deities (which were in fact nothing) were come down to the earth in the likeness of men.
There was, however, an intention of piety amidst all this superstition, which raised compassion in the benevolent minds of the Apostles, who exhorted them to turn from their vanities unto the living GOD, who they might know as such by the light of reason only; for though God did not reveal to the Gentiles for many ages the fulness of his grace, his visible works proclaimed his existence and providence.
How wonderful it is to read of the revolutions which happened in the first age of Christianity! The very men who would have paid divine honours to Paul and Barnabas, an instant after treated them as malefactors, and Paul would have lost his life by their barbarity, had he not been restored through the power of the SON OF GOD, by which he was enabled immediately to undertake a journey, and he and his associate Barnabas, in defiance of all difficulty and danger, continued, whereever they went, to exhort the people and encourage the disciples, appointing elders to preside over the different churches they established.
It is very pleasing to attend these two holy men in all the stages of their undaunted and successful course, to behold them in imagination converting some, confirming others, and, through the power of their Divine Master, scattering blessings wherever they went. Let
their exhortations and example engage us to continue stedfast in the Christian faith, whatever tribulations we are called to pass through.
PAUL AND BARNABAS GO TO JERUSALEM.
From Acts, Chap. xv.
PAUL and Barnabas continued a considerable time at Antioch; but a question arising among the brethren, whether circumcision was necessary to salvation, a great dispute ensued, and Paul and Barnabas at length determined to go to Jerusalem, and consult the Apostles and Elders about it. As they passed through Phenice and Samaria, they gave great joy to the Christians in those parts, by relating what success their labours had had among the Gentiles. When arrived at Jerusalem, the Apostles and Elders highly approved of their proceedings; but there was great contention concerning the question of circumcision. However it was at length determined, agreeably to the counsel of James (who presided over the church at Jerusalem) to write letters to the Gentiles, requiring them to abstain from such acts as gave the greatest offence to the Jewish converts, particularly from eating things sacrificed to idols, or that were strangled, and from blood; as it was impossible there should be any harmony among them till they did so.
The letters were sent by Paul and Barnabas, accompanied by Judas and Silas. There was universal satis. faction among the Gentiles, when they found there was po necessity for them to submit to the ceremonial law of