Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

go into Macedonia first. Accordingly, Paul went from Ephesus to Troas, expecting to find Titus there. In this however he was disappointed ; and though he had intended to preach the gospel for some time at Troas, yet his anxiety to meet Titus, and to receive an account of the state of things at Corinth, was too great to allow him to remain; and therefore he took ship at once for Macedonia, where he would meet Titus in his way from Corinth. Arriving at Philippi, the principal town of that province, he was joined by Titus, who was able to give him a satisfactory and comforting report of the effect which his letter had produced amongst the Corinthian christians. Upon receiving this information, Paul sent Titus back to Corinth, with directions to complete the collecting of the contributions which were being made in the province of Achaia, according to the arrangement at the conference at Jerusalem ; with him he also sent a person whom he calls “the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,” who is generally supposed to have been St. Luke the Evangelist. This brother had been specially appointed by the christians, (probably of Asia,) to accompany Paul in his visitation of the Gentile churches, for the purpose of making the proper arrangements in receiving their alms for the poor Jewish christians. A third christian was associated with these two on this mission, of whose proved diligence the apostle speaks very highly. Upon sending these forth, Paul wrote his second epistle to the Corinthian church ; in which he incidentally refers to the several circumstances that have now been explained in their order.

It must have been while he was at Philippi upon this occasion, that the apostle also wrote his epistle to the Galatians; as may be proved by the combination of several minute particulars

. It appears that a teacher of certain Jewish doctrines connected with christianity had acquired great influence amongst the christians of the province of Galatia ; and it was to counteract the evils of this man's teaching that Paul wrote this letter. He then travelled through the whole province of Macedonia from east to west, up to the province of Illyricum, upon which it bordered, preaching the gospel of Christ Jesus : this was

a tract of country in which the gospel had not before been published. Then coming southward, he continued his missionary labours all along the western side of Greece, and thus made his way to Corinth; (the province of Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital city, was especially called Greece); where he remained for three months, to confirm the church in those principles which his letters had set forth so powerfully. It was from this place that he wrote his epistle to the Romans, of which there are several proofs in that epistle itself; and it was most probably about the end of that period, when he had made arrangements for his intended voyage into Syria, for which purpose he must have gone to Cenchrea, the seaport of Corinth. The manner in which Paul mentions Phebe, leads to the supposition that he lodged in her house at Cenchrea, and took advantage of her intended voyage to Rome to send by her a letter to the christians there; the fame of whose piety had extended far and wide; while Paul had become more intimately acquainted with the particular individuals and circumstances of that church, by frequent conversation with his Roman friends Aquila and Priscilla, who had now left Ephesus and returned to Rome. (Rom. xvi. 1-4; i. 8.)

After Paul had taken his passage in a ship about to sail for Syria, he discovered that the Corinthian Jews had conspired together to kidnap and destroy him, either at the time of his embarkation, or more probably to get rid of him on the voyage. This made him alter his plan, and determine to go by land to Macedonia again, and there take ship for Asia. This he accordingly did ; and several christians from the different Gentile churches were to accompany him to Asia, being probably deputed to convey the sums of money

which had been collected for the Jewish church. These were Sopater from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, as well as Timothy, who was originally of the neighbouring town of Lystra. (Acts xvi. 41 ; page 205.) Tychichus and Trophimus, who also went with him, were natives of Asia. The whole party set off before Paul, appointing to wait for him at Troas, where they would land in sailing from Philippi.

1

Paul waited at Philippi during the week of the Passover, which occurred that year (A.D. 56) at the end of March. Then he sailed for Troas, which place he reached in a voyage of five days. We may conclude that Luke was with Paul upon this occasion, because here he again makes use of the first person plural in his writing, (“ tarried for uswe sailed” &c.) It was by this manner of writing that we found that he went with Paul in his former journey as far as Philippi; but he seems to have remained there when the apostle went on to Thessalonica : and as he now resumes the former mode of expression, we may suppose that he had remained at Philippi during the interval of seven years, (with the exception indeed of a few months, if he be “the brother” sent to Corinth with Titus, as is conjectured).

Upon Paul's joining the friends who were waiting for him at Troas, he remained a week with the christians there. Here is the first mention made of the regular celebration of the christian sabbath on the first day of the week. It is referred to as a thing well understood. All the christians habitually assembled on that day, in order to partake of the ordinance of the Lord's supper. Paul arrived at Troas on a Monday, and upon the Sunday following he preached to the assembled congregation, having made preparations to go away the next day. He continued preaching so long, that midnight came and found him addressing the people. They were assembled in a large room upon the third story of the house, which was lighted with a great many lamps; the heat of which, as well as the effect of the number of persons crowded together in one room at such an hour, made a young man named Eutychus fall into a heavy sleep. He happened to be sitting in a projecting window common in those countries, the shutters of which were open; and as Paul continued his.preaching for a long while, Eutychus became so fast asleep that he fell out of the window into the street. Upon raising his body, it was found that he had been killed by the fall; but Paul, who had gone down with the rest of the people to look after him, followed the example of the prophets Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings xvii. 21. 2 Kings iv. 34); stretching himself upon the body and embracing it, he bid

the people not to afflict themselves, for that the young man was restored to life. This was found to be true, to the great comfort of his friends. The congregation of christians went up again and partook of the Lord's supper; after which they passed the remainder of the night in conversation, and when the day dawned, Paul took leave of them and departed.

APPLICATION,

are

1. The earnest feeling of anxiety which Paul manifested on account of the state of the Corinthian church, may be considered as one means of estimating the importance of establishing the profession of the gospel in a real and practical christianity, and the danger of resting in the possession of external privileges and benefits. The apostle's two letters to the Corinthians should be read in connection with the history detailed in this portion. In the first he addresses them as those who “ enriched by Jesus Christ in all utterance, and in all knowledge,” and as “coming behind in no gift,” (1 Cor. i. 5, 7); but these gifts—this power of utterance-this knowledge, was accompanied in them with the toleration of a course of living in some wholly at variance from the gospel purity and humility; and Paul was alarmed lest his labour at Corinth should have been in vain-in vain as regarded the salvation of their souls--and in vain as regarded the crown of rejoicing to which he constantly looked forward. Hence that earnest anxiety which gave him no rest in his spirit until he had received from Titus an assurance of the effect of the letter which, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, he had written them. This evidence of the reality of spiritual conversion required by the apostle, before he could be sure tl:at his preaching had been effectual, should excite us to more diligent self-examination, in order that it may not turn out in the end that those who have ministered the gospel to us, have laboured in vain ; while the affectionate anxiety shewn by Paul might well teach us to strive after a similar earnestness in caring for the souls of those who may, in any measure, be brought within our influence for good.

QUESTION.

How far does my conduct tend to comfort those who are interested in my spiritual welfare ? How do I shew my own anxiety that those whom I may be able to influence should not have known me in vain ?

2. This passage of Scripture is very important, as being the first which distinctly asserts the habitual alteration of the sabbath from the Jewish custom which placed it at the end of the week, to the christian, which places it at the beginning; and as impressing this alteration with apostolic sanction, by the conduct of Paul. The christians came together to receive the holy communion, and Paul preached to them on the occasion. As it was the custom amongst the Jews to calculate the day as beginning at six o'clock in the evening, very probably it was at that time that the people gathered together; and they were so deeply interested in the instruction of the apostle, that they willingly remained all the night to hear him. The wearied attention by which too many christians of the present day find that a short space of time is all that they can give to the things of eternal interest, shews but too plainly a low state of spiritual feeling, as compared with the lively impulses which sustained the christians of Troas.

QUESTION. Upon what authority do I rest the alteration of the day for keeping the sabbath ? upon the scriptural evidence of truly apostolic custom and sanction? or upon the assumed authority of a power supposed to reside in the church?

3. The miracle performed by Paul in raising Eutychus to life after his fall from the loft window, is similar to those by which the prophets Elijah and Elisha gave

evidence that God was with them; and it shews that the promise of miraculous power (Mark xvi. 17, 18) with which our Lord sent forth his apostles, was fulfilled from time to time, as it was required for the establishment in the faith, of those to whom the gospel was preached. However convincing such a miracle might have been when Paul was permitted to put forth that power to shew that God was with him, it should be remembered that there are

« AnteriorContinuar »