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PART II.- continued.
DEPARTURE FROM ANTIOCH ON THE SECOND GREAT PROGRESS.
This second progress takes an extensive range, far and wide, before the return to Antioch with which it concludes.
From the home circuit of Syria and Cilicia, A. xv. 41., Paul with Silas passes on into Lycaonia again, xvi. 1...3., and now, having the young Timothy added to their party, Paul and Silas through Phrygia and Galatia proceed to Troas, v. 8.: from that place, where Luke the historian joins them, by divine admonition they cross the Hellespont, and so into Macedonia, vv. 9...12.
At Philippi, after much rude persecution suffered by Paul and Silas, the miraculous conversion of the gaoler lays the foundation of the most pure and lovely of all the apostolical churches; to the close of ch. xvi.
Through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they come to Thessalonica, and from thence are driven by an uproar of the unbelieving Jews, xvii. 1...9.; and from Berea (which has its peculiar praise) Paul is in like manner driven away, 10...14.
Paul arrives at Athens, is encountered by the philosophers, and delivers a remarkable discourse on Mars's Hill; to the close of ch. xvii. He leaves Athens, and proceeds to Corinth, where he finds Aquila and Priscilla, lately from Rome, with whom he abides and works. A. xviii. Silas and Timothy come to him with good tidings, the one from Berea, the other from Thessalonica, vv. 1...5.
Ill received by the Jews, Paul turns unto the Gentiles, and, encouraged by a divine vision, preaches without fear before Gallio, the governor, he is accused by the Jews, who are baffled in their wicked attempt, vv. 6 ...17.
After a long and successful stay at Corinth, on his voyage to the coast of Syria, the apostle, now on his voyage back, hastily visits Ephesus; from Cesarea goes up to Jerusalem, and then returns for a season Antioch, vv. 18...22.
ACTS xv. 36. And after certain days 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.
That alone was the limited object apparently of the journey now proposed.
37. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
He was now at Antioch, probably having gone down from Jerusalem on the late occasion along with his kinsman Barnabas.
38. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, (A. xiii. 13.) and went not with them to the work.
39. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other.
Acting, however, as wise and sincere men would act," each devoting his best endeavours to the common cause, they set forward on separate routes of apostolic labour.
And so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus, his own native country, A. iv. 36., and where on the
service of the gospel he had been Paul's companion before. A. xiii. 4.
The name of Barnabas no where occurs again in the Acts in the Epistles he is repeatedly mentioned, always honourably and with respect. GAL. ii. 1. 9. 13.
1 Cor. ix. 6.
From the latter passage we gather, that Barnabas, then engaged like Paul in the great Gentile mission, like him worked with his own hands for his maintenance; though he and Paul, while so employed, might well have claimed exemption from any such necessity.
The name of Mark-John appears afterwards, in the Christian service of Paul, COLOSS. iv. 10., Philemon, ver. 24., and more remarkably so, 2 TIM. iv. 11.
ACTS xv. 40. Paul, on the other hand, chose Silas for his associate; and departed from Antioch, being recommended by the brethren unto the gracious favour of God.
41. And he went first of all through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
- Those in Cilicia should seem to have been planted by Paul, ix. 30., on his return from Jerusalem to Tar
xvi. 1. Then — in pursuance of the intention to revisit the churches, announced, A. xv. 36. — he came to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple (already here mentioned, ch. xiii. between vv. 7 and 8.) named Timothy, was there in the latter city, eminent for his early piety, whom Paul himself had converted (1 TIM. i. 2.), the son of a certain woman Eunice, which was a Jewess and believed, along with her
mother Lois. The unfeigned faith of both of them is recorded by Paul, in that affectionate address, 2 TIM.i.5.
But his father was a Greek by birth, not improbably, however, first a proselyte, and now a believer with the rest of his family.
ACTS xvi. 2. Which Timothy, then a mere youth, perhaps in his eighteenth year, was well reported of by the Christian brethren, not only at Lystra, but at Iconium also.
3. From seeing this young man therefore qualified and disposed, as a son with the father, to serve with him ministerially in the gospel (PHILIP. ii. 22.) him would Paul have to go forth with him: but duely aware that, as a Gentile, Timothy would not be allowed for that purpose to bear him company into the synagogues, while from his mother being a Jewess, he might properly be circumcised, Paul took and circumcised him, as well on that account and with that view, as especially because of the Jews which were in those quarters ; for they knew all that his father was a Greek, and might else have reported Timothy as an uncircumcised Gentile.
4. But as the Mosaic law with its ceremonial obligations is here naturally called to mind, it should be told also, that as Paul and Silas went through the cities of Syria and Cilicia (xv. 41.) they did not fail to deliver to them the decrees for to keep which were ordained expressly on their account (xv. 23.) by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, H. P. 104.
5. And so, being relieved from that troublesome question, those churches were established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
6. Now, therefore, when in their farther progress
far beyond the first purpose, xv. 36. — Paul (attended by Timothy) and Silas had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia,
GALATIA now visited for the first time
and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost as yet to preach the word in Asia (i. e. Lydian Asia, of which Ephesus was the capital, H. P. 37.)
ACTS xvi. 7. After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. (The cultivation of that vineyard was reserved for others, 1 PETER i. 1.)
8. And they passing by the northern borders of Mysia came down to Troas.
- A place, be it remarked, much more connected with the propagation of the Christian faith than might at first be supposed. Besides the beginning now made there, Paul visited Troas at three several times afterwards, 2 COR. ii. 12., Acтs xx. 5, 6., 2 TIм. iv. 13. Vide TROAS in the Index.
Here let the reader pause; and with solemn gratitude contemplate the apostolic transmission of the gospel now for the first time from the east to the west; into the regions of Europe "to Tubal and Javan and the isles afar off," as prophesied by ISAIAH lxvi. 19.— and across that boundary which, according to the father of history, formed the grand division between Europe and the Grecian name on the one hand and all the Asiatic nations on the other. Herodotus, Clio, s. 4.
In this place also, be it remarked, the historian of the Acts comes forward in his own person. Luke, probably, from all accounts, was a native of Antioch: and if so, since he appears to have been a convert when Paul now