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by which the Holy Spirit works. And therefore the Holy Ghost does not now suggest to the churches the names of those who are to be employed in ministering the word of life, whether that be in Christendom or in unchristianized lands, but gives the qualifications requisite, and the willing mind to which intimations the churches should attend with prayerful watchfulness, whilst to the individual concerned, the most abiding and most satisfactory evidence of being called will be a consciousness of unfeigned scriptural motives, and singleness of intention, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, and ardent benevolence to men; a readiness to spend and be spent for the elect's sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
II. At Antioch Barnabas and Saul were, as it is said in our text, "recommended to the grace of God." Notwithstanding the express call of the Holy Spirit, received whilst the prophets and teachers were ministering to the Lord and fasting, it was still deemed right again to observe a season of fasting and prayer, at which "they" (the prophets and teachers) laid their hands on the two Missionaries before sending them away. It does not appear in the Sacred Scriptures, that the Jewish Priests were ordained by any peculiar rite; but the Levites were dedicated by the laying on of the hands of the congregation, Num. viii. 10. Moses, at the appointment of Joshua to be his successor, received this command from the Almighty, "Take thee Joshua, the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thy hand upon him, and give him a charge, and put of thine honour upon him, that the congregation may be obedient." (Num. xxvii. 20.) In the New Testament, the Bishops and Presbyters were appointed by the laying on of hands; but "Barnabas and Paul," (the Apostles as they are called in chap. xiv. 14.) were not on this occasion first commissioned to teach and to preach Jesus Christ, and therefore the circumstance of now laying hands on them is the more remarkable.
However, what is of the greatest importance here to observe is, the evident anxiety, the earnest desire to obtain, by
solemn intercession, the co-operation of the Almighty arm. It implies a strong conviction of the difficulty of the work to be accomplished, and a consciousness of merely human efforts being inadequate. This, indeed, has been the sentiment, and this the feeling of all God's eminent servants, from Moses to Paul, and from his time to the present day. Moses exclaimed, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt! How shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips!"-The Prophet Jeremiah wished to decline his arduous office, and expostulated, saying, "Ah, Lord God, I cannot speak, for I am a child !" and Paul, referring to the ministry of "Christ's Gospel," exclaims, "Who is sufficient for these things." Such sentiments and feelings, when arising solely from humility and a desire to obtain divine aid, are exactly what they should be; but when mixed with timidity, the fear of man, distrust, the love of ease, and such unhallowed motives, they are so far wrong, and not to be indulged. When they are sincere and accompanied by love to God, they will not lead a man to decline his Lord's service, but will lead him to fasting and prayer for God's help. And then he may say with humility, "If thy presence go not with me, send me not up hence." And so, as in the cases above referred to, the answers from heaven will be as they were then, gracious and encouraging. The Lord replied to Moses thus, "Certainly I will be with thee—say not I am not eloquent, for who hath made man's mouthhave not I the Lord?-Now, therefore, go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." Jeremiah received for answer, "Say not I am a child; thou shalt go, and whatever I command thee speak. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee." And when Paul besought the Lord for help, the answer given him was this, "My grace is sufficient for thee."
All these examples should operate as a check both to presumption and to despondency, when men are engaged in the arduous work of the ministry. In the employment of humble, sincere, and zealous efforts, as directed by scripture precepts and examples, let the Lord's co-operation be sought
by abstinence and prayer, and then there is every reason to hope, that God will recognize such servants, as "workers together with him." Not that they must therefore be as successful as they wish, but their labour in the Lord, shall be graciously acknowledged and accepted.
III. The field of labour, occupied by Barnabas and Saul, on this first mission, was confined to Asia Minor: they did not pass into Europe, but returned to Antioch and Jerusalem and after Paul went forth a second time, he and Silas did not think of leaving Asia, till the vision appeared to them of a Macedonian Greek, calling and beseeching them to pass over to Europe, and afford help. Judea was a province of the Roman empire, and beyond the limits of that empire they never went. Paul was a Roman citizen, and he never quitted the Roman empire; and there was, as yet, no general law of the empire against the Christian Missionaries: the opposition they met with, was only from the prejudices and enmity of their fellow-subjects; to whom, occasionally, the local magistrates listened, and lent their aid. Being permitted to travel every where, afforded them facilities, such as indeed all Missionaries who labour in the British empire enjoy, but which is not the case with those in some Pagan countries.
It is observable that these two Missionaries, although so eminently furnished by heaven with qualifications for their work, and under no necessity to learn a foreign language, did not go without an assistant; or, as he is called, a "minister," one to serve and assist them. Moses had Joshua for his minister during his life-time, and for his successor after his death. Elijah had Elisha to minister to him, and serve him, and to succeed him; and when the kings of Judah, Israel, and Edom, enquired for a Prophet of the Lord, Elisha was pointed out, as he who had poured water on the hands of Elijah ;* i. e. performed for him the
In Java, and other countries of the East, it is still the usage for an attendant to "pour water on the hands" of a person when washing; under the same idea of cleanliness, as is suggested by bathing in a running stream; instead of bathing in stagnant water.
duties of a domestic servant. In ancient scriptural times, and in modern Asia still, the relations of Preceptor and Scholar, of elder and younger, always carried with them the idea of principal and helper; of one who is served, and of one who ministers to the other; in the whole of which is preserved a spirit of reciprocal affection and kind efforts, united to promote the good of both, in the pursuit of some common end. It is not the relation of lord and slave, or of a tyrannical master and an oppressed servant; but still of one who directs, and of another who is directed.
The spirit of modern Missionaries have so generally spurned at this sort of relation, although so perfectly scriptural, and so evidently rational, and honourable to both parties; they have robbed themselves of the comfort, and advantage to the cause, which its adoption would have ensured; and strifes, and divisions, have been the consequence of its rejection; and, thereby, consecutive labours being intermitted, the good cause has been injured.
IV. The manner in which Barnabas and Saul, with Mark for their minister, executed the mission, or fulfilled the work to which they were appointed, is stated at considerable length, and affords example and instruction, to all persons who have similar duties to perform, and to all churches who send forth Missionaries.
With such qualifications, and such powers as they possessed, and with such an express warrant from heaven to undertake the mission, many, now-a-days, would anticipate that he who sent them would smooth down every rugged difficulty, and incline all hearts to give them a ready reception. But this was not the case. At Paphos, on the island of Cyprus, a fellow-countryman of their's, a false prophet, opposed them, and used all his influence with the Roman Pro-consul against them. At Perga, their assistant, John Mark, abandoned them. At Antioch, in Pisidia, their countrymen, the Jews, stirred up the religious ladies, (the devout and honourable women,) and the rulers of the city, and raised a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. At Iconium,
the Gentiles and the Jews also, with their rulers, made an assault upon them, to use them despitefully and to stone them. Not content with this degree of enmity, these Jews followed Paul and Barnabas as far as the region about Lystra and Derbe, probably a hundred miles from Iconium, and persuaded the people to attempt the murder of the Apostles; and they actually stoned Paul, and dragged his body out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Paul, indeed, from the time that he became a Christian, was not only in labours abundant; but was also, at different times, in stripes above measure, scourged severely; was frequently imprisoned, and often exposed to death; in perils from robbers, from his own countrymen, from heathens, from false Christians; and he met difficulties in all places, by land and by sea, in the city and in the wilderness. He suffered not only from men, but also from the elementsthrice shipwrecked; exposed to hunger and thirst, to cold and nakedness. One inference from these things is, that opposition, and manifold sufferings endured by any servant of God, do not indicate that it is the will of Providence that he should desist from preaching the Gospel.
However, although Paul persevered in his work, he did not always remain in the same place, nor did he always address the same people. When the Jews contradicted and blasphemed, he and Barnabas gave them a solemn warning; and thenceforth, at that place, turned their attention to the Gentiles. And from Iconium, when he found out the design of the Gentiles and Jews, to unite together and murder him, he fled, and went elsewhere. Although a perfect stranger to the fear of man, he did not think it right to throw away his life; but obeyed the precept, "When they persecute you in one city, flee to another," and continue still to publish the Gospel.
We see that Paul could not be intimidated by ill usage; nor could he be flattered by the admiration and adulation of the populace and pagan priests. When the Apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of the intention to honour them as the gods Jupiter and Mercury, they were more earnest than ever in testifying against the vanity of idols. Chris