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small note commenced the discussion; strong language used; strong feeling evoked: need now for some leader to guide the matter towards a settlement. Who now rises? Ver. 7; with Matt. xvi. 19. What will Peter do with the keys now? On the day of Pentecost, Israel knocked, and he opened. A good while ago a solitary Gentile knocked, and, under Divineconstraint, heopened. Now the whole Gentile world sends messengers to knock, and once more he opens! Pharisaic separatism judged by the flesh, God decided by the heart ; the Gentiles were deemed impure, but God had given them His Holy Spirit. Would they provoke God by oppo, sition ? The yoke to which he referred was the Mosaic Law, (a) in ceremonies, (6) the traditions of the fathers, (c) the moral law, which, though binding as a rule of life, was an unbearable “yoke” as a condition of salvation. So Peter leaves the gate wide open to the Gentiles. Now a pause: the meeting would like to have the facts stated to them again.
Barnabas speaks first, then his fellow-labourer. Mention some of the facts that would appear in their statement. Now the President of the Council rises ; Pharisaic hopes are at their highest, no foreign associations have polluted his life. To him, Peter is still Simeon; and the Old Testament Scriptures the end-all of controversy; what quotation did he make ? Ver. 15–17. Where did he find it ? What was the purport of it ? God had foreseen the events narrated by the missionaries, and foreshadowed them in prophecy. Concerning the “ prohibitions in ver. 20,
more will be said in our subsequent Lesson. Jews might still be Jews ; Christian Pharisees could have their liberty ; Sabbaths and synagogues were there for them; they could have Moses for their preacher every week; but let not the Gentiles be “troubled !”
REFLECTIONS.—1. Church dissensions need not startle or hinder the young disciples of Jesus. True metal is proved by fire; true thought by discussion.
2. “ Do not meddle, but wait,"—is good advice to the young in the matter of controversy. By and by they will find that discussions, apparently trivial, concern great principles.
3. “Salvation is free,”—was the proposition before the Council, and then accepted by them. It concerns of us.
Have we accepted this free Gospel ?
4. Beware of creating strife,—this a lesson for our own personal conduct. Bid from you the insincere, prying, unloving spirit of the“ false brethren," ver. 1.
5. Love stifles strife. — Paul and Barnabas ; James, Peter, John; the majority of the Council were moved with a common love to Jesus, the Gospel, and one another; so they came to one mind. Remember Matt. v. 9.
QUESTIONS. What circumstances dangered the Church at Antioch ? formed the deputation to Jerusalem? What induced Paul to go? What steps did he take preparatory to the Council ? Why was Titus sent? Who presided at the Council ? How was the discussion opened? Who gave the first influential speech ? What were his arguments ? What part did Paul and Barnabas take? Who concluded the discussion ? What were his arguments ?
-SEPARATION BETWEEN BARNABAS AND PAUL.-Acts xv. 22–41.
For repetition, verses 40, 41. INTRODUCTION. A little skill will not appear that the letter was drawn speedily prove this Lesson interesting. up during the first sitting of the Let a letter be produced ; how easily Council; rather, that a second meeting written and dispatched ; paper, ink, was called to hear the 'letter read and pen, postage-stamp, gone! How many
dismiss the brethren, ver. 30. The disputes are settled every morning by a letter! In this Lesson we have to do
document was probably drawn up in with a letter: thus the teacher will be
some private house. There, some Chrisled up to our Notes. The “four prohi.
tian scribe seats himself on the ground; bitions" of ver. 29 have their interest draws the long reed-pens from the also, and form the basis of our Reflections. lower part of his ink-horn; places the
horn on the ground, opens the lid, LETTER-WRITING.-V. 23. It does and is ready to write. Who are the
authors of the letter? The narrative does not say, but probability suggests the “ Pillars of the Church at Jerusalem (who?); the two missionaries (who?); and the two brethren who were to be the letter-carriers and commentators : who? Perhaps a rough sketch was made upon wax-tablets before the words were committed to the parchment. This done, the subcommittee of Apostolic men breaks up. · THE CONTENTS OF THE LETTER.–V. 23—29. The conduct and teaching of the “false brethren” (ver. 1) are plainly condemned, ver. 24. Their own revered teachers are to return to them as the “beloved” and honoured brethren of Apostles and the mother Church at Jerusalem, ver. 25, 26: discussion had melted away in love, a love too warm for written words, so two messengers are sent to declare it, ver. 27. Four things are mentioned as necessary for the conduct of these converted heathen; two, for the sake of believing Jews, the eating of blood and of things strangled. Food of that kind had been forbidden by the law, Lev. xvii. 14, and there was such a disgust at it amongst them, that social intercourse would be impossible unless the Gentiles yielded. Two things they were to observe for their own safety's sake. The idols of the heathen then, as now in India, had their sacrifices presented to them in the shape of meals and at meal-times. After presentation, a portion of the food was consumed by the priests, and the remainder was sold, the people regarding it as a sacred delicacy. The buying and eating of such food would not only be an offence to the Jews, but also a danger to the converted heathen, by bringing them into contact with their old associations. Against one sin, these converts mustespecially guard, the licentiousness which everywhere stood connected with idolatrous worship. Such was the letter.
THE MESSENGERS WHO THE LETTER.–V. 22, 25, 27, 32. А report must be made of the proceed. ings at Jerusalem, and it would come better from special messengers than from Paul and Barnabas. Besides, love speaks more tenderly through lips than through letters. Judas was probably a Jew home-born and homegrown; Sylvanus, shortened into Silas,
a foreign Jew, as appears from his Roman name and citizenship, ch. xvi. 37. So both sides are represented on the deputation. These were already
of mark, choice or chosen men; leading or “chief” men. They could speak with authority as well as love. They were gifted men; prophets,-persons divinely taught to understand the will of God and make it known to others; fitted, therefore, to explain and enforce the principles involved in the Apostolic decree. So now the letter has been read and approved; the messengers stand up to receive it; the two missionaries stand up to say
66 farewell.” The three venerated men, (who?) the heads of the Jewish Church, also rise; each gives his right hand with a loving grasp to the hand of each missionary; and with the Hebrew salutation, “ peace,” given and returned, this solemn assembly breaks up. Those linked hands indicated the closing of a breach which threatened to be dan. gerous.
THE LETTER RECEIVED -V. 30—35. Many weeks had elapsed since Paul and Barnabas had been sent away. No such means then, as now, for receiving news; no day-byday post; no telegraph to transmit an important decision in moment. Wait, wait, wait; but the messengers return at last. The whole of the brethren are summoned. What silence of suspense as the small parchment is produced! What a sigh of relief when the brief reading is concluded! With that sigh, the storm passed; and as farmers, when a fierce storm of wind and rain is over, betake themselves to ploughing and sowing, so with return of peace, Judas and Silas, Paul and Barnabas, are at work again, ver. 32, 35.
APOSTOLIC FAILINGS. – V. 36-41. Disagreement, contention, separation; three sad words to use of Apostles. But Paul's words are true, ch. xiv. 15. Such failings are recorded for our encouragement. “If they, in spite of their failings, served God so well, why may not we?"
What was the occasion of the strife? But see how God overrules it; there are now two groups of missionaries instead of one. Where did Barnabas go ? Paul? By whom were they accompanied ?
4. The grace of God enables us to yield our likings and accept our restraints.
-This illustrated by the healing of this dissension.
5. “ None but Christ”-is the only watchword of salvation. Sundays, worship, godly parentage, baptism, nothing without Christ. The absence or neglect of these things need not hinder, if we will come to Christ.
REFLECTIONS.—1. See the worth of personal influence.—Antioch sends two men to Jerusalem ; Jerusalem, two to Antioch. Be good, as well as talk good, and you will do good.
2. Peace requires sacrifice. - The Gentile Christians yielded something for the sake of peace. without doing wrong, rather than strive, Rom. xii. 18.
3. Safety demands restraint.--The converted heathen were directed to abstain from food offered to an idol; yet an idol is nothing; could not make bad food good, or good food bad. But the associations! So Christians find, and the young particularly, that there are many things lawful which are not expedient. Instances : amusements, reading, companionship, customs, etc.
QUESTIONS.—What was the mode of ancient letter-writing? Who would probably_be engaged in drawing up this letter? What were the chief points of it? Who were its bearers? What was its effect upon the Church at Antioch! Where did Paul and Barnabas propose to go? What led to their disagreement? How was this overruled for good ? Where did Barnabas go ? Paul ?
JUNE 21. TIMOTHY, MY OWN SON IN THE FAITH.”-Acts xvi. 1-12;
2 Timothy i. 1–5. INTRODUCTION.-The sketch of the were they to him ? They were devout early life of Timothy will form the main
as adherents of the Jewish faith, and subject of interest to the majority of
taught the boy the Old Testament scholars, and practical use is made of it
Scriptures. Then two missionaries in the Reflections, but the widening of the sphere of the missions of primitive
came, (Acts xiv. 6,)-the grandmother, Christianity ought to be made attractive
then the mother received the Gospel, to senior classes. The map, however, is
(2 Tim. i. 5,)--and greatly influenced indispensable.
the mind of the youth, 2 Tim. iii. 14.
Probably he was a spectator of the OLD GROUND RE-VISITED. - Syria half-finished martyrdom of St. Paul, lay around Antioch ; Cilicia lay to Acts xiv. 19. But St. Paul speaks of the north-west of it. The mountain- him as his "own son in the faith,'' a line of Taurus formed its northern phrase that implies that Timothy's boundary, and beyond it Lystra and decided experience of religion was Derbe. On his former visit Paul had traceable to the Apostle's own minreached these towns from the west, istry, and this could only have occurred crossing the mountains from Pisidia. during his second visit, ch. xiv. 21, 22. Now, travelling by land, he crosses The young convert had subsequently from the east, and his route would won the confidence of his brethren by lead him past his native city, Tarsus. consistency of conduct and activity in One can scarcely avoid the inference the work of the Lord, ch. xvi. 2. Men that he would remain there a little of insight had foreseen and foretold his while. If so, how old would contrast aptitude for the Lord's work, 1 Tim. with new associations !
Then over i. 18; iv. 14. Here, then, was the mountains to Derbe, after an suitable companion for the Apostle in absence of probably two years. The his missionary toil. Before he was churches in this and the neighbouring appointed to it, two circumstances towns, he finds, still survive and worthy of remark took place: his flourish.
circumcision and ordination. ConTIMOTHY.–V.1–5; 2 Tim. i. 14-5; cerning the first, see Illustration. The iii. 14, 15. His father was a Greek, - latter is referred to in 1 Tim. iv, 14; probably a proselyte, though not of 2 Tim. i. 6, iv. 5, and was expressed the strictest kind: probably dead. by the solemn ceremony of the layingTwo good women had the care of the on of hands by the body of elders. boy Timothy. Who? What relatives So away went the little group of three,-Paul, Sylvanus, and Timothy; tains. A great city. Thither the their first sphere was amongst the missionaries made their way, and there churches, where their ministry was for the present we leave them. greatly owned of God, ver. 5. NEW GROUND ON THE OLD Con
REFLECTIONS.-1. The value of parental TINENT.-V. 6—8. Now we must
influence.-Grandmother and mother take the map, and let the
eye help the
had much to do with Timothy's after
life. Book. We will begin at Iconium: the
Children are much indebted to line of travel turns in a north-westerly
a father's integrity and a mother's direction towards Phrygia, then turns
love: woe to them if these be despised,
These again north-east to Galatia.
Prov. xxx. 17. missionary tours, combined with Paul's
2. The value of an early knowledge of previous labours, covered the whole of
the Scriptures.- Perhaps 'Timothy asked the interior of Asia Minor. What
wly he must read so often in those old more natural now than to turn to the parchments of the law and the proprovinces on the coast ? So westward
but when he had become Paul's
phets; again, for the province to which the
companion, he found the benefit.
Children ask such questions now. A name of Asia was more particularly applied; but there their steps are
memory stored with Bible teaching is arrested (ver. 6) by an impression as
like a magazine of ammunition for conclusive as the words of a king's
war; of supply for sustenance. messenger: “no road this way.” Shall
3. The worth of a sermon.-Grandthey go direct north to Bithynia? “no
mother, mother; the Scriptures : then road.” A stag driven through a forest
the preacher. God uses the ministry of will detect a gap into the open country
the Word to bring all other influences and escape. Driven from Asia,
to a right issue. Have you felt this Bithynia, Mysia, nothing left but power ?
“ Quench not the Spirit.” Troas and the sea.
4. The right issue is personal conTHE NEW CONTINENT.–V. 9-12.
version. How was Divine guidance given ? ver.
5. After conversion, consecration.9. Europe was a world of Gentile
Timothy gave himself to work for blood; gross idolatry; strange tongues;
God; was held in reputation: then foreign manners. Must these Jews
was called to the work of a missionary: carry the Gospel there also ? God
obeyed. So the character formed, means it, so His servants reply im
and the sphere of usefulness opens. mediately, (ver. 10,) and put them
QUESTIONS.-What countries are mentioned selves on shipboard, and have a pros- in the first part of this Lesson? What two perous voyage of two days. At the towns are particularly referred to? What parend of the first day they sighted a
ticulars are given of Timothy's family? How
was his religious life brought to a decision? beautiful island. What? The second How had he given proof of the reality of that day brought them safely to the quay
life? Who now formed the missionary band ? side of Neapolis, the port of Macedonia.
How was their course shaped ? Mention the
countries they visited, and those which they Nine miles further inland lay Philippi, passed by. What led to their entrance upon on a plain overshadowed with moun- the Continent of Europe ?
Illustration.—THE CIRCUMCISION OF TIMOTHY. “It may be thought, however, that St. Paul's conduct in circumcising Timothy was inconsistent with the principle and practice he maintained at Jerusalem when he refused to circumcise Titus. But the two cases were entirely different. Then there was an attempt to enforce circumcision as necessary to salvation : now it was performed as a voluntary act, and simply on prudential grounds. Those who insisted on the ceremony in the case of Titus were Christians, who were endeavouring to burden the Gospel with the yoke of the Law : those for whose sakes Timothy became obedient to one provision of the Law, were Jews, whom it was desirable not to provoke, that they might more easily be delivered from bondage. By conceding in the present case, prejudice was conciliated, and the Gospel furthered: the results of yielding in the former case would have been disastrous, and perhaps ruinous, to the cause of pure Christianity.”—Conybeare and Howson.
The remaining Lesson for June will be inserted next month.
J. ROCHE, PRINTER, 25, 10XTON-SQUARE, LONDON.
EXERCISES ON SCRIPTURE LESSONS.
MORNING LESSONS. JULY 5. -GOLIATH OF GATH.—1 Samuel xvii. 1-30. THB SITUATION. - V. 1-3. The V. 12–16 repeat facts with which Philistines make another effort to sub- we are for the most part already jugate Israel. They invade Judah, acquainted, and require no comment. and encamp in Ephes-dammim, between They may be omitted in the reading, Shochoh and Āzekah. Shochoh lies the teacher simply stating that David's about eleven miles south-west of Jeru. three eldest brothers had joined the salem; Azekah, four miles north-east of
Israelitish army. Shochoh; Ephes-dammim, about mid- David IN THE CAMP. –V. 17-30. way between the two, west of Azekah. Though he had been anointed king, The Philistines posted themselves on David still kept the sheep, awaiting the hill-side. On another hill opposite,
Divine direction. Very soon, very the Israelites were stationed; the valley unexpectedly, he is to be brought of Elah separated the two armies. prominently before Israel. Thus God
GOLIATH OF Gath.-V. 4-11. Into is preparing the people to accept. this valley there stalked every morning Jesse's youngest son as their ruler. and evening for forty days (ver. 16) David is sent to inquire of his brothers' the Philistine champion, challenging welfare, and to take their pledge,-i.e., any Israelite to decide the war by to bring assurances of their safety to single combat with himself. He spoke their father. He bears a present with boastingly and insultingly, I defy the him for them, and for the captain of armies of Israel this day; give me a their thousand. He reaches the trench,
- if you have among you one — rather, the rampart of baggagecourageous enough-that we may fight waggons round the camp—just as the together. He contemptuously called host was going
forth to the
fight, and hears the Israelites Saul's servants.
both armies shout their war-cry. Fearone dared to accept the challenge; not ing lest the battle should begin before Saul, renowned warrior though he he could see his brothers, he leaves his was; not Jonathan, who had once at. carriage—his burden, that which he tacked a Philistine outpost so bravely, carried-with the keeper of the stores, and had slain there at least ten men then hastens to them as they stood in with his own hand. There was some the ranks. He sees the champion, excuse for their cowardice. He was a hears the challenge, watches with descendant of the Anakim that had surprise how the Israelites flee before terrified the spies, Num. xii. 33; Josh. Goliath. The common talk of the xi. 22; a giant nearly ten feet high. camp is the rewards Saul will confer He was encased in armour from head on him who shall slay the giant, ver. to foot. His coat of mail would be of 25. Free in Israel,- from taxes, etc. brazen scales overlapping each other. His very question shows that he reSee Portfolio. It weighed about one gards Goliath's bravado and Israel's hundred and fifty pounds. Greaves, — cowardice in the proper spirit, Who is gaiters. Target,-a small shield. Six this uncircumcised.. God? - Goliath was hundred shekels,-eighteen pounds. One a heathen, defying the true God. bearing, etc.—The large shield Goliath Trusting in Jehovah, even a youth like used in battle. His armour was not himself might conquer him. Eliab only stronger and heavier, but also overhears his younger brother's speech. more complete than that of the rest of Perhaps he had gained some inkling the Philistines. In it and his own of the reason of the anointing, and strength Goliath was confident of vic- was piqued that the prophet had not tory. He was proud of his might, selected him. If so, nothing could ostentatiously displaying it to his exceed the skilful malignity of his friends, exulting over his enemies. speech, ver. 28. Why camest thou down His “heart was as high as his head; hither ? - thus insinuating that his. his strength was answerable to his coming had not been authorised by his stature; his weapons answerable to father, that his message of inquiry was his strength; his pride exceeded all.”
And with whom hast -Bishop Hall.
thou left ? etc.—The sheep are so few, VOL. IX. NEW SERIES.—July, 1874.
a mere excuse.