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of their idolatrous acclamations, he was seized with excruciating pains,“ worms bred in his putrified flesh, and devoured him-alive.” In this wretched condition he continued five days, and then expired an awful instance of God's just judgment, who resisteth the proud, and will not give his glory to another.”*

While these things were transacting in Judea, the church of Antioch increased greatly, both in number and in gifts. For besides the stated office-bearers of bishops and deacons, which were common to all the churches, this at Antioch had several eminently gifted persons, as prophets (or exhorters), and teachers (or ministers of the word); among whom were Barnabas and Simeon, and Lucius, and Manaen, and Saul." By means of a certain prophet who had come down from Jerusalem to Antioch in those days, the Lord was pleased to intimate his will that, among other things, a season of scarcity was approaching which would severely affect the disciples in Judea'; an event which accordingly took place in the latter end of the fourth or beginning of the fifth year of the reign of Claudius, as is noticed by Josephus, Eusebius, and Orosius. In this calamitous event, we have a

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The account which Josephus gives of the death of Herod, coincides with that given by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, except that. the former goes more into detail, and has particularly noticed that the king himself could not but acknowledge the hand of God in his sufferings, and flattering and unjust the acclamations were, which ascribed divinity to him, 'a mortal being, 'nów seized with a disease which

would quickly hurry him out of the world. He left behind him a son called AGRIPPA then seventeen years of age, before whom Paul afterwards appeared and made the well known apology for Christianity, by, which he “almost, persuaded Agrippa to be a Christinn.” He also left two daughters who are noticed in the New Testameat, viz. Bernice, who was married to Herod, king of Chalcis, her father's brother, when she was only sixteen years of age ; and i DRUSILLA, who was afterwards married to the governor Felix. Is After the death of Herod Agrippa, the kingdom was again reduced to a Roman province, and then the persecution of the Christians, for a while, abated,

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SECT. 111.]

Saul and Barnabas sent forth.

47

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signal display, not only of the care of the blessed God over his people, in revealing its approach by the ministry of this prophet, and thus giving them an opportunity to provide against it, at a time when many of the Christians, in Jerusalem had forsaken all for the gospel's sake, and were labouring under peculiar difficulties; but we have also a manifestation of his divine wisdom and goodness in so ordering the course of events, as that, in the generous and disinterested conduct of the believing Gentiles, the church at Jerusalem should have a pledge of their fervent love and affection towards them as their Christian, brethren, and of the sense they entertained of their obli-, gations to those from whom the sound of, the gospel first came out ; for having been made partakers of their spiritual things, they thought it perfectly reasonable to minister, unto them in temporal things.” And if we also take into the account, that even among the believing Jews there, was at that time some little remains of the antient jealousy about the admission of the Gentiles into the kingdom of Christ, we cannot but see how wisely adapted this was to dissipate all evil surmising from the minds of the former, and to promote the most cordial amity and concord between these different classes of Christians.. Nothing has so powerful a tendency to meliorate the human heart, as acts of kindness and love nothing softens the mind of man and infuses into it a favourable opinion of others like expressions of charity! No sooner was the approach . of this famine intimated in the church at Antioch, than " the disciplesy, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren which were in Judea, which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul."si erial was a tetto, i stog' y:$ ??.85509

Soon after Barnabas and Saul had returned from Jerusalem to Antioch, the Lord was pleased to make known his will, that they should be separated for the great work

whereunto he had called them, which was accordingly done by fasting and prayer, accompanied with the imposition of hands. Saul had long been invested with the apostolic office; for he received it not from any man or body of men, as he himself declares, but immediately from Jesus Christ. We are not therefore to imagine that the act of the church, on this occasion, constituted either Saul or Barnabas apostles--but it recognized them as the apostles of Christ; and from the whole transaction we may at least deduce this instruction, that as God is not the author of confusion, but of order and peace in all the churches of the saints, so it is his will that all the affairs of his kingdom should be conducted, not as human wisdom may suggest, but from a regard to his authority; under the control of his revealed will, and in a dependence upon him for his blessing, without which the wisest and best concerted measures must prove fruitless,

Thus sent forth“ by the Holy Spirit,” concurring with the act of the church at Antioch, they accordingly departed unto SELEUCIA, a place fifteen miles below Antioch, and situated upon the same river, Orontes, and five from the place where that river runs into the sea. From thence they sailed to the island of Cyprus, situated in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, being the native country of Barnabas. As this island lay contiguous to Judea, it abounded with Jews, as is attested by several ancient authors. The first place which the apostles visited in that island was

SALAMIS, a city lying on the eastern extremity, and one of the nighest ports to Syria. The gospel had already reached that island, but the knowledge of it was confined to the Jews.* The apostles here found Jewish synagogues, which they frequented, and in which they preached the word of God to both Jews and Gentiles.

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Acts xi. 19.

SECT. 111.) Seleucia, Salamis, and Paphos.

49 After this they travelled nearly the whole length of the island, till they came to Paphos, which was situated upon the western extremity, a place famed for its teraple and obscene worship of the Paphian Venus. This was the residence of Sergius Paulus, the Roman Proconsul, who, hearing of the arrival of Barnabas and Saul, sent for them, desiring to hear from their mouths the word of God. Here the apostles were withstood by Elymas, a noted, magician, who sought to turn away the deputy from the faith. Saul, however, detected his malicious intention ; and, as Peter had formerly done in the awful instance of Annanias and Sapphira, so Saul by his apostolic power, denounced upon Elymas the approaching judgment of God for his iniquity. Scarcely had he uttered the words when the sorcerer was struck with a total blindness, insomuch that he went about seeking some one to lead him by the hand.* The Lord was pleased, by means of this judgment upon Elymas, to awaken the attention of the Proconsul to the things which concerned his everlasting peace, for “ when he saw what was done, he believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.”

On this occasion, we find the first intimation of the change of the name of the great apostle of the Gentiles from Saul to Paul. Various conjectures for this have been offered by the learned. By some it is supposed that . the latter title was given him because he had been the means of converting. Sergius Paulus to the Christian faith ; as Scipio obtained the appellation of Africanus from the circumstance of his having conquered Africa. Others, however, and among them ranks the judicious Benson, account for it, by supposing that at the time of his circumcision he received the two names of Saul and, Paul- the latter as his Roman name (for he was born a freeman of Rome), and the former as his Jewish name,

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for he was a Jew, or, as he calls himself, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As, therefore, he had been called Saul, while he continued among the Jews, and as he was henceforward to execute his ministry among the Romans, he adopted his Roman name. And the same reason hath been assigned, for changing the name of his companion Silas into that of Silvanus. Paul and Barnabas quitting Paphos sailed to.Perya, a town in Pamphilia, not far from the coast of Asia Minor, from whence they passed on to

Antioch in Pisidia. And here we may remark, that, in executing their mission among the Gentiles, it was the invariable practice of these apostles, on their arrival at any city or town, where they had not previously been, in the the first place to inquire whether there was any Jewish synagogue in it, and if they found one, they attended its worship on the ensuing Sabbath. Such was the case at Iconium, Acts xiv. 1.-at Thessalonica, ch. xvii. 1.-at Corinth, ch. xviii. 4.-—at Ephesus, ch. xix. 8. and other. places, and such was the case at Antioch in Pisidia, where “they went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.This manner of proceeding does not appear to have been arbitrary or capricious, but conformable to the revealed will of their divine master, who, in the commission which he gave to his apostles to preach the gospel to every creature, commanded them" to begin at Jerusalem," the place where he was crucified. This was altogether in unison with the nature and with the properties of the grace revealed in the gospel itself—which " Grand as the bosom whence it flowed, and kind as the heart that gave it vent,-outshines the thoughts of shallow man.” So we find Peter reminding the Jews that unto them first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, had sent him to bless them, in turning away every one of

* Acts xiii, 14, &c.

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