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—those who have altered existing arrangements have incurred a weighty responsibility. But, we may neither condemn them, nor acquit them. The judgment belongs to a higher tribunal than that
Still less may we say, that those who by birth or accident have become members of a church so remodelled, are not justified in adhering to it, or that it is not a Church and a genuine portion of Christ's kingdom.
Some departure in the form of government, from the pattern of the primitive Church, has necessarily taken place in every community, nor does this departure of itself imply presumption. A very large community, for instance, has every where required a new order above bishops themselves; and this need being manifest, the appointment of the archiepiscopal office is as purely consonant to the apostolical views, as that of subordinate bishops. It has arisen in the same way, and in compliance with a similar need to that which gave rise to the episcopal order, in the apostolical Church ; namely, the increased extent and more complicated government of each Church. Thus, too, the appointment of catechists, once a branch of every Church establishment, was properly discontinued as
as they ceased to be required; and as properly has been revived in our colonies, where their services are once more applicable. The choroepiscopi served, in like manner, to meet another occasional emergency.
No Church has ever more anxiously and conscientiously shaped its course by the spirit, and by the very letter of the apostolic precedents, than has the Church of England. And yet even that Church has found circumstances powerful enough to justify a deviation scarcely less momentous, in the transfer of supreme ecclesiastical authority to the civil magistrate. It is not merely a variation from the original architecture of Christ's holy building that constitutes disproportion and deformity. We must look also to the changing features of the scene around, and see whether these have not demanded corresponding alterations, and let these be the measure of our judgment.
St. PAUL AT JERUSALEM. St. Paul's interview with the Ephesian elders was rendered Prophetic peculiarly solemn and affecting, from a feeling of which he himself warpings to partook, that death awaited him at Jerusalem.78
Still he went on, and the prophetic warnings which pursued him, and the anxious entreaties of his friends, continued to confirm his fears, and to sadden his pilgrimage, without inducing him to discontinue it. On Acts xx. 16. his arrival at Cæsarea, especially, Agabus came from Judæa, and, by virtue of his prophetic gift, told him expressly by symbol and
78 This is another proof, that the prophetic spirit was not at his command, but dealt out to him by measure ; and its
suggestions perfectly distinguishable from other, even the strongest, impressions on the mind.
by word, that the Jews should bind him, and deliver him over to the Gentiles. So that he arrived at Jerusalem fully apprised of the persecution which he was to encounter, and uncertain whether his life would be spared or not. The terms of Agabus's prediction were more likely to portend death ; for in that he was to be bound by the Jews, and delivered up to the Gentiles, the fate of his Lord and Master could not but recur to him, and seem likely to be now his own: nor was it, perhaps, any slight stimulus and support to him in his perseverance, that he seemed, in thus pressing on to Jerusalem, in spite of his own forebodings, and of the remonstrance of others, to be imitating him. The studious imitation of Christ, wherever any similarity of circumstances could be perceived and felt, forms a marked feature in the lives, not only of the apostles, but of the primitive worthies who inherited their tone of Christian
He declares his Apostleship to the Idolatrous Gentiles.
On other grounds he had reason to surmise that his work was finished. His third apostolical journey was now ended, and the conversion of the Gentiles far enough advanced, to make it safe and expedient for him to communicate openly to the whole Church that secret, which had been hitherto confided to a select few. For this, probably, more even than to keep the feast, he had hastened his journey to Jerusalem. Whether the result of this open avowal would be the forfeit of life, might have been concealed from his prophetic view purposely to try him. At all events, the present might have seemed to him a seasonable period for the termination of his labours,---in all human probability it would be so. Hence the tender farewell, in which he had told the Church of Ephesus should see their face no more;'
;"> 80 hence his anxiety, even in haste, to pay them that parting visit; hence, perhaps, that very haste and urgency, that with the enlightened views of a Christian, indeed, but still with the patriotic feelings of one whose early habits had been moulded in the “ straitest sect” of the Jews, he might once more keep the festival with his countrymen, and die. His Master's example might again, in this particular, have influenced the tone of mind which kept up his resolve to go on to Jerusalem. As he approached, what train of thought so natural and so cheering as the image of the blessed Jesus in his last journey to Jerusalem,-his earnéstness to keep the passover there, unabated by the certain foreknowledge that he was to be bound by his countrymen, and delivered up to the Gentiles ?
Such then was, probably, the frame of mind with which St. Paul disclosed to the rulers of the Church of Jerusalem the true nature of his extraordinary apostleship to the Gentiles, and the prosperous
79 See the description of the martyrdom of Stephen and of James in the Acts. A similar remark applies to the account given of the deaths of Polycarp, Ignatius,
and many more among the primitive Christians.
80 Acts xx. 38. See note 78, p. 149.
result of three journies amongst them. Like the other marvellous disclosures of the mysteries of the new dispensation, it called forth that peculiar thanksgiving which is styled in Scripture, " glorifying Acts xxi, 19, God.' Their joy and wonder were however immediately followed by a sense of the danger to which he stood exposed. One expedient suggested itself. It was proposed that he should join four Jewish His Christians in performing the rite of purification in the temple. This, it was thought, would convince the Jews of the real design of his mission; namely, that it was not, as far as concerned their law, to forbid the Jewish Christians to observe it, but only the Gentiles, and especially the idolaters. So public and unequivocal a testimony of conformity to the Mosaic ceremonies, would, it was thought, remove the worst ground of enmity against him, and at least soften down the spirit of ill-will. It produced, however, a contrary result. His appearance in the holy place was construed into a design to defile it. Trophimus, a Gentile convert, had accompanied him from Asia. He and Paul were often seen together, and the former was recognised by some Jews from Asia. An outcry was raised that Paul had brought this Gentile into the temple itself. Lysias, the commander of the Roman garrison, was obliged to interfere, and rescue him from the fury of the multitude. În vain he obtained permission to address them from the steps of the castle, whither they were conducting him to imprisonment. Eloquence, even such as Paul's, conveying to them the avowal, that the kingdom of God was thrown open to Gentiles and idolaters, could only serve to exasperate them; and it was with much difficulty that he was preserved from outrage and death.
Here his trial, at least his uncertain apprehensions, ended. That night the Lord stood by him, and informed him, that he was Acts xxii. appointed to bear witness to Him in Rome. In what manner the treacherous designs of his enemies were rendered subservient to this purpose, is well known. His appeal from the tribunal of Festus to that of Cæsar was made, not only with the view of defeating the stratagem devised for sending him back to Jerusalem, but in fulfilment of the command of the Lord delivered to him that night. In obedience to this, he embraced the early opportunity, thus providentially afforded, for his visit to the imperial city.
St. PAUL'S FOURTH APOSTOLICAL JOURNEY.
From A.D. 63–66.
ROUTE: Acts xxiii Antipatris; Cæsarea; Sidon; Myra; Fair Havens; Melita; Syracuse; Rhegium; 31, to xxviii. Puteoli; Appii Forum; Three Taverns; Rome; Italy; Spain; Crete; 'Jerusalem
Antioch in Syria.
ST. LUKE's narrative, as has been already observed, was very evidently composed with the design of recording the progress of the Holy Spirit's dispensation through its several stages: first, as confined to the Jews; next, as embracing the devout Gentiles also ; and lastly, as unlimited in its application, and open to idolaters of every caste.. On this account it is, that the first part of his little history embraces the ministry of all the apostles; then is occupied chiefly with St. Peter, as the person selected by the Spirit for the first extension of the Gospel scheme; then it follows Barnabas and Paul through the next and last enlargement of the covenant, for the management of which they had been appointed; and, at length, is confined to the ministry of St. Paul, in whose hands it was left on the separation between him and Barnabas. With equal propriety, the account closes with the period, when the apostle of the idolatrous Gentiles, having formally announced the greatest mystery of the Gospel to the Church of Jerusalem, has arrived at the capital of the world, and the work has been commenced in the imperial city itself. His
voyage thither is accordingly related with an unusual minuteness of detail: not only, perhaps, because of the miraculous circumstances which it embraces, but because it was preparatory to that which the historian considered the important boundary of his plan, his arrival and first ministry at Rome.
81 Some intimations of this might be intended in the words, with which the Gospel opens,
“Forasmuch as many, have taken in hand to write in order; and with reference to this it is, perhaps, that we are told so pointedly in the 19th chapter of the Acts, ver. 21, these things were ended," (he had been recording the rapid progress which the Word was making, and how it “ mightily grew and prevailed,”) “ Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had
passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there I must go to Rome also.” Rome was the mistress and representative of the world ; and when therefore the apostle had preached the Gospel there, our Saviour's declaration concerning that sign which was to precede the destruction of Jerusalem, might be fairly understood to have had its accomplishment. “This Gospel must first be preached in all the world."
ST. PAUL A PRISONER AT ROME. Among the faithful friends and assistants who formed his company here, are recorded—I. Timothy, who came with him from Acts xx. 4; Macedonia, and whose name appears joined with his in the Epistles Col. P: 1;
. 1; to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
II. Luke, who had been long his constant companion, as appears Acts xx. 5,6. from the form of his own narrative; and who is mentioned as still Col. iv. 14; with him, in the Epistle to the Colossians, and in that to Philemon.
III. Aristarchus, one of his fellow-travellers from Macedonia, Acts xx. 4. and it would seem now his fellow-prisoner also, (Col. iv. 10.)
IV. Tychicus, another of his fellow-travellers, and his messenger Acts xx. 4. to the Colossian Church, (Col. iv. 7.)
V. Lastly, Mark, the nephew of Barnabas, (Col. iv. 10,) who had now regained the esteem and trust which he forfeited on his first journey with Paul.
The account given by Festus of his prisoner could not but have Advantages been favourable; as he was permitted to lodge in a “hired house,” situation. with free access to him from all his friends, and sufficient liberty to be able to discuss the subject of his imprisonment, and the persecu- Acts xxviii. tion which had led to it, with the chief Jewish settlers at Rome. Under these circumstances, he was probably better able to effect the object of his mission in the first instance, than if he had come to Rome free, and more obviously by choice. Being immediately under the protection of the government, he was respected by the Jews; whilst the government was seasonably made acquainted, from the nature of the charge against him, with the innocent object of his mission; and therefore was unlikely to be excited against him, as a pestilent fellow, or a ringleader of sedition.”. For two years the Gospel was thus suffered to take root in the seat of empire, unmolested and almost unobserved, through a train of providential circumstances, such as the importance of the case seems to have required. A tumult in Rome, like that which had occurred at Ephesus and Philippi, would, humanly speaking, have been fatal to the infant state of the religion, and it seems to have been expressly guarded against by Providence.
The particular mode in which the apostle made his first appear- And of his ance at Rome, was serviceable to the cause in another point of view. It brought him into an intercourse with the soldiery. His voyage, with the
Soldiery. with all its perils and the miracles to which it gave rise, might have been intended to impress the minds of the soldiers who guarded him (as was actually the result) with the conviction that he was an extraordinary man. Its length might have been protracted with the same view; and the record may have been left in exact minuteness to direct our attention to the circumstance. His integrity had been proved by his mode of life with them generally, and especially by his disinterested care to preserve the whole crew in the ship