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quence of this edict, Aquila, with his wife, came to Corinth, and there wrought in his occupation, which was that of a tent maker.
He is said, by the ancients, to have been a man of great learning. St. Jerom makes mention of him and of his writings. He says, the books of the prophets were, by this learned Jew, translated from the Hebrew into the Greek language, for the benefit of the Greeks. From this translation, which was extant in his time, he makes frequent quota. tions.
Paul, coming from Athens to Corinth, meets with Aquila, takes lodging in his house, and abides there for some time, working with him in his occu pation, as he had leisure; but preaching every sabe bath, in the synagogue, to Jews and Greeks, who resorted thither to hear him. It was probably at this time, that Aquila and his wife first gained the knowledge and professed the faith of the gospel. As they enjoyed Paul's company for some time in their own house, as well as heard him preach statedly in the synagogue, they doubtless became well instructed in the nature and evidence of the Chris tian religion. Accordingly we find, that they were able to expound to Apollos the way of God more perfectly, than he had before understood it.
Paul's residence with them laid a foundation for a close and intimate friendship, which we find remaining until the time of his death. In his second epistle to Timothy, which he wrote in his last bonds, when he was ready to be offered, he remembers them in his salutations.
How worthy they were of his affection and esteem, we learn from the character given of them in the words which we have chosen for our text. With united attention they had helped Paul in his labours for Christ. With the hazard of their own lives they had preserved his for the service of the
churches. And while they promoted the general interest of religion, they were careful to maintain it in their own family. They had a church in their house.
The contemplation of the character and example of these pious persons, will bring home to us some instructions in our own duty.
I. This godly couple appear to have been happily united in all their concerns, and especially in the great concerns of religion.
On all occasions they are both mentioned togeth neither of them is once named without the other. They were one flesh, and one spirit. They appear as patterns of conjugal union. They dwelt together in days of tranquility, and jointly shared in the calamities of banishment. With united hands they laboured in the occupation by which their household was supported. Wherever one went or resided, the other attended; whatever bu. siness employed one, the other assisted; and in their salutations to the churches, both unite. When Paul salutes one, he salutes the other; he speaks of both as his helpers in Christ; he acknowledges both, as having laid down their necks for him; and he commends both as presiding in their house, and rendering it a church of Christ. Aquila had such understanding in the things of religion, that he was able to instruct Apollos, a man mighty in the scriptures of the old testament. And Priscilla had made such proficiency in Christian knowledge, that she was able to assist him in expounding the way of the Lord.
Thus cemented by love, sharing together in all changes of condition, uniting in the labours of life, and cooperating in the duties of religion, they must have enjoyed all the felicities, which can spring from the conjugal relation.
As this is one of the most important relations in life, to the parties themselves, to society, and to posterity, they who sustain it, ought, above all things, to study mutual peace. This will render the relation a blessing; without this it will become a vexation and a curse.
The Christian pair, considering themselves as having one common interest, and feeling themselves animated by one soul, will readily participate in each other's labours and sorrows, and will cheerfully communicate to each other their own pleasures and joys. The rougher paths of life they will tread hand in hand, and, by reciprocal smiles of content, will beguile the tiresome walk. The pains of life they will lighten by bearing each other's burdens, and heighten every enjoyment by sharing it in common. In the education and government of the family, they will strengthen each other's hands; and, instead of contending for an idle superiority, will combine their influence for the good of the household. Little differences of opinion will be composed by mutual condescension. Accidental mistakes and trivial faults will be overlooked, or viewed with the eye of candour. More serious er rours will be mentioned with tenderness, and corrected with meekness. Real virtues and worthy actions will meet the cheering smiles of approbation; and worthy designs will be encouraged by a prompt, unsolicited concurrence. Unavoidable in
firmities will be viewed with the comforting eye of pity, not with the insulting eye of disdain. Real failings will not be matter of keen reproach, but of kind expostulation. Under trifling inconveniences they will not tease and vex each other by eter. nal complaints; nor under severe misfortunes will they imbitter each other's spirits by mutual upbraidings. But on the contrary, by examples of patience, cheerfulness and heavenly mindedness, VOL. I B b
they will elevate their own and each other's minds above the smaller, and fortify them to bear the greater troubles of this changing world.
In the important concerns of religion, they will walk, as being heirs together of the grace of life, that their daily prayers be not hindered, their virtuous resolutions weakened, nor their good works obstructed. While he leads in the devotion of the family, she will encourage him by her personal attendance, by calling the attendance of her household, and by such a prudent disposition of her domestick affairs, as may give seasonable opportunity for the solemnity. When he administers instruction or reproof to those under their care, she will prudently second it; or, if she thinks it misapplied or illtimed, she will not defeat his honest intention, by open, petulant contradiction; but rather, by private advice, prevent future mistakes. In their spiritual walk, they will be fellow helpers to the kingdom of God, animating each other by mutual counsel and example, and considering each other to provoke unto love and good works.
Such a conduct in the domestick relation is recommended by the example of this amiable pair, and enjoined by the precepts of the gospel of Christ.
Paul, in his epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, directs, that this relation be distinguished by mutual affection, tenderness, fidelity and submission; and that every thing which is bitter, be far removed from it-that the love, on the one hand, be like that which Christ shewed to the church; and the submission, on the other, like that which the church owes to him. The instructions of the Apostle Peter, on this subject, are to the same purpose. Their conversation must be chaste and pure; their adorning, a meek and quiet spirit; their language and manners, expressive of mutual
honour and esteem; and all their conduct, such as tends to engage affection, encourage a virtuous life, and assist in the necessary preparation for the world of glory.
A family, educated under the care of heads thus united in all the duties of the secular, domestick and religious life, will, by the smiles of heavyen, grow up in knowledge and piety, and, like the household of Aquila, become a little church of Je sus Christ.
II. The next thing observable in the character of these persons, is, that the Apostle calls them his helpers in Christ Jesus.
Convinced of the truth, and feeling the importance of the gospel, they wished its prevalence and success among their perishing fellow mortals. When they looked around on the ignorant Gentiles and deluded Jews, they pitied their deplorable state, rejoiced that the gospel was proclaimed, and desired its universal spread. As Paul was sent to preach the way of salvation, so out of love, not merely to him, but to mankind in general, they became his helpers in Christ Jesus.
There are various ways, in which private Christians may help their minister, and in which these godly persons may be supposed to have helped the Apostle, in the work of Christ.
1. They helped him by their hospitality.
For a considerable part of the time that he preach-ed in Corinth, he abode in their house.
Banished from Rome, they had but lately come hither. Their present condition could not be the most easy and plentiful. In the opulent city of Corinth, there were doubtless many more wealthy than they; but none so ready to open their doors to an Apostle of Jesus, who came to bring the gospel of salvation. By industry in their calling, they had acquired not only a competence for themselves,