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of opinion arose between them as to the propriety of taking Mark with them as an evangelist, or assistant in the work of the ministry; and this diversity of judgment was over-ruled by their common master, no doubt, ultimately to promote his own glory and the happiness of numbers, by inducing the apostles to travel asunder and in opposite directions; for the result was, that Barnabas took Mark, his own nephew, and sailed unto Cyprus, his native country-while Paul chose Silas, one of the brethren that had returned with him from Jerusalem when he last visited it; and being commended by the church to the divine benediction, they took their leave and proceeded for Syria and Cilicia.
Many Christian churches were collected by the ministry of the first preachers of the word, of which we have no express mention in that very concise narrative,-the Acts of the Apostles. Thus, for instance, we have no particular account of any Christian churches being planted in Cilicia, yet we are informed that Paul and Silas went through Cilicia confirming the churches, which of course must have been previously gathered and set in order. And when we consider that this was Paul's native country, and that previous to his being first brought to Antioch by Barnabas he had spent some years in it, we may reasonably infer that his ministry had been owned by his divine master, and that he was the spiritual father of many in the regions of Cilicia.
Of the labours of Barnabas and Mark in the island of Cyprus, the sacred history is silent; but, that he who commissioned bis apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and who also promised to be always with them while thus engaged even to the end of the world, did own their labours and grant them success, it were unreasonable to doubt.
Paul, accompanied by Silas, however, among other places, revisited Derbe and Lystra, at the latter of which he had, during his former visit, converted Timothy, then quite a youth, to the faith of Christ. The father of Timothy was a Gentile, probably proselyted to the Jewish religion, but his mother and grandmother were both Jewesses. From his earliest years he had been instructed in the knowledge of the Old Testament writings-and, it would seem from an expression which Paul uses in one of his letters to him, * that, upon his being first brought to the knowledge of the truth, the Holy Spirit had given a prophetical intimation of his future eminence as a minister of the word. So favourable was the report which the brethren of Lystra now gave the apostle, of the gifts, the zeal, and the amiable deportment of Timothy, that Paul chose him as an associate in the work of the ministry, with which office he was solemnly invested by the prayers of the church and the laying on of the hands of the Presbyters of the church at Lystra. + To prevent the Jews in that quarter from cavilling at his ministry, because they knew that his father was a Gentile, the apostle circumcised him with his own hand: after which they proceeded on their journey, every where delivering to the churches the decrees which had been ordained by the church at Jerusalem, and which ascertained in the fullest manner the liberty of the Gentiles from the obserrances of the Mosaic ritual; and by these means they were established in the faith, and their numbers multiplied daily.
Their stay appears to have been very transient in Phrygia and the region of Galatia, on this occasion; nor were they permitted by the Holy Spirit to preach the word at this time in Asia Minor; but, passing by Mysia, they came down to
Troas, a noted sea-port town, where travellers from the upper coasts of Asia usually took shipping to pass into Europe. Here they appear to bave been joined by Luke, the writer of the history of the Acts, a uative of Antioch, as is generally believed, and who to the profession of a physician, had joined that of an evangelist or preacher of the gospel.*
1 Tim. i. 18.
+ 1 Tim. iv. 18.
At Troas, Paul had a vision in the night. There stood beside him a man of Macedonia, and besought him, saying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us." Paul gave an account of this vision to his companions, who all concurred in one interpretation of it, namely, that the Lord had called them to preach in Macedonia. They therefore obeyed the heavenly admonition, loosed from Troas, and went direct for Samothracia, an island in those seas, famous for being the seat of certain religious mysteries, in equal estimation with those called Eleusinian; but it does not appear they went on shore, for they landed the next day at Neapolis, a sea-port town of Macedonia.
Thus Paul, having first preached the gospel at Damascus, after that in Arabia, next at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, then to the Gentiles in Syria and Cilicia, and most of the countries of the Lesser Asia, was now, by divine appointment, entering upon his career among the Greek nations. At Neapolis, where he first landed, he seems to have made little or no stay, but to have proceeded immediately to
PHILIPPI, which is said to have been the chief city of that part of Macedonia and a colony. Though an inland town, Philippi was situated on the river Strymon, which was the ancient boundary of Macedonia. It had formerly gone by the name of Crenides, owing probably to its springs or fountains of water; for, according to Appian, it was built upon a hill. Afterwards it took
• Acts xvi. 9, 10.
the name of Datus, because of the gold mines which were in its neighbourhood. But Philip, the father of Alesander the Great, having conquered Thrace, added that part of it which lay between the rivers Nessus and Strymon to Macedonia, and observing that it might be made a good defence against the Thracians, he fortified it and gare it the name of Philippi in honour of himself. Lucian, in his dialogue entitled The Fugitives, introduces Hercules describing Philippi in the following manner: * The plain, which is very fertile, raises itself into little hills, which serre for a defence to the city of Philippi, whose walls are washed by the river Hebrus." Pierce, in his Synopsis prefixed to this epistle, mentions certain cuins of several Roman emperors, and particularly one of Claudius, the inscription of which intimates that a colony of Romans was planted at Philippi by Julius Cesar, and afterwards augmented by Augustus, who sent the adherents of Mark Anthony into this and other cities of Macedonia, so that, having twice received inLabitants from Italy, of a small town it became a great city, and enjoyed all the privileges of a Roman colony.
It appears as though there were but few Jews resident at Philippi, since we find no mention made of any synagogue in it. There was, however, an Oratory or Prosucha, a place in which the Jews and their proselytes were accustomed to assemble for prayer, without the city, by the river side, to which Paul and his companions Tesored on the Sabbath day, and being set down, they pake unto the women which resorted'thither. Among these was Lydia, a Jewish proselyte, of the city of Thyatira, who had taken up her residence at Philippi for the sale of commerce. The Lord opened her heart so that she understood and believed the doctrine which Paul taaght. Lydia and her domestics were baptized in the mame of the Lord Jesus, and with this Christian family the apostle and his associates afterwards took up their abode, during their stay at Philippi, which is said to have been “many days."
Upon several occasions, as they went to the place where the Jews assembled for prayer, they were annoyed by a certain damsel, possessed with a spirit of divination, or of the Pythian Apollo-probably a species of fortuneteller, by means of which she brought her employers much gain. She seems to have indulged herself in pouring ridicule upon the apostle and his companions, whom she followed through the streets, exclaiming aloud,“ these men are the servants of the Most High God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” Paul, grieved with her conduct, ejected the evil spirit out of her—which greatly enraged her masters, for they perceived that there was now an end to their emoluments from that quarter; and seizing him and Silas, they drew them before the magistrates and rulers of the city, making bitter complaints against them as persons who “exceedingly troubled their city, teaching customs which it was not lawful for them to observe, being Romans.” This speech incensed the populace against them, and the too credulous magistrates used them in a manner that was both shameful and barbarous-ordering the lictors to tear off their clothes and beat them with rods, which they instantly did and with great severity. We find Paul afterwards alluding to this cruel treatment, 1 Thess. ii. 2. and again 2 Cor. xi. 23. where reciting some of his sufferings he says, “he had received stripes above measure.” Not satisfied, however, with this brutal outrage, they cast them into prison, enjoining the jailer to keep them safely. The latter well understood their meaning, and to comply with it, “thurst them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks."*
* Acts xvi. 94.