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him, whom the apostles now proclaimed as "a Prince and a Saviour:" and would ask, "Have any of the rulers, or of the Pharisees, believed on him ?" 4
Thus was it too easy to stir up adverse feelings among the Gentiles, and make their minds evil affected against the brethren. This, however, did not discourage the apostles. They still saw enough of God's support and favour to detain them. There were many to whom their doctrine came "not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost."
3. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
4. But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
5. And when there was an assault made, both of the Gentiles and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
6. They were aware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
7. And there they preached the gospel.
With the power of working miracles, was also given the wisdom of knowing the time to work them. Elymas was struck with blindness at Paphos, because he sought to " pervert the right ways of the Lord." No divine aid was called in, to restrain the persecutors at Antioch or Iconium. But when an assault was made against the apostles, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, they used
4 John vii. 48.
it as an intimation from God, that they should carry their glad tidings elsewhere. They were aware of it, and fled into Lycaonia, a neighbouring region and there, unwearied and undaunted, they preached the gospel. Thus proving that their "commend themselves to every purpose was to man's conscience in the sight of God;" to oppose the superstitions of the Gentiles and the prejudices of their Jewish countrymen in no other spirit than that of meekness, and with no other weapons than those of truth and soberness.
At the close of his life, after a lapse of twenty years, Paul looks back upon those days of trial, and recurs to them in his letter to Timothy (2 Tim. iii. 10-13) as an example of what the faithful servants of Christ must often expect, and always be prepared to undergo. "Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra : what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Still they shall receive abundant recompense. According to the Lord's promise, their recompense shall be an hundred fold in this present time, with persecutions and in the world to come eternal life." Therefore he encourages this his "son in the faith," by his own example and experience, to endure afflictions," to be "partaker of the afflictions of the gospel :" knowing that "to him that overcometh," to him that "endureth
temptation," it is given to sit with Christ upon. his throne of glory.
PAUL'S ADDRESS TO THE IDOLATERS AT LYSTRA, WHO WOULD HAVE WORSHIPPED HIM AND BARNABAS.-A. D. 46.
ACTS xiv. 8-18.
8. And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:
9. The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10. Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet: and he leaped and walked.
Among the gifts bestowed upon the apostles was the power of discerning character. It had enabled Peter to discover the evil which lurked in the heart of Ananias. It now enabled Paul to perceive the grace which had reached this cripple, while hearing the words of life, and had given him faith to be healed. Like his divine Master, he was ready to perform a deed of mercy; and astonished the beholders by bestowing on this decrepit man a power which till then he had never known.
'Matt. x. 30. 2 Tim. iv. 5, and 1, 8.
11. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
12. And they called Barnabas Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
13. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
On a like occasion, many years before, Peter had been forced to remonstrate even with his countrymen, and to say, "Ye men of Israel, why look earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" The idolaters at Lystra saw the apostles' power, but could not yet know whose instruments they were, or in what name they had done this deed. they gave them titles belonging to the deities which they were used to worship, and prepared to pay them divine honours: would have done sacrifice with the people.
This had the same effect on Paul and Barnabas as if a parent had been grievously insulted, or one dearest to them had been placed in sudden jeopardy. The worship was offered to themselves, which was due to the God whom they loved, and reverenced, and served.
14. Which when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
15. And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto
Ch. iii, 12.
you, that ye should turn from these vanities, unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
16. Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
17. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
18. And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
The glory of God was the great object of the apostles. For themselves they sought neither wealth nor honour: but seize the occasion to bring these ignorant heathens to the knowledge of the one true God, by an argument arising out of the miracle they had seen.
Paul had bestowed strength on one who before was lame and impotent. They had been astonished at this instance of power, saw that it was not of human nature, and exclaimed that the gods had come down to them in the likeness of men.
So far they reasoned justly, and when they saw the possession of extraordinary power, they referred it to an extraordinary cause.
But the far more astonishing power and goodness which is exercised in the ordinary course of God's providence had never so struck them, as to raise their minds towards the source from which it came. He left not himself without witness, in that he gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. Yet they were content to "form a god, to make a graven image which is profitable for nothing;" to fall down and