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INTRODUCTORY LECTURE.

CORINTA was an ancient and celebrated city of Greece. It was built on the isthmus of the same name, between the Adriatic Gulph and the Egean Sea, and soon rose to eminence by its trade and commerce. It had great influence among the Grecian states, and is called by ancient writers, “ the light and glory of Greece." It was destroyed by the victorious arms of the Romans under Mummius, about 146 years before Christ; on which occasion, vast quantities of the precious metals having been melted, and mixed together by the flames, are thought to have produced that valuable composition afterwards called Corinthian brass. It was again colonised by Julius Cæsar, who endeavoured to raise it from its ruins, and to restore it to its former magnificence. It now became the residence of the proconsul of Achaia, under the Roman government, and was soon adorned with temples, baths, theatres, and other public buildings. The inhabitants were celebrated for their skill in the elegant arts. Philosophy and rhetoric were their favourite studies ; and public schools were opened for the instruction of youth in different branches of polite learning. Near this city, the Isthmian games were celebrated every five years with great solemnity. Vast numbers resorted to the spectacles; the candidates engaged in running, wrestling, and other manly exercises; and the victors were crowned with garlands of pine-leaves or of parsley. To these games, the Apostle alludes in his first Epistle, chap. ix. 24–27.

But in the midst of all this refinement, the greatest licentiousness of manners prevailed. A temple was erected to the honour of Venus, where women prostituted themselves for hire ; indeed the word Kogorbals (to Corinthianize) applied to a female, conveyed an imputation of incontinence. Amidst the most abject

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idolatry and superstition, the powers of human reason were extolled, and a refined scepticism, or rather atheism, was the secret creed of the higher classes. At the same time, they strenuously supported the popular system of religion, as an useful instrument for swaying the passions of the multitude. Yet, even in this strong-hold of infidelity and vice, the Christian religion soon obtained a footing. The Gospel was first introduced into this city by the labours of the great Apostle of the Gentiles. Of Paul's first visit to Corinth we have an account in the 18th chapter of the Acts. There, we are informed, that on leaving Athens he came to Corinth. Here he found a converted Jew named Aquila, who, with his wife Priscilla, had lately been obliged to leave the city of Rome on account of the rescript of Claudius the emperor, against the Jews. With his usual simplicity of manners, the Apostle took up his residence with these pious individuals, and assisted them in their occupation of tent making. According to his usual practice, he frequented the Jewish synagogue, and discoursed both with the resident Jews, and the native Greeks, on the truth of the Christian faith. On the arrival of Silas and Timothy from Macedonia, the ardour of his zeal for the conversion of his own countrymen, was greatly increased ; he “ pressed in spirit, and testified to them that Jesus was the Messiah.” His success at first was by no means encouraging; instead of giving him a patient hearing, “they opposed themselves and blasphemed.” According to the spirit of the precept of his Divine Master, (Matt. x. 14.) he shook his raiment, and addressed them in these solemn words, “Your blood be on your own heads, I am clear; from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles." His labours, however, were not altogether without effect. Besides Justus, a pious man who lived in the neighbourhood, in whose house the Apostle was entertained, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house ; many of the Corinthians, at the same time, were baptized into the Christian faith. (ver. 8.)

Notwithstanding these encouraging appearances, the mind of the Apostle seems to have been filled with uneasiness; perhaps in anticipation of the opposition that would soon be excited against him. To calm his fears, the Lord Jesus was graciously pleased to appear to him by night in a vision, and to animate his mind by the hope of increasing usefulness. “ Be not afraid," he

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aid; “but speak, and hold not thy peace, for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city." Thus strengthened from above, he continued in Corinth, “a year and six months, teaching the word of God." It was not to be expected, however, that his inveterate opponents, the Jews, would allow him to proceed without molestation. During the administration of Gallio, the brother of Seneca, who was then proconsul of Achaia, they made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him before the tribunal, accusing him of introducing innovations into the worship of God. This was a matter which the deputy, with great truth, conceived to be beyond his jurisdiction; and therefore, without giving Paul the trouble of making his defence, be told them he would be "no judge of such matters,” and in a summary manner dismissed the complaint. (Acts xviii. 14, 15.) Indignant at being thus disappointed of their purpose, and unmindful of the decorum that ought to be observed in a court of law, the Jews, or unconverted Greeks, according to our copies, took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, (who is thought by some to be the same person with Crispus) and beat him before the judgment-seat. But on this occasion the apparent impartiality of the magistrate degenerated into culpable negligence. Instead of protecting the injured party, and resenting the indignity offered to his authority, he took no further notice of their proceedings,-"he cared for none of these things."

No further interruption being offered to the Apostle, he prolonged his stay for a considerable time, and then took leave of the brethren, and sailed from Cenchrea, the eastern port of Corinth, for Syria, in company with Aquila and Priscilla. Having landed at Ephesus, they met with Apollos, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures; he was a native of Alexandria, and had embraced the doctrine of John: being a zealous and able preacher according to the views he had, Aquila and Priscilla took him to their house, “and explained to him the way of God more perfectly." Being desirous of proceeding to Achaia, the brethren at Ephesus furnished him with introductory letters to the disciples in Corinth ; his labours were attended with uncommon success; he greatly strengthened those who had believed through grace, and produced considerable impression on the

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