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the Less), and declared unto them (on his own conviction) how Saul had seen the Lord on that journey, and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Acts ix. 28. And Saul after this was with the disciples, coming in and going out, at Jerusalem.
29. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians in particular,
these were foreign Jews who spoke the Greek language and not the Hebrew of that day; and from Damascus probably at this time, some of those who had
taken counsel to destroy him there, suprà, v. 23. — but they now showed increased perverseness and actually went about to slay him :
30. Which wicked design of the Grecians when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth (by sea) to Tarsus.
- In that city, and in Cilicia generally, he would immediately devote himself to the planting of those churches which we find him afterwards (A. xv. 41.) confirming
During this short stay of Saul at Jerusalem, he was also warned in a vision not to remain unprofitably there, for that he was designed to occupy another and distant field of apostolic labour.
A. xxii. 17. And it came to pass that when come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance ;
18. And saw the Lord saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem : for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
21. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence, among the Gentiles.
Acts ix. 31. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, being edified accordingly; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied and increased in numbers.
“ This rest synchronises with the attempt of Caligula to place his statue in the temple of Jerusalem ; the threat of which outrage produced amongst the Jews a consternation that, for a season, diverted their attention from every other object.” – Paley's Evidences of Christianity, ed. 1825. pp. 294. and 42.
A. xi. 19. Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen, had travelled as far as Phenice and Cyprus and Antioch,
Antioch, the capital of Syria, ranking as a city next after Rome and Alexandria, and here first mentioned, is ere long to become the metropolis of
Gentile Christianity, and they preached the word to none but to the Jews only for some time at the first.
— But the surprising conversion of the devout Cornelius and his family by the apostle Peter (A. ch. x.), with the miraculous instruction stated as the all-sufficient plea for his conduct (xi. 1...18.), might in the mean while have become known to those pious missionaries. Suppose that to have taken place; and every thing in this stage as in others will proceed naturally along in gradual advancement.
20. And some of them were men of Cyprus and of Cyrene (in Libya), which when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Greeks, i. e. Gentile proselytes, preaching unto them also the Lord Jesus.
(In regard to the names, Greeks, and Grecians, so essentially affecting the sense of the whole passage, satisfaction, it is hoped, will be afforded in the Note on
Acts xi. 21. And the hand of the Lord was with them in this new spiritual enterprise : and a great number of the Greeks believed and turned unto the Lord, i. e. became converts to the gospel.
22. Then tidings of these things, of proselytes also being taught and converted, came unto the ears of the church which was at Jerusalem : and they, in consequence of it, sent forth Barnabas, that he should go, with their authority, as far as Antioch,
23. Who, when he came there and had seen the grace of God thus farther extended, was glad accordingly; and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
24. For he was a man truely benevolent, and not only so, but full of the Holy Ghost and of faith : and much people (of the proselyte class) was now added to the Lord.
25. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus (vide A. ix. 30.) for to seek Saul and to take him as his coadjutor.
26. And when Barnabas had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.
On this part of Saul's history while at Tarsus, and afterwards in company with Barnabas, H. P. 71, 2. may be profitably consulted.
And it came to pass, that for a whole year Barnabas and Saul assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.
And it is thought worthy of being recorded here, that by an appropriate appellation the disciples were called CHRISTIANS first in Antioch.
Acts xi. 27. And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
28. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all that part of the world (especially Judea): which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar.
29. Then the disciples at Antioch, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea :
30. Which also they did, and sent it to the elders there by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
“ As far as we know or have reason to believe, this is the first transaction of the kind in the history of the world.” Bishop Sumner's Practical Exposition on the Acts.
THE THREE APOSTOLIC PROGRESSES FROM
WITH THE PRIVATE JOURNEY AND THE PUBLIC MISSION TO JERUSALEM, BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND PROGRESS.
(From Acts xii. 25. To Acts xxi. 6.)
THE FIRST PROGRESS.
(Acts xiii. to Acts xiv. 27.)
Acts xii. 25. And Barnabas and Saul returned to Antioch from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, that of carrying relief unto the brethren (those first believers) which dwelt in Judea (A. xi. 27...30.) to meet the distress of that dearth which Agabus had predicted :
And they took with them from Jerusalem John, whose surname was Mark, and whose mother, Mary, a person of some eminence among the Christians of Jerusalem (H. P. 147, 8.), was sister to Barnabas.
Barnabas himself so surnamed (Son of Consolation) by the apostles (his original name having been Joses,) was a Levite, of the country of Cyprus ; whose disinterested generosity is duely recorded, as worthy of especial remark, A. iv. 36, 7.
A. xiii. 1. Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.