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ness was to remain as a proof of his fallibility, and of the fact that he stood in no way above the level of the other apostles.
The history of this departure from right principles stands as a solemn warning to men in positions of trust in the cause of God, that they may not fail in integrity, but firmly adhere to principle. The greater the responsibilities placed upon the human agent, and the larger his opportunities to dictate and control, the more harm he is sure to do if he does not carefully follow the way of the Lord, and labor in harmony with the decisions arrived at by the general body of believers in united council.
After all Peter's failures; after his fall and restoration, his long course of service, his intimate acquaintance with Christ, his knowledge of the Saviour's straightforward practice of right principles ; after all the instruction he had received, all the gifts and knowledge and influence he had gained by preaching and teaching the Word, is it not strange that he should dissemble, and evade the principles of the gospel through fear of man, or in order to gain esteem? Is it not strange that he should waver in his adherence to right? May God give every man a realization of his helplessness, his inability to steer his own vessel straight and safe into the harbor.
In his ministry, Paul was often compelled to stand alone. He was specially taught of God, and dared make no concessions that would involve principle. At times the burden was heavy, but Paul stood firm for the right. He realized that the church must never be brought under the control of human power. The traditions and maxims of men must not take the
place of revealed truth. The advance of the gospel message must not be hindered by the prejudices and preferences of men, whatever might be their position in the church.
Paul had dedicated himself and all his powers to the service of God. He had received the truths of the gospel direct from heaven, and throughout his ministry he maintained a vital connection with heavenly agencies. He had been taught by God regarding the binding of unnecessary burdens upon the Gentile Christians; thus when the Judaizing believers introduced into the Antioch church the question of circumcision, Paul knew the mind of the Spirit of God concerning such teaching, and took a firm and unyielding position which brought to the churches freedom from Jewish rites and ceremonies.
Notwithstanding the fact that Paul was personally taught by God, he had no strained ideas of individual responsibility. While looking to God for direct guidance, he was ever ready to recognize the authority vested in the body of believers united in church fellowship. He felt the need of counsel; and when matters of importance arose, he was glad to lay these before the church, and to unite with his brethren in seeking God for wisdom to make right decisions. Even “the spirits of the prophets,” he declared, “are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”'' With Peter, he taught that all united in church capacity should be “subject one to another."?
61 Cor. 14:32, 33.
71 Peter 5:5.
Exalting the Cross
AFTER spending some time in ministry at Antioch, Paul proposed to his fellow-worker that they set forth on another missionary journey. “Let us go again," he said to Barnabas, "and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.”
Both Paul and Barnabas had a tender regard for those who had recently accepted the gospel message under their ministry, and they longed to see them once more.
This solicitude Paul never lost. Even when in distant mission fields, far from the scene of his earlier labors, he continued to bear upon his heart the burden of urging these converts to remain faithful, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Constantly he tried to help them to become selfreliant, growing Christians, strong in faith, ardent in zeal, and whole-hearted in their consecration to God and to the work of advancing His kingdom.
12 Cor. 7:1.
Barnabas was ready to go with Paul, but wished to take with them Mark, who had again decided to devote himself to the ministry. To this Paul objected. He “thought not good to take ... with them” one who during their first missionary journey had left them in a time of need. He was not inclined to excuse Mark's weakness in deserting the work for the safety and comforts of home. He urged that one with so little stamina was unfitted for a work requiring patience, self-denial, bravery, devotion, faith, and a willingness to sacrifice, if need be, even life itself. So sharp was the contention, that Paul and Barnabas separated, the latter following out his convictions, and taking Mark with him. “So Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”
Journeying through Syria and Cilicia, where they strengthened the churches, Paul and Silas at length reached Derbe and Lystra in the province of Lycaonia. It was at Lystra that Paul had been stoned, yet we find him again on the scene of his former danger. He was anxious to see how those who through his labors had accepted the gospel were enduring the test of trial. He was not disappointed; for he found that the Lystrian believers had remained firm in the face of violent opposition.
Here Paul again met Timothy, who had witnessed his sufferings at the close of his first visit to Lystra, and upon whose mind the impression then made had deepened with the passing of time until he was convinced that it was his duty to give himself fully to the work of the ministry. His heart was knit with
the heart of Paul, and he longed to share the apostle's labors by assisting as the way might open.
Silas, Paul's companion in labor, was worker, gifted with the spirit of prophecy; but the work to be done was so great that there was need of training more laborers for active service. In Timothy Paul saw one who appreciated the sacredness of the work of a minister; who was not appalled at the prospect of suffering and persecution; and who was willing to be taught. Yet the apostle did not venture to take the responsibility of giving Timothy, an untried youth, a training in the gospel ministry, without first fully satisfying himself in regard to his character and his past life.
Timothy's father was a Greek and his mother a Jewess. From a child he had known the Scriptures. The piety that he saw in his home life was sound and sensible. The faith of his mother and his grandmother in the sacred oracles was to him a constant reminder of the blessing in doing God's will. The word of God was the rule by which these two godly women had guided Timothy. The spiritual power of the lessons that he had received from them kept him pure in speech and unsullied by the evil influences with which he was surrounded. Thus his home instructors had co-operated with God in preparing him to bear burdens.
Paul saw that Timothy was faithful, steadfast, and true, and he chose him as a companion in labor and travel. Those who had taught Timothy in his childhood were rewarded by seeing the son of their care linked in close fellowship with the great apostle. Timothy was a mere youth when he was chosen by