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to show respect to His ambassadors. They declared that they followed no human teacher, but were taught directly by Christ, without the aid of the ministers of the gospel. They were independent in spirit, and unwilling to submit to the voice of the church. Such men were in grave danger of being deceived.
God has placed in the church, as His appointed helpers, men of varied talents, that through the combined wisdom of many, the mind of the Spirit may be met. Men who move in accordance with their own strong traits of character, refusing to yoke up with others who have had a long experience in the work of God, will become blinded by self-confidence, unable to discern between the false and the true. It is not safe for such ones to be chosen as leaders in the church; for they would follow their own judgment and plans, regardless of the judgment of their brethren. It is easy for the enemy to work through those who, themselves needing counsel at every step, undertake the guardianship of souls in their own strength, without having learned the lowliness of Christ.
Impressions alone are not a safe guidle to duty. The enemy often persuades men to believe that it is God who is guiding them, when in reality they are following only human impulse. But if we watch carefully, and take counsel with our brethren, we shall be given an understanding of the Lord's will; for the promise is, “The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way." 12
In the early Christian church, there were some who refused to recognize either Paul or Apollos, but held that Peter was their leader. They affirmed
12 Ps. 25:9.
that Peter had been most intimate with Christ when the Master was upon the earth, while Paul had been a persecutor of the believers. Their views and feelings were bound about by prejudice. They did not show the liberality, the generosity, the tenderness, which reveals that Christ is abiding in the heart.
There was danger that this party-spirit would result in great evil to the Christian church; and Paul was instructed by the Lord to utter words of earnest admonition and solemn protest. Of those who were saying, “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ," the apostle inquired, “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” “Let no man glory in men,” he pleaded. “For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” 13
Paul and Apollos were in perfect harmony. The latter was disappointed and grieved because of the dissension in the church at Corinth; he took no advantage of the preference shown to himself, nor did he encourage it, but hastily left the field of strife. When Paul afterward urged him to revisit Corinth, he declined, and did not again labor there until long afterward, when the church had reached a better spiritual state.
13 1 Cor. 1:12, 13; 3: 21–23.
WHILE Apollos was preaching at Corinth, Paul fulfilled his promise to return to Ephesus. He had made a brief visit to Jerusalem, and had spent some time at Antioch, the scene of his early labors. Thence he traveled through Asia Minor, "over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia,”' visiting the churches which he himself had established, and strengthening the faith of the believers.
In the time of the apostles, the western portion of Asia Minor was known as the Roman province of Asia. Ephesus, the capital, was a great commercial center. Its harbor was crowded with shipping, and its streets were thronged with people from every country. Like Corinth, it presented a promising field for missionary effort.
The Jews, now widely dispersed in all civilized lands, were generally expecting the advent of the Messiah. When John the Baptist was preaching,
1 Acts 18:23. This chapter is basd on Acts 19:1-20.
many, in their visits to Jerusalem at the annual feasts, had gone out to the banks of the Jordan to listen to him. There they had heard Jesus proclaimed as the Promised One, and they had carried the tidings to all parts of the world. Thus had Providence prepared the way for the labors of the apostles.
On his arrival at Ephesus, Paul found twelve brethren, who, like Apollos, had been disciples of John the Baptist, and like him had gained some knowledge of the mission of Christ. They had not the ability of Apollos, but with the same sincerity and faith they were seeking to spread abroad the knowledge they had received.
These brethren knew nothing of the mission of the Holy Spirit. When asked by Paul if they had received the Holy Ghost, they answered, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” “Unto what then were ye baptized ?” Paul inquired, and they said, “Unto John's baptism.'
Then the apostle set before them the great truths that are the foundation of the Christian's hope. He told them of Christ's life on this earth, and of His cruel death of shame. He told them how the Lord of life had broken the barriers of the tomb, and risen triumphant over death. He repeated the Saviour's commission to His disciples: “All power is given *unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." He told them also of Christ's promise to send the Comforter, through whose power mighty signs and wonders would be wrought, and he de
? Matt. 28:18, 19.
scribed how gloriously this promise had been fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
With deep interest and grateful, wondering joy, the brethren listened to Paul's words. By faith they grasped the wonderful truth of Christ's atoning sacrifice, and received Him as their Redeemer. They were then baptized in the name of Jesus; and as Paul “laid his hands upon them,” they received also the baptism of the Holy Spirit, by which they were enabled to speak the languages of other nations, and to prophesy. Thus they were qualified to labor as missionaries in Ephesus and its vicinity, and also to go forth to proclaim the gospel in Asia Minor.
It was by cherishing a humble, teachable spirit that these men gained the experience that enabled them to go out as workers into the harvest-field. Their example presents to Christians a lesson of great value. There are many who make but little progress in the divine life, because they are too selfsufficient to occupy the position of learners. They are content with a superficial knowledge of God's word. They do not wish to change their faith or practice, and hence make no effort to obtain greater light.
If the followers of Christ were but earnest seekers after wisdom, they would be led into rich fields of truth, as yet wholly unknown to them. He who will give himself fully to God, will be guided by the divine hand. Ile may be lowly and apparently ungifted; yet if with a loving, trusting heart he obeys every intimation of God's will, his powers will be purified, ennobled, energized, and his capabilities will be increased. As he treasures the les