Acts 18:1


When the apostle of Jesus Christ confronted the heathenism of Corinth, we may say that, in his person, Divine truth was opening its attack on the very citadel of sin; such was its "abysmal profligacy," its intemperance, its dishonesty, its superstition. In the brief account we have of Paul's work in this city we are reminded -

I. THAT CHRISTIAN BLAMELESSNESS SHOULD ANSWER TO THE DEPRAVITY IT ENCOUNTERS. (Ver. 3.) At such a city as Corinth it was eminently desirable that the apostle of truth and righteousness should be, in all respects, above reproach. There must not be the shadow of suspicion of self-seeking upon him; he must show himself, and be seen to be, the disinterested, missionary he was. Therefore he worked away with his own hands, laboriously maintaining himself all the while that he was laboring in spiritual fields (see 1 Corinthians 9:15-18). This is the spirit in which it becomes all earnest men to act. We should give ourselves trouble, we should deny ourselves pleasure, according to the necessities of the case before us. Though "free from all," we should become "the servants of all, that we may gain the more" (1 Corinthians 9:19). There are circumstances in which we are perfectly justified in using our liberty; there are others in which we are constrained to forgo our freedom, and impose hardships on ourselves, that we may gain those whom, otherwise, we should not win.

II. THAT WHEN MEN PERSISTENTLY REJECT THE BEST WE CAN BRING THEM, WE MUST PASS ON TO OTHERS. (Vers. 5, 6.) When Silas and Timotheus rejoined Paul at Corinth, they found him "earnestly occupied in discoursing;" "he was being constrained by the Word;" he was striving with his whole strength to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But his most zealous efforts were all unavailing, His opponents resisted his arguments; they opposed him and blasphemed his Lord. Then he turned, sorrowfully and indignantly, away from them, and gave himself to the work of God among the Gentiles (ver. 6). This was not more sensible and obligatory then than it is now. If we have been laboring devotedly, prayerfully, patiently, among certain men, and they determinately reject our message, it is both foolish and wrong of us to waste our resources there; we must pass on to others who may welcome our word as the truth of God.

III. THAT CHRIST WILL NOT LEAVE HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS WITHOUT DIVINE ENCOURAGEMENT. He granted Paul

(1) the joy of spiritual success (ver. 8); also

(2) the assurance of his protecting care (vers. 9, 10).

The exact measure of his success we do not know, but it was probably considerable; the Church at Corinth became of such importance that Paul paid it great attention, and spent on it much strength in after years. T he vision which the Savior granted was supernatural, and of a kind which we do not expect him to repeat continually. But we may confidently reckon that, if we are found faithful by our Master, we shall have:

1. A good measure of success in our work. Earnest Christian effort rarely, if ever, fails. We may, indeed, be ill adapted to the special work we have undertaken, and then we must pass on to other fields; but if we are in our right place, we shall assuredly have some increase for our toil: "In due season we shall reap."

2. The inspiration which comes direct from God. Christ will come to us, not in such vision as that he granted Paul, but he will visit us; be will vouchsafe to us those renewing influences of his Holy Spirit, which will make us

(1) wilting to endure what we may have to suffer;

(2) willing to wait his time for sending the harvest;

(3) strong to speak his truth in his Name and in his Spirit. - C.







After these things Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth.
Paul entered, not the grand, classical Corinth, but a sort of afterglow Corinth. The old city had been destroyed by Consul Mummius It was burned to the ground. The streets ran with molten metal from the innumerable statues and gothic buildings; the fused mass continued to be collected for years afterwards, and fetched a good price in the open market as "Corinthian brass"; it was exported in blocks. Julius Caesar rebuilt and colonised Corinth not long before Christ. It was a flourishing mercantile town in Paul's time. Over its isthmus men dragged the ships from Port Cenchraea to Port Lechaeum, and thus the tide of commerce flowed from the East straight through to Rome, leaving in the city about one of the most unenviable and mixed moral deposits conceivable. Imagine Liverpool and Brighton, without a touch of Christian influence, rolled into one, and you have Corinth. They were traders, not manufacturers — money getters, not creators; engaged, not in producing (which requires invention and implies culture), but in transference. Mere money grubbing is not elevating, refining, or morally bracing. They were pleasure mad too — that was their reaction from toil. Drunkenness and debauchery — temples consecrated to it, priestesses devoted to licence; when your life is on a low moral plane, your recreation is certain to be on a lower one still. The Jewry was there, of course, but it had little moral influence — a protest against sin without a touch of sympathy for moral frailty, and I should like to know what good ever came of such a gospel as that. What could this poor, suffering Jew — apparently a very indifferent specimen of a sorry community of fanatics — do in such a Vanity Fair? Such he must have seemed to the fashionable tourist from Rome, to the Corinthian fop or merchant. Indeed, how hopeless the outlook upon a great city after nineteen centuries of Christian civilisation! But Paul looked upon that scene with other eyes. The fields which might appear to us burnt up and wasted were to him whitening to the harvest. He felt he could operate in that atmosphere — he believed in humanity, in Christ — that was quite enough. He had to deal with the slaves of pleasure, the dupes of money, the puppets of ambition. He knew that every one of them hungered for something different from what he had got. Bide your time, man of God! Watch and pray; the world will come round to you — the world can't do without you. When the thrill of the senses is past — money gone, ambition a wreck — does not everyone cry out for something which the world cannot give or take away? Sensuality, drink, extortion. I have seen something like it not a hundred miles from London. "Truly a mad world, my masters!" this Corinth about A.D. 53. It was Paul's opportunity.

(H. R. Haweis, M. A.)

Let us inquire —

I. RESPECTING CORINTH.

1. Greece, in the time of the Roman dictators, had become worn out, corrupt, and depopulated. It was necessary, therefore, to repeople it and to reinvigorate its constitution with new blood. So Caesar sent to his re-erected city freedmen of Rome.(1) The new population thus was Roman and democratic; and it held within it all the advantages of a democracy, such, for instance, as unshackled thought: but also its vices, when men sprang up crying, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos."(2) The population was also commercial. This was necessitated by the site of Corinth. Not by an imperial fiat, but by natural circumstances, Corinth became the emporium of trade. And so its aristocracy was one not of birth, but of wealth. They had not the calm dignity of ancient lineage, nor the intellectual culture of a manufacturing population. The danger of a mere trading existence is, that it leaves the soul engaged in the task of money getting; and measuring the worthiness of all things by what they are worth, too often worships mammon instead of God.(3) In addition to this, there was also the demoralising influences of a trading seaport. Men from all quarters met in Corinth. Men, when they mix, corrupt each other; each contributes his own vices and each loses his own excellences. Exactly as our young English men and women on their return from foreign countries learn to sneer at the rigidity of English purity, yet never learn instead even that urbanity and hospitality which foreigners have as a kind of equivalent for the laxity of their morals. Such as I have described it was the moral state of Corinth. The city was the hotbed of the world's evil, in which every noxious plant, indigenous or transplanted, rapidly grew and flourished, till Corinth became a proverbial name for moral corruption.

2. Another element was the Greek population. To understand this we must make a distinction. Greece was tainted to the core. Her ancient patriotism and valour were no more. Her statesmen and poets had died with her disgrace. Foreign conquest had broken her spirit. Loss of liberty had ended in loss of manhood. The last and most indispensable element of goodness had perished, for hope was dead. They buried themselves in stagnancy. But amid this universal degeneracy there were two classes.(1) The uncultivated and the poor, to whom the ancient glories of their land were yet dear, to whom the old religion was true and living still, just as in England now the faith in witchcraft, spells, and the magical virtue of baptismal water, banished from the towns, survives and lingers among our rural population. At this period it was with that portion of heathenism alone that Christianity came in contact, to meet a foe.(2) Very different, however, was the state of the cultivated and the rich. They had lost their religion, and that being lost, there arose a craving for "Wisdom," in the sense of intellectual speculation. The enthusiasm which had been stimulated by the noble eloquence of patriotism now preyed on glittering rhetoric. Men spent their days in tournaments of speeches. They would not even listen to a sermon from St. Paul unless it were clothed in dazzling words and full of brilliant thought. They were in a state not uncommon now with fine intellects whose action is cramped. That was another difficulty with which Christianity had to deal.

3. The next thing which influenced Corinthian society was Roman provincial government — an influence, however, favourable to Christianity. The doctrine of Christ has not as yet come into direct antagonism with heathenism. Persecution always arose first on the part of the Jews; and, indeed, until it became evident that in Christianity there was a Power before which all the principalities of evil must perish, the Roman magistrates interposed their authority between the Christians and their fierce enemies. A signal instance of this is related in this chapter.

4. The last element in this complex community was the Jews. In their way they were religious, i.e., strenuous believers in the virtue of ordinances. God only existed to them for the benefit of the Jewish nation. To them a Messiah must be a World-Prince. To them a new revelation could only be substantiated by marvels and miracles, and St. Paul describes the difficulty which this tendency put in the way of the progress of the gospel among them in the words, "The Jews require a sign."

II. RESPECTING THE APOSTLE PAUL. For his work the apostle was assisted and prepared —

1. By the fellowship of Aquila and Priscilla. Such an one as Paul thrown alone upon a teeming, busy, commercial population would have felt crushed. His spirit had been pressed within him at Athens, but that was not so oppressive as the sight of human masses, crowding, hurrying, driving together, all engaged in getting rich, or in seeking mere sensual enjoyment. In this crisis providential arrangements had prepared for him the companionship of Priscilla and Aquila.

2. He was sustained by manual work. He wrought with his friends as a tent maker. For by the rabbinical law, all Jews were taught a trade. So, too, it was the custom of the monastic institutions to compel every brother to work. A wise provision! In a life of gaiety or merely thoughtful existence, woe and trial to the spirit that has nothing for the hands to do! Misery to him who emancipates himself from the universal law, "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread." Evil thoughts, despondency, sensual feeling, sin in every shape is before him, to beset and madden, often to ruin him.

3. By the experience he had gained in Athens. There the apostle had met the philosophers on their own ground. His speech was triumphant as oratory, as logic, and as a specimen of philosophic thought; but in its bearing on conversion it was unsuccessful. Taught by this experience, he came to Corinth and preached no longer to the wise, the learned, or the rich. God had chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith. St. Paul no longer confronted the philosopher on his own ground, or tried to accommodate the gospel to his tastes: "I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." We know the result — the Church of Corinth, the largest and noblest harvest ever given to ministerial toil.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

I. THE SERVANT LABOURING. He began by doing a double work — tent making during the week and reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath — thus showing the possibility of working for one's self, and yet finding time to work for the Master. Note —

1. His friends. Several things drew the apostle and Aquila and Priscilla together.(1) They were of the same nationality — no weak bond in a foreign country.(2) They had both experienced expulsion.(3) They were of the same trade. The result of their coming together was of priceless value to each. Aquila and Priscilla became Christians, made Apollos a Christian, and proved an infinite boon to Paul. For his life they "laid down their own necks" and established a Church in their own houses (Romans 16:3-5).

2. His work. Why did Paul labour with his hands (2 Corinthians 11:9)? He was sensitive about being a burden, although he believed in the duty of Churches supporting their own ministers (1 Corinthians 9:7-14; 1 Timothy 5:18).

II. THE SERVANT PREACHING. When Silas and Timothy came they relieved him of the necessity of manual labour (2 Corinthians 2:9). Then he was "constrained by the Word" (1 Corinthians 9:16). He felt forced to speak the Word —

1. To the Jews.

(1)The testimony given — that Jesus was the Christ.

(2)The testimony rejected.

(a)The action of the Jews, "opposed themselves and blasphemed."

(b)Paul's action (ver. 6; Ezekiel 33:8, 9).

2. To the Gentiles. Note —(1) When he laboured (ver. 7).(2) The results of his labour (ver. 8; 1 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Corinthians 16:5; Romans 16:12).

III. THE SERVANT PROTECTED.

1. The promise of protection (vers. 9, 10; 1 Corinthians 2:3). God knows our discouragements and when to comfort us. Paul was encouraged to go on because of the assurance —(1) That God was with him. With the Lord upon his side, Paul was stronger than the whole city of Corinth. One with God is a majority.(2) That no man should set on him to harm him.(3) That there was yet a large harvest to be gathered in. And this was the most encouraging of all. He could work anywhere where there was hope of a large harvest of souls. So strengthened was he that he stayed a year and six months, gathering in the "much people" that had been promised him. The result — a Church.

2. The promise fulfilled.(1) The danger. "The Jews with one accord rose up against Paul." The accusers apparently hoped to repeat the incident at Philippi.(2) The deliverance. Concerning this, note —

(a)That Paul did not even have to defend himself.

(b)That it was based on justice.

(c)That the charge resulted disastrously to the accusers. "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him."

(M. C. Hazard.)

From the summit of the Acropolis at Athens one could plainly see through the clear atmosphere of Greece at a distance of forty-five miles, the lofty Aero-Corinthus, the temple-crowned mountain at whose base lay the wealthy and luxurious city. Thither the apostle now directs his course. As a great commercial centre from which the light of Christianity, once enkindled, will naturally radiate along all the lines of trade, he recognises the importance of establishing at the earliest possible moment a Church in this city. But a strange depression of spirit comes over him as he enters the great metropolis, such as we do not find him experiencing anywhere else. The evidences of it are manifold. Writing afterward to the Corinthian Church, he says, "For I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling." The testimony of the historian in this passage is that when Silas and Timotheus came to Corinth they found him "pressed in spirit." But the chief evidence is in the vision which was accorded to him, and the words of encouragement it brings (vers. 9, 10).

I. THE SOURCES OF THE APOSTLE'S DISCOURAGEMENT AND THE ELEMENTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT AFFORDED HIM.

1. The sense of personal loneliness. He came to land amidst bales of merchandise, throngs of merchants, trains of porters and beasts of burden. From the warehouses and shipping around him he looked upward to the temple of Venus, and entering the city over which she presided he saw that the hearts of the people were divided between wealth and pleasure. Between him and this people there was no congeniality. To add to this, he was entirely alone. In this state of loneliness what he needed to cheer him, what every Christian worker needs, is just the message, "For I am with thee" (ver. 10).

2. A view of the lawlessness and liability to popular tumult and violence of a community held together merely by the love of pleasure or the greed of gain. In Jerusalem, where the priestly power was dominant, and in Athens, where the memory of the great lawgivers still held sway, there was some maintenance of order. But in volatile, licentious Corinth there was no knowing at what moment some enemy might fire the passions of the mob. To meet this element in the apostle's discouragement what could have been more suited than "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee" (ver. 10). In this doctrine of God's sovereign control over the hearts of wicked men the missionaries of the Cross in heathen lands have found comfort.

3. Paul's apprehension that the preaching of the gospel to such a people would be utterly unacceptable. With hearts immersed in business or intoxicated with pleasure, what effect could the preaching of the gospel produce? Many a servant of God, since called to minister in some centre of wealth and fashion, has felt this same chill of despondency. What is the comfort which the Lord gives to His discouraged servant? "I have much people in this city" (ver. 10). Christ knew them, and had sent Paul to set in motion the instrumentalities by which they should be brought to repentance. How could Paul fail then? Cheer up, O desponding servant of God! The Master has an elect people here, and your feeble instrumentality has behind it the unchanging sovereignty and mercy of God.

II. THE INTERWEAVING OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE WITH HIS PURPOSE OF ELECTION, arranging all the conditions necessary to Paul's success. The conditions are —

1. That Paul shall have the means of subsistence whilst he is preaching the gospel. Before he came to Corinth, God had brought to that city Aquila and Priscilla, who were forced to leave Rome, and, seeking the next best centre, came to Corinth; and so when Paul came he found employment with them, and thus his support was providentially arranged.

2. That he shall have efficient helpers in his work. To secure these we have first the acceptance of the gospel by Aquila and Priscilla, then Silas and Timotheus (ver. 5), who had failed in some way to reach the apostle at Athens, were brought to him at the most opportune moment.

3. That he shall have some suitable place for holding religious services. This, too, is in the providence of God most agreeably arranged. For all informal services through the week the large room in which the tents and sails are stitched would amply suffice. So long as he directs his ministry to the Jews he has the use of the synagogue. When he turns to the Gentiles the Lord inclines the heart of Justus (ver. 7) to throw open his dwelling as a place of worship; and so Paul has the two-fold advantage of a hall free to Gentiles, and next door to the synagogue, so that it is easily accessible to the Jews.

4. That he shall have protection from the violence of his enemies and liberty to speak boldly in the name of Jesus. Provision has been made for this also by a train of providential arrangements (vers. 12-17). Just as this crisis is approaching, when so much depends upon the character of the Roman governor in Corinth, the Senate sends out Gallio, a great student and admirer of Roman law, and, in the oratory at least, an ardent advocate of a high tone of public morals, who, whilst he holds Paul under the protection which the law gives, sits quietly by whilst a disturbance takes place amongst the persecutors themselves, so that it becomes manifest to the Jews that they can expect no sympathy from him in any future attempts to interfere with the apostle's preaching; and so he is able afterwards to speak the Word of God boldly, no man hindering him.

(T. D. Witherspoon, D. D.)

1. Not seeing sufficient encouragement to attempt to found a Church in Athens, Paul turned his steps to Corinth. Here the Greek mind was to be encountered under a new phase; not, as in Athens, devoted to science, to eloquence, but to gaiety and luxury. Approaching Corinth, the most conspicuous object was not, as in Athens, the Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, but the temple of Venus. Our subject for the present is, accordingly, Christianity in contact with gaiety, luxury, and refined sensuality.

2. Corinth, unlike Athens, was a commercial city, the mart of Asia and of Europe, bringing thither a multitude of strangers, leading to the habits of luxury consequent on wealth. We must add also that on the very isthmus on which the city was built were celebrated the Isthmian Games, which drew together vast numbers of people from other parts of Greece, and from foreign lands. No city has been or is more profligate. In the art of refining upon the pleasures of sense, Corinth was in the ancient world what Paris is in the modern — the seat of splendour, gaiety, sensuality.

3. What the feelings were with which the apostle approached such a city, he tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:3. It was to relieve his solicitude that the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision (vers. 9, 10). The purpose of the apostle was deliberately formed. What it was he tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2. Amidst the works of art and beauty, and even among the gay and pleasure-loving people, he would seek to introduce the Cross as an object which would become more attractive than all the splendours and all the vanities around them. To understand the apostle's purpose, and to elucidate our subject, it will be necessary to consider —

I. THE NEW TOPIC OF THOUGHT WHICH PAUL PROPOSED TO INTRODUCE INTO CORINTH — "Christ, and Him crucified." The apostle subsequently stated how the Cross is naturally regarded by that class of minds (1 Corinthians 1:18-23).

1. He who came to them to preach this doctrine was a Jew, unable to advance claims to a hearing from Greeks. His country had produced no philosophers like theirs.

2. He of whom Paul came to speak "Christ" — was a Jew also, of lowly origin, of no education, who had been associated mainly with fishermen, and had been rejected by His own countrymen.

3. The theme was one that was little likely to be attractive to those who lived in Corinth. The "Cross," little as it has now to make it attractive to the gay and the worldly, had then everything that could make the mention of it repulsive. Who will now venture to make an allusion to it in a ballroom, etc.? But at the time when Paul resolved to know nothing but "Christ crucified," the word had but one idea attached to it, and was regarded as more dishonourable than are now the words "guillotine" and "gallows." How could it be hoped by Paul that the gay citizens of Corinth could be made to overcome this revulsion of feeling, and to find an object of attraction in a cross?

4. The Cross was to be made known to them as a method of salvation; as a means of inducing the gay and the worldly to forsake their vanities and follies. It was this alone which it was Paul's object to proclaim. And it was on this alone that he relied for success (1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 1:17). It was easy to see how this would be likely to appear to dwellers in Greece. "We preach Christ crucified — unto the Greeks foolishness," weakness of intellect, imbecility of mind. To the apprehension of the Greek there could be no adaptedness in the idea of a "cross" to the work of salvation. He had his own ideas of what was necessary to save men. It was to be done by philosophy. But what element of power could there be connected with that instrument of cruelty and death, to make the corrupt pure, or elevate the degraded? A Greek philosopher would ask these questions, as philosophers do now.

II. THE ADAPTEDNESS OF THIS TOPIC TO ARREST THE MINDS OF THE GAY, THE REFINED, AND THE WORLDLY; to secure the conversion of those who live for pleasure, or who are sunk in gross sensuality.

1. The gospel claims this to be the only effectual mode (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24).

2. Yet there is not in the whole compass of the Christian theology any one point more difficult of explanation than this. It is probable that even Paul would have despaired of being able to state to their comprehension how this was to be done, or to show them what was the real power of the Cross. A gay and thoughtless world sees no such wisdom in that gospel now, and we cannot so explain it to them that they will perceive it.

3. However, notwithstanding this, there cannot be any real doubt of the fact. Nothing is better established than that the gospel is the only effectual means of leading the sinner to abandon his sins and to turn to God. For —(1) Law, as such, cannot effect this. If a condemned and punished man is reformed, it is not by the sentence of the law, but by a side influence of mercy.(2) The Greek philosophy saved and reformed none. When Paul was in Greece, all had been done which philosophy could accomplish, and the result was idolatry and profligacy.(3) Science, literature, art, ethics, cannot restrain men from sin — else such a man as Chalmers would not have found them powerless. As a matter of fact, therefore, while all other things have failed, the gospel of Christ has proved the effectual means of the conversion and the salvation of sinners. This power was illustrated in the case of the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

4. With all that is discouraging and apparently hopeless, in endeavouring to explain this so that it will be appreciated by an unrenewed heart, there are things which are in fact really explanatory of this power.(1) The gift of a Saviour was the highest possible expression of love. Nothing could be better fitted to arrest the attention of mankind than this. It could be for no trifling object that the Son of God became incarnate and died on a cross. What is there which even God could do that would, when appreciated, be more likely to arrest the attention of mankind?(2) The evil of sin is most clearly seen and deeply felt when it is viewed in connection with the Cross of Christ, and with the fact that His unspeakable sufferings were the proper expression and measure of its ill-desert. For —

(a)He suffered (as far as the nature of the case would allow) what sin deserves, and what the sinner would himself suffer if he were to endure in his own person the penalty of God's violated law.

(b)We feel the evil of a wrong course of life more deeply when it brings calamity on the innocent. An intemperate man will be more likely to be affected by the sufferings which he brings on his family than by the consequences which he brings on himself.(3) The deepest sense of the danger of the sinner is produced by the contemplation of the Cross of Christ. If these sufferings came on the innocent Son of God as a substitute for the guilty, then the sinner, if his sin is not pardoned, must endure in his own person what will be a proper expression of the Divine sense of the evil of the transgression.

(A. Barnes, D. D.)

Note in connection with the preaching of the gospel —

I. A PROPITIOUS CONCURRENCE OF CIRCUMSTANCES. Paul enters Corinth a poor stranger, but see what arrangement has been made for his accommodation (ver. 2).

1. The emperor had expelled all the Jews from Rome.

2. Aquila and Priscilla, thus expelled from Rome, came to Corinth.

3. Aquila "was of the same craft as Paul" — another event of interest.

4. Paul found them out. And that he should find them out in such a large city is also noteworthy. They were Jews, strangers; they were of the same social grade, all of which circumstances would tend to mutual sympathy. Is not Divine superintendence to be seen in this propitious concurrence of circumstances?

II. THE VALUE OF HANDICRAFT (ver. 3) agrees with many passages in the apostle's letters (1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 11:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8), and shows —

1. That there is no disgrace in manual labour. A greater man than Paul never lived, and here we see him working at his trade.

2. The necessity of independency in a minister. No man urged with greater force the duty of the Church to support its ministers (1 Corinthians 9:14). But notwithstanding this, he was determined by the labour of his own hands to maintain an honourable independency (2 Corinthians 11:9). The pulpit which is felt to be the means of bread to the minister is often terribly degraded, and no wonder.

III. THE STIMULATING INFLUENCE OF COOPERATION (ver. 5). He had encountered all the difficulties of his mission in Athens alone. The sight of his fellow labourers fanned his earnestness into a stronger flame. Timothy had just visited Thessalonica, and the news he brought prompted Paul to address a letter to that Church. It sometimes happens that an increase in our coadjutors lessens our own diligence; it was not so with Paul.

IV. THE LAW OF RESPONSIBILITY (ver. 6). Renewed zeal stirred up fiercer opposition. Paul felt two things, now, in relation to the law of responsibility.

1. That, having been faithful to his conscience, his duty was discharged.

2. That, having rejected the gospel, they had increased their own responsibility. They rejected the spiritual life offered to them, and were guilty of self-murder. "Your blood be upon your own heads" (Ezekiel 33:8, 9).

V. A CHANGE OF SPHERE (vers. 6, 7). Paul was not particular where he preached. At Rome it was in his "own hired lodging" (Acts 28:30). At Ephesus it was the school of Tyrannus (chap. Acts 16). At Philippi, by the riverside (chap. 16). Here, at Corinth, it was a house close to the synagogue. This fact shows —

1. That Paul was not afraid of the Jews, notwithstanding their intolerance and persecution.

2. His belief that the gospel is equally adapted for all, the Gentile as well as the Jew.

3. A conviction that his ministry was too precious to be wasted upon incorrigible souls. When a minister finds he is amongst a people he cannot benefit, it is his duty to select another sphere.

VI. MORAL TRIUMPHS (ver. 8). Crispus, being a man of distinction, his conversion would be a signal demonstration of the power of the gospel, and afford a mighty impulse to its advancement in the city. The class of converts here, it would seem, were not generally of the philosophers or nobles, but the most profligate and degraded (1 Corinthians 6:11). This fact is a demonstration that Christianity is equal to the conquest of the world.

VII. DIVINE ENCOURAGEMENT (vers. 9, 10). Observe —

1. The kind of service Christ requires of His ministers — bold speech.

2. The encouragement He vouchsafes to His ministers —

(1)Protection — "I am with thee," etc.

(2)Success — "I have much people in this city."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

1. The Athenians said, "We will hear thee again." When did it occur to a selfish man that he had anything to consider but his own purpose and convenience? It did not occur to the Athenian mind that perhaps Paul himself would not be there the next day! We take for granted that our opportunities will always be available. Yet we read in Scripture that "the door was shut." The laggards never thought about the door being possibly closed! Whilst Paul is available then make the most of him. "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found." Now is the accepted time!

2. "Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth." The only event that lifts up Corinth in history was an event that Corinth knew nothing of. The man may have come into London last night who will invest it with its sublimest fame. Give us drink, meat, drum, trumpet and dance enough, and what care we what Jew or Gentile is making his way amongst us? Poor Jew, laughed at by every man of form and nobleness, with an idea that the world is to be saved by the Cross! All things fail but the truth. The fine gold becomes dim, and the painted cheek shows at last its ghastliness, and the noble frame falls to dust. But truth lives when Corinthian grandeurs and vanities are forgotten.

3. Had the visit to Athens been without advantage? No; it gave Paul a lesson in preaching. His Athenian discourse was a classical speech; practical indeed, but conceived in a philosophical spirit. Men, however, are not philosophers, and philosophy seldom touches them. For once Paul tried to talk the Grecian speech, and when he was done they mocked him. Going to Corinth he said, "I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." There he will succeed! He made room for the Lord (1 Corinthians 2:1, 2). "God helping me, the Corinthians shall hear of Christ and the Cross!"

4. Entering Corinth, Paul "found a certain Jew, named Aquila," amid a population of tens of thousands! How do we find one another? That is a social mystery. We "came together." How? How do the roots know where the sun is? You put stones upon them and they still work their way. What is their purpose? To find the sun! Banish chance from all your criticism of life. Paul came unto Aquila and Priscilla, "and because he was of the same craft, he abode with them and wrought." According to the Jewish law, if a man did not bring up his son to a trade he was said to bring him up as a thief. There are many such thieves in Christendom.

5. Paul "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath." The first verse made us feel apprehensive. We said as Paul went away, "Is he then disgusted with the work?" We wait until Corinth is reached, and, behold, Paul is once more in the synagogue. What a hold Christian work gets upon a man! You can give up almost any other kind of work, but who can give up the service of the Cross? In the old time the preachers "were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword," etc., and no man gave up the work. That is its best vindication! If they had been man-made preachers they would have changed their occupation, but being born of the incorruptible seed of the Divine will and purpose they were faithful unto the end. Paul gains some new experience in Corinth; he puts down this note in his book (1 Corinthians 4:9-13). Why, then, did he not give it all up? He could not. "For I think that God hath set forth." Let a man think that his ill-treatment is limited by human spite, and he will surrender his mission; but let him feel that God hath set him there, and he will accept all this base treatment as part of the sacred discipline. Seize that idea, and you will be quiet with the peace of heaven.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

It has been said that Corinth was the Vanity Fair of the Roman Empire; at once the London and the Paris of the first century after Christ. You are a poor man, without money, without friends, and with no letter of recommendation to any person or firm in the great city. What would it mean for you to make a place and a reputation for yourself under such circumstances? Think how many forces within and without you would have to be involved in order to lift your single obscure personality into a commanding position, from which you could attract public attention and determine public opinion and action! The very thought of the task is calculated to discourage and even appall the average mind. And yet Paul not only faced the thought, but he actualised it. The question arises: How did he do it? In trying to answer this question, we shall find ourselves touching some of the secret springs of the power of a Christian personality in a great metropolis. The history of the gradual development of a personal character as it emerges from obscurity to eminence, from dependence to dominion, is full of inspiration. Not every man illustrates this evolution of soul power. Too often the process is in the other direction. More frequently the development stops where a good many peach crops do, under the late spring frosts. and ends only in leaves. While it is true that all men and women have not the natural endowments for making these great impressions upon their age and generation, it is also true that most men and women, by a right adjustment and discipline of the powers which God has given them, might do much more than they are doing to change and better the world. Let us look for a few moments at the picture which our sacred artist has given us of Paul in Corinth.

1. The first thing which the apostle did was to find employment. The first thing which a man must do if he would gain for himself an influence in any community is to show his ability to take care of himself in a material way. Labour is one of the foundation stones of soul power. A trade or a profession is the vantage ground within which the character is to grow, and from which it is to make itself felt upon the world at large. The man who will not work cannot rule. One of the first questions for a man to settle is, "What shall my lifework be? What employment shall I follow, in order that I may do my share in adding to the productive forces of the world?" There is no place in society for the idle or the lazy man. Among men, as among animals, parasitism leads to degeneration and uselessness. Wealth which stops work kills character.

2. In the next place, I notice that Paul preached while he worked. "He reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." He did what every man and woman must do if they hope to make any permanent impression upon the community in which they live. He mingled his religious and secular life in such a way that the two played into each, or rather the one grew out of the other as the blossom grows out of the stem. The man who has within him possibilities of eternity, and the powers which belong to heaven, must of necessity be a preacher and a reformer wherever he lives and moves. If he has Christ in his soul as the motive power of his life, he must express Christ under the conditions of that life, not merely on Sunday and on prayer meeting day, but all through the week. Thus only will he save his trade or profession from the charge of being merely a makeshift whereby to earn his bread. His business as a merchant is a means of presenting Jesus Christ to clerk and customer. The most effective preaching of this day, I venture to say, is that which is done by the man who is following some honourable business, and at the same time by word and act ministering to the needs of the world in the name of Jesus Christ.

3. But I notice again that "when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit." That is, he was wholly seized and arrested by the truth of his religion, so that he applied himself to it with the utmost earnestness. I find here a very important suggestion in the line of developing personal influence in the community. The presence of Paul's two friends greatly added to his efficiency. A man works a good deal better with congenial spirits than he does alone. Every reformer knows what I mean when I speak of that loneliness which is necessarily connected with all pioneer work. Christ experienced it. Few personalities are strong enough to walk in advance of their age entirely alone. They can go on for a little while, but unless they find sympathy and cooperation they are liable to fall by the way. Eagerly they turn back, wistfully they look around the great sea of faces behind them, anxious to discover someone who has left the common ranks and moved up nearer to them. This was the way Paul felt when he waited and looked for the coming, of Silas and Timotheus. If Christians understood how much they could do by giving even their presence to a good cause, the world would be made better much more rapidly than it is now. It is astonishing how a half-dozen, or even two, thoroughly sympathetic workers in the church can turn a pastor's discouragement into joy and make an enthusiastic phalanx which can chase a thousand. Silas may not be a very able or eloquent co-worker; he may be a very modest and very inefficient man; and yet the single item of his sympathy may change Paul's pending defeat into a glorious victory. Not Paul alone, but Paul plus Silas and Timotheus, moved Corinth. Mass your personalities. Organise! It means victory.

4. But I discover one other condition of Paul's condition of Paul's success in Corinth, in this remarkable statement, which we find in the ninth and tenth verses of this chapter — "Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, 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." Here we have another illustration of the reality of the Divine presence and guidance in every human life. Paul had these manifestations of the unseen Christ for a special reason. They lived at a time when the world had had little or no Christian experience which could avail to encourage and cheer them. There was no great enlightened consciousness for them to appeal to. And so what God has given to us today in the form of a wide Christian sympathy and multiplied Christian experiences and a vast array of convincing facts he gave to these early disciples in the form of supernatural revelations. The Lord is not confined to visions and dreams in manifesting His presence to them that love Him. His promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," was spoken to be fulfilled. Men practically bind their lives by material limitations and refuse to think that there is any influence or help from an unseen spiritual realm. The result is they fail in all high endeavour and come short of all true manhood and womanhood. It is just as true today as it was when Paul was asserting his Christian personality in Corinth, that the man who would work any great good for himself or his fellow men and make the world better for his having lived in it must have the actual help of the incarnate Son of God.

(C. A. Dickinson.)

It is most natural to count Aquila and Priscilla among Paul's early Corinthian converts, and to take the record as it stands, that similarity of trade was what drew them and Paul together. Associated with these tent makers, Paul worked as others worked, and with the others rested and worshipped on the Sabbath. In the synagogue, and doubtless also at his daily toil, he told the message that never was long absent from his lips. Nevertheless, through all the first part of his life in Corinth his apostolic mission recedes from view. Paul the tent maker was in Corinth waiting the coming of Timothy and Silas. When these companions came all was changed. He had been weighed down by anxiety for those whom he had left in trouble after too short teaching in the new faith. They told him of the young disciples' steadfastness, and set his heart at rest. He had been hurried from place to place, nowhere having time to see the full result of his work. Timothy and Silas brought him from the Macedonian disciples a contribution which freed his hands. And from the time of their coming, Paul set vigorously to work to minister salvation to the Corinthians. The period of seeming inactivity was not without result. It got him ready to work most effectively with just the people about him. His new intensity of effort took speedy effect, partly unfavourable, partly favourable. This history reveals three stages in Paul's work at Corinth.

1. The period of incidental though fundamental work, while his thoughts were far away with the Christians he had left in Macedonia.

2. The period of intense apostolic activity which followed on the coming of his companions with comforting reports from Macedonia and with gifts that freed his time for more continuous activity.

3. The new experience of opposition ignored and of work bravely continued until the apostle went elsewhere of his own choice. The significance of this experience of Paul appears more clearly if we call to mind the whole course of that missionary journey which reached its goal in Corinth. Is it not clear that Corinth was God's objective point in all that journey? From place to place the apostle was hurried, leaving each time disciples seeming to need his ministry, until he reached that great centre of life and luxury. There he was bidden to stay, let his enemies do what they would.Surely God's hand was in all that hard experience, and if so the study of it can teach us much.

1. We may learn from it, first, that God often directs His faithful servants to build better than they know. We, of course, always recognise that the Church's growth is, from beginning to end, God's work, and this is true. But when we see the thoughts and plans of good men over-ridden, and the success desired by them reached through their continual and almost total disappointment, we are led to bow more humbly before that august power not ourselves that makes for righteousness. God causes to praise Him not only the wrath of evil men, but also the well-meant but mistaken, and therefore frustrated, efforts of good men. Our disappointments, our apparent failures, may be the very experiences by which we shall be enabled most to glorify God and bless humanity. Toil on, then, brother; let not your heart sink. God is with you as He was with Paul all that disappointing way from Macedonia to Corinth. Be your heart right, your head clear with the best light prayer will give you, and your hands busy in the work of His kingdom, and God will care for all consequences. These consequences will one day be revealed, and some of them will be so splendid as to make you glad that you lived.

2. We see from this part of Paul's history, secondly, that God carries forward His kingdom strategically, seizing every point of special vantage and leaving unimportant positions temporarily unoccupied. In Philippi and Thessalonica and Beroea lived men and women enough for the apostle's ministry for many years. Yet God rushed him from these needy places to Corinth. Why? We can never guess until we have our eyes opened to see that God's purpose is not carried out in a haphazard way, but as great generals win campaigns. Corinth was the place from which the new salvation could spread most widely into different regions so affecting the world's life. This is why God sped Paul to Corinth, and kept him there until the new faith was fairly rooted and could grow and bring forth fruit for the world's health.

3. Notice, thirdly, the application of this thought to the missionary problem. The light of Christ must be put where it can reach the uttermost corners of the earth, and in each age where it will reach as far as possible for that age. God's purpose is to save the whole world. Therefore His people cannot rest in the Philippis or the Thessalonicas; they must sweep on and on, till every Corinth on earth is reached and made a missionary centre.

4. We observe, in the fourth place, that the Almighty proposes not to save men as so many isolated specimens of humanity, but to save human society. Corinth did not consist of a great drove of men, such as we see at fairs or in caravans, but in an organic body of rational beings. Its importance strategically consisted largely in this. God's thought of salvation is not met by the rescue of any number of individual souls to eternal life, be the number large or small. He seeks through the salvation of individual men and women to save all the social total. Thus, humanity is to feel the vitalising touch of Christ, in order that the customs, laws, ideals, and hopes of men may be lifted up and made heavenly, and this is to occur through the winning in earth's every corner of some souls who shall live the Christlike life and be centres of Christlike influence. Only when this is thoroughly renovated will men be saved. Only then will the Son of Man see the full travail of His soul and be satisfied.

(R. Rhees.)

I. WE SEE, FIRST, SOMETHING OF THE WAY IN WHICH PAUL MOVED ABOUT AS AN AGENT OF THE GOSPEL.

1. Failure was the cause generally of his changing his place of work. At some places (Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus) he stayed a considerable time. It was because his attempt to lead men to Christ there passed from the point of endeavour to the point of success. At other places he preached until he was stoned out of the gates, or met with such complete unsusceptibility of heart, that not even antagonism was aroused. Paul had not been maltreated at Athens, but he had made little or no impression. It is easier to be learned than it is to be humble.

2. That a place seemed unpromising for gospel work did not deter Paul from entering it. Athens might have been considered a favourable spot for the attempt, and Corinth not. But Paul went on as readily to Corinth as to Athens. From the luxurious fashionable set who gave Corinthian society its character, Paul could hope for little, nor could he expect any heed from the representatives of the Roman State, who would sneer at anything religious, particularly if it came from among the Jews. Yet what a mistake he would have made if he had not gone to Corinth. He was to win many souls there for Christ, was to establish one of the best-known Churches in Christendom there. The badness of a place is not a good ground for keeping the gospel from it, but the contrary.

II. PAUL HAD A DEFINITE WAY OF DETERMINING WHO HIS ASSOCIATES WERE TO BE IN ANY PLACE. There is nothing mysterious in his method, nor is it different from that followed by every other man. Each man, by the laws of personal affinity, goes to "his own." Paul naturally gravitated towards men of similar mind with himself.

1. He naturally sought out Jews. He was a Jew himself, and had the intense race feeling which has always distinguished "the peculiar people" (2 Corinthians 11:22). They were in a sense halfway to the gospel already, inasmuch as they believed in the true God and His ancient revelation; therefore they offered ground already prepared for the sowing of the Word of life. Thus it was that on coming to Corinth Paul made the acquaintance of Aquila. He knew that in him he would have much in common.

2. The development of this friendship was assisted by the similarity of occupation of the two men. Both were tent makers, a trade common in Cilicia, the apostle's native land. Sameness of occupation is a very active element in the making and establishing of friendships.

3. Still another element was at work in the shaping of Paul's relations with others — Providence. By chance, some might say, Paul and Aquila, after many vicissitudes for both, met in Corinth.

III. PAUL'S WAY OF LIFE IS SET BEFORE US.

1. He pursued his trade.

2. While Paul plied his trade among his fellow Jews, he was discussing religious questions with them and laying a foundation for the gospel.

IV. PAUL'S INCREASE OF ACTIVITY. The time came when the ground was prepared for the proclamation of the full gospel to the Corinthian Jews. When that time came, delay would have been not discretion but cowardice.

1. The change in Paul's procedure seems to have been due to the coming of Silas and Timothy from Macedonia (ver. 5).

2. The result was that which was common with Paul in similar circumstances — opposition. The opposition rose to the point of intense ridicule, literally blasphemy, of the apostle's words. And what was it all about? The simple declaration that Jesus was the Christ (ver. 5). The natural man receiveth not the things of God. We must expect, then, that men will always antagonise their own coming to Christ.

V. PAUL CHANGED HIS PLAN AT THIS POINT. He had worked hitherto along the line of friendship. He had conciliated. Now he rises with the moral dignity of a messenger of God, and shaking out his garment, that not a grain of dust from the place may cleave to him, he cries, "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles" (ver. 6).

1. This invoking of the testimony of the dust was a common Oriental method of cursing one's enemies, and was full of terror to those who witnessed it. It was not an invocation of wrath upon them, but rather a warning to flee from wrath.

2. Paul next tried what, generally speaking, would have been called the more unfavourable ground, since he had had no success where he had been entitled to expect it. In the same way in which he had been driven from Athens to less favourable Corinth, he was driven from Jewish Corinth to the less favourable Gentile Corinth.

VI. THE RESULTS AT LAST APPEAR. If there had been no results, Paul, in a sense, would have accomplished his mission. What, then, if conversions do not follow preaching? What did Paul do? He went to another place.

1. The results were great. He preached in a Gentile house (i.e., that of Titus Justus; Paul still lived with Aquila), and the ruler of the synagogue was converted. So does the gospel find a welcome in the unlikeliest hearts, and the grace of God find a home in the darkest spots. You never can tell where the gospel will win its way. It is ours to press onward in every direction.

2. After Paul's discouragement there came this astounding success. Unless we are better than Paul, we may expect times of discouragement; and, bless God, we may also expect times of deep rejoicing.

VII. THE DIVINE ENCOURAGEMENT IS GIVEN TO PAUL IN A VISION (vers. 9, 10). It was given to him —

1. By the presence of God. Paul had his companions now with him. But he was lonesome for a stronger than they, and God came Himself. Even the strongest souls have such hours of longing after God. We long to have God with us; but, beyond that, to know that He is with us. And in many ways God lets us know, and in the knowledge gives us deep comfort.

2. The Lord encouraged Paul with a double promise —(1) That no one should harm him, although danger would menace him as he boldly preached the truth.(2) That he should have many converts for Christ; for this seems to be in]plied in the expression, "for I have much people in this city" (ver. 10). So Paul was reminded anew and doubly that his work was more God's than his own. Here again we meet the problem of the Divine and human at work together — of fore-ordination and human freedom, both true, and yet irreconcilable perfectly to our present comprehension.

VIII. GENERAL LESSONS.

1. The gospel has an irregular movement; all is not success, all is not failure.

2. Our duty is to press on without ceasing.

3. God is with us. The powers that resist the gospel are nothing to the power that befriends it.

4. Success is sure; in multitudes of places it has proved immediate.

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

Monday Club Sermons.
Let us consider —

I. ITS MOTIVE. It was —

1. A single motive. No one could have misunderstood it. A Christian gains much in power when all men know what he seeks. The apostle laboured to save souls.

2. An unselfish motive. Confident that souls would be saved if his message were delivered, he waited for no human call or provision for his support. He affirmed the principle that those "who preach the gospel shall live of the gospel." But he loved to remind them that they had neither called him to preach nor paid him for preaching. When Garabaldi was thrown into prison, he said, "Let fifty Garibaldi's be thrown into prison — but let Borne be free!" He counted himself as of no consequence, but his cause as everything. When he went to appeal for recruits they demanded what he had to offer as inducements. The old man replied, "Poverty and hardships and battles and wounds and — victory!" They caught his enthusiasm, threw their hats into the air, and enlisted on the spot. The record of this pastorate is as impressive a lesson to the layman as to the minister. By far the larger number of those who spread the gospel must be men and women who support themselves by ordinary occupations. The honour of labour is determined by its motive. Paul did not demean himself by stitching away at the hair cloth for the tents, but the apostle ennobled the trade by engaging in it.

II. ITS SPIRIT. The love of Christ constrained the apostle. It kindled love not only toward Him, but toward all those for whom Christ died. But he had, at different times, different degrees of earnestness. He had come up from Athens deeply self-abased; but when Silas and Timothy came, bringing him good news concerning the Thessalonian converts, his ministry took on new life. "For now we live," he wrote them, "if ye stand fast in the Lord." The sympathy of his fellow workers, and of those to whom he had preached, greatly increased his power. The evidence of interest on the part of their people has often aroused ministers so that revivals have followed. The Thessalonian converts made themselves so felt in the preaching of Paul at Corinth that converts were made and opposition roused, and he was driven from the synagogue.

III. ITS WISDOM.

1. Paul chose the place where his work would be most effective. Corinth was a noble field for preaching, because the gospel once received here would be widely diffused.

2. The character of the people also attracted the preacher. Education without Christ makes a barren field like Athens; business activity makes a field fruitful for good or evil. No minister should be blamed for choosing the field that promises the largest results.

3. He adopted the methods that would reach the largest number. The synagogue was the place where he would find the people assembled; but, when he could not preach in the synagogue, he chose a house close by, owned by a proselyte, who would favour the assembling of a mixed audience.

4. He was persevering. Every Sabbath he was at his post. He was not irritated by seeming failure. When the Jews would not hear him he turned to the Gentiles.

5. He presented themes which would compel attention. Jesus as the royal Messiah whom the Jews were anticipating.

6. His preaching was scholarly — not mere exhortation, but a presentation of proofs and arguments. He reasoned with his hearers and persuaded them.

IV. ITS WEAKNESSES AND SUPPORTS.

1. Paul was not above fear.(1) He feared attack from without. He felt himself in danger from unreasonable and wicked men, and he besought the Thessalonians to pray that he might be delivered from them. Men have many ways of persecuting the minister. They love to slander him; they plan to weaken his power.(2) He had a sense of personal weakness — perhaps nervous depression, perhaps fears respecting his own fitness for service. No minister is so strong as not to need the constant prayers of his people. Even Paul needed a message from the Lord; and it came with a command, "Be not afraid, but speak." Preach on.

2. The Divine message assured Paul of three things.(1) The constant presence of the Lord.(2) The powerlessness of opposition.(3) Success. These were all the assurances that faith could ask. They banished fear; they made the disciple valiant and triumphant.Conclusion: These great lessons are taught by this pastorate — faithful work for Christ's sake —

1. Develops noble personal character.

2. Enlarges experience and skill in the service of God.

3. Secures special protection and favour from God.

4. Is sure of abiding results.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

I. PAUL SET HIMSELF TO WORK UPON THOSE MOST LIKELY TO BE INFLUENCED BY HIS TEACHING. He spake and reasoned every Sabbath in the synagogue to and with those who had some sort of belief in the true and living God, and who were not utterly unacquainted with spiritual things. Probably thought that by this means he might the sooner influence others.

II. PAUL BEING REPULSED DOES NOT ABANDON THE WORK. It was not his nature. Before his conversion his whole energy was bent to accomplish whatsoever he took in hand.

III. PAUL'S HEART IS GREATLY CHEERED IN HIS LABOURS —

1. By the conversion of Titus Justus, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, and many others.

2. By the sympathy of that gracious and devout couple, Aquila and Priscilla.

3. By the active aid of Silas and Timotheus, who had recently joined him. "Jesus Christ...was preached among you by us, by me, and Silvanus, and Timotheus" (2 Corinthians 1:19). Touches scattered through the Epistles show that St. Paul was no misanthrope, but was cheered by companionship.

4. By the night vision. Not the first time he had been so favoured (cf. 16:9, 10). Here —

(1)Distinct command to continue preaching.

(2)Assurance of the Divine presence.

(3)Promise of the Divine protection.

(4)Revelation of the Divine interest in that city — wicked, corrupt, abandoned as it was.

IV. PAUL KEPT STEADILY AT THE APPOINTED WORK. "He sat there a year and six months teaching among them the Word of God." 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 gives us the marrow and soul of the apostle's teaching. Result — the Church of Corinth: one of the largest and noblest harvests ever given to ministerial toil. Conclusion:

1. God must surely have "much people" in this place.

2. God will use us to gather in the "people for His name." Believe not only that He can but that He will.

3. God's gospel which would do at Corinth will do anywhere.

(F. Goodall, B. A.)

While we praise the successful missionaries for the sacrifices and services they have wrought in the name of Christ we should not forget the unsuccessful ones, those who have done their best, but in circumstances where they could reap but little, and perhaps cut off in an untimely way and thrust out of their field with never an opportunity to do what they had an ambition to do. What about them? Think of George Schmidt with his heart burning to preach in Africa, who went there and was driven off by the settlers and not allowed to return, and who used to pray day after day, "Lord, permit me to go to Africa," until he was found dead on his knees without ever going back. Think of that noble Bishop Patteson, so splendidly endowed that they said, "Why waste your talents on the heathen?" Yet he went to the Pacific Islands, and they took him as an enemy. As he was saying, "Peace be unto you," they slew him, and, like his Lord, he was sent back from the very people that he came to bless with five bleeding wounds upon his person. Think of Melville Cox, that noble Methodist who went out from America, who had a consuming passion to preach the gospel on the western coast of Africa. He had hardly reached the shore when he was stricken down with fever, and all there is left of him is a grave, with the words, "Though a thousand fall, let not Africa be given up." Then think of Adam M'Call, who, stricken down, dying, said, "Lord Jesus, Thou knowest that I consecrated my life to Africa. If Thou dost choose to take me instead of the work which I purposed to do for Thee, what is that to me? Thy will be done." Where was their success? If they could speak to us they would say in the words of the great missionary St. Paul, "I have but one ambition, that, whether I be absent from the body or present with the Lord, I may be well-pleasing unto Him."

This old English maxim receives a remarkable illustration in this chapter of Paul's history. When one thing does not succeed, or one method is frustrated, try another. Nil desperandum. God helps those who help themselves.

1. Paul departs from Athens where his message was derided by proud intellectualists, to Corinth where there was a large artisan and commercial population. Christ rejected by the Pharisees and Scribes turned to the common people, who heard him gladly. How many ministers might reap a large success if they turned, if only occasionally, from the respectable but otiose habitues of their ornate sanctuaries to the masses of the people. Anyhow, no Christian worker is justified in confining his attention to spheres where the result is small, while the adjoining "fields are white unto harvest."

2. When Paul came to Corinth the duty nearest to hand was to work for his own living. This duty happened to be a necessity, as it is in the majority of cases; but it is none the less a duty for all that. "Diligence in business," Paul himself tells us, is the service of God: it is only secular when its aims and methods are secular. To the busy mechanic, clerk, etc., the lesson is — work as Paul worked, honestly, industriously, with a single eye to God's glory, and wait for the next thing which is sure to turn up.

3. Those who employed Paul were religious people, and therefore frequenters of a place of worship. He went with them, therefore, and took his share of Church work. Whether this should fall to the lot of Christian employers or not, it is their duty to join the nearest Church. Sunday is not a day for recreation but for tranquil and blessed work for the Master. He in His Providence enables you to find temporal support, and expects you to use the opportunities afforded by His grace to extend His Kingdom.

4. Paul soon found (ver. 5) friends who were like minded with him. And whether amongst previous associates or newly-acquired friends, the earnest Christian worker will assuredly find sympathisers and helpers. This should lead, as it did in Paul's case, to added zeal. Single handed he was able to do much (ver. 4), but thus assisted and encouraged he doubled his enthusiasm, and his success may be measured by the opposition he encountered. God intends seasons of special encouragement to be employed in larger usefulness. Do not let them pass away unimproved.

5. But Paul's added energy was resented (ver. 6). Certain communities can endure anything but this. As long as a man works along certain lines he is tolerated, perhaps thanked for his services; but when he oversteps long-established boundaries he is sure to be opposed. What is he to do? Acquiesce? Retire in disgust or despair? No! Let him do the next thing; find another sphere. If there is no room in the synagogue, the street, the poor tenement, the sick room will find room for the outflow of Christian energy.

6. For where one door is closed another will surely open to the Christian worker. Expelled, practically, from the synagogue, Paul found the house of Justus ready to receive him (ver. 7), and here he did synagogue work which he could not do in the synagogue (ver. 8). How many are dumb and inactive for the want of that sanctified ingenuity which is born of determined Christian devotion! The proprieties or narrowness of our Churches should send multitudes of unemployed Christians into the highways and hedges.

7. There is ever Divine encouragement for those who will do the next thing (vers. 9, 10).

(J. W. Burn.)

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