"He departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized" — Acts 18: 7-8
This was at Corinth. Here he continued a year and six months, assured that the Lord had much people in that city. At first he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews. But upon their opposing and rejecting him, he sought another place to teach in. It was not a building appropriated to public worship. At this time, and long after this, the Christians had no such edifices. They assembled wherever they could find an accommodation. The spot was indeed consecrated, not by a religious ceremony, but by the presence of God and the service itself. The Saviour himself attached no holiness to walls or ground, but said. "Where — let it be where it will – two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them." He preached not only in the temple, and in the synagogue, but in the private dwelling, and by the way-side, and in the mountain, and on board a ship. And his Apostles followed his example; and every where lifted up holy hands without wrath and doubting.
The house Paul now entered belonged to a worshipper of God whose name was Justus, and it joined hard to the synagogue. The nearer the church, the proverb is, the farther from God. This is founded on the observation, that what men can easily reach and enjoy, they often neglect. And who are they that come late to the sanctuary? Not those from a distance, but they who live near. Who are absent in bad weather? Those who have carriages, or can procure vehicles; not they who come on foot. Who most frequently excuse their non-attendance? The strong and healthful; not the indisposed and weak. Who sleep during the service? Not the poor and laborious, who have seldom an hour of repose, but the lazy and genteel, who never know what fatigue means.
It was a trial of principle in this man to open his house to Paul. It would create him inconvenience, and trouble, and expense, and it would draw upon him danger and reproach, as it was an open avowal of his adherence to the cause, and he knew that the sect was everywhere spoken against. How many professors of religion, yielding to their selfish and dastardly reasonings, would have refused! They would have said, What will people think of me? What will my relations say? And may not my business suffer? We are never prepared for a course of godliness till we can give up every thing to God, especially our paltry reputation, as our worldly profit. Bunyan, with as much truth as genius, places all the pilgrims under the conduct of Mr. Great-Heart. It is to intimate that we shall need courage every step of the way to the Shining City. Let us consult not with flesh and blood, but only with conviction; and go forth to the Saviour without the camp, bearing his reproach. We shall then, not only retain peace of mind, but please Him whose loving-kindness is better than life. Did Obed-Edom repent of taking in the ark? The Lord blessed his house, and all that pertained to him. Who was ever a loser by any thing he did for the cause of God? Who can be a loser while He remains true who has said, Them that honour me I will honour. They shall prosper that love Zion?
What Justus did in accommodating Paul, rewarded and dignified him; and it is now told for a memorial of him. How must it have delighted him to see the good that was done under his own roof! "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." But here a man of some rank and influence, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believes; nor is this all — His house too is added to the Lord. Yea, and many of the Corinthians, hearing, believe and are baptized.
Yet Paul baptized but few of them. And when he wrote his epistle to these people, he rejoiced in the fact. This has puzzled those who look upon the dispensation of the sacraments, so called, as by far the most honourable and sacred part of the ministerial function. And in all our churches persons are allowed to preach before they are authorized to administer what are called divine ordinances. And many reasons have been alleged to account consistently with this, for Paul's conduct in thanking God, that in all the time he staid here, and notwithstanding the multitude of converts, he had only baptized Crispus and Gaius, and the household of Stephanus. But the reason he himself assigns overturns an unscriptural notion and practice. He had devolved upon others the baptism of the new converts, because, says he, "Jesus Christ sent me not to baptize" — which outward form could be dispensed by others of inferior station and talent — "but," which is by far the most important and difficult part of my office, "to preach the Gospel."
Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
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