IN view of the facts noticed in the preceding lesson, and especially since the apostles are the ambassadors of Christ, Paul says, "We, then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." Furthermore, he tells them that now is the accepted time, and the day of salvation; admonishes them to be careful of giving any occasion of stumbling; and urges them to pursue a course of conduct that could bring no discredit upon the ministry of those who had preached the gospel to them.

By way of setting home the admonition just given, Paul speaks of the example, which he and the other apostles had set. They had themselves been very careful of giving offense; they had been patient in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings. All these they had, without a murmur, endured for Christ's sake. They had not attempted to retaliate; they had scarcely resented the injuries done them, though they had boldly defended the truth on all occasions. They had deserved the approval of all, by their purity of life, by their knowledge of divine things, by their long-suffering and kindness toward those who persecuted them, by the fruit of the Spirit, and by the sincerity of their affection. They gave proof of their apostleship, by the word of truth which they preached; by the power of God manifested in the miracles they performed, as well as in setting home the truth to the hearts of men; and by keeping on the whole armor of righteousness.

Sometimes they were honored, but oftener dishonored; sometimes they were praised, but oftener spoken of as evil; although true, they were regarded by many as deceivers; although by their deeds they ought to have been known as good men, they were thought to be of doubtful character, and of unworthy connections; although apparently given over to death, they still lived; although they seemed to be chastened of God, they were not allowed to perish; although they had abundant cause for sorrow, they were always found rejoicing; although poor, they made many rich, by giving them the key to eternal life ; although they had small possessions in this life, they looked forward by faith to the time when all things should be theirs to enjoy.

Thus it was that the apostle again called the Corinthians to a high standard of Christian conduct and character, by presenting before them a vivid picture of the life led by their religious teachers. No circumstances could be more trying than those under which the apostles labored; and yet, amid all, they had been faithful, and of good courage.

The Corinthian brethren might have thought that, since Paul had seen so many faults in them, he could not hold them in very high esteem; yet the generous-hearted apostle assures them that there is no lack of affection on his part; his heart is enlarged toward them; he can take in all their interests; he can forgive their faults, and love them still. They are the ones that have become narrow and selfish in their feelings, and the apostle exhorts them to become enlarged. Paul found it necessary to warn the disciples at Corinth against being too closely connected with unbelievers. He probably had reference to business relations, as well as to marriage. He says "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, Come ye out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, And will be to you a Father, And ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."









WHEN Paul arrived at Ephesus, he found that the brethren there had been visited during his absence by one Apollos, a learned Jew from Alexandria, who having in some way learned of the new religion, was very zealous in presenting it to others. Coming to Ephesus, he went boldly into the synagogue of the Jews, and with all earnestness bore witness to "that Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Aquila and Priscilla, seeing that the teaching of Apollos, though eloquent, learned, and zealous, was defective in some important points, undertook to teach him the "way of the Lord more perfectly.''

The man showed himself to be really a sincere follower of Christ by accepting correction from these humble tent-makers. Before Paul's arrival at Ephesus, however, Apollos had gone to visit the brethren at Corinth. Paul was no doubt glad to learn of this new laborer in the great vineyard; yet he found that the brethren at Ephesus had not been properly instructed on some important points of truth. Apollos had baptized them unto the baptism of John, but Paul again baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus. After this he preached boldly in the synagogue of the Jews for some three months, until his work was no longer acceptable.

He now found freedom to continue his public instruction in the "school of one Tyrannus," who was probably a teacher of philosophy or rhetoric converted by the apostle to Christianity. These labors, continued thus earnestly for two years, could not fail to produce great results in the busy town, thronged with travelers from all countries. A large church was formed at Ephesus, and the name of Christ became generally known throughout the province of Asia.

During his labors at this place the Lord wrought many miracles by the hand of the apostle. In Ephesus were great numbers of those who practiced curious arts, and among them were then in the city, in the course of their wanderings, several Jewish exorcists. These magicians soon saw that the miracles of Paul were performed by a higher power than their charms and enchantments. So they began to call the name of Jesus over those possessed with devils, as they had seen Paul do. The fate, which befell them in consequence of this impious act, had a powerful effect upon the dwellers in Ephesus. Many of the sorcerers themselves openly renounced their wicked practices and brought together their books containing the mystic formulas, and burnt them in the sight of all the people, thus showing how utterly worthless they were.

Such books, from their very nature, would be costly, and all books in that age bore a value, which, would seem exorbitant to us in these days of books. So we need not be surprised that the whole cost sacrificed in the flames amounted to as much as 2000 pounds, or 10,000 dollars, of English money. The scene of this burning must have been • one long remembered in Ephesus.

Sometime during Paul's stay at Ephesus, he made a short visit to the church at Corinth. Paul himself refers to this visit in his epistles, and describes it as a painful one. He found that many of his beloved converts had departed from his teachings, and were indulging in "sin and uncleanness." This was a source of great grief to the apostle. Yet while he dealt with the offenders kindly and tenderly, he spared not their sins. This visit was probably not a long one; and

Luke does not mention it in the Acts at all. In the letters, which Paul wrote to the Corinthian church after his return to Ephesus, he still rebukes them for their sins and earnestly exhorts them to better lives.

After the burning of the books of sorcery, Paul stayed "for a season" in Ephesus. He had it in mind very soon to go into Macedonia, his first field of labor in Europe, and from thence to Achaia, or Greece. This would give him a chance to visit the churches, which he had raised up at Philippi, Thessolonica, Berea, and Corinth. From there he intended to go to Jerusalem. So he sent before him into Macedonia two of his helpers in the work, Timothy and Erastus.

But while the apostle himself still tarried at Ephesus, "until Pentecost " (1 Corinthians 16:8.), occurred the great uproar raised by Demetrius about the worship of Diana, which will soon be noticed in the lessons.




E. B. G









CONTINUING his exhortation to purity of life, Paul says, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

Some time had now elapsed since Paul at Ephesus began his first letter to the Corinthians. He had passed through many trials, and had suffered no little anguish of spirit. From Ephesus he went to Troas, where he says a "great door and effectual" was opened unto him. Yet even here he was much troubled because Titus did not come to him as he expected. His own words are, "My spirit found no rest, because of Titus, my brother."

On leaving Troas, he crossed the Aegean Sea, and came to Philippi, where he found Timothy, and other fellow-workers. He was still very anxious about his Corinthian brethren. He says: "When we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless, God, who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more."

The report brought by Titus must have been very encouraging, and very satisfactory to Paul; for he writes to the Corinthians, "In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." And again, "Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you, I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation." Paul's first letter had wrought a good work in the church at Corinth. It had produced a godly sorrow that led to sincere repentance.

The apostle speaks of the generosity of the churches in Macedonia, and urges that the same grace be cultivated among the Corinthians. The Macedonian brethren had set a worthy example in first giving

themselves to the Lord, and then consecrating all they had to his service. Paul says to the Corinthians:

"As ye abound in everything, -in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love toward us, see that ye abound in this grace also; . . . for ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

For the encouragement of those who have but little in this world, the apostle shows that it is the liberal spirit that is prized of God, rather than the gifts bestowed. He says, "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." He praises the Corinthians for their willingness to pledge in the past, and calls on them to fulfill their pledges promptly and cheerfully. They need have no fear that a well guided liberality will bring them to want; for, "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

In his tender solicitude for their obedience and prosperity, the apostle appeals to their love for himself, as well as for the Saviour, saying, "Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." He acknowledges that he is lowly among them; but the words he has to speak are powerful; they are from God himself. He says, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

In speaking of his care for the Corinthians, the apostle uses these words: "I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."