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seen a particular account of the calling of some of them. We found to, in the 6th chapter from the 13th verse, how he called unto him all his disciples, and from among them chose these twelve, whom he named apostles, that is, messengers. We there had a list of the names, and took occasion to give a short history of the lives, of the apostles. The 9th chapter, on which we are now entering, begins with an account of the actual mission of the apostles. You observe, Christ did not send them out to teach immediately after they became disciples, nor even immediately after they were selected for the apostleship. Mark* says that Jesus" ordained twelve, that they might be with him;" that is, that they might wait constantly on him, have habitual communion with him, be present at his public preaching, and enjoy his private instructions; and thus be fully qualified for the work on which he was to send them.

“Then," says Luke," he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." The chief object of their mission was, 66 to preach the kingdom of God," as it is here expressed-to preach, to proclaim publicly, as heralds, the introduction of the gospel dispensation to declare, according to the light they then possessed, that Messiah was come, and that salvation was to be obtained, and sought, only through faith in his name. And on this errand they were formally sent and commissioned by him. In subserviency to this great design, and in order, chiefly, to gain credit to what they were to preach, he bestowed on them" power," or energy, and official "authority," or right, to cast out devils, to heal diseases, and to work other miracles. All rightful authority, and all power in reference to temporal, and especially to spiritual things, emanate from Christ, who has the government on his shoulder; and the particular way in which, as we are here told, Christ gave this power to the apostles, is justly considered as a proof of his Godhead. When we consider the case, for example, of Moses and the seventy elders, we find that, though Moses chose them cut from among the people, it was not he who conferred their gifts upon them: but" the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and gave it unto the seventy elders." So also, though the apostles, as we read in the Acts, communicated miraculous gifts to others, it was only instrumentally, and Acts viii. 15.

* Mark iii. 14.

Numb. xi. 16-25.

in the use of prayer to God, who was the true agent in bestowing the gifts. Here, however, without prayer, and without a reference to any agency but his own, Christ gave the apostles the miraculous power and authority. These he must, therefore, have had of himself; and, of course, he is God, equal with the Father.

From the parallel passage of Mark vi. 7, we learn that our Lord sent forth the twelve "by two and two." This must appear a wise and gracious arrangement, whether we regard the object of their mission, or their own interest and comfort. It rendered their testimony legally valid; for, at the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word must be considered as established. It consulted their own wants and infirmities, as they would be ready to assist and encourage each other. In the words of Ecclesiastes,* "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up." In like manner, our Lord afterwards sent out the seventy by two and two.

In giving an account of the mission of the twelve, Matthew, in his 10th chapter from the 5th verse, says that Jesus commanded them, saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not"(testifying against the schismatic conduct of the Samaritans, who were thus ranked with the Gentiles)" but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' The personal ministry of Christ, and the early labours of the apostles, were almost confined to the Jews. This was divinely ordered, for such reasons probably as these—that the Jews, who had the prophecies and types of the Old Testament, and who, of course, were, or ought to have been, the best judges, might be first appealed to for a decision in favour of Jesus' claim to the office of Messiah; that their prejudices against the Gentiles might not be too strongly opposed at once, but gradually done away; that a centre of operations might be established by the conversion of some of the Jews; and that their general and obstinate rejection of the gospel might prepare the way for its introduction among the Gentiles. After our Lord's resurrection, his instructions were these, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem:" and Paul and Barnabas said to the contradicting and blaspheming


* Eccles. iv. 9.

Jews, "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles: for so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth."*

Matthew also informs us that, after mentioning the miracles they were to perform, our Lord said to the apostles, "Freely ye have received, freely give." It is quite plain, from the sequel, that this did not prohibit the apostles from taking from those among whom they ministered what was needful for their support: but it strictly forbade them to take any reward for the exercise of the gift of miracles, in the way, either of particular acts, or of conferring that gift on others. Had a person, possessed of such power, been at liberty to receive money for its exercise, he might soon have enriched himself wonderfully. But, in obedience to the divine will, those who had this gift were careful not to make gain of it; so that disinterestedness is one of the marks of true miracles. Thus, though much urged, Elisha would take nothing from Naaman, whom he had miraculously cured of the leprosy; and Gehazi, the prophet's servant, was smitten with the same disease, as a punishment for asking and receiving a present at that time. Thus, too, Peter said to Simon, the sorcerer, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."



Verse 3: "And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece." He directed them, in general, not to make any provision for their journey beforehand. Particularly, he ordered them not to take staves, that is, to be content with such a staff as they might have, and not seek another; for, in this parallel passage of Mark,+ it is thus expressed that they were to take nothing "save a staff only." Nor were they to take a scrip," or bag, for carrying articles in :-nor food, nor money, nor change of raiment. According to Matthew, they were not to have any kind of money in their "purses," or more literally, girdles, for it was usual for travellers to carry money in a fold of their girdles: "Neither shoes," that is, they were not to furnish themselves with strong shoes, but, as it is in Mark, were to be "shod with sandals." Neither were they to have changes of raiment. These directions implied that the par* Luke xxiv. 47; Acts xiii. 46. Mark vi. 8.

ticular mission on which they were now sent was to be short -that they ought to trust in providence-and that they would find those who would be disposed, as they were in duty bound, to assist them. Our Lord did, indeed, himself distinctly state the chief reason of these directions, when he added, according to Matthew," For the labourer is worthy of his meat." The apostles found that they did not trust in Providence in vain; for, we thus read, in the 22d chapter of Luke, from the 35th verse, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing." The following verse, however, proves that these directions, to make no provision, were temporary, and that Christ wisely altered his instructions according to the altered state of affairs: "Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

We may here notice what our Lord said, as mentioned by Matthew: "And into whatsoever city, or town, ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide." None of the inhabitants could have a worthiness of merit in the sight of God, or be possessed of any such dispositions as were spiritually good, or inclining them to the reception of the gospel, previously to the operation of divine grace on their hearts: some of them, however, might be, not only of reputable character in public estimation, but truly pious, benevolent, and believing children of God, according to their light. Therefore, though the apostles were to seek the salvation of all, they were prudently to make such inquiries as would enable them to avoid repairing to persons of bad character, which would have created a prejudice against them; and they were to ascertain who were justly in good esteem, that if they, on meeting with them, should, as was probable, ask them to their homes, they might accept the invitation. This was, undoubtedly, the most likely way to secure a favourable reception from the public: and we see that even miraculous gifts and divine inspiration, did not render it useless to attend to the dictates of ordinary prudence and propriety.

Our Lord added, according to Luke: "And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart;" or, according to Mark-" there abide, till ye depart from that place." He directed them, of course, if it was found convenient to continue, during their stay in the town, to lodge

in the same house into which they had been at first received; and he guarded them against needlessly moving from house to house, which might offend their first friends, and render them suspected, and which would betray a restlessness, and be hurtful to the objects of their mission, as rendering it difficult for inquirers to know where to find them.

After supposing them to have continued for some time in a city, exerting themselves in preaching the kingdom of God, and working miracles, our Lord instructs them how to conduct themselves when they were about to leave it: and certainly, the procedure he enjoins was well calculated to awaken the consciences of those of the inhabitants who might disregard their message, and reject the gospel. "And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet, for a testimony against them." The origin of this practice, and the weight of meaning it would convey, will be the better understood, when the following circumstances are considered. The Jews had a very great veneration for their own land-a veneration which, though it may have, in some, degenerated into a kind of superstition, was yet justified, in a considerable degree, by the signal honours and privileges conferred on it by Jehovah. They called it, and it continues to be called, the Holy Land. This veneration extended to the very earth, the very soil, the very dust of the land. Naaman, the Syrian, appears to have entered into this idea, when, in leaving the land of Judea to return to his own country, he proposed to take, and probably did take with him, "two mules' burden of earth," whereon, or wherewith, to erect an altar, conceiving that soil to be more holy than any other. As the converse of this idea, the Jews looked on all other lands, that is, all heathen lands, like the heathen themselves, as unholy and unclean. Therefore, it is said to have been a practice with them, when they had been abroad, and had arrived at the border of their own country, to shake off the dust of their feet, that they might not bring any of it to pollute, as it were, the land of Judea, and that they might also testify their entire disapprobation and renunciation of every thing heathenish and idolatrous. In like manner,it is said that they were unwilling to allow herbs, or trees, to be transplanted from a heathen land into their own, lest any of the earth should be brought along with them. To Jews, then, who were acquainted with these things, this act must have been very expressive. It signified, to the unbelieving part of the

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