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ligiously-minded and amiable as he seems to have been, was yet turned aside from following Jesus, and thus, it may be, lost his reward, by this one snare; he could not, it should seem, make this one sacrifice, even when called to make it by our Lord Himself; he trusted in himself that he had kept all the commandments from his youth up; but God, who knoweth the heart, put his obedience, and with it his faith, to the test of one great act of self-denial, and it failed. "The young man saith unto Him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow Me. when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions."
The next occasion on which we have any notice of St. Barnabas, is in connection with St. Paul, in the ninth chapter. And here, again, we find him engaged in a work of true Christian charity, removing from the minds of the Christians at Jerusalem the jealousies and suspicions with which they regarded their old persecutor, now converted into a zealous preacher of Jesus
"And when Saul was come to Jeru
salem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus." Thus was St. Barnabas, by the will of God, made the instrument of introducing into the bosom of the Church the great apostle of the Gentiles, with whom from that period his own life was so closely connected.
The next notice of him, in the eleventh chapter, from which the text is taken, is much of the same nature, still is he performing the work of "the son of consolation." The Gospel had been
preached at Antioch, ever memorable as the place where the disciples were first called Christians, "And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came to the ears of the Church which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord. For he was a
good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith; and much people was added unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the Church, and taught much people." And, again, later in the same chapter, St. Barnabas and St. Paul are united in a ministry of consolation, in carrying to Jerusalem, against a time of great dearth, the alms of the faithful at Antioch for the poorer brethren in Judæa.
We now come, in the thirteenth chapter, to the most important event in the life of the apostle. It was the will of God that he should be associated with St. Paul in his great work of making known unto the Gentiles "the unsearchable riches of Christ;" that so he, who had ministered unto his brethren freely of his temporal goods, should be an honoured instrument in the hand of God of ministering unto the spiritual wants of the world. Almighty God, it would seem, thus graciously rewarding the sacrifices which He Himself has put it into our hearts to make, by calling us to higher and holier duties in His Church.
St. Paul and Barnabas were called to this office and apostleship by the immediate intimation of the will of God. Thus we read, "Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers . . As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." And surely we cannot read even thus much of the life of the apostle without tracing in it the hand of Almighty God, leading on "from strength to strength," from one degree of Christian grace to another; rewarding self-denying charity and Christian love with,-what is man's best reward on this side of the grave,-the being called to be a worker-together with God in deeds of mercy and blessing; making the heart, which overflowed with the love of the brethren, to be full also of all the best gifts of His Spirit; and teaching us that there is no true Christian sacrifice which is not accepted in His sight, no self-denial which man can practise, out of the true faith and fear of God, which shall in any wise lose its reward; although that reward be often far other than what man looks to receive at the hand of God;
although the reward of faith and obedience in this life be often the being called to undergo more for God's sake, to serve Him amidst greater trials, to wrestle against fiercer enemies, and thus, by God's grace, to have formed within us a higher and more devoted character, to be rewarded hereafter with a brighter crown.
The two chapters which follow are ordered to be read as the lessons for the day, they thus require less to be said on them. The character of the apostle, which they set forth, is still the same, —that of a faithful, and earnest-minded, and affectionate servant of God; and, whilst we follow St. Paul through his first journey, listen to his preaching, and read the details and trials of his mission, we trace the mercy of God in so ordering it, as that he, who had led him, as it were, to the Church, and had been joined with him in good deeds, should be joined with him now, as a "son of consolation," amidst the difficulties of his course.
But to-day is not without its warning. The instances even of apostles may teach us that the hearts of men, even of the best and holiest, are but frail; the ties of human affection, at the best, but weak. Twice we find St. Barnabas and St. Paul opposed in the one case, that of John