« הקודםהמשך »
THE JOURNEY AND THE
(FEAST OF S. BARNABAS.)
BY REV. F. E. PAGET, M.A.,
(Rector of Elford.)
GALATIANS II, 1.
"..., to Jerusalem, with Barnabas."
“ We are journeying into the place of which the “Lord said, I will give it you; come thou with “us and we will do thee good.” Something like this invitation of Moses, to his brother-in-law Hobab, seems to be the Church's greeting to us to-day. She would have us take for our companion on our homeward, heavenward way, one who ungrudgingly surrendered the best he had, if only he might thereby win Christ, and be found in Him;--Barnabas the Son of Consolation,who, when he had found the Pearl of great price, sold what he had to buy it ; and, by that act, attained to “ singular gifts of the Holy Ghost.”
Of very many of the glorious company of the Apostles we know next to nothing beyond a few
traditionary records of uncertain truth. Not so, however, in the case of S. Barnabas. It is true that, meteor-like, he comes before us suddenly, and disappears as suddenly; but, for the time, he is a bright and shining light, whose path cannot be mistaken. Of much of his career we are'ignorant; but what we have is taught us by GOD the Holy Ghost, and in what is revealed, his character stands out so clearly and intelligently, that we can hardly misread it or mistake it.
Whether Joses, the Jewish Levite of Cyprus, was, by the Providence of God, brought to the hearing of the Gospel, and learned to preach it, by being one of the seventy ; and to companionship with S. Paul, as having been brought up with him at the feet of Gamaliel, (as traditions have alleged,) are matters of little consequence ; and of his career after that companionship came to an end, and whether he spent the remainder of his life in evangelizing the Cypriotes, and eventually glorified God by a martyr's death among them, is not certainly known. For purposes of spiritual edification, we need not wander beyond the written word of Scripture; there is enough there to serve “doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruc“tion in righteousness.” To that, therefore, we will confine ourselves.
We hear of S. Barnabas first, early in the Acts of the Apostles, as being one of those who, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostle's feet. He, therefore, in faith and good will, did that unbidden, which another, who also had possessions, could not make up his mind to do, even at the bidding of the Lord Himself. We are not told whether it was in consequence of that noble, generous, self-denying act that he obtained the title bestowed on him by the Apostles—“the Son of Consolation ”—but the name so given points unmistakeably to his genial, open-handed, unworldly nature, that he was such as any one would be glad to have with him as a companion in a journey, and as a sharer of peril ; for S. Luke speaks of him in a marked way as “a good man, full of the Holy Ghost, and of “faith;” and since Evangelists and Apostles were not wont to praise each other, and as S. Luke was the especial friend of S. Paul, there was, as you will feel, (when you recall the subsequent course of events,) something very graceful in this tribute to the worth of Barnabas.
After the circumstance just mentioned, we
hear no more of him till we find him, as a Cypriote, sent by the Church at Jerusalem to Antioch, to certain Christians of Cyprus, who, having been scattered abroad upon the persecution which arose about S. Stephen, needed the presence of some one who should have authority to confirm and encourage them in their work, and exhort them that “with purpose of heart, they " should cleave unto the Lord.” S. Barnabas, therefore, was recognised as a man to be trusted, and as one on whose judgment reliance could be placed. And when he had fulfilled his mission at Antioch, he was sent on a far more important and delicate errand; he departed to Tarsus to seek for Saul, the new convert. “ And when he had found him, he brought him “to Antioch." And there for a whole year " they assembled themselves with the Church, "and taught much people.”
And thenceforward, for a time, their intimacy was of the closest, as of the most exalted, kind: they took sweet counsel together, and walked in the House of God as friends; they journeyed together, laboured together, taught together; together bore the tidings of great joy to those who were without hope, because without God; and together ministered to their Christian brethren. Now, we find them carrying alms to Jerusalem to relieve the famine there prevailing; now receiving the right hand of fellowship (Gal. ii. 9.) from the rest of the Apostolic body, there assembled; and now, by the special and direct appointment of God the Holy Ghost, they are sent among the Gentiles to proclaim the manifold grace of God.
After that, we read of their joint labours in various cities of Upper Asia,-one while, in good report, and one while in bad; now mistaken for gods in the likeness of men, and now persecuted (in S. Paul's case, even to stoning) for the testimony of Jesus.
And so the companionship and work go on, till, upon their return to Antioch after the famous Council at Jerusalem, the lamentable difference arose between them,-each, no doubt, acting conscientiously,-each persuaded that he was simply doing what was right in the sight of God,-yet, one or other of them,-perhaps both of them,-more or less mistaken in judgment,each moved with burning zeal, each resolved not to concede one jot or tittle of what each believed to be right, till “the contention was so sharp