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13. Barnabas and Saul Sent Out

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

4So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister. 6And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: 7Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. 12Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. 13Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

14But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. 15And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. 16Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. 17The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. 18And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. 19And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. 20And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. 22And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. 23Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: 24When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose. 26Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 27For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. 28And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 29And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. 30But God raised him from the dead: 31And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. 32And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 33God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. 34And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

38Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; 41Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. 42And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, 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. 47For 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. 48And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. 50But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 51But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

38. Therefore, be it known unto you. After that he hath declared the mean whereby salvation is purchased through Christ, he doth now intreat of his office and power. And this is the principal point, to know what good things we have by the coming of Christ, and what we are to hope for at his hands. And although Luke setteth down in a word that Paul preached of the benefits of Christ, yet there is no cause why any man should doubt but that so great matters were handled weightily, and only according as their dignity did require. By this word, Be it known unto you, Paul meaneth that nothing should hinder them from knowing such an excellent and plain matter, save only sloth; and that, therefore, it was an absurd thing that those benefits of God should be hidden from the faithful which were offered by Christ. For he was sent with the shrill preaching of the gospel, which our faith ought to hear, that it may enter into the sure possession of his good things; for we must know what he is, that we may enjoy him truly. Forgiveness of sins is set first, whereby God doth reconcile us unto himself. That which God will have preached to all his people doth he show to be necessary for all men; for Paul speaketh not to one or two, but to all the Jews which were at Antioch.

Therefore, we must first mark that we be all enemies to God through sin, (Colossians 2:13.) Whereupon it followeth that we are all excluded from the kingdom of God, and are given over to eternal death, until God receive us to favor by the free forgiveness of sins. We must also note this, that God doth pardon to us our sins, and that he is reconciled through the Mediator, because like as without him there is no satisfaction, so neither is there any pardon or forgiveness of guiltiness. These be principles of our faith which are not learned in the schools of the philosophers, that all mankind is condemned and drowned in sin, that there is in us no righteousness which is able to reconcile us to God; that the only hope of salvation resteth in his mercy, whilst that he doth freely forgive us; and that those remain under the guilt which fly not unto Christ, and seek not forgiveness 823823     “Expiationem... peccati,” expiation of sin. in his death.

And from all things. He doth secretly prevent that which might seem contrary to the former doctrine. For look how many ceremonies of the law there were, so many exercises were there to obtain remission of sins. Therefore, the Jews might readily object, If he alone do reconcile God to us, our sins being done away, to what end serve so many washings and sacrifices, which we have hitherto used according to the prescript of the law? Therefore, lest the ceremonies of the law hinder the Jews, Paul teacheth that Christ doth that which they were not able to do. Not that Paul spake so briefly and compendiously, (for he did not hope that the Jews would at the first come unto Christ, casting from them suddenly the affiance which they had in the righteousness of the law;) but it was sufficient for Luke briefly to collect 824824     “Perstringere,” glance at. the sum of those things which he then taught in just and due order. His meaning is, that the Mediator took away that let from the Jews wherein they did stick. The ceremonial law ought indeed to have been a schoolmaster to lead them by the hand unto Christ; all rites commanded by God were helps to help and further their faith; but as men use preposterously to corrupt the holy ordinances of God, they stop the way before themselves by their ceremonies, and they shut the gate of faith, that they could not come to Christ. They thought they had righteousness in sacrifices; that by washings was gotten true cleanness; that God was pleased with them so soon as they had ended their external pomp: in sum, forsaking the body, they laid hold upon vain shadows. God did indeed appoint no unprofitable or vain thing in the law; wherefore ceremonies were sure and undoubted testimonies of remission of sins. For God did not lie in these words, Let the sinner do sacrifice, and his iniquity shall be purged. But as Christ was the end of the law, and the heavenly pattern of the tabernacle, so the force and effect of all ceremonies did depend upon him; whereby it is proved that they were vain shadows, when he was set aside, (Hebrews 8:5.) Now we see Paul’s drift and purpose; to wit, that he meant to draw away the Jews from the false and perverse confidence which they reposed in the law; lest being puffed up, they should think that they had no need of Christ’s help, or lest they should seek only external felicity in him.

Be justified in the law. This place doth plainly show what the word justified doth import in all other places where it is used; to wit, to be delivered and acquitted. There was mention made of remission of sins; Paul affirmeth that there is no other way whereby we can obtain the same but the grace of Christ. Lest any man should object that there be remedies to be found in the law, he answereth that there was in them no force. Therefore the sense is plain, that they cannot be justified from sin in the law, because the rites of the law were neither just nor lawful prices to remove guiltiness; they were nothing worth of themselves to deserve righteousness, neither were they sufficient recompenses to appease God. Certainly, it cannot be denied (but wickedly) that that justification annexed to remission of sins is, as it were, the means and way to obtain the same. For what else doth Paul go about but to confirm that saying, that our sins are forgiven us through the benefit of Christ, by answering contrary objections? And he proveth it, because neither satisfactions, neither all the rites of the law, call justify us from sin. Therefore he is justified by Christ, who is freely loosed from the guilt and judgment of eternal death to which he was subject. This is the righteousness of faith, whilst that God counteth us just, by not imputing our sins.

This only propriety of the word is sufficient to refute the cavils of the Papists, who hold that we are not justified by pardon or by free accepting, but by habit and infused righteousness. Therefore, let us not suffer them to rend in pieces unworthily and wickedly this text of Paul, when he saith that they are justified from all things, that we may be assured of remission of sins. And now we must know that the law of Moses is set against Christ, as the principal mean to obtain righteousness, if there had been any besides Christ. Paul disputeth, indeed, of ceremonies; but we must note that there was nothing omitted in them which might serve to purge sins and to appease God. Yet there was not one of all the ceremonies of the law which did not make man guilty, as a new handwriting; as Paul teacheth, Colossians 2:14. What then? Assuredly God meant to testify that men are justified by the death of his Son alone, because he made him sin for us who did [knew] no sin, that we might have righteousness in him, (2 Corinthians 5:21.) Whereupon it followeth that whatsoever satisfactions are invented by men, they tend to rob Christ of his honor. In the law and in Christ signify as much as by the law and by Christ, according to the Hebrew phrase.

From all things. By this member is refuted the wicked invention of the Papists, who teach that only original sin and actual sins committed before baptism are clearly and freely forgiven by Christ, and that others are redeemed by satisfactions. But Paul saith plainly that we are justified from sins by Christ throughout the whole course of our life. For we must remember that the ceremonies [rites] of the law were committed to the Jews, that as well the profit as the use thereof might flourish daily in the Church; that is, that the Jews might indeed understand that their sacrifices and washings were not continually reiterated in vain. If the truth and substance of them be found in Christ, it followeth that there is no other satisfaction or sacrifice to put away sins but his death; otherwise there should be no analogy or proportion between this and the old figures. The Papists call us back unto repentance and the keys, as if the ceremonies of the law were not exercises to think upon repentance, and as if the power of the keys were not annexed unto them. But the faith of the godly was holpen by such helps, that they might fly unto the grace of the Mediator alone. Therefore, let this remain sure and certain that the righteousness which we have in Christ is not for one day or a moment, but it is everlasting, as the sacrifice of his death doth daily reconcile us to God.


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