25. And Barnabas went to Tarsus to seek Saul: 26. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it happened that they lived a whole year in the church, and did teach a great multitude; so that at Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
25. Barnabas' simplicity is commended to us now the second time, that whereas he might have borne the chiefest swing at Antioch, yet went he into Cilicia that he might fet [fetch] Paul thence, who he knew should be preferred before him. Therefore we see how, forgetting himself, he respecteth nothing but that Christ may be chief; how he setteth before his eyes the edifying of the Church alone; how he is content with the prosperous success of the gospel. Therefore, Barnabas is no whit afraid lest Paul do any whit debase him by his coming, so he glorify Christ.
26. He addeth afterward, that such a holy concord was blessed from heaven; for this was no small honor that the holy name of Christians began there for all the whole world. Though the apostles had been long time at Jerusalem, yet God had not vouchsafed to bestow upon his Church, which was there, this excellent title of his Son. Whether it were because at Antioch much people was grown together into one body, as well of Jews as of Gentiles, or whether it were because the Church might be better ordered in time of peace; or because they were more bold to confess their faith, there were in very deed Christians both at Jerusalem and also in Samaria before that time; and we know that Jerusalem was the first fountain from which Christianity did flow. 1 And what is it else to be a disciple of Christ but to be a Christian? But when they began plainly to be called that which they were the use of the name served greatly to set forth the glory of Christ, because by this means they referred all their religion unto Christ alone. This was, therefore, a most excellent worship for the city of Antioch. that Christ brought forth his name thence like a standard, whereby it might be made known to all the world that there was some people whose captain was Christ, and which did glory in his name.
But and if Rome had such a color of [pretext for] pride, who were able to suffer the proud boastings of the Pope and his adherents? They would then, not without cause, thunder out that Rome is the mother and head of all Churches; but it is well, that seeing they challenge to themselves whatsoever, when they come to the matter, they are found altogether vain; yea, Antioch itself doth plainly prove that the estate of one place is not continual. Admit we grant the Romans these plausible titles, we have been sometimes, [we once were,] shall they yet be so bold as to take one-half of that which belongeth to Antioch? And is the dignity of Antioch the greater now, because the Christians had their name thence? Yea, it is rather a manifest mirror of the horrible vengeance of God. For, seeing there is nothing to be seen there but evil favored wastiness, 2 it remaineth that we learn to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and that we know that unthankful men have not so much liberty granted them that they may freely mock God.
1 "Verum fuisse fontem ex quo primum fluxit Christanismus," was the true fountain from which Christianity did first flow.
2 "Deformen vasitatem," hideous devastation.
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.
These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.