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It was delicate work for that plain couple to attempt to enlighten an educated man. If we want to see how such work may be delicately done, here is an example. They first took him home with them, and showed bim kindness. Then they told him what they had learned from Paul, unfolding it till the Gospel shone out in all its light and glory. From such teachers no one would be too proud to learn. "Love me, and then - say what thou wilt.” And what good they did by that conduct! Apollos, roughly treated, might have become the leader of a heresy or the founder of a schism. Many a heretic has been made a heretic by the unbrotherly action of the orthodox. And to this wife and husband, under God, it may have been due that the fervent Alexandrian became not the enemy, but the loyal ally and confederate of Paul.
8. 1 Cor. xvi. 19. We are still at Ephesus. Apollos has sailed for Corinth, and Paul has arrived from the East. He writes this letter at Ephesus, and, it may well be, in the very house of Aquila. Its allusions agree exactly with the narrative in Acts xix. The Apostle is now in the very midst of the great Christian campaign of two whole years, during which all that district of Asia heard the Gospel preached, It is pleasant to be able to identify Aquila and Priscilla with that stormy period of the Apostle's history. They appear in the Epistle as his stedfast coadjutors and as his devoted personal friends.
They have a "church in their house," and the phrase gives us & glimpse into the Christian habits of the age. Public preaching went on daily at Ephesus, in the market, the synagogue, or “the school of Tyrannus.” But these public places were unsuitable for private instruction, for prayer-meetings, or for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and the community had, so far, no regular meeting-house of its own.
The private houses of the more hospitable brethren were thrown open therefore for such fellowship. There seem to have been several such centres at Ephesus, each with its own band of members, wont to gather there, and who became the church in that house." Paul went “from house to house," exhorting and comforting. Nor is it unlikely that of all such gatherings the earliest to be organised, and thus a kind of mother and model to the rest, would be the one that met in the house of those now experienced Christians, Aquila and his wife. That“ church" naturally sends a special salutation by the hand of Paul. Happy the pastor or evangelist who can meet his scattered converts not only in chapel or lecture-room, but among the softening and hallowed influences of such hospitable Christian homes !
To this same time at Ephesus belongs a reference in the passage next to be cited, "who for my life laid down their own necks." When and where did these faithful friends do that? Where so likely as in that city where, according to this same Epistle, there were many adversaries” and “wild beasts” with which “ to fight”?
When so likely as in the riot raised by Demetrius and the silversmiths, in which Paul so nearly lost his life? Perhaps, like Jason at Thessalonica,
Aquila and Priscilla became bail for his peaceable departure. Perhaps an assault was made upon the house where Paul was known to lodge, and the courageous pair faced the mob and covered his escape at peril of their lives. They had risked their lives for him in some way. Heroic qualities, we see, may lie hidden in the homeliest natures.
4. Romans xvi, 3-5. A year has elapsed, and now the three friends are wide apart. The Apostle has been travelling among the Macedonian Churches, and is now once more at Corinth.
Aquila and Priscilla have found their way to Rome. Paul, writing salutations to the Roman Christians, sends his first greeting to them, and to “ the church” which there also they have gathered " in their house."
It is the warmest outburst of affection in all his Epistles, and shows the ardour of his attachment and the depth of his obligation. “My helpers,” he writes ; “my fellow-workers” at the tent-cloth, but also “in Christ Jesus and his Gospel.” My brave defenders, to whom I owe the rescue of my life! “I thank them,” publicly, by name, in the hearing, as it were, of all their brethren.
Ay, and the story of their courage, their fidelity, their usefulness, had now travelled far and wide. They were spoken of in distant cities, among disciples whom they had never seen, and never would see in the flesh. They were held up as bright examples, and honoured like personal friends by " all the churches of the Gentiles.” So surely should our children learn to know the very names of modern missionaries, and confessors, and devoted Christian labourers, and to honour them above captains and kings.
5. 2 Timothy iv. 19. Eight or ten more years are gone, and such years for Paul! He has been seized at Jerusalem, imprisoned at Cæsarea, shipwrecked at Malta, confined at Rome for two long years at least, set free awhile, and now is again in bonds, and waiting for his death. Had he met Aquila and Priscilla in the interval ? Had they been in the group that stood waiting for him at Appii Forum, or had they been present to minister to his wants in prison ? There is no such intimation. Where, then, can they be ?
Many of the old friends are gone home to Christ: are they gone ? Many have loved the world, and gone back to its vanities ; is it so with them? Still more have been deluded by the false teachers, and have no good thing to say now of Paul; and have they too turned against him ? Impossible! Here occur the familiar names again, like well-known stars starting up above the horizon. They are at Ephesus, with Timothy, still living, still loyal and true. old man's greeting to Prisca and Aquila !"
There they disappear. Probably they survived Paul, growing older and older, let us hope, side by side, and in their deaths not long divided. Together we imagine them visiting the scene of the Apostle's execution and his humble grave, and living to tell a succeeding generation of that feeble bodily presence and the mighty soul within it, of that stammering speech which nevertheless penetrated men's minds by its directness and melted their hearts by its fire.
" Give an
The charm of such a study as the present is its perfect homeliness. For one successor to Paul, there may be thousands to Priscilla and Aquila. We may emulate and equal them. A simple personal attachment to Christ; a marriage " in the Lord” like theirs ; a steady industry, winning a happy independence ; upright dealings, hearty hospitality ; earnest inquiry after truth, calm adherence to principle, a courage ready, when called on, to become heroic-here are characteristics which may distinguish us all. Are they not those which the world craves to see in the followers of Christ, and which will best commend His Gospel to the hearts of men ?. Better work we cannot do for Him than to adorn by similar conduct the doctrine we profess. And brighter crown was never woven by the angels than that which waits for those who, like that faithful pair, “ do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with their God."
BOBBIT'S HOTEL, It was six o'clock of a January | anybody else but just Bobbit himnight, and stormy too. Bobbit self can know, I suppose, what that was standing — never mind the may mean. name of the street -- but he was “It's a brick of a night to have, standing at the foot of it, in a supper,” said Bobbit, standing in little snowdrift up to his knees. the snowdrift--"a brick.” The sleet went down his neck, and Bobbit talked slang, to be sure, up his sleeves, and into the holes never having enjoyed the benefits in his trousers, and into the holes of what we call a " liberal educawith a little shoe on them; it hung tion;" yet I am not sure, after all, in a fringe on his old hat, and that even a graduate would have swung to and fro like the fringe understood Bobbit if he had stood which ladies wear upon their cloaks. in the snowdrift and heard what Bobbit thought of that, looking out he said. In fact, you would have from behind the little icicles. He to know that Bobbit did not have had seen a great many handsome a supper every night to understand cloaks that day; it was what he it altogether; and even then I do called a “handsome day;" some- not think you would understand it thing was going on at the Music unless you were to go without your Hall, I believe, and the streets had supper two or three nights, or even been as full of pretty things as the one, yourself. sky was of sunlight, till the clo Tuesday, Bobbit had a dinner; and the sleet came up. For there Monday he picked up quite a breakis a greater difference in the streets fast; to-day he would have a dinner than you would ever suspect, unless and a supper too, it had been so you should belong to them, and stormy. There had been a good have nothing to do but watch many gentlemen afraid to leave them, like Bobbit. They have their their horses. Bobbit had learned “scrub-days" and their dress-days, from long experience to tell by the like you or me or anybody else but colour of a horse, or by his hoofs, Bobbit, whose whole life had been or his ears, whether he would be a "scrub-day,” from beginning to restless in a snow-storm. He had end; and neither you nor I nor earned sixpence since noon holding
cream-coloured horses with black “I take in folks,” continued manes; and threepence for a little Bobbit, magnificently, once in a mouse-coloured mare.
while-free, gratis. I'll lodge you Bobbit carried half his snow- and board you till mornin'. You drift into a baker's shop with him. just hold your tongue and look His eyes twinkled a little, like the spry. Then tag after.” feathers of a shuttlecock when you There was a little smell of hot play fast. Was it not enough to bread all about Bobbit. The Irish justify any one in feeling like a boys followed him like two little shuttlecock to have three days' dogs, asking no questions. They living in his pocket?
held their heads out and licked Now when Bobbit had got into their lips. the baker's shop, and bought his Bobbit wound in and out like a bread, he saw two little Irish boys crochet-needle through loops of looking in at the baker's window. streets. The two boys
" looked " That's a pity!” said Bobbit, for spry” and “tagged after.” Bobbit the two little boys stood quite still, did not speak. He kept his eyes flattening their noses on the glass. on stray policemen, and his hat They had ragged hats, and holes in over his eyes. their shoes, and they stood in a “It's better'n the lock-up,” he snowdrift, as Bobbit had done. said once, over his shoulder. Now when two little boys will fair nights it's nobody's business. stand still in the face of a snow. When it comes to drifts and sech, storm to look in at a baker's them chaps with brass buttons window, it generally means that keeps their eyes peeled. Took me they do it for good reasons; and up once last winter for roostin' in Bobbit had done it so many a barrel. I was a gone goose fur times himself that he looked fifteen days. Take it in general, very wise when he said, “That's a I'm independent in my way of life. pity!” He looked at his bread too, Hold on, there. That's the railroad. then at the window, then at the There's a ditch the off side of you ! bread; so, back and forth, as he It's skeery travellin' for a stranger. would if he had been dodging a But we've got about there.' policeman.
"About there ” was quite out of “I will take three loaves," said the loops of streets, out of the he to the baker, with a little gulp. netted alleys, out of the knotted So the baker gave him the bread, lanes that tied the great city in. and Bobbit came out into the drift. The three children had wandered “Halloo !” said he.
off upon the windy, oozy flats, “ 'Loo !” said the Irish boys, where there was an ugly purple both together.
mist, and much slush and lumber “Got any grub?" asked Bobbit. and old boots and ash-heaps and This was pointed, if not elegant, wrecks of things. you see.
“ There's my hotel,” said Bobbit "Nery," said the Irish boys, with at last. equal emphasis.
The Irish boys looked north, "Belong to anybody?" con- east, south, west, looked again, and tinued Bobbit.
looked hard. They saw nothing “ Not much."
but an old wall of an old burned Anywheres to put up ? " building that hid them a little from * You bet not!"
the road and the road from them, “ I live in a hotel,” said Bobbit, a pile of bare bleached timber, and with an air.
an old locomotive boiler, rusty and “Oh!” said the boys.
half buried in a heap of rubbish.
But the hot loaves were in Bob at the penny
candle. Better fall-to bit's pockets, and faith in Bobbit while you can see the way to your was in their hearts.
mouth." “Now," said Bobbit, with an So they “fell-to," and the Irish amazing chuckle for a boy who was boys ate up the bread, to begin going to give to-morrow's dinner to with; but Bobbit did not say any. another boy, "you walk right along thing about to-morrow's dinner. as of you was going to walk a mile, "Got any names to you ?." said and when you see I've doven, dive!” he, as they broke the last bit and The next they knew after that, ate it slowly, to make it last as long Bobbit had doven" into the old as the candle did. engine boiler, and they after him. “Not many to tell on,” said the
" There now !" said Bobbit, larger of the little guests, with his grandly. “What do you think of mouth full. “The woman as we this for a cheap hotel ?"
run beggin' fur till she was took up The storm seemed all at once to for dhrink last summer, she called have stopped; the great curve of us Harum and Scarum, jest. I'm the boiler shut it out; only a dim, Harum, he's Scarum.” dull roar, like that of distant ma “I've heerd worse names ’n that, chinery, or fire, or river-dams, I'm sure,” said Bobbit, politely. sounded about them. Bobbit pulled By-and-by the bread was all gone, up an old hogshead-top against the and the candle too. Bobbit blew open mouth of the boiler. This out the last pink spark, and it grew made it very dark, but almost very dark in the hotel. warm, in the hotel. The little " Kind o chilly, too,” said the Irish boys felt about with their little landlord. Chillier 'n comhands, and found that there were mon.
The storm must have riz. dry leaves, hay, and pieces of a Sometimes it blows in. But 't worn-out something-jacket, per- ain't often I can't keep 'most cumhaps—underneath them.
f’t’ble in my rear soot » rooms. “ Mattress, bedclo’es, carpet, You just crawl in fur’s you can go, sofy, all to order and all at once, and stick yer feet into them old gentlemen," said Bobbit. “Fust- jacket sleeves. There'll be one class furniture in my hotel. Hold apiece fur both on ye. Them's my on a spell, till I turn on the gas." foot-muffs. I take a sight o' heat
All in a minute a wonderful thing out on 'em. A chap as I lodged happened.
A little pink candle here last month, he left it to me up
and burned. It had an 'to settle my bill,' says he. I took old nut-socket for a candlestick; it it very well of that chap. He was stood quite firm, and shone dis- sick here a week and two days. But
on the warm loaves. I didn't ax fur þis jacket. Now Gener'ly speaking, I can eat in you crawl over. There ; them's the dark,” said Bobbit; " but when my first-class apartments. Cumit comes to company I can't.” f't'ble ?!?
The fact was that Bobbit had "Some!” said Harum. just six matches and this little “ I hain't been so warm, not penny pink candle put away under since the last thaw, at all, at all," a corner of his hotel "sofy," on said Scarum, sleepily. Indeed purpose for "
company.” Nobody Scarum was sound asleep by the knows now (I wish that somebody time he had said it; and Harum did) how much company” Bobbit was asleep by the time that Scarum had entertained in his hotel. was. They curled up in the boy's
" It doesn't burn not so long as jacket like two little puppies, it might," said Bobbit, with a jerk with their heads under their