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The original language is curious in both cases : “ Those out of those who belong to Aristobulus," or, in other words, certain particular members of his establishment. Aristobulus was a name of the Herod family, and one who bore it was in Nero's confidence, and would have & residence in Rome; and Narcissus was the name of one of Nero's favourites. Both would have large retinues of slaves ; and it is to sleves that the present reference is probably to be applied, just as in another Epistle, written from Rome, greetings are sent by " those who are of Cæsar's household," soldiers, chamberlains, or attendants, belonging to the Emperor himself. It was one of the common taunts thrown at the gospel, in its earlier triumphs, that the trophies came from the ranks of slaves and of the poor.
“Salute Herodion my kinsman." The word "kinsman " is also applied to five other persons mentioned in this chapter. It expresses relationship. Had Paul, then, so many cousins among the Christians of his day? It would, on some accounts, be gratifying to believe it, but his use of the word is so frequent that we pause to see if it may not have a wider meaning. The clue is given in a previous passage of this Epistle. There, using the same phrase, “ My brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,” Paul identifies them with bis fellow-Israelites. All Jews were his kinsmen, for he loved his nation with a passionate affection; and so, seeking for some warm expression of regard, he applies the term with double emphasis to the Christian Jews whom he saluted. “ Israelites, indeed, in whom there was no guile."
There is an exquisite touch, whether of nature or of grace it is difficult to say, in the notice of Rufus. “ Salute Rufus, and his mother and mine." Rufus has been sometimes identified with the man named in the gospels as the son of Simon the Cyrenian; but the name was common, and the persons were probably distinct. Who, and what, however, was she who had two claimants on her motherly attention ? Paul had left home and friends for Christ's sake; perhaps his very mother had cast him off in scorn and anger, and declared that he was no longer any son of hers. Here was an unnamed Christian lady, in whom the promise of Christ that such sacrifices shall not go unrequited found its fulfilment. She took the great friendless man, and treated him like her own Rufus, acting a mother's part with a mother's tenderness. She had tended him in illness, cheered him in depression, rejoiced in his successes, and made him welcome to her home, as Peter was to Mary's home in Jerusalem. When, and where, and how, is all hidden, but the cheering fact remains; and now the Apostle honours her with filial reverence, and sends his dutiful salutations across the sea.
Here, again, are glimpses of Christian experience, otherwise unknown to us: “Salute Epænetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.” “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in
Christ before me.” For “ Achaia” in the former passage, most of the ancient manuscripts have “ Asia,” the term being used for the Roman province of that name, of which Ephesus was the capital. Epænetus then was probably an Ephesian, led to Christ at the time of Paul's first flying visit to that city, on his hurried journey from Corinth to the feast at Jerusalem. He must have been among the friends who met in the house of Aquila and Priscilla, and who gave letters of commendation to Apollos. He would be associated in Paul's mind with the long and laborious crusade against idolatry which occupied his second stay in Ephesus, and with the deadly perils which marked its conclusion; the firstfruits of his ministry there, and the pledge of all that followed. In Andronicus and Junia, we have firstfruits of the gospel during its earlier triumphs, while Paul was yet Saul, the persecutor, breathing out fire and slaughter against the very name of Jesus. Were they, perhaps, among the strangers of Rome, converted at the great Pentecost; and have they thereafter been themselves preachers of the faith ? ” It appears so ; for is this the true meaning of the phrase " of note among the apostles," that they were themselves “apostles,” in the broader acceptation of the word, and noted for their energy and success. They were “fellow-prisoners also; the trials as well as the labours of the kingdom they had bravely borne. But theirs was a part in that hidden history of the early Church which only " that day,” towards which they pressed, and in view of which they suffered, will declare.
We cannot pass in silence by the best-snown names in all the list, though they have already occupied our thoughts at length. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila.” Dear and familiar friends, tried and found faithful in so many emergencies, and through so many days of closest intercourse! Comrades, “helpers in Christ Jesus," at whose side he had sat stitching the tough bair-cloth, and, when work was laid by, joyfully bent in prayer! He thought of all that fellowship; but here his most vivid recollection is of some extremity of recent danger, when that gallant pair interposed at the risk of limb and life to save "the light of Israel" from being quenched in blood. Paul had & multitude of noble qualities; and he had one quality which great men do not always exhibit: he never forgot a kindness, or forsook a friend.
Let us step backward from the particular names and descriptions, and gather some of the general impressions which they are fitted to leave upon the understanding and the heart.
One characteristic of the passage is found in the heartiness of the commendations which it conveys. There are those who seem to hold that either to bestow praise, or to accept it, is altogether out of keeping with Christian simplicity. Are we not, it is asked, at the best, unprofitable servants; and can any feeling be becoming to us but one of shame and confusion? No doubt that feeling is frequently appro
priate. The danger is great lest we become elated with a sense of our activity, our usefulness, or our success. It is well to bear in mind, in Napoleon's words, that “no man is necessary.' The Charch and the world will go on whether our hand is at the plough or not. That is one side of truth. The other side is this : that the world needs us, and the Church needs us; nay, the Lord Himself hath need of
us, welcomes every earnest effort, and says of it, “ Well done!" Does He then deny us the privilege of saying, "Well done" to one another? Let the eye run down this single page of His own word. “She hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.” "Salute Apelles, approved in Christ.” “Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord.” “ Salute Persis, who laboured much in the Lord.” "Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord.” “To whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” Paul was not afraid to apportion a full measure of praise to the deserving. Scarcely one of his Epistles can be named, which does not begin with praise ; with praise, never indiscriminate, never unmixed with warning, sometimes tempered with reproof, but always frank, and always unstinted. Let us be by all means honest and candid, where it is needful, in censuring our brethren's faults, and let us be humble in accepting censure from them. But shall not the very honesty, on which perhaps we plume ourselves, carry us impartially in the opposite direction ? Let the Church have her laurels for the spiritual victor, and her plaudits for the patient, self-denying labourer! Let our struggling brethren feel, amidst all their discouragements and drawbacks, that there are hearts where they are honoured, and lips that speak well of them! And if, perchance, words of cordial commendation reach our own ears, let them be received as a gracious encouragement permitted us by Him whose grace has made us what we are !
The earnest and affectionate friendliness of these greetings is very obvious. To some it may appear exaggerated. The Apostle sits down, so to speak, among these groups of disciples, az an elder brother might, and is on the warmest terms with every one. All are his personal friends, the slaves no less than the masters, the simple “ brethren” equally with chamberlains of the city and wealthy householders. "My well-beloved Epænetus," “ Amplias my beloved in the Lord,”
Stachys my beloved,” “the beloved Persis,” “ Phoebe our sister," such are the terms in which one after another is saluted. The thing would be shocking if it were hypocritical, or even if it were shallow and formal. But it was real. It was but carrying out in practice the idea of discipleship contained in the other Epistle: "Treat the elder men as fathers, and the younger men as brothers; the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity.” Nay, what was it but treading in the track of the Master who had said, “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother"?
No one would be found to urge tbat we have too much of that spirit
in our modern Churches. The ordinary retark is that circumstances alter cases, and that we canpot expect in the complex society of the nineteenth century to revive the brotherhoods of apostolic days. 89 much the worse, surely, for the nineteenth century! For how many of our social and ecclesiastical troubles would pass, if that atmosphere more generally prevailed! Invalids șit in their sick-rooms, while the chill winds of March are blowing, and try remedy after remedy with small result; and Churches confer and debate and even wrangle over sebemes of reform pr methods of revival. In both cases the real remedy is to be found in a change of air. A few days of bright spring sunshine, and the ailments will melt away. And so it is by the diffusion of brotherly kindness, cherished in the heart, and suffered to find instinctive and becoming utterance in lip and life, that the diseases of the Church are to be healed, and her youth to be renewed like the eagle's,
One final thought remains. It may be urged, that with such extreme warmth of feeling some signs of practical helpfulgess would be extremely appropriate. If these Christians really loved one another with sp ardent an affection, what did they do to prove it? The answer is at hand. They “ laid down their own necks” for che another. They “ bestowed much labour" on their brethren. They threw their houses open for hospitable entertainment and united worship. They stood ready to help a foreign sister in whatever business she might have in hand, The poor, the sick, the friendless, became the special objects of their self-deaying care. Never was there known such a complete outworking of the law of love as that which was presented by the early Christian Churches to the astonished heathen world. That can have been no hollow profession of mutual attachment which inspired the famous confession from their enemies, Behold how they love one another !”
No; let us be convinced that the salutations to which we have been listening signify much more than they express. They express sympathy, which is good; they involve what is even better, strong, substantial aid. They involve food, and shelter, and stedfast companionship, and self-sacrifice, even to the death. They mean that in this world of sin and strife, Christian people should stand by one another as brothers do, and be ready with purse, and home, and counsel, and comfort, and personal influence of every kind. “I commend unto you," the Apostle seems to say, “whomever you may meet, in the manifold paths of life, in want of such succour as you have to give." The Master's reward is waiting for every such service done to the least of the brethren for His sake. The Master's promise declares that the hope for a converted world lies in a Church united, not in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
THE MISERY AND CURE OF ARCHIBALD GORDON.
A STORY FOR CHRISTMAS TIME. I was practising at Cornwallonthe yet had wit enough to comprehend Hudson river. The place was then his fellow-being ? I don't believe hot so much of a summer resort as it” he exclaimed, with bitterness in it has become since. Nevertheless, his emphasis and self-reproach in as the late Mr. N. P. Willis had his tone. made it somewhat familiar to New After some non-committal talk, York readers, it attracted a good I saw that I must grasp him with á many of them there during the hot strong hand. He was a man of will, months. It is just north of the brains, and heart. He had sumHighlands, and is perhaps the near- moned me for counsel, yet had est point to the city at which an already made up his mind to have invalid can altogether escape the no confidence in my power to do prickly roughness of the sea air. him any good. He was getting
One Saturday afternoon I re- ready to rebel against my advice, ceived at my office a note, writ- even before I had shown any sign ten in a manly hand, elegant and of offering it. So I changed my scholarly in expression, mentioning tactics, and did not intrude any sugthat its writer was ill, but not from gestions upon him, nor even trouble bodily ailment, and putting to me him with any questions about his Macbeth's question, whether I could case. I resolved that he should be “ minister to a mind diseased." the confessor, not I the inquisitor.
“If so," said he, “ call on a miser At length, after having picked his able man at the Atkins House, and flower to pieces, and thrown away inquire for yours, desperately, the stem, he quietly remarked, as " ARCHIBALD GORDON." if not altogether believing what he
said : I called. He was sitting on the “You can do nothing for a wretch piazza, picking a tiger lily to pieces like me.” himself the greater tiger.
* That's true," I observed ; " and glance I knew he was the man who what is more, I shall not try." had sent for me. · There was an “Why not?” he asked, as if my unmistakable haggardness in his answer had taken an unexpected look-as if he had washed his face turn. in the waters of Marah, and left it "Because," I rejoined, “it is streaked and stained with cynicism, plain that you have büt one friend anguish, and despair. Sometimes the and one enemy; it is plain that countenance turns traitor and tell- both these are one and the same tale against the soul ; sometimes it person ; and it is plain that this misgives up all the secrets of a sorrow-chievous individual is yourself. You ing breast; sometimes it respects are the only man who can do yourno privacy of a breaking heart. self any good or harm. You are This man's misery was an open your own patient and physician. book.
You must be your own medicine and " You are the doctor," said he. nurse." * And you are the patient,” said I. He weighed me in a balance for "Yes," he rejoined. “So far, then, a moment, and then remarked : we understand each other; but “I will tell you the facts." that's as far as we shall ever get in "No," I replied rather craftily, our mutual acquaintance. Do you and suppressing my inquisitiveness. think that one human being ever " As your secrets can be of no use