« ZurückWeiter »
And a certain Jew, named. Apollos, born at Alexan
dria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.
In this passage of Scripture one of the most celebrated preachers of antiquity is introduced to our notice. And since such men do not frequently appear in the church, it is not unreasonable that they should arrest our attention, and excite in us a more than ordinary degree of interest. The contemplation of such characters tends in many ways to our benefit, either by encreasing our reverence for the honoured agents of our Lord, by encouraging us to imitate what we are constrained to admire, or by secretly humbling us in our own estimation. And it is with a view to the production of some such effects as these, that I would now engage your thoughts on this primitive christian preacher.
Apollos was a Jew of Alexandria, at that time the capital of Egypt, and a city which offered peculiar advantages to Jewish settlers. He had travelled from that place, not on a journey of business, of pleasure, or of curiosity: but with the benevolent view of visiting the chief synagogues of his brethren in Greece and Asia Minor, for the purpose of rousing their languid zeal, and animating them to new efforts in the cause of God.
In the course of this sacred journey Apollos arrived at Ephesus, shortly after Paul's departure from that place towards Jerusalem. The provident apostle had, however, left behind him Aquila and Priscilla, twodevout and zealous christians, to superintend and carry on the great work of evangelizing that populous city. It was during this interval that Apollos presented himself in the synagogue, where he spoke with an unusual degree of freedom and boldness, relying upon the goodness of his cause, and the rectitudeof his intentions. Whenever a public speaker is doubtful on either of these points, whatever powers he may possess, they will become so fettered as to lose much of their efficiency : but if the speaker himself be deeply convinced of the truth and importance of what he has to deliver, he will express himself before any assembly without hesitation or dismay. And such in the completest sense, were the feelings of Apollos. Nor did he come unfurnished for the work which he had been piously moved to undertake; since we are told, that he was an eloquent man.
Whether his eloquence was chiefly a natural talent, or an acquired habit, does not appear; though we have abundant evidence that it was of such an order, as to render him everywhere acceptable as a public speaker. Of which a very strong proof may be collected from the intimation of St. Paul, that even in the polished city of Corinth, Apollos was considered by many as a more powerful preacher of the gospel than the apostles themselves.
It is very desirable that they who are called to address their brethren on sacred subjects should
such a measure of the talent attributed to this itinerant Alexandrian, as to find grace in the eyes of those among whom they are called to minister.
But superior eminence in this respect is often found to be a dangerous qualification, leading both speakers and hearers from that evangelical simplicity, which is to be preferred before every shining gift, and valued above every popular attainment. For we are called to preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. Such was the manner of St. Paul, whom we hear thus reminding the Corinthians of his apostolic labours among them-And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech. For I determined not to know anything among you but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power : that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. And such, we have every reason to believe, was the practice of Apollos, who appears to have counted all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord.
It is further reported to us, that Apollos was a man mighty in the Scriptures. A large and accurate acquaintance with the sacred
volume is not only desirable, but indispensable to the christian teacher. It matters not what else he knows, or what other writings he has studied, if he be not well versed in the word of Revelation. If he is better acquainted with the compositions of pagan antiquity, and finds himself more at home with the great mathematicians, orators and poets of the heathen world, than with Moses and the Prophets, or Christ and his Apostleshe is, in the very same proportion, unqualified to minister in holy things. The Holy Scriptures were dictated by the Spirit of God; they are comprehensive in their materials, accurate in their statements, infallible in their decisions. They lay open to us the grand and gracious designs of the Creator, with regard to the fallen race of man; they record such occurrences as are of prime importance in the history of the church; they predict such future events as involve the highest interests of every individual child of Adam. In a word, they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. It was the pecu