Chapter 5: Paul Disbelieved Continued. Jerusalem Visit II. Money-Bringing Visit.—Barnabas Accompanying Him From Antioch
Section 2: Barnabas and Paul Dispatched With the Money to Jerusalem
Of the amount of the eleemosynary harvest, no intimation is to be found. As to the consequence of it, Barnabas, we see, is the man stated as having, with obvious propriety, been chosen for the important trust: Barnabas—of whose opulence, trustworthiness, steadiness, and zeal, such ample proofs, not to speak of those subsequent ones, which will be seen in their place, had already manifested themselves. In consequence of the information, already received by the Mother Church in Jerusalem, of the prosperity of the Daughter Church, Acts 11:20-21, planted, as above, in the capital of Syria,—this most active of all Christian citizens had been sent to give increase to it.
But, of the talents and activity of Paul, his indefatigable supporter and powerful patron had had full occasion to be apprized. Accordingly, without the aid of this his not less indefatigable helper, still was the strength of the rising church, in the eyes of the patron, incomplete. "A prophet," says a not ill-grounded proverb, "has no honor in his own country."(Jesus. See Matthew 15:57, Mark 6:4 cf. John 4:44.) In his native city, among the witnesses of his youth, Paul had indeed found safety: but, as the nature of the case manifests, in a circle, from which respect stood excluded by familiarity, safety had not been accompanied with influence: and, in eyes such as those of Paul, safety without influence was valueless. Under these circumstances,—the patron, going to Tarsus in person in quest of his protegé, could not naturally find much difficulty in regaining possession of him, and bringing with him the so highly-valued prize, on his return to Antioch. Acts says,
At this place, with their united powers, they had been carrying on their operations for the space of a twelvemonth, when the petition for pecuniary assistance was received there.
As for Paul,—from the moment of his conversion, notwithstanding the ill success of his first attempt,—the prime object of his ambition—the situation of President of the Christian Commonwealth—had never quitted its hold on his concupiscence. Occasions, for renewing the enterprise, were still watched for with unabated anxiety:—a more favourable one than the one herein question, could not have presented itself to his fondest wishes. The entire produce, of the filial bounty of the Daughter Church, was now to be poured into the bosom of the necessitous Mother. For the self-destined head of that rising Church, two more acceptable occupations, than those which one and the same occasion brought to him, could not have been found:—First, the collection of the contributions;—and then the conveying of them, to the place of their destination. Of the labours of such agents, in such circumstances, the success, we are told, they found, was a natural result. Says the Acts,
Between the mention of their arrival at Jerusalem, and the mention of their departure from thence,—comes the episode about Peter:—his incarceration and liberation under Herod; and the extraordinary death of the royal prosecutor,—of which, in its place. As to the interval,—what the length of it was, and in what manner, by Paul, under the wing of the Son of Consolation, it was occupied,—are points, on which we are left altogether in the dark: as also, whether the time of these adventures of Peter, the mention of which stands inserted between the mention of the two occurrences in the history of Paul, was comprised in that same interval.