ACTS xi. 23.
“Who, when he had seen the grace of God, was glad, and ex-
horted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave
unto the Lord.”
I. WHAT Barnabas saw. The grace of God. Perhaps in
miraculous forms, but perhaps in others. Wherever grace
is made visible by its appropriate manifestations we are to
see and own a brother. As Augustine said, Where Christ
is, here is the Church.
It used to be an axiom that there was no life in the sea
beyond a certain limit of a few hundred feet. But the
Challenger put down her dredge four miles and brought
up healthy, good-sized living beings. Let us not draw
arbitrary limits to the diffusion of the life of Christ among
II. What he felt. He was glad. It was a triumph of
Christian principle to recognise the grace of God under
new forms and in so strange a place; a greater triumph to
hail it with rejoicing. Do we rejoice in the works of the
grace of God outside our Churches and communions? Let
gladness be the temper with which we see the graces of
Christian character lifting their rich blossoms in any
corner strange to us, and breathing their fragrance over the
pastures of the wilderness.
III. What he said. That with all purpose of heart
they should cleave to the Lord.
The Lord is the sole object to be grasped and held.
The sum of all objective religion is, Christ; the sum of all
subjective religion is, cleaving to Him.
It is a distinct gain, that all men feel more than before
that all revelation is contained in the living person of Jesus
Christ. Round the story of His life the final struggle is
to be waged. The foe feels that so long as that remains
all other victories go for nothing.
1. Let us cleave to Him by reiterated acts of faith.
2. Let us cleave to Him by habitual contemplation.
Alexander Maclaren, D.D.