Open the book of the Acts, and mark how and where the Spirit of God accompanied the labours of the apostles. It was at Jerusalem, the city whose million voices had just before demanded the death of their Lord, and imprecated his blood upon their own heads, that the first and greatest effusion of the Holy Spirit took place. There was spiritual wickedness in high places. There iniquity was strongly intrenched. The strong arm of the civil as well as ecclesiastical power was its defence; and human calculation could look for no visits of mercy. Still the Savior’s command, to begin at Jerusalem, was obeyed. Nor was it long before that city was filled with the presence of the Most High—before the Spirit came down in power, and thousands were converted to Christ.
But this is not a solitary case. At Antioch, also, the Spirit was poured out. Indeed, there are two places of this name mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles;—both visited in saving mercy. One, the capital of Syria, a city of great note. It was about ten miles in circumference; and, in population, wealth, and splendour, esteemed the third city of the age. Here Paul and Barnabas preached. Here the disciples were first called Christians. Here the Church continued long to flourish. Here the eloquent Chrysostom, at the close of the fourth century, preached with great power and success: and here the Holy Spirit descended. “Now they, which were scattered abroad, upon the persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the Church which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” So great was this work, so important this field of usefulness, that to secure the best assistance, “Barnabas departed to Tarsus to seek Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.” So powerful was this work of God, as to demand, for a whole year, the special labours of two of his most favoured servants.
The other Antioch, mentioned in the Acts, was the capital of Pisidia; a place where many things opposed the advance of holiness. But there also Paul and Barnabas laboured; and there souls were born into the kingdom. The record is, “They came to Antioch, in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.” And Paul preached of Jesus and the resurrection, and faithfully warned against lightly esteeming the work of God. “Beware,