Observe here, 1. How the heart of this holy apostle was carried forth in the service of God and souls, and how accordingly he orders all his journeys from one place to another, and determines his continuance and stay, longer in one place than another, as the glory of God, the advantage of the gospel, and the church's necessities, did require: I design to pass by you into Macedonia, &c. It is the duty of the ministers of Christ not only to lay out themselves for the glory of God, and the good of souls, but to project, forecast, and contrive how they may do it in the best and most advantageous manner, for the furtherance of the gospel.
Yet, 2. Observe the difference between this extraordinary apostle then, and ordinary pastor of the church now. The apostles had an universal commission to plant churches in all places; they were to be in constant travels up and down the world, itinerary preachers from place to place; but the office of an ordinary pastor now is, to watch over a particular flock, and to keep constant residence amongst them.
Yet though by actual relation he is tied and bound to a particular flock, he is by habitual and aptitudinal disposition a minister of the universal church, and a debtor to the public good thereof. He is first made a minister in the universal church, and then a pastor of a particular congregation; and accordingly, though he seeks to serve the interest of his own flock first, yet it is his duty, by prayer, by study, by preaching, by writing, by all other edifying ways and methods, to promote the universal good and benefit of the whole church of Christ according to his power, both far and near.