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Dissertation concerning the


"And the proof of this lies within the compass of one plain argument, obvious to every capacity; which is as follows:If the eating of blood never was permitted, either before the flood or after the flood, or under the Law, or under the Gospel; then surely, no man in his senses will say it is now lawful to eat it.

Now, that it never was permitted in any of these periods, is undeniable. Nay, the argument is yet stronger; for it was not only not permitted in any of these periods, but, in truth, it is plainly enough prohibited in the first of thein; and I think, as clearly prohibited in all the rest.

"First, I say, the eating of any living creature, and consequently of blood, is not only not granted before the flood, but plainly enough prohibited, in that part of the curse denounced upon man after the fall, Carsed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it, all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee: and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread: till thou return to the ground. Can any thing be plainer than, that man is here condemned to eat bread, and the herb of the field, to the day of his death!

"And thus we see that man had no right to the blood of the F398

creatures before the food. That he had no right after this,
unlawfulness of eating blood.
from the grant made to Noah; that no man had any right to it
from any concession in the law of Moses, but quite the con
trary, is undoubted. The only question then is, whether any
sucli permission hath been made under the Gospel? And
that there hath not, but the direct contrary, I now come to
prove, from the fifteenth chapter of the Acts: where we read,
that after a long and solemn debate upon the question, Whe
serve the law of Moses? It was at last determined, that they
ther the Gentile converts to Christianity were obliged to ob
were not; and that no more should be required of them, than
to abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and
from things strangled, and from blood. And accordingly, a
most soleinn decree was drawn up to that purpose, by the
apostles, and elders, and the whole church at Jerusalem; and
Cilicia, by four deputies of principal note: Paul and Barna-
transmitted in letters to the brethren at Antioch, Syria, and
bas, Judas and Silas. And those letters were conceived in
these terms: For .t seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us,
&c. Fee verses 28, 29.

obliged to abstain from blood and things strangled. And if
"Now, if this decree be obligatory upon all Christians, then
the direction of any one apostle, inspired of God, be obligatory,
can it no longer be a doubt with any Christian, whether he is
certainly it can be no doubt, whether a solemn decision of all
the apostles, expressly declaring the joint determination of the
Holy Ghost in the point be also obligatory.

hath been since repealed; and this will best appear, by con-
sidering the arguments for this repeal, produced by the advo
The only question then is, whether this apostolic decree
cates for eating blood: which I now come to examine.

only temporary, to prevent giving offence to the Jews, in the
infancy of the Christian religion; and consequently the rea
"First then, it is said, that this decree of the apostles was
son of it is long since ceased; and that cessation is a virtual

the reasons now mentioned, for abstaining from blood, do not equally extend to all ages and nations of the world; and if In answer to this, I desire it may be considered, whether they do, it is evident this injunction of the apostles had no peculiar relation, either to the infancy of the Christian religion, Jews are the only people in the world who are obliged to abstain from cruelty to the creatures, or to recognize God as the or to the people of the Jews: unless it be thought that the author and giver of life; or that this nation only were entitled to the atonement made by blood; and if so, how came sacrifi came blood to be prohibited to all the sons of Noah, before there was any such thing as a Jew in the world? This preces to be instituted immediately after the fall? And how tence then seems very ill-founded.

atonement for sin, as a type of the sacrifice of Christ; and
"It may indeed be urged with much more plausibility by
that atonement being now received by his blood, as St. Paul
Christians, that blood being consecrated to the making of
expresses it, in the fifth chapter of his epistle to the Romans,
the reason of abstinence in this point is now ceased; and,
consequently, that this abstinence is no longer a duty.

soning, that the apostolic decree against blood was past many
years after this atonement was made: and, surely, it is no
"But then it must be remembered, in answer to this rea
inore unreasonable to abstain from blood now, in commemo-
ration of the atonement made by the blood of Christ, for the
sins of the whole world; than it was before to abstain from it
in the view of that atonement.

selves, and consequently had the blood in them, might be
given to the stranger, or sold to an alien; and it is evident,
"Again, it is objected, that creatures which died of them
that the stranger and alien were in this case permitted to eat

blood separate from the creature, or eating the blood design
edly left in the creature, to serve any end of luxury or cru-
"And what then? the question is, concerning the eating of
elty: and eating blood in either of these ways, is what I
esteem to be unlawful: the eating of blood as such, was never
was, and is, criminal, in certain circumstances, from the rea-
son and nature of things, as well as the divine prohibition;
imagined an action, simply, and in itself, sinful; though it
and it was prohibited, for very wise and very important rea-
sons; and when those reasons ceased, as in the instance ob-
jected, the prohibition ceased too: and therefore this objec
in truth it confirms it; for what can be a clearer proof, that
the reasons of any divine prohibition are rightly assigned.
tion is so far from overthrowing the doctrine laid down, that
than this, that as soon as those reasons cease, the prohibition
ceases also? When the creature died of itself, its blood
abused to idolatry; nor reverenced, in recognition of God's
being the author and giver of life: nor spilt, to prevent cru-
could neither be poured out upon the altar for atonement, mar
elty in the use of the creatures; and therefore, there, such a
small portion of it as could not be separated from the flesh,
was permitted to be eaten with it: in effect permitted even
to the Jew, under a very light penalty; but where there was
a possibility, either of cruelty or abuse, there it was more
strictly prohibited; and for this reason, when a creature was
torn by a beast, there the flesh was not to be touched by any
the 22d chapter of Exodus, at the 31st verse: and the reasor
human creature, but thrown to the dogs; as you may read in

Dissertation concerning the


of this distinction is obvious; if men were permitted to make any advantage of creatures torn to death by beasts, what an inlet to all manner of cruelty (as well as villany) might such a permission be! And who can say where it would end 7 Nay, who knows how far such dilacerations might even be counterfeited to the purposes of idolatry, or indulgence in


"Again: I must beseech all Christians seriously to attend to the tenor of the words, by which abstinence from blood and things strangled is enjoined: 'It seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us, (say the apostles,) to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and froin fornication.' If these abstinences were only intended to be enjoined for a season, could they properly be enjoined under the denomination of 'necessary things | Is that the proper appellation for duties of a transient, teinporary observance? Did neither the apostles, nor the Holy Ghost, know the distinction between necessary and expedieat? Or, suppose it not convenient to make that distinction at that time; how came things of a temporary, and things of an eternal obligation, to be placed upon the same foot of ne cessity, in the same decree"? Or, were fornication and idol pollutions only to be abstained from for a time 1 And in compliment to the infirmity of the Jews? What monstrous absurdities are these? And what a train of them are they obliged to maintain, who assert this decree to be only of temporary obligation 1

"But to proceed: If this was only a temporary necessity, how long did this necessity last }

"To this Dr. Hammond answers, that it lasted till the Jews and Gentiles were formed into one communion. And St. Augustin says, that it lasted till the time that no carnal Israelite appeared in the church of the Gentiles; and again, that it lasted till the temple and the Jewish polity were destroyed. "To all this I answer, that, if the two first opinions are admitted, then, the necessity of observing the apostolic decree continues to this day: first, because the Jews and Gentiles are indisputably not yet fully formed into one communion: and, secondly, because there was never any time, wherein there was not some carnal Israelite in the church; and 1 think it must be notorious to many of my readers, that there are some such even in this part of the Christian church, at this day: and so doubtless in every Christian church over the face of the whole earth; and therefore both these opinions are wild and unsupported.

"As to the third opinion, viz. that the necessity of observ. ing this decree lasted only till the destruction of the Jewish temple and polity; to this I answer, that whatever may be thought of the necessity of this decree, it is evident that the wisdom of it, and the advantage of that abstinence which was due to it, extended much farther. Since, without this, that calumny imputed to Christians, of killing infants in their assemblies, and drinking their blood, could never be so easily and so effectually confuted; for nothing could do this so thoroughly, as demonstrating that it was a fundamental principle with Christians to touch no blood of any kind and what could demonstrate this so effectually as dying in attestation to the truth of it! as it is notorious, both from the apologists and the ecclesiastical historians, that many Christian martyrs did. "But it is farther urged, that this apostolic decree was only given to the Jewish proselytes; and, consequently, that the necessity of abstaining from blood and things strangled, related to them only; this, they tell us, appears, in that the apostle, when he preached in any city, did it as yet in the synagogues of the Jews; whither the Gentiles could not come, unless they were proselytes of the gate.'

"Now, this opinion, I think, will be sufficiently confuted, by demonstrating these two things; first, that before the pass. ing of this decree, St. Paul preached Christianity to the whole body of the Gentiles, at Antioch; and, secondly, that this decree is directed to the Gentiles at large, and not to the Jewish proselytes.

"Now, this transaction at Antioch happened seven years before the decree against blood and things strangled, was passed by the apostles at Jerusalem. Can any man in his senses doubt, after this, whether the apostles preached to the Gentiles before the passing of that decree? When it appears, from the words now recited, that the apostles not only preached to the Gentiles, but preached to them in contradis tinction to the Jews: and does any man know the Jews so lit. tle, as to imagine that when the apostles turned to the Gentiles, from them, the Jews would after this suffer those apostles to preach to the Geutiles in their synagogues? Besides, the text says, that the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region; consequently the apostles were so far from confining themselves to the Jewish synagogue, that they were not confined even to the extent of that ample city, but preached throughout the whole country. This opinion, then, that the apostles preached only to the Jews and proselytes before the passing of this decree against blood at Jerusalem, is demonstrably false; and if they preached to the Gentiles at large, to whom else can that decree be directed? It is directed to the Gentile converts at large; and who can we imagine those converts were, but those to whorn Christianity was preached, s. e. the Gentiles at large 1

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unlawfulness of eating hous.

tence, in this fifteenth chapter of the Acts, upon which the apostolic decree is founded. His words are these. "19. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not there which from among the Gentiles are turned to God. "20. But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pol. lutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things stran gled, and from blood. "21. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. "What then what if Moses had those that preached him in the synagogues every Sabbath? Why then, there was no necessity of writing upon these points to any of those who were admitted into the synagogues; because they knew, from the writings of Moses, that all these things were, from the foundation of the world, unlawful to the whole race of Adam.

"My sentence (says the apostle) is, that we write to the Gentile converts upon these points; for Moses hath those of old in every city, that preach him, i. e. there is no necessity of writing to any Jewish convert, or to any proselyte convert to Christianity, to abstain from these things; because all that are admitted into the synagogues, (as the proselytes were,) know all these things sufficiently already; and accordingly, upon this sentence of St. James, the decree was founded and directed: doubtless, from the nature of the thing, directed to those whom it was fitting and necessary to inform upon these points, i. e. those who were unacquainted with the writings of Moses; for the decree, as far as it contained a direction to certain duties, could give no information to any others.

"Again: An objection is raised against this doctrine from the conclusion of the decree, ye do wel: insinuating, that though they should do well to observe it, yet they did no ill in not observing it.

"I answer, that doing well, in the style of Scripture, as well as common speech, is acting agreeably to our duty; and doing well in necessary things, inust certainly be acting agreeably to necessary duty; and certainly the same duty cannot be at the same time necessary and indifferent.

"But it is objected, that if the points contained in this de. cree, are not parts of the Mosaic law, the decree has no relation to the question in debate; for the debate was whether the Gentile converts to Christianity should be obliged to observe the law of Moses ?

"I answer, that the decree hath the clearest relation to the question; inasmuch as it is a decision, that the Gentile converts were not obliged to observe the law of Moses. It hath at the same time a plain relation to the point in question; for what could be more proper, than to take that occasion to let the Gentiles know, that they were obliged to the observance of such duties as were obligatory antecedently to the law of Moses, though they were exempted from that law?

"Again, it is urged, that this decree could only oblige those to whom it was directed, i. e. the Gentiles of Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia.

"As if the decree, and the reason of it, did not equally extend to all Gentile converts throughout the whole world. And as if this doctrine were only taught and received in those par ticular regions; when it is evident, bevond a possibility of being denied or doubted, that all Christians in every region of the earth, were taught, and actually embraced the same doctrine, at least, for the first three hundred years after Christ.

"But it is still objected, that this dispute could not have happened otherwise than between Gentile and Judaizing con. verts; and consequently, the decision of it must have respect to the conduct which it was then necessary the Gentiles should hold, with regard to the Jews, who could not converse with them upon the foot of a friendly communication, could not sit at meat, &c. unless the Gentiles abstained from blood, &c.

"Consequently, that this necessity is now ceased.

"In answer to this, admitting the premises, I must own I cannot see how this conclusion follows from them, as long as there are Jews and Mahometans in the world to be con verted to the Christian religion.

"Fornication, idolatry, luxury, and cruelty to the creatures, are prohibited by this decree; and an original precept from God to Noah, of manifold advantage to mankind, restored: is it to be believed, the apostles could stand in need of a particular occasion to prohibit those enormities; or to restore this blessing?

"Fornication did not appear to the heathen world to be contrary to the law of nature; (nor do the libertines of the age see it to be so to this day ;) and as they had no restraints upon intemperance, their luxury of food greatly contributed to make them abandoned. How then could the apostles, whose business it was to reform the world, pretend to amend mankind, without recovering them from these corruptions ? And what more effectual method could they take to recover them, than a most solemn and sacred injunction of abstinence in those points contained in the decree of Jerusalem ? And that the apostles had nothing less than this in view from that decree, is, I think, fairly and fully to be collected from these words of St. Luke, Acts xvi. 4, 5. And as they (i. e. Paul and his companions) went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apss "But this is yet farther demonstrated, from St. James's sen-tles and elders which were at Jerusalem, and so were the

Dissertation concerning the


clearly determines the lawfulness of eating any thing sold in
unlawfulness of eating blood.
tions for conscience' sake.
the shambles, or set before us on the table, asking no ques

"But there are yet two other main fundamental objections against this doctrine, taken from the declarations of our Savour, St. Peter, and St. Paul.

"And the first of them is built upon those words of our blessed Saviour, on the 15th chapter of St. Matthew, at the eleventh verse, Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man, but that which cometh out of the mouth. From hence it is inferred, that a man may eat or drink any thing without sin, notwithstanding the apostolic decree.

But surely no Christian would say this, that saw the absurdities of this assertion; for if this declaration of our Saviour's destroys the validity of the apostolic decree, then it will follow:

"First, That this decree was repealed just twenty years before it was made, which is surely a very extraordinary supposition; for whoever looks into the chronology of his Bible will find, that these words of our Saviour were spoken twenty years before the apostolic council was held at Jerusalem. "Secondly, It will follow, that the whole body of the apostles did, after fill debate and mature deliberation, make a most solemn decree, in direct contradiction to the plain, express declaration of their blessed Lord and Saviour.

"And this supposition is surely as modest, and as Christian, as the first was extraordinary: nay, more; they made this decree under the immediate direction and influence of the Spirit of God, and yet made it in direct contradiction to the declaration of the Son of God. I am really at a loss to think whether the absurdity or the blasphemy of these suppositions is most shocking. Let us quit them then, and examine our Saviour's words by the common rules of reason.

"And to clear this point, I lay this down as a plain rule of interpretation, That general expressions ought not to be extended beyond the reason of them, and the occasion of their being delivered. For example, St. Paul, in the tenth chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, answering the arguments of those converts who pretended they might innocently eat of those things offered to idols, even in the idol temples, ases these words, All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient. Will any man infer from hence, that murder, and adultery, and incest, were lawful to St. Paul? Or that he thought they were? No, surely! What then can be mean by them? I answer, that the reason and occasion of them must determine that question; and do determine the plain sense of those words to be this: All things that are lawful to any other man, are also lawful to me; but every thing that is lawful to be done, is not always expedient: though the liberty you took of eating in the idol temple were lawful; yet, if it give offence, you ought not to take it.

"In the same manner should that general expression of our Saviour's be interpreted, Not that which goeth into the mouth, defileth the man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, that defileth the man. Does any man imagine, that our Saviour meant to give full license to gluttony and intemperance by this declaration? Or that a inan might deliberately swallow poison by virtue of these words; or, in general, might innocently eat any thing which the law of God at that time forbad to be eaten? These were strange absurdities to be supposed: the sense of the declaration then must be drawn from the reason and occasion of it, which was this: The Pharisees were offended with our Saviour's disciples for sitting down to meat before they washed their hands, contrary to the tradition of the elders; as if such a violation of a traditional precept, were sin and a pollution. In answer to this, after our Saviour hath shown the iniquity and absurdity of their traditions, he adds, Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man. Now the question is, what he meant by those words? And if he himself had not told us, I really think that the occasion and common sense would teach us to understand no more by them, than this, that it is not any little soil or filth taken into the mouth, from eating with unwashed hands, that can be said to defile a man; nothing of that kind can be called a pollution. This, I say, is the plain, natural, obvious sense of those words. Indeed, the latter part of the declaration is not so plain; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth the man. This part of it, I say, is not so intelligible; neither was it so to the disciples, and therefore Peter desired his Lord to declare this parable unto them. And accordingly he did so, by showing that whatsoever pollution was taken in at the mouth was cast out into the draught, but what came out of the mouth, came forth from the heart, as did evil thoughts of all kinds: and then he adds, these are the things that defile the man-but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not the man.

"I come now to the last objection of weight. which is this: that the distinction of clean and unclean meats is plainly taken away in the New Testament; and particularly by that voice from heaven in St. Peter's vision: and that St. Paul 400

very command to St. Peter in that vision, is so far from ta
"But to cut this dispute short, I shall only observe, that the
clearly establishes it. The words are these; Rise, Peter
kill, and eat. Now the Greek word voor, which is here
king away the prohibition of blood given to Noah, that it
translated kill, does in the original signify to sacrifice; and
the plain sense of the command is this, that Peter should slay
those creatures, as creatures were wont to be slain for sacri-
then eat them. And no man that pretends to any knowledge
in the Greek tongue will say, that this word has or can have
fice, that is, that he should first draw away the blood, and
any other meaning in this place; and therefore the very com-
and unclean, is so far from taking away the prohibition of
blood, that it establishes it.
mand which takes away the distinction of creatures, clean

to St. Peter was given in the forty-first year from our Sa
"Besides, I desire it may be observed, that this command
and the decree of the apostles at Jerusalem was in the year
of our Lord 52. i. e. the prohibition of blood was established
viour's birth; or, in other words, in the year of our Lord 41;
eleven years after the distinction of meats, clean and unclean,
many years before it was made!
was taken away. Il-fated decree! to be again repealed, so

a command of easy, unexpensive observance; preventive of
cruelty, luxury, and many other evils; and conducive to
"Thus have I defended a divine revelation and command;
much good! manifestly contributing to the healthfulness and
simplicity, and, in consequence of both these, to the elegance
and delicacy of food.

of the forbidden fruit.
"A command, in its nature negative and absolute, as that

Moses, and ratified by the apostles of Jesus Christ; given im-
mediately after the flood, when the world, as it were, began
"A command, given by God himself to Noah, repeated to
anew: and the only one given on that great occasion; repeat-
ed with awful solemnity to that people whom God separated
from the rest of mankind to be holy to himself; repeated
with dreadful denunciations of divine vengeance, both against
the Jew and the stranger that should dare to transgress it; and
ratified by the most solemn and sacred council that ever was
assembled upon earth, acting under the immediate influence of
the Spirit of God! transmitted from that sacred assembly to the
several churches of the neighbouring nations by the hands of
no meaner messengers than two bishops and two apostles:
asserted by the best writers and most philosophic spirits of
their age, the Christian apologists; and sealed with the blood
of the best men, the Christian martyrs! confirmed by the
and one of these as low as the sixth century. Reverenced
(in conformity to the practice and principles even of Jews and
unanimous sentences of fathers, emperors, and councils:
Mahometans) by the whole church of God for the first 300
years after Christ; and by all the churches of the east to this
day: churches allowed to be more extensive, and riot more
corrupt, than that which vaunts itself catholic and infallible.
And will any man after this dare to vilify this command!
Will any man in his senses pronounce a precept so given, so
repeated, and so ratified by God himself, unmeaning and un-
important? Can we imagine, that it was asserted by the most
learned men of the early ages of Christianity, without know-
ledge? Or obeyed by the most holy, even unto death, without
conscience? Or reverenced by the whole church of God,
without reason? And shall we, after all this, coutemn this
command, because light libertines revile, and Insolents de-
spise it? or, at best, because some learned men have given
very weak and ungrounded, very unlearned reasons, for be-
lieving it repealed 7 reasons which I have now sufficiently re
futed and exposed. And shall such reasons and such autho
rities weigh against God, and the inspirations of his Holy
Spirit? Against the apostles, and apologists, and martyrs, and
the whole church of God, for the three first and purest ages
of the Christian era? Let others glory in their Christian liber
ty as they like best; but, perhaps, to some of these we may
say with St. Paul, Your glorying is not good; know ye not,
that a little learen leaveneth the whole lump?

that it is an error on the sure side: it is innocent: it is an error infinitely better authorized, and nearer allied to religion, "If mine be an error, it must be owned at the same time virtue, and humanity, than its contrary! for, (not to mentio the precepts of apostles, the opinions of fathers, and the de crees of councils.) if I err, I err with the most of men, (not heathen,) and with the best! with the whole Christian world err on the side of humanity and health; and a religious gratitude to the Author and Giver of life, for every creature slain of the best ages! and the whole eastern world to this day. I for my support! I err, in opposition to a practice manifestly brutal and savage; a practice which human nature abhore;

Paul associates with himself


a savage practice! which overran the West, together with the
Goths and Vandals: a practice, introduced by Scythian bar
barity, and established by popery! established, with other
works of darkness, in the ages of error and ignorance, and
their necessary consequences, immorality and irreligion.
But though all this be demonstrably true, yet am I suffl-
ciently sensible, that I have all this time been speaking in a
great measure to appetite, which hath no ears; and to preju
dice, which hath no eyes; to perverseness, incapable of at-
tention; and to pride, incapable of conviction: and am so far
from being able to bring some men to reason, that I am my
self, perhaps, become the object of their pity for attempting
it; that I have been feeding the raillery of libertines, and the
scoffs of infidels; that even dulness will droll on this occa
sion, and stupidity break stale jests. Alas! who is so igno-
rant as not to know, that the scorner, foe to every virtue and
excellence in life; must, in that very character, be the sworn
enemy of every part of religion! of that religion by which


Timothy, a young convert

every virtue lives, and is esteemed in the world. Who is so ignorant as not to know that this meanest denomination of men subsists upon earth, like the meanest species of insects; by teazing and tainting to the utmost of their malignant might, and then feeding where they have infected: but God be prai sed, their impotence affects nothing but infirmity; and the slightest fence is security against them. Some difference, I hope, will be allowed between us on this occasion. I write from the dictates of a good conscience; it is theirs to see if they reproach not from the influence of an evil; I write from the clearest conviction: let them beware that they rail not from corruption. This I will say without scruple, I reason from the light of an humble, an honest, and a diligent inquiry: and if they ridicule, they ridicule from the depth of a lazy and conceited ignorance. How far that ignorance will acquit them at the great day of account, God only knows." DELANY's Revelation Examined with Candour. p. 18, &c. CHAPTER XVI.

Vol. II

Paul coming to Derbe and Lystra, meets with Timothy, the son of a Jewess by a Greek father, whom he circumcises, and takes with him into his work, 1-3. As they pass through the different cities, they deliver the apostles' decrees to the churches; and they are established in the faith, and daily increase in numbers, 4, 5. They travel through Phrygia, Ga latia, Mysia, and to Troas, 6-8, where Paul has a vision relative to his preaching in Macedonia, 9, 10. Leaving Troas, he sails to Samothracia and Neapolis, and comes to Philippi in Macedonia, 11, 12 Lydia, a seller of purple, receives the apostles' teaching; she and her family are baptized, 12-15. A young woman with a spirit of divination dispossessed by St. Paul, 16-18. Her masters finding their gain by her soothsaying gone, make an attack upon Paul and Silas, drag them before the magistrates, who command them to be beaten, thrust into the closest prison, and their feet made fast in the stocks, 19-24. Paul and Silas singing praises at midnight, the prison doors are miraculously opened, and all the bonds of the prisoners loosed, 25, 26. The keeper being alarmed, supposing that the prisoners were fled, is about to kill himself, but is prevented by Paul, 27, 23. He inquires the way of salvation, believes, and he and his whole family are baptized, 29 34. The next morning the magistrates order the apostles to be dismissed, 35, 36. Paul pleads his privilege as a Roman, and accuses the magistrates of injustice, who, being alarmed, come themselves to the prison, deliver them, and beg them to depart from the city, 37-39. They leave the prison, eater into the house of Lydia, comfort the brethren, and depart, 40. [A. M. cir. 4057. A. D. cir. 53. An. Olymp. cir. CCVIII. 1.] came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek,


2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at
Lystra and Iconium.
3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and
circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those
quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them
Ch. 14.6.- Ch. 19.22 Rom. 16.21. 1 Cor.4.17. Phil.2.19 1 Thess. 3.2. Tin.
1.2.2 Tua 1.2-e2 Tim. 1.5.

the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not.

8 And they passing by Mysia, hcame down to Troas.

d Ch 6.3-el Cor.9 20. Gal.2.3. See Gal. 5.2.-f Ch. 15. 28, 29.-g Chap. 15.44.h2 Cor. 2.12, 2 Tim. 4.13.

NOTES.-Verse 1. A certain disciple] Bishop Pearce would written here. He supports his opinion by a reference to the read the latter part of this verse, and the beginning of the word xpvw, I judge; used by James, chap. xv. 19. whence next, thus-A certain disciple named Timotheus, (the son of the whole decision, as it referred-1. To the inexpediency of a certain Jewish woman that believed, but of a father who circumcising the Gentiles; and, 2. To the necessity of obserwas a Greek) who was well reported of by the brethren, &c.ving the four precepts laid down, was called ra KEKρiμEva, the This Timothy was the same person to whom St. Paul wrote things that were judged, or decided on; the judgments of the those two noble epistles which are still extant. His mother's apostolic council. Instead of KEKPLμEva, the Syriac has a word name was Eunice, as we learn from 2 Tim. i. 5. What his fa- that answers to yeypapuera, the decrees that were written. ther's name was we know not; he was either a mere heathen, The word doypa, froin doo, to think proper, determine, deor, at most, only a proselyte of the gate, who never submitted to crce; signifies an ordinance, or decree properly and delibecircumcision: had he submitted to this rite, he would, no rately made, relative to any important point; and which, in doubt, have circumcised his son; but the son being without reference to that point, has the force of law. Our term dog5. And so were the churches established] The disputations it, is a proof that the father was so too. Some MSS. state that ma, which we often abuse, is the Greek word in English letters. Timothy's mother was now a widow, but this does not appear at Antioch, relative to circumcision, had no doubt spread far to be well founded. and wide among other churches; and unhinged many. The decrees of the apostles came in good time, and prevented farther mischief: the people, saved from uncertainty, became of converted souls. established in the faith; and the church had a daily accession

2. Which was well reported of] These words are spoken of
Timothy, and not of his father. At this time Timothy must
have been very young; for, several years after, when ap-
pointed to superintend the church at Crete, he appears to
have been then so young that there was a danger of its ope
rating to the prejudice of his ministry; 1 Tim. iv. 12.
He had a very early religious
no man despise thy youth.
education from his godly mother Eunice, and his not less
pions grandmother Lois; and, froin his religious instructions,
was well prepared for the work to which God now called him.
3. Took and circumcised him] For this simple reason, that
the Jews would neither have heard him preach, nor would
have any connexion with him, had he been otherwise. Be-
sides, St. Paul himself could have had no access to the Jews,
in any place, had they known that he associated with a per-
son who was uncircumcised: they would have considered
both to be unclean. The circumcision of Timothy was a
merely prudential regulation; one rendered imperiously ne-
cessary by the circumstances in which they were then
placed; and as it was done merely in reference to this, Timo-
thy was laid under no necessity to observe the Mosaic ritual;
nor could it prejudice his spiritual state, because he did not
do it in order to seek justification by the law; for this he had
before, through the faith of Christ. In Gal. ii. 3-5. we read
that Paul refused to circumcise Titus, who was a Greek, and
his parents Gentiles, notwithstanding the entreaties of some
zealous Judaizing Christians; as their object was to bring
him under the yoke of the law: here, the case was widely dif.
ferent, and the necessity of the measure indisputable.

4. They delivered them the decrees for to keep] Ta doyuara,
τα κεκριμένα υπο των Αποστόλων. Bishop Pearce contends
that ra doypara, the decrees, is a gloss, which was not in the
text originally; and that the ra KEKρpeva, the judgments or
determinations of the apostles, was all that was originally
3 E

6. Were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia] The Asia mentioned here could not be Asia Minor, in general; for Galatia, Phrygia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, and Pamphylia, were provinces of it; and in these the apostles preached; but it was what is called Proconsular Asia, which included only Ionia, Eolia, and Lydia. The apostles were not suf fered to visit these places at this time; but they afterward went thither, and preached the Gospel with success: for it was in this Proconsular Asia that the seven churches were situated. God chose to send his servants to another place, where he saw that the word would be affectionately received; and probably those in Proconsular Asia were not, as yet, suff cienty prepared to receive and profit by it.

7. After they were come to Mysia] They passed through Phrygia into Mysia, which lay between Bithynia on the north, Phrygia on the east, Æolia on the south, and the Mediterranean on the west.

But the Spirit suffered them not.] God saw that that was not the most proper time to preach the word at Bithynia; as he willed them to go immediately to Macedonia, the people there being ripe for the word of life. Instead of ro Iveva, the Spirit merely; To Пvεvua Incov, the Spirit of JESUS, is the reading of ABCDE, several others, with both the Syriac, the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, Itala, and several of the Fathers. The reading is undoubtedly genuine, and should be immediately restored to the text.

8. Came down to Troas.] The Troad, or part of Phrygia Minor, in which the celebrated city of Troy was formerly si401 tuated. This city was first built by Dardanus, who was its king, 35*


9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood
a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into
Macedonia, and help us.

10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endea
voured to go k into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the
Lord had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them.
11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight
course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis.
12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of
that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that
city abiding certain days.

13 And on the "sabbath we went out of the city by a river
side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down,
and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

iChap 10 30-k 2 Cor. 2.13-1 Phil. 1.1.-m Or, the first.-n Gr. Sabbath day.
o Luke 24.48.

and from whom it was called Dardania: from Tros, his
grandson, it was called Troja, or Troy: and from his son
Ilus, it was called Ilium. It has been long so completely de-
stroyed, that no ascertainable vestige of it remains; insomuch
that some have even doubted of its existence. Those who
contend for the reality of the history of Troy, suppose it to
have stood on the site of the modern village Bounarbachi,
about twelve miles from the sea, on an eminence, at the ter-
mination of a spacious plain.

9. A vision cppeared to Paul in the night] Whether this
was in a dream, or whether a representation made to the
senses of the apostle, we cannot tell.
appeared to him, and made this simple communication, Come
A man of Macedonia
over to Macedonia and help us.

Some suppose that the guardian angel of Macedonia ap-
peared to St. Paul in a human shape; others, that it was a di-
vine communication, made to his imagination in a dream.

10. We endeavoured to go into Macedonia] This is the first place that the historian St. Luke refers to himself: we endea voured, &c. And from this it has been supposed, that he joined the company of Paul, for the first time, at Troas. Assuredly gathering) Evußißatorres, drawing an infer. ence from the vision that had appeared.

That the Lord had called us for to preach] That is, they inferred that they were called to preach the Gospel in Macedonia, from what the vision had said, come over and help us; the help meaning, preach to us the Gospel. Instead of o Kuptos, the Lord, meaning JESUS, several MSS., such as ABCE, several others, with the Coptic, Vulgate, Theophylact, and Jerome, have 6 Osos, GOD. Though this stands on very reputable authority, yet the former seems to be the better reading; for it was the SPIRIT of JESUS, ver. 7. that would not suffer them to go into Bithynia, because he had designed that they should immediately preach the Gospel in Macedonia.

11. Loosing from Trous] Setting sail from this placeWith a straight course to Samothracia] This was an island of the gean Sea, contiguous to Thrace, and hence called Samothracia, or the Thracian Samos. It is about twenty miles in circumference, and is now called Samandrachi by the Turks, who are its present masters.

And the next day to Neapolis. There were many cities of this name: but this was a seaport town of Macedonia, a few miles eastward of Philippi. Neapolis signifies the new city. 12. And from thence to Philippi) This was a town of Mas cedonia, in the territory of the Edones, on the confines of Thrace, situated on the side of a steep eminence. It took its name from Philip II. king of Macedon. It is famous for two battles fought between the imperial army commanded by Octavianus, afterward Augustus, and Mark Antony; and the republican army commanded by Brutus and Cassius, in which these were successful: and a second between Octavi anus and Antony, on the one part, and Brutus on the other. In this battle the republican troops were cut to pieces, after which Brutus killed himself. It was to the church in this city that St. Paul wrote the epistle that still goes under their name. This place is still in being, though much decayed; and is the see of an archbishop.

The chief city of that part of Macedonia) This passage has greatly puzzled both critics and commentators. It is well known thatwhen Paulus Emilius had conquered Macedonia, he divided it into four parts, uepn, and that he called the country that lay between the rivers Strymon and Nessus, the first part, and made Amphipolis its chief city, or metropolis: Philippi, therefore, was not its chief city. But Bishop Pearce has, with great show of reason, argued, that though Amphipolis was made the chief city of it by Paulus Emilius, yet Philippi might have been the chief city in the days of St. Paul, which was two hundred and twenty years after the division by P. Emilius. Besides, as it was at this place that Augustus gained that victory which put him in possession of the whole Roman empire, might not he have given to it that dignity which was before enjoyed by Amphipolis? This is the most rational way of solving this difficulty; and thereupon I shall not trouble the reader with the different modes that have been proposed to alter and amend the Greek text.

And a colony] That is, a colony of Rome; for it appears that a colony was planted here by Julius Cesar, and afterward enlarged by Augustus: the people, therefore, were considered as freemen of Rome, and from this, call themselves Romans, ver. 21. The Jewish definition of Np kolonia (for they have the Latin word in Hebrew letters, as St. Luke has it here 402

the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose
14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of
which were spoken of Paul.
heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things

Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she con
15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she be
sought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the
strained us.

sel 4 possessed with a spirit of divination, met as, which 16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain dambrought her masters" much gain by soothsaying:

men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These
us the way of salvation.

Kowvia in Greek letters) is a free city which does not pay
p Gen. 19.3. & 33.11. Judg.19.21. Luke 24.21. Heb. 13.2.-q1 Sam.29.7-r Or, of
Python.- Ch.19.24.

Ou evoμLETO TOOσevyn eivai, where it was said there was a pro seuchu. The proseucha was a place of prayer, or a place 13. By a river side, where prayer was wont to be made] used for worship, where there was no synagogue. It was a large building, uncovered, with seats, as in an amphitheatre. Buildings of this sort the Jews had by the sea side, and by the note on Luke vi. 12. It appears that the apostles had heard from some of the Gentiles, or from some of the Jews themsides of rivers. See this subject considered at large in the they went out in quest of it, knowing that as it was the Sabselves, that there was a place of prayer by the river side; and bath, they should find some Jews there.

of their public worship; and while they were waiting for the
Spake unto the women] Probably this was before the time
opportunity to speak concerning Christ and salvation, to the
women that resorted thither.,
assembling of the people in general: and Paul improved the

was situated. The Lydian women have been celebrated for
14. Lydia, a seller of purple] She probably had her name
from the province of Lydia, in which the city of Thyatira
their beautiful purple manufactures.

Jewish religion; as were probably all the women that resorted Which worshipped God] That is, she was a proselyte to the hither.

shipper of God, she was prepared to receive the heavenly truths spoken by Paul and his companions; and, as she was Whose heart the Lord opened] As she was a sincere wor faithful to the grace she had received, so God gave her more grace, and gave her now a divine conviction that what was spoken by Paul was true; and therefore she attended unio the things; she believed them, and received them as the doctrines of God; and in this faith she was joined by her whole family and in it they were all baptized.

meaning seems to be this: if my present reception of the Gos pel of Christ, be a proof to you that I have been faithful to the 15. If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord] The Lord, in the light previously imparted; and that I am as already received; and consequently, not likely by light or fickle conduct, to bring any discredit on this divine work; likely to be faithful to this new grace, as I have been to that that this woinan had not received a measure of the light of God before this time. come into my house and abide there. It is wrong to suppose

persuasions, that at last they consented to lodge there.
And she constrained us.) She used such entreaties and
seucha: see on ver. 13. and on Luke vi. 12. The article Tv,
is added here by ABCE., several others, Origen, and The
16. As we went to prayer] Eis pony, into the pro-
ophylact; this makes the place more emphatic, and seems to
determine the above meaning of pocevyn to be right, not the
act of prayer or praying to God, but the place, the oratory,
in which these proselytes assembled for the purpose of pray
ing, reading the law and the prophets, and such like exercises
of devotion. It appears that the apostles spent some time
they often resorted to this place to preach the Gospel.
here; as it is evident from this, and the following verses, that

ruwvos, having a spirit of Python, or of Apollo. Pytho was,
according to fable, a huge serpent, that had an oracle at Mount
Possessed with a spirit of divination] Εχουσαν πνευμα
Parnassus, famous for predicting future events; that Apollo
slew this serpent, and hence he was called Pythius, and be-
came celebrated as the foreteller of future events; and that all
those who either could, or pretended to predict future events,
were influenced by the spirit of Apollo Pythius.
times, the priestesses of this god became greatly agitated, and
gave answers apparently from their bellies, when their mouths
remained close: v0v was applied to the syyaspinen, or
As, often-
ventriloquists. Hesychius defines vowv, datuovio parTIKOV,
a divining demon; and it was evidently such a one that pos
sessed this young woman; and which St. Paul expelled, ver. 18,
See on this subject the notes on Levit. xix. 31. and Deut. xviii. 11.

term soothsaying comes from the Anglo-Saxon rob, truth
Brought her masters much gain by soothsaying] Marrev
and rægan, to say; i. e. truth-saying, or saying the truth.
opevn, by divination, or what we call telling fortunes. Our
For as it was supposed among the heathen, that such persons
spoke by the inspiration of their god, consequently what they
said must be true. However, our translators might have used
a term here that would not have been so creditable to this

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