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18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her. "And he caine out the same hour.

19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the market place, unto the rulers,

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

See Mark 1.25, 34-u Mark 16. 17.-v Chap 19. 25,35.- 2 Cor.6.5.-x Matt. 10. 18- Or, court.

are cast into prison

22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the
magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast
them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the
inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises
unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26 b And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the
foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately al.
the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
21 Kings 19. 17. Ch. 17.6.- 2 Cor. 6.5. & 11.23, 25. 1 Thess. 2.2-b Chap. 4.31.-
e Ch.5.19. & 12.7, 10.

Roman colony, possessed the sovereign authority. The civil
magistrates, therefore, having heard the case, as we shall
soon find, in which it was pretended that the safety of the
state was involved, would naturally refer the business to the
decision of those who had the supremne command.
Exceedingly trouble our city] They are destroying the
public peace, and endangering the public safety.
21. And teach customs] Eon, religious opinions, and religi
ous rites.

Which are not lawful for us to receive] The Romans were
very jealous of their national worship. Servius, on the fol
lowing lines of Virgil, has given us correct information on this
point and has confirmed what several other writers have
advanced:
Rex Evandrus ait: Non hac sollemnia nobis-
Vana superstitio, velerumque ignara deorum
Imposuit.
Æn. viii. v. 185, &c.

Pythoness; for, what she said concerning the apostles ex-manders of the army, who, very likely, as this city was a cepted, she certainly could not be supposed to tell the truth, while her inspiration came from him who is the father of lies. But Satan will sometimes conceal himself under the guise of truth, that he may the more effectually deceive. See below. 17. These men are the servants, &c.] It is astonishing how such a testimony could be given in such a case: every sylla. ble of it true, and at the same time full, clear, and distinct. But mark the deep design and artifice of this evil spirit: 1. He well knew that the Jewish law abhorred all magic, incantations, magical rites, and dealings with familiar spirits; he therefore bears what was in itself a true testimony to the apostles, that by it he may destroy their credit, and ruin their sefulness. The Jews by this testimony, would be led at once to believe that the apostles were in compact with these demons, and that the miracles they wrought were done by the agency of these wicked spirits; and that the whole was the ef fect of magie; and this, of course, would harden their hearts against the preaching of the Gospel. 2. The GENTILES, find. ing that their own demon bore testimony to the apostles, would naturally consider that the whole was one system; that they had nothing to learn, nothing to correct; and thus the preaching of the apostles niust be useless to them. In such a predicament as this, nothing could have saved the credit of the apostles but their dispossessing this woman of her famihar spirit; and that in the most incontestable manner: for, what could have saved the credit of Moses and Aaron, when the magicians of Egypt turned their rods into serpents, had not Aaron's rod devoured theirs? And what could have saved the credit of these apostles but the casting out of this spirit of divination? with which, otherwise, both Jews and Gentiles would have believed thein in compact.

18. Paul, being grieved] Probably for the reasons assigned

above.

Turned to the spirit] Not to the woman; she was only the organ by which the spirit acted.

King Evander said :--It is not vain superstition, ignorant of the ancient worship of the gods, which has imposed these rites on us. "Dno dicit," says Servins, "non ideo Herculem colimus; aut quia omnem religionein veram putainus: aut quia deos ignoramas antiquos. Cautum enim fuerat, et apud Athenienses, et apud Romanos; ne quis NOVAS introduceret RELIGIONES: unde et Socrates damnatus est: et Chaldæi et Judæi, sunt urbe depulsi."

"He says two things: we do not worship Hercules because we believe every religion to be true; nor are we ignorant of the ancient gods. Great care was taken both among the Athe nians and Romans, that no one should introduce any new religion. It was on this account that Socrates was condemn. ed: and on this account the Chaldeans and the Jews were banished from Rome."

CICERO, De Legibus, lib. ii c. 8. says, Separatim nemo ha bessit deos; neve Novos: sed nec ADVENAS, nisi publicè AdSCITOS, PRIVATIM colunto. "No persou shall have any sepa.

strange gods, unless they be publicly allowed." The whole chapter is curious. It was on such laws as these that the people of Philippi pleaded against the apostles. These men bring new gods, new worship, new rites; we are Romans, and the laws forbid us to worship any new or strange god, unless publicly allowed.

22. The multitude rose up together] There was a general outery against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes, and delivered them to the mob, commanding the lictors, or beadles, to beat them with rods, paßot. This was the Roman custom of treating criminals, as Grotius has well remarked.

I command thee in the name of Jesus] Jesus is the Sarate gods nor new ones; nor shall he privately worship any viour: Satan is Abaddon and Apollyon, the destroyer. The sovereign Saviour says to the destroyer, Come out of her and he came out in the same hour. Every circumstance of this case proves it to have been a real possession. We have already had several opportunities of remarking the great accuracy of St. Luke in his accounts of demoniacs; his educa-, tion as a physician, gave him advantages to detect imposture of this kind where it subsisted; but he sees noue in this case. He speaks of the spirit and the damsel as distinct persons. The damsel had a spirit of divination. Paul turned to the spirit, and said, I command THEE to come out of HER; and he came out in the saine hour. Had not St. Luke considered this as a real case of diabolic possession, he has made use of the most improper language he could choose; language and forms of speech calculated to deceive all his readers, and cause them to believe a lie. But it is impossible that the holy apostle could do so, because he was a good man; it is not likely he could be deceived by a parcel of Charlatans, because he was a wise man; and it would be absurd to suppose that, while he was under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he could be imposed on by the cunning of even the devil himself.

19. When her masters saw) It appears she was maintain. ed by some men, who received a certain pay from every per son whose fortune she told, or to whom she made any discovery of stolen goods, &c. &c.

The hope of their gains was gone] H cλmis, this hope; viz. the spirit. So completely was this spirit cast out that the girl could divine no more; and yet she continued a heathen still, for we do not hear a word of her conversion. Had she been converted, got baptized, and associated with the apostles, the family of Lydia, &c. there would have been some show of reason to believe, that there had been no possession in the case; and that the spirit of divination coming out of her, meant no more than that, through scruple of conscience, she had left off her imposing arts, and would no longer continue to pretend to do what she knew she could not perform. But she still continued with her masters, though now utterly unable to disclose any thing relative to futurity!

Drew them into the market-place] This was the place of public resort, and by bringing them here, they might hope to excite a general clamour against them: and probably those who are here called rous apxovras, the rulers, were civil magistrates, who kept offices in such public places, for the preservation of the peace of the city. But these words, the rulers, are suspected to be an interpolation by some critics: I think on no good ground.

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23. Laid many stripes upon them] The Jews never gave more than thirty-nine stripes to any criminal: but the Ro mans had no law relative to this; they gave as many as they chose; and the apostles had, undoubtedly, the fullest measure. And perhaps St. Paul refers to this where he says, 2 Cor. xi. 23. ev anyais vπepßaddovτws, in stripes beyond measure, or moderation.

24. The inner prison] Probably what we would call the dungeon; the darkest and most secure cell.

Made their feet fast in the stocks] The ro vλov, which we here translate stocks, is supposed to mean two large pieces of wood, pierced with holes like our stocks, and fitted to each other, that when the legs were in they could not be drawn out. The holes being pierced at different distances, the legs might be separated or divaricated to a great extent, which must pro duce extreme pain. It is this circumstance to which it is supposed Prudentius refers, in speaking of the torments of St. Vincent:

Lignoque plantas inserit,
Divaricatis cruribus.

"They placed his feet in the stocks, his legs greatly dis tended." If the apostles were treated in this way, lying on the bare ground, with their flayed backs, what agony must they have suffered? However, they could sing praises not. withstanding.

25. At midnight Paul and Silas-sang praises] Though these holy men felt much, and had reason to fear more, yet they are undismayed, and even happy in their sufferings: they were so fully satisfied that they were right, and had done their duty, that there was no room for regret or self-reproach. At the same time, they had such consolations from God, as could ren der any circumstances not only tolerable, but delightful. They prayed, first for grace to support them, and for pardon and salvation for their persecutors; and then secondly, sang prai. 20. Brought them to the me gistrates] Erparnyous, the com.ses to God who had called them to such a state of salvation and

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Paul and Silas are

their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
delivered by the magistrates.
meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his
house.
34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set

27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and
THE ACTS.
seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would
have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no
harm: for we are all here.

29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trem-
bling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

30 And brought them out, and said, d Sirs, what must I do to
be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved, and thy house.

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all
that were in his house.

33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed
d Luke 3,10. Ch.2.37. & 9.6.-e John 3. 16, 30. & 6. 47. 1 John 5, 10.

had accounted them worthy to suffer shame for the testimony
of Jesus. And although they were in the inner prison, they
sang so loud, and so heartily, that the prisoners heard them.
26. There was a great earthquake] Thus God bore a mi-
raculous testimony of approbation to his servants. And by
the earthquake, and loosing the bonds of the prisoners, showed
in a symbolical way, the nature of that religion which they
preached; while it shakes and terrifies the guilty, it proclaims
deliverance to the captives, and the opening of the prison doors
to them that are bound: and sets at liberty them that are bruised.
Every one's bands were loosed.] And yet so eminently did
God's providence conduct every thing, that not one of the pri-
soners made his escape; though the doors were open, and his
bolts off!

27. The keeper of the prison-would have killed himself Every jailer was made responsible for his prisoner, under the same penalty to which the prisoner himself was exposed. The jailer awaking, and finding the prison-doors open, taking it for granted that all the prisoners had roade their escape, and that he must lose his life on the accomit; chose rather to die by his own hand than by that of others. For it was customary among the heathens, when they found death inevitable, to take away their own lives. This custom was applauded by their philosophers, and sanctioned by some of their greatest men. 28. Do thyself no harm] As it was now dark, being midnight, St. Paul must have had a divine intimation of what the jailer was going to do; and, to prevent it, cried out aloud, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

29. He called for a light] That he might see how things stood, and whether the words of Paul were true; for on this his personal safety depended.

Came trembling] Terrified by the earthquake, and feeling the danger to which his own life was exposed.

Fell down before Paul and Silas] The persons whom, a few hours before, he, according to his office, treated with so much asperity, if not cruelty, as some have supposed; though by the way it does not appear that he exceeded his orders in his treatment of the apostles.

30. Brought them out] Of the dungeon in which they were confined.

What must I do to be saved ?] Whether this regard personal, or eternal safety, it is a question the most interesting to man. But it is not likely that the jailer referred here to his personal safety. He had seen, notwithstanding the prison. doors had been miraculously opened, and the bonds of the prisoners all loosed, that not one of them had escaped: hence he could not feel himself in danger of losing his life on this account; and consequently, it cannot be his personal safety about which he inquires. He could not but have known that these apostles had been preaching among the people what they called the doctrine of salvation; and he knew that for expelling a demon they were delivered into his custody: the Spirit of God had now convinced his heart that he was lost, and needed salvation; and therefore his earnest inquiry is, how he should obtain it. The answer of the apostles to the jailer, shows that his inquiry was not about his personal safety; as his believing on Jesus Christ could have had no effect upon that, in his present circumstances. Men, who dispute against this sense of the word, are not aware that the Spirit of God can teach any thing to a heart which the head of a person has not previously learned; therefore they say, that it was impossible that a heathen could make such an inquiry in reference to his eternal state, because he would know nothing about it. On this ground, how impertinent would the answer of the apostles have been: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be put in a state of PERSONAL SAFETY, and thy family! I contend that neither he nor his family were in any danger, as long as not one prisoner had escaped; he had, therefore, nothing from this quarter to fear: and, on the ground against which I contend, his own question would have been as impertinent as the apostles' answer.

31. Believe on the Lord Jesus] Receive the religion of Christ, which we preach, and let thy household also receive it, and ye shall be all placed in the sure way to final salvation.

32. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord] Thus by teaching him, and all that were in his house, the doctrine of the Lord, they plainly pointed out to them the way of salvation. And it appears that he and his whole family, who were capable of receiving instructions, embraced this doctrine, and showed the sincerity of their faith, by immediately receiving baptism. And by the way, if he and all his were baptized 404

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saying, Let those men go."
35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants,

magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and
36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The
go in peace.

and now do they thrust us out privily? nay, verily; but let
37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly un
condemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison;
38 And the sergeants told these words unto the magistrates:
them come themselves and fetch us out.
f Luke 5.29.& 19.6.--g Chap.22.25.

straightway, napaxpnua, immediately, instantly, at that very
time, dum ipsa res agitur, it is by no means likely that there
of the case, the dead of the night, the general agitation, the
necessity of despatch, and the words of the text, all disprove
was any immersion in the case; indeed, all the circumstances
it. The apostles, therefore, had another method of adminis
tering baptism besides immersion, which, if practised accord-
ing to the Jewish formalities, must have required considera-
ble time, and not a little publicity. As the Jews were accus
tomed to receive whole families of heathens, young and old,
as proselytes, by baptism, so here the apostles receive whole
families, those of Lydia and the jailer, by the same rite. It
is therefore pretty evident, that we have in this chapter very
out immersion, as in the case of the jafler and his family;
and, 2. That children were also received into the church in
presumptive proofs, 1. That baptism was administered with
this way; for we can scarcely suppose that the whole fami
lies of Lydia and the jailer had no children in them; and if
they had, it is not likely that they should be omitted; for the
Jewish practice was invariably to receive the heathen chil
dren with their proselyted parents.

from the stripes: i. e. he washed the blood from the wounds,
33. Washed their stripes] EXovcev ano rov Anywv, he washed
as some have ridiculously imagined.
and this would not require putting them into a pool or bath,

ed, and needed refreshment: nor had the apostles any such in
34. He set meat before them] They were sufficiently exhaust
ing through hunger. or enable them to heal their own wounds.
As they were the instruments of bringing health to his soul,
herent miraculous power as could prevent them from suffer-
faith in Christ will always be accompanied with benevolence
he became the instrument of health to their bodies. Genuine
duce. The jailer believed-brought them into his house-washed
their stripes-and set meat before them.
and humanity, and every fruit that such dispositions can pro-

word paßdovxovs, means the lictors, persons who carried be-
35. And the magistrates sent the sergeants] The original
handel of which was a bundle of rods tied. Why the magis-
fore the consul the fasces, which was a hatchet, round the
they had so barbarously used the preceding evening, we can-
not tell, unless we receive the reading of the Coder Beze as
trates should have sent an order to dismiss the apostles whom
genuine, viz. Ημερας δε γενομένης, συνῆλθον οι σρατηγοι επί το
αυτο, εις την αγοράν, και αναμνησθέντες του σεισμού του γεγονότα,
εφοβήθησαν και απέςειλαν τους ραβδούχους, κ. τ. λ. And τελει
it was day, the magistrates came together into the court, AND
REMEMBERING THE EARTHQUAKE THAT HAD HAPPENED, they
were afraid, and they sent the sergeants, &c. The Itala ver
sion of this same MS. has the same reading: so has also the
margin of the latter Syriac. If this MS. be correct, the cause
of the dismissal of the apostles is at once evident: the earth-
quake had alarmed the magistrates, and taking it for granted
that this was a token of the divine displeasure against them
for their unprincipled conduct towards those good men, they
wished to get as quietly rid of the business as they could; and
therefore sent to dismiss the apostles. Whether this reading
be genuine or not, it is likely that it gives the true cause of the
magistrates' conduct.

well knew the Roman laws; and on their violation by the ma
gistrates, he pleads. The Valerial law forbad any Roman ci-
37. They have beaten us openly-being Romans] St. Paul
tizen to be bound. The Porcian law forbad any to be beaten
with rods.
rum corpore amovit." And by the same law the liberty of a
Roman citizen was never put in the power of the lictor. Por
"Porcia lex virgas ab omnium civium Romano-
cia lex libertatem civium lictori eripuit." See CICERO, Orat.
pro Rabirio. Hence, as the same author observes, In Ver-
rem, Orat. 5. "Facinus est vinciri civem Romanum, scelus
verberari." It is a transgression of the law to bind a Roman
citizen: it is wickedness to scourge him. And the illegality
in their condemning and punishing them unheard. This was
a gross violation of a common maxim in the Roman law-
of the proceeding of these magistrates, was farther evident
demnari potest. Cicero. "Many who are accused of evil
may be absolved, when the cause is heard: but unheard, no
Caussa cognita, possunt multi absolvi, incognita, nemo con-
man can be condemned." Every principle of the law of ne
ture, and the law of nations, was violated in the treatment
these holy men met with from the unprincipled magistrates
of this city.

Let them come themselves and fetch us out. The apeetles

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were determined that the magistrates should be humbled for their illegal proceedings: and that the people at large might see that they had been unjustly condemned; and that the ma. jesty of the Roman people was insulted by the treatment they had received.

33. They feared when they heard-they were Romans.] They feared, because the Roman law was so constituted, that an insult offered to a citizen was deemed an insult to the whole Roman people. There is a remarkable addition here, both in the Greek and Latin of the Coder Beza. It is as follows: And when they were come with many of their friends to the prison, they besought them to go out, saying: We were ignorant of your circumstances, that ye were righteous inen. And leading them out, they besonght them, saying, Depart from this city, lest they again make an insurrection against you, and clamour against you."

40. Entered into the house of Lydia] This was the place of their residence while at Philippi; see ver. 15.

They comforted them, and departed] The magistrates were sufficiently humbled, and the public at large hearing of this circumstance, must be satisfied of the innocency of the apos. dles. They therefore, after staying a reasonable time at the house of Lydia, and exhorting the brethren, departed; having as yet to go farther into Macedonia, and to preach the Gospel

Jews in Thessalonica. 40 And they went out of the prison, i and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

i Ver. 14.

in the most polished city in the world, the city of Athens. See the succeeding chapter.

Great and lasting good was done by this visit to Philippi: a church was there founded, and the members of it did credit to this profession. To them, the apostle who had suffered so much for their sakes, was exceedingly dear; and they evidenced this by their contributions to his support in the times of his necessity. They sent him money twice to Thessalonica, Phil. iv. 16. and once to Corinth, 2 Cor. xi. 9. and long after ward, when he was a prisoner in Rome, Phil. iv. 9, 14, 18. About five or six years after this St. Paul visited Philippi on his way to Jerusalem; and he wrote his epistle to them about ten years after his first journey thither. The first members of the church of Christ in this place were Lydia and her family: and the next in all probability were the jailer and his family. These doubtless became the instruments of bringing ma ny more to the faith for the false imprisonment and public acquittal of the apostles by the magistrates, must have made their cause popular; and thus the means which were used to prevent the sowing of the seed of life in this city, became the means by which it was sown and established. Thus the wrath of man praised God; and the remainder of it he did restrain. Never were these words more exactly fulfilled than on this occasion.

CHAPTER XVII.

Paul and his company passing through Amphipolis, and Apollonia, come to Thessalonica, where they preach the Gospel to the Jews; several of whom believe, 1-4. Others raise a mob, and bring Jason, who had received the apostles, before the magistrates; who having taken bail of him and his companions, dismiss them, 5-9. Paul and Silas are sent away by night, unto Berea, where they preach to the Jews; who gladly receive the Gospel, 10-12. Certain Jews from Thessalonica hearing that the Bereans had received the Gospel, come thither and raise up a persecution, 13. Paul is sent away by the brethren to Athens, where he preaches to the Jews, 14-17. He is encountered by the Epicureans and Stoics, who bring him to the Areopagus, and desire him to give a full explanation of his doctrine, 18-20. The character of the Athenians, 21. Paul preaches to them, and gives a general view of the essential principles of theology, 22-31. Some mock, some hesitate, and some believe; and among the latter, Dionysius and Damaris, 32–34. [A. M. cir. 4057. A. D. cir. 53, An. Olymp. cir. CCVIII. 1.]

N

TOW when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apol lonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews.

2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffer ed, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Luke 4.16. Ch.9.20. & 13.5, 14. & 14.1. & 16. 13. & 19.8-b Luke 24.26,46. Ch. 18. 28. Gal L

NOTES.--Verse 1. Passed through Amphipolis] This city was the metropolis of the first division of Macedonia as made by Paulus Enilius; see the note on chapter xvi. 10. It was built by Cimon, the Athenian general, who sent 10,000 Athenians thither as a colony. It stood in an island in the ri ver Strymon, and had its name of Amphipolis, because included between the two grand branches of that river where they empty themselves into the sea, the river being on both sides of the city.

Apollonia] This was another city of Macedonia, between Amphipolis and Thessalonica. It does not appear that St. Paul stopped at any of these cities; and they are only mentioned by the historian as places through which the apostles passed on their way to Thessalonica. It is very likely, that in these cities there were no Jews: and that might have been the reason why the apostles did not preach the Gospel there, for we find them almost constantly beginning with the Jews: and the Hellenist Jews, living among the Gentiles, became the medium through which the Gospel of Christ was conveyed to the heathen world.

4 d And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and
Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the
chief women not a few.

5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took
unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered
a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the
house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and cer-
eOr, whom, said he, I preach.-d Chapter 28. 24.-e Chapter 15. 22, 27, 32, 40.—
f Rom. 16.21.

must needs suffer-that this was predicted, and was an essen
tial mark of the true Messiah. By proving this point he cor-
rected their false notion of a triumphant Messiah; and thus
removed the scandal of the cross.

4. The devout Greeks] That is, Gentiles who were prose. lytes to the Jewish religion, so far as to renounce idolatry, and live a moral life, but probably had not received circumcision. 5. The Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them] Instead of this sentence, the most correct MSS, and Ver. sions read simply, pooλaßontrol de bi ovdan-But the Jews taking, &c. leaving out the words ZnAwaaVTES, ARELÕOVYTES, which believed not, moved with envy; these words do not ap pear to be genuine; there is the strongest evidence against them; and they should be omitted.

Certain lewd fellows of the baser sort] This is not a very in. telligible translation. The original is, των αγοραιον τινας avopas Tovnρous. The word ayopatot, which we translate the baser sort, is by Hesychius explained or ev ayopa avas pe$9. EvoL, those who transact business in courts of justice. The same word is used by the Jews in Hebrew letters to signify Thessalonica] This was a celebrated city of Macedonia, sit-judges; and an agorioth shel goyim, significs uated on what was called the Thermaic Gulf. According to judges of the Gentiles. These were probably a low kind of Stephanus Byzantinus, it was embellished and enlarged by lawyers, what we would call pettifoggers, or attorneys, with Philip, of Macedon, who called it Thessalonica, the victo- out principle, who gave advice for a trifle, and fomented dis Thessalia, on account of the victory he obtained there putes and litigations among the people. The Itala version of over the Thessalians: but prior to this it was called Therma. the Coder Beze, calls them quosdam forenses, certain lawBut Strabo, Tzetzes, and Zonaras, say that it was called Thes-yers. As the Jews, from their small number, could not easily salonica, from Thessalonica, wife of Cassander, and daughter raise up a mob, they cunningly employed those unprincipled of Philip. It is now in possession of the Turks, and is called men, who probably had a certain degree of juridical credit Salonichi, which is a mere corruption of the original name. and authority, to denounce the apostles as seditious men ; and A synagogue of the Jews.] 'Hovvaywyn, THE synagogue; this was very likely the reason why they employed those in for the article here, must be considered as emphatic, there preference to any others. They were such as always attended probably being no other synagogue in any other city in Mace-forensic litigations, waiting for a job; and willing to defend donia. The Jews in diffent parts, had other places of wor ship called proseuchas, as we have seen chap. xvi. 13; at Thessalonica alone, they appear to have had a synagogue. 2. As his manner was] He constantly offered salvation first to the Jews; and for this purpose attended their Sabbath days' meetings at their synagogues.

3. Opening and alleging] Пaparieμevos, proving by citations. His method seems to have been this: 1st. He collected the scriptures that spoke of the Messiah. 2d. He applied these to Jesus Christ; showing that in him all these scriptures were fulfilled, and that he was the Saviour of whom they were in expectation. He showed also that the Christ, or Messiah,

any side of a question for money. They were wicked men of the forensic tribe.

Gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar] And after having made this sedition and disturbance, charged the whole on the peaceable innocent apostles! This is precisely the same way that persecution against the truth and followers of Christ is still carried on. Some wicked man in the parish gets a wicked attorney and a constable to head a inob, which they themselves have raised; and having committed a number of outrages, abusing men and women, haul the minister of Christ to some magistrate who knows as little of his office as he cares for the Gospel; they there charge the

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THE ACTS.

7. These all do contrary to the decrees of Cesar] Persecutors always strive to affect the lives of the objects of their hatred by accusing them of sedition, or plots against the state.

That there is another king, one Jesus.] How malevolent was this saying! The apostles proclaimed Jesus as king, that is true: but never once insinuated that his kingdom was of this world. The reverse they always maintained.

8. And they troubled the people and the rulers] It is evident that there was no disposition in either the people or the rulers, to persecute the apostles. But these wicked Jews, by means of the unprincipled wicked lawyers; those lewd fellows of the baser sort, threw the subject into the form of law, making it a state question, in which form the rulers were obliged to notice it; but they showed their unwillingness to proceed in a matter which they saw proceeded from malice, by letting Jason and his companions go off on bail.

9. Taken security] Aaßovres To Ikavov, having taken what was sufficient, or satisfactory. Sufficient for the present, to prove that the apostles were upright, peaceable, and loyal men; and that Jason and his friends were the like; and would be, at any time, forth-coming to answer for their conduct. Perhaps this is the sense of the phrase in the text.

10. Sent away Paul and Silas by night] Fearing some fur. ther machinations of the Jews and their associates.

Berea] This was another city of Macedonia, on the same gulf with Thessalonica; and not far from Pella, the birth-place of Alexander the Great.

11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica] Hoav ENTEVES Epot, were of a better race, extraction, or birth, than those at Thessalonica; but the word refers more to their conduct, as a proof of their better disposition, than to their birth, or any peculiar lineal nobility. It was a maxim among the Jews, that" none was of a noble spirit, who did not employ himself in the study of the law." It appears that the Bereans were a better educated, and more polished people than those at Thessalonica; in consequence, far from persecuting, 1. They heard the doctrine of the Gospel attentively: 2. They received this doctrine with readiness of mind: when the evidence of its truth appeared to them sufficiently convincing, they had too much dignity of mind to refuse their assent; and too much ingenuousness to conceal their approbation: 3. They searched the Scriptures, i. e. of the Old Testament, to see whether these things were so; to see whether the promises and types corresponded with the alleged fulfilment in the person, works, and sufferings of Jesus Christ: 4. They continued in this work; they searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things

12. Therefore many of them believed] From the manner in
which they heard, received, and examined the word preached
to them, it was not likely they could be deceived. And as it
was the truth that was proclaimed to them, it is no wonder that
they apprehended, believed, and embraced it.
406

the Bereans,
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable
the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came
women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that
thither also, and stirred up the people.

as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still
141 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go
and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus
for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens:

was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to
16 T Now while Paul waited for them at Athens," his spirit
idolatry,

Lk. 16.29. John 5.39.-1 Matt. 10.23.-m Ch. 18.5.-n 2 Pet.2.8.-0 Or, full of idols. 17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews,

heathens are meant; and these were some of the chief families in the place. Thus we find that the preaching of Paul at Be Of honourable women which were Greeks] Probably mere rea, was made the instrument of converting both Jews and Gentiles.

what implacable malice did these men perseoute the Gospel!
And in the same spirit they continue to the present day,
13. The Jews of Thessalonica stirred up the people] With
though it is evidently the sole cause of their wretchedness.
understood to mean that the disciples took Paul towards the
sea, as if he had intended to embark, and return to Troas
14. To go as it were to the sea] This passage is generally
but with the real design to go to Athens. But it is more likely
lic, or more frequented road, and took him coastwise to Athens.
Or by taking a vessel at that part of the sea nearest to Berea,
that his conductors, in order to his greater safety, left the pub
they might have coasted it to Athens, which was quite a pos
sible case; and as we do not hear of his stopping at any place
on his journey to preach, it is very probable that he went by
sea to this city. Though sleights and feints may be allowable
in cases of life and death, yet there does not appear an abso-
late necessity for any in this case. And as the text does not
any. I take it for granted, therefore, that Paul went by sea to
Athens.
necessarily point any out, so we need not have recourse to

seems, was directed principally against Paul; Lo! he stayeth
his rough wind in the day of his east wind. Silas and Timo
Silas and Timotheus abode there still.] The persecution, it
Paul had planted.
theus, holy men, were left behind to water the seed which

quity, its learning, its political consequence, or the valour of
15. Brought him unto Athens] This was one of the most
its inhabitants. This city, which was the capital of Attica,
celebrated cities in the world, whether we consider its anti-
and the seat of the Grecian empire, was founded by Cecrops,
Cecropia. About thirteen or fourteen hundred years before
Christ, in the reign either of Erichtheus, or Erichthonius, it
about A. M. 2447, before Christ 1557, and was called by him
was called Athens, from A0nun, a name of Minerva, to whom
it was dedicated; and who was always considered the protec
tress of the city. The whole city at first was built upon a hill
or rock, in the midst of a spacious plain; but, in process of
time, the whole plain was covered with buildings, which were
called the lower city; while the ancient was called Acropolis,
not less than one hundred and seventy-eight stadia, or twenty-
two Roman miles in circumference. The buildings of Athens
or the upper city. In its most flourishing state this city was
were the most superb, and best executed in the world; but
every thing is now in a state of ruin. Mr. Stuart, in his three
folio vols. of the Antiquities of Athens, has given correct re-
notices of much importance. The greatest men that ever lived,
presentations of those that remain; with many geographical
Its institutions, laws, and literature, were its own unrivalled
boast, and the envy of the world. The city still exists; the
scholars, lawyers, statesmen, and warriors, were Athenians.
the hands of the Turks, who have turned the celebrated Par
thenion, or temple of Minerva, into a mosque. The inhabi-
Acropolis in a state of comparative repair; but it is now in
tants are reckoned at about 1000. Christianity, planted here
by St. Paul, still subsists: and about two thirds of the inhabi
tants of Athens are Christians, who have several churches and
oratories here: and it is the residence of a Greek bishop, who
is a Metropolitan. He who considers the ancient glory of this
city, whether in its heathen or Christian antiquity, cannot but
sigh over its present state.

full of idols, as the margin has it, and very properly. Who-
ever examines the remains of this city, as represented by Mr.
16. He saw the city wholly given to idolatry] Karedados,
Stuart, in his Antiquities, already referred to, will be satisfied
of the truth of St. Luke's remark: was full of idols. Bp.
Pearce produces a most apposite quotation from Pausanias,
which confirms the observation: Ook nu allaxov rogavra
dev Edwλa. There was no place where so many idols were
to be seen. PAUS. in Attic. cap. xvii. 24.

regio tam PRESENTIBUS PLENA EST NUMINIBUS, ut facilius pos
PETRONIUS, who was contemporary with St. Paul, in his Sa
sis DEUM quàm HOMINEM invenire. Our region is so full of
tyr, cap. xvii. makes Quartilla say of Athens: utique nostra
deities, that you may more frequently meet with a god than
a man.

17. Disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews] Proving

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and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with thein that met with him.

18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this P bab bler say 1 other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods; because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrec

tion.

19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, > Or, base fellow-q Or, Mar's hill. It was the highest court in Athens, that Jesus was the Messiah; and with the devout persons, probably heathens, proselyted to the Jewish religion. And in the market: I suppose ayopa, here means some such place as our exchange, where people of business usually met, and where the philosophers conversed and reasoned. The agora was probably like the Roman forum, and like places of public resort in all countries where people of leisure assembled to converse, bear the news, &c.

18. Certain philosophers of the Epicureans] These were the followers of Epicurus, who acknowledged no gods except in name, and absolutely denied that they exercised any government over the world or its inhabitants; and that the chief good consisted in the gratification of the appetites of sense. These points the Epicureans certainly held; but it is not clear that Epicurus himself maintained such doctrines. And of the Stoics) These did not deny the existence of the gods; but they held that all human affairs were governed by fate. They did not believe that any good was received from the hands of their gods; and considered, as Seneca asserts, that any good and wise man was equal to Jupiter himself. Both these sects agreed in denying the resurrection of the body; and the former did not believe in the immortality of the soul. EPICURUS, the founder of the Epicurean sect, was born at Athens, about A. M. 3663, before Christ 341. ZENO, the founder of the Stoic sect, was born in the isle of Cyprus, about thirty years before Christ. His disciples were called Stoics, from Eroa, a famous portico at Athens, where they studied. Besides these two sects, there were two others which were famous at this time; viz. the Academics and the Peripatetics. The founder of the first was the celebrated PLATO; and the founder of the second, the no less famous ARISTOTLE These sects professed a much purer doctrine than the Epicureans and Stoics; and it does not appear that they opposed the apostles; nor did they enter into public disputa tions with them. Against the doctrines taught by the Epicureans and Stoics, several parts of St. Paul's discourse, in the following verses, are directly pointed.

What will this babbler say?] The word areppodoyos, which we translate bubbler, signifies literally, a collector of seeds, and is the name of a small bird that lives by picking up seeds on the road." The epithet came to be applied to persons who collected the sayings of others, without order or method; and detailed them ainong their companions in the same way. The application of the term to prating, empty, impertinent persons, was natural and easy; and hence it was considered a term of reproach and contempt; and was sometimes used to signify the vilest sort of men.

A setter forth of strange gods] Zevov da povtov, of strange or foreign demons. That this was strictly forbidden, both at Rome and Athens; see on chap. xvi. 21.

There was a difference in the heathen theology, between Bros, god, and daiμov, demon: the Ocot were such as were gods by nature: the daovia were men who were deified. This distinction seems to be in the mind of these philosophers when they said, that the apostle seemed to be a setter forth of strange demons, because he preached unto them Jesus, whom be showed to be a man suffering and dying; but was after ward raised to the throne of God. This would appear to them tantamount with their deification of heroes, &c. who had been thus honoured for their especial services to mankind. Ho race expresses this in two lines, 2 Epist. i. 5.

Romulus et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollux, Post ingentia facta, deorum in templa recepti. "Romulus, father Bacchus, with Castor and Pollux, for their eminent services, have been received into the temples of the gods."

19. They took him, and brought him unto Areopagus] The Areopagus was a hill not far from Acropolis, already described, where the supreme court of justice was held; one of the most sacred and reputable courts that had ever existed in the Gentile world. It had its name Apelos mayos, Areopagus, or the Hill of Mars, or Ares, from the circumstance, according to poetic fiction, of Mars being tried there by a court of twelve gods, for the murder of Hallirothius, son of Neptune: the meaning of which is, that Ares, a Thessalian prince, having slain Hallirothius, the son of a neighbouring prince, for having violated his daughter Alcippa, was here tried by twelve judges, by whom he was honourably acquitted. In the Athenian laws the death of the ravisher was the regular forfeiture for his crime. The justice administered in this court was so strict and impartial, that it was generally allowed, both the plaintiff and defendant departed satisfied with the decision. "Innocence, when summoned before it, appeared without ap. prehension: and the guilty, convicted and condemned, retired without daring to murmur." The place in which the judges sat, was uncovered; and they held their sitting by night, the end that nothing might distract their minds from the

unto the Areopagus.

saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?

20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: wc would know, therefore, what these things mean.

21 (For all the Athenians, and strangers which were there, spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye r Ch 2.12.- Or, the court of the Areopagites.

great business on which they were to decide; and that the sight of the accused might not affect them either with pity or aversion. In reference to this, all pleaders were strictly forbidden to use any means whatever to excite either pity or aversion; or to affect the passions: every thing being con. fined to simple relation, or statement of facts. When the two parties were produced before the court, they were placed between the bleeding members of victims slain on the occasion, and were obliged to take an oath, accompanied with horrible imprecations on themselves and families, that they would testify nothing but truth. These parties called to witness the Eumenides, or Furies, the punishers of the perjured in the infernal world; and, to make the greater impression on the mind of the party swearing, the temple dedicated to these infernal deities, was contiguous to the court: so that they ap peared as if witnessing the oaths, and recording the appeal made to themselves. When the case was fully heard, the judges gave their decision by throwing down their flint pebbles, on two boards or tables, one of which was for the condem nation, the other, for the acquittal of the person in question. 20. Thou bringest-strange things to our ears] The doc trine of the apostle was different from any they had ever heard: it was wholly spiritual and divine; thus it was strange; it was contrary to their customs and manners; and thus it was strange also. As it spoke much of the exaltation and glory of Jesus Christ, they supposed him to be a seller forth of strange gods; and therefore, on the authority of the laws, which forbad the introduction of any new deities, or modes of worship, he was called before the Areopagus.

21. All the Athenians, and strangers which were there] As Athens was renowned for its wisdom and learning, it became a place of public resort for philosophers and students from different parts of the then civilized world. The flux of students was in consequence great; and these having much leisure time, would necessarily be curious to know what was passing in the world, and would frequently assemble together in places of public resort, to meet with strangers just come to the city; and either, as St. Luke says, to tell, or hear some new thing.

"The Athenian writers give the same account of their fellow-citizens. DEMOSTHENES, in his reply to Epist. Philippi, represents the Athenians as πυθανομένοι κατά την αγοράν, ει Teyera vewTepov; inquiring in the place of public resort, if there are any NEWS? We find, likewise, that when Thucydides, iii. 38. had said, μeтa KaivoτNTOS μED λoyov aña. raodai apisoi, ye are excellent in suffering yourselves to be deceived by NOVELTY of speech; the cld scholiast makes this remark upon it, (almost in the words of St. Luke,) ravтa xpos τους Αθηναίες αινίτεται, ουδέν τι μελετώντας, πλην λέγειν τι και akovεlv kalvov; he here blames the Athenians, who made it their only business to tell and hear something that was NEW." Bp. Pearce. This is a striking feature of the city of London in the present day. The itch for news, which generally ar gues a worldly, shallow, or unsettled mind, is wonderfully prevalent: even ministers of the Gospel, negligent of their sacred function, are become in this sense Athenians; so that the Book of God is neither read nor studied with half the avidity and spirit as a newspaper. These persons, forgetful not only of their calling, but of the very spirit of the Gospel, read the account of a battle with the most violent emotions; and, provided the victory falls to their favourite side, they exult and triumph in proportion to the number of thousands that have been slain? It is no wonder if such become political preachers, and their sermons be no better than husks for swine. To such the hungry sheep look up, and are not fed. God pity such miserable Athenians, and direct them to a more suitable employment!

22. Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill] That is, in the midst of the judges, who sat in the Areopagus.

Ye are too superstitious.] Κατα παντα ως δεισιδαιμονες ερους vas Ocwpw; I perceive that in all respects ye are greatly addicted to religious practices; and, as a religious people, you will candidly hear what I have got to say in behalf of that worship which I practise and recommend. See further observations at the end of the chapter.

23. Beheld your devotions] Exẞaouara, the objects of your worship; the different images of their gods which they held in religious veneration, sacrificial instruments, altars, &c. &c. ΤΟ THE UNKNOWN GOD) ΑΓΝΩΣΤΩΝ ΘΕΩΝ That there was an altar at Athens thus inscribed, we cannot doubt, after such a testimony; though St. Jerom questions it in part; for, he says, St. Paul found the inscription in the plural number, but because he would not appear to acknowledge a plurality of gods, he quoted it in the singular; verum, quia Paulus non pluribus Diis indigebat ignotis, sed uno tantùm ignoto Deo, singulari verbo usus est. Epist. ad Magn. This is a most foolish saying: had Paul done so, how much would such a

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