Images de page
[blocks in formation]

made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: q Ch. 23, 29 & 25. 11, 19.

Be not afraid. That this comfort and assurance were necessary, himself shows us in his first epistle to these Corinthians, chap. ii. 3; I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

10. No man shall set on thre] Kai ovders exißnterai oot, no man shall be permitted to lay violent hands upon thee. It is very likely that the Jews had conspired his death; and his preservation was an act of the especial interposition of divine I have much people in this city] Ev ry model raury, in this very city, there are many here who have not resisted my Spirit, and consequently are now under its teachings, and are ready to embrace my gospel as soon as thou shalt declare it unto them.

11. He continued there a year and six months] He was now confident that he was under the especial protection of God; and therefore continued teaching the word, Tov λoyov, the doctrine of God. It is very likely that it was during his stay here that he wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians, and the second not long after; and some think that the epistle to the Galatians was written during his stay at Corinth.

12 When Gallio was the deputy of Achaia] The Romans comprehended under the naine of Achaia, all that part of Greece which lay between Thessaly and the southernmost coasts of Peloponnesus. Pausanias, in Attic. vii. 16. says, that the Romans were accustomed to send a governor into that country, and that they called him the governor of Achaia, not of Greece; because the Achaeans, when they subdued Greece, were the leaders in all the Grecian affairs: see also Sueto nius, in his life of Claudius, cap. xxv. and Dio Cassius, Ix. 24. Edit. Reimari.

Deputy] Ανθυπατεύοντος, serving the office of Ανθύπατος, or deputy see the note on chap. xiii. ver. 7.

Gallio] This deputy, or proconsul, was eldest brother to the celebrated Lucius Annæus Seneca, the Stoic philosopher, preceptor of Nero, and who is so well known among the learn ed by his works. The name of Gallio was at first Marcus Annæus Novatus; but, having been adopted in the family of Gallio, he took the name of Lucius Junius Gallio. He, and Annæus Mela his brother, father of the poet Lucan, shared in the disgrace of their brother Seneca; and by this tyrant, Ne. ro, whose early years were so promising, the three brothers were put to death; see Tacitus, Annal. lib. xv. 70. and xvi. 17. It was to this Gallio that Seneca dedicates his book De Ira. Seneca describes him as a man of the most amiable mind and manners: "Quem nemo non parum amat, etiam qui amare plus non potest; nemo mortalium uni tam dulcis est, quam hic omnibus: cum interim tanta naturalis boni vis est, niti artem simulationemque non redoleat:" vide Senec. Præ fat ad Natural. Quæst. 4. He was of the sweetest disposition, affable to all, and beloved by every man.

Statius, Sylvar. lib. ii. 7. ver. 30. ode on the birth day of Lucan, says not a little in his favour, in a very few words: Lucanum potes imputare terris;

Hoe plus quam Senecam dedisse mundo,
Aut dulcem generàsse Gallionem.

"You may consider nature as having made greater efforts in producing Lucan; than it has done in producing Seneca, or even the amiable GALLIO."

And brought him to the judgment seat] They had no pow er to punish any person in the Roman provinces; and there fore were obliged to bring their complaint before the Roman governor. The powers that be are ordained of God:-Had the Jews possessed the power here, Paul had been put to death!

13. Persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law] This accusation was very insidious. The Jews had permission by the Romans to worship their own God in their own way; this the laws allowed. The Roman worship was also established by the law. The Jews probably intended to accuse Paul of acting contrary to both laws. "He is not a Jew, for he does not admit of circumcision; he is not a Gentile, for he preaches against the worship of the gods. He is setting up a worship of his own, in opposition to all laws; and persuading many people to join with him he is therefore a most dangerous man, and should be put to death."

14. Paul was now about to open his mouth] He was about to enter on his defence; but Gallio perceiving that the prose cution was through envy and malice, would not put Paul to any farther trouble, but determined the matter as follows. If it were a matter of wrong] Adiknya, of injustice; any thing contrary to the rights of the subject.

Or wicked lewdness] Padiovpуnua novпnov, destructive mischief. (See the note on chap. xiii. 10. where the word is explained.) Something by which the subject is grievously wronged; were it any crime against society, or against the state;

Reason would that I should bear with you.] Kara λoyov, av


the judgment seat of Gallio.

15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. 16 And he drave them from the judgment seat.

17 Then all the Greeks took 'Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

18 ¶ And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while; and r1 Cor. 1.1.- See Ver. 14.

exou buy, according to reason, or the merit of the case, I should patiently hear you.

15. But if it be a question of words] Пepi doyou, concerning doctrine, and names, whether the person called Jesus be the person you call the Messiah-And of your law, any particular nicety concerning that law which is peculiar to your selves-Look ye to it; settle the business among yourselves; the Roman government does not meddle with such matters and I will not take upon me to decide in a case that does not concern my office. As if he had said, "The Roman laws give religious liberty to Jews and Greeks; but if controversies arise among you on these subjects, decide them among yourselves, or dispute about them as much as you please." Ä better answer could not be given by man; and it was highly becoming the acknowledged meekness, gentleness, and benevolence of this amiable man. He concluded that the state had no right to control any man's religious opinion; that was between the object of his worship and his own conscience; and therefore he was not authorized to intermeddle with subjects of this nature, which the law left to every man's private judg ment. Had all the rulers of the people in every country, act ed as this sensible and benevolent Roman, laws against liber ty of conscience, concerning religious persecution, would not be found to be, as they now are, blots and disgraces on the sta tute books of almost all the civilized nations of Europe. 16. And he drave them from the judgment seat.] He saw that their accusation was both frivolous and rexatious, and he ordered them to depart, and the assembly to disperse. The word annλaoev, which we translate he drave, does not signify here any act of violence on the part of Gallio, or the Roman officers, but simply an authoritative dismission.

17. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes] As this man is termed the chief ruler of the synagogue, it is probable that he had lately succeeded Crispus in that office, see ver. 8; and that he was known either to have embraced Christianity, or to have favoured the cause of St. Paul. He is supposed to be the same person whom St. Paul associates with himself in the first epistle to the Corinthians, chap. i. 1. Crispus might have been removed from his presidency in the synagogue as soon as the Jews found he had embraced Christianity, and Sosthenes appointed in his place. And as he seems to have speedily embraced the same doctrine, the Jews would be the more enraged, and their malice be directed strongly against him, when they found that the proconsul would not support them in their opposition to Paul.

But why should the Greeks beat Sosthenes? I have in the above note proceeded on the supposition, that this outrage was committed by the Jews: and my reason for it is this: 'O 'EXλnves, the Greeks, is omitted by AB. two of the oldest and most authentic MSS. in the world: they are omitted also by the Coptic and Vulgate, Chrysostom and Bede. Instead of 'O 'EXAŋves, three MSS. one of the eleventh and two of the thirteenth century, have 'Isdatot, the Jews: and it is much more likely that the Jews beat one of their own rulers, through envy at his conversion, than that the Greeks should do so; unless we allow, which is very probable, (if 'Eλλnves, Greeks, be the true reading,) that these Helenes were Jews, born in a Greek country, and speaking the Greek language.

And Gallio cared for none of those things] Kai ovdev rovTo To Paddewvi spedey. And Gallio did not concern himself, did not intermeddle with any of these things. As he found that it was a business that concerned their own religion; and that the contention was among themselves; and that they were abusing one of their own sect only, he did not choose to interfere. He, like the rest of the Romans, consi dered the Jews a most despicable people, and worthy of no regard; and their present conduct had no tendency to cause him to form a different opinion of them, from that which he and his countrymen had previously entertained. It is not very likely, however, that Gallio saw this outrage; for, though it was before the judgment seat, it probably did not take place till Gallio had left the court; and, though he might be told of it, he left the matter to the lictors, and would not interfere.

The conduct of Gallio has been, in this case, greatly censured; and I think with manifest injustice. In the business brought before his tribunal, no man could have followed a more prudent or equitable course. His whole conduct showed that it was his opinion, that the civil magistrate had nothing to do with religious opinions, or the concerns of conscience, in matters where the safety of the state was not implicated. He therefore refused to make the subject a matter of legal dis cussion. Nay, he went much farther; he would not even in. terfere to prevent either the Jews or the apostles from making proselytes. Though the complaint against the apostles was, that they were teaching men to worship God contrary to the law; see the note on ver. 15. yet, even in this case, he did not think it right to exert the secular power to restrain the free discussion and teaching of matters which concerned the rights

Faul preaches at Ephesus, and


21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, w if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

Num 6.18 Ch. 21.24-u Rom. 16.1.- Ch.19 21. & 20. 16.- 1 Cor. 4.19. Heb. 6.3 James 4.15.-x Gal, 1.2. & 4.14.

of conscience in things pertaining to the worship of the gods. As to his not preventing the tumult which took place, we may say, if he did see it, which is not quite evident, that he well knew that this could rise to no serious amount; and the lictors, and other minor officers, were there in sufficient force to prevent any serious riot; and it was their business to see that the public peace was not broken: besides, as a heathen, he night have no objection to permit this people to pursue a line of conduct by which they were sure to bring theinselves and their religion into contempt. These wicked Jews could not disprove the apostle's doctrine, either by argument or Scripture; and they had recourse to manual logic, which was an indisputable proof of the badness of their own cause, and the strength of that of their opponents.

But in consequence of this conduct, Gallio has been represented as a man perfectly careless and unconcerned about religion in general; and therefore has been considered as a proper type, or representative, of even professed Christians, who are not decided in their religious opinions or conduct. As a heathen, Gallio certainly was careless about both Judaism and Christianity. The latter he had probably never heard of but by the cause now before his judginent seat; and, from any thing he could see of the other, through the medium of its professors, he certainly could entertain no favourable opinion of it; therefore in neither case was he to blame. But the words, cared for none of these things, are both misunderstood and misapplied: we have already seen that they only mean that he would not intermeddle in a controversy which did not belong to his province; and sufficient reasons have been alleged why he should act as he did. It is granted that mary preachers take this for a text, and preach useful sermons for the conviction of the undecided and lukewarm and it is to be deplored that there are so many undecided and careless people in the world; and especially in reference to what concerns their eternal interests. But is it not to be lamented also, that there should be preachers of God's holy word, who attempt to explain passages of Scripture which they do not understand? for he who preaches on Gallio cared for none of those things, in the way in which the passage has, through mismanagement, been popularly understood, either does not understand it; or he wilfully perverts the meaning. 18. And Paul-larried there yet a good while] The persecating Jews plainly saw, from the manner in which the proconsul had conducted this business, that they could have no hope of raising a state persecution against the apostles; and the laws provided so amply for the personal safety of every Roman citizen, that they were afraid to proceed any farther in their violence. It could not be unknown, that Paul was possessed of the right of Roman citizenship; and therefore his person was sacred, as long as he did nothing contrary to the laws.

It is probable that at this time Paul staid, on the whole, at Corinth, about two years. Having shorn his head in Cenchrea] But who was it that shore his head? Paul or Aquila? Some think the latter, who had bound himself by the Nazarite vow, probably before he became a Christian; and being under that vow, his conscience would not permit him to disregard it. There is nothing in the text that absolutely obliges us to understand this action as belonging to St. Paul. It seems to have been the act of Aquila alone: and therefore both Paul and Priscilla are mentioned before Aquila; and it is natural to refer the vow to the latter. Yet there are certainly some weighty reasons why the vow should be refer. red to St. Paul, and not to Aquila; and interpreters are great ly divided on the subject. Chrysostom, Isidore of Seville, Grotius, Hammond, Zegerus, Erasmus, Baronius, Pearce, Wesley, and others, refer the vow to Aquila.-Jerom, Augustin, Bede, Calmet, Dodd, Rosenmuller, and others, refer it to St Paul. Each party has its strong reasons-the matter is doubtful-the bare letter of the text deterinines nothing; yet I cannot help leaning to the latter opinion. Perhaps it was from feeling the difficulty of deciding which was under the vow, that the Ethiopic, and two Latin versions, instead of KELPEREvos, having shaved, in the singular, appear to have read repauevot, they shaved; and thus put both Paul and Aquila under the vow.

Cenchrea-this was a port on the east side of the Isthmus of Corinth, opposite to the Lecheum, which was the other port on the rest. And it is likely that it was at Cenchrea that St. Paul took shipping for Syria, as it would be more convenient for him, and a shorter passage, to embark at Cenchrea, in or der to go by the Egean Sea to Syria; than to embark at the Lecheum, and sail down into the Mediterranean.

19. He came to Ephesus] Where it appears he spent but one Sabbath. It is supposed that Paul left Aquila and Priscilla at 414

22 And when he had landed at Cesarea, and gone up, and sa purposes to go to Jerusalem. luted the church, he went down to Antioch. went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, 23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and strengthening all the disciples.

And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus things of the Lord, bknowing only the baptism of John.

y Ch. 14.22.& 15.32, 41.-z 1 Cor. 1. 12. & 3.5, 6.& 4.6. Tit.3.13.-a Rem. 12.11.this place, and that he went on alone to Jerusalem; for it is b Chap. 19.3. certain that they were at Ephesus when Apollos arrived there. see verses 24 and 26.

the most flourishing cities of Asia Minor. It was situated in EPHESUS was, at the time in which St. Paul visited it, one of that part anciently called lonia, but now Natolia: it abounded with the most eminent orators, philosophers, &c. in the world; and was adorned with the most splendid buildings. Here was that famous temple of Diana, reputed one of the seven wonders of the world.

state of almost entire ruin. The temple of Minerva, which had long served as a Christian church, is now so completely This city is now under the dominion of the Turks, and is in a ruins of the walls are still standing; with five or six marble columns forty feet in length and seven in diameter, all of one ruined, that its site cannot be easily determined; though some piece. It still has a good harbour, and is about forty miles from Smyrna. In Chandler's Travels in Asia Minor, some cu rious information is given concerning this once eminent city. His account concludes thus: "The Ephesians are now a few Greek peasants, living in extreme wretchedness, dependence, and insensibility: the representatives of an illustrious people, and inhabiting the wrecks of their greatness; some be neath the vaults of the stadium, once the crowded scene of their diversions; and some live by the abrupt precipice, in the sepulchres which received the ashes of their ancestors. Such are the present citizens of Ephesus; and such is the condition to which that renowned city has been gradually reduced Its streets are obscured and overgrown: a herd of goats was driven to it for shelter from the sun at noon; and a noisy flight of crows from the quarries, seemed to insult its silence. We heard the patridge call in the area of the theatre, and of the stadium. The glorious pomp of its heathen worship is no longer remembered; and Christianity, which was there nursed by apostles, and fostered by general councils, until it increased to fulness of stature, barely lingers on in an exist ence hardly visible." Travels in Asia Minor, p. 130. Reader! this city was once the capital of Asia Minor; and its ruins alone prove that it has existed: and in it was one of those seven churches, to which a letter was expressly dictated by church of Ephesus is blotted out of the map of Christianity. Be silent, and adore. Jesus Christ himself! Ephesus is properly no more! and the

which he wished to attend for the purpose of seeing many of
his friends; and having the most favourable opportunity to
21. I must-keep this feast] Most likely the pass-over, at
preach the Gospel to thousands who would attend at Jerusalem
on that occasion. The whole of this clause, I must by all
means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem, is wanting
in ABE., six others, with the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian,
mark of doubtfulness; and Professor White in his Criseos
and Vulgate. Griesbach leaves it in the text, with the
will read thus: But he bade them farewell, saying, I will re
turn again unto you, if God will. And this he did before the
says, probabiliter delenda. Without this clause the verse
expiration of that same year, chap. xix. 1. and spent three
years with them, chap. xx. 31. extending and establishing the
church at that place.

22. Landed at Cesarea] This must have been Cesarea in

ed; but this is a common form of speech in the evangelists,
Jerusalem being always meant when this expression is used;
Gone up] To Jerusalem, thongh the name is not mention-
for the word avaßaivo, to go up, is often used absolutely, to
signify to go to Jerusalem; e.g. Go ye Up to this feast-1 co
not UP yet, John vii. 8. but when his brethren were GONE UP,
then WENT he also UP unto the feast, ver. 10. There were cer
tain Greeks-that CAME UP to worship, John xii. 20. St. Pauk
himself uses a similar form of expression, There are yet but
twelve days since I WENT UP to Jerusalem for to worship,
Acts xxiv. 11.

ed emphatically THE CHURCH, because it was the FIRST church:
the MOTHER, or APOSTOLIC church: and from it all other Chris-
Saluted the church] That is, the church at Jerusalem, call-
tian churches proceeded; those in Galatia, Philippi, Thes
last, was only a daughter church, when in its purest state.
salonica, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, &c. Therefore, even this

word is generally to be understood when without addition:
so Cesarea is always to be understood Cesarea in Palestine,
Went down to Antioch.] That is, Antioch in Syria, as the
when without the addition of Philippi.

23. Went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia)
Gospel, chap. i. 3. viii. 1. and his history of the Acts, chap
Both were provinces of Asia Minor: see on chap. ii. 10,
In order Kalsins, a word peculiar to St. Luke: see his

Apollos is instructed by


Aquila and Priscilla.

26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom | wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was
when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, come, helped them much, which had believed through grace:
and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethrend showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly,

lii. 24. xi. 4. and the place above; the only places where this word occurs in the New Testament. It properly signifies in order, distinctly, particularly, from Kara, according to, and nin, order, as opposed to confusion, indistinctness, &c. If St. Paul went up to Jerusalem at this time, which we are left to infer, for Luke has not expressed, it (ver. 22.) it was his fourth journey thither: and this is generally supposed to have been the twenty-first year after his conversion. His first journey is mentioned chap. ix. 26. his second, chap. xi. 30. his third, chapter xv. 4. and his fourth chapter xviii. 22. the place above. 24. A certain Jew named Apollos] One MS. with the Cop tic, and Armenian, call hin Apelles, and the Coder Beza, Appollonius. It is strange that we should find a Jew, not only with a Roman name, as Aquila, an eagle; but with the name of one of the false gods, as Apollos or Apollo in the text. Query: Whether the parents of this man were not originally Gentiles, but converted to Judaism after their son Apollo (for so we should write the word) had been born and named. Born at Alexandria] This was a celebrated city of Egypt, built by Alexander the Great, from whom it took its name. It was seated on the Mediterranean Sea, between the Lake Mareotis, and the beautiful harbour formed by the Isle of Pha ros, about twelve miles west of the Canopic branch of the Nile, in lat. 31° 10 N. This city was built under the direction of Dinocrates, the celebrated architect of the temple of Diana at Ephesus. It was in this city that Ptolemy Soter founded the famous academy called the Museum, in which a Society of learned men devoted themselves to philosophical studies. Some of the most celebrated schools of antiquity flourished here; and here was the Tower of Pharos, esteemed one of the seven wonders of the world. Alexandria was taken by the French, July 4, 1798, under the command of Bonaparte; and was surrendered to the English under General, now Lord Hutchinson, in 1801. And in consequence of the treaty of peace between France and England, it was restored to the Turks. Near this place was the celebrated obelisk, call ed Cleopatra's Needle; and the no less famous column called Pompey's Pillar. This city exhibits but very slender remains of its ancient splendour.

An eloquent man] Having strong rhetorical powers; highly cultivated, no doubt, in the Alexandrian schools.

Mighty in the Scriptures] Thoroughly acquainted with the law and the prophets; and well skilled in thic Jewish method of interpreting them.

25. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord) Karmnuevos: he was catechized, initiated in the way, the doctrine of Jesus as the Christ.

Being fervent in the spirit] Being full of zeal to propa gate the truth of God, he taught diligently, akpißws, uccurately, (so the word should be translated,) the things of Christ as far as he could know them through the ministry of John the Baptist; for it appears he knew nothing more of Christ than what John preached. Some suppose we should read on, not, before axpißws, correctly, or accurately, because it is said that Aquila and Priscilla expounded the way of the Lord, akpißesepov, more perfectly, rather, more accurately; but of this emendation there is not the slightest necessity; for surely it is possible for a man to teach accurately what he knows and it is possible that another who possesses more information on the subject than the former, may teach him more accurately, or give him a larger portion of knowledge. Apollo knew the baptism of John; but he knew nothing farther of Jesus Christ than that baptism tanght: but as far as he knew, he taught accurately, Aquila and Priscilla were acquainted with the whole doctrine of the Gospel; the doctrine of Christ dying for our sins, and rising again for our justification: and in this they instructed Apollo; and this was more accurate in formation than what he had before received, through the medium of John's ministry.

26. They took him unto them] This eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, who was even a public teacher, was not ashamed to be indebted to the instructions of a Christian woman, in matters that not only concerned his own salvation, but also the work of the ministry, in which he was engaged. It is disgraceful to a man to be ignorant, when he may acquire wisdom; but it is no disgrace to acquire wisdom from the meanest person or thing. The adage is good, Despise not advice, even of the meanest: the gaggling of geese preserved the Roman senate.

27. When he was disposed to pass into Achaia] There is a very long and important addition here in the Coder Beze, of which the following is a translation: "But certain Corinthians who sojourned at Ephesus, and heard him, entreated him to pass over with them to their own country. Then, when he had given his consent, the Ephesians wrote to the disciples at Corinth, that they should receive this man. was come," &c. The same addition is found in the latter SyWho when he rinc, and in the Itala Version, in the Coder Beza.

Which had believed through grace] These words may either refer to Apollo, or to the people at Corinth. It was

through grace that they had believed; and it was through
grace that Apollo was enabled to help them much.
⚫ Or, is the Christ.

the Coder Beza, the latter Syriac, the Vulgate, one copy of
the Itala, and in some of the Fathers. But this omission
The words dia Tns xapiros, through grace, are wanting in
might have been the effect of carelessness in the writers of
those copies from which the foregoing were taken; the words
convey the same idea that is expressed by St. Paul, 1 Cor. iii.
6. Paul planted, and Apollo watered; but God gave the in-
crease. Though this eminent man became the instrument of
innocent cause of a sort of schism among them. For some,
taken by his commanding eloquence, began to range them-
mightily helping the believers in Corinth, yet he was also the
selves on his side, and prefer him to all other teachers. This evil
St. Paul reprehends and corrects in his first epistle to the Corin-
thians. St. Jerom says, that Apollo became bishop of Corinth.
he vehemently confuted the Jews; and that publicly, not in
28. He mightily convinced the Jews] Eurovos diakaтnλεYXETO,
the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which the Jews receiv
ed as divinely inspired, that Jesus, who had lately appeared
private conferences, but in his public preaching; showing by
among them, and whom they had crucified, was the Christ,
the promised Messiah, and that there was salvation in none
other: and that they must receive him as the Messiah, in or-
der to escape the wrath to come. This they refused to do:
and we know the consequence. Their city was sacked, their
temple burnt, their whole civil and religious polity subverted,
more than a million of themselves killed, and the rest scatter-
ed over the face of the earth.

obscure places at first, in order, privately, to get strength, before it dared to show itself publicly. Error, conscious of its 1. The Christian religion did not hide itself in corners and weakness, and that its pretensions cannot bear examination, is obliged to observe such a cautious procedure. With what caution, circumspection, and privacy, did Mohammed propose his new religion! He formed a party by little and little, in the most private manner, before he ventured to exhibit his pretensions openly. Not so Christianity; it showed itself in the most public manner, not only in the teaching of Christ, of our Lord, the apostles and believers went to the temple, the but also in that of the apostles. Even after the crucifixion worked miracles. JERUSALEM, the seat of the doctors, the judge of religion, was the first place in which, by the com most public place; and in the most public manner taught and They were therefore not afraid to have their cause tried by the most rigid test of Scripture; and in the very place too, mand of their Lord, the disciples preached Christ crucified. where that Scripture was best understood.

countries, did they go to the villages among the less informed, or comparatively ignorant Greeks, in order to form a party, 2. When the same apostles carried this Gospel to heathen and shield themselves by getting the multitude on their side! No! they went to Cesarea, to Antioch, to Thessalonica, to ATHENS, to CORINTH, to EPHESUS; to the very places where learning flourished most, where sciences were best cultiva ted; where imposture was most likely to be detected, and where the secular power existed in the most despotic manner, and could at once have crushed them to nothing, could they have been proved to be impostors: or bad they not been un der the immediate protection of Heaven! Hence it is evident, that these holy men feared no rational investigation of their doctrines, for they taught them in the face of the most cele brated schools in the universe!

was the most solemn interest of the Jews to disprove their
doctrine, that they might exculpate themselves from the mur
3. They preached Christ crucified at JERUSALEM, where it
der of Jesus Christ. They preached the same Christ, and
the vanity of idolatry, in Athens, in Corinth, and in Ephesus,
where idolatry existed in the plenitude of its power; and
and formidable stand against those innovators. What but the
fullest confidence of the truth of what they preached, the
where all its interests required it to make the most desperate
fullest conviction of the divinity of their doctrine, and the su
pernatural influence of God upon their souls, could ever have
induced these men to preach Christ crucified, either at Jeru
salem or at Athens ? I scruple not to assert, that the bold,
public manner in which the apostles preached the Gospel
among the Jews and Greeks, is a most incontestable proof of
the conviction they had of its truth: and the success with
preached as truth, God proved to be truth, by stretching forth
his hand to heal; and causing signs and wonders to be wrought
which they were favoured, is a demonstration that what they
in the name of the holy child Jesus. This is an additional
proof of the sincerity of the apostles, and of the truth of Chris-
tianity. If Paul and Peter, Barnabas and Silas, had not had
the fullest persuasion that their doctrine was of God, they
drim in JERUSALEM; the literati of CORINTH; and the Stoics
would never have ventured to propose it before the sanhe
and inexorable judges of the Areopagus at ATHENS.

as well as the Gentiles, there were persons who used curious
4. We may be surprised to find that even among the Jews,

The disciples at Ephesus who


he hews out to himself cisterns that can hold no water. The existence of magical arts and incantations, whether real or pretended, prove the general belief of the existence of a spiri tual world, and man's consciousness of his own weakness, and his need of supernatural help. When shall the eye be directed solely to Him from whom alone true help can come, by whom evil is banished, and happiness restored?

had not received the Holy Ghost.

5. When they heard this, &c.] As there is no evidence in MS. has cuvaywyn, the synagogue: and for Tyrannus, some the New Testament of persons being rebaptized, unless this be have Tyranios. Some have considered the original word as The school of one Tyrannus.] For exon, the school, one one; many criticisms have been hazarded to prove that these being an epithet, rather than the name of a person; and think persons were not rebaptized. I see no need of this. To be a that a prince or nobleman is intended, because rupavvos, tyChristian, a man must be baptized in the Christian faith: rant, is taken in this sense: but this is a most unlikely conthese persons had not been baptized into that faith, and there-jecture. It appears that the person in question was a schoolfore were not Christians: they felt this, and were immediately master, and that he lent or hired his room to the apostles: baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. This is a plain and that they preached daily in it to as many, both Jews and case: but let one instance be produced of a person being re- Gentiles, as chose to attend. It is very likely that Tyrannus baptized, who had before been baptized in the name of the was a Jew, and was at least well affected to the Christian Holy Trinity, or even in the name of Jesus alone. In my cause; for we have many proofs that individuals among them view, it is an awful thing to iterate baptism, when it had been kept schools, for the instruction of their youth; besides the 416

[blocks in formation]

12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth.

14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are yel

16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, p Chap. 5.15. Fee 2 Kings 1.29. Matt. 12 27.-r See Mark 9.38. Luke 9.49.

schools or academies kept by the more celebrated rabbins. See Schoettgen and Vitringa.

10. By the space of two years] The school-house of Ty rannus was his regular chapel: and it is likely that in it he taught Christianity, as Tyrannus taught languages or


All they-in Asia heard the word] Meaning probably, the Proconsular Asia, for the extent of which, see the note on chap. xvi. 6.

Jews and Greeks.] For, although he ceased preaching in the synagogues of the Jews, yet they continued to hear him in the school of Tyrannus. But it is likely that Paul did not confine himself to this place, but went about through the different towns and villages; without which, how could all Asia have heard the word? By Greeks, we are to understand not only the proselytes of the gate, but the heathens in general. 11. God scrought special miracles] Δυναμεις τε ου τας τύχουσας ; miracles of no ordinary kind, i. e. extraordinary miracles.

12. Handkerckiefs or aprons] Lovdapia n gipixivota; probably the sudaria were a sort of handkerchiefs, which in travelling were always carried in the hand, for the conve nience of wiping the face: and the simikinthia were either the sashes or girdles, that went about the loins. These, borrowed from the apostle, and applied to the bodies of the diseased, became the means, in the hand of God, of their restoration to


The diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.] Here there is a most evident distinction made between the diseases and the evil spirits: hence they were not one and the same thing.

13. Certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists.] Tives año των περιερχομένων Ιουδαίων εξορκίσων; certain of the Jews, who went about practising erorcisms. Vagabond has a very bad acceptation among us; but literally, vagabundus signifies a wanderer, one that has no settled place of abode. These, like all their countrymen, in all places, went about to get their bread in what way they could: making trial of every thing by which they could have the prospect of gain. Finding that Paul cast out demons through the name of Jesus, they thought, by using the same, they might produce the same effects; and if they could, they knew it would be to them an ample source of revenue; for demoniacs abounded in the land.

14. Seven sons of one Sceva a Jew, and chief of the priests] The original Lovdatov apxiɛpews, signifies a Jewish high-priest; but it is not probable that any sons, much less seven sons, of a Jewish high-priest, should be strolling exorcists: it is there fore likely that vioi Ekeva rivos iepews, the sons of Skeva, a certain priest, as it stands in the Codex Beze, is the true reading. The whole verse in that Ms. reads thus: Among them were also the sons of Skeva, a priest, who wished to do the same: for they were accustomed to exorcise such persons. And entering in to the demoniac, they began to invoke that Name, saying, We command thee by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth, to go out. And the evil spirit answered, and said unto them, Jesus I know, &c. It has been often remarked, that in our Lord's time there were many of the Jews that professed to cast out demons; and perhaps to this our Lord alludes, Matt. xii. 27. See the note there.


vagabond Jewish exorcists.

and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

18 And many that believed came, and 'confessed, and show. ed their deeds.

19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

20" So mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed.

s Luke 1.65. & 7.16. Chap. 2.43 & 5.5, 11.- Matt. 3.6-u Chap.6.7.& 12.24.

be proved; and could this even be done, a point remains which can never be proved, viz. that those curious arts were a part of that wisdom which he received from God, as Josephus intimates Indeed the whole of the above account gives the strongest suspicion of its being a trick by the Jewish juggler, which neither Josephus nor the emperor could detect; but the ring, the root, the cup of water, the spell, &c. all indicate imposture. Magicians among the Jews were termed

[ocr errors]

baâley shem, masters of the Name, that is, the name of Jehovah, by a certain pronunciation of which, they believed the most wonderful miracles could be wrought. There were several among them who pretended to this knowledge; and when they could not deny the miracles of our Lord, they attributed them to his knowledge of the true pronunciation of this most sacred name.

15. Jesus I know, and Paul I know] In the answer of the demoniac, the verb is varied: τον Ιησουν γινώσκω, και τον Παύλον επίσαμαι υμείς δε τινες (τινός) έσε. l'acknowledge Jesus; and am acquainted with Paul: but of whom are ye? Ye belong to neither: ye have no authority. And he soon gave them full proof of this. This distinction is observed in my old MS. Bible: I have knowe Jesu, and I wote aule; forsothe who ben gee.

16. And the man in whom the evil spirit was, &c.] Thus we find that one man was more powerful than these seven brothers; so that he stripped thein of their upper garments, and beat and wounded the whole! Was not this a proof that he derived his strength from the evil spirit that dwelt in him?

17. The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.] They saw that there was a sovereign power in the name of Jesus, which could not be imitated by these lying exorcists! they therefore reverenced this naine, and despised those pretenders. Exorcisms or adjurations of evil spirits were very frequent in the primitive church; the name of JESUS was that alone which was used. The primitive Fathers speak strong and decisive words concerning the power of this name; and how demons were tormented, and expelled by it, not only from individuals, but from the temples themselves. Exorcists formed a distinct class in the church; hence we read of presbyters, deacons, exorcists, lectors, and door keepers. The adjuration was commonly used over the catechumens, before they were admitted to baptism. Gregory of Nazianzen, and Cyril of Je. rusalem, speak much of thus rite. See my Succession of Sucred Literature, under Cyril and GREGORY Nazianzen; and see Suicer, under cloрkilos.

19. Which used curious arts] Тa nepieрya. From the use of this word in the Greek writers, we know that it signified magical arts, sorceries, incantations, &c. Ephesus abounded with these. Dio Cassius, speaking of the emperor Adrian, says, Ο Αδριανός περιεργότατος ην, και μαντείας, μαγγανείαis navтodumais expпro, Adrian was exceedingly addicted to curious arts, and practised divination and magic." These practices prevailed in all nations of the earth.

Brought their books together] The Eperia ypaμpara, or Ephesian characters, are celebrated in antiquity; they ap pear to have been amulets, inscribed with strange characiers, which were carried about the body for the purpose of curing diseases, expelling demons, and preserving from evils of different kinds. The books brought together on this occa. sion, were such as taught the science, manner of formation, use, &c. of these charms.

Josephus, in speaking of the wisdom of Solomon, says, that he had that skill by which demons are expelled; and that he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which Suidas, under Epcota y pappara, Ephesian letters, gives us they are cast out; and that those arts were known among his the following account: "Certain obscure incantations.-When countrymen down to his own time; and then gives us the fol- Milesius and Ephesius wrestled at the Olympic games, Milelowing relation: "I have seen a certain man of my own coun-sius could not prevail, because his antagonist had the Ephe try, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were de- sian letters bound to his heels; when this was discovered. Inoniacs, in the presence of Vespasian, his sons, his captains, and the letters taken away, It is reported, that Milesius threw and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the him thirty times." cure was this: He put a ring that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon, to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down, immediately he adjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and | reciting the incantations that he had composed. And when | Eleazar would persuade the spectators that he had such a power, he set at a little distance a cup of water, and cominanded the demon as he went out of the man, to overturn it; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon were showed very manifestly." Joseph. ANTIQ. book viii. cap. 2. sect. 5. Whiston's edition.

That there were such incantations among the Jews, we know well, and that there are still such found, and that they are attributed to Solomon: but that they are his, remains to

The information given by Hesychius, is still more curious: Εφεσία γραμματα: ην μεν πάλαι 5' υςερον δε προσέθεσαν τινες απατεωνες και αλλά φασι δε των πρώτων τα ονόματα, ταδε ΑΣΚΙΟΝ, ΚΑΤΑΣΚΙΟΝ, ΛΙΧ, ΤΕΤΡΑΧ, ΔΑΜΝΑΜΕΝΕΥΣ, ΑΙΣΙΟΝ: Δηλοι δε, το μεν Ασκιον, σκοπός το δε Κατάσκιον, φως· το δε Λιξ, γη τετραξ δε, ενιαυτος· Δαμναμενευς, δε ηλι ός· Αισιον, δὲ αληθες· Ταύτα ουν ίερα έσι άγια. "The Ephesian letters or characters were formerly six, but certain deceiv. ers added others afterward; and their names, according to report, were these: ASKION, KATASKION, LIX, TETRAX, DAMNAMENEUS, and AISION. It is evident that Askion significs DARKNESS; Kataskion, LIGHT; Lix, the EARTH; Tetrax, the YEAR; Damnameneus, the SUN; and Aision, TRUTH. These are holy and sacred things." The same account may be seen in Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom. lib. v. cap. 8. where he attempts to give

« PrécédentContinuer »