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Paul, lie and his companions returned back | designed for the companion of his travels, to Antioch; and soon after Peter himself and a special instrument in the ministry of came down. On reading the decretal epis. the gospel. But knowing that bis being untle in the church, the converts conversed free- circumcised would prove a stumbling-block ly and inoffensively with the Gentiles, till to the Jews, he caused him to be circumsome of the Jews coming thither from Jeru. cised ; being willing in lawful and indifferent salem, Peter withdrew his conversation, as it matters, to conform himself to the tempers had been a thing unwarrantable and unlaw- and apprehensions of men in order to save ful. By such a strange method of proceeding their souls. In this instance the apostle the minds of many were dissatisfied, and their evinced much prudence, well knowing that consciences very uneasy. St. Paul with the inveterate prejudices in religious matters are greatest concern observed it, and publicly not easily overcome ; for which reason be is rebuked Peter, with that sharpness and se- said to become all things to all men. verity his unwarrantable practice deserved.
Every thing being ready for their journey, Soon after this dispute, Paul and Barna- St. Paul and his companions de parted from bas resolved to visit the churches they had Lystra, passing through Phrygia and the planted among the Gentiles, and Barnabas country of Galatia, where the apostle was was desirous of taking with them his cousin entertained with the greatest kindness and Mark; but this Paul strenuously opposed, veneration, the people looking upon bim as as he had left them in their former journey. an angel sent immediately from heaven This trifling dispute arose to such a height, and being by revelation forbidden to go into that these two great apostles and fellow-la- Asia, he was commanded by a second vision bourers in the gospel parted ; Barnabas, to repair to Macedonia, to preach the gostaking Mark with him, repaired to Cyprus, pel. Accordingly, our apostle prepared to his native country, and Paul having made pass from Asia into Europe. choice of Silas, and recommended the success of his undertaking to the care of divine Here St. Luke joined them, and became providence, set forward on his intended ever after the inseparable companion of St. journey.
Paul, who being desirous of finding the
speediest passage into Macedonia, took They first visited the churches of Syria and ship with his companions Silas, Luke, and Cilicia, confirming the people in the faith, Timothy, and came 1o Samothracia, an by their instructions and exhortations. island in the Ægean sea, not far from Hence they sailed to Crete, where Paul Thrace ; and the next day he went to preached the gospel, anul constituted Titus Neapolis, a port of Macedonia. Leaving to be the first bishop and pastor of the island, Neapolis they repaired to Philippi, the leaving bim to setile those affairs of the metropolis of ibat part of Macedonia, and a church which time would not permit the Roman colony, where they stayed some apostle to settle bimself. From hence Paul | days. : and Silas returned back into Cilicia, and came to Lystra, where they found Tiniothy, In this city Paul, according to his constant whose father was a Greek, but his mother a practice, preached in a Proseucha, or oratory Jewish convert, and by her he had been of the Jews, which stood by the river side at brought up under alt the advantages of a some distance from the city, and was much pious and religious education, especially frequented by the devout women of their rewith regard to the holy scriptures, which ligion, wbo met there to pray and hear the he had
studied with the greatest law. To these St. Paul preached the glad siduity and success. This person St. Paul tidings of the gospel ; and by the influence No. 20.
of the Holy Spirit converted many, especial- of the multitude testified; and therefore ly a certain woman named Lydia, a Jewish commanded the officers to strip them, and proselyte; a seller of purple in that city, but scourge them severely, as seditious persons. a native of Thyatira. This woman, being baptized with her whole family, was so im- This was accordingly executed ; after portonate with St. Paul and his companions which the apostles were committed to close to abide at her house, that they were con- custody, the jailer receiving more than orstrained to accept of her invitation.
dinary charge to keep them safely ; and he
accordingly thrust them into the inner priDuring the time of the apostles residing son, and made their feet fast in the stocks. in this city, they continued their daily course But the most obscure dungeon, or the pitchy of worshipping at the same oratory : and mantle of the night, cannot intercept, the after several days, as they were repairing to beams of divine joy and comfort from the the same place of devotion, there met him souls of pious men.
Their minds were all a damsel who possessed a spirit of divina- serenity ; and at midnight they prayed and tion, by whom her masters acquired very sung praises so loud, that they were heard great advantage. This woman followed in every part of the prison. Nor were their Paul and his companions, crying out, “ These prayers offered to the throne of grace in men are the servants of the most high God, vain ; an earthquake shook the foundations which shew unto us the way of salvation.” of the prison, opened the doors, loosed the Paul, at first, took no notice of her, not chains, and set ihe prisoners at liberty. being willing to multiply miracles without
This convulsion of nature roused the necessity. But when he saw, her following them several days together, he began to be jailer from his sleep; and concluding from troubled, and in imitation of his great
wbat he saw, that all his prisoners were Master, who would not suffer the devil to
escaped, he was going to put a period to
his life; but Paul observing him, hastily acknowledge him, lest his false and lying tongue should prejudice the truth in the
cried, Do thyself no harm, for we are all minds of men, commanded the spirit, in the
here. The keeper was now as greatly sure name of Jesus, to come out of her. The prised at the goodness of the apostles, as he evil spirit, with reluctance, obeyed, and
was before terrified at the thoughts of their left the damsel that very instant.
escape : and calling for a light, he came
imme liately into the presence of the apoThis miraculous cure proving a great loss stles, fell down at their feet, took them from to her masters, who acquired large gains the dungeon, brought them to his own from her sooth-saying, they were filled with house, washed their stripes, and begged of envy and malice against the apostles; and, them to instruct him in the knowledge of by their instigation, the multitude arose, that God who was so mighty to save. and seized upon Paul and his companions, · hurried them before the magistrates and go St. Paul readily granted his request, and vernors of the colony ; accusing them of replied, That, if he believed in Jesus Christ, introducing many innovations which were he might be saved, with his whole house : prejudicial to the state and unlawful for accordingly the jailer, with all his family, them to comply with as being Romans. were, after a competent instruction, bap
tized, and received as members of the The magistrates being concerned for the church of Christ. How happy a change tranquillity of the state, and jealous of all does the doctrine of the gospel make in the disturbances, were very forward to punish minds of men ! How does it smooth the the offenders, against whom great numbers rougbest tempers, and instil the sweetest
principles of civility and good nature into bis custom, went into the synagogue of the the minds of men; he who, but a few mo- Jews, and preached unto his countrymen ; ments before, tyrannized over the apostles the ungrateful usage he had met with in with the most cruel usage, now treats them other places, not discouraging him in perwith the greatest respect, and the highest severing in so glorious, a work... His docmarks of kindness.
trine, however, was strenuously opposed
by the Jews, who would not allow Jesus to As soon as it was day, the magistrates be the Messiah, because of his ignominious either hearing what bad bappened, or re- death. flecting on what they had done as too harsh and unjustifiable, sent their serjeant to the
During the stay of the apostles at Thessajailer with orders to discharge the apostles. lonica, they lodged in the house of a certain
christian named Jason, who entertained The jailer joyfully delivered the message, and bid them depart in peace'; but Paul,
them very courteously. But the Jews
would not suffer the apostles to continue at that he might make the magistrates sensible
rest. They refused to embrace the gospel what injury they had done them, and how
themselves, and therefore envied its success, unjustly they had punished them without
and determined to oppose its progress. Acexamination or trial, sent them word, that,
cordingly, they gathered together a great as they thought proper to scourge and im
number of lewd and wieked wretches, who prison Romans, contrary to the laws of the
beset the house of Jason, intending to take empire, be expected they should come
Paul, and deliver bim up to an incensed themselves, and make them some satisfac
multitude. But in this they were disappointtion.
ed, Paul and Silas being removed from
thence by the christians, and concealed in The magistrates were terrified at this
some other part of the city. message; well knowing bow dangerous it was to provoke the formidable power of the Their fury however was rather exasperated Romans, who never suffered any freeman
than lessened at losing their prey, and as to be beaten uncondemned'; they came
they could not find the apostles of the blestherefore to the prison, and very submis, sed Jesus, they determined to he revenged sively intreated the a postles to depart with- on Jason, who had concealed them : accordout any farther disturbance.
ingly they seized on him, with some others of
the brethren, and carried them before the This small recompence for the cruel usage magistrates of the city, accusing them, as they had received, was accepted by the they had before done the apostles themmeek followers of the blessed Jesus ; they selves at Pbilippi, of disturbing the peace left the prison, and retired to the house of
of the empire, and setting up Jesus as a Lydia, where they comforted their brethren king, in derogation of the emperor's digwith an account of their deliverance, and
nity and authority. This accusation indudeparted; having laid the foundation of a
ced both the people and the magistrates to very eminent church, as appears from St.
be their enemies; and though Jason was Paul's epistle to the Philippians.
only accused of harbouring those junovaLeaying Philippi, Paul and his compa- prevailed upon to dismiss him and his com
tors, yet the magistrates could not be nions continued their journey towards the panions, till they had given security for west, till they came to. Thesžalonica, the
their appearance, metropolis of Macedonia, ahout an hundred and twenty miles from Philippi. On their As soon as the tumult was over, the arrival at Thessalonica, Paul, according to Thessalonians, who had been converted hy them, sent away Paul and Silas by night to religious and devout; they had a great Beræa, a city about fifty iniles south of Thes- number of gods, whom they adored; false, salonica, but out of the power of their ene- indeed, they were, but such as they, being mies. Here also Paul's great love for his destitute of revelation, accounted true; and countrymen the Jews, and his earnest desire so very careful were they, that no deity of their salvation, excited him to preach should want due honour from them, that to them in particular; accordingly, he they had an altar inscribed, TO THE UNentered into their synagogue, and ex- KNOWN God. A great variety of reasons plained the gospel unto them, proving out are given for this inscription ; some affirm, of the scriptures of the Old Testament, the that it was the name which the Pagans truth of the doctrines he advanced. These generally gave to the god of the Jews; but Jews were of a more ingenuous and candid others think that it included all the gods of temper than those of Thessalonica ; and as Asia, Europe, and Africa. they heard him, with great reverence and attention, expound and apply the scrip: These superstitious practices grieved the tures ; so they searched diligently, whether spirit of the apostle; accordingly he exerted his proofs were proper and pertinent, and all his strength for their conversion ; he disconsonant to the sense of the texts he refer. puted on the sabbath-days in the synagogues red to; and having found every thing to be of the Jews; and at other times took all agreeable to what Paul had advanced, many opportunities of preaching to the Athenians of them believed ; and several Gentiles fol. the coming of the Messiah, to save the lowing their example, became obedient to world. the faith, among whom were several women of quality. The news of this remarka- This doctrine was equally new and strange ble success was carried to Thessalonica, and to the Athenians; and though they did sot greatly incensed the in veterate enemies of persecute him as the Jews did, yet his the gospel there, who accordingly repairedt preaching Jesus was considered, by the to Beræa, and raised tumults against the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, as a faapostle ; so that Paul, to avoid their fury, bulous legend'; and by the more sober part was forced to leave the town; but Silas and as a discovery of some new gods, which they Timothy, either less known, or less envied, had not yet placed in their temples: and continued still there.
though they were not in willing to receive
any new deities, yet as the Areopagus, the Paul leaving Beræn, under the conduct supreme court of the city, was to judge of of certain guides, it was said he designed to all gods, to whom public worship might be retire by sea out of Greece, that his restless
allowed, they brought him before those enemies might cease their persecution ; but judges, to give an account of his docthe guides, according to Paul's order, trine. brought him to Athens, and left bim there, after receiving from him an order for Silas Paul being placed before the judges of this and Timotheus to repair to him as soon as high assembly, readily gave them an acpossible.
count of his doctrine, in a grave and elegant
speech; wherein he did not tell them they While St. Paul continued at Athens ex- were horrible and gross idolators, lest he pecting the arrival of Silas and Timothy, he should offend them, and thereby prevent walked up and down, to take a more accu- them from listening to his reasons: but, rate survey of the city, which he found having commended them for their religious miserably overrun with superstition and dispositions, he took occasion, from the altar idolatry. The inhabitants were remarkably ' inscribed to the unknown God, to make a pro
per defence of his doctrine, “ I endeavour, , persuasion and eloquence on the nature of said he, only to explain that altar to you, God, and the manner in which he has comand manifest the nature of that God whom manded his creatures to worship him even: ye ignorantly worship. The true God is he in spirit and in truth. that made the world and all things therein ; and who, being Lord of all, dwells, not in temples made with hands, nor is to be
CHAP. IV. worshipped in lifeless idols. As he is the Creator of all things, be cannot be confined
Sucoess of St. Paul's Ministry at Corinth. to the workmanship of man, whether tem,
and Ephesus. ples or statues ; nor stand in need of sacri. fices, since he is the fountain of life to all
URING St. Paul's stay at , things. nal the whole race of mankind, and hath had received, came to him out of Macewisely determined their dependance on bim, donia ; and brought an account that the that they might be obliged to seek after bim christians at Thessaloniea were under perand serve bim. A truth perceivable in the secution from their fellow-citizensever since darkest state of ignorance, and acknow- his departure: at which St. Paul was greatly ledged by one of your own puets. If this be
concerned, and at first inclined to visit the nature of God, it is surely the highest them in persoli, to confirm them in the absurdity to represent him by an image or faith they had embraced ; but being hindersimilitude. The divine patience hath been ed by the enemies of the gospel, he sent. too much exercised already with such gross Timothy to confort them, and put them in abuses in religion, but now expects a tho- mind of what they had at first heard, namea rough reformation, having sent his son Jesus ly, that persecution would be the constant Christ to make him known to the world, and attendant on their profession. at the same time to inform them that he hath appointed a day of general judgment, when On Timothy's departure, St. Paul left the religion of mankind shall be tried by Athens, and travelled to Corinth, a very the test of the gospel, before his only-begot. | populous place, and famous for its trade, ten Son, who is appointed sole judge of the Here he found Aquila and Priscilla his wife, quick and dead, and whose commission to lately come from Italy, having been banishthat high office bąth been satisfied by the ed from Rome, by the decree of Claudius. Almighty, in raising him from the dead.” And they being of the same trade he himOn his mentioning the resurrection, some
self had learned in his youth, he wrought philosophers mocked and derided him;
with them, that he might not be burden,
some to the new converts: honest ministers others more modest, but not satisfied witla the proofs he had given, gravely answered,
are not mercenary. . “ We would hear thee again of this matter.” After which Paul departed from the
After some stay in Corinth, the apostle court ; but not without some success, for a
was joined by Silas and Timothy, and dis, few of his auditors believed and attended bis puted frequently in the synagogue, reason, instructions.
ing and proving, that Jesus was the true
Messiah. This exasperated the Jews to the Thus boldly did this intrepid servant and greateat degree, and what they could not soldier of Jesus Christ assert the cause of conquer by argument and force of reason, bis divine Master, among the great, the they endeavoured to carry by noise and clawiße and the learned, aud reason with great mour, blended with blasphemies and revil,