Page images
PDF
EPUB

done if they had remained in Asia Minor. This | north, Thessaly south, Epirus west, and the prohibition was the means of the first introduc- gean sea east. It is supposed that it was tion of the gospel into Europe. In Asia.-See peopled by Kittim, son of Javan. (Gen. x. 4.) Vote, chap. ii. !. This was doubtless the region | The kingdom rose into celebrity chiefly under of proconsular Asia. This region was also called the reign of Philip and his son, Alexander the lonia. Of this region Ephesus was the capital; Great. It was the first region in Europe in and here were situated also the cities of Smyrna, which we have any record that the gospel was Turarira, Philadelphia, &c., within which the preached. And help us. That is, by preaching seven churches mentioned in Rev. i. ii. iii. were the gospel. This was a call to preach the gospel established. Cicero speaks of proconsular Asia in an extensive heathen land, amidst many trials as containing the provinces of Phrygia, Mysia, and dangers. To this call, notwithstanding all Caria, and Lydia. In all this region the gospel this prospect of danger, they cheerfully responded, was afterwards preached with great success. But and gave themselves to the work. Their conduct now a more important and a wider field was was thus an example to the church. From all opened before Paul and Barnabas, in the exten portions of the earth a similar call is now coming sive country of Macedonia.

to the churches. Openings of a similar charac

ter, for the introduction of the gospel, are preVER. 7. After they were come to Mysia, they

sented in all lands. Appeals are coming from

every quarter; and all that seems now necessary assaged to go into Bithynia : but the Spirit | for the speedy conversion of the world is, for the suffered them not.

church to enter into these vast fields with the

self-denial, spirit, and zeal, which characterized Mysia. - This was a province of Asia Minor, the apostle Paul. having Propontis on the north, Bithynia on the east, Lydia on the south, and the Ægean sea on

| Ver. 10. And after he had seen the vision, imthe west. They assayed. --They endeavoured : they attempted. Into Bithynia. -A province of

mediately we endeavoured to go into MaceAsia Minor, lying east of Mysia.

donia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had

called us for to preach the gospel unto them. V'ER. 8. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

€ 2 Cor. ii. 13. c 2 Cor. ii. 12. 2 Tim. iv. 13.

We endeavoured. This is the first instance in

which Luke refers to himself as being in company Came down to Troas.—This was a city of with Paul. It is hence probable that he joined Phrygia or Mysia, on the Hellespont, between | Paul and Silas about this time, and it is evident Troy Dorth, and Assos south. Scimetimes the | that he attended him in his travels, as recorded name Troas, or Troad, is used to denote the throughout the remainder of the Acts. Assuwhole country of the Trojans, the province redly gathering.–Being certainly convinced. where the ancient city of Troy had stood. This region was much celebrated in the early periods

VER. 11. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came of Grecian history. It was here that the events recorded in the Iliad of Homer, are supposed to

with a straight course to Samothracia, and the have occurred. The city of Troy has long since next day to Neapolis ; been completely destroyed. Troas is several tines mentioned in the New Testament. (2 Cor. Loosing from Troas.-Setting sail from this il 12. 2 Tim. iv. 13. Acts xx. 5.)

place. To Samothracia.- This was an island in

the Ægean sea, not far from Thrace. It was Ver. 9. And a vision appeared to Paul in the peopled by inhabitants from Samos and from night ; There stood a man d of Macedonia, and

Thrace, and hence called Samothracia. It was

about twenty miles in circumference; and was prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedo

an asylum for fugitives and criminals. And the dia, and help us.

next day to Neapolis. This was a maritime city d Chap. xix. 30.

| of Macedonia, near the borders of Thrace. It

is now called Napoli. And a vision.-Note, chap. ix. 10. There stood a man, &c.--The appearance of a man, who was Ver. 12. And from thence to Philippi, s which known to be of Macedonia, probably, by his is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, dress and language. Whether this was in a

and a colony. And we were in that city drtam, or whether it was a representation made to the senses while awake, it is impossible to abiding certain days. tell. The will of God was at different times

s Phil. i. 1. g or, the first. made known in both these ways. Comp. Matt. IL 12. Note, Acts x. 3. Grotius supposes that And from thence to Philippi.---The former name this was the guardian angel of Macedonia, and of this city was Dathos. It was repaired and refers for illustration to Dan. x. 12, 13, 20, 21. 1 adorned by Philip, the father of Alexander the But there seems to be no foundation for this Great, and after him was called Philippi. It was opinion. Of Macedonia.- This was an exten- ! famous for having been the place where several sive country of Greece, having Thrace on the battles were fought in the civil wars of the Ro.

mans, and among others, for the decisive battle l worshipped God, heard us: whose heart ithe between Brutus and Antony. At this place

Lord opened, that she attended unto the things Brutus killed himself. To the church in this place Paul afterwards wrote the epistle which

which were spoken of Paul. bears its name. Which is the chief city of that

j Luke xxiv. 45. part of Macedonia.---This whole region had been conquered by the Romans under Paulus Emilius.

A seller of purple.—Purple was a most valuable By him it was divided into four parts or pro

colour, obtained usually from shell-fish. It was vinces.- Liry. The Syriac version renders it,

chiefly worn by princes and by the rich ; and the “a city of the first part of Macedonia ;" and

traffic in it might be very profitable. The city of there is a medal extant, which also describes this

Thyatira.–This was a city of Lydia, in Asia region by this name. It has been proposed, there

Minor, now called Ak-hisar. The art of dreing fore, to alter the Greek text in accordance with

was particularly cultivated, as appears from an this, since it is known that Amphipolis was made

inscription found there.- See Kuinoel. Which the chief city by Paulus Emilius. But it may worshipped God.- A religious woman, a prosebe remarked, that although Amphipolis was the

lyte. Note, chap. xiii. 16. Whose heurt the Lord chief city in the time of Paulus Emilius, it may

| opened.--See Note, Luke xxiv. 45. have happened that in the lapse of two hundred and twenty years from that time, Philippi might

Ver. 15. And when she was baptized, and her have become the most extensive and splendid city. The Greek here may also mean simply

household, she besought kus, saying, If ye that this was the first city to which they arrived have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, in their travels. And a colony.This is a Latin

come into my house, and abide there. And word, and means that this was a Roman colony. The word denotes a city or province which was

she constrained us. planter or occupied by Roman citizens. On one

k Heb. xiii. 2. of the coins now extant, it is recorded that Julius Cæsar bestowed the advantages and dignity of a And when she was baptized.-- Apparently with colony on Philippi, which Augustus afterwards out any delay. Comp. Acts ji. 41; viii. 38. It confirmed and augmented. See Robinson's Cal-was usual to be baptized immediately on beliermet, art. Philippi. Certain days.--Some days. ing. And her household.-Greek, her house,

(ö oikog auris.) Her family. No mention is Ver. 13. And on the " sabbath we went out of | made of their having believed. And the case is

one that affords a strong presumptive proof that the city by a river side, where prayer i was

this was an instance of household or infant bapwont to be made ; and we sat down, and spake tism. For. as Her believing is marrienteri unto the women which resorted thither. mentioned. (2.) It is not intimated that they !

believed. On the contrary, it is strongly imh sabbath day. i Chap. xxi. 5.

plied that they did not. (3.) It is manifestly

implied that they were baptized, because she And on the sabbath.—There is no doubt that believed. It was the offering of her family to in this city there were Jews. In the time of the Lord. It is just such an account as would the apostles they were scattered extensively now be given of a household or family that were throughout the known world. By a river side.- | baptized on the faith of the parent. li ye lure What river this was, is not known. It is known, I judged me to be faithful.-If you deem me a however, that the Jews were accustomed to pro- Christian, or a believer. And she constrained us. vide water, or to build their synagogues and 1 -She urged us. This was an instance of great oratories near water, for the convenience of the hospitality, and also an evidence of her desire numerous washings before and during their re- for further instruction in the doctrines of reliligious services. Where prayer.- Where there

gion. was a proseuchæ, or place of prayer; or where prayer was commonly offered. The Greek will

VER. 16. And it came to pass, as we went to bear either ; but the sense is the same. Places for prayer were erected by the Jews in the

prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a vicinity of cities and towns, and particularly spirit of divination met us, which brought where there were not Jewish families enough, or her masters much gain " by soothsaying: where they were forbidden by the magistrate to erect a synagogue. These proseuchæ, or places I 1 Sam. xxviii. 7. m or, Python. Chap. xix. 24. of prayer, were simple enclosures made of stones in a grove, or under a tree, where there would | As we went to prayer.-Greek, “as we were be a retired and convenient place for worship. going to the proseuchæ," the place of prayer. Was wont.-Was accustomed to be offered; or (Ver. 13.) Whether this was on the same day in where it was established by custom. And spake which the conversion of Lydia occurred, or at unto the women, &c. -- This was probably before | another time, is not mentioned by the historian. the regular service of the place commenced. A certain damsel.--- A maid, a young woman.

Possessed with a spirit of divination.-Greek, Py.

thon. See the margin. Python, or Pythios, was Ver. 14. And a certain woman named Lydia, a one of the names of Apollo, the Grecian god of

seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which the fine arts, of music, poetry, medicine, and

eloquence. Of these he was esteemed to have (1.) Because her presence was troublesome to been the inventor. He was reputed to be the him ; (2.) Because it might be said that he was third son of Jupiter and Latona. He had a cele in alliance with her, and that his pretensions brated temple and oracle at Delphi, which was were just like hers; (3.) Because what she did Tesorted to from all parts of the world, and which was for the sake of gain, and was a base imposiFas perhaps the only oracle that was in universal tion ; (4.) Because her state was one of bopdage repute. The name Python is said to have been and delusion, and it was proper to free her from giren him because, as soon as he was born, he | this demoniacal possession ; and, (5.) Because destrored with arrows a serpent of that name, the system under which she was acting was a that had been sent by Juno to persecute Latona; part of a vast scheme of delusion and imposture, hence bis common name was the Pythian Apollo. which had spread over a large portion of the

He had temples on mount Parnassus, at Delphi, pagan world, and which was then holding it in : Delos, Claros, Tenedos, &c.; and his worship bondage. Throughout the Roman empire, the

was almost universal. In the celebrated oracle inspiration of the priestesses of Apollo was beat Delphi, the priestess of Apollo pretended to lieved in, and temples were every where reared be inspired; became violently agitated during to perpetuate and celebrate the delusion. Against the periods of pretended inspiration; and during this extensive system of imposture and fraud, those periods gave such responses to inquirers as Christianity must oppose itself; and this was a

were regarded as the oracles of the god. Others favourable instance to expose the delusion, and to I would also make pretensions to such inspiration ; show the power of the Christian religion over all

and the art of fortune-telling, or of jugglery, the arts and powers of imposture. The mere was extensively practised, and was the source of fact that in a very few instances--of which this much gain. See Note, chap. viii. 8—10. What was one--they spoke the truth, did not make it was the cause of this extensive delusion in regard improper for Paul to interpose. That fact would to the oracle at Delphi, it is not necessary now only tend to perpetuate the delusion, and to make to inquire. It is plain that Paul regarded this his interposition more proper and necessary. as a case of demoniacal possession, and treated | The expulsion of the evil spirit would also afford it accordingly. Her masters.-Those in whose | a signal proof of the fact that the apostles were employ she was. By soothsaying.Pretending really from God. A far better proof than her to foretel future events.

noisy and troublesome proclamation of it would

furnish. In the name of Jesus Christ.- Or, by the VER. 17. The same followed Paul and us, and

authority of Jesus Christ. See Note, chap. iii. 6. cried, saying, These men are the servants of

VER. 19. And when her masters saw that the the most high God, which show unto us the

hope of their gains & was gone, they caught way of Psalvation.

Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marGen. xiv. 18–22. p Chap. xviii. 26. Heb. x. 20. ket-place, unto“ the rulers,

The same followed Paul, &c.—Why she did 8 Mark xix. 24, 27. t or, court. u Matt. x. 18. this, or under what pretence, the sacred writer has not informed us. Various conjectures have The hope of their guins was gone.-- It was this been formed of the reason why this was done. that troubled and enraged them. And this is as It may have been, (1.) That as she prophesied | likely to enrage men as any thing. Instead of for gain, she supposed that Paul and Silas would | regarding the act as proof of divine power, they reward her if she publicly proclaimed that they were intent only on their profits. And their inwere the servants of God'Or, (2.) Because she dignation furnishes a remarkable illustration of was conscious that an evil spirit possessed her, the fixedness with which men will regard wealth; and that she feared that Paul and Silas would of the fact that the love of it will blind them to expel that spirit ; and that, by proclaiming them all the truths of religion, and all the proofs of to be the servants of God, she hoped to conciliate the power and presence of God; and of the fact their favour. Or, (3.) More probably, it was be that any interposition of divine power, that decause she saw evident tokens of their being sent stroys their hopes of gain, fills them with wrath, from God, and that their doctrine would prevail; and hatred, and murmuring. Many a man has and by proclaiming this she hoped to acquire been opposed to God and his gospel, because, if more authority, and a higher reputation for being religion should be extensively prevalent, the herself inspired. Comp. Mark v. 7.

hopes of gain would be gone. Dany a slave

dealer, and many a trafficker in ardent spirits, VER. 18. And this did she many days. But

and many a man engaged in other unlawful

modes of gain, have been unwilling to abandon Paul, being grieved, turned and said? to the their employments, simply because the hopes of spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus their gain would be destroyed. No small part Christ to come out of her. And he came

of the opposition to the gospel arises from the out the same hour.

fact, that if embraced, it would strike at so much

of the dishonourable employments of men, and 9 Mark i. 25, 34.

Mark xvi. 17. make them honest and conscientious. The mar

ket-place.—The court, or forum. The marketBut Paul, being griered. - Being molested, place was a place of concourse; and the couris troubled, offended. Paul was grieved, probably, were often held in or near those places. The rulers.— The term used here refers commonly to the means of promoting their own interest. If ! civil magistrates.

they can make money by it, they will become its

professed friends; or, if they can annoy Chris. , VER. 20. And brought them to the magistrates, tians, they will at once have remarkable zeal for saying, These men, being Jews, do exceed

the laws and for the purity of religion. Many ingly trouble" our city,

a man opposes revivals of religion, and the real

progress of evangelical piety, from professed zeal o 1 Kings xviii. 17. Chap. xvii. 6.

for truth and order. Which are not lauful for us

to receive. There were laws in the Roman emAnd brought them to the magistrates.—To the pire under which they might shield themselves military rulers, (otpatnyois,) or prætors. Phi- in this charge, though it is evident that their lippi was a Roman colony; and it is probable zeal was, not because they loved the laws more, that the officers of the army exercised the double but because they loved Christianity less. Thus function of civil and military rulers. Do erceed- Servius on Virgil, Æneid, viii. 187, says, " (are ingly trouble our city. In what way they did it was taken among the Athenians and the Romans, they specify in the next verse. The charge that no one should introduce new religions. It which they wished to substantiate was, that of was on this account that Socrates was condemned, being disturbers of the public peace. All at once and the Chaldeans or Jews were banished from they became conscientious. They forgot the sub- the city.” Cicero (de Legibus ii. 8) says, “No ject of their gains, and were greatly distressed person shall have any separate gods, or Den about the violation of the laws. There is nothing ones; nor shall he privately worship any strange that will make men more hypocritically consci- gods, unless they be publicly allowed.” Wetstein entious, than to denounce, and detect, and destroy (in loco) says, “ The Romans would indeed alloy their unlawful and dishonest practices. Men who foreigners to worship their own gods, but not are thus exposed become suddenly filled with re- unless it were done secretly, so that the worship verence for the law or for religion ; and they of foreign gods would not interfere with the aiwho have heretofore cared nothing for either, lowed worship of the Romans, and so that occabecome greatly alarmed lest the public peace sion for dissension and controversy might be should be disturbed. Men slumber quietly in avoided. Neither was it lawful among the Rosin, and pursue their wicked gains; they hate or mans to recommend a new religion to the citizens, despise all law and all forms of religion ; but the contrary to that which was confirmed and esiamoment their course of life is attacked and ex- | blished by the public authority, and to call off posed, they become full of zeal for laws that they the people from that. It was on this account would not themselves hesitate to violate, and for that there was such a hatred of the Romans the customs of religion, which in their hearts against the Jews.”Kuinoel. Tertullian says, they thoroughly despise. Worldly-minded men that “there was a decree that no god should be often thus complain that their towns, and cities, consecrated, unless approved by the senate." and villages, are disturbed by revivals of re Grotius. See many other authorities quoted in ligion ; and the preaching of the truth, and at- Bishop Watson's * Apology for Christianity." tacking vice, often arouses this hypocritical con- | To observe. — To do. "Being Romans.--Having scientiousness, and makes them alarmed for the the privileges of Roman citizens. Note, ver. 12. laws, and for religion, and for order, which they at other times are the first to disturb and disre

VER. 22. And the multitude rose up together

against them : and the magistrates rent off VER. 21. And teach customs, which are not law

their clothes, and commanded to beat them. ful for us to receive, neither to observe, being | And the multitude, &c.— It is evident that this Romans.

was done in a popular tumult, and without eren

the form of law. Of this, Paul afterwards justly And teach customs.-The word “customs ”here complained, as it was a violation of the privileges (23n) refers to religious rites or forms of wor- of a Roman citizen, and contrary to the laws ship. See Note, chap. vi. 14. They meant to See Note, ver. 37. It was one instance in which charge the apostles with introducing a new mode, men affect great zeal for the honour of the law, of worship and a new religion, which was unau- , and yet are among the first to disregard it. And thorized by the Roman laws. This was a cun- | the magistrates.- Ver. 20. They who should ning and artful accusation. It is perfectly evi- have been their protectors until they had had a dent that they cared nothing either for the fair trial according to law. Rent off their clothes. religion of the Romans or of the Jews. Nor - This was always done when one was to be were they really concerned about any change of scourged or whipped. The criminal was usually religion. Paul had destroyed their hopes of stripped entirely naked. Livy says, (ii. 5,) - The gain ; and as they could not prevent that, except lictors, being sent to inflict punishment, beat them by securing his punishment or expulsion, and as with rods, being naked.” Cicero against Vertes they had no way of revenge except by endea- says, “ He commanded the man to be seized, and vouring to excite indignation against him and to be stripped naked in the midst of the forun, Silas for violating the laws, they endeavoured to and to be bound, and rods to be brought." And convict them of such violation. This is one, commanded to beat them, 'Papoiletv --To bat ; among many instances, where wicked and un- | them with rods. This was done by lictors, whose principled men will endeavour to make religion office it was, and was a common mode of punish

gard.

men; among the Romans. Probably Paul alludes grace of God. And sang praises.--Nothing but to this when he says, (2 Cor. xi. 25,) “ Tbrice religion would enable them to do this. They had was I beaten with rods."

endured much, but they had cause still for grati

tude. A Christian may find more true joy in a VER. 23. And when they had laid many “stripes

| prison, than the monarch on his throne. And the

prisoners heard them.--And doubtless with astonupon them, they cast them into prison, charging

ishment. Prayer and praise were not common in the jailer to keep them safely:

a prison. The song of rejoicing and the language # 2 Cor. vi. 5; xi. 23, 25. 1 Thess. ii. 22.

of praise is not usual among men lying bound in

a dungeon. From this narrative we may learn, And when they had laid many stripes on them.

(1.) That the Christian has the sources of his The Jews were by law prohibited from inflicting

happiness within him. External circumstances more than forty stripes, and usually inflicted but

cannot destroy his peace and joy. In a dungeon thirty-nine. (2 Cor. xi. 24.) But there was no

he may find as real happiness as on a throne. such law among the Romans. They were un

On the cold earth, beaten and bruised, he may restricted in regard to the number of lashes; and

be as truly happy as on a bed of down. (2.) The probably inflicted many more. Perhaps Paul

enemies of Christians cannot destroy their peace. refers to this when he says, (2 Cor. xi. 23,) “In

They may incarcerate the body, but they cannot stripes above measure," i.e. beyond the usual mea

bind the spirit. They may exclude from earthly sure among the Jews, or beyond moderation. They

comforts, but they cannot shut them out from the cast them into prison. The magistrates, (ver. 36,

presence and sustaining grace of God. (3.) We | 37,) as a punishment; and probably with a view

see the value of a good conscience. Nothing else bereafter of taking vengeance on them, more ac.

can give peace; and amidst the wakeful hours of cording to the forms of law.

the night, whether in a dungeon or on a bed of sickness, it is of more value than all the wealth

of the world. (4.) We see the inestimable worth VER. 24. Who, having received such a charge,

of the religion of Christ. It fits for all scenes; thrust them into the inner prison, and made supports in all trials ; upholds by day or by their feet fast in the stocks.

night; inspires the soul with confidence in God';

and puts into the lips the songs of praise and Thrust them into the inner prison.-Into the most thanksgiving. (5.) We have here a sublime and retired and secure part of the prison. The cells holy scene, which sin and infidelity could never in the interior of the prison would be regarded furnish. What more sublime spectacle has the as more safe, being doubtless more protected, and earth witnessed than that of scourged and incarthe difficulty of escape would be greater. And cerated men, suffering from unjust and cruel inmade their feet fast in the stocks.--Greek, And flictions, and anticipating still greater sorrows; made their feet secure to wood. The word yet, with a calm mind, a pure conscience, a holy "stocks," with us, denotes a machine made of joy. pouring forth their desires and praises at two pieces of timber, between which the feet of midnight, into the ear of the God who always the criminals are placed, and in which they are hears prayer! The darkness, the stillness, the thus made secure. The account here does not | loneliness, all give sublimity to the scene, and imply necessarily that they were secured pre-| teach us how invaluable is the privilege of access cisely in this way, but that ihey were fastened or to the throne of mercy in this suffering world. secured by the feet, probably by cords, to a piece or beam of wood, so that they could not escape.

Ver. 26. And suddenly there was a great earthIt is supposed that the legs of the prisoners were bound to large pieces of wood, which not only

quake, so- that the foundations of the prison encumbered them, but which often were so were shaken: and immediately“ all the doors placed as to extend their feet to a considerable

were opened, and every one's bands were distance. In this condition, it might be necessary

loosed. for them to lie on their backs; and if this, as is probable, was on the cold ground, after their se z Chap. iv. 31. a Isa. xlii. 7. Chap. v. 19; xii. 7, 10. vere scourging, their sufferings must have been very great. Yet in the midst of this they sang And suddenly.-- While they were praying and praises to God.

singing. A great earthquake.- Matt. xxviii. 2.

An earthquake, in such circumstances, was reVER. 25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed," garded as a symbol of the presence of God, and

and sang" praises unto God: and the prisoners as an answer to prayer. See Note, chap. iv. 31. heard them.

The design of this was, doubtless, to furnish them

proof of the presence and protection of God, and * James v. 13.

y Psa. xxxiv. 1. to provide a way for them to escape. It was one

among the series of wonders by which the gospel And at midnight.- Probably their painful pos was established, and the early Christians protare, the sufferings of their recent scourging, pre tected amidst their dangers. And immediutely all vented their sleeping. Yet though they had no the doors were opened. - An effect that would na. repose, they had a quiet conscience, and the sup- turally follow from the violent concussion of the ports of religion. Prayed. Though they had earthquake. Comp. chap. v. 19. Every one's suffered much, yet they had reason to apprehend bands were loosed.-- This was evidently a miracle. more. They sought, therefore, the sustaining Some have supposed that their chains were dis

« PreviousContinue »