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Luke xvi.: 9.
I ch. xviii. 5.
m 2 Pet. ii, 8,
into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Isa. Ixxiv. 16. word with all readiness of mind, 8 and i searched the scriptures daily, whether h those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men not a few. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God
was preached of Paul i at Beræa, k they came thither alsı, k Matt. I. 23. and stirred up the people. 14 k And then immediately the
brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea : but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
15 And they that conducted Paul brought him luato Athens : and 'receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed. 16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, m his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17 Therefore disputed he in the
synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, 8 render, searching
h render, these. i
render, at Berca also. k render, they came stirring up and troubling the multitude there also. 1
render, as far as. pean Turkey, containing from 15,000 to appears to have been, as far as we can 20,000 souls. 11. more noble]--of follow it from the slight notices given, as nobler disposition ;-stirred up, not to follows ::-when Paul departed from Berea, envy, but to enquiry.
these things] not having been able to revisit Thessalonica viz. the doctrine of ver. 3, which Paul and as he wished (1 Thess. ii. 18), he sent Silas preached here also. 13. they came Timotheus (from Berca, not from Athens) stirring up, &c.] From the distance, some to exhort and confirm the Thessalonians, time must have elapsed before this could and determined to be left at Athens aluwe take place : and that some time did elapse, (1 Thess. iii. 1), Silas meanwhile remaining we may gather from 1 Thess. ii. 18, where to carry on the work at Berra. Panl, on Paul relates that he made several attempts his arrival at Athens, sends (by his conto revisit the Thessalonians (which could ductors, who returned) this message to be only during his stay at Berca, as he both, to come to him as soon as possible. left the neighbourhood altogether when he They did so, and found him (ch. Iviii. 5) left that town), but was hindered.
at Corinth. See Introduction to 1 Thess, 14. to go as it were to the sea] This Vol. ii. Athens] See a long and expression I believe to be used simply interesting description of the then state of to indicate the direction in which the Athens, its buildings, &c., in Conybeare Berpan brethren sent him forth : imply. and Howson, chap. x. vol. i. pp. 107 ff. ing probably, that all that was known at It was a free city. 16. wholly given Beræa of his intended route was, that it to idolatry) The multitude of statues and was in the direction of the sea. Where temples to the gods in Athens is celebrated he embarked for Athens, is not said : pro- with honour by classic writers of other bably at Dium, near the base of Mount nations, and with pride by their own. Olympus, to which two roads from Berca Xenophon says of "Athens, that “the are marked in the ancient tables. whole city is an altar, the whole city a 15.] Who they that conducted Paul were sacrifice and an offering to the gods." is not said. - The course of Timotheus 17. in the market] It was the space before
and in the market daily with them that met with him.
m render, And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoick philosophers.
n render, What meaneth this babbler to say ?
the famous Stoa or porch, where the Stoics self, together with the subjection of God held their disputations. 18. Epicu. and man alike to the stern laws of an inrean] The Epicurean philosophy was an. evitable fate. On the existence of the soul tagonistic to the gospel, as holding the after death their ideas were various : some atomic theory in opposition to the crea- holding that all souls endure to the contion of matter,—the disconnexion of the flagration of all things,-others confining Divinity from the world and its affairs, this to the souls of good men,--and others in opposition to the idea of a ruling Pro- believing all souls to be reabsorbed into the vidence, and the indissoluble union, and Divinity. By these tenets they would obannihilation together, of soul and body, as viously be placed in antagonism to the docopposed to the hope of eternal life, and trines of a Saviour of the world and the reindeed to all spiritual religion whatever. surrection,-and to placing the summum The Epicureans were the materialists of bonum of man in abundance of that grace the ancient world. The common idea which is made perfect in weakness, 2 Cor. attached to Epicureanism must be dis- xii. 9. some said ... other some] carded in our estimate of the persons men- These are not to be taken as belonging the tioned in our text. The “chief good” of one to the Epicureans, the other to the the real Epicureans, far from being a de- Stoics, – but rather as describing two graded and sensual pleasure, was impertur classes, common perhaps to both schools, bability of mind, based upon wisdom--the one of which despised him and his perhaps the best estimate of the highest sayings, and the other were disposed to good formed in the heathen world;—and
more serious view of the matter, their ethics were exceedingly strict. But and charge him with bringing in new the abuse to which such a doctrine was deities. this babbler] The word in evidently liable, gave rise to a pseudo-Epi- the original signifies a kind of bird which cureanism, which has generally passed cur- picks up and devours seeds : whence the rent for the real, and which amply illus- Athenians called by this name those who trated the truth, that corruption of that went about picking up trifles in converse which is best, is itself worst. For their and making it their business to retail chimerical imperturbability, Paul offered them : in fact, the name imports one who them the peace which passeth all under- talks fluently to no purpose, and hints standing, Phil. iv. 7. Stoick] So also that his talk is not his own. named from the Stoa, or porch (see a setter forth of strange gods] “ Socrates above),-founded by Zeno of Cittium in is guilty of bringing in new gods," was the fourth century B.C., but perhaps more. one of the charges on which Athens put properly by Cleanthes and Chrysippus in to death her wisest son. The strange the third century B.C. Their philosophy, gods which they charged Paul with setting while it approached the truth in holding forth were, the true God, the God of one supreme Governor of all, compro- the Jews, and Jesus Christ His Son : the mised it, in allowing of any and all ways Creator of the world (ver. 24), and the Man of conceiving and worshipping Him (see whom He hath appointed to judge it, ver. below, vv. 24, 25),--and contravened it, in 31. Compare ver. 23, end: which is an exits pantheistic belief that all souls were press answer to this charge.
19. they emanations of Him. In spirit it was di. took him] No violence is implied. rectly opposed to the gospel,-holding the to the hill of Mars] There is no allusion independence of man on any being but him. here to the court of Areopagus, nor should
doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 21 p For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of
P render, Now.
the words have been so rendered in A. V.,- character here given of the Athenians is especially as the same expression below also that which we find in their own hise (ver. 22) is translated “Mars' hill' We torians and orators. See proofs in my have in the narrative no trace of any judi. Greek Test. One remarkable one is found cial proceeding, but every thing to con- in Demosthenes, where in stirring ilan tradict such a supposition. Paul merely up against Philip, he says, “ Are ye a.s. makes his speech, and, having satisfied the tent to be always going about the markre. curiosity of the multitude who came toge place asking one another, What new thing ther on Mars' Hill, departs unhindered :- is reported? Can any thing he siranger they brought him up to the hill of Mars. than that a Macedonian man should ac. The following note is borrowed from Mr.
22.] The commentators vie with Humphry's Commentary :-'It might be each other in admiration of this truly wise expected that on the hill of Mars the derful speech of the great Apostle. Chury. mind of the stranger would be impressed sostom says: “ This is what the Apstle with the magniticence of the religion elsewhere says, that he became to those which be sought to overthrow. The not under the law as not under the law, temple of the Eumenides was immediately that he might win those not under the Lelow him : opposite, at the distance law. For when addressing the Athenians, of 200 yards, was the Acropolis, which, he grounds his argument not on the law or being entirely occupied with statues and the prophets, but begins his persuasion temples, was, to use the phrase of an from one of their altars, conquering them ancient writer, as one great offering to the by their own maxims.” “The oration of gods. The Persians encamped on the Paul before this assembly is a lising proof Areopagus when they besieged the Acro- of his apostolic wisdom and eloquence: We polis (Herod. viii. 52): from the same place see here how be, according to his own the Apostle makes his first public attack words, could become a Gentile to the Genon Paganism, of which the Acropolis was tiles, to win the Gentiles to the Gospel the stronghold. Xerxes in his fanaticism Neander. And Stier very properly remarks, burnt the temples of Greece. Christianity 'It was given to the Apostle in this bour, advanced more meekly and surely : and what he should speak; this is plainly to be though the immediate effect of the Apos. seen in the following discourse, which we tle's sermon was not great, the Parthenon might weary ourselves with praising agd in time became a Christian church. Athens admiring in various ways; but far better ceased to be a city wholly given to idolatry, than all so-called praise from our pour --and the repugnance of the Greeks to tongues is the humble recognition, that images became so great, as to be a prin- the Holy Ghost, the spirit of Jesus, bas cipal cause of the schism between the
here spoken by the Apostle, and therefore churches of the east and west in the eighth it is that we have in his discourse a mastercentury::- The bill of Mars was on the piece of apostolic wisdom.' The same com. west of the Acropolis. The Areopagus, the mentator gives the substance of the spatch highest criminal court of Athens, held its thus: “He who is (by your own involuntary sittings there. To give any account of it confession) unknown to you Athenians (reis beside the purpose, there being no allusion ligious though you are), -and yet (again, to it in the text. Full particulars may be by your own confession) able to be knuira, found under the word Areopagus in Smith's - the all-sufficing Creator of the ecorld, Dictionary of Gr. and Rom. Antiquities. Preserver of all creatures, and Gorernor
May we know] A courteous method of mankind,-now commandeth all met of address (not ironical). 21.] A re. (by me His minister) to repent, that they inark of the narrator (as I believe, Paul may know Him, and to beliere in the Haa himself), as a comment on the words new whom He hath raised from the dead, that and strange of the verses before. The they may stand in the judgment, which He
Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are 9 too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your r devotions, I found 8 an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. u Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, > him declare I unto you.
24 n y God that made the n eh. xiv. 15. world and all things therein, seeing that he is ° Lord of o Matt. xi. 25. heaven' and earth, P dwelleth not in temples made with p ch. vii. 48.
9 render, very religious : : see note. r render, objects of worship. 8 render, also an altar.
t render, AN. U read, with our oldest MSS., What.
* read, with our oldest MSS., that. y render, The God. hath committed to Him.' Ye men of cited in my Greek Test., shewing that Athens] The regular and dignified appel. there really were altars with this inscription lation familiar to them as used by all their at Athens. What ye ignorantly wororators,—of whose works Paul could hardly ship, that declare I unto you] The change be altogether ignorant.
“ Him” has probably gious] Carrying your religious reverence been made from reverential motives. The very far: an instance of which follows, in neuters give surely the deeper, and the that they, not content with worshipping more appropriate sense. For Paul does not named and known gods, worshipped even identify the true God with the dedication an unknown one. Blame is neither ex- of, or worship at, the altar mentioned : pressed, nor even implied: but their ex- but speaks of the Divinity of whom they, ceeding veneration for religion laid hold of by this inscription, confessed themselves as a fact, on which Paul, with exquisite ignorant. But even a more serious obskill, engrafts his proof that he is intro. jection lies against the masculines. The ducing no new gods, but enlightening them sentiment would thus be in direct contrawith regard to an object of worship on diction to the assertion of Paul himself, which they were confessedly in the dark. 1 Cor. x. 20,“ The things which the Gentiles So Chrysostom, “ That is, very pious : sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not he says it as praising them, and not with to God.” Compare also our Lord's words, any spirit of blame.” To understand this John iv. 22, “ Ye worship that which ye word as A.V., "too superstitious,' is to miss know not.”—In the word worship (shew the fine and delicate tact of the speech, by piety towards) we have another confirma. which he at once parries the charge against tion of the sense above insisted on in ver. him, and in doing so introduces the great 22. He wishes to commend their reveTruth which he came to preach.-- The rential spirit, while he shews its mischaracter thus given of the Athenians is direction. An important lesson for all confirmed by Greek writers. Pausanias who have controversies with Paganism and says, “The Athenians are conspicuous Romanism. 24.] 'No wonder, that above other people in their zeal in divine the devil, in order to diffuse idolatry, has matters.” Josephus calls them “the most blotted out among all heathen nations the devout of the Greeks." 23. your ob. recognition of Creation. The true doctrine jects of worship] Not, as A. V., “your of Creation is the proper refutation of all devotions :' but even temples, altars, sta- idolatry. Roos, cited by Stier, who retues, &c. also an altar] Over and marks, ' Only on the firm foundation of the above the many altars to your own and Old Testament doctrine of Creation can we foreign deities. To an (not, the) un- rightly build the New Testament doctrine known God] That this was the veritable of Redemption, and only he, who scripinscription on the altars, the words with turally believes and apprehends by faith this inscription (literally, on which had the earliest words of Revelation, concerning been inscribed) are decisive. Meyer well a Creator of all things, can also apprehend, remarks, that the historical fact would be know, and scripturally worship, TIE MAN, abundantly established from this passage, in whom God's word, down to its latest being Paul's testimony of what he himself canonical Revelation, gathers together all had seen, and spoken to the Athenian things.' God dwelleth not in people. But we have our narrative con- temples made with hands] A remarkable firmed by other testimonies which I have reminiscence of the dying speech of Ste
to “ Whom" and
Ps. 1. 8. r Gen. ii. 7.
Job xii. 10: xxvii. 3: xxxiii. 4.
Zech. xii. 1.
hands; 25 neither is z worshipped with men's hands, ' as Subxvi. 22. though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life,
and breath, and all things; 26 and a hath made of one Isi: 1..6: blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the
earth, and [ hath] determined the times [b before] ap* Deut . xxxii. pointed, and $ the bounds of their habitation ; 27 + that they
should seek c the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, u ch. xiv. 17. and find him, u though he be not far from every one of us:
28 for % in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are
t Rom. i. 20.
x Col. i. 17.
Heb. i. 3. y Tit. i. 12.
z render, served by.
a render, caused every nation of men, sprung of one blood, to dwell. b omit.
C read, with all our oldest authorities, God.
phen : see ch. vii. 48. – Mr. Humphry mythical origins, and separate guardian notices the similarity, but difference in its gods. It is remarkable, that though of all conclusion, of the argument attributed to people the Jews were the most distin. Xerxes in Cicero: “Xerxes is said to have guished in their covenant state from other burnt the temples of Greece, because they nations of the earth, yet to them only was attempted to shut up within walls the given the revelation of the true history of gods, to whom all things ought to be open mankind, as all created of one blood: a and free, and of whom all this world is the doctrine kept as it were in store for the temple and house."—Where Paul stood, he gospel to proclaim.-Not, ‘hath made of might see the celebrated colossal statue of one blood,' &c., as A. V., but as in margin. Athena Polias, known by the Athenians as See Matt. v. 32; Mark vii. 37. de“the Goddess," standing and keeping termined the times ....) He who was guard with spear and shield in the enclo. before (ver. 24) the Creator, then (ver. sure of the Acropolis. 25.] is served : 25) the Preserver, is now the Gorernor of i. e. is really and truly served. So “ God all men: prescribing to each nation its is not mocked,” Gal. vi. 7. As the space to dwell in, and its time of endurance. assertion of Creation contradicted the Epi
27. if haply] if by any chance, decurean error, so this laid hold of that noting a contingency apparently not very portion of truth, which, however disguised, likely to happen. though he be not that school had apprehended : viz. that the far ...] •Not that He is distant from us, Deity does not stand in need of us, nor can but that we are ignorant of Him.' See gain aught from us. There is a verse in Rom. x. 6, 8; Jer, xxiii. 23, 24. 28. 2 Macc. xiv 35, remarkable, as compared There is no justification for the pantheist in with the thoughts and words of Paul here: this.—It is properly said only of the race “ Thou, O Lord of all things, who hast of men, as being His offspring, bound to need of nothing, wast pleased that the Him: proceeding from, and upheld by, temple of thine habitation should be among and therefore living, moving, and being
life, and breath, and all things] in Him :—but even in a wider sense His He is the Preserver, as well as the Creator, Being, though a separate objective Perof all; and all things come to us from sonality, involves and contains that of His Him. Compare, on all things, David's creatures. See Eph. i. 10, where the same words, 1 Chron. xxix. 14, “ Thine are all is said of Christ. we live, and move, things, and of Thine own have we given and have our being] 'A climax rising Thee.” 26.] These words were said, higher with each term, out of God we be it remembered, to a people who gave should have no Life, nor even movement themselves out for aboriginal, sprung from (which some things without life bare, the earth : but we must not imagine that plants, water, &c.), nay, not any existence to refute this was the object of the words : at all (we should not have been),' the inthey aim far higher than this, and contro- tent being to shew the absolute dependence vert the whole genius of polytheism, which for every thing of man on God, and attributed to the various nations differing thence the absurdity of supposing the God