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the Ephesians !” for two hours together. A chief magistrate of the city, who was endeavouring to restore peace, at length succeeded so far as to get a hearing. He told them that of course every body knew that the city of Ephesus had the honor of possessing the temple, and of maintaining the worship, of the great goddess Diana, and of her image which Jupiter had sent them from heaven; and that, as this was evident and notorious, the people should be quiet, and not in haste do what might be afterwards regretted. This they had then done, for they had forcibly seized on Gaius and Aristarchus in an unlawful manner, who had neither committed sacrilege nor blasphemy of their goddess. If Deinetrius and his fellow tradesmen had a charge to bring against any man, there were the courts of law and the judges, where they might proceed in a legal manner; or whatever matter was in hand, it should be reserved for a regular trial, for the city might be called to account for the riot which had taken place there that day, for which no sufficient cause could possibly be assigned. After this speech he broke up the meeting in the theatre, and dispersed the crowd.
1. The gradual success of the gospel produced at last a violent outbreak on the part of its opposers at Ephesus, whose conduct afforded the strongest testimony of the blessing which had rested upon the preaching of Paul. The common motive for resisting the truth of God is laid open in this account of the conduct of Demetrius. It was not because of the truth of Diana's religion, and the error of that preached by Paul, that he was induced to excite the silversmiths ;—but because their craft was in danger. By the upholding of idolatry these men gained their wealth ; by the advance of true religion they would have ceased to grow rich. The loss of present personal advantage is probably the most frequent, as it is certainly the most direct cause for deciding the minds of the worldly against the doctrines of truth, the principles of which are so contrary to the love of the world, and of the things that are in the world ; and though it does not often stand forth so tangibly as in the case of Demetrius, yet it is to be found, with more or less of influence, mixed up with almost every feeling that leads to a resistance of the gospel ; and this motive naturally produces a desire to engage others who are similarly interested, to make common cause against the obnoxious doctrines. A person feeling strongly the danger to the cause of worldliness to be apprehended from religious truth can easily draw others into sympathy by exciting language, which it is very difficult to resist unless the love of the world has been really crucified in the heart.
QUESTION. What are my feelings concerning any particular doctrine which is calculated to deprive me of some worldly benefit ? Do I resist such a doctrine, or endeavour to avoid the practice which it requires ? Do I strive to communicate a similar feeling of resistance to others with whom I converse ?
2. Great as was the ignorance of this rabble, it is easy to discover similar instances upon many occasions, in which crowds are assembled without understanding the cause of their own tumult: and a little consideration will be sufficient to convince us that there is much of the same vague notion amongst many, who are not at all conscious that they might be charged with similar ignorance with respect to the great distinctions of religious truth. Multitudes of persons, much above the class of society which seems to be represented by the concourse in the theatre at Ephesus, are quite as liable to be carried away by an outcry against religious people, of whose peculiar doctrines these are so little aware, that they are like the Ephesians who confounded the Jews with the christians. It is this kind of ignorance which leads some persons to maintain an obstinate resistance against those, to whom they refuse a hearing, and thereby cut themselves off from the means of rectifying their own mistakes.
Do I permit myself to express disapprobation of persons who entertain certain religious opinions, without having taken pains to understand the subjects involved in the question? or am I ready to hear what may be said on their behalf, before I make up my mind?
THE PRAYER. O God, who hast promised to those that love thee such good things as pass man's understanding, teach me the excellency of the glory which is to be revealed, and the blessedness of the promises thou hast made to thy people; that no consideration of advantage in this world may ever set my heart and mind against the doctrines of thy truth. Make me to see the folly of gaining the whole world, and yet losing my own soul, that I may be preserved from such folly in opposing thy gospel for the sake of any benefit on earth. Keep me from every word or action which might help to ensnare others into the sin of such foolishness. Endue me with a spirit of wisdom, that I may search thy word, and try the opinions of men by that source of all heavenly knowledge ; and make me humble, that I may not venture to act upon my self-will, without being instructed by thy truth. Grant this, gracious Father, for Jesus Christ's sake. AMEN.
FORTIETH PORTION. Paul's journey round the whole of the Grecian provinces.
The recovery of Eutychus at Troas.
Greece, back to Philippi and Troas.
May God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I may understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE. Acts, chap. XX. verses 1 to 12. 2 Cor. II. 12, 13; VII. 5–7, 13; VIII. 6, 16—19, 22, 23; XII. 17, 18.
Rom. XV. 18—20. And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, i and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. And when 2 he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he 3 came into Greece, and there abode three months.
And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria,
4 he purposed to return through Macedonia. And there accompanied him
into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and
Secundus ; And Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus ; and of Asia, Tychicus 5, 6 and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas. And
we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and
came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. 7
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the mor8 row; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many 9 lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And
there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen
into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with 10 sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And
Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing himn said, “ Trouble not 11 yourselves; for his life is in him.” When he therefore was come up
again, and had broken bread, and caten, and talked a long while, even 12 till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
2 Cor. II. 12, 13. 12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a 13 door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit,
because I found not Titus my brother : but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
2 Cor. VII. 5–7, 13. 5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we
were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted 7 us by the coming of Titus ; and not by his coming only, but by the con
solation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your ear
nest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I 13 rejoiced the more.... Therefore we were comforted in your com
fort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
2 Cor. VIII. 6, 16–19, 22, 23. 6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would
also finish in you the same grace (or, gift] also. 16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart 17 of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation ; but being 18 more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent
with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the 19 churches ; and not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches
to travel with us with this grace, (or, gift), which is administered by us
to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind.
And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have 22 oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have [or, he hath] in you. Whether 23 any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
2 Cor. XII. 17, 18. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? 17 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain 18 of you? walked we not in the same spirit ? walked we not in the same steps ?
Rom. XV. 18-20. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath 18 not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; 19 so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the 20 gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation.
When the tumult was over, and the city of Ephesus was restored to peace, Paul gathered the christians together, and after taking an affectionate farewell of them, set sail from Ephesus, where he had now remained nearly three years. It had been his intention to have gone from Ephesus straight to Corinth; from whence he meant to have visited the more northerly province of Macedonia, returning to Corinth to take ship for Judea. (2 Cor. i. 15, 16.) The distressing state of the church at Corinth had however induced him to alter his plan; in order that he might first ascertain the effect of the letter which he had written to the Corinthians, in the hope that it might prevent the necessity of treating them with that severity which it would have been his duty to use, if he had gone and found them in the condition that had been described to him. (2 Cor. i. 23; ii. 1.) He reversed therefore the order of his journey; and when he sent Titus to Corinth upon the subject of the collections, he had appointed him to return and join him at Troas, the northern port of Asia Minor; from whence he intended to