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city of Thyatira, a worshipper of God, heard the discourse; whose

heart the Lord opened to attend to the things which weres poken 15 by Paul. And when she was baptized with her family, she en

treated us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the

Lord, enter into my house, and continue there. And she even 16 compelled us.-Now it came to pass, that as we were one day go

ing to the oratory, we were met by a certain girl that had a Py

thonic spirit (or spirit of divination*) who brought her owners 17 much gain by her pretended prophesying: the same following af

ter Paul and us, cried out, These men are the servants of the 18 most high God, who declare unto you the way of salvation. And

this she did for several days. But Paul being grieved lest he should be suspected of a confederacy with her, turned and said to

the spirit, I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ, to go out 19 of her. And it went out that very hour.But when her owners

saw that the hope of their gain was gone, laying hold of Paul and

Silas, they dragged them to the market-place to the magistrates ; 20 and having brought them to the officers, they said, These men, 21 being Jews, disturb our city in an unsufferable manner, and teach

customs, which it is not lawful for us, as we are Romans, to re22 ceive and observe. And the populace rose up together against

them; and the officers tearing off their garments, commanded 23 them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many

stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jail24 or to keep them safely. Who having received such a strict

charge, threw them into the inner prison, and secure their feet 25 fast in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas having prayed, 26 sung an hymn to God : and the other prisoners heard them. And

on a sudden there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations

of the prison were shaken ; and immediately all the doors were 27 opened, and the bonds of all the prisoners were loosed. And the

jailor awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the doors of the prison

opened, drew his sword, and was going to kill himself, supposing 28 that the prisoners were fled, and that he should be punished. But

Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm, for 29 we are all here. And upon this he called for lights, and sprung

in ; and being in a dreadful tremor, fell down before Paul and 30 Silas : and bringing them out from the inner prison, he said, Oh 31 sirs, what inust I do that I may be saved ? And they said to him,

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and 32 thine house. And they spake to him, and to all that were in his 33 house, the word of the Lord. And taking them that very hour

of the night, he washed their stripes; and on a profession of faith, 34 was immediately baptized, himself and all his family. And hara

ing afterwards brought them into his house, he spread the table before them; and believing in God with all his house, he was transported with joy.

• Supposed to be an inspiration from Apollo, called Pithius.

REFLECTIONS. We see remarkably, in this period, by what various methode divine grace operates upon different persons. As for Lydia, she was touched by a genıle influence, descending upon her like dew from heaven ; her heart was melted under the word, as snow by the sun, and by the soft yet powerful hand of our blessed Saviour, was made willing and obedient. But when the Lord came to subdue the stubborn heart of the savage jailor, who seems to have taken a barbarous pleasure in afflicting his pious prisoners, he came in the whirlwind, the tempest, and the fire. His soul, as well as his house, was shaken with an eurthquake, and the foundations as it were laid bare. A sudden transport of astonishment convinces him of his extreme danger. His hand is mercifully stopped in that terrible moment in which he was rushing on to seek a refuge in hell from the seeming dangers of earth ; and being taught by a secret grace which he had not as yet been instructed to seek, he falls down before Paul and Silas, honouring them as among the first of mankind, whom he had just before treated, not only as slaves, but as the worst of villains ; yet he is now ready to receive the law and the gospel from their mouth, seeking the way of salvation from them, and declaring his readiness to submit to whatsoever they should tell him. What unutterable delight must it afford to these afflicted servants of Christ, when they saw this astonishing change ! Surely it appeared that their prayers and their praises came up in remembrance before God. They had, with a serene conscience and joyful heart, been singing pmises to God in the stocks, and behold, new matter of praise is given them, and in the midst of all their sufferings new songs are put into their mouth, and new occasions for thanksgiving pour in upon them. Those bonds which, however pondrous in themselves, sat so light upon them, are now miraculously loosened ; and the far more Infamous and dangerous bonds which Satan had fastened upon these sons of persecution and violence, fall off too. The awakened jailor asks the question of all others the most important, and asks it with an earnestness and respect that witnesses its sincerity, Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?

Gracious God, to whose efficacious influence the most obdurate heart must submit, awaken multitudes who, like this once wretched sinner, but now beloved and triumphant saint, are insensible, of their danger and misery ; that seeing themselves perishing, they may inquire after salvation! And may it please thee, to put a faithful word into the mouth of thy ministers, that they may all join in directing such awakened souls to believe in Christ, and trust to him for salvation ! When they are brought to this they may well rejoice; and however their hearts may be enlarged towards those who have been the instruments of this blessed change, none of the effects of their tenderness or generosity can afford a pleasure comparable to that, which they shall find in the consciousness of having rescued souls froin eternal death, and conducted them into the way of salvation.

SECTION XXXVIII.

Paul and Silus honourably dismissed by the magistrates of Philippi, on in

sisting upon their privilege as Romans. Ch. xvi. 35, &c.

35

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ND when it was day, the magistrates of Philippi, having been

terrified by the earthquake, sent the lictors or beadles, say36 ing, Dismiss those men. And the keeper of the prison told these

things to Paul, saying to him, The magistrates have sent that you

may be dismissed ; now therefore go out and pursue your journey 37 in peace. But Paul, calling for the beadles, said to them, They

have beaten us who are Romans, publicly and uncondemned, and have cast us into prison ; and do they now thrust us out pri

vately? By no means : but as their proceedings have been illegal, 38 let them come themselves and conduct us oui honourably. And

the beadles reported these words to the magistrates. And when

they heard that they were Romans who had been thus used, they 39 were afraid : and they came and comforted them ; and conduct

ing them out in a respeciful manner, requested that they would 40 peaceably depart from the city. And coming out of the prison,

they entered into the house of Lydia ; and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

REFLECTIONS, We have seen Paul and Silas suffering, not for doing evil but good; for great good undoubtedly it was, to cast out the dæmon which possessed the young woman, of whom we have been reading, and made her an instrument of mischief, though to her mercenary masters a means of gain. Could she indeed have foretold future events, as perhaps she very falsely pretended, it had been a curse rather than a benefit to mankind to know them ; but it is exceedingly probable that this evil spirit, being himself unacquainted with them, did, like many of his brethren, only delude his votaries with ambiguous answers, which proved the occasion of false expectations, and numerous inconveniences. At least, it diverted them from all proper regards to the true God, the supreme disposer of all events, and confirmed them in their unhappy attachment to those which are by nature no Gods, to those vain idols, by a regard to whom Satan was honoured, and the living Jehovah injured and affronted.-Wisely did Paul, in imitation of his master, refuse applause from so impure a tongue. Yet with what consistency could these Heathens persecute him ? If this, damsel spake under: a divine direction, why should she not be credited, when she testified, that these were servants of the true God, that taught the way of salvation ? If they were indeed so, how absurd, how impious, and how dangerous must it be, to treat them with outrage, instead of reverence! What an affront to God! What defiance of salvation ! If Apollo was indeed any thing more than an empty name, if he was judged to have any power and any deity, what regards were owing to that Jesus of Nazareth, who appeared so much superior, that Apollo fled at his very name ! but the god of this world had blinded

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their eyes, and reason and conscience remonstrated in vain, so long as the hopes of gain lay the opposite way. Deliver us, O Lord, from such fatal madness, and teach us, how much more valuable salvation is, than any worldly interest which must be sacrificed to it!

The ministers or Christ, Paul and Silas, had been injured in their reputations, and abused in their persons; and in this instance, as in many others, were treated like the filth of the world, and the off-scour. ing of all things, while the ploughers ploughed upon their back, and made long furrows. The plea of privilege, amidst so tumultuous a multitude, might have been in vain, and therefore was for the present prudently waved ; but it was justly afterwards urged, and ihe magistrates challenged for their arbitrary proceedings, before they knew who and what they were, and required to attend upon them in person, to acknowledge and atone for their fault. Here was a true magnanimity, proceeding not from pride but from humanity. Their repla tation as ministers of Christ was worthy of a guard, and worthy of some reparation where it had received so notorious an insult. The rashness of the magistrates was also worthy of being rebuked and more tified ; which might have proved an occasion of suffering to other innse cent persons, had not this instance of it been animadverted upon ; yet no revenge was sought, nor were they, as some have been in the like case, laid under a necessity of buying their peuce, to avoid a prosecua tion which might have ended in their ruin. Paul knew how to join the tenderness of the Christian with the dignity of the Roman cilizér, and contended for his own rights no further than that very contention might be an act of general goodness. Let as go and do likewise. Let us learn, even from the example of these unjust rulirs, to be willing to hear reason and truth from those who seem most our inferiors, and openly to retract any ill-concerted steps which we may have taken ; especially, let us be willing to make the best repuration in our power to the innocent and the deserving, if through imprudent heat, or weak credulity, we have been engaged in any degree to injure them.

SECTION XXXIX.

Paul preaches at Thessalonica and Berea, but is driven away by the unber

lieving Jews. Ch. xvii, 14-15.

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ND Paul and Silas, having quitted Philippi, taking their

journey through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to 2 Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And

according to Paul's custom, he entered in among them, and disa 3 coursed to them for three sabbaths, from the scriptures ; opening

them, and evidently shewing that the Messiah ought to suffer, and

to rise from the dead ; and that “ This is the Messiah, even Jesus, 4 whom, said he, I declare unto you." And some of them believe

ed, and adhered to Paul and Silas ; and a considerable number of 5 the devout Greeks, and not a few of the principal women. But

the unbelieving Jews, filled with zeal, gathered together som mean and profligate fellows, and making a mob, threw the city 6 ple.

into a tumult ; and assaulting the house of Jason, where Paul and his companions lodged, endeavoured to bring them out to the peo

But not finding them, they dragged out Jason, and some of the brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, These men that 7 have turned the world upside down, are come hither also; and this

Jason has privately received them. And all these men act contra

ry to the decrees of Cæsar, saying, that there is another king, one 8 Jesus. And they alarmed the multitude, and the magistrates of

9 the city, when they heard these things. And having taken secu10 rity of Jason, and the rest, they dismissed them. But the brethren

perceiving their danger, immediately sent away Paul and Silas by

night to Berea : and when they came thither they went into the 11 synagogue of the Jews. And they found that these people were of

a more generous disposition than those of Thessalonica : for they received the word with all readiness of mind, daily examining the

old-testament scriptures to see whether those things were so as Paul 12 and Silas taught. Many of them therefore believed ; and of the 13 Grecian women of considerable rank, and of the men not a few. But

as soon as some of the Jews of Thessalonica understood that the word

of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came thither also, rais14 ing a storm among the populace. And then immediately the breth15 ren sent away Paul, as if he were to go by sea. But Silas and 15 Timothy continued there a while longer. And they that conducted

Paul, brought him by land as far as Athens, a famous seat of learning. And having received an order from him to Silas and Timothy, that they should come to him as soon as might be, they went away.

REFLECTIONS. With how much grace and propriety might the apostle say, of bonds - and imprisonments, in the mostgrievous circumstances that could attend them, None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. He gave a remarkable proof of this heroíc temper, when have ing (as he himself expresses it) been shamefully treated at Philippi, he was bold in his God to preach the gospel of God at Thessalonica too, though it were with much contention, through the perverse opposition of these unbelieving Jewe. He boldly declared to them, and proved it by unanswerable evidence, that the Messiah whom they so eagerly expected, and of whose temporal kingdom they so fondly dreamt, must, in order to establish his claim from the accomplishment of prophecies, suffer, and rise from the dead. And then he shewed, agreeably to these important premises, that Jesus whom he preached to them was that very person ; but instead of receiving his testimony with thankfulness, and the word of God with obedience, what iniquity and obstinacy of heart did these Jews shew! Unhappy nation, who, as Paul most justly speaks of them, having killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, persecuied the apostles also ; not pleasing God, and being contrary to all men ; forbidding, so far as in them lay, the appoint

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