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in his conscience apprehended that to be the case, would not choose to act as he did ?
In the mean time, he was engaged as usual every sabbath-day, in discoursing to the Jews, and in demonstrating to them the truth of the gospel; and it is pleasant and edifying to observe, with what earnestness he applied himself to do it: But their inveterate prejudices prevailed over all the cogency of his demonstration, and all the warmth of his address; so that he was forced at length to give them up as incorrigible. Yet let us observe how he gave them up; with what grief, mixed with just indignation at their folly and ingratitude shaking his garment, and saying, Your blood be upon your own heads ! I am clean.-Thus are impenitent unbelievers their own murderers ; they bring upon themselves even the blood of their own souls. Grievous it is that it should rest upon them ; but absolutely necessary that we, who are the messengers of God to them, should take heed, that if they must after all bleed by the sword of divine justice, we ourselves may at last be found pure ; for terrible beyond expression would it be, if by our treachery or neglect their blood should be required at our hand.
The apostle's success among the Gentiles raised new opposition, and his infirmities frequently occasioned returning fears : But how graciously did our Lord interpose for his encouragement and support, assuring him of his protection, and promising him yet more abundant succes8 ! Blessed Jesus, thy grace was sufficient even for this thy servant, amidst all the labours of the ministerial and apostolical office, amidst all the internal as well as external difficulties he had to encounter in the discharge of it ! May that grace be imparted to us ; and may it appear that thou hast much people, wherever thou fixest the bounds of our habitation, and the sphere of our ministry !
The tumultuous rage of the Jerus is nothing surprising, for we have been accustomed often to read of it, but the prudence and moderation of Gallio is truly amiable : That wise Roman well knew the extent of his office as a magistrate, and was aware that it gave him no title, no pretence to dictate in matters of conscience, or to restrain men's religious liberties, so long as they abstained from injustice or mischievous licentiousness, by which the public peace might be disturbed, and the rights of society invaded. May God give to all the magistrates of the earth such a spirit ! and the gospel, under the influences of divine grace, will soon become an universal religion, and shew the world how little need it has of being supported by civil penaltics ; to which those are generally most ready to have recourse, who, like these Jews, are confounded by fair argument.
Paul departs from Corinth ; goes through Ephesus, to Jerusalem ; and
afterwards visits the churches in Galatia and Phrygia. Apollos preaches at Ephesus, and being further instructed, goes to Achaia. Ch. xviii. 18, &c.
there for a considerable time, and then taking leave of the brethren, sailed thence for Syria, and took with him Priscilla and Vol. I.
Aquilla ; having shaved his head at the port of Cenchrea, for le
had made a vow* to do it on account of some extraordinary deliver19 ance. And he arrived at Ephesus, and there he left them ; but
on the sabbath which he spent there, he himself entered into the 20 synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. And though they en
treated him to have staid longer with them, he did not consent ; 21 but took his leave of them for the present, saying, It is necessary
for me by all means to celebrate the approaching feast of the passa over at Jerusalem ; but I will turn my course to you again, God
willing, and make a longer stay. And so he set sail from Ephe22 sus.-And landing at Cesarea, he went up to the feast at Jerusa
lem ; and having saluted the church there, he went down to Anti23 och. And having spent some time there he departed, going
through the country of Galatia and Phrygia in a regular manner,
confirming all the disciples in their adherence to the gospel. 24 Now a certain Jew, whose name was Apollos, a native of Alex.
andria, an eloquent man, and powerful in the Jewish scriptures, 25 came to Ephesus. This person was already in some measure in
structed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught the things of the Lord with great accuracy, [con
sidering his] being only acquainted with the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. And Aquila and
Priscilla hearing him, being pleased with the good spirit he disco
vered, (but observing his deficiencies] took him to their house, and 27 explained to him the way of God in a more perfect manner. And
shortly after, when he intended to go over to Achaia, the brethren of Ephesus wrote to the disciples there, exhorting them to
receive him. And being arrived there, he greatly helped those 28 who had believed through grace ; for he strenuously debated with
the Jews in public, shewing by the scriptures, that Jesus is the Messiah.
REFLECTIONS. How happy was the church in these unwearied labours of Paul ! And how happy was Paul in those repeated opportunities, and in that health and spirit which God gave him, to undertake and to go through with such labours ! Happy in preaching Christ to so many, to whom he was before unknown. Happy in beholding the blessed fruits of his labour, and visiting the churches he had formerly planted in one province and another, and which in this intermediate space were grownup to some maturity. Prudent likewise, in such a concern to water those plants by renewed instruction. So let gospel ministers cherish the divine life in those souls where they have been instrumental to produce it ; ever remembering, that it is a matter of so great importance as well deserves our repeated care and our renewed labours. Well was it also for the churches, that such a promising and hopeful fellow-labourer as Apollos was raised up to him, and to them. To be
The author has a long note on the different opinions of commentators concerning this vow, but leaves the matter uncertain
fervent and courageous in spirit, to be eloquent and mighty in the scriptures, are happy talents for such as are to be devoted to the ministry. May all that enter on this work among us, come forth with a zeal and courage like his ; and I must add, may they also come forth with an humility like that which, in Apollos, adorned all those bright talents with which he was endowed! What he knew, he zealously taught ; what he did not know, he was willing and ready thankfully to learn ; and that not only from the mouth of an apostle but of a fellow-christian in inferior life ; from Aquila, yea and from Priscilla too.
Since God had given that wise and pious woman to know the way of the Lord, by longer experience and to greater perfection than he, Apollos, amidst all his popularity and applause, was willing to become her disciple ; and to learn from her in private discourses, those evangelical lessons which decency did not permit her to give, or him to receive, in public assemblies.
It was prudent in Apollos to take, as well as just in the brethren to grant, proper letters of recommendation, when he was going to the churches in Achaia, where he was a stranger ; and well did he answer this recommendation, and make himself known amongst them by valuable services. Mighty as he was in the scriptures of the Old Testament, he might well demonstrate from them to the Jews at Corinth, that Jesus was the Messiah ; and happy would it have been for the church and the synagogue there, had they known no distinguishing name but his. Nevertheless, one said, I am of Paul ; and another, I am of Apollos. We may reasonably hope, that this zealous evangelist expressed the same displeasure which the holy apostle himself did on such an occasion ; and laboured with all his might to impress them with the thought that neither he that planted nor he that watered was any thing, but God who gave the increase to both. May it be impressed deeper on the hearts both of ministers and people, that all the glory may be rendered to him from whom all our gifts, and graces, and successes proceed.
Paul coming to Ephesus, instructs some of John's disciples there ; performs
miracles, and preaches with great success. Ch. xix. 1—20.
having passed through the upper parts of the lesser Asia, came to Epliesús; and finding there some disciples, he said unto 2 them, Have ye as yet, on your believing, received the Holy Spir
it? And they replied to him, Nay, we have not so much as heard 3 whether there be any Holy Spirit given now or not. And he said 4 to them, Into what then were you baptized ? And they said, Into
John's baptism (they being in Judea about the time of his ministry.)
ance; telling the people that they should belive in him that was to 5 come after him, that is, in Jesus Christ. And hearing this, they 6 were readily baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And Paul laying his hands on them., the Holy Spirit came upon them; and 7 they spake with divers other tongues, and prophesied. And they 8 were in all about twelve men.— And he went into the synagogue,
and discoursed with boldness, dispuuing for the space of three
months, and evincing the things which related to the kingdom of 9 God. But as some of the Jews were hardened and would not be
lieve, speaking reproachfully of the way of salvation which the apostle taught, before the multitude, he departed from them, and sep
arated the disciples he had made, disputing daily in the school10 rocm of one Tyrannus. And this was done for the space of two
years : so that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, 11 who came 10 Ephesus, heard the word of the Lord Jesus. And 12 God wrought extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul ; so
that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried from his body to those
that were sick, and the diseases removed from them, and the evil 13 spirits came out of them. And some of the vagabond Jews, who
were exorcists pretending to a power of expelling dæmons, under. took to name the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth,
to come out. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish 15 chief priest, who did this. But the evil spirit answering them
with contempt, said, Jeus I know, and Paul I know, whose power 16 I cannot resist; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil
spirit was, sprung upon them, and getting master of them all,
prevailed against them, in so great a degree, that they fled out of 17 the house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the
Jews, and Greeks also, dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell upon 18 them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And
many of them who believed, who had professed unwarrantable arts,
came of their own accord, and confessed their guilt, and made a 19 declaration of these their sinful deeds. And a considerable number
of those, who had practised curious and magical arts, bringing their books together, burnt them before all who were present : and
they computed the value of them, and found it fifty thousand pie20 ces of silver* : so powerfully did the word of the Lord grow and
REFLECTIONS. Thus may the word of God still grow and prevail wherever it comes, and separate between the sinner and his sins, be they ever so customary, ever so reputable, ever so gainful: And thus may the flame of love and zeal consume every snare which hath detained the soul in a base captivity to it. In order to the production of so noble an effect, may those who are so indifferent to his sacred operations, as if they had never yet heard that there was an Holy Spirit, be filled with it, and be made obedient to it: And may they to whom the mysteries of
* If these were Jewish shekels of 2s.6d. each, the sum was 6256. But most probably they were the Attic Drachmas, commonly used among the Greeks; which, according to Dr. P’rideaux, amcunted (at 9d. each) to 18751. sterling
the gospel are committed, declare them boldly, whoever may be hardened, whoever may oppose, and how evil soever some who boast of their knowledge of God may speak of this way.--We cannot expect that the miracles of Paul's days should be renewed in ours, but we may humbly hope that the noblest effects of his preaching will be reDewed: that dead souls will be quickened, the languishing revived, and evil spirits cast out from men's minds ; where their possession is more fatal and dangerous than in their bodies. And God grant that none may ever undertake to invoke the name of Jesus upon such occasions, or to appear under the character of his servants, who have not cordially believed in him themselves, and received their commission from him! We need not wonder if in such a case, like these sons of Sceva, they meddle to their own wounding, and prove the means of irritating rather than curing those disorders which the influence of Satan has introduced, and which the Spirit of Christ alone can effectually remove.
Paul driven from Ephesus, by a tumult which Demetrius raises, and the
chancellor prudently appeases. Ch. xix. 21, &c.
Ow when these things were fulfilled, Paul purposed in spirit,
planted many flourishing churches, he would go to Jerusalem, say
ing, After I have been there, it is necessary for me also to see 22 Rome. And sending two of those that ministered to him, namely
Timothy and Erastus, into Macedonia, to prepare his way, he him23 self staid some time longer in that part of Asia. And there hap
pened about that time no small tumult concerning that way of
worship and salvation which Paul taught. For a man, whose name 24 was Demetrius, a working silversmith, by making silver shrines
of the goddess Diana*, procured no small gain to the artificers ; 25 whom he gathered together, with the workmen employed about
the business, and said, Men, you know that our maintenance arises 26 from this manufacture; and you see and hear, that this Paul hath
persuaded great numbers of people, not only of Ephesus, but almost of all Asia, and hath turned them aside from the established
religion, saying, that they are not deities, which are made with 27 hands ; so that there is danger not only that this occupation of ours
should be depreciated, but also that the temple of the great god
dess Diana should be despised, and her grandeur destroyed; whom 23 all Asia and the world worshippeth. And hearing this, they were
filled with rage ; and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the 29 Ephesians, And the whole city was filled with confusion; and they
rushed with one accord into the theatre dragging thither Gaius
and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, who were Paul's fellow-travel* Little models of her celebrated temple at Ephesus. Beza supposes them to have been coins or medals, with the image of Diana (of which he has given a cut) and the temple on the reverse.