Acts 14


Paul and Barnabas, having preached at Iconium with great

success, are persecuted, and obliged to flee to Lystra and

Derbe, 1-6.

Here they preach, and heal a cripple; on which, the people,

supposing them to be gods, are about to offer them sacrifices,

and are with difficulty prevented by these apostles, 7-18.

Certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, coming thither, induce

the people to stone Paul; who, being dragged out of the city as

dead, while the disciples stand around him, rises up suddenly,

and returns to the city, and the next day departs to Derbe,

19, 20.

Having preached here, he and Barnabas return to Lystra, Iconium,

and Antioch, confirming the disciples, and ordaining elders in

every Church, 21-23.

They pass through Pisidia and Pamphylia, 24.

Through Perga and Attalia, 25;

and sail to Antioch in Syria, 26.

When, having called the disciples together, they inform them of

the door of faith opened to the Gentiles, and there abode a

long time with the Church, 27, 28.


Verse 1. In Iconium] See the conclusion of the preceding


So spake] καιλαλησαιουτως. With such power and demonstration

of the Spirit, that a great multitude both of the Jews, genuine

descendants of one or other of the twelve tribes, and also of the

Greeks, ελληνων, probably such as were proselytes of the gate,

believed, received the Christian religion as a revelation from

God, and confided in its Author for salvation, according to the

apostles' preaching.

Verse 2. Stirred up the Gentiles] τωνεθνων, Such as were mere

heathens, and thus distinguished from the Jews, and the Greeks

who were proselytes.

Evil affected] εκακωσαν, Irritated or exasperated their

minds against the brethren, the disciples of Christ; one of their

appellations before they were called Christians at Antioch.

See Clarke on Ac 11:26.

Verse 3. Long time therefore abode they] Because they had great

success, therefore they continued a long time, gaining many

converts, and building up those who had believed, in their most

holy faith; notwithstanding the opposition they met with, both

from the unbelieving Jews and heathens.

Speaking boldly] παρρησιαζομενοι, Having great liberty of

speech, a copious and commanding eloquence, springing from a

consciousness of the truth which they preached.

The word of his grace] The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the

doctrine of God's grace, mercy, or favour to mankind.

And granted signs and wonders to be done] For no apostle could

work a miracle by himself; nor was any sign or wonder wrought even

by the greatest apostle, but by an especial grant or dispensation

of God. This power was not resident in them at all times; it was

only now and then communicated, when a miracle was necessary for

the confirmation of the truth preached.

Verse 4. The multitude of the city was divided] The Jews treated

the apostles as false teachers, and their miracles as impositions;

and many of the people held with them: while the others, who had

not hardened their hearts against the truth, felt the force of it;

and, being without prejudice, could easily discern the miracles to

be the work of God, and therefore held with the apostles.

Verse 5. An assault made] ορμη, A desperate attempt was made

by their rulers, i.e. by the heathen rulers of the people, and the

rulers of the synagogue.

To use them despitefully] To expose them, bring them into

contempt, and make them appear as monsters, or movers of sedition;

and then to stone them for this falsely alleged crime.

Verse 6. They were ware of it] They were informed of the scheme,

and of the attempt that was about to be made, and fled unto Lystra

and Derbe; they did not leave the province of Lycaonia, but went

to other towns and cities. Lystra lay to the south and Derbe to

the north of Iconium, according to the general opinion. Strabo,

Geogr. lib. xii., tells us expressly, that Iconium was within

Lycaonia, Thence are the Lycaonian hills plain, cold, naked, and

pastures for wild asses. About these places stands Iconium, a town

built in a better soil. Ptolemy also, Tab. Asiae, i. cap. 6,

places Iconium in Lycaonia. How comes it, then, that St. Luke does

not call Iconium a city of Lycaonia, as well as Derbe and Lystra?

Pliny, Hist. Nat. lib. v. cap. 27, solves this difficulty, by

stating, that there was granted a tetrarchy out of Lycaonia, on

that side which borders upon Galatia, consisting of fourteen

cities; the most famous of which is Iconium. See Lightfoot.

Verse 7. And there they preached the Gospel.] Wherever they

went, they were always employed in their Master's work. Some MSS.

of considerable note add here, and all the people were moved at

their preaching, but Paul and Barnabas tarried at Lystra.

Verse 8. Impotent in his feet] αδυνατοςτοιςποσιν, He had no

muscular power, and probably his ancle bones were dislocated; or

he had what is commonly termed club feet; this is the more likely,

as he is said to have been lame from his mother's womb, and to

have never walked.

Verse 9. That he had faith to be healed] How did this faith come

to this poor heathen? Why, by hearing the word of God preached:

for it is said, the same heard Paul speak. And it appears that he

credited the doctrine he heard, and believed that Jesus could, if

he would, make him whole. Besides, he must have heard of the

miracles which the apostles had wrought, see Ac 14:3; and this

would raise his expectation of receiving a cure.

Verse 10. Said with a loud voice] After this clause the

following is found in CD, and several others, either in the text

or margin: σοιλεγωεντωονοματιτουκυριουιησουχριστου, I say

unto thee, In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, "stand upright on

thy feet." This reading is also in several versions; and though it

may not stand on such evidence as to entitle it to a place in the

text, yet it is not likely that St. Paul would not have used the

sacred name on such an occasion; especially as this appears to

have been the usual form. See Ac 3:6.

He leaped and walked.] Giving the fullest proof of his

restoration: his leaping, however, might have been through joy of

having received his cure.

Verse 11. Saying, in the speech of Lycaonia] What this language

was has puzzled the learned not a little. Calmet thinks it was a

corrupt Greek dialect; as Greek was the general language of Asia

Minor. Mr. Paul Ernest Jablonski, who has written a dissertation

expressly on the subject, thinks it was the same language with

that of the Cappadocians, which was mingled with Syriac. That it

was no dialect of the Greek must be evident from the circumstance

of its being here distinguished from it. We have sufficient proofs

from ancient authors that most of these provinces used different

languages; and it is correctly remarked, by Dr. Lightfoot, that

the Carians, who dwelt much nearer Greece than the Lycaonians, are

called by Homer, βαρβαροφωνοι, people of a barbarous or strange

language; and Pausanias also called them Barbari. That the

language of Pisidia was distinct from the Greek we have already

seen, Clarke's note on "Ac 13:15". We have no light to determine this

point; and every search after the language of Lycaonia must be, at this

distance of time, fruitless.

The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.] From this,

and from all heathen antiquity, it is evident: 1. That the heathen

did not consider the Divine nature, how low soever they rated it,

to be like the human nature. 2. That they imagined that these

celestial beings often assumed human forms to visit men, in order

to punish the evil and reward the good. The Metamorphoses of Ovid

are full of such visitations; and so are Homer, Virgil, and other

poets. The angels visiting Abraham, Jacob, Lot, &c., might have

been the foundation on which most of these heathen fictions were


The following passage in HOMER will cast some light upon the





Hom. Odyss. xvii. ver. 485.

For in similitude of strangers oft,

The gods, who can with ease all shapes assume,

Repair to populous cities, where they mark

The outrageous and the righteous deeds of men.


OVID had a similar notion, where he represents Jupiter coming

down to visit the earth, which seems to be copied from Genesis,

Ge 18:20, 21:

And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is

great, and because their sin is grievous, I will go down now, and

see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it,

which is come unto me: and if not, I will know.

Contigerat nostras infamia temporis aures:

Quam cupiens falsam, summo delabor Olympo.

Et deus humana lustro sub imagine terras.

Longa mora est, quantum noxae sit ubique repertum,

Enamerare: minor fuit ipsa infamia vero.

Metam. lib. i. ver. 211.

The clamours of this vile, degenerate age,

The cries of orphans, and the oppressor's rage,

Had reached the stars: "I will descend," said I,

In hope to prove this loud complaint a lie.

Disguised in human shape, I travelled round

The world, and more than what I heard, I found.


It was a settled belief among the Egyptians, that their gods,

sometimes in the likeness of men, and sometimes in that of animals

which they held sacred, descended to the earth, and travelled

through different provinces, to punish, reward, and protect. The

Hindoo Avatars, or incarnations of their gods, prove how generally

this opinion had prevailed. Their Poorana are full of accounts of

the descent of Brahma, Vishnoo, Shiva, Naradu, and other gods, in

human shape. We need not wonder to find it in Lycaonia.

Verse 12. They called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius]

The heathens supposed that Jupiter and Mercury were the gods who

most frequently assumed the human form; and Jupiter was accustomed

to take Mercury with him on such expeditions. Jupiter was the

supreme god of the heathens; and Mercury was by them considered

the god of eloquence. And the ancient fable, from which I have

quoted so largely above, represents Jupiter and Mercury coming to

this very region, where they were entertained by Lycaon, from whom

the Lycaonians derived their name. See the whole fable in the

first book of Ovid's Metamorphoses.

As the ancients usually represented Jupiter as rather an aged

man, large, noble, and majestic; and Mercury young, light, and

active, the conjecture of Chrysostom is very probable, that

Barnabas was a large, noble, well-made man, and probably in years;

and St. Paul, young, active, and eloquent; on which account, they

termed the former Jupiter, and the latter Mercury. That Mercury

was eloquent and powerful in his words is allowed by the heathens;

and the very epithet that is applied here to Paul, ηνοηγουμενος

τουλογου, he was the chief or leader of the discourse, was

applied to Mercury. So Jamblichus de Myster. Init. θεοςοτων

λογωνηγεμωνοερμης. And Macrobius, Sat. i. 8: Scimus Mercurium

vocis et sermonis potentem. We know that Mercury is powerful both

in his voice and eloquence. With the Lycaonians, the actions of

these apostles proved them to be gods; and the different parts

they took appeared to them to fix their character, so that one was

judged to be Jupiter, and the other Mercury.

Verse 13. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their

city] There is a meaning here, which ordinary readers will not

readily apprehend. Many cities were put under the protection of a

particular deity; and the image of that deity placed at the

entrance, to signify that he was the guardian and protector. To

this St. Luke, every where as accurate as he is circumstantial,

refers. Lystra, it appears, was under the guardianship of Jupiter

Propulaius, διοςπροπυλαιου, which St. Luke translates, τουδιος

οντοςτηςπολεως, the Jupiter that was before the city, which is

another term for Jupiter Custos, or Jupiter the guardian. All

these deities, according to the attributes they sustained, had

their peculiar priests, rites, and sacrifices; and each a peculiar

service and priest for the office he bore; so that Jupiter

Brontes, Jupiter the thunderer, had a different service from

Jupiter Custos, Jove the guardian. Hence we can see with what

accuracy St. Luke wrote: the person who was going to offer them

sacrifices was the priest of Jupiter Custos, under whose

guardianship the city of Lystra was, and whom the priest supposed

had visited the city in a human form; and Barnabas, probably for

the reasons already assigned, he imagined was the person; and as

Mercury, the god of eloquence, was the general attendant of

Jupiter, the people and the priest supposed that Paul, who had a

powerful, commanding eloquence, was that god, also disguised. A

beautiful figure of such an image of Jupiter as, I suppose, stood

before the gate of Lystra, still remains; and a fine engraving of

it may be seen in Gruter's Inscriptions, vol. i. p. xx. Jupiter is

represented naked, sitting on a curule or consular chair; in his

right hand he holds his thunder, and a long staff in his left; at

his right, stands the eagle prepared for flight; and, above, the

winged cap and caduceus of Mercury. On the base is the

inscription, IUPPITER CUSTOM DOMUS AUG. Jupiter, the guardian of

the house of Augustus. As the preserver or guardian of towns, he

was generally styled Jupiter Custos, Serenus and Servator. His

name, JUPITER, i.e. jurans pater, the helping father, entitled

him, in those days of darkness, to general regard. On this false

god, who long engrossed the worship of even the most enlightened

nations on the earth, much may be seen in Lactantius, Divinar.

Institution. lib. i., in the Antiquite expliquee of Montfaucon;

and various inscriptions, relative to his character as guardian,

&c., may be seen in Gruter, as above.

Oxen and garlands] That is, oxen adorned with flowers, their

horns gilded, and neck bound about with fillets, as was the

custom in sacrificial rites. They also crowned the gods

themselves, the priests, and gates of the temples, with flowers.

Of this method of adorning the victims, there are numerous

examples in the Greek and Latin writers. A few may suffice. Thus


Victima labe carens et praestantissima forma

Sistitur ante aras; et vittis praesignis et auro.

OVID, Met. lib. xv. ver. 130.

The fairest victim must the powers appease,

So fatal 'tis sometimes too much to please:

A purple filet his broad brow adorns

With flowery garlands, crown, and gilded horns.


Huic Anius niveis circumdata tempora vittis

Concutiens, et tristis ait;__________

Ibid. lib. xiii. ver. 643.

The royal prophet shook his hoary head,

With fillets bound; and, sighing, thus he said___


________________________fovet ignibus aras,

Muneribus deos implet: feriuntque secures

Colla torosa boum vinctorum cornua vittis.

Ibid. lib. vii. ver. 427.

Rich curling fumes of incense feast the skies,

A hecatomb of voted victims dies,

With gilded horns, and garlands on their head,

In all the pomp of death to th' altar led.


VIRGIL also refers to the same rites and circumstances:-

Saepe in honore deum medio stans hostia ad aram

Lanea dum nivea circumdatur infula vitta,

Inter cunctantes cecidit moribunda ministros.

VIRG. Georg. lib. iii. ver. 486.

The victim ox that was for altars pressed,

Trimmed with white ribbons, and with garlands dressed,

Sunk of himself, without the god's command,

Preventing the slow sacrificer's hand.


Many similar examples may be seen in Wetstein and others.

At the time of worship, the Hindoo priests place garlands of

flowers on the head of the image. Whether the garlands were

intended to decorate the oxen or the apostles, we cannot say; but

in either case the conduct of the Lycaonians was conformable to

that of the modern Hindoos.

Verse 15. We also are men of like passions with you] This saying

of the apostles has been most strangely perverted. A pious

commentator, taking the word passion in its vulgar and most

improper sense, (a bad temper, an evil propensity,) and

supposing that these holy men wished to confess that they also had

many sinful infirmities, and wrong tempers, endeavours to

illustrate this sense of the word, by appealing to the contention

of Paul and Barnabas, &c., &c. But the expression means no more

than, "we are truly human beings, with the same powers and

appetites as your own; need food and raiment as you do; and are

all mortal like yourselves."

That ye should turn from these vanities] That is, from these

idols and false gods. How often false gods and idolatry are

termed vanity in the Scriptures, no careful reader of the Bible

needs to be told. What a bold saying was this in the presence of a

heathen mob, intent on performing an act of their superstitious

worship, in which they no doubt thought the safety of the state

was concerned. The ancient fable related by Ovid, Metam. lib. i.

ver. 211-239, to which reference has already been made, will cast

some light on the conduct of the Lystrians in this case. The

following is its substance:-"Jupiter, having been informed of the

great degeneracy of mankind, was determined himself to survey the

earth. Coming to this province, (Lycaonia,) disguised in human

shape, he took up his residence at the palace of Lycaon, then king

of that country: giving a sign of his godhead, the people worship

him: Lycaon sneers, doubts his divinity, and is determined to put

it to the trial. Some ambassadors from the Molossian state having

just arrived, he slew one of them, boiled part of his flesh, and

roasted the rest, and set it before Jupiter: the god, indignant at

the insult, burnt the palace, and turned the impious king into a

wolf." From this time, or, rather, from this fable, the whole

province was called Lycaonia. The simple people now seeing such

proofs of supernatural power, in the miracles wrought by Barnabas

and Paul, thought that Jupiter had again visited them; and fearing

lest they should meet with his indignation, should they neglect

duly to honour him, they brought oxen and garlands, and would have

offered them sacrifice, had they not been prevented by the

apostles themselves. This circumstance will account for their

whole conduct; and shows the reason why Jupiter was the tutelar

god of the place. As, therefore, the people took them for gods, it

was necessary for the apostles to show that they were but men; and

this is the whole that is meant by the ομοιοπαθειςανθρωποι, men

of like passions, fellow mortals, in the text, which has been so

pitifully mistaken by some, and abused by others.

The living God] Widely different from those stocks and stones,

which were objects of their worship.

Which made heaven and earth] And as all things were made by his

power, so all subsist by his providence; and to him alone, all

worship, honour, and glory are due.

Verse 16. Who in times past suffered all nations, &c.] The words

πανταταεθνη, which we here translate, all nations, should be

rendered, all the Gentiles, merely to distinguish them from the

Jewish people: who having a revelation, were not left to walk in

their own ways; but the heathens, who had not a revelation, were

suffered to form their creed, and mode of worship, according to

their own caprice.

Verse 17. He left not himself without witness] Though he gave

the Gentiles no revelation of his will, yet he continued to govern

them by his gracious providence; doing them good in general;

giving then rain to fertilize their grounds, and fruitful

seasons as the result; so that grass grew for the cattle and

corn for the service of man.

Filling our hearts with food] Giving as much food as could

reasonably be wished, so that gladness, or general happiness, was

the result. Such was the gracious provision made for man, at all

times, that the economy and bounty of the Divine Being were

equally evidenced by it. He never gives less than is necessary,

nor more than is sufficient. His economy forbids men to waste,

by going them in general no profusion. His bounty forbids them to

want, by giving as much as is sufficient for all the natural

wants of his creatures. By not giving too much, he prevents luxury

and riot: by giving enough, he prevents discontent and misery.

Thus he does mankind good, by causing his rain to descend upon the

just and the unjust, and his sun to shine upon the evil, and the

good. Thus he is said not to have left himself without witness:

for his providential dealings are the witnesses of his being, his

wisdom, and his bounty; and thus the invisible things of God,

even his eternal power and Godhead, were clearly seen, being

understood by the things which are made, Ro 1:20. Therefore those

who continued to worship stocks and stones were without excuse.

These were great and striking truths; and into what detail the

apostles now went, we cannot say; but it is likely that they spoke

much more than is here related, as the next verse states that,

with all these sayings, they found it difficult to prevent the

people from offering them sacrifice.

Verse 19. There came thither certain Jews from Antioch] Those

were, no doubt, the same who had raised up persecution against

Paul and Barnabas, at Iconium and Antioch, before: they followed

the apostles with implacable malice; and what they could not do

themselves they endeavoured to do by others, whose minds they

first perverted, and then irritated to deeds of fell purpose.

And having stoned Paul] Alas! of what real worth is popular

fame? How uncertain, and how unworthy to be counted! These poor

heathens acted just like the people of Malta, Ac 28:4-6. When the

viper fastened on the hand of Paul, they concluded he was a

murderer: when they found it did him no damage, they changed

their minds, and said he was a GOD! When the Lycaonians saw the

miracles that Paul did, they said he was the god Mercury: when the

persecuting Jews came, they persuaded them that he was an

impostor; and then they endeavoured to stone him to death.

Supposing he had been dead.] They did not leave stoning him till

they had the fullest evidence that he was dead; and so, most

probably, he was.

Verse 20. The disciples stood round about him] No doubt in

earnest prayer, entreating the Author of life that his soul might

again return to its battered tenement.

He rose up] Miraculously restored, not only to life, but to

perfect soundness so that he was able to walk into the city,

that his persecutors might see the mighty power of God in his

restoration, and the faith of the young converts be confirmed in

the truth and goodness of God. It is strange that neither the

young converts at Lystra, nor Barnabas, were involved in this

persecution! It seems to have had Paul alone for its object; and,

when they thought they had despatched him, they did not think of

injuring the rest.

Verse 21. Preached the Gospel to that city] Derbe, a city in the

same province. See Clarke on Ac 14:6.

They returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium] Behold the

courage of these Christian men! They counted not their lives

dear to them, and returned to do their Masters work in the very

places in which they had been so grievously persecuted, and where

one of them had been apparently stoned to death! The man who knows

he is God's ambassador, and that his life depends on his fidelity

to his Master, knows he has nothing but his God to fear.

Verse 22. Confirming the souls of the disciples] The word

disciple signifies literally a scholar. The Church of Christ was

a school, in which Christ himself was chief Master; and his

apostles subordinate teachers. All the converts were disciples

or scholars, who came to this school to be instructed in the

knowledge of themselves and of their GOD: of their duty to Him, to

the Church, to society, and to themselves. After having been

initiated in the principles of the heavenly doctrine, they needed

line upon line, and precept upon precept, in order that they might

be confirmed and established in the truth. Though it was a great

and important thing to have their heads, their understanding,

properly informed, yet, if the heart was not disciplined,

information in the understanding would be of little avail;

therefore they confirmed the SOULS of the disciples. As there must

be some particular standard of truth, to which they might

continually resort, that their faith might stand in the power of

God, it was necessary that they should have such a system of

doctrine as they knew came from God. These doctrines were those

which contained all the essential principles of Christianity, and

this was called THE FAITH; and, as they must have sound

principles, in order that they might have righteous practices,

so it was necessary that they should continue in that faith, that

it might produce that obedience, without which even faith itself,

however excellent, must be useless and dead.

Again, as the spirit of the world would be ever opposed to the

spirit of Christ, so they must make up their minds to expect

persecution and tribulation in various forms, and therefore had

need of confirmed souls and strong faith, that, when trials came,

they might meet them with becoming fortitude, and stand unmoved in

the cloudy and dark day. And as the mind must faint under trouble

that sees no prospect of its termination, and no conviction of its

use, it was necessary that they should keep in view the kingdom of

God, of which they were subjects, and to which, through their

adoption into the heavenly family, they had a Divine right.

Hence, from the apostles teaching, they not only learned that they

should meet with tribulation, much tribulation, but, for their

encouragement, they were also informed that these were the very

means which God would use to bring them into his own kingdom; so

that, if they had tribulation in the way, they had a heaven of

eternal glory as the end to which they were continually to

direct their views.

Verse 23. When they had ordained them elders] Elder seems to be

here the name of an office. These were all young or new converts,

and yet among them the apostles constitute elders. They appointed

persons the most experienced, and the most advanced in the Divine

life, to watch over and instruct the rest. But what is the meaning

of the word χειροτονησαντες, which we translate ordained? The word

ordain we use in an ecclesiastical sense, and signify by it the

appointment of a person to an office in the Church, by the

imposition of the hands of those who are rulers in that Church.

But χειροτονια a signifies the holding up or stretching out the

hand, as approving of the choice of any person to a particular

work: whereas χειροθεσια signifies the imposition of hands.

"Zonaras gives he proper meaning of the word in the text, in his

Scholia upon the first canon of the apostles, νυνμενχειροτονια

καλειταικτλ 'Nowadays, a course of prayers and invocation

on the Holy Spirit, when one is initiated into the priesthood, and

receives consecration, is called χειροτονια, cheirotonia, so

termed because the bishop extends his hand over him whom he

blesses, when he is chosen into holy orders. Anciently, the choice

or suffrage was called cheirotonia; for, when it was lawful for

the multitude in their cities to choose their priests or bishops,

they met together, and some chose one man, some another; but, that

it might appear whose suffrage won, they say the electors did use

εκτεινεινταςχειρας, to stretch forth their hands, and by their

hands so stretched forth, or up, they were numbered who chose the

one, and who the other; and him who was elected by the most

suffrages they placed in the high priesthood. And from hence was

the name cheirotonia taken, which the fathers of the councils are

found to have used, calling their suffrage cheirotonia.' St. Paul,

2Co 8:19, intimates that St. Luke was thus appointed to travel

with him χειροτονηθειςυποτωνεκκλησιων, who was chosen of the

Churches. Ignatius, in his epistle to the Philadelphians, uses the

same term, πρεπονεστινυμινωςεκκλησιαθεουχειροτονησαι

επισκοπον, ye ought, as a Church of God, to choose your bishop."

Much more on this subject may be seen in Sir Norton Knatchbull,

who contends that cheirotonia implies simply appointment or

election, but not what he calls ordination by the imposition of

hands. I believe the simple truth to be this, that in ancient

times the people chose by the cheirotonia (lifting up of hands)

their spiritual pastor; and the rulers of the Church, whether

apostles or others, appointed that person to his office by the

cheirothesia, or imposition of hands; and perhaps each of these

was thought to be equally necessary: the Church agreeing in the

election of the person; and the rulers of the Church appointing,

by imposition of hands, the person thus elected.

See Clarke on Ac 6:6.

And had l prayed with fasting] This was to implore God's special

assistance; as they well knew that, without his influence, even

their appointment could avail nothing.

Commended them to the Lord] To his especial care and protection.

Verse 24. Passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.]

See Clarke on Ac 13:13.

Verse 25. They went down into Attalia] This was a sea-port town

in Pamphylia. Thus we find the apostles travelled from Derbe to

Lystra; from Lystra to Iconium; from Iconium to Antioch of

Pisidia; from Antioch to Perga in Pamphylia; and from Perga to

Attalia; and it appears that they travelled over three provinces

of Asia Minor, Pamphylia, Lycaonia, and Pisidia. See Calmet, and

see the map.

Verse 26. And thence sailed to Antioch] This was Antioch in

Syria; and to reach which, by sea, they were obliged to coast a

part of the Mediterranean Sea, steering between Cyprus and

Cilicia; though they might have gone the whole journey by


Whence they had been recommended-for the work which they

fulfilled.] The reader will recollect that it was from this

Antioch they had been sent to preach the Gospel to the heathen in

Asia Minor: see Ac 13:1, 2; and that they

fulfilled that work: see in the same chapter, Ac 13:48; and the

circumstantial account of their travels and preaching given in

this chapter.

Verse 27. Had gathered the Church together] The Church by which

they had been sent on this very important and successful mission.

They rehearsed all that God had done with them] Not what they

had done themselves; but what GOD made them the instruments of


And how he had opened the door of faith] How God by his

providence and grace had made a way for preaching Christ crucified

among the heathen; and how the heathen had received that Gospel

which, through faith in Christ Jesus, was able to save their


Verse 28. And there they abode long time] How long the apostles

tarried here we cannot tell; but we hear no more of them till the

council of Jerusalem, mentioned in the following chapter, which is

generally supposed to have been held in the year 51 of our Lord;

and, if the transactions of this chapter took place in A.D. 46, as

chronologers think, then there are five whole years of St. Paul's

ministry, and that of other apostles, which St. Luke passes by in

perfect silence. It is very likely that all this time Paul and

Barnabas were employed in extending the work of God through the

different provinces contiguous to Antioch; for St. Paul himself

tells us that he preached the Gospel so far as Illyria, Ro 15:19,

on the side of the Adriatic Gulf: see its situation on the map.

Many of the tribulations and perils through which the Apostle Paul

passed are not mentioned by St, Luke, particularly those of which

he himself speaks, 2Co 11:23-27. He had been five times scourged

by the Jews; thrice beaten by the Romans; thrice shipwrecked; a

whole night and day in the deep, probably saving his life upon a

plank; besides frequent journeyings, and perils from his

countrymen, from the heathen, from robbers, in the city, in the

wilderness, in the sea, among false brethren, &c., &c. Of none of

these have we any circumstantial account. Probably most of these

happened in the five years which elapsed between the apostles'

return to Antioch, and the council of Jerusalem.

IN reading the Acts of the Apostles we may have often occasion

to remark that in preaching the Gospel they carefully considered

the different circumstances of the Jews and the Gentiles, and

suited their address accordingly. When speaking to the former, of

the necessity of crediting the Gospel, because without it they

could not be saved, they took care to support all their assertions

by passages drawn from the LAW and the PROPHETS, as every Jew

considered those books to be of Divine authority, and from their

decision there was no appeal. But, in addressing the Gentiles, who

had no revelation, they drew the proof of their doctrine from the

visible creation; and demonstrated, by plain reasoning, the

absurdity of their idolatrous worship, and called them off from

those vanities to the worship of the living and true God, who

made and governs all things, and who gave them such proofs of

his being, wisdom, and goodness, in the provision made for their

comfort and support, that they had only to reflect on the subject

in order to be convinced of its truth. And while, in consequence,

they saw the absurdity of their own system, they would at once

discover the reasonableness of that religion which was now offered

to them, in the name and on the authority of that God who had fed

and preserved them all their life long, and girded them when they

knew him not. The Gentiles felt the force of these reasonings,

yielded to the truth, and became steady followers of Christ

crucified; while the Jews, with all their light and advantages,

hardened their hearts against it, though they had no other

arguments than what contradiction and blasphemy could provide!

Publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven before

them. Do not many, even in the present day, copy their

example, revile the truth, take up with the shadow instead of the

substance, and rest just as much in the letter of Christianity,

as ever the Jews did in the letter of the law? This is a

deplorable fact which cannot be successfully controverted.

2. We have already had occasion to note five years of a chasm in

the apostolic history. God himself does not choose to have all the

labours and sufferings of his servants recorded. Their

recompense is in heaven; and it is enough that God knows their

work, who alone can reward it. And yet every faithful servant of

God will feel that the reward is all of grace, and not of debt;

for the amount of their good is just the sum of what God has

condescended to do by them. How studious are men to record the

smallest transactions of their lives, while much of the life and

labours of Jesus Christ and his apostles are written in the sand,

and no longer legible to man; or written before the throne, where

they are seen only by God and his angels. In many cases, the

silence of Scripture is not less instructive than its most

pointed communications.

3. We cannot consider the effect produced on the minds of the

people of Lystra, without being surprised that a single miracle,

wrought instrumentally by men, should excite so much attention and

reverence, and that we should be unmoved by the myriads wrought by

the immediate hand of GOD.

4. How difficult it is to get men brought to worship God, though

they have the highest reasons and most powerful motives for it;

and yet how ready are they to offer an incense to man that is due

only to God himself! We applaud the apostles for rejecting with

horror the sacrifices offered to them: common sense must have

taught them this lesson, even independently of their piety. Let us

beware that we take not that praise to ourselves which belongs to

our Maker. Gross flattery is generally rejected, because a man

cannot receive it without being rendered ridiculous; but who

rejects even inordinate praise, if it be delicately and artfully


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