Acts 18

CHAPTER XVIII.

Paul, leaving Athens, comes to Corinth, meets with Aquila and

Priscilla, and labours with them at tent-making, 1-3.

He preaches, and proves that Jesus was the Christ, 4, 5.

The Jews oppose and blaspheme; and he purposes to go to the

Gentiles, 6.

Justus, Crispus, and several of the Corinthians believe, 7, 8.

Paul has a vision, by which he is greatly comforted, 9, 10.

He continues there a year and six months, 11.

Gallio being deputy of Achaia, the Jews make insurrection

against Paul, and bring him before the deputy, who dismisses

the cause; whereupon the Jews commit a variety of outrages,

12-17.

Paul sails to Syria, and from thence to Ephesus, where he

preaches, 18-20.

He leaves Ephesus-goes to Caesarea, visits Antioch, Galatia,

and Phrygia, 21-23.

Account of Apollos and his preaching, 24-28.

NOTES ON CHAP. XVIII.

Verse 1. Paul departed from Athens] How long he stayed here, we

cannot tell; it is probable it could not be less than three

months; but, finding that the Gospel made little progress among

the Athenians, he resolved to go to Corinth.

CORINTH was situated on the isthmus that connects Peloponnesus

to Attica; and was the capital of all Achaia, or Peloponnesus. It

was most advantageously situated for trade; for, by its two ports,

the Lecheum and Cenchreae, it commanded the commerce both of the

Ionian and AEgean Sea. It was destroyed by the Romans under

Mummius, about one hundred and forty-six years before Christ, in

their wars with Attica; but was rebuilt by Julius Caesar, and

became one of the most considerable cities of Greece. Like other

kingdoms and states, it has undergone a variety of revolutions:

from the oppressive and destructive government of the Turks it has

been lately restored to that of the Greeks; but it is greatly

reduced, its whole population amounting only to between thirteen

and fourteen thousand souls. It is about 46 miles east of Athens,

and 342 S.W. of Constantinople. Its public buildings were very

superb; and there the order called the Corinthian Order, in

architecture, took its rise.

Verse 2. A certain Jew named Aquila] Some have supposed that

this Aquila was the same with the Onkelos, mentioned by the Jews.

See the article in Wolfius, Bibl. Hebr. vol. ii. p. 1147. We have

no evidence that this Jew and his wife were at this time converted

to the Christian religion. Their conversion was most likely the

fruit of St. Paul's lodging with them-Pontus.

See Clarke on Ac 2:9.

Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome] This edict

of the Roman emperor is not mentioned by Josephus; but it is

probably the same to which Suetonius refers in his life of

Claudius; where he says, Judaeos, impulsore Chresto, assidue

tumultuantes Roma expulit. "He expelled the Jews from Rome, as

they were making continual insurrections, under their leader

Chrestus." Who this Chrestus was we cannot tell; probably

Suetonius means Christ; but this I confess does not appear to me

likely. There might have been a Jew of the name of Chrestus, who

had made some disturbances, and, in consequence, Claudius thought

proper to banish all Jews from the city. But how could he intend

Christ, who was never at Rome? nor did any one ever personate him

in that city; and it is evident he could not refer to any

spiritual influence exerted by Christ on the minds of the people.

Indeed he speaks of Chrestus as being the person who was the cause

of the disturbances. It is no fictitious name, no name of an

absent person, nor of a sect; but of one who was well known by the

disturbances which he occasioned, and for which it is likely he

suffered, and those of his nation were expelled. This decree,

which was made, not by the senate, but by the emperor himself,

continued only in force during his life, if so long; for in a

short time after this Rome again abounded with Jews.

Verse 3. He abode with them, and wrought] Bp. Pearce observes

that it was a custom among the Jews, even of such as had a better

education than ordinary, which was Paul's case, Ac 22:3, to learn

a trade, that, wherever they were, they might provide for

themselves in case of necessity. And though Paul, in some cases,

lived on the bounty of his converts, yet he chose not to do so at

Ephesus, Ac 20:34; nor at Corinth or other places, 1Co 4:12;

2Co 9:8, 9; 1Th 3:8; and this Paul did for a reason which he

gives in 2Co 11:9-12. While he was at Corinth he was supplied,

when his own labour did not procure him enough, "by the brethren

which came to him there from Macedonia." It appears that the

apostle had his lodging with Aquila and Priscilla; and probably a

portion of the profits of the business, after his board was

deducted. It was evidently no reproach for a man, at that time, to

unite public teaching with an honest useful trade. And why should

it be so now? May not a man who has acquired a thorough knowledge

of the Gospel way of salvation, explain that way to his less

informed neighbours, though he be a tent-maker, (what perhaps we

would call a house-carpenter,) or a shoemaker, or any thing else?

Even many of those who consider it a cardinal sin for a mechanic

to preach the Gospel, are providing for themselves and their

families in the same way. How many of the clergy, and other

ministers, are farmers, graziers, schoolmasters, and sleeping

partners in different trades and commercial concerns! A

tent-maker, in his place, is as useful as any of these. Do not

ridicule the mechanic because he preaches the Gospel to the

salvation of his neighbours, lest some one should say, in a

language which you glory to have learned, and which the mechanic

has not, Mutato nomine, de TE fabula narrator.

There are different opinions concerning that is meant here by

the σκηνοποιος, which we translate tent-maker. Some think it means

a maker of those small portable tents, formed of skins, which

soldiers and travellers usually carried with them on their

journeys; others suppose that these tents mere made of linen

cloth. Some think that the trade of St. Paul was making hangings

or curtains, such as were used at the theatres; others think the

σκηνοποιος was a sort of umbrella-maker; others, a weaver, &c.,

&c. In short, we know not what the trade was. I have generally

preferred the notion of a carpenter, or faber lignarius. Whatever

it was, it was an honest, useful calling, and Paul got his bread

by it.

Verse 4. He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath] Discoursed

at large concerning Jesus as the Messiah, proving this point from

their own Scriptures, collated with the facts of our Lord's life,

&c.

And persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.] Many, both Jews and

proselytes, were convinced of the truth of his doctrine. Among his

converts was Epenetus, the first fruit of his labour in Achaia,

Ro 16:5; and the family of

Stephanas was the next; and then Crispus and Caius, or Gaius;

all of whom the apostle himself baptized, 1Co 1:14-16.

See Clarke on Ac 18:8.

Verse 5. When Silas and Timotheus were come] We have seen,

Ac 17:13, that when Paul was obliged to leave Berea, because of

the persecution raised up against him in that place, he left Silas

and Timotheus behind; to whom he afterwards sent word to rejoin

him at Athens with all speed. It appears, from 1Th 3:10, that, on

Timothy's coming to Athens, Paul immediately sent him, and

probably Silas with him, to comfort and establish the Church at

Thessalonica. How long they laboured here is uncertain, but they

did not rejoin him till some time after he came to Corinth. It

appears that he was greatly rejoiced at the account which Timothy

brought of the Church at Thessalonica; and it must have been

immediately after this that he wrote his first epistle to that

Church, which is probably the first, in order of time, of all his

epistles.

Paul was pressed in spirit] συνειχετοτωπνευματι, or he was

constrained by the Spirit of God, in an extraordinary manner, to

testify to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. Instead of τω

πνευματι, in the spirit, τωλογω, in the word or doctrine,

is the reading of ABDE, three others; both the Syriac, Coptic,

Vulgate, Basil, Chrysostom, and others. Griesbach has received

this reading into the text, and Bp. Pearce thus paraphrases the

verse: "And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia,

Paul set himself, together with them, wholly to the word; i.e. he

was fully employed, now that he had their assistance, it preaching

the Gospel, called the word in Ac 4:4; 16:6, 32; 17:11. St. Luke

seems to have intended to express here something relating to St.

Paul which was the consequence of the coming of Silas and

Timotheus; and that was rather labouring with them more abundantly

in preaching the word than his being "pressed in spirit." This

appears to be the true sense of the word, and that τωλογω is the

genuine reading there can be no doubt. συνειχετο, which we

translate pressed, and which the Vulgate translates instabat, Bp.

Pearce thinks should be translated una cum illis instabat, he

earnestly strove together with them, τωλογω, in preaching the

word. The true sense is given by Calmet, Paul s'employoit a

precher encore avec plus d'ardeur, Paul was employed with more

ardour in preaching, and testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the

Christ. From this time we hear no more of Silas; probably he died

in Macedonia.

Verse 6. When they opposed] αντιτασσομενων, Systematically

opposing, putting themselves in warlike order against him: so the

word implies.

And blasphemed] This is precisely the way in which they still

act. They have no arguments against Jesus being the Messiah; but,

having made a covenant with unbelief, as soon as they are pressed

on this point, they rail and blaspheme.-See the Tela ignea

Satanae, by Wagenseil.

He shook his raiment] This was an action similar to that of

shaking the dust of the feet; See Clarke on Mt 10:14. See a

parallel act, and its signification, in Ne 5:13:

Also I SHOOK MY LAP, and said, So shall God SHAKE every man FROM

HIS HOUSE and FROM his LABOUR; even thus shall he be SHAKEN OUT

and EMPTIED. St. Paul's act on this occasion seems to have been

the same with this of Nehemiah, and with the same signification;

and it is likely that he was led by a Divine impulse to do it-thus

signifying the shaking and emptying out of this disobedient

people, which took place about sixteen years afterwards.

Your blood be upon your own heads] That is, ye alone are the

cause of the destruction that is coming upon yourselves and upon

your country.

I am clean] καθαροςεγω, I am pure or innocent of your

death and ruin. I have proposed to you the Gospel of Jesus

Christ-the only means by which ye can be saved, and ye have

utterly rejected it. I shall labour no more with you; and, from

henceforth, shall confine my labours to the Gentiles. St. Paul

must refer to the Jews and Gentiles of Corinth particularly; for

he preached to the Jews occasionally in other places; see

Ac 19:8, 9; and several were brought to the knowledge of the

truth. But it seems as if the Jews from this time systematically

opposed the Gospel of Christ; and yet, general tenders of this

salvation were made to them wherever the apostles came; and when

they rejected them, the word was sent to the Gentiles; see

Ac 19:8, 9.

Pure from blood, or pure from guilt, is commonly expressed by

καθαρος; thus Heliodorus, lib. i. p. 49: ειςδευροδιετελεσα

καθαρανεμαυτηναποσηςομιλιαςφυλαττουσα, Until now I have

lived, preserving myself pure: and Alciphron, lib. i. epist. 7,

ad. fin.: ουδεμιαναιλυθρωταςχειραςαςηθαλατταεκπαιδοςεις

δευροκαθαραςαδικηματωνεφυλαξε, Nor to stain with pollution the

hands which a seafaring life has kept from a child until now pure

from iniquity.

Verse 7. And he departed thence] From his former lodging, or

that quarter of the city where he had dwelt before with Aquila and

Priscilla; and went to lodge with Justus, apparently a proselyte

of the gate. This person is called Titus, and Titus Justus, in

several MSS. and versions.

Verse 8. Crispus the chief ruler of the synagogue] This person

held an office of considerable consequence; and therefore his

conversion to Christianity must have been very galling to the

Jews. It belonged to the chief or ruler of the synagogue to

preside in all the assemblies, interpret the law, decide

concerning things lawful and unlawful, punish the refractory,

excommunicate the rebellious, solemnize marriages, and issue

divorces. It is likely that, on the conversion of Crispus,

Sosthenes was chosen to succeed him.

Many of the Corinthians] Those to whom the sacred historian

refers were probably Gentiles, and were the fruits of the

apostle's labours after he had ceased to preach among the Jews.

Verse 9. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision]

It is likely that Paul was at this time much discouraged by the

violent opposition of the Jews, and probably was in danger of his

life; see Ac 18:10; and might have been entertaining serious

thoughts of ceasing to preach, or leaving Corinth. To prevent

this, and comfort him, God was pleased to give him this vision.

Be not afraid] That this comfort and assurance were necessary

himself shows us in his first epistle to these Corinthians,

Ac 2:3:

I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

Verse 10. No man shall set on thee] καιουδειςεπιθησεταισοι,

No man shall be permitted to lay violent hands upon thee. It is

very likely that the Jews had conspired his death; and his

preservation was an act of the especial interposition of Divine

Providence.

I have much people in this city.] εντηπολειταυτη, In this

very city: there are many here who have not resisted my Spirit,

and consequently are now under its teachings, and are ready to

embrace my Gospel as soon as thou shalt declare it unto them.

Verse 11. He continued there a year and six months] He was now

confident that he was under the especial protection of God, and

therefore continued teaching the word, τονλογον, the doctrine of

God. It is very likely, that it was during his stay here that he

wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians, and the second not

long after; and some think that the epistle to the Galatians was

written during his stay at Corinth.

Verse 12. When Gallio was the deputy of Achaia] The Romans

comprehended, under the name of Achaia, all that part of Greece

which lay between Thessaly and the southernmost coasts of

Peloponnesus. Pausanias, in Attic. vii. 16, says that the Romans

were accustomed to send a governor into that country, and that

they called him the governor of Achaia, not of Greece; because the

Achaeans, when they subdued Greece, were the leaders in all the

Grecian affairs see also Suetonius, in his life of Claudius, cap.

xxv., and Dio Cassius, lx. 24. Edit. Reimari.

Deputy] ανθυπατευοντος, serving the office of ανθυπατος, or

deputy: see Clark's note on "Ac 13:7".

Gallio] This deputy, or proconsul, was eldest brother to the

celebrated Lucius Annaeus Seneca, the stoic philosopher, preceptor

of Nero, and who is so well known among the learned by his works.

The name of Gallio, was at first Marcus Annaeus Novatus; but,

having been adopted in the family of Gallio, he took the name of

Lucius Junius Gallio. He, and Annaeus Mela his brother, father

of the poet Lucan, shared in the disgrace of their brother Seneca;

and by this tyrant, Nero, whose early years were so promising, the

three brothers were put to death; see Tacitus, Annal. lib. xv. 70,

and xvi. 17. It was to this Gallio that Seneca dedicates his book

De Ira. Seneca describes him as a man of the most amiable mind

and manners: "Quem nemo non parum amat, etiam qui amare plus non

potent; nemo mortalium uni tam dulcis est, quam hic omnibus: cum

interim tanta naturalis boni vis est, uti artem simulationemque

non redoleat:" vide Senec. Praefat. ad Natural. Quaest. 4. He was

of the sweetest disposition, affable to all, and beloved by every

man.

Statius, Sylvar. lib. ii. 7. ver. 30, Ode on the Birthday of

Lucan, says not a little in his favour, in a very few words:-

Lucanum potes imputare terris;

Hoc plus quam Senecam dedisse mundo,

Aut dulcem generasse Gallionem.

You may consider nature as having made greater efforts in

producing Lucan, than it has done in producing Seneca, or even the

amiable GALLIO.

And brought him to the judgment seat] They had no power to

punish any person in the Roman provinces, and therefore were

obliged to bring their complaint before the Roman governor. The

powers that be are ordained of God. Had the Jews possessed the

power here, Paul had been put to death!

Verse 13. Persuaded men to worship God contrary to the law.]

This accusation was very insidious. The Jews had permission by the

Romans to worship their own God in their own way: this the laws

allowed. The Roman worship was also established by the law.

The Jews probably intended to accuse Paul of acting contrary to

both laws. "He is not a Jew, for he does not admit of

circumcision; he is not a Gentile, for he preaches against the

worship of the gods. He is setting up a worship of his own, in

opposition to all laws, and persuading many people to join with

him: he is therefore a most dangerous man, and should be put to

death."

Verse 14. Paul was now about to open his mouth] He was about to

enter on his defense; but Gallio, perceiving that the prosecution

was through envy and malice, would not put Paul to any farther

trouble, but determined the matter as follows.

If it were a matter of wrong] αδικημα, Of injustice; any thing

contrary to the rights of the subject.

Or wicked lewdness] ραδιουργημαπονηρον, Destructive mischief.

(See Clarke on Ac 13:10, where the word is explained.)

Something by which the subject is grievously wronged; were it any

crime against society or against the state.

Reason would that I should bear with you.] καταλογοναν

ηνεσχομηνυμων, According to reason, or the merit of the case, I

should patiently hear you.

Verse 15. But if it be a question of words] περιλογου,

Concerning doctrine and names-whether the person called Jesus be

the person you call the Messiah. And of your law-any particular

nicety, concerning that law which is peculiar to yourselves: Look

ye to it-settle the business among yourselves; the Roman

government does not meddle with such matters, and I will not take

upon me to-decide in a case that does not concern my office. As if

he had said: "The Roman laws give religious liberty to Jews and

Greeks; but, if controversies arise among you on these subjects,

decide them among yourselves, or dispute about them as much as you

please." A better answer could not be given by man; and it was

highly becoming the acknowledged meekness, gentleness, and

benevolence of this amiable man. He concluded that the state had

no right to control any man's religious opinion; that was between

the object of his worship and his own conscience; and therefore he

was not authorized to intermeddle with subjects of this nature,

which the law left to every man's private judgment. Had all the

rulers of the people in every country acted as this sensible and

benevolent Roman, laws against liberty of conscience, concerning

religious persecution, would not be found to be, as they not are,

blots and disgraces on the statute books of almost all the

civilized nations of Europe.

Verse 16. And he drave them from the judgment seat.] He saw that

their accusation was both frivolous and vexatious, and he ordered

them to depart, and the assembly to disperse. The word απηλασεν,

which we translate he drave, does not signify here any act of

violence on the part of Gallio or the Roman officers, but simply

an authoritative dismission.

Verse 17. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes] As this man is

termed the chief ruler of the synagogue, it is probable that he

had lately succeeded Crispus in that office; see Ac 18:8; and

that he was known either to have embraced Christianity, or to have

favoured the cause of St. Paul. He is supposed to be the same

person whom St. Paul associates with himself in the first epistle

to the Corinthians, 1Co 1:1. Crispus might have been removed from

his presidency in the synagogue as soon as the Jews found he had

embraced Christianity, and Sosthenes appointed in his place. And,

as he seems to have speedily embraced the same doctrine, the Jews

would be the more enraged, and their malice be directed strongly

against him, when they found that the proconsul would not support

them in their opposition to Paul.

But why should the Greeks beat Sosthenes? I have in the above

note proceeded on the supposition that this outrage was committed

by the Jews; and my reason for it is this: οιελληνες, the

Greeks, is omitted by AB, two of the oldest and most authentic

MSS. in the world: they are omitted also by the Coptic and

Vulgate, Chrysostom, and Bede. Instead of οιελληνες, three

MSS., one of the eleventh, and two of the thirteenth century, have

ιουδαιοι, the Jews; and it is much more likely that the Jews

beat one of their own rulers, through envy at his conversion, than

that the Greeks should do so; unless we allow, which is very

probable, (if ελληνες, Greeks, be the true reading,) that these

Hellenes were Jews, born in a Greek country, and speaking the

Greek language.

And Gallio cared for none of those things.] καιουδεντουτωνθω

γαλλιωνιεμελεν. And Gallio did not concern himself, did not

intermeddle with any of these things. As he found that it was a

business that concerned their own religion, and that the

contention was among themselves, and that they were abusing one of

their own sect only, he did not choose to interfere. He, like the

rest of the Romans, considered the Jews a most despicable people,

and worthy of no regard; and their present conduct had no tendency

to cause him to form a different opinion of them from that which

he and his countrymen had previously entertained. It is not very

likely, however, that Gallio saw this outrage; for, though it was

before the judgment seat, it probably did not take place till

Gallio had left the court; and, though he might be told of it, he

left the matter to the lictors, and would not interfere.

The conduct of Gallio has been, in this case, greatly censured;

and I think with manifest injustice. In the business brought

before his tribunal, no man could have followed a more prudent or

equitable course. His whole conduct showed that it was his

opinion, that the civil magistrate had nothing to do with

religious opinions or the concerns of conscience, in matters

where the safety of the state was not implicated. He therefore

refused to make the subject a matter of legal discussion. Nay, he

went much farther; he would not even interfere to prevent either

the Jews or the apostles from making proselytes. Though the

complaint against the apostles was, that they were teaching men to

worship God contrary to the law; See Clarke on Ac 18:15,

yet, even in this case, he did not think it right to exert the secular

power to restrain the free discussion and teaching of matters

which concerned the rights of conscience in things pertaining to

the worship of the gods. As to his not preventing the tumult which

took place, we may sag, if he did see it, which is not quite

evident, that he well knew that this could rise to no serious

amount; and the lictors, and other minor officers, were there in

sufficient force to prevent any serious riot, and it was their

business to see that the public peace was not broken, besides, as

a heathen, he might have no objection to permit this people to

pursue a line of conduct by which they were sure to bring

themselves and their religion into contempt. These wicked Jews

could not disprove the apostle's doctrine, either by argument or

Scripture; and they had recourse to manual logic, which was an

indisputable proof of the badness of their own cause, and the

strength of that of their opponents.

But in consequence of this conduct Gallio has been represented

as a man perfectly careless and unconcerned about religion in

general; and therefore has been considered as a proper type or

representative of even professed Christians, who are not decided

in their religious opinions or conduct. As a heathen, Gallio

certainly was careless about both Judaism and Christianity. The

latter he had probably never heard of but by the cause now

before his judgment seat; and, from any thing he could see of the

other, through the medium of its professors, he certainly could

entertain no favourable opinion of it: therefore in neither case

was he to blame. But the words, cared for none of those things,

are both misunderstood and misapplied: we have already seen that

they only mean that he would not intermeddle in a controversy

which did not belong to has province and sufficient reasons have

been alleged why he should act as he did. It is granted that many

preachers take this for a text, and preach useful sermons for the

conviction of the undecided and lukewarm; and it is to be deplored

that there are so many undecided and careless people in the world,

and especially in reference to what concerns their eternal

interests. But is it not to be lamented, also, thy there should be

preachers of God's holy word who attempt to explain passages of

Scripture which they do not understand. For he who preaches on

Gallio cared for none of those things, in the way in which the

passage has, through mismanagement, been popularly understood,

either does not understand it, or he willing perverts the meaning.

Verse 18. And Paul-tarried there yet a good while] The

persecuting Jews plainly saw, from the manner in which the

proconsul had conducted this business, that they could have no

hope of raising a state persecution against the apostles; and the

laws provided so amply for the personal safety of every Roman

citizen that then were afraid to proceed any farther in their

violence. It would not be unknown that Paul was possessed of the

right of Roman citizenship; and therefore his person was sacred

as long as he did nothing contrary to the laws.

It is probable that at this time Paul stayed, on the whole, as

Corinth, about two years.

Having shorn his head in Cenchrea] But who was it that shore his

head? Paul or Aquila? Some think the latter, who had bound himself

by the Nazarite vow, probably before he became a Christian; and,

being under that vow, his conscience would not permit him to

disregard it. There is nothing in the text that absolutely obliges

us to understand this action as belonging to St. Paul. It seems to

have been the act of Aquila alone; and therefore both Paul and

Priscilla are mentioned before Aquila; and it is natural to refer

the vow to the latter. Yet there are certainly some weighty

reasons why the vow should be referred to St. Paul, and not to

Aquila; and interpreters are greatly divided on the subject.

Chrysostom, Isidore of Seville, Grotius, Hammond, Zegerus,

Erasmus, Baronius, Pearce, Wesley, and others, refer the vow to

Aquila.-Jerome, Augustin, Bede, Calmet, Dodd, Rosenmuller, and

others, refer it to St. Paul. Each party has its strong

reasons-the matter is doubtful-the bare letter of the text

determines nothing: yet I cannot help leaning to the latter

opinion. Perhaps it was from feeling the difficulty of deciding

which was under the vow that the AEthiopic and two Latin

versions, instead of κειραμενος, having shaved, in the singular,

appear to have read κειραμενοι, they shaved; and thus put both

Paul and Aquila under the vow.

Cenchrea. This was a port on the east side of the isthmus of

Corinth, opposite to the Lecheum, which was the other port on the

west. And it is likely that it was at Cenchrea that St. Paul

took shipping for Syria, as it would be more convenient her him,

and a shorter passage to embark at Cenchrea, in order to go by the

AEgean Sea to Syria, than to embark at the Lecheum, and sail down

into the Mediterranean. This isthmus is generally described now as

dividing the Gulf of Lepanto, on the west, from the Gulf of Engia,

or Eginaon, on the east.

Verse 19. He came to Ephesus] Where it appears he spent but one

Sabbath. It is supposed that Paul left Aquila and Priscilla at

this place, and that he went on alone to Jerusalem; for it is

certain they were at Ephesus when Apollos arrived there. See

Ac 18:24, 26.

EPHESUS was at the time in which St. Paul visited it, one of the

most flourishing cities of Asia Minor. It was situated in that

part anciently called Ionia, but now Natolia. It abounded with the

most eminent orators, philosophers, &c., in the world; and was

adorned with the most splendid buildings. Here was that famous

temple of Diana, reputed one of the seven wonders of the world.

This city is now under the dominion of the Turks, and is in a

state of almost entire ruin. The temple of Minerva, which had long

served as a Christian church, is now so completely ruined that its

site cannot be easily determined; though some ruins of the walls

are still standing, with five or six marble columns, forty feet in

length, and seven in diameter, all of one piece. It still has a

good harbour, and is about forty miles from Smyrna. In Chandler's

Travels in Asia Minor, some curious information is given

concerning this once eminent city. His account concludes thus:

"The Ephesians are now a few Greek peasants, living in extreme

wretchedness, dependence, and insensibility: the representative of

an illustrious people, and inhabiting the wrecks of their

greatness: some beneath the vaults of the Stadium, once the

crowded scene of their diversions; and some live by the abrupt

precipice, in the sepulchres which received the ashes of their

ancestors. Such are the present citizens of Ephesus; and such is

the condition to which that renowned city has been gradually

reduced. Its streets are obscured and overgrown; a herd of goats

was driven to it for shelter from the sun at noon; and a noisy

flight of crows from the quarries seemed to insult its silence. We

heard the partridge call in the area of the theatre, and of the

Stadium. The glorious pomp of its heathen worship is no longer

remembered; and Christianity, which was there nursed by apostles,

and fostered by general councils, until it increased to fulness of

stature, barely lingers on, in an existence hardly visible."

Travels in Asia Minor, p. 130. Reader! This city was once the

capital of Asia Minor; and its ruins alone prove that it has

existed: and it was one of those seven Churches to which a letter

was expressly dictated by Jesus Christ himself! Ephesus is

properly no more! and the Church of Ephesus is blotted put of the

map of Christianity! Be silent and adore.

Verse 21. I must-keep this feast] Most likely the passover, at

which he wished to attend for the purpose of seeing many of his

friends, and having the most favourable opportunity to preach the

Gospel to thousands who would attend at Jerusalem on that

occasion. The whole of this clause, I must by all means keep this

feast that cometh in Jerusalem, is wanting in ABE, six others;

with the Coptic, AEthiopic, Armenian, and Vulgate. Griesbach

leaves it in the text, with the mark of doubtfulness; and

Professor White, in his Crisews, says, probabiliter delenda.

Without this clause the verse will read thus: But he bade them

farewell, saying, I will return again unto you, if God will. And

this he did before the expiration of that same year, Ac 19:1, and

spent three years with them, Ac 20:31, extending and establishing

the Church at that place.

Verse 22. Landed at Caesarea] This must have been Caesarea in

Palestine.

Gone up] To Jerusalem, though the name is not mentioned: but

this is a common form of speech in the evangelists, Jerusalem

being always meant when this expression was used; for the word

αναβαινω, to go up, is often used absolutely, to signify, to go

to Jerusalem: e.g. GO ye UP unto this feast; I GO not UP yet,

Joh 7:8.

But when his brethren were GONE UP, then WENT he also UP unto

the feast, Joh 7:10.

There were certain Greeks-that CAME UP to worship, Joh 12:20.

St. Paul himself uses a similar form of expression. There are yet

but twelve days since I WENT UP to Jerusalem, for to worship,

Ac 24:11. So all parts of England are spoken of as being below

London: so we talk of going up to London; and people in London

talk of going down to the country.

Saluted the Church] That is, the Church at Jerusalem, called

emphatically THE CHURCH, because it was the FIRST Church-the

MOTHER, or APOSTOLIC Church; and from it all other Christian

Churches proceeded: those in Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica,

Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, &c. Therefore, even this last was only a

daughter Church, when in its purest state.

Went down to Antioch.] That is, Antioch in Syria, as the word

is generally to be understood when without addition, so Caesarea

is always to be understood Caesarea in Palestine, when without the

addition of Philippi.

Verse 23. Went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia] Both

were provinces of Asia Minor: See Clarke on Ac 2:10.

In order] καθεξης, A word peculiar to St. Luke; see his Gospel,

Lu 1:3; 8:1; and his history of the Acts, Ac 3:24; 11:4, and

the place above; the only places where this word occurs in the New

Testament. It properly signifies, in order, distinctly,

particularly; from κατα, according to, and εξη, order, as

opposed to confusion, indistinctness, &c. If St. Paul went up to

Jerusalem at this time, which we are left to infer, for Luke has

not expressed it, (Ac 18:22,) it was his

fourth journey thither; and this is generally supposed to have

been the twenty-first year after his conversion. His first journey

is mentioned Ac 9:26; his

second, Ac 11:30; his

third, Ac 15:4; and his

fourth, Ac 18:22, the place above.

Verse 24. A certain Jew named Apollos] One MS., with the Coptic

and Armenian, calls him Apelles; and the Codex Bezae, Apollonius.

It is strange that we should find a Jew, not only with a Roman

name, as Aquila, an eagle; but with the name of one of the false

gods, as Apollos or Apollo in the text. Query: Whether the parents

of this man were not originally Gentiles, but converted to Judaism

after their son Apollo (for so we should write the word) had been

born and named.

Born at Alexandria] This was a celebrated city of Egypt, built

by Alexander the Great, from whom it took its name. It was seated

on the Mediterranean Sea, between the Lake Mareotis and the

beautiful harbour formed by the Isle of Pharos, about twelve miles

west of the Canopic branch of the Nile, in lat. 31�. 10'. N. This

city was built under the direction of Dinocrates, the celebrated

architect of the temple of Diana at Ephesus. It was in this city

that Ptolemy Soter founded the famous academy called the Museum,

in which a society of learned men devoted themselves to

philosophical studies. Some of the most celebrated schools of

antiquity flourished here; and here was the Tower of Pharos,

esteemed one of the seven wonders of the world. Alexandria was

taken by the French, July 4, 1798, under the command of Bonaparte;

and was surrendered to the English under General, now Lord,

Hutchinson, in 1801. And, in consequence of the treaty of peace

between France and England, it was restored to the Turks. Near

this place was the celebrated obelisk, called Cleopatra's Needle;

and the no less famous column, called Pompey's Pillar. This city

exhibits but very slender remains of its ancient splendour.

An eloquent man] Having strong rhetorical powers; highly

cultivated, no doubt, in the Alexandrian schools.

Mighty in the Scriptures] Thoroughly acquainted with the law and

prophets; and well skilled in the Jewish method of interpreting

them.

Verse 25. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord]

κατηχημενος; He was catechized, initiated, in the way, the

doctrine, of Jesus as the Christ.

Being fervent in the spirit] Being full of zeal to propagate the

truth of God, he taught diligently, ακριβως accurately, (so the

word should be translated,) the things of Christ as far as he

could know them through the ministry of John the Baptist; for it

appears he knew nothing more of Christ than what John preached.

Some suppose we should read ουκ, not, before ακριβως,

correctly, or accurately, because it is said that Aquila and

Priscilla expounded the way of the Lord, ακριβεστερον, more

perfectly, rather more accurately; but of this emendation there is

not the slightest necessity; for surely it is possible for a man

to teach accurately what he knows; and it is possible that

another, who possesses more information on the subject than the

former, may teach him more accurately, or give him a larger

portion of knowledge. Apollo knew the baptism of John; but he knew

nothing farther of Jesus Christ than that baptism taught; but, as

far as he knew, he taught accurately. Aquila and Priscilla were

acquainted with the whole doctrine of the Gospel: the doctrine of

Christ dying for our sins, and rising again for our justification;

and in this they instructed Apollo; and this was more accurate

information than what he had before received, through the medium

of John's ministry.

Verse 26. They took him unto them] This eloquent man, and mighty

in the Scriptures, who was even a public teacher, was not ashamed

to be indebted to the instructions of a Christian woman, in

matters that not only concerned his own salvation, but also the

work of the ministry, in which he was engaged. It is disgraceful

to a man to be ignorant, when he may acquire wisdom; but it is no

disgrace to acquire wisdom from the meanest person or thing. The

adage is good: Despise not advice, even of the meanest: the

gaggling of geese preserved the Roman state.

Verse 27. When he was disposed to pass into Achaia] There is a

very long and important addition here in the Codex Bezae, of which

the following is a translation: But certain Corinthians, who

sojourned at Ephesus, and heard him, entreated him to pass over

with them to their own country. Then, when he had given his

consent, the Ephesians wrote to the disciples at Corinth, that

they should receive this man. Who, when he was come, &c. The same

addition is found in the later Syriac, and in the Itala version in

the Codex Bezae.

Which had believed through grace.] These words may either refer

to Apollo, or to the people at Corinth. It was through grace

that they had believed; and it was through grace that Apollo was

enabled to help them much.

The words διατηςχαριτος, through grace, are wanting in the

Codex Bezae, the later Syriac, the Vulgate, one copy of the

Itala, and in some of the fathers. But this omission might have

been the effect of carelessness in the writers of those copies

from which the foregoing were taken: the words convey the same

idea that is expressed by St. Paul, 1Co 3:6:

Paul planted, and Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Though this eminent man became the instrument of mightily helping

the believers in Corinth, yet he was also the innocent cause of a

sort of schism among them. For some, taken by his commanding

eloquence, began to range themselves on his side, and prefer him

to all other teachers. This evil St. Paul reprehends and corrects

in his first epistle to the Corinthians. St. Jerome says that

Apollo became bishop of Corinth.

Verse 28. He mightily convinced the Jews] ευτονως

διακατηλεγχετο; He vehemently confuted the Jews; and that

publicly, not in private conferences, but in his public

preaching: showing by the scriptures of the Old Testament, which

the Jews received as divinely inspired, that Jesus, who had lately

appeared among them, and whom they had crucified, was the Christ,

the promised Messiah, and that there was salvation in none other;

and that they must receive him as the Messiah, in order to escape

the wrath to come. This they refused to do; and we know the

consequence. Their city was sacked, their temple burnt, their

whole civil and religious polity subverted, more than a million of

themselves killed, and the rest scattered over the face of the

earth.

1. THE Christian religion did not hide itself in corners and

obscure places at first, in order, privately, to get strength,

before it dared to show itself publicly. Error, conscious of its

weakness, and that its pretensions cannot bear examination, is

obliged to observe such a cautious procedure. With what caution,

circumspection, and privacy, did Mohammed propose his new

religion! He formed a party by little and little, in the most

private manner, before he ventured to exhibit his pretensions

openly. Not so Christianity: it showed itself in the most public

manner, not only in the teaching of Christ, but also in that of

the apostles. Even after the crucifixion of our Lord, the apostles

and believers went to the temple, the most public place; and in

the most public manner taught and worked miracles. JERUSALEM, the

seat of the doctors, the judge of religion, was the first place in

which, by the command of their Lord, the disciples preached Christ

crucified. They were, therefore, not afraid to have their cause

tried by the most rigid test of Scripture; and in the very place,

too, where that Scripture was best understood.

2. When the same apostles. carried this Gospel to heathen

countries, did they go to the villages, among the less informed or

comparatively ignorant Greeks, in order to form a party, and

shield themselves by getting the multitude on their side? No! They

went to Caesarea, to Antioch, to Thessalonica, to ATHENS, to

CORINTH, to EPHESUS; to the very places where learning flourished

most, where sciences were best cultivated, where imposture was

most likely to be detected, and where the secular power existed in

the most despotic manner, and could at once have crushed them to

nothing could they have been proved to be impostors, or had they

not been under the immediate protection of Heaven! Hence it is

evident that these holy men feared no rational investigation of

their doctrines, for they taught them in the face of the most

celebrated schools in the universe!

3. They preached Christ crucified in JERUSALEM, where it was the

most solemn interest of the Jews to disprove their doctrine, that

they might exculpate themselves from the murder of Jesus Christ.

They preached the same Christ, and the vanity of idolatry, in

Athens, in Corinth, and in Ephesus, where idolatry existed in

the plenitude of its power; and where all its interests required

it to make the moat desperate and formidable stand against those

innovators. What but the fullest confidence of the truth of what

they preached, the fullest conviction of the Divinity of their

doctrine, and the supernatural influence of God upon their souls,

could ever have induced these men to preach Christ crucified,

either at Jerusalem, or at Athens? I scruple not to assert that

the bold, public manner in which the apostles preached the Gospel,

among the Jews and Greeks, is a most incontestable proof of the

conviction they had of its truth; and the success with which they

were favoured is a demonstration that what they preached as truth

God proved to be the truth, by stretching forth his hand to heal,

and causing signs and wonders to be wrought in the name of the

holy child Jesus. This is an additional proof of the sincerity of

the apostles, and of the truth of Christianity. If Paul and Peter,

Barnabas and Silas, had not had the fullest persuasion that their

doctrine was of God, they would never have ventured to propose it

before the Sanhedrin in JERUSALEM, the literati of CORINTH, and

the Stoics and inexorable judges of the Areopagus at ATHENS.

4. We may be surprised to find that, even among the Jews as well

as the Gentiles, there were persons who used curious arts. Those

were inexcusable; these were to be pitied. Blind as every man is

by nature, yet he is conscious that without supernatural

assistance he can neither secure the good he needs, nor avoid the

evil he fears: therefore, he endeavours to associate to himself

the influence of supernatural agents, in order to preserve him in

safety, and make him happy. Thus forsaking and forgetting the

fountain of living water, he hews out to himself cisterns that

can hold no water. The existence of magical arts and incantations,

whether real or pretended, prove the general belief of the

existence of a spiritual world, and man's consciousness of his own

weakness, and his need of supernatural help. When shall the eye be

directed solely to HIM from whom alone true help can come, by whom

evil is banished, and happiness restored!

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