Acts 20

CHAPTER XX.

Paul retires to Macedonia, 1.

He goes into Greece, where he tarries three months and,

purposing to sail to Syria, he returns through Macedonia, 2, 3.

Several persons accompany him into Asia, and then go before and

tarry for him at Troas, 4, 5.

Paul and Luke sail from Philippi, and in five days reach Troas,

where they meet their brethren from Asia, and abide there seven

days, 6.

On the first day of the week, the disciples coming together to

break bread, Paul preaching to them, and continuing his speech

till midnight, a young man of the name of Eutychus, being in a

deep sleep, fell from the third loft and was killed, 7-9.

Paul restores him to life, resumes his discourse, and

continuing it till daybreak, then departs, 10-12.

Luke and his companions come to Assos, whither Paul comes by

land, 13.

He embarks with them at Assos, comes to Mitylene, 14.

Sails thence, and passes by Chios, arrives at Samos, tarries

at Trogyllium, and comes to Miletus, 15.

Purposing to get as soon as possible to Jerusalem, he sends

from Miletus, and calls the elders of the Church of Ephesus,

to whom he preaches a most directing sermon, gives them the

most solemn exhortations, kneels down and prays with them,

takes a very affecting leave of them, and sets sail for

Caesarea, in order to go to Jerusalem, 16-38.

NOTES ON CHAP. XX.

Verse 1. After the uproar was ceased] The tumult excited by

Demetrius apparently induced Paul to leave Ephesus sooner than he

had intended. He had written to the Corinthians that he should

leave that place after pentecost, 1Co 16:8; but it is very

probable that he left it sooner.

Verse 2. He came into Greece] ειςτηνελλαδα, Into Hellas,

Greece properly so called, the regions between Thessaly and

Propontis, and the country of Achaia. He did not, however, go

there immediately: he passed through Macedonia, Ac 20:1, in which

he informs us, 2Co 7:5-7, that he suffered much, both from

believers and infidels; but was greatly comforted by the

arrival of Titus, who gave him a very flattering account of the

prosperous state of the Church at Corinth. A short time after

this, being still in Macedonia, he sent Titus back to Corinth,

2Co 8:16, 17, and sent by him the

second epistle which he wrote to that Church, as Theodoret and

others suppose. Some time after, he visited Corinth himself,

according to his promise, 1Co 16:5. This was his

third voyage to that city, 2Co 12:14; 13:1. What he did there at

this time cannot be distinctly known; but, according to St.

Augustin, he ordered every thing relative to the holy eucharist,

and the proper manner in which it was to be received. See Calmet.

Verse 3. Abode three months] Partly, as we may suppose, at

Corinth, at Athens, and in Achaia; from which place he is supposed

to have sent his epistle to the Romans, because he continued

longer here than at any other place, and mentions several of the

Corinthians in his salutations to the believers of Rome.

When the Jesus laid wait for him] Paul had determined to go by

sea to Syria, and from thence to Jerusalem. This was the first

object of his journey; and this was the readiest road he could

take; but, hearing that the Jews had laid wait for him, probably

to attack his ship on the voyage, seize his person, sell him for a

slave, and take the money which he was carrying to the poor saints

at Jerusalem, he resolved to go as much of the journey as he

conveniently could, by land. Therefore, he returned through

Macedonia, and from thence to Troas, where he embarked to sail for

Syria, on his way to Jerusalem. The whole of his journey is

detailed in this and the following chapter. See also the map.

Verse 4. And there accompanied him] Rather, says Bishop Pearce,

there followed him as far as to Asia; for they were not in his

company till he set sail from Philippi, and came to them at Troas,

in Asia, whither they had gone before, and where they tarried for

him, Ac 20:5.

Into Asia] αχριτηςασιας; These words are wanting in two MSS.,

Erpen, the AEthiopic, Coptic, and Vulgate. Some think that they

embarrass this place; for how these could accompany him into Asia,

and go before him, and tarry for him at Troas, Ac 20:6, is not

so very clear; unless we suppose, what I have glanced at in the

table of contents, that they came with him to Asia, but, he

tarrying a short time, they proceeded on their journey, and

stopped for him at Troas, where he shortly after rejoined them.

Mr. Wakefield gets rid of the difficulty by reading the verse

thus: Now Sopater of Berea accompanied him; but Aristarchus and

Secundus of Thessalonica, Gaius of Derbe, Timothy of Lystra, and

Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia, went before, and tarried for us at

Troas.

Sopater of Berea] Sopater seems to be the same as Sosipater,

whom St. Paul mentions as his kinsman, Ro 16:21. ADE, more than

twenty others, with the Coptic, Armenian, later Syriac in the

margin, Vulgate, Itala, Theophylact, Origen, and Bede, add πυρρου

Sopater the SON OF PYRRHUS. Griesbach has received this into his

text.

Aristarchus of Thessalonica] This person occurs in Ac 19:29,

and is mentioned there as a Macedonian. He attended Paul in his

journey to Rome, Ac 27:2, and was his

fellow labourer, Phm 1:24, and his

fellow prisoner, Col 4:10, 11.

Secundus is mentioned nowhere but in this place.

Gaius of Derbe] This is supposed to be the same who is mentioned

Ac 19:26, and who is there called

a man of Macedonia, of which some suppose he was a native, but

descended from a family that came from Derbe; but as Gaius, or

Caius, was a very common name, these might have been two

distinct persons. One of this name was baptized by St. Paul at

Corinth, 1Co 1:14, and entertained him as his

host while he abode there, Ro 16:23, and was probably the same

to whom St. John directs his third epistle.

And Timotheus] Of Lystra, is added by the Syriac. This was the

same person of whom mention is made, Ac 16:1, and to whom St.

Paul wrote the two epistles which are still extant; and who was a

native of Lystra, as we learn from the above place. It was on this

evidence, probably that the ancient Syriac translator added, of

Lystra, to the text. This reading is not supported by any MSS.

Tychicus-of Asia] This person was high in the confidence of St.

Paul. He styles him a beloved brother, and faithful minister in

the Lord, whom he sent to the Ephesians, that he might know their

affairs, and comfort their hearts, Eph 6:21, 22. He sent him for

the same purpose, and with the same commendations, to the

Colossians, Col 4:7, 8. Paul seems also to have designed him to

superintend the Church at Crete in the absence of Titus; see

Tit 3:12. He seems to have been the most intimate and

confidential friend that Paul had.

Trophimus.] Was an Ephesian; and both he and Tychicus are

called εφεσιοι, Ephesians, instead of ασιανοι, Asiatics, in

the Codex Bezae, both Greek and Latin, and in the Sahidic. He

accompanied Paul from Ephesus into Greece, as we see here; and

from thence to Jerusalem, Ac 21:29. He had, no doubt, travelled

with him on other journeys, for we find, by 2Ti 4:20, that he was

obliged to leave him sick at Miletus, being then, as it is likely,

on his return to his own kindred at Ephesus.

Verse 5. Tarried for us at Troas.] See the preceding verse.

Troas was a small town in Phrygia Minor, in the province called

the Troad: see Ac 16:8.

Verse 6. Days of unleavened bread] The seven days of the

passover, in which they ate unleavened bread. See the account of

this festival in the notes on Ex 12:1-51. It is evident, from the

manner in which St. Luke writes here, that he had not been with

St. Paul since the time he accompanied him to Philippi,

Ac 16:10-12; but he now embarks at Philippi with the apostle,

and accompanies him to Troas, and continues with him through the

rest of his journey.

To Troas in five days] So long they were making this voyage from

Philippi, being obliged to keep always by the coast, and in sight

of the land; for the magnetic needle was not yet known. See the

situation of these places upon the map.

Verse 7. Upon the first day of the week] What was called

κυριακη, the Lord's day, the Christian Sabbath, in which they

commemorated the resurrection of our Lord; and which, among all

Christians, afterwards took the place of the Jewish Sabbath.

To break bread] To break [Syriac] eucaristia, the eucharist, as

the Syriac has it; intimating, by this, that they were accustomed

to receive the holy sacrament on each Lord's day. It is likely

that, besides this, they received a common meal together. Some

think the αγαπη, or love feast, is intended.

Continued his speech until midnight.] At what time he began to

preach we cannot tell, but we hear when he concluded. He preached

during the whole night, for he did not leave off till the break of

the next day, Ac 20:11, though about midnight his discourse was

interrupted by the fall of Eutychus. As this was about the time of

pentecost, and we may suppose about the beginning of May, as Troas

was in about 40 degrees of north latitude, the sun set there at

seven P.M. and rose at five A.M., so that the night was about

eight hours long; and taking all the interruptions together, and

they could not have amounted to more than two hours, and taking no

account of the preceding day's work, Paul must have preached a

sermon not less than six hours long. But it is likely that a good

part of this time was employed in hearing and answering questions;

for διελεγετο, and διαλεγομενου, may be thus understood.

Verse 8. Upper chamber] It was in an upper chamber in the temple

that the primitive disciples were accustomed to meet: on that

account, they might have preferred an upper chamber whenever they

could meet with it. The pious Quesnel supposes that the smoke,

issuing from the many lamps in this upper chamber, was the cause

of Eutychus falling asleep; and this, he says, the apostle

mentions, in charity, to excuse the young man's appearing

negligent.

Verse 9. There sat in a window] This was probably an opening in

the wall, to let in light and air, for there was no glazing at

that time; and it is likely that Eutychus fell backward through

it, down to the ground, on the outside; there being nothing to

prevent his falling out, when he had once lost the power to take

care of himself, by getting into a deep sleep.

Verse 10. And Paul-fell on him] επεπεσεναυτω, Stretched himself

upon him, in the same manner as Elisha did on the Shunammite's

son, 2Ki 4:33-35; though the action of lying on him, in order to

communicate warmth to the flesh, might not have been continued so

long as in the above instance; nor indeed was it necessary, as the

natural warmth had not yet left the body of Eutychus; but the son

of the Shunammite had been some time dead.

Verse 11. Had broken bread] Had taken some refreshment, in order

to their journey.

And talked a long while] ομιλησας, Having familiarly conversed,

for this is the import of the word, which is very different from

the διελεγετο, of the seventh verse, and the διαλεγομενου, of

the ninth; which imply solemn, grave discourse.

Verse 13. Sailed unto Assos] Assos, according to Pausanias,

Eliac. ii. 4, and Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxvi. 27, was a maritime town

of Asia, in the Troad. Strabo and Stephanus place it in Mysia.

It was also called Apollonia, according to Pliny, Ib. lib. v. 30.

The passage by sea to this place was much longer than by land; and

therefore St. Paul chose to go by land, while the others went by

sea.

Intending to take in Paul] αναλαμβανειν, To take him in AGAIN;

for it appears he had already been aboard that same vessel:

probably the same that had carried them from Philippi to Troas,

Ac 20:6.

Verse 14. Came to Mitylene.] This was a seaport town in the isle

of Lesbos: see its place in the map.

Verse 15. Over against Chios] This was a very celebrated island

between Lesbos and Samos, famous in antiquity for its

extraordinary wines. At this island the apostle did not touch.

Arrived at Samos] This was another island of the AEgean Sea, or

Archipelago. It does not appear that they landed at Samos: they

passed close by it, and anchored at Trogyllium. This was a

promontory of Ionia, which gave name to some small islands in the

vicinity of Samos: τηςδετρωγιλιουπροκειταινησιονομωνυμον:

before Trogyllium is situated an island of the same name. Strabo,

lib. xiv. p. 635. Pliny also mentions this place, Hist. Nat. lib.

v. cap. 31. Near this place was the mouth of the famous river

Maeander.

Came to Miletus.] A celebrated city in the province of Caria,

about twelve or fifteen leagues from Ephesus, according to Calmet.

Miletus is famous for being the birthplace of Thales, one of the

seven wise men of Greece, and founder of the Ionic sect of

philosophers. Anaximander was also born here, and several other

eminent men. The Turks, who lately possessed it, call it Melas.

Verse 16. To sail by Ephesus] Not to touch there at this time.

To be at Jerusalem the day of pentecost.] That he might have the

opportunity of preaching the kingdom of God to multitudes of Jews

from different places, who would come up to Jerusalem at that

feast; and then he no doubt expected to see there a renewal of

that day of pentecost in which the Spirit was poured out on the

disciples, and in consequence of which so many were converted to

God.

Verse 17. He sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the

Church.] These are called επισκοποι, bishops, Ac 20:28. By

the πρεσβυτεροι, presbyters or elders, here, we are to understand

all that were in authority in the Church, whether they were

επισκοποι, bishops or overseers, or seniors in years,

knowledge, and experience. The πρεσβυτεροι, or elders, were

probably the first order in the Church; an order which was not so

properly constituted, but which rose out of the state of things.

From these presbuteroi the episcopoi, overseers or

superintendents, were selected. Those who were eldest in years,

Christian knowledge, and experience, would naturally be preferred

to all others, as overseers of the Church of Christ. From the

Greek word πρεσβυτερος, comes the Latin presbyterus, the English

presbyter, the French prestre, and our own term priest; and all,

when traced up to their original, signify merely an elderly or

aged person; though it soon became the name of an office, rather

than of a state of years. Now, as these elders are called

επισκοποι, bishops, in Ac 20:28, we may take it for granted

that they were the same order; or, rather, that these

superintendents of the Church were indifferently called either

presbyters or bishops.

As he had not time to call at Ephesus, he thought it best to

have a general convocation of the heads of that Church, to meet

him at Miletus, that he might give them the instructions mentioned

in the succeeding parts of this chapter.

Verse 18. After what manner I have been with you] The Codex

Bezae adds here, for three years, and even more, which reading

might have been borrowed from Ac 20:31, though the time assigned

by it is too long.

Verse 19. Serving the Lord with all humility, &c.] This relates

not only to his zealous and faithful performance of his apostolic

functions, but also to his private walk as a Christian; and shows

with what carefulness this apostle himself was obliged to walk, in

order to have his calling and election, as a Christian, ratified

and made firm.

Verse 20. I kept back nothing] Notwithstanding the dangers to

which he was exposed, and the temptations he must have had to

suppress those truths that were less acceptable to the unrenewed

nature of man, or to the particular prejudices of the Jews and the

Gentiles, he fully and faithfully, at all hazards, declared what

he terms, Ac 20:27,

the whole counsel of God. "Behold here," says the judicious and

pious Calmet, "the model of a good shepherd-full of doctrine and

zeal: he communicates with profusion, and yet with discretion,

without jealousy and without fear, what God had put in his heart,

and what charity inspires. A good shepherd, says St. Bernard,

should always have abundance of bread in his scrip, and his dog

under command. His dog is his zeal, which he must lead, order,

and moderate; his scrip full of bread is his mind full of useful

knowledge; and he should ever be in readiness to give nourishment

to his flock." He who will quarrel with this sentiment, because of

the uncouthness of the simile, needs pity, and deserves censure.

Verse 21. Testify both to-Jews and-Greeks] He always began with

the Jews; and, in this case, he had preached to them alone for

three months, Ac 19:8-10, and only left their synagogues when he

found, through their obstinacy, he could do them no good.

Repentance toward God, &c.] As all had sinned against God, so

all should humble themselves before him against whom they have

sinned; but humiliation is no atonement for sin; therefore

repentance is insufficient, unless faith in our Lord Jesus

Christ accompany it. Repentance disposes and prepares the soul for

pardoning mercy; but can never be considered as making

compensation for past acts of transgression. This repentance and

faith were necessary to the salvation both of Jews and Gentiles;

for all had sinned, and come short of God's glory. The Jews must

repent, who had sinned so much, and so long, against light and

knowledge. The Gentiles must repent, whose scandalous lives were a

reproach to man. Faith in Jesus Christ was also indispensably

necessary; for a Jew might repent, be sorry for his sin, and

suppose that, by a proper discharge of his religious duty, and

bringing proper sacrifices, he could conciliate the favour of God:

No, this will not do; nothing but faith in Jesus Christ, as the

end of the law, and the great and only vicarious sacrifice, will

do; hence he testified to them the necessity of faith in this

Messiah. The Gentiles might repent of their profligate lives, turn

to the true God, and renounce all idolatry: this is well, but it

is not sufficient: they also have sinned, and their present

amendment and faith can make no atonement for what is past;

therefore, they also must believe on the Lord Jesus, who died for

their sins, and rose again for their justification.

Verse 22. I go bound in the spirit] δεδεμενοςτωπνευματι-Either

meaning the strong influence of the Divine Spirit upon his mind,

or the strong propensity in his own will, wish, and desire, to

visit Jerusalem; and in this sense δεειν, to bind, is sometimes

used. But it appears more consistent with the mind of the apostle,

and with that influence under which we find that he constantly

acted, to refer it to the influence of the Holy Ghost; υποτου

πνευματος, being under the power of that Spirit; as if he had

said: "I have now no choice-God has not left me either to the

advices of friends, or to my own prudence: the Spirit of God

obliges me to go to Jerusalem, and yet does not intimate to me

what peculiar trials shall befall me there: I have only the

general intimation that, in every city where I proclaim the

Gospel, bonds and afflictions await me." This sense of the word

Kypke has largely defended in his note here.

Verse 24. None of these things move me] ουδενοςλογονποιουμαι;

I consider them as nothing; I value them not a straw; they weigh

not with me.

Neither count I my life dear] I am not my own; my life and being

are the Lord's; he requires me to employ them in his service; I

act under his direction, and am not anxious about the issue.

Finish my course with joy] τονδρομονμου, My ministerial

function. We have already met with this word in application to the

same subject, Ac 13:25, where see the note. And the apostle here

adds, by way of explanation, καιτηνδιακονιαν, even that ministry

which I have received of the Lord. The words μεταχαρας, with joy,

are omitted by ABD, some others; the Syriac, Erpen, Coptic,

Sahidic, AEthiopic, Vulgate, and some of the fathers. If we

consider them as genuine they may imply thus much: that the

apostle wished to fulfil his ministry in such a way as might meet

with the Divine approbation; for nothing could give him joy that

did not please and glorify God.

To testify] διαμαρτυρασθαι, Earnestly, solemnly, and

strenuously to assert, vindicate, and prove the Gospel of the

grace of God, not only to be in itself what it professes to be,

but to be also the power of God for salvation to every one that

believes.

Verse 25. Ye all-shall see my face no more.] This probably

refers simply to the persons who were now present; concerning whom

he might have had a Divine intimation, that they should not be

found in life when he should come that way again. Or it may refer

only to Ephesus and Miletus. From the dangers to which he was

exposed, it was, humanly speaking, unlikely that he should ever

return; and this may be all that is implied: but that he did

revisit those parts, though probably not Miletus or Ephesus,

appears likely from Php 1:25-27; 2:24; Phm 1:22; Heb 13:19-23.

But in all these places he speaks with a measure of uncertainty:

he had not an absolute evidence that he should not return; but, in

his own mind, it was a matter of uncertainty. The Holy Spirit did

not think proper to give him a direct revelation on this point.

Verse 26. I am pure from the blood of all] If any man, Jew or

Gentile, perish in his sins, his blood shall be upon him; he,

alone, shall be accessary to his own perdition. I am blameless,

because I have fully shown to both the way to escape from every

evil.

Verse 27. I have not shunned to declare] ουυπεστιλαμην, I have

not suppressed or concealed any thing, through fear or favour,

that might be beneficial to your souls. This is properly the

meaning of the original word. See Clarke on Ac 20:20.

All the counsel of God.] All that God has determined and

revealed concerning the salvation of man-the whole doctrine of

Christ crucified, with repentance towards God, and faith in Jesus

as the Messiah and great atoning Priest. In Isa 9:6, Jesus Christ

is called the wonderful counsellor, Pele Poets, which

the Septuagint translate μεγαληςβουληςαγγελος The messenger of

the great counsel. To this the apostle may have referred, as we

well know that this version was constantly under his eye.

Declaring therefore to them the whole counsel of God, πασηντην

βουληντουθεου, the whole of that counsel or design of God, was,

in effect, declaring the whole that concerned the Lord Jesus, who

was the messenger of this counsel.

Verse 28. Made you overseers] εθετοεπισκοπους, Appointed you

bishops; for so we translate the original word in most places

where it occurs: but overseers, or inspectors, is much more

proper, from επι, over, and σκεπτομαι, I look. The persons

who examine into the spiritual state of the flock of God, and take

care to lead them in and out, and to find them pasture, are termed

episcopoi, or superintendents. The office of a bishop is from

God; a true pastor only can fulfil this office: it is an office of

most awful responsibility; few there are who can fill it; and, of

those who occupy this high and awful place, perhaps we may say

there are fewer still who discharge the duties of it. There are,

however, through the good providence of God, Christian bishops,

who, while they are honoured by the calling, do credit to the

sacred function. And the annals of our Church can boast of at

least as many of this class of men, who have served their God and

their generation, as of any other order, in the proportion which

this order bears to others in the Church of Christ. That bishop

and presbyter, or elder, were at this time of the same order, and

that the word was indifferently used of both, see noticed on

Ac 20:17.

Feed the Church of God] This verse has been the subject of much

controversy, particularly in reference to the term θεου, of GOD,

in this place; and concerning it there is great dissension among

the MSS. and versions. Three readings exist in them, in reference

to which critics and commentators have been much divided; viz.

εκκλησιαντουθεου, the Church of GOD; τουκυριου, of the

LORD; κυριουκαιθεου, of the LORD and GOD. From the collections

of Wetstein and Griesbach, it appears that but few MSS., and

none of them very ancient, have the word θεου, of GOD; with

these only the Vulgate, and the later Syriac in the text, agree.

κυριου, of the LORD, is the reading of ACDE, several others, the

Sahidic, Coptic, later Syriac in the margin, Armenian, AEthiopia,

and some of the fathers. κυριουκαιθεου, of the LORD and of GOD,

is the reading of the great majority; though the most ancient are

for κυριου, of the LORD: on this ground Griesbach has admitted

this reading into the text, and put κυριουκαιθεου in the margin,

as being next in authority.

Mr. Wakefield, who was a professed and conscientious Unitarian,

decides for τουθεου, of GOD, as the true reading; but, instead

of translating τουιδιουαιματος, with his own blood, he

translates, by his own Son, and brings some passages from the

Greek and Roman writers to show that αιμα and sanguis are used to

signify son, or near relative; and, were this the only place where

purchasing with his own blood occurred, we might receive this

saying; but, as the redemption of man is, throughout the New

Testament, attributed to the sacrificial death of Christ, it is

not likely that this very unusual meaning should apply here. At

all events, we have here a proof that the Church was purchased by

the blood of Christ; and, as to his Godhead, it is sufficiently

established in many other places. When we grant that the greater

evidence appears to be in favour of τουκυριου, feed the Church of

the Lord, which he has purchased with his own blood, we must

maintain that, had not this Lord been GOD, his blood could have

been no purchase for the souls of a lost world.

Verse 29. After my departing] Referring, most likely, to his

death; for few of these evils took place during his life.

Grievous wolves] Persons professing to be teachers; Judaizing

Christians, who, instead of feeding the flock, would feed

themselves, even to the oppression and ruin of the Church.

Verse 30. Also of your own selves, &c.] From out of your own

assembly shall men arise, speaking perverse things, teaching for

truth what is erroneous in itself, and perversive of the genuine

doctrine of Christ crucified.

To draw away disciples] To make schisms or rents in the

Church, in order to get a party to themselves. See, here, the

cause of divisions in the Church: 1. The superintendents lose the

life of God, neglect the souls of the people, become greedy of

gain, and, by secular extortions, oppress the people. 2. The

members of the Church, thus neglected, oppressed, and irritated,

get their minds alienated from their rapacious pastors. 3. Men of

sinister views take advantage of this state of distraction, foment

discord, preach up the necessity of division, and thus the people

become separated from the great body, and associate with those who

profess to care for their souls, and who disclaim all secular

views. In this state of distraction, it is a high proof of God's

love to his heritage, if one be found who, possessing the true

apostolic doctrine and spirit, rises up to call men back to the

primitive truth, and restore the primitive discipline. How soon

the grievous wolves and perverse teachers arose in the Churches of

Asia Minor, the first chapters of the Apocalypse inform us. The

Nicolaitans had nearly ruined the Church of Ephesus, Re 1:2, 6.

The same sect, with other false teachers, infested the Church of

Pergamos, and preached there the doctrine of Balaam,

Re 2:14, 15. A false prophetess seduced the Church of

Thyatira, Re 2:20. All these Churches were in Asia Minor, and

probably bishops or ministers from each were present at this

convocation.

Verse 31. Therefore watch, and remember] The only way to abide

in the truth is to watch against evil, and for good; and to keep

in mind the heavenly doctrines originally received. Unwatchfulness

and forgetfulness are two grand inlets to apostasy.

By the space of three years] τριετιαν. The Greek word here does

not necessarily mean three whole years: it may be months more or

less. In Ac 19:8, 10, we have an account of his spending

two years and three months among them; probably this is all that

is intended. One MS., perceiving that the time of three years was

not completed, inserts διετιαν, the space of two years.

Verse 32. I commend you to God] Instead of τωθεω, to GOD,

several MSS. have τωκυριω, to the LORD; neither reading makes any

difference in the sense.

And to the word of his grace] The doctrine of salvation by

Christ Jesus.

Which is able to build you up] The foundation is Jesus Christ;

God is the great master-builder; the doctrine of his grace, or

mercy, points out the order and manner, as well as the extent,

&c., of this building. Let us observe the order of these things:

1. The soul of man, which was formerly the habitation of God, is

now in a state of ruin. 2. The ruins of this soul must be

repaired, that it may again become a habitation of God through the

Spirit. 3. Jesus Christ is the only foundation on which this house

can be rebuilded. 4. The doctrine of God's grace is the model,

or plan, according to which the building can be raised. 5. When

re-edified, each is to be a lively temple of the Lord, made

inwardly pure and outwardly righteous, and thus prepared for a

state of bliss. 6. Being made children of God, by faith in Christ

Jesus, and sanctified by his Spirit, they have a right to the

heavenly inheritance; for only the children of the family can

possess the celestial estate. Thus we find they must be saved by

grace, and be made thereby children of God; be sanctified by his

Spirit; and, then, being prepared for, they are removed, in due

time, into the heavenly inheritance.

Verse 33. I have coveted no man's silver, &c.] And from this

circumstance they would be able to discover the grievous wolves,

and the perverters; for these had nothing but their own interests

in view; whereas the genuine disciples of Christ neither coveted

nor had worldly possessions. St. Paul's account of his own

disinterestedness is very similar to that given by Samuel of his,

1Sa 12:3-5.

Verse 34. These hands have ministered, &c.] It was neither "sin

nor discredit" for the apostle to work to maintain himself, when

the circumstances of the Church were such that it could not

support him. Still many eminent ministers of God are obliged to

support themselves and their families, at least in part, in the

same way, while indefatigably testifying the Gospel of the grace

of God. Whatever it may be to the people, it is no cause of

reproach to the minister, to be obliged thus to employ himself.

Verse 35. I have showed you all things] The preposition κατα is

to be understood before παντα; and the clause should be read

thus-I have showed you IN all things, &c.

It is more blessed to give than to receive.] That is, the giver

is more happy than the receiver. Where, or on what occasion,

our Lord spake these words we know not, as they do not exist in

any of the four evangelists. But that our Lord did speak them, St.

Paul's evidence is quite sufficient to prove. The sentiment is

worthy of Christ. A truly generous mind, in affluence, rejoices in

opportunities to do good, and feels happy in having such

opportunities. A man of an independent spirit, when reduced to

poverty, finds it a severe trial to be obliged to live on the

bounty of another, and feels pain in receiving what the other

feels a happiness in communicating. Let, therefore, the man who is

able to give feel himself the obliged person, and think how much

pain the feeling heart of his supplicant must endure, in being

obliged to forego his native independence, in soliciting and

receiving the bounty of another. I am not speaking of common

beggars; these have got their minds already depraved, and their

native independence reduced, by sin and idleness, to servility.

Verse 36. He kneeled down and prayed] Kneeling is the proper

posture of a supplicant, it argues at once both humility and

submission; and he who prays to God should endeavour to feel the

utmost measures of both.

Verse 37. Fell on Paul's neck] Leaned their heads against his

shoulders, and kissed his neck. This was not an unusual custom in

the east.

Verse 38. That they should see his face no more] This was a most

solemn meeting, and a most affecting parting. The man who had

first pointed out to them the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom they had

been brought into so glorious a state of salvation, is now going

away, in all likelihood, to be seen no more till the day in which

the quick and dead shall stand before the throne of judgment. Such

a scene, and its correspondent feelings, are more easily imagined

than described.

1. As the disciples are stated to have come together on the

first day of the week, we may learn from this that, ever since the

apostolic times, the Lord's day, now the Christian Sabbath, was

set apart for religious exercises; such as the preaching of God's

holy word, and celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

Besides its being the day on which our blessed Lord rose from the

dead, the practice of the apostles and the primitive Church is an

additional reason why we should religiously celebrate this first

day of the week. They who, professing the Christian religion,

still prefer the Jewish Sabbath, have little to support them in

the New Testament. How prone is man to affect to be wise above

what is written, while he is, in almost every respect, below the

teaching so plainly laid down in the Divine word.

2. The charge of St. Paul to the pastors of the Church of Christ

at Ephesus and Miletus contains much that is interesting to every

Christian minister: 1. If he be sent of God at all, he is sent

to feed the flock. 2. But, in order to feed them, he must have the

bread of life. 3. This bread he must distribute in its due season,

that each may have that portion that is suitable to time, place,

and state. 4. While he is feeding others, he should take care to

have his own soul fed: it is possible for a minister to be the

instrument of feeding others, and yet starve himself. 5. If Jesus

Christ intrust to his care the souls he has bought by his own

blood, what an awful account will he have to give in the day of

judgment, if any of them perish through his neglect! Though the

sinner, dying in his sins, has his own blood upon his head, yet,

if the watchman has not faithfully warned him, his blood will be

required at the watchman's hand. Let him who is concerned read

Ezekiel, Eze 33:3-5, and think of the account which he is shortly

to give unto God.

3. Tenderness and sympathy are not inconsistent with the highest

state of grace. Paul warns his hearers day and night with tears.

His hearers now weep sore at the departure of their beloved

pastor. They who can give up a Christian minister with

indifference, have either profited little under that ministry, or

they have backslidden from the grace of God. The pastors should

love as fathers, the converts as children; and all feel themselves

one family, under that great head, Christ Jesus.

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