Acts 21


Paul and his company sail from Miletus, and come to Coos,

Rhodes, and Patara, 1.

Finding a Phoenician ship at Patara, they go on board, sail

past Cyprus, and land at Tyre, 2, 3.

Here they find disciples, and stay seven days, and are kindly

entertained, 4, 5.

Having bade the disciples farewell, they take ship and sail to

Ptolemais, salute the brethren, stay with them one day, come to

Caesarea, and lodge with Philip, one of the seven deacons, 6-9.

Here they tarry a considerable time, and Agabus the prophet

foretells Paul's persecution at Jerusalem, 10, 11.

The disciples endeavour to dissuade him from going; but he is

resolute, and he and his company depart, 12-16.

They are kindly received by James and the elders, who advise

Paul, because of the Jews, to show his respect for the law of

Moses, by purifying himself, with certain others that were

under a vow; with which advice he complies, 17-26.

Some of the Asiatic Jews, finding him in the temple, raise an

insurrection against him, and would have killed him had he not

been rescued by the chief captain, who orders him to be bound

and carried into the castle, 27-36.

Paul requests liberty to address the people, and is permitted,



Verse 1. Came with a straight course] Having had, as is

necessarily implied, wind and tide in their favour.

Coos] An island in the Archipelago, or AEgean Sea, one of those

called the Sporades. It was famous for the worship of AEsculapius

and Juno; and for being the birthplace of Hippocrates, the most

eminent of physicians, and Apelles, the most celebrated of


Rhodes] Another island in the same sea, celebrated for its

Colossus, which was one of the seven wonders of the world. This

was a brazen statue of Apollo, so high that ships in full sail

could pass between its legs. It was the work of Chares, a pupil of

Lysippus, who spent twelve years in making it. It was 106 feet

high, and so great that few people could fathom its thumb. It was

thrown down by an earthquake about 224 years before Christ, after

having stood sixty-six years. When the Saracens took possession of

this island, they sold this prostrate image to a Jew, who loaded

900 camels with the brass of it; this was about A.D. 660, nearly

900 years after it had been thrown down.

Patara] One of the chief seaport towns of Syria.

Verse 2. Phoenicia] A part of Syria.

See Clarke on Ac 11:19.

Verse 3. Cyprus] See Clarke on Ac 4:36, and see the

track of this journey on the map.

Tyre] A city of Phoenicia, one of the most celebrated maritime

towns in the world. See Clarke on Ac 12:20; and

See Clarke on Mt 11:21.

There the ship was to unlade her burden.] The freight that she

had taken in at Ephesus she was to unlade at Tyre; to which place

she was bound.

Verse 4. Who said to Paul through the Spirit] We cannot

understand this as a command from the Holy Spirit not to go up to

Jerusalem, else Paul must have been highly criminal to have

disobeyed it. Through the Spirit, must either refer to their own

great earnestness to dissuade him from taking a journey which they

plainly saw would be injurious to him-and so Bp. Pearce

understands this place; or, if it refer to the Holy Spirit, it

must mean that if he regarded his personal safety he must not, at

this time, go up to Jerusalem. The Spirit foretold Paul's

persecutions, but does not appear to have forbidden his journey;

and Paul was persuaded that, in acting as he was about to do,

whatever personal risk he ran, he should bring more glory to God,

by going to Jerusalem, than by tarrying at Tyre or elsewhere. The

purport of this Divine communication was, "If thou go up to

Jerusalem the Jews will persecute thee; and thou wilt be

imprisoned, &c." As he was apprized of this, he might have

desisted, for the whole was conditional: Paul might or might not

go to Jerusalem; if he did go, he would be persecuted, and be in

danger of losing his life. The Holy Spirit neither commanded him

to go, nor forbade him; the whole was conditional; and he was left

to the free exercise of his own judgment and conscience. This was

a similar case to that of David in Keilah, 1Sa 23:9-13. David

prevented the threatened evil by leaving Keilah: Paul fell into it

by going to Jerusalem.

Verse 5. When we had accomplished those days] That is, the seven

days mentioned in the preceding verse.

And they all brought us on our way, with wives and children] It

is not likely that Paul, Silas, Luke, &c., had either wives or

children with them; and it is more natural to suppose that the

brethren of Tyre, with their wives and children are those that are

meant; these, through affection to the apostles, accompanied them

from their homes to the ship; and the coming out of the husbands,

wives, and children, shows what a general and affectionate

interest the preaching and private conversation of these holy men

had excited.

Kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.] As God fills heaven and

earth, so he may be worshipped every where; as well, when

circumstances require it, on the seashore as in the temple. We

have already seen, in the case of Lydia, that the Jews had

proseuchas by the river sides, &c.; and an observation in

Tertullian seems to intimate that they preferred such places, and

in the open air offered their petitions to God by the seashore:

Omissis templis, per omne littus, quocumque in aperto aliquando

jam preces ad coelum mittunt. Tertul. de Jejunio.

Verse 6. Taken-leave] ασπασαμενοι; Having given each other the

kiss of peace, as was the constant custom of the Jews and

primitive Christians.

They returned home] That is, the men, their wives, and their


Verse 7. We came to Ptolemais] This was a seaport town of

Galilee, not far from Mount Carmel, between Tyre and Caesarea,

where the river Belus empties itself into the sea. It was at first

called Accho, (and this is the reading of the Syriac and Arabic,)

and belonged to the tribe of Asher, Jud 1:31; it was enlarged and

beautified by the first of the Egyptian Ptolemies, from whom it

was called Ptolemais. This place terminated St. Paul's voyage; and

this is what is expressed in the text: And we came from Tyre to

Ptolemais, where our voyage ended. See the Greek text.

Verse 8. We that were of Paul's company] οιπεριτονπαυλον

This clause is wanting in ABCE, and many others; the Syriac,

Coptic, Vulgate, Armenian, &c.

Came unto Caesarea] This was Caesarea of Palestine, already

sufficiently described, See Clarke on Ac 8:40.

Philip the evangelist] One of the seven deacons, who seems to

have settled here after he had baptized the eunuch.

See Clarke on Ac 8:40.

Verse 9. Four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.] Probably

these were no more than teachers in the Church: for we have

already seen that this is a frequent meaning of the word prophesy;

and this is undoubtedly one thing intended by the prophecy of

Joel, quoted Ac 2:17, 18, of this book. If Philip's daughters

might be prophetesses, why not teachers?

Verse 10. Agabus.] See Clarke on Ac 11:28.

Verse 11. Took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands, &c.] This

was no doubt a prophet, in the commonly received sense of the

term; and his mode of acting was like that of the ancient

prophets, who often accompanied their predictions with significant

emblems. Jeremiah was commanded to bury his girdle by the river

Euphrates, to mark out the captivity of the Jews. Jer 13:4. For

more examples of this figurative or symbolical prophesying, see

Jer 27:2, 3; 28:4; Isa 20:1-6; Eze 4:1-17; 12:1-28, &c.

Into the hands of the Gentiles.] That is, the Romans, for the

Jews had not, properly speaking, the power of life and death.

And, as Agabus said he should be delivered into the hands of the

Gentiles, he showed thereby that they would attempt to destroy his

life. This prediction of Agabus was literally fulfilled: see

Ac 21:33.

Verse 12. Besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.] For they all

understood the prophecy to be conditional and contingent; and that

it was in Paul's power to turn the scale.

Verse 13. I am ready, not to be bound only] He was resolute and

determined; but was under no constraining necessity.

See Clarke on Ac 21:4.

Verse 14. The will of the Lord be done.] May that which is most

for his glory take place! They plainly saw from the prophecy what

would take place, if Paul went to Jerusalem; and every one saw

that he had power to go, or not to go.

Verse 15. Took up our carriages] αποσκευασαμενοι; We made

ourselves ready; packed up our things; got our baggage in order.

This is what the text means.

Verse 16. And brought with them one Mnason, &c.] It is not very

likely that they would bring a man with them with whom they were

to lodge in Jerusalem; therefore, the text should perhaps be read

as Bp. Patrick proposes: There went with us certain of the

disciples of Caesarea, bringing us to one Mnason, with whom we

were to lodge. This is most likely, as the text will bear this

translation. But it is possible that Mnason, formerly of Cyprus,

now an inhabitant of Jerusalem, might have been down at Caesarea,

met the disciples, and invited them to lodge with him while they

were at Jerusalem; and, having transacted his business at

Caesarea, might now accompany them to Jerusalem. His being an old

disciple may either refer to his having been a very early convert,

probably one of those on the day of pentecost, or to his being now

an old man.

Verse 18. Went in with us unto James] This was James the Less,

son of Mary; and cousin to our Lord. He appears to have been

bishop of the Church in Jerusalem, and perhaps the only apostle

who continued in that city. We have already seen what a very

important character he sustained in the council. See Ac 15:13.

All the elders were present.] It appears that they had been

convened about matters of serious and important moment; and some

think it was relative to Paul himself, of whose arrival they had

heard, and well knew how many of those that believed were

disaffected towards him.

Verse 19. Declared particularly, &c.] He no doubt had heard that

they were prejudiced against him; and, by declaring what God had

done by him among the Gentiles, showed how groundless this

prejudice was: for, were he a bad man, or doing any thing that he

should not do, God would not have made him such a singular

instrument of so much good.

Verse 20. How many thousands] ποσαιμυριαδες; How many myriads,

how many times 10,000. This intimates that there had been a most

extraordinary and rapid work even among the Jews; but what is here

spoken is not to be confined to the Jews of Jerusalem, but to all

that had come from different parts of the land to be present at

this pentecost.

They are all zealous of the law] The Jewish economy was not yet

destroyed; nor had God as yet signified that the whole of its

observances were done away. He continued to tolerate that

dispensation, which was to be in a certain measure in force till

the destruction of Jerusalem; and from that period it was

impossible for them to observe their own ritual. Thus God

abolished the Mosaic dispensation, by rendering, in the course of

his providence, the observance of it impossible.

Verse 21. Thou teachest-to forsake Moses, &c.] From any thing

that appears in the course of this book to the contrary, this

information was incorrect: we do not find Paul preaching thus to

the Jews. It is true that, in his epistles, some of which had been

written before this time, he showed that circumcision and

uncircumcision were equally unavailable for the salvation, of the

soul, and that by the deeds of the law no man could be justified;

but he had not yet said to any Jew, forsake Moses, and do not

circumcise your children. He told them that Jesus Christ had

delivered them from the yoke of the law; but they had, as yet,

liberty to wear that yoke, if they pleased. He had shown them that

their ceremonies were useless but not destructive; that they were

only dangerous when they depended on them for salvation. This is

the sum of what Paul had taught on this subject.

Verse 22. The multitude must needs come together] Whether this

refers to a regular convocation of the Church, or to a tumult that

would infallibly take place when it was heard that the apostle was

come, we cannot pretend to say; but it is evident that James and

the elders wished some prudent steps to be taken, in order to

prevent an evil that they had too much reason to fear.

Verse 23. We have four men which have a vow] From the shaving of

the head, mentioned immediately after, it is evident that the four

men in question were under the vow of Nazariteship; and that the

days of their vow were nearly at an end, as they were about to

shave their heads; for, during the time of the Nazariteship, the

hair was permitted to grow, and only shaven off at the termination

of the vow. Among the Jews, it was common to make vows to God on

extraordinary occasions; and that of the Nazarite appears to have

been one of the most common; and it was permitted by their law for

any person to perform this vow by proxy. See the law produced in

my note, See Clarke on Nu 6:21. "It was also customary for the

richer sort to bestow their charity on the poorer sort for this purpose;

for Josephus, Ant. lib. xix. cap. 6, sec. 1, observes that Agrippa, on

his being advanced from a prison to a throne, by the Emperor

Claudius, came to Jerusalem; and there, among other instances of

his religious thankfulness shown in the temple, ναζαραιωνξυρασθαι

διεταξεμαλασυχνους, he ordered very many Nazarites to be shaven,

he furnishing them with money for the expenses of that, and of the

sacrifices necessarily attending it." See Bp. Pearce.

Verse 24. Be at charges with them] Or, rather, be at charges for

them: help them to bear the expense of that vow. Eight lambs, four

rams, besides oil, flour, &c., were the expenses on this occasion.

See the notes on Nu 6:1-21.

Thou-walkest orderly and keepest the law.] Perhaps this advice

meant no more than, Show them, by such means as are now in thy

power, that thou art not an enemy to Moses; that thou dost still

consider the law to be holy, and the commandment holy, just, and

good. Paul did so, and bore the expenses of those who, from a

scruple of conscience, had made a vow, and perhaps were not well

able to bear the expense attending it. Had they done this in order

to acquire justification through the law, Paul could not have

assisted them in any measure with a clear conscience; but, as he

did assist them, it is a proof that they had not taken this vow on

them for this purpose. Indeed, vows rather referred to a sense of

obligation, and the gratitude due to God for mercies already

received, than to the procuring of future favours of any kind.

Besides, God had not yet fully shown that the law was abolished,

as has already been remarked: he tolerated it till the time that

the iniquity of the Jews was filled up; and then, by the

destruction of Jerusalem, he swept every rite and ceremony of the

Jewish law away, with the besom of destruction.

Verse 25. As touching the Gentiles] See the notes on

Ac 15:1-21, and the additional observations at the end of

that chapter. See Clarke on Ac 15:41

Verse 26. To signify the accomplishment, &c.] διαγγελλων,

Declaring the accomplishment, &c. As this declaration was made

to the priest, the sense of the passage is the following, if we

suppose Paul to have made an offering for himself, as well as the

four men: "The next day, Paul, taking the four men, began to

purify, set himself apart, or consecrate himself with them;

entering into the temple, he publicly declared to the priests that

he would observe the separation of a Nazarite, and continue it for

seven days, at the end of which he would bring an offering for

himself and the other four men, according to what the law

prescribed in that case." But it is likely that Paul made no

offering for himself, but was merely at the expense of theirs.

However we may consider this subject, it is exceedingly difficult

to account for the conduct of James and the elders, and of Paul on

this occasion. There seems to have been something in this

transaction which we do not fully understand.

See Clarke on Nu 6:21.

"Besides their typical and religious use, sacrifices were also

intended for the support of the state and civil government;

inasmuch as the ministers of state were chiefly maintained by

them: so that the allotments to the priests out of the sacrifices

may be considered as designed, like the civil-list money in other

nations, for the immediate support of the crown and the officers

of state. On these principles we are able to account for Paul's

sacrificing, as we are informed he did, after the commencement of

the Christian dispensation; an action which has been severely

censured by some as the greatest error of his life: hereby he not

only gave, say they, too much countenance to the Jews in their

superstitious adherence to the law of Moses, after it was

abrogated by Christ, but his offering these typical sacrifices,

after the antitype of them was accomplished in the sacrifice of

Christ, was a virtual denial of Christ, and of the virtue of his

sacrifice, which superseded all others. Paul's long trouble, which

began immediately after this affair, some have looked upon as a

judgment of God upon him for this great offense. But, if this

action were really so criminal as some suppose, one cannot enough

wonder that so good and so wise a man as Paul was should be guilty

of it; and that the Apostle James and the other Christian elders

should all advise him to it, Ac 21:18, 23, 24. It is likewise

strange that we find no censure ever passed on this action by any

of the sacred writers; not even by Paul himself, who appears so

ready, on other occasions, to acknowledge and humble himself for

his errors and failings: on the contrary he reflects with comfort

on his having complied with the customs of the Jews in order to

remove their prejudices against him and his ministry, and against

the Gospel which he preached, and to win them over to embrace it:

'Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; and

this I do for the Gospel's sake.' 1Co 9:20, 23.

"To elucidate this point; we are to consider that there was a

political as well as a typical use of sacrifices; and that, though

the typical ceased upon the sacrifice of Christ, yet the political

continued till God in his providence broke up the Jewish state and

polity about forty years after our Saviour's death. Till that time

it was not merely lawful, but matter of duty, for good subjects to

pay the dues which were appointed by law for the support of the

government and magistracy. Now, of this kind was the sacrifice

which Paul offered; and in this view they were paid by Christians

dwelling in Judea, as well as by those who still adhered to the

Jewish religion. So that, upon the whole, this action, for which

Paul has been so much censured, probably amounts to nothing more

than paying the tribute due to the magistrate by law, which the

apostle enjoins upon all other Christians in all other nations,

Ro 13:6."

-Jennings' Jewish Antiquities, p. 17.

Verse 27. The Jews which were of Asia] These pursued him with

the most deliberate and persevering malice in every place; and it

appears that it was through them that the false reports were sent

to and circulated through Jerusalem.

Verse 28. This is the man that teacheth, &c.] As much as if they

had said: This is the man concerning whom we wrote to you; who in

every place endeavours to prejudice the Gentiles against the Jews,

against the Mosaic law, and against the temple and its services.

Brought Greeks also into the temple] This was a most deliberate

and malicious untruth: Paul could accomplish no purpose by

bringing any Greek or Gentile into the temple; and their having

seen Trophimus, an Ephesian, with him, in the city only, was no

ground on which to raise a slander that must so materially affect

both their lives. Josephus informs us, War, lib. v. cap. 5, sec.

2, that on the wall which separated the court of the Gentiles from

that of the Israelites was an inscription in Greek and Latin

letters, which stated that no stranger was permitted to come

within the holy place on pain of death. With such a prohibition as

this before his eyes, was it likely that St. Paul would enter into

the temple in company with an uncircumcised Greek? The calumny

refutes itself.

Verse 30. They took Paul] They tumultuously seized on him; and

drew him out of the temple, out of the court of the Israelites,

where he was worshipping: and-the doors were shut; the doors of

the court of the Gentiles, probably to prevent Paul from getting

any succour from his friends in the city; for their whole

proceedings show that they purposed to murder him: they brought

him out of the court of the Israelites, that court being

peculiarly holy, that it might not be defiled by his blood; and

they shut the court of the Gentiles, that they might have the

opportunity unmolested of killing him in that place; for the court

of the Gentiles was reckoned to be less holy than than that of the


Verse 31. The chief captain of the band] The Roman tribune, who

had a troop of soldiers under him, which lodged in general in the

castle of Antonia, which was built at the angle where the northern

and western porticoes of the outer court of the temple were joined

together. This castle was built by John Hyrcanus, high priest of

the Jews: it was at first called Baris, and was the royal

residence of the Asmoneans, as long as they reigned in Jerusalem.

It was beautified by Herod the Great, and called Antonia, in

honour of his friend Mark Antony. By this castle the temple was

commanded, as it stood on higher ground. Josephus describes this

castle, War, b. v. chap. 5, sec. 8, "as having four towers, from

one of which the whole temple was overlooked; and that one of the

towers was joined to the porticoes of the temple, and had a double

pair of stairs from it, by which soldiers in the garrison were

used to come down with their arms to the porticoes, on the

festival days, to keep the people quiet; for, as the temple was a

guard to the city, so this castle was a guard to the temple." "It

seems, therefore," says Bp. Pearce, "to me very plain, that the

place where the Jews were about to kill Paul was the court of the

Gentiles, the porticoes being there; and that the chief captain

came down there to his rescue." The name of this chief captain, or

tribune, was Claudius Lysias, as we learn from Ac 23:26.

Verse 32. Ran down unto them] Ran down the stairs to the

porticoes mentioned above.

Verse 33. And took him] With great violence, according to

Ac 24:7, probably meaning an

armed force.

To be bound with two chains] To be bound between two soldiers;

his right hand chained to the left hand of the one, and his left

hand to the right of the other. See Clarke on Ac 12:6.

Verse 35. And when he came upon the stairs] Those mentioned in

the note on Ac 21:31.

Verse 36. Away with him.] That is, Kill him; despatch him! for

so much this phrase always means in the mouth of a Jewish mob.

See Clarke on Lu 23:18, and

See Clarke on Joh 19:15.

Verse 37. Canst thou speak Greek?] Claudius Lysias was not a

Roman; he had, as himself informs us, purchased his citizenship

of Rome with a great sum of money; (see Ac 22:28;) and it is very

likely that he was but imperfectly acquainted with the Latin

tongue; and the tumult that was now made, and the discordant

noise, prevented him from clearly apprehending what was said; and,

as he wished to know the merit of the cause, he accosted Paul

with, ελληνιστιγινωσκεις, Dost thou understand Greek? And when

he found that he did understand it, he proceeded to question him

as below.

Verse 38. Art not thou that Egyptian, &c.] The history to which

Claudius Lysias refers is taken from Josephus, Ant. lib. xx. cap.

7, sec. 6, and War, lib. ii. cap. 13, sec. 5, and is in substance

as follows: An Egyptian, whose name is not known, pretended to be

a prophet, and told his followers that the walls of Jerusalem

would fall down before them, if they would assist him in making an

attack on the city. He had address enough to raise a rabble of

30,000 men, and with these advanced as far as the Mount of Olives;

but Felix, the Roman governor, came suddenly upon him, with a

large body of Roman troops, both infantry and cavalry: the mob was

speedily dispersed, four hundred killed, two hundred taken

prisoners, and the Egyptian himself, with some of his most

faithful friends, escaped; of whom no account was ever afterwards

heard. As Lysias found such an outcry made against Paul, he

supposed that he must be some egregious malefactor, and probably

that Egyptian who had escaped, as related above. Learned men

agree that St. Luke refers to the same fact of which Josephus

speaks; but there is a considerable difference between the numbers

in Josephus, and those in Luke: the former having 30,000, the

latter only 4000. The small number of killed and prisoners, only

600 in all, according to Josephus, leads us to suspect that his

number is greatly exaggerated; as 600 in killed and prisoners of a

mob of 30,000, routed by regular infantry and cavalry, is no kind

of proportion; but it is a sufficient proportion to a mob of 4000.

Dean Aldridge has supposed that the number in Josephus was

originally 4000, but that ancient copyists mistaking the Greek δ

delta, four, for λ lambda, thirty, wrote 30,000, instead of

4000. See Havercamp's edition, vol. ii. p. 177. There is another

way of reconciling the two historians, which is this: When this

Egyptian impostor at first began to make great boasts and large

promises, a multitude of people, to the amount at least of 30,000,

weary of the Roman yoke, from which he promised them deliverance,

readily arranged themselves under his banners. As he performed

nothing that he promised, 26,000 of these had melted away before

he reached Mount Olivet: this remnant the Romans attacked and

dispersed. Josephus speaks of the number he had in the beginning;

St. Luke, of those that he had when he arrived at Mount Olivet.

That were murderers?] σικαριων: Sicarii, assassins: they

derived their name from sica, a sort of crooked knife, which they

concealed under their garments, and privately stabbed the objects

of their malice. Josephus.

Verse 39. I am a man which am a Jew] A periphrasis for, I am a

Jew. See Clarke on Ac 7:2.

Of Tarsus-no mean city] In Clarke's notes on "Ac 9:11", I have

shown that Tarsus was a city of considerable importance, and in some

measure a rival to Rome and Athens; and that, because of the

services tendered to the Romans by the inhabitants, Julius Caesar

endowed them with all the rights and privileges of Roman citizens.

When St. Paul calls it no mean city, he speaks a language that was

common to those who have had occasion to speak of Tarsus.

XENOPHON, Cyri Anabas. i., calls it, πολινμεγαληνκαιευδαιμονα,

a great and flourishing city. JOSEPHUS, Ant. lib. i. cap. 6,

sec. 6, says that it was παραυτοιςτωνπολεωνηαξιολογωτατη

μητροπολιςουσα, the metropolis and most renowned city among them

(the Cilicians.) And AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS, xiv. 8, says, Ciliciam

Tarsus nobilitat, urbs perspicabilis: "Tarsus, a very respectable

city; adorns Cilicia."

Verse 40. Paul stood on the stairs] Where he was out of the

reach of the mob, and was surrounded by the Roman soldiers.

Beckoned with the hand] Waving the hand, which was the sign that

he was about to address the people. So VIRGIL says of Turnus, when

he wished, by single combat between himself and AEneas, to put an

end to the war:-

Significatque manu, et magno simul incipit ore:

Parcite jam, Rutuli; et vos tela inhibete, Latini.

He beckoned with his hand, and cried out with a loud voice,

Desist, ye Rutulians; and, ye Latins, cease from throwing

your javelins.

He spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue] What was called then

the Hebrew, viz. the Chaldalo-Syriac; very well expressed by the

Codex Bezae, τηιδιαδιαλεκτω, in their own dialect.

Never was there a more unnatural division than that in this

chapter: it ends with a single comma! The best division would have

been at the end of the 25th verse.

PAUL'S embarkation at Tyre is very remarkable. The simple manner

in which he was escorted to the ship by the disciples of Tyre,

men, women, and children, and their affectionate and pious

parting, kneeling down on the shore and commending each other to

God, are both impressive and edifying. Nothing but Christianity

could have produced such a spirit in persons who now, perhaps for

the first time, saw each other in the flesh. Every true Christian

is a child of God; and, consequently, all children of God have a

spiritual affinity. They are all partakers of the same Spirit, are

united to the same Head, are actuated with the same hope, and are

going to the same heaven. These love one another with pure hearts

fervently; and these alone are capable of disinterested and

lasting friendship. Though this kind of friendship cannot fail,

yet it may err; and with officious affection endeavour to prevent

us from bearing a necessary and most honourable cross. See

Ac 21:12, 13. It should, therefore, be kept within

Scriptural bounds.

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