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PETER'S DELIVERANCE OUT OF PRISON.
on all them which heard the word. And the believing Jews who had come with Peter were astonished, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, “ Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. a And at their request he remained with them some days to strengthen them. These were the first from among the Gentiles who were received into the Christian church.
52. PETER'S DELIVERANCE OUT OF PRISON.
KING Herod Agrippa had caused the apostle James, the brother of John, to be slain with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. But as the time of the passover was just approaching, it was necessary on that account to delay his execution. So Peter was kept in the prison. But the church at Jerusalem prayed to God without ceasing for him. And in the night before his execution was to take place, he was sleeping between two soldiers, to whom he was bound with two chains, and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison : and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, “ Arise up quickly." And his chains fell
a Acts x. 9–48.
PETER'S DELIVERANCE OUT OP PRISON. off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, “Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals." And he did so. And he saith unto him, “ Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
And he went with the angel by the keepers, and through the iron gate leading into the city, which opened to them of its own accord. And the whole seemed to him like a dream. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, “ Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” And he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose surname was Mark. And when he knocked at the door, a damsel named Rhoda came to listen, who immediately knew his voice; but she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in and told how Peter stood before the gate. They could not believe it ; but as he continued knocking, they came out and opened the door,
and they were greatly astonished to see him. But he beckoned to them with the hand to hold their peace, and told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, show these things unto James, and to the brethren." And he departed, and went into another place. Then as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. he could not be found in the prison, Herod commanded the keepers to be put to death. a
And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country. And upon å set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, “It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
Thus God showed his hatred of pride, and delivered his church from a cruel persecutor.
PAUL AT LYSTRA.
53. In his journeys through Asia Minor, Paul (the same who had formerly been called Saul) came to Lystra. And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, having been a cripple from his birth, who never had walked.
The same heard Paul speak : who stedfastly beholding him,
a Acts xii. 1-19.
and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on thy feet.” And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted
their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, “ The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.”
And the priest of the Grecian idol god, Jupiter, whose temple was before the city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, “ Sirs, why do ye these things ? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach
ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.” And with these sayings they were scarcely able to restrain the people from offering sacrifice unto them. a
But there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe, and preached the gospel in that city.
54. A few years afterwards, Paul made another visit to Lystra, and there met with a young man named Timothy, the son of a pious woman in that city, named Eunice, who had taken great pains to
a Acts xiv. 8_18.
instruct him in his childhood in the things of God. And she had a rich reward for her care.
He was so remarkable for his holy conduct and for his abilities, that, although he was at that time a young man, he was chosen by Paul to accompany him in his travels; and he is frequently mentioned as attending the apostle in his journeys, assisting him in preaching the gospel, and conveying communications to different churches. We have two very affectionate letters which Paul wrote to him, full of kind advice, instruction, and encouragement, in which he reminds him of his happiness in having had a pious mother and grandmother, and in having from a child known the Holy Scriptures, which were able to make him wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. Many of my young readers, it may be hoped, have enjoyed the same privilege : but let them remember,