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PAUL AT LYSTRA.
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. And as 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 a 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.
53. PAUL AT LYSTRA.
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 up 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 unto you that 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.
A FEW years afterwards, Paul made another visit to Lystra, and there met with a young man
a Acts xiv. 8-18.
named Timothy, the son of a pious woman in that city, named Eunice, who had taken great pains to
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,
LYDIA, AND THE PHILIPPIAN JAILOR.
that unspeakably great as this blessing is, they will derive no benefit from it, unless, as in the case of Timothy, the same faith which has dwelt in their pious relations dwells in them also. a And does not the history of Timothy remind us also of this important truth, that early piety is the best preparation for eminent usefulness? Let every dear youth who reads this, determine, by the grace of God, to be like Timothy.
55. LYDIA, AND THE PHILIPPIAN JAILOR.
WHEN Paul was at Troas, in Asia Minor, a vision appeared to him ir. the night. There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, "Come over into Macedonia, and help us." He obeyed this call and came to Philippi, which was the chief city of that part of Macedonia. And on the sabbath day Paul and his companions went out of the city by the river side, to a place where some pious Jews were accustomed to meet for prayer, and he spoke to the women who resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God, heard him. And the Lord opened her heart, that she attended to the things which were spoken by Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought the apostles earnestly to come and abide at her house. b
Shortly after this, Paul expelled from a certain damsel a spirit of divination, at which her masters, who had derived much gain from her soothsaying, were very angry. And they caught Paul and Šilas,
b Acts xvi. 14, 15.
a 2 Tim. i. 5.
LYDIA, AND THE PHILIPPIAN JAILOR.
and brought them before the magistrates, and accused them of endeavouring to introduce a strange religion. The magistrates commanded them to be beaten, and to be cast into prison. The jailor having received a strict charge concerning them, cast them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God, in the midst of their sufferings; and the other prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, "Do thyself no harm: for we are all here." Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
And the next morning Paul and Silas were honourably released by the magistrates.
Acts xvi. 16--34.