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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, a 2 Tim. i. 5.

o Acts xvi, 14, 15.

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. c

And the next morning Paul and Silas were honourably released by the magistrates.

e Acts xvi. 16.-34.

56.

PAUL AT THESSALONICA, BEREA, AND

ATHENS.

From Philippi, Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, showing them that Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah. And some of the Jews believed, and a great many of the Greeks, and of the chief women not a few.

But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, gathered a company, and made an assault upon the Christians, and raised an uproar in the city. In consequence of which the brethren sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea : and there also they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

From Berea Paul went to Athens, a city very celebrated for its advancement in the arts and sciences, and which was then the centre of polite learning and philosophy. Here was every thing to charm the eye, and to gratify the taste. But Paul could derive no pleasure from those things while he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. It is stated by some heathen writers, that there were more idols and idolatrous feasts in Athens than in all Greece besides. Paul preached in the synagogue of the Jews, and in the market, concerning Jesus

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and the resurrection. Then some of the philosophers of the place began to dispute with him, and they brought him to the highest court in the city, and said to him, “ May we know what this new doctrine whereof thou speakest is ?”

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UNKNOWN

GOD.

Then Paul said, “ Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE

Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God who made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands ; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things ; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation ; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked : and others said, “ We will hear thee again of this matter.” So Paul departed from among them. & But some believed ; among whom was a member of the council named Dionysius, and a woman named Damaris.

57.

PAUL AT CORINTH AND EPHESUS. AFTER this, Paul preached the gospel at the celebrated city of Corinth, which was as much given to luxury and vice as Athens was to idolatry. And many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized.

Some time after this Paul came to Ephesus, a

a Acts xvii. 16–33.

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