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9. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, abode with him. Now this 9
man had four daughters, vir1 which did prophesy.
gins, which did prophesy. And Io 10. And as we tarried there many days, there came as we, tarried there many
days, there came down from down from Judæa a certain prophet, named 2 Agabus. Judæa a certain prophet,
1 Joel 2: 28. Acts 2:17.
· Acts 11:28. Their route led them round Mount Carmel along the coast for thirty or forty miles to Cesarea. This was the third visit Paul had paid to this city. For the first, see Acts 9:30; the second, Acts 18:22. – Rev. Com. Cæsarea. The chief Roman city of Palestine, on the Mediterranean, 47 miles north-west of Jerusalem. It was built by Herod Agrippa, B.C. 10, and named in honor of Augustus Cæsar. It was the home of Philip the evangelist and of Cornelius the centurion. Paul was afterwards imprisoned here for two years (Acts 24:27). It was the official residence of Festus and Felix, governors of Judea. It had a learned school, was once the residence of Origen, and of Eusebius the historian, who was bishop of Cesarea. It is now a ruin. We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist. Called, in order to distinguish him from the apostle Philip, one of the seven deacons appointed 23 years before at Jerusalem (Acts 6:5). Philip, like Stephen, became a great preacher. He labored in Samaria (8:5). He was the means of the conversion of the Ethiopian treasurer on the way to Gaza (8 : 26), and preached in many cities (8:40). This was about A.D. 35, 36, nearly a quarter of a century before the visit of Paul. - Rev. Com. It seems likely that Philip, though an evangelist, had become the stated pastor or teacher at Cesarea. – Abbott. But his title “ evangelist" shows that he did not give up his preaching journeys. — Stock.
THE EVANGELIST. The word evangelist, which comes from the Greek root meaning Gospel, means a “herald of good tidings.” The evangelist was not the compiler of a history, but the missionary who carried the good tidings to fresh countries; the bearer and not the author of the message. - Wescott. We can thus trace how, when the story of the life of Christ — at first only told orally by the evangelist or missionary - was written down in the form of narrative, the inspired writers became known as the evangelists. — Schaf.
THE MEETING OF LUKE AND PHILIP. As far as we know, Philip and Luke had not met before, and we can imagine the satisfaction with which the latter (Luke), himself probably an evangelist in both senses of the word (2 Cor. 8: 18), and already contemplating his work as an historian, would welcome the acquaintance of the former (Philip); how he would ask many questions as to the early history of the church, and learn from him all or nearly all that we find in the first eleven chapters of this book. — Plumptre.
9. And the same man had four daughters, virgins. The word then, as afterwards, probably indicated not merely the bare fact that they were as yet unmarried, but that they had devoted themselves, if not by irrevocable vows, yet by a steadfast purpose, to that form of service. — Plumptre. From the several traditions respecting these four daughters, it seems that subsequently two of them were married. It is improbable that any “ order of virgins” existed at this early period. — Schaff. Which did prophesy. The English word “prophesy" has come to have, since about the beginning of the seventeenth century, only the one sense of " to predict what is yet to come.” In the time of Queen Elizabeth "prophesyings" meant “preachings," and Jeremy Taylor's famous work on the “ Liberty of Prophesying” was written to uphold the freedom of preaching. These women were, in their degree, evangelists also. – Cambridge Bible. Did they prophesy in the assemblies of the church? It is true that St. Paul had forbidden this at Corinth (1 Cor. 14: 34), and forbade it afterwards at Ephesus (1 Tim. 2:12); but the very prohibition proves that the practice was common (see also i Cor. 11:5), and it does not follow that St. Paul's rules of discipline as yet obtained in all the churches (Plumptre), nor that they applied to all churches or assemblies under other circumstances than those in which he spoke. The records of the New Testament simply show the fact that God inspires women as well as men, and when he sends them forth they have a mission to proclaim the Gospel in their own womanly way. See Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28, 29. - P. It is perfectly possible, however, that they may have confined their ministrations to those of their own sex, and, accompanying their father in
his missionary journeys, have gained access to women both among Jews and Gentiles, and · brought them to the knowledge of the truth. – Plumptre.
IV. A Prophet from Jerusalem. — Vers. 10–14. 10. And as we tarried there many (rather, more) days. The Greek word rendered many is in the comparative degree, and apparently signifies that Paul and his companions tarried in Cesarea “more days " than at first they had intended. He was now only two days' easy journey from Jerusalem, which II. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's named Agabus. And coming 11
to us, and taking Paul's girdle, girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, he bound his own feet and
hands, and said, Thus saith Thus saith the Holy Ghost, 'So shall the Jews at
the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and Jews at Jerusalem bind the
man that owneth this girdle, shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
and shall deliver him into the 12. And when we heard these things, both we, and
hands of the Gentiles. And 12
when we heard these things, they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jeru both we and they of that salem.
place besought him not to go
up to Jerusalem. Then Paul 13 13. Then Paul answered, 2 What mean ye to weep answered, What do ye, weepand to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be for I am ready not to be
1 Ver. 33. Acts 20:23. ? Acts 20: 24. he intended to reach by Pentecost. — Schafs. There came down from Judæa a certain prophet, named Agabus. This is the same Agabus whom we read of in chap. II: 28; we are sure of his identity with the foreteller of the famine in the days of Claudius Cæsar, – the name, the office, and the residence being the same in both instances. Fifteen or sixteen years had elapsed since Agabus of Jerusalem had prophesied before the church of Antioch. Schaff. He either came down from the Holy City to meet Paul at Cesarea (as some), or he merely happened to visit Cesarea while Paul was there. — Lewin.
II. He took Paul's girdle. The girdle was that band with which the loose oriental robe was drawn together at the waist. It was of considerable size, and served the purposes of a pocket, the money being carried in it. — Cambridge Bible. They were usually either of leather or linen, and frequently were embroidered with silk or threads of gold. It was worn by both men and women. The girdle was made use of in the case before us not because it happened to be lying near, or simply as an article of dress, but because it was essential to all active movement, and therefore a familiar metaphor or emblem of vigorous and energetic action. — Alexander. Bound his own (Agabus') hands and feet. His revelation was made in that dramatic form which impresses the mind with a stronger sense of reality than mere words can do, and which was made familiar to the Jews of old by the practice of the Hebrew prophets. - C. and H.
SYMBOLIC TEACHING. Similar actions are common with the Old Testament prophets. Thus Isaiah (20:3) walks naked and barefoot. Jeremiah (13:5) hides his girdle by the river Euphrates, and (19:10, 11) breaks the potter's vessel in the Valley of Hinnom. Ezekiel (4:1-3) draws on a tile a picture of the siege of Jerusalem, and (5:1-4) cuts off his hair, and burns and destroys it as God commanded. So too Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah, made horns of iron (1 Kings, 22:11). With this act of Agabus may be compared our Lord's words to St. Peter (John 21:18). — Cambridge Bible. So also our Saviour, when he taught his disciples humility and charity, had recourse to a similar method of teaching by symbols, when he washed the feet of his disciples, and wiped them with the towel wherewith he was girded (John 13:5). -- Gloag. Thus saith the Holy Ghost. Observe that the prophetic language of the Old Testament is, “Thus saith the Lord”: in the New Testament, "Thus saith the Holy Ghost." For the Holy Ghost is the later and fuller revelation of the Lord. So shall the Jews ... bind, etc. The Jews did it by the hands of the Romans. They instigated the mob, and laid hands on Paul, and were the means of his falling into the power of the Romans, who otherwise would have let him alone. It is to be observed that in the same city where Paul's imprisonment was so plainly revealed to him, he was afterwards bound for two years. — Gloag.
12. We, and they of that place, besought him. Paul's companions, Luke, Aristarchus, Trophimus, and the brethren in Cesarea. Commentators strikingly call attention here to the parallel between Paul and Paul's Master, who had to listen to his disciple Peter, endeavoring to persuade him to turn aside from the way of suffering on which he had entered, with the words, “Be it far from thee, Lord” (Matt. 16:22). – Rev. Com. Besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. All the indications of providence and prophecy, so far as they knew, pointed out this as the proper course. But Paul had received an equally clear intimation that his duty was to go. Of this they seem to have been ignorant. Their request therefore was prompted by prudence and affection for Paul; there was no element of unbelief or disobedience in it. — Prof. Riddle.
13. What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? The intense sensitiveness of St. Paul's nature shows itself in every syllable. It was with no Stoic hardness that he resisted their entreaties. They were positively crushing to him. He adhered to his purpose,
at Jerusalem for the name of of the Lord Jesus.
the Lord Jesus. And when 14 14. And when he would not be persuaded, we he would not be persuaded, we
ceased, saying, The will of the ceased, saying, 1 The will of the Lord be done.
Lord be done.
but it was as with a broken heart. — Plumptre. For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die. This noble answer of the apostle requires little comment. It is as simple as it is sublime. To understand what it means is easy; to share in its sentiment is to make high attainment in grace. We need not ask ourselves if we could say this. Living a life of love to Christ, we may be sure that when he places us in such circumstances as those of Paul, his “grace will be sufficient for us.” For most of us it may require more grace to take up the trivial duties, and to endure the petty trials of our lives, than to utter some kindred sentiment in times of great trial. — Riddle.
PAUL'S DETERMINATION IN THE PATH OF DUTY. It was no wilfulness on Paul's part that led bim to persist in going on. Only some great and worthy object to be gained could impel him to press so steadily forward into so great dangers, and in spite of such earnest remonstrances. His reasons, doubtless, were (1) To unite the two great wings of the church, the Gentile and the Jewish, in a closer bond of union. It was the completion of his great mission as the apostle of the Gentiles. In the words of Dr. Schaff, “ at the great Pentecostal feast he would meet with many thousand Jews from all parts of the world, all more or less prejudiced against the famous apostle of the Gentiles, who was said to be everywhere teaching the children of the chosen people to forsake the ‘Law. He would meet these face to face, and, supported by the countenance of James and the elders of the revered Jerusalem church, disprove these painful, fatal rumors. He would show the multitudes gathered together at Pentecost how nobly his churches, his converts, had come forward with money and help for the distressed Palestine Jews, and thus he hoped forever to set himself right with his own countrymen. He was an old man, wearied with ceaseless toils and worn with sickness and anxiety. The chance of meeting so great a concourse of Jews in the Holy City might never occur again; so for his work's sake, for the sake of the many flourishing churches he had founded, he would do his best to disprove the false rumors so widely disseminated concerning his teaching. This was, we believe, in Paul's mind, and determined him at all risks to go up to the Holy City and keep the feast; and in spite of what happened there there is no doubt but that this, the real purpose of the visit, was accomplished, and that with James, the Lord's brother, the head of the Jerusalem church, a vast proportion of the crowds from foreign lands who kept that Pentecost feast, from that time, as the result showed, loyally accepted the Gentile apostle and his noble work.”
(2) Baumgarten suggests that it was a final manifestation of grace to the hardened people of God. In Romans Paul speaks of his intense desire for the salvation of the Jews. He knows their blindness is but for a time, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Rom. 11:1, 25.) Now had not the “fulness of the Gentiles” already come, in a certain sense? Could not St. Paul go to Jerusalem and say this to his countrymen, and would they not then at length be persuaded and embrace the Gospel? Thus his great desire would be fulfilled, and his great work be accomplished.
For the name of the Lord Jesus. The noblest and most inspiring of motives; the one that should thrill and fill every Christian; the one that transfigures afflictions into glories, and makes the otherwise ordinary life to be sublime and heavenly. — P.
14. We ceased. They saw it was useless to try to persuade him, and they began to understand that afflictions and trials in the way were not necessarily a word from God for us to turn back. They realized that Paul was doing God's will as revealed to him. The will of the Lord be done. Oh, how pure and serene is our life when that will alone directs us, and when not a trace of our own will remains behind! With such a frame of mind we become like unto God. - Bernard. This is a sentence of trust under afflictions. We do not know what is best for us, and therefore commit our ways to the infinite wisdom and love of God. But it means more than this. It means that we desire to do as well as to suffer God's will. That we endeavor to find out what God's will is, and then to do it. What an overturning in this world if all sincerely desired the Lord's will to be done ! - P.
LIBRARY REFERENCES. For descriptions of the places mentioned in this voyage, see Conybeare and Howson, Lewin, or Farrar; Monday Club Sermons for 1877; Sermons, by H. W. Beecher, series 1, “ The Teaching of Events”; by Talmage, series 1, “The Voyage to Heaven "; E. E. Hale's In His Name ; Tract by the A. M. A., written by Rev. A. H. Bradford.
1. Ver. 1. Life is like a voyage by sea. May we all reach the heavenly Jerusalem in spite of intervening perils, temptations, and sufferings. – Rev. Com.
2. Vers. 1-3. God uses commerce, and the works which men carry on for their own interest, as the means for the spread of the Gospel.
3. Ver. 4. Wherever we go we should make an effort to find Christians, and to make their acquaintance, and to do good to those who entertain us.
4. Ver. 5. Praying together is a great uniter of hearts, and comfort to parting friends.
5. Ver. 8. It becomes Christians and ministers, according to their ability, to use hospitality one to another without grudging. — Henry.
6. There are few greater blessings to a family than the presence in it of a great and good man. — Henry.
7. Ver. 9. God sends his spirit of prophesying on women as well as on men, and they have a great sphere of usefulness and work in the Gospel.
8. Vers. 10–13. Difficulties in the way are no proof that God does not wish us to walk in it. Every Christian, like Bunyan's, meets with hills of difficulty, where the path of righteousness and safety lies over and not around.
9. The prospect of trial, and even a violent death, should not defiect us from the path of duty (comp. Jud. 5:18). Paul in this voyage recalls the case of the Saviour who "steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). -- Rev. Com.
10. The wise man, as soon as he knows what the Lord's will is, submits trustingly to it, for he is aware that he is too ignorant and weak to plan his own future, and he rejoices to commit his ways to one who has the wisdom and knowledge to guide, and the love to guide in the best way,
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS. We may begin our Lines of Approach to the practical truths of this lesson by a brief REVIEW of the last two lessons,— where Paul was, to whom he was speaking, and the drift
Then with the MAP have the scholars trace out this part of Paul's journey to Jersualem, with brief notes of the places at which they stopped, and with the dates and length of stay at each place as given in the ITINERARY.
Who were Paul's companions on the journey ?
I. The scholars should have a clear idea of Why PAUL WAS GOING UP TO JERUSALEM, and what important objects to be gained made it his imperative duty to go. Paul never ran into useless danger. When persecuted in one city he went to another. Why was he constrained to go into this danger?
II. THE DISCIPLES AT TYRE, — A TEMPTATION TO TURN FROM Duty. These disciples warned him of the danger, but the history shows that he overcame the temptation and went right on. The teacher need not delay here, but make his practical applications later on, where a like temptation is described more fully.
III. THE PROPHETS AT CESAREA, – AN EXAMPLE OF DOING GOOD UNDER DIFFICULTIES. Some account of Paul's visit at Cesarea, and of Philip, by whom he was entertained. The account given of his family. Meaning of prophesy here. The promise of this gift to woman (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28, 29). Some of the difficulties in the way of doing it (1 Cor. 14:34; 1 Tim. 2:12), and yet they did as led by the Spirit. With a class of girls it would be well to dwell on some of women's work in the church to be done in spite of difficulties, but in a loving, womanly way.
Illustration of woman's work under the Gospel. Leckey says the first hospital ever
foremost names in modern philanthropy are John Howard and Florence Nightingale. Not one general of the Crimean War on either side can be named by one person in ten. The one name that rises instantly, when that carnival of pestilence and blood is suggested, is that of a young woman just recovering from a serious illness. Need I mention her name? Florence Nightingale. A soldier said, “ Before she came there was such cussin' and swearin', and after that it was as holy as a church.” Florence Nightingale robbed war of half its terrors. Since her time the hospital systems of all the nations during war have been changed. No soldier was braver and no patriot truer than Clara Barton, and wherever that noble company of Protestant women known as the Red Cross Society - the cross, I suppose, pointing to Calvary, and the red to the blood of the Redeemer - wherever those consecrated workers seek to alleviate the condition of those who suffer from plagues, cholera, fevers, flood, famine, there this tireless angel moves on her pathway of blessing. And of all heroes what nobler ones than these, whose names shine from the pages of our missionary history? I never read of Mrs. Judson, Mrs. Snow, Miss Brittain, Miss West, without feeling that the heroic age of our race has but just commenced, the age which opens to woman the privilege of following her benevolent inspirations wheresoever she will; without feeling that our Christianity needs no other evidences. In the crypt of the old cathedral at Glasgow, facing toward the statue of John Knox, is an illuminated window with a picture of the Good Samaritan, and under it the simple words in broad Scotch, “Let the deed shaw.” – Rev. A. H. Bradford.
IV. A PROPHET VISITING CESAREA, - ANOTHER TEMPTATION. After a brief account of Agabus, have his acted prophecy described, and its meaning. How would this and the entreaties of his friends tempt him to turn aside?
V. PAUL'S VICTORY. By the love of Jesus Christ, and the consciousness of duty, and great ends to be gained. The acquiescence of the disciples. Draw from the scholars their own peculiar temptations to turn from duty, and show them the way of victory,
Illustration. Bunyan's Hill Difficulty. Luther going to the Diet at Worms.
LESSON V. — FEBRUARY 1.
PAUL AT JERUSALEM. — ACTS 21:15–26. GOLDEN TEXT. — And when they heard it they glorified the Lord. — ACTS 21 : 20.
TIME. – On Monday, May 15, A.D. 58, Paul leaves Cesarea for Jerusalem, and arrives there on Wednesday, May 17, just before the Pentecost, which began on sunset of that day. - Lewin.
DIARY:Wed., May 10, Paul reaches Cesarea. | Fri., May 19, Paul's attendance at the temple May 10-15, visit at Cesarea.
with the poor Nazarites. Mon., May 15, leaves Cesarea for Jerusalem. Tues., May 23, mobbed by the Jews in the Wed., May 17, reaches Jerusalem. Pentecost. temple area. Thurs., May 18, Paul's report to James and Wed., May 24, brought before the Sanhethe elders of the church.
drim. PLACE. – Jerusalem. The home or church of James the Just, and the temple area.
RULERS. - Nero, emperor of Rome. Felix, governor of Judea. Agrippa II., king of Trachonitis, etc., the tetrarchy east of the sea of Galilee and the upper Jordan. Josephus at Jerusalem, 19 years old. Paul, 56 years old. PRONUNCIATIONS.– Cẽsirelã; Cyprus; Mna'sẵn (na'sẵn); Săn/hedim.
INTRODUCTION. Paul having spent about five days with his friends in Cesarea at the house of Philip the evangelist, and having resisted all their well-meant warnings and entreaties to keep away from Jerusalem, left Cesarea in time to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost, May 17. Thus closed his third and last great missionary journey. He had not been at Jerusalem since September, A.D. 53 (Acts 18:21, 22).
15. And after those days we took up our carriages, And after these days we us and went up to Jerusalem.
| took up our baggage, and EXPLANATORY. I. The Completion of Paul's Journey. – Vers. 15, 16. 15. After those days. The “many days," or rather "more days " of ver. 10. The days spent by Paul at Cesarea with Philip. We took up our carriages. Carriages is here used in its old English sense of things carried, bearing the same relation to the verb “carry” that “luggage” does to the verb " lug," and "baggage” to the verb " bag." - Alexander. Carriages in the modern