Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

reason would that I should bear with you: but if it be a question of words and names, look ye to it; for I will be no judge in such matters. And he drove them from the judgment-seat: upon which the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment-seat:: but Gallio cared for none of those things.

Lucy. At this time Paul's enemies were disappointed in their attempts to injure him.

Aunt. You remember, my dear, that God had warranted his security, by promising that no man should be able to hurt him. Paul continued some considerable time longer at Corinth, where he planted a large church. The whole of his stay in Europe was about two years; and then, taking Aquila and Priscilla, he returned into Asia. Having sailed about one hundred leagues eastward, he landed at the famous city Ephesus, the metropolis of those parts, where he preached a short time in the synagogues, reasoning with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer with them, he consented not.

Maria. Why would not be stay?

Aunt. Because he had a desire to keep the approaching feast. at Jerusalem ; but he promised, if it were the will of God, to return to them again. He left Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, and, sailing about two hundred leagues south-eastward, landed at Cæsarea, and went thence to Jerusalem. Having visited the churches, he went down to Antioch in Syria; and, after some little stay there, traversed all the country of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening the disciples.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

While Paul was taking this long circuit, the providence of God took care of the churches of Ephesus, by means of Apollos, a Jew of Alexandria, who was instructed in the way of the Lord. Being a man of Aowing eloquence, and well versed in the scriptures, be entered the synagogues, and spake the word of God with great boldness, knowing only the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla, observing his zeal and sincerity, took him unto them, and expounded to him the way of Gud more perfectly. Apollos, having a desire to pass into Achaia, was recommended by letters froin the believers of Ephesus to those of Corinth. In this city he proved serviceable to the church, and watered what Paul had before planted; powerfully convincing the Jews also that Jesus was the true and only Messialı promised in the holy scriptures.

Lucy. Did Paul return to Ephesus?

Aunt. He did ; and made a longer stay in this city than in any other, continuing two years among them; having great difficulties to encounter in this place, not only from the Jews, but also from the philosophers, magicians, and other idolaters. Paul preached in the synagogues of the Jews for three months, but finding most of them continue obstinate in their infidelity, he separated from them, and taught in the school of one Tyrannus. God was pleased to honour Paul's preaching by extraordinary miracles; for, if handkerchiefs or aprons were but touched by him, and applied to the sick or possessed, they were immediately cured.

These miracles, however, had but little effect on the Jews: some of whom thought, that, by using the name of Christ, they could do the same. Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew and chief of the priests, made the attempt on a man who had an evil spirit, saying, We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth. The evil spirit answered, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man who was 'possessed leaped on them, and overcame them : and they fled out of the house naked and wounded.

George. What a disgrace! but was it publicly know?

Aunt. Yes, it was, both to Jews and Greeks; and had this happy effect, to make them reverence and magnify the name of the Lord Jesus. And many believed, and brought their magical books, and burnt them: and when the price of them vas counted, they were found to be worth fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Maria. How much would that amount to in our money?

Aunt. At the lowest computation, it exceeded fifteen hundred pounds sterling; but, according to some, it was not less than six thousand. A little before Paul's departure from this city, a great tumult took place. The city was renowned for its temple, which contained the image of the goddess Diana. This building, from its magnificent structure, riches, and beauty, was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world. Of this temple and its image it was usual for the citizens and travellers to have silver shrines and models, which employed a great number of silversmiths, who were afraid

their gains should be lost by the progress of christianity. Demetrius, the chief man in the trade, called together his brethren, and informed them that their craft, by which they gained their wealth, was in danger; for Paul had persuaded, and turned away the people (not only at Ephesus, but throughout all Asia), saying, They were no gods which were made with hands: therefore the temple and their goddess would be despised, and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshipped. This roused the artists, and they set up a cry of, Great is Diana of the Ephesians; so that the whole city was filled with confusion. And they caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions, and rushed with one accord into the theatre.

Lucy. What a confusion there must be?

Aunt. The greater part knew not wherefore they were come together; for some cried one thing and some another : till one Alexander attempted to address them, being put forward by the Jews: but the moment they perceived that he was a Jew (knowing the aversion of that people to the worship of idols), they all cried out with one voice, Great is Diana of the Ephesians: and this continued about the space of two hours. At length they were appeased by the town clerk, who appears to have been a wise and prudent man. After remonstrating on the impropriety of their conduct, he informed Demetrius, and the craftsmen who were with him, that if they had any matter against any man, the law was open, and it might be determined in a lawful assembly. He then dismissed the people, telling them that they were in danger of being called to account for that day's uproar.

George. Where was Paul during this disturbance

Aunt. He would have entered into the theatre, but was dissuaded by his friends. Shortly after, taking an affectionate leave of them, he departed to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone over those parts, he came into Greece, where he abode three months. He purposed to sail thence into Syria;, but, finding that the Jews lay in wait for him, he altered his plan, and returned through Macedonia. He was accompanied by several of his friends into Asia, whom he sent forward to Troas, ordering them to stay there till he came. After a short stay at Philippi, Paul, with Luke, the companion of his travels, set sail, and reached Troas in five days; where they found their friends waiting for them. In this place they abode seven days.

On the first day of the week, all the disciples met together to celebrate the Lord's supper, on which occasion, Paul preached to them. Intending the next day to depart, he continued his exhortations till midnight. A young man, whose name was Eutychus, sitting in a window, went into a deep sleep, and fell down from the third loft; for they were assembled in an upper room; and he was taken up dead.

Maria. This looked like a judgment upon him for sleeping

Aunt. In many cases, sleeping is the effect of mere sloth, and a careless frame of heart; but the

« PoprzedniaDalej »