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ing, penitent person.
How often have we heard it repeated and re-repeated on such occasions, “Believe on the Lord-only believe. Lord, give him faith,” and from the person thus addressed the answer would come back in distress, “I do believe.” Yet no Philip there to take the “good confession” and baptize him that he might “go on his way rejoicing.” No Ananias to say, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” No Paul there to baptize him the same hour of the night, that he might rejoice, believing in God. No, not even an “ Aquila and Priscilla” there to “expound unto him the way of God more perfectly,” but all persons are directed to toil on, sorrow on, and pray on, and expected to rejoice in the Lord before they obey Him. How different this from the expressed history of pardon. No one here is said to rejoice in the Lord before baptism. The Christian religion, as presented by inspiration, does no violence to the constitution of either body or mind, but violent forms of religion frequently injure both. It was after the Ethiopian was baptized that he "went on his way rejoicing.” And it was after the jailer was baptized that he “rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."
Notwithstanding Paul and Silas had been liberated during the night, their stripes had been washed and they had preached the word of the Lord to the prisonkeeper and his house, causing them to rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, yet the morning found them still in prison. But a message was sent to the keeper of the prison to let them go. Paul here,
for the first time, asserted his Roman citizenship and refused to go out privately, because they had been beaten openly, contrary to Roman law. When the magistrates heard “that they were Romans” they feared, “and they came and besought them, and brought them out and asked them to depart out of the city. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren they comforted them, and departed.”a
a Acts xvi. 39, 40.
The City of Philippi. Paul Preaches to the Thessalonians. The
Epistles to the Thessalonians.
With the history of the conversion of the Philippian jailer closes all minute detail of individual cases of pardon. While
many individuals were converted and many churches were organized, in the subsequent travels of Paul and his companions, it is only stated that they “believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas."'a' "Believed on the Lord.” That “hearing, they believed and were baptized.”• It is not re
b markable, however, that no more cases are minutely described, but rather that so many were given and the requirements so fully stated. The cases already given embrace Jew and Gentile, cover a variety of races, differing in education, in belief, in character, separated by distance, by time and by circumstances. Yet all were required to obey, whether the betrayers of Christ who were forgiven and rejoiced in the hope which their crime brought to the world, whether a pious Ethiopian from the dark continent, a devout Roman soldier of Cesarea, the persecuting Saul of Tarsus, whether Lydia of Thyatira or the keeper of a Acts xvii. 4.
b Acts xviii. 8.
the Roman jail at Philippi. These examples and more are not only sufficient to show the universal character of the Christian religion and its adaptation to all races, classes, and conditions of men, but to the universal law of pardon enjoined upon all. All examples of pardon harmonize and are sufficient for instruction for all people and in all time.
Philippi is the first city visited by Paul where converts are mentioned as a result of his preaching, and to whom he subsequently addressed an epistle. We have the simple statement of his passing through Galatia in Asia Minor before this, and of the Christians to whom he wrote the Galatian epistle. Only extensive ruins now mark the place where this important city once stood, yet time has not destroyed the record of Paul's labors and sufferings here. We still have the example of two important conversions, and the epistle addressed to the church ten years later. Paul was driven from its walls. Although the walls of the city have crumbled, the "word of life” preached by its river side, the story of the song of redemption sung in the deepest recesses of its prison, the word of the Lord spoken in the night-time, and the inspired epistle written to the church with its words of varning, its assurance of faith and comfort of love, all remain and will remain to instruct the sinner and cheer the saint until time shall cease to be.
From the style of the narrative being changed from the first to the third person, and Paul and Silas having left Philippi, it is evident that Luke remained. Timothy also remained, but joined Paul and Silas shortly
thereafter at Berea. Luke does not appear again in Paul's company until, on his third missionary journey, he visits Macedonia the second time. On the second journey he sailed with Paul from Troas for Philippi. On the third journey he informs us that “we sailed away from Philippi . . . to Troas.
... to Troas." It is quite probable that he remained at Philippi during the seven years of Paul's absence. However this
may be, he rejoined him here, and from this on we have reason to believe that he was with him to the close of his eventful career-journeying with him to Rome and being with him at his final trial. It is a remarkable fact, that Paul, in closing his own record, also closes that of Luke. Among his last and saddest words are, “only Luke is with me.” Here the curtain drops and the records of the great apostle and great historian close together, leaving the pleasant reflection that Paul's faithful chronicler in life stood by him in death.
Paul and Silas, on leaving the city of Philippi, traveled over the great Roman road “which connected Rome with the whole region north of the Ægean Sea.”b Passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia on this great highway, they came to the important city of Thessalonica, “where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures: Opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus whom I preach to a Acts xx. 6.
Smith's Bible Dictionary, page 900.