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3: He took and circumcised him because of the Jews - The
unbelieving Jews, to whom he designed he should preach. For
they would not have conversed with him at all, so long as he
6: And having gone through Phrygia - And spoken there what was
sufficient, as well as in the region of Galatia, being forbid
by the Spirit (probably by an inward dictate) to speak as yet
in the proconsular Asia, the time for it not being come.
7: Coming to Mysia, and passing it by, as being a part of Asia,
they attempted to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them
not - Forbidding them as before. Sometimes a strong impression,
for which we are not able to give any account, is not altogether
to be despised.
9: A vision appeared to Paul by night - It was not a dream, though
it was by night. No other dream is mentioned in the New Testament
than that of Joseph and of Pilate's wife. A man of Macedonia
- Probably an angel clothed in the Macedonian habit, or using the
language of the country, and representing the inhabitants of it.
Help us - Against Satan, ignorance, and sin.
10: We sought to go into Macedonia - This is the first place
in which St. Luke intimates his attendance on the apostle.
And here he does it only in an oblique manner. Nor does he
throughout the history once mention his own name, or any one
thing which he did or said for the service of Christianity;
though Paul speaks of him in the most honourable terms,(Col 4:14,2Ti 4:11); and probably as the brother whose praise
in the Gospel went through all the Churches, (2Co 8:18).
The same remark may be made on the rest of the sacred historians,
who every one of them show the like amiable modesty.
11: We ran with a straight course - Which increased their
confidence that God had called them.
12: The first city - Neapolis was the first city they came to
in that part of Macedonia which was nearest to Asia: in that
part which was farthest from it, Philippi. The river Strymon
ran between them. Philippi was a Roman colony.
13: We went out of the gate - The Jews usually held their
religious assemblies (either by choice or constraint) at a
distance from the heathens: by a river side - Which was also
convenient for purifying themselves. Where prayer was wont to
be made - Though it does not appear there was any house built there.
We spake - At first in a familiar manner. Paul did not immediately
begin to preach.
14: A worshipper of God - Probably acquainted with the prophetic
writings whose heart the Lord opened - The Greek word properly
refers to the opening of the eyes: and the heart has its eyes,(Eph 1:18). These are closed by nature and to open them is the
peculiar work of God.
15: She was baptized and her family - Who can believe that in so
many families there was no infant? Or that the Jews, who were
so long accustomed to circumcise their children, would not now
devote them to God by baptism? She entreated us - The souls of
the faithful cleave to those by whom they were gained to God.
She constrained us - By her importunity. They did not immediately
comply, lest any should imagine they sought their own profit by
coining into Macedonia.
17: These men are - A great truth: but St. Paul did not need, nor
would accept, of such testimony.
19: The magistrates - The supreme magistrates of the city. In the
next verse they are called by a title which often signifies
pretors. These officers exercised both the military and civil
20: Being Jews - A nation peculiarly despised by the Romans.
21: And teach customs which it is not lawful for us to receive
- The world has received all the rules and doctrines of all the
philosophers that ever were. But this is a property of Gospel
truth: it has something in it peculiarly intolerable to the world.
23: They laid many stripes upon them - Either they did not
immediately say they were Romans, or in the tumult it was not
regarded. Charging the jailer - Perhaps rather to quiet the
people than because they thought them criminal.
24: Secured their feet in the stocks - These were probably those
large pieces of wood, in use among the Romans, which not only
loaded the legs of the prisoner, but also kept them extended in
a very painful manner.
25: Paul and Silas sung a hymn to God - Notwithstanding weariness,
hunger stripes, and blood. And the prisoners heard - A song to
which they were not accustomed.
28: But Paul cried - As they were all then in the dark, it is not
easy to say, how Paul knew of the jailer's purpose; unless it
were by some immediate notice from God, which is by no means
incredible. With a loud voice - Through earnestness, and because
he was at some distance. Do thyself no harm - Although the
Christian faith opens the prospect into another life, yet it
absolutely forbids and effectually prevents a man's discharging
himself from this.
30: Sirs - He did not style them so the day before. What must I
do to be saved? - From the guilt I feel and the vengeance I fear?
Undoubtedly God then set his sins in array before him, and
convinced him in the clearest and strongest manner that the
wrath of God abode upon him.
31: Thou shalt be saved and thy household - If ye believe.
They did so, and were saved.
33: He washed their stripes - It should not be forgot, that the
apostles had not the power of working miraculous cures when they
pleased, either on themselves, or their dearest friends. Nor
was it expedient they should, since it would have frustrated many
wise designs of God, which were answered by their sufferings.
34: He set a table before them and rejoiced - Faith makes a man
joyful, prudent, liberal.
35: The pretors sent - Being probably terrified by the earthquake;
saying, Let those men go - How different from the charge given a
few hours before! And how great an ease of mind to the jailer!
37: They have beaten us publicly, being Romans - St. Paul does not
always plead this privilege. But in a country where they were
entire strangers, such treatment might have brought upon them a
suspicion of having been guilty of some uncommon crime, and so
have hindered the course of the Gospel.
40: When they had seen the brethren, they comforted them and
departed - Though many circumstances now invited their stay, yet
they wisely complied with the request of the magistrates, that
they might not seem to express any degree of obstinacy or
revenge, or give any suspicion of a design to stir up the people.