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1: Having passed through - Galatia and Phrygia, which were
termed the upper parts of Asia Minor. Certain disciples - Who
had been formerly baptized by John the Baptist, and since
imperfectly instructed in Christianity.
2: Have ye received the Holy Ghost? - The extraordinary gifts of
the Spirit, as well as his sanctifying graces? We have not so
much as heard - Whether there be any such gifts.
3: Into what were ye baptized - Into what dispensation? To the
sealing of what doctrine? Into John's baptism - We were baptized
by John and believe what he taught.
4: John baptized - That is, the whole baptism and preaching of
John pointed at Christ. After this John is mentioned no more
in the New Testament. Here he gives way to Christ altogether.
5: And hearing this, they were baptized - By some other. Paul
only laid his hands upon them. They were baptized - They were
baptized twice; but not with the same baptism. John did not
administer that baptism which Christ afterward commanded, that
is, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
9: The way - The Christian way of worshipping God. He departed
- Leaving them their synagogue to themselves. Discoursing daily
- Not on the Sabbath only, in the school of one Tyrannus - Which we
do not find was any otherwise consecrated, than by preaching the
10: All who desired it among the inhabitants of the proconsular
Asia, now heard the word: St. Paul had been forbidden to preach
it in Asia before, (Ac 16:6). But now the time was come.
11: Special miracles - Wrought in a very uncommon manner.
12: Evil spirits - Who also occasioned many of those diseases,
which yet might appear to be purely natural.
13: Exorcists - Several of the Jews about this time pretended to
a power of casting out devils, particularly by certain arts or
charms, supposed to be derived from Solomon. Undertook to name
- Vain undertaking! Satan laughs at all those who attempt to
expel him either out of the bodies or the souls of men but by
Divine faith. All the light of reason is nothing to the craft
or strength of that subtle spirit. His craft cannot be known
but by the Spirit of God nor can his strength be conquered but
by the power of faith.
17: And the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified - So that even the
malice of the devil wrought for the furtherance of the Gospel.
18: Many came confessing - Of their own accord, and openly
declaring their deeds - The efficacy of God's word, penetrating
the inmost recesses of their soul, wrought that free and open
confession to which perhaps even torments would not have
19: Curious arts - Magical arts, to which that soft appellation
was given by those who practised them. Ephesus was peculiarly
famous for these. And as these practices were of so much
reputation there, it is no wonder the books which taught them
should bear a great price. Bringing their books together - As it
were by common consent, burnt them - Which was far better than
selling them, even though the money had been given to the poor.
Fifty thousand pieces of silver - If these pieces of silver be
taken for Jewish shekels, the sum will amount to six thousand
two hundred and fifty pounds.
20: So powerfully did the word of God grow - In extent, and
prevail - In power and efficacy.
21: After these things were ended - Paul sought not to rest, but
pressed on, as if he had yet done nothing. He is already
possessed of Ephesus and Asia. He purposes for Macedonia and
Achaia. He has his eye upon Jerusalem, then upon Rome;
afterward on Spain, (Ro 15:28). No Cesar, no Alexander the
Great, no other hero, comes up to the magnanimity of this little
Benjamite. Faith and love to God and man had enlarged his heart,
even as the sand of the sea.
24: Silver shrines - Silver models of that famous temple, which
were bought not only by the citizens, but by strangers from all
parts. The artificers - The other silversmiths.
25: The workmen - Employed by him and them.
26: Saying, that they are not gods which are made with hands - This
manifestly shows, that the contrary opinion did then generally
prevail, namely, that there was a real Divinity in their sacred
images. Though some of the later heathens spoke of them just as
the Romanists do now.
27: There is danger, not only that this our craft [trade] should
come into disgrace, but also that the temple of the great
goddess Diana should be despised - No wonder a discourse should
make so deep an impression, which was edged both by interest
and superstition. The great goddess was one of the standing
titles of Diana. Her majesty destroyed - Miserable majesty, which
was capable of being thus destroyed! Whom all Asia and the world
- That is, the Roman empire, worshippeth - Although under a great
variety of titles and characters. But the multitude of those
that err does not turn error into truth.
29: They rushed with one accord - Demetrius and his company, into
the theatre - Where criminals were wont to be thrown to the wild
beasts, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus - When they could
not find Paul. Probably they hoped to oblige them to fight with
the wild beasts, as some think St. Paul had done before.
30: When Paul would have gone in to the people - Being above all
fear, to plead the cause of his companions, and prove they are
not gods which are made with hands.
31: The principal officers of Asia - The Asian priests, who
presided over the public games, which they were then
celebrating in honour of Diana.
32: The greater part did not know for what they were come
together - Which is commonly the case in such an assembly.
33: And they thrust forward - Namely, the artificers and workmen,
Alexander - Probably some well - known Christian whom they saw in
the crowd: the Jews pushing him on - To expose him to the more
danger. And Alexander waving with his hand - In token of desiring
silence, would have made a defence - For himself and his brethren.
34: But when they knew that he was a Jew - And consequently an
enemy to their worship of images; they prevented him, by crying,
Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
35: The register - Probably the chief governor of the public games.
The image which fell down from Jupiter - They believed that very
image of Diana, which stood in her temple, fell down from Jupiter
in heaven. Perhaps he designed to insinuate, as if falling down
from Jupiter, it was not made with hands, and so was not that
sort of idols which Paul had said were no gods.
37: Nor blasphemers of your goddess - They simply declared the one
God, and the vanity of idols in general.
38: There are proconsuls - One in every province. There was one
39: In a lawful assembly - In such a regular assembly as has
authority to judge of religious and political affairs.
40: This concourse - He wisely calls it by an inoffensive name.