Acts 16:27
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, presuming that the prisoners had escaped.
The Day that Looked Like the Day of Small ThingsP.C. Barker Acts 16:14, 15, 40
An Illustrious Triple Triumph of ChristianityP.C. Barker Acts 16:16-39
Joy in TribulationE. Johnson Acts 16:19-34
The First European PersecutionR.A. Redford Acts 16:19-40
God in the EarthquakeW. Clarkson Acts 16:26-34
Providential DeliveranceActs 16:27-28
Religion a SafeguardThe EvangelistActs 16:27-28
Self-PreservationJ. W. Burn.Acts 16:27-28
SuicideSir Thomas Browne.Acts 16:27-28
Suicide At PhilippiJ. S. Howson, D. D.Acts 16:27-28
Timely AdviceH. Peach, LL. D.Acts 16:27-28

God does not always manifest himself "in the still small voice" (1 Kings 19.); there are times when he makes himself known in other forms. We learn from our text -

I. THAT GOD IS SOMETIMES, IF NOT OFTEN, IN THE TERRIBLE. (Ver. 26.) "By terrible things in righteousness," as well as by gracious things in mercy and in love, does he answer us. He is in the earthquake and in the fire and in the great and strong wind, sometimes. He was, here. The earthquake was the moving of his hand, the utterance of his voice, the expression of his mind. It was his condemnation of human injustice and cruelty; it was his declaration on behalf of human innocence and worth. As in nature we have the solemn as well as the pleasant, the fearful as well as the delightful, the storm as well as the sunshine, so in God's providential dealings with us, and also in his revelation of himself in Jesus Christ, we have the awful and the stern as well as the benignant and the merciful, the rebuke as well as the invitation, punishment as well as reward, death as well as life.

II. THAT GOD'S AIM, IN THE TERRIBLE, IS TO AWAKEN THE SLUMBERING SOUL. "The keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep" (ver. 27). It was the sleep of sin from which this earthquake called him, rather than from bodily slumber. God aroused his spirit thus; and from a guilty, deadly unconsciousness of all that is most precious in the human heart, he awoke to "newness of life." "God doeth it that men should fear before him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14). God sends the earthquake; he shakes the very ground under men's feet; he makes their life-prospects to rock and quiver; he threatens with loss, or he permits terrible bereavements, to compel men to think of those things which otherwise they would continue to disregard, to make men see the solemn realities which are about them, to place judgment and eternity in full view before their eyes.

III. THAT SPIRITUAL AGITATION STILL ASKS THE OLD QUESTION AND RECEIVES THE OLD REPLY. Let men say what they will about "refined selfishness," it will always remain true that a man's first duty to God is the duty he owes to himself; that the first thing a man awakened by God has to do is to consider how he can come into a right and happy relation to the God with whom he has to do; in other words, to ask him how he can "be saved," how his sin can be forever and himself be taken back into the favor and the service of the living God. And the answer of Paul will always be the reply of the Christian teacher. The earnest seeker after salvation must be directed to a Divine Savior, in whom he can "believe." For us to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is to accept him for all that he offers to be to us - to accept him

(1) as the Savior in whom we trust for Divine mercy;

(2) as the Friend to whom we give our heart;

(3) as the Lord to whom we dedicate our life.

IV. THAT THE ACCEPTANCE OF JESUS CHRIST IS TO BE FOLLOWED BY DISCIPLESHIP AND PROFESSION. The converted jailor, so far from being satisfied with his first change, gave his mind to the further and fuller understanding of the truth (ver. 32); moreover, he showed the sincerity of his conversion by being baptized into the Christian faith (ver. 33), by carrying with him all the members of his household, and by offering hospitality to those whom he had treated as criminals and now welcomed as friends. We, too, if our faith be genuine, shall

(1) be eager to learn more of Christ and of his holy will;

(2) make profession of our change of heart and life;

(3) do all we can to befriend and further those who are the ambassadors of Christ.

V. THAT FAITH IN CHRIST TURNS PASSING PLEASURE INTO ABIDING JOY. "He rejoiced" (ver. 34). He had often laughed and been merry before; now joy takes up its home in his heart. "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." - C.

And the keeper of the prison...would have killed himself.
Suicide is not to fear death, but yet to be afraid of life. It is a brave act of valour to contemn death; but where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valour to dare to live; and herein religion has taught us a noble example; for all the valiant acts of Cartius, Scoevola, or Codrus do not parallel or match that of Job.

(Sir Thomas Browne.)

Philippi is famous in the annals of suicide. Here Cassius, unable to survive defeat, covered his face in the empty tent, and ordered his freedmen to strike the blow. His messenger, Titinius, held it to be "a Roman's part," to follow the stern example. Here Brutus bade adieu to his friends, exclaiming, "Certainly we must fly, yet not with the feet, but with the hands"; and many whose names have never reached us, ended their last struggle for the republic by self-inflicted death. Here, too, another despairing man would have committed the same crime, had not his hand been arrested by an apostle's voice. Instead of a sudden and hopeless death, the jailer received at the hands of his prisoner the gift both of temporal and spiritual life.

(J. S. Howson, D. D.)

Do thyself no harm
The Evangelist.
I. THE ALARM OF THE KEEPER OF THE PRISON. The tokens of the Divine presence were earthquakes, the opening of doors, and the loosing of bonds. In this manner God bore a testimony to His faithful servants, and prepared the way for the jailer's conversion. But the moral terror was the most memorable thing in his history. God used terrific means with a view to a peaceful and merciful end. He was first reduced to despair of himself, and next led to hope in Christ. The degrees of terror are different in different minds. Lydia was brought by calm and peaceful means; the jailer by solemn and arousing ones. Some doubt whether they are converted, because they have not passed through strong convictions, agonies of terror. Let them look at Lydia. That man has had terror enough, be it much or little, if he has been brought to Christ. Our state is to be determined, not by our former emotions, but by our present conduct.

II. THE LANGUAGE OF ST. PAUL TO HIM: "Do thyself no harm." The text suggests three great truths —

1. That it is the tendency of sin to harm the sinner. He does not think so in the outset of his career; but he finds it out very soon. We follow evil under the forms of good. The enemy of souls first allures, and then destroys. Sin wounds the conscience; blights the reputation; injures the sinner in his worldly circumstances; destroys the happiness of his family; shortens his days; ruins his soul. As the shadow follows the body, so do plagues follow sin.

2. That it is the design of religion to be a moral safeguard and blessing. It is favourable to a peaceful conscience; to a good name; to worldly prosperity; to family comfort; to length of days; to a peaceful death; and joyful eternity. The gospel is a preservative as well as a restorative system.

3. That it is the office of the ministry to interfere, by its counsels and warnings, between man and misery. Paul cried with a loud voice.

III. THE IMPROVEMENT IT SUGGESTS TO OURSELVES. Believe and obey the gospel. It is a remedy suited to all times and persons.

1. By way of inquiry. Have we taken the first step in the road to heaven?

2. By way of caution. Guard against the beginning of sin.

3. By way of invitation to penitents. "Turn to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope."

4. Encouragement to Christians derived from the ascertained connection between faith and salvation. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

(The Evangelist.)

Do thyself no harm.

I. Physically. The body is God's handiwork, "fearfully and wonderfully made." It has been redeemed by Christ, and is a temple of the Holy Ghost. Do not harm it therefore —

1. By overwork.

2. By excessive exercise.

3. By undue exposure.

4. By enervating indolence or pleasure.

5. By neglecting the means of its support in health or its recovery in sickness. We shall have to give an account for deeds done in the body in more senses than one.

II. MENTALLY. How august the gift of intellect with its faculties of memory, reason, imagination, etc., and how delicate and susceptible of injury. There are laws of mind as well of matter which cannot be disobeyed without severe retribution. Do thy mind no harm —

1. By overstrain. Some of the highest in examination lists have done poorly in life, because their academic honours represent not so much useful and healthy knowledge, but so much cram.

2. By neglect. The mind gets into an otiose and diseased state for want of exercise.

III. EMOTIONALLY. How rich a gift is feeling, and how soon and easily is the heart injured or broken! Do thyself no harm —

1. By over-sensitiveness.

2. By deliberate petrifaction.

3. By anxiety. Guard love against unworthy objects; hope against unreasonable expectations; joy against exhaustible sources. Cultivate the best friendships; "Be content with such things as ye have"; never despair.

IV. SPIRITUALLY. Here the greatest harm can be done. Here injury may be irreparable.

1. Communion with God, who is the soul's life, may be broken off.

2. The soul may die to its richest inheritance in time and eternity. Do it no harm, therefore, by neglecting the means of grace, prayer, Bible study, Christian fellowship, etc., nor by the allowance of any known sin.

V. SOCIALLY. Under this head may be grouped a variety of interests in which great damage may be done. A man may harm himself —

1. Commercially, by unwise speculations, wrong methods, indolence, etc.

2. In his friendships by bad associations, want of thought, forbearance, etc.

3. Politically. The Christian and unfailing rule of self-preservation is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God...and thy neighbour as thyself."

(J. W. Burn.)

A young gentleman spent his fortune in riotous living and was reduced to poverty. For a time his friends supported him; but at last they all forsook him. Wandering about as a vagabond, and having no prospect of a further supply, he resolved to drown himself. Being then in a strange place, he went to the riverside; but waiting till it was dark, he saw a light in a house and went to it. The people there were singing; he listened, and after hearing a chapter from the Bible and a prayer, he knocked at the door and was admitted. In the astonishing kindness of Providence the passage for consideration was the one before us. After several members had made their remarks they concluded, as usual, with prayer, after which the stranger asked how they came to know his thoughts, for he had not mentioned his purpose to any person on earth. This equally surprised the audience, for they had not seen or heard of him till now. Upon which the young gentleman told them his design and how it had been prevented. This remarkable providence struck him to such a degree that, by the Divine blessing, it was made the means of his conversion. He became an eminent Christian, regained the favour of his friends, and lived a useful and godly life.

When Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, about seven o'clock in the evening, he exclaimed, "Sauve qui peut," and rode off the field to Charleroi. But that was after his campaigns had stained his sword with the blood and tears of millions, and when the three preceding days had been marked by the fall of 40,000 French, 16,000 Prussians, and 13,000 British and Germans. Paul's advice, "Do thyself no harm," was given in time to prevent mischief, and this is the timely and standing counsel of the gospel to the men of all nationalities in all ages.

(H. Peach, LL. D.)

Lydia, Paul, Silas, Timotheus, Timothy
Asia, Bithynia, Derbe, Galatia, Iconium, Jerusalem, Lystra, Macedonia, Mysia, Neapolis, Philippi, Phrygia, Samothrace, Thyatira, Troas
Awakened, Awaking, Awoke, Death, Doors, Drawn, Drew, Escaped, Fearing, Fled, Got, Jail, Jailer, Jailor, Keeper, Kill, Killed, Killing, Open, Opened, Point, Prison, Prisoners, Roused, Seeing, Sleep, Starting, Supposing, Sword, Thinking, Wide, Woke
1. Paul and Silas are Joined by Timothy,
7. and being called by the Spirit from one country to another,
14. convert Lydia,
16. and cast out a spirit of divination;
19. for which cause they are whipped and imprisoned.
25. The prison doors are opened.
31. The jailor is converted,
35. and they are delivered.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Acts 16:27

     5067   suicide
     5572   sword
     9021   death, natural

Acts 16:19-40

     1651   numbers, 1-2

Acts 16:25-34

     6029   sin, forgiveness

Acts 16:26-30

     5828   danger

Acts 16:26-34

     8427   evangelism, kinds of

Paul at Philippi
'And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate, by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which were come together.' --ACTS xvi. 13 (R.V.). This is the first record of the preaching of the Gospel in Europe, and probably the first instance of it. The fact that the vision of the man of Macedonia was needed in order to draw the Apostle across the straits into Macedonia, and the great length at which the incidents at Philippi are
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

How to Secure a Prosperous Voyage
'And after [Paul] had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 11. Therefore ... we came with a straight course.'--ACTS xvi. 10, 11. This book of the Acts is careful to point out how each fresh step in the extension of the Church's work was directed and commanded by Jesus Christ Himself. Thus Philip was sent by specific injunction to 'join himself' to the chariot of the Ethiopian statesman.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Riot at Philippi
'And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20. And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23. And when they had laid many
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Great Question and the Plain Answer
'He brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved.'--ACTS xvi. 30, 31. The keeper of a Macedonian jail was not likely to be a very nervous or susceptible person. And so the extraordinary state of agitation and panic into which this rough jailer was cast needs some kind of explanation. There had been, as you will all remember, an earthquake of a strange kind, for it not only opened the prison doors, but shook
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Household Salvation
To allure and encourage you to long for family religion, I have selected this text this morning. God grant it may answer the purpose designed. May many here have a spiritual hunger and thirst, that they may receive the blessing which so largely rested upon the Philippian jailer. Note in our text five things. We have a whole household hearing the word, a whole household believing it, a whole household baptized, a whole household working for God, and then, a whole household rejoicing. I. Observe, first,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Lydia, the First European Convert
WE MAY LAUDABLY EXERCISE CURIOSITY with regard to the first proclamation of the gospel in our own quarter of the globe. We are happy that history so accurately tells us, by the pen of Luke, when first the gospel was preached in Europe, and by whom, and who was the first convert brought by that preaching to the Savior's feet. I half envy Lydia that she should be the leader of the European band; yet I feel right glad that a woman led the van, and that her household followed so closely in the rear.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

The Cry of the Heathen
And now, beloved, having thus prefaced our discourse, we have another observation to make before we proceed to a full discussion of the text. What an instance of Divine sovereignty we have in our text! He who is wise can see sovereignty everywhere in the work of salvation, but how clearly is it present here. Bithynia must not hear the gospel; the apostle desires to go and preach it there; but as yet, it seems, God does not intend that Bithynia should be evangelised. He desires to tarry in Asia, and
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

The Heavenly Father
ACTS xvi. 24-28. God that made the world, and all that therein is, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands . . . For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. I told you last Sunday of the meaning of the days of the week; but one day I left out--namely, Tuesday. I did so on purpose. I wish to speak of that day by itself in this sermon. I told you how our forefathers worshipped
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

THERE is a passage in an old writer which throws so much light on some points mentioned in this paper, that I make no excuse for giving it to the reader in its entirety. It comes from a work which is little known and less read. It has done me good, and I think it may do good to others. "When a man is awakened, and brought to that, that all must be brought to, or to worse,' What shall I do to be saved!' (Acts 16:30-31), we have the apostolic answer to it: ' Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

Saving Faith.
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.--ACTS xvi. 30,31. This is one of the most abused texts in the Bible, and one which, perhaps, has been made to do quite as much work for the devil as for God. Let every saint present, ask in faith for the light of the Holy Ghost, while we try rightly to apply it. Let us enquire:-- 1. Who are to believe? 2. When are they to believe? 3. How are
Catherine Booth—Godliness

Directions to Sinners.
Text--What shall I do to be saved.--Acts xvi. 30. THESE are the words of the jailor at Philippi, the question which he put to Paul and Silas, who were then under his care as prisoners. Satan had, in many ways, opposed these servants of God in their work of preaching the Gospel, and had been as often defeated and disgraced. But here, at Philippi, he devised a new and peculiar project for frustrating their labors. There was a certain woman at Philippi, who was possessed with a spirit of divination,
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

Measures to Promote Revivals.
Text.--These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city and teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.--Acts xvi. 20, 21. "THESE men," here spoken of, were Paul and Silas, who went to Philippi to preach the Gospel, and very much disturbed the people of that city, because they supposed the preaching would interfere with their worldly gains. And so they arranged the preachers of the Gospel before the magistrates of the city, as culprits, and charged
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

The Missionary on the Sea Shore.
"And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There stood a man of Macedonia and prayed him saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us."--Acts 16:9. "Wei schaumt so feierlich zu unsern Fuessen." [65]F. de la Motte Fouque. transl., Jane Borthwick, 1858 Dark mighty Ocean, rolling to our feet! In thy low murmur many voices meet, The sound of distant lands brought strangely near To Fancy's ear. From shores unknown comes the sweet Sabbath bell, New languages the old glad tidings tell, We hear the
Jane Borthwick—Hymns from the Land of Luther

Chrysostom Evades Election to a Bishopric, and Writes his Work on the Priesthood.
About this time several bishoprics were vacant in Syria, and frequent depositions took place with the changing fortunes of orthodoxy and Arianism, and the interference of the court. The attention of the clergy and the people turned to Chrysostom and his friend Basil as suitable candidates for the episcopal office, although they had not the canonical age of thirty. Chrysostom shrunk from the responsibilities and avoided an election by a pious fraud. He apparently assented to an agreement with Basil
St. Chrysostom—On the Priesthood

The Christian's Peace and the Christian's Consistency
PHILIPPIANS i. 21-30 He will be spared to them--Spiritual wealth of the paragraph--Adolphe Monod's exposition--Charles Simeon's testimony--The equilibrium and its secret--The intermediate bliss--He longs for their full consistency--The "gift" of suffering Ver. 21. +For to me, to live is Christ+; the consciousness and experiences of living, in the body, are so full of Christ, my supreme Interest, that CHRIST sums them all up; +and to die+, the act of dying,[1] +is gain+, for it will usher me in
Handley C. G. Moule—Philippian Studies

The Martyrs of Lyons and vienne (Ad 177)
Many other martyrs suffered in various parts of the empire under the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Among the most famous of these are the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, in the south of France (or Gaul, as it was then called), where a company of missionaries from Asia Minor had settled with a bishop named Pothinus at their head. The persecution at Lyons and Vienne was begun by the mob of those towns, who insulted the Christians in the streets, broke into their houses, and committed other such outrages against
J. C. Roberston—Sketches of Church History, from AD 33 to the Reformation

Scotland and Ireland
The only thing which seems to be settled as to the religious history of Scotland in these times, is that a bishop named Ninian preached among the Southern Picts between the years 412 and 432, and established a see at Whithorn, in Galloway. But in the Year of St. Ninian's death, a far more famous missionary, St. Patrick, who is called "the Apostle of Ireland," began his labours in that island. It is a question whether Patrick was born in Scotland, at a place called Kirkpatrick, near the river Clyde,
J. C. Roberston—Sketches of Church History, from AD 33 to the Reformation

Whether Since Christ's Passion the Legal Ceremonies Can be Observed Without Committing Mortal Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that since Christ's Passion the legal ceremonies can be observed without committing mortal sin. For we must not believe that the apostles committed mortal sin after receiving the Holy Ghost: since by His fulness they were "endued with power from on high" (Lk. 24:49). But the apostles observed the legal ceremonies after the coming of the Holy Ghost: for it is stated (Acts 16:3) that Paul circumcised Timothy: and (Acts 21:26) that Paul, at the advice of James, "took the men,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Pædobaptism. Its Accordance with the Institution of Christ, and the Nature of the Sign.
1. Pædobaptism. The consideration of the question necessary and useful. Pædobaptism of divine origin. 2. This demonstrated from a consideration of the promises. These explain the nature and validity of Pædobaptism. 3. Promises annexed to the symbol of water cannot be better seen than in the institution of circumcision. 4. The promise and thing figured in circumcision and baptism one and the same. The only difference in the external ceremony. 5. Hence the baptism of the children
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Children Devoted to God. Gen. 17:7,10; Acts 16:14,15,33.
Children devoted to God. Gen. 17:7,10; Acts 16:14,15,33. [For those who practise infant Baptism.] Thus saith the mercy of the Lord, "I'll be a God to thee; I'll bless thy num'rous race, and they Shall be a seed for me." Abram believed the promised grace, And gave his sons to God; But water seals the blessing now, That once was sealed with blood. Thus Lydia sanctified her house, When she received the word; Thus the believing jailer gave His household to the Lord. Thus later saints, eternal King!
Isaac Watts—The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

Acts 17:16-17. Athens.
[9] "Now, while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry." Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him." --Acts 17:16-17. PERHAPS the reader of this paper lives in a town or city, and sees more of bricks and mortar than of green fields. Perhaps you have some relative or friend living in a town, about whom you naturally feel a deep interest.
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

Conversion, Its Nature and Necessity.
Closely related to the doctrine of the power, or efficacy, of the divine Word--as considered in the last chapter--is the doctrine of conversion. It is the subject of conversion, therefore, that we now purpose to examine. It is an important subject. It deserves a prominent place in treating of the Way of Salvation. It is also an intensely personal subject. Each one who desires to be in the Way of Salvation is personally interested in it. The eternal destiny of every one who reads these pages is closely
G. H. Gerberding—The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church

The Law Established through Faith
Discourse I "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: Yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31. 1. St. Paul, having the beginning of this Epistle laid down his general proposition, namely, that "the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;" -- the powerful means, whereby God makes every believer a partaker of present and eternal salvation; -- goes on to show, that there is no other way under heaven whereby men can be saved. He speaks particularly
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

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