Acts 18:9

It must be supposed either that the omniscient eye saw some signs of failing in Paul, or else that the greatness of the work and the severity of the trials before him were judged by Divine compassion to ask some special help. Notice, therefore, how true it is that -

I. THE BEST AND STRONGEST OF HUMAN DEVOTION IS LIABLE TO SOME UNCERTAINTY. No reference is here made to the fickleness that owns to no real devotion, nor ever sprang from depth of root. We are to note that the longest human perseverance may yet break, the stoutest human heart may have its weaker moments, during which irretrievable damage may be done to its cause and discredit to itself, and the warmest devotion may under certain circumstances cool.

1. Exceeding weariness of the flesh may overcome, some unexpected hour, the truest human devotion, if it get left as it were just a moment to itself.

2. An exceedingly baffled state of the mind and of faith may throw that determined human devotion. The vicissitude of the world, the Divine conduct of its history, and, not the least, the Divine conduct of the grand forces of Christianity, when they seem awhile to halt or to be mocked by their own professed friends into discredit, - these often offer to baffle each deepest thinker, each most observant reflector.

3. The exceeding keenness of the soul's own peculiar disappoint-mort, when the beauty and the persuasiveness and the unchallengeable merit of Christ do nevertheless count, to all present appearance, for nothing before the brute force of the powers of evil, - this threatens the patience of human devotion.

II. THE UNFAILING SUCCOUR OF DIVINE INTERPOSITION. That interposition rests on three very thoughts of mercy. They are:

1. The Divine observingness of "all and each," and of the most secret heart and need of each.

2. The Divine sympathy. This is one of the great ultimate facts of a risen, ascended, glorified Savior, who had been once with us, and who still shares, high aloft as he, is our nature.

3. The Divine practical methods of rescue in the hour of danger a provision against its over-storming rage. Among such methods may be ranked:

(1) Divine suggestions. These are angels of angels oftentimes to the depressed, the doubting, the darkened, yet the loving and true of heart - they are like nothing, more than those rays of light, which are the brighter arid more exactly defined for the darkness of the clouds past which they travel.

(2) The triumph of a quickened faith. Surely this is "the gift of God." If faith itself be so, the brightest flashings forth of the very pride of faith, if it be possible to say so, might be yet more inscribed the gifts of God - so opportune, so enlightening, so banishing to doubting darkness and to darkest doubting. There is a moment when perfection is to the fragrance of blossom, the color of flower, the ripeness of fruit, the light on the landscape, and there are moments when Faith knows and does her very best. And it is at such moments that God "restores the soul" of his servant. The miracle of vision and dream is nothing more pronounced, more certain, more conclusive, to conviction than these triumphal moments, when faith is in its pride and glory, and achieves its best.

(3) The direct promise (Psalm 91:1, 3-6, 11, 12, 14, 15; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 73:23). The promise made to Paul in this vision gathers round the center that had drawn already, then, ages and generations round it; and how many more by this time! "I am with thee." And that central promise is good for all bearings of it, "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). It holds from such a statement of fact as this, to the immortal Christian charter-promise, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world!" The direct promise, in the midst of our human uncertainty and unsteadiness of performance, is clear, exact, steady, and certain. Resting our faith, it feeds hope, and draws closer and closer the bands of love.

(4) The conviction of there being, in spite of all appearances, a large harvest to be gathered. The true servant, after all, loves work, and loves his Master's work, and must remember that he is neither the Master nor gifted with Master's sight and knowledge. And with what fresh alacrity has he not infrequently resumed toil, when amid all things that look against himself and his toil, he hears, or seems to hear, the authoritative assurance of the Master, "For I have much people in this city," though at present they "wander as sheep having no shepherd"! - B.

Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak.
speaks to us about three things.

I. THE WORKER. Paul, at a time of sore discouragement and depression. The best of men are but men at the best. The strongest men, apart from a firm faith in the Lord God, are as weak as the weakest. Now if any working Christian feels weak and discouraged, let it rally him to know that no affliction has overtaken him but such as is common to men.


1. He knows us just then and there, in the midst of all our weakness and discouragement, and makes His first concern the individual worker. He is not simply concerned with the whole mass and movement of the spiritual campaign, like some great general who cannot be concerned with the individual soldier. Christ is concerned in the whole; but at the same time He says, "I see every man who is tugging and fighting, and feeling himself discouraged." Have you noticed how the engine driver, when he stops, pays hardly any attention to the traffic? but he is out with the lubricator, pouring in a few drops in one place, and then in another, to cool and prevent friction, and to make everything sweet and easy in its working. So with Christ. You are an engine pulling away at some Bible class or Sabbath school, or tract distribution. You have hooked on to it, and do not mean to give it up; but you feel as if the wheels were barely turning, and that you are making nothing of it. Think of this: the Lord looks after the engine. Here He comes with oil, this comfort, and He is pouring it on to your overheated spirit.

2. The Lord's comfort just comes straight to the sore place. Now, Paul's greatest failing and fear, as suggested by the narrative, was: "It's no use my preaching here. To the Greeks it is like the idle wind; and to the Jews it is like the red rag to the bull." The Lord speaks straight to the point; and says, "Be not afraid" — pointing to the fact that he was afraid — "but speak, and hold not thy peace" — pointing to the fact that fear was belonging to muzzle his mouth. The word here used is worth noticing, for there is a lesson in it. In Athens they called Paul "spermologos," a chattering sparrow, a seed picker, a man talking a kind of rant, with the suggestion that it is not his own; it was picked up somewhere else, and we can't understand it. "Babble away, Paul. I will be with you, and to those who are saved the babbling will be the power of God and the wisdom of God." And so He says today, "I have put my words into thy mouth; therefore let thy tongue wag My words." You remember that, writing afterwards to these Corinthians, Paul told them he had determined to keep this simple speech. Said he virtually, "I rather refined the babble at Athens. So when I came to Corinth I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Not with enticing words of man's wisdom, lest the gospel of Christ should be of none effect." We must take care that we let the Lord speak to us when we are depressed, and when we have fallen on times when the old gospel "won't do," when the spirit of the age demands something more scientific and philosophical.

3. The Lord gave him a word about personal safety — "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee." Let us go on with the work for which we are here. I wish we would look to the Master. Paul was looking at himself and at the Corinthians; Christ said, "Look at Me! I am nearer to you than your fears." "Lo, I am with thee alway, even to the end of the world." What was said to Paul was not new. You will find these words in the Bible over and over again long before this. There is a vast mass of Bible words known in the mass, but we need them in our own heart, and for our own lives. When Bishop Fisher was being led out to martyrdom, the scaffold a little unnerved and depressed him. He took his New Testament and sent up a prayer: "O God, send me some particular word that will help me in this awful hour"; and he opened the book at these words, "This is life eternal to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." He had seen that five hundred times before; but he closed his Testament now, saying, "Blessed be God, this will suffice for all eternity." It is a different thing you see when the "fear nots" and "I ams" come home to you when you are dying a thousand deaths in fearing one. As a commander once said to his soldiers when they represented how great was the enemy and how few they were, "How many do you count me for?" Another general was said to be worth a whole battalion. And who shall enumerate what God is worth?

III. THE MASTER'S VERDICT ON THE WORK — "I have much people in this city." I almost knew what was coming. You will always find that while the Lord is comforting Elijah, and David, and Peter, and Paul, and you, and me, there is a smile on His face, as much as to say, "You are forgetting 'I have much people in this city.' If the work had been yours, that were another thing. But this gospel is Mine. I weighed this Corinthian pigsty in the scales of My eternal purposes, and from all eternity I marked out my own in Corinth, and I will get them. Go out and call them. They will come." What a word that is to discouraged workers — "Much people in this city." I believe that literally, at that time, there were more Christians there than Paul thought of, and I believe today that your influence and mine is far wider than in our discouraged moments we are giving either God or ourselves credit for. No word can return to Him void; and He comes and says, "Paul, you are working well, and the results are at least equal to the output. I have got one of the best grips on the paganism of this century." Whatever department of social life you look at, if you look carefully through the Epistles to the Corinthians, you will find that there was a sample of Christ's saving grace there. It went right into the midst of Corinthian worldliness and commercial activity, and laid hold of Erastus, the City Chamberlain, and held him out as a sample. Then, again, there was the household of Stephanas. He got the families there, and we will get them, and the old gospel will get nations. And if he would say again, "Lord, there are people here sunken in drunkenness and in lasciviousness." Listen how the gospel told (1 Corinthians 6:9). How it must have encouraged Paul, this look of things from the Master's point of view. This is the doctrine of election in its practical shape. I like this election plan; it does not say that all will be saved — that is universalism, it is simply wind. Well, it is not so windy and does not make so large a show as other ways of putting it; but it infallibly says that somebody will come, and that is what I want.

(J. McNeill.)

I. THE SAVIOUR'S DECLARATION — "I have much people in this city." As if He said, "There are many people here dead in trespasses and sins, ignorant of Me, opposed to Me; these are to be enlightened, subjected to Me, and in time to come will constitute My people." Notice —

1. The Saviour's classification of men. Those who are the people of Christ, and those who are not. There are other distinctions, personal, social, educational, and civil; but all these affect only the external part of humanity, and that only for a time, but Christ's classification will last forever. To be Christ's means the subjugation of our nature, our mind, and reflective powers to Him.

2. Christ has a perfect knowledge of the human race. Paul was anxious to do good; he was soon to be discouraged. Jesus told him, "I have much people in this city." I know the present position and future history of every individual.

3. Jesus appoints means for the salvation of man. One evidence of this is the fact that He continues the living ministry suitable to the wants of our spiritual nature.

II. THE SAVIOUR'S COMMAND. "Speak, hold not thy peace." The authority assumed here by Christ should teach us that we are not to do just as we please; we must go where He commands.

1. He was to exercise the power of speech. One of the most wonderful endowments of man is that grand organ of communication between mind and mind, heart and heart. It is of no use to philosophise; God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of Christ.

2. He was to banish fear. The apostle was not to be afraid of the intellectualism of the place. The debilitating effect of fear is known to every man; it divides, and distracts, and enfeebles the faculties of manhood. Be not afraid, the plan is fixed, success is certain — the government is Mine.

III. THE SAVIOUR'S PROMISE. "For I am with thee." The apostle felt the force of the guarantee ever after this, and spake the Word with authority.

1. In the production of miracles.

2. In turning the heart to God.

(Caleb Morris.)


1. His knowledge of men.

2. His classification of men.

3. His provision for the salvation of men.


1. To banish fear.

2. To exercise the power of speech.


1. I am with thee.

2. No man shall hurt thee.

(E. Norris.)

It is clear from this that even he who was not a whit behind the chief of the apostles sometimes needed special comfort. But the Lord took care to visit His servant when he was in trouble. He came to him in the visions of the night. We do not expect to see Christ in visions now, for "we have a more sure word of prophecy" — the Word of God. A dream might be only a dream, even in those olden times, but this Word of the Lord is no delusion. The Lord did but appear to Paul during one night, for visions are short and few; but any night you like to wake and open the Scriptures, you shall hear Jesus speaking to you. Besides, visions and such like things belong to the infancy of the Church: now she needs not that the Invisible should be supplemented by signs and wonders. If you plant a tree in an orchard, it is very common to put a big stake by the side of it to keep it up. Nobody thinks of putting a post to support an apple tree which has been there for the last fifty years. The Church of God today is a tree that needs no support of miracle and vision. You have the Word of God, which is better than visions. Note here —

I. THE TENDENCY OF OUR WEAKNESS. That tendency is revealed in the first word — "Be not afraid." We feel when we newly find Christ that we must speak for Jesus, and we do sol but after awhile a foolish fear freezes many a tongue. Happily we are delivered from open persecution; but there are other things which evidently frighten a good many.

1. Some are afraid to speak for Jesus because of the defects of their education. We should endeavour to do our Lord's work in the best possible manner, but if we cannot overcome early disadvantages we ought not therefore to hold back. Was not Moses slow of utterance? Was he silent? Did not Isaiah own that his lips were unfit to deliver the message? Was he therefore idle?

2. Others are fearful because they have not educated people to listen to them, but are surrounded by a rough lot, whose manners and habits distress them. Oh, be content to take a little of the rough with the smooth for your Master's sake. Sometimes their aversion may only be a secondary means of enabling the gospel to get at them the better; and, if it be so, why should we be afraid?

3. There are those who tremble at the slightest degree of publicity. I would not harshly condemn all, for certain minds are timid, and must be allowed to do good by stealth. But some are blameably deficient in courage. The soldier who was so very modest that he retired before the battle was shot. What a shameful thing to be bold about everything else yet cowardly about Christ.

4. Still I hear you say, "I am afraid to speak out for religion because I should bring down upon myself a world of opposition at home." That is painful, but it is part of the cost which you reckoned upon when you took up the cross to follow Jesus — that "a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

II. THE CALLING OF OUR FAITH. "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace." It is the vocation of faith to be a speaker. When the heart believeth the mouth makes confession. Faith made Noah a preacher, and caused it to be said of Abel, "he being dead yet speaketh." "I believed," said David, "therefore have I spoken." A dumb faith is a questionable grace. Faith first speaks to Christ, then for Christ. It hears His voice, and then acts as an echo by repeating it. Those that believe in Christ ought to speak for Him, because —

1. We are debtors; we are put in trust with the gospel for other people; let us not be false to our trusteeship. Let us take care that the light be not hid under a bushel, and that the talent be not wrapped in a napkin. We have the bread of life in our houses; let it not be hoarded. Who can tell what we owe to Christ? He seems to say, "Pay it back to My brethren."

2. We were saved by the testimony of other people. I owe a great deal of my being brought to Christ to my parents; and as a parent I am to repay that obligation by teaching my own children. I owe very much to a very excellent teacher. I did try to pay back my teacher by teaching others. I owed still more to such men as Baxter and Bunyan, who left their books for me to read. I have tried to write earnest books to repay that loan. Most of all I owe my decision, under God, to a man I never knew, who preached Christ crucified to me; and I would be always preaching Christ crucified to others, as the best way of making some sort of return.

3. How are we to expect the gospel to be kept alive in this world if we do not hand it on to the next generation as the former handed it down to us? It is from one lip to another that the Word of God is passed, with a kind of living flame which books are not likely to communicate. Common humanity calls upon every Christian to seek the salvation of others. They are perishing! If we love God, we must love our brother also.


1. God's presence — "I am with thee." When a man speaks for God, God speaks in him. We never go a warfare for God at our own charges. If God be with thee, who can be against thee? Does He not say, "My grace is sufficient for thee"?

2. God's protection — "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee." The Jews dragged Paul before the judgment seat of Gallio, and Paul must have been amazed when he saw the persecutors themselves beaten. When men meddle with one of God's lights they will sooner or later burn their own fingers.

3. God's predestination — "I have much people in this city;" i.e., many who belonged to Christ, though they were as yet heathens. I learn from this that the doctrine of God's predestination is no check to labour. "If there are so many that will be saved," says one, "then why do you preach?" That is why we do preach. If there are so many fish to be taken in the net, I will go and catch some of them.

4. The certainty of success. That is why the Lord said to Paul, "I have much people in this city."

5. The sufficiency of old means and methods. Our Lord did not say, "Paul, be not afraid, but deliver a Sunday afternoon lecture with a nonsensical title and little or no gospel in it." God's way of saving souls is the best way, after all.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is often the experience of the servants of God to meet with discouragements and disappointments in the work of the Lord. Such depressing effects are frequently due to the absence of personal sympathy in the work, the want of an outward shield to protect from untoward external circumstances, and the absence of visible or tangible tokens of what men call "success." St. Paul had a very bitter experience of this kind at Corinth; and it was there — when cast down in spirit by such experience, which had to some extent broken down his energies and darkened his hopes of future success — that God appeared to him in a night vision with the words of encouragement. Now, there are three sources of encouragement here suggested to the apostle. First of all, there is the doctrine of God's Divine presence with His own servants, "I am with thee"; secondly, there is the doctrine of His Divine providence, exercised in behalf of His servants, "No man shall set on thee, to hurt thee"; and thirdly, the doctrine of the Divine purpose to save sinners through the instrumentality of the Word preached and taught by the efforts of His servants. These were great encouragements to continue the work of the ministry in faith and hope, in spite of felt weakness and depression, opposition experienced, and dangers feared, and the absence of visible fruits of his labour. And they are as open to God's faithful labourers today as they were to His servants of old.

I. GOD IS MOST SURELY PRESENT WITH HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS IN THEIR WORK FOR HIM: "I AM WITH THEE." Happy they who hear that loving whistler, whether it come to them through the written Word, or through providential events — for God does so speak to His own, bidding them look away from themselves and their human weaknesses and above their adverse earthly surroundings, unto Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom, and knowledge, and strength; whose guardian care of them never relaxes, whose guiding eye never slumbers nor sleeps. Oh, what pathos there is in the aloneness of individual life on the great sea of universal being! Who can bear it, and not be crushed by it, if they let it come home to them? Blessed are those who can realise the Divine companionship which was the apostle's source of courage and strength. Every humble believer can claim it — can rejoice in the possession of it; and then, however human sympathy may be withheld, the aloneness of individual life is done away with: the intolerable burden of it is borne by One who is able to bear it; Divine sympathy and love flow into and flood the soul of the believer, in Jesus Christ, who is emphatically our "Emmanuel — God with us." This, then, is the grand secret of the Christian's strength and courage — "I am with thee!" This is the fountain of the Christian's hope and confidence, the support of his energy and of his zeal — "I am with thee!" We must all die alone — speaking after the manner of men — and alone indeed must the departing soul be which cannot say as it enters "the valley of the shadow," "I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me." Oh, for that perfect union with Christ, here below, which will enable us at all times, and in every circumstance of life, to realise the ever-abiding blessedness of the fact that God in Christ is with us! This is the antidote to the tremblings and heart failings of our frail nature: this is the Divine cordial that will sustain every faithful worker for God, through the burden and heat of life's day!

II. NOTICE THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. God exercises a providential care — an unfailing guardianship, over His believing people: "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee." Now, in a certain sense, many did set upon St. Paul, and did hurt him. From the hour that he began to preach the gospel at Damascus, he was never free from trials. Amid his varied successes, adversaries invariably rose up and pursued him from city to city. What then? Was God therefore unfaithful to His own promise? By no means. For mark the form of it. God did not say that Paul was to be exempt from all opposition — trial — ill-treatment at the hands of unworthy men. No! He says, "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee." And when we look into the face of St. Paul do we not see how true God was to His word? Can we say that anything he was called upon to endure in the work and service of God was really hurtful to his true life? It was by means of his imprisonments that the gospel penetrated to regions from which it would otherwise have been excluded; and not one trial did he undergo which was not overruled of God for His own glory, end the highest good of His faithful apostle. And doubt not, beloved, that the same upholding and preserving providence will be exercised as surely today as in the days of St. Paul's earthly career, over you and me, if only we serve God in the same spirit as he did, and with the same unassailable faith and confidence in His all-sufficient grace.

III. NOTICE THE DOCTRINE OF THE DIVINE PURPOSE TO SAVE SINNERS THROUGH THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF GOD'S SERVANTS. "Be not afraid," says the Lord to St. Paul, "but speak, and hold not thy peace;...for I have much people in this city." This is what gives the crowning force to the following two-fold assurance, "I am with thee," and "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee." God's great purpose of mercy, in Christ Jesus, is the grand foundation rock on which we are encouraged to rest all our hopes of eternal salvation. It is the fountainhead of all our encouragement to come to God, and to work for Him, and with Him. Observe that it is for those within the range of, and working with, the great purpose of God, that this two-fold assurance is alone available. Do we recognise this purpose in ourselves and for others? If we do, we shall be very humble in ourselves, but we shall also be very courageous in pursuing the work of God committed to us. And oh, what wonders might we not be permitted to do in God's service if our faith were stronger in God's service if our faith were stronger in God's presence with us, His providence over us, His purpose of love concerning us. As we look around upon the state of personal religion in this our day, our finite minds may be tempted to despond, and to give up all hope of better things prevailing. But there are thousands upon thousands of God's hidden ones in the world whom we indeed may know nothing of, but He "knoweth them that are His," and that is enough. May He shed abroad His love in all our hearts, leading us to fuller trust in Him, to firmer reliance on the promises of His Word, and to greater earnestness in His service.

(James Mackie, M. A.)

They tell you of the Davy safety lamp. The true safety lamp that no gust of earthly winds can ever put out, that no wind from hell can touch, is the lamp of God's presence. The poor heathens, when their friends get sick, flee from the stricken ones. Heathenism has no doctrine of abiding with you in the time of trouble. The father will leave his son's presence. The son will flee from his stricken father. But it is different with those in Jesus. It is when I am sick that most of all the soft hand of Jesus is put on my brow. It is when I am downhearted that I see Him most clearly. It is when the mists of time come close round me that somehow, through the rift of the cloud, I get a view of my Saviour's face. You are better for that sorrow. It has put a softness into your step, bereaved father, that you would never have had. Mother, because of that little empty chair by the fireside, there is a holy dew on that cheek of thine that no May dew or Scotch breeze could give you. In Edinburgh, coming late at night from tutor duty, there was always a building ablaze with light at all hours, as I stepped it across the meadows to my lonely lodgings. Be it midnight or three o'clock in the morning, be it darkness or light, this building was ablaze. The other lights had gone out in the city, to save gas; the very street lamps had been put out in that quarter; the moon was in the sky alone, for we are very economical in Scotland; but, whatever the night, this building was ablaze. Ah! it was the building where there was suffering. Christian feeling and Christian kindness, these have always the lights in, in the Edinburgh Hospital. There is always light there. Thank God that our poor sick ones never have added to their sufferings the darkness of forgetfulness. It preached a sermon to me as, night by night, I saw the hospital ablaze with light. I said, "That is like the Church of God. That is like my own heart. Give God a grip where suffering is, give God a heart where sorrow has lighted, give God a tried soul, and He will keep the lamp alight till the day dawn. God never withdraws His light."

(John Robertson.)

A man, on Saturday, in New York, stands in his store, and says, "How shall I meet these obligations? How can I endure this new disaster?" He goes home, Sabbath finds him in the house of God. Through the song, the sermon, and prayer, Jesus says to that man, "O man! I have watched thee; seen all thy struggles. It is enough: I will see thee through; I will stand between thee and thy creditors. I will make up in heavenly treasures what you have lost in earthly treasures. Courage, man! courage! Angels of God, I command you to clear the track for that man; put your wings over his head; with your golden sceptres strike for his defence; throw around him all the defences of eternity!"

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I have much people in this city
This is a typical statement, and holds good of all large centres. Of London, Paris, New York, Christ still says to stimulate and comfort His servants, "I have much people in this city." It is noteworthy that the main Christian attack in early times was on great cities —

1. Because they were Satan's strongholds — these captured, the rest would be a matter of detail.

2. Because Christianity appealed to and wanted to consecrate to its service the thought, activity, enterprise, and freedom which they fostered.

3. Because with the constant flow in and out of their populations, and their commercial and other influence on surrounding towns and countries, Christianity could reach the widest circle.

4. Because Christianity takes the whole human family in charge, and therefore it is natural that she should regard the centres where that family most congregates as her special sphere. Not that the villages are to be neglected: on the contrary, the villages are likely to be more efficiently evangelised when the towns are won. Paul, in his "fear and much trembling," arising partly out of his experience of city work, and partly out of the gigantic problems presented by the voluptuousness, polish, scepticism, and commercial activity of Corinth, may have been tempted to turn aside to some quieter scene of labour. If so, he was sharply aroused by the declaration of the text. Note —


1. This is often hard to believe. Often the opposite seems nearer the truth. Lust, drunkenness, frivolity, selfishness, ambition, infidelity, say, "We have much people in this city," and offer ample evidence in support of it. But it is untrue. They have captivated and enslaved the people, but they are usurpers. No one has a right to the people but Christ, because —

2. They are His —

(1)By creative right. "All souls are Mine."

(2)By the Father's gift. "Ask of Me and I shall give Thee," etc.

(3)By redemptive purchase. "Ye are bought with a price." This is true of all — good and bad alike. But, thank God, many of the people are Christ's.

(4)By loving conquest on His part; and —

(5)Glad surrender and consecration on theirs.


I. All the people. This universal claim is based on universal right, and embraces all —

(1)Nations. "Go ye into all the world," etc.

(2)Sexes. "In Christ there is neither male nor female." The true rights of women have their basis in the claims of Christ.

(3)Ages. Childhood, manhood, old age.

(4)Ranks and classes. The claims of capital and labour will never be adjusted till the claims of Christ are settled.

(5)Distinctions of culture — the ignorant and the educated.

(6)Moral distinctions — the virtuous and the depraved. The true democracy will be established when "One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren."

2. All that the people are and have.

(1)Their intellect, for Christ's is a reasonable service.

(2)Their heart, for He will accept nothing but from love.

(3)Their physical faculties, for each is titled for His work.

(4)Their wealth, for He has given them the power to get it.

(5)Their influence.


1. What have they to fear? Rejection, persecution, death? The best of Christ's servants and the Master Himself endured all this. Should, then, any shrink when the utmost they have to contend with is a sense of personal weakness, nervous timidity, or trifling self-sacrifice?

2. On what have they to rely.(1) A conviction of the truth. Once let the principle be finally settled that the people belong to Christ, and to a consecrated soul the work is half done.(2) A consciousness of the Master's presence and help. What an inspiration "I am with thee" is from a general, a teacher, a leader, to soldiers, scholars, parties. Much more should it be when it is Christ's word to His followers.(3) The assurance of success. If Christ has much people we cannot utterly fail, for the cause is His, not ours.

(J. W. Burn.)

Michael Angelo, the wonderful artist, walking with some friends one day through an obscure street in Florence, saw a block of marble, rough, shapeless, stained, lying amid a heap of rubbish. Others had passed by it carelessly, but his keen eye saw that it was a treasure, and he fell to cleansing away the filth that obscured it. "What are you doing with that worthless rock?" asked one of his friends. "Oh," says Angelo, "there is an angel in that block, and I must get it out." So God saw in sinful humanity, stained, defiled, and wretched, the possibility of angels and saints redeemed. It is this possibility that made it worth while for Christ to die for men. It is this which should incite us to labour with long patience that men may be saved.

Apollos, Aquila, Claudius, Corinthians, Crispus, Gallio, John, Justus, Paul, Priscilla, Silas, Sosthenes, Timotheus, Timothy, Titus
Achaia, Alexandria, Athens, Caesarea, Cenchreae, Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, Italy, Macedonia, Phrygia, Pontus, Rome, Syria, Syrian Antioch
Afraid, Dismiss, Fear, Fears, Hold, Longer, Mayest, Paul, Peace, Preaching, Silent, Spake, Speak, Speaking, Spoke, Vision
1. Paul labors with his hands, and preaches at Corinth to the Gentiles.
9. The Lord encourages him in a vision.
12. He is accused before Gallio the deputy, but is dismissed.
18. Afterwards passing from city to city, he strengthens the disciples.
24. Apollos, being instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, preaches Christ boldly.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Acts 18:9

     4957   night
     8409   decision-making, and providence

Acts 18:9-10

     1403   God, revelation
     1469   visions
     2021   Christ, faithfulness
     5548   speech, divine
     5950   silence
     8498   witnessing, and Holy Spirit
     8630   worship, results
     9130   future, the

Acts 18:9-11

     7726   evangelists, ministry
     8131   guidance, results
     8215   confidence, results
     8426   evangelism, motivation

'Constrained by the Word'
'And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified.'--ACTS xviii. 5. The Revised Version, in concurrence with most recent authorities, reads, instead of 'pressed in the spirit,' 'constrained by the word.' One of these alterations depends on a diversity of reading, the other on a difference of translation. The one introduces a significant difference of meaning; the other is rather a change of expression. The word rendered here 'pressed,' and by the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Paul at Corinth
'After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 2. And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. 3. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tent-makers. 4. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5. And when Silas and Timotheus
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

'And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong: or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: 15. But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.'--ACTS xviii. 14, 15. There is something very touching in the immortality of fame which comes to the men who for a moment pass across the Gospel story, like shooting stars kindled for an instant as they
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Civil Trial
In the chapter before last we saw the Sanhedrim pass a death sentence on Jesus. Gladly would they have carried it out in the Jewish fashion--by stoning. But, as was then explained, it was not in their power: their Roman masters, while conceding to the native courts the power of trying and punishing minor offences, reserved to themselves the prerogative of life and death; and a case in which a capital sentence had been passed in a Jewish court had to go before the representative of Rome in the country,
James Stalker—The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ

The Old Faiths and the New
SECOND GROUP OF EPISTLES GALATIANS. FIRST AND SECOND CORINTHIANS. ROMANS. PROBLEMS OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY The new faith in Christ made large claims for itself. It marked an advance upon Judaism and maintained that in Christ was fulfilled all the promises made by the prophets of the coming of the Jewish Messiah. It radically antagonized the heathen religions. It had a double task to win men out of Judaism and heathenism. Only by a careful study of these great doctrinal Epistles, and the
Henry T. Sell—Bible Studies in the Life of Paul

Third Missionary Journey
Scripture, Acts 18:23-21:17 [Illustration: Outline map illustrating the third missionary journey of Paul and the voyage to Italy.]
Henry T. Sell—Bible Studies in the Life of Paul

There Also is Said at what Work the Apostle Wrought. ...
22. There also is said at what work the Apostle wrought. "After these things," it says, "he departed from Athens and came to Corinth; and having found a certain Jew, by name Aquila, of Pontus by birth, lately come from Italy, and Priscilla his wife, because that Claudius had ordered all Jews to depart from Rome, he came unto them, and because he was of the same craft he abode with them, doing work: for they were tent-makers." [2549] This if they shall essay to interpret allegorically, they show what
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Jewish Homes
It may be safely asserted, that the grand distinction, which divided all mankind into Jews and Gentiles, was not only religious, but also social. However near the cities of the heathen to those of Israel, however frequent and close the intercourse between the two parties, no one could have entered a Jewish town or village without feeling, so to speak, in quite another world. The aspect of the streets, the building and arrangement of the houses, the municipal and religious rule, the manners and customs
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Flight into Egypt and Slaughter of the Bethlehem Children.
(Bethlehem and Road Thence to Egypt, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 13-18. ^a 13 Now when they were departed [The text favors the idea that the arrival and departure of the magi and the departure of Joseph for Egypt, all occurred in one night. If so, the people of Bethlehem knew nothing of these matters], behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise [this command calls for immediate departure] and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt [This land was ever the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Kingdom Conquering the World
Acts Page Paul's Epistles Page Outline for Study of Epistles Page I Thessalonians Page I Corinthians Page Romans Page Philippians Page II Timothy Page The General Epistles Page Questions on the Book of James Page Studies in I and II Peter Page I John Page THE ACTS I. Author: 1. Name. 2. Number of
Frank Nelson Palmer—A Bird's-Eye View of the Bible

Sources and Literature on St. Paul and his Work.
I. Sources. 1. The authentic sources: The Epistles of Paul, and the Acts of the Apostles 9:1-30 and 13 to 28. Of the Epistles of Paul the four most important Galatians, Romans, two Corinthians--are universally acknowledged as genuine even by the most exacting critics; the Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, and Ephesians are admitted by nearly all critics; the Pastoral Epistles, especially First Timothy, and Titus, are more or less disputed, but even they bear the stamp of Paul's genius. On the coincidences
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

Jewish views on Trade, Tradesmen, and Trades' Guilds
We read in the Mishnah (Kidd. iv. 14) as follows: "Rabbi Meir said: Let a man always teach his son a cleanly and a light trade; and let him pray to Him whose are wealth and riches; for there is no trade which has not both poverty and riches, and neither does poverty come from the trade nor yet riches, but everything according to one's deserving (merit). Rabbi Simeon, the son of Eleazer, said: Hast thou all thy life long seen a beast or a bird which has a trade? Still they are nourished, and that
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

King Herod's Enrollment
THE first enrollment in Syria was made in the year 8-7 BC., but a consideration of the situation in Syria and Palestine about that time will show that the enrollment in Herod's kingdom was probably delayed for some time later. Herod occupied a delicate and difficult position on the throne of Judea. On the one hand he had to comply with what was required of him by the Imperial policy; he was governing for the Romans a part of the empire, and he was bound to spread western customs and language and
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay—Was Christ Born in Bethlehem?

Luke's Attitude Towards the Roman World
The reign of Augustus, as is well known, is enveloped in the deepest obscurity. While we are unusually well informed about the immediately preceding period of Roman history, and for part of the reign of his successor, Tiberius, we possess the elaborate and accurate, though in some respects strongly prejudiced account of Tacitus, the facts of Augustus's reign have to be pieced together from scanty, incomplete and disjointed authorities. Moreover, obscure events in a remote corner of the Roman world
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay—Was Christ Born in Bethlehem?

Paul's Journeys Acts 13:1-38:31
On this third journey he was already planning to go to Rome (Acts 19:21) and wrote an epistle to the Romans announcing his coming (Rom. 1:7, 15). +The Chief City+, in which Paul spent most of his time (Acts 19:1, 8, 10), between two and three years upon this journey, was Ephesus in Asia Minor. This city situated midway between the extreme points of his former missionary journeys was a place where Ephesus has been thus described: "It had been one of the early Greek colonies, later the capital
Henry T. Sell—Bible Studies in the Life of Paul

The Supremacy of Christ
THIRD GROUP OF EPISTLES COLOSSIANS. PHILEMON. EPHESIANS. PHILIPPIANS. THE QUESTION AT ISSUE +The Supremacy of Christ.+--These Epistles mark a new stage in the writings of Paul. The great question discussed in the second group of Epistles was in regard to the terms of salvation. The question now at issue (in Colossians, Ephesians, Philippian+The Reason for the Raising of this Question+ was the development of certain false religious beliefs among which were, "asceticism, the worship of angels,
Henry T. Sell—Bible Studies in the Life of Paul

The Future of Christ's Kingdom First Group of Epistles the First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians Introduction to the Epistles of Paul +Epistolary Writings. + --The
STUDY VII THE FUTURE OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM FIRST GROUP OF EPISTLES THE FIRST AND SECOND EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLES OF PAUL +Epistolary Writings.+--The New Testament is composed of twenty-seven books, twenty-one of which are Epistles. Of this latter number thirteen are ascribed to Paul. It is thus seen how largely the New Testament is made up of Epistles and how many of these are attributed to the Great Apostle. In the letters of men of great prominence and power of any
Henry T. Sell—Bible Studies in the Life of Paul

The Candour of the Writers of the New Testament.
I make this candour to consist in their putting down many passages, and noticing many circumstances, which no writer whatever was likely to have forged; and which no writer would have chosen to appear in his book who had been careful to present the story in the most unexceptionable form, or who had thought himself at liberty to carve and mould the particulars of that story according to his choice, or according to his judgment of the effect. A strong and well-known example of the fairness of the evangelists
William Paley—Evidences of Christianity

Moreover, if Discourse must be Bestowed Upon Any...
21. Moreover, if discourse must be bestowed upon any, and this so take up the speaker that he have not time to work with his hands, are all in the monastery able to hold discourse unto brethren which come unto them from another kind of life, whether it be to expound the divine lessons, or concerning any questions which may be put, to reason in an wholesome manner? Then since not all have the ability, why upon this pretext do all want to have nothing else to do? Although even if all were able, they
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Here is the Sum of My Examination Before Justice Keelin, Justice Chester, Justice Blundale, Justice Beecher, Justice Snagg, Etc.
After I had lain in prison above seven weeks, the quarter-sessions were to be kept in Bedford, for the county thereof, unto which I was to be brought; and when my jailor had set me before those justices, there was a bill of indictment preferred against me. The extent thereof was as followeth: That John Bunyan, of the town of Bedford, labourer, being a person of such and such conditions, he hath (since such a time) devilishly and perniciously abstained from coming to church to hear Divine service,
John Bunyan—Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

The Epistle to the Hebrews.
I. Commentaries on Hebrews by Chrysostom (d. 407, hermeneia, in 34 Homilies publ. after his death by an Antioch. presbyter, Constantinus); Theodoret (d. 457); Oecumenius (10th cent.); Theophylact (11th cent.); Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274); Erasmus (d. 1536, Annotationes in N. T., with his Greek Test., 1516 and often, and Paraphrasis in N. T., 1522 and often); Card. Cajetanus (Epistolae Pauli, etc., 1531); Calvin (d. 1564, Com. in omnes P. Ep. atque etiam in Ep. ad Hebraeos, 1539 and often, also Halle,
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

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