Acts 19:1

We have here, in connection with the Christian faith and with Christian work -

I. THE ESSENTIAL BUT THE INSUFFICIENT. (Vers. 1-5.) At Ephesus Paul met with disciples who had been baptized "unto John's baptism" (ver. 3), but who had not learnt to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, nor even heard that there was a Holy Ghost (ver. 2). These men were well on the way to salvation by Jesus Christ, but they were far from the goal. Repentance is essential, but it is not sufficient of itself.

1. It is essential; for without it the heart remains estranged from God, the soul unturned from self and sin, the life unrelieved of that which is false and wrong; and without it there is no sense of that spiritual need which welcomes a Divine Savior with humility and trust, which rejoices in a Divine Lord to whom full submission may be made. The Christian preacher who does not enforce repentance is fatally lacking in his duty; the Christian disciple who has not experienced it is fatally short of fulfilling the condition of acceptance with God.

2. It is not sufficient; for

(1) it leaves the soul without any pledge of Divine forgiveness;

(2) it leaves the heart without that personal union with a Divine Redeemer in which consists the very essence of spiritual and eternal life;

(3) it leaves the spirit of man without the abiding indwelling and quickening influence of the Spirit of God. Therefore let the Christian teacher make much of the distinctive doctrine of the faith he preaches, and continually testify not only "repentance towards God," but "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).

II. THE VALUABLE BUT THE TEMPORARY. (Ver. 6.) "When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues," etc. It was desirable, then, that the presence and power of the Divine Spirit should be manifested by "signs and wonders." It was, at that stage of the progress of the gospel, a very valuable contribution to its triumph; it gave assurance to those on whom he came, and evidence to those who "were without." Experience soon proved (e.g. the Corinthian Church) that this order of evidence and influence was open to abuse, and that it was not of the kind that could be permanent in the Church.

1. We can plainly see that in these days it would be practically useless: it would be, to ordinary observers, indistinguishable from the jugglery and affectations of the impostor.

2. God has given us that which is better, with which we may well be content, and for the perfection of which we should strive and pray. He gives us, as the consequence of our faith and as the response to our believing prayer, quickening influences in the soul; a Divine action upon and within the spirit, of the actual working of which we are not usually conscious at the moment of operation, but the effects of which are obvious to ourselves and to others. They are these:

(1) an assurance of sonship (Romans 8:16);

(2) a desire to bear witness unto Christ, so that without any gift of tongues we shall overcome all obstacles, and speak of him and for him;

(3) a holy heart and a beautiful life (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9). - C.

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul...came to Ephesus.
He brought the light of the gospel to bear on every degree of darkness. On —

1. The twilight of John the Baptist's dispensation.

2. The "blindness in part which happened unto Israel."

3. The gloomy midnight of superstition and idolatry.

(J. Bennett, D. D.)

or the contact of Christianity with idolatry, as sustained by superstition, by national pride, and by the love of gain. Note —


1. The two obstacles which the apostles everywhere encountered were, of course, Judaism and Paganism. But, while Judaism was fixed and unchanging, the heathen systems were variable; and the form of their opposition to Christianity varied with the character of the prevalent idolatry or philosophy, and with the intelligence or barbarism of the people. In one place heathenism was connected with gross profligacy and superstition; in another with intellectual refinement, with all that was beautiful in art and profound in learning; in others with national pride, with secular callings, with the power of the state. All these were to be overcome before Christianity could secure its ascendency.

2. In all countries religion is the most powerful principle that controls the human mind. In its very nature it is supreme as a principle in governing men. There is power in attachment to one's country, to friends, to property, to liberty, to life; but the power of religion, as such, is superior to all these, for men are willing to sacrifice them all in honour of their religion. In addition to this, there is a power derived from the incorporation of religion with customs, opinions, and lucrative pursuits; laws, vested rights, caste, and civil and sacred offices. Both these sources of power existed here in forms most difficult to overcome.(1) The religious principle itself was as mighty as in any other part of the world. All the religious affections of the people were absorbed in the worship of one divinity.(2) The natural power of religion was combined with all that could add to its hold upon the mind. It was closely combined with —

(a)The practice of magic (ver. 19).

(b)National pride. The temple of Diana yeas the chief glory of the city; and, around that, all that there was of patriotism and pride would be concentrated.

(c)The wealth of the city furnished employment to a considerable portion of its inhabitants (ver. 24).

II. THE PREPARATION WHICH HAD BEEN MADE FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF THE GOSPEL. Unlike most ether places, Ephesus was prepared for the gospel, and in a way which bore a striking resemblance to that which was made for Christ by the forerunner. The doctrines of John had been brought to Ephesus, and had been enforced by the eloquence of Apollos, with the result that a little band of disciples were apparently waiting for the coining of the Messiah. Their knowledge was very defective; yet it illustrates their sincerity, their desire to serve God, and their purpose to welcome the truth from whatever quarter it might come, that when these twelve disciples were told by Paul what was the real purport of the doctrines of John (ver. 4), they welcomed the announcement, and "were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (ver. 5). On them as on the apostles at Pentecost "the Holy Ghost" now "came, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (ver. 6).

III. THE MANNER OF PAUL'S LABOURS AT EPHESUS. For this we are indebted to Acts 20:18-21.

1. Paul had a tender heart; a heart made for, and warmed with love. He wept much, for he saw the condition of lost men — their guilt, their danger, their insensibility, their folly (Romans 9:2, 3).

2. He kept back nothing that was "profitable" to them — none of the things which would promote their salvation.

3. He did this "publicly." In the synagogue, in the open air — wherever men were accustomed to be assembled, and "from house to house." He went from family to family.

4. That on which he relied, as the means of men's conversion, was not human learning; nor did he preach good works as the ground of salvation, but repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

IV. THE RESULTS WHICH FOLLOWED. A Church was established among the most interesting of all the New Testament churches — one to which the Saviour subsequently said, "I know thy works," etc. (Revelation 2:2, 8). From the address, the narrative, and the Epistle we learn that —

1. was not a small Church. This may be inferred from the number of its elders who met Paul at Miletus, and from the fact stated by Demetrius, that Paul had "turned away much people" (vers. 26, 27).

2. It was Presbyterian in its form. Those who met Paul at Miletus were elders or presbyters. There is no mention of "a bishop" in connection with the place, except that the elders are termed "overseers" or bishops.

3. Its religion was eminently one of principle, and not a thing of mere feeling, nor the result of temporary excitement. It led to such voluntary sacrifices as to show that it must have been founded on principle (vers. 19, 20).

4. Its doctrinal belief, if we may judge by the Epistle, was most advanced. They were evidently capable of appreciating the deep things of God.


1. It was based on —

(1)Personal interest.

(2)National religion.

2. Christianity promotes the welfare of the world, and in so doing it condemns wrong sources of gain. Commotions may ensue, but society is a gainer in the end.

(A. Barnes, D. D.)

1. Some persons are ever on the watch for points of difference. How unlike St. Paul who, when he taught, ever started from some point of agreement; and when he would correct, always began with something which he could commend. Observe his course here. Is there anyone who agrees with him entirely? Yes, there is his new friend Aquila. Who next? Are there any other disciples? Yes, there are twelve men who know something of the way of the Lord; to them he will first address himself, treat with them on common ground, and lead them on into the higher doctrine of Christian baptism and of the Holy Spirit. A man who would do God's work must first see how far God has done it to his hand. If there is one who is only defective, he must not be treated as if he were outside the pale; he must be taken up where he is and carried onward. Next, there are those who, though not Christian believers, have yet a true faith so far as God Himself is concerned. To their synagogue, therefore, in the third place, St. Paul wends his way, and argues with them out of their own Scriptures that Jesus is Christ. Rejected by the Jews, however, he transfers his instructions to the school of one Tyrannus.

2. I stop to consider two expressions.(1) The subject of St. Paul's persuasions was "the kingdom of God"; that kingdom for the coming of which we pray whenever we utter the Lord's own prayer, of which our Lord said, It is "within you"; and St. Paul, It is "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Surely no question can be more urgent than this, Am I inside that kingdom in heart as well as in form? If not, I may be called a Christian, but Christ's own word tells me that I am none of His.(2) Another name for the thing is "the way." The Christian doctrine and discipline is a road, or a journey. I do not ask now what its characteristics are; steep or level, rough or smooth, short or long, easy or difficult. I only ask, Are you in it? I know life without Christ is a journey marked by its milestones, with a grave for its end. But Christ's way is something more than this. A Christian has not only to get through the life of this world, bearing its troubles as he may, and by slow stages reaching its close; but he has a rule to travel by — Christ's word and will. He has an end to make for — the recompense which Christ has promised, the rest which God has prepared in heaven for His people. Are you living by this rule, and making for this destination?

3. A singular scene now opens. Every great city has its peculiarities. Ephesus was a city with one dominant superstition, the worship of the goddess Diana; and with a host of smaller superstitions growing out of it. In particular, it was the headquarters of magical art. Here, then, was a new field for the operations of the gospel. When Moses was confronted with the magicians of Egypt, he first beat them on their own ground, and then led the way where they could not even pretend to follow. It was somewhat thus with the sorcerers of Ephesus. As scrolls and rhymes were thought powerful against calamity, so it pleased God to work in this one place "works of power, not the ordinary, by the hands of Paul"; marvels of supernatural healing, wrought, without word or even presence, by means of handkerchiefs or aprons brought from his body; just as the hem of our Lord's garment was on one occasion the medium of conveying a medicinal virtue to a suffering woman. It was natural that imposture should try its hand at a work so remarkable. Evidently the name of the Lord Jesus was St. Paul's one charm. St. Paul never left it in doubt whence his power came. Thus some of the vagabond Jewish exorcists tried the effect of this all-powerful Name. It is playing with edged tools to preach a gospel — still more, to try practical experiments with a gospel — which we ourselves do not believe. It was so with these Jews. The rumour of their defeat spread through Ephesus, carrying with it the assurance that this was no new superstition added to the already crowded wonder market, but a superhuman power fatal to counterfeit and impossible to resist. And persons who practised the unlawful arts now came forward, under the impression of this terrible event, confessing their deeds and making a public renunciation.

4. So mightily grew the Word of the Lord and prevailed. It was not a mere skulking, creeping progress; it was, for once, a mighty — the word expresses almost a forcible and victorious — growth of the Word: a great battle had been fought, between the power of truth and the power of error, and the saying had been verified once again to the very senses of men, "Great is truth, and shall prevail!"

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. A TEACHER WILL BE CERTAIN TO MEET WITH PERSONS ASTONISHINGLY IGNORANT. It is well to set out with this expectation, and so to be prepared for such discoveries.

II. WHEN A TEACHER MEETS WITH SUCH PERSONS HE SHOULD REGARD THEM NOT WITH IRRITATION BUT COMPASSION. Some ignorance, of course, is wicked, but much, as was the case with these disciples, is involuntary. In any case it is a proper subject for pity.

III. SUCH PERSONS UNDER PROPER INSTRUCTION MAY EVINCE A CAPACITY FOR RECEIVING THE HIGHEST GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Let us not despair in the case of the pitiably ignorant, but hopefully instruct them. Beneath the thick crust may lie a gem capable of receiving the finest polish.

IV. THERE ARE CERTAIN UNBELIEVERS WHOM A WISE TEACHER WILL LEAVE TO THEMSELVES (ver. 9). Time spent in arguing with those who will not believe is worse than wasted: you will only confirm them in their self-conceit or harden them in their wickedness.


(R. A. Bertram.)

We have here four classes of hearers, and we see that the effects produced on each were determined by their disposition.

I. THE PARTIALLY INSTRUCTED DISCIPLES OF JOHN. These eagerly welcomed the light and were rewarded by a special benediction. Their conduct is worthy of all imitation. It is said that theology is a finished science, and that no progress in it is now possible. But this is to confound the source of theology with what men have drawn from it. We cannot look for additions to the sacred volume, but surely we ought to look for an increase in our understanding of its meaning. Theology is just like the other sciences. The stars have been in the sky from the day when they were first viewed by Adam; but what progress has been made since then in astronomy! The rocks beneath us have been just as they are now for millenniums, yet what advancement have these last years seen in geology! And in the same way, though the Bible is complete, God has always "more light to break forth from His Holy Word." There is sometimes an interpretation given by the very character of an age, and the simultaneousness with which in many lands the doctrines of the Reformation flashed upon the minds of independent inquirers — analogous to the scientific discoveries made in different countries at the same time — may help us to understand how new truths in theology may yet be found in the wellsearched field of Scripture.

II. THE JEWS. Here we see the blinding influence of prejudice in the hearing of the truth. In John's disciples we see that "To him that hath shall be given," in the Jews that "From him that hath not shall be taken even that he hath." They who stubbornly refuse the salvation of Christ are in danger of being put beyond the possibility of being saved.

III. THE VAGABOND EXORCISTS. In them we see how men may turn a little knowledge of the gospel to account as a worldly speculation. Their case is paralleled by the indulgence mongers of the Middle Ages upon whom the people rose as this poor possessed one did on the seven sons of Sceva. But it is equally bad when people attend upon ordinances because it will add to their position in society, or improve their business connection. Avaunt, therefore, all who would make a gain of godliness! The devil himself is ashamed of you. The evils of our times will not recede before Sceva mammon worshippers, but only before the Pauls whose hands are clean and whose hearts are pure.

IV. THE MAGICIANS. Here we have an illustration of earnest, sincere, and believing hearing. Their repentance was not of that cheap sort that spends itself only in tears. It was like that of the woman who, when she heard a sermon on false measures, went straight home and burnt the bushel. Have you nothing to burn?

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

As Philip was sent to the desert of Gaza with the water of life to the thirsting Ethiop, Paul was sent on the same errand to those twelve men and their companions who punted for the living water in the desert place of a huge idolatrous city. The Lord knoweth them that are His, and how to find them out. He will never leave them nor forsake them.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

1. Something had occurred since Paul was last at Ephesus. Apollos had been exercising his ministry, and some twelve men had answered the persuasion of his matchless eloquence; but Paul found them out, and noticed that something was absent. He said, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" If you had a new life would have lifted you up to higher levels of thought and feeling and utterance; what is wanting here is the Holy Ghost. Looking upon us today, what would Paul inquire? If he saw us world bound, if he saw our truant minds running out of the Church for the purpose of collecting accounts and alleviating temporal anxieties — if he saw our prayers like birds with bruised wings that could not fly, he would say, "What is wanting here is the Holy Ghost — Spirit of fire, of light, of love!" There is no mistaking His presence, for there is none like it. "The fruit of the Spirit"

2. The twelve men who followed Apollos were like their eloquent leader. Apollos knew only the baptism of John, and what he knew he preached. If you come to me knowing only the first four rules of arithmetic, I must not begin your education by throwing into contempt the only four rules you do know; my object must be to lead you on until you feel that these rules are only for infants. Paul did not attempt to undervalue the work of Apollos — he carried it on to holy consummation. One minister must complete the work which another minister began. The instructive teacher must not undervalue the eloquent evangelist. They belong to one another. We must put out no little light, but be thankful for its flicker and spark. The yoking man likes to hear a fluent speaker. He goes to the church where Apollos preaches long before the doors are opened, and willingly stands there that he may hear this mighty wind of sacred appeal. But Time — teaching, drilling, chastening Time — has its work upon the mind, and we come to a mental condition which says, "There was more in that one sentence of Paul's than in that Niagara whose bewildering forces once stupefied our youthful minds." But do not condemn any man. Let him teach what he can.

3. If Paul did not discredit the work of Apollos, the disciples of Apollos did not discredit the larger revelation of Paul. The inference is, that the disciples of Apollos were well taught. They were not finalists; they felt that something more might be possible. That is the highest result of education. Christians are always "looking forward and hastening unto." When did Christ say, "This is the end"? We know what He did say. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." "Thou shalt see greater things than these." "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." This enables me to look hopefully upon some persons who do not know the full extent of Christ's name. Such men are not to be won by denunciation, but by recognition.

4. There were only twelve of these men; and yet there is no whining about a "poor" Church and a "weak" Church. We must burn such adjectives out of the speech of Christians. A Church is not necessarily strong because its pews are thronged and its collections are heavy. It may be that the handful of copper given by some village Church may be more than the two handsful of gold given by the metropolitan congregation.

5. The gospel in Ephesus produced its usual two-fold effect. Some received the Holy Ghost and advanced, while others "were hardened and believed not." It must always be so. The gospel is a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. Every sermon makes us worse or better.

6. In ver. 11 we have an expression which is out of place in the cold speech of today's Christianity. We are afraid of the word "miracles"; we have almost to apologise for its use. But the writer of the Acts not only speaks of miracles, but of "special miracles." Until the Church becomes bold enough to use its native tongue it will live by sufferance, and at last it will crawl into a dishonoured grave — the only tomb which it has deserved.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

When Paul enters Ephesus he does not stand up at once to harangue indiscriminate multitudes on the great subjects of the gospel; but goes philosophically to work. He thoughtfully surveys the situation, inquires into its condition, endeavours to ascertain whether there are any persons in any degree prepared to accept his doctrines.

I. HE BEGINS WITH THOSE WHO ARE MOST ACQUAINTED WITH HIS DOCTRINES. He found certain disciples who had made some progress in Christian knowledge, and endeavoured to live up to the point of their intelligence. To establish in the faith "twelve" such men would prove more conducive to the advancement of truth than to elicit the thunderous cheers of a crowded and promiscuous auditory.

1. He promptly convicts them of the deficiency of their Christianity. He does this by two questions —(1) "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" They said unto him, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost."(2) "Unto what, then, were ye baptized?" Their answer explains their ignorance. "They said, Unto John's baptism." They had not yet come fully into the school of Christ. It is clear from the sequel that those questions struck deep and made them profoundly conscious of their deficiency.

2. He effectively ministers to their advancement in Divine knowledge (ver. 4). By this he teaches them that John's ministry was —


(2)Introductory.John told his vast audiences to believe on Him that would come after him, that is, Christ Jesus. Now this teaching of the apostle was effective (ver. 5). Baptism was an expression of that higher stage of experience to which Paul's ministry had raised them.

3. He conveys the miraculous gifts of the Spirit (ver. 6). The gift of tongues was not a gift of new languages, but the gift of speaking spiritual truths with supernatural fervour and force. The Spirit did not make them linguists, but spiritual orators. New ideas will make an old language new. This gift of speech enabled them to prophesy — i.e., teach. "He that prephesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation and comfort."


1. Argumentative. "Disputing." He gave reasons to sustain his propositions, and answered objections. He spoke to men's judgment.

2. Persuasive. He plied them with motives rightly to excite their affections and determine their will. It was —

3. Indefatigable. He was "daily" at the work, instant in season and out of season.

III. HE ULTIMATELY GOES FORTH INTO THE WIDE WORLD OF GENERAL SOCIETY — into the school of Tyrannus. The result was —

1. A wide diffusion of the gospel (ver. 10). Ephesus was the metropolis, and into it the population of the provinces were constantly flowing for purposes both of commerce and of worship.

2. The ejection of evil spirits (ver. 12). His supernatural ministry was —(1) Derived. Unlike Christ, he had not the power of working miracles natural in himself (ver. 11).(2) Beneficent. It was put forth, not to wound or to injure men, but to heal and bless them.(3) Strikingly manifest. The mere "handkerchiefs or aprons" which touched his body carried with them virtue to heal the diseased and to expel the devil from the possessed.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)


1. The baptism of John means his doctrine, which is briefly symbolised by the ritual act, and was contained within a very narrow range. "Repent." "Fruits worthy of repentance" — fruits was the burden of John's message. A preparatory one evidently; one needing something additional to complete it, as St. Paul told these converts. And none felt this more distinctly than John. "He must increase, but I must decrease." The work of John was simply the work of the axe; to cut up by the roots ancient falsehoods; to tear away all that was unreal. A great work, but still not the greatest. And herein lay the difference between the two baptisms. The one was simply the washing away of a false and evil past; the other was the gift of the power to lead a pure, true life. This was all that these men knew; yet they are reckoned as disciples. Let us learn from that a judgment of charity. Let not the religious man sneer at "merely moral men." Morality is not religion, but it is the best soil on which religion grows. Nay, it is the want of this preparation which so often makes religion a sickly plant in the soul. Men begin with abundance of spiritual knowledge, and understand well the "scheme of salvation." But if the foundation has not been laid deep in a perception of the eternal difference between right and wrong, the superstructure will be but flimsy. It is a matter of no small importance that the baptism of John should precede the baptism of Christ. The baptism of repentance before the baptism of the Spirit.

2. The result which followed this baptism was the gifts of tongues and prophecy — the power, i.e., not to speak various languages, but to speak spiritual truths with heavenly fervour. Touch the soul with love, and then you touch the lips with hallowed fire, and make even the stammering tongue speak the words of living eloquence.

II. THE BURNING OF THE "EPHESIAN LETTERS." Ephesus was the metropolis of Asia. Its most remarkable feature was the temple of Diana, which contained a certain image, reported to have fallen from the skies — perhaps one of those meteoric stones which are reckoned by the vulgar to be thunderbolts from heaven. Upon the base of the statue were certain mysterious sentences, and these, copied upon amulets, were known as the "Ephesian letters." Besides this there was a Jewish practice of the occult art — certain incantations, herbs, and magical formulas, said to have been taught by Solomon, for the expulsion of diseases and the exorcism of evil spirits. There is always an irrepressible desire for communion with the unseen world. And where an over-refined civilisation has choked up the natural and healthy outlets of this feeling, it will inevitably find an unnatural one. Ephesus was exactly the place where Jewish charlatans and the vendors of "Ephesian letters" could reap a rich harvest from the credulity of sceptical voluptuaries.

2. The essence of magic consists in the belief that by some external act — not making a man wiser or better — communication can be ensured with the spiritual world. It matters not whether this be attempted by Ephesian letters or by Church ordinances or priestly powers. The spirit world of God has its unalterable laws. "Blessed are the pure in heart, the merciful, the peacemakers, the meek, the poor in spirit." "If any man will do His will, be shall know." "If a man love Me he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him." There is no way of becoming a partaker of "the powers of the world to come," except by having the heart right with God. No magic can reverse these laws. The contest was brought to an issue by the signal failure of the magicians to work a miracle, and the possessors of curious books burnt them.

3. You will observe in all this —(1) The terrible supremacy of conscience. They could not bear their own secret, and they had no remedy but immediate confession. It is this arraigning accuser that compels the peculator to send back the stolen money with the acknowledgment that he has suffered years of misery. It was this that made Judas dash down his gold in the temple, and go and hang himself. It is this that has forced the murderer from his unsuspected security to deliver himself up to justice, and to choose a true death rather than the dreadful secret of a false life.(2) The test of sincerity furnished by this act of burning the books.(a) It was a costly sacrifice.(b) It was the sacrifice of livelihood. And a magician of forty was not young enough to begin the world again with a new profession.(c) It was the destruction of much knowledge that was really valuable. As in the pursuit of alchemy real chemical secrets were discovered, so it cannot be doubted that these curious manuscripts contained many valuable natural facts.(d) It was an outrage to feeling. Costly manuscripts, many of them probably heirlooms associated with a vast variety of passages in life, were to be committed mercilessly to the flames.(e) Remember, too, how many other ways there were of disposing of them. Might they not be sold, and the proceeds "given to the poor"? or be made over to some relative who would not feel anything wrong in them. Or might they not be retained as curious records of the past? And then Conscience arose with her stern, clear voice. They are the records of an ignorant and guilty past. There must be no false tenderness. To the flames with them, and the smoke will rise up to heaven a sweet savour before God.

4. Whoever has made such a sacrifice will remember the strange medley of feeling accompanying it. Partly fear constrained the act, produced by the judgment on the other exorcists, and partly remorse; partly there was a lingering regret as leaf after leaf perished in the flames, and partly a feeling of relief; partly shame, and partly a wild tumult of joy, at the burst of new hope, and the prospect of a nobler life.

6. There is no Christian life that has not in it sacrifice, and that alone is the sacrifice which is made in the spirit of the conflagration of the "Ephesian letters." If the repentant slaveholder sells his slaves to the neighbouring planter, or if the trader in opium or in spirits quits his nefarious commerce, but first secures its value; or if the possessor of a library becomes convinced that certain volumes are immoral, and yet cannot sacrifice the costly edition without an equivalent, what shall we say of these men's sincerity?


1. The speech of Demetrius; in which observe —(1) The cause of the slow death which error and falsehood die. Existing abuses in Church and State are upheld because they are intertwined with private interests. This is the reason why it takes centuries to overthrow an evil, after it has been proved an evil.(2) The mixture of religious and selfish feelings. Not only "our craft," but also the worship of the great goddess Diana. And so it is with many a patriotic and religious cry. "My country," "my Church," "my religion" — it supports me. "By this craft we have our wealth."(3) Numbers are no test of truth. The whole world worshipped the goddess. If numbers tested truth, Apollos in the last chapter need not have become the brilliant outcast from the schools of Alexandria, nor St. Paul stand in Ephesus in danger of his life. He who seeks Truth must be content with a lonely, little-trodden path. If he cannot worship her till she has been canonised by the shouts of the multitude, he must take his place with this wretched crowd who shouted, "Great is Diana!" till truth, reason, and calmness, were all drowned in noise.

2. The judicious speech of the chamberlain, in which observe —(1) The impression made by the apostle on the wiser part of the community. The Asiarchs were his friends. The town clerk exculpated him, as Gallio had done at Corinth. Herein we see the power of consistency.(2) The admitted moral blamelessness of the Christians. Paul had not "blasphemed" the goddess. As at Athens he had not begun by attacking errors. He preached Truth, and its effect began to be felt already. Overcome evil by good, error by truth.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Alexander, Apollos, Aristarchus, Demetrius, Diana, Ephesians, Erastus, Gaius, John, Jupiter, Macedonians, Paul, Sceva, Timotheus, Timothy, Tyrannus
Achaia, Asia, Corinth, Ephesus, Jerusalem, Macedonia, Rome
Apollos, Apol'los, Arrived, Coasts, Corinth, Disciples, Districts, During, Ephesus, Finding, Higher, Inland, Interior, Pass, Passed, Passing, Paul, Region, Road, Stay, Upper
1. The Holy Spirit is given by Paul's hands.
8. The Jews blaspheme his doctrine, which is confirmed by miracles.
13. The Jewish exorcists,
16. are beaten by a man who had an evil spirit.
19. Conjuring books are burnt.
21. Demetrius, for love of gain, raises an uproar against Paul;
35. which is appeased by the town clerk.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Acts 19:1

     5505   roads
     6650   finding

Acts 19:1-2

     7621   disciples, calling

Acts 19:1-4

     7906   baptism, in Gospels

Acts 19:1-5

     2425   gospel, requirements

Acts 19:1-7

     2424   gospel, promises
     5110   Paul, teaching of

Acts 19:1-12

     5108   Paul, life of

Would-Be Exorcists
'...Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?' --ACTS xix. 15. These exorcists had no personal union with Jesus. To them He was only 'Jesus whom Paul preached.' They spoke His name tentatively, as an experiment, and imitatively. To command 'in the name of Jesus' was an appeal to Jesus to glorify His name and exert His power, and so when the speaker had no real faith in the name or the power, there was no answer, because there was really no appeal. I. The only power which can cast out the evil
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Two Fruitful Years
'And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples. 2. He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Fight with Wild Beasts at Ephesus
'After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. 22. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. 23. And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? It appears, by what follows these words, that the question here related especially to those gifts of the Holy Ghost which were given, in the first age of the church, as a sign of God's power, and a witness that the work of the gospel was from God. Yet although this be so, and therefore the words, in this particular sense, cannot to any good purpose be asked now; yet there is another sense, and that not a lower but a far higher one, in which we
Thomas Arnold—The Christian Life

On the Study of the Evidences of Christianity.
THE investigation of that important and extensive subject which includes what have been usually designated as The Evidences of Revelation,' has prescriptively occupied a considerable space in the field of theological literature, especially as cultivated in England. There is scarcely one, perhaps, of our more eminent divines who has not in a greater or less degree distinguished himself in this department, and scarcely an aspirant for theological distinction who has not thought it one of the surest
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World

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 Pastoral Epistles.
Comp. § 33, pp. 327-329. Contents. The three Pastoral Epistles, two to Timothy and one to Titus, form a group by themselves, and represent the last stage of the apostle's life and labors, with his parting counsels to his beloved disciples and fellow-workers. They show us the transition of the apostolic church from primitive simplicity to a more definite system of doctrine and form of government. This is just what we might expect from the probable time of their composition after the first Roman
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

Whether Baptism May be Reiterated?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism may be reiterated. For Baptism was instituted, seemingly, in order to wash away sins. But sins are reiterated. Therefore much more should Baptism be reiterated: because Christ's mercy surpasses man's guilt. Objection 2: Further, John the Baptist received special commendation from Christ, Who said of him (Mat. 11:11): "There hath not risen among them that are born of women, a greater than John the Baptist." But those whom John had baptized were baptized again, according
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Pastor in Parish (ii. ).
Work on in hope; the plough, the sickle wield; Thy Master is the harvest's Master too; He gives the golden seed, He owns the field, And does Himself what His true servants do. I take up again the all-important subject of Pastoral Visitation, for the same sort of informal and fragmentary treatment as that attempted in the last chapter, and with the same feeling that the subject is practically inexhaustible. LET THE VISITOR BE A TEACHER, WATCHING FOR OPPORTUNITIES. One object which the visitor will
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

The Scriptures
Q-II: WHAT RULE HAS GOD GIVEN TO DIRECT US HOW WE MAY GLORIFY AND ENJOY HIM? A: The Word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. 2 Tim 3:16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,' By Scripture is understood the sacred Book of God. It is given by divine inspiration; that is, the Scripture is not the contrivance of man's brain, but is divine in its origin. The image of Diana was had in veneration
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Christ's Exaltation
'Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, &c.' Phil 2:2. We have before spoken of Christ's humiliation; we shall now speak of his exaltation. Before you saw the Sun of Righteousness in the eclipse; now you shall see it coming out of the eclipse, and shining in its full glory. Wherefore God has highly exalted him;' super exaltavit, Ambrose. Above all exaltation.' Q-28: WHEREIN CONSISTS CHRIST'S EXALTATION? A: In his rising from the dead, his ascending into
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

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

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 Spirit and Power of Elias.
(LUKE I. 17.) "Oh, may I join the choir invisible Of those immortal dead who live again In minds made better by their presence: live In pulses stirred to generosity; In deeds of daring rectitude; in scorn For miserable aims that end with self; In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, And with their mild persistence urge man's search To vaster issues." The Old Covenant and the New--Elijah and the Baptist--A Parallel--The Servant inferior to the Lord--The Baptism of the Holy Ghost--The
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

Baptism unto Repentance
(MARK I. 4.) "The last and greatest herald of heaven's King, Girt with rough skins, hies to the desert wild; Among that savage brood the woods doth bring, Which he more harmless found than man, and mild. "His food was locusts and what there doth spring, With honey that from virgin hives distill'd, Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing Made him appear, long since from earth exiled." W. DRUMMOND, of Hawthornden. Repentance: its Nature--Repentance: how Produced--Repentance: its Evidences--Repentance:
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

The argument (p. 673, note 6,) is conclusive, but not clear. The disciples of John must have been baptized by him, (Luke vii. 29-30) and "all the people," must have included those whom Jesus called. But, this was not Christ's baptism: See Acts xix. 2, 5. Compare note 8, p. 673. And see the American Editor's "Apollos."
Tertullian—On Baptism

Whether those who had Been Baptized with John's Baptism had to be Baptized with the Baptism of Christ?
Objection 1: It would seem that those who had been baptized with John's baptism had not to be baptized with the baptism of Christ. For John was not less than the apostles, since of him is it written (Mat. 11:11): "There hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist." But those who were baptized by the apostles were not baptized again, but only received the imposition of hands; for it is written (Acts 8:16,17) that some were "only baptized" by Philip "in the name
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Wicked Can Work Miracles?
Objection 1: It would seem that the wicked cannot work miracles. For miracles are wrought through prayer, as stated above (A[1], ad 1). Now the prayer of a sinner is not granted, according to Jn. 9:31, "We know that God doth not hear sinners," and Prov. 28:9, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, his prayer shall be an abomination." Therefore it would seem that the wicked cannot work miracles. Objection 2: Further, miracles are ascribed to faith, according to Mat. 17:19, "If you have
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

How Long Between?
It is often asked what time must elapse between the regenerating by the Spirit and the filling with the Spirit? for be it remembered the Filling is as real and distinct and definite a blessing as the regenerating. Many people know the moment of their new birth; they were conscious of the change; so also many know when they were "filled with the Holy Ghost;" it was a blessed, bright, conscious experience, and it is as impossible to argue them out of the one experience as out of the other. On the other
John MacNeil—The Spirit-Filled Life

The Doctrine of the Church i. Definition; Distinctions.
Rev. William Evans—The Great Doctrines of the Bible

Gifts no Certain Evidence of Grace.
"In this rejoice not, that the Spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your Names are written in Heaven." Abundant notice of Christ's coming preceded that interesting' event. "To him gave all the prophets witness." Neither was his entrance here unattended. It was announced by an angelic choir; by a miraculous star; and by a band of eastern magi. The manger which contained him, was particularly pointed out to the shepherds, and his person designated by inspired Simon and Anna. Again,
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

Preventive against Backsliding.
It is most instructive to note how exceedingly anxious the early Christians were, that, as soon as a man was converted, he should be "filled with the Holy Ghost." They knew no reason why weary wastes of disappointing years should stretch between Bethel and Peniel, between the Cross and Pentecost. They knew it was not God's will that forty years of wilderness wanderings should lie between Egypt and the Promised Land (Deut. i. 2). When Peter and John came to the Samaritans, and found that they were
John MacNeil—The Spirit-Filled Life

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