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Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.' Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.”

Then James reminded those who were met together how God had promised by the mouth of His prophets that He would call the Gentiles, and would build up again the house of David, in order “that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord, Who doeth all these things.”

Following the advice of James, the Council came to the following resolve. “It pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole Church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia : Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you

with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burdeu than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication : from which, if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.' So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle ; which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation."

This resolution of the Council shows:-1. That Jewish observances were not forbidden, provided they did not interfere with belief in Christ. 2. That they were not necessary to be observed. 3. That the Gentile converts were for the present bound to abstain from things strangled, and from blood, lest they should give offence to their Jewish brethren. 4. That the Gentiles must guard against seeming to honour false gods, by partaking of meat which had been offered to idols. 5. That there was especial danger to the Gentile converts from the gross immorality in which they had hitherto lived, and which was then so prevalent in the heathen world.

The first and second points are illustrated by St. Paul's different conduct in respect to Timothy and Titus. Compare Acts xvi. 3 with Galat. ii. 3, 4.

The third and fourth are explained by his admonitions in Rom. xiv. and 1 Cor. viii.; compare also Rom. xv. 1,

2. The fifth agrees with the fearful picture of corruption drawn by St. Paul in Rom. i. 21-32. Compare 1 Cor. vi. 9-11.

Acts xv.





A.D. 51–54.

At the close of the same year as that in which the Council was held at Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas determined to go and visit their brethren in every city where they had preached the word of the Lord. But a dispute arose between the two friends; for Barnabas was anxious to take Mark with him, but Paul thought it not good to do so, because Mark had in their former journey departed from them from Pamphylia.

Neither of the two apostles would yield the pointso they resolved to separate. But they did not on this account proceed less diligently with their missionary work. Barnabas and Mark went together to Cyprus. But “Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”

Paul and Silas went through Syria and Cilicia, and visited Derbe and Lystra. At Lystra they fell in with Timothy, the son of believing parents. Timothy joined their company, and they went on preaching the gospel, and delivering to the churches the decrees ordained by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. “ And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”

Paul and his companions among whom was Luke the historian of the Acts) now proceeded through Phrygia and Galatia, and came to Troas, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There“ a vision appeared

to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, 'Come over into Macedonia, and help us.””

Accordingly they crossed the sea to Macedonia and came to Philippi, the chief city of that part of Macedonia, where they abode certain days. Here the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, a Jewish proselyte, that “she attended unto the things spoken by Paul.” And she was baptized with her whole household. There was in Philippi a young girl possessed of a spirit of divination, who brought in much gains to her masters by her soothsaying. But Paul commanded the evil spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus to come out of her; and he came out the same hour. But her masters seeing that their hope of gain was gone, brought Paul and Silas before the magistrate, and accused them of teaching customs which it was not lawful for Romans to receive. And the magistrates had them scourged and cast into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely : “who having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awakening out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, 'Do thyself no harm : for we are all here.' Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and

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came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?' And they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.' And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, be set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, “Let those men go.' And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go : now therefore depart, and go in peace.' But Paul said unto them, • They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison ; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.' And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia : and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.”

The travellers now passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica and to Beræa ; but the Jews of Thessalonica raised a persecution against Paul. So he left Silas and Timothy behind, but himself went by ship to Athens.

Here, standing upon Mars' Hill, he declared to the men of Athens, the UNKNOWN GOD; showing that the

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