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Paul is brought to Areopagus, and

CHAP. XVII.

desired to give account of his doctrine.

A. D. cir. 54.

cir.CCVIII.2.

A.M.cir: 1958. this new doctrine, whereof thou were there, spent their time in nothing A. M. cir.4058.
An. Olymp. speakest, is?

else, but either to tell, or to hear some An. Olymp. cir.CCVIII.2.

20 For thou bringest certain strange new thing.) things to our ears : we would know, therefore, 22 ( Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' what these things mean.

hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that 21 (For all the Athenians, and strangers which in all things ye are too superstitious.

a Chap. 2. 12.

• Or, the court of the Areopagites.

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forfeiture for his crime. The justice administered in this court flux of students was in consequence great; and these having was so strict and impartial, that it was generally allowed, much leisure time, would necessarily be curious to know what both the plaintiff and defendant departed satisfied with the was passing in the world, and would frequently assemble decision. " Innocence, when summoned before it, appeared together in places of public resort, to meet with strangers without apprehension ; and the guilty, convicted and con- i just come to the city; and either, as St. Luke says, to tell

, demned, retired without daring to murmur.” The place in or hear some new thing. which the judges sat, was uncoveredl; and they held their “ The Athenian writers give the same account of their sitting by night, to the end that nothing might distract their fellow-citizens. DEMOSTHENES, in his reply to Epist. Phiminds from the great business on which they were to decide ; lippi, represents the Athenians as TouSeYou Evou mata type and that the sight of the accused might not afect them either αγοραν, ει τι λεγεται νεωτερον ; enquiring in the place of with pity or aversion. In reference to this, all pleaders public resort, if there are any news? We find, likewise, were strictly forbidden to use any means whatever to excite that when Thucydides, iii. 38. had said, Meta xaby0TYTOS either pity or aversion; or to affect the passions: every thing, quay 20you atatarla. api5oi, ye are excellent in suffering being confined to simple relation, or statement of facts. yourselves to be deceived by Nov ELTY of speech ; the old When the two parties were produced before the court, they | scholiast makes this remark upon it, (almost in the words of were placed between the bleeding members of victims slain St. Luke,) ταυτα προς τους Αθηναιος αινιτεται, ουδεν τι μελετωνon the occasion, and were obliged to take an oath, accom τας, πλην λεγειν τι και ακουειν καινον; he here blames the Athepanied with horrible imprecations on themselves and families, nians, who made it their only business to tell and hear somethat they would testify nothing but truth. These parties thing that was new.”--Bp. Pearce. This is a striking feature called to witness the Eumenides, or Furies, the punishers of the city of London in the present day. The itch for news, of the perjured in the infernal world ; and, to make the which generally argues a worldly, shallow, or unsettled mind, greater impression on the mind of the party swearing, the is wonderfully prevalent : even ministers of the gospel, neglitemple dedicated to these infernal deities, was contiguous to gent of their sacred function, are become in this sense Athethe court, so that they appeared as if witnessing the oaths, nians; so that the Book of God is neither read nor studied and recording the appeal made to themselves. When the with half the avidity and spirit as a newspaper. These percase was fully heard, the judges gave their decision by sons, forgetful not only of their calling, but of the very throwing down their flint pebbles, on two boards or tables, spirit of the gospel, read the account of a battle with the one of which was for the condemnation, the other, for the most violent emotions; and, provided the victory falls to acquittal of the person in question.

their favourite side, they exult and triumph in proportion to Verse 20. Thou bringeststrange things to our ears] The the number of thousands that have been slain! doctrine of the apostles was different from any they had ever wonder if such become political preachers, and their serheard : it was wholly spiritual and divine ; thus it was mons be no better than husks for swine. To such the hungry strange; it was contrary to their customs and manners; and sheep look up, and are not fed. God pity such miserable thus it was strange also. As it spoke much of the exaltation Athenians, and direct them to a more suitable employment ! and glory of Jesus Christ, they supposed him to be a setter Verse 22. Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill] That forth of strange gods; and therefore, on the authority of is, in the midst of the judges, who sat in the Areopagus. the laws, which forbad the introduction of any new deities, Ye are too superstitious.] KATA TAYTA WE DELOIDAMOVE5€. or modes of worship, he was called before the Areopagus. cous wuas bewpw; I perceive that in all respects ye are greatly

Verse 21. All the Athenians, and strangers which were addicted to religious practices; and, as a religious people, there] As Athens was renowned for its wisdom and learn- you will candidly hear what I have got to say in behalf of that ing, it became a place of public resort for philosophers, and worship which I practise and recommend. See farther obserstudents from different parts of the then civilized world. The vations at the end of the chapter.

It is no

Paul having seen an altar

THE ACTS.

dedicated to the unknown God,

A. D. cir. 54.

A. D. cir. 54.

cir.CCVIII.2.

A M.cir. 4058. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld || rantly worship, him declare I unto A. M. cir. 4058. An. Olyınp. your « devotions, I found an altar you.

An. Olymp. with this inscription, TO THE UN 24 6 God that made the world and cir.CCVIII.2. KNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye igno- all things therein, seeing that he is · Lord of

. Or, Gods that ye worship. 2 Thes. 2. 4.

> Ch. 14. 15.

c Matt. 11. 25.

Verse 23. Beheld your devotions] L:20p.ata, the objects | UNKNOWN ones. Minutius Felix says of the Romans, aras of your worship; the different images of their gods which extruunt etiam ignotis numinibus. “ They even build altars they held in religious veneration, sacrificial instruments, to UNKNOWN DIVINITIES.” And Tertullian, contra Maraltars, &c. &c.

cion, says, Invenio plunè Diis ignotis aras prostituas : sed AtTO THE UNKNOWN God.] AINOCTņ OEQ. That there tica idolytria est. “ I find altars allotted to the worship of was an altar at Athens thus inscribed, we cannot doubt, after unknown gods : but this is an Attic idolatry.” Now though such a testimony ; though St. Jerome questions it in part; for, || in these last passages, both gods and altars are spoken of in he says, St. Paul found the inscription in the plural number, the plural number; yet it is reasonable to suppose, that on but because he would not appear to acknowledge a plurality each, or upon some one of them, the inscription ayw5w of gods, he quoted it in the singular; verum, quiu Paulus, Ow, To the unknown god, was actually found. The thing non pluribus Diis indigebat ignotis, sed uno tantúm ignoto had subsisted long, and had got from Athens to Rome in the Deo, singulari verbo usus est. Epist. ad Magn. This is a days of Tertullian and Minutius Felix. See Bp. Pearce most foolish saying : had Paul done so, how much would and Dr. Cudworth, to whose researches this note is much insuch a begging of the question have prejudiced his defence debted. in the minds of his intelligent judges ! (Ecumenius intimates Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship] There is here that St. Paul does not give the whole of the inscription, which a fine paranomasia, or play on the words. The apostle tells this famous altar bore ; and which he says was the following, them, that (on their system) they were a very religious people Θεoις Ασιας, και Ευρωπης, και Λιβυης, Θεα: αγνωσω, και —that they had an altar inscribed ayow5w Osu to the unGeyw. To the Gods of Asia, and Europe, and Africa : to known God: him therefore, says he, whom ayvositas ze THE UNKNOWN and strange God. Several eminent men unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. Assuming it as a suppose that this unknown god was the God of the Jews : and truth, that as the true God was not known by them, and that as his name ride was considered by the Jews as ineffable, the there was an altar dedicated to the unknown god; that his

£os ayw 50s, may be considered as the anonymous god; the God was that god, whose nature and operations he now progod whose name was not known, and must not be pronounced.ceeded to declare. By this fine turn he eluded the force of That there was such a god acknowledged at Athens, we have that law which made it a capital offence to introduce any new full proof. Lucian in his Philopatris, cap. xiii. p. 769. uses god into the state; and of the breach of which, he was this form of an oath : yn Toy ayYW509 TOV Ev Abrvais, I swear charged ver. 18. and thus he shewed that he was bringing by the UNKNOWN GOD at Athens. And again cap. xxix. 180. neither new god, nor new worship among them; but only ex

μείς δε τον εν Αθήναις αγνωςον εφευροντες, και προσκυνη- | plaining the worship of one, already acknowledged by the σαντες χειρας εις ουρανον εκτειναντες τουτω ευχαριςησομεν ως | state, though not as yet known. XxTaGIWGENTES, &c. we have found out the UNKNOWN god at Verse 24. God that made the world, &c.] Though the ATHENS---and worshipped him with our hands stretched up Epicureans held that the world was not made by God, to heaven ; und we will give thanks unto him, as being but was the effect of a fortuitous concourse of atoms, yet thought worthy to be subject to this power. Bp. Pearce this opinion was not popular; and the Stoics held the conproperly asks, Is it likely that Lucian speaking thus (whe-trary: St. Paul assumes as an acknowledged truth ; that ther in jest or in earnest) should not have had some notion there was a God who made the world, and all things. of there being at Athens, an altar inscribed to the unknown 2. That this God could not be confined within temples god? Philustratus, in vit. Apollon. vi. 3. notices the same made with hands, as he was the Lord, or governor of thing, though he appears to refer to several altars thus in- | heaven and earth. 3. That by fair consequence, the scribed: και ταυτα Αθηνησιου και αγνωρων Θεων 8μμοι | gods whom they worshipped, which were shut up in their i& curtal, And this at Athens, where there are altars even temples, could not be this God; and they must be less than to the UNKNOWN GODS. Pausanias in Attic. cap. i. p. 4. the places in which they were contained. This was a strong edit. Kuha. says, that at Athens there are Ewgion OEWY TWY decisive stroke against the whole system of the Græcian orgatou suy ayyw5wv, altars of gods which are called The idolatry.

takes occasion from this

CHAP. XVII.

to proclaim the true God.

A. M. cir.4038. heaven and earth, * dwelleth not in l of men for to dwell on all the face of A.M.cir.4058.

, A.D.cir. 54.

A. D. cir. 54. An. Olymp. temples made with hands;

the earth; and hath determined the An. Olymp. cir.CCVIII.2. 25 Neither is worshipped with men's times afore

appointed, and the cir.CCVIII.2. hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing "bounds of their habitation ; • he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things ; 27 • That they should seek the Lord, if 26 And hath made of one blood all nations haply they might feel after him, and find

d Deut. 32. 8.

Le Rom. 1. 20.

•Ch. 7. 48.2b Ps. 50. 8. Le Gen. 2. 7. Numb. 16. 22. Job 12. 10.

& 27. 3. & 33. 4. Isa. 42.5. & 57. 16. Zech. 12. 1.

Verse 25. Neither is worshipped with men's hands] This avaçuval, xa9Tep Ta layard. The Athenians say that the is an indirect stroke against making of images, and offering first men sprung up in Attica, like radishes. Luc. Philoof sacrifices; he is not worshipped with human hands, as if pseud. 3. he needed any thing, or required to be represented under a To dwell on all the face of the earth] God in his wisparticular form or attitude ; nor has he required victims for his | dom produced the whole human race from one man ; , and support; for it is impossible that he should need any thing, || having in his providence scattered them over the face of the who himself gives being, form, and life, to all creatures. earth, by shewing them that they sprang from one common

Giveth-life, and breath, and all things] These words ource, has precluded all those contentious wars and bloodare elegantly introduced by St. Paul : God gives life, be shed, which would necessarily have taken place among the cause he is the fountain of it: he gives breath, the faculty | nations of the world, as each in its folly might have arroof breathing or respiration, by which this life is preserved : || gated to itself a higher and more excellent origin than and though breathing, or respiration, be the act of the ani- another. mal, yet the Tvory, the faculty of breathing, and extracting And hath determined the times afore appointed] Instead from the atmosphere, what serves as a pabulum of life, is of TPOTET Q"/W.EYOUS YOUccus, the times ufore appointed, ABDE. given by the influence of God: and the continued power and more than forty others, with both the Syriac, all the thus to respire, and extract that pure oxygen gas, which is so Arabic, the Coptic, Ethiopic, ms. Slavonian, Vulgate, and evident a support of animal life, is as much the continued gift Itala, read TICOOTETAYjevous xaicous, the appointed times. of God, as life itself is. But, as much more is necessary to The difference between the two words is this, 7 COTATTELY keep the animal machine in a state of repair, God gives the signifies to place before others; but TopOOTACtELV is to comTa Tarta, all the other things which are requisite for this mand, decree, appoint. The TEPOSTETAYLEYou xalços, are the great and important purpose ; that the end for which life was constituted or decreed times; that is, the times appointed given may be fully answered. St. Paul also teaches, that by his providence, on which the several families should go to Divine worship is not enacted and established for God, but those countries where his wisdom designed they should for the use of his creatures: he needs nothing that man can dwell. See Gen. x. and see Pearce and Rosenmuller. give him : for man has nothing but what he has received And the bounds of their hubitation.] Every family being from the hand of his Maker.

appointed to a particular place, that their posterity might Verse 26. Hath made of one blood] In AB. some others, | possess it for the purposes for which infinite wisdom and with the Coptic, Æthiopic, Vulgate, Itala, Clement, and Bede, || goodness gave them their being, and the place of their the word auaros, blood, is omitted. He hath mude of one | abode. Every nation had its lot thus appointed by God, (meaning Adam) all nations of men: but aqua blood, is often as truly as the Israelites had the land of Canaan. But the used by the best writers, for race, stock, kindred, so Homer, removal of the Jews from their own land, shews that a Iliad, vi. ver. 211.

people may forfeit their original inheritance : and thus the Ταυτης τοι γενεης τε και αιματος ευχομαι είναι. . Canaanites have been supplanted by the Jews: the Jews by I glory in being of that sume race and blood.

the Saracens; the Saracens by the Turks; the Greeks by So Virgil, Æn. viii. ver. 142. says,

the Romans: the Ronians by the Goths and Vandals; and Sic genus amborum scindit se SANGUINE ab uno. so of others. See the notes on Gen. xi.

Thus, from one stock, do both our stems divide. Verse 27. That they should seek the Lord] This is a See many examples of this form in Kypke. The Athe- conclusion drawn from the preceding statement. God, nians bad a foolish notion, that they were self-produced, who is infinitely great, and self-sufficient, has manifested and were the aboriginals of mankind. Lucian ridicules this himself as the maker of the world, the creator, preserver, opinion, Αθηναιοι φασι τους πρώτους ανθρωπους εκ της Αττικής | and governor of men. He has assigned them their portion,

Paul shews that God is a spirit ;

THE ACTS.

and gives life and being to all things.

D.

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cir.CCVIII.2.

cir. CCVIII.2.

A. M. cir. 4058. him, ' though he be not far from of God, d we ought not to think that A.M. cir. 4058. An. Olymp. every one of us :

the Godhead is like unto gold, or sil- An. Olymp. 28 Forb in him we live, and ver, or stone, graven by art and man's move, and have our being; as certain also of device. your own poets have said, For we are also his 30 And the times of this ignorance God offspring

winked at but now commandeth all men 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring every where to repent.

;

a Ch. 14. 17.

d Isai.

b Col. 1. 17. Heb. 1. 3. - Tit. 1. 12.

40. 18.

e Ch. 14. 16. Rom. 3. 25.

f Luke 24. 47. Tit. 2. 11, 12. 1 Pet. 1. 14.

& 4. 3.

and dispensed to them their habitations, and the various Πασαι δ' ανθρωπων αγοραι μεςη δε θαλασσα blessings of his providence, to the end that they should Και λιμενες παντα δε Διος κεχρημεθα παντες: seek him in all his works.

ΤΟΥ ΓΑΡ ΚΑΙ ΓΕΝΟΣ ΕΣΜΕΝ· ο δ' ηπιος ανθρωποισι Feel after him] 77a077ELLY QUTOY, That they might Δεξια σημαινει. κ. τ. λ. grope after him, as a person does his way, who is blind or With Jove we must begin; nor from Him rove; blind-folded. The Gentiles, who had not a revelation, Him always praise, for all is full of Jove ! must grope after God, as the principle of spiritual life, that He fills all places where mankind resort, they might find him to be a Spirit, and the source of all in The wide spread sea, with ev'ry shelt'ring port. tellectual happiness : and the apostle seems to state that Jove's presence fills all space, upholds this ball ; none need despair of finding this fountain of goodness, be All need his aid ; his pow'r sustains us all. cause he is not far from every one of us.

For we his offspring are ; and Ile in love Verse 28. For in him we live, and move, and have our Points out to man his labour from above. being] He the very source of our existence : the prin Where signs unerring, shew when best the soil, ciple of life comes from bim : the principle of motion also, By well-tim'd culture, shall repay our toil, &c. &c. comes from him; one of the most difficult things in nature Aratus was a Cilician, one of St. Paul's own countrymen, and to be properly apprehended ; and a strong proof of the with his writings St. Paul was undoubtedly well acquainted, continual presence and energy of the Deity.

though he had flourished about 300 years before that time. And have our being] Kan key, and we are: we live in Verse 29. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, him, move in him, and are in him. Without him we not|8c.] This inference of the apostle was very strong and cononly can do nothing : but without him we are nothing. We clusive ; and his argument runs thus : “ If we are the offare, i.e. we continue to be ; because of his continued present all- spring of God, he cannot be like those images of gold, silpervading and supporting energy. There is a remarkable say- ver, and stone, which are formed by the art and device of ing in Synopsis Sohar, p. 104. “The holy blessed God never man; for the parent must resemble his offspring. Seeing, does evil to any man. He only withdraws his gracious presence therefore, that we are living and intelligent beings, he, from from him, and then he necessarily perisheth.” This is philo-whom we have derived that being, must be living and intelsophical, and correct.

ligent. It is necessary also that the object of religious worAs certain also of your own poets] Probably he means not ship should be much more excellent, than the worshipper; only Aratus in whose poem intituled Phænomena, the words | but a man is, by innumerable degrees, more excellent than quoted by St. Paul are to be found litteratim, tou yap xas an image made out of gold, silver, or stone ; and yet, it Yevos soley; but also Cleanthus, in whose Hymn to Jupiter, I would be impious to worship a man : how much more so, to the same words (Ex cou yap yevos souer) occur. But the worship these images as Gods ! Every man in the Areopagus sentiment is found in several others, being very common must have felt the power of this conclusion; and taking it for among the more enlightened Philosophers. By saying granted that they had felt it, he proceeds: your own poets, he does not mean poets born at Athens ; Verse 30. The times of this ignorance God winked at] but merely Græcian poets, Aratus and Cleanthus being He who has an indisputable right to demand the worship of chief.

all his creatures, has mercifully overlooked those acts of We are also his offspring.) Touyap xai yeros Equer. The idolatry, which have disgraced the world and debased man ; Phænomena of Aratus, in which these words are found, be- || but now, as he has condescended to give a revelation of him. gins thus :

self, he communds, as the sovereign, all men, every where, Εκ Διος αρχωμεσθα, τον ουδεποτε ανδρες εωμεν

over every part of his dominions, to repent, uerarcely, to Αρρητον· μεςαι δε Διος πασαι μεν αγυιαι,

,

change their views, designs, and practices ; because he hath ap

He is interrupted in his discourse; but CHAP. XVII,

Dionysius and Damaris are converted.

A. D. cir. 54.

A. D. cir. 54 Ap. Olymp. cir.CCVIII.%

A. M. cir. 4058. 31 Because he hath appointed a We will hear thee again of this A. M.cir.4058. An. Olymp. day, in the which ^ he will judge the matter. cir.CCVIII.2. world in righteousness by that man

33 So Paul departed from among whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath them. given assurance unto all men, in that he hath 34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and raised him from the dead.

believed : among the which was Dionysius the 32 ? And when they heard of the resurrection Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and of the dead, some mocked : and others said, others with them.

a Ch. 10. 42. Rom. 2. 16. & 14. 10.

1o Or, offered faith. ch. 2. 24.

go

pointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteous time to finish his discourse, or to draw all the conclusions ness; and as justice will then be done, no sinner, no per- he had designed from the premises he had laid down. St. severing idolater, shall escape punishment.

Stephen's discourse was interrupted in a similar manner. See The word Utrepo@elv, which we translate to wink at, signi-chap. vii. 54. and the note there. fies simply to look over ; and seems to be here used in the Verse 33. So Paul departed from among them.] He could sense of passing by, not particularly noticing it. So God not be convicted of having done any thing contrary to the overlooked or passed by the times of heathenish ignorance : law; and when the assembly broke up, he was permitted to as he had not given them the talent of Divine Revelation, so about his own business. he did not require the improvement of that talent; but Verse 34. Certain men clave unto him] Became affectionately dow, as he had given them that revelation, he would no united to him; and believed, the doctrines he had preached. longer overlook, or pass by, their ignorance or its fruits. Dionysius the Areopagite] There can be no doubt that

Verse 31. He hath appointed a day] He has fixed the this man was one of the judges of this great court; but time in which he will judge the world, though he has not re-whether the president or otherwise, we cannot tell. Hurealed this time to man.

manly speaking, his conversion must have been an acquisition By that man whom he hath ordained] He has also ap- of considerable importance to the Christian religion ; for no pointed the judge, by whom the inhabitants of the earth are person was a judge in the Areopagus, who had not borne the to be tried.

office of archon, or chief governor of the city; and none Whereof he hath given assurance] [1151 TIAFOLOXWY Taoi, bore the office of judge in this court, who was not of the haring given to all this indubitable proof, that Jesus Christ highest reputation among the people, for his intelligence and shall judge the world, by raising him from the dead. The exemplary conduct. In some of the popish writers, we find sense of the argument is this : “ Jesus Christ, whom we a vast deal of groundless conjectures concerning Dionysius, preach as the Saviour of men, has repeatedly told his fol- who, they say, was first bishop of Athens, and raised to lowers that he would judge the world ; and has described to that dignity by Paul himself; that he was a martyr for the us, at large, the whole of the proceedings of that awful truth; that Damaris was his wife, &c. &c. concerning which time, Matt. xxv. 31, &c. John v. 25. Though he was put the judicious Calmet says, Tout cela est de

peil

d'autorité. to death by the Jews, and thus he became a victim for sin, yet 66 All this has little foundation.” God raised him from the dead. By raising him from the dead, God has set his seal to the doctrines he has taught : 1. In addition to what has been said in the notes on this subone of these doctrines is, that he shall judge the world; his ject, I may add, the original word deuoIdI OVE Sepos, from resurrection, established by the most incontrovertible evi- delow, I fear, and daiwy, a dæmon, signifies, "greatly addence, is therefore a proof, an incontestible proof, that he dicted to the worship of the invisible powers :" for, as the shall judge the world, according to his own declaration.” word datywy signifies either a good or evil spirit; and delow,

Verse 32. When they heard of the resurrection, &c.] Paul I fear, signifies not only to fear in general, but also to pay undoubtedly had not finished his discourse: it is likely that religious reverence, he word must be here taken in its best he was about to have proclaimed salvation through Christ sense; and so undoubtedly St. Paul intended it should ; and crucified; but on hearing of the resurrection of the body, so, doubtless, his audience understood him : for it would the assembly instantly broke up; the Epicureuns mocking, have been very imprudent to have charged them with superExisvašey began to laugh; and the Stoics saying they would stition, which must have been extremely irritating, in the take another opportunity to hear him on that subject. And very commencement of a discourse in which he was to defend thus the assembly became dissolved before the apostle had himself, and prove the truth of the Christian Religion. He

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