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and Silas, and besought them to leave their city; which they did, after visiting the house of Lydia, and comforting the brethren. Thus the foundation was laid of an eminent church, as appears by Paul's epistle to the christians of this city.
Having left Philippi, they travelled westward, through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, the metropolis of all Macedonia, about one hundred and twenty miles from Philippi, Here, in a synagogue of the Jews, Paul preached Christ unto them, for three successive sabbaths, which proved the means of the conversion of some of the Jews, and a multitude of the Grecians, who were proselytes of the gate, and not a few of the women of rank and quality.
Maria. Then I suppose they met with but little difficulty.
Aunt. Here, as in all other places, the unbelieving Jews put the city in an uproar, and, collecting a number of disorderly fellows, assaulted the house of one Jason, where Paul and Silas resided; but, missing the object of their pursuit, they took Jason and some of the brethren to the rulers, and accused them of entertaining men that had turned the world upside down, acting contrary to the decrees of Cæsar, declaring there was another king, one Jesus.
Maria. What did the rulers do with them?
Aunt. They contented themselves with taking security of Jason and his companions, and let them go. And the brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night, unto Berea, a city about fifty miles south of Thessalonica.
Lucy. I think the apostles met with more oppo
sition from the Jews than from the Gentiles.
Aunt. They did; but the people of Berea were more noble than those of Thessalonica, for they willingly received the word, and searched the scriptures, to see whether those things which Paul preached of the Messiah, were to be found therein; therefore many of them believed. From this we may see the advantage of diligent attention to the scriptures.
Lucy. They might tarry here without fear of
Aunt. But the malice of the Jews of Thessalonica soon extended to this place; for, on hearing that Paul preached at Berea, they came and stirred up the people; but the brethren immediately sent Paul to the sea-side, as if he meant to go on shipboard, and then conducted him another way, near two hundred and forty miles southward, to the great city Athens; where Paul waited the arrival of Silas and Timothy, whom he had left at Berea.
Athens was once the metropolis of all Greece, and one of the most renowned cities in the world for arts and arms; and, though now declining, it was the principal city in the Roman empire for all kinds of polite learning. The inhabitants were remarkably superstitious, and so careful that no deity should want due honour, that they had an altar inscribed to the Unknown God. Paul, observing the city wholly given to idolatry, was deeply concerned to see so much devotion misplaced; he therefore disputed with the Jews and proselytes in the synagogues, and with the Athenians and
foreigners in the market-place, where they spent their time in nothing else but in telling or hearing some new thing: and he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.
Maria. How did they receive it?
Aunt. The philosophers treated him with scorn and contempt, as a setter forth of strange gods. And they took him to Areopagus, or Mars-hill, which was the highest court in the city, and desired him to inform them concerning this new doctrine. He did not begin with upbraiding them with their idolatries; but, in the most pleasing manner, addressed them as follows:
Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious; for, as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this incription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God, that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands: neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing; seeing he giveth to all life and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think
that the godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Lucy. Had this speech any good effect on the Athenians?
Aunt. Some mocked, but others were willing to hear him again; and some believed, among whom was one of the judges or senators of the court, named Dionysius, and a woman named Damaris. But we have exceeded our time.
Aunt. WE will now resume our history. Paul departed from Athens, and went about fifty or sixty miles south-westward, to Corinth, a city situated upon the narrow Isthmus of Peloponnesus, then the metropolis of all Greece. Here he met with Aquila and his wife Priscilla, lately banished from Rome by the decree against the Jews; and they being of the same trade of tent-making with himself, he abode with them, and wrought therein. In this city, Paul endured many labours and troubles, but was refreshed by the coming of Silas and Timothy from the church at Thessalonica, with the good tidings of their faith and love.
"George. Did any of them preach in this place? Aunt. On the sabbath days Paul taught in the synagogues, and, though he met with so many discouragements from the Jews, he boldly preached to them that Jesus was Christ or the Messiah. This so exasperated them, that they vented their rage in blasphemies; upon which he declared, that he had cleared his conscience, tirat their blood would be upon their own heads, and that he would now go unto the Gentiles: he then removed his lodgings, and took up his abode with one Justus, a proselyte of the gate, whose house was adjoining to the synagogue. Crispus the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed in Jesus with all his house; and many of the Corinthians believed also. The Lord, to encourage Paul, appeared to him in the night, in a vision, saying, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city. Upon this assurance, he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
About this time, Gallio, a person of celebrated virtue and probity (said to have been elder brother to the famous Seneca), was sent to Corinth to be proconsul of Achaia. The unbelieving Jews seized on Paul, and, in a tumultuous manner, carried him to Gallio's tribunal, where they accused him of persuading men to worship God contrary to their law. Paul was about to make his defence, but was prevented by Gallio's thus addressing the Jews: If it were a matter of wrong or wickedness, O ye Jews,