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Philippi lost no opportunity of evincing their gratitude to the apostle ; for when he was at Thessalonica, they twice sent him a pecuniary contribution, thus enabling him to make the gospel without charge to the Thessalonians. They also sent him money during his first imprisonment at Rome, that he might want nothing necessary to his comfort which they could supply.*

Passing through Amphipolis, a city built in an island formed by two branches of the river Strymun, and a colony of the Athenians, and from thence through Apollonia, they came to

THESSALONICA,t now the metropolis of all the co tries comprehended in the Roman province of Macedonia. It was the residence both of the proconsul and quæstor, so that being the seat of government, it was constantly filled with strangers, some to attend the courts of judicature, and others to solicit offices. Placed at the bottom of the Thermaic gulf, it was conveniently situated for commerce, and many of its inhabitants weré merchants, who carried on an extensive trade with foreign countries. The Jews resorted to this city in such numbers as to form a large synagogue, to which, according to his usual custom, the apostle, on his arrival there, bad re

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The account which is left us, by the sacred historian, of the apostle's method of procedure in the synagogue of Thessalonica, though concise, is remarkably comprehensive. According to his usual custom, he, during three Sabbath days, reasoned with them out of the scriptures (of the Old Testament, which were esteemed by themselves as the oracles of God); opening up their meaning, and alledging from their true import, that the Messiah

* See Phil. iv. 15, 16. and ver, 18. with chap. ii. 25.

+ Anciently called Thermæ; it still subsists as a place of some note, and is now in possession of the Turks, under the name of Salonichi.

SECT. IV.] Paul preaches at Thessalonica.

67 must have then come; and, moreover, that he must of necessity have been a suffering person, since their own prophets had clearly described him under this view; nay, that he must also have risen again from the dead, concerning which event the spirit of propheey had also spoken particularly; and, finally, that this Jesus of Nazareth, unto whom he bore witness, was the Christ, or true Messiah, whom they were anxiously expecting. The result was, that some of the Jews believed that Jesus whom he preached was the Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of sinners, and consequently consorted with Paul and Silas, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the women of chief note in the city, not a few.*

It seems probable that Paul and his associates continued their attendance on the synagogue worship no longer than three Sabbath days, though it appears from Phil. iv. 16. that they remained some considerable time after that in Thessalonica. But having now repeatedly declared their testimony, they withdrew, and separated the disciples. After this Paul and Silas appear to have preached, without reserve, among the idolatrous Gentiles, and to have wrought many miracles, all which were attended with the most amazing success ; for in the first epistle, which he wrote not long afterwards to this church, he reflects with the most grateful emotions of mind upon the success which his ministry had among them—that the gospel which he preached came unto them not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance;, so that they became followers of the apostles and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, insomuch that the Thessalonians became ensamples to all that believed in Macedonia and Achaia--that the gospel sounded out from them; and in every place their faith towards. God was

Acts xvij. 1-4.

spoken of; so that the unbelieving Jews who persecuted them, were ready to attest the power which the gospel nad upon these idolatrous Gentiles, and how it became the means of turning them to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivered them from the wrath to come.*

Paul and his companions were ultimately driven from this city in consequence of a persecution raised by the envious, unbelieving Jews, who instigated the rabble against them, setting all the city in an uproar, and assaulting the house of Jason, whom they drew, along with other brethren, before the rulers of the city. In this state of things it was judged prudent to withdraw, which they accordingly did unto

BEREA, where also they found a synagogue of the Jews, and into which they entered, declaring their testimony, as at Thessalonica. To the honour of the Bereans, it is recorded that they received the doctrine which the apostle preached, and with the utmost readiness of mind examined the scriptures daily whether the things he declared were so or not--the happy result of which was that

many of them believed, of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men not a few." Intimation, however, having reached Thessalonica that Paul was preaching with great success at Berea, the unbelieving Jews, who had recently driven him from that city, followed him to Berea also, and there excited the multitude against him. The brethren therefore, sent him away, as though he were going towards the sea, reserving Silas and Timothy among them, who seem to have been less obnoxious to the Jews than Paul was. But the friends of the latter, anxious for his safety, privately conveyed him to

Athens, stiled, by general consent," the seat of the

1 Thess. i. 5-10.

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muses"-once the first city of Greece in every point of view; and though it had at this time passed the zenith of its political splendour, it was still as famous for learning as it had ever been: for at the time Paul visited it, the city was full of philosophers, rhetoricians, orators, painters, poets, statuaries, and of young men who resorted thither to be taught philosophy and the liberal sciences. Pausanias says that there were more images in Athens than in all Greece besides, and that they worshipped the gods more than all Greece did. No place could possibly afford a greater fund of speculation and amusement to a curious mind than this. Temples, altars, statues, historical memorials, living philosophers of various sects, the works of the learned of every age, a confluence of the most polite and literary persons from various countries, all indulging the luxury of learned leisure, were objects that must at once have obtruded themselves upon the apostle's notice. Nor was he incapacitated, either by defect of natural taste or of education from relishing the beauties or appreciating the value of such things. He had enjoyed a liberal education, had read their poets, and we have repeated instances of his quoting striking passages from them. But in Paul the christian predominated over the philosopher and the critic. He plainly saw that with all their advantages, they lacked “the one thing needful”the knowledge of the true God, and the enjoyment of his life-giving favour, without which, all their luxury was but splendid misery.

Having carefully surveyed the city, Paul found the inhabitants were almost wholly devoted to idolatry, and he therefore sent an urgent request to Silas and Timothy, who were still at Berea, to come to him with all possible expedition. Finding a synagogue of the Jews, his first object was to dispute with them, and with the Gentiles proselyted to their religion; and after that, with such of

the idolatrous inhabitants as he met with in the marketplace. The apostle was soon attacked by some of the philosophers belonging to two of their most renowned sects, viz. the Epicureans and the Stoics. The Epicureans are said to have ascribed neither creation nor providence to God, but beld that the world was made by a casual conflux of atoms- That the gods, if there were any, were of human shape, who lay lolling upon the clouds in ease and indolence, entirely unconcerned about human affairs. They also beld, that in the present state, pleasure is the chief good; and that men are not to expect a resurrection from the dead or any future state of rewards and punishments. The Stoics, who were intolerably proud and arrogant, held that matter was eternal, God corporeal, and that either God was the soul of the world, or the world itself a god. They looked upon all things as subject to an irresistible fatality; that virtue was its own sufficient reward, and vice its own sufficient punishment. They fluctuated as to their belief of a future state of rewards and punishments, though they had some expectation of an hereafter, as well as of the conflagration and renovation of the world.

In the eyes of these philosophical gentlemen, the apostle appeared a mere babler ; and in the plenitude of their superior wisdom, they looked down upon him with all the pride and disdain that has ever characterised persons of similar tenets and pretensions. When Paul preached to them Jesus and the resurrection, they regarded him as a setter forth of new deities. However, as it belonged to the court of Areopagus to take cognizance of such things, they brought Paul before it.

They had at Athens two courts of judicature, of which one was chosen annually, consisting of five hundred persons. The other was perpetual ; and the members of it were accustomed to assemble in the forum called Areo

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