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Paul's Zeal for the Gospel

Paul's Zeal for the Gospel

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Acts xvii.

Acts xvii.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 20, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PAUL'S ZEAL FOR THE GOSPELBY HERY KOLLOCK, D. D,Acts xvii.The more I study the life of Paul, the more Iam filled with admiration at the ardour of his zeal,and the immensity of his labours. What multitudesof churches did he establish ! What numerous con-verts did he bring to the Redeemer ! Into what va-rious and distant places did he bear the banner of the cross ! The most celebrated cities, Antioch,Athens, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, acknowledged him*as the herald of salvation. Countries most remotefrom each other, Arabia, Greece, lllyria, Asia Minor,Macedonia, Syria, Epirus, Italy, resounded with hispreaching. All situations give him an opportunityof signalizing his zeal. He preaches Christ in thesynagogues of the Jews, and the assemblies of be-lievers; to the philosophers in the Areopagus atAthens, and to the courtiers in the pretorium, andin the palace of ero ; in prison to the family of the jailer; among the great, to Festus, Agrippa, Ber-nice, and all their train ; " in season and out of sea-son," he every where testifies " the gospel of thegrace of God ;" continual journeyings, and painfulvoyages, give him no ease or relaxation. The whole486 SERMO LX1X.object of his life is to advance the kingdom of theRedeemer.And what is the recompense which he obtainsfrom men for this anxious desire for their salvation ?Here, the populace insult him ; there, his country-
men endeavour to deprive him of life. At Caesarea,Festus accuses him of being a madman ; at Athens,the philosophers deride him and treat him with con-tempt. He restores to the use of his limbs the poorcripple of Lystra, and is stoned till apparently dead.He delivers the possessed damsel at Philippi, andnotwithstanding his privileges as a Roman citizen,is cruelly scourged and imprisoned. Yet still un-daunted and undisgusted by this base return, hecontinues his labours of love. A life so generous, sovarious, so full of persecutions, cannot fatigue us.Let us then still prosecute his history ; and oh ! thatwe may catch more of his spirit, and be inflamedwith his zeal, and partake more of those divineconsolations and supports which alone could haveenabled him to persevere in his course.In our last lecture we beheld the apostle leavingPhilippi in company with Silas and Timothy. Luke,as we judge from the change of his style in this partof his relation, remained behind them, probably visit-ing and confirming the churches in the vicinity, tillthe return of Paul thither, when he again joined him.The others passed through Amphipolis and Apol-lonia, in which places however they did not remain,probably going further from the suggestions of theHoly Spirit, who directed them immediately in alltheir journeyings. They arrived then at Thessa-lonica, a city which derived its name from the vic-tory which Philip of Macedon there gained over theThessalians, which was the capital of Macedonia,LIFE OF PAUL. 487and the residence of the Roman governor of the pro-vince. Here was a large synagogue of the Jews,into which Paul, as was his custom, first entered ;and as they were principally assembled on the Sab-
bath, he, ever shunning privacy, but desirous thathis doctrines should be brought to the light, for threesuccessive weeks, on that day, reasoned with themfrom the Old Testament; proved to them from theprophecies, that the Messiah whom they expected,was not to be, as they fondly imagined, a haughtyand victorious temporal prince, but was to sufferand die before he entered into that glory, whence heshould govern the world and dispense blessings tohis people : he proved to them that the traits whichdesignated Messiah in the holy oracles, were al!united in Jesus of azareth, and that he thereforewas the long-expected deliverer promised to theirfathers. These points he illustrated with a fearless-ness, unimpaired by his past sufferings from the pre- judice and bigotry of his nation. This he asserts inthe appeal which he afterwards made to that church :" After we were shamefully entreated at Philippi,yet we were bold in our God to speak unto you thegospel of God." (I Thess. ii. 2.) His addresses notonly convinced the understandings, but were carriedhome to the consciences of some of the Jews, and of many of the proselyted Gentiles and women of dis-tinction. From various circumstances, and from thewhole tenor of the epistle to the Thessalonians, iiappears that, after thus offering salvation to the Jews,the apostle remained here some time, and directedhis labours principally to the idolatrous Gentiles.His success was such as to animate his heart. Verymany abandoned their false worship to serve theliving God, This he himself testifies in his epistle to188 SERMO LXIX.them : " Our gospel came unto you not in word only,but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in muchassurance : having received the word in much afflic-tion, with joy of the Holy Spirit, ye were ensamples

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