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Paul Make Known the Unknown God

Paul Make Known the Unknown God

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY WILLIAM VAN MILDERT, D. D.

PREACHER OF LINCOLN S INN,

NOW BISHOP OF DURHAM. 1831.



ACTS xvii. 22, 23.

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and
said, 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 inscription, To THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him de
clare I unto you.
BY WILLIAM VAN MILDERT, D. D.

PREACHER OF LINCOLN S INN,

NOW BISHOP OF DURHAM. 1831.



ACTS xvii. 22, 23.

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and
said, 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 inscription, To THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him de
clare I unto you.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 04, 2014
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PAUL MAKE KOW THE UKOW GODBY WILLIAM VA MILDERT, D. D. PREACHER OF LICOL S I, OW BISHOP OF DURHAM. 1831. ACTS xvii. 22, 23. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, 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 inscription, To THE UKOW GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him de clare I unto you. AMOG the memorable occurrences re corded in the earliest annals of Christianity, none appear to give greater weight and dig nity to its pretensions, than those which ma nifest the consciousness of superiority, in its inspired teachers over the boasted attain ments of the heathen sages. The first la bours of the Apostles in the Gentile world were directed, not to the conversion of ig norant barbarians, incompetent to judge of their doctrine, or prone to receive with avi dity whatever might be marvellous or im posing in its appearance, but to nations the p 4
 
SERMO XI. most civilized, and even to their most en lightened assemblies. They assailed, not only the gross prejudices of the vulgar, but the learned sophistry of the schools : and in their discourses addressed to these, there is a tone of decisive authority, which though it partakes not of the arrogance of human wisdom, evidently flows from a consciousness that " they spake as the Spirit gave them " utterance a ," empowered by his unerring influence to enlighten and instruct mankind. Yet we cannot but observe, at the same time, with what admirable discretion these faithful messengers of their Lord fulfilled the high purpose of their mission ; how they adapted their exhortations and reproofs to the pecu liar characters or circumstances of the per sons they sought to convert ; sometimes winning them to the truth by a considerate regard to their deep-rooted prepossessions, sometimes reasoning with them upon their own principles, rather than extorting from them a forced assent to the truths that were set before them. The portion of Scripture from which the words of the text are taken, affords an in stance illustrative of St. Paul s conduct in these respects. a Acts ii. 4. SERMO XL 217 The Apostle, it appears, being detained for a short time at Athens, paid particular atten
 
tion to the state of religion in that renowned seat of learning and refinement : and " his " spirit was stirred within him, when he saw " the city wholly given to idolatry. There- " fore disputed he in the synagogue with the " Jews, and with the devout persons, and in " the market daily with them that met with " him. Then certain philosophers of the " Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered " him. And some said, What will this bab- " bier say ? other some, He seemeth to be a " setter forth of strange gods : because he " preached unto them Jesus, and the resur- " rection. And they took him and brought " him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know " what this new doctrine, whereof thou speak- " est, is ? for thou bringest certain strange " things to our ears : we would know there- " fore what these things mean." The A- postle, thus publicly confronted with these philosophers, in the presence of a mixed mul titude of Jews and Greeks, and probably be fore the magistracy of the place, seizes the opportunity to endeavour to reclaim them from the service of the false deities whom they adored, and to bring them to a purer and more rational worship. Standing in the 218 SERMO XI. midst of the Areopagus, and surrounded by an auditory more disposed to ridicule than to revere him, he challenges their attention in these remarkable words ; " 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 inscription, To THE UKOW

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