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But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which divelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 1 etc. ACTS XIX. 9-17. JESUS, preached by Paul in Ephesus, did not bring peace to its people. In the first instance there was a sword. " Divers were hardened and believed not." These Jews spoke evil of " the way." Christ an nounced himself as the way, and the only way, to the Father; but when he came to his own, they received him not. They would have none of him. The servant retired from those who rejected his Master. He ob tained accommodation in the school of one Tyrannus, and taught there for two years. It is not certain whether Tyrannus was a Jew or Greek. In either case his academy was independent of the synagogue, and thus he was enabled to shelter the preacher of the cross. All that dwelt in Asia heard the gospel. The peo ple from the surrounding country and the adjacent towns took an opportunity of hearing the new doc trines when they came to the capital on business. This method prevailed in the times of the Reforma tion. The country people, after having sold their produce in the market-square, crept into the neigh boring church and heard the Scriptures expounded. Then they returned to their homes with both gains one in their hearts, and the other in their pockets.
360 The ChurcJi in t/ie House. Thus the Word had free course, and was glorified throughout the neighboring provinces. Besides the preaching of the Word, special miracles were wrought in Ephesus. The passage is somewhat obscure. There may have been some testimony given to Paul s word in that heathen city, on account of the magicians who plied their craft there, similar to the signs wrought by Aaron in presence of the Egyptian wonder-workers. In any case, this was not the ordi nary experience of Paul. It was peculiar and extra ordinary. An exceptional testimony is vouchsafed to him once in exceptional circumstances, and it is wide as the world apart from the degrading and tricky traf fic in spurious relics, which has become a permanent institution of the Papacy. As the Egyptian magicians in some form imitated the signs wrought by Moses, the soothsayers of Ephe sus in this case disreputable Jews attempted to work wonders in imitation of Paul by pronouncing the name of Jesus. There is much material for thought in the answer given by the possessed maniac to these sorcer ers: "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" It is the same in kind with the response of the Pytho ness at Philippi. It is a remarkable declaration. It is not only out of the mouth of babes and sucklings that the Lord can draw forth his own praise: he can make the wicked praise him, as well as the weak. Such a testimony was borne by an unclean spirit to the Lord himself: " I know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God." An application of this Scripture is possible to our own day and our own circumstances. The evil spirit seems to possess, and energize, and weild at will, cer
tain classes and sections of the people. They seem like the man who cut himself and wore no clothes, and dwelt among the tombs. They are a torment to them selves, and a terror to their neighbors. They might have clothes, and food, and home; but they wildly cast all these away, and live like the beasts. The evil spirits of the present time, like those of Paul s day, are subject only to one power. They do not give way before reading and writing. New houses and good wages will not drive them out. Even the prison and
The Strong Man cast out by the Stronger. 3(31 the gibbet fail to scare them. A goodly number of the legion have in our sight been cast out; but the work is done by the name of Jesus. Many of them are even now sitting at his feet, clothed and in their right mind. There is no healing for these wounds of the body poli tic except in the gospel of Christ, borne to the hearts and homes of the outcasts by the self-sacrificing love of them that believe. None other than He who made the world at first can make it new again. "Jesus I know: " this witness is true, even though the evil spirit utter it. Yes, prince of this world, thou knowest him to be the Holy One of God. Thou hast felt him crushing thy head each time that a slave of sin has been ransomed and renewed. Thou, strong man, holding a human soul captive, bound in the thongs of its own lusts, hast felt the power of the Stranger, wrenching one by one a multitude of victims from thy grasp. Thou knowest, too, this Jesus in his mercy to men; for often, when thou hast set a snare for a believer s feet and made him stumble, and when there was a shout in the camp of the adversary as if one of Christ s saved were lost again, thou hast been compelled to relax thy hold and yield up the backslider to the
Lord that bought him at the first, and has healed again his backsliding. Nor is it only Jesus the Saviour whom the evil spirits know and acknowledge; they know in the same way the ministers whom he employs. "Jesus I know, and Paul I know." Christ has personally ascended; it is by his servants, as his instruments, now that he reaches down to the lost and saves them. The powers of dark ness know all who yield themselves instruments of righteousness unto God. In this respect the servants share the Master s lot: "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." The first Atlantic cable was broken and lost. It sank to the bottom where the sea was several miles deep. Though bouys were left at the spot, they drifted away. Who shall now find the spot in that pathless ocean where the precious line is lying; and who shall bring it up, although the place were known ? They find the spot, not by marks on the sea, but by the lights that are fixed in heaven. Hovering over it,
362 The CJnirch in the House. they drop their grappling-irons, and pay out line till they strike the ground. They feel in that dark abyss feel for the lost. By the instrument sent down they grasp the broken cable and haul it up. They bring the dead to life, and through it thought throbs again in pulses of unseen fire from shore to shore. That lost line seems like a human soul in its sin. This creature that God has made for himself, and qual ified to receive and transmit his own Divine will, has fallen, has fallen. The prey seems secure in the jaws of the pit. But down in that abyss an instrument of
salvation touches the lost. The powers of darkness \vho thought their victim secure, learned to know both the Living One on high who planned redemption, and the instrument which he employed in his work. " Jesus I know, and Paul I know." Lend me your imagination for a moment, that by aid of it I may go yet one step further on the line of this analogy. Suppose that broken, lost line a conscious intelligence, cut off from all communion with his kind in that dark abyss despairing. It is dark; there is none who can reach him to save. Lost, for ever. Now im agine that this despairing creature feels some instrument touching him from above touching him with intelli gence, power, and love touching him with intent to save. Suppose he feels himself grasped, and drawn up up, and ever up, through the dark waters. At length light begins to dawn overhead, and increases as he rises, like the morning. At length he emerges into the light of heaven, is restored to life, and enters the society of his kind again. Such is the lost estate of the sinful; and such the redemption that Jesus brings. 1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books 2. ALL WRITINGS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=1000
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