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Julian Pe

10 And this continued by the space of two years; so Ephesus. riod, 4768. that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Vulgar Æra, Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

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SECTION IV.

St. Paul continues two Years in Ephesus-the People burn
their magical Books.

ACTS xix. 11-20.

11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists,

preached was a Beth Midrash, in which the Jews were instruct-
ed. Rosenmüller, on the contrary, with whom Kuinoel agrees,
supposes this to be improbable, as St. Paul had been ejected
from the synagogue an account of the Jews; and those who at-
tended him would, consequently, have separated themselves
from the Jewish assemblies, into a place set apart from them.
Suidas mentions a sophist of the name of Tyrannus-σopins-
περὶ τάσεων καὶ διαιρέσεως λόγω βιβλία δέκα. Whether this was
the person referred to in the Acts is uncertain.

The study of magic was prosecuted with so much zeal at
Ephesus, that Ephesian incantations were proverbial; and the
"Ephesian letters" were certain words, which were believed to
have sovereign efficacy in charms and invocations. About this
time magic, although forbidden by the Mosaic law, was held
in much esteem among the Jews, who excused themselves for its
practice by ascribing the books they retained on this subject to
their king Solomon. The vagabond Jews here mentioned had,
in all probability, been long engaged in the pursuit of magical
rites and incantations, but finding that the name of Jesus pos-
sessed power infinitely superior to any they could command,
they attempted a trial of its efficacy in the present instance,
using it as a substitute for their usual forms of exorcism. The
result clearly proved the vanity of magic, and demonstrated be-
yond a doubt, that the miracles of the Gospel were perfectly
independent of that unholy science, and were performed by a
power which demons, while they trembled, acknowledged and
obeyed. It served to convince the Ephesians of the truth of
that Gospel which was attested by the manifest power of God,
evidently working with the apostles. It brought magic into
contempt in its strongest hold-the name of the Lord Jesus was
magnified, and the people gave the best proofs of their contri-
tion by burning their curious volumes, see ver. 19. As the mi-
racles of Moses baffled the pretensions of the Egyptian magi-
cians, the same Holy Spirit, from whom no secrets are hid,
enabled the apostles to conquer the deceivers of their own age.
The Ephesian characters, or letters, appear to have been
amulets, inscribed with strange, or barbarous words. They
were worn about the person, for the purpose of curing diseases
expelling demons, and preserving from evils of different kinds.
The books brought together on this occasion were such as

Julian Pe- took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits, Ephesus. riod, 4769. the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by

Vulgar Era,

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Jesus, whom Paul preacheth.

14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

18 And many that believed, came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

19 Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them: and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

20 So mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed.

SECTION V.

St. Paul sends Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia and
Achaia.

ACTS xix. 21 to part of 22.

21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the

taught the science, manner of formation, use, &c. of these
charms.

Suidas, under Epeσia ypaμμara, Ephesian letters, gives us the
following account:-" Certain obscure incantations.--When
Milesius and Ephesius wrestled at the Olympic games, Milesius
could not prevail, because his antagonist had the Ephesian let-
ters bound to his heels; when this was discovered, and the let-
ters taken away, it is reported that Milesius threw him thirty
times."

The information given by Hesychius is still more curious: -"The Ephesian letters, or characters, were formerly six, but certain deceivers added others afterwards; and their names, according to report, were these: Askion, Kataskion, Lix, Tetrax, Damnameneus, and Aisian. It is evident that askian signifies darkness; kataskian, light; lix, the earth; tetrax, the year; damnameneus, the sun; and aision, truth. These are holy and sacred things." The same account may be seen in Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom. lib. v. cap. 8. where he attempts to give the etymology of these different terms. These words served, no doubt, as the keys to different spells and incantations; and were used in order to the attainment of a great variety of ends. The abraxas of the Basilidians, in the second century, were formed on the basis of the Ephesian letters; for those instruments of incantation, are inscribed with a number of words and characters equally as unintelligible as the above, and in many cases more so.-See Dr. Clarke's Comment. in loc. and Kuinoel.

Julian Pe- spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, Ephesus. riod, 4769. to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I

VulgarÆra, 56.

Julian Period, 4770. Vulgar Æra,

57.

I must also see Rome.

22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus.

SECTION VI.

St. Paul writes his First Epistle to the Corinthians, to as-
sert his Apostolic Authority-to reprove the Irregula-
rities and Disorders of the Church, and to answer the
Questions of the Converts, on various Points of Doctrine
and Discipline.

§ 1. 1 COR. i. 1-3.

St. Paul's Introduction, in which he asserts his Apostleship,
and the Unity of those who believe in Christ Jesus.

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through
the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

The date of this Epistle is ascertained from the Epistle
itself. St. Paul, on leaving Corinth, as we have already seen,
proceeded to Asia, and visited Ephesus, Jerusalem, and An-
tioch. Leaving this metropolis of the converted Gentiles, he
passed through Galatia and Phrygia, and returned to Ephe-
sus, where he remained three years. During the latter
part of that time, St. Paul wrote this Epistle to the Corin-
thians, as we learn from the internal evidence of 1 Cor. xvi.
8. where we read, "I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost"
-and that it was writton at the preceding passover, is fur-
ther certain from the expression (ver. 7.) "Ye are unlea-
vened," that is, "Ye are now celebrating the feast of unlea-
vened bread." St. Paul left Ephesus A.D. 57, in which year,
therefore, this Epistle must have been written. The sub-
scription of the Epistle purports to have been written at Phi-
lippi, but as this assertion is at variance with the apostle's
words, it cannot be correct. Michaelis would explain the dis-
crepancy by interpreting the word diepxoμai (xvi. 5.) to mean,
"I am now travelling through," instead of "
my route is
through Macedonia," which it evidently means (a). Corinth
itself was a place of considerable trade and opulence, contain-
ing a great variety of people-its inhabitants were naturally
quick and ingenious, and it abounded in philosophers and ora-
tors, who boasted of their human learning and accomplishments.
It was the residence also of many Jews, as we find in Acts xviii.
4. and to them St. Paul first addressed himself; but finding their
opposition to the Gospel unremitting, he turns to the Gentiles,
(ver. 7.) of whom the Church was principally composed. On
St. Paul's departure from Corinth, he was succeeded by Apol-
Jos, who preached the Gospel with great success, (Acts xviii.
24-28.) to whom also may be added Aquila and Sosthenes.
(Acts xviii. 3. 1 Cor. i. 1.) False teachers, however, soon aris-
ing, the peace of the Church was disturbed, and great disorders
ensued. Some Gentile converts set themselves up for teachers,
confounding the Christian doctrine with their own philosophi-
cal speculations, and out of respect to the oratory of Apollos,
called themselves his disciples. On the other hand, some of the
Jewish converts contended strenuously for the observance of

Julian Pe

2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them Ephesus. riod, 4770. that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with Valgar Æra, all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:

57.

3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

§ 2. 1 COR. i. 4-9.

St. Paul rejoices at their Conversion, and at the spiritual
Gifts which they had received in Testimony of the Truth
of Christ.

4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace
of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ :

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

the Mosaic ceremonies, and styled themselves the followers of
Cephas, that is, St. Peter, the apostle of the circumcision; while
many of the native Corinthian converts still continued addicted
to that uncleanness and lasciviousness which had been common
to them in their heathen state. Two factions were raised in the
Church, and the apostle was called upon to fight against Jewish
superstition, heathen licentiousness, and all the sophistry of
human learning, which were alike leagued against him, derogat-
ing from his authority.

On hearing of the lamentable state of his newly established
Church, it appears that the apostle sent Timothy and Erastus to
the Corinthians, as his messengers and fellow-labourers in the
Gospel, intending shortly to visit them himself (Acts xix. 22.);
but before he could accomplish this, he received messengers
from Corinth, with a letter from the Church, requesting his
advice and directions on various subjects, which had been the
occasion of so many animosities and divisions among them, (1
Cor. vii. 1. 16, 17.) and on which those who remained stedfast to
him were anxious to obtain his opinion. This Epistle appears
to have been written in answer to these applications-St. Paul
vindicates his apostolic character from the aspersions of the op-
posing parties, for the satisfaction of those converts who still
adhered to him-his endeavours to lessen the influence of the
false teachers, by pointing out their errors and licentious con-
duct-he applies suitable remedies to the various disorders and
abuses which had so abundantly crept into the Church, and he
gives satisfactory answers to all those points on which he had
been consulted.

(a) See Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 43.

Julian Period, 4770.

57.

§ 3. 1 Cor. i. 10-17.

Vulgar Era, St. Paul exhorts them to unity in the Name of Jesus Christ, in whom was no Division, in Opposition to those Leaders under whose Names they had enlisted themselves.

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius ;

15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine

own name.

16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas :
besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach
the Gospel.

§ 4.

1 COR. i. part of ver. 17. to the end.
St. Paul asserts that he was sent to preach the Gospel not
with learned and skilful Eloquence, lest the Power of
God should be overlooked-He declares that the Truths
of the Gospel are not to be discovered by human Wisdom or
Acquirements-And although the preaching of the Cross
seems Foolishness to those who disbelieve, yet it surpasses
the Wisdom of Men, and is the Power of God unto Sal-
vation, both to the converted Jew and Greek-that God
has chosen the most despised among Men to confound
the learned Philosophers, and the great Men of the
Jews, who opposed themselves to the Wisdom of the
Gospel, shewing by Comparison the inferiority of all
human Attainments, that no Flesh should have occasion to
glory but in the Lord.

17 Not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ
should be made of none effect.

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the

Ephesus.

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