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The Bible Story Part 269

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[Ill.u.s.tration]

ATHENS--HARBOR OF PIRAEUS--SALAMIS IN THE DISTANCE.

From a photograph belonging to the Forbes Library, Northampton, Ma.s.s., and used by special permission.

Into this harbor came the ship of Paul on his voyage from the North.

In the distance is the immortal battle place of Salamis, where the Persian fleet was destroyed. Of the voyage of Paul from Thessaly to Athens it is said, "All the land and water in sight became more eloquent as he advanced: the lights and shadows, both of poetry and history, were on every hand: every rock was a monument, every current was animated by some memory of the past."

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The same following after Paul and us cried out, saying, "These men are servants of the Most High G.o.d, who proclaim unto you the way of salvation."

And this she did for many days. But Paul, being greatly troubled, turned and said to the spirit, "I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her."

And it came out that very hour.

But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they laid hold of Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers, and when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, "These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and set forth customs which it is not lawful for us to receive, or to observe, being Romans."

And the mult.i.tude rose up together against them: and the magistrates tore their garments off them, and commanded to beat them with rods. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, cast them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto G.o.d, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened; and everyone's bands were loosed. And the jailor being roused out of sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword, and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

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But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, "Do thyself no harm: for we are all here."

And he called for lights, and sprang in, and, trembling for fear, fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

And they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house."

And they spoke the word of the Lord unto him, with all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately. And he brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his house, having believed in G.o.d.

But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, "Let those men go." And the jailor reported the words to Paul, saying, "The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore come forth, and go in peace." But Paul said unto them, "They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Romans, and have cast us into prison; and do they now cast us out secretly? nay verily; let them come themselves and bring us out."

And the police reported these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans; and they came and besought them; and when they had brought them out, they asked them to go away from the city. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

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[Ill.u.s.tration]

THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO AT CORINTH, WITH THE ACROPOLIS IN THE BACKGROUND.

From a photograph belonging to Smith College, and used by special permission.

"It was its conspicuous position on the narrow neck of land between the Aegean and Ionian seas which was the main cause of Corinth's greatness. The construction of the famous ship Argo, on which Jason sailed in search of the Golden Fleece, is a.s.signed by mythology to Corinth. The first Greek triremes were certainly built here. Neptune was her G.o.d. Her colonies were spread over distant coasts in the East and West. Ships came to her harbor from every sea."

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III

PREACHING IN THE MACEDONIAN CITIES.

_Riot in Thessalonica. Success in Beroea_.

Now when they had pa.s.sed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the scriptures, arguing that it behooved the Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, "whom," said he, "I proclaim unto you, is the Christ."

And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great mult.i.tude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews, being moved with jealousy, took unto them certain vile fellows of the rabble, and gathering a crowd, set the city in an uproar; and a.s.saulting the house of Jason, they sought to bring them forth to the people. And when they found them not, they dragged Jason and certain brethren before the rulers of the city, crying, "These men who have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus."

And they troubled the mult.i.tude and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken bail from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Beroea: who when they were come {404} thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more n.o.ble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed; also of the Greek women of honorable estate, and of men, not a few.

But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of G.o.d was proclaimed of Paul at Beroea also, they came thither likewise, stirring up and troubling the mult.i.tudes. And then immediately the brethren sent forth Paul to go as far as to the sea: and Silas and Timothy abode there still. But they that conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timothy that they should come to him with all speed, they departed.

IV

PAUL AT ATHENS.

_The Leader of the New Faith Speaks on Cla.s.sic Ground_.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, he was aroused, as he beheld the city full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with them that met with him. And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What would this babbler say?" others, "He seemeth to be a teacher of strange G.o.ds": because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.

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[Ill.u.s.tration]

THE PARTHENON, ONE OF THE TEMPLES ON THE ACROPOLIS AT ATHENS

From a photograph belonging to the Forbes Library, Northampton, Ma.s.s., and used by special permission

"Crowning the Acropolis was the Parthenon, the glorious temple which rose in the proudest period of Athenian history to the honor of Minerva, and which ages of war and decay have only partially defaced.

The sculptures on one side of the pediments represented the birth of the G.o.ddess; those on the other depicted her contest with Neptune.

Under the outer cornices were groups exhibiting the victories achieved by her champions. Round the inner frieze was the long series of the Panathenaic procession." The Acropolis, with its splendid temples, was on Paul's right and in full view as he preached on the Areopagus.

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And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean." (Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.) And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus, and said,--

"Ye men of Athens, in all things I perceive that ye are very religious.

For as I pa.s.sed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription,

TO AN UNKNOWN G.o.d.

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The Bible Story Part 269 summary

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