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§ II. Third Missionary Journey of St. Paul.
Paul began his third missionary journey by visiting the Churches he had founded in Phrygia and Galatia. He had the grief of finding that in the latter country, where he had been so readily received, his adversaries had succeeded in partially nullifying his influence and in giving currency to Pharisaic legalism. He went on to Ephesus, sorrowful and wounded by signs so unexpected of ingratitude and changeableness. His first care was to write a letter to the Churches of Galatia. Every line evidences the painful surprise he felt at being thus distrusted by those who had at first devoted themselves to him with enthusiastic affection.
Ephesus now became the principal center of his apostolic work. No other city could have been chosen so well adapted to be the focus from which light might radiate over the whole of Asia. The capital of ancient Ionia, it had been the cradle of that famous Ionian civilization, which, transplanted into Greece, and correcting the effeminacy of Eastern manners by the moral energy of the West, while retaining all the flexibility and brilliancy of the Greek genius, had found full and harmonious development at Athens. At Ephesus, situated not far from the Ægean sea, between Smyrna and Miletus, the oriental type predominated; but it had also come under the influence of the West, by the numerous communications maintained through its commerce with Greece. It had, however, faithfully adhered to the worship of the old gods of Asia; the only change it had made was to give the name of Diana to the Astarte or Artemis of the Asiatic religions. These, as is well known, consisted substantially in a voluptuous adoration of nature; and sensuality was an element inseparable from their religious rites. The temple of Diana of the Ephesians was of world-wide celebrity. Burned by Erostratus, it had been' rebuilt with greater magnificence. Pausanius declares no other temple could be compared to it for grandeur;131131Μέγεθος τοῦ ναοῦ τὰ παρὰ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις κατσκεύασματα ὐπερηκότος. (Pausanias, p. 141.) the glory of Diana of Ephesus threw into the shade all the other divinities of the East and West. At a time of crisis, when all eyes were turned toward the East, a divinity which formed a sort of link between the religions of the East and West could not fail to acquire extensive popularity. It was said that the statue of the goddess had come down from heaven; it was carved in wood, rough and ungraceful, like the mummies of Egypt. It was customary among the pagans to carry about with them small images of the temples in which they worshiped;132132"Asclepiades philosophus deæ cœlestis argenteum breve figmentum quocumque ibat secum solitus efferre." (Ammianus Marcellinus, xxii, 13.) thus the making of shrines had become a very large and profitable trade. The people of Ephesus were distinguished for their love of pleasure. "The whole city," says Philostratus, "resounded with the music of flutes accompanying the dance, and the streets were full of men disguised as women."133133Philostratus, "Vita Apoll.," iv, 2. The corruption of manners had here reached its climax.
Ephesus was, like Corinth, and to a greater degree than Antioch, one of the centers of the pagan world, where all sects and all opinions met and came into collision. There, as in all the large cities, was a Jewish synagogue; in this Paul preached for three months; but here, as at Corinth, he came to an open rupture with his countrymen, and abandoned the struggle with the invincible obduracy of the Pharisaic spirit. He continued to teach the Gospel in the house of one Tyrannus, a public teacher of rhetoric, who had a school at Ephesus, and who had doubtless been convinced of the folly of his system by the preaching of the Apostle. Thus Christianity gained a readier victory in a school of pagan literature than in the school of the doctors of the law; and those who read Moses and the prophets showed themselves less prepared to receive the Gospel than the Greeks, nurtured on Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar. So true is it, that external revelation is a dead-letter to those whose hearts are hardened.
Besides the unbelieving Jews of the synagogue, Paul met at Ephesus with some proselytes, who were in a singular position. They had been among the multitudes who flocked to the baptism of repentance administered by John in the river Jordan. They had heard of the miracles of Christ, and had recognized him as the true Messiah, without, however, getting beyond the point of view of their first master, the Baptist. They had left Palestine before the resurrection of the Saviour, and knew nothing of the great facts upon which the Church was founded; they were still in the position of the disciples before the Feast of Pentecost. The germ of faith in their hearts rapidly sprang and grew under the teaching of Paul; they soon received the symbol of the new birth, and the Holy Spirit marked his presence in their midst by signs and wonders.
There was also a third class of Jews at Ephesus. These were exorcists, who worked on the credulity and eager expectations of the people, and endeavored, like Simon of Samaria and Elymas of Cyprus, to make gain by sorcery. They attempted to cast out devils by the repetition of mysterious formulas, which they ascribed to Solomon.134134Καὶ αὕτη μέχρι νῦν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν ἡ θεραπεία πλεῖστον ἰσχύει. (Josephus, "Ant.," viii, 2. See Olshausen, "Comment.," i, 400.) They succeeded sometimes in producing a certain impression on the diseased imaginations of the sufferers from possession, but their cures were not lasting; had they been so they would certainly have set them in the balance, against the miracles wrought by the Apostles. Some of these magicians, seeing the miracles which Paul worked in the name of Christ, imagined he had the secret of some more efficacious formula than those they were in the habit of using. They endeavored to cast out the demons in the same manner, pronouncing, like the Apostle, the sacred name of Jesus. Their attempt proved a miserable failure. The unhappy man upon whom they made the experiment, in one of those mysterious crises of supernatural lucidity common to such cases, cried out, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" and, leaping on the false exorcists with demoniacal strength, wounded and overcame them. The powers of darkness are not to be vanquished by words and formularies; they yield only to a divine influence, passing from soul to soul.
This incident in the history of Paul draws a well-marked line of distinction between miracle and magic.135135Justin speaks of devils cast out by the name of Jesus: Κατὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ πᾶν ὁαιμόνιον ἐξαρκιζό-ενον νικάται. ("Dial. cum. Tryph.," c. lxxxv. Comp. Origen, "C. Celsum," i, 25.) We have here a superstition of the second century, which reminds us of the error of the Jewish exorcists. The event had a very happy effect upon the Greek proselytes, who were already attracted by the Gospel, but were not yet free from their superstitions. Ephesus was, indeed, famous for the practice of the arts of sorcery; Apollonius of Tyana there excited the greatest enthusiasm. If Paul wrought more miracles in this than on his other missions, it was because no other method would have been equally effectual in arresting the attention of so corrupt and idolatrous a city. The lesson thus severely taught the Jewish exorcists was further of use in preventing any possible identification of the power of God manifested in the apostles, with the sorceries of the impostors. Many of these, reproved by their own conscience, brought their cabalistic books and burned them publicly, just as, in later times, a penitent people cast all that reminded them of their life of worldliness into the flames kindled at Florence by the voice of Savonarola. An important Church was founded at Ephesus, which was to be in the close of the apostolic age that which Jerusalem and Antioch had been at its commencement.
For three years Ephesus was the chief abode of the Apostle. During this time, however, he made a journey of considerable extent in Europe. His first purpose was to visit Corinth, to set at rest the unhappy contentions in the Church of that city. He went by sea, and turned aside from the direct course to visit Crete. It is easy to suppose that the Gospel had been already conveyed to that island by some Christians, and that Paul's mission there, like Peter's at Samaria, was to carry on a work already commenced, and prosperous. His stay was but short. This island, famous for its wealth, and for the number of its towns, presented peculiar difficulties to Christianity. The national character of its inhabitants had been depicted in severe colors by one of its poets, Epimenides, surnamed the prophet, who accused them of being altogether given up to sensuality and falsity. Titus i, 12. The very name of Cretan had become synonymous with liar.136136Κρητίζειν. A Church was established in the midst even of this depraved people; but Christianity had many a conflict to wage with the recurring influences of the old corrupt nature.
From Crete Paul went on to Corinth, where he stayed but a short time. During this visit he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy, whom he had left at Ephesus, and who in his youth and inexperience found himself at issue with serious errors, the first indications of those Gnostic heresies which subsequently struck such deep root in this soil, where all the religions of the East and West had in turn striven for predominance. Paul shortly after this visit returned to Ephesus. He there wrote his Epistle to Titus, giving him the benefit of his advice in the difficult task of conducting a Church. Shortly after his return, he sent Timothy into Macedonia to visit the Churches there, and to make collections for the Christians in Judea.1371371 Cor. xvi, 10, 11. After careful examination we have accepted Wieseler's supposition, (pp. 280-329,) shared by M. Reuss, ("Gesch. der Heil. Schr. N. T.," pp. 74-76,) as to the date of Paul's voyage to Crete, of the First Epistle to Timothy and that to Titus. This theory only acquires any degree of certainty when the question of Paul's second captivity has been thoroughly examined. This will come before us as we proceed. For the present we are content with showing the probability of the facts being as we have represented. First, it is certain that Paul did not remain continuously at Ephesus during two years and a half, for we learn from2 Cor. xiii, 1, that before writing his Second Epistle to the Corinthians he had twice visited their city. His first visit coincides with the foundation of the Church. His second journey can only be placed in the interval between his arrival at Ephesus and his departure from that city, for he alludes to it in 1 Cor. xvi, 7; and his First Epistle to the Corinthians was written from Ephesus. It is evident, therefore, that during this time Paul traveled, and traveled in Europe. His voyage to Crete is then possible at this period; and if, as we shall subsequently show, that voyage cannot be assigned to any other period in his life, the possibility becomes a certainty. We may add that the Epistle to Titus contains more than one indication of the date of its composition. Apollos is mentioned in it as one of Paul's companions, who had joined himself to Titus. (Tit. iii, 13.) Now Paul had just made his personal acquaintance at Corinth, and he is not after this found in his company. Does not the name of Tychicus, who is a disciple of Asia Minor, indicate that the Apostle had just been laboring in that country? He appears again in company with the Apostle at the time of his last journey to Jerusalem. (Acts xx, 4.) M. Reuss places the composition of the Epistle to Titus during Paul's short sojourn at Corinth, and Wieseler on his return to Ephesus. The latter supposition appears to us the more probable, for on M. Reuss's hypothesis, the letter to Titus would have been written very shortly after Paul's leaving Crete. With reference to the First Epistle to Timothy, the Apostle's manner of addressing him gives the impression that Timothy is still very young. We shall touch presently, in treating of the heresies of the Church of the first century, on the objections to the authenticity of the pastoral letters. He himself, on the serious reports received from Corinth, wrote a letter to the Church of that city, earnestly reproving it for its schism, for the irregularity of conduct which threatened its destruction, and also for the dangerous heresies which even went so far as to deny, under pretense of spirituality, the resurrection of the body.138138This letter was not the first, as we find in 1 Cor. v, 9 allusion to an earlier one. We may observe that these heresies, corresponding exactly with those contended against in the pastoral epistles, are pointed out by Paul in an epistle, the genuineness of which is never called in question. Is there not in this a powerful refutation of the system which pretends that the heresies mentioned in the pastoral epistles could have had no existence at this period, and which on that ground argues their spuriousness? Is there not also in this fact a confirmation of our supposition as to the date of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus?
This letter was written under most touching circumstances, for Paul was at that very time obliged to hide himself to escape the malice of his enemies. He had been suffered for a long time to labor without hinderance in the propagation of the Gospel at Ephesus, but persecution of singular violence suddenly broke out against him. He encountered a kind of opposition which was more than once temporarily to arrest the progress of the Church, and to shed rivers of Christian blood. The new religion disturbed not only the minds of men, but their secular interests. Paganism was not simply a system of general corruption, but also of universal traffic. The temples of the false gods had a multitude of dependents, who lived by the altars, and who, while they shared the popular superstition, also speculated on it for their own advantage. The preaching of the true God, no longer confined within the precincts of the synagogue, but making itself heard in the public squares, and gaining its thousands of adherents from among the idol worshipers, could not fail by its success to strike alarm into all those who made their gains out of the pagan worship. At Ephesus the priests were not the only persons whose interests were compromised by the preaching of the Gospel. A considerable traffic was carried on in small statues of the goddess and images of her temple. The silversmiths made immense sums from this craft; the whole city was interested in the worship of Diana, for the votaries of the goddess brought streams of wealth within its walls. Nothing, then, was more easy than to excite the passions of the populace against the Apostle, and by the fury of his enemies we may infer how great had been the success of his mission. A silversmith, named Demetrius, was the instigator of the tumult. His violent harangue, addressed to his workmen, presents a strange mixture of cynicism and superstition. He passes without transition from the profits of his trade to the compromised glory of Diana of the Ephesians. "Not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana shall be despised, and her magnificence be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshipeth." Acts xix, 27. Thus the true ground of fanaticism—self-interest—is brought to light. The vail of religion, in which it loves to envelope itself, is torn away, and the people of Ephesus come forward to make common cause for their riches and their faith. Demetrius succeeds in stirring up a serious tumult. The people rush to the theater, clamorously calling on the name of their favorite goddess. Two of Paul's companions are caught. The courageous Apostle never hesitates. He will speak to this crowd, bellowing in the circus like a beast hungering fqr its prey. It was, doubtless, with the impression of these events, fresh in his mind, that he wrote in the letter addressed at this time to the Corinthians, "I have fought with beasts at Ephesus." This lively image was an admirable representation of the scene in question. A roaring lion is the truest symbol of an enraged mob.1391391 Cor. xv, 32. Some Commentators have been disposed to take this expression literally. But Paul, as a Roman citizen, could not be sentenced to this ignominious torture. Nor have we the record of any further persecution than that mentioned in Acts xix, 29. Is it possible to suppose that when, in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, (xi, 23-28,) he is recalling all his sufferings, he should have passed over in silence an event so important as fighting with wild beasts? On the other hand, if these words of the Apostle are referred to the tumult raised by Demetrius, they have a very impressive meaning. Doubtless he was not himself in the theater; but did not the fierce yells of the mob reach his ears? Was he not involved directly in the combat? Was it not, in fact, between him and the people of Ephesus, and was not he the cause of the exasperation? There is no argument against placing the conclusion of the First Epistle to the Corinthians after the riot, as Paul still remains one day in the city. (Acts xx, 1.) His friends would not suffer him to make himself a sacrifice to the crowd. The Asiarchs, who were deputies of the towns of Asia Minor, charged with the provision and control of the public games, sent to entreat him not to adventure himself in the theater; possibly they were favorable to him; they were at any rate responsible for all that occurred in the place of public entertainments. The riot came to a singular conclusion. The Jews, alarmed at this violent reaction of idolatry, by which they might themselves be seriously compromised, put forward one of their number named Alexander to speak, doubtless with a view to show that their cause was not to be identified with that of Paul.140140De Wette, in his "Commentary on the Acts," asserts that these Jews who put forward Alexander were Christian converts from Judaism. But the expression τῶν Ἰουδαίων does not permit this interpretation. Our hypothesis seems to us the most reasonable. But their tactics turned against themselves, for they thus provoked an increase of excitement, and for two hours nothing could be heard but the cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" The Town Clerk had the utmost difficulty in quieting the people by flattering their passions, and at the same time holding over them a salutary terror of the imperial power, which was wont to inflict severe punishments on the seditious. Paul, in consequence of these events, immediately quitted Ephesus. The treatment he had there received was full of significance. It was prophetic of the persecutions awaiting Christians from the whole heathen world. It taught the Church how hard it is to change a corrupt condition of society. The vociferations in the circus at Ephesus would be re-echoed again and again, during the first three centuries, in the clamorous cry, "The Christians to the lions!" It was the first deep roar of paganism against Christianity.
From Ephesus Paul went on into Europe. He had shortly before sent Titus to Corinth, in order to ascertain the precise effect produced in that Church by his letter.2 Cor. xii, 18. After having vainly awaited his return at Troas, (2 Cor. ii, 12, 13,) he left to visit the Churches of Macedonia. These he found flourishing, full of devotion to himself, firm in their faith, purified by persecution, and disposed to contribute generously to the collections he was making for the Christians in Palestine.2 Cor. viii, 1, 2. This was a great consolation to the Apostle in the midst of his own afflictions; for in Macedonia, as. in Asia and Achaia, he encountered the bitter and persistent hostility of the Jews, and was at times overwhelmed with the greatness of his labors and the weariness of incessant conflict.2 Cor. vii, 5. At length Titus rejoined him, and told him of the salutary effect produced by his first letter on the Christians at Corinth. The irregularities which had caused so much scandal were put away: love for the Apostle had revived, and better days seemed about to dawn on the Corinthian Church. Equilibrium could not, however, be at once restored in a community which had been so violently agitated, and the adversaries of the Apostle made one more attempt to regain their lost influence by redoubling their attacks on Paul, and denying his right to the apostolate. He himself, in the second epistle, written under the impression of his interview with Titus, gave free expression to the feelings which filled his heart. Joy at the repentance of the Corinthians, and indignation at the unjust attacks on himself, form the burden of this letter. In reply to his assailants, he pleads the facts of his apostolic career—a touching and beautiful apology. He depicts in glowing colors his labors, his sufferings, his triumphs; and after the incomparable picture of his missionary life, gives a glimpse into the most sacred secrets of his spiritual history. In no part of his writings, full as all are of originality, has Paul left so deep an impress of his individuality. The epistle concludes with some practical suggestions relative to the collections for the Church at Jerusalem. This letter was sent to Corinth by Titus, who was to receive the latest offerings of the Corinthian Christians. Paul himself remained some time longer in Macedonia, and it was probably at this period he made the missionary journey into Illyria, of which he speaks in his Epistle to the Romans. Rom. xv, 19: He there stayed, as he had arranged, with Titus, in the city of Nicopolis, built by Augustine in memory (Titus iii, 12,) of the battle of Actium. Thence he returned to Greece, and spent three months in Achaia, chiefly at Corinth, where he wrote his Epistle to the Romans, which we shall find equally valuable as an historical document, enabling us to trace the commencement of the Church at Rome, and as a doctrinal statement of Paul's views upon Christianity.
Paul, in his indefatigable zeal, contemplated a missionary journey into the far West. He desired to carry the Gospel into Spain, (Rom. xv, 24;) but before doing so, he was anxious to revisit Jerusalem, to hand over the liberal collection which had been made, through his efforts, in the Churches of Macedonia and Achaia, and to draw yet closer the bonds which united him to his colleagues in the apostleship. Rom. xv, 25-27. But at the very time he was preparing for these new and distant enterprises, he had a presentiment that in going up to Jerusalem he would encounter graver perils than any he had yet known. In truth, he had come to an open disruption with the Jews in all the great cities of Asia and of Greece. He had made no compromise with them, and he knew, by painful experience, what he might expect from their fanaticism in the very center of their power. Even in the Epistle to the Romans these presentiments are apparent; the Apostle urges the Christians at Rome to pray that he may "be delivered from them that do not believe in Judæa." Rom. xv, 31. His friends shared his apprehensions, which were also repeatedly confirmed by prophetic revelations. Thus this journey from Europe up to Jerusalem was one succession of most pathetic farewells. These began at Troas, whither the Apostle had gone by sea from Philippi. On the eve of his departure, he assembled the Christians of that city in one of the agapæ so common in the early Church, and which were concluded by the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Parting words of exhortation and of consolation were prolonged far into the night. The miracle wrought upon Eutychus, who being killed by a fall from an upper window into the street was restored to life by the embrace of the Apostle, was a token of consolation and encouragement for the sorrowful Christians at Troas. The most affecting scene took place at Miletus, where the Apostle landed after coasting along Asia Minor. He had appointed this as the meeting-place for the elders of that Ephesian Church in which his ministry had borne such noble fruits. Every thing contributed to the solemnity of this interview. Paul had an ever-deepening conviction that bonds, afflictions, and perhaps death, were awaiting him. He went up to Jerusalem as to an altar of sacrifice. He knew that the Church of Ephesus was threatened with dangerous heresies. Acts xx, 23-31. Before him were its representatives-men to whom he was deeply attached. We can imagine how bitter was the separation under such circumstances. The words of the Apostle are full of pathos and sublimity. The most tender human feelings find expression as freely as the manly courage of the martyr, and the solemn warnings of the pastor. Paul calls his hearers to witness the faithfulness with which he has preached the Gospel at Ephesus, "keeping back nothing." He tells them that they must depend no longer on him, for " he shall see their face no more,' and he adjures them to watch over the young Church as over a frail plant exposed to the storm. Paul is evidently fully conscious of the difficulty of the transition from the apostolic age to the period when the Church is to walk without the guidance of its founders. His address is full of pathetic warnings, which will be only too fully justified by history. "And now," he says, in conclusion, "I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified, through faith which is in Jesus. I have coveted no man's silver or gold. Yea, ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered to my necessities, and to them which were with me. I have showed you in all things how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, " It is more blessed to give than to receive."141141This saying of the Lord is not recorded in our Gospels. After thus speaking, Paul fell on his knees, and prayed fervently for that Church so threatened with peril. Then, amid sore weeping, he took leave of the elders of Ephesus. They knew, as they sorrowingly accompanied him to the ship, that upon those shores he would never stand again, and their parting had all the bitterness of a final farewell.142142Baur regards this address as a fabrication of the second century. He grounds his opinion on the mention of the heretics of the Church at Ephesus. We shall reply to this objection when speaking of the heresies of the primitive Church. The Apostle's presentiments also seem to Baur in contradiction with other declarations, such as Rom. xv, 32. May we not suppose, however, fluctuations of feeling in the heart of the Apostle? (See "Paulus," p. 177.)
No remarkable incidents marked the journey to Jerusalem, except that Paul's presentiments as to his coming captivity were confirmed by positive predictions. At Tyre he met some disciples who, warned by the Spirit of the dangers awaiting him, entreated him not to pursue his journey to Jerusalem. At Cæsarea, in the house of Philip the Evangelist, a prophet named Agabus yet more clearly foretold his captivity by a symbolic action, which reminds us of the manner of the ancient prophets. 1 Kings xxii, 11. He was once more besought by his friends to change his purpose, but he remained immovable, ready, as he said, not only to be bound, but also to die, if need be, for the name of the Lord Jesus. Presentiments and prophecies were soon to receive signal fulfillment.
The Apostle arrived at Jerusalem, surrounded by his most cherished companions, men belonging to the different Churches founded by him in Greece and Asia. They were the representatives and pledges of the universal triumph of Christianity. They were the first-fruits of the new Israel, to be gathered in from the ends of the earth. Paul was received with the greatest affection by the elders of the Church. It was quite evident, however, that the great body of Judaizing Christians were still prejudiced against him. With a view to conciliation, he consented, on the advice of James, not exactly to take upon himself the vow of the Nazarite, but to pay the legal charges for four Christians of Jewish origin, who were about to fulfill their vow in the Temple, at the very time of his arrival in Jerusalem.143143To pay the charges for the sacrifices intended for the fulfillment of the vow of the Nazarite was regarded as an act of great piety. (Josephus, "Ant.," xx, 6, I.) We cannot suppose that Paul himself on this occasion took the vow of the Nazarite, for the fulfillment of that vow required a much greater length of time. (Numbers vi, 8, 9.) His purification would be required for the offering of any sacrifice in the Temple, no less than for the fulfillment of the Nazarite's vow. (1 Samuel xvi, 5.) See Wieseler, "Chronol. des ap. Zeit.," pp. 104, 105. This step was not a politic artifice on the part of Paul, an attempt at diplomatic conciliation, as has been objected. He merely acted out the decisions of the Council at Jerusalem. Himself a Jew, he observed the Jewish custom, according to the decree which had been passed with his concurrence a few years previously. He followed also that other law which he had laid down for himself, of being to the Jews as a Jew, that he might win all by wise conciliation, instead of offending all by a sudden revolution. It was this step, however, so pacific in intention, which most of all exasperated his enemies; they regarded it as an insult alike to the Temple and the law of Moses. When the Apostle entered the Temple to signify, according to custom, the days when the purification would be accomplished, and the offerings would be presented for the Nazarites, some Jews from Asia, who had come up to Jerusalem to keep the feast, stirred up the multitude against him, on the pretense that he had brought Greeks into the Temple. This accusation was-a baseless calumny, for he had not taken with him any of his foreign companions. It has been asserted that these Jews were the Judaizing Christians who formed the nucleus of the Church at Jerusalem.144144Baur, "Das Christenthum der drei ersten Jahrh.," p. 65. But this is a gratuitous supposition; the Jews from Asia did not belong to the Church at Jerusalem, but undoubtedly to one of those fanatical synagogues, from which Paul had already met so much opposition. Be this as it may, however, the calumny artfully set in circulation excited the ever mobile passion of the crowd. The people of Jerusalem showed themselves as fanatical as those of Ephesus. Ignorant attachment to the Temple of the true God produced the same effects as the worship of the impure goddess Diana. In truth, the adherents of the Judaism of the decline clung to their worship for the very same reasons as the priests and silversmiths of Ephesus; they thought first of all of the honor and profit to be derived from it. They made the name of Jehovah a covert for their unworthy passions and sordid interests; thus proving that idolatry may be found in all religions and under all forms. When the tumult was at its height, the tribune who commanded the fortress at Antonia, situated not far from the Temple, brought down the soldiery to repress the riot, which seemed likely to throw the whole city into an uproar.
More than once already the excitable crowd had risen at the voice of the unknown agitators. A recent event gave great probability to the fears of the tribunes. Josephus tells us that an Egyptian had come to Jerusalem, saying that he was a prophet. He persuaded the multitude to follow him on to the Mount of Olives, on the promise that he would make the fortifications of the city fall down at his word, and would lead back his followers through the breach. Felix dispersed the tumultuous assembly by force of arms, but the Egyptian had succeeded in making his escape.145145Ὁ δὲ Αἰγύπτιος αὐτὸς ἐκ τη̂ς μάχης ἀφανὴς ἐγένετο. Josephus, "Ant.," xx, 6.
The Tribune Lysias at once took it for granted that the present riot was excited by the return of the Egyptian, whom he supposed Paul to be. Acts xxi, 38. As he was being led away to prison, the Apostle asked leave to speak to the people who were following him with shouts and cries. Having received permission to address them from the steps of the citadel, he attempted no evasion, but, with heroic courage, related in a few graphic words the change wrought in him by his conversion, as though to say to this fanatical people, "There was a time when I was a persecutor of Christians, as you are, but I have seen my guilt, and I charge you with the same."
At the first mention of his mission to the Gentiles the hoarse cries of anger burst forth afresh and drowned his voice, as on another occasion—how fresh in the memory of Saul of Tarsus!—the voice of Stephen had been drowned; and the Tribune, to save him from the violence of the people, commanded that he should be brought into the castle.
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