Verse 41. "He dismissed the assembly." - thn ekklhsian. Another proof that the word ekklhsia, which we generally translate church, signifies an assembly of any kind, good or bad, legal or illegal.
1. How forcible are right words! From the conduct of this prudent, sensible man, we may learn how much influence persons of this character may have, even over the unbridled multitude. But, where the civil power associates itself with the lawless might of the many, THERE must be confusion and every evil work. What a blessing to the community is the civil law! Were it not for this, the unthinking multitude would destroy others, and at last destroy themselves. Law and justice are from God; and the civil power, by which they are supported and administered, should be respected by all who regard the safety of their persons or property.
2. Though the ministry of St. Paul was greatly blessed at Ephesus, and his preaching appears to have been very popular, yet this sunshine was soon darkened: peace with the world cannot last long; the way of the Lord will always be opposed by those who love their own ways.
3. How few would make an outward profession of religion, were there no gain connected with it! And yet, as one justly observes, religion is rendered gainful only by some external part of it. For this very reason, the external part of religion is always on the increase, and none can find fault with it without raising storms and tempests; while the internal part wastes and decays, no man laying it to heart. Demetrius and his fellows would have made no stir for their worship, had not the apostle's preaching tended to discredit that by which they got their wealth. Most of the outcries that have been made against all revivals of religion-revivals by which the Church has been called back to its primitive principles and purity, have arisen out of self-interest. The cry of, the Church is in danger, has been echoed only by those who found their secular interest at stake; and knew that reformation must unmask them and show that the slothful and wicked servants could no longer be permitted to live on the revenues of that Church which they disgraced by their lives, and corrupted by their false doctrines. He that eats the Church's bread should do the Church's world: and he that will not work should not be permitted to eat.