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  • JOHN WESLEY'S BIBLE COMMENTARY
    NOTES - ACTS 20

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    Verse 1. After the tumult was ceased - So Demetrius gained nothing. Paul remained there till all was quiet.

    Verse 2. He came into Greece - That part of it which lay between Macedonia and Achaia.

    Verse 3. An ambush being laid for him - In his way to the ship.

    Verse 4. To Asia - There some of them left him. But Trophimus went with him to Jerusalem, chap. xxi, 29. Aristarchus, even to Rome, chap. xxvii, 2.

    Verse 6. We set sail - St. Luke was now with St. Paul again, as we learn from his manner of expressing himself.

    Verse 7. To break bread - That is, to celebrate the Lord's Supper; continued his discourse - Through uncommon fervour of spirit.

    Verse 8. There were many lamps in the room where they were assembled - To prevent any possible scandal.

    Verse 9. In the window - Doubtless kept open, to prevent heat, both from the lamps and the number of people.

    Verse 10. Paul fell or him - It is observable, our Lord never used this gesture. But Elijah and Elisha did as well as Paul. His life is in him - He is alive again.

    Verse 11. So departed - Without taking any rest at all.

    Verse 12. And they brought the young man alive - But alas! How many of those who have allowed themselves to sleep under sermons, or as it were to dream awake, have slept the sleep of eternal death, and fallen to rise no more!

    Verse 13. Being himself to go on foot - That he might enjoy the company of his Christian brethren a little longer, although he had passed the night without sleep, and though Assos was of difficult and dangerous access by land.

    Verse 14. Mitylene - Was a city and part of the isle of Lesbos, about seven miles distant from the Asiatic coast.

    Verse 16. For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus - Which lay on the other side of the bay. He hasted to be at Jerusalem on the day of pentecost - Because then was the greatest concourse of people.

    Verse 17. Sending to Ephesus, he called the elders of the Church - These are called bishops in the 28th verse, (rendered overseers in our translation.) Perhaps elders and bishops were then the same; or no otherwise different than are the rector of a parish and his curates.

    Verse 18. Ye know - Happy is he who can thus appeal to the conscience of his hearers.

    Verse 19. Serving - See the picture of a faithful servant! The Lord - Whose the church is, with all humility, and with tears, and trials - These are the concomicants of it. The service itself is described more particularly in the following verse. This humility he recommends to the Ephesians themselves, Eph. iv, 2. His tears are mentioned again, verse 31, as also 2 Cor. ii, 4; Phil. iii, 18. These passages laid together supply us with the genuine character of St. Paul. Holy tears, from those who seldom weep on account of natural occurrences, are no mean specimen of the efficacy and proof of the truth of Christianity. Yet joy is well consistent therewith, ver. 24. The same person may be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.

    Verse 20. I have preached - Publicly; and taught - From house to house. Else he had not been pure from their blood. For even an apostle could not discharge his duty by public preaching only. How much less can an ordinary pastor!

    Verse 21. Repentance toward God - The very first motion of the soul toward God is a kind of repentance.

    Verse 22. Bound by the Spirit - Strongly impelled by him.

    Verse 23. Save that - Only this I know in general; the Holy Ghost witnesseth - By other persons. Such was God's good pleasure to reveal these things to him, not immediately, but by the ministry of others.

    Verse 24. Nor do I count my life precious - It adds great force to this and all the other passages of Scripture, in which the apostles express their contempt of the world, that they were not uttered by persons like Seneca and Antoninus, who talked elegantly of despising the world in the full affluence of all its enjoyments; but by men who daily underwent the greatest calamities, and exposed their lives in proof of their assertions.

    Verse 25. Ye shall see my face no more - He wisely inserts this, that what follows might make the deeper impression.

    Verse 27. For I have not shunned - Otherwise if any had perished, their blood would have been on his head.

    Verse 28. Take heed therefore - I now devolve my care upon you; first to yourselves; then to the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers - For no man, or number of men upon earth, can constitute an overseer, bishop, or any other Christian minister. To do this is the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost: to feed the Church of God - That is, the believing, loving, holy children of God; which he hath purchased - How precious is it then in his sight! with his own blood - For it is the blood of the only begotten Son of God, 1 John i, 7.

    Verse 29. Grievous wolves - From without, namely, false apostles. They had, not yet broke in on the Church at Ephesus.

    Verse 30. Yea, from among yourselves men will arise - Such were the Nicolaitans, of whom Christ complains, Rev. ii, 6; to draw away disciples - From the purity of the Gospel and the unity of the body.

    Verse 31. I ceased not to warn every one night and day - This was watching indeed! Who copies after this example?

    Verse 32. The word of his grace - It is the grand channel of it, to believers as well as unbelievers. Who is able to build you up - To confirm and increase your faith, love, holiness. God can thus build us up, without any instrument. But he does build us up by them. O beware of dreaming that you have less need of human teachers after you know Christ than before! And to give you an inheritance - Of eternal glory, among them that are sanctified - And so made meet for it. A large number of these Paul doubtless knew, and remembered before God.

    Verse 33. I have coveted - Here the apostle begins the other branch of his farewell discourse, like old Samuel, 1 Sam. xii, 3, taking his leave of the children of Israel.

    Verse 34. These hands - Callous, as you see, with labour. Who is he that envies such a bishop or archbishop as this?

    Verse 35. I have showed you - Bishops, by my example, all things - And this among the rest; that thus labouring - So far as the labours of your office allow you time; ye ought to help the weak - Those who are disabled by sickness, or any bodily infirmity, from maintaining themselves by their own labour. And to remember - Effectually, so as to follow it; the word which he himself said - Without doubt his disciples remembered many of his words which are not recorded. It is happier to give - To imitate God, and have him, as it were, indebted to us.

    Verse 37. They all wept - Of old, men, yea, the best and bravest of men, were easily melted into tears; a thousand instances of which might be produced from profane as well as sacred writers. But now, notwithstanding the effeminacy which almost universally prevails, we leave those tears to women and children.

    Verse 38. Sorrowing most for that word which he spake, that they should see his face no more - What sorrow will be in the great day, when God shall speak that word to all who are found on the left hand, that they shall see his face no more!

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