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to disregard His people in Egypt. How long in preparing the way for Christ. How slowly the Gospel seems to move. He is not in a hurry: He has plenty of time, &c.

III. Here is a picture of SUCCESSFUL INVOCATION. This widow said, "Avenge me of mine adversary!" "and he would not for a while but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me." Her success depended not upon the justice or mercy of the judge, for he had none, but simply on her importunity-selfishness moved him at last. It is not the DUTY of prayer that is taught here, nature teaches that man has an ineradicable instinct for it, an instinct which danger has never failed to excite! Hence the prayer of theoretic Atheists in peril. Nor is it the privilege of prayer that is here taught, the philosophy of mind and the experience of the good in all ages teach that; the point here is the certain efficacy of importunate prayer. Three remarks may serve to throw light upon the subject: first, importunity is the essence of all true prayers. Prayer does not consist in words or occasional services-prayer is an abiding and deeply-felt consciousness of dependence upon God. Hence it is something “without season.” A man that does not always pray never prays. Secondly, importunity is an essential qualification for the enjoyment of Divine favours. Unless we are brought to feel the need of a thing we shall neither properly value nor rightly use it. The Syro-Phoenician mother is a case in point. Thirdly, importunity insures the interposition of Heaven. This point Christ here teaches by a sort of à fortiori argument. The famous John Howe fully illustrates this in a discourse on this text. He points out the difference between the petitioned

-the petition—and the petitioner. The gist of the argument here implied is to show the certainty that God will answer the importunate prayer of His people. Their prayer is "day and night"-it is the breathing spirit of the soul, and this is sure to be answered-in truth, is answered every day.

Biblical Criticism.


Chap. xix.-1. And it came to pass, while Apollos was in Corinth, that Paul, going through the upper regions, came to Ephesus and found certain disciples.

2. And he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed? And they [said] to him, On the contrary, we did not even hear whether the Holy Ghost was.

3. And he said, To what, then, were ye baptized? And they said, To the baptism of John.

4. And Paul said, John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on Him who was coming after him, that is, on Jesus.

5. And having heard, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

6. And when Paul had put hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.

7. And all the men [avôpes] were about twelve.

8. And entering into the synagogue, he spake boldly for three months, disputing and persuading concerning the kingdom of God.

9. But when certain were hardened and believed not, speaking evil of the way before the multitude, going from them he separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of Tyrannus.

10. And this was done for two years, so that all the dwellers in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

11. And God did extraordinary mighty works by the hands of Paul.

12. So that to the sick there were brought from his body (properly, skin) napkins or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out.

13. But certain also of the wandering Jews, exorcists,

undertook to name over those that had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, I adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth.

14. And there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chiefpriest, doing this.

15. And the evil spirit answering said, Jesus I know, and Paul I am acquainted with; but who are ye?

16. And the man in whom was the evil spirit, leaping upon them, having got the mastery of both, prevailed against them, so that naked and wounded they fled out of that house.

17. And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks that were dwelling in Ephesus, and there fell fear upon all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

18. And many of them that had believed came confessing and announcing their practices.

19. And considerable numbers of those that had practised magical doings, having brought the books together, burned [them] up before all; and reckoned together the values of them, and found fifty thousand of silver.

20. Thus mightily the Lord's word grew and prevailed.

21. When these things were fulfilled, Paul settled in the spirit, having gone through Macedonia and Achaia, to journey to Jerusalem, saying, after I have been there, I must see Rome also.

22. And having sent into Macedonia two of those that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus, himself remained a time at Asia.

23. And there came to pass at that season a disturbance not small concerning that way.

24. For a certain man, Demetrius by name, a silversmith, making silver temples of Artemis, occasioned to the artisans' earnings not small.

25. Whom having assembled, and the workers about such like things, he said, sirs [åvdpes], ye understand that from this art is the wealth to us.

26. And ye see and hear that not only of Ephesus, but

almost of all Asia, this Paul having persuaded, has perverted a considerable crowd, saying that they are not gods which are made by hands.

27. And not only is this portion for us in danger of coming to contempt, but also the sanctuary of the great goddess Artemis to be reckoned for nothing, and for her greatness to come even to be destroyed, whom the whole of Asia and the world worships.

28. And having heard [this] and growing full of wrath, they cried, saying, Great [is] Artemis of the Ephesians.

29. And the city was filled with the confusion; and they rushed with one accord into the theatre, having snatched Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, fellow-travellers of Paul.

30. And Paul counselling to enter in to the people, the disciples permitted him not.

31. And certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, having sent to him, besought [him] not to give himself into the theatre.

32. Some then cried one thing, some another; for the assembly was confused, and the most knew not for what sake they were come together.

33. And they drew Alexander out of the crowd, the Jews thrusting him forth. And Alexander having waved the hand, desired to plead for himself to the people.

34. But they knowing that he was a Jew, one voice arose from all, crying for about two hours, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.

35. And the Recorder having quelled the crowd, says: Sirs [avpdes] of Ephesus, who is there of men that knows not that the city of Ephesians is temple-guardian of the great Artemis, and of that which fell from Zeus!

36. These things then not to be gainsaid, it is necessary for you to be quiet, and to do nothing rash

37. For ye have brought these men [avdpas] neither robbers of sanctuaries, nor blaspheming your god.

38. If then Demetrius, and the artisans with him, have

a complaint against any man, assizes are held, and there are proconsuls ; let them summon each other.

39. But if ye seek something further, in a lawful assembly it shall be resolved.

40. For we are even in danger to be summoned concerning the uproar of this day, there being no reason about which we shall be able to render account of this concourse.

41. And having spoken these [words] he dismissed the assembly.

The Preacher's Finger-Post.



"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, What is the vine-tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burnt. Is it meet for any work? Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned? Therefore thus saith the Lord God, As the vine-tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them: and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, be

cause they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God."-Ezek. xv. 1-8.

THE subject of this chapter is the incorrigible depravity of the Hebrew people, including both the men of Israel and of Judah. They had defeated the ends of their high calling, and exposed themselves to the righteous judgments of Heaven. The following chapter exhibits the same subject at greater length, and in more minute detail. This chapter, which is our text, is a parabolic representation of the Jewish people. From it we infer three general truths.


Their condition is analogous to that of the "vine" planted in a suitable soil, well-guarded

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