Acts 16:28
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do yourself no harm: for we are all here.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Do thyself no harm.—Few and simple as the words are, they are eminently characteristic of the love and sympathy which burnt in St. Paul’s heart. For him the suicide which others would have admired, or, at least, have thought of without horror, would have been the most terrible of all forms of death. He could not bear the thought that even the gaoler who had thrust him into the dungeon, should so perish in his despair.

16:25-34 The consolations of God to his suffering servants are neither few nor small. How much more happy are true Christians than their prosperous enemies! As in the dark, so out of the depths, we may cry unto God. No place, no time is amiss for prayer, if the heart be lifted up to God. No trouble, however grievous, should hinder us from praise. Christianity proves itself to be of God, in that it obliges us to be just to our own lives. Paul cried aloud to make the jailer hear, and to make him heed, saying, Do thyself no harm. All the cautions of the word of God against sin, and all appearances of it, and approaches to it, have this tendency. Man, woman, do not ruin thyself; hurt not thyself, and then none else can hurt thee; do not sin, for nothing but that can hurt thee. Even as to the body, we are cautioned against the sins which do harm to that. Converting grace changes people's language of and to good people and good ministers. How serious the jailer's inquiry! His salvation becomes his great concern; that lies nearest his heart, which before was furthest from his thoughts. It is his own precious soul that he is concerned about. Those who are thoroughly convinced of sin, and truly concerned about their salvation, will give themselves up to Christ. Here is the sum of the whole gospel, the covenant of grace in a few words; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. The Lord so blessed the word, that the jailer was at once softened and humbled. He treated them with kindness and compassion, and, professing faith in Christ, was baptized in that name, with his family. The Spirit of grace worked such a strong faith in them, as did away further doubt; and Paul and Silas knew by the Spirit, that a work of God was wrought in them. When sinners are thus converted, they will love and honour those whom they before despised and hated, and will seek to lessen the suffering they before desired to increase. When the fruits of faith begin to appear, terrors will be followed by confidence and joy in God.Do thyself no harm - This is the solemn command of religion in his case, and in all others. It enjoins upon people to do themselves no harm by self-murder, whether by the sword, the pistol, the halter; by intemperance, by lust, or by dissipation. In all cases, Christianity seeks the true welfare of man. In all cases, if it were obeyed, people would do themselves no harm. They would promote their own best interests here, and their eternal welfare hereafter. 28. But Paul cried with a loud voice—the better to arrest the deed.

Do thyself no harm, for we are all here—What divine calmness and self-possession! No elation at their miraculous liberation, or haste to take advantage of it; but one thought filled the apostle's mind at that moment—anxiety to save a fellow creature from sending himself into eternity, ignorant of the only way of life; and his presence of mind appears in the assurance which he so promptly gives to the desperate man, that his prisoners had none of them fled as he feared. But how, it has been asked by skeptical critics, could Paul in his inner prison know what the jailer was about to do? In many conceivable ways, without supposing any supernatural communication. Thus, if the jailer slept at the door of "the inner prison," which suddenly flew open when the earthquake shook the foundations of the building; if, too, as may easily be conceived, he uttered some cry of despair on seeing the doors open; and, if the clash of the steel, as the affrighted man drew it hastily from the scabbard, was audible but a few yards off, in the dead midnight stillness, increased by the awe inspired in the prisoners by the miracle—what difficulty is there in supposing that Paul, perceiving in a moment how matters stood, after crying out, stepped hastily to him, uttering the noble entreaty here recorded? Not less flat is the question, why the other liberated prisoners did not make their escape:—as if there were the smallest difficulty in understanding how, under the resistless conviction that there must be something supernatural in their instantaneous liberation without human hand, such wonder and awe should possess them as to take away for the time not only all desire of escape, but even all thought on the subject.

The other prisoners were smitten with amazement; neither did they mind (or it might have been kept from them) that the doors were opened, and their chains loosed: but as for the apostles, the same God who wrought this deliverance for them, might inform them of the intent of it; that by this means the conversion of the jailer and his family was intended; and that their doctrine might be magnified, which had been so much vilified. But Paul cried with a loud voice,.... Knowing by divine revelation, what the jailer was about to do; though being in the innermost prison, in a dark dungeon, he could not see him, unless it can be thought, that the opening of the doors had let in light sufficient; and it may be also, that he knew in the same way, what designs of grace God had towards this man and his family:

saying, do thyself no harm; which is an instance of great tenderness, humanity, and love, to one that had used him and his companion with so much severity and cruelty:

for we are all here; not only Paul and Silas, but the rest of the prisoners also; who either being so intent upon hearing the prayers and praises of the apostles, or so terrified with the earthquake, that they took no notice of their bands being loosed, and so never thought or attempted to make their escape; and as for Paul and Silas, all this happened to them, not for their deliverance in this way, as in the case of Peter, but to show the power of God, what he could do, and his presence with his servants.

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

(17) In means which are especially extraordinary, we should not move our foot forward, unless God goes before us.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 16:28. μηδὲν πράξ. σεαυτῷ κακόν: Blass remarks that the distinction between πράσσειν and ποιεῖν is not always precisely observed in N.T., and takes it as = Attic, μ. ποιησῆς. πράσσειν is not found in St. Matthew or St. Mark and only twice in St. John, whilst by St. Luke it is used six times in his Gospel, thirteen times in Acts, elsewhere in N.T. only by Paul. Philippi was famous in the annals of suicide (C. and H.); see also Plumptre’s note in loco.ἅπαντες γάρ ἐ.: “Multa erant graviora, cur non deberet se interficere; sed Paulus id arripit, quod maxime opportunum erat” Bengel.28. But Paul cried] The sound of one voice would arrest the action, for at the sight of the open doors he had concluded that all had made use of the opportunity and had escaped.Acts 16:28. Μεγάλῃ, a loud) so as to restrain the man from his purpose.—μηδὲν, no harm) The Christian faith throws open to view the life to come, and yet it has most effectually called men back from αὐτοχειρία, inflicting violence on themselves (suicide).—ἅπαντες, for we all [without exception]) There were many more weighty reasons why he ought not to commit suicide; but Paul lays hold of that one which was most seasonable at the time.
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