Acts 13:9
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked directly at Elymas
Why Saul Became PaulAlexander MaclarenActs 13:9
A Place Found At Last for SaulH. R. Haweis, M. A.Acts 13:2-13
Barnabas and Paul Sent ForthA. Barnes, D. D.Acts 13:2-13
Blessing Sent to OthersActs 13:2-13
Bodily AbstinenceJ. Pulsford.Acts 13:2-13
Church Enterprises, How They Must Begin in Order to be BlessedK. Gerok.Acts 13:2-13
Church OfficesRieger.Acts 13:2-13
Mission and CommissionBp. H. C. Potter.Acts 13:2-13
Missions, Home and ForeignActs 13:2-13
Obligation of Christians to Send Out MissionariesActs 13:2-13
The Best Travelling Attendance for a Departing MissionaryK. Gerok.Acts 13:2-13
The Completion of the ApostolateProf. Von Dollinger.Acts 13:2-13
The Duty of Sending the Gospel to the HeathenActs 13:2-13
The First Foreign MissionM. C. Hazard.Acts 13:2-13
The First Foreign MissionC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 13:2-13
The First Missionary JourneyJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 13:2-13
The First Missionary JourneyT. Binney.Acts 13:2-13
The First Missionary Ordination At AntiochLisco.Acts 13:2-13
The Messengers of the GospelLisco.Acts 13:2-13
The Strength of Missionary WorkK. Gerok.Acts 13:2-13
Work of MissionsR. Roberts.Acts 13:2-13
A Prudent ManJ. N. Norton, D. D.Acts 13:3-12
Christian PrudenceG. Clayton.Acts 13:3-12
CyprusDean Plumptre.Acts 13:3-12
Cyprus and its PeopleC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 13:3-12
Elymas the SorcererDean Plumptre.Acts 13:3-12
John MarkH. R. Haweis, M. A.Acts 13:3-12
PaphosBp. Jacobson.Acts 13:3-12
Paul and ElymasB. Kent, M. A.Acts 13:3-12
Paul in PaphosK. Gerok.Acts 13:3-12
Paul's Fitness for His MissionH. R. Haweis, M. A.Acts 13:3-12
Prevalence of SorceryH. B. Hackett, D. D.Acts 13:3-12
Prudence DefinedMilton.Acts 13:3-12
Prudence ImprudentActs 13:3-12
Prudence is Practical WisdomS. Smiles, LL. D.Acts 13:3-12
Prudence is the Art of ChoosingL. M. Stretch.Acts 13:3-12
Prudence, FalseC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 13:3-12
Prudence: its Necessity for Self-ProtectionJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 13:3-12
SalamisBp. Jacobsen.Acts 13:3-12
Saul in CyprusJ. Eadie, D. D.Acts 13:3-12
Seeking for the TruthJ. M. Charlton, M. d.Acts 13:3-12
SeleuciaBp. Jacobsen.Acts 13:3-12
Sergius PaulusK. Gerok.Acts 13:3-12
The First Missionary IntelligenceK. Gerok.Acts 13:3-12
The First Missionary ShipK. Gerok.Acts 13:3-12
They Preached the Word of GodC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 13:3-12
To the Jew FirstH. C. Trumbull, D. D.Acts 13:3-12
Undying FameArchdeacon Farrar.Acts 13:3-12
The Gospel in CyprusR.A. Redford Acts 13:4-12
The Mission in CyprusE. Johnson Acts 13:4-12
Forwardness and FrailtyW. Clarkson Acts 13:4-13
An Enemy Off RighteousnessActs 13:9-11
Reproof: How a True Servant of God Uses His Office OfK. Gerok.Acts 13:9-11
Seeking to Turn Men from the FaithActs 13:9-11
Seeking to Turn Men from the TruthActs 13:9-11
Sin and its PunishmentJ. W. Burn.Acts 13:9-11
The Crisis in Saul's History and His Change of NameJ. S. Howson, D. D.Acts 13:9-11
The Exceptional Character of the MiracleJ. S. Howson, D. D.Acts 13:9-11
The Punishment of Elymas WasApostolic PastorActs 13:9-11
This passage introduces to us a Roman official, speaks of him in generally good terms as a "prudent man," but lets us know something of his secret feelings and his unrest of heart, by adding that he "desired to hear the Word of God." The way in which heathen religions prepared the way for the gospel is often pointed out, but we have not yet adequately apprehended the fact that a Divine work of preparation was carried on in many heathen souls; such instances as this of Sergius Paulus being properly treated as prominent examples of a general fact. It is to the yearning of the heathen heart for the true God and the eternal life that St. Paul makes his appeals; and in later missionary work remarkable instances have been met with of soul-seeking for God, before the missionaries brought the gospel light. We ought, indeed, to expect to find men everywhere seeking after God, seeing that "he hath made of one blood all nations to dwell upon the earth," and has never "left himself without a witness;" but a conception of the exclusiveness of the revelation in Christ has so occupied Christian thought that the noble conception of Christ's revelation as the ultimate issue and completion of all other revelations, is only now gaining acceptance. Men have so strongly felt the antagonistic sides of the heathen religions that they have failed to ask whether earnest souls within utterly corrupt systems may not be

"Infants crying in the night;
Infants crying for the light;
And with no language but a cry." Dean Plumptre gives an interesting inscription - the date of which is, however, uncertain, and may be of the second or third century after Christ - found at Galgoi, in Cyprus, which shows a yearning after something higher than the polytheism of Greece. It reads thus: "Thou, the one God, the greatest, the most glorious Name, help us all, we beseech thee." The unrest and anxious inquiring of Sergius Paulus are farther indicated in the fact that he had come into the power of Elymas the sorcerer, who evidently persuaded him that he could settle all his doubts. The subject introduced by this incident may be considered under the following divisions: -

I. THE NATURAL DISPOSITION OF MAN TO SEEK FOR GOD. Remember St. Augustine's words, "Man is made for God, and can find no rest till he finds rest in him." Seeking God is necessary to the dependent creature, who must lean, and must find some one on whom he may perfectly lean. "A belief in some personal power, the arbiter of man's destiny, above and beyond himself, is a primary necessity of the human mind. Mankind can never dispense with this belief, however superfluous in certain cases and for a time it may seem to be to the individual" (Canon Farrar). Much has been made of the fact that some tribes of men have been found which had no name for God, and indeed no knowledge of him or concern to hear about him; but it may fairly be urged, from the utterly degraded condition of these tribes, that men have never lost their care for God until they have virtually lost their manhood. Degraded to be like the beasts, they cease to have uplooking eyes and yearning hearts. Humanity is knit in brotherhood by its great united cry for its Father.

II. THE THINGS THAT MAY TEMPORARILY SATISFY THE SEEKING. These take one of three forms; either:

1. The absorption of a man in purely material and selfish interests, which may overlay and crush down the soul's great needs; just as now the world and its business and pleasure so often silence the soul's cry in the Christian.

2. The teachings of a philosophy which attempts to put "thoughts" and" ideas" in the place of a living being.

3. So-called false religions, which give unworthy views of God, but, by ceremonial, seek to satisfy the religious instinct. Such religions offer, what man appears to need, a doctrine about God, and a cult or worship of him. It may be shown that, in subtle forms, men are enticed from their seekings, even in these Christian days, by one or other of these evil influences.

III. THE UNREST WHICH SOONER OR LATER RETURNS. For man can only find permanent rest in that which is true. The false has no "staying power." It may seem to fit at one time, but life advances, new needs arise, new thoughts stir within, and the false theory will no longer serve, - the man finds himself looking out again, as anxiously as in the early days, and with the feeling that life is passing and the time for the quest is brief, for the truth and God wherein are final rest. Sooner or later a man wakes up from his sleep of delusion, feels the darkness all about him, and puts out his hand, feeling after God, if haply he may find him. The unrest that surely comes to men within the world's care and pleasure, within skeptical philosophies, and within merely ceremonial religions, is our constant plea for the preaching of the gospel and the revelation to men of God, in Christ manifest.

IV. THE RESPONSE WHICH GOD SURELY MAKES WHEN A WHOLE SOUL IS TURNED To HIM. He waiteth to be gracious, stands at the door ready for the opening, really wants every man to be saved, in the mystery of his great Fatherhood has a real need of souls, desires their love, finds his own joy in their trust, and so is sure to respond when men turn and seek him. And finding God, and coming into personal relations with him, is the end of man's quest. Against God, and everything in life is hard and dark and wrong. Apart from God, and all life and relations lie bathed in the lurid glow of stormy passion and self-will. With God, and earth, life, duty, and fellowship catch the soft, sweet sunlight, and everything takes on its beauty and perfection. If we have God we have all; and we have all in God, in the God whom St. Paul preached, of whose glory Jesus the Man is the express and blessed image. - R.T.

Then Saul (who also is called Paul).
From this point Paul appears as the great figure in every picture, and Barnabas falls into the background. The great apostle now enters on his work as preacher to the Gentiles; and simultaneously his name is changed. As "Abram" was changed into "Abraham" when God promised that he should be the "father of many nations"; as "Simon" was changed into "Peter" when it was said, "On this rock I will build My Church"; so Saul is changed into "Paul" at the moment of his victory among the heathen. What the plains of Mamre were to the patriarch, what Caesarea Philippi was to the fisherman of Galilee, that was Paphos to the tent maker of Tarsus. Are we to suppose that the name was now given for the first time — that he adopted it as significant of his own feelings — or that Sergius Paulus conferred it on him in grateful commemoration of the benefits he had received, or that "Paul," having been a Gentile form of the apostle's name in early life conjointly with the Hebrew "Saul," was now used to the exclusion of the other to indicate that he had receded from his position as a Jewish Christian, to become the friend and teacher of the Gentiles? We are inclined to the opinion that the Cilician apostle had this Roman name before he was a Christian. This adoption of a Gentile name is so far from being alien to the spirit of a Jewish family, that a similar practice may be traced through all the periods of Hebrew history. Beginning with the Persian epoch ( B.C. 550-350), we find such names as Nehemiah, Sehammai, Betteshazzar, which betray an oriental origin, and show that Jewish appellatives followed the growth of the living language. In the Greek period we encounter the names of Philip, and his son Alexander, and of Alexander's successors — Antiochus, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, Antipater; the names of Greek philosophers, such as Zeus and Epicurus; even Greek mythological names, as Jason and Menelaus. When we mention the Roman names adopted by the Jews the coincidence is still more striking — Crispus, Justus, Niger, Drusilla and Priscilla might have been Roman matrons. The Aquila of St. Paul is the counterpart of the Apella of Horace. Again, in the earlier part of the Middle Ages we find Jews calling themselves Basil, Leo, Theodosius, Sophia, and in the latter part Albert, Benedict, Crispin, Denys. It is indeed remarkable that the separated nation should bear in the very names recorded in its annals the trace of every nation with whom it has come in contact and never united. It is important to our present purpose to remark that double names often occur in combination, the one national, the other foreign. The earliest instances are Belteshazzar-Daniel and Esther-Hadasa. Frequently there was no resemblance or natural connection between the two words, as in Herod-Agrippa, Salome-Alexandra, Inda-Aristobulus, Simon Peter. Sometimes the meaning was reproduced, as in Malich-Kleodemus. At other times an alliterating resemblance of sound seems to have dictated the choice, as in Jose-Jason, Hillel-Julus, Saul-Paulus. Thus satisfactory reasons can be adduced for the apostle's double name without having recourse to the hypothesis of , who suggests that as Scipio was called Africanus from the conquest of Africa, and Metellus Creticus from the conquest of Crete, so Saul carried away his new name as a trophy of his victory over the heathenism of the proconsul Paulus, or to the notion of when he alludes to the literal meaning of the word Paulus, and contrasts Saul the unbridled king, the proud, self-confident persecutor of David, with Paul, the lowly, the penitent, who deliberately wished to indicate by his very name that he was "the least of the apostles" and "less than the least of all saints." Yet we must not neglect the coincident occurrence of these two names just here. We need not hesitate to dwell on the associations which are connected with the name of Paulus, or on the thoughts which are naturally called up when we notice the critical passage where it is first given to Saul. It is surely not unworthy of notice that as Peter's first Gentile convert was a member of the Cornelian house, so the surname of the noblest family of the Cornelian house was the link between the Apostle of the Gentiles and his convert at Paphos. Nor can we find a nobler Christian version of any line of a heathen poet than by comparing what Horace says of him who fell at Canute, "Animae magnae prodigum Paulum," with the words of him who said at Miletus, "I count not my life dear unto myself," etc. And though Saul most probably had the name of Paul at an earlier period, and that it came from some connection of his ancestors (perhaps as manumitted slaves) with some member of the AEmilian Pauli; yet we cannot believe it accidental that it occurs at this point of the inspired narrative. The heathen name rises to the surface at the moment Paul enters on his office as apostle to the heathen. The Roman name is stereotyped at the moment when he converts the Roman governor; and the place where this occurs is the very spot which was notorious for what the gospel forbids and destroys. Here, having achieved his victory, the apostle erected his trophy, as Moses, when Amalek was discomfited, "built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi — the Lord my banner."

(J. S. Howson, D. D.)

Filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtlety and mischief.
Paul's rebuke, of course, applies to the specific iniquity of Elymas, but with a master hand the apostle at the same time delineates the characteristics of sin in general. The punishment of Elymas is also typical.


1. Its subtle methods. There is nothing straightforward about sin; nor can there be: for were its nature and consequences clear, it would be universally shunned and abhorred. Its methods, therefore, must needs be crooked and insinuating. Evil is dressed up in the guise of good. The fruit of the tree was made pleasant to the eyes of Eve. So is it all through time.

2. Its mischievous effects. It debases the body, degrades the mind, debilitates the will, and damns the soul.

3. Its Satanic paternity. "The serpent was more subtle than all the beasts of the field." The devil injects the sinful thought, guides the sinful resolution, helps the sinful action, and enjoys the sinful effect.

4. Its enmity to righteousness. Right and wrong are not coordinate powers which, like adjacent states, can flourish side by side and enter into peaceful alliances with each other. They are ever in irreconcilable antagonism, and the prosperity of the one is absolutely dependent on the destruction of the other.

5. Its perversion of the right ways of the Lord. This is the essence of sin. It is not simply negation, but perversion; and its highest achievement is to secure the acceptance of evil under the guise of good. Elymas, as a Jewish prophet, armed with the authority of a Divine dispensation, threw a spell over the mind of the proconsul, and endeavoured to use his usurped authority for selfish and villainous purposes. Wherein does he differ from the modern hypocrite?


1. Its subtlety is detected.(1) Sometimes sin overreaches itself; it is not sufficiently comprehensive in its views. Ahab calculated on getting Naboth's vineyard, but did not calculate on Elijah. So here Elymas overlooked the possibility of the advent of a Paul.(2) Sometimes its detection is the result of some extraordinary Divine agency — "Saul, filled with the Holy Ghost." The common saying, "Murder will out." How often, by a trivial oversight on the part of the criminal, or by some trifling coincidence, has a great crime been revealed.

2. Its mischievous effects are turned upon the sinner. He who sought to blind the intellect of Sergius Paulus is himself made blind. "Be sure your sin will find you out."

3. The son inherits the father's punishment. Satan is the prince of darkness, and his children are doomed to walk in darkness. The dark ways in which the devil leads his victims leads to "outer darkness."

4. Its enmity to righteousness is met by the righteous God. "Though hand join in hand the wicked shall not go unpunished."

5. Its perversion is met by perversion. "He went about," etc. (ver. 11).

(J. W. Burn.)

1. Not in carnal passion, but in the Holy Ghost (ver. 9).

2. Not with worldly weapons, but with the sword of the Word, by which he discloses the evil state of the heart (ver. 10), and announces the judgment of God (ver. 11).

3. Not for death or condemnation, but for warning and for the salvation of souls.

(K. Gerok.)

Apostolic Pastor.
I. IN CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE TRANSGRESSION. He who blinded others is himself blinded.


III. WITH ALL ITS SEVERITY CONDUCIVE TO AMENDMENT BY AN INTIMATION OF THE DIVINE MERCY. Paul himself, at his conversion, had been blind for a season, and knew from his experience how profitable this darkness was for internal collection and composure of mind.

(Apostolic Pastor.)

The miracles of the New Testament are generally distinguished from the Old by being worthy works of mercy. Two only of our Lord's were inflictions of severity, and those were attended with no harm to the bodies of men. The same law pervades the miracles of the apostles. One miracle of wrath was worked by Peter and Paul; and we can see sufficient reasons why liars and hypocrites like Ananias and Sapphira, and impostors like Elymas, should be publicly punished, and made examples of. A passage in the life of Peter presents a parallel which is closer in some respects with this interview of Paul with Bar-Jesus. As Simon Magus, "who had long time bewitched the Samaritans with his sorceries," was denounced by Peter "as still in the gall of bitterness," etc., and solemnly told that his heart was not right in the sight of God; so Paul, conscious of his apostolic power, and under the power of immediate inspiration, rebuked Elymas as a child of that devil who is "the father of lies," as a worker of deceit and mischief, etc. He proceeded to denounce an instantaneous judgment, and according to his prophetic word, the "hand of the Lord" struck the sorcerer, as it had once struck the apostle himself — the sight of the magician began to waver, and presently a darkness settled on it so thick that he ceased to behold the sun's light. This blindness of the false prophet opened the eyes of the deputy. That which had been intended as an opposition to the gospel proved the means of its extension. We are ignorant of the degree of this extension in Cyprus. But we cannot doubt that when the proconsul was converted, his influence would make Christianity reputable; and that from this moment the Gentiles of the island as well as the Jews had the news of salvation brought home to them.

(J. S. Howson, D. D.)

Unprincipled white men have often been great stumbling blocks in the way of Indian evangelisation. An Englishman made his boast that he could induce the Indians again to drink; and providing himself with ardent spirits, he moved in his canoe over to the island where the Indians were encamped. Leaving all at the shore, he went up to the camp, and, inviting the Indians down, brought forth his bottle. "Come," he said, "we always good friends; we once more take a good drink in friendship." "No," said Captain Paudaush, "we drink no more of the fire waters." "Oh, but you will drink with me; we always good friends"; but while this son of Belial was urging them to drink, the Indians struck up, in the tune of Walsall, the hymn they had lately learned to sing —

"O for a thousand tongues to sing

The great Redeemer's praise!"And while the Indians were singing, this bacchanalian, defeated in his wicked device, and looking completely crestfallen, paddled away from the island, leaving the Indians to their temperance and their religious devotions!

Mr. Beecher once met Colonel Ingersoll, a great American atheist, and Colonel Ingersoll began to discourse on his atheistic views. Mr. Beecher for some time was silent, but, after a time, asked to be allowed to tell a story. On being requested to do so, he said, "As I was walking down town today, I saw a poor man slowly and carefully picking his way through mud, in the endeavour to cross a street. He had just reached the middle of the filth when a big, burly ruffian, himself all bespattered, rushed up to him, jerked the crutches from under the unfortunate man, and left him sprawling and helpless in the pool of liquid dirt, which almost engulfed him." "What a brute he was!" said the colonel. "What a brute he was!" they all echoed. "Yes," said the old man, rising from his chair, and brushing back his long white hair, "yes, Colonel Ingersoll, and you are the man. The human soul is lame, but Christianity gives it crutches to enable it to pass the highway of life. It is your teaching that knocks these crutches from under it, and leaves it a helpless and rudderless wreck in the Slough of Despond. If robbing the human soul of its only support on this earth — religion — be your profession, why, ply it to your heart's content. It requires an architect to erect a building; an incendiary may reduce it to ashes."

A boy was impressed in one of Mr. Moody's meetings. But his mother said he was "good enough without religion," and threw her influence against Mr. Moody's efforts to win him to Christ. She succeeded, and some time after Mr. Moody found him in the county jail. "How came you here? Does your mother know of it?" "No, sir, and pray don't tell her. I came in under an assumed name, and am going to Joliet State prison for four years. She thinks I am in the army." And Mr. Moody often heard her afterwards, mourning that her boy was killed.

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