Acts 17:32
When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began to mock him, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this topic."
Christian Unconcern ExplainedJ. McFarlane.Acts 17:15-34
Moral Wretchedness of IdolatryD. Moore, M. A.Acts 17:15-34
Paul At AthensExpository OutlinesActs 17:15-34
Paul At AthensSermons by the Monday ClubActs 17:15-34
Paul At AthensDean Vaughan.Acts 17:15-34
Paul At AthensJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 17:15-34
Paul At AthensH. J. Bevis.Acts 17:15-34
Paul At AthensR. A. Bertram.Acts 17:15-34
Paul At AthensBp. Stevens.Acts 17:15-34
Paul At AthensA. Barnes, D. D.Acts 17:15-34
Paul's Estimate of the AtheniansEvangelical PreacherActs 17:15-34
Paul's Moral Survey of AthensD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 17:15-34
The Moral Versus the AestheticW. L. Alexander, D. D.Acts 17:15-34
Paul At AthensE. Johnson Acts 17:16-34
Paul At AthensR.A. Redford Acts 17:16-34
The Gospel's Kindly Encounter with Novel FoesP.C. Barker Acts 17:23-32
OpportunityR.A. Redford Acts 17:32, 33
Fatal ProcrastinationActs 17:32-34
Mocking At the TruthBiblical MuseumActs 17:32-34
Paul's Adieu to AthensD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 17:32-34
SneeringT. Arnold, D. D.Acts 17:32-34
The Effects of the SermonD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 17:32-34
Three Kinds of HearingP.C. Barker Acts 17:32-34
Now when they heard, etc. The hearing of truth is the demand of man's position. Temptation "of such minds as the Athenians" to regard themselves as able to be their own teachers. Facts often stranger than fiction. Philosophy has been a great obstacle to Christianity. So still intellectual pride and prejudice. The two classes of hearers still represented - mockers and triflers.


1. Application of mind. Concentration on the subject. Openness to persuasion.

2. Surrender of the heart to truth. The message not addressed simply to reason. A speculative spirit may easily admit a cloud of objections and difficulties which obscure the Word. Procrastination means indifference. Enough is already understood and felt to justify practice.

II. SPECIAL CRISIS OF OPPORTUNITY. Whether in listening to the Word, or in receiving Divine invitation through providential circumstances, opportunity at times gathers to a point where resistance becomes guilt. So it was in the Jewish nation at the advent of Christ. So at Athens by the visit of Paul. The Word may be taken away:

1. By the work of sin within us, hardening the heart.

2. By changes in the outward life.

3. By summons into eternity. "Take heed how ye hear;" "Work while it is yet day;" "Now is the accepted time." - R.

And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked.
Biblical Museum.
"This has been one of the worst nights," says Mr. Bampton, an Indian missionary, "I ever endured. Mockery! mockery! cruel mockery, almost unbearable! I talked for a while, and was heard by some, on the blessings to be enjoyed by faith in Christ, when a man came with a hell-hardened countenance, and that peculiar constant laugh which I can hardly bear. The burden of his cry was 'Juggernaut is the foundation! Juggernaut is completely God! Victory to Juggernaut!' He clapped his hands, he shouted, he laughed, and induced the rest, or a great part of them, to do the same. On the ground of reason I fear no one, and rage I commonly bear very well; but these everlasting laughing buffoons are nearly too much for me. It is my own great care, that amidst a reviling, laughing crowd, I do not seem abashed."

(Biblical Museum.)

is the natural fault of the predominance of the mere intellect unaccompanied by any corresponding growth and liveliness of the moral affections, particularly admiration of moral excellence.

(T. Arnold, D. D.)

We will hear thee again of this matter
In the cathedral at Genoa there is an emerald vase which is said to have been one of the gifts of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. Its authentic history goes back eight hundred years. The tradition is that when King Solomon received it he filled it with an elixir which he alone knew how to distil, and of which a single drop would prolong human life to an indefinite extent. A miserable criminal, dying of slow disease in prison, besought the king to give him a drop of this magic potion. Solomon refused. "Why should I prolong so useless a life?" he said. "I will give it to those whose lives will bless their fellow men." But when good men begged for it the king was in an ill-humour, or too indolent to open the vase, or he promised and forgot. So the years passed until he grew old, and many of the friends whom he loved were dead; and still the vase had never been opened. Then the king, to excuse himself, threw doubt upon the virtues of the elixir. At last he himself fell ill. Then his servants brought the vase that he might save his own life. He opened it. But it was empty. The elixir had evaporated to the last drop. Did not the rabbi or priest who invented this story intend to convey in it a great truth? Have we not all within us a vessel more precious than any emerald, into which God has put a portion of the water of life? It is for our own healing — for the healing of others. We hide it, we do not use it — for false shame, or idleness, or forgetfulness. Presently we begin to doubt its efficacy. When death approaches, we turn to it in desperate haste. But the neglected faith has left the soul. The vase is empty.

Learn —

1. That whatever might be the diversity in the positions, talents, and sentiments of men, the doctrines of the true religion are important to all. To the "Jews," "Epicureans," and "Stoics," the apostle proclaimed the same doctrines.

2. That whatever might be the power with which the great verities of the true religion are urged, a necessary and uniform result is not to be expected. The same tool, wielded by the same hand, and with the same force and skill, could produce the same effect upon the same species of stone, metal, or timber; but the same doctrines urged by the same man, at the same time produce widely different results in the same place upon the same congregation. Here are three moral classes: — Some amongst his audience heard him —

I. WITH DERISIVE INCREDULITY. "Some mocked." The Epicureans would especially do this. They denied a future state, and regarded death as an eternal sleep. Three things would probably induce them to ridicule this doctrine.

1. It stood opposed to their preconceived notions. Many a sceptic rejects Christianity on this same ground. How foolish, how arrogant is this! Are their little notions the measure, the sum of all truth?

2. It was apparently improbable to them. Are not the generations of men reduced to dust? Have not the particles of which their bodies were composed been wrought into the texture of every species and form of plant and of animal life? Where are the symptoms of a resurrection? But how foolish this The men who saw the priests endeavouring to level the walls of Jericho, by blowing in the rams' horn, would probably "mock" them on this account, but the wails fell notwithstanding. Lot seemed as one that "mocked unto his sons-in-law," when he warned them of the approaching judgment; but the tempest of fire came albeit, etc.

3. He who proclaimed the doctrine to them was not a recognised teacher. He did not belong to their school. He was a poor Jew. What did he, therefore, know about these things?

II. WITH A PROCRASTINATING RESOLVE. "Others said, We will hear thee again of this matter." Probably these were some of the Stoics, who believed in a future state, and who were disposed to give the subject a little attention at some future time. This procrastinating of the subject of religion is exceedingly foolish, because —

1. It is, of all subjects, the most important.

2. Because an important step towards its reception has been taken when an interest has been created.

3. Any portion of future time is very uncertain, and even should it be vouchsafed, the existing interest may never be renewed. A "more convenient season" may never come.

III. WITH PRACTICAL FAITH. "Howbeit certain men clave unto him," etc. These two names suggest — That Christianity is alike suited to both sexes. Let the woman stand as the representative of the intuitional power, and the man as the logical. Or let the woman stand as the representative of those who have to attend to the more private and domestic duties, and the man as the representative of those who have to be out in the open world — in the field, the market, the shop, the senate house — battling with difficulties. Christianity is great enough for the greatest, and simple enough for the simplest. Conclusion: From the whole we may learn —(1) That the gospel is moral in its influence upon the world. It does not bear man down by violence and force.(2) That the gospel is not to be restricted to any class.(3) That ministers should not despair for want of success. Though some deride and some procrastinate, some will believe.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

So Paul departed from among them.
He leaves Athens —


1. He left it a new stimulus to thought. He gave to their understandings a new theory of the universe, a new method to happiness, a new manifestation of God.

2. He increased its responsibility. Responsibility is measured by privileges. Athens had been highly favoured; but Paul gave more of the Divine in thought to them than all their philosophers. O Athens, better a thousand times that Paul had never entered thee than that thou shouldst fail in the new-imposed responsibility!

II. WITH A HEIGHTENED ESTIMATE OF CHRISTIANITY. The apostle made a great experiment in taking the gospel to Athens. He had undoubtedly heard about their great sages, and was perhaps acquainted with their systems of thought. He had no doubt received a deep impression of the inventiveness, energy, and aesthetics of their intellect in the architecture and statuary of their city. How will such men, he may have asked, regard the tale I have to tell them of Jesus of Nazareth? But after his sermon on Mars' Hill, all these misgivings would give place to an unbounded confidence in the glory of his message. Christianity has been tested by every school of philosophy, every grade of intellect, and by every system of religion, and it has always come forth the triumphant power. How unbounded, therefore, should be our confidence!

III. NEVER PERHAPS TO VISIT IT ANY MORE. There is something very affecting in a parting of this kind. It was affecting to see Moses leaving Pharaoh to meet him no more until the judgment; the young lawyer leaving Christ, going away sorrowful; and now Paul leaving Athens. Though he would not return to them again —

1. He had discharged his conscience, and was clear of their blood.

2. He would be engaged in the diffusion of the gospel. He was off to Corinth, and thence on, for his gospel was a gospel for humanity.

3. Though he would not return to them again, he would anticipate meeting them at the retribution. He had told them of a day of judgment, and on that day he would meet them.

(D. Thomas, D. D.).

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