The First European Persecution
Acts 16:19-40
And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas…

I. It was in no way instigated by Jews, but it proceeded from RULERS AND MAGISTRATES, under the instigation of HEATHENISH ERROR. An important distinction. Christianity, when it enlarged its sphere of operations, had to encounter the opposition of:

1. The state.

2. False philosophy regarding it as folly.

3. Heathen priestcraft, fearing the loss of their profitable superstitions.

II. The method of persecution was generally through LAWLESSSESS AND UPROAR. There was no trial, no proper charge. Only the multitude against them.

III. The gospel brought into light WHAT WAS GOOD IS THE ANCIENT WOULD, and drew it to itself. Roman order and discipline is here distinctly on the side of the persecuted, and the persecutors are afraid. So henceforth, when the gospel is seen at work in Europe, we find the Roman law serving it.

IV. God speaks among the heathen by the voice of his PROVIDENCE and of NATURE. The earthquake assisted the cause of truth. A wonderful testimony to the whole city and neighborhood.

V. The conversion of the Philippian jailor a GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION OF THE PERSECUTION. So always - the wrath of man praises God.

VI. THE CONTRAST of the praying and singing prisoners and the terrified authorities a striking testimony to the truth. Lydia and her companions prayed too. The little Church at Philippi, increased by the whole occurrence, "comforted them and departed." "Filling up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ for his body's sake, which is the Church." - R.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

WEB: But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.

The Effects of Christianity on Ancient Superstitions
Top of Page
Top of Page