Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;…
And a certain woman named Lydia, etc. Study of personal history specially helpful. A few broad strokes make up the picture. Fill in the outline from human nature and experience. Describe the circumstances. Philippi a local metropolis. In the midst of perishing heathenism a germ of spiritual life. Country market-place outside the gate. Devout women, Jewesses and proselytes. The Old Testament read there. Prayer offered. Without Christ they could not be made perfect. Influence of praying women. The contrast. The great heathen city, the small gathering of pious souls waiting for consolation. An image of the world with the true Church beside it waiting to take possession. "Stone cut out of the mountain." Apostles sent to lift up the little one into a thousand. Lydia the first convert from Europe. The message came as an answer to prayer.
I. THE GOSPEL WAITING TO FIND A PLACE IN THE HUMAN HEART.
1. Devoutness, religiousness, not all that is required. Apostles preached Christ to religious people. Christianity a positive system of truth, which must be known and received. The moral side of it not separable from the spiritual. This specially seen in the mission of the Church to the world. If Lydia was herself to preach to her neighbors, she must be taught.
2. Attention to truth a work in the heart. Curiosity, habit, sentiment, all may fall short of bringing the mind to lay hold of truth. Personal application. The spring of affection opened. Love of Jesus shed abroad. Faith fixed on its objects.
II. THE GRACE OF GOD WORKING THROUGH HUMAN AGENCY. Paul preached; the Lord opened the heart.
1. The distinction must be recognized in all ministrations.
2. The record of the apostolic ministry an example. The greatest preachers may fail. If they succeed, to the Lord's Name be the praise.
3. We are cast by such a mystery on prayer.
4. The opened heart is the pre-requisite to the changed and consecrated life. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;