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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 14 - Verse 16

Verse 16. Who in times past. Previous to the gospel; in past ages.

Suffered all nations. Permitted all nations; that is, all Gentiles. Ac 17:30, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at."

To walk in their own ways. To conduct themselves without the restraints and instructions of a written law. They were permitted to follow their own reason and passions, and their own system of religion. He gave them no written laws, and sent to them no messengers. Why he did this, we cannot determine. It might have been, among other reasons, to show to the world conclusively,

(1.) the insufficiency of reason to guide men in the matters of religion. The experiment was made under the most favourable circumstances. The most enlightened nations, the Greeks and Romans, were left to pursue the inquiry, and failed no less than the most degraded tribes of men. The trial was made for four thousand years, and attended with the same results everywhere.

(2.) It showed the need of revelation to guide man.

(3.) It evinced, beyond the possibility of mistake, the depravity of man. In all nations, in all circumstances, men had shown the same alienation from God. By suffering them to walk in their own ways, it was seen that those ways were sin, and that some power more than human was necessary to bring men back to God.

{a} "in times past" Ps 81:12; Ac 17:30 {*} "nations" "The Gentiles"

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