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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 17 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Unto Athens. This was the first visit of Paul to this celebrated city; and perhaps the first visit of a Christian minister. His success in this city, for some cause, was not great. But his preaching was attended with the conversion of some individuals. See Ac 17:34. Athens was the most celebrated city of Greece, and was distinguished for the military talents, learning, eloquence, and politeness of its inhabitants. It was founded by Cecrops and, an Egyptian colony, about 1556 years before the Christian era. It was called Athens in honour of Minerva, who was chiefly worshipped there, and to whom the city was dedicated. The city, at first, was built on a rock in the midst of a spacious plain; but in process of time the whole plain was covered with buildings, which were called the lower city. No city of Greece, or of the ancient world, was so much distinguished for philosophy, learning, and the arts. The most celebrated warriors, poets, statesmen, and philosophers, were either born or flourished there. The most celebrated models of architecture and statuary were there; and for ages it held its pre-eminence in civilization, arts, and arms. The city still exists, though it has been often subject to the calamities of war, to a change of masters, and to the mouldering hand of time. It was twice burnt by the Persians; destroyed by Philip IX. of Macedon; again by Sylla; was plundered by Tiberius; desolated by the Goths in the reign of Claudius; and the whole territory ravaged and ruined by Alaric. From the reign of Justinian to the thirteenth century, the city remained in obscurity, though it continued to be a town at the head of a small state. It was seized by Omar, general of Mohammed the Great, in 1455; was sacked by the Venetians in 1464; and was taken by the Turks again in 1688. In 1812, the population was 12,000; but it has since been desolated by the sanguinary contests between the Turks and the Greeks, and left almost a mass of ruins. It is now free; and efforts are making by Christians to restore it to its former elevation in learning and importance, and to impart to it the blessings of the Christian religion. Two American missionaries are labouring in the place where Paul preached almost two thousand years ago; and schools, under their immediate superintendence and care, are established by American Christian missionaries, in the place that was once regarded as "the eye of Greece," and the light of the civilized world. In the revolutions of ages it has been ordered that men should bear the torch of learning to Athens from a land unknown to its ancient philosophers, and convey the blessings of civilization to them by that gospel which in the time of Paul they rejected and despised.

And receiving a commandment. They who accompanied Paul received his commands to Silas and Timothy.

With all speed. As soon as possible. Perhaps Paul expected much labour and success in Athens, and was therefore desirous, of securing their aid with him in his work.

{c} "Timotheus" Ac 18:5

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