by Clarence E. Macartney

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The Greatest Questions of the Bible and of Life
What Must I Do to Be Saved? (5 of 18)
Clarence E. Macartney
Acts 16:26-30

Good men who were prisoners sometimes conferred great
benefits on their jailers. We need but mention John
Brown and John Bunyan among others. But never did a
prisoner confer so great a benefit on his jailer as
Paul did on the jailer of Philippi. When Jesus sent
the devils out of the man of Gadara into the swine,
the owners of the swine besought Jesus to depart out
of their coasts. The fall in the pork market meant
more to them than the redemption of a lost and devil-
possessed man. This same spirit appeared at Philippi,
when, because Paul had cast out the spirit of
divination which possessed a poor girl there and thus
deprived her masters of a profit, they brought false
charges against Paul and Silas, that they were
breaking the laws of Rome and stirring up sedition,
and had them cast into prison. The magistrates did not
take the time to make much of an investigation, never
imagining that at least one of these strolling
mendicant preachers was a Roman citizen, but had them
stripped of their clothes and cruelly beaten. In the
catalogue of his woes and sufferings, Paul afterwards
wrote, "Thrice was I beaten with rods." This cruel
outrage at Philippi was the first of those beatings.
It was a barbarous and ferocious form of punishment
under which the victim not infrequently succumbed, the
kind of scourging to which Christ Himself was
subjected by Pilate. Faint and bleeding from their
wounds, Paul and Silas were cast into prison, into the
innermost dungeon, a dark and foul den, where their
hands and feet and necks were made fast in the stocks.
Their situation was the last word in human misery and
distress. How did they take it?

John in a dungeon lost his faith for a little and sent
a message of doubt to Jesus. But here is no despair,
no rebellion, and no doubt. At midnight Paul ...

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