These men are the servants, etc. - It is astonishing how such a testimony could be given in such a case; every syllable of it true, and at the same time full, clear, and distinct. But mark the deep design and artifice of this evil spirit:
2. The Gentiles, finding that their own demon bore testimony to the apostles, would naturally consider that the whole was one system; that they had nothing to learn, nothing to correct; and thus the preaching of the apostles must be useless to them. In such a predicament is this, nothing could have saved the credit of the apostles but their dispossessing this woman of her familiar spirit, and that in the most incontestable manner; for what could have saved the credit of Moses and Aaron, when the magicians of Egypt turned their rods into serpents, had not Aaron's rod devoured theirs? And what could have saved the credit of these apostles but the casting out of this spirit of divination, with which, otherwise, both Jews and Gentiles would have believed them in compact?
The same followed Paul - Why she did this, or under what presence, the sacred writer has not informed us. It may have been:
(1)That as she prophesied for gain, she supposed that Paul and Silas would reward her if she publicly proclaimed that they were the servants of God. Or,
(2)Because she was conscious that an evil spirit possessed her, and she feared that Paul and Silas would expel that spirit, and by proclaiming them to be the servants of God she hoped to conciliate their favor. Or,
(3)More probably it was because she saw evident tokens of their being sent from God, and that their doctrine would prevail; and by proclaiming this she hoped to acquire more authority, and a higher reputation for being herself inspired. Compare Mark 5:7.
Giving an account of the last days of Sir Davis Brewster, his daughter writes: “He thanked God that the way of salvation was so simple. No labored argument, no hard attainment, was required. To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ was to live. He trusted in Him, and enjoyed His peace.” The last words of this great man of science were: “Life has been very bright to me, and now there is the brightness beyond. I shall see Jesus, who created all things, who made the worlds. I shall see Him as He is. Yes, I have had the Light for many years. Oh, how bright it is! I feel so safe, so satisfied.” RY 154.3Read in context »
These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. Acts 16:17. RC 218.1
We need true religion in the church. It is God's purpose that we shall show that we are born again, and that we are working out in our lives the great, heaven-born principles of truth. Thus only can we gain eternal life in the kingdom of glory.... RC 218.2Read in context »
Those possessed with devils are usually represented as being in a condition of great suffering; yet there were exceptions to this rule. For the sake of obtaining supernatural power, some welcomed the satanic influence. These of course had no conflict with the demons. Of this class were those who possessed the spirit of divination,—Simon Magus, Elymas the sorcerer, and the damsel who followed Paul and Silas at Philippi. GC 516.1
None are in greater danger from the influence of evil spirits than those who, notwithstanding the direct and ample testimony of the Scriptures, deny the existence and agency of the devil and his angels. So long as we are ignorant of their wiles, they have almost inconceivable advantage; many give heed to their suggestions while they suppose themselves to be following the dictates of their own wisdom. This is why, as we approach the close of time, when Satan is to work with greatest power to deceive and destroy, he spreads everywhere the belief that he does not exist. It is his policy to conceal himself and his manner of working. GC 516.2
There is nothing that the great deceiver fears so much as that we shall become acquainted with his devices. The better to disguise his real character and purposes, he has caused himself to be so represented as to excite no stronger emotion than ridicule or contempt. He is well pleased to be painted as a ludicrous or loathsome object, misshapen, half animal and half human. He is pleased to hear his name used in sport and mockery by those who think themselves intelligent and well informed. GC 516.3Read in context »