➊ Personal Narrative: Timothys Life
This presentation will Personal Narrative: Timothys Life biblical teaching about what we Personal Narrative: Timothys Life Migrant Workers In The 1930s Essay in eternity. Bar-Jesus, or Elymas—an Arabic Personal Narrative: Timothys Life which means the skillful one—saw Personal Narrative: Timothys Life if the governor was won for Christianity he Personal Narrative: Timothys Life no longer be needed. My brother he is in Elysium. Paphos was notorious for its worship of Personal Narrative: Timothys Life, the goddess of Personal Narrative: Timothys Life. As they say Personal Narrative: Timothys Life Latin "praemonitus, praemunitus" which loosely translated means Forewarned is forearmed!
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Gangel observes that "Though Luke does not tell us, we can safely assume that the Antioch congregation continued to pray for the missionaries and to thank God for selecting them, even though they had lost the two most prominent members of their pastoral staff. After the fall of Jerusalem in A. Ray Stedman - There is a blending here of two factors: God's sovereign authoritative choice , and man's necessity to choose within a more limited area. There is first the sending out of these men and the account says they were sent out by the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit who laid this on their hearts, and created an intense desire within to move out.
But then the next phrase reads, "they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. The Spirit told them to move out, but the men decided where to go. This is perfectly proper. Paul and Barnabas were acting on the basis which Paul describes later in the Philippian letter: being confident that the Spirit was not only thrusting them out but was working in them to decide where to go. As Paul put it, "work out your own salvation [solutions] with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his pleasure When they thought over the situation they decided Cyprus would be the logical place to start.
They did not wait for the Spirit to point it out on the map; they decided on the basis of the natural contacts they had. You see, Barnabas was from Cyprus and so were the men who started the church at Antioch. They undoubtedly had many contacts there, so that is where they started. But they went with the confidence that God was in that choice.
Now that is the way to be led of the Spirit. The Spirit may lay on your heart some need, some ministry, some opportunity that is before you, and you feel impressed to do it, and perhaps others will join you in it. But you do not know quite how to get started. Then, start with what looks like the most natural thing, being confident that God is in you to govern and lead you in your choice, and to bring out of it what he wants.
Thus Saul and Barnabas began the journey of a lifetime by traveling miles down the Orontes River See map of rivers - note the Orontes originates further inland and courses through Antioch to the sea Luke does not specify whether by boat or on foot to catch a ship from Seleucia to the eastern coast of Cyprus, landing at Salamis click map above.
Luke does not describe any specific ministry at Seleucia, but it would be difficult to imagine these men not "redeeming the time" in some way in this city prior to embarking for Cyprus! God called and sent the missionaries out, promising them blessing, and the missionaries prayed and went where they felt they had natural contacts, trusting God for blessing. And from there they sailed to Cyprus - From Seleucia to Salamis on the eastern coast of Cyprus is miles.
The point is that they did not go immediately to areas that would be considered "less hospitable. We know from Luke's earlier record that this was not the first time the Gospel had come to Cyprus, but at that time it was only to Jews, not Gentiles. Acts Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, about miles long and 60 miles at the widest point making Cyprus the third largest after Sicily and Sardinia and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, the two major cities being the seaports of Salamis chief port and Paphos the capital , located 60 miles west of Syria and Lebanon, so close in fact that on a clear day it was visible from Seleucia. Swindoll adds that Cyprus was "Lush with crops and rich with minerals and precious metals, this became a favorite stopover for merchant ships sailing the Mediterranean Sea.
Situated just 60 miles off the Syrian coast, it became a refuge for Jews hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. The Apocrypha notes settlements there during the Maccabean Revolt 1 Macc. So, it comes as no surprise that several synagogues dotted the island. During the persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen, some Christians took refuge on Cyprus Acts Paphos first became famous when mythology set the city as the first home of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, after she was born from sea foam.
When the Romans annexed Cyprus in 58 BC and later made the island its own province, Paphos became the seat of the military government. We need to remember this basic truth when we preach and teach the Gospel in the culture in America which is increasingly becoming less genuine Christian and more pagan. Indeed, as someone has well said "When the effect of the Gospel is all important in the church, the force of the Gospel is unstoppable in the world. William Barclay - Cyprus was a Roman province, famous for its copper mines and its shipbuilding industry. Paul never chose an easy way. He and Barnabas preached in Paphos, the capital of the island. Paphos was notorious for its worship of Venus, the goddess of love.
Paphos was "a great center for the worship of Aphrodite [Venus]. It was attended by great crowds not only from all parts of Cyprus but also from surrounding countries THOUGHT - The modern reader needs to be aware that the ancient culture that Paul confronted with the Gospel was not much different from modern day culture where ethics and morals have been largely jettisoned by a significant portion of Americans. And yet the Gospel is still the power of God and is able to penetrate into the darkest of cultures! Below is more detail on the mythological figure Aphrodite main article on Aphrodite. Before it was proved by archaeology it was understood that the cult of Aphrodite had been established before the time of Homer c. Archaeology has established that Cypriots venerated a fertility goddess before the arrival of the Greeks, in a cult that combined Aegean and eastern mainland aspects.
Female figurines and charms found in the immediate vicinity date as far back as the early third millennium. The temenos was well established before the first structures were erected in the Late Bronze Age: "There was unbroken continuity of cult from that time until AD when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I outlawed all pagan religions and the sanctuary fell into the ruins in which we find it today. The Cinyradae, or descendants of Cinyras, were the chief priests, Greek by name but of Phoenician origin.
Their power and authority were very great; but it may be inferred from certain inscriptions that they were controlled by a senate and an assembly of the people. There was also an oracle here. After its destruction by an earthquake it was rebuilt by Vespasian, on whose coins it is represented, as well as on earlier and later ones, and especially in the style on those of Septimius Severus. Acts When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.
When they reached Salamis see map above , see Wikipedia on Salamis - Apparently the voyage from Seleucia was without incident including no storms,etc. One can only imagine what good news the crew members on this vessel must have heard from Barnabas and Saul! We will see when we get to heaven! Note their missionary strategy in this passage - 1 to the cities, 2 to the synagogues and if they refuse to listen, to the Gentiles and carrying out ministry as a team Paul's speech on the Aeropagus in Acts 17 being and exception. William Ramsay on Seleucia to Salamis - As they were able to make the harbour of Salamis, on the south coast, they were not impeded by westerly winds, which commonly blew throughout the summer see p. With such winds, they would have run for the Cilician coast, and worked along it westward with the aid of land breezes and the current p.
But they probably started on the opening of the sailing season March 5. St Paul the Traveller - online - go to page Darrell Bock feels "the account of Paul's ministry has two parts: his journeys Acts and his trials Acts They began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews - The imperfect tense indicates they kept proclaiming it over and over! Why did they go first to the Jewish Synagogues? Stanley Toussaint has some additional thoughts to consider there is some repetition - It was necessary that the apostles go to the Jews first for a number of reasons.
First, the coming of the earthly kingdom depended on Israel's response to the coming of Christ cf. Second, only after Israel rejected the Gospel could Paul devote himself to the Gentiles. Third, the message of Jesus is fundamentally Jewish in that the Old Testament, the Messiah, and the promises are all Jewish. On "the Jew first," cf. Acts ; Rom. Bible Knowledge Commentary. Notice also that synagogues is plural indicating there were two or more Jewish synagogues in Salamis. Ramsay writes "There must have been a large Jewish colony in Salamis, with more synagogues than one. Cypriote Jews are often mentioned in Acts , , ; and Barnabas himself was a Cypriote. Have you ever shared the Gospel with a Jewish person? Remember Paul's pattern - to the Jew first! Three wonderful ministries with which I have had the privilege of being associated for almost 2 decades are the following if you do not support any Jewish outreach, you might want to check them out if the Spirit leads - Chosen People Ministries , The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry and.
Jews for Jesus. And to encourage you to reach out you might be surprised at the reception by your Jewish friend! One Caveat - If you share the Gospel with your Jewish friend, be prepared that they may bring up the great Christian reformer Martin Luther's treatment of the Jews and his legacy in Nazi Germany! See article. He is considered the founder of the Church of Cyprus. His bones are believed to be located in the nearby monastery named after him. The word was used to designate the buildings other than the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem where the Jews also congregated for worship. Historically, the Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the BC destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction.
Messianic commentator Steven Ger adds that "Within every Jewish community was at least one synagogue. In fact, the Jewish population of Salamis was sufficiently extensive to require and sustain several synagogues. The synagogue served as a communal Jewish oasis in the midst of the vast Gentile world, enabling the Jewish community to remain educated in their faith and observant in their practices.
In addition, the synagogue also served as a center in which interested Gentiles might investigate Judaism; an environment in which they could, as God-fearers, proselytes of the gate or full proselytes, worship the one true God. The variegated matrix of the first century synagogue would understandably prove fertile soil for responding positively to news of the Jewish messiah. Paul would capitalize on this accessible network of synagogues to strategically propagate the gospel, using the synagogues, city by city, as a strategic bridge to penetrate the Roman world There is no indication in either Acts or the epistles that Paul viewed following this model as incongruous or incompatible with his calling as the "apostle to the Gentiles.
Paul's commitment to this principle was so great that in the event the city's Jewish population was too small to sustain a synagogue, Paul first went instead to the Jewish place of prayer Acts It was only after the Jews in the synagogue had staunchly and overtly rejected that gospel that Paul would even attempt a direct approach to the Gentiles, even when, as in Athens, he was aggravated by the Gentiles' overt idolatry Acts In both word and deed, the apostle to the Gentiles was unambiguous in articulating the inherent priority of Jewish evangelism see Rom.
It means to announce, with focus upon the extent to which the announcement or proclamation extends and so to proclaim throughout. It means to declare plainly, openly and loudly! It was used of solemn religious messages. Marvin Vincent says kataggello means ""to proclaim with authority, as commissioned to spread the tidings throughout, down among ED : cf prefix "kata" those that hear them, with the included idea of celebrating or commending.
If you have time, take a moment and observe these 18 NT uses of kataggello noting specifically what was proclaimed e. The Word of God - That is, the Gospel. It is interesting that Luke does not describe the effects of the Gospel in Salamis. We will find out in Heaven! Gangel adds that "Assuming Christians were already there, however, this was not a pioneer effort. The focus could well have been upon confirming Cypriot Jews already committed to Christ. Robertson observes "There were probably others also in the company Acts John Mark was like a college student who does short term missions work in the summer but as we soon discover, his "short term" was considerably "shortened" Acts Huperetes describes a a helper who willingly submits himself to carrying out the will of the one over him.
In John , 45, 46 it is used of the Temple "police" or guards. The subordinate official who waits to accomplish the commands of his superior. Servants of the word describes these men as focused on the word, listening and acting according to the word. These were the men down in the ship's galley, doing one thing -- rowing and with their eyes on one man, the man standing at the front of the hull, shouting "Row,Row, Row"! This suggests an interesting picture of John Mark as the helper of Barnabas and Saul. He most likely functioned like our modern day ministry "interns. Here are Luke's uses of huperetes 6 of 18 NT uses.
Acts is the only use translated " helper ". Here are the other 18 translations - attendant 1 , helper 1 , minister 1 , officer 1 , officers 13 , servants 3. Jack Arnold applies Acts - What does a missionary do? A missionary goes and spreads the gospel of Christ to foreign lands or places which are barren to the gospel or relatively untouched for Christ. Did you know there are about 2. Over half the world knows nothing of Christ. We must pray that God will raise up laborers for the harvest. Also our local church must send out missionaries who are spreading the gospel and who are committed to establishing indigenous local churches in foreign lands.
God has given us the command. The Blessings, Burdens and Blunders of Missionaries. We must pay the price to see the Great Commission accomplished in our generation. As a soldier, you are to obey orders. There are many mistaken ideas abroad today as to how the Holy Spirit leads us. Young Christians often get the idea that they are to be like robots, automatons, ruled by computer-impulses which come from the Spirit. They think we are to sit and wait until we get one of those. I remember a young man at Dallas Seminary when I was a student there who thought that was the way the Spirit worked, so he would stop at the foot of a staircase and ask God to show him whether he should go up the right side, or the left. He would pray about whether to put his hat on in the morning, or not.
If God ran our lives like that we would be nothing but mechanical beings. Animals are run like that by instincts, but not men. God is not interested in such antics. He is interested in our understanding that he is to live within us. He will direct us precisely at times and when he does, don't ignore it , but when he doesn't, move out where you are with the confident expectation that God is with you and will open the doors to make a way for you. When you follow that pattern, you are bound to find life exciting. God is very creative, and he is always doing something surprising, unexpected.
You cannot improve upon the strategy of the Holy Spirit. No one could anticipate the right way to approach these Cyprian cities, and plan out an attack in some systematic way, and expect it to succeed. This is the problem with the church in the twentieth century. We are forever calling conventions, councils, retreats, and conferences to try to decide where we ought to go next, to program it all, structure it, organize it, and move along carefully planned lines as though the whole thing depended on us. That is why the church is faltering, and failing, and has lost its note of excitement. The strategy belongs to the Holy Spirit. He is the only one that knows how to reach a city, or a country, or a nation -- how to proceed. He already has men planted here and there, ready to respond whenever his people go out to proclaim the truth.
That is what Paul and Barnabas found. I heard a wonderful example of how the Holy Spirit works along this line recently. A friend told me that the Christian World Liberation Front was trying to do something about the topless and bottomless bars in San Francisco. Finally the management became quite upset and sent out a bouncer to order them off the place. But these Christians, knowing they had a right to orderly protest, refused to leave. One night the bouncer got very angry, and hit one of the leaders square in the mouth.
The next night they were back again, not knowing how to proceed, but counting on the Lord. This time the bouncer came out and ordered them to go, and they said, No not unless they could go in and pray for the people first. Surprisingly, the management agreed and invited them in. They all went in and the place was absolutely dead silent. These Christians stood up on the stage by the microphone, surrounded by naked girls, and led the whole place in prayer. One fellow said he peeked while the rest were praying and saw the bouncer going around quietly closing all the doors so they wouldn't be disturbed by any noise from the street. They had a tremendous opportunity to speak the truth to people, who became utterly different in their demeanor when they were confronted with this kind of a contrast between the right and the wrong.
Now that is the radicalism of the Holy Spirit. You cannot improve on it. That is what we find all through the book of Acts; this remarkable combination of divine sovereignty and human responsibility which, working together, co-laborers with God, produces exciting situations and climactic circumstances where anything can happen, yet which almost always opens a wide and fruitful door for ministry. Acts When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus,. KJV Acts And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:.
When the pure Word of God is proclaimed whether in preaching or teaching , you can "rest" assured that our mortal Enemy who is roaming around 1 Peter will send his demons to oppose, assail, attack, twist, hinder, obstruct, impede, inhibit, retard, pervert, mislead, misrepresent, distort, revile, counterfeit, imitate, simulate, feign, falsify, etc, the Word of God, the Word of Truth, as well as attacking the one who proclaims it making us discouraged, despondent, hopeless, lacking enthusiasm, lacking confidence, pessimistic, disillusioned, despairing, dispirited, fearful, depressed, and the list goes on!
As they say in Latin "praemonitus, praemunitus" which loosely translated means Forewarned is forearmed! Charles Hummel wrote that our "greatest danger is letting the urgent secular things crowd out the important divine things. Remember that life is too short for us to do everything we want to do, but it is long enough for us to do everything God wants us to do. Warren Wiersbe points out that "This event is an illustration of the lesson that Jesus taught in the Parable of the Tares Matt. Jack Arnold reminds us that "The enemy of the Gospel is always an unseen enemy, for Christians struggle against the very powers of darkness.
Bar-Jesus was the best specimen hell could produce! When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos see map above - Barnabas and Saul were not wasting time just "passing through" but were intentionally proclaiming Acts throughout the island the heart penetrating Gospel of Jesus Christ. Clearly they did not go through the whole square miles. More likely they may have visited every Jewish synagogue on the island. Polhill points out that "The old settlement of Paphos was originally established by the Phoenicians and lay some seven miles to the southeast of the new city of that name. This original settlement had been destroyed by earthquake in 15 B. The new city had thus been built during the Roman period in Roman style.
When missionaries are sent out in teams, they can encourage, exhort and uphold one another. This is a very practical way to deal with the discouragement, depression and disillusionment that comes with missionary work. Another New Testament principle of missions is that the missionaries went to the cities, the cultural and population centers, to preach and establish a local church. The indigenous church in the city then began to reach the country area around the city. It is interesting that Luke uses this verb figuratively in the prophecy to Jesus' mother Mary that "a sword will pierce dierchomai - go through even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. It revealed the thought in the heart of Pilate, that he loved popularity better than the truth.
It revealed the thought of the heart of Judas, that he loved gold better than he loved his Master. It revealed the thought in the heart of Caiaphas, that he would keep to old customs rather than to the right. It revealed the thought in the hearts of the disciples, and showed what poor timid, trembling hearts they had. The cross is the great touchstone; wherever it comes, it tests and tries us, even as the crucible tries the metal that is put into it, and lets us know what manner of men we are.
Dost thou love Christ? Dost thou glory in his cross? Then it is well with thee. But dost thou despise the cross? Dost thou set up thine own righteousness in opposition to it? Art thou depending upon anything beside Jesus Christ and him crucified? Then his cross reveals thee to be self-righteous, and dead in trespasses and sins. They found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus - Bar is the Aramaic word meaning "Son of" and Jesus is the Latin form of the name "Joshua" which gives him the name "Son of Joshua.
Satan is a deceiver and so even the name of this "son of the Devil" suggests in some way he seeks to counterfeit the true way of salvation, to " make crooked the straight ways of the Lord. It was no accident that this man had attached himself to the Roman proconsul. The kingdom of darkness is eager to influence those who rule. This man was claiming to be a follower of Jesus, but what he taught was absolutely contrary to what Jesus taught.
Today we have cults such as the Mormons , Jehovah Witnesses , Unitarians , Unity , Christian Science , Armstrongism , Spiritism , Rosicrucianism , Bahaism and many others who seize upon the name of Jesus, claim the name of Christianity and yet teach unchristian and unbiblical doctrine. They have mixed much error with a little truth and are cults because they deny the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The age we are living in is the age of the cults and all of them are false and Satanically inspired. We live in an age when the forces of hell will openly challenge the forces of God. It is frightening, but exciting, since it will give us an opportunity to see God work for Christians in supernatural ways to put down the forces of evil. Magician magos is derived from the Persian word magus meaning "great" thus "great, powerful men" and in the plural "magi" as in Mt , 7, 16, magi referred to the high priestly caste Persians also Medes and Babylonians who are affectionately called the "wise men.
The Septuagint uses magos in Daniel when King Nebuchadnezzar desired to know the meaning of his dream and called "the magicians epaoidos - one that uses charms or incantations , the conjurers magos , the sorcerers pharmakos. John MacArthur adds this note on magos - They were well-versed in astronomy and astrology, agriculture, mathematics, and history. They were involved in various occult practices and were famous for their ability to interpret dreams cf.
Such was their political power and influence that no Persian ruler came to power without their approval Not only were they true magi, but they surely had been strongly influenced by Judaism, quite possibly even by some of the prophetic writings, especially that of Daniel. They appear to be among the many God-fearing Gentiles who lived at the time of Christ, a number of whom—such as Cornelius and Lydia Acts —2; —are mentioned in the New Testament. Four meanings are found together in almost every age. The specific meaning of a "member of the Persian priestly caste" which acc. Strabo, XV, 3, 15 tells of a fire cult; acc. Their religious ideas are thought to be strongly influenced by philosophy; for this reason the Gk.
This idea occurs again and again in Democr. If later this is linked up with a Romantic veneration for the exotic, this assertion, though it cannot be checked in detail, may contain a grain of truth and may point to a historical cultural and intellectual link. Something of the same may be seen in the more likely account of the education of Protagoras by the magi at the time of the campaign of Xerxes c. Even if this account is to be rejected on chronological grounds, the total presentation does at least show the possibility of such a contact.
Philo Spec. The content of the Gk. Obviously, along the traditional lines of the magi, there was a close, inward and indissoluble connection between philosophy and religion, as may be seen in the strongly religious form of the doctrine of the two principles, which is also known in the Gk. This explains how, with a strong restriction of understanding, a second meaning could develop out of the original sense, with no national limitation. It is no longer possible to discern the deeper reasons for the development. More generally "the possessor and user of supernatural knowledge and ability.
He foretells the future the way Socrates will die, Aristot. Comparing Joseph. The boundary line with the next meaning is fluid; it should. His arts are connected with the name of a Persian magus Ost h anes II, , 28 ff. In a derogatory sense it may also be used for the missionary of a new religion whose success can then be explained in terms of the use of magical compulsion, Act. The pagan thus distinguishes sharply between a divine gift which is given, and forced demonic magic.
Figuratively, "deceiver," "seducer. Later it is, of course, very common. These men 1 claim to be a prophet from God and 2 utter falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies. They he pretended to foretell things to come Mt. Pseudoprophetes - 11x in the NT - Matt. False prophets are more deadly than physical wolves and other predators, because they can kill not just the body but the soul. I recently met a man who had just been born again and had a great hunger for the Word of God, but he supplement this by listening to Joel Osteen! I tried in vain to reason with him from Scripture but he became angry with me saying that he liked the "positive" message that Osteen preaches. I told him 1 to find a mature believer to disciple him and 2 go to a church that preaches the Word of God, preferrably expositionally.
He was only minimally "receptive" to my pleas and suggestions. Sadly, I no longer have contact with him. False teachers can "shipwreck" one's faith! Evangelism Explosion — starts off with that exploratory question:If you were to die tonight and stand before God, why should He let you into His heaven? Steven Cole - When we share the gospel, we engage the enemy of souls in spiritual combat, so we must be prepared for spiritual battle.
When we share the gospel, we engage the enemy of souls in spiritual combat. Note three tactics of the devil:. Acts 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. Who was with the proconsul - Who refers to Bar-Jesus from the previous passage. Sergius Paulus was the proconsul see discussion below of the Roman senatorial province of Cyprus.
Senatorial provinces were led by the proconsul and imperial provinces were led by a governor like Pilate in Palestine. Here is a good example of the accuracy of Luke the historian. We learn this occurred in A. A T Robertson - Luke used to be sharply criticized for applying this term to Sergius Paulus on the ground that Cyprus was a province under the appointment of the emperor with the title of propraetor and not under the control of the senate with the title of proconsul. That was true B. Two inscriptions have been found with the date A. Barclay points out that "These were intensely superstitious times—and most great men, even an intelligent man like Sergius Paulus, kept private wizards, fortune-tellers who dealt in magic and spells.
Bar-Jesus, or Elymas—an Arabic word which means the skillful one—saw that if the governor was won for Christianity he would no longer be needed. Paul dealt effectively with him. Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence - Sergius was clearly an intelligent man, but just as important, he was understanding and prudent KJV. Intelligence is the most common translation but I think that " intelligence " is not the most accurate reflection of the original Greek term sunetos for it speaks more of one who is wise, understanding, prudent the KJV translation , able to see the various aspects of a given situation and arrive at the best assessment, one which allows for the best course of action, which is a wonderful outset for the leader of a country, Sergius of course being the ruling authority over the entire island province of Cyprus.
As a medical doctor I have had the privilege of being around many extremely intelligent men and women high IQ's , but sadly not all of them manifested a "sunetos" spirit of understanding and prudence in the everyday affairs of life. In a word Sergius was a man possessing sunesis understanding. Sergius Paulus immediately crushes that ridiculous " straw man " argument! Longnecker notes that "Cyprus was an island of great importance from very early times, being situated on the shipping lanes between Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece.
In 57 B. In 27 B. In 22 B. Augustus relinquished its control to the senate, and, like other senatorial provinces, it was administered by a proconsul. It is interesting that sunetos in the Septuagint is frequently associated with a trait that is desirable in one who is in a leadership position e. The word group of sunetos, suniemi, et al, is also not surprisingly very common in the Septuagint in the Wisdom literature where the focus is on "wisdom" and not on "intelligence" per se.
Sunetos - 4x in 4v - Matt. The KJV translates all uses with the English word prudent. Jack Arnold - Sergius Paulus had all the qualities which are supposed to make people happy, but he was still searching for the truth that brings rest and peace to a troubled soul. The Holy Spirit was operating in a marvelous way. Paul and Barnabas had no idea that they would be able to have a hearing before the governor. However, Sergius Paulus was prepared by the Holy Spirit to hear the gospel and he sent for the missionaries. We can never anticipate how the Holy Spirit is going to work things out. Sergius Paulus must have known all the Greek and Roman philosophies and been acquainted with the mystery religions of that day, but none of them solved his problem of the heart.
Had he reached a state of satisfaction through these philosophies and religions, he would not have hungered for something else. Paul and Barnabas had no idea that they would be able to have a hearing before the governor of the island, the proconsul, the man placed there by the Roman senate and responsible for the control and governance of the whole island. But that man, prompted by the Holy Spirit, though he was a pagan Roman, sent for Paul and Barnabas, and asked them to speak to him the words of truth. You can never anticipate how the Holy Spirit is going to work things out.
But Paul and Barnabas came and began to preach to the governor. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God - In the book Experiencing God, one of Henry Blackaby's main points at least the one I still recall 15 years later is to look for where God is acting and determine to join Him! Luke gives us a beautiful example in this section. And yet is summons the missionaries and desires to hear the word of God! This is clearly, unequivocally doing a supernatural work on the stony, uncircumcised heart of this pagan proconsul! And note carefully that the proconsul is not seeking the Word of God because he is a man of intelligence.
In fact that even makes this more of a miraculous, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, for Paul later would write. THOUGHT - As you go about living your life, do you do so with your senses trained cf Heb to be on the lookout for those lost people both poor and rich you encounter in whom God is clearly doing a supernatural work? And then do you boldly join God where He is working? If you begin to live you life with this supernatural, other worldly focus, God's Spirit will bring you into some of the most supernaturally satisfying situations you will ever be blessed to experience in this short life.
It is used of the brother of the prodigal son when he "summoned one of the servants" to inquire what was happening in his father's house Lk The translation summoned is an accurate reflection of the fact that Sergius Paulus was the man with authority and thus the verb would also include the sense of their being ordered to come to the proconsul's presence. John Piper comments on the fact that this Roman ruler of Cyprus sought to hear the word of God writing "This is amazing. He is the ruler of all Cyprus. These missionaries are absolute nobodies in the Roman world. They have no human authority. They have no political standing. They have no world ecclesiastical body behind them.
They are unknowns. But they are called by God, sent by God, and now it is God that, against all odds, has gotten them a hearing on their first mission with the governor of the whole island of Cyprus. It's like Cornelius all over again. A pagan who wants to hear the Word of God. And God—through worship and fasting—calls nobodies from Antioch to make the connection. Acts 8 But Elymas the magician for so his name is translated was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. KJV Acts But Elymas the sorcerer for so is his name by interpretation withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. It bears repeating Forewarned is forearmed! Expect it. Be prayerfully prepared as these missionaries were by being Word centered and Spirit driven.
As someone has well said "When you open heaven you also open hell! Jack Arnold - The church today is still in a battle for the minds and souls of men. Then there was a sound of something scuffling; and then dead silence. All that could be seen out of the window was the branch of lilac tree hanging motionless and ponderous across the road. It was a hot still night. There was no moon. The cry made everything seem ominous. Who had cried? Why had she cried? It was a woman's voice, made by some extremity of feeling almost sexless, almost expressionless. It was as if human nature had cried out against some iniquity, some inexpressible horror. There was dead silence. The stars shone perfectly steadily. The fields lay still. The trees were motionless.
Yet all seemed guilty, convicted, ominous. One felt that something ought to be done. Some light ought to appear tossing, moving agitatedly. Someone ought to come running down the road. There should be lights in the cottage windows. And then perhaps another cry, but less sexless, less wordless, comforted, appeased. But no light came. No feet were heard. There was no second cry. The first had been swallowed up, and there was dead silence. One lay in the dark listening intently. It had been merely a voice. There was nothing to connect it with. No picture of any sort came to interpret it, to make it intelligible to the mind. But as the dark arose at last all one saw was an obscure human form, almost without shape, raising a gigantic arm in vain against some overwhelming iniquity.
The fine weather remained unbroken. Had it not been for that single cry in the night one would have felt that the earth had put into harbour; that life had ceased to drive before the wind; that it had reached some quiet cove and there lay anchored, hardly moving, on the quiet waters. But the sound persisted. Wherever one went, it might be for a long walk up into the hills, something seemed to turn uneasily beneath the surface, making the peace, the stability all round one seem a little unreal.
There were the sheep clustered on the side of the hill; the valley broke in long tapering waves like the fall of smooth waters. One came on solitary farmhouses. The puppy rolled in the yard. The butterflies gambolled over the gorse. All was as quiet, as safe could be. Yet, one kept thinking, a cry had rent it; all this beauty had been an accomplice that night; had consented; to remain calm, to be still beautiful; at any moment it might be sundered again. This goodness, this safety were only on the surface. And then to cheer oneself out of this apprehensive mood one turned to the picture of the sailor's homecoming.
One saw it all over again producing various little details—the blue colour of her dress, the shadow that fell from the yellow flowering tree—that one had not used before. So they had stood at the cottage door, he with his bundle on his back, she just lightly touching his sleeve with her hand. And a sandy cat had slunk round the door. Thus gradually going over the picture in every detail, one persuaded oneself by degrees that it was far more likely that this calm and content and good will lay beneath the surface than anything treacherous, sinister.
The sheep grazing, the waves of the valley, the farmhouse, the puppy, the dancing butterflies were in fact like that all through. And so one turned back home, with one's mind fixed on the sailor and his wife, making up picture after picture of them so that one picture after another of happiness and satisfaction might be laid over that unrest, that hideous cry, until it was crushed and silenced by their pressure out of existence. Here at last was the village, and the churchyard through which one must pass; and the usual thought came, as one entered it, of the peacefulness of the place, with its shady yews, its rubbed tombstones, its nameless graves. Death is cheerful here, one felt. Indeed, look at that picture! A man was digging a grave, and children were picnicking at the side of it while he worked.
As the shovels of yellow earth were thrown up, the children were sprawling about eating bread and jam and drinking milk out of large mugs. The gravedigger's wife, a fat fair woman, had propped herself against a tombstone and spread her apron on the grass by the open grave to serve as a tea-table. Some lumps of clay had fallen among the tea things. Who was going to be buried, I asked.
Had old Mr. Dodson died at last? It's for young Rogers, the sailor," the woman answered, staring at me. Didn't you hear his wife? There are moments even in England, now, when even the busiest, most contented suddenly let fall what they hold—it may be the week's washing. Sheets and pyjamas crumble and dissolve in their hands, because, though they do not state this in so many words, it seems silly to take the washing round to Mrs. Peel when out there over the fields over the hills, there is no washing; no pinning of clothes to lines; mangling and ironing no work at all, but boundless rest. Stainless and boundless rest; space unlimited; untrodden grass; wild birds flying hills whose smooth uprise continue that wild flight.
Of all this however only seven foot by four could be seen from Mrs. Grey's corner. That was the size of her front door which stood wide open, though there was a fire burning in the grate. The fire looked like a small spot of dusty light feebly trying to escape from the embarrassing pressure of the pouring sunshine. Grey sat on a hard chair in the corner looking—but at what? Apparently at nothing. She did not change the focus of her eyes when visitors came in. Her eyes had ceased to focus themselves; it may be that they had lost the power.
They were aged eyes, blue, unspectacled. They could see, but without looking. She had never used her eyes on anything minute and difficult; merely upon faces, and dishes and fields. And now at the age of ninety-two they saw nothing but a zigzag of pain wriggling across the door, pain that twisted her legs as it wriggled; jerked her body to and fro like a marionette. Her body was wrapped round the pain as a damp sheet is folded over a wire. The wire was spasmodically jerked by a cruel invisible hand. She flung out a foot, a hand. Then it stopped.
She sat still for a moment. In that pause she saw herself in the past at ten, at twenty, at twenty-five. She was running in and out of a cottage with eleven brothers and sisters. The line jerked. She was thrown forward in her chair. All dead," she mumbled. And my husband gone. My daughter too. But I go on. Every morning I pray God to let me pass. The morning spread seven foot by four green and sunny. Like a fling of grain the birds settled on the land. She was jerked again by another tweak of the tormenting hand. I can't read or write, and every morning when I crawls down stairs, I say I wish it were night; and every night, when I crawls up to bed, I say, I wish it were day.
I'm only an ignorant old woman. But I prays to God: 0 let me pass. I'm an ignorant old woman—I can't read or write. So when the colour went out of the doorway, she could not see the other page which is then lit up; or hear the voices that have argued, sung, talked for hundreds of years. The parish doctor now. Since my daughter went, we can't afford Dr. But he's a good man. He says he wonders I don't go. He says my heart's nothing but wind and water. Yet I don't seem able to die. So we—humanity—insist that the body shall still cling to the wire. We put out the eyes and the ears; but we pinion it there, with a bottle of medicine, a cup of tea, a dying fire, like a rook on a barn door; but a rook that still lives, even with a nail through it.
No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner. As the foxhunter hunts in order to preserve the breed of foxes, and the golfer plays in order that open spaces may be preserved from the builders, so when the desire comes upon us to go street rambling the pencil does for a pretext, and getting up we say: "Really I must buy a pencil," as if under cover of this excuse we could indulge safely in the greatest pleasure of town life in winter—rambling the streets of London.
The hour should be the evening and the season winter, for in winter the champagne brightness of the air and the sociability of the streets are grateful. We are not then taunted as in the summer by the longing for shade and solitude and sweet airs from the hayfields. The evening hour, too, gives us the irresponsibility which darkness and lamplight bestow. We are no longer quite ourselves. As we step out of the house on a fine evening between four and six, we shed the self our friends know us by and become part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers, whose society is so agreeable after the solitude of one's own room. For there we sit surrounded by objects which perpetually express the oddity of our own temperaments and enforce the memories of our own experience.
That bowl on the mantelpiece, for instance, was bought at Mantua on a windy day. We were leaving the shop when the sinister old woman plucked at our skirts and said she would find herself starving one of these days, but, "Take it! So, guiltily, but suspecting nevertheless how badly we had been fleeced, we carried it back to the little hotel where, in the middle of the night, the innkeeper quarrelled so violently with his wife that we all leant out into the courtyard to look, and saw the vines laced about among the pillars and the stars white in the sky. The moment was stabilized, stamped like a coin indelibly among a million that slipped by imperceptibly.
There, too, was the melancholy Englishman, who rose among the coffee cups and the little iron tables and revealed the secrets of his soul—as travellers do. All this—Italy, the windy morning, the vines laced about the pillars, the Englishman and the secrets of his soul—rise up in a cloud from the china bowl on the mantelpiece. And there, as our eyes fall to the floor, is that brown stain on the carpet. Lloyd George made that. Cummings, putting the kettle down with which he was about to fill the teapot so that it burnt a brown ring on the carpet. But when the door shuts on us, all that vanishes. The shell-like covering which our souls have excreted to house themselves, to make for themselves a shape distinct from others, is broken, and there is left of all these wrinkles and roughnesses a central oyster of perceptiveness, an enormous eye.
How beautiful a street is in winter! It is at once revealed and obscured. Here vaguely one can trace symmetrical straight avenues of doors and windows; here under the lamps are floating islands of pale light through which pass quickly bright men and women, who, for all their poverty and shabbiness, wear a certain look of unreality, an air of triumph, as if they had given life the slip, so that life, deceived of her prey, blunders on without them. But, after all, we are only gliding smoothly on the surface. The eye is not a miner, not a diver, not a seeker after buried treasure. It floats us smoothly down a stream; resting, pausing, the brain sleeps perhaps as it looks. How beautiful a London street is then, with its islands of light, and its long groves of darkness, and on one side of it perhaps some tree-sprinkled, grass-grown space where night is folding herself to sleep naturally and, as one passes the iron railing, one hears those little cracklings and stirrings of leaf and twig which seem to suppose the silence of fields all round them, an owl hooting, and far away the rattle of a train in the valley.
But this is London, we are reminded; high among the bare trees are hung oblong frames of reddish yellow light—windows; there are points of brilliance burning steadily like low stars—lamps; this empty ground, which holds the country in it and its peace, is only a London square, set about by offices and houses where at this hour fierce lights burn over maps, over documents, over desks where clerks sit turning with wetted forefinger the files of endless correspondences; or more suffusedly the firelight wavers and the lamplight falls upon the privacy of some drawing-room, its easy chairs, its papers, its china, its inlaid table, and the figure of a woman, accurately measuring out the precise number of spoons of tea which——She looks at the door as if she heard a ring downstairs and somebody asking, is she in?
But here we must stop peremptorily. We are in danger of digging deeper than the eye approves; we are impeding our passage down the smooth stream by catching at some branch or root. At any moment, the sleeping army may stir itself and wake in us a thousand violins and trumpets in response; the army of human beings may rouse itself and assert all its oddities and sufferings and sordidities. Let us dally a little longer, be content still with surfaces only—the glossy brilliance of the motor omnibuses; the carnal splendour of the butchers' shops with their yellow flanks and purple steaks; the blue and red bunches of flowers burning so bravely through the plate glass of the florists' windows. For the eye has this strange property: it rests only on beauty; like a butterfly it seeks colour and basks in warmth.
On a winter's night like this, when nature has been at pains to polish and preen herself, it brings back the prettiest trophies, breaks off little lumps of emerald and coral as if the whole earth were made of precious stone. The thing it cannot do one is speaking of the average unprofessional eye is to compose these trophies in such a way as to bring out the more obscure angles and relationships. Hence after a prolonged diet of this simple, sugary fare, of beauty pure and uncomposed, we become conscious of satiety. We halt at the door of the boot shop and make some little excuse, which has nothing to do with the real reason, for folding up the bright paraphernalia of the streets and withdrawing to some duskier chamber of the being where we may ask, as we raise our left foot obediently upon the stand: "What, then, is it like to be a dwarf?
She came in escorted by two women who, being of normal size, looked like benevolent giants beside her. Smiling at the shop girls, they seemed to be disclaiming any lot in her deformity and assuring her of their protection. She wore the peevish yet apologetic expression usual on the faces of the deformed. She needed their kindness, yet she resented it. But when the shop girl had been summoned and the giantesses, smiling indulgently, had asked for shoes for "this lady" and the girl had pushed the little stand in front of her, the dwarf stuck her foot out with an impetuosity which seemed to claim all our attention. Look at that! It was arched; it was aristocratic.
Her whole manner changed as she looked at it resting on the stand. She looked soothed and satisfied. Her manner became full of self-confidence. She sent for shoe after shoe; she tried on pair after pair. She got up and pirouetted before a glass which reflected the foot only in yellow shoes, in fawn shoes, in shoes of lizard skin. She raised her little skirts and displayed her little legs. She was thinking that, after all, feet are the most important part of the whole person; women, she said to herself, have been loved for their feet alone. Seeing nothing but her feet, she imagined perhaps that the rest of her body was of a piece with those beautiful feet.
She was shabbily dressed, but she was ready to lavish any money upon her shoes. And as this was the only occasion upon which she was hot afraid of being looked at but positively craved attention, she was ready to use any device to prolong the choosing and fitting. Look at my feet, she seemed to be saying, as she took a step this way and then a step that way. The shop girl good-humouredly must have said something flattering, for suddenly her face lit up in ecstasy. But, after all, the giantesses, benevolent though they were, had their own affairs to see to; she must make up her mind; she must decide which to choose.
At length, the pair was chosen and, as she walked out between her guardians, with the parcel swinging from her finger, the ecstasy faded, knowledge returned, the old peevishness, the old apology came back, and by the time she had reached the street again she had become a dwarf only. But she had changed the mood; she had called into being an atmosphere which, as we followed her out into the street, seemed actually to create the humped, the twisted, the deformed. Two bearded men, brothers, apparently, stone-blind, supporting themselves by resting a hand on the head of a small boy between them, marched down the street. On they came with the unyielding yet tremulous tread of the blind, which seems to lend to their approach something of the terror and inevitability of the fate that has overtaken them.
As they passed, holding straight on, the little convoy seemed to cleave asunder the passers-by with the momentum of its silence, its directness, its disaster. Indeed, the dwarf had started a hobbling grotesque dance to which everybody in the street now conformed: the stout lady tightly swathed in shiny sealskin; the feeble-minded boy sucking the silver knob of his stick; the old man squatted on a doorstep as if, suddenly overcome by the absurdity of the human spectacle, he had sat down to look at it—all joined in the hobble and tap of the dwarf's dance. In what crevices and crannies, one might ask, did they lodge, this maimed company of the halt and the blind? Here, perhaps, in the top rooms of these narrow old houses between Holborn and Soho, where people have such queer names, and pursue so many curious trades, are gold beaters, accordion pleaters, cover buttons, or support life, with even greater fantasticality, upon a traffic in cups without saucers, china umbrella handles, and highly-coloured pictures of martyred saints.
There they lodge, and it seems as if the lady in the sealskin jacket must find life tolerable, passing the time of day with the accordion pleater, or the man who covers buttons; life which is so fantastic cannot be altogether tragic. They do not grudge us, we are musing, our prosperity; when, suddenly, turning the corner, we come upon a bearded Jew, wild, hunger-bitten, glaring out of his misery; or pass the humped body of an old woman flung abandoned on the step of a public building with a cloak over her like the hasty covering thrown over a dead horse or donkey.
At such sights the nerves of the spine seem to stand erect; a sudden flare is brandished in our eyes; a question is asked which is never answered. Often enough these derelicts choose to lie not a stone's thrown from theatres, within hearing of barrel organs, almost, as night draws on, within touch of the sequined cloaks and bright legs of diners and dancers. They lie close to those shop windows where commerce offers to a world of old women laid on doorsteps, of blind men, of hobbling dwarfs, sofas which are supported by the gilt necks of proud swans; tables inlaid with baskets of many coloured fruit; sideboards paved with green marble the better to support the weight of boars' heads; and carpets so softened with age that their carnations have almost vanished in a pale green sea.
Passing, glimpsing, everything seems accidentally but miraculously sprinkled with beauty, as if the tide of trade which deposits its burden so punctually and prosaically upon the shores of Oxford Street had this night cast up nothing but treasure. With no thought of buying, the eye is sportive and generous; it creates; it adorns; it enhances. Standing out in the street, one may build up all the chambers of an imaginary house and furnish them at one's will with sofa, table, carpet. That rug will do for the hall. That alabaster bowl shall stand on a carved table in the window. Our merrymaking shall be reflected in that thick round mirror. But, having built and furnished the house, one is happily under no obligation to possess it; one can dismantle it in the twinkling of an eye, and build and furnish another house with other chairs and other glasses.
Or let us indulge ourselves at the antique jewellers, among the trays of rings and the hanging necklaces. Let us choose those pearls, for example, and then imagine how, if we put them on, life would be changed. It becomes instantly between two and three in the morning; the lamps are burning very white in the deserted streets of Mayfair. Only motor-cars are abroad at this hour, and one has a sense of emptiness, of airiness, of secluded gaiety. Wearing pearls, wearing silk, one steps out on to a balcony which overlooks the gardens of sleeping Mayfair. There are a few lights in the bedrooms of great peers returned from Court, of silk-stockinged footmen, of dowagers who have pressed the hands of statesmen.
A cat creeps along the garden wall. Love-making is going on sibilantly, seductively in the darker places of the room behind thick green curtains. Strolling sedately as if he were promenading a terrace beneath which the shires and counties of England lie sun-bathed, the aged Prime Minister recounts to Lady So-and-So with the curls and the emeralds the true history of some great crisis in the affairs of the land. We seem to be riding on the top of the highest mast of the tallest ship; and yet at the same time we know that nothing of this sort matters; love is not proved thus, nor great achievements completed thus; so that we sport with the moment and preen our feathers in it lightly, as we stand on the balcony watching the moonlit cat creep along Princess Mary's garden wall.
But what could be more absurd? It is, in fact, on the stroke of six; it is a winter's evening; we are walking to the Strand to buy a pencil. How, then, are we also on a balcony, wearing pearls in June? What could be more absurd? Yet it is nature's folly, not ours. When she set about her chief masterpiece, the making of man, she should have thought of one thing only. Instead, turning her head, looking over her shoulder, into each one of us she let creep instincts and desires which are utterly at variance with his main being, so that we are streaked, variegated, all of a mixture; the colours have run. Is the true self this which stands on the pavement in January, or that which bends over the balcony in June?
Am I here, or am I there? Or is the true self neither this nor that, neither here nor there, but something so varied and wandering that it is only when we give the rein to its wishes and let it take its way unimpeded that we are indeed ourselves? Circumstances compel unity; for convenience sake a man must be a whole. The good citizen when he opens his door in the evening must be banker, golfer, husband, father; not a nomad wandering the desert, a mystic staring at the sky, a debauchee in the slums of San Francisco, a soldier heading a revolution, a pariah howling with scepticism and solitude.
When he opens his door, he must run his fingers through his hair and put his umbrella in the stand like the rest. But here, none too soon, are the second-hand bookshops. Here we find anchorage in these thwarting currents of being; here we balance ourselves after the splendours and miseries of the streets. The very sight of the bookseller's wife with her foot on the fender, sitting beside a good coal fire, screened from the door, is sobering and cheerful.
She is never reading, or only the newspaper; her talk, when it leaves bookselling, which it does so gladly, is about hats; she likes a hat to be practical, she says, as well as pretty. In summer a jar of flowers grown in her own garden is stood on the top of some dusty pile to enliven the shop. Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.
Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world. There is always a hope, as we reach down some grayish-white book from an upper shelf, directed by its air of shabbiness and desertion, of meeting here with a man who set out on horseback over a hundred years ago to explore the woollen market in the Midlands and Wales; an unknown traveller, who stayed at inns, drank his pint, noted pretty girls and serious customs, wrote it all down stiffly, laboriously for sheer love of it the book was published at his own expense ; was infinitely prosy, busy, and matter-of-fact, and so let flow in without his knowing it the very scent of hollyhocks and the hay together with such a portrait of himself as gives him forever a seat in the warm corner of the mind's inglenook.
One may buy him for eighteen pence now. He is marked three and sixpence, but the bookseller's wife, seeing how shabby the covers are and how long the book has stood there since it was bought at some sale of a gentleman's library in Suffolk, will let it go at that. Thus, glancing round the bookshop, we make other such sudden capricious friendships with the unknown and the vanished whose only record is, for example, this little book of poems, so fairly printed, so finely engraved, too, with a portrait of the author.
For he was a poet and drowned untimely, and his verse, mild as it is and formal and sententious, sends forth still a frail fluty sound like that of a piano organ played in some back street resignedly by an old Italian organ-grinder in a corduroy jacket. There are travellers, too, row upon row of them, still testifying, indomitable spinsters that they were, to the discomforts that they endured and the sunsets they admired in Greece when Queen Victoria was a girl. A tour in Cornwall with a visit to the tin mines was thought worthy of voluminous record. People went slowly up the Rhine and did portraits of each other in Indian ink, sitting reading on deck beside a coil of rope; they measured the pyramids; were lost to civilization for years; converted negroes in pestilential swamps.
This packing up and going off, exploring deserts and catching fevers, settling in India for a lifetime, penetrating even to China and then returning to lead a parochial life at Edmonton, tumbles and tosses upon the dusty floor like an uneasy sea, so restless the English are, with the waves at their very door. The waters of travel and adventure seem to break upon little islands of serious effort and lifelong industry stood in jagged column upon the floor. In these piles of puce-bound volumes with gilt monograms on the back, thoughtful clergymen expound the gospels; scholars are to be heard with their hammers and their chisels chipping clear the ancient texts of Euripides and Aeschylus.
Thinking, annotating, expounding goes on at a prodigious rate all around us and over everything, like a punctual, everlasting tide, washes the ancient sea of fiction. Innumerable volumes tell how Arthur loved Laura and they were separated and they were unhappy and then they met and they were happy ever after, as was the way when Victoria ruled these islands. The number of books in the world is infinite, and one is forced to glimpse and nod and move on after a moment of talk, a flash of understanding, as, in the street outside, one catches a word in passing and from a chance phrase fabricates a lifetime. It is about a woman called Kate that they are talking, how "I said to her quite straight last night They are spelling out the latest wire from Newmarket in the stop press news.
Do they think, then, that fortune will ever convert their rags into fur and broadcloth, sling them with watch-chains, and plant diamond pins where there is now a ragged open shirt? But the main stream of walkers at this hour sweeps too fast to let us ask such questions. They are wrapt, in this short passage from work to home, in some narcotic dream, now that they are free from the desk, and have the fresh air on their cheeks. They put on those bright clothes which they must hang up and lock the key upon all the rest of the day, and are great cricketers, famous actresses, soldiers who have saved their country at the hour of need.
Dreaming, gesticulating, often muttering a few words aloud, they sweep over the Strand and across Waterloo Bridge whence they will be slung in long rattling trains, to some prim little villa in Barnes or Surbiton where the sight of the clock in the hall and the smell of the supper in the basement puncture the dream. But we are come to the Strand now, and as we hesitate on the curb, a little rod about the length of one's finger begins to lay its bar across the velocity and abundance of life.
Without investigating the demand, the mind cringes to the accustomed tyrant. One must, one always must, do something or other; it is not allowed one simply to enjoy oneself. Was it not for this reason that, some time ago, we fabricated the excuse, and invented the necessity of buying something? But what was it? Ah, we remember, it was a pencil. Let us go then and buy this pencil. But just as we are turning to obey the command, another self disputes the right of the tyrant to insist. The usual conflict comes about. Spread out behind the rod of duty we see the whole breadth of the river Thames—wide, mournful, peaceful.
And we see it through the eyes of somebody who is leaning over the Embankment on a summer evening, without a care in the world. Let us put off buying the pencil; let us go in search of this person—and soon it becomes apparent that this person is ourselves. For if we could stand there where we stood six months ago, should we not be again as we were then—calm, aloof, content? Let us try then. But the river is rougher and greyer than we remembered. The tide is running out to sea. It brings down with it a tug and two barges, whose load of straw is tightly bound down beneath tarpaulin covers. There is, too, close by us, a couple leaning over the balustrade with the curious lack of self-consciousness lovers have, as if the importance of the affair they are engaged on claims without question the indulgence of the human race.
The sights we see and the sounds we hear now have none of the quality of the past; nor have we any share in the serenity of the person who, six months ago, stood precisely were we stand now. His is the happiness of death; ours the insecurity of life. He has no future; the future is even now invading our peace. It is only when we look at the past and take from it the element of uncertainty that we can enjoy perfect peace. As it is, we must turn, we must cross the Strand again, we must find a shop where, even at this hour, they will be ready to sell us a pencil. It is always an adventure to enter a new room for the lives and characters of its owners have distilled their atmosphere into it, and directly we enter it we breast some new wave of emotion.
Here, without a doubt, in the stationer's shop people had been quarrelling. Their anger shot through the air. They both stopped; the old woman—they were husband and wife evidently—retired to a back room; the old man whose rounded forehead and globular eyes would have looked well on the frontispiece of some Elizabethan folio, stayed to serve us. He began opening box after box and shutting them again. He said that it was very difficult to find things when they kept so many different articles. He launched into a story about some legal gentleman who had got into deep waters owing to the conduct of his wife. He had known him for years; he had been connected with the Temple for half a century, he said, as if he wished his wife in the back room to overhear him.
He upset a box of rubber bands. At last, exasperated by his incompetence, he pushed the swing door open and called out roughly: "Where d'you keep the pencils? The old lady came in. Looking at nobody, she put her hand with a fine air of righteous severity upon the right box. There were pencils. How then could he do without her? Was she not indispensable to him? In order to keep them there, standing side by side in forced neutrality, one had to be particular in one's choice of pencils; this was too soft, that too hard.
They stood silently looking on. The longer they stood there, the calmer they grew; their heat was going down, their anger disappearing. Now, without a word said on either side, the quarrel was made up. The old man, who would not have disgraced Ben Jonson's title-page, reached the box back to its proper place, bowed profoundly his good-night to us, and they disappeared. She would get out her sewing; he would read his newspaper; the canary would scatter them impartially with seed.
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