Was it not well that the troublesome Jews drove the apostle to Athens before his companions, that he might, by surveying that idolatrous city alone, find a fresh stimulus for his zeal?
In the market he met with idle loungers ready to listen to anything and everything new; and even upon such soil, like the sower in the parable, he scattered his seed.
Nothing could have pleased Paul better than to address so large and important an assembly as that which gathered on Mars Hill. With a considerable amount of courtesy the philosophers invited him to speak, curiosity to hear his novel teaching being their leading motive. The doctrine of the resurrection seemed most to startle them. The immortality of the soul they had already known, but the resurrection of the body was a new idea. Paul addressed them both faithfully and prudently. Few could have coped with these educated men as he did. His beautiful address is somewhat spoiled in our version, and therefore we will a little revise it.
What could be more courteous, more cogent, more adroit? He points to their own altars, he quotes their own poets, he appeals to their common sense. He knew the way of putting the truth so as to attract and not repel; and though but few of the Areopagites were saved, yet a noble testimony was borne among men of intelligence, who would talk of what they heard in many a company where else the gospel would have been unknown.
Not many wise men after the flesh are called, but a few are, and if only one be saved the preacher is well rewarded for his pains. Paul spake not in vain in Athens, a church was formed and flourished even in that ungenial soil.