Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

fectionate friends went in the same ship with him ; namely Luke the writer of the Acts, as appears from the style of his history, and Aristarchusthe Thessalonian, Acts xxvii. 2.–Aristarchus had accompanied the apostle in some of his fornier journeys, Acts xix. 29. And being one of the messengers of the churches who were appointed to attend Paul with the collections to Jerusalem, he went with him into Greece, and abode with him there, while he received the collections from the churches of Achaia ; then returned with him into Macedonia, where Luke joined them at Philippi : after which they all sailed with the apostle into Judea.

The day after Paul and his company loosed from Cæsarea, the ship in which they sailed happening to touch at Sidon, Julius, who was a person of singular humanity, allowed Paul to go ashore, and refresh himself with the brethren in that city: a favour which must have been peculiarly acceptable to one, who had been so long in prison. After that, loosing from Sidon, they sailed to Myra a city of Lycia : and there finding a ship of Alexandria, bound for Italy with a lading of wheat, * they went aboard, and arriving at Crete, they put in at a port called The Fair Ilavens; where staying some days, the centurion no doubt, as at Sidon, allowed Paul to go ashore : In which case, we may suppose, he preached Christ to all who came to him.

In this port the apostle advised them to winter, because sailing was now become dangerous, on account of the long dark nights, and the tempestuous weather usual at that season: For the fast of the seventh month or anniversary expiation was now past. But the master and the owner of the vessel, not thinking the Fair Havens a safe harbour, they set out for one judged more commodious: and had proceeded a little way, when there arose a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon,t which soon inéreased into an hurricane: so that not being able to bear up against the storm, they let the ship drive, and were exceedingly tossed for many days, without seeing either the sun or stars.Acts xxvii. 20. And now when all hope was gone, an angel of God appeared to Paul by night, and assured him that there should be no loss of any man's life, but of the ship. Howbeit they were to be cast on a certain island. This revelation Paul communicated to all in the ship, and thereby encouraged them. At length, when the fourteenth night from their leaving the Fair Havens was come, they drew near to land. And by break of day, were driven on an island in the Adriatic sea, named Melita. On that occasion, the soldiers proposed to kill the prisoners, fearing they might swim out and escape. But Julius, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, Acts xxvii. 43. And commanded that they which could swim, should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land, and the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship; and so it came to pass, ... that they escaped all safe to land: not one life being lost, al- : though there were in the ship, no fewer than two hundred and seventy-six persons, ver. 37.

* The greatest part of tlie corn consumed in Rome was brought from Alexandria in Egypt; and the vessels employed in that trade were exceed. ingly large, as this vessel certainly was; for there were on board of her no fewer than 276 persons.

Euroclydon comes from Euros and xaudwy an eastern storm, for so xaudw signifies, Jonah i. 4. 12. LXX. This kind of tempest is called by those who frequent those seas, a Levanter.

When they came ashore, Acts xxviii. 1. They knew that the island was called Melitè. No. XXXIV.-The people of Melitè though reckoned by the Greeks and Romans barbarians on account of their ignorance of the Greek and Latin languages, shewed them no small kindness : for they received them in a very friendly manner, by giving them all the assistance in their power, and kindling a fire for them, because of the rain and cold. But a viper happening to fasten on Paul's hand, as he laid a bundle of sticks on the fire, the islanders who saw hinn with his chain on, supposed him some murderer, who had escaped the sea, but whom (Neperis) the divine justice did not allow to live. However, when they saw him shake off the beast without receiving any harm, they altered their opinion, and said he was a god.-On this occasion, the promise which Jesus made to his disciples, was fulfilled : Mark xvi. 18. They shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly tliing it shall not hurt them.

It happened that the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius, had his estate in the quarter where the ship was stranded. This excellent person invited them to his house, and lodged them three days, till they could all be disposed of properly through the island. To such goodness, Paul was happy to be able to make some return. For the father of Publius, Acts xxviii. 8. Lying sick of a fever and bloody flux, he went in to him, and laying his hands upon him, healed him. 9. So

tohen this was done, others also who had diseases in the island, came and were healed. The sick people who were thus mira. culously cured, together with their relations and friends, grateful to Paul, performed to him, and to all them who were with him, during their abode in the island, every office of kindness in their power: And at their departure laded them with such things as were necessary for their voyage.

Paul's Voyage from Melitè to Puteoli. His Journey from Puteoli by Land

to Rome. His Reception and Confinement in Rome. The Centurion's behaviour to Paul described and praised.

And now having abode in Melite three months, they went aboard a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the island, and sailed to Syracuse the chief city of Sicily, where they remained three days : then came to Rhegium, a town on the Italian shore, opposite to Messana in Sicily: And from thence to Puteoli, a great sea-port town of Campania not far from Naples. Here finding bretliren, to whom Paul was known, at least by his fame, they entreated him to tarry with them seven days: And Julius was so good as to grant their request. After which, Julius set out with the prisoners and soldiers for Rome, by land. And now the brethren in that city, to whom Paul was well known by his letter lately written to the Romans, hearing that he was on the road, came out to meet him : being not ashamed of his bonds. Some of them therefore came as far as to the town of Appii Forum, which was fifty one miles from the city: And others, to Tres Tabernæ, a town at the distance of thirty miles, which afterwards became a bishop's see. This unlooked for testimony of respect from the brethren of Rome, making a strong impression upon the apostle's mind, he thanked God for it and took courage, being greatly refreshed by the company and conversation of such affectionate friends; after which they all went forward to the city, where it is supposed they arrived in the February of A. D. 60. in the seventh year of the reign of the emperor Nero.

The humanity with which Julius, all along treated the apostle from the time he was delivered to him, merits particular attention. At Sidon he allowed him to go ashore to visit his Christian friends. And when they were shipwrecked on the island of Melitè, he kept the soldiers from killing the prisoners, that he might save Paul. And because some brethren at Puteoli, wished Paul to remain with them a week, he was so good as to

grant their desire. And, as this worthy person is said by Luke, to have courteously entreated Paul through the whole of the voyage, he may have bestowed on him favours which are not particularly mentioned. Those, however, which are mentioned deserve notice, as proofs of esteem and love from a heathen, very honourable to the apostle.-Julius's esteem of Paul, was founded at first on the favourable opinion which Festus, Agrippa, and the Tribunes, had formed of his cause, and which no doubt they made known to Julius, before he left Cæsarea. But his esteem of the apostle must have increased, by what he himself observed, in the course of their acquaintance. For in his conversation, Paul expressed such just views of God and religion and of the duties of morality, and in his actions, shewed suchi benevolence to mankind and such a concern for their real interest, as could not fail to endear him to so great a friend to virtue, as this centurion seems to have been. Besides, if Paul was represented to Julius, as one who could work miracles, that circumstance alone, would induce him to treat him with great respect. And more especially, when he became himself a witness to the accomplishment of Paul's prediction concerning their shipwreck, and to the miraculous cures which he performed on the sick, in the island of Melitè.

Julius therefore having so great a friendship for Paul, and it may be a favourable opinion of the Christian doctrine, we may suppose, that when he delivered the prisoners to Afranius Burrhus, who was then Prætorian præfect, he did justice to Paul, by representing him, not only as entirely innocent of any real crime, but as a man of singular probity, who was highly favoured of God, and endowed with extraordinary powers. To this representation, as well as to Festus's letter, I think the apostle was indebted for the indulgence which was shewn him, immediately on his arrival at Roine. For he was not shut up in a common jail, with the other prisoners, but from the very first, was allowed to dwell in his own hired house, with a soldier who kept him by means of a chain fastened to his right wrist and to the soldier's left arm. This is the chain, of which Paul so often speaks in his epistles, calling it his bonds ; and which he shewed to the Jews, when they came to him on the third day after his arrival.

them. Wheretoef of the unbelieving dets xxviii. 17

Paul sends for the Chief of the unbelieving Jews in Rome to his Lodging,

and explains to them the Cause of his Imprisonment: but with little Success.

The apostle's confinement at Rome, being thus easy from the beginning, and every one that pleased having access to him, it came into his mind, that as the unbelieving Jews might be offended, when they heard he had appealed from the courts in Judea to Cæsar, it would be very proper to make an apology to them. Wherefore, on the third day after his arrival at Rome, he called the chief of the unbelieving Jews together; and when they were come, he said to them, Acts xxviii. 17. Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans : 18. Who when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. 19. But when the Jews shake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar ; adding that he had done so, not because he had any thing to accuse his nation of to the emperor, bút merely to assert his own innocence. And therefore he had called them together, to tell them, that he was bound with the chain they saw on his wrist, because he affirmed that God had accomplished the hope of Israel, by sending the Christ. 21. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came, shewed or spake any evil of thee. It seems the apostle's accusers had not yet arrived. However desiring his opinion concerning the sect of the Christians, which they told him was every where spoken against, they appointed him a day, and many came into his lodging, Acts xxviii. 23. To whom he expounded* and testified the kingdom of God: he expounded the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom, and testified that it was come in the gospel dispensation. Persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening ; that is, in a long discourse, he

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »