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silver, or gold, or raiment ; nor affecting to enrich or aggrandize them, selves or their families, but always ready to relieve the necessitous according to their ability, remembering this precious word of the Lord Jesus, so happily preserved, especially in this connection, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Thus while they are not shunning to declare in the course of their public ministry the whole counsel of God, may they also be examples to the flock of a uniform, steady, and resolute piety! And to quicken them to it, may they often reflect, that the church of God committed to their trust was redeemed by his own blood! May it be impressed deeply on all our hearts, that we are intrusted with the care of those precious souls for whom our divine Re: deemer bled and died ! May we therefore see to it, that we are watchful to preserve them from every danger; that we warn them day and night with tears; and, in a word, that we order our whole behaviour so, that when we must take our final leave of them, we may be able to testify, as in the sight of God, that we are clear from the blood of
Such ministers may God raise up to his church in every future age ; such may
grace make all that are already employed in the work! and for this purpose let every one who wishes well to the common cause of Christ and of souls, join in recommending us to God, and to the word of his grace, whence we are to draw our instructions and our supports. This will be a means, under the divine blessing, to keep us from falling, in the midst of all dangers and temptations; till at length he give us an inheritance with all the saints among whom we have laboured, that they who 807V, and (they who] reap, may rejoice together, Amen.
The apostle resolutely pursues his journey to Jerusalem, though repeatedly
warned of his danger there, Ch. xxi. 1–16.
ND as soon as we had withdrawn from them that accompanied
us to the ship, and had set sail from Miletus, we came with a direct course to the island of Coos, and the next day to that of 2 Rhodes, and from thence to the port of Patara. And finding a
ship passing over to Phænicia, we went on board, and set sail, 3 And coming within sight of Cyprus, and leaving it on the left hand,
we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre ; for there the ship was to 4 unload its freight. And we continued there seven days ; finding
number of disciples, who told Paul by the spirit, if he regarded his safety, not to go up to Jerusalem, as it would expose him to 5 great danger. But when we had finished these seven days, we
departed from our friends and went our way : and they all attend
ed us out of the city, with their wives and children ; and kneeling 6 down on the sea shore, we prayed. And having embraced each
other, we went on board the ship; and they returned back to their 7 wn houses. And finishin our course, we came from Tyre to
Ptolemais ; and embracing the brethren there, we continued with
8 them only one day. And on the morrow, Paul and his company
departed, and came by land to Cæsarea ; and entering there into
the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven 9 deacons, we lodged with him. Now he had four virgin daughters, 10 who were prophetesses, having received the miraculous gifts. And
as we continued there many days, a certain prophet, whose name 11 w Agabus, came down from Judea to Casarea ; and coming to
us, he took up Paul's girdle, and binding his own hands and feet with it he said, Thus saith the Holy Spirit, so shall the Jews at
Jerusalem bind the man whose girdle this is, and shall deliver him 12 into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things,
both we and the inhabitants of that place entreated him, that he 13 would not go up to Jerusalem. But Paul answered, What mean
ye by weeping thus, and breaking my heart ? for I am ready not
only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of 14 the Lord Jesus. And when we saw that he would not be per.
· suaded, we ceased to press him any further, saying, Let the will 15 of the Lord be done. And after these days spent at Cæsarea, 16 making up our baggage, we went up to Jerusalem. And some
of the disciples also from Cæsarea went along with us, and brought us to the house of one Mnason a Cyprian, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge,
REFLECTIONS. Let us observe and emulate that excellent and heroic temper which appeared in the blessed apostle St. Paul, in this journey to Jerusalem: When still the Holy Spirit testified in every city, that bonds and afflic. tions awaited him ; when his friends in so fond a manner hung around him, and endeavoured to divert him from his purpose ; be was not insensible to their tender regards : Far from that, his heart melted, and was even ready to break, under the impression : yet still he continued inflexible. There was a sacred passion warmer in his soul than the love of frends, or liberty, or life : The love of Christ constrained him, and made him willing, joyfully willing, not only to be bound, but to die at Jerusalem, for his name, who had indeed died for him there, "O that such as this might be the temper, such as these the sentiments, of every minister, of every Christian ! For surely imprisonment in such a case is better than liberty; and death infinitely preferable to the most prosperous life secured by deserting his service, or flying from any post which the great Captain of our salvation hath assigned us.
On the other hand, let us learn of these wise and pious friends of Paul, to acquiesce in the will of God, when the determination of it is appurent, how contrary soever it may be to our natural desires, or even to thosc views which we had formed for the advancement of his cause and interest in the world ; where perfect resignation may be difficult, in proportion to the degree of our piety and zeal. Can any teach him knowledge, or pursue the purposes of his glory by wiser and surer methods thaa those which he has chosen ? In this instance the bonds of Paul, which these good men dreaded as so fatal an obstruction to the gospel, tended, as he himself saw and witnessed while he was yet under them, to the furtherance of it ; and what they apprehended would prevent them seeing him any more, occasioned his returning to Cæsarea, and continuing there for a long time, when, though he was a prisoner, they had free liberty of conversing with him. And even to this day we see the efficacy of his sufferings, in the spirit they have added to those epistles which he wrote while a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and in that weight which such a circumstance also adds to his testimony. Let Jesus therefore lead us, and all his other servants, whithersoever he pleases, and we will bless his most mysterious conduct, in sure expectation of that day, when what is now most astonishing in it shall appear beautiful, and ordered for the best.
It is pleasant to observe the honour paid to Mnason, as an old disciple : An honourable title indeed it is ; and wherever it is found, may days speak, and the multitude of years teach wisdom! And may there be a readiness, as in this good old man, to employ all the remaining vigour of nature, be it more or less, in the service of Christ, and in the offices of cordial love and generous friendship to those who are engaged in the work of the Lord.
Paul is assaulted by the Jews while worshipping in the temple, and rescued
by Lysias the Roman officer. Ch.xxi. 17-36
A Neceiveden we were leasured at den scheme the brethren ee
17 18 ceived us with pleasure. And the next day Paul en
tered in with us to the house of the apostle James; and all the 19 elders of the church were present. And having embraced them,
he gave them a particular account of those things which God had 20 done among the Gentiles by his ministry since he left them. And
when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said to him, Brother, thou seest how many myriads of believing Jews there are
now gathered together from all parts to Jerusalem ; and they are all 21 zealous for the law. Now they have been informed of thee, that
thou teachest all the Jews, which are among the Gentile nations, to apostatize from Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise
their children, nor to walk according to the customs of our fathers. 22 What is it then (which is to be done ?] The multitude must by all
means come together, when they will observe thy conduct ; for they 23 will soon hear that thou art come. Therefore, to remove any ill
impressions, do this that we say to thee : There are with us four
men converts to the gospel, who have a vow of Nazariteship * upon 24 them : take them along with thee, and purify thyself with them,
according to the Jewish ritual, and be at all the necessary charges * Vitsįus has shewn from Maimonides, that a person who was not a Nazarite, might bind himself by a vow to take part with one in his sacrifice. Dr. Lardner observes from Josephus, that to be at charges with Nazarites was a common and popular thing among the Jews. Cred. B. I. C. 9. $ 7. What these charges were, see Numb. vi. 13.15.
with them, that they may shave their heads, and offer the usual sacrifices, and then all persons that come up to the temple will know that there is nothing of truth in those things which they have heard
of thee ; but that thou thyself walkest regularly, keeping the 25 law. And as for the believing Gentiles, we have written, aš thou
knowesi, determining that they should observe none of these things, except it be to keep themselves from what is offered to
idols, and from blood, and from that which is strangled, and from 26 fornication. Then Paul, according to this proposal, took the men
who had the vow, and the next day, being purified with them, entered into the temple, declaring to the priests his purpose for the accomplishment of the days of purifieation, till an offering
should be offered for every one of them, as the law required.27 But as the scven days were about to be accomplished, the Jews that
were come from Asia co the feast of Pentecost, seeing him in the
temple, threw all the populace into confusion, and laid hands upon 28 him, crying out, Ye men of Israel, help ! this is the man, that
every where teacheth all men contrary to the Jewish people, and
the law of Moses, and to this place; and hath even brought 29 Greeks into the temple, and thus polluted this holy place. (For
they had before seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with
him, whom they imagined that Paul had brought into that part of 30 the temple, which was appropriated to the Jews). And the whole
city was moved, and there was a tumultuous concourse of the
people ; and laying hold of Paul, they dragged him out of the 31 temple ; and immediately the gates were shut. And when they
went about to kill him, word was brought to Lysias, the chief officer
of the Roman garrison, who was the Tribune of the cohort, that all 32 Jerusalem was in confusion : Who immediately took soldiers, and
some of the centurions with him, and ran in among them. And
when they saw the Tribune and the soldiers, they ceased from 33 beating Paul. Then the Tribune drew near, and took him into his
rustody, and commanded him to be bound with two chains ; and in34 quired who he was, and what he had done. And some among the
multitude cried out one thing, and some another. And as he
could not know the certainty of any thing by reason of the tu35 mult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. But when
he was upon the stairs, it came to pass that he was forcibly borne 36 along by the soldiers, because of the violence of the crowd. For
the multitude of the people followed and pressed upon them, cry: ing out, Away with him! Kill him !
REFLECTIONS. It is delightful to observe, how the same principles of humble and benevolent piety wrought in the mind of Paul on the one hand, and on the other in those of James and the brethren of the circumcision ; while the one recounted, and the other rejoiced in what God had done by his ministry among the Gentiles. May ministers always remember, that whatever good is done by their ministry, it is the work of God, and that the praise is to be rendered to him ; And, O that whenever they assemble and meet with each other for religious and friendly conference, they may have cause for mutual thankfulness, while they hear and tell what efficacy God is putting into the word, as spoken by them ; which is never likely to be greater than when the ministers of it appear least in their own eyes.
A prudent precaution, consistent with the strictest integrity, discovered itself in the advice which James and the Jewish Christians gave to their beloved brother Paúl on this occasion, to conform to the customs of the Mosaic worship, in an affair in which he very innocently might do it; thereby to shew, that as he was not a slave to ceremonial institutions, so neither was he a bigoted zealot against them; nor one that made it a point of humour to oppose them in miatters of indifference, and to father that opposition on conscience. When will the leaders of our churches agree to teach their followers by such wise and mild examples, to study the honour, and comfort, and usefulness, of each other, pursuing the things that make for peace, and tend to promote mutual edification ?-Yet what prudence, or what integrity, may not sometimes be mistaken or misrepresented? What good may not be evil spoken of, and abused as a cloak for mischief, when men's hearts are overflowing with malice, and are so wretchedly corrupted as to take pleasure in indulging it under the disguise of religion? What numerous falsehoods attended the charge which those furious Jews broaght against Paul, in every article of it? Yet it is beheved, on the credit of a noisy rabble; and it was owing to the gracious interposition of a very remarkable providence, that this light of Israel was not immediately quenched; and that this holy apostle was not torn in pieces by an outrageous mob, fierce and irrational as so many wild beasts, before he could have any liberty to speak for himself.—Let not religion be condemned unheard, and then surely it cannot be condemned at all: Let us with pleasure reflect, that God can raise up guardians to it from the most unexpected quarter, and animate men, like this Roman officer, from considerations merely secu. lar, to appear most seasonably and effectually in the defence of his faithful servants. Let us adore the wise conduct of providence in instances like these; and let us always pursue our duty with courage, since God can never be at a loss for expedients to secure us in our adherence to it.
SECTION XLIX. '
Paul makes a speech to the people, giving them an account of the means by
which he was engaged to embrace and preach the gospel Ch. xxi. 37, &c. xxii. 1-16.
UT as Paul was going to be brought into the castle, he said to
ing him use the Greek language, he said, in some surprise, What 38 canst thou speak Greek ? Art not thou that Egyptian, who didst
before these days stir up a sedition, and lead out into the wilder39 ness four thousand murderers? But Paul said, No: I am indeed a