« ZurückWeiter »
his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak; and to remember the words of the LORD JESUs, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
When he had said these things, he kneeled down and prayed with them, and with the tenderest expressions of cordial friendship took his leave of them. The thoughts that they should see him no more caused a general lamentation, and they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him. They then conducted him to the ship, and commended his person to the care, and his labours to the blessing, of his divine Master.
PAUL PROCEEDS ON HIS VOYAGE.
From Acts, Chap. xxi, xxii, xxiii.
PAUL and his company pursued their voyage towards Judea. They touched at several places, at some of which Paul met with disciples, who, being endued with the gift of prophecy, predicted, that many dangers threatened him at Jerusalem; but he was determined to encounter them all for the sake of the Gospel. At length he with his companions arrived at the port of Cæsarea. Here he met with a prophet named gabus, with whom he had formerly been acquainted at An* See page 349.
och.-This man took up Paul's girdle, and, binding his own hands and feet, as a significant and prophetic sign, said, Thus saith the HOLY GHOST, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. On this, Paul's friends earnestly entreated him not to go; but in full assurance that he should promote the cause of CHRIST, he resolutely answered, What mean ye to weep, and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD JESUS.-His friends then desisted, saying, The will of the LORD be done; and Paul and his company proceeded to Jerusalem, where they were: joyfully received by the brethren. The next day Paul took his companions with him to the house of James, where all the elders of the flourishing church at Jerusa-> lem were assembled-Paul related to them what success God had given to his ministry among the Gentiles; and when they heard it, they glorified the LORD. They then observed to him, that the progress of the Gospel amongst the Jews had been so great, that there were› then assembled in Jerusalem many thousands of converts: but though they believed CHRIST to be the MESSIAH; still they were in general tenacious of the ceremonial law of Moses: the disciples therefore counselled Paul to conduct himself with caution amongst them, as they were jealous of his teaching the Gentiles not to observe circumcision, and other Jewish customs.-Paul followed their advice; but when the Jews from Asia saw him in the Temple, they raised a tumult, under pretence that he had brought a Gentile into that part of the holy edifice which was appropriated to native Jews. This occasioned a general confusion, and Paul R 4
was violently seized by the people, who dragged him out of the Temple, that it might not be defiled with his blood.-Just as they were going to kill him, word was brought to Lysias, the chief officer of the Roman garrison, that all the city of Jerusalem was in confusion; he immediately took soldiers and centurions with him to quell the riot: the Jews therefore were stopped before they had completed their design. But Lysias drew near, and, supposing Paul to be some very criminal person took him into custody, commanding that he should be bound with two chains; and finding the populace so enraged against him, enquired who he was, and what he had done? But the clamour was so great, that he could not comprehend the matter; he therefore ordered Paul to be carried into the castle.—The multitude followed him even to the stairs; and when he was taken away by the soldiers who guarded him, they pursued him with invectives, crying, "Away with him! away with him!" But as they were going to commit him to the castle, Paul said unto Lysias, "May I be allowed to speak to thee?" The officer, surprised at his addressing him in the Greek language, asked him, how he came to know it? supposing him to be an Egyptian, who, a short time before, had raised a sedition,, and formed a dangerous confederacy of four thousand ruffians, who had committed dreadful depredations. Paul satisfied Lysias of his mistake, by informing him, that he was a Jew of the city of Tarsus, and then requested his permission to speak to the people; which having obtained he stood upon the stairs, and beckoned with his hand unto the people, who seeing him protected by the chief captain, and curious to know what he wished to say, kept silence.-Paul then began
a discourse in the Hebrew tongue, in which he informed them, that he was by birth and religion a Jew, educated at Jerusalem, and accurately instructed in the Mosaic Law by Gamaliel. He added, that he had distinguished himself by his zealous attachment to the principles he early imbibed, and had, with the strictest severity, persecuted the Christians. For the truth of these assertions, he appealed to the knowledge of the High Priest and Sanhedrim, whose commission he had obtained to go to Damascus, in order to seize upon all the followers of CHRIST.-He then related the wonderful vision which he saw on the road, and every circumstance of his conversion; and also the particulars of another vision he had in the Temple of Jerusalem, in which he was commanded by the LORD to leave that city, and go amongst the Gentiles. Hitherto the multitude listened to Paul with silent attention; but as soon as he mentioned a mission to the Gentiles, their rage broke out afresh, and they cried out again in the most outrageous manner, Away with such a fellow,. from the earth! for it is not fit that he should live. The chief captain not understanding what had passed, but perceiving that Paul had exasperated rather than appeasedthe people, commanded that he should be brought into the castle, and scourged in the severest manner, in order to bring him to confess his crime, and he was accordingly bound: but Paul informed the centurion who stood by, that he was a Roman citizen; on which the centurion hastened to acquaint the chief captain, who came immediately to satisfy himself of the truth of this circumstance; and Paul affirmed, that he was really a Roman citizen by inheritance. On this, those who were going to scourge him desisted from their purpose: and Lysias was also alarmed, lest his illegal proceedings against
against a Roman citizen should involve him in perplexities; however, he detained him in the castle for that night; but the next morning commanded the Jewish High Priest and all the other members of the Sanhedrim to hold a court; and having loosed Paul from his bonds, brought him before them. And Paul earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. Ananias the High Priest, taking this speech as an insult, commanded one that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Paul, animated on a sudden by the secret impulse of a prophetic spirit, cried out, GoD shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by, said, Revilest thou GoD's High Priest? Paul upon this, unwilling to enter upon a question so difficult, as that the divine impulse on his mind inclined him to utter these words, calmly replied, that in his sudden transport he was not aware that the person he spoke to was the High Priest; and meant not to justify by his example disrespect to magistrates or any other man in a public character. Paul having made this apology, cast his eyes round the Court, and perceived, that part of the assembly were Sadducees and part Pharisees. On this he cried out, Men and brethren, I am by birth and education a Pharisee; nor is there any one more zealous than myself, for the fundamental doctrine of that celebrated sect, the resurrection of the dead. On his addressing them in this manner, a contention arose among the different mem. bers of the Court, who were at last very clamorous, some in favour of Paul, some against him; which alarmed the chief captain for the safety of his prisoner; and he therefore commanded the soldiers to go down by force,