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taken away.

me,

sınall tempest lay on us, all hope yet they hate and seek to destroy. The that we should be saved was then wicked are oft-times delivered from tempo

21 But after long ab- ral destruction for the sake of the godly stinence, Paul stood forth in the God for them there was two hundred

who live among them, and intercede with midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye threescore and sixteen persons, all heashould have hearkened unto me, thens, except three or four, saved for St. and not have loosed from Crete, Paul's sake, who no doubt begged their and to have gained this harm and lives of God. Lord, what fools and madloss. 22 And now I eshort you to men are the wicked, who seek the destrucbe of good cheer : for there shall be lion of those for whose sake it is that they no loss of any man's life among you, which wicked men make by sinning, they

are not themselves destroyed! The breaches but of the ship. 23 For there stood make up by praying. Observe, 4. How by me this night the angel of God, steady and stedfast the apostle was in the whose I am, and whom I serve, 24 faith and belief of God's promise and proSaying, Fear not, Paul ; thou must vidence for his own and the company's be brought before Cesar : and, lo, preservation : I believe God, that it shall

We honour God hath given thee all then that be even as it was told me. sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, Sirs, his promise, rely upon his power, believe

God exceedingly, when we depend upon be of good cheer: for I believe God, his word, though what he says be very that it shall be even as it was told improbable, and unlikely to come to pass.

26 Howheit, we must be cast upon a certain island.

27 But when the fourteenth night Observe here, 1. The hopeless, helpless, and down in Adria, about midnight

was come, as we were driven up comfortless state, which St. Paul, and those in the ship with him, were now reduced the shipmen deemed that they drew to: neither sun nor stars appeared, and the near to some country : 28 And weather proved very tempestuous, and when sounded, and found it twenty fathey utterly despaired of life, then God thoms: and when they had gone a gives Paul, and he the rest, a comfortable little further, they sounded again, assurance that nothing should be lost, but and found it fifteen fathoms. 29 the vessel only. O'how does God delight to Then fearing lest we should have deliver those that are forsaken of their hopes; fallen upon rocks, they cast four an, what a present help is he to the helpless ! He reserves his holy hand for a dead lift! chors out of the stern, and wished our extremities are the seasons of his suc- for the day. 30 And as the shipcour. Observe, 2. The great and special men were about to Aee out of the favour which God indulged the holy apos- ship, when they had let down the tle, even to send an angel to him to coin- boat into the sea, under colour as fort him : The angel of God, whose 5 though they would have cast an. am, and whom I serve, said, Fear not. O what an encouragement is it to us to enter chors out of the foreship, 31 Paul upon, and be faithful in, the service of God, said to the centurion and to the solwhen he causes his holy angels, upon ali diers, Except these abide in the occasions, to serve us! When visible dan- ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then gers are before us, God has invisible servants the soldiers cut off the ropes of the round about us, both to succour and secure boat, and let her fall off. us. Lord, help me in sincerity to say, Thinc I am, and thee I serve ! Let me. A farther account is here given both of be found faithful in all the instances of my the apostle's imminent danger and extraduty to thee, and then shall I find (as the ordinary deliverance; for fourteen days apostle here) that safety evermore accom- together the ship was continually tossed in panies duty. Observe, 3. How God was the sea; at last the mariners cast four anpleased for St. Paul's sake to save all that chors out of the ship, and, by the help of were with him in the ship; sinners are a boat, jotended to make their escape, spared and saved for the saints' sake, whom leaving the passengers to shift for themselves : St. Paul, perceiving this, told the you. 35 And when he had thus centurion and the soldiers, that, though spoken, he took bread, and gave Almighty God had promised to preserve thanks to God in presence of them them, yet they must not expect it without all : and when he had broken it, using due means for their own preservation, which was to stay the mariners in the ship; he began to eat. 36 Then were whose help and diligence, direction and they all of good cheer, and they care, would be especially needful to them also took some meat. 37 And we on such an occasion. Hereupon the sol. were all in the ship two hundred diers, to prevent the mariners' design, cut threescore and sixteen souls. the ropes of the boat, and let it fall into the sea. Learn hence, That the end and the Observe here, 1. What honour God put means are always joined together in the upon the holy apostle: although he was a purpose and decree of God. The same poor prisoner in chains, yet God made God that ordained the end, ordained the him the only counsellor and comforter means in order to that end; therefore, as unto all that were in the ship. First, he ad. to trust to means is to neglect God, so to viseth them to eat, because that through neglect the means is to rempt God. As consternation of mind, and horror of death, here, That God who decreed that they should they had made no set meal for fourteen not perish with the ship, decreed ihat the days; not that they subsisted miraculously skilful seamen should abide in the ship. without any nourishment at all, but eat Almighty God likes not to be tied to so little that it was in a manner continual means himself; but it is his pleasure to fasting. Next he becomes the chaplain of tie us. Sometimes, to show his sovereignty, the ship, He gave thanks to God in the he is pleased to work without means. presence of them all; that is, he desired Sometimes to show his omnipotency, he God's blessing upon what they eat, and works against means; the fire shall not praised him for it. Thanks should be reburn, the water shall not drown, the iron iurned when benefits are received from the shall swim, the sun shall stand still, nay, hand of man, much more from the hand go several degrees backward. The first of God. What shall we think of those that cause can suspend the power and operation sit down to a full table as a beast to his of second causes, when he pleases. But as forage, without taking any notice of the the care of the end belongs to God, so the bountiful hand that feeds them? St. Paul care of the means belongs to us, and must having thus refreshed himself, and by his be used whea they may, and where they example and words encouraged all the rest can be used. Accordingly here, the mari- to do the like, an account is taken of the ners, in order to their own and others' exact number of persons which were in the preservation, stay in the ship, lighten the ship, and it was found to be two hundred ship, undergird her, cast out their anchors, threescore and sixteen souls. Probably hoist up the main-sail, loose the rudder. this was done at the motion of St. Paul, bands, and do every thing in order to their that so, after their deliverance, it might appreservation which was needful. The pear how exactly his prediction, mentioned, purpose of God to prolong our lives, must ver. 22. That there shall be no loss of any not lessen our care for the preservation man's life, nor an hair fall from the head of our lives; when God has ordained and of any, was verified and fulfilled. What. appointed means, we cannot expect to find ever God speaks by the mouth of his holy safety in the neglect or contempt of those servants, be it by way of prediction or means.

denunciation, shall certainly be accom

plished and come to pass : God is honour33 And while the day was coming ed in his truth, when his promises are folon, Paul besought them all to take filled towards his people, and threatenings meat, saying, This day is the four- inflicted on his enemies. teenth day that ye have tarried, 38 And when they had eaten and continued fasting, having taken enough, they lightened the ship, nothing. 34 Wherefore I pray you and cast out the wheat into the sea. to take some meat: for this is for 39 And when it was day, they knew your health; for there shall not an not the land : but they discovered hair fall from the head of any of a certain creek with a shore, into

the which they were minded, if it extremity was God's opportunity; and this

Obwere possible, to thrust in the ship. strait was the season of his succour. 40 And when they had taken up serve. 4. What horrid and cruel ingratitude

was found with these wretched soldiers tothe anchors, they comınitted them

wards the apostle: they design to take selves unto the sea, and loosed the

away his life, who had taken such care rudder-bands, and hoised up the of them, and for whose sake all their lives mainsail to the wind, and made to- were preserved! It is no new thing for an ward shore. 41 And falling into a unkind world to return evil for good, and place where two seas met, they ran hatred for good-will; but to do good the ship aground ; and the fore and to suffer evil is the christian's exerpart stuck fast, and remained un

cise at present. They consulted to kill moveable, but the hinder part was

the prisoners, (of whom the apostle was broken with the violence of the and escape. 'Observe, 5. How God put

chief,) lest any of them should swim out waves. 42 And the soldiers' coun- into the centurion's heart to defeat their sel was to kill the prisoners, lest barbarity and bloody counsel, and to save any of them should swim out, and the apostle, for whose sake the centurion and cscape. 43 But the centurion, will. all in the ship were saved. Many are the ing to save Paul, kept them from wicked devices in the heart of man, but the

counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. Obtheir purpose; and commanded that

serve, 6. How God performed his promise they which could swim, should cast to the apostle to a very tittle: they were all themselves first into the sea, and get saved, not a man drowne, no pot any to land : 44 And the rest, some on one of the bloody soldiers who gave counsel boards, and some on broken pieces to kill Paul. O how good is God to the unof the ship. And so it came to thankful and unholy! his tender mercies pass, that they cscaped all safe to sinners fare sometimes for the saints' sake.

are over all his works; and how well do land.

Thus, after a long and dangerous voyage, Here observe, 1. How willing men in the providence of God brought St. Paul distress are to part with all things for the with the rest of the passengers at last safe to preservation of life; these sea-faring men shore. O how punctual is God to what he are here found three times lightening their promises ! What he foretells he will fulfil. ship of her lading and burden : first the He had foretold by Paul, that they should inerchandise was cast overboard, ver. 18. suffer shipwreck, and at last be casi upon a next all the ship's furniture was heaved certain island : and accordingly here they over, ver. 19. and now, ver. 38. goes over escaped to an island called Melita; where the very wheat, which they had provided what signal instances of hunanity they refor their daily bread ; future provision is ceived from the hands of barbarous heathens, cast away to save life at present : life is the the following chapter fully informs us. most precious treasure, the most excellent thing in nature; a man will part with all

CHAP. XXVII. the comforts and supports of life, rather thani with life itself. Observe, 2. What a wonderful work of God was here upon the

ND when they were escaped, AN

then they knew that the island hearts of these poor Pagans, thus to venture their lives by parting with their food which

was called Melita. 2 And the barbathey had to live upon, barely upon St. Paul's rous people shewed us no little word, that they should want wheat no kindness : for they kindled a fire, more in the ship. Such an influence has and received us every one, because God upon the hearts and minds of men, of the present rain, and because of when he pleases to make use of it. Observe, the cold. 3 And when Paul had 3. How God's delivering power most gloriously manifest in the most deplorable

gathered a bundle of sticks, and extremities of his people. Now, when the

laid them on the fire, there came a ship was fallen into a place where two viper out of the heat, and fastened seas met, when she ran aground, and was

on his hand. 4 And when the barbroken with the violence of the waves, this barians saw the venomous beast

hang on his hand, they said among without the concourse and concurrence of themselves, No doubt this man is a supernatural providence: This viper, acmurderer, whom, though he hath cording to its nature, did not, and could not, escaped the sea, yet vengeance suf- sting the apostle, being restrained by the fereth not to live. 5 And he shook Note, 5. That the humanity of these bar

overruling providence and power of God. off the beast into the fire, and felt barous heathens towards those that suffered no harm. 6 Howbeit, they looked shipwreck, may justly condemn the inhuwhen he should have swollen, or manity of them that are called christians, fallen down dead suddenly ; but towards those that are shipwrecked : How after they had looked a great while,

do some that live near the sea-coast rejoice

at a wreck at sea, in hopes of enriching and saw no harm come to him, they themselves with the spoils of others! The changed their minds, and said, that barbarous were humane here, but the huhe was a god.

mane are now barbarous. Note, 6. How After a long and dangerous voyage, re- prone and ready men are to draw sinful corded in the foregoing chapter, the provin inferences from sorrowful premises; to condence of God brought St. Paul and the rest clude, that such a man, or such a people, of the prisoners to an island called Melita, are wicked, because they are wretched ; where they were all courteously received by great sinners, because great sufferers. This the islanders ; who finding them wet and was the barbarous logic of these islanders. cold, made them a fire to warm and refresh It had been well that it had been con. them: When, behold, a viper that was in fined to that island: When the barbarians the wood, feeling the heat of the fire, leaped saw the venomous beast on the apostle's out upon St. Paul, and fastened on his hand, they said, No doubt this man is a hand : which the islanders seeing, instantly murderer. Note, 7. How mutable is the concluded that the apostle was some noto. mind of man, and how inconstant are men rious malefactor, whom divine vengeance in their esteem and opinions of meu : the followed : but the apostle, (according to apostle had no sooner shook off the viper our Saviour's promise, Mark xvi. 11. If into the fire, but the barbarians change ye touch any deadly thing it shall not their opinions into another extreme ; he hurt you,) shaking off the venomous beast whom they accounted a murderer before, they into the fire, without harm, the people pre- called a god now : They changed their sently changed their opinion, and took him minds, and said that he was a god. They for a god, that was come to them in the are light and lavish in their applauding, as shape of a man. Here note, 1. How it before they were rash and severe in cenpleased God by a new miracle to confirm suring. Thus, upon changes of providence, the apostle's authority, and thereby to pre- many change their opinions of men, somepare the hearts of those barbarous people times for the better, but commonly for the for the receiving of the gospel. God will worse. Lord ! help me to esteem myself honour his gospel, and the faithful dis- only by the esteem which I have with thee. pensers of it, wherever they go, by prepar- Let me never be lifted up with the applauding the hearts of the people to receive and ings, nor cast down by the despisings, of entertain it. Note, 2. That great and ma- men; neither praise nor reproach are much nifold dangers and distresses may, and oft- to be accounted of, whilst we are innocent, times do, befall gracious persons. No soon- and make thee our friend. Question, But er is one affliction passed over and gone why did not St. Paul, that shook off the from them, but presently another comes on viper from his hand, shake off the chain with a fresh assault. Thus here, St. Paul from his arm, and set himself at liberty ? had no sooner escaped the shipwreck, and Answer. St. Paul was not the author, but gets to shore, but a viper fastens upon his a minister or instrument in this miracle; hand : Many are the afflictions of the it was not St. Paul himself, but God righteous. Observe, 3. That the very by him, that wrought this miracle, Acts light of nature suggests, even to the most 12. God wrought special mirabarbarous heathens, that wickedness shall cles by the hand of Paul. Now, when not go unpunished : No doubt this man is the deliverance of the apostle from his bonds a murderer, whom vengeance suffercth made most for the glory of God, he was not to live. Note, 4. That natural agents delivered; but, when his bonds would more cannot act or excrt their natural powers, advance the gospel, God kept him in bonds.

XIX.

were ne

7 In the same quarters were pos- him by making hiin the instrument of the sessions of the chief man of the miraculous cure. Note, 4. How the infiisland, whose name was Publius, nitely wise God made all things work togewho received us, and lodged us three ther for his own glory: that the apostie

should suffer shipwreck ; that he should days courteously. 8 And it came

be cast upon an island : that he should be to pass, that the father of Publius

cast upon a barbarous island, where the lay sick of a fever, and of a bloody name of God was not known; that a viper flux: to whom Paul entered in, should fasten upon him, and not hurt him; and prayed, and laid his hands on that the governor of the island's father, and him, and healed him. 9 So when other inhabitants of the island, should at this was done, others also, which this time be sick, and miraculously cured

by St. Paul. All these tender towards the had diseases in the island came, promoting of God's glory, by opening an and were healed ; 10 Who also effectual door for the conversion of many honoured us with many honours ; souls; for during the three months that the and when we departed, they laded apostle stayed there, he planted a christian us with such things as

church in the island, which became famous cessary.

for its stedfastness in the truth. Note, 5. The proof and evidence which the islanders

gave of the truth of their conversion by the Observe here, How God goes on still to apostle's ministry among them ; namely, that honour the person and ministry of St. Paul, those new converts loaded St. Paul's ship with in the eyes and hearts of this barbarous necessaries for their voyage when he went people, by enabling him_further to work away from them. This was a real fruit of miracles in this island. First, on Publius their effectual faith, as also their honouring the governor's father, and then on others him with many honours. The best evithat were diseased in the island. Here dence of sincere faith, is a holy fruitfulness note, 1. How great the civility of the go- in good works, in works of piety towards vernor of the island was towards St. Paul, God, and works of charity towards man : entertaining him and all the company with They honoured us with many honours, him, even more than two hundred persons, and when we departed they laded us with at his own charge. And, 2. How well such things as were necessary. the governor was rewarded for his hospitable charity ; his father lying sick of a fever

11 And after three months we deand bloody flux, is miraculously recovered by God. As there is no duty more cer

parted in a ship of Alexandria, tainly rewarded in another world than that which had wintered in the isle, of charity, so is it frequently rewarded in whose sign was Castor and Pollux. this world. Publius was well paid by his 12 And landing at Syracuse, we father's recovery, for what he did for St. tarried there three days. 13 And Paul and his company.

Note, 3. The from thence we fetched a compass, means which the apostlc used for the re

and came to Rhegium : and after covery of this sick person : prayer and imposition of hands, ver. 8. Paul prayed,

one day the south wind blew, and and laid his hands on him, and healed we came the next day to Puteoli : him. Now, hereby the apostle showed that 14 Where we found brethren, and he could do nothing of himself; accord- were desired to tarry with them seingly he applies by prayer to that God ven days : and so we went toward who killeth and maketh alive, and the Lord

Rome. 15 And from thence, when heard him. St. Paul had honoured God, the brethren heard of us, they came and now God honours bim. How grieved was the holy apostle when God's honour to meet us as far as Appii-forum,

and the Three Taverns : whom was sacrilegiously given to him! I doubt not but it grieved the good man more when

when Paul saw,

he thanked God, they called him a god, than when they

and took courage. accounted him a murderer ; here therefore he returns the honour to God by prayer, Observe here, 1. That St. Paul at the ascribing all to him; and God honours command of God, though shipwrecked

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