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That this young
witnessed the miracle of the restoration to life. It was indeed a late hour, yet it was an interesting occasion, and though an individual might chance to be overcome with sleep, this could be the case with few. How did it happen that the only man who is said to be on that occasion overcome with sleep sat in so dangerous a situation? How many chances were on the other side ? man should sit in this window was as one to every individual of the crowd-one perhaps to thousands. Surely, then, there was the hand of Providence in his being in that situation. But when we have got him in his place, why was he not discovered in his sleep by some who sat near him, or at least had him in their view ? It is strange that in such a situation no one took notice of him till he fell. But fall he must, and, therefore, all circumstances conspire to bring about the event. Paul was preaching, and the gospel must be confirmed by a most interesting miracle. This divine interposition was peculiarly adapted to give joy and consolation to the disciples. It was not only, like other miracles, proof of the gospel, but it relieved them from great distress, and comforted them by turning sorrow into joy. It gave much greater comfort than if the accident had not happened. “And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted." There is more joy on a release from danger, than if danger had not made its appearance. The shepherd rejoices more over the lost sheep on its recovery, than over the whole flock that were not in danger.
This, then, was a noble close to Paul's discourse at Troas.
Reader, you were not in the window at Troas, but you have had, it is likely, some escapes for your life. There are few individuals who cannot look back to some narrow escapes, and wonderful preservations. Ascribe all to Providence, and be confirmed in your belief of that ever-watchful care that the Ruler of the world has over all his creatures, but especially over his own peculiar people. Think also of the providential designs that your heavenly Father has, when he permits accidents to befal you. In one way or other it is for his own glory, and for your good. Is it no slight advantage to you to give you an occasion of gratitude to your protector, and of recognizing his hand in your deliverance ?
And afflictive accidents teach a similar lesson to relatives when the object of their affection is removed by them. It was on this occasion necessary that Eutychus should be restored to life. But such accidents may be to death; and for the unspeakable advantage not only of the individuals to whom they happen, but also to the survivors. It may be overruled for a very general blessing on those connected. If we are called to glorify God by a very painful death, throughout eternity there will be no cause of regret; and others may be blessed by the occasion of our sufferings. More complete devot. edness to God, and deadness to the world, with all its vanities, is a rich recompence for the acuteness
of our distress in parting with beloved relatives. God's sovereignty is always to his people in wisdom and in love. This is the difference between sovereignty in God and sovereignty in man. We dread the sovereignty of man, because we have no security of its being exercised in mercy, or even in justice: we rejoice in the sovereignty of God, because we are sure it is always exercised for the good of his people. The missionary may sink with the ship that was to carry him to the place of his intended labours; but the sovereignty, through which we cannot see, may be both for the glory of God and the good of his servant, who is crowned with laurel before entering the field. A Christian may fall from his horse or from his feet, and die. And, as to Providence, is it not the same as if he had caught a fever or a cold, which issued in death? Let us, then, look to the Providence of our God by night and by day: let us see his hand in all our affictions, and in all our deliverances.
PRESERVATION OF PAUL FROM THE JEWS IN THE
TEMPLE. -Acts xxi. 31.
life, Paul. Never were you in greater danger. The murderers have you in their hands, and they are in the very act of beating you to death. But you are saved by Providence, without a miracle. 6 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an up
roar. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.” What a happy thing that tidings of the tumult were carried to the chief captain! But especially, how providential was it that the tidings reached him in time! The victim of vengeance might have been immolated before the arrival of the officers. And it was strange that such was not the fact. It would take some time to carry the tid. ings, and it would take some time to prepare the guard, and come to the place. Paul might have been killed a thousand times before the arrival of deliverance. The tumult must have commenced some considerable time before the mob drew Paul out of the temple to kill him, else he would have been killed long before the news had reached the officer. Here is the band of Providence adjusting the deliverance to the danger, and putting the guard of deliverance in motion, so as to arrive at the critical moment the work of death was menced ; but Providence had a deliverer at the door. A few minutes longer, and a hundred thousand men could have done no service to Paul. How many times is murder prevented in a like providential manner! The accidental approach of others, or even the rustling of the leaves by the wind, may turn away the hand of the assassin.
What a blessing to the Christian is civil government! Even arbitrary and tyrannical governments are in general a protection to them from the assaults
of illegal violence.
God is the author of civil government ; and he makes it in every country answer the purpose for which he has appointed it. True, it is often tyrannical, oppressive, and unjust ; but it never is so, except when God designs to punish the nations. And if Christians know and perform their duty to the government under which Providence has placed them, they will usually find protection. But if it be the will of God that his people should suffer from the rulers of the nations, for the glory of his name, they may commit their safety to the Lord. If they suffer for his work, the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon them. Let them never suffer for evil-doing. Let them be as strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They have before them a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
ASSAULT ON PAUL IN THE TEMPLE PROVIDENTIALLY
AFFORDED HIM AN OPPORTUNITY OF DEFENDING
A careless observer, unacquainted with the ways of God, would have judged the assault on Paul in the Temple, and his consequent imprisonment, to be unfortunate circumstances. Providence, he would think, was against the preacher and his new doc. trine. But the truth was far otherwise. These things contributed to aid his cause. The chief captain had taken Paul for a noted disturber of the