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length of Paul's discourse forms an apology for this
The miracle. God permitted to be wrought in his favour, seems also to strengthen the supposition, that he sank beneath the pressure of fatigue, after giving long and close attention. Paul, with the utmost affection; went down and embraced him, saying to those about him, Trouble not yourselves, for his life is in him. And they returned to the same apartment, no doubt, full of praises, being not a little comforted that the young man was alive. They did not separate till break of day. We will resume the subject at our next meeting:
Aunt. THE next day Paul set out for Assos, on foot, probably that he might have opportunity of meeting with some of the christians by the way. · At Assos he met with his companions, who had come by sea. They all took shipping, and, after three days sail, arrived at Miletus, about thirty miles south of Ephesus. Paul, purposing to be at Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost, would not go up to Ephesus, lest that journey should detain him too long, but sent for the elders of the church, that he might give them a farewel exhortation, knowing that he should never see them again. This pathetic address is recorded at length in Acts xx. 17, to the end; which I would recommend to your attentive perusal. He then kneeled down and prayed with
them; and they wept much, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship. In a short time they arrived at Tyre; and finding disciples, they staid there seven days. Some of them, who had the gift of prophecy, ad-. vised Paul not to go to Jerusalem ; but, when they found he could not be dissuaded from proceeding on his journey, they, with their wives and children, attended him to the shore, where Paul, kneeling down, prayed with them. Then they sailed to Ptolemais, a city of Phoenicia, near Galilee, where they abpde one day with the brethren. The next day they came to Cæsarea, and lodged at the house of Philip the evangelist. And there came down from Jerusalem a certain prophet, named Agabus; and he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet.
Maria. What could he mean by that?
Aunt. By this striking similitude he represented to Paul the treatment he should meet with at Jeru-, salem, assuring him that he should be bound, and delivered into the hands of the Gentiles.
George. Did not his friends dissuade him from going?
Aunt. They used the most earnest intreaties. But Paul, with a zeal which all the tears of the tenderest affection were not able to extinguish, nobly replied, What mean ye to weep, and to break my heart? for I am ready, not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus. Finding his resolution fixed and immoveable, they ceased their importunity, saying,
The will of the Lord be done. They then proceeded to Jerusalein, with some disciples from Cæsarea, and one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom they were to lodge.
The day after their arrival, Paul had a meeting with James and the elders, to whom he related what great things the Lord had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry, which, when they heard, they glorified God: but advised Paul to attend to some ceremonial purifications, in order to lessen the prejudices of the Jews against him. Not many days after, when Paul was in the temple for this purpose, some Jews of Asia stirred up the people, and laid hands on him, crying out, That this was he who taught men every where to forsake the law and the temple. And the people, ran together, and took Paul, and drew him out of the temple, and were about to kill him. But Claudius Lysias, chief captain of the Roman band, which kept garrison in the castle Antonia, being informed of the tumnlt, came down with his soldiers ; and when the people saw the captain, they left off beating Paul. And the captain took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains, inquiring who he was, and what he had done. Some cried one thing, and some another, and the tumult was so great, that the soldiers were obliged to take Paul in their arms, to defend him from the violence of the people. As he was going into the castle, he begged leave of the captain to, speak to the people, which being granted, Paul stood on the stairs, and making signs for silence, began to address them in Hebrew, which excited
their attention, and they became more calm. He then gave
them an account of his birth and education; his zeal for their religion, and his persecution of the christians; his conversion, and call to preach to the Gentiles. Hitherto they had heard him with patience, but, when he came to defend his preaching to the Gentiles, they could contain no longer, but cried out, Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he should live. And the more to express their indignation, they cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air; but the captain ordered him into the castle, and, that he should be examined by scourging, till he had confessed what he had done to make the Jews so outrageous against him
Lucy. I think that was both a cruel and uncertain method of coming to the truth. Poor Paul ! he had before undergone the same punishment at Philippi!
Aunt. At this time he escaped by taking the benefit of the Roman laws; for, while they were binding him, he asked the centurion whether it was lawful to scourge a Roman, and that uncondemned? The centurion immediately informed the captain, who relinquished his design of scourging, being afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, because he had bound him. The next day Paul was loosed from his bands; and, that the captain might come to a certainty of the accusation brought against him by the Jews, he ordered the Sanhedrim to assemble, and bronght Paul before them to be examined. Paul, perceiving the council to be composed partly of Sadducees, who deny the resurrection, and partly of Pharisees, who believe it, took advantage of this circumstance, by declaring that it was for the hope of the resurrection of the dead that he was called in question; thus following our Lord's advice, Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. This declaration, which was an undoubted truth, immediately produced the desired effect; for the assembly were now as much divided among themselves, as before they were unanimous against him. And the contention grew so violent, that Lysias was constrained to take away Paul by force, and bring him into the castle. At night, to comfort him under his troubles, the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul; for, as thou hast testified of me at Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. The Jews, defeated in their designs, grew the more enraged ; and forty of them bound themselves under a curse, that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
George. But Paul was in a place of security, and how did they think to come at him?
Aunt. They went to the Sanhedrim, acquainting them with their design, and begging them to assist in it, by sending to Lysias, the captain, to bring the prisoner down, that they might examine him more perfectly, declaring that before he could reach the council, they would slay him. Paul's sister's son, coming to the knowledge of it, went and informed him of the whole affair.
Maria. But Paul had no occasion to take any notice of it; because he had assurance from God that his life would be preserved.