Gambar halaman

cluded to proceed, if possible, to Plienice, and there to winter.

George. The centurion; however, had no need to

have gone.

Aunt. But he put more confidence in the master of the ship than in Paul: and, a gentle gale arising from the south, they thought they had obtained their purpose, and immediately set sail. But shortly after, there arose a tempestuous wind, which was so furious, that the seamen were compelled to let the ship drive before it; and it ran under a certain small island, called Clauda, where, with inuch difficulty, they saved the boat; then, undergirding the ship, to secure it from splitting, and fearing lest they should fall on quicksands, they struck sail, and were again driven, being violently tossed by the tempest. The next day they lightened the ship by casting the goods overboard ; on the third day, the tackle and furniture of the ship shared the same fate. And when neither sun nor stars had appeared for many days, the tempest still continuing, the seamen lost all hope of being saved.

Lucy. They had reason now to wish they had attended to Paul's advice.

Aunt. Paul reminded them of it; but, at the same time, comforted them with an assurance that though the ship would be wrecked on a certain island, yet no one's life should be lost; for God had sent an angel to inform him, that, notwithstanding the present danger, he should be brought before the emperor; and that, for his sake, not one in the ship should be lost, And Paul exhorted them to be of good cheer, for he believed God, that it should be as he had told him.

On the fourteenth night, the shipmen, about midnight, deemed that they were near some country, and sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and, when they had gone a little farther, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms; then, fearing lest they should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors, and wished for the day : but Paul, perceiving that the shipmen were about to desert the ship by taking to the boat, under pretence of casting anchors oịt of the foreship, said to the eenturion and soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

George. How did the soldiers oblige them to remain on board ?

Aunt. They cut the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. Paul then exhorted them to take some refreshment for their health's sake, assuring them that no hurt should come to them. And he took bread and gave thanks to God, in the presence of them all. And they were comforted, and took some meat.

George. How many were in the ship?

Aunt. Two hundred and seventy-six persons. And, when it was day, they knew not the land; but, discerning a creek, with a kind of haven, into which they wished to thrust the ship, they took up the anchor, loosened the rudder bands, and hoisting up the main sail to the wind, made towards the land: but, unexpectedly falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the fore part stuck fast, and remained immoveable: but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. The soldiers' counsel, in this extremity, was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should make their escape; but the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that they who could swim should cast themselves into the sea, and get to land.

Maria. Bụt how did they escape who could not swim

Aunt. Some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship: so they all got safe to land.

George. What place had they got to?

Aunt. An island, as Paul had foretold, then called Melita, but now Malta; the inhabitants of which were descendants of the Carthaginians, but subject to the Romans. They shewed great kindness to these distressed strangers, making them à fire to warm them, and dry their clothes. As Paul was laying some sticks on the fire, à viper fastened on his hand. When the barbarians saw this, they supposed him to have been a murderer, and that, though he had escaped the sea, yet vengeance followed him; but he shook off the beast into the fire, the people still gazing on hiin, expecting him to fall down dead: but when they saw no harm follow, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

Maria. Why were these people called barbarians ?

Aunt. This term, as used by the ancients, has no respect to cruelty of character, but to inferiority of manners, being generally applied by the Greeks and Romans, to almost all nations whose language and customs differed froin their's.

The shipwreck of Paul and his companions being made known to Publius, the chief man of the island; from compassion to their misfortunes, he lodged and entertained them three days, with all civility. Paul amply rewarded the hospitality of this great wan.

Maria. How? for he had nothing to give him.

Aunt. By the miraculous cure of his father, who lay sick of a fever. Paul prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. This encouraged others to bring their diseased to him, who were also healed. And the people loaded them with honours; and afterwards furnished them with provisions and conveniencies for the rest of the voyage.

After three months they left the place, and set sail for Rome, in a ship of Alexandria, which bad wintered in the isle. They next put in at Syracuse, a famous city of Sicily, where they tarried three days: thence sailing to Rhegium, a port and city of Calabria in Italy; whence, in two days, they arrived at Puteoli, a port of Campania in Italy, near Naples, where the ships of Alexandria were usually unladen. Here Paul, meeting some christians, at their request, staid a week with them, and then proceeded on his journey to Rome by land.

Lucy. How many miles might he have to travel ?

Aunt. About one hundred. The christians at Rome, hearing that the apostle Paul was coming to that city, went out to meet him : some as far as Appii forum, fifty-one miles, and others as far as the Three Taverns, a place so called, thirty-three miles from Rome. And when Paul saw them, he thanked God, and took courage.

Arriving at Rome, Julius delivered his prisoners to the commander of the emperor's guards, (whose name, as ecclesiastical history informs us, was Barrhus, a man of good disposition and reputation) who permitted Paul to dwell by himself, in his own hired house, with only one soldier to guard him. After three days, Paul called the chief of the Jews together, telling them why he was constrained to appeal to Cæsar; and assuring them, that it was for the hope of Israel he was bound with that chain. They appointed a day to hear him concerning the christian faith: and when they were come, he ex-, pounded and testified the kingdom of God; persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening

Maria. What success had this discourse?

Aunt. Some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. Paul concluded with telling them, that the salvation of God was sent to the Gentiles, and that they would hear it. When he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasonings among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, receiving all that came unto him, teaching them those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

Lucy. But, as a prisoner, his labours must be so confined, that comparatively he could do but little good.

Aunt. Paul's imprisonment tended very much to promote the propagation of the gospel, and made him famous in the emperor Nero's court, where he was the instrument of converting many to christianity. Many of the brethren, by his success,

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »