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greater works performed under the preaching of the gospel, which afford evidence even of a more convincing nature (John xiv. 12): for the power over spiritual life which can create a soul anew, is a greater proof of divinity than any exercise of power in restoring the life of the body. Such proofs are the continual result of God's Spirit accompanying the preaching of His word; and this result must have been produced in ourselves, or we shall, like Eutychus, have been overpowered by external circumstances, so as to sleep under the sound of the gospel, and if we fall into spiritual death while in that state, the fatal results may be eternal.
What liveliness of attention to the gospel do I find in myself? What power has it over me? Have I been raised from the death of sin to the life of righteousness in Christ Jesus, by the Holy Ghost applying the truth to my heart?
Thou gracious God, by whose power alone thy people are enabled to manifest that holiness without which no man shall see thee; endue me with that power by which I may make my calling and election sure, to the comfort of those who instruct me, and to the eternal salvation of my own soul. Let me never consider those whom I love to be safe, nor cease to entertain a prayerful anxiety on their behalf, until I perceive such tokens of the power of thy Spirit working in them, as may shew them conformed to the character of Christ. Give me a deep reverence for the authority of thy holy Scriptures above all other sanction ; teach me how to profit by the ordinance of the christian sabbath ; quicken my attention to all the means of grace; and keep me ever with a lively hope of eternal glory, under the witness of the life of the Spirit in me, by Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
TIME.-April, A.D. 56.
May God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I may understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE. Acts, chap. XX. verses 13 to 38. 13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to
take in Paul : for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mity15 lene. And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios;
and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium ; and 16 the next day we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail by
Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia : fur he hasted, if
it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 17 And from Miletus be sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the 18 church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, “ Ye
know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have 19 been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind,
and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in 20 wait of the Jews : uad how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto
you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from 21 house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, 22 repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And
now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the 23 things that shall befall me there : save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth
in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide ine [or, wait for 24 me]. But none of these things move ine, neither count I my life dear
unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the miuistry,
which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the 25 grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I
have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood 27 of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel 28 of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over
the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church 29 of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this,
that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking 30 perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, 31 and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend 32 you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I 33 have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves 34 know, that these hands have ininistered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labour- 35 ing 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."" And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them 36 all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 37 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.
The seaport of Troas was situated to the north of a large promontory, which ships sailing southward would have to go round, or double, as it is called by sailors. Below this jutting land stood the port of Assos, and by taking a journey from Troas to Assos the inconveniences of the longer sea voyage might be avoided ; this Paul determined to do. His companions therefore went on board ship at Troas, and Paul having appointed to meet them at Assos, went to that place by land : here he joined his friends, and went on board the ship, which immediately sailed to Mitylene in the opposite island of Lesbos, from whence they sailed again. One day's voyage brought them to the coast of the island of Chios; and in another day they reached the island of Samos, about 50 miles further to the south. Then stretching over a little to the east, they arrived at Trogyllium, where they remained till the following day, when they sailed across the bay to Miletus, a town with a celebrated harbour; in which they remained time enough to enable Paul to send a messenger to Ephesus (which was about five and twenty miles distant from Miletus), to tell the ministers of the church there, to come to Miletus to meet him. It would have been easy for Paul to have sailed close to Ephesus and stopped there; but he had determined rather to meet the elders of the church at Miletus, as he did not wish to be detained
in Asia, being anxious if possible to get to Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost, which was the 9th of May, and near at hand.
The presbyters of Ephesus came without delay to Miletus, to meet the apostle; who addressed to them an earnest parting charge. He reminded em of the manner in which he had conducted himself amongst them since he had first come to Asia ; and how he had devoted himself to the Lord's service, discharging with an humble mind the great duties of the ministry; and that too while he had to suffer with the greatest grief severe trials, brought upon him by the evil devices of the Jews. Yet had he not refrained from instructing them in all that was for their benefit, but had plainly laid open to them by public teaching, and by private conversation in their families, the great salvation of the gospel, involving a true turning of heart towards God, and a lively faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; and this he had shewn without respect of persons amongst. them, to Gentiles as well as Jews.
now going to Jerusalem under the strong impulse of the Spirit, feeling bound to go there, but not. knowing what was to happen to him ; though from place to place, as he had come along, the Holy Ghost had moved some in every city to warn him that he was to expect imprisonment and afflictions. None of these expectations however daunted him; and even if his life were required, he would not consider it of any value to be weighed against the great benefit of closing his christian course with joy, and discharging the apostolic ministry with which he had been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, to proclaim the glad tidings of God's mercy to man, in Christ Jesus.
But after speaking of his own expectations, he told the elders of Ephesus the prospect he saw before them; he knew, he said, that of those to whom he was speaking, and amongst whom he had been engaged in proclaiming the kingdom of God, not all should see him again. He took therefore the opportunity afforded him that day of calling them to witness that, if any man should perish for lack of the knowledge of the gospel, the loss of that soul could not be charged upon him; for he had not shrunk
from declaring all the message of God's mercy in the gospel. He therefore bid these ministers whom he left at Ephesus, to be watchful over their own hearts, and to be careful of the people who were committed to their charge as a flock, of which the Holy Ghost had given to them the spiritual oversight. They were to feed and to guide the church of God, the souls which the Lord Jesus had bought at the price of his own blood. The apostle told them he knew that, after he had left them, persons would join themselves and mix amongst the christians, who might be considered as ravenous wolves making havoc of a flock. Nay, even amongst themselves persons would rise up, endeavouring to divide the body, putting forward erroneous doctrines in order to make a party to themselves, rending away the professors of the truth. With such distresses in prospect, the apostle affectionately urged them to be very watchful, remembering how he had himself watched over them, having continued for three years constantly warning them upon all occasions, common or extraordinary, by night and by day, with anxious feelings even to tears.
Then Paul drew his discourse to a close by commending these ministers to God and to his gracious word, which had the power to edify them, and to call them to the inheritance of the saints in light. Finally, he excited them to liberality in relieving each other ; bidding them remember that in all his own ministry amongst them, he had never shewn a desire to be enriched from the goods of others. He called them to witness, that he had even obtained by his own labour the means of supplying his own wants, and the wants of those who had come with
and that in explaining to them all he came to teach, he had shewn them how to follow his example, that by the fruits of their diligence, they might have it in their power to support those who were unable to do the same for themselves, remembering that the Lord Jesus Christ himself had said, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
At the end of this discourse, Paul knelt down together with all who were present, and prayed with them; every one was much affected, even to tears : they embraced him with the most earnest marks of affection; and the greatest cause of their sorrow in parting from him was, that he