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strong, nothing holy, bestow upon me the gift of wisdom, to guide and encourage me in proclaiming thy truth so as to set forth thy glory, and magnify the power of thy word to restrain the wrath of man. May I never shrink from availing myself of any opportunity of declaring the gospel of thy dear Son. May I never cast a stumblingblock, nor cause to fall into sin those who love not thy ways. I praise thy name that I have been born in a land where thy name is proclaimed, and thy gospel declared ; and that I have been admitted into the outward and visible church through the ordinance appointed by thy blessed Son; but do thou, O Lord, teach me ever to remember that none can enter into thy glorious kingdom, except he be born again of the Spirit; and grant that my heart
may be so fully persuaded of the power of thy truth, by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, that I may give up all things that thou commandest a christian to forego, and do all things that thou requirest of thy people; and that by thy grace I may so live as to manifest my calling and election sure, and be found at the last a christian indeed, to the glory of the name of Jesus, our Saviour. AMEN.
Paul's voyage and shipwreck.
PLACE.–From Cesarea to Melita.
May God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I anay understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it. Amen.
Acts, chap. XXVII. And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a cen2 turion of Augustus' band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium,
we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia ; one Aristarchus, a 3 Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. And the next day we
touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him 4 liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. And when we had
launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were 5 contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphy
lia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. 6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; 7 and he put us therein. And when we had sailed slowly many days, and
scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we 8 sailed under Crete (or, Candy), over against Salmone ; and, hardly
passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens ; nigh
whereunto was the city of Lasea. 9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, 10 because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, and said
unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt [or,
injury) and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of 11 our lives.” Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the
owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. 12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part
advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to
Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth 13 toward the south west and north west. And when the south wind blew
softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence,
they sailed close by Crete. 14 But not long after there arose [or, beat] against it a tempestuous wind, 15 called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear 16 up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: which 17 when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship ; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day 18 they lightered the ship; and the third day we cast out with our own 19 hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many 20 days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and 21 said, “Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort 22 you to be of good cheer : for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel 23 of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, 'Fear not, Paul; thou 24 must be brought before Cæsar : and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.' Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer : for I believe 25 God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit, we must be cast 26 upon a certain island.”
But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and 27 down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; and sounded, and found it twenty fathoms : and when 28 they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. Then fearing lest they should have fallen upon rocks, they 29 cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. And as the 30 shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, 31
Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers 32 cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. And while the day 33 was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, “ This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for 34 your health : for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.” And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks 35 to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. 36 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 37 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out 38 the wheat into the sea.
And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a 39 certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. And wheu they had taken up the 40 anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, [or, cut the anchors,
they left them in the sea, 8c.), and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised 41 up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. And falling into
a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart
stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken 42 with the waves. And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest 43 any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing
to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they
which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to 44 land : and the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
EXPLANATION. It being settled that Paul should be sent to Rome, in consequence of his appeal to the emperor, he was delivered into the charge of a centurion called Julius, who belonged to the Cohort (or Roman regiment) that bore the name of Augustus. There were other prisoners sent along with him. It happened that there was a ship at Cæsarea, which belonged to the port of Adramyttium, in the province of Mysia, whither it was returning. Julius took passage in this ship, in order to go as far as the coast of Asia Minor, where he expected to fall in with other vessels, in which he could pursue his voyage to Italy. We find that Luke accompanied Paul in this voyage; and also that Aristarchus (of whom we heard at Ephesus that he was one of Paul's “companions in travel,” Acts xix. 29) was with them. Luke had last written in a manner which included himself when he gave the account of the arrival of Paul's party at Jerusalem (Acts xxi. 17); and now he resumes that manner of writing.
The vessel sailed from Cæsarea and went to Sidon, a short distance to the north, where it arrived on the following day. Here Julius with much kindness allowed Paul to visit his friends, and to receive their affectionate attentions. The proper course of the vessel would have been directly across the Mediterranean in a north westerly direction, leaving the island of Cyprus on the right hand; but when the vessel sailed from Sidon, the wind would not allow of their taking this course, and they were obliged to reach up quite to the north, and leaving Cyprus on the left hand, passed through the narrow sea of Cilicia, coast
ing the provinces of Cilicia and Pamphylia, until they came to the port of Myra, in the province of Lycia. In this port there happened to be one of the corn-ships of Alexandria bound for Italy, and to this the centurion transferred his prisoners, Luke and Aristarchus going with them.
The vessel made little progress for a considerable time. Having however, coasted until they came off Cnidus, they turned her course southwardly, and sailed round the promontory of Salmone, to get to the south of the island of Crete. Having had great difficulty in doubling this cape, they stood in to a port called the Fair Havens, not far from the city of Lasea. But so much of the autumn season had now passed, that it became dangerous to attempt a voyage across the Mediterranean with the winter so near at hand. St. Luke points out the particular period of the year by saying, that the day of atonement was now some time past (Lev. xvi. 29–31); and as it fell that year on the 16th of September, the season for the equinoctial gales was approaching. Paul warned the crew of the vessel, and spoke not only from natural circumstances, but with a prophetical spirit; assuring them that, if the vessel proceeded on the voyage, much injury and loss would result both to the ship and lading, and to themselves. The centurion consulted with the master of the vessel and the supercargo, and their advice overruled that which Paul had given; so far at least that it was determined, not indeed to proceed on the voyage to Italy, but to make for the port of Phenice, which lay a little to the westward in the island of Crete, and which was a more secure and convenient harbour in which to winter, than that of the Fair Havens, in which they then were.
It was generally considered that the short voyage first to the south-west, to go round the promontory of Mitylene, and then to the north-west to reach up to Phenice, might be effected without much danger, even at that late period of the year. In a short time the wind became gentle, blowing lightly from the south, and the sailors thought that they could effect their object; they therefore got ready, and set sail close along shore.
But this light wind did not last long; in a short time a