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PAUL'S PARTING WITH THE ELDERS AT EPHESUS.
58. PAUL'S PARTING WITH THE ELDERS AT EPHESUS.
PAUL determined to make another visit to Jerusalem; and on his way thither, as he had not time to go through Ephesus, he sent for the elders of the church in that city to come and meet him at Miletus. 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 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 wait of the Jews and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the 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. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock,
PAUL'S PARTING WITH THE ELDERS AT EPHESUS.
over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church 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 perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, 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 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 have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring 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 all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 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.
You will perhaps have noticed, my young readers, that this saying of our Lord Jesus, which Paul quoted upon this occasion, is not to be found recorded in either of the four gospels: but it is supposed that Paul had learned it from those who had heard it from our Lord. Does it not make this admirable saying particularly precious to us, that when it had been omitted by the evangelists,
PAUL'S SEIZURE AT JERUSALEM.
and seemed in danger of being lost, it has been in this manner preserved to us? How different is it from the sentiment of the children of this world! They are afraid of giving, unless they have the hope of getting. But Christ tells us "it is more blessed," more excellent in itself, an evidence of a nobler disposition, more like God," to give than to receive."
59. PAUL'S SEIZURE AND IMPRISONMENT AT JERUSALEM.
Ar Jerusalem, Paul was seized by the Jews as he was worshipping in the temple. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar; 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. Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle.
And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, "Away with him."
And as Paul was being led into the castle, he requested permission of the chief captain to speak unto the peeple. And when the chief captain
had given him leave Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with his hand unto the people. And
when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, telling them how he had formerly been, like them, zealous against the religion of Christ, persecuting its followers even unto death; and how the Lord had appeared to him on his journey to Damascus, and had called him to his service, and had afterwards sent him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. The people gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live."
While Paul was a prisoner in the castle, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. And they came to the chief priests and
IMPRISONMENT AT JERUSALEM.
elders, and said, "We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to-morrow, as though ye would inquire something more perfectly concerning him : and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him."
And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, "Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him." So he informed the chief captain of the conspiracy.
And the chief captain called unto him two centurions, saying, "Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Cesarea, and horsemen threescore
and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; and provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor." Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him