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had given him leave Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with his hand unto the people. And

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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 tigether, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. And they came to the chief priests and

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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


by night to Antipatris. And the horsemen took Paul on to Cesarea, and presented him before the governor.

60. PAUL'S IMPRISONMENT AT CESAREA. FELIX treated him kindly, and did not yield to the Jews, who laid many and grievous complaints against him. He allowed him to have more liberty than other prisoners, and would have even released him if Paul would have given him a present of money.

Therefore he often sent for him, and conversed with him. On one occasion, Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was the daughter of king Herod Agrippa, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled (for his conscience condemned him); and he said to Paul, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee." a But truly those who are the servants of sin, never have a convenient season rightly to hear the truth.

After two years, Festus came in the place of Felix. He also had not sufficient love of the truth to take Paul's part against his accusers. And Paul, apprehending that Festus would at length yield to the Jews, appealed to the judgment of the emperor. Upon which Festus said, “Since thou hast appealed unto Cesar, unto Cesar shalt thou go."

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PAUL'S IMPRISONMENT AT CESAREA. Upon a visit which king Agrippa paid to Festus, Paul had another opportunity of giving & solemn and public testimony concerning Christ, and the grace which he had experienced. Having therefore obtained help of God, (thus he concluded his address,) “I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”

And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, “ Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” But he said, “ I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely : for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him ; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest." Then Agrippa said unto Paul, “ Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." There are many who seem not to want much,and yet are not Christians; and thus all is wanting. Oh that it may not be the case with you who read this !

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6 Acts xxvi. 22-29.

61. PAUL'S VOYAGE TO ROME. SHORTLY after this, Paul was delivered to a Roman centurion, and entered into a ship, in company with Aristarchus and Luke, to go to Rome. They wished to stop at the island of Crete, to winter there ; but a great storm carried the ship away from the land, and brought all the ship's company into great distress. Every thing that could possibly be spared was cast into the sea in order to lighten the vessel, even the tackling of the ship. And an angel of the Lord appeared to Paul in the night, and said to him, “Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Cesar : and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” At last, after they had been driven up and down fourteen days, they saw land near, but they did not know what it was.

Before they could reach it, the ship struck on a rock. The ship’s company were obliged to save themselves by swimming; and of those who could not swim, some came on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass that they all escaped safe to land ; a being two hundred and seventy-six in number.

The land which they reached was an island called Melita, (now Malta.) They were kindly treated by the inhabitants, who immediately kindled a fire for them that they might dry themselves. Paul having gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand,

a Acts xxvii.

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