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LECTURE LXXI.

PAUL PREACHES AT TROAS, AND RESTORES EUTYCHUS.—A. D. 60.

Acts Xx. I—12.

1. And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.

2. And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,

3. And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.

4. And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.1

5. These going before tarried for us at Troas.

6. And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

7. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, (ready to depart on the morrow,) and continued his speech until midnight.

By this time the worship of the Christian congregations had assumed a regular form, not different from that which is followed at this day. 1 Rom. xvi. 21—23. Col. iv. 7.

The historian's words intimate, that on this occasion, when Paul preached for the last time at Troas, it was the Lord's day, and the sacrament was administered. The first day of the week, and not the seventh, was now the sabbath. It might be otherwise, for a while, with the converted Jews, but the church in general transferred their day of rest from the last day of the week, on which Jesus had lain in the grave, to the first day, on which he had risen from the dead. No account remains of the mode in which this change was ordered. We may be sure that it was directed by the apostles, and we know that they were under the direction of the Holy Ghost. The title, too, was altered. The Jewish term, sabbath, was gradually laid aside, and a term introduced which would be everywhere understood, the Lord's.day. Such it is in every sense. It is the day which the Lord Jehovah, when he made the world, reserved as his own. "The seventh day," the seventh*part of time, "is the sabbath of the Lord thy God." "He blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it." And it is the day on which the Lord Jesus consummated the great work of redemption, and triumphed over death and the grave. It is the Lord's day, because through it, the Creator maintained his connexion with his reasonable creatures. He "gave them his sabbaths, that they might be a sign between him and them." It is the Lords day, because it restored a rebellious world to its Creator. It is, therefore, the day which the Lord hath made; and we may justly rejoice and be glad in it.

On this day, then, the disciples assembled together. While no law enjoined a sabbath, protected, or even permitted a sabbath, it was not possible that the day should be kept generally or altogether holy. But we evidently perceive that Christians observed it.2 And now they were assembled to break bread; to commemorate their Lord's death, by partaking together of the supper of his body broken for them, and his blood shed. Paul was among them, ready to depart on the morrow. Though Ephesus had been the chief place of his residence for three years, yet from time to time he had visited other districts; and at Troas he had known and seen enough to wind round the heart those strongest ties, which are formed by the giving and receiving spiritual benefits. Duty now summoned him elsewhere, not knowing whither he might be directed, but knowing this, that he was not likely to see again the disciples whom he was now addressing, till the apostle met his hearers at the judgment-day. It was a moment of great interest. All seem alike to have felt it so. Paul continued his speech until midnight. He could not lose this last occasion of rehearsing to them the whole counsel of God, and showing how it all centered in "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever." He could not forbear enforcing upon them once more that which had been * John xx. 1.19. 1 Cor. xvi: 2. Rev. i. 11.

the great subject of his public and private ministrations, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Time passed away, as they were thus engaged, and neither the preacher nor the hearers complained of weariness. The one was declaring, the others were receiving, the words of eternal life.

But. we are never long allowed to forget the infirmities of nature. Something is sure to remind us how "the corruptible body presseth down the soul."

8. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

9. And there sat in the window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

10. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him, said, Trouble not yourselves: for his life is in him.

11. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

12. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

Their comfort on this occasion would be in pro

3 Modern travellers show how, from the style of building and manner of collecting companies in that country still, the accident here related was not unlikely to take place. They also remark, that the neighbourhood abounds with oil, for the ready supply of many lights: that the Christians might not be accused of holding secret assemblies.

portion to their alarm and sorrow. The circumstance, distressing in itself, was made more distressing by the suspicion which would be excited, and the slanders which might ensue. It was one of the persecutions endured by the early Christians, that evil reports were spread concerning their assemblies. All this would rush into their minds when Eutychus was taken up dead: and all this alarm would subside when Paul restored him, and they brought the young man alive.

But a more lasting comfort would remain with them. How sure a proof was here, that God was watching over their faith I How undeniable a testimony that Paul's words were the words, not of man, but of God! It would be, as it were, the seal of his ministry: and as long as Eutychus survived, or any one survived of those who had been present in this upper chamber, the impression of the event would remain to confirm their faith, and support it under all its trials.

We, too, may look upon it in the same light, and be not a little comforted. We see in it a proof of the truth of our Lord's promise, and an example of the way in which it is made good. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' 4 4 Matt, xviii. 20.

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