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36. And when he had thus spoken, he I kneeled And when he had thus spok- 36 down, and prayed with them all.
en, he kneeled down, and
prayed with them all. And 37 37. And they all wept sore, and ? fell on Paul's they all wept sore, and fell
on Paul's neck, and kissed neck, and kissed him,
him, sorrowing most of all for 38
the word which he had spok38. Sorrowing most of all for the words 3 which he
en, that they should behold spake, that they should see his face. no more. And his face no more. And they
brought him on his way unto they accompanied him unto the ship.
the ship. 1 Acts 7: 60; 21: 5. ? Gen. 45:14; 46 : 29. 3 Ver. 25.
has been well said in the case of not a few of them, “ whatever nucleus of truth there was at first has been encrusted over with mystic or fantastic imagination.” — Schaff's Popular Com. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Here we have a word of Christ rescued from sinking into oblivion; a word of Christ with a word of Paul wrapped around it; the jewel and its setting; the kernel and its shell are both here. The Lord Jesus speaks from experience when he explains how pleasant it is to give. - Arnot. (1) It is blessed to receive, to be loved, to be ministered unto. This blessedness is so great that it is the chief object of the majority of lives. “The world's opinion is different,” says Bengel. As an old poet says, “ A fool the giver, the receiver blessed.” (2) But the blessedness of giving is much greater and higher, for (3) It brings greater happiness, more intense. (4) It produces a higher quality of happiness. (5) It is the mark of a nobler character. (6) It is the blessedness of God, who is the Great Giver. (7) It is the blessedness of Christ, who "came not to be ministered unto but to minister." (8) It is the blessedness of heaven, where the inhabitants are ministering spirits. (9) It is the blessedness of the Christian religion, which is founded on love, and lives in loving and giving. (10) It is an enduring happiness.
IV. The Parting.- Vers. 36–38. Nothing can be more touching than these three concluding verses, leaving an indelible impression of rare ministerial fidelity and affection on the apostle's part, and of warm admiration and attachment on the part of these Ephesian presbyters. Would to God that such scenes were more frequent in the Church! - Cambridge Bible. 36. He kneeled down, and prayed. Kneeling was the attitude of prayer, indicating reverence and humility. The early Christians were accustomed to pray standing on the Lord's day, and during the seven weeks which intervened between the Passover and Pentecost, as the appropriate posture of exultation and thanksgiving; on other occasions they knelt. It cannot, however, be shown that this distinction of postures was observed in apostolic times. — Gloag. The particular posture in prayer is not essential, but only that it be some form which naturally expresses devotion. There can be no better attitude than kneeling where it can be conveniently taken. — P. The historian who has recorded what we may call the “ charge” of St. Paul, shrinks, with a natural reverence, from reporting his prayer. Eph. 3: 14-21 will enable the thoughtful reader to represent to himself its substance, perhaps even its very thoughts and words. — Plumptre.
37. And they all wept sore. In this final leave-taking between the elders and the apostle we are taught that tenderness is not incompatible with the most burning apostolic zeal and earnestness of soul, and that religion does not destroy the natural affections, but regulates and governs them. — Denton. Fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him. These demonstrative expressions of affection are in accordance with Eastern customs (see Gen. 45: 14; 46: 29). The word is a strong one, and might be rendered, “kept tenderly kissing him.” In the early Church the kiss was a mark of Christian brotherhood, and the “ holy kiss is frequently referred to by Paul (Rom. 16: 16; 1 Cor. 16:20, etc.), and the “ kiss of love," by Peter (1 Pet. 5: 14). — Rev. Com.
38. See his face no more. See last lesson. And they accompanied him to the ship. It is implied that the roadstead where the vessel lay was at some distance from the town. The site of Miletus, though originally on the coast, has gradually receded, till it is now ten miles from the sea. It must have lost its maritime position long before the apostle's time, though not so far inland then as at present. — Hackett.
LIBRARY REFERENCES. See last lesson; also, on the duty of teachers, see Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies; and on the sayings of Jesus outside of the Bible, see Wescott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospels.
PRACTICAL. 1. Ver. 28. Spiritual power over others depends on what we are ourselves. Therefore, let us first take heed to ourselves, that we may be able to teach and care for others.
2. The teacher is to his class what a shepherd is to his flock. He must feed, watch over, defend, train, and lead in the right ways.
3. God's church is very precious to him, for it has cost him so much.
4. Vers. 29, 30. The church is always exposed to dangers, both from without and from within.
5. The greatest dangers arise from those within the church perverting the saving truths of the Gospel, – as the tallest and rankest weeds grow in the richest gardens.
6. Ver. 31. The way to overcome these dangers is by watching, by earnestness, love, tenderness, patience.
7. Warnings should always be given with tenderness. Harsh condemnation is contrary to the Gospel, and ineffective.
8.' Ver. 32. The Christian is to be built up upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, like a temple, costly, beautiful, lighted, filled with worship and love.
9. The children of God inherit from God (1) his character, (2) his happiness, (3) his home.
10. The Christian should labor not so much for himself as to help those who are in need, and to spread the Gospel. II. Giving from love is the source of the highest blessing.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS.
Have the class give a BRIEF ACCOUNT of the former part of this address. Then come directly to the SUBJECT, — A FAITHFUL TEACHER'S COUNSELS TO His FLOCK.
FIRST COUNSEL. To take heed to ourselves (ver. 28). Take heed first to yourselves, and be right and true, and filled with the Spirit, in order that you may impart to others. Receive from God that you may give to men.
Illustration. In some parts they paint garden walls black that they may absorb more of the sun's heat, and so impart more warmth to the fruit trees that lean on them. Those who in any sphere care for souls stand in the position of the garden wall. The more that the teacher absorbs for himself of Christ's love, the more benefit will others obtain from him. It is not the wall which glitters most in the sunshine that does most for the trees that are trained against it: it is the wall which is least seen that takes in most heat for itself; and the wall that has most heat in itself gives out most for the benefit of the trees. Those who drink in most of the Master's spirit are most useful in the world. — Arnot.
SECOND COUNSEL. To take heed to the flock (ver. 28). Do your whole duty to those under your care, for the two reasons given in this verse.
THIRD COUNSEL. To guard against their enemies (vers. 29, 30). Warn children against those who are seeking to tempt and mislead. Let them tell who they are. Especially guard against perverters of truth.
Illustration. Those speakers of perverse things distort the truth, like those convex mirrors which make the looker-on appear very broad or very tall, according as they are turned, but never show him as he really is; or like the glass globes sometimes found hung up in gardens, which show a distorted though beautiful landscape.
FOURTH COUNSEL. How to guard against these enemies (vers. 31, 32). (1) By watching; (2) by remembering how others have labored and cared for us; (3) by trusting in God; (4) by being upright in character; (5) by looking forward to our inheritance.
Illustration. God's people are called the " sanctified " not because each one is perfect, but because as a whole they are holy; as we sometimes see a tree in the autumn which is radiant with red and gold, and yet not a single leaf is quite perfect, but aids by its own colors the glory of the whole.
FIFTH COUNSEL. To follow Paul's example (vers. 33–35). In laboring to support himself and to aid others.
Sixth COUNSEL. To remember the words of Jesus. Which his own life illustrated and proved true. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Receiving is blessed. Show why giving is more blessed.
Illustration. (1) We learn best by imparting what we know. (2) The light that shines farthest is brightest in itself. Hid under a bushel, its own central light burns dimmer. (3) Cities grow rich by being centres of commerce, by giving out what they receive.
LESSON IV. — JANUARY 25.
THE ITINERARY OF THIS JOURNEY:Mon., Apr. 24, A.D. 58, Paul sails from Mile- Sun., Apr. 30, to Sun., May 7, remains a week tus to Coos.
at Tyre. Tues., Apr. 25, from Coos to Rhodes. Mon., May 8, Tyre to Acre. Wed., Apr. 26, from Rhodes to Patara. Tues., May 9, stops one day at Acre. Thurs., Apr. 27, leaves Patara for Tyre. Wed., May 10, reaches Cesarea, where he Sun., Apr. 30, reaches Tyre.
I tarries five or six days. PRONUNCIATIONS. — Acre = A'ker or A'ker; Ag'ăbús; Cěsăre'ă; Co'os; Cos;
INTRODUCTION. Except the story of the shipwreck (chap. 27), there is no part of Paul's life more dramatic than that recorded in this chapter. - Abbott.
After the touching interview with the elders of Ephesus, and the painful farewell on the seashore of Miletus, Paul and his companions resume their journey to Jerusalem. This lesson is an account of the incidents of this voyage. I. And it came to pass, that after we were gotten And when it came to pass i
that we were parted from from them, and had launched, we came with a straight them, and had set sail, we
came with a straight course course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes,
unto Cos, and the next day and from thence unto Patara :
unto Rhodes, and from thence
EXPLANATORY. I. The Voyage from Miletus to Tyre.- Vers. 1-3. I. After we were gotten from them. The Ephesian elders and the disciples of Miletus. And had launched. Put off from the land and set sail. We. Trophimus (ver. 29), Aristarchus (27:2), and St. Luke. Timothy, it appears, went back from Miletus with the elders to Ephesus; at least he is not mentioned as in Paul's company at Jerusalem, and Ephesus appears to have been entrusted peculiarly to the care of Timothy. — Lewin. We came with a straight course unto Coos. The distance is about forty nautical miles; the direction is due south. The phrase used implies a straight course and a fair wind; and we conclude, from the wellknown phenomena of the Levant, that the wind was north-westerly, which is the prevalent direction at this time of the year. Thus they would run clear before the wind all the way to Rhodes. — C. and H. Coos. More properly Cos. This was a small island about forty miles south of Miletus, opposite the coast where lay the cities of Cnidus and Halicarnassus. It was famous for its wines and fabrics. – Rev. Com. It must have been of special interest to Luke, the physician, since it was the birth-place of Hippocrates, and boasted of a school of medicine traditionally connected with Esculapius, whose temple was so filled with votive models as to be in reality a museum of pathology and anatomy. The city is still in existence under the name Stanchio, a corruption of “ es tan Co" (toward Cos). - Abbott. The day following unto Rhodes. An island and a city, fifty miles south-east of Cos. It was one of the fairest portions of the world. There was a proverb that “the sun shone every day in Rhodes." From its unrivalled situation, lying as it does on the verge of two of the basins of the Mediterranean Sea, it has always been an emporium for the eastern and western trades. It possessed a great temple to the sun, and was famous as the site of the Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the world, a colossal figure of brass at the head of the harbor, and over 100 feet high, so that vessels sailed between its legs. – Rev. Com. This island now belongs to the Turks, still bears its ancient name, and has a population of about 20,000.- Gloag. From thence unto Patara. Patara was a seaport of Lycia, situated near the mouth of the river Xanthus, and opposite to the island of Rhodes. It may be considered as the port of the city Xanthus, the capital of Lycia, from which it was ten miles distant. Here was a famous oracle of Apollo, which was regarded as scarcely inferior to the oracle at Delphi. — Gloag. Its extensive ruins are almost covered with sand, and its once commodious harbor is now described as a pestilential marsh. — Cook.
2. And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, I unto Patara: and having a
found a ship crossing over we went aboard, and set forth.
unto Phænicia, we went a3. Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it board, and set sail. And when 3
we had come in sight of Cy: on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at prus, leaving it on the left
hand, we sailed unto Syria, Tyre : for there the ship was to unlade her burden. I and landed at Tyre : for there 4. And finding disciples, we tarried there seven
the ship was to unlade her
burden. And having found days : 1 who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he the disciples, we tarried there
seven days: and these said to should not go up to Jerusalem.
Paul through the Spirit, that
i Ver. 12. Acts 20: 23.
2. And finding a ship, etc. They left the ship in which they had been hitherto sailing because it either finished its voyage at Patara or was proceeding farther eastward along the southern coast of Asia Minor, and not to the ports of Phenicia. In the harbor of Patara they found a vessel which was on the point of crossing the open sea to Phenicia (21 : 2). They went on board without a moment's delay, and it seems evident, from the mode of expression, that they sailed the very day of their arrival. — C. and H. Phenicia was the country on the coast of the Levant (Mediterranean), north of Palestine. It contained the important cities of Tyre and Sidon. - Cambridge Bible. The traders in that ship little thought that the freight which their Jewish fellow-traveller brought on board was more precious than the purple of Tyre, the spices of Arabia, and the amber of the Hyperboreans, — the precious pearl of the Gospel that saves men. - Lange.
3. Now when we had discovered Cyprus. A nautical expression such as an eye. witness, familiar with the language of sea-faring men, would have used; literally, having had (Cyprus) brought up to sight, made visible to us above the horizon. — Schaff. We left it on the left hand. Without a mariner's compass the Greeks seldom ventured out into the open sea, the headlands of the coast or the islands serving them as guides. The direct course from Rhodes to Tyre would leave Cyprus on the left. — Abbott. We sailed into Syria. Syria is here used in a general sense for the whole of the Holy Land, including Phenicia, of which Tyre was the commercial emporium. Landed at Tyre. Tyre was about 340 miles from Patara, and the voyage could easily be made in two or three days. He arrived, according to Lewin, on Sunday, April 30. Tyre. In Paul's day the glory of Tyre had long since faded. Its merchants were no more princes. The modern cities of Antioch and Cesarea had proved successful rivals to the old capital of Phenicia. It now indeed fulfils the old prophecy, and is literally, with its shapeless ruins by the sea, only "a place to spread nets upon” (Ezek. 26: 14). - Rev. Com. Still at that time it was a place of considerable commercial importance. For there the ship was to unlade her burden. What. ever were the goods she brought, of grain from the Black Sea or wine from the Archipelago, they were unladed at Tyre, and the vessel was afterward to proceed to Ptolemais (ver. 7). For this purpose some days would be required. — C. and I.
II. A Week with the Disciples at Tyre. – Vers. 4-7. 4. And finding disciples. Better, and having found the disciples, with Rev. Ver. This means the members of the Christian church of Tyre, not some disciples who by chance happened to be at Tyre. — Cambridge Bible. The word for “finding” implies a previous search. They inquired, when they landed amid the crowded streets of the still busy port, whether any Christians were to be found there (Acts 15:3). – Plumptre. Probably they were neither numerous nor well known. The Gospel had been carried as far as Phænice after the death of Stephen (II: 19), and Paul and Barnabas passed through that district (15:3). Our blessed Lord had been on the verge of the territory of Tyre and Sidon (Matt. 15:21; Mark 7: 24). — Cook.
The apostle's example may well be followed by those who go from place to place in these modern days. Instead of waiting in silent obscurity till some Christian finds them out, let them search for the disciples, and seek to do Christian work, speak to Christians, take part in meetings, go to the Sabbath school, and then many a complaint will be removed, and many a dark day among strangers will be made light. — P. We tarried there seven days. The time spent at Tyre in unlading the vessel, and probably taking in a new cargo, and possibly, also, waiting for a fair wind, was “seven days," including a Sunday. Paul “ broke bread" with the disciples, and discoursed as he had done at Troas; and the week-days too would afford many precious opportunities of confirming those who were already Christians, and in making the Gospel known to others, both Jews and Gentiles. — C. and H. Who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
5. And when we had accomplished those days, we | he should not set foot in Je
rusalem. And when it came 5 departed and went our way; and they all brought us to
to pass that we had accomon our way, with wives and children, till we were out. plished the days, we departed of the city : and we l kneeled down on the shore, and they all, with wives and chil
and went on our journey; and dren, brought us on our way,
till we were out of the city : 6. And when we had taken our leave one of and kneeling down on the
beach, we prayed and bade another, we took ship; and they returned 2 home
each other farewell; and we again.
went on board the ship, but
they returned home again. 7. And when we had finished our course from Tyre,
And when we had finished 2 we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and
the voyage from Tyre, we
arrived at Ptolemais; and we abode with them one day.
saluted the brethren, and
abode with them one day. 8. And the next day we that were of Paul's com
And on the morrow we de- 8 pany departed, and came unto Cæsarea : and we parted, and came unto Cæsa.
rea: and entering into the entered into the house of Philip 3 the evangelist, 4 which house of Philip the evangelist, was one of the seven ; and abode with him.
who was one of the seven, we 1 Acts 20:36. John 1:11. Eph. 4:11. 2 Tim. 4: 5. 4 Acts 6: 5; 8:26, 40. There were not only disciples at Tyre, but prophets. Some of those who had the prophetical power foresaw the danger which was hanging over Paul, and endeavored to persuade him to desist from his purpose of going to Jerusalem. — C. and H. There is here an apparent discrepancy in the declarations of the Spirit. The disciples of Tyre through the Spirit assert that Paul should not go up to Jerusalem; whereas the apostle himself felt constrained in the spirit — impelled by a strong sense of duty — to go up (Acts 20:23). We must here distinguish between the intimations of the Spirit and the inferences drawn by men from these intimations. The Spirit revealed to the Tyrian disciples the dangers that awaited the apostle at Jerusalem; and they, from love to the apostle, besought him not to go up. But Paul entertained a juster view of the matter; he recognized more correctly the voice of the Spirit; he was certain that, in spite of these bonds and sufferings which the Holy Ghost witnessed in every city, it was his duty to proceed. — Gloag.
5. And when we had accomplished those days. The seven days of ver. 4. With wives and children. This is the first time, in the notice of a Christian church, that children are mentioned, — Baumgarten. Till we were out of the city. Quite out of it, beyond the suburbs, where they could be alone and undisturbed. — Hackett. And we kneeled down. The more ordinary posture at prayer among the Jews was standing. But in times of sorrow, such as they might regard that of parting with St. Paul, they fell upon their knees. - Cook. We should take the natural attitude of devotion, that the form may aid the expression of the spirit. On the shore, or beach. The word denotes a smooth shore, as distinguished from one precipitous or rocky (comp. 27: 39; see also Matt. 13:2). A level, sandy beach extends for a considerable distance on both sides of the site of the ancient Tyre. - Hackett. And prayed. It seems implied, from the use of the plural, that in this instance St. Paul was not the only spokesman of the prayers, but that others also (probably St. Luke himself, and the leading members of the church of Tyre) joined in reciprocal intercession. — Plumptre. But whenever one of a company leads in prayer all should pray, and let many hearts go up to God with one voice. There is special power in united prayer.
6. We took ship for Ptolemais, about 30 miles to the south of Tyre. Here was the end of their sea-voyage.
7. When we had finished our course. The voyage. We came to Ptolemais. The ancient Accho, one of the oldest cities in the world. It was then a large town, and now has a population of about 10,000. It was named after Ptolemy, king of Egypt. And saluted the brethren. Note how Christian conversation (1) strengthens the faith of the pious; (2) increases their love; (3) confirms their hope; and (4) raises up a heart bowed down with adversity. Here, also, as through all the line of cities along the coast, we find a church already organized, founded probably by Philip the evangelist. The mention of Christian communities at Troas, Tyre, Ptolemais, and other cities, indicates how widely the doctrines of Christianity had been spread. We are apt to get the idea that the extension of the Gospel is measured by Paul's missionary labors. This is a false one, as such notices as this of the “ brethren” at Ptolemais prove. – Rev. Com.
III. The Prophets at Cesarea. — Vers. 8, 9. 8. The next day we ... came unto Cæsarea. They now travelled by land, for they “finished their voyage" at Ptolemais.