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had said that they were not to see him again. And thus they conducted him on shipboard.
1. This parting address of Paul to the presbyters of Ephesus is one of the most interesting and instructive of the ministerial portions of the Scriptures. But while its application may in the first place, be made to those who are called to the work of the ministry, there is abandant room for every class of christians to draw profitable instruction from it. It opens a view of the diligence and self-denial which becomes a servant of Christ in carrying on whatever work the Lord has appointed for him-it displays the power which arises from the manifestation of a bright example in these points—and it gives an illustration of the boldness and confidence with which a christian may plead such an example for God's glory in inducing others to live as becomes the gospel, if he has the consciousness that, in thus pleading, he feels that all the glory belongs to God, and none of it to himself. Some time is necessary to enable any christian to use this boldness, that in referring to an example, it may be inarked with a character of continuance through trial, without which it could not be expected to commend itself as the result of sound principles and spiritual faith. When Paul ok the Ephesian christians to record that he was free from the blood of all men, he could say, that they could ber, that by the space of three years he ceased not to warn warn every man" unceasingly and earnestly. To be able in all humility to make use of so great a power as belongs to such an appeal, is a considerable addition to the christian motives for pursuing such a course.
QUESTION What example do I shew to those amongst whom I live? does it tend to promote holiness, diligence, self-denial ? is it consistent and continuing? To what do I ascribe its merits? Do I take any share to myself? or can I speak of it without restraint as attributing all the glory to God?
2. One point of peculiar importance may be especially remarked in the Apostle's appeal.—He had not shunned
to declare the whole counsel of God. The completeness of his declaration was one evidence of his faithfulness. A poor self-deceived sinner may think he keeps the whole law, and yet by offending in one point is in fact guilty of all (James ii. 10); and it may be possible so to tell the counsel of God—the gospel of salvation-in general terms, as to seem to set it forth completely, and yet to hide one point which renders all the rest unavailing to bring saving truth to the soul. It is comparatively easy to maintain a christian character in a general way, if some essential truth is withheld and practically kept from view—real offence is taken at essential doctrines only ;-what is not held as essential is rarely quarrelled with: a christian's course should be a living manifestation of the whole counsel of God in all those things in which the glory of Christ and the salvation of souls is involved. To shun the declaration of any thing required by these, uust prevent our being able to say
“I am clear from the blood of all men. To act with christian faithfulness may sometimes be attended with painful, with distressing, or even with dangerous results; but as it is the only course which can be finished with joy, Paul did not count his life dear to him, and would have willingly sacrificed it, (as he ultimately did), rather than shun to declare the whole counsel of God.
QUESTION. Is there any part of divine truth which I feel backward in acknowledging publicly? what are the consequences that I fear, and that produce this backwardness in me? Do they affect my comfort, my worldly advantage, my life even? Have I considered that the open profession of the whole truth affects my eternal happiness?
3. The Apostle closes his address with an exhortation to exercise self-denying liberty in giving help of every kind to those who stand in need of it. In order to this he not only refers to his own example in this particular, but he quotes a saying of the Lord Jesus Christ which is thus preserved to us by his repeating it, since it is not recorded in the gospels in the precise words here made use of, though the meaning appears in several of our Lord's statements, (Matt. v. 42; vi. 19, 20. Luke xiv. 12-14.) “ It is more blessed to give than to receive.”. The principle involved in this saying of Jesus lies at the very root of gospel truth; since it requires the change from a governing self-love to a love of others, influencing the heart so as to make it find a greater blessing in denying self for the sake of others, than in gratifying self. It excites to diligence in our worldly calling for the special purpose of enjoying that greater blessing of giving; and so by a continual exercise of the spirit of love promotes the growth of that spiritual life which marks the new man within us, as distinguished from the indulgence and gratification of our own desires rather than attention to the wants of others. How constantly may the dominion of the old nature be detected in professing christians, who do many things and hear the gospel gladly, by a practical denial of the words of the Lord Jesus, when he said " It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
What blessing do I value most ? that which is promised to christian almsgiving ? or that which I feel in personal advantage and self-gratification? At what cost do I seek the one blessing rather than the other?
Thou God of all power and might, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, do thou so work in me to will and to do of thy good pleasure, that thy power may appear in my walk and conversation, and that my light may so shine before men, that they may see my good works, and glorify thee, O Father, in heaven. Humble me with a sense of my own unworthiness; and embolden me with a conviction of thy Spirit doing all things in me, that I may not fear to point to that light which is of thee. Grant especially that I may not shun to manifest all thy counsel in my christian conduct before the world. Give me grace to overcome every fear under the influence of that love to thee, my Saviour, which may make me not count my life dear to me, so that I may finish my course by entering into thy joy at thy coming. Teach me the power of thy word, that it is more blessed to give than to receive; and grant that I may feel and prove that power in the self-denying liberality by which I shew my value of the greater blessing. Hear and answer my prayer, thou Lord and only Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Paul's arrival at Jerusalem the fifth time. PLACE.- From Miletus to Jerusalem. TIME.— April
and May, A.D. 56.
May God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I may
understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it. AMEN.
THE SCRIPTURE. Acts, chap. XXI. verses 1 to 17. And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara : and finding a ship sail- 2 ing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. Now when we 3 had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. And 4 finding disciples, we tarried there seven days : who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. And when we had 5 accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city : and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. And when we 6 had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again. And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came 7 to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.
And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came 8 unto Cæsarea : and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven ; and abode with him. And the same man 9 had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried 10 there many days, there came down from Judæa a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and 11 bound his own hands and feet, and said, “ Thus saith the Holy Ghost,
So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” And when we 12 heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to
13 go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “ What mean ye to weep and
to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to 14 die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." And when he would
not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “ The will of the Lord be done.” 15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusa16 lem. There went with us also certain of the disciples of Cæsarea, and
brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom 17 we should lodge. And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
EXPLANATION. After the sorrowful parting with the Ephesian elders at Miletus, the ship in which Paul and his companions sailed, weighed anchor, and made its way in a direct line to an island called Coos, which they reached in one day. The next day they turned their course eastward, and made the seaport of Rhodes in the island of that name.
From thence they continued in an easterly direction to Patara, a port of the main land of the province of Lycia, of which it was the chief city. Here the apostle left the vessel that had brought him from Troas, and went on board one which was bound for the coast of Phenicia, in which he and his company set sail immediately. This ship made a straight course to Tyre; not going round the island of Cyprus as was frequently the case with traders on that coast, but leaving it to the north, they came at once to Syria, and the passengers disembarked at Tyre where the vessel was to leave her
cargo. At Tyre there was a body of christians residing, with whom Paul determined to remain. He passed a week with them, during which they endeavoured to dissuade him from going to Jerusalem; and in so doing they where acting under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who was pleased to put the apostle's courage and self-devotion to the test; while at the same time Paul, who was following the influence of the Holy Ghost, knew how to distinguish between such a command as that which had prevented him from entering into the province of Bithynia on his former journey (Acts xvi. 7), and such expostulation as this which the christians at Tyre were the instruments employed to use. Therefore, at the end of the week, Paul resolved to proceed on his journey with his friends, and when the