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were most public and notorious; and of them Agrippa could not be ignorant; and indeed it appears, from his own answer, that he was not, but was now more fully persuaded of the truth thau ever; and almost led to embrace Christianity.
Verse 27. Believest thou (he prophets .*] Having made his elegant compliment and vindication to Festus—he turns to Agrippa; and, with this strong appeal to his religious feeling, says, Believest thou the prophets?—and immediately anticipates his reply, and with great address, speaks for him, / know that thou believest. The inference from this belief necessarily was: "As thou believest the prophets, and I have proved that the prophets have spoken about Christ, as suffering, and triumphing over death; and that all they say of the Messiah has been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth; then thou must acknowledge that my doctrine is true."
Verse 28. Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.'] E» iiXiyji p.e «si$eis Xpis-ia.yoY yevetr^ou. This declaration was almost the necessary consequence of the apostle's reasoning, and'Agrippa's faith. If he believed the prophets, see ver. 22. and 23. and believed that Paul's application oT their words to Christ Jesus was correct, he must acknowledge the truth of the Christian religion; but he might chuse whether he would embrace and confess this truth, or not. However, the sudden appeal to his religious faith, extorts from him the declaration Thou hast nearly persuaded me to embrace Christianity. How it could have entered into the mind of any roan, who carefully considered the circumstances of the case, to suppose that^these words of Agrippa are spoken ironically, is to me unaccountable. Every circumstance in the case proves them to have been the genuine effusion of a heart persuaded of the truth; and only prevented from fully acknowledging it, by secular considerations.
Verse 29. I would to God, SfcJ] Eujjaijuiijv av rw Qtu/ xaj sv »\iyui y.au tv toWui—So fully am I persuaded of the
kinsr rose up, and the governor, A;1l'cir'4??6'
~ * . A.D. cir. 62.
and Bernice, and they that sat with An. oiymp. them: «ir_cc.xl *
31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, bThis man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, c if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
infinite excellence of Christianity, and so truly happy am I, in possession of it, that / most ardently irish that not only thou, but this whole council were not only almost, but altogether, such as I am, these Chains excepted. Thus, while his heart glows with affection for their best interests, he wishes that they might enjoy all his blessings, if possible, without being obliged to bear any cross on the account. His holding up his chain, which was probably now detached from the soldier's arm, and wrapped about his own, must have made a powerful impression on the minds of his audience. Indeed, it appears they could bear the scene no longer; the king was overwhelmed, and rose up instantly, and so did the rest of the council, and went immediately aside; and, after a very short conference among themselves, they unanimously pronounced him innocent; and his last icurd Tuiv 8e<rtj.u;v, Bonds! and the action with which it was accompanied, had made such a deep impression upon their hearts, that they conclude their judgment with that very identical word ha-^xv. Would to God, says the apostle, that all who hear me this day, were altogether such as I am, except these Bonds! The whole council say—This man hath done nothing worthy of death nor of Bonds! Ae<rfui:v, Bonds, is echoed by fhem from the last words of the apostle ; as we may plainly perceive that, seeing such an innocent and eminent man suffering such indignity, had made a deep impression upon their hearts. Alas! why should such a man, be in B-o-n-d-s!
Verse 32. Then said Agrippa, &jc.~\ The king himself, who had participated in the strongest emotions on the occasion, feels himself prompted to wish the apostle's immediate liberation ; but this was now rendered impracticable, because he had appealed to Caesar; the appeal was no doubt registered, and the business must now proceed to a full hearing. Bp. Pearce conjectures, with great probability, that Agrippa, on his return to Rome, represented Paul's case so favourably to the emperor, or his ministers of state, that he was soon set at liberty there, as may be concluded from chap, xxviii30. that he dwelt two whole years in his own hired place;
Observations upon different matters
contained in the preceding chapter.
and to the same cause it seems to have been owing, that Julius, who had the care of Paul as a prisoner in the ship, treated him courteously; see chap, xxvii. 3, 43. And the same may be gathered from chap, xxviii. 14, 16. So that this defence of the apostle before Agrippa, Berenice, Festus, &c. was ultimately serviceable to his important cause.
1. The conversion of Saul was a wonderful work of the Spirit of God; and, as we have already seen, a slrong proof of the (ruth of Christianity; and the apostle himself frequently appeals to it as such.
2. His mission to the Gentiles was as extraordinary as the calling of the Gentiles itself. Every thing is supernatural in a work of grace; for because nature cannot produce the effects, the graze of God, which implies the co-operation of his Omniscience, Omnipotence, and endless Mercy, undertakes to perform, the otherwise, impossible task.
3. From the commission of St. Paul, we see the stale in which the Gentile world was, previously to the preaching of the gospel.
1. Their eyes are represented as closed; their understanding was darkened; and they had no right apprehension of spiritual or eternal things.
2. They were in a state of darkness; living without the knowledge of the true God, in a region where nothing but ignorance prevailed.
3. They were under the dominion and authority of Satan; they were his vassals, and he claimed them as his right.
4. They were in a state of guiltiness ; living, in almost every respect, in opposition to the dictates even of nature itself.
5. They were polluted; not only irregular and abominable in their lives, but also impure and unholy in their hearts. Thus far their slate.
Behold what the grace of the gospel is to do for these Gentiles, in order to redeem tbem from this state.
1. It opens their eyes; gives them an understanding, whereby they may discern the truth; and without this illu
l initiation from above, the truth of God can never be properly apprehended.
2. It turns them from the darkness to the light; a fiuc metaphor, taken from the act of a blind man, who is continually turning his eyes towards the light, and rolling his eyes upwards towards the sun, and in all directions, that he may collect as many of the scattered rays as he can, in order to form distinct vision. In this way the Gentiles appeared to be, in vain, searching after the light, till the gospel came and turned their eyes to the Sun of righteousness.
3. They are brought from under the bondage and slavery of sin and Satan, to be put under the obedience of Jesus Christ. So that Christ and his grace, as truly and as fully, rule and govern them, as sin and Satan did formerly. This is a proof that the change is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
4. He pardons (heir sin, so that they are no longer liable to endless perdition.
5. He sanctifies their nature, so that they are capable of loving and serving him fervently with pure hearts; and are thus rendered fit for the enjoyment of the inheritance among the saints in light.
Such a salvation, from such a bondage, does the gospel of Christ offer to the Gentiles—to a lost world. It is with extreme difficulty that any person can be persuaded that he needs a similar mark of grace on his heart, to that which was necessary for the conversion of the Gentiles. We may rest assured that no man is a Christian merely by birth or education. If Christianity implies the life of God in the soul of man—the remission of sins—the thorough purification of the heart, producing that holiness without which, none can see-the Lord; then, it is evident, that God alone can do this work, and that neither birth, nor education, can bestow it. By birth, every man is sinful; by practice, every man is a transgressor: for all have sinned. God alone, by faith in Christ Jesus, can save the sinner from his stus. Reader, has God saved thee from this state of wretchedness,
I) and brought thee "into the glorious liberty of his children?"
11 Let thy conscience answer for itself.
It being determined thai Paul should be sent to Rome, he is delivered to Julius, a Centurion, 1. They embark in a ship «/"Adrarayttium, and came the next day to Sidon, 2, 3. They sail thence, and pass Cyprus, Cilicia, and Pamphylia, and come to Myra, 4,5. They are transferred there, to a ship of Alexandria going to Italy ; sail past Cnidus, Crete, Salmone, and come to The Fair Havens, 6—8. Paul predicts a disastrous voyage, 9—11. They sail from the Fair Havens, in order to reach Crete, and winter there; but, having a comparatively favourable wind, they sail past Crete, meet with a tempest, and are brought into extreme peril and distress, 12—20. Paul's exhortation and prediction of the loss of the ships, SI—26. After having been tossed about in the Adriatic sea, for many days, they are at last shipwrecked on the island of Melita; and the whole crew, consisting of too hundred and seventy-six persons, escape safe to land, on broken fragments of the ship, 27—44.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXVII.
Verse 1. And when it was determined, cS'c] That is, when the governor had given orders to carry Paul to Rome, according to his appeal; together with other prisoners, who were bound for the same place.
We should sail] By this it is evident that St. Luke was with Paul; and it is on this account that he was enabled to give such a circumstantial account of the voyage.
Julius, a centurion a/Augustus1 band.] Lipsius has found the name of this cohort on an ancient marble; see Lips, in Tacit. Hist. lib. ii. The same cohort is mentioned by Suetonius, in bis Life of Nero, 20.
Verse 2- A ship of Adramyttium] There were several places of this name; and in different MSS. the name is variously -written. The port in question appears to have been a place in Mysia, in Asia Minor. And the Abbe Vertot, in his history of the Knights of Malta, says, it is now called Mehedia. Others think it was a city and sea-port ef Africa, whence the ship mentioned above, had been fitted out: but it is more probable that the city and sea-port here meant, is that on the coast of the /Egean sea, opposite Mitylene, and not far from Pergamos. See its situation on the Map.
Aristarchus, a Macedonian] We have seen this person with St. Paul at Kphesus, during the disturbances there, chap. xix. 29. where he had been seized by the mob, and was in great personal danger. He afterwards attended Paul to Macedonia, and returned with him to Asia, chap. xx. 4. Now, accompanying him to Rome, he was there a fellozcprisoner with him, Coloss. iv. 10. and is mentioned in St. Paul's epistle to Philemon, ver. 24. who was probably their common friend—Dodd. Luke and Aiistarchus were certainly not prisoners at this time, and seem to have gone with St. Paul merely as his companions, through affection to him, aud love for the cause of Christianity. How Aristarchus
grave him liberty to go unto his friends A-M-c'MOft*
° . A. D. cir. 62.
to refresh himself. An. oiymp.
4 And when we had launched from i": '*'
thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
• Ch. 24. 28. & 28. 16.
became his fellow-prisoner, as is stated Col. iv. 10. we cannot tell, but it could not have been at this time.
Verse 3. Touched at Sidon] For some account of this place, see the notes on Matt. xi. 21. and Acts xii. 20.
Julius courteously intreated Paut] At the conclusion of the preceding chapter, it has been intimated, that the kind treatment which Paul received both from Julius and at Rome, was owing to the impression made on the mind of Agrippa and Festus, relative to his innocence. It appears that Julius permitted him to go ashore, and visit the Christians which were then at Sidon, without using any extraordinary precautions' to prevent his escape. He was probably accompanied with the soldier to whose arm he was chained; and it is reason. able to conclude that this soldier would fare well on St, Paul's account.
Verse 4. We sailed under Cyprus] See on chap. iv. 36".,
Verse 5. Pamphylia] See on chap. ii. 10.
Myra, a city of Lycia.] The name of this city is written variously in the MSS. Myra, Murrha, Smyra, and Smyrna. Grotius conjectures that all these names are corrupted, and that it should be written Limyra, which is the name both of a river and city in Lycia. It is certain that, in common conversation, the first syllable li, might be readily dropped, and then Myra, the word in the text, would remain. Strabo mentions both Myra and Limyra, lib. xiv. p. 666. The former, he says, is twenty stadia from the sea, cm ^snuipnu Koqov, upon a high hill: the latter, he says, is the name of a river f and twenty stadia up this river, is the town Limyra itself. These places were not far distant, and one of them is certainly meant.
Verse 6. A ship of Alexandria] It appears, from ver, 38 'that this ship was laden with wheat, which she was carrying from Alexandria to Rome. We know that the Romans imported much corn from Egypt, together with different article*of Persian and Indian merchandise.
They sail from Myra,
and come to Crete.
A.M.cir.4066. q ^nt} wnen We had sailed slowly
A.D. cir.62. J
An. oiymp. many days, and 9carce were come dr. ccx. 2. oyer against Cnidus, the wind not
suffering us, we sailed under "Crete; over against Salmone;
8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, b hecause the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with c hurt and much da
Verse 7. Sailed slowly many days] Partly because the wind was contrary, and partly because the vessel was heavy laden.
Over against Cnidns~\ This was a city, or promontory of Asia, opposite to Crete, at one corner of the peninsula of Caria. Some think that this was an island between Crete, and a promontory of the same name.
Over against Salmone.] We hare already seen that the island formerly tailed Crete, is now called Candia; and Salmone or Summon, or Samonium, now called cape Solomon, or Sulaminu, was a promontory on the eastern coast of (hat island.
Verse 8. The Fair havens] This port still remains, and is known by the same name; it was situated towards the northern extremity of the island.
Was the city of Lasea.] There is no city of this name now remaining: the Codex Alexandrinus reads AAatrca, Alassa.
Verse 9. Sailing was now dangerous, because the fast teas now already past] It is generally allowed that the fast mentioned here, was that of thegreat ilay of atonement, which was always celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month, which would answer to the latter end of our Scjttember; see Levit. xvi. 29. xxiii. 27, &c. as this was about the time of the autumnal equinox, when the Mediterranean sea was sufficiently tempestuous; we may suppose this feast alone, to be intended. To sail after this feast was proverbially dangerous among the ancient Jews. See proofs in Schoeltgcn.
Verne 10. I perceive that this voyage mill be with hurl, Sfc] Paul might either hare had this intimation from the Spirit of God, or from his own knowledge of the state of this sea, after the autumnal equinox; and therefore gave them this prudent warning.
mage, not only of the lading and ship, A-M-«>--->«>6. but also of our lives. An. oiymp.
11 Nevertheless the centurion be- clr" _!lc*'J' lieved the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
12 1 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phcenice, and there to winter; tchich is a haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.
13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose,
Verse 11. The centurion believed the master] Tu> xuSepyyTy, the pilot:—and owner of the ship; tta vcLvukypju, the captain and proprietor. This latter had the command of the ship and the crew; the pilot had the guidance of the vessel along those dangerous coasts, under the direction of the captain; and the centurion had the power to cause them to proceed on their voyage, or to go into port, as he pleased; as he had other state-prisoners on board; and probably the ship itself was freighted for government. Paul told them, if they proceeded, they would be in danger of shipwreck ; the pilot and captain said there was no danger ; and the centurion, believing them, commanded the vessel to proceed on her voyage. It is likely that they were now in the port called The Fair havens.
Verse 12. Might attain to Photnke] It appears that the Fair havens were at the eastern end of the island; ami they wished to reach Pha'nicc, which lay further towards the west.
Toward the south-zees/ and north-west.] Kara AiSa xai Kara. Xuspov. The libs certainly means the south-tcesl, called lib*, from Lybia, from which it blows towards the /Egean sea. The chorus, or caurus, means a north-mest wind. Virgil mentions this, Geor. iii. ver. 356.
Semper hiems, semper spirantes frigora cauri. "It is always winter; and the cauri, then&fth-icesters, ever blowing cold." Dr. Shaw lays down this, and other winds, in a Greek comi pass, on his map; in which he represents the drifting of St. Paul's vessel from Crete, till it was wrecked at the island of Melita. Travels, p. 331. 4to. edit.
Verse 13. When the touth wind blew softly] Though this wind was not very favourable; yet because it blew softly. they supposed they might be able to make their passage.
They tailed close by Crete.] Kept as near the coast as they could. See the track on the Map.
Verse 14. A tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.] Interpreters have been greatly perplexed with this word; and the ancient copyists not less so, as the word is variously written in the MSS. and Versions. Dr. Shaw supposes it to be one of those tempestuous winds called levanters, which blow in all directions, from N. E. round by the E. to S. E. The euroclydon, from the circumstances which attended it, he says, "seems to have varied very little from the true east point; for, as the ship cou'.d not bear avrop 'ia.Ku.eiY, loofup, against it, ver. 15. but they tcere obliged to let her drive, we cannot conceive, as there are no remarkable currents in that part of the sea, and as the rudder could be of little use, that it could take any other course than as the winds directed it. Accordingly, in the description of the storm, we find that the vessel was first of all under the island Clauda, ver. 16. which is a little to the southward of the parallel of that part of the coast of Crete, from whence it may be supposed to have been driven; then it was tossed along the bottom of the giilph of Adria, ver. 27. and afterwards broken to pieces, ver. 41. at Melila, which is a little to the northsard of the parallel above mentioned; so that the direction and course of this particular euroclydon, seems to have been first at east by north; and afterwards, pretty nearly east by south.'" These winds, called now levanters, and formerly it appears euroclydon, were no determinate winds, blowing always from one point of the compass: euroclydon was probably then, what levanter is now, the name of any tempestuous wind in that sea, blowing from the north-east round by east to the south-east; and therefore St. Luke says, there rose against it, (i.e. the vessel), a tempestuous wind called euroclydon; which manner of speaking shews, that he no more considered it to be confined to any one particular point of the compass, than our sailors do their levanter. Dr. Shaw derives svcoxKvScvv, from tupou Y.\vimv, an eastern tempest, which is the very meaning.affixed to a levanter at the present day.
The reading of the'Codex Alexandrinus, is sutaxuXiov, the north-east wind, which is the same with the euro-aquHo of the Vulgate. This reading is approved by several eminent critics; but Dr. Shaw, in the place referred to above, has proved it to be insupportable.
Dr. Shaw mentions a custom which he has several times seen practised by the Mohammedans in these levanters:—
15 And bwhen the ship was caught,
» Ps. 122. 1, 2.
After having tied to the mast, or ensign-staff, some apposite passage from the Koran; they collect money, sacrifice a sheep, and throw them both into the sea. This custom, he observes, was practised some thousand years ago by the Greeks: thus Aristophanes—
Ap*, apvac fj.eha.ivxv, tfaiJe, e}-eveyx.a,ri'
Ran. Act. Hi. s. 2. ver. 871.
Sicfatus, meritos oris mactavit honores:
Ma. iii. ver. 118. Thus he spake, and then sacrificed on the altars the proper
Trcs Eryci vitulos, et tempestatibus agnam,
Then he commanded three calves to be sacrificed to Eryx,
and a lamb to the tempests. In the days of the prophet Jonah, the mariners in this sea were accustomed to do the same. Then they offered a sacrifice to the Lord, and voiced vozes; Jonah i. 16. See Shaw's Travels, 4to. edit. p. 329—33.
The heathens supposed that these tempests were occasioned by evil spirits; and they sacrificed a black sheep, in order to drive the demon away. See the ancient Scholiast on Aristophanes, in the place cited above.
Sir George Staunton (Embassy to China, Vol. II. p. 403.) mentions a similar custom among the Chinese, and gives an instance of it, when the yachts and barges of the embassy were crossing the Yellow River:
"The amazing velocity with which the Yellow River runs at the place where the yacht and barges of the embassy were to cross it, rendered, according to the notions of the Chinese crews, a sacrifice necessary to the spirit of the river, in order to insure a safe passage over it. For this purpose, the master, surrounded by tho crew of the yacht, assembled upon the forecastle; and, holding as a victim in his hand a cock, wrung off his head, which committing to the stream, he consecrated the vessel with the blood spouting from the body,