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breast. Is God a father less loving than that mother? No. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” “He remembered us in our low estate, for his mercy endureth for ever.” What can cause His “kindness” to “depart” Can enemies ? Not unfrequently does an enemy come in between human friends, and with the foul tongue of calumny create a strife and dissolve the friendship. But no one can misrepresent us to the eye of Omniscience. He knows all that is in us; “He understands our thoughts afar off.” Neither "angels, principalities, nor powers,” can cause His kindness to depart from his children. Can absence do it? Absence seldom makes human hearts grow
fonder. Amidst the ceaseless activities, absorbing engagements, and new associates in daily life, the absent ones, however dear, are likely to sink into forgetfulness; but no distance can separate us from Him ; we are ever before His eye.
“ Neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature, can separate us from the love of God.”
What, then, can cause his kindness to depart from his children? Nothing. Anyhow, nothing that my reason can suggest or my imagination invent. "I give unto my sheep eternal life; they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my father's hand.” Can the hand that holds in its mighty grasp all the life and force, the spirit, and matter of the universe, ever be forced to relax its grasp
Another year is gone, and, like its predecessors, has worked the ordinary changes in God's great universe, and in all human things. Much it has borne away into the vast abysses out of sight, and much it has brought out to being from the creative forces of eternity. Thus Time, in its resistless and majestic march, shall proceed until it has cleared away the old heavens and the old earth. But though it shall hurl the hoary mountains and hills from their sockets, and pluck suns and stars from their centres, I shall survive, I shall be somewhere in his
unbounded dominion, with all the memories of a wonderful past, and the hopes of an ever-brightening future. God's kindness, untouched by the revolution of ages, will be flooding the creation with brightness and with bliss. The union between His kindness and my deathless spirit will continue, defying the universe to break it up. “Who shall separate us from the love of God ?”
3 Homiletic Glance at the Acts of the
Able expositions of the Acts OF THE APOSTLES, describing the manners, customs, and localities described by the inspired writers; also interpreting their words, and harmonizing their formal discrepancies, are, happily, not wanting amongst us. But the eduction of its widest truths and highest suggestions is still a felt desideratum. To some attempt at the work we devote these pages. We gratefully avail ourselves of all exegetical helps within our reach; but to occupy our limited space with any lengthened archeological, geographical, or philological remarks, would be to miss our aim; which is not to make bare the mechanical process of the study of Scripture, but to reveal its spiritual results.
SUBJECT: The Conclusion of Paul's Voyage from Greece to
Syria. “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 sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. Now, when we 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 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 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 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 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 unto Cesarea ; and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, (which was one of the seven,) and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and 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 heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to 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 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. And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem. There went with us also certain of the disciples of Cesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge."-Acts xxi. 1-16. AUL has taken his final farewell of the elders of Ephesus
on the shore of Miletus, and the parting scene was most touching. His friends, with sorrowing hearts and tearful eyes, having accompanied him into the ship, he pursues his voyage. And as this narrative is a continuation of the preceding history, we shall rapidly glance at HIS DEPARTURE FROM MILETUS AND ARRIVAL IN JERUSALEM.
“ 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.” The expression “gotten from them” means, having torn ourselves from them, so strong were the ties of loving sympathy that bound their hearts together on the shores of Miletus that the disruption was an effort of agony. Each of the first three places the vessel reached inentioned in the text deserves a moment's notice.
Coos is an island in the Ægæan Sea, about twenty-three miles in length, near the coast of Cairia, about forty nautical miles south of Miletus. It was a fertile spot, famous for its vineyards, its wine, silk, cotton, and for its worship of Esculapius, and the residence of Hippocrates. It is probable
that they reached this island on the evening of the day on which they started from Miletus, for it would seem the vessel had an auspicious wind—“we came with a straight course unto Coos.” Rhodes is the second place mentioned. This was another island. It was south-east of Coos. celebrated for its gigantic statue of Apollo, a colossus regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world. The image was most stupendous ; it was made of brass, and strided the entrance of the harbour. Between its legs ships in full sail entered and departed. The vessel reached this beautiful and far-famed island “the day following." The other place is Patara, a town on the coast of Lycia, near the mouth of Xanthos, where Apollo was believed to utter oracles at certain
Here Paul and his companions had to disembark. Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, bearing contributions from Macedonia and Greece to the destitute Christians in Judea, and he was anxious to be there in all haste, in order to attend the Pentecost. The vessel that had conveyed him to Patara, had perhaps either finished her voyage there, or was proceeding in some other direction than to the ports of Phenicia. Providence favours the good, and the apostle finds at Patara a “ship sailing over unto Phenicia,” he and his companions embarked without a moment's delay. And now the voyage
more propitious. Free from shoals and rocks, they sail no longer through narrow channels, and under the shadow of great mountains, but out in the open sea.
The distance between Patara and Tyre, the capital of Phenicia, is three hundred and forty geographical miles, and if they had a favourable voyage, as the narrative seems to imply they had, they accomplished it in about fortyeight hours. During the sail they “discovered Cyprus," a famous island we have elsewhere described ; and perhaps in the course of a few hours after a glimpse of the celebrated spot, they “landed at Tyre," one of the most famous cities of the ancient world. A city described by the old prophets in a state of splendour, where its merchants were princes, and its trafickers the honourable of the earth.
“ Here the ship was to unlade.” Perhaps she had brought grain from the Black Sea, or wine from the Archipelago. Here Paul and his companions discovered what to them was more precious than all the wealth of the cityfollowers of Christ. “And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days, who said to Paul, through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.” Who these disciples were, in what way they were brought to Christ, and by what means the Apostle now found them out in the city, are points on which we have no information. The “SPIRIT” in some way had informed them of the sufferings which Paul would endure at Jerusalem, and their love prompted them to dissuade him from his purpose to visit it. Their words were not a divine command to Paul, but their own inference, from the fact divinely revealed to them, that Paul was to suffer there. It was not the Spirit that said he “should not go up," but their mistaken love. Having spent the seven days, the vessel having unloaded and taken in another cargo, she is ready for sea again. " And when we had 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.” Here is another parting scene presented with inimitable simplicity; full of nature and of touching interest. The Christian families of Tyre, husbands and wives, parents and children, followed Paul and his companions with loving sympathies down to the beach, and there on the hard shore, under the open heavens, and the howl of the sea, kneeled down in prayer. A modern traveller has sketched the very spot on which this touching scene occurred.
The vessel is now ready, she is floating on the crested wave, the sails are hoisted, and the moment for separation has come. The last embrace is given. "And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.” The first port they reach after having left Tyre was Ptolemais. " We came to