« PreviousContinue »
them in distress, treated them with great humanity, inaking fires to warm their wet and weary limbs, and shewing them all the offices of civility and charity.
Whilst they were drying and warming themselves, a viper, driven from among the wood by the heat of the fire, leaped out, and fastened upon Paul's hand, which when the natives saw, they immediately concluded him guilty of murder, and that divine vengeance had pursued him to that place, to die by the bite of this venomous creature; but he shook it off into the fire, and felt no harm; which they observing, soon altered their opinion, and concluded he was a god.
Near this place was the residence of Publius, the governor of the island, who received and entertained this shipwrecked company with great civility and hospitality for three days; during which time, Paul hearing that the governor's father lay dangerously ill of a fever and a bloody-flux, he went to his apartment, and praying by him, laid his hands upon and healed him.
barren, has been made by human industry capable of producing large quantities of corn, cotton, fruit, and vegetables. The Arabs expelled the Romans from Malta in 828, and held it till 1190 ; when the Normans, from Sicily, took possession, and continued masters of it till the reign of the Emperor Charles V.; and by him it was given to the Knights of Rhodes, since better known under the title of Knights of Malta. While in their possession, it was considered as the bulwark of Christendom against the Turks; and in 1564 it sustained a memorable siege, and bade defiance to the whole power of the Turkish empire. The fortifications are a stupendous monument of art and expence, and are many miles in extent, mostly bomb proof, and usually considered, as impregnable ; yet it was delivered up to the French during the late war, through the treachery or incapacity of the Grand Master of the Knights, after a sham attack of a few hours. It was afterwards taken by the English, owing to a severe blockade, and the total failure of provisions, and has ever since continued in their possession, which, with iheir
pow. erful fleets, gives them the supreme command of the Mediterranean sea. Mount Etna at the distance of 200 miles, is clearly discerned from Malia, which is considerably affected by its convulsions; and it is remarkable, that no serpent, or other venomous creature, will live on the island ; a circumstance which, from whatever cause it has arisen, is imputed by the superstitious Maltese to the apostle Paul. All religions are tolerated, and the city of Valetta even contains a Turkish mosque. The Knights have entirely lost their authority; and the population of the island, zvith that of Goza, depending upon and contiguous to it, is about 150,000.
The rumour of this miraculous cure soon spread through the island, and those that were afflicted with any disease were brought to Paul, and he restored them to their health and strength. This increased Paul's fame, insomuch that his companions and fellow-sufferers were the better for it, being for his sake highly caressed and entertained. And when they left Malta, they received many marks of esteem from the inhabitants, who presented them with every necessary for their voyage.
Having tarried at Malta three months, they took shipping in a vessel of Alexandria, that had wintered there, called the Castor and Pollux. Sailing from thence to Syracuse and Sicily, they tarried there three days, and thence to Rhegium in Italy, and so in two days to Puteoli, where they found some Christian professors, who importuned them very much to stay a week with them; after which they advanced towards Rome; and being come as far as Appii Forum and the * Three Taverns, the Christians in Rome, hearing of Paul's approach, went out to meet him; and when they were come to Rome, Julius delivered the other prisoners to the captain of the guard, but permitted Paul to dwell in a private house, with only a soldier to guard him.
After Paul had been three days at Rome, he desired to speak with the rulers of the Consistory, which the Jews had at Rome. To whom Paul addressed himself in this manner : “ Countrymen, though I have done nothing contrary to the laws or customs of the Jews, yet was I by the Jews apprehended, and accused before the Roman procurator ; who, when he had examined me, would have discharged me, finding no capital accusation brought against me. But the Jews opposing it, I was obliged to appeal to Cæsar, to get out of their hands, and to clear myself, not to lay any thing to the charge of any
* Three Taverns. This is the proper name of a town or city, and not to be ren. dered an inn or victualling-house, but (as all other proper names) to continue without any alteration. Taberna was the name of the frontier towns, whigh were built against the inroads and insults of the Barbarians.
countrymen. And this is the cause of my desiring to speak with you; for I am imprisoned, as you see, for asserting the resurrection of the dead, which is the result of all the promises of God to the Jews, and that on which every true Israelite depends.” Then they said to him, “ We have no letters from Judea that mention thee, nei. ther have the Christian Jews made any complaint against thee. But we desire to hear thy opinion more at large; for as concerning this profession and doctrine of Christi anity, we know it is generally opposed by our brethren the Jews.” Whereupon, a day was appointed, and there came many Jews to his lodging, to whom he preached and explained the doctrine of the gospel, demonstrating from the law of Moses, and the prophecies that were of force among the Jews, the agreeableness and truth of the whole Christian religion. Upon the result of the matter, some believed, and others did not; and when by reason of this difference some warm disputes arose between theni, as they departed, Paul told them, “ That this unbelief of theirs was a thing which the prophet Isaiah had positively foretold, saying, " This people will not receive the gospel ; for they have contracted a perverse habit of obsti. nacy and wilful deafness, that they will not hearken to any way of reformation that shall be proposed to them.' Be assured then, that we are not obliged longer to contend with your obdurate temper, but we will preach the gospel to the heathen, who will gladly accept this offered mercy.” And upon this they parted, the Jews continuing obstinate in their opinions as they took leave. And Paul continued free from close confinement, living in his hired house for two whole years, preaching the gospel to all who came to him with all freedom and openness, none offering any molestation or restraint.
THUS ENDS THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
Of St. Paul, FROM HIS CONVERSION TO HIS DEATH
IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 70, AND IN THE 14TH OF THE
REIGN OF THE EMPEROR
Years of the Roman Emperors.
23 Caligula 1
Paul, the persecutor and blasphemer, Acts vii. viii. ix. is converted on his way to Damascus
1 From Damascus he goes into Arabia, and preaches the 36 2
gospel; from thence returning to Damascus, he is persecuted, and escapes by means of the brethren, in a bas
ket over the city wall, Acts, ch. ix. Galatians, ch. i. 37 3 He comes to Jerusalem to visit Peter, Acts, ch. ix. 2 Cor. xii. Galat. i.
38 4 The Jews endeavouring to put him to death, he is escor
5 ted by the Romans to Cæsarea ; from thence goes to
Syria and Tarsus, in Cilicia, Acts, ch. vii. Galat. i. 40 6 He goes to Antioch with Barnabas, where the disciples were first called Christians, Acts, ch. xi. v. 26.
8 The famine predicted by Agabus, Acts, ch. xi.
44 10 Saint James the Great, first Bishop of Jerusalem, put to death by Herod, grandson of Herod the Great, Acts, xii
45 11 Paulus Emilius, 'Proconsul of Cyprus, converted by st. Paul, Acts, ch. xiii.
46 12 He preaches in Antioch and Pisidia, part of Galatia; Acts, ch. xiv.
47 13 Comes to Iconium, and remains there some time, Acts, ch. xiii. xiv.
48 14 He cures a lame man at Lystra, and is soon after stoned, Acts, xvi.
49 15 Having ordained elders in all the churches, and visited Pisidia and Pamphylia, he returns to Antioch
Years of the
At this time the apostles held a council at Jerusalem,
wherein St. Paul assisted ; and having returned to Antioch, he there resisted St. Peter to the face, Acts, xv. Galatians, ch. ii.
52 18 Claudius 10 St. Paul goes with Silas into Syna and Cilicia, to strength.
en the churches; afterward to Derbe and Lystra with Timothy, thence to Macedonia, and established the church of Philippi, Acts, ch. xv. xvi.
12 He preaches at Athens, and goes from thence to Thessa. lonica, Acts, ch. xvji.
13 He preaches at Corinth eighteen months, and from thence writes to the Romans, Acts, ch. xviii.
14 He goes to Ephesus ; from thence to Cæsarea, afterward to Jerusalem, and thence to Antioch
57 23 Nero 1 He visits the churches in Asia and Phrygia, Acts, ch. xviii. 58 24
2 St. Paul goes to Ephesus, where he remained two years,
and leaves Timothy first bishop of the church of Ephesus, Acts, ch. xix. 1 Tim. ch. i.
3 He writes his first epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus, 1 Cor. ch. xvi.
4 After the tumult made at Ephesus was appeased, he goes
to Troas, and from thence to Macedonia, where being at Philippi, he writes his second epistle to the Corinthians by St. Luke and Titus, Acts, ch. xx. and 2 Cor. ch. ii. and xiii. In this city he was scourged and put into the stocks.
5 From Philippi he goes into Greece, 1 Cor. ch. xvi. and 2
Cor. ch. xii. And because of the snares laid for him, returns by Macedonia to Troas, and meets there Aristarchus and Timothy, Acts, ch.xx.
6 At Troas St. Paul restores a dead person to life. He goes
to Assos and Mytelene, to Samos, Trogyllium, and Mi. letus. At Ephesus he bids the church a final adieu, and sails to Rhodes, Patara, Tyrus, Ptolemais, and thence to Cæsarea, from whence proceeding to Jerusalem, he is there apprehended on a false charge of sedition, Acts, ch. xxi. and xxii.
7 Brought as a prisoner to Cæsarea he pleads before Felix, re
mains two years in prison, and appeals to Cæsar at Rome, Acts, ch. xxiij. and xxiv.
65 31 St. Paul is sent a prisoner to Rome by sea, accompanied
by the holy evangelist Luke, and is shipwrecked on the island of Malta, Acts, ch. xxyii.
11 While in chains at Rome he writes his epistles to the churches of Galatia, Ephesus, and Philippi
12 He writes the epistle to the Colossians, and to Philemon 68 34
13 He writes his second epistle to Timothy a little before his death
69 35 He is brought before the tyrant Nero the second time, and
being a Roman citizen, is condemned to lose his head for preaching the gospel