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Acts 21:1-6

1. And when it came to pass that we had loosed, being pulled away from them, we came with a straight course to Coos, and the next day to the Rhodes, and thence to Patara; 2. And when we had gotten a ship, which sailed over to Phenicia, when we were entered into it, we launched. 3. And when Cyprus began to appear to us, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed into Syria, and came to Tyrus: for here the ship did unlade her burden. 4. And when we had found disciples, we stayed there seven days; who said to Paul by the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 5. And when the days were ended, we departed and went our way; and they all, with their wives and children, accompanied us, until we were out of the city; and when we had kneeled down upon the shore, we prayed. 6. And when we had taken our leave one of another, we went up into the ship; and they returned home.

 

1. Luke reckoneth up briefly the course of his sailing; and that not only to win credit to the history, that we may know what was done in every place, but that the readers may weigh with themselves the invincible and heroic fortitude which was in Paul, who would rather be tossed and troubled with such long, unlevel, 452452     “Ac flexuosis,” and Winding. and troublesome journeys, that he might serve Christ, than provide for his own quietness. Whereas he saith that they were drawn and pulled away, it is not simply referred unto the distance of places; but because the brethren stood on the shore, so long as they could see the ship wherein Paul and his companions were carried. He nameth the havens where the ship arrived, 453453     “Applicuit,” touched, for this cause that we may know that they sailed quietly without trouble of tempest. Let us search the describers of countries 454454     “Consulantur geographi,” geographers may be consulted. touching the situation of the cities whereof he maketh mention; it is sufficient for me to show Luke’s purpose.

4. And when they had found disciples. Though the number of the faithful was but small, yet there came some seed of the gospel thither, according to the prophecies Of the prophets, (Isaiah 23:18) lest Tyrus should be altogether void of the blessing of God. And here, as in other places going before, Luke calleth Christians disciples, that we may know that those alone are numbered in the flock of Christ who have embraced his doctrine by faith. For that is a vain 455455     “Lusoria,” elusory. and false profession for a man to give his name to Christ, and not to understand what he teacheth or speaketh. And let the readers mark, that Paul stayed seven days at Tyrus, for no other cause, saving that he might strengthen them. So that we see, that whithersoever he came he foreslowed [neglected] no occasion to do good.

They said by the Spirit. Namely, with the approbation of speech, that Paul might know that they spake by the Spirit of prophecy. Surely this was no small temptation to cause him not to finish the journey which he had taken in hand, seeing the Holy Ghost did dissuade him from the same. And this was a very fair color 456456     “Color apprime speciosus,” a very specious pretext. to fly from the cross, if he had cared for his own safety, to be drawn back as it were with the hand of God.

Notwithstanding, he ceaseth not to hold on thither whither he knew he was called by the Lord. Notwithstanding, here ariseth a question, how the brethren can dissuade him by the Spirit from doing that which Paul did testify he doth by the secret motion of the same Spirit? Is the Spirit contrary to himself, that he doth now loose Paul whom he held bound inwardly? I answer, that there be diverse gifts of the Spirit; so that it is no marvel if those who excel in the gift of prophecy be sometimes destitute of judgment or strength. 457457     “Fortitudine,” fortitude. The Lord showed to these brethren, of whom Luke maketh mention, what should come to pass; yet, nevertheless, they know not what is expedient, and what Paul’s calling doth require, because the measure of their gift doth not reach so far. And the Lord would have his servant admonished of purpose, partly, that through long meditation, he might be better furnished and prepared to suffer whatsoever should come, partly that his constancy might more plainly appear, when as being certified by prophecies of the doleful event, he doth, notwithstanding, wittingly and willingly, make haste to endure whatsoever things shall befall him.

5. With their wives and children. This was no small testimony of love, in that they accompanied Paul out of the city with their wives and children, which thing Luke doth report, partly that he might commend their godliness according as it deserved; partly that he might declare that Paul had that honor given him which was due to him. Whence we do also gather, that he meant nothing less than to provide for his own commodity, seeing that he was not kept back with so great good will, which was a pleasant bait to entice him to stay. And we must also note the solemn custom of praying in weightier affairs, and that being certified by God of the danger, they are more stirred up to pray.


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