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Ann. Dom. 61, &c.
A. M. 4065, lita, now Malta; and the natives of the place received them with great civility &c. or 5472. and kindness, making them fires to dry their wet clothes, and cherish their benumbed limbs; but, as Paul was throwing some sticks upon the fire |, a viper, dislodged by the heat, came out from among them, and fastened on his hand; which, when the natives saw, they immediately concluded, that he was some notorious malefactor or murderer, whom the Divine vengeance (though it suffered him to escape the sea) had reserved for a more public and solemn execution. But when they saw him shake off the venemous creature into the fire, and no manner of harm ensue, they changed their sentiments to the other extreme, and cried out, that he was a god." +2 Not far from this place was the residence of
Publius, the governor of the island,
tempt that did not speak their language, or that did not speak it correctly, and without the mixture of any other dialect; and this is the reason why St Paul's company, who were all Greeks or Latins, called the Maltese barbarians. Calmet's Commentary, and Beausobre's Annotations.
in the year of our Lord 1530. These knights, ac-
That the people of Malta were originally a colony
|| Vipera quasi vivipara (a sort of serpent, so called, because it brings forth its young alive) is but a small creature (the largest not above half an ell long, and an inch thick), but so very poisonous, that the bite of it will sometimes kill a person in a moment, or cause a sudden inflammation all over the body, as the people of Malta we see expected of St Paul, Acts xxviii. 6. The people of that island, however, have a tradition, that ever since the time that the apostle was bitten by one, whatever vipers are found there have no venom in them; and that some of them, when, out of curiosity, carried into Sicily, become as poisonous as others, but when brought back to Malta again, lose all their venomous quality. Nay, they add further, that as there are great numbers of petrified vipers and other serpents in this island, those who carry pieces of these about them, will be preserved from the biting of any venomous animal; and that those who for want of them chance to be bit, may certainly be cured, by taking some of the powder of one of the petrifactions mingled in a little water. Calmet's Commentary and Dictionary under the word Malta.
+ Hercules was one of the gods whom the people of this island worshipped, and to him they ascribed the power of curing the bite of serpents. Beausobre's Annotations.
That he was governor of the island is highly probable from an inscription found there, and set down by Grotius, wherein the FOTO MEAITAION is reckoned among the Roman officers, and that both he, and most of the people under him, were converted to the Christian faith, is the joint opinion of St Chrysostom, and some other Greek authors; whereas Ado, with several Latin writers, affirms, that Publius, joining himself to St Paul, was by him made a bishop, and sent to preach the Gospel; and that coming to Athens, he there settled, governed that church in the quality of their bishop for some time, and then ended his life by martyrdom. But this is a mistaken piece of history, since the Publius, who was the bishop of Athens, did not suffer martyrdom till the time of Marcus Aurelius. Cave's Lives of the Apostles, and Calmet's Commentary.
10. to the end.
who entertained this shipwrecked company with great hospitality for three days; in ac- From Acts i. knowledgment of which, St Paul, by his prayers, and the imposition of his hands, recovered his father from a fever and bloody-flux; and several others of the inhabitants, afflicted with any kind of disease, he restored to their former health and strength; for which they not only shewed him the highest marks of their esteem, but furnished both him and his company with all necessaries proper for the rest of their voyage.
After three months stay in this island, the centurion and his charge went on board the † Castor and Pollux, a ship of Alexandria, bound for Italy. At Syracuse they put in, and tarried three days; thence sailed to †2 Rhegium, and so to Puteoli, where they landed; and finding some Christians there, at their request stayed a week with them, and then set forward in their journey to Rome. The Christians of this city,
These were two brothers, sons of Jupiter and Leda, who (as the poets fable) sprung from the same egg, and are therefore represented as having each the half of an egg shell in his hand, because it is pretended, that Jupiter conversed with their mother in the form of a swan, These two brothers were of great reputation for their valour, and particularly for the wars which they waged against the corsairs and pirates, for which they had Divine honours paid them, being the peculiar deities of mariners, to whom they made their vows in every voyage, and whose assistance they implored in every storm. Among the ancients it was the custom to have the image of some creature or other painted or engraven upon the prow of every ship of burden, from which the vessel had its name: And hence the poets have given it out, that Europa was carried away by a bull, and Ganymede by an eagle, and that Phryxus rode over the Euxine Sea on a ram, because the ships employed in the voyages had such creatures for their ensigns, and from them borrowed their names. But, besides all this, it was usual with the ancients to have some god or other generally painted upon the stern, as the patron or tutelary god of the vessel; and therefore we may observe, that the same ship which Virgil calls the Tiger, because of the image of that animal on its prow, Erata princeps secat Equora Tigri, had on its stern the image of Apollo,
Aurato fulgebat Apolline Puppis.
ing divided into four parts, Acradino, Tyche, Neapo-
+ Rhegium, now called Reggio, is a port town in
This place, which is now commonly called Poz. zuoli, is a city in Terra di Lavoro (a province in the kingdom of Naples), situated upon an hill, in a creek of the sea, and just opposite to Baia (on the other side of the creek), a place of great renown among the Roman writers. Within the bounds of this city there are five and thirty natural baths of different sorts of warm waters, very useful for the cure of several diseases; and from these baths, or pits of water, called in Latin, Putei, the town is said to have taken its name. At present it is a bishop's see, under the archbishop of Naples, and in it are to be seen many Roman antiquities, and natural rarities, not easily to be found elsewhere. Wells's Geography of the New
Eneid x. But whether this Castor and Pollux was painted or engraven on the prow or stern of the ship, it is plain that St Paul was not so superstitious as to refuse to sail in it, nor St Luke to make mention of it upon that account. Calmet's Dictionary and Commentary, Hammond's and Whitby's Annotations.
This was a city of Sicily, seated on the east side of the island, with a fine prospect from every entrance both by sea and land. Its port, which had the sea on both sides of it, was almost all of it environed with beautiful buildings, and all that part of it which was without the city, was on both sides banked up, and sustained with very fair walls of marble. The city itself, while in its splendor, was the largest and richest that the Greeks possessed in any part of the world. For (according to Strabo) it was two and twenty miles in circumference, and both Livy and Plutarch inform us, that the spoil of it was equal to that of Carthage. It was called Quadruplex, as be
&c. or 5472. Ann. Dom. 61, &c.
A. M. 4065, hearing of the apostle's coming, went out to meet him, some as far as * Appii-forum, and others as far as the † Three Taverns; which, when he saw, he blessed God, and took courage. They all conducted him in a kind of triumph into the city; where, when they were arrived, the rest of the prisoners were delivered over to the || captain of the guard, but Paul was permitted to stay in a private house, only 2 with one soldier for his ward.
Three days after his arrival at Rome, St Paul sent for the heads of the Jewish consistory there, and to them related the cause of his coming; viz. "That though he had been guilty of no violation of the laws of their religion, yet, by the Jews at Jerusalem, he had been delivered into the hands of the Roman governors, who more than once would have acquitted him as innocent of any capital offence, but that, by the perverseness of his persecutors, he was constrained (not with any intention to accuse his own nation, but only to clear and vindicate himself) to make his appeal to the emperor.” Having thus removed a popular prejudice, and insinuated the cause of his suffering to be that which their own religion had taught him, viz. "the belief and expectation of a future resurrection," he gained so far upon their affections, as to have a second conference by their own appointment, for explaining the principles of Christianity to them. Accordingly, when they were met together, he discoursed to them from morning to night, concerning the religion and doctrine of the holy Jesus, proving, from the promises and predictions of the Old Testament, that he was the true Messias: But the success of his discourse was different, some being convinced, and others persisting in their infidelity; so that they parted with no small difference and disagreement among themselves.
For two whole years Paul dwelt at Rome, in an house which he hired for his own use, wherein he constantly employed himself in preaching and writing for the good of the church. He preached daily without interruption, and with good success, insomuch, that his imprisonment very much redounded to the propagation of the Gospel, and
This place, at present called Cassarilla di St Ma-
|| This στρατοπεδάρχης or chief commander of the emperor's guards, is generally supposed to have been Burrhus, whom Claudius made his prætorian prefect, A. D. 51. He had a great hand in advancing Nero to the empire, and while he lived, had so much influence or authority over him, as to keep his evil inclinations under some sort of restraint; but he died A. D. 62, about two years after St Paul's arrival at Rome, leaving behind him (according to the account of historians) a great reputation for wisdom and moderation. Échard's Ecclesiastical History, and Calmet's Commentary.
+ The manner of the soldier's guarding the pri soner among the Romans was, by having a chain at one end fastened to the prisoner's right-hand, and at the other to the soldier's left, and this made so long that they might conveniently go together: But sometimes, for greather security, the prisoner was guarded with two soldiers, and so had two chains, one of them made fast to one soldier, and the other to the other, Acts xii. 6, 7. and Acts xxi. 33. Whitby's and Hammond's Annotations.
Hence it appears, that the edict of Claudius, which banished the Jews from Rome, was of no long continuance, but probably expired with his life; because we find, by St Paul's epistle to the Romans, which he wrote about two years before his going a mong them, that there were great numbers both of Jews and Christians then residing at Rome. Beausobre's Annotations, and Calmet's Commentary.
made him famous even in the emperor's court, where he converted several to Christia- From Acts i. nity.
10. to the end.
Among other of the apostle's converts at Rome was one † Onesimus, who had formerly been a servant to || Philemon, a person of distinction +2 in Colosse, but had run away from his master, and taken things of some value with him. He rambled as far as Rome, where, by St Paul's means, he was converted, instructed, and baptized, and afterwards became highly serviceable to him in his imprisonment. But being another man's servant, he sent him back to Colosse, and, at the same time, wrote a short
Among these the Roman martyrology reckons Terpes, an officer of prime note in Nero's palace, and afterwards a martyr for the faith; and St Chrysostom (if Baronius cites him right) tells us of Nero's cupbearer, and one of his concubines, supposed by some to have been Poppaæa Sabina, of whom Tacitus gives us this character:-" That she wanted nothing to make her one of the most accomplished ladies in the world, but a chaste and virtuous mind:" And I know not how far it may seem to countenance her conversion, at least inclination to a better religion than that of Paganism, that Josephus styles her a pious woman, and tells us, that she effectually solicited the cause of the Jews with her husband Nero; and what favours Josephus himself received from her at Rome, he relates in his own life. Cave's Lives of the Apostles.
This was no uncommon name given to slaves, and as it signifies in the original profitable, the apostle may be supposed to allude to it, when he tells Philemon, concerning this servant of his, "in time past he was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable both to thee and me," Phil. ver. 11. And indeed so he proved: For not long after his return to his master, he was sent back again to Rome, that he might be of service to St Paul in his prison. The epistles which St Paul wrote in his confinement, were by his hand conveyed to their respective churches. After the apostle's release from prison, he was assistant to him in the propagation of the Gospel, and (according to the Apostolic Constitutions) was by him made bishop. of Berea in Macedonia, where he suffered martyrdom; though others say that he succeeded Timothy in the bishoprick of Ephesus, and that, being taken into custody and carried to Rome, he was there stoned to death for his faith in Jesus Christ. That he was a true convert to Christianity, and a sincere penitent for his private offences, is evident from the appellations which St Paul gives him of his son, the son of his bonds, his own bowels, Phil. ver. 10. 12, and his faithful and beloved brother, Col. iv. 9. but that he was either bishop or martyr, St Chrysostom, St Jerom, and Theodoret, who have all written commentarics upon the epistle to Philemon, make not the least mention. Calmet's and Beausobre's Pref. sur l'Epitre a Philemon.
He was a person of some considerations in Colosse, a city of Phrygia; for his family was there remaining in the time of Theodoret, who flourished in the fifth age of the church. St Paul, we read, was twice in Phrygia, and yet we do not find that he was ever at Colosse; nay, he seems to declare himself that he was never there, Col. ii. 1. and therefore we must
suppose, that either he converted Philemon (as he seems to intimate he did, ver. 19.) at Ephesus, or some other place in Asia Minor, (while he was preaching the Gospel there) or that Epaphras, who was St Paul's disciple, and by him appointed evangelist to the Colossians, was the person who converted him. However this be, it is certain, that upon his conversion he became a fellow-labourer in the Gospel, ver. 1. and (as the Apostolic Constitutions tell us) by St Paul was made the bishop of the church of Colosse, which, by his extensive charity, Phil. ver. 5. 6. he edified, as much as by his preaching of the Gospel, until he and his wife Appia both suffered martyrdom in the time of Nero. Calmet's and Beausobre's Pref. sur l'Epitres a Col. et Philemon.
+ This was a great city of Phygia, in Asia Minor, built by the river Lycus, near the place (as Herodotus informs us, 1. 7. c. 30.) where it begins to run under ground, as it does for five furlongs before it rises again, and empties itself into the Meander. This city was situated at an equal distance between Laodicea and Hierapolis, and therefore we find St Paul (in his epistle to the Colossians, chap. iv. 13.) making mention of the inhabitants of all these three cities together; which (according to the account of Eusebius) were all destroyed by an earthquake, in the tenth of Nero, about two years after that this epistle was sent to them. Wells's Geography of the New Testament, and Whitby's Alphabetical Table.
This epistle may pass for a master-piece of eloquence in the persuasive way. For therein the apostle has recourse to all the considerations which friendship, religion, piety, and tenderness, can inspire, to reconcile a servant to his master; and yet some of the ancients were of opinion, that it did not deserve a place in the canon of Scripture, because it was wrote on a particular occasion, and with a design, not so much to instruct Christians in general, as to recommend a fugitive servant. But though the subject of this epistle be a private affair, yet it contains such general instructions as these: 1st, That no Christian, though of the meanest condition, is to be contemned. 2dly, That Christianity does not impair the power of masters over their servants. 3dly, That servants ought to make satisfaction for any wrong or injury done to their masters. 4thly, That masters ought to be reconciled to their servants, upon their repentance and acknowledgment of their faults: And, 5thly, That there is, at all times, a love and affec tion due from a master to a profitable servant. And who then (say the Greek interpreters) would refuse to number an epistle, so profitable and so instruc
A. M. 4066,. letter to his master, †
&c. or 5473. Ann. Dom. 62, &c.
Earnestly desiring him to pardon him, and, notwithstanding his former faults, to treat him kindly, and use him as a brother; and promising withal, that if he had wronged or owed him any thing, he himself would not fail to repay it."
The Christians of Philippi, having heard of St Paul's imprisonment at Rome, and not knowing what straits he might be reduced to, raised a contribution for him, and sent it by Epaphroditus *, their bishop, by whom he returned an epistle † to them: “Wherein he gives some account of the state of his affairs at Rome; gratefully acknowledges their kindness to him; warns them against the dangerous opinions which the Judaizing teachers began to vent among them; and advises them to live in continual obedience to Christ; to avoid disputations, to delight in prayer, to be courageous under afflictions, united in love, and clothed with humility, in imitation of the Blessed Jesus, who so far humbled himself, as to become obedient to death, even to the death of the cross."
St Paul had, for three years, lived at Ephesus, taking great pains in preaching the Gospel, and was thoroughly acquainted with the state and condition of the place; and therefore now, taking the opportunity of Tychicus's || going thither, he wrote his epistle to the Ephesians; "Wherein he endeavours to countermine the principles
tive, with the rest of St Paul's works? Chrysost. Ar-
For the case of servants in those days was very
* St Paul_calls him the "apostle of the Philippians," which some, taking the word apostle in its literal sense for a messenger only, do suppose that Epaphroditus is so called, because he was appointed by the Philippians to carry money to St Paul, who was then in prison at Rome, and in their name to be serviceable to him in his person. But Theodoret, and others of the fathers, who have written upon the epistle to the Philippians, tell us, that he was the person ὦ τῶν ψυχῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιστεύθη ἐπιμέλεια, “ to whom the care of their souls had been committed," and consequently their bishop; for it is more feasible to make him bishop of Philippi than of any other place, as some have done. Whitby's Preface to the Epistle to the Philippians, and Calmet's Commentary on chap. ii. 25.
Of all the epistles which St Paul wrote, there is none so full of affection and tender sentiments as this to the Philippians, who, (it must be owned) upon
the account of their constancy in the faith, as we'l as their zeal for the apostle and concern for his sufferings, deserved such kind treatment; and there. fore, so far is he from censuring or reproving them, (as he usually does other churches) that we find him abounding in their praise and commendation. A good argument this (as St Chrysostom remarks) of their virtuous behaviour, that they gave their teacher no cause to complain, but that the whole epistle which he sent them contains nothing but kind exhortations and encouragements, without the least mixture of sharpness or reproof. Beausobre's Preface sur l'Epitre aux Philip.
Tychicus was of the province of Asia, and a disciple of St Paul, whom he frequently employed to carry his letters to several churches, as that to the Colossians, written in 61; that to the Ephesians, written in 65; and the first to Timothy, written in 64. Nor did he employ him merely to carry his letters, but to learn likewise the state of the several churches to which he sent him, and to bring him proper intelligence from thence; and for this reason he calls him his " dear brother, a faithful minister in the Lord, and his companion in the service of God," Eph. vi. 21, 22. and Col. iv. 7, 8. For this reason he had once thoughts of sending him to Crete, to preside over that church in the absence of Titus, chap. iii. 12. as it is probably supposed, that when he sent him with his letter to Ephesus, he ordered him to abide there, and to govern that church, while Timothy, their proper bishop, was absent with him at Rome. But when St Paul was restored to his liberty, whether this disciple of his attended him in his travels, or was constituted bishop of Colophon, in the province of Asia, as some report, we have no account that may be depended on. Calmet's Dictionary un
der the Word.
+3 The heretic Marcion (as Tertullian, adv. Mar. lib. v. c. 17. informs us) pretended, that this epistle was not written to the Ephesians, but to the Laodi