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RECEPTION OF ST. PAUL AT MELITA-CHAP. XIV.

445

Julian Pe- ness : for they kindled a fire, and received us every one,

Cesarea. riod, 4773. Valgarðra,

because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

60.

which is almost peculiar to moist situations and stagnant waters ;
but might well suit a country woody and damp, and probably
for want of draining, exposed to the putrid efluvia of confined
moisture.

The following are the principal objections, with their an.
swers, to Mr. Bryant's add Rhoer's hypothesis :-1. Tradi-
tion has unvaryingly asserted this as the place of the apos-
tle's shipwreck.--The tradition cannot be traced to the time
of the wreck. 2. The island in the Venetian Gulf, in favour
of which Mr. Bryant so learnedly contends, is totally out
of the track in which the Euroclydon must bave driven
the vessel.–The contrary has been shewn. (See note 4.)
3. It is said, in verse 11 of this chapter, that another ship of
Alexandria, bound as we must suppose for Italy, and very pro.
bably carrying wbeat thither, as St. Paul's vessel did, (chap.
xxvii. 38.) had been driven out of its course. The same Levan-
ter which drove one from its course, might have driven the other
also. 4. In St. Paul's voyage to Italy from Melita, on board the
Alexandrian ship that had wintered there, he and his compa-
nions landed at Syracuse, (ver. 12, 13.) and from thence went
to Rbegium. But if it had been the Illyrian Melita, the proper
course of the ship would have been first, to Rhegium, before it
reached Syracuse at all; whereas, in a voyage from the present
Malta to Italy, it was necessary to reach Syracuse, in Sicily,
before the ship could arrive at Rhegium, in Italy. This is the
strongest argument; but see Note 11, p. 450.

The learned Dr. Gray, author of the invaluable Key to the Old Testament, in his work on the connection between the sacred writings and the literature of Jewish and heathen authors, favours the opinion of Mr. Bryant, and confirms its probability by a similar incident in the life of Josephus, who was wreck. ed on his way to Rome, in the Adriatic Sea, in the same year with St. Paul.

The account in the life of Josephus (says Dr. Gray) written by himself, appears to relate to this voyage, and seems to prove that Josephus was a companion in a part of it with St. Paul. There are, indeed, difficulties which interfere with this opinion, which, as the subject is of some moment, may be proposed for critical investigation.

The relation is as follows:-After the twenty-sixth year of my age, it happened that I went up to Rome on the occasion that I shall now mention. At the time when Felix was Procurator of Judea, there were certain priests of my acquaintance, good and worthy persons, whom on a small and trifling occasion he bad put into bonds, and sent to Rome to plead their cause before Cesar. For these I was desirous to procure deliverance, and that especially because I was informed that they were not unmindful of piety towards God, even under their affliction, but supported themselves with figs and nuts : accordingly I came to Rome, though it was often through great bazards by sea, for our ship being wrecked in the midst of the Adriatic Sea, we that were in it, being about six hundred in number, swam for our lives all the night, when, upon the first appearance of the day, a ship of Cyrene appearing to us, by the providence of God, I and some others, eighty in all, preventing the rest, were taken up into the ship; and when I had thus escaped, and come to Puteoli, I became acquainted with Aliturus, an actor of plays, a Jew by birth, and much beloved by Nero, and through

source.

Julian Pe- 3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and Cesarea.
riod, 4773.
Vulgar Æra, bis interest became known to Poppea, Cesar's wise, and took
60.

care as soon as possible to intreat her to procure that the priests
might be set at liberty.

The dates, says this learned writer, might be shewn so
far to correspond, that there would be no objection from this

It is not improbable that Josepbus, who was of sacerdotal descent, and brought up in the strict profession of the Pharisaic opinions, should have felt an interest in the welfare of St. Paul, who was a Pharisee, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and who might be called a priest, as he was a doctor of the law, and assumed the character of a preacher of righteousness. What Josephus says of Felix hav. ing, as Procurator of Judea, sent the persons spoken of to Rome, may be inaccurately stated, or may relate to some order first given by Felix to this effect, but the execution of which was delayed by the change of governor. This would accord witb the account of St. Luke, and would not be inconsistent with what is further stated by him, that St. Paul was detained two years in confinement, and that Festus, not long after his arrival to take possession of the government, examined Paul at Cesarea ; aad after having again heard his defence in presence of Agrippa, directed bim to be conveyed to Rome. Josephus, then, speaking of the imprisooment and sending of St. Paul to Rome, ascribes both the measures to their first author, whose unpopular government was the subject of very general complaint, and whose proceedings were most likely to be traversed at Rome.

The piety and resignation which the historian ascribes to his companions, accord well with the character of St. Paul; and the circumstance of their supporting themselves by figs and nuts, may belp to explain what is stated in the Acts, that the

passengers fasted fourteen days;" that is, had no regular food. It might have been by means of the interest of Aliturus, that St. Paul was allowed the liberty of residing at his own house at Rome. The other difficulties which occur are not so easily removed, and present a fair subject for discussion-it is stated by Josephus, that there were six hundred persons in the ship in which be sailed, though in the vessel in which St. Paul was wrecked, there were but two hundred and seventy-six.

The number, however, mentioned by Josephus is so great, as to lead us to suspect some mistake, since it is not by any means credible that trading vessels at that time were accustomed to contain, or capable of accommodating, so great a number of per

With respect to the difference between the accounts in the Acts, and that of Josephus, as to the circumstances of the escape, it is to be considered whether Josephus, and the seventy-nine with bim, might not have been separated from those, who swam to shore at Melita, and have been taken up in the ship of Cyrede, being the persons who first cast “themselves into the sea," as is related in the Acts; and whether the remainder of the crew, who, Josephus states, were swimming with him all the night, and of whose subsequent fate he says nothing, might not have reached the land together with st. Paul. Why, when Josephus afterwards, upon this supposition, must have received the account of St. Paul's escape with the rest, he should omit to record it, can be explained only from a reluctance which he might feel, to confirm or report the miracu. lous circumstances which demonstrated the divine countenance to St. Paul's mission, which, if he had admitted, be must have

SODS.

A VIPER FASTENS ON ST. PAUL'S HAND-CHAP. XIV.

447

Julian Pe- laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, Cesaren. riod, 4771. and fastened on his hand. Vulgar Æra, 60.

4 And when the barbarians' saw the venomous beast

been a convert to Christianity. He certainly speaks inaccu.
rately in one instance, representing himself and his companions
to have swam all the night, which, without a miracle at least,
could not bave been literally effected; another difficulty, and
perhaps the greatest, is, that St. Paul expressly says, that they
escaped all safe to land, and that when they escaped they knew
that the island was called Melita, which seems to imply, that
they all reached the same island. It is possible, however, that
the apostle, by the word “ all,” refers to the immediate antece.
dent in the verse, speaking distinctly of those who followed the
first division.

The integrity of the miracle, and the declarations of St. Paul,
that there should be no loss of any man's life, and that not an
hair should fall from the head of any of them, are equally esta-
blished, whether the whole crew reached the land, or some only,
wbile others were taken up into a ship. If Josephus was one
of the bretbren whom the apostle found at Puteoli, he might
have been delayed on his voyage from Melita, or detained at
Puteoli by Aliturus, till St. Paul arrived there ; if the circum-
stances should not be thought to be satisfactorily reconciled,
there are still so many concurrences, that the accounts must at
least be allowed to bear a very remarkable resemblance to each
other, if uot to refer to the same event ; for let it be considered
that in both accounts the prisoners are represented to have
been put into bonds by Felix, upon a trifling occasion, and in
both to have appealed to Cesar. In both relations, men of ex-
traordinary piety and excellence are exposed to shipwreck in
the Adriatic in the same year; and in both they wonderfully
escape: by a remarkable providence, in both histories they
arrive at Puteoli; and in both instauces the prisoners are, by an
unexpected indulgence in some degree, set at liberty, in conse.
quence it should seem of interest made with the emperor.-
Johan. Fred. Wandalinus considers Malta, in the Mediterra-
nean, as the scene of St. Paul's shipwreck, p. 773, in a disserta-
tion, in the 13tb vol. of tbe Critici Sacri.

9 Mr. Bryant fully proves that the people of Malta, in the Mediterranean, could not be justly called “barbarous.” On this point the testimony of Diodorus Siculus (see Note 8), is decisive. Mr. Bryant, after some extracts on the magnificence of the temples at Malta, goes on to contrast the description of the African Malta, given by the classical writers, with the brief but forcible account of the Adriatic Melite in the New Testament. The island is situated in the Adriatic Gulf, near the river Naro, in the province of the Nestiæans, an Illyrian people. What is the character of these Illyrians ? barbarous beyond measure ; so that they are seldom mentioned without this denomination. Thucydides, speaking of Epidamnus, says, it was " in the neighbourhood of the Taulantii, a barbarous set of people, Illyrians.” (Hist. lib. i.) Polybius says, that in his time “they did not seem so much to have feuds and quarrels with any particular nation, as to be at war with all the world.” (Hist. lib. ii. p. 100. Edit. Casaub. Item excerptæ Legatines, sect. cxxv.) Diodorus seldom mentions them, but he terms them barbarians. Speaking of the Lacedæmonians giving them a remarkable check, he says, (lib. xiv. p. 464. Edit. Stephan.) τα πολλα θρασες επαυσαν τις βαρβαρες. One Illyrian nation was called the Dardanians; of whom Nicolaus Da

Julian Pe- hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt Cesarea. riod, 4773. this man is a murderer, whom though he hath escaped Vulgar Æra. 60.

the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.

8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever, and of a bloody flux : to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed :

10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and

mascenus (Euvaywyn napadotwv n3wv,) mentions an odd rule,
which, I believe, no other body politic imposed upon itself :
- they were washed three times only during their life--when
they were born-when they married-when they died-pus
εν τω βιω λαονται μονον, όταν γενωνται, και επι γαμοις, και
TELEVTWVTES. Strabo speaks of the country as naturally good,
but neglected and barren, “ on account of the savage dispo-
sition of the inhabitants, and the national turn to plunder.”
They are represented as rude in their habits; their bodies dis-
figured with marks and scarifications, by way of (Strabo, vol. i.
p. 484. Edit. Amstel. 1707.) ornament; not given to traffic, and
ignorant of the use of money. (Schol. in Dionys. IIepiny. ad vers.
97.) They are described as extending to the Danube north,
and eastward to Macedonia and Thrace; comprehending a vil-
lanous brotherhood under diffcrent denominations. (Liv. lib. s.
cap. 2.) Illyrii Liburnique et Istri, gentes seræ. Such were the
Scordisci, a nation bent on ruin; who are said to have made a
beautiful country for seven days journey a desert. Add to
these the Bessi, so supreme in villainy, that the banditti looked
up to them, and called them, by way of eminence," the thieves.”
(Strabo, vol. i. p. 490. Edit. Amstel. 1707.) In short, it is
notorious that all the tract of Illyria, from the city Lissus
north west, was termed Ιλλυρις Βαρβαρικη και partly on account
of the ferocity of the inhabitants, and partly to distinguish it
from the Hellenic, where the Greeks had made their settle-
ments. It is observable, that the islands upon this coast were
noted for a desperate race of freebooters: and, what is most to
the purpose, Melite and Corcyra particularly swarmed with
pirates. They so far aggrieved the Romans by their repented
outrages, that (Appian. de Bello Illyrico.) Augustus ordered
the island to be sacked, and the inhabitants to be put to the
sword. This in great measure was executed. So that, when
the apostle arrived in these parts, the island must have been
very much thinded, and the remainder of the people well dis-
ciplined.

ST. PAUL'S VOYAGE TO ROME-CHAP. XIV.

449

Julian Pe- when we departed, they laded us with such things as Cesarea. riod, 4773. were necessary. VulgarÆra, 60.

SECTION VII.

After three Months they sail to Rome.

ACTS xxviii. 11, to part of ver. 14.
11 And after three months we departed in a ship of
Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign
was Castor and Pollux 'o.

12 And landing at Syracuse", we tarried there three
days.

13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium : and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:

14. Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days;

10 It was the custom with the ancient Greeks and Romans, to place the image or picture of the Deity, to whose care and protection they committed the ship, at the stern, and to place the sign, by the name of which the ship was called, at the head (a). It is a dispute among learned men, whether the tutelar Deity were not also sometimes the sign, and for that reason placed both at head and stern. There are undeniable instances in an. cient authors, wherein some of the heathen deities are placed at the head. And it is not very likely, that such ships should have other deities at the stern, to whose tutelage they were committed. or this sort is the ship which carried Paul to Italy. It had Castor and Pollux, two beatben deities, at the head, and doubtless, if any, bad the same also at the stern, as the tutelar gods, protectors, and patrons of the ship, these being esteemed deities peculiarly favourable to mariners.

(a) Vid. Hammond in loc. Virg. Æneid. I 10. v. 157. 166. et 171. Ovid. de Trist. Eleg. 9. v. 1, 2. Perf. Sat. 6. v. 30.

11 An argument has been brought in favour of the opinion, that the island here in question was the island of Malta, “ from St. Paul's calling at Syracuse, in his way to Rhegium ; which is so far out of the track, that no example can be produced in the history of oavigation, of any ship going so far out of ber course, except it was driven by a violent tempest.” This argument tends principally to shew, that a very incorrect idea has been formed of the relative situation of these places. The ship which carried St. Paul from the Adriatic Sea to Rhegium, would not deviate from its course more than half a day's sail by touching at Syracuse, and the delay so occasioned would probably be but a few hours more than it would have been, bad they proceeded to Syracuse in their way to the Straits of Messina, froin Malta, as the map will shew. Besides, the master of the ship migbt have, and probably had, some business at Syracuse, which had origiuated at Alexandria, from which place it must baru been originally intended the ship should commence ber voyage to Puteoli; and in this course the calling at Syracuse would bave been the smallest deviation possible.

VOL. II.

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