There is another island called Gozo, ten miles long, by five miles in breadth, about three and a half miles to the north-west of Malta. Gozo is surrounded by perpendicular rocks, and in one part the rocks rise to five hundred and seventy feet above the level of the sea ; which is twentysix feet above the summit of Malta. Between Malta and Gozo is a very small island named Cumino, which is only two miles long, and one mile broad. To the south of these islands is an uninhabited rock. It is supposed that these islands once were united, and that the land between them was submerged by some earthquake or volcanic action. The highest points of these islands may be seen at a distance, at sea, of about twenty-four miles.

The island is well planted and cultivated. Its principal productions are aniseed, cassia, cotton, figs, grain, grapes, lemons, melons, and oranges.

Malta has been under the government of the ancient Tyrians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Goths, the Saracens, the Arabs, the Sicilians, Charles the Fifth, emperor of Germany, the Knights of Malta, Napoleon Buonaparte, and the English. The island was taken by the English from the French in the year 1800, and by the treaty of peace concluded in the year 1815, between France and the Allied powers, Malta and its dependencies were secured to the British crown. The population of the island in the year 1803 was ninety-four thousand, and in the year 1838, it was nearly one hundred and twenty-one thousand. The climate is very beautiful; and here persons may enjoy earthly comforts at very moderate charges. The greater portion of the inhabitants are members of the corrupt church of papal Rome.

It is a matter of dispute, whether Malta is the island on which the Apostle Paul was cast, after his shipwreck, recorded in the twenty-seventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. Some affirm that Malta is the island to which the two hundred and seventy-six persons, of whom Paul was one, escaped from the ship, which was broken to pieces by the violence of the waves. Others are of opinion that it was not the island of Malta to which they escaped, but

a small island now named Meleda, but formerly Melita, in the Adriatic Sea.

Dr. Hales says, when referring to the islan near which Paul was shipwrecked, says “That this island was Meleda, near the Illyrian Coast, not Malta on the southern coast of Sicily, may appear from the following considerations :

"1. It lies in the Adriatic Sea, but Malta a considerable distance from it.

“2. It lies nearer the mouth of the Adriatic than any other island of that sea : and would, of course, be more likely to receive the wreck of any vessel driven by tempests towards that quarter. And it lies north-west by north of the south-west promontory of Crete ; and nearly in the direction of a storm from the south-west quarter.

“3. An obscure island, whose inhabitants were 'barbarous,' was not applicable to the celebrity of Malta, at that time, which Cicero represents as abounding in curiosities and riches, and possessing a remarkable manufacture of the finest linen ; and Diodorus Siculus, (an historian who lived in the time of Julius Cæsar) says · Malta is furnished with many and very good harbours, and the inhabitants are very

for it is full of all sorts of artificers, among whom there are excellent weavers of fine linen. Their houses are very stately and beautiful, adorned with graceful eaves, and covered with white plaster. The inhabitants are a colony of Phænicians, who trading as merchants, as far as the Western Ocean, resorted to this place on account of its commodious ports and convenient situation for maritime commerce; and by the advantage of this place, the inhabitants frequently became famous both for their wealth and their merchandise.'

64. The circumstance of the viper, or venomous snake, which fastened on Paul's hand, agrees with the dampand woody island of Meleda, affording shelter and proper nourishment for such, but not with the dry and rocky island of Malta, in which there are no serpents now, and none in the time of Pliny.

“5. The disease with which the father of Publius was affected, dysentery combined with fever, probably intermittent, might well suit a country woody and damp, and


probably from want of draining, exposed to the putrid effluvia of confined moisture; but was not likely to affect a dry, rocky, and remarkably healthy island like Malta."

Dr. Adam Clarke however is of opinion, that Malta is the island which afforded a place of refuge to Paul and his companions.

Another writer says—“We are aware that a small island in the Adriatic Sea has sometimes been mentioned as the scene of this part of St. Paul's sufferings, but without any foundation, further than the resemblance of the ancient names of the two places. Paul came from Crete, and was on his way to Rome, and Malta was consequently almost in his course, which the other island was not. . . . Tradition, also, of the facts, exists in one and not in the other of the islands.” In Malta there is a Bay called St. Paul's Bay, here they say he was shipwrecked. St. Paul's Cave is also pointed out to the traveller; and here they say he was imprisoned. The Maltese also regard Paul as their patron saint.

We deem it uncertain which of the islands was the one at which Paul's shipwreck occurred. There is much plausibility in the reasoning employed by Dr. Hales-but they do not amount to proof. As to the statement that Malta was in the proper course from Crete for Rome we do not attach much importance thereto; because it is obvious that the ship was for many days driven before the storm: nor do we attach much importance to the traditions which the papists of Malta have established respecting Paul's shipwreck on their island. Of the facts of his shipwreck, the miraculous preservation of all the ship's company, and of the miracle wrought by Paul on the chief ruler of the island, where Paul and his companions found a place of refuge, and of the kindness shown by the islanders to Paul, we have no doubt, but as to which was the island where these events occurred, we cannot with certainty tell. No doubt, however, it was an island either in the Mediterranean or the Adriatic. The most generally received opinion, however, is in favour of Malta being the island, to which reference is made in the first verse of the eighteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.



THREE brothers, Abel, Matthew, and Robert, were one day throwing clubs against the branches of a large chestnut-tree which stood near their father's house. The tree was one of the original tenants of the soil, and Mr. Merwin had sense enough not to cut it down, when he cleared a spot in the forest and erected his dwelling. The chesnuts were ripe. The burs were opening, so that a blow on the branches of the tree would cause the chestnuts to fall out. The boys were obliged to have recourse to clubs, as the tree was very high, and its trunk so large that no one could climb it.

Mr. Merwin came out of the house, and seeing what his boys were doing, said, “Boys, you must not throw any more-there is great danger of breaking the windows, and some of breaking your own heads. Let them alone for a few days, and the burs will open, and the chestnuts will drop out of themselves, and you will have nothing to do but to pick them up."

He then passed on and was soon out of sight. The boys stood eyeing the tempting fruit. At length Matthew, who was next to the oldest, said, “ Let us have one more throw apiece.”

“Father told us not,” said Abel, who was the youngest.

“ He didn't say we shouldn't throw once more,” said Matthew.

“He said we must not throw any more,” said Abel.

“Well he didn't mean that we shouldn't throw once more.”

“I don't know what he meant, I know what he said.”

“Well, I'm going to throw once more, anyhow : are you not going too, Robert ?

“No, I think not-he told us to stop,” said Robert.

“ Only once more—don't be afraid, if Abel is,” said Matthew.

« VorigeDoorgaan »