Acts 27* Paul's voyage towards Rome. (1-11) Paul and his companionsendangered by a tempest. (12-20) He receives a Divine assuranceof safety. (21-29) Paul encourages those with him. (30-38) Theyare shipwrecked. (39-44)1-11 It was determined by the counsel of God, before it wasdetermined by the counsel of Festus, that Paul should go toRome; for God had work for him to do there. The course theysteered, and the places they touched at, are here set down. AndGod here encourages those who suffer for him, to trust in him;for he can put it into the hearts of those to befriend them,from whom they least expect it. Sailors must make the best ofthe wind: and so must we all in our passage over the ocean ofthis world. When the winds are contrary, yet we must be gettingforward as well as we can. Many who are not driven backward bycross providences, do not get forward by favourable providences.And many real Christians complain as to the concerns of theirsouls, that they have much ado to keep their ground. Every fairhaven is not a safe haven. Many show respect to good ministers,who will not take their advice. But the event will convincesinners of the vanity of their hopes, and the folly of theirconduct. 12-20 Those who launch forth on the ocean of this world, with afair gale, know not what storms they may meet with; andtherefore must not easily take it for granted that they haveobtained their purpose. Let us never expect to be quite safetill we enter heaven. They saw neither sun nor stars for manydays. Thus melancholy sometimes is the condition of the peopleof God as to their spiritual matters; they walk in darkness, andhave no light. See what the wealth of this world is: thoughcoveted as a blessing, the time may come when it will be aburden; not only too heavy to be carried safely, but heavyenough to sink him that has it. The children of this world canbe prodigal of their goods for the saving their lives, yet aresparing of them in works of piety and charity, and in sufferingfor Christ. Any man will rather make shipwreck of his goods thanof his life; but many rather make shipwreck of faith and a goodconscience, than of their goods. The means the sailors used didnot succeed; but when sinners give up all hope of savingthemselves, they are prepared to understand God's word, and totrust in his mercy through Jesus Christ. 21-29 They did not hearken to the apostle when he warned themof their danger; yet if they acknowledge their folly, and repentof it, he will speak comfort and relief to them when in danger.Most people bring themselves into trouble, because they do notknow when they are well off; they come to harm and loss byaiming to mend their condition, often against advice. Observethe solemn profession Paul made of relation to God. No storms ortempests can hinder God's favour to his people, for he is a Helpalways at hand. It is a comfort to the faithful servants of Godwhen in difficulties, that as long as the Lord has any work forthem to do, their lives shall be prolonged. If Paul had thrusthimself needlessly into bad company, he might justly have beencast away with them; but God calling him into it, they arepreserved with him. They are given thee; there is no greatersatisfaction to a good man than to know he is a public blessing.He comforts them with the same comforts wherewith he himself wascomforted. God is ever faithful, therefore let all who have aninterest in his promises be ever cheerful. As, with God, sayingand doing are not two things, believing and enjoying should notbe so with us. Hope is an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast,entering into that within the veil. Let those who are inspiritual darkness hold fast by that, and think not of puttingto sea again, but abide by Christ, and wait till the day break,and the shadows flee away. 30-38 God, who appointed the end, that they should be saved,appointed the means, that they should be saved by the help ofthese shipmen. Duty is ours, events are God's; we do not trustGod, but tempt him, when we say we put ourselves under hisprotection, if we do not use proper means, such as are withinour power, for our safety. But how selfish are men in general,often even ready to seek their own safety by the destruction ofothers! Happy those who have such a one as Paul in theircompany, who not only had intercourse with Heaven, but was of anenlivening spirit to those about him. The sorrow of the worldworks death, while joy in God is life and peace in the greatestdistresses and dangers. The comfort of God's promises can onlybe ours by believing dependence on him, to fulfil his word tous; and the salvation he reveals must be waited for in use ofthe means he appoints. If God has chosen us to salvation, he hasalso appointed that we shall obtain it by repentance, faith,prayer, and persevering obedience; it is fatal presumption toexpect it in any other way. It is an encouragement to people tocommit themselves to Christ as their Saviour, when those whoinvite them, clearly show that they do so themselves. 39-44 The ship that had weathered the storm in the open sea,where it had room, is dashed to pieces when it sticks fast.Thus, if the heart fixes in the world in affection, and cleavingto it, it is lost. Satan's temptations beat against it, and itis gone; but as long as it keeps above the world, though tossedwith cares and tumults, there is hope for it. They had the shorein view, yet suffered shipwreck in the harbour; thus we aretaught never to be secure. Though there is great difficulty inthe way of the promised salvation, it shall, without fail, bebrought to pass. It will come to pass that whatever the trialsand dangers may be, in due time all believers will get safely toheaven. Lord Jesus, thou hast assured us that none of thineshall perish. Thou wilt bring them all safe to the heavenlyshore. And what a pleasing landing will that be! Thou wiltpresent them to thy Father, and give thy Holy Spirit fullpossession of them for ever.
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