Jesus's Words

Chapter 13: Paul's Supposable Miracles Explained

back  |  next

Section 11: Supposable Miracle X.—on Shipboard, Paul Comforted by an Angel.—Acts 27:20-25

And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Acts 27:20-25

The sea being stormy, the crew are alarmed. The storm, however, is not so violent, but that Paul is able to make a speech, and they to hear it. To keep up their spirits, and, at the same time, let them see the sort of terms he is upon with the Almighty, he tells them a story about an angel. The angel had been sent to him upon a visit, and was but just gone. The business of the angel was to quiet the mind of the Apostle. The matter had been settled. The precious life was in no danger: and, not only so, but, out of compliment to him, God had been pleased to grant to him the lives of all who were happy enough to be in his company.

In the situation, in which so many lives are represented as being placed,—no very severe condemnation can easily be passed upon any little fraud, by which they might be saved. But, is it really to be believed, that this angel, whom, in a deckless vessel, for the vessels of those times were not like the vessels of present times, no person but Paul either saw or heard, was really sent express from the sky by God Almighty, on such an errand? If not, then have we this additional proof,—if any additional proof can be needed,—to help to satisfy us,—that, where a purpose was to be answered, falsehood, or as he would have called it lying, was not among the obstacles, by which Paul would be stopped, in his endeavours to accomplish it.

back  |  next