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which convinced him that he was to reach the land and plead his cause before Cæsar, he persuades them, previous to their last exertion, to take food. In the 33rd verse, where this is mentioned, it is said that they had taken nothing (Τεσσερεςκαιδεκάτην σήμερον ημέραν προσδοκώντες, άσιτοι διατελείτε μηδέν προσλαβόμενοι). Mr. Smith sensibly explains the difference: St. Luke, when he speaks as a historian, terms their fasting much abstinence;' St. Paul uses the strong but common language of calling taking very little, taking nothing. It could not be mistaken by those to whom it was addressed.” A world of difficulties might have been saved to the commentators, if they had always interpreted Scripture on this principle.
“ When the fourteenth night was come, as they were driven along (@capepouévwv, not up and down, as in our Translation) in Adria, about midnight the seamen deemed that they drew nigh some land.” The mention of Adria in this passage has chiefly contributed to produce the belief that Meleda in the Adriatic was the scene of Paul's shipwreck. But the force of this argument was long since taken away by Bochart, who in his Canaan (I. 27) has shewn that the sea of Adria was the same as the Ionian; that is, the sea between Sicily on the west, Epirus on the north, Crete and the Peloponnesus on the east; on the south it was by some vaguely extended even to Africa. In the Adria, therefore, their drifting began and ended. The indications of a coast at hand, the seamen derived no doubt from the breakers, to the sight and sound of which their organs are painfully acute. On the N.E. side of Malta, exactly where a ship would be driven by a gale at N. E., is a bay which has long traditionally borne the name of Cala di San Paolo. A rocky point runs out on the southern side of it, on which the breakers can be seen, when the low shore itself is not visible. The bottom is excellent holding ground. Here the sailors, “ fearing to fall upon rocks” (the bay is encircled with mural crags, with here and there a creek between them), “ let go four anchors out of the stern.” Both ends of ancient merchant ships were constructed alike; in this case, the anchoring by the stern was essential to their purpose of running the ship ashore at daylight. When the light brokē, their anxiety was relieved by finding that the shore had a creek with a sandy beach (acyıalós), into which she might be run: with the accuracy of description which marks every part of the story, it is described as a place where two seas meet, TÓMOS önálaooog. This has been generally understood to mean an isthmus, like bimaremve Corinthum ; but the situation of the creek suggests a different sense. North of it lies the island of Salmonetta, and the strait between it and the land is the “place of two seas.
* Preparatory to running ashore, they cut their cables, leaving the anchors in the sea, loosened the rudder bands, which had previously been lashed, hoisted (our Translation says the mainsail-Mr. S. gives philological and nautical reasons for rendering åpréuova) the foresail, and made towards shore. The ship stuck fast by her forepart, but the stern was dashed to pieces by the waves. The soldiers, in conformity with the hard character of Roman law, propose to kill the prisoners; but the centurion, willing to save Paul, forbade them; and all safely reached the shore,
* Mr. Smith quotes Strabo, ii. 124, as authority for this use; he applies the epithet éválaggos to the Propontis.
some on loose pieces of the wreck, and some on the floating spars. That this shore was the Cala di San Paolo in Malta will never again, we think, be called in question. It may, indeed, seem surprising that no one on board should have known the island to be Malta, since it was frequented by ships from Alexandria (xxviii. 11), but the place on which they were driven was remote from the harbour. It has also been objected that Malta produces no venomous reptiles, so that the incident of the viper could not have occurred here. But Mr. Smith observes that Malta is now wholly destitute of wood, and therefore affords no shelter for vipers, but that it may have had wood in ancient times, and quotes instances to shew that the viper in particular disappears before the progress of cultivation. That nothing may be wanting to the completeness of his argument, he enters into a calculation of the time in which a ship would drift in a gale from Clauda to Malta, and finds that it would be about fourteen days. There may be some little uncertainty in the calculation, but the general agreement is sufficient to establish the accuracy of the writer, and adds a further proof that Melita, in the Gulf of Venice, cannot have been the scene of the wreck. The remaining events of Paul's voyage to Puteoli and journey to Rome need no special nautical illustration.
If any one after reading this narrative can believe it to be fictitious, or doubt that it has proceeded from the pen of an eye-witness and fellowsufferer, he must be entirely destitute of historical tact. The elaborate proof of its perfect accordance with the necessary conditions of the event, which Mr. Smith has drawn out, was not required to produce this conviction of reality and genuineness in those who can judge of truth by internal evidence: every line of it has the freshness of description and earnestness of feeling which bespeak the presence of the writer amidst the fearful scene which he describes. And yet how simply is the whole related, with no attempt to make the most of it by laboured description or big words! Here are no howling blasts or seas running mountains high-nothing of the Fenimore Cooper style. The author writes like one whose business was not to describe a storm at sea, but to relate an incident in the life of Paul. His friend and master is therefore naturally the prominent figure. He gains the affection of the Centurion, and is thus the means of saving the lives of all the prisoners, when the soldiers would have put them to death. He gives the advice not to loose from Crete, which the event proved to have been so sound; when all hearts were failing them through fear, he stands forth, counsels them how to support their strength, and revives their hope by the account of the vision or dream which impressed his own mind with the belief that they should all be saved. And when the seamen were about to abandon the ship, under pretence of using the boat to put out anchors from the bow, his sagacity detects their purpose and defeats it. These qualities we know, from other passages in his life, that Paul possessed. It is in great emergencies that force of character and superiority of intellect shew themselves and obtain control over official rank, and sometimes even point out the road of safety, when professional experience is at fault.
Mr. Smith's work contains several Dissertations. The most important is on the Ships of the Ancients, in which he endeavours, among other things, to clear up the puzzling question how the rowers were disposed in Triremes and Quinqueremes, and how they managed oars of such length as they must have used. His practical observations, applied to the passages of the ancients and supported by monuments, will be very valuable to the archæologist; but the subject does not specially belong to our pages. Another Dissertation is on the Sources of St. Luke's Writings, and treats a question not less agitated and not less obscure than the preceding—the origin of the verbal agreement in the three first Gospels. In comparing the nautical style of St. Luke with that of other authors, he had been led to place together his account of the miracle of stilling the tempest on the Lake of Gennesareth with those of St. Matthew and St. Luke. The result appeared to him to be, that St. Matthew describes the tempest like a landsman and a Galilean ; St. Mark with a minute circumstantiality and a local and technical use of terms, indicating that the narrative was written at the time, by an eye-witness, an inhabitant of the western shore of the Lake and accustomed to its navigation. In St. Luke's account he thinks we recognize the style of the narrator of St. Paul's voyage to Italy, distinguished by the same accuracy and precision, the same familiarity with nautical language, and the same love of using it, which characterize the narrative of that voyage. Further, St. Mark’s is the least historical, that is, contains most of those accessories which impress the memory of an eye-witness, and would be naturally recorded in a nearly contemporaneous journal, but which an historian would omit, as not essential to the connection of his narrative. St. Matthew's style is more historical than St. Mark's, while St. Luke has evidently bestowed care on the construction and arrangement, and relates events in the succession in which they occurred. Thus he tells us that our Lord fell asleep before the coming on of the storm, while the others only mention his being asleep when attention was drawn to it by the necessity of wakening him to still the storm. So he tells us that they "launched forth,” and that " they were in jeopardy," which are insertions to complete the narrative which had not occurred to the others, as being necessarily implied. If our readers will compare Matt. viii. 23—27, Mark iv. 35–41, Luke viii. 22–25, in a Harmony, we think they will agree in the justice of these remarks. The conclusion at which he arrives in respect to the general relation of the three evangelists is, that St. Luke took the original account, which St. Mark translated from St. Peter, as the basis of his narrative of the miracle, completing it, however, from the Greek account of St. Matthew.
He analyzes in the same way several other corresponding passages of the three Gospels—among them the narrative of the paralytic man who was brought to Jesus to be healed, Matt. ix. 2, Luke v. 18, Mark ii. 3; and as we cannot agree with his view of this transaction, we shall take the liberty of making a few remarks upon it. To one who reads the narrative, as it stands in the combined Gospels, we think only one idea could present itself, as the natural meaning of their words. Jesus was teaching in a house, doubtless in that “large upper room
" which we know from various passages in the N.T. to have been used for the assembling of considerable numbers (Mark xiv. 14; Acts i. 13, ix. 39, XX. 8, at Troas), and which from its name, imepõov, we conclude to have been immediately below the roof. Unable to approach Jesus, owing to the crowd who were assembled, the bearers of the paralytic
man ascend the staircase which led to the roof, and, taking off the tiles, lower him through the opening to the place where Jesus stood. Commentators, however, whose opinions are entitled to all respect, have found great difficulty in the story, taken in this obvious way. Professor Norton, for example (Genuineness, &c., I. 244, 2nd edit.), objects that our Lord would not have retired to the upper chamber of a small (?) house when a crowd was pressing to hear him; and that “to break through a roof over his head would have been an act of such gross indecorum as is not to be imagined.” Accordingly, he translates dià TūV kepáuwv, not through the tiles, but “by the way of the roof," and then expounds his own translation by, “from the roof.” Further, oréyn, in Mark's account, is not roof at all
, but the awning which was spread over the court in the middle of the house, so that åreotéyaoav thy otéyny signifies,“ removed a part of the awning.” This done, they broke down a portion of the parapet which ran round the roof, on the side of the court, and over which, as it was breast-high, they did not venture to lift the paralytic, and so lowered him to where Jesus was standing. We should have been glad to have seen some philological authority for these new renderings, but Mr. Norton has given only references to commentators; and in the absence of such evidence, we must continue to think that the Common Version most faithfully represents the meaning of the original. If in that Version the English reader can find Mr. Norton's account of the transaction, he will of course conclude that it was what the evangelists meant to tell us.
Mr. Smith is not satisfied with this explanation, which, though we have quoted it from Mr. Norton, is due, we believe, to Dr. Shaw in his Travels in Barbary. He says, “ This is evading the difficulty rather than answering it," and he proposes an explanation of his own. The flat-roofed houses in Morocco and Malta have always a small secondary roof, over the aperture by which the inhabitants ascend to the housetop, and this roof is sloping and covered with tiles. He compares this penthouse roof to that which on ship-board covers the steps leading from the cabin to the deck, known as the "companion.” This is in general so low in the houses in the countries mentioned, that Mr. S. thinks the bearers of the paralytic man could not have carried him down the staircase without removing it. Accordingly, they first stripped off the tiles, and then broke through the wooden roof beneath; and so the åreotéyaoay and the exopúčavtec of Mark have their natural meaning. We are thankful to Mr. Smith for this information respecting the structure of the roofs of houses on the shores of the Mediterranean; but we cannot think that, had the transaction been such as he supposes, the evangelists would have described it as they have done. We will venture to put a case to him as a nautical man.
“they let the man down with his bed through the tiles,' or let it be “ from the tiles.” Now if, owing to the lowness of the companion, or the magnitude of the body to be taken down into the cabin, it had been found necessary to knock off the companion, would any one have described the operation by saying he or it was lowered through or from the companion? But the difficulty is much greater when we look at Mark's account, who says, “they untiled the roof where Jesus was.” Supposing that, to take a wounded man to the surgeon, the companion had been removed, would that have been called "un.
covering the place where the surgeon was,” even if, instead of the cockpit, he had been as near to the companion as the cabin? Besides, if the object of clearing the headway was to enable the bearers to carry the paralytic man down the stairs and deposit him before Jesus, what is the meaning of the change in the phraseology when the lowering is described? Before it had been, φέροντες-εισενεγκείν - αιρόμενον; but afterwards, καθήκαν αυτόν διά των κεράμων (Luke); χαλώσι τον κράββατον (Mark). We will not say that katīkav might not be used of lowering in the hands, but xalwoe is clearly a lowering by ropes, as anchors are dropped or sails hauled down, for which there could be no occasion, if they only brought him up one staircase to take him down another.
The indecorum which Mr. Norton sees in the supposition that a hole was made in the tiles of the room where our Lord was teaching, appears to us the very point and characteristic trait of the story. Doubtless it was an unceremonious proceeding; but it was by standing on no ceremony, and going the shortest way to work, to bring their suffering friend into the presence of the Healer of diseases, that these poor men proved the earnestness of their desire to obtain this blessing, and their faith that he could grant it. He “perceived their faith,” and he rewarded it, as he was accustomed to do. It was a great breach of decorum in “ the woman that was a sinner," to come, an uninvited guest, to the table of Simon the Pharisee and kiss Jesus' feet and wipe them with her hair; and his brother Pharisees were greatly shocked at it; but our Lord dismissed her with words of peace (Luke vii. 37). Good manners would have required that the Syrophænician woman, when he gave her no answer, and the disciples were annoyed that she followed them crying aloud, should have desisted from her importunities. But Jesus saw in them the proof of her truthfulness and her faith, and granted her petition (Matt. xv. 22). The moral of the story of the paralytic man is the same. Had his friends done nothing more than take another regular way of coming into the presence of Jesus, when the first they tried was blocked up, they would have done a sensible and decorous thing, but the incident would hardly have been “ told for a memorial of them, wheresoever the gospel is preached throughout the world.”
MORAL HARMONY. It should always be kept in mind that a man's faculty is not given him in the long run for speculation ; that no man's faculty is so given him. The harmony of soul which would fain utter itself from you in rhymed verses, how much nobler to make it utter itself in rhymed conduct! in excellent, manful endeavour to subdue the ruggedness of your life under your feet, and every where make order reign around you of what is disorder! This is a task all men are born to, and all other tasks are either nothing or else branches of this.Thomas Carlyle's Letter of Advice to a Verse-writing Kinsman.
ADVERSITY. ADVERSITY! thou thistle of life, thou too art crowned; first with a flower, then with down.-John Foster.
THINGS AND PERSONS. We are constantly seeking and loving things at the cost of persons; and the man who works too much must love too little.-Jean Paul.