Meditation for Sunday, August 25.

And when we had found disciples, we stayed there seven days; who said to Paul by the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. And when the days were ended, we departed and went our way; and they all, with their wives and children, accompanied us, until we were out of the city; and when we had kneeled down upon the shore, we prayed.Acts 21:4,5.

And let the readers mark, that Paul stayed seven days at Tyrus, for no other cause, saving that he might strengthen them. So that we see, that whithersoever he came he neglected no occasion to do good.

They said by the Spirit. Namely, with the approbation of speech, that Paul might know that they spake by the Spirit of prophecy. Surely this was no small temptation to cause him not to finish the journey which he had taken in hand, seeing the Holy Ghost did dissuade him from the same. And this was a very good reason to fly from the cross, if he had cared for his own safety, to be drawn back as it were with the hand of God.

Notwithstanding, he ceases not to hold on thither whither he knew he was called by the Lord. Notwithstanding, here arises a question, how the brethren can dissuade him by the Spirit from doing that which Paul did testify he doth by the secret motion of the same Spirit? Is the Spirit contrary to himself, that he doth now loose Paul whom he held bound inwardly? I answer, that there be diverse gifts of the Spirit; so that it is no marvel if those who excel in the gift of prophecy be sometimes destitute of judgment or strength. The Lord showed to these brethren, of whom Luke makes mention, what should come to pass; yet, nevertheless, they know not what is expedient, and what Paul’s calling doth require, because the measure of their gift doth not reach so far. And the Lord would have his servant admonished of purpose, partly, that through long meditation, he might be better furnished and prepared to suffer whatsoever should come, partly that his constancy might more plainly appear, when as being certified by prophecies of the doleful event, he doth, notwithstanding, wittingly and willingly, make haste to endure whatsoever things shall befall him.

With their wives and children. This was no small testimony of love, in that they accompanied Paul out of the city with their wives and children, which thing Luke doth report, partly that he might commend their godliness according as it deserved; partly that he might declare that Paul had that honor given him which was due to him. Whence we do also gather, that he meant nothing less than to provide for his own commodity, seeing that he was not kept back with so great good will, which was a pleasant bait to entice him to stay. And we must also note the solemn custom of praying in weightier affairs, and that being certified by God of the danger, they are more stirred up to pray.      John Calvin

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