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The party embarked upon a ship of Adramyttium in Mysia, which was returning thither. At one of the intermediate ports, Julius counted on finding a ship about to sail for Italy, and on taking passage in it. It was about the time of the autumnal equinox, so that they had a rough voyage in prospect.

On the second day they arrived at Sidon. Julius, who treated Paul very kindly, allowed him to go down into the town, to visit his friends and to receive their attentions. The route had been to take the open sea and to gain the south-west point of Asia Minor; but the winds were contrary. It was necessary to run to the north, sailing close to Phœnicia, then to go to the coast of Cyprus, leaving it on the port hand. They followed the channel between Cyprus and Cilicia, traversed the gulf of Pamphylia, and arrived at the port of Myra in Lycia. There they left the Adramyttium ship. Julius having found one of Alexandria which was about to sail for Italy, made a bargain with the captain, and transported his prisoners thither. The ship was very full: there were on board 276 persons.

Navigation from this time was most difficult. After several days they had only reached Cnidus. The captain wished to enter the port, but the north-east wind did not allow him, and it was necessary to allow himself to be carried under the isle of Crete. They soon recognised Cape Salmone, which is the eastern point of the island. The island of Crete forms an immense barrier, making of the portion of the Mediterranean that it covers at the south a kind of large port, sheltered from the tempest coming from the archipelago. The captain had the very natural idea of profiting by this advantage. He still followed the 291eastern side of the island, not without great perils; then, getting the island on the windward side, he entered the calm waters of the south. There was a little port there very deep, shut in by an islet, and bordered by two sandy beaches between which a point of rocks juts out, so that it seems divided into two parts. It is what is called Kali-Limenes (the Fair Havens); near to it was a town named Lasæa or Alassa They took shelter here; the crew and passengers were excessively fatigued, so that they made a rather pro-longed stay in this little port.

When it was a question of setting out again, the season was far advanced. The great fast of the Atonement (Kippour), in the month of Pisri (October), had passed; this fast marked for the Jews the limit after which maritime journeys were not safe. Paul, who had acquired much authority upon the ship, and who, moreover, had had long experience of the sea, gave his opinion. He predicted great dangers and disasters if they re-embarked.

“Nevertheless the centurion” (we cannot be as much surprised by the fact as the narrator of the Acts) “believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.” The port of Kali-Limenes was not a good one to winter in. The general opinion was that they must try, in order to pass the winter months there, to gain the port of Phœnice, situated upon the southern coast of the island, where the men who knew those regions promised good anchorage. A day when there was a breeze from the south they believed to be the favourable one; they weighed anchor, and tacked along the side of the island, as far as Cape Littinos; then they sailed with a fair wind towards Phœnice.

The crew and the passengers believed themselves at the end of their troubles, when suddenly one of those sudden hurricanes from the east, that the sailors of the Mediterranean call Euroclydon, smote the island. 292The ship was soon unable to keep her head to the wind: the seamen had to run before it. They passed near a little isle named Clauda; they put themselves for a moment under the shelter of this isle, and profited by the short respite to hoist up with great difficulty the boat, which every moment ran the risk of breaking up. They then took precautions, in view of that shipwreck which all held to be inevitable. They bound the hull of the ship with cables, they struck the yards, and abandoned themselves to the wind. The second day, the tempest was quite as great; wishing to lighten the ship, they threw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they disencumbered themselves of the furniture and utensils that were not necessary for working the ship. The following days were frightful, they did not see the sun for a moment, or a single star; they did not know where they were going. Besides being strewn with islands, the Mediterranean presents between Sicily and Malta, to the west, Pelponnesus and Crete; to the east, southern Italy and Epiræus; to the north, the coast of Africa; to the south, a large square of open sea, where the wind meets with no obstacle, and rolls the sea into enormous waves. It was that place that the ancients often called the Adriatic. The general opinion of the men on board was that the ship was running upon the Syrtes of Africa, where loss of life and goods was certain. All hope seemed gone; no one dreamt of taking any food; it was, moreover, impossible to prepare it. Paul alone remained confident. He was convinced that he should see Rome, and that he would appear before the tribunal of the Emperor. He encouraged the crew and passengers; he even said, it appears, that a vision had revealed to him that not a person should perish, God having granted to him the life of all, in spite of the mistake that they had made in leaving the Fair Havens against his advice.

On the fourteenth night, indeed, after leaving this 293port, towards the middle of the night, the sailors believed that they recognised the land. They cast the lead, and found twenty fathoms; a short time after it was fifteen fathoms. They believed that they were about to run upon the rocks; at once four anchors were thrown from the poop; they lashed the rudders, that is to say, the two large paddles which projected from the two sides of the quarter-deck; the ship stopped; they waited anxiously for the day. The sailors then, profiting by their skill in the work, wished to save themselves at the expense of the passengers. Under the pretext of throwing the anchors from the bow, they launched the boat, and tried to get on shore. But the centurion and the soldiers, warned, it is said by Paul, of this disloyal conduct, opposed themselves. The soldiers cut the cables which held the sloop, and let it go adrift. Paul, however, spoke consolingly to all, and assured them that no one would suffer in his body. During these crises of maritime life, existence is as it were suspended; when they are ended, we perceive that we are dirty and hungry. For fourteen days scarcely any one had taken any nourishment; it might have been from emotion; it might have been from sea-sickness. Paul, in waiting for the day, advised all to eat, in order to give them-selves strength, in view of the work which remained to be done. He set the example himself, and, like a pious Jew, broke bread, according to custom, after a prayer of thanksgiving, which he offered in the presence of all. The passengers imitated him, and took heart again. They still lightened the ship, throwing into the sea all the corn which remained.

Day at last appeared, and they saw the land. It was deserted: no one could make out where he was. They had before them a bay, having at its extremity a sandy beach. They resolved to run aground upon the sand. The wind was in their favour. They then cut the cables of the anchors, and allowed them to 294get lost in the sea; they loosed the ropes which bound the rudders. hoisted the foresail, and steered towards the shore. The ship fell upon a neck of land beaten on two sides by the sea, and there remained. The prow sank into the sand and remained immovable; the poop, on the contrary, beaten by the waves, bumped and dislocated itself at each blow from the sea. Safety under these conditions is easy enough upon the shores of the Mediterranean, the ebb and flow of the tide being inconsiderable. The grounded ship made a shelter, and it was easy to establish communication with the land. But the presence of prisoners where there were so many passengers aggravated the situation. They might save themselves by swimming, and escape their guardians; the soldiers, therefore, proposed to kill them. The honest Julius rejected this barbarous notion. He ordered those who knew how to swim to cast themselves into the sea and to gain the land, in order to aid the escape of the others. Those who did not know how to swim escaped upon planks and wreckage of every kind; nobody was lost.

They soon learnt that they were at Malta. The island, having submitted to the Romans for a long time, and already much Latinised, was rich and prosperous. The inhabitants showed themselves humane, and lighted a large fire for the unfortunate castaways. The latter, indeed, were shivering with cold, and the rain continued to fall in torrents. A very simple incident, exaggerated by the disciples of Paul, then took place. In taking a bundle of sticks to throw into the fire, Paul at the same time took up a viper. They believed that it had bitten his hand. The idea got into their heads that this man was a murderer, followed by Nemesis, who not having been able to overtake him by means of the tempest, had pursued him on land. The men of the country, as it appears, waited to see him any moment swell and fall dead. 295As nothing happened, they decided, it is said, to look upon him as a god.

Near the bay in which the ship had got wrecked were the lands of a certain Publius, princeps of the municipality that the island formed with Gaul. This man came to find that the castaways, or at least a party of them, of whom were Paul and his companions, had gathered in his homestead, and he treated them during three days with much hospitality. Here soon happened one of those miracles that the disciples of Paul believed they saw at every instant. The Apostle cured, they say, the father of Publius by the imposition of hands, he suffering from fever and dysentery. His reputation of wonder-worker spread in the island, and they brought to him sick people from all sides. It is not said, however, that he founded a Church there. These low African populations could not raise themselves above their sensuality and gross superstition.

The ancient coasting trade of the Mediterranean came to a standstill during the winter. The frightful voyage that they had just made offered no encouragement to take to the sea again. They remained for three months at Malta, from the 15th of November 60 to the 15th of February 61 or thereabouts. Then Julius negotiated for the passage of his prisoners and of his soldiers upon another Alexandrian ship, the Castor and Pollux, which had wintered in the port of the island. They reached Syracuse, where they remained for three days; then sailed with a fair wind towards the straits, and touched at Rhegium. On the morrow, a good wind blew from the south, and bore the ship in two days to Puteoli.

Puteoli, as we have already said, was the port of Italy most frequented by the Jews. It was there also that ships from Alexandria discharged their cargoes. There had been formed there, at the same time as at Rome, a little Christian society. The Apostle was 296very warmly welcomed by it, and entreated him to stay for seven days, which, thanks to the kindness of the good centurion Julius, who was much attached to him, was possible. They subsequently set out for Rome. The rumour of Paul’s arrival was spread amongst the faithful of that city, to some of whom he was already, since the sending of his epistle, a known and respected master. At the relay, at the stage called Appii Forum, forty-three miles from Rome, upon the Appian Way, the first deputation reached him. Ten miles further on, to set out from the Pontine Marshes, near a spot called “The Three Taverns,” on account of the hostelries which were established there, a new group came to join. The joy of the Apostle declared itself by lively expressions of thanks. The holy flock traversed not without emotion the eleven or twelve leagues which separated “The Three Taverns” from Port Capena, and always following the Appian Way, by Aricia and Albania, the prisoner Paul entered Rome in the month of March in the year 64, in the seventh year of the reign of Nero, under the consulship of Cæsennius Pætus and Petronius Tarpilien.

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