And from there, when the brothers heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw…
Here was an unexpected joy. St. Paul no longer felt friendless and alone! He was cheered up, and the path seemed brightened. He realised that though dark shadows of affliction and persecution were round the path, yet God was comforting His servant by giving him the sympathy and friendship of his fellow Christians. For these mercies, unexpected yet cheering, "he thanked God," and accepted them as tokens of his Heavenly Father's care, and pledges that the hand of Jesus would help and support him in the future, therefore "he took courage" to meet with calm and earnest faith what might be still in store for his coming years! Often the Christian finds himself surrounded with cares and disappointments. It is the characteristic of many worries in life to be quite disproportionate in the pain they give to their importance, the smallest wound on the hand or finger, being in constant friction, gives more pain than a far more serious injury somewhere else. When we meet with disappointments, worries, and perhaps worse trials, it is the wise and Christian course to strive and see the bright side of them. They are part of the appointed discipline of life. May not we regard the lesser troubles of daily life to be like the gravel and stones on the path, which, when pressed down by patient endurance, become a firm path? The Christian, who takes patiently the discipline of lesser evils, learns gradually to train himself to higher things. It was a remarkable saying of a heathen sage that a good man bearing adversity patiently was a sight pleasing to the gods! But ofttimes God has been pleased in a wonderful way to reward the patience and confidence of His children. One winter a lonely widow and her family were much oppressed with anxiety and dread. Not only was food and fuel scarce and dear, but the whole land was in peril from fierce foes, and bands of armed men marched from village to village. There was no strong arm to defend the widow's door, nor any plentiful stores to satisfy the rapacity of armed men. All she could do was to cast all her cares on her Heavenly Father. That night the rumour spread through the village that the foemen were near. Her cottage stood at the entrance of the village and near the high road. When she last looked out the snowflakes were falling fast, and the winter winds howling round the thatch. Next morning the December dawn seemed darker than usual, and she looked abroad, a huge snowdrift had almost blocked up the house, and did not melt for many hours, but when she was able to venture forth she found that the enemy's army had indeed marched through the village and plundered every other house, but had never noticed her humble homestead concealed behind its protecting snow shield! Even so our Father defends those who place their trust in Him. God bestows on us abundant earthly blessings, and best of all, He has given His dear Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer. Let us, then, with heart and life serve and adore Him, and taking courage, give thanks.
(J. Hardman, LL.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.