The Seven Days' Halt At the Gateway Between Europe and Asia
Acts 20:6-12
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days…

This seven days' stay at Troas may be safely presumed to have had points of special interest about it. The seven (ver. 4) who accompanied Paul into Asia were here found awaiting him and Silas and the historian. These ten, beside any others possibly with them, must have been the welcomed visitors of the disciples at Troas. Memory dwelt upon Troas, for it was the place where, in the vision of the night (Acts 16:9), Paul had received his call into Europe by the man of Macedonia. And after this visit how many fresh memories would cluster around the place and the people and that seven days' halt! We may, amid the exceeding brevity of record here, be nevertheless reminded -

I. HOW TO THE HARDEST LIFE THE MASTER DOES NOT FORGET TO GIVE SOME NEEDFUL INTERVAL OF REPOSE AND REFRESHMENT. No life is more wearing than that which men live who think for nothing, care for nothing, but making wealth. This life often kills the best of the heart, the best of the mind, and the best of even the bodily constitution. In this sense, men work themselves harder and more mercilessly than ever God works them. God never works us mercilessly. But in the hardest work he gives, he mingles much mercy. Yet his work in a healthy sense is hard, will match any for hardness, nor probably did the hardest-worked slave of self or Satan ever work harder than Paul did. But now, so far as we can see, the seven days at Troas, undisturbed by persecution from without or dissuasion from within, must have been days of happy converse and of peaceful rest. How much this party of ten would have to say to one another, to hear of the people at Troas and to tell to them!

II. HOW THE HOLIEST SERVICE ON EARTH MAY BE EXPOSED TO THE INTERRUPTION OF APPARENT ACCIDENT, ANYWAY TO INTERRUPTION WELCOME TO NO ONE. The cause of the interruption on this occasion probably infers a very minimum of blame to Eutychus. Some one has spoken to this effect - that hours of sleep are rarely broken by devotion, often enough for light causes. But it may be added that hours of sleep are rarely forfeited, indeed, for hours of devotion, but hours of professed devotion are often broken by sleep, or by what in the long run is even more disastrous - by sleepiness. But as we are told more than once that Eutychus was "overpowered by sleepiness, and that there were even physical reasons separate from his individual self to increase the tendency, it is not necessary to fix any blame on him. Nor on Paul. Who did not wish him to prolong last words? What a spirit moved him! What a message he had, and how much for years to come, for the souls of not a few, and for the collected disciples there, might depend on his not omitting to say, and to say at leisure, and to say touchingly, the word given him! Yes; we would think nothing of the small hours being reached, and the many lights in the upper chamber fading before the return of the sun, were it the converse of merely human affection that detained us - men and women anti families together. The people at Troas had learnt the superior power and o'er mastering attraction" of Divine affection and Divine discourse.

III. HOW WITH SOVEREIGN EASE CHRIST TRANSMUTES THE MOST INOPPORTUNE CALAMITY INTO MERCY'S CHOICE MEMORIALS. The calamity no doubt seemed inopportune. The disciples had already learned, of their own grateful will, to come together for religious exercises on "the first day of the week," and to "break bread" together. Paul and probably some of his companions, if not all of them (ver. 13), had desired to stay with the believers for the service of praise and prayer, of exhortation and of the communion, and perhaps had strained a point to stay over that "first day of the week." And hearts were full that evening. There was not any general weariness. And Paul was speaking that same hour what the Spirit gave him to speak. Had he spoken less, it would have been "the Spirit's course" that he was restraining, not his own vanity, not his own inconsiderateness. The confusion in that natural but solemn assembly, the disturbance to thought, and the pain of mind especially to some, - these were quite enough to unhinge the occasion. The peaceful stream of holy thought and of deep-flowing joy was checked. Yes; but not long. The Master is again present, and "by the hands" of Paul works, all things considered, a "special miracle." And the service goes on. Thought sinks deeper, faith triumphs more proudly, and in many a glowing heart great was the joy. The meeting gathers impulse from its pause, and, a bright morning dawning upon it, offered a dim type of the morning, brightest of the bright, when the calamity of the present life and the broken service of the lower Church, and even the deepest, fullest, purest joy of the now redeemed heart shall give way to a safety which no foe can surprise, a service that shall ask no rest, and a joy that shall be supreme. - B.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

WEB: We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas in five days, where we stayed seven days.

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