And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
In his speech we may observe —
I. PAUL'S VINDICATION OF HIMSELF. Ministers are bound not only to look to their consciences, but also to their credits. When the name of a minister is contemptible, his doctrine will be the less acceptable. The apostle vindicateth himself —
1. As to the integrity of his life (vers. 18, 19).
2. As to his fidelity in his doctrine (ver. 20).
II. HIS EXHORTATION TO THEM. As he taught them before by his pattern, so now by his precepts (ver. 28). This counsel the apostle urgeth upon a three-fold ground.
1. From the person who committed to them this charge. That unfaithfulness which is but felony against the charge of a subject may be treason when it is against the charge of a sovereign.
2. From the price paid for them (ver. 28). Things of the greatest cost call for our greatest care. If God thought them worth His blood we may well esteem them worth our tears and sweat.
3. From the peril their flock was in (vers. 29-31). If wolves will watch to devour, shepherds must watch to defend the sheep. Those commanders who are entrusted with a garrison when they are sure to have their quarters beaten up, had need to be ever upon their guard.
III. HIS PREDICTION OF HIS FUTURE SUFFERINGS.
1. Propounded (vers. 22, 23). Christians of all men must bear their crosses; ministers of all Christians must look to undergo misery. The fuller the tree is laden the more cudgels will be thrown at it; the most fruitful meadows bear oftenest in the year of the scythe.
2. Amplified from the liberty it thereby denied them of ever seeing Paul again (ver. 25). Sad news to honest hearts upon a double ground; partly —
(1) Their lack of him. He had told them of wolves entering in among them; now at such a time for the flock to be without a guide; when the storm arose for the vessel to be without a pilot; when the soldiers were to engage in hot service with enemies, for their expert commander to be wanting; must needs be woful. That the nurse should be taken away before the children could go alone did much affect and afflict their spirits.
(2) Their love to him. As Paul was a Christian, and their spiritual parent who had begotten them, brought them up in the nurture of the Lord, and upon all occasions advised and assisted them, they could not but love him in a high degree, and therefore much lament his loss.
IV. HIS VALEDICTION TO THEM (ver. 32). Before he had given them a command from God, and now he commends them to God. The words contain the legacy which Paul bequeaths to his Christian friends. He taketh his farewell of them, and wisheth a welfare to them.
(G. Swinnock, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.