In Acts 27, we set sail with Paul to Rome, yet facing strong winds against us and even shipreck:
1 And now word was given for the voyage to Italy, Paul being handed over, with some other prisoners, to a centurion called Julius, who belonged to the Augustan cohort. We embarked on a boat from Adrumetum which was bound for the Asiatic ports, and set sail; the Macedonian, Aristarchus, from Thessalonica, was with us. Next day we put in at Sidon; and here Julius shewed Paul courtesy by allowing him to visit his friends and be cared for.
Ut autem judicatum est navigare eum in Italiam, et tradi Paulum cum reliquis custodiis centurioni nomine Julio cohortis Augustæ, ascendentes navem Adrumetinam, incipientes navigare circa Asiæ loca, sustulimus, perseverante nobiscum Aristarcho Macedone Thessalonicensi. Sequenti autem die devenimus Sidonem. Humane autem tractans Julius Paulum, permisit ad amicos ire, et curam sui agere.Chrysostom (Homily 53):... it was but natural that he should be much the worse from his bonds and the fear, and the being dragged hither and there. See how the writer does not hide this either, that Paul wished to refresh himself.
4 Then, setting sail, we coasted under the lee of Cyprus, to avoid contrary winds,
Et inde cum sustulissemus, subnavigavimus Cyprum, propterea quod essent venti contrarii.Chrys: Again trials, again contrary winds. See how the life of the saints is thus interwoven throughout: escaped from the court of justice, they fall in with shipwreck and storm.
5 but made a straight course over the open sea that lies off Cilicia and Pamphylia, and so reached Lystra in Lycia. There the centurion found a boat from Alexandria which was sailing for Italy, and put us on board. We had a slow voyage for many days after this; we made Gnidus with difficulty, and then, with the wind beating us back, had to sail under the lee of Crete by way of Salmone. Here we were hard put to it to coast along as far as a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Thalassa.
Et pelagus Ciliciæ et Pamphyliæ navigantes, venimus Lystram, quæ est Lyciæ: et ibi inveniens centurio navem Alexandrinam navigantem in Italiam, transposuit nos in eam. Et cum multis diebus tarde navigaremus, et vix devenissemus contra Gnidum, prohibente nos vento, adnavigavimus Cretæ juxta Salmonem: et vix juxta navigantes, venimus in locum quemdam qui vocatur Boniportus, cui juxta erat civitas Thalassa.Chrys: See how God does not innovate or change the order of nature, but suffers them to sail into the unfavorable winds. But even so the miracle is wrought. That they may sail safely, He did not let them go out in the (open) sea, but they always sailed near the land.
9 Much time had now been wasted, and sailing had become dangerous; the fast was already over; and Paul bade them make the best of it.
Multo autem tempore peracto, et cum jam non esset tuta navigatio eo quod et jejunium jam præteriisset, consolabatur eos Paulus,Chrys: By the fast here, I suppose he means that of the Jews. For they departed thence a long time after the Pentecost, so that it was much about midwinter that they arrived at the coasts of Crete. And this too was no slight miracle, that they also should be saved on his account.
10 Sirs, he said, I can see plainly that there is no sailing now, without injury and great loss, not only of our freight and of the vessel, but of our own lives too.
dicens eis: Viri, video quoniam cum injuria et multo damno non solum oneris, et navis, sed etiam animarum nostrarum incipit esse navigatio.Chrys: And observe how unassuming the expression is. That he may not seem to prophesy, but to speak as of conjecture, I perceive, says he. For they would not have received it, had he said this at the outset. In fact he does prophesy on this former occasion, as he does afterward, and says (there), The God whom I serve, leading them on.
Then how comes it that it was not with loss (of any) of their lives? It would have been so, but that God brought them safe through it. For as far as depended on the nature of the thing, they had perished, but God prevented it.
11 The centurion, however, paid more attention to the helmsman and the master than to Paul’s advice. The harbour was not well placed for wintering in; so that more of them gave their voices for sailing further still, in the hope of making Phoenice and wintering there; it is a harbour in Crete, which faces in the direction of the South-west and North-west winds. A light breeze was now blowing from the South, so that they thought they had achieved their purpose, and coasted along Crete, leaving their anchorage at Assos. But it was not long before a gale of wind struck the ship, the wind called Euraquilo; she was carried out of her course, and could make no head against the wind, so we gave up and let her drive.
We now ran under the lee of an island named Cauda, where we contrived, with difficulty, to secure the ship’s boat. When it had been hoisted aboard, they strengthened the ship by passing ropes round her; then, for fear of being driven on to the Syrtis sands, they let down the sea-anchor, and so drifted. On the next day, so violently were we tossed about in the gale, they lightened ship, and on the third, they deliberately threw the spare tackle overboard. For several days we saw nothing of the sun or the stars, and a heavy gale pressed us hard, so that we had lost, by now, all hope of surviving; and we were much in want of food.
21b And now Paul stood up in their presence, and said, Sirs, you should have taken my advice; if you had not put out from Crete, you would have saved all this injury and damage. But I would not have you lose courage, even now; there is to be no loss of life among you, only of the ship. An angel stood before me last night, sent by the God to whom I belong, the God whom I serve, and said, Have no fear, Paul, thou art to stand in Caesar’s presence; and behold, God has granted thee the safety of all thy fellow voyagers. Have courage, then, sirs; I trust in God, believing that all will fall out as he has told me. Only we are to be cast up on an island.
tunc stans Paulus in medio eorum, dixit: Oportebat quidem, o viri, audito me, non tollere a Creta, lucrique facere injuriam hanc et jacturam. 22 Et nunc suadeo vobis bono animo esse: amissio enim nullius animæ erit ex vobis, præterquam navis. 23 Astitit enim mihi hac nocte angelus Dei, cujus sum ego, et cui deservio, 24 dicens: Ne timeas, Paule: Cæsari te oportet assistere: et ecce donavit tibi Deus omnes qui navigant tecum. 25 Propter quod bono animo estote, viri: credo enim Deo quia sic erit, quemadmodum dictum est mihi. 26 In insulam autem quamdam oportet nos devenire.Chrys: Then after so great a storm he does not speak as insultingly over them, but as wishing that at any rate he might be believed for the future. Wherefore also he alleges what had taken place for a testimony of the truth of what was about to be said by him.And he foretells two things; both that they must be cast upon an island, and that though the ship would be lost, those who were in it should be saved— which thing he spoke not of conjecture, but of prophecy— and that he must be brought before Cæsar. But this that he says, God has given you all, is not spoken boastfully, but in the wish to win those who were sailing in the ship: for (he spoke thus), not that they might feel themselves bound to him, but that they might believe what he was saying. God has given you; as much (as to say), They are worthy indeed of death, since they would not listen to you: however, this is done out of favor to you...
27 On the fourteenth night, as we drifted about in the Adriatic sea,the crew began to suspect, about midnight, that we were nearing land; so they took soundings, and made it twenty fathom; then they sounded again a short distance away, and made it fifteen fathom. Afraid, therefore, that we might be cast ashore on some rocky coast, they let down four anchors from the stern, and fell to wishing it were day.
Sed posteaquam quartadecima nox supervenit, navigantibus nobis in Adria circa mediam noctem, suspicabantur nautæ apparere sibi aliquam regionem. Qui et summittentes bolidem, invenerunt passus viginti: et pusillum inde separati, invenerunt passus quindecim. Timentes autem ne in aspera loca incideremus, de puppi mittentes anchoras quatuor, optabant diem fieri.
30 And now the sailors had a mind to abandon the ship, and lowered the boat into the sea, pretending that they meant to lay out anchors from the bows. But Paul told the centurion and the soldiers, These must stay on board, or there is no hope left for you; whereupon the soldiers cut the boat’s ropes away and let it drop.Chrys: Then, severe the storm (that ensued), deep the darkness: and that they may not forget, the vessel also goes to pieces, and the grain is flung out and all beside, that they may not have it in their power after this to be shameless. For this is why the vessel goes to pieces, and their souls are tightly braced. Moreover, both the storm and the darkness contributed not a little to his obtaining the hearing he did. Accordingly observe how the centurion does as he bids him, insomuch that he even let the boat go, and destroyed it. And if the sailors did not as yet comply with his bidding, yet afterwards they do so: for in fact this is a reckless sort of people...
The sailors however, were about to escape, having no faith in what was said: but the centurion does believe Paul, For he says, If these flee, ye cannot be saved: so saying, not on this account, but that he might restrain them, and the prophecy might not fall to the ground. See how as in a church they are instructed by the calmness of Paul's behavior, how he saved them out of the very midst of the dangers. And it is of providential ordering that Paul is disbelieved, that after proof of the facts, he might be believed: which accordingly was the case. And he exhorts them again to take some meat, and they do as he bids them, and he takes some first, to persuade them not by word, but also by act, that the storm did them no harm, but rather was a benefit to their souls...
33 As day began to break, Paul entreated them all to take some food; To-day, he said, is the fourteenth day you have been in suspense, and all that time gone hungry, neglecting to eat; pray take some food, then; it will make for your preservation; not a hair of anyone’s head is to be lost. And with that he took bread, and gave thanks to God before them all, and broke it, and began to eat. Thereupon they all found courage, and themselves took a meal. The whole number of souls on board was two hundred and seventy six. So all ate till they were content; and afterwards they began to lighten the ship, throwing the corn into the sea.
Et cum lux inciperet fieri, rogabat Paulus omnes sumere cibum, dicens: Quartadecima die hodie exspectantes jejuni permanetis, nihil accipientes. Propter quod rogo vos accipere cibum pro salute vestra: quia nullius vestrum capillus de capite peribit. Et cum hæc dixisset, sumens panem, gratias egit Deo in conspectu omnium: et cum fregisset, cœpit manducare. Animæquiores autem facti omnes, et ipsi sumpserunt cibum. Eramus vero universæ animæ in navi ducentæ septuaginta sex. Et satiati cibo alleviabant navem, jactantes triticum in mare.
39 When day broke, they found that the coast was strange to them. But they sighted a bay with a sloping beach, and made up their minds, if it should be possible, to run the ship ashore there. They lifted the anchors and trusted themselves to the mercy of the sea, at the same time unlashing the tiller; then they hoisted the foresail to the breeze, and held on for the shore. But now, finding they were running into a cross-sea, they grounded the ship where they were. The bows, which were stuck fast, felt no movement, but the stern began falling to pieces under the violence of the waves; whereupon the soldiers would have killed the prisoners, for fear that any of them should dive overboard and escape, but the centurion balked them of their will, because he had a mind to keep Paul safe. He gave orders that those who could swim should go overboard first, and make their way to land; of the rest, some were ferried across on planks, and some on the ship’s wreckage. So it was that all reached land in safety.
Cum autem dies factus esset, terram non agnoscebant: sinum vero quemdam considerabant habentem littus, in quem cogitabant si possent ejicere navem. Et cum anchoras sustulissent, committebant se mari, simul laxantes juncturas gubernaculorum: et levato artemone secundum auræ flatum, tendebant ad littus. Et cum incidissemus in locum dithalassum, impegerunt navem: et prora quidem fixa manebat immobilis, puppis vero solvebatur a vi maris. Militum autem consilium fuit ut custodias occiderent, ne quis cum enatasset, effugeret. Centurio autem volens servare Paulum, prohibuit fieri: jussitque eos qui possent natare, emittere se primos, et evadere, et ad terram exire: et ceteros, alios in tabulis ferebant, quosdam super ea quæ de navi erant. Et sic factum est, ut omnes animæ evaderent ad terram.Chrys: Again the devil tries to hinder the prophecy, and they had a mind to kill some, but the centurion suffered them not, that he might save Paul, so much was the centurion attached to him...
So that righteous men, though they may be in a tempest, or on the sea, or in the deep, suffer nothing dreadful, but even save others together with themselves. If (here was) a ship in danger and suffering wreck, and prisoners were saved for Paul's sake, consider what a thing it is to have a holy man in a house: for many are the tempests which assail us also, tempests far more grievous than these (natural ones), but He can also give us to be delivered, if only we obey holy men as those (in the ship) did, if we do what they enjoin...
Let us think that the whole world is a ship, and in this the evildoers and those who have numberless vices, some rulers, others guards, others just men, as Paul was, others prisoners, those bound by their sins: if then we do as Paul bids us, we perish not in our bonds, but are released from them: God will give us also to him....
For Paul is sailing even now with us, only not bound as he was then: he admonishes us even now, and says to those who are (sailing) on this sea, take heed unto yourselves: for after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you: and again, In the last times perilous times shall come: and men shall be lovers of their own selves, lovers of money, boasters. 2 Timothy 3:2 This is more grievous than all storms.
Let us therefore abide where he bids us— in faith, in the safe haven: let us hearken unto him rather than to the pilot that is within us, that is, our own reason.