Page images

Tertullus pleads]


(against Paul.

places, most noble Felix, with all CHAP. XXIV.


4 Notwithstanding, that I be not AND after five days. Ananias the further tedious unto thee, I pray thee

High Priest descended with the that thou wouldest hear iis of thy cleelders, and with a certain orator mency a few words. named Tertullus, who informed the 5 For we have found this man a governor against Paul.

pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedi2 And when he was called forth, tion among all the Jews throughout the Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, world, and a ringleader of the sect of Seeing that by thee we enjoy great the Nazarenes: quietness, and that very worthy deeds 6 Who also hath gone about to proare done unto this nation by thy pro- fane the temple : whom we took, and vidence,

would have judged according to our 3 We accept it always, and in all law.

EXPOSITION—Chap. XXIII. Continued. execute it on all we judge to he his foes, is (Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. ch. 2.) But when the bitterest poison in all the existing sys- Christiauity began to spread extensively, tems of intolerance, and especially popery. and was found hostile to every kind of We are not now considering the right vice, then it became odious, and the object which the civil power unquestionably has of Pagan persecution. It must be here reto preserve peace among hostile sects and marked, that Christianity, in the first age, parties, which is necessary for the public attacked Paganism by argument and pergood; but when any power, civil or eccle. suasion only; as we see in Paul's poble siastical, dictates to men what they must defence before the Areopagites. It desacer! believe, and how they must worship, ander none of its idols, and broke down none of certain temporal pains and penalties, it its altars; and had Pagans employed only assumes the authority of God, and invades the same weapons, it would have been å the rights of man. Happy are we, in this bloodless contest: but Paganisın had no land of liberty, to know that intolerance, arguments, and when thus attacked could in every form, is as illegal as it is uns answer only by the sword. This, however, christian. (See the Author's Essays on was not employed till the imperial power Religious Liberty, Essay V.)

fell into the hands of Nero, who is entitled But how shall we account for it, that to the ignominy of being author of the Pagans should show a regard to the rights first general persecution of Christians by of conscience and of men, of wbich God's Pagan Rome. chosen people appear ignorant, or rather, We have been led into these digressive to which they were evidently hostile? The remarks by the liberal conduct of Claudius fact is, that the Jews were, at this time, in Lysias, in rescuing Paul from Jewish pera state of the most awful apostacy, and secution and determined assassination. upon the brink of national destruction. The conduct of Felix, also, or rather the Little, however, can be said in favour of Roman laws, must be commended, which Pagan toleration. It was not founded on

allowed the prisoner to defend himself bethe rights of conscience, but on the princi- fore his accusers in open court; the gople that all religions were alike. So the vernor's meatness, however, in seeking a celebrated bistorian of the Roman Empire bribe for his liberation, has fixed a stain observes : “ The various modes of worship upon his character which is indelible: but which prevailed in the Roman world, were Paul's trial, and Felix's behaviour, will all considered by the people as equally true; come regularly before us in the next by the philosopher, as equally false ; and section. by the magistrate, as equally useful."

NOTES. CHAP. XXIV. Ver. 1. Ananias .... descended dence." Doddr.“ prudent administration." with the elders-i. e. came down from Jerusalem to Ver. 5. A pestilene fellow. - More emphaticalls, Cesarea; and they brought with them a professed “a pestilence ;" or, as we should say, a pest to orator and advocate, to plead their cause.

society. Ver. 2. By thy' providence. - Wesley, "pru.

Paul's defence]

[before Felix, 7 But the chief captain Lysias came 17 Now after many years I came upon us, and with great violence took to bring alms to my nation, and ofhim away out of our hands,

ferings. 8 Commanding his accusers to come 18 Whereupon certain Jews from unto thee: by examining of whom thy- Asia found me purified in the temple, self mayest take knowledge of all these neither with multitude, nor with tumult. things, whereof we accuse him.

19 Whu ought to have been here 9 And the Jews also assented, say- before thee, and object, if they had ing that these things were so.

ought against me. 10 Then Paul, after that the gover- 20 Or else let these same here say, nor had beckoned unto him to speak, if they have found any evil duing in answered, Forasmuch as I know that me, while I stood before the council ; thou hast been of many years a judge 21 Except it be for this one voice, anto this nation, I do the more cheer- that I cried standing among them, fully answer for myself:

Touching the resurrection of the dead i Because that thou mayest un- I am called in question by you this day. derstand, that there are yet but twelve 22 And when Felix heard these days since I went up to Jerusalem for things, having more perfect knowledge to worship

of that way, he deferred them, and 12 And they neither found me in said, When Lysias the chief captain the temple disputing with any man ; shall come down, I will know the utneither raising up the people, neither termost of your matter. in the synagogues, nor in the city: 23 And he commanded a centurion

13 Neither can they prove the to keep Paul, and to let him have lithings whereof they now accuse me. berty, and that he should forbid none

14 But this I confess unto thee, of his acquaintance to minister or come that after the way which they call he- unto him. resy, so worship I the God of my fa- 24 And after certain days, when thers

, believing all things which are Felix came with his wife Drusilla, written in the law and in the prophets: which was a Jewešs, he sent for Paul,

15 And have hope toward" God, and heard him concerning the faith in which they themselves also allow, that Christ. there shall be a resurrection of the 25 And as he reasoned of righteousdead, both of the just and unjust. ness, temperance, and judgment to

16 And herein do I exercise my- come, Felix trembled, and answered, self

, to have always a conscience void Go thy way for this time; when I of offence toward God, and toward have a convenient season, I will call (Paul in bonds.

for thee.



NOTES Ver. 10. Many years.--According to Bishop Pear- Ver. 22. Having more perfect knowledge.- Doddr. 8on, five and a balf; but according to Mr. Biscoe, “After I have been more accurately informed." Dr.

D. remarks, that the words themselves are ambiguous, Ver. 14. Beresy.--This is the same word that, and may refer to his having obtained by this exain ver. 5, is translated sect, which is admitted to be mination a better knowledge of the subject; or, its primary meaning ; though it afterwards acquired more properly (as Beza and Grotius explain them), a theological or ecclesiastical use, as implying the to a desire of obtaining farther information, when maintenance of important or fundamental error. So Lysias came, which seems far more natural. See Dr. Waterland defines Aeresy to be, “ Not merely a Hammond. faistake of judgment (though in fundamentals), bat Ver. 24. Drusilla. Josephus says, this woman was Espousing such erroneous jadgment, either teaching the daughter of Herod Agrippa, before named, and or disseminating it, or openly supporting and as- sister to the Agrippa mentioned in the next chapter. sisting those that do. This l conceive (said he) to She had been married to Azizus, king of the Emebe the true scripture notion of heresy.” Water- senes, but Felix seduced her by means of one Simon, landa Importance of the Trinity, 2d edit. p. 120. a magician; so that they, in fact, lived in adultery,

Ver. 15. Just and unjust. - The Pharisees, ac- under the mask of marriage. Antig. book xx. ch. 7. cording to Josephus, admitted only the resurrection Lard, book i. ch. i. 18.

of the just-not the unjust.

Felix leaves]

THE ACTS. 26 He hoped also that money should 27 But after two years Porcius Fes. have been given him of Paul, that he tus came into Felix' room: and Felix, might loose him: wherefore he sent willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, for him the oftener, and communed left Paul bound. (Z) with him.


that he belonged to the sect of the Naza(Z) Ver. 1—27. Paul pleads his cause before. renes," i.e. the followers of Jesus of NaFelix.- Nothing can show more forcibly the zareth ; and after the way which they inveterate hatred of the Jews against Paul called heresy, or a sect, did he worship the than their unwearied pursuit of him from God of Israel, believing all things contime to time, and from place to place—even tained in the law or the prophets, and parto Cesarea, which appears to have been ticularly the resurrection of the dead; the more than 70 miles from Jerusalem. Nor avowal of which had brought upon him did they spare expense for professional the vengeance of the Sadducees, to which orators, who, as we all well kuow, do not sect strange to tell !) belonged many travel for nothing. In this address of of the higher order of priests as well as Tertullus, we have also a fair specimen of laymen. the flattering style of these venal pleaders, Felix, finding in all this no crime of whose office was to make "the worse ap- which, 'as Roman Governor, he could well pear the better cause.". _" Almost every take cognizance, and that they had brought word of this oration is false,

says Dr,

nu witness as to the material points, of Doddridge : particularly “ the accusation raising a riot or defiling the temple, he against Paul, and the encomium on Felix. deferred his decision till the chief captain, All historians agree that he was a man Lysias, should come to Cesarea, when he of so bad a character, that his government would again hear the cause; in the mean was a plague to all the provinces over time, finding it was a malicious prosewhich he presided; and, as for Judea, its cution, he committed him to the care of a stale under Felix was so far from being Roman centurion, with orders for his being what Tertullus here represents, that Jose- liberally treated. phus (besides what he says of the bar- Before Lysias arrived, however, his own barous and cowardly assassination of Jona. wife, Drusilla, came, who was a Jewess, than, the High Priest, by his means) de- and 'he seems to have considered this a clares that the Jews accused hiin before proper opportunity to hear farther " conNero of insufferable oppressions, and had cerning the faith in Christ." On this occertainly ruined him, if his brother Pallas casion Paul seems to have been regardless bad not interposed in his favour." As to of his own circumstances, but reasoned so bis “wortly deeds," the only thing that forcibly on “righteousness, temperance, can be said in favour of him is, that he and judgment to come," that even Felix cleared the country of robbers and impos- trembled. And well, indeed, he might, if tors. (See the authorities referred to in he was the character represented by JoseDoddridge.)

phus. No topic could be better calculated With respect to Paul, we will hear him io alarm a rapacious tyrant, a seducer, and speak for himself; and without attempting an adulterer; no eloquence more adapted flattery, like Tertullus, we may observe to make him tremble, than the masterly he treats Felix, as a judge, with great and energetic reasoning of St. Paul. He respect, and expresses his satisfaction at did trenible, and could bear no more; but being called before him, as he knew that hastily dismissed the preacher—"Go thy he was not altogether a stranger to Jewish way for this time : when I bave a comrelaws and customs, in wbich he may allude, nient season I will send for thee." Alas! perhaps, to his being married to Drusilla, how many have thus put away from them who was a Jewess, as will presently appear. the words of eternal life, and found no As to Paul's attempting to raise a sedi- other opportunity for ever! tion, there was no pretence for it, as he had As to Felix, he desired no more ; but been there but a few days for many years hoped, as Paul was a Roman citizen, that past; and with respect to his introducing he should have received a bribe for his Gentiles into the holy precincts of the liberation : but, as this was not the case temple, he had indeed been seen with an (for Paul would neither bribe nor he Ephesian in the city, but he went into the bribed), after dallying with the cause two teinple with Jews only, with wbom he was years, till Festus (his successor) came, he united in the performance of a religious left him in confinement, “willing to show vow. (See ch. xviii. 23-30.) It is true the Jews a pleasure.”

Festus states Paul's) CHAP. XXV.

[case to Agrippa. CHAP. XXV.

no wrong, as thou very well knowest.

11 For if I be an offender, or have NOW OW when Festus was come into committed any thing worthy of death,

the province, after three days he I refuse not to die: but if there be ascended from Cesarea to Jerusalem. none of these things whereof these ac

2 Then the High Priest and the cuse me, no man may deliver me unto chief of the Jews informed him against them. I appeal unto Cesar. Paul, and besought him,

12 Then Festus, when he had con3 And desired favour against him, ferred with the council, answered, that he would send for him to Jerusa- Hast thou appealed unto Cesar? unto lem, laying wait in the way to kill him. Cesar shalt thou go.

4 But Festus answered, that Paul 13 And after certain days king should be kept at Cesarea, and that he Agrippa and Bernice came unto Cehimself would depart shortly thither. sarea to salute Festus.

5 Let them therefore, said he, which 14 And when they had been there among you are able, go down with me, many days, Festus declared Paul's and accuse this man, if there be any cause unto the king, saying, There is wickedness in him.

a certain man left in bonds by Felix : 6 And when he had tarried among

15 About whom, when I was at Jethem more than ten days, he went rusalem, the Chief Priests and the down unto Cesarea; and the next day, elders of the Jews informed me, desitting on the judgment seat, com- siring to have judgment against him. manded Paul to be brought.

16 To whom I answered, It is not 7 And when he was come, the Jews the manner of the Romans to deliver which came down from Jerusalem any man to die, before that he which stood round about, and laid many is accused have the accusers face to and grievous complaints against Paul, face; and have licence to answer for which they could not prove.

himself concerning the crime laid 8 While he answered for himself, against him. Neither against the law of the Jews, 17 Therefore, when they were come neither against the temple, nor yet hither, without any delay, on the moragainst Cesar, have I offended any row I sat on the judgment seat, and thing at all.

commanded the man to be brought 9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews forth. a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, 18 Against whom when the accusers Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and stood up, they brought none accusathere be judged of these things before tion of such things as I supposed : me ?

19 But had certain questions against 10 Then said Paul, I stand at Ce- him of their own superstition; and of sar's judgment seat, where I ought to one Jesus, which was dead, whom be judged: to the Jews have I done Paul affirmed to be alive.

NOTES CHAP. XXV. Ver. 6. More than ten days.- Ver. 13. King Agrippa.-This Agrippa was the The Marg. says, some copies read," not more than son of Herod Agrippa (chap. xiii.), who, on his faeight or ley, &c.; but the difference is trifling, ther's death was thought too young to succeed him either phrase meaning about that time.

(being only seventeen), but had now the tetrarchies Ver. 8. Answered. -Gr." apologized."

of Philip and Lysanius, with part of Galilee. Ver. 10. I stand al Cesar's judgment seal. Ver. 15. Desiring to have judgment-i. e. on tho Duder." Tribunal." The tribunals of the Roman ground of his trial before Felix. Ch. xxiv. 1, &c. procurators were held in Cesar's name, and by com- Ver. 16. Face to face.-Paul complains of the mission from him. So our courts are held in the want of this, chap. xxiv. 19. The Jews of Asia did King's name, particularly that of the King's Bench. not attend bis trial. Ver. 11. 1 appeal unto Cesar.-A freeman of Ver. 19. Of their own superstition.--Doddr. Rome had a right to do so; and the judges were

“their own religion :" Hammond, " way of worbound to admit it. See Townsend's New Test. Arr.

ship." See Note on chap. xyi. 22.

vol. ii, 433, N.

Agrippa desires)

[to hear Paul. 20 And because I doubted of such with us, ye see this man, about whom manner of questions, I asked him whe- all the multitude of the Jews have ther he would go to Jerusalem, and dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. also here, crying that he ought not to

21 But when Paul had appealed to live any longer. be reserved unto the hearing of Au- 25 But when I found that he had gustus, I commanded bim to be kept committed nothing worthy of death, till I might send him to Cesar. and that he himself hath appealed to

22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, Augustus, I have determined to send I would also hear the man myself. him. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear 26 Of whom I have no certain thing him.

to write unto my lord, Wherefore I 23 And on the morrow, when have brought him forth before you, Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with and specially before thee, O King great pomp, and was entered into the Agrippa, that, after examination had, place of hearing, with the chief cap- I might have somewhat to write. tains, and principal men of the city, 27 For it seemeth to me unreasonat Festus' commandment Paul was able to send a prisoner, and not witbal brought forth.

to signify the crimes laid against 24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, him. (A) and all men which are here present


for Christ at Rome also (ch. xxiii. 11), at (A) Ver. 1—27. Paul being accused once appealed to Cesar; Festus admitbefore Festus, appeals to Cesar. - We have ted the appeal, and it appears he had no seen, in the close of the preceding chapter, right to refuse a Roman citizen. that Felix left Paul a prisoner to please the A few days after this, however, King Jews : accordingly, no sooner nad Festus Agrippa, and his sister, Beruice, came upon arrived at Jerusalem, than the High Priest a visit to Festus at Cesarea, on wbichocand the chief of the Jews applied to him casion the latter related the circumstances against Paul, lesiring that he would send of Paul's case, against whom the Jews had for him from Cesarea to Jerusalem, while desired judgmeot, on account of a prehe was there, at the same tiine laying in tended conviction that had previously takes wait, on the way, to kill him. Whether place. Festus, however, gave them to Festus had seen the letter of Lysias tu understand that the Roman laws did not Felix, stating that the Jews bad before allow this, but required the accusers to done so (ch. xxiii. 26–30), or whether it appear face to face, and that the accused was a special act of His providence, who should be allowed to answer for bimself. controls the hearts of princes, "in order to This was therefore done ; but when the preserve Paul, Festus refused to listen to

accusers came, they left their witnesses their request, but required them to go with behind, and substantiated no one charge him to Cesarea, whither he went in about that he had expected, but "bad certain ten days afterwards. The next day after questions against him of their religios, their arrival, Paul and his accusers were and of one Jesus which was dead, whom brought before him, and they laid so Paul affirmed to be alive." Not undermany things to his charge, that though standing such questions, Festus bad inthey could not prove them, Festus showed quired if Paul was willing to go to Jeru, an evident disposition to oblige the Jews, salem to be judged, but he had declined by sending him back to Jerusalem. Paul, this, and appealed to Cesar, to wbom, however, resisted this, as illegal and unjust, therefore, he must be sent. and knowing that he was to bear witness The curiosity of Agrippa being excited

NOTES-Chap. XXV. Con. Ver. 20. I doubled of such manner of questions.- Ver. 23. Place of hearing.- Doddr. " andience." Marg." I was doubtful how to enquire hereof." Ver. 24. Dealt. -Doddr. pleaded."

Ver. 21. Hearing:-Marg. “ judgment."-Of Ver. 26. Unto my Lord-i. e. the Emperor. So we Augustus-Meaning Nero.

My Lord the King,"


« PreviousContinue »