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estate of the elders: i from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there, bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. 6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Da

mascus.

12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, " having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. 14 And he said, 'The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

i Chap. 9. 2. & 26. 10, 12-k Chap 9 3. & 26. 12, 13-1 Chap 9. 7. Dan. 10. 7.m Chap. 9. 17-n Chap. 10. 2-0 I Tim. 3. 7-p Chap. 3. 13 & 5 30.-q Ch. 9. 15. &26 16-1 Cor. 9. 1. & 15 8.--s Ch. 3 14 & 7.5% - 1 Cor.11 23. Gal.1.12-u Ch.23. 1.- Ch.4.20. & 26,16-w Ch.2.38. Heb.10.22.- Ch.9.14. Rom. 10.13.

that is, as the Syriac translator has properly rendered it, they saw death immediately before them. So Themistius, Or. 27. p. 341. who adds the term by which the phrase is explained, έξι και πλησιον αει τω δυναμένῳ λαμβάνειν, ante pedes id semper et prope est, illi qui accipere potest. Also Lucian, De Conser. Hist. p. 669. wv napa Todas o eλeyxot; the refutation of which is at hand. The same kind of form occurs in the Hebrew, Exod. xi. 8. All the people that are at thy feet, beraglaica, i. e. who are with thee, under thy command, 2 Sam. xv. 16. And the king went out, and all his household beraglair, at his feet; that is, with him, in his company. See Kypke. According to the perfect manner] That is, according to that strict interpretation of the law; and especially the traditions of the elders, for which the Pharisees were remarkable. That it is Pharisaism that the apostle has in view, when he says he was taught according, axpißiav, to the most exact manner, is evident; and hence, in chapter xxvi. 5. he calls Pharisaism axpißesarny, the most exact system: and under it, he was zealous towards God; scrupulously exact in every part of his duty, accompanying this with reverence to the Supreme being, and deep concern for his honour and glory. 4. I persecuted this way] Tavrny Tηv odov; this doctrine, this way of worshipping God, and arriving at a state of bless edness. See on chap. ix. 2.

Binding and delivering into prisons] See on chap. viii.

3. ix. 2.

and of his conversion.

16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Je rusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance: 18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy test. mony concerning me.

19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:

20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee fai hence unto the Gentiles.

22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,

24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. 25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, i Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned ?

26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.

7 Ch 9.26. 2 Cor. 12.2-2 Verse 14-a Matt. 19. 14-b Verse 4-e Matt 10.17. d Ch.7.58- Luke 11.48. Ch 8.1. Rom 1.32-fCh.9 15. & 13.2, 46, 47 & 19.6.& 17. Rom. 1.5.& 11.13 & 15. 16. Gal. 1.15, 16. & 2.7, 8. Eph 3,7,8 1 Tim.27. 2 Tina 1.11.-g Ch.21.36.-h Ch.25.24.- Ch.16.37.

20. When the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed] See on chap. vii, 58. viii. 1. All these things Paul alleged as reasons why he could not expect to be received by the Christians; for how could they suppose that such a persecutor could be con verted?

21. I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.] This was the particular appointment of St. Paul: he was the Apostle of the Gentiles; for though he preached frequently to the Jews, yet, to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and to write for the conversion and establishment of the Gentile world, were his peculiar destination. Hence we find him and his companions travelling every where; through Judea, Phænicia, Arabia Syria, Cilicia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, Pamphylia," Galatia, Phrygia, Macedonia, Greece, Asia, the isles of the Mediter ranean Sea, the isles of the Egean Sea, Italy; and some add Spain, and even Britain. This was the diocese of this primitive bishop: none of the apostles travelled, none preached, none laboured as this man; and, we may add, none was so greatly owned of God. The Epistles of Peter, John, James, and Jude, are great and excellent; but when compared with those of Paul, however glorious they may be, they have no glory, comparatively, by reason of that glory which excelleth. Next to Jesus Christ, St. Paul is the glory of the Christian church. Jesus is the foundation; Paul, the master-builder.

22. They gave him audience unto this word] Namely, that God had sent him to the Gentiles: not that they refused to preach the law to the Gentiles, and make them proselytes: for 5. The high priest doth bear me witness, &c.] He probably this they were fond of doing, so that our Lord says, they com referred to the letters of authority, which he had received passed sea and land to make a proselyte; but they underfrom the high-priest; and the whole estate of the elders, nav stood the apostle as stating, that God had rejected them, and TO DEBUTEptov, the whole of the presbytery, that is, the san-called the Gentiles to be his peculiar people in their place; hedrim: and it is likely that he had those letters to produce. and this they could not bear. This zeal of his against Christianity, was an ample proof of his sincerity as a Pharisaical Jew.

6-13. As I made my journey, &c.] See the whole of this account, and all the particular circumstances, considered at large in the notes on chap. ix. 1, &c. and the observations at the conclusion of that chapter.

14. And see that Just One] The Lord Jesus, called the Just One, in opposition to the Jews, who crucified him as a malefactor: see the note on chap. vii. 52. This is an additional proof that Jesus Christ did actually appear unto Saul of Tarsus. 15. Thou shalt be his witness unto all] Thou shalt proclaim Christ crucified, both to Jews and Gentiles.

16. Arise and be baptized] Take now the profession of Christ's faith most solemnly upon thee, by being baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Wash away thy sins, &c.] Let this washing of thy body represent to thee the washing away of thy sins; and know that this washing away of sin can be received only by invoking the name of the Lord.

17. When I was come again to Jerusalem] It is likely that he refers to the first journey to Jerusalem, about three years after his conversion, chap. ix. 25, 26. and Gal. i. 18.

I was in a trance] This circumstance is not mentioned any where else, unless it be that to which himself refers in 2 Cor. xii. 2-4. when he conceived himself transported to the third heaven; and if the case be the same, the appearance of Jesus Christ to him, and the command given, are circumstances re lated only in this place.

19. I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue] This shows what an active instrument Saul of Tarsus was, in the hands of this persecuting priesthood; and how very generally the followers of C ⚫ persect and how difficult it was

at this time

Away with such a fellow] According to the law of Moses, he who attempted to seduce the people to any strange worship was to be stoned, Deut. xiii. 16. The Jews wished to insing ate that the apostle was guilty of this crime, and that therefore he should be stoned, or put to death.

23. Cast off their clothes] Bp. Pearce supposes that shaking their upper garments, is all that is meant here; and that it was an ancient custom for men to do so, when highly pleased, or greatly irritated: but it is likely, that some of them were now actually throwing off their clothes, in order to prepare to stone Paul.

Threw dust into the air] In sign of contempt, and by way of execration. Shimei acted so in order to express his contempt of David, 2 Sam. xvi. 13 where it is said, he cursed him as he went; and threw stones at him; or, as the margin, he dusted him with dust. Their throwing dust in the air, was also expressive of extraordinary rage and vindictive malice. The apostle being guarded by the Roman soldiers, was out of the power of the mob; and their throwing dust in the air, not only showed their rage, but also their texation, that they could not get the apostle into their power.

24. Examined by scourging) As the chief captain did not understand the Hebrew language, he was ignorant of the charge brought against Paul, and ignorant also of the defence which the apostle had made; and as he saw that they grew more and more outrageous, he supposed that Paul must have given them the highest provocation; and therefore he deter mined to put him to the torture, in order to find out the nature of his crime. The practice of putting people to the rack, in. order to make them confess, has, to the disgrace of human nature, existed in all countries.

25. And as they bound him, &c.] They were going to tie a to a post, that they might scourge him.

He prays that they may be

CHAPTER XVII.

27 Then the chief captain care, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman 1 He said, Yea.

sanctified and preserved from evil after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. 23 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum 30 On the morrow, because he would have known the obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free-certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed born. him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear; and brought Paul down, and set him before them.

29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, k Or, tortured him. -1 Ch.21.34. & 23, 10, 28. & 25. 36.

le it lawful,&c.] The Roman law absolutely forbad the bind. ing of a Roman citizen. See the note on chap. xvi. 37. 23. With a great sum obtained I this freedom] So it appears that the freedom, even of Rome, might be purchased; and that it was sold at a very high price.

But I was free-born] It has been generally believed that the inhabitants of Tarsus, born in that city, had the same rights and privileges as Roman citizens, in consequence of a charter or grant from Julius Cesar. Calmet disputes this, because Tarsus was a free, not a colonial city; and he supposes that Paul's father might have been rewarded with the freedom of Rome for some military services; and that it was in consequence of this that Paul was born free. But, that the city of Tarsus had such privileges, appears extremely probable. In chap. xxi. 39. Paul says he was born at Tarsus in Cilicia, and in this chap. ver. 28. he says he was free-born; and at ver. 26. he calls himself a Roman; as he does also chap. xvi. 37. From whence it has been concluded, with every show of reason, that Tarsus, though no Roman colony, yet had this privilege granted to it, that its natives should be citizens of Rome. PLINY, In Hist. Nat. lib. v. 27. tells us that Tarsus was a free city. And APPIAN, De Bello Civil. lib. v. p. 1077. Ed. Tollii, says that Anthony, Ταρσίας ελευθερους ηφιεί, και ατελείς φόρων, made the people of Tarsus free, and discharged them from paying tribute. DIO CASSIUS, lib. xlvii. p. 508. Edit. Reimar. farther tells us, Adeo Cæsari priori, et ejus gratia etiam posteriori, favehat Tursenses, ut urbem suam pro Tarso, JULIOPOLIN, To caverint; "that, for the affection which the people of Tarsus bare to Julius Cesar, and afterward to Augustus, the latter caused their city to be called Juliopolis." The Greek text is ts follows αυτώ προφίλως τῳ Καισάρι προτέρω, και δι εκείνον | τῷ δεύτερῳ οι Τάρσεις είχαν, ωςς και Ιουλιοπολίν σφάς απ' αυτ Tho perovipase. To which I add, that Punto, de Virt. Vol. II. p. 587. Edit. Mang, makes Agrippa say to Caligula, piktov evidov πατρίδας όλας της Ρωμαϊκής ηξίωσας πολιτείας· you have made whole countries, to which your friends belong, to be citizens of Rome. See the note on chap. xxi. 39. These testimonies are of weight sufficient to show that Paul, by being born at Tarsus, might have been free-born, and a Roman. See Bishop Pearce, on Acts xvi. 37.

|

in Matt. 26.3, 59. & 27. 1, 2, 19. Ps. 125.3.

Edit. Bryan.) says, concerning the behaviour of the pirates when they had taken any Roman prisoner, Εκείνο δε ην υβρι 5KOTATOV K. T. λ. what was the most contumelious was this: when any of those whom they had made captives, cried out, Papatos Eival, THAT HE WAS A ROMAN, and told them his name, they pretended to be surprised, and be in a fright, and smote upon their thighs, und fell down (on their knees) to him, he seeching him to pardon them! It is no wonder then that the torturer desisted, when Paul cried out that he was a Roman; and that the chief captain was alarmed, because he had bound him. 30. He-commanded-all their council to appear] Instead of Xεiv, to come, which we translate to appear; ovveλ0εv, to assemble, or meet together, is the reading of ACE., nearly twenty others; the Ethiopic, Arabic, Vulgate, Chrysostom, and Theophylact; this reading Griesbach has received into the text: and it is most probably the true one; as the chief captain wished to know the certainty of the matter, he desired the Jewish council, or sanhedrim, to assemble, and examine the business thoroughly, that he might know of what the apostle was accused; as the law would not permit him to proceed against a Roman in any judicial way, but on the clearest evidence: and as he understood that the cause of their enmity was something that concerned their religion; he considered the sanhedrim to be the most proper judge, and therefore com manded then to assemble; and there is no doubt that himself, and a sufficient number of soldiers, took care to attend, as the person of Paul could not be safe in the hands of persons so prejudiced, unprincipled, and enraged.

This chapter should end with the twenty-ninth verse, and the following should begin with the thirtieth; this is the most natural division, and is followed by some of the most correct editions of the original text.

1. In his address to the council, Paul asserts that he is a Jew, born of and among Jews; and that he had a regular Jewish education : and he takes care to observe, that he had early imbibed all the prejudices peculiar to his countrymen; and had given the fullest proof of this in his persecution of the Christians. Thus, his assertions, concerning the unprofita. bleness of the legal ceremonies, could neither be attributed to ignorance nor indifference. Had a Gentile, no matter how learned or eminent, taught thus, his whole teaching would have been attributed to ignorance, prejudice, and envy. God, therefore, in his endless mercy, made use of a most eminent, learned, and bigoted Jew, to demonstrate the nullity of the whole Jewish system, and show the necessity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

29. After he knew that he was u Roman] He who was going to scourge him, durst not proceed to the torture, when Paul declared himself to be a Roman. A passage from Cicero, Orat. pro. Verr. Act. ii. lib. v. 64. throws the fullest light on this place-Ille, quisquis erat, quem tu in crucem rapiebas, qui tibi esset ignotus, cum civem se Romanum esse diceret, apud te Prætorem, si non effugium, ne moram quidem mortis aientione atque usurpatione civitatis assequi potuit. "Whosoever he might be whom thou wert hurrying to the rack, were he even unknown to thee, if he said that he was a Roman citizen, he would necessarily obtain from thee, the Prætor, by the simple mention of Rome, if not an escape, yet at least a delay of his punishment." The whole of the sixty fourth and sixty-fifth sections of this oration, which speaks so pointedly on this subject, are worthy of consideration. Of this privilege, he farther says, Ib. in cap. lvii. Illa vor et exclama-be esteemed as the gift of God, to every insolent and turbulent tio Civis Romanus sum, quæ sæpe multis in ultimis terris opem inter barbaros et salutem tulit, &c.-That exclamation, I am a Roman citizen, which oftentimes has brought assistance and safety, even minong barbarians, in the remotest parts of the earth, &c.

PLUTARCH, likewise, in his Life of Pompey, (Vol. III. p. 445.

2. At the close of this chapter, Dr. Dodd has the following judicious remark :-"As unrighteous as it was in the Roman officer, on this popular clamour, to attempt putting this holy apostle to the torture; so reasonable was St. Paul's plea as a Roman citizen, to decline that suffering. It is a prudence worthy the imitation of the bravest of men, not to throw themselves into unnecessary difficulties. True courage widely differs from rash and heedless temerity: nor are we under any obligation, as Christians, to give up our civil privileges, which ought to invader. In a thousand circumstances, gratitude to God, and duty to men, will oblige us to insist upon them and a generous concern for those who may come after us, should engage us to labour to transmit them to posterity improved, rather than impaired." This should be an article in the creed of every genuine Briton.

CHAPTER XXIII.

Paul, defending himself before the high-priest, he commands him to be smitten on the mouth, 1, 2. Paul sharply reproves him, and being reproached for this by one of the attendants, accounts for his conduct, 3-5. Seeing that the assembly was composed of Pharisees and Sadducees, and that he could expect no justice from his judges, he asserts that it was for his belief in the resurrection, that he was called in question; on which the Pharisees declare in his favour, 6–9. A great dissension arises, and the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should be pulled to pieces, brings him into the castle, 10. He is comforted by a dream, 11. More than forty persons conspire his death, 12-15. Paul's sister's son, hearing of it, informs the captain of the guard, 16–22. He sends Paul by night under a strong escort of horse and foot, to Cesarea, to Felir; and with him a letter, stating the circumstances of the case, 23-33. They arrive at Cesarea, and Felix promises him a hearing when his accusers shall come down, 34, 35. [A. M. cir. 4064. A. D. cir. 60. An. Olymp. cir. CCIX. 4.]

AND Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

■ Ch.24. 16. 1 Cor. 4. 4. 2 Cor. 1.12. & 4.2. 2 Tim.1.3. Heb. 13.19. NOTES.-Verse 1. I have lived in all good conscience] Some people seem to have been unnecessarily stumbled with this expression. What does the apostle mean by it? Why, that while he was a Jew, he was one from principle of conscience; that what he did, while he continued Jew, he did from the same principle:-that when God opened his eyes to see the nature of Christianity, he became a Christian, because God persuaded his conscience that it was right for him to become

2 And the high-priest Ananias, commanded them that stood by him, bto smite him on the mouth.

3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited

b1 Kings 22. 24. Jer. 20.2. John 18.22.

one. That, in a word, he was sincere through the whole course of his religious life; and his conduct had borne the most unequivocal proofs of it. The apostle means, therefore, that there was no part of his life in which he acted as a disho nest or hypocritical man: and that he was now as fully deter mined to maintain his profession of Christianity, as he ever was to maintain that of Judaism. previously to his acquaintance with the Christian religion.

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Sadducees into mutual opposition

com- | in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, I let us not fight against God.

4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? 5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the rufer of thy people.

6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. 7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.

8h For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, i We find no evil

e Lev. 19.35. Deut.25.1, 2. John 7.51.-d Ch.24.17.- Exod.22.28 Eccles 10.20. 2 Pet.2.10. Jurle 8-(Ch 26 5. Phil.3.5 Ch.24. 15, 21, & 25.6. & 28, 20.-h Matt.22

2. The high-priest Ananias] There was a high-priest of this name who was sent a prisoner to Rome by Quadratus, governor of Syria; to give an account of the part he took in the quarrel between the Jews and the Samaritans; see Joseph. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. 6. s. 8. but whether he ever returned again to Jerusalem, says Dr. Lightfoot, is uncertain; still more uncertain whether he was ever restored to the office of highpriest; and most uncertain of all, whether he filled the chair at the time Paul pleaded his cause; which was some years after Felix was settled in the government. But Krebs has proved that this very Ananias, on being examined at Rome, was found innocent, returned to Jerusalem, and was restored to the high-priesthood; see Joseph. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. 9. s. 2. but of his death I find nothing certain. See Krebs on this place, (Observat. in Nov. Testament. è Flavio Josepho) who successfully controverts the opinion of Dr. Lightfoot, mentioned at the beginning of this note. There was one Ananias, who is said to have perished in a tumult raised by his own son, about five years after this time; see Joseph. Antiq. lib. x. cap. 9. War, lib. ii. cap. 17.

To smite him on the mouth) Because he professed to have a good conscience while believing on Jesus Christ, and propagating his doctrine.

3. God shall smile thee, thou whited wall] Thou hypocrite! who sittest on the seat of judgment, pretending to hear, and seriously weigh the defence of an accused person: who must in justice and equity be presumed to be innocent, till he is proved to be guilty; and, instead of acting according to the law, commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law, which always has the person of the prisoner under its protection; nor ever suffers any penalty to be inflicted, but what is prescribed as the just punishment for the offence. As if he had said, "Thinkest thou that God will suffer such an insult on his laws, on justice, and on humanity, to pass unpunished?" 5. I wist not, brethren, that he was the high-priest] After all the learned labour that has been spent on this subject, the simple meaning appears plainly to be this:

St. Paul did not know that Ananias was high-priest; he had been long absent from Jerusalem; political changes were frequent; the high-priesthood was no longer in succession, and was frequently bought and sold; the Romans put down one high-priest and raised up another, as political reasons dictated. As the person of Ananias might have been wholly unknown to him; as the hearing was very sudden, and there was scarcely any time to consult the formalities of justice: it seems very probable that St. Paul, if he ever had known the person of Ananias, had forgotten him; and as, in a council or meeting of this kind, the presence of the highpriest was not indispensably necessary, he did not know that the person who presided was not the Sagan, or high-priest's deputy, or some other person put into the seat for the time being. I therefore understand the words above in their most obvious and literal sense. He knew not who the person was, and God's Spirit suddenly led him to denounce the divine dis pleasure against him.

Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people] If I had known he was the high-priest, I should not have publicly pronounced this execration; for respect is due to his person for the sake of his office. I do not see that Paul intimates that he had done any thing through inadvertence; nor does he here confess any fault; he states two facts:-1. That he did not know him to be the high-priest. 2. That such an one or any ruler of the people should be reverenced. But he neither recalled nor made an apology for his words: he had not committed a trespass, and he did not acknowledge one. We must beware how we attribute either to him in the case before

us.

6. I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee] Instead of tapt oatov, of a Pharisee; ABC., some others, with the Syriac and Vulgate, have Papiratov, of the Pharisees; which, if acknowledged to be the genuine reading, would alter the sense thus, I am a Pharisee, and a disciple of the Pharisees, for so the word son is frequently understood.

Of the hope of the resurrection.] Concerning the hope of the resurrection; the rat, and, being here redundant: indeed it is omitted by the Syriac, all the Arabic, and the Ethiopic. St. Paul had preached the resurrection of the dead, on the

10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief cap. tain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. 11 And the night following, the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. 12 And when it was day, " certain of the Jews banded to. gether, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.

14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.

15 Now, therefore, ye, with the council, signify to the chief

23. Mk.12 18. Lk. 20.27.-i Ch. 2. & 26 31.-k Ch.22.7.17, 18-1Ch 5 39.- Ch. 18.9.& 272, 24-n Ver 21.30 Ch.25.3.-0 Or, with an oath of execration.

foundation and evidence of the resurrection of Christ. For this, he and the apostles were, sometime before, imprisoned by the high-priest and elders, ch. iv. 1-3. and v. 17. because they preached THROUGH JESUS, the resurrection of the dead. This they could not bear; for, if Jesus Christ rose from the dead, their malice and wickedness, in putting him to death, were incontrovertibly established.

7. And the multitude was divided] St. Paul, perceiving the assembly to consist of Pharisees and Sadducees, and finding he was not to expect any justice, thought it best thus to divide the council, by introducing a question on which the Sadducees and Pharisees were at issue. He did so; and the Pharisees immediately espoused his side of the question, because in opposition to the Sadducees, whom they abhorred, as irreligious men.

8. The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection] It is strange, since these denied a future state, that they observed the ordinances of the law; for they also believed the five books of Moses to be a revelation from God; yet they had nothing in view but temporal good; and they understood the promises in the law as referring to these things alone. In order, therefore, to procure them, they watched, fasted, prayed, &c. and all this they did that they might obtain happiness in the present life. See the account of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Matt. iii. 7. and xvi. 1.

9. The scribes-arose, and-strove] Accuaxovro, they contended forcibly-they came to an open rupture with the Sadducees; and, in order to support their own party against them, they even admitted as truth, St. Paul's account of his miracu lous conversion; and therefore they said, if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, &c. He had previously mentioned that Jesus Christ had appeared to him, when on his way to Damascus; and, though they might not be ready to admit the doctrine of Christ's resurrection; yet they could, consistently with their own principles, allow that the soul of Christ might appear to him, and they immediately caught at this, as furnishing a strong proof against the doctrine of the Sadducees, who neither believed in angel nor spirit, while the Pharisees confessed both.

Let us not fight against God.] These words are wanting in ABCE, several others, with the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, latter Syriac, Vulgate, and some of the Fathers.

10. The chief captain-commanded the soldiers to go down] It appears that the chief captain was present during these transactions, and that he had a body of soldiers in readiness in the castle of Antonia; and it was from this, that he commanded them to come down for the rescue and preservation of Paul.

11. Be of good cheer, Paul] It is no wonder, if, with all these trials and difficulties, St. Paul was much dejected in mind; and especially as he had not any direct intimation from God what the end of the present trials would be: to comfort him, and strengthen his faith, God gave him this vision.

So must thou bear witnes also at Rome.] This was pleasing intelligence to Paul, who had long desired to see that city, and preach the Gospel of Christ there. He appears to have had an intimation that he should see it; but how, he could not tell; and this vision satisfied him that he should be sent thither by God himself. This would settle every fear and scruple concerning the issue of the prseent persecution.

12. That they would neither eat nor drink, &c.] These forty Jews were no doubt of the class of the Sicarii, inentioned before, (similar to those afterward called assassins) a class of fierce zealots, who took justice into their own hand; and who thought they had a right to despatch all those who, according to their views, were not orthodox in their religious principles. If these were, in their bad way, conscientious men, must they not all perish through hunger, as God put it out of their pow er to accomplish their vow? No: for the doctrine of sacerdotal absolution was held among the Jews, as among the Papists: hence it is said in Hieros Avodah Zarah, fol. 40. "He that hath made a vow not to eat any thing, wo to him, if he eat; and wo to him, if he do not eat. If he eat, he sinneth against his vow; and if he do not eat, he sinnetn against his life" What must such a man do in this case! Let him go to the wise men, and they will loose him from his vow, as it is written, Prov. xii. 18. “The tongue of the wise is health." When

The chief captain sends Paul to

CHAPTER XXIII.

raptain that he bring him down unto you to-morrow, as though ye would inquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him. 16 And when Paul's sister's son, heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.

18So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisouer called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee. 19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou

hast to tell me

20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to-morrow into the council, as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly. 21 But do not thou yield unto them for there lie in wait for him, of them, more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.

22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast showed these things to me.

23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Cesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;

p Ver. 12-q Ch.21.33 & 24.7.—r Ch.22.30.—s Ch. 18. 15. & 25. 19.—t Ch. 26,31.

Vows were so easily dispensed with, they might be readily multiplied. See Lightfoot.

Cesarea, to Felix the governor.

24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.

25 And he wrote a letter after this manner : 26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.

27 This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.

28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council: 29 Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.

30 And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.

31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.

32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle :

33 Who, when they came to Cesarea, and delivered the epis tle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.

34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;

35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judg.

ment hall.

u Ver. 20.-▼ Ch.24.8. & 25.6.—w Ch.21.39.-x Ch 24, 1, 10. & 25. 16.—y Matt. 27.27. far from Jerusalem, they considered Paul in a state of safety from the Jews, and that the seventy horse would be a sufficient guard: the four hundred foot, therefore, returned to Jerusa lem, and the horse went on to Cesarea with Paul. We need not suppose that all this troop did reach Antipatris on the same night in which they left Jerusalem; therefore, instead of, they

15. And we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.] We shall lie in wait, and despatch him before he can reach the chief-captain. The plan was well and deeply laid; and nothing but an especial providence could have saved Paul. 16. Paul's sister's son) This is all we know of Paul's fami-brought him by night to Antipatris, we may understand the ly. And we know not how this young man got to Jerusalem, the family, no doubt, still resided at Tarsus.

17. Bring this young man unto the chief captain] Though St. Paul had the most positive assurance from Divine authority, that he should be preserved; yet he knew that the Divine Providence acts by reasonable and prudent means: and that, if he neglected to use the means in his power, he could not expect God's providence to work in his behalf. He who will not help himself, according to the means and power he possesses, has neither reason nor revelation to assure him that he shall receive any assistance from God.

23. Two hundred soldiers] Erpartoras, infantry, or foot soldiers.

Horsemen threescore and ten] There was always a certain number of horse, or cavalry, attached to the foot.

Spearmen] Actionaßovs, persons who held a spear or javelin in their hand; from ev in defia daßeiv, taking or holding a thing in the right hand. But the Codex Alexandrinus reads δεξιοβόλους, Trom δεξια, the right hand ; and βαλλειν, to cast or dart, persons who threw javelins. But both words seem to mean nearly the same thing.

The third hour of the night.] About nine o'clock, P. M. for the greater secrecy; and to elude the cunning, active malice of the Jews.

24. Provide them beasts] One for Paul, and some others for his immediate keepers.

Felix the governor] This Felix was a freed man of the emperor Claudius, and brother of Pallas, chief favourite of the emperor. Tacitus calls him Antonius Felix; and gives us to understand, that he governed with all the authority of a king, and the baseness and insolence of a quondam slave. E libertis Antonius Felix per omnem sævitiam ac libidinem jus regium servili ingenio exercuit. Hist. v. 9. He had, according to Suetonius, in his life of Claudius, chap. 28. three queens to his wives; that is, he was married thrice, and each time to the daughter or niece of a king. Drusilla, the sister of Agrippa, was his wife at this time: see chap. xxiv. 22. He was an unrighteous governor, a base, mercenary, and bad man; see chap. xxiv. 2.

25. He wrote a letter after this manner] It appears that this was not only the substance of the letter, but the letter it self; the whole of it is so perfectly formal, as to prove this: and, in this simple manner, are all the letters of the ancients formed. In this also we have an additional proof of St. Luke's

accuracy.

30. I sent straightway to thee] As the proper person before whom this business should ultimately come; and by whom it should be decided.

Farewell.] Epowow, be in good health.

31. Antipatris.] This place, according to Josephus, Antiq. lib. xiii. cap. 23. was anciently called Capharsaba, and is supposed to be the same which, in 1 Maccab. chap. vii. 31. is called Capharsalama, or Carphasaluma. It was rebuilt by Herod the Great, and denominated Antipatris, in honour of his father Antipater. It was situated between Joppa and Cesarea, on the road from Jerusalen to this latter city. Josephus says it was fifty stadia from Joppa. The distance between Jerusalem and Cesarea, was about seventy miles.

32. On the marrow they left the horsemen] Being now so

text thus-Then the soldiers took Paul by night, and brought him to Antipatris. And the thirty-second verse need not to be understood as if the foot reached the castle of Antonia the next day, (though all this was possible,) but that, having reached Antipatris, and refreshed themselves, they set out, the same day, on their march to Jerusalem; on the morrow they returned, that is, they began their march back again to the castle. See on chap. xxiv. 1.

33. Who] That is, the seventy horsemen mentioned above. 35. I will hear thee] Atakovooμat σov; I will give thee a fair, full, and attentive hearing when thy accusers are come; in whose presence thou shalt be permitted to defend thyself.

In Herod's judgment-hall]" Ev тw прaiтwρi, in Herod's Prætorium, so called because it was built by Herod the Great. The Prætorium was the place where the Roman Prætor had his residence: and, it is probable that, in or near this place, there was a sort of guard-room, where state prisoners were kept. Paul was lodged here till his accusers should arrive. On the preceding chapter many useful observations may be made.

1. Paul, while acting contrary to the Gospel of Christ, pleaded conscience as his guide. Conscience is generally allowed to be the rule of human actions; but it cannot be a right rule, unless it be well-informed. While it is unenlightened, it may be a guide to the perdition of its professor: and the cause of the ruin of others. That conscience can alone be trusted, in which the light of God's Spirit, and God's truth, dwells. An ill-informed conscience, may burn even the saints, for God's sake!

2. No circumstance in which a man can be placed, can excuse him from showing respect and reverence to the autho rities which God, in the course of his providence, has instituted, for the benefit of civil or religious society. All such authorities come originally from God; and can never lose any of their rights on account of the persons who are invested with them. An evil can never be of use; and a good may be abused; but it loses not its character, essential qualities, or usefulness, because of this abuse.

3. Paul availed himself of the discordant sentiments of his judges, who had agreed to show him no justice; that he might rid himself out of their hands. To take advantage of the sentiments and dispositions of an audience, without deceiving it; and to raise dissension between the enemies of the truth, is an innocent artifice, when truth itself is not violated; and when error is exposed thereby to public view.

4. The Pharisees and Sadducees strove together. God frequently raises up defenders of the principles of truth, even among those who, in practice, are its decided enemies."Though," says one, "I do not like the truth, yet will I defend it." A man clothed with sovereign authority, vicious in his heart, and immoral in his life, fostered those principles of truth and righteousness, by which error was banished from these lands, and pure, and undefiled religion, established among us for many generations.

5. The Providence of God, and his management of the world, are, in many respects, great mysteries: but, as far as we are individually concerned, all is plain. Paul had the fullest as. surance, from the mouth of Christ himself, that he should see Rome; and, consequently, that he should be extricated from

The oration of

THE ACTS.

all his present difficulties. Why then did he not quietly sit
still, when his nephew informed him that forty men had con-
spired to murder him? Because he knew that God made use
of the prudence, with which he has endowed man, as an
agent, in that very providence by which he is supported; and
that, to neglect the natural means of safety with which God
provides us, is to tempt and dishonour him, and induce him
in judgment to use those means against us which, in his
mercy, he had designed for our comfort and salvation. Pru-
dence is well associated even with an apostolic spirit. Every
being that God has formed, he designs should accomplish those
functions for which he has endowed it with the requisite powers.
6. Claudius Lysias sent Paul to Felix. "In the generality
of human events," says one, "we do not often distinguish the
designs of God from those of men. The design of Lysias, in
preserving Paul from the rage of the Jews, was to render his

own conduct free from exception: the design of God was, that Tertullus against Pau he might bring Paul safely to Rome, that he might attack idolatry in its strongest fort, and there establish the Christian faith." counter-works eml or sinister devices, so as ultimately to ac God governs the world, and works by proper means; and complish the purposes of his will; and cause all things to work together for good to them that love Him.

Paul till he had his accusers face to face. How many false judgments, evil surmises, and uncharitable censures, would 7. Felix acted prudently when he would not even hear St. be avoided, did men always adopt this reasonable plan. Hear either side of a complaint separately, and the evil seems very great; hear both together, and the evil is generally lessened by one half. Audi et alteram partem-hear the other side, says a heathen: remember, if you have an ear for the first complaint, you have one also for the second. CHAPTER XXIV.

After five days, Ananias the high-priest, the elders, and one Tertullus an orator, come to Cesarea to accuse Paul, 1. The oration of Tertullus, 2-9. Paul's defence, 10-21. Felix, having heard his defence, proposes to leave the final deter mination of it till Claudius Lysias should come down; and in the mean time orders Paul to be treated with humunity and respect, 22, 23. Felix and Drusilla his wife, hear Paul concerning the faith of Christ: and Felix is greatly affected, 24, 25. On the expectation of obtaining money for his liberation, Felix keeps Paul in prison, 26, and being superseded in the government of Judea by Porcius Festus, in order to please the Jews, he leaves Paul bound, 27. [A. M. cir. 4064. A. D. cir. 60. An. Olymp. cir. CCIX. 4.]

AND after five days, Anantas the high-priest descended

with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertul lus, who informed the governor against Paul.

2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,

3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

4 Notwithstanding, that I be not farther tedious unto thee,

pray thee that thou wouldst hear as of thy clemency a few

words.

5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a moa ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: ver of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and

6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple; whom
we took, and would have judged according to our law;
7 But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with
great violence took him away out of our hands,

21.29. 1 Pet. 2. 12, 13.—d Ch 21.25.—e John 18.31.-f Ch.21.33.—g Ch 23.3
8 Coinmanding his accusers to come unto thee: by exa-
voured to make the best. Felix was a bad man and bad go
vernor; and yet he must praise him to conciliate his esteem.
Panl was a very good man, and nothing amiss could be proved
against hin; and yet he must endeavour to blacken him as
much as possible, in order to please his unprincipled and
wicked employers. His oration has been blamed as weak,
lame, and imperfect; and yet, perhaps few, with so bad s
cause, could have made better of it.

a Ch.21.27-b Ch.23.2, 30, 36. & 2.2-e Luke 23.2. Ch.6 13. & 16.20 & 17.6. & NOTES.-Verse 1. After five days] These days are to be reckoned from the time in which Paul was apprehended at Jerusalem, and twelve days after he had arrived in that city; see ver. 11. Calmet reckons the days thus:-St. Luke says, that Paul was apprehended at Jerusalem when the seven days of his vow were nearly ended, chap. xxi. 27. that is, at the end of the fifth day after his arrival. The next day, which was the sixth, he was presented before the sanhedrin. The night following, he was taken to Antipatris. The next day, the seventh, he arrived at Cesares. Fire days afterward, that is, the twelfth day after his arrival at Jerusalem, the high-sation includes four particulars:-1. He is a pest, Xopos: an priest and the elders, with Tertullus, came down to accuse him before Felix.-But see the note on chap. xxiii. 32

A certain orator named Tertullus] This was probably a Roman proselyte to Judaism; yet he speaks every where as a Jew. Roman orators, advocates, &c. were found in different provinces of the Roman empire: and they, in general, spoke both the Greek and Latin languages; and being well acquainted with the Roman laws and customs, were no doubt very useful. Luitprandus supposed that this Tertullus was the same with him who was colleague with Pliny the younger, in the consulate, in the year of Roure, 852; who is mentioned by Pliny, Epist. v. 15. Of this there is no satisfactory proof. 2. Tertullus began to accuse him] There are three parts in this oration of Tertullus:-1. The exordium. 2. The proposition, 3. The conclusion. The exordium contains the praise of Felix and his administration, merely for the purpose of conciliating his esteem, 2-4. The proposition is contained in ver. 5. The narration and conclusion, in ver. 6-8.

By thee we enjoy great quietness] As bad a governor as Felix most certainly was, he rendered some services to Judea. The country had long been infested with robbers; and a very formidable banditti of this kind, under one Eliezar, he entire

ly suppressed. -Joseph. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. 6. Bell. lib. i. cap. 22. also suppressed the sedition raised by an Egyptian impostor, who had seduced 30,000 men; see on chap. xxi. 38. He had also quelled a very afflictive disturbance which took place between the Syrians and the Jews of Cesarea. On this ground Tertullus said, By thee we enjoy great quietness: and illustrious deeds are done to this nation by thy prudent administration: this was all true; but, notwithstanding this, he is well known, from his own historians, and from Josephus, to have been not only a very bad man, but also a very bad governor. He was mercenary, oppressive, and cruel; and of all these the Jews brought proofs to Nero, before whom they ac cused him; and, had it not been for the interest and influence of his brother Pallas, he had been certainly ruined.

3. We accept it always, and in all places] We have at all times a grateful sense of thy beneficent administration; and we talk of it in all places, not only before thy face, but be hind thy back.

4. That I be not farther tedious unto thee] That I may neither trespass on thy time, by dwelling longer on this subject; nor on thy modesty, by thus enumerating thy beneficent deeds.

of the orator commences. He accuses Paul; and his accu 5. For are have found this man, &c.] Here the proposition exceedingly bad and wicked man. 2. He excites disturbances of the Nazarenes, who are a very bad people, and should not be tolerated. 4. He has endeavoured to pollute and profane and seditions against the Jews. 3. He is the chief of the sect the temple; and we took him in the fact.

pestilence, is used both by Greek and Roman authors, to sig nify a very bad and profligate man: we have weakened the A pestilent fellow] The word Aotos, pestis; the plague or force of the word by translating the substantive adjectively. Tertullus did not say that Paul was a pestilent fellow; bu fie said that he was the very pestilence itself. As in that of Mar tial, xi. 92.

Non vitiosus homo es, Zoile, sed vitium.
"Thou art not a vicious man, O'Zoilus, but thou art více it-
self."

See Wetstein, Bp. Pearce, and Rypke.
The words Aotues, and pestis, are thus frequently used

veral others, with the Coptic, Vulgate, Chrysostom, Theoph
lact, and Ecumenius, read 5aotis, commotions; which is pro
A mover of sedition] Instead of suow, sedition; ABE, se
bably the true reading.

should be understood thus, one that stirreth up tumults Among all the Jews] Bp, Pearce contends, that the words AGAINST all the Jews; for, if they be understood otherwise Tertullus may be considered as accusing his countrymen ; as if they, at Paul's instigation, were forward to make insurrec tious every where. On the contrary, he wishes to represent them as a persecuted and distressed people, by means of Paul and his Nazarenes.

and signifies the officer who stands on the right of the First rank; the captain of the front rank of the sect of the NazaA ringleuder] Пp@toorarny. This is a military phrase, renes: ThS TV Nagupator alpeoews, of the heresy of the Na verse, and in ver. 14. and in chap. v. 17. xv. 5. xxvi. 5. and xxviii. zarenes. This word is used six times by St. Luke, viz. in this that bad sense which we generally assign to the word here sy. See the note on chap. v. 17. where the subject is largely 22; but in none of them does it appear necessarily to include considered; and see farther on ver. 14.

vy charge, if it could have been substantiated: because the Jews were permitted by the Romans to put any person to death 6. Hath gone about to profane the temple] This was a henwho profared their temple. This charge was founded on the Hear us of thy clemency] Give us farther proof of thy kind-seen Trophimus, an Ephesian, with Paul in the city, they preness, by hearkening to our present complaint. The whole of tended that he had brought him into the temple. gross calumny mentioned, chap. xxi. 28, 29. for as they had this exordium was artful enough, though it was lame. orator had certainly a very bad cause, of which he endea 432

The

that they would have tried the case fairly, had not the chief Would have judged according to our aw] He pretenden

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