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Paul defends himself

CHAPTER XXIV.

mining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.

9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so. 10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the tnore cheerfully answer for myself:

11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:

13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now ac

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A. D. Felix made procurator over Judea. Ver 17. Ch.21.25-i Ch 25,8 & 17- See Ace 8. 14. Ch. 9.2.-12 Tim. 1.3.-m Ch. 26. 22 & 28. 23. —n Ch. 23.6. 426 6, 7.& 25. H.

captain taken him violently out of their hands; whereas, had not Lysias interfered, they would have murdered him on the spot.

7. With great violence] Mera moλλng Bias, I rather think means with an armed force. Tertullus intimates that Lysias interfered contrary to law, and brought soldiers to support him in his infringement on their constitution. This is what he seems to say and complain of for the Jews were vexed with Lysias for rescuing the apostle from their hands.

8 Commanding his accusers to come, &c.] Here Tertullus closes his opening and statement of the case; and now he proceeds to call and examine his witnesses: and they were no doubt examined one by one, though St. Luke sums the whole up in one word-The Jews also assented, saying that these things were so. Whoever considers the plan of Tertul lus's speech, will perceive that it was both judicious and artful Let us take a view of the whole :-1. He praises Felix, to conciliate his favour. 2. He generally states the great blessings of his administration. 3. He states, that the Jews, throughout the whole land, felt themselves under the greatest obligations to him; and extolled his prudent and beneficent management of the public affairs every where. 4. That the prisoner before him was a very bad man: a disturber of the public peace; a demagogue of a dangerous party; and so lost to all sense of religion, as to attempt to profane the temple! 5. That, though he should have been punished on the spot; yet, as they were ordered by the chief captain to appear before him, and show the reasons why they had seized on Paul at Jerusalem, they were accordingly come; and having now exhibited their charges, he would, 6. Proceed to examine wit nesses, who would prove all these things to the satisfaction of the governor. 7. He then called his witnesses, and their tes timony confirmed and substantiated the charges. No bad cause was ever more judiciously and cunningly managed.

10. Then Paul-answered] The apostle's defence consists of two parts:-1. The exordium, which has for its object the praise of his judge, whose qualifications to discern and decide on a question of this nature, he fully allows; and expects, from this circumstance, to have a favourable hearing. 2. The tractation, which consists of two parts, I. REFUTATION; 1. Of the charge of polluting the temple; 2. Of stirring up sedition; 3. Of being a leader of any sect who had a different worship from the God of their fathers. II. AFFIRMATION: 1. That he had lived so as to preserve a good conscience towards God, and towards inen; 2. That so far from polluting the temple, he had been purified in it; and was found thus, worshipping according to the law of God; 3. That what Tertullus and his companions had witnessed, was perfectly false, and he defied them to produce a single proof; and appeals to those who had been witnesses of his conduct in Jerusalem, who should have been there, could they have proved any thing against him.

against Tertullus 15 And have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

16 And P herein do I exercise myself, to have always a con. science void of offence towards God, and towards men. 17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.

18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult: 19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had aught against me.

20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found an evil-doing in me, while I stood before the council,

21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.

22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, Wher o Dan 12 2. John 5.2 9-pChap 22.1-q Chap. 11.29, 30 & 20 16. Rom. 15 95. 2 Cor 8.4. Gal.2.10.- nap 21.26, 27. & 26. 21.—s Chap. 23.30. & 25.16. - Chap. 23. 6. & 23 20.

unless they could bring substantial proof against him, which he challenges them to do.

14. That after the way which they call heresy] See the explanation of this word in the note on chap. v. 17. and see before ver. 5. where what is here translated heresy, is there rendered sect. At this time, the word had no bad acceptation, in reference to religious opinions. The Pharisees themselves, the most respectable body among the Jews, are called a sect; for Paul, defending himself before Agrippa, says, that he lived a Pharisee according to the strictest aipcow, sect, or heresy, of their religion. And Josephus, who was a Pharisee, speaks THE TV Papicator alpeσews, of the heresy, or sect, of the Pharisees. LIFE, chap. xxxviii. Therefore it is evident that the word heresy had no bad meaning among the Jews; it meant simply a religious sect. Why then did they use it by way of degradation to St. Paul? This seems to have been the cause. They had already two accredited sects in the land, the Pharisees and Sadducees: the interests of each of these were pretty well balanced, and each had a part in the government, for the council or sanhedrim was composed both of Sadducees and Pharisees: see chap. xxiii. 6. They were afraid that the Christians whom they called Nazarenes, should form a new sect, and divide the interests of both the preceding; and what they feared, that they charged them with: and on this account the Christians had both the Pharisees and the Sadducees for their enemies. They had charged Jesus Christ with plotting against the state, and endeavouring to raise seditions; and they charged his followers with the same. This they deemned a proper engine to bring a jealous government into action. So worship I the God of my fathers] I bring in no new o ject of worship; no new religious creed. I believe all things as they profess to believe; and acknowledge the Law and the Prophets, as divinely inspired books; and have never, in the smallest measure, detracted from the authority or authen ticity of either.

15. And have hope towards God, &c.] I not only do not hold any thing by which the general creed of this people might be altered, in reference to the present state; but also, I hold nothing different from their belief, in reference to a future state; for if I maintain the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, it is what themselves allow.

16. And herein do I exercise myself] And this very tenet is a pledge for my good behaviour: for as I believe there will be a resurrection, both of the just and unjust, and that every man shall be judged for the deeds done in the body; so, 1erercise myself day and night, that I may have a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.

Towards God In entertaining no opinion contrary to his truth; and in offering no worship contrary to his dignity, pu rity, and excellence.

Towards men.] In doing nothing to them that I would not, on a change of circumstances, they should do to me; and in withholding nothing, by which I might comfort and serve them.

Thou hast been of many years a judge) Cumanus and Feliz were, for a time, joint governors of Judea; but, after the condemnation of Cumanus, the government fell entirely into the hands of Felix: and from Josephus we learn, that this was now the sirth or seventh year of his administration; which might be called many years, when the very frequent removals of the governors of the provinces are considered.-ety, or to injure any person, I have brought ALMS to my nation, See Jos, Antiq. lib. xx. 7. and see the margin.

A judge-Kpirns, the same here in signification, as the Hebrew Do shophet, which means a ruler or governor. This was the title of the ancient governors of Israel.

The more cheerfully] Ev@vporepov with a better heart, or courage; because as thy long residence among us has brought thee to a thorough acquaintance with our customs, I may expect a proper decision in my favour, my cause being perfectly

Bound.

11. There are yet but twelve days] This is his reply to their charge of sedition; the improbability of which is shown, from the short time he had spent in Jérusalem, quite insuffi cient to organize a sedition of any kind; nor could a single proof be furnished that he had attempted to seduce any man; nor unhinge any person from his allegiance by subtle disputa tions, either in the temple, the synagogues, or the city. So that this charge necessarily fell to the ground, self-confuted;

17. Now after many years, &c.] And as a full proof that I act according to the dictates of this divine and beneficent creed, though I have been many years absent from my own country, and my political relation to it is almost necessarily dissolved; yet, far from coming to disturb the peace of socithe fruits of my own earning and influence among a foreign people, and OFFERINGS to my God and his temple, proving hereby my attachment to iny country, and my reverence for the worship of my country's God.

18. Found me purified in the temple] And the Jews of Asia, who stirred up the persecution against me in Jerusalem. found me purified in the temple, regularly performing the re ligious vow into which I had entered; giving no cause for suspicion; for I made no tumult, nor had I any number of people with me, by whom I could have accomplished any seditious purpose.

20. An evil-doing in me, while I stood before the council] The Jews of Asia, the most competent witnesses, though my declared enemies, and they who stirred up the persecution against me, should have been here; why are they kept back? Because they could prove nothing against me. Let these therefore who are here, depose, if they have found any évi

Paul preaches before

THE ACTS.

Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let
him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his ac
quaintance to minister or come unto him.

24 1 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife
Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard hin
concerning the faith in Christ.

25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and

u Ver. 7.-v Chap. 27.3. & 28.16.

in me, or proved against me, by my most virulent adversa-
ries, when examined before them in their council at Jerusalem.
21. Except it be for this one voice] The Sadducees who be
long to that council, and who deny the resurrection of the
dead, may indeed blame me for professing my faith in this
doctrine; but as this is a doctrine credited by the nation in
general, and as there can be nothing criminal in such a be-
lief; and they can bring no accusation against me relative to
any thing else, this, of course, is the sum of all the charges to
which I am called to answer before you this day.

22. And when Felix heard these things] There is considerable difficulty in this versc. Translators greatly vary concerning the sense; and the MSS. themselves read variously. Mr. Wakefield's translatiom appears to be as proper as most: Now Felix, upon hearing these things, put them off by say ing, when Lysias the captain is come down, after I have gained a more exact knowledge of this doctrine, I will in quire fully into your business.

Calmet's translation is nearly to the same sense. Felix having heard these things, put them off to another time, saying, when I shall have acquired a more accurate knowledge of this sect; and when the tribune Lysias shall have come from Jerusalem, I will judge of your business. And this mode of interpretation is rendered the more likely from the circumstance, that, previously to the coming down of Lysias, Felix had sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith of Christ; and this he appears to have done, that he might be the better qualified to judge of the business when it should come again before him. See on ver. 20.

ers.

23. He commanded a centurion to keep Faul] He gave him into the custody of a captain, by whom he was most likely to be well used and to let him have liberty; he freed him from the chains with which he was bound to the soldiers, his keep See on chap. xxi. 33. And that he should forbid none of his acquaintance, Twv idtwv, of his own people, his fellow apostles, and the Christians in general, to minister or come unto him; to furnish him with any of the conveniences and comforts of life; and visit him as often as they pleased. This was an ample proof that Felix found no evil in him; and he would certainly have dismissed him but for two reasons: 1. He wanted to please the Jews, whom he knew could depose grievous things against his administration. 2. He hoped to get money from the apostle or his friends, as the purchase of his liberty.

24. His wife Drusilla] We have already seen that Felix was thrice married; .wo of his wives were named Drusilla; one was a Roman, the niece or grand-daughter of Anthony and Cleopatra, mentioned by Tacitus, lib. v. cap. 9. The other, the person in the text, was a Jewess, daughter to Herod Agrippa the Great. six years of age, she was affianced to Epiphanes, son of AnSee chap. xii. 1, &c. When she was but tiochus, king of Comagena, who had promised to embrace Judaism on her account; but as he did not keep his word, her brother Agrippa (mentioned chap. xxv. 13.) refused to ratify the marriage. About the year of our Lord 53, he married her to Azizus, king of the Emesenes, who received her on condition of being circumcised. Felix having seen her, fell desperately in love with her, and by means of a pretended Jewish magician, a native of Cyprus, persuaded her to leave her husband; on which Felix took her to wife. She appears, on the whole, to have been a person of an indifferent charac. ter: though one of the finest women of that age. It is said that she, and a son she had by Felix, were consumed in an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. See Josephus, Antiq. lib. xx. cap. 7. and see Calmet and Rosenmuller.

Heard him concerning the faith in Christ.] For the pur. pose mentioned in the note on ver. 21. that he might be the inore accurately instructed in the doctrines, views, &c. of the Christians.

25. As he reasoned of righteousness] Aixaloovvns; the principles and requisitions of justice and right; between God and man; and between man and his fellows, in all relasions and connexions of life.

Temperance EyKparelas, chastity; self-government, or maderation with regard to a man's appetites, passions, and propensities of all kinds.

And judgment to come] Kpiparos TW μEdλONTOS; the day of retribution, in which the unjust, intemperate, and incontinent, must give account of all the deeds done in the body. This discourse of St. Paul was most solemnly and pointedly adapted to the state of the person to whom it was addressed. Felix was tyrannous and oppressive in his government; lived under the power of avarice and unbridled appetites; and his incontinence, intemperance, and injustice, appear fully in depriving the king of Edessa of his wife; and in his conduct towards St. Paul, and the motives by which that conduct was 434

judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way
Felix and Prusilla.
thee.
for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for

the oftener, and communed with him.
26 He hoped also that w money should have been given him
of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for his

Paul bound.
27 But after two years, Porcius Festus came into Felix's
roon: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left

w Exod. 23.8.-x Exod 23.2. Ch. 12 3. & 25.9, 14.

regulated. And as to Drusilla, who had forsaken the husband of her youth, and forgotten the covenant of her God, and be thy of the strongest reprehension; and Paul's reasoning on righteousness, temperance, and judgment, was not less apcome the willing companion of this bad man, she was worplicable to her, than to her unprincipled paramour. Pearce, "seems to have been, lest Drusilla, who was a Jew. ess, and knew that what she had done, was against the law of Feliz trembled] "The reason of Felix's fear," says Bp. happiness with her disturbed. Moses, might be influenced by Paul's discourse, and Felix's he had done." seems to show that he had no remorse of conscience for what What is said of Felix, ver. 2. about three years before this: and, as to Jewish scruples, she On the head of Drusilla's scruples, he had could be little affected by them; she had already acted in op. little to fear; the king of Edessa, her husband, had been dead position to the Jewish law, and she is said to have turned his conscience was neither so seared, nor so hardened, as not heathen, for the sake of Felix. to receive and retain some gracious impressions from snel a that Felix felt regret for the iniquities of his life; and that We may, therefore, hope, discourse, delivered by the authority, and accompanied with for the apostle, to speak with him in private, is a proof that he wished to receive farther instructions in a inatter, in the influence of, the Spirit of God. His frequently sending which he was so deeply interested, though he certainly was not without motives of a baser kind; for he hoped to get money for the liberation of the apostle.

much terror and alarm as it was capable of bearing; and probably he wished to hide, by privacy, the confusion and Go thy way for this time] His conscience had received as dismay, which, by this time, were fully evident in his coun tenance.

him] Bp. Pearce asks, "How could St. Luke know this?" To which, I answer, From the report of St. Paul, with 26. He hoped, also, that money should have been given whom Felix had frequent conferences, and to whom he undoubtedly expressed this wish. unprincipled avarice in Felix, united to injustice. Paul had proved before him, his innocence of the charges brought against him by the Jews. We may see here, the most when he had finished his defence. Had Felix been influenced by the common principles of justice, Paul had been im. They had retired in confusion, ransom. Ile saw that Paul was a respectable character; that he had opulent friends; that he was at the head of a very numediately discharged; but he detained him, on the hope of a therefore, for granted, that a considerable sum of money would be given for his enlargement. Felix was a freed man merous sect, to whom he was deservedly dear; and he took it slave. The stream rises not above its source: the meanness of the emperor Claudius; consequently, had once been a of the slave is still apparent, and it is now insufferable, being added to the authority and influence of the governor. Low bred men should never be entrusted with the administration of public aflairs.

27. After two years] That is, from the time that Paul
came prisoner to Cesarea.

of Judea about A. D. 60. the sixth or seventh year of Nero.
In the succeeding chapter, we shall see the part that he took
Porcius Festus] This man was put into the government
in the affairs of St. Paul.

complaints of the Jews against his government, by leaving
Willing to show the Jews a pleasure] As he had not got the
money which he expected, he hoped to be able to prevent the
for governors, &c. when they left, or were removed from a
particular district, or province, to do some public, beneficent
Paul, in some measure, in their hands. For it was customary
act, in order to make themselves popular. But Felix gained
against his administration, even to the throne of the emperor
Josephus states the matter thus: "Now when Porcius Festus
nothing by this: the Jews pursued him with their complaints
Felix. And he certainly would have been brought to punish-
was sent as successor to Felix, by Nero, the principal of the
ment, had not Nero yielded to the importunate solicitations of
Jewish inhabitants of Cesarea went up to Rome, to accuse
putation with the emperor." Antiq. lib. xx cap. 9.
like the dog in the fable, by snatching at the shadow, he lost
his brother Pallas, who was, at that time, in the highest re-
the substance. He hoped for money from the apostle, and
got none; he sought to conciliate the friendship of the Jews,
God, need fear nothing else. Justice and truth never deceive
their possessor.
and miscarried. Honesty is the best policy: he that fears

Thus,

selves in order to torment and ruin others. That a high-priest
says pious Quesnel, should ever be induced to leave the holy
1. Envy and malice are indefatigable, and torment thern

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city, and the functions of religion, to become the accuser of an innocent person; this could be no other than the effect of a terrible dereliction, and the punishment of the abuse of sacred things.

2. Tertullus begins his speech with flattery, against which every judge should have a shut ear: and then he proceeds to calumny and detraction. These, generally, succeed each other. He who flatters you, will, in course, calumniate you for receiving his flattery. When a man is conscious of the uprightness of his cause, he must know, that to attempt to support it by any thing but truth, tends directly to debase it. 3. The resurrection of the body was the grand object of the genuine Christian's hope; but the ancient Christians only hoped for a blessed resurrection, on the ground of reconcilia tion to God, through the death of his Son. In vain is our hope of glory, if we have not got a meetness for it. And who is fit for this state of blessedness, but he whose iniquity is forgiven, whose sin is covered, and whose heart is purified from deceit and guile!

Festus against Pau.

4. We could applaud the lenity shown to St. Paul by Felix, did not his own conduct render his motives for this lenity very suspicious. "To think no evil, where no evil seems,' is the duty of a Christian; but to refuse to see it, where it most evidently appears, is an imposition on the understanding itself.

5. Justice, temperance, and a future judgment, the sub¡jects of St. Paul's discourse to Felix and Drusilla, do not concern an iniquitous judge alone; they are subjects which should affect and interest every Christian; subjects which the eye should carefully examine, and which the heart should ever feel. Justice respects our conduct in life, particularly in reference to others; temperance, the state and government of our souls, in reference to God. He who does not exercise himself in these, has neither the form, nor the power of godliness; and consequently must be overwhelmed with the shower of divine wrath in the day of God's appearing. Many of those called Christians, have not less reason to tremble at a display of these truths, than this heathen.

CHAPTER XXV.

Porcius Festus being appointed governor of Judea, the Jews beseech him to have Paul brought up to Jerusalem, they lying in wait to kill him on the way, 1-3. Festus refuses, and desires those who could prove any thing against him, to go with him to Cesarea, 4, 5. Festus returns to Cesarea, and the next day Paul is brought to his trial, 6-8. In order to please the Jews, Festus asks Paul if he be willing to go up to Jerusalem, and be tried there? 9. Paul refuses, and appeals to Cesar, 10-13 King Agrippa, and Bernice his wife, come to Cesarea to visit Festus, and are informed by him of the accusa tions against Paul, his late trial, and his appeal from them to Cesar, 14-21. Agrippa desires to hear Paul; and a hearing is appointed for the following day, 22. Agrippa, Bernice, the principal officers and chief men of the city being assem bled, Paul is brought forth, 23. Festus opens the business with stating the accusations against Paul, and his desire that the matter might be heard by the king himself; that he might have something specifically to write to the emperor, to whom he was about to send Paul agreeably to his appeal, 24-27. [A. M. cir. 4066. A. D. cir. 62. An. Olymp. cir. CCX. ii.] TOW when Festus was come into the province, after three he went down unto Cesarea; and the next day, sitting on the days he ascended from Cesarea to Jerusalem. judgment seat, commanded Paul to be brought.

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6 And when he had tarried among them & more than ten days, a Chap 34 1. Ver 13-b Ch 23 12, 15.- Ch 18.14. Ver. 18.-d Or, as some copies real, no sore than eight or ten days.

NOTES.-Verse 1. Now when Festus was come into the province) By the province is meant Judea; for, after the death of Herod Agrippa, Claudius thought it imprudent to trust the government in the hands of his son Agrippa, who was then but seventeen years of age; therefore, Cuspius Fadus was sent to be procurator. And when afterward Claudius had given to Agrippa the tetrarchate of Philip, that of Batanea and Abila, he, nevertheless, kept the province of Judea more immediately in his own hands, and governed it by procurators sent from Rome. Josep. Ant. 1. xx. cap. 7. sect. 1. Felix being removed, Porcius Festus is sent in his place; and, having come to Cesarea, where the Roman governor generally had his residence, after he had tarried three days, he went up to Jerusalem, to acquaint himself with the nature and complexion of the ecclesiastical government of the Jews; no doubt for the purpose of the better administra tion of justice among them.

2. The high-priest-informed him against Paul] They supposed, that, as Felix, to please them, on the resignation of his government, had left Paul bound: so Festus, on the assumption of it, would, to please them, deliver him into their hand: but as they wished this to be done under the colour of justice, they exhibited a number of charges against Paul, which they hoped would appear to Festus a sufficient reason why a new trial should be granted; and he be sent to Jerusalem to take this trial. Their motive is mentioned in the succeeding verse.

4. Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Cesarea] It is truly astonishing, that Festus should refuse this favour to the heads of the Jewish nation, which to those who were not in the secret, must appear so very reasonable; and especially as, on his coming to the government, it might be considered an act that was likely to make him popular; and he could have no interest in denying their request. But God had told Paul, that he should testify of him at Rome, and he disposed the heart of Festus to act as he did; and thus disappointed the malice of the Jews, and fulfilled his own gracious design.

He would depart shortly] So had the providence of God disposed matters, that Festus was obliged to return speedily to Cesarea; and thus had not time to preside in such a trial at Jerusalem. And this reason must appear sufficient to the Jews; and especially, as he gave them all liberty to come and appear against him, who were able to prove the alleged charges.

5. Let them which among you are able] 'Oi dvvaro, those who have authority; for so is this word often used by good Greek authors, and by Josephus. Festus seems to have said: "I have heard clamours from the multitude relative to this man; but on such clamours, no accusation should be founded;

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7 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.

8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Cesar, have I offended any thing at all.

9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, h Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me!

10 Then said Paul, I stand at Cesar's judgment seat, where e Mark 15.3. Luke 23.2,10. Chap. 24.5, 13.-f Chap. 6. 13. & 24.12. & 28. 17.-g Ch. 94.27.-h Verse 10.

yourselves have only the voice of the multitude as the foundation of the request which you now make. I cannot take up accusations which may affect the life of a Roman citizen, on such pretences. Are there any respectable men among you: men in office and authority, whose character is a pledge for the truth of their depositions, who can prove any thing against him? If so, let these come down to Cesarea, and the cause shall be tried before me, and thus we shall know whe. ther he be a malefactor or not."

6. When he had tarried-more than ten days] The strange. ness of this mode of expression, suggests the thought, that our printed text is not quite correct in this place; and this suspicion is confirmed by an examination of MSS, and Ver. sions: nupas ov RλELOVS OKTW ʼn dexa, not more than EIGHT OR ten days, is the reading of ABC., several others of great respectability, with the Coptic, Armenian, and Vulgate. Griesbach adinits this reading into the text, and of it, professor White says, Lectio indubiè genuina: "This is, doubtless, the genuine reading."

7. The Jews-laid many and grievous complaints against Paul] As they must have perceived that the Roman governors would not intermeddle with questions of their law, &c., they, no doubt, invented some new charges, such as se dition, treason, &c., in order to render the mind of the governor evil affected towards Paul; but their malicious designs were defeated, for assertion would not go for proof be fore a Roman tribunal: this court required proof, and the blood thirsty persecutors of the apostle could produce none. 8. While he answered for himself] In this instance, St. Luke gives only a general account, both of the accusations and of St. Paul's defence. But from the words in this verse, the charges appear to have been threefold. 1. That he had broken the law. 2. That he had defiled the temple. 3. That he dealt in treasonable practices; to all of which he no doubt answered particularly; though we have nothing farther here than this, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Cesar, have I offended any thing at all.

9. Willing to do the Jews a pleasure] This was merely to please them, and conciliate their esteem: for he knew, that as Paul was a Roman citizen, he could not oblige him to take a new trial at Jerusalem.

10. I stand at Cesar's judgment seat] Every procurator represented the person of the emperor in the province over which he presided; and, as the seat of governinent was a Cesarea, and Paul was now before the tribunal on which the emperor's representative sat, he could say, with the strictest propriety, that he stood before Cesar's judgment-seat, where, as a freeman of Rome, he should be tried.

As thou very well knowest] The record of this trial before

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I ought to be judged: and to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.

11 For if I be an offender, or have coinmitted any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of those things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Cesar.

12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Cesar? unto Cesar shalt thou go.

Paul to king Agrippa.

|clared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, 'There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:

15 m About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.

16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Ro-
mans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is ac-
cused have the accusers face to face, and have license to an-
swer for himself, concerning the crime laid against him.
17 Therefore, when they were come hither, without any de-
lay, on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and command-

13 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came
unto Cesarea to salute Festus.
14 And when they had been there many days, Festus de-ed the man to be brought forth.

i Ver. 25. Ch. 18. 14. & 23. 29. & 26.31.-k Ch.05, 32. & 29. 19.

Felix, was undoubtedly left for the inspection of Festus; for, as he left the prisoner to his successor, he must also leave the charges against him, and the trial which he had undergone. Besides, Festus must be assured of his innocence, from the trial through which he had just now passed.

11. For if I be an offender] If it can be proved that I have broken the laws, so as to expose me to capital punishment, I do not wish to save my life by subterfuges; I am before the only competent tribunal: here my business should be ultimately decided.

No man may deliver me unto them] The words of the apostle are very strong and appropriate. The Jews asked as a favour, xapiv, from Festus, that he would send Paul to Jerusalem, ver. 3. Festus, willing to do the Jews, xapy, this favour, asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged, ver. 9. Paul says, I have done nothing amiss, either against the Jews, or against Cesar, therefore no man με δύναται αυτοις χαρίσασθαι, can make a present of me to them; that is, favour them so far as to put my life into their hands, and thus gratify them by my death. Festus, in his address to Agrippa, ver. 16. admits this, and uses the same form of speech:-It is not the custom of the Romans, xapileobai, gratuitously, to give up any one, &c. Much of the beauty of this passage is lost, by not attending to the original words. See on ver. 16.

I appeal unto Cesar.] A freeman of Rome, who had been tried for a crime, and sentence passed on him, had a right to appeal to the emperor, if he conceived the sentence to be unjust: but even before the sentence was pronounced, he had the privilege of an appeal in criminal cases, if he conceived that the judge was doing any thing contrary to the laws. ANTE sententiam appellari potest in criminali negotio, si judex contra leges hoc faciat.-GROTIUS.

An appeal to the emperor was highly respected. The Julian law condemned those magistrates, and others having authority, as violators of the public peace, who had put to death, tortured, scourged, imprisoned, or condemned any Roman citizen who had appealed to Cesar. Lege Julia de vi publica damnatur, qui aliqua potestate præditus, Cirem Romanum ad Imperatorem appellantem necarit, necarive jusserit, for serit, verberaverit, condemnaverit, in publica vincula duci jusserit. Pauli Recept. Sent. lib. v. t. 26.

This law was so very sacred and imperative, that in the persecution under Trajan, Pliny would not attempt to put to death Roman citizens who were proved to have turned Christians: hence in his letter to Trajan, lib. x. Ep. 97. he says, Fuerunt alii similis amentiæ, quos quia cives Romani erant, annotavi in urbem remittendos. "There were others guilty of similar folly, whom, finding them to be Roman citizens, I have determined to send to the city." Very likely these had appealed to Cesar.

12. Conferred with the council] From this circumstance, we may learn, that the appeal of Paul to Cesar was condi tional: else Festus could not have deliberated with his coun cil whether it should be granted; for he had no power to refuse to admit such an appeal. We may, therefore, understand Paul thus: "I now stand before a tribunal where I ought to be judged; if thou refuse to hear and try this cause, rather than go to Jerusalem, I appeal to Cesar." Festus, therefore, consulted with the council, whether he should proceed to try the cause, or send Paul to Rome; and it appears that the majority were of opinion, that he should be gent to Cesar.

Hast thou appealed unto Cesar, &c.] Rather, Thou hast appealed unto Cesar, and to Cesar thou shalt go. The Jews were disappointed of their hope; and Festus got his hand creditably drawn out of a business with which he was likely to have been greatly embarrassed.

1 Ch 24.27m Ver.2, 3.-n Ver.4, 5.-o Ver.6.

his exercising this power, may be seen in Joseph. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. vii. s. 8, 11. This king was strongly attached to the Romans, and did every thing in his power to prevent the Jews from rebelling against the Romans; and, when he could not prevail, he united his troops to those of Titus, and assisted in the siege of Jerusalem: he survived the ruin of his country several years; see Bishop Pearce and Calmet.

Bernice, or, as she is sometimes called, Berenice, was sister of this Agrippa, and of the Drusilla, mentioned chap. xxiv. She was at first married to her uncle Herod, king of Chalcis, Jos. Antiq. lib. xix. cap. 9. s. 1. and, on his death, went to live with her brother Agrippa, with whom she was violently suspected to lead an incestuous life. Juvenal, as usual, menitions this in the broadest manner.-Sat. vi. ver. 155:Deinde Adamas notissimus, et Berenices, In digito facius pretiosior: hune dedit olim Barbarus incestæ, dedit hunc Agrippa sorori. "Next, a most valuable diamond, rendered more precious by being put on the finger of Berenice, a barbarian gave it to this incestuous woman formerly; and Agrippa gave this to his sister." Josephus mentions the report of her having criminal conversation with her brother Agrippa, onung erlo xovans, or T' adeλow ovvnel. To shield herself from this scandal, she persuaded Polemo, king of Cilicia, to embrace the Jewish religion, and marry her; this he was induced to do, on account of her great riches; but she soon left him, and he revolted to heathenism; see Jos. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. vii. s. 3. After this, she lived often with her brother, and her life was by no means creditable; she had, however, address to ingratiate herself with Titus Vespasian, and there were even rumours of her becoming empress propterque insignem reginæ Berenices amorem, cui etiam nuptias polhcitus ferebatur-Suet. in Vit. Titi. Which was prevented by the murmurs of the Roman people: Berenicen statim ab urbe dimisit, inritus invitam-Ibid. Tacitus, also, Hist. lib. ii. cap. 1. speaks of her love intrigue with Titus. From all accounts, she must have been a woman of great address; and, upon the whole, an exceptionable character.

14. Declared Paul's cause unto the king] Festus knew that Agrippa was better acquainted with such matters than he was; and he wished, in some sort, to make him a party in

this business.

15. Desiring to have judgment against him.] Instead of diny, judgment, Karadikny, condemnation, sentence of death, is the reading of ABC., and several others; which is probably genuine. This is evidently the meaning of the place, which ever reading we prefer. Nothing could satisfy these men but the death of the apostle. It was not justice they wanted, but his destruction.

16. It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die] Xagendaι Tiva avowTor, to MAKE A PRESENT of any man: gratuitously to give up the life of any man through favour or caprice. Here is a reference to the subject discussed on verse 11.

Before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, &c.] For this righteous procedure, the Roman laws were celebrated over the civilized world. APPIAN, in his Hist. Roman, says, ου πάτριον σφισιν ακρίτης καταδικάζεσθαι. It is not their custom to condemn men before they have been heard. And PHILO De Præsid. Rom. says, Tore yap kotvous EaUTOV ZADE χοντες δικαστας εξ ίσου, και των κατηγόρων και απολογουμενων ακουομενοι, μηδενός ακρίτου προκαταγινώσκειν αξιούντες, εβρα βευον ούτε προς εχθραν, ούτε προς χαριν, αλλά προς την

væẦY TỤỔ Ở Ầŋ Oɛt as тa dočarтa εival dikaia. "For then, by giving sentence in common, and hearing impartially both plaintiff and defendant, not thinking it right to condemn any person unheard, they decided as appeared to them to be just; without either enmity or favour, but according to the merits of the case."-See Bp. Pearce. England can boast such laws, not only in her statute-books, but in constant operation in all her courts of justice. Even the king himself, were he so inclined, could not imprison, nor punish a man, without the regular procedure of the law; and twelve honest men, before whom the evidence has been adduced, the case argued, and the law laid down and explained, are ultimately to judge whether the man be guilty or not guilty. Here, in this favoured country, are no arbitrary imprisonments-no bastiles-no lettres de ca. chet. Lex facit Regem: the law makes the king, says Brac ton, and the king is the grand executor and guardian of the laws-laws, in the eyes of which, the character, property, and

13. King Agrippa] This was the son of Herod Agrippa, who is mentioned chap. xii. 1. Upon the death of his father's youngest brother, Herod, he succeeded him in the kingdom of Chalcis, by the favour of the emperor Claudius; Jos. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. 4. s. 2. and Bell. lib. ii. cap. 12. s. 1. Afterward, Claudius removed him from that kingdom to a larger one, giving him the tetrarchy of Philip, which contained Trachonitis, Batanea, and Gaufonitis. He gave him, likewise, the tetrarchy of Lysanias, and the province which Varus had governed, Jos. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. 6. s. 1. Bell. lib. ii. cap. 12. 9. 8. Nero made a farther addition, and gave him four cities, Abila, Julias, in Perræa, Taricha, and Tiberias, in Galilee; Jos. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. 7. s. 4. Bell. lib. ii. cap. 13. s. 2. Clan-life, of every subject, are sacred. dius gave him the power of appointing the high-priest among 18. They brought none accusation of such things në I supthe Jews; Joseph. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. i. s. 3. and instances of } posed] It was natural for Festus, at the first view of things,

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20 And because I doubted of such manner of questions; Lasked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.

21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, 1 commanded him to be kept till 1 might send him to Cesar.

22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, 1 would also hear the man myself. To-morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.

23 And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Ber. nice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of p Ch. 18.15.&39–q Or, I was doubtful how to inquire here. Or, ju Igment. to suppose that Paul must be guilty of some very atrocious crime. When he found that he had been twice snatched from the hands of the Jews; that he had been brought to Cesarea, as a prisoner two years before; that he had been tried once before the sanhedrim, and once before the governor of the province: that he had now lain two years in bonds, and that the high-priest and all the heads of the Jewish nation had united in accusing him, and whose condemnation they loudly demanded; when, I say, he considered all this, it was natural for him to suppose the apostle to be some flagitious wretch; but when he had tried the case, and heard their accusations and his defence, how surprised was he to find, that scarcely any thing that amounted to a crime was laid to his charge; and that nothing that was laid to his charge could be proved!

19. Questions of their own superstition] Пept 7ns dias delaidatporias; questions concerning their own religion. Su perstition meant something as bad among the Romans, as it does among us; and is it likely that Festus, only a procuratar, should thus speak to Agrippa, a KING, concerning his ewn religion? He could not have done so without offering the highest insult. The word Aɛividatuovia must therefore simply mean region; the national creed, and the national teorship, as I have at large proved it to mean, in the observations at the end of chap. xvii.

And of one Jesus which was dead, &c.] In this way does this poor heathen speak of the death and resurrection of Christ! There are many who profess Christianity that do not appear to be much farther enlightened.

20. I doubted of such manner of questions] Such as, whe ther he had broken their law, defiled their temple; or, whether this Jesus, who was dead, was again raised to life?

21. Unto the hearing of Augustus] Eis Tay Tev Leßazov dayyoor to the discrimination of the emperor. For, al though cases, is usually translated Augustus, and the Roman emperors generally assumed this epithet, which signifies no more than the venerable, the august; yet here it seeins to be used merely to express the emperor, without any reference to any of his attributes or titles.

22. I would also hear the man myself.] A spirit of curiosity, similar to that of Herod, Luke xxiii. 8.

As Herod, the father of this Agrippa, had been so active an instrument in endeavouring to destroy Christianity, having killed James, and was about to have put Peter to death also, had not God sent him to his own place; there is no doubt that Agrippa had heard much about Christianity: and as to St. Paul, his conversion was so very remarkable, that his name, in connexion with Christianity, was known not only throughout Judea, but through all Asia Minor and Greece. Agrippa, therefore, might naturally wish to see and hear a man of whom he had beard so much.

With great pomp] Mera Todλns pavraoias; with much phantasy, great splendour, great parade, superb attendance, or splendid retinue: in this sense the Greek word is used by the best writers. Wetstein has very justly remarked, that these children of Herod the Great, made this pompous ap pearance in that very city where, a few years before, their fa ther, for his PRIDE, was smitten of God, and eaten up by worms! How seldom do the living lay any of God's judgments to heart!

The place of hearing] A sort of audience chamber, in the

before king Agrippa.

hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city; at Festus' commandment, Paul was brought forth. 21 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying, that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But when I found that he had committed nothing wor. thy of death, wand that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.

26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore, I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I I might have somewhat to write.

27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.

3 See Ch 9.15.- Ver. 2, 3, 7-u Ch.2222-v Ch. 23.9, 29. & M. 31.—w Ver. 11. 12. palace of Festus. This was not a trial of Paul; there were no Jews present to accuse him, and he could not be tried but at Rome, as he had appealed to Cesar. These grandees wished to hear the man speak of his religion, and in his own defence, through a principle of curiosity.

26. I have no certain thing to write] Nothing alleged against hin has been substantiated.

Unto my Lord] The title Kuptos, Dominus, Lord, both Augustus and Tiberius had absolutely refused; and forbad, even by public edicts, the application of it to themselves. Tiberius himself was accustomed to say, that he was lord only of his slaves, emperor or general of the troops, and prince of the senate. See Suetonius, in his life of this prince. The suc. ceeding emperors were not so modest: they affected the title. Nero, the then emperor, would have it; and Pliny the younger is continually giving it to Trajan, in his letters.

27. For it seemeth to me unreasonable, &c.] Every reader must feel the awkward situation in which Festus stood. He was about to send a prisoner to Rome, to appear before Nero, though he had not one charge to support against him; and yet he must be sent, for he had appealed to Cesar. He hoped therefore that Agrippa, who was of the Jewish religion, would be able to discern inore particularly the merits of this case; and might, after hearing Paul, direct him how to draw up those letters, which, on sending the prisoner, must be transniitted to the emperor,

This chapter ends as exceptionably as the twenty-first. It should have begun at ver. 13, and have been continued to the end of the twenty-sixth chapter; or both chapters have been united in one.

1. From St. Paul's appeal to Cesar, we see that it is lawful to avail ourselves, even in the cause of God, of those civil pri rileges with which his mercy has blessed us. It is often better to fall into the hands of the heathen, than into the hands of those who, from mistaken views of religion, have their hearts filled with bitter persecuting zeal. Those who can murder a man, pretendedly for God's sake, because he does not think exactly with them on ceremonial or speculative points of divinity, have no portion of that religion which came down from God.

2. The Jews endeavoured by every means to deny the resurrec tion of our Lord; and it seems to have been one part of their accusation against Paul, that he asserted, that the Man Jesus, whom they had crucified, was risen from the dead. On this subject, a pious writer observes, "What a train of errors and miseries does one single instance of deceit draw after it! and what a judgment upon those, who, by corrupting the guards of the sepulchre, the witnesses of the resurrection of our Lord, have kept their whole nation in infidelity!" Thus it often happens in the world, that one bad counsel, one single lie or calumny once established, is the source of infinite evils.

3. The grand maxim of the Roman law and government, to condemn no man unheard, and to confront the accusers with the accused, should be a sacred maxim with every magistrate and minister, and among all private Christians. How many harsh judgments and uncharitable censures would this prevent: Conscientiously practised in all Christian societies, detraction, calumny, tale-bearing, whispering, back-biting, mis, understandings, with every unbrotherly affection, would necessarily be banished from the church of God.

CHAPTER XXVI.

Poul answers for himself before Agrippa, 1–3. gives an account of his education from his youth up, 4, 5. shows that the Jeurs persecuted him for his maintaining the hope of the resurrection, 6-8. states his persecution of the Christians, 9--11.. gires an account of his miraculous conversion, 12-15. and of his call to the ministry, 16-18. His obedience to that call, and his success in preaching the doctrine of Christ crucified, 19–23. While he is thus speaking, Festus interrupts him, and declares him to be mad through his abundant learning, 24. which charge he modestly refutes with inimitable ad dress, and appeals to king Agrippa for the truth and correctness of his speech, 25-27. On which, Agrippa confesses himself almost converted to Christianity, 28. Paul's affectionate and elegant address to him on this declaration, 29. The council breaks up, and they all pronounce him innocent, 30-32. [A. M. cir. 4066. A. D. cir. 62. An. Olymp. cir. CCX. 2.]

THIEN Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:

a Ch.24.10 Prov. 18.13. John 7.51.

21 think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day, before thee, touching all the things. whereof I am accused of the Jews: bCh.25.10.

NOTES.-Verse 1. Then Paul stretched forth the hand] ed for one. From knowing, partly by descriptions, and partly. This act, as we have already seen on chap. xxi. 40. was mere- by ancient statues, how orators and others who address a con ly to gain attention; it was no rhetorical flourish, nor design-course of people stood, we can easily conceive the attitude of

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