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Paul sent off by night,
wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would inquire somewhat 21 more exactly concerning him. But do not thou yield to them: for of them more than forty men lie in wait for him, who have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink until they have killed him and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee." 22 So the commander let the young man depart, and charged him, "See thou tell no man that 23 thou hast showed these things to me." And he called to him two centurions, saying, "Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Cesarea, and seventy horsemen, and two hundred spear24 men, at the third hour of the night; And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on one of them, and bring him safe unto Felix the gover25 nor." And he wrote a letter after this manner: 26 "Claudius Lysias to the most excellent governor 27 Felix sendeth greeting. This man who had been seized by the Jews, and would have been killed by them; but I came with the soldiers and rescued him. Having understood that he 28 was a Roman citizen, And desiring to know
the cause why they accused him, I brought him 29 down into their council: Whom I perceived to
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XXIII. 1. While unjustly smitten, we cannot but admire Paul's behaviour before the Jewish council. He acted with firmness yet with respect. He united the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove. It was no dishonest artifice in Paul to divide the council, and to engage the Pharisees in his favour. He had been brought up among them, and though happily delivered from their proud and self-justifying spirit, he agreed with them respecting the resurrection of the dead, and hope of a future life. It was for maintaining these important truths, and for bearing his testimony to the resurrection of Jesus, that he was opposed and persecuted. Well had it been for the Pharisees, if they had always followed the advice which they now gave the Sadducees, not to fight against God.' May none of us provoke the Lord to jealousy, as if we were stronger than he,' which we shall most certainly do, if we neglect and reject the glad tidings of the great salvation of Christ.
2. We see how wonderfully providence interfered for the rescue and deliverance of Paul from the tumult excited, and the conspiracy
and arrives at Cesarea.
be accused concerning questions of their law; but to have no accusation worthy of death, or of bonds. And when it was made known to 30 me that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent him immediately to thee, and commanded his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell."
Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, 31 took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the morrow they returned to 32 the castle, having left the horsemen to go with him: Who, when they came to Cesarea, and 33 delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him. And when the governor 34 had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia; "I will hear thee, said he, when 35 thine accusers have also come." And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgmenthall.
A. D. 60. Paul being accused by Tertullus answereth for his life and doctrine; he preacheth Christ to Feliz and Drusilla; the former hoped får a bribe, but not receiving one left Paul a prisoner, on going out of office. AND after five days, Ananias the high priest I went down to Cesarea with the elders, and with
afterwards formed. How dreadfully hardened must have been the hearts of those men, who could form a design of murder, and even sanction it by the solemnity of a vow! And what must have been the blindness and injustice of those magistrates, who could hear of such a design, not only without any mark of displeasure, but even with approbation and delight. How has the once faithful city become an harlot ; once righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers.' Now the saying of Christ was verified, That the time would come, when they that killed his servants, would think that they did God service.' God abhorred their bloody purpose, and in this instance defeated their deep laid and subtle sohemes. By means of a boy their plan was made known to Paul, and by him to the Roman commander, and Paul was saved; and the guilt of their rash vow abode on their own souls. Thus may God continue to carry the counsel of the froward headlong; and save from the hand of violence and deceit, all who commit themselves unto him in well-doing. He has indeed engaged to keep such as the apple of his eye, and as his treasure.
27. Having understood that, &c. This punctuation, suggested by Beza, is undoubtedly proper. For Paul was not rescued, because he was known to be a Roman citizen; but this was known when Lysias was about to examine him by scourging. See Ch. xxi. 31.; xxii. 25, &c.
31. By night. On that very night. See verse 23.-To Antipatris, This was a town built by Herod the Great, and named Autipatris, in honour
Tertullus accuses Pau!.
a certain, orator, named Tertullus; and these brought an accusation before the governor 2 against Paul. And when he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, "Since by thee we enjoy great; quietness, and very worthy deeds are done unto this nation, by thy prudence, 3 Always, and in all places we accept them, most 4 noble Felix, with all thankfulness. But that I may not trouble thee further, I pray thee to 5 hear us, of thy goodness, a few words. For we have found this man a pestilent one, and a mover of insurrection among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the 6 Nazarenes: Who hath attempted to profane the temple also: whom we seized and would have 7 judged according to our law: But the commander Lysias came upon us, and with great 8 violence took him away out of our hands, Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining him thou thyself mayest gain know ledge of all these things, whereof we accuse 9 him." And the Jews also assented, saying 10 that these things were so. Then Paul answered, the governor having beckoned unto him to speak, "Understanding that thou hast been for many years a judge to this nation, I do the 11 more cheerfully make my defence: For thou mayest know, that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, nor raising up the people, 13 either in the synagogues, or in the city: Nor
can they prove the things of which they now 14 accuse me. But this I confess unto thee, that, ... after the way which they call a sect, so I worship
of his father Antipater. It lay between Joppa and Cesarea, on the coast of the Mediterranean. Jos. Aut. xvi. 5, 2.
32. They returned to, &c. The four hundred foot soldiers, while the seventy horse conveyed Paul forward. I have followed the construction, not the order of the text.
Paul vindicales himself.
the God of my fathers; believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets : And having hope towards God, which they 15 themselves also admit, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the righteous and the unrighteous. And in this I exercise 16 myself, to have always a conscience void of offence towards God, and towards men.;
"Now, after many years, I came to bring alms 17 to my nation, and offerings. At which time 18 certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple; but not with a multitude, nor with tumult: Who ought to have been here before 19 thee, and accuse me, if they had any thing against me. Or let these themselves say, if 20 they found any crime in me, while I stood before the council, Unless it be for this one declara- 21 tion, which I proclaimed standing among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day." And when 22 Felix heard these things, he deferred them, saying, "Having obtained more perfect knowledge of that doctrine, when Lysias the commander shall come down, I will determine your matter." And he commanded a centurion to 23 keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
35. Herod's judgment-hall. Herod the Great rebuilt Cesarea.
CHAP. XXIV. 2. Very worthy deeds, &c. Or, things go well with this nation,' as Pearce renders. The common version implies this.
5-9. A pestilent one, &c. A pestilence itself, which is explained in what follows. A mover of insurrection, and a ringleader of the sect of NazaBut the chief crime was his attempt to profane the temple. 10. Many years a judge, &c. Some suppose him to have governed five, and others more than seven years. In this time he had become well acquainted with the opinions and customs of the Jews; and on this account Paul answered with more confidence.
And after some days, Felix came with his 21 wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he discoursed of justice, tem- 25 perance, and the judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, "Depart for the present, and, when I have a convenient time, I will
11-16. For thou mayest know, &c. By making the proper inquiry. Paul denies the charges alleged against him; but freely and boldly confesses his faith, which was alike supported by the law and the prophets.
17. To bring alms, &c. See Rom. xv 25-28. Gal ii. 10, and Ch. xxi. 26, 27. It was customary for the Jews, wheresoever they dwelt, to send offerings to the temple.
18-21. At which time, &c. See Ch. xxi. 26, &c. Concerning the resurrection, &c. Ch. xxiii. 6, &c.
22. He deferred them saying, &c. With Beza, Grotius, and others, I follow what I conceive to be the true construction of the text. I do not think that Felix meant that he would judge of the truth or falsehood of christianity, but only whether or not it had led Paul to raise insurrection, and break the peace.
24-25, And heard him, &c. Drusilla was the daughter of Herod Agrippa, a woman of great beauty, whom Felix had seduced from her hus
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XXIV. 1. We see how easy it is to distort and misrepresent facts; and how necessary it is for those who judge to hear evidence on both sides of a question. Paul indeed had little trouble in rebutting the charges of Tertullus; and with a holy fervour he did not hesitate to avow his faith and practice. He served God according to the purity of the institutions of the gospel, however some might deem it a heresy, or a sect. Like him let us cherish a holy regard to the truth as it is in Christ; nor let us fear the cry of heresy and schisin, while we make scripture the standard of our faith and practice. Those are the beresiarchs and schismatics, who violate the charity of the gospel, and oppose and persecute others, because they do not bow to their opinions, or to their self-assumed authority. Be it our care to follow the plain sense of God's most holy word, and to keep as far as possible a conscienee void of offence towards God and men; and then we may look forward with cheerful hope to the day of the resurrection, which however terrible it may be to all the wicked, will be to the righteous the consummation of all their hopes.
2. We also learn that God ean, and often does, raise up friends to his people in an unexpected manner. Festus was a proud and an oppressive ruler; yet he was disposed to favour the apostle, and to protect him against the malice and envy of the priests and elders of Jerusalem. What gratitude was due to God, and how would many
band Azizus, king of the Emesenes. Paul, while he explained the christian doctrine, so pressed home its morality as to make Felix tremble. Pearce thinks he trembled, not with remorse for his own sin, but lest Drusilla should be awakened to repentance and leave him. It appears that he detained him prisoner from the most mercenary motives; and when he could not obtain a bribe, left him to the judgment of Festus.
CHAP. XXV. 1-7. Now Festus, yc. The priests and elders were as
is accused to Festus. answered, that Paul should be kept at Cesarea, and that he himself would shortly depart thither. "Therefore, let those of you, said he, who are 5 able to accuse him, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any thing amiss in him." And when he had passed among them 6 not more than eight" or ten days, he went down unto Cesarea; and the next day he sat on the judgment-seat and commanded. Paul to be brought. brought. And when he appeared; the Jews 7 who had come down from Jerúsalem stood round about, and laid many and heavy accusations against Paul, which they could not prove. While he made his defence, saying, "Neither 8 against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor yet against Cæsar, have I offended in any thing." But Festus, desiring to gratify 9: the Jews, answered Paul, and said, “ Art thou willing to go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged concerning these things before ine?”
bless his holy name, for thus preserving the life of his servant; and especially for the liberty they had of eonversing with him, and hearing the gospel from his lips. Though he was a prisoner, and in some sense bound, the word of God was not bound. And no doubt the time the apostle remained in this place, would be spent in the honourable service of his Lord; and in teaching, comforting, and establishing his followers. May we in every situation be disposed to serve him, and if it should be in a prison, we shall be accepted.
3. In the conduct of Paul towards Felix, we have an instance of the greatest magnanimity, and an example of what every minister of the truth should be. Though he well knew that both his life and his liberty were in his hands, Paul dealt both plainly and faithfully with him; stating the heinous nature of those vices, to which Felix was addicted. And while he reasoned on the temperance every one should observe; the justice every one should exercise; and of a judg ment to come, he made even Felix tremble. He was convicted by his own conscience; but like many other sinners, instead of yielding to the conviction, dismissed Paul until some more convenient season, and continued in his crimes. O that men would think of a judgment day, and of the account which they have to give; and surely they would live righteously, soberly and godlily in this world; surely they would turn to God and live.
much enraged against Paul as ever; and nothing but his blood would satisfy their malice, and every art was tried in order to shed it. Providence interposed to preserve him; and Festus soon perceived that the charges brought against him were not supported by proof.
8-12. Neither against the law, &c. Paul, as a Jew, had acted uprightly, and as a subject of Cresar, had been peaceful and submissive; and rather than be judged by the prejudiced Jews, he appealed to the tribunal of Cæsar.
Paul appeals to Cæsar.
10 Then Paul said, "I stand at Cæsar's judgmentseat, where I ought to be judged to the Jews I have done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. 11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if none of those things of which these accuse me be true, no one should deliver me up to 12 gratify them. I appeal unto Cæsar." Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, · answered, “Thou hast appealed to Cæsar; and to Cæsar shalt thou go."
And after some days king Agrippa and Ber14 nice came to Cesarea to salute Festus. And when they had continued there many days, Festus related Paul's case to the king, saying, "There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix: 15 Concerning whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid an information, desiring judgment against him. 16 To whom I answered, It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver up any man to die, before that he who is accused have the accusers face to face, and have opportunity to make his defence concerning the crime laid to his charge.' 17 When therefore they had come hither, on the
REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER XXV. 1. We see in the conduct of the priests and chief of the Jews at Jerusalem, that two years delay had not diminished their rage and murderous intentions. They hoped to prevail on Festus to do what Felix had not done; to give up Paul to them. But here again providence inclined Festus to act with integrity, and not to condemn the prisoner unheard. Though they had no new charges to allege, and though all they could allege was false and frivolous, yet they persisted with a perseverance worthy of a better How difficult is it for men, deceived by their own prejudices, and hurried on by their passions, to be convinced of their sins! And how dreadful the delusion must be, of thinking zeal for a party to be zeal for God, and hoping by the most atrocious deeds to obtain the favour of God! Let us never imagine that a good cause can be supported in this manner; it must be, not the cause of truth, but of error and crime.
His appeal admitted.
morrow without any delay I sat on the judgment-seat, and commanded the man to be brought. Against whom when his accusers 18 stood up, they brought no accusation of such things as I supposed: But had against him 19 some questions about their own religion, and about one Jesus, who died, and whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I was doubt- 20 ful about an inquiry into such matters, I asked him whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem, and there be judged about these things. But 21 when Paul had appealed to be reserved to the determination of the August emperor, I commanded him to be kept until I could send him to Cæsar." Then Agrippa said to Festus, “1 22 myself also desire to hear the man.” "To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him."
14-16. Related Paul's case, &c. In the manner following.It is not the custom, &c. Many laws forbad punishment to be inflicted, until the guilt of the person was established. The Jews desired Paul to be punished, as if he had been proved guilty,
A. D. 62. Paul brought before Agrippa, declareth his manner of life and how he was converted and called to the apostleship; Agrippa almost persuaded to be a Christiau; the whole assembly pronounce Paul innocent.
Now on the morrow, when Agrippa had come, 23 and Bernice, with great pomp, and they had entered into the place of hearing, together with
2. Again we behold the triumph of the apostle. This simple but true statement of facts was sufficient to rebut all the accusations of his enemies. Great is truth and will prevail. When a man has a good cause to plead, and a good conscience to support him, he need not fear the chicanery and malice of his foes, if his judge has any regard to justice. In what a noble manner did Paul appeal to Cæsar, testifying his innocence, and assuring the court and all that heard him, that if he had done any thing worthy of death, he was not affraid to die.' Thus his privilege as a Roman citizen secured him from the malice of his enemies, and occasioned his visit to Rome, where he abode for some time and preached the gospel with success. Thus did his words and sufferings tend to the furtherance of that holy cause to which his heart and his life were devoted; and we cannot but adore the wisdom of God, who often accomplishes the purposes of his love and merey, by the instrumentality of wicked and ungodly men.
19. Who died, &c. This is a valuable testimony to the two leading facts of the gospel, and shows in what mauner Paul preached.
21. August emperor. As Augustus was a title given to the first emperor, and distinguished him from others, it is better to give the sense here to prevent mistake.
23-27. Now on the morrow, &c. This proceeding, while it gratified Agrippa and Bernice, appeared to be just and proper. Festus declares Paul's innocence; and yet wished to state the crime with which he had been charged.
Paul makes his defence
ed to the August emperor, I have determined 26 to send him. Of whom I have nothing certain to write to our sovereign. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, king Agrippa, that, after examination, 27 I may have somewhat to write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not to signify the charges also laid against him."
ACTS the commanders, and principle men of the city, at the command of Festus Paul was brought. 24 Then Festus said, "King Agrippa, and all that are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have applied to me, both at Jerusalem, and here also, crying 25 out that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and he himself having appeal-priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my vote against them. And I punished 11 them often in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto foreign cities. And as I went to Damascus 12 with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way 13 a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all 14 fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the goads.' And I said, 15 Who art thou, Lord?' And he said, 'I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and 16 stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those in which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people 17 of the Jews, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee, To open their eyes, that 18 they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; and may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Thou art permitted to speak for thyself." Then Paul stretched forth his hand, and made his defence; "I 2 think myself happy, king Agrippa, that I shall make my defence this day before thee, concerning all the things of which I am accused 3 by the Jews: Especially as thou art acquainted with all the customs and questions which are among the Jews. Wherefore I beseech thee to 4 hear me patiently. All the Jews know my All the Jews know my manner of life from my youth, which was passed from the beginning among mine own nation 5 at Jerusalem; And these have knowledge of me from the first, if they would testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion 6 I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise which God 7 made to our fathers: The fulfilment of which promise, our twelve tribes, serving God earnestly day and night, hope to obtain: concerning which hope, king Agrippa, I am accused
CHAP. XXVI. 1–3. Then Paul, &c. Paul begins his address with the highest respect to Agrippa, as knowing the customs and opinions of the Jews; and therefore better able to judge of his defence.
6. Hope of the promise. The promise of a resurrection of the dead. See verse S, and Ch. xxiii. 6.
8. What? is it, c. This punctuation preserves better the spirit of the original. Paul appeals to Agrippa and other Jews.
9. Name of Jesus of, &c. Our Lord's enemies called him the Nazarene out of contempt, but Paul knew that his character was above reproach; and that the imputation itself was groundless, as understood in reference to the place of his birth.
VOL. III. PART XXII.
• before king Agrippa.
by the Jews. What? is it esteemed among 8 you a thing incredible, that God should raise the dead?
"I indeed thought with myself, that I ought 9 to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I did also in Jeru- 10 salem: and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief
"Whereupon, king Agrippa, I was not dis- 19 obedient unto the heavenly vision: But de- 20
11. To blaspheme, &c. To speak evil of Jesus and his religion; he tried to force the disciples to do so; and might in some cases unhappily succeed.
14. It is hard for thee, &c. The metaphor is taken from refractory oxen, who kick against the goads by which they are driven, and thus wound themselves more deeply. Thus Paul was but injuring his soul by persecuting Christ in his followers.
16-18. But rise and stand, &c. The end and design of our Lord's appearing to Paul is here expressed, to make him a witness and a teacher of both Jews and Gentiles.That they may turn, &c. This is the usual way of rendering the verb in other places. See Ch. ix. 35.; xi. 21.; xv. 19.; xxvi. 20.