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He Preacheth Christ to Feliz. and this alone, am I hated. (2.) The Roman law allows, guished champion. And no doubt Paul would so far every nation to worship its own deities; I claim pro-humour this desire as to present to them the great tection under that law, worshipping the God of my leading features of the Gospel. But froin v. 26, it is ancestors, even as they, only of a different sect of the | evident that his discourse took an entirely practical common religion, believing all, &c. Here, disowning turn, suited to the life which his two auditors were all opinions at variance with the Old Testament Scrip- notoriously leading. And as he reasoned of righteousness, tures, he challenges for the Gospel which he preached (with reference to the public character of Felix) temperthe authority of the God of their fathers. So much for ance, (with reference to his immoral life) and judgment the charge of heresy. and have hope ... as themselves to come (when he would be called to an awful account allow, that there shall be a resturection, &c. This appeal for both) Felix trembled--and no wonder. For, on the to the faith of his accusers shows that they were chiefly testimony of Tacitus, the Roman Annalist (v. 9; xii. of the Pharisees, and that the favour of that party to 64), he ruled with a mixture of cruelty, lust, and serwhich he owed in some measure his safety at the recent vility, and relying on the influence of his brother Pallas council (ch. 23. 6-9), had been quite momentary. 16. at court, he thought himself at liberty to commit every And herein-'On this account,'sccordingly :' q.d. look sort of crime with impunity. How noble the fidelity ing forward to that awful day. (cf. 2 Corinthians, 6. and courage which dared to treat of such topics in 10. I exercise myself. The "I" here is emphatic: q.d. such a presence, and what withering power must have *Whatever they do, this is nay study.' to have always been in those appeals which made even a Felix to a conscience void of offence, &c. See ch. 23. 1; 2 Corinth- tremble! Go thy way for this time; and when I have a isps, 1. 12; 2. 17. &c. q.d. These are the great principles convenient season I will call for tbee. Alas for Felix! of my life and conduct-how different from turbulence This was his golden opportunity, but-like multitudes and sectarianism! 17. Now, after many several) years still-he missed it. Convenient seasons in abundance
absence from Jerusalem) I came to bring alms to my he found to call for Paul, but never again to "hear ration-referring to the collection from the churches of him concerning the faith in Christ," and writhe under Macedonia and Greece, which he had taken such pains the terrors of the wrath to come. Even in these moto gather. This only allusion in the Acts to wbat is ments of terror he had no thought of submission to dvelt upon so frequently in his own epistles (Romans, the Cross or a change of life. The word discerned the 16. 25, 26; 1 Corinthians, 16. 1-4; 2 Corinthians, 8. 1-4) thoughts and intents of his heart, but that heart even tbrows a beautiful light on the truth of this History. then clung to its idols; even as Herod who "did many See PALEY's Hora Paulina.) and (to present) offerings things and heard John gladly," but in his best moments -connected with his Jewish vow: see next verse. 18- was enslaved to his lusts. How many Felixes have 21. found me purified in the temple--not polluting it, there appeared from age to age! He hoped... that money should fore, by my own presence, and neithergathering a crowd have been given him ... wherefore he sent for him the bor raising a stir: If then these Asiatic Jews have any ottener, and communed with him. Bribery in a judge was charge to bring against me in justification of their punishable by the Roman law, but the spirit of a slave arrest of me, why are they not here to substantiate it? (to use the words of Tacitus was in all his acts, and or else let these ... here say:-'Or, passing from all that his "communing with Paul"-as if he cared for either preceded my trial, let those of the Sanhedrim here him or his message-simply added hypocrisy to meanpresent say if I was guilty of aught there,' &c. Nodoubt ness. The position in life of Paul's Christian visitors his hasty speech to the high priest might occur to them, might beget the hope of extracting something from but the j rovocation to it on his own part was more than them for the release of their champion; but the apostle they would be willing to recall. Except ... this one would rather lie in prison than stoop to this! after two voice ... Touching the resurrection, &c. This would years, &c. What a trial to this burning missionary of recall to the Pharisees present their own inconsistency, Christ, to suffer such a tedious period of inaction! in befriending him then and now accusing him. 22. | How mysterious it would seem! But this repose would 23. having more perfect knowledge of that the') way. I be medicine to his spirit; he would not, and could not. See on ch. 19. 23; and on v. 10. when Lysias ... shall be entirely inactive, so long as he was able by pen and come, ... I will know, &c. Felix might have dismissed message to communicate with the churches; and he the case as a tissue of unsupported charges. But if from would doubtless learn the salutary truth that even he his interest in the matter he really wished to have the was not essential to his Master's cause. That Luke presence of Lysias and others involved, a brief delay ! wrote his Gospel during this period, under the apostle's was not unworthy of him as a judge. Certainly, so superintendence, is the not unlikely conjecture of able far as recorded, neither Lysias por any other parties critics. Porcius Festus. Little is known of him. He appeared again in the case. Verse 23, however, seems died a few years after this. (JOSEPHUS Antiquities, to show that at that time his prepossessions in favour of xx. 8. 9, to 9. 1.) came into Felix' room, He was recalled, Paul were strong. 24, 25. Felix... with his wife Drusilla on accusations against him by the Jews of Cesarea, and ...a Jewess. This beautiful but infamous woman only acquitted through the intercession of his brother was the third daughter of Herod Agrippa I, who was at court. (JOSEPHUS Antiquities, xx, 8, 10.) Feliz, esten of worms (see on ch. 12. 1), and a sister of Agrippa willing to shew the Jews a pleasure-'to earn the thanks II., before whom Paul pleaded, ch. 26. She was given of the Jews,' which he did not. left Paul bound (ch, 26. in marriage to Azizus, king of the Emesenes, who bad 29), which does not seem to have been till then. consented to be circumcised for the sake of the alliance.
CHAPTER XXV. But this marriage was soon dissolved, after this man Ver. 1-12. FESTUS, COMING TO JERUSALEM, DEner. When Festus was procurator of Judea, he saw CLINES TO HAVE PAUL BROUGHT THITHER FOR JUDGher, and being captivated with her beauty, persuaded MENT, BUT GIVES THE PARTIES A HEARING ON MIR ber to desert her husband, transgress the laws of her RETURN TO CESAREA - ON FESTU S ASKING THE country.and marry himself.' (JOSEPHUS' Antiquities, APOSTLE IF HE WOULD GO TO JERUSALEM FOR XX. 7. 1, 2.) Such was this "wifeof Felix, he sent for ANOTHER U KARING BEFORE HIM, HE IS CONSTRAINED Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Per- IN JUSTICE TO HIS CAUSE TO APPEAL TO THE EMPEROR. ceiving from what he had heard on the trial that the 1-3. Festus ... after three days ascended ... to Jerusalem new sect which was creating such a stir was represent -to make himsell acquainted with the great central ed by its own advocates as but a particular develop- city of his government without delay. Then the high ment of the Jewish faith, he probably wished to gratify priest-& successor of him before whom Paul had apthe curiosity of his Jewish wife as well as his own, peared (ch. 23. 2). and the chief of the Jews-and "the by a more particular account of it from this distin- / whole multitude of the Jews." . 24, clamorouslyin.
Thu: Jes accuse
Paul before Festus. formed him against Paul... desired favoar in 0.16, lived with her brother Agrippa-not without suspicion " judgment") against him. It would seem that they had of incestuous intercourse, which her subsequent licenthe insolence to ask him to have the prisoner executed tions lite tended to confirm. came to salute Festuseven without a trial (u. 16. laying wait... to kill him to pay his respects to him on his accession to the proHow deep must have been their bostility, when two curatorship. 14, 15. when there many (*several days, years after the defeat of their former attempt, they restns declared Paul's cause--taking advantage of the thirst as keenly as ever for his blood. Therr plea for presence of one who might be presumed to know such having the case tried at Jerusalem, where the alleged matters better than himself, though the lapse of "seveoffence took place was plausible enough; but from v. ral days" ere the subject was touched on shows that it 10 it would seem that Festus had been made acquainted gave Festus little trouble. 16-21. to deliver any man to with their causeless malice, and that in some way die. See on the word "deliver up" 0. 11. as I supposed which Paul was privy to. 4-6. answered ... that Paul 'suspected')-crimes punishable by civil law. questions should be kept rather, 'is in custody") at Cesarea, and of their own superstition-rather 'religion' (see on ch. 17. himself would depart shortly thither. Let them ... 22). It cannot be supposed that Festus would use the which among you are able, go down-'your leading men.' word in any discourteous sense in addressing his Jewthe Jewe... from Jerusalem-clamorously, as at Jeru- ish guest. one Jesus. "Thus speaks this miserable salem, see v. 24. many and grievous complaints against Festus of Him to whom every knee shall bow. [BESPanl. From his reply, and Festus statement of the GEL) whom Paul affirmed (kept affirming') was alive case before Agrippa, these charges seem to have been -showing that the resurrection of the Crucified One a inmble of political and religious matter which they ! had been the burden, as usual, of Paul's pleading. The were unable to substantiate, and vociferous cries that insignificance of the whole affair in the eyes of Festus he was unfit to live. Paul's reply, not given in full, 18 manifest. because I doubted of such manner of ques. was probably little more than a challenge to prove tions. The "I" is emphatic :- I, as a Roman judge. any of their charges, whether political or religious. 9, being at a loss how to deal with such matters, the hearing 10. Pestas, willing to do the Jews a pleasure (to ingratiate of Augustus-the imperial title first conferred by the himself with them), said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, Roman Senate on Octavius. 22-27. I would also hear and ... be judged ... before me (or 'under my protec 'should like to hear the man myself. No doubt tion"). If this was meant in earnest, it was temporis-Paul was right when he said, "The king knoweth of ing and vacillating. But, possibly, anticipating Paul's these things... for I am persuaded that none of these refusal, he wished merely to avoid the odium of refus- things are hidden from him; for this thing was not ing to remove the trial to Jerusalem. Then said Paul, I done in a corner" (ch. 26. 26). Hence his curiosity to I stand at Cesar's judgment-seat-i.e., I am already be- see and hear the man who had raised such commotion fore the proper tribunal. This seems to imply that and was remodelling to such an extent the old Jewish he understood Festus to propose banding him over to life. when Agrippa was come, ard Bernice, with great the Sanhedrim for judgment and see on v. 11), with a pomp-in the same city in which their father, on ac. mere promise of protection from him. But from going count of his pride, bad perished, eaten up of worms. to Jerusalem at all he was too well justified in shrinkto Jerusalem at auction had been quite recently Josephu
(WETST.) with the chief captains. See on ch. 21. 32. ing, for there assassination had been quite recently | Josephus (Jewish War, iii. 4. 2.) says that five cohorts. planned against him. to the Jews have I done no wrong. / whose full complement was 1000 men, were stationed
m blement was 1000 men, were stati as thou knowest very well-lit., better,' i.e., perhaps) at Cesarea principal men of the city - both Jews and better than to press such a proposal. if there be none of Romans. "This was the most dignified and infnential these things... no man may deliver me unto them. The audience Paul had yet addressed, and the prediction. word signifies to 'surrender in order to gratify' another. ch. 9. 16, was fulfilled, though afterwards still more I appeal to Cesar. The right of appeal to the supreme remarkably at Rome, ch, 27, 24; 2 Timothy, 4. 16. 17." power, in cases of life and death, was secured by an (WEBSTER & WILKINSON.) I have no certain (definite ancient law to every Roman citizen, and continued I thing to write to my lord-Nero. "The writer's accuracy under the empire. Had Festus shown any disposition should be remarked here. It would have been a misto pronounce final judgment, Paul, strong in the con- take to apply this term (“lord") to the emperor a few scionsness of his innocence and the justice of a Roman 1 years earlier. Neither Augustus nor Tiberius would tribunal, would not have made this appeal. But when let himself be so called, as implying the relation of the only other alternative offered him was to give his master and slave. But it had now come rather, was own consent to be transferred to the great hotbed of coming) into use as one of the imperial tilles." plots against his life, and to a tribunal of unscrupulous (HACKET.) and bloodthirsty ecclesiastics whose vociferous crier
CHAPTER XXVI. for his death had scarcely subsided, no other course Ver. 1-32, PAUL'S DEFENCE OF HIMSELF BEFORE was open to him. 12. Festus little expecting such an AGRIPPA, WHO PRONOUNCES HIM INNOCENT, BUT CONappeal, but bound to respect it) having conferred with CLUDES THAT THE APPEAL TO CESAR MUST BE CARRIED the council (his assessors in judgment, as to the admis OUT. This speech, though in substance the same as sibility of the appeal), saia, Hast thou for thou hast' that from the fortress-stairs of Jerusalem (ch. 22). ... to Cesar shalt thon go-as if he would add perhaps) differs from it in being less directed to meet the charge * and see if thou fare better.'
of apostasy from the Jewish faith, and giving more en13-27, HEROD ACRIPPA IION A VISIT TO FESTUS, larged views of his remarkable change and apostolic BEING OONSULTED BY HIM ON PAUL'S CASE, DESIRES commission, and the divine support under which be was TO HEAR THE APOSTLE, WHO IS ACCORDINGLY | enabled to brave the hostility of his countrymen. BROUGHT FORTH. 13. king Agrippa--great grandson Agrippa said. Being a king he appears to have presider. of Herod the Great, and Drusilla's brother (see on ch. | Paul stretching forth the hand-chained to a soldier 24. 24). On his father's awful death (ch. 12. 23), being (v. 29, and see on ch. 12. 6). I know thee to be expert, &c. thought too young (17) to succeed, Judea was attached His father was zealous for the law, and himself had to the province of Syria. Four years after, on the death the office of president of the temple and its treasures of his uncle Herod, he was made king of the northern and the appointment of the high priest. (JOSEPHUS principalities of Chalcis, and afterwards got Batanea, Antiquities, XX. 1. 3.) hear me patiently-The idea of Ituren. Trachonitis. Abilene, Galilee, and Perea, with indulgently' is also conveyed. 4, 5. from any youth. the title of king. He died A.D. 100, after reigning fifty- which was at the first...at Jerusalem, know all the Jews" one years, and Bernice-- his sister. She was married to which knew me from the beginning-plainly showing that her uncle Herod, king of Chalcis, on whose death she he received his education even from early youth, at
is also conveyed. 4. 5. from my youth
before Agrippa. Jerusalem. See on ch, 22. 3. if they would ('were will forgiveness, and its last, admission to the home of the me to testify - but this, of course, they were not, it sanctified; and the faith which introduces the soul to being a strong point in his favour. after the most strait all this is emphatically declared by the glorified Reest "the strictest") sect--23 the Pharisees confessedly deemer to rest upon Himself - "FAITH, even THAT vere. This was said to meet the charge, that as a WHICH IS IN ME." And who that believes this can Hellenistie Jew he had contracted among the Hea refrain from casting his crown before Him or resist then lsx ideas of Jewish peculiarities. 6. 7. 1 ... am offering Him supreme worship! 19-21. Whereapon, O iriced for the hope of the promise made ... to our fathers king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly Lor believing that the promise of Messiah, the Hope vision. This musical and elevated strain, which carries of the Church (ch, 13. 32; 28. 20) has been fulfilled in the reader along with it, and doubtless did the hearers, Jests of Nazareth risen from the dead.' unto which bespeaks the lofty region of thought and feeling to raise (the fulfilment of it) our twelve tribes, James, 1. which the apostle had risen wbile rehearsing his 1: and see on Luke, 2. 36. instantly--'intently ;' sec on Master's communications to him from heaven. showed th. 12. 5. serving God-in the sense of religious wor to them of Damascus and at Jerusalem-omitting Arabia: stipe see on ministered," ch. 13. 2. day and night hope because, beginning with the Jews, his object was to mento come. The apostle rises into language as catholic as tion first the places where his former hatred of the name the thought-representing his despised nation, all scat- of Christ was best known: the mention of the Gentiles. tered though it now was, as twelve great branches of so unpalatable to his audience, is reserved to the last. one ancient stem, in all places of their dispersion offer- | repent and turn to God, and do works ieet for repentanceing to the God of their fathers one unbroken worship. 1 a brief description of conversion and its proper fruits. reposing on one great "promise" made of old unto their suggested, probably, by the Baptist's teaching, Luke. fathers, and sustained by one "hope of "coming" to its 3.7, 8. 22, 23. having obtained help ("succour) from God fulfilment: the single point of difference between him that (which cometh] from God.' I continue (stand.' od his countrymen, and the one cause of all their l'hold my ground') unto this day, witnessing, &c.: a.d. virulence against him, being, that his hope had found | This life of mine, so marvellously preserved, in spite rest in One already come, while theirs still pointed to of all the plots against it, is upheld for the Gospel's sake; the fature. for which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am therefore I "witnessed," &c. that Christ should suffer, Scused of the Jews - 'I am accused of Jews, O king' &c. The construction of this sentence implies that in
so the true reading appears to be): of all quarters the regard to the question whether the Messiah is a suffermost surprising for such a charge to come from. The ing one and whether, rising first from the dead, he charse of sedition is not so much as alluded to through- should show light to the (Jewish) people and to the out this speech. It was indeed a mere pretext. 8. Gentiles,' he had only said what the prophets and Moses Way should it be thought a thing incredible ... that God said should come. 24. Festus said with a loud voiceshould raise the dead!-- rather, 'Why is it judged a thing surprised and bewildered. Paul, thou art beside thyincredible if God raises the dead? the case being viewed I self, much learning doth make thee mad-9.d. is turning as an accomplished fact. No one dared to call in thy head. The union of flowing Greek, deep acquaintquestion the overwhelming evidence of the resurrec ance with the sacred writings of his nation, reference to tion of Jesus, which proclaimed Him to be the Christ, a resurrection and other doctrines to a Roman utterly the Son of God; the only way of getting rid of it, there- unintelligible, and above all, lofty religious earnestness, fore, was to pronounce it incredible. But why, asks so strange to the cultivated, cold hearted sceptics of tbe apostle, is it so judged? Leaving this pregnant that day-may account for this sudden exclamation. question to find its answer in the breasts of his au-25, 26. I am not mad, most noble Festus, but, &c. Can any dience, he nuw passes to his personal history. 9-15. thing surpass this reply, for readiness, self-possession, See on ch, 0.1, &c., and cf. ch. 22. 4, &c. 16-18. But rise, calm dignity! Every word of it refuted the rude charge, &c. Here the apostle appears to condense into one though Festus, probably, did not intend to hurt the statment various sayings of his Lord to him in visions prisoner's feelings. the king knoweth, &c. See on v. at different times, in order to present at one view the 11-3. 27-29, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou grandeur of the commission with which his Master had believest. The courage and confidence here shewn proclothed him. (ALFORD.) a minister ... both of these ceeded from a vivid persuasion of Agrippa's knowthings which thou hast seen (putting him on a footing ledge of the facts and faith in the predictions which with those "eye-witnesses and ministers of the word " they verified, and the king's reply is the highest testimentioned Lake, 1. 2) and of those in which I will appear mony to the correctness of these presumptions and the to thee-referring to visions he way thereafter to be in mense power of such bold yet courteous appeals favoured with: such as ch. 18. 9, 10; 22. 17-21; 23. 11:2 / to conscience. Almost or 'in a little time') thou perCorinthians, 12. &c. (Galatians, 1. 12). delivering thee sundest me to be a Christian. Most modern interpreters from the people the Jews) and from the Gentiles. He think the ordinary translation inadmissible, and take was all along the object of Jewish malignity, and was the meaning to be, Thou thinkest to make me with at that moment in the hands of the Gentiles; yet he little persuasion for small trouble) a Christian--but I calmly reposes on his Master's assurances of deliver- am not to be so easily turned.' But the apostle's reply ance from both, at the same time taking all precautions can scarcely suit any but the sense given in our authorfor safety and vindicating all his legal rights. unto ized version, which is that adopted by CHRYSOSTOM whom now I send thee. The emphatic "1" bere denotes and some of the best scholars since. The objection the authority of the Sender. (BENGEL] To open their Ton which so much stress is laid, that the word "Chriseses, (and) to turn them from darkness to light-rather, tian" was at that time only a term of contempt, has *that they may turn' (as in 1. 20.) i.e., as the effect of no force except on the other side; for taking it in that their eyes being opened. The whole passage leans upon / view, the sense is, "Thou wilt soon have me one of Isaiah, 61. 1 Lake, 4. 18). and from the power of Satan. that despised sect.' I wonld to God, &c. What unNote the connexion here between being "turned from equalled magnanimity does this speech breathe! Only darkness and from the power of Satan," whose whole his Master ever towered above this. not only... almost power over men lies in keeping them in the dark:1... but altogether-or. 'whether soon or late,' or 'with Hence he is called "the ruler of the darkness of this little or much difficulty except these bondg---doubtworld." See on 2 Corinthians, 4. 4. that they may re- less holding up his two chained hands (see on ch. 12. caive forgiveness ... and inheritance among the sanctified 6); which in closing such a noble utterance must have by faith that is in me. Note: Faith is here made | had an electrical effect. 30-32. when he had thus spoken, tbe instrument of salvation at once in its first stage, I the king rose-not over-easy, we may be sure. This man