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to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?" There was something very unreasonable and unfair in this proposal for the cause had been as fully heard, both now and before Felix, as was possible to be done. His accusers had received notice, and were even invited to come down at both times nor is there the least shadow of doubt that every one capable of bringing home any of the charges had been present. The Apostle had not a multitude of friends at Cesarea to disturb the fair administration of justice; but there were infinite numbers of enemies at Jerusalem, ready and willing to raise a tumult, and to proceed to acts of greatest violence. Festus, therefore, must have been either extremely ignorant of the true state of things, or grossly partial to the Jews, when he conceived a wish for transferring the cause to Jerusalem. But Paul, aware of the danger, claims
* Festus, in his account of this matter to Agrippa, seems to assign his want of knowledge in the Jewish law as the reason for his acting thus. But this was probably for the purpose of giving a better colour to his motives. He saw plainly, how utterly destitute of truth their charges of sedition and offence against the Roman law were: and as to those relating to the Jewish law and temple, they never were brought before him in a form, which required the least skill in these subjects. Certain facts were alleged against him, viz. his profaning the temple, and doing other things against their institutions: these facts were not, nor indeed could be substantiated; for he had not brought Trophimus into the temple, neither had he shewn the slightest contempt for their rites and usages, but rather a marked reverence for them on the late occasion The question was not, whether a Jew, prophaning the temple
his right, as a Roman citizen, and appeals unto Cæsar" If I be an offender, says he, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die; but if there be none of these things whereof they accuse me (true), no man may deliver me unto them;" or, more accurately, no man can justly and fairly gratify them, by giving me into their hands: "I appeal unto Cæsar." "Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council (probably a council of Romans, who assisted with advice, and explained the laws for the governor) answered, hast thou appealed to Cæsar? unto Cæsar thou shalt go." For no Roman citizen could lawfully be brought before a tribunal of provincial judges against his own consent; but had the benefit, if he pleased, of trial by the laws of Rome, and also of appealing thither against any iniquitous proceedings under the magistrates.
The remainder of the 25th chapter contains an account of King Agrippa, and his sister Bernice, coming to Cesarea to salute Festus; who, after some days, takes an opportunity of declaring Paul's cause to the King. Beside the novelty and extraordinary circumstances, which made it a subject in the manner stated against St. Paul, was guilty of death; but whether he had done the act. So, again, the other matter to be judged was not, how far a violation of their laws and usages deserved punishment; but whether he had committed any such thing. And these points could be decided as well by Festus as by the whole Sanhedrim. His true reason then was to gratify the Jews.
curious enough to entertain him, the governor might have wished for the sanction of his opinion upon his own conduct. I need not recite his account here you will find it between the 14th and 22d verses. In the 18th verse he admits, that " "they brought no accusation of such things as he supposed" they would but had certain questions against him of their own superstition (or rather religion, considering to whom he spoke,) and of one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." I have already given my opinion upon the conduct of Festus; and it is confirmed by the mention of this last circumstance, which did not appear upon the face of the trial. For could any man be weak enough to think the assertion of such an event a proper cause for having him brought for judgment before the Sanhedrim? What relation had it to their law? Or, if it had any, were they not the most unfit judges on earth to try it, as being parties deeply interested? It was a fact to be examined by testimony; and, therefore, whatever its weight was in the accusation, he himself was certainly competent to the enquiry.
The narrative, which Agrippa had heard, increased his curiosity; so that he said to Festus,
I would also hear the man myself."-Accordingly, on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice with great pomp," Festus had him brought forth. And having mentioned the grounds of ac
cusation laid against him, and his appeal to Cæsar, he signifies a desire to have him examined before the King, that he might have somewhat to write" concerning him to the Emperor. For hitherto it seems, the charges were so vague and ill-supported, as not to enable him to send proper intelligence; and he hoped to obtain some better information from Agrippa, touching the questions of his own law. ·
The result of this audience will be found in our next lecture.
CHAPTERS XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII.
THE defence of Paul before Agrippa differs
from those, which he had made before Felix and Festus. For whereas there his main scope was to repel the false accusations laid against him; in his present discourse he takes a wider field, wishing to lay before the King some of the most important grounds and reasons of his faith. Having appealed to Cæsar, it was no longer necessary to confine himself to the forms of a judicial process: he was at liberty to choose such points, as carried with them not only a full justification of his own cause, but likewise might contribute to the enlightening and improvement of his hearers. And he seems to enter upon the subject on this occasion, with much cheerfulness and satisfaction; especially because he was to speak before a person, "expert in all customs and questions, which are among the Jews," of which his judges, particularly Festus, had been ignorant.