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30 And all the city was moved, aMd the people ran together: .and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.
31. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the hand, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
32. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.
33. Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains: and demanded who he was, and what he had done.
3<L And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the cas'tle.*
! 85. And itihen he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he iras borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.
36. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.
•37. And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?
38. Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days modest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers ? 5
39. But Paul said, I am a man, which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
40. And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with his hand unto the people:
f, The castle of Antonia, which overlooked the temple, being built at an angle of it. . ,. . ...•,,•
5 An insurrection of this kind is mentioned by Josephus, Ant. xv. s. 6. It was quelled by Felix.
and when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying.
Paul had good reason for protesting, "I die daily." One while in perils by his own countrymen, another time "in perils by the heathen;" one while in perils in the wilderness, and now in peril in the city; he " bore the sentence of death" about with him,6 and had constant reason to believe that it would be carried into execution. But " the hairs of his head were all numbered." And his hour was not yet come. Once more, God made the magistrate a minister to him for good. The captain repressed the violence of the people, when they had first drawn him out of the temple, (that it might not be profaned by blood,) and then went about to kill him. The providence of God so ordered it, that intelligence of the uproar reached the governor of the castle in time to save Paul's life: and though he knew not whom he was assisting, or what cause he was serving, his duty was to quiet tumult, and restrain the violence of a lawless multitude.
In fact, he supposed that he was saving Paul from outrage, in order that he might be executed by regular justice. In the general excitement, rumour had reached him that this was an Egyptian adventurer, who three years before had led out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers. Hence his surprise when Paul addressed him in the Greek language. So great was his astonishment, and so much was he affected by
6 2 Cor. i. 9; and xi. 26.
Paul's manner, that he gave him licence to speak to the people.
Hopeless it certainly was, to speak to the people while in such a state of mind. But Paul would not despair. His heart's desire and prayer for his countrymen was, that they "might be saved." 7 They attacked him with " carnal weapons." God might make his words a spiritual instrument, "to break the rock in pieces." At all events, let him act in the spirit which directed Ezekiel of old, (Ezek. ii. 5, 6,) " Thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briars and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall they know that there has been a prophet among them."
7 Rom. x. i.
PAUL'S DEFENCE OF HIMSELF TO THE PEOPLE.
A. D. 60.
Acts xxii. 1 —16.
1. Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
2. (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence; and he saith)
3. / am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel,1 and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was ssealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
4. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
5. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders : from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to he punished.
There was evident reason why Paul should commence with this statement of his former life and opinions. He would show that he had not lightly or hastily embraced the faith which he was now so actively proclaiming. Far as his hearers might be
1 As the scholar sitting below his master. So Mary " sat at the feet of Jesus, and heard his word."
from the same faith, they were not farther than he himself had once been. Bitterly as they were enraged against him as a Christian, they were not more bitter than he had formerly shown himself, when he persecuted that way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. Were they zealous toward God? So was he. Did they reverence the law of the fathers? So had he been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, "being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of the fathers, above many his equals in his own nation."8 "But what things were gain to him," what by birth and education he had most trusted in, those he had long given up; he had "suffered the loss of all things for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus." 3
So complete was the change which had been wrought in his mind. But so complete a change is not wrought in the mind of a reasonable man, except on sure and solid grounds. Paul was bold, but he was not rash. He was active and zealous; but he was not wild or enthusiastic. He was led to the conduct which he pursued, not by imagination, but by conviction: he did not mistake darkness for light, or shadow for substance, or fancy for reality. Nothing of that had appeared throughout his history. But what was he, that he should "withstand God?" He proceeds to describe the circumstances which he had been unable to resist; which had prevailed with him, and changed the whole bent of his soul.
'Gal. i. 14. » Phil. iii. 8, 9.