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and take him back to the castle. And it came to pass, that the night following the LORD stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. This afforded great comfort to Paul, and ani. mated him to bear the other trials that yet awaited him.
When it was day, some of the Jews, to the number of forty, being greatly enraged that Paul was safe, formed a conspiracy against him, and bound themselves by an oath, that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed him; and having concerted a scheme for putting it in execution, informed the chief Priests, and such of the Elders as they knew to be Paul's enemies, of their design, requesting that they would desire the chief captain to bring his prisoner before the Council again for further examination, when they would fall upon him and kill him.
This matter was not conducted so secretly, but that a nephew of Paul's got intimation of it, and immediately waited on Lysias, to whom he privately revealed it. · The chief captain desired him not to let any one know .. be had given him this information, and dismissed him ;
and then immediately took measures to prevent Paul's assassination, being in his own mind convinced that he was an innocent person. . He therefore called two of his centurions in whom he could confide, and conmanded them to prepare without delay two hundred soldiers, seventy borsemen, and two hundred spearmen, to go to Cæsarea, and ordered them to begin their march at nine in the evening, and provided beasts to set. Paul. on, in case a change should be necessary, and to see that; he was conducted with safety and expedition to Felix the governor of the province, to whom he wrote a letsa ter, acquainting him of the insurrection that had been R 6
made on Paul's account-of his having rescued him, when he understood he was a citizen of Rome of the accusation laid against him by the Jews--and the conspiracy formed to kill him.
The soldiers, as they were commanded, conducted Paul to Cæsarea, presented him to the governor, and delivered Lysias's letter. When Felix had read the let. ter, he told Paul he would examine into his cause as soon as his accusers should arrive; in the mean time he commanded him to be kept bound in Herod's Judgment hall.
At the end of five days, the High Priest Ananias, with several of the Elders, came down to Cæsarea in person, bringing with them a certain orator named Tertullus.
PAUL BEFORE FÈLIX.
From Aets, Chap. xxiv. AND when Paul was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,
We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee, that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words :
For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: - Who also hath gone about to prophane the temple,
whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.. . But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands.
Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things whereof we accuse him.
And the Jews also assented, saying, that these things were so. .
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 more cheerfully answer for myself:
Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
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 :
Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets :
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.
And berein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men., .. Now after many years, I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with mul. titude, nor with tumult:
. , Who
· Who ought to have been here before thee, and object if they have aught against me.
Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,
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 very day.
And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter..
And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acqúamtance to minister, or come unto him.
And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in CHRIST.
And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled ; and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
He hoped also that money should be been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore be sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
But after two years, Porcius Festus came into Felix's. room; and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
In Tertullus's oration, he attempted by flattery to i gain the favour of the governor, that he might the more readily believe his artful insinuations against Paul.'
With what noble simplicity did Paul reply*! He reasoned, his discourse abounded with argument and good sense ; what he asserted he proved, and defied his accusers to make good their allegations; nor was he afraid or ashamed publicly, before the greatest person. ages, to avow his principles. · Drusilla was the daughter of Herod Agrippa ; she had married Azizus king of the Emesenes : but Felix being struck with her beauty, used arts to prevail on her to desert Azizus and marry him. It is probable, that Drusilla was excited by curiosity to desire to hear Pault. The topics which the Apostle made choice of for his discourse, were particularly adapted to his hear. ers. He reasoned of righteousness or juslice before a corrupt, avaricious, and unjust governorm of temperance before a man and woman, who had married in violation of all laws —of judgment to come, which will be a righ. teous tribunal indeed, where no man's poverty will expose him, no man's power will protect him.
Felix felt the weight of Paul's argument, and, struck with remorse of conscience, trembled; but willing to conceal from Paul the inward perturbation of his mind, he pretended to have engagements, and dismissed him.' It appears, that he was not cared of his avarice by Paul's eloquence.
How many persons in the world follow the example of Felix! When their conscience is awakened and their reason convinced, that their crimes expose them to a future dreadful judgment, instead of pursuing the views that open on their minds, they defer the consideration of them to an uncertain hereafter ; they drive away reflection with business or amusement, till their minds grow
i to See Bishop Newton on the Prophecies.