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him in a judicial way. Finding they chiefly consisted of ' questions against him of their own • superstition; and of one Jesus, which was « dead, and whom Paul affirmed to be alive;' and wanting more information relative perhaps to sedition, asked Paul — Wilt thou go up to • Jerusalem, and there be judged of these
things before me?' Paul, knowing that the Jews had more influence in Jerusalem than in any other place, refused; and, to avoid compulfion, said- appeal unto Cæsar. Nothing is said by or to this governor or the last, relative to the plot of destroying Paul privately ; nor do I think it probable that the high priests, chief priefts, and elders of the people, should countenance, much lefs promote or encourage so infamous a business. And here likewise it occurs-If one of the questions against Paul, and which Feftus proposed to have determined before him at Jerusalem, was of one Jesus, which was dead, and
whom Paul affirmed to be alive;" Why refuse going to a place where, notwithstanding the influence of the Jewish chiefs so many witnesses Christian and Pagan*, could have been produced before a Roman tribunal in support of the fact?
* About four years before this transaction, Paul in his First Epistle to the Ephesians, roundly afferted that Jesus, after his resurrection was seen of above five hundred men, the greater part of whom were then alive. Vide page
The The wonderful things which must have come out in this examination, would certainly' have excited the curiosity at least of Festus ; this would have
im to a strict enquiry ; and if that produced a conviction of their truth; could he have been otherwise than a friend to Paul? fome of those proofs ; such as the darkness, the earthquakes and their effects; could no where be proved so easily and demonstrably as at Jerusalem : and as these and other supernatural things appertaining to this great affair, were not at all likely to be proved at Rome; why did Paul prefer an examination at the latter? He was wise, and no doubt had his reasons for this preference which he wisely hath kept from us; and perhaps it was to stop the audacity of such enquiry, that he introduced the Lord saying—? Be of good cheer ? Paul for as thou had testified of me in Jerusa? lem: so must thou bear witness also at Rome? After Paul had refused to go to Jerusalein, and while Festus waited an opportunity of sending him to Rome; King Agrippa, with his Queen Berenice, came to Cæsarea upon a visit to the governor, who, after many days, mentioned the affair of Paul, to his visitants in a way which excited their curiosity and a request that it might be satisfied by hearing what Paul could say for himself. The following day was appointed ; and this being the
* Vide page 263...
brightest scene of Paul's adventures, he gives it in pompous terms-viz.-- And on the morrow
when Agrippa was come, and Berenice with • great pomp, and was entered into the place of • hearing, with the chief captains, and princi· pal men of the city, &c,' Here Paul, avail. ing himself of the example given by Tertullus the orator, his accuser ill a former examination, preface's his defence by some very flattering compliinents to Felix: After which, he again recounts his miraculous conversion ; and improves the story by some useful additions relative to the Gentiles. The governor telling him he was infane; he modestly denied the charge, and artfully appealed to the better judgment of the King, Upon which, we are told, Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Upon this speech, Paul made a short comment, and the court broke up. It is observable, that though we are told Paul's preaching made Felix tremble, and almost converted Agrippa. Yet we are not told of any good effects produced by it in either. After this Paul, with other prisoners, în the custody of a centurion embarks for Rame; meets with tempestuous weather, in which 276 117en fasted 14 days in great terror, and are at length hip-wrecked on the Ise of Malta. This Paul fore-told ; but to encourage the men, and perhaps to shew his own consequence, he said to them-- There stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, say' ingFear not Paul: thou must be brought
before Cæsar : and lo, God hath given thee all
then that fail with thee. Paul, enumerating his sufferings to the Corinthians 2 Epistle ch. xi. faysal Of the Jews five times received I forty
stripes fave one, thrice was I beaten with rods, • once was I stoned, thrice I suffered ship-wreck, • a night and a day I have been in the deep. Two of these ship-wrecks, we have lost : and where he was a night and a day in the deep; or how he found himself after it, I know not. This miracle would have better suited St. Peter, or any of the apostles who were fisher-men, than Paul a tentmaker : but as he only, had an adventure above * so he only, had an adventure below. I do not understand what is meant by the angel's saying to Paul-God hath given thee all them that fail with thee. It could not be the preservation of their fouls in the Christian way; for in 270 we read not of one converted; if it meant the preservation of their lives, and they believed it; how is it that we hear of no acknowledgments for so fine gular a favor ? It is plain the foldiers did not believe Paul when he told the story of the angel, as they were for destroying him when the thip grounded, to prevent 'his escape. When they were all safe on shore, had feen the miracle of the
. Vide page
viper, for which the islanders called him a God : after witnessing the cures performed by him, and the honors he received ; still were they unbelievers ? Had they, or any of them, been otherwise ; Paul, who upon all occasions carefully recounts his successes ; would surely have informed us of the change. Paul at length arrives at the capital of the Roman empire (about the year 61) where, I imagine he expected to become a man of consequence. After three days, he assembled the Jews; told them his adventures, and why he was there ; taking care, at the same time, to in form them that he brought no accusation to Cæfar against their nation. Their reply was a little mortifying- We neither received letters out of • Judea concerning thee, neither any of the bre
thren that came, shewed or spake any harm of • thee.' St. Paul, it seems, was in Rome, a man of little consequence. The Jews told him they would hear what he had to say on the score of religions adding- For as concerning this (the • Christian) sect, we know that every where it is ! spoken against.' They accordingly appointed a day. And Paul'expounded and testified the king• dom of God; persuading them concerning Jesus, • both out of the law of Moses, and out of the • prophcts. And this he did from morning till ! evening,' I apprehend to very little purpose; though it is said ' Some believed the things which " were fpokea, and some believed not,' he ap