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have almost effaced his very name from their memory. Had it been merely personal enmity they had towards him it would have undoubtedly been so; but it was the religious influence of this man, working wherever he had been, and working mightily in Jerusalem, before their eyes every day, that kept him before them as a terrible religious antagonistone who was sapping the very foundation of their religious system, prestige, and power. Their opposition is a tribute to Paul's mighty influence. Another thing manifest in these verses is—(2.) The miserable servility and hypocritical cunning of religious bigotry—“And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem.” The original language conveys the idea that they made this request as a special favour. The arguments they employed are not given. No doubt they bowed before Festus as cringing, fawning sycophants, urging every consideration that the genius of bigotry could suggest that was likely to tell effectively upon the mind of the Roman. They did not say, of course, what is stated in the last clause of the verse, that they were “laying wait in the way to kill him." Oh, no! They pleaded, no doubt, for justice, not murder. The nefarious plan recorded in chapter xxiii. 15, appears now to have been under the direct patronage of the “High Priest and the chief of the Jews.” Another circumstance connected with his appearance before Festus is
Thirdly : The reply of Festus to the request of the Jews made to him at Jerusalem.” “But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Cæsarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. Let them, therefore," said he, “which among you are able go down with me, and accuse this
man, if there be any wickedness in him." Festus refuses. He does not say why he refuses. Perhaps he had one of those sentiments which is always strong but indefinable, incapable of being thrown into any intelligible proposition, and which is ever the offspring and the organ of God in the human soul. Anyhow, had he not refused, in all human probability Paul would have been murdered. The Divine promise that had been made to him, that he should visit Rome, would have been frustrated. (Chap. xxiii. 11.) But though he does not give the reason of his refusal he promises an early trial, for “he would depart shortly thither.'' And he requests all who had the power to go down with him to Cæsarea, and to bring their accusation against Paul, “if there be any wickedness in him.” The word wickedness is not in the original : the phrase should have been," if there be anything in him ;" that is, if there be any wrong in him.
II. THE ATTENDANT CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH Paul's APPEARANCE BEFORE FESTUS. 6 And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Cæsarea ; and the next day sitting on the judgment-seat, commanded Paul to be brought." Instead of "ten days," the margin reads “not more than eight or ten days,” and most critics regard this as the true text. Festus in this shows himself to be a man to his word and a man prompt and punctual in action. He had promised to be there shortly; there he is. The very day after his arrival at Cæsarea he is “on the judgment-seat," and commands “Paul to be brought." Two circumstances are to be noticed here as Paul stands before the judgment-seat.
First: The charges of Paul's enemies and his denial of them. (1.) Their charges.
“And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.” The expression “stood round about" indicates the eagerness with which they crowded around their long-lost victim. They felt a fiendish pleasure in having him as they thought once more within their reach. “They laid many and grievous complaints against Paul." What were they? Judging from the answer which Paul made, they were the old ones—heresy, sacrilege, and treason; crimes against the law of Moses, against the temple, and against the Emperor. But whatever they were, the historian says that they were such that they could “not prove." (2.) His denial of these charges. “While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Cæsar, have I offended anything at all.” The way which he met those same charges before Felix is recorded in chapter xxiv. 10—21. His manner of treating them now was perhaps substantially the same; hence the historian does not record his defence. The other circumstance to be noticed here as Paul stands before the judgment-seat is
Secondly : The request of Festus to Paul, and his refusal. (1.) The request of Festus. “But Festus willing to do to the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before
So far, we have discovered nothing censurable in the conduct of this Festus, but here evil shows itself. Popularity appears here dearer to him than justice. He had seen enough to feel in his conscience that Paul was an innocent man, and that he ought in all justice to be acquitted forthwith, but, for the sake of getting a good name with the Jews, he proposes to Paul another trial, and another trial at Jerusalem. Pilate condemned Christ, “ to do the Jews a pleasure." Felix kept Paul bound two years “ to do the Jews a pleasure," and Festus, " to do the Jews a pleasure," was willing to deliver an innocent man up to the murderous hands of his malignant enemies. All that can be said in palliation of the request of Festus is, that he did not enforce it, he merely submitted it to the choice of Paul. (2.) The refusal of Paul. In his refusal there are three things worthy of notice. (a) His demand for political justice. “Then said Paul, I stand at Cæsar's judgment-seat where I ought to be judged.” The tribunal of Festus was, in authority and name, tho bar of the Roman Emperor, who went under the general designation of Cæsar, from Julius Cæsar, the first of the dynasty. The apostle had committed no crime cognizable by the Jews, could hope for no justice from them, and was unwilling to hazard his life by returning into the midst of his bitter enemies." As a Roman citizen, he demanded Roman justice. In his refusal, we notice. (6) His consciousness of moral rectitude. "To the
Jews I have done no wrong, as thou very well knowest." Festus, no doubt, knew that Paul had been tried by Felix, and that no fault was found then; as a shrewd man, he must have seen that the spirit of his accusers was a spirit capable of fabricating the most groundless and malignant charges, and he must have learnt from the language, the spirit, and the learning of the apostle, that he was an innocent man. Paul bad very good reason for saying, “Thou very well knowest.” Hjs keen eye penetrated into the heart of the judge, anıl read there the sentence—“ This man is not guilty.” In his refusal, we notice—(c) His sublime heroism of soul. He dared death. Was he afraid of death ? Not he. “ For if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die.” To a truly great man, truth, virtue, justice, honour, are far more precious things than mortal life. Men's dread of death is always in proportion to their disregard to moral principles. He dared his judge too. “If there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them.” As if he had said to Festus, “You dare deliver me to the Jews." The right to appeal to Cæsar belonged to him as a Roman citizen, and it was strictly forbidden by the Lex Julien to put any obstruction in the way of a Roman citizen when he had appealed. Paul knew this, and he dared his judge, by appealing to Cæsar—"Cæsar I invoke.”
III. THE RESULTANT CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED PAUL'S APPEARANCE BEFORE FESTUS. “ Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Cæsar ? unto Cæsar shalt thou go.” The immediate result is, Paul is delivered from the power of the Jews, remanded into custody until an opportunity occurred of sending him into the imperial city. He was now destined for Rome. In this, “ Unto Cæsar shalt thou go," we may see the triumph of three things
First: The triumph of justice over policy. Festus, in desiring him to go to Jerusalem to be tried, thought it a stroke of policy, but Paul's appeal to Cæsar forced him to abandon the purpose. “The right of appeal,” says Alexander to the people, “in a body, or as represented by the tribunes, was one of the most valued rights of Roman citizens, and still continued to be so regarded even after the supreme judicial power of the people had been transferred to the emperors. Particular importance was attached to the right of appeal from the judgments of provincial magistrates, According to ancient writers, no delay or written form was requisite, the only act necessary to arrest the judgment being the utterance of the word Appello ! The magic power of this one word is described as similar to the talismanic phrase, Civis Romanus sum! Indeed, the two things coincided, as it was the Roman citizen, and not the mere provincial subject of the empire, who could thus transfer his canse from any inferior tribunal to that of the Emperor himself. The possession of this citizenship, therefore, was the providential means of saving Paul at this critical juncture, not only from the power of his Jewish foes, but also from the weaknesses of his Roman friends.” In this, “Unto Cæsar shalt thou go,” we see
Secondly: The triumph of generosity over selfishness. A divine generosity-a generosity inspired by the Gospel of Christ-had awakened in the heart of Paul a strong desire to go to Rome, in order to unfurl the banner of universal philanthropy in the metropolis of the world. “Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there I must also see Rome.” (Acts xix. 21.) And in his letter to the Romans he says, “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift.” (Romans i. 11.) And again, "Having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you, whensoever I take my journey into Spain I will come unto you; for I trust to see you in my journey.” (Rom. xv. 23, 24.) This he wrote many years before, when he was at Corinth ; so that this generous desire to preach in Rome was