Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."”And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.

And they accompanied him unto the ship.

LESSON CV.

PAUL'S EXAMINATION AND DEFENCE BEFORE FELIX.

1. And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews, which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help! This is the man that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place! and further, brought Greeks also into the temple! and hath polluted this holy place! And they lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth! for it is not fit that he should live! And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust in the air, the chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade * that he should be examined by scourging, that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.

2. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest; for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman ? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free-born. Then straightway they departed from bim which should have examined him; and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

3. On the morrow, because the chief captain would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them. And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him, to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall ! for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by, said, Revilest thou God's high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest ; for it is written, “ Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.”

* Pron. bad.

4. But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the multitude was divided. And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces [by] them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And after five days, Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.

5. And when he 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 wouldst 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 profane 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 mayst take knowledge of all these things whereof we accuse him. And the Jews also assented, saying, that these things were so.

6. 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 mayst understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. And they neither found me in the Jemple 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 toward God, (which they themselves also allow,) that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.

7. 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 multitude, nor with tumult; who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had 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 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 acquaintance to minister, or come unto him.

8. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which 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 have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him ; wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix's room; and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

LESSON CVI.

PAUL'S DEFENCE BEFORE KING AGRIPPA.

[Acts xxv. 13.) 1. And after certain days, King Agrippa and Ber'ni-ce came unto Cesare'a, to salute Festus. And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Ber'ni-ce, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth. And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to (Cesar] Augustus, I have determined to send him. Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto (the emperor.] Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, O King Agrippa, that after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.

2. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:- I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee, touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews; especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews; wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews, which knew me from the beginning, (if they would testify,) that after the straitest sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee.

3. And now I stand, and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the

me.

name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem; and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

4. Whereupon, as I went to Damascus, with authority and commission from the chief priests, at mid-day, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me, and them which journeyed with

And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul! Saul! why persecutest thou me? And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee ; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

5. Whereupon, o King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision; but showed (first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles) that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great; saying none other things than those which the Prophe ets and Moses did say should come, - that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the People, and to the Gentiles.

6. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul! thou art beside thyself! much learning doth make thee mad! But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely. For I am persuaded that none of these

« ForrigeFortsett »