Section 4: Trial III. Place, Cæsarea.—Acts 24:1-23
Scene, "Governor" Felix's judicatory. Judge, said Governor. Prosecutor, Orator Tertullus: Present, his clients,—the "High Priest" and "the Elders." Procedure, accusatorial. Time, "twelve days," Acts 24:11, "after Trial 1; eleven, after Trial 2."
- I. Counsel's Speech—Points touched upon in it, these:—verses 1-4.
- 1. Opening compliment to Governor Judge.—His "providence" and "clemency."
- 2. Charge 1. Defendant "a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world."
- 3. Charge 2. Said Defendant "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."
- 4. Charge 3. Defendant "gone about to profane the temple."
- 5. Statement made of Trial 2, and the termination given to it by Roman chief captain Lysias, taking said Defendant out of their hands, and commanding accusers' appearance in this court: Acts 24:7-8.
- 6. Viva voce evidence accordant: witnesses, neither quality nor number stated. "And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so." ver. 9.
- 1. Defendant's confidence in this his judge.
- 2. At Jerusalem "to worship" was his errand. The ostensible one, yes: of the real one,—supplanting the Apostles,—of course nothing said.
- 3. In the temple, defendant was not "found by them," by whom? "disputing with any man." Disputing? No. It was to take the oath—the seven-days-long false oath,—that he went there:—this, and nothing else. The priests, in whose keeping he was, and on whose acceptance the validity and efficacy of the ceremony depended, were not men to be disputed with.
- 4. Defendant not found by them "raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city." ver. 12. No: neither was any such raising charged upon him: nor would it have suited his purpose. Seditious acts are one thing; seditious discourses, another. From seditious acts he had nothing to gain; from seditious discourses everything: to wit, in so far as the effect of it was to weaken men's attachment to the law of the land, and engage them to transfer it to the schism he had raised in the religion of Jesus.
- 5. General denial: but not amounting to Not Guilty. "Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me." ver. 13.
- 6. In verses 14, 15, 16, matter nothing to the purpose. Orthodox his belief: among the objects of it, the resurrection: void of offence towards God and man, his conscience.
- 7. False pretence—object of this his visit to Jerusalem—of this his Invasion Visit—falsely stated. "Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings." ver. 17.
- 8. When Defendant was "found purified in the temple," it was "neither with multitude, nor with tumult." True: but nothing to the purpose: the priests, in whose boarding-house he was, while the purifying, that is to say, the eating and paying, process was carrying on, were not a multitude: nor would tumult have been either profitable or practicable.
- 9. The men, who so found Defendant there, were "certain Jews from Asia," and, if they were accusers or witnesses, ought to have appeared in that character on the present occasion. "Who ought," says ver. 19, "to have been here before thee, and object, if they had aught against me." Ought? why ought they? Defendant called no witnesses: by non-appearance of witnesses, if against him, so far from being injured, he was benefited. The proceeding, too, was inquisitorial, not accusatorial: it required no accusers. Jews of Asia indeed? as if there were any Jews of Asia, to whom any more natural or legitimate cause of indignation could have been given by his misdeeds, than had been given by them to all the Jews in Jerusalem, not to speak of the rest of the world, or the Christianized Jews.
- 10. By Defendant's saying to the judges in Trial 2, that it was for preaching the resurrection that he stood accused by and before them—by this, without anything else, the indignation thereupon expressed by them against him had been excited. "Or else," say verses 20-21, "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."
Follows the judge's decision,
Interlocutory order. Defendant recommitted: but access to him free for everybody.
In this state continues Paul for "two years": at which time,
In verses 24-26, this interval of delay is filled up with an account, such as it is, of certain intrigues, of which the Defendant was the subject. The Roman has a Jewess for his wife. The prisoner is sent for, and wife shares with husband the benefit of his eloquence. Self-constituted Apostle preaches: heathen trembles: trembling, however, prevents not his "hoping" to get money out of the prisoner, if this part of the history is to be believed.