Acts 25

* Paul before Festus, he appeals to Caesar. (1-12) Festus

confers with Agrippa respecting Paul. (13-27)

1-12 See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiar

favour to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ, the end

of the law, was no offence against the law. In suffering times

the prudence of the Lord's people is tried, as well as their

patience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent,

to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by the

rules of the law, and to let that take its course. If he

deserved death, he would accept the punishment. But if none of

the things whereof they accused him were true, no man could

deliver him unto them, with justice. Paul is neither released

nor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps which

Providence takes; by which we are often made ashamed, both of

our hopes and of our fears, and are kept waiting on God.
13-27 Agrippa had the government of Galilee. How many unjust

and hasty judgments the Roman maxim, ver. #16|, condemn! This

heathen, guided only by the light of nature, followed law and

custom exactly, yet how many Christians will not follow the

rules of truth, justice, and charity, in judging their brethren!

The questions about God's worship, the way of salvation, and the

truths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest,

to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman

speaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jews

and the Christians. But the day is at hand when Festus and the

whole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empire

were but trifles and of no consequence, compared with this

question of Christ's resurrection. Those who have had means of

instruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convinced

of their sin and folly. Here was a noble assembly brought

together to hear the truths of the gospel, though they only

meant to gratify their curiosity by attending to the defence of

a prisoner. Many, even now, attend at the places of hearing the

word of God with "great pomp," and too often with no better

motive than curiosity. And though ministers do not now stand as

prisoners to make a defence for their lives, yet numbers affect

to sit in judgment upon them, desirous to make them offenders

for a word, rather than to learn from them the truth and will of

God, for the salvation of their souls But the pomp of this

appearance was outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner

at the bar. What was the honour of their fine appearance,

compared with that of Paul's wisdom, and grace, and holiness;

his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ! It is no

small mercy to have God clear up our righteousness as the light,

and our just dealing as the noon-day; to have nothing certain

laid to our charge. And God makes even the enemies of his people

to do them right.
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