Acts 25* Paul before Festus, he appeals to Caesar. (1-12) Festusconfers with Agrippa respecting Paul. (13-27)1-12 See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiarfavour to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ, the endof the law, was no offence against the law. In suffering timesthe prudence of the Lord's people is tried, as well as theirpatience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent,to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by therules of the law, and to let that take its course. If hedeserved death, he would accept the punishment. But if none ofthe things whereof they accused him were true, no man coulddeliver him unto them, with justice. Paul is neither releasednor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps whichProvidence takes; by which we are often made ashamed, both ofour hopes and of our fears, and are kept waiting on God. 13-27 Agrippa had the government of Galilee. How many unjustand hasty judgments the Roman maxim, ver. #16|, condemn! Thisheathen, guided only by the light of nature, followed law andcustom exactly, yet how many Christians will not follow therules of truth, justice, and charity, in judging their brethren!The questions about God's worship, the way of salvation, and thetruths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest,to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Romanspeaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jewsand the Christians. But the day is at hand when Festus and thewhole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empirewere but trifles and of no consequence, compared with thisquestion of Christ's resurrection. Those who have had means ofinstruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convincedof their sin and folly. Here was a noble assembly broughttogether to hear the truths of the gospel, though they onlymeant to gratify their curiosity by attending to the defence ofa prisoner. Many, even now, attend at the places of hearing theword of God with "great pomp," and too often with no bettermotive than curiosity. And though ministers do not now stand asprisoners to make a defence for their lives, yet numbers affectto sit in judgment upon them, desirous to make them offendersfor a word, rather than to learn from them the truth and will ofGod, for the salvation of their souls But the pomp of thisappearance was outshone by the real glory of the poor prisonerat 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 nosmall mercy to have God clear up our righteousness as the light,and our just dealing as the noon-day; to have nothing certainlaid to our charge. And God makes even the enemies of his peopleto do them right.
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