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ACTS XXIV. 25.
As he reafoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and anfwered, go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient feafon I will call for thee,
HE chapter, from which these words are
taken, forces itself on our notice, as one of the most entertaining, inftructive, and awful, of all which relate the propagation of Chrif tianity.
St. Paul, the great Apoftle of the Gentiles, was fent down from Jerufalem to Cefarea, under a strong guard of horsemen and foot, to be tried before Felix, the Roman Deputy Go vernor of the Province, for a tranfgreffion of the law, of which he was accufed, and a tumult of fedition his opinions had occasioned among the two difcordant fects of the Jews, the Pharifees and Sadducees.
To filence, effectually, the Apostle in future, and, by his example, to deter others of his persuasion, from "preaching this new doctrine, "and bringing certain ftrange things to their
cars;" to give folemnity to the trial, and efficacy to their proceedings, Ananias, the high priest, with the elders of the Sanhedrim, came down alfo to Cefarea, having retained a certain orator, named Tertullus, to manage their indictment, and be their advocate, or counfel. And he feems not ill qualified for the part he had undertaken his fpeech is concife and conciliating, but full of bitter invective, and religious perfecution: his charge he fupports by the evidence of the Sanhedrim; for the facred writer tells us the Jews gave "their affent to the truth" of his affertions,
faying that these things were fo." : St. Paul, having the liberty of speaking in his own juftification, gives diftinct answers to the several parts of the charge made against him; in the profecution of which, he exhibits a fpecimen of his abilities, and a teftimony of his innocence, fo ftriking, as to excite aftonishment. and curiosity, and fo interesting, as to awaken compaffion and attachment.
Felix, having heard his admirable defence, refused to make a final determination, before he had feen Claudius Lyfias, the chief captain, who would relate with accuracy, and ascertain with precifion, the alleged fedition and tumult, and commanded Paul to be kept, in the intervening time, under a guard. ・ “ And "after certain days, when Felix came with
his wife Drufilla," who was born and educated in the Jewish faith, "to Cefarea, the "Governor fent for Paul to appear before
them," that he might hear what the Apostle could fay concerning his religion" concerning that way which the Jewscalled herefy," how he could fupport it by argument, illustrate it with obfervations, and adorn it with eloquence. The Apoftle felects for the subject of his difcourfe two virtues, on the obfervance of which depend the comforts and happiness of civil, and domeftic life, fhewing the obligations Christianity lies on its profeffors inviolably to practise them-and enforces them by the most awful of all confiderations-an 'impartial account all men must give of their actions at God's tribunal, and be eternally punifhed or rewarded.But the Governor, in a
fit of trembling, interrupts his prifoner, saying he would hear him further, at a more convenient feafon. And " as he reasoned of righte"oufnefs, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and anfwered, go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient fea"fon, I will call for thee."
We will first confider the conduct, and manners of the man, whom the Apoftle addreffes in his difcourfe of "righteoufnefs, temperance, "and judgment to come," where we shall fee the strength of understanding, fervor of zeal, and boldness of reproof, by which he was fo eminently diftinguifhed in the delivery of a dif courfe, which made Felix tremble.
The Character of Felix, as given by hifto rians s of unquestionable veracity, is, that during his government of Judea, under the Roman Emperor, Claudius Cefar, he indulged himfelf in every species of cruelty, and committed every kind of injustice-his power was dif played in acts of violence, and in the exercife of tyranny, A governor, of fuch a complexion, fheltered under the wings of impunity, muft
See Tacitus and Jofephus.
have been exceedingly odious to thofe, who groaned beneath the weight of his defpotic vengeance: but he became more deteftable by the indulgence of his lufts, in the gratification of which, he broke down all the fences of continency, honor, and affection. The marrying Drufilla is a notorious inftance. She was the wife of another man; but Felix, having heard her celebrated for the charms of her beauty, feduced her from her husband, and, in contempt of right, and defiance of law, kept her for his own wife.
To his catalogue of vices we are to add, further, bribery and oppreffion, intimated by the facred hiftorian ; "he fent for Paul the "oftener to talk with him, hoping that money "would have been given him by Paul." And this he did, no doubt, because St. Paul had faid in his defence, that " he came up to Jeru "falem to bring alms to his nation." Difappointed in his avaricious hopes, he kept Paul a prifoner for two years; and when he was recalled by Nero, the fucceeding Emperor, on a charge of cruelty and oppreffion, he, meanly and maliciously, "left Paul bound," to induce the Jews to reprefent him to the Emperor with