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whom he addressed. Felix was a heathen ruler; and Paul, while meeting and denying all the charges brought against him, yet made it plainly appear to the governor, that the only point which he had anything to do with, was that which concerned the alleged breach of the peace. He took the opportunity however of boldly professing his faith ; while at the same time he threw out the same matter of controversy for the Pharisees who were present, which had served his purpose so well before the Sanhedrim. These evidences of christian wisdom, connected with unshaken faithfulness, should be studied as examples by which to guide our conduct, in the difficulties which occur in passing through “ the world that lieth in wickedness.”
QUESTION. Do I cultivate the habit of mind which leads to straightforward faithfulness of christian profession? Do I endeavour to regulate it by the exercise of christian wisdom?
O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all good things, bless me with courage ever to maintain my profession in all faithfulness. Enable me wisely to declare before all men the hope of thy glory, to which I desire to look with constant and joyful expectation, when thou, O blessed Saviour, shalt judge the quick and the dead, and shalt reign for ever and ever. AMEN.
Paul's private intercourse with Felix. PLACE.—Cæsarea. TIME.From May, A.D. 56, to
the Summer of A.D. 58.
May God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I inay understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE. Acts, chap. XXIV. verses 24 to 27. 24 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 25 Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judg
ment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, “ Go thy way for this 26 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 27 him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room : and
Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
The Roman governor Felix was married to a Jewess named Drusilla, one of the daughters of Herod Agrippa. She was a woman of great profligacy, and had left her husband Azizus, king of Emessa, and lived with Felix; whose wife she had recently become, in consequence of the death of Azizus. Some days after the trial of Paul, Felix went to the Prætorium with Drusilla ; and he sent for Paul, in order that he might hear something more concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. Paul opened the gospel to them fully ;-he discoursed respecting righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, in such a manner that the conscience of Felix was to a certain degree affected ; and he felt inwardly alarmed at the powerful view of the justice of God, and the future judgment, which the apostle put before him. His alarm did not however lead him to enquire, how he could be saved from the judgment of those sins, of which his conscience convinced him ; he only sought relief from his uneasiness by dismissing Paul, telling him that when he could find time that could be conveniently spared, he would hear him further on the subject. And Felix did indeed send for Paul afterwards, and conversed with him several times : it was not however from a trembling conscience that he thus acted, but under the influence of covetousness; for, as Paul had told him that he had just come to Jerusalem to bring alms and offerings to the Jews (Acts xxiv. 17), Felix hoped each time that he sent for him, that the prisoner would offer him a bribe to set him free. No such offer was however made, and Paul was kept in this state of personal restraint at Cæsarea for full two years ; at the end of which time, Felix was removed froin his office, and Portius Festus was appointed Procurator of Judea in his stead. Just before this, Felix had greatly offended the Jews of Cæsarea, by taking part against them in the suppression of a violent quarrel with them and the Greek inhabitants of the city, in which many were killed. Felix was anxious to conciliate them; and as one means of doing so, he allowed Paul to be kept a prisoner when he left the country.
APPLICATION. The case of Felix is an instance of the sad effects of covetousness and self-indulgence, in resisting the convictions of sin in the conscience. He was a wicked man; and the apostle made him feel alarmed at his condition, not by threatening him personally, but by reasoning of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, in such a way as forced him to make the application to himself; which was probably made more powerful by the presence of Drusilla. He trembled—but his alarm was not a spiritual movement of heart, such as made him seek to be saved. He rather feared to lose the enjoyment of the sin which he loved, and therefore put away the unpleasant subject which the servant of God pressed upon him; and by that means he gave more power to the influence of sin, so that he could afterwards bear to listen to the appeals of Paul, under which his conscience was hardened by the covetous desires which occupied his thoughts during such conversations. Very many persons have acted exactly like Felix ; upon first hearing some minister, whose discourse has made them tremble under the inward workings of conscience, they have put away the consideration of their case, until their worldly affairs should afford them a convenient season. Waiting for this, they have gone again and again, and heard the same minister's moving appeals with an indifference, to which they have hardened themselves by indulgence in habitual sin; so that years have rolled on, without bringing any serious return of their alarms of conscience, or any desire to save their soul.
QUESTION. In what state is my conscience ? tender and sensitive ? or indifferent and hardened? Upon what occasions do I remember to have felt it alarmed? How did I act upon that occasion ? did I postpone attention to its voice, till some more convenient season? Have I ever found one more convenient, than when conscience was really impressed?
O gracious God, who desirest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live, look with compassion upon me a sinner, and by thy Holy Spirit keep my conscience constantly impressed with a sense of the sinfulness of sin, and of the evil of my own transgressions. Lead me ever to the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth from all sin ; and let me never hear thy word of truth in vain. Preserve me from covetousness, and from the least approach to that love of money which is the root of all evil. Let no part of my heart be hardened by sin, but shed abroad thy love and thy grace in every part of it, to the glory of the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. ÅMEN.
Paul before Festus :-his appeal. PLACE.-Cæsarea and Jerusalem. TIME.-A.D. 58.
May God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I may
understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it.
THE SCRIPTURE. Acts, chap. XXV. verses 1 to 12. Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he as- 1 cended from Cæsarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief 2 of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, and desired 3 favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. But Festus answered, that Paul should be 4 kept at Cæsarea, and that he himself wonld depart shortly thither. “Let 5 them therefore,” said he, “which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.”
And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went 6 down unto Cæsarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought. And when he was come, the Jews 7 which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, “ Neither against the law of the Jews, 8 neither against the temple, nor yet against Cæsar, have I offended any thing at all." But Festus willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered 9 Paul, and said, “ Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?" Then said Paul, “I stand at Cæsar's judg- 10 ment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have 11 committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die : but if there be none of these things whereof they accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Cæsar.” Then Festus, when he had con- 12 ferred with the council, answered, “ Hast thou appealed unto Cæsar ? unto Cæsar shalt thou go.”
EXPLANATION. Three days after the arrival of Festus at Cæsarea, to enter upon the government of Judea, he went to Jerusalem. The High Priest and the members of the Sanhedrim took the opportunity of drawing his attention to the case of