October 13, 1909. THE PRESBYTERIAN
PAUL A PRISONER?BEFORE FESTUS AND
October 24. Acts 26:19-32.
GOLDEN TEXT.?"I know whom I havf believed, and am
persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed
unto Him against that day."?2 Tim. 1:12.
DAILY HOME READINGS.
M.?Acts 25:1-12. Th.?Acts 26:19-32.
T.?Acts 25:13 27. F.?2 Cor. 5:1-15.
W? Acts 26:1-18. S.?:John 5:39-47.
S.?2 Tim. 1:1-12.
Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment for'oiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial
to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor's
How Paul Preached to Festus and Agrippa?
The story of his conversion, vs. 6-19.
The gospel which he preached, vs. 20-23.
Agrippa almost persuaded, vs. 24-32.
Introductory.?Paul lay in prison at Caesarea for two years
and Festus assumed the reigns of government instead of
Felix" "Festus was a much better man than Felix. Little is
known of him; but, a cynic in philosophy and a skeptic in
religion, he was yet probably free from those debasing vices
which diseraced his nrpderessnp As n iniifo if was aviiian*
that he desired to do right and yet to conciliate the people.
He put down the roving bands of robbers n Palestine." In
a short time after he succeeded Felix, he went to Jerusalem,
and the high priest and other Jewish notables requested him
to bring Paul to Jerusalem, conspiring all the while to kill
him. But Festus refused their prayer; saying that he should
be kept at caesarea; and if they had any accusations to
make against him, they could go to Caesarea and make them.
They did so; but they could prove nothing against the apostle.
Still Festus, to gratify the Jews, proposed to Paul to go to
Jerusalem to be tried; but "he insisted on his rights and appealed
Comment.?Having rehearsed these things to his royal audience,
he addressed Agrippa himself in their presence, and
informed him that he obeyed the unmistakable command of
the Lord from heaven and Dreached the eosDel in Damascus.
Jerusalem, Judea and to the Gentiles; urging the people everywhere
to repent, reform and live holy Uvea. It was for
these causes that the Jews in the temple apprehended him and
tried to take his life. But God, by a special providence, delivered
him from his enemes and he, to that very day. con
tinned to bear witness to,all classes, that he believed the
writings Of Moses and the prophets, that pointed to the coming
Messiah. Christ, who appeared to him in the vision, had
fulfilled those prophecies; had suffered for our sins; had
risen from the dead and ascended to heaven; and had come
aa the Light of the World, to give all men a knowledge of
the truths of redemption.
FestuB seemed to be deeply impressed with Paul's personal
testimony and cried out: "Paul, thou art beside thyself." He
said that his great learning had unbalanced him. But Paul
said he was not insane, but uttered the truth: "eternal realities."
He was temperate in their presentation. The religion
of Jesus Christ is a sane, rational system. It contains many
things "above reason, but not contrary to reason." He. expressed
confidence in Agrlppa's knowledge of these doctrines
of the Jewish scriptures and many witnesses could testify to
the truth of the great events of Christ's sufferings, death and
resurrection as well as Paul's regeneration and call. There
was nothing to conceal. Sincerity loves light. Paul now with
holy boldness and sanctified tact preaches a personal sermon
to Agrlppa; confiding in his knowledge of and faith In the
prophets. The King responds to the direct appeal of the
great preacher; but Just what he meant by his answer la difficult
to decide. "Agrlppa's words accordingly, are the expression,
not of a half-belief, but of a cynical sneer. Thou
OF THE SOUTH. 13
art trying to make a Christian of me with very few words, on
very slender grounds, would be the nearest paraphrase of his
derisive answer to St. Paul's appeal." Alfred In Peloubet.
"Agrlppa appears to have been moved by the apostle's ear
nest manner, but attempts to conceal his emotion under the
form of a jest." The words "almost" and "altogether" In
the English version are objectionable. The intellect is governed
by the laws of evidence, and the mind of Agrippa mayhave
felt the force of Paul's statement of facts and arguments;
but his heart and life were not changed. Paul took
advantage of the least appearance of an impression made
upon him, and said that he wished that he and all his audience
were believers in Jesus; but he did not wish them to
be bound with chains as he was. After the address, Agrippa,
Festus, Bernice and others left the room and conferred with
each other and agreed that Paul was innocent, and did not
deserve death or bondage. But the only difficulty about set
hub 11 mi at iiDjrty was hl3 appeal to Caesar. "The exquisite
mixture of severity and tenderness in this allusion" (of Paul)
"to his own unjust confinement, and the accompanying wish
for their exemption both from this and from a far worse
bondage, forms a noble peroration of this great discourse,
and an apporpriate winding up of the whole series of apologies,
which occupied the history of Paul's last visit to the
holy land," Alexander.
Doctrinal and Practical.?(1) Paul had a religious experience
and could describe it to others. He enjoyed an experimental
knowledge of the truths of Christianity. He tested
them for himself and felt their saving efficacy. True preaching
and teaching are the presentation of "truth through per
sonamy. uo we as Sabbath-school teachers tell our classes
our religious experience? Can we give them the reasons of
our hope, joy and love? Can we show them the way to he
Christians? It is to be feared that many professed Christians
have no experience. "Let us obey; we then shall know
and feel our sins forgiven."
(2) The change of heart and life of Paul are abiding
proofs of God's sovereign grace and almighty power. A true
Christian is the best evidence of the truth of the Christian
religion. Two infidels once met in a certain place and agreed
to write each a book against Christianity. One selected "The
Conversion of Paul" as his subject; and the other, "The Resurrection
of Jesus." They were to write independently and
return to the same place, after completing their labors. They
aryA J "*
luuugui auu reuu ana wrote; and as they
carefully examined their subjects, the light dawned upon
them, and each wrote an unanswerable work in favor of the
religion of Jesus and not against it.
(3) Regeneration, repentance and faith lie at the foundation
of Christian experience and Christlap character. After
Paul's conversion there was a complete change in his volitions,
views, feelings and conduct. He prayed, witnessed, suffered,
persevered and triumphed. Good morals are the fruits
(4) Worldlings think Christians are fools. Festus supposed
that Paul was mad. The Jews said that Jesus had a
devil, Beelbebub, and was a Samaritan. They said that the
prophet that foretold the death of Jezebel was mad. Many
unmoved, reiormers ana Christian workers are today characterized
as unreasonable, extreme, enthusaiasts, fanatics, if
they accomplish large results. Satan lets us alone when we
do nothing. Christianity is * divine philosophy" and insanity
is only an abuse of civilization. There is no insanity among
the aborigines. There is no argument in bard names. The
unconverted man is void of understanding. (1 Cor. 2:14).
(5) The study of prophecy and history together is very interesting
and profitable. It confirms our faith. The gospels
record the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament
in regard to the snffeHnca oni) ?? nw-1-1 -
?o- < -? ui uuiisi. rnsiory and
prophecy are two leaves of the same book.
(6) Pine Christians desire others to trust in Jesus and do
His will. Paul wished Festus, Agrippa, Bernice and all who
heard him to be followers of Jesus. The prayer of Knox
was: "Give me Scotland or I die." Paul's prayer..for his
own people was, that they might be saved. (Romans 10:1).
Are we as Christian parents, Sabbath-school teachers and
ministers deeply concerned about the personal salvation of
those committed to our care? E. P. Davis.
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