corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.12.14
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Acts 24

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. XXIV.

Paul, being accused by Tertullus the orator, answereth for his life and doctrine: he preacheth Christ to the governor and his wife. The governor hopeth for a bribe, but in vain. At last going out of his office, he leaveth Paul in prison.

Anno Domini 61.


Verse 1

Acts 24:1. Ananias—descended Or, Went down.


Verse 2

Acts 24:2. Tertullus began to accuse him, Almost every word of this oration is false,—the accusation of St. Paul, the encomium on the government of Felix, and the declaration of a lawful intention in what they had done and attempted. When he says, We enjoy great quietness by thee, he probably refers to what Felix had done to clear the country of robbers and impostors; for all the historians agree that he was in every other respect a man of so bad a character, that his government was a plague to all the provinces over which he presided; and as for Judea, its state under Felix was so far from being what Tertullus here represents, that Josephus, besides what he says of the barbarous and cowardly assassination of Jonathan the high-priest by his means, declares, that the Jews accused himbefore Nero of unsufferable oppressions; and had certainly ruined him, if his brother Pallas had not interposed in his favour. We may read the next clause, and illustrious deeds are happily done to this nation by your prudent administration, which is the exact rendering of the original.


Verse 4

Acts 24:4. Notwithstanding, Or, But.


Verse 6

Acts 24:6. Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: Tertullus artfully mentions this as the most express fact he had to charge upon him, well knowing that the Romans allowed the Jews a power of executing, even without forms of law, any person who should be found in any such act of profanation; and he seems to have designed to make a merit of their moderation, that they intended, nevertheless, fairly to have tried him, and not to have destroyed him on the spot, as Lysias had justly charged them with attempting: and it is observable, that Tertullus no where expressly avows so much as a design to have put St. Paul to death, though it was undoubtedly intended, The expression, with great violence took him, Acts 24:7 is another base and false insinuation of this orator, as if Lysias's just care of the life of a man had stopped the course of justice, and been an act of the highest outrage.


Verse 10

Acts 24:10. Then Paul—answered, Forasmuch, &c.— It was now about seven years since Felix entered on his government. The three articles of Tertullus's charge were sedition,—heresy,—and a profanation of the temple. St. Paul's answer exactly corresponds to each of these. As to the first he suggests, that he had not been long enough at Jerusalem to form a party, and attempt an insurrection; and challenges his accusers, in fact, to produce any evidence of such practices, Acts 24:11-13. As to the second, he confesses himself to be a Christian, but maintains that Christianity is a religion perfectly agreeable to the revelation of Moses and all the prophets, and consequently not deserving to be branded with any infamous or invidious title, Acts 24:14-16. And as for the profanation of the temple, he tells them, that on the contrary he had entered it with some peculiar rites of religious purification, and had behaved himself therein in a most peaceful and regular manner; so thathis innocence had been evident even before the sanhedrim, where the authors of the tumult did not dare to appear against him; Acts 24:17-21.


Verse 14

Acts 24:14. So worship I the God of my fathers, This was a very proper plea before a Roman magistrate, as it proves that he was under the protection of the Roman laws, since the Jews were so; whereas, had he introduced the worship of new gods, he had forfeited that protection.


Verse 16

Acts 24:16. And herein Εν τουτω, that is, in this work do I employ myself; or, as others render it; "In the mean time, whilst I am in this world;" or as others, (I think most probably,) "for this cause, or on this account, because I believe a resurrection, therefore, I have a conscientious care of my life, and all the actions of it." That the phrase εν τουτω sometimes signifies on this account, is shewn by Raphelius, Annot. ex Xen. p. 185.


Verse 18

Acts 24:18. Neither with multitude, nor with tumult: If the apostle had disturbed other people in their religious worship, whether Jews or Gentiles, invaded their civil rights, or made any tumult, sedition, or insurrection, the Roman law would have condemned him: but as there were already several sects among the Jews, the Christians might, if considered as a new sect, differ from them all, and yet remain under the protection of the Roman law.


Verse 22

Acts 24:22. Having more perfect knowledge, &c.— Dr. Heylin, after many learned expositors, translates this verse thus: Felix, having heard both parties, put them off to another time, saying, When I shall be better informed concerning this sect, and the chief captain Lysias shall be here, I will inquire more narrowly into this affair. If the passage is to be understood according to our version, the meaning must be, "that Felix when he heard these things, having been more accurately informed concerning this way of Christianity, and knowing it not to be the mischievous thing which these accusers suggested, put them off."


Verse 23

Acts 24:23. That he should forbid none of his acquaintance This was a circumstance graciously ordered by divine Providence, which would make St. Paul's confinement much lighter than it could otherwise have been, and gave him an opportunity of much greater usefulness. The word Υπηρετειν, rendered minister, sometimes is used for assistance in general, where personal ministration and attendance is out of the question; and as it is here distinguished from and prefixed to coming to him, it may probably signify, "Sending him food, books, or other accommodations."


Verse 24

Acts 24:24. His wife Drusilla, She was the daughter of Herod Agrippa, and sister of the king Agrippa mentioned in thenext chapter. She had been married to Azizus king of the Emessenes; but Felix, being struck with her beauty which was remarkably great, made use of the agency of one Simon, a wicked Jew, who professed himself a magician, to persuade her to abandon her husband, and marry him; to which she consented, more perhaps to avoid the envy of her sister Bernice, than out of love to Felix; though Azizus had but a little before submitted to circumcision, and so embraced Judaism as the condition of the nuptials. She was afterwards consumed with the son she had by Felix, in a terrible eruption of Vesuvius.


Verse 25

Acts 24:25. And as he reasoned of righteousness, &c.—. How suitable this discourse was to the character and circumstances of the persons to whom it was addressed, appears sufficiently from the former note, and from the note on Acts 24:2 but see more in the Inferences. It may be proper here to obviate some mistakes, and perhaps dangerous ones, which have been drawn from this passage; as if reasoning on these topics was sufficiently preaching of faith in Christ. "This (says Dr. Benson,) was St. Paul's preaching Christ, or the faith of Christ:" whereas, if the reader will cast his eye on the preceding verse, he willfind that the foundation of St. Paul's discourse was concerning that faith in Christ, the great Messiah, which this great apostle ever laid down as the ground-work of what he delivered; in strict conformity with what he himself had said,—Other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, namely Jesus Christ. Upon this foundation alone he always raised the amiable and important superstructure of holy and virtuous practice; and agreeably hereto, upon the present occasion, speaking of faith in Christ, as the great and important subject of his ministry, he took an opportunity from the peculiar characters of his principal hearers, to dwell upon subjects in a particular manner adapted to them, and at the same time inseparably dependant upon that faith in Christ which he preached. And undoubtedly this is the true and important method of preaching Christ; and they who think they discharge this duty properly, and imitate St. Paul's example, by preaching of righteousness, temperance, and other moral virtues, separately and independently from their living foundation, faith in Jesus, not only mistake this matter greatly, but certainly have not the least countenance from the apostle's practice in this plac

Acts 24:25. When I have a convenient season, &c.— And I will take some future opportunity to called for thee. This is fully expressed by the original. St. Paul must, no doubt, discern those marks of confusion, which would be so apparent in Felix's countenance, and which would give him some hopes of succeeding through grace in this important attempt for such a conversion, and consequently would animate him when he resumed the discourse: this must of course have increased in Felix a conviction of the apostle's innocence, and an esteem for his virtues; yet, in spite of all, he was so far from genuine repentance, that he would not do justice to St. Paul. However, the conviction might perhaps prevail so far, as to engage him to perfect in his resolution of not delivering him up to the Jews. How affecting an instance and illustration of the treachery of the human heart! See on ch. Acts 26:24.


Verse 26-27

Acts 24:26-27. He hoped also that money should have been given him This stroke finishes the character of Felix, and shews still more plainly how far off she was from reallyreceiving the gospel. Felix might indulge such expectations, from considering that St. Paul was a Roman citizen, and a principal of the sect of the Christians, who having formerly sold their possessions to maintain their brethren, might contribute largely on this occasion. He might even expect to have received a considerable present from the apostle himself, knowing that he had beenintrusted with a large sum of money collected for the brethren at Jerusalem. But the apostle, not being used to give bribes, continued in bonds for two years; for though a Roman citizen might not be bound with thongs,by way of punishment, or in order to be scourged, yet he might be chained to a soldier, and kept in custody, upon suspicions supposed to be just, or when credible accusations were brought against him; though St. Paul was indeed in every respect detained unjustly. The policy however of Felix, and his desire of conciliating the favour of the Jews, did not prevent their clamorous accusations from following the governor to Rome; which had certainly ruined him had not the interest of his brother Pallas prevailed to obtain his pardon from Nero. How much more effectually had he consulted the peace of his mind, had he embraced the gospel on St. Paul's admonition, and cultivated those serious impressions which were once so strongly made upon his conscience! It was during the two years of St. Paul's imprisonment here, that those contentions arose between the Jews and Gentiles as to their respective rights in Caesarea, which, after many tumults and slaughters of the Jews, were inflamed rather than appeased by the hearing at Rome, and did a great deal towards exasperating the Jewish nation to that war, which ended in its utter ruin.

Inferences drawn from St. Paul's appearance before Felix, the Roman governor. Acts 24:24, &c. Who would not wish to have been present at this astonishing scene, which represents the apostle of the Gentiles as giving an account of his faith to Felix the Roman governor; and that in so moving and convincing a manner, under the grace of God, and with such force of eloquence and strength of argument, that even he, before whom he stands capitally accused, is struck, awed, confounded, by his discourse, and the judge himself quakes at the voice of the prisoner!

The subject matter of St. Paul's discourse, is said to have been righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come: not that we are to imagine that he confined himself solely to these three particulars; for the words of Acts 24:24 inform us, that Felix sent for him, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ; and therefore all the articles of the Christian faith, we may be sure, were sufficiently explained by him. But though many other doctrines might be handled at the same time, yet these of righteousness, temperance, and future judgment, had so large a share in the apostle's consideration, and were so warmly and powerfully urged by him, that St. Luke has not thought fit to take notice of any other part of his discourse.

Nothing could be more apposite than a discourse concerning righteousness and temperance, before a person so cruel and voluptuous as Felix so remarkably was: nothing could be more proper than to put this unjust judge in mind of another, a more impartial and dreadful tribunal, before which he himself should one day stand and be judged.—Thus did St. Paul adapt what he delivered to the peculiar exigencies of the hearer; and in so doing he has left us a pattern worthy of imitation, such as when attentively considered, will give us great occasion to admire the address, the sincere and disinterested conduct, the mighty courage and zeal of this eminent apostle.

He fears not, we see, to utter necessary, though harsh and ungrateful truths, in the ears of one who had the power of life and death over him. He knew with what dangers the faithful discharge of his duty would, in this case, be attended; how impatient the great are under reproof, though couched in the most gentle and least offensive language; what absolute dominion Drusilla had gained over the heart of Felix, and with what resentments that impure woman might pursue any one who ventured to represent his guilt to him, and to rouse his sleeping conscience. And yet none of these alarming considerations were able to repress his godly zeal, or check his freedom; which he conducted indeed with sacred caution and prudence, founding his exhortations and reproofs on the grand fundamental doctrine of faith in Christ, but at the same time, under the Spirit of God, with such force and success, as to strike terror and confusion into the person for whom they were intended.

Let us copy this excellent pattern, by taking all opportunities of spreading the kingdom of Christ in the hearts of men, and of advancing the interests of his gospel; and while we act in such cases as that before us, discreetly, warily, and wisely, let us also, in humble dependence on the divine blessing, act courageously, zealously, firmly, and disregarding the fear of man, when once it comes in competition with the fear of God. These are the intimations; these are the important instructions given us by the behaviour of St. Paul; when before an oppressive, a dissolute, and an unbelieving magistrate, he took an occasion to discourse of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come.—And Felix trembled! Even the mind of a Felix was filled with horror, at the remembrance of his past crimes, thus drawn up in battle-array against him; the dire apprehensions of a future reckoning harrowed up his labouring soul; and these inward fears and forebodings appeared in the outward and visible marks of a heart-felt consternation.

From the circumstance before us, we are obviously led to observe, what a miserable thing it is to have a conscience burdened with guilt, when a man will not trust himself to think, for fear of being alarmed, and filled with terror and confusion. Felix does not seem to have been at all prone to superstition, or in general to have had any troublesome sense of his crimes. The flatteries of a court, the amusements of grandeur and luxury, gave him no time to cool, and diverted all grave and serious reflections; but when St. Paul began to discourse to him of the immutable obligations of infinite justice, against which he had been a most heinous offender, he immediately saw the vileness of his conduct, and trembled for the consequences.

How remarkably different is the success of Tertullus's pleading, compared with that of St. Paul! The former, we may well presume, was one of the most famous pleaders of his time; or the high-priest and elders, in a cause of such consequence, that they themselves went down from Jerusalem to Caesarea on purpose to prosecute it, would certainly not have pitched upon him for their advocate. And yet this great orator, with all his studied eloquence, made no impression that we find on Felix; whereas St. Paul's plain speech soon after moved, terrified, and confounded him. What was the reason of this different effect,—but that the one was engaged with good words to varnish over an ill cause, and by the power of rhetoric to support a false and lying accusation: whereas the other spoke by the power and spirit of God, and of course had right and truth on his side, and therefore pressed them earnestly?—He himself felt what he spake; and had an inward and vital sense of the truths that he delivered; and therefore through divine grace he made others feel them too. He spake from the heart, and to the heart, and therefore, under God, he for a time prevailed.

O how does this instance of the operative virtue of God's word, applied by his Spirit, reproach the sluggishness and insensibility of too many among us! An impure and wicked heathen, we hear, trembled at St. Paul's doctrine: the same doctrine sounds every day in the ears of negligent Christians, so called, without terrifying, without alarming them! The same apostle still reasons with them, in the history before us, and in his epistles, concerning righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come: but he reasons to no purpose: his words seem to them as idle tales: they neither feel their force, nor regard their meaning. God Almighty grant that this hearing and trembling Felix may not one day rise up in judgment against them!

But let us follow Felix to the consequences of his trembling. He abruptly breaks off St. Paul's discourse, and dismisses him in haste, Acts 24:25 but he soon recovers from his perturbation; and hopes that money shall be given him to loose his prisoner from his bonds, Acts 24:26. Here we see, that the seed of the word sown by the apostle fell among thorns, and immediately the thorns sprung up and choaked it, Matthew 13:7. The love of unjust gain, that root of all evil, quickly returned upon his avaricious soul, and drove out all the divine impressions that he had received: and then, when once he had stood the shock of his conscience given by the Spirit of God, and hoodwinked his fears, he could hear the same things repeated without any degree of the same remorse and concern. For it follows, he sent for Paul often, and communed with him.—So suddenly and totally may the best suggestions be stifled, and the strongest convictions overborne, by the force of any one prevailing vice or lust, one easily besetting sin, that has gotten an absolute dominion over us.

That this may not be our case, whenever we hear an awakening discourse from the pulpit, or find our consciences touched to the quick with some apposite arrow, shot from the quiver of God's word, let us not act like Felix, and endeavour instantly to get rid of the smart, and to dismiss such troublesome reflections with a go your way for this time, till a more convenient season. Nay, but this is the proper time; this the most convenient season for our entertaining and conversing with them, when they press to be admitted, and demand a hearing. Let us not call in company, or business, or pleasures, to divert our thoughts from their present, though melancholy employment, since by this sadness and heaviness, the heart is under the grace of God frequently made better; but rather let us study every way to promote and cherish these good beginnings by retirement, meditation, and prayer: let us suffer these terrors of the Lord freely to reason and plead with us, till they have, through the Spirit of God, persuaded us; and may we so reapply, reinforce, and improve the good impressions received in public, as to rivet the influence of them fast in our minds, till they have reached the end for which the good Spirit of God intended them; even that repentance unto salvation not to be repented of!

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Lysias, no doubt, informed the chief priests and elders what he had done concerning St. Paul, and referred them to Felix, if they chose further to prosecute the apostle. Whereupon,

1. Without loss of time, after five days, reckoning from the time when they first apprehended him, they came down to Caesarea, with Ananias the high-priest at their head; and appearing in a body before Felix, to give the greater weight to their cause, they desired to be heard against Paul, and had engaged an artful and plausible counsellor, one Tertullus, to plead for them. Note; Inveterate malice against the gospel will sometimes make the most reverend characters stoop to the meanest actions.

2. St. Paul being brought forth, Tertullus, with many oratorical flourishes, and a most flattering address to the judge, opens his speech against the prisoner at the bar.

[1.] He compliments the governor on his administration, though universally known to have been one of the most oppressive, covetous, and cruel, that ever ruled over Judea; yet, to court his favour, and win him to the party, he, as one that pleaded not for truth but for hire, daubs thick his adulations, seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, penetration, and prudent care; we accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness; professing the deepest sense of our obligations for such singular favours, and emboldened thereby to hope more confidently for the justice we demand against the prisoner. But that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee, that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words; the case being so clear, that it can take up very little of your Excellency's time, to be convinced of the prisoner's guilt.

It was well known how the Jewish nation in general, and the elders in particular, hated Felix and his government; but now, when they have a point to carry, they liberally offer at his feet their flattering applause.

[2.] He comes to the point, and boldly alleges many grievous crimes, with which he charges the innocent prisoner. We have found this man a pestilent fellow, propagating his pernicious tenets like a plague, the very pest of society, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, exciting tumults, wherever he goes, against the Roman government; and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes; a promoter of that detestable heresy, for which, and for his notoriously seditious principles, the first author of it, one Jesus of Nazareth, was crucified some years ago. Who also hath gone about to prophane the temple, with daring impiety introducing those who were by the law forbidden admission there.

All these charges are a tissue of falsehoods. All the pestilence that St. Paul carried with him, was the gospel of salvation, doing good to men's bodies and souls wherever he came. Far from sedition, he taught the most conscientious obedience to the ruling powers. The tumults complained of, were made not by him, but by his accusers themselves. He set himself up for no head of a sect, nor attempted to draw any man to his standard, but to his divine Master: and so far from profaning the temple, none could behave with greater piety, seriousness, and conformity to the law, than he had done. Note; (1.) The purest innocence is no protection from the vilest aspersions. They who make no conscience of lies, will with solemn assurances and repeated falsehoods strive hard to blacken the fairest character. (2.) The charge against the gospel and its ministers has often been, that they raise disturbances and riots, when in fact the very persons who lay this accusation against them, are the authors of the tumults; like Nero, who set Rome on fire, and then persecuted the Christians for the atrocious deed: but there is one who seeth and judgeth.

[3.] He insinuates the equity with which they were proceeding against the prisoner, by a fair trial according to the law; when Lysias, the chief captain, interrupting the course of justice, by violence seized the prisoner, and carried him off, putting them to all this trouble and expence by bringing the cause hither: but he hopes that now at least justice will be done, and that the governor, fully satisfied of Paul's guilt, will pronounce sentence against him. Nothing could be more false and invidious than this assertion; but Lysias was not here to disprove it, and therefore he hoped that the pretended weight of evidence which he brought with him would prevail.

3. The high priests and elders added their solemn attestations to the truth of Tertullus's harangue: nor is it a wonder, that they who wanted to murder St. Paul by assassination, should now attempt to carry their point by the blackest perjury.

2nd, How different is the spirit which breathes in the defence of St. Paul, from that which actuated the plausible orator Tertullus. He is not exasperated with the falsehoods which were advanced, or in a heat to reply, but waited the governor's permission to speak; which when Felix had signified, he rose, with conscious integrity, to pour confusion on the charges of his adversaries.

1. With that deep respect for his judge, which was consistent with that severe regard to truth which became him, he opens his discourse; forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself: Felix well knew the spirit and temper of the Jews by his long acquaintance with them, and could not wonder at the malice of these furious zealots: had half the things been true which they alleged, the governor would, no doubt, have heard of them before.

2. He flatly denies the charge of sedition, of which he was accused. It was but twelve days since he came to Jerusalem, not to profane the temple, but with high respect of that sacred place to worship there, where they neither found him disputing with any man, either about religion or government, nor fomenting the least disturbance in the synagogues or the city, but demeaning himself with all peaceableness: and he defies his accusers to prove one of the charges which they so peremptorily alleged. Note; It is in every villain's power to propagate falsehood, and to bring the heaviest charges against the noblest characters; but the sedate hearer and upright Judge will not rest in his assertions, but require proof of the facts.

3. He owns, and glories in the acknowledgment, that after the way which they stigmatized as heresy, so worshipped he the God of his fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets, the divine authority of the precepts, and the accomplishment of the promises; and his hope towards God, and preaching, were in exact correspondence with the fundamental doctrine of the orthodox faith which they themselves held, that there should be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; who must answer before the eternal Judge, that divine Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Jews had crucified. And herein do I exercise myself, persuaded of this solemn day's approach, and expecting to stand before the great Judge of all,—to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men. Note; (1.) The scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice: to them we must cleave. (2.) As there will be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust, it is a matter of awful inquiry, which character is ours? (3.) Hope towards God, is an anchor which will keep the soul steadfast in every storm.

Lastly, As to his profaning the temple, this was of a piece with the other falsehoods advanced; the very contrary was evident. He had, after a considerable absence from Jerusalem, returned with charitable contributions for the poor saints who dwelt there; and, having a religious vow, had brought his own offerings to the temple, where certain Jews of Asia saw him, purifying himself according to the law, neither with multitude, nor with tumult (only four persons who had vows like himself, were with him), demeaning himself with all possible quietness and regularity: and as to the supposed offence of having brought Greeks into the temple, which was suggested as the occasion of the riot that was raised, he challenges them to produce these men of Asia who raised this report, and who ought to be there, if they had any thing to object. Or since they were absent, he appeals to his accusers themselves, if, on examination before the council, any one misdemeanour was so much as proved against him, except they reckoned his declaration concerning the resurrection of the dead to be such, wherein he had been supported and countenanced by the most respectable part of that assembly;—a defence so clear, so ingenuous, so convincing, as carried its own evidence along with it, and demonstrated his innocence of every crime that they had alleged against him.

3rdly, Felix patiently heard the parties, but deferred passing judgment upon the cause.

1. He put off the determination till the arrival of Lysias, on whom they seemed to reflect; when he could more thoroughly examine into the circumstances; and probably, though unwilling to disoblige the chief men of the nation, he was little apprehensive of any danger of sedition from the professors of Christianity, having more perfect knowledge of that way. As Cornelius, a centurion, long ago had been converted to the Christian faith at Caesarea, and many others, Felix was, no doubt, in some measure, acquainted with their principles, and an eye-witness of their peaceable conduct, and therefore did not readily believe these atrocious accusations against St. Paul.

2. He committed the apostle to the custody of a centurion, who should let him enjoy liberty to walk about as a prisoner at large, permitting any of his friends to visit him, converse with him, and amply supply him with whatever he wanted. Thus the malignant priests were disappointed; and St. Paul, though justice was delayed, had reason to be thankful for his escape from their malice.

3. The curiosity of Felix, and of his wife Drusilla (who, though a Jewess, had married him a heathen, and had forsaken her former husband Azizus, king of Emessa), prompted them to hear from this celebrated preacher, an account of the Christian religion, and of that faith in Christ which he inculcated. Note; Many are willing to know the speculative principles of religion, whose hearts have no relish for the practice of it.

4. St. Paul readily appeared, to give an account of his doctrines before them, not as mere speculative opinions, but as practical principles; and knowing the characters of the persons before whom he spoke, he failed not to reason powerfully on the nature and necessity of righteousness and temperance, the guilt and danger of the opposite vices, of injustice, oppression, excess and impurity; and on the awful account which all must shortly give before the Judge of quick and dead, when, without respect of persons, the everlasting state of men must be determined. So faithfully should Christ's ministers bring home to men's consciences the word of truth, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

5. Felix, with conscious guilt, trembled as he sat; and affrighted heard these alarming words: but, more in haste to get rid of his convictions than his sins, he dismissed the apostle with an intimation, that, when his affairs were less urgent, he would hear him again on the subject. Note; (1.) The word of God will sometimes make the stoutest-hearted sinner tremble. (2.) Many are terrified with the apprehensions of their sins, and dread to think of death and judgment, who, notwithstanding, live and die the slaves of corruption. (3.) In the concerns of our souls, nothing is more fatal than delay. If God's word has spread an alarm in the conscience, Satan seldom asks more than to defer the matter to a more convenient season, till we are older, or have less worldly engagements: and if he can thus far prevail, the cause is gained; and we, like Felix, are undone.

6. Many future conferences passed between them, but all in vain. His covetous heart thought to make a good advantage of his prisoner; and knowing how high St. Paul was in the esteem of his friends, he hoped they would have proposed a considerable ransom to obtain his discharge: but though perhaps they would have done so, St. Paul never would be indebted for his liberty to any such indirect method; and therefore, after two years, Felix being recalled from his government to answer for his mal-administration, and justly apprehensive that the rulers of Judea would swell the number of his accusers, he endeavoured to gain their favour by leaving St. Paul bound in the hands of Portius Festus, his successor.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Acts 24:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/acts-24.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology