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was ready to die at Jerusalem for the name of Jesus. Why he should have persisted in his resolution, so full of danger; why he should again have thrown himself into the hands of his bitterest enemies, thirsty for his blood, — we do not know, for he had no new truth to declare. But the brethren were forced to yield to his strong will, and all they could do was to provide hiin with a sufficient escort to shield him from ordinary dangers on the way.
The long voyage from Ephesus was prosperous but tedious, and on the last day before the Pentecostal feast, in May, in the year 58 A. D., Paul for the fifth time entered Jerusalem. His meeting with the elders, under the presidency of James, — “the stern, whiterobed, ascetic, mysterious prophet,” — was cold. His personal friends in Jerusalem were few, and his enemies were numerous, powerful, and bitter; for he had not only emancipated himself from the Jewish Law, with all its rites and ceremonies, but had made it of no account in all the churches he had founded. What had he naturally to expect from the zealots for that Law but a renewed persecution ? Even the Jewish Christians gave no thanks for the splendid contribution which Paul had gathered in Asia for the relief of their poor. Nor was there any exultation among them when Paul narrated his successful labors among the Gentiles. They pretended to rejoice, but added, “ You observe, brother, how many myriads of the Jews there are that have embraced the faith, and they are all zealots for the Law. And we are informed that thou teachest all the Jews that are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses.” There was no cordiality among the Jewish elders of the Christian community, and deadly hostility among the unconverted Jews, for they had doubtless heard of Paul's marvellous career.
Jerusalem was then full of strangers, and the Jews of Asia recognizing Paul in the Temple, raised a disturbance, pretending that he was a profaner of the sacred edifice. The crowd of fanatics seized him, dragged him out of the Temple, and set about to kill him. But the Roman authorities interfered, and rescuing hinn from the hands of the infuriated mob, bore him to the castle, the tower of Antonia. When they arrived at the stairs of the tower, Paul begged the tribune to be allowed to speak to the angry and demented crowd. The request was granted, and he made a speech in Hebrew, narrating his early history and conversion ; but when he came to his mission to the Gentiles, the uproar was renewed, the people shouting, “ Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live!” And Paul would have been bound and scourged, had he not proclaimed that he was a Roman citizen.
On the next day the Roman magistrate summoned
the chief priests and the Sanhedrim, to give Paul an opportunity to make his defence in the matter of which he was accused. Ananias the high-priest presided, and the Roman tribune was present at the proceedings, which were tumultuous and angry. Paul seeing that the assembly was made up of Pharisees, Sadducees, and hostile parties, made no elaborate defence, and the tribune dissolved the assembly; but forty of the most hostile and fanatical formed a conspiracy, and took a solemn oath not to eat or drink until they had assassinated him. The plot reached the ears of a nephew of Paul, who revealed it to the tribune. The officer listened attentively to all the details, and at once took his resolution to send Paul to Cæsarea, both to get him out of the hands of the Jews, and to have him judged by the procurator Felix. Accordingly, accompanied by an escort of two hundred sol. diers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen of the guard, Paul was sent by night, secretly, to the Roman capital of the Province. He entered the city in the course of the next day, and was at once led to the presence of the governor.
Felix, as procurator, ruled over Judæa with the power of a king. He had been a freedman of the Emperor Claudius, and was allied by marriage to Claudius himself, -— an ambitious, extortionate, and infamous governor. Felix was obliged to give Paul a fair trial, and after five days the indomitable missionary was confronted with accusers, among whom appeared the high-priest Ananias. They associated with them a lawyer called Tertullus, of oratorical gifts, who conducted the case. The principal charges made against Paul were that he was a public pest and leader of seditions; that he was a ringleader of the Nazarenes (the contemptuous name which the Jews gave to the Christians); and that he had attempted to profane the Temple, which was a capital offence according to the Jewish law. Paul easily refuted these charges, and had Felix been an upright judge he would have dismissed the case; but supposing the apostle to be rich because of the handsome contributions he had brought from Asia Minor for the poor converts at Jerusalem, Felix retained Paul in the hope of a bribe. A few days after, Drusilla, a young woman of great beauty and accomplishments, who had eloped from her husband to be married to Felix, was desirous to hear so famous a man as Paul explain his faith ; and Felix, to gratify her curiosity, summoned his distinguished prisoner to discourse before them. Paul eagerly embraced the opportunity; but instead of explaining the Christian mysteries, he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and retribution, — moral truths which even intelligent heathen accepted, and as to which the consciences of both his hearers must have tingled; indeed, he discoursed with such matchless boldness and power that Felix trembled with fear as he remembered the arts by which he had risen from the condition of a slave, and the extortions and cruelties by which he had become enriched, to say nothing of the lusts and abominations which had disgraced his career. However, he did not set Paul free, but kept him a prisoner for two years, in order to gain favor with the Jews, or to receive a bribe.
Porcius Festus, the successor of Felix, was a just and inflexible man, who arrived at Cæsarea in the year 60 A.D., when Paul was fifty-eight years of age. Immediately the enemies of Paul, especially the Sadducees, renewed their demands to have him again tried ; and Festus, wishing to be just, ordered the second trial. Again Paul defended himself with masterly ability, proving that he had done nothing against the Jewish law or Temple, or against the Roman Emperor. Festus, probably not seeing the aim of the conspirators, was disposed to send Paul back to Jerusalem to be tried by a Jewish court. To prevent this, as at Jerusalem condemnation and death would be certain, Paul, remembering that he was a Roman citizen, fell back on his privilege, and at once appealed to Cæsar himself. The governor, at first surprised by such an unexpected demand, consulted with his assistants for a moment, and then replied : “ Thou hast appealed unto Cæsar,