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THE NEW GOVERNOR.pdf

THE NEW GOVERNOR.pdf

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT




" Now when Festus ivas come into the province, after three days
he ascended from Ccesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and
the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
and desired favor against him, that he would send for him to Jeru
salem, laying wait in the -way to kill hint," etc. ACTS xxv.
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT




" Now when Festus ivas come into the province, after three days
he ascended from Ccesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and
the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
and desired favor against him, that he would send for him to Jeru
salem, laying wait in the -way to kill hint," etc. ACTS xxv.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 03, 2013
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THE NEW GOVERNOR.BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT" Now when Festus ivas come into the province, after three dayshe ascended from Ccesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest andthe chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,and desired favor against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the -way to kill hint," etc. ACTS xxv.THERE was a change of government. Felix was recalled, and Festus succeeded him as procurator of Judaea. The new governor coming from Italy by sea,landed at Caesarea, remained at that port three days,and then went up to Jerusalem. Doubtless he desiredto inform himself regarding the state of parties among4.14 The Church in tJie House.the Jews in the interior that he might.be able moreintelligently to administer the government at Caesarea.We may find an analogous case on a much larger scalein our own administration of India. The new governorarrives at Calcutta, a city of recent origin, built by thedominating power on navigable waters, as the seat of authority. But he will do well, soon after his arrival,to make a progress into the interior to visit Benares,Delhi, Lahore the great capitals of the native races,or the seats of their religious worship. It is there thathe may best learn the disposition of the natives, andthe condition of the country, thus qualifying himself toconduct the machinery of government. A very necessary precaution, as we know to our cost: greasedcartridges may kindle a rebellion.
 
In this spirit Festus visited Jerusalem almost immediately after his arrival in the country, that he mighttake the measure of men and of parties in the Jewishcapital; and so be prepared to adopt such measures asshould be most likely to calm the boding discontentof a subjugated nation. As soon as the governor appeared in Jerusalem, the high priest and his partyapproached him with the view of securing his earagainst Paul. How eagerly they hunt him down ! Itappears as if these men could not sleep soundly onGod s earth as long as the missionary of the crosslived on it. He was cherishing the bud of Judaisminto its natural fruit; but to develop the germ into thefull gospel would cast off these usurpers who sat therein Moses seat: Paul had no mercy either on their greedor their superstitions; therefore they were bent on hisruin. This process has repeated itself down throughthe dark ages. Persecutions have seeded themselvesfrom that generation to this, as surely as thistles andas mischievously.The priest party endeavored to induce the governorto summon Paul to Jerusalem to be tried. They hadtheir own reason for this: they meant to revive thescheme of assassination. Festus, however, was firm:Let the prisoner remain at Cassarea; I shall shortlytake up my residence there; let his accusers comethither to conduct the prosecution against him in theordinary form. It was of the Lord that Festus, thoughThe Neiv Governor. 415unaware, apparently, of their designs, refused to comply with them. Probably his reasons for refusing werevery prosaic and commonplace. He was a stranger;he did not feel at home amongst the Jewish dignitariesin their sacred city. The permanent officers of the
 
government who in such cases must be his councillorswere resident in Caesarea. His legal advisers werethere. No; he will not summon the prisoner to Jerusalem, and begin his judicial career in such adverse circumstances; he will rather go down to the seat of government. With all his officers around him, he willmore firmly plant the first steps of his course in theadministration of the country. When the Supreme hasa purpose to be accomplished, he has instruments athand, whether the elements of nature, or the thoughtsthat spring secretly in human hearts.By arrangement, no doubt, between the prosecutorsand the judge, Paul s case was called on the very dayafter the governor had returned to Caesarea. He gavehis first attention to the case which the Jewish authorities first pressed upon his attention. The court wasconstituted, and the pleadings on both sides heard;but the trial instituted with so much formality cameto nothing. Instead of pronouncing judgment on theevidence, Festus suddenly demanded of the prisoner,whether he would consent to go up to Jerusalem, andthere be tried in his presence.This may have been an honest proposal, foundedon real reasons; for Festus may have discovered gradually as the pleadings went on that the case in its ownnature belonged to the ecclesiastical court of the Sanhedrim, and that he, as a Roman, was not competentto pronounce in it an intelligent judgment. The request, "Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem and there be judged of these things before me ? " may mean that theJewish Sanhedrim should try the cause under the superintendence and in presence of the governor. Butthere is also too good reason to believe that the enemies of Paul had, in the interval, obtained access to thegovernor, and gained him over. At all events, at Caesarea he himself proposed the very measure which atJerusalem he rejected.

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