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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 1. Ananias went down to Cæsarea, where Paul was then confined. This is the sense of the Greek.
Ver. 2. By thy provision. Lit. thy providence, by thy prudence. Wi. — Though Felix governed Judea in the arbitrary manner mentioned in the note on the last chapter, he had nevertheless done some good, which is recorded to his honour. See Joseph. Ant. xx. 6. 11. and Bel. Jud. xii. But had this not been the case, a public orator seldom scruples to gain over the man by praises, whose judgment he seeks. S. Paul was not ignorant of this rule of rhetoric, though he refuses to imitate Tertullus by pressing flattery into his service, as we observe below, v. 10. and Acts xxii. 1. 3. See also the exordiums of Cicero pro Roscio, pro Milone, &c. &c.
Ver. 5. A pestilent, or pernicious, and pestiferous man; Greek, one that is a plague. — Author, or ringleader of the seditious sect, &c. Wi.
Ver. 8. From him thou . . . mayest know. By the construction it is doubtful whether from Lysias, or from S. Paul. Wi. — Behold them here ready to support the heads of accusation I have brought forward, and which are moreover so self-evident, that the party accused will not dare to deny them. V.
Ver. 10. In the apostle's speech we observe nothing of the flattery, which characterized the opposite party. It would have been unworthy of his just cause. Calmet. — He observes he had been governor of the province many (eight or nine) years, to insinuate, that had he been a seditious man, as he was accused, Felix would not have failed to have heard of his misdeeds before. Menochius.
Ver. 11. Since I went up from Cæsarea to Jerusalem, not to profane the temple, or excite sedition, but to adore the one true God.
Ver. 12. In Jerusalem there was only one temple, nor could there, by an express command of the Almighty, be any more throughout the whole kingdom. (Perhaps the Almighty may have wished by this singular circumstance to have impressed more forcibly on their minds the absolute necessity of unity in religion. A.) But there were many synagogues, which were a kind of schools, in which the law was publicly taught, and the people assembled to read the Scriptures, and to pray. Calmet.
Ver. 14. The Father, and my God. In the Greek, the Lord of our fathers. Wi. — According to the way. The Protestant version has sect for way; but in this, as well as in many other points, the original is not attended to, in which we read kata thn odon, as in our translation.
Ver. 22. Felix . . . knowing most certainly of this way. That is, knew even by Lysias's letter, that Paul and the Christians were not guilty of any thing against Cæsar, but only accused of disputes relating to the Jewish law. Wi.
Ver. 25. Felix being terrified, &c. When S. Paul spoke of God's judgments, and hinted at such sins as his conscience reproached him with. Wi. — Whoever knows the infamous character of Felix and Drusilla, will not fail to admire the apostle's fortitude, that he durst speak (as formerly the Baptist did to Herod,) to them on the subject of justice and chastity. Suetonius says of the former, that he married three queens. Drusilla, one of the three, was Herod's daughter, and wife of Aziz, king of Emesa, whom he had seduced by the enchantments of a Jew of Cyprus. Hence it is not surprising he was terrified at the thoughts of a future judgment, when expounded by a S. Paul, whose zeal to make these wicked people enter into themselves, hurried him beyond the bounds of worldly prudence, but made such impression on his hearers, as to disarm the indignation his discourse was calculated to produce. See Josephus, ut supra. Tirinus, Calmet, and others. Next to the worship of God, the Christian religion requires of its followers, in the first instance, justice and chastity. Felix was unjust, avaricious, cruel; and both Felix and Drusilla were guilty of adultery. Such was the wickedness of the Gentiles in those degenerate days, that fornication was not looked upon as a crime. How much had they deviated from the excellent maxim we read and admire, inter Socraticas disputationes! omnem virtutem niti continentia, et incontinentem nihil a bellua brutissima differre; that all virtue was built upon continency, and that the incontinent man differed in nothing from the most brute beast. — At a convenient time I will send for thee. Such is the expedient Felix has recourse to, to silence the voice of conscience: and in this how often is he not imitated by the sinner, who dreads nothing so much as to enter into himself. Why put that off to another time, which will never arrive? Or why delay till death a repentance, which like the remorse of the damned, will then be as unavailing, as it will be eternal?