« ElőzőTovább »
the chief captain of the Roman garrison at Jerusalem pre- | according to the Talmudical writers, the Jews always gave
OF THE ROMAN JUDICATURE, MANNER OF TRIAL, TREATMENT V. As soon as sentence of condemnation was pronounced
OF PRISONERS, AND OTHER TRIBUNALS MENTIONED IN THE against a person, he was immediately dragged from the court to the place of execution. Thus our Lord was instantly hurried from the presence of Pilate to Calvary: a similar in- 1. Judicial proceedings of the Romans.—II. Privileges and stance of prompt execution occurred in the case of Achan;
treatment of Roman citizens, when prisoners.—III. Appeals and the same practice obtains to this day, both in Turkey and Persia. In those countries, when the enemies of a great
to the imperial tribunal.-IV. The Roman method of fetter
ing and confining criminuls.-Y. The Roman tribunals.man have sufficient influence to procure a warrant for his
VI. Other tribunals mentioned in the New Testament :death, a capidgi or executioner is despatched with it to the victim, who quietly submits to his fate. Nearly the same
1. The Areopagus at Athens.--2. The Assembly at Ephesus. method of executing criminals was used by the ancient Jew- Wherever the Romans extended their power, they also ish princes. It is evidently alluded to in Prov. xvi, 14. carried their laws; and though, as we have already seen, Thus Benaiah was the capidgi (to use the modern Turkish they allowed their conquered subjects to enjoy the free perterm) who was sent by Solomon to put to death Adonijah, formance of their religious worship, as well as the holding of a prince of the blood royal (1 Kings ii. 25.), and also Joab some inferior courts of judicature, yet in all cases of a capital the commander-in-chief of the army. (29—31.) John the nature the tribunal of the Roman prefect or president was the Baptist was put to death in like manner. (Mátt. xiv. 10.) last resort. Without his permission, no person could be put Previously, however, to executing the criminal, it was usual, to death, at least in Judæa. And as we find numerous alluamong the ancient Persians, to cover his head, that he might sions in the New Testament to the Roman judicature, mannot behold the face of the sovereign. Thus, the head of Phi- ner of trial, treatment of prisoners, and infliction of capital lotas, who had conspired against Alexander the Great, was punishment, a brief account of these subjects so intimately covered ;; and in conformity with this practice, the head of connected with the political state of Judæa under the Romans, Haman was veiled or covered. (Esth. vii. 8.)
naturally claims a place in the present sketch.4 So zealous were the Jews for the observance of their law, I. "'The judicial proceedings of the Romans were conthat they were not ashamed themselves to be the execution- ducted in a manner worthy the majesty, honour, and magnaers of it, and to punish criminals with their own hands. In nimity of that people. Instances, indeed, occur of a most stoning persons, the witnesses threw the first stones, agree- scandalous venality and corruption in Roman judges, and the ably to the enactment of Moses. (Deut. xvii. 7.). Thus, the story of Jugurtha and Verres will stand, a lasting monument witnesses against the protomartyr Stephen, after laying down of the power of gold to pervert justice and shelter the most their clothes at the feet of Saul, stoned him (Acts vii. 58, atrocious villany. But, in general, in the Roman judicatures, 59.); and to this custom our Saviour alludes, when he said both in the imperial city and in the provinces, justice was to the Pharisees, who had brought to him a woman who had administered with impartiality; a fair and honourable trial been taken in adultery,—He that is without sin among you, was permitted ; the allegations of the plaintiff and defendant let him first cast a stone at her. (John viii. 7.) As there were were respectively heard; the merits of the cause weighed no public executioners in the more ancient periods of the and scrutinized with cool unbiassed judgment; and an equiJewish history, it was not unusual for persons of distinguished table sentence pronounced. The Roman law, in conformity rank themselves to put the sentence in execution upon offend to the first principal of nature and reason, ordained that no ers. Thus Samuel put Agag to death (1 Sam. xv. 33.); one should be condemned and punished without a previous and in like manner Nebuchadnezzar ordered Arioch the com- public trial. This was one of the decrees of the twelve mander-in-chief of his forces to destroy the wise men of Ba- tables : No one shall be condemned before he is tried. Under bylon, because they could not interpret his dream. (Dan. ii. the Roman government, both in Italy and in the provinces, 21.) Previously, however, to inflicting punishment, it was this universally obtained. After the cause is heard, says a custom of the Jews, that the witnesses should lay their Cicero, a man may be acquitted : but, his cause unheard, no hands on the criminal's head. This custom originated in an one can be condemned.' To this excellent custom among express precept of God, in the case of one who had blas- the Romans, which the law of nature prescribes, and all the phemed the name of Jehovah, who was ordered to be brought principles of equity, honour, and humanity dictate, there are without the camp: when all, who had heard him, were ap- several allusions in Scripture. We find the holy apostles, pointed to lay their hands upon his head, and afterwards the congregation were to stone him. By this action they signi- Introducrion to the New Testament ta work now of rare occurrence), vol. ii.
*The materials of this section are principally derived from Dr. Harwood's fied, that the condemned person suffered justly, protesting section xvi. the texts cited being carefully verified and corrected. The subthat, if he were innocent, they desired that his blood might jects of this and the following section
are also discussed by Dr. Lardner, fall on their own head. In allusion to this usage, when sen- Credibility, part i. book i. c, 10. $$ 9.-11.; and especially by Calmet in his tence was pronounced against Jesus Christ, the Jews ex- inserted in his Commentaire Littérale, tom. i. part ii. pp. 387-402., and in claimed,–His blood be upon us and our children, (Matt. xxvii. his Dissertations, tom. I. p. 211. et seq. See also Merill's Notæ Philologicæ 25.) From the above-noticed precept of bringing the crimi- in passionem Christi, and Wyssenbach's Notæ Nomico-Philologicæ in pas. nals without the camp, arose the custom of executing
them sinem, in vol. iii. Sof Crenius's Fasciculus Opusculorum, pp. 583-691. and
Lydius's Florum without the city.
drechti, 1672 But in whatever manner the criminal was put to death, o Interfici indemnatum quemcunque hominem, etiam xii Tabularum
decreta vetuerant. Fragment. xii. Tab. tit. 27. 1 Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. pp. 367—369.
6 Causâ cognità mulii possunt absolvi: incognitâ quidem condemnari Ibid. vol. ii. pp. 372–376. Captains Irby and Mangles have related nemo potest. In Verrem, lib. i. c. 25. “Producing the laws which ordain a singular instance of similar rapidity of executing a condemned person that no person shall suffer death without a legal trial.” Dion. Halicarn. lib. In this case “the sufferer had been appointed to the command of the iii. p. 153. Hudson. “He did not allow them
to inflict death on any citizen hadj” (or pilgrims to Mecca), " and had set off from Constantinople. While uncondemned.” Ibid. lib. vi. p. 370. lib. vii
. p: 428. edit. Hudson, Oxon. he was on his return from Mecca, a Khat-sheriffe was despatched from the 1704. "They thought proper to call him to justice, as it is contrary to the capital, ordering his head to be cut off, and sent immediately to Constanti. Roman customs to condemn any one to death without a previous trial." nople. His sentence was carried into execution before he reached Damas- Appian. Bell. Civil. lib.iii. p. 906. Tollii, 1670.“ Did not you miserably nuurder cus.” Travels in Egypt, &c. p. 257.
Lentulus and his associates, without their being either judged or con 3 Quintus Curtius, lib. vi. c. 8. tom. ii. p. 34. edit. Bipont.
victed ?" Dion Cassius, lib. 46. p. 463. Reimar, Vol. II.
who did not, like frantic enthusiasts and visionaries, court Roman citizen. In consequence of this epistle Felix gave
o the centurion who was appointed to attend and see this ex- governed, by condemning the apostle unheard, and yielding
Bernice upon a visit they paid him at Cæsarea, to congratu-
suffered, and the sound of the strokes that were inflicted, but · Dion Cassius confirms what the tribune here asserts, that this honour this, I am a Roman citizen! By this declaration that he was says the historian," could only be purchased for a large sum;" but he 6 a Roman citizen, he fondly imagined that he should put an serves, that in the reign of Claudius, when Messalina and his freedinen end to the ignominy and cruel usage to which he was now had the managernent of every thing, this honour became so cheap that any subjected.'9 The orator afterwards breaks forth into this person might buy it for a little broken glass.” Dion Cassius, lib. 1x. p. 955.
$ Acts xxiii. 35. Literally, "Hear it through; give the whole of it an atten. "But I was free born.” Probably, St. Paul's family was honoured with tive examination." Similar expressions occur in Polybius, lib. i. pp. 39. 170. the freedom of Rome for engaging in Cæsar's party, and distinguishing 187. lib iv. p. 328. edit. Hanov. 1619. See also Dion. Halicarn. lib. x. p. 304. themselves in his cause during the civil wars. Appian inforins us, that 6 Felix per omne sævitium ac libidinem, jus regium servili ingenio exer"He made the Laodiceans and Tarsensians free, and exempted them from cuit. Tacitus Hist. lib. v. p. 397. edit. Dublin. Felix cuncta maleficia im. taxes; and those of the Tarsensians who had been sold for slaves, he or. pune ratus. Annal. xii. 54. He hoped also that money, &c. Acts xxiv. 26. dered by an edict
to be released from servitude.” Appian de Bell. Civil. 1 "Senators," saith Piso, "the law ordains that he who is accused should p. 1077. Tollii. 1670.
hear his accusation, and after having offered his defence, to wait the sen. 3 It was deemed a great aggravation of any injury by the Roman law, that tence of the judges." Appian, Bell. Civil. lib. iii. p. 911. Tollii
, Amst. 1670. it was done in public before the people. The Philippian magistrates, there "He said, that what he now attempted to do was the last tyranny and desfore, conscious of the iniquity which they had comunitted, and of the potism, that the same person should be both accuser and judge, and should punishment to which they were liable, might well be afraid : for Paul and arbitrarily dictate the degree of punishment.” Dion. Halicarn. lib. vii. p. Silas had their option, either to bring a civil action against them, or to indict 4:28. Hudson. them criminally for the injury which they had inflicted on the apostle and 8 Facinus est vinciri civem Romanum: scelus verberari. In Verrem, lib. his companion. In either of which cases, had they been cast, they would v. 170. be rendered infamous,
and incapable of holding any magisterial ofice, and s Cædebatur virgis in medio foro Messinæ civis Romanus, judices; cum subjected to several other legal incapacities, besides the punishment ihey interea nulius gemitus, nulla vox alia istins miseri, inter dolorem crepi. were to undergo at the discretion of the judge, which in so atrocious an tunqne plagarum audiebatur, nisi hæc, Civis Romanus
sum. Hac se com. mjury would not have been small. Biscoe on the Acts, vol. i. pp. 352–354. menioratione civitatis omnia verbera depulsurum cruciatumque a corpore
Acts xxiii. 27. “I have since learned that he is a Roman citizen." dejecturum arbitrabatur. Cicero in Verrem, lib. v. 162.
pathetic prosopopeia: "O transporting name of liberty! O another singular privilege which a freeman of Rome enjoyed. the distinguished privilege of Roman freedom! O Porcian The sacred historian relates, that after Festus had stayed and Sempronian laws! Are things at last come to this about ten days in the metropolis, he went down to Cæsarea, wretched state, that a Roman citizen, in a Roman province, and the next day after his arrival he summoned a court, asin the most public and open manner, should be beaten with cended the bench, and ordered Paul to be brought before him.
ods!': The historian Appian, after relating how Marcellus, Here, as he stood at the bar, his prosecutors from Jerusalem to express his scorn and contempt of Cæsar, seized a person with great virulence charged him with many heinous and of some distinction, to whom Cæsar had given his freedom, atrocious crimes, none of which, upon strict examination, and beat him with rods, bidding him go and show Cæsar the they were able to prove against him. For in his apology he marks of the scourges he had received, observes, that this publicly declared, in the most solemn terms, that they could was an indignity which is never inflicted upon a Roman not convict him of any one instance of a criminal behaviour, citizen for any enormity whatever.? Agreeably to this cus- either to the law, the temple, or to the Roman emperor. tom, which also obtained at Athens, in the Adelphi of Terence, Festus then, being (Acts xxv. 9.) desirous to ingratiate himone of the persons of the drama says to another, If you con- self with the Jews, asked him if he was willing his cause tinue to be troublesome and impertinent, you shall be instantly should be tried at Jerusalem. To this proposal Paul replied, seized and dragged within, and there you shall be torn and I am now before Cæsar's tribunal, where my cause ought to mangled with scourges within an inch of your life. What! be impartially canvassed and decided. You yourself are cona freeman scourged, replies Sannio. To this privilege of scious that I have been guilty of nothing criminal against Roman citizens, whose freedom exempted them from this my countrymen. If I have injured them, if I have perpeindignity and dishonour, there are several references in Scrip-trated any capital crime, I submit without reluctance to capital ture. St. Paul pleads this immunity. He said to the cen- punishment. But if all the charges they have now brought turion, as they were fastening him to the pillar with thongs against me are proved to be absolutely false and groundless, to inflict upon him this punishment, Is it lawful for you to no person can condemn me to death merely to gratify them. scourge a Roman ?4 So also at Philippi he told the messen- I appeal to the emperor. Festus, after deliberating with the gers of the magistrates, They have beaten us openly uncon- Roman council, turned and said to him, Have you appealed demned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison, and to the emperor? You shall then go and be judged by the now do they thrust us out privately; no, verily, but let them emperor. From the above-mentioned particulars, which are come themselves and fetch us out. And the sergeants told corroborated by several other similar incidents in the Roman these words to the magistrates, and they feared when they history, it appears that a Roman citizen could by appeal heard that they were Romans, and were conscious they had remove his cause out of the provinces to Rome. It was,' used them with a contumely and dishonour which subjected says Mr. Melmoth, one of the privileges of a Roman citizen, them to the just displeasure of the Roman senate.
secured by the Sempronian law, that he could not be capitally “ Neither was it lawful for a Roman citizen to be bound, convicted but by the suffrage of the people, which seems to be examined by the question, or to be the subject of any to have been still so far in force as to make it necessary ingenious and cruel arts of tormenting to extort a confession to send the person here mentioned to Rome. We are infrom him. These punishments were deemed servile; torture formed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus that the ever-memowas not exercised but upon slaves ;6 freemen were privileged rable Poplicola enacted this law, that if any Roman governor from this inhumanity and ignominy. It is a flagrant enormity, showed a disposition to condemn any one to death, to scourge says Cicero, for a Roman citizen to be bound not meaning him, or despoil him of his property, that any private person by that, that it was unlawful for a Roman to be fettered and should have liberty to appeal' from his jurisdiction to the imprisoned; but it was in the highest degree unjustifiable and judgment of the people, that in the mean time he should reillegal for a freeman of Rome to be bound in order to be tor-ceive no personal harm from the magistracy till his cause tured for the discovery of his crimes. Dion Cassius, parti- was finally decided by the people.10 This law, which was cularizing the miseries of Claudius's government, observes, instituted at the first establishment of the commonwealth, that Messalina and Narcissus, and the rest of his freemen, continued in force under the emperors. If a freeman of seized the occasion that now offered to perpetrate the last Rome, in any of the provinces, deemed himself and his cause enormities. Among other excesses they employed slaves to be treated by the president with dishonour and injustice, and freedmen to be informers against their masters. They he could by appeal remove it to Rome to the determination put to the torture several persons of the first distinction, not of the emperor. Suetonius informs us that Augustus delemerely foreigners, but citizens; not only of the common peo- gated a number of consular persons at Rome to receive the ple, but some even of the Roman knights and senators: appeals of people in the provinces, and that he appointed one though Claudius, when he first entered upon his government, person to superintend the affairs of each province." A passage had bound himself under a solemn oath that he would never in Pliny's epistle confirms this right and privilege which apply the torture to any Roman citizen. These two pas- Roman freemen enjoyed of appealing from provincial courts sages from Cicero and Dion illustrate what St. Luke relates to Rome, and, in consequence of such an appeal, being reconcerning Lysias the tribune. This officer, not knowing moved, as St. Paul was, to the capital, to take their trial in the dignity of his prisoner, had, in violation of this privilege the supreme court of judicature. In that celebrated epistle of Roman citizens, given orders for the apostle to be bound, to Trajan, who desired to be informed concerning the princiand examined by scourging., (Acts xxii
. 21, 25.) When ples and conduct of the Christians, he thus writes : The he was afterwards informed by his centurion that St. Paul method I have observed towards those who have been brought was a freeman of Rome, the sacred historian observes, that before me as Christians is this-I interrogated them whether upon receiving this intelligence, the chief captain was afraid, they were Christians: if they confessed, I repeated the quesafter, he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had tion twice again, adding threats at the same time, when, if bound him. (xxii. 29.)
they still persevered, I ordered them to be immediately III. “We find that St. Paul, when he discovered that punished; for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their Festus his judge was disposed to gratify the Jews, appealed opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy from a provincial court to the imperial tribunal; transferred certainly deserved correction. There were others, also, his cause, by appeal, from the jurisdiction of the Roman pro- brought before ine, possessed with the same infatuation, curator to the decision of the emperor. This appears to be but, being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried
thither.' 1 nomen dulce liberatis! O jus eximium nostræ civitatis ! O lex Porcia, legesque semproniæ! Huccine tandem omnia recederunt, ut civis Ro
IV. “The Roman method of fettering and confining criquanus in provincia populi Romani, delegatis in foro virgis cæderetur. minals was singular. One end of a chain, that was of com2 Appian. Bell. Civil. lib. ii. p. 731. Tollii.
modious length, was fixed about the right arm of the prisoner, • Nam si molestus pergis esse, jam intro abripiere, atque ibi
and the other end was fastened to the left arm of a soldier. Usque ad necem operiere loris. S. loris liber.
Thus a soldier was coupled to the prisoner, and every where Adelphi, act ii. scenal. ver. 28. * Acts xxii. 25. The consul Marcellus scourged with rods one ofthe ma. 3 Mr. Melmoth's note on the 97th letter in the 10th book of Pliny's Episgistrates of that place who came to Rome, declaring he inflicted this as a tles, vol. ii. p. 672. 3d edit. oublic token that he was no Roman citizen. Plutarch, in Cæsar. p. 1324. 10 Dion. Halicarn. lib. v. p. 281. edit. Oxon. 1704. See also p. 331. ejusdem edit. Gr. Stephen. • Facinus est vinciri civem Romanum. Cicero in Verr. lib. v. 170. 11 Appellationes quotannis urbanorum quidem litigatorum prætori delega
6 Q. Galliuin prætorem, servilem in modum torsit. Sueton. in vita Au- vit; ac provincialiuni consularibus viris, quos singulos cujusque provinciæ gusti, cap. 27. p. 192. Variorum Edit.
negotiis reposuisset. Sueton. vit. August. cap. 33. p. 208. edit. var. Lug. Bat
1662. * Dion Cassius, lib. Ix. p. 953. Reimar.
12 Plinii Epistolæ, lib. x. epist. 97. pp. 722, 723. ed. var. 1669.
- See the last note but one.
attended and guarded him. This manner of confinement is | was first introduced among the Romans by Sylla. Their frequently mentioned, and there are many beautiful allusions great men were so fond of this magnificence, and thought it to it in the Roman writers. Thus was St. Paul confined. So essential to the elegance and splendour of life, that they Fettered in this manner, he delivered his apology before appear to have carried with them these splendid materials to Festus, king Agrippa, and Bernice. And it was this circum- form and compose these elaborate floors, for their tents, for stance that occasioned one of the most pathetic and affecting their houses, and for their tribunals, wherever they removedo strokes of true oratory that ever was displayed either in the - from a depraved and most wretchedly vitiated taste, at last Grecian or Roman senate. Would to God that not only Thou, deeming them a necessary and indispensable furniture, not but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and alto- merely a vaiņ and proud display of grandeur and greatness. gether such as I am, except these bonds! What a prodigious With this variegated pavement, composed of pieces of mareffect must this striking conclusion, and the sight of the irons ble or stone thus disposed and combined, the evangelist held upto enforce it, make upon the minds of the audience! informs us, that the floor of Pilate's tribunal was ornamented. During the two years that St. Paul was a prisoner at large, and (John xix. 13.) Such an embellishment of a tribunal was rived at Rome in his own hired house, he was subjected to this only a proud ostentatious display to the world of Italian confinement. Paul was suffered to dwell with a soldier that greatness and magnificence, calculated less for real use than kept him. The circumstance of publicly wearing his chain, to strike the beholders with an idea of the boundless prodiand being thus coupled to a soldier, was very disgraceful and gality and extravagance of the Romans. dishonourable, and the ignominy of it would naturally occa- “Having mentioned Pilate the Roman procurator, we cansion the desertion of former friends and acquaintance. Hence not close this section without remarking the efforts he rethe apostle immortalizes the name of Onesiphorus, and fer- peatedly made, when he sat in judgment upon Jesus, to save vently intercedes with God to bless his family, and to re-him from the determined fury of the Jews. Five successive member him in the day of future recompense, for a rare attempts are enumerated by commentators and critics. He instance of distinguished fidelity and affection to him when had the fullest conviction of his innocence that it was merely all had turned away from him and forsaken him. The Lord through malice, and a virulence which nothing could plagive mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he oft refreshed me, cate, that they demanded his execution. Yet though the and was not ASHAMED of my chain, but immediately upon his governor for a long time resisted all their united clamour and arrival in Rome he sought ine out very diligently till he found importunity, and, conscious that he had done nothing worthy me!, The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the of death, steadily refused to pronounce the sentence of conLord in that day. (2 Tim. i. 16, 17, 18.)
demnation upon him ; yet one argument, which in a menacing “Sometimes the prisoner was fastened to two soldiers, manner they addressed to him, at last totally shook his firmone on each side, wearing a chain both on his right and left ness, and induced him to yield to their sanguinary purpose. hand. St. Paul at first was thus confined. When the tri- The Jews, after aggravating his guilt, and employing every bune received him from the hands of the Jews, he com- expedient in vain to influence the president to inflict capital manded him to be bound with two chains. (Acts xxi. 33.) punishment upon him, at last cried out: If thou let this man In this manner was Peter fettered and confined by Herod go, thou art not Cæsar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a Agrippa. The same night Peter wus slceping between two sol- king, speaketh against Cæsar. Upon hearing this, all his diers, bound with two chains. (Acts xii. 6.)
former firmness instantly vanished; he could stem the torrent " It further appears, that if the soldiers, who were thus ap- of popular fury no longer: to this he yielded, and immediately pointed to guard criminals, and to whom they were chained, ordered his execution. Then delivered he hini, therefore, to them suffered the prisoner to escape, they were punished with to be crucified. This conduct of Pilate arose from his perfect death. Thus, when Peter was delivered out of prison by a knowledge of the character and temper
of his master Tiberius, miracle, the next morning we read there was no small con- who was a gloomy old tyrant, day and night incessantly haunted fusion among the soldiers who were appointed his guards, with the fiends of jealousy and suspicion—who would never and to whom he had been chained, what was become of forgive any innovations in his government, but punished the Peter.
authors and abettors of them with inexorable death.7 Pilate, * Whence it appears that his deliyerance had been effected, therefore, hearing the Jews reiterating this with menaces, and his shackles had been miraculously unloosed, without that if he let him go he was not Cæsar's friend-knowing their knowledge, when they were sunk in repose. Upon the jealousy and cruelty of Tiberius, and fearing that the which Herod, after making a fruitless search for him, ordered disappointed rage of the Jews would instigate them to accuse all those who had been entrusted with the custody of Peter him to the old tyrant, as abetting and suffering a person to to be executed. (Acts xii. 19.) In like manner also keepers escape with impunity, who had assumed the regal title and of prisons were punished with death, if the confined made character in one of his provinces, was alarmed for his own their escape. This is evident from what is related concern- safety; and rather than draw down upon his devoted head ing the imprisonment of Paul and Silas at Philippi. These, the resentment of the sovereign, who would never forgive or after their bodies were mangled with scourges, were precipi- forget an injury, real or imaginary, contrary to his own judgtated into the public dungeon, and their feet were made fast ment and clear persuasion of the innocence of Jesus, senin the stocks." At midnight these good men prayed and sang tenced him to be crucified." praises to God in these circumstances; when suddenly a VI. As the Romans allowed the inhabitants of conquered dreadful earthquake shook the whole prison to its foundation, countries to retain their local tribunals, we find incidental all the doors in an instant flew open, and the shackles of all mention made in the New Testament of provincial courts of the prisoners dropped to the ground. This violent concus- justice. Two of these are of sufficient importance to claim sion awakening the keeper, when he saw the doors of the a distinct notice in this place; viz. 1. The Areopagus, at prison wide open, he drew his sword, and was going to Athens; and, 2. The Assembly, at Ephesus. plunge it in his bosom, concluding that all the prisoners had 1. The tribunal of the AREOPAGUS is said to have been escaped. In that crisis Paul called to him with a loud voice, instituted at Athens, by Cecrops the founder of that city, entreating him not to lay violent hands upon himself, assur- and was celebrated for the strict equity of its decisions. ing him all the prisoners were safe.
Among the various causes of which it took cognizance, were V. "The Roman tribunal, if we may judge of it from matters of religion, the consecration of new gods, erection what is related concerning Pilate's, was erected on a raised of temples and altars, and the introduction of new ceremonies stage, the floor of which was embellished with a tesselated into divine worship. On this account St. Paul was brought pavement. This consisted of little square pieces of marble, before the tribunal of Areopagus as a setter forth of strange or of stones of various colours, which were disposed and ar- gods, because he preached unto the Athenians, Jesus and ranged with great art and elegance, to form a chequered and AVLOT4515, or the Resurrection. (Acts xvii. 18.) Its sittings pleasing appearance. Pliny informs us that this refinement were held on the Apeses IIezes, or Hill of Mars (whence its 1 Quemadmodum eadem catena et custodiam et militem copulat, sic ista
name was derived), which is situated in the midst of the city quæ tam dissimilia sunt, pariter incedunt. Senecæ Epist. 5. tom. ii. p. 13. of Athens, opposite to the Acropolis or citadel, and is an Gronovii, 1672. So also Manilius.
insulated precipitous rock, broken towards the south, and on Vinctornm dominus, sociusque in parte catenæ,
the north side sloping gently down to the temple of Thesus. Interdum
pænis innoxia corpora servat.-Lib. V. v. 628, 629. In like manner the brave but unfortunate Eumenes addressed a very Lithostrota acceptavere sub Sylla. Plinii Hist. Nat. lib. xxxvi. p. 60. pathetic speech to his army, with his fetters on. Plutarch, Eumenes. Jus- 6 In expeditionibus tessella at sectilia pavimenta circuintulisse. Suetoiin, lib. xiv. cap. 3.
nius vita J. Cæsaris. cap. 46. p. 74. edit. variorum Lug. Bat. 1662. Vid. etiain Prolatam, sicut erat catenatus, manum ostendit. Justin, lib. xiv. cap.3. not. Salmasii in loc. p. 395. Gronovii.
+ See Suetonius, Tacitus, Dion Cassius. Opus tessellatum ex parvulis coloris varii lapillis quadratis constabat, 8 Philo makes the very same remark concerning Pilate, p. 390. edit. quibus solum pavimenti incrustabatur. Varro de re rustica, lib. iji. 1. Mangey.
Its appearance is thus described by Dr. E. D. Clarke :-“ It, 1. IDOLATRY, that is, the worship of other gods, in the is not possible to conceive a situation of greater peril, or one Mosaic law occupies the first place in the list of crimes. It more calculated to prove the sincerity of a preacher, than that was, indeed, a crime not merely against God, but also against in which the apostle was here placed : and the truth of this, a fundamental law of the state, and, consequently, was a perhaps, will never be better felt than by a spectator, who species of high-treason, which was capitally punished. This from this eminence actually beholds the monuments of pagan crime consisted not in ideas and opinions, but in the overt pomp and superstition, by which he, whom the Athenians act of worshipping other gods. An Israelite, therefore, was considered as the setter forth of strange gods, was then sur- guilty of idolatry :rounded : representing to the imagination the disciples of (1.) When he actually worshipped other gods besides Socrates and of Plato, the dogmatist of the porch, and the JEHOVAH, the only true God. This was, properly speaking, sceptic of the academy, addressed by a poor and lowly man, the state crime just noticed; and it is, at the same time, the who, rude in speech, without the enticing words of man's wis- greatest of all offences against sound reason and common dom, enjoined precepts contrary to their taste, and very hostile sense. This crime was prohibited in the first of the ten to their prejudices. One of the peculiar privileges of the commandments. (Exod. xx. 3.) Areopagitæ seems to have been set at defiance by the zeal of (2.) By worshipping images, whether of the true God Saint Paul on this occasion; namely, that of inflicting ex- under a visible form, to which the Israelites were but too treme and exemplary punishment upon any person, who prone (Exod. xxxii. 4, 5. Judg. xvii. 3. xviii. 4–6. 14–17. should slight the celebration of the holy mysteries, or blas- 30, 31. vi. 25–33. viii. 24—27. 1 Kings xii. 26–31.), or pheme the gods of Greece. We ascended to the summit by of the images of the gods of the Gentiles, of which we have means of steps cut in the natural stone. The sublime scene so many instances in the sacred history. All image-worship here exhibited, is so striking, that a brief description of it whatever is expressly forbidden in Exod. xx. 4, 5. : and a may prove how truly it offers to us a commentary upon the curse is denounced against it in Deut. xxvii, 15. apostle's words, as they were delivered upon the spot. He (3.) By prostration beforc, or adoration of, such images, or stood upon the top of the rock, and beneath the canopy of of any thing else revered as a god, such as the sun, moon, heaven. Before him there was spread a glorious prospect of and stars. Exod. xx. 5. xxxiv. 14. Deut. iv. 19.) This mountains, islands, seas, and skies: behind him towered the prostration consisted in falling down on the knees, and at lofty Acropolis, crowned with all its marble temples. Thus the same time touching the ground with the forehead. every object, whether in the face of nature, or among the (4.). By having altars or groves dedicated to idols, or images works of art, conspired to elevate the mind, and to fill it thereof; all which the Mosaic law required to be utterly with reverence towards that BEING, who made and governs the destroyed (Exod. xxxiv. 13. Deut. vii. 5. xii. 3.); and the world (Acts xvii. 24. 28.); who sitteth in that light which Israelítes were prohibited, by Deut. vii. 25, 26., from keepno mortal eye can approach, and yet is nigh unto the meanest ing, or even bringing into their houses, the gold and silver of his creatures;. in whom we live and move and have our that had been upon any image, lest it should prove u snare, being."
and lead them astray: because, having been once conse2. The Assembly mentioned in Acts xix. 39. is, most crated to an idol-god (considering the then prevalent superprobably, that belonging to the district of Ephesus, Asia stition as to the reality of such deities), some idea of its Minor being divided into several districts, each of which had sanctity, or some dread of it, might still have continued, and its appropriate legal assembly. Some of these are referred have thus been the means of propagating idolatry afresh to by Cicero,? and many others are mentioned by Pliny, among their children. particularly
this of Ephesus. The fpreu pe LTsus or chief officer (5.) By offering sacrifices to idols, which was expressly forsays, that if Demetrius had any claim of property to make, bidden in Lev. xvii. 1–7., especially human victims, the there were civil courts in which he might sue: if he had sacrifices of which (it is well known), prevailed to a frightcrimes to object to any person, the proconsul was there, to ful extent. Parents immolated their offspring: this horrid take cognizance of the charge : but, if he had complaints of practice was introduced among the Israelites, from the a political nature to prefer, or had any thing to say which Canaanites, and is repeatedly reprobated by the prophets might redound to the honour of their goddess, there was the in the most pointed manner. The offering of human victims usual legal assembly of the district belonging to Ephesus, was prohibited in Lev. xviii. 21. compared with 2, 3. 24– in which it ought to be proposed. The regular periods of 30. xx. 1–5. Deut. xii. 30. and xviii. 10. such assemblies, it appears, were three or four times a month; (6.) By eating of offerings made to idols, made by other peoalthongh they were convoked extraordinarily for the despatch ple, who invited them to their offering-féasts. Though no of any pressing business. 4
special law was enacted against thus attending the festivals of their gods, it is evidently presupposed as unlawful in Exod. xxxiv. 15.
Idolatry was punished by stoning the guilty individual. SECTION III.5
When a whole city became guilty of idolatry, it was con
sidered in a state of rebellion against the government, and ON THE CRIMINAL LAW OF THE JEWS.
was treated according to the laws of war. Its inhabitants
and all their cattle were put to death ; no spoil was made, I. CRIMES AGAINST Gon:-1. Idolatry.—2. Blasphemy.-3. but every thing which it contained was burnt, together with
Falsely prophesying. — 4. Divination. — 5. Perjury. — II. the city itself; nor was it ever allowed to be rebuilt. (Deut. CRIMES AGAINST PARENTS AND MAGISTRATES.—III. CRIMES xiii, 13–18.) This law does not appear to have been parAGAINST PROPERTY :- 1. Theft.—2. Man-stealing.–3. The ticularly enforced; the Israelites (from their proneness to crime of denying any things taken in trust, or found.— adopt the then almost universally prevalent polytheism) in 4. Regulations concerning debtors.-IV. CRIMES AGAINST most cases overlooked the crime of a city that became notoTHE PERSON :- 1. Murder.—2. Homicide.—3. Corporal in- riously idolatrous; whence it happened, that idolatry was juries.-4. Crimes of lust.–V. CRIMES OF Malice. not confined to any one city, but soon overspread the whole
nation. In this case, when the people, as a people, brought I. It has been shown in a preceding chapter, that the guilt upon themselves by their idolatry, God reserved to maintenance of the worship of the only true God was a fun- himself the infliction of the punishments denounced against damental object of the Mosaic polity. The government of that national erime; which consisted in wars, famines, and the Israelites being a Theocracy, that is, one in which the other national judgments, and (when the measure of their supreme legislative power was vested in the Almighty, who iniquity was completed) in the destruction of their polity, was regarded as their king, it was to be expected that, in a and the transportation of the people as slaves into other state confessedly religious, crimes against the Supreme Ma- lands. (Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxviii. xxix. xxxii.) For the crime jesty of Jehovah should occupy a primary place in the statutes of seducing others to the worship of strange gods, but more given by Moses to that people. Accordingly,
especially where pretended prophet (who might often · Pr. Clarke's Travels, vol. vi. pp. 263–25. See also Mr. Dodwell's Clas naturally anticipate what would come to pass) uttered presical and Topographical Tour through Greece, vol. i. pp. 361, 362. dictions tending to lead the people into idolatry, the appointed
Cicero, Epist. ad Atticum, lib. v. ep. 20. • Pliny, Hist. Nat. lib. v. cc. 25. 29. 32, 33. See also Cellarii Geographia order to prevent the barbarous immolation of infants, Moses
punishment was stoning to death. (Deut. xiii. 2–12.) In Antiqua, vol. ii. p. 127. Biscoe on the Acts, vol. i. p. 312., and Bloomfield's Annotations, vol. iv. denounced the punishment of stoning upon those who offered
human sacrifices; which the bystanders might instantly * This section is wholly an abridgment of Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. execute upon the delinquent when caught in the act, without iv. pp. 1-312. • See p. 41. supra.
any judicial inquiry whatever. (Lev. XX. 2.)