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him some wine with incense in it, in order to stupify and intoxicate him. This custom is said to have originated in the precept recorded in Prov. xxxi. 6., which sufficiently explains the reason why wine, mingled with myrrh, was offered to Jesus Christ when on the cross. (Mark xv. 23.) In the latter ages of the Jewish polity, this medicated cup of wine was so generally given before execution, that the word cup is sometimes put in the Scriptures for death itself. Thus, Jesus Christ, in his last prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, said-If it be possible let this cup pass from me. (Matt. xxvi 39. 42.
the chief captain of the Roman garrison at Jerusalem pre- | according to the Talmudical writers, the Jews always gave sented himself to them. (Acts xxii. 28-36.) When they found the apostle in the temple, prejudiced as they were against him in general, and at that time particularly irritated by the mistaken notion that he had polluted the holy place by the introduction of Greeks into it, they raised a tumult, and were on the point of inflicting summary vengeance on Saint Paul. As soon as the chief captain of the Roman soldiers, who resided in a castle adjoining the temple, heard the tumult, he hastened thither. They then ceased beating the apostle, and addressed themselves to him as the chief offiperson there, exclaiming, him. Permission being at length given to Paul to explain the affair in their hearing, they became still more violently enraged; but not daring to do themselves justice, they demanded it nearly in the same manner as the Persian peasants now do, by loud vociferations, tearing off their clothes and throwing up dust into the air.
V. As soon as sentence of condemnation was pronounced 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 instance of prompt execution occurred in the case of Achan; and the same practice obtains to this day, both in Turkey and Persia. In those countries, when the enemies of a great man have sufficient influence to procure a warrant for his death, a capidgi or executioner is despatched with it to the victim, who quietly submits to his fate. Nearly the same method of executing criminals was used by the ancient Jewish princes. It is evidently alluded to in Prov. xvi. 14. Thus Benaiah was the capidgi (to use the modern Turkish term) who was sent by Solomon to put to death Adonijah, a prince of the blood royal (1 Kings ii. 25.), and also Joab the commander-in-chief of the army. (29-31.) John the Baptist was put to death in like manner. (Matt. xiv. 10.) Previously, however, to executing the criminal, it was usual, among the ancient Persians, to cover his head, that he might not behold the face of the sovereign. Thus, the head of Philotas, who had conspired against Alexander the Great, was covered; and in conformity with this practice, the head of Haman was veiled or covered. (Esth. vii. 8.)
So zealous were the Jews for the observance of their law, that they were not ashamed themselves to be the executioners of it, and to punish criminals with their own hands. In stoning persons, the witnesses threw the first stones, agreeably to the enactment of Moses. (Deut. xvii. 7.) Thus, the witnesses against the protomartyr Stephen, after laying down their clothes at the feet of Saul, stoned him (Acts vii. 58, 59.); and to this custom our Saviour alludes, when he said to the Pharisees, who had brought to him a woman who had been taken in adultery,-He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John viii. 7.) As there were no public executioners in the more ancient periods of the Jewish history, it was not unusual for persons of distinguished rank themselves to put the sentence in execution upon offenders. Thus Samuel put Agag to death (1 Sam. xv. 33.); and in like manner Nebuchadnezzar ordered Arioch the commander-in-chief of his forces to destroy the wise men of Babylon, because they could not interpret his dream. (Dan. ii. 24.) Previously, however, to inflicting punishment, it was a custom of the Jews, that the witnesses should lay their hands on the criminal's head. This custom originated in an express precept of God, in the case of one who had blasphemed the name of Jehovah, who was ordered to be brought without the camp: when all, who had heard him, were appointed to lay their hands upon his head, and afterwards the congregation were to stone him. By this action they signified, that the condemned person suffered justly, protesting that, if he were innocent, they desired that his blood might fall on their own head. In allusion to this usage, when sentence was pronounced against Jesus Christ, the Jews claimed, His blood be upon us and our children. (Matt. xxvii. 25.) From the above-noticed precept of bringing the criminals without the camp, arose the custom of executing them without the city.
OF THE ROMAN JUDICATURE, MANNER OF TRIAL, TREATMENT
Judicial proceedings of the Romans.-II. Privileges and treatment of Roman citizens, when prisoners.—III. Appeals to the imperial tribunal.-IV. The Roman method of fettering and confining criminals.-V. The Roman tribunals.VI. Other tribunals mentioned in the New Testament :1. The Areopagus at Athens.¬-2. The Assembly at Ephesus. WHEREVER the Romans extended their power, they also carried their laws; and though, as we have already seen, they allowed their conquered subjects to enjoy the free performance of their religious worship, as well as the holding of some inferior courts of judicature, yet in all cases of a capital nature the tribunal of the Roman prefect or president was the last resort. Without his permission, no person could be put to death, at least in Judæa. And as we find numerous allusions in the New Testament to the Roman judicature, manner of trial, treatment of prisoners, and infliction of capital punishment, a brief account of these subjects so intimately connected with the political state of Judæa under the Romans, naturally claims a place in the present sketch.4
I. "The judicial proceedings of the Romans were conducted in a manner worthy the majesty, honour, and magnanimity of that people. Instances, indeed, occur of a most scandalous venality and corruption in Roman judges, and the story of Jugurtha and Verres will stand, a lasting monument of the power of gold to pervert justice and shelter the most atrocious villany. But, in general, in the Roman judicatures, both in the imperial city and in the provinces, justice was administered with impartiality; a fair and honourable trial was permitted; the allegations of the plaintiff and defendant were respectively heard; the merits of the cause weighed and scrutinized with cool unbiassed judgment; and an equitable sentence pronounced. The Roman law, in conformity to the first principal of nature and reason, ordained that no one should be condemned and punished without a previous public trial. This was one of the decrees of the twelve tables: No one shall be condemned before he is tried, Under the Roman government, both in Italy and in the provinces, this universally obtained. After the cause is heard, says Cicero, a man may be acquitted: but, his cause unheard, no one can be condemned. To this excellent custom among the Romans, which the law of nature prescribes, and all the principles of equity, honour, and humanity dictate, there are several allusions in Scripture. We find the holy apostles,
Introduction to the New Testament (a work now of rare occurrence), vol. ii. section xvi. the texts cited being carefully verified and corrected. The subjects of this and the following section are also discussed by Dr. Lardner, Credibility, part i. book i. c. 10. $$ 9--11.; and especially by Calmet in his ex-inserted in his Commentaire Littérale, tom. i. part ii. pp. 387-402., and in elaborate Dissertation sur les supplices dont il est parle dans l'Ecriture, his Dissertations, tom. i. p. 241. et seq. See also Merill's Note Philologica in passionem Christi, and Wyssenbach's Note Nomico-Philologica in passionem, in vol. iii. of Crenius's Fasciculus Opusculorum, pp. 583-691. and Lydius's Florum Sparsio ad Historiam 18mo. Dordrechti, 1672.
of this section are derived from Dr. Harwood's
But in whatever manner the criminal was put to death, 1 Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. pp. 367–369.
2 Ibid. vol. ii. pp. 372-376. Captains Irby and Mangles have related a singular instance of similar rapidity of executing a condemned person. In this case "the sufferer had been appointed to the command of the hadj" (or pilgrims to Mecca), "and had set off from Constantinople. While he was on his return from Mecca, a Khat-sheriffe was despatched from the capital, ordering his head to be cut off, and sent immediately to Constantinople. His sentence was carried into execution before he reached DamasTravels in Egypt, &c. p. 257. H
3 Quintus Curtius, lib. vi. c. 8. tom. ii. p. 34. edit. Bipont. VOL. II.
Interfici indemnatum quemcunque hominem, etiam xii Tabularum decreta vetuerant. Fragment. xii. Tab. tit. 27.
6 Causâ cognità multi possunt absolvi: incognitâ quidem condemnari nemo potest. In Verrem, lib. i. c. 25. "Producing the laws which ordain that no person shall suffer death without a legal trial." Dion. Halicarn. lib. iii. p. 153. Hudson. "He did not allow them to inflict death on any citizen uncondemned." Ibid. lib. vi. p. 370. lib. vii. p. 428. edit. Hudson, Oxon. 1704. "They thought proper to call him to justice, as it is contrary to the Roman customs to condemn any one to death without a previous trial." Appian. Bell. Civil. lib. iii. p. 906. Tollii, 1670. "Did not you miserably murder Lentulus and his associates, without their being either judged or con victed?" Dion Cassius, lib. 46. p. 463. Reimar,
who did not, like frantic enthusiasts and visionaries, court | Roman citizen. In consequence of this epistle Felix gave persecution, but embraced every legal method which the the apostle a kind and candid reception: when he read it, he usages and maxims of those times had established to avoid turned to him and said, When your accusers come hither it, and to extricate themselves from calamities and sufferings, before me, I will give your cause an impartial hearing. pleading this privilege, reminding the Romans of it when And accordingly when the high-priest Ananias and the Santhey were going to infringe it, and in a spirited manner up- hedrin went down to Cæsarea with one Tertullus an orator, braiding their persecutors with their violation of it. When whose eloquence they had hired to aggravate the apostle's Lysias, the Roman tribune, ordered Saint Paul to be con- crimes before the procurator, Felix, though a man of merceducted into the castle, and to be examined by scourging, that nary and profligate character, did not depart from the Roman he might learn what he had done that enraged the mob thus honour in this regard; and would not violate the usual proviolently against him, as the soldiers were fastening him cesses of judgment to gratify this body of men, though they with thongs to the pillars to inflict this upon him, Paul said were the most illustrious personages of the province he o the centurion who was appointed to attend and see this ex-governed, by condemning the apostle unheard, and yielding ecuted, Doth the Roman law authorize you to scourge a free- him, poor and friendless as he was, to their fury, merely man of Rome uncondemned, to punish him before a legal upon their impeachment. He allowed the apostle to offer sentence hath been passed upon him? (Acts xxii. 25.) The his vindication and exculpate himself from the charges they centurion hearing this went immediately to the tribune, bid- had alleged against him; and was so far satisfied with his ding him be cautious how he acted upon the present occa- apology as to give orders for him to be treated as a prisoner sion, for the prisoner was a Roman citizen! The tribune at large, and for all his friends to have free access to him; upon this information went to him, and said, Tell me the disappointing those who thirsted for his blood, and drawing truth, Are you a freeman of Rome? He answered in the af-down upon himself the relentless indignation of the Jews, firmative. It cost me an immense sum, said the tribune, to who, undoubtedly, from such a disappointment, would be purchase this privilege. But I was the son of a freeman, instigated to lay all his crimes and oppressions before the said the apostle. Immediately, therefore, those who were emperor. ordered to examine him by torture desisted; and the tribune was extremely alarmed that he had bound a Roman citizen. In reference to this also, when Paul and Silas were treated with the last indignity at Philippi by the multitude abetted by the magistrates, were beaten with rods, thrown into the public gaol, and their feet fastened in the stocks, the next morning upon the magistrates sending their lictors to the prison with orders to the keeper for the two men whom they had the day before so shamefully and cruelly treated to be dismissed, Paul turned to the messengers and said, We are Roman citizens. Your magistrates have ordered us to be publicly scourged without a legal trial. They have thrown us into a dungeon. And would they now have us steal away in a silent and clandestine manner? No! Let them come in person and conduct us out themselves. The lictors returned and reported this answer to the governors, who were greatly alarmed and terrified when they understood they were Roman citizens. Accordingly, they went in person to the gaol, addressed them with great civility, and begged them In the most respectful terms that they would quietly leave the town. (Acts xvi. 37.)3
The same strict honour, in observing the usual forms and processes of the Roman tribunal, appears in Festus the successor of Felix. Upon his entrance into his province, when the leading men among the Jews waited upon him to congratulate him upon his accession, and took that opportunity to inveigh with great bitterness and virulence against the apostle, soliciting it as a favour (Acts xxv. 3.) that he would send him to Jerusalem, designing, as it afterwards appeared, had he complied with their request, to have hired ruffians to murder him on the road, Festus told them, that it was his will that Paul should remain i custody at Cæsarea; but that any persons whom they fixed upon might go down along with him, and produce at his tribunal what they had to allege against the prisoner. This was worthy the Roman honour and spirit. How importunate and urgent the priests and principal magistrates of Jerusalem, when Festus was in this capital, were with him to pass sentence of death upon the apostle, merely upon their impeachment, and upon the atrocious crimes with which they loaded him, appears from what the procurator himself told king Agrippa and Bernice upon a visit they paid him at Cæsarea, to congratu late him upon his new government. I have here, said he, a man whom my predecessor left in custody when he quitted this province. During a short visit I paid to Jerusalem, upon my arrival I was solicited by the priests and principal magistrates to pass sentence of death upon him. To these urgent entreaties I replied, that it was not customary for the Romans to gratify (xxv. 16.) any man with the death of another; that the laws of Rome enacted that he who is accused should have his accuser face to face; and have license to answer for himself concerning the crimes laid against him."
"Here we cannot but remark the distinguished humanity and honour which St. Paul experienced from the tribune Lysais. His whole conduct towards the apostle was worthy a Roman. This most generous and worthy officer rescued him from the sanguinary fury of the mob, who had seized the apostle, shut the temple doors, and were in a tumultuous manner dragging him away instantly to shed his blood. Afterwards, also, when above forty Jews associated and mutually bound themselves by the most solemn adjurations, that they would neither eat nor drink 'till they had assassinated him; when the tribune was informed of this conspiracy, II. "It appears from numberless passages in the classics to secure the person of the apostle from the determined fury that a Roman citizen could not legally be scourged. This of the Jews, he immediately gave orders for seventy horse- was deemed to the last degree dishonourable, the most daring men and two hundred spearmen to escort the prisoner to indignity and insult upon the Roman name. A Roman citiCæsarea, where the procurator resided; writing a letter, in zen, judges! exclaims Cicero in his oration against Verres, which he informed the president of the vindictive rage ofwas publicly beaten with rods in the forum of Messina: the Jews against the prisoner, whom he had snatched from during this public dishonour, no groan, no other expression their violence, and whom he afterwards discovered to be a of the unhappy wretch was heard amidst the cruelties he suffered, and the sound of the strokes that were inflicted, but this, I am a Roman citizen! By this declaration that he was a Roman citizen, he fondly imagined that he should put an end to the ignominy and cruel usage to which he was now subjected."
Dion Cassius confirms what the tribune here asserts, that this honour was purchased at a very high price. "The freedom of Rome formerly," says the historian, "could only be purchased for a large sum;" but he observes, "that in the reign of Claudius, when Messalina and his freedmen had the management of every thing, this honour became so cheap that any person might buy it for a little broken glass." Dion Cassius, lib. lx. p. 955. Reimar.
"But I was free born." Probably, St. Paul's family was honoured with the freedom of Rome for engaging in Cæsar's party, and distinguishing themselves in his cause during the civil wars. Appian informs us, that "He made the Laodiceans and Tarsensians free, and exempted them from taxes; and those of the Tarsensians who had been sold for slaves, he or dered by an edict to be released from servitude." Appian de Bell. Civil. p. 1077. Tollii. 1670.
3 It was deemed a great aggravation of any injury by the Roman law, that it was done in public before the people. The Philippian magistrates, therefore, conscious of the iniquity which they had committed, and of the punishment to which they were liable, might well be afraid: for Paul and Silas had their option, either to bring a civil action against them, or to indict them criminally for the injury which they had inflicted on the apostle and his companion. In either of which cases, had they been cast, they would be rendered infamous, and incapable of holding any magisterial office, and subjected to several other legal incapacities, besides the punishment they were to undergo at the discretion of the judge, which in so atrocious an mjury would not have been small. Biscoe on the Acts, vol. i. pp. 352-354. Acts xxiii. 27. "I have since learned that he is a Roman citizen."
The orator afterwards breaks forth into this
Acts xxiii. 35. Literally, "Hear it through; give the whole of it an attentive examination." Similar expressions occur in Polybius, lib. i. pp. 39. 170. 187. lib iv. p. 328. edit. Hanov. 1619. See also Dion. Halicarn. lib. x. p. 304. 6 Felix per omne sævitium ac libidinem, jus regium servili ingenio exercuit. Tacitus Hist. lib. v. p. 397. edit. Dublin. Felix cuncta maleficia impune ratus. Anual. xii. 54. He hoped also that money, &c. Acts xxiv. 26. "Senators," saith Piso, "the law ordains that he who is accused should hear his accusation, and after having offered his defence, to wait the sen tence of the judges." Appian, Bell. Civil. lib. iii. p. 911. Tollii, Amst. 1670. "He said, that what he now attempted to do was the last tyranny and despotism, that the same person should be both accuser and judge, and should arbitrarily dictate the degree of punishment." Dion. Halicarn. lib. vii. p. 428. Hudson.
Facinus est vinciri civem Romanum: scelus verberari. In Verrem, lib.
9 Cædebatur virgis in medio foro Messina civis Romanus, judices; cum interea nullus gemitus, nulla vox alia istius miseri, inter dolorem crepituinque plagarum audiebatur, nisi hæc, Civis Romanus sum. Hac se commenioratione civitatis omnia verbera depulsurum cruciatumque a corpore dejecturum arbitrabatur. Cicero in Verrem, lib. v. 162.
pathetic prosopopoeia: O transporting name of liberty! O the distinguished privilege of Roman freedom! O Porcian and Sempronian laws! Are things at last come to this wretched state, that a Roman citizen, in a Roman province, in the most public and open manner, should be beaten with ods!" The historian Appian, after relating how Marcellus, to express his scorn and contempt of Cæsar, seized a person of some distinction, to whom Cæsar had given his freedom, and beat him with rods, bidding him go and show Cæsar the marks of the scourges he had received, observes, that this was an indignity which is never inflicted upon a Roman citizen for any enormity whatever.2 Agreeably to this custom, which also obtained at Athens, in the Adelphi of Terence, one of the persons of the drama says to another, If you continue to be troublesome and impertinent, you shall be instantly seized and dragged within, and there you shall be torn and mangled with scourges within an inch of your life. What! a freeman scourged, replies Sannio. To this privilege of Roman citizens, whose freedom exempted them from this indignity and dishonour, there are several references in Scripture. St. Paul pleads this immunity. He said to the centurion, as they were fastening him to the pillar with thongs to inflict upon him this punishment, Is it lawful for you to scourge a Roman ? So also at Philippi he told the messengers of the magistrates, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison, and now do they thrust us out privately; no, verily, but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the sergeants told these words to the magistrates, and they feared when they heard that they were Romans, and were conscious they had used them with a contumely and dishonour which subjected them to the just displeasure of the Roman senate.
another singular privilege which a freeman of Rome enjoyed. The sacred historian relates, that after Festus had stayed about ten days in the metropolis, he went down to Cæsarea, and the next day after his arrival he summoned a court, ascended the bench, and ordered Paul to be brought before him. Here, as he stood at the bar, his prosecutors from Jerusalem with great virulence charged him with many heinous and atrocious crimes, none of which, upon strict examination, they were able to prove against him. For in his apology he publicly declared, in the most solemn terms, that they could not convict him of any one instance of a criminal behaviour, either to the law, the temple, or to the Roman emperor. Festus then, being (Acts xxv. 9.) desirous to ingratiate himself with the Jews, asked him if he was willing his cause should be tried at Jerusalem. To this proposal Paul replied, I am now before Cæsar's tribunal, where my cause ought to be impartially canvassed and decided. You yourself are conscious that I have been guilty of nothing criminal against my countrymen. If I have injured them, if I have perpetrated any capital crime, I submit without reluctance to capítal punishment. But if all the charges they have now brought against me are proved to be absolutely false and groundless, no person can condemn me to death merely to gratify them. I appeal to the emperor. Festus, after deliberating with the Roman council, turned and said to him, Have you appealed to the emperor? You shall then go and be judged by the emperor. From the above-mentioned particulars, which are corroborated by several other similar incidents in the Roman history, it appears that a Roman citizen could by appeal remove his cause out of the provinces to Rome. It was,' says Mr. Melmoth, one of the privileges of a Roman citizen, secured by the Sempronian law, that he could not be capitally convicted but by the suffrage of the people, which seems to have been still so far in force as to make it necessary to send the person here mentioned to Rome." We are informed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus that the ever-memorable Poplicola enacted this law, that if any Roman governor showed a disposition to condemn any one to death, to scourge him, or despoil him of his property, that any private person should have liberty to appeal from his jurisdiction to the judgment of the people, that in the mean time he should rewas finally decided by the people.10 This law, which was instituted at the first establishment of the_commonwealth, continued in force under the emperors. If a freeman of Rome, in any of the provinces, deemed himself and his cause to be treated by the president with dishonour and injustice, he could by appeal remove it to Rome to the determination of the emperor. Suetonius informs us that Augustus delegated a number of consular persons at Rome to receive the appeals of people in the provinces, and that he appointed one person to superintend the affairs of each province. A passage in Pliny's epistle confirms this right and privilege which Roman freemen enjoyed of appealing from provincial courts to Rome, and, in consequence of such an appeal, being removed, as St. Paul was, to the capital, to take their trial in the supreme court of judicature. In that celebrated epistle to Trajan, who desired to be informed concerning the principles and conduct of the Christians, he thus writes: "The method I have observed towards those who have been brought before me as Christians is this-I interrogated them whether they were Christians: if they confessed, I repeated the question twice again, adding threats at the same time, when, if they still persevered, I ordered them to be immediately punished; for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction. There were others, also, brought before me, possessed with the same infatuation, but, being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried thither.'12
"Neither was it lawful for a Roman citizen to be bound, to be examined by the question, or to be the subject of any ingenious and cruel arts of tormenting to extort a confession from him. These punishments were deemed servile; torture was not exercised but upon slaves; freemen were privileged from this inhumanity and ignominy. It is a flagrant enormity, says Cicero, for a Roman citizen to be bound: not meaning by that, that it was unlawful for a Roman to be fettered and imprisoned; but it was in the highest degree unjustifiable and illegal 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, particularizing the miseries of Claudius's government, observes, that Messalina and Narcissus, and the rest of his freemen, seized the occasion that now offered to perpetrate the last enormities. Among other excesses they employed slaves and freedmen to be informers against their masters. They put to the torture several persons of the first distinction, not merely foreigners, but citizens; not only of the common people, but some even of the Roman knights and senators: though Claudius, when he first entered upon his government, had bound himself under a solemn oath that he would never apply the torture to any Roman citizen. These two passages from Cicero and Dion illustrate what St. Luke relates concerning Lysias the tribune. This officer, not knowing the dignity of his prisoner, had, in violation of this privilege of Roman citizens, given orders for the apostle to be bound, and examined by scourging. (Acts xxii. 24, 25.) When he was afterwards informed by his centurion that St. Paul was a freeman of Rome, the sacred historian observes, that upon receiving this intelligence, the chief captain was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. (xxii. 29.)
III. "We find that St. Paul, when he discovered that Festus his judge was disposed to gratify the Jews, appealed from a provincial court to the imperial tribunal; transferred his cause, by appeal, from the jurisdiction of the Roman procurator to the decision of the emperor. This appears to be
O nomen dulce liberatis! O jus eximium nostræ civitatis! O lex Porcia, legesque Sempronia! Huccine tandem omnia recederunt, ut civis Rouanus in provincia populi Romani, delegatis in foro virgis cæderetur. Ibid. 163.
2 Appian. Bell. Civil. lib. ii. p. 731. Tollii.
Nam si molestus pergis esse, jam intro abripiere, atque ibi
4 Acts xxii. 25. The consul Marcellus scourged with rods one of the magistrates of that place who came to Rome, declaring he inflicted this as a Dublic token that he was no Roman citizen. Plutarch, in Cæsar. p. 1324. edit. Gr. Stephen.
Facinus est vinciri civem Romanum. Cicero in Verr. lib. v. 170.
IV. "The Roman method of fettering and confining criminals was singular. One end of a chain, that was of commodious length, was fixed about the right arm of the prisoner, and the other end was fastened to the left arm of a soldier. Thus a soldier was coupled to the prisoner, and every where
Mr. Melmoth's note on the 97th letter in the 10th book of Pliny's Epistles, vol. ii. p. 672. 3d edit. 10 Dion. Halicarn. lib. v. p. 281. edit. Oxon. 1704. See also p. 334. ejusdem
11 Appellationes quotannis urbanorum quidem litigatorum prætori delega negotiis reposuisset. Sueton. vit. August. cap. 33. p. 208. edit. var. Lug. Bat 1662.
Q. Gallium prætorem, servilem in modum torsit. Sueton. in vita Au-vit; ac provincialium consularibus viris, quos singulos cujusque provincia gusti, cap. 27. p. 192. Variorum Edit.
See the last note but one.
• Dion Cassius, lib. lx. p. 953. Reimar.
12 Plinii Epistolæ, lib. x. epist. 97. pp. 722, 723, ed. var. 1669.
attended and guarded him.
This manner of confinement is | was first introduced among the Romans by Sylla. Their great men were so fond of this magnificence, and thought it so essential to the elegance and splendour of life, that they appear to have carried with them these splendid materials to form and compose these elaborate floors, for their tents, for their houses, and for their tribunals, wherever they removed from a depraved and most wretchedly vitiated taste, at last deeming them a necessary and indispensable furniture, not merely a vain and proud display of grandeur and greatness. With this variegated pavement, composed of pieces of marble or stone thus disposed and combined, the evangelist informs us, that the floor of Pilate's tribunal was ornamented. (John xix. 13.) Such an embellishment of a tribunal was only a proud ostentatious display to the world of Italian greatness and magnificence, calculated less for real use than to strike the beholders with an idea of the boundless prodigality and extravagance of the Romans.
frequently mentioned, and there are many beautiful allusions to it in the Roman writers. Thus was St. Paul confined. Fettered in this manner, he delivered his apology before Festus, king Agrippa, and Bernice. And it was this circumstance that occasioned one of the most pathetic and affecting strokes of true oratory that ever was displayed either in the Grecian or Roman senate. Would to God that not only THOU, but also ALL that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds! What a prodigious effect must this striking conclusion, and the sight of the irons held up to enforce it, make upon the minds of the audience! During the two years that St. Paul was a prisoner at large, and ived at Rome in his own hired house, he was subjected to this confinement. Paul was suffered to dwell with a soldier that kept him. The circumstance of publicly wearing his chain, and being thus coupled to a soldier, was very disgraceful and dishonourable, and the ignominy of it would naturally occasion the desertion of former friends and acquaintance. Hence the apostle immortalizes the name of Onesiphorus, and fervently intercedes with God to bless his family, and to remember him in the day of future recompense, for a rare instance of distinguished fidelity and affection to him when all had turned away from him and forsaken him. The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he oft refreshed me, and was not ASHAMED of my CHAIN, but immediately upon his arrival in Rome he sought me out very diligently till he found me! The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day. (2 Tim. i. 16, 17, 18.)
"Sometimes the prisoner was fastened to two soldiers, one on each side, wearing a chain both on his right and left hand. St. Paul at first was thus confined. When the tribune received him from the hands of the Jews, he commanded him to be bound with two chains. (Acts xxi. 33.) In this manner was Peter fettered and confined by Herod Agrippa. The same night Peter was sleeping between two diers, bound with TWO CHAINS. (Acts xii. 6.)
"Having mentioned Pilate the Roman procurator, we cannot close this section without remarking the efforts he repeatedly made, when he sat in judgment upon Jesus, to save him from the determined fury of the Jews. Five successive attempts are enumerated by commentators and critics. He had the fullest conviction of his innocence-that it was merely through malice, and a virulence which nothing could placate, that they demanded his execution. Yet though the governor for a long time resisted all their united clamour and importunity, and, conscious that he had done nothing worthy of death, steadily refused to pronounce the sentence of condemnation upon him; yet one argument, which in a menacing manner they addressed to him, at last totally shook his firmness, and induced him to yield to their sanguinary purpose. The Jews, after aggravating his guilt, and employing every expedient in vain to influence the president to inflict capital punishment upon him, at last cried out: If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a sol-king, speaketh against Cæsar. Upon hearing this, all his former firmness instantly vanished; he could stem the torrent of popular fury no longer to this he yielded, and immediately ordered his execution. Then delivered he him, therefore, to them to be crucified. This conduct of Pilate arose from his perfect knowledge of the character and temper of his master Tiberius, who was a gloomy old tyrant, day and night incessantly haunted with the fiends of jealousy and suspicion-who would never forgive any innovations in his government, but punished the authors and abettors of them with inexorable death. Pilate, therefore, hearing the Jews reiterating this with menaces, that if he let him go he was not Caesar's friend-knowing the jealousy and cruelty of Tiberius, and fearing that the disappointed rage of the Jews would instigate them to accuse him to the old tyrant, as abetting and suffering a person to escape with impunity, who had assumed the regal title and character in one of his provinces, was alarmed for his own safety; and rather than draw down upon his devoted head the resentment of the sovereign, who would never forgive or forget an injury, real or imaginary, contrary to his own judgment and clear persuasion of the innocence of Jesus, sentenced him to be crucified."
"It further appears, that if the soldiers, who were thus appointed to guard criminals, and to whom they were chained, suffered the prisoner to escape, they were punished with death. Thus, when Peter was delivered out of prison by a miracle, the next morning we read there was no small confusion among the soldiers who were appointed his guards, and to whom he had been chained, what was become of Peter.
"Whence it appears that his deliverance had been effected, and his shackles had been miraculously unloosed, without their knowledge, when they were sunk in repose. Upon which Herod, after making a fruitless search for him, ordered all those who had been entrusted with the custody of Peter to be executed. (Acts xii. 19.) In like manner also keepers of prisons were punished with death, if the confined made their escape. This is evident from what is related concerning the imprisonment of Paul and Silas at Philippi. These, after their bodies were mangled with scourges, were precipitated into the public dungeon, and their feet were made fast In the stocks. At midnight these good men prayed and sang praises to God in these circumstances; when suddenly a dreadful earthquake shook the whole prison to its foundation, all the doors in an instant flew open, and the shackles of all the prisoners dropped to the ground. This violent concussion awakening the keeper, when he saw the doors of the prison wide open, he drew his sword, and was going to plunge it in his bosom, concluding that all the prisoners had escaped. In that crisis Paul called to him with a loud voice, entreating him not to lay violent hands upon himself, assuring him all the prisoners were safe.
V. "The Roman tribunal, if we may judge of it from what is related concerning Pilate's, was erected on a raised stage, the floor of which was embellished with a tesselated pavement. This consisted of little square pieces of marble, or of stones of various colours, which were disposed and arranged with great art and elegance, to form a chequered and pleasing appearance. Pliny informs us that this refinement 1. Quemadmodum eadem catena et custodiam et militem copulat, sic ista quæ tam dissimilia sunt, pariter incedunt. Senecæ Epist. 5. tom. ii. p. 13. Gronovii, 1672. So also Manilius.
Vinctorum dominus, sociusque in parte catenæ,
Interdum pænis innoxia corpora servat.-Lib. V. v. 628, 629.
2 In like manner the brave but unfortunate Eumenes addressed a very pathetic speech to his army, with his fetters on. Plutarch, Eumenes. Justin, lib. xiv. cap. 3.
3 Prolatam, sicut erat catenatus, manum ostendit. Justin, lib. xiv. cap.3. p. 395. Gronovii.
Opus tessellatum ex parvulis coloris varii lapillis quadratis constabat, quibus solum pavimenti incrustabatur. Varro de re rustica, lib. iii. 1.
VI. As the Romans allowed the inhabitants of conquered countries to retain their local tribunals, we find incidental mention made in the New Testament of provincial courts of justice. Two of these are of sufficient importance to claim a distinct notice in this place; viz. 1. The Areopagus, at Athens; and, 2. The Assembly, at Ephesus.
1. The tribunal of the AREOPAGUS is said to have been instituted at Athens, by Cecrops the founder of that city, and was celebrated for the strict equity of its decisions. Among the various causes of which it took cognizance, were matters of religion, the consecration of new gods, erection of temples and altars, and the introduction of new ceremonies into divine worship. On this account St. Paul was brought before the tribunal of Areopagus as a setter forth of strange gods, because he preached unto the Athenians, Jesus and Avors, or the Resurrection. (Acts xvii. 18.) Its sittings were held on the Apacs Tayos, or Hill of Mars (whence its name was derived), which is situated in the midst of the city of Athens, opposite to the Acropolis or citadel, and is an insulated precipitous rock, broken towards the south, and on the north side sloping gently down to the temple of Thesus.
s Lithostrota acceptavere sub Sylla. Plinii Hist. Nat. lib. xxxvi. p. 60. In expeditionibus tessella at sectilia pavimenta circuitulisse. Suetonius vita J. Cæsaris. cap. 46. p. 74. edit. variorum Lug. Bat. 1662. Vid. etiain not. Salmasii in loc. See Suetonius, Tacitus, Dion Cassius.
Philo makes the very same remark concerning Pilate, p. 390. edit. Mangey.
Its appearance is thus described by Dr. E. D. Clarke :-" It is not possible to conceive a situation of greater peril, or one more calculated to prove the sincerity of a preacher, than that in which the apostle was here placed: and the truth of this, perhaps, will never be better felt than by a spectator, who from this eminence actually beholds the monuments of pagan pomp and superstition, by which he, whom the Athenians considered as the setter forth of strange gods, was then surrounded representing to the imagination the disciples of Socrates and of Plato, the dogmatist of the porch, and the sceptic of the academy, addressed by a poor and lowly man, who, rude in speech, without the enticing words of man's wisdom, enjoined precepts contrary to their taste, and very hostile to their prejudices. One of the peculiar privileges of the Areopagitæ seems to have been set at defiance by the zeal of Saint Paul on this occasion; namely, that of inflicting extreme and exemplary punishment upon any person, who should slight the celebration of the holy mysteries, or blaspheme the gods of Greece. We ascended to the summit by means of steps cut in the natural stone. The sublime scene here exhibited, is so striking, that a brief description of it may prove how truly it offers to us a commentary upon the apostle's words, as they were delivered upon the spot. He stood upon the top of the rock, and beneath the canopy of heaven. Before him there was spread a glorious prospect of mountains, islands, seas, and skies: behind him towered the lofty Acropolis, crowned with all its marble temples. Thus every object, whether in the face of nature, or among the works of art, conspired to elevate the mind, and to fill it with reverence towards that BEING, who made and governs the world (Acts xvii. 24. 28.); who sitteth in that light which no mortal eye can approach, and yet is nigh unto the meanest of his creatures; in whom we live and move and have our being."
2. The ASSEMBLY mentioned in Acts xix. 39. is, most probably, that belonging to the district of Ephesus, Asia Minor being divided into several districts, each of which had its appropriate legal assembly. Some of these are referred to by Cicero,2 and many others are mentioned by Pliny, particularly this of Ephesus. The pμμars or chief officer says, that if Demetrius had any claim of property to make, there were civil courts in which he might sue: if he had crimes to object to any person, the proconsul was there, to take cognizance of the charge: but, if he had complaints of a political nature to prefer, or had any thing to say which might redound to the honour of their goddess, there was the usual legal assembly of the district belonging to Ephesus, in which it ought to be proposed. The regular periods of such assemblies, it appears, were three or four times a month; although they were convoked extraordinarily for the despatch of any pressing business.4
ON THE CRIMINAL LAW OF THE JEWS.
1. IDOLATRY, that is, the worship of other gods, in the Mosaic law occupies the first place in the list of crimes. It was, indeed, a crime not merely against God, but also against a fundamental law of the state, and, consequently, was a species of high-treason, which was capitally punished. This crime consisted not in ideas and opinions, but in the overt act of worshipping other gods. An Israelite, therefore, was guilty of idolatry :
(1.) When he actually worshipped other gods besides JEHOVAH, the only true God. This was, properly speaking, the state crime just noticed; and it is, at the same time, the greatest of all offences against sound reason and common sense. This crime was prohibited in the first of the ten commandments. (Exod. xx. 3.)
(2.) By worshipping images, whether of the true God under a visible form, to which the Israelites were but too prone (Exod. xxxii. 4, 5. Judg. xvii. 3. xviii. 4-6. 14-17. 30, 31. vi. 25–33. viii. 24–27. 1 Kings xii. 26-31.), or of the images of the gods of the Gentiles, of which we have so many instances in the sacred history. All image-worship whatever is expressly forbidden in Exod. xx. 4, 5.: and a curse is denounced against it in Deut. xxvii. 15.
(3.) By prostration before, or adoration of, such images, or of any thing else revered as a god, such as the sun, moon, and stars. Exod. xx. 5. xxxiv. 14. Deut. iv. 19.) This prostration consisted in falling down on the knees, and at the same time touching the ground with the forehead. (4.) By having altars or groves dedicated to idols, or images thereof; all which the Mosaic law required to be utterly destroyed (Exod. xxxiv. 13. Deut. vii. 5. xii. 3.); and the Israelites were prohibited, by Deut. vii. 25, 26., from keeping, or even bringing into their houses, the gold and silver that had been upon any image, lest it should prove u snare, and lead them astray: because, having been once consecrated to an idol-god (considering the then prevalent superstition as to the reality of such deities), some idea of its sanctity, or some dread of it, might still have continued, and have thus been the means of propagating idolatry afresh among their children.
(5.) By offering sacrifices to idols, which was expressly forbidden in Lev. xvii. 1-7., especially human victims, the sacrifices of which (it is well known), prevailed to a frightful extent. Parents immolated their offspring: this horrid practice was introduced among the Israelites, from the Canaanites, and is repeatedly reprobated by the prophets in the most pointed manner. The offering of human victims was prohibited in Lev. xviii. 21. compared with 2, 3. 24— 30. xx. 1-5. Deut. xii. 30. and xviii. 10.
(6.) By eating of offerings made to idols, made by other people, who invited them to their offering-feasts. Though no 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. When a whole city became guilty of idolatry, it was considered in a state of rebellion against the government, and 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 GOD:-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. ČRIMES 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 thing 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 guilt upon themselves by their idolatry, God reserved to himself the infliction of the punishments denounced against that national crime; which consisted in wars, famines, and other national judgments, and (when the measure of their iniquity was completed) in the destruction of their polity, and the transportation of the people as slaves into other lands. (Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxviii. xxix. xxxii.) For the crime of seducing others to the worship of strange gods, but more especially where a pretended prophet (who might often naturally anticipate what would come to pass) uttered predictions tending to lead the people into idolatry, the appointed order to prevent the barbarous immolation of infants, Moses punishment was stoning to death. (Deut. xiii. 2-12.) In denounced the punishment of stoning upon those who offered human sacrifices; which the bystanders might instantly execute upon the delinquent when caught in the act, without any judicial inquiry whatever. (Lev. xx. 2.)
I. IT has been shown in a preceding chapter, that the maintenance of the worship of the only true God was a fundamental object of the Mosaic polity. The government of the Israelites being a Theocracy, that is, one in which the supreme legislative power was vested in the Almighty, who was regarded as their king, it was to be expected that, in a state confessedly religious, crimes against the Supreme Majesty of Jehovah should occupy a primary place in the statutes given by Moses to that people. Accordingly,
1 Dr. Clarke's Travels, vol. vi. pp. 263–265. See also Mr. Dodwell's Classical and Topographical Tour through Greece, vol. i. pp. 361, 362. 2 Cicero, Epist. ad Atticum, lib. v. ep. 20.
Antiqua, vol. ii. p. 127.
3 Pliny, Hist. Nat. lib. v. cc. 25. 29. 32, 33. See also Cellarii Geographia Biscoe on the Acts, vol. i. p. 312., and Bloomfield's Annotations, vol. iv.
This section is wholly an abridgment of Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. iv. pp. 1-312. See p. 41. supra.