Imatges de pàgina

man governor showed a disposition to condemn any one to death, to

scourge him, or despoil him of his property, that any private

erson should have liberty to appeal from his jurisdiction to the judgment of the people, that in the mean time he should receive no personal harm from the magistracy till his cause was finally decided by the people." This law, which was instituted at the first establishment ..? 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 rovincial courts to Rome, and, in consequence of such an appeal, #. 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 be: fore me, possessed of the same infatuation, but, being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried thither.” 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 of a soldier. Thus a soldier was :*: to the prisoner, and every where attended and guarded him.” is manner of confinement is 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 1 Dion. Halicarn. lib. v. p. 281. edit. Oxon. 1704. See also p. 334. ejusdem edit. * Appellationes i. urbanorum quidem litigatorum prietori delegavit; as provincialum consularibus viris, ques o cujusque provinciae negotiis repor suisset. Sueton. vit. August, cap. 33. p. 208 edit var. Lug. Bat. 1662. 3 Plinii Epistolae, lib. x. epist. 97. pp. 722, 723. edit. var. 1669. * Quemamodum easlem catena et custodiamet militem copulat, sic ista quae tao oissimilia sunt, pariter incedunt. Senecae Epist. 5, tom. ii. p. 13, Gronovii, 1678. So also Manilius. Vinctorum dominus, sociusque in parte catense, Interdum so. innoxia corpora servat. Lib. V. v. 628,629.

5 In like manner the brave but unfortunate Eumenes addressed a very pathetic *P*ch to his army, with his setterson. Plutarch, Eumenes. Justin, lib. xiv. cap. 8.

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senate. Would to God that not only Thou, but also ALL that hear methis 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 lived 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 this chain, and

being thus coupled to a soldier, was very disgraceful and dishonour

able, and the ignomy of it would naturally occasion the desertion of
former friends and acquaintance. Hence the apostle immortalises
the name of Onesiphorus, and fervently intercedes with God to bless
his family, and to remember him in the day of future recompences
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 of refreshed me, and was
isot 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 merey of the Lord in that day. (2 Tim.
i. 16, 17, 18.
co so 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.
É. xxi. 33.) In this manner was Peter fettered and confined by
erod Agrippa. “The same night Peter was sleeping between two
soldiers, bound with two chains.” (Acts xii. 6.)
“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 know-
ledge, 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 precipi-
tated 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

* Prolatam, sicut erat catenatus, manum ostendit. Justin, lib. xiv, cap. 3. F. 395. Gronovii. t

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. W. “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 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 *. 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. “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

* Opus tessellatum ex parvulis coloris varii lapillis quadratis constabat, quibus solum pavimenti incrustabatur. Varro de re rustica, lib. iii. 1.

* Lithostrota acceptavere sub Sylla. Plinii Hist. Nat. lib. xxxvi. p. 60.

* In expeditionibus tessella at sectilia pavimenta circumtulisse. §onius vita

Horii. cap. 46, edit. variorum Lug. Bat. 1662. Wid. etiam not. Salmasii in


president to inflict capital punishment upon him, at last cried out: If
ihou let this mango, thou art not Caesar's friend; whosoever maketh
himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. Then delivered he him,
o: to W. to be crucified. 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. 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 #. 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 im-
Punity, 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 ?” ... "
VI. Though not strictly a Roman tribunal, yet as its sittings
were permitted by the Roman government, the senate and court of
Areopagus, at Athens, claims a concise notice in this place. This
tribunal is said to have been instituted at Athens, by Cecrops the
sounder 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 the Areopagus as a setter forth of strange gods, because
he preached unto the Athenians, Jesus and Avagraqis or the Resur-
rection. (Acts xvii. 19.) Its sittings were held on the Agelos IIayo;
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
Theseus. 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
otter forth of strange gods, was then surrounded : representing to
the imagination the disciples of Socrates and of Plato, the dogmatist

* See Suetonius, Tacitus, Dion Cassius.
* Philo makes the very same remark concerning Pilate, p. 390 edit. Mangey.

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 Areopagitae 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 goterns 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.”


I. CRIMES AGAINst God.—1. Idolatry.—2. Blasphemy.—3. Falsely Prophesying.—4. Divination.—5. Perjury.—II. CRIMEs AGAINST PARENTS AND RULERs.-III. CRIMEs AGAINst Property — 1. Theft.—2. Man-stealing–3. The Crime of denying anything taken in trust, or found.—4. Regulations concerning DebtorsIV. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERson.—1. JMurder.—2. Homicide3. Corporal Injuries.—4. Crimes of Lust.—5. CRIMEs of MALice.

I. TT 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. Idolatry, that is, the worship of other gods, in the Mosaic 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. *Tootion is wholly an abridgment of Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. iv. pp. 1–312. 3 See pp. 77–81. supra.

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