Acts 26:26

The point of deepest interest in this scene is Paul's reply to Agrippa. There the nobility of the apostle is conspicuously present. But it is worth while to glance, first, at -

I. THE BLINDNESS OF SIN. (Ver. 24.) It makes mistakes of the greatest magnitude; it looks at the wisdom of God and mistakes it for madness. So it judged incarnate wisdom (John 10:30). So we are to expect it will judge us; for "the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man" (1 Corinthians 2:14), whether he be Greek (1 Corinthians 1:23) or Roman (text). That the whole Gentile world should be redeemed from sin and led by repentance into the kingdom of God by means of a suffering Savior - this, which is the wisdom of God, deep and Divine, seemed to the proud man of the world nothing better than insanity itself. Enlightened by his Spirit, we detect in this the very essence of Divine wisdom. If the eternal Father, looking down upon us, sees his own wise procedure mistaken for and spoken of as madness, may we not be content that our human schemes and plans should sometimes receive the faint approval, or even the direct condemnation, of our fellows?

II. THE CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE UNDER ATTACK. Paul was not abashed by the sudden outbreak of Festus, nor did he give way to unsuitable and injudicious resentment. He replied with calmness and dignity to the insulting charge of his Roman judge (ver. 25). When assailed in this way - when charged with folly, error, fanaticism, or even madness - the best thing we can do is to bear ourselves calmly, retaining mental and moral equability. This is the best way to disprove the allegations that are made.

(1) First let us be well assured of our position, not taking our ground until we have made all necessary inquiries and have every possible guarantee that we are on the side of "truth and soberness;" and then

(2) let us refuse to be disconcerted by abuse, oppose quiet dignity to angry crimination, and show a conscious rectitude which is far superior to violence, whether of word or deed.

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S DESIRE FOR ALL WHOM HE CAN REACH. Paul turned appealingly from Festus to Agrippa. Some points in common there must be, he felt, between himself and his royal countryman (vers. 26, 27). The king put off the prisoner with a courtly sarcasm (ver. 28); but the apostle was not thus to be silenced. In noble language and with touching allusion to the fetters he wore, he expressed the earnest wish that, whether with ease or with difficulty, not only the king himself, but all who heard him, might be "such as he was." A pure and passionate desire filled his soul that all whom he could anywise affect might be elevated and blessed by that ennobling truth which the risen Savior had revealed to him. This holy earnestness of his may remind us:

1. That the truth of the gospel is that which can be indefinitely extended without making any man the poorer. If a man divides his gold among the poor, be loses it himself, but he who imparts heavenly wisdom, Christian influence, gains as he gives.

2. That it is the tendency of Christian truth to make its possessor desire to extend it. The contemplation of a God of love, the study of the life and spirit of the self-sacrificing Savior, the purity of the joy which it inspires in the human heart, - these are fitted to produce in the soul a holy yearning to extend to others the blessedness we enjoy.

3. That it becomes us to put forth all our talents to diffuse the knowledge and to spread the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The thought of millions of souls starving that might feed on the bread of life should animate us with keen desire and scud us with elastic step in the path of deliverance and of life. - C.

This thing was not done in a corner.
I. WHAT? Christianity in —

1. Its history.(1) Its preparatory stages — patriarchal, legal, prophetic — were all enacted in the open day, and each bore public testimony to the coming Christ.(2) Its actual advent. The star guided the Magi and the heavenly host, the shepherds to the public inn where Christ was born. His first appearance was amongst a crowd in the temple; He submitted to public baptism, sought the most frequented resorts for His teaching and miracles, died and ascended in public.(3) Its subsequent progress. The apostles went into all the world, and proclaimed their message where men assembled in the largest numbers. So today the preacher and missionary desire the utmost publicity for their message.(4) Its close. The dispensation will be publicly wound up before the whole universe at the Day of Judgment.

2. Its institutions.(1) The Bible is the most public book in the world. It has a circulation which is growing with the increase of the world's population. Every man in his own tongue may now read the wonderful works of God.(2) Christian Churches are the most prominent features in the city street and the country landscape.(3) The weekly Sabbath.(4) The sacraments.

3. Its influence. Much of this in its working is necessarily quiet and unobtrusive, but in its effects it is most manifest.(1) On individual lives. The drunkard converted to sobriety, the thief to honesty, etc., are things not done in a corner.(2) The national life. Take what has been done by Christianity out of English civilisation, and what would be left? Witness our schools, hospitals, etc.

II. WHY? Because —

1. There is nothing to hide. Christianity is no imposture demanding darkness for its manipulation. Being truth itself, it seeks the light. Its challenge at all times and everywhere is, "Come and see."

2. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Goodness courts publicity. Christianity is no evil work of darkness. It were strange indeed if with its sole aim of blessing humanity it should hide itself in a corner.

3. There is nothing to fear. Courage is ever open, whatever adversaries may be in the way. Confident of victory, Christianity threw down the gauntlet to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and has won all along the line.

III. WHEREFORE let your light shine before men. Otherwise —

1. You are out of harmony with the whole genius of Christianity.

2. Christ will publicly discard you at the great day.

(J. W. Burn.)

1. When our Saviour began to publish the gospel, He did not, as deceivers do, vent His new doctrines, or pretend to perform His wonders in places where there was nobody fit to oppose the one or to disprove the other. From the first He appeared publicly, and throughout the whole course of His ministry He addressed Himself constantly to multitudes, and in the most frequented parts — the streets, market places, temple and synagogues — where His life and doctrine and miracles might, by His professed enemies, be narrowly observed and examined.

2. He pitched upon such persons for the subjects of His miraculous cures whose infirmities were notorious and of a long standing; one who had been blind from his very birth; another diseased with an issue of blood twelve years; and a third troubled with a palsy for thirty-eight years; so that there could be no possible confederacy in a case where the person cured was known to have laboured under that distemper some years before our Saviour was born.

3. He so ordered the matter that some of those He healed should immediately repair to the priests, his inveterate enemies, and give them an opportunity of detecting the fraud, if there were any.

4. As He had lived, so He died in public. When buried, He had a public guard set upon His grave, and He arose from thence in the presence of that very guard, and to their astonishment. He appeared afterwards to five hundred brethren at once, to the twelve disciples frequently; ate, drank, and conversed with them for forty days, and was at last taken up into heaven in their sight by a slow and leisurely ascent. In all respects and circumstances the gospel of Christ showed itself to proceed from the great "Father of lights, in whom is no darkness at all." As its Founder once appealed to His disciples, and said, "Handle Me and see," so may the doctrine itself make a like challenge to its enemies. Learn then —

I. HOW GREAT AN ADVANTAGE THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION HATH, ON THIS ACCOUNT, OVER ALL OTHER RELIGIONS. Scarce any religion ever set up in the world without pretending to derive its authority from miracles. But then, either those so-called miracles have been acted confessedly in secret, or, if said to have been done in public, the account came too late to deserve credit. Mahomet boasted of receiving several chapters of his Alcoran from the angel Gabriel; and when miracles were demanded of him he at first (as his followers have done ever since) appealed to the Alcoran itself as to the greatest and most convincing miracle. The Jewish religion was indeed published by God in a very open and solemn manner. Yet still infidelity finds room to object that the truth of this revelation depends upon the testimony of friends only; and that the scene is laid in a place where nobody could be present but the persons concerned. And should any of these persons have been inclined to contradict it they could not, because they all perished in the wilderness ere a correspondence was as yet opened between them and any other people. Such objections, it is true, are of no weight, laid in the balance with the evidence given for the truth of those facts; yet it is some advantage to the proof of gospel miracles not to be liable even to those exceptions.


III. THE VANITY OF THOSE PRETENCES WHICH ARE MADE TO MIRACLES IN THE ROMISH COMMUNION. A miracle is, in the nature of it, somewhat done for the conversion of infidels (1 Corinthians 14:22). And yet it so happens that Popish miracles are generally done at home, before believers, where there is little or no need of them, or if abroad, at such a convenient distance as not to lie within reach of confutation. In China and Japan these wonder workers may pretend to have done as many miracles as they please, without the fear of a discovery; in Spain and Italy they may venture, now and then, to set up for them where there are so many always ready to favour their pretences and to run into any pious fraud that can be contrived for them. But in heretical countries they are very shy and sparing of their talent this way.


V. HOW IT COMES TO PASS THAT MIRACLES HAVE BEEN SO LONG DISCONTINUED. They were performed at first in so conspicuous, exuberant, and convincing a manner as to render a continual repetition of the same proofs utterly needless (Luke 16:31).

VI. THAT THE MORE ANY DOCTRINE AFFECTS SECRECY AND DECLINES TRIALS OF ANY SORT THE MORE REASON WE HAVE TO SUSPECT AND TO EXAMINE IT (John 4:11). This reflection cannot but put us in mind of those articles of the Roman Catholic faith, by which it stands distinguished from the faith of all other Christians. We are not allowed to doubt of them, or to reason upon them. They are to be received implicitly, without any particular discussion and inquiry; from the great doctrine of infallibility they proceed, and into that they are finally resolved. Now this is the greatest prejudice imaginable against the truth of the doctrines of any Church, or the sincerity of its pretences; for if what it proposeth to us be true and reasonable, why should it decline the examination and judgment of reason? If all be true gold, without alloy, how comes it thus to fly the touchstone? It is the property of error only to skulk and hide its head; but truth, we know, is open and barefaced, like our first parents, in the state of innocence and happiness, naked, but not ashamed.

VII. TO MAKE OUR PRACTICE OF THE GOSPEL, LIKE THE FIRST PROOFS OF IT, CONSPICUOUS AND PLAIN; and endeavour, with all our power, to recommend the doctrine we embrace to the hearts of men, as openly and powerfully by our good. lives and actions as the first planters of it did by their miraculous performances. So shall we best put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and be able, in the most convincing and effectual manner, to make an answer to our blasphemers.

(Bp. Atterbury.)

Agrippa, Bernice, Festus, Paul, Saul
Caesarea, Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea
Boldly, Common, Confidence, Convinced, Corner, Detail, Escape, Escaped, Freedom, Freely, Hidden, Informed, Knoweth, Matters, None, Nothing, Notice, Persuaded, Secret, Speak, Talking
1. Paul, in the presence of Agrippa, declares his life from his childhood;
12. and how miraculously he was converted, and called to his apostleship.
24. Festus charges him with being insane, whereunto he answers modestly.
28. Agrippa is almost persuaded to be a Christian.
31. The whole company pronounces him innocent.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Acts 26:26

     5941   secrecy
     6632   conviction

Acts 26:24-28

     2426   gospel, responses

Acts 26:26-29

     7751   persuasion

April 20 Evening
Who art thou Lord? I am Jesus.--ACTS 26:15. It is I; be not afraid.--When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, . . . thy Saviour. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.--Emmanuel, God with us. Thou shalt
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 26 Evening
The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.--REV. 21:23. I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.--Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

Christ's Remonstrances
'And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why perseoutest thou Me! it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.'--ACTS xxvi. 14. 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?' No. But God can change the skin, because He can change the nature. In this story of the conversion of the Apostle Paul--the most important thing that happened that day--we have an instance how brambles may become vines; tares
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Faith in Christ
'...Faith that is in Me.'--ACTS xxvi. 18. It is commonly said, and so far as the fact is concerned, said truly, that what are called the distinguishing doctrines of Christianity are rather found in the Epistles than in the Gospels. If we wish the clearest statements of the nature and person of Christ, we turn to Paul's Epistle to the Colossians. If we wish the fullest dissertation upon Christ's work as a sacrifice, we go to the Epistle to the Hebrews. If we seek to prove that men are justified by
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

'The Heavenly vision'
'Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.' Acts xxvi. 19. This is Paul's account of the decisive moment in his life on which all his own future, and a great deal of the future of Christianity and of the world, hung. The gracious voice had spoken from heaven, and now everything depended on the answer made in the heart of the man lying there blind and amazed. Will he rise melted by love, and softened into submission, or hardened by resistance to the call of the exalted
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

'Me a Christian!'
'Then Agrlppa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.'--ACTS xxvi 28. This Agrippa was son of the other Herod of whom we hear in the Acts as a persecutor. This one appears from other sources, to have had the vices but not the force of character of his bad race. He was weak and indolent, a mere hanger-on of Rome, to which he owed his kingdom, and to which he stoutly stuck during all the tragedy of the fall of Jerusalem. In position and in character (largely resulting from the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

'Before Governors and Kings'
'Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judsea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 21. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. 22. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Eighteenth Day. Holiness and Faith.
That they may receive remission of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me.'--Acts xxvi. 18. The more we study Scripture in the light of the Holy Spirit, or practise the Christian life in His power, the deeper becomes our conviction of the unique and central place faith has in God's plan of salvation. And we learn, too, to see that it is meet and right that it should be so: the very nature of things demands it. Because God is a Spiritual and Invisible Being, every
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

The Nature of Enthusiasm
"And Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself." Acts 26:24. 1. And so say all the world, the men who know not God, of all that are of Paul's religion: of every one who is so a follower of him as he was of Christ. It is true, there is a sort of religion, nay, and it is called Christianity too, which may be practised without any such Imputation, which is generally allowed to be consistent with common sense, --that is, a religion of form, a round of outward duties, performed in a
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Almost Christian
"Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts 26:28. AND many there are who go thus far: ever since the Christian religion was in the world, there have been many in every age and nation who were almost persuaded to be Christians. But seeing it avails nothing before God to go only thus far, it highly imports us to consider, First. What is implied in being almost, Secondly. What in being altogether, a Christian. I. (I.) 1. Now, in the being almost a Christian is implied, First, heathen honesty.
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus
I intend, this morning, to address myself more particularly to those who fear not the Lord Jesus Christ, but on the contrary, oppose him. I think I may be quite certain that I have none here who go the length of desiring to see the old persecution of the church revived. I do not think there is an Englishman, however much he may hate religion, who would wish to see the stake again in Smithfield, and the burning pile consuming the saints. There may be some who hate them as much, but still not in that
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Acts 26:24-29. Portraits.
[10] "And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. "But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. "For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. "Then Agrippa said
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

The Publisher to the Reader.
There are no sermons I know of any divine or pastor in this kingdom, that have been more frequently printed, or more universally read and esteemed, than the elegant and judicious discourses of Mr. Binning, which were published after his death, at different times, in four small volumes. As there was a great demand for these valuable writings, about twenty six years ago; so these printed copies of them were compared with his own manuscript copy now in my hand, carefully revised, and then printed, in
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Tillotson -- the Reasonableness of a Resurrection
John Tillotson, archbishop of Canterbury, renowned as a preacher, was born at Sowerby, in Yorkshire, in 1630, the son of an ardent Independent. After graduating from Clare College, Cambridge, he began to preach in 1661, in connection with the Presbyterian wing of the Church of England. He, however, submitted to the Act of Uniformity the following year, and in 1663 was inducted into the rectory of Veddington, Suffolk. He was also appointed preacher to Lincoln's Inn, was made prebendary of Canterbury
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Vol. 2

Sanctified by Faith
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."--Heb. 11:6. "That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."--Acts 26:18. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand."--Rom. 5:1, 2. Faith in the blood
J. W. Byers—Sanctification

The Advanced Christian Reminded of the Mercies of God, and Exhorted to the Exercise of Habitual Love to Him, and Joy in Him.
1. A holy joy in God, our privilege as well as our duty.--2. The Christian invited to the exercise of it.--3. By the consideration of temporal mercies.--4. And of spiritual favors.--5. By the views of eternal happiness.--6. And of the mercies of God to others, the living and the dead.--7. The chapter closes with an exhortation to this heavenly exercise. And with an example of the genuine workings of this grateful joy in God. 1. I WOULD now suppose my reader to find, on an examination of his spiritual
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

C. P. C. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 "I send thee to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me."--Acts xxvi. 18. Dark lay the plain, a tangled wilderness, And dark the mountains in the mists afar-- A land of darkness where no order is, Nor moon, nor star-- There was the line of drear confusion drawn, The stones of emptiness lay
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

The Gospel According to Paul
C. P. C. Acts xxvi. 16 From the glory and the gladness, From His secret place; From the rapture of His Presence From the radiance of His Face-- Christ, the Son of God, hath sent me Through the midnight lands; Mine the mighty ordination Of the pierced Hands. Mine the message grand and glorious Strange unsealed surprise-- That the goal is God's Beloved, Christ in Paradise. Hear me, weary men and women, Sinners dead in sin; I am come from heaven to tell you Of the love within; Not alone of God's
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Defending Field Preaching
Between four and five we set out from Roughlee. But observing several parties of men upon the hills and suspecting their design, we put on and passed the lane they were making for before they came. One of our brothers, not riding so fast, was intercepted by them. They immediately knocked him down, and how it was that he got from among them he knew not. Before seven we reached Widdop. The news of what had passed at Barrowford made us all friends. The person in whose house Mr. B. preached, sent and
John Wesley—The Journal of John Wesley

The Word
The third way to escape the wrath and curse of God, and obtain the benefit of redemption by Christ, is the diligent use of ordinances, in particular, the word, sacraments, and prayer.' I begin with the best of these ordinances. The word . . . which effectually worketh in you that believe.' 1 Thess 2:13. What is meant by the word's working effectually? The word of God is said to work effectually when it has the good effect upon us for which it was appointed by God; when it works powerful illumination
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Paul on his Own Conversion
'And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why perseoutest thou Me? 8. And I answered, Who art Thou, Lord? And He said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 9. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me. 10. And I said,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Saving Faith.
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.--ACTS xvi. 30,31. This is one of the most abused texts in the Bible, and one which, perhaps, has been made to do quite as much work for the devil as for God. Let every saint present, ask in faith for the light of the Holy Ghost, while we try rightly to apply it. Let us enquire:-- 1. Who are to believe? 2. When are they to believe? 3. How are
Catherine Booth—Godliness

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