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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.
“ Neither was it lawful for a Roman citizen to be bound 3 to ba 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 ;4 freemen were privileged from this inhumanity and ignominy. It is a flagrant enormity, says Cicero, for a Roman citizen to be bound :5 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 tortured for the discovery of his crimes. Dion Cassius, particularising 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
1 Nam si molestus pergis esse, jam intro abripiere, atque ibi
Usque ad necem operiere loris. S. loris liber! Adelphi, act ii. scena 1. ver. 28. 2. 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 public token that he was no Roman citizen. Plutarch, in Cæsar. p. 1324. edit. Gr. Stephen.
3 Facinus est vinciri civem Romanum. Cicero in Verr. lib. v. 170.4 Q. Gallium prætorem, servilem in modum torsit. Sueton. in vita Augusti, cap. 27. p.
192. variorum. 5 See the last note but one. 6 Dion Cassius, lib. 60. p. 953. Reimar.
concerning Lysias the tribune. This officer, not knowing the dig, nity of his prisoner, had, in violation of this privilege of Roman citizens, given orders for the apostle to be bound and examined with thongs. (Acts xxii. 24, 25.) When he was afterwards informed by his centurion that St. Paul was a freeman of Rome, the sacred his torian 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. (xxi. 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 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 capital 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 instances 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 Harlicarnassus that the ever-memorable Poplicola enacted this law, that if any Ro
1 Mr. Melmoth's note on the 97th letter in the 10th book of Pliny's Epistles, vol. ii, p. 672. 3d. edit.
man 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 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 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 Chris tians is this I interrogated them whether they were Christians; if they confessed, I repeated the question twice again, adding threats at ihe 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 of the same infatuation, but, being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried thither.'3
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 coupled to the prisoner, and every where attended and guarded him. This 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 I Di Malicarn. lib. v. p. 1. edit. Oxon. 1704. See also p. 334. ejusdem edit.
* Appellationes quotannis urbanorum quidem litigatorum prætori delegavit ; ac provincialum consularibus viris, quos singulos cujusque provincie negotiis repo met Sueton vit. August. cap. 83 p. 908 edit. var. Lug. Bat. 1662. * Plan Apistoke, lib x epist. 97. pp. 72, 723. edit. far. 1669.
Quemamodum eadem catena et custodiam et militem copulat, sic ista quæ tam asimilia sunt, pariter incedunt. Senecæ Epist. 5. tom. ü. p. 13. Gronovii, 1672 No ale Mandud
Vineterum dominus, seiusque in parte catene,
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 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 dishonourable, 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 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 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 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 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
1 Prolatam, sicut erat catenatus, manum ostendit. Justin, lib. xiv. cap. 3. 395. Gronovii.
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. o 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 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. “Having mentioned #. 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
1 Opus tessellatum ex parvulis coloris varii lapillis quadratis constabat, quibus solum pavimenti incrustabatur. Varro de re rustica, lib. iii. 1.
2 Lithostrota acceptavere sub Sylla. Plinii Hist. Nat. lib. xxxvi. p. 60.
3. In expeditionibus tessella at sectilia pavimenta circumtulisse. Suetonius vita i. Caesaris, cap. 46. edit. variorum Lug. Bat. 1662. Wid. etiam not. Salmasii in QC.