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The APOSTLE PAUL'S noble defence before FESTUS and AGRIPPA.
AGRIPPA said unto Paul, thou art permitted to speak for thyself.-Then Paul stretched forth his hand, and answered for himself.
I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee, concerning all the things whereof I am accused by the Jews: especially, as I know thee to be. expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews. Wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently..
My manner, of life from my youth, which was at the first among my own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; who knew me from the beginning, (if they would testify,) that after the straitest sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; to which promise, our twelve tribes, con tinually serving God day and night, hope to come: and, for this hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth: and this I did in Jerusalem. Many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests: and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I often punished them in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. But as I went to Damascus, with authority and commission from the chief priests, at mid-day, O king! I saw in the way a light from hea
ven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me, and them who journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying, in the Hebrew tongue, Saul. Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, who art thou Lord? And he replied, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appear d to thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister, and a witness both of these things, which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will ap pear to thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; that they may receive for giveness of sins, and inheritance amongst them who are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Whereupon, O king Agrippa! I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision: but showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and through all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes, the Jews caught me in the temple; and went about to kill me. Having, however, obtained help from God, I continue, to this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses declared should come; that Christ should suffer; that he would be the first who should rise from the dead; and that he would show light to the people, and to the Gentiles.
And as he thus spoke for himself, Festus said, with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning hath made thee mad." But he replied, I am not mad, most noble Festus ; but speak the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth these things, before whom I also speak freely. 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 to Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." And Paul replied, "I 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*."
LORD MANSFIELD's speech in the House of Peers, 1770, on the bill for preventing the delays of justice, by claiming the Privilege of Parliament.
WHEN I consider the importance of this bill to your Lordships, I am not surprised it has taken up so much of your consideration. It is a bill, indeed, of no common magnitude; it is no less than to take away from two thirds of the legislative body of this great kingdom, certain privileges and immunities of which they have been long possessed. Perhaps there is no situation the human mind can be placed in, that is so difficult and so trying, as when it is made a judge in its own cause. There is something implanted in the breast of man so attached to self, so tenacious of privileges once obtained, that in such a situation, either to discuss with impartiality, or decide with justice, has ever been held the summit of all human virtue. The bill
How happy was this great apostle, even in the most perilous circumstances! Though under bonds and oppreffion, his mind was free, and raifed above every fear of man. With what dignity and compofure does he defend himself, and the noble cafe he had efpoufed; whilft he difplays the most compaffionate and generous feelings, for ftrangers to the fublime religion by which he was
those who were animated!
now in question puts your lordships in this very predicament; and I have no doubt the wisdom of your decision will convince the world, that where self-interest and justice are in opposite scales, the latter will ever preponderate with your lordships.
Privileges have been granted to legislators in all ages, and in all countries. The practice is founded in wisdom; and indeed, it is peculiarly essential to the constitution of this country, that the members of both houses should be free in their persons, in cases of civil suits for there may come a time when the safety and welfare of this whole empire, may depend upon their attendance in parliament. I am far from advising any measure that would in future endanger the state: but the bill before your lordships has, I am confident, no such tendency; for it expressly secures the persons of members of either house in all civil suits. This being the case, I confess, when I see many noble lords, for whose judgment I have a very great respect, standing up to oppose a bill which is calculated merely to facilitate the recovery of just and legal debts, I am astonished and amazed. They, I doubt not, oppose the bill upon public principles: I would not wish to insinuate, that private interest had the least weight in their determination.
The bill has been frequently proposed, and as frequently has miscarried: but it was always lost in the lower house. Little did I think, when it had passed the Commons, that it possibly could have met with such opposition here. Shall it be said, that you, my lords, the grand council of the nation, the highest judicial and legislative body of the realm, endeavour to evade, by privilege those very laws which you enforce on your fellow-subjects? Forbid it justice!I am sure, were the noble lords as well acquainted as I am, with but half the difficulties and delays occasioned in the courts of justice, under pretence of privilege, they would not, may, they could not, oppose the bill.
I have waited with patience to hear what arguments might be urged against this bill: but I have waited in vain; the truth is, there is no argument that can weigh against it. The justice and expediency of the bill are such as render it self-evident. It is a proposition of that nature, which can neither be weakened by argument, nor entangled with sophistry. Much, indeed, has been said by some noble lords, on the wisdom of our ancestors, and how differently they thought from us. They not only decreed, that privilege should prevent all civil suits from proceeding during the sitting of parliament, but likewise granted protection to the very servants of members. I shall say nothing on the wisdom of our ancestors; it might perhaps appear invidious: that is not necessary in the present case. I shall only say, that the noble lords who flatter themselves with the weight of that reflection, should remember, that as circumstances alter, things themselves should alter. Formerly, it was not so fashionable either for masters or servants to run in debt, as it is at present. Formerly, we were not that great commercial nation we are at present; nor for merly, were merchants and manufacturers members of parliament, as at present. The case is now very different both merchants and manufacturers are, with great propriety, elected members of the lower house. Commerce having thus got into the legislative body of the kingdom, privilege must be done away. We all know, that the very soul and essence of trade are regular payments and sad experience teaches us that there are men, who will not make their regular payments without the compulsive power of the laws. The law then ought to be equally open to all. Any exemption to particular men, or particular ranks of men, is, in a free and commercial country, a solecism of the grossest nature.
But I will not trouble your lordships with arguments for that, which is sufficiently evident without any. shall only say a few words to some noble lords, who.