on Acts 26 :29
I would to God, etc. - Ευξαιμην αν τῳ Θεῳ, και εν ολιγῳ και εν πολλῳ - So fully am I persuaded of the infinite excellence of Christianity, and so truly happy am I in possession of it, that I most ardently wish that not only thou, but this whole council, were not only almost, but altogether, such as I am, these Chains excepted. Thus, while his heart glows with affection for their best interests, he wishes that they might enjoy all his blessings, if possible, without being obliged to bear any cross on the account. His holding up his chain, which was probably now detached from the soldier's arm, and wrapped about his own, must have made a powerful impression on the minds of his audience. Indeed, it appears they could bear the scene no longer; the king was overwhelmed, and rose up instantly, and so did the rest of the council, and went immediately aside; and, after a very short conference among themselves, they unanimously pronounced him innocent; and his last word, των δεσμων, Bonds! and the action with which it was accompanied, had made such a deep impression upon their hearts that they conclude their judgment with that very identical word δεσμων. Would to God, says the apostle, that all who hear me this day were altogether such as I am, except these Bonds! The whole council say - This man hath done nothing worthy of death nor of Bonds! Δεσμων, Bonds, is echoed by them from the last words of the apostle; as we may plainly perceive that, seeing such an innocent and eminent man suffering such indignity had made a deep impression upon their hearts. Alas! why should such a man be in B-O-N-D-S!
on Acts 26 :29
I would to God - I pray to God; I earnestly desire it of God. This shows:
(1) Paul's intense desire that Agrippa, and all who heard him, might be saved.
(2) his steady and constant belief that none but God could incline people to become altogether Christians. Paul knew well that there was nothing that would overcome the reluctance of the human heart to be an entire Christian but the grace and mercy of God. He had addressed to his hearers the convincing arguments of religion, and he now breathed forth his earnest prayer to God that those arguments might be effectual. So prays every faithful minister of the cross.
All that hear me - Festus, and the military and civil officers who had been assembled to hear his defense, Acts 25:23.
Were both almost, and altogether ... - Paul had no higher wish for them than that they might have the faith and consolations which he himself enjoyed. He had so firm a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and had experienced so much of its supports amidst his persecutions and trials, that his highest desire for them was that they might experience the same inexpressibly pure and holy consolations. He well knew that there was neither happiness nor safety in being almost a Christian; and he desired, therefore, that they would give themselves, as he had done, entirely and altogether to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Except these bonds - These chains. This is an exceedingly happy and touching appeal. Probably Paul, when he said this, lifted up his arm with the chain attached to it. His wish was that in all respects they might partake of the effects of the gospel, except those chains. Those he did not wish them to bear. The persecutions, the unjust trials, and the imprisonments which he had been called to suffer in the cause, he did not desire them to endure. True Christians wish others to partake of the full blessings of religion. The trials which they themselves experienced from without in unjust persecutions, ridicule, and slander, they do not wish them to endure. The trials which they themselves experience from an evil heart, from corrupt passions, and from temptations, they do not wish others to experience. But even with these, religion confers infinitely more pure joy than the world can give; and even though others should be called to experience severe trials for their religion, still Christians wish that all should partake of the pure consolations which Christianity alone can furnish in this world and the world to come. Compare Mark 10:30.
on Acts 26 :29
26:29 I would to God - Agrippa had spoke of being a Christian, as a thing wholly in his own power. Paul gently corrects this mistake; intimating, it is the gift and the work of God; that all that hear me - It was modesty in St. Paul, not to apply directly to them all; yet he looks upon them and observes them; were such as I am - Christians indeed; full of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. He speaks from a full sense of his own happiness, and an overflowing love to all.