Acts 24:25

Robert Hawker

"And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled."–Acts xxiv. 25.

And wherefore did Felix tremble? Did Paul, who was then preaching to him, charge him with any particular sins? It doth not appear that he did. Neither is it probable that a poor prisoner would have been permitted so to have done. But the truth is, God's holy word, by Paul's preaching, and the man's own guilty conscience, which Felix himself applied, so met together, that the conscious sinner could not refrain. The very thought of a future judgment, and a day of account, crossing the mind of a guilty conscience, will be enough to damp the mirth of the stoner in the midst of his jollity. Every man, more or less, must have thoughts now and then of an hereafter. Man, by nature, is a creature compelled to look forward. He is forever proposing to himself prospects that are to arise. Hence, men of the world are sending out into the highways and lanes of the city, to invite men like themselves to kill time, and to gild the passing hour; and while they can do this, fill up the moment, and drown thought, it is all very well. But when the idea of a judgment to come riseth within, and the very apprehension that things will not always be as they now are, starts up; the alarm, like the hand-writing upon the wall of the impious monarch, instantly takes effect, and a trembling follows. Dan. v. 5. My soul! learn hence (and if well learned, it will be a blessed improvement of thine evening's meditation) that outward circumstances, be they what they may, go but a little way to give inward comfort. It matters not what men possess, if those possessions have not the sanctifying blessing of the Lord upon them. Where Jesus is not, there can be no real enjoyment. All the world of creature comforts are not sufficient to afford real happiness. Hence Felix, a governor, trembled, while Paul, a prisoner, rejoiced. Hence, many an aching heart, in a noble house. Shall not such views endear Jesus to thee, my soul, still more? Shall they not make thee very cheery over thy comforts; and make thee truly jealous that thou wilt not allow thyself one enjoyment where Jesus is not first seen in that enjoyment, and where he doth not sweeten and form the whole of it? Make him the sum and substance of all blessedness, and then thou wilt find that godliness indeed is profitable to all things; "it hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come!"