114 LAW OF PASSIVE OBEDIENCE.
In the last mentioned instance, indeed, the apostle was
charged, by those " that stood by," with reviling God's
high priest, which would have been a notorious breach of
the law, had there not been circumstances of justification
sufficient to vindicate the severity of the apostle's censure :
these, however, were not urged by the apostle himself,
who best knew how to hehave towards those with whom
he had to do. He readily allowed the principle, however,
on which the censure of his accusers was founded, but he
by no means retracted what he had so justly applied to the
person of the unworthy magistrate who sat to judge him ;
neither did he even acknowledge him to be the high priest,
though he was expressly questioned for a supposed misbe¬
havior to that dignitary! His answer was cautiously
worded. He did not say—I know not that this person,
whom I have censured, was the high priest, but—ovk r/Seiv
aSc\$oi, bn t?iv apxupcvs, &c. " I knew not, brethren, that there
is a high priest."* Which answer, though on the first
hearsay it seems to bear some affinity to an excuse or apo¬
logy for what had past, yet in reality, includes a still far¬
ther rebuke ; for it plainly implies that the high priest, in
whose presence the apostle then stood, was (in some re¬
spect or other) deficient or blameable in his deportment as
chief magistrate, either that he did not duly support the
dignity of that sacred and distinguishing public character,
so that he did not seem to be high priest, and of course could
not be known and honored as such; or else that his be-
day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood
by him to smite him on the mouth. Then Paul said unto him, God
shall smite thee, (thou) whited wall; for, sittest thou to judge me
after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the
law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest ?
Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest,
for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy peo¬
ple. Acts xxiii. 1—5.
* The learned Hugh Broughton has construed the text as follows—
" I knew not, brethren, that there was a high priest;" but the
words ovk rileiv, aSc\0oi, 5ti triv ap^iepeus, are more literally rendered
above. Castalio reads it—" Nesciebam, fratres, esse pontificem.
And Heinsius—" Sumrnum esse sacerdotem ignorabam."