1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, you are at liberty to make your defence. upon which Paul disengaging his hand from his cloak, thus made his plea. 2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, in having this opportunity of vindicating myself in your presence, from every thing the Jews have laid to my charge: 3 for I know you are fully acquainted with the Jewish customs and controversies: and therefore I beg the indulgence of your attention.
4 what course of life I led at Jerusalem, where I was brought up from my youth among those of my own nation, is known to all the Jews. 5 they can testify, if they will, that I early profess'd myself a Pharisee, a member of the most rigorous sect of our religion: 6 and now I stand arraign'd for expecting the accomplishment of the divine promise made to our fathers, 7 which our twelve tribes by their continual services, night and day, hope themselves to obtain: yet for that hope, king Agrippa, do the Jews now accuse me. 8 you may think it something incredible that God should raise the dead: 9 I myself too once thought myself oblig'd strenuously to oppose the professors of Jesus the Nazarene, as I actually did at Jerusalem, 10 where numbers of converts I threw into jail, by warrant from the high priests: and when they were put to death, I myself was an accomplice. 11 it was I that persecuted them from synagogue to synagogue, and tortured them even to blaspheme: and in the transport of my rage I pursued them to foreign cities.
12 with such views, authorized by commission from the high priests, I was on the road to Damascus: 13 when at mid-day, O king, a light from heaven exceeding the splendor of the sun, broke all around me, and those that accompanied me. 14 we were all struck down: when I heard a voice directed to me pronounce these words in the Hebrew tongue, "Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me? it is dangerous for thee to kick against the goad."
15 I answer'd, who art thou, Lord? he said, "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. 16 but rise upright upon thy feet: for I have appear'd to thee in order to establish you my minister in testifying both what you have seen, and what I shall hereafter show to you, 17 by delivering you from this people, and from the Gentiles to whom I now send thee, to open their eyes, 18 and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and partake of the inheritance of the saints, by believing on me."
19 this heavenly vision, king Agrippa, I presently obey'd: 20 first I warn'd the people of Damascus, of Jerusalem, of all Judea, and then the Gentiles, to repent, and turn to God, by acting suitably to their repentance. 21 for such a conduct the Jews seiz'd upon me in the temple, designing to assassinate me; 22 but by the divine favour I am still preserv'd alive, testifying to the small and to the great nothing but what Moses and the prophets have predicted should happen: "that Christ should suffer: 23 that he should be the first that was to rise from the dead: and that he should enlighten both the Jews and the Gentiles."
24 As he was thus making his defence, Festus broke out into this exclamation, "Paul, you are mad: much study has turn'd your brain."
25 I am not mad, said he, most noble Festus, but what I say, is very sound truth. 26 the king is inform'd of these things, to whom I address myself with the greater confidence, being persuaded he is fully apprized of these matters, that were far from being transacted in private. 27 king Agrippa, don't you give credit to the prophetic writings? I know you do.
29 I pray God, said Paul, that not only you, but all that now hear me, were both almost and altogether such as I am, the circumstance of my bonds excepted.
30 When he had said this, the king, the governour, Bernice, and all that were seated near them, rose up: and being retired, 31 they declar'd to one another, "this man has done nothing that deserves either death or imprisonment:"