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Volume 28 - Page 135 of 217 Index | Zoom | |
Gallio's brother Seneca, wrote of him:
"No mortal man is so sweet to any single person as he is to all mankind."
And, in another place:
"Even those who love my brother Gallio to the very utmost of their power yet do not
love him enough."
"He was the very flower of pagan courtesy and pagan culture--a Roman with all a
Roman's dignity and seriousness, and yet with all the grace and versatility of a polished
Greek" (Farrar, ref. to Dion Cass. 60: 35).
The Jewish religion was a religio licita--i.e., licensed by the state--and the charge
brought by the Jews against Paul was that he was teaching something contrary to the Law
of Moses, and consequently something unlawful in the eyes of Rome. Gallio, however,
was not moved by these specious charges. Had the charge been one of civil wrong
(adikema), or moral outrage (rhadiourgema), he would have listened to them, but
questions about "words", "names", and "your law"--"Look ye to it", says the truly
disdainful Roman, and drives them from the judgment-seat.
"While we regret this unphilosophic disregard, let us at least do justice to Roman
impartiality. In Gallio, in Lysias, in Felix, in Festus, in the Centurion Julius, even in
Pilate, different as were their degrees of rectitude, we cannot but admire the judicial
insight with which they at once saw through the subterranean injustice and virulent
animosity of the Jews in bringing false charges against innocent men" (Farrar).
Tacitus informs us that Gallio died in the year A.D.65. From Pliny we learn that,
after his consulship, he had a serious illness and went on a sea voyage, and Seneca tells
us that he went on this voyage from Achaia. We also know that Seneca was not in favour
at Rome until A.D.49 when he returned from his exile in Corsica. These facts taken
together place Gallio in Achaia between A.D.52 and 54, which is in harmony with the
chronology of the Acts.
We have already seen that Augustus was unconsciously responsible for the birth of
Christ taking place at Bethlehem, and that Claudius brought about the friendship of Paul
with Aquila and Priscilla. We now see that Gallio, quite unwittingly, was used to fulfil
the Lord's promise to Paul:
"Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace. For I am with thee, and no man
shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there
a year and six months, teaching the Word of God amongst them" (Acts 18: 9-11).
Here for the moment we must stop; we shall hope to deal with the lives of Felix,
Festus and others in subsequent articles.