THE scene is laid in the court of a Roman procurator. The occasion is a public trial. The prosecu- tors are the religious leaders of the Jews. The accused is a man of their own race and creed. Once a true and zealous "son of the Church "- an honoured and trusted disciple of their strictest and most distinguished school - he has lapsed from orthodoxy and joined "the sect of the Nazarenes." Worse than this he is a ringleader of that apostasy, and has gone to such extremes of heresy as to teach that there is salvation for others than the elect people of God. "Away with such a fellow from the earth" had been their cry, "it is not fit that he should live." If only they were free he would receive short shrift at their hands; but he is under the protection of Roman law, and so they have to suffer the indignity of being compelled to bring him before a court of their Roman masters. But on what charge can he be arraigned? The figment that the Nazarene founded a new religion has not yet been invented. Else their task would be an easy one; for the Empire is intol- erant of new religions. And a mere lapse from doctrinal orthodoxy within a religion authorised by the state, no Roman magistrate will deal with. So they have instructed one Tertullus, a professional pleader, to repre- sent them. And Tertullus, skilfully masking the real ground of the accusation, charges the pris- oner with being a disturber of the peace, a public pest, and a man tainted with sedition. Thus it was that his co-religionists described the great Apostle of the Gentiles. Destined to do more to move the world than all the "Caesars" of history, he stood there, an ugly little Jew, not only friendless and hated, but despised. Oriental cruelty had a mode of execution more horrible even than crucifixion. Impaled upon a stake planted in the ground, the victim was left to a lingering death, in the public view. And such is the figure which, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle uses to describe the utter wreck of his physical being. He was "given a stake for the flesh." And thus impaled, as it were, he was "made a spectacle unto the world, o both to angels and to men." His face was battered and scarred, and his muscular frame wrenched and torn, by the stoning at Lystra, when, with arms nerved by religious hate, his cruel enemies had pounded him to death. Till then he had ranked as an orator; but now he articulates with difficulty, and his speech is deemed contemptible.
Sir Robert Anderson KCB (29 May 1841 – 15 November 1918) was the second Assistant Commissioner (Crime) of the London Metropolitan Police, from 1888 to 1901. He was also an intelligence officer, theologian and writer.