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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 25 - Verse 11

Verse 11. For if I be an offender. If I have injured the Jews so as to deserve death. If it can be proved that I have done injury to any one.

I refuse not to die. I have no wish to escape justice. I do not wish to evade the laws, or to take advantage of any circumstances to screen me from just punishment. Paul's whole course showed that this was the noble spirit which actuated him. No true Christian wishes to escape from the laws. He will honour them, and not seek to evade them. But, like other men, he has rights; and he may and should insist that justice should be done.

No man may deliver me unto them. No man shall be allowed to do it. This bold and confident declaration Paul could make, because he knew what the law required, and he knew that Festus would not dare to deliver him up contrary to the law. Boldness is not incompatible with Christianity; and innocence, when its rights are invaded, is always bold. Jesus firmly asserted his rights when on trial, (Joh 18:23;) and no man is under obligation to submit to be trampled on by an unjust tribunal in violation of the laws.

I appeal unto Caesar. I appeal to the Roman emperor, and carry my cause directly before him. By the Valerian, Porcian, and Sempronian laws, it had been enacted, that if any magistrate should be about to beat, or to put to death, any Roman citizen, the accused could appeal to the Roman people, and this appeal carried the cause to Rome. The law was so far changed under the emperors, that the cause should be carried before the emperor, instead of the people. Every citizen had the right of this appeal; and when it was made, the accused was sent to Rome for trial. Thus Pliny (Ep. 10, 97) says, that those Christians who were accused, and who, being Roman citizens, appealed to Csesar, he sent to Rome to be tried. The reason why Paul made this appeal was, that he saw that justice would not be done him by the Roman governor. He had been tried by Felix, and justice had been denied him; and he was detained a prisoner in violation of law, to gratify the Jews. He had now been tried by Festus, and saw that he was pursuing the same course; and he resolved, therefore, to assert his rights, and remove the cause, far from Jerusalem and from the prejudiced men in that city, at once to Rome. It was in this mysterious way that Paul's long-cherished desire to see the Roman church, and to preach the gospel there, was to be gratified. See Barnes "Ro 1:9, and Ro 1:10,11. For this he had prayed long, (Ro 1:10; 15:23,24; ) and now at length this purpose was to be fulfilled. God answers prayer; but it is often in a way which we little anticipate. He so orders the train of events—he so places us amidst a press of circumstances—that the desire is granted in a way which we could never have anticipated, but which shows in the best manner that he is a hearer of prayer.

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