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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 25 - Verse 16

Verse 16. It is not the manner, etc. He here states the reasons which he gave to the Jews for not delivering Paul into their hands. In Ac 25:4,5, we have an account of the fact that he would not accede to the requests of the Jews; and he here states that the reason of his refusal was, that it was contrary to the Roman law. Appian, in his Roman history, says, "It is not their custom to condemn men before they are heard." Philo de Preesi. Rom. says the same thing. In Tacitus (Annul. ii.) it is said, "A defendant is not to be prohibited from adducing all things, by which his innocence may be established." It was for this that the equity of the Roman jurisprudence was celebrated throughout the world. We may remark, that it is a subject of sincere gratitude to the God of our nation, that this privilege is enjoyed in the highest perfection in this land. It is the privilege of every man here to be heard; to know the charges against him; to be confronted with the witnesses; to make his defence; and to be tried by the laws, and not by the passions and caprices of men. In this respect our jurisprudence surpasses all that Rome ever enjoyed; and is not inferior to that of the most favoured nation of the earth.

To deliver. To give him up as a favour—carizesyai—to popular clamour and caprice. Yet our Saviour, in violation of the Roman laws, was thus given up by Pilate, Mt 27:18-25.

Have the accusers face to face. That he may know who they are, and hear their accusations, and refute them. Nothing contributes more to justice than this. Tyrants suffer men to be accused without knowing who the accusers are, and without an opportunity of meeting the charges. It is one great principle of modem jurisprudence, that the accused may know the accusers, and be permitted to confront the witnesses, and adduce all the testimony possible in his own defence.

And have license. Greek, "Place of apology," may have the liberty of defending himself.

{++} "manner" "custom"

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