And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard…
Conybeare and Howson give very full details of the journey of the apostle and his company from Malta to Rome; reaching their destination, the following description of the place of imprisonment is given: - "Here was the milliarium aureum, to which the roads of all the provinces converged. All around were the stately buildings, which were raised in the closing years of the republic and by the early emperors. In front was the Capitoline Hill, illustrious long before the invasion of the Cauls. Close on the left, covering that hill whose name is associated in every modern European language with the notion of imperial splendor, were the vast ranges of the palace - 'the house of Caesar' (Philippians 4:22). Here were the household troops quartered in a praetorium attached to the palace. And here Julius gave up his prisoner to Burrus, the praetorian prefect, whose official duty it was to keep in custody all accused persons who were to be tried before the emperor." There we see the great apostle still a prisoner, in bonds for Christ's sake. His bondage was of that kind technically known as a castodia libera, but the prisoner was fastened by a chain to a soldier who kept guard over him. For the apostle's references to his imprisonment, see Philippians 1:7, 13, 17; Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 6:20; Colossians 4:18, etc. The constant changing of the guard no doubt brought all the soldiers under his personal influence, and enabled him to witness for Christ in the palace and in other places.
I. ST. PAUL'S LIMITATIONS.
1. A prisoner.
2. A sufferer.
So all Christian workers still find themselves set under limitations of ability, of time, of means, of physical strength. And the question constantly recurs - Will we be mastered by our limitations, or will we master them in the power of a sanctified will? No man works for God on earth with an absolute and perfect freedom. The limitations are sent to give quality and character to our service. A man's credit lies, not so much in what he does, as in what he overcomes in order that he may do.
II. THE LIMIT OF ST. PAUL'S LIMITATIONS. They bore relation:
1. Only to body; to restraint of bodily action, and to pain of body.
2. Not to mind; since no gyves have ever been framed that can bind this.
3. Not to character; which no sort of earthly persecutions or calamities need affect.
4. Not to will; which can maintain its set purposes, even when it is rendered helpless to carry them out.
5. Not to life-work; which the earnest man will surely carry on somehow. The Christian mastery of bodily disabilities, infirmities, and limitations, may be illustrated from the Apostle Paul, from J. Bunyan the prisoner in Bedford jail, or from such sufferers from bodily infirmity as R. Baxter, R. Hall, H. Martyn, F. W. Robertson, etc. There are martyrs who did not die, whose service for Christ has been noble and heroic.
III. ST. PAUL'S TRUE LIBERTY UNDER SEEMING LIMITATIONS. Illustrate and impress that, with all his bonds and sufferings upon him, he could:
1. Still live Christ.
2. Still work for Christ.
3. Still write of Christ.
4. Still speak for Christ.
5. Still personally "meeten for the inheritance of the saints in the light." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.