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Full text of "Notes, critical and explanatory, on the Acts of the apostles"

..iv-T^nV Of P'TTSBU»»»t 



UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH 




-Darlington JMemorial Lit 



rary 




I^OTE S, 



CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY, 



ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



MELANCTHON W. JACOBUS, 

PBOFESSOR OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE, &-c. IN TUB WESTERN THEOLOGICAl 
SEMINARY AT ALLEGUENY CITY, PA. 



NEW YORK: 

EGBERT CARTER & BROTHERS, 

No. 530 BROADWAY. 

1869. 



EntereiJ, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by 

MELANCTHON ^y. JACOBUS, 

Clerk's Office of the District Court of tlie United States for the Souttaern District 
of the State of New York. 



PREFACE. 



IT has been the aim of the Author, which he has cherished and prosecuted 
(ianug several years past, to present, in a single volume, for popular use, an 
Exposition of " The Acts." 

He has been aware of a very general desire, among Bible readers, to study 
this book wi»-h ..he aid of a manual commentary that should embody the most 
valuable results oi investigation. And he has had some reason to believe that 
notwithstanding the important aids lately furnished, there remained something 
to do for the elucioiLaiou of the history on the plan which he has here pursued. 

The method adopted by the Author in the other Historical Books, is much 
more advantageous in laid — namely, to arrange the materials under appropri- 
ate headings throughout, so as to call attention, all along, to the points and 
periods of the history, and then to group together all these headings in a 
Synoptical view. Thus ihei>i is presented to the eye at once a comprehensive 
Outline, by the aid of whicti ihe separate epochs and progressive stages of the 
History may be viewed in theii proper relations. 

For lack of this aid, many cuisury readers have not yet understood that the 
History in this book extends thi-oagh a period of thirty-two, or three years — 
equal in extent to the time coverea by the Gospel History, and embracing the 
second third part of the century, as liio Gospel history embraces the first third. 
Nor is it likely to be eeen, without some such tabular view, how the History 
in "The Acts" covers the times and ciicumstances in which the Epistles of 
Paul were written. For this reason the author has believed an important en' 
would be gained by incorporating, at the lime and place where they belonj^, 
(so nearly as can be ascertained,) the briefest notices of the several Epistles 
of Paul. Indeed this has seemed necessary Tor a proper comprehension of the 
whole. These Letters are indeed among the Acts of the Apostles, and light is 
often thrown upon them by bringing to view their connections with the Narrative. 
Though the chronology of some of them, especially of the Pastoral Epistles, is 
not positively fixed, yet it is quite sufficiently established for this purpose. 
The facts scattered through the Epistles are necessary for a thorough under- 
standing of " the Acts." And as the Epistles are not arranged in their chron- 
ological order, in our common version, and as the Holy Spirit had a plan, 
doubtless, in the very order in which these Inspired Books were put in circu- 
lation, we cannot doubt that the method adopted will conduce greatly to a 
proper understanding of the New Testament. Especially the interest which the 

(iii^ 



iv PREFACE. 

Author's own classes have expressed in this mode of studying the Acts, has 
encouraged him to present it in this popular form. 

As the only Inspired History of the New Testament Church is here given, 
it becomes most deeply interesting and useful to Christians of all time to mark 
the great principles here illustrated — to observe the true nature of Christ's 
Kingdom, as here set forth, and to note the true Idea of the Church, and the 
law of its progress. 

Here is the illustration of those Parables which our Blessed Lord spake 
about the Kingdom of God. Here we see that Christianity is not a develop- 
ment of Judaism any more than a material substance is the development of it8 
shadow ; while yet we find here the occasions and steps by which the true 
Doctrine and Polity of the Christian Church are brought to view by the Spirit 
of God for our teaching in all time. This development within the sphere of 
the Inspired History, is our authority in all the interests of Christ's Kingdom, 
for the extension of the same Church until it shall cover the whole earth. Its 
rapid progress in Apostolic times against all opposition, so that during these 
few years it had reached the chief seats of power and learning, and had 
already, in miniature, made the conquest of the world, stands an indisputable 
proof or its Divine origin. The documents which narrate the facts are amply 
attested. And Christianity has thus a historical basis, independently of any 
questions peculiar to itself. It comes attested to us as a supernatural system — 
its first grand event — the Incarnation, on which indeed it is based — being a 
Miracle, yet a nisTORiCAL fact, as much as any other which is found on 
record in the annals of History. 

The important use of this Book to the Church in all time cannot be over- 
rated. Take, for example, the First Revival. It is the pattern for all Revivals 
of the true Religion. There is still the same command of Christ to " wait for 
the Promise" already given — the Promise of the Father. There must bo 
Prayer — spea^c prayer — concerted prayer — continuous Tprayer— believing prayer 
—pleading the promise. And these are the conditions, not upon which, but in 
which, the blessing comes down. Always the outpouring i-csults directly from 
th° Exaltation and Glorification of the Crucified Jesus. So also the Ilislory of 
Prayer, as found in these Inspired Annals, becomes most interesting and need- 
ful to be studied as a guide for every period of the Church. 

Here we have the Prayer of the Church for the promised Baptism of the 
Spirit, (ch. 1 : 14,) — Prayer as a stated Ordinance of the Church, (ch. 2: 
42,) — Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors, (ch. 4 : 24,) — Prayer for an 
individual, (for Peter in prison, ch. 12 : 5,) — Prayer in the Commissioning of 
Missionaries, (ch. 13 : 3,) &c. 

The History also of the Church's progress — of the Domestic and the For- 
eign work — of the active and successful publishing of the Gospel by the private 
membership — of the appointment of Missionaries to the Heathen, and of their 
efficient operations in such various communities — are so many chapters for every 
ftge of the Church, 



PREFACE. V 

It will be found, also, that the Household Covenant has great prominence in 
the History. 

The Christian Life, also, as here given, is most instructive — in which Benefi- 
tence is a leading feature — no occasional, incidental thing, but a part of tho 
worship and of the fellowship, — incorporated with all the Christian living, and 
with all the service of Christ's House. 

The Author has felt it his duty and privilege to make free use of all the 
helps at hand ; and he hereby acknowledges his indebtedness, in greater or 
less degree, to them all. The most recent work of his learned and excellent 
friend and former Preceptor, Dr. J. Addison Alexander, is one of those nu- 
mei'ous and valuable aids which have been constantly before him. And in addi* 
tion to all the ordinary sources, have been the Author's personal observations of 
Biblical places, which the reader will find embodied in the Notes. Wherever it 
has served to throw light upon the passage, the most literal translation has been 
given of the Greek text, so as to furnish to the common reader the full benefit 
of the original. This has been done in a way to avoid such minute verbal 
criticism as would confuse the continuous reading. Accordingly the para- 
phrase form has frequently been used, as the most direct method, and produ- 
cing the least interruption. 

The Map, which seems so necessary for the study of this Book, is drawn on 
stone from a most recent and well-corrected English copy. The Illustrations 
are abundant and of superior execution, such as will make the volume most 
useful to the many readers in Families, Schools, and Bible Classes, who desire 
the amplest helps. Some of these are from Dr. Thomson's late work, " The 
Land and the Book," verified also by the Auttsrs own observations, in hia 
Travels through the Lands of the Bible. 

And no , in issuin tli s fourth volume of the Ifotes on the New Testament^ 
completing the Historical Books, all thanks are due to God, with the encour- 
aging hope that this may find its way into as many hands, and repay the labor 
by as many testimonies as the "Notes on the Gospels" have done. 

AiiEOHENT, April 15th, 1859. 



INTRODUCTION 

TO THE 

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 



AUTHOR, OBJECT, &c. 

Ths Authorship of this Book is indicated by the introductory address. The 
writer refers to a, former treatise, or Book I. of the History. And we recognize 
at once " the Gospel by Luke," as that to which he refers. That Gospel narra- 
tive was addressed to this same Theophilus, And among the Evangelists, 
Luke was that one whose aim agrees most entirely with the object plainly 
contemplated in this Book IT. of the History. We have seen that he writes 
bis " former treatise " in the spirit of thai world-wide Gospel which Paul preached 
—and that he wrote it under the eye of Paul ; so that it has borne the name of 
the Pauline Gospel. Here, now, he undertakes to show the steps by which 
the good tidings designed for all nations went abroad to the Jews and Gentiles. 
In this Book II. then, we have the great opening Chapters of Church History. 
And, as Steir has well remarked, " Luke shows that a true Church history can bo 
comprehended only out of a true Life of Christ, as the Gospels give it." See 
"Notes on Mark and Luke" — Introduction to Luke. 

The Historian indicates his Object and Plan in the opening verses of this 
Book. He states distinctly that he wrote the Gospel History as a summary 
narrative of the Life of Jesus, until the Ascension. But he notes here at once, 
as important for his present purpose, the Period of the Forty Days. And hero 
he introduces the theme of our Lord's conversation and instructions, as it is 
also his own theme in this Outline History of the Primitive Church, or Kingdom 
of God. 

This Kingdom had been constantly set forth by our Lord to His Disciples— in 
parables and arguments, laboring to show its essential nature, its mode of ex- 
tension, and its predicted progress and consummation. This is that which John 
the Baptist and Jesus Himself announced as at hand— which Christ so variously 
explained, as the seed secretly growing up, (Mark 4: 26;) the mustard seed, 
the leaven, &c. (Matt. 13:33;) as coming not with observation, (Luke 17: 
20;) which is preached since John's time, and every man presseth into it, 
(Luke 16: 16 ;) whose membership is of such as little children, (Matt. 19 : 14;) 
which cannot be entered into exo*pt a man be born again, (John 3:8;) and 
which Christ forewarned the Jews should be taken from them and given to the 
nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, (Matt. 21 : 43.) 

(vii) 



viii INTRODUCTION 

Accordingly Luke tails us that the theme of Christ's instructions to His Dis- 
ciples in his Resurrection flesh, during the Forty Days interval, was still the 
Kingdom of God, (vs. 3.) It was precisely in furtherance of these doctrinal 
instructions that He commsinded them to wait at Jerusalem for the Promise of 
the Father — which, as had been declared by John the Baptist and by Himself 
also, was the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. That was the Ascension Gift which 
resulted immediately from His Glorification, (John 7 : 39,) and this was to result 
at once in the diffusion of the Gospel to representatives of all lands, ch. 2 : 5. 

This, therefore, is the natural Introduction of Luke's History, in which he 
puts forward the vital question of the Disciples to our Lord in regard to ths 
time for restoring again the kingdom to Israel. And the answer of the Great 
Head of the Church is the key to Luke's plan. He relates tub Founding and 
Extension of the Christian Chdkch under the Dispensation of the Holt 
Spirit — according to the promise of Christ, "Ye shall be witnesses unto 
ME BOTH in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto thb 
uttermost part OF the earth," (vs. 8.) 

We see in this light how the Book before us has been regarded by some as & 
History of the Spirit's work, and by others as " the acts " or doings of the Rises 
Lord ; and how others have entitled it " the Gospel of the Holy Ghost." It is, 
indeed, all of these together. 

In accordance with Luke's plan, as above noted, we find this Apostolic History 
dividing itself, naturally, into Three Books. First of all we are introduced to 

Book I. — The Church amono the Jews. 

This appears, originally, as that small membership of the ancient Jewish 
Church which had embraced the doctrine and hope of Christ Jesus, and which 
thus became the Nucleus in the formation of the Christian Church. The " Forty 
Days " period after the Resurrection had been spent by our Lord in naore fully 
expounding to these Disciples of the ancient covenant the true idea of the 
Church in its New dispensation. The preliminaries to the glorious develop- 
ment now at hand, are concerted and continuous Prater, with the transaction 
of such Church business as related to supplying a vacancy in the Apostleship. 
And then we have 

(Part I.) The Founding and Manifestation of the Christian Church, 
(chs. 1, 2.) Here occurs the Advent of the Spirit in the fullness of time, at 
the first Christian Pentecost. The "Gift of Tongues" is a miraculous sign of 
what is to be accomplished among all people — the universal promulgation of 
the Gospel. 

This introduces us, naturally, to the First Things of the New Testament 
economy — the First Preaching of the Apostles. &c., as the step by which we 
are brought to 

(Part II.) The Spread of the Christian Church among the Jews, 
(chs. 2-8.) 

Here we find the Church enjoying her First Great Revival. The First Growth 
•f the Church is now recorded — an accession of three thousand, who "were added" 



INTRODUCTION. ii 

to the original body, and were baptized. The Christian Life is also noted in its 
primitive purity. Then, as a token of power and a means of progress, we find 
recorded the First Miracle, (the lame man, ) in which Peter and John are the act- 
ors — this leading also to the First Hostility, (from the Sadducees, who denied the 
resurrection.) and this led to a still further accession to the membership, so that 
it numbered j^y« thousand. Then, amidst all this increase and prosperity in the 
face of powerful opposition from without, we have narrated to us the First Defec- 
tion from within, growing out of a vain ambition to make a show of large lib- 
erality, and to feign a gift of the Holy Ghost. The opposition of the Sadducees 
increasing, resulted in the First Imprisonment of the Twelve, and their mirac- 
ulous deliverance. But now another calamity, worse than any opposition from 
without, befalls the Infant Church. It is the First Internal Dissension, growing 
out of a complaint raised by the foreign element, (the Greek-speaking Jews,) 
against the native element. Here, already, the native jealousy against any for- 
eign tendencies was displaying itself, and the decision of the Apostles recognized 
the equal right of all in the Church to the alms and care of the brotherhood, 
without any such distinctions. 

This event led to a further development of Church polity in the Instituticn of 
the Deacon's office, and to the appointment of seven men to this work of super- 
vising and supplying the poor. This controversy, however, tended to bring out 
more fully these conflicting elements in the Church. Among the Deacons 
was Stephen, supposed to be a Hellenist, who stood as the bold, uncompromising 
champion of the foreign interest as against the exclusive Jewish doctrine and 
claim. He took the wider view of the Mosaic institutions — that they were 
preparatory to an extension of the Church to all nations ; and that the true 
idea of Judaism was this, that it pointed to a world-wide Church of Jews and 
Gentiles, in which the ^' hraelile indeed" would be recognized as the son of 
wrestling Jacob, a man of prayer, and a believer in Christ Jesus as the true 
King of Israel. This position of Stephen in favor of Church extension, brought 
the conflict to a crisis, and this eloquent, godly witness for the truth, died at the 
hands of the Jewish mob — the First Christian Marttr. This persecution, 
however, extended to the whole Christian Church at Jerusalem, and scattered 
the members everywhere publishing the word. Thus we are brought by very 
natural and distinct steps to a great item in the development — 

Book II. — The Church in its Transition from the Jews to the Gen- 
tiles, (chs. 8, 9.) 

Here we have, first. The Spread of Christianity beyond Jerusalem. This is the 
first great step by which the Church passes from the confines of the Old cove- 
nant, and the Apostles become " witnesses in Samaria." The Apostles are confined 
to Jerusalem for their head-quarters, while the Disciples are scattered abroad. 
But they become witnesses to Christ in all Judea, so that Peter makes a cir- 
3uit of these Churches, (ch. 9 : 31-43.) Meanwhile, however, just at this 
juncture, it occurs that while the Apostles are remaining by Divine direction 
within J« dca, Philip, one of the Deacons, being driven out, preaches the Qosp^ 



X INTRODUCTION. 

in Samaria. This was the mixed people who formed a connecting link between 
the Jews and the Gentiles. They had been shut out from the first evangolizinj; 
arrangement, at the order of Christ Himself. But He afterwards (as we saw 
in John's history, ) proclaimed the good news to the woman of Samaria, and the 
. first fruits were gathered by Him who admits others to reap from His sowing, 
and to rejoice together with Him. (See Appendix, JVotes on John.) Peter and 
John are now sent down to sanction this new movement under Philip. Here at 
Samaria occurs, also, The First Conflict with Paganism, in the case of Simvin 
Magus, who would purchase the gift of God with money. Yet by the agenc 7 
of Philip, specially commissioned by the Holy Ghost, the Gospel goes stiK 
further abroad. The Eunuch of Ethiopia is gathered into the Church and 
baptized, as a first fruit of that uttermost part of the earth. Thus it comes to 
pass, as the Evangelical Prophet had predicted, that there should no longer ba 
any national barriers, (as in case of the Samaritans,) nor any personal 
disabilities, (as of the Eunuch,) such as had obtained under the Old dispensa- 
tion. Isaiah, chs. 55, 56. 

We stand now on the threshhold of that great event — the opening of the door 
of the kingdom to the Gentiles universally. In preparation for this grand de- 
velopment, a new Apostleship is to be raised up, while the original Twelve fulfill 
their office at, and about, the Mother Church at Jerusalem. 

The narrative now takes us back to Jerusalem from the Dispersion, 
and there we behold the youthful Saul of Tarsus, who had officiated at Ste- 
phen's death, now prosecuting his murderous work from Jerusalem to Damas- 
cus, sparing neither men nor women. But he is the man whom God has chosen 
to be a new Apostle. Himself a Hellenist, and thus of the foreign wing of the 
Jews, he is now converted and commissioned as the Aposlle of the Gentiles. 
And now when the historian has pointed us to the Churches of Judea, as having 
rest from persecution, and enjoying the care of the Apostles, he introduces 
us to a new era in the history, 

Book III. (Part I.) — The Spread of Co-ristianity among the devout 
Gentiles, (chs. 10-12.) 

The time has now arrived for the formal opening of the kingdom to the Gentiles 
by the same Apostle of the circumcision who had already opened it to the Jews. 
This new movement, therefore, is quite in harmony with all the foregoing His- 
tory. Peter must have been familiar with the great idea of the Prophets, that 
the Gentiles should be gathered into the Church and kingdom of God. But the 
Jewish view had been that the Gentiles could come in by first becoming prose- 
lytes to Judaism — and so through the Jewish gate. Peter now has a vision at 
Joppa, in which the true doctrine is set forth — that the Gentiles are to be 
regarded as equally admissible with the Jews. At the same time a devout 
Gentile, a representative of Caesar's power, bad a corresponding vision, directing 
him to send for Peter, and to receive instruction from him. This family at 
Cesarea are brought into the Church, and are baptized ; and the Conversion of 
tht household fulfills the JIotLsehold Covenant. Circumcision, we find is no longer 



INTRODUCTION. xi 

the seal of tie covenant, Tbut Baptism. Meanwhile, and without any knowledge 
of this event, some disciples of the dispersion, who are spoken of as "men of 
Cyprus and Cyrene," are publishing the good news at Antioch, (in Syria,) ^'tht 
Queen of the East" — and through their unofficial Christian labors, the First 
Chukch of the Gentiles is gathered. Barnabas was sent down to them from 
Jerusalem by the Apostles, and he immediately went after Paul, of whose commis- 
sion he knew as the Apostle of the Gentiles. Thus the Mother Church of 
Gentile Christendom was founded. And here the Disciples were first called 
Christians. Meanwhile, the persecution was raging at Jerusalem ; and now 
at length one of the three chosen Apostles — James, the son of Zebedee — falls 
by the sword of Herod. Another of that same honored trio, Peter, was im- 
prisoned, ready to share the same violent death. But over night he was 
miraculously released from prison by an angel, in answer to the special, earnest 
prayer of the Church. Herein is the Power of the Church, in appropriating 
by prayer the power of the Risen Lord. Instead of Peter's death, we read of 
the horrible death of his persecutor, Herod Agrippa, at Cesarea — smitten by 
the vengeance of God. The date of this event we know from cotemporary 
history, to be A. D. 44. 

This brings us to the last Division of the History, 

Book III. (Part II.) — The Extension of the Church among the idola- 
trous Gentiles, (chs. 8-28.) Up to this period Peter — the Apostle of the 
Circumcision — had been the prominent actor, opening the door of the kingdom 
to Jews and Gentiles. Henceforth Paul, the Apostle of the Uncircumcision, 
chiefly appears. 

The Church of Christ now enters fairly upon her Great Missionary Work. 
The Era of Foreign Missions now commences. The Apostolical Commif- 
bion of the Church to disciple all nations, is now to be carried out. Th 
First Step taken by the Mother Church of the Gentiles, (after expressing 
a true Christian charity toward the Jews, by sending them alms in their ex- 
iremity,) is to commission Two Missionaries to the Heathen, This was by the 
express direction of the Holy Spirit — and is a pattern to all Gentile Churches. 
Here begins the First Missionaet Journey. 

These First Missionaries of the Church were Saul (Paul) and Barnabas, 
who take John Mark, of Jerusalem, as a helper. They go first to the Isles, 
westward — to Cyprus, the native country of Barnabas — and there, at the 
threshold of this great work among the Gentiles, Saul takes his new name, 
"Paul" — and in the case of Paulus the Gentile, and Elymas the Jew, at Paphos, 
he has a specimen of his further successes. The Jew rejects the Gospel, while 
the Gentile believes. 

Thence the Missionaries pass into Asia Minor, (John Mark leaving them 
for his home.) They go preaching all along, " to the Jews first" — the syna- 
gogues being the chief places of religious concourse— and offering them ftl9« 



xli INTRODUCTION. 

the means of access to the Gentiles who attended them as proselytes, oi 
*' fearers of God." This course was every way consistent with the idea or 
Paul's commission to the Gentiles, as it proved in the results. At the Pisidian 
Antioch, the Apostle first declares himself in bold terms, announcing to the 
Jews the great principle upon Avhich he labored — offering the Gospel first to them, 
and when rejected by them turning to the Gentiles; who here invited it, as was 
foretold, (Isa. 65 : 1.) This arouses the envy of the Jews, who persecute the 
Missionaries, driving them from city to city — to Iconium, to Lystra and Derbe. 
They return by the same route, nevertheless, organizing Churches where they 
had labored, and they report themselves to the Church at Antioch. This in- 
gathering of the Gentiles had now become the settled policy of the Church. 

But here a great practical question is raised, just at the point where the old 
Jewish exclusiveness found it hard to yield. The Judaizing view was that the 
Gentiles were to come into tba Church through the Jewish door — by first be- 
coming proselytes to Judaism, and in token of this, receiving circumcision. 
This, indeed, ought to have been considered as already settled by God Himself, 
who gave the Holy Spirit to the uncircumcised Gentiles as well as to the Jews. 
Now, however, the question seemed to call for formal Church action. 

Hence arose another development of Church polity. The First Synod was now 
convened as a Court of Jesus Christ. It met at Jerusalem, and consisted of 
Apostles and Elders. The returned Missionaries were sent up as Commission- 
ers, with others. The question was discussed. The arguments of Peter and 
James are given, and the motion of James was agreed to unanimously, as would 
seem. This important decision was sent down in writing to the Churches, as 
an authoritative settlement of the vexed question. 

Now the Apostolic Missionaries are ready for a Second Missionary Journey. 
Two pairs go out instead of one. Paul having declined to take John Mark, 
Barnabas takes him, and Paul chooses Sil.^.s, and they take different routes, 
and so the Missionary corps is doubled. We follow Paul, and find him with 
Silas, going again into Asia Minor, to Lystra and Derbe. He finds Timothj--, 
whom he adds to their force. Pressing on westward, and being strangely for- 
bidden, at this time, to enter certain provinces, (as Bithynia, and Proconsular 
Asia, of which Ephesus was the capital, ) they made their way westward still, 
to the ooast, at ancient Troas. There, as they looked out over the narrow 
Btrait to the European shore, they received a special call by vision to carry 
the Gospel into Europe. Onward they go in this westward course. Thoiv First 
Convert in all Europe is Lydia, of Thyatira. The First Church is the noble- 
hearted Church at Philippi, to which Paul wrote an Epistle from his imprison- 
ment at Rome. Luke has now been added to the company, or at any rate, he 
BOW appears in the narrative — serving, it would seem, in the capacity of a Mis- 
inonary Physician. Here again the Household Covenant is recognized as a lead- 



INTRODUCTION. siil 

Ing feature in the narrative. And whereas in the case of Cornelius tlic blessing 
iignified in the Household Seal had been visited on the believing household — here, 
in the case of Lydia, the Family was baptized at once upon her profession, to 
seal to them the blessings promised in the Covenant. The Family of the 
Jailor was brought in — baptized and believing according to their case. Thus 
THE Fajiily is kept in view as the Nucleus of the Church. The Churches are 
gathered by Households. God still, as unde*^ the Old Covenant, propagates Hia 
Church by means of a pious posterity. 

Thence to Thessalonica and Berea (without Luke, as would seem,) they pass, 
and though persecuted still, they establish Churches, the former of which is 
that Church to which Paul addressed his earlier Epistles. Southward now they 
go to " the eyes of Greece" — Athens and Corinth — the chief cities of the world's 
learning, where the Greeks sought after wisdom. At the former city, among 
the classic temples of idolatry, he gathers in a representative man from the 
highest court of the Sages — one Dionysius, the Areopagite — while at Corinth, 
the seat of so much corruption, he founded a more prominent Church, to whom, 
afterwards, he addresses two most comprehensive Epistles. 

Having now carried the Church of Christ into Europe, and established it in 
such chief Cities of that learned centre of the world, he passes, with his fellow- 
laborers and friends, toward Jerusalem, taking on his way the great city of the 
magic arts, Ephesus, the capital of Proconsular Asia, where he had before 
been hindered from going. As the Jews invited him to remain, (instead of 
persecuting him, as was usual elsewhere,) he gave them a promise of his return, 
and goes forward to Jerusalem by way of Cesarea, and thence reports himself 
to the Church at Antioch. 

Thus we are brought to the Third and Last Missionary Journey. 
According to his promise given at Ephesus, he makes his way to that famoua 
Capital and seat of Idolatry, which became one of the Seven Churches of Asia, 
and one of those to whom he afterwards wrote a great Epistle in his chains at 
Rome. 

At this point he tarries three years, making it a centre of his Jlissionary op- 
erations, and writing letters to different Churches already planted, and speaking 
already of his intention to reach Rome. He passes again into Greece, revisiting 
and strengthening the Churches. Here again he discovers his plan and hia 
ardent desire to visit the Metropolis of the World. Meanwhile, he addresses 
to the "saints" there a great Epistle, and announces his determination to visit 
them, if the Lord will. 

Now he is about to take his departure from the scene of his Missionary labors. 
He must go to Jerusalem, and only knows, by repeated assurances of the Holy 
Spirit, that he goes to suffer bonds and imprisonment. He takes most affecting 
leave of the Church at Ephesus, who formally part with him, (men, women and 
children of the Church,) at the shore, and bids them a most touching Farewell. 
Tiiey land at Tyre, and though friends beg him not to go up to Jerusalem, (aa 
2 



KT INTRODUCTION. 

the Disciples begged our Lord on similar grounds,) and though the Spirit wit 
nessed to him, by the Prophet Agabus and otherwise, what the fatal result 
must be, onward he presses. He takes the most conciliatory steps toward the 
hostile Jews, but he is soon arrested, and would have been cruelly sacrificed to 
their rage but for the interference of the Roman arms. Thus occurs the first 
step by which he is to pass to Rome. 

Meanwhile, he has his Defenses to make before Jews and Romans, on five 
different occasions. Before the Jewish multitude from the castle stairs, before 
the Jewish Sanhedrim — before Felix, the Roman governor at Cesarca, 
and confronted by the Jews of Jerusalem — and before Festus, his successor 
there, in like circumstances. Now he appeals to C^sar, and as a last oppor- 
tunity of addressing his accusers, he pleads before Agrippa II. the King, and 
before the grand Court assembled at Cesarea. 

Thus strangely is he to arrive at length at Pagan Rome. A Prisoner in 
chains — shipwrecked and wintering at Malta — welcomed by a double escort of 
Christians to Rome, and delivered over to the Pretorian Guard — he early calls 
together his kinsmen according to the flesh, and defines to them his position as 
an Ambassador in chains for Christ, and an Apostle of the Gentiles. Some of 
them believing and some of them disbelieving, he avails himself of his partial lib- 
erty in welcoming to his apartments all who came to him. And so, during two 
years, he preaches the Kingdom of God, and witnasses in his chains for Christ. 

Thus the History has traced the Inception, Transition and Extension of the 
Christian Church, till we see it planted in the chief cities of the civilized world, 
at the chief seats of its idolatries, learning and power, until it becomes firmly 
rooted in the Capital of the Roman Empire. 

The narrative here closes, at this establishment of the Kingdom of Christ in 
the Metropolis of the Great Fourth Kingdom of Prophecy. (Dan. 7: 17, 18.) 
Already by this crowning movement, which Christ Himself predicted to Paul, it 
is virtually accomplished, that "the Kingdom and the greatness of the Kingdom 
under the whole Heaven is given to the People of the Saints of the Most High," 
(Dan. 7 : 27.) The Risen Christ is preached as Kino of Kings, near the 
Palace of the Cjesars. And it has come to pass, in effect, and according to 
the order predicted by Christ, that the Apostles have received Power by thft 
Advent of the Holy Spirit, and they hive become "witnesses unto Chbiss 
BOTH IN Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uxteu- 
MOST parts Of the eabxh." 



INTRODUCTIOJJ. 



DATE, &o. 

For additional notices of the Author, &c., see "Notes on Mark and Luke"-^ 
Fniroducdon to Luke, p. 115-117. 

It is quite generally agreed, except by the modern skeptical critics of the 
German School, that this Book was written at the close of the two year's period 
at Rome, (ch. 28 : 30)— about A. D. 63. Luke was then Paul's faithful 
companion, as he had also been on so great part of his journeyings. And 
when "all in Asia were turned away from him," (2 Tim. 1 : 15,) and De- 
mas and Crescens, and even Titus, for one reason or another, had left him, 
Luke remained faithful to him, even in his severest extremities and among bit- 
terest enemies, (2 Tim. 4 : 11.) The style is such as characterizes Luke's Gos- 
pel narrative ; and terms and phrases peculiar to the writer of the former are 
found scattered through this Book. 

The Credibility of the History is made apparent from various sources. The 
coincidences, evidently undesigned, yet very striking and numerous, which are 
found between the statements of this writer and those of ancient and profane 
authorities, are most conclusive. The allusions to the secular history of the time, 
indifferent parts of the Roman Empire— to the laws, customs, political consti- 
tutions, &c., of different provinces, are found to agree most exactly with the facts. 
And where, in some instances, critics had supposed there must be an inaccu- 
racy, the difficulty has been solved by antiquarian research. For example, 
as will be seen in the Notes, an ancient coin has served to confirm Luke's record 
in the minutest particulars, where the mystery had been unsolved before. An 
eminent writer has given, in two volumes, " The History of the Acts of the Holy 
Apostles confirmed from other Authors, and considered as full evidence of the 
Truth of Christianity." See Biscoe on the Acts. Dr. Paley has also produced 
a powerful argument for the credibility of the History from the coincidences 
between the Acts and Paul's Epistles. See Foley's Horcc Paulince — and the 
argument extended, in Birk's Horcc Apostolicce. Besides these learned works, 
one of the ablest modern chronologiats has applied his most exact criticism to 
the same effect. See Z>r. Wieseler's Apostolic Chronoloc/j/, {I8i8.) In addition 
to all these, a most singular and striking confirmation of Luke's statement has 
been brought to light by the Nautical Researches of James Smith, Esq., F. R. S, 
*' on the Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul," (1848.) 

After what we have set forth respecting the Object and Plan of the Book, It 
•will be plain that the Title, " The Acts of the Apostles," does not exactly ex- 
press the drift of the History. This title was not given by the Author, and 
arose probably from the same source as that ancient division of the New 
Testament Books into two parts, called Gospel and Apostle. And of the second 
and larger part — comprising the Epistles and the Apocalypse, besides this — 
our History would be called, in general terms, " The Acts of the Apostles." 
Only the doinga of Peter and Paul, however, are chiefly given — the former 



xvl INTRODUCTION. 

occupying ike early portion of the narrative, up to about A. D. 50 ; and tho 
latter taking up the remainder. John appears occasionally with Peter, while 
James also appears here and there. 

The external evidence for .the Canonical authority of the Acts is ample. It 
is found in all the early catalogues of the New Testament Books. In the wri- 
tings of the Apostolic Fathers it is referred to. Justin Martyr, in the "Ad- 
dress and E.\hortation to the Gentiles," makes allusion to it. In the ^'Shepherd 
of Ilermas," reference is made to Acts 4 : 12. In Hegesippus we find allusion 
to Acts 20 : 21, with a use of the same phraseology. The " Muratorian Frag- 
ment " mentions, as next to the Gospels, *' The Book of the Acts, containing a 
record, by Luke, of those Acts of the Apostles which fell under his own 
notice." The Peshilo (Syriac) Version, made at the close of the First Century, 
includes this Book, as we have it now. " The Epistle of the Churches of Vicnnt 
and Lyons," in Gaul, (France,) A. D. 177, makes striking use of the same phra- 
seology as w© find in the Acts. And Ireneus, Tertullian and Clemen* of AUoi' 
tndria, refer to it in their writings. 



SYNOPSIS OF THE HISTORY. 



BOOK I. 

THE CHUBCH AMONG THE JEWS. 

Part I. Founding of the Christian Church. Jerusalem. 
A. D. 30. Ch. 1— ch. 2:40. 

\ ,. The Nucleus— " about 120," vs. 15— (" over 500," 1 Cor. 15 : 6.) 

The Forty Days— The Ascension. Ch. 1 : 1-11. . . 25 

{ 1. The Last Preparation — The Prayer Meeting of the 120 Disciples. 

Jerusalem. Ch. 1 : 12-26 35 

J 5. The Founding and Manifestation of the Christian Church — Pente 

cost— Gift of Tongues. Jerusalem. Ch. 2:1-13. . . .48 

§ 4. The First Preaching of the Apostles — Peter. Jerusalem. Ch. 2 : 

14-36 60 

Part II. Spread of Christianifi/ among the Jews. Chs. 2 to 8. 
" Witnesses in Jerusalem." A. D. 30-36. 

g 5. The First Fievival and Growth of the Christian Church — Accession 
of Three Thousand Members — Christian Baptism — The Christian 
Life. Ch. 2 : 41-47 82 

§ 6. The First Miracle (Lame Man) — (Peter and John) — Peter's Dis- 
course. A. D. 30-36. Ch. 8. 86 

§ 7 The First Hostility (Sadducees)— Arrest of Peter and John— Further 
Growth of the Church to Five Thousand Members. Jerusalem. 
Ch. 4 : 1-37 103 

J 8 The First Defection (Ananias atd Sapphira.) Jerusalem A. D, 

30-36. Ch. 5 : 1-16 120 

2* fivii) 



Xviii SYNOPSIS OF THE HISTORY. 

Page 
29. The First Imprisonment of the Twelve (Sadduceau) — Miraculous 

Deliverance (Peter) ^Gamaliel. Jerusalem. A. D. 30-36. Ch. 

5:17-42 127 

2 10, The First Internal Dissension — Hellenistic Widows — Institution of 

Deacons. Jerusalem. Ch. G : 1-7. ..... 138 

j 11. The First Martyr — Stephen — General Persecution and Dispersion 

(except of the Apostles.) Jerusalem. Ch. 6: 8 to ch. 8. . 142 

BOOK II. 
THE CHURCH IN ITS TRANSITION FROM THE JEWS TO THE GENTILES. 

Spread of ChristianifT/ heyond Jerusalem. " Witnesses in 
all Judea and in Samaria." A. D. 36—40. 

1 12. Spread of Christianity -without the Apostles. Ch. 8 : 1-4. . , 171 

§ 13. Spread of Christianity in Samaria by the Preaching of Philip the 
Deacon and Evangelist — First Conflict of Christianity with Pa- 
ganism — National Disabilities Removed — "Witnesses in Sama- 
ria." Ch. 8:5-24 173 

§ 14. Spread of Christianity beyond the Holy Land — The Ethiopian Eunuch 

—Ceremonial Disabilities Removed. Ch. 8 : 25-40. . . 180 

J 16. Conversion and Call of Saul of Tarsus — (His First Visit to Jerusalem, 

three years after.) A. D. 37-40. Ch. 9 : 1-30. . . .186 

216. State of the Christian Churches in Judea — Peter's Circuit among 

them. A. D. 40. Ch. 9 : 31-43 196 

BOOK III. 

THE CHURCH AMONG THE GENTILES. 
Pabt I. Spread of Christianity among the Devout Gentiles. " Wit- 
nesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth." A. D. 40-44. Chs. 
10 to 12. 

2 17. Vision of Cornelius at Cesarea and of Peter at Joppa — Reception 

of Gentiles into the Church, independently of Judaism. Cesarea. 
Ch,. 10. 200 

2 18. Peter reports to the Church at Jerusalem his Vision, and the Recep- 

tion of Devout Gentiles — and vindicates his course iu consorting 
with them. Jerusalem. Ch. 11 : 1-18 214 



SYNOPSIS OF THE HISTORY. xix 

Pag« 
1 19. The First Gentile Church. Antioch in Syria. Ch. 11 : 19-21. . 218 

§20. Earnabas sent down to Antioch by the Churck at Jerusalem— Goes 
nfter Paul to Tarsus — Paul's Second Visit to Jerusalem — The 
Disciples first called "Christians." A. D. 42-43. Ch. 11:25-30. 221 

§21. The First Royal Persecutor of the Church — Jewish Hostility at its 
height — Murder of the Apostle James, the Brother of John, by 
Herod — Peter Imprisoned — Miraculous Deliverance — Judicial 
Death of Herod Agrippa, at Cesarea. A. D. 44. Ch. 12: 1-23. 224 

Part II. Spread of Christianity among the Idolatrous Gentiles, 
" Witnesses imto the uttermost parts of the earth." A. D. 44-62. 
Chs. 13 to 15. 

§ 22. Missionary Commission of Paul and Barnabas by the Church at 

Antioch. Ch. 13 : 1-3 233 

2 23. Paul's First Missionary Journey (with Barnabas) — First Success — 
His First Encounter with Paganism — (Cyprus — Asia Minor.) 
A. D. 45. Ch. 13 : 4 to 14 : 28 235 

§24 Further Progress of the Church — Internal Developments — First 
Apostolic Synod — Paul's Third Visit to Jerusalem. A. D. 50. 
Ch. 15 : 1-35 259 

§25. Paul's Second Missionary Journey (with Silas) — Europe. Mace- 
donian Vision. A. D. 51. Chs, 15: 36 to 16 : 10. . . . 271 

§26. The First Church in Europe (Philippi) — The First Convert in 
Europe (Lydia) — The Pythoness — Imprisonment and Miraculous 
Deliverance of Paul and Silas (Jailor.) Ch. 16: 11-40. . . 275 

§27. Paul in European Greece. Athens. A. D. 52. Ch. 17:1-34. .288 

§ 28. Paul at Corinth a year and a half— Writes Epistles to the Thessa- 

lonians. (Gallio.) A. D. 52-54. Ch. 18:1-17. . . .298 

§ 29. Paul's Fourth Visit to Jerusalem by way of Ephesus and Cesarea — 
(Antioch in Syria.) Apollos at Ephesus. (Nero, Emperor.) 
A. D. 54. Ch. 18 : 18-28 804 

Paul's Third Missionary Journey through Galatia, Phrygia, &c. . 306 

§ 30 Paul Three Years at Ephesus— Writes Epistle to Galatians and First 
Epistle to Corinthians, and probably his First Epistle to Timothy 
and Epistle to Titus. A. D. 54-57. Ch. 19:1-41. . -808 



tx SYNOPSIS OF THE HISTORY. 

Fags 

2 31. Paal's Departure from bis field in Proconsular Asia — Three months 
in Greece — Sails from Philippi toward Jerusalem — Writes Second 
Epistle to Corinthians at Philippi and Epistle to Romans at 
Corinth. A. D. 57. Ch. 20 to 21 : 14 321 

§32. Paul's Fifth Visit to Jerusalem. A. D. 58. Ch. 21 : 15-17. . 338 

g 33. Meeting of the Presbytery, the Apostle James being the Modera- 
tor—Paul's "Vow and Arrest. Jerusalem. Ch. 21 : 18-40. . 339 

g34. Paul's First Defense — (viz.) before the Jewish Multitude. Jerusa- 
lem. A. D. 59. Ch. 22 : 1-30 346 

§35. Paul's Second Defense— (viz.) before the Jewish Sanhedrim — Con- 
spiracy against him — Escorted to Cesarea to Felix. Jerusalem. 
A. D. 59. Ck 23 : 1-35 , .354 

2 3G. Paul's Third Defense — (viz. ) before Felix the Roman Governor. Ce- 
sarea. A. D. 59. Ch. 24 : 1-27. 367 

1 37. Paul's Fourth Defense — (viz.) before Festus — (accused by the San- 
hedrim) — Appeals to Ctesar — (Agrippa and Bernice.) Cesarea. 
A. D. GO. Ch. 25 : 1-27 378 

§38. Paul's Fifth and Last Defense — (viz.) before King Agrippa, &c. 
(when about to leave the Holy Land for Rome.) Cesarea. 
A. D. 60. Ch. 26 : 1-29 3£8 

5 09. Paul sets sail for Rome — is Shipwrecked at Malta, but arrives safely. 

A. D. 60. Ch. 27 : 1-44 401 

{ 40 Paul's Wintering at Malta — Miraculous Deliverance from a Viper — 
jVrrival at Rome, and two years residence there. A, D. 61-63. 
Oh. 28 416 



CONTEMPORANEOUS HISTORY. 



DATE. 


BOMAX EMPERORS. 


HIGH PRIESTS. 


GOVERNORS OP JUDEA, 4 3. 


aTd. 

30 


Tiberius, sole Empe- 


Caiaphas— appointed by 


Pontius Pilate — from 




ror from Aug. 19, 


the Procurator Valeri- 


A. D. 26, or early in 


to 


A. D. 14. 


us Gratus, (Jos. Aiit. 


27, [Jos. Ant. \^ -A, 2.) 




18:2, 2,) A. D. 25. 


Vitellius, Prefect of Syr- 








ia, A. D. 34. 


86 






Pilate is sent to Rome 
(to answer for his con- 
duct) by Vitellius, late 
in A. D. 36. Tiberius 
died before his arrival 
there. [Ant. 18:4,2.) 


87 


Caligula, Emperor 


And is displaced by Vi- 


Makcellus — appointed 




from March 1 6. (Tac. 


tellius at the Passover. 


by Vitellius ETnfielrjTTiQ 




Ann. 6: 50.) 


A. D. 37. 


of Judea. (Ant. 18: 
4,2.) 






Jonathan, son of An- 


Maryllus— sent by Ca- 






anus, {Ant.lS: 4, 3)— 


ligula to Judea, as Hip- 






displaced by Vitellius 


parch. (^71^.18:6,10.) 






at Pentecost. (Ant.l^: 


Herod Agrippa — ap- 






5,3.) 


pointed by Caligula, a 
few days after his ac- 






Theophilus, son of An- 


cession, King of the 






anus. [Ant. 18: 5, 3.) 


Tetrarchy of Philip— 
i. e. Batanea Trachoni- 
tis and Auranitis. [Ant. 
18:6,10.) 


88 




P. Petronius Turpilianus, 
Prefect of Syria, A. D. 
39. 

Agrippa returns from 


His brother Herod made 
King of Chalcia. 












Rome to his new king- 








dom, in the 2d year of 








Caligula. (.4«<. 18:6, 




to 




11. 

Antipas goes to Rome 
to solicit the title of 
King, but is banished 
to Lyons, and his Te- 
trarchy given to Agrip- 
pa. [Ant. 18 : 7, 2.) 
A. D. 39-40. (Ant. 




40 




19:8, 2, 





(xii) 



CONTEMPORANEOUS HISTORY. 



BOMAN EUPERORS. 



Claudius, Emperor 
from Jan. 24. {Suet. 
Calig. 58.) 



HIGH PRIESTS. 



Removed by Agrippa.— 
{Ant. 19:6,2.) 

Simon, son of BoetLns, 
surnamed Cantheras ; 
removed by Agrippa 
in the same year, A. 
D. 42. 



Matthias, son of Annas. 



Removed by Agrippa— 
A. D. 43. 

ELiONiEus, son of Can- 
theras. 



G0VEEK0R3 OP JTOEA, ftC. 



emoved by Herod, King 
of Chalcis. (^n^. 20: 

1,3.) 
Joseph, son of Cami. 



Removed by Herod, King 
of Chalcis — probably 
in 47. [Ant. 20:5,2.) 

Ananias, son of Nebe- 
deis. 



Agrippa — appointed by 
Claudius, King over 
the whole dominions of 
Herod the Great, hia 
grandfather. (Ant. 19 : 
5, 1.) 

Hekod Agrippa, King 
of Judea, comes to his 
kingdom in 42, in the 
2d Consulship of Clau- 
dius. (Ant. 19:5, 3; 
6,1.) 

Vihius Marsus, Prefect of 
Syria. A. D. 42. 



Death of Herod Agrippa 
{Ant. 19:8, 2.) 

Crispius Fadus, Govern- 
or — the younger Agrip- 
pa being retained at 
Rome. (^wM9:ll,2.) 

C. Cassias Lonffinus, Pre- 
fect of Syria. {Ant. 
20:1, 1.) 

Herod, King of Chalcis, 
obtains from Claudius 
the power of appoint- 
ing the High Priests, 
and the custody of the 
Temple and the sacred 
treasure. {Ant. 20:1, 
3.) 



Ventidius C u m a n u s. 
Governor of Judea. — 
{Ant. 20 : 5, 2.) 

About this time, "in the 
8ih year of Claudius,'^ 
{Ant. do.) Herod, King 
of Chalcis, dies. {B. 
J". 2:12, 1.) 

Agrippa the Younger — 
appointed King of 
ChiiMs. {B. J. 2:12, 
1) 



CONTEMPORANEOUS HISTORY. 



yyTJ i 



A.V. 
49 



60 



64 



55 



66 



59 



60 



EOMAN EMPEnORS. 



62 



Neeo— Emperor from 
Oct. 13. (Tac. An- 
nals 12 : 69. Suet. 
Claud. 45.) 



HIGH FRIESTS. 



Sent to Rome in 52 by 
Quadratus, in conse- 
quence of a dispute 
with the Samaritans, 
togetlier with Cuma- 
nus, the Governor. Se« 
Acts 23 : 2. 



QOVERXORS OF JCBEA, 40. 



Titus Ummidius Quadrat- 
vs, Prefect of Syria. 
(Ant. 20 : 6, 2. J3 J. 
2:12, 5.) 



IsnMAEL, son of Fabi 
appointed High Priest 
by Agrippa II. (Ant 
20:8, 8.) 



Having gone to Rome to 

petition against Agrip- 
pa, is displaced by him, 

(in 61,) and Joseph 

Cabi appointed. (Ant. 

20:8, 11.) 
Displaced by Agrippa, 

(61, 62,) and Ananus 

appointed. (Ant. 20 : 

9,1.) 
Displaced in 3 months 

by Agrippa, (62) and 

Jesus, son of Damnse- 

us, appointed. (Afit. 

do.) 

(See Al/ord's Prolegomena.) 



Nero presents Agrippa 
II. with parts of Gal- 
ilee and I'erea. CAnt. 
20 : 8, 4.) 

"That Egyftian" (Acts 
21 : 38) leads a multi- 
tude into the wilder- 
ness. His followers 
are routed by Felix, 
but he escapes. {Ant. 
20:8,6. B.J. 2:13, 
5.) 



About the middle of 60, 
Felix is superseded by 
PoRcius Festus. (24: 
27; Ant. 20:8, 9.; 

Death of Festus, prob- 
ably in the summer of 
62. Upon the news 
arriving at Rome, Al- 
BiN'us is sent as hia 
successor. (Ant. 20: 
9,1.) 



ANTIOCH IN SYEIA, 

The Seat of the First Christian Church among the Geatilea. 




A-i. the Di-Cii-Ls weie c ailed 'Christians' first in Antioeh." Oh. 11 2^ 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



CHAP TEE I. 



1 The former treatise have I made, ^Tlieophilus, of ''^'^"'•'■ 
all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 



CHAPTER I. 

BOOK I. 

The CnuECH among the Jews. 

Part I. Founding of the Chris- 
tian Church. Ch. 1-2:40. 
A. D. 30. Jerusalem. 
§1. The Nucleus — '■'about 120," vs. 
15, (500 and over of DLciples — see 1 
Cor. 15:6.) The Forty Days— Ascen- 
sion. Ch. 1:1-11. 
The Evangelist, naturally enough, 
openK with a reference to "■ the former 
treatise" which he has already written, 
and intimates that this narrative which 
he here begins may be regarded as a 
continuation of the History. From the 
mention of " Theophilus" we are clear- 
ly pointed to the Gospel by Luke 
(which was addressed to this same per- 
son, Luke 1 : 3,) as " the former book" 
referred to. Luke, therefore, is the 
writer, as we have seen. [Introd. ) Lite- 
rally, the Greek would read, " the 
first book." It -was " Book I." of the 
history. It brought the record down 
to the Ascensiou of our Lord. The 
Evangelist now (v. 2,) refers back to 
this event as the closing record of his 
first book. But instead of stating what 
he proposes to record in this subse- 
quent portion of the history, (or Book 
II.) he gives some additional particu- 
lars. These, if we examine them, are 
found to belong to the interval of "for- 
ty days" between the Resurrection and 
the Ascension- These things are such 
as Christ's various personal manifesta- 
tions to the Apostles, and His commands 
and discourses to them concerning 
" the kingdom of God," (vss. 2 and 3,) 
His particular charge to them to tarry 
at Jerusalem and pray for the proni- 
iacd Spirit, (v3. 4,) as the great distia?- 
3 



tion of His dispensation from that of 
the Old Testament, represented by 
John, (vs. 5,) His answer, accord- 
ingly, to their great question as to the 
restoration of the kingdom to Israel, 
(vs. 7,) and His designation of the path 
which Christianity was to traverse, un- 
der their ministry, as witnesses to His 
name to the ends of the earth, (vs. 8.) 
These items are important to be giv- 
en just at this introductory point, for 
they furnish a proper key to the 
subsequent History, as a history of 
the progress of the kingdom about 
which, during those forty daj's. He 
spake to the Apostles, and commanded 
tliem, and answered their inquiries, 
and opened to view its spiritual opera- 
tions and sources, and gave assurance 
cf the very paths and steps of its victo- 
rious advance. 

1. Theophilus. See Notes on Luke 
1 : 3. This man Avas a Christian Gen- 
tile of rank, who resided probably iu 
Italy, though some suppose iu Alexan- 
dria. Luke addresses to him this his- 
tory with the same object as iu the 
Gospel narrative. \ Of all — lit., con- 
cerning all things. Luke, in his Intro- 
duction to the Gospel History, or for- 
mer book liei'e spoken of, claims to 
furnish a very full narrative, " having 
had perfect understanding of all thiuga 
from the verg first.'' (Luke 1 : 3.) Here 
he refers back to that declaration with 
which he commenced, as having bejn 
met in so far as he had wrvtten a compl'.te 
account of the saj'ings and doings of our 
Lord, from his point of view and with 
his full understanding and facilities. 
f Began. This would imply that the 
Gospel narrative was only the begin- 
ning of the history of Jesus' doings 
and teachings — and that this Book II., 
though commonly called " the Acts of 
(25) 




LithofEndicouiCMY 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



CHAPTER I. 

1 The former treatise Iiave I made, ^Theophilus, of "^"^^ 
all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 



CHAPTER I. 
BOOK I. 

The CnuECH among the Jews. 

Part I. Founding of the Chris- 
tian Church. Ch. 1-2 : 40. 
A. D. 30. Jerusalem. 
§1. The Nucleus — ^' about 120," vs. 
15, (500 and over of DLciples — see 1 
Cor. 15 : 6.) The Forty Days — Ascen- 
sion. Ch. 1:1-11. 
The Evangelist, naturally enough, 
openfj with a reference to '■'■ the former 
treatise" which he has already written, 
and intimates that this narrative which 
he here begins may be regarded as a 
continuation of the History. From the 
mention of " Thcophilus" we are clear- 
ly pointed to the Gospel by Luke 
(which was addressed to this same per- 
son, Luke 1 : 3,) as " the former book" 
I'eferred to. Luke, therefore, is the 
writer, as we have seen. {Introd. ) Lite- 
rally, the Greek would read, "the 
first book." It was " Book L" of the 
history. It brought the record down 
to the Ascension of our Lord. Tlie 
Evangelist now (v. 2,) refers back to 
this event as the closing record of his 
first book. But instead of stating what 
he proposes to record in this subse- 
quent portion of the history, (or Book 
II.) he gives some additional particu- 
lars. Those, if we examine them, are 
found to belong to the interval of "for- 
ty days" between the Resurrection and 
the Ascension- These things are such 
as Christ's various personal manifesta- 
tions to the Apostles, and His commands 
and discourses to them concerning 
" the kingdom of God," (vss. 2 and 3,) 
His particular charge to them to tarry 
at Jerusalem and pray for the proni- 
laed Spirit, (v3. 4,) as thegreatdistins- 



tion of His dispensation from that of 
the Old Testament, represented by 
John, (vs. 5,) His answer, accord- 
ingly, to their great question as to the 
restoration of the kingdom to Israel, 
(vs. 7,) and His designation of the path 
which Christianity was to traverse, un- 
der their ministry, as witnesses to His 
name to the ends of the earth, (vs. 8.) 
These items are important to be giv- 
en just at this introductory point, for 
they furnish a proper key to the 
subsequent Histoiy, as a history of 
the progress of the kingdom about 
which, during those forty daj'S, He 
spake to the Apostles, and commanded 
them, and answered their inquiries, 
and opened to view its spiritual opera- 
tions and sources, and gave assurance 
cf the very paths and steps of its victo- 
rioui: advance. 

1. Theophilus. See Notes on Luke 
1 : 3. This man was a Christian Gen- 
tile of rank, who resided probably iu 
Italy, though some suppose in Alexan- 
dria. Luke addresses to him this his- 
torj' with tlie same object as in the 
Gospel narrative, f Of all — lit., con- 
cerning all tilings. Luke, in his Intro- 
duction to the Gospel Historj', or for- 
mer book here spoken of, claims to 
furnish a very full narrative, " having 
had perfect understanding of all things 
from the verg first." (Luke 1 : 3.) Here 
he refers back to that declaration with 
which he commenced, as having be;n 
met in so far as he had written a complete 
account of the saj-ings and doings of our 
Lord, from his point of view and with 
his full understanding and facilities. 
^ Began. This would imply that the 
Gospel narrative was only the begin- 
ning of the history of Jesus' doings 
and teachings — and that this Book II., 
though ommouly called " the Acta of 
(26) 



28 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 



2 " Until the day in -wliich he vras taken up, after that 
he through the Holy Ghost "had given commandmenta 
unto the apostles whom he had chosen : 



the Apostles," is really the continua- 
tion of the Acts of Jesus, only in 
His risen and glorified state. This 
is precisely -svhat we find, though it is 
not thus definitely expressed. It is also 
the history of the Spirit's work. ^ To 
do and teach. This embraces Ilis 
words and worlds — His miracles and 
discourses. 

2. 1/71111 the day. The Ascension 
was properly the termination of the 
Gospel naxrative. Luke had recorded 
this event, (Luke 28 : 50, 51,) and 
Mark also, (Mark 16 : 19,) though 
neither of them, as would seem, had 
been an eye-witness of it. Matthew 
and John, however, though they had 
been eye-witnesses of it, do not record 
it, while they use language which 
implies It. Matt. 26 : 64; 28 : 18 ; 
John 20 : 17. Their silence may be 
accounted for by supposing that they 
viewed the Resurrection as properly 
involving the Ascension as a necessary 
consequence ; and so, indeed, they 
spoke of it. The Apostles, who had 
been habitual attendants on our 
Lord, may naturally have regarded 
His Resurrection as the proper close 
of their narrative, which related to 
His doings in the flesh. The "forty 
days" period belonged, in this view, 
more properly to his exalted estate, as 
He was in His spiritual body, and be- 
longed to the spiritual, invisible world, 
from which He came when He appear- 
ed to His Disciples. See John 13 : 1. 
These doings, therefore, would be re- 
garded by them as more, strictly per- 
taining to the after history. Here, 
then, is the manifold testimony. Mat- 
thew, the Apostle, does not narrate 
the Ascension, but closes with the Re- 
surrection, which was the crowning, 
closing event of His human history in 
the flesh. Mark records the Ascension, 
in giving an outline of leading events. 
Luke records it in his fuller Gospel 
history, as a connecting link to " the 
Acts," John, who wrote long after 



the others' histories were circulated, 
omits it, as he omits many other im- 
portant events as not needing to be re- 
peated by him. And, besides, it is 
enough to say that the Inspiring Spirit 
did not deem it needful to the plan of 
each narrative, nor to the general ob- 
ject of the New Testament Scriptures, 
that this event should be othervvise re- 
corded than it is. Some will have it 
that there is a contradiction in the his- 
tories on this score ; as though from 
the Gospel accounts of Mark and Luke 
it might be inferred that the Ascension 
followed immediately after the Resur- 
rection, while the Acts gives the forty 
days interval. But the two Books, or 
parts of the history, (the Gospel and 
the Acts,) contemplate this interval 
from very diiferent points of view. The 
remarkable period of the " forty 
days" is a period of ti'ansition. It 
marks the passage from the earthly 
to the heavenly ministry of our Lord. 
It forms, therefore, the close of the 
former or the Gospel narrative, and 
the Introduction to the latter or 
"Acts." In the Gospel narrative it ia 
regarded summarily as concluding and 
completing the initiatory work of our 
Lord. In the Acts it is viewed more 
distinctly in its reference to the nature 
and future progress of the kingdom 
under the exalted ministration of the 
Risen Lord. Listead, therefore, of 
any contradiction in the different refer- 
ences to the forty days period and to 
what occurred therein, it is only what 
we would naturally look for, consider- 
ing the different connections in which 
that period is treated in either case. 
^ Taken up. The parallel word is used, 
Luke 24 : 51 — borne vp. Mark 16 : 19 
uses the same as here, which more of- 
ten means taken back. This idea may 
here be included in the sense which 
has the force of snatched iip. The As- 
cension was in a cloud which is said to 
have "received Himoutof their sight." 
I The event had ccne to be familiarly 



CHAf. 



27 



3 ''To -whom also he shewed himself alive ifter his f^y^* wise."* 
passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them amiVfi-it""' 
forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the icor. 15:0. 
kingdom of God : 



referred to under this term. — This re- 
ference to the Ascension as the closing 
event of the Gospel history, leads the 
Evangelist now to narrate more in de- 
tail some particulars which occurred 
in the interval, and which serve an im- 
portant purpose as introducing the 
History of the Christian Church. Christ 
did not ascend until after certain steps 
had been taken for carrying forward 
the kingdom to its glorious consum- 
mation. He first gave certain com- 
mandments to the Apostles ivhom He had 
chosen. This, of course, includes the 
great closing command, (Matt 28: 19, 
20 ; Mark 16 : 15 - 18 ; Luke 24 : 
44-49,) the Apostolic Commission. 
This was the command in execution 
of which they went forth as chosen 
Apostles, to the works which are re- 
corded in this history as the Acts of 
the Apostles. The Evangelist also re- 
cords still another command, (vs. 4,) 
requiring them to tarry at Jerusalem 
and wait in pr.ayer for the promised 
Spirit. He did not ascend till He had 
thus provided for His Church, and 
made definite arrangements looking to 
the ef&cierrey of the ministry whom 
He had appointed. This he did, it is 
said, through the IIo!y Ghost. Some 
understand this phrase as qualifying 
the word "chosen" — meaning that He 
chose His Apostles through the Holy 
Ghost. But it stands more natur.iUy 
in our version, and presents our Lord 
in His human nature as having given 
His last commands in the ^^ower of the 
Holy Ghost, (.John 20 : 22,) who was 
to take His place in the earthly admin- 
istration, and by whose commission 
and impulse He is set forth as acting 
from the outset of His official work. 
So He was "conceived by the Holy 
Ghost" — " led up by the Holy Ghost" 
to be tempted — "anointed" by the 
Holy Ghost. So He gave the Apostles 
their commands by the authority and 
power of the Holy Ghost, according to 



the Divine and perfect plan of His 
work. In this sense, indeed. He 
"chose" them as well as "command- 
ed" them by the Divine Spirit. ^ The 
Apostles. It was the commandment, 
and not the office alone, that was given 
to them. It is to this we are to look. 
They were commissioned as a Gospel 
miui-stry, and their proper successors 
arc they who, as ministers of the New 
Testament, preach the truth of Christ 
in its simplicity and purity. ^ Chosen. 
For the choosing of the twelve, sea 
Matt. 10; Luke G : 12-16. These 
words are added to signify the proper 
dignity and authority of the Apostolic 
office, which, as such, has no succes- 
sion. 

3. Shoived Himself alive. The great 
fact of the Resurrection is here refer- 
red to, as most amply proven. And 
as this was the grand truth which 
sealed His ministry as Divine, and 
which was to be every where preached 
by the Apostles in proof of his Diviui- 
t}', it is here declared with its abund- 
ant evidence. Now, however, Jesus 
is set forth, not as before the Crucifix- 
ion, constantly with His Disciples, but 
as "showing Himself" to them on vari- 
ous occasions. He showed Himself, 
also, to others as well as to the Apos- 
tles, (1 Cor. 15: 6; Mark 16: 9, 14,) 
as He would have others, also, to pub- 
lish the news. This He did " after His 
passion " — that is, alive from the dead 
— after His suffering unto death on the 
cross, (Rev. 1: 18.) The Crucifixion 
had come to be spoken of in their fami- 
liar languige briefly, as " His passion," 
just as His Ascension was called His 
being " taken up," vs. 2. f Infallible 
proofs. This term, which is found no- 
where else in the New Testament, con- 
veys the idea of indisputable proof. 
The fact of his Resurrection was evi- 
denced bej'ond any doubt, by such clear 
proofs, and mang of them. ^ Bein^ 
3€zn. The term means being seen a 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 



4 ^And, II being assembled together with iliem, com- 



II Or, eating to- 

/Luk^'^"^«.""' iiianded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem 
3G!'27!and*'i5: ^'^^ ^^^^^^ for the promisG of the Father^ 'which, saiih he, 
ch.alss.^''' yc li^'^'G heard of me. 



intervals, and not all the time. Yet it 
vas not once nor twice, but often and on 
different occasions, during the ''forti/ 
days" so that the proof was undoubted, 
and it was each time a miraculous ap- 
pearing. And as this was " after His 
Buffering" unto death, there was the 
certainty of His miraculous Resurrec- 
tion, which proved Him and His work 
to be Divine, as He claimed — since God 
■would not indorse an imposture. His 
recorded appearings are to Mary Mag- 
dalene and the other Mary, (Matt. 28 : 
1-9) — to the Disciples on their way to 
Emmaus, (Luke 24: 15) — to Peter, 
(Luke 24 : 34) — to the ten Apostles, 
(.John 20 : 19)— to the eleven, (John 20 : 
26)— to the seven Disciples at the sea 
of Tiberius, (John 21: 1-5) — to above 
five hundred brethren at once, (ICor. 
15: 6)— to James, (1 Cor. 15: 7) and 
to all tiie Apostles before and at His 
Ascension. Observe, — He not only 
showed Himself, but gave special proofs 
of His being alive from the dead, and 
of being the same well known personal 
friend. He ate before them to show 
that he was not a ghostly apparition. 
He talked with them — walked with 
them at different times, in different 
companies — ate at the same meal, 
■wrought miracles, and showed His very 
crucifixion wounds to convince the 
doubter — and these varied manifesta- 
tions of Himself were carried on 
through forty days— on Sabbaths and 
other days. Thirteen different appear- 
ngs are recorded. Odserve. — This is 
the only place -(vhere the length of 
time between the Resurrection and the 
Ascension is recorded. ^ Speaking. 
He conversed with them familiarly as 
lie had done before His death, and on 
the same great topics, also, proving 
Himself to be the same person and hav- 
ing the same great work in view both 
Bides the gr^ve. He discoursed to 
them of tlu Mnys pertaininff to — or 
Hrhatevcr oncerued the kitiffdom or 



Church of God, which he had come to 
re-arrange and extend. He instructed 
them fully, during this period, in the 
plan and principles of the Church un- 
der the coming dispensation of the 
Spirit — in the nature and duties of 
their office, and in the certainty of 
their success. ^ The Mngdom of God. 
The New Testament dispensation, or 
Church of Christ, is here meant — 
though sometimes the phrase refers to 
the kingdom of glory in heaven. The 
Christian dispensation properly dates 
from the Resurrection of Christ, by 
which His work was attested as Mediator 
and Redeemer, (Rom. 1:4,) though the 
great event in the public founding of the 
Christian Church was the outpouring at 
Pentecost. Prior to the Resurrection, 
the preaching (as of John and of 
Christ Himself,) had been preparatory 
— calling for repentance, on the ground 
that "the kingdom of heaven" was 
"at hand." Observe. — Notwithstand- 
ing these instructions, they did not yet 
fully understand about the kingdom. 
vs. 6. 

4. Being assembled. It would seem 
that He was now "with them at 
Jerusalem, on one of His last inter- 
views, when the Pentecost was "not 
many days hence." (vs. 5.) Though 
the Apostles, after the Pvesurrection, 
had scattered to their homes in Galilee, 
(Matt. 20 : 32 ; 28: 15 ; .John 21 : 1,) 
yet they evidently had now returned 
to the Holy City, where the parting 
was to take place. "What He " com- 
manded them " on this occasion is here 
stated. This was a charge of solemn 
moment. They were " ?iot to depart 
f)om Jerusalem" lit., not to be separated 
from — whether by choice or by force 
They had work to do there. And it 
was ordained as fundamental in the 
plan tliat the law should go forth from 
Zion, and the word of the Lord from 
Jerusalem. (Isa. 2 : 3.) The word 
here rendered ^Hommanded ,'^ \i\ a strong 



A. D. 30.T 



CHAP. I. 



29 



5 « For John truly baptized with water ; ^ but ye L'h^n'fo',"', 
shall bo baptized with the Holy Grhcst not many days J,''!^.. 3: is. 
hence. niis.*'"" 



term, and is used of a military com- 
mand. They were there to "u-aitfor 
the promise of Ike Father." It was the 
"promise of the Holy Spirit's outpour- 
ing," (vs. 5.) It is hei'e termed "the 
promise of the Father," us the sum of 
the Old Testament promises — as that 
chief gift which was lacking under the 
Old Dispensation, and which "was not 
3'et, because Jesus was not yet glori- 
fied." (John 7: 39.) Obseha^e.— They 
were charged to remain together at 
Jerusalem, because the Spirit was to 
come upon them in their united capa- 
city, not as scattered, but as together 
— an assembly — the Church. And so 
(ch. 2 : 1,) the Spirit came upon them 
when " they were all, with one accord, 
in one place." — This promise, "said 
He, ye have heard of (from) Me." He 
had spoken it to them in Luke 24 : 49. 
The Old Testament Dispensation was 
called "the ministration of the letter;" 
the New Testament Dispensation, that 
of the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3 : 6-8. This 
had been promised under the Old Tes- 
tament. Joel 3:1; Zech. 12 : 10. 
He had said to them, " Behold I send 
the promise of my Father upon you. 
But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem 
until ye be endued with power from 
on high." Luke 24 : 49. This is re- 
corded by Luke in immediate con- 
nection with the Ascension, which was 
only ten days before the day of the 
outpouring at Pentecost. 

5. For John indeed. Our Lord thus 
confirms the words of John himself as 
now and thus to be fulfilled, (Matt. 3 : 
11; John 1: 33,) in regard to the 
higher Baptism. John's work was 
typical of His, and was of no use apart 
from His ; as preparing for and standing 
in contrast with His. It might here 
be asked whether the Apostles had been 
baptized? If so, it had been with 
John's baptism. This would have 
been likely enough to occur when all 
Jerusalem and Judea, and beyond Jor- 
3* 



dan, came to be baptized of Him, and 
even our Lord Himself. Observe. — (] ) 
The Chuech is oxe under both econo- 
mies — and the New Testament Church 
is only the substance of the Old Testa- 
ment shadow. The Gentile Church is 
a branch of the wild olive grafted into 
the old olive stock, and partaking of 
the root and fatness of it. Rom. 11: 
17. Hence, we have here the Old Tes- 
tament (Jewish) Church, about to be 
enlarged and reformed, not, however, 
by any organic development of its own 
life, but by the unfolding of the Divine 
plan in the fullness of the time. We 
have no trace of any new organization, 
as if there had been no Church before. 
On the contrarj% the old membership 
convene and transact Church business 
as a Church alreadj'. (2) The contrast 
between John's baptism and Christ's is 
represented as in the element. One 
being ^-idth jca^er," the other "■with 
the Hohj Ghost" though the latter is, 
of course, a personal agency — and not 
merely an influence. It may fairly be 
inferred that the mode of baptism with 
water will be like that of baptism with 
the Holy Ghost. This latter is spoken 
of as sprinkling, rainirg down, out- 
pouring, (Isa. 32: 1.5,) &c., and we have 
this light thrown on the mode of bap- 
tizing with water. See Notes on Matt, 
Observe. — As John had fulfilled his 
preparatory work with this water- 
baptism, so our Lord would fulfill His 
higher work with the higher baptism 
of the Spirit, which John's only sym- 
bolized. The water-baptism of the 
twelve is not recorded. In comparison 
with this, their baptism with the Spirit 
was as the substance to the shadow. 
^ Not many days hence. Literally — 
not after these many days — within these 
few days. It was in about ten days. 
They may have understood this as re- 
ferring to the complement of days until 
the Pentecost, 



80 



< Matt. 24:3. 
llul. 1:26. 

Dan. 1:27. 
Amos 9:11. 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. [A. D. 30. 

6 When they therefore were come together, they asked 
of him, saying, *Lord, wilt thou at this time ■'restore 
again the kingdom to Israel ? 

7 And he said unto them, 'It is not for you to know 
the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his 
own power. 



6. Werfi. come together — in compli- 
ance, it may be, with the command 
to unite in prayer, ts. 5. T[ Wilt 
thou — lit., "If thou art at this time re- 
storing'' — ("We -wouUl know) if thou 
art — Art thou, &c. Tlie point of this 
question involved mainly two things : 

1. Whether Christ himself would re- 
store the .ancient kingdom of Israel as 
it flourished in its proudest times ? 

2. Whether he would do it " at this 
time" — NOW? They wished, perhaps, 
to know whether this promise of the 
Spirit, which had been referred to by 
Christ as a special and glorious gift — 
the promise of the Father — (which 
was somehow connected witli their 
tarrying in Jerusalem, the HolyCitj',) 
was connected also \\\\.\\ their promis- 
ed restoration. It was connected with 
the " restitution of all things" which 
He had promised by the mouth of .all 
His holy prophets since the world be- 
gan, lie had spoken to them of the 
things pertaining to " the kingdom 
of God." This kingdom had been fa- 
miliar to them as predicted by their 
prophets. Isa. 1 : 26 ; Dan. 7 : 27. It 
was spoken of as "the kingdom of 
David," &c., and the Messiah Himself 
was prophesied of as " the King of the 
daughter of Zion" — " the King that 
Cometh in the name of the Lord." 
Besides — a restoration or restitution 
had been familiar to them in the Year 
of Jubilee. It was, therefore, per- 
fectly natural that they should ask 
whether this that Christ called an 
" enduing with power from on high," 
(Luke 24:29,) was that consumma- 
tion to which they had been taught to 
look forward. " Wilt thou at this time 
fulfill oiar long-cherished hopes, and 
IS this, indeed, what we are to look for 
by tarrying now in our ancient capi- 
tal ?" This, indeed, was the restora- 
fc^«}n promised, (Micah4: 8) — this was 



the glorious kingdom which David's 
and Solomon's, at the most splendid 
period, only dimly typified. Well 
enough is it that they broach this 
question now, only they are not pre- 
pared for all the facts. (See Dan. 2 : 
21 ; 7 : 12.) He had taught them to 
pray, " Thy kingdom come." But 
their views were erroneous or defec- 
tive as to the nature of this kingdom. 
They looked chiefly for the temporal 
power and grandeur of their ancient 
rule, to be won by force of arms. For 
this view, David was punished when 
he numbered the people. (2 Sam. 2-1 : 
10.) It was external, secular domin- 
ion that they had long hoped for, 
when again, as of old, their oppressors 
.and enemies should be vanquished by 
the hosts of Israel. They did not yet 
see how the Spirit could give "power," 
and how the kingdom of Jesus was to 
embrace and overtop all earthly king- 
doms — how "the King of kings" was 
to win to Himself all authority, and all 
power on the earth, and draw all unto 
Him, in a "kingdom" which is "not 
meat and drink, but righteousness, 
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 
(Rom. 14 : 17.) This was, indeed, 
the very point of misunderstanding 
■and difiiculty — (1) as regards the true 
Israel — (2)the true power — (3) the true 
means for the restoration of the king- 
dom — and (4) the true glory of their 
Messiah's reign. On these points they 
would need enlightenment. And this 
the Spirit would give. Ouserve. — 
Christ's kingdom shall have more and 
more visible power in the world — it 
shall outwardly extend every where-^ 
and shall appropriate to itself human 
means and material resources, and 
shall attain to universal dominion. 
But, 

7. As to " the times or the seasons" it 
did not belong to them to know. They 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. I. 



8 " But ye shall receive 1| power, ° after that tli( 
Holy Ghost is come upon you : and "ye shall bo wit 
uesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and 



:th. 



of me Holy 
Ghost coming 
nil .Tnflp'i "pon you. 

Jolml5:27. 

T3. 22. 

cU. 2:32. 



were such matters as the Father had 
set, led by His own proper j;62»e/-. They 
■were to be rather witnesses of past 
events, than prophets of future dates. 
And on this point of "When shall 
these things be V He would give them 
no satisfaction, because this lay in the 
prerogative of God to "hasten it in 
His time ;" and any such disclosure 
of dates or periods, would encourage 
vain curiosity and self-dependence ra- 
ther than a disposition to "wait on 
the Lord." ^ Times or the seasons, 
Daniel had already said " He changeth 
the times and the seasons," (Dan. 2:21.) 
He holds them in His own " poicer" 
or prerogative. This declaration of 
our Lord is in keeping with what we 
find in prophecy ; that even though 
figures are given, it is not with such 
definite limitations commonly as to 
define the actual boundaries of events 
as to the very "day and hour." See 
Mark 13 : 22.— Of the two terms here 
used, the former relates to the general 
idea of time, and the latter to the oc- 
casion, or present circumstances. " The 
times (seasons) of refreshing" — " times 
of restitution" — "times (seasons) of 
the Gentiles" — are spoken of. It Avas 
not for them to know either the "times " 
in general, or the particular "seasons" 
or occasions, with the attendant cir- 
cumstances, in the case of this and 
other events. As regards the event 
itself, the restoration of the kingdom 
is admitted as about to come to pass ; 
the thing itself is to be done, else there 
would have been no time. — Bengal. But 
instead of satisfying their curiosity 
about the time when, He directs their 
inquiry to the groat point how this 
predicted kingdom is to come, involv- 
ing their agency. Oeserve. — (1) It 
is oui-s to wait on God with filial con- 
fidence, in prayer — in con&erted prayer 
— and to wait for the fulfillment of 
ilia promises, and look for the opening 



of II is gracious purposes, without un- 
duly prying into what He has not re- 
vealed. (2) So far as He has given 
to us any definite dates in prophecy, 
we are to use them for our encourage- 
ment: and where He has withheld 
them we are not to act as though we 
had the gift of prophecy. The plan 
of God is to furnish exercise to Chris- 
tian faith. 

8. But — while nothing was directly 
answered by our Lord to their question 
about the time of restoration of the 
kingdom, it is fairly implied by His 
reply that a restoration was contem- 
plated, only as regards the time they 
could not claim to know. And now 
the nature of the gift to be sent down 
upon them at Jerusalem, which was 
referred to, (vss. 4, 5,) and which led 
to their inquiry, (vs. 6,) our Lord ex- 
plains — that this should be the gift of 
power, yet not indeed of secular, tem- 
poral power such as they had thought, 
but of power in the highest sense. 
ThisAvas the power t'lat had been sad- 
1}' wanting in Israel, and the want of 
which had led to their degradation as 
a people. It was the power of Jacob 
ns a prevailer. This gave him the new 
name Israel, as one who "prevails 
with God and with men" — and this is 
the power which was to be given to the 
true Israel — the Israel after the Spirit 
— and this should be, in the highest 
sense, the restoration of the kingdom 
as a kingdom of prevailers, according 
to the true purport of the prophecies. 
OcsERVE. — It is here implied that the 
Holy Spirit is the only source of pow- 
er. For the Apostles, it is that power 
spoken of, ch. 4 : 30, Avuich they should 
have as witnesses of Christ's Resurrec- 
tion. And "in the regeneration," (or 
restoration,) they were to " sit on 
twelve thrones, judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel." H After that— lit, 
the Uoly Ghost having come. This y owex 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80. 



9 PAnd when he had spoken these things, while they 
beheld, "^ he was taken up ; and a cloud received him out 
of their sight. 



was to follow from the outpouring 
of the Spirit upon tbeni. It was that 
efficiency which consisted of miraculous 
gifts, and "power with God and men" 
for a mighty worLc in the world. Gen. 
32 : 28. See Matt. 28 : 19. f Witness- 
es. They were to go forth as living 
witnesses unto Christ, testifying of 
His Life, Death and Resurrection, and 
preaching His doctrines. In this wit- 
nessing-work they were to have " great 
power." Seech. 4:33. They should 
receive supernatural endowments, in- 
cluding inspiration, &c. They had 
already received "the keys of the 
kingdom " with reference to their 
powerful work of organizing and ex- 
tending the Christian Church, (John 
20 : 22.) t Both in Jerusalem, &c. 
Here, most remarkably, our Lord 
sketches the very path which Chris- 
tianity was to travel. The successive 
steps here traced agi-ee precisely with 
the sections of the History. 1. They 
beffan " at Jerusalem," chs. 3:1; 6:7. 
2. The persecutions in the time of 
Stephen drove out the disciples preach- 
ing the word "in all Judea," ch. 8 : 1 
- 4. 3. Then the ancient confines 
were crossed and Christianity went 
from .Jerusalem to Samaria first, to a 
mixed people, ch. 8 : 4-40. ( These 
were a connecting link between the Jews 
and Gentiles. See Notes on John — Ap- 
pendix.) 4. Then the preaching at 
Antioch, and conversion of Paul, and 
the vision of Peter, led to the exten- 
sion of Christianity "to the utterinost 
parts of the earth," ch. 9 — the end. 
This last applies not only to the Apos- 
tles' preaching throughout the then 
known world, but to the preaching of 
the future ministry, as included in the 
apostolical commission, "Go ye and 
teach all nations" — and in the prem- 
ise, "Lo I am with you alway, even 
unto the end of ihezcorld" — (" the age" 
— referring to the entire Christian dis- 
pensation, and thus embracing all 
ipheres and localities of their labor.) 



See Ps. 2 : 8 ; Isa. 49 : 6 ; Matt. 28 . 
19 — which show that the whole woukl 
is meant as the field for the Christian 
ministry to cultivate. " The field ia 
the world." Matt. 13 : 38. 

9. The Ascension of our Lord is 
now reeorded more in detail than in 
the Gospel narrative by Luke. The 
Ascension itself is just what we might 
expect from His Resurrection ; for He 
would scarcely have been miraculously 
raised from the dead, except to ascend 
bodily. Besides, the translations of 
Enoch and Elijah under the Old Dis- 
pensation pointed forward to this, and 
are explained by it as the types of this. 
The Ascension of Christ to the right 
hand on high, is plainly supposed by 
all the doctrines and ordinances of 
Christianity. It lies at the foundation 
of the whole system. And in the Scrip- 
ture, the Resurrection calls for the 
Ascension as a proper consequence of 
it, and connected with it. Our Lord 
clearly and repeatedly referred to it 
beforehand. " I go to my Father," &c. 
(John 16: 10.) "What, and if jq 
shall see the Son of man ascending up 
where He was before ?" John 6 : 62. 
See also 1 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 2 : 6 ; 4 : 
8 ; 1 Pet. 3 : 22 ; Matt. 26 : 64— where 
the Ascension is clearly implied. He 
had foretold His departure from the 
earth to the Father, and the Spirit's 
advent in His stead. (John 14 : 26.) 
This event, therefore, was just what 
they might Iwve expected. (For the 
nece.'isity of His departure, see Notes 
on John, ch. 14 : 15.) 1[ When Ue 
had spoken, &c. That is — after He 
had given His commands, and set forth 
the course of His kingdom, of which 
Ho had laid the foundation in His 
whole previous ministry — "while they 
beheld, He was taken up." It was done 
before their eyes. They saw it. They 
had seen Him repeatedly since His 
Death and Resurrection, and now tliey 
saw the same Person tc.ken up in tha 
cloud, which enwrapped Him and bore 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. I. 



10 And while tliey looked stedfastly toward heaven as he Li'te24fc" 



Him, as in a chariot, to heaven. This 
was not at all more remarkable than 
many other wonderful miracles which 
they had seen attesting His commis- 
Bion. They might easily have judged 
this event to be the natiu-al conse- 
quence of all His previous history, 
especially they who had beheld His 
Transfiguration. Then, also, they 
had seen "a bright cloud" (like the 
Shecinah or symbol of the Divine 
presence,) "overshadowing them," and 
had heard the voice of the Father 
out of the cloud, " This is my be- 
loved Son." Matt. 17 : 5. Soon after- 
ward the Apostles understood this 
enthroning of the Risen Lord, for Peter 
is soon found preaching, "Him hath 
God exalted to be a Prince and a Sa- 
viour." Acts G : 31. " Whom the heav- 
ens must receive until the times of 
the restitution of all things," &c. 
See Acts 2 : 23. And we find them 
praying to Him as the Kisen Lord, 
(see vs. 24,) and recognizing Him as 
actively administering the affairs of the 
Church from His throne in heaven, as 
"Lord and Christ." ^ Taken vp — 
lifLed up — viz. from the earth. This is 
not the same word as in vs. 2, and re- 
fers not to the whole transaction, but 
to the first lifting up from the ground. 
He is spoken of as exalted by the 
right hand of God. Could not these 
Apostles see that the Glorious King 
was thus escorted to His kingly seat on 
high ? Could they not understand this 
as His going to sit on the right hand 
of til 3 Father till His enemies be made 
His footstool, (Ps. 110 : 1,) as the seat- 
ing of God's King upon His holy hill of 
Zion? (Ps. 2 : 6.) 1[ A cloud received Him 
— upbore Him. "While, therefore, the 
going up of Elijah may be compared to 
the flight of a bird wlfich none can fol- 
low, the Ascension of Christ is, as it 
were, a bridge between heaven and 
earth " for all who are His people. Or 
rather it is the ladder of Jacob, as He 
Himself said. (John 1 : 51.) And ac- 
cordingly we find " the angels of God 
ascending and descending upon it," i. e. 



"upontheSonof man." vs. 10; Heb. 1: 
14. A cloud was the visible symbol of 
the Divine presence which rested at tha 
door of the tabernacle, (Deut. 31 : 15,) 
which, as a pillar, led the way of tha 
ancient Israel through the wilderness, 
(Exod. 33 : 9,) and" from which had 
been proclaimed His proper Sonship, 
when the translated Elijah appeared in 
glory and conversed with Him. This, 
therefore, was the appropriate vehicle 
for Him, as if borne up in the Father's 
arms, to His heavenly throne. And 
thus without any voice from the cloud, 
it testified, " This is my beloved Son 
in whom I am well pleased." Now 
the event to Avhich the prophetic 
Psalm (24) looked forward, came to 
pass : " Lift up your heads, ye gates, 
and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, 
and the King of Glory shall come iu." 
Jesus is "Jehovah of Hosts." Christ may 
be contemplated as in his glorified body, 
in heaven. "He maketh the clouds 
His chariot." Elijah, the severer pro- 
phet of the Old Dispensation, was 
caught up in a whirluiiid. 2 Kings 2 : 
11. Jesus, the Ambassador of Peace, 
was taken up in a cloud. Observe. — • 
When Christ had risen from the dead, 
and thus had the Divine seal put upon 
His mission, we should not be sur- 
prised at His Ascension. He went 
where He manifestly belonged. The 
Ascension was (1) The glorificatioa 
of His human nature. (2) The resto- 
ration of His Divine nature to the ma- 
jesty and glory which He had laid 
aside for a time. (3) His enthrone- 
ment as God-man in His mediatorial 
kingdom. He ascended (1) To pre- 
pare a place for His people, John 15 : 
2. (2) To receive gifts for men, which 
He would dispense to His children, 
Eph. 4 : 8. (3) To be our liing, rul- 
ing in us, and ruling all things for us. 
(4) To be our Prophet, teaching us by 
His word and Spirit. (5) To be our 
Priest, presenting llis blocd and mak- 
ing continual intercession for us, Heb. 
7:25. 
10. Looked stedfaitly — Ik., "Am 



84 

(oh. 2:1, ind 
13:31. 
IDan. T:13. 
Matt. 24:30. 
Mark 13: 2(3. 
Luke 21 : 27. 
John 1-1:3. 
1 Tbess. 1 : 10, 



;Tbe; 



1:10. 



THE ACTS OF THE AP0STLE3. [A. D. 30. 

11 "Whicli also said, ■ Ye men of G-alilee, why stand ye 
gazing up into heaven ? this same Jesus, which is taken 
up from you into heaven, * shall so come in like manner 
as ye have seen him go into heaven. 



they were gazing earnestly iotcard hea- 
ven, while He icas dqmriing^' thither. 
The cloud seems to have continued 
risible for a time. They were full of 
amazement, and, as the term signi- 
fies, they were earnestly looking' up 
with fixed attention — so that there 
was every evidence of the miraculous 
fact. He did not ascend while they 
were asleep, or gazing elsewhere. 
They may even have continued gazing 
after He had passed out of view, (vs. 
11.) The terms rendered, as he ivcnt 
up, me.au, tchile He was removing, [or 
departing.) The verb is used twice in 
this passage, (vs. 10 and 11,) and it 
signifies elsewliere, aii ordinary remov- 
ing from one place to another. It was, 
indeed, only a proper return to the 
heaven where He belonged — "ascend- 
ing up where He was before," John 
6 : 62 ; and so it is hinted in verse 2, 
by the use of the term "taken up," 
or taken back to heaven. See Notes. 
Observe. — While He is spoken of as 
"taken up," He is here spoken of as 
"removing" — going up, as by His own 
power. This agrees with what we 
elsewhere find, that He is sometimes 
said to have been exalted by the right 
hand of the Father, (ch. 2 : 33;) again. 
He is referred to as "having gone 
into heaven," (1 Pet, 3: 22.) T[ Be- 
hold. This was surprising to them. 
^ Tico men. Now that Jesus has car- 
ried His humanity into heaven, the 
heavenly beings appear cu earth as 
men. Now that He has become the 
ladder, as Jacob saw it, connecting the 
two worlds, " the angels of God as- 
cend and descend upon Him," as He 
foretold them that they should see. 
(Johr. 1 : 51.) These were doubtless 
angels — as Luke has described them, 
(Luko 24 : 4,) and probably enough 
they were the same angels as appeared 
after the Resurrection, explaining, di- 
recting ai'.l comforting them. Alutt. 



28 : 5. It has been suggested that 
these "two men" may have been Moses 
and Elias, who appeared at the Trans- 
figuration, Luke 9 : 31 ; Matt. 17 : 
3. Tf In white apparel. This is the 
heavenly dress — a symbol of purity — 
"raiment white as snow," (Matt. 28: 
3; Rev. 1 : 14;) "white robes," (Rev. 
7 : 9, 13, 14; 15 : 6;) "linen, clean 
and white, which is the righteousness 
of saints." (Rev. 19 : 8.) Observe. 
— They who look steadfastly after Jesus 
shall have heavenly communications 
and directions, and shall be comforted 
in the view of His second coming in 
glory. 

11. Which also said. They not only 
appeared, but they spake to them in 
comforting words, as at the Resurrec- 
tion — as ministering spirits to the heira 
of salvation. Heb.l : 14. ^\ Ye men of 
Galilee. This mode of address may 
have been intended to show that they 
were recognized by the angels, and 
their history known to them, that thus 
their Divine authority, as God's mes- 
sengers to them, might be manifest. It 
would also remind them of their lowly 
origin — their call to be Christ's Disci- 
ples, and their consequent obligation 
to obey Him, checking thus their am- 
bitious thoughts. It would also hint to 
them of their human relations, {'^men, 
Galileans,") that thus they might not 
be gazing idly into heaven — as if wait- 
ing there for Him to return — but be 
about their work as men in the various 
actual relations of life. ^ Why Hand 
ye? If these were, indeed, the very 
same angels who appeared at the 
sepulchre and charged the Disciples 
who lingered around the tomb, to has- 
ten and meet Him in the mountain of 
Galilee where He had appointed, tliey 
then asked, "Why seek ye the living 
among the dead?" (Luke 24 : 5.) 
Now, the question is, why seek ye tho 
heavenly among the eartlily ? *' He \i 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. 



12 "Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount «l»^«*':6«' 
called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a safcbath daj's 
j ourney . 



not here. lie is risen, as He said." 
Andjustasthcy then told the Disciples 
•where they would find Ilim, so here 
they tell them when raid how they may 
expect Him visibly again. ^ Into 
heaven. They tell the Disciples first 
■where Jesus had gone, or was " taken 
up" — "«/?to heaven^ This was most 
important forthem to know. So iJe de- 
clared to Mary, "I ascend unto my Fa- 
ther and your Father, and to my God 
and your God." See John 13 : 1 ; 20 : 
17. Thither they might follow Him in 
meditation, confidence and prayer, and 
thither they might look, in Christian 
hope, awaiting joyfully His return. 
If they should ever be tempted to 
doubt the identity of His person, it is 
liere assured to them that ^'■tlds same 
Jesus" — the very one whom they had 
known and loved, and whom they had 
seen as crucified and risen — whom also 
they had just now beheld ascending to 
heaven — should return again. ^ So, 
come — [thus) — in like via?iner, as — that 
is, visibly — in human form — and in a 
cloud. Luke 21 : 27; Matt. 17 : 4 ; 
24:30. "Behold, He cometh with 
clouds, and every eye shall see Him." 
(Rev. 1:7.) "It is not here said," says 
IJengel, " that they who saw Him 
ascend, should see Him return. Yet 
between the Ascension and the glorious 
Second Advent, no event is here inter- 
posed — so that these two arc connected. 
Therefore, properly enough, the Apos- 
tles, prior to the giving of the Apoca- 
lypse, regarded the day of Christ as 
very near. And it comports with the 
majesty of Christ, that He should be 
looked for the whole time between the 
Ascension and the Advent, without in- 
termission." Observe. — The Romish 
notion of Christ's bodily presence in 
the Mass, is here shown to be false — 
since the man Christ Jesus, in the per- 
sonality of His human natux-e ascended, 
there to remain till He shall come to 
judge the quick and the dead. Other 
" omings " of Christ are spoken of in 



Sci-ipture before that glorious Second 
Advent in human form. But they aie 
comings in power, as at Pentecost, and 
at the destruction of Jerusalem, though 
not in visible human form. Observe. 
As His Ascension was His glorious en- 
throning on high, His Second Advent 
would plainly be the restoration of the 
kingdom to Israel. This would be the 
"restoration" — or "restitution," (the 
same word in Greek, ch. 1 : 4 and 3 : 
21,) promised by the mouth of all His 
holy prophets since the world began. 
" He shall come to be glorified in His 
saints, and to be admired in all them 
that believe," 2 Thess. 1 : 10 — the 
true Israel, John 1 : 12. — "Thus the 
Ascension opens to the Disciples the 
future at a stroke — as well when they 
look to what they have to do, as when 
they ask what they have to hope — and 
as the Evangelist Luke composes his 
introduction under this impression, he 
aiiords at one glance the most sublime 
insight into the whole course of thrt 
following events." Observe. — Angel 3 
were the first to proclaim His Incarnn- 
tion and Resurrection, and now thi. 
are the first to proclaim His Asceusio 
and Second Advent. Are they not all 
ministering spirits, &c. Hcb. 1 : 14. 

§ 2. The Last Preparation. — Jeru- 
salem. Cli. 1 : 12-26. 

Tlie Fraijcr Meeting of the 120 Disciples. 

This secticn proceeds to narrate the 
actual compliance of the Disciples with 
the command of our Lord, (see vss. -1-8,) 
and thus leads us onward to the great 
results reconled at the opening of ch. 
2. As yet, therefore, all is in prepa- 
ration. The starting point of the new 
state of things is to be the Advent of 
the Holy Spirit, and their reception of 
the gift according to the promise, vs. 8, 

12. Then returned they unto JerusU' 
lem " with great joy," Luke 24 : 62—. 
and promptly, it would seem, as soo» 



86 



I ch. 0:37,39, 

and 20:8. 
K Matt. 10 : 3, 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. [A. D. 30. 

13 And -wlien tbey were come in, they went up '' into 
an upper room, where abode both ? Peter, and James, and 
John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and 
Matthew, James, the son of Alpheus, and ^ Simon Zelote.s, 
and * Judas the hrother of James. 



as til ey received this message from the 
angels — and in obedience to the Divine 
direction. INIust they not have gone to 
the Holy City fiiH of hope, bent on,and 
-wiiiting for,tlie jiromise of the Father, 
as the fulfillment of their long cher- 
ished desires? ^ The Mount called 
Olivet — called Olive Yard— th.^ "Mount 
of Olives." Luke, in the Gospel His- 
tory, had spoken of the Ascension as 
from Bethany, Luke 24 : 50. This 
•was on the eastern declivity of Olivet, 
and not on the summit nor the slope 
overlooking Jerusalem. But the dis- 
trict of Bethany extended beyond the 
town itself towai'd the summit of Olivet. 
Luke here gives the distance of the 
mountain from the city, rather than 
the distance of Bethany. This would 
furnish a general idea of the locality. 
Yet he seems to have nn object in stat- 
ing the distance as being " a Sabbath 
day's journey" — and this might be to 
give a more precise account than that 
in the Gospel History, and would seem 
to show that that " district of Betha- 
ny" fi-om which He ascended was with- 
in the limits of the Sabbath day's jour- 
ney. This was a sacred limit — the 
outermost boundary of the camp in the 
■wilderness, measured on any side from 
the tabernacle — and hence it was the 
utmost distance which the Israelites 
might travel for worship. Mount Oli- 
vet — the spot so frequented by our 
Lord on Sabbaths and other days, is 
here declared to be within this sacred 
limit — within the holy boundai-y line 
for sacred, devotional acts, or for the 
Sabbath's travel to worship. (In Luke 
24 : 52, it is said they worshiped Him.) 
This distance was seven and a half 
furlongs, or three-foui'lhs of a mile. 
But the town of Bethany was tifteen 
furlongs, (John 11 : 18,) and Josephus 
gives the distance of Mount Olivet as 
either five furlongs or six, according 
to the point measured Drom. The read- 



ing is literally, ''which (the Jlount) is 
niijh to Jerusalem, having (amounting 
to) a Sabbath day's journey." The 
Mount of Olives is here spoken of ra- 
ther than Bethany, because of the pro- 
phecies vzhich mention it as the scene 
of most glorious manifestations of God. 
Ezekielsaw " the glory of Jehovah" as- 
cending and departing from the temple 
at Jerusalem, and again descending 
and stiinding on the mountain on the 
east side of Jerusalem, Ezek. 11 : 23. 
It was in the attitude of departing and 
at the same time remaining. This was, 
indeed, the case — that while He visibly 
withdrew from His Church, He would 
be present by His Spirit. Ezekiel has 
abundantly set forth this advent and 
work of the Spirit in the Church — 
making the dry bones live — sprinkling 
clean water upon Israel to make them 
clean, &c., Ezek. 3G : 25. So Zecha- 
riah sees Mount Olivet as the spot of 
that final and wonderful manifestation 
of the Messiah, (Zech. 14 : 4,) which 
should confound His enemies. " The 
Church of the Ascension," so called, on 
the summit of Olivet, is somewhat 
more than six furlongs from the city — 
though we have no good ground for 
fixing upon that very spot as the true 
locality, any more than for believing 
that the print which they show in a 
stone there, resembling the track left 
hy one's foot in the snow or sand, is 
the real foot-print of our Lord at tho 
Ascension, as they assert. It may be 
that Luke, in this notice, means to re- 
fer only in the general to their return 
to Jerusalem, and states that they 
were no further distant than Mount 
Olivet, which is so near to the city as 
to be only a Sabbath day's journey. 

13. It would seem that, from all that 
Jesus had taught them about the king- 
dom of God during the forty dayp, (vs. 
3,) and from the explicit statement 
and direction given them, (vss. 4, 8^) 



A. U. 30.] 



CHAP. L 



Luke 23 : 49, 

d 24: 10. 

d Matt. 13:65. 



14 ""Theso all continued with one accord in prayer and ^'^■'^■■^•*^ 
supplication, with ' the women, and Mary the mother of 55^ 
Jesus, and with "^his brethren 

and also from His actual Ascension, 
they Lad began to understand the na- 
ture of the coming events so far as to 
resort to prayer. It is stated in Luke 
that they worshiped Him on the spot, 
before their return to the city, (Luke 
24: 52,) and now they seem united 
and e:irnest in their supplication (vs. 
14,) for the power to come from the 
promised descent on them of the Holy 
Ghost. ^ When they were come in to 
Jerusalem — whither they returned 
"with great joy," as Luke tells us, 
(Luke 24: 52,) showing their joyful 
apprehension of what they were to ex- 
pect from their risen Lord, and the 
great change in their views since the 
first mention or His going away, (John 
14.) \ The.y went up into an tipper 
room. Literally, the upper chamber, 
where abode, &c. It was some well 
known place of religious resort for the 
Disciples, probably in a private house, 
and not in the temple. It is also re- 
corded by Luke {'14,: 53,) that they 
were continually (that is, at all seasons 
of stated worship,) in the temple. 
These seem to be distinguished from 
each other. It may have been the up- 
per chamber, where the Last Supper 
had been taken, and consecrated by 
that memorable transaction, (Matt. 26: 
18.) That was a "guest chamber," 
provided, according to the custom, for 
guests at the Passover, and it may have 
remained in their use until Pentecost. 
\ Where abode. Literally, ivherc ivere 
remaining — sojourning usually. This 
is not to be understood of actual resi- 
dence and habitation, but of habitual 
resort as a place frequented for reli- 
gious purposes. It was customary in 
Jewish houses to have an upper cham- 
ber — sometimes like the observatory of 
a modern house, rising above the level 
of the flat roof — for exercises of devo- 
tion. It was often a large apartment, 
like a hall, and fit for social worship, 
(ch. 9: 37, 20: 8.) They did not all 
live in one house. John 19: 27. It 
ie not meant that r>ter, and the rest 



here named, were already there, but 
that these all resorted thither as soon 
as they came to the city from the As- 
cension scenes. See ch. 9: 37; Mark 
14: 15. The list of the Apostles is 
here complete, Judas Iscariot excepted. 
See Luke : 13-16. Peter, and J.ames, 
and John, and Andrew, and Philip, 
were the first five who were called, 
John 1 : 35, &c. 1 Bartholomeio. 
He is generally regarded as the same 
with Nathaniel, and this name is found 
answering to the other in the different 
lists, f James. It is still common in 
Syria and Palestine to designate a son 
by the name of his father. Liter.ally, 
"James of Alpheus." ^ Simon Ze- 
lotcs. In Matt. 10: 4, called "the Ca- 
naniie," not Canaanite — but from a He- 
brew terra meaning the same as " Ze- 
lotes" in Greek, or a zealot in English 
— probably from his former zeal in 
support of Judaism, and so called to 
distinguish him from Simon Peter. 
See Luke 6: 15. The name was not 
applied to a political sect until after- 
wards. ^ Judas. Literally, Judas of 
James The term brother is supplied, 
because it is known that this was the 
relation. .Jude 1. 

14. These all continued — were continu- 
ing. Here they were wont to meet for 
prayer. See vs. 15. Their earnest- 
ness and unanimity in prayer is here 
recorded. It is only such whom the 
Master hears — and hence it is here 
given, in preparation for the narrative 
of the successful result. The term 
here used is elsewhere rendered "con- 
tinuing instant" in prayer, Rom. 12: 
12. "Attending continually" upon this 
very thing, Rom. 13: 6. ^ With one 
accord. This term is frequently used 
in the History, and is applied to their 
worship in public assembly. It means 
really the same as unanimously, and 
signifies their entire harmony of pur- 
pose and desire. ^ In prayer, &c. 
Literally, in the prayer and the suppli- 
cation, viz. which they were engaged 
in. This intimates that all the prayei 



ss 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 

15 ^ And in th:se days Peter stood up in the midst of 
the disciples, and said, (the number "of names together 
were about an hundred and twenty,) 



and enti'eaty would be with a distinct 
aim, and would be of small account 
without harmony and unity among 
themselves ; and it also points to the 
prayer as the great business before 
them, and that which was commanded, 
and the only means of obtaining the 
blessing. If With (the) women, i. e. 
those who had been spoken of by 
Luke, (8 : 2, 3,) where he names sev- 
eral and speaks of many others. Some 
of the number were doubtless Mary 
Magdalene, Mary the mother of James 
and Joses, the mother of Zebedee's 
children, Joanna the wife of Chuza, and 
Susanna. It would be natural to ex- 
pect those who had been last at the 
cross and first at the sepulchre, to be 
present now: and hence when the wo- 
men are spoken of, it is not necessary 
to name them. " The women wlio fol- 
lowed Him from Galilee" — the " davigh- 
ters of Jerusalem" — "the Marj's" — 
these were they. There is no ground 
for understanding this term to mean 
" the wives" of the Apostles, though 
we know that some of them (as Peter, 
Matt. 8: 14; 1 Cor. 9:5,) had wives, 
who were probably present if they had 
them now. ^ And Blary. Our Lord's 
mother is here mentioned for the last 
time — and her name is added here with 
emphasis — as if to prevent any such 
superstition as that of the Ptomanists, 
who pay worship to her as the Queen 
of Heaven. She is licre particularly 
named as one of the praying Disciples, 
and not claiming any superior rank 
among them — acting with them as a 
Disciple of her exalted Son, and a be- 
liever in his proper Godhead. Who 
would ever dream of her having or 
claiming any rank with Him as an In- 
tercessor or Mediator? Who could 
justly suppose that she who here prays 
to Him as the only Mediator, would 
yeceive the prayers of the Church as 
if she were Divine and a Goddess! 
^ Uis brethren. If James and Jude 
among the twelve were brothers of our 
Lord, (or either of them,) as some sup- 



pose, then these refer to the rest of 
His brethren who are spoken of in 
John 7:5, as not believing in Him, 
Some understand, however, from the 
language here, that none of his breth- 
ren could have been among the twelve ; 
though this does not necessarily follow. 
They may be mentioned here so partic- 
ularly to show the change that had 
taken place in their views and feelings 
since that period when they were spo- 
ken of as unbelieving, [See Notes on 
John 7: 5.) 

Designation of an Apcsile in the room 
of Judas. 

15. In those days. That is, between 
the Ascension and the Pentecost — a pe- 
riod of ten days. ^ Peter stood vp — 
literally, standing up — he said. Peter, 
from the forwardness and impetuosity 
of his nature, or from the fact of his 
having been the first designated as an 
Apostle by the significant new name 
Cephas, which he was to have, (John 
1 : 42,) is found taking the lead in these 
early transactions. This, however, ia 
quite a diflferent thing from any pri- 
macy or supremacy in rank among the 
Apostles, of which we find no trace in 
the Scriptures, but quite the contrary. 
^ The number of the names. That is, 
the number of the persons, as the list 
or roll of persons present gives the 
"names." (See Rev. 3:4; 11:13.) 
The terms here rendered " together," 
{cTTi TO avTo) may mean at (in) the same 
place, or at the same time, or with tho 
same object. The first of these is here 
meant, and the idea is conveyed that 
this was only the number who then 
and there assembled, and not the whole 
number of Disciples. In 1 Cor. 15: 0. 
five hundred are spoken of. This asa 
scmbly may not include even all tho 
Disciples at or near Jerusalem. The 
greater number were doubtless in Gal- 
ilee. It is not to be supposed that all 
the scattered Disciples, from all quar- 
ters, were present at the Ascension, 
nor is it necessary to conclude that all 



CHAP. I. 



39 



16 Men and brethren, tLis scripture must needs liavo 
been fulfilled, ^ which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of ^o^hntV^s. 

;fore con 
to them that took Jesus. 



wlio -witnessed that scene returned to 
Jerusalem. If it be asked, "Where 
were the 500 on this occasion," we 
might ask. Where •were the twelve at 
the Transiiguration ? Nor need we 
suppose that the same were absent 
from the Pentecost. We can know 
nothing beyond the record. It is plain 
that there was an accession to the 
group who gathered at first in the up- 
per room, (vss. 12, 13,) and we infer 
that the Disciples near at hand in the 
city and vicinity were gathered by the 
Apostles to their meeting, or joined 
them of their own motion. Besides, 
we are not to imagine that the assem- 
bly was always the very same during 
the ten days, or that they remained all 
the time together, but re-assembled at 
intervals in the same place, as in any 
protracted meeting, continuing stead- 
fastly and unitedly in prayer. The mini- 
ber present at the time of this discourse 
and transaction were about a hundred 
a7id twenty. 

IG. Men and brethren. Lit., Men, 
brethren — that is, men who are our 
brethren. The Syriac reads, " Men, 
our brethren." So in y. 11, "Men, 
Galileans." This is a common mode 
of address, conciliatory and kind. (See 
Ch. 13 : 2G.) Sirs, brothers. In thi' 
first assembly of the Church for the 
transaction of business, an Apostle was 
to be designated in the room of Judas 
the traitor. The number of the twelve 
had been strangely broken in upon, 
and a sad and remarkable vacancy had 
occurred. If there had been any sig- 
nificance in the number twelve as they 
were chosen by our Lord, surely now, 
when they were to go forward in Apos- 
tolic work to the ends of the eartli, a 
first necessity would be this, of filling 
the vacancy. As the number of twelve 
had reference to Israel, like that of the 
twelve patriarchs, so now, when the 
kingdom was, indeed, to be carried for- 
waxl from a new start and "restored" 



to Israel, the full number was necessa- 
ry for the full work of the Apostolic 
commission. See Matt. 10:5; Luke 
22 : 30. Hence the names are hero 
given, vs. 13. Peter introduces the 
matter to the attention of the assem- 
bly, and they proceed to the solemn 
duty. He gives the Scriptural war- 
rant. Observe. — It was necessary al- 
ways that an Apostle be chosen by the 
Lord Himself, see ch. 1:2; Luke 6 : 
13 ; John 6 : 70 ; 13:18; 15 : 10, 19. 
Hence they adopted the lot. Yet the 
other Apostles in this case had some- 
thing to do, and the body of Disciples 
had also a part to take and a voice in 
the election. Hence the distinct men- 
tion is made of the whole number of 
Disciples present, to signify, thus, theii 
equality as called upon to express 
their choice, so far as it could go. 
"f This Scripture must needs — [needed) — 
to have been fulfilled. He refers to the 
part of the prediction already accom- 
plished in the infamous defection and 
death of Judas. The term here used 
to express the need or necessity, is ap- 
plied commonly to that necessity which 
there is from the Divine plan or pur- 
pose. Hence the meaning is, that the 
fulfillment of this passage of Scripture 
was necessary, according to the Divine 
plan. This refers them for the de- 
signation of a successor also to tha 
plan of God. Even the traitorous 
fall of Judas did not occur contrary to 
the Divine purpose ; nor shall the 
gates of hell ever prevail against the 
Church. Of course, it is not meant 
that Judas was, in any way, compelled 
to the deed by God. T[ By the mouth 
of David. These wox'ds clearly ac- 
knowledge the writings of David to be 
the words of the Holy Spirit, speaking 
by the Psalmist, using "the mouth of 
David," as it were, to speak His own 
words. No terms could more distinct- 
ly set forth the plenary inspiration of 
the Scriptures, 2 Pet. 1:21. ^ Spak* 



40 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



17 For 



» Matt. 10 
Luke 6: 16. 

ch.^ilfM, and Pi^i't of ' this ministry. 

20 ': 24," & -21 : 19. TO 



was numl]ered witli us, and had obtained 



k Matt. 27 : 5, 7 



Now this man purchased a field with ' the reward 
of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in 
the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 



before. Literally, predicted. ^ Con- 
cerning Judas. It is here expressly 
said, that this language of the Psalm- 
ist was spoken concerning Judas, and 
was a prophecy of what occurred in 
his case, pointing distinctly to what 
was to be done. The prediction is 
quoted in vs. 20. T[ Guide—lit., Who 
became leader of the way. See Matt. 26 : 
47 ; John 18 : 3. Judas was the ring- 
leader of the band — led the way — 
pointed out Jesus by a signal, so that 
they might know whom to seize. 

17. For. That is, Judas, "being 
one of the twelve," answered to the 
description in the Psalm, as to " his 
habitation" and "his bishopric;" and 
the fulfillment therefore is made clear. 
Hence, we find in the Gospel narratives 
that where this traitorous transaction 
is referred to, Judas is spoken of iu 
these terms emphatically as one of 
the twelve, (Mark 14: 20.) And we 
must infer that this language is used 
not merely to call attention to the hein- 
ousness of his offense, but to the words 
in which the very apostasy was pre- 
dicted. ^ Obtained part. Rather, had 
obtained the lot, inheritance, appoint- 
ment or office of this ministry, that is, 
the Apostleship. Our Lord had chosen 
Him to this office. The term here ren- 
dered "part" means properly "lot," 
and is the term from which we have 
our word "clergy," implying also that 
it is an office appointed by God. Yet 
the term as here used, conveys a refer- 
ence to the allotment of the land of 
Canaan among the twelve tribes, and 
"this office is the spiritual antetype of 
their share in the land of Canaan under 
the Old Covenant. Hence the use of 
the term here suggests the employment 
of the same moans for allotting the va- 
cant portion, as in the Old Testament 
had been commanded in similar case." 
Bee Numb. 26 : 52-56. Observe.— It 
is pot said of Judas that he was one of 



God's elect people ; but only that he 
was numbered with the twelve, and ap- 
pointed to this office. "Have not 1 
chosen you twelve and one of you is a 
devil?" (John 6: 70.) Adam was ad- 
mitted to the most intimate relations 
with God, yet he fell. The depravity 
of our fallen nature is illustrated in the 
case of Judas. His testimony, also, to 
the purity of our Lord's character and 
life was valuable, as the testimony of 
no prejudiced friend, but of an enemy. 
His fall was a severe trial to the rest of 
the twelve : and the results of the be- 
trayal proved that the gates of hell 
could not prevail against Christ's king- 
dom. Observe. — K Judas, from his 
high post of privilege, could fall, who 
could not, but for Divine grace ? If the 
fall of Judas did not ruia the cause, 
what defection or apostasy can do it? 
18. Noiv this [man.) This verse and 
the next are thought, by most, to be 
an explanatory passage thrown in by 
Luke, as giving some additional lighi 
upon this sad event. It is not seen 
how Peter should have introduced it in 
his discourse, when the facts must have 
been so familiar, while Luke, as a 
historian, would have found it expedi- 
ent to make this fuller record. But 
Peter could easily be supposed to make 
this statement, as it presents the facts 
in a very peculiar light entirely to his 
point. He wishes to impress this idea 
that Judas met with his awful end iu 
the very field which he had bought with 
the price of blood, and in this sense, 
as also a type of a more dreadful and 
eternal retribution, he " went to his 
own place." This view, accordingly, 
the whole assembly take of it from Pe- 
ter's discourse, (vs. 25.) Judas "^ur- 
chased" — rather, obtained or acquired by 
purchase, (i. e. indirectbj.) Some sup- 
pose that in a spirit of avarice, perhaps 
using the money from the Lord's treas- 
ury, he was led to buy city or suburban 



A. D. ;30.] 



:hap. I. 



19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem ; iuso- 
niuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is 
to say, The field of blood. 

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, "Let his ™i'5-<59:25. 



lots, called here "a field." But the 
narrative in Matthew points to this 
same field — having the same name, "tho 
field of blood" — as the plot bought by 
the priests -with the money which Ju- 
das got from them for the betrayal of 
our Lord. There is no real difficulty 
in the statement that Judas bought it, 
since here the whole transaction is spo- 
ken of which resulted in the purchase. 
If all the details of the purchase had 
been given by Luke liere, as by Matthew, 
(ch. 27,) it would probably have been 
ditferently worded. But speaking of 
it in brief, the deed was that of Judas, 
the purchase was made with his money. 
Peter'8 object here is not to give full 
particulars, but to give a particular 
Tiew of the transaction to which he 
■would call attention. He wishes to 
show the Divine retribution following 
closely on the heel of Judas' trans- 
gression. Hence he represents the field 
that was purchased with his money and 
" with the reward of ip.iquity" as pur- 
chased by him — the emphasis, however, 
being upon the terms " the reward of 
iniquity," called in Matthew "the price 
of blood." He proceeds to state the 
horrible end to which the traitor came, 
in the very field that he had thus made 
his own, and which by his broken body 
(the very opposite of our Lord's,) was 
made doubly his own, the home of his 
foul and defiling corpse. Stier very 
plausibly suggests that this catastro- 
phe occurring in this field, as is here 
implied, may have given the place so 
vile an association as to lead to its be- 
ing »elected for a stranger's burying 
place, as being defiled. It would nat- 
urally enough have led the chief priests 
to fix upon it when they wished to 
make such use of Judas' money. They 
thus bought with it tho field that he 
had 80 shockingly set apart. Besides, 
it is very common for one to be spokon 
of as doing himself what he docs by the 
agPDcy of another; as it is virtually 



and essentially his own act, and he ori- 
ginates it. It is plain that Matthew'a 
object is to give a more particular ac- 
count of the purchase, and Peter's of 
the death. There is no disagreement 
between the nari-atives. This shocking 
incident given by Peter is added 
here, as it falls in with his point of ar- 
gument. Doubtless Judas hung him- 
self as Matthew states, and then his 
body fell, probably from the edge of 
the precipice at the valley of Hinnom, 
and hurst asunder in the midst, so that 
all his bowels gushed out. 

19. This was related as a fact per- 
fectly well known to all the inhabitants, 
so that, indeed, the field obtained tha 
name of Aceldama. In Matthew it is 
said, after the whole narrative of tho 
hanging and purchase is given, "Where- 
fore that field was called ' the field of 
blood' unto this day." It was so called 
in their proper peculiar tongue, that 
is, the Syro-Chaldaic, and the name is 
composed of two words meaning this. 
Directly across the deep ravine of Hin- 
nom, opposite the foot of Zion, we 
climbed up the steep bank where the 
vaults and grave-stones still mark the 
infamous spot. See Jer. 18 : 17, to 
which there is an allusion in the name 
" Potter' s field," or the Prophet alludes 
to the name. In Jer. 19 : 6, we are re- 
ferred to "Tophet," and in Jer. 19: 26, 
to the "Valley of Hinnom," and both 
names carried with them "of old" an 
association of foulest impurity, (2 
Kings 23: 10.) In later times the 
curse "f Jt'liovah was fixed upon the 
place by tlie word of the prophets Jer- 
emiah and Zechariah, Jer. 19 : 6 ; 
Zech. 11 : 1.3. And this abomination 
was fastened to it even to New Testa- 
ment times. Observe. — Judas, as the 
price of his wicked gains and barters, 
obtained this "inheritance," instead 
of happiness and his high ofiice. 
" What shall it profit a man," &c. 

20. For. That is, all this tock- 



42 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. SO. 



iioJ;^«jf"cf habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein : and 
cftario " njiig || bighoprick Ict anothcr take. 

21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the 
time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 



place in fulfillment of the proplietic 
passages in the Psalms. The predic- 
tion is now given to which Peter refers 
in vs. IG. This is founded on Psalm 
69, which is IMessiauic, (see John 2 : 
17; Matt. 27: 34,) referring, through 
David and his kingdom and its foes, 
to Christ's kingdom and its enemies. 
In the Psalm the words are in the plu- 
ral, and the enemies are referred to as 
a class in all time. Judas being tlie 
leader of Christ's foes, the Apostle 
iices the words fulfilled in him, and 
puts them in the singular. Ps. 109 is 
also here referred to, where one adver- 
sary is more specially pointed out. 
The passage has its fulfillment in eve- 
ry ringleader of Christ's enemies, but 
it had a remarkable fulfillment in .Ju- 
das, the betrayer of our Lord to death. 
The Holy Spirit had this event in mind, 
and put this passage on record, with a 
view to this case as an eminent accom- 
plishment of these prophetic words. 
This sentence is here quoted by Peter, 
(Ps. 69 : 2-5,) to show that it was here 
divinely signified that a successor 
should be clio'^en in the room of this 
foe, on whom the curse of degradation 
was pronounced. In the swift and 
awful degradation which had been so 
publicly pronounced upon Judas, in 
his shocking death, Peter would have 
the assembly see the Divine retribu- 
tion, and rap.rk also the Divine direc- 
tion. David, the " Lord's anointed" 
of the Old Testament, had used this 
language in regard to his enemies, 
which were also enemies of the Church, 
and now, of " the Son of David." 
^ Ills hahitailon. This cui-se is pro- 
nounced upon the ungodly leader and 
representative of Christ's foes — that 
his dwelling become desolate. The He- 
brew adds in the parallel clause, "And 
let none dwell in their (his) tents." That 
is, let his abode be broken up, and his 
family and friends be scattered, f Let 
tnother This pa-t of the passage is 



taken from Ps. 109 : 8, and is quoted 
by Peter as directing to the course 
now to be pursued by the assembly — 
namely, to choose anotiier to take the 
" ojjlce," or overscership, which Judas 
had vacated. The term rendered here 
j "bhhoj>rick'* is, in the Greek and Hebrew, 
a term for the duties of a chief oSce 
I in the Church, having the oversight of 
j its aifairs. It is based on the term 
[rendered "bishop" in our version — 
and this is found to be used in the 
same sense as " presbyter" — for the 
bishop in the time of the Apostles was 
clearly the same as a presbyter or el- 
der. See ch. 20 : 28, where the elders, 
or presbyters, are addressed thus, 
" Take heed unto yourselves, and to 
all the flock over which the Holy Ghost 
hath made you overseers" — " bish- 
ops." And Peter says of himself, 
" Who am also an elder — a presby- 
ter," (1 Pet. 5: 1.) The "presby- 
ters" were " bishops" — that is, bish- 
ops of a single church — simply minis- 
ters, and not a class of ministers set 
over other and inferior ones. Here, 
however, the term is used in its gene- 
ral, wide sense, of chief ofBcc in the 
Church. This clause, therefore, points 
them to the propriety of going for- 
ward to fill the vacancy. 

21. The Apostle, having now given 
the Scriptural warrant, proceeds to 
state some of the requisite qualifica- 
tions for a successor to Judas. He 
must have the same distinction as the 
first twelve, of whom Christ said, that 
they should bear witness of Him be- 
cause they had been with Him from 
the beginning, (John 15 : 27.) Sec, 
also, Mark 3: 14. ^ Companied. This 
was requisite, in order that he might 
be Ciualified to bear witness cf Christ's 
Life, and Death, and Resurrection, from 
his own personal knowledge. Peter 
may here refer to the seventy Disci- 
ples. He must have companied — asso- 
ciatedmthua — "all the time," not merely 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. I. 



48 



22 •Beginning from the baptism of John, unto tliat ;^f*i=»- 
same day that ^he Avas taken up from us, must one be ^s'^'g'^^*'^^* 
ordained i to be a -n-itness with us of his resurrection. <:ii.4:33. 



from a late period, nor at intervals. 
It was necessary for an Apostle to 
have had such close, familiar acquaint- 
ance with Christ, from habitual intei-- 
course, all the while He "went in and 
out amoncj" them — that is, lived with 
them. Thus only could ho bo a well- 
qualified witness. Paul, indeed, was 
an exception, and he was miraculously 
informed and qualified. 

22. Begitmmg. This refers to Christ, 
whose intercourse with them is here 
referred back to the time of John's bap- 
tism — that is, John's ministry — from 
the time or date of its close, whenChrist's 
public ministry commenced. The min- 
istry of John is called his "baptism," 
(as, " The baptism of John, whence 
was it?" Matt. 21 : 25,) and this date 
was also connected with John's baptiz- 
ing of our Lord, which introduced His 
public ministry, Matt. 4: 12-17; Luke 
20: 4. It was from this point that the 
Apostolic testimony must needs com- 
mence. And it must extend to "that 
same day in which He zvas taken up," 
at His Ascension. This would include 
His entire minis ti-y ; and it was necessa- 
ry that they should ))e witnesses of the 
whole. % 3Iast one. The term here 
for " must" is used to express that ne- 
cessity which there is in the Divine 
plan and purpose. God's plan so re- 
quires. \ Ordained — lit., one must be- 
come — be constituted — be made. \ Wit- 
ness. An official witness — one whose 
office it slioujd be to bear witness or 
testify " of His Resurrection." This 
was that gj-eat event which eet the 
Boal upon Christ's work, and proved 
His Divine mission ; and hence it was 
this groat historic;U fact which was to 
be borne witness of by the Apostles, 
as at the basis of this supernatural sya- 
tera. GusEUVE — Christitmity is found- 
ed on FACTS connected with the life, 
death and rising from the dead of a 
real Person. These facts were always 
abundantly attested by competent, 
|?e]I- qualified and undoubted witness- 



es. And the whole system of Chrjs- 
tionity, with all its miraculous facis, 
is as much matter of history, as any 
thing of which we have any historical 
knowledge. The great event of the 
Resurrection, miraculous asit was, was 
still a simple historical fact ; and it is 
as much matter of history as any other 
fact ever recorded in history. It is 
impossible, therefore, to separate the 
miracles from Christianity. The very 
Incarnation of Christ, as well as His 
Kesurrecuon, was a miracle. And, 
with all its miracles, Christianity has a 
historical basis that cannot be moved. 
The proofs are greater than belong 
to any other system. Its records are 
more accurately handed down and 
more fully searched and sifted than 
any others. And, altogether apai-t 
from any other question, (as the in- 
spiration of the Scriptures, &c.,) 
peculiar to Christianity, it rests as a 
supernatural system, upon an unshaken 
basis of history. The Apostle ap- 
pealed to the principal cities and com- 
munities in that enlightened age, as to 
the fact of the abundant miracles 
wrought among them by God in con- 
firmation of their preaching. And 
tliese facts were never denied nor dis- 
puted. See "Restoration of Belief." 
(See 2 Cor. 12:12.) Observe— The 
special and peculiar work of the Apos 
ties is here mentioned. They were to 
be witnesses of Christ's Resurrection. Of 
course, then, their office was confined 
to that age. They could have no suc- 
cessors as Apostles, for none after their 
time could go forth as eye-witnesses 
of Christ's Pvesurrection. Paul was 
enabled to do so because it was grant- 
ed to him by miracle to see t/ie Risen 
Lord. Ajid this he makes the ground 
of his claim to the Apostleship, (1 Cor 
9:1.) OusEKVE — The Resurrection of 
Christ is recognized in the Now Testa^ 
ment as a fundamental doctrine, and 
the crowning proof of Christ's mission^ 
John 5 : 22 , Rom. 1 : 4 : 4 : 24 : 10; 7 



44 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80. 



Jer. 11:20 
17 : UO. 
Ih. 15:8. 



23 And they appointed tvfo, Joseph called 'Barsabas, 
who T>'as surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 

24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, * which 
knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two 
thou hast chosen, 



23. Thcij appointed two. Literally, 
they placed — "jmt up" as wc sny — set 
forth, as candidates, two persons. It 
13 not the Apostles who did this, but 
the -whole assembly whom Peter had 
just addressed. They had been con- 
vinced by his discourse, and especially 
from the Scripture, that it was neces- 
sary to fill the vacancy in the twelve, 
and this is the way in which they pro- 
ceeded. It is clear that the membership 
were held to be on an equal footing in 
regard to their vote or lot here. The 
same entire body of members present 
proceed to pray, (vs. 24.) and then to 
cast the lots, (vs. 26.) They thus 
recognize the necessity of the Divine 
choice in case of an Apostle, (Luke 8: 
13; John G: 70; 13: 18; 15: lG-19; 
chs. 1, 2,) and for their part they 
nominate two from those most abiui- 
dantly qualified. They pray to God, to 
whom they refer the decision, and so 
they cast the lot, as a mode of indica- 
ting the Divine choice. Of course this 
election of an Apostle is altogether a 
peculiar case, and hence this casting 
of lots is no example for Church action 
in our time. The Apostolic office, with 
its miraculous gifts, was temporary, 
and does not now exist. And hence, 
we read of no election aftorwardsby 
this method. " When, therefore, finally 
not more than two were found, and set 
forth as worthy of consideration, the 
matter had been brought to the point 
at which the assembly could proceed 
no further of itself, and without trench- 
ing on the prerogatives of the Lord." 
"Hither," says Ecngcl, "the faithful 
could arrive with their counsel, not 
further. Therefore, here, at length, 
the lot commences." Now, however, 
the active part of the Church in the 
election proceeds, in the way of prayer 
to their Ascended Lord, entreating 
Him to signify, by means of the lot, 



which tif the two He chose. T Joseph 
had also the name of " JBarsaban," 
which means Son of Saba, or rest, or 
of an oath. It is not tlie same as Bar- 
nabas, though some have confounded 
this person with the one named, cb. 4: 
3G. He had also the name Jristus, a 
Latin name meaning Just, and very 
often attached to other names, as a ti- 
tle of integrity, as James the Just. 
The name thus agrees with the cir- 
cumstances, and confirms the history. 
^Matthias. Nothing is certainly known 
of this man, except that he was chosen 
1 as the Apostle — as is here recorded. 
Some traditions make him to have suf- 
fered niartyi-dom in Etliiopia; others 
in Greece; others in Judea; but they 
agi-ee in testifying that he died a mar- 
tyr's death. They were probably both 
of the seventy Disciples. 

24. A7id they prayed. Fraying, they 
said: ^ Thou Lord. The term here 
rendered "Lord," when used alone in 
the New Testament, refers almost al- 
ways to the Son: ch. 2: 36; 7: 59- 
60; 10: 30; 1 Cor. 2 : 8; Phil. 2: 11; 
Rev. 11:8; and in the context, vs. 21, 
just preceding, it is expressly applied 
to Jesus, in the language of Peter to 
the assembly. It is, therefore, every 
way improbable that they would at 
once have used this title, if they had 
not meant it to refer to the same as 
Peter had just applied it to. Besides, 
Peter had set forth the necessity of 
choosing one who had been a compan- 
ion of Jesus, and a witness of His 
Life, Death and Resurrection. Would 
they not naturally, therefore, have ap- 
pealed to Hi?n to signify' His choice of 
such an one. "Shew clearly whether 
of these two thou hast chosen," (2-1.) 
" The Apostles are simply the messen- 
gers of Christ. li is He who selects 
them, and of Him are they to bear wit- 
ness." It was not because they could 



A. D. 30. j 



CHAP. I. 



46 



25 *That he oay take part of this ministry and ipostle- *"•"• 
ehip, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to hig 
own place. 



not ftgree upon either one of these two 
that they appealed to Him, but be- 
cause it was His proper prerogative. 
Aa Apostle must necessarily be chosen 
by the Lord Jesus. "Have not I cho- 
sen you twelve, and one of you is a 
devil?" (John 6: 70.) There is no 
difficulty in regard to their worship of 
Christ, for it is expressly recorded that 
they worshiped Him on the spot at the 
Ascension, and before returning to 
Jerusalem. (Luke 24: 52.) ^ Which 
laiowest the hearts. This is a preroga- 
tive of God, and Peter ascribes the 
same to Christ, which shows our Lord 
to be God. See Jer. 17: 10, where 
Jehovah claims this as His Divine at- 
tribute. See John 2: 25. Thvs was 
the habit of the early Christians to 
render homage to Christ as God. So 
Pliny testifies in his letter to the Em- 
peror Ti'ajan, A. D. 102. And this is 
required by Christ Himself, (John 5 : 
23,) that all men should honor the Son 
even as they honor the Father. See 
Heb. 1:6; Phil. 2: 10-11; Rev. 5: 
8-14 ; 1 Thess. 3 : 11-12. Observe.— 
(1) Christ is God, as is also plainly 
declared, John 1 : 1, &c. (2) He 
claims our worship, as God, equal with 
the Father and the Holy Spirit. So 
the Christian doxologies and the Apos- 
tolic benedictions show. Tf Show 
whether. Rather it should read, ' ' Ap- 
point one of these two, (him) lohom 
thou hast chosen." The same term is 
used, Luke 10: 1, where it is rendered, 
" And the Lord appointed other seventy 
also," &c. As Alford remarks, "they 
did not merely ask for a sign to show 
whether of the two was chosen, but 
that the Lord would, by means of the 
lot, Himself appoint the one of His 
choice." Yet, in either case, the lot 
was to indicate the result. 

25. That he may take part, kc. Lit- 
erally, To take the office of this ministry. 
The same term is used here as in vs. 
17, though some late critics decide for 
Jhe readhig here of the same word as 
is translated "place" at the end of the 



verse ; in which case it would be — to 
take the "place" or "post" of "thia 
ministry and Apostleship" — that is, of 
this Apostolic ministry. This was the 
distinct object contemplated. Hence thia 
language is made use of in the form of 
some Churches, at the ordination of a 
minister. At the close, his fellow min- 
isters take him by the hand, and 
say : " We give thee the right hand 
of fellowship, to take part with us 
in this ministry." ^ Fell — turned 
aside, deserted. This was his willful 
act. T[ That he might go, &c. Rather, 
more exactly it would read — from 
which Judas ivickedly turned aside to 
go to his own place. By foul transgres- 
sion he apostatized from the sacred of- 
fice of the Apostleship to go where he 
more properly belonged. For (1) He 
was out of his place in the Apostleship. 

(2) By all his willful apostasy he chose 
perdition as his lot. (3) He went 
where he was at home, and where he 
deserved to be, and where he actually 
and naturally belonged. Some en- 
deavor to avoid the doctrine of this 
passage by making this clause refer to 
Matthias, and would have it read, to 
take part of this ministry, that he 
might go to the place or office suited 
for him. But this is utterly impossi- 
ble without violence to the Greek. (1) 
The words are most closely connected 
with those immediately preceding. 
"He apostatized (fell) to go." The 
sentence would require an additional 
word, coupling the two clauses, "to 
take part, and to go." (2) The phrase 
"to go," &c., is never used of an of- 
fice, but of a retribution. Thus, the 
Jewish tract, Baal Turim on Numb. 
24: 25, says: "Balaam went to his 
own place, that is, to Gehenna" — hell. 

(3) The force of the terms would bo 
utterly lost by so connecting them. 
They would add nothing to the first 
clause. (4) " To go to his own place" 
expresses a departure, and not a ccm- 
panionship. Tf Ilis own place. Lit- 
erally, The place which in Ms ovm 



4.G 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 



26 And they gave forth their lots, and the Lt fell upon Matthias ] 
and he was nuiubered with the eleven apostles. 



Those, therefore, who cannot get rid 
of the sense in this way, would under- 
stand it of Judas going to his own 
house. But there is no evidence of 
his having done so; and if he did, 
he could not be said to have aposla- 
iized to do so. Others would refer it to 
his going to the grave, as the house 
ai'ipointed for all living. But this 
could not be said to be " his own place" 
in the sense of the term here used, 
which means his own peculiar place. 
It is found. Matt. 9:1, "His own 
city;" 25: 14, "His own servants;" 
Mark 15: 20, "His own clothes;" 
Luke 10: 31, "His own beast;" John 
1: Jl, "He came unto His own;" 1: 
41, "findeth his own brother;" 10: 
3, "his own sheep," — and so it is 
used where "his own hired house," 
"his own Son," "his own reward," 
"his own labor," "his own lust," 
"his own vomit," is spoken of, as 
something peculiarly one's own and 
not another's — belonging to him per- 
sonally. So in Jude, vs. 6, it is ap- 
plied to the angels that sinned, avIio 
" left their own habitation." This phrase 
is found in early writers, in the same 
sense. Ignatius, speaking of the end 
of all things, says: "Each one shall 
go to his own place." Our Lord had 
plainly said of Judas, "Good had it 
been for that man if he had not been 
born." This could have been true 
only on the supposition that Judas 
would go to eternal perdition, and never 
attain to eternal life. And as this 
solemn and awful declaration of our 
Lord was made in the hearing of the 
other Apostles so recently as at the 
institution of the Lord's Supper, and 
they would not be likely to forget it, 
they accordingly, as is natural, refer 
to it now, in their prayer to the Risen 
Lord. Besides, the praying assembly 
do thus respond to the sentiment of 
the Psalm, as cited by Peter, " Let his 
habitation be desolate." They refer 
also to his having perished by his own 
act, in the place whose perpetual 
abomindtion made it the image and 



type of perdition — the Valley of Hin 
nom — Gehenna. The wonderful ana 
striking coincidence gives clear occa- 
sion for this language, and makes it 
express the Amen of the praying as- 
sembly to the righteous retribution 
which had overtaken Judas, in this life 
and in the next — in Gehenna — hell. 
Observe. — (1) A man's high position 
in the Church is no positive proof of 
his piety, and no absolute security 
against perdition. (2) Wicked men 
may be appointed to important posts 
in the service of Christ. " He maketh 
the wrath of man to praise Him, and 
the remainder of wrath will He re- 
strain." (3) The love of money led 
Judas to betray his Lord to death. It 
leads many to betray Him, and to 
"crucify the Son of God afresh," (Heb. 
0:6.) It may even enter the Church, 
and lead away the officers, and mem- 
bers, and even the minister. "For 
the love of money is the root of all 
evil — which, while some coveted after, 
they have erred from the faith, and 
pierced themselves through with many 
sorrows," (1 Tim. 6: 10.) "They that 
WILL BE EiCH, fall into temptation, and 
a snare, and into many foolish and 
hurtful lusts, which drown men in de- 
struction. But thou, man of God, flee 
these things." Obseuve. — (1) Judas 
apostatized from his sacred office to go 
to his proper perdition, where his ava- 
rice and infidelity naturally and neces- 
sarily carried him. So every man will 
go, from whatever position he may oc- 
cupy here, to his appropriate place, 
hereafter. (2) The r-etributions of 
eternity will not be arbitrary, but the 
necessary result of each man's course 
in life — just as the stone sinks, and the 
ark floats, of itself, according to its 
own nature. "Except a man be born 
again, he CA^•^•OT see the kingdom of 
God." 

26. They gave forth their lots. Some 
read. They cast lots for them. Literally, 
They gave their lots. Mosheim under- 
stands this to mean, "they gave their 
votes." But the term used is the same 



A. D. -sa.] 



47 



iliroiTghout to express lot, and ciSce as 
designated by lot. Petor nvij have 
used this tormia reference to the office 
to suggest this mode of election. The 
phrase "the lot fell upon" — shows that 
the use of lots, and not of -votes, is 
meant. This mode was common among 
Jews and Gentiles from earliest times, 
especially in appointing to the priest's 
office. (See ^ueid 2 : 201.) The 
Levites were appointed by lot to their 
daily service in the temple, Lev. IG: 
8 ; ch. 13 : 19 ; Luke 1 : 9. It is said 
that Zacharias' lot was to burn incense. 
So the scape goat was chosen by lot, 
and the Holy Land was divided among 
the tribes by lot. Numb. 26 : 55. The 
term came afterwards from this trans- 
action, to be applied to the ministry as 
a class in the name "clergy," though 
no other instance of ministerial elec- 
tion or appointment in this way is 
found in the Apostolic age, or in the 
first three centuries. Achan, also, the 
Old Testament Judas, was detected by 
lot. Josh. 7 : 16-18. Thus, this mode 
of proceeding had the sanction of the 
Mosaic law. The mode of casting the 
lot was by writing the names of the 
persons on a piece of wood or metal, 
and casting them into the lap of a loose 
robe. (Proverbs 16: 33.) Then they 
were shaken up and the name which was 
first shaken out was the chosen one. 
Else, as some suppose, the names were 
cast into one urn, and the offices or 
portions into another, and the drawing 
then would resemble the practice yet 
in use often, where drawing is done to 
decide questions of interest. Bat to in- 
fer that this act, on so solemn and sacred 
an occasion, gives any sanction to dice, 
lotteries or games of chance, would be 
as unreasonable as to infer that the 
primitive Christian practice of living 
upon a common fund to some extent, 
sanctions the Fourierite "phalanxes" 
and profane " communities" of our day. 
Observe. — This was plainly no exam- 
ple for the designation or election of 
ministers by this method in the Church 
of later times. This was to fill a va- 
cancy in the Apostleship, not to appoint 
a successor; for the Apostles, as such, 
Viid no successors. It was not designed 



I that there shoul i be a line of Apostles 
continued in tie Church. TF A7id the 
\ lot fell upon. So we say, " the choice 
fell upon" such an one. This was the 
I event, or issue of the matter. ^ He 
I icas numbered. Some understand bj 
! this, that as the result of the lot indi- 
cated the Divine choice, the assembly 
then voted accordingly and unanimous- 
ly — either in formal election or by cor- 
dial concurrence — for the chosen can- 
didate, and that thus he was "voted 
in" among the Apostles as the twelfth. 
The term here used means "he was 
voted in," (from a word meaning a 
pebble, by which votes were cast.) 
Yet this may only refer to the prior 
election or nomination of the two candi- 
dates, which was consummated and 
completed by the issue of the lots. So 
that it was the popular election decided 
and confirmed by the Risen Lord, to 
whom they appealed for the decision 
of it. Others regard it that JLatthias 
was formally and solemnly received into 
the Apostolic College, so that by this 
final act the seal of certain conviction 
was stamped upon the whole proceed- 
ing. Thus, along with the sacreduess 
of the Apostleship, " the authority 
and importance both of the collective 
membership and of the individual are 
most remarkably maintained in this 
first Christian community." OBSEnvu. 
— Here was the Church collected by 
Christ Himself from under the Old 
Covenant and from the pale of the Old 
Testament Church. They were con- 
vened by Divine appointment — engaged 
in the ordinances of Divine worship — 
pleading the great Old Testament 
promise, as re-announced by Christ 
Himself — showing thus the unity of 
the Church in all ages and under both 
dispensations, and transacting the m.ost 
solemn and important business of the 
Church in their collective capacity, ac- 
cording to the Divine warrant. As 
the Lord's Supper had been instituted 
on the basis oi" the Passover — as that 
to which the Paschal solemnity looked 
forward, and into which it now prop- 
erly merged, at tlie coming of the Great 
Passover — so the Christian Church 
was now to be formally instituted ou 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



CHAPTER II. 



oI-«T. 23:15. 
Dmit. 16:9. 
cU. 20:1C. 
b ch. 1 : 14. 



1 And wlien "^ the day of Pentecost was fully come, 
'' they were all with one accord in one place. 



the basis of the Jewish Church, .and 
as its proper completion to which it 
all along looked forward and aimed. 
Yet this was not by any natural out- 
growth and organic development, as 
that of a plant from the seed, but by 
the fulfilling of God's wonderful pur- 
pose and the unfolding of His plan in 
"the fullness of time." 

CHAPTER II. 

2 3. The Founding and Manifesta- 
tion OF THE Christian Chuech. — 
Pentecost. Jerusalem. Ch. 2 : 1-18. 

The New Testament Church is now 
to receive its fuller manifestation. 
Thus far the History has been pre- 
liminary. The circle of the Twelve, 
•which had been so sadly broken in 
upon by the apostasy of .Judas, having 
been now filled by the designation of 
Matthias as his substitute, the whole 
assembly of Disciples — the one hundred 
and twenty, with such others as had 
gathered in from various quarters — 
were together in prayer ; and a mirac- 
ulous advent of the Holy Spirit took 
place, such as we might expect from 
the Miraculous Advent, Resurrection 
and Ascension of the Son of God. This 
was the promise of the Father — to sprin- 
kle all nations. It was the promise of 
the Son, to send from the Father the 
Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, 
(John 14 : 16-26.) For this glorious 
Personal Advent, He had bidden tliem 
to wait at Jerusalem, whence the law 
of the Lord was to go forth, Isa. 2 : 3. 

1. The day of Pentecost. Lit., On 
the day of Pentecost having fully arrived. 
The meaning is, on the fulfilling or com- 
pletion of this interval which brought 
the feasl of Pentecost — namely, the fif- 
tieth day after the Passover. This was 
called by this name, Pentecost, which 
means fiftieth, because it was so many 
days from the Passover. It was 
reckoned from the second day of the 
feast, or 16th of the month " Nisan." 



seven weeks' interval, making forty- 
nine days, the last of which, or the 
fiftieth day, inclusive of the month Ni- 
san, was the Pentecost, or fiftieth day 
feast. On the fourteenth day of Nisan 
the Paschal Lamb was slain between 
the evenings. On the fifteenth was the 
holy convocation, the first day of the 
feast. On the sixteenth, or second 
day, the first fruits of the harvest were 
oifcred. As Jesus (the true Paschal 
Lamb,) was slain on Friday, this day of 
first fruits would be " the eighth day," 
"the day after the Sabbath," or the 
day which is the Christian Sabbath — 
prefigured all along in the ritual, as 
the day for the waving of the first 
fruits, (Numb. 28: 26; Lev. 23: 17.) 
Hence it was the day when Christ "the 
first fruits" was waved, or arose from 
the dead as the first fruits of the Re- 
surrection and of the glorious harvest 
to be gathered in, 1 Cor. 15 : 20. This 
would make the Pentecost forty-nine 
days — (seven full weeks) — after; and 
a Christian Sabbath day also. This 
feast was called " the feast of harvest," 
(Exod. 23: 16,) because the barley 
harvest, which began at the Passover, 
ended at this time. It was called " the 
day of the first fruits," because on that 
day a meal-offering of the new corn 
was offered. It was called "the feast 
of weeks," (Ex. oi: 22,) because it 
was a week of weeks after the Pass- 
over. It was one of the three great 
festivals at which all the adult males 
were required to go up to Jerusalem. 
It was that festival of all the three 
which was most largely attended by 
Jews from foreign parts. As a festival 
of thanksgiving for the first fruits of 
the harvest gathered during the seven 
weeks interval, when now the grain 
made into flour was first offered, (Lev. 
23: 13,) it had an appropriate signifi- 
cance as the day for ingathering and 
presentation to the Lord of the sub- 
stantial product of "His harvest." 
The "corn of wheat" that had fallea 



A.. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



49 



2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of 
a rushing mighty wind, and «it filled all the house where 
they were sitting. 



into the ground had indeed died, and 
brought forth much fruit. (1 Cor. 15.) 
And all this glorious ingathering of 
souls is "His harvest"— the fruits of 
His sacrificial death. It was also called 
by the Jews, "the feast of the joy of 
the law," having reference to the giv- 
ing of the law at Sinai, which was 
on the very fiftieth day from the Ex- 
odu8, when the Passover Avas killed. 
See Exodus 19 : 1. In this respect, 
also, the day was remarkably suited 
to be the day for the founding of the 
Christian Church, when "the law" was 
to "go forth from Jerusalem" — under 
a new covenant according to which He 
would write His law on their hearts. 
(Jer, 81 : 33.) And as that festival at 
Avhich the largest number would be 
present from foreign quarters, it was 
chosen in God'g wisdom as the fittest 
period for this miraculous propagation 
of His Gospel. — Some hold that the 
day of Pentecost fell that year on the 
Jewish Sabbath— Saturday. But if it 
did, it was to be reckoned from the 
Saturday, at evening, (the Jewish 
morning,) after the Sabbath had closed, 
and it embraced the subsequent day 
till the evening of Sunday — our Chris- 
tian Sabbath. The whole significance 
of the event also makes this apparent. 
On this festival day the Christian assem- 
bly already referred to were all tcith 
one accord together. Some think they 
bad reason to expect the promised ad- 
vent of the Spirit at this feast day. It 
had been promised as "7101 many days 
hence," where the remarkable expres- 
sion, " after these not many days" 

"after these few days"— might have 
referreii them to the days that were 
fast fulfilling for the Pentecost— which 
had not then ''fully come," but had 
now been filled up. ^ All. This in- 
cludes such as may have assembled 
besides the 120, and doubtless there 
were many Christian Disciples who had 
come to the feast, f With one accord, 
(o/iodvfzadov.) This term is used eleven 



times in the Acts, and is thought by 
some to convey the idea of a religious 
assembly met for stated worship. The 
frequent use of the term in this con- 
nection refers to the form of our Lord's 
promise, iMatthewlS: 19, 20, "Where 
two or three (a plurality) are met to- 
gether (a body) in my name, (a Chris- 
tian body) there am I in the midst of 
them"— there is a Christian Church. 
This whole phrase may be understood 
as declaring their unanimity as a col- 
lective brotherhood— having one pur- 
pose and expectation. ^ In one place. 
Literally, together. Though " the hour 
of prayer" had arrived at the time of 
Peter's address, (vs. 1-5,) yet we can- 
not be sure that these were now met 
on that occasion. It was rather in 
continuation of the meeting for prayer 
which had been kept up°during the 
ten days. They assembled at first in 
the upper room, ch. 1:13, and we see 
not why they should have shifted the 
place of meeting until the public ser- 
vices of this festival would possibly 
lead them to the temple. Yet from 
the use here of the common term 
"house," and from no reference being 
made to the temple, we are rather iu- 
clined to the idea that they were yet 
assembled in a private dwelling— very 
possibly (see 1 : 13,) in the same house 
.and "upper room" where the Lord's 
Supper had been instituted. It would 
be a reason for their not being in the 
temple, that they were charged to 
meet for a special purpose, and one in 
which the crowd of Jews who were 
gathering at the temple could not sym- 
pathize with them. It is also intimated 
that this crowd of attendants at tho 
festival was separate from this speci.al 
assembly, (vss. 5, 0.) The hcuse is 
spoken of as " the house where they 
were sitting," not as the temple, or 
porch of the temple, but as though it 
were distinguished from other houaea 
merely by their sitting there. 

2. The miraculous Advent of the 



60 



THE ACTS OF THE ArOSTLES. 



[A D. 30. 



promised Spirit is now described. If 
»bjcction was found by worldly critics 
to the miraculous Advent of God the 
Son, we should expect similar objec- 
tions to be made to this miraculous 
descent of God the Spirit. But if 
miracles were needful or appropriate 
at the introduction of Christianity, to 
prove the commission of Christ and 
His Apostles, no less would they be 
necessary and fitting at this period of 
the Church's more special establish- 
ment. ^ Suddenhj. It was startling 
— took them by surprise, and was cal- 
culated to strike them with alarm. 
Calvin says : " AVe must note the pro- 
portion of the signs. The violence of 
the wind did serve to make them 
afraid, for we are never rightly pre- 
pared to receive the grace of God, un- 
less the confidence and boldness of the 
flesh be tamed." ^ There leas a sound. 
A sound, or noise (77jof=echo) was made 
— or took place. At the giving of the 
Law on Sinai — the institution of the 
ceremonial economy — there were ex- 
traordinary natural phenomena, as 
"thunders and lightnings," &c. (Exo- 
dus 19 : IG.) But they were given in 
a miraculous way, as the earthquake 
at the Crucifixion. And to regard these 
physical demonstrations as mere natu- 
ral phenomena, so as to set aside the 
miraculous aspect of the matter, would 
be destroying the whole significance of 
these signs. A miracle, indeed, may 
be not properly a suspension of the 
laws of nature, so far as to involve any 
violence done to the harmonies of the 
universe, because it is the act of Him 
who so sways all nature's laws as to 
act above them, when He wills, with- 
out acting contrary to them, as may 
seem to us. And nature's laws are 
only His ordinary modes of operation. 
But it is in such a case, at least, acting 
out of the sphere of those uniform 
workings which God has been pleased 
to adopt. No one, for example, should 
be satisfied with that view of the de- 
struction of the Cities cf the Plain, 
•which refers it to a violent thunder 
•term, in which a bolt of lightning, 
falling on the bituminous soil of that 
region, set the ground on tire. Be- 



cau.3e such a view is not according tc 
the inspired record, which reads, "Then 
the Lord rained fire from the Lord out 
of heaven," &c. And so here. The rec- 
ord is not, "there came a sound of 
rushing mighty vnnd," (the noise of 
a hurricane) — but, "as of a rushing 
mighty loind," which it was not. It 
sounded like that. It conveyed to the 
minds of the assembly that impression. 
And it would serve to associate the 
thing itself in their minds with the 
mighty incoming of the Spirit, who 
is likened in His operations to the 
wind, blowing so that you hear the 
sound, John 3: 8. "It was requi- 
site," says Calvin, "that God should 
stir up the bodily sense of the Disci- 
ples. For such is our slothfulness to 
consider the gifts of God, that unless 
He awake all our senses. His power 
shall pass away unknown." Nor was 
this an arbitrary miracle. It finds its 
explanation in the Scriptures, which 
long ago contemplated this event, and 
so it proves both the miracle and the 
prophecy under one. How could these 
Jewish converts fail to think of Eze- 
kiel's vision, in which the man of God 
was ordered to "cry to the wind, and 
prophes}^ and say to the wind, 'Come 
from the four winds, breath, (Spirit, 
the same term in the Hebrew,) and 
breathe upon these slain, that they 
may live.' " Had not Christ, just be- 
fore His Ascension, called up this to 
their mind, when "He breathed on 
them, and said. Receive ye the Holy 
Ghost?" (John 20: 22.) And now, 
what their prophet saw is to be ful- 
filled — that the breath came into the 
dry bones of the house of Israel, as 
they bleached upon the valley, and 
they lived, and stood up upon their 
feet, an exceeding great army. Ezek. 
37: 9-10. ^ As of a rushing. As of 
a might;/ icind, rushing (or sweeping) 
along. The same term is used of the 
Spirit, (2 Pet. 1 : 21,) "Holy men of 
God spake as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost." This noise, observe, 
was not a natural phenomenon, t/) be 
accounted for without a miracle, as if 
there had been a violent hurricane, of 
which this was only a natural feature 



A. D. 300 



CHAr. a. 



51 



But altogether as if the thunder had 
burst over them, out of a clear sky, 
they felt it to be mirandous. There 
was no storm — only this terrific, start- 
ling noise, rousing them to what was 
coming. The idea was also conveyed 
of mighty power. [See Psalm 29, 
where "the voice of the Lord" is li- 
kened to a sweeping tempest, coming 
down from the north — breaking the 
cedars of Lebanon, and "dividing the 
flames of fire." (See the phrase, vs. 
•3, "cloven (or divided) tongues, like 
as of fire, distributing itself." Then, 
"shaking the wilderness, (as of Ka- 
desh,) and rushing on to the temple." 
" And in His temple does every one speak 
of llis glory." (See vs. 5-12; Luke 
24: 53.) Then '-The Lord sitteth 
upon the flood — yea, the Lord sitteth 
KINO for ever." (See eh. 2 : 24, 32- 
35.) "The Lord will give strength 
unto His people." (See ch. 1 : 8, "Ye 
shall receive power after that the Holy 
Ghost is come upon you.") "The 
Lord will bless His people with peace." 
(See Luke 24 : 36, " Peace be unto 
you.")] f It filled all the house. 
"Whatever noise it was that resembled 
the noise of a mighty wind sweeping 
along, " it was the chosen vehicle by 
which the Holy Spirit was manifested 
to their sense of hearing, as by the 
tongues of fire to their sense of see- 
ing." And this sound filled the whole 
house where they were assembled for 
prayer. Thus, of old, the whole tem- 
ple was filled with the symbol of the 
Divine presence. Isa. 6: 1-8, "the 
house was filled with smoke," i. e. with 
a cloud, such as appeared at the dedi- 
cation of the temple, 1 Kings 8: 10, 
and of the tabernacle, Esod. 40: 34, 
which is also called the glory of the 
Lord — "the Schecinah" — the visible 
symbol of the Divine presence. "By 
this sign, therefore, it was declared 
that God had abandoned the temple of 
the wicked nation, and thereafter would 
not any more dwell there in a special 
manner." — Eisner. Observe. — It is 
distinctly said that there came a sound 
from heaven. Then it was no trance in 
which the whole assembly was held. 
Thoy did not merely dream that there 



was a sound, when there was none. 
Nor was it any mere phenomenon of 
nature, as a thunder storm with elec- 
tric meteors — for in such case others 
must have beheld them, as well as the 
Disciples ; and these things would have 
had no special application to them, and 
thc3' would have had no right to con- 
strue such tokens into a bestowment of 
Divine power upon themselves. Nor 
can Luke mean that this was only a 
myth — and no historical event — for it 
is related just as any of the other 
events of the historj' — and no hint is 
given that it is anything less than the 
real truth. Plainly the historian here 
means to relate this wonderful transac- 
tion as the miraculous Advent of the 
Holy Spirit, according to the promise 
of Christ, which took place, as He had 
foretold — upon His departure. Yet 
there are those who seek to explain 
away everything miraculous from the 
Scriptures ; and like the men at the 
grave of Lazarus, when the Divine 
voice is heard, they say " It thundered." 
(John 12: 29.) But "why should it 
be thought a thing incredible that God 
should raise the dead?" (ch. 20: 8,) 
or that Jesus should go up to heaven 
in a cloud — or that the Holy Spirit 
should come down with a sound like 
that of a rushing mighty wind — when 
a wind is that element by which the 
Spirit is commonly symbolized — (the 
word " Spirit," both in Greek and He- 
brew meaning "wind," "breath,") as 
John 3:8; 20 : 22. And when some 
outward sign, token or power was 
proper to announce and mark such an 
invisible presence, what more appro- 
priate than this ? A miracle is some- 
times in the New Testament called a 
sign, (arjixELov,) and here it answered 
very fitly this purpose, as a sign of the 
Divine presence. It is elsewhere called 
a wonder or prodigy, and here it suited 
also this description. It is, also, in 
other places, termed a power, and hero 
it was a sound like that of a mighty 
wind, borne along through the house, 
with every mark of supernatural power 
— making the sound to be like that of 
a hurricane, when there was a perfect 
stillness and calm. 



S2 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 



3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, 
and it sat upon each of them. 



3. There appeared unto them. The 
noise filling the house where these 
persons were sitting was a warning 
that there was something at hand for 
them. And now besides hearing this 
miraculous noise, they see this mirac- 
ulous sight. In condescension to their 
weak natures, both the sight and hear- 
ing were addressed. The historian 
here describes what appeared to the 
assembly and how the advent of the 
Spirit was marked in its immediate 
effects. As Jesus had now become 
exalted at the right hand and received 
of the Father the promise of the Holy 
Ghost, He was ready to shed it down 
on the waiting Disciples. Observe. — 
As at the Passover under the Old Tes- 
tament the sheaf of the first fruits 
was waved before Jehovah, (Lev. 29: 
9-14,) presented to Jehovah by being 
borne up and down before tlie Taber- 
nacle — so already "Christ, the first 
fruits," had been presented to Jehovah 
fcy being passed to and fro — from 
heaven to earth and back again — and 
this had made the true Passover to 
which all previous ones had looked 
forward. So, also, as at the Old Tes- 
tament Pentecost, the product of the 
harvest — iu the bread made from the 
ingathtred grain — wa3 offered, (two 
loaves, a plurality;) — so here, at this 
first true Pentecost of which all the 
former were but shadows, the substan- 
tial product of Christ's work is pre- 
sented. This giving of the Holy Ghost 
is the fruit of his work as ready to be 
partaken b_v men — the grain from the 
wheat-shcnf has been converted into 
bread. (Ps. C8 : 18; Ephes. 4:8.) 
In this view it is striking that the Pen- 
tecost points back to the day of offer- 
ing the first fruits at the Passover; 
since from this second day it was reck- 
oned, and not from the first day of the 
festival. And as the Pentecost has in 
the Old Testament a striking reference 
to the completion of the harvest, Christ 
as our Forerunner has been gathered 
in — and in Him already all his people 
do enter into rest. (Hcb. 4 : 3.) He 



is the Bread of Life. (John 6: 35.) 
The Spirit is to take the things of 
Christ and show them unto us. (John 
IG: 14.) The fruit of His work ia 
now made available to mankind, and 
as a first and fit effect of it, we find 
the Disciples all filled with the Holy 
Ghost, and thousands of the various 
quarters of the earth ingathered as a 
specimen of the final harvest. So, also, 
as the first Pentecost was the day of 
the giving of the Law at Sinai, when 
the people stood afar off and were not 
able to come into close communion 
with God on account of their sins, so 
now on the first true Pentecost, Israel 
is for the first time brought nigh to 
God, and there is no terror, but thanks- 
giving. And this difference in the 
Pentecosts is just because of the dif- 
ference in the Passovers. In the Old 
Passover there was only the atonement 
by the blood of a beast — shadowy and 
typical at best — pointing forward to a 
better to come. Now that better Pass- 
over has come, and "Christ, our Pass- 
over, is sacrificed for us." (1 Cor. 5: 
7.) f Cloven tongues. Tongues dis- 
tributing themselves. The appearance 
was at first of a single fiery body which 
parted so as to be distributed among 
tiiem. There was but one object seen 
in all. This — the same Power — seemed 
to alight in the form of tongues as of 
fire — distributed so as to belong to 
each. Some have understood from the 
terms here used that the tongues were 
forked in shape. But this is not the 
meaning. The fiery body that came 
first to their view as a unit, sat not on 
one alone, but on each, in the form of 
a tongue of fire. This form was chosen 
to represent the miraculous gift of 
tongues which accompanied. The same 
Holy Spirit that alighted on the head 
of Jesus as a dove, alighted on tlie 
head of each of these Disciples as a 
tongue. This glorious Third Person 
of the Trinity took a visible and sig- 
nificant shape in both cases. The gift 
of this true Pentecost was the tongiu 
of fire. (See Isaiah 64: 1.) When 



A. D 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



4 And ^tliey were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and fn'^Vkw^n 
began "to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave J 9, 6*=*^'""* 
them utterance. 



Cor. 12 : 10, 
28, 30, and 13: 
1, and 14 : 2, &o. 



Isaiah shrank from the prophetic office, 
contemplating that he was a man of 
unclean lips, his tongue was cleansed 
by a live coal from off God's allar. 
Isa. 6 : 5-7. Tiie tongue thus kindled 
and purged by the Holy Spirit, is the 
very opposite of "the tongue set on 
fire of hell." Jas. 3: 6. This new 
tongue was the proper expression of 
the renewed heart — for out of the abun- 
dance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 
Matthew 12 : Si. And especially as 
their commission was now to preach 
the Gospel to every creature, as men 
full of the Holy Ghost, the whole exter- 
nal form of this miracle was most tit 
to express the idea. ^ It sat upon each 
Of them. The fiery body thus divided, 
distributed, sat upon each in this shape 
of a flaming tongue. Had not Christ 
promised to baptize them with the 
Holy Ghost and with fire ? And as 
the sign at His Baptism had been di- 
vinely interpreted to John, "Upon 
■whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit 
descending like a dove and resting 
upon Him, He it is who baptizeth with 
the Holy Ghost," so here the inter- 
pretation was easy — that those upon 
whom the Spirit was seen to descend 
like a tongue and rest upon them, they 
were those who were to preach to all 
nations with the tongue of fire. 

4. Filled ivith the Holy Ghost. This 
was the actual result at which all the 
proceedings aimed. This was the great 
fact of this new Pentecost. The speak- 
ing with " other tongues" was only an 
expression and demonstration of this, 
and would have been of small account 
iu itself, or except as a manifestation 
of this. The great event was the advent 
of the Holy Spirit for His iudv.-elling 
among men. This is hero expressed 
by the phrase, "filled with the Holy 
Ghost" — and this was the case with 
each one of the whole assembly of Dis- 
ciples ; and we are to suppose that it 
was such a fullness of the Spirit as had 
been promised to them by Christ, as a 
6» 



Comforter and Advocate — Teacher — • 
Leader into all truth — Reminder of 
Christ's words — Revealer of the things 
of Christ — and permanent indwelling 
Agency, to abide with them for ever, 
(.John 14 and 16.) It was a "baptism 
with the Holy Ghost," as the living, 
quickening element, in place of water. 
It carried with it miraculous endow- 
ments for the time then present. But 
tJie great idea was that of the Divine 
indwelling, which should put man into 
communion and fellowship with God, 
as the Spir t of adoption — the Spirit 
of truth— the Spirit of Christ. This 
was Christ's Ascension work, to " re- 
ceive gifts for men, that the Lord God 
might dwell among them," Ps. 68: 18. 
^ With other tongues. This is giveu as 
an immediate efiect of the Spirit's de- 
scent. Doubtless the Holy Spirit'3 
work had not just now commenced- 
But He had wrought among men only 
sparingly before, under " the minis- 
tration of the letter," and not, as He 
was henceforth to do, under " the 
ministration of the Spirit." It was 
wholly in keeping with the mode of 
God's dispensation, to introduce this 
new era in the Church by this new 
manifestation. In regard to the form 
of this miracle, Odserve — (1) That 
this was promised to them by Christ, 
Mark 16:17. " They shall speak with 
new tongues," that is, " other tongues" 
than those in which they naturally 
spoke. (2) This was indicated by the 
miraculous sign, or teken of fiery 
tongues sitting upon the heads of the 
assembly. What greater proof could 
be given that it was the work of God ? 
And if this tongue of fire still rested 
on the head of each, when the mu'ti- 
tude came together, it must have had 
a striking effect in convincing them of 
the miracle. We cannot suppose, with 
some, that the miracle consisted in the 
multitude hearing the same language 
as if it were their own tongue, and so 
as to understand it; for that -would 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 



5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out 
of every nation under heaven. 



haYC been a gift of ears and not o*' 
tongues. (.3) It is plain from the 
whole record, that they began to speak 
in the various hingiiages of the people 
present, so as to be understood by 
them, (vs. 8.) (4) This would seem 
to have been given also as a sign to 
the multitude, "(1 Cor. 14: 27,) as well 
as an indication to the Disciples of their 
world-wide work of preaching. It is 
not stated, nor is it necessary to sup- 
pose that they had the tongues im- 
parted to them for the purpose of 
preaching the Gospel afterwards. We 
find no trace in history of this pecu- 
liarity in their preaching. Nor can we 
be certain that the speaking with 
tongues in the Corinthian Church was 
quite the same gift. There were " di- 
vers kind of tongues," or "diversities 
of tongues" — though it is said that 
"all these worketh that one and the 
same Spirit" — intimating that there 
were varieties of this gift. In this 
case, "at the birth-day of the Christian 
Church," this spe.aking with tongues, 
in the act of magnifying God's wonder- 
ful works, was most appropriate as a 
sign of God's presence by His Spirit to 
dwell among mm, and, at the same 
time, it was a significant prophecy that 
the Gospel shall go from nation to na- 
tion, till every tongue shall "confess 
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glorv 
of God the Father," Phil. 2:11. It is 
to be observed, however, that in the 
case of Cornelius and his friends, when 
they received the Spirit, it was 
manifested by their "speaking with 
tongues," and this was, also, in the act 
of " m.ignifying God," ch. 10 : 46. So 
at Ephesus, Paul discoursed to " the 
Disciples," and the Holy Ghost came 
upon them, and thej/ spake icith tongues 
and prophesied, cli. 19 : 6. In 1 Cor. 
13 : 1, " the tongues of men and of 
angels" are spoken of. " Tongues" 
and "proph3cies" are to "cease" to 
be exercised There shnll be no fur- 
ther use iii: these gifts. And these 
miraculous gifts of the Spirit were 
withdrawn, when the truths of the 



Gospel had been fully established, and 
the scheme of Redemption developed 
to the world. 1" As the Spirit. This 
miraculous gift i.s expressly ascribed 
to the Spirit. They spake as the Spi- 
rit enabled them to speak, the words 
being prompted by the inspiring agen- 
cy. The effect to be secured was the 
communication to the hearers, in their 
own several tongues, of "the wonder- 
ful works of God." On the part of the 
speakers, we are to understand that 
they poured forth their high praises 
of God with the recital of His wonder- 
ful doings. Of course, they would 
speak of His Ascension, as well as of 
His Life, Death and Resurrection, and 
of the whole plan of yace and salva- 
tion, as thus far carried on. And it 
was the plan of God that they should 
convey these great vital truths to the 
hearers, in their several tongues. We 
may even suppose that they spake as 
mere mouth-pieces of the Spirit, so as 
to exclude their own knowledge of what 
they spake. But we are distinctly 
told, that the multitude understood the 
language in which they spake, and un- 
derstood them to speak "the wonder- 
ful works of God" — not to speak of 
these works, but to speak them — to ut- 
ter and publish them. Observe. — 
We are not to suppose that each per- 
son was enabled to speak all the lan- 
guages, but that the assembly heard 
his own tongue from one or another 
of the speakers. 

5. The Evangelist now proceeds to 
relate what is very importantly con- 
nected with the miracle — the fact of 
so many varieties of tongues being 
represented at Jerusalem at that time. 
*\ Dwelling. This term, in the orig- 
inal, means commonly, not sojourning, 
but residing. It is not to be sup- 
posed, however, that no strangers were 
included, for "strangers of Rome," 
or Roman sojourners, are expressly 
mentioned in the list. Many Jews 
from foreign parts had taken up 
their residence at Jerusalem, to be neap 
the temple, and convenient to the 



D. W.J 



CHAP. II. 



55 



G Now "f when this was noised abroad, the muliitude L'^Je I^*' m'-td'. 
.;<ime together, and were || confounded, because that every ■„"[.;,'™"""' 
man heard them speak in his own hmguage. 

I tions. Ill Alexanilria there were so m.iuj 
' as to require the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures to be translated into Greek nearly 
tlii-ee hundred years before Christ. 
They had been dispersed under Shal- 
maneser, B. C. 721, (2 Kings 17: G ;) 
under Nebuchadnezzar, B. C. 606, (2 
Kings 2-1: 10;) under Ptolemy Lagus, 
B. C. 320, who carried grer.t numbers 
into Egypt. At the three great festi- 
vals of the nation, and especially at 
this of Pentecost, they came up from 
all quarters, as the places mentioned 
show. "And so, all Israel shall be 
saved," says Paul to the Romans. 
And the Jews shall be brought in 
witli the fullness of the Gentiles. See 
Matt. 3: 12; Johu 4:35-36; Matt. 
: 37. 

6. Noised ahroad. (Gr. (j>uvij.) Ra- 
ther, As this voice, or sound, took place. 
That is, the sound as of the rushing 
mighty wind — here called a voice — 
intimating, perhaps, that the "noise" 
(so called in vs. 2) was not a mere nat- 
ural phenomenon, like the noise which 
it resembled, but a "voice" — the voice 
of God— the Holy Spirit. So in John 
3:8, " Thou hearest the sound (voice) 
thereof." The same verb is used in 
vs. 2, and rendered "came," (as here, 
in the participial form;) and with the 
noun it is, translated, " iioised abroad" 
— or the noise came. Wicklif 's version 
reads, " When this voice ivas made." We 
infer that the sound which came down 
from above, ("from heaven,") in the 
direction of the house, was heard in 
all the neighborhood, and, perhaps, in 
all the city. Observe. — Just as at 
the Ailvcnt of the Second Person of 
the Trinity, there appeared a miracu- 
lous meteor, which stood over the house 
where the young child was, so here, 
a miraculous sound marked the house 
where the Third Person of the God- 
head had descended among men. And 
as the former sign was a token and 
guide to the Magi, as the representa- 
tives of the Gentile world, so this lat- 
ter sign was a token and guide to tk« 



feasts. Besides this, they would have 
been attracted thither by the current 
expectation of the Messiah, which had 
for some time prevailed. ^ Dcvout 
men. Their character is here given as 
devout. They were not, therefore, 
idle and curious listeners, but men 
of weight and piety, in the Jewish 
religion. Simeon was such an one 
"just and devout," Luke 2 : 25. It 
is applied also to the pious men who 
carried Stephen to his burial, (ch. 8: 
2. ) These were eminent specimens of 
the Jewish people who had resorted to 
the Holy City, in token of their de- 
Youtness. This, observe, was so re- 
cently after the eventful scenes of the 
Crucifixion, that these must have been 
rejecters of the true Messiah. The 
Risen Lord thus pursues His murder- 
ers (vs. 23,) with salvation, f Out of 
every nation. As this is the glorious 
birth-day of the Universal Church, so 
it gathers in those specimens and rep- 
resentatives of all nations, who should 
yet hear, in their own tongues, the 
wonderful works of God. This, then, 
is true to the ritual meaning, the of- 
fering of a plurality of loaves, from 
the first fruits out of the whole hai-- 
vest of the race, as virtually gathered 
in, in Christ, Levit. 23: 17. Here was 
a specimen to be presented to God, of 
the grand products of the harvesting, 
which had just taken place, by antici- 
pation, in the Ascended Head. Three 
thousand of all these various tongues 
and countries were to be presented as 
the first fruits of the great harvest of 
Bouls. It is frcm the dispersed people, 
as speaking various tongues, and thus 
it is a picture in miniature of what 
■>«.'as seen by John in the Revelation, 
" A great multitude out of every kin- 
di ed, and tongue, and people, and na- 
tion, before the throne and before the 
Lamb," (Rev. 7: 8, 9-14, 15, 16,) cry- 
ing salvation to our God, &c. 1[ Un- 
der heavep,. This is a general expression, 
meaning "from all quarters." The 
Jews had been scattered iv all direc- 



66 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30, 



7 xVnd they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one 
/ohap. 1:11. ^Q another, Behold, are not all these which speak 'Galileans? 

8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we 
were born ? 

9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elaniites, and the dwellers in Meso- 
potamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 



dispersed Jews, as the representatives 
of all lauds and tongues. TT The mul- 
titude came together. As tbis sound so 
definitely pointed to the very house, 
the promiscuous throng just referred 
to flocked together to the phce to see 
what was the matter. f Were con- 
founded. This term (translated in eh. 
19:32, "was confused," and in ch. 
21: 31, "was in an uproar,") means 
were violently agitated, [amazed.) Ev- 
ery man heard, &c. These men from 
BO many countries, and speaking such 
various tongues, heard these Jews 
speaking, some one, and some another 
language, so that there was none but 
heard his own familiar tongue spoken. 
No wonder this amazed them. There 
could be nothing more clearly miracu- 
lous than that persons, known to be 
Galileans, and without any previous 
training to it. should speak foreign 
tongues familiarly as their own. This 
is very different from the Irvingite fa- 
naticism ill England, of speaking in 
"unknown tongues" — mere gibberish — 
which was never done in the Apostolic 
age, though the language may have 
been unknown to the person who spake 
it. ^ In his ou-n tongue. The term is 
dialect. Most of the Jews migrating 
to other countries, as colonists, or in 
commerce, adopted the tongues of the 
respective countries, as they do to this 
day in every laud. Some of these 
here represented may have been dia- 
lects of the same tongue, and not dif- 
ferent languages. But however they 
differed, the multitude heard each dif- 
ferent dialect accurately spoken, l His 
own is emphatic — his own particular 
tongue. 

7. Galileans. The ground of their 
wonder was, that men known to be 
" Galileans" should be found speaking 
these various tongues. The ancient 
Jewish prejudice looked with suspicion 



upon any special attainment of foreign 
tongues, as being Gentilism. — (Josrphu^ 
20: 1-2.) The Galilean people were 
noted for their want of education, 
(John 1 : 4G,) and their corrupt dia- 
lect, iMark 14: 70. Yet they mixed 
most with Gentiles, Matt. 4 : 15. But 
how then could all these, being of one 
province, (or nearly so, at least all the 
leading ones,) be found all at once so 
familiar with these foreign tongues ? 

8. Wherein u-e ivere born? As we 
say, "our native tongue." It is held 
by some that the miracle consisted in 
the impression received by the multi- 
tude, and in their hearing each in his 
own tongue, when, in fact, the Apos- 
tles spake in their ordinary way. But 
had this been so, the gift would have 
been, not so much of new tongues, as 
of new ears, and the ears of fire would 
have been represented, instead of the 
tongues of fire. 

9. This list of nations is here given 
to show the divers tongues represented 
and spoken there, which would also 
show the extent of the miracle. Luke 
seems here to have inserted the list, in 
order to convey the sense of their cur- 
rent exclamations, rather than to have 
us understand that any, or all of them, 
repeated the whole list, in their re- 
marks. IT Parthiajis. The countries 
are given in order, beginning from tke 
north-east, and proceeding to the west, 
and adding also the south. Parihia 
lay south of the Caspian Sea, having 
the country of Aria on the east, and 
of Media on the west, with llyrcania 
on the north, and Carmania on the 
south. They were of the Scythian 
race, and were celebrated in war as 
archers. Some of the crowd assem« 
bled by this strange event at Pentecost, 
were Jews from that country. TT Medes, 
The country of the Medes was situa- 
ted west of Parthia, and south- west of 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



57 



Hyrcania, north of Persia, and east 
of Assyria. These and the Parthiana 
•were probably descendants of the ten 
tribes who had been carried away by 
Assyrian kings, and had not returned, 

1 Chron. 5 : 2i3 ; 2 Kings 17: 6. The 
Medes and Persians were oft'^n associ- 
ated in government, 2 Kings 18: 11; 
Esther 1 : 3, 14, 18, 19. The tongue 
spolien by these and the Parthians was 
the Persian, f EUimilcs. This coun- 
try was situated south of Media, run- 
ning toward the Persian Gulf, and 
seeming, at times, to have comprised 
Susiana, whose capital was Shushan, 
where Daniel resided, " in the province 
of Elam," Dan. 8 : 2. According to 
Pliny, the river Ulai separated Susiana 
from Elymais. Chedorlaomei", king of 
Elam, was chief of the allied kings in 
Abraham's time, Gen. 10: 22. See 
Ezra 2:7; 8:7; Neh. 7 : 12, 34 ; Isa. 
11: 11; 21: 2; 22 : 2 ; 22 : 6. They 
were celebrated in battle, like the 
Parthians, as archers. The Elamites 
were descended from Elam, son of 
Shem, Gen. 10 : 22. 1[ Dwellers in 
Mesopotamia. The same term is here 
used as in vs. 5. Of those who were 
now " dwelling in Jerusalem," some 
were from Mesopotamia, where they 
had been dwelling. This country lay 
between the rivers Tigris and Euphra- 
tes, as the name signifies, between the 
rivers. It had a corresponding name 
in the Hebrew, Arcun Naharaim, i. e. 
Aram, or Syria of the two rivers. Gen. 
21 : 10. It was separated from Arme- 
nia by Mount Tam-us on the north. In 
this tract of country were probably 
situated " Ur of the Chaldees," whence 
Abraham was called. Gen. 11: 27-28; 
Haran, Gen. 11: 31-32; Sepharvaim, 

2 Kings 17: 21, and Carchemish, 2 
Chron. 35 : 20. The Syriac and Chal- 
daic dialects were probably, at this 
time, spoken there. Babylon was at 
the southern extremity. [It has been 
recently ascertained that the languages 
anciently spoken in these regions of 
Asia were very various. Col. Rawlin- 
son, in decyphering the Assyrian in- 
Bcriptions, speaks of five or six varie- 
ties of language used in those records, 
Tiz.:" Babylonian, Achoemenian, Medo- 



Assyrian, Assyrian and Elymean, be- 
sides, perhaps, the Scythic-Chaldean. 
The ]3abylonian tongue was essentially 
a primitive Hebrew — its roots are the 
same — its structure is analogous — its 
conjugations are very similar, and 
the names of objects mostly identical. 
The language of Elymais was anciently 
Scythic and cuneiform. It became 
modified by mixture with the Semitic. 
Col. Rawlinson, speaking of the races 
whose records were found lately in the 
Assyrian inscriptions, says that the 
Nimrod of Scripture and the original 
Median dynasty of Berosus, is the same. 
Then came the Scythian dynasty from 
Susiana or Elymais, which was fol- 
lowed by the Chaldean monarchy, 1776 
B. C. After this came an Arab dy- 
nasty, 1518 B. C, which, in turn, was 
supplanted by the Assyrian, 1273 B. C, 
when Assyria became independent.] 
^ Judea. As Luke wrote at Rome, he 
named Judea among the nations as 
liaving a tongue difl'erent from those 
just enumerated ; and they come in his 
way in the geographical course from 
east to west— from Asia to Asia Minor. 
It is the dwellers in Judea who are 
spoken of, who may not have been 
native Jews, but who would be sur- 
prised to hear Galileans speak pure 
Hebrew, as they were noted for a bar- 
barous dialect. Luke, moreover, was 
in the habit of regarding the dialect of 
Judea as a foreign tongue, since he 
himself was a Gentile. And as his 
object was to give the various languages 
spoken, this would be counted as one 
of them, at any rate. ^ Cappadocia. 
This country was a province of Asia 
Minor, and west of all the former. It 
lay south of Pontus and the Black Sea, 
and west of Armenia, east of Lycao- 
nia, and north of Cilicia. The lan- 
guage spoken there is uncertain, but 
probably was akin to that of the Ly- 
caonians, a compound of the Syriao 
and Greek, Avhich the Apostles did not 
understand, ch. 14: 11, This prov- 
ince, along with Crete and Cilicia, 
formed the trio of places beginning 
with the same letter, which were most 
celebrated among the Greeks for ini 
quity. Peter included this people 



58 



THE ACTS OP THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



10 PJirygia, and Pamphylia^ in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya 
about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes. 



among those to whom he addressed his 
first epistle, 1 Pet. 1:1. Basil the 
Great and Gregory of Nyssa were from 
this province. ^ Fontus — so called 
from its bordering on the Black Sea. 
This was another province of Asia 
Minor, north of the former, and united 
with it under the Romans as one prov- 
ince. They were associated, also, in 
the address of Peter's first epistle. It 
was the birth-place of Aquila, one of 
Paul's companions. Acts 18 : 2, 18, 26 ; 
Eom. 16: 3; 1 Cor. 16 : 19 ; 2 Tim. 
4:19. \ And Asia. This is the pro- 
consular Asia — the west region of 
Asia Minor, of which Ephesus is cap- 
ital. See chap. 6 : 9; 16 : 6 ; 20: 16. 
In this district the seven Churches of 
Asia were located, P>-ev. 1 : 4. 

10. Phrygia and Pamphylia. These 
were provinces of Asia Minor. The 
former at this time belonged to the 
Roman province of Asia, having Bi- 
thynia and Galatia on the north, and 
Lycia and Pamphylia on the south. 
The latter borders on the Mediterra- 
nean Sea. In these provinces of Asia 
Minor the Jews spake dialects of the 
Greek. ^ Egypt. The country wa- 
tered by the lliver Nile and south of 
these just named, is here mentioned. 
Great numbers of Jews resided in Al- 
exandria — two-fifths, indeed, of the 
whole population. They had been en- 
'•.ouraged to settle there by Alexander 
and Ptolemy Lagus, and their num- 
bers had led to the demand for a trans- 
lation into Greek of the Old Testament 
Scriptures about 285 B. C. The lan- 
guage of the country was Coptic, and 
sojourners from "Egypt" in general 
would speak that tongue. \ Libya 
about Cyrene. Libya is the general 
name for Africa, especially the north- 
ern part. This region "about Cyrene" 
was about 500 miles west of Alexan- 
dria in Egypt, and was called Pentap- 
olis, from its having five celebrated 
cities in its bounds. It was a Greek 
colony. The Jews composed a fourth 
cf the populat.on in Cyrene, and formed 



an independent body, with a gov- 
ernor of their own, just as in Alexan- 
dria they had ethnarchs of their own. 
Jos. Ant. xiv. 7, 2 ; xix. 7, 2. Si- 
mon, who was compelled to bear our 
Saviour's cross, was from this region, 
Matt. 27 : 32. And the Jews of Cy- 
rene were so numerous in Jerusalem 
as to have had a synagogue of their 
own. (ch. 6:9.) \ Strangers of Rome. 
Literally, the Romans sojourning, (i. c. 
in Jerusalem.) There were so many 
Jews in Rome that they had eight 
synagogues there — according to Jose- 
phus. The term here rendered "stran- 
gers" is probably to be distinguished 
from that rendered "dwellers," vss. 6-9, 
and denotes more temporary sojoura. 
The term is used in ch. 17 : 21, of the 
"strangers" ( rather foreigners,) so- 
journing at Athens — and here it is 
meant to denote tho<e from Rome who 
were more transiently in Jerusalem 
than the persons before named as 
" dwelling" there. These were proba- 
bly there at the feast. They spake 
the Latin tongue. We suppose that 
of these pilgrims from Rome, some, 
who were converted at this time, 
founded the Church which grew to so 
much importance there, and to which 
Paul addressed his letter " to the Ro- 
mans." Many Jews had been carried 
as captives and colonists to Rome at 
the conquest of Judea shortly before 
the Christian era, and a separate quar- 
ter of the city was assigned to them, 
as is still the case. The Papal govern- 
ment confines the Jews to this cramped 
and filthy district of Rome, callect the 
Ghetto, and no Jewish merchant or 
citizen is allowed by the law to have a 
residence or shop outside of it. ^ Jews 
and proselytes. That is, all the people 
named in the previous list were of twa 
classes, native Jews, born of Jewish pa- 
rents, and proselytes, or heathen, con- 
verted to the Jewish religion. The 
Jews were noted for "compassing sea 
and land to make a proselyte." Huti. 
23; 15. 



50.] 



CHAP. II. 



59 



11 Cretes and Arabians, we do bear tliem speak in our tongues 
'bo v/onderful works of God. 



11. Cretes and Arabians. These 
were added to the list as a kind of af- 
ter-thought in the catalogue, and would 
more regularly have come before the 
last clause, for these, also, were both 
of the native and proselyte class — both 
attending now upon this festival of 
the Jewish religion. Crete is that isle 
of the sea, in the Mediterranean, now 
called Candia, about half as large as Pa- 
lestine, and about 500 miles southwest 
of Constantinople, and nearly the same 
distance west from the Syrian coast. 
Paul touched at this island on his way 
to Rome, ch. 27 : 7, 8, 13, and Titus 
was left here to set in order things 
that were wanting among the Churches, 
Titus 1 : 5. The inhabitants are 
spoken of by Paul as notorious for 
treachery and all immorality, Titus 
1 : 12, 13. Their language was pro- 
bably the Greek. Philo records that 
the Jews were numerous in Crete. — 
Arabia is the peninsula in which 
Mount Sinai is situated, having for its 
western boundary the Red Sea, and 
lor its eastern, the Persian Gulf and 
Euphrates. It has the Indian Ocean 
on the south, and the Holy Land on 
the north. The Arabic language is 
aliiu to the Hebrew, as it is of the 
S:uue stock; yet it is widelj' different 
i.s a spoken tongue. The district 
known as Arabia comprised the whole 
region of Pcrea, east of the Jordan, 
etretching north as far as Damascus, 
into which region Paul is said to have 
},'one after his conversion, (Gal. 2: 17.) 
"f We do hear them. The question in 
vs. 8 is continued — "How do we 
Lear ?" This was the ground of as- 
tonishment, that people of these differ- 
ent nations and languages heard these 
Galileans speaking their tongues, in- 
stead of their own peculiar dialect. 
The wonder of it was, that they heard 
these men using language perfectly 
familiar to them all, and all as though 
these strangers were countrymen of 
theirs, speaking these strange tongues 
ns fluently as them^lves. — We were 
fit Jerusalem at the season correspond- 



I ing with that of the Passover, when 
such promiscuous crowds were flocking 
! to the Holy City, from Europe, Asia, 
I Egypt, Abyssinia, and the islands of 
I the sea. There were Russians, Prus- 
sians, Italians, Romish sojourners, 
Greeks, Armenians, people from differ- 
ent parts of Asia Minor, and from the 
remote East, in various costumes — 
also, Copts, Cocgos, Abyssinians and 
Arabians — quite such a promiscuous 
gathering as is here named ; repre- 
senting very much the same parts of 
the world. We saw all colors and 
shades of complexion mingling in the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, kneel- 
ing together at the same shrines, 
and joining in the same processions. 
And we could imagine what amazement 
must seize these foreigners of different 
tongues, if, in any house where one 
hundred and twenty or more were as- 
sembled, they should hear their own 
languages freely and familiarly spok- 
en by persons from Galilee. At Pen- 
tecost they heard this done in a most 
marvelous way — not here and there a 
man speaking in a tongue that would 
be recognized by one of these foreign- 
ers, but among them all, this whoi^ 
list of foreigners heard their own se\ 
eral tongues at the same time. And 
all the assembly were speaking on the 
same great theme. There were at 
least eight or nine tongues spoken, be- 
sides the various dialects of different 
provinces using the same tongue dif- 
fere^itly. The miracle was manifest. 
It was plainly connected with the su- 
pernatural noise, and the flaming 
tongues, and none could doubt that 
something very wonderful bad occur- 
red. T[ The ivonderful ivorks. Ra- 
ther, The great things of God— as the 
Incarnation, Resurrection, Ascension 
and Plan of Salvation by Christ— such 
as Peter soon after discourses to them. 
We need not suppose that this speak- 
ing was a mere exhortation to these 
strangers to embrace Christ. It was 
commenced before they flocked to- 
gether, and doubtless it consisted o^ 



eo 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 



12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to 
another, What meaneth this ? 

13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. 

14 ^ But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, 



praise and exaltation of God's " great 
things." So also it occurred, cli. 10 : 
46. Yet thus they would publish these 
great facts to these strangers, (Ps. 51 : 
12, 13; Rev. 5: 13,) and thus propagate 
the truths of the Gospel in these vari- 
ous tongues, as they could not cther- 
■wise so promptly have done. Thus, 
also, would the Gospel be circulated 
by these pilgrims and foreigners, to 
the very ends of the earth. 

12. In doubt. The term is applied 
to a state of balancing between differ- 
ent conclusions, as between two roads, 
which is the right one. Thej' Avcre 
perplexed — did not know what to make 
of it. f What vieaneth this? Literally, 
What may this will to he? What may 
this possibly mean? This is Avhat the 
serious, pious portion said, and the lan- 
guage shows how they were already 
partly convinced of the miracle. 

13. Others moclcing. There were two 
classes of beholders there, as there arc 
every where : some disposed to take 
a serious and sensible view of the mat- 
ter and asking for information ; others 
mocking — cavilling, scoffing — turning it 
to ridicule. \ Full of new wine. They 
called the work of the Holy Spirit the 
work of intoxicating wine. This is 
only next to making it the work of Be- 
elzebub. How the carnal mind can 
pervert the highest truths and plainest 
facts of Christianity. How little power 
is there in miracles of themselves to 
convince men, even if one arose to 
them from the dead ! (Luke 10: 30.) 
To such an absurd and blasphemous 
theory are men driven who deny what- 
ever is miraculous and supernatural in 
Christianity. What wonder that such 
ridiculous explanations are yet given 
to the "wonderful works of God" by 
mocking rationalists. Those "others" 
were probably such native Jews as did 
not recognize these varic is tongues ; 
and to them, of course, it seemed a 
crazy jargon as of drunken men. So, 



in 1 Cor. 14 : 23, Paul points out this 
as the natural effect rpon unbelievers, 
" If, therefore, the whole Church be 
come together into one place, and all 
speak with tongues, and there come in 
those that are unlearned or unbelievers, 
will they not say that ye are mad ?" 
That is, in the case of various tongues 
being spoken in the hearing of those 
not familiar with the tongues — ^just as 
it would seem to many people here if 
an assembly were to break out in He- 
brew, Arabic, Persic, &c. which they 
had never heard. ^ New tvine. It was 
not so much " }iew" as siveet wine, as 
the term is. It was often of the last 
year's vintage, but kept sweet and 
strong. It was this kind of wine which 
they preserved from ordinary ferment- 
ation, and which they commonly drank 
in the morning. Some suppose it to have 
been made of a very sweet small grape, 
as referred to in Gen. 49 : 11 ; Isa. 5 : 2. 
The wines of Jerusalem, as we tasted 
them, and those of Mt. Lebanon, were 
"sweet wines," and were so called ; be- 
ing boiled £0 as to prevent ordinary fer- 
mentation, and not regarded as intoxi- 
cating except in great excess. They 
are sweet, like the celebrated classic 
" Falcrnian," or "Laehryma Christi," 
near Naples, but more of a syrup. 

^ 4. The Fikst Preaching of the 
Apostles! — Peter, vss. 14-38. 

14. Here, then, in the Christian 
Church, we find the ordinance of public 
preaching, according to the Apostolic 
commission, "Go teach all nations" — 
"preach my gospel to every creature." 
But we sliall see that the Church is not a 
new Institution, and that this is not the 
first founding cf the Church, for it is 
"built upon the foundation of the Apos- 
tles and Prophets together, Jesus Christ 
Himself being the chief corner-stone, 
in whom all the building (of Jew and 
Gentile walls,) fifly framed together. 



A. I>. 30.1 



CHAP. II. 



and said unto them, Ye men of Judca, and a'.l ye that dwell at Jeru- 
salem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words : 

15 For these are not di-unken, as ye suppose, ^seeing it ffiTUisa. s:j. 
is hut the third hour of the day. 

16 But this is that which w-is spoken by the prophet Joel; 



growetli into a holy temple in tiieLord." 
(Eph. 2:21.) \reUr. Feter, jis per- 
haps the first specially called to be an 
Apostle, (Matt. 4: 18; Mark 3: 5,) 
and characteristically forward — the Ce- 
phas, also, at the bottom of this work, 
is he by whom Christ here begins to 
build His Church upon "this rock" of 
the public confession and preaching of 
Christ as the Son of the living God. 
(M.itt. IG : 13-20.) Yet observe, it is 
the preaching of great historical facts 
by which this fundamental truth of 
Christ is made known. Preaching is 
originally and properly a publishing of 
the great facts of the Gospel. 1 Sland- 
ing up. Boldly, and with all the manly 
dignity and force which his conviction 
of the truth gave him. *[ With the 
eleven. ISIatthias was now numbered 
with them — and they all probably rose 
up as the public, official representatives 
of this Christianity which was now so 
Blandered. (See vs. 37.) It may be 
that the twelve spake in the different 
languages to the same effect. (See vs. 
37. ) Peter's speech alone is given here, 
and he was the chief speaker. ^ Said 
unto them. Ilather, discoursed, or de- 
livered an address unto them. This is 
the first formal testimony of the Chris- 
tian Church. It embraces two points. 
I. The defense from the charge of 
drunkenness and the true explanation 
of the phenomena, as the work of the 
Holy Spirit, (14:-20.) II. The proclama- 
tion of Christ as the living and glorious 
source of all this, and the adorable Sa- 
viour, (vs. 21,) risen from the death to 
which they had cruelly consigned Him. 
(22-36.) f Ye men of Judea. Liter- 
ally, Men, Jews. Native Jews ; as in ch. 
1: 11, "Men, Galileans." These are 
first addressed in keeping with the com- 
mand to go first to the lineal descend- 
ants of Abraham, (ch, 1 : 4,) the lost 
sheep of the house of fsrael. \ All ye 
UkU dwell at Jerusalem. This is said to 



include ethers who were then dwelling 
at Jerusalem — not Jews, but proselytea 
— from foreign parts. " All ye" dwell- 
ers or sojourners here, as well as the 
native Jews who were born of Jewish 
parents. ^ Hearken. Literally, give 
ear to. Attentively listen to. 

15. For these. Peter cannot intend 
here that only the Disciples and not 
the Apostles themselves had spoken 
with tongues — for in vs. 4 all are in- 
cluded. But he stands out from the 
body of Disciples " with the eleven " as 
the ofiicial leaders and apologists of 
the Church—" the twelve" of God's Is- 
rael — according to the ancient patriar- 
chal number, and thus calculated to im- 
press and conciliate these Jews. ^ As 
ye suppose — assume. ^ Seeing. Liter- 
ally, for. He gives the reason why. 
TI Thethirdhour. This was nine o'clock 
in the morning by our time. The Jews 
divided the natural day into twelve 
hours from sunrise to sunset The 
third, sixth and ninth hours were de- 
voted to public worship. The civil 
day, as used in their common reckon- 
ing, was from six in the evening till six 
the next evening, and not from mid- 
night to midnight, as the Roman day 
and ours. The utter improbability of 
tbeir being intoxicated at this hour was, 
1st. From the rule among the Jews not 
to eat or drink before morning prayer. 
(Derach, 28:2.) The fourth hour 
(ten o'clock) was the hour for break- 
fast. 2d. From the improbability in 
any case, of men being intoxicated at 
so early an hour. See 1 Thess. 5:7; 
Isa. 5:' 11. 3d. From the fact that 
the " sweet wine" would intoxicate 
only when taken to great excess. 

16. This is that, &c. This is the 
very thing predicted by the prophet 
Joel eight centuries before. They knew 
the prophecy full well. The Old Tes- 
tament prophets pointed forward to this 
very time and event. The Old lea- 



62 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 3(T 



Jilsa. «:S. 
Kzek. 11 : 19, 

Bnd 36 : 27. 
Joel 2: 28, 29. 
Zeoh. 12 : 10. 
Johu 7 : 3S. 
i ch. 10 : 45. 
k ch. 21 : 9. 



17 ^And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith 
God, 'I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh : and your 
sons and ''your daughters shall prophesy, and your young 
men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream 
dreams : 



tament religion was a religion of the 
future. This would be calculated to 
convince the serious Jews. See Joel 
2 : 28-32. This citation was the more 
striking and impressive as these words 
of the prophet had just been read in 
the Pentecostal service of the syna- 
gogue. 

17. In the lastdaj/s. In the original 
it reads " aflcr thene things'' — a general 
expression pointing to an indistinct fu- 
ture. Peter, unckr the inspiration of 
God, defines it, by so altering the lan- 
guage in the quotation as to read "m 
the last days'" — by which he shows that 
this is the last Dispensation — and that 
this advent and outpouring of the Spirit 
is the beginning of the end. In vs. 29 
accordingly, this is connected with the 
dissolution of the world as the comple- 
tion of "the last days." Peter thus 
expounds the language of the prophet 
so as to fix the reference to that time 
of Pentecost, as the time of the Messiah 
and the closing Dispensation to which 
their prophets so often referred, Isa. 2 : 
2; Mic. 4:1. See 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 
1 : 2. This phrase was so familiar as 
applying to "the Gospel times," that 
Peter would not be understood as 
meaning that the world was just now 
coming to an end — but that now had 
commenced the train of events belong- 
ing to the closing dispensation, which 
should conclude with the dissolution of 
the world. Hence, also, our Saviour 
used the expression, " the last day," for 
the closing day of all — the day of judg- 
ment, John G: 39, 40; 11: 21; 12: 48. 
— If, then, these closing times have 
commenced, these cavillers might well 
tremble at these tokens, while to this 
Christian assembly the dawning of 
these last times is full of blessedness ; 
because, as Peter will show, (vs. 21,) 
there is a way of escape from the wrath 
to come. T[ / loill pour out. The gift 
of the Spirit was often represented by 



the prophets under this figure of water 
(as rain) poured out, "Until the Spirit 
be poured upon us from on high and 
the wilderness become a fruitful field." 
See Prov. 1 : 23 ; Isa. 45 : 3 ; Zech. 
12 : 10. So it is called by our Lord a 
baptizing with the Holy Ghost. And 
speaking of the blessings of Messiah's 
reign it is said, " He shall come down 
like rain upon the mown grass and as 
showers that water the earth.'' So in 
Titus 3 : 5-G, "The renewing of the 
Holy Ghost which He shed on us abun- 
dantly." ^ My Spirit. The Holy Spir- 
it — the Third Person of the blessed 
Trinity— is here referred to. He is 
called God's Spirit, and "the Spirit of 
Christ." (1 Peter 1: 11.) He would 
pour out of the Ascension gifts received 
by Christ, that the Lord God might 
dwell among them. Ps. 68: 18; Eph. 
4 : 8. And this outpouring of the 
Spirit would be in different measures at 
different times under the Gospel, until 
at length it should be universal. ^ Upon 
all flesh. The Spirit was promised to 
be outpoured upon all classes of men and 
nations, not upon all without excep- 
tion — but upon all without distinction. 
The time has yet to come when this 
prediction will be more fully realized 
and exhausted, and when "all flesh 
shall see the salvation of God." \ Your 
sons, &c. The blessing was to come 
upon their households. This was ac- 
cording to the Abrahamic covenant, 
and so it was realized in the family of 
Cornelius the jailor, Lydia, Timothy,&c. 
So Peter further declares "the promise 
is unto you and to your children." So 
it was promised, "I will poui- out my 
Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing 
upon thine offspring. And they shall 
spring up as among the grass, &c." 
Isa. 44 : 3, 4. So Malachi also proph- 
esies, "Atd he shall turn the hearts 
of the fathers unto the children, &c." 
\ Shall prophesy. Females shared ia 



i. D. HO.] 



CHAP. IT. 



G3 



18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will 
pour out in those days of my Spirit ; ' and they shall [ 
prophesy : " 



11:1,^. 



these remarkable influences of the 
Spirit, as in case of Philip the Evan- 
gelist, who had four daughters that 
prophesied — ch. 21: 9. Under the 
Old Testament, Miriam, Deborah, 
Huldah and Anna -were prophetesses. 
(Exodus 15 : 20 ; Judg. 4:4; Luke 2 : 
36.) In the Church of Corinth women 
eoem to have shared in the gift of proph- 
ecy, (1 Cor. 11:5,) though they were 
not allowed to speak in public, (1 
Cor. 14: 34.) Tiie word has divers 
senses, as (1) to foretell future events, 
(2) to teach the doctrines and duties 
of religion, as the prophets of old. In 
this sense it seems to be understood in 
1 Cor. 14th ch., including also (3) the 
public praises of God — while it is there 
distinguished from speaking in foreign 
tongues. 1 Cor. 14 : 2-5 ; 1 Cor. 12 : 
10. It wa.s doubtless a special influ- 
ence of the Spirit which carried with it 
strong convincing evidence of power 
from above, whether in singing praises, 
or in instructive speech, or both. 
1[ Your young men, &c. In the He- 
brew, the order of these clauses is in- 
verted, and "the old men dreaming 
dreams" comes first. The Apostles 
were young men, and Peter refers to 
them first, as meeting the case more 
directly, f Visions. God often re- 
vealed Himself to the prophets by vis- 
ions. Hence they were formerly called 
seers. The Divine revelation was 
made to the spirit of the prophet, so 
that the sccue seemed to pass before 
Mm. To Joel, the outpouring of the 
Spirit appears as a general extension 
of the three forms of Divine revelation, 
which occur in the Old Testament. 
Hence, Isaiah saw the vision concern- 
ing Judah. Ezekiel beheld the vision 
of dry bones, (87 : 8.) Micah saw 
the word of the Lord, (1 : 1,) and 
Habakkuk saw the burden. So in 
the New Testament, John in the Rev- 
elation bears record of " all things that 
lie saw." Rev. 1: 2. The Prophet 
was in an ecstasy. The Lord spake 
" to Ananias in a vision," ch. 9 : 10. 



Saul ^'' saw in a vision" a man namecj 
Ananias. Cornelius " saw in a vision" 
an angel of God coming to him, ch. 
10: 3. ^ Dream dreams. Another 
mode of Divine revelation was by 
dreams, in which God suspended the 
personal consciousness and made the 
scenes pass before the mind juet as 
when we dream. Such prophetic 
dreams were had by Jacob, Solomon, 
Daniel, and others in the Old Testa- 
ment. Joseph, the husband of Mary, 
received a revelation in a dream. Matt. 
1 : 20 : 2: 19 ; see Gen. 20 : 3 ; 31 : 11 ; 
31: 24; 37 : 5 ; 40 : 5 ; 41 : 1-7 ; 1 
Kings 3 : 5. The idea here intended 
is that God would reveal Himself to all 
classes without distinction of age, or 
sex, or rank, or nation, sons and daugh- 
ters, young and old, servants and hand- 
maids, of all flesh. 

18. And. Rather, And even The 

Hebrew reads, "upon the servants," 
Gal. 3:28; Coloss. 3: 11. " There is 
neither bond nor free." The Septua- 
gint and Vulgate give, however, the 
same rendering as Peter — or rather, 
Peter quoting from the Greek version, 
as most familiar to the dispersed Jews 
and those of Jei'usalem, would natu- 
rally give it as found there, especially 
if this contained a sentiment more fully 
suiting its application to that time. 
And as he spake by inspiration, Pe- 
ter's alteration would give only a fur« 
ther unfolding of the inspired senti- 
ment. All classes are here designated 
as alike belonging to God and all equal- 
ly His servants, 1 Cor.7 : 22. "The 
Lord's freeman" — " Christ's servant." 
Some understand this clause as refer- 
ring to ministers, or worshipers of 
God. But the former is the best suit- 
ed to the connection. Tlie prophet 
evidently refers to persons of servile 
condition, and the Apostle merely adds 
the pronoun which designates them, 
however humble in life, as the Lord's, 
who would vouchsafe his special grace 
to them ; so that, tJiough the servitude 
to man might continue, it would merg« 



61 



THE ACrS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



m Joel 2: 30, 31. ]^g m ^jj^j J ^jjj g]jg^ -vvoiiclers in heaven above, and 
signs in the earth beneath ; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke : 

and be forgotten in the honorable, 
filial servitude to their Heavenly Fa- 
ther, 

19. He goes on to show that this 
prophecy of Joel also calls for grievous 
visitations, wliich, therefore, they Avere 
to expect. These predicted blessings 
upon the Church are to be accompanied 
by judgments upon the ungodly world, 
and both for the upbuilding of His 
kingdom. The reference first and im- 
mediately is to the destruction of Je- 
rusalem, and next to the destruction of 
the world. The prophecy was not ex- 
hausted by what occurred in those 
Apostolic days, but remained to be ful- 
filled more completely in the last day. 
That outpouring of blessing, and of 
judgment, was only the beginning of 
the end. The fearful portents belong- 
ing to the closing up of temporal af- 
fairs, are immediately connected with 
the opening of this dispensation of the 
Spirit — for these were the two covers 
of the book — as these were the two 
halves of Christ's ministry — gathering 
His wheat and burning up His chafi^. 
The connection between the time of 
vengeance and the day of Redemption 
is indicated, Isa. 59: IG, 18; Isa. 63: 
4 ; Luke 21 : 22, 28. He now proceeds 
to show that these prodigies which 
they saw, were part of what was con- 
templated by Joel's prophecy, and were 
thus to be explained, as Divine mani- 
festations. ^ Sheiv u-07iders. Literally, 
/ will give portents, or prodigies. [The 
word here used, repara, is one of three 
terms employed in the New Testament 
to denote miracles. Sometimes it is 
used together with the word for siff7is, 
{Grjfieia,} and they are then rendered 
"signs and wonders," Matt. 24: 24; 
Mark 13 : 22 ; John 4 : 48. The other 
term, which is most commonly ren- 
dered "miracles," is dwafiei^ — "pow- 
ers" — because they are wrought by 
Divine power — while repara, "prodi- 
gies," is used of miracles, because 
they are inexplicable to men, and 
OT/fieia, " signs," because they are sipis, 
«p tokena of the Divine presence; and 



thus are seals of the Divine missioo 
of those who work them. So Nicode- 
mus inferred. " No man can do these 
('signs') miracles that thou doest ex- 
cept God be with him," John 3:2. In 
chap, 2: 22, Peter takes the same 
ground, viz.: Miracles, "wonders and 
signs" were sufficient attestations of 
one's Divine mission and claims. 
Hence the doctrine held by some, that 
miracles only bespeak a hearing for 
him who works them, and that he must 
first show that his doctrine and aim 
are good, before the miracles can prove 
his Divine commission, is fallacious. 
Miracles are granted just for the 
purpose of proving his doctrine to be 
good, and worthy of acceptance as 
from God. And if by a miracle we 
understand a work which requires Di- 
vine power, the case is clear that a 
miracle can be wrought only as a Di- 
vine attestation. And if we should 
not call a work of Satan, however 
marvelous, a "miracle," or a "sign," 
or a "ivonder," in the New Testament 
sense, then there is no ground for this 
theory that we must wait till we know 
about the doctrine that is to be con- 
firmed by it, before we can tell whether 
the miracle is wrought by God or by 
Satan.] The ancient belief was, that 
wonders in the natural world, such as 
earthquakes, eclipses, &c., were tokens 
of the Divine wrath. This may have 
been gathered from the plagues of 
Egypt, Exod. 10:21. Similar lan- 
guage is used iu Matt. 24, in referencfc 
to the last day. Tf Signs — ariiiEij,. 
Moses was furnished with Tepara^ 
(prodigies,) which served as cijiiELa— 
signs of the Divine presence, and cre- 
dentials of his mission, Exod. 4 : 1-8. 
These wonders in the heavens above, 
here promised, were to be accompanied 
with signs — tokens in the earth be- 
neath — and they are described in the 
following terms. Such wonders and 
signs, to some extent, attended the 
destruction of Jerusalem, as described 
by Josephus. But more especially 
they will mark the last day. The pro- 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



20 " Til 3 sun shall be turned into darknesS; and 
moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Luiie2i:25. 
Lord come : 

21 And it shall come to pass, that "-whosoever shall call »Kom. lona. 
on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 



phetic vision contemplates tliem both ! 
as merging into one. At Pentecost a ■ 
series of wonders commenced, wliich j 
looked forward to the second coming | 
of Christ. 1[ Blood and fire. Some I 
understand this to refer to bloodshed 
and conflagration. These terms pre- 
dict calamities, such as were generally 
supposed to be indicated by such por- 
tents. It is not meant that such signs 
may themselves bi expected, but ra- 
ther tlie events which they foretoken, 
IT Vojor of smoke. Dense smoke — in 
Hebrew, " Pillars of smoke," or col- 
umns of it darkening the sky — even 
blackening the sun. Dr. Thomson 
suggests that the allusion here may be 
to the sirocco, or sand-storm of the 
desert, which has such phenomena. — 
The Land and the Book, p. 311. 

20. The sun, &c. These figures 
were often used by the prophets, Ezek. 
32: 7; Isa. 13: 10; Amos 5: 18-20. 
They are commonly employed to de- 
note great and afflictive changes in 
governments, as gloomy as if the sun 
were turned to darkness, and as bloody 
as if the moon were turned to blood. 
See Rev. 8 : 8, where John saw the 
same vision. Here, doubtless, the 
downfaJl of the Jewish State is prima- 
rily signified ; and further on, it points 
to the dissolution of despotic worldly 
governments, such as are hostile to 
Christ's cause. Such events are inti- 
mated, also, by the same terms, in 
Matt. 24: 20, "The powers of heaven 
shall be shaken." If Notable. The 
Greek term e-mtliavri — epiphane — means 
manifest — epiphanous — or illustrious : 
signal in its character as an exhi- 
bition of Divine justice. It will be 
a day of revelation. Matt. 25. '* The 
Son of man shall be revealed from 
heaven in flaming fire, taking ven- 
geance, &c." The Hebrew term in Joel 
means fearful. This " day of the Lord," 
ofieu spoken of in the Scriptures, may 



refer to any day of judicial infliction, 
but always looks forward, more or less 
distinctly, to the final day of Ilis wrath. 
It was here seen by Peter as the proper 
close of these last days which have 
now begun, and hence he warns the 
people of the solemn and awful times 
upon which they had entered. " His 
fan is in His hand," and His judgment 
is already going on, in preparation for 
the final, universal trial. Hence, the 
Apostles spoke of that closing event — 
His final judgment — as at hand. If 
they even expected the second coming 
of Christ very soon, (which is not cer- 
tain,) this would not at all affect the 
authority of their inspired writings on 
the subject, for they spake in words 
which the Holy Ghost taught them, 
and it was only in accordance with the 
declarations of Christ, Matt. 24: 36. 
The beginning of the end had already 
taken place. They were living in the 
last times ! The " coming" at the 
destruction of Jerusalem was immedi- 
ately at hand, to be succeeded by the 
time of waiting for Christ, (as known 
to the Father only, Mark 13 : 32,) till 
all things shall have been put under 
His feet. Then the tokens shall be 
repeated with fuller and more signal 
manifestation, and the day of the Lord 
shall arrive. 

21. Whosoever. Meanwhile, during 
these latter days of portent, all of 
which point on to the hastening end, 
this is the covenant of the Spiritual dis- 
pensaticii, that whosoever — Jew or 
Gentiio, i.'.iid or free— shall call upon the 
name of the Lord, as the Messiah made 
known by the prophets, (see Rom. 10: 
11-14, and 1 Cor. 1 : 2,) and with a re- 
liance on Him as made known in the 
CTOspel, in His revealed character and 
ofFxce-work, as God in Christ the Sa- 
viour — shall be saved. So in Genesis 4 : 
26, it is recorded, " Then began men 
to call on the name of JehoFah," ibi 



m 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80 



22 Ye men of Israel, bear these words : Jesus of 
?/'io"n.^'^°* Nazareth, a man approved of God among you ^by miracleg 
H^b!'*2?4*; ^^^ wonders end signs, which God did by him in the 
midst of you, as ye yourselves also know : 



by the name Jehovah, Lord. This can- 
not denote the beginning of public wor- 
ship, for it had begun before. But it 
must refer to the invocation of God 
under a special name "Jehovah," or 
His name, as that whereby He makes 
Himself known : His revealed name — 
thus acknowledging the attributes 
which He claims, and calling upon Him 
m the way and according to the plan 
prescribed in His Word. ^ The Lord. 
This term is almost universally used 
in the New Testament to designate 
Christ as the Second Person of the God- 
head : and it is the term which is em- 
ployed in the Greek version of the Old 
Testament to translate "Jehovah." 
This is a strong verbal proof of Christ's 
Godhead. The passage in Gen. 4: 26, 
agrees well with this. ^ Shall be saved. 
Salvation is proclaimed in Christ to all 
people. This is the glory of the latter 
times. It is not to any exclusive pale 
of a nation or a denomination, but to 
individuals — "whosoever will." Yet all 
who truly call upon the name of Christ 
will call upon Him as Prophet, Priest 
and King — will receive Him in all His 
offices in whioli lie acts for the govern- 
ment and salvation of men, and will 
come unto Him, and embrace Him by 
faith for salvation. This is the invita- 
tion — " Look unto Me and be ye saved, 
all ye ends of the earth, for I am God, 
and there is none else." (Isa. 45 : 22. ) 
Peter thus prepares them to hear who 
is the Lord who is to be called on for 
salvation. Observe. — (1) If such are 
thus to be saved, all others who refuse 
to call upon Christ and embrace His 
ofl'ered salvation, must be lost. "Nei- 
ther is there salvation in any other — 
for there is no other name given under 
Heaven among men, whereby we must 
be saved." (ch. 4: 12.) (2) Peter 
proclaims the coming wrath in prep- 
aration for the preaching of Christ the 
Saviour. 
22 Peter now goea on to proclaim 



Jesus of Nazareth as "the Lord" spo- 
ken of by Joel, — the only hope in tho 
coming times of trouble, and the Christ 
the Messiah of their prophecies and 
hopes as a nation. Peter goes on to 
prove this great truth of Jesus' exalta- 
tion as Lord and Messiah, from three 
considerations. I. The miraculous at- 
testation and approval of Jesus, by 
God, thfough signs and wonders, &c. 
(vs. 22.) II. The Resurrection of Je- 
sus, (vss. 24-32.) III. The gift of 
the Holy Spirit (vss. 33-35,) from Him 
as the Risen Lord. For the 1st, He ap- 
peals to their knowledge of the facts, 
" as ye yourselves also know." (vs. 22.) 
For the 2d, he shows that whatever 
they might have thought of His death 
it was provided by God, and His Re- 
surrection by God the Father proved 
His Divine origin and mission — as it 
set the seal of the Godhead upon His 
Life and Death, indorsing all his 
claims. For the 3d, he points them to 
what is now passing before their eyes 
as the proof that He is risen, and that 
this which they now see and hear He 
hath shed forth. T[ Ye men of Israel — 
7/e Jeivs. AVhether native or foreign. 
^ Jcsiis of Nazareth. This was the fa- 
miliar title of cur Lord, which went 
with Him to His cross, as was predicted, 
"He shall be called a Nazarene." 
(Matt. 2: 23.) This title, which was 
given Him in reproach, Peter uses in this 
first preaching of His name. See John 
18 : 5-7. See ch. 22 : 8 ; 26 : 9. \Ap- 
proved. Rather, demonstrated, accredited 
unto you — shown to be that which Ho 
claimedtobe. (See vs. 19, note.) ^ Of 
God. It was important in arguing 
with the Jews to show that Jesus had 
the authoritative commission of the 
Father,whom they professed to worship. 
This was the point which Christ Him- 
self constantly urged with them. (See 
John 5: 19, 30, 36.) 1 Which God 
did. None but God could have dona 
these miracles — as the raising of Jairua' 



A. r». CO.] CHAP. II. 67 

23 Him, <J being delivered by the determinate counsel ?^k^;^;;f2i,'i;, 
and foreknowledge of God, ""ye have taken, and by wicked caistis.anot*! 
hands have crucitied and slain : rch. 5:3n. 



daughter and Lazarus, as well as of 
the widow's son ; besides giving the 
blind sight by a word, &c. So Nic- 
odemus admitted, for himself as a ru- 
ler of the Jews, and for others, John 
3:2. It is idle to say that such mir- 
acles were attested by His doctrine and 
thus only were shown to be from God, 
and not from Satan — for Satan could 
not have wrought them — and if he 
could, then they would have been in 
themselves no attestation of Jesus as 
the Christ. And furthei-, if we must 
wait to know of the doctrine whether 
it is good, before we can tell whether 
the miracle is from God or from Satan, 
when it is the worthiness and Divinity 
of the doctrine which we want to have 
attested by the miracle — then, how 
shall we know about the doctrine inde- 
pendently of the miracle which attests 
it? If we could, we shou'.d not need 
the miracle, for then we should know 
beforehand just what it comes to attest 
to us — and then, too, the miracle would 
have no important end to serve, and 
could be dispensed with. Observe. — • 
Peter here shows that the whole course 
of yae man Christ Jesus was ordained 
and carried through by the direct agen- 
cy and aathority of the God of Israel. 
f Yourselves also. As well as we — or 
as in fact you know without being told. 
These facts He brings up to them as 
well known to themselves. The Jews 
did not dispute His miracles. They 
rather admitted them, but either as- 
cribed them to the agency of Beelze- 
bub, (Matt. 9: 31; Mark 3: 22,) or 
found fault with Him as breaking the 
Sabbath by working them. (John 
G: 16.) 

23. Him — This one — emphatic : the 
very one so divinely utiested, to their 
certain knowledge. ^ Being delivered 
— IkSotov — delivered up. The term, in 
this form, is used only here. The verb 
is used in the New Testament of kiting 
tut a vineyard, and in no other sense. 
Here it conveys the idea of His being 
put into their hands by the voluntary 



plan of the Father. It was by no 
chance nor compulsion. He was not 
wrested from the Father's hands. He 
Himself was voluntary in it all. Ob- 
serve. — "Because the cross of Christ 
doth commonly trouble us at first 
sight, Peter declares to them that He 
suffered nothing by chance, nor be- 
cause He wanted power to deliver 
Himself, but because it was so deter- 
mined (and appointed) by God. For 
this knowledge alone, that the death 
of Christ was ordained by the eternal 
counsel of God, did cut off all occasion 
of foolish and wicked reflections, and 
did prevent all offenses which might 
otherwise be conceived." — Calvin. To 
the Jews the cross was a stumbling- 
block and an offense. They could not 
be reconciled to so shameful a death 
for the Messiah. They even at length 
invented the doctrine of two Messiahs 
— a suffering one and a victorious one. 
In no other way could they satisfy the 
plain predictions of their Scriptures. 
But they did not see as we do, how 
both these features meet in one and 
the same Jesus of Nazareth. Tf By 
the determinate counsel. By the definite 
Uvill) plan of God, or in accordance 
with that plan. God works according 
to a plan. Hence the Atonement it- 
self is definite and particular — not 
general without a plan — nor universa" 
without a principle — but well define 
in its application and execution. The 
verbis elsewhere rendered, "ordain- 
ed" — "declared" — "limitcth." See 
Acts 10 : 42; Rom. 1:4; Heb. 4 : 7. 
It means something fixed. " He hatb 
determined the times before appoint- 
ed," &c. " He limiteth a certain day," 
&c. The dative has here the adverbial 
force, and indicates the cause or rule 
— in either case referring the transac- 
tion to the definite, particular purpose 
of God to this effect, " The Son of 
man goeth as it is written of Him," 
&c., Luke 22 : 22, 23. This remark 
is now understood by Peter, as it was 
not when it was uttered. Whether tht 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



act of delivering up be referred to 
Judas' betraying Christ, or God the 
Fatlier giving Him into tlie liands of 
His betrayers, it is clearly attributed 
to the definite purpose of God — and 
this properly puts a new aspect upon 
it in the sight of these Jews to whom 
the cross was an offense. This shame- 
ful death, which seemed so inconsistent 
with the dignity of their Messiah, was 
in jiccordancc with the previous and 
settled design of God. See John 19 : 
10, 11 ; 10 : 18. ^ And foreknowledge. 
" That Peter may tench that the counsel 
of God is not without reason, he coup- 
leth also therewitli His foreknow- 
ledge." "God's works of providence, 
ivherein He cxecuteth His decrees, are 
His most holy, wise and powerful pre- 
serving and governing all llis creatures 
and all their actions." His foreknow- 
ledge is not alone, nor is His counsel 
alone. It is neitlier without the other, 
but both concurring in the event and 
all the means by which it was brought 
about. All the steps were as much 
ordained and foreknown as the event 
itself. The event could not have been 
foreknown by God except as it was 
fixed. Nor was it foreknown merely 
as another's act uncontrollable, but as 
planned and provided for by Himself. 
It wa^, therefore, a wise foreknow- 
ledge, compassing all that belonged to 
it, with all the results, and arranging 
all the particulars, so that He was not 
disappointed or baffled in any thing. 
Nor can He ever be thwarted by wick- 
ed men, hov,'ever dark and deep their 
plots against His cause. " His coun- 
sel shall stand, and He will do all His 
pleasure," Isa. 4G : 10. T Ye have 
taken — Having taken. God's secret 
decree did not make it any the less 
their free act. He now ciiarges upon 
them their own voluntary deed. They 
found no excuse in the doctrine of de- 
crees preached by Peter. They knew 
they had acted without compulsion 
and according to their own impulse 
and choice. They had cried, "Away 
with Him, crucify Him," and probably 
some of those very persons were 
among Peter's hearers. And the 
?effs generally, " men of Israel," had 



fully indorsed the foul crucifixion. 
Observe. — Some men will have ug 
deny that God decrees all things, or 
that He has any fixed and eternal plan, 
lest sinners make this a ground of ex- 
cuse. But Peter preached the doc- 
trine so as to exalt God, and to hum- 
ble men by the conviction Ihat it is 
vain to fight against God, and that no 
plots of the wicked, or of S.atan him- 
self, can circumvent or disappoint God. 
1" By icicked hands. Literally, By the 
hands oflaivless ones — [dvo/iuv — wicked) 
— the Roman soldiers — the heathen — 
outlaws. This made the death of 
Christ more ignominious, that it was 
by heathen hands. The Jews had 
urged Pilate to put Him to death, con- 
trary to his own convictions of His 
innocence — so that they had done it, 
through the Romans. They had not 
the right to put any one to death at 
that time. The sceptre had thus far 
departed from Judah, as the Shiloh 
had come. Besides, the ignominious 
punishment of crucifixion was owing 
to the heathen having done it. Yet 
for all this, the Jews were responsible, 
as Pilate would have released Him but 
for them. ^ Ilave crucified. Literally, 
Ilaving nailed Ilim up, (i. e. to the 
cross,) ye sleiu Him This unusual 
term is here employed to express the 
harshness and cruelty of the deed. 
Truly, it was a heathenish punishment 
— which the Jewish law would not tol- 
erate. It was, indeed, by the hands 
of the lawless. They were lawless in 
the sight of the Jews, as being Gen- 
tiles — but they were more truly lawless 
in this crucifixion of our Lord. Ob- 
serve. — (1) The doctrine of God's 
decrees is everywhere taught in the 
Scriptures, and it is a doctrine which 
exalts God to His proper control and 
government of the universe. (2) This 
is more than mere forehioxdedge — and 
even foreknowledge implies something 
already fixed, else it could not be fore- 
known. (3) In this first Apostolic 
preaching the doctrine of the Divine 
decrees is boldly proclaimed, and it 
ought not to be covered up or kept 
back. (4) It is here preached in order 
to produce conviction. It is calcrilatesl 



A.. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



« vc. 32. 

24 •Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains lo'AnlmTilf 
of deith: because it was not possible that he should be aSan-st^*' 

holdenofit. Kom.4:24,an4 

1 Cor. 6:11. 



to make the sinner tremble, when he 
finds himself in the hands of such a God 
— Omniscient — Sovereign — Almighty. 
(5) It is also calculated to encour.nge 
him th.at this throne is "the throne of 
grace." Hence, they who refrain from 
preaching this doctrine, for fear that 
the sinner may frame an excuse from 
it, reject this Scriptural example, and 
follow their own device. (G) The 
preaching of God's decrees, not as a 
mere theological point, but as a prac- 
tical matter, showing the greatness of 
the God against whom they had freely, 
and willfully, and awfully sinned, re- 
sulted in the conviction of these multi- 
tudes. It was the Scriptural truth which 
the Holy Spirit blessed to their con- 
version. (7) We see that God's decree- 
ing any act of men does not lix the act 
alone, but takes in all the circumstan- 
ces leading to the act, from the verj^ 
beginning. And part of the decree is, 
that the sinner shall act in pursuance 
of hia own choice — without compul- 
Bion. Hence, there can be no less sin- 
fulness in the deed, on account of the 
decree of God, since He decreed that 
it should be done freely and from 
choice. The actors in this awful crime 
were not conscious of being moved to 
do it contrary to their will. It was 
done by their own impulse. They knew 
this to be so, and hence they make 
no excuse on the ground of God's de- 
cree, though it was so boldly admitted 
and preached by Peter. The sinner is 
fully responsible for his sins, yet he 
cannot thwart the plans of God. And 
the thought of this offended Judge 
compassing his path and his lying down, 
and being acquainted with all his ways, 
might well make him tremble. Yet 
how encouraging to know that God's 
will "is good will to men" — and that 
while He "will be gracious to whom He 
will be gracious," yet He will be gra- 
cious to "whosoever will." 

21. The Apostle noAV urges the sec- 
Kud point — that God the Father had 



not only predetermined the death of 
Jesus, (of which they had been the 
guilty perpetrators,) but had also 
raised Him from the dead. The Re- 
surrection of Christ set the infallible 
seal of God upon His claims and His 
work. Hence it was the great fact 
of which the Apostles were to be wit- 
nesses, and which they were to preach. 
And here it is pressed as proving to 
the Jews that Jesus was commis- 
sioned by the Father, f Rained up. 
The word here used is the same 
which in the substantive form means 
" resurrection," and it is the raising up 
from the dead that is here referred to, 
as is also plain from the connection. 
He comes afterwards to use this fact in 
explanation of this miraculous out- 
pouring of the Spirit, verses 32-38. 
^ Having loosed. God raised Him up 
from the gi-ave, having loosed the cords, 
or bands of death, in which the Lord 
was held captive. The term here ren- 
dered pains, is translated sorrows in 
Matt. 24, 8, and travail in 1 Thess. 5: 
3. In the Old Testament it is used 
to translate the Hebrew word that 
means (1) cords, or bands — and (2) 
the pains of travail. It is found in Ps. 
18 : 5, in this same connection — '' the 
snares, bands, or pains of death." And 
the phrase here is based on this usage 
of the LXX. so that it would mean the 
nets or bands in which death held the 
Lord Jesus. See Ps. IIG: 3. IT Be- 
coTise. A reason is here given for this 
rtrlease, that it was impossible, according 
to the plan of God, as it was, indeed, 
also according to the essential life of 
Christ, who is the Resurrection and 
the Life, that he should be holden by it. 
It was also impossible, according to the 
Scriptures. The impossibility did not 
belong to the peculiar constitution o' 
Christ's body, nor did it pertain simply 
to the Divine nature of Christ, for in 
such case,it would have been equally im- 
possible for Him to die. But, "through 
death He destroyed him fbnt h."v] t.'^s 



70 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. SO, 



25 For David speaketh concerning him, *I foresaw the 
Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, 
that I should not be moved : 



power of death, that is, the devil." 
Heb. 2 : 14. " He hath the keys of 
death and of hell." Rev. 1 : 18. 

2-5. For. The Apostle proceeds hero 
to show the impossibility according to 
the Scriptures, that Christ should have 
remained under the power of death, 
lie here proves from tlie 16th Tsalm, 
that such special exemption from the 
power of the grave was promised to the 
Messiah as a high personal peculiarity. 
This very fact characterized His case, 
as he goes on to assert, appealing to 
His fellow Disciples as witnesses of 
these things. ^ Concerning Ilim — Li 
reference to Him. There is every rea- 
son to suppose that David has the Mes- 
siah in mind in this passage. True, 
the prophets often " searched what or 
what manner of time the Spirit of 
Christ, which was in them, did signify 
when it testified beforehand the suffer- 
ing of Christ and the glory that should 
follow." (1 Peter 1: 11.) The pas- 
sage stands here on record as it was to 
have its fulfillment in Christ. The 
Jewish Rabbis who acknowledged the 
reference of many of the Psalms to the 
Messiah, did not generally so under- 
stand this at that time. David here 
expresses his high confidence in God's 
peculiar promises respecting him — 
stretching as they did to perpetuity. 
The promise that he should never fail 
of a son to sit upon his throne he saw 
fulfilled in Christ, (vs. 30,) and here he 
spake of Him, yet as though he wore 
speaking of himself. He spake here 
as a prophet, (vs. 30,) setting forth his 
great successor, the son of David. All 
the terms of this prophecy were never 
fulfilled in David himself, for he saw 
corruption. Often when he spake of 
himself, the Spirit of Christ which was 
in him spake of Christ rather, as He 
in whom the prediction was most emi- 
nently to be fulfilled. Peter shows in 
Vss. 29-31, that this passage could not 
bave referred to David, but to Christ. 



And Paul, in ch. 13 : 36, takes the same 
ground, and declares it to have sole 
reference to the Messiah. There is 
] here, therefore, a direct prophecy of 
! what was so remarkably fulfilled it 
j Jesus, and it is one of the most stri- 
1 king predictions of Holy Writ, f / 
I foresail'. This is commonly rendered, 
"/ saw before me" — as being near at 
hand — a present God — looking unto 
Him, as my available helper. The He- 
brew reads, "I have placed Jehovah 
always before me." Here the Greek 
particle in the verb refers rather to 
time than to place. The latter is ex- 
pressed in the separate words ivuKiov 
' fiov. Inch. 21:29, the same verb is used, 
and not elsewhere in the New Testa 
ment, ''For they had seen before with 
him," &c. where also it refers to time, 
(beforehand.) The Psalmist here inti- 
mates that prophetic forecast by which, 
through the Divine Spirit, He brought 
Jehovah (Christ) before his face, and 
thus he expressly declares the prophetic 
nature of the remarkable passage.' It 
means, " I had vividly present to my 
mind" by prophetic foresight. \ Al- 
ways — continually, as an ever-present 
God. His faith fixed upon Christ " and 
He was the end of his conversation, the 
same yesterday, to-day and forever." 
(Heb. 13:8.) ^ For — Because. He now 
states what he saw in Him to engage his 
confidence. ^ On my right hand. Tlie 
right is the position of power and fa- 
vor. Ps. 73 : 23 ; Ps. 110 : 1 ; Ps. 121 : 
5. The right side is spoken of as the 
favorable side, (Luke 1:11.) He who 
stands on our right hand is understood 
to be our dependence and strength. 
^ That I should not be moved. This is 
the effect of such a trust, in the expe- 
rience of the Psalmist. It keeps him 
from being seriously disturbed either 
in his affairs or bis feelings. "Thou 
wilt keep him in perfect peace whose 
mind is stayed on thee, becavise he 
trusteth in thee." (Isa. 26 : 3.) Christ 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



71 



26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was gkd; 
moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope : 

27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thcu 
suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 



is oil our riglit liand for this purpose, 
and because he is there, this is the ef- 
l\':t upon our mind. The verb is used 
sixteen times in the New Testament, 
and in every other case is translated 
"shaken," except ch. 17: 13, where it 
ij rendered "stirred up." 

26. 'Therefore. David here expresses 
his triumphant confidence and joy in 
God, as he foresaw Christ in whom the 
promises to him should be fulfilled. 
The Hebrew reads, ''therefore my heart 
is glad." T[ My tongue. Hebrew, my 
glory — meaning the soul, which they 
thus spoke of as their proper glory. 
And the tongue, as giving expression to 
the soul, is here substituted, while the 
sense is the same. (See Ps. 30: 12.) 
^ Was glad — was exceeding glad. 
^ Moreover also. Literally, But fur- 
ther also. This is the climax. Heb. 
Yea, surely. ^ My flesh. INIy bod_y, as 
distinct from the soul, with which it is 
here associated. ^ Shall rest. This 
term is used elsewhere three times in 
the New Testament, and in each case 
of the birds lodging in the branches of 
a tree. It expresses a secure lodg- 
ment — for it has reference to their ta- 
king safe shelter there, and yet it car- 
ries in the very form of the word the 
idea of a temporary lodgment ; corres- 
ponding exactly to the Hebrew term, 
which is based on the word "tabernacle," 
and then means "to dwell safely." This 
describes precisely the Psalmist's idea, 
that his own flesh should rest in hope 
— because His greater self — His Di- 
vine antitype — the New Testament 
David, had this full security of a prompt 
Resurrection. But especially, (2) 
Christ's flesh should lodge in the grave 
temporarily, as a bird on the bough, 
yet securely as safe from corruption, 
because of this Divine pledge to which 
he refers. This language, in the lower 
measure, might be understood of him- 
self, yet it is so connected with the 
higher and fuller reference to Christ, 



to whom alone some of the terms can 
apply, and who alone can exhaust the 
meaning, that it shows us David speak- 
ing prophetically of Christ, whom he 
knew as having been promised to him 
as "the fruit of his loins to sit upon 
his throne." vss. 30-81. 

27. My soul. In the Hebrew this 
tei-m is commonly used for myself — 7/iy 
life, but in an emphatic sense. The 
meaning of this clause is, " Thou wilt 
not leave, or rather, give up, abandon 
me — myself, to hell." "ji In hell. Rather, 
to the dark abode of the dead. The He- 
brew term does not mean the grave. 
There is another word for that. This 
is a general term, and denotes the in- 
visible world of the dead, without refer- 
ence to the happiness or misery. The 
Hebrew term means the pit, as a gene- 
ral receptacle or place of the dead. 
The Greek term means originally a 
dark region, where disembodied spirits 
were believed to dwell. There is an- 
other term in both languages for 
"hell," as a place of fiery punishment, 
jt-Evpa, Gehenna, Matt. 5 : 22 ; Luke 
12 : 5. In the Revelation the phrase 
is "death and hell." Rev. 1: 18; 6: 
8; 20 : 13, 14. In Luke 16 : 2-3, 
where it is used of the rich man, the 
general term is defined, " In hell he 
lifted up his eyes, being intormer.ts." lu 
the world of spirits he was in torments. 
Here, however, it is to be understood 
in the general sense. " Thou wilt not 
leave me among the dead." This was 
the triumphant confidence expressed 
by the Psalmist, with special and pro- 
phetic application, however, to Christ, 
who was to come from his loins, and 
who was, therefore, at that time in 
his loins, as " Levi was in the loins 
of Abraham, when Melchizedek met 
him." Tl Not siifcr — allow, permit, 
give up. ^ Thine holy One — "oaiov aov> 
Some read this in the plural, (in the 
Hebrew,) as though it were " thy holy 
ones." But the Jews who denied ih« 



72 



THE ACTS OF THE ArOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



28 Thou Last made known to me the ways of life; thou sbalt 
make me full of joy with thy countenance. 

ti Or, imay. oQ ^j^jj^ „,jf^ brcthrcn, II let me freely speak unto you 
jj.ij^\'i*'-io- "of the patriarch Davi.!, that he is both dead and buried, 
and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 



reference to Christ, would have a mo- 
tive for so altering the text. Yet, if 
we read it in the plural, it only em- 
braces God's people with Christ as in- 
cluded in Him, and sharers of His 
Resurrection. The term means rather, 
*' Thi/ beloved one," or favorite, corres- 
ponding thus with the phrase "belov- 
ed Son," as applied to Christ in the 
New Testament. It is used, however, 
rather as the person.ally Holy One, as 
in Heb. 7: 26, "Who is holy, harm- 
less, undefiled and separate from sin- 
ners." E.ev. 15 : 4, "For thou only 
art holy." When the devils speak of 
Christ as " the Holy One of God," a dif- 
ferent term is used, meaning original- 
ly "separated to a sacred use" — conse- 
crated — set apart — expressing official 
holiness, while the term here used de- 
notes rather, personal holiness. David 
here loses himself in Christ. If To see 
corruption. That is, to experience pu- 
trefaction, rottenness, such as is natu- 
rally experienced in the grave. The 
confidence is, that God would not give 
Him up to the world of spirits — nor 
permit His Holy One (Jesus,) to re- 
main so long in the grave as to see or 
experience decay. Of course, it was a 
prompt and triumphant Resurrection 
that was predicted for David's greater 
Son ; and it was by this means that 
the promise was to be fulfilled to him 
of not failing of a son to sit on his 
throne, (vs. 30.) This clause could 
not possibly apply to David himself 
personally, (Job 19 : 26.) 

28. Thou hast made knoicn. Hebrew, 
Thou wilt make known. This refers to 
the Resurrection of Christ (vs. 30,) as 
future in the eye of the Psalmist, but 
as past in the eye of the Apostle. 
Uiider the same Spirit of Inspiration, 
this appropriate variation is made, to 
express the more advanced sense as 
now actually fulfilled. ^ The ivays of 
life. The way by a blessed and glori- 



ous Resurrection from the dead, to life 
in the highest sense. This is the sense 
in which Peter understood the Old 
Testament passage, and he spake un- 
der the guidance of the Spirit. And 
this was the way, also, for His people. 
"Christ is the Resurrection and the 
Life." The wf.y was shown, or made 
known to Christ by personal experi- 
ence, as no one before Him had trod- 
den that way by which He found out 
eternal redemption for us, Heb. 9:12. 
Tf Full of joy with thy countenance. In 
the Hebrew, "Fullness of joy before thi/ 
face — pleasures at thy right hand for 
evermore." This is the blessed hope 
of Ascension and a blessed life beyond 
the Resurrection. In the mouth of the 
Messiah this expresses His confidence 
in " the joy that was set before Him," 
the happy anticipation of which led 
Him to " endure the cross, despising 
the shame," (Heb. 12 : 2.) It was a 
fullness of joy from the Divine Pre- 
sence. He is "set down on the right 
hand of the throne of God." In a 
smaller measure and in Christ, every 
Christian may say, " I shall be satis- 
fied when I awake with thy likeness," 
Ps. 17 : 15. Chi'ist will welcome each 
to " enter into the joy of his Lord," 
Matt. 25: 21 ;■ Eph. 1: 20-22. 

20. The Apostle proceeds now to 
show the application of this prophetic 
passage to Christ, on the ground that 
it cannot apply to David personnlly, 
and can have its fulfillment exhausted 
only in Christ. ^ Men and brethren-^ 
Lit., 3Ien (who are) brethren, according 
to the flesh — brothers — Israelites. This 
application is introduced in a most 
conciliatory way. ^ Let me, &c. Ra- 
ther, It is lawful — I may properly speak. 
1 Freely. Rather, with boldness, with 
freedom — without any charge of disre- 
spect to David. Great and honored aa 
David confessedly was, yet he was ad- 
mitted to be dead and buried, and re- 



A. D. SO ] 



CHAP. II. 



3) Tlicrefore being a prophet, '"and knowing tliat God fj^ 



sit on liis throne; 



maining in his sepulclire -without hav- 
ing had a llesurrection. He calls him 
here, " the Patriarch David" out of 
highest i-espect. The title was com 
luoiily applied to the twelve patriarchs 
— •Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, &c., as 
founders and fathers of the nation, 
Ileb. 7:4; Ex. 7 : 8, 9. Peter gives 
this title to David as the most illustri- 
ous head of the nation, its most glori- 
ous king — the founder of the royal 
line. He was, also, the most exalted 
type of Christ, the lineal father of the 
man Christ Jesus, though he ca'le I 
Ilim Lord. ^ Dead and buried. The 
fact is recorded in the Old Testament. 
From 1 Kings 2 : 10, and Heb. 3 : 16, 
we learn that David was buried at Je- 
rusalem, in the city of David, on Mount 
Zion, the stronghold of Ziou, 2 Sam. 
5 : 7. The kings were commonly bu- 
ried there. The tomb of the kings is 
now shown outside the city. Jerome 
speaks of David's tomb on Mount Zion 
as having been visited in his time, in 
the 4th century. Josephus says that 
it was robbed of its treasures by Ilyr- 
tjanus, the high-pi-iest, who took out 
of it three thousand talents. Ilerod 
afterwards further despoiled it. But 
Peter appealed to their well-est.ablish- 
ed belief that David had not risen. 
Ilen^e the passage could apply not to 
David personally, but to Christ. The 
patriai-ch, who died over a thousand 
years before, had seen corruption. 
According to the Apostolic interpre- 
tation, a class of prophecies which 
might seem to refer to David are un- 
derstood as fulfilled in Christ. The 
building up of the Christian Church is 
the building up of the tabernacle of 
David, &c., ch. 15 : 15-17. 

30. Peter now shows how David 
could have spoken in this way, and 
how his language is to be understood. 
It is a prophetic reference to Christ. 
4'irst of all, David was a Prophet^u, 
foreteller of future events under Di- 



vine inspiration. Hence, he was at le 
to predict this of one who was to come 
so long after him. If he had not been 
a prophet, he could not have referred 
in this passiige to Christ. That he 
was inspired, Christ Himself declares. 
(Mark 12: 3t3.) See also 2 Sam. 7 : 
12; 23: 2. See ch. 1 : 1(5 ; 4 : 25, 
where the Holy Ghost is said to have 
spoken by the moutli of David. TT -4n^ 
knoii-ing. It had been made known to 
him by God in the promise. He was 
sure that God had sworn with an oath 
to him that he should never fail to 
have a son to sit upon his throne. See 2 
Sam. 7: 12-1(3, where he received this 
information from the prophet Nathan. 
See Ps. 182 : 11 ; 80 : 35-37. Besides 
this, he knew as a prophet that this 
was to be fulfilled in Christ, and he 
foresaw this very event of Christ's Re- 
surrection, vs. 31. In Ps. 89: 3-4, 
this covenant is distinctly recorded. 
He knew that it Avas to be of the fruit 
of his loins — that is, of his lineal de- 
scemlants according to the flesh. Solomon 
was his immediate son and successor ; 
and some passages wliicli refer directly 
to Solomon are applied in a further 
and fuller sense to Christ. (Heb. 1 : 
5.) Christ was descended from Da- 
vid according to the fl?sh, but accorj. 
ing to the Spirit he was of a higher 
nature, and was " declared to be the 
Sou of God with power by His llesur- 
rection from the dead." Kom. 1 : 3--J. 
IT Raiss up Christ. David plainly 
looked forward to the coming Messiah, 
as we sec from the more explicit Mes 
sianic Psalms — asPs. 2, 110, 22, 72, 45, 
16, 40. Some editions leave out these 
words as not found in some MSS. and 
found in others with so many variations 
as to malie it possibly a marginal note of 
explanation that has crept in the text. 
In such case it would read " that God 
had sworn with an oath to him from 
the fruit of his loins that there should 
sit upon his throne.'' In the oex' 



7i 



THE ACTS OF THE ArOSTLES. 



[A. D 30 



31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of 
Clirist, ^that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flcsb 
dii see corruption. 

32 ^ This Jesus hath God raised up, "whereof we all 
are -witnesses. 



verse it is'plainly declared tbat David 
foresaw Christ as promised here, and 
thus spake in this prophetic Psalm of 
His Resurrection. The Jews in the 
time of our Lord so understood the Old 
Testament predictions, and looked for 
the MessLih to come from the family 
of David. The children had been so 
instructed that they sang hosannas to 
Him as "the son of David." (Mark 
11:9.) See Matt. 12:23; 21:9; 22: 
42-46 ; Mark 11 : 10 ; John 7 : 42. It 
was seen that these promises to David 
could not be exhausted in the case of 
Solomon, or of any line of successors. 
And David's kingdom that was to have 
no end could not be that kingdom 
which was divided under Rehoboam, 
and which fell less than 400 years after- 
wards. It came to be understood as the 
Kingdom of the Messiah which D iniel 
predicted, which was to be forever. 
He knew that in that promise Christ 
was meant, the Messiah of the Old Tes- 
tament, who was to be raised up espe- 
cially to occupy the throne of the cov- 
enant people. He was to be "raised up" 
miraculously from the dead for that pur- 
pose. Ps.132: ll;89:35-37. As the 
Now Testament Israel are the true peo- 
ple of God, (Rom. 1 : 28 ; 9 : 6, ) and as 
the Christian Church is the tabernacle 
of David, (ch. 15 : 15, 17,) so Christ is 
the successor of David upon his throne. 
The Apostles and Christ Himself show 
plainly that this is the interpretation 
of these Old Testament terms in their 
New Testament sense, as the Old Tes- 
tament constantly pointed forward to 
the New as its substantial explanation 
and fulfillment. 

31. Seeing this before. Rather — 
foreseeing this. It is here distinctly 
declared not only what David spake, 
to stand on record for future ages, but 
what he saw beforehand. Unless Da- 
vid had some positive foresight of the 
Messiali, as referred to in this remark- 



able promise, why should it be here so 
expressly mentioned that he saiv this 
before? There is here a repetition of 
what had just been said in the terms, 
"being a prophet and knowing." He 
knew by the spirit of prophecy, by 
which he spake, as the prophets did 
not always know. It is not necessary 
to suppose that David had a clear fore- 
sight of all the particulars of Christ's 
Resurrection, but as he was searching 
what or what manner of time the Spi- 
rit of Christ which was in him did sig- 
nify, when it testified beforehand the 
sufferings of Christ, and the glory that 
should follow, the event itself seems 
to have been disclosed to him through 
these remarkable words, f That Ilia 
soul. The soul of Christ — the Messiah 
— and not that of David. 

32. What David thus foresaw had 
indeed come to pass. This Jesus (who 
is thus proved to be the Messiah of the 
Old Testament,) hath God raised i/p ac« 
cording to the promise, and according 
to David's substantial foresight oi the 
case. AVhat was prophecy liad now 
become history. Jesus of Nazareth 
was of tlie lineage of David, and was 
born in the city of David, according to 
the predictions respecting the jNIessiah. 
And now at length He had been raised 
up, (from the dead,) so as to sit forever 
on tlie throne of David — so as to oc- 
cupy the throne of the true covenant 
jieople, as " David their king," Hos. 3 : 
5 ; Ezok. 37 : 24. "^ Whereof ov. Of 
whom — '-r, of n-hich fact. It may mean, 
" u-ht-'ir irii.-irs.srs ire all are," namely, as 
bo n;; til • I'.is 'n Ijovd — for He was seen 
by n^.'irp t-;i:i five hundred brethren at 
om-i'. (1 C(ir. io: (j, ) including, most 
■■•nlrl.ly, this liiniured and twenty. 
This rend rirg £i!'o.^tantially involves 
the othtT— '•':/' which fad" — namely, 
that God had raised up this Jesus from 
the dead, and thus had put His seal 
upon His finished ^ork. T[ We all. 



A. D. 30. J CHAP. II. 76 

S3 Therefore "being by the right hand of God exalted, i'fifk 
and "having received of the Father the promise of the ^,f^']?.^^^ -^1,3 
Holy Ghost, he "^hath shed forth this, which ye now see ch!!'-'!; 

nnrl boar dch. io:45. 

auu iJL,ai. Eph. 4:8. 



Referring first to the Apostles, who 
were appointed for this very purpose 
of bearing public testimony to the 
vital fact of Christ's Resurrection, and 
then to the company of Disciples Avho 
had also seen the Lord. Observe. — 
(1) This testimony was to a plain mat- 
ter of fact, as to which they could not 
have been deceived. Christianity is 
amply attested as historically true — 
even in its miraculous features. The 
Resurrection of Christ was a great 
miracle, and this fact was witnessed 
to, so as to be beyond doubt. (2) So 
many saw and conversed with Christ, 
after His Resurrection — saw Him eat, 
and heard Him speak — that the evi- 
dence was most conclusive. 

33. Therefore. Peter comes now to 
show that the miraculous events of 
Pentecost were from the Risen Lord, 
and a proper fruit of His Ascension. 
From the well attested fact of Christ's 
Resurrection, the Apostle points to 
His Ascension as a necessary conse- 
quence — showing that — as the Risen 
Lord, who was raised from the dead in 
order to he exalted to Heaven — He 
there, at the right hand on high, had 
received the very gifts which He dis- 
pensed to men, and that this would 
fully account for all the wonders at 
Pentecost. ^ By the right hand. The 
dative here may express either the 
cause or the locality. In vs. 34, the 
locality is referred to in the prophecy 
as though it were meant here. IBut it 
is also an important idea, included in 
this, and elsewhere expressed, that 
this was done by the God of the Jews, 
whom they acknowledged and wor- 
shiped, and that, therefore, they were 
bound to own Jesus as their Messiah. 
^ Exalted. Christ's exaltation con- 
Bisteth in His Resurrection nnd Ascen- 
sion, as the very opposite of His hu- 
miliation. "Him hath God exalted, 
"with His right hand, to be a Prince 
And a Saviour, to give repentance to 



Israel, and remission of sins," (ch. 5 : 
31.) ^ Having received. So the Psalm- 
ist prophetically sings, "Thou has* 
ascended on high — thou hast led cap- 
tivity captive, and received gifts for 
men," Ps. 68: 18. The Holy Spirit 
was promised to Him " without meas- 
ure," as the fruit of His finished work, 
and as the result of His glorification, 
(John 3: 34.) "If I depart," said 
He, "I will send Him unto you." 
" Whom I will send unto you from the 
Father." "Whom the Father will 
send unto you in my name," (John 
14: 26; IG: 26.) This promise was 
called by Christ, "the promise of the 
Father," (ch. 1:4.) ^ The promise of 
the Holy Ghost — means the promised 
gift of the Holy Spirit to be sent down 
upon the Church. "It was not yet, 
(while Christ was on earth,) because 
He was not yet glorified," (John 7: 
89.) Its bestowment was dependent 
upon His exaltation to the right hand 
on high. He received it accordingly 
when He ascended, and so also He 
shed it down. T Shed forth. Pound 
out, (according to the promise, vs. 17.) 
This was only His dispensing of what 
He had received, according to the 
promise of the Father. He had pur- 
chased this Divine gift for men, Ps. 
G8 : 18. In vs. 17, it is called " 3h, 
Spirit." Here, "this" refers to that 
gift. And its outpouring thus, as they 
had seen and heard, was only what 
was to have been expected, and what 
had been fully provided for. In vs. 
17, it is God who pours it out. Here 
it is Christ — who is God therefore. 
f Which ye. " Ye" is here emphatic. 
Their witness also he would thus chal- 
lenge to the facts. ^ See. This may 
imply that there was something of the 
miraculous appearance visible to the 
multitude — as the tongues of flame 
But it is objected, that in such case 
they could not have attributed the ef- 
fects to drunkenness, as in vs 18. The 



TB 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



A. D. 80. 



«rs. 110:1. 
Matt 22:44. 
1 Coi . 15 : 25 
Eph. 1:20. 
Heb. 1 : 13. 



34 For David is not ascended into the heavens : hut ha 
saith himself, * The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on 
my right hand, 

35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, 



outward effects upon the Disciples 
were visible, at least; and we rather 
infer that as the tongues were to be a 
sign to the unbelieving, the visible 
eymbols would be for them also. And 
nothing is too unreasonable for unbe- 
lieving men to assert, even in the face 
of miracles, as in vs. 13. ^ Hear. 
The hearing would refer, of course, to 
the languages spoken, vs. 8. All 
these miraculous manifestations, says 
Peter, have been sent down by Christ 
Jesus — the Risen Lord. 

34. Peter now presses upon them the 
conclusion, that this outpouring is to be 
referred to the Resurrection and Ex- 
altation of Christ, which David's pre- 
diction in Pa. 110: 1 distinctly contem- 
plated, and the language could not be 
applied to David himself, f For. He 
goes on to show that Christ is exalted, 
(vs. 33,) FOR David is not thus exalted, 
and Christ alone could be referred to 
by David in the Psalm. David had, 
indeed, gone to Heaven, but had not 
ascended, as Christ ascended in his body, 
nor for this purpose, to be enthroned 
for the conquest of his enemies, vs. 35. 
Yet, though this passage has not been 
fulfilled in the case of David, the 
Psalmist gives the explanation himself, 
that it has another and higher fulfill- 
ment. ^ But he saith himself. This is 
what David expressly says, in the 
Psalm 110: 1. He speaks of Jehovah 
as saying u7ito his (David's) Lori, which 
was the Messiah, "Sit thou," &c. Ob- 
serve. — Jesus had used this very pas- 
sage to confound His enemies, "David 
therefore himself (He said,) calleth 
Him Lord, and whence is He then his 
Son?" Mark 13 : 3G-37. Besides thi?, 
Jesus says that David so spake "by the 
Holy Ghost," which is the same as to 
say that David was Divinely inspired 
and spake under the influence of inspi- 
ration. Peter shows that David, by 
this language, called the Messiah his 



Lord, and that this was the very same 
Person whom Jehovah exalted to His 
right hand, vs. 33— that David there- 
fore looked forward to the glorious ex- 
altation of this Person — his Lord, who 
was also his Son — and that this is ful- 
filled only in Christ Jesus. Therefore, 
it is clear from his own words, that Da- 
vid acknowledged the same Person who 
was his descendant according to the 
flesh, as being his Lord and superior — 
the Son of God. Rom. 1 : 3-4. The 
use which our Saviour made of this 
prophetic language of David to silence 
His persecutors, shows that the pas- 
sage was commonly applied by tliein 
to the Messiah. Observk. — Jesus, 
alone, is He who is both David's Lord 
and Son. If Mi/ right hand. To sit on 
the right hand of a king, meant to 
share in his dominion. Sec Heb. 1 ; 8 ; 
10: 12 ; 1 Peter 3 : 22 ; Rom. 8 : 34 ; 
Mark 16: 19; Phil. 2: 6-11 ; Eph. 1 : 
20-23. This dominion, lioweviT, is not 
that original partnership in the tliroue 
which the Son of God has, as the Sec- 
ond Person of the Trinity. It i.s a .st;i- 
tion to which He is "■exalted'' as Me- 
diator, in pursuance and reward of His 
Mediatorial ofiice-work. (I'hil. 2: 6- 
11 ; Heb. 12 : 2.) This right hand se:it 
of dominion He fills as the Incarnate 
Lord — the God-man — as exalted far 
above all angelic principality and power 
— and made Head over all things to the 
Church. This fact makes the argu- 
ment of Peter most appropriate. lie 
shows now that this exakation of Je- 
sus after His Resurrection is tliat which 
was predicted and had been fulfilled. 

36. Therefore. Peter now presses 
upon his Jewish hearers the fair infer- 
ence from all that had been seen and 
heard by them, and testified and proved 
from the Scriptures — that is, thnt they 
were bound to recognize the fulfillment 
of their own prophecies in this very Je- 
sus as tlie only Person to -whoia they 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II 



that God 'batli made that same Jesus, whom ye have -^"^ *•"• 
crucified, both Lord and Christ. 
37 ^ Now when they heard this, 



could apply. This is the point which 
Peter lays down as proven, and which 
he urges them to understand and ad- 
mit, that God, the Father, whom they, 
the house, or family, or people of Israel, 
worshiped, had exalted this same Pn- 
son Jesus, whom they had wickedly 
crucified, to be both Lord — that is. 
Sovereign and Partner of the tlirone — 
and Christ the Messiah. ^ All the house 
of Israel. All the household, or peo- 
ple from this covenant family of Israel. 
He appeals to these, for the people 
(assembly) were "Jews and prose- 
lytes," and the proofs which Peter had 
brought forward were such as tb.ey 
ought to admit. *^ Know assuredly. Let 
them certainly know, as admitting of no 
mistake. "^ God. The Father, spoken 
of in vss. 32, 33, whom the Jews ac- 
knowledged and professed to worship^ 
the God of Israel. Thus Peter met 
them on the ground of their own Scrip- 
tiu-es, and showed that by their own 
religion, it was necessary for them 
ti> admit all the claims of Christ, and 
to admit these events of the Pentecost 
as the doings of the Risen, Exalted 
Lord. "T Hath made, &c. Hath consti- 
tuted — hath appointed or made Jesus to 
be. The exalted office and station 
which Jesus held came from the au- 
thority and appointment of the God of 
the Jews — and thus they were bound 
ii recognize Him. ^ That same Jesus. 
The words here are the same as in vs. 
32, "This (very) Jesus." Peter means 
to press this point, that this very same 
Person known as Jesus of Nazareth, 
whom they, the house of Israel, the 
people of God, had lately crucified, is 
He whom the Father had exalted to 
greatest authority and dignitj', as the 
glorious ^Messiah predicted in their 
Scriptures, • ^ Have crucified. Thus he 
charges them with the awful impiety 
of cru ^ifying Jesus, while he shows Plis 
exalted character as their long promised 
ICing and Messiah, f Both Lord. The 
Jewish people had long expected the 
Messiah to come as their Sovereign, 



filling the throne of David — a great 
King of kings. Peter points them to 
the fact that all these predictions were 
accomplished in this very Person, and 
that this outpouring of the Spirit is the 
evidence of His having been exalted to 
the right hand of power. This fact 
was calculated to alarm them — for if 
tliey had, indeed, treated so cruelly 
this exalted Personage, who had been 
raised by the Father to such a throne 
of power, wliat should become of them? 
Observe. — The Lord Jesus occupies 
a throne. Thi? may well alarm those 
who trample upon His claims and 
crucify Him afresh. But it is " the 
throne of grace,^' •,xn<\ this may yet en- 
courage the vilest sinners to accept 
His offered salvation. ^ And Christ. 
Tliat is, Messiah — the glorious, anointed 
One whom their nation had all along 
expected, and in whom they had set 
their highest hopes. If now they had 
treated Him so cruelly, and had even 
crucified Him, they had not only slain 
iheir own Lord — the hope of Israel — 
but had made this exalted, glorious 
Sovereign their enemy and their indi- 
vidual destruction miglit be expected. 
Observe. — Peter, in all this discourse 
set forth the great, simple facts about 
this well known Person, and brought 
them home to his hearers as to their 
part in the matter. And they were 
led to inquire for salvation and to be- 
lieve in this same crucified Jesus. 
What a proof that the Omnipotent 
Spirit wrought in their hearts to pro- 
duce such results, making them give 
up their deep-seated and bitter pi-eju- 
dice and unbelief upon the testimony 
of this Galilean preacher. 

37. Heard. It was the hearing of 
these undeniable facts which moved 
them, through the power of the Holy 
Ghost, Ptom. 10: 17. IT Were pricked. 
The peculiar term here used, and only 
here, corresponds to our English term 
compunction, and means to prick or 
pierce with any sharp pointed instru- 
ment, the effect of which is sharp aad 



78 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 



3h.i:8.a-diG: ^j^gjj. i^gart, aud Said unto Peter and to tLc rest of the 
apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do ? 

l^^'i^'-"- 38 Then Peter said unto them, " Eepent, and be bapt izod 
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ fur the 

remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghoit. 



sudden pain. This was tlic feeling 
produced upon their hearts. They 
had a painful sense of their sin and 
danger. " This," says Calvin, " is the 
beginning of repentance." "Repent- 
ance unto life" commonly begins with 
a true sense of one's sins. It is plain 
that they had a deep and painful con- 
viction of their danger .also, as they 
cried out for a way of being saved. 

(1) They saw the dreadful part which 
they had had, each for himself, in the 
death of Christ. (2) They saw that 
this person whom they had crucified 
was the adorable ]\Iessiah. (3) They 
saw that the last times were at hand. 
(4) They saw that they had incurred 
the just displeasure of God Almighty, 
and had put to death the Prince of 
Life, their only deliverer. This was 
calculated to send distress to their 
hearts. But they saw, also, that the 
promises were fulfilled, and that the 
Messiah had come. If Mm end breth- 
ren. Men, icho nre brethren — no longer 
despised as Galileans, (ch. 1 : 7)— no 
longer charged with being drunk with 
wine, (vs. 13.) What a sudden and 
entire change was this in their feelings 
toward these Disciples. Observe. — 
True conviction tf sin works such a 
change toward ministers and members 
of the Church. Those who lately re- 
viled them are not ashamed to entreat 
them for counsel and instruction. 
Tf What shall we do ? This is the inquiry 
of men who were filled with anxiety 
and alarm, not knowing which way to 
turn, or what must be done. True 
conviction of sin leads to anxious in- 
quiry for the right oourse to be pur- 
sued in such extremity. It implies (1) 
a sense of ignorance and dependence. 

(2) An earnest, anxious desire to know 
the right way. (3) A willingness to 
do whatever is necessary in the case. 
So Saul cried out, "Lord, what wilt 
ibou have me *.o do I" ch. S : 6, And 



the "jailor at Philippi," ch. IC: f.O, 
30, " Sirs, what must I do to be saved '.'" 
(4) It implied, also, a readiness to ac- 
knowledge now this Jesus as " raised 
up," "exalted," and empowered to dis- 
pense the Holy Ghost, vss. 82, 33. 

38. Eepent. The term indicates a 
change of mind, with a view to a chango 
of conduct. There is a repentance 
like that of Judas, which is a sorrow 
of the world, and worketh death, (Rom. 
7 : 10.) These inquirers had already 
experienced a great change of mind — ■ 
in regard to their sin, and in regard to 
their Messiah. " Repentance unto life 
is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, 
out of a true sense of his sin and ap- 
prehension of the mercy of God in 
Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of 
his sin, turn from it unto God, with 
full purpose of and endeavor after 
new obedience." John the Baptist 
preached, "Repent, for the kingdom 
of heaven is at hand." Jesus preached 
the same, meaning that the promised 
kingdom of the Jlessiah was ready to 
be introduced. And now Peter preach- 
es. Repent, for the kingdom had truly 
come. Jesus had been constituted 
Lord. He was enthroned as the Risen 
Lord and Messiah. Therefore, they 
were also to be baptized into His name, 
publicly expressing thus their faith in 
the kingdom as having come, and their 
trust in Jesus for remission of sins, 
and the gift of the Holy Ghost, includ- 
ing all the blessings of the great sal- 
vation. The Papists have perverted 
this language, by rendering it "Do 
penance," confining it chietly to out- 
ward ceremonies. This is just the 
opposite to that change of mind which 
is denoted by the word, and which is 
the source of all change in the con- 
duct. Observe. — There is no genu- 
ine repentance that does not include 
an apprehension (a perception and em- 
brace) of the .salvation by Christ. It 



A. D. 30 ] 



ciiAr. II. 



79 



NS thus a turning from sin to God, and 
from false refuges to Christ, the only 
refuge. The great Gospel encourage- 
ment to repent is found in the news 
of forgiveness, through the mediation 
of Christ. This idea is, therefore, in- 
cluded in this direction of Peter. We 
feel most deeply the heinousness of 
our sin, when we see the love of God 
in Christ Jesus our Lord. ^ Eoery 
one of you. They could not rely upon 
any national covenant any longer. Re- 
pentance and faith are individual, per- 
sonal exercises. \ In the name. Upon 
the name. Baptism " into" the name 
of one signifies the open confession of 
one's claims, and the public embrace 
and espousal of one's cause by this 
badge of discipleship, ch. 8: IG; 19: 
5. Baptism is here spoken of as upon 
the name, that is, upon the basis of it 
as the foundation of confidence and 
hope for forgiveness and salvation. 
" The name" of Christ is His titles, at- 
tributes, ordinances, words and works 
— that by which He makes Himself 
known. Here the name of Jesus Christ 
is that upon which, as a platform, they 
were to be baptized. It was a plat- 
form of doctrine and of hope. It was 
not the baptism as a mere form. The 
name of Jesus Christ was everything in 
the matter. The emphasis is upon 
this. Calvin says, " Although baptism 
hi no vain figure, but a true and ef- 
fectual testimony — notwithstanding, 
lest any man attribute that unto the 
element of water which is there offered, 
the name of Christ is plainly expressed, 
so that we may know that it shall be a 
profitable sign for us then, if we seek 
the force and efi"ect thereof in Christ. 
Wherefore eveiy one profiteth in bap- 
tism, just so far as hs learneth to look 
unto Christ." Observe. — (1) There 
is no reference here to the precise for- 
mula of baptism, but only to the great 
essential of the ordinance, as implying 
a public profession of Chi'ist. See 
Matt. 28 : 19. Observe.— (2) Here is 
the first notice of Christian Baptism. 
John the Baptist and the Disciples of 
our Lord had baptized as introductory 
to the Christian dispensation of tJie 
Spirit, Luke 3: 3. But "repentance 



and remission of sins were thencefor- 
ward to be preached in the name of 
Jesus Christ," (Luke 24: 47.) Chrisi 
had now been "exalted as a Prince 
(Lord) and a Saviour, to give repent- 
ance to Isrs,el and remission of sins," 
(ch. 5:31.) Observe. — (3) The name 
"Jesus" means Saviour. "He shall 
save His people from their sins," (Matt. 
1: 21.) The name '^Christ" meana 
Messiah — Anointed — and together 
these names comprise the claims which 
they were to acknowledge. So, also, 
every inquiring sinner must be directed 
to make this open and hearty profes- 
sion of Christ. Observe. — (4) The 
Jews were here directed to be bap- 
tized, as something which they were 
familiar with. They certainly knew 
the meaning of the ordinance ; and, 
therefore, no explanation is given. 
(5) At first, of course adults were ad- 
dressed. And only after there came 
to be Christian households were there 
those who, having been baptized in in- 
fancy', would not need adult baptism. 
Even those who had been circumcised 
would be required to take this New 
Testament seal also. We are not in- 
formed whether the Apostles were bap- 
tized or not — because they so specially 
had what was signiSed by baptism — 
" the gift of the Holy Ghost." ^ For 
the remission. Literally, Unto — to this 
end. It was not the ordinance of bap- 
tism which gave remission of sins, but 
" the name of Jesus Christ," as turned 
to and embraced for this end — His fin- 
ished work, as Jesus, Saviour, and as 
Messiah, the Incarnate and Risen Lord. 
There could be no hope of forgiveness 
proclaimed to the sinner but of free 
forgiveness in His name — for His mer- 
its. It is this good news — the Gospel 
— to which we are to turn, and which 
we are gladly to receive. And bap- 
tism is that ordinance — one of the two 
sacraments of Christ's house, whereby 
this promise of forgiveness and salva- 
tion is sealed, confirmed to us, and by 
receiving which we publicly profess 
Christ as our only hope of forgiveness. 
See ch. 3 : 19 ; 22 : 16. ^ Ye shall re- 
ceive. Peter could not have meant that 
they could repent and embrace Christ 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



39 For the promise is unto you and Ho your children, 



< Joel 2: 28. 
th. 3:25. 

finsKdu'! and " to all that are afar off, evm as many as the Lord our 



without having the Holy Spirit, for He 
ftlone could work in thorn a genuine 
repentance fuul faith. But He prom- 
ises them this Divhie gift, which they 
had seen was shed dow.T from heaven, 
by Christ, according to the ancient 
prophecy, as the great blessing of the 
latter days. This may have been un- 
derstood as more or less including ex- 
traordinary miraculous gifts of the 
Spirit, as of tongues, &c. But not 
these alone. All the gracious gifts of 
the Spirit were promised as the fruit 
of their repentance and embrace of 
Christ, John 16: 8-10; Gal. 5: 22-24. 
He would direct them to Christ for all 
needed grace and blessing, as exalted 
to give repentance, &c., (ch. 5: 31,) 
and faith is the gift of God, Eph. 2: 8. 
39. I'or the promise. He urges now 
a strong consideration, drawn from the 
HOUSEHOLD FE.\TURE of the Covenant. 
That which the Aposlle here speaks 
of as " the promise," is the promise 
of the Spirit as the great blessing of 
the latter days. It was what Christ 
had termed '■'■ the promise of the Father," 
for which He directed them to wait, 
and to receive from Himself as the 
Risen Lord. He explained it at the 
time, as the baptism of the Holy Ghost, 
tvhich they were to receive not many days 
thence. This promise Joel had distinct- 
ly expressed in his prophecy. Its form 
was in keeping with God's ancient dis- 
pensation, including with the believing 
parent the infant offspring also. This 
had been the tenor of the covenant pro- 
mise to Abraham, " I will be a God to 
thee and to thy seed after thee." And 
the Jews, who had so mvich valued this 
household feature of the Abrahamic 
covenant, were now assured that the 
same feature should be extended to the 
New Dispensation of the same covenant 
of grace. " For the promise is unto you 
and to your children." So Paul assured 
them. " And if ye be Christ's, then 
are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs ac- 
cording to THE PROMISE ' So Galat. 
I f 14, Paul explains "the blessing of 



Abraham" to be " the promise of the 
Spirit" — to be received through faith. 
The Apostles call it the promise, because 
it is the same covenant of grace under 
both economies. The promise of the Spi- 
rit was " the promise of the Father" — 
the great promise of the Old Testament. 
It was that which was signified by bap- 
tism, and the outpouring of which He 
called a baptizinywith the Holy Ghost. 
Hence, as circumcision was a hou.se- 
hold ordinance, and the covenant with 
Abraham was a household covenant, 
so baptism is a household ordinance, 
taking the place of circumcision as only 
different seals of the same covenant 
of grace under different dispensations. 
" Peter te,acheth that all the children 
of the Jews are contained in the same 
covenant, because His promise Is al- 
ways in force, "I will be the God of 
your seed." — Calvin. Yet not that they 
were therefore saved, of course, nor 
that their actual salvation was to be 
presumed from their covenant birth, 
but that they were thus brought nigh 
to s.alvation, and obligated to it. Joel 
had recognized this feature of the pro- 
mise, when he said, "Your sons and 
your daughters shall prophesy." So had 
Isaiah, ch. 4-1 : 3. And these prophets 
and others were recording " the pro- 
mise of the Father," with reference to 
these latter days. Observe here — In 
the first Apostolic preaching, where 
these Jews are first instructed in the 
principles of the New Dispensation, 
after Christ's departure, this household 
feature with which they had formerly 
been familiar, was brought forward 
and insisted on by the Apostle, and 
here announced as part of the good 
news, and a reason why these parents 
should repent heartily and embrace 
Christianity — "For the promise," &c. 
Parents may well repent for their chil- 
dren's sake. ^ And to all, &c. By those 
"who are afar off," Peter doubtless 
meant the Gentiles, who are spoken 
of in these terms, Eph. 2:11, &e. 
The call and conversion of the Gentiles 



A.. D. 80 ] 



CHAP II. 



40 And with many ether words did he testify and exhort^ saying, 
Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 



was distinctly predicted by most of the 
Old Testament prophets, as to take 
place in these latter days. The Apos- 
tles could not have doubted this. They 
were only, as yet, somewhat in the 
dark as to how they were to be brought 
in, rather supposing that they were to 
come in by first embracing Judaism 
as proselytes. "All thai are afar off" 
were included in the promise. " I will 
pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." 
This could not mean all people with- 
out exception, but all without dis- 
tinction of nation — and so the wall 
of partition should be broken down, 
and there should be neither Jew 
nor Greek, circumcision nor uncircum- 
cision. So it came to pass, ch. 12 : 18. 
^ Eoen as many. As to how many and 
to whom this gift should be imparted, 
it must belong to the sovereign pleas- 
ure of God to show hy the results. He 
could only say it would be granted to 
as many as the Lord our God shall call. 
He hath broken down the middle or 
dividing wall of partition between 
Jews and Gentiles, and hath come ajid 
preached peace unto those which were 
far off and to those which were nigh, 
(Eph. 2 : 17,) and the covenant pro- 
mise is not any longer restricted to a 
certain nation, but it is extended to as 
many of all nations as He shall effec- 
tually CALL. If The Lord our God. 
This is a recognition of His covenant 
relation to His people. He who, to 
the Jews, was " the Lord our God," 
would nevertheless bring in the Gen- 
tiles. The Great Shepherd would 
bring in His sheep of other folds, 
John 10 : IG. t Shall call. The term 
means, shall call unto — " bring nigh." 
OiisERVE. — (1) The repentance, even 
in these miraculous times, was in view 
of the truth presented. It was in view 
of personal sin, and of Christ as the 
true Messiah. (2) It is not mere distress 
of mind that is true repentance. This 
cannot save, nor tend to save, except 
as it may lead to Christ, who alone 
can save, (3) The invisible Church con- 



sists of those only whom God calls out 
from the world. The visible Church 
is the body or society having the ordi- 
nances. The true invisible Church ig 
included commonly in the visible body. 
40. It is here stated that Luke has 
given us only a sketch, or summary, 
of Peter's discourse and appeals. He 
testified (bore witness as to facts,) and 
exhorted, (with appeals,) saying this 
and such like things as these, "f Sav* 
yourselves. Rather, be saved. This is 
the true meaning of the term as here 
found. A reference is made to the 
fearful times coming — of which he had 
said that "whosoever shall call upon 
the name of the Lord shall be saved," 
vss. 19-21. Now he exhorts "be saved," 
that is, by such earnest calling upon 
God, and by that repentance and pub- 
lic profession of Christ in baptism, 
which he just now enjoined, vs. 38. Be 
saved, he says, as if, like the angels at 
Sodom taking Lot by the hand, he 
would draw them out of such wicked 
associations. It is the great privilege 
and duty of every man to be saved. 
^ Untoward generation. The sam» 
terms are rendered "crooked nation," 
in Phil. 2:15, where they are accom- 
panied by a term meaning perverse. 
The Greek word yei'ed is commonly 
rendered "generation," as here. It 
refers to the Jewish people at that time. 
They were the bitter enemies and the 
base murderers of our Lord. He had 
all along described them as " an evil 
and adulterous generation," (Matt. 12: 
39,) a "generation of vipers," (Matt. 
3; 7,) &c. From the great body of 
the people who rejected, reviled, and 
slew the Messiah, they were exhorted 
to seek deliverance, to be separated 
from them by casting in their lot with 
the friends of this Nazarene whom they 
had crucified. And as the Jewish 
Church was a body called out from the 
world, so the Christian Church was to 
be a body (jailed out from the Jewirt 
Church and nation. 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. SO 



41 ^ Then they that gladly received his word were baptized : and 
the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 



Part II. Spread of Christian- 
ity among the Jeios. Chs. 2-8. 
A. D. 30-36. " Wit7iesses in 
Jerusalem." 

\ 5. The Fiest Growth of the Chris- 
tian Church — Accession of 3000 
Members by Christian Baptism — The 
Christian Life. Ch. 2 : 41-47. 

41. Then they. Rather — Theythere- 
f>re having gladly received the word. 
See vs. 37. It was not so much the 
compunction and distress, as it was the 
glad reception of the Gospel message, 
to which it led, that was the vital mat- 
ter. This, therefore, is here recorded 
as the happy result of what is stated in 
vs. 37. The term rendered ''gladly" de- 
notes the sweet comfort and peace with 
which these wounded hearts received 
the Gospel message as proclaimed by 
Peter. He preached to them Christ, as 
exalted to give the Holy Ghost; forgive- 
ness of sins in His name, and salvation 
offered through Him; and they willingly 
and cheerfully embraced the message as 
for themselves. Calvin says, " Peter 
here declares the nature and force of 
faith that with a prompt and ready mind 
they embraced his word." "There- 
fore faith must begin with this readi- 
ness and willing desire to obey." This 
showed their repentance to be luito life 
— that they turned from their sin unto 
God with full purpose of and endeavor 
after new obedience. Observe. — (1) 
The Gospel is good news — glad tidings. 
To whomsoever it is glad tidings and 
good news, to him it is the Gospel. It 
has come to make troubled consciences 
peaceful, and wounded hearts wliole, 
and anxious distressed spirits glad. 
Sinner! does this doctrine of Christ 
crucified and risen to give repentance 
and forgiveness, make you glad ? Then 
it is yours. (2) The great command 
of the Gospel is, be saved. Avail your- 
selves of this great salvation and re- 
joice in it. Pveceive the benefits of 
Christ's finished work, and have justi- 



fication and peace with God. 1 Were 
baptized. The Apostle had exhorted 
them to "Repent and be baptized in 
the name of Jesus Christ for the remis- 
sion of sins" — and now they applied 
for Christian baptism with this view. 
It implied the confession of Christ and 
of forgiveness of sins, as in His name, 
and it supposed repentance. They 
made at least a credible profession of 
this, and from the statements which 
Luke adds in vs. 42, we infer that these 
multitudes were genuine converts. By 
their baptism they publicly professed 
Christ before men. The doctrines 
were the great cardinal truths of Chris- 
tianity which they received in the sim- 
plicity of their faith. They matured 
afterwards in knowledge. Observe — 

(1) Here is a most important record 
of the riRST Christian Baptism. It 
was not enough to receive the truth 
gladly — they must confess Chrst open- 
ly. (2) It was not so much a pro- 
fession of themselves, (as having cer- 
tainly every right exercise,) as it 
was a profession of Christ as the only 
name for remission of sins. Some 
will not venture to profess Christ un- 
til they can rather profess themselves. 
They wait for worthiness to come to the 
Lord's table, not considering that it is 
unworthiness which they are to pro- 
fess, along with Christ's worthiness — 
their sins, along with His name for 
remission of sins. ^ The same day. 
Peter began his preaching at 9 o'clock 
in the morning. How long he continued 
is not recorded. But it is plain that 
the three thousand were added to the 
body of professed believers by baptism, 
that same day. This baptizing, wo 
think, could not have been by immer- 
sion, (1) Because there would not have 
been time during the remainder of the 
day after preaching, to note the con- 
version of so many and go through the 
tedious process of immersing them all. 

(2) Because there were no adequate 
facilities for this in the city. Besides 
the fountains and cisterns in the houses, 
which would not allow of it from their 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



68 



42 'And they continued stcdfastly in the apostles' 
doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in 
prayers. 



Rom. 12: W. 
Eph. 6:18. 
Col. 4:V!. 
Heb. 10:25. 



construction, there were only the rivulet 
Kidrou and the pools of Siloara, Gihon, 
&c. outside of the city. But to have 
baptized so many persons in these, had 
it been otherwise possible, would scarce- 
ly have been allowed by the authori- 
ties. We must suppose that the form 
of baptism at that time was by sprink- 
ling or pouricg. OnsERVE. — (1) 
Here was the fruit of the first great 
outpouring of the Spirit. The means 
used was the simple presentation of 
the truth, not any fiery rant. It was 
a single sermon which the Spirit could 
bless as well as many. " Whereas," 
s:iys Calvin, " there was a great mul- 
titu !e converted unto Christ with one 
sermon, an hundred sermons can scarce 
m jve a few of us." (2) We are to pay 
jir.iper Divine honor to God the Holy 
S|urit. ^Vllat mighty results can fol- 
low His working. The simplest ser- 
in 1113 which present the plain truth as 
it is in Jesus can be made to result in 
the salvation of thousands. (3) We 
arj to look for the further and more 
complete fulfillment of Joel's prophecy 
ill these last days, when the Spirit shall 
be poured out upon all flesh. We are 
to wait in earnest, continued, believing 
pr.iycr for the blessing. We are to 
preach and send abroad the truth, plead- 
ing the promise that it shall not return 
Void. (Isa. 55:11.) (4) Here are the 
greater works promised the Apostles 
that they should do through the Spirit. 
More are converted under this dis- 
course than under all the three years 
ministry of our Lord, 

42. This verse contains a description 
of the Christian life of these early 
believers. This may be understood as 
an enumeration of the different branch- 
es of Divine worship practiced in the 
early Church at Jerusalem, in which it 
is here recorded by Luke that the 
early believers continued steadfast- See 
the terms as used in ch. G : 4 — of the 
Apostles. These are, indeed, the four 
tssential elements of aU true Christian 



association and devotion. They re- 
ceived the teachings of the Apostles in 
a system of instruction and edification, 
and maintained, faithfully, the distinc- 
tive doctrines which they preached. 
They observed, also, what is here 
i^vniQiUhc fellowship — kolvuvlu — which 
means, not BQ\il\xch.comv^unionT^scomnm- 
nication — a liberal distribution of their 
worldly goods, as is noticed more fully 
in vss. 44, 45 ; see Rom. 15 : 26 ; 2 Cor. 
8 : 4 ; 9 : 13 ; Heb. 13 : 16. If this pas- 
sage be taken, as some suppose, for a 
sketch of the mode in which their re- 
ligious assemblies were conducted, we 
may suppose it to mean that (1) the 
Apostles preached, and (2) the Disci- 
ples, who were present, came forward 
with gifts and olFeriiigs for the poor, 
as an act cf worship. This was done 
previously to the administration of the 
Lord's Supper, at their social meal. 
This would explain the great and awful 
heinousness of crime in the case of An- 
anias and Sapphira. It was an act of 
public hypocrisy in the worship of God. 
And for this they were made a specta- 
cle, the better to enfoi-ce the principles 
of God's worship. (3) The third serviv 
was that of " breaking of bread,'' which 
refers to the Lord's Supper ; not alone, 
however, but in connection with the 
(lyd-ai, or love-feasts, which always 
accompanied this ordinance in the 
early Cliurch. The phrase here is 
taken from the custom of the master 
of the feast breaking bread in asking 
a blessing, ch. 27 : 35. (4) The fourth 
item of Divine service here mentioned 
is prayers. No set times or forms of 
Christian worship existed as yet. The 
Christian Sabbath was indeed observed 
by public devotion — not, as yet, in ecJ- 
iiices erected for the purpose, but from 
house to house. The hours of prayer, 
also, were observed in the temple, 
(3 : 11.) Observe.— The Lord's Sup- 
per is the ordinance of the New Testa- 
ment Church, instead of the Passover^- 
an ' Baptism, instead of Circumcisioa. 



84 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. 1). 30 



} Luke M: 53. 



43 And fear came upon every soul : and " many wonders 
and signs were done by the apostles. 

44 And all that believed were together, and °had all 
things common : 

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and "parted 
them to all men, as every man had need. 

46 PAnd they, continuing daily with one accord "Jin the 



43. The etfect of their religious 
living upon the outside ■ys'orld is here 
described. 1 And fear. This was a 
religious aAve which came upon " every 
souV — that is, of the multitude who 
-were njt of the Church. The very 
persons who had a little while before 
derided the Christian assembly, (vs. 
13,) were now struck with reverential 
fear at the evident tokens of the Divine 
Presence with the Disciples. The effect 
of the holy character of these Christian 
men, and of their elevated devotion 
and communion with God, would be to 
fill the multitude with awe. Besides, 
the events in connection with the pro- 
phetic forewarnings, pointed to most 
solemn crises at hand, of which they 
had good reason to be afraid. ^ 3Iany 
ivonders. This is a general statement, 
covering what follows in the succeed- 
ing history. It is here mentioned, 
perhaps, as accounting in part for the 
awe and dread which fell upon the be- 
holders. 

44. All that believed. It is probable 
that by this time the Christian Disci- 
pleship numbered four to five thousand. 
Before Pentecost there were more than 
five hundred Disciples. On that day, 
three thousand were added to this 
body. Daily additions are mentioned, 
vs. 47. At the miracle at the Beau- 
tiful Gate, they who believed amount- 
ed to about five thousand in all, cli. 4 : 
4. In ch. 5 : 12, we find them meeting 
for worship in Solomon's Porch, pro- 
bably because they had become too 
numerous to assemble in anj- private 
place. By this time they were recog- 
nized as a distinct society or commu- 
nity. See Notes, ch. 5 : 12. ^ Tor/e- 
ther. This refers to their practice of 
public religious assembling. It must 
be remembered, however, that this as- 
Mmbliog here mentioned includes only 



such as remained in Jerusalem aftei 
the feast, and that the great multitude 
had dispersed to their foreign homes. 
^ All things common. See vs. 42, Notes. 

45. Possessions and goods — are here 
mentioned to express various kinds of 
property — as we say ^^ goods and chat- 
tels." I" Parted them. Distributed the 
proceeds — "their price." ^ As everi^ 
one had need. Bather, As every cm 
might have need. The particle which 
expresses contingency is here used. 
It was not an actual distribution 
of all their goods, but a treasuring 
up for whatever need there might 
be to any, and a supplying of necessi- 
ties from this common fund. Gieselei 
remarks that it is not a community of 
goods, but a spontaneous arrangement 
of property, according to the precept 
in Luke 12 : 33, " Sell that ye have 
and give alms," &c. 

46. Continuing. This term is some- 
times translated, To continue stedfastly, 
(ch. 2: 42) — " Continue instant " (Rom. 

12 : 12) — ^^ Attend continually ," (Rom. 

13 : G.) It carries the idea of special 
persistence and adherence to the work 
or practice. Tliey continuing earr.eitly 
every day. It was in the business of 
daily prayers in the temple that the 
body of believers continued earnestly. 
We find Peter and John going up (ch. 
3: 1,) thither at one of the stated 
hours. We read of three appointed 
hours, (Ps. 55 : 18 ; Dan. 6 : 11.) More 
commonly, perhaps, there were but two : 
at 9 o'clock (third hour) in the morn- 
ing, and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, 
called the ninth hour. ^ With one ac- 
cord. This term is several times used 
in this narrative, and seems to refer to 
public assemblies — expressing their 
harmoniouf-, united meeting. ^ Break- 
ing bread. This would seem to be th« 
same as is mentioned in vs. 42. wher* 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. II. 



Hb 



temple, and 'breaking bread || from house to house, did *'J,-i,*'2o^-,. 
eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. iior, a«*«M. 

47 Praising God, and "having favour with all the •iJ;'f.*3^;^-- 
people. And ' the Lord added to the church daily such as f^'.-i'^ufiad 
should be saved. " = ^*- 



it plainly referred to the special ser- 
vice of the Lord's Supper, and the 
accompanying feasts of love. ^ From 
house, &c. Rather, at home, as dis- 
tinct from "in the temple." A church 
in the house is mentioued, Rom. 16: 
5; Colos. 4: 15; 1 Cor. 10: I'J. This 
does not mean "from house to house," 
but in the home — at home — privately — 
they celebrated the Lord's death daily 
in the appointed social meal — the 
Lord's Supper. Tlie celebration of 
the Lord's death Avas instituted as a 
social meal, so as to sanctify and 
sweeten our commonest living, and to 
make our daily meals sacred, that we 
might eat and drink to His glory. 
Hence it is added in immediate con- 
nection with this, that tliey did eat their 
meat — partook their food. This describes 
the effect of their religion upon their 
domestic and social life. They even 
partook their ordinary meals with 
gladness. Religion, when in lively ex- 
ercise, makes life most truly happy — 
even gives relish to humble fare be- 
yond what the banquets of princes af- 
ford. So we are taught by our Lord 
to pray, " Give us this day our daily 
bread," and to partake it, of course, in 
glad and grateful recognition of Ilis 
bounty. The Lord's Supper makes 
every meal come to us with gladness. 
^ Singleness. Child-like simplicity and 
sincerity of heart accompanied their 
gladness. There were no complainings, 
nor cravings after luxuries and dainties. 
A single eye, and heart easily satisfied — 
with gladness and peace — characterized 
this primitive body of believers. 

47. Praising God. This they did, 
as well as ate their meals. They not 
only gave pi-aise to Him for common 
mercies, but they were especially and 
habitually occupied in acts and services 
of social praise. The early Christians 
are described by Pliny in the opening 
of the 2d century, as singing hymna to 



Christ with each other — and Paul ex- 
horts the Ephesians and Colossians to 
sing to each other in psalms and hymna 
and spiritual songs, singing and making 
melody in their hearts unto God. ^Hav- 
ing favour. So it resulted by God's 
power and grace that those -who were 
so lately mocked were joined by the 
men who mocked them, and were treat- 
ed with favor by the people generally. 
IT The Lord added. This great work is 
here recorded as the doing of the Risen 
Lord actively operating in His Church. 
Peter planted and others watered, but 
God gave the increase. He added — or 
kept adding, day by day. T[ To the 
Church. — tKKT^rjaia. This term means 
the body of people called out — separated 
from the world — namely, as Christians. 
In its common classic sense it denotes 
any assembly, and so also in Acts 19: 
39-41. The visible Church consists of 
the professedly called. The Church 
invisible and real, consists of the in- 
wardly called — or called out from the 
world. The term is here first used of 
the Christian community as actually 
existing. As the Lord is said to have 
added these, tiie invisible Church is im- 
plied, which is Included, however, in 
the visible Churcn. The term frequent- 
ly occurs in the Greek version of the 
Old Testament to denote the whole con- 
gregation of Israel. It was not merely 
a collective name for many dispersed 
individuals having a common character 
or faith or practice, but a defined body, 
a distinct society called out from the 
world at large, and called together for 
a special purpose, and possessing with- 
in itself an organization for the attain- 
ment of that purpnse. Such was the 
Church of the Old Testament. And 
the New Testament Church was not 
a totally different one, but the samo 
reorganized under a new Dispeusatioa 
Seech. 5: 11 ; 8 : 1-3 : 9 : 31 ; 11:22; 
12 : 1-5. IT Should he saved. Rather, 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. I). 80 



CHAPTER III 

• oi. 2:46. 1 Now Peter and John went up together "into the 

kPs.55:iT. temple at the hour of prayer, ^ being the ninth Jiour. 



the saved — those wh? iccre saved. Those 
who obeyed the exhortation " be saved," 
vs. 40, and embraced the Gospel of 
Chiist as the power of God unto salva- 
tion, vs. 21. The term is used (1 Cor. 
1: 18; 2 Cor. 2: 15,) of those "who 
are saved," according to the Divine 
purpose. Here, it refers back also to 
the promise of being saved, made to those 
who should call upon the name of the 
Lord Jesus, vs. 21. Observe — The 
New Testament Church was the true 
succession of the Old. It was com- 
posed at fir^?*- cf Old Testament mem- 
bers ; the same Cnurch as before, only 
enhrged and reformed, according to Old 
Testament predictions, ch. 3 : 25 ; 2 : 39; 
Eph. 2: 17; Isa. 59: 20; G5 : 1 ; 60 : 2. 
The converts, therefore, are said to have 
been addedto the Church alreadyexisting. 
(2) The Church accordingly recognized 
by Divine authority the same house- 
hold feature as in the Ohl Covenant, 
ch. 2 : 39 ; 3 : 25, 20. The promise had 
come to them according to the Abra- 
hamic covenant made with their fa- 
thers. They were addressed as chil- 
dren of the covenant, and so liliewise 
the promise is distinctly declared to be 
to them and to their children, and to 
those afar off, (Gentiles,) on the same 
household principle. Ti ley are exhorted 
to repent on this account, and be bap- 
tized, as thus able to claim the cove- 
nant blessings, through faith in Him 
in whose Name they were baptized. 
(8) The visible Church is contemplated 
to which the thousands "were added" 
by baptism, (ch. 2: 41.) (4) As yet 
the first Christians continue in the old 
place of worship, the temple, and use 
the old forms of worship, ch. 2 : 46 ; 3 : 
1 ; 5:12, recognizing in all these events 
only what was to be looked fcr fi-om 
prophecy, and only a different dispen- 
sation of the same Church and cove- 
nant. They, however, band together 
as a distinct community from the mass 
cf Jews, and worship also in private 
uouses. uj-per chambers, &c. They 



are marked by their profession of the 
name of Jesus Christ, and into thi." 
name they are baptized. (5) The 
Jewish Passover had found its fulfill- 
ment in the crucifixion of Chi-ist, as the 
Paschal Lamb. The Pentecost was 
fulfilled in the great outpouring and 
ingathering at that festival. It only 
now remains that the feast of Taber- 
nacles be fulfilled in that great con- 
summation, when all flesh shall cele- 
brate the glorious event typified by 
that festival in which thanks were of- 
fered for the ingathering of all the 
fruits of the land— the closing feast of 
the year. Zech. 14:16. Thus we have 
seen the Christian Church grafted en 
the ancient Jewish stock, and enla'-ged 
by means of Apostolic preaching, at- 
tested by miraculous power, and blcssci' 
by the Holy Spirit. Now the Church 
is to be still further enlarged by mean? 
of the preached word, carried home h\ 
the same Spirit, amidst violent opposi- 
tion, " God also bearing them witness 
both with signs," &c. (Heb. 2:4.) 
Observe. — The First recorded Miracle 
of the Apostles now leads to the First 
Hostility, which the Risen Lord turns 
to the conversion of many. 

CHAPTER III. 

I 0. The First Miracle. — Lame Man. 
— [Peter and John.) — Peter's iJis' 
course.~A. D. 30-36. Ch. 3. 

Already in the wonderful scenes at 
Pentecost, the Apostles had been ena- 
bled to do " the greater u-orks," accord- 
ing to the promise of our Lord, (John 
14 : 12. ) Now, as had also been prom- 
ised, (Mark 16: 17, 18,) they began to 
work miracles, one of which is here re- 
corded. (See ch. 2: 43.) Such mir- 
aculous gifts were at once a fruit of 
the Spirit's descent upon them, and a 
proof of their Divine commission. ^ Ic 
ter and John. These two Apostles, so 
different in age and character, were 
closely united in personal friendsbiy 



A, 1). 30.] 



CHAP. III. 



2 And "a certain man lame from his mother's womb "•^''■"'t 
was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple 



(See Introduction to Notes on John.) | 
Y Went up. Rather, icere going up. 
«[ Togcthor. Alford, in liis edition, 
connects the words here rendered 
"together," with the previous chapter. 
But there seems no good ground for 
this. There is emphasis in the idea 
that these two Apostles, who were to- 
gether preparing the last Passover, 
(Luke 22 : 8,) running to the Sepulchre, 
— John believing, Peter perhaps doubt- 
ing, (John 20,) — and afierwardi togeth- 
er fishing, (John 21,) .as if having, 
partly at least, returned to their trade 
in that interval — were now found to- 
gether again, not merely as of the 
twelve, but as a loving pair of brethren, 
each more attracted to the other than 
to the brother which each of them had 
in the Apostolate — Peter even more 
drawn to John than to Andrew, and 
John more drawn to Peter than to 
James. IT I'^to the temple. Rather, 
unto. It is plain that the Apostles and 
brethren at Jerusalem had not aban- 
doned the Jewish worship, ch. 2 : 46 ; 
Luke 24 : 53. This was not denounced 
as sinful or evil, but it was to be grad- 
ually supplanted by the Christian wor- 
ship. When it came to be contended 
for as to be adhered to, in preference 
to Christianity, it was then pronounced 
against. Yet the Jewish ordinances 
were observed by them in a new and 
Christian spirit, as setting forth Christ 
as having come. Besides these, how- 
ever, thay had their distinct Christian 
services. Tf At the hour of prayer. Lit- 
erally, at the (that) hour of prayer, which 
was the ninth. There were three hours 
of prayer, (the third, sixth and ninth 
hours,) and this was the one which was 
last. As the natural day was divided 
among the Jews into twelve hours of 
irregular length, from sunrise to sun- 
set, the ninth hour was about three 
o'clock in the afternoon, which was 
the time of the evening sacrifice. The 
third hour, or nin3 o'clock in the morn- 
ing, W3« *he time of the morning sac- 
rifice. The early Christians seem to 
have had atatcJ times in the day, but 



they are not mentioned. At the closa 
of the second century these hours wera 
in use, and were very probably the sta- 
ted times from the beginning. 

2. Lame, &c. As he was born a 
cripple, there was no room for decep- 
tion, lie was well known as lame from 
his birth, and any cure of such a case 
could not be disputed. ][ Was carried. 
Was being earned. This cripple was 
just in the way of being carried thither, 
as they were going up. ^ Whom they 
laid daily. Whom they used to place 
daily, &c. The habit of this man's 
friends was to carry him daily thither 
in the morning, and carry him back at 
evening. It was the common custom 
among the Jews and Gentiles to sta- 
tion their beggars at the temple gates, 
or at the gates of the rich, (as Lazarus, 
Luke 16: 20,) inasmuch as they had 
no public hospitals or almshouses be- 
fore the introduction of Christianity. 
[The pool of Bethesda was indeed a 
house of mercy which had been reared 
around a mysterious water. But that 
was a Divine dispensary, typical of 
Christ's salvation. An angel miracu- 
lously stirred the water, and thus it 
became available to the cure of one only 
at a time, and he (as in the Gospel 
pool,) the one first stepping in, ma- 
king it the first business and pressing 
in as for his life — taking it violently 
and as if by force. ] The custom prevails 
more or less in all countries, but espe- 
cially in Papal Europe, to station 
beggars at the doors of hotels, at 
the entrance of bridges, and wherever 
they will be likely to be in the path of 
most passers by, of whom they can ask 
alms. In some cities of Italy the po- 
lice regularly assign the beggars their 
station early in the morning for the 
day, at hotel doors, bridges and gates. 
See ]\Iark 10 : 46 ; Luke 18 : 35 ; John 
9: 1-8. At the gates of the temple 
many would be passing in and out, and 
it could fairly be presumed that theit 
devotions would dispose them to give 
liberally to the aiflicted poor. Begging, 
however, was often made a trade, aud 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80 



rfj«im9.8. •vphich is called Beautiful, *to ask alms of them that en 
tered into the temple ; 

3 Who seeing Peter and John about .;0 go into the temple asked 
an alms. 

4 And Peter, fiisteniug his eyes upon him with John, said, Look 
on us. 

5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of 
them. 



became a source of imposition upon the 
kind-hearted. But alas ! for this crip- 
ple. He had been in this case over 
forty years. 1 Beautiful. There were 
nine gates, as Josephus mentions, cov- 
ered with silver and gold. This gate 
13 thought most likely to have been that 
splendid one covered Avith bas-relief 
lily work of Corinthian brass which Jo- 
sephus describes, B. J. 5 : 3. It was 
erected by Herod the Great, and called 
Nicanor. It was on the east side of 
the temple toward Kedron, and formed 
the eastern entrance. The gate Susan 
or Shushan, was near to Solomon's 
porch, whitlier the people ran, (vs. 11.) 
It separated the court of the Gentiles 
from the inner court, and was in a line 
with the gate of Nicanor and the inner 
entrance of the temple. And it was 
nearthe sheep-market, where the crowd 
would likely have been greatest. Hence 
some incline to understand this as the 
gate referred to, though there seems no 
trace of such a name as this of " Beau- 
tiful," belonging to it. The blind man, 
John 9:1, was probably at the temple 
gate. IT To ask alms. Charity — bene- 
faction. Their object in taking their 
station there was to solicit some charity 
from those who were about to enter 
.nto the temple. The poor will nat- 
urally expect that worshipers of God 
will be charitable to the destitute. 

8. Seeing Peter and John. They 
asked of these probably just as of 
others, and without any knowledge of 
them as Apostles. They asked of them 
because they saw them about to enter 
the Temple. The forms in use among 
the Jews in asking alms were such as 
these — "Be generous to me" — "Help 
yourself by helping me." ^ Asked — 
lit., asked to receive. Observe. — The 
poor cripple, never tJuaking that his 



lameness could be removed, asked only 
for a pittance to help him in his disa- 
bility. God can, and will, give him 
more than he asks or thinks. 

4. Fastening his eyes — Looking in- 
tc7itly. This term is used by Luke 
twelve times, and by no other New 
Testament writer, except by Paul 
twice. He looked on the man thus, in 
order to excite his attention and to 
raise his expectation. ^ Look on us. 
It would show that these Apostles 
claimed to have some special power, 
and that the cure which they would 
work was of their deliberate purpose 
— not by accident nor by artifice — in 
which latter case they would rather 
have said, " Look away from us." 
Calvin also suggests that the Apostle 
wished, before proceeding, to be cer- 
tain of the purpose and intent of God, 
and hence that this preparatory look 
was by the motion of the Holy Spirit. 
Obsekve. — How much more anxious 
are men by nature for the healing of 
their bodies than of their souls ; and 
how much more ready to ask an alms 
of their fellow men, than to ask the 
proffered salvation of God. 

5. Gave heed — Fixed his attention. 
The natural effect of that address upon 
the man is here recorded. Most of 
those whom the poor cripple solicited 
had probably paid no attention, or had 
carelessly cast down a mite at their 
feet and hurried on. And now to see 
these two men stop at his cry, and by 
their manner, and tone, and words, 
"Look on us," to get a hint of some 
special interest in his case, was alto- 
gether rare and exciting. Was ho 
not already looking on them, to see 
if some charity might not be bestow 
ed ? This call, then, to look, meant 
something. So the Saviour calls U 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. III. 



G Then Peter saiJ, Silver and 
such as I have give I thee : - In t 
of Nazareth rise up and walk. 



gold have I none; but 
he name of Jesus Christ "'"'•* *°- 



Biuners in their disability, '^ Look unlo 
VIC and be saved." Oh that every poor 
cripple from the fall would give heed, 
and expect to receive what Jesus h;is 
to give! 

(3. This man was not of the Disciple- 
ehip, and hence he was not a regular 
Bharer in the free distribution which 
they made of their goods, ch. 2 : 45. 
Yet it is plain that they gave liberally 
to others who were not of the Disciple- 
sliip. Peter, at this time, had no 
money to give, or not so much as would 
avail to relieve the man's necessities. 
And especially, as he purposed to do 
him a greater service, he tuvns away 
the beggar's attention from silver and 
gold. Perhaps he meant: "/ am no 
rich man — money is not ivhat I have to 
tjioe." What a disappointment for the 
moment, when the man hears that he 
is not to get any money, as he had 
hoped 1 What then ? Is it good wishes 
—charitable words? " Be thou warmed 
— be thou filled" — cheap, and often 
empty? ^ But such. The Apostle left 
tlie man in no long and painful sus- 
pense. Money is not even to this poor 
beggar the only good. Many gifts 
would have been better to him than 
failver and gold. To be taken home 
and insured a comfortable living for 
life, would have been better than a 
liberal .alms on the spot. It was quite 
clear that the speaker meant to do him 
some service, aud now he says he will 
give him such as he has. AVell was it 
for the poor cripple that Peter had no 
money, and that this gift of healing — 
the greatest gift — was such as he had 
to give. So Jesus gives us not silver 
aud gold in the Gospel. But let us not 
despond, since what he has to give, is 
*'dui'ablo riches and righteousness" — 
" the unspeakable gift." Observe. — 
The Pope uses these words profanely 
and falsely — denying that he has 
money, when he has it, as the Apostles 
had not — and professing to have spi- 
ritual gifts to bestow in his benediction, 
when he has them not at all. lie 
8* 



cannot say, ^^ Arise and walk," as Peter 
here said it, with healing to the cripple. 
He will not say, "Arise and walk," aa 
he might say it, in an inferior sense, 
to his crippled and impotent people, if 
h-^ would. Observe. — Peter does not 
here claim that this healing is by his 
own power, but this is what he has to 
bestow, in the name (as he avows) of 
Jesus Christ. This gift of working 
miracles in Christ's name was promised 
to them. Mark 16, 17, 18. *i In the 
name. He does not say, "In the name 
of Jesus Christ, I command you," but 
the name of Jesus is that in which^ 
by tlie power of which — the "rise up 
and walk" is to be accomplished. He 
says that this is the work and benefit 
of Christ — that Christ was the author 
of the miracle; that it was not by their 
"poivcr or holiness," vs. 12, but "Ilia 
name, through faith (of the Apostles) 
in His name," and " the faith which is 
(wrought) by Ilim," or which He has 
introduced as the only way of salvation, 
could alone give him a cure. Observe, 
— Jesus Christ wrought miracles in 
His own name. The Apostles wrought 
them only in His name, and not in 
their own — and this they did only by 
faith in His name. ^ Jesus Christ of 
Nazareth. This was the name of con- 
tempt and reproach which His enemies 
had fastened upon Him, and which 
went with Him to His Cross. The 
Apostles mean now to say that it was 
in virtue of this hated, despised name, 
and for the glorifying of it before men, 
that this mighty work was to be done. 
The beggar had probably heard of this 
Jesus of Nazareth ; and even if not, 
Petei [ii. claimed that this miracle is 
ChrislV, .ind not theirs; and thus Ha 
preaches the Crucified One as thtf Risen 
Lord, as alive aud active in his Church 
and in the world. ^ Jiise up and walk. 
The cripple here had some faith in thi? 
"Wonderful" name. Elss why should 
he not have taken it all in jest ot 
derision, and replied that it could only 
be a tantalizing of his helpless condi- 



DO 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and 
immediately his feet and ankle bones received strenaith. 

Heaping up stood, and walked, and entered with 



/ISO. 35; 



And he 
them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God 



tion, to tell him to do -what he was 
BO powerless to accomplish. " Ilert! 
appears both the force of the word, 
and the fruit of faith. The cripple is 
so touched by the word, that he obeys 
without delay; aud it gives strength to 
his dead members, and after a sort 
renews the man. And faith also hath 
her reward, in that the cripple obeyeth 
him who commandeth him to rise, and 
not in vain." — Calvin. Odserve. — The 
command carried with it the enabling 
power. All that was required, was 
confidence, and an effort on the basis 
of the command. The commands of 
the New Testament come to us with a 
provision of grace and strength suffi- 
cient to ' ' whosoever will. " The Gospel 
message to the disabled sinner is, Rise 
up and walk. But it comes from One 
who at the same time furnishes the 
requisite ability. Therefore, it is no 
demand upon us for impossibilities. It 
is rather a message of mercy, since it 
bids us to do it all in Ilis freely offered 
Btrength. So the command to the man 
of the withered hand. Stretch out thy 
hand, was not the language of stern 
severity. It \v:is rather a command 
which provided, also, power to the 
paralyzed limb, and hence it was a 
message of great joy to the poor suf- 
ferer; and rightly apprehending it, he 
acted on the basis of the command — 
took it for encouragement, and not for 
discouragement, aud was healed in the 
very act. It was the word laid hold on 
with cheerful confidence, that brought 
the healing. The name of Jesus, the 
Messiah, however despised as the 
Nazarene, is the only name under 
lieaven given among men whereby we 
must be saved. 

7. Took hhn, &c. This was a clear 
evidence of the fact that help was 
furnished ^uith the connnand. It could 
not have been merely in Peter's thus 
giving him the aid of his hand. This 
tnly iudicated the greater aid that was 



furnished by Divine power. Thus, 
indeed, God not only grants us the es- 
sential and omnipotent strength within, 
but gives us also the aid of outward 
means of grace. 1[ Tmmediatchj. In 
any other cure, the most that could 
have been done would have been a 
very gradual restoration to the use of 
his limbs. Here the cure was imme 
diate, and by a word. \Feet and ankle 
bones. Properly, his soles and ankles. 
Luke commonly gives these minute de- 
scriptions in such cases, as was natural 
for him to do, being a physician ; and 
thus an undesigned coincidence proves 
that the book was written by him. 
1[ Received strength — Rather, Were made 
firm. 

8. Leapir.y up. This was a natural 
expression of his joy, while it was a 
clear proof of his recovery. The mira- 
cle was not merely in giving strength 
to his limbs. The art of using the 
limbs freely is acquired by long prac- 
tice. Persons who have been confined 
many years by sickness, or in prison, 
cannot readilj' walk, even Avhen their 
strength is restored. ^ Stood and 
^calked. These were the different ways 
in which the man expressed his first 
delight, as if scarcely knowing how to 
contain himself, or what to do. Leap- 
ing, standing, walking — how must he 
have joyed in exercising his recovered 
limbs, glad to prove to himself and 
others the blessed reality of the 
change. So is it with the truly regen- 
erate. Christian exercises are a pleas- 
ure, not a task. It is a delight to move 
in any way that sets in active opera- 
tion these new-born powers. The ac- 
tivities of Christian devotedness are 
only the free expression of Christian 
gratitude and joy. Thus it comes to 
pass in the days of the Messiah as 
Isaiah foresaw, " then shall the lame 
man leap as an haj-f,^' Isa. 35 : 6. ^ Un- 
tered. The healed cripple used hia 
restored limbs for enteriug the plac« 



A. D. 3U.] 



CHAP. III. 



91 



9 "And all the people saw him walking and praising *"''•*= ^-■'* 
God: 

10 And they knew that it was he which "sat for alms at ^Liiejohngi^ 
Uie Beautiful gate of the temple : and they were filled with wonder 
and amazement at that which had happened unto him. 

11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, 



of public worship — following the exam- 
ple set him by the good men who had 
thus befriended him, and also follow- 
ing his heart's fresh impulse to give 
public thanks to God. The regenerate 
man will seek at once to put forth all 
his energies in the service and praise 
of God. He will naturally and at once 
seek to worship in communion with 
God's people, entering with them into 
the temple. He that loves Christ and 
feels his indebtedness to Him alone for 
salvation, will seek to profess Him, 
and would do it even if He had not so 
commanded, f Praising God. True 
Christian activity must spring from 
lively Christian gratitude. It is a deep 
sense of the immense benefits received 
from Christ that makes us feel that we 
cannot do enough for Him, nor suffi- 
ciently speak forth his praise. He 
praised God, " walking and leaping," 
in the use of his newly restored facul- 
ties. So we should put forth all our 
regenerate faculties in His service, and 
delight to use all our resources for His 
glory. Observe. — He praised not the 
Apostles, but God. This shows his 
intelligent faith "in the name of Jesus 
Christ of Nazareth," that was profess- 
ed as the source of the miracle. Every 
truly new-born man will give all the 
glory of his salvation to God. "To 
conceal God's mercies is ingratitude. 
To attribute them to others is sacri- 
lege." 

9. All the people. This miracle was 
to affect not only the single individual 
restored. It was to have great effects 
upon beholders. So it is in the case 
of any true conversion. But, more 
especially, in well-known and conspic- 
uous cases. This is the mighty re- 
sponsibility which some men have, 
■whose conversion to God might move 
thousands to reflection and inquiry, 
wd, through the Divine blessing, to 



salvation. ^ Saio him. This is here 
recorded to show that the miracle was 
not done in a corner. The multitude 
saw the miraculous cure. 

10. The people of Jerusalem, who 
frequented the temple, had often seen 
this cripple stationed at the gate. 
They knew him well. And now they 
recognized this happy man as the very 
same. Thus they were able to bear 
witness of the facts, and the wondrous 
deed had ample confirmation. There 
could, therefore, have been no impos- 
ture. Like all the miracles of Christ 
and the Apostles, the facts were most 
evident and the proofs were most abun- 
dant. The facts were — That the man, 
now forty years old, (ch. 4 : 22,) 
had been a cripple from his birth, (vs. 
2.) The proof of his having been 
really helpless was found in the pains 
which friends had so long taken with 
him to bring him there and to carry 
him back daily, (vs. 2.) and in the 
wonder and amazement which all the 
people expressed at his being sudden- 
ly able to walk. There were, no doubt, 
most abundant proofs of his being no 
impostor. The Apostles may have 
seen him before at the same place, 
though there is no positive evidenc 
of his having known who they were. 
All (he people who were now so con- 
vinced of the miracle, were not mainly 
the friends and followers of Christ, 
but His enemies ; such as had recent- 
ly joined in the scenes of the Cruci- 
fixion. The man, who would him- 
self be likely to know whether a cure 
had been wrought or not, gives his own 
glad testimony, and the multitude see 
and know that it is even so. Wh.at 
room could there have been for decep- 
tion ? 

11. Ucld. Held fant — grasping, so 
as not to be separated from them 
Some understand it of adhering t« 



92 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



TA. D. 30 



',h'5°i"'"' ^11 the people ran together unto them in the porch ' that is 

called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 

^12 And v/hen Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men 

( f Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as 

though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk ? 



them in his principles. But as in ch. 
2: 49, the word is to be taken in the 
sense of physical clenving to them iu 
the crowd, which was most natural. 
The other idea would be expressed in 
another word. He tlms testified to all 
that these men were his benefactors. 
^ I'he p'jrch. The outer wall of the 
temple court was lined with piazzas, 
verandahs, or porches, and on the east- 
ern side was this one, originally built 
by Solomon, and not entirely destroyed 
by Nebuchadnezzar, but restored by 
Zcrnbbabel, and renewed with great 
magnificence by Herod, and still retain- 
ing its name. It was a double row of 
marble columns 25 cubits high, with a 
richly carved roof of cedar wood, and 
30 cubits wide. This porch was on the 
east side toward the valley of Jehosha- 
phat, and near to "the Beautiful gate." 
This was a place where the Apostles 
commonly met, ch. 3: 11 ; 5: 12, and 
Christ walked, John 10: 23. \ Greatly 
tvondering. That is, the people ran 
together, greatly ivondering — very much 
astonished at vfhat they saw had taken 
})l;ice. The people were united in this 
natural amazement. 

12. lie answered. Their manner was 
such as to show that some statement 
was called for to satisfy their inquiry, 
and very possibly, as they congregated, 
they asked, also, for an explanation of 
this event. Yet this term is often 
found as here, where no formal ques- 
tion has been asked. The analysis of 
tills Second Discourse of Peter which 
now follows, is thus: he says, (1) This 
is not our work but God's, and in or- 
der to glorify His Son Christ Jesus, 
(vss. 12, 13.) (2) Him (Jesus Christ,) 
ye denied and killed; but God has 
raised Him up, (verses 13-15.) (3) 
Through His name this man is made 
whole, {vs. 16.) (4) Ye did it in igno- 
rance, but God thereby carried out His 
gracious purpose, (vss. 17, 18.) (6) 



Repent, in order that ye may be for- 
given and saved by this Jesus Christ at 
His coming, (vss. 19-21.) (6) Hia 
times have been the theme of prophecy 
from the beginning, (vs. 21,) as for ex- 
ample in citations given, (vss. 22-24.) 
(7) Application of this to the hearers 
as Jews, (vss. 25, 26.) \ At this. At 
this vian, or at this thing. It would 
seem that they had cause for wonder- 
ing, as Bengel remarks. But they 
ought to acknowledge God from whom 
the healing benefit came, and not to 
have their wonder terminate upon tho 
thing itself or upon the instruments. 
As Jews they ought to have recognized 
the Divine power in such a wonderful 
work.as they were familiar with miracles 
in their whole history. ^ On us. This 
was their fault, that they were ready 
to think of such a work as proceeding 
from mere men. Calvin says, "This 
is the first part of the sermon wherein 
he reproveth superstition." T[ Power. 
This in men could be only some magi- 
cal craft, or else some preternatural 
power for working miracles. TJ Uoli- 
ness. "Meritorious efficacy with God 
so as to have obtained this from Him 
on our own account." The Apostles 
directly contradict any such doctrine as 
that God bestows any benefits upon us 
by virtue of the merits of the saints. 
Observe. — They might here have ta- 
ken advantage of the popular impres- 
sion if they had pleased to exalt them- 
selves. But they would have all tho 
glory given to God. This is an exam- 
ple for the ministry in all time. It was 
a Jewish notion that if a man arrived 
at a high degree of holiness he would 
be able to woi-k miracles. This is tha 
origin of the Romish doctrine of super- 
erogation, that a man by extra piety 
can lay up a store of merit beyond 
what he will need for himself and whick 
may be made available for otheriu 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP, iir 



tch.5: 30. 

13 '^The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, L-Titlnd'i"^ 
the Grod of our fathers, 'hath glorified his Sou Jesus; n^^uliu'w. 
whom ye ™ delivered up, and "denied him in the presence r,ftMo«"i,.„ 
of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 



desired a murderer to be granted unto you 



Luke 1:35. 
poh.7:52,&22:14. 



13. The God of Abraham, &c. The 
God of the Jews -whotn he addressed — 
of the Patriarchs, their fathers— in 
•whom they boasted, as a nation. This 
■was to show them that he did not seek 
to introduce the worship of any new 
God, but only a new form of worship 
of the same; and that the Jehovah 
whom their fathers had professed, had 
shown Himself to be the Author of 
this religion. That hence, as children 
of Abraham, they were directly inter- 
ested m it, as it was, indeed, the ful- 
fillment of the great covenant promise 
to Abraham, that in him all the families 
of the earth should be blessed. Gen. 
12 : 3. See Gal. 3:16. T[ Hath glorified. 
Peter ascribes the miracle to Jehovah, 
their fathers' God; and declares that 
in this way He had put distinguished 
honor upon His Son, whom they had 
crucified. The object of John's Gospel 
narrative is to show how Christ was 
glorified by His miracles, and by various 
testimonies, as well as by the Father's 
direct act in His Resurrection, John 
13: 32; His Ascension, John 12: 16; 
and miracles, John 6 : 14. The Apostle 
aimed also to show here, that the 
Crucified One was living, and that this 
was the evidence of His being glorified, 
and of His active presence and power 
in the world. T[ Ills Son Jesus, (7ra«f.) 
The terra here for "Son," refers to the 
oflice of Christ as the "Servant of 
Jehovah," spoken of by Isaiah, (chs. 
40-56,) and familiar to the Jews. The 
more common term for Son of God — 
denotes His Divine nature. ^ Ye de- 
livered up. "Ye" is here emphatic — 
Ye yourselves — and is in contrast with 
"the God of Abraham" on the one 
band, and Pilate on the other. Though 
ye delivered Jesus unto Pilate, and 
thus incurred the greater sin, as He 
Baid,(John 19: 11,) "the God of your 



fathers hath glorified him" by this very 
miracle ; and even Pilate, in contrast 
with you, had given his decision to 
release Him. '^ Detiied Him — (1) Re- 
jected Him, as your promised Messiah 
— (2) in the presence of Pilate, a heathen 
governor, who sought to release Him — 
at the tribunal, where he was arraigned 
at your instance. ^Determined. This 
they did, when Pilate had actually given 
his judgment in favor of releasing Him. 
Matt. 27: 17-25; Luke 28: 16-23. 
Pilate seems to have made at least 
five distinct attempts to procure the 
release of Jesus, in a way that would 
conciliate the Jews. At length, these 
very men, it may be, warned him that 
if he should let Him go, he would prove 
himself an enemy of CiBsar. This was 
too much for Pilate. This shows how 
aggravated was their guilt, that they 
urged on His cruel death, against the 
decision of the heathen governor. Luke 
23: 14-16, 20; John 19: 4-12. And 
how dare they also be found fighting 
against God? 

14. Peter now shows how enormous 
was their sin — that they rejected such 
an one as Christ, and chose in preference 
such an one as Barabbas. The contrast 
of these representative characters is 
strongly given. Jesus was "the IIoli/ 
One and the Just." The former title 
was found in Ps. IG: 10, and cited ch. 
2: 27— "thy Holy One." He was also 
the Just One. He was so, by Pilate's 
own verdict, as well as in His own 
essence. "I find no fault at all in 
Him" — no legal ground of accusation. 
So Stephen (ch. 7: 52,) called Him 
'*the Just One;" and Ananias (ch. 22: 
14,) called Him "that Just One." It 
wculd seem to have been a title of tb 
Messiah which the audience would re 
cognize. In contrast with this, was the 
character of Barabbas "a murderer,''' 



M 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 3^. 



5 And killed the ]] Prince of life, 'whom God hath 
raised from the dead ; "■ whereof we are witnesses. 

16 'And his name, through faith in his name, hath made 
this man strong, whom jc see and know ; yea, the faith 
which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in 
the presence of you all. 



cb. 1: 16; 2: 14; Matt. 27: 21. Jesus 
was THE Sinless One. Barabbas was 
the ringleader of sinners — a robber, a 
leader of sedition, and a murderer. 
^ A murderer. Literallj', a man, a 
murderer — a Hebrew idiom. This is 
put in special contrast with " the Prince 
of Life," vs. 1-5. ^ To be granted. "To 
be given as a gratuity for your gratifi- 
cation" — or rather to be given to you 
as your choice, and as if to your 
embrace. This was your affinity, ch. 
25: 11, 16; 27; 24. "If Pilate had 
brought forth Barabbas to you, you 
ought to have desired Jesus to be 
released instead." — Benrjcl. 

15. The Frince of life. The double 
contrast is here brought out. Ye killed 
Him who was the Prince of Life, and 
chose a murderer — one who takes 
away life — in preference to Christ, the 
Giver of life, John 5 : 21, 25, 26. 
Isaiah prophesied of Christ, " Behold 

1 have given Him for a Leader and 
Commander to the people," Isa. 55 : 4. 
And this term rendered " Prince'" means 
Leader. In ch. 5:31, Christ is called 
" a Prince and a Saviour," and in Heb. 

2 : 10, the " Prince or Captain of Sal- 
vation." In Heb. 12 : 2, it is "Author 
(and Finisher) of faith." Christ is 
the Prince of Life, called in 1 Johu 1 : 
1, " the Word of Life," which was from 
the beginning — "in whom was life," 
John 1:4; 5:11, 12 — because He has 
introduced the spiritual and eternal life 
into the world, and guides His followers 
to it; and because He has conquered 
death in His Resurrection. See 1 Cor. 
15 : 20-40. 1" Whom God hath raised— 
awakened^from dead, (ones.) Though 
they had put Christ to death, this did 
not destroy Him. He was proved to 
be the Prince of Life by His glorious 
rising from tlie company of the dead. 
And thus they were shown to be fight- 
ing against Jehovah Here Peter per- 



forms the Apostolic work of preaching 
Christ's Resurrection. And this event 
put the seal of God — the God of Abra- 
ham — their fathers' God, upon Christ's 
work. 1[ Whereof. This was their 
business as Aoostles, to be witnesses 
of this fact, (ch. 1 : 22.) 

16. Peter, in accounting for this 
miracle, has now come to the import- 
ant point, that it was through the 
working of His Divine power whom 
they had wickedly put to death. The 
inference would be, that He is alive 
and active in the world as the Risen 
Lord, and that they had done their 
utmost to put out of existence the 
Author of life and of healing. ^ His 
name — (His office work as the Prince 
of Life.) This refers to the fact that 
they had wrought this miracle in His 
name, (vs. 6,) by virtue of His power 
— not as though the mere calling of 
His name had any chiirm or virtue in 
it. The explanation is given in the 
next clause emphaticall3\ ^ Through 
faith. That is, upon — through — by 
ineans of faith in His name. This faith 
was the means, and His name was the 
efficient cause, Matt. 17 : 20. It is not 
the faith of the lame man that is here 
referred to, though he seems to have 
had some faith, (vss. 6, 7,) nor to pro- 
duce faith in the lame man and in 
others," as some understand. Christ's 
name, power, authority, so set at 
nought by them, yet believed in by the 
Apostles, had produced the wondrous 
results which they beheld. There could 
be no mistake, as the facts were well 
known to them, ch. 4:16. ^ Yea, the 
faith. The Apostle gives every empha- 
sis to this truth, and seeks to impress 
it. " When he is occupied about the 
showing and setting forth of the grace 
of Christ, he thinketh that he hath 
never spoken enough touching the 
same."— -C(.Zyi;i. T By Him. The 



If. 30.] 



CHAP. Ill 



9& 



17 And now, brethren, I wot that * through ignorance eu! 
: did if, as did also your rulers. \ ^ 

18 But "those things, which Grod before had shewed "h^ 
)uth of all h 

suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 



f.i.ith -which is wrought by Ilim, or 
'• which owes its existence and effect 
to what He is and has done." See 1 
I'et. 1:21. Benr/el says, "He refers 
not only the miracle to Christ, but the 
faith which he himself exercised." 
But this seems to state a further fact, 
and may refer to the lame man's faith. 
He is exalted to give not only healing 
of the body, but healing of soul — " re- 
pentance and remission of sins," and 
faith. T[ Perfect soutidiiess. This term, 
used only here, means completeness, 
wholeness, freedom from defects — sig- 
nifying that the cure was entire, and 
that he was perfectly restored. ^ In 
the presence of you all. He appeals to 
their knowledge of the ficts as eye- 
witnesses. He also challenges their 
denial of the miracle, and this shows 
how clear it was to all that a miracle 
had been performed. 

17. And now hrelhrcji. He tenderly 
uddresses these murderers of our Lord 
as breihi-en — of the same nation and 
coucnani, and his "kinsman according 
to the flosh," Rom. 12 : 1. He speaks 
hero in a conciliatory strain, and gives 
them any advantage which they could 
fairly claim from their ignorance. 
" Because it was to be doubted lest, 
being cast down with despair, they 
should refuse his doctrine, ho doth a 
little lift them up." — Calvin. ^ / zvot 
— I know — I am well aware — as Christ 
Himself admitted, Luke 23 : 34. 
T Through ignorance. The ignorance 
was no sufficient excuse, for it was it- 
self blamable, as the fruit of pride 
and prejudice. But the offense would 
have been more heinous if it had been 
committed against full light and gospel 
Icnowledge. Our Lord had declared 
on the cross, that they knew not what 
they did, Luke 23 : 84. Paul declared 
the some, 1 Cor. 2 : 8— and of himself, 
1 Tim. 1:13. Doubtless they did not 
taow that He was the Messiah, though 



the ignorance of some of them was 
more positive than that of others. Ig- 
norance of the law is no extenuation 
of guilt. They were also guilty of 
their ignorance. It was their duty to 
have known the law. And many of 
them doubtless would have known Him 
to be the Messiah, but for their rebel- 
lious and proud unbelief. Yet how 
could they have done this awful deed 
if they had known what they were do- 
ing? ^ Your rulers. " For had they 
known it, says Paul — (God's scheme 
of salvation by Christ) — they would not 
have crucified the Lord of Glory," (1 
Cor. 2:8.) 

18. But those things — in reference to 
Christ's death. "For they that dwell 
at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because 
they knew Him not, nor yet the voice 
of the Prophets which are read every 
Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them 
in condemning Him." Ch. 13:27. 
"Ignorance, he says, has made you 
guilty; yet God has brought that to 
pass which He had determine'l, that 
Christ should redeem men by His 
death." — Calvin. Observe. — "Christ 
was not given up to the malice of the 
wicked, but God was the chief Author 
by whose will His only Son did sulfer." 
Calvin. ^ Before had shewed. Had 
showed beforehand — predicted. T[ All 
His prophets. For "the testimony of 
Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Bev. 
ly : 10.) So in vs. 24, " all the proph- 
ets" are said to have spoken of the 
days of refreshing and restitution. The 
prophets are regarded here as a body 
actuated by one spirit, and that the 
testimony of Jesus. "The spirit of 
Christ was in them and testified be- 
forehand the suiferings of Christ .and 
the glory that should follow." 1 Pet. 
1: 11. '^ Hath so fulfilled. He hath 
fulfilled these things thus, in this way, 
by the stubborn, ignoi'ant, raurderoua 
rejection of Christ on tho part of ths 



95 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 



jrca. 2:38. 19 •][ ^ Picpcnt jQ., tliereforo, and be converted, that your 

sins may be blotted out, Avhen the times of refresliing shall 
come from the presence of the Lord ; 



rulers. These were the means which 
God employed, and thus He made the 
vrrath of man to praise Him. But 
Observe. — (1) Themurderers of Christ 
acted freely, they crucified and slew 
Him by wicked bauds. (2) The pre- 
determining and predicting of the event 
did not lessen their guilt. (3) God's con- 
trolling of their wicked acts, so as to 
have His glory promoted, did not at all 
excuse them. So Joseph said unto bis 
brethren, (Gen. 50: 20,) "But as for 
you, ye thought evil against me, but 
God meant it unto good to bring to 
pass as it is this day to save much peo- 
ple alive." It is not the sinner nor his 
deeds that thus promote God's glory. 
It is neither his intention nor the ten- 
dency of his work. But it is God's won- 
derful prerogative that the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against His cause. 
Meanwhile Observe— It is a great proof 
of the Scriptures that such an amazing 
plan could have been so brought about 
even by wicked agencies, according to 
ancient prophecies, all moi-e or less bear- 
ing upon this point. And so the Risen 
Lord, " beginning at Closes a?id all the 
prophets, expounded unto them in all 
the Scriptures, (history and prophecy,) 
the things concerning Himself." (Luke 
24: 27.) 

19. Peter had thus preached to them 
the Risen Jesus as the author of this 
miracle and as their Messiah — whom 
they had rejected — and faith in His 
name as the grand soui-ce of power to 
men. Thus naturally he comes to 
preach to them Repentance, because 
he had shown to them that there was 
yet room for pardon and salvation. 
*^Rcpentye, therefore — changeyoiir minds. 
The Gospel motive for repentance is 
involved in this. Christ and John the 
Baptist preached, "Pi.epent, for the 
kingdom of heaven is at hand." Peter 
here preaches, Repent, for the Messiah 
has come, and here is the proof of His 
living and exalted power. Thus the 
miracle was pointed to as the evidence 
that He whom they had put to death 



was alive and active in the alFairs of 
men. So in the case of Saul, where 
Christ said, "I am Jesus whom thou 
persecutest." And this work of heal- 
ing was the further evidence that Christ 
was alive and aative for human deliv- 
erance and salvation. ^ And be con- 
verted. Rather, turn. As the fruit of 
repentance, carry on a true and thor- 
ough conversion. In regeneration, the 
sinner is passive. lie is acted upon 
by Divine and efficacious power. Con- 
version follows this, and is a turning 
from all evil ways. In this the man ia 
active, Ezekiel 18: 31. "Workout," 
or carry out, "your own salvation," 
graciously begun in you by God. (Phil. 

2 : 12.) Yet in conversion Divine grace 
is just as requisite as in regeneration. 
See Isa. G : 10 ; Matt. 13 : 15.' f That— 
in order that. Ch. 2 : 38. They were 
exhorted to turn away from their sinful 
habits and tenets as a people, so that in- 
iquity should not be their ruin (Ezek. 
18:30.) ^Blotted out. See Isa. 43 : 25. 
God claims to be " He who blotteth out 
our transgressions for His name's sake, 
and will not remember our sins." Re- 
pentance does not merit pardon. It 
does not cancel sin, nor undo a wicked 
deed. But repentance is to this end — 
it looks to this, as the object and result 
to be attained. It is a turning the face 
to God — to seek Him — to cease forsa- 
king and denying Him as He who for- 
gives and saves. The term here ren- 
dered blotted out, "refers to the mode 
of expunging from a book or tablet, 
or canceling a debt — icipedout — smeared 
out." (It is used in Col. 2 : 14 ; Rev. 

3 : 5. And in Rev. 7 : 17 and 21 : 4, it 
is used of wiping nway tears. See Isa. 
44 : 22, "I have blotted out, as a thick 
cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud 
thy sins : return unto me ; for I have 
redeemed thee.") The ancients wrote 
ou tablets covered with wax, and when 
they wished to blot out what they had 
written, they used the flat end of the 
iron pen, and thus obliterated every 
trace of it. So the repeating sinner 



A. D.SO.J 



CHAP. III. 



20 An J he .sliall send Jesus Christ, 
uuto you : 



hich before was preached 



who turns to this Risen Saviour has the 
promise of an utter expunging of his 
sins — rubbing out every trace of tlicni 
— from God's book of account. ^ JV/ien 
'he times. This does not mean that 
ihey would not be pardoned till some 
future time. The more literal render- 
ing is ^' that the times." This was tlie 
end they were to have ia view, that 
" the times and seasons" which they had 
Eo anxiously inquired about, miyhl 
come. These were also "times of restora- 
tion" or restitution, {uKOKaTua-aaic rrap- 
Tuv) such as God had promised, thougli 
not such as they were lookii.g for. lie 
exhorts them to repent and turn to 
God, with a view to this, and as contrib- 
uting to bring abjut the glorious con- 
summation whicli Gcd had promised by 
His prophet •-. They would have no part 
in these times unless they repented. 
Observe. — It was with them as with the 
lame man. They gathered around their 
temple asking a very inferior blessing 
of temporal preferment, not dreaming 
that their crippled and helpless condi- 
tion was the thing to be cared, and the 
refreshing and restoration to be sought. 
While they are asking an alms, God 
will have them receive healing and sal- 
vation, by trusting in the Name of this 
Crucified but Risen Redeemer. This 
miracle, therefore, is wrought as a sign 
for Israel. ^ 0/ refreshing. As the 
same terms Katpoi and xP^vol are used 
in these two phrases, "■seasons of re- 
fi-eshing" and " times of restitution," 
and as the term in vs. 20 rendered 
"restitution," is the same term as is 
used in vs. 6, rendered " restore," and 
more properly Ijere (the noun) to be 
rendered "restoration," it is plain that 
Peter refers the Jews to that very ciues- 
tioning and to the reply of our Lord, 
ch. 1 : G, 7. These are " the times and 
the seasons." And he addressed his 
hearers as directly concerned in bring- 
ing them about. Connected with the 
ancient promises for the restoration of 
the kingdom to Israel, is the covenant 
promise of seasons of rafreshing "from 
thepresence of the (Risen) Lord." These 



seasons are such as at Pentecost, which 
He shed forth, (ch. 2 : o3,) and such as 
should result now from their repent- 
ance, swelling the numbers of the 
Church to five thousand, ch. 4: 4; and 
such as Joel predicted as coming upon 
all flesh for the millennial times. These 
are like the seasons of spring to the 
earth from genial rains, and the out- 
pouring of the Spirit is likened to these 
refreshing showers from heaven. These 
times look constantly forward to the 
" times (epochs) of restoration," which 
are but the glorious consummation, as 
a millennium, the reign of Christ on the 
earth, when His kingdom will have 
fully come. There may be a I'ef'cr- 
ence to that time as the Great Sabbath 
and Jubilee of the Church. 

20. And he shall send. Rather, And 
that he may send. Christ is to come 
again. Tliis was their great expecta- 
tion, according as the angels announced 
it at the Ascension, (cii. 1: 11.) He 
is to come for the final consummation 
at the last Judgment. Peter declares 
that the times of i-el'reshing arc con- 
nected with this. The millennial times, 
when, according to tlie fullness of Jool's 
prophecy, the Spirit shall be poured 
out upon all Hesh, will be a coming of 
Christ in power and glory to reign. 
And this shall usher in the consumma- 
tion — the restoration or restitution of 
all things promise 1 by the prophets. 
Thus He would " restore the kingdom 
to hrael." Meanwhile, it is necessary, 
according to the Divine plan, that the 
heavens receive Him until the final con- 
summation — that, though active in this 
work and sending down these refresh- 
ings, He should be ofliciating in heaven, 
and exalted as "Head overall things to 
the Church," (Eph. 1:22) — "crowned 
with glory," (Hcb. 2: 9.) See 2 Pet. 
3: 9. Observe. — (1) The second 
coming is here spoken of as that for 
which the first was only preparatory — 
and is therefore this "sending" or 
mission of Christ. (2) The conversioa 
of the Jews, especially, is closely con- 
nected with the consummation of all 



98 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 



21 ^ Whom the heaven must receive until the times of 
'restitution of all things, *• which God hath spoken by the 
mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 



things. They shall be brought in 
when the fullness of the Gentiles is 
come in, (Rom. 11: 25.) {'^>) The re- 
pentance and conversion of sinners are 
the condition of the speedy npproach of 
thcs« blessed times. (4) All may help 
by their conversion and by laboring for 
that of others, in bringing forward the 
millennial times. 1 Which before tvas 
preached. The more correct text reads : 
" Who ivas before appointed to you" as 
your j\Iessiah — Him who was predes- 
tined as your iMessiah — namely, Jesus. 
This is the most approved reading, 
found in the ancient Syriac and Arabic 
yersions. 

21, Whom the heaven. Rather, 
Whom heaven — literally, ichom it is 
necessary that heaven receive. The Apos- 
tle takes this rapid survey of the 
entire Gospel Dispensation, and here 
accounts for the present temporary 
absence of Christ from the earth. The 
Jews expected their Messiah to reign 
in the flesh. ^ Must receive, (c5«.) 
This necessity, according to the Scrip- 
tural usage, is that which grows out 
of the Divine plan. It is the necessity 
which belongs to the Divine arrange- 
ments. Some read: "AVho must pos- 
sess, or take possession of, or receive 
the heaven." But the Engli.sh version 
gives the most correct and approved 
rendering. It was necessary that 
Christ should enter heaven while the 
glorious consummation is going for- 
ward, and until it comes fully to pass. 
He needed to appear there in the holiest 
of all as our Great High Priest, (Ileb. 
7: 15,) and Forerunner, (Heb. 6: 20,) 
occupying His throne there as Head 
over all things to the Church, (Eph. 1 : 
20-22,) and as exalted "to be a Prince 
and a Saviour, for to give repentance to 
Israel," (ch. 5: 31,) and for sending 
the Comforter, John 16. See 1 Pet. 
3 : 22. ^ Until the times of restitution. 
Christ shall continue in His heavenly 
abode until these appointed ti7ne3 shall 
arrive, called h^re "the times of 
restitution," &c. The term here used 



means restoration, and refers back 
again to the term employed by the 
Apostles in their inquiry, ch. 1: G, 
"Wilt thou at ih\3 time restore again 
the kingdom to Israel?" Our Lord 
had answered them generally that as 
to the precise periods they were not to 
know, but their power should come 
from the Holy Ghost, so that they 
shou'.d be witnesses to Him throughout 
the world. And now that consumma- 
tion is further contemplated — the uni- 
versal diffusion of the Gospel, called 
by our Lord "the Regeneration:" when 
the Son of man shall come in His 
glory, and when the restoration of the 
kingdom should so far be realized to 
them as that they should sit on twelve 
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of 
Israel, (Matt. 19: 28.) The term here 
rendered "until" refers forward to the 
arrival of these times as a future 
event, bui Joes not exclude the idea 
of •'during," as regards the operations 
going on toward that result. He must 
remain in the heaven during these 
Gospel times, and until the millennial 
times have ushered in the consumma- 
tion. OnsERVE. — As Christ is here 
declared to be bodily in heaven, and 
under the necessity of remaining there 
until the end or winding up of this 
closing dispensation, He cannot bo 
bodily present in the Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper. "The natural body 
and blood of our Saviour Christ are in 
heaven, and not here." Tf Of all things. 
This restoration or restitution or re- 
generation is that creation of "new 
heavens and a new earth," predicted by 
Isaiah, and referred to by Peter (2 
Pet. 3: 13,) in his Epistle, and by 
John in the close of the Revelation, 
(Rev. 21: 1-5.) The terms here used 
were employed by our Lord, (Matt. 
17: 11,) in speaking of Elias as to 
restore all things, (using the verb, cor- 
responding with the noua here.) and 
this is explained as referring directly 
to the thorough reformation which 
John the Baptist was to undertake as 



A. D. 30] CHAP. III. 99 

22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, "A prophet Jg'i'i""'"' 
shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your '=''•'■ "• 
brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoercr 
he shall say unto you. 



a preparation for Christ, (Luke 1: 17.) 
This restoration or new creation, how- 
ever, was in a higher sense to be 
effected only by Christ himself, as the 
Great Restorer from the ruins of the 
fiill. The issue here contemplated is 
that often referred to in the Old Testa- 
ment by Isaiah and David, &c., (Ps. 
110: 1,) and in the New Testament, as 
the subjugation of all enemies, (1 Cor. 
15,) the reconciling of all things to 
Himself, both in earth and in heaven, 
(Col. 1: 20,) and the recapitulating — 
gathering together in one, under one 
Head— all things in Christ, (Eph. 1: 
10,) of Jews and Gentiles. Obsebve. 
— To the Jews the idea of a universal 
restoration was familiar in their Jubi- 
lee, when all forfeited estates were to be 
restored. And Christ is our Goel or 
"Kinsman Redeemer,"' whose office it is 
*o redeem our forfeited inheritance. 
It is also thought by some that that 
very year was a year of Jubilee, A. D. 
30. \ Which God hath spoken. This 
consummation is the great leading 
topic of prophecy from the first promise 
in the garden to the close of the Old 
Testament. And again the New Tes- 
tament prophets reiterate it, as here. 
Observe. — From the whole tenor of 
these prophecies, it is plain that the 
Bestoratiou promised is not, as sojue 
vainly imagine, a recovery of fallen 
angels and of the lost souls in hell. 
This is nowhere predicted norpromised, 
but the contrary. % Since the world 
began. Pwather, From the beginning — 
from the earliest times of prophecy. 
This would show the hearers that the 
Apostles did not reject their prophets, 
but rather gloried in them and ex- 
pounded them. Observe. — (1) "The 
testimony of Jesus is the spirit of 
prophecy," (Rev. 19: 10.) (2) The 
coming of Christ in glory is a truth 
most terrible to His foes, and an 
incentive to repentance. We do not 
•ufficiently feel the force of this great 



motive to diligence, that to us, at least, 
the day of the Lord speedily cometh, 
as a thief in the night. We are to 
look for and hasten unto the coming 
of the day of God as at farthest near, 
and at any rate hastening, 2 Pet. 3 : 12. 
22. For Moses truly said. The Apos- 
tle having referied generally to their 
prophets as having predicted the glo- 
rious Restoration through Christ, now 
refers to Moses, in whom they trusted, 
(John 5 : 45,) and shows that he had 
predicted Christ as a Prophet, and had 
commanded obedience to Him on pain 
of excommunication from the common- 
wealth of Israel, t Unto the fathers. 
To their ancestors in common — Peter's 
and theirs. Tf A prophet. Though 
Moses here foretold of the succession 
of prophets that God would raise up, 
that succession was regarded as culmi- 
nating in Christ, the greatest of Pro- 
phets. See Deut. 18:15-19. He was 
called " that Prophet" — " that Prophet 
which was to come." See John 1 : 21. 
This promise to the nation of a line 
of prophets, was as a security to them 
against the false reliances of the hea- 
then, such ns divinations and necro- 
mancy. Each of the prophets was 
one of a line that led on to Christ. 
Each prefigured Ilim and gave further 
promise of His coming. And as none 
of all the prophets fulfilled this descrip- 
tion of being like unto Moses, in most 
important particulars, the Jews ex- 
pected "the coming one," though of- 
ten with gross misunderstanding of his 
nature and work. 1 Unto you. To be 
your Teacher and Guide. ^ Like unto 
me. Christ alone was like unto Moses 
as the Mediator of a covenant and the 
Lawgiver of Israel — and a Deliverer 
of His people, and their Leader out of 
bondage tlirough the wiliierncss — the 
Head of a dispensation and a Ruler to 
be obeyed. See Gen. 3:19; cb. 7: 35. 
The chief reference in the original 
passage is to the office of Mediator. 



IOC 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 



23 An.l it shall cfune to pass, that every soul which will not hear 
ttat pmpuct, shiill be destroyed from among the people. 

24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow 



The idea is that "since tlie Israelites 
had been uuable to endure the terrors 
of the Divine Majesty, God would, at 
Bome futiu-e time, send to them another 
Mediator, through whom He could 
communicate with them as lie had 
done through Moses." Yet Moses was 
far inferior to Christ. See Gal. 3 : 19; 
Heb. 9 : 15. And now their inquiries 
of John and of Christ, as to their be- 
ing this Prophet, show that they ex- 
pected Ilim, John 1 : 21, 25. Moses 
spake trull/, says Peter. He does not 
dispute nor discredit Moses. Shall 
they do so, and this deny the tcsti- 
nionj' of the Great Founder of their 
nation? — That God had now raised up 
this Prophet and sent Him to them, 
he shows and presses home, (vs. 20.) 
][ Shall ye hear. They were thus most 
solemnly charged to receive the in- 
structions of this Prophet, and yield 
obedience to Him iu all things what- 
soever He should say unto them, ch. 
2 : 21. Observe. — It was in Moses 
that Christ was first clearly set forth 
and typified as a rcrsonal Saviour. 

23. It shall come to pass. Literally, 
It shall be. These words are inserted 
by Peter in m-akiug the citation from 
the Hebrew, in order, as the Spirit 
prompted him, to arrest their special 
attention. This is not Peter's lan- 
guage that follows, but that of Moses, 
whom they boasted and professed to 
believe and trust. "Moses wrote of 
me," said Christ, (John 5 : 46.) How 
dare they so deny Moses and disobey 
the predicted Prophet of prophets, in 
the face of this judgment so plainly 
denounced against such transgression? 
^ Shall be destroyed. Literally in the 
Hebrew passage it reads, I will require 
it of him — I will take vengeance upon 
him. This declares that God Himself 
woul i visit punishment upon such an 
one. Peter uses this common mode 
of expression to denote the kind of 
punishment, namely, cutting off from 
the body of the people. Exod. 12 : 15, 
19; SO : 03; Numbers 19 : 13. This 



phrase was familiar, and was under- 
stood as signifying excommunication 
from the special privileges of God's 
covenant people, so as to be regarded 
as heathen. This was the Old Testa- 
ment language for expressing the most 
fearful judgment ef God. (See 1 Cor. 
10: 22.) So it was enjoined, (Exod. 
22 : 20,) that an apostate Israelite 
should be anathema, or as our Eng- 
lish version reads, "utterly destroyed." 
The New Testament language is, " shall 
be cast into outer (outside) darkness" 
— "everlasting destruction from the 
presence of the Lord," (2 Thess. 1:9; 
Matt. 8 : 12.) 

24. Peter's aim is here to re-assert 
the unanimity of the prophets (their 
own boasted prophet.^,) in regard to 
these glorious times of the Church in 
the Messiah's days. Samuel is here 
named as the head of the prophetic 
line, because in his time prophecy be- 
came an established function, and an 
order of prophets was instituted, of 
whom he was the head. A "school of 
the prophets" was founded under him. 
1 Sam. 19 : 20. Besides, the song of 
Hannah at hfs birth was referred to 
and adopted in part by Mary at the 
salutation of Elizabeth in regard to the 
holy child Jesus, and thus Marj' reaches 
her hand over the whole line to Han- 
nah. See 1 Sam. 2 : 1-8; 10: 35. Be- 
sides, only two prophets are spoken of 
between Moses and Samuel, and these 
only delivering occasional messages. 
Thenceforth as the kings were allowed 
to the people, the prophets were estab- 
lished as a regular order, to stand be- 
tween God and the king; and these 
were//-07« Samuel down ; and from this 
time onward the days of the Great 
Prophet have been the subject of 
prophecy by these very prophets, who 
thus confessed that they were neither 
of them the Prophet whom Moses fore- 
told. ^ As many as have spoken. 
Though all of them had not perhaps 
in very words spoken of the glori- 
owi cousummatioa in Messiah's txma. 



4. D. 30.] 



CHAP. III. 



10\ 



after, as many as have spoken, have likewise for (.told of thesa 
days. 

25 * Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the cov Rom.glfs, 
enant which God made with our fathers, saying unto ^Vl/:^ 



" the testimony of Jesus is the spirit 
of prophecy," — "the spirit of Christ 
was in them, and testified beforehand 
the sufferings of Christ and the glory 
that should follow." " And beginning 
at Moses and all the prophets, He ex- 
pounded unto them in all the Scrip- 
tures the things conoerning Himself." 
(Luke 24: 27.) The passages in Sam- 
uel here more especially referreil to, 
may be 1 Sam. 2 : 10-35 ; 2 Sam. 7 : 
16. After the application of these pre- 
dictions to our Lord, the .Jewish Rab- 
bis, who had always before confessed 
their reference to the Messiah, tried to 
prove their reference to some other of 
the prophets and any other than Christ, 
though in our Lord's time it was uni- 
versally admitted by them that the 
Great Prophet had not j'et appe.ared. 
John 1 : 21 ; G : 14. Observe. — As 
the kingdom of Israel began in Sam- 
uel's time, and flourished in the time 
of David and Solomon, prophecy more 
clearly set forth the kingdom of Christ, 
and the mother of Samuel is the first 
who makes mention of the Lord's /u«y 
and Anointed, (Messiah.) 1 Sam. 2 : 
10-35. 

25. Peter now brings the matter of 
personal privilege and obligation home 
to them, by showing their relation to 
God's ancient people and covenant. He 
shows them that they were inheritors of 
these promises — that these very proph- 
ets were their ancestors, and that these 
were reasons why they should apply to 
themselves the benefits that .Jesus 
Chri.'it, the true Messiah, " the hope of 
Israel," brings. They were children 
(or sons) of the covenant, because they 
Avere included in the outward pale of 
God's Church, "to whom were com- 
mitted the oracles of God," (Rom. 3:2,) 
" whose are the fathers, and of whom 
ns concerning the flesh Christ came." 
(Rom. 9: 4.) As the chosen seed of 
Abraliam, and the covenant people, 
they enjoyed very distinguished privi- 
9* 



leges. The blessings promised to Abra- 
ham to come through the Jlessiah, 
were brought very nigh to them. They 
had thus a birthright by an outward 
calling which specially obligated them 
to the obedience of faith. "They were 
bound to act as the true, spiritual chil- 
dren of faithful Abraham. For he ar- 
gueth thus, 'God made his covenant 
with our fathers — therefore we, who 
are their posterity, are comprehended 
in the covenant.' 1 grant, indeed, 
tiiat many which are the children of 
the faithful according to the flosh are 
counted spurious and bastards, be- 
cause they thrust themselves out of the 
holy piogeny through tlieir unbelief. 
But this doth no whit hinder the Lord 
from calling and admitting the seed 
of the godly into fellowship of grace. 
And so although the common election 
be not effectual in all, yet may it set 
open a gate for the specially elect." — 
Calvin. See Rom. 11 : 23. This is 
the tenor of the Abr.ahamic covenant. 
With the believing pare^j it includes 
the infant ofl^spring also ; and by this 
household feature God promises to bo 
a God to the children of His people. 
The children of the covenant are thus 
born within the outward pale of the 
Church — are children of the Church — 
the seal of the covenant has been ap- 
plied to them in infancy, and they are 
born in such a relation to God as no 
other children are born in, and they 
are put under special obligations to 
act as becomes the children of God. 
Yet, as in case of these very Jews, if 
they reject Christ, the covenant doca 
not save them, in their unbelief and 
rebellion. And if they are only "Jews 
outwardly" and not "Jews inwardly," 
they are not saved by their hereditary 
privilege. They only bring upon them- 
selves deeper condemnation. And un- 
less they give evidence of inward piety, 
no matter how holy their ancestors 
were, they must perish. Alas! "raany 



102 



flG*n. 12:3, & 
18:18, & 22:15 
fc26:4,&28:lt 
Gil. 3:8. 
/Matt. 10:5, 
and 15 : 24. 
Luke 24:47. 
ch. 13: 32, 33: 46. 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A D. 30. 



Matt. 



:21. 



Abraham, 'xVnd in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the 
earth be bles.scd. 

26 'Unto you first, God, naving raised up his Son 
Jesus, 8 sent him to bless you, ""in turning away every one 
of you from his Iniquities. 



shall come from tlie east and from the 
west, (who were born of Gentile and 
uncovenanted parents,) and shall sit 
down with Abraham, and Isaac, and 
Jacob, in the Idngdom of God, while 
tJie children of the kingdom shall be 
cast out." The Apostle here exhorts 
these Jews, though thoy were children 
of the covenant by birth, to turn away 
from their iniquities, (20,) and that 
without such true, hearty repentance 
and embrace of Christ, they would not 
be saved. ^ An'1 in thy seed. Gen. 3 : 
29; 4: 1-7. (1) This" ble.=sing prom- 
ised in the covenant to all families of 
the earth, was to come in the Abra- 
hamic seed as the lineal posterity 
through whom Clirist should come, the 
chosen people, the visible Church, 
through whom tlie covenant blessings 
should be transmitted to all generations 
and be extended to the Gentiles. (2) 
This blessing could come only in Christ 
— who was most eminently Abraham's 
SEED, (Gal. 3: 16,) the Head of the 
body — the Son in the house, greater 
than iMoses and Abraham, Heb. 3 : G ; 
7 : 4, &c. for whose coming in the cov- 
enant line the family of Abraliam was 
chosen. Observe. — The Messiah and 
His people, arc often in the Old Testa- 
ment set forth as a complex Person — 
He the Head and they the body — and 
both are spoken of as "the Servant of 
Jehovah." Sometimes with more spe- 
cial reference to Christ and at other 
times to the people. Isa. 42 : 1 ; 52 : 
13. So they were both to be "a light 
to the Gentiles." (Isa. 42 : G ; Luke 
2:32.) And accordingly He Himself 
says at one time, "lam the light of 
the world," (John 8: 12,) and at an- 
other time, " Ve are the light of the 
world." (Matt. 5:14.) ^ The kindreds. 
It is expressed in Gen. 12:3; 28 : 14, 
as all the tribci ("families") of the 
earth— in Gen. 18: 18; 22 : 18, as all 
the nations of the earth. Here the 



term denotes those who have a common 
ancestor, and is applied to kindred or 
families. The promise was that by the 
coming of the Jlessiah in the line of 
Abraham's chosen seed, all the nations 
of the earth (not the Jews only) should 
be blessed. Tlie extension of covenant 
privileges to the Gentiles, so that the 
Church of Gcd should embrace all kin- 
dreds, without regard to nation, was 
clearly foretold by the prophets. The 
Apostles were certainly aware of this, 
though they seem to have expected 
that the Gentiles would come into the 
Church through the Jewish pale, by 
Circumcision and the Passover, instead 
of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. 
This was the scruple that Peter had, 
(ch. 10) in regard to the admission of 
the Gentiles. 

26. Unto you first. See vs. 22. This 
was the birthright of the Jewish peo- 
ple, as Peter here declares unto them. 
They had the precedence above other 
nations. The call was to them first. 
The Gospel call was first made to them. 
The Apostles were charged to begin 
their work at Jerusalem, Luke 24 : 47, 
(though Christ was lately crucified 
there,) and the law was to go forth out 
of Zion. Here Peter implies that the 
Gospel was to be preached to the hea- 
then. (Isa. 2:3.) In their Apostolic 
labors for gathering the early Chris- 
tian Church, they were to preach first 
to the Jews, and make to them the first 
offer of the Gospel, and only upon their 
rejection of it, (as at Antioch in Pi- 
sidia, &c.) did they turn to the Gentiles. 
Acts 13 : 46. They recognized this as 
the established order of their ministra- 
tions. Our Lord confined His publio 
ministry to the Jews, except incident- 
ally, as to the Samaritan and Syrophe- 
nician woman. Tf Having raised up. 
As Moses had predicted that "a Proph- 
et should the Lord their God raise up 
unto them," &c. (vs. 22,) so here Petei 



A. D. SO.] 



CHAP. IV. 



CHAPTER 17. 

1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, aad 
the II captain of the temple, and the S-iddaeees, came upon l^i'^Z' 
them: 



shows that this is fulfiUel in Christ, 
and that this Prophet of God's ap- 
poiatiag is His Son Jesus. This dojs 
not refer to His beihg raised from (ha 
doad, but raised up for His work — 
brought forward ia Hi's huina;i natur^i, 
of the seed of Abraham an I David, 
Rom. 1: 1, and commissioned according 
to prophecy. ■ ^ Jlis Son. Rather, 
His Servant. The term is not the com- 
mon one for i^on, {vloc) but Trdtf, the 
same as is used in vs. 13. It was as 
"the Servant of Jehovah" that Isaiah 
prophesied of Christ often, in the char- 
acter of the Head of the covenant peo- 
ple ; " His Servant to bring Jacob 
again to Him," Isaiah 49 : 5, G ; 42 ; 
4:5: 10; "And my Servant, whom I 
have chosen, that ye may know and be- 
lieve me and undcrsta-.id that I am 
He," &c. ^ Senl Hm. This refers to 
the appointment and mission of Jesus 
Christ and His ministry, continued udw 
by His Spirit, 'i To bless yoii. Rather, 
Blessing you — as one whose province it 
is to b!Q^s you ; and this is the way in 
which H J does it — not in any vain, te;n- 
poril promotion, such a^ you m ly im- 
agiut!, but in turni'ij aw.iy euenj one of 
ijou from his iniquities. This is wh it 
lie aims at, and proposes in His Gos- 
pel. So this Apostle had already 
preached to them to repent, and while 
he urged them to turn, he declared also 
to them Christ's power and oflFer to turn 
them ; exalted as He is to give re- 
pentance unto Israel and remission of 
Hins, as the great gift and blessing of 
the Gospel, ch. 5: 31. Observe. — (1) 
How griat is the blessing that the Gos- 
pel brings to us Gentiles. (2) Baptized 
•shildren ai*e "bynatui-a the childreu 
of wrath, even as others," (Eph. 2: 3,) 
iiud (hough they are children of the 
covenant and of the Church, they are 
not the spiritual children of God except 
by faith in Christ Jeais. Gal. 3: 26. 
(;i) God does not send the Saviour to 



bless U5 in our sins, but to bless us in 
turning us from our sins. (4) We may 
judge whether we are of the saved or 
not, by inquiring whether the salvation 
from sin is going on within us : by ex- 
amining whether this work of turning 
us from our iniquities is going forward 
or not. 

CHAPTER IV. 

I 7. The First Hostilitt — (S.\ddu- 
CEEs) — Arrest of Peter .vnd John 
— Further Growth OF THE Church 
to Five Thousand INIembers. Je- 
rusalem. Ch. 4 : 1-37. 

Peter was addressing the multitude 
in Solomon's porch of the temple, ch. 
3 : 11. The Jewish authorities thus 
pressed with their guilt, must either 
confess it, or suppress the testimony 
against them. As the kingdom of light 
advances under the ministry of these 
Apostles, both by miracle and the 
means of grace, so the kingdom of 
darkness is also aroused, and sets 
itself in active opposition. This has 
been the history of the Church in all 
age3. Exo I. 7 : 11. Satan aims to nip 
the truth in the bud. But God has or- 
dained that by these very coaflicts the 
truth shall be brought out to view in 
its most precious aspects, and the 
Church militant be disciplined for tiie 
glories of the Church triumphant. Wo 
shall see how at every step of her ad- 
vance the ground is sharply contested, 
so that through much tribulation every 
conquest shall be made for entering 
fully into possession of the kingdom. 
This rocord belongs not many days 
after Pentecost. Some think the fes- 
tival had not yet closed. 

1. Af! the;/ spake. It was the strong 
and wide impression that this miracle 
and discourse were making upon the 
people, which aroused the public offi- 
cers against the Apostles. It was " at 



104 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. J). 80. 



iJusaA!'^ 2 "Being grieved that they taught Jie people, and 
preached through Jesus the resurrection :'rom the dead 
3 And thoy laid hands on them, and put theyr. in hold unte the 
next day : for it was now cventido. 



the;/ spake, unto the people" that the as- 
sault upon them began from three 
classes. ^ The priests. These were the 
religious teachers of the people, and 
thejwere ofFeniled because these men, 
■who were not taught in the llabbinical 
schools, (vs. 13,) — should be assuming 
to teach, and thus be bringing their 
priestly office into discredit before the 
multitude. See Mai. 2 : 7. The priests 
and Levites were also stationed as 
guards of the temple. It was probably 
in this capacity that they now inter- 
pose, under their commandant, who is 
here called, " t!ic Captain of the Tem- 
ple." This was not a Roman officer, 
as some have supposed, but a Jewish 
one : the twenty-four bands of guai-ds 
had each its leader or commander. 
But a commander-in-chief is here spo- 
ken of. These priests and this chief 
officer of the watch would take occa- 
sion from the symptoms of popular 
disturbance. But the Sadducees were 
probably the chief movers in the oppo- 
sition. They had a controlling influ- 
ence in the Sanhodrim at this time, as 
ATOuld seem, (ch. 5 : 17.) They were 
the first to take an open stand against 
the doctrine of the Apostles, because 
the Resurrection, which it was their 
business to proclaim, and which Peter 
aow preached in the strongest light, 
they utterly denied. They were the 
more bitter now in the denial of it, 
because it was set forth in the case of 
Jesus whom they had crucified. It 
was the Pharisees who persecuted 
Christ because He exposed their hypoc- 
risy. These were so opposed to the 
Sadducees that they now rather sided 
with the Apostles from this party feel- 
ing — or perhaps did not think it worth 
while to persecute them. ^ Came 
upon them. The term here used im- 
plies commonly a hostile intent — that 
they came against them, using their 
•iithority an*' force against their pro- 



ceedings. See ch G : 12 ; 17 : 5 ; Luko 
20: 1. 

2. Beinff grieved. This term means 
rather aggrieved — [vexed and indignant.) 
These authorities of the Jewish peo- 
ple, who ought to have taught them 
the true doctrine o^ Christ, were griev- 
ously offendod at the Apostles for 
teaching it. See Matt. 21 : 23. In- 
stead of embracing the truth them- 
selves, they are most aggrieved at 
seeing their office of " teaching the 
people" assumed by private, unofScial 
men. ^ Through Jesus, hit., In Jesus 
— in His case. With the Sadducees the 
special vex!ition was, that these new 
teachers preached (proclaimed) in the 
case of Jesus, the doctrine of the Re- 
surrection — that is, that thcj proclaim- 
ed tlie fact of Christ's Resurrection as 
a proof of the doctrine, and published 
it as exemplified in His personal case. 
Their office was to bear witness of 
Christ's Resurrection, as they were 
raised up to be personally eye-witness- 
es of the fact, ch. 1 : 22. And in pro- 
claiming this great fundamental truth, 
they placed the doctrine of the Resur- 
rection in a light the most strong, and 
yet most oifensive to these murderers 
of Christ, ch. 5 : 23. 

3. 7%vy/ laid hatids on them. These 
officers of the guard, with the counte- 
nance of the Sadducees, arrested the 
Apostles and put them in hold — that is, 
in prison — literally, a place of custody. 
There was such a place near the tem- 
ple, and probably under ground. 
^ Eventide. They could not proceed 
with any trial until the next day, as 
it was already' evening, and it was con- 
trary to the law to try any one and 
pass sentence at night. The Jews 
reckoned two evenings — one at three 
o'clock and the other at six. This 
must have been the latter of these, as 
they went to the temple at three, (vs. 
1.^ It -was, therefore, in the dnsk ol 



A D. 30. ] 



CHAP. IV 



105 



4 Howbcit many of them which heard the word believed; and 
the number of the men \yas about five thousand. 

5 ^ And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and 
elders, and scribes, 

6 And "Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, John^nVi; aa* 
and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the ^'^'■'^^■ 
high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 



the evening when the Apostles were 
Boized. Thus, says Bengel, their faith 
was sharpened. 

4. Uowbeit. Notwithstanding this 
pex'secution of the Apostles by the 
Jewish authorities, which was calcu- 
lated to keep bacii many from joining 
them, there were many believers in 
the Word, (the Gospel,) who professed 
their faith; and thus the Church of 
one hundred and twenty, (ch. 1: 15,) 
which, at Pentecost, had three thous- 
and added, and still others daily, (ch. 
2 : 47,) was increased till the number of 
the members amounted to five thousand. 
This was probably not many days after 
the Pentecost, and some have thought 
it was before the close of that festival. 
liut see ch. 2: 47. This shows the 
rapidly increasing numbers of the 
Church, in the face of persecution. 
And such was everywhere the history 
of its advance in the first centuries, 
proving the Divine presence and power 
with His people, f Of the vien. Of 
the persom — the members ; as it is said, 
(ch. 1: 15,) "the number of the names," 
and in ch. 2: 41, "three thousand 
souls." T[ Was — literally, became, or Aac? 
become; and not, as some think, that 
five thousand were converteJ at this 
time. 

5. The Apostles are now put on trial 
before the Sanhedrim, the highest court 
of the nation, as soon as the day time 
arrived, when it was lawful to carry 
on and issue a trial before the court. 
T Their rulers, &c. These terms to- 
gether, denote the diflferent classes who 
made up the Sanhedrim, (vs. 15.) See 
Matt. 2:4; 2G: 59; ch. 5: 21. It is 
oftener written "the chief priests, with 
the elders and scribes," (Mark 15: 1,) 
•'chief priests and elders," (vs. 23.) 
Luke here speaks of " their rulers," as 
though writing for Qentiles, and mean- 



ing the rulers of the Jews. The term 
"rulers" may relate to the court in 
general, and the two following classes, 
together with those mentioned in vs. 6, 
will then denote those who made up 
the court, (see Ezra 10: 8,) all of 
whom were "rulers," (ch. 3: 17; Luke 
24 : 20 ; John 3:9.) f Elders— Presby- 
ters. These were a class of rulers in 
the synagogues, some of whom sat in 
this highest court. Elders, as a class 
of civil and church officers, had been 
known among the Jews from the time 
of the Exodus. They are called "elders 
of Israel," (vs. 8.) Stephen was con- 
demned by these, (ch. ti: 12.) Paul 
was persecuted by these, (ch. 23: 14, 
24; 25: 15.) \ Scribes. AVriters and 
expounders and guardians of the law. 
The elders were the representatives of 
the people, and the scribes were the 
spiritual leaders. 

6. And Annas. This man, who is 
also spoken of in the Gospel by Luke, 
(ch. 3:2,) with Caiaphas, as being 
both of them high priests, was prede- 
cessor of the latter, and his father-in- 
law. This is he to whom our Lord 
was first taken at his trial, (John 18; 
13,) .as having some priority of rank. 
This is accounted for from the fact 
that while by the Jewish law the office 
of high priest was held for life, it was 
shifted at pleasure by the Roman 
authorities. Hence, while but one 
would be the high priest in the Jewish 
view, the office might have passed to 
several others by the authority of the 
Romans, who deposed and appointed 
whom they pleased. Here Annas is 
designated as the high priest, (in the 
eye of the Jewish law the only one,) 
while Caiaphas is named also, as hold- 
ing the title under the Romans. See 
ch. 22 : 5, notes. T John and Alexander. 
These were relatives of Annas and 



106 



THE ACV'S OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A D. 80. 



eExod. 2:11. 
Matt, n : 23. 
ch. 7:27. 



7 A.nd -when they had set them in the midst, they 
asked, "By who.t power, or by what name, have yo done 
this ? 

8 *Thcn Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto 
them, Ye rulers ot' the people, and elders of Israel, 



Caiaphas, and must have been •well 
known ; though besides this, little can 
be said of them with certainty. ^ The 
kindred. Of the family of the high 
priest, "whose ancestors lately enjoyed 
the high priesthood." — Grotius. The 
attendance of so many persons of 
eminent station, here expressly named, 
shows the excited state of public feel- 
ing ; and the interest felt in the case 
personally by Annas and Caiaphas is 
shown by the fact that their priestly 
line were all summoned to attend. 
Five sons of Annas reached the high 
priesthood. What wonder that these 
two men. who had taken such a con- 
spicuous part in the death of Christ, 
were agitated now by the preaching of 
His actual Resurrection, and by the 
fact that it was believed by increasing 
multitudes ! Some take -yhovg to mean 
" order," instead of ^'family." So Jo- 
sephus uses the term. In this case, it 
would refer to the chief priests — heads 
of the twenty-four courses, who per- 
formed a weekly service in the temple. 
These formed part of the Sanhedrim, 
(Matt. 26 : 3 ; ch. 5 : 24.) ^ At Jeru- 
talem. This was formerly the only 
place where this court sat. But just 
prior to the time of our Lord, the 
increase of crime was so great that the 
court was removed from place to place. 
(See Lightfoot.) Others suppose that 
this refers to the summoning of some 
members from the neighboring towns, 
on this occasion. 

7. In the midst. The Apostles were 
placed in open court, before the San- 
hedrim and the people. The court 
itself sat on an elevated platform in a 
semicircle. The lame man was with 
the Apostles, (vs. 14.) ^ By what power. 
The term here used ifi that commonly 
rendered miracle, and refers to the 
efficacious power. The fact of the 
wonderful cure was admitted. The 
fact that it was by some preternatural 



power is implied in this questioning. 
If they should answer that it was by 
Divine Power, then they would be 
challenged to prove their commission, 
as it was the business of the Sanhedrim 
to try the pretensions of all such as 
claimed a Divine mission. If, however, 
this was not the claim, it would havo 
been ascribed to sorcery, and thus the 
Apostles would have been condemned 
to the severest penalty of the law. A 
similar question was put to our Lord, 
(Matt. 21 : 23.) t By what name. 
Supposing it to have been done by 
sorcery, then they would ask, " By the 
invoking or pronouncing of what magi- 
cal name it had been done." The 
Jews were familiar with such a magical 
use of the names of the patriarchs or 
of God, in their exorcisms. They 
knew that this deed had been done in 
the name of Josus, but they accused 
Jesus of casting out devils by Beelze- 
bub, and they meant to insinuate that 
it was likewise with the Apostles. 
^ This. Not the teaching or the 
preaching of the Resurrection, but the 
miracle is here meant. See vss. 9, 10. 
The pronoun "ye" is emphatic. This 
is tho very question that will bring 
out the choicest truth, (vs. 10.) So 
assaults upon the Church have brought 
the truth out in fuller light and force, 
as the Romish errors brought out the 
Epistle to the Romans and Galatians 
to be more studied and prized and 
published, 

8. Filled with the Holy Ghost. This 
phrase refers always to a special 
miraculous gift of the Spirit. See ch 
2 : 4, The Apostles had been promised 
such an inspiration whenever they 
should be thus arraigned before rulers 
for Christ's sake, (Luke 12: 12; 21: 
14, 15; Mark 13: 11.) f Ye rulers of 
the people. This is the ancient title of 
the high court of the Jews ; and tha 
Apostle acknowledges their authority, 



A. D. 30.1 



CHAP. IV. 



1C7 



9. If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impo- 
tent man, by what means he is made whole ; 

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people ot 
Israel, ^that by the name of Jesu? Christ of Nazareth^ «ch. 3:6-ic. 
whom ye crucified, ^whom God raised from the dead, even f"^-^'-^*- 
by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 



and calls them ' rulers" also, (aud 
"builders," vs. 11,) and refers to them 
under this nane, (vss. 26, 27.) ^ Elders 
of Israel. These were anciently the 
beads of the tnbes — " the chiefs of the 
fathers of the children of Israel" — 
called Presbyters, who were "rulers 
of the people" from the begiunin'g, (Ex. 
12 : 21.) This high court of the Jewish 
nation, called the Sanhedrim, consisted 
of seventy (or seventy-two) persons of 
rank — made up chiefly of the chief 
priests of the twenty-four courses who 
served weekly in the temple; and of 
ciders or presbyters, the most ancient 
class of officers among the Jews ; and 
of scribes — the lawyers, writers and 
teachers of the law. 

9. Jf ice, Ac. — as though it were 
scarcely credible. Or rather, Shicc we 
are tfiis day called to account. The par- 
ticle " if" is sometimes used in this 
sense. " I, if I be lifted up " — not im- 
plying doubt, but rather conveying the 
idea of certainty. So Ep!i. 3 : 2, " If 
ye have heard" — rather, " Since, or as 
surely as ye have heard." The terra 
here rendered "examined" means called 
to account, as a defendant or witness. 
See 12: 19; 28: 18. ^ Of the good 
deed — upon, or in ref<pect to a good deed. 
It could not be denied that it was "a 
good deed" — and as it was done to an 
■impotent (weak, disabled,) man, what 
fault could be found with them for this ? 
Yet they pretended only to inquire by 
virtue of their authority as the spirit- 
ual guardians of the people, by what 
means they had done this. Literally, 
in what — whereby — in possession of 
what preternatural power. ^ Jle. This 
one — emphatic. The man was present 
in company with the Apostles, vs. 14. 
Ojservk. — Modern infidelity goes be- 
yond the Sanhedrim, and denies the 
possibility of the miracle. 

10. Be it known, &c. This is the 



bold stand that Peter now takes. The 
very man who at the trial of his Lord 
was so afraid as to deny Him at the 
; questioning of a maid — the man who 
declared with an oath that he did not 
know Him — now does not shrink before 
this high court of inquisition, but most 
boldly in the face of all the danger 
confessed his Lord, and denounced 
these judges as His murderers. Ob- 
j SERVE. — This was because Christ had 
looked upon Peter with a converting 
look — because Christ had not denied 
Peter. Now Simon proves himself a 
i rock. If To all the people. Peter, in 
i addressing the court, remembered that 
i he was preaching Christ to the nation 
whom they represented. lie was the 
Apostle of the circumcision. U By the 
name. They had asked by what name 
this miraculous cure had been wrought. 
He replies, by the name of Jesus. They 
had, hy their own question, implied 
that it must be a powerful name, un- 
less they could think of a Satanio 
miracle. (Matt. 12 : 24. ) And as ti. 
Jewish prophets were required to work 
their miracles in the name of the true 
Jehovah, this declaration of Peter 
would be understood as claiming Jesus 
Christ to be Jehovah, which the Sanhe- 
drim would pronounce to be false. See 
ch. 3 : 6-1 G, where Peter professes to 
work by the power of this name alone. 
Peter uses this very title and name of 
Jesus in the act of healing, vs. 6. He is 
" Jesus," as Saviour — " Christ," as the 
Messiah of the Jews, predicted in the 
Old Testament, and He is "of Naza- 
reth" as the despised name which fol- 
lowed Him to the cross, but which is 
thus to be glorified. Yet, as the San- 
nedrim denied that Jesus was the Christ, 
or Messiah, this profession would be 
very offensive to them. If ^Yhom ye cru- 
cified. Peter now brings home to them 
their own guilty part in the crucifixion. 



1C« 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



LPi. 118:22. 
&. 26: 16. 
M»U. 21 : <2. 



11 eTliis is the stone wliicli was set at naught of you 
builders, which is become the head of the corner. 

12 ''Neither is there salvation in any other: for there 
is none other name under heaven given among men, 
whereby we must be saved. 



They were the persccutingleiiders excit- 
ing the people, and urging Pilate to pro- 
nounce the sentence. These, therefore, 
were responsible for this bloody deed — 
tke most opposite to their "good deed." 
^ Whom God raised. Peter, in the face 
of the SadJucces, further declares the 
frlorious fact of Christ's Resurrection. 
This would prove that Jehovah, the God 
whom they acknowledged, liad owned 
Christ and His work. And this, of 
course, would prove them " guilty be- 
fore God." Observe. — He had al- 
ready charged this crime upon the 
people, ch. 2: 23; 8: 14, 15. Now the 
questioning of the Sanhedrim gives 
him opportunity to expose their crimi- 
nality as prime-movers in the death of 
Christ. ^ By Ilim. Or by this (name, ) 
yet the next verse continues the refer- 
ence, and shows it to be Christ Himself. 
Of course it was not by Ills 7}a?ne, as 
having any magical charm, but by 
Himself that the miracle was wrought. 
11. This (Jesus) is the Slo7ie re- 
ferred to in Psalm 118 : 22. The pas- 
sage had already been cited by Christ 
as applying to Himself. See Matt. 21 : 
42, Notes. It is quoted or referred to 
in the New Testament as referring to 
Christ, Eph. 2 : 20 ; 1 Peter 2 : 4-6. 
Peter inserts vuuv — " of you " — as his 
inspired interpretation and application 
of the prophecy herein fulfilled, f 0/ 
you builders — the builders. The priests 
and the scribes were by their office ap- 
pointed to be the builders of the Jewish 
Church: to teach the people the true 
religion, and to attend to the watch and 
care of the Church, as the Apostles and 
Christian ministry were to do under 
the New Testament. Yet these Jewish 
leaders had set at naught, repudiated^ 
Christ as the foundation Stone, on 
"which alone the Church could be built. 
This explains His humiliation, at which 
they stumbled. ^ Head of the corner. 
Though these oflBcers of tbe Jewish 



Church and people rejected Christ and 
refused to build upon Him, He had be- 
come the corner stone — the " chief cor- 
nerstone" — as the key-stone at the cci- 
ner, on which both walls rest, and which 
holds the whole building, and without 
which it must fall, vs. 12. Peter, in 
his Epistle, dwells upon this only 
foundation, in the sense in which it is 
expounded in the next verse. Their 
rejection of Christ went to prove Him 
to be the true stone prophesied. " This 
Jesus" is that stone, which, as the 
prophets foresaw, " you huilders" have 
rejected as a refuse stone. See Isa. 
28: 16; Rom. 9 : 33. Observe.— (1) 
God's gracious purposes cannot be 
frustrated by wicked men or devils. 
He will save whom He wills. (2) 
Christ's humiliation was no good ground 
of objection to His claims, for His ex- 
altation followed. 

12. 'Salvation. Literjilly, the salva- 
tion. This Jesus is the author of all 
salvation. The miraculous cure of the 
body is only the lower department of 
His salvation — only points to the high- 
er work of healing the soul. The sal- 
vation which is above all, is by Him 
alone and not any other. The mira- 
cles of Christ and His Apostles were 
redemptive acts. Tliey delivered men 
from calamities which they were suf- 
fering l)y the fall : and they were also 
designed to point them to a higher de- 
liverance from sin and death and hell. 
Tke salvation proclaimed by Jesus com- 
prehends all deliverance, and will at 
length restore all the ruins of the fall — 
banish all sickness, sorrow and want 
as the fruit of sin — so that to the be- 
liever there shall be no more pain. Rev. 
21 : 4; 22 : 3. His name was called 
Jesus because He should save His peo- 
ple from their sins — in their power and 
consequence. This decl.aration of the 
Apostle was intended to cut off thcb 
vain theories, and their hopes of somo 



A. 1). 80 ] 



CHAP. IV. 



J 09 



To ^ Now wlicn they saw the boldness of Peter and 
John, 'and perceived that they were unlearned and igno- {^"""i: 
r.iur. luf.'n, ihey iiiiirvoiled ; and they took knowledge of 
thorn, that they had been with Jesus. 



other Messiah. ^ For. The reason is 
given why the grout salvation is placed 
80 exclusively in the hands of Christ. 
\ None other name. They had asked 
the question, " iy whose i<ame" this 
work had been done ? He here declares 
that there is none other name under heav- 
en, (than this of Jesus Christ,) which 
is given (by God,) amonrj men whereby 
(it is necessary in the Divine plan that) 
we must be saved, (from sin and death 
and hell.) This points them to their 
own Scriptures, where Cod's plan of 
salvation is revealed and Christ's name 
is clearly given, and to the prophecies 
of the Messiah which Jesus so clearly 
fulfilled in Himself. The inference wna 
as Christ Himself urged it, " Search the 
Scriptures ; for in them ye think ye 
hii70 eternal life; and they are they 
wliicb testify of Me." (John 5 : 39.) 
It is repeatedly declared in the Scrip- 
tures that there is no SJilvation possible 
to men except by the mediation of Je- 
sus Christ. Paul shows this in his 
Epistle to the Romans, that neither the i 
highest eflFort of Gentile learning, nor ' 
the covenant privilege of the Jews, could 
procure for any man salvation. It was 
by Christ Jesus alone. Observe. — (1) 
Christ is the only Saviour, for no other 
has been provided by God — there is 
none other name which is given — none 
in all the earth. (2) Unless we are 
willing to be saved on the foundation 
provided by God, we must be lost for- 
ever. See John 3 : 16 ; 17 : 4 j 1 Cor. 
3:5; Gal. 1:4; 2 : 20 ; Eph. 1 : 22 ; 
6 : 25 ; 1 Tim. 2:0; Rom. 5 : 15-18 ; 
6 : 23; 2 Cor. 9 : 15. (3) The Jews 
hoped to be saved by the name of Abra- 
ham, whose lineal descendants they 
claimed to be, (John 8 : 33-39,) or of 
Moses, in whose religion they boasted 
and trusted, (John 5 : 45, 46,) but 
Abraham and Moses pointed all along 
to Christ, John 8 : 56. (4) How im- 
portant to preach the Gospel to every 
creature. 
10 



13. When ihey taw. That is— lit., 
perceiving from their whole manner, 
and especially from this outspoken pro- 
fession of Jesus in the face of all oppo- 
sition. T The boldness. This term 
means openness and freedom of speech — 
without restraint from fear. 1[ Un- 
learned — lit., Unlettered. Rather — Un- 
educated [in Rabbinical knowledge.) 
They noticed from their mode of 
speech, that they were not brought up 
in the Rabbinical schools. They did 
not show the modes of thought and 
doctrine and speech peculiar to the 
Jewish doctors. The term here used 
does not necessarily mean illiterate, but 
without professional education. ^ Ig- 
norant. This term is not rightly trans- 
lated. It means literally, private men, 
in distinction from public men — as 
magistrates — public teachers. It means 
also, men of humble station — not great, 
wealthy, or honored. It was evident 
that these men, though able to speak 
so freely and so well, had not received 
their learning in the ordinary way, and 
the Sanhedrim could not understand 
how they should know so much and 
speak so fluently about the law and the 
prophets, without any formal training 
in the Rabbinical schools, which, in 
their view, was the only way to know- 
ledge. This, therefore, puzzled them. 
^ They marveled. Instead of taking 
severe measures against the Apostles, 
they were set to wondering by Peter's 
remarkable discourse. And, as Meyer 
has said, "their wonder sharpened 
their recollection." ^ Took knowledge 
of them. Rather, they recognized them. 
" In their astonishment and while their 
attention was the more aroused, they 
recollected having seen both of them in 
the company of Jesus." For these 
were the two Apostles who were pre- 
sent in the judgment-hall when Jesas 
was tried before this same Sanhedrim, 
(John 18 : 15, 16.) It suddenly occura 
to them that they bad seen them thef^ 



no 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 



& oh. 3: 11. 14 And beholding the man which was healed •= standing 

with them, they could say nothing against it. 

15 But when they had commanded them to go aside 

out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 
.jtoiiiT iQ Saying, 'What shall we do to these men? for 

that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is 
mcii.3:9,io. n manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we 

cannot deny if. 
17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly 
threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 



IT That they had been — that they were 
in company with Jesus on that occa- 
sion of His trial. 

14. Not only the open and bold free- 
dom of the Apostle's discourse, but the 
presence of the healed cripple as a 
living witness for the miracle, restrain- 
ed the Sanhedrim ; for they could not 
deny the facts, and they had reason to 
fear the people. They had marveled 
in like manner at Jesus : " How know- 
eth this man letters, having never 
learned," John 7 : 15. What, then, 
could they say or do against this de- 
monstration? They did not pretend 
to deny the possibility of a miracle in 
the nature of things, as modern skep- 
tics do. And they surely were the 
men who had every opportunity to 
know whether it was an imposture or 
not. How readily would they have so 
declared, if there had been even the 
shadow of a doubt about the reality. 
The cured man had probably come vol- 
untarily to testify on their behalf. It 
■was an admitted principle that a mira- 
file like this was satisfactory evidence 
of a Divine commission. This was the 
highest proof they were authorized to 
require. Observe. — It is here record- 
ed that with all their bitter enmity and 
their talent at perversion, as shown in 
the case of our Lord, these Jewish 
rulers could say nothing against this 
miracle. Shall they, then, yield to the 
faith, and Join themselves to the follow- 
ers of the despised Nazarene ? The 
high court o^the Jewish nation is now 
to decide and take acUon upon the in- 
fant cause of Christianity. How im- 
portant the result ! 

15, 16. These rulers confer together, 



as to what they shall do. They would 
not have their misgivings known to the 
Apostles. Hence they ordered them 
to go out of the council — literally, tht 
Sanhedrim. It was open, however, to 
others, who would report what they 
heard as Luke has here reported it, 
though Luke received his report from 
the Holy Spirit also. Instead of 
inquiring, " What shall ice do to bo 
saved?" they ask each other, " What 
shall ice do to these men?" They could 
either scourge and imprison them, or 
forbid them to preach any further. 
Their chief object was to prevent their 
increasing influence with the people ; 
and it would seem that already tho 
Apostles had so far gained public con- 
fidence as that the Sanhedrim were 
restrained from adopting violent mea- 
sures. 1[ A notable miracle — rather, 
a notorious, u-ell-knou-n iign. The term 
rendered miracle here means si^in, and 
is used of a miracle as a sign, a token 
of the Divine presence and power. 
These rulers admit that here was a 
confessed, undisputed miracle wrought 
as a proof of the Divine authority. It 
sealed the Divine commission of those 
who wrought it. This confession ia 
most strongly expressed here. That 
the miracle was a sign was well known 
— was manifest to the whole popula- 
tion, and that it was vain to attempt 
any denial of the fact. ^ Cannot — lit., 
We are not able to deny it. This implien 
that they would have been glad to deny 
it against all the evidence, if the^ 
could have any hope of succeeding. 

17. After these ndmissions were 
made to each other by tho members of 
the court, they concluded upon a mildei 



A. D. .'?).] 



CUA?. IV. 



HI 



18 "And they called them, and commanded them not cu^f^ 
k) speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 

19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, 
'Whether it be right in the sight of Grod to hearken unto <"=^-^- 
you more than unto God, judge ye. 

20 PFor -we cannot but speak the things which ' we ^.'^g'^-.^' 
have seen and heard. V-td^ 



course as the wiser one, hoping to gain 
the important end of hushing up the 
matter. ^ 2'hat it spread no further, &c. 
This must refer to the doctrine which 
the Apostles preached, as the miracle 
■was already known throughout the 
city, (vs. 16.) The term here rendered 
•' spread" is applied to the spread of a 
gangrene. See 2 Tim. 2 : 17. The 
object of the Sanhedrim was to suppress 
their teachings in the name of Cliriat. 
T[ Siraitly — severely. Literally, Let us 
threaten them with a threat. That is, 
according to a common Hebrew idiom, 
Let us severely threaten them. ^ Speak 
henceforth to no man. This was the 
command which they would warn them, 
with special threats, not to disobey. 
They were anxious that nothing more 
should be spoken, in this name of Jesus, 
to any man, lest any one should be 
converted to that faith, and thus the 
doctrine should further spread among 
the people. 

18. They command them most strict- 
ly not to speak (familiarly) at all, nor 
teach — shutting off any and all discourse 
t!iat should have this name of Jesus 
for the subject or object. Observe. — 
That "only name" given for men's saloa- 
tion, these religious rulers would utterly 
suppress. These were the Papists of 
that day. 

19. This reply of the Apostles shows 
the strong ground which they took — 
that as God spake by the miracle, this 
court, however authorized, had no right 
to contradict God. It was the business 
of the Sanhedrim to inquire whether 
those speaking produced any miracu- 
lous sign of their Divine authority. 
And their right extended no further. 
They could not suppress any doctrine 
which God thus attested. " Even Ba- 
laam bore witness to the truth w'aich 
the rulers of Israel overlooked." (See 



Numbers 3 : 18.) And so even a 
" dumb ass" had a right to speak, if 
commissioned by God. ^ Whether it bi 
right. The Apostle put the question to 
these rulers as to the right of their po- 
sition ; and the question turned upon 
this, whether the Sanhedrim were su- 
perior to God Himself. Observe. — 
We are commanded to be subject to the 
powers that are in ofiSce, (Rom. 13 : 
1,) and those who were in Moses' 
seat were to be obeyed. (Matt. 23 : 2.) 
But here was a miraculous witness 
against the rulers, authorizing disobe- 
dience, according to a clear rule laid 
down in Scripture. This was the 
Apostle's bold claim to private judg- 
ment and liberty of conscience, not 
against God's truth, but for God's 
truth as most undeniably attested. In 
their case there could be no doubt. 
They were put beyond any uncertainty 
as to the truth and the right. It was 
so clear that even the rulers, on their 
own professed principle of judging for 
God, ought to have readily yielded. 
Observe. — The strongest and most un- 
deniable evidence is required to war- 
rant our disobedience to the rulers. 

20. For. They give the sufficient 
reason. Literally — " We (emphatic,) 
are not able not to speak the things which 
we have seen and heard." These Apostles 
had seen such clear proof of the Divin- 
ity of Jesus Christ, and had heard such 
direct commands to preach in His name, 
that they could not do otherwise than 
go forward. They had the firmest con- 
viction and determination. Observe. 
— (1) This was every way diff"erent 
from a fanatical zeal in publishing one'a 
own notions — claiming Divine author- 
ity without any Divine signs, or incon- 
testible evidence from God's word. (2) 
The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the 
religion of Protestants. No power of 



112 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30 



21 So when they had further threatened them, they let 
r Matt. 21-26. thcm go, finding nothing how they might punish them, 
^aiT'Vi^'^' 'because of the people : for all men glorified God for "that 
Jo']u3':'7, 8. which was done. 

22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom 
this miracle of healing was shewed. 

Job. 12:12. 23 ^ And being let go, Hhey went to their own com- 

pany, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had 
fiaid unto them. 



Church or State has any right to bind 
the conscience, or compel men to a be- 
lief or subscription of any creed or 
confession. Yet no man has a right to 
exercise his faith or private judgment 
in a way to interfere with others, or 
disturb the peace of society. Nor is 
any one at liberty to put his private 
judgment in the p'nce of God's revealed 
wiU. Yet for this he is to answer to 
God. No one can plead for flagrant 
social sins against tlie Decalogue that 
these are part of his religion— as Mor- 
monism, or Papal oppressions — because 
these interfere with the rights of others 
and with the plain law of ten com- 
mands. Hence, we do not dispute the 
right of Papists or Mormons (o hold 
tlieir own religious views unmolested 
by the laws of the land ; only, we op- 
pose their system so far as it has po- 
litical ends under the guise of religion, 
and so far as it aims to set at naught 
the law of God in a system of author- 
ized iniquity. Observe. — The true 
Christian cannot do otherwise than 
speak for God. And the ministers of 
Christ, like Paul, feel " Wo is me, if I 
preach not the Gospel." Amos 3 : 8. 

21. They added further threatenings 
than in vs. 18, and then they let them 
go free, not because they were recon- 
ciled to them, much less because they 
were converted to their doctrine ; but 
because they were unable safely to 
take severe measures, finding nothing 
how (on what lawful ground, or on 
what pretense,) they might punish them; 
because of the people, (lest the populace 
should rise up against the rulers,) 
for (the miracle was so manifest and 
■o -well known and so glorious, that) 
all (th(9 people) glorified Ood for that 



ivhich tvas done; and, therefore, would 
be ready to take the part of the Apos- 
tles against their persecutors. Mark 
12 : 12 ; ch. 2 : 47. £engel here re- 
marks that "the people are often wiser 
than their rulers." 

22. The miracle was so great, and 
created so much sensation, because it 
was the cure of a man more than forty 
years old, who had been a cripple from 
his birth. Besides, the man had been 
well known among the people during 
most of this time. It is plain that the 
Sanhedrim themselves recognized him 
as one whom they had seen daily at 
the temple during many years. Be- 
sides, it is fair to suppose that all pos- 
sible means had been resorted to du- 
ring so long a period, and therefore 
that it was the cure of a hopeless case. 
Further, all human cures could at best 
have been only very gradual. This 
was immediate and by a word. ^ On 
ivhom this miracle of healing was shewed. 
Rather, to, or upon, whom this miracle 
had occurred. 

23. The Apostles, as soon as they 
were released, went to their own, {people 
— company,) that is, to the circle of the 
Christian brotherhood, as in ch. 24 : 23. 
See ch. 2 : 44, 45. The whole Chris- 
tian assembly of thousands would, 
of course, be very deeply interested ia 
the trial of these their leaders, and 
would naturally all be awaiting the re- 
port. We need not suppose that all 
the membership were actually togethei 
at the same time, but they were rep- 
resented there, f Reported. Though 
these Apostles were decided upon thei* 
own course, they wish to make known 
to the assembled Church all that had 
been said and done to them in th« 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. IV. 



Ill 



2-i AdcI when they heard that, they lifted up their voice 
to God with one accord, and said, Lord, " thou art God, 
VFhich hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all 
that in them is : 

25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, 
*TVhy did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain 
things ? 



court, for as they all had one interest, 
their decision and action ought to be 
the same. The Sanhedrim is here 
called "the chief priests and elders." 
The Church, as an organized body, is 
here called their (the Apostles') own, 
(people.) 

24. The Prater of the Church 
UNDER Persecution. The Apostles 
and members doubtless looked upon this 
threatening as a symptom of that deop- 
tseated opposition which the rulers 
would make against the Church. It 
was no incidental outbreak. Here 
was a significant and severe threat of 
■what was to bo expected, unless they 
would utterly and at once abandon the 
cause of Christ. It was the kingdom 
of darkness arraying itself against the 
kingdom of light. It is a declaration 
of war on the part of the powers of 
this world against the Church of Christ. 
How natural, then, that they should 
recur to the Second Psalm, in wliich 
this very condition of the Church is 
prophetically set forth. It is suppos- 
ed that the whole Church sang the 
words of the second Psalm, and prayed, 
and that then Peter made an applica- 
tion of the Psalm to their present case, 
in the words here recorded. It is plain 
that some one led them in prayer, in 
which all the assembly joined. It is 
Baid, " They lifted tip their voice" — one 
voice leading many hearts — " with one 
accord." T[ Lord. — SeaTzora. From 
this word we have the English word 
despot. It refers to absolute, uncon- 
trolled dominion. It is applied to 
God, Luko 2 : 29 ; Rev. G : 10 ; Judo 
4 — and to Christ by Peter, 2 Peter 2 : 
1. The prayer addresses Jehovah as 
the absolute Governor of the universe, 
and above all earthly rulers. The 
tame God who mado the world has 
10* 



prophesied of Christ, and provided 
against rill His enemies. Observe.^ 
"The Creator of the universe is He 
who has effected the redemption of His 
people, and directly presides in the 
government of the Church. This is a 
truth which lies at the foundation of 
Christianity, and is opposed to Saddu- 
ceeism, Epicureanism and modern Pan- 
theism." — This passage is taken from 
Psalm liQ : G; comp. Rev. 14 : 7. 
They first ascribe to God all power 
and glory in all His created dominions. 
Observe.— (1) The safetyof the Church 
is not in human helpers, but in a cov- 
enant God. Nor is its peril so much 
from most fierce and powerful opposi- 
tions of men, as from unbelief and 
prayerlessuess of the members. (2) The 
absolute sovereignty of God is our 
ground of hope and comfort — that He 
can do as He please, unhindered by 
Satan and his helpers — and we know 
that Ills will is " good-will to men" 
in the Gospel. 

25. Who by the mouth. This refers 
to the second Psalm, which was ad- 
mitted by all the ancient Jewish Rab- 
bis to refer to the Messiah, ["Kiss the 
Son," &c.,) and modern German wri- 
ters cannot deny the reference. — Meyer, 
Be Weite. Here its plenary inspira- 
tion is asserted in the strongest terras 
— that God spake by the mouth of Da- 
vid — used David's organ of speech, 
and henra the words were both the 
words i>f David and the word of 
God. Also, the Apostle's quotation 
shows that the Psalm was a prophetic 
reference to Jesus Christ, in whom it 
was so remarkably fulfilled. Even if 
it could have had a primary reference, 
in part, to David, it was composed for 
the use of the Church in the worship 
of the sanctuary, and pointed forward 



lU 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30. 



26 llie kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered 

together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 

^'"a-tiid 27 For yof a truth against 'thy holy child Jesus, 

uk^i:35. 'whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontiua 

mw-.m: Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were 

gathered together. 



to great David's greater Son. f W/ir/ 
did the heathen, &c. " In the combina- 
tion of all the public authorities against 
Jesus, that rebellion of the world 
against the Lord's Anointed, which 
David describes, had, truly speak- 
ing, come to an outbreak." It was 
" the heathen," the Gentiles, who 
were not of Israel, and "the people" 
generally, including the Jews, allied 
for the overthrow of Christ's kingdom. 
" Herod and Pontius Pilate," (as Peter 
applies these terms,) vs. 27, the Jew- 
ish and Roman (heathen) governors, 
were banded together against Jesus, 
the Messiah. T" Raffe, in a restive, 
refractory opposition, foaming and 
tearing like the fierce horse, of whom 
this term is elsewhere used. This the 
Psalmist foresees, and triumphantly 
wonders at, in his song, as a most im- 
potent attempt against the Almighty. 
The Church of God, under the Old 
Testament, had seen the raging heathen 
— the bands of Philistines, Moabites, 
and Idumcans, rise up against her 
when Daviil was king. But even then 
she was delivered. How much more 
now under Christ. T] Iinaijine vain 
things. Conceive or plan empty things 
— abortive, ineffectual designs. This 
Psalm is applied to Christ, (ch. 13 : 
33 ; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; Rev. 2 : 20, 27 ; 
12: 5', 19: 15.) 

26. The kings of the earth. The rul- 
ers and governors, as Herod and Pilate, 
and now also the Sanhedrim, with all 
their mighty power, are accomplishing 
what was predicted, and thus are, on 
their part, proving Christ to be the 
Messiah. ^ Stood up — rose up, in op- 
position. In the Hebrew original it 
reads — xvill set themselves, or take their 
stand. T[ Were gathered together. As- 
sembled. In Hebrew it reads, sat to- 
gether in concerted hostility. The 
Hebrew poetiy consists commonly of 



parallel lines, in which very much the 
same sentiment is repeated in different 
terms. So here the main idea is the 
same in both clauses of the verse. 
^ Against the Lord. Hebrew, Against 
Jehovah. Christ is "Jehovah" as the 
covenant God, revealing Himself in 
His Church, f Bis Christ. Hebrew, 
His Messiah. The term "Messiah," in 
Hebrew, means anointed one ; and this 
is also the meaning of the term Christ, 
in Greek, which is the corresponding 
title. This is one of the few passages 
in the Old Testament, in which the 
term Messiah, or Anointed One, is di- 
rectly applied to Him of whom all 
anointed ones — king, priest, or pro- 
phet, and even Cyrus, ( who is so 
called,) — were types, Isa. 45 : 1. It 
is here implied that opposition to Christ 
is opposition to Jehovah. This was 
a confounding argument against the 
Jews, for they professed and boasted 
that they worshiped the true Jeho- 
vah. Christ, therefore, and the Apos- 
tles, always aim to show them how 
directly they assault the God of their 
fathers, and bring down His wrath 
upon them, John 5 : 23 ; 12 : 44, 45. 

27. For. Here the Apostles and 
assembly, (Peter leading the rest,) 
apply the Psalm to the events then 
taking place around them. They do 
not mean that this is a full accomplish- 
ment of the Psalm, such as it was and 
is, more and more to have; but that it 
is herein fulfilled "of a truth" — really 
— certainly. ^ Thg Holy Child Jesus. 
Rather, Against thy consecrated Servant 
Jesus. See Notes, 8:13. The use of 
this term — not the usual one for Son, 
but the term answering to "the Servant 
of Jehovah," in IsaiaJi, is expressive, 
(Isa. 42: 1 ; 52: 13 ; so Zech. 3:8.) 
See vs. 25. He was the one to whom 
the prophets looked forward, and He 
is "the Son" to whom this Psalm refers 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. iV. 



lU 



28 "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel 5.^8.^''"'"'' 
determined before to be done. * 

29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings : and ch"9?27,^aLi 
grant unto thy servants, "that with all boldness they may and*i9*°'*"=' 



speak thy word, 



:26, & 28:31. 
. 6 : 19. 

30 By Stretching forth thine hand to heal; ^and that ^,^2;^ = *^'''°^ 



as the One to whom cordial homage is 
due. "Kiss the Son." It is Jesus as 
the ofiacial Mediator, who is here 
meant iu the sense in which this Psalm 
speaks of Him. "Thou art mt/ Son, 
this day have I begotten thee," (Heb. 
1 : 5 ; 5 : 5. ) "My King, upon my holy 
hill of Zion." Jesus was "holy," not 
only in Himself, witluut spot, but as 
set apart, appointed, consecrated to His 
office work as Mediator. Hence it is 
added, " ivhom thou hast anointed'' — 
inducted as King, ( Luke 4 : 18. ) 
If Both Herod, (Luke 23: 1-12,) "and 
Pontius Pilate," though they had been 
at enmity with each other, " made 
friends," so as to join in putting Jesus 
to shame and death, (Luke 23: 12.) 
And not only these rulers, representing 
Jewish and Gentile nations, but these 
united " with the Gentiles" themselves, 
(Pvomans, &c.,) "and the people (tribes,) 
0/ Israel," — were all collected to do 
whatever God had purposed without 
any knowledge of theirs. 

28. For to do. The Church here 
join in their ascription of praise to 
God, that when these rulers aud people 
did 'and should do their utmost, they 
could only do what God Himself had 
already included in His plan from all 
eternity. Hence it is triumphantly 
asked, why do they so vainly rage and 
plan, when it must all end only in 
furthering the plans of Him whom they 
oppose — ^by His making their wrath to 
praise Him, and restraining the re- 
mainder. See ch. 2 : 23 ; 3 : 18. Ob- 
serve. — These enemies did not meet 
for the object or with the design of 
fulfilling God's purposes, but God over- 
ruled their doings to accomplish His 
own plan. Men none the less do their 
worst. But how idle and vain their 
hostility, when it turns out that what 
they have done, God not only provides 
against, but predetermined and pro- 



vided for beforehand. ^ Thi/ hand 
"Luke uses the term 'hand' as well aa 
' counsel' the more plainly to declare 
that the events of things are not only 
governed by the counsel of God, but 
that they are ordered also by His power 
and hand." — Calvin. See Isa. 10 : 5-7, 
the case of Sennacherib. ^ Determined 
before. Literally, preordained. Ob- 
serve. — Christ crucified is to the 
Jews a stumbling block, and to the 
Greeks foolishness; but to them that 
are saved, both Jews and Greeks, Christ 
the u-isdom of God and the power of God 
unto salvation, (1 Cor. 1 : 24.) 

29. Lord. This title is elsewhere, 
without exception, in the Acts used of 
Christ. Here the address is to God 
the Father all along — as anointing the 
Son, &c., (vs. 27,) though here it may 
be a turn in the address, (to Christ.) 
^ Behold. This seems to keep up the 
reference to the Psalm, where it is said 
that " He that sitteth in the heavens 
shall laugh." Look (with derision,) 
upon their threatenings, thou who wilt 
break them in pieces as a potter's 
vessel. ^ And grant. They do not 
pray for the destruction of their 
enemies, but rather always for tha* 
triumph which these Apostles acliievc 
by open, bold speech, and by Divine 
gifts of healing. They pray only for 
what their Great High Priest had asked 
for them in His intercessory prayer, 
(John 17: 15.) \ All boldness — entire 
freedom of speech. This they wanted 
for a free and full deliverance of the 
Gospel message, rather than for their 
own personal release. This, accord- 
ingly, was granted them as the sub- 
stance of their prayer, (vs. 31,) namely, 
that all, not only the Apostles, spake 
the Word of God with unrestrained 
boldness. 

30. By stretching forth. Rather, "/n 
thy stretching forth thy hand for healing" 



lie 



THE 4CTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D, 



-3&. 



» vs. 29. 


,ana 


(ch. 5:12. 
Rom. 15:5 
2 Cor. 13 : 
Phil. 1:27, 


G. 

1. 
and 



signs and wonders may be done «by the name of 'thy holy 
child Jesus. 

31 ^ And when they had prayed, ^ the place was shaken 
where they were assembled together ; and they were all 
filled with the Holy Grhost, ^ a,nd they spake the word of 
God with boldness. 

32 And the multitude of them that believed ' were of 



&c. Goil's work of bealing and other 
iiiir:iciilous works through them, would 
embolden them to speak the Word, as 
in tins case. This would furnish them 
the Divine attestation in the face of 
tln'ir enemies. All they asked for was 
the Divine signature to their work. 
Tliey did not plead for safety, but for 
tlii.i glory to the name of Jesus to 
accomp:iny their work. ^ And that 
si//ns and wonders (see ch. 2: 43, note,) 
7n<ii/ be done, (rather, may come to 
pass,) in the name of (his consecrated 
Servant Jesus. See vs. 27, where the 
same terms are used as here for the 
designation of Christ. They prayed 
that He against whom the princes of 
this world had taken such a stand and 
would continue to do so, might have 
His name honored by the working of 
signs and wonders by means of His 
name, as in this case, only more abun- 
dantly, (ch. 3:10,) by that name which 
they were forbidden to speak. 

31. Result of the Prayer. — Imme- 
diately, and as a manifest answer to 
their prayer, the place where they 
were assembled loas shaken. This was 
a token of God's mighty power re- 
Bponding to their cry. He who will 
shake the nations, and once more shake 
not the earth only, but also heaven, 
shook that place of prayer. The term 
denotes a violent shaking, as of a 
tempest or an earthquake. As there 
was no natural cause for it, it was a 
miraculous token to them of the Divine 
prusence and protection. It was a 
testimony to them to assure their con- 
fidence by a visible sign — not the same 
as at Pentecost, for that was significant 
of the peculiar occasion. Then it was 
rather a noise, and now a motion. 
Then it was the gift of tongues : now 
the gift of free and well-certified 
preaching, (cli. 16 : 25, 26.) See Ps. 



29 : 8 ; Isa. 2 : 19-21 ; 13 : 13 ; Ezek. 
38: 19; Joel 3: 16; Haggai 2: 6, 7. 
1 All filled with the Holy Ghost. This 
eflfusion of the Spirit produced the same 
effect as at Pentecost — " they were al! 
filled with the Holy Ghost," and though 
not now "speaking with other tongues" 
yet with freer tongues and new confi- 
dence, and endowed with miraculous 
gifts of healing, (signs and wonders,) 
for confirming the truth. As an imme- 
diate result and an express answer to 
the prayer, it is here recorded that 
"they spake the Word of God with 
boldness," as they had begged to do. 
See ch. 5: 3, 4, 12, 10, 21, 29-33, 42. 
The next chapter is indeed a wonderful 
record of what they were enabled to 
do in direct answer to this prayer. 
Observe. — (1) All Christians, as well 
as ordained ministers, ought to speak 
of Christ with freedom. (2) Prayer is 
answered just as directly when oifered 
by the humblest believer, as wheii 
offered by this Apostolic Church, be- 
cause the promise is for the sake of 
Christ, to glorify the name of Christ. 

32. The character of the Church. 
\The multilude. This may refer, as some 
think, to the recent converts under thia 
last discourse of Peter, in which case 
it would simply state that they were 
of the same character as the former 
Disciples, described in ch. 2 : 42-47. 
Or, it may be a repeated statement 
now in regard to the whole member- 
ship, in the light of these threatening 
circumstances. In the face of all this 
positive interdict of the rulers againsT 
any pi'eaching of Christ, what will 
they do about their worldly goods and 
means of living ? Are they all prepa- 
ring for the coming storm by hoarding 
up all they have ? Or, are all scatter- 
ing and shifting each for himself ia 
terror of the evil day, and in feai- of 



A.. D. 30-36.] CHAP. IV. 117 

one heart and of one soul : ''neither said any of them that *'>»'-2:**- 
aught of the things which he possessed was Liis own ; but 
»hey had all things commim. 

33 And with 'great power gave the apostles " witness |„'^^u.^if22. 



being stripped of their all ? The mem- 
bership was already five thousand be- 
fore this last discourse. Doubtless many 
more had been added. Yet this multi- 
tude was one — in heart and soul — as 
Jesus had prayed they might be. John 
17:21. Attention is thus called to 
the fact that they were a perfectly har- 
monious and united Church up to this 
time, though soon to be disturbed by inter- 
nal defection, oh. 5 ; 1-5. Observe. — 
"God comforts His persecuted pastors 
by the increase of their flock, and He 
confirms the flock by the constancy of 
their pastors." 1[ Of one heart and 
one soul — " both in creed and in con- 
duct one. Wonderful character of the 
Church." — Bengel. How different the 
present state of the Church : yet the 
Great High Priest prays for its oneness, 
and it shall yet be gloriously one, again, 
Tf Neither said. Literally, Not even 
one (in so great a multitude,) said — 
. reckoned and claimed. This was the 
highest degree of concord. IT That 
aughL Literally, that any thing of the 
goods belonging to him were his own — 
for his private exclusive use. It is 
clear, (1) That some of these Church 
members had property. (2) That they 
did not hold it solely for their own sel- 
fish use, but for the benefit also of those 
that had need, (vs. 35.) Observe. — 
The CHARITY of this Apostolic Church 
was a cherished rule of living — not an 
impulse, nor an act of charity now and 
then — but a habit, a principle, a life of 
love. They did not aim at hoarding 
riches, but at dispensing their means 
to make others comfortable. The poor 
contributed what they could, of service 
and oflove and of prayer, to the common 
cause, and to each other. And the 
rich contributed of what they had to 
give, not only love and prayer and ser- 
vice, but money also ; and this not as a 
piece of patronage, but as a free offer- 
ing to brethren in Christ. They held 
these meana that were intrusted to 



them as not exclusively their own, but 
as the Lord's ; and themselves as His 
stewards for their proper distribution. 
See Notes, ch. 2 : 44. ^ All things com- 
mon. Not in common possession, but in 
common use. Plainly the property be- 
longed to some and not to others. This 
providential inequality gave room for 
the exercise of such a precious Chris- 
tian grace, as it cannot be exercised in 
heaven. The charm of it was in the 
light in which they regarded their prop- 
erty — not contending about the ' ' mine" 
and " thine" — not oppressing a poor 
brother — not aiming at laying up treas- 
ures and acquiring riches to hoard ; but 
holding all that they had at the demand 
of each other's necessity, and on the 
principle that the goods belonged to 
those who had need, just so far as God 
had cast the needy brethren upon their 
care and resources. And so this mu- 
tual aid was cheerfully and universally 
carried on. Observe. — (1) The reli- 
gion of Christ, as here set forth, is the 
most perfect system of mutual aid which 
the world has ever seen. (2) The 
Church is the Institution above all 
others, appointed by God to universal 
beneficence — " to do good unto all men, 
especially to them who are of the house- 
hold of faith." (3) Christians are just 
as much required to be charitable and 
liberal in their contributions, as they 
are bound to be honest and true. An 
avaricious, grasping Christian is as 
much a contradiction in terms as a 
lying or stealing Christian. (5) The 
Church ought to inquire into the be- 
neficence of its members as strictly as 
into their fidelity and duty in any other 
respect. (6) True piety, after the ex- 
ample of Christ and His true members, 
will prompt to open hearted liberality, 
the world over. True Christian love 
will do more than new societies and 
new regulations. System is needed. 

33. Besides the unity and liberal 
communication of the members, (a great 



118 



THE ACT3 OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-86 



of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus : and "great grace 
was upon them all. 

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked : 
"for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold 
them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 



power in the Church,) the Apostles 
were powerful, also, ia their public and 
open testimony of the Resurrection. 
Besides that freedom of speaking the 
word which all the membership shared, 
(vs. 31,) though not all in public 
preaching, the Apostles, who were 
raised up to be eye-witnesses and tes- 
tifiers of Christ's Resurrection, were 
blessed with unusual power, ch. 1 : 22. 
They received special gifts for publish- 
ing, vindicating, explaining,confirming, 
arguing and enforcing the great facts 
of which they bore witness. The term 
rendered "poiver" is that often used 
for "miracle," and refers to their mir- 
aculous gifts with others, as contribu- 
ting to make their preaching powerful, 
through God. 1 Great grace. This is 
Divine grace, which wrought in them 
this graciousness of living, and pro- 
duced toward them the grace or favor 
of the people, which it is said in a sim- 
ilar connection that they enjoyed, ch. 
2 : 47. And this was a further mark 
of the Divine favor toward the Church 
at this first persecution. T[ Them all. 
All the members of the Church. Ob- 
serve. — The Jews were noted for a 
want of liberality, so that Julian said, 
" No one begs of the Jews, while the 
Galileans nurture the disabled both of 
their own and of others," So also it 
is recorded that the Jewish populace 
remai'ked this peculiarity of the Chris- 
tians as afterwards the Gentiles did, 
when they exclaimed, "See how these 
Christians love one another." 

34. Neither. Rather, For there was 
not any, &c. This is given as an effect 
of the Divine grace, and as ground, 
ilso, of the public favor. TT That lacked. 
This describes the condition of the 
membership growing out of the habit 
df liberal distribution to meet each oth- 
er's necessities. Thus it was fulfilled 
as God had promised — that there 
•konld not be a destitute man among 



them, Deut. 15 : 4, and this is recorded 
therefore as a sign of God's exceeding 
grace upon all the members. Tf As 
many, &c. This was not compulsory, 
nor did every one owning property at 
once sell all that he had for the com- 
mon good ; much less was all thrown 
into a common stock or fund, for the 
whole membership to share equally. 
This was done so far and on such oc- 
casions only as there was need, vs. 35. 
But the needs of giver and receiver 
were consulted. From the case of An- 
anias and Sapphira, we see that it was 
by no law of the Church, and that there 
was no compulsion. In ch. 12 : 12, we 
find an example of a house in posses- 
sion. Hence it is recorded in one emi- 
nent instance, (vss. 3G, 37,) as a spe- 
cimen case. And a false view of the 
matter leading to a show of the same 
liberality, only in a feigned way, a 
mimicking of the true, is set forth in the 
next chapter. Bengel says, we ought 
to have the same free distribution of 
our means at this day, without com- 
munity of goods, T[ Possessors of lands. 
Some suppose that all who owned lands 
or houses sold their estate and put the 
money to this use. Yet tiicy were un- 
der no law of the Church to do so. 
Bcngct suggests that by selling thclr 
real estate before the destruction of the 
city, the Christians obtained money of 
the Jews, as the Israelites did of the 
Egyptians. There was also in this act 
a meaning that they sought a better 
country ; and were ready to sell out 
their fast property so as to have their 
means at command for active Christian 
charity. 2 Cor. 8 : 9. Observe. — (1) 
Giving all one's goods to feed the poor 
is not of itself a proof of true piety. 
There must be true Christian love to 
God and man, actuating it, and not any 
false pretense like that of Ananias, 1 
Cor. 15 : 3. (2) This conduct shows that 
the J were not looidng for the temjiioral 



A. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. IV. 



llf 



35 ^And laid them down at the apostles' feet: •Jand fi^^gfj; 
distribution was made unto every man according as he l.'i'^-^-*' "* 
had need. 

36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabaa, 
(which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and 
of the country of Cyprus, 

87 'Having land, sold it, and brought the money and chT^sfij^f" 
laid it at the apostles' feet. 



reiga of Christ at Jerusalem, however 
they may have looked for His coming. 

35. At the Apostles' feet. Thus, of- 
ferings were laid at the footstools of 
kings in the east, and of Roman prce- 
tors. Here it was in token of acknowl- 
edgment that the cause which the Apos- 
tles officially represented has a claim 
to all we have and are. ^ Distribution 
was made. Literally, It ivas distributed, 
or they distributed it. The tense ex- 
presses the idea that this practice was 
common and habitual among them. 
^ According as he had need. Rather, 
any one. The idea of contingency is 
included, as any one had at any time (or 
in any respect might have) need. 

36. A special instance is here given. 
It was the case of a Levite, who, ac- 
cording to the Jewish dispensation, 
was by descent a minister of the sanc- 
tuary. To the Levites it was provided 
that they should hold no landed pro- 
perty as others : aud God had pro- 
raised to be their sufficient portion. 
There was a deep meaning in that 
ancient law. And now, in the true 
spirit of his Levitical rank, moved by 
the Holy Ghost and not by the dead 
formality, he would be a Levite indeed. 
Numbers 18:10; Deut. 10:3. f Bar- 
nabas. This surname was significant, 
and was given him by the Apostles to 
indicate his particular excellence or 
gift. It means the " son of prophe- 
cy," or ^^ son of inspired eloquence.^' 
The Greek interpretation here given is 
^'aon of consolation" — lit., of paraclet- 
ism — in the double sense, however, 
of the term Paraclete — an advocate 
and comforter, (John 14: 16.) Happy 
are the Gospel ministers who, besides 
Bpeaking comfort to the poor, can also 
iiapeose it from their means ; but few 



of them have land or houses to sell, or 
silver and gold to give. This Barna- 
bas is the same whose sister had a 
house in Jerusalem where the Church 
was entertained, (ch. 12 : 12.) Her 
son, John Mark, was the companion 
of Paul and of Bai'nabas his uncle, in 
their first missionary journey, on which 
they were sent forth by the Church 
at Antioch. For the history of Bar- 
nabas, see ch. 9 : 26, 27 ; 11 : 22-30; 
12:2.5; 13:1, 2, 50; 14:12; 15:12; 
1 Cor. 9:0; Gal. 2:1,9. 'J, A Le- 
vite. A descendant of Levi, whose 
business it was to attend upon the 
priests, music, &c., in the service of 
the sanctuary. The whole tribe of 
Levi was devoted to the service of 
religion. They were divided into two 
classes, priests and Levites. The 
priests were such only as were de- 
scended from Aaron, who was de- 
scended from Levi's son, Kohath. The 
Levites were such as sprang from 
Gershon and Merari, the two other 
sous of Levi, Numbers 3. Deut. 12 : 
18, 19; 18 : 6-8; 1 Chron. 23, 24. 
^ Of Cyprus — lit., a Cyprian by birth. 
This is the largest island in the Medi- 
terranean except Sicily, and is near to 
Syria. This was the scene of the first 
labors of Paul and Barnabas, when 
they went out as the first missionaries 
of the Church at Antioch. See ch. 13 : 
4 ; 15 : 39. Both these distinguished 
propagators of Christianity were born 
out of Judea in heathen countries, and 
belonged to the class of Hellenists — • 
Jews speaking Greek — and thus, by 
their foreign connections, were special- 
ly fitted to give the Gospel to the 
heathen. The Jews had settled extea< 
sively in Cyprus. 

87. Having land. Though tho Le* 



120 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80-36. 



vites, as a tribe, had no inheritance in 
Israel, on the groiind of God's claiming 
to be their special inheritance, yet 
tliey had cities and lands assigned 
to them, Deut. 35 : 1-5, and it would 
seem that individuals of them could 
acquire and eell landed property in 
and around their forty-eight cities, 
Numbers 35 : 1-8 ; Leviticus 25 : 
32 ; Deut. 18 : 8 ; Jer. 1:1; 32 : 
6-9, though, as Bengel suggests, 
it was probably only outside of the 
Holy Laud that they coidd hold any 
estate. '^ Land" here means an es- 
tate or farm. And it was in the spirit 
of the law that they should not have 
an earthly estate, like other classes of 
men. His land was probably in Cy- 
prus, where he belonged. Some sup- 
pose that Barnabas set the example 
of this practice. ^ The w.oncy. The 
price for which the land was sold. 
\ Laid it at the Apostles' feet. This he 
did in the spirit of a true Levite — a 
true servant of the sanctuary. This 
he did in connection with speaking the 
word with boldness : a true " son of 
consolation," and worthy of the name, 
which possibly he derived from this 
transaction. Viewed in connection 
with the missionary career of this man, 
it shows his deep and cordial devoted- 
ness. He gave up his worldly interests, 
and applied himself to the work of the 
Gospel. He was not an Apostle, though 
he is once so called, but in the sense 
of a messenger or Apostolic missionary. 
Observe. — (1) Every Church member 
is just as much bound to give up all for 
Christ, as any minister is. (2) Members 
of the Church, who have the qualifica- 
tions and means, ought to devote them- 
selves and their property to the great 
work of evangelizing the world. (3) 
Until those Church members who have 
lands and houses, will give them up 
to the cause of Christ as the work re- 
quires, there will be no adequate pro- 
gress made in the extension of the 
Saviour's kingdom. The Church needs 
Buch " sons of consolation." " If ye 
know these things, (such as the wash- 
ing of the Disciples' feet,) happy are 
y3 if ye do them," John 13 : 17. "All , 



things are as nothing to him to whom 
God is all in all." — Quesnel. (4) "We 
are, by this example, reminded that 
while the authorities in Israel had 
leagued themselves together with the 
raging heathen against the Anointed 
of Jehovah, the Church of Christ had 
through God's miraculous protecting 
and fostering grace, exhibited a state 
of things corresponding to that original 
model of the people of Israel which 
the word of God has sketched." 

CHAPTER V. 

§ 8. The Fiest Defection — [Ananiui 
and Sapphira.) Ch. 5:1-16. Jeru- 
salem. A. D. 30-36. 

The troubles of the rising Church 
are not merely from without. They 
spring up even more seriously from 
within. This has been the case in all 
its history. It arises from " the form 
of godliness without the power there- 
of." We see here that a profession that 
is empty already disturbs the peace of 
Zion, and calls for the discipline of 
Christ's house. 

The "fellowship" of the believers, 
(ch. 2: 44,) in which "they continued 
steadfastly," seems to be enumerated 
among the ordinances as an act of 
worship. As a religious rite, it appears 
as a confession of the second table of 
the law : love to our neighbor as our- 
selves. The practical expression of 
this was the community of goods, in 
the sense already set forth, (ch. 2: 44; 
4 : 34-37.) This religious devotement 
of property to the wants of the suffering 
membership being an act of worship, 
they who falsely professed to perform 
this, are said to have "lied unto the. 
Holy Ghost." Thus it occurred with the 
ancient Israel when, passing through 
her first struggle with the Canaanites, 
(Josh. 7: 24,) Achan, one out of the 
very midst of Israel, sinned in stealing 
the wedge of gold. In that case, also, 
the Church suffered, and severest mea- 
sures were culled for, to purge the 
membership. Here arises the New 
Testament Achan. 



A. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. V. 



121 



CHAPTER V. 

1 But- a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold 
a possession, 

2 And kept, back part of the price, his wife also beiag 
privy to it, *and brought a certain part, and laid it at the <"=''■*="• 
apostles' feet. 

3 " But Peter said, Ananias, wny hath « Satan filled cfur^s-" i? 
heart |lto lie to the Hoi 

part of the price of the land ? 



1. But. — Now the historian turns to 
the dark side of the picture in the 
History of the Early Church. ^ Ana- 
nias. This name, quite common among 
the Jews, means " the grace of the 
Lord." Sapphira means ^^ Beautiful." 
Yet all this is in the name, as Bengel 
suggests, while the habits are evil. It 
is twice mentioned that he did it "with 
Sapphira his u-ife," to show that it was 
the result of previous concert. ^ Sold a 
possession. From vs. 3, we infer that 
this possession was a field — a farm — 
landed property, as in the case of 
Barnabas. 

2. Kept back part. This term means, 
Secretly separated for his own use. The 
same term is used in the Septuagint 
respecting Achan's sin, (Josh. 7: 1.) 
In Titus 2 : 10, it is rendered purloining. 
The nature of the sin is plainly signified 
here. They professed to devote the 
whole proceeds of the land, and brought 
forward apart, professing it to be the 
whole — keeping back a part for private 
use ; not avowedly, but fraudulently. 
Professing to separate it all to God, 
they separated a part to themselves 
secretly. ^ His wife also being privy, 
&o. They sinned all the more griev- 
ously, as they could and should have 
dissuaded each other from the sin. — 
Bengel. *\ Brought a certain part. No 
matter how large a part, since they 
professed that it was the whole, and it 
was not. T Laid it at the Apostles' feet. 
This was done in a solemn, formal act of 
devotion. It was probably done in pub- 
lic assembly, at the time of public wor- 
ship, before the face of the congrega- 
tion, and at the feet of the Apostles, who 
ftOted in the nama and authority of 

11 



Jesus Christ. These are the features 
of the act which made it so aggravated 
an oflfense against God and the Church, 
and which called for the severest 
punishment. 

3. In the case of Achan, death was 
visited by the word of God and the 
hand of man. " Here it is by the 
word of the Apostle, and the hand of 
God." — Bengel. ^ Why — Alas! that 
Satan, &c. This grievous sin is ascribed 
to tlie Old Deceiver of our first parents, 
who always has been on the alert to 
oppose the rising cause of God in the 
earth. The kingdom of darkness here 
takes a stand against the advancing 
kingdom of light. So, in the case of 
Judas, the crime was traced to Satan's 
filling the heart, (Luke 22: 3; John 13: 
27.) This implies a thorough harden- 
ing of the conscience — a filling full of 
the spirit of evil, as contrary to that 
Holy Spirit who fills the heart of 
believers. Satan is here referred to 
as a personal agent, the antagonist of 
the Holy Ghost. He is said also tc 
have entered into Judas, (John 13: 
27.) f To lie unto the Uoly Ghost. 
At the very time that this pair of 
hypocrites pretend to be full of the 
Holy Ghost, they are found to be 
full of Satan, and lying unto the Holy 
Ghost. This was the object of Satan, 
thus to deceive the Third Person of 
the Blessed Trinity; and in these false 
professors, this fas the nature of the 
attempt as far as in them lay. It is 
called a lie unto the Holy Ghost, because 
it was a solemn counterfeiting, before 
the Church, of a special, spiritual 
grace, and the profaning of a holy 
ordinance. The aim of it was to palm 



122 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. SO-^6 



4 WLiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold^ 
was it not in thine own power ? why hast thou conceived this thing 
in thine heart ? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 



off the work of Satan as the work of 
the Spirit of God, and to defy the Holy 
Spirit as dwelling in the Apostles and 
the Clmich. Had it succeeded, it 
would have gone so far to wipe out all 
distinctions between the works of the 
flesh and of the Spirit, and to destroy 
the very foundations of Christ's house, 
as the ^'■habitation of God through the 
Spirit." Observe. — The Holy Ghost 
is here shown to be a Person of the 
Godhead distinct from the Father and 
the Son. "The sin against the Holy 
Ghost" is elsewhere spoken of as so 
peculiarly aggravated as to be un- 
pardonable, {Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 
3: 28, 28,) while all sin against the 
Son of man may find pardon. That 
the Holy Ghost is a Person, and not 
a mere influence, is plain from the 
language. He is ^'lied unto," which 
could not be said of an influence ; 
and in vs. 4 this is said to be It/inff 
unto God. Hence we infer that the 
Holy Ghost is God. This is else- 
where clearly revealed in the Scrip- 
ture, (Matt. 28: 19; Luke 2: 26; 2 
Cor. 13 : 14.) See also ch. 1 : 16 ; 5 : 
3, 9; 28: 25; Heb. 9: 14; 1 Cor. 2: 10; 
Luke 1:3-5; Rev. 2:23. ^ And to keep 
back. This was the way in which the 
lie Avas acted out. Observe. — Peter 
knows surely of the hypocrisy of these 
persons, as he could not know except 
by Divine power enabling him to dis- 
cern the spirits. Observe. — The sin 
■was like that of Judas pretending to 
care for the poor, (John 12: 6,) but 
falsely. 

4. From this it is clear that the offer- 
ing of their property was voluntary, 
and hence that this was a willful at- 
tempt at deception. The land was 
their own, while it remained undevoted 
to this sacred purpose : but by that act 
of special consecration it was made 
" holy to the Lord," — separated to His 
service — and then it became sacrilege to 
separate any part of it stealthily to 
themselves. Lev. 27 : 28. And even 
when the land was Bold, the proceeds 



were in their oivn power to uso them aa 
they pleased. There was no law com- 
pelling them to dispose of the property 
in this way and until the vow wns 
made devoting it to God, they could 
have kept it entirely, except so far 
as they were bound by the great 
law of charity. Observe. — The great 
duties of religion are binding upon us 
whether we profess it or not. Here 
was a case where a special vow made 
a special obligation to do accord- 
ing to the thing avowed. But none 
can excuse themselves for not profess- 
ing the religion of Christ by the plea 
that it is better not to profess than to 
profess and not perform. For, (1) It 
is not left to their choice to profess 
Christ or not. Thig is their solemn 
duty, (2) While they pretend to have 
fear of making a false profession, they 
should fear also the dreadful sin of ma- 
king no profession of Christ. \ Con- 
ceived. Literally, Put in thine heart. 
The sin which was put in their heart 
by Satan, was also put in their heart 
by themselves. Ananias is charged 
with putting it there, and it would seem 
that he suggested it to his wife: contrary 
to the case of our first parents in the 
garden. Observe. — The suggestion of 
Satan does not become sin in us unless 
it is entertained by us. Evil thoughts 
may be put into the mind by the temp- 
ter. It is only when they are harbored 
and indulged that they become ours. 
^ Unto men — not so much as unto 
God. The lying to men, cf which he 
was guilty, was not the special nature 
of the crime, as he might have thought, 
but lying unto God. The peculiar enor- 
mity of his guilt was this, that he had 
probably very much overlooked, ordis 
regarded. — How careful men are tc 
provide against human detection, nnd 
careless about the searching eye of 
God, Ps. 41 : 4. If Unto God. Com 
pare John 3 : 6 with 1 John 5 : 4. 
Matt. 9 : 38 with Acts 13 : 4-24. 2 
Tim. 3 : 16 with 2 Peter 1 : 21. John 
6 : 45 with 1 Cor. 2:13. 1 Cor. 3 : M 



A. D. 30-36.J 



ClliP. V. 



138 



5 And Ananias hearing these words * fell down, aad * "• '" ''• 
gave up the ghost : and great fear came on all them that 
heard these things. 

6 And the young men arose, * wound him up, and '^^''°^^■*''• 
carricd him out, and buried him. 



with 1 Cor. 6 : 19, and Tve find that the 
Deity and Personality of the Holy 
Ghost are plainly taught. To ''lie unto," 
here expresses the opposition or hos- 
tility intended hy the act. Observe. 
— (1) "Ananias has lied to God the 
Spirit, not to men and Peter. Dare, 
if you can, Socinian, thus to read it, 
' He has lied, not to the Spirit and Pe- 
ter, but to God.' -'—Bengel. The Holy 
Ghost so far from being less than God, 
is He against whom the sin (against 
the Holy Ghost,) is more heinous than 
against the Father or the Son. (Matt. 
12 : 31.) (2) The judgment is the 
same as was pronounced against Judas 
— who also concealed his love of money 
under a hypocritical regard for the 
poor. 

6. Peter in those words pronounced 
his inspired verdict against the hypo- 
crite. Some have found nothing mir- 
aculous in the effect of this upon Ana- 
nias, but only the working of his deli- 
cate sensibility — the severe and sudden 
shock of such a terrible detection be- 
fore the whole Church, where he had 
thought to succeed in his deception, 
and to obtain nothing but praise for such 
large liberality. But here was plainly 
the visitation of God — the hand of Di- 
vine judgment, and thus it was in both 
cases the same. Observe. — (1) Many 
who carry the public applause for large 
gifts, do yet not give according to their 
large means, in any proper proportion, 
but after all, keep back part of the price. 
God alone can search the heart. But 
His judgment day will reveal the true 
character of our deeds. (2) How aw- 
ful will be the terror with which sin- 
ners will be struck at the final judg- 
ment, when Christ Himself shall pro- 
nounce the sentence. Depart. (3) How 
fearful is the sentence of the sinner's 
own conscience. " Every mouth shall be 
Btopped, and the whole world shall be- 
come guilty before God." f Oave up 



the ghost. Literally, expired. It would 
be possible for one to be so shocked 
and overwhelmed by sudden detection 
as to fall down dead. But the fixct 
that both the man and his wife drop 
down so instantly would imply that this 
was by the direct act of God. This wo 
can see would make a fearful example 
of these persons, and tend thus to deter 
others from similar hypocrisy in tho 
Church. T Great fear. The immedi 
ate effect upon the whole community 
was this of great fear. The judicial 
infliction had this desired effect of stri 
king terror into the mind of the entira 
people. It was not only the sudden death 
of this unhappy couple, but the awful 
power accompanying the Apostles, 
which would naturally excite great and 
universal fear : so that it is repeated in 
vs. 11. This reverential fear would go 
far to prevent the intrusion of false 
brethren into the Church. 

6. The young men. This may refe» 
to a class in the congregation accus 
tonied to do the work of preparing the 
room and attending upon the services. 
On the general plan of the synagogue 
there were such, called servants, Luke 
4 : 20. These would naturally be the 
younger men, as those of some import- 
ant office would naturally be elders. 
They are also called veavlaaoi, youths, 
(vs. 10,) and without being a class of 
ecclesiastics, they were probably the 
younger members of the congregation 
acting in accordance with the Jewish 
custom, or perhaps now at some spe- 
cial direction Incidental services like 
these were necessary, and without anv 
formal erection of an office these du- 
ties, as of sexton, doorkeeper, fee.,, 
came to be performed by the young 
men. \ Wound him up. Wrapped 
him up in some loose covering. The 
Jews commonly bound the limbs sepa- 
rately with many folds of linen, in ordef 
to embalm the body. Often, however, 



124 



THE AOTS OF TML APOSTLES. 



[A. D, 80-86 



7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife; 
not knowing what was done, came in. 

8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land 
for so much ? And she said. Yea, for so much. 

9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have 
£irtt.'4:T. agreed together 'to tempt the Spirit of the Lord ? behold 
the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at th« 
door, and shall carry thee out. 



a loose shroud was thrown around the 
fresh corpse : which was done in this 
case, probably, on accountof the great 
haste. Some think that they wound 
him up in their own mantles, which 
they took off preparatoiy to carrying 
him out. — [Hackett. ) Others, that they 
wrapped him hastily in his own loose 
cloak or robe. — {Lightfoot.) ^ Car- 
ried him out — lit.. Having carried him 
forth — they buried him. Out of the 
house and out of the city. The Jews 
were accustomed to bury their dead 
outside the city walls. And this was 
done on the day of the death — partly 
because of the rapid putrefaction of 
the body in that warm climate, and 
partly because of the defilement which 
they suffered from contact with a dead 
body. Numbers 19 : 11. The burial, 
in this case, may have been hastened 
by the extraordinary circumstances of 
the death. This was more in accord- 
ance with the Divine visitation. Those 
who have suffered capital punishment 
for crime, whether hy the law or di- 
rectly by the hand of God, have .al- 
ways been regarded as entitled to ne 
consideration after death, and so their 
remains have been treated with con- 
tempt. Observe.— The crime of this 
man, as a false professor and deceiver 
in the Christian Church, was deeply 
aggravated, and his punishment was 
merited. 

7. Three hours after — lit., It came to 
pasi at an interval of about three hours. 
The woman, as the weaker vessel, had 
a longer space for repentance. "Pre- 
cious three hours." — Bengel. This 
may indicate that the Christians ob- 
served the Jewish hours of prayer, ch. 
8:1; 10 : 3. The corpse had not 
beea carried to the house, but buried 



at once , so that his wife did not know 
what was done during that three hours' 
time. ^ Came in. That is, to the 
congregation where they were assem- 
bled for worship. It was so ordered 
in providence that this wicked pair 
should be sep.arately tried and pun- 
ished. 

8. Peter answered. This may mean, 
addressed her, or replied to her address 
or salutation on her entrance. ^ For 
so much. He asks whether they two 
sold the land for the sum stated by 
Ananias, perhaps also pointing to it at 
his feet. ^ Yea. She protested and 
insisted upon it, that this was the real 
and exact sum. She intended to de- 
ceive, and this was the essence of the 
lie. Even though they received this 
amount and more, she told a deliberate 
falsehood, because it was her purpose 
to deceive the Apostles with the idea 
that this was the full amount. 

9. Ye have cgreed. Lit., That it has 
been agreed by you. The term expresses 
open agreement in terms, with pre- 
vious concert. It is used in classic 
writers to signify conspiracy. ^ Tempt 
the Spirit of the Lord. That is, to put 
to the test the Spirit of God, by lying 
to the Holy Ghost, and attempting to 
palm off hypocrisy for piety, as though 
He could not detect the difference, or 
as though He were alike the Author 
of both. T[ At the door. Near at hand, 
returning from the burial. See Mark 
13 : 29, " nigh even at the doors." 
This was three hours after the death 
of Ananias, and this length of time 
would be necessary to carry the corpse 
some distance outside of the city, and 
to dig the grave, and finish the burial, 
and return. ^ Carry thee out. As 
Peter knew beforehand that sho wag 



A D 80-36,1 



CHAP. V. 



13ft 



10 "Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and »"•*• 
yielded up the ghost : and the young men came in, and 
found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her 
husband. 

11 ''And great fear came upon all the church, and upon 
as many as heard these things, 



ch. 2:43, and 

19:17. 

icli. 2:43, anil 

12 f And 'by the hands of the apostles were many J^Vm-^'J^g*'"- 

" ■ 2 Cor, 

Hel). 2:4. 
*ch. 3:11, and 
4:32. 
lJohn9:22, auv 



were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. 

13 And ' of the rest durst no i 
" but the people magnified them. 



to die also, on the spot, for her crime, 
it is plain that it was by the special 
visitation of God, as a judicial inflic- 
tion. (See vs. 5, Notes.) 

10. Yielded up the ghost. This is 
fcxpressed in the Greek by one word, 
which means simply expiring, and is a 
better rendering. It is plain that the 
historian here understands this death 
as supernatural. It was n^t only in- 
stantaneous like the former, but it was 
precisely as Peter foretold. Tf Came 
in, ka. Lit., When they came in, found 
her dead. ^ By her husband. In the 
same grave with her husband. 

11. Great fear. The same is re- 
corded (vs. 5,) in the case of Ananias. 
Of course, there was now additional 
reason for this public sensation, as the 
Divine judgment was repeated. It was 
intended not only to visit just puniah- 
ment upon the ofi"enders, but also to 
express God's special hatred of hypoc- 
risy in His Church. See Matt. 23. An 
example was made of these, at this 
early stage of the Church's history, 
that should stand as a permanent warn- 
ing against false profession and willful 
deception in Christ's house. So Cain, 
the first murderer, was signally pun- 
ished by God. So Nadab and Abihu, 
for offering strange fire instead of the 
true. Korah and his company, for 
setting themselves against Moses — 
and Uzziah, for profanely laying hands 
upon the staggering ark, were judicial- 
ly destroyed by God. Achan, for his 
corresponding crime in the first period 
of Israel's history, needed to be 
promptly thrust out by the Church, 
and was put to death. Observe, — 

11* 



Even the persecuting Sanhedrim were 
awed, in some measure, by these won- 
drous and fearful judgments of Gcd, 
so swiftly visiting death upon th* 
sinner. 

12. Not only were there these awful 
demonstrations in the Church, that 
made it seem as the sacred fire of the 
altar which broke forth and consumed 
everything impure, (Levit. 10: 1-10,) 
there were also other manifestations 
of power in their miraculous gifts, 
which were now greatly increased. If 
the former would keep some such insin- 
cere ones standing aloof for dread, the 
latter would lead many to believe. 
^ Signs and xcoiiders. See ch. 2 : 43. 
TJ" Among the people — who are said, in 
vs. 13, to have magnified them — that is, 
the whole Church. Some read thia 
clause as connecting immediately with 
vs. 15, and that what comes between 
is to be read as a parenthesis. But 
this is not necessary. It is plain that 
these verses aim to give us an account 
of the Church's progress after the 
astonishing events just recorded. ^All. 
The Apostles and the Disciples — as a 
Church. ^ With one accord. In reli- 
gious assemblage at the times of public 
worship. See Notes, John 10 : 23. 
They were wont to assemble now as a 
separate body, in Solomon's Porch ; the 
"upper chamber" (1: 13,) having be' 
come too small for them. 

13. And of the rest. The general 
idea here is that this reverential awe 
kept back the promiscuous multitude— 
"the people" — "those that are without" 
— from intruding themselves upon the 
membership as false Disciples, and 



126 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80-86. 



14 And believers were tlie more added to the Lord, multitudea 

both of men and women ;) 
.^foeicry ^5 lusomuch that they brought loxth the sick || into 

the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, " that at 

the least the shadow of Peter passing by, might overshadow 

some of them. 



n Matt. 9 : 1 
and U: 36. 
«•«. 19:12. 



especially that none who were like 
Ananias and Sapphira, deceivers and 
hypocrites, dared to mingle in their 
assemblies, much less to join them- 
selves to the Christian Church, as that 
false-hearted couple had done. Only 
true believers were more largely added 
to the Church, (vs. 15.) This was the 
desired effect of such signal judgment 
of God. There were doubtless many 
more who were just as insincere as 
they were, and who stood ready to 
join themselves to the Church just as 
lightly and as falsely as they had done. 
But of the remainder of this class, in 
whom it would indeed have been an 
act of daring, none of them dared to 
join himself to them, fearing the con- 
sequences now as they naturally must 
do after so awful a visitation of God's 
wrath. '^ But the people. The common 
people of the Jews regarded the com- 
pany of believers with respect and 
admiration, and paid them honor. The 
Christian cause was thus making pro- 
gress in the community. See ch. 4 : 
21. The people generally were so far 
satisfied that this work was of God. 
Hence the fear that was aroused in 
some minds did not drive the people 
away in dread of any connection with 
the Church. It only infused a salutary 
awe, and the results were blessed and 
glorious. 

14. And believers, &c. Literally, 
Believing persons. Though the unbe- 
lievers — "those without" — "the rest" 
— dared not obtrude themselves falsely 
and join their assemblies, true believers 
were the more largely added. In this | 
way it was shown how much the people 
held the Chi'istians in respect. This 
was the progress which the Church 
made among the people. Though mere 
•ieceivers, like Ananias and Sapphira, 
were struck with awe, and dared not 
to join the Church, as those hypocrites 



had done, yet true believen were added 
all the more. That is, these events, 
which kept back the worldly and 
insincere from falsely joining them- 
selves to the Disciples, served to bring 
forward true believers "all the more." 
They proved a means of grace to such 
as, with good and honest hearts, re- 
ceived the Word. And the result was 
that the membership received still 
larger accessions, and the cause gained 
a new impulse, f To the Lord. Not 
merely to the Church, as Ananias. 
Here the new converts are said to be 
added "to the Lord," (?. e. to Christ,) 
as in ch. 2 they are spoken of as added 
to the Church by the Lord. Christ is 
the Head of the Church, which is His 
body. These members are added to 
Him. The numbers are no longer 
given, as in ch. 4 : 4, since the Church 
grew to greater size. 1 Women are 
here distinctly mentioned for the first 
time as among the converts — perhaps 
because Sapphira's case had just been 
related, and the effect upon her sex 
may be signified thus. 

15. If we read the foregoing verses 
without a parenthesis, as is most 
natural, then this verse connects tho 
large increase of converts with this 
extensive presentation of their sick for 
miraculous cures. The connection, 
however, is with the whole paragraph 
preceding, and looks back to the record 
in vss. 12 and 13 also. The object is 
to show how largely the membership 
increased, together with the influence 
of the Church upon the community 
every way. The term rendered "inso- 
much" sums up the various antecedents 
which account for the practice about 
to be related. Miracles were wrought, 
(vs. 12,) the Disciples met together as 
a distinct body in Solomon's Porch — 
the people held them in great rever- 
ence, (vs. 13,) — the memljership was 



A. D. 30-36.1 



CHAP. V. 



1S7 



16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round 

ahout unto Jerusalem, bringing " sick folks, and them {^""^ *" "• 
which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were ""'''°"=^-- 
healed every one. 

17 ^PThen the high priest rose up, and all they that ^'=''-*-' ''"• 



very much increased, so that, (as a 
result of all this,) they (the believers) 
brought forth the sick for miraculous 
healing by the Apostles. ^ Into the 
streets. Rather, Down to, or Throughout, 
or Along the streets. The exact reading 
is, " So as along the streets to bring 
forth the sick." " Streets," including 
open squares — the places of public 
resort, such as are found iu Oriental 
cities, around the gates, and elsewhere. 
^ Beds and couches. The sick were 
brought forth and laid on these beds. 
The dilferent terms here used, may 
refer to the beds of the richer and 
poorer classes. The former term is 
found nowhere else in the New Testa- 
ment. The latter was probably the 
coarser pallet used by the common 
people. Alford thinks the distinction 
unfounded. But the oldest and best 
lexicographers favor it. The idea is, 
that the rich and poor alike were 
engaged iu this — the rich on their beds, 
the poor on their pallets. ^ That at 
(Jiy least — In order that. This was their 
object in so doing. Literally, That 
Peter coming, (when he came,) even if 
(if only,) the shadow might overshadow 
any one of them.. That is, in his daily 
passing to and from the public assem- 
bly in Solomon's Porch. They crowded 
around where he was passing along, 
and their simple confidence was such 
that they hoped for some efficacy even 
from his shadow, if they could get no 
nearer. This was the faith which 
Christ commended in the woman, who 
in the crowd strove to touch (if it were 
but) the hem of his garment, which in 
itself could have no more virtue than 
the shadow here, (Matt. 9: 22.) The 
power was of God, and the weakness 
of the means would show the presence 
of such Divine power in them. It is 
not said that Peter's shadow had any 
miraculous effect, but only that the 
people 80 zealously and confidingly 



crowded along his path, aiming to get 
within his shadow, if no more, and 
saying iu themselves, (as the woman 
with our Lord,) "If I may but be 
reached by his shadow, I shall be 
healed." That this does not prove 
Peter's primacy or Popeship, is plain, 
since we find a similar account of 
Paul's miracles, (ch. 19: 12.) 

IG. This is the first notice that we 
have of converts from out of Jerusa- 
lem, since the Pentecost. The Wiclif 
version has it, "And the multitude of 
the cities nigh to Jerusalem ran." 
There came "also," besides this, ^ A 
multitude. Rather, the multitude — the 
mass— the body of the people. ^ Out 
of the cities. Rather, the population of 
the surrounding cities came together into 
Jerusalem. See Isa. 2 : 1-4. T Bring- 
ing. Literally, bearing, carrying. ^ Sick 
folks. Literally, the side. ^ Vexed. 
Literally, disturbed, perturbed — as if by 
a crowj of evil spirits. Here is the 
fir.-:t mention iu this history of demoni- 
acal possessions, which are so ofteu 
referred to by Luke iu his Gospel nar- 
rative. (See Luke 4 : 33-35.) They 
are here distinguished from diseases, 
(see in the preceding clause,) yet they 
doubtless often produced disease. 
^ They were liealed every one. Literally 
they were healed all. "VViclif — ivhich all 
ivere healed. This is the gracious re- 
sult. It was made unto them according 
to their faith. Those who sought to 
come within the shadow, if they could 
get no nearer, may be supposed to be 
included. 

^ 9. The First Imprisonment of tub 
Twelve — (Sadducean) — Miracu- 
lous Deliverance — Peter — Ga- 
maliel. Jerusalem. A. D. 30-36. 
Ch. 5: 17-42. 

We see here another step taken m 
that hostility which Judaism haa ol- 



128 



( Or eitvf. 
tLnke21-. 12. 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. [A. D. SO-dB. 

were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducecs,) and 
were filled with || indignation, 

18 "iAnd laid their hands on the apostles, and put them 
in the common prison. 



ready set up against Christianity. AVe 
saw the two Apostles (Peter and John,) 
thrust into prison over night to await 
their trial in the morning, (ch. 4:1.) 
Now we see "the Apostles," all of them, 
imprisoned without any apparent lim- 
itation, and on the ground of a previous 
decision and condemnation of their doc- 
trine,(see vs. 28.) Besides, here we find 
the High Priest entering into the strife, 
and thus this imprisonment assumes a 
more official and national aspect, as the 
act of the Jewish Church through its 
official representative and head. 

17. Then. Not only after that, but 
as a consequence of the foregoing, and 
occasioned by it. This wonder-work- 
ing power so amazingly popular, alarm- 
ed the chief functionaries. The Sad- 
dui^ees were yet taking the lead in the 
opposition, as in ch. 4: 1. "^ The high 
priest. This was probably Annus, who 
is named (ch. 4 : G,) as high priest, or 
it may have been Caiaphas, who was 
the acting high priest at the ti-rae, but 
by Roman authority and not by Jewish 
law. According to the latter, Annas 
was the high priest until his death. (Ex. 
9 : 44.) But as the Romans usurped 
the prerogative of appointing or remo- 
ving from this office according to their 
pleasure, within the priestly line aixl 
order, the greatest confusion obtained. 
Hence, Luke names both Annas and 
Caiaphas as being both of them high 
priests (Luke 3:2.) at the same time. 
^ Rose up — having risen up. The term 
implies some special excitement, (and 
not any formal judicial act,) under 
which he proceeds to the hostilities 
named, vs. 18. ^ They that were iviih 
him. Meaning not the Sanhedi-im, (who 
are mentioned in vs. 21, as distinct 
from these, ) but those who joined with 
him in his views and plans — his 
party. See ch. 4 : 14 ; 19 : 38 ; 22 : 9. 
This is explained in the next clause as 
referring to the sect of the Sadducees. 
The language in the Greek implies that 



the whole sect of the Sadducees were 
of the high priest's party in opposition 
to our Lord, and that it was the Sad- 
ducees' party in the Sanhedrim, See 
vs. 21, Notes. AVhether Annas and 
Caiaphas were of this sect, or whether 
they were Pharisees, as some suppose, 
(ch. 23 : 6,) cannot be determined, 
though some think the meaning to be 
that they were of this sect, and in a 
manner represented them. Certain it 
is, that the party with him were mainly 
of that sect, and this is recorded to call 
our attention to the fact that these, who 
denied the resurrection and the world 
of spirits, were the first opposers of 
Christianity, and this because the Apos- 
tles preached the doctrine of the Res- 
urrection, as shown in the case of Christ. 
Meanwhile, the Pharisees hated the 
Sadducees so much that they rather 
kept silence and almost sided with the 
Disciples, while these their enemies 
were in the opposition. At a later 
time, however, the Pharisees were the 
prominent party in the hostilities : 
and these rival sects were joined at last 
against Christ, like Pilate and Herod. 
(See ch. 4 : 1.) T Sect. The term here 
used is that which we in English have 
transferred directly from the Greek — 
heresy. It is used as we would use 
the word party or division, and not in 
the modern sense, with reference to fa- 
tal errors — though the Sadducees were 
heretics. Originally, the word means 
simply option or choice, as we say "per- 
suasion." \ Indignation. Here wo 
have another Greek term which is 
transferred to the English word, zeal. 
It means commonly any ardor of mind 
in a good or bad sense, but here it ex- 
presses envy and party spirit. They 
were moved at the popularity of the 
Apostles, and afraid of their own cause 
being lost with the people, and indig- 
nant at the currency thus given to the 
doctrine of the resurrection. 

18. Laid their hands. This refers %a 



A. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. V. 



129 



19 But 'the angel of the Lord by night opened the Ista!' •'•'""' 
prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 

20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people "all 'j!'^''^--^'''^^ 
the words of this life. _ uohnsai. 

21 And when they heard that, they entered into the 
temple early in the morning, and taught. *But the high "=''•* •s.s. 



tlieir arrest. The next clause relates 
the result, f The Apostles. That is 
the twelve, vs. 29. IT Common prison. 
The terms mean public custody. No 
reference is had to an inferior jail for 
lowest criminals. The public prison 
was used as being more secure. In ch. 
4 : 3, the term here rendered prison is 
translated hold. The Wiclif version 
has it the common ward. 

19. The angel. Literally, ^;i angel, 
without anj' particular reference to one 
rather than another angel. "The Angel" 
in the Old Testament sense would moan 
the Covenant Angel, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who, we suppose, is not meant 
here. The deliverance was plainly 
miraculous. Angels are employed by 
God on such errands of salvation. Hob. 
1 : 14. AVhile the high priests, the 
servants of the Old Israel, prove faith- 
less, the angels, the heavenly servants 
of the New Israel, most conspicuously 
fulfill their office, f By night. The 
deliverance was wrought between the 
days, as being thus more surprising and 
alarming. The men that were seen 
safely in their coafinemeut at night- 
fall, were missing in the morning, and 
no watchman disturbed, and no trace 
of the mode of escape ! The effect of 
this upon their enemies is seen in vs. 
23. ^ Opened the prison doors. The 
miracle consisted in opening the barred 
doors as no human power could do it. 
It would seem also that the doors were 
closed again by the same miraculous 
agency. This added to the surprise, 
vs. 23. How could they have escaped, 
would be the question. Through what 
opening, as the doors were shut '■^with 
all safety ?" By what intervention in 
spite of these iron doors and bars ? 
How else, indeed, than by God ? 

20. Go— Lit., Go forth. They were 
set free, and this address of the angel 
is that they exercise their freedom 



without any feeling of restrain*. 
1[ Stand — having taken your stand — 
implying firm, free and calm action. 
If In the temple. That is, as publicly 
as before, and more. Instead of in 
"Solomon's Porch," they wore to take 
their stand in the second inclosure it- 
self, as distinguished by the term hero 
used from the building as a whole. 
Their instructions are, to speak or 
discourse to the people, now that their 
priests and rulers would not hear. 
T[ All the words — concealing or keep- 
ing back nothing, however odious — 
withholding not even the doctrine of 
"the Resurrection and the life," for 
fear of this violent hostility of the Sad- 
ducees. f Of this life. This life which 
embraces the Resurrection: as Christ 
Himself is " the Resurrection and the 
Life," (John 11 : 25,) and has brought 
life and immortality to light through 
the Gospel, (2 Tim. 1 : 10.) " In Him 
was life; and the life was the light of 
men," John 1 : 4. This life, spiritual 
and heavenly, is quite different from 
that which the Sadducees held, who 
denied the soul's immortality and the 
life eternal. " Christ is the way, and 
the truth, and the life," (John 14: 6.) 
The Gospel is called " the word of this 
salvation," (ch. 13: 26.) 

21. When they heard. This is said 
to show their prompt obedience to the 
angelic directions. ^ Early — Lit., 
about, upon, or at daybreak. Strictly 
understood it may mean. Just before 
day-dawn. ^ Came. Lit., The high- 
priest having arrived — that is, at the 
session chamber of the Sanhedrim in 
the temple, ch. 6 : 14. ^ And they 
that wtre tviih him — the same as spo- 
ken of in vs. 17 — those of his party. 
Tf The council. The supreme council 
or court of the nation — the Sanhedrim. 
The Greek shows that those who weM 
with him took part io the call of tli« 



uo 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-8». 



priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council 
together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the 
prison to have them braught, 

22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, 
they returned, and told, 

23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and 
the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had 

opened, we found no man within. 
cu''*'?!."'*' 24 Now when the high priest and "the captain of the 

temple and the chief priests heard these things, they 
doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 



council, and the term denotes a formal 
convening. ^ All the senate — the tlder- 
ship. It would seem that besides call- 
ing the Sanhedrim together, a part of 
whom were elders, they summoned, 
also, all " the elders of the Jews,'" though 
not belonging to this supreme court, 
(see ch. 4:8; ch. 25: 15,) yet im- 
portant as representing the synagogues, 
and as men of wisdom and counsel, for 
such an emergency. They were noted 
as foes of Jesus and of His doctrine. 
^ The prison. This term is not the 
same as is used in vs. 18 or 19, but 
another, signifying a place of confme- 
ment — (the whole building.) The term 
used in vs. 22, (same as in vs. 19,) 
conveys the idea of a guard — as we 
say, " watch-house," the particular 
ward or cell. ^ To have them brovght. 
Lit., For them to be brought — com- 
manding them to be brought. 

22. The officers. Lit., The servants 
(of the Sanhedrim) having come — ar- 
rived — (the same word as is used of 
the high-priest, vs. 21,) did not find 
them in the prison (cell) ; and having 
returned they reported. 

23. The prison. This is the term 
used in vs. 21, m.eaning the building 
itself. They found the jail shut vp (an 
emphatic term) "M7;;/ia//«(7/"e/?/,"(perfect 
security,) no trace of being broken 
open, all the doors and bolts just as 
they ought to be, thoroughly secure. 
Wiclif — " with all diligence." The an- 
gel who miraculously opened the pris- 
on doors, (vs. 19,) had closed them 
after him, so as to leave them precise- 
ly as they were found. This puzzled 
m gfilcers most of all. ^ Keepers. 



Lit., Guards — from which the term for 
"prison," in vss. 19 and 23, is taken. 
This would show that the guards had 
been at their post ; and that the Apos- 
tles had not escaped by their absence 
or inadvertence. T[ Before the doors. 
The guards were found standing before 
the very prison c?oors that the angel had 
opened and closed after him, vs. 19. 
1[ When we had ope^ied. Lit., Having 
opened. They opened now in a natural 
way, the very doors that the angel 
opened miraculously. But they found 
no one inside. 

24. The high-priest. Lit., The priest. 
That is, by eminence, in chief — mean- 
ing, of course, the high-priest, as al- 
ready referred to. TI Captain of the 
temple. This ofiScer was the guardian 
of the sacred house, one of the chief 
priests, perhaps a member of the San- 
hedrim, and set to enforce the Mosaic 
observances. (See ch. 4:1.) He was 
one of "those that were with the high- 
priest," vss. 17, 21. ^ The chief 
priests — high-priests — the heads of the 
twenty-four courses appointed by Da- 
vid, 1 Chron. 24, or possibly, also, 
those who had been high-priests under 
the Roman appointment, just as Annas 
and Caiaphas, (and doubtless several 
others at least,) were high-priests in- 
stead of one, as provided for by the 
Jewish law. See ch. 4:6. TJ They 
doubted. The word is more forcible, 
and means, they u-ere in perplexity. 
II Concerning them — these things, or 
these Apostles. \ Whereunto, &c. Lit., 
What would come of this, or. What this 
would become — how it would turn out. 
They were at an utter loss to conceira 



A. D. 80-3G.] 



CHAP. V. 



181 



25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom 
ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 

26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought 

them without violence: ^for they feared the people, lest *"«" 21:2s. 
they should have been stoned. 

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the 
council : and the high priest asked them, 

28 Saying, ? Did not we straitly command you that ye v^'-^-^s- 
should not teach in this name ? and, behold, ye have filled ;, 011.2:23-36. 
Jerusalem with your doctrine, 'and intend to bring this ^'^l^''^'^''^^ 
man's * blood upon us. b^It'ik;^^' 



what this would result in, if tilings 
went ou in this amazing manner as 
regarding these men. 

25. They get no-w some light upon the 
Bubject. The prisoners are found, at 
least. ^ Came one. Literally, one ar- 
riving — the same word as used before. 
The (very) men whom ye put in prison, 
are (not there, but on the contrary,) 
standing in the temple and teaching the 
people. 

2G. The captain — of the temple — the 
commander of the Lcvitical guard. (See 
vs. 24 ) *f With the officers — the servants 
of the court. Literally, Then the captain 
having departed with ike officers. ^Brought 
than, not by force — not binding them as 
else they would have done. Matthew 
27 : 2. This refers not to the unresist- 
ing manner of the Apostles so much as to 
the manner of the ofScers, as is shown 
by the reason annexed. T For. This 
bhows that the people, to whom they 
discoursed, were warmly in their favor, 
and they feared that any attempt at vio- 
lence or craclty in bringing them to the 
court would result in themselves being 
stoned. Lit. , in order that they might not 
be stoned. The Apostles might have ap- 
pealed to this popular feeling, but they 
did not. They submitted to the lawful 
authority. It was not from the Disci- 
ples that they apprehended the stoning, 
but fcom the fickle multitude whom 
they afterwards used as instruments of 
persecution. Stoning was now the cap- 
ital punishment under the Jewish law. 

27. When, &c. Literally, having 
brought them. ^ They set them— set them 
up — stationed or presented them. See 
ch 1 ; 23, where the eamo word is used. 



28. Did ^^otive, &c. One would sup- 
pose, 6a3's Chrysostora, that the first 
thing asked would have been, how did 
you escape ? But as if nothing had 
happened, he asked about their teach- 
ing. The high priest was the chief 
religious functionary of the nation — 
the representative of the religious in- 
terest of the people, (see Zech. 3:1,) 
and hence the presiding officer in the 
Supreme Court. ^ Straitly. The phrase 
used here is. Did we not command you 
ivilh a command. He is ashamed to 
speak of threatening, (ch. 4 : 17,) for 
tli-ey had not the power to punish. 
How he sets up their command, and 
the enormity of violating it, while God's 
command would pass for nothing ! Tlie 
question implies thattlie Apostles were 
bound to obey the order of the Sanh 
drim, as tiiey would have been, had 
not the command of God been most di- 
rectly and clearly contrary to it, vs. 29. 
1 In this name. i. e. of Jesus. Bengel 
remarks that, "The high priest avoids 
using the name of Jesus. Peter uses 
it and glories in it." vss. 30, 31. Lit- 
erally, upon this name, (as their author- 
ity, ch. 4 : 18.) IT And, behold, (on 
the contrary,) you have filled Jerusa- 
lem with your teaching, so that it has 
spread throughout the city and among 
all classes. ^ Bring this man's blood 
upon us. This was indeed what the 
high priest and his followers profanely 
said, " Ilis blood be on us, and on our 
children." Matt. 27 : 25. They began 
now to fear being held responsible fo-r 
Christ's murder, and that, by the very 
people whom thoy had urged on to tho 
crucifixion. Conscience was condemn" 



132 



CHAP. V. 



[A. 1). 30-Stt. 



Sch. 4:19. 
cch. 3:13, 15, 
aud22: It. 
deb. 10:39, 
audl3:l'9. 
Gal. S: 13. 
1 Pet. 2:24. 
ech. 2:33, 30. 



29 ^ Then Peter and the other apostles answered and 
said, •* We ought to obey God rather than men. 

30 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye 
slew and ^ hanged on a tree. 

31 "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be 



ing them. This doctrine -which had 
so spread among the people did indeed 
teach that Jesus veas wickedly put to 
death by the Jews. But this was not 
with any intent to excite the popular 
vengeance against the leaders, but 
rather to urge them to repentance in 
order to pardon and salvation. Ob- 
serve. — This miraculous deliverance 
was not wasted, because of the Apostles 
being retaken. It was intended as a 
sign from God, and it had its effect upon 
the Sanhedrim, vs. 24. 

29. Peter arid the (other) apostles. Pe- 
ter, as usual, appetirs as spokesman. 
The phraseology is peculiar, and would 
read, " And Peter answering, the Apos- 
tles also said." Peter spake for them 
all. They expressed their concurreuce. 
^ We ought, &c. Literally, It is ne- 
cessary to obey. They acknowledged 
the Sanhedrim as the ordinary religious 
authority whom it would be right to 
obey except in case of such a clear, 
unmistakable command of God to the 
contrary. And here they declare they 
have no option. There is an absolute 
necessity laid upon them. The term 
here rendered to obey, is peculiar, and 
expresses the idea of obedience to au- 
thority, translated "to obey magistrates," 
Titus 3:1. In ch. 4 : 19, they had 
challenged their persecutors to deny 
this clear, unquestioned principle ; and 
here they say (not, "we ought," but) it 
j» necessary, in every case as well as in 
ours. It is a necessity which cannot 
be set aside. Observe. — There could 
bo no doubt of the Divine command in 
thi.? case, at it was expressly signified 
by the angel, (vs. 20.) Observe. — 
They made no forcible resistance to the 
authorities, but patiently bore the pen- 
alties and gave their testimony. 

30. After stating the principle of 
their obedience to God, they gave a 
eynopsis of Christ's history as being 
tiia •work of tho God of their Jewish 



fathers, cf the very Jehovah whom 
they, tlie Jews, boasted of worshiping. 
This would bring the necessity of obe- 
dience home to the Sanhedrim also, 
and all the accusers, f Raised up. 
Their treatment of Christ is put in di- 
rect contrast with that of "the God of 
their fathers," Abraham, Isaac and Ja- 
cob, whom they all, as Jews, boasted. 
While they slew Him, their national 
covenant God raised Him up, i. e. from 
the dead. And this act of Resurrec- 
tion was the Divine seal set upon Christ's 
work, and thus it authorized their obe- 
dience in preachingand teaching in the 
name of Christ. ^ Ye slew and hanged. 
Literally, Ye slew, having hanged — slew 
by hariging. The term here rendered 
"slew" is different from those else- 
where used, (to kill, crucify, &c.) and 
expresses a more personal action — lit- 
erally, handled — as elsewhere he urges 
home their personal participation in 
Christ's death "by wicked hands," (ch. 2: 
23.) '^ On a tree— (crncifted.) Though 
the Jewish law pronounces every one 
accursed who "hangs on a tree," its 
reference is not distinctly to the pun- 
ishment of crucifixion, -which was a Ro- 
man punishment and not Jewish. It 
referred originally to the ignominious 
exposure of the dead body of a crimi- 
nal on a post or a tree. Yet the curso 
of the law is so worded that it appliew 
to this punishment of crucifixion, espe- 
cially as the custom was to leave the 
dead body exposed on the cross. Seo 
Deut. 21: 22; Gen. 40:19. The point 
of this is that He whom they held to 
be accursed and treated most ignomin- 
iously had been glorified by God. (Rom. 
1:2.) 

31. Jlim — This one (rovrov) hath 
God exalted. God has lifted Him up 
to honor and glory, as ye lifted Him 
up to shame. T[ With his right hand. 
Rather, At, or to His right hand, 
to sit there, (Psalm 110 : 1,) aaao- 



A. D. 30-30.] 



CHAP V. 



'a Prince and ^a Saviour, ^ for to give repentance to If rael, ^Mif,.!^:. 
and forgiveness of sins. ch.'5:u;.'& i 

32 And ' wo are liis witnesses of thase things; and m is cSi!'iVu. 
also the Holy Grhost, * whom Grod hath given to them that iil',''"?!-^ 
obey him. i"-*^- 



ciated in the dominion, (Psalm 45 : 
9,) or if, as some take it, the sense 
13, " iviCh or 6y His right hand," then it 
is to show God to be the doer of this 
omnipotent act, Rom. 1 : 2. The l.at- 
t"i- is favored by the parallel reading, 
'jh 2 : 33. (To be) a Prince — Cap- 
tain — "Author of salvation," Heb. 2 : 
10, elevated Ilim as a Prince — this 
Oue who is a Prince — " Prince of Life," 
(ch. 3: 15,) leading the way; ob, 
elevated Him (to sit) as a Prince upon 
His throne, as Mediator, for the pur- 
pose of giving repentance. So Heb. 
2:9. " We see Jesus crowned with 
glory and honor that lie, by the grace 
of God, should taste death for every 
man." So Pa. 110:5. *^ And a Saviour. 
A Prince, as having all authority and so 
to be obeyed ; and a Saviour, as using 
His authority to give salvation, able 
to save to the uttermost, &c., Heb. 7: 
25. "All power is given unto me iu 
heaven .-uid on erarth. Go ye, therefore, 
and teach all nations," &c. Jesus 
must be Prophet and King to all to 
whom He is Priest. He is a Saviour 
to those only who accept Him as their 
Lord. ^ To give repentance. He uses 
His supreme power for this end. It 
requires Omnipotence to work true re- 
pentance, which implies a new crea- 
tion. It is of the now birth, which is 
not of the will of the flesh, nor of the 
will of man, but of God. So faith is 
said to be the gift of God. See ch. 11 : 
18 ; 2 Tim. 2 : 25 ; Eph. 2 : 8. Ben- 
gel remarks, that " repentance is a 
joyous gift, not a sad business." As 
Prince and Saviour, Jesus gives repent- 
ance. This is His royal prerogative 
as the Prince of Life. So, as Prince 
and Saviour, He gives forgiveness of 
sins. Tkey are bcth His free gift. 
Ho does not give forgiveness as a re- 
ward of ri'pentance, but the one is as 
truly a gift as the other. "Free for- 
giveness iu His name." Repentance, 
12 



however, must precede forgiveness, 
but grace in the heart must precede 
both. If To Israel. Even to yoa, Israel. 
The grace is preached even to these 
blood-stained sinners, (who confess 
that theyliave shed Kis blood, vs. 28,) 
for "the goodness of God leadeth us 
to repentance," (Rom. 2 : 4.) It was 
as much as to say, " He i.s exalted to 
give repentance to y^u and forgive- 
ness." It also intimated that the offer 
was made first to Israel, (see ch. 8 : 
2G,) and that He gives these to the 
true Israel, the people of Ilis new and 
better covenant, His own elect. This 
implies that Peter still cherishes a 
special hope for Israel, yet he sees 
that there is no hope for them, except 
in the Divine favor and grace. ^ And 
forgiveness. John the Baptist preach- 
ed to Israel " the baptism of repent- 
ance for the remission of sins," (Luke 
3 : 8,) the baptism that sat forth those 
great ideas, and involved a profession 
of such repentance. But Christ gives 
repentrmce in order to the forgiveness 
which He also freely gives. 

32. His witnesses. As Apostles they 
were chosen by God to be witnesses 
of thei-e things — these worda histories, 
things expressed in words — as of) His 
Life, Death, and especially of His Res- 
un-ection, vs. 30 ; ch. 1 : 8-22 ; 2 : 32, 
40. Hence they could not ceaso to bear 
witness. They had no optioB, for they 
had no right to cease, if they would. 
1[ The Holy Ghost. They were not 
alone in this witness, for the iloly 
Spirit bore witness also to these great 
truths, by miraculous signs which ac- 
companied their testimony, and by the 
inspiration of their written Sobxptitre— 
witness. So it was promised iu John 
15 : 20. f To them that obey Him. Lit., 
That yield obedience to Him as their Lead- 
er, Captain, Prince. This term refari 
back to vs. 29, where it is used in tho 
same sense. The whole drift then is • 



134 



forth 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-86L 



"* 33 ^'Wlien tliey heard thaf,, they weie cut to thi 
'heart, and took counsel to slay them. 

34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, 
named " Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation 
among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles 

little space ; 



It is necessary for us to yield obedience 
to God as our Priace and Saviour, 
rather than to man. The very Jehovah 
of the Jews has clearly recognized Him 
by most miraculously raising Him from 
the dead ; and now He has glorified 
Him as the Saviour of Israel. We are 
Bct to be His witnesses to men, and 
hence we cannot be silent ; nay, we 
have the Holy Ghost also bearing wit- 
ness with us, in miracles and by inspi- 
ration, and how can we forbear? And 
especially, since the Holy Ghost is 
given to tJiose loho obey God, (vs. 29,) 
and thus we must give His witness, 
since we cannot consent to disobey God. 
"Wc cannot but speak the things that 
we have seen and heard." " We can 
do nothing against the truth but for 
the ti-uth." See Rom. 8:16; Gal. 4 : 
6 ; 1 John S : 24. 

33. Cut {to the heart.) The Wiclif 
version reads. Were tormented. Tyn- 
dale, They clave asunder. The idea ex- 
pressed is of being saitm asunder, or 
ground in pieces, as with the teeth of 
a saw, "cut through >vith rage." See 
eh. 7 : 54. It was not that experience 
of being "pricked to the heart," (ch! 
2:87,) which was so salutary in its 
results, but that tormenting "sense 
of guilt mixed with wrath," which 
was a more mangling sensation. Tf Ihok 
tounscl. The Geneva roads, " They 
sought mcaris." More exactly, They 
were deliberating, or purposing — taking 
counsel with the intent to slay them. 
This was a further advance in their 
persecuting movements. They now 
began to plot for their lives, as they 
had done for the life of the Master 
Himself. 

34. Stood there up. Literally, A ar- 
iein one rising up, or having »isen, (as 
If to say or do something important.) 
T In the council. In the Sanhedrim, as 
the wori meaning council ox aeacmbly 



is transferred to our language. Ho 
was a member of this court. If A Phar- 
isee. He was of the party opposed to 
the Sadducecs, and therefore having 
no sympathy with them in their perse- 
cution of the Apostlea for their doc- 
trine of the Resurrection. We need 
not suppose that he favored the Apos- 
tles at all as followers of Jeeus. He 
was probably the Gamaliel who was 
the teacher of Saul of Tarsus, (ch. 22 • 
3.) He is said to have boon one of the 
seven Rabbis, to whom the Jews gave 
the title Rabboni, "My Master," (John 
20 : IG,) the son of Syraon. supposed to 
be the same as Simeon, Luke 2 : 25, 
and the grandson of Hillel. Some tra- 
ditions would make him to have be- 
come a Christian, but there i» no evi- 
dence of this. ^ Gamaliel. The namo 
means "reivord from God." See Num. 
1 : 10. ^A doctor of the law. This is 
expressed by one term meaning a teacher 
of the law. lie is thought by many 
without reason, to have been presi- 
dent of the Sanhedrim on account 
of his legal fame. ^ Had in reputa- 
tion. This is expressed in the Greek 
by one word, which means highly 
prized — highly esteemed — honorable. 
Wiclif reads, a worshipful man. T All 
the people. Even though not es- 
teemed among the opposing sect of 
the Sadducees. These latter Avere more 
influential with the higher classes, 
while the Pharisees were more gener- 
ally popular. He was evidently a leader 
of the opposition to the Sadducees. 
^ Commanded. Proposed, or, as wo say 
in deliberative bodies, moved — not, as 
some understand it, with any authority 
as if he could have been president of 
the Sanhedrim, for this chair belonged 
exclusively co the high priest. IT To 
put the apostles forth — <■' to cause them 
to withdraw." Wiclif roads, * Com- 
manded the men to be put without 



A. D. 30-3G.] 



CHAP. V. 



136 



35 And said uuto them, Yc men of Israel, take heed to j'ourselves 
what ye intend to do as touching these men. 

36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be 
somebody ; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, 

joined themselves: who was slain: and all, as many as "or,J«ii«.rf. 
II obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 

37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the 
taxing, and drew away much people after him : he also perished ; 
and ail, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. 



forth for a while." ^ A Utile space. 
A little while — whfob may be what is 
meant by our version — "a little sea- 
son — space of time." 

35. Unto them — to the Sanhedrim — 
not, as might seem, to the Apostles. 
^ Yt men of Israel — Hen, Israelites — 
take heed to yourselves, in respect to these 
men, what ye are about to do. He thus 
cautions them against carrying out 
their purpose to slay them, (vs. 33,) 
and he refers them to previous in- 
stances of insurrection which resulted 
disastrously to the insurgents. 

36. Before these days. This was a 
historical fact which was probably fa- 
miliar to the council, and he does not 
give the date, except in these general 
terms. It was probably about the time 
of Christ's birth. ^ Rose up — Arose. 
^ Theudas. Because Josephus names 
such an one as leader of an insurrec- 
tion some fifteen years after this time, 
Luke has been charged with putting 
into Qamaliel's mouth an error. But 
it would be necessary to suppose th;it 
Luke invented this whole reference to 
Theudas, and that Gamaliel did not men- 
tion him at all, if we are to believe that 
ho arose not until twelve or thirteen 
years after Gamaliel's speech. Josephus 
fcjpeaking also of this very time, refers 
to thousands of such insurgents, among 
whom there might easily have been one 
of this common name; as there were 
three Judases witbin ten years, all 
leaders of insurrections. Josephus 
might more easily have made the mis- 
lake, as he is fuU of inaccuracies. Yet 
as this was only a leader of 400 men, 
the Jewish historian woOli not likely 
have noticed him. Moreover, it could 
not be the same Theudas as is related 



by Josephus, since he was judicially 
beheaded, and therefore it would not 
be a case in point, as he wished to 
show that there was no need of official 
interference, but that it would come to 
nought if let alone. Observe. — "God 
can every where raise up defenders." 
Bengel. If Boasting himself, &c. Lit- 
erally, Saying that himself teas somebody, 
a person of importance. He claimed 
to be a great prophet. He persuaded 
his followers to go with him to the Jor- 
dan, and promised that he would divide 
the river and lead them across. ^ Obey- 
ed him. Rather — Believed in him. 
7 Brought to nought. Notwithstanding 
his lofty pretensions. 

37. This case is related by Josephus, 
(Ant. xvii. 10, 6 ; xviii. 1, 1,) who 
twice speaks of this Judas as a Galilean 
and once as a Gaulonite, probably from 
his having been born in Gaulonitis. 
^ The taxing. The term properly means 
the emolument or registi'ation of names 
or property for census and taxation. 
It is the same term used in Luke 2 : 2, 
and here it is probably the payment 
that is referred to, while in Luke 2 : 2; 
( see N'otes, ) it is the preparatory en- 
rollment. This view explains also 
that passage, "This enrollment (for 
taxing,) first too?c effect when Cyrenius 
was governor of Syria." It was the 
enforcement of this tax that led to 
the insurrection here named ; inas- 
much as the Jews did not hold it to 
be right to pay tribute to a foreign and 
oppressive power. This Judas excited 
the people against the payment of the 
tax. Josephus Aniiq.xy lii. 1,6. Though 
it was one and the same, anoypafj] as is 
referred to by Luke in his gospel history, 
(2 : 2,) this payment was about ten 



186 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80-36. 



n Prcv. 21 : 30. 
laa. 8: 10. 
Matt. 15:13. 

LuVc n : 15. 

1 Cot. 1: 25. 
7-51, aua 
and 23:9. 



in 



38 A.nd now I say unto you, Refrain fiom those men, 
and let them alono : " for if this counsel or this work bo 
of men, it will come to- nought : 

39 "But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest 
haply ye be found even •'to fight against God. 

40 And to him they agreed : and when they had 



years after the enrollment there men- 
tioned. This Judas represented that 
the decree for this taxing was an in- 
troduction to slavery, and that the pay- 
ment would be a violation of their alle- 
giance to Jehovah. ^ lie also perished. 
Josephus records the fact that his sons 
were cut ofiF, but says nothing of the 
fate of Judas himself. Tf Dispersed, 
{"Scattered abroad" Tyndale, &c.) as 
by sudden violence. 

38. Gamaliel having cited these two 
well-known cases in point, urges the 
practical counsel, which he introduces 
by the earnest words, "Now, I say unto 
you." *^ Refrain from. lAi&raWy, stand 
off from these men — that is, from laying 
hands upon them, as they were propo- 
sing to do. T Let them alone. Rather, 
suffer them — to do as they are doing. 
Leave them undisturbed in their work. 
That this is the meaning is plain from 
the context. If For if, &c. This is 
the ground of his advice — that their 
■work could fairly be left to the dealing 
of God, which, in case of Theudas and 
Judas, as cited, had brought the wicked 
counsels to nought. ^ This counsel — 
purpose, plan, enterprise. ][ Or this work. 
That is — Whether the scheme itself or 
the working of it be considered — "if 
it be of men " — of mere human origin. 
Tf It will come to nought. Literally, it 
will be dissolved — it can and will be dis- 
solved, "either by you or by others, or 
of itself." — Bengel. This cannot be re- 
lied on as a certain rule, because many 
religious systems of merely human or- 
igin have stood a long while. And on 
such principle we must wait to sec the 
end before we can decide. Yet, as a 
general rule it may be asserted, espe- 
cially in a case like this, of introdu- 
cing new religious tenets and observ- 
ances. But this is not an inspired rule. 
It is Gamaliers doctrine, as the Phari- 
wes vere inclined to fatalism. Some 



; suppose he could not have advanced it 
, had he not been half convinced of the 
I truth of this religion. But this does 
I not follow. Gamaliel, who presented 
a very common sense view to the peo- 
ple as Jews, might easily argue that 
if Jesus were indeed the Messiah, then 
the promises made to Israel must bo 
realized, and that, fairly enough, tho 
result might be relied on to decide it. 
Doubtless every religious system of 
mere human origin will at last come to 
nought. OBSERVE.-Gamaliel tho Phar- 
isee, may have been influenced to this 
moderation by the opposition of tho 
Sadducees, and by the fear that they 
would take such measures against the 
Apostles as would give their sect the 
popular advantage. This "let-alone" 
policy may even have been a show of 
moderation to compromise the matter, 
and merely from fear of the people. Seo 
vs. 26. Observe. — The Christian reli- 
gion has proved itself to be from God, 
as it has met every form of opposition, 
and still advanced. 

39. But. It was just as clear that 
if this system which the Apostles 
preached was really of God — as waa 
claimed — it was immovable by any hu- 
man assault. ^ Ye cannot overthrow it. 
Ye are not able to work its dissolution^ 
The term used here is the same na 
in the former verse is rendered, " come 
to nought." \ Lest haply — Lest at any 
time, (if you think to be able, and make 
the attempt) — ye be found also fight- 
ers against God — lest ye turn out to 
be — not only opposers of these men, 
but also opponents of God Himself. 

40. They agreed. Rather — they were 
persuaded by him : that is, so far as to 
refrain from putting them to death; 
but not so as to let them alone, as ad- 
vised, vs. 38. They even beat them, 
and forbade them to go on teaching 
their doctrine. ^ Called the Apot. 



k. D. 30-3G j 



CHAP. V. 



137 



* called the apostles, 'and beaten them, they commanded 'jiVt'io-n, 
that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and lot M^ark^is"". 
them go. 

41 If And they departed from the presence of the council, K^'sfs'/-' 
'rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame phu%^29^°' 
for his name. ' ?£s'\^t 



ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. 



ties, (having summoned them to ap- 
poiir before the Sanhedrim,) whe/i theij 
had beaten them, (literally,.feyec;them — 
expressing the severity of the scourg- 
ing) — theij commanded them (as before,) 
not to speak in the name of Jesus, — and 
(then) loosed (released) them. This 
Bcourging was commonly done by "a 
whip with two lashes knotted with 
bones or heavy indented circles of 
oronze, or terminated by hooks, in 
which case it was aptly denominated a 
scorpion." This punishment was re- 
sorted to as a compromise. Yet it was 
either too little or too much. See 
Deut. 25 : 2. Paul suffered this five 
times, 2 Cor. 14: 24. — They act like 
Pilate, Luke 2-3: 16. They can only 
express their spite by the scourging — 
and must be content with repeating a 
command which had just been violated. 
41. And they departed. Rather, ZAey, 
however, (notwithstanding all this beat- 
ing and command,) departed, rejoicing, 
from the pretence, &c. They went 
out from the council with joy beaming 
in their faces. The joy of suffering 
for Christ's sake so greatly outweighed 
the pain that many in the latter ages 
even coveted martyrdom. (TertuU. 
ad Scap V.) But the primitive Church 
sets no such example. So long as they 
could at all continue preaching they 
did so, (vs. 42.) But when the perse- 
cution grew furious (as ch. 8: 1,) they 
fled to another place, as Christ had di- 
rected them to do, (Matt. 10:23,) ch. 12: 
17. ^ Counted worthy. Counted wor- 
thy (by God) to suffer shame (from man) 
for IIL<i name, (Luke 10: 15,) worthy 
to be disgraced for Christ ! See Phil. 
1: 29; Matt. 5: 12; Luke 6 : 22; James 
1: 2; 1 Peter 2: 19. They left the 
presence of the men by whose order 
uud before whom thay had been scour- 
12* 



ged, not with a sense of degradation 
and shame, but with exultation and 
joy. Luke 23 : 40. They esteemed 
themselves highly honored in being 
regarded by the Sanhedrim as de- 
serving such treatment, since it wa« 
their testimony that they were con- 
spicuous and bold in Christ's service. 
And they counted it all joy that God 
had thought them worthy to use them 
as His suffering servants. This put 
most distinguished honor upon them 
while they were most disgraced before 
men. This is the true Christian spirit 
in all ages. Even lately in India, this 
is the spirit with which men and women 
— native and foreign — have met the 
most fiendish persecutions. ^ His 
name. For all that the profession of 
His came involved — as His Disciples — 
casting in their lot with His cause. 
They rejoiced that they were "made 
partakers of Christ's sufferings," (1 
Peter 4: 13,) and that "their reward 
was great in heaven," (Matt. 5: 12.) 
and that they could " fill up that which 
is behind of the sufferings of Christ," 
and they " counted it all joy, knowing 
that the trial of their faith wrought pa- 
tience, that they might be perfect and 
entire, wanting nothing," (Jas. 1: 2-4,) 
and "knowing that in heaven they 
had a better and more enduring sub- 
stance," (Heb. 10: 34,) "esteeming 
the r^nro'ich of Christ greater riches 
th:iu t I ■ treasures in Egypt, for they 
had respect unto the recompense of 
the reward." 

42. Besides tlieir feeling of joy in- 
stead of humiliation, their conduct 
evinced their superiority to all the vio- 
lence and command of the Sanhedrim. 
They did what was most consistent with 
their Christian principle ; not swayed 
at all froa their fixed course by all 



i38 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 80-Sb 



CHAPTER VI, 



*:°i!'a.la^6':uf 1 And ill thoso dajs, *when the number of the discipL'-i 
i'^^h.l-Lb.and was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the ** G-reciaa". 



11:20. 
e ch. 4 : 35. 



against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected 
in th3 daily ministration. 



that their enemies had done. They 
were commanded to cease teaching and 
preaching, (vs. 40,) but tliey ceased 
not. They were commanded not to 
speak in Christ's name, but they 
spake daily and diligently in the tem- 
ple and in the house — in private 
houses, not " m every house," but in 
their social assemblies which were held 
in different parts of the city in private 
houses, as distinguished from their 
more public labors in the temple, ch. 
2 : 46. ^ To teach and preach — to 
teach, (as a doctrine,) and to preach, 
(as good news.) This is the sense of 
the latter term, literally rendered evan- 
gelize — to preach the Gospel, to proclaim 
as good news Jesus Christ as the pro- 
mised Messiah, the Saviour of sinners. 
"Jesus" (Saviour) " Christ" (Messiah, 
anointed as Prophet, Priest, and King 
of Israel.) This was the subject of 
their preaching — "Jesus Christ and 
Him crucified," (1 Cor. 2 : 2.) 

CHAPTER VI. 

§ 10. The Fikst Intern^\l Dissen- 
sion — Hellenistic Widows — In- 
stitution OF Deacons. Jerusalem. 
Ch. 6 : 1-7. 

The object of the historian is now to 
give the further development of the 
Church, as it grew out of the first dis- 
sension in the body, leading to the m- 
stitulion of a new office, (deacon's,) and 
introducing us to the history of the 
persecution unto death of one of these, 
Stephen. Some have supposed that 
deacons had already existed. But 
t'lough doubtless the exercise of this 
function had been temporarily intrust- 
ed by the Apostles to some persons, 
not formally chosen and ordained, who 
are charged with neglect, this account 
conveys the idea of an altogether new 
Institution. The origin of it is stated, 



and all the narrative is such as implies 
that a new office is here established to 
suit the necessity of an increasing 
Church. This has been the universal 
belief of the Church from the earliest 
time. It would seem that the proper- 
ty devoted to the common fund had 
been placed at the disposal of the 
Apostles, ch. 4 : 37 ; 5:2. 

1. In those days. This is an indefi- 
nite expression, meant here to keep up 
the historical connection, but implying 
some considerable interval. About that 
time, and in the course of that growth 
which the Church constantly received 
from the preaching and persecution 
already narrated, and such like, the 
Disciples viultiplying, or becoming numer- 
ous, and thus more liable to such a dif- 
ficulty, from conflicting interests of 
many thousand people. ^ There arose. 
This dissension was suffered to spring 
up as an occasion for the fuller and 
more complete regulation of tho 
Church, in a way better suited to its 
future enlargement. This is a devel- 
opment within the Scripture, however, 
not beyond it. It gives no ground for 
the theory of a certain school, that all 
the novelties of the Papacy are but tho 
development of the Church ; for thosa 
are outside of, and beyond the Scrip- 
ture, and find no warrant nor counte- 
nance there. ^ A murmuring — ^lit., a 
ivhispering, as of discontent, Phil. 2 : 
14 ; 1 Peter 4:9. f Grecians. Not 
Greeks, or people of Greek descent, 
but Hellenists, as they were called, who 
being Jews, were dispersed among 
foreigners and spake the Greek tongue. 
This was regarded by the strict, exclu- 
sive Jews as a step toward heathen- 
ism. It proved soon in the history to 
be a connecting link with the outsido 
world, of great importance for tho ex- 
tension of the Church. Stephen, tlie 
Hellenist, soon ri-sep w) as the great 



A. D. 30-36.] 



OHAP. VI. 



isd 



2 Then the twelve called the multitude of th.3 disciples 
unto them, and said, "^It is not reason that we should leave '^^^•isaT. 
the word of Grod, and serve tables. 

representative of progress, against the 
bigoted, restricted Jewish exclusive- 
ness. Such Grecians, or Hellenists, 
were very numerous. Of this class 
were a majority of those converted at 
rentecost, ch. 2. Already, in Alexan- 
dria, they had required the translation 
of the Jewish Scriptures into Greek, 
nearly three hundred j'ears before 
Christ. In the Talmud it is said, 
"Cursed be the man that cherisheth 
Bwine, and cursed be he that teacheth 
his son the wisdom of the Greeks." 
" And the Rabbis labored to show 
tiat the judgments of God followed 
those who, in opposition to the decree 
of the Sanhedrim, studied the Greek 
learning." See Biscoe on the ^Ic^s, vol. 
I., 89, 90. TT The Hebrews. Those 
Jews of Palestine who used only the 
Hebrew tongue and Hebrew Scrip- 
tures, and counted the Hellenists an in- 
ferior and cursed class, Phil. 3 : 5. 
This would account for the neglect 
complained of. It was not looked 
upon as an inadvertence, but as a 
working of this animosity, which was 
carried by some of the early Disciples 
into the Church-membership. T[ Be- 
cause. Rather, that. This was the com- 
plaint, whether it was the fact or not. 
"|[ Their widows. This class, as being 
particularly helpless, are often named 
in the Scriptures as specially entitled 
to the care of the Church, Exod. 22 : 
22 ; 1 Tim. 4:5; 5:3, and they are 
here instanced as representing all the 
poor and helpless among them. Pro- 
bably, in their case, the neglect seem- 
ed most flagrant and aggravated ; and 
some of their number were the imme- 
diate occasion of the complaint. Their 
widows, the widows belonging to the 
Grecians or Hellenists, were neglected 
— lit., overlooked. This term, couvej'- 
ing the charge or complaint, does not 
nbcessarily imply ill-will, but only ex- 
presses the fact alleged, that they were 
passed by. ^ Daily ministration. Lit., 
iu the daily deaconing. The name of 
" deacon" is not mention&d in this nar- 



j rative ; but this term, describing the 
I otfice-work as that of ministering or 
! dispensing, distributing, is that from 
which the official term comes after- 
; ward in common use. It was proba- 
bly a distribution of food rather than 
of money, as we infer from its being 
daily, and from '^serving tables" being 
another designation of the work. The 
neglect or omission here charged, may 
have arisen from too great pressure 
of this business, on account of the in- 
creasing numbers, while the difficulty 
is such as would require a separate 
and regularly constituted and authori- 
tative office. This will account for 
the tenor of the narrative. 

2. Then— So, accordingly, f Th« 
twelve. The body of the Apostles being 
now complete by the choice of Matthi- 
as, (1 : 26,) — having called together (or 
convened by authority,) the multitudt 
of the Disciples. It is not to be sup- 
posed that the entire membership in 
all parts was summoii^fd, but an as- 
sembly of the whole Church in Jeru- 
salem ; all of whom, however, would 
not necessarily be present. Thus the 
people are called to their proper share 
in the rule of the Church, while the 
divinely appointed officers of the body 
give direction and exercise control. 
These are to be remarked as the two 
leading principles of primitive Church 
polity as set forth in the New Test" 
mcnt. ^ It is not reason — It is not sat- 
isfactory — It is not otir pleasure. This 
is spoken officially, and declares the 
pleasure and will of God through them. 
It is not fitting, suitable, and must bo 
discarded. Tyudale — It is not meet. 
1" That we, (Apostles, who have the 
higher and more important woiic to 
do of preaching the word,) leaving the 
word of God, (as would be the result,) 
should serve tables. The verb here ren- 
! dered to serve, is akin to the noun ren- 
dered ministration, (vs. 1,) and from 
these the term deacon, (minister or ser- 
vant,) is taken. To serve tables meani 
I to distribute the daily supplies fol 



140 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 



-36 



3 Wherefore, brethren, •look ye out among you seve? 
men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, 
whom we may appoint over this business. 

4 But we *■ will give ourselves continually to prayr.r, and 
to the ministry of the word. 



meals, Luke 4 : 39 ; 8:3. The word 
for "iflSZe*" is sometimes used for 
money tables, John 2 : 15, but as it was 
"a daily ministration," and as the 
term for " serving" has a usage incon- 
sistent with this, we infer that the 
tables for meals are referred to. Many 
understand the sacramental tables to 
be meant, and they take this language 
as authority for the deacons to serve 
the table or tables at the Lord's Sup- 
per. In the early Church the Lord's 
Supper was often connected with the 
family meal, and offerings were made 
on that occasion for the poor. In this 
way the idea may have, more or less, 
obtained. 

3. Wherefore, on this ground, as 
stated. Tf Brethren, fellow Disciples. 
1 Look ye out. The term here used 
means to look at in order to select, to 
seek out as persons for office. See Gen. 
41 : 33. The body of the members 
here make the election, yet the Apos- 
tles reserve to themselves the right to 
confirm the election by their own offi- 
cial designation. The rights of the 
people were held sacred, while the 
ministerial right, also, in government, 
review and control, was maintained, 
as the two distinctive features in primi- 
tive Church polity. How easy for 
the Apostles to have assumed the ab- 
solute and undivided rule, with no ref- 
erence to the popular element. Yet 
they were far from such an usurpation 
in the Church of Christ, f Seven men. 
We ventures no' reason for this number, 
except that it is a sacred number in 
the Scriptures, owing to the original 
Sabbath appointment, a seventh part 
of time being held sacred, and one day 
in seven a sacred day. Yet some con- 
venience at the time may have regu- 
lated the number. Some refer it to 
the number of nations of which the 
Hellenistic Jews would at this time be 
wmposed. Some, to the total number 



of believers, say seven thousand. ^ Of 
honest report. Lit., testified to, witness- 
ed of, "well reported of. " See 10 : 
22; 16 : 2; Heb. 11 ; 2, 39. So, 
"a bishop must be a man of good 
report," (1 Tim. 5 : 10.) It is not 
honesty that is insisted on, but a pure 
character and eminent Christian ser- 
vice, (implying honesty.) Tf Full of 
the Holy Ghost. This phraseology is 
several times used, and in regard to 
high spiritual gifts and also miraculous 
powers, (ch. 2 : 4 ; 4 : 8.) \ Wis- 
dom. Not only distinguished piety, 
but ^visdom, also, is a necessary quali- 
fication for this office : that practical 
sagacity, good sense, and sound judg- 
ment, which arc requisite for the ad- 
ministration of the temporal affairs of 
a Church, and especially the wisdom 
that is from above, directing in all 
emergencies. The two former qualifi- 
cations are the same as are prescribed 
for bishops or elders, (1 Tim. 3 : 2, 7.) 
See vs. 5. Tf Whom loe may appoint. 
Rather, may constitute. There is no em- 
phatic pronoun we, here used, in con- 
trast with YE, in the former clause; 
as is found in vs. 4, "We will give 
ourselves," &c. Hence it would seem 
that the constituting here spoken of 
is to be done by the Church — Apos- 
tles and members jointly. This would 
agree well with the record in vs. 6. 
Ordination to a sacred office is to be 
done not by the ministry alone, but 
also by the representatives of the peo 
pie, who are joint rulers in the Church. 
This record is specially important, as 
showing us the principle of such pro- 
cedure. T[ Business. Lit., necessity, 
duty, or necessary business. The ob- 
ject was to have a set of men who 
should be charged with this particular 
duty, leaving the Apostles to their ap- 
propriate work. — Tliere should be dea« 
cons in every Church. 

4. But we. We, Apostles, as distin- 



A D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. VI. 



141 



5 T[ And the saying pleaaed the whole multitado : and 



they chose Stephen, «a man full of faith and of the Holy ftch.8:5.26, 
Ghost, and ''Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and f?f^^'^i;^-6.i5. 
Timon, and Parmenas, and ' Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch : f^t'i-it and 
6 Whom they set before the apostles : and Mvhen they fTuk^rfufand 
had prayed, Hhey laid their hands on them. 2Tiiu.i:6. 



guished from ye, the brethren — the 
people. We, for our part. ^ Will give 
ourselves continually. This is one word 
in the Greek, and means, steadfastly 
adhere to. Rom. 12 : 12 ; Col. 4 : 2. 
^ To prayer. Not private prayer, 
merely, but here in the sense of public 
worship, (16:13.) "Prayers," says ^e/i- 
ffel, also "are more powerful than the 
ministry of the word." T Ministry, &c. 
Dispensation of the revealed word — 
preaching of the gospel messages and 
doctrines. The same term used here 
as in vs. 1, is rendered ^^ministrations.'' 
All these officers are ministers in the 
Bense of servants. And the term in this 
connection is striking, as it implies 
that it is only a different kind of ser- 
vice in either case, whether it be dea- 
con or bishop. Observe. — In the Jew- 
ish synagogue, from which the Chris- 
tian Church was modeled, there were 
such officers called Parnasim or Pastors, 
commonly three. See 1 Tim. 3 : 8-10. 

5. The saying. The discourse of the 
Apostles. TT Pleased. Literally, Was 
pleasing in the sight of (a Hebraism,) 
the whole multitude, or membership. 
There was no dissent in the meet- 
ing. They unanimously concurred in 
the direction of the Apostles, and 
proceeded accordingly. \ They chose — 
Chose out of their number. T[ Stephen, 
&c. His name is first given, as most 
conspicuous in the coming history, (ch. 
7,) one who proved himself all that is 
here narrated. ^ A man full of faith. 
" Wisdom" is not mentioned here, but 
faith, as the root of wisdom and of 
all Christian virtues. See ch. 11 : 24. 
TT Philip. This one is also noted in 
the subsequent history, and appears as 
an "evangelist," (ch. 21 : 8.) Nothing 
is said in the record of any call for 
preaching in connection with this office 
of deacon. But the contrary is all 
ftlong implied. The Apostles would 



adhere earnestly to this work of preach- 
ing, and just for this they claimed to be 
released from this secular business of 
the Church, which they would commit 
to deacons. It is observed that all the 
names here given are Greek names, 
and from this fact it has been inferred 
that they were all Hellenists, and cho- 
sen from this class, to satisfy the pres- 
ent complaint. Yet Nicolas is spoken 
of as a proselyte, as though all the rest 
were native Jews. Nothing can be 
positively inferred from their Greek 
names. The Apostles Andrew and 
Philip, had Greek names, though in 
the circumstances it seems likely that 
they were of the aggrieved party. Nic- 
olas was not the founder of the sect of 
Nicolaitans. (Rev. 2 : 6-15.) He was 
chosen as a man full of wisdom and of 
the Holy Ghost. The other four names 
we find nowhere else referred to. — An- 
tioch was the birth place of the Gen- 
tile Church of Christ, ch. 11 : 19-22, 
where the Disciples were fii-st called 
Christians, ch. 11: 22. 

0. Whom they set. The brethren — 
the members set — set up, (the same term 
as is rendered appointed in ch. 1 : 23,) 
these seven. It denotes the presenta- 
tion of these as the proper persons — 
looked out, selected, chosen from .among 
them — as was directed, vs. 3. They 
recognize in this act the authority of 
the Apostles, and having proceeded aa 
far as they could go, having done their 
part in the election, they bring forward 
the men of their choice for the Apos- 
tolic act necessary. Tf When they had 
prayed. The Apostles prayed in con- 
nection with the laying on of hands. 
It properly belonged to any such official 
transaction, and recognized Christ as 
the Supreme authority and Head of the 
Church, the source of all power, f Laid 
their hands on them. This practice waa 
common in the Old Testament GJiurcb 



142 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 



[A. D. 30-30. 



fach.l2:24, laS 

:»:20. 

Col. 1:6. 



7 And "" the word of God increased ; and the number 
of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a 
great company ° of the priests were obedient to the faith. 



from the time of Moses. The leading 
idea was that of communication or 
transfer. Guilt, liability to punishment, 
■was thus ceremonially transferred to 
the victim. Lev. 2: 2 ; 8 : 13. It was 
also the ancient mode of conferring a 
blessing, Gen. 48: 14; Matt. 19: 13, 
or setting apart to office. Numb. 27 : 
18. It was an outward sign, carrying 
in itself no efficacy, but used in the 
New Testament in cases of bodily heal- 
ing to indicate that something was im- 
parted. Matt. 6 : 5 ; 8 : 23 ; Luke 4 : 40. 
So also in imparting the Holy Spirit, 
ch. 8:17; 19:6, or both this and heal- 
ing together, as ch. 9 : 17, or setting 
apart to office. (1 Tim. 4 : 14 ; 2 Tim. 
1 : 6 ; ch. 8 : 19.) Here it was plainly 
an authoritative ordination to this of- 
fice. Though the deacons had been 
elected by the Church, they derived 
their commission and authority from 
Christ through the Apostles. And the 
laying on of their hands was a sign and 
symbol of this. 

7. The word of God. The gospel in- 
creased in power, and in success and 
prevalence among men, ch. 12 : 24 ; 19: 
20. How far this was owing to the new 
movement in the Church just recorded, 
we are left to conjecture. The Apos- 
tles were certainly relieved thus of a 
great load, divisions were healed, in- 
creased efficiency was secured by the 
appointment of such good men to office, 
as appears in the labors of Stephen 
and Philip presently recorded. ^ The 
priests. Over 4000 priests had re- 
turned from Babylon, and their num- 
ber was much increased since that 
time. Though they were a persecuting 
class, the Spirit of God could convert 
them, and did. See Ezra 2 : 36-39. 
In the conversion of these sons of Levi, 
the prophecy of Malachi began to be 
fulfilled. Mai. 3 : 3. Their conversion 
is mentioned here as a remarkable in- 
stance of the increased power which 
attended the word, f ^^ere obedient. 
They gave in their adherence to the 
Sospel. This would serve to take away 



the reproach of Christianity that it had 
only the lower classes for its adherents. 
And the conversion of this body of 
leaders, was one of the w.ays in which 
the Great Head of the Church was pre- 
paring for its further extension soon 
after. See chap. 8:1. Observe. — 
" This was the period when the Church 
at Jerusalem seems to have attained 
its highest popularity and power. As 
yet all seemed going on very prosper- 
ously for the conversion of Israel. The 
multitude honored the Apostles — the 
advice of Gamaliel had moderated the 
opposition of the Sanhedrim — the 
priests were gradually being won over. 
But God's designs were far different. 
At this period, another great element 
in the testimony of the Church is 
brought out in the person of Stephen, 
its protest against Pharisaism. This 
arrays against it that powerful and 
zealous sect : and henceforward it finds 
neither favor nor tolerance with either 
of the parties among the Jews, but in- 
creasing and bitter enmity from them 
both."— Alford. 

^11. The First Martyr — Stephen- 
General Persecution and Disper- 
sion. Jerusalem. Ch. G : 8 to Ch. 8. 

The object of the historian is to show 
the steps by which the Infant Church 
had its advancement and increase. 
This further organization in the ap- 
pointment of deacons to meet the ne- 
cessities of the growing body, was 
attended with signal results, through 
the agency of one of these officers, 
whose name is given first on the list, 
a-nd who was the leading man among 
them. AVe stand now on the eve of 
the great crisis in the history. The 
position taken by Stephen accords with 
that of Luke in his Gospel narrative, 
and with that of Paul in the Acts and 
Epistles — the position of universality 
and progress in the Chui-ch of Christ 
— that it is designed to extend to the 
Gentiles as on a level with tho Jews 



A. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. V^I. 



143 



8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonder,? and 
miracles among the people. 

9 ^ Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the 
sijnagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and 
of them of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. 



This leads him into a discussion. As a 
llelleaist, he was looked upon by the 
atrict native Jews as having some ten- 
dency to Gentilism, from cultivating 
the language and society of foreigners. 
But he roused the ardent opposition of 
the Hellenists ; yet this was God's 
plan, that by means of this Hellenistic 
element His religion should overflow 
the ancient banks. Stephen's minis- 
try among the Hellenists probably 
brought him into collision with their 
Hellenistic relatives and friends. 

8. Fall of faith, &c. The AViclif 
vei'sion reads, '•^ Full of grace and 
strength,'" and the weight of critical 
authority seems in favor of the word 
Xii-ptTor, '■^ grace, ^^ rather than TTLareuc, 
faith. The former word points to the 
source of his special gifts, of which 
the latter was one, viz. miraculous 
power — by which he wrought great 
wonders and miraclei among the peo- 
ple. In the exercise of his office as 
deacon he was brought into contact 
with all classes of the community, 
especially the sick and afllicted. This 
would be a proper sphere for the work- 
ing of miracles as of healing. The 
terms here used are repara, " wonders," 
prodigies, aadav/zaa, signs, (miracles,) 
while the term rendered "power" is 
that commonly used for miracles. This 
miraculous power had hitherto been 
confined to the Apostles, so far as the 
record is concerned — and though Ste- 
phen was charged with ministering to 
the temporal wants of the people, he 
could not fail to exercise his spiritual 
gifts. Indeed, though he was, in the 
circumstances, an extraordinary dea- 
con, as the Apostles were extraordi- 
nary ministers, the deacon's field of 
labor among the needy and distressed 
and bereaved, is one most eligible for 
spiritual ministrations. Neither does 
it need that one be ordained to the sa- 
cred office in order to be a dispenser 



of Gospel truth in connection with 
such ministrations of mercy. They 
who would help the body, if they ara 
true Christians, " full of faith " — will 
seek also to help the soul. 

9. There arose. Some of the syna- 
gogue, &c., rose up in opposition to 
Stephen. There were in Jerusalem a 
large number and variety of syna- 
gogues. Jews from foreign parts who 
came to reside or worship at Jerusa- 
lem had their own synagogues — some 
of which are named here — or they had 
founded them, or were chief in influ- 
ence among them. Those from Cyrene 
had a "synagogue of the Cyrenians," 
with whom perhaps the Alexandrians 
were united, as from the same quarter 
of Africa — or they may have formed a 
separate synagogue ; while the Cili- 
cians and those from proconsular Asia, 
had another. So it came to pass that 
there were 460 or 480 synagogues in 
Jerusalem about that time. ^ Tht 
Libertines. These were probably Jew- 
ish freedmen from Bome, who had been 
taken captive by Pompey and after- 
wards manumitted with the privilege 
of retaining their religion. They were 
assigned a district by themselves be- 
yond the Tiber, and the Jews are still 
restricted to a wretched quarter of the 
city called the Ghetto. From Tacitus 
we learn that Tiberius banishedthese 
Jews from Rome on account of their 
religion. It was natural that many of 
these refugees should resort to Jerusa- 
lem. T[ Cyrenians. Simon of Cyrene, 
who bore the cross of Christ to the cru- 
cifixion, was *ne of this class of Jews. 
f Alexandrians. The multitude of 
Jews at Alexandria (Philo says one 
million) was such that they occupied 
two of the five quarters or districts of 
the city. It was indeed the metropolis 
of the Hellenists ; and here they had 
called for the translation of the He- 
brew Scriptures into Greek nearly 



144 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



A. D. 30-36 



• Lake 21 : 15. 


oh. 5 : 39. 


See Ejc. 4:12. 


Isa. 54:17. 


D 1 Kings n : 




Matt. 26 : 59, CO 



10 And °they were not able to resist the wisdom and 
the spirit by which he spake. 

Up Then they suborned men, which said, We have 
heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and 
against Grod. 

12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, 
and came upon him, and caught him, and brought Mm to the council, 

13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth 



300 years before Christ. 1[ CUicia. 
This was the province of Asia Minor 
to which Tarsus, Paul's birth-place, be- 
longed, and it is inferred, of course, 
that he was one of this synagogue, ch. 
7 : 58. There were either three syna- 
gogues or five, of these here mentioned, 
f" Disputing. The term denotes "seek- 
ing together," implying mutual antag- 
onism — well expressed by the word 
disputing, debating. IT With Stephen. 
He was conspicuoutf for his labors, and 
the narrative leads us to the great 
event of his martyrdom. 

10. Theg were not able. Rather — Therj 
did not prevail to loithsland the wisdom 
and the {Holy) Spirit (vs. 3,) by which 
(under whose inspiration) he spake. 
Stephen here liad fulfilled to him the 
promise in Luke 21 : 15 : " I will give 
you a mouth and wisdom, which all 
your adversaries shall not be able to 
gainsay nor resist." 

11. From this verse we infer the 
real subject of dispute, and the char- 
acter of Stephen's arguments. He set 
forth boldly the nature of the Old Tes- 
tament system as a religion of the fu- 
ture, and as incomplete in itself; as 
pointing always to the New Testament 
fulfillment, and therefore shadowy and 
transitory — ready to merge into the 
substance. ^ Suborned. They — the 
Hellenists — unfairly procured false 
witnesses, whom they privately in- 
structed to give their false testimony. 
^ Blasphemous words. They accused 
him of blasphemy against Moses be- 
cause he declared that the Mosaic sys- 
tem was inferior to the Christian, and 
preparatory to it, and that the ritual 
was near its end. Stephen is guilty 
of no such thing. On the contrary he 
makes a faithful exposition of the Old 
Testament system, and sets it forth in 



its true nature and intent. If Against 
God. As God had given to Israel the 
Mosaic institutions, they insieted that 
Stephen's doctrine of their inferiority 
and dissolution was a blasphemy 
against God, (see vs. 14,) and came 
within the scope of the law against 
blasphemy, Deut. 13: 6-10. It was 
on this charge that the Jews pro- 
nounced Jesus worthy of death, Matt. 
26 : 60. 

12. They stirred up. This term de- 
notes a commotion which is not at any 
impulse of right reason. The agitators 
here referred to, are the Hellenists and 
not the witnesses. They are spoken 
of again in vs. 13, in a way to make 
this clear. They stirred up first of all 
the people, so as to excite a popular 
tumult and thus act upon the Sanhe- 
drim. It was among the multitude 
that Stephen wrought, (vs. 8,) and it 
was probably the danger of his carry- 
ing them away by his wondrous works 
that led to this counter movement. Up 
to this time the people had on the whole 
remained well disposed toward the 
Church and its leaders, ch. 2 : 43, 47 ; 
3: 10; 4: 21; 5:11. ^ And the elders . 
They stirred up the leaders of the peo- 
ple also — the Sanhedrim. ^ Came upon 
him. Literally, Coming upon him — un- 
awares and violently ; while he was en- 
gaged in his work, as would appear 
from the term here used. They seem now 
to be acting under the authority of the 
Sanhedrim. '^ Caught him — Seized him. 
The opposers of Stephen, (vs. 9,) to- 
gether with the false witnesses and peo- 
ple, and such of the Sanhedrim as 
they had won over to their interest. 
TT Brought him to (into) the council — the 
Sanhedrim. 

13. Set up. They formally brought 
forward into the council, (before tfeo 



A. D. 



-36.] 



CHAP. VI. 



146 



not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the 
law: 

14 iFor we have heard him say, that this Jesus of i'^-^-^- 
Nazareth shall ''destroy this place, and shall change the »■»">•»: 2*. 
II customs which Moses delivered us. iior,rii«. 

15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on 
him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. 



court) the persons suborned, (vs. 11.) 
5 Falie witnesses. Their testimony was 
false as regards the construction put 
upon Stephen's words. It was a ma- 
licious perversion of his meaning, just 
as in case of our Lord where such sub- 
orned false witnesses perverted Jlis 
words about the temple. (Matt. 26: 

60, 61.) ^ Ceaseth not. This was in- 
tended to exaggerate the case. And 
now instead of blasphemy "against 
Moses and God" (vs. 11,) being charg- 
ed, it is against this holy place and the 
law — that is, against the temple, because 
he said it was of temporary use, and 
against the ceremonial law, because he 
said it was to vaaish away. See ch. 
4:11; 5:27. The next verse explains. 

14. They now pretend to give liis 
words. \ This Jesus of Kazarelh. Je- 
sus, thi^ Nazarene — (a term of con- 
tempt.) See Mark 16 : 6. This im- 
plies that Jesus was He whom Ste- 
phen set forth, and whose predictions 
he cited. He probably repeated such 
of Christ's prophecies as in Matt. 24 ; 
Luke 21. See John 4 : 21. These ac- 
cusers represented him as declaring 
that Jesus would Himself destroy the 
temple, though this had not been said. 
\ The customs that Moses delivered us. 
The ceremonial rites and institutions 
were indeed changed by the destruc- 
tion of the temple. Heb. 12 : 27, 28 ; 
8: 13; Matt. 17: 1. The false witnesses 
allege this same thing against our 
Lord, " This fellow saith, I am able to 
destroy the temple of God." Matt. 26 : 

61. Jesus had predicted the destruc- 
tion of the temple, but it was to be by 
the Gentiles. The Mosaic system was 
to pass away under the influence of 
Christianity, but only as the shadow 
merges into the substance. They per- 
verted Stephen's words as thouj2;h he 

13 



had represented the old economy as 
essentially hostile to the new, and as to 
be overturned by violence. He had 
undoubtedly "taught, as Paul after- 
wards did, that the Christian dispensa- 
tion was superior to that of Moses" — 
that the Gospel was designed to super- 
sede Judaism — that the law was una- 
vailing as a ground of justification, 
and that henceforth true worship would 
be as acceptable to God in one place 
as in another. His accusers availed 
themselves of the popular religious 
prejudice to put a construction on his 
words which would provoke the bitter- 
est opposition. 

15. Just at this stage of their hos- 
tility, the record is here made of Ste- 
phen's most remarkable appearance, 
as observed by all the members of the 
council. 1[ Looking stcdfuathj on him — 
gazing intently upon him. This was 
doubtless something more tlian an}' 
benign and meek expression of the 
man It, was like the shining of Mo- 
ses' face— a mark of the Divine favor 
and of personal communion with God, 
Exod. 34 : 29, 30. And it is more 
clear from ch. 7 : 55, that the remark- 
able angelic glory of his countenance 
was preternatural, f As it had been 
— As ?/(it had been). See Luke 2: 9; 
ch. 12: 7. His face was lighted up 
with a divine radiance. The mildness 
of the high priest's question, (ch. 7 : 
1,) indicates some such influence over 
him as this a.spect may be supposed 
to have had. This was the preternat- 
ural effect of the Spirit of Jesus, 
which filled with heavenly light the 
very features of the first martyr, in 
the hour of his last and greatest need. 
It was a witness fi>r Christ against His 
enemies, and for the consolation of His 
friends. 



146 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30- 56. 



CHAPTER VII. 
1 Then said the high priest, Are these things so ? 



CHAPTER VII. 

Tills DEFENSE OF STEPHEN SecmS, at 

first view, to be mainly a condensed 
recital of the Jewish history, from the 
time of Abraham to the Temple. This 
would be conciliatory so far as it would 
show his knowledge of their annals, and 
his interest in them, as well as his be- 
lief in God's covenant relation to the 
people, which he everywhere puts for- 
ward. The facts, also, they could not 
deny. But, in this simple and sum- 
mary statement of the truth, we find 
60 much that makes for his great doc- 
trine of universality, that we suppose 
him to have had this all along in view, 
though he does not roughly obtrude it 
upon them at the outstart. The accu- 
sation brought against him (vs. 13,) 
furnished the clew to his defense. Of 
course, his immediate object must be 
to repel the charge of "blasphemy 
against Moses and the law, and against 
the temple, and against God." He 
shows a plain course of development in 
all the history, with changes in the 
path of progress — changes in the insti- 
tutions of God's worship, from altars 
to tabernacle and temple. From the 
calling of Abraham and the Abrahamic 
covenant, to the temple, he shows a de- 
velopment not of any organic and inde- 
pendent life, as though Judaism could 
develop of itself into Christianity, any 
more than a shadow has life in itself 
which grows into the substance ; but a 
development all along of God's pur- 
pose. And now he goes on to show 
that, according to a most consistent 
plan, and according to the prophecies, 
as of Isaiah, (so also of Malachi, &c.,) 
the whole scheme looked toward the 
universality of the Church, and that 
God could not be confined to the Tem- 
ple, and that an exclusive locality was 
not contemplated as the highest glory 
of His worship. lie shows, therefore, 
in all tlie prominent periods of their 
history, that God did not confine Him- 
f«lf to the Uoly Land, nor to the tem- 



ple, but appeared to Abraham in Aleso- 
potamio, io Joseph and Israel \n Egypt, 
to Moses in the u-ilderness of Sinaij and 
through him to the nation in all the 
history of the Exodus and entrance to 
Canaan, when the Church was in the 
wilderness — when the shifting tabernacle 
there was the place of God's presence 
and worship, until Solomon built liim 
an hoiise — so that the temple that they 
boasted was a modern thing in tJio 
history of the nation. Hence ( ] ) 
God's glorious appearings to their 
fathers were outside of the Holy Land, 
and before the temple had an existence. 
Even Moses was before the temple, and 
the promise was before the law, while 
Moses prophesied of a greater Prophet 
than he. (2) God, by His prophet 
Isaiah, expressly declares, in distinct 
reference to this very transition period 
at which they had now arrived, that 
He is not to be confined to any exclu- 
sive locality, (Isaiah C6 : 1, 2.)— But, 
Observe. — This entire narrative is in- 
terwoven with most striking instances 
of their national disobedience and re- 
bellion. And he means to show tliem 
that just ns their fathers rebelled 
against Moses, the Old Testament law- 
giver, mediator, and leader, whom they 
now professed to boast, so they, in the 
same spirit, were found rebelling 
against Christ, vs. 25, vs. 39, vs. 51. 
He shows, also, that " the law was only 
an additional element in the fulfillment 
of the promise then made, "(See Rom. 
5 : 20; Gal. 3 : 19,) and only a step 
by the way. [Some have puzeled them- 
selves to inquire how Luke could pos 
sibly have had a report of Stephen's 
speech before the council. But it is 
plain that Saul of Tarsus, who was pre- 
sent, was deeply impressed with it, aa 
we find him afterwards using the very 
same drift of argument. See ch. 7 : 24 ; 
Galat. 3 : 19 ; Ileb. 8 : 5. Besides, 
many of the priests had now recently 
become converts to the faith. Yet it" 
neither of these sources existed, the 
Holy Spirit could and would commu- 



^. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. VII. 



i;7 



2 And he said, *Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; •<">•"!>• 
The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, 
when ho was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 



nicate it to Luke for the purposes of 
this inspired revelation.] Observe. — 
" Stephen traces the history of Israel 
from its very beginning to the highest 
climax that it reached in the Old Tes- 
tament. And since three periods are 
to be found therein — the times of the 
Patriarchs, (vss. 2-16,) the times of 
Moses, (vss. 17-45,) and the times of 
David and Solomon, (vss. 46-50,) he 
brings out of each of these periods those 
points and events which, in contrast 
with the Jewish prejudices that Ste- 
phen had to combat, would set the 
relation between God and His people 
in their true light. 

1. T/.e high priest — who presided in 
the Sanhedrim. As Caiaphas in the 
trial of our Lord, so his successor now 
in this same court, is proceeding to 
compass the violent death of the first 
martyr. They had felt awhile quite 
satisfied with the death of Jesus, as 
giving a death blow to His religion. 
But they see it making such progress 
and distinguishing itself by such won- 
derful works that they can rest no 
longer, f Are these things so ? This 
is milder language than that used to- 
ward Christ, Matt. 26 : 62, and this 
may be accounted for from the angelic 
lustre of Stephen's countenance at this 
moment. The formula, however, is 
equivalent to the question of Guilty or 
not guilty? 

1. Stephen gives here his History 
OF Redemption, beginning with the 
rEiuoD or THE Patriarchs, vss. 2-16. 

2. Men, &c. Men, (who are) breth- 
ren and fathers, as "Men, Galileans," 
&c. He addressed the bystanders as 
"brethren," and the court as "fathers," 
according to the Hebrew custom. So 
Paul, ch. 22 : 1. t The God cf glory. 
He means to show by this title "that 
God's relation to Israel depended 
purely on the absolute free grace of 
God." How at once this reverent 
language must put to the blush their 



I charge of blasphemy ! The God, Jeho- 
vah, who in the Shechinah manifested 
forth His glory, in the symbol of Ilia 
visible presence. See Exod. 24:16; 

: 25 : 24 ; 40 : 34 ; Isa. 6:3; Psalms 24 : 
7-10, for the sense of the term. \ Gur 
father. How could he be a blasphe- 

! mer of their ancient institution, when 

[so faithfully he calls Abraham "our 
father." Matt. 3:9. He begins with 
the calling of the father of their na- 
tion ; for the narrative is to set forth 
the successive steps of God's dealings 
toward them under the Abrahamic cov- 
enant. The term rendered appeared, 
refers to a vision. Stephen recites the 
outline of their histor^^ as it was re- 
cited in their triumphal Psalms. See 
Ps. 105. T Mesopotamia. The vision 
is net recorded, but implied, as it is said 
that God brought him out of Ur of the 
Chaldees. Gen. 11 : 31 ; 15 : 7 ; Neh. 
9 : 7. The region between the rivere 
Tigris and Euphrates is known as Mes- 
opotamia, and Ur is spoken of by sec- 
ular authors as in this region. The 
geographical boundaries were not al- 
ways very distinctly defined. This pre- 
cise locality is now unknown. In Gen 
12 : 1, Abram is said to have beer 
called after he dwelt in Haran. But 
the inference is that he had two calls. 
Certain it is that G od commanded Abram 
to remove from Ur, and more specially 
called him afterwards. Though from 
Gen. 11 : 31, it would seem that Terah 
took Abram his son and removed of 
his own accord, yet this was in obedi- 
ence to the Divine plan, and does 
not disprove such a command. '^D^celt 
— abode — settled. T Charran. Haran. 
It is also in Mesopotamia, 150 miles 
from Ur, in the north-west. Here Te- 
rah died. Gen. 1 1 : 32. Jacob retired 
hither when he fled from Esau. Gen. 
27 : 43. It is located in a sandy plain 
among hills and inhabited by a few 
Arabs for the delicious water. It was 
called Carraj by the Greeks and Ro- 



148 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-36 



»Gen 12:1. 3 ^^^ g^^J^^ yj^^.^ J^J^^^ b Q^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^ COUlltrj, 

and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I 

shall shew thee. 
'Z^H;!!' 4 Then "came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and 

dwelt in Charran : and from thence, when his father was 
dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. 

5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not ao much as to 



mans, and was famous for the defeat 
of Crassus by the Parthians. 

3. Get thee out, &c. This is not quite 
the same language as is used in the 
call at Haran, (see Gen. 12 : 1,) where 
he is commanded to leave also his fa- 
ther's house. His countrymen and 
his kindred were idolaters. Josh. 24 : 
2. Though Terah went with him as 
far as Haran, yet Abram was to go 
away from his relatives to a farther and 
Tinknown land. ^ Come. Literally, 
hither — an adverb of command. ^ To 
the land. Literally, To a land which- 
ever I shall show to thee — most inderinite, 
and therefore requiring most implicit 
faith. So, in Heb. 11:8, it is said 
"he went out not knowing whither he 
went." 

4. Land of the Chaldeans. From Ur 
of the Chaldees. Genesis 11 : 31. 
^ ^ne.n {after) his father was dead. A 
difficulty has been started here, since 
Terah died at Haran at the age of 205, 
(Gen. 11 : 32.) Vet if Terah is to be 
understood as having been only 70 years 
old at Abram's birth, (Gen. 11:26,) 
he must have been only 145 years old 
when he died, since Abram was 75 
years old when he left Haran. But it 
is not said in Gen. 11 : 26, nor anywhere 
else, that Terah v^•as only 70 at Abram's 
birth. But it is said that Terah was 
70 years old and he begat Abram, Na- 
hor, and Haran. That is, he lived 70 
Tears before Le begat either of these. 
And then Abram is mentioned first, on 
account of his prominence in the his- 
tory, though he was not the eldest but 
the j'oungest of the three. This is ac- 
knowledged by Jews themselves. Be- 
sides, Sarah, Abram's wife, was the 
daughter of Haran, as Josephus relates, 
and as is generally granted, and he 
was but ten years old when Sarah was 



born, Gen. 17 : 17, and Milcah, Nahor's 
wife, was probably older than she. 
Gen. 11 : 25-29. Hence, Haran was a 
father before Abram was 9 years of 
age. Abram was easily 60 years 
younger than Haran, and Terah would 
then be 130 years old instead of 70, at 
the birth of Abram, which would bring 
him to 205, the date of his death, when 
Abram was 75 years old, at his depart- 
ure to Canaan. So the sons of Noah 
are given as Shcm, Ham and Jnphct, 
but the last named was the eldest. 
Others explain it by making Terah to 
have lived GO years after Abram left 
Haran, and that God did not actually 
"remove him into the land" of Canaan 
till 60 years after, but that he sojourned 
in Egypt and dwelt in tents in Judea 
during these threescore years before 
he was fixed in Hebron. The former 
is the better explanation. JBiscoe on 
Acts, vol. 2, p. GOO. It is idle to sup- 
pose that Stephen made a blunder in 
these familiar facts of the history. 
Yet even if he did, it would be nothing 
against the inspiration of the Scripture, 
since it was Luke's object to give a cor- 
rect report of Stephen's discourse, as 
he proposes to do. ^ Removed him. 
Stephen recognizes here the second call 
of Abram at Haran. T[ Wherein. With- 
in which ye now abide — dwell. 

5. None inheritance. This was the 
relation of Abraham, their covenant fa- 
ther, to the Holy Land — only very grad- 
ually getting into possession of it. 
First was his call in Ur, (vss. 2, 3,) 
then his removal to Haran, (vs. 4,) 
then his father's death in Haran, so 
that in this covenant relation he was to 
be regarded as separate from his fa 
ther, (vs. 4.) Then his journey to Ca- 
naan, (vs. 4,) and now the remarkable 
fact that God gave him not the least 



A. D. 30-3G.] 



CHAP. 711. 



14« 



set his foot on : *yet he promised that he would give it to u^Allindi"* 
him for a possession, and to his ssed after hiiu, when as ■/s'-ls^^"''^'*'^ 
yet he had no child. 

6 And God spake on this wise, <= That his seed should jgGea.i5:i3, 
sojourn in a strange land : and that they should bring 
them into bondage, and entreat them evil 'four hundred ^GS'A'.lf' 
years. 



inheritance in the land of Canaan, (vs. 
5.) Then follows the fact of his living 
there childless, (vs. 5,) his prospect of 
the 400 years of oppression for his pos- 
terity, (vs. 6,) his own circumcision, 
(vs. 8,) and then the birth of Isaac, (vs. 
h,) and his circumcision, (vs. 8.) IT To 
%et hisfaot on. That is. Afoot-breadth — 
a footing. (A proverbial expression.) 
Abraham sojourned as a stranger in 
the Holy Land, though it was promised 
to him — '* dwelling in tents with Isaac 
and Jacob, the heirs with him of the 
same promise." For he was put upon 
his faith, and his religion looked to the 
future for a realization of its hopes. 
So the whole Jewish system was a re- 
ligion of the future — pointing forward 
and waiting to be fulfilled in the New 
Testament dispensation. True, Abra- 
ham bought a burial place for his dead, 
(Gen. 23 : 20, ) yet this was only a proof 
that he had no inheritance in the land 
as yet, while it was an expression of 
his confidence that he should after- 
wards inherit it ; wherefore he would 
bury his dead there, where his poster- 
ity would certainly live. ^Yet. Though 
it was not given to him in possession, 
it was given to him by promise, calling 
for the exercise of faith. So that even 
their covenant father Abraham had no 
personal interest given him by God in 
the land of Canaan except what he 
could lay hold of by faith. See Heb. 
11. *^ To his seed. It was a covenant 
grant to his posteritij, and this was 
while he had as yet no child ! So grad- 
ual was the accomplishment — so slow 
was the full opening of the promise. 
So entirely was it all along a training 
for the exercise of faith. 

6. But there was still another step 

in this same direction. Though the 

land was promised by covenant to his 

posterity, it was soon made known to 

13* 



him that that posterity (of which he 
had not yet any child) should first so- 
journ in a strange land and be treated 
as slaves 400 years. This was another 
item in the same series of delays and 
disappointments by which God would 
exercise the patriarch's faith, and devel- 
ope His own gracious plan and purpose 
toward His covenant people. All this 
history, too, was to be outside of Ca- 
naan, in " a strange land." This, too, 
was altogether aside from Mosaic rites 
and temple worship, which had not yet 
been instituted. See Paul's reasoning 
to the same effect. Gal. 3: 17. "Com- 
eth this blessedness then upon the cir- 
cumcision only, or upon the uncircum- 
cision also ? For we say that faith was 
reckoned to Abraham for righteous- 
ness," Rom. 4: 9. ^Strange land— 
foreign, not their own — Egypt, and not 
Canaan. ^ They. The people of the 
strange land — Egyptians — should bring 
them into bondage — make slaves of 
them, as the Egyptians made slaves 
of the Israelites, Exod. 1:11. ^ En- 
treat them evil. Literally, injure, abuse 
them: as they did under the task-mas- 
ters. *^ Four hundred years. This pe- 
riod is thought by some to be given in 
round numbers for 430. In Exod. 12 ; 
40, the period of 430 years is given aa 
"the sojourning of Israel who dwelt 
in Egypt." In Gen. 15: 13, their af- 
fliction there is given as 400 years, 
Paul in Gal. 3: 17, speaks of the 
whole time fi-om the time of the 
promise till the giving of the law, as 
430 years. Now it is not said in Exod, 
12: 40, that they dwelt 430 years in 
Egypt, but that the sojourning of the 
children of Israel ivho dtvelt in Egypt 
was of this duration. This peculiar 
form of expression allows us to under- 
stand by it, all their sojourning from 
Abraham's entrance into Canaan, bIdoo 



160 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-36. 



7 And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, 
J. 3. 12. said God : and after that shall they come forth, and « serve 

me in this place, 
eu. 17:9, 10, g h^^^ j^p g^^^e him thc covenant of circumcision : * and 
Gen. 21:2,3,1. g^ ^jjydJiam bcgat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth 

day ; ''and Isaac begat Jacob ; and ' Jacob hegat the twelve 

patriarchs. 



,E 



ftG 



*Gen 

J Gen. 29: 31. &c 
and 30:5, &c. 
and 35: 18-23. 



a leading portion of it w;is the sojourn 
in Egypt. And this agrees with the 
other passages. It should be observed, 
however, that Abraham at first passed 
directly through Canaan and sojourned 
in Egypt on account of the famine. 
So that the whole period from the 
Promise to the Exodus, is fairly inclu- 
ded. From the time of this first so- 
journ of the patriarch in Egypt, that 
land was the main source of their af- 
fliction. Josephus thus explains the 
facts. And the Samaritan text and the 
Septuagint version both add, " And in 
the land of Canaan." 

7. The nation. The Egyptians espe- 
cially. ^ Judge. Execute judgment 
against them — visit them with punish- 
ment — as the plagues. ^ Said God. 
He refers them to the passage, Gen. 
15: 14, where these words are found. 
^ And serve me — Worship me. This 
last clause is not found in the original 
passage — but simply "s/^a/^ they coine 
out with great substance." In Exod. 3 : 
12, however, it is found in the promise 
to Moses. "AVhen thou hast brought 
forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall 
ysrve God upon this mountain, Horeb." 
So in Gen. 15: IG, it is impliedly con- 
tained in the words " they shall return 
hither." Stephen seems to intimate 
by this coupling of the promise to 
Abraham with that of Moses, that the 
latter was virtually involved in the 
former, and that though already in 
Abraham's time this prospect was held 
out, yet the fulfillment was delayed 
through a long interval and by such 
difficult processes. Still it was an 
exercise oi faith — under a religion of the 
future — and the covenant people was 
for the most part outside of the Holy 
Land. All along, this is yet the drift 
»f Stephen's argument. 

8. The covenant of circumcision. This 



was still another stage of the develop- 
ment. In Gen. 17: 11, Stephen, showing 
that the God of glory, in His free 
grace, orders and carries on this entire 
development, says here, that God gave 
to Abraham this covenant, the seal of 
which was circumcision ; which seal 
was given as a distinctive sign, setting 
apart the covenant people. Gen. 17: 
2-8. This God did in His gracious 
majesty and glory — Himself appoint- 
ing all the particulars ; and how theu 
is He to be held bound to any given 
locality or to any law of development 
such as they chose to prescribe? 
^ And so. That is, accordingly — being 
in covenant as a federal head — Abra- 
ham begat Isaac, who, as the son of 
promise, was given by God, and ho 
performed the rite of circumcision, 
as directed. See Gal. 3. Observe. — 
The term for^ covenant, meaning ar- 
rangement, disposal of anything; also 
testaryient, as applied to one's last will 
and bequest of goods, Heb. 9 : 16, 17, 
denotes a compact between parties. 
The first stage of the covenant with 
Abraham, was God's stipulation (Gen. 
ch. 15,) for Himself. The second stage 
was the prescribing of the seal of cir- 
cumcision as binding Abraham and his 
seed. Gen. ch. 17. The point which 
Stephen would make here, is that Isaac 
and .Jacob and the twelve patriarchs 
were born under this covenant estab- 
lished with Abraham when he was yet 
in uncircumcision. See Rom. 4: 11-10, 
where Paul makes the same point as 
his forerunner here, to prove the same 
thing — the possibility in God's plan of 
grace, that the blessings of the cove- 
nant should extend to the uncircum- 
cised; and that it was not circumci- 
sion and ceremonial sanctity— not holy 
places and rites — that were essential 
with God; but the faith, as of oui 



A. D. 30-3^.] 



CHAP. VII. 



lb\ 



9 "And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph "Pal?'"'*' 
into Egypt : "but God was with him, ro^^M^.s- 

10 And delivered him out of all his afflictions, "and f 0^^41.37 
gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king *°<i*2:6 
of Egypt ; and he made him governor over Egypt and all 

his house. 

11 pNow there came a dearth over all the land of ^^'*°-"-'*- 



father Abraham, Rom. 4 : 12. 1" The 
twelve patriarchs. The term means the 
head, beginning or founder of a family 
— then of the tribes. 

9. In this development of the Divine 
and gracious plan, another item is 
now noted in the history of Joseph. 
He shows how God developes His 
Church all along by allowing afifairs to 
come to a crisis, and then interposing 
for deliverance and so carrying it for- 
ward to the purposed advance. He 
would show thus from all this familiar 
history of the Church, that all along 
there is progress — a further unfolding 
of God's purpose — so that they could 
reasonably look for a change now in 
the present state of things, and not 
insist on it as being immutable. 
^ Moved with envy. With this main 
drift of argument, he carries along the 
idea of the unfaithfulness and wicked- 
ness of the covenant people as in- 
stanced in this case of the great ma- 
jority — all the eleven patriarchs against 
one. By this he means to hold up the 
idea of their cruelty and treachery to 
Jesus, the New Testament Joseph. 
f Moved ivith envy. Literally, having 
envied Joseph, sold him into Egypt, Gen. 
45:4. ^ But. Literally, and — as 
part of the same course of providen- 
tial unfolding. ^ God tvas with him — 
interposed against his treacherous 
brethren — as now in the case of Jesus 
against their successors — the Jewish 
people. And this presence of God 
with him was not restricted to the 
Holy Land, but it was in Egypt. Thus 
all along, Stephen makes good his 
points. 

10. And delivered him, &c. So Christ, 
the New Testament Joseph, was de- 
livered. See Ps. 22. ^ Out of all his 
afflictions — tribulations — straits. ^ Fa- 
vour and wisdom. It is remarkable that 



these are the very same terms used of 
Jesus, in Luke 2: 52, "Jesus increas- 
ed in icisdom and in. favor with God 
and man." God gave to Joseph both 
these — the wisdom to interpret dreams 
and so to conduct himself as every 
I way to gain favor. Gen. 41 : 38. \ In 
the sight of. Literally, over against — 
in presence of, and notwithstanding his 
first opposition. ^ King of Egypt. A 
foreign lord.- ^ He made him — constitu- 
ted, appointed. This may be under- 
stood of God or of Pharaoh. But the 
same subject being continued, it is 
natural to understand it of God, and 
thus it expresses the Divine agency in 
the whole matter. ^ Governor — leader 
— prime minister. Tf Over Egypt. Jo- 
seph's exaltation was thus outside of 
the Holy Land, and it was part of 
God's covenant plan of redemption to 
exalt Joseph to this dignity and au- 
thority not in Judea but in Egypt. 
^Over all his house. That is, Pharaoh's. 
This is the designation of an Oriental 
prime minister or vizier. The house 
is the court or palace, whence all the 
legislative judicial and executive acts 
of the government go forth. On- 
SEEVE. — As in the case of Joseph, the 
envy of the house of Israel had con- 
spired to betray Jesus into the hands 
of His enemies. Yet He meets with 
that reception and devotion among 
straHgers (Gentiles) that He had not 
found in His own house, (John 1:11, 12.) 
May not then this New Testament 
Joseph, like the Old Testament one, as 
a son in the house, be superior to Mo- 
ses, (Heb. 3: 3,) and change the cus- 
toms and ordinances, (ch. G: 14.) See 
Gen. 47 : 13-27. See the 105th Psalm. 
11. Here another stage in the his- 
tory is noted as part of the same 
plan of providential development in 
the case of the covenant people. 



152 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A, D. 30-80 



Egypt and Clianaan, and great aflSiction : and car fathers found bc 

sustenance, 
f Gen. 42:1. 22 "^ But wheu Jacob heard that there was corn in 

Egypt, he sent out our fathers first, 

13 •■ And at the second time Joseph was made known to 
his brethren ; and Joseph's kindred was made known untc 
Pharaoh. 

14 °Then sent Joseph and called his father Jacob to 
him, and 'all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. 

15 ° So Jacob went down into Egypt, '"and died, he, and 
our fathers. 



rOen. 45:4-10. 



• Gen. 45:9-27. 
I Gen. 46: 27. 
Deut. 10: 22. 



There occurred a dearth (famirie) (Gen. 
41: 54,) over [upon) the ichole land. 
^ Our fathers. This expression is used 
to keep before their minds the fact 
that it is the continuoiis progressive 
history of the covenant people Avhich 
he narrates, and in whom he witli them 
is interested, and that the plan of that 
dispensation is such as has an analogy 
in the advance through conflict 
from Judaism to Chrutianity. ^ No 
sustenance — provisions — properly for 
cattle — and by implication much less 
for men. 

12. But. Jacob having heard, &c. 
^ Com. Grain in general — breadstuif. 
\ Sent out. Sent awuy, as to a dis- 
tance and with urgency. ^Our fathers. 
The same covenant leaders as are 
spoken of before, (vs. 11,) whose his- 
tory is traced to show the design and 
plan throughout ; and the analogy of 
dealing as vindicating Stephen's doc- 
trine. ^ First. The first time is no- 
ticed to prepare for a second time, when 
the special event took place. 

13. This recognition and reunion 
was not brought about on the first 
visit, but on the second. This is noted 
to show the gradual method of develop- 
ment, under the one Divine directing 
mind. '^Madeknou-n. 1\Vii\\&Y, was made 
known again — recognized — after en- 
Btrangcment and forgetfulness. ^Kin- 
dred. Literally, the race of Joseph he- 
conu manifest — the fact of their arrival 
and their presence there, Gen. 45: 16. 
This is the progressive unfolding. 

14. Literally, And Joseph having sent, 
called for his father Jacob and all his 
Unidrtd, {or family,) {in all) seveniy-fke 



souls. The object is to show that this 
small number became in Egypt a great 
nation. But only sixty-six of Jacob's 
descendants went down into Egypt, 
Gen. 4(3:26. But in Gen. 46 : 27, there 
are added to these, Jacob himself, Jo- 
seph and his two sous ; making the 
total seventy. But in this vs. 27, the 
Greek (Septuagint) adds: "And the 
sons of Joseph who were born to him 
in Egypt were nine souls," which 
number added to the sixty-six would 
make seventy-five. This was the reck- 
oning in their familiar version — and it 
was true in the sense intended — that 
Jacob and all his family consisted of 
seventy-five souls. Now in Gen. 40 : 
27, it is said that " the sons of Jo' 
seph" were among "the souls of the 
house of Jacob"' that came into Egypt 
with him — the descendants being re- 
garded as already existing in their 
piogenitor. We cannot tell precisely 
on what details the reckoning is found- 
ed, but it was cui-rent among the Jews, 
as their Greek version shows ; and it 
is not supposable that Stephen mtde 
any blunder here. His object was to 
show that this family, who, at the ut- 
most calculation, consisted of only 
seventy-five persons, became a great 
NATION in Egypt. 

15. So. Rather, And, or but — js 
indicating the crisis in the history — 
the death of Jacob and the patriarc^.s 
— and that this was in Egypt, also, 
outside of the Holy Land, though it 'is 
especially to be noted that they wet-B 
buried in the land of promise, throu£i 
the same faith in the future possessif ^ 
of that land by their ijostcrity r^ 



A. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. VII. 



168 



IG And 'were carried over into Sychem, and kid injo^h.-jjjjf 
y the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money LdTs: il! ' 
of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem. 



Abraham exercised in purchasing a 
burial-place there for his dead. Tf Our 
fathers. This phrase is again repeated, 
ibr the third time in this narrative, to 
show that it is the history of their cov- 
enant ancestors — in which they were all 
interested ; and that this is the law of 
gradual development in the redemption 
of the chosen race. 

16. Were carried over. They — that 
is, '■• our fathers," not including Jacob, 
who is separated from the rest in the 
preceding context. " He died, and our 
fathers, and they were carried over into 
Sychem." Jacob was buried in the 
sepulchre of Abraham at Macpelah, 
Gen. 49 : 30; 50: 13, which was in 
Hebron, Gen. 23 : 19. It is expressly 
recorded that the bones of Joseph were 
carried over from Egypt into Canaan, 
and buried in Shechem. The place of 
burial of the rest of the patriarchs is 
not elsewhere recorded ; but we have 
every reason to suppose that Stephen 
knew the facts, and that if he had 
stated incorrectly he would have been 
contradicted by those who must have 
known. Jerome asserts that the tombs 
of the patriarchs were still to be seen 
at Shechem.— ^y)/si;. 80, A. D. 389. 
TT Sychem. The Greek form of the He- 
brew word Shechem, also called Sychar, 
and now known as Neapolis, Nablous. 
^ Abraham bought. There is a diffi- 
culty here. Jacob bought this land, 
Gen. 33: 19; Josh. 24 : 32, but Abra- 
ham bought the sepulchre at Hebron, 
Gen. 23 : 3-20. Both are briefly re- 
ferred to, mid some understand that as 
the factii were so familiar to those 
wham he addressed, and must have 
been perfectly well known to Stephen, 
he meant to have them supply what 
was left out. " Jacob was laid in the 
sepulchre bought by Abraham," and 
" our fathers" in that bought "of the 
sons of Emmor," &c. Others hold that 
as the difficulty lies in a single word, 
which ought to be read Jacob for 
Abraham, it is much easier to suppose 
that it was the mistake of an early 



copyist than that Stephen made such a 
needless mistake, and that there should 
have been several mistakes in one verse. 
This, indeed, is absolutely unsupposa- 
ble, considering the notoriety of the 
facts in question, and Stephen's ad- 
mitted familiarity with all (such lead- 
ing) items of the Jewish histoi'y. But 
Luke, as an inspired historian, was to 
give an accurate report of Stephen's 
discourse. So that even if Stephen 
committed an inadvertence or error, it 
would not impeach the accuracy of 
Luke's narrative. It is plain that 
such leading facts, such as any school- 
boy would have known, could not have 
been incorrectly given through any 
" historical blunder" of Stephen, espe- 
cially as this is a discourse where the 
speaker shows the clearest, most dis- 
criminating views of the history. Ste- 
phen is plainly doing something more 
than to recite these common, well- 
known items of Old Testament history 
in a dry detail. He is insisting on 
certain great principles, which here lead 
him to group together certain kindred 
facts. Here he is speaking of the faith 
of the patriarchs as contrasted with the 
unbelief of after generations and of his 
own times, and in proof of this he ad- 
vances this fact — their pui-chase of this 
land in Canaan as a burial-place for 
themselves and their posterity, in the 
confidence that the land should belong 
to their seed according to the promise. 
Of course,to establish this point he need 
not distinguish between their separate 
acts, but may group them in one. And 
especially as Abraham originated the 
whole matter of such purchase, he may 
be said to have done it in Jacob after 
him, who only followed in his steps 
and acted in the faith of his father 
Abraham. The ground at Sychem is 
thus i-egarded as virtually his purchase, 
just as Judas is said by Peter to have 
purchased the potter's field with the 
reward of iniquity, (ch. 1 : 18,) when !♦ 
was known to every child of the peo- 
ple that the ctief priests actually pur 



154 



THE ACTS OF THE ArOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-30. 



r Gen. 15:1! 



17 But when »the time of the promise drew nigh, 
pl^mihSi- '"■liich Grod had sworn to Abraham, *the people grew and 



multiplied in Egypt, 



chased it; but in the deeper sense of 
Peter, and in the view of his argument 
and discourse, Judas himself was to 
be considered as the purchaser. So 
hpre their father Abraham, as having 
originated this plan and having given 
the example of it in the purchase at 
Hebron for a sepulchre, is, in the 
sense of Stephen's argument, to be re- 
garded as the purchaser of this field 
at Sychem — for the speaker was show- 
ing how the faith of the patriarchs was 
evidenced by their buying land in Ca- 
naan for a burial-place — so confident 
that the land would all come into pos- 
session of their posterity, according to 
the promise, that they arranged to have 
their bones deposited there. And it is 
expressly recorded of Abraham that he 
bought the land at Hebron for this 
vert/ purpose of a burial-place, while 
this is not stated in regard to the pur- 
chase of Sychem by Jacob, only that 
" he bought a field," and afterwards 
that he was buried there. Josh. 24 : 32. 
Stephen, therefore, grouped the two 
transactions as, in his view, belonging 
to the same great work of patriarchal 
faith — and instead of blundering, which 
would be inconceivable, he has only 
taken the profounder, more compre- 
hensive view of the whole. Stephen 
could not say, in strict historical ex- 
actness, that " the sepulchre" was 
bought by Jacob. " The field" was 
bought by him, (Gen. 33 : 19,) but it 
was put to this use as a patriarchal sep- 
ulchre, according to Abraham's exam- 
ple and by virtue of Abraham's faith. 
This is the very point of his argument. 
Stephen, therefore, is more historical- 
ly correct than his skeptical critics 
would be. Besides, observe this very 
Sychem was the first place of which 
Abraham gained possession, and where 
Jehovah announced to him the cove- 
nant promise to give him the land, and 
where he raised an altar unto God, 
Gen. 12 ; 6, 7. And that transaction 
was, indeed, the basis of the after pur- 
chase there for a burial- pla je ^ Sum 



of money — one hundred pieces of money 
— some suppose about two hundred and 
fifty dollars. Lit., silver price. \ S0713 
of JEmmor — Sons of Hamor, Gen. 33 : 
19, 

II. Stephen here reaches a second 
PERIOD in his History of Redemption 
— the TIMES 0? Moses, vss. 17-45. 

17. But luhcn. Lit., But as — ac- 
cording as. Stephen now proceeds to 
another and (2d) prominent stage in 
the development of God's covenant 
plan — the history of Moses, who, also, 
like Joseph, was a type of Christ. As 
the future deliverer of the ancient cov- 
enant people, who had grown to be a 
nation not in the Holy Land, but in 
Egypt, Moses was adopted by a for- 
eign princess, (21,) raised in a foreign 
court, (21,) learned in all the wisdom 
of this foreign people, (22,) till, when 
he had reached his full maturity at 
forty years of age, he volunteered as 
the deliverer of his brethren, (24, 25,) 
but was refused as such, (35,) and 
forced to fly from the land for his life, 
(29,) until after forty years more, God 
appeared to him, not in any sacred 
spot of the land of promise, but in the 
wilderness of Sinai, (30,) in Arabia. 
Yet " the Church in the wilderness'' 
(38,) was there — and God by this deal- 
ing shows that He is not bound to any 
nationality, nor tied to any special lo- 
cality, but pursues the good pleasure 
of His own will, where, when, and how 
He pleases. This is altogether in the 
line of Stephen's argument, as we have 
seen. \ Time of the promise. The time 
referred to in the promise — the time 
for the fulfilling of the promise, (vs. 7,) 
wh'en after the four hundred years of 
sojourning and bondage, Abraham's 
seed should come forth and serve God 
in the Holy Land of promise, f Tht 
people grew. It was in God's plan tc 
have the family grow into a nation by 
their separate location in Egypt for so 
long a period, which was at least two 
hundred and fifteen years. See Eiod. 
1 : 7-9. 



A. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. VII. 



16S 



18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. 

19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil 
entreated our fathers, "so that they cast out their ycung **i*-i-*»- 
children, to the end they might not live. 

20 'In which time Moses was born, and *was || exceed- d^eb.iuis. 
lug fair, and nourished up in his father's house three cS/"*^'" 
months : 



18. Till another king. That is, they 
continued to increase up to this time, 
when a new liing ascended the throne. 
This term "until" does not limit the 
ti.Tie of their growth, but marks an- 
other item in the history. Who this 
king was, is not certainly known. 
Wilkinson understands it to have been 
Amosis or Ames, the first of the eight- 
eenth dynasty. Others, that it was 
Ilameses, the sixth of that dynasty. 
ChampoUion holds that it was Mando- 
nel, 1585 — 1565 before the Christian 
cr.i. The doubts on this point may yet 
bo cleared up. In a library lately dis- 
covered at Memphis, the history of this 
period is said to have been found. 
If Arose. Came to the throne. \ Who 
knew not Joseph. This may mean that 
he was ignorant of his fame and public 
services, which may have occurred 
from his being a shepherd king, or 
from "the lapse of time or intervening 
revolutions." — Others understand it 
that he had no respect or esteem for 
Joseph; but this sense is not sanctioned 
by the usage of the Greek term. In 
any event, he did not favor Joseph, nor 
pay such regard to his patriotic meas 
uras as they deserved. 

19. Stephen now introduces the his- 
tory of the distress and humiliation of 
the covenant people— an exigency which 
God allowed to come to a crisis when 
He interposed and developed His gra- 
cious plan in a glorious deliverance. 
iMoses is now to be shown as the man 
raised up by God to be a deliverer of 
this oppressed people, and thus a stri- 
king type of Jesus. ^ The same. 
llather. This one — this strange king. 
^ Dealt suhiilly. Having dealt deceit- 
fully, (see Exod. 1 : 10,) that is, in his 
crafty device to compe' the people of 
Israel to expose and destroy their male 
children so as to prevent their suffer- 



ing the same oppression with their pa- 
rents. By this means he aimed to 
weaken their strength and utterly hin- 
der their increase. ^ £vil entreated. 
Rather, injured — abused. Tf Our fa- 
thers. The same prominence is given 
as before, to the fact that this is the 
history of the covenant people in God'a 
wondrous progressive treatment of 
them, and His gradual development of 
His plan for their redemption. ^ So 
that. Tiie parents were thus compelled 
to abandon their children. Exod. 2 : 
2, 3. This was probably the plan and 
purpose of this king, as it was also the 
result. T[ To the end. He would have 
the children suffer death by forcing 
their parents to "cast them out," or 
abandon them, as the parents of Mo- 
ses abandoned him. Exod. 2:2, 3 ; 
see vs. 21. 

20. In which time — at which juncture. 
This was the Providential unfolding of 
God's plan, that just at this crisis of 
the people's grievous distress and Phi. 
raoh's persecution, the great deliverer 
should be born. Thus God is secretly 
preparing for them release from bond- 
age through a P^edeemer who was a 
type of Christ. In such misery and 
oppression was Israel involved when 
the time for the promised deliverance 
arrived, (vs. 17.) *^ Exceeding fair. Lit- 
erally, Fair to God. Thus in the He- 
brew, Nineveh is called "a great city 
to God" — meaning a very great city. 
Jonah 3 : 3. Our version expresses 
well this idea, "Uxceedinyfair" — divinely 
fair, as we might say. Josephus speaks 
of the extreme beauty of Moses ; " a 
boy divine in form." In Heb. 11 : 23, 
the same term is used and rendered in 
ourversion "proper," "a proper child," 
in the old English sense of " handsome." 
This is a hint of Him that is "fairer 
than the children of meru " But " fait 



156 



^I,nke21:19. 
; Ex. 2:11, 12. 



TFIE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. SO-30. 



21 And 'when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughtei 
took him up, and nourished him for her own son. 

22 And Moses Avas learned in all the wisdom of the 
Egyptians, and was ' mighty in words and in deeds. 

23 8 And when he was full forty years old, it came into 
his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. 



to God" may also more properly mean 
fair in God's sight, with a beauty rec- 
ognized by God, in the sense of his be- 
ing " well pleasing to God." This was 
the great point, important in Stephen's 
argument to show that the choice of 
Moses was owing entirely to the good 
pleasure of God, who was well pleased 
in him, as Stephen knew from the fact 
that this comeliness is expressly re- 
corded by the Holy Spirit. See Exod. 
2:2. ^ Nourished up — brought up — 
nnrlurcd — " in his father's house," Am- 
ram's. Exod. 6 : 20. \ Three months. 
This was the period in which he was 
hid by his mother Jochabed, because 
she saw him to be "a goodly (hand- 
some) child." Exod. 2:2. 

21. Cast out. See vs. 19. Erposed 
— outcast in the ark of bulrushes by the 
river bank — given up to that forlorn 
hope. At such a time of the future 
deliverer's extremity — outcast among 
the flags of the Nile, and exposed 
to crocodiles and destruction, Pha- 
raoh's daughter — (Some have given her 
name, but it is only a conjecture. Jo- 
sephus says it was Tliermeuthis, the 
daughter of Rameses) — took him up — 
adopted him. This does not refer to 
picking him up out of the ark or the 
water, but to the act of adopting ; and 
the term is founded on the practice of 
laying new born childi-en on the ground, 
so that the act of taking them up was 
that by which the father acknowledged 
them as his own. ^ For her oicn son. 
Nourished or nurtured him to herself 
for her son — to be such an one as son. 
Thus the steps in the development of 
God's plan are noted. 

22. It grew out of this step that Mo- 
Bes " was learned," &c. Literally, tvas 
tducated — was put to learning — was 
trained — schooled. This fact is no- 
where expressly mentioned in the Old 
Testamen'i. but was deducible from the 



common impression and from all th« 
fair inference in the case. ^ Wisdom 
of the Egyptians — which was notorious 
and proverbial, and thus compared 
with Solomon's wisdom. 1 Kings 4 ; 30. 
It consisted chiefly in mathematics, nat- 
ural philosophy and medicine, and the 
teachers were the priests. Philo, in his 
Life of Moses, enters into particulars, 
p. 606. Bishop Warburton draws from 
this verse a proof of the Divine legation 
of jMoses, on the ground that he framed 
a system so different from that in which 
he had been educated, which is to bo 
accounted for only on the supposition 
that God directed him. Some, on the 
contrary, have contended that he drew 
his system so directly from the Egyptian 
that he needed no supernatural qualifi- 
cation to account for his works. Dr. 
Prichard, in his treatise on Egyptian 
Mythology, has shown, 1. That his the- 
ological tenets are not at ail drawn from 
the Egyptian. 2. That the social insti- 
tutions — the civil and criminal laws, cS:c. 
of Moaes, are totally distinct and dif- 
ferent from those of Egypt, and that 
though in sacerdotal offices and cere- 
monial rites there are many striking re- 
semblances to those of the Egyptian 
hierarchy, he must have been divinely 
inspired to put forth a system of such 
holy and pure morality and worship, 
instead of the corrupt and superstitiou.? 
system in which he had been educated. 
H Mighty in words, &c. — Forcible in 
discourse and in execution. This, all 
the history of Moses sufficiently proves. 
And though naturally he was slow of 
speech, at least according to his own 
estimate, (Exod. 4: 10-12,) yet he was 
made by Divine inspiration mighty in 
speech and in action. This came by 
faith. Heb. 11 : 24. 

23. Stephen dwells so minutely upon 
the history of Moses, because they 
chiefly appealed to him as the author* 



A D. 20-36.] 



CHAP. VII. 



157 



24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, lie defended him, and 
avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian : 

25 jj For he supposed his brethren would have under- " ""■■ ^'"• 
stood how that God by his baud would deliver them : but 

they understood not. 

2(5 ''And the next day he shewed himself unto them ''^^•^•""• 



ized law-giver and leader of the cove- 
ii:uit people, (ch. 6 : 14 ; John 5 : 45, 
47.) He now passes to that stage of 
the history when Moses came forth as 
a deliverer, first volunteering before 
he was sent. He comes forth, having 
been reared in a heathen court and 
trained in heathen learning — unlearned 
in Rabbinical lore — untaught in the 
schools of the Jewish doctors. ^ For- 
ty years old. Literally, When there xoae 
fulfilled to him a forty years time, or a 
fortieth anniversary. In Esod. 2:11, 
it is simply said, "AVhen Moses was 
grown," but the tradition of their doc- 
tors was that INIoses was forty years 
each, in Egypt, in Midian, and in the 
wilderness. ^ It came into his heart. 
This form of expression is used to de- 
note that it was of his own volunteer 
motion that he first came forth as a 
deliverer, and before he was sent of God. 
This is in contrast with the expression, 
"Satan put it into the heart." God 
calied him to this work afterwards, vs. 
34, 35. What came (or arose, j^ now of 
its own prompting, into his heart, was 
"/o visit" his brethren — that is, for 
their deliverance, according to his own 
notion of being their appointed deliv- 
erer, vs. 25. ^ The children of Israel. 
This is noted to keep in mind that it is 
the history of the covenant people in 
its unfoldings that is here narrated. 
See Ps. 105. 

24. Seeing one. Literally, Seeing a 
certain one. ^It was an Israelite, doubt- 
less; who was oppressed by an Egyp- 
tian, and the facts were familiar to 
Stephen's hearers. f Suffer wrong. 
Literally, wronged — abused. Tf He de- 
fended. There was an Egyptian law 
which made this to be his duty. Biod. 
Sic. i. 77. But Moses was actuated 
Dy another and higher purpose than 
merely to obey the law of the country. 
See V3. 25. The claw.se should be ren- 
14 



dered, "//e defended and redressed him 
that urns oppressed." The words ren- 
dered "avenged," mean "lor ought re- 
dress." ^ And smote. Literally, Smi- 
ting, or having smitten, the Egyptian 
secretly, and hiding the body. Exod. 
2 : 12. This is the way in which he 
wrought redress to the oppressed Isra- 
elite, by smiting the Egyptian to death. 
This is said by tradition to have been 
one of Pharaoh's task-masters. Exod. 
2:12. 

25. For he supposed — He was thinking. 
This is nowhere stated in the Old Tes- 
tament, yet it is recorded (Heb. 11 : 
24, 25,) that "when he was come to 
years he refused to be called the son 
of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather 
to suffer affliction with the people of 
God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin 
for a season." ^ Would have under- 
stood. Rather, that they (renlly) un- 
derstood that God by his (Moses') hand, 
or agency, would deliver them. Rath- 
er, is giving, in this transaction as a 
beginning, is about giving a deliverance. 
Stephen introduces this feature of af- 
fairs to show how their fathers had 
acted toward Moses as they had lately 
acted toward Jesus — when " He came 
unto His own, His own received Him 
not." (John 1:11.) ^ But they un- 
derstood not. John 1 : 5, 10. Hence 
Moses, when he was afterwards called 
to this important ofiice, at first refused 
to undertake it. 

26. The next day — after slaying the 
Egyptian. Tf Shewed himself — specially 
and as officially. Literally, He icas 
seen — appeared to them fighting one 
another. " Two men of the Hebrews," 
(Exod. 2: 13,) as the facts were familiar 
to the hearers. ^ Would have set them 
at one. Literally, Impelled them together 
unto peace — with an urgency as if au- 
thoritative. T[ Sirs, Literally, Mm, 
I'i are brethren. "An example," says 



158 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. SO-SOl 



that strove, and would have set them at one again, saying. Sirs, ye 
are brethren ; why do ye wrong one to another ? 

27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him 
• seeL=kei2: ^way, Sayings 'Who made thee a ruler and a judge 
eh-. 4:7. over us? 

28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddcst the Egyptian 
yesterday ? 

29 ^ Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger 
in the laud of Madian, where he begat two sons. 

jEi.s:2. 3Q i^ijd when forty years were expired, there appeared 

to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the 
Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. 



J: Ex. 2:15-22, 
and 4: 20, and 
IS : 3, 4. 



Bengel, " of fraternal correction." 
If W/iy do ye wrong ? Why do ye abuse, 
ill-treat one another? In Exod. 2 : 13, 
Moses gives tlie words, also, "Where- 
fore smitest thou thy fellow?" 

27. But he that ill-treated his neighbor, 
thrust him away — implying that Mcses 
interfered to separate the combatants — 
and showing the temper of the wrong 
doer, adding sin to sin. ^ Who made. 
Who constituted — appointed thee, &c. 
They question the authority of Moses 
in most arrogant terms, as the Phari- 
sees questioned Christ's authority. 
They seem not to have known how 
great a man he was at court. ^ A ru- 
ler. They seem to have understood 
him as claiming some official authority 
and prerogative, which they were not 
disposed to admit. This accounts for 
the harsh question. 

28. Wilt thou. Art thou willing, or 
dost thou wish to kill me. ^ As. In the 
same manner — after the same fashion as, 
&c. — that is, secretly — hiding the body 
in the sand. Exod. 2 : 12. 1 As thou 
didst. Literally, As thou killedst. This 
Hebrew, so far from recognizing his de- 
livering act as such, charged it upon him 
as the murder of an Egyptian, for 
which he could be held accountable. 

29. This angry reception caused Mo- 
ses to flee. In Exod. 2 : 15, we read 
that Pharaoh sought to take Moses' 
life. Philo states that Pharaoh was 
afraid of Moses conspiring against 
him. Tf At this saying. Literally, on 
this tvord, or upon this being said. He 
Baw that he had failed in his attempt 
to conceal the murder and he was now 



compelled to flee from Pharaoh for his 
life, see Exod. 2 : 12. Yet afterwards 
this same fugitive came to the court 
of Pharaoh as God's messenger, and 
demanded boldly the release of his 
brethren ! % And was a stranger. Lit- 
erally, and became a sojourner. If Madian 
— Gr. for Midian. Gesenius makes this 
tract of country to have extended from 
the eastern shore of the Elanitic Gulf to 
the region of Moab, on the one hand, 
and to the vicinity of Mt. Sinai, on the 
other. The people were nomadic in 
their habits — wandering from place to 
place. At this time they seem to have 
been encamped in the neighborhood of 
Sinai and lloreb. See Exod. 18:5; 
Numb. 31:2. \ Where he begat. Thus 
his history is traced so far as to show 
that here he became sufficiently settled 
to marry Zipporah, and to beget two 
sons, Gershom and Eliezer, Exod. 2 : 
15; 4: 20; 18: 3. 

30. Forty years. Literally, and for- 
ty years having been fulfilled. Moses 
was now eighty years old. See vs. 
23. Tradition said that Moses dwelt 
in Pharaoh's palace forty years — 
dwelt forty years in Midian, and ruled 
Israel forty years. Tf Sinai. The wil- 
derness of Mt. Sinai, so called, is the 
desert in which Mt. Sinai is located, 
which thus gives its name to the tract 
of country. The mountain itself is 
called Sinai, but the range or group is 
called Iloreb : and thus the names 
seem interchangeable. See Exod. 3 : 1. 
^ An angel of the Lord appeared to 
him — or was seen by him. This was the 
glorious Second Person of the blessed 



A. D. 30-30.] 



CHAP. VII. 



166 



31 When Bloses saw it, he wondered at the sight : and as he drew 
near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, 

32 Saying, ^ I am the God of thy fathers, the God of gm?6:"" 
Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 

Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. 

33 "Then said the Lord to him. Put off thy shoes from "of^.'s/fs. 
thy feet : for the place where thou standest is holy ground. 

34 "I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people "^^■3:''. 
which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and 

am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thoe 
into Egypt. 



Trinity — the Angel of His presence, 
(Isa. 63 : 0,) the Revealer of the God- 
head, (John 1 : 18,) called in vs. 31, Je- 
hovah Himself. Compare Exod. 3 : 2, 4. 
" This second appearing of God to Mo- 
ses (see vs. 2,) introduced the legal 
dispensation, as the first to Abraham 
introduced the patriarchal." ( See 
Slier.) II In a flame of fire in a bush. 
Literally, of a bush. See Exod. 3 : 2. 
This was the token of God's visible 
presence, as in the Shecinah or cloud 
of glory, and in the pillar of fire in 
the wilderness. Christ was the light 
which all along was shining in dark- 
ness, (John 1 : o,) the brightness of the 
Father's glory — the AVord of God — 
the Angel of Jehovah — the Messenger 
(angel) of the covenant, (Mai. 3:1,) 
Exod. 23 : 20, 21 ; Hos. 12 : 3-5. He 
it is whom Stephen preaches — the 
Prophet like to Moses — promised, (vs. 
37.) 

31. When. Literally, Moses seeinj 
— ivondered at the spectacle ; and he draw- 
ing near to observe (closely) " why tlie 
bush was not burned," the voice of ViP. 
Lord (Jehovah) became (occurred, took 
place) to him. In the Old Testament 
narrative, it would seem that the first 
word was the command to put off the 
shoes; though it is said that "more- 
over," in addition to this, whether be- 
fore or after, — the words in vs. 32 were 
spoken. 

32. Stephen records this announce- 
ment of Jehovah to Moses as the liv- 
ing God, (Matt. 22: 32,) and the au- 
thor of the covenant-promises to the 
fathers. Thus he still keeps before 
bia hearers the important truth, that 



this was in the line of God's dealings 
with their nation. Tf Trembled. Lit- 
erally, becoming fearful. See Heb. 12: 
21. So at times "so terrible was the 
sight that Moses said, I exceedingly 
fear and quake." ^ To behold. To 
observe, as he drew near to do, vs. 31. 
"He hid his face," Exod. 3 : 6. 

33. Then said. Rather, And the 
Lord said. H Fut off — loose the sole 
(sandal) of thy feet. This was under- 
stood in eastern countries as an act 
of reverence. The shoes are put off 
when persons enter any sacred place — 
when visitors enter a dwelling, or 
when scholars enter a school. In Da- 
mascus, Cairo, &c., we were compelled 
to put off our shoes at the entrance of 
the mosque, and to wear a straw slipper 
furnished for the occasion at the door. 
See John 13 : 10. ^ For the place. 
The reason is here given for this Di- 
vine direction. God here declares that 
even that wilderness spot was made 
holy by His presence ; and it is clearly 
implied that the Temple owes its sane- 
tit}' to the same ; and that, therefore, it 
has no essential holiness, and is not ne- 
cessarily perpetual, (see Isa. 66,) but 
that any place is holy where Godpleasea 
to reveal Himself. 

34. / have seen. Literally, Seeing 1 
have seen — a Hebrew idiom, meaning 
/ have sur^lg seen. f The affliction. 
Rather, the maltreatment, oppression — 
referring to their bondage under task- 
masters. T[ Mg people — who are iu 
Egypt — my covenant people who are 
suffering there. ^ Their groaning, un- 
der their oppressions. Their outcries 
of distress went up into the ear of 



160 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-30. 



35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a 
picx.u:i9. ruler and a judge? the same did God send to he a ruler 
^™:i2:«;and and a deliverer Pby the hand of the angel which appeared 
r^Ex 7 ands. to him iu the bush. 

a°dn,\°ndu. 36 iHe brought them out, after that he had 'shewed 
f Ex^H-'i, 27, wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, " and in the Eed 
fEx'^e:!, 35. sca, ' aud in the wilderness forty years. 



Ond. ^ Come down. I descended 
(from heaven.) This is the preface to 
Moses' commission. This shows the 
occasion of such Divine interference. 
These and such like expressions in 
which God represents Himself after 
the manner of men, seem designed to 
prepare the mind for the Incarnation, 
and to anticipate the fact. *K To de- 
liver. God undertakes deliverance for 
His people, else it could never be had. 
For this end He commissions Moses, 
as he gave His only begotten Son, 
whom Moses foreshadowed, as a deliv- 
erer, vs. 35. 1 And jioiv come; or, 
rather as an adverb of address, devpo, 
hither ! I u-ill send. 

35. Moses' Divine commission as a 
deliverer, and his rejection by the peo- 
ple, is here stated, to show that the Pro- 
phet like unto Moses, who was rejected 
by them, was likewise commissioned 
for the covenant people's deliverance. 
1[ This Moses whom they denied. This 
very rejected one, whose authority as 
ruler and judge they disputed. T[ The 
same. Literally, this one. The repe- 
tition of the demonstrative pronoun 
here, is very emphatic, and is used to 
call attention to the parallel between 
Moses and Christ, as deliverers of the 
covenant people appointed by God, 
and rejected by those whom they came 
to save. See ch. 2 : 23, 24 ; 3 : 13-15. 
*^ Deliverer, IvrpuTjjv. The term here 
means properly Redeemer, and is used 
in the Septuagint to express the office 
of the Goel, or kinsman Redeemer, but 
onlyasapplied toGod. Ps. 18(19): 15; 
77 (78) : 85. Properly, it is one who re- 
deems a captive by paying a ransom ; 
and the work of ransoming His true 
covenant people, is often applied to 
Christ in the New Testament. Moses 
did not pay a ransom, but God by 
Moses ransomed His people there — 



bought them out of captivity, Isa. 45 : 
13, 14. And this deliverance was typ- 
ical of Christ's ransoming believers 
from the bondage and the curse of sin. 
Even Moses' work of deliverance was by 
the hand of — by the power and prerog- 
ative and Divine work of — the Angel 
of the covenant, who "led his people 
like a flock, by the hand of Moses and 
Aaron," (Ps. 77 : 20,) and by whose 
efficient interposition Moses fulfilled 
his office-work. Numb. 20 : 16. Al- 
ready then in that time of their fathers' 
deliverance it was Jesus Christ who 
was the great Deliverer, working by the 
instrumentality of Moses. 

36. He. Rather, This one — Moses. 
He who was sent by God as the deliv- 
erer, actually led them out. |' After 
that. Rather — having ivrought — or, 
working — or, by tvorking. All the mir- 
acles were not wrought prior to the 
Exodus. This is noted as the means 
by which he led them out, ivhile it is 
declared, also, that he wrought mira- 
cles through their wilderness route. 
f Woiideis. Prodigies. \ Signs. Mi- 
raculous signs of the Divine presence. 
^ In the land of Egyvt. By the ten 
plagues, Exod. 4-12. ^ Red sea. It 
was in the sea — dividing it so as 
to make a passage for the people and 
then engulf their enemies in its return- 
ing waves, Exod. 14. See Ps. 136 : 13 
-16. The miracle was wrought at the 
northern extremity of the sea. In 
Hebrew it is called Tarn Suph — the sea 
of sea-weed, and is supposed by some 
to take its name from the redness of 
the weed. Others think it was nanica 
rather from the Edomites — red men- ■ 
who dwelt on the northern coast. It 
still bears the traditional name among 
the natives which refers back to this 
history — the Sea of Destructiim. ^ For- 
ty years — that is, in all — ineluding aU 



A. D. 30-36.] 



CHAP. VII. 



161 



37 ^Tliis is that Moses, which said unto the childien 
of Israel, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up "g.^*""-'®-"' 
unto you of your brethren, pike unto me; ^hini shall ji'^pr^/^^y^y, 
ye hear. 
I 
ness Avith ^ the angel which spake to him in the mount ^txfiili 
Sina, and xcith our father 
■* oracles to give unto us : 



the miracles, and in round numbers a 
year for every day in which the spies 
Iliad searched the land, though the ac- 
tual wandering in the wilderness was 
more exactly thirty-eight years. In 
the first month of the fortieth year they 
encamped a second time in Kadesh, on 
the southern borders of Canaan, thirty- 
eight years from their first arrival 
there early in the second year after 
the Exodus, Numb. chs. 13, 14, 20 : 1 
-13; Deut. 1 : 19. 

37. Here Stephen links 3foses with 
Christ — the Moses whom they boasted 
with the Jesus Christ whom they re- 
jected. And this he does to give 
point to the parallel between the re- 
jection of Moses by their fathers and 
the rejection of Christ by the nation 
now. He here definitely refers to the 
promise of a Messiah, and to their sa- 
cred obligation to hear and obey him. 
This was the great prophecy which was 
60 specially fulfilled to them in their 
long line of prophets, terminating in 
Christ, ivhom they all foreshadowed, 
Deut. 18 : 5. It is by such steps that 
Stephen advances to the fuller procla- 
mation of Jesus as their promised De- 
liverer and Messiah. This was the 
Messianic prediction which they were 
most familiar with, and which they 
frequently brought forward, (Matt. 
21 : 11; John 1 : 21, 25 ; G : 14; ch. 
3 : 23; 7 : 40.) Stephen connects all 
the personal history of Moses as deliv- 
erer of the covenant people with this 
explicit testimony that be gives to 
Jesus Christ, showing him to be at 
once a witness and a type. ^ A pro- 
phet. Peter had cited this prophecy 
in ch. 3 : 22, and had interpreted it. 
Christ was that Prophet that was to 
come; though Stephen does not yet 
14* 



expressly say so, but leaves it to be 
inferred. He was to be like Moses, 
raised up to them (for their service,) 
from among their brethren, (one of 
their own nation,) and to be as Moses 
also, a Lawgiver, and Deliverer, and 
Mediator, as well as a Prophet — one 
of the same peculiar rank and ofiice- 
work. TT Him. Their own Moses en- 
joined upon them a strict obedience to 
this Prophet, (see ch. 3 : 23,) as Peter 
had lately reminded them. 

38. This is he. This Moses, whom 
they so rejected, (vs. 35,) was the dis- 
tinguished mediator of the ancient 
Church and covenant. If That was^ 
rather, that became — indicating a change 
in his relations. Tf The church. This 
term, iKK?iTjaia, was used in ch. 2 : 48 
and 5 : 11, (see JVotes,) and was famil- 
iar in the Old Testament usage, as the 
assembly or congregation of Israel, 
separated from all other nations, and 
journeying through a wilderness to 
the land of promise. This, also, is the 
primitive idea of God's Church in the 
world. Hence this term was used by 
our Lord as denoting the whole body, 
and any organized community of be- 
lievers. Matt. IG : 18; 18 : 17. And 
so God " led His people like a flock by 
the hand of Moses and Aaron" (as pas- 
tors.) This Moses was mediator be- 
tween the covenant Angel and the 
father.-, an the next and closing clause 
more expressly shows. See Gal. 3 : 19. 
He was xcith both — in close communi- 
cation. In all this, Moses was a type 
of Christ, as well as a witness of Him. 
^ The Uvehj oracles. The living (and 
life-giving) oracles were received by 
Moses from God. The condition of the 
Jews in the time of Stephen was very 
similar to that in Egypt, under aubjeo 



162 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-Sft. 



39 To whom our fiithers would not obey, but tlirust Mm fron\ 
them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt. 

.Ex. 32:1. ^Q ogj^yJQg ^Q^Q Aaron, 3Iake us gods to go before us : 

for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of 
Egypt, wo wot not what is become of him. 

F^l'iw^is!^' 41 ^And they Uiade a calf in those days, and offered 
sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their 

own hands. 



tion tc a foreign power. And now, 
also, God has raised up for tbem a De- 
liverer whom the^'have already reject- 
ed and crucified. But yet again He is 
presented to them in His word and 
Spirit, and they are just about to re- 
ject Him again, Heb. 4: 12; 1 Thess. 
2 : 13; 1 Pet. 1 : 23. 

39. To whom — i. e. Moses. ^ Our 
fathers. He thus keeps up the refer- 
ence to the heads of the Jewish nation, 
to fasten the conviction on his hearers 
that in their present rebellious conduct 
they were showing themselves to be the 
proper successors of those who rejected 
Moses, God's appointed messenger. 
See vss. 51,52. '^ Would not. Rath- 
er, Were not ivilling. See Exodus 32 : 
1-3. f To obey. Literally, To be- 
come obedient. \ Thrust. The same 
term is used in verse 27, and inti- 
mates that the people repeated toward 
Moses what the individual Hebrew did 
at first, and tlii:.s it shows that ihis was 
the character of their nation. T In 
their hearts. They longed after the 
flesh-pots of Egypt, and turned back to 
its idolatries. Numb. 11 : 5; Exod. 
32 : 1, 4. At length they openly pro- 
posed to return again to that land. 
Numb. 14 : 4; Exod. 16 : 3 ; 17 : 3. 
The chief idea seems to be that "they 
apostatized in heart to the Egyptian 
idolatries." 

40. This seems to describe their 
apostasy, and to define the sense in 
which thsy returned, &c. % Maka us 
gods. (Exod. 32 : 1.) They asked of 
Aaron to make for them idol gods. It 
is supposed to have been the Egyptian 
worship of the Sacred Bull, from which 
they got the idea of the Golden Calf. 
The Egyptians, under this image, 
adored the creative principle in nature. 



T[ To go before us. As Jehovah had 
done in the pillar of cloud and fire. 
Exod. 13 : 21. 1 For. The reason is 
here given why they wanted such idol 
gods — namely, because of Moses con- 
tinuing so long absent in the mount. 
1[ This Moses. This man — this one — 
Moses — this leader and representative 
of Jehovah — who went before us in the 
Exodus — we know not what has hapi- 
pened to him. This is given as a rea- 
son for resorting to some other depend- 
euce, now that Moses had failed them, 
and they propose to adopt idol gods, as 
the alternative system which Mosea 
had so strenuously opposed. 

41. They made a calf. One verb, 
used only here, is employed to express 
this. i>e?i^e^ remarks, "A crime very 
notable is expressed by a remarkable 
and newly coined word." Literally, 
They calfificd. This was done probably 
in imitation of the Egyptian idolatry. 
The Sacred Bull ("Apis,") was wor- 
shiped as the image of Osiris, the in- 
ventor of the plow, the god of Agri- 
culture. At iMemphis, in 1850, we 
saw the French engineers excavating 
the magnificent marble remains of the 
celebrated Serapion, or Temple of the 
Bull. It was not far from the Pyra- 
mids of Sakhara. We rode up just as 
they came upon the first marble figures 
that stood in a row around the altar. 
Botta and Layard, at Nineveh, have 
unburied colossal bulls, and they aro 
set up in their huge granite forms in 
the British and French Museums. 
1[ Offered. Literally, Led vp a sacrifice 
— as a national solemnity. The lan- 
guage used by the people in the wilder- 
ness is the same that was used by Je- 
roboam when he introduced the wor- 
ship of the golden calves at Dan and 



A. D. 30-S6.] 



CHAP. VII. 



163 



Ez. 20 : 25-39. 

'the host of heaven : as it is written in the bodk of the fTOesV.'^-n. 
prophets, ^0 ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me {,^4^.3:^'' 
slain beasts and sacrifices hy the space 0/ forty years in the a,Jd"i!3"'^^ 
wilderness ? ';i:^l- ^^^ .g. 

43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the 
star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them : 
and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. 



Bethel. 1 Kings 12 : 28. 1[ Rejoiced, 
made mtrry, (Exod. 32 : 6,) in dances, 
&c. as a feast in honor Oi their idols. 
Not only so, but they confidently re- 
joiced in, gloried in, the works of (heir 
own hands. This latter clause is an ex- 
posure of the absurdity of idolatry, 
that men should rejoice not in God who 
made them and made all things, but in 
a god which they themselves have 
made! (See Isa. 44 : 14, 15.) 

42. Turned. Turned away — from 
His former protection of them, (Josh. 
24: 20,) and gave them up — ^judicially 
abandoned them. Jer. 7:10; Hosea 
4:17; Rom. 1 : 24, 28. \ The host 
of heaven. 2 Kings 17:10. The heav- 
enly bodies — the stars, the moon, the 
sua. Stephen refers to a passage in 
Amos 5 : 25, 26. This fact is not re- 
corded in the Pentateuch, but may re- 
fer to Baal worship. Afterwards there 
are frequent traces of star worship. 2 
Kinss 17 : 26 ; 21 : 3, 5 ; Jer. 19 : 13. 
If The hook. The twelve Prophets 
were contained in one book, roll, or 
volume, called the Book of the Proph- 
ets ; another book was called the Book 
of Psalms. ^ Have ye offered. This 
may mean not to imply a negative an- 
swer, but rather to intimate that as 
surely as they had offered any of the 
prescribed sacrifices to Qod in the wil- 
derness, they had all worshiped Mo- 
loch, &c. " Yea," &c. as if it were 
said, " Have ye done the one? Yea, 
(rather,) ye have done the other." Or 
it may mean, "Have ye indeed offered 
these sacrifices to me. No! But rath- 
er to yourselves or to devils." (1 Cor. 
10: 20.) Or, as Jlumphrcy suggests, 
"Did ye sacrifice to me forty years in 
the wilderness and yet adopt the wor- 
ship of Molooh ?" Alford understands 
the idsa to bo that God does not receive 



as offered to Him, sacrifices in which 
He has been raade to share with idols. 
^ Slain beasts and sacrijiccs. The va- 
rious kind of offerings prescribed by the 
luw. 

43. Yea. Rather, And, or whereas; 
perhaps meaning, "while ye did not 
really sacrifice to me, ye really took up, 
Si,(i." Or it may mean, " Did ye sacri- 
fice to me, whereas ye took up — carried 
about." TF The tabernacle. Not my tab- 
ernacle, but that of Moloch, the idol 
god, ye carried about — some suppose, 
in religious processions, but more prob- 
ably in small shrines as amulets for se- 
cret charms, as at the temple of Diana. 
^ Moloch. This is a name taken from 
the Hebrew word for "A-my." Hence 
the Greek version uses the term for 
king. In the Hebrew the prophet uses 
the terms " of your king," (malkken. ) 
Sometimes it is read " Milcom." Mo- 
loch was, as some suppose, the proper 
name of Saturn among the Phenicians, 
with whom Baal means lord. It was 
the national god of the Ammonites. 1 
Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 21 : 3, 4. Hu- 
man sacrifices were offered to this ido.^ 
in the form of a hollow brazen imag' 
with the head of an ox and the human 
arms outstretched, and heated by a fire 
kindled within the statue, so that chil- 
dren were offered alive to the idol by 
laying them in its heated arms. This 
abominable superstition was practiced 
in the deep valley of Ilinnora at the 
foot of i^Iount Ziou. It was known in 
Moses' time and prohibited. (Lev. 18 : 
21 ; 20 : 25. ) It was pi-obably derived 
from tlie Egyptian worship of the Sun, 
wliich was regarded as the residence 
of the soul of Osiris, under the symbol 
of an ox. The priests offered these 
children, and drowned theii cries with 
a drum. Hence, the place was called 



164 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-36. 



44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in tho 
iiEx.^s'io^anj ■"'ilderness, as he had appointed, || speaking unto Moses, 
ueb*'8:5. ''that ho should make it according to the fashion that he 
iJosh.3:u. had seen. 
r^cciJ!^"'" 45 'Which also our fathers |1 that came after brought 



Tophet, from toph, a drum. Solomon 
built a tumple to this god on the Mount 
of Olives. Miinftsseh made his children 
to pass through the fire in honor of 
this idol. 2 Kings 21 : 3, 6. f And 
the star. An image of a star worshiped 
as God. The Hebrew reads, "Chiun 
your images, the star of your god." 
The Greek translators use the Coptic 
name Eemphan, (or Rephan,) for the 
Arabic name Chiun. Amos 5 : 25. This 
seems to have been a star which was 
worshiped, probably Saturn, which was 
so called in Arabic. Some take Chiun 
to mean a frame work, or carriage for 
transporting the idol. Remphanin the 
Coptic means light-giver — king of heav- 
en — and hence understood of the Sun. 
^ Figures. Types — images. Tf Which 
ye made. This was the point of Ste- 
phen's rebuke that they (their fathers,) 
were such idolaters of old. % And [on 
this account, ) I will carry you away — 
{make you migrate) beyond Babylon. This 
is expressed more fully in Amos 5 : 27. 
The people of Israel were never cured 
of their idolatries until their captivity 
at Babylon. In Hebrew it is Damas- 
cus — but "beyond Damascus" was Bab- 
ylon — and the general idea was that 
God would scatter them eastward in 
that direction ; especially in the great 
and notorious captivity in Babylon. 
Stephen mentions Babylon, therefore, 
as referring to the later captivity of 
Judah, wliich was that most commonly 
known. The prediction was accom- 
plished not in one dispersion, but in 
many, and hence the fulfillment rested 
not in either name, but in the general 
fact. 

44. He comes now more directly to 
speak of the Temple, which he was ac- 
cused of profaning. He approaches 
the subject by referring to the holy 
places of their fathers, showing that 
these were changed, and that God was 
«o( confined to a locality for ever, but 



that in the wilderness lie was worship- 
ed in the tabernacle, a shifting tent, 
made by Moses according to the pat- 
tern given him by God. ^^ Tabernacle 
ofu'itness. In contrast with "the tab- 
ernacle of Moloch," (vs. 48,) is the tent 
of the testimony. This phrase was fa- 
miliar to them in their Greek version 
of the Old Testament. It was used to 
translate a Hebrew plirase, meaning 
"lent of appointment," or of assem- 
bly — as the tent or tabernacle appoint- 
ed by God for the meeting of God and 
the people. There is another sense in 
which the tabernacle was called a tab- 
ernacle of testimony, (Numb. 9 : 15, 
17, 23,) as containing the two tables 
of stone, the testimony of God's cove- 
nant with their nation, (Hcb. 8 : 5,) or 
as being itself a testimony of God's 
presence with them. ^ Appointed. 
God Himself appointed, in His own 
sovereignty, the place of His worship 
— and He was not bound by any local 
obligations — and His command to Mo- 
ses was that ho should make the tab- 
ernacle according to the fashion that he 
had seen. Tliis fact shows clearly (1) 
that the whole matter depended upon 
God's sovereign pleasure, and was tied 
to no outward necessity — (2) that this 
structure being after a Iioavonly con- 
ception, or plan, or model, was design- 
ed as an image or type of heavenly 
realities, (see Ep. to Ileb. chs. 8, D)— 
and (3) that (he sanctuary was of com- 
paratively recent origin, no more an- 
cient than Moses' tirce, and could be 
changed, aci he shows it had been. 

45. To show that the Temple is 
not necessp.rily permanent, this verse 
glances at the changes through which 
the tabei-uaele or icildcmess sanctuary 
passed, until the days of David, when 
it was superseded by the temple. 
^ That came after. Rather, Which also 
our fathers having received by succession, 
or inherited it, (from the generation 



A. h. 80-86.] 



CHAP. VII. 



165 



tNeh.9:24. 

in with Jesus into tbo pDSsession of the Gentiles, *whom L'.'is'fi*^*''*'^ 
God drave out before tlie face of our fathers, unto the days jsaJT'T^-i'^' 

of David. ^:^;^«; • 

46 ' Who found favour before God, and 
a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. ^■ 

47 " But Solomon built him an house. l", 

48 Howbeit °the most High dwelleth not iu temples l\ 
made with hands ; as saith the prophet, l^ 



that fell in the wilderness, ) brought in 
(hither to Canaan) with Jesus (Joshua) 
into the possession (in the taking pos- 
session, or at the conquest) of the Gen- 
tiles, ^ With Jesus. This is the Greek 
form of writing the name Joshua in the 
Septuagint, (or Greek version of the 
Old Testament Scriptures,) and it 
bhould have been here rendered Josh- 
ua. This is also the case in Heb. 4 : 
8, and in Josephus, and in the apoc- 
I'j'phal book Ecclesiasticus. Yet the 
name of Joshua was originally Oshea, 
(Numbers 13 : 8,) meaning salvation. 
The reference here, of course, is to 
the occupation of the promised land 
by the covenant people, with Joshua as 
tjieir leader. In this capacity Joshua 
was a type of Jesus, as Paul shows in 
the Hebrews. \ The Gentiles — the 
Canaanites — whom God drave out. 
Though the tabernacle was brought 
"into the land which God gave them 
for a possession among the Gentiles," 
(Syriac version,) it was carried about 
Irom place to place, while God was 
driving out the Gentiles, and so it con- 
tinued that God had no fixed abode, but 
only this movable tent for His sanctu- 
ary, until the days of David. 

III. Here Stephen reaches the THIRD 
PERIOD in the History — the times of 
David and Solomon, vss. 4(3-50. 

46. David established the worship 
of God in a fixed locality, on Mount 
Zion, and he was the first to meditate 
a more fixed structure for the sanctua- 
ry, Wq found favor before God — as 
"the man after God's own heart" — and 
one greatly honored, and helped, and 
blessed by God. He desired to find (ask- 
ed permission — sought leave to find 
out,) (see Ps. 132 : 5; 2 Sara. 7:4,) 
a tabernach — OKi^vuua — not the word 



for a tent, but a fixed shelter — a place, 
or fixed localilj for what has been mov- 
able. He sought to build an house, 
where the ark that had been carried 
about in their wanderings and wars, 
might be deposited, 1 Chron. 22 : 7. 
The inference is, that as David, the 
favored one of God, was denied this 
request, it was not at all essential to 
the Divine worship ; and that God has 
all along exercised His sovereign pleas- 
ure in the plan for His sanctuary. 
^ The God of Jacob. The covenant 
God of Isrne!, in allusion to Psalm 
132 : 2-5. 

47. But Solomon, though inferior to 
David, was allowed this privilege, alto- 
gether according to God's sovereign 
pleasure, (2 Chron. G : 7, 8, ) and for 
so long a time the covenant people 
wci-e without a temple. Solomon was 
indeed the Prince of Peace, as his 
name imports — under whose peaceful 
reign the kingdom of Christ was set 
forth, (Ps. 72 : 17.) He was the son 
of David, and so he was the type of 
great David's greater Son. David 
was denied this privilege, because he 
had been a man of war, 1 Chron. 
22 : 8. 

48. Howbeit. Though Solomon did 
build for God so grand a sanctuary as 
that first temple on Mount Moriah, yet 
he himself declared that this did not 
imply that any material structure 
could contain God, or th.at he is con- 
fined to any earthly locality, 1 Kings 
8 : 27. So David iu his prayer, 1 
Chron. 29: 10-19. Besides, the Gospel 
prophet Isaiah, at the close of his 
prophecy, looking foward to this very 
time of the transition from Judaism to 
Christianity, predicted this very change 
from the temple worship to a universal 



136 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. [A. D. 30-36. 

49 P Heaven is my throne, and eorth is my footstool : 
■what house will ye build me ? saith the Lord : or what ^s 
the p lace of my rest ? 

50 Hath not my hand made all these things ? 

51 ^Ye <! stifFnecked and "■ uncircumcised in heart and 
ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost : as your fathers 
did, so do ye. 



extension of the true religion, Isa. C6 : 
1, 2. Paul, adopting Stephen's sen- 
timent ai'.d argument, uses similar 
language in addres.sing the Greeks at 
Mar's Hill, (ch. 17 : 24. ) Jesu^ Christ 
Himself came to be the true and Ly- 
ing Temple — the personal residence of 
God on the earth — -which would dis- 
pense with the stone structure, (Mai. 
1 : 11 ) So He said, " Destroy this tem- 
ple " — " spe.aking of the temple of His 
body." IT Place of mij rest. Of my 
fixed residence, 2 Sam. 7 : 6. 

50. Stephen reminds them how God 
said by Isaiah, that in the nature of 
the case He could be confined to no 
material structm-e, for all mnterial 
things were only the work of His 
hands. And the prophet, in that re- 
markable passage, closed his predic- 
tions by prophesying of the abrogation 
of the temporary ceremonial economy. 
He even declared that they who would 
count it essential and cleave to it after 
it \7as abolished, would be regarded by 
God as no better than idolaters, em- 
bracing a false religion. Stephen thus 
Bhows them, on the authority of Solo- 
mon and Isaiah, that the very doctrine 
he was charged with, as a profanation 
of the temple, had been all along 
taught in their Scriptures, and that 
God had expressly disavowed any con- 
finement to any house or place. Spir- 
itual religion and worship had been 
always that which God sought. Ste- 
phen had all along shown the progres- 
sive development of God's plan iu the 
history of the covenant people; and 
now he has come to the crisis then 
pending — the change in dispensations 
contemplated by the builder of the 
Temple, by Isaiah the prophet, and by 
God Himself, as also by Malachi, the 
last of their prophets, (Mai. 3: 3, 4.) 



This is the point which he aimed at in 
his review of the covenant history. 
This was also the very point in which 
the coveiinnt people showed their blind 
and peivcise imjiiety, for they had 
come to cleave to the temple of wood 
and stone all the more stiiHy, as they 
raged moie vehemently against the 
perfect Temple — the body and Church 
of Christ. 

51. Thus Stephen launches out upon 
the applir.ntion of all his doctrines 
and arguments. All along he has re- 
ferred to such rebellions of the people, 
(vss. 9, 25, 35, 3'J, &c.) as characteris- 
tic of their history. There is no need 
of supposing (as some have done) that 
the speaker was here interrupted, and 
thus was led to this sudden change in 
his tone and to this langunge of severe 
rebuke. He had come to his own time 
and to the practical matter, and now 
he chnrges upon them, that so far 
from his being the profaner of God's 
house and worship, it is they who 
have rejected God. ^ Stiff-necked. 
This was a term often applied to tho 
people by Moses and the prophets, 
Exod. 32 : 9 ; S3 : 3-5 ; and in Deut. 
10: 16, associated with uncircumcision 
of heart. The term is taken from the 
resistance of oxen that will not bend 
their necks to receive the yoke, and 
applies to rebellious, stubborn people. 
^ Uncircumcised in heart and ears — 
means, heathenish in feeling and in 
hearing or understanding. As the 
covenant people were circumcised, so 
the uncircumcised were aliens and 
heathen. Stephen therefore charges 
them, even the Sanhedrim, with being 
stubborn and rebellious against God, 
and aliens and heathen iu thought and 
feeling — the veriest opposite to all that 
they boasted. See Rom. 2 : 29. f Yi 



A. 1>. 30-36.1 



CHAP. VII. 



l6V 



52 ' Which of the prophets have not your fathers perse- J3' chron. se: 
cuted ? and they have slain them which shewed before of ^'s*";^^**'"' 
the coming of ' the Just One; of whom ye have been now Jch^ffi//'^" 
the betrayers and murderers : 

53 ° Who have received the law by the disposition of eS^bfig.^' 
angels, and have not kept it. mh.'z-.'i. 



do alwai/s. Stephen applies this charge 
to the nation in all their history, al- 
ways rebellious, and rejecting God, 
from the time of Joseph and Moses, as 
ha had shown. They had rejected the 
messages of the Holy Spirit, 1 Thess. 
5 : 19, 20. They had, indeed, most 
stiflBy cleaved to the outward form of 
worship, but in it all had resisted (he 
Holy Ghost — (literally, to fall out ivith 
— withstand) — and were now most bit- 
tei'ly opposed to any spiritual ideas of 
worship. See Isa. G3 : 10. He had 
thus far spoken all along of their 
fathers — now he comes to themselves, 
.ind charges them with the same 
imspiritual and perverse feeling and 
conduct as their fathers had shown. 
Y As your fathers did, vss. 27, 35, 39- 
43. 

52. Which. This is a strong mode 
of declaring that they, as a nation, 
were in the habit of persecuting the 
prophets, so much so that he chal- 
lenges them to say which of them they, 
as a people, had not persecuted. See 
2 Chron. 36 : 15 ; Matt. 21 : 35; 23 : 
34-36; Luke 13: 33. Jeremiah utters 
a similar complaint against the Jews, 
Jer. 2 : 30. All those who were God's 
messengers to the people and who 
foretold of God's purposes, even to the 
coining of Christ, they had pursued 
with violence, so that Jesus cried out, 
" Jerusalem, which killest the proph- 
ets, and stonest them that are sent unto 
tliee," (Luke 13 : 34.) And this they 
themselves were ready to do with Ste- 
phen. The nation had slain them — 
(the prophets) — ivhich shewed before 
(foreshowed — predicted) of the coming 
of the Just One. Their hostility to the 
Holy Ghost had been shown in tJieir 
putting to death those who (as their 
chief oiiice) foretold of Christ under the 
previous dispensation, a dispensation 
which waa altogether a shadov/ing 



forth of the advent of Jesus Christ. 
T[ The Just One. "The Holy One anc: 
the Just;" "the end of the law for 
righteousness," to whom the law looked 
forward, and wlio alone could bi-ing in 
the perfect dispensation, (see ch. 3 : 
14.) This title, "the Just One," was 
in use among the Jews to designate 
their Messiah. He is thus spoken of 
three times in speeches to the Jews, 
ch. 3:14; 22 : 14 ; see Luke 23 : 47. 
T Of tvhom. Of Jesus Christ. T Ye 
have been. Literally, Ye (emphatic) 
have now become (true to your origin 
and your national character) the be- 
trayers — for this Sanhedrim had been 
instigators of Judas in his betrayal, 
Matt. 26 : 14-16. Stephen here charges 
his judges with the high crimes of be- 
traying and putting to death Jesus ; and 
lays emphasis upon the term " now," 
as contrasted with former times ; and 
"ye " as contrasted with their fathers. 
But those had even murdered Him, 
while their fathers had only murdered 
the prophets who predicted Him. 

53. Our Lord argued in the same 
way for His own defense and for their 
conviction: "Did not Moses give you 
the law, and yet none of you keepeth 
the law ? Why go ye about to kill me?" 
John 8: 19. ^ Who. Ra-ther, ye iv ho 
(as further explaining the case.) Ye, 
(the last of all who ought so to have 
acted.) Ye, Jews, rvho have received 
the law, " to whom were committed the 
oracles of God," (Rom. 3 : 2,) and yet 
who had so far fought against its prop- 
er spirit and sought to defeat its end : 
murdering Ilim who came to be its end 
and fulfillment. 1" J3y the disposition of 
angels. Rather, at the orders or arrange- 
ments of angels. The fact that the taw 
was given at Sinai by the agency of an- 
gels, is used to exalt the honor conferred 
upon the people, and to enhance the 
guilt of their disobedience. So Paul 



168 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D 



-36. 



rch.3:3s. 54 ^ » Whcii thcj heard these things, they were cut to 

the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 

^oh.6-.5. 55 j5yt jjg^ y being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up 

stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and 

Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 



(Ileb. 2:2,) saj's, "for if the law sjyo- 
ken by angels was stedfast," and in 
Gal. 3: 19, he speaks of it as '^ordained 
by angels in the hands of a Mediator." 
The same term is used in the latter in- 
stance as here, only in the verbal form, 
and here it might read, "by the ordi- 
nance, communication or arrangement 
of angels." All we know is, that an- 
gels were ministers on that occasion, 
and that some of the solemn and im- 
pressive circumstances were carried on 
by their agency. The trumpets and 
thunderings and other attendant dem- 
onstrations may have been due to their 
agency. They are spoken of as being 
present "at Sinai in the Holy Place," 
and the Lord as being among them. 
Ps. 68: 17; see Deut. 33: 2, 3. Their 
agency may be referred to where the 
mount is spoken of as that "which 
burned with fire, with blackness, and 
darkness, and tempest, and the sound of 
a trumpet, and the voice of words," &c. 
(Heb. 12 : 18, 19.) This allusion to so 
stupendous a demonstration, angelic 
and preternatural, in their history, at 
the giving of the Law, when they were 
specially constituted as a nation chosen 
of God, forms the most stirring climax 
in the discourse of Stephen, and his 
bold and earnest enforcement of all 
these facts to show the enormity of 
their disobedience, could no longer be 
endured by the Sanhedrim. \ Ilave 
not kept it. "With all your phylac- 
teries." — Bengel. They violated it in 
seeking to kill Him, ch. 7 : 13. 

54. When they heard. Literally, and 
hearing these things, — especially vss. 
61-53, but rather as the pungent prac- 
tical application of the whole discourse. 
T[ Cut to the heart — as with a saiv. See 
ch. 5 : 33, Notes. Tyndale, " Their 
hearts clave asunder." Geneva, "Their 
hearts burst for anger." They were 
not "pricked in their hearts" with genu- 
ine conviction, (as ch. 2 : 37,) but sawn 



through in the most irritating and man- 
gling torture of their consciences and 
passions. Tf Gnashed on him. Liter- 
ally, gnashed the teeth upon him. "Wiclif 
has it, " Grenneden (grinned) ivith teeth 
on him." This expresses their spite 
and violence of rage, in which they 
gnash the teeth not only at him, but 
upon him, as if they would seize upon 
him with their teeth — snapping at him, 
like a dog or beast of prey. 

55. Being full. Literally, He exist- 
ing, full, &c. not merely being filled at 
this moment, but being in this condi- 
tion all along, as is mentioned at first 
of him, (ch. 6: 5.) *\ Looked up. Bath- 
er, Having gazed, or looked intently, into 
the heaven. It is not necessary to sup- 
pose that he was where he could see 
the open sky, any more than we are 
to suppose that he saw with his natu- 
ral eye into the heaven. But this vis- 
ion was supernaturally given to him. 
He saw their ferocity and rage, and 
with true Christian faith, he cast his 
eyes upward, and fixed the eye of child- 
like confidence on "the things above, 
where Christ sitteth at the right hand 
of God." (Colossians 3:1.) ^ The 
glory of God — the visible manifestation 
of God as in the Shecinah — some glo- 
rious exhibition of God Himself, which 
was granted to confirm the faith of the 
dying martyr. See vs. 2. See Matt. 
16 : 27. % And Jesus standing. Some 
of the ancient commentators under- 
stand this standing posture as denoting 
Christ's active assistance of Stephen in 
this extremity, having risen from His 
seat for his help. But it seems rather 
to signify Christ's active office-work as 
the Great High Priest, ofiiciating for Hia 
people. He is usually referred to as 
sitting on the right hand in the attitude 
of a Governor and Judge. (Matt. 26 : 
61; Mark 16: 19; Eph. 1 : 20 ; Heb. 
1:3.) Reference may be intended to 
the vision in Zech. 8 : 1, where Joshua, 



A. D. 30-3G.] 



CHAP. VII. 



169 



xBi. 1:1. 
Matt. 3 : U 
jh. 10:11. 
1 Dan. 7 : 1 



5G And saidj Bohold, ' I see tlie heavens opened, and 
the * Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped 
their ears, and ran upon him with one accord. Lukf'":*! 

58 And '' cast him out of the city, " and stoned him : "teV! h' 
and ^ the witnesses laid down their clothes at 
man's feet, whose name was Saul. 



young 5^°-l-i7:-f' 

oil. 8 : 1, ancl. 22: 



tlie high priest, stands before the angel 
of the Lord. He sees now the Great 
High Priest standing as the represen- 
tative of His people, and they are justi- 
fied in Him. But standing on the right 
hand of God denotes active oflSce-work, 
and co-equal power, (Ps. 110: 1 ; 5 : 6,) 
.IS Mediator, Intercessor, Deliverer, 
Redeemer. Stephen saw the heavens 
open, ( John 1 : 51,) not shut, and this 
glorious Representative and Atoning 
High Priest assuring his confidence, 
and inviting his entrance — standing 
ready to receive him, as He was actu- 
ally exercising His kingly power on 
high. 

56. The heavens opened. This was 
according to the promise made by our 
Lord to Nathaniel, John 1 : 51, only 
that here it is " opened," not merely 
'•open," that he sees them as if just 
now opened to his view and for his en- 
trance. So in Matt. 3 : 16, at Christ's 
baptism, the heavens were opened. 
1[ l^ie Son of man. This title is taken 
from Daniel 7:13, 14, where Jesus is 
prophesied of as seated at the head of 
the Universe. See also Ps. 8. It is no- 
where else in the New Testament ap- 
plied to Christ except by Himself: and 
here Stephen uses it, repeating the 
very words which Jesus Himself had 
used before this Sanhedrim when He 
foretold His glorification. Matt. 26 : 64, 
thus most impressively testifying to 
them that He who had thus spoken, 
and whom they had crucified, was ac- 
tually exalted as He had foretold. He 
also saw Jesus in His human form — the 
glorified God-man — Mediator — Surety 
and Judge. 

57. Cried out. Rather, crying out, 
with a clamorous shout and tumult. 
So also it was in the trial of our Lord. 
Matt. 26:64, 65. *|[ Loud voice — great 
voice. ^ Stopped their ears. This may 

15 



I have been the people, but it is more 
likely to have been the Sanhedrim 
themselves who led the way. See ch. 
23 : 7-10. The language of Stephen, 
just uttered, was regarded as blasphe- 
vaj, and they stopped their ears to show 
their abhorrence of such profane lan- 
guage, as they regarded it. ^ Run upon 
him. Rather, rushed upon hini — luith 
one accord — in a mob. 

58. Cast him out. That is, in the case 
of a blasphemer the law directed tli:it 
he should be stoned without the camp, 
as an accursed thing. Lev. 24: 14: 
Numbers 15 : 35, 36 ; 1 Kings 21 : 31 ; 
compare Heb. 13 : 12. T[ Stoned him. 
They proceeded to stone him in the 
manner prescribed by the law, though 
this was otherwise an illegal and riot- 
ous proceeding. The Jews had no 
authority to execute capital punish- 
ment at this time. John 18: 31. Yet 
it would seem from this instance and 
the bloody persecutions that followed, 
that they did put persons to death, 
perhaps in the absence of the governor, 
or in a tumultuous way, without being 
authorized by the Roman law. This 
stoning of Stephen must have been 
by an unlawful proceeding, as there is 
no appearance of formal sentence, but 
of summary violence. ^ The witness- 
es. The law directed that those who 
bore witness against a criminal should 
throw the first stone, (Deut. 17 ; 
7,) and if this, which was very large, 
did not prove fatal, then the whole 
congregation should join in the ston- 
ing. Lev. 24 : 16. The law thus 
compelled those who took the respon- 
sibility of giving their witness against 
•A man in a capital crime, to take also 
the main responsibility of inflicting the 
capital sentence. This was calculated 
to make men cautious in bearing such 
witness. The witnesses laid dovm 



170 



THE ACTS CF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 30-36. 



/p.'.si^s. 59 And they stoned Stephen « calling upon God, and 

''ch^sfio'oBi saying, Lord Jesus, ''receive my spirit. 
StS;*' 60 And he e]:neeled down, and cried with a loud voice, 
Luke^6:28,and ^j^q^^^^ lay not this sin to their charge. And when he 
had said this, he fell asleep. 



their clothes — their loose outer gar- 
ments, which would be in the way 
of any active exertion, (Matt. 5 : 40,) 
at a young man's feet — either in to- 
ken of his being stationed there as an 
official personage — perhaps the leading 
antagonist of Stephen in the contro- 
versy with his synagogue — or possibly 
as a passing incident only, used here 
by the Spirit to bring first to notice 
the important character who is soon to 
figure so largely in the history. The 
term here for "young man" is applied 
to persons all along from 24 to 40 years 
of age. From ch. 22 : 19, 20, it is in- 
ferred that he could not have been 
younger than 30 at this time, ^ Saul. 
He was of the tribe of Benjamin, a 
member of the synagogue of the Cili- 
cians, and having been a student of the 
law under Gamaliel, was a noted doctor 
and member of the Sanhedrim. He was 
high in the confidence of the court, for 
he received a special commission from 
them to persecute the Christians. 
Some understand that Saul himself was 
a member of the Sanhedrim. 

59. They stoned. They toent on to 
stone Stephen. This stoning seems to 
have been without the forms of law 
— and we find from other passages 
that the mob were ready to take the 
law into their own hands, as in the case 
of our Lord, John 8 : 59 ; 10 : 81, and 
in the case of Paul afterwards, ch. 21: 
30, 31. Though the ivitnesses are here 
spoken of, we have no account of a 
formal trial and sentence, but only of 
an arraignment with a view to this, yet 
terminating in a violent outburst and 
furious execution. In John 18 : 31, 
the Jews declare that they had no legal 
right to put any man to death : and 
the tradition is, that about forty years 
before the destruction of the temple 
this right was taken away by the Ro- 
mans. Though there vas some show 
of law, it was only as & pretense, and 



their rage did not allow them to wait 
the formal process. ^ Caliing, i. e. 
Stephen calling upon and saying (or in- 
voking, and saying) Lord' Jesus. Of 
course the prayer was to the Lord Je- 
sus, to whom the petition, " receive my 
spirit," is directly addressed; so that it 
is worse than useless to supply an- 
other word, "God." The primitive 
Disciples are described as "they who 
call upon this name," (ch. 9 : 14-21 ; 
see 22 : 16; Rom. 10 : 12,) and they 
prayed to Christ as God, the soarchei 
of hearts, ch. 1: 24. ^ Receive my 
spirit. Like his dying Lord, he says, 
" Into thy hands I commend my 
spirit," (Luke 23 : 46.) And what won- 
der that he should so pray, when he 
saw the Lord Jesus standing on the 
right hand of God, crowned with glory 
and honor. So Paul afterwards ex- 
presses himself, 2 Tim. 1 : 12. Such a 
believing view of Christ, will alv^ays 
encourage us to die triumphantly. 
While the stones of the cruel persecu- 
tors were falling heavily upon him, 
and he was mangled by the blows, he 
sees his way clear to the arms of the 
risen Lord. 

GO. Kneeled down. Literally, and 
placing the knees. Qilcumenius remarks 
that " Stephen prayed even more earn- 
estly for them than for himself— for 
it would seem that he prayed for him- 
self upon his feet, but for his enemies 
he prayed upon his knees." He may 
have been brought to this attitude, 
also, by his failing strength — as he 
was just ready to expire. ^\ Lord — • 
Jesus, — as in the previous verse. 
^Laynot — [set not— place not) — set it not 
down as a charge against them. This, 
also, is after the example of the dying 
Lord : (Luke 23 : 34,) " Father, for- 
give them." No example of this last 
can be found in common history. It 
belongs to the Christian character to 
forsrive our enemies for Christ's sake. 



A. D. 36.] 



CHIP. VIII. 



171 



CHAPTER VIII. 

1 And *Saal was consenting unto bis death. And at j^f^'-^' 
that time there was a great persecution against the church 
which was at Jerusalem; and ''they were all scattered * '''•" = ''• 
abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, ex- 
cept the apostles. 



Some make the word here to mean, 
" weighnot out to them (or against them) 
this sin." By the Lord, actions are 
■weighed, 2 Sam. 1:3; Dan. 5 : 27. 
The Egyptian symbol of justice and 
judgment is a scale and balance, in 
which men's actions are weighed. 
^ Fell asleep. This, also, properly un- 
derstood, is the language of Chris- 
tianity, which reveals death as a sleep 
to the Christian — a "sleep in Jesus," 
John 11 : 11, 12 ; 1 Cor. 11 : 30 ; 15 : 
51; 1 Thess. 4: 14; 5 : 10. This is 
not the heathen idea of death, as a 
sleep to the soul without any awaking 
— but it belongs to the assured hope of 
the resurrection of the body. So the 
early Christians called their burial 
places dormitories—from which we have 
our word cemeteries. 

CHAPTER VIII. 
BOOK II. 

The Church in its transition from 
TUE Jkws to the Gentiles. 

Part I. Spread of Christianiti/ 
beyond Jerusalem, " Witnesses 
in all Judea." A. D. 36-40. 

§12. Spread of Christianity with- 
out the Apostles. Ch. 8 : 1-4. 

The Church is brought now to a cri- 
sis when it is ready to break through 
its ancient banks, according to proph- 
ecy. It is in the conflict of the king- 
dom of darkness with the kingdom of 
light, that the latter is to spread 
abroad. Now we mark the advance 
of the Church according to the plan 
indicated by our Lord, ch. 1 : 8. 
Having been " witnesses unto his name 
In Jerusalem, they are next to be wit- | 



nesses in all Judea, and in Samaria, and 
unto the uttermost parts of the earth." 
In the language of Tertullian, "tho 
blood of the martyrs is to be the seed of 
the Church." The persecution seems to 
have been aimed especially against the 
deacons, and we find Philip going out 
from his charge in the Mother Church, 
to act in quite another capacity, as an 
"Evangelist." The Apostles, how- 
ever, remain behind in Jerusalem, at 
the very time that the advancing 
Christianity is to go abroad among the 
nations. This indicates that for the 
Jews distinctively the prerogative is 
giving way, and the Judaic system is, 
step by step, giving place to that 
which it all along foreshadowed — call- 
ing for a new Apostolate, to the Gentiles, 
and bx-inging into use the active work of 
the entire membership. 

1. This clause properly belongs to 
the former verse, f Saul. The nar- 
rative takes up the history of Saul, 
and from ch. 13, follows it alone. 
f Consenting. Not merely consented 
to his death, but was acting in hearty 
concurrence with the murderers, ap- 
proving their conduct. ^ Death— vio- 
lent death — murder. Paul gives his 
own narrative of the case, ch. 22 : 20 ; 
26 : 10. 1 At that time. Literally,' 
in that day. This refers to that very 
day and date, and means that there 
was at once a general persecution set 
on foot. It did not stop with Stephen. 
It was not satisfied with his death, but 
aimed at exterminating the hated sect, 
which they saw to be growing so 
alarmingly. 1[ The church. Here first is 
mentioned " the Church at Jerusalem," 
which now was to become scattered so 
as to result in many Churches As 
yet the growing thousands of disciples 
constituted one Church — the Christian 



172 



THE ACTS OF THE ArOSTLES. 



[A. D. 



Church at Jerusalem. Tf Thoj were all. 
Literally, all tcerf scattered. This only 
denotes the general dispersion, not, 
however, meaning that all actually 
fled, except the Apostles, but substan- 
tially so — as vie still read of "the 
Church" there, (vs. 3.) and of the 
Disciples and brethren, ch. 9 : 26-30. 
TT Throughout the regions {countries) of 
Judeaand Samaria — as is more partic- 
ularly narrated in the subsequent his- 
tory. ^ Except. The direction of our 
Lord had been, " when they persecute 
you in one city, flee ye to another." 
And it would seem that the twelve 
must have had express direction from 
God to remain amidst the persecutors 
for an express object. Probably it 
was that they might thus guard and 
Btrengthen the Mother Church, and 
from this ancient seat of the holy reli- 
gion, might set forth an example of a 
regularly constituted Church, from 
which the law should go forth from 
Zion and the word of tlae Loi-d from 
Jerusalem, Isa. 2:3; Micah 4 : 2. 
It would seem, also, that henceforth in 
the active extension of the Church 
among theGentiies, the old Apostolate 
is to be cast somewhat into the 
shade — and a new Apostolate is to 
be brought forward — that of Paul — 
and that Philip, not one of the twelve, is 
to preach at Samaria, and that a very 
prominent part, also, was to be taken 
by unofficial disciples, who were chief- 
ly instrumental in gathering the first 
Gentile Church at Antioch, ch. 11 : 19, 
20. The same reason that had led to 
a careful filling up of the vacancy 
made by Judas, so as to retain the 
number of twelve while the Church 
was yet confined to the Jews, (ch. 1 : 
21,) would now warrant this retiring 
of the twelve to the back ground in 
the progress of the Church among the 
Gentiles. They were Divinely appoint- 
ed to stand in the breach — at that post 
of special danger and duty. They 
were charged with foundation-work. 
They had "iA« keys" given them for 
opening the kingdom to the Avorld. 
Their official function was to cease with 
themselves, upon the full establish- 



ment of the Chirrch among the Jews 
and Gentiles. And this crisis of tran- 
sition required them to remain at the 
seat of the ancient dispensation as a 
Divinely constituted authorit}% to give 
their sanction to the new movement, 
as at Samaria, (ch. 8: 14,) preaching 
the Gospel also in many villages of the 
Samaritans, as Peter and John, (ch. 
8 : 25, ) yet making head-quarters at 
Jerusalem, and missionating also (as 
Peter, ) throughout all the Jewish Chris- 
tian Churches, (ch. 9:32.) imparting 
the Spirit also, and working miracles, 
for the same great object of laying 
Apostolical foundations for the Church ; 
setting an example, also, of the Apostoli- 
cal work of preaching the Gospel to the 
Gentiles, as Peter at Cesarea, (ch. 10: 
34,) and thus introducing the Church 
of Christ to the world. Besides, they 
take a leading part in the Synod at 
Jerusalem for settling great questions 
at the outstart, (ch. 16.) Now, how- 
ever, a vacancy is soon to occur, not aa 
that of Judas by suicide, but by mar- 
tyrdom, in the case of James the broth- 
er of John, (ch. 12: 2,) and we read 
of no attempt to fill the vacancy as be- 
fore. Now it is made to appear that 
the Apostles, as such, were to have no 
successors. And when another Church 
springs up, besides " the Church at Je- 
rusalem," viz. " the Church at Anti- 
och," we find that this first Gentile 
Church was planted without the Apos- 
tles. While it belonged to Peter, " the 
Apostle of the circumcision," to have a 
vision of " the mystery' hid from ages, 
but now revealed unto His holy Apos- 
tles and Prophets by the Spirit," and 
to enunciate with Divine authority the 
great principle that the Gentiles should 
be fellow-heirs, it was reserved for 
"some of" the dispersion — "men of 
Cyprus and Cyrene" — to plant the first 
Church of Gentile Christendom by 
their " publishing as good news the 
Lord Jesus" — while the Apostolic Mis- 
sionary, Barnabas, was sent down thith- 
er by the Church at Jerusalem to re- 
joice with them and join in the good 
work, and carry it forward with Pauij 
the Apostle of the Gentiles. 



A. D. 



CHAP. VIII. 



178 



2 And de\'out men carried Stephen to his burial, and ^^"^^l^ 
'made groat lamentation over him. 2 3am.3:3i. 

3 As for Saul/ he made havoc of the church, entering ^:f i3,'t?;ana 
into every house, and haling men and women, committed lo.'ti.'""^^'' 
tham to prison. Garina.*' 

4 Therefore °they that were scattered abroad went every fT',-„^iti3. 
where preaching the word. ch!n:i9.'"^" 



2. The historian proceeds now, in 
passing, simply to note tiie honorable 
iittention given to Stephen's body, and 
the active persecution carried on by 
Saul. 1[ Devout men. These were 
probably such as were Simeon and 
Zacharias, (Luke 1 : G7 ; 2 : 25,) pious 
Jews. They had listened to Stephen, 
but were not yet formally enrolled 
among the Christiana. The foreign 
Jews, who attended the Pentecost, are 
60 called, eh. 2 : 5. This designation is 
nowhere applied to Christians as such. 
This incident shows that there was a 
class of Jews not yet converted to 
Christ, who held Stephen in high honor 
and regarded him as innocent. Among 
such the seed had been sown which 
•would yet spring up, and be gathered 
in by the Apostles. ^ Carried. Lit- 
erally, joined to bear away, (to the 
grave.) ^ Lamentation. This was a 
Btrictly Jewish practice, which the 
Christians did not approve, and it 
strengthens the inference that these 
devout men were Jews. Literally, the 
rendering is, They made a great beating 
(of the breast) over him. 

3. As for Saul. Literally, But (at the 
same time, or on the contrary,) Saul. 
While these pious Jews were bewailing 
Stophcnand joining to give him honor- 
able burial, Saul, on the contrary, was 
vi'iking havoc of — literally, tearing to 
p'eces, as a wild beast — the church. The 
burial and the bitter persecution were 
g)iug on the same day. ^ Entering into. 
R itlicr, entering, (as an inquisitor, the 
houses, ) from house to house. ^ Haling 
—dragging. The same term is used by 
h'hn of dragging the net full of fishes, 
_(ch. 21: 8.) "t Women. The sever- 
ity and malice of the persecution are 
here shown, that the women were also 
dragged to prison. 

16* 



4. Therefore. Rather, then— so then 
— connecting with vs. 1, and continu- 
ing the narrative of the persecution, in 
its results for the spread of the Church. 
^ Weyit everywhere — icent throughout — 
went about the districts named, vs. 1, 
ch. 11 : 19, &c. 1 Preaching the icord. 
Literally, Evangelizing the ivord. Pub- 
lishing it as glad tidings, good news. 
This was not mentioned .as any offici.al 
preaching, but only such a joyful pub- 
lishing of the Gospel as belongs to all 
true believers. Here first the Gospel 
is called simply "the Word." 

1 13. Spread of Christianity in Sa- 
maria, BY TIIE PrEACIIINO OF PuiL- 

ip, THE Deacon and Evangelist — 
First Conflict of Christianity 
with Paganism — " Witnesses in Sa- 
maria." Ch. 8 : 5-2i. 
The history now reaches the actuai, 
transition of the true religion from Je- 
rusiilera to the outside world. Like 
its Master and Head, it " must needs 
go through Samaria." (John 4: 4.) As 
our Lord passed from the Jews to the 
Samaritans, and thence to the Gali- 
leans, so He commanded His Apostles 
to do. ( John 7:1.) This mixed 
people formed the bridge between Jews 
and Gentiles. Christianity must here 
be promulged on the way to all nations. 
The Gospel was to go abroad to the 
ends of the earth by way of Samaria, 
as our Lord in His own labors had 
shown. (John 4 : 3, 4.) These, with 
whom the Jews had no dealings, and 
who were bitterly hated as a rival sect, 
had nevertheless a mixture in them of 
the ancient covenant people, and form-, 
ed thus the connecting link to the out- 
side world. This is now the stepping 
stone to the progress which Christ's 
true religion was to make. 



174 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, 



[A. D. 8G. 



'*.«:». 5 rpjjgjj f Philip went down to tie city of Samaria, and 

preached Christ unto them. 
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things 
which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 



5. Then Philip. His work as a dea- 
con in Jerusalem was brought to an 
end by the dispersion. Now we find 
him preaching (vs. 12,) and baptizing, 
and elsewhere he is called "the Evan- 
gelist," (eh. 21:8.) It cannot be in- 
ferred from this that the deacon's office 
as such was to preach. 1. Because it 
is not at all included in the reasons for 
their appointment, but the very oppo- 
site is the case. Ch. C : 3, 4. They 
were appinted to serve tables, that so 
the Apostles might give themselves con- 
tinually to prayer and the ministry of 
the word. 2. It cannot be shown that 
the other deacons preached. 3. The 
difiSculty is settled when we find that he 
was an "evangelist" as well as a deacon, 
and this office is recognized. Eph. 6: 11. 
The term used for Philip's preaching 
here is that which is commonly used 
of official preaching, though it might 
refer to that " evangelizing" just be- 
fore spoken of as dona by all the Dis- 
ciples. *^ The city of Samm ia. Rather, 
A city of Samaria. This is understood 
by some as meaning the city of Sama- 
ria, but in John, ch. 4 : 5, it means 
more properly "a city of Samaria," as 
Shechem, Sychar, now Nablous, be- 
tween jNIount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. 
There Christ Himself had sown the 
good seed, in the conversation with the 
woman of Samaria at the well of Jacob. 
See Notes on John, ch. 4, and Appendix. 
This people was a mixed race, consist- 
ing partly of the Israelites remaining 
there after the captivity of the ten 
tribes, and partly of the Assyrian col- 
onists sent there to supply the place of 
the captives; or, as some think, they 
were entirely heathen, consisting only 
of the Assyrians. 2 Kings 17 : 24. They 
had circumcision. The Apostles had 
at first been strictly forbidden to enter 
into any city of the Samaritans. (Matt. 
10:5.) But now, this was the path 
which Christianity was to take in pass- 
ing cut beyond Jerusalem. This peo- 



ple formed a connecting link between 
the Jews and the heathen. And so 
we find a Hellenistic Jew, and not one 
of the Hebrews, sent down to them. 
f Preached Christ. As Philip is ex- 
pressly called an evangelist (ch. 21 : 8,) 
as well as a deacon, (ch. 6: 5,) there 
is, of course, no propriety in supposing 
that it belonged to the office of deacon to 
preach ; but that he did this as an evan- 
gelist. Here the work goes forward, 
not under Apostles, but an Evangelist. 
He preached, or heralded Christ, an- 
nouncing that the Messiah had come, 
and that Jesus of Nazareth was He. 
The Samaritans, we find from our 
Lord's interview, (John 4 : 25,) were 
expecting the Messiah as the Great 
Prophet promised to come ; and though 
they hated the Jews so as to have no 
common dealings with them, and had a 
separate and rival worship on Mount 
Gerizim, yet Christ Himself had 
"preached Christ" to them, and had 
gathered the first fruits of a harvest 
which His Apostles were to reap. (John 
35, 38.) Here, in the progress of the 
Gospel beyond Jerusalem and Judea, 
we find the way opened, and the first 
great step taken in the development of the 
universal Christian Church. Note. — 
The preaching of Christ is the sura of 
the Gospel message. 

G. This remarkable success of Phil- 
ip's preaching would indicate such a 
preparation as had been made by 
Christ's evangelizing work among 
them. \ The people — [the multitude — 
the mass) — yare heed — attended to, as 
Lydia did to Paul, when her heart was 
opened, (ch. IG : 14,) and this they 
did u-ith one accord- generally, and with- 
out jarrings. The term here used is 
that so commonly employed in the 
early chapters, seeming often to refer 
to a public assembling. T[ Those thingt 
— the doctrine of Christ and his salva- 
tion. \ Hearing. Lit., In the hearinff 
— as they were hearing and seeing. 



A. D. 36. 1 



CHAP. VIII. 



178 



7 Fjr ^unclean spirits, crying with loud \oice, came ^ """*'="• 
out of many that were possessed with them : and many 

takon with palsies, and that were lame, were healed, 

8 And there was great joy in that city. 

9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which 
beforetime in the same city ''used sorcery, and bewitched ^■'=^■'^^^■^• 



the people of Samaria, ' giving 



out that himself was some 



great one : 

10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, 
saying, This man is the great power of God. 



7. For. Lit., For from many who 
had unclean spiriU, &c., they came forth. 
They were conviEcecl by these miraca- 
lous proofs, John 3:2. ^ Crying — as 
they did when they bore witness to 
Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, 
Mark 3:11; Luke 1 : 41. Sometimes 
they cried out with rage, see Mark 1 : 
26; 9 : 26. T[ Palsies — paralyzed. 
Here two very severe disabilities are 
distinguished from demoniacal posses- 
sions. This, and other similar passa- 
ges, disprove the theory of some, that 
the demoniacal possessions of the New 
Testament were nothing more than 
diseases. 

8. Great joy. Lit, There became, or 
came to be, great joy. It was the joy 
predicted by our Lord in His charge to 
the Disciples, as He looked forward 
from His own planting in Samaria to 
their present reaping, when " both he 
that soweth and he that reapeth may 
rejoice together." See John 4 : 36, and 
Notes. It was now the beginning of 
the joy of tabernacles, at that great 
harvesting of the outside world that 
was here only initiated. It was joy 
in believing, as a fruit of the Spirit, 
Gal. 5 : 22 ; Rom. 15 : 13. 

This brings us to a new feature 
in the History — the first conflict of 
Christianity with Pag.vnism. 

The narrative now brings to view 
the fact that the kingdom of darkness 
is always found rallying in opposition 
to the kingdom of light. And as it 
was with the magicians in Egypt 
against Mv^=>es, so is it yet with this 
magician against Philip — there is a 
strenuous olfort to destroy the good, 



or to make a trade of doing the aamo 
with their enchantments. 

9. Simon. This man is supposed by 
Neander to be the same as is mention- 
ed by Josephus ; but more likely, ac- 
cording to the account of Justin Mar- 
tyr, he was one born in Samaria, who 
studied philosophy at Alexandria, and 
practiced magic arts. In the Apos- 
tolic times such sorcery or divination 
was rife thereabouts, probably on ac- 
count of the prevalent expectation 
that some " great power of God" was 
to arise about that time in the East. 
So at Ephesus, (ch. 19 ; 13.) He is 
said by the Fathers to have originated 
the Gnostic and other heresies. And so 
Elymas, (ch. 13 : 6.) ^ Before time. 
Lit., ivho teas there before in the city — that 
is, before Philip's arrival there. He was 
already on the ground, aud was pre- 
occupying the minds of the people. 
^ Used sorcery — /layivuv — practizing 
magic — acting the part of a magician. 
The Magi were a class of icise men, 
sages, philosophers of the East, Per- 
sians, Chaldeans, or others, as those 
who were led to worship the infant Je- 
sus. But this Simon, called Magus, 
was rather a magician — skillfully 
imposing on the people. ^ Bewitched. 
Kather, Confounded — amazed — startled. 
'^ The people, linthcv, The nation. It 
would seem that he may have been a 
wandering juggla-, only not without 
learning aud skill. The Samaritans 
wp.ro looking for some new revelatiom 
at Christ's coming, John 4:26. ^ Giiy- 
mg out. Lit., Saying that himself waa 
some one great — some great personage^ 
such as was commonly expected. 

10. The people were all giving at' 



17« 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 86. 



11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had 
bewitched them with sorceries. 

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things 
sch.i:3. " (jQQ(,gi.^j„g ^\^Q kingdom of God, and the name of Jesua 
Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 
13 Then Simon himself believed also : and when he was baptized, 



tPTition to Simon, and were believing 
in him as a sort of Incarnation of God, 
and this on account of his wonderful 
■works, that seemed to them preter- 
natural. But when Philip came for- 
Wiird and confronted all such jugglery 
liy working real miracles, they all gave 
heed to him in preference, (6, 7, and 
12.) ^ Frojn the least. So universal 
■was the success of Simon's sorceries, 
in carrying away the people of all 
classes and ages. ][ Tke great power 
of God. Whether this title was drawn 
from the philosophy of Alexandria, 
which spake of the Logon, and Sophia, 
a,nd Dunamu, (the hitter term here 
used,) or whether, as some hold, this 
refers to the Samaritan belief of a 
great angel, whom they called " the 
power of God," is not necessary to de- 
termine. It is plain tliat they regard- 
ed him as some one possessed of Divine 
power, somewhat answering to the 
common ,expectations of the I\Iessiah. 
It is recorded by the Fathers that Si- 
mon claimed to be the Logos, the Par- 
aclete, &c. 

11. Had regard. Lit., Gave heed — 
attended to — the same term as is used 
in vss. 10 and G. This is here repeat- 
ed to give the reason why they had, up 
to this time, been followers of Simon — 
namely, that he had /or a long time 
confounded them, (vss. 9, 10,) and his 
undisturbed sway for so long a period 
had established him firmly iu the pub- 
lic confidence, "jf Sorceries. Literally, 
3Iagics. 

12. But. This spell, however, was 
broken by the arrival of Philip. This 
heathenish delusion, under which they 
lay, was dissipated naw, by their be- 
lief iu Pliilip and liis works and doc- 
trines. They were led to distinguish 
between the counterfeit and the true. 
^ Preaching. Lit., Evangelizing — pub- 
lishing as glad tidings-^-<Ae things con- 



cerning the kingdom of God — namely, 
the advent of Christ to set up His 
kingdom, and the principles of His 
peaceful and spiritual reign, (ch. 1:3.) 
The Samaritans expected a Restorer, 
whom they spake of as "the Saviotu* 
of the world," (John 4 : 42.) ^ The 
name. His preaching was a proclama- 
tion of the glorious name of Christ 
— "Jesus," meaning Saviour, and 
"Christ," meaning Messiah, or anoint- 
ed. His Person and ofBces were set 
forth, and His Gospel in which Ho 
makes Himself known. Philip preach- 
ed the "Name" into v.'hich they were 
to be baptized. And now having sig- 
nified their faith in " this Name," 
they were led to express and con- 
fess it openly in the ordinance of 
baptism. *i[ Both men and women. 
Unlike the rite of circumcision, which 
could be administered only to males, 
the Gospel ordinance extends to both 
sexes, as the system is intended to bo 
universal, and to embrace all mankind, 
" where there is neither male nor fe- 
male, but all are one in Christ Jesus." 
Observe. — These Gentiles, so called, 
were much more ready to embrace the 
Gospel than the Jews, We shall note 
this feature of things, and while Christ 
is all along to be preached first to the 
Jews, they are the last to embrace 
Him, and at length they are rejected. 
13. Simon. Lit., And Simon also 
himself believed, as well as the multi- 
tude who were, up to this time, his 
followers. This is plain proof of Phil- 
ip's wonderful works, that this soi'- 
cerer, with all his magic arts, should 
express his belief in Philip's doctrines 
and powers, so far as to make an open 
confession of Christ's name. Of course, 
there was no real faith in Christ. 
^ Jle continued. Rather, he was cleav- 
ing to him — in close discipleship, adher- 
ing to him. Perhaps his first impulat 



A. D. 86.] CHAP. VIII. 177 

le continued witi Philip, and wondered, beholding the 

■}• miracles and signs which were done. l^ut'^i^^ 

14r Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem 
heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto 
them Peter and John : 

15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, jch. 2:38. 
Hhat they might receive the Holy Grhost : mch. i9:2. 

16 (For ""as yet he was fallen upon none of them : only "h^'z-m!*'^^' 
"they were baptized in "the name of the Lord Jesus.) o^cu. lo : 48, and 



was to cover Lis defeat by this means. 
Or he clearly saw that Philip was pos- 
sessed of wonderful powers, which he 
could not commajid, and he may have 
hoped to get some insight into the 
secret, as he wondered, beholding. — 
Lit., And beholding the signs and great 
miracles which were done, he was con- 
founded— ^nst as others had been by 
his pretended miracles, (vss. 9, 11,) 
where the same word is used. In Si- 
mon there was only an apparent be- 
lieving. It was professed, and we 
cannot see the heart, nor can we go 
further than a credible profession. It 
is plain that his was a mere animal 
excitement, and no inward spiritual 
faith. He was moved merely by the 
signs and wonders, and he was one of 
those to whom Christ would not com- 
mit himself as entitled to any confi- 
dence, (John 2 : 24.) He professed 
his faith in a sy.'item which he could 
not dispute nor rival, hoping perhaps 
to make capital of it in his own way. 

14. The apostles which were at Jeru- 
salem. Attention is here called to the 
fact that the twelve were all there ; 
and that this is a feature of affairs to 
be noted, as before, (vs. 1,) and in ac- 
cordance with the plain design of God. 
Now, behold, under the Gospel, tlie 
Jews have dealings with the Samari- 
tans. ^ Samaria. That is, the Sa- 
maritans — the people of Samaria. The 
wonder was that they who were so 
hostile .and hateful to the Jews had re- 
ceived the Gospel, though at first 
Christ himself had charged the twelve 
not to enter into any city of the Sa- 
maritans with the Gospel message. 
Matt. 10 : 5, 6. They saw that now, 
indeed, the true religion had brokea 



over the ancient banks, and that in 
this passage of the Gospel to Samaria, 
a most important event had taken 
place toward its universal progress. 
'^ Had received. Thatia, Joyf till g. ^They 
sent. This delegation of two Apostles 
was plainly to give this movement 
their Apostolic recognition and sanc- 
tion as the authorized founders of the 
Church, and as bound to enter this 
open door, and to show that the old 
barriers between Jews and Samaritans 
were broken down by this religion of 
love. They came to supervise the pro- 
gress of Christianity under Philip. 
S[ Peter and John. The two Apostles 
who wrought the first Apostolic mira- 
cle, (ch. 3:1.) They who had follow- 
ed Christ to His trial, now follow Him 
to His reward. Observe. — Peter was 
sent by the body of Apostles. Hence 
he could not have been chief or pri- 
mate, as the Romanists assert. IIo 
opened the door to those at Pentecost, 
so also here. This is the last we read 
of John in the Acts. 

15. When. Rather, having corns 
down. ^ Prayed. This would seem 
to have been suggested by what they 
saw on their arrival. This was not 
any exclusive Apostolic act, or in ex- 
ercise of any special Apostolic author- 
ity. It was in virtue of their common 
Christian office-work to pray. In vs. 
17, they lay on their Apostolic hands. 
But they sought the power of God 
upon them — in extraordinary spiritual 
gifts. This is what is meant by their 
receiving the Holy Ghost, vs. 17. 
\ That — with this purport and object 
they prayed. 

16. Thia verse is a parenthesis in 
the sense. For as yet. The Kol/ 



178 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 38. 



i9?t;.^ *'"'* 17 Then Plaid they tlieir hands on them, and they 
H.b.6:2. received the Holy Ghost. 

18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' 
hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money. 

19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay 

hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost, 
li^fkings's: 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with 
"ch. 2:38, and thcc, because "thou hast thought that ''the gift of God may 
io:«,andii: |jg purchascd with money. 



Ghost had not yet fallen upon them 
in any visible manifestations, such 
as were at Pentecost and were soon 
after this, apparent, (vs. 18.) They 
seem generally to have been converted, 
(vs. VA,) but not to have received the 
extraordinary gifts which were impor- 
tant to attest their religion among un- 
believers. If Only. This is all, though 
commonly the two things went togeth- 
er. \Thcy were baptized. Rather, <Aey 
itood baptized, or had gotten baptized. 
This was their case. They continued 
thus and no more, as regards any 
miraculous gifts, ch. 9 : 17, 18 ; 10 : 
47; 11 : 17; 19: 5, 6. *\ In the name. 
Rather, into (unto) the name — unto a 
professed union with Him — embrace of 
His doctrines, and subjection to His 
authority. 

17. Then laid they. This was done 
after prayer, as in ch. 13:3; and the 
inference is plain, that of itself it con- 
veyed no grace, but was symbolical of 
a Divine impartation which was to be 
expected in answer to prayer. It was 
not to do what Philip could not, but 
rather to give the work their recogni- 
tion and sanction, as founders of the 
Church. It was no ordinance of "con- 
firmation," as a completion of baptism, 
here or elsewhere. They received 
miraculous gifts — perhaps that of 
tongues, or of working miracles, or of 
prophecy, as an immediate result of 
the laying on of hands. 

18. Simon saw, vs. 9. The effects 
were such as could be seen, and of course 
the spiritual gifts are not here meant. 
He had seen the miracles, and was awed 
by them into a kind of outward belief. 
But now seeing that this wonder-work- 
ing power could be transferred, be, at 



once, without waiting to present him- 
self for this laying on of hands, of- 
fered the Apostles money — thinking 
that they would make merchandise of 
it, as he desired to do, thus judging 
the Apostles by himself. He evident- 
ly hoped, by falling in with this sys- 
tem, to make capital of it in his way, 
and practice it only as a higher sort of 
jugglery. ^ Money. Literally, moneys 
— probably a liberal amount; for he 
saw how he could make large amounts 
by this means. From this mercenary 
proposal has the name of Simony been 
applied to the traffic in Divine things 
— as the sale of livings in the Church, 
and Church offices and prerogatives 
— though this proposal to buy and sell 
the Holy Ghost is very different. 

19. To one, also — in common with 
yourselves, that I may exercise the 
gifts as you do. Tf Ihat on tchomto- 
ever. He wishes to purchase the pow- 
er of imparting these miraculous gifts 
to whomsoever he pleased. 

20. 'Thy money. Literally, thy silver 
with thee be for destruction. This was 
said as the reply to his impious pro- 
posal. Rather than that we should 
entertain such a base and heinous 
thought as trafficking in this Divine 
gift, thy money and thyself be ac- 
cursed ! See Dent. 7 : 26 ; Josh. 7 : 
15, 24. But it is plain that this was no 
absolute imprecation, but is qualified 
by vs. 22. " Repent therefore," &c. 
1 Because. This is the iniquity— that he 
was thinking so blasphemously of the 
Holy Ghost, as to suppose and inti- 
mate by his offer, that Avhat was so 
essentially a free gift, could be pur- 
chased with money, and that God't 
free gift of the Holy Spirit uould ba 



A. D. 30.] 



CHAP. viir. 



21 Tliou hast neitbor part nor lot in this matter '. for thy hear' 
is not right in the sight of God. 

22 Eepent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray 



given thee. 

23 For I perceive that thou art in ' the gall of bitterness, 
and in the bond of iniquity. 



bought with man's filthy lucre — think- 
ing God to be altogether such an one 
as himself. 

21. Part nor lo*. Thou hast neither 
part (possession) by purchase, nor by 
lot — by inheritance or free gift. You 
neither got it by buying nor by lot. 
The Apostle thus declares Simon's utter 
separation from these Divine things, 
though he had been baptized and was 
professing experience of them. 1 In 
this matter. Literally, in this u-ord, or 
interest, i. e. of the Holy Ghost. The 
Apostle was Divinely enabled to under- 
stand his true character, as in the case 
of Ananias and Sapphira. ^ For. He 
gives as a reason the real state of Si- 
mon's heart, as he was enabled to un- 
derstand it. " For with the heart man 
believeth unto righteousness." *^ Right. 
Correct — rightly disposed. ^ In the sight 
of God. As God sees it — in His pres- 
ence and estimation. 

22. Repent therefore. Even for Si- 
mon, with all this profane and blasphe- 
mous suggestion, there was room for 
repentance. Hateful and horrid as 
was his misconception of the truth, the 
Apostle exhorts him to immediate re- 
pentance. His awful state is given as 
the reason for his repentance of his 
wickedness. Why it was not allowed 
to Ananias and Sapphira, we know not, 
except that their light was greater and 
their damage done to the Church was 
more serious. Theirs was pronounced 
"a lie unto the Holy Ghost." This 
was a thought of the heart derogatory 
to the Holy Ghost. Both were under 
the temptation of money. ^ Of this. 
Lit., from this — calling attention to 
this wickedness as an enormity to be 
repented of before God. ^ Pray God. 
beseech, entreat God. The Apostles 
could not grant him absolution or for- 
giveness. They never claimed to 4o 



it, as their pretended successors pro- 
fanely do. They exhorted Simon t^o 
pray earnestly to God for it ; and they 
clearly intimate to him that the result 
lies with God alone, and they could 
not even assure him that forgiveness 
would be granted at his prayer. T[ If 
perhaps. This expression denotes un- 
certainty, yet with some ground for 
expecting a favorable result, ch. 17 : 
27 ; Mark 11:13. This form of ex- 
pression was used, it would seem, as 
suited to Simon's pi-esumption that he 
who had thought that the gift of God 
could be purchased with money, might 
not think now that it could be pur- 
chased or earned with prayer, ^f The 
thought — the device — purpose — including 
all his presumptuous intent, as show- 
ing also the depraved state of his 
heart. 

23. For I perceive. Lit., for unto 
gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity I 
see thee being. This is given as the 
reason why he should at once repent 
not as though for this sin alone, but to 
repent as he had not yet heartilj' done, 
for all his sin. The Apostle was di- 
vinely enabled to perceive or see this to 
be the state of his heart before God. 
Steir takes it to be the Apostle's pre- 
diction of Simon's career in future. 
"I see thee being for (becoming) gall of 
bitterness, (to others a poisonous influ- 
ence,) end bond of iniquity , (a source of 
iniquitous combination, or a centre of 
evil associations.)" Butit is more pro- 
bably tlie Apostle's inspired view of his 
present case. T Gall of bitterness. Ths 
gall, which is the essence of bitterness. 
The poison of serpents was regarded 
by the ancients as seated in their gall. 
The expression would therefore denoto 
his natural and total corruption, Rom. 
3:14. % Bond of iniquity. Tyndale and 
Cranmer read it — ''full of bitter gall, 



180 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. SO 



S.J!8°8!*" "'■ 24 Thon answered Simon and said, "Pray ye to tlio 
fSig?H:6. Lord for me, that none of these things 'which ye have 
James 5^16. spokcn comc upon me. 

25 And they, when they had testified and preached the 
word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in 
many villages of the Samaritans. 

26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying. Arise, 



and wrapped in iniquity." This lattei' 
clause has reference to Satan's power 
over him, 2 Tim. 2 : 20 — in the bond- 
age of evil — taken captive by Satan 
at his will. Simon, therefore, was as 
yet nnregenerato. Even Apostolic bap- 
tism, we see, was not regeneration. — 
Josephus speaks of one Simon as a 
magician after this ; and tradition 
makes this Simon to have been the 
author of the Gnostic heresy. 

2i. Pray ye — instead of myself. 
Having no idea of prayer as a Chris- 
tian exercise, and only impressed with 
the Apostles' power with God, he nat- 
urally enough thinks their prayer will 
avail more than his. This is the spirit 
also of Papal superstition, which de- 
pends on the intercession of ecclesias- 
tical superiors, and is ready even to 
buy their prayers for money. Tf That 
ii07ie. He will have them pray, not 
" that the thought of his heart maybe 
forgiven him," but that the punishment 
of his sin may not come upon him. 
He cares only to escape the damage 
he may have incurred. All his views 
are mercenary to the last that we read 
of him. (1) Sinners must pray for 
themselves. (2) They must pray for 
forgiveness of sin, as well as for deliv- 
erance from punishment. God would 
have us to be moved by the terrors of 
the Lord, but we must have a sense 
of sin such as will lead us to Christ, 
and make \is rejoice in His salvation. 

25. And they—lhs^i is, Peter and 
John without Philip. T[ When they had 
testified. Literally, having testified — 
borne witness to the word of the Lord 
— or, promulgated it as a witness or 
testimony. See on ch. 2 : 40. f And 
preached. Lit., having spoken the word 
of the Lord. Tf And preached the Gos- 
pel, &c. Lit., And evangelized many 
villaga qf the Samaritans. This may 



refer to their preaching on their way 
back to Jerusalem, or to what they did 
after their return. Oeserve. — Luke 
recoi-ds (Luke 9 : 52,) that the same 
John, on entering a village of the Sa- 
maritans and being rejected, proposed 
to call down fire from heaven upon 
them, as Elias did. But one of the 
Parables in which Christ had best de- 
lineated Himself, was that of the Good 
Samaritan, who wrought good deeds 
to ruined man, when bigot, priest, and 
Levita turned aside frqm him. 

^ 14. Spread of Christianity beyond 
THE Holy Land — Ethiopian Eu- 
nuch — Ceremonial Disabilities 
REMOVED. Ch. 8 : 26-40. 

The progress of Christianity is still 
onward, traveling in the very path 
marked out by Christ Himself, and in- 
dicated also by the prophets. Having 
passed from Jerusalem to all Judea 
and Samaria, it now advances beyond 
the Holy Land, and takes another step 
toward the uttermost parts of the earth. 
Isaiah had prophesied also of this latter 
time, when the devout Eunuch, who had 
been excluded as a class from the con- 
gregation of the Lord, should no longer 
say, "I am a dry tree," but should be 
made a member of a great and blessed 
family, (Isaiah 56: 3, 4.) 

26. A7id the angel. Lit., an angel. 
The Apostles having departed, this 
Divine messenger addressed Philip. 
The ministration of angels is elsev/hcre 
employed in the outset of the Churcli, 
ch. 5 : 19 ; 10 : 3 ; 12 : 7 ; 27 : 23. This 
occurred in Samaria. A special com- 
mand was necessary for Philip to goon, 
so soon beyond Samaria. ^ Arise. 
Rise up — with reference to going for- 
ward to a further work. Tf Go. Pro- 
ceed— ^om-ncy onward from SamarL* 



A D. 36.] 



CHAP. VIII. 



ISl 



and go towards t'ue south unto the way that goeth down from Jeru- 
salem unto Graza, which is desert. 

27 And he arose and went: and, behold, *a man of 'Zeph.ano. 
Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen 
of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, 
and ^had come to Jerusalem for to worship, »joiini2::o 



T[ Towards the south. This was the course 
which Philip was to take to strike the 
road Irom Jerusalem to Gaza by a short- 
er way than through Jei'usalem. Gaza 
was about sixty miles south-west from 
Jerusalem. It was a very ancient city, 
mentioneil in Gen. 10 : 19, a city of 
the Philistines, lying on the confines 
of Egypt and at the end of the desert 
route from Cairo, not far from the 
coast, near Askelon ; and one of the 
five chief Philistine cities. Samson 
carried away its gates. Judges 16 : 2, 3. 
^ Which is desert. Rather, it is desert, 
or this is desert, (not the desert one.) This 
is added to designate this particular 
road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza. 
It may have been added by tlie angel, 
and if so, it was to describe to Philip 
the road on which he would find the 
eunuch. Or, if inserted by Luke, it 
would signify to the reader the kind of 
voAd where the event occurred, yet not 
necessarily to distinguish it from other 
roads thither. Dr. Robinson has re- 
mai-ked that one of these roads, viz., 
through Wady El Musurr to Eleuther- 
opolis and thence to Gaza, does pass 
through desert — that is, through a tract 
of unsettled country inhabited only by 
the nomadic Arabs. It is plain that 
Gaza is not referred to as desert, since 
it was the road that was to be described 
as the scene of Philip's labor, and not 
the city ; and it would be nothing to 
the purpose in this brief instruction to 
Philip to tell him that Gaza was desert, 
since he was not to go to Gaza but only 
to the road that led thither. Besides, 
Gaza was not destroyed till about the 
time of the destruction of Jerusalem, 
and after the date of this history. 

27. Philip obeyed the very letter of 
the command. ^ And behold. As 
much as to say, though this road was 
" a desert one," where he could scarce- 
Ij have expected to meet an'? traveller, 
Itt 



behold this Ethiopian. Literally, a man 
— an Ethiopian. This country was the 
ancient Cush of the Old Testament, and 
corresponds with the district now known 
as Nubia, together with the adjoining 
parts of Abyssinia. \ An eunuch. As 
this man was an officer of state to a 
female sovereign, it is most probable 
that this term is intended to designate 
a literal eunuch. Throughout the East 
it was customary to employ such mu- 
tilated men as attendants of females, 
and such is the custom still. It often 
means a chamberlain, or state officer, 
and is thought by many to mean this 
here ; especially as, according to the 
law. Dent. 23: 1, an eunuch was ex- 
cluded from the congregation of the 
Lord. But it may include both mean- 
ings. He was probably a state officer 
and an eunuch, as was often the case. 
He was also a Gentile proselyte, as we 
suppose; possibly a foreign Jew. Baum- 
garten thinks that there is no difficulty 
in supposing that so zealous a Gentile 
was admitted into the congregation of 
Israel, even against the letter of the 
law, as was indeed the case in the in- 
stance of Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian. 
Jer. 38 : 7-13 ; 39 : lG-18. But may 
he not have been "a worshiper of 
God," as Cornelius was "a devout man" 
in that sense, though excluded by this 
physical disability, as the uncircumcised 
Gentiles were. — This event is introduced 
just here in the history as another impor- 
tant step in the breaking down of the 
old partition walls. It was now to be 
shown that not only distinctions of na- 
tion, as in case of Samaritans, were to 
be no longer any barriers to admission 
into the Church, but those phj'sical 
disabilities which had excluded per- 
sons under the old economy were not 
to be a bar to Christian privileges. 
Isaiah (5G: 3,)foresee3this very state of 
things when "the eunucli shall bo 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. h. 36. 



28 Was returning, and sitting iu his chariot read Esaias the 
prophet. 

29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip^ Go near, and join thyself to 
this chariot. 

30 And Philip ran thither to Jam, and heard him read the prophet 
Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest ? 

31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me ? 
And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 



ioHger say I am a dry tree," but sliall 
be introduced to higher household 
relations in the family of Christ, bet- 
ter than the relation of sons and daugh- 
ters. Hence, he is expressly distin- 
guished by Isaiah from "the son of a 
stranger," as of a distinct class, f Of 
great authority. K potentate — an officer 
of high rank and power. ^ Candace. 
This was the royal name of the Ethio- 
pian queens in the island of Meroe, in 
the upper Nile, as " Pharaoh" was the 
name of the kings. 1 Who had the 
charge. Literally, who ivas (vpon or) 
over. ^ All her treasure. This is a 
Persian term, applied to royal treas- 
ures. Tf Had come to Jerusalem to icor- 
ship — and from this we infer that if a 
Gentile, he was at least a "devout 
Gentile." He had probably been up 
to one of the great festivals at Je- 
rusalem. ^ Was returning. He was 
on his way home to Egypt, and the di- 
rect route was then probably, as it is 
now, by way of Gaza, and the short 
desert route of twelve days to Cairo. 
f In his chariot. Of course, therefore, 
he had attendants suited to his rank. 
T Esaias. The prophecy of Isaiah. 
Tie was probably reading the Greek 
translation, as the Septuagint was com- 
monly used by the Jews in foreign 
countries, and was made in Egypt. 

29. The Spirit. This was more than 
an inward influence. It was a person- 
al communication, which Philip would 
recognize as such ; just as in vs. 26, 
it was "an angel of the Lord." He 
was conscious of being instructed by 
the Holy Spirit to do this particular 
thing. "IT Go near and join thyself— go 
unto and cleave to this chariot. The 
idea is expressed that he should go up 
to the chariot and attach himself to it. 



Observe. — Now that the Gospel is to 
go abroad to the world, the Spirit of 
God appears prominently as the per- 
sonal Dispenser of affairs on earth. 
It is "the ministration of the Spirit." 
See John 14 ; 2 Cor. 3 : 8. 

30. Ran thither. Some suppose that 
it was at the junction of the road from 
Samaria with the road from Jerusa- 
lem, that Philip came upon the chariot, 
and was instructed at the moment of 
his coming in contact with it. The 
eunuch had probably seen something 
of the persecutions in Jerusalem, and 
heard of the controversies about Jesus 
as Messiah, and was likely enough 
searching the Messianic passages. 
^ Heard him read. It was common at 
the East to read aloud even in private. 
\ Understandest thou. Literally, Yea, 
but knowest thou what thou readest 9 
The two verbs here used are closely 
allied, one being a compound form of 
the other, making it thus more ex- 
pressive. 

81. How can I. Literally, for how 
could I? — how would I be able? It is a 
reason given to the negative implied 
in the question preceding ; and it is 
given in a tone of humbleness and 
teachableness. Tf Guide me. Lite- 
rally, lead me in the way. Little did 
he dream that God was ready to guide 
him by " an angel," and the Spirit. He 
seems to intimate his hope that this 
stranger may be the very guide he 
needs. Doubtless the mind of the eu- 
nuch was prepared by the same Spirit 
who directed Philip to him. If He de- 
sired. This is the verb from which the 
term " Farachte" is taken. It means 
to call to one's side and aid. This re- 
quest shows plainly his desire t) kno'W 
the truth, and his anxiety to be in 



A. D. 30.] 



CIL4P. VIII. 



188 



32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, 

»He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb «i»*m:t.(i. 
dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth : 

33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away : and who 
shall declare his generation ? for his life is taken from the earth. 

34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of 
whom speaketh the prophet this ? of himself, or of 
other man ? 

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, 
same scripture and preached unto him Jesus. 

36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certaiu 



structed. " Then shall ye know, if ye 
follow on to know the Lord. His go- 
ing forth i3 prepared as the morning." 

32. The place. Now the passage of 
the Scripture which he was reading was 
this — or, the section of the Scripture which 
he read was this. The quotation is al- 
most word for word from their Greek 
version of Isa. 53 : 7, 8. ^| He was 
led. That is, the servant of Jehovah 
— the Messiah — as was admitted by 
the Jews before the coming of Christ. 
But after Christ came they sought to 
refer it to divers persons, and to any 
other than Christ. This passage de- 
scribed prophetically the voluntary 
sufferings of Christ, and not merely His 
uncomplaining submission. 

33. In ku humiliation, ka. Our ver- 
sion of the Hebrew is, " He was taken 
from prison and from judgment," 
which might be rendered, "from or 
through violence and punishment, he 
was taken away." This is substan- 
tially the sense as given here, wliile 
the idea is expressed that in the hu- 
miliation (contempt or ignominy) whicli 
He suffered, all justice was denied Him , 
at His trial. ^ And who shall declare, i 
&c. Who shall properly describe the 
wicked, " untoward" generation among 
whom He lived 1 — the impiety of those 
Jews who persecuted Him to the death 1 
Others think it was a call for witness- 
es to His character at the trial. T[ For 
his life. Their wickedness was such 
as to seek His life, and not be satisfi-ed 
till it was taken away. 

34. The eunuch's desire was to 
know to whom this passage referred. 
This was, indeed, thg vital point in the 



controversy of that time, whether these 
and such like prophecies referred to 
Jesus as the Messiah, or to some other 
person. The Jews had held that they 
referred to the Messiah before Christ 
came. But when He came, and they 
were pi-essed with these predictions as 
fulfilled in Christ, they sought to in- 
vent other applications, as to Isaiah 
and to the Jewish people. The eu- 
nuch asks if the reference could have 
been to Isaiah, or to some other per- 
son. 

35. Philip, of course, pointed out 
the reference to Jesus as the Messiah, 
and went on from this to other passa- 
ges of the Old Testament, showing that 
*' the testimony of Jesus is the spirit 
of prophecy." ^ Preached unto him. 
Lit., Evangelized to him Jesus — preach- 
ed to him the good tidings of Jesus, 
showing that Jesus of Nazareth was 
such an one as the prophecy contem- 
jibited, and that He was the fulfillment 
of all these Messianic predictions. 
Thus it is that sincere iaquirers after 
Divine truth will be furnished with 
Divine helps suited to their case. 
When men are prepared by the Spirit 
for the embrace of His truth, other 
men or means are directed by the same 
Spirit, to give them the needed light. 

36. A certain water. Literally, Somii 
water. As the road was "desert' — 
and for the most part destitute of 
water, their coming upon this water 
suggests to the eunuch the opportuni- 
ty of professing his faith. But how 
did the eunuch know of baptism as 
necessary ? In the previous context 
of this verso which the eunuch wa« 



184 



J[att. 28: 1». 



9:35-G3, aadU 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLEU, [A , D. \i{y 

■water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; ""wliat 
doth hinder me to be baptized ? 

37 And Philip said, " If thou believest with all thine 
heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, ^ I be- 
lieve that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 

38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still : and 
they went down both into the water, both Philip and the 
eunuch ; and he baptized him. 



roiiding, and wliicb Philip would be 
led to expound, is a distinct reference 
to baptism, and even to the mode of it. 
"So sliall He sprinkle man}' nations," 
ch. 52 : 15. This is a natural way of 
accounting for the eunuch's request, 
and Philip would not surely h.ave used 
a mode contrary to that marked out 
in the prophetic passage. Dr. Thom- 
son of Syria says—" The Wady Surar, 
which flows during the summer, was 
entirely dry in the month of April, at 
which time the transaction took place, 
[ suppose. I know of no brook on 
the route from Bethshemesh to Gaza, 
but there maybe one." — Tlie Land and 
the Book, p. 310. If See here. Lit, 
Lo, water— as if it was an unexpect- 
ed sight. But the means for obey- 
ing Christ's commands are found just 
when and where they can be used. 
Obsekve. — They who truly believe in 
Christ will seek to profess Christ, and 
their faith in Him, publicly. 

37. Though this verse is not found in 
some ancient manuscripts, it is found 
in others, and is quoted by Cyprian, &c. 
It may have been very early omitted to 
get riii of its testimony against delay- 
ing baptism, which was becoming com- 
mon iu the latter part of the third cen- 
tury. Or, as others suppose, it may 
have been added for opposite reasons, 
or as favoring forms of profession in 
administering the Sacrament. But in 
either case, it may be safely retained, 
as teaching only what is implied in the 
whole narrative, and amply taught else- 
where. Faith in Jesus Christ, and 
faith with all the heart, is required of j 
any one whe presents himself for bap- 
tism. And wo are baptized in the 
Name which we profess. H Jesus Christ, 
fee. This belief in the Divinity and 



Messiahship of Jesus was understood 
as involving a full profession of Christ, 
(1 John 5:1.) 

38. Commanded. The eunuch com- 
manded the charioteer to stop the 
chariot. ^ They went down both into 
the water. The preposition here used 
and rendered into, is that which ex- 
presses motion to a place, or direction 
u'hiiher — ei^ (u?ito) — and terminating 
at. So in vs. 40, " Was found (carried 
away as far as) at Azotus." There 
is another preposition for express- 
ing rest in a place, (in — ev) as where 
the angel went down into (ei') the 
water. John 5 : 4. But where it is, 
"Go wash in (at) the pool of Si 
loam," (John 9:7,) and the washing 
of the eyes seems referred to, it is eic- 
If it were intended to convey the idea 
of "under" the water, there is another 
preposition which would express it 
(vno.) The most that is said is, that 
they went down both unto or into tlie 
water. We may infer that they both 
entered into the water. This was most 
natural in a country where they wore 
sandals, and where it was no inconve- 
nience, but a luxury, to step into the 
water. Dr. Robinson understands 
that they descended into the valley 
where the water was. But there would 
be no difficulty in supposing that they 
both went into the water (ankle deep, 
for instance, or more,) for the greater 
convenience of sprinkling ar pouring, in 
the baptismal ceremony. But it is not 
said that either went under the water. 
And it is twice said th.at both went into 
(unto) the water. So that if this phrase 
teaches that one was immersed, it 
teaches that both were immersed. The 
terms here used do not point out at aij 
the mode of baptism. ^ Baptized hir\. 



A. D. 36.] 



CHAP. VIII. 



185 



39 And .rlicn they were como up out of the water • the 5 LSl^aW^ 
Siiirit of the Lord caught away Phi'ip, that the eunuch ^^■^■^''•^ 
saw him no more : aud he went on his way rejoicing. 

40 But Philip was found at Azotus : and passing through ha 
preached in all the cities, till he came to Cesarea. 



I'kilip baptized, not as a Deacon, but 
ns an Evangelist — as he preached, also, 
by rirtue of this latter office, (ch. 21 : 
8.) It is expressly repeated that both 
"went downinto the water," inasmuch 
as only one retui-ned to the chariot. 

39. Come up. As we have just re- 
marked, we may admit that they both 
wont down into the water. That proves 
nothing about the mode of baptism 
any more than their coming out does. 
The most that can be made of the 
terms here used, is that " Uwi came np 
from (or, out of) the icater ;'' but with 
a reference to the previous expression. 
As opposed to Ev, it would signify 
out of — as opposed to elq, it means 
from; yet carrying with it the idea of 
ooming from immediate contact with 
the water, yet not at all of coming 
from under the water. Tf Caught away. 
It is plainly implied here, that this 
was a miraculous removal of Philip 
by the Divine Spirit. It is surely not 
a mere impression on the mind, or a 
passing impulse, that is here intended. 
It indicates a personal seizure, as in 
divers other passages. It may have 
Doon so ordered for the purpose of con- 
firming the eunuch's faith by miracle. 
Similar instances may be found in 1 
Kings 18 : 12; 2 Kings 2: 10; Ezek. 
3 : 12 ; 8 : 3. Though the eunuch 
saw him no niorc, he did not go in 
search of him, but was so filled with 
pleasure aud satisfaction with what he 
haU learned of Christ, that he went 
on Ins wa;/ rejoicing. Bengel says that 
'•by a like mode of transit, one or two 
Df the -Ipostles may have reached even 
AiiLCrica, if no other way was open to 
tliom." Obseuve. — {l)The same Spirit 
who expressly directed Philip to take 
that road, caught him away. (2) 
Those who have truly found Christ, 
have peace; and can rejoice in Him, 
nnd go on their way rejoicing, even 
though they may have lost their hu- 
IG* 



man teacher. " Who then is Paul, 
and who is Apollos, but ministers by 
whom ye believed," (1 Cor. 3:5.) 
(3) The Abyssinians hold that their 
Church was founded by this convert, 
whom they name Indich. That Church 
is said still to retain an orthodox con- 
fession of faith. Neander, p. 89, and 
note. 

40. The language nere shows plain- 
ly that a miracle was wrought, and 
that Philip, who was caught up on the 
road to Gaza, was found at Azotus, 
thirty-four miles north, not in any or- 
dinary way of travel, but as the result 
of this miraculous conveyance. ^ At. 
He was found (carried away) imto — as 
far as — Azotus. ^ Azotus — Ashdod— 
a seaport between Gaza and Joppa, of 
some importance on the Philistine 
coast. It now is called Usdud. It 
was one of the five capital cities of the 
Philistines, Josh. 13 : 3 ; 1 Sam. 6: 
17. It was famous for the idol Dagon. 
^ To Cesarea. The road led through 
Ekron, Pv,amah, Joppa and the plain of 
Sharon, to Cesarea. In this city the 
Roman procurator of Judea resided. 
It was named from Augustus Ctesar, in 
whose honor it was built by Herod. 
It lies on the sea coast, about sixty 
miles north-west of Jerusalem. It 
was chiefly inhabited by Gentiles. 
Philip seems to have made this city 
the centre and head-quarters of his 
missionary work. He is mentioned 
only once after this, and then he is 
stiU at this same citj', and Paul is en- 
tert.i::i ' I hy him in the bosom of his 
family. Ch. 21 : 8. We visited tke ruins, 
which consist of a solid mole of stone 
work, and broken columns standing and 
lying about the shore, with no solitary 
inhabitant. Observe.- (1) The eunuch 
made use of all the means furnished 
him under the Old Testament, and ia 
their use he was blessed with a discoT- 
ery of Christ. (2) Reading the Scrip* 



188 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 8T. 



ah. n. 3. 
Gal. 1. 13. 
1 Tim. 1. 1 



CHAPTER IX. 

1 And 'Saul, yet breathing out tbreatenings and 
slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the 
high priest. 



lures with humbleness and teachable- 
ness, was blessed with a fuller rev- 
elation. (3) The Scriptures contain 
the perfect warrant of a sinner's hope 
— Faith credits and relies on it. (4) 
Obedience to God in the most dark and 
difficult things, results here in Philip's 
being caught away somewhat like Eli- 
jah, in a chariot of God. "Blessed 
be God," says Burkitt, "for the minis- 
try of His holy angels." 

CHAPTER IX. 

§15. Conversion and Call of Saul 
OF Tarsus. — His First Visit to 
Jerusalem — A. D. 37-40. Damas- 
cus. Ch. 9 : 1-80. 

The Gospel has now been introduced 
to the half-way Gentiles, by the labors 
of Philip at Samaria, and to the Ethi- 
opian who was also an eunuch. But 
these instances seem to be given rather 
as signs of the glorious future ; as hints 
of what was shortly to come to pass. 
We are bronsrht now to the immediate 
preparation fm- the .actual introduction 
of the Church to the Gentile world. 
In order to this, a new Apostle was to 
be raised up, to be specially commis- 
sioned to the Gentiles, and to have the 
ordering and care of the Gentile 
Churches. This history is given, vss. 
1-30. At the same time it is to be 
shown that the same crisis — the perse- 
cution of Stephen — which first brought 
Saul to view, the future Apostle to the 
Gentiles — resulted, also, in the disper- 
sion of the Jewish Christians, and the 
establishment of Christian Churches 
among the Jews in different parts of 
Judea, under Peter. These two as- 
pects of affairs, arc given together in 
order to a comprehensive view of this 
juncture. Tliough the Gospel is to go 
to the Gentiles, yet the Jews are not to 
be c rerlooked. Peter's labors are re- 



corded as successful in that direction, 
while the new Apostolate of Paul ia 
to be raised up for the new and wider 
field. It will soon appear that the 
Gentiles are not to come into the 
Church through the door of Judaism 
— and that the Jewish Christian Church 
here noted, is not the type for the 
great universal Church of the future. 
In the subsequent chapter, (10,) Cor- 
nelius is to be brought forward as the 
first formal instance of a Gentile 
brought into the Chui'ch without pass- 
ing through the door of Judaism. 

1. The narrative now having given 
the immediate fruits of the dispersion 
in the labors of Philip, starts from the 
same point (ch. 8: 3,) to give the dif- 
ferent part which Saul takes in the 
dispersion. He had already been in- 
troduced as making havoc of the 
Church, (8 : 3,) and now he is pre- 
sented to us as still animated with the 
same ferocious purpose. ^ Breathing 
out. Bather, breathing. This was his 
SPIRIT. As we say of a man, his words 
" breathe" love — this is the spirit of 
his language. So here Saul, in every 
word and action breathed nothing but 
ferocity. ^ Threatenings. Rather, 
threatening — fierce menacing, (in malice 
and rage.) 'i Slaughter — murder. This 
is what he breathed. Every breath 
was full of threat and intent of murder. 
Those against whom he so violently 
raved arc noted as " the disciples of the 
Lord" — the followers of Jesus Christ — 
Christians. In this spirit he went, 
(literally, going ixs of his own motion.) 
^ To the high priest — the president of 
the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, who was 
the supreme officer of the highest reli- 
gious court of Judea, and whose eccle- 
siastical authority extended even "to 
strange cities," as Damascus. It waf 
probably Theophilus, the brother and 
successor of Jonathan, successor of Cai 
aphas. 



A. D. 87] 



CHAP. IX. 



187 



2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the syna- 
gogues, that if he found any f of this way, whether they If^: ''•^'** 
were men or women, he might bring them bound unto S'"**- i9:».a 
Jerusalem. 



2. Desired. This shows the zeal of 
Saul in this persecution — that he pray- 
ed of him (literally,) letters — namely, 
official dispatches — letters of authority 
and commission to this work — in the 
name of all the Sanhedrim, ch. 22 : 5. 
^ Damascus. This most ancient city, 
the capital of Syria, known as early as 
the time of the Patriarchs and "Elca- 
zer of Damascus," (Gen. 14: 15,) was 
inhabited by large numbers of Jews, 
as well as Greeks and Syrians. The 
Jewish interest was so extensive there 
as to warrant the deputation of such an 
one as Saul to look after it, especially 
when so many Jewish Christians were 
escaping thither to carry the leaven of 
their Gospel principles. It is about 
five to six days' journey, or one hun- 
dred and thirty miles north-east of Je- 
rusalem. "We came upon it, after a 
hot journey on the desert plain which 
borders it from the south. From seeing 
here and there an oasis, one vast 
ocean of verdure broke upon our view 
in that surrounding wilderness ; and 
soon we came upon the thick foliage — 
the bowers of trees and the rich lawns 
which skirt the city. And soon in the 
gardens and vales we saw the secret of 
all this verdure in the rushing streams 
of the Barrada, or Pharphar, which irri- 
gate the plain. The city is built chiefly 
of stone, stuccoed, has two hundred 
and fifty thousand inhabitants, of whom 
seventy thousand are Christians of the 
Greek and Syrian Churches. The 
mosques, with their glistening domes 
and spindling minarets, give a very 
picturesque vieiv to the city. The 
English Hotel is in the street which is 
yet called "Straight," (vs. 11.) T!ie 
bazaars are extensive, and supplied by 
caravans with the richest goods from 
Persia and India. The walls of the 
city are massive, but have been severe- 
ly battered in the assaults of Ibrahim 
Pasha aud others. Some of the dwell- 
ingii of very wealthy Jews were visited 



by us. As it was the season of Pass- 
over, we found the inmates in their 
richest dress — ladies glistening with 
diamonds — the men reading their Psal- 
ters. We endeavored to tell in He- 
brew our route from Jerusalem, And 
our object, nation, &c., and were well 
received. The female porteress (John 
18 : 17,) showed us in and out for a cus- 
tomary fee. Josephus speaks of ten 
thousand,audof eighteen thousand Jews 
being massacred at ditFerent times in 
insurrections while Nero was Emperor. 
The houses are built in the oriental 
style — an open square — a small door 
in the street-wall opening to the vesti- 
bule leading to the court, in which is 
a fountain, with trees planted round it. 
*![ To the synagogues. These were the 
strongholds of the Jewish religion, 
and their officers would be ready to 
aid in such an exterminating work. 
The presidents of the synagogues 
would acknowledge the orders of the 
Sanhedrim, and the Ethnarch would 
allow their authority in religious 
matters. The city was subject to 
the Romans under Pompey, B. C. 
G4, but we find it in the hands of Are- 
tas, king of Arabia Nabatea, shortly 
after this time. ^ Of this way. Lit., 
any who were of the ivay — the Chris- 
tian way — of thinking and living, Ps. 
G7 : 3, or of salvation, ch. 16 : 17. 
^ Alen or women. It is thrice repeated 
that Saul's bitterness was such that he 
included even the women in his search 
and severity, ch. 8 : 12, ^ Bound. 
Julius Ca3sar and Augustus decreed that 
the Sanhedrim, as the highest court 
among the Jews, should have authority 
in religious matters, to bring Jews 
from foreign cities, for trial at Jerusa- 
lem. Biscoe, ch. 6, part 2. Saul must 
have had a large escort, for such a 
purpose. The Romans permitted these 
outbreaks for political reasons, as in 
the case of Christ and of Stephen ; and 
60 it occurred that Jews and Gentilea 



188 



fish. 22:6, 
ond 26 : 12. 
1 Cor, 15: 8. 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



(A. D. 37 



3 And "as he journeyed, he came near Damascus : and 
suddenly there shined round about him a light from 
heaven : 

4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying 
unto him, Saul, Saul, "why persecutest thou mo ? 

5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord ? And the Lord 



conspired against both the Master and 
His followers. There were Christians 
there from Pentecost probably, and 
from Stephen's persecution, vs. 13. 

3. This account of Saul's conversion 
given by Luke agrees in substance 
with the two other accounts given by 
Paul himself, ch. 22 : 1-G ; 2G : 9-18. 
^ As he journeyed. Lit., In the act of 
journeying it occurred that he dreie near, 
&c He probably traveled by the route 
which is yet taken, and which we took, 
by way of Tiberias, Cesarea Philippi, 
&c. \ Shined around. Lit., Flashed 
around (as lightning.) Paul further 
states that it was at mid-day, and that 
it shone above the brightness of the 
sun. Of course, it could not have been 
mere lightning, as some would try and 
maintain in order to escape the mira- 
cle. The spot was pointed out to us 
by our guide, where tradition has lo- 
cated it, not far from the Jerusalem 
gate. And over the gate is a window 
built in the wall, like that from which 
Paul was afterwards let down in a bas- 
ket, (vs. 25.) \ A light. This is never 
the expression used to describe light- 
ning, but it denotes " the glory of the 
Lord" — the Shechinah or visible sym- 
bol of the Divine Presence. Stephen 
saw it, ch. 7 : 55. 

4. Fell to the earth. The general 
supposition is that he was on horse- 
back, and this language would agree 
with tliat opinion. Besides, it would 
be fair to infer that he would make all 
haste in his pursuit. Such vivid im- 
pressions of the Divine glory have 
brought others to the ground, Daniel 
10: 8; Job 42 : 5, 6; Rev. 1 : 17. 
Tf Heard a voice. That is, he heard 
the words as afterwards given, though 
these words were for him only, and it 
was part of the miracle that those who 
■»rere with hira heard not the voice but 
law the light, ch. 22 : 9. This voice 



spake in the Hebrew tongue, ch. 26 : 
14. 1 Saul. " It is a remark,able, un- 
designed coincidence, that the form 
'Saov?. should have been preserved in 
this account, and rendered in Greek 
in the translation of Saul's speech in 
ch. 22." — Alford. ^ Why persecutest. 
This agrees with our Lord's descrip- 
tion of the final judgment. " Inas- 
much as ye did it unto one of the least 
of these my brethren, ye did it unto 
me," (Matt. 25 : 40;) Isa. G3 : 9; 
Zech. 2 : 8. Jesus here appeared to 
Saul doubtless, (vss. 17, 27 ; 2G : 16,) 
for here he "saw the Lord," (1 Cor. 
9:1,) and this revelation to him of the 
great truth that Christ and His mem- 
bers are one, and that the Church is Hig 
body, deeply impressed him, so that 
he afterwards, in his Epistles, especial- 
ly insists on this doctrine, (Eph. 1:8; 
1 Cor. 12 : 6.) There is a plain simi- 
larity in the appearing to Stephen and 
to Saul. Saul heard Stephen's words 
and esteemed tkem blasphemy, (ch. 7 : 
5G. ) He now beholds the sight, and 
probably associates it at once with the 
death of Stephen, and feels alarm. 
Observk. — (1) How tender is this ex- 
postulation. How it opens the heart 
of Christ toward His people, identify- 
ing Himself with them as afflicted in 
all their afHiction, (Isa. G3 : 9 ; Zech. 
2:8; Matt. 25 : 40,) and toward 
the persecutor, stooping to reason with 
him as to "w%" he so treats Him. 
(2) Saul's conversion was not miracu- 
lous iu any such way as to dispense 
with means — the truth was preached 
and urged, and motives were pre- 
sented. 

5. ^Vho art thou ? This is the lan- 
guage of surprise. Already he knew 
enough to indicate who He was. The 
point .of his exclamation was this. Is 
it so 1 Can it be that this Josus, lately 
crucified and buried, is alive and 



A.. D. 37.] 



CHAP. IX. 



18d 



, 10:1 

See cb. 22 : ? 
12a; 13. 



eaid, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest : ^it is hard for <»«»•»•• *3- 
thee to kick against the pricks ? .^ ^ . » ^ . .take 3-io 

6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, "wliat „;,. 2.3,, and 
wilt thou have me to do ? And the Lord said unto him, ^'•^'■ 
Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what 

thou must do. 1 . j ^ 

7 And 'the men which journeyed with him stood ^, 
speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 

clothed with Divine power ? Hence 

he acknowledges Him as ''Lord." 

f / am Jesus. Christ at once reveals 

Himself to the terrified man. His 

fears were powerful with him. But 

this name "Jesus" was more than a 

mere surname. It was significant. It 

meant Saviour. Christ revealed Him- 
self here not as anointed, (Messiah — 

Christ,) but as Saviour. This is His 

grace even to His persecuting foes. 

And so at once the persecution is set 

in contrast with the grace. Besides, 

this Jesus was the one lately put to 

death. Is He, indeed, risen 1 If so, 

this seals His commission and claims. 

If so, then Saul sees himself condemn- 
ed at the bar of God, and struggling 
against his Almighty Friend and Sa- 
viour, t ^t «« hard— painful. How 
tender! He says not, It is hard for 
thee to do, but it is hard for thee to 
bear. Not, "It is hard for me," but 
" It is hard for thee." What pity for 
His enemies ! T[ Pricks— c/oads. Sharp 
iron points with which the rods or 
staves were armed for driving oxen. 
The more one kicks, like a foolish 
and fractious animal, against these 
sharp spikes, the more must he be la- 
cerated. This expresses that impotent 
rage that wounds itself instead of its 
object. This last clause ia thought by 
some to have been added here from 
ch. 26:14. 

6. A7id he. Saul evidently saw the 
Lord, as well as heard Him, on this oc- 
casion. See vs. 13 ; ch. 22 : 14 ; 26 : 
16; and Jesus appeared to him in 
bodily person. It was the requisite for 
an Apostle, that he had seen the Lord. 
And on this occasion doubtless Jesus re- 
cited to him that which Paul delivered 
to thij Corinthian Church, (1 Cor. 11 : 



23,) about His betrayal, the last sup- 
per, &c. T[ Trembling, &c. No won- 
der : if Christ was thus alive, aud deal- 
ing with him in such love. ^ What 
wilt thou. He was convicted — con- 
vinced—converted. He asks now only 
to know the will of his Lord. His de- 
sire is converted. His heart is changed. 
Where there is this sincere question as 
the principle of daily living, there is 
the new nature. Self-will sub-dued, tho 
Divine will consulted and delighted in, 
and an earnest active prayer, "Thy 
will be done on earth as it is done in 
heaven." IF Arise and go. That is, 
into the city of Damascus, near which 
they were, vs. 3. 1 Shall be told thee. 
No sincere inquirer after duty wilt be 
left without information and direction. 
The light upon one's course does not 
always, nor commonly, come all at 
once, but gradually often. 

7. The men. Probably persons at- 
tending him as aids in his commission 
from the chief priests. ^ Stood speech- 
less. In ch. 26 : 14, it is said they fell 
to the ground— and here what is meant 
is, that they were speechless — without 
reference to their posture. Though 
they first fell to the ground, they 
doubtless soon arose, and stood silent 
with awe. ^ Hearing a voice. That 
is, hearing a sound of a voice, but not 
so hearing as to distinguish what was 
spoken. See John 12 : 28, 29. ^See- 
ing no man. He saw the glorious Per- 
son of the Lord Jesus, and his eyes 
were closed for the glory of the vision, 
ch. 22 : 11 ; but the rest of the com- 
pany saw no man — and he saw no one 
when his eyes were opened, for he waa 
blind after the dazzling brightaeafV 
vs. 8. 



100 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 87 



8 And feaul arose from the earth ; and when his eyes were opened, 
he saw no man : but they lei him by the hand, and brought Mm 
into Damascus. 

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 

10 ^ And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, 

j7oh. 22:12. e named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, 

Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 

11 And the Lord said unto him. Arise, and go into ^^e street 

which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas 

^?3.''= ''•""' for one called Saul, ^-of Tarsus : for, behold, he prayeth. 



8. A-'ose. "R^ihGT, IV as raised. ^Open- 
td. His «ycs having been opened, after 
the dazzling effect of the light. *^ Saw 
no man. This may mean that he was 
BO blinded by the supernatural bright- 
ness of Christ's revelation to him, that 
he could not see any one, or anything 
— though his eyes were opened — or it 
may mean that after his eyes were 
opened the person whom he had seen 
had disappeared. But this last does 
not agree so well with vs. 9, where it 
appears that he was sightless during 
three days ; so that he needed to be 
led by the hand into the city. There- 
fore this clause is only another way of 
recording the fact that he was blind. 
See ch. 22 : 11. 

9. Three days. This was a mir.aculous 
sign to Saul himself. The vision was 
especially for him, and this effect was 
for his special warning and conviction. 
^ Neither eat, &c. It would seem that 
he fasted entirely — being so stunned 
and overcome as to be indifferent to 
the use of food. The Jews, however, 
reckoned the parts of two days with 
one intervening, as three days. Sume 
understand this period of time to have 
had a reference to our Lord's time in 
the grave, and Jonah's in the whale's 
belly, Jon. 1 : 17; Matt. 12 : 39, 40. 

10. Ananias. He was a discip,c — a 
believer in Christ, who was converted 
from Judaism, ch. 22 : 12, residing in 
Damascus, but present perhaps at the 
Pentecost in Jerusalem, or converted 
afterwards. He was not alone of the 
disciples in Damascus. \ In a vision. 
Both Ananias and Saul were prepared 
for each other by a vision, as Cornelius 
And Peter were ch. 10. So God con- 



trols human hearts. By a vision is hera 
meant a Divine message or revelation, 
or a communication made by a speaker 
seen in vision. ^ Behold me. Lite- 
rally, Lo I, Lord : the Hebrew form 
of reply to a personal salutation of a 
superior. 

11. The street. Such a street still 
called " Straight," is Avell known in 
Damascus, running through the city in 
a direct line from east to west. On it 
is the English Hotel, frequented by 
English-speaking travelers, and it runs 
to the great bazaars, and is about three 
miles long, and the best and most pub- 
lic street in the city. The site of the 
house of Judas here mentioned was 
pointed out to us, but only as it has 
been located by tradition, without any 
solid grounds, as we suppose. "The 
house of Ananias" we also visited, de- 
scending by twelve or fifteen steps to a 
grotto with a rocky roof; the light ad- 
mitted from above in the modern in- 
closurc, which is a Romish chapel. It 
is on a narrow lane, some two hundred 
yards to the right of the street called 
Straight. ^ I'arsus. Hei-e Saulis for 
the first time called Saul of Tarsus — or 
literally, Saul the Tarsean. This city 
was the capital of Cilicia, the south- 
east province of Asia Minor, on the 
banks of the river Cydnus, which flowed 
through the city. It was celebrated 
for its schools of philosophy, and was 
even a rival of Athens and Alexandria. 
It was here that Saul received the ed- 
ucation of his boyhood. It was a free 
city, that is, had its own municipal 
government, though subject to Rome. 
It has now some twenty thousand in- 
habitants. \ He prayeth. This ia 



A. D. ST.] 



CHAP. IX. 



191 



12 And hath seen in a. vision a man named Ananias 
coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might 
receive his sight. ivs.Vi. 

13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many icIt^\V^'^* 
of this man, * how much evil he hath done to thy saints ^S^/it^and 
at Jerusalem : _ Kom.'ifi?'^"- 

14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests Gari/is/"" 
to bind all ''that call on thy name. fTL^2%!' 

15 But the Lord said unto him. Go thy way : for 'he is ^R|^a";ai,i 
a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before " the g^j'^^-. t_ „. 
Gentiles, and "kings, and the children of Israel : "s^^d^a.^"^ 



■what he was doing, and this was a 
clear evidence of a changed heart and 
life. Ananias would have rather ex- 
pected to hear it said, " For behold he 
persecuteth," but instead of this it is, 
"behold he prayeth." As a Jew he 
had prayed, and prayed much and 
long, but the intimation is here, he pray- 
eth to vie, and prayeth especially and in 
reality. Besides, it was in the way of 
his praying thus that he saw the vis- 
ion, &c. which gave him comfort and 
led him to the light. "Ask and ye 
shall receive ; seek, and ye shall find." 

12. In a vision. The particular 
time and further details of this vision 
are not given. We are only informed 
that Saul had his mind thus supernat- 
uralJy prepared to receive Ananias, as 
Ananias was similarly prepared to re- 
reive Saul. ^ Light. Ananias was 
thus informed of Saul's blindness at 
the same time that he was directed 
what to do. Saul in vision saw the 
man and learned his name. 

13. / have heard. Probably from 
the numbers who fled from Jerusalem. 
It would seem from the whole narrative 
that they were not personally acquaint- 
ed. Tl What evil. Lit, Uow many ov 
great evils. T[ Thy saints. The Chris- 
tians at Damascus had heard of Saul's 
bitter persecutions at Jerusalem. Many 
refugees from the Holy City were there 
lo tell the awful story. This is the 
first instance in which the Disciples 
are called satnts, though so commonly 
afterwards, (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2.) 
The term " saints^' — holy ones — accord- 
ing to the Old Testament usage, meant 
ratner such as were separated to a 



sacred use. In the Acts, the term here 
first occurs. In the New Testament 
it is used, especially by Paul in his 
Epistles, of those who profess to be 
holy in heart and life — the Church 
membership — yet without pronouncing 
them to be holy, and rather presum- 
ing that they are not all such. Eph. 
1 : 1 ; 5 : 3. f To bind. To put in 
bonds, to imprison. The Christians 
were distinguished as they who worship 
Christ as God. So Pliny, in his letter 
to Trajan, A. D. 102, characterizes 
them as singing praise to Christ as 
God. Observe. — If Christ was not 
God, this was idolatry. 

14. And here — even at this distance, 
Ananias already knew of Saul's mis- 
sion. It had probably been made 
known to the Christians at Damascus 
by their brethren in Jerusalem, or by 
those who had fled from thence — ot 
possibly, as some suppose, by the com- 
panions of Saul. TT Fhat call on thy 
name — in devout worship. 

15. Go thy way — Depart, as on a 
journey. To all Ananias' objections, 
this was the simple answer, the com- 
mand to go and do what he was bid- 
den. ^ A chosen vessel, &c. — utensil, or 
instrument. Literally, a vessel of choice 
unto me — a vessel of my choice. He 
(Saul) is such an agent or instrument 
as I have chosen. ^ To bear. This 
term is dependent on the former — a 
vessel or instrument for bearing my 
name, communicating the knowledge 
of me, and defending my name before 
the Oentiles — the heathen, Rom. 11 : 
13, 15, IG ; GaL 2:8. f Kings. Sea 
ch. 25 : 23 ; 26 : 1-32 ; 27 : 24. \ Chil 



192 



:he acts of the apostles. 



[A. D. 37. 



ch. 20 : 
<ic,l n : 1 
•2 Cor. 11 


23, 
23. 


pch.22: 


12,13 


soil. 8:17. 


rch.2:4, 
*:31,and 
Olid 13: 5. 


and 
8:17, 



IG For " I "will shew him how great things he must suffer 
for ray name's sate. 

17 PAnd Ananias went his way, and entered into the 
house; and "J putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul^ 
the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way 
as thou earnest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive 
thy sight, and "" be filled with the Holy Ghost. 

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it 



drm of Israel. The Jews were not to 
be utterly passed by, though they were 
to fall into the background by their 
unbelief. See vss. 20-22 ; ch. 13 : 46 ; 
25 : 23; 26 : 32 ; 27 : 24; 28:17; 
2 Tim. 4 : 16, 17. The Gospel was 
offered first to the Jews, and when 
they rejected it, as at Antioch in 
Pisidia, the Apostles turned to the 
Gentiles. 

16. For. That he was such a cho- 
Ben instrument is further insisted — 
even in the Divine plan to show him 
how much he must suffer for Christ's 
name. ^ Shew him — (by experience) 
or perhaps, ffive him a glimpse. '^IIow 
great things, (or, ichat sort of things,) it is 
necessary that he should suffer for the sake 
of my name — in testimony to my per- 
son and religion ; which he was re- 
cently persecuting. See ch. 20 : 23, 
25; 21 : 11; 2 Cor. 1 : 8-10; 4: 8- 
12. Observe. — It is not how great 
things Paul should do for Christ that 
he was to be shown, but how great 
things he was to suffer for Christ. 
This is the highest duty and dignity. 
And Christ's sufferings for us, make 
all our sufferings for Him sweet. The 
suffering with Him, is also a necessary 
condition of the reigning with Him — 
so that it becomes the highest priv- 
ilege. 

17. Then Ananias. This word from 
the risen Lord was conclusive, and sat- 
isfied the doubts of Ananias, so that 
he went on his errand. The two 
words, ivent his way, and entered into, 
are different compounds of the same 
verb, and would be more exactly ren- 
dered went away and went into. ^ The 
house — viz., of Judas, see vs. 11. I 
^ Putting his hands. This was the im- I 
position of hands frequently spoken of i 
63 an official act. He did it here un- 



der a special Divine commission. Ho 
was not an Apostle, nor any officer of 
the Church, but a private Christian ; 
and thus the unofficial men are brought 
forward, as in the founding of the first 
Gentile Church at Antioch, that the 
excellency of the power might be of 
God and not of men. (See ch. 8: 37, 
and notes.) ^ Brother Saul. An ex- 
pression of Christian recognition, show- 
ing the confidence which Ananias now 
felt in Saul, whose name he bad before 
spoken only with dread, vs. 13, 14. 
^ The Lord, &c. More exactly it 
reads. The Lord hath sent me, even 
Jesus who ivas seen by thee in the way 
ivhich thou earnest. " The Lord Je- 
sus," was the title applied to Christ. 
They called Jesus "Lord," and recog- 
nized him as God, (ch. 1 : 24.) And 
Ananias gives him now another proof 
of the fact that this crucified Jesus 
was alive, and active in his personal 
salvation. He came to Saul with a 
commission from the same Jesus who 
revealed Himself to him on the way to 
Damascus. ^ That. There were two 
objects in view for which he was sent. 
1st. To have bis blindness removed. 
2d. To be filled with the Holy Ghost. 
It was important that he should not 
receive his Apostleship or authoriza- 
tion from the other Apostles, Gal. 1 : 
12, 15-19, but directly from God. 
And so we see the Spirit imparted to 
him with miraculous gifts, and as a 
seal to his commission, not by the in- 
tervention of Apostles, but by the 
agency of this private Christian. The 
participle here used with the verbs, 
expresses the idea that the object con- 
templated is definitely occurring and 
continuing, (Kiihner's Gram. § 330.) 

18. Lnmedictely. The instantaneous 
cure would be enough to show that it 



A. D. 37.] 



CHAP. IX. 



i98 



had been scaJes : and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was 
baptized. 

19 And when he had received meat, he was strength- 
ened, "Then was Saul certain days with the disciples •'"'•^=*- 
which were at Damascus. 

20 And straightway he preached Christ in the syna- 
gogues, ' that he is the Son of God. tch.s-.s-. 

21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said : "Is Gah'iVil^Ja.' ^' 
not this he that destroyed them which called on this name 

in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring 
them bound unto the chief priests ? 



■was miraculous. "Whatever can be 
done for blindness, is only gradual in 
its effects. But the elfect here described 
proves that the blindness as well as the 
cure, was supernatural. This was the 
impression intended to be made upon 
Saul and upon others. Such scale-like 
covering could not have been imme- 
diately formed, nor immediately re- 
moveal, without a miracle. And no 
natural means were used. It is not 
said that it was scaler, but something 
like scaler, that fell from his eyes. It 
is not that the effect of the restoration 
was as if some such substance fell off; 
for the terms " as it had been," qualify 
the scales, and are used to describe 
the substance that fell off. This was 
also given him, perhaps, as a sign of 
the conversion of his people — that the 
veil should be taken from their eyes in 
the reading of Moses. (2 Cor. 3 : 13- 
16.) It is thought by many that Paul 
suffered afterwards from some effects 
of this blindness. See Gal. 6 : 11, 
and ch. 13: 9; 23: 1. Luke, as a 
physician, is wont to describe minutely 
such physical facts. T[ Was baptized. 
From ch. 22 : IG, we learn that this 
was at the call of Ananias. As his 
blindness had been to him a sign of 
God's judicial rebuke, wherein he was 
held under treatment, (as the dumbness 
of Zacharias, Luke 1 : 20,) so now 
his restoration betokened God's favor, 
and was to him a summons to go for- 
ward in Christian duty. Hence he 
made his prompt confession of Christ 
in baptism, as was the appointed oi'di- 
Dfiuce in thp Church, ch. 2 : 41 ; 8 : 
12, 3G-39, From ch. 22 : IG, we in- 
17 



fer that he was baptized in the house 
at once. — A great honor done to bap- 
tism, that even Paul could not go with- 
out it. Observe. — Here is no baptis- 
mal regeneration, but baptism as the 
privilege and duty of one already re- 
generate. 

19. Meat — Food, gener.ally, is meant 
by the term. He was now strength- 
ened by natural means. Tf Was Saul. 
Literally, Saul became — implying the 
change of relation. % Certain days. 
Literally, some days, as we still say. 
This is not the same with "mani/ days," 
(vs. 23,) which covers the period of 
three years, during which he was in 
Arabia, yet going in and out of Da- 
mascus, as would seem. (See Gal. 1 : 
17, 18.) There was a company or 
Church of Disciples at Damascus with 
whom Paul first stayed and showed his 
transformation, and then preached in 
the synagogues. See Gal. 1 : 12. 

20. Straightway. After his brief so- 
journ with the disciples for afer; days 
to prove his conversion and to gain 
their confidence ; or it may be as soon 
as he was baptized and cured of his 
blindness. ^ Preached Christ. Lite- 
rally, heralded {^announced — proclaimed, ) 
the Christ, that (He) this one is the Son 
of God — that this one — Jesus — is a Di- 
vine Being, and the Christ, the Mes- 
siah of the Old Testament; as he says, 
Rom. 1:4, " declared to be the Son 
of God with power by the resurrection 
from the dead." So in vs. 22, "pro- 
ving that this one (Jesus) is the very 
Christ." 

21. Were amazed. All those hearing 
him were amazed at his preaching " this 



194 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40. 



■eh.i8:a. 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, 'and con- 

founded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that 
this is very Christ. 

^^ch.!3:i2,«d 23 If And after that many days were fulfilled, Mho 

2Cor. 11:26. jg^s took counscl to kill him : 

z2Cor.ii:3i. 24 ' But thclt laying await was known of Saul. And 
they watched the gates day and night to kill him. 

a_so.josh.2: 25 Thcu thc disciplcs took him by night, and Met hhyi 

1 Sam. 19: 12. (Jo^q \)y thc Wall 1X1 n baskct. 



name" (Jesus) as "the Christ," when 
he had so recently destroyed (laid 
waste) all those who called on Him (in 
worship,) at Jerusalem, (in the perse- 
cutions there,) and had come hither (to 
Damascus from Jerusalem,) nnto this 
(end) in order that he might lead them 
hound unto the highpriest, from whom he 
had his commission, (ch. 4 : 23,) the 
Sanhedrim, or supreme court of the 
Jews at Jerusalem. 

22. Increased the more. Rather, loas 
more strengthened — had more ability, or 
power, as one of the true Israel — hav- 
ing power with God and with men, and 
prevailing (Gen. 32 : 28,) in prayers 
and labors. ^ Confounded. " So that 
they should contradict themselves." — 
Bengel. See chap. 6 : 10, where the 
same is recorded of Stephen, Paul's 
forerunner. 1[ Proving — confirming. 
The word means "putting together the 
chain of an argument" or points and 
proofs. T That this. That this one 
(Jesus) is the Christ. See vs. 20. 

23. Many dags. Literally, sufficient 
dags. Under this general phrase we 
find the interval of three gears from the 
time of his conversion, (A. D. 37—40,) 
which he spent chiefly in Arabia, (Gal. 
1 : 18,) not in the peninsula, but in the 
Peraean district. It was not needful to 
mention that visit here ; and Paul men- 
tions it (Gal. 1 : 17,) to show that he 
did not receive his Apostleship from 
men ; but that instead of going up im- 
mediately to Jerusalem to get author- 
ity from the Apostles, he went to that 
retired district. There he probably 
preached and planted Churches, f Took 
counsel. lAtavaWy, plotted together. The 
term expresses the idea of concerted 
action. 



24. Their laying mcait. The term 
here has close connection with the fore- 
going word, and means plot. ]f Was 
known of Saul — became known, or was 
made known to him. f They luatched. 
The Jews, and, as it appears from 2 
Cor. 11 : 32, certain soldiers of Aretas, 
whose aid the Jews procured, were en- 
gaged in watching. Damascus came 
into the possession of Aretas about 
this time. He was king of that Arabia 
whose capital was Petra, and was en- 
gaged in war with Herod Antipas, on 
account of his having divorced Aretas' 
daughter through the influence of Ile- 
rodias. Aretas was successful, and 
Damascus, either by conquest or by 
cession from Caligula, became his pos- 
session ; and the Jews were accustomed 
to call on the civil governors of the 
provinces for aid. ^ The gates. Every 
one must come in and go out at the 
gates of walled cities. Hence, they 
kept watch of these in order to seize 
and kill him. The governor seems to 
have stationed guards at the gates and 
kept the city under special watch, in 
order to apprehend him. 

25. The disciples. These are here 
referred to as a well known class — the 
Christians or followers of Christ — hav- 
ing taken him — let him down through the 
laull, or, (as explained 2 Cor. 11 : 23,) 
through a windoiv in the wall. Such a 
bow window, projecting from the wall, 
we noticed near the gateway which is 
pointed out as the same, and which be- 
longs to that roadway toward Jerusa- 
lem. It is the window of an apart- 
ment built on that part of the wall. See 
Josh- 2:15. *^Inabaskct. lAt.,hav- 
ing lowered him in a basket. This refers 
to a larger kind of basket, ommou ai 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. IX. 



195 



26 And "when Saul was come to Jerusalem, ho assayed oafiaT.'k 
to join himself to the disciples : but they were all afraid 

of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 

27 ''But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the Jj''.^*-"''"^ 
apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord 



the East for carrying loads, though used 
of food baskets, as Matt. 15 : 37, in the 
miracle of feeding the thousands. And 
there it is used in a large sense, of the 
abundance left after they had eaten, 
and our Lord uses it emphatically in 



His question, "How many (large) 
baskets took ye up ?" Mark 8 • 8, 20. 
Pilgrims are drawn up into the Jlontvs- 
tery at Mount Sinai by a basket frc m 
a window. 




26. Came to Jerusalem. This was 
Paul's first visit to Jerusalem, A. 
D. 40, of which he speaks, Gal. 1:18. His 
object was to see Peter and James, "the 
pillars," and this was after his three 
years sojourn in Arabia and Damascus. 
T JEssat/ed ~ endeavored, attempted — to 
Join himself— to unite himself with them 
as an associate and fellow-Christian. 
TT Afraid of him. If the disciples at 
Damascus had been afraid of him from 
all they had heard, much more would 
these disciples at Jerusalem be in fear 
from all they had experienced of his 
persecutions. Even if they had heard 
of his conversion, they would naturally 
be suspicious of it, and slow to believe 
in th« reality of the change. They had 



probably heard little of him during the 
three years since his conversion, and 
this in itself would be a suspicious fea- 
ture : as they might have expected him 
to be at once very public and prominent 
as a disciple. Here Saul is thus kind- 
ly introduced to the Apostles by one 
who is to be his companion and fellow 
missionary. 

27. Barnabas. This man's high 
standing (ch. 4: 3G; 11 : 22,) gave his 
word great weight with the Apostles. 
He was from C^'prus, which was an 
island near Tarsus, and some have sup- 
posed he must have known Paul. ^Tbok 
him. Took him up — laid hold on him. 
The same word is used Heb. 2:16; ch. 
21 : 30 ; 16 : 19. "They laid hold 
upon one Simon," Luke 23 : 26. ^ Tht 
apostles. Not to the disciples, who 
were afraid of him and were so loth to 
recognize him, but to Peter and James, 
who were competent to discern his true 
spirit. Gal. 1 : 18, 19. If Declared. 
Gave a detailed account of h<yw, in 
what manner, he (Paul J had seen the 
Lord in the road, and that he (Jesus,) 
had spoken to him — and how (in what 
circumstances,) he had preached cold^ 



196 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



lA. D. 40. 



fch. « : 1, an! 



in the way, and that he had spoken to him, * and how he 
had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesua. 

28 And ®he was with them coming in and going out at 
Jerusalem. 

29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
and disputed against the 'Grecians : « but they went about 
to slay him. 

30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him 
down to Cesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. 

31 ''Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea 



ly (with freedom of speech,) at Da- 
mascus, in the name of Jesus. One 
who had been thus miraculously visited 
by Christ for his conversion and di- 
rectly commissioned by Him, and who 
had proved thus faithful as a Disciple, 
was not to be rejected by them. 

28. This interposition of Barnabas, 
on Saul's behalf, led to his reception 
and recognition as a Christian, and he 
came in and went out freely, (during fif- 
teen days,) Gal. 1 : 18. 

29. Spake boldly. Lit., He was speak- 
ing boldly, (in Jerusalem, as at Damas- 
cus, vs 27.) ^ Disputed. This term 
denotes a joint inquiry — a debate, dis- 
cussion between two parties. T[ Against 
— with the Grecians, the Hellenistic 
Jews, those of his own class who spake 
the Greek tongue, and were foreigners. 
It would seem to have been at a fest.i- 
v.al season, when numbers of this class 
came up to Jerusalem. He probably 
entered the foreign synagogues, and 
preached Christ where he had former- 
ly denied Him against Stephen the 
Hellenistic deacon. T But they went 
about— were attempting to slay him — 
that is, while he was engaged in these 
discussions, they were engaged in at- 
tempts to put him to death. 

30. The brethren. This epithet, "the 
brethren," is here first used historical- 
ly to denote a Christian society. The 
Jews commonly used it at this time, 
as expressing their close relationship 
to each other as Jews, ch. 22 : 5 ; 28 : 
17; and when it was adopted by Chris- 
tians it signified the cordial " commu- 
nion of saints," and distinctive charac- 
ter, 1 Jno. 3 ; l4. Tf Brought him down 
—from Jerusalem, whence it was down 



to Cesarea, on the coast. To Jerusa- 
lem, from any quarter, it was up, as 
being the elevated and more important 
locality. T Sent Mm forth. Lit., Apos- 
tled him away — Sent him aicay forth. 
The intimation is, that it was by sea, 
perhaps by Seleucia to Antioch. ^ To 
Tarsus. Toward in the direction of 
Tarsus. See Gal. 1 : 21. 

§ 16. State of the Chkistian Chtjecu- 
E8 IN Judea, &c. — Peter's cikcuit 
AMONG THEM. A. D. 40. Ch. 9 : 
31-43. 

Here occurs a General Review of 
THE Churches in Judea, Galilee 
AND SAMAPaA, before proceeding to 
record the new developments for a 
Gentile and universal Church. In ch. 
8:1, it had been already noted that 
by the persecution at Jerusalem, the 
dispersed Cliristians scattered abroad 
the word in these quarters of Judea, 
&c. And now it is recorded that the 
Churches which had thus sprung up, 
were enjoying rest, peace and prosper- 
ity. And this was the aspect of the 
Jewish Christian Churches. As a natu- 
ral consequence of this, it is stated 
that they ivere edified, built up, "a 
spiritual house," as well as an outward 
body, 1 Cor. 0: 19; 8 : 10. 

31. Then had the churches. The 
term used for Church, kKK^rjCiia, is from 
the verb signifying to call out from, 
and means an assembly or body called 
out by summons or invitation from 
the mass or community at large. The 
Christian dispensation is distinguished 
as summoning men from all the woi'ld 
to form a society. The Jewish dispen- 
sation had the term avo-yuyri, meaning 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. IX. 



197 



Rnd G-alilee and Saiiiaria, and were edified ; and walking in tlie fear 
of the Lord; and in the comfort of the Holy Glhost, were 
multiplied. 

32 "^ And it came to pass, as Peter passed 'throughout <'='»• ^^i- 
all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt 

at Lydda. 

33 And there he found a certain man named ^neas, which had 
kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 

34 And Peter said unto him, jEneas, * Jesus Christ ^^a'^iffo^-'^- 



a gathering together, union, as among 
the members of an existing society. 
That dispensation was distinguished 
as drawing and holding together those 
■who belonged to it. IT Walking — 
proceedi7ig in their course, in the filial 
fear of the Lord, passing the time of 
their sojourning in fear. ^ Comfort — 
ttrengthening, (and consolation,) con- 
nected with the term for Paraclete. 
These particulars describe the upbuild- 
ing. \ Multiplied. The Churches and 
their members were greatly increased. 
This verse is introductory to the nar- 
rative of Peter' s tour through these 
Churches of Judea, &c. and it is inserted 
here to show that these Jewish Chris- 
tian Churches were not to be overlook- 
ed, and indeed if these had been a fair 
specimen of the Jewish people at large, 
there would have seemed no reason 
against the Gentiles coming in through 
the Jewish pale. But they were only 
a small minority of the nation. While 
therefore the Jews had hei-e a speci- 
men of what Christianity could do for 
them, they were still to have the first 
ofiFer, and only on their rejection of it 
was the Gospel to go to the Gentiles. 

32. The Circuit of Peter among 
these Churches of Judea, &c. is here given 
in brief, leading to the account of his 
vision in regard to the Gentiles being 
admitted to the kingdom of Christ. It 
is not unlikely that when the Gospel 
spread in Samaria and Galileo, the 
Apostles began to make circuits from 
Jerusalem and to visit the Churches. 
Peter's labors extend as far as to the 
Apostolic Synod, A. D. 50. The fol- 
lowing event may belong to the three 
years of Paul's absence and before his 
visit to Jerusalem. In that caso wo 
17* 



have the parallel histories of what is 
going on at different points. Having 
closed Paul's history for the time, 
Luke begins back now with Peter, as 
he started out on this Apostolic tour 
soon after the spread of the Gospel 
beyond Jerusalem. ^ Throughout all. 
Our translators have supplied the word 
"■quarters'' — others supply the word 
"saints;" passing through among all 
the saints. On this tour he came doion 
also to the saints that inhabited Lydda. 
This town is in the neighborhood of 
Joppa, and about one day distant from 
Jerusalem. We passed through the 
fine rich orange groves and olive yards 
on the road from Joppa to Lydda, and 
found there the ruins of a Church, 
said by some, but without authority, 
to have been built by Richard Coeur 
de Lion. The village has about two 
thousand inhabitants, and is surround- 
ed by the most luxuriant orchai-ds and 
fields of grain. 

33. JEneas. As the name is Greek, 
it has been inferred that he was a Hel- 
lenist, or Greek-speaking Jew. It is 
also inferred that he was already a 
disciple, as his conversion afterwards is 
not mentioned, see vs. 34. ^ Kept his 
bed. Literally, from (or since) eight 
years, laid down upon a bed, who wa!> par- 
alyzed. 

34. Peter calls the man by name, to 
bring home to him most personally the 
good news of his healing by Jesus 
Christ. jSlneas seems to have under- 
stood the personage spoken of without 
exi^lauation, and hence it is inferred 
that he was a disciple. T[ Maketh. 
Is making thee whole. He does not say, 
"Jesus will heal thee on certain con- 
ditions " — but this is what He does, and 



198 



THE ACTS OF THE i^POSTLES. 



[A. D. 40. 



maketh thee whole : arise, and make thy bed. And he arose im 

mediately. 
ichron.5:i6. 35 j^^^ ^^ ^hat dwelt at Lydda and 'Saron saw him, 
« ch. 11 : 21. ^^^ m turned to the Lord. 

36 ^ Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named 
ii^or, Doe, or, Tabltha, which by interpretation is called || Dorcas : this 
t/Js's-s!' "■ woman was full ° of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 

37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, 
» ok. 1: 13. g^jj^j (jjgjj . ^Ijopj when they had washed, they laid hei- in " an 

upper chamber. 



what He has come for, and He is even 
now applying His cure to thee. Rise up 
at the joyful message and act as a cured 
man — "arise and make thy bed." 
Literally, spread for thyself (thy bed.) 
^ Immediately. The man acted in 
prompt obedience to the gracious com- 
mand. He found strength to obey the 
command. Christ's commands are not 
grievous but gracious; and carry ■with 
them and in them the promise of His 
strength, for the performance. The 
promptness of his action showed his 
willingne?s and joy in Christ. 

85. Lydda and Saron. See vs. 32. 
Leaving Joppa at seven and a half in 
the morning and taking the road east 
to a fountain, through paths skirted 
by orange groves, we came at eight 
and a fourth, to Tazur, also called Sa- 
ron, lying in sight from the suburbs of 
Joppa, on a knoll in the plain. At 
twenty minutes of eleven we came to 
Ramleh, and at twelve to Lydda. Sa- 
ron seems to have been the ancient me- 
tropolis of that region, and was called 
Lesharon, or Lasbaron, which belong- 
ed to Saron. Among the Kings con- 
quered by Joshua, is the King of La- 
sharon, Josh. 12 : 18. "In the Judaic 
map, (says Du Veil,) it is a royal city 
upon a hill called the Hill of Saron, 
in the tribe of Ephraim." Luke seems 
to call this place the Saron, here, by 
an emphasis, for there is another city 
called Saron, beyond Jordan, in the 
tribe of Gad, upon the river Arnon. 
See 1 Chron. 5 : 16. ^ And turned. 
Who also — as a result of the miracle — 
iurned to the Lord. A general conver- 
eion of the inhabitants followed this mi- 
raculous work. The fame of it also led 
to another miracle by Peter at Joppa. 



30. Joppa, by the sea-side, is a 
most thriving port, now called Yaffa, 
about forty-five miles north-west from 
Jerusalem. Here we are soon to be 
introduced to the wonderful vision of 
Peter, looking out toward the sea, 
ch. 10, and beholding the abolition of 
ancient separating lines between Jews 
and Gentiles. Meanwhile he works a 
notable miracle, the first of the kind 
that was performed by the Apostles. 
Christ raised from the dead an only 
son, (of the widow,) an only daughter, 
(of the ruler,) an only brother, (of the 
sisters at Bethany ; ) and here Peter 
raised a pious maiden, whom all ad- 
mired and loved. According to the 
custom, she had two names. Both 
these signify the same thing — a gazelle 
— a common female name in Palestine. 
Tabitha was the Aramaic name, corre- 
sponding with Dorcas, the Greek name. 
It is here shown what rich fruits the 
Spirit of Christ had matured in this 
maiden, and what power her goodness 
gave her in the community — how many 
excellent deeds she did, and how many 
warm friends she won, who were also 
friends of Christ. 1 Full. She abound- 
ed and persevered in good works, par- 
ticularly in alms deeds, making gar- 
ments for the poor, vs. 39. See 1 Tim. 
2: 10; Titus 2: 7. 

37. She was sick. Literally, it came 
to pass that she, having taken sick, died; 
and having washed her, they placed (her) 
in an ripper room. Among the Greeks 
the corpse was always washed by wo- 
men, though here the participle is 
used indefinitely. The upper room 
was that most commonly devoted ta 
sacred pui'poses, as of devotion, (ch 
1 -13.) 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. ^X. 



linf 



38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the diisciplea 
had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two 

men, desiring Tiim that he would not || delay to come to no"". *'?»»«»■** 
tnem. 

39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, 
they brought him into the upper chamber : and all the widows stood 
by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas 
made, while she was with them. 

40 But Peter P put them all forth, and i kneeled down, ?efu"":e:.^" 
and prayed; and turning him to the body ''said, Tabitha, j.^Mar^^:*!, 
arise. And she opened her eyes : and when she saw Peter, ■'^''° " = ^^• 
she sat up. 

41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he 
had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 



-38. But Lydda being nigh to Joppa — 
the disciples having heard that Peter was 
in it — Lydda, (from the fame of his re- 
cent miracle,) sent two men unto him, 
exhorting (him) not to delay to come 
through even unto them. Lydda was only 
about six miles distant from Joppa; 
and there were disciples at .Joppa as 
well as " saints" (professed disciples,) 
at Lydda. They sent for Peter, as it was 
a case which interested the Church, 
among them. T Not to delay. On ac- 
count of the trouble. Tyndale has it, 
''not to Oe grieved." So Cranmer. The 
Ilheims has it, not be loath. ^ Two 
7ncn. A pluralit}', as more urgent and 
respectful than one. 

39. Arose. Literally, then Peter, 
having risen up, ivcnt with them; whom, 
being come, they led up to the upper cham- 
ber, (where the corpse was laid, vs. 
37. ) ^ All the widows — belonging to 
that place, and for whom she used to 
make garments. This class of persons 
were specially cared for by the Church, 
ch. : 1 ; 1 Tim. -5 : 3-10, IG. (Some 
suppose that the widows here referred 
to, are a class of deaconesses having 
charge of the poor and sick, and show- 
ing the garments which were there 
made up for distribution.) ^ Coats 
and garments. These are called in 
male attire, the coat and cloak — the 
tipper and under garment — the loose 
flowing robe and the tunic or vest — 
which made up the Eastern dress, then 
and since. ^ Which — how many and 



of what sort. ^ Made. Was in the 
habit of making — used to make. 

40. Put them all forth— after Christ's 
example, when Peter was present, and 
because they were noisj' in their grief, 
Luke 8 : 54. So Elisha, 2 Kings i : 33. 
Literally, Peter having put forth all out- 
side, (of the room,) placing the knees, 
(kneeling, in proof of his earnestness, 
says Chrysostom, ) he prayed, lie ac- 
knowledged the Divine efficiency; and 
even he who summoned the lame man 
to walk in the name of Christ, here 
prays, confessing himself to be but the 
instrument. So Jesus Himself prayed 
when Ho would raise Lazarus from 
the dead. T Turning. He first turn- 
ed himself to God, then to the body. 
He spake to the corpse as though it 
could hear, and in full confidence of its 
return to life. ^ Arise. This com- 
mand to the dead body was given in 
faith of the Divine and quickening 
power which alone could raise the 
dead. ^ Opened. The minute particu- 
lars are given with every mark of real- 
ity, just as an eye-witness would natu- 
rally describe the scene. ^ Saw Peter. 
Her eye rested upon Peter, not as 
would seem in any friglit, but only so 
as to cause her to sit up, in the con- 
sciousness of her restored powers. 

41, He pave, &c. Lit., And giving 
her the hand, he raised her up. Natural- 
ly enough he offered her help, which 
she may not absolutely have needed, 
and rather to signify to her that sh» 



200 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40 



42 And it wa? known throughout all Joppa; 'and 
many believed in the Lord. 

43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in 
Joppa with one * Simon a tanner. 



slioulJ i-ise up in full possession of her 
physical powers. She had doubtless a 
feeling of entire calmness and securi- 
ty, probably recognizing Peter as her 
instrumental restorer, and hence she 
takes his hand and rises .at his motion. 
^ Called. He at once summoned those 
to whom she was no well known, to be 
the witnesses of the miraculous resto- 
ration. To those who had so lately 
lamented her death, he presented her 
living. 1 Kings 17 : 23. 

42. This miracle, like that at Lydda, 
was so remarkable as to become noto- 
rious throughout the city. The result 
was also in this case that "■many be- 
lieved in {upon) the Lord," as in the 
other case, all the inhabitants " tamed 
to the Lord,'" (.Jesus Christ,) vs. 35; 
John 12 : 11. It was not in the power 
of the miraculous evidence to convert 
them, but God blessed these demon- 
strations to the renewing of their souls. 
Observe. — These miraculous works 
of the Apostle of the circumcision are 
shown, along with the happy state of 
the Jewish Christian Cliurches, in or- 
der to lead the way to the great change 
now about to be initiated by Peter's 
rision, and also to show that all honor 
is to be put upon the circumcision 
and upon the ancient Apostolate, even 
though now the uncircumcision are to 
be admitted to the same privilege, 
and the new Apostolate is to go forth 
upon its woi-k. See vs. 15. The true 
Israel is the remnant according to the 
election of grace. It had been expect- 
ed that the Gentiles would be admitted 
into tho Church, but only through Ju- 
daism — coming into the covenant by 
circumcision. But it begins to appear 
that it was to be a Gospel of the un- 
circumcision also. Stephen took broad 
views in this direction, and probably 
before Peter's vision the men of Cyprus 
and Cyrene were gathering the first 
Gentile Church at Antioch, ch. 11 : 20. 

43. Tarried. The narra^jvo now 



leads us to the wonderful event which 
took place while Peter was providen- 
tially, or by the Spirit, detained at 
Joppa. ^ It came to pass — according 
to God's dii-ection, and as part of the 
Divine plan, though not as would seem 
any part of Peter's plan. God had a 
purpose for Peter to serve by tarrying 
in Joppa. ^ Many days. Literally, 
sufficient days — just as many as were 
needed for the consummation, f A 
tanner. Skins are very much used in 
the East for bottles, as well as for oth- 
er domestic purposes. The business 
referred to here was that of preparing 
skins for various uses. As it led 
to contact with dead animals, the busi- 
ness was held in dishonor by the Jews. 
Chrysostom takes this to be a mark of 
Peter's humility, that he chose to lodge 
with a despised countryman. The 
trade was held in disrepute by other 
nations also. 

CHAPTEPv X. 

BOOK III. 

ClIUKCH AMONG THE GeNTILES. 

Part I. — Spread of Christian- 
ity among the Devout Gentiles 
— " Witnesses to the uttermost 
parts of the earth." A. D. 40- 
44. Chs. 10-12 . 

2 17. Vision of Cornelius at Cesa- 
REA, AND Vision of Peter at Jop- 
pa — Reception of Gentiles into 
THE Church independently of 
Judaism. 

The Gospel had now been preached 
by the Apostles to Hebrew, Hellenist, 
and Proselyte, Samaritan and Ethi- 
opian, successively. It is henceforth 
to go to the Gentiles resident in 
Judea. Up to this point the ad- 
vance of Christianity had been from 
Jerusalem among the Jews, through 




"lAlfi^lii. 



Iin'iiI, 



ill 



if 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. X. 



CHAPTER X. 

1 There was a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, a con- 
turion of the band called the Italian band. 

2 ^A devout man, and one that "feared God with all his cb'kT-ini^i: 
house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to V^s. ss. 
God alway. 



ml Judea, and also in Samaria, and by 
the eunuch toward the uttermost parts 
of the earth. Now occurs the first re- 
ception of devout Gentiles to the 
Church, without coming through the gate- 
viay of Judaism. The devout eunuch 
was at any rate an exceptional case, 
as one of an extraordinary class. The 
Apostle of the circumcision is brought 
forward as instituting this new move- 
ment, himself having the vision of 
this change, and introducing Corne- 
lius as the first fruits of the half- 
way Jews, uncircumcised. Peter ap- 
pears, thus, as stretching his hand 
over the transition gulf to Paul, and 
bridging it over for a free passage to 
all. It is the rejection of the Gospel 
system by the Jews as a nation, (sav- 
ing only a remnant according to the 
election of grace,) that leads to the 
admission of the Gentiles at Cesarea 
without the intervention of Judaism. 
The connection between Cornelius and 
Judaism was at most not formal but 
only spiritual, and had not led to his 
enrollment as a member of the Jew- 
ish Church by circumcision. He was a 
Gentile, embracing the leading truths 
of the -Jewish religion, and worshiping 
the true God. Uncircumcised Gen- 
tiles ABE NOW TO BE RECEIVED INTO 

THE Christian Church and Baptized. 
1. Cesarea. This city on the coast 
was at this time the political capital 
of Palestine, the seat of the Roman 
ProcuratoES, though the government of 
Judea was transferred to Herod Agrip- 
pa, A. D. 41. 1[ Cornelius. This is 
a distinguished Latin name ; and this 
Roman officer, belonging to the last 
great empire, God had chosen as the 
first fruit of the Gentiles, in the new 
movement for introducing them into 
the Church. \ A centurion. This ti- 
tle is commonly understcod as desig- 



nating the commander of a hundred 
men. He was the subordinate officer 
over the sixth part of a cohort. \ The 
band. This was an independent co- 
hort and not part of a legion, levied in 
Italy and not in Syi-ia, (and probably 
designed as a body-guard for the pro- 
curator,) soraewhat as English ofiicers 
and regiments now in India. 

2. A devout man, &c. These terma 
denote Gentiles, who, though not pro- 
selytes, had abandoned heathenism, 
and, by living among Jews, had be- 
come worshipers of the true God. In 
this Gentile mind there was thus a 
preparedness for the reception of 
Christianity, brought about by the 
Spirit of truth, and pointing to Christ. 
^ With all his house. He was not only 
pious for himself and privately, but 
he gave proof of his sincerity, by so 
guiding and conti'oUing his household. 
"I know Abraham," &c. Personal 
religion will lead to family religion, 
and prove itself by its fruits in the 
household. Tf Much ahns. Lit., Do- 
ing many charities to the people, (the 
Jewish people. ) This is also remarked 
of the other Roman centurion, Luko 
7 : 5, and it is always a fruit of true 
piety if not a proof of it, James 1 : 27. 
Yet this conduct was strongly contrast- 
ed with that of these heathen officers 
in general, who plundered the people 
of the provinces wherever they could. 
^ Prayed — praying. It would seem 
most probable that this relates to his 
habitual devotions at the regular hours 
of prayer. Not unlikely he was pray- 
ing for guidance in the way of life, 
and for light on the subject of this new 
faith spreading every where in Judea 
and through the empire. See vss. 4, 
5. And the very difficulty then in hia 
mind may have been this, as to the ne- 
cessity of Judaism and circumcision ia 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, 



[A. D. 40 



'h^ii'fis. 3 'He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth houf 

of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying 
unto him, Cornelius. 

4 And when he looked on him he was afraid, and said, What is it, 
Lord ? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come 
ap for a memorial before God. 

5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose 

surname is Peter : 
dch.9:43. Q jjg lodgcth witli one * Simon a tanner, whose house is 

ecii.u:u. |3y {^}jg ggg, side: *he shall tell thee what thou oughtest 

to do. 



order to union with Christ and His 
Church. As he " always prayed" and 
did not faint, he received gracious an- 
swers, in fulfillment of the promise, 
" Then shall we know, if we follow on 
to know the Lord," (Hos. 6:3.) Even 
to the darkened Gentile, who has such 
preparedness of mind and really seeks 
after Christ, God will raise up teachers 
and guides, as He sent Philip all the 
way from Samaria by the road to 
Gaza, to instruct the inquiring eunuch, 
and as here He sent Peter to Cornelius. 
As Philip lived and preached at Cesa- 
rea, (ch. 8 : 40,) Cornelius had heard 
the Gospel, (vs. 37.) 

8. Vision. Rather, in an apparition 
— not in a dream, but with his bodily 
eyes. ^ Evidently — openly, manifestly, 
in human form, vs. 30. ^ Ninth how — 
three o'clock in the afternoon, one of 
the JcAvish hours of prayer, ch. 3:1; 
5:7. IT An angel of God. The im- 
portance of the occasion was so great, 
opening the Church to a Gentile and 
thus to the Gentile world, and receiving 
such an alien and stranger into the 
household of God, that the mission of 
an angel was warranted. The person 
of this angelic being was seen comi?ig 
in to him, standing before him, and 
was heard calling him by name. 

4. Looked — Looking steadfastly upon 
him and becoming very fearful, (full of 
awe at the sight of such a celesti.il vis- 
itant,) he said. What is it Lord 9 As 
176 say, " What is it'' that has brought 
you hither ? ^ Thy prayers and thine 
dims. These are the services spoken 
of (vs. 2,) as those which were Ihe 
habit of Covnelins, "^ Are come uj- as 



incense, "vials full of odors," Rev. 8 • 
3, 4. ^ For a memorial. This term ia 
used in the Greek version of the Old 
Testament for sacrifice. Lev. 2:2, 16. 
His prayers and alms were for a re- 
minder in God' s "book of remem- 
brance," Mai. 3 : 16; Neh. 13: 14, 
22, 31, and noted down as calling for 
the Divine action. This only shows that 
already this man must have had some 
faith leading him to pray, and jjuch a 
faith as brought forth its fruits in his 
life, and made him already yearn for 
the benefits of the Gospel. There is no 
idea here of any thing meritorious in 
his prayers and alms. But that he 
went forward in duty so far as he had 
the light, and in such case he had the 
promise of more light, and grace for 
grace, John 1 : 16. 

5-6. And now, since this is so, and 
the time has come for your prayers to 
be answered, send men to (unto) Joppa. 
The directions are definitely given. 
^ Call for. Lit., Send for, the same 
word as in vs. 22. Tf Lodgcth, as a 
guest, see ch. 9 : 43. Tf Whose house. 
\ The site of Simon's house was pointed 
out to us by the sea-side in Joppa. 
There we found skins and oil still dealt 
in, and we saw abundant reasons for 
such a trade being located near the 
sea, and in the suburbs of the city, as 
it was required by law. ^ Ought- 
est. Lit., What is necessary, (namely, 
according to God's plan.) This made 
it his duty. Observe. — (1) How 
could Cornelius imagine what duty o» 
burden was noAv to be laid upon him, 
and what would be shown hira that he 
ought to do ? Yet he went forward. 



%^^^ 





Jacobus' Acts. 



A D 40.] 



CHAP. X 



208 



. 7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, 
he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them 
that waited on him continually : 

8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent 
them to Joppa. 

9 ^ On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and 

drew nigh unto the city, 'Peter went up upon the house- ■'"'"'• " = ^'*''- 
top to pray, about the sixth hour : 

10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten : but whilo 
they made ready, he fell into a trance. 

11 And 8 saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel fj°,^;jV.^i\ 



ready and anxious to learn his duty. 
(2) God might have revealed to Cor- 
nelius His will by direct disclosures. 
But He would employ human instru- 
mentality, and bade him send for Peter. 

7. Cornelius promptly obeys the Di- 
vine direction. He was not thrown 
into perplexitj', but was met in the 
way of his prayers, and doubtless saw 
this to be the answer fiom above. 
^ Household servants. Lit., Domestics. 
if Devout soldier. One of the private 
soldiers who attended on this officer. 
Matt. 3:9; Matt. 8:9. Da Costa, 
in his work entitled, " The Four Wit- 
nesses," holds that this soldier was 
most probably Mark the Evangelist, 
and that so he was the first convert of 
Peter, or one of the very first, and 
hence called his son. — A whole house- 
hold is thus placed in contact with 
Christianity, when they are in a state 
of readiness to receive the truth, all 
in sympathy with Cornelius. Several 
witnesses were provided to testify to 
the mii-acle. Cornelius docs not stern- 
ly command, but kindly opens the case. 

6. Declared. Lit., Given an exegesis, 
or historical statement, of these things, 
which had occurred, vss. 4-6. T[ Jop- 
pa. From this same place Jonah was 
sent to preach to the Gentile Ninevites, 
and Peter now to the Gentiles at Cesa- 
roa, ch. 9 : 36. Starting at four or 
five, P. M., they would travel in the 
cool of the evening and next morning, 
arriving about noon. This we did. 
The distance was thirty Roman miles. 

9. These messengers being on their 
way to Joppa, God was at the same 
time Drdering all the circumstances 



there, so as to"&e ready for their call. 
Peter went up upon the house, the flat 
roof used for sleeping, airing, meditation 
and devotion, so as the better to pray 
toward Jerusalem, (1 Sam. 9 : 26 ; Jer, 
19:13.) The term is dufia, from which 
we have dome, a circular, arched roof. 
1[ To pray. It was the second hour 
for prayer, at noon-time, twelve o'clock, 
the hour for the mid-day meal. 

10. Very hungry. As it was meal- 
time, and as he was to be thus prepared 
for his vision of food. 1[ Would have. 
Rather, desired to taste (eat) food. 
^ While. (While) ^/ie^/ now (the people 
of the house were) preparing. Tf Fell 
into. Literally, an ecstasy fell upon him. 
" A ravishing of spirit fell on him." — 
Wiclif. The same is used by the Sev- 
enty of the "deep sleep" which ft. 
upon Abraham. Gen. 15 : 12. In such 
a supernatural absorption of mind 
some of the most important revelations 
appear to have been made. Acts 22 : 
17; 2 Cor. 12 : 2. This was not like 
the vision of Cornelius, where the ob- 
jects were seen by the eye, but more 
like a dream. 

11. Heaven opened. See ch. 7: 56, 
where Stephen saw '^ heave?i opened," 
the token of a new and special revela- 
tion to him. Nathaniel is promised the 
same, in order to a vision of the Son 
of man, as the ladder of Jacob's vision. 
John 1:51. ^ Vessel. This is a very 
general term meaning utensil, or fabric, 
or instrument, to be explained by the 
context, as a sheet, canvas. ^ K7iif 
Literally, bound, fastened — by the four 
corners, or, literally, by four beginnings 
—four ropes, the beginnings of whick 



VM 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40 

descending unto him, as it bad been a great sheet knit at the four 
corners, and let down to the earth : 

12 Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, 
and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 

13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill 
and eat. 

14 But peter said, Not so, Lord : ^ for I have never 
eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 

15 And the voice spake unto him again the second 
time, ' What God hath cleansed, that call not thou 
common. 



ft Lev. 11 : 7, 

and 20 : 23. 
Deut. 14:3-7 
Rz. 4:14. 
i Matt. 15: 1] 
vs. 28. 

Rom. 14: 14, : 
20. 
1 Cor. 10 : 20. 



only were seen, and suspended from 
above by an unseen hand. ^ Let down. 
This was the ai>pearance in vision, that 
such a fabric was let down to the 
earth. Observe. — God adapts His 
teachings to our case. He lets down 
His Divine instructions to our neces- 
sities. See Luke 13: 28-30. 

13. This singular receptacle con- 
tained all manner, &c. Rather, all 
the four-footed beasts, &c., " the whole 
animal world, without any other dis- 
tinction than that of their order in the 
creation " Gen. 1 : 26. Hence, both 
the clcjin and unclean animals were 
there, as they were distinguished by 
the Mosaic law. (Lev. 11:2.) The 
text reads, " All the quadrupeds," not 
" all manner of.'' Yet this may be the 
idea — " a/Z," as regards the varieties — 
the article being used generically, to 
signify that some of all the kinds were 
there. 

13. This is a command, involving a 
privilege. So is it with all God's com- 
mandments, "^e saved, be healed." 
Peter being hungry, has this vision. 
"So God adapts His teaching to our 
circumstances, and Divine instructions 
are grafted upon human infirmities." 
^ Kill. This is the term commonly 
applied to sacrificial slaying, and here 
it is the same as to say, " Go to work, 
Peter, and of all these animals slay in- 
discriminately, with no regard tc the 
Slosaic distinctions of clean and un- 
clean." They were all set before him, 
■without restriction or limitation, to 
use as he pleased, of all kinds. 

14. Not so. Literally, by no means, 
Jjord. Petet revolted at this idea as 



altogether contrary to all his religious 
principles and practice. The Jewish 
law, which he had always strictly ob- 
served, set a special difference between 
clean and unclean animals, in order 
to train the people to the important 
distinctions between holy and sinful — 
holiness and sin — and also to separate 
them in all their daily living from ail 
other people. ^Common, not consecrated 
— unholy — as explained by ^^ unclean." 
Peter could point to the written law. 
But a miracle or revelation could show 
it to be abrogated. 

1 5. This natural reply of Peter, con- 
sidering all his religious prepossessions 
and customs as they were authorized 
fully by the word of God, is answered. 
1[ Cleansed. God had, in this sj-mbol- 
ical representation, cleansed ih& unclean 
boasts, &c. — that is, had declared them 
cleansed — had removed their ceremo- 
nial defilement, by His authority. And 
this Divine revelation was to show Peter 
this fact. •iThat call not. Literally, /A# 
things ivhich, ij-c, do not thou vulgarize — 
{profane. Make not — count not, common. ) 
This last is expressed in one word. 
And Jews and Gentiles were no longer 
to be kept asunder, but to be regarded 
as one in Christ — "where there is 
neither Jcav nor Greek," Eph. 1 : 10; 
Col. 1 : 20 ; 1 Tim. 4 : 4, -5. " A res- 
toration of all things" has now been 
produced, (cli. 3 : 21,) but only in the 
hint and earnest of it. The wall of 
partition was broken down, and th? 
whole Gentile world was to be admit- 
ted to the fellowship and privileges of 
the Gospel, Eph. 2 : 14; Gal. 3 : 28 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. X. 



20& 



16 This was done tlirice : and the vessel was received up again 
into heaven. 

] 7 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he 
had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cor- 
nelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, 

18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed 
Peter, were lodged there. 

19 '^ While Peter thought on the vision, "the Spirit *"="•"= "• 
said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 

20 'Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with '"^'^•'^^ ^• 
them, doubting nothing : for I have sent them. 



16. This {thing.) Meaning either 
Vie voice, whicli in tlie previous verses 
is said to have spoken "again the 
second time " — or the vision, voice and 
all. It would seem that the latter is 
meant, because the pronoun cannot 
agree with the term for voice, but 
means "■tins thing." Yet as the verb 
is the same as is used with '^ voice" in 
vs. 13, it may denote that this thing 
occurred, that is, the voice repeated 
the third time in connection with the 
one vision; and the neuter pronoun is 
xised to give the declaration a wider 
range. This is the more clear from 
the last clause, which tells us that the 
vessel was only at the close taken up 
into heaven, and not three times taken 
up and let down. 

17. It was at the moment of Peter's 
doubt and inquiry, that light was fur- 
nished, and all according to the Divine 
plan, that employed different agents, 
independent as they were, to bring 
about His purpose. If Should mean. 
Literally, might be. ^ The men sent 
from Uornelius. The men who had 
been sent by Cornelius and who had 
come from him, having inquired out — 
h.iving inquired thoroughly until they 
found out — as they were instructed to 
iaquire, (5, 6,) and the tanner was an 
obscure man. ^ Stood. Were present 
at the gate — the door opening upon the 
sourt from the street. This is the 
stylo of the more ordinary Oriental 
houses. Others, and superior ones, 
have a porch or vestibule between the 
gale and the court. The Eastern cus- 
tom is for strangers to stand at the 
outer gate and call o-.:t, "Who lives 

18 



here?" or to give warning of their 
coming. 

18. And called. Literally, and hav- 
ing cried {or called) out, they inquired if 
(whether or not,) Simon, he who is sur- 
7iamed Peter, lodges here — is entertained 
here as a guest, or visitor. The name 
of Simon was so common, that it was 
necessary to be particular — and he was 
now better known by this name given 
him by our Lord, than by "Simon, 
son of Jonas." It is the custom at the 
East to stand at the outer gate and 
call out. See Deut. 24 : 11. 

19. Thought. Rather, earnestly revol- 
ving in mind, or pondering in viina 
concerning the vision. This state of Pe- 
ter's mind, is recorded as so exactly 
corresponding to the arrival of the 
men, as it was ordered in God's all- 
wise and wonderful providence. Tf The 
Spirit. The same Spirit that gave Pe- 
ter the vision and Cornelius another 
vision to match, now notified to Petei 
the arrival of those men whom He di- 
rected to be sent to him. Observe. — 
Here is the momentous, glorious cri- 
sis ! As when certain Greeks came to 
the feast, saying to Philip, "Sir, we 
would see Jesus. And Jesus replied, 
The hour is come that the Son of man 
should be glorified." John 12 : 20-23. 

20. Arise therefore. Rather, but 
arise. The " but " turns the discourse 
to the matter in hand, as to what was 
to be done in the perplexity. ^ Gel 
thee down — from the house-top to where 
they are. ^ Go. Depart (on a jour- 
ney) with them. T[ Doubting nothing- 
making no hesitation, about going with 
these heathen — for I have tent than, 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40 



21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him 
from Cornelius ; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek : what is 

the cause wherefore ye are come ? 
«T«.i, 2,ic. 22 And they said, "Cornelius the centurion, a just 
nch. 22:12. niau, aud one that feareth God, and " of good report among 
all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an 
holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. 
23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on 
IZ'iifu. the morrow Peter went away with them, °and certain 
brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 
24 And the morrow after they entered into Cesarca. And Cor- 
nelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and 
near friends. 



rather than Cornelius. This would 
lead him to expect some disclosure as 
to the meaning of the vision. He was 
already charged to make no objection 
to consorting with them, and he would 
soon hear further from them. 

21. Peter obeyed the direction ex- 
actly — went down from the roof to the 
gate, or door, opening from the street. 
The men seem to have made the com- 
mon inquiry, and had probably stood 
without until Peter came. See vs. 23. 
Peter at once frankly presents himself 
as the person for whom they were in- 
quiring, and without assuming any su- 
perior knowledge, asks of them their 
errand — waiting to be enlightened on 
the subject by the event. All that he 
knew beyond the vision, was that there 
were three men, and that these were 
the ones sent by God. ^ Ye are come. 
Literally, ye are present. 

22. The centurion. Rather, a centu- 
rion. Tf A just 7«a7i^righteous in the 
eyes of the law. In vs. 2, he is called 
devout — pious, 'i Feareth God — the 
God, (of Israel.) ^ Of good report. 
Literally, witnessed of. See ch. 6:3; 
IG : 2; 22: 12. So of the centurion 
in Luke 7 : 46. All the people of the 
Jews, as well as his own people, bore 
ample testimony of his excellent char- 
acter and deeds, ^f Warned from God. 
Was divinety instructed. This is ex- 
pressed by one word in the Greek. 
^ By a holy angel. This was the per- 
son who was seen by Cornelius in the 
Tision, (v8. 3.) \ Send for. The 



same word as in vs. 5, rendered ^^ call 
for.'" IT To hear words. It was said in 
the vision, " He shall tell thee what 
thou oughtest to do," (vs. 6.) 

23. Called he them in. Literally, 
Having called them in, he lodged them. 
This refers to an invitation to the hos- 
pitalities of the house, to lodge, &c., 
and seems to imply that they stood 
outside, or at least in the court as yet. 
^ Lodged them. Rather, treated them 
as guests. Though the house was not 
Peter's, he was at liberty to do this ; 
to invite others as guests where he 
himself was such a guest. The term 
is the same as in verse 18 is used of 
Peter. This is his first "consorting 
with men uncircumcised and eating 
with them," as is also probably im- 
plied. Seech. 11:3. ^ On the morrow — 
after they had tarried over niglit — 2'e- 
ter went aivay ivith them, according to 
the Divine direction, (vs. 20,) and cer- 
tain brethren, (some of the brethren,) six 
in number. See ch. 11 : 12. Some of 
the Christian brethren went, probably 
as personal friends, or it may be, from 
an expectation of some important 
event. It was plainly, however, to 
serve a useful purpose in bearing wit- 
ness and being appealed to in defense. 
See ch. 11 : 1-12. Wiclf has it, 
"that they might be witnesses to 
Peter." This doubtless was God's 
plan. 

24. The morrow after — after leaving 
Joppa — one night on the road, thirty 
miles. For the time occupied in the 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. X. 



20"' 



25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell dowa 
at his feet, and worshipped him. 

26 Bat Peter took him up, saying, p Stand up; I myself ^'^.-//.Vo^i* 
also am a man. ^^'^• 

27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found 
many that were come together. 

28 And he said unto them, Ye know how nhat \t 'il°t^^'-^''^* 
is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep c!ki"2;i2, u. 
company, or come unto one of another nation; but "" God Ep^.f^'g.'*' 
hath shewed me that I should not call any man common 

or unclean. 



journey, see vs. 9 and notes. % Wait- 
ed — was expecting them. This shows 
the confidence of the man in the result 
of his mission as Divinely promised, 
find his zeal in having all in readiness 
for the instructions expected on the 
arrival of Peter. See vs. 6. % Called 
together — having convened. *[ Kinsmen 
— his relatives. ^ Near friends. Lit., 
necessary friends — very intimate friends. 
This shows the piety of Cornelius, 
which led him thus to influence these 
friends and bring them within the 
reach of these means of grace. It 
would seem that they had at least be- 
come favorably disposed toward the 
true religion as against idolatry. Ob- 
serve. — How natural and obligatory is 
it to seek to bring our kindred with us 
to Christ. 

25, 26. And as Peter. Literally, 
and as it became (or came to pass) that 
Peter was entering. ][ Fell down. Lit- 
erally, falling at the feet, worshiped. It 
is not said whose feet, or whom he wor- 
shiped, but it is clearly implied. Tliis 
act of prostration seems not a mere 
courtesy, as among the Orientals, but 
an act of homage and worship, as to a 
superhuman being. As he had received 
Divine notice of such a messenger and 
message from God, we cannot wonder, 
that especially to one born and trained 
a heathen, this prostration should have 
been his first impulse. Or even if it 
was not meant for worship, but only as 
an expression of profound reverence, 
Peter resists it as at least seeming to 
be an unwarranted homage, which he, 
as being only a man, could not accept. 
^ Imysel/aho. Peter saw in Cornelius a 



possible misapprehension as though he 
was taking him for a Divine being ; and 
implies that this might be inferred from 
his act. But as Peter had been plain- 
ly set forth in the vision as being a 
man, we may suppose that Cornelius 
had no settled intent of paying him Di- 
vine worship, but that Peter revolted 
at such an appearance of evil. He had 
in the vision been shown that all men 
are on the same footing in God's sight. 
Our Lord was often so worshiped and 
did not resist it. Matt. 8 : 2 ; 9 : 18 ; 
14:33. The Pope permits such adora- 
tion of himself, and thus profanely puts 
himself in the place of God. 2 Thess, 
2:4; see Rev. 19 : 10 ; 22 : 9 ; ch. 14: 
14, 15. 

27. Talked with him. Rather, asso- 
ciating familiarly with him, to show how 
he put himself on a level with him, 
both as a man with fellow man, and as 
a .Jew with a Gentile, vs. 28. ^ En- 
tered in — ta^he room from the court. 
IT Many. The number was remarkable 
enough to be noted here. 

28. Ye. Peter here at once cornea 
to the point explaining his presence. 
He declares that the law or custom 
which they were so well aware of and 
so much interested in, prohibiting the 
association of Jews with Gentiles, had 
been expressly set aside by God. The 
Jews professed at this time to find such 
a prohibition in the laws of Moses ; and 
though no express command could be 
found, this was the interpretation oi 
their Rabbins or Doctors, and it was 
the common practice of that time. Ju 
venal and Tacitus tell us tl»at even the 
Jews who lived at Rome observed thi* 



808 



THT ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 



[A. D. 40. 



29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I 
was sent for : I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me ? 

30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting 
'Matt.Vs%. until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, 
and, behold, » a man stood before me ' in bright clothing. 
31 x\nd said, Cornelius, "thy prayer is heard, ^ and 
thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 



Mark 10; 5. 
Li:ke -li ■ 4. 
u vs. i. &c 



rule. T[ IIoic that it is — that it is. The 
epirit of the Mosaic economy was 
doubtless to keep the Jews separate 
from the heathen, and to prevent their 
intermingling -with the Gentiles, until 
the coining of Christ should bring in 
the time for the universal spread of the 
true religion. ^ Keep company. Lit- 
erally, to cleave to. The term is used 
in the sense of adhering to a party, and 
implies very habitual association, such 
as lodging and eating together, as being 
on a level. ^ Come unto. That is, on 
terms of social equality — such as eat- 
ing and dwelling with them would 
show. In ch. 11:3, it is defined as 
eating zvith them. The Jews did not re- 
fuse all intercourse with the Gentiles. 
John 4 : 8, 9. ^ But. Rather, and. 
He means to say, "ye know" the rig- 
orous custom ; and yet, for all that, 
God hath showed me (by the vision,) 
no one common or uncleati to call (tvho is) 
a man. Though Peter in his discourse 
at Pentecost declares that the Gospel 
is to be universally spread abroad, (ch. 
2 : 39,) yet it was necessary to show 
him by vision this simple truth, so un- 
welcome to the Jewish pr^udice and 
so contrary to their practice, that men 
of all nations were to be acknowledged 
as on the same footing in the sight of 
God. The first idea was that the 
Gentiles were to come into the Church 
only by becoming converts to Judaism. 
29. Therefore. Therefore also I came. 
Not only had God showed him this 
truth, but for this reason he had 
come. This would account f,)r his 
presence there among them. \ With- 
out gainsaying. Literally, without say- 
ing anything to the contrary — without 
disputing or debating. ^ As toon as. 
Literally, Having been sent for. This 
is introduced not to show the prompt- 
ness cf his compliance, but the fact of 



their call — and this was to introduce 
the question which follows. ^ / ask 
therefore. Literally, / ask then. If For 
■what intent — on what account. Peter 
had heard from the messengers that 
Cornelius was directed by an angel to 
send for him and to hear words of him, 
(vs. 22.) But this was indefinite, and 
would naturally excite in Peter a de- 
sire to hear from Cornelius himself the 
full particulars in so important a case. 

30. Four days ago. Literally, from 
the fourth day. Cornelius sent the 
messengers to Joppa on the day of the 
vision, where they arrived the day 
following, (vs. 29.) The next day 
they started for Cesarea, and reached 
it on the fourth. He means here to 
say, that on the fourth day previous, he 
had fasted until this hour of that day — 
that is, until the hour in which he was 
speaking — the sixth hour ; the hour of 
the mid-day meal, or twelve o'clock at 
noon. This is mentioned by the cen- 
turion, to show that he was observing 
the Jewish ordinances of fasting and 
prayer, as a convert from heathenism 
to the true religion. Tf The ninth hour. 
Three o'clock, P. M. The fast contin- 
ued until then. "^ In my house. Not 
ostentatiously, but domestically. Ob- 
serve. — Household worship — family 
prayer and the family altar — will be 
established by every true worshiper of 
God, and God will honor domestic piety 
to the salvation of the household, vs. 
44. f A man. The same that Luke 
in the uai'rative calls an angel, vs. 3. 
He was a supernatural messenger in 
human form, and in bright shining rai- 
ment, showing the Divine glory by 
which he was commissioned. 

31. Arid said. Cornelius here gives 
the main ideas of the Divine message 
in his own language. This is accepted 
as sufficient for all purposes in making 



A. D. 40] 



CHAP. X. 



;>2 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hitbei Simon, whose surname 
is Peter ; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner, hj the 
sea-side : who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. 



well done that thou art come. 



:Chron. 19:7. 

Now therefore are we all rJ;'^*,'.'?; 



manded thee of God. ifj.'uh. 

34 ^ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ? Of a L°m.lVil-2T, 
truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons : w'^H'^is!^''' 

35 But * in every nation he that feareth him, and oars?!?"' 
workcth righteousness, is accepted with him. audslc"'^^' 



an accurate report. f T/iy prayer. 
Not referring to any particular prayer, 
necessarily — but thy praying in gene- 
ral. Or it may refer to a very special 
prayer made by Cornelius on the fast 
day for Divine illumination. The lat- 
ter is more probable. God does not 
regard prayers that are made without 
an object, but answers particular re- 
quests : and this He does not in the gen- 
eral but in particular. Yet his prayer 
at this time was doubtless the represen- 
tative of his other prayers — the bur- 
den of which was, that he might be 
enlightened and guided in the truth — 
for the answer was to this effect. If -^« 
htard. Rather, was heard, at the time. 
^ Had ill remembrance. Rather, were 
remembered — as if noted in God's book 
of remembrance at the time. In vs. 
4, it is, "thy prayers and thine alms 
have (ascended) come up for a memo- 
rial before God." 

32. Call hither. In vs. 5, "send 
for." 1 lie is lodged. In vs. 5, the 
same word is rendered "ho lodgeth." 
^ When he cometh. Literally, who hav- 
ing come — when he is come. \ Shall 
speak unto thee. " Shall tell thee what 
thou oughtest to do," vs. G — "hear 
words of thee," vs. 22. 

33. Immediately therefore — for this 
reason — see vs. 7. '^ Good ground," 
says Bengel, ^'from ivhich there is so 
quick a yield." ^And thou — (emphatic) 
— on thy part, f ITast done ivell. Pe- 
ter's coming entirely falls in with the 
message of Cornelius to him, and gives 
great satisfaction. This is said, to put 
Peter's mind at rest — that he had 
some in obedience to the .Divine call 

18* 



tlirough Cornelius. % Before God — 
with a sense of the Divine presence, 
and as expecting to receive a message 
from God. Observe. — The message 
from the sacred desk ought to be at- 
tended upon as in the presence of God. 
T[ To hear all things. This is the right 
spirit of docility — to "hear what God 
the Lord will speak," (Psalm 85 : 8.) 
f Commanded thee. Expressly appoint- 
ed— ordered. This is a military term, 
and denotes special orders given. Cor- 
nelius does not doubt that God, who 
had promised that Peter would speak 
to him and tell him what he ought to 
do, had given a message to Peter for 
him. He recognizes no authority in 
Peter personally, but only as the mes- 
senger of God to him. It is God, and 
not Peter, that he and his household 
worship. 

34. Opened his mouth. This denotes 
a solemn and special address. See 8 : 
35. ^ Of a truth, &c. / apprehend 
clearly, (not any longer dimly'and un- 
certainly,) that God is no respecter of 
persons— literally, "no lifter up cf the 
face " — from the Hebrew phrase 
which denotes a partiality in adminis- 
tering justice. He means that God does 
not nceept a .Jew because he is a Jew — 
nor wy.-ci a Gentile because he is such. 
He is not swayed by any such mere 
outward and national considerations, 
as is the case with men, Jas. 2 : 1-9. 
Peter, in his first Epistle, again refers 
to this important truth that was now 
so clearly conveyed to him, 1 Peter 1 : 
17. See 2 Chron. 19:7; Lev. 19 : 15. 

35. But (on the contrary) in every 
nation — without respect to mere na- 



210 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40. 



elsa. B7: 


U. 


Eph. :i:14 


,16, 


Col 1:20. 




fc Matt, a 


:1R. 


Rom. 10: 


■1. 


• Cor. 15: 


■n. 


K U, 1 : 2( 




1 let. E:l 




Rev. 17:1 


,and 


19:lr>. 




c Luke t : 


U. 



36 The word which God sent unto the children of 
Israel, •preaching peace by Jesus Christ; (''he is Lord 
of allj) 

37 That word, / say, ye know, which was published 
throughout all Judea, and " began from Galilee, after the 
baptism which John preached ; 



tional distinctions, as niiglit have been 
inferred from the Jewish economy — 
for in Christ Jesus there is neither 
Greek nor Jew (Col. 3 : 11,) Rom. 2: 
28, 29. 1 Feareih him. This does not 
put all religions on an equality, but all 
nations. This fear of God is that filial 
fear which leads to a cheerful obedience. 
Peter in his Epistle speaks of the same, 
(1 Pet. 1 : 17, 18,) "If ye call on the 
Father who, toithout respect of persons, 
judgeth according to every man's work, 
pass the time of your sojourning here 
iu fear. Forasmuch as ye know that 
ye were not redeemed with corruptible 
things, as silver and gold, but with the 
pi^cious blood of Christ." This shows 
that Peter did not teach that fearing 
God and working righteousness were 
in themselves to make us accepted 
with God — but he declares the fact, 
that whoever is of such character and 
conduct is one who is accepted, being 
redeemed with the precious blood of 
Christ — and this no matter of what 
nation he mny be — Jew or Greek. See 
vi3. 43. PiMre c.'income only by Jesus 
Christ, vs. oij. Peter had received in- 
formation on this point, viz. that na- 
tional distinctions could put no barrier 
in the way of a man's salvation, and 
hence that a Gentile, because he is a 
Gentile, is not excluded. He, on the 
other hand, means to teach that some- 
thing more than a mere external, cer- 
emonial obedience is necessary, and 
that a Jew, because he is " a Jew out- 
wardli/," is not accepted. He does not 
teach that every heathen's natural light 
is sufficient, nor that a moralist's good 
works can save him, for he immedi- 
ately proceeds to preach Christ, and 
^^ peace by Jesus Christ," as the vital 
word or doctrine. 

2u. The word — the doctrine, ov teach- 
ing. Peter appeals to them now In re- 
gard to the notable facts of the Qcs- . 



pel history and of the Gospel message. 
Some connect this wijth vs. 34, as 
the thing perceived by Peter. The 
construction might admit of this, but 
the sense is not so appropriate. This 
Divine communication was first made 
to the children of Israel in the Gospel 
of the Old Testament ; but especially 
in the preaching of the New Testament 
by Peter himself at Pentecost, (ch. 2 ; 
22, 38 ; 3 : 26. ) 1[ Preaching. Lite- 
rally, Evangelizing — publishing as good 
news. This was the fact of which they 
had heard, though they had not as yet 
apprehended it by faith. \ Peace. 
Peace with God. Zech. 6 : 13. '< The 
counsel of peace." " He is our Peace 
who hath made both one, and hath 
broken down the middle wall of parti- 
tion between us." "Preached peace 
to you that were afar off and to those 
that were nigh." Eph. 2 : 14, 17 ; Col. 
1 : 20 ; Rom. 5 : 1 . \ Heis Lord of all. 
This clause is thrown in here to ex- 
press the great pertinent truth that 
this Jesus Christ, who is preached, 
sustains the same original relation to 
all men, Jew and Gentile. This is in- 
deed the very vital point. Rom. 1:16; 
3:29, 30; 10:12. 

37. That uwrd. Literally, the matter 
iL'hich became — the thing which came to 
pass, or the history which went abroad. 
They had learned something of Christ's 
life and works already in Cesarea. 
Philip resided there, ch. 8 : 40, and 
may likely have preached there, as he 
preached before at Samaria, &c., and 
was the "Evangelist." Some have 
supposed that this was the centurion 
who was present at Christ's crucifixion, 
since troops from Cesarea were often 
sent to Jerusalem to keep the peaco 
during the great festivals. IMatt. 27 : 
44. *^ Began from Galilee. Christ did 
some preliminary works in Judea be- 
fore John was put into priscn. But 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. X. 



38 How *God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the fb^'^Vj^'i 
Holy Ghost and witi power : who went about doing good, Hlb"'i:9. 
and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; e f^^ e.iohii3:2. 
God was with him. 

39 And 'we are witnesses of all things which he did, f^^-^-^'^- 
both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; « whom s=i>. 5;3o. 
they slew and hanged on a tree : 



His regular formal entrance upon His 
ministry began in Galilee, wUither He 
departed and began His public labors 
as soon as John was imprisoned. Matt. 
4 : 12, 17. T After the baptism. John's 
ministry is called the baptism which 
he preached, for it is so described Ly 
the Evangelists, that he preached the 
baptism of repentauce for the remission 
of sins. (Mark 1:4.) Observe. — 
The belief of Christians is based on 
great matters of fact, in the personal 
history of Jesus Christ. 

38. How. Literally, Jesus, the one 
who was from Nazareth, how God anoint- 
ed Him. This Jesus was the Person 
who was the subject of the word preach- 
ed. It was not an idea, nor a mere 
theory. But it was fact in x-egard to a 
Person who was well known. And the 
religion of Christ rests upon a solid 
historical basis, and the facts are as 
fully attested as any history whatever, 
the supernatural facts along with the 
rest, so that it is matter of history that 
this religion is from God. ^ Anointed. 
This anointing of Christ by the visible 
descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him 
at His baptism, was the opening fact 
in the history of His public ministry, 
(Matt. 4 : 12-17,) though He was wit- 
nessed to as the Messiah in His incar 
nation. Observe. — How entirely the 
Apostle confiaes himself in his preach- 
ing here to the Person, and offices, .and 
work of Christ, as he did also iu his 
preaching at the Pentecost, (ch. 2 : 
14, &c.) 1" With power. The Holy 
Spirit was given without measure unto 
Him, and " all power in heaven and 
on earth," (Matt. 28:10.} His mir- 
acles were the standing proof of His 
Divine commission. ^ Who went about. 
This is the inspired description of our 
Lord's life and labors of love. Who 
went about, or went every where, (as 



i the word is rendered, ch. 8:4,) do- 
ing good. The use which Christ made 
of this Divine power proved that He 
was a Divine Being. "He did no sin," 

I (1 Pet. 2 : 22. ) He did good and noth- 
ing else — good in all forms of benefi- 
cence. He wrought no miracle for any 
thing else but good. Where He bade the 
devils depart into the swine, (Matt. 
8 : 30,) there was a loss to the owners, 
but the keeping of swine was prohibit- 
ed among the Jews, and much good 
was there in sending the devils out of 
men, even if they we.nt from them into 
the swine I ^ Healing all, &c. That is, 
all who sought His healing, or who 
were brought to His notice. *^ Oppress- 
ed. The term means tyrannized over, 
(James 2:6,) down-trodden. This in- 
cludes cases of demoniacal possessions 
and diseases. The former is specially 
alluded to, as being the highest form 
of Satanic agency in the natural world. 
1[ For. His miracles proved that God 
was with Him, as Nicodemus declared, 
John 3 : 2. INliracles were wrought 
to prove this, and they were acknow- 
ledged to be conclusive evidence. Be- 
sides, He was " God," as well as '^with 
God," John 1 : 1. 

39. We. The Apostles were raised 
up and commissioned for this, to be 
witnesses of Christ's works and re- 
surrection, (ch. 1 : 22,) and their 
testimony was confirmed by the Holy 
Ghost, Heb. 2 : 2, 8. T Whovi they 
slew. Lit., Whom also — another and 
important item in the history. Tlii? 
was done at Jerusalem, and other 
things in the country of the Jews, 
comprising all the Holy Land. T[ And 
hanged. "^ Slew [by] hanging [him) on a 
tree. See ch. 2 : 23 ; 3 : 14 ; 4 : 10; 
5 : 30, where Peter addressed the Jews 
who were actors, but here he address- 
es Gentiles, (see note, ch. 5 : 30,) and 



212 

h ch. 5 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40. 



tJcln 1< :17,22. 
cb. 13:31. 
*Luke->4 30-43. 
Jolm21-H. 
I Matt. i8 1 18,20. 



40 Him " God raised up the third day, and shewed him 
openly ; » 

41 'Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen 
ch^n^lv'''"' before of God, even to us, "who did eat and drink with 

him after he rose from the dead. 

42 And ' he commanded us to preach unto the people, 
and to testify "" that it is he which was ordained of God 
to be the Judge ° of quick and dead. 

43 " To him give all the prophets witness, that through 
his name p whosoever believeth in him shall receive remTs- 
sion of sins. 



Rom. 14 : 9, 10, 
2 Cor. 5. 10. 
2 Tim. 4:1. 
1 Pet. 4:5. 
o Isa. 53 : 11. 
Jer. 31:34. 
Dan 9:24. 
Mic. 7:18. 
Zeoh. 13:1. 



though Cornelius was a Roman soldier 
and that class crucified Him, j'et as a 
class they were not charged with it, but 
the .Jews who procured it. 

40. Him. Lit., This one, whom men 
had so treated — God raised up. Peter 
having set forth the great fact of the 
crucifixion of Christ, passes now to His 
resurrection. *^ The third day. Impor- 
tant, because according to prophecy ; 
ard hence a fact in itself conclusive of 
the Divine work. ^ Shewed him, &c. 
Literally, Gave Him to become manifest, 
ch. 2 : 27. Christ visibly appeared to 
many after his resurrection, (1 Cor. 
15:5-8.) 

41. Not to all. He showed Himself 
after his resurrection, not to the out- 
side world of unbelievers, but only to 
His chosen Disciples, Matt. 21 : 44 ; 
see Luke 24 : 43 ; John 21 : 12-17. 
^ Chosen before. The term refers to 
election i*— raising the hand. Their 
choice wu., beforehand — before the 
foundation of the world, (John 17 : 6,) 
but here noted as before the event 
which He so clearly saw and provided 
for, as also He predicted it to them, 
(John 16:7.) ^ Who ate and drank 
with liim, and thus were enabled to 
witness of His real body, (John 21 : 
12,) and of its being the same person 
with whom they liad been familiar, 
Luke 22: 18; 24: 41, 43. 

42. Commanded. That is, as He 
ascended, (Matt. 27.) His ascension 
Is thus referred to here. This was 
the Apostolic commission, ♦' Go ye 
therefore and teach all nations," &c. 
\ Preach. The term refers to the pub- 



lic announcements of heralds. ^ Unto 
the people. The word commonly de- 
notes the Jewish people, and the Apos- 
tles had been charged to begin at Je- 
rusalem, though they were to " teach 
all nations." 1" Testify. The term is 
intensive, and means to thoroughly tes- 
tify. *^ That it is He. lAt. , That Him- 
Sflfis the one. 1" Ordained — designated, 
Rom. 1:4. ^ Judge. That He is the 
Judge of all men, as well as Lord of all, 
is proof that He is not confined to any 
nation in His scheme of grace. Paul 
brings forward the same idea to the 
same effect, showing the universal obli- 
gation to repent, from this fact of 
Christ's relation to all men as Judge, 
(ch. 17 : 31.) T Quick — living men — 
all who shall be alive at the time of 
His coming to judgment, (1 Cor. 15 : 
52;) 1 Thess. 4: 10, 17. 

43. All the prophets. See Luke 24 ; 
27, 44. " The testimony of Jesus is the 
spirit of prophecy," (Rev. 19:10;) 
Isa. 28: 16; Dan. 9 ; 24 ; Micah 7 : 
18; Zech. 13 : 1 ; Malachi 3 : 1. 
The whole Old Testament is full of 
Christ. Though Peter was addressing 
Gentiles, yet the proof from fulfilled 
prophecy is adapted to all minds, and 
ought to carry conviction. The drift 
of prophecy in regard to Christ is, that 
He is the Saviour of Sinners. This is 
the burden of the Old Testament pre- 
dictions, and in this light Peter holds 
Him up — that this Lord and Judge of 
all men is the Saviour of all who be- 
lieve in Him. This would apply t* 
those before His advent, and to all men 
since, that every one (Jew or Gentilel 



A. I). 40.] 



CHAP. X. 



218 



44 ^ While Peter yet spake these words, « the Holy g:^^,^'/;,*^ 
Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. andiiiis. 

45 ■■ And they of the circumcision which believed were ' ''"• ^'• 
astonished, as many as came with Peter, ^ because that on '/aKs.'uf * 
the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy 
Ghost. 

46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God 
Then answered Peter, 

47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be iuS'isVels. 
baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost *as -^vcll ''°™-^°=^^ 
as we ? 



believing in Him, (orupoa Him,) receiv- 
ing and resting upon Him alone for 
salvation, shall receive remission (for- 
giveness) of sins. This is the sub- 
stance of the prophet's testimony, Isa. 
53 : 1 ; 55 : 1, &c. 

44. Here occurs the Gentile Pente- 
cost, very much like the Jewish Pen- 
tecost at Jerusalem. "While Peter 
yet spake these words" of a Gospel for 

ALL nations and FOR "WHOSOEVER 

WILL," the Holy Ghost honored the 
message. The baptism of the Holy 
Ghost was here given before the water 
baptism, to show that it was not 
from Peter, or by his office-work, but 
directly from God. This will show us 
that the Holy Spirit is not so tied to 
the ordinance of baptism, as to be de- 
pendent on it, and that the regenera- 
ting efficacy does not lie in the rite of 
baptism. Simon Magus was baptized 
without being renewed, (ch. 8 : 13, 22,) 
and here men are renewed without 
baptism or circumcision. It was an 
important lesson, that the grace of 
3rod is not confined to external observ- 
inccs, though these be his ordinary 
channels of bestowing grace. ^ The 
tvord — who were hearing the word, or 
discourse which he preached. 

45. The circumcision. The believing 
Jews of the company, spoken of in vs. 
23, loho came with Peter, ch. 11:2; 
Gal. 2 : 12 ; Titus 1 : 10. f Gentiles 
also, as well as Jews previously, vs. 
47. They seem to have clung to the 
idea that the heathen must first become 
proselyten, at least, and come into the 
Church through Judaism by circumci- 
sion, &c. Yet here they saw an out- 



poiu-iug of the Holy Ghost like that 
upon the Jews and proselytes at Pen- 
tecost. 

46. For. The plain proof of the 
Spirit's outpouring was in the gift of 
tongues. This made it manifest by 
their miraculous speech in unknown 
dialects, as at Pentecost, that they had 
received the same gift. The miracu- 
lous gift was imparted, not only for 
itself, but also to make manifest the 
inward spiritual gift, and to aid in 
breaking down the wall of separation 
between Jews and Gentiles, which had 
been kept up so much by the diflFerence 
of speech. Thus was the Gentile Pen- 
tecost. \ Magnify God. "Speaking 
the wonderful works of God," ch. 2 : 
11, using these forms of speech in de- 
claring the praises of God. 

47. Can any one. Literally, is any 
one able to forbid. Has any one power 
to forbid or hinder the water — namely — • 
which is Divinely appointed to sym- 
bolize in the baptismal ordinance the 
influence of the Holy Spirit. This vis- 
ible sign was required even though the 
spiritual grace which it signified had 
been bestowed. Alford remarks that 
"the expression here, ^forbid water,' 
shows that the practice was to bring 
the water to the candidates, not the can' 
didates to the water. And this is ren- 
dered certain when we remember that 
they were assembled in the house. 
He does not say, "Can any man forbid 
me to bid these go forth to the water, &c." 
but " Can any man forbid the water, 
(with the article,) the water at hand." 
So the eunuch said, "See here is wa« 
ter, what doth hinder me to bo bap 



S14 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D 40. 



E Ob. 2 8£, anl 



name of the Lord 
days. 

CHAPTER 



in the 
Then prayed ihey him to tarry certain 



XI. 



1 And the apostles and brethren that ivcre in Judca heard that 
the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 



tized?" He does not say, see here is 
deep water, or sufficient. But water 
was all that was needed. It is cer- 
tainly clear that nothing is hinted of 
immersion as being requisite, nor any- 
thing said of " going tender the water'." 
T Who have received, &c. The ground 
of the claim to baptism here is the ac- 
tual reception of the Holy Spirit enti- 
tling them to the seal of God's cove- 
nant. Baptism is a privilege of mem- 
bership in the visible Church, not an 
ordinance for introducing persons to 
the Church. Infants of believers are 
baptized, because they are included 
with their parents in God's covenant 
and reckoned with them as yet, not 
because they are presumed to have the 
Holy Spirit. This outpouring of the 
Spirit upon the Gentiles shut out the 
question which else must have arisen, 
whether these must not be circumcised 
before baptism. 

48. Re commanded, &c. This is not 
the same term as is so translated in vs. 
42, but refers rather to giving direc- 
tion. He did this according to his own 
full commission. See vs. 33. One 
reason may have been to commit these 
brethren to the matter, so that they 
would abide by this course of action 
and not easily be led away by the Jews. 
Moreover, the Apostles, as Paul, seem 
rather to have administered baptism 
through others, (ch. 2 : 38 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 
14-17 ; see John 4 : 2,) lest any rite 
should overshadow the preaching of 
the word, see ch. 6 : 2, and lest those 
baptized by our Lord, or by chief Apos- 
tles, should claim some pre-eminence 
on that account. ^ In the name. In 
ch. 2 : 38, the preposition used means 
upon, on profession of the name. Here 
it is "in" the name — by the authority 
of, and in the confession of the name — 
m recognition and adoption of the 



name of the Lord Jesus. Cornelius had 
already professed the name of God. 
He had now to confess his faith in Jesus 
as the Messiali. The terms here do not 
give the form of baptism, but the sub- 
stantial profession. Tf Then, &c. They 
expressed their kind feeling toward 
these servants of the Lord. Peter was 
thus made a guest of the Gentiles, (see 
ch. 11:3,) and openly declared thus 
that a Jew could eat with Gentiles who 
feared God. 

CHAPTER XI. 

§18. Peter bepobts to the CiiuEcn 
AT Jerusalem his Vision and the 
RECEPTION OF DEVOUT GENTILES, 

AND VINDICATES HIS COURSE IN CON- 
SORTING WITH THEM. Jerusalem. 
Ch. 11 : 1-18. 

1. This conduct of Peter, so novel, 
so unheard of, so contrary to the 
usages of the Jewish Church — in re- 
ceiving Gentiles to the Church without 
circumcision — had been justified to his 
own mind by a special revelation from 
God. It was now to be vindicated to 
his Jewish brethren. ^ The Apostles. 
John and James were there at this 
time, (ch. 8:14; 12 : 2,) besides oth- 
ers without doubt, and "the brethren" 
— the Church members belonging to 
different Churches in Judea, both Jews 
and proselytes. See Gal. 1 : 22. It 
was not surprising that so remarkable 
an event should soon be heard of at 
Jerusalem and throughout that wnolo 
region of country. They heard that 
the Gentiles also, (or heathen,) for this 
was the first spreading of the Gospel 
beyond the Jewish pale in such a way 
as to open the door to the whole hea- 
then world — " had received the word of 
God" — that is, had had the Gospel 
preached to them, and had embraced 



A. D. 40.] 



CHAP. XL 



215 



2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, • they SSl'zaa**" 
that were of the circumcision contended with him, 

3 Saying, "Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, "and coVaiu: 
didst eat with them. 

4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning. 

and expounded it ^hy order unto them, saying, <ji.r.kei3. 

5 »1 was in the city of Joppa praying : and in a trance « o"-"* =».*«»■ 
I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been 

a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners ; and it came 
even to me. 

6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, 
and saw four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping 
tilings, and fowls of the air. 



it — the Gentiles also, as well as the 
Jews. They seem to have heard this 
report in the general, and some details, 
vs. 13, and the offensive features of the 
case were made prominent, vs. 3. 

2. Of the circumcision. When Pe- 
ter went up, (from Cesarea, whither he 
had gone from Joppa,) those belonging 
to the circumcision — Jewish converts to 
Christianity — probably the proselytes, 
who would feel that an unfair distinc- 
tion was made in favor of these Gen- 
tiles who were admitted to the Church 
without circumcision — or, the Jewish 
believers generally, who are referred 
to as sticklers for circumcision — con- 
tended — had a difference with him. 
One of the fathers tells us that Cerin- 
thus, who was afterwards a noted her- 
etic in Asia Minor, and against whose 
denial of Christ's divinity John is said 
by seme to have written his Gospel 
history, was active in exciting this 
contention against Peter. It is plain 
that Peter "was not regarded by the 
primitive Church as supreme and infal- 
Ijble. 

3. The ground of the accusation 
hras that he put himself on a level of 
social equality with Gentiles, contrary 
to the most acknowledged usages of 
the Jews. This was even so strcog 
and rooted a feeling, that Peter him- 
self afterwards, in a moment of temp- 
tation, yielded to it, and was sharply 
reproved by Paul for his inconsistency, 
(Gal. 2 : 11.) But there was be- 
hind this a craT.er complaint — that he 
bad set aaiue Judaism altogether by 



admitting Gentiles to the Church with- 
out circumcision. ^ Didst eat. This 
eating together was counted a serious 
offense. And hence we see the sig- 
nificance of the scene in the vision, 
and of the command to eat the clean 
and unclean without distinction. 

4. Rehearsed. Literally, beginning, 
set forth to them in order. The facts 
were his best argument. lie needed 
only to show the Divine authority. 
Our Christian faith is founded on great 
facts divinely authenticated. The rep- 
etition of this history by Peter, shows 
how important was this early conflict 
between Christianity and Judaism. 

5-11. The particulars are recited 
with some slight, unessential varia- 
tion of language, just as any one 
would relate the same history, but not 
in the very same words, at different 
times. This variation does not con- 
flict with truth in any other narratives, 
and fairly judged, they only confirm 
the truth here. If Came even unto me. 
This is an additional particular not 
given before. In ch. 10 : 11, the ves- 
sel is described as '♦ let down to the 
earth." 

6. The terms here used are such as 
to show not merely the facts — but Pe- 
ter's own impressions — and that he 
was not deceived, but most earnestly 
gazed and examined the objects set so 
directly before him. Literally upon 
ivkich, having ZooA:6c^ earnestly, 1 consid- 
ered and saw. There could have been 
no mistake. 



21G 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40 

7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat 

8 But I said. Not so, Lord : for nothing common or unclean hath 
at any time entered into my mouth. 

9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath 
cleansed, that call not thou common. 

10 And this was done three times : and all were drawn up again 
into heaven. 

11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come 

unto the house where I was, sent from Cesarea unto me. 

12 And 'the spirit bade me go with them, nothing 

doubting. Moreover * these six brethren accompanied me, 

and we entered into the man's house : 

A ch. 10:30. 23 ''And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his 

house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, 

and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter ; 

14 "Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house 
shall be saved. 



/ John 16:13. 
oh. 10-19, and 
15:7. 
fch. 10:23. 



8. Peter here repeats his own first 
reply, to show that he had at first felt 
as much repugnance as his accusers, 
to any such ceremonial defilement. 
^ Entered into my mouth. This is Pe- 
ter's language of defense, stronger 
than Luke's narrative, as if spoken 
with emotion. 

10. All were drawn up. Luke 
speaks, (ch, 10,) of the vessel: Peter 
here speaks of the animals, as most 
important for answering the charge. 

11. Immediately. Peter uses this 
■word, and "behold," and "already,'" 
to call attention to the direct and im- 
portant connection between the vision 
and the transaction, as showing the 
Divine meaning of the vision and the 
authority for his action ^ Sent. The 
fact was that they were sent by Divine 
direction, and here lies the force of 
this statement. 

12. The Spirit. He now declares 
the Divine command under which he 
proceeded. T" Nothiixy doubti?iy. Lit- 
erally, nothing debating, or disputing 
with myself. He refers to the fact that 
he had grievous doubts, but that he 
was commanded to make no question 
and to go forward. This is aimed at 
these doubters as an authority quite 
conclusive against their scruples — and j 
to show thai, he acted thus not from j 
any less repugnance to the questiona- 



ble course, but simply because he was 
so commanded by God. T These six 
brethren. Peter took the precaution 
to have " ^/(«e brethren" accompany 
him to Jerusalem, who went with him 
from Joppa to Cesarea, and witnessed 
the transaction there, (ch. 10: 23, 24.) 
He may have taken them to Cesarea 
with this view. ^ The man's house — 
i. e. of Cornelius — who was understood 
as referred to — the person who was no- 
torious as the actor in this important 
event — who is not named as being the 
uncircumcised man all along spoken of. 

13. An angel. Literally, the angel. 
It would seem that the hearers may 
have already become familiar with the 
story, or that Peter had given it to 
them more fully than is here recorded, 
or that it was the same angel who ap- 
peared to Cornelius and Peter, which 
stood and said — giving him the best 
opportunity to assure himself of the re- 
ality before him. This angel was not 
seen in vision, but really appeared to 
Cornelius. 

14. Who shall tell thee. Ch. 10 : 6. 
" Who shall tell thee what thou ought- 
est to do" — ch. 10 : 22, " to hear words 
ef thee." ^ All I hy house. "By which 
THOU shall be saved, and all thy 
house" — as sharing the promise with 
thee, according to the HorsEHOLD 
Covenant. These words were to coino 



A. D. 40. J CHAP. XI. 217 

15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on 
them, 'as on us at the beginning. leh. 2:*. 

16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that 

he said, "John indeed baptized with water; but ^ye shall "hn*i":M"33. 
be baptized with the Holy Ghost. tll'ii-.V*- 

17 "^ Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as f°t^?^'' ''"'^ 
he did unto us who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, "»<=''• i=> =8- 9- 
" what was I, that I could withstand God ? ""''• '''^'^• 

18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, 

and glorified G-od, saying, "Then hath God also to the Ja^^^dls-J-k 
G-entiles granted repentance unto life. 



to Cornelius, and were to be words for 
his whole household's salvation. Thus 
God's covenant has always had tender 
regard to the households of his people. 
Plainly it is a household promise — for 
it is, that ALL HIS house should be 
SAVED, as well as himself, by these 
same words : and all the house were 
baptized with him, oh. 10 : 48, as 
members of the household of faith. 
This was elsewhere the case, ch. 16: 
15, 32-34; 1 Cor. 1 : 16. 

15. As I began, Peter thus calls 
attention to the great fact that it was 
not his speaking but the Spirit's out- 
pouring which did the work, and this 
was his warrant. And the Spirit de- 
scended so soon after Peter began to 
speak, as to show that it was in the 
Divine purpose, not in the human 
agency, that the explanation was to be 
found. (See Peter's discoui-se, ch. 10: 
31-44.) '^ As onus — as also. Peter 
aimed to show that the Gentiles had 
received the same spiritual gifts as the 
Jews at the beginning — at Pentecost ; 
and were thus equally recognized and 
honored by God as subjects of His 
grace. See vss. 17, 18. 

16. Then remembered. This promise 
of the baptism with the Holy Ghost 
was brought to Peter's mind in a spe- 
cial application. It was made just be- 
fore the Ascension, (see ch. 1 : 5,) 
and was connected with the promise 
of the Apostles being witnesses to 
His name unto the uttermost ends of 
the earth. Now it appears that tliese 
Gentiles were included in the promise, 
and were thus numbered with His 
followers, and no difference was put 

19 



between them and the Jews in the 
blessing. 

17. Forasmuch then, &c. The argu- 
ment is clear and conclusive. God 
had put the same seal of His grace 
upon both, and they were therefore en- 
titled to the same seals of the covenant. 
God had plainly gone beforehand in 
the whole matter and indicated His 
will ; and to refuse the inferior and sym- 
bolical ordinance, to withhold the sign 
after the thing signified had been given, 
would have been to withstand God. 
f The like gift. Literally, equal gift. 
1" Who believed. This is to be joined with 
both " them'^ and " us." To them (as 
also to us) believing — both they and we 
being believers in the Lord Jesus Christ; 
which is the essential matter in cither 
case, the proof of the Spirit's saving 
work, and the great requisite for sal- 
vation. 1[ What was I. Who theme as 
I — (/, then — iL'ho was I) able to hinder. 
He was only a minister by whose in- 
strumentality men were to believe, 
(1 Cor. 3: 5,) and what could he do but 
follow the Divine indication. ^ That I 
should. Literally, able to hinder (or 
forbid) God. Tl-at is, how had I any 
authority or power to hinder God. 
See ch. 10 : 44, 47. 

18. This testimony and appeal of 
Peter produced conviction, and led to 
a hearty and devout acquiescence. 
T[ They were silent, so as no longer to 
dispute the matter, and they glorified 
God for this amazing instance of His 
power and grace, f Then — so then. 
As much as to say, " This is the con- 
clusion — we admit the fact." Also 
to the Gentiles, (emphatic, as the great 



218 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A, D. 40 



J. eh. 8:1. 29 ^ pNow they which wore scattered abroad upon the 

persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far as 
Phenicc, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but 
unto thi Jews only. 

20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which 



point in dispute,) hath God granted [a,a 
His free gift and out of His sovereign 
grace, cb. 5 : 31,) repentance, lit., the 
repentance unto life. Observe. — How 
quietly and fraternally the primitive 
Church settled their controversies 
iu the presence of the Spirit's work. 
(See ch. C : 1, 7.) Afterwards, how- 
ever, this section of Jewish Christians 
became more difficult to conciliate. 
(Seech. 15:5.) 

I 19. The first Gentile Church. 

Antioch in Syria. Ch. 11 : 19-24. 

"The mystery hid from ages," the 
economy or dispensation of which Paul 
was appointed to preach, begins now 
to be actually unfolded in the history 
of the first Gentile Church, the Mother 
Church of Gentile Christendom. It 
will now be seen — what was for so 
many ages hidden, and what could 
never have been known except by Di- 
vine revelation — that the Gentiles are 
fellow-heirs and of the same body, and 
partakers of His promise in Christ by 
the Gospel, Eph. 3 : 3-G. 

19. The introduction of the Gospel 
to the Gentiles, as a great fact in the 
economy of grace, has now been set 
forth, so far as connected with Peter 
and his vision. The narrative now 
goes back to those dispersed Christians, 
who at Stephen's persecution went out 
from Jerusalem in different quarters, 
preaching the word, (ch. 8 : 2-4,) not 
only in Samaria, but quite outside of 
the Holy Land, as here appears. Here 
occurs a development of the Church 
in the same direction, but from quite 
a different point. Whether this in- 
gathering at Antioch occurred after 
that at Cesarea, or simultaneously with 
it, is not stated. Though the disper- 
eion occurred about A. D. 37, it is not 
certain how soon they reached Anti- 
och, nor how soon afterwards Barnabas 
VS3 sent down to them. AVe may sup- 



pose that these events were brought to 
pass at about the same time in both 
places, under these different ministries, 
and this latter event without the knowl- 
edge of the former. Yet it seems to 
have been four or five years after the 
dispersion before the two Apostolic 
Missionaries labored together there. 
See I 20. ^ Scattered abroad iipon 
— or, loho had dispersed in flying from 
the persecution that arose vpon Stephen — 
or, on account of Stephen — growing out 
of his debates and death. Tf Traveled. 
Lit., Passed through the Holy Land, &c. 
^ Phenice. The Phenician coast north 
of Palestine, including the great cities 
of Tyre, and Sidon, and Beirut. Our 
Lord had visited the borders of that 
region, (Matt. 15: 21.) *[ Cyprus. The 
famous island in the Mediterranean, 
opposite this Phenician coast, and con- 
nected with it by commerce, having 
such ports as Salamis on the east side 
and Paphos on the west, where Paul and 
Barnabas afterwards labored. See ch. 
13:6. Barnabas was a native of C.y- 
prus. ^ Antioch. This was the great 
capital of Syria, only second to Home 
and Alexandria in the whole empire ; 
the chief seat of enterprise and wealth 
looking toward the west. These points 
in Phenicia, and the island of Cyprua 
in the Mediterranean, and the city of 
Antioch in Syria, were in Gentile re- 
gions, and yet it is here expressly 
recorded that these dispersed ones 
from the Jerusalem Church, as they 
went preaching the word, were con- 
fined in their ministrations to the Jew» 
alone. And this is said as preparatory 
to the important fact which is an- 
nounced in the next verse, that somt 
of this dispersion preached to the Gen- 
tiles at Antioch. 

20. And. Rather, Sm< — in distinc- 
tion from the foregoing. It is here 
mentioned that some of those dispersed 
Christians preached not to Jews only. 



A. D. 40.] CHAP. Xi. 

when tliey -were come to Antioch, spake unto *the G-re- J.^Jj-. 
cians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 



210 



but to the Gentiles also. Some Tvere 
men of Cypi'us, natives of that island, 
and of Gyrene, in Africa. They were 
not any of tie Apostles — nor such as 
Philip, the deacon and evangelist, at 
Samaria — but private Ghristians. This 
is a new feature — that those unofficial 
disciples preach the Gospel, not in a 
formal, official way, yet as witness- 
bearers — "light bearers in the world" 
— publishing the good news wherever 
they went — as it was already recorded, 
ch. 8:4. Observe. — Private Chris- 
tians ought, in their spheres, to pub- 
lish the Gospel. They regard this as 
the exclusive duty of ministers, and 
hence not only do they not preach offi- 
cially in the pulpit, as they have no j 
license to do, but they do not proclaim 
the good news as they might and 
craglit to do, in conversation, by tracts, 
and daily manifold means. Until pri- 
vate Christians go out publishing the 
Gospel, there will be a fearful lack of 
instrumentalities in Christ's service, 
and the world will not be converted to 
God. ^ Cyrene. In Libya, Africa, 
(some think the same as Cairo,) from 
■which was "Simon of Cyrene," who 
bare Christ's cross, and Lucius of Cy- 
f ene, ch. 13:1; Mark 15 : 21. There 
was a synagogue of the Cyreneans 
at Jerusiilem, ch. 0:9. t The Gre- 
cians. The received Greek text has 
the word ^•Hellenists" — but the read- 
ing more commonly adopted of late, is 
Greeks — the original term being nearly 
the same. Gentiles are probably 
meant in distinction from Jews, vs. 
19. It would be nothing new to re- 
cord the carrying of the Gospel to the 
Hellenists ; while the object of the 
historian just here, is to record the 
steps by which the Mother Christian 
Church of the Gentiles was established 
at Antioch. This preaching — "evan- 
gelizing" — seems to have been done 
independently of the movement at Ce- 
saroa. Who these were is not stated 
— only that they were some of ike dis- 
persion, who pursuad a different course 
from that of those just mentioned in 



vs. 19, and who, as a special and noted 
feature of things, proclaimed as glad 
tidings the Lord Jesus unto the Gre- 
cians or Gentiles. A question has 
arisen here, whether these who are re- 
ferred to as preaching the word, had 
been formally set apart for this work. 
In ch. 8 : •!, it is recorded that the dis- 
persion — without distinction — "they 
that were scattered abroad went every 
where preaching the word." An in- 
stance is recorded of this preaching — 
that of Philip, the deacon, who was 
also " the Evangelist." But these in vs. 
20, are spoken of as "some of the dis- 
persion who were men of Cyprus and 
Cyrene." The impression would seem 
to be that they were private members, 
and that at this crisis, when all the en- 
ergies of the Church are to be brought 
out, a great work is to be done by 
the Church membership, who, driven 
abroad by persecution, and speaking 
of Jesus and publishing the good news 
in theii- private spheres, are made in- 
strumental of gathering the first Gen- 
tile Church. At any rate, the Holy 
Spirit has not chosen to give ar.y 
prominence to any ecclesiastical i>tlice 
in this case ; and we are left fairly to 
infer that they were unofficial men, 
who were the publishers of the good 
news here at the threshold of tho 
great missionary work. Tiiis example 
gives no countenance to official preach- 
ing by unordained men against the 
proper order of Christ's house, where 
it is established. But it points to the 
proper calling of private Christians to 
go abroad in all their spheres of daily 
business as publishers of tlie Gospel. 
God will every where bless such wit- 
ness-bearing of the discipleship. The 
age and crisis then specially called for 
it. The present time demands it also. 
And now, when the Church stands 
again at the threshold of her great 
missionary work — and is having new 
visions of her duty to the nations, the 
crisis demands that all Christians go 
forth as publishers of the Gospel by 
all means in their power. When sliaU 



t20 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 40. 



'h^^^Wij! 21 And ""tlie hand of the Lord was with viiem : and a 

.c;i.9:3o. great number believed, and ■ turned unto the Lord. 

22 ^ Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of tho 
church which was in Jerusalem : and they sent forth 
(eh. 9: 27. 'Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 

23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of 
u°'22?^'*^'*'"^ Grod, was glad, and "exhorted them all, that with purpose 

of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 
« eh. 3:5. 24 For he was a good man, and ^full of the Holy 



the nations be evangelized, unless pri- 
vate Cliristi.aus go abroad — merchants, 
mechanics, lawyers, physicians, far- 
mers; and all, as well as ministers — 
holding forth the word of life, as light- 
bearers in the world. Dean Alford, of 
the Church of England, remarks that 
"the Lord was pleased here to keep 
the Apostles at Jerusalem and to send 
forth private individuals to preach tlie 
Gospel elsewhere, to show that ho was 
not dependent upon ecclesiastical of- 
fice, or tho power and dignity given to 
certain men for the dispersion of His 
Gospel, but that he had made every 
Christian to be a declarer of, and mis- 
sionary for His Gospel, at His own 
proper time, and in his own way." — 
Homilies, p. 235. 

'2L The hand of the Lord, here 
means the Almighty power of God — 
the Spirit so applying the truth as to 
make it effectual to conviction and con- 
version. See Luke 1 : 66. This was 
a seal of approbation sot by God upon 
the work, according to the argument 
>f Peter in the case of the Cesareans, 
rs. 17. 

22. Tidings. Literally, the report, 
or word. ^ The church which teas in 
Jerusalem, was still the Mother Church. 
There were the Apostles, and there 
was the seat and centre, as yet, of the 
spreading Christianity. Of coiu-se 
they would soon get word of such a 
movement, ^ They sent forth. They 
^the Church — including "the Apos- 
tles and brethren," (see vs. 11,) — not 
merely " the Apostles," as in the case 
of the movement at Samaria sending 
fcwo of their number, (ch. 8: 14,) — but 
here the Church, now become familiar 
Tfitli this great fai!t of Church exten- 



sion, and sending not an Apostle, but 
an Apostolic Missionary — Barnaba*. 
This name means "son of exhorta- 
tion and of consolation," (ch. 4 : 36,) 
and, though a layman, ho may have 
been the best man for tho oeoneion. 
He was a Hellenistic Jew, a native of 
Cyprus, and was thus prepared to sym- 
pathize with the "men of Cyprus," 
who were already actively in the work. 
^ That he should go — go through (the 
land) as far as to Antioch — laboring a.^i 
ha went. The same terms are used as 
in vs. 19. 

23. Who having arrived, and seeing 
the grace of God, (as displayed so man- 
ifestly in the conversion of the Gen- 
tiles,) was glad — rejoiced. Whatever 
his prejudices or fears may have been, 
the sight of such a gracious work af- 
fected his Christian heart, as every 
.such ingathering aifects true Chris- 
tians, 'il Exhorted. The term in the 
original is kindred to that which means 
" consolation" in the interpreting of 
his name, (cb. 4 : 36,) " son of conso- 
lation," or of Paracleting. He did, 
therefore, what would be indicated by 
his name. He made no pica for the 
ancient ceremonial, but simplj', and in 
tender iidelity of address, urged them 
all to cleave to — to stand by — literally, 
abide by the Lord (Jesus,) — tvith 
the purpose of heart indicated in their 
movement, or that purpose which ia 
essential, with full purpose of and 
endeavor after new obedience. 

24. For. This verse adds tho ex- 
planation of this temper and conduct 
on the part of Barnabas; very muoh 
as if it had said, " For ho was a 'son 
of consolation' indeed." ^ A good maiu 
An Israelite indeed — a man of trua 



A- D. 42.] 



CHAP. XL 



221 



Ghost and of faith ; ^ and much people was added unto the IZ^^ii. 
Ijord. 

25 Then departed Barnabas to ' Tarsus, for to seek Saul : "^-^^m. 

26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto 
Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they 
assembled the'xselves j] with the church, "and taught much j!,°';.^"'** 
people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Jpei-t-il' 
Autioch. 



Christian goodness, who would rejoice 
to see the good work of grace go for- 
ward any where, and among all people. 
Observk. — Such a truly good man 
rejoices in conversions not only when 
they are within his own Church or 
dsuominatiou, but any ami everywhere, 
if only souls are truly converted to 
Christ. The exhortation of such an 
one to such converts would be to 
cleave to the Lord, to adhere to Christ 
with full purpose of and endeavor 
after new obedience. Tf FuU of the 
IIolij Ghost and of faith — possessing the 
ordinary and special gifts of the Spirit 
in an ample measure. \ Much people. 
Literally, a sufficient multitude. This 
was the resuU of his labors among 
them. This record of accessions had 
been previously made, see ch. 2 : 41, 
47 ; 5 : 14, and thus the advancing 
numbers of the Church are noted. 

2 20. Barnabas sent down to Anti- 
och BY THE Church at Jerusalem 
— Goes after Paul to Tarsus — 
Paul's second a^isit to Jerusalem 
— The Disciples first called 
"Christians." A. D. 42-43. Ch. 
11 ; 25-30. 

25. In ch. 9 : 27, we find Barnabas 
introducing the converted Saul to the 
Apostles in Jerusalem, and vouching 
for him there, and soon after, that new 
Apostle was sent down to Tarsus, his 
native city, to save him from the per- 
secuting crowd. Now this same Bar- 
nabas, naturally enough, thinks of 
such a man as the very one needed for 
this new field, because he knew of him 
as specially commissioned by God to 
the Gentiles, and as a faithful, earnest 
preacher of the Gospel, ready for la- 
borious self-denying work, ch. 9 : 27. 
It is not necessary to suppose that 
1»* 



Barnabas had any Church instructions 
to go after Saul in case the movement 
at Antioch should require it. It is 
much more probable, from the record, 
that it was by the Divine prompting 
that Barnabas took this step. It is au 
instance of the same kind of individ- 
ual, spontaneous enterprise, which 
more and more developes now in the 
history of the Church, and which is 
connected with the establishment of 
this first Gentile Church — the Mother 
Church at Antioch. 1" To seek Saul. 
Rather, to seek out — not knowing at 
which point he might be laboring, 
(Gal. 1 : 21,) but naturally looking for 
him where he had been sent down 
from Jerusalem, (ch. 9 : 27-30,) and at 
his native place. 

26. Found him. The term indicates 
some special search, as though he may 
not have been at Tarsus, but was 
searched out and found at length. 
How long Saul had been thereabouts 
since his departure from Jerusalem, 
does not appear, and is variously cal- 
culated. Putting his conversion at A. 
D. 37, he went to Tarsus at A. D. 40, 
(Gal. 1 : 21,) after a very brief visit to 
Jerusalem. He had probably labored 
somewhat in Syria and Cilicia, ch. 16: 
23, 41, whore he afterwards confirmed 
the Churclies he had previously estab- 
lished, and he may have come to An- 
tioch in A. D. 42, (see vs. 19.) ^ A 
whole year. We may suppose this to 
have been the year 42-43, in which 
latter the prophecy of a famine would 
be delivered by Agabus, and these two 
Apostles would bo found in A. D. 44, 
at Jerusalem, with the alms of the 
Church, "f Tl:ey assembled (together) 
with the church. They convened in the 
public and social assemblies for Chris- 
tian worship and instruction, and thej 



222 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 48. 



I'afi', and'ls?* 27 *i[And in these days came *" prophets from Jerusalem 
fcoTA'HI: unto Antioch. 

c'ch.'2i:"6. -8 And there stood up one of them named "AgalDus, 

and signified by the Spirit that there should be great 
dearth throughout all the world : which came to pass in the days of 
Claudius Ca3sar. 



taught much joeop/g— (literally, a sujji- 
cient multitude. ) This is what they ac- 
tually accomplished. Their labors 
were ample. 1[ Christians. Now that 
Jews aud Gentiles were to be gathered 
into one Church and communion, it was 
ordered in God's providence, that the 
body of believers should receive a new 
name, not national, but universal, and 
equally good for all people and all 
times ; "where there is neither Greek 
nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumci- 
sion," &c. (Col. 3:11.) The fact is 
here recorded that " the Disciples" (or 
followers of Christ,) were first called 
Christians here at Antioch, where the 
first Gentile Church was established. 
This name could not have been assum- 
ed by themselves, because it is used 
only twice in tlie New Testament be- 
sides this, and in a way to imply that 
it was a term of reproach and for which 
they were called to sufier. 1 Peter 4: 
16 ; ch. 20 : 28. Nor could it have 
been given to them by the Jews, for 
they would not thus have acknowledged 
the Messiahship of Jesus by applying 
the term Christ (or Messiah,) to his 
disciples. It was doubtless given to 
them by the heathen as a suitable name 
for distinguishing this body who were 
more and more prominent as followers 
of Christ, and would naturally be 
known by a name that should signify 
their relation to Ilim. The term it- 
self seems to be rather of Roman than 
Greek origin. Yet it was doubtless 
also by the Divine ord.ninmeat that this 
should come to be their name, and the 
word signifying called, elsewhere means 
called by God, or by Divine direction. 
(Matt. 2 : 12, 22 ; ch. 10 : 22 ; Heb. 8: 
5; 11: 7.) This was more than ten 
years after Christ left the earth. They 
accepted this name, however reproach- 
fully intended, and they gloried in it ; 
div3 often when threatened before ma- 



gistrates their only answer was, " I am 
a Christian." 

27. In these days. During this year 
which Paul and I5aruabas spent at An- 
tioch, vs. 26. ^ Prophets. These are 
referred to, chap. 13: 1; see also 15: 
32; 19_: 6; 21 : 9, 10. These were 
special inspired teachers, who, like the 
Prophets of the Old Testament, de- 
clared and expounded the will of God, 
not merely nor mainly predicting fu- 
ture events, as Agabus, but acting 
as messengers of God to the people. 
They spake under the immediate in- 
spiration of the Holy Ghost. This 
gift of New Testament prophesying is 
ranked by Paul above the gift of 
tongues. (1 Cor. 14: l,&c.) "^ From 
Jerusalem. This would indicate the 
interest felt by the Mother Church at 
Jerusalem in this first Gentile Church, 
and these prophets may have been spe- 
cially commissioned, as Barnabas was, 
though this does not appear, (vs. 
19, 21.) They are again referred to, 
and several of them are named, in ch. 
18:1. 

28. Stood up. This was a formal 
prediction. \ Agahus. This prophet 
is named again, ch. 21 : 10, 11, where 
he foretold that Paul should be deliv- 
ered up to the Gentiles. ^ Signified — 
made known. See Rev. 1:1. ^ By 
the Spirit. By inspiration, and as di- 
rectly communicated to Him by the 
Holy Spirit. So in ch. 21 : 10, where 
he prophesies, it is said, " These things 
saith the Holy Ghost." \ Dearth — 
famine. Josephus speaks of it in the 
same terms. f Throughout all the 
ivorld. The word here rendered "world" 
means "inhabited world." But it is 
often vised of a particular country, 
and might here be confined to Pales- 
tine. See vs. 29. Or it might mean 
the Roman Empire. (See Luke 2 : 1.) 
^ Claudius. Noless than /owr famines 



A. D. 43.] 



CHAP. XI. 



228 



29 Then the disciples, every man according to his 
ability, determiaed to send "^relief unto the brethren which f^^is^i" 
dwelt in Judea. '^"•*=^- 

30 "Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by "''•12:23. 
the hands of Barnabas and Saul. 



aro on record during this reign, ■whir.'i 
liegan A. D. 41, and continued thir- 
teen yenrs. At Rome, in the second 
year of his reign — in Greece, in the 
ninth year — in the tenth year at Rome 
again. And in the fourth to the sev- 
enth years of his reign, the famine raged 
in Judea — many persons died. These 
are mentioned by such historians as 
Dio Cassius, Eusebius, Josephus, Taci- 
tus and Suetonius. Queen Helena, of 
Adiabne, sent to Alexandria and Cy- 
prus for supplies to relieve the Jews. 

29. The disciples. It would seem 
from the prompt determination of the 
Christians at Antioch to relieve those 
in Judea, that the prediction was un- 
derstood as referring to Judea and not 
to the whole empire, else they must 
have been unable so to determine when 
the famine would equally involve them- 
selves. Some have understood, how- 
ever, that the famine was understood 
as including themselves, yet that on 
account of the persecution at Jerusa- 
lem, or for other reasons, the brethren 
in Judea were the poorest, and they 
felt a very special desire to show their 
gratitude for spiritual favors received 
from them. Else, this record may 
mean, that when the famine broke out 
in Judea, the brethren in Antioch 
promptly took measures to send relief. 
^[ Every man. Lit., And of the disci- 
ples, as any one ivas prospered, they 
determined each of them to send (some- 
thing) for (unto) relief (ministration) to 
the brethren, taho dwelt in Judea. See 1 
Cor. IG : 2. This beneficent mjve- 
ment showed the love which this first 
Gentile Chui-ch bare toward tiie Jew- 
ish Christians, extending to them al- 
ready, at the first opportunity, the 
baud of fraternal service, and disarm- 
ing all Jewisji prejudice (we mi;j;ht 
suppose,) by such prompt liberality. 
They would minister in temporal things 
tc liio.«e WU'J had se^-^fed the-s: in spirit- 



ual things. ^ According to Lis ability. 
We observe that the same principle 
was adopted by them as is recom- 
mended by Paul, (1 Cor. 16 : 2.) And 
we infer hence that this may have 
been the principle of community of 
goods such as was practiced at the be- 
ginning. See jVotes, ch. 2 : 44. 

30. They not only determined to 
do this, when they heard the predic- 
tion, but they did it. f To the elders — ■ 
Ruling Elders of the Christian Church. 
This office in the Christian Church is 
here first mentioned, and in a way to 
imply that it had been established 
from the beginning, as no notice is 
given of its institution. It was found 
in the Jewish Church from the earliest 
time, and the eldership was an office 
of the Jewish synagogue in the time 
of our Lord. It was retained natural- 
ly in the Christian Church, as the only 
office that had come down from the 
beginning as belonging to the ancient 
Church constitution. Hence no no- 
t'ce would be given of it in the early 
Church of Jewish Christians, but only 
afterwards, in the organization of Gen- 
tile Churches, (see ch. 14 : 23.) The 
elders in the New Testament Churcli 
are of two kinds, either the same as 
bishops, or they are the ruling ciders 
of the Christian Churches who arc 
probably here meant, whose office 
was the oversight and rule of the 
Church in connection with the minister 
or pastor. — This was Paul's second 
visit to Jerusalem after his conversion, 
see ch. 12 : 25. It seemed proper that 
Barnabas, who had been sent down 
from the Church at Jerusalem to minis- 
ter to them in spii-itual things, and Paul, 
his associate in the good work, should 
be the agents for carrying back to the 
Jewish Church of Christ this token 
of affection and gratitude from this 
first Gentile Church. See ch. 12 : 25. 
Observb. —The polity of the Christia* 



224 



THE ACTS OF THE A.POSTLES. 



[A. ». 44. 



CHAPTER XII. 

sor. j»fla*. ;j^ -^Qyy about tliat time Herod the king |J stretched forth 

his hands to vex certain of the church. 
LdMl'^l"^' 2 And he killed James "the brother of John with the 

sword. 

3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he pro- 



Church was not that of the Temple, 
but that of the sj-iiagogues, which all 
along had anticipated, in part, the New 
Testament order of things, furnishing 
opportunity for worship "in every 
place." This is now commonly ad- 
mitted, even by those evangelical 
Churches who have adopted a prelatl- 
cal order. Principal Machride, of Ox- 
ford, in his recent ^'Lectures on the 
Acts,"&c. says: "The Christian special 
worship did not originate with the Apos- 
tles, for the model was already extant, 
though not in the Temple, but in the 
synagogue. The true God had select- 
ed a single spot for the sacrificial wor- 
ship which He had Himself ordained, 
but it was a duty in every place to 
render Him the homage of prayer and 
praise. The synagogue and tlie Tem- 
ple had no connection with each other, 
though the Jews worshiped in both ; 
and the service of the former was con- 
ducted not by the priests, but l)y the 
rulers, (of the synagogue,) and thej' 
delegated, at their discretion, the office 
of reading and exhortation to whom 
they pleased." 

CHAPTER XII. 

g 21. The first Royal Persecutor 
OF THE Church — .Jewish Hostility 

AT ITS height — ^lURDER OF THE 

Apostle James the brother of 
John, by Herod — Peter imprison- 
ed — Miraculous Deliverance — 
Judicial Death of Herod Agrippa 
AT Cesarea. Jerusalem. A. D. 44. 
Ch. 12 : 1-23. 

1. About that time. This is about 
the time of the visit just mentioned, 
(ch. 11 : 30,) of Paul and Barnabas to 
Jerusalem and Judea with the alms. 
It must have been about A. D. 44, as 
this was the year in wMcli Herod died. 



The second persecution at Jerusatem 
was now begun by Herod Agrippa, first 
grandson of Herod the Great, who is 
spoken of. Matt. 2:1,3. He went to 
Rome to accuse Herod Antipas — was 
imprisoned by Tiberius, but was releas- 
ed by Caligula, and presented with the 
Tetrarchy of Philip ; afterwards ob- 
tained Galilee Mid Perea, and then 
was granted by Claudius the rule of 
Samaria and Judea ; so that he now 
held the title of King over the land of 
Palestine. See Josepkus Antiq. B. xix. 
ch. 5, g 1. ^ Stritched forth his hands. 
Rather, laid his hands on certain of those 
who IV ere of the Church to injure them. 
Those who were recognized as Church 
members, as belonging to the Christian 
Church at Jerusalem, were laid hold 
on by Herod, not excepting the Apos- 
tles. 

2. James — one of the sons of Zebe- 
dee, the brother of John, and one of 
the three admitted to Christ's special 
intimacy, who was now, according to 
Christ's prediction, (iMatt. 20 : 23.) 
baptized with the same baptism as his 
Lord. ^ Sword. Probably by cutting off 
the head, as in case of John the Baptist, 
Palcy notices the accuracy of the wri- 
ter, as there was no time within thirty 
years before, nor ever afterwards, when 
there was a lung of Judea at Jerusa- 
lem, except in these last three years 
of Herod's life. It would seem that 
James was the first of the Apostles who 
died, and John the last. This James 
is the only Apostle whose death is re- 
corded in the Scripture. Beheading 
was regarded as very ignominious. 

3. Until the first persecution, (Ste- 
phen's,) the popular feeling from th9 
time of Pentecost had been in favor of 
the Church, 2 : 47 ; 5:13; 6:7; but 
now it had taken the opposite direction. 
And seeing it is pleasant io the Jewa, 



A D. 44.] 



CHAP. XII. 



22d 



seeded further to take Peter also. (Then were ^the days fsf^'AVis 
of unleavened bread.) 

4 And "when he had apprehended him, he put him in 'Joi^^'^i^is 
prison, and delivered liim to four quaternions of soldiers to 

keep him ; intending after Easter to bring him forth to 

the people. fOr, instant 

5 Peter therefore was kept in prison : but || prayer was I'i^y^^ZZ' 
made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. Tvn^r.i-.w. 

G 



"Whatever his motive in killing James, 
the popularity was now the motive for 
a further cruelty. '^Proceeded. Lit., 
he added to take. A Hebraism for, he 
went on, or proceeded farther to arrest. 
This unprincipled courting of popular- 
ity is the character given of this Herod 
byJosephus. % Peter. Herod seems to 
have aimed at the most eminent of the 
Apostles. Peter had been very prom- 
inent in the work of the Church, and 
as the Apostle of the circnmcision for 
propagating the Gospel among the 
Jews, he was naturally very obnoxious 
to them. Observe. — We read of no 
attempt to fill this vacancy, nor any 
idea of an Apostolical succession. 
1" The f^dys— during which the festival 
of unleavened bread continued — the 
Beven days immediately following the 
Paschal Supper, and so called, because 
during this time the bread eaten must 
bo unleavened. The Passover festival 
id often spoken of aa including these 
days, (vs. 4.) 

4. Whom also having seized, he put 
him in prison. It was held unlawful 
among the Jews to execute criminals 
on their feast days, and therefore he 
would put him under guard until after 
the festival. ^ Four quaternions. A 
guard of fours, relieving each other 
every three hours during the four 
watches of the night, according to the 
Roman military divisions of time. Six- 
teen soldiers composed the whole de- 
tachment. These guards of four kept 
watch, two inside the prison and two 
outside. T To keep him. Literally, 
to guard Mm. The noun of this verb 
is that used, vs. 4, for ''prison." Tf Af- 
ter Easter. Literally, after the Passover. 
It should 83 have been renlered. Eas- 



ter is the name of the festival which 
many Christians keep in commemora- 
tion of Christ's resurrection. But no 
such name was then in use, except that 
the Pagans kept a festival in honor of 
their goddess Eostre, or Venus, in the 
month of April, and about the same 
time of the Passover. The name, how- 
ever, though not at all found in the 
original, was used in some of the older 
versions, and from those versions it 
passed into our present version by ex- 
press order of King James. After the 
festival days, that is, after the 21st 
Nisan, Peter was to have been slain. 
Tf Bring him forth. To lead him out — ■ 
as the Romans used to make public 
spectacles of criminals at their games. 

5. Kepi — not the same word as in 
vs. 4. It is here used to note the de- 
lay thus providentially brought about, 
giving opportunity for the prayers of 
the Church, f But. While he was 
thus kept in prisoji, tiiayek was GOiNa 
ON — being kept up — was being carried 
on. {irpoaevx?}.) ^ Without ceasing. 
Literally, stretched out, intense, urgent — 
strained. This was " the energizing 
supplication of the righteous." James 
5:16. ^ Of the church, (at Jerusa- 
lem.) From — by the Christian mem- 
bership, here designated again as the 
Church, one body of believers, though 
they may have been of different divi- 
sions. Their prayer was made to God 
for him, in the confidence that He was 
greater than Ilerod. Note. — It was 

(1) concerted prayer, as at Pentecost; 

(2) definite, for nn object : (3) personal^ 
for Petu- ; (4) wreitUng, like Jacob's. 

6. When. Doubtless several days 
were passed by Peter in prison. When 
Herod was just about to bring Mm 



226 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44. 



same niglit Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound witb two 
chains : and the keepers before the door kept the prison in 
3ch.5:i9. y j^^^^ behold, <*the angel of the Lord came upon him, 

and a light nhiued in the prison : and he smote Peter on 
the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And hia 
chains fell off from Ms hands. 

8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy 
sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy gar- 
ment about thee, and follow me. 



forth (see vs. 4,) to the people to grat- 
ify the Jewish crowd by putting him 
to death, t The same night. On the 
very eve of his executing the cruel 
purpose, the very night before it was 
to be done. ^ Sleeping. He seems to 
have been calm and composed, quite 
in contrast with his fear and cowardice 
in the judgment hall at the trial of his 
Master. \Dcticcen. It was the Ro- 
man custom to chain a prisoner to a 
guard, fastening the right wrist of the 
prisoner to the left wrist of the sol- 
dier. Sometimes, however, for great- 
er security, the prisoner was chained 
to a double guard, to one soldier on 
each side of him. So here. ^ The 
keepers. And keepers (guards,) before 
the door were guarding the prison. These 
were probably the other pair of the 
quaternion, on guard for this watch of 
the night. It was death to the Roman 
guards to have a prisoner escape. 

7. Behold, (this was the amazing 
fact,) the angel of the Lord, (literally, 
aa angel of the Lord) — miraculously 
commissioned and working — came upon 
(him.) Literally, stood upon — (the 
spot,) and (a) light shincd (a supernat- 
ural ' ght from the angel, revealing the 
ar^el to Peter, and lighting up the 
apartment for his escape, ) in the prison. 
(Literally, in the dwellin] — chamber or 
apartment — where he was confined.) 
1[ He smote — literally, the side of Pe- 
ter. This term implies a violent 
blow. ^ Raised him %ip — roused him, 
(from sleep,) used of Christ's being 
awaked from sleep in the vessel, Luke 
8 : li4. f Arise up. The intimation 
is of rising up by a resurrection, ns 
from death or disability. The noun is 
the -word for resurrection from the 



dead. This word of command was ac- 
companied by a Divine power, loosing 
his hands from the chaint'. OcsEnvE. — 
So always when Christ means to re- 
lease us from our bondage of sin and 
death, He speaks His Gospel command 
with a power accompanying, by which 
the chains fall off from our souls. 
Obsekve. — The soldiers chained to 
him were probably not awaked. Our 
deliverance cannot be prevented by all 
the powers of hell. 

8. Gird thyself. He had been un- 
girded for the night, and now in the 
midst of his amazement, as he would 
be naturally bewildered from this sud- 
den arousing, he v.'as commanded to 
gird himself — or gird his coat or under 
garment around him, thus preparing 
for action. There was time and op- 
portunity for thus dressing himself. 
^ Bind on. Literally, bind under — as 
the sandals were worn on tho sole of 
the foot. This was his preparation to 
walk, and implied that he was to go 
somewhere. Though nothing was as 
yet said to him about his deliverance, 
he must already have felt a hope that 
this was to be accomplished. ^ Ana 
so he did. How cheerfully the awaken- 
ed sinner aims to obey the heavenly 
command when already he feels the 
hope of salvation, Yot it was only 
too good news to be true, (vs. 19.) 
^ Cast thy garment. This was the 
cloak, or upper garment, a loose robe 
thrown around the shoulders, and Avorn 
over the tunic, or under-coat, which 
had already been fastened with the 
girdle. ^ Folloia me. How gracious 
is this Gospel command. No task, no 
drudgery, though the natijal mind 
thus views it — but a call tu follow th?- 



k. 1). 44,] 



CHAP. XII. 



227 



9 And he went out, and followed him; and "wist not ^^*-^^-^ 
that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought 

he saw a vision. i^i'u-t^'' 

10 When they were past the first and the second ward, 
they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city ; 

« which opened to them of his own accord; and they went seh.m-.ie. 
out, and passed on through one street : and forthwith the 
angel departed from liim. 

11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of 



great P».oscuer and Saviour out of our 
prison. Not any austere demand of 
a task-master for service — but a gra- 
cious invitation bidding us come on 
after Him who undertakes to break up 
our bondage and lead us safely into 
the liberty of the Gospel. 

9. Went cut. Literally, and having 
gone forth, (from his apartment,) he 
followed him. Oh ! how cheerfully, 
just in proportion as he saw what was 
doing in all these directions for his de- 
liverance, f Wist not. Literally, and 
he did not know that it is true, (real, 
matter of fact,) that which uuis done 
(came to pass,) jy the angel, but thought 
he saw a vision, (like that he lately saw 
in Joppa.) It seemed only too good to 
be true. He could not fully believe that 
such Divine and infinite love was 
shown to him. It seem-ed rather as if 
it was an exhibition* to him of the 
scene without the reality — as wo say, 
it seemed like a dream. So the newly 
awakened sinner doubts the reality of 
the Gospel salvation — cannot credit it 
as having actually and personally come 
to pass — and for him. It is so won- 
derful ; so contrary to all human 
grounds of expectation. What ! that 
I, a poor guilty sinner, should be visit- 
ed by Jesus Christ and bidden to rise 
up and be delivered and saved by Ilis 
power and grace ! Impossible ! I de- 
ceive myself!— But it is all true, and 
more ! Blessed be God ! 

10. And they having passed the first 
and second prisoyi, (guard — (j)vXaii7jv.) 
The term for prison is the same as in 
vs. 4, and Peter was kept in the inner 
prison. Some understand this of the 
first and second guard, (of soldiers,) 
but they were rather the wards of the 
prison between Peter's dungeon and 



the street. ^ Iron gate. The outer 
gate, which was most strongly con- 
structed of iron, securing the entrance 
to the city. ^[ Which opened. Here 
was another miraculous demonstration 
.^long tho path of his deliverance. 
How must his faith now bo confirmed. 
Obsehve. — How many such Almighty 
interpositions are there for the Chris- 
tian by which solid iron gates open to 
him, as if by some life of their own ! 
How gradual also is the believer's de- 
liverance. First he passes through one 
apartment, then through another — 
always nearing the point of entire re- 
lease — and at length "the iron gate 
of death " itself is passed — not by be- 
ing broken down ; no, but it opens to 
him. That fearful, frowning barrier 
flies open to him as he approaches, 
(of his own accord — aiirouurj] : of itself 
— of its own motion, without any visi- 
ble cause,) and death, that seemed > 
impossible to meet, as if only armed 
with terrors, gives liim a free and 
pleasant passage to his home in hea- 
ven. ^ And they xvent out. The angel 
did not leave him at the prison door, 
but accompanied him on his way 
through one street, till he was beyond 
the reach of the prison and safely res- 
cued. ^Forthwith — immediately. From 
that point of safety, the angel left him 
to pursue his way. God will have us 
use our own exertions, and work out 
our own salvation, after He has put us 
on the path of His wonderful deliver- 
ance and really led us out of our 
prison. And the encouragement is, 
that it is He who woBketh in us both 
to will and to do of His good plea* 
sure, (Phil. 2: 12.) 

11. Peter having come to himself—hay- 
ing recovered his cousciousness and 



228 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44 



Ueb. 1:U. 
I Job 5 : 19. 
Fb. 33: 18, 19, 



■J Pot. 2 : 9. 



that ""the Lord hath sent his angel, and 'hath 
delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and /rom all tho 
expectation of the people of the Jews. 

12 And when he had considered the thing *he came to 
the house of Mary the mother of 'John, whose surname 
was Mark ; where many were gathered together " praying. 

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate a 
damsel came H to hearken, named Rhoda. 



compo-uj-e, after such overwhelming 
BurprLso and bewildering excitement. 
«y Now I know, lie had doubted, dis- 
;,rtisted, feared it was all too good to 
bo true. Now, he is assured of all the 
power and grace in this amazing in- 
terposition, and that it can be from 
God alone. However others may mis- 
take tho doctrine of election, the Chris- 
tian fiuds it out in his experience, and 
be makes it his joy and boast, that God 
has wrought out his salvation for him. 
But alas! how many go halting and 
hesitating and unassured, and have, 
therefore, no animating hope, to work 
by love, and overcome the world ! But 
Paul could say, "/ know,'' " We 
kmov>y (2 Tim. 1 : 12 ; 2 Cor. 5 : 1.) 
f 0/ a surety. Truly, certainly. Be- 
fore this he did not know that it Avas 
true, (vs. 9,) but thought he saw a 
vision — a mere bright vision of so 
glorious an event. ^ Ilath sent. Lit- 
erally, hath sent forth, by special com- 
mission, lie now saw the blessed re- 
ality. ^ Ilath delivered. The thing 
•was done. The Christian is encour- 
aged to look upon his own deliverance 
as -wrought out; not as to be done on 
certain conditions, and all contingent 
— but as accomplished — Christ has 
died. We are raised up together with 
Uim — washed, justified, sanctified, so 
that the redemption is actually effected 
jind carrying out accordingly. 1 IJx- 
pcctation. The wicked expectation of 
the people, for whose pleasure Herod 
was intending to slay the Apostle, 
(vs. 3.) 

12. Considered. Rather, Having be 
come aware of where he was, and how 
he was situated. The term is so used, 
oh. li : 6, where only it is found be- 
sides here. As soon as he recovered 
Lis composure, and realized his situa- 



tion distinctly, as to the particulars. 
1[ Mary. She was the sister of Barna- 
bas. It v/ould seem that this was the 
well-known residence of Mary, but 
whether it was her own property or 
not is not certain. She is here distin- 
guished among the Marys by her son, 
John Hark. Blessed are the mothers 
who are known by their pious sons. 
This Disciple is mentioned by Paul as 
his fellow laborer, (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 
4:11; Philemon 24,) and is probably 
the same whom Peter calls " his son" 
(1 Pet. 5 : 13,) in the faith, his con- 
vert; and he is also mentioned in verse 
25. and afterwards, ch. 13 : 13; 15 : 
37-30. It is generally agreed that he 
is the Mark who wrote the Gospel his- 
tory which bears his name. lie is 
sometimes culled simply " Mark," .and 
elsewhere "John" — the former being 
his Greek name, the latter his Hebrew 
name. 1 Where.viany. Here an im- 
portant fact is stated, which indeed 
accoun's for all the astonishing facts 
already mentioned. It was this prayer- 
meeting for Peter (v. 5,) which secured 
his miraculous deliverance. It is a 
remarkable instance of God's hearing 
the special prayers of His people, 
and working out for them amazing re- 
sults accordingly. This was a striking 
fulfillment of Christ's promise, (Mark 
18: 19.) Note. — The answer was 
[\) prompi — the same night. (2) Iri- 
uniphant against all earthly impossi- 
bilities. (3) Astonishing to all — to the 
praij'cr-meeting, to Peter, to the perse- 
cutors. 

13. Oriental houses have a door on 
the street, opening into the vestibule 
or porch, and tended by a maid-servant, 
(John 18 : IG.) This is still the cus- 
tom, as we found at Jerusalem, Da- 
mascus, and other places of the East, 



A D. 44.] 



CHAP. XIL 



220 



14 And when slie knew Peter's voice, slie opened not the gate for 
gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 

15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she 
constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, 

■Tf i* liid nnrrol » Gen. 48: is. 

Xh lb nib dngCi. iliitt. 18: 10. 

10 But Peter continued knocking : and when they had 
opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. 



■where -we entered the dwellings of 
■wealthy Jews. T[ To hearken. The 
porteross was called in the Greek, the 
hearlcener — listener, her business being 
to hear who ■was there, and to obey 
the call. See marffin. ^ Karjied Ehoda. 
So paa-ticular is the account given by 
Luke, not as a forger of history ■would 
do, ■who ■would be anxious to avoid 
giving names for fear of detection. 
This name in Greek means rosebush, ac- 
cording to the custom of giving names 
from trees and flowers. It is the habit 
in the East for visiters to stand at the 
outer gate and cull out, or knock, to 
give ■warning of their coming. See ch. 
10: 17, 18. 

14. And ivheJi she knew — recognizing 
Peter's voice from his reply to her in- 
quiry who -was there. She either knew 
him by his familiar tone of voice, 
(Matt. 26 : 73,) or by his answer to 
her question. It -was very natural 
that in her excitement, ■when she re- 
cognized that Peter, for ■whose deliver- 
ance many ■were actually at prayer in 
the house, was on the spot, she should 
run back to them forjoy without open- 
ing the door, f The ff ate— the vestibule, 
porch. What an announcement to that 
prayer-meeting. Your pi-ayer i.s heard, 
Avhile you arc yet speaking. Dan. 9 : 20. 

15. Thou art mad. Thus unbeliev- 
ing ■were they even ■while they prayed, 
not able to credit ■what they ought 
to have surely expected in ans^wer to 
their prayers. llo^w commonly do 
Christians prny ■without the remotest 
expectation that their petitions ivill be 
granted in direct response to their 
prayer. How little confidence in the 
promises, or even in God as alive to 
the request. But he that cometh to 
God must believe that He is, and that 
He is a rewardor, &c., (Ileb. 11 : 6.) 
f Conttantly affirmud — kept atoutly in- 

20 



sisting. They doubted and denied. 
She knew. ^ Ilis angel. This is their 
last resort — as some would supersti- 
tiously say, It is his ghost. The 
Jews, however, held the doctrin* of a 
guardian angel belonging to each per- 
son, or each believer, and it is held by 
some modern commentators as well as 
ancient ones, that our Lord taught thia 
doctrine in Matt. 18 : 10. See Notes. 
Such an ideii of a good and evil geniua 
attending each person ■was common 
■with the heathen. Calvin says, "The 
notion of a guardian angel attached 
to each individual, is at variance ■with 
the whole teaching of Scripture, which 
testifies that angels encamp round 
about the righteous, and that not one 
angel alone but many are charged with 
the protection of each of the faithful." 
( Heb. 1:14.) The angel who delivered 
Peter is not spoken of by Luke as Pe- 
ter's angel, but as the angel of the Lord. 
And Peter had no such thought, for ho 
snys, "I know that the Lord hath sent 
Ilis angel." The notion that it was 
Peter's angel, whatever the terms 
meant in tho mouth of those persona 
at Clary's liouse, is not of any authori- 
ty from their saying, nor is it entitled 
to any weight with us. Indeed, it 
would rather seem that they weio al- 
together bewildered and mistaken, and 
had just denied the possibility that it 
was Peter, and are quite likely to have 
entertained any absurd notion, rather 
than the truth of the case. 

16. Continued. The term is a strong 
one, and means persevered. ^ Had 
opened. It was in their first wild ex- 
citement that they had denied and 
specTilated. Now they put the news 
to tho tost, as they should at first have 
done, and behold the glad reality. So 
Christ says to all tho doubting, halt- 
ing, and disbolievlng, " Come and see." 



280 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44. 

?9''^33!and'2u'' 1' ^^^ li^ » beckonliig unto them with the hand to 
*°- hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had 

brought him out of the i)rison. And he said, Go shew these things 
unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into 
another place. 

18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the 
soldiers, what was become of Peter. 

19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he 



17. Beckoninrj. The term means, 
motioning icith the hand downwards. 
The natural gesture for commanding 
silence in an uproar, ch. 13:16. ^ De- 
clared. He at once reports the facts. 
Tho Gospel is a narrative of facts on 
which we are to rest our faith and 
hope of salvation. Here the term im- 
plies a detailed narrative. "Come 
and hear, all ye that fear God, and I 
■will tell what He hath done for my 
soul," (Ps. G6 : 16 ) Christians can 
report to others the facts of their de- 
liverance. ^ The Lord — the Lord Je- 
ms — the riyen Lord — who " sent His 
angel," (vs. 11.) Whoever may have 
been instrumental in our salvation, it is 
to God that we ascribe it, and Chris- 
tians will acknowledge His love as 
having moved in their salvation from 
all eternity, and planned and prompted 
all the means. \ Go shew. This is 
the language of Peter. ^ James. It 
is natural to suppose that this is 
James the son of Alpheus, who is com- 
monly called the Less; and who is the 
only one of this name among the 
Apostles, since James the son of Zeb- 
edee and brother of John, had just 
been put to death. This James is the 
only other one of this name previous- 
ly spoken of in the history, and it is 
inferred that it is he who is called tho 
Lord's brother, or near relative, Gal. 
1 : 19. Some suppose, however, that 
this James here spoken of, and in Gal. 
1, 2, is quite another person, the real 
brother of our Lord, and not an Apos- 
tle. In either case this James was 
very prominent in the Church at 
Jerusalem, and at the Synod, (ch. 
15.) This James is sometimes called 
" the Apostle of the Tiansition." See 
Notes on Ch. 15. The importance of 
feis position wculd seem to b» tho rea- 



son why he is particularly mentioned 
here. 1[ Departed. The fact also that 
Peter intended immediately to depart 
from Jerusalem, would be a reason for 
this direct message to him from Peter ; 
and perhaps it was implied also, that 
James was now to take a special charge 
of the Church in that city: while Pe- 
ter should now feel his own special 
connection with Jerusalem at an end. 
There is no hint of the place to which 
Peter went : and here the particular 
narrative of Peter's labors breaks off. 
He is spoken of afterwards (ch. 15,) 
as at Jerusalem, at the Synod. — There 
is no proof that Peter went to Eome 
either now or at any other time — but 
much proof to the contrary. 

18. Day. It is argued that Peter 
must have been delivered during ths 
last watch of the night, (3 to 6, A. M.) 
else his escape must have been discov- 
ered at the change of the guard. 
IF Stir. Troubling, (Wiclif,) disturb- 
ance arising out of trouble. ^ Sol- 
diers. This probably includes the en- 
tire guard of sixteen soldiers, (the four 
quaternions,) to whom the keeping of 
Peter had been intrusted — though of 
course they, during whose watch he 
had escaped, would be the ones who 
would tremble for their lives. The 
penalty of letting a prisoner e.scape 
was death. ^ What. Literally, lohat 
then Peter had become, or was become 
of Peter, (since he was missing.) 

19. He examined — put them on trial. 
^ ITie keepers. Those of the guard 
who were on watch when he escaped. 
«[ Put to death. Literally, to be led 
away — to execution. It was inferred 
that they must have been careless and 
unfaithful, else he could not have ca 
caped. It is not hinted that they had 
any suspicion of his miraculous deliv 



A. D. 44.] 



CHAP. XII. 



281 



examined the keepers, and commanded tliat tJiey should be put to 
death. And he went down from Judea to Cesarea, and there 
abode. 

20 «f And Herod ]] was highly displeased with them of l^Jh^^ZLTin- 
Tyre and Sidon : but they came with one accord to him, \^Zf."tlTwa, 
and, having made Blastus f the king's chamberlain their redJham"cr.' 
friend, desired peace; because p their country was nour- ^'u^^^'"- 
ished by the king's country. kz. 27:17. 

auco. ^ He went down. Hei-od about Cesarea, the residence of the Roman 
this time wont from Jerusalem to | governors, and though he commonly 





«s, ^ y^^A'y.^^J' 



^ 



resided at Jerusalem, yet, as Josephus 
tells us, he went down there now to 
preside at the public games in honor 
of the Emperor Claudius at his return 
from Britain, {Jos. Ant. xix. 82.) Here 
Agrippa resided, ch. 23 : 35. By 
some providential means, the cruel 
king was led off from further persecu- 
tion of the Mother Church at Jeru- 
salem. Cesarea is now a naked ruin. 
20. Highly ditpleased. Literally, of 
hostile minds — (see margin,) not neces- 
sarily meditating war, but of warlilie 
feeling — with them (the people,) of Tyre 
and Sidon, (the Phenicians along the 
sea coast, north of Cesarea,) probably 
on account of some commercial inter- 
ference. ^ They came ivilh one accord. 
This seems to intimate that they turn- 
ed out, or that the cities united in 
sending en masse, a great delegation. 
The Mosaic polity had discouraged 
commerce, and the Phenicians carried 
on the foreign trade of the Holy Land. 
Ijre and Sidon were tiie chief ports, 



and tliere, of course, the important in- 
terests centred which might come in 
conflict with Herod's authority. But 
as tlie Pheniciau country was a very 
narrow edge along the shore, it was 
their interest to live at peace with 
Ilcrod. *^ Chamberlain. Keeper of his 
l)cl-chambcr, who thus came in famil- 
iar contact with the King; also, per- 
il a ps, his treasurer. T[ Their friend. 
They gained his intercession. Lite- 
rally, having persuaded him, perhaps 
by some private inducement, aa of 
bribes ; they desired for themselves peace, 
that is, reconciliation. Tf Because. They 
could not afford to be at enmity, as 
they obtained their supplies of provi- 
sion from llie King's country, the Holy 
Land. Their own countrj-, Phenicia, 
was too narrow aud unproductive t*- 
sustain them, and Herod, Ly cutting 
off supplies, could easily reduce then" 
to the greatest straits. Wlieat, honey, 
oil, &c. were exported to Tyre. Ezek. 
27 : 17. The reason hero given tot 



282 



THE ACTS OF TDE APOSTLES, 



fA. D. 44. 



21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon 
his throne, and made an oration unto them. 

22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, 

and not of a man. 
^ L^m°'i"-^n ^" 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord 'smote him 
ri-s. 115:1. because ''he gave not Grod the glory; and he was eaten of 
Jh.tlTf&iai-o. worms, and gave up the ghost. 
o«*i-'^- 21: *[[But the 'word of God grew and multiplied. 



their coming may also imply that the 
famine liad already commenced. 

21. Set day — appointed day. Accord- 
ing to some, it was the first of August, 
and the second day of the games. 
fi Royal apparel — brilliant with silver 
ornament, as .Josephus relates, he came 
into the public amphitheatre, and sat 
upon his throne, or bema — raised seat — 
and he made an oi-ation, literally, spoke 
to the people. ]] Unto them — to the dele- 
gation — implying here that it was a 
mass delegation from the two cities. 

22. The. people, (6 6jjpoc). This is a 
term which is not used for the crowd, 
but for the people in a formal and otli- 
cial capacity. T Gave a shout. Shout- 
ed out in response, •' God's voice and not 
man's." This is their exclamation, so 
full of adoring applause. It, is to be 
supposed that they were Gentiles, fper- 
haps led on by the Phenicians,) since 
no Jew could have used such words 
without willful blasphemy. Josephus 
records their words thus, "Be thou 
merciful unto us. If, indeed, until now 
we have reverenced thee as man — yet, 
henceforth we confess thee superior to 
mortal nature." 

23. Immediately — at once, in a way 
to show it to be a rebuke of such im- 
piety. 1[ The angel. r»,ather, an angel. 
The same phrase as is used of the an- 
gel who delivered Peter. It may have 
been the same argel, or any other; 
Ru angel specially commissioned to do 
this work of death. Josephus narrates 
the fact of Herod's sudden death, 
"within five days." It is not neces- 
sary to suppose that the angel was vis- 
ible. See 2 Kings 19 : 35 ; 1 Chron. 
21 : 15, IG. Josephus remarks that 
Herod "did neither rebuke the people 
uor reject their profane flattery," and 
goes on to mention some of his dread- 



ful and peculiar sufferings which ter- 
minated in his death. f Because. 
Luke states definitely what could be 
inferred from the narrative of Jose- 
phus, though the latter does not trace 
the awful visitation directly to the 
swift displeasure of God. ^ Eaten. 
Literally, Becoming worm-eaten. Fall- 
ing under the power of this awful dis- 
ease, the same of which Antiochua 
Epiphanes, that wicked persecutor, 
and Herod the Great, also died. The 
infliction of death by the angel took 
this horrid shape, so as to make it most 
revolting and much more shocking 
than a sudden stroke of death. Ob- 
SKRVE. — (1) AVe know from secular 
history that this event — the death of 
Herod — took place A. D. 44. Thus we 
have a certain date by which we are 
helped to form a chronological table of 
the history. See Introduction. Josephus 
tells us that it was in the fifty-fourth 
year of Herod's age, and in the fourth 
of his reign, and it is supposed to have 
been about the first of August. (2) 
Antiochus Epiphanes and these Herods 
had been in their sphere the Anti- 
christs who were predicted, and who 
all along foreshadowed " thai ivicked," 
whom the Lord will consume, &c. 

24. But. Notwithstanding the bloody 
persecutions which this hostile power 
of the world had attempted, and partly 
carried out, it was fulfilled as predicted 
in the second Psalm, vs. 9 ; and so 
the Church went on to prosper. This 
Divine interposition, releasing Peter 
and smiting Herod with swift judg- 
ment, would help forward the Church. 
^ The word of God. The Gospel had 
success, and its followers increased 
and multiplied. These notices of the 
Church's progress are given all along la 
the history. (See ch. 5 : 7 ) 



A D. 44.] 



CHAP. XIII. 



233 



25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, l^.VrS'f^. 
lien they had fulfilled tlieir || ministr 
them " John, whose surname was Mark. 



25. Barnabas and Saul — who were 
sent to Jerusalem with the alms of the 
Chui-ch at Aiitioch, (ch. 11 : 30,) now 
returned from Jerusalem, having fulfilled 
the ministry — dtaKoviav, or commission, 
(upon which they were sent.) Daring 
this time, Ave suppose those events oc- 
curred in the case of Peter and Herod 
which are recorded in this intervening 
cliapter, thougli it is not certain that 
Barnabas and Saul went to Jerusalem 
till after Herod's death. Tf Took luilh 
them — from Jerusalem to Antioch — 
John the son of Mary, at whose house 
the prayer-meeting for Peter had been 
held, (ch. 12 : 12.) He was the ne- 
phew of Barnabas, and was afterwards 
(with some interruption,) a companion 
of his missionary journeys in connec- 
tion with Paul, ch. 12:13; 15 : 37-39 ; 
and Paul (though with some misunder- 
standing) accounted him " profitable to 
him for the ministry," 2 Tim. 4 : 11. 
Observe. — The Church at Jerusalem 
thus further recognizes the Church 
among the Gentiles. Observe. — This 
aliaptor brings us to the next and clo- 
sing part of the history — the extension 
of the Church amonff the Gentiles at larfje. 
Thus far we have had, (1) The found- 
ing of the Christian Church. (2) Its 
extension among the Jews. (3) Its ex- 
tension among the Devout Gentiles, And 
now we pass from the Mother Church {at 
Jerusalem,) and from the labors of Pe- 
ter, the Apostle of the circumcision, to the 
first Gentile Church, [at Aritioch,) and 
the labors of Paul the Apostle to the 
Gentiles, and the extension of the Church 
*'io the uttermost ends of the earth." 

CHAPTER XIII. 

BOOK III. 

Part II. Spread of Ohristianitij 
nmiong the Idolatrous Gentiles — 
" Witnesses unto the uttermost 
ends of the earth." A. D. 44— 
62. Chs. 13-15. 
20* 



^ 22. Missionary Commission of 
Paul and Barnabas by thk 
Church at Antioch. Ch. 13: 1-3. 
We enter now upon a most import- 
ant epoch in the Church's progress. 
The Missionary character of the 
Christian Church comes now into view. 
The great commission is now to be 
more fully entered on and fulfilled, 

"Go YE THEREFORE AND TEACH ALL 
N.\TIONS, BAPTIZING THEM," &C. NoW 

Isaiah's distinct prophetic outline of 
the Church's progress comes to be 
history. See Isaiah 40 to 46. An- 
tiocli, the capital of Syria, and the 
chief seat of Eastern civilization to- 
ward the West, was now to be the 
second centre of the advancing Chris- 
tianity. The great Apostle to the Gen- 
tiles was now to enter more extensive- 
ly and formally npon the work to 
which he had been called. The Church 
of Christ was henceforth to be the 
united Church of Jews and Gentiles. 
Accordingly, the first two acts of this 
Mother Church of the Gentiles at An- 
tioch were, to send alms to the poor 
Jews at Jerusalem in their extremity, 
and to SEND Missionaries to the 
heathen, far and wide — a pattern for 
all Gentile Churches. — Here begins 
the History of Missions to the hea- 
then, under the authority of the 
Christian Church. The great prin- 
ciple of bringing in the Gentiles had 
already been established, and Peter, tJie 
Apostle of the circumcision, was chosen 
by God to introduce it in the case of 
Cornelius. The ingathering there at 
Ces'irci nnd here at Antioch, had been 
rec' '• :'. ■ 1 as of God. And now the 
barrier.- uf Judaism are fairly broken 
down — and the world is open to the 
great work of Missions. The Christian 
Church among the Gentiles at once 
owns her high calling, and enters upon 
the Master's commission, under the 
impulse of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 28 : 
19-20. Hitherto the spread of th« 
Gospel could be traced to the persecu- 



Tire ACTS OF THE ArOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44 



CHAPTER XIII. 

*f,'yi5:M. 1 Now there were *in the church that was at Aniioch 

tom.'ic'r'^K' certain prophets and teachers; as ''Barnabas, and Simeon 

X'r'iroTlr. ^liat was Called Niger, and "Lucius of Cyrcne, and Manaen, 

"■o-n&i'-'i II which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, 
'T\\il^^.^. fvnd Saul. 

ian.!i^:33. o ^3 \\^qj ministcrcd to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy 

h."3:7,'s: Ghost said, ■* Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work 

•!"'■?; ?i "whereunto I have called them. 



tinns at Jerusalem. — The Spibitual 
Gii'T? distinguishing this first Gentile 
Church, are here noted 

]. The Church, (ir/^ec/i wtfs established 
ami flourisbing. — Bcngel.) Here the 
Church is recognized as established 
among the Gentiles — and the character 
of the body is noted as eminent for 
spiritual gifts and poAvers. ^ Prophets 
and teachers. The prophets were all 
teachers, and sometimes foretold future 
events, as Agabus — though their office 
was generally to discourse in an ele- 
vated strain, under the extraordinary 
influence of the Holy Ghost, (ch 11 : 
27.) The teachers were not all pro- 
phets but instructors ia the Avord. See 
1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11. Only 
'■'certain'' of them, or a portion, are 
bore named. Barnabas is first on the 
list, and Saul the last. It would seem 
from the text, that the three former 
were proplK-LS and the two latter 
tcacliers. '^ C-Aled Niger. The sur- 
iT'.nio leads us to infer that he was of 
Romau connection, though a Jew. We 
know notliing more of him. \ Lucius. 
In Rom. IG : 21, such an one is spo- 
ke;! of. We see that he was also con- 
nt'cted with the Gentiles — being of the 
sune African cit^' with the Simon who 
bore Christ's cross, and with those 
who had first preached the Gospel at 
Antinch, (ch. 11 : 20.) See ch. 2 : 10 
;i!id Notes % Manaen. A .Jewish name. 
jl Brought up icith. Rather, Herod's 
fester-brother — having the same nurse 
with Herod. Josephus speaks of one 
of tliis name, an Essene, who prophe- 
sied of Herod the Great, while lie was 
a boy at school, that he would be a 
king. \ The tetrarch. Tk a Herod who 



had put John the Baptist to death. 
Observe. — All these here named were 
men specially noted as having somo 
Gentile connections. Barnabas, too, 
was a Cyprian — and Saul was from 
the Cilician city of Tarsus. All these 
five had something linking them to the 
Gentiles whom they were to evangelize. 
Just so the twelve had been cJioenn 
for Israel from Israel. ^ Saul. See 
ch. 15 : 35. That he is named last 
here, is ascribed hj Bengel to his mod- 
esty, supposing him to have furnished 
the account. I3arnabas is placed first, 
as the one sent from Jerusalem to them, 
and who introduced Saul, ch. 11 : 22. 

2. Ministered. This term is taken 
from the Old Testament worship, and 
relates to the functions of the priestly 
office. In general, it would here ex- 
press the idea of Divine worship in 
which these men officiated ; but it is 
used, perhaps, also to imply that the 
Old Testament priesthood is here real- 
ized in the New Testament prayer and 
praise. It is to show not that Judaism 
was to be perpetuated, even as in the 
rites of the Papacy, but to be merged 
and realized in Christianity. ^ Fasted. 
Though they did not recognize distinc- 
tions of meats, as the Jewish insti- 
tutions had required, they entered into 
the spirit of separation from the world. 
This fasting was probably with a spe- 
cial reference to the great interests of 
the Gentile world, as now opened upon 
them at Autioch. T The Holy Ghost, 
probably by the agency of a prophet, 
as Lucius or Simeon. ^ Separate mo 
— separate for me now. This is uu 
emphatic call for the formal appoint- 
ment of these men. The term renderecl 



A. D. 44.] 



CHAP. XIII. 



28S 



3 And 'when they had fasted and prayed, and laid f<^*'^ 
tkeii' hands on them, they sent them away. 

4 f So thc^i, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, de- 
parted unto h'eleacia; and from thence they sailed to 
•Cyprus. »°^' '** 



" separate" is applied to marking off 
lands, and implies a personal prop- 
erty in these men for tliis special ser- 
vice. ^ The ivork. Tliis work had 
already been made knovra to PauJ at 
his conversion, (cb. 9 : 15, IG,) and to 
Barnabas at his coming to Antioch, or 
since. The persons spoken of in the 
context are they to whom this com- 
mand was directly addressed, the pro- 
phets and teachers, but through them 
also to the Church wliich was at 
Antioch. This city had been called 
" the Queen of the East" — soon it got 
the name of "the City of God," and 
contained one hundred thousand Chris- 
tians in the time of Chrysostom. 

3. Having fasted. This was a special 
fasting ajid prayer, on the occasion of 
sending them forth with the laying on 
of hands. This simple ceremony of 
missionary commission was performed 
by the prophets and teachers, yet not 
in a -way to exclude the Church mem- 
bership from the fasting, and praying, 
and sending them away. Paul was al- 
ready set apart as an Apostle, (ch. 9 : 
15.) This was a temporary work 
»f missionating, ch. 15 : 26, 27, not a 



permanent office, to which they were 
here set apart. ^ Laid their hand.-' 
— that is, those named in vs. 1. It 
was no ordination to the work of the 
ministry. Paul and Barnabas had al- 
ready been preachers, and recognized 
as such by the Church. "Tf Sent them 
awaij, by their authority in the Church 
orgiinization. The Church sent them, 
while the formal act of commissioning 
thom was done by the teachers. The 
distinctions are not nicely drawn and 
guarded here, because they were un- 
derstood in the common order of the 
Church. 

§ 23. Paul's first Missionary Joun- 
NET — First success — His first 
ENCOUNTER -WITH PAGANISM. Cy- 
prus, Asia Minor. A. D. 45. Ch. 
13 : 4 to 14 : 28. 

4. While they were sent forth by the 
Church, they were also sent out by the 
Holy Spirit with a special unction and 
instruction, all their route being under 
Divine direction. So .Jesus was led 
forth by the Holy Spirit, (Luke 4 : 1, 
14,) and His ministei-s have the same 
honor and privilege. \ Seleucia. This 



* 







236 



THE ACTS JF THE APOSTLES. 



[A, D. 4C 



5 And wben tliey were at Salamis, "^ they preached tho 
word of God in the synagogues of the Jews : and they had 

'■^"^ also 'John to tJieir minister. 

6 And when they had gone through the isle unto 
Paphos, they found ''a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, 
a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus : 



was the seaport of Antioch on the Mcd- 
itcrr.'uieari Sea, at tlie mouth of the 
river Oroutes. Antioch was sixteen and 
one-half miles distant by land, but 
about forty miles by the river. The 
misHionuries thus stood on the edge of 
the Great Sea, looking out westward 
in the same course which the human 
family has taken, and in tho direction 
of "i/i6 isles" of prophecy and the ut- 
termost ends of the earth, (Isa. GO : 9.) 
TI Cyprun. They embarked on board 
one of the many vessels which sailed 
in the summer season between Seleu- 
cia au:l Salamis. It was every way a 
natural course, as Barnabas was a na- 
tive of this island, (ch. 4 : 36,) and 
some of the men who had first preach- 
ed the Gospel at Antioch were "men of 
Cyprus," (ch. 11 : 20.) Since "An- 
drew first found his own brother Si- 
mon, (John 1 : 41,) and John his 
brother Jaraos, and brought them to 
Jesus, the ties of family relationship 
had not been without effect in the pro- 
gress of tlio Gospel." " The unde- 
signed coincidences of the narrative in 
every thing connected with Barnabas, 
are of tliemaelves enough to show the 
perfect truthfulness of this history of 
the Acts." — Blunt. 

.5. Salatnia. This was the nearest 
point of the island, and was a chief 
city, having many Jews and syna- 
gogues. This, therefore, is '* the first 
spot in the great missionary field 
of the heathen world." It will be ob- 
served that they preached "to the 
Jew first." Even though they were 
sent especially to the Gentiles, yet it 
w;is not any more now to the Gentiles 
exclusively, than before to the Jews 
exi^lusivcly. Still they were under 
the origijial obli^gation of selecting fij-st 
the lost ahoep of the house of Israel, 
and aiming to bring in a coramuuity 
of beliovors who should constitute a 



universal and united Church of Jews 
and Gentiles. It will be seen that they 
persisted in this course even after, at 
the other Antioch, in Pisidia, the Jews 
so utterly rejected the Gospel, as to lead 
them to say, " Lo we turn to the Gen- 
tiles," ch. 13 : 46. It is plain that 
these first missionaries understood what 
many cavilers have not, that, accord- 
ing to the Gospel commission, while 
the Gentiles were to be admitted and 
gathered in, the Jews were not to be 
utterly cast off, B,om. 11. Besides, 
the Gentiles were to be reached through 
the proselytes and Hellenistic Jews, and 
the preaching could best be begun in 
the synagogues. And the preaching to 
the Jews now is to be regarded as a tran- 
sition step in the new course of the 
Church's progress. 1" Their minister — 
their attendant and helper. The term is 
used of the minister in the synagogue, 
who kept the rolls, and took them out, 
and locked them up. We infer that 
John, who was " their minister," was a 
helper in the common cares of their 
journey, while he may also have been a 
helper in ministering the word. See 
Luke 1 : 2. Yet there is no hint here of 
any inferior order of the ministry. This 
John was John Mark, nephew of Bar- 
nabas and son of JIary from Jerusalem, 
(ch. 12 : 12, 25.) 

6. Through the isle. The island was 
one hundred and forty miles long, and 
Paphos was one hundred miles west of 
Salamis, and the chief city of the west- 
ern district along the southern shore. 
It was celebrated as the seat of a great 
temple of Venus, where the most re- 
volting worship of that goddess waa 
practiced, and this island was fabled 
as being the place of her birth. ^ Sor- 
cerer — (Gr. Magus — Magian.) At this 
time, impostors from the East were 
abroad in all quarters, as at Ephesus, 
(ch. 19 : 13,) taking advantage of tha 



A. I). 44.] 



CHAP. XIII. 



237 



7 Which was with the deputy of the countrj, Sergius Paulus, 
a prudent mau ; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to 
hear the word of God. 

8 But 'Elymas the sorcerer, (for so is Lis name by in- l^l^.'aVs}' 
terpretation,) withstood them, seeking to turn away the 
deputy from the faith. 



prevalent expectation that some great 
personage would appear. This one 
was not a heathen Magus, but a Jew. 
For a long time, too, the Romans had 
looked to the East as the land of 
mystery, and " Syrian fortune-tellers 
flocked into all the haunts of public 
amusement." See ch. 8:9. f False 
prophet. He dealt in fortune-telling 
and prophesying, which would be in 
direct opposition to the prophets and 
teachers of the word. So always, in 
every special advance of the kingdom 
of light, has the kingdom of dark- 
ness rallied in oppositi-on and decep- 
tion, from the time of Moses, when 
♦' the magicians did so with their en- 
chantments," (Exod. 7 : 11.) So Si- 
mon Magus against Philip, (ch. 8 : 9.) 



1[ Bar-jesus — " son of Joshua" or Jesuf«, 
a common name. Bar is a Syriac 
term, meaning son. This man was 
the Jewish specimen, who perhaps is 
to show here, at the threshold, how 
the Jews will receive the Gospel from 
these missionaries. 

7. Was ivith. An attendant of his, 
and in his service. T[ Ths deputy. The 
term here is peculiar, and means pro- 
consul. It was for a long time thought 
that there was an error in the history 
here, as this was not the common title 
of the governor. But a passage was 
at length discovered in Dio Cassius, 
showing that Augustus gave up Cy- 
prus for certain reasons to be governed 
by this very style of officer, dvdvKaro^. 
And since that, coins have been found 




beai-ing this very title which is here 
used by Luke, and these coins were 
struck in the reign of Claudius, Avhen 
Paul visited the island. "^ Sergius 
Paulus. " Saul'^ bears the name of 
'^ Paul" from this time. Some sup- 
pose it to have been on occasion of this 
remarkable conversion where the Gen- 
tile Paulus receives the Gospel, while 
the Jew Elymas rejects it — and that 
this event was thus signalized because 
thesewere to be understood as represen- 
tative men — and these specimen cases, 
at the threshold of his work, were to 
signify to Paul the different reception 
vhich the Gospel should meet with 
from Jew and Gentile at his hands. 
Sep vs. 9, note. Tf Prudent — intelli- 



gent, or discerning — as appears from the 
narrative. % Who (Sergius Paulus,) 
called for — summoned, called to them — 
and desired earnestly to hear the word of 
God: the Gospel which claimed to be 
this revelation I'rom God. 

8. But Elymas the sorcerer — the Ma- 
gus. The term Elymas is Arabic, and 
means the same as Magus in Greek — 
wise — one claiming extraordinary (su- 
pernatural) wisdom — occult science, 
vs. 6. f Withstood — opposed — set him- 
self in opposition. ^ Seeking. This was 
his aim auJ object. ^ To turn away. 
To icrcst or pervert— a sti-ong term — to 
turn olf entirely from the faith, from 
believing, or giving in to the doctrines 
preac'ied, "the hidden wisdom which 



238 



TEIE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44. 



9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) ""filled with 
the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 

10 And said, full of all subtilty and all mischief, 
"^fhou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, 
wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord ? 

11 And now, behold, "the hand of the Lord is upon thee, 
and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. 



God ordained before the world unto 
our glory." 

9. Who also is called Paul. Literally, 
The also (called) Paul. The Holy Spir- 
it, just at this point iu the history, 
gives Saul this name '^ Paul," which 
He invariably uses in the record from 
this time to the close. He may have 
been so "called" on this occasion, 
(John 1 : 42,) according to the prac- 
tice of giving a new name to eminent 
servants of God, to marli their enter- 
ing upon some new covenant relation 
—as Abraham, Sarah, Israel, under 
the Old Testament, and Boanerges and 
Peter, under the New Testament. And 
as these names were significant, and 
had reference to some prominent fact or 
feature of the occasion — as "Boaner- 
ges " referred to James and John asli- 
ing to command fire from heaven, 
(Luke 9 : 54.) and "Peter" referred 
to the foundation-truth of his confes- 
sion, (^Latt. 16: IG,) so here the name 
"Paul" might naturally be a memo- 
rial name, and have reference to the 
remarkable conversion of "Paulus," 
especially as it was a representative 
case. See vs. 7, note. We may even 
suppose that Paul had this name as 
his Gentile name, (which was the com- 
mon practice,) in addition to his Jew- 
ish name Saul. This would not inter- 
fere with our theory of the Holy 
Ghost's intent in the record. The 
supposition that Paul assumed now 
his Gentile name, as being more ap- 
propriate to his field of labor among 
the Gentiles, would not be quite satis- 
factory. That Luke for the same rea- 
son gives him this name in the subse- 
quent history, would not conflict with 
the view we have given ; as it was 
under the inspiration of the Holy 
Ghost, t Filled with the Holy Ghost. 
Acting, therefore, under immediate 



Divine inspiration, by which he was 
able to detect the wickedness, and au- 
thorized to pronounce the curse. H 
was no private bitterness, but the 
judgment of God. *[[ Set his eyes — • 
gazing intently upon hira. Some sup- 
pose this term has reference to Paul s 
weakness of eyes, ever since he was 
miraculously blinded for his unbelief 
— but this is conjecture. 

10. Paul denounces him as full (not 
of the Holy Ghost, but) of all deceit 
and all wickedness. The latter term ex- 
presses "the cunning of a successful 
impostor." ^ Child. Son of the Devil 
— instead of Bar-iesus, (son of Joshua 
or Jesus,) as his name was. The 
phrase means, one who has in him the 
nature and qualities of the devil, in an 
eminent degree. ^ Enemy of all right- 
eousness, and therefore, of course, the 
enemy of the Gospel, which is " the 
righteousness of God, &c.," (Rom. 3 : 
22.) '^Pervert. The same term as 
used vs. 8, rendered "to turn away," 
.and means distorting, wresting. See 
note, vs. 18. "H Right icays. The way 
of life and the way of God's provi- 
dence and grace. Vv'ilt thou not cease 
to " turn the truth of God into a lie," 
and to " turn away the proconsul from 
the faith," or reception of the Gospel ? 
See the similar case of Simon Magus 
at Samaria, (ch. 8:18.) Observe. — 
None are so blind to the truth as they 
who are in the habit of deceiving 
others. 

11. The Apostle here denounces 
upon him the Divine judgment — giv- 
ing him a sign in the very experience 
of the punishment. Now he "knows 
good and evil," like our first parents, 
by the bitter sense of good lost and 
evil felt. "^ Blind, and not (even) see- 
ing the sun (so entirely blind,) for a 
season, (literally, until a time or season.) 



A. D. 44.] 



CHAP. XIII. 



And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness ; uad ho 
went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. 

12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, beiac 
astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. 

13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, 

they came to Perga in Pamphylia : and p John departing ^s"^."'^®- 
from them returned to Jerusalem. 



This hints of a time when he should 
be restored ; but a set time according 
to God's pleasure. It may be a hint 
of the Divine gra^e, to provoke his re- 
pentance. So Paul declares that blind- 
ness in part had happened to Israel 
until the fullness of the Gentiles be 
come in, Rom. 11 : 25. Paul was him- 
self so smitten for his unbelief, ch. 9 : 
8, 9. ^ Mist and a darkness — implying 
a gradual blinding — first a dimtiess, 
then a darkness. And going (groping) 
about, he sought guides, (literally, 
hand-guides.) This depicts to the life 
the manner of one suddenly struck 
with blindness. Observe. — The Lord 
Jesus came, that they who see might 
be made blind, John 9 : 15. 

12. The eflFect upon the proconsul 
of such a miraculous visitation was 
convincing. It followed so at once 
upon the sentence uttered by Paul, that 
it plainly indicated the Divine power, 
and it was blessed to the conversion of 
the proconsul. '\\ Astonished. lie could 
not hesitate a moment between the 
teaching of the Magian, who was so mi- 



pu 



t tr> hllnilnPS 



t^achmo: of the I or 1, ■\\hich 'v\as ac- 



companied with such amazing tokens, 
and such astonishing power. Obsera'e 
— (1) The miracle had no convertinfi 
power, but "the doctrine," accompanief', 
by the Spirit of God. So (2) by the stum 
bling of Israel, salvation comes to the 
Gentiles, Rom. 11:11; 12 : 15. Fro:u 
Cyprus to Asia Minor, the missionaries 
now proceed. 

13. His company. Wi^rnWy, theij about 
Paul, or accompanying him. Observe. 
— Pa«l, now and henceforth appears 
as the leader and head of the mission. 
^ Loosed. Lit., Having set sail. Tf P^r- 
ga. Pamphylia was the province of Asia 
Minor adjacent to them on the west. 
Perga was its capital city, which was 
famous for the wor.ship of the hea- 
then goddess, Diana. Thus these mis- 
sionaries advanced upon the strong- 
holds of heathenism. Tf John depart- 
ing. This was "John 3\Iark, " men- 
tioned in vs. o, as their attendant. The 
term here used, shows that his depart- 
ing was on account of some dissatis- 
faction, for which Paul blames him, 
ch. 15: 38. It ma^^ have been on ac- 
co""t -^f P!.ul living ,iow t.il.-en 'he 
leid, iM'^t'^-'d of I5nnibi-5 M uk s nu« 




* 

r^-^. 



240i 



f ch. 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44. 



14 ^ But wbon they departed from Perga, they came to 
; Antioch in Pisidia, and ' went into the synagogue on the 

sabbath day, and sat down. 

15 And ''after the reading of the law and the prophets 
the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying-, Yemen 
and brethren, if ye have ° any word of exhortation for the 
people, say on. 

16 Then Paul stood up, and 'beckoning with Jiis hand 
said, Men of Israel, and ° ye that fear God, give audience. 



cle. Or, it may have been ou account 
of the object of the mission becoming 
more clearly defined as a mission to 
the Gentiles, with which Mark had not, 
.as yet, any lively sympathy. Or, with 
both these reasons, it may have been 
also from a reluctance to journey far- 
ther from his home at Jerusalem, and 
amidst the drudgeries and dangers of 
this western field. He afterwards 
joined Paul again in a tour to Cyprus ; 
was "a comfort to him," Col. 4: 10, 
11, ami "profitable to him for the min- 
istry." 2 Tim. 4:11. 

14. Thei/ (themselves) departed. Lit., 
Having passed through [ox journeyed on) 
from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pi- 
sidia, the adjacent province northward. 
They did not now tarry at Perga, prob- 
ably because of the season, which made 
it desirable to take the trip into the 
interior without delay. The coast was 
infested by robbers. See 2 Cor. 11 : 
26. The site of this Antioch has been 
found, now called Jalohateh. 1 Syn- 
agogue. Through the religious assem- 
blies of the Jews in their synagogues 
tJiey could have access to the people 
most readily. \ Sabbath — day of the 
Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath, f Sat 
down — with the rest — though possibly 
in a conspicuous place, to draw attention 
to them, and invite an opportunity of 
speaking to the assembly. They were, 
at least, noticed. They were not seat- 
ed in the place of the Rabbis, as they 
were sent to, as if at a remote point. 

15.- The Law. The five books of 
Moses, or the Pentateuch, were divided 
into sections for Sabbath reading, so 
as to complete the whole during the 
year. The Pentateuch was read in the 
uynagogues from their earliest history. 



Tf The Prophets. These were not at 
first read in the synagogues, nor until 
B. C. 163, when Antiochus Epiphanes 
prohibited the reading of the law, and 
these were substituted. Afterwards 
both were read. See Luke 4:16. See 
vs. 27. After the reading was done, 
tlie assembly was addressed by the 
reader, or by some other member, ajid 
strangers were often called upon, as our 
Ldi-d, Luke 4:16. \ The rulers. Each 
synagogue was governed by a chief ru- 
ler, and a body of elders, like the teach- 
ing elder (or pastor) and ruling eldera 
of the Christian Churches in the New 
Testament. *^ Sent unto them, probably 
by " the minister," or servant who kept 
the rolls of Scriptures. ^Men, brethren, 
if there is in you a word of exhortation 
(consolation) to (for) the people. If you 
have in mind, or at heart to speak such 
word. 

16. Then Paul. Though Barnabas 
was so called (see 4 : 36,) as "the son 
of consolation" (or exhortation, the same 
term as is used in the previous verse,) 
yet Paul is now and henceforth tha 
speaker, as he has now formally entered 
upon his commission as ''Apostle to the 
Gentiles." Barnabas, who knew of 
tills commission, and took part in ex- 
plaining it to the Apostles, (ch. 9: 27,) 
and in accordance with it sent after 
Paul to Tarsus, to enter the field opened 
to him by the Spirit, at Antioch, (ch. 
11 : 25,) could not object, but must have 
regarded it as every way proper and 
right. ^ Beckoning. See ch. 12: 16. 
^ Men of Israel, &c. He addresses him- 
self not only to the native Jews, but to 
the devout men, fearers of God, such as 
Cornelius, who, though Gentiles, were 
yet brought under the influence of tha 



A. D 44] 



CHAP. XIII. 



17 The G-od cf this people of Israel '^ chose our fathers, 
ani exalted the people ^whea they dwelt as strangers 
in the land of Egypt, ^ and with an high arm brought he 
them out of it. 

18 And * about the time of forty years f suffered he their 
manners in the wilderness. 

19 And when ''he had destroyed seven nations in the 
land of Chanaan, "= he divided their land to them by lot. 

20 And after that ^ he gave u7ito them judges about the 
space of four hundred and fifty years, « until Samuel the 
prophet. 



241 

irDent. T:6,i 
y Ex. 1:1. 
Ps. 105:2:,*,. 
cb. 7:17. 
zEx. «:6, and 
J3:U, 16. 
uEx. 16:35. 
Nuiu.U:33, 3i 
Ps. 95:9, 10. 

ch. 7:36. 

tGr. 

erpoiTO — V, 

perhaps for 

erpocpo — V, 

them 111 a vurst 
bearetil.OT fad- 
etU her chiid. 
Deut. 1:31. 
b Deut. 7:1. 
iJo.sh. 14:1, 2. 
Ps. 78:55. 
d Judges 2 : 16. 



Jewish religion, and were to be found 
in the synagogues at public worship. 
These were a means of access to the 
Gentile world. These were such, com- 
monly, as had not made a special pro- 
fession, and were not circumcised. 
They had seats in a separate part of 
the synagogue. Observe. — This dis- 
course of Paul, the firot which he de- 
livered under his commission to the 
Gentiles, sets forth (1) God's covenant 
mercies to Isrn.«l, crowned by the ful- 
fillment of His gracious promises to 
send a Saviour, (vss. 17-25.) (2) His 
rejection by the Jews and His resur- 
rection by God, the Father, as abun- 
dantly proved, vss. 26-37. (3) The 
special application of these trutlis to 
them, with an earnest appeal for their 
reception of the Gospel as the only 
hope for salvation, vss. 38—42. 

17. Paul shows that his Christian 
faith is in perfect keeping with a know- 
ledge and acknowledgment of all God's 
peculiar mercies to Israel ; for Chris- 
tianity, (as he elsewhere shows in his 
Epistles,) is only the substance of 
which the Old Testament economy was 
the shadow. ^ Chosa — elected, as Abra- 
h.am from the land of idolaters. If Our 
fathers, he says^ (mine as weU as 
yours,) embraicing all present, Jews 
and Gcutiles, and thus he hints at the 
docti'ine which he afterwards insists 
upon, that all true believers in Christ 
are the children of Abraham. Rom. 2 : 
29. ^[ Exalted. LiteraUy, Lifted them 
up — ^from their depression under Egyp- 
tian bondage, making them prosperous, 
Uiunjrous and poweii'ul. Some under- 
21 



stand it, brought up to manhood, Is.i. 
1:2. II" With an high arm, in exertion 
of His almighty power, as in the plagues 
visited upon Pharaoh, and all the mira- 
cles for their release, Psalm 89 : 13. 

18. Suffered. P»,at.her, the term is 
more probably, nurtured — tended them 
as a nurse. See Deut. 1 : SI. Tliere 
is a difference in the reading, but 
either term gives a good and scriptu- 
ral sense. 

19. From the Exodus he passes to 
the wildei-ness journey, and thence 
riipidly to the entrance into Canaan — 
glances at the heads of (he history. 
If Seven nations. See Deut. 7:1; Josh. 
3 : 10. The Canaanites, Hittites, Am- 
orites, Girgashite.s, Jebusite.s, Hivites, 
Perizzites. If Divided. Rather, Gave 
as an inhcrit'incc. ^ Their land. It 
was made theirs by covenant before 
they entered on its possession. Ob- 
serve. — God's distinguielung goodness 
to Israel, "giving people for their 
life," (L~a. 43': 4.) 

20. After these thinffn— the posses- 
sion of Canaan. 5f About. Lit., after 
ihe^e things, as [about) four hundred aid 
fifty years, which may mean, that after 
tlicse things, which lasted about four 
hundred and fifty years, He gave them 
judges. It was about this length of 
time from the call of Abraham to the 
occupation of Canaan. Some anoicnt 
readings connect the time with i\\h for- 
mer clause, and make it relate to the 
possession of Canaan — "and from the 
call of Abraham to the occupation of 
the land was four hundred and fifty 
years." The time is given in round 



242 

n San. 8:5, 



THE ACTS OF THP] ^POSTLLS. 



[A. D. 44. 



^s°m.\5:u, ^1 'And aftcrward they desired a king: and God gave 
w.^'s^u!* ■ '■ uiito them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Ben- 
ia^i^°2'u;and jauiin, bj the space of forty years. 

.3:^9. Of, 22 And ^when he had removed him, ^he raised up 

sam.i3:u. ^^j^q them David to be their king; to whom also he gave 
ifei-sVeg. testimony, and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, 
m.'ui ^ 3, man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. 
Mi'iTiiV'^ -3 'Of this man's seed hath God according "^ to his 
m.'n-M!' promise raised unto Israel "a Saviour, Jesus : 
'ife3:3^'' 24 * Wheu Johu had first preached before his coming 

rk":7.''^' the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 
mi:S?o,'n. 25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, ^Whom 



numbers, " about." Josephus has the 
same calculation, making four hundred 
and forty-three years for the judges, 
including Samuel. This differs from 
the calculation in 1 Kings G : ], but 
counting from Othniel to the death of 
Eli, we have three hundred and thirty- 
nine years, and then including their 
separate servitudes, one hundred and 
eleven j'ears, we have four hundred 
and fifty years exactly. It is clear 
that Paul followed a chronology cur- 
resit among the Jews, and agreeing 
with the Book of Judges itself, and 
that adopted by Josephus. ^ Until 
Samuel. Samuel is here najiied as 
closing the series of judges, and also 
as "the prophet" who anointed their 
firdt king. " The judges" were per- 
sons specially raised up by God for 
groat emergencies, to govern and de- 
liver the people. Under Samuel the 
prophetic office and order was estab- 
lished, as an ofFset-to the kingly office. 

21. Afterward. Lit., thence, from 
that point in the history — they desired 
— they asked for themselves. ^ Gave 
unto Mem— just as truly as He "gave" 
the judges, (vs. 20,) yet in anger, 
Hos. 13 : 11.) T[ Saul. Paul was 
also a Saul of the ti-ibe of Benjamin. 
TT Cis — Kish, in Hebrew, f Forty years. 
This term of his reign is not mention- 
ed in the Old Testament. Josephus, 
however, gives the same. — Ant. vi., 
14, 9. 

22. Removed. 1 Sam. 31. He was 
re-moved by death, as a judgment for 
his disobedience. ^ liaised up. This 
t^Seia to the actual accession of David, 



including his selection and anointing 
in Saul's lifetime. He did not take 
the throne till after Saul's death, 1 
Sam. 10:12. f Testimony. See 1 
Sam. 13 : 14; Ps. 89 : 20; 78 : TO- 
TS, where this testimony is found to be 
the substance of several passages — a 
summary given purposely instead of 
the entire texts, f A man. Distin- 
guished f)-om Saul, as, in his kingly 
office, a man of God's own choice, and 
obedient to His express directions. 

23. Seed. The promise to David 
was that he should always have a son 
to sit upon his throne. This was ful- 
filled in Jesus, who was of the seed of 
David — the son of David. The Jews 
were then looking for the fulfillment 
of this promise. ^ liaised unto Israel. 
So the angels sang to the shephoi"ds, 
" unto you is born tliis day in the city 
of David, a Saviour which is Chiist the 
Lord." The name Jesus means "Sa- 
viour," Matt. 1 : 21. 

24. When John. Paul, in his brief 
recapitulation, notes the leading facta 
— and here glances at John's office in 
heralding Christ according to the 
prophecy of Malachi, that " Elias 
should first come," (Mai 4:5, 6,) and 
turn the hearts, &c. So he preached 
the baptism of repentance to all the peo- 
ple of Israel, calling them all to repent 
and to signify and profess their repent- 
ance by being baptized. IT Before Bis 
coming. Literally, entrance — publicly 
upon His work. 

25. Fulfilled. Was about fulfilling, 
or finishing his course as Christ's fore- 
runner — aew its close. It was just 



A. D. 44. 



CHAP. XIU. 



243 



think yo that 1 am ? I am not he. But, behold, there 
Cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not 
worthy to loose. 

26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, 
and whosoever among youfeareth God, "J to you is the word 
of this salvation sent. 

27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, 
'because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the 
prophets ' which are read every Sabbath day, ' they have 
fulfilled them in condemning him. 

28 ° And though they found no cause of death in him, 
* yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 

29 ^And when they had fulfilled all that was written of 
him, '■ they took him down from the tree, and laid him in 
a sepulchre.* 



svs. U, lb. 
ch. 15:21. 

t Lu!, e '24 ; 'JO, 44 
cli. '.;6: fl, and 

uMatt. 27:22. 
Mark 15:13, 14. 
Luke 23:21, 22. 
Joha I9:&-15. 
X ch. 3:13, 14. 
y Luke 18:31, 
and 24 : 44. 
John 19: 23, 30 
?.6, 37. 

i.Matt. 27:59. 
Mark 15 : 46. 
Luke 23 : 53. 
John 19: 



.53. 



Dan. 



:26. 



before his imprisonment ; and Christ's 
public, formal ministry commenced as 
John's ceased. The Jews acknow- 
ledged John as a prophet, and were 
therefore bound to admit his testi- 
mony. Tl Whom. See John 1 : 19-28. 
'^ I am not. This was bis reply to 
their questioning. And here the idea 
is that given by John, "I am not" — 
the one who should come — " the comer"' 
predicted, John 1 : 20. f But. See 
Notes on Matt. 3 : 11. 

26. Paul now declares to them thoir 
personal and special interest in the 
matter. This Gospel — the word (or 
doctrine,) of this salvation, is sent to 
you, Jews and Gentiles. This is "the 
glad tidings" which Paul preaches, 
(vs. 32.) It was sent "to the Jew 
first, and also to the Gentile." 1" Sent. 
Was sent forth from the beginning, 
and always intended to go abroad to 
all people, but especially, and first of 
all, to "the stock of Abraham." See 
ch. 3 : 20 : " Unto you first, God hav- 
ing raised up His Son Jesus, hath sent 
Him to bless you," &c. 

27. For. This statement of facts is 
brought forward as the proof that Je- 
sus was the promised Messiah, for in 
Him the prophecies had been fulfilled. 
He also shows the part which the Jew- 
ish people, even the rulers, (Sanhe- 
drim,) had taken in his death. ^ Be- 
cause. Literally, having been ignorant 
Hf this Otis — Jesus. "For had they 



known it, they would not have cruci- 
fied the Lord of glory," (1 Cor. 2:8.) 
They ought to h.ave known Him (how- 
ever,) as He was clearly set forth in 
their own prophetic Scriptures. Hence 
this ignorance was no excuse. It 
was rather an aggravation of their 
crime. If The voices. They were ignor- 
ant of the true sense of their own 
prophets, whose voices ( words ) were 
read every Sabbath daj/, (in their syna- 
gogues,) (heg have fuljilUd them in con- 
demning Him. Liteniljy, condemning 
(Ilini) theg have fulfilled {them.) The 
reading of the Prophets as well as 
the Law, was the practice of the 
synagogues since the time of the Mac- 
cabees, or about one hundred years 
before Christ's coming, as if it had 
been so ordered in God's providence 
to give them warning of His speedy 
advent. See vs. 15. See Matt. 17 : 12. 

28. Though. LiteraUy, having found 
(upon trial,) no cause of death — (law- 
ful accusation of death — legal charge 
of capital crime,) they desired, (asked 
for themselves, sec vs. 21 ; ch. 3 : 13,) 
in the sense, however, of demanding. 
See the history, John 19: 15. '^ Slam 
— destroyed — made aw.ay with. Away 
with Him — crucify Him. 

29-30. And when theg had fulfilled 
(brought to an end — consummated,) 
all the things ivhlch ivere written concern- 
ing Ilim, they took llim dotcn. Paul 
brings together in the narrative what 



244 



THE ACTS Oi THE APOSTLES. 



[A. ». li. 



l^f-^lL^: 30 -But God raised him from the dead: 
13,^1^5, 26, and g^ And "= hc was seen many days of them which came 
chl'i'V"^'^^' up with him "^from Galilee to Jerusalem, 'who are his 
dchfmi?'*'^" witnesses unto the people. 

32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that 



t ch, 

2 : 32, and 3 : 15, 

/Geu'las and 'the promisc which was made unto the fathers 
- : 3, and 2:!: 18. 33 Q^^ j^j^t}^ fulfilled the saffic unto us th 



ch. 26 : 6. 



13. 



Gal. 3 : 16. 
p Pa. 2:7. 
Heb. 1:5, 



children, 

in that he hath raised lap Jesus again ; as it is also written 
in the second psalm, « Thou art my Son, this day have I 
begotten thee. 

34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the 



friends and foes together did, without 
stopping to make the distinction, else 
he refers here to the sealing of the se- 
pulchre by His enemies. His object 
is simply to give the leading events, 
so as to reach the conclusion of the 
matter. f But. This is the vital 
point — the grand conclusive proof of 
His IMessiahship. Though men cruci- 
fied Him, and sealed the sepulchre to 
keep Him there, " God raised Him from 
the dead'' — from (from among,) the 
dead. 

31. Was seen. Here are the further 
fjicts which clearly proved His resur- 
rection. These ficts are those upon 
•which the Christian Church has al- 
ways based its belief — facts abundant- 
ly proven — not mere theories, nor idle 
rumors. ^ Mam/ dai/s. During forlr/ 
days from the days after the Pentecost 
until the Passover, Luke 4 : 25 ; 18:4. 
^ By those. He was seen by such as 
had been much in His company, all 
the way "from Galilee to Jerusalem," 
and they could not be mistaken. ^ Ilis 
witnesses. He appeals to these persons 
who had seen Him. They were yet 
living when Paul spoke. ^ Unto the 
people. This was not mere private tes- 
timony, and out of reach, at second- 
hand, but public and official, and ad- 
dressed to the people of Israel. 

32, 33. We declare. We, Paul and 
BarLabas, (on the basis of these facts, 
BO fully attested,) declare unto you, &c., 
literally, ice evangelize to you, ( preach 
to you as the evangel, or glad tidings,) 
the promise made to the fathers — the pro- 
mise of Christ made to Abraham, and 
repeated to the fathers, Gal. 3 : 14-22, 



that this (promise) God hath fulfilled to 
their children, to us, having raised up Je- 
sus again (from the dead, vs. 34.) The 
great promise of the Messiah, which 
is found every where in the Old Testa- 
ment, God had fulfilled to the -Jews of 
that day, the descendants of the pa- 
triarchs, in that lie raised up Jesus again, 
(the noun of this verb means the res- 
urrection,) and thus proved Him to be 
the very Messiah long promised. He 
was "declared to be the Son of God 
with power by the resurrection from 
the dead." Pvom. 1:4. Tf Second 
Psalm. This passage in the second 
Psalm is quoted as referring to the 
]\Iessiah, and showing the Sonship of 
Christ, not only from His Divine na- 
ture, but from the Divine power, bear- 
ing testimony to His claim. His res- 
urrection is the crowning proof of His 
Messiahship. It was, therefore, that 
great fact which the Apostles were 
raised up to testify and proclaim, (ch. 
1 : 22.) In vss. 30 and 31, the Apostle 
urges the vital point of the resurrec- 
tion, and then vss. 32 and 33 makes this 
fact the basis of the glad tidings, as 
it is the crowning fulfillment of the 
promises to the fathers respecting the 
Messiah. This event also fulfills the pas- 
sage in the second Psalm. In vs. 34, he 
shows this event to be also a fulfill- 
ment of the prophecy in Isaiah 55 : 3. 
See 1 Peter 1:3. Christ was sail 
by the Father to be begotten at the 
resurrection, as He was then, as God- 
man, raised up from all the power of 
death to an endless life. 

34. As concerning. Here he evi- 
dently dwells further upon this vit»l 



A. D 44 J CHAP. XIII. 

dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this 
wise, ''I will give you the sure f mercies of David. 

'^.5 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, • Thou 
shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 

36 For David, || after he had served his own generation 
by the will of God, ^ fell on sleep, and was laid unto his 
fathers, and saw corruption : 

37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corrup- 
tion. 



24a 

h laa. W : 3. 

tOr,r(2 OCTiO, 
holy, or, just 
things : ivhioh 
word the LXX, 
both in the 
place of Isa. S5: 
3, aud iu many 
others, used for 
that which is ia 
the Hebrew, 
mercies. 
tP3. 16:10. 
oh. '^rSl. 
II Or, after ha 
had in his om* 
age served the 
Kill of God. 



matter of the resurrectiou as per- 
manent, and he shows how it had been 
predicted and promised in the language 
of Isaiah, promising to David a son to 
sit upon his throne forever, (Christ,) 
as the sure (faithful and holy) mercies 
of David, or the holy promises to David 
which are sure of accomplishment. T Ho 
more. It was a resurrection that 
would be forever, and put him forever 
cut of the reach of death and its con- 
sequent corruption. Paul to the He- 
brews dwells on this — "Thou art a 
Priest FOREVER." Heb. 7 : 17, 25 ; Ps. 
110: 4. "He ever liveth." This 
crowns our hope for eternity. Tf On 
this wise— thus. See 2 Samuel 7 : 8- 
16. 

35. Wherefore a/so— according to which 
pledge of Christ's endless life. Here 
Paul refers, on this point of Christ's 
living forever, to another promise re- 
ferring to the Messiah — that He should 
not be left to see corruption in the 
grave. So in the Hebrews, he shows 
that as a High Priest, He was appoint- 
ed not according to the law of a car- 
nal commandment, but according to 
the power of an endless life. ( Heb. 
7 : 16.) See also Peter's similar use 
of this passage to show that it could 
not refer to David and must refer to 
Christ. Ch. 2: 25-31. See iVoto. %Ia 
another Psalm. (Ps. 16:10.) The ex- 
act agreement of Peter and Paul iu 
their exposition of this passage, though 
iu different circumstances and connec- 
tions, is accounted for by their plenary 
inspiration. The Jews admitted that all 
these Old Testament prophecies rela- 
ted to the Messiah, until after Christ 
tame, and then, when they were used 
21* 



by Christians against them, they sought 
to apply them to others than Christ. 

36. For. This passage refers not 
to David, but to Jesus. ^ Served. 
David served his own generation ( in 
which he lived,) and no farther, be- 
cause he was arrested by death. ^ By 
the will of God. He accomplished for 
his own generation (to which be be- 
longed, and to which he wa.s confined 
by his mortality,) his allotted work; 
his work, as prescribed by God ; and 
then ( because he was not above the 
power of death and the grave,) he fell 
asleep. See ch. 7 : 60. See 1 Kings 
2 : 10. The death of the good is thus 
spoken of in both Testaments. '^Was 
laid. Literally, ivas added unto his.fath- 
ers — according to the Old Testament 
expression, "was gathered to his fath- 
ers." This phrase in the Old Testa- 
ment plainly recognizes the existence of 
the soul in a future state. Even Geseni- 
us in his Lexicon, shows that it is distin- 
guished from death and burial, as in 
Gen. 25 : 8, &c. It is used without 
respect to burial in the same vault, 
and evidently refers to something be- 
yond the sameness of locality in the 
grave. ^ Saw corruption. While his 
soul was gathered to his fathers, Abra- 
ham, Isaac and Jacob, his body saw 
(experienced ) corruption — underwent 
the common decay and putrefaction of 
the grave. This fact (and Peter has 
added, " his grave is with us to this 
day,") proves that the prophecy was 
not fulfilled in David, but looked for- 
ward to a greater than he. See ch, 
2:29. 

37. But He. This Jesus, who was 
thus raised up from the dead, (vse. 831, 



240 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A D. U 



Koiu. 3 : 28, 
8:3. 
Heb. 7 : 19. 



I?a. 29 : 11. 



38 ^Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, 
that ' through this man is preached unto you the forgive- 
ness of sins : 

39 And "by him all that believe are justified from al' 
things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of 
Moses. 

40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which ig 
spoken of in ° the prophets ; 



34,) was resei-vei.! from the power of 
the grave, and saio no corruption — did 
not undergo tlie process of decay in 
the grave, but before coming under its 
power lie was raised up. 

?.8. Be it knou-n. Paul here applies 
these Gospel facts to his hearers, and 
shows them the personal interest they 
have in the person and work of Christ. 
He preaches to them the free forgive- 
ness of sins through (by means of) this 
one — Jesus. f /s preached — is an- 
nounced, (as a message.) Free for- 
giveness in His name — by virtue of 
His mediatorial work — who was cruci- 
fied at Jerusalem and raised from the 
dead — the promised Messiah. T[ The 
forgiveness. This they should have 
been led to expect from their Old Tes- 
tament Scriptures, Isa. 55 ; Ezek. 18 ; 
Zech. 3 : 4. Thus these facts were 
of the highest practical moment to 
them. 

39. By Him. Literally, and from 
all things from which ye were not able to 
he justified by the laiv of Moses, every 
one who believes is Justified. The read- 
ing is not "from all the th'mga from 
tvhich ye could not, &c.," as though it 
was only a certain class of offenses, 
such as the law of iMoses could not 
reach, from the guilt of which Christ 
could give justification ; but ^(through, 
by) Him, (by virtue of His work, and 
by UHion with Him, ) every one who 
believes is justified from all things, 
from which ye could not be justified 
by the law of Moses. It proclaims 
the entire justification from every sin, 
which is brought by Jesus Christ ; and 
declares that the Mosaic law could not 
justify from all things — that is (ac- 
cording to the Greek idiom,) could not 
justify from any thing. " For it is not 
possible," as Paul says in the He- 



brews, " that the blood of bulls and of 
goats could take away sins," Heb. 10 : 4 
This is also the great doctrine of Paul's 
epistle to the Romans and to the Gala- 
tians. "For what the law could not do, 
in that it was weak througli the flesh, 
(that is, on account of our faKen na- 
ture, and not by any defects of iKi 
own,) God sending His own Son, &c." 
Rom. 8:3; Gal. 3: 11. Observe.— 

(1) Sin is not only forgiven by Christ, 
but justification is secured to us, by 
which we are accounted righteous. 

(2) The law cannot justify, for by the 
law is the knowledge of sin. " The 
blood of Jesus Christ, His Sot?, cleans- 
eth us from all sin." 1 John 1 : 7. 

40. Beware. Literally, See to it. 
This message of salvation implies de- 
struction to those who reject or neglect 
it. These are the two halves of Christ's 
ministry — to believers, salvation — to 
unbelievers, their own chosen destruc- 
tion. Here, therefore. He gives the 
warning. Tf Therefore. Because Christ 
is such a Saviour from sin and death, 
beware, for "how shall ye escape if 
ye neglect so great salvation, &c." The 
grace brought to us in the Gcspel, 
makes the perdition of despisers more 
severe. This warning had been spr)- 
ken of in the prophets — in the book of 
the prophets — in the prophetical por- 
tion of the sacred Scriptures. It hnd 
been uttered by the prophet Habak- 
kuk (1 : 5,) as a prediction of the 
judgments which Avere to come upon 
their nation in the destruction of their 
temple, about twenty years before flie 
Babylonish captivity. And new P;iul 
repeats it as about to be fulfilled again 
and more fully, in the destruction of 
their temple by the Ptomans, after 
about twenty-five years. In the pro- 
phecy as uttered by Habakkuk, th« 



4. D. 44.] 



CHAP. XIII. 



247 



41 Eehold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for 1 work a 
work in your days, a work whicli ye shall in no wise believe, though 
a man declare it unto you. 

42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the 
G-entiles besought that these words might be preached to 

them -{-the next sabbath. Iflkl'^m 

43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many l^^tkVJtwtm. 
of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and „ch. u:23, ma 
Barnabas: who, speaking to them, "persuaded them to 
continue in p the grace of God. 



>i Tit. 2:11. 
Heb. 12:15. 
1 Pet. 5:12. 



doctrine had first been stated as here. 
" The Just shall live by faith." 

41. Behold, &c. This does not pre- 
cisely follow the language of the pro- 
phet, but refers to it and gives the 
purport of it, as substantially appli- 
cable to their case. It is only a re- 
peated fulfillment of the prophecy, 
according to the analogy of God's 
dealings in different ages, going on to 
be more and more fully verified, as it 
draws nearer to that full and final ac- 
complishment of all the promises and 
threatenings by which every prophetic 
word shall be exhausted. See Alford. 
Tf Despisers, Paul uses here the Greek 
version, with which they were familiar, 
because it sulficiently suited his pur- 
pose, and he spake under the Divine 
inspiration authorizing the use of it 
in these lerms. 1[ Wonder. Be amazed 
at the destruction with which God 
suddenly visits liis enemies. If Perish. 
Be overwhelmed with the swift coming 
punishment. T[ For I work a work (of 
summary vengeance,) in your days — a 
work which ye shall in nowise believe, 
though one declare it unto you. They 
would not believe in the coming deso- 
lation, though it should be so plainly 
and personally told them. So our 
Lord declares, "As in the days of 
Noah, &c." Matt. 24:38. 

42. The effect of Paul's discourse is 
here stated. It was another specimen 
case. As with Sergius Paulus and 
Elymas at Paphos, the Jew rejects, I 
and the Gentile receives the salvation. | 
Even if, according to late critics, the 
tonus " Jews aad Gentiles." arc to be I 



omitted in this verse, this is still the 
result, as appears from the following 
verses. The Gentiles were Gentile 
proselytes. ^ They besought that these 
ivords (these doctrines,) might be preach- 
ed unto them the next Sabbath. The 
doctrine of faith in Christ, as the way 
of salvation, would put the Gentiles 
on a footing with the Jews, and would 
thus naturally interest them in having 
it repeated. T[ Next. Literally, be- 
tween — and by some understood as be- 
tween the Sabbaths, or intervening days 
of worship. But the usage of the 
Greek authorizes the sense of our 
version. See vs. 44. Observe. — ■ 
When the Gospel takes any proper hold 
upon the heart, there is a desire 
awakened for its repetition. How 
pleasant to Christian ministers to be 
entreated to preach the Gospel again 
and again. 

43. The congregation. Literally, 
lohen the synagogue was broken up. 
The former verse may read, "and 
when they (Paul and Barnabas,) were 
going out, &c., they (the congregation) 
besought them, &c." This verse wou\d 
then refer to a further step in the his- 
tory. Many, both of the Jews and 
of the Gentile proselytes, showed thoir 
earnest interest in their teaching by 
follovting them on their way from the 
synagogue. ^ Who (Paul and Bar- 
nabas,) upeaking to them, persuaded 
them to continue (to abide — corctinue 
steadfastly,) in the grace of God — to 
hold fast to the Gospel of grace which 
they had heard and received with joy; 
and not be moved by tho derisions oi 
the opposing Jews. 



248 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44 



44 ^And the next sabbath day came almost the wholo city 
gether to hear the word of God. 

45 But -when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were 
ICl;!: filled with envy, and •> spake against those things which 
[au."io:6. were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 
vB^"*- 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, •'It 

x.i^Mo. was necessary that the word of God should first have been 
%sU!^' spoken to you : but "seeing ye put it from you, and judge 
'I'.'w'w yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, 'we turn to the 
,18- 6, and Geutiles. 



44. The next Sabbath. xiccorcling 
to the request in vs. 42, Paul and Bar- 
nabas consented to preach to them 
again, and the result was wonderful. 
The great mass of the population was 
moved, and convened in the synagogue 
and around it, both Jews and Gentile 
proselytes — to hear the word of God 
— the Gospel message, as already 
preached to them. Observe. — The 
simplicity of the Apostles' preaching. 
They narrated the story of the cross 

— expounded the prophecies in the 
light of the Gospel Listor}', and press- 
ed upon the liearers their momentous 
and personal interest in the matter. 

45. The multitudes. It was tJie sight 
of the Gentiles crowding to tlieir house 
of prayer to receive this Gospel, which 
offended the Jews. They said that the 
effect must be to put the Gentiles on a 
level with them, and lose to them their 
ancient prerogative as the chosen peo- 
ple of God. See Rom. 11. 'J[ Envy 

— emulation — party feeling. Their 
Jewish pride was wounded, that the 
Gentiles were admitted to an equality 
with themselves, and that they were 
eagerly availing themselves of the 
privilege. So it had been predicted : 
"I will provoke you to jealousy by 
them that are no (covenant) people, 
and by a foolish nation I will anger 
you," Hos. 2:23; Rom. 10:19. ^Spalce 
against — contradicted. They disputed 
this interpretation and application of 
their Scriptures, if not the facts them- 
selves. And this they did in a spirit of 
wicked opposition — contradicting not 
• ily, but also blasphemina — reviling 



Paul and Barnabas, and profanely 
denying Christ as the Messiah. 

46. Waxed bold. Rather, Speaking 
out freely, said. The effect of this de- 
cided rejection of the Gospel by the 
Jews was to give it more fully to the 
Gentiles. " The fall of them is the 
riches of the world," Rom. 10 : 17- 
21 ; 11 : 12. "It tvas necessary," 
(according to the Divine plan and di- 
rection, Luke 24 : 47.) The termfl 
are more forcibly arranged in the 
Greek — " Unto you it ivas necessary that 
the ivord of God first be spoken, but seeing 
(since) you thrust it aicay from you, and 
judge (sentence) yourselves (as) not 
ivorthy of the eternal life." They, by 
their conduct, passed sentence upon 
themselves, as unfit to have ^Ae eternal 
life offered in the Gospel. Sinners 
who reject Christ, cut themselves off 
from His salvation. If any man love 
not so lovely a being as the Lord 
Jesus Christ, he makes himself ana- 
thema — condemns and curses himself 
— denies to himself the only hope of 
life eternal, and Eternal Justice can 
only say, let him be anathema I T[ Le 
we turn. This is their open, formal 
advertisement, that because of the 
Jews having openly rejected the offered 
salvation, they (in accordance with 
their commission) were turning — woufd 
now turn to the Gentiles, yet not so as 
to finally abandon the Jews. They 
were charged to preach to the Jew 
first, but this only on their way to the 
Gentiles, (lit., the nations,) to whom 
they were expressly commissioned, 
while they would yet repeat the Gospel 



A. D. 44.] 



CHAP. XIII. 



240 



47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, il »gi'ga-*2:8.»»* 
have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou ^^^^^■■^■'^ 
ehouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad ^c^. 2:47. 
and glorified the word of the Lord : ^ and as many as were 1X^:5?* 
ordained to eternal life believed. 

49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the 
region. 

50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, 



to the Jews elsewhere. A new "Is- 
rael" and the true Israel, succeeded to 
the former. 

47, For so— for such — to this ejBFect, 
is their Divine authority for going to 
Ae Gentiles, no matter though the 
Jews should rage, f Commanded. 
Isa. 49 : 6. T[ / have set Thee, (the 
Messiah, as Simeon applied the pro- 
phecy in the temple, Luke 23 : 32.) 
So Jesus said of Himself, " I am the 
light of the world," (John 8 : 12,) and 
He said also to His people, " Ye are 
the light of the world," (Matt. 5:14.) 
So in Isaiah, "the Servant of God" is 
to be understood of the whole body of 
Christ, the Head and the members. 
^ A light of the Gentiles, &c. This was 
the express call of Saul at his conver- 
sion, " For he is a chosen vessel unto 
me, to bear my name before the Gen- 
tiles and kings, and the children of 
Israf i," ch. 9:15. He was the Apos- 
tle of the Gentiles. 

48. Were glad. The message was 
" glad tidings" to them, and to whom- 
soever the Gospel comes as glad 
tidings, to them it is "the Gospel," 
with all its benefits. 1[ Glorified the 
word — praised, put honor upon the 
Gospel message, in contrast with the 
Jews as a class, who ^^contradicted it 
with blasphemy." *\ And as mam/ as 
tcere ordained to eternal life — (not or- 
dained themselves, nor disposed them- 
selves, nor were inclined, but) — were 
purposely and jwsitively appointed unto 
eternal life. The term means, arranged, 
ordered, disposed, (not in the sense of 
self-inclination, but of being ordained 
by a power from without. ) Here the 
ordination is such as issues in their 
believing, and it must be the Divine or- 



dination every where spoken of in 
Scripture. Believers are spoken of aa 
"elect," they are "predestinated" — 
"foreordained." And it is clearly 
taught as a fact, however it be account- 
ed for, that only such as are ordained 
to eternal life do believe. Observe. — 
AVhile the Jews adjudged themselves 
unworthy of the eternal life freely pro- 
claimed in the Gospel, " as many as 
were ordained to eternal life," in God'a 
eternal purpose and plan, believed. 
Observe. — (1) This only accounts for 
<Ae(> believing while others blasphemed. 
It was due solely to God's distinguish- 
ing grace, which chose them. (2) 
These were ordained to be believing 
and faithful men, and "to go and bring 
forth fruit," (John 15:16.) There is no ■ 
plan for electing any man, except for 
electing him unto obedience, and faith, 
and holiness. (3) A man may inquire 
of himself about his election, by ask- 
ing whether this salvation from sin, to 
which God's people are chosen, is go- 
ing on within him — whether Jesus, who 
is Saviour, is Jesus (Saviour) to him 
in deed and in truth, saving him daily 
from sin. (4) It is no mere accident 
that any believe, or that some believe 
and others do not. It is the fruit of 
Divine love in the counsels of eternity, 
that any are led to embrace Christ. 

49. The word of the Lord — as before, 
the Gospel of Christ — was published — • 
was conveyed — circulated throughout 
all the region of Pisidia, in the neigh- 
borhood of Antioch. This was done 
by the converts as well as by Paul and 
Barnabas. 

50. The devout (lit., worshiping— \.Q., 
the Gentiles, who were, more or less, 
proselytes of the Jewish religion,) and 



290 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 45 



• Malt. 10: 1*. 
Mark G : 11. 

cli. 18:6.' 
a Matt 5 : 12. 
John 16: 22. 



oh. 



:4G. 



and the chief men of the city, and ^ raised persecution against 
Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 

51 ^But they shook oif the dust of their feet against 
them, and cam j unto Iconium. 

52 And the tlisciples " were filled with joy, and with the 
Holy Ghost. 



'honorable — those of genteel rank in the 
city. Women had much influence both 
for and against Christianity, ch. 16: 
14; 17: 2; Phil. 4:3; 1 Cor. 7: 16. 
Their prejudices were appealed to, and 
they were doubtless zef.'ous for their 
new religion. '^ Chief nwH. Literally, 
Fir?( n:fii — of highest ran'jL, of the same 
circle probably with the women just 
named. The men were gained more 
easily through the influence of the 
women, who were stirred up — incited 
by incendiary appeals. Thus they 
raised a persecution, and succeeded in 
exciLiug a fierce outbreak against Paul 
and B;irnabas, and expel.ed them, (^put 
them out, ) thrust them out with more or 
less violence, out of their coasts — bor- 
ders, confines. So the Jews had treated 
our Lord at Nazareth, (Luke 4: 2'J.) 

51. Shook off. This was according to 
our Lord's direction to the seventy, 
Matt. 10 : 14. It expressed the utter 
rejection of those who thus rejected 
the Gospel of Christ. They signified 
by this symbolical act the entire rid- 
dance they would have of such wicked 
rejecters of Christ, that they would 
own no fellowship with them, and 
>vouid not allow even the dust of their 
city to remain on th«ir feet. This ex- 
pressed somewhat like washing the 
hands of a wicked deed, or shaking 
the raiment. ^ Against them — for a 
testimony against them, Luke 9 : 5. 
^ Iconium. A famous city forty-five 
miles southeast of Antioch, at the foot 
of .Mount Taurus, and the capital of 
Lycaonia, according to Strabo. It is 
now called Konii/eh, and has about 
thirty thousand inhabitants. 

52. The Disciples — at Autioch, not- 
withstanding all this opposition of evil 
mec and the consequent departure of 
their teachers, were filled with joy {^by the 
special Divine energy,) and luith the 
Hobj Ghost, [joy of, or joy in the Holy 
Qbost,) supernatural eU' ationof miud; 



and perhaps alio with miraculous gifts. 
Note. — ( 1 )The preaching of the cross is 
to them that perish foolishness, but to 
them that are saved, it is the power of 
God. (2) The power of the Gospel 
often appeared in the early Church, 
filling the souls of the Disciples with 
triumphant and pious joy in the midst 
of adversities. (3) The communion of 
saints and of the Holy Ghost was more 
than a compensation for the loss of 
mere natural communion. (4) We find 
the Sabbath observance all along no- 
ted, as not abrogated, vss. 14, 42 ; ch. 
13:27,44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4. 

CHAPTER XIV. 

This chapter continues the narrative 
of this first missionary journey, as ex- 
tended into Asia Minor — their perse- 
cutions and flight from place to place, 
preaching the Gospel at Iconium, Ly- 
caonia, Lystra, Derbe, — their return 
— organizing Churches where they 
had preached — and their arrival ag.aiu 
at Antioch in Syria, with their report 
of their mission to the Church which 
sent them. 

This report shows ttiat as the result 
of this tour a farther step has been 
taken in the progress of the kingdom 
of Christ — a step which they designate 

as the OPENING OF THE DOOR OF FAITH 

UNTO THE Gentiles by God, vs. 27. 
Prior to tliis tour, the converts from 
the Gentiles had been chiefly prose- 
lytes to Judaism. But now the con- 
verts were for the most part from gross 
idolatry. The Jews still persecute the 
missionaries. At Lystra we shall see 
the first outbreak of the riotous perse- 
cutions from which they so much suf- 
fered in after times, and we shall note 
also their mode of argument with 
ignorant idolaters. All along is ful- 
filled f ur Lord's forewarning, Joha 
1G:2. See Rom. 9: S. 



(L. P. 44.] 



CHAP. XIV. 



251 



CHAPTER XIV. 

1 And it came to pass ia Iconium, that they went both together 
mto the sj'nagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude 
both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. 

2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made 
their minds evil affected against the brethren. 

3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in 

the Lord, "which gave testimony unto the word of his He'b??:**'^' 
grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their 
hands. 



1. Both together. Though Paul was 
BO prominent, they are mentioued as 
laboring together. Our Lord sent the 
seventj% two and two, and amidst such 
oppositions their joint testimony was 
needed. They were yet availing them- 
selves of the Jewish synagogues for 
access to the people. Tf So spake. 
Literally, thus, so that. In such a 
manner, as that this was the result. 
Not as though their speaking had any 
power in itself to convert the hearers, 
but this was the result which was also 
appropriate to their mode of preaching. 
They so spake the truth in Christ — the 
earnest conviction and feeling of their 
own souls, and the appeals and warn- 
ings of the Gospel — as that the fitting 
result was the believing of so many 
and of such. Observk. — (1) Perse- 
cution bound these ministers together 
and increased their power. (2) Though 
God uses human means, He blesses 
only the truth ; and only the earnest, 
faithful, fitting presentation of the 
truth in Christ can properly expect a 
blessing. (3) Yet God does not so 
bind Himself to the means, as always 
to give faithful ministers a number of 
converts in exact proportion to their 
faithfulness. (4) How often " a great 
multitude " are brought to salvation 
where no other means are used than 
have been long employed without any 
visible effect. John 3:8. f Greeks. 
Though the Jews had reviled in Anti- 
och of Pisidia, and would revile here 
also, yet this persevering and faithful 
preaching was blessed, and both Jews 
and Gentiles were gathered in. These 
?rere Gentiles, who may or may not 



have been proselytes, since we know 
I from the classics that the heathen 
( Greeks ) attended the synagogues. 
Observe. — What encouragement is 
here to perseverance in Christian du- 
ty, and especially ia ministerial labors, 
having long patience for the blessing, 
if not in one place j'et in another. Sec 
vs. 3. Jas. 5 : 7, 8. 

2. Unbelieving Jeics. These were 
vexed doubtless by the fact that so many 
of their own people believed. They sn>- 
red up {excited and embittered) the minds 
of the Gentiles. Literally, (the nations, 
not the same term as "Greeks," in 
vs. 1.) The term " made evil effected," 
means literally, made bad, evil, hostile. 
This they did, doubtless, by exciting 
their prejudices and misrepresenting 
the kingdom of Christ, as at AntioL . 
with the Gentile women, ch. 13 : 50. 
This verse may be regarded as a pa- 
renthesis. 

3. Long time therefore. Long time 
accordingly. This verse connects with 
vs. 1, or it may be understood as con- 
necting with vss. 1 and 2. Because of 
this success, (vs. 1.) and this opposition, 
(vs. 2,) in all the circumstances — they 
abode — S2:)ent {the time,) speaking bold- 
bj — using freedom of speech — not daunt- 
ed by tiie opposition, and trusting in 
{upon) the Lord. It was their reliance 
on Christ, and their conscientious, 
earnest service of Him, as well as His 
miracles wrought by them, which gave 
them so much courage. *[[ Which gave. 
That is, ivho (the Lord Jesus Christ) 
testified {ov gave testimony,) to the word 
of His grace-to His gracious message de- 
livered by them. ^ And granted^ -xaMt' 



252 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 44 



I 2 Tim. 3 : 11. 



4 But the multitude of the city was divided : and part 
held with the Jews, and part with the ** apostles. 

5 And when there was an assault made both of the 
Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, "to use 
them despitefully, and to stone them, 

d Matt. 10 .-23. (3 rpjjgy ^g^.g ^yaj.g Qf ^f^ ^^^ dflg(j ^jjj.Q Ljstra and 

Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lietb. 
round about. 



er, granting — by granting that signs 
and tvonders be done by their hands. 
Thus the Lord testified by giving them 
the power, instrumentally, of working 
miracles. See Heb. 2:2, "God also 
bearing them witness both with 
Bigns and wonders." ^ Sirens. This is 
one of the four terms used commonly 
in tlie New Testament for miracles, 
which are signs, i. e. of the Divine 
presence. ^ Wo7iders — prodigies. Such 
wondrous works as could not be 
wrought by human power. 

4. But the multitude. The populace, 
who were Gentiles, was divided, (in a 
schism, as the term is,) and some were 
with the Jews, (who, as a class, were 
opposers) and others with the Apostles — 
that is, with the Apostles as a class. 
as much as to say, some took sides with 
the Jewish interest, and some with 
the Apostles. Though Barnabas is 
no where called an Apostle, they may 
be spoken of here together by this 
term in the sense of missionaries — 
persons sent, commissioned, as the 
term means. Our Lord himself in 
this sense is called " the Apostle of 
our profession." Heb. 3:1. 

5. An assault. Not an actual out- 
break, as would seem, but a determin- 
ed attempt or impulse, involving both 
Gentiles and Jews, in concert with the 
rulers of the Jews, who had taken 
such a leading part in the persecution 
and crucifixion of Christ — not here of 
course the Sanhedrim, but the rulers 
of the synagogues and elders of the 
people, consisting of the heads of fam- 
ilies and elders, which the Jews always 
recognized according to their ancient 
constitution ; or, as some suppose, the 
magistrates of the town, who were 
Eomar officials, and whose business 



it was rather to keep the peace; or 
most probably both Jewish and Gen- 
tile dignitaries, f To use them despite- 
fulii/ — to load them with insult, and io 
stone them — as the ultimate intent of 
putting them out of the way. The 
Jews may have urged this as they ac- 
cused the missionaries of blasphemy. 
Paul says, " Once was I stoned," which 
is the instance at Lystra, recorded in 
vs. 19. Here he escaped, else it would 
have been iicice. 

6. }Va7-e of it. This may mean u<?ien 
they had considered it, see ch. 12: 12, 
or ivhen they understood it — what was 
going on. ^ Fled, as before, and ac- 
cording to the Divine direction. Christ 
said to His seventy missionaries, "If 
they persecute you in one city, flee to 
another"— (Matt. 10 : 23,)— so that 
their usefulness might not be needlessly 
cut short by an untimely death which 
could be avoided. Tf Lystra and Dcrbe. 
Unto the cities of Lycaonia, [viz.) Lys- 
tra and Derhe. The former was prob- 
ably twenty miles south of Iconium, 
and Derbe east of this about the same 
distance. Their exact sites are not 
positively identified. There are ruins 
of about forty Christian churches on 
the north side of the Black Mountain, 
at a place called by the Turks " the 
thousand and one churches," which 
the most recent travelers take to be 
the site of one or other of these cities. 
The fugitive missionaries went not only 
to these two cities, but to their vicin- 
ities — '^ the region that lieth round 
about.'" '^ And there — throughout that 
part of the province of Lycaonia, they 
preached the Gospel. Literally, they 
icere evangelizing — proclaiming the goad 
news, occupying thus some length of 
time. 



k. D. 44] 



CHAP. XIV. 



253 



7 And there they preached the gospel, 

8 ^^And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent "^'^-s** 
in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who 
never had walked : 

9 The same heard Paul speak; who stedfastly beholding 

him, and ^'perceiving that he had faith to be healed, {nd*";^;^^'. 

10 Said with a loud voice, '^ Stand upright on thy feet. si^^-35--6. 
And he leaped and walked. 

11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up 



8. At Lyaira the missionaries en- 
countered the grossest supertitions and 
idolatries of the lieathen. It was evi- 
dently a wild, uncultivated district, sit- 
ting in the region and, shadow of death. 
A certain man at Lyslra, impotent in 
his feet, sat (probably in the forum 
or market-place, or temple-gate, ch. 
3:1, as is still the custom at the 
East,) a cripple, from his mother's womb ; 
and to lay stress upon the fact that he 
was born so, and hence regarded as 
incurable — it is added, zvho neoer walk- 
ed. Observe. — The crippled and 
blind from birth, who were numerous 
nt the East, were impressive pictures 
of our native depravity and disability. 
To heal such was confessed to be a 
Divine operation. 

9. The same. Literally, <A« one (the 
cripple,) was listening as Paul discours- 
ed — who (Paul) ffazinj at him, (fixing 
his eyes intently upon him,) see ch. 13 : 
9, note — seeinff that he possesses faith of 
being healed — that is, such faith as our 
Lord called for when he asked the 
blind man, Matt. 9 : 28, "Believe ye that 
I am able to do this?" or Martha, 
"Believest thou this," John 11; or 
the impotent man at the pool of Be- 
thesda, "Wilt thou be made whole," 
(.John 5:6,) and when He said, 
" According to thy faith be it unto 
thee." Observe. — Our Lord never 
complained of men's excessive confi- 
dence or extravagant expectation, but 
only of their fearfulness and doubts, 
(.Matt. 8 : 26.) And so His ministers, 
who are missionaries like Him to the 
wretched and lost, will not discourage 
any such confidence. He never be- 
trays any trust reposed in Him, and 
whoever is seen to have a faith of be- 
ing healed by CArist'a povf ?: and grace 

22 



as proclaimed in the Gospel, will sure- 
ly find healing and salvation. The 
faith is already the gift of God. (Eph. 
2 : 8.) Faith in Christ will show 
itself in the conduct. It works, &c. 
^Said with a loud vofce, above the tone in 
which he was before speaking, probably 
to call public attention to the miracle. 
These wondrous works were not done 
in a corner, like the tricks of jugglers, 
but were open, and invited attention 
and examination. ^ Stand upright. 
Though the Apostle makes here no 
mention of the name of Christ as that 
by which the miracle was wrought, 
such a recognition is implied in the 
previous clause, where the faith of be- 
ing healed was a faith in Christ, whom 
the missionaries preached as the only 
name by which healing could be given. 
IT Upright— straight. It was at once a 
perfect cure, and in this it was distin- 
guished from all medical cures, which 
at best must be very slow and gi-adual. 
'i Leaped and walked. Liter oMy, sprang 
up and walked about with atl freedom, 
and in perfect use of his limbs. He who 
never had walked, leaped — springing up 
in a single leap, from his life-long disa- 
bility, and walked about as if he never 
was crippled. Probably like the sim- 
ilar case at the temple gate, under Pe- 
ter and John, he walked, and leaped, 
and praised God. Observe. — It was 
probably on his first visit to Lystra that 
Timothy was converted, since on Paul's 
second visit, a year or two after, (ch. 
16 : 1,) he found him already a Chris- 
tian. 

ll._ The people. The crowds, (the 
promiscuous multitude,) seeing what 
Paul had done, (healing the crip- 
ple) lifted up their voice (shouted out) 
in Lycaonic, (language,) which is sup- 



254 



Tlia ACTS OF THE AP0STLE3. 



[A. D, 45. 



'*"'* their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, "The gods 

aro come down to us in the likeness of men. 
And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, 



12 And they called Barnabas, 
because he was the chief speaker. 

13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their 
Dan. 2:46. ^>j(y^ brought oxeu and garlands unto the gates, 'and 

would have done sacrifice with the people. 

14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard 



posed to have been a corrupt Greek. 
This fact of their shouting in their 
rude dialect is mentioned as showing 
that the missionaries couhi not have 
understood the people, nor have known 
Ti-hat they proposed to do till they were 
ready with the sacrifice. T The gods. 
Tne heathen believed that their divin- 
itiop, as Jupiter, Mercury, &c., some- 
times visited the earth, and the people 
of this district had a tradition that 
these two gods, Jupiter .and Mercury, 
■vrandored in the neighboring province 
of Plirygia and visited men, who en- 
tertained them. It was, therefore, only 
a heathen Vv^ay of expressing the convic- 
tion that their miraculous work was su- 
pernatural. Observe. — (l)That which 
was a S'lperstitious belief in Lycaonia 
became a blessed reality in Bethlehem. 
(2) Such a tradition expressed the 
longings of the human mind after a 
personal manifestation of God ; and it 
was the trace of a prevailing belief 
that God would come down to us in 
the likeness of man. (3) The Lycaonic 
being the native language and the 
Greek an acquired tongue, they nat- 
urally give expression to their pro- 
found amazement in the former. 

12. Jupiter. This god was woi-ship- 
ed among the heathen as the supreme 
leader and head of the gods. Barna- 
bas may have had this name because 
of some advantage in personal appear- 
ance, as Paul declares of himself that 
his own bodily presence was accounted 
weak. (2 Cor. 10 : 1, 10.) ^ Paul— 
Mercurius. A reason is here given for 
this distinction," because he was the chief 
speaker" or led in discourse. Mercury 
•was worshiped as the god of elo- 
quence, and he was the attendant of 
Jupiter as spokesnfin, a id small and 
•leader in form. 



13. Then. At once those heathen 
proceed to pay superstitious homage to 
the missionaries, whom they took to be 
gods. ^ The priest of Jupiter. Jupi- 
ter is here spoken of as before their city. 
So it was customary to locate their 
gods where their temples stood. And 
so it was Jupiter " Propylus," or be- 
fore the gates, Jupiter Capitolinus, &c. 
^ Brought oxeri, &c. — Bullocks, and gar- 
lands (wreaths of flowers) to adorn the 
victims, altJirs, priests, &c. ^ To the 
gates, perhaps of the city where the tem- 
ple stood, and whither they would natu 
rally resort to do sacrifice. Some have 
supposed it to be the gates of the 
house in which the missionaries were 
then sojourning. But that would rath- 
er have been spoken of as the gate, 
than the gates. And it would seem 
from the next verse that the missiona- 
ries were not present, and the prepa- 
ration may have been making at the 
city gates, and at the heathen temple 
of Jupiter, possibly with the view of 
bringing the missionaries thither. Ob- 
serve. — Such is the idolatrous practice 
of the Romish religion, offering sacri- 
fice to the Virgin Mary, and paying 
divine powers to the Pope. We learn 
here what these Apostolic men would 
have thought and said of such idola- 
trous rites. ^ Would. The terms 
read, ivished to sacrifice, and the words 
wiih thcpeople. (crowds) are connected 
more directly with the former clause, 
meaning simply that the people ac- 
companied, or joined in the matter. 

14. The Apostles. Clemens Alexan- 
drinus twice calls Barnabas an Apos- 
tle, but elsewhere the " Apostolic Bar- 
nabas," adding, " for he was oeo of 
the seventy, and a fellow laborer with 
Paul." This shows the scnise in whieh 
he called him an Apostle. See vs. 4 



A. D. 45,] 



CHAP. XIY. 



265 



Ty-„ 1 Kings 16 :li 



kUatt. 26:65. 

o/, 'they rent their clothes, and ran in among the peuplu, L^jimesf-:: 
crying out, _ _ TX^-^l^- 

15 And saying, Sirs, 'why do ye these things? 
also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto il 
you that ye should turn from 'these vanities "unto the °}JJ^f;l\•■'• 
living God, P which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, usfg.'^'"'* 
and all things that are therein : ^'^^ ^^'■''■ 

16 iWho in times past suffered all nations to walk in 
their own ways. iS^'i-S: 

17 'Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in 'jj^l-u-h^ 
that he did good, and 'gave us rain from heaven, and 5^^g^io\'- ' 
fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness, s'knd'm'l''* 

j'cr. U:W. 
Matt. 5 : ■15. 



8 P«. 81 : 12 
ch. 17:30. 
1 Pet. 4:3. 



and note. They had not been aware 
of what was doing, but tohen they heard, 
probably by the report of some one 
who had seen these preparations at 
the gates — they rent their clothes. 
Among Orientals this is a common 
mode of expressing grief or abhor- 
rence, as at blasphemy. Matt. 26 : 65. 
The Jews rent their garments from the 
neck down in front toward the waist. 
*\ Ran in. Sprang in among the croicd. 
it may read, they rushed forth into the 
crowd. 

15. Of like passions. They pro- 
tested vehemently against such an idol- 
atrous act, declaring that it was utter- 
ly without reason — that they, instead 
of being gods, as they supposed, were 
also (like themselves) meri of like feel- 
ings, of the same nature as they, the 
same human infirmities, mortal, &c. 
^ And preach. Literally, evangelizinj 
you — proclaiming to you as glad ti- 
dings, to turn. The Gospel command 
to repentance is full of grace and love, 
and is to be received as glad tidings, 
because It calls us to turn from all 
that is vain, and false, and ruinous, to 
God, the source of all good. ^ These 
vanities, these emptinesses, nullities. So 
the Hebrews called the idol gods of 
the heathen " nonentities," and Jeho- 
vah they called He, a living personal 
being. \ The living Ood, in contrast 
with these lifeless idols. The idols 
were powerless to help or save. (See 
Isaiah 44:9.) Jehovah is the Crea- 
tor of the universe, and is the only 
proper ol^ect of religious worship. 



Obsekve. — Arguing with the heathen, 
Paul reasons first from great principles 
of natural religion, and thus, as Gro- 
tius has remarked, he sets an exam- 
ple to missionaries among the heathen 
to adapt their reasonings to their heai*- 
ers. (See at Athens, ch. 17:24, &c.) 

16. Who — Jehovah — in times past. 
Lit., In generations gone bi/, permitted 
all the nations (Gentiles) to ivalk in 
their own wiys; i. e., left them alone 
to their natural blindness, because, as 
Paul shows in the P^omans, (1 : 23,) 
they deserted Him. God never sanc- 
tioned the natural depravities of the 
heathen, but He suflfered them to go 
on without a written revelation, and 
without the special restraints of His 
published law. Paul elsewhere says, 
" The times of this ignorance God 
winked at,'' ch. 17 : 30, in this sense. 

17. Nevertheless. Although, i7ideed, 
they had no excuse for not knowing 
God, as Paul has clearly shown in 
Rom 1 : 19, &c. f lie left not himself 
umcitneised — untestified to. "For tlie 
invisible things of God from the crea- 
tion of the world are clearly seen, be- 
ing understood by the things that are 
made, even his eternal power and God- 
head, so that they are without excuse." 
Rom. 1 : 20. 1[ In that He did good. 
Lit., Doing good, in His common provi- 
dential ])Ounties, and particularly giv- 
ing us rains from heaven. As we learn 
from Strabo that there Avas the great- 
est scai-city of water iii that district, 
rains were held as special instances of 
Divine favor. The more correct read 



266 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 46. 



18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that 

they had not done sacrifice unto them. 

«ci..i3.-45. 29 ^ t ^Q(j there came thither certain Jews from 

2Tim.'3:"i.^^' Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, "and 

having stoned Paul, drew Am out of the city, supposing 

he had been dead. 

20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, 
and came into the city : and the next day he departed with Baruabaa 
to Derbe. 

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, 



ing is, "giving you,''^ &c. \ Fruitful 
—fruit-bearing seasons, filling {our) your 
hearts with food and gladness. Observe. 
— Even to the heathen the common 
bounties of God's hand ought to be the 
sufficient proofs of His existence, and 
ought to win to the acknowledgment of 
Him. What must be thought of those 
in Christian lands, who enjoy all these 
mercies, and all the means of grace, 
and yet in eifect deny the very being of 
God — "without God in the world." 

18. And loith these sayings. Lit., 
Saying these things they scarcely — with 
difficulty — restrained the crowds that 
they did not sacrifice to them. There 
was no sj^nagogue at Lystra, and the 
people were given up to superstitions. 

19. They came thither. Lit., Came 
upon (them,) with hostile intent — 
Jews. The Jews, in every instance 
except two, stirred up the persecutions 
which Paul suffered. These Jews came 
from Antioch and Iconium, and were 
probably some of those very persecu- 
tors who lately drove them out of those 
cities. Of course, they gave exagger- 
ated accounts of all that had occurred 
with them, and crowds of cities are 
moved commonly by what is done in 
other cities, to do likewise. T[ Who 
persuaded the people — the crowds — the 
populace ; and having stoned Paul. 
The Jews probably accused them of 
blasphemy against the heathen gods 
whom they called " vanities" — nonen- 
tities, and by such arts as they had 
found successful in their own cities, 
shey were allowed to stone him, the 
heathen joining them. ^ Drew him. 
Bather, dragged him violently out of the 
»tjf, The Greeks sometimes dragged 



the bodies of criminals through the 
streets and cast them out of the city, 
as unworthy of burial. This was done 
to Paul as the leader. This is the in- 
stance to which he refers, " Once loas 
I stoned;' 2 Cor. 11 : 25 ; 2 Tim. 3 : 
11. Observe. — How fickle is the pop- 
ular feeling, and how unreliable in the 
cause of Christ. How heathen treach- 
ery, that would one moment almost 
deify the missiona>ry, may the next 
moment be led to put him to death, 
as with the martyred missionaries at 
Cawnpore ! 

20. Ilowheit — hut. "Persecuted 
but not forsaken, cast down but not 
destroyed." The disciples, the converts 
at Lystra, having stood round about him, 
— lit., having encircled him, (as he was 
cast out for dead,) anxious to see what 
was his condition, and to bury him if 
he were indeed dead. ^ He rose up, 
some think by miraculous restoration, 
and this would seem necessary, at 
least, to account for his so promptly 
returning to the city and the next day 
going on his journey. It has been 
suggested that this may have been the 
time of Paul's trance, (2 Cor. 12 : 1-4.) 
If With Barnabas. Barnabas escaped, 
not by any wicked compromise, else 
Paul would not so at once have joined 
him iu the mission again. ^ To Derbe. 
See vs. 6, note. A recent traveler, 
Hamilton, has found the site, as he 
thinks, at a place called Divl4, east of 
Caraman, and Lystra at Ben Bir Kil- 
isseh, on the direct road from Derbe 
to Iconium. 

21. Preached. Lit., Evangelized — 
published the good news, f Taught. 
Lit. , Discipled. This is the term used ub 



A. D. 45.] 



CHAP. XIV. 



267 



'and j-haJ taught many, they returned again to Lyutra, To'-'Aai'^* 
and to Iconium, and Antiocli, S^!?""* 

22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, a?id!^ exhorting ^nrt'isS'i?,' 
them to continue in the fiiith, and that 'we must through an'a^i'ia'*.'^*' 
much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Rom^f/n*'^ 

23 And when they had "ordained them elders in every and";iJ"'" 
church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended "Tu. i:6. 
them to the Lord, on whom they believed. 



our Lord's commission, IVIatt. 28: 19, 
" Teach all nations" — " Make disciples 
of all nations, baptizing them." This, 
of course, refers to gathering them into 
a Church, as a body of professing dis- 
ciples. 1 Returned — turned back. Their 
labors in Derbe are only spoken of in 
the genera], and probably few persecu- 
tions befell them there. ^ Lystra, &c. 
The wonder is that after such severe 
hostilities had sprung up against them 
in these cities of PisiJia, they should 
have returned thither so soon. It is a 
striking coincidence that Paul, in re- 
ferring to his sufferings, mentions only 
these three cities and not Derbe, (2 
Tim. 3 : 11,) though elsewhere Derbe 
and Lystra are mentioned by him to- 
gether. The reason is, that in Derbe 
he seems not to have encountered 
persecution, as in the other named 
cities. Observe. — Derbe was the ex- 
treme limit eastward of Paul's first 
missiociary journey. 

22. Confirming — sirengihening, as 
only spiritual instruction and Christian 
consolation could strengthen their 
souls. The reference is not to any re- 
ligious rite, but to the doctrine and 
exhortation which follow. Their in- 
terest in these newly gathered Church- 
as led them to face all the dangers of 
a return thither, in order to fortify 
them against discouragements or temp- 
tations to give up their faith. \ They 
exhorted ihem to continue ' — to abide 
in — the Gospel faith, which they had 
lately professed ; and they also exhort- 
ed them that through many tribulations 
it is necessary (according to the Divine 
plan) that we enter into the kingdom of 
God. This is a doctrine applicable to 
all ages of the Church, and agrees with 
the Apostle's vision, (Rsv. 7 : 14.) 
22* 



" These are they who came out of the 
great tribulation." As these had en- 
tered the visible kingdom, the Church 
on earth, the reference here must be 
to the invisible kingdom in heaven. 

23. Ordained them. Ordained to (or 
for) them — the Churches. These Ap- 
ostolic missionaries not only gathered 
the disciples into separate bands for 
the enjoyment of the ordinances, but 
they took care to furnish them a reg- 
ular Church organization, by the or- 
daining of elders in every Church, 
The term here used means originally, 
to vote by stretching out the hand, and 
so some of the Reformed commentators, 
as Erasmus and Beza, render it " cre- 
ated by votes." But the word came 
to be used for any kind of appoint- 
ment, ch. 10: 41. And here, as it is 
plainly the act of the Apostles, it 
could not have been their voting that is 
here referred to. Much less is there any 
ground for Jerome's rendering, " when 
they had laid hands on elders." Al- 
ford has taken the right view. " The 
Apostles ordained the presbyters whom 
the Churches elected." This was the 
mode, ch. 6:2-6; see 2 Cor. 8 : 19, where 
this word is used, "f Elders — presbyters. 
This terni is used in the New Testa- 
ment in the same sense as the term for 
bishops, see ch. 20 : 17, 28 ; Tit. 1 : 5, 7 ; 
1 Pet-^r 5:1,2, and is applied to teach- 
ing 1'!! v-, whom we call ministers, or 
bishops of single Churches, and also 
to ruling elders, whose of&ce it is to 
rule in the Church with the minister or 
pastor, and not to teach. That there 
were these two classes of elders in the 
Primitive Church, is plain from 1 Tim, 
5 : 17. Here also, it would seem thai 
both classes are meant. These apostol- 
ic missionaries wished to organize thesa 



258 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 45. 



24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to 
Pamphylia. 

25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went; 

down into Attalia : 
fc oil. 13 : 1, 3. 26 And thence sailed to Antioch, ''from whence they 
e oh. 15: 40. j^^^^ j^gg^ "= recommendcd to the grace of God for the work 

which they fuliilled. 

27 And when they were come, and had gathered the 
fud" ^ifisV *^' church together, '^ they rehearsed all that God had done 



Churches regulai-ly, and leave them in 
charge of the officers nece.ssary for 
their oversight, instruction and gov- 
ernment. This is also intimated by ' 
the record that there were several of 
these elders ordained in every Church, j 
See Titus 1 : 5. The Tresbyterian 
Church is so called because it has sev- 
eral ciders, or presbyters, in every 
Church. One called minister, bishop, 
pastor, who teaches, and also rules, 
with a body of ruling elders, and these 
also are called elders., as those who rule, 
but do not labor in word and doctrine. 
Accordingly in the Church at Philippi, 
(['liil. 1 : 1,) we find bishops (more than 
one) spoken of, as over that Church ; 
and the deacons also are named. It 
may be that deacons were also included 
in the officers appointed by these mis- 
sionaries, and that the elders only are 
named as comprehending the chief offi- 
cers. But tiu' elders were of leading 
importance in the organizing of Church- 
es, as it was their function to rule, (but 
not that of deacons) and while elders 
generally are spoken of, (bishops) both 
classes of them, as both classes were 
rulers in the Church, may fairly be 
meant. ^ Prayed ivith fasting — -fastings, 
on these successive occasions. This was 
customary at such solemn seasons ; as at 
the commissioning of these Apostolic 
missionaries by the Church of Antioch, 
13 : .3. It was also every way natural 
and appropriate. Accordingly, with 
these solemn services they commended 
(Uem — the Chui-ches — in sacred trust 
to the Lord (Jesus,) on whom they (the 
Churches,) [had) believed. It was in 
profession of this believing on Christ 
that these bodies of disciples were now 
gathered into regula" Church organi- 



zations, and furnished with a regular 
ministry. 

21. Passed through. They traversed 
this province of Pisidia from Antioch 
(north) to Pamphylia (south,) and 
preached the word, discoursed, in Per- 
ga, where they seem to have passed 
through on their way without stopping 
there to preach. They went down (still 
passing southward) to Attalia, which 
lay about sixteen miles off, on the sea 
coast, in Pamphylia, near the moutl 
of the river Catarrachtes, and west of 
the river Cestus, up which they hac 
sailed to Perga when they came from 
Cyprus. This port was built by Atta- 
ins Philadelphus, about 150 B. C, and 
was a town of some business note. 

2G. Sailed — sailed off to Antioch, (in 
Syria, ) from ivhence they had been com- 
mended — committed, given up — to the 
grace of God unto (for) theioork, (with a 
view to the work,) xvhich they fulfilled, 
filled up, completed. These Apostolic 
missionaries had been sent out by the 
Church at Antioch, on this particular 
mission. In view of this work, they 
had been solemnly commended, in- 
trusted (with prayer and fasting) to the 
grace of God, (whom they served,) 
see ch. 13 : 3, and this work they had 
filled up, and accordingly they now 
return to make their report to the 
Church at Antioch, whose missionaries 
they were. 

27. Gome — having arriv.d, and as- 
sembled the Church, (the Church-mem - 
I bership of Antioch,) in a great mis- 
I sionary meeting, they rehearsed (told 
I over) how great things God had done 
ivith (to or for) them, or ivrought loith 
them, as instruments, in the conversion 
of so many souls, " the greater things" 



A. D. 45.] 



CHAP. XV. 



the Gentiles. 

28 And there they abode long time with the disciples. 



than the miracles even of Christ, (John 
14 : 12,) which it was promised that 
the Apostles and those who believed 
on Christ should do. ^ Had ojjened. 
And how (or that) he had opened to the 
Gentiles (the nations) a door cf faith — 
had given them admittance to the Gos- 
pel and its blessings, so that they were 
no longer excluded, but broiight in to 
a level with the covenant people ; and 
even to be engrafted on that stock 
from which the .Jews would be cut off. 
Observe. — This wad a further step 
than had yet been taken in the mis- 
sionary work. Previously the Gentile 
converts had been proselytes chiefly. 
Now they were degraded idolaters — 
heathen. 

28. A long time. Supposing, as is 
generally held, that they started out 
late in A. D. 45, and that the Synod 
at Jerusalem was convened in A. D. 
50, we may assign about two years to 
this missionary journey, (see ch. 12 : 
25 ; 13 : 3,) and about as long a time 
to this abode in Antioch with the dis- 
ciples, as returned missionaries, who 
now resumed their w(jrk as prophets 
and teachers, (ch. 13 : 1,) in this 
Mother Church of Gentile Christen- 
dom. Here they could further in- 
struct this parent Church of the Gen- 
tiles — that is, the whole membership 
at Antioch, in the universality of the 
Church, as against Jewish exclusive- 
ness ; and in the world wide plans that 
were to be set on foot for the ingath- 
ering of the nations. And the glorious 
successes of their mission to the idola- 
trous cities of the West, would give 
them great power under jSod with the 
people. '• \ 

CHAPTER XV. 

I 24. Further Progress of the 
Church — Internal developments 
— First Apostolic Synod — Paul's 

THIRD visit to JERUSALEM. A.D. 50. 

Ch. 15 : 1-35. 

This chapter records another con- 



troversy arising out of Judaism, which 
results in a further progress of the 
truth. The great event of the age, the 
reception of the Gentiles to the Church 
starts a question of great moment. 
It was clearly enough to be understood 
from the Old Testament Scriptures, 
that the Gentiles were to be gathered 
in. But the Jews had thought at iirst 
that they were to come in through the 
Jewish door, by being first made pros- 
elytes to Judaism. The events at Ce- 
sarea and at Antioch in Sj'ria, had 
fixed that point in favor of the free 
admission of Gentiles, without the in- 
tervention of Judaism. Yet the Jew- 
ish prejudice cleaved to the idea of 
some exclusive privilege of theirs. 
At least it was argued that the Mosaic 
institutions were permanent, as they 
were of Divine authority, and therefore 
that they must be still binding upon 
Jews and Gentiles. This was pressed, 
therefore, by the Judaizers, upon the 
Gentile converts at Antioch, and con- 
tinued to trouble the Church at large, 
even after it was authoritatively set- 
tled by the Synod's decrees at Jeru- 
salem, as recorded in this chapter. 
Paul's Epistles to the Konians, and Gal- 
atians, and Hebrews, sliow how long 
and obstinate was this perversion in 
the Church, as it was insisted on ami 
zealously propagated by Judaizing 
teachers. 

Here occurs also a development of 
the Church politj' — the pattern and 
Avarrant for Courts of Review and 
Control in the Christian Chnrch. 
The peace and order of the Church 
were secured by the authoritative ac- 
tion of this Synod, settling a question 
of great moment, and sending down tc 
the Churches their ooy/iara or decrees. 

We have seen that in the Primitive 
Apostolical Church there Avas ( besides 
the Apostleship, which was extraor- 
dinary and without succession,) 1. Tub 
PARITY OF THE MINISTRY — the presby- 
ter, or bishop, being the pastor of a 
single Church. 2. Thf co-operatios 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



(A. D. CO. 



CHAPTER XV. 

1 And "certain men which came down from Judea 

taught the brethren, and said, ''Except ye be circumcised 
" after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 

2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small 
dissension and disputation with them, they determined that 

<j Gil. 2:1. a Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go 
up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 



Gal. 5: 2. 
Phil. 3: 2. 
Col. 2: 8, 11 
cGen. 17:1( 



OF THE Ruling Eldership in the gov- 
ernment of the Church. 3. Courts 
OF Review and Control. 4. A bench 
of Deacons to distribute the alms of 
the Church, but not to rule nor to 
pre.ach. 

1. Certain men. Paul refers to these 
in Gal. 2:4, as "false brethren una- 
wares brought in," &c. They came 
down from Judea, Jewish in all their 
pretensions and prejudices ; probably 
most, if not all, Jerusalem Jews, and 
falsely representing themselves as com- 
missioned by the Apostles at Jerusalem. 
"They seemed to be somewhat," Paul 
says, Gal. 2 : 6. They taught ; the verb, 
implying that it was not a single or 
casual teaching, but habitual and for- 
mal. The brethren — the Gentile con- 
verts of Antioch. ^ Except. This is 
given as the doctrine they taught — 
the substance of what they said. 
^ Circumcised. This stands for the 
observance of the Mosaic ceremonial, 
as it was the initiatory rite of that sys- 
tem. (Gal. 5:3.) ^ After the manner. 
According to the custom, ordinance of 
Moses. This observance of the Mo- 
saic rites they held to be indispensable. 
They do not say that this was of itself 
saving ; but that without it, whatever 
else ye do, ye cannot be saved. If they 
could no longer hold that it was indis- 
pensable to admission into the Messi- 
ah's kingdon, they held that it was 
requisite as a completion or ratifica- 
tion of baptism. Circumcision, held 
to in this light, was a profession of 
being bound to an observance of the 
whole ritual law, and subverted the 
doctrine of justification bv faith iu 
Christ, (Gal. 3 : 18 ; Rom. 4: 4.) They 
could not hold this without "falling 
Sxara. grace," that 's, from the doctrine 



of salvation by grace, as distinct from 
the works of the law. (Gal. 5:4.) 

2. Dissension. Then, (on account 
of this false teaching, ) a no small party- 
quarrel and discussion arising to Paul 
and Barnabas with them. These re- 
turned missionaries were they who 
had just been out organizing Church- 
es among the Gentiles, on the princi- 
ple of freedom from the binding obli- 
gation of the Mosaic observances ; and 
they were therefore attacked in violent 
terms. Paul referring to the contro- 
versy, says, " To whom we gave place 
by subjection, no, not for an hour," 
Gal. 2:5. \ They determined — that 
is, the brethren, (vs. ],) the members 
of the Church at Antioch appointed that 
Paul and Barnabas, and certain (some) 
others of them, (of the opponents, or 
simply of the oflicers or members of 
the Church. ) It would seem from Gal. 
2 : 1-3, that Titus was one of the del- 
egation, and that was "in order (as 
Alford suggests,) to give an example 
of a Gentile convert of the uncircum- 
cision endowed with the gifts of the 
Holy Ghost." Though Paul speaks 
of having gone up "by revelation," 
(Gal. 2:2,) this is no way inconsist- 
ent with his going, also, by the ap- 
pointment of the Church, for they are 
also said to have been sent out as 
missionaries, both by the Church and 
by the Holy Ghost, ch. 13 : 3, 4. 
f The Apostles and Elders. The dele- 
gates went up to Jerusalem for a for- 
mal settlement of this vexed question. 
The Apostles there represented the 
Church at large, ch. 8:1. But, ac- 
cording to the system of Church 
government already established, the 
Elders, or local rulers of the Church sJt 
Jerusalem, sat with them in the formai 



I.. D. 50.] 



CHAP. XV. 



261 



they passed through Phcnice and Samaria, ^declaring the •'''''•"•"• 
conversion of the Gren tiles : and they caused great joy unto 
all the brethren. 

4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were 
received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and 

" they declared all things that Grod had done with them. %^\l'l-i.i^ an>i 

5 But there l|rose up certain of the sect of the Phari- i'ciJfVose 7(j., 
sees which believed, saying, '' That it was needful to circum- ^^^!^^J' 
cise them, and to command tliem to keep the law of Moses. ''"•^■ 

6 \ And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of 
this matter. 



decision of this (question) dispute. 
Observe. — It was to tlie Apostles and 
Elders, as having the authority in the 
Church, and not to the brethren, that 
these delegates were sent. 

3. And — they then being sent forward 
by the Church — that is, being attended 
on their way for some distance, (as a 
mark of respect and indorsement of 
their mission,) either by the officers, 
or by so many of the members as could 
conveniently escort them, (see Romaas 
15: 21; 1 Cor. 16 : 6, 11 ; 2 Cor. 1 : 
16,) they passed [leisurely) through Phe- 
nice (Phenicia) on the Mediterranean 
coa.'it, and (the province of) Samaria 
— both lying on their route to Jerusa- 
lem. The Phenician and Samaritan 
converts would not be so prejudiced 
against the Gentiles, as they had not 
been brought up in the bitter jealous- 
ies of the Pharisees. The Christian 
Church in Phenicia had been planted 
probably at Tyre and Sidon, ch. 11 : 
19. Christ had wrought miracles in 
that vicinity, (Matt 15 : 21,) and in 
Samaria our Lord had preached, and 
Philip had labored and planted the 
Gospel, John 4:5; ch. 8:5. Here 
these commissioners to the Synod 
journeyed along, declaring [narrating. 
In detail,) the conversion of the Gentiles 
to God. And they caused [made) great 
joy unto all the brethren — all the con- 
verts there, by this report of God's 
doings. (1) The conversion of other 
souls is always the source of great joy 
to the true people of God. (2) Only 
the grace of God can make such breth- 
ren wx^ frieads of strangers. 



4. And, having arrived at Jerusalem, 
they were (cordially) received of (by) 
the Church — publicly and officially 
recognized as a delegation sent by 
" the Church" of Antioch. And they 
were thus favorably and formally re- 
ceived by the Apostles and Elders at 
Jerusalem, to whom they were sent, 
vs. 2. And thBj declared — reported, of- 
ficially in public, hoiv great things God 
had done loith them — His wonderful 
dealings with them in planting so many 
Gentile Churches by their instrumen- 
tality. These facts were most impor- 
tant to be made known for the settle- 
ment of this question. 

5. But. Here Luke narrates what 
occurred at the giving in of the report. 
Immediately tliere rose up (from the 
assembly) some of those from the sect of 
the Pharisees, which believed. Some who 
were probably distinguished Pharisees, 
yet belonging to the Church, the body 
of professed believers. The early con- 
verts from Judaism naturally brought 
with them into the Church some of 
their Jewish notions and prejudices, 
as here ; saying that it is necessary to cir- 
cumcise them, (the Gentile converts, vs. 
3,) &c. This was the position taken 
by the Judaizing teachers from Jeru- 
salem, (vs. 1 ) They did not dispute 
the authority of Paul and Barnabas, 
nor the conversion of the Gentiles ; 
only they insisted on this conformity 
with the Mosaic ritual, claiming that 
the Gentiles should come into the 
Church through the door of Judaism. 

6. Accordingly the Apostles and El- 
der* came together (literally, wen as- 



202 



THE Xu'TS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 60 



7 And wlien there had been much disputing, Peter rose 

Md'ii':i2?' ^P; and said unto them, 'Men and brethren, ye know how 

that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the 

Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and 

believe. 



semhled ) to see concerning this matter. 
Literally, this word, (or doctrine or 
report.) The question Tvas now formal- 
ly brought up by the motion of these 
Pharisaic believers, vs. 5. And the 
Apostles and Elders who (vs. 4,) had 
publicly received the delegation and 
heard their general report, now con- 
vened for the express purpose of at- 
tending to this question, submitted by 
the Christian Pharisees. This was the 
object of the delegation. Some have 
regarded this public action as incon- 
sistent with Paul's statement. Gal. 2 : 
9, and have therefore supposed that 
another visit must be referred to there. 
But it would seem that Paul had also 
these private conferences with "the 
pillars," Peter, James and John, so as 
thus to conciliate them to his views by 
a fuller statement and argument than 
would be heard at first in the Synod. 
See Gal. 2:2, G. The Apostles are 
spoken of as having equal rank, and 
their charge was universal, and not 
confined to one Church only. Matt. 
28:19; 2 Cor. 11:28. "Of course 
they are no more to be reckoned in the 
order of bishops of a particular Church 
than the pretorian prefects of old in 
the rank of governors of one city or 
province." — Spanheim. ^ Eiders. " In 
the Apostles' age, (says Spanheim,) 
there were presbyteries, or colleges of 
bishops or presbyters, in every Church, 
who had the administration and gui- 
dance thereof ordinarily, of which 
presbyters some gave themselves more 
to the word and doctrine, (1 Tim. 5 : 
17,) others to government and disci- 
pline. Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:28." 
■Of the Apostles, Peter, James, John 
and Paul were present, perhaps others ; 
besides those Apostolical preachers, 
Barnabas, Judag, surnamed Barsabas, 
Silas, (vs. 22,) and Titus, Gal. 2: 2. 
It Wiuld seem also that the Church 
members were admitted to the delib' 



erations of this council or Synod. Ac- 
cordingly, in vs. 12, "the multitude" 
is spoken of, and in vs. 22, the final 
action taken by the Synod is in the 
name of the whole Church, .=.r.d with 
their sanction — the Synod acting au- 
thoritatively, but Avith the Church, 
that is, as representatives of the whole 
Church. Observe. — It was a conven- 
tion of Apostles and Elders — not of the 
whole membership — and it was the 
Synod who (vs. 2, 22, 23,) acted, and 
with them agreed the body of believers. 
7. Much disputation arising, on both 
sides, in which it would seem from vs. 
12 the private members were involved, 
though not forming any part of the 
ofiicial council. Peter rising up, said 
unto them, &c. This is the last in- 
stance in which Peter appears in the 
history, and here he takes a prominent 
part in the discussion, not from any 
official primacy of his, of which there 
is no trace in the sacred Scriptures, 
but from the part he had taken in 
opening the door of admission to the 
Gentiles. To this important fact there- 
fore he here refers. ^ A goodivhile ago. 
Literally, fro7n ancient ages, which ho 
calls "at the beginning." Seech. 11:15, 
where he gave an explanation of this 
matter some ten years before this, 
lie probably refers to the vision which 
God gave him at Joppa to show the 
free reception of the Gentiles to the 
Church, and the admission of Corne- 
lius at Cesarca, without circumcision. 
Lightfoot thinks the reference is still 
farther back to the promise of " the 
keys." Matt. IG : 19. But the keys 
there promised to Peter, were given 
to the Apostles (the eleven) together. 
God chose outfroniamo7igus, (Apostles) 
that the Gentiles (as a class) should 
hear the ivord of the Gospel by my mouth, 
and believe. This providential arrange- 
ment and choice of instrumental agen- 
cy was God's w iirk, as well as th« 



&. h. 50.] 



CHAP. XV. 



268 



8 And God, •'wliicli knoweth the hearts, bare them ^^^/i^^"-" 
witness, 'giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did '•"^■'"'■'^ 
anto us; 

9 "^ And put no difference between us and them, °puri- "^^"^i-iil 
fying their hearts b}' faith. fcor.i:2. 

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, "to put a yoke JMatJssM. 
upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers ^''^■ = -^- 
nor we were able to bear ? 

11 But P we believe that through the grace of the Lord |;^r2:8."' 
Jvisus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. sli'/o!'''''" 



Gospel itself, and the result of their 
preaching was as much comprehended 
in the plan of God, as the agency 
itself, or the message. Peter was he 
who was specially chosen to open the 
door to the Gentiles; yet not without 
the approval of the rest, whom he now 
reminds of the circumstances. 

8. Peter means now to argue from 
the gracious results of this preaching 
the Gospel to the Gentiles, that God 
had settled the question now before 
them, putting Ilis own seal upon the 
free admission of the Gentiles to the 
kingdom. If God, luhich knoweth the 
hear is, (literally, the heart-knower, ch. 
1 : 24,) and who therefore looks not 
on the outward distinctions of Jew or 
Gentile, but hath concluded all under 
sin. Bare them witness — bare witness 
to them (the Gentiles) as His chosen 
people, giving to them the Holy Ghost, 
even as He did unto us. His argument 
is "that God had settled the whole 
question of the equality of .Jews and 
Gentiles as subjects of His kingdom, 
by actually making them equally sub- 
jects of His grace." 

9. And put no difference — did not 
discriminate between us (Jews) and 
them, ( Gentiles,) both being on an 
equality in this respect, jiurifying their 
hearts in a spiritual circumcision, Rom. 
2 : 29, taking away all their native 
impurity by faith, and not by ceremo- 
nial observances — by faith in the blood 
of Jesus Christ, (and not of beasts,) 
which cleanseth us from all sin. (1 
John 1:7.) 

10. Ifoio therefore — after such proof 
from God's actual testimony in His 
dealings, that Ho does not discard 



the Gentiles because of their nonper- 
formance of Judaic rites — why tempt 
ye God — that is, why do ye put Him 
to the test by trying His forbearance, 
and thus provoke Him, (Heb. 3:8, 9,) 
so as toput a yoke upon the neck of the 
Disciples, called in Gal. 5:1, "the 
yoke of bondage.'' This, as we learn 
from the Epistle of Paul to the Gala- 
tians, was the yoke of the law imposed 
upon the conscience as a ground of 
justification — the yoke of salvation by 
works, instead of by faith — including 
the ritual observances, which Avere so 
burdensome to their fathers and tJ 
themselves. Gal. 2 : 8. This was an 
appeal to their own consciences, that 
salvation could not be had by the law. 
11. But — so far from deeming it 
right to impose such burdensome con- 
ditions upon the Gentile brethren — we, 
that is, the Apostles and Jewish con 
verts — believe to be saved — fully expect 
to be saved — through the grace of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, in di.slinction from 
legal conditions ; therefore of grace and 
not of debt. (Rom. 4:4, 5. ) Both Jews 
and Gentiles must be saved in tho 
same way, by the same only Saviour: 
" Even wc ourselves who are Jews 
originally, having embraced the faith 
of Christ, are most certainly persuaded 
that not by circumcision or other ritoi 
of the Mosaic law, but by the gracious 
reconciliation of us to God, we shall 
obtain eternal salvation purchased by 
the sacrifice of the death of Christ." 
Gal. 2 : 14, 15, 16.— Du Veil. 1[ Even 
as they (the Gentiles.) Literally, ac- 
I cording to the same manner as they. 
I Peter argues that such an imposition 
I upou the Gentiles was inconsistent with 



4 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. [A. D. 50. 

12 1 Then all tlie multitude kept silence, and gave audience tc 
Barnabas and Paul declaring what miracles and wonders 

1. i4:n. Qq(J j^^^j 1 wrought among the Gentiles by them. 

1.12:17. i^ ^ And after they had held their peace, ' Jaraes 

answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me : 

'■^- 14 ' Simeon hath declared how Grod at the first did visit 

the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 



the belief and hope of the converted 
Jews themselves. They could not rest 
in the law for salvation. "Why then 
enforce the law, with its badge of cir- 
cumcision, upon these Gentiles ? 

12. After this argument and appeal 
of Peter, all (he muUilude (including 
tiie private members present, who had 
been embroiled in the debate,) kept 
silence and heard Barnabas and Paul 
declaring hotv great miracles (signs) and 
iL-onders God had wrought among the 
Gentiles by them. This narrative of 
the Apostolic missionaries served to 
confirm the impression produced by 
Peter's argument. It showed that 
God had put His approval upon their 
ministry among the Gentiles without 
requiring circumcision — the same as 
pleaded elsewhere, (ch. 14:27; 21: 
19; Rom. 15:18, 19.) The miracles 
at Paphos and Lystra would be prom- 
inently cited. 

13. And after they (Paul and Bar- 
nabas) toere silent, James answered, (re- 
sponded to what had been said, or 
spoke to the question which was before 
them.) This James is often called 
" the Apostle of the Transition." He 
represented the strict, legal view, yet 
with a side to progress, and would nat- 
urally ascribe to the law all the advan- 
tage which it could have for Christians. 
(Rom. 7: 12.) His opinion, therefore, 
on the side of Peter in this question, 
would have great weight in favor of 
the freedom of the Gentiles, and would 
tend to silence the Pharisaic disputers. 
He is called by Paul one of " the pil- 
lars," with Peter and John, Gal. 2 : 9, 
and he was probably that James the 
Bon of Alpheus, who was an Apostle, 
«al!ed ilso James the Less, and the 
•ame who was the author of the Epis- 
tle of James. Some make him to be 
one of the brethren of the Lord, who 



was at first unbelieving. (See John 
7 : 5 and notes.) But he was the cous- 
in of our Lord, as he was the son of 
Alpheus, and in the Oriental usage, 
such a near relation was called a broth- 
er. Gal. 1 : 19. It is to be observed 
that the names of our Lord's brethren 
as given (Mark 6:3,) are given in part 
as the names of the children of Alpheus, 
(Matt 27: 56,) which corroborates the 
view just given. (See Birk's Ilorce Paul- 
ince. ) James seems at this time to have 
been the Apostle who most of all had 
the charge of the Church at Jerusalem, 
(ch. 21 : 18,) but there is no trace of his 
officiating in any other capacity than as 
Apostle. ^ Hearken — hear me. Peter 
and James both delivered their views in 
the Synod. These are two of the pil- 
lars, and the very two whose judgment 
would be looked on as most importast 
in the case. Therefore, though others 
may also have spoken, these only are 
reported. 

14. Simeon — after the Hebrew form 
for Simon — soused also in 2 Pet. 1:1. 
In both cases it is used iu a Hebrew 
connection. James first of all refers 
to the testimony just given by Peter, 
and confirms his view. This surely 
looks like an equality of these Apostles 
in the Synod. There is nothing here 
like Peter being head, universal bishop, 
Pope — nor like James being Diocesan 
Bishop, though, as Calvin remarks, 
if either speaks with more author- 
ity than the other, it is James. Feter 
hath declared (in detail, — literally, 
given an exegesis of,) how God at the first 
(first of all — beforehand of any human 
action in the case,) did visit (surveyed 
as a bishop or overseer,) to take out 
from among these Gentiles a people for 
His name. God had, therefore, settled 
this question in advance, by visitin^ 
I Cornelius and Peter in vision by Hif 



A. 1). 50.J 



CHAP. XV 



2M 



15 And to this agree the words of the prophets ; as it 
is written, 

16 'After this I will return and will build again the {.^o*^-^^' 
tsi\ ernacle of David, which is fallen down ; and I will 

build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up : 

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all 
the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who 
doeth all these things. 

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the 
world. 

19 'Wherefore " my sentence is, that wc trouble not " "■ ^*- 
them, which from among the Grentiles *are turned to God: »iThess. i:9. 



Spirit before any preaching to the Gen- 
tiles, (vs. 7; ch. 10: 44, 45,) and with 
the view of gathering — calling out a 
Church — a covenant people for His 
name, to be called by His name, and 
for His glory. Rom. 9 : 25, 2G. 

15. And. The Apostle now proceeds 
to show that this action of God in re- 
gard to the Gentiles was no invasion 
or alteration of the ancient economy, 
but was all along contemplated in their 
Old Testament Scriptures and foretold 
by the prophets, and that the facts 
detailed by Peter are the fulfillment 
of these predictions. Therefore, the 
free admission of the Gentiles without 
circumcision was that which was fore- 
told by the prophets, as Amos. 

16, 17. This prediction of Amos, 
(ch. 9: 11, 12,) is applied by the 
Apostle to that spiritual upbuilding of 
Christ's kingdom, which began in his 
Incarnation and most remarkably went 
forward in the ingathering of the Gen- 
tiles, as reported by the Apostolic mis- 
sionaries. The promise to David was 
that he should have a sou to sit for 
ever on his throne. This was fulfilled 
only in Christ. And now, when Da- 
vid's family estate was reduced from a 
royal palace to a shifting tent or tab- 
ernacle, and had fallen in ruins, God 
had fulfilled the promise in building it 
up, by raising up Christ as David's 
promised son, (Rom. 1:3,) who was to 
♦' restore the kingdom again to Israel," 
(ch. 1:0,) and make it more glorious 
than in its best days of David and Sol- 
omon, by the ingathering of the Gen- 
tiles. Isa. chs. 55, TjO, 61, c^, 65. 



17. That the residue — remainder, 
such as were not Jews. The prophet 
has it, "that they mat/ possess the rem- 
nant of Edam and all the nations.^' 
Edom, (Esau,) or Idumea, was in- 
stanced as a type of the notorious and 
bitter enemies of the covenant people; 
and that the remnant of these were to 
be possessed or gathered in, is the same 
as to say that the remnant (Rom. 9 : 
27,) of all aliens and enemies among 
the Gentiles, were to be converted. 
The Idumeans, also, were subjected 
by David. ^ Seek— seek out the Lord, 
and ail the Gentiles. This explains the 
meaning of the former clause. ^ Upon 
whom m>j name is called — has been call- 
ed. These are characterized as His 
covenant people, "called by His name," 
though they were formerly no people, 
Deut. 32 : 21 ; Hos. 2 : 23 ; Rom. 10: 
19. It was as certain as if already 
done. 

18. Known. The idea is now press- 
ed, that this admission of the Gentiles 
without the intervention of Judaism, 
was no innovation nor subversion of 
the ancient economy, but was always 
planned by God. The facts agree with 
the prophecy, an.i the prophecy with 
the plan of God from the beginning of 
the ivorld. This prophecy was uttered 
nearly eight hundred years before the 
event, about tne time of the founding 
of ancient Rome. 

19. Wherefore. On the ground of 
God's actual dealings, as long ago 
foretold by the prophets, and therefore 
as planned and carried out by God, 
having all Divine authority — my sen- 



2G6 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 50. 



r G«n. 85 : 2. 

Ex. 20:8, 23. 
Ez. 2P:30. 
1 Cor. 8:1. 
Rev. 2 : 14, 20, 

I'fcorfV's'is things strangled, ^ and from blood. 

Gal. 5:19.' ' ' - - — 

Eph. 5: 3. 



20 But that -we write unto them, that they abstain 
from pollutions of idols, and '■from fornication, and frmr 
lings strangled, ^ and from blood. 

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that 



tence is — lit., I judge — or, as we would 
say in a Synod, "my opinion is," or, 
"I move." This was the form in 
Greek assemblies, b/o) uplvo). That 
there is nothing here like an authori- 
tative sentence passed by James, is 
plain enough from the term here used, 
and from the context, vs. 22, where it 
appears that the Apostles and Elders 
acted upon the proposal, or motion, or 
opinion of James. If That ice trouble 
not. Lit., not to trouble (further) those 
from the Gentiles icho are turning unto 
God — not to molest them by the addi- 
tion of those Jewish ceremonies to the 
simple Gospel requirement of faith. 

20. But to send an epistle unto them 
(to the end) that they may abstain (with- 
hold t]i&ms«A.\ts) from pollutions of idols 
— that is, from things offered to idols, 
1 Cor. 10 : 14-20, 21 ; see vs. 29. The 
heathen were accustomed to sell in the 
markets, or to eat at feasts, the part 
of the meat remaining from their ani- 
mal sacrifices. Any partaking of this 
was regarded by the Jews as sharing 
in the sin of idolaters, Rom. 14 : 15; 
1 Cor. 8 : 10. Therefore it was to be 
abstained from, though not in itself 
and essentially sinful ; yet out of re- 
gard to the consciences of their breth- 
ren. Connected with this, also, was 
the gross sin of fornication, which be- 
longed to idol worship. The Gentiles 
regarded this practice as indifferent, 
and not in itself sinful. " It is also 
worthy of notice, that the denial of a 
moral obligation in this particular has 
formed a prominent feature in the eth- 
ical systems of the most celebrated 
modern infidels." — Hind's Hist. There- 
fore, they are charged to abstain from 
this sin, not because it was the only 
em, but as so connected with the idol 
worship of the heathen. These things 
are named together, not as being on a 
level, but as being associated in the 
heathen practice, aud as being regard • 
ed alike by the Gentiles, and the one 
as connected with and leading to the 



other. They are charged to abstain 
even from what is in itself indifferent, 
the partaking of things offered to idols, 
because it belonged to a system which 
countenanced fornication, as well as 
dishonored God and rejected Jlim for 
idols, 1 Cor. 6:15; 1 Thess. 4 : 3, 4. 
It was as much as to charge them tt; 
have nothing whatever to do with the 
heathen usages, first or last, least or 
greatest. Do not even eat of the 
things which their worship has pollu- 
ted, and much more have nothing tc 
do with their vile abominations. So 
the Psalmist resolves, personating alsc 
the Messiah, and expressing thus his 
abhorrence and avoidance of all sinful 
associations, " Their drink-offerings of 
blood will I not offer, nor take up their 
names into my lips," Ps. 16 : 4. Li- 
centious festivals of the heathen were 
notoriously common in Syria. 1[ Things 
strayigled, and from blood — from ani- 
mals slain without shedding the blood, 
and therefore having the blood in them, 
and from blood in its separate use. 
These may be regarded as in effect 
one. Blood in its separate use had 
been forbidden in the Noachic precepts, 
Gen. 9 : 4 — and in the law, as having 
in it the seat of life, and as being a 
standing symbol of expiation. Lev. 17 : 
10-13 ; Deut. 12 : 23, 24. An awe was 
thus thrown around blood, so as to teach 
the people of the great blood-shedding, 
and of that precious blood of Jesus 
Christ, which cleanseth us from all 
sin, (1 John 1:7.) Therefore, be- 
cause the Jewish brethren had long 
regarded these things as unlawful to 
be used, the Gentile converts were 
charged to abstain from them for 
peace' sake, and while this delicate 
relation of the Christian Church to 
Judaism should continue. Besides, 
they were thus pointed to what was 
the evangelical purport of the Jewish 
ordinances — the blood-shedding anu 
expiation of Christ. 
21. For Moses. This is assigned ac « 



A. D. 50.] 



CHAP. XV. 



267 



preacli him, * being read in the synagogues every saobath f Tht^*.»:s. 

Antr 1 Pet. 4:3. 

aay. a Gen. 9: 4. 

22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the Dlut.^il:'iG,23, 
whole church, to send chosen men of their own company '-="•13:15,11. 
to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas sur- 
named°Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren : '=«''-i;23. 



reason for decreeing these restrictions, 
to wit: that the public reading and 
exposition of the Mosaic ritual every 
Sabbath in the Jewish synagogues 
would naturally keep the Jews alive 
to these restrictions and make any dis- 
regard of them, by the Gentiles, a sore 
offense. "Besides (says Calvin,) he 
teaches that ceremonies cannot be so 
quickly absolved as it were at the tirst 
stroke. They should therefore concil- 
iate until such time as the liberty got- 
ten by Christ might, by little and little, 
more plainly appear, according to the 
old proverb, that old ceremonies should 
be buried with some honor." Others 
understand it as a reason why it was 
important to make this decree to the 
Gentile converts. Because, Moses be- 
ing constantly read in the synagogues, 
'which they attended,) they might else 
hold themselves as obligated to the 
law as a ground of justification, f Of 
old time. Literally, from ancient gen- 
erations — a strong expression to denote 
the earliest times. Moses had been 
preached — proclaimed — from the begin- 
ning. ^ In every city. This was the 
universal custom. ^ Being read. The 
law of Moses was publicly read in the 
Jewish synagogues, which proselytes 
and other Gentiles also attended. Ex- 
position and exhortation commonly 
accompanied the preaching. 2 Cor. 
3:13. ^ Every Sabbath day. The 
Jewish Sabbath is here referred to — the 
seventh day of the week, and not the 
Christian Sabbath — the Lord's day. 
The Jewish converts, for many years, 
continued to observe the former, while 
they also kept sacred the latter — the 
former in memory of the creation, the 
latter of the resurrection. The for- 
mer was now optional, tke latter was 
requii'ed. Sabbatizing was afterwards 
dencunced by Christian writers, that 
is, a Jewish observance of the Chris- 



tian Sabbath, cumbering it with bur- 
densome rites and Pharisaic restric- 
tions — very much as we find some of 
the Reformers denouncing the same 
thing in the formalistic, superstitious 
practices of the Papacy. But the holy 
keeping of the Christian Sabbath as a 
day of sacred rest and worship, accord- 
ing to the spirit of the fourth command- 
ment, is most earnestly enjoined. The 
custom of the early Christian Church 
furnishes no ground for laxity in the 
observance of the Sabbath. For, in- 
stead of regarding the Sabbath law as 
abrogated, they rather kept two Sab- 
baths for a time, showing that they held 
the fourth commandment to be of most 
binding force. It was only when the 
seventh day Sabbath was held by any 
as instead of the Christian Sabbath 
and so as to stand in the way of it, or 
supersede it, that it was counted an 
offense, and denounced. So the keep- 
ing of the various Jewish Sabbath- 
days was regarded as unlawful Juda- 
izing. (Col. 2:16, 17.) 

22. This "motion" or opinion of 
the Apostle James had the effect to 
bring the Synod to a decision. Then 
it pleased — literally, it seemed, (good,) 
it was their sentiment, or sentence. It 
was not the opinion of James, but this 
of the Apostles and the Elders, that was 
authoritative. The Synod was compo- 
sed of the Apostles and the Elders. It is 
here doclai-ed, however, that their ac- 
tion was with the whole Church. They 
acted in the name of the whole Church, 
and according to the Divine ordinance, 
they represented the whole Church. 
"The brethren," vs. 23, or private mem- 
bers of the Church, though they form- 
ed no part of the Synod, were doubt- 
less admitted to their deliberations, 
and the oflicial action had their full 
and hearty sanction, and was under- 
stood as their pub'ic and formal ex' 



2GS 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. C. 50 



23 And tl cy wrote letters by them after this manner ; The apostles 
and elders and brethren se?uf greeting unto the brethren whict are of 

the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia : 
Gal!;?;' 4. and 24 Forasoiuch as WO havc heard that ^certain which 
Tuui4:io, u. went out from us have troubled you with words, subvert- 
ing your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep 
the law : to whom we gave no such commandment : 

25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to 
send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and 
Paul, 
e^ch.^i3:5o,and 26 ^Mcu that havc hazarded their lives for the name of 
2Cor'.u:a-26. our Lord Jesus Christ. 



presaion. It was dotermined, having I 
selected men from themselves — from the 
Jerusalem Church, prophets or ruling 
elders, belonging to the Synod or not, 
to send (them) to Antioch, (as delegates 
or commissioners to the Church which 
had sent up the case for settlement.) 
Jiidan and Silas were both prophets, 
(vs. 32,) such as are spoken of in ch. 
13 : 1. These were sent 2vith Paul and 
Barnabas, the commissioners from the 
Church of Antioch. Silas — called in 
the Epistles Sdvanus — was Paul's as- 
sociate afterwards, in his second mis- 
sionary tour, vs. 40; ch. 17: 10, 14; 
18:5; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess 1:1; 
2 Cor. 1 : 19. f Chief men. Leading 
men among the brethren iu the Mother 
Church at Jerusalem. 

23. A Synodical Epistle was sent 
down to the Churches bi/ them, &c. — lit- 
eially, by their hand — these things. The 
Epistle is from " the Apostles, and the El- 
ders and the brethren." " The brethren," 
(private members,) are named here, 
also, because they are understood as 
acting throuj;li their representatives, 
and many of the brethren seem to have 
been present in the assembly, giving 
their approbation and co-operation. 
This Epistle was addressed to the breth- 
ren in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, who 
were from the Gentiles — while it was 
plainly designed to apply equally to 
ill the Gentile Churches and brethren. 
Accordingly, Paul and Silas delivered 
these decrees to all the Churches 
among which they passed. ^ Syria 
€nd Cilicia. Paul refers tc his resi- 



dence in these districts soon after hia 
conversion, (see Gal. 1 : 21,) when 
he probably planted Churches there. 
Barnabas found him at Tarsus when 
he went for him to go to Antioch, ch. 9 : 
30; 11:25. 1[ Send greeting. Lite- 
rally, to rejoice. Bid them to rejoice — 
wish them joy. This is the usual 
Greek form of salutation in writing 
Epistles. We have it in no New Tes- 
tament writing, except in the Epistle 
of James, which is an incidental proof 
of the same writer here. It is found 
also in the letter of Claudius Lysias, 
ch. 23 : 26. 

24. Forasmuch. The preamble, or 
preface, states the occasion of their 
Synodical action. Since ice have heard 
that some going out from us, (viz. 
teachers from Jerusalem, vs. 1, claim- 
ing to be somebody, Gal. 2 : 6, and 
probably pretending authority from 
the Church at Jerusalem,) have trou- 
bled you loith words, (disturbed your 
Christian peace with statements and 
arguments,) subverting your souls, (un- 
settling and turning upside down your 
minds,) saying it is necessary to be 
circumcised and to keep the law, (the cer- 
emonial law.) This was what these 
false teachers taught to be binding .and 
necessary to salvation, (vss. 1, 5.) 
1[ To whom we gave no commandnunt, ox 
commissiou to teach these things, oi 
to tench at all. 

25, 26. It seemed — it ivas our senti- 
ment, (or sentence, same as vs. 22,) 
having become of one accord, (after dis- 
cussion agreeing,) having selected rmfi 



\. 11. 50.] 



CHAP. XV 



269 



27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall 
al.so tell you the same things by f mouth. '^'■•"' 

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Grhost, and to us, 
to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary 
things ; 

29 ^That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and {"ii*? 
'from blood, and from things strangled, and from forni- ^"e\'^] 
cation : from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do 
well. Fare ye well. 

to send (them) to you. This was a 
courteous address of tlieir .authorita- 
tive letter. "T[ With our beloved. This 
was a most ample indorsement of Bar- 
nabas and Paul, as being held in the 
highest confidence by tlie Mother 
Chui-ch at Jerusalem. The Synod 
gives them all the weight of their au- 
thority as against the false teachers 
who claimed to be in high standing at 
Jerusalem. Barnabas is named first, 
as being best known as yet in Jerusa- 
lem. H Men. The Apostles and El- 
ders extol Paul and Barnabas as having 
surrendered ( offered up ) tkeir lives 
(Rom. 12 : 1,) iu the ^Master's ser- 
vice, ch. 13 : 50 ; 14 : 19. This First 
Synod gives a high commendation of 
their missionar}' work, and of their 
position as laborers among the Gen- 
tiles. The Holy Spirit has thus caus- 
ed it to be placed on record, for the 
honor of these first two foreign mis- 
sionaries of the Church, that they 
exposed their lives to immiaeut risk, 
and virtually offered them up in this 
cause — a pattern to all ministers and 
missionaries of Christ. 

27. We have sent (as messengers — 
apostled — the verb corresponding with 
Apostle,) Judas and S'las, (from among 
ourselves, see vs. 22,) also themselves 
telling by luord (of mouth) the same 
things which we have written in the 
letter to you, see vs. 32 As Paul and 
Bariwibas were so publicly committed 
to this side of the question beforehand, 
tlieir testimony was thus prudently 
confirmed by these special messengers, 
who should also answer any inquiries, 
and give all proper explanations. 
Those were really sent from the 
Church at Jerusalem, but not those 
Who so pretended, vs. 1, 
23* 



28. The Synod not only speak for 
the Church, but they claim to act in 
accordance with the Holy Spirit, and 
with His authority. For it seemed 
good — it is the authoritative sentiment, 
or sentence — same word as in vss. 22, 
25. f The Holy Ghost. They were 
conscious of having arrived at their 
decision by the direction of the Holy 
Ghost, so that it was His Divine agen- 
cy and authority going before, which 
led to their decision. The decree, 
therefore, wliich they send down was 
no invention of theirs. And they 
claimed no authority for their decrees, 
except so far as they were in conjunc- 
tion with the Holy Ghost. This prin- 
ciple would settle the absurd clai.ms 
of Church councils in the Papacy. 
f To lay — that no more (further) burden 
be imposed upon you. except these things 
necessarily (imposed.) The necessity 
was to abstain from all idolatrous 
associations and practices; and from 
any thing that could even sesra to put 
dishonor upon the blood of expiation. 
Their decree is founded on the neces- 
sity of the case. 

29. Lit., To abstain from idol offer- 
ings, (see vs. 20.) Justin Martyr, liv- 
ing in the second century, writes, that 
Christians will undergo all torments 
and punishments, and even death it- 
self, rather than either worship ima- 
ges or eat of things that are offered 
to them." IT From which (things) pre- 
serving yourselves, ye shall do well — ■ 
what is most fit, and rigl-.t, and peace- 
able, Eph. G : 21; 2 Cor. 13 : 11 ; ch. 
10 : 33 ; 3 .John G. The Church of 
Pergamos is reproached with having 
such among them, Rev. 1 : 13. ^ Fare 
ye well. This is the usual Greek form 
for a closing salutation in the writing 



270 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 50 



30 So wbon they were dismissed, they came to Antioch; and 
when they had gathered the multitude together, .hey deliyertid the 
cpisth : 

31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the 
[',.°[; "*"'■"'■ II eonsohation. 

32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also them- 
i'8°23."'^^'^°'^ selves, "^ exhorted the brethren with many words-, and 

confirmed them. 

33 And aftei they had tarried there a space, they were 
HeblTi ?3i."" Iftfc 'go i^ peace from the brethren unto the apostles. 

31 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. 
ich. 13:1. 35 kpaul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, 



of latters. It means, be strong — pre- 
vail ; same as valete in the Latin. Ob- 
serve. — This was the action of the 
FIRST Synod in the Christian Chuecii. 
It fixed the doctrine and established 
the peace of the Church, and was a 
development of Church order, which is 
claimed as a pattern and warrant for 
Courts of Review and Control. 

30. They, therefore, having been dis- 
missed, (formally,) probably with reli- 
gious services, vs. 33; 13 : 3, and pos- 
sibly with an escort for a part of the 
ivay — came to Antioch. Judas and Silas 
were the delegates of the Synod to the 
Church at Antioch, in connection with 
Paul and Barnabas, who had been sent 
up by this Church to the Synod. 
|[ And having convened the muUitude — 
the Church membership — the brethren. 
See vs. 12 ; 6 : 2, the same term ap- 
plied to the Church membership at 
Jerusalem. The epistle was addressed 
to the brethren, (vs. 23,) and to them 
ihey (the delegates) delivered the epistle, 
and hamng read (it) they (the Church 
members) rejoiced for the consolation — 
rather, confirmation (strengthening.) 
This term is kindred to that for "Par- 
aclete," which is rendered Comforter, 
from the old Latin term ccnfortari, 
which means rather to strengthen. 
They rejoiced for the strengthening 
etfect of tliis Synodical action, where- 
by they were freed from the burden of 
ritual observances as a ground of jus- 
t;fication. 

32. Judas and Silas, being prophets 
(inspired teacher;},) also themselves, as 
well as Paul and Ba^aabas, (cb. 13 : 1, ) 



and therefore competent to instruct, 
according to their instructions from 
the Synod, vs. 27, exhorted (in a con- 
solatory and strengthening way,) the 
brethren (the Church) wilhrnanywords, 
and con_/ir7?iec? (strengthened) them. See 
14 : 22, where the same words are 
used in different order. 

33. Tarried — lit., having made time 
— having made some stay, or spent 
some time, they were dismissed (the 
same term as is used of their being 
sent away, vs. 30,) loith peace, (with the 
salutations of ''peace," 16 : 36; Mark 
5 : o A,) from the brethren of the Church 
at Antioch (back) to the Apostles, &c., 
at Jerusalem. 

34. Lit., But it seemed good, (the same 
term as is used vss. 22, 25, 28, of the 
authoritative sentence of the Synod ; 
and here, also, it may carry with it 
the idea of an authoritative decision, 
especially directed by the Spirit,) — 
that is, after they were formally dis- 
missed by the Church, as their mission 
from Jerusalem was accomplished, Si- 
las decided to remain still there in 
Antioch. Or it may easily be, that 
Silas returned to Antioch after going 
to Jerusalem, see vs. 40. From Gal. 
2 : 10, we learn that the Apostles re- 
quired of Paul and Barnabas that in 
their Gentile missions they should re- 
member the poor saints at Jorusulem, 
that thus those Gentile converts who 
were set free from the Jewish yoke, 
might not forget the wants and claims 
of the iSIother Church. 

35. Paul also and Barnabas spent 
(timej in Antioch (prior to their next 



A D. 51.] 



CHAP. XV. 



271 



teaching aud preaching the word of the Lord, with many others 
also. 

36 ^[ And some days after, Paul said unto Barnabas, 

liCt us go again and visit our brethren 'in every city ^^''''ji^'a^jSi u: 
where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see ^ **■ ^*' ^• 
how they do. 

37 And Barnabas determined to take with them "John, "nrtVs!!;^^- '* 
whose surname was Mark. ?Tim'i°n 

38 But Paul thought not good to tate him with them, ^'^^''*■' 
"who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not '«<='»• is^i^. 
with them to the work. 

39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they 
departed asunder one from the other : and so Barnabas took Mark, 
and sailed unto Cyprus; 

40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, "being recom- •<='»• "^^e. 
mended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 



missionary journey, vs. 40,) teaching 
and (particularly) evangelizing the word 
of the Lord, (proclaiming it as glad 
tidings, ) loith many others also. Teach- 
ers and preachers became thus quite 
a distinction at Antioch as the Mother 
Church of Gentile Christendom — the 
Church of progress and universality — 
the missionary Church look'ng to the 
evangelizing of the globe, v'h. 13 : 1. 
A Church of large aims, anii a mis- 
sionary spirit will have men raised up 
for the great work. 

g 25. Paul's second Missionary 
Journey (with Silas.) — Europe — 
Macedonian Vision. A. D. 51. Chs. 
15: 3G to 10:10. 

3G. Literally, after some (not many) 
days. Some suppose tliat during this 
interval, Peter and Paul had their dis- 
sension at Antioch, Gal. 2:11, and 
Barnabas was led away by the dissim- 
ulation. But the time seems rather 
short for this, and such a dissension 
here scarcely accords with the prompt 
setting out of Paul and Barnabas to- 
gether. See vs. 28, in the case of Mark. 
% Let us go. Literally, turning back 
now, let us visit (oversee) our brethren, 
&c., in every city, how they hold (them- 
selves. ) \ Where we have preached, &c. 
Literally, announced, as a first attempt. 
37. Determined (rather, planned — 
had a mind) ta take with him Mark, 



who was his cousin. Col. 4 : 10. Bui 
Paul thouglUfit not to take with him this 
one u'ho departed, &c. See ch. 13 : 13. 
In Paul's judgment, Mark had shown a 
spirit in some way unbecoming a mis- 
sionary for such a field as theirs. 

39. The contention. Literally, then 
arose, therefore, a paroxysm — a sharp 
excitement — a provocation which, in 
the end, was a provocation to love and 
to good works, Heb. 10 : 24, and it 
was overruled also to the increase 
of laborers and an extension of the 
missionary field, so as that they depart- 
ed asunder (were separated) from one 
another, as Abraham and Lot. Gen. 
13 : 9. (This indicates their separation 
as to their route, but not any hostile 
rupture.) " It was an eager dispute be- 
tween Paul persuading what was more 
just, and Barnabas desiring what was 
more kind." And so (so that) Barna- 
bas taking Mark, sailed unto Cyprm — 
which was the native country of Bar- 
nabas, where also Mark had his rela- 
tives. This is the last mention of 
Barnabas in the Acts. 

40. But Paul having chosen Silas (for 
himself) departed — (went forth on the 
missionary tour,) having been committed 
by the brethren unto the grace of God. 
This docs not imply that Barnabas waa 
not so commended, as Luke confines 
himself to his object of narrating 
Paul's movements. There may be aa 



272 



THE ACT3 OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A. D. 51 



elCor. S: 
Gal. 2:3. 
See Gal. 5 



41 And he went througli Syria and Cilicia, p confirming 
the churches. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

1 Then came he to ' Derbe and Lystra : and, behold, a 
certain disciple was there, '' named Timotheus, * the son of 
a certain v/oman, which was a Jewess, and believed ; but 
his father was a Greek : 

2 Which "^was well reported of by the brethren that 
were ai Lystra and Iconium. 

3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and 
* took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were 
in those quarters : for they knew all that his father was a 
Greek. 



intimation that the Church rather sided 
with Paul. 

41. Through Syria and Cilicia — ac- 
cording to their commission from the 
Apostles and Elders. See vs. 23. 
^ Confirming — strengthening. The same 
term as is used in vs. 32. Paul is 
named alone, as being head and leader, 
and Luke has it for his object to narrate 
Paul's labors. Going from Antioch, 
the capital of Syria, into Asia Minor, 
he would naturally go to Cilicia, whose 
capital was Tarsus, and in both these 
districts be had planted Churches 
doubtless before. See vs. 23, notes. He 
probably confirmed or strengtheived 
the Churches mainly in regard to this 
great doctrine lately settled by the 
Synod, as the Syuodical letter issued 
and sent down to the Churches was 
addressed to these districts by name. 
This second missionary journey of 
Paul thus commenced A. D. 51, (spring, ) 
terminated A. D. 51, (autumn.) Ch. 
18, 22. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

1. On this second missionary jour- 
ney from Antioch, Paul's object was to 
deliver the decrees of the Synod to 
these Churches according to his in- 
structions, and to confirm them in the 
truth, as Judaiziug teachers had en- 
deavored to turn them aside. He 
passod through Syria in the neighbor- 
hood of Antioch, the capital ; and then 
through Cilicia, where he would feel 
more at home among his native hills. 



But not remaining there, he came into 
the provinces farther west, where he 
had experienced the most grievous 
treatment at the instance of the false 
teachers. Derhe and Lystra are nam- 
ed, though he most probably visited 
Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia also. 
A most important item in the history 
here, is the meeting with Timothy, i. e., 
at Lystra, as it would seem — which 
was probably his birth place, see ch. 
20 : 4, through some suppose it was 
Derbe, ari others that he was born at 
the former, and was now living at the 
latter. He was the son of a certain wo- 
man, (Eunice, 2 Tim. 1:5,) of emi- 
nent piety, as was also his grandmoth- 
er, Lois. ^ A Jewess which believed. 
She was a Christian convert from Ju- 
daism. Timothy was also a Disciple, 
or Christian convert. Paul calls him 
my son in the Lord, 1 Cor. 4:17; 1 
Tim. 1 : 2 ; 2 Tim. 1:2. He had been 
early made familiar with the sacred 
Scriptures, 2 Tim. 3:14, and had prob- 
ably been converted on Paul's first 
visit, ch. 14:7. 1[ But his father waa 
a Greek, and probably a heathen, pos- 
sibly a proselyte. This was expressly 
mentioned to show how Timothy was 
of mixed origin, and related to both 
Jews and Gentiles. Lystra was an 
idolatrous city, without a Jewish syna- 
gogue. Ch. 14 : 9. 

2, 3. Which. That is, Timothy, wai 
witnessed to, 1 Tim. 1 : 18, He was set 
apart for the work of the ministry, " by 
the laying on of the hands of the pre^ 



A D. 51. 



CHAP. XVI. 



278 



4 And as they went through the cities, they delive/ed 

them the decrees fjr to keep, 'that were ordained of the -^ "•"•"= ^- ™- 
apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 

5 And 8 so were the churches established in the faith, ?■=''■ ^s:". 
and increased in number daily. 

G Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of 
Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in 
Asia, 



bytevy," 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1 : 6, 
after he had " made a good confession 
before many witnesses," 1 Tim. 6: 12, 
and his labors are here doubtless re- 
ferred to in Lystra and Iconium. It was 
for this public testimony doubtless that 
Paul would have him (wished him) to 
go forth -with him, on his missionary 
tour. ^ Took and circumcised. This 
rite could be performed by any Isra- 
elite. This was no abandonment of 
his fixed principle, that they who con- 
tended for circuraci.sion, ^s necessary for 
salvation, forsook the Gospel of Christ. 
It was a step which he judged expedi- 
ent fur Timothy's greatest usefulness. 
1 Cor. 10 : 23. As the son of a Gentile, 
he would be a fit fellow laborer among 
the Gentilos, while as circumcised be- 
cause of his mother's being a Jewess, 
he would conciliate the Jews, who 
would otherwise avoid him and regard 
him as a heathen like his father. 1 
Cor. 9 : 22. It was not Timothy that 
sought circumcision, as in order to 
salvation, but Paul circumcised him, 
that thus this young disciple might 
better serve him in his missionary 
work. "Just as I myself, (says Lu- 
ther,) if I were about to preach the 
Gospel among the Jews, should be 
willing and ready to submit to circum- 
cision, and to eat and abstain, as they 
did." It was not circumcision that 
was sinful, but the trusting to it. In 
the case of Titus, both whose parents 
were Gentiles, Paul would not concede 
the point, as there was no such Jewish 
connection in his case. 

4. As they went — pasned through. 
So far as can be gathered from the 
history, Timothy is the first Gentile 
convert who appears as a regular mis- 
Bionary. If C»*'w. Lysti-a, Derbe, 
AQtioch and looninm. Tf They deliver- 



ed (to) them the decrees — [dogmas, as the 
term is, ch. 14: 22,) — authoritative de- 
cisions — to keep. Literally, to guard. 
^ Ordained. They were doy/iara, dog- 
mas — decided upon, determined by the 
Synod. These Synodical decisions 
were not merely advisory, but judicial, 
and were sent down to the Churches 
as the authoritative action of this Court 
of Review and Control. 

5. And so. Literiilly, therefore, &c. 
So then, as a consequence of this mis- 
sionary movement, together with the 
settlement of the vexed question — the 
Churches icere settled in the faith, (tliia 
point of doctrine being fixed, and the 
proper views of Christian truth being 
established, so that they were no lon- 
ger weakened by this dissension and 
controversy, ) and increased in the number 
(of their members) daily. Observe. — 
The great advantage of such a Court 
of Jesus Christ as can authoritatively 
settle for the Churches a question in 
dispute. The truth of God is thus 
conserved, and the unity and peace of 
the Churches is maintained, and the 
assaults of errorists are defeated. Min- 
isters of Christ should be held respon- 
sible for the doctrines they preach, no 
less than members for the doctrines they 
receive, else dangerous error may any 
time corrupt the Churches. 

6. Now. The preceding verse may be 
taken either as the close of the former 
paragraph, or as the opening of this. 
The journey of these missionaries 
would be in a northeast direction from 
Antioch or Iconium to Phrygia. This 
district was not a separate province, 
but a tract of country in the central 
part of Asia Minor not clearly defined, 
though bounded by Galatia and Bithy- 
nia. There were sixty-two cities ia 
this region. Many Jews settled hew 



B74 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 



[A 1) 51 



7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia : 

but the Spirit suffered them not. 
Sfi-is!' 8 And they passing by Mysia ''came down to Troas. 

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night ; There 
1.10:80. stood a 'maR of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come 

over into Macedonia, and help us. 



in the time of tlie Maccabees ; and 
Paul planted Churches in the chief 
cities, as Laodicea, Colosse, and Hie- 
ropolis. To the Colossians he wrote 
afterwards an Epistle. ^ Galatia. 
Otherwise called, Gallo-Grccia, former- 
ly included in Phrygia, but settled by 
the Gauls and Celts, of German origin, 
in the third century before Christ, who 
mijced with the Greeks, and were called 
Gallo-Grecians. They retained the 
German language in Jerome's time, 
and Paul's letter to the Churches of 
this province might be called a letter 
to the Germans, and the great ex- 
pounder of it is the German Luther. 
But the Greek was also extensively 
spoken among them. This province 
was evangelized by Paul, and as he 
finds disciples here on his third mis- 
sionary journey, (ch. 18 : 23,) we know 
that he must have planted Churches 
here at his first visit. Gal. 1 : 2 ; 4 : 13, 
14. "The Churches of Galatia" he 
addresses in his Epistle, and they were 
remarkable for their devoted affection 
toward him, even so that they would 
have plucked out their eyes for him, 
&c., (Gal.4 : 1 5. ) \ Forbidden— restrain- 
ed. Either by inward revelation, or 
by a word of prophecy, they were hin- 
dered no^r from preaching in Procon- 
sular Asia, which comprised Ionia, of 
which Ephesus was the capital. Here 
Ihe Gospel was afterwards preached 
with great success, and Paul wrote an 
Epistle to the Ephesians. Mysia was 
included in this province. Hence we 
find them, (vs. 7,) when they come to 
Mysia, passing it by. Lydia and Caria 
wore also included. 

7, 8. From Phrygia they went east 
to Galatia, thence southwest through 
the north part of Phrygia down to the 
frontier of MysLa. Being reati'ained by 
the Holy Spirit here, they assayed — at- 
tempted to go into Bithynia, adjoining 



Mysia, where they were again forbid- 
den. Thence they passed by Mysia, so 
far as regards preaching, though they 
passed through it to Troas, a city four 
miles distant from ancient Troy, witli 
an important harbor. *^ Bithynia. This 
was the Roman province where Pliny 
the younger was proconsul at the open- 
ing of the second century. About A. 
D. 102 he wrote a letter to the Empe- 
ror Trajan, inquiring what should be 
done with the Christians, who were so 
fast multiplying in that province as to 
cause the desertion of the temples, and 
to threaten the utter downfall of the 
State religion. He gives, also, such an 
account of the Christian faith and 
practice, as enables us to identify the 
same Cliristianity which we now pro- 
fess as embraced then, and witnessed 
with blood. And inacmuch as the 
missionaries did not go into Bithynia, 
we must infer that the Gospel spread 
thither from Galatia, in that wonderful 
progress which so distinguished it in