ページの画像
PDF
ePub

PREFACE TO THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

iii

version, and his preaching to the Gentiles, than he is on any other subject. In such a restricted manner has St. Luke compiled his history, that Michaelis is of opinion, that it was the intention of this Apostle to record only those facts which he had either seen himself, or heard from eye-witnesses. Introduct. vol. v. p. 326, &c.

The Book of the Acts has been uniformly and universally received by the Christian church in all places and ages: it is mentioned and quoted by almost every Christian writer, and its authenticity and importance universally admitted. Arator, a subdeacon in the church at Rome in the sixth century, turned it into verse. In ancient times, personal history and important transactions, in most nations, were generally thus preserved ; as the facts, through the medium of verse, could be the more easily committed to memory. St. Luke's narration bears every evidence of truth and authenticity. It is not a made ир

history. The language and manner of every speaker are different; and the same speaker is different in his manner, according to the audience he addresses. The speeches of Stephen, Peter, Cornelius, Tertullus, and Paul, are all different, and such as we might naturally expect from the characters in question, and the circumstances in which they were at the time of speaking. St. Paul's speeches are also suited to the occasion, and to the persons before whom he spoke. When his audience was heathen, though he kept the same end steadily in view, yet how different is his mode of address from that used when before a Jewish audience. Several of these peculiarities, which constitute a strong evidence of the authenticity of the work, shall be pointed out in the Notes. See some good remarks on this head, in Michaelis' Introduction, ubi supra.

As St. Luke has not annexed any date to the transactions he records, it is not a very easy matter to adjust the chronology of the Acts ; but, as in some places he refers to political facts, the exact times of which are well known, the dates of several transactions in his narrative may be settled with considerable accuracy. It is well known, for instance, that the famine mentioned chap. xi. 29, 30. happened in the fourth year of the Emperor Claudius, which answers to the forty-fourth of the Christian æra. From facts of this nature, dates may be derived with considerble accuracy : all such dates are carefully noted at the top of the column, as in the preceding parts of this Commentary ; and the chronology is adjusted in the best manner possible. In some cases, conjecture and probability are the only lights by which this obscure passage can be illuminated. The dates of the commencement and the end of the Book are tolerably certain ; as the work certainly begins with the twenty-ninth year of the Christian æra, chap. i. and ii. and ends probably with the sixty-third, chap. xxviii. 30.

In the Book of the Acts we see how the church of Christ was formed and settled. The Apostles simply proclaim the truth of God relative to the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ; and God accompanies their testimony with the demonstration of his Spirit. What was the consequence? Thousands acknowledge the truth, embrace Christianity, and openly profess it at the most imminent risk of their lives. The change is not a change of merely one religious sentiment or mode of worship for another; but a change of tempers, passions, prospects, and moral conduct. All before was earthly, or animal, or devilish ; or all these together : but now all is holy, spiritual, and divine—the heavenly influence becomes extended, and nations are born unto God. And how was all this brought about? Not by might nor power: not by the sword nor by secular authority; not through worldly motives and prospects; not by pious frauds or cunning

iv

PREFACE TO THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

craftiness; not by the force of persuasive eloquence: in a word, by nothing but the sole influence of truth itself, attested to the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost. Wherever religious frauds and secular influence have been used to found or support a church, professing itself to be Christian, there, we may rest assured, is the fullest evidence that that church is wholly antichristian : and where such a church, possessing secular power, has endeavoured to support itself by persecution, and persecution unto privation of goods, of liberty, and of life, it not only shews itself to be antichristian, but also diabolic. The religion of Christ stands in no need either of human cunning or power. It is the religion of God, and is to be propagated by his power : this the Book of the Acts fully shews; and in it we find the true model, after which every Christian church should be builded. As far as any church can shew that it has followed this model, so far it is holy and apostolic. · And when all churches or congregations of people, professing Christianity, shall be founded and regulated according to the doctrines and discipline laid down in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, then, the aggregate body may be justly called The Holy, Apostolic, and Catholic Church.

The simplicity of the primitive Christian worship, as laid down in the Book of the Acts, is worthy of particular notice and admiration. Here are no expensive ceremonies; no apparatus calculated merely to impress the senses, and produce emotions in the animal system, “ to help,” as has been foolishly said, “ the spirit of devotion.” The heart is the subject in which this spirit of devotion is kindled ; and the Spirit of God alone is the agent that communicates and maintains the celestial fire : and God, who knows and searches that heart, is the object of its adoration, and the only source whence it expects the grace that pardons, sanctifies, and renders it happy. No strange fire can be brought to this altar ; for the God of the Christians can be worshipped only in spirit and truth : the truth revealed, directing the worship; and the Spirit given, applying that truth, and giving life and energy to every faculty and power. Thus God was worshipped in his own way, and through his own power : every religious act thus performed, was acceptable to him : the praises of his followers rose up as incense before the throne, and their prayers were heard and answered. As they had but one God, so they had but one Mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ. They received him as the gift of God's eternal love ; sought and found redemption in his blood ; and in a holy and useful life, shewed forth the virtues of him who had called them from darkness into his marvellous light : for, no profession of faith was then considered of any worth, that was not supported by that love to God and man, which is the fulfilling of the law, which is the life and soul of obedience to the divine testimonies, and the ceaseless spring of benevolence and humanity. This is the religion of Jesus Christ, as laid down and exemplified in this blessed Book.

66 Ye diff'rent sects who all declare,
“ Lo! Christ is here, and Christ is there :
“ Your stronger proofs divinely give,
66 And shew me where the Christians live,"

THE

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

Ussherian year of the world, 4033—Alexandrian æra of the world, 5531-Antiochian year of the world, 5521-Constan

tinopolitan year of the world, 5537—-Year of the æra of the Seleucidæ, 341-Year of the Spanish æra, 67—Year of the Christian æra, 29-Year of the Pascal Cycle, 30-Year of the Jewish Cycle, 11-Golden Number, 8-Solar Cycle, 10-Dominical Letter, B-Jewish Pass-over, April 15-Epact, 20-Year of the reign of the emperor Tiberius Cæsar, 18-Year of the CCII. Olympiad, 1-Year of Rome, 782—Consuls from Jan. 1 to July 1, L. Rubellius

Geminus and C. Rufius Geminus ; and for the remainder of the year, Aulus Plautius and L. Nonius Asprenas. For an explanation of these æras, see the Advertisement prefixed to the Comment on the Gospel of St. Matthew.

CHAPTER I. St. Luke's prologue, containing a repetition of Christ's history from his passion till his ascension, 1--9. Remark

able circumstances in the ascension, 10, 11. The return of the disciples to Jerusalem, and their employment there, 12–14. Peter's discourse concerning the death of Judas Iscariot, 15—20. and the necessity of chusing another apostle in his place, 21, 22. Barnabas and Matthias being set apart by prayer, the apostles having given their totes, Matthias is chosen to succeed Judas, 23—26. A. M. 1033. THE former treatise have I made, after that he, through the Holy Ghost, A. M. 4033. A. D. 29. An. Olymp.

O Theophilus, of all that Jesus had given commandments unto the An. Olymp. began both to do and teach,

apostles whom he had chosen : 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after

TH

A. D. 29.

с

CCII. 1.

CCII. 1.

* Luke 1.3. Mark 16. 19. Luke 9. 51. & 24. 51. ver. 9. 1 Tim. 3. 16.

• Matt. 28. 19. Mark 16. 15. John 20. 21. ch. 10. 41, 42.

Mark 16. 14. Luke 24. 36. John 20. 19, 26. & 21. 1, 14. 1 Cor. 15. 5.

NOTES ON CHIAP. I.
Verse 1. The former treatise] The Gospel according to
Luke; which is here most evidently intended.
0 Theophilus] See the note on Luke i. 3.

To do und teach] These two words comprise his miracles and sermons. This introduction seems to intimate, that as he had already in his Gospel, given an account of the life and actions of our Lord; so in this second treatise, he

was about to give an account of the lives and acts of some of the chief apostles, such as Peter and Paul.

Verse 2. After that he, through the Holy Ghost, &c.] This clause has been variously translated : the simple meaning seems to be this : that Christ communicated the Holy Spirit to bis disciples after his resurrection, as he had not done before. In Luke xxiv. 45. it is said, that he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures ; Remarkable circumstances

THE ACTS.

in our Lord's resurrection.

A.M..993. his passion by many infallible proofs, || them, commanded them that they A. M. 1039. An. Olymp. being seen of them forty days, and should not depart from Jerusalem, an. Olymp.

speaking of the things pertaining to but wait for the promise of the Father, the kingdom of God :

which, saith he, ye have heard of me. A a And,

being assembled together with 5 For John truly baptized with water; but

CCII. 1.

CCII. 1.

с

b

& Matt. 3. 11. ch. 11. 16. & 19. 4.

Le Joel 3. 18. ch. 2. 4. & 11. 15.

a Luke 24. 43, 49.- -b Or, eating together with them.- Luke 24. 49.

John 14. 16, 26, 27. & 15. 26. & 16. 7. ch. 2. 33.

[ocr errors]

and in John xx. 22. that he breathed on them, and said, || lem, and when Jesus gave an order for all his apostles to asreceive ye the Holy Ghost. Previously to this, we may sup- semble together, as in Acts i. 4. The eighth, when they pose, that the disciples were only on particular occasions were assembled together, and when he led them unto Bemade partakers of the Holy Spirit: but from this time it thany, Luke xxiv. 50. from whence he ascended to heaven. is probable, that they had a measure of this supernatural | But see the note on John xxi. 14. for farther particulars. light and power constantly resident in them. By this, they Pertaining to the kingdom of God] Whatever concerned the were not only able to proclaim the truth, but to discern doctrine, discipline, and establishment of the Christian church. the meaning of all the Old Testament scriptures, which re- Verse 4. And, being assembled together] Instead of ferred to Christ ; and to appoint whatever rites or ordi- cuvartoueves, being assembled together, several good MSS. nances were necessary for the establishment of his church. and Versions read curavas Boleros, living or eating together, There were many things which the apostles said, did, and which refers the conversation reported here to some partidecreed, for which they had no verbal instructions from our cular time, when he sat at meat with his disciples. See Lord; at least, none that are recorded in the Gospels : we Mark xvi. 14. Luke xxiv. 41–44. See the Murgin. But may therefore conclude, that these were suggested to them probably the common reading is to be preferred ; and the by that Holy Spirit which now became resident in them; and meeting on a mountain of Galilee is what is here meant. that it is to this, that St. Luke refers in this verse, After ihat The promise of the Father] The Holy Spirit, which he, through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto indeed was the grand promise of the New Testament, as the apostles.

JESUS CHRisT was of the Old. And as Christ was the Verse 3. To whomhe shewed himself alice-by many in grand promise of the Old Testament, during the whole confallible proofs] Ioa2015 Terprpious; by many proofs of such | tinuance of the Old Covenant; so is the Holy Ghost, during a nature, and connected with such circumstances, as to ren- the whole continuance of the New. As every pious soul der them indubitable ; for this is the import of the Greek that believed in the coming Messiah, through the medium of word texun proy. The proofs were such as these : 1. Ap- the sacrifices offered up under the law, was made a partaker pearing to several different persons at different times. 2. His of the merit of his death ; so every pious soul that believes eating and drinking with them. 3. His meeting them in in Christ crucified, is made a partaker of the Holy Spirit. Galilee, according to his own appointment. 4. His subject. Thus, as the benefit of the death of Christ extended from ing his body to be touched and handled by them. 5. His | the foundation of the world till his coming in the flesh, as instructing them in the nature and doctrines of his kingdom. well as after; so the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has been, 6. His appearing to upwards of five hundred persons at once, and will be continued through the whole lapse of time, till 1 Cor. xv. 6. And 7. Continuing these public manifestations his coming again to judge the world. It is by this Spirit of himself for forty days.

that sin is made known, and by it the blood of the covenant The several appearances of Jesus Christ, during the forty is applied; and indeed, without this, the want of salvation days of his sojourning with his disciples, between his resur- cannot be discovered, nor the value of the blood of the corection and ascension, are thus enumerated by Bishop Pearce : venant duly estimated. How properly do we still pray, and The first was to Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, Matt. || how necessary is the prayer, “ Cleanse the thoughts of our xxviii. 1-9. The second, to the two disciples on their way | hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may to Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 15. The third, to Simon Peter, || perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy name, through Luke xxiv. 34. The fourth, to ten of the apostles, Thomas Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.”-Communion Service. being absent, Luke xxiv. 36. and John xx. 19. (All these Ye have heard of me.] In his particular conversations four appearances took place on the day of his resurrection.) | with his disciples, such as those related John xiv. 16—26. The fifth was to the eleven disciples, Thomas being then xv. 26. xvi. 7-15. to which passages, and the notes on with them, John xx. 26. The sixth, to seven of the apos- || them, the Reader is requested to refer : but it is likely that tles in Galilee, at the sea of Tiberias, John xxi. 4. The our Lord alludes more particularly to the conversation he seventh, to James, 1 Cor. xv. 7. most probably in Jerusa- || had with them on one of the mountains of Galilee.

He promises the baptism

CHAP. I.

of the Holy Spirit.

A. M. 4033
A.D. 29.

A. D. 29.

CCI.l.

CCII...

ye shall be baptized with the Holy 7 And he said unto them, " It is A. M. 4038. An. Olymp. Ghost not many days hence.

not for you to know the times or the An. Olymp. 6 When they therefore were come seasons, which the Father hath put in together, they asked of him, saying,

Lord, his own power ; wilt thou at this time, restore again the king- 8 “But ye shall receive o power, after that the dom to Israel?

Holy Ghost is come upon you: and 5 ye

shall be

a

* Matt. 24. 3.

_ Isai. 1. 26. Dan. 7. 27. Amos 9.11. Mark 13. 39. 1 Thes. 5. 1.- 4 ch. 2. 1, 4.

Le Matt 24. 36.

• Or, the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you.—Luke 24. 49.

Luke 21. 18. John 15. 27. ver. 92. ch. 2. 32.

Verse 5. Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not examples occur in the best Greek writers; yet it has also many days hence.] This must refer to some conversation that another meaning, as Schoettgen has here remarked, viz. of is not distinctly related by the evangelists; as these identi-ending, abolishing, blotting outso Hesychius says, a71NXcal words do not occur in any of the preceding histories. | TACTIC15 is the same as Terewors, finishing, making un The Codex Bezæ reads this passage thus : but ye shall be end of a thing. And Hyppocrates, Aph. vi. 49. uses it to baptized with the Holy Ghost, which ye shall receive, not signify the termination of a disease. On this interpretation many days hence. John baptized with water, which was a the disciples may be supposed to ask, having recollected our sign of penitence, in reference to the remission of sin ; but Lord's prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Christ baptizes with the Holy Ghost, for the destruction of whole Jewish commonwealth, Lord, wilt thou at this time sin, the illumination of the mind, and the consolation of the destroy the Jewish commonwealth, which opposes thy truth,

John's baptism was in reference to the spiritual that thy kingdom may be set up over all the land ? This kingdom ; but Christ's baptism established and maintained | interpretation agrees well with all the parts of our Lord's that kingdom. From this passage we may also learn, that answer, and with all circumstances of the disciples, of time, baptism does not always mean, being plunged or immersed | and of place; but still, the first is most probable. in water; for as this promise most evidently refers to the Verse 7. The times or the seasons] X porous n xalpous. communication of the Holy Spirit on the following pente- || Times here may signify any large portion of a period, æra, cost, and then he sat upon each as a cloven tongue of fire ; lor century; such as an Olympiad, lustrum, or year—and this certainly has more affinity to sprinkling than to plunging. | seasons, the particular part, season or opportunity in that However, the mode of administering the sign is of very little period, &c. in which it might be proper to do any particular consequence ; and which is the best mode, is exceedingly work. God has not only fixed the great periods in which dubious—the stress should be laid on receiving the thing sig- he will bring about those great revolutions, which his wisnified—the Holy Ghost, to illuminate, regenerate, refine, dom, justice, and mercy have designed; but he leaves himand purify the heart. With this, sprinkling or immersion are self at full liberty to chuse those particular portions of sech equally efficient : without this, both are worth nothing. periods, as may be best for the accomplishment of those

Verse 6. When they therefore were come together] It is purposes. Thus God is no necessary agent-every thing is very likely that this is to be understood of their assembling on || put in his own power, ev in oso egovora, under his control one of the mountains of Galilee, and there meeting our Lord. || and authority ; nor will he form decrees, of which he must

At this time restore again the kingdom] That the disci- | become the necessary executor. The infinite liberty of actples, in common with the Jews, expected the Messiah's ing or not acting, as wisdom, justice, and goodness shall see kingdom to be at least in part secular, I have often had oc- best, is essential to God; nor can there be a point in the casion to note. In this opinion they continued less or more whole of his eternity, in which he must be the necessary till the day of pentecost; when the mighty out-pouring of || agent of a fixed and unalterable fate. Infinite, eternal lithe Holy Spirit taught them the spiritual nature of the king- || berty to act or not to act, to create or not create, to dedom of Christ. The kingdom had now for a considerable stroy or not destroy, belongs to God alone : and we must time been taken away from Israel ; the Romans, not the take care how we imagine decrees, formed even by his own Israelites, had the government. The object of the disciples' | prescience, in reference to futurity; which his power is from question seems to have been this : to gain information from the moment of their conception, laid under the necessity of their all-knowing Master, whether the time was now fully performing. In every point of time and eternity, God must come, in which the Romans should be thrust out, and Israel be free to act or not to act, as may seem best to his godly made as formerly, an independent kingdom. But though wisdom. the verb atouabistavaly signifies to reinstate, to renew, Verse 8. But ye shall receive power] Ayverbe duvausv. to restore to a former state, or master, of which numerous | Translating different terms of the original by the same Eng.

« 前へ次へ »