Philip preaches the gospel


to the Samaritans.

A.M. cir. 4036.
A. D. cir. 32.

A. D. cir.32.

cir. CCII. 4.

cir. CCII.4.

4 Therefore a they that were scat- 7 For unclean spirits, crying with A. M.cir. 4036 An. Olymp. tered abroad, went every where loud voice, came out of many that An. Olymp. preaching the word.

were possessed with them : and many 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Sa- | taken with palsies, and that were lame, were maria, and preached Christ unto them.

healed. 6 And the people with one accord gave heed And there was great joy in that city. unto those things which Philip spake, hearing

9 1 But there was a certain man, called Simon, and seeing the miracles which he did.

which beforetime in the same city, 'used sor

a Matt. 10. 23. ch. 11. 19.

_bch. 6. 5.

• Mark 16. 17.ch. 13. 6.

to be blasphemers of God: for, these sanctified their murder- Verse 6. The people with one accord gave heed] He had ous outrage under the specious name of zeal for God's glory; fixed their attention, not only with the gravity and importance and quoted the example of Phineas, as a precedent. Such of the matter of his preaching; but also by the miracles which persons as these formed a sect among the Jews; and are he did. known in ecclesiastical history by the appellation of Zealots Verse 7. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came or Sicurii.

out of many that were possessed] llence it is evident that Verse 4. They that were scatteredwent every where these unclean spirits were not a species of diseases; as they preaching] Thus the very means devised by Satan to destroy | are here distinguished from the paralytic and the lame. There the church, became the very instruments of its diffusion and is nothing more certain than that the New Testament writers establishment. What are counsel, or might, or cunning, or mean real diabolic possessions by the terms unclean spirits, rage, or malice against the Lord! whether they are excited devils, &c. which they use. It is absolute trifling to deny it. by men or devils.


we, in our superior sagacity, can shew that they were misVerse 5. Then Philip] One of the seven deacons, chap. taken, that is quite a different matter! vi. 5. called afterwards, Philip the Evangelist, chap. xxi. 18.

Verse 8. There was great joy in that city.] No wonder, The city of Samaria] At this time there was no city of Sa- when they heard such glorious truths; and were the subjects maria remaining: according to Josephus, Ant. lib. xiii. cap. 10. of such beneficent miracles.

Verse 9. sect. 3. Hyrcanus had so utterly demolished it, as to leave no

A certain man, called Simon] In ancient ecclevestige of it remaining. Herod the great did afterwards build a siastical writers, we have the strangest account of this man : city on the same spot of ground; but he called it Lebarn, i.e. they say that he pretended to be the Father, who gave the Augusta, in compliment to the Emperor Augustus, as Jose-law to Moses; that he came in the reign of Tiberius in the phus tells us, Ant. lib. xv. cap. 8. sect. 5. War, lib. i. cap. 2. | person of the Son ; that he descended on the apostles on the sect. 7. and by this name of Sebasté or Augusta, that city, if day of pentecost, in flames of fire, in quality of the Holy meant here, would in all probability, have been called, in the Spirit ; that he was the Messiah, the Paraclete, and Jupiter ; same manner as the town called Strato's Tower, (which that the woman who accompanied him, called Helena, was lIerod built on the sea coasts, and to which he gave the name || Minerva, or the first intelligence; with many other extravaof Cæsarea, in compliment to Augustus Cæsar,) is always gancies which probably never had an existence.

All that we called Cæsarea, wherever it is mentioned in the Acts of the know' to be certain on this subject is, that he used sorcery, Apostles. Bp. Pearce.

that he bewitched the people, and that he gude out himself to As Sychem was the very heart and seat of the Samaritan | be some greut one. This might be sufficient, were not men religion, and Mount Gerizim the cathedral church of that prone to be wise above what is written. sect; it is more likely that it should be intended than any

Our word sorcerer from the French sorcier, which, from other. See Lightfoot. As the Samaritans received the same the Latili sors, a lot, signifies the using of lots to draw prelaw with the Jews; as they also expected the Messiah; as sages concerning the future; a custom that prevailed in all Christ had preached to and converted many of that people, countries, and was practiced with a great variety of forms. John iv. it was very reasonable that the earliest offers of sal- On the word lot see the note Lev. xvi. 8, 9. and Josh. vation should be made to them, before any attempt was made xiv. 2. to evangelize the Gentiles. The Samaritans indeed, formed The Greek word payeuwe signifies practising the riles or the connecting link between the Jews and the Gentiles; for science of the Magi, or oleo Mughan, the worshippers they were a mongrel people, made up of both sorts, and hold of fire among the Persians; the same as Questo Majoos, ing both Jewish and Pagan rites. See the account of them and who gesto Majooseeun, from which we have our on Matt. x. 5.

word magiciun. See the note on Matt. i. 1.

Simon the sorcerer deceives


the people of Samaria.

A.M. cir. .

A. D. cir. 32.
An. Olymp.

cir. CCII. 4.

A. b. Cir. 2cery, and bewitched the people of Sa- and the name of Jesus Christ, they A. M.cir. 4036. An. Olymp. maria, 'giving out, that himself was were baptized, both men and women. some great one :

13 Then Simon himself believed cir. ccli. 4. 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least also: and when he was baptized, he continued to the greatest, saying, This man is the great with Philip, and wondered, beholding the mirapower of God.

cles and signs which were done. 11 And to him they had regard, because that 14 I Now, when the apostles which were at of long time he had bewitched them with sorce- Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the ries.

word of God; they sent unto them Peterand John; 12 But when they believed Philip, preaching | 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed the things concerning the kingdom of God, for them a that they might receive the Holy Ghost.

Ch. 5. 36.

ch. 1. 3.

e Gr. signs and greal miracles.ch 2. 38.


And bewitched the people of Samaria] Ewy, astonishing, Verse 13. Simon himself believed also] lle was struck amazing, or confounding the judgment of the people, from with the doctrine and miracles of Philip-- he saw that these Ežiusut, to remove out of a place, or state, to be transported were real; he knew his own to be fictitious. He believed, beyond one's self, to be out of one's wits; a word that ex- therefore, that Jesus was the Messiah ; and was in consepresses precisely the same effect which the tricks or leger-de- quence baptized. main of a juggler produces in the minds of the common peo- Continued with Philip, and wondered] Exisato, he was as ple, who behold his feats. It is very likely that Simon was much astonished and confounded at the miracles of Philip; a man of this cast, for the East has always abounded in per- as the people of Samaria were at his leger-de-main. It is sons of this sort. The Persian, Arabian, Hindoo, and Chinese worthy of remark, that £15ano comes from the same root, jugglers, are notorious to the present day; and even while I $$150, Wed, as the word €15wY, in ver. 9. and if our translation write this, (July, 1813,) three Indian jugglers lately arrived, bewitched be proper there, it should be retained here; and then are astonishing the people of London ; and if such persons we should read, Then Simon himself believed and was bapcan now interest and amaze the people of a city so cultivated tized, and continued with Philip, being BEWITCHED, beholding and enlightened, what might not such do among the grosser the miracles and signs which were done. We may see, from people of Sychem or Sebasté, eighteen hundred years ago ? this circumstance, how improper the term bewitched is, in the

That himself was some great one.] That the seats which 9th and 11 verses. he performed sufficiently proved that he possessed a most Verse 14. The word of God] The doctrine of the Lord powerful supernatural agency, and could do whatsoever he Jesus Christ. pleased.

They sent unto them Peer and John.] There was no Verse 10. This man is the greut power of God.] That is, individual ruler among the apostles; there was not even he is invested with it, and can command and use it. They a president of the council: and Peter, far from being certainly did not believe him to be God; but they thought chief of the apostles, is one of those sent with the same him to be endued with a great supernatural power.

commission and authority as John, to contirm the Samaritans There is a remarkable reading here in several MSS. which in the faith. should not pass unnoticed. In ABCDE. several others, to- Verse 15. Vhen they were come doron] The very same gether with the Ethiopic, Armenian, latter Syriac, Vulgate, mode of speaking, in reference to Jerusalem formerly, obtains Itala, Origen and Irenæus, the word xarouuern is added be- now in reference to London. The metropolis in both cases fore usyain, and the passage reads thus, This person is that is considered as the centre; and all parts, in every direction, power of God which is CALLED the GREAT. 'This appears no matter how distant, or how situated, are represented as to be the true reading ; but what the Samaritans meant by below the metropolis. llence we so frequently hear of per. that power of God which they termed the Greut, we know sons going up to Jerusalem; and going down from the same, not. Simon endeavoured to persuade the people that he was So, in London the people speak of going down to the country; a very great personage, and he succeeded.

and in the country, of going up to London. It is necessary Verse 12. But when they believed Philip] So it is evident to make this remark; lest any person should be led away with that Philip's word came with greater power than that of the notion, that Jerusalem was situated on the highest ground Simon; and that his miracles stood the test in such a way as in Palestine. It is a mode of speech, which is used to desig. the feals of Simon could not.

nate a royal or imperial city.

Simon offers the apostles money that he


may be enabled to confer the Holy Spirit.

A. M. cir. 4036.
A. D. cir. 32.

A. D. cir. 32.

An. Olymp. cir. CCII. 4.

cir. CCIL. 4.

16 For as yet he was fallen upon 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy A. M.cir. 4036. An. Olymp. none of them ; only they were bap-money perish with thee, because thou

tized in the name of the Lord Jesus. hast thought that 'the gift of God may 17 Then “ laid they their hands on them, and be purchased with money. they received the Holy Ghost.

21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this mat18 I And when Simon saw that through laying ter : for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, given, he offered them money,

and pray God, 6 if perhaps the thought of thine 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on heart may be forgiven thee. whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the

el 2

23 For I perceive that thou art in "the gall of Holy Ghost.

bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

Ch. 19. 2.- Matt. 28. 19. ch. 2. 38. ch. 10. 48. & 19. 5.

ach. 6. 6. & 19. 6. Hebr. 6. 2.

• Matt. 10.8. See 2 Kings 5. 16. ch. 2. 38. & 10. 45. & 11. 17.

$ Dan. 4. 27. 2 Tim. 2. 25.-- wh Hebr. 12. 15.

Prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost.] That the gift of God may be purchasedl] Peter takes care It seems evident from this case, that even the most holy deve

to inform not only Simon, but all to whom these presents cons, though full of the Holy Ghost themselves, could not may come, that the Spirit of God is the gift of God alone, confer this heavenly gift on others. This was the prero- and consequently cannot be purchased with money; for what gative of the apostles, and they were only instruments ; but reward can He receive from his creatures, to whom the silver they were those alone by which the Lord chose to work. and the gold belong, the cattle on a thousand bills, the earth They prayed and laid their hands on the disciples, and God || and its fulness ! sent down the gift; so, the blessing came from God by the

Verse 21. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter] apostles, and not from the apostles to the people. But for Thou hast no part among the faithful, and no lot in this miwhat purpose was the Holy Spirit thus given ? certainly not nistry. That the word xir,pos which we translate lot, is to for the sanctification of the souls of the people; this they had be understood as implying a spiritual portion, office, &c. on believing in Christ Jesus; and this the apostles never dis- see proved in the note on Numb. xxvi. 55. pensed. It was the miraculous gifts of the Spirit which were Thy heart is not right] It is not through motives of thus communicated; the speaking with different tongues, and purity, benevolence, or love to the souls of men, that thou those extraordinary qualifications which were necessary for desirest to be enabled to confer the Holy Ghost ; it is the successful preaching of the gospel ; and doubtless many, through pride, vain glory, and love of money : thou wouldst if not all of those on whom the apostles laid their hands, now give a little money that thou mightest by thy new gift, were employed more or less in the public work of the church. gain much.

Verse 17. Then laid they their hands on them] Probably Verse 22. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness St. only on some select persons, who were thought proper for Peter did not suppose his case to be utterly hopeless; though public use in the church. They did not lay hands on all, for his sin, considered in its motives and objects, was of the most certainly no hands in this way were laid on Simon.

heinous kind. Verse 18. When Simon saw, &c.] By hearing these speak If perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thec.] with different tongues, and work miracles,

Ilis sin, as yet, only existeil in thought and purpose; and He offered them money] Supposing that the dispensing this therefore it is said, if perhaps the thought of thy heart may Spirit belonged to them, that they could give it to whom- be forgiven. soever they pleased ; and imagining, that as he saw them to Verse 23. The gull of bitterness] A Hebraism for excesbe poor men they would not object to take money for their sive bitterness; gall, wormwood, and such like, were used to gift: and it is probable that he had gained considerably by express the dreadful effects of sin in the soul; the bitter rehis juggling; and therefore could afford to spare some, as he pentance, bitter regret, bitter sufferings, bitter death, &c. hoped to make it all up, by the profit which he expected to &c. which it produces. In Deut. xxix. 18. idolatry and its derive from this new influence.

consequences are expressed, by having among them a root Verse 20. Thy money perish with thee] This is an awful that beareth GALL and WORMWOOD. And in lleb. xii. 15. declaration; and imports thus much, that if he did not repent, some grievous sin is intended, when the apostle warns them he, and his ill-gotton goods would perish together ; his | lest any root of BitTERNESS springing up, trouble you, and money should be dissipated, and his soul go into perdition. thereby many bc defiled.

Being reproved by Peter, he begs an


interest in the apostles' prayers.

A.M.cir. 4036.
A. D. cir. 32.

A. D. cir. 32.

An. Olymp. cir. CCII. 4.

cir. CCII. 4.

24 Then answered Simon, and said, || Jerusalem, and preached the gospel A. M. cir: 1036 An. Olymp. Pray ye to the Lord for me, that in many villages of the Samaritans. none of these things which


have 26 I And the angel of the Lord spake spoken come upon me.

unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the 25 And they, when they had testified and south, unto the way that goeth down from Jepreached the word of the Lord, returned to rusalem unto Gaza, which is desart.

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Bond of iniquity.] An allusion to the mode in which the Verse 25. And they, when they had-preached-returned to Romans secured their prisoners, chaining the right hand of Jerusalem] That is, Peter and John returned, after they the prisoner to the left hand of the soldier who guarded him ; had borne testimony to, and confirmed the work which Philip as if the apostle had said, thou art tied and bound by the chain i had wrought. of thy sin ; justice hath laid hold upon thee, and thou hast Verse 26. Arise, and go toward the south] How circumonly a short respite before thy execution, to see if thou wilt stantially particular are these directions ! Every thing is so repent.

precisely marked, that there is no danger of the apostle Verse 24. Pray ye to the Lord for me] The words of Peter missing his way. He is to perform some great duty; but certainly made a deep impression on Simon's mind; and he what, he is not informed. The road which he is to take, is must have had a high opinion of the apostles' sanctity and marked out; but what he is to do in that road, or how far influence with God, when he thus commended himself to he is to proceed, he is not told ! It is GOD who employ's their prayers. And we may hope well of his repentance and him, and requires of him implicit obedience. If he do his salvation; if the reading of the Codex Bezæ, and the margin will, according to the present direction, he shall know by of the latter Syriac, may be relied on: Pray ye to the Lord for the issue, that God hath sent him on an errand worthy of me, that none (TOUTWY TWY ZAZWY) OF ALL THOSE EVILs which his wisdom and goodness. We have a similar instance of ye have spoken, (1406) To me, may come upon me : (05 Todao circumstantial direction from God in chap. ix. 11. Arise, go κλαιων ου διελιμπανεν) * Το WEPT CREATIY, and DID NOT into the street called Straight, and enquire in the house of CEASE. That is, he was an incessant penitent. However, Judus for one Saul of Tarsus, &c. And another instance, favourably this or any other MS. may speak of Simon; he is still more particular, in chap. x. 5, 6. Send men to Joppa, generally supposed to have 'grown worse and worse, opposing and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter ; he lodgeth the apostles and the Christian doctrine, and deceiving many with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea side. cities and provinces by magical operations; till being at God never sends any man on a message, without giving him Rome, in the reign of the emperor Claudius, he boasted that such directions as shall prevent all mistakes and miscarriages, he could fly, and when exhibiting before the emperor and the if simply and implicitly followed. This is also strictly true senate, St. Peter and St. Paul being present, who knew that of the doctrines coutained in his word: no soul ever missed his flying was occasioned by magic, prayed to God that the salvation, that simply followed the directions given in the people might be undeceived, and that his power might fail; word of God. Those who will refine upon every thing ; in consequence of which he came tumbling down, and died question the divine testimony and dispute with their Maker ; soon after of his bruises.' This account comes in a most cannot be saved. And how many of this stamp are found, questionable shape, and has no evidence which can challenge even among Christians, professing strict godliness! ourassent. To me, it and the rest of the things spoken of Simon Gaza, which is desart.] AUTY E512 Epus, this is the dethe sorcerer, appear utterly unworthy of credit. Calmet makes sart, or, this is in the desart. Gaza was a town about two a general collection of what is to be found in Justin Martyr, | miles and a half from the sea side ; it was the last town Irenæus, Tertullian, Eusebius, Theodoret, Augustin, and which a traveller passed through, when he went from Phoeothers, on the subject of Simon Magus; and to him, if the nicia to Egypt; and was at the entrance into a wilderness, Reader think it worth the pains, he may refer. The substance according to the account given by Arrian in Exped. Alex. of these accounts is given above, and in the note on ver. 9. lib. 2. cap. 26. p. 102. [Ed. Gronov.] that it was the last and to say the least of them, they are all very dubious. The inhabited town, as a man goes from Phænicia to Egypt, eti tn tale of his having an altar erected to him at Rome, with the apXn ons Epreov, on the commencement of the desart. See inscription Simoni sancto Deo, “ To the Holy God Simon,” | Bp. Pearce. has been founded on an utter mistake, and has been long ago Dr. Lightfoot supposes that the word desart is added here, sufficiently confuted. See the inscriptions in Gruter, Vol. I. because at that time the ancient Gaza was actually desart, p.xcvi. inscript. No. 5, 6, 7.

having been destroyed by Alexander, and LEVOUTA Epoqueos,

Philip being sent to Gaza,


meets an Ethiopian eunuch.

A.M.cir. 4036.
A.D.cir. 32.

A. D. cir. 32.

27 And he arose and went: and, | queen of the Ethiopians, who had the A. M.cir. 4036 . An. Olymp. behold, * a man of Ethiopia, an eu- charge of all her treasure, and had An. Olyinp. cir. CCII. 4. nuch of great authority under Candace come to Jerusalem, for to worship,

cir. CCII.4.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

remaining desart, as Strabo, lib. xvi. p. 1102. says ; and that the same meaning. Hence wj što makhzen, called magazen the angel mentioned this desart Gaza, to distinguish it from by the Spaniards, and magazine by the English; a word which another city of the same name, in the tribe of Ephraim, not

siguifies a collection of stores or treasures, or the place where far from the place where Philip now was. On this we may they are laid up. It is scarcely necessary to remark, that observe, that although Gaza was desolated by Alexander the

this name is given also to certain monthly publications, which Great, as were several other cities, yet it was afterwards re

are, or profess to be a store of treasures, or repository of built by Gabinius. See Josephus Ant. lib. xv. cap. v. sect. 3. precious or valuable things. And writers of the first century, represent it as being flourish- But who was Candace? It is granted that she is not found in ing and populous in their times. See Wetstein.

the coinmon lists of Ethiopic sovereigns, with which we have Schoettgen thinks that efrutes desart, should be referred, been favoured. But neither the Abyssinians nor the Jezés adnot to Gaza, but to goos the way; and that it signifies a road

mitted women in their genealogies. I shall not enter into this that was less frequented. If there were two roads to Gaza

controversy, and shall content myself with quoting the words from Jerusalem, as some have imagined (see Rosenmuller), of Mr. Bruce. “ It is known,” says he, “ from credible the eunuch might have chosen that which was desart, or less writers engaged in no controversy, that this Candace reigned frequented, for the sake of privacy, in his journeying reli- upon the Nile in Albara, near Egypt. Iler capital also was gious exercises.

taken in the time of Augustus, a few years before the converVerse 27. A man of Ethiopia] Avro A Gooy should be trans

sion of the slave by Philip; and we shall have occasion often lated un Ethiopian, for the reasons given on chap. vii. ver. 2. to mention her successors and her kingdom, as existing in

An eunuch] See this word interpreted, on Matt. xix. 12. the reign of the Abyssinian kings, long after the MohamThe term eunuch was given to persons in authority at court, medan conquest: they existed when I passed through Atbara, to whom its literal meaning did not apply. Potiphar was pro- and do undoubtedly exist there to this day.” Bruce's Trabably a eunuch only as to his office; for he was a married man.

vels, Vol. II. page 431. See Gen. xxxvii. 36. xxxix. 1. And it is likely that this

It does not appear, as some have imagined, that the AbysEthiopian was of the same sort.

sinians were converted to the Christian faith by this eunuch, Of great authority] Aurasm5 a prefect, lord-chamberlain

nor by any of the apostles ; as there is strong historic evi. of the royal household ; or, rather, her treasurer, for it is

dence that they continued Jews. and Pagans for more than here said, he had charge of all her treasure, TV ETI TAUTS

three hundred years after the Christian æra.

Their convertus yaons autrs. The Greek word Taça Gaza is generally sion is with great probability attributed to Frumentius, sent allowed to be Persian, from the authority of Servius, who, to Abyssinia for that purpose by Athanasius, Bp. of Alexanin his comment on Æn. lib. i. ver. 118.

dria, about A. D. 330. See Bruce, as above. Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto;

The Ethiopians mentioned here, are those who inhabited Arma virúm, tabulæque, & Trosa Gaza per undus.

the isle or peninsula of Meroë, above and southward of 66 And here and there above the waves are seen

Egypt. It is the district which Mr. Bruce calls Atbara, and • Arms, pictures, precious goods, and floating men.

which he proves formerly bore the name of Meroë. This The words of Servius 6 Gaza Persicus sermo est, et

place, according to Diodorus Siculus, had its name from are, significat divitias ; unde Gaza urbs in Palæstina dicitur, Meroe, daughter of Cambyses, king of Persia ; who died quod in ea Cambyses rex Persarum cum Ægiptiis bellum in there in the expedition which her father undertook against

the Ethiopians. Strabo mentions a queen ferret divitias suas condidit.” Gaza is a Persian word, and

in this very district

named Candace : his words are remarkable. Speaking of signifies riches : hence Gaza, a city in Palestine, was so

an insurrection of the Ethiopians against the Romans, he called, because Cambyses, king of Persia, laid up his trea

says, Τουτων δ' ησαν και οι της βασιλισσης σρατηγι της sures in it, when he waged war with the Egyptians. The nearest Persian word of this signification which I find is, Κανδακης και η καθ' ημας ηρξε των Λιθιοπων, ανδρικη τις γυνη, gunch, or ganz, and locis guncha, which sig- 1 of Queen Candace, who in our days reigned over the

πεπηρωμενη τον οφθαλμον, « Among these were the officers nify a magazine, store, hoard, or hidden treasure. The Ethiopians. She was a masculine woman, and blind of one Arabic dilis chuzaneh, comes as near as the Persian, with | eye.” Though this could not have been the Candace men


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