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us one continued history from the see how the church of Christ was commencement of the Christian era formed and settled. The Apostles down to A.D. 63 or 64. He records in simply proclaim the truth of God rehis testimony concerning Jesus, and in | lative to the passion, death, resurrechis Acts of the Apostles, all the grand tion, and ascension of Christ ; and and important events and transactions God accompanies their testimony connected with the establishment of with the demonstrations of the Spirit. the Christian religion in Asia, Africa, What was the consequence ? Thouand Europe. This book is the grand sands acknowledge the truth, embrace link which connects the previous his- | Christianity, and openly profess it at tories with the apostolic epistles, and the most imminent risk of their lives. constitutes a key to the right inter- The change is not a change of merely pretation of them, without which they one religious sentiment or mode of would have been, in many particulars, worship for another, but a change unintelligible. An accurate acquain- of tempers, passions, prospects and tance with the history of the people moral conduct. All before was which composed most of the congre- earthly, or animal, or devilish, or all gations to which the Apostles ad- these together : but now all is holy, dressed letters, with the time and spiritual, and divine the heavenly circumstances of their conversion, influence becomes extended, and naand with their customs and questions tions are born unto God. And how found in this book, greatly facilitates was all this brought about ? Not by our proficiency in the knowledge of might nor power ; not by the sword, those letters which explain the mean- nor by secular authority ; not through ing and bearings of that one glorious worldly motives and prospects ; not fact on which the Christian super- | by pious frauds or cunning craftiness; structure is reared.
not by the force of persuasive eloFrom it alone we learn by what quence : in a word, by nothing but means that great moral and religious the sole influence of truth itself, atrevolution was accomplised in the tested to the heart by the power of world, which eventuated in the de- the Holy Spirit. Wherever religious struction of polytheism and idolatry frauds and secular influence have in the best portions of the world; been used to found or support a which , desolated so many Pagan church, professing itself to be Christemples and caused millions of altars tian, there we may rest assured, is to moulder down tó dust, notwith- the fullest evidence that that church standing the wisdom and learning of is wholly anti-Christian : and where philosophers, the sword of the civil such a church, possessing secular magistrate, and the superstition of power, has endeavoured to support the common people, were allied in itself by persecution, and persecution maintaining them, and in suppressing unto privation of goods, of liberty, this "wicked and odious heresy,” as and of life, it not only shows itself to the Romans call it.
be anti-Christian, but also diabolic. From it we also learn what true The religion of Christ stands in no Christianity is, and how far the need of either human cunning or modern exhibitions of it have de- power. It is the religion of God, and generated from the ancient and apos- is to be propagated by his power : tolic order of things; we discover this the book of the Acts fully shows; what was the spirit and temper of the and in it we find the true model, after first Christians, and the character which every church should be buildand design of their religious meetings. ed. As far as any church can show In a word, as Dr. Adam Clarke ob- that it has followed this model, so far serves, “in the book of the Acts wel it is holy and apostolic. And when
THE ACTS OF APOSTLES.
471 all churches or congregations of peo- | 4 of God. And having assembled ple, professing Christianity, shall be them together, he charged them not founded and regulated according to to depart from Jerusalem, but to the doctrine and discipline laid down wait for the promise of the Father, in the book of the Acts of the Apos- which, said he, you have heard tles, then the aggregate body may be 5 from me. For John, indeed, imjustly called “ The Holy, Apostolic, mersed in water, but you shall be and Catholic Church.”
immersed in the Holy Spirit, within A. C.
semeion—the first having a physical, the second
a moral signification. Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, ACTS OF APOSTLES.
explains tekmerion by semeion anagkara, PREFACE.
necessary or important proofs or signs. And
so Quintillian, Or. 5, 9. They are not, LUKE'S RECAPITULATION OF THE
however, always strictly distinguished. CLOSE OE HIS FORMER NARRATIVE.
| The infallible proofs here alluded to were, 1 THE former narrativeIcomposed. | his frequent interviews with the Apostles and O Theophilus, concerning all things
| others, his eating and drinking with them,
his submitting his person to be handled, his 2 which Jesus began both to do and
assignations to meet with them in Galilee, his to teach, even to the day in which being seen of about five hundred brethren at he was taken up, after he had, by | one time, and his continuance with his followers the Holy Spirit, given charge to
during forty days, speaking of the affairs of the the Apostles whom he had chosen.
kingdom of God now being set up. 3 To whom also, he presented himself
4. “The promise of the Father.” This alive, after his sufferings, by many
was the gift of the Holy Spirit, concerning
which he spake to them, John xv. xvi. and infallible proofs ; being seen by or other occasions, called a "power from on them forty days, and speaking of high.” Luke xxiv. 49. This was not an the things concerning the kingdom ordinary or private blessing, but an extra
ordinary one. NOTES.
5. Itis called a baptism of the Holy Spirit. 1. THEOPHILUS, saluted 6. Most Excel- | The episcopal Bloomfield, of Cambridge, in his lent in the “former narrative” of Jesus
CRITICAL DIGEST, says, baptizein is figuraChrist, by this historian, was a nobleman of
| tively used for plentifully imbue with. All rank, converted to the Christian faith. The
the special gifts and influence of the Holy epithet kratiste, applied to his name, indicates
Spirit hitherto vouchsafed to the Apostles, did this. The same word is twice used' by Paul, not, it seems, amount to a baptism by, or in, applied to the governors Felix and Festus.
the Spirit. Claudius Lysias, in addressing Felix (Acts
They were to wait in Jerusalem for this xxii. 26,) uses the same title. It was a title
“baptism of the Spirit” — for this “ power given to persons in authority, given more to
from on high.” The Saviour was dishonored the office than the officer ; for this “most
there, publicly insulted, condemned, and crucinoble Felix” had once been a slave. He was
fied there. The Apostles were confounded, the freedman of the emperor Claudius. Tacitus,
abashed, and humbled there. There, then, calling him Antonius Felix, says he governed
must the Lord be glorified first, and the Aposwith the insolence of a quondam slave, but
tles strengthened. And as a great concourse with the authority of a king.
witnessed the one, a great concourse must “The former treatise”—we prefer narra
witness the other. Jerusalem must be the tive. The original authorizes this : for logos
radiating centre of the Christian Institution. is so used by Greek authors. The several parts The public
The public documents and the most critical of the histories of Herodotus, Herodion, and judges were there. The strongest enemies others are called logoi, narratives. Wetstein, were there. There only could the gospel be Kype, and others, adduce instances of this sort
subjected to a proper ordeal. Thence only from other Greek historians.
could it emanate with power. Jerusalem, and 2. It was by the Holy Spirit that the Lord not Rome, nor Constantinople, must be the gave those orders to the Apostles. He had seat of the mother church. Isa. ii. 2; Micah not yet himself received the Holy Spirit as the | iv. 2. dispenser of it; but he promised it to them so “And having assembled them.” This soon as he should receive the dispensation of it. phrase indicates that this was a meeting called Acts ii. 33.
by the Lord himself: probably it was that in 3. Infallible proofs—tekmerion differs from Galilee, referred to, Márk xvi. 7.
6 a few days. They, therefore, being Jerusalem, from the Mount called
assembled together, asked him, Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a saying, Lord, wilt thou, at this Sabbath day's journey.
time restore the kingdom to Israel ? 13 Now when they were come into 7 But he said to them, It is not for the city, they went up into an
you to know the times or seasons upper room, where abode both
which the Father has reserved to Peter, and James, and John, and 8 himself. But you shall receive Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bar
power by the Holy Spirit coming tholemew and Matthew, James, upon you, and shall be my witnesses son of Alpheus, and Simon, the in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Zealot, and Judas brother of James.
in Samaria, and even to the re- 14 These all unanimously persevered 9 motest parts of the earth. And, in prayer and supplication, with
having said these things, while they the women, and with Mary, the beheld, he was lifted up, and a
cloud received him out of their sight. Jerusalem ; Mount Olivet was bnt five furlongs 10 And while they were steadfastly
distant. On the way from Jericho to Jeru
salem the road passed over Mount Olivet, looking up to heaven, as he as
| almost equi-distant from Bethany and Bethcended, behold two men in white page. Bethpage was next to Jerusalem. But 11 raiment, who also said, Galileans, the lands on Mount Olivet were partitioned why do you stand gazing up to
into districts, and a portion of the Mount on heaven ? This Jesus, who is
the east section was called the district of Beth
any. Now it was on the eastern side of that taken up from you into heaven, Mount, some seven and a half furlongs distant shall also come in the same man- from Bethany and from Jerusalem, whence ner as you have seen him going to
our Lord ascended. So that Mount Olivet 12 heaven. Then they returned to
and the district of Bethany, distant from Jeru
salem one Sabbath day's journey, being but 6. The restoration of the Jewish kingdom to
two names for the same spot, were equally
the theatre of this transcendently sublime and primeval power and glory, seems not only to
interesting ev nt. It may be added that have possessed the Jewish nation, but as yet | Bethpage. properly interpreted, means the even the disciples themselves. How unfit,
ts | house or district of figs- Bethany, the house then, to preach the gospel to all the world!
of song--and Olivet, the region of olives. 7. “Prophetic times and seasons” are, as a general rule, confined to the bosom of the
“With prayer and supplication.” Griesbach
rejects from the Greek text, we think on inFather. He does not often communicate them
sufficient grounds, the works kaith dehsei, even to his best friends. 8. The Apostles are commissioned to be
with prayer and supplication. This pleonastic
| idiom is not uncommon; and the mere witnesses for the Lord-witnesses of his death,
omission of this clause in the Syriac, Coptic, resurrection, and ascension. Their line of
| Ethiopic, Armenian, and Vulgate versions, with march is prescribed - Beginning at Jerusalem,
n, a few old ecclesiastic fathers, is not sufficient proceeding through Judea, thence to Samaria,
: | authority for its repudiation. the ancient capital of the kings of Israel, and
| 13. Luke, as in “duty bound, gives us a list thence to the most distant parts of the earth. 12. “From Mount Olivet, which is from
of the Apostles after the defection of Judas
Iscariot. The arrangement of the names in Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey.” In his
this last catalogue of the whole apostolic college testimony concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Luke
differs in some respects from those catalogues affirms, chap. xxiv. 50, that Jesus led them out
given in the Testimony of Matthew, Mark, to Bethany, and was thence carried up into
Luke, and in the book of Apostolic Acts. heaven. Here it would appear he ascended
The whole dramatis persone of the Chrisfrom Mount Olivet. But if he ascended from tioni
tian Institution, as reported in its five historithe village of Bethany, another difficulty occurs.
cal books, are„That was two Sabbath day's journeys from
1. John the Harbinger. Jerusalem, being fifteen furlongs 'distant. Again, the villages of Bethany and Bethpage
2. Jesus the Messiah.
3. Twelve Apostles. are mentioned as being almost together, or
4. Seventy Heralds. equally near to Jerusalem, Matt. xxi. 1; Mark xi. 1. The apparent incongruities are easily
5. Evangelists, Bishops, and Deacons. explained and reconciled. According to Jose. The following tabular view of the the order phus, Bethany was fifteen furlongs from 'in which these names are reported in the four
mother of Jesus, and with his
SECTION 1. brethren.
THE APPOINTMENT OF AN APOSTLE following catalogues is not without instruc IN THE ROOM OF JUDAS. tion:
15 And in MARK. MATTHEW.
these days, Peter, 1. Peter. 1. Peter.
rising up in the midst of the disciAndrew. James.
ples, (now the number of persons James.
assembled was about a hundred Andrew, 5. Philip. 5. Philip.
16 and twenty,) said, Brethren, it was Bartholomew. Bartholomew.
necessary this scripture should be Thomas. Matthew.
fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit Matthew. Thomas,
formerly spoke, by the mouth of 9. James, son of Al-2 9. James, of A.
David, with respect to Judas, who pheus. Lebbeus, Thaddeus, į Judas.
became the guide of those who or Judas.
| 17 apprehended Jesus ; for he was Simon the Cananite. Simon the Cananite.
numbered with us, and had ob12. Judas Iscariot. 12. Judas Iscariot.
tained a part of this ministry : LUKE.
ACTS OF APOSTLES. 1. Peter. 1. Peter.
18 (Now this man, therefore purAndrew. James.
chased a field with the reward of James. John.
iniquity, and falling down on his John. Andrew.
face, he burst asunder in the mid5. Philip.
5. Philip. Bartholomew. Thomas.
dle, and all his bowels gushed out: Matthew. Bartholomew.
19 and it was known to all the inhabiThomas. Matthew.
tants of Jerusalem, so that the 9. James, of A. 9. James, of A.
field is called, in their language, Simon Zelotes. Simon Zelotes.
Aceldama : that is, the field of Judas.
Judas. 12. Judas Iscariot. 12. Judas Iscariot. | 20 Blood.) For it is written in the On this table observe
book of Psalms, “Let his babita1. But four of the twelve always retain the tion be desolate, and let no man same rank.
dwell in it :" and, “Let another 2. Peter is always first, Judas is always last, Philip is always fifth, and James, the eldest
| 21 take his office.” It is necessary, son of Alpheus, is always ninth.
therefore, that one of the men who 3. Alpheus and Cleopas or Clopas, married to Mary the sister of the mother of Jesus, are by mere seniority of birth or seniority of callbut two names for the same person.
ling. Merit of some sort, or reputation, seems 4. James, son of Alpheus, is sometimes to have given them rank. Peter. James, and called James the Less, in contrast with James John were pillars ; Philip stood high, and all the brother of John, who was senior. James bear witness to the standing of James the Less, the elder was beheaded by Herod Agrippa. and to Judas, authors of the epistles that bear Acts xii.
their names. 5. Thaddeus, Lebbeus, and Judas, brother | 18. “Purchased a field.” Persons are someof James, are three names for the same Apostle. times said to do that which they became the
6. Simon the Cananite, and Simon the occasion of being done. This, it is probable, Zealot, are also two names for the same person. was the case of Judas as respects the purchase Kana in Hebrew signifies zealous. He was of a public burying ground for the interment the third son of Alpheus, and the brother of of strangers. Jude, author of the short epistle which bears Psalms lxix. 28, and cix. 8, are supposed to his name.
be here alluded to. Judas' charge was not 7. Thomas and Dydimus are but two names that of a bishopric, as the common version indicative of a twin. Thomas in Hebrew, intimates. An office, indeed, he had ; but it and Dydimus in Greek, and twin in English, was neither that of a diocesan, nor that of aare but three names for the person. Nathaniel metropolitan in the usual sense. having been the son of Talmai, is, we presume, “ In their proper tongue"-common verthe same as Bartholomew. Bartholomai, or sion-rather in their language ; for the Bartholomew, indicating simply the son of Hebrew tongue had long ceased to be spoken Tholomew.
in Judea. The language of those times was None of the four ranks seem to be governed' the Chaldaio-Syriac.
have continued with us all the 26 go to his own place. And they
time the Lord Jesus was conver cast lots, and the lot fell upon 22 sant among us, commencing from Matthias, and he was numbered
his immersion by John, until the with the eleven Apostles. day of his ascension, should be constituted a witness with us, of such characters: a strong argument in proof
that wicked men after death go to their own 23 his resurrection. And they set up
his resurrection. Anu mey se up place. And certainly heaven is not their own two men, Joseph, called Barsabas, place, nor is the grave. The latter is a com
who was surnamed Justus, and mon receptacle for all men, and the former is 24 Matthias. And they prayed, say- the place of none but the righteous. Thereing—Thou, Lord, who knowest
fore, their own place is neither heaven nor the
grave. 25 the hearts of all, show which of To the Pope of Rome it is, or ought to be,
these two thou hast chosen, that a startling fact, that Judas, the traitor, is the he may take part of the ministry only Apostle that ever had, by divine authority, and apostleship, from which Judas
a successor. When James, the Apostle next to
Peter, was beheaded, no successor was appointfell by transgression, that he might
ed. The use of apostolic succession continued
only till the first church was founded in Jerusa*22. “Must one be ordained”-common
lem. The one hundred and twenty Cardinals version. There is no word for ordained in the who elected him, although the “Holy Virgin” original. It is genestlai, be made or con was one of them, did not make sex, age, or ofstituted.
fice a qualification of suffrage in electing a suc“ From the baptism of John until his
cessor to Judas Iscariot. And as for Peter, ascension.” The period here defined is the
who stands foremost in this catalogue, because full period of the personal ministry of our
of his zeal and promptitude of action, being a Lord while on earth. Not from his baptism
man of family, and the person to whom the to his death, 'nor from his baptism to his resur
Lord gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, rection; but from his baptism to his ascension.
he was not qualified to have the supremacy of Consequently the period embraced in this
a bachelor Pope; for which cause neither he, chapter, or the interval from his resurrection
tion nor James, nor any other save Judas, had a to his ascension, is deemed worthy of the fullest |
successor. attestation by the same number of divinely authorized witnesses who attest his public PRACTICAL THOUGHTS AND ministry. But their whole testimony is to
REFLECTIONS. terminate on one point-viz, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This proved, all is proved.
The interval from the resurrection of The mode of election in this case was quite
the Messiah to the descent of the Holy popular. The whole congregation of one
Spirit, embraced in the first section of hundred and twenty persons acted in concert
this narrative, is an interval of great sigon the proposition. They selected or nominated
nificance and importance to the Christian
church. This period of sacred history two persons by their own suffrage, some way
abounds with momentous events and expressed. They then probably represented
transactions. It is but the history of them by two pebbles, as the ancient custom
seven weeks, but seven such weeks as was, put into an urn, on which either the name in
these never were, nor ever will be again. or some sign was inscribed. Some person
The Messiah died, was buried, rose again, being appointed, after prayer drew out one of
ascended into heaven, and the Holy Spirit these calculi, and from it calculated the
descended from heaven, inspired, anidivine will; for, indeed, the word calculate is
mated, and consoled the faithful few, derived from calculus, a pebble, by which
while it filled with anguish and dismay doubtful matters were anciently decided. The
the enemies of the Lord. Indeed, the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to the
three most sublime events inscribed upon eleven.
the rolls of time, occur within fifty days. The phrase that Judas “should go to his The resurrection of the Lord, his personal own place” has been by partizans subjected to
ascent to heaven, and the personal descent a severe criticism. It cannot, indeed, without from heaven to earth of the Holy Spirit : a very perverse ingenuity, be rendered ambigu- the resurrection of the Lord is the beginous. Every one's “ own place,” or “own re ning, and the descent of the Holy Spirit ward,” is that place or reward to which his own the ending, of a most eventful period of character or his own works may have entitled time. During this sabbatical week of him. The place for traitors was Judas' own weeks, there was not one divinely licensed place. He was a hypocrite, a traitor, and a public herald of religion in the world. Mothief. His own place was that prepared for 'ses and the prophets were dead: the apos