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45 And they of the circumcision which believed were Cæsarea. riod, 4753. astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on Vulgar Era, about 40. 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 baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

43 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.


St. Peter defends his Conduct in visiting and baptizing


ACTS xi. 1-19.

1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judea Jerusalem. heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of


2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,

5 I was in the city of Joppa, praying: and in a trance 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 things, and fowls of the air.

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 Ce

sarea 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:

13 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;

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14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy Jerusalem. riod, 4753. house shall be saved. Vulgar Æra, 40.

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15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

18 When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.


The Converts who had been dispersed by the Persecution
after the Death of Stephen, having heard of the Vision
of Peter, preach to the devout Gentiles also.

ACTS xi. 19-21.


the provinces.

19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the Judea and riod, 4754. persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only".

Valgar Era, 41.

20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.

21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.


The Church at Jerusalem commissions Barnabas to make
Inquiries into this matter".

• This section seems to prove, in the most decive manner,
that the Gospel was preached to the proselytes of the gate, or
to such devout Gentiles as Cornelius, before it was preached to
the idolatrous Gentiles. We read, in Acts xi. 19. that the dis-
persed in the persecution of Stephen preached the Gospel to
the Jews only. In ver. 20. that these same men, when they
arrived at Antioch, preached to the Greeks. As St. Luke has
inserted this account immediately after the narrative of St.
Peter's visit to Cornelius, and his defence of that measure be-
fore the Church at Jerusalem, we may consider this preaching
to the Greeks at Antioch, as the result of his public declara-
tion of the vision he had seen: which would be justly con-
sidered as a command from God to those who were commis-
sioned to preach, to go to the same description of persons as
those whom St. Peter visited. The Jews (ver. 19.) seem pur-
posely contrasted with the Greeks (ver. 20.) and the Evangelist
designs to shew that the preachers of the Gospel obeyed the
command of God, and visited the devout Gentiles of Antioch.
'After the interview of St. Paul and St. Peter at Jerusalem,

ACTS XI. 22-24.

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22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of Jerusalem riod, 4754. the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth and Antioch. Vulgar Era. 41. Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

Julian Period 4755. Vulgar Æra, 42.

23 Who when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith; and much people was added unto the Lord.


Barnabas goes to Tarsus for Saul, whom he takes with him
to Antioch, where the Converts were preaching to the
devout Gentiles.

ACTS xi. 25, 26.

25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Tarsus. Saul:

26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch R.

(Acts ix. 31, 32. diepxóμevos dià távтwv, says St. Luke,) St. Peter
went to visit all the Churches of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria.
He goes to Lydda, where he cured Eneas (ibid. ver. 33, 34.)
who was a paralytic. After that he was called to Joppa, (ibid.
ver. 36.) a maritime city of Judea, where he raised Dorcas. He
stops at Joppa, and lived there a long time. From Joppa he
goes to Cesarea, (Acts x.) where he converts Cornelius, and
stops with him some days, (ibid. ver. 48.) Upon the report spread-
at Jerusalem of St. Peter's having eaten with the Gentiles, he
returns into that city, and defends himself before those of the
circumcision, (Acts xi. 18.) This voyage of St. Peter's preach-
ing in the provinces of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, the long
sojourn he made at Joppa, with the other events recorded by
St. Luke, occupy a space of about three years, during which
time St. Paul preaches in Cilicia.

8 Dr. Benson (a) endeavours to show that the Christians re-
ceived their holy and honourable designation by a divine ad-
monition; and Witsius, that it was solemnly proclaimed in the
Churches, that such was to be their title (b). Erasmus (c)
considers the word χρηματίσαι to be used for ὀνομάζεσθαι, as do
also the other writers in the Critici Sacri. See, however, the
references and remarks of Wolfius (d).

Vitringa (e) endeavours to prove, from this passage, that the word "Church" here refers to the place where a congregation of Christians assembled for worship; or, rather, to that body of people which could assemble in one place. This is but one, out of many instances, in which this learned writer, in his zeal against episcopacy, has proved nothing, by attempting to prove too much. We are not acquainted with the numbers of the Church at Antioch; but we know that at Jerusalem the thousands of converts could not be assembled in one place, yet they are still called the Church.

Jalian Period, 1755. Vulgar Era,



Herod Agrippa condemns James the Brother of John to
Death, and Imprisons Peter, who is miraculously re-
leased, and presents himself to the other James, who had
been made Bishop of Jerusalem'.

The Codex Beza supposes that the name was given by Saul
and Barnabas, and renders the 25th and 26th verses thus: And
hearing that Saul was at Tarsus, he departed, seeking for him;
and having found him, he besought him to come to Antioch;
who, when they were come, assembled with the Church a whole
year, and instructed a great number; and there they first called
the disciples at Antioch Christians.

The word xpnuaroal, in our common text, which we translate "were called," signifies, in the New Testament, to appoint, warn, or nominate, by divine direction. In this sense the word is used, Matt. ii. 12. Luke ii. 26. and in the preceding chapter of this book, ver. 22. If, therefore, the name was given by divine appointment, it is most likely that Saul and Barnabas were directed to give it; and the name Christian, therefore, is from God, as well as that grace and holiness which are so essentially required and implied in the character. Before this time, the Jewish converts were simply called, among themselves, disciples, i. e. scholars, believers, saints, the church, or assembly and by their enemies Nazarenes, Galileans, the men of this way, or sect; and by other names, which are given by Bingham (ƒ).

(a) Benson's planting of Christianity, 2d edit. p. 248, note. (b) Meletem. Leidensia De vita Pauli, cap. 3. sect. 5. p. 39. (c) Ap. Critici Sacri, vol. viii. p. 219. (d) Wolfius Cura Philologica, vol. ii. p. 1166. (e) See his discussion De Synag. veteri, lib. i. pars. 1. cap. 3. p. 113, &c. (f) Bingham's Eccles. Antiq. vol. i. book 1. Dr. A. Clarke in


9 The situation of the Church at Jerusalem was greatly altered by the Herodian persecution. It had hitherto been directed and governed by the joint council of the apostles. But, after that event, we learn, from ecclesiastical history, that the superintendence of the Church was confided to James, the Lord's brother. It asserts that he was the first bishop of Jerusalem. The catalogues of the bishops of Jerusalem, which are extant in the early Christian writers, all place James at their head. In the first chapters of the Acts, St. Peter is constantly spoken of as the chief apostle, and the principal person in the Church of Jerusalem; but from the twelfth chapter of that book, which is the first place wherein James is mentioned with any character of distinction, he is constantly described as the chief person at Jerusalem, even when Peter was present. For when St. Peter was delivered by the angel out of prison, he bid some of the disciples go shew these things, that is, what had befallen himself, to St. James, as the head of the Church; and to the brethren, that is, the rest of the Church. Again, when St. Paul arrived at Jerusalem from his travels in preaching the Gospel to foreign countries, being desirous to give an account of the success which God had given him, the day following he went in to St. James, as the bishop of that place, and all the elders, who were next in authority to him, were present. In the synod which was held at Jerusalem, about the great question, Whether the converts from Gentilism should be circumcised, St. Peter delivers his judgment as one who was a member of the assembly: but St. James speaks with authority, and his sentence is decisive. The name of James is placed by St. Paul before Peter and John:


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ACTS xii. 1-18. and part of ver. 19.

1 Now about that time, Herod the king stretched forth Antioch. his hands, to vex certain of the church.

"James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars." And
some of the Church of Jerusalem who came to Antioch, are said
to be certain who came from James; which implies that James
was the head of that Church, otherwise they should rather have
been said to come from Jerusalem, or from the Church of that

From all this together, it plainly appears that the Church of
Jerusalem was under the peculiar care and government of
James. The unanimous testimony of the fathers affirms that
St. James was made bishop of Jerusalem. Hegesippus, who
lived near the time of the apostles, tells us, that James the
brother of our Lord, received the Church of Jerusalem from
the apostles, (Euseb. lib. ii. cap. 23.) St. Clement is quoted
by Eusebius as asserting the same thing, (l. ii. c. 1.) Jerome,
Cyril, Augustine, Chrysostom, Epiphanius, Ambrose, and Ig-
natius, concur in their evidence.

In interpreting those passages of Scripture, which men of
equal judgment, equal piety, and equal knowledge, have ren-
dered differently, there are but three ways of deciding—one is,
to rely on our own judgment, without regard to any commenta-
tors or interpreters-another, to rely on those modern theolo-
gians who disregard the testimony of antiquity-and the third,
to inquire into the conclusions of the fathers, and the ancient
defenders of Christianity. The latter plan will never lead us
into error.
The fathers of the Church are unanimous on all
those points which peculiarly characterize true Christianity.
They assert the divinity, the incarnation, and the atonement of
Christ: and thus bear their decisive testimony against the mo.
dern reasoners on those points. They are unanimous in as-
serting that the primitive Churches were governed by an order
of men, who possessed authority over others who had been set
apart for preaching and administering the sacraments: and
certain privileges and powers were committed to that higher
order, which were withheld from the second and third. The
reception of the canon of Scripture, the proofs of its authenti-
city and genuineness, rests upon the authority of the fathers.
The Christian sabbath is but alluded to in the New Testament:
its observance rests on the authority of the fathers. And there
are other customs of universal observance which are not com-
manded in Scripture, and rest upon the same foundation. We
are justified, therefore, on these and on many other accounts,
in maintaining the utmost veneration for their unanimous au-
thority, which has never in any one instance clashed with Scrip-
ture-which will preserve in its purity every Church which is
directed by them, and check or extinguish every innovation
which encourages error in doctrine, or licentiousness in disci-

The labours of the early fathers, therefore, are in many re-
spects invaluable. They could not have been mistaken in their
evidence upon some points, which must be considered as the
great land-marks of the Christian Church, and which will ever
continue to preserve in their purity the doctrines and institu-
tions of the religion of our common Lord.

The Holy Scripture only alludes to the elevation of the apostle in the passage before us. St. Peter directs his friends to go and tell James of his deliverance: James, according to the best and most generally received opinion, decided in the apostolic

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