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Simon the Sorcerer desires] CHAP. VIII. [to purchase the Holy Ghost. Philip spake, hearing and seeing the 15 Who, when they were come miracles which he did.

down, prayed for them, that they might 7 For unclean spirits, crying with receive the Holy Ghost : loud voice, came out of many that 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon were possessed with them; and many none of them: only they were baptized taken with palsies, and that were lame, in the name of the Lord Jesus.) were healed.

17 Then laid they their hands on 8 And there was great joy in that them, and they received the Holy

Ghost. 9 But there was a certain man, 18 And when Simon saw that called Simon, which beforetime in the through laying on of the apostles' same city used sorcery, and bewitched hands the Holy Ghost was given, he the people of Samaria, giving out that offered them money, himself was some great one:

19 Saying, Give me also this power, 10 To whom they all gave heed, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he from the least to the greatest, saying, may receive the Holy Ghost. This man is the great power of God. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy

11 And to him they had regard, money perish with thee, because thou because that of long time he had be- hast thought that the gift of God may witched them with sorceries.

be purchased with money. 12 But when they believed Philip, 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot preaching the things concerning the in this matter : for thy heart is not kingdom of God and the name of Je- right in the sight of God. sus Christ, they were baptized, both 22 Repent therefore of this thy men and women.

wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps 13 Then Simon himself believed the thought of thine heart may be foralso: and when he was baptized, he given thee. continued with Philip, and wondered, 23 For I perceive that thou art in beholding the miracles and signs which the gall of bitterness, and in the bond were done.

of iniquity. 14 Now when the apostles which 24 Then answered Simon, and said, were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none had received the word of God, they of these things which ye have spoken jent unto them Peter and John: come upon me.

NOTES. Ver. 7. Unclean spirits, crying, &c. - Compare doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament. See Matt. x. 1: Mark iii. 11, &c.

Exposition of Gen. i. 24–31. It is observable, that Ver. 9. And bewitched-rather, " astonished.” where the command is given to baptize in the name This is the same word that in ver. 13 is rendered of the three persons, it seems to bave particular re.

wondered, and implies, that he excited great ference to the Gentiles-" all nations.” Matt. Estonishment, as magicians and conjurors are wont xxviii. 19. o do. Simon was affected by Philip's miracles, as Ver. 20. Thy money perish with thee.-Doddr. he people had been by Simon's wonders ; and per 4 Thy money go with thee to destruction." Not an laps thought him a practitioner in the same art, but imprccation, wishing it might do so, which he knew higher attainments. See ver. 19.

to be impossible, but an expression of alarm and Ibid. Some great one-Probably wishing it to be danger. understood that he was the Messiah, in opposition Ver. 22. If perhaps.-This expression is thought o Jesus. Some of the fathers say, that to different to intimate, in Peter, a fear lest Simon should have baracters he represented himself under the names committed the unpardonable sin-the sin against of the three persons of the Trinity : but this, we the Holy Ghost. See 1 John v. 16. onceive, must bave been after his apostacy. See Ver. 23. The gall of bitterness.- This is bitterDoddr. Note (h).

ness, or misery itself-The bond of iniquity is sla very Ver. 13. Miracles and signs.-Marg.“ signs and to lust, particularly the lust of covetousness, called great wonders."

the lust of the eye. (1 John ii. 16.)- The bond of Ver. 16. Baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. iniquity-is explained by Hammond of a league -So chap. ii. 38. Commentators are not agreed with Satan, probably referring to the magical arts whether this is an abridged form of expression, which he had practised. instead of paming the three persons of the Trinity; or Ver. 24. None of these things.-Peter probably an abridged form of administering the ordinance enlarged upon the awful consequences Simon might to Jews, wbo had already been initiated into the expect,

The Gospel]


(preached in Samaria. 25 And they, when they had testi- preached the Gospel in many villages fied and preached the word of the of the Samaritans. (Q) Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and


came to visit Philip and the new converts, (Q) Ver. 1-25. The Church being dis- upon their praying for, and laying their persed by persecution, carry the gospel hands upon them, the same extraordinary with them. The sin and danger of Simon gists were bestowed on others also. ActoMagus.-It may appear paradoxical, but nished at this, anxious to possess these there seems truth in the intimation of gifts, and finding that the apostles did Milner, that this persecution was, in great not offer to do the same for him (being measure, owing to the Romans having probably suspicious of him), he offered taken off all restraint from the priestly go- money to be endowed with the like powers vernment of the Jews, who seem now to that the apostles were intending, no doubt, have vented their rage against the Christ. to make thereof a profit. Peter, on bear. ians without control. Among the agents ing this, exclaimed with a holy indignain this cruel business, the most active and tion, “ Thy money perish with thee! be zealous was a young man already men- cause thou hast thought that the gift of tioned, whose name was Saul; and though God may be purchased with money!.... perbajis he was not actually engaged in I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitstoning Stephen, as not being one of the terness, and bond of iniquity;"-or, in witnesses; yet he took care of their clothes other words, that thou art an hypocrite. while so engaged, and was not only con- And yet, notwithstanding this, he exhorts tent, but well pleased with the execution. him to penitence and prayer, with a "perSo much so, that he now signalized him- haps the thonght of thine heart may be self as the chief persecutor of the time, forgiven thee." On this Simon very proand made havoc of the church, as a wild perly replies, “pray for me, that no awful beast does of a flock, when he breaks into judgments come upon me;" but that he a sheep-fold. He entered into every house was ever truly converted, we have no ache could find where the Christians held

count; indeed, on the contrary, ecclesiastheir assemblies, and “haling" thence tical history describes him as having be“ men and women," without regard to age come decidedly an apostate, and bitter or sex, committed them. The prison's enemy to the gospel. would, however, at this time, contain only “ From this infamous attempt [of Sia small part of the Christians; but the mon] to bargain for the power of conferothers being threatened, were scattered ring the Holy Spirit (says Mr. Scott), all abroad throughout the surrounding coun- mercenary contracts for church benefices, try. Thus the wrath of man fulfilled the and other methods of turning the concerns purposes of God; and the very means used of religion into a lucrative trade, are called to suppress the gospel contributed to its Simony; of which there have been, and wider propagation.

are, a great variety of species; and will Among others, Philip, one of Stephen's be, so long as men continue covetous and fellow.deacons, went down into Samaria, ambitious, and verily suppose that gain is and there preached and wrought miracles, godliness." But there is a species of which occasioned great joy in that city. A Simony, or, at least, according tu an emicertain man, called Simon Magus (or the nent and learned prelate, it borders on it, Magician), bad resided there some time, against which not only the clergy of the and by practising the arts of sorcery, had establishment, but all ministers, and even so far bewitched the people, that he was students, should be guarded. considered by them an extraordinary per- “ It was Simon Magus's error (says Bp. son—“ the great power of God!" When, Sanderson) to think that the gift of God however, they heard Philip, they soon per- might be purchased with money; and it ceived a vast difference; and the Spirit of hath a spice of his sin, and so may God attending his ministry, they were con- for a kind of Simony, to think that spiriverted, and then baptized. Even Simon tual gists may be purchased with labour. himself was so overwhelmed with the evi- You may rise up early and go to bed late, dence of a truly divine power in Philip, and study hard, and read much, and devour that he was convinced of the truth of the the marrow of the best autbors, and, when gospel, and became one of his followers. you have done all, unless God give a bless. What, however, most surprised him, and ing unto your endeavours, be as thin and eventually discovered his hypocrisy, was, meagre in regard of true and useful learnthat when the apostles Peter and John ing as Pharoah's lean kine were after they

The conversion of the] CHAP. VIII. [Ethiopian eunuch.

26 And the angel of the Lord spake 32 The place of the Scripture which unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go to- he read was this, He was led as a, ward the south unto the way that sheep to the slaughter; and like a goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, lamb dumb before his shearer, so which is desert.

opened he not his mouth: 27 And he arose and went: and, 33 In his humiliation his judgment behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch was taken away: and who shall deof great authority under Candace clare his generation? for his life is queen of the Ethiopians, who had the taken from the earth. charge of all her treasure, and had 34 And the eunuch answered Phicome to Jerusalem for to worship, lip, and said, I pray thee, of whom

28 Was returning, and sitting in speaketh the prophet this? of himself, his chariot read Esaias the prophet. or of some other man?

29 Then the Spirit said unto Phi- 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, lip, Go near, and join thyself to this and began at the same Scripture, and chariot.

preached unto him Jesus. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, 36 And as they went on their and heard him read the prophet Esaias, way, they came unto a certain water : and said, Understandest thou what and the eunuch said, See, here is thou readest?

water; what doth hinder me to be 31 And he said, How can I, except baptized ? some man should guide me? And he 37 And Philip said, If thou bedesired Philip that he would come up lievest with all thine heart, thou and sit with him.

mayest. And he answered and said,

EXPOSITION. bad eaten the fat ones. It is God that education, or any improvement whatsoever both ministereth seed to the sower, and of natural abilities, by the helps of art or multiplieth the seed sown ; the principal industry ; but are, in truth, the proper and the increase are both his.”

effects of that supernatural grace which "It is clear that all Christian virtues is given unto us by the good pleasure of and graces, though wrought immediately God the Father, merited for us by the preby us, and with the free consent of our cious blood of God the Son, and conveyed own wills, are yet the fruit of God's Spirit into our hearts by the sweet and secret inworking in us. That is to say, they do not spirations of God the Holy Ghost. Love, proceed originally from any strength of joy, and peace, are the fruits, not at all of nature, or any inherent power in man's the flesh, but merely of the Spirit. (Quoted free-will; por are they acquired by the Knox's Christian Philos. Ø viii.) culture of philosophy, the advantages of

NOTES. Ver. 26. Which is deserl-i, e, the way through Ver. 33. In his humiliation his judgment was the desert, or wilderness of Judea. Doddr.

taken away.This, which is quoted from the Sep. Ver. 27. An Eunuch-A term of office. See Note tuagint version of these verses, seems to mean, " In on Gen, xxxvii. 36.- Candace, queen of Ethiopia. bis degraded state, justice was denied :" but com- Candace" is said to be a name common to the pare Isaiah as above. Mr. Preb. Townsend proQueens of Ethiopia, as Cesar was of the Roman poses a change in the punctuation of the original, Emperors.

connecting verses 32 and 33, thus-" Like a Jamb Ver. 39. Heard him read. -We may observe from dumb before his shearer, 80 opened he not his month Verse 26, that this was a very solitary road, and because of a fiction; and bis just judgment was therefore the eunuch could not have read aloud to taken away." The learned reader will judge of this atract notice : but a late respectable traveller, in

matter for himself. See N. Test. Arr. vol. i. p. 77, 78. ajusion to this very passage, remarks, that in Syria Ver. 37. and Philip said, &c. --This verse is

they usually go un reading alond, with a kind of omitted in many (including the best) MSS., and smging voice ; moving their beads and bodies in Griesbach and other critics consider it only as a Time, and making a kind of monotonous cadence at marginal gloss brought into the text. So Boothregular intervals." Jowett's Christian Researches, royd; but Beza and Doddridge think it too im. P. 129. The ancient chariots were generally open, portant to be omitted ; and Whitby suggests the like our common chaises.

probability of its being first omitted by some who Ver. 32. Herus led, &c.-See Isa. Jiii, 7, 8, with approved of delaying baptisin as long as possible. Exposition and Notes.

Saul pursues the]

THE ACTS. [Christians to Damascus. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

CHAP. IX. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down AN ND Saul, yet breathing out threatboth into the water, both Philip enings and slaughter against the and the eunuch; and he baptized disciples of the Lord, went unto the him.

High Priest, 39 And when they were come up

2 And desired of him letters to Daout of the water, the Spirit of the mascus to the synagogues, that if he Lord caught away Philip, that the found any of this way, whether they eunuch saw him no more: and he were men or women, he might bring went on his way rejoicing.

them bound unto Jerusalem. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus : 3 And as he journeyed, he came and passing through he preached in near Damascus : and suddenly there all the cities, till he came to Cæsa- shined round about him a light from rea. (R)

heaven :

EXPOSITION—Chap. VIII. Continued. (R) Ver. 26–40. The conversion of an journey to Jerusalem had made bim acEthiopian eunuch of great rank.--"' It is quainted with any of the disciples of our well known, that persons attached to the Saviour. How many, who have some corJewish religion were found in all the coun- rect views, and some appearances of good tries around Judea, and that among these desire, are kept from the knowledge of real were many persons of considerable dis

Christians by their peculiar situations or tinction. In this way the Old Testament prejudices! By au extraordinary comscriptures were extensively known, and we mission, Philip, the deacon, was sent to may hope that their influence was not in- this Ethiopian; and, beginning at the 53rd considerable. These persons often came of Isaiah, he explains to him the whole to Jerusalem (as others go on pilgrimage), doctrine of Christ : the eunuch listens, especially at the great festivals. We have believes with all his heart, is baptized, and before us an interesting narrative of an gues on his way rejoicing. What a vast Ethiopian eunuch, treasurer to the Queen body of new and most interesting facts had of Ethiopia, who had been to Jerusalem to been made known to him in one sbort worship the one God : he was returning hour! He is going into a dark region ; home in his chariot through a desert place, he is a man of influence : perhaps be may and was reading, as he passed along, a be able to lead his queen and her court to part of the prophecies of Isaiah ; but he the knowledge of Jesus, and their example read it as a sealed book : he knew not the may have vast influence on the future person of whom the prophet spake. But spread of the gospel in Ethiopia. Surely God, who accepts all in every nation who here was enough to fill his mind with grafear him and work righteousness, did not titude, and make him go on his way repermit him to remain ignorant of Christ; joicing. (Ward's Reflections, p. 234, 5.) though it does not appear that his late

NOTES. Ver. 38. Both into the water.-Doddr. says- CHAP. IX. Ver. 1. Breathing out threatenings " Considering how frequent bathing was in those and slaughter--A strong poetical expression. So hot countries, it is not to be wondered that baptism llorner speaks of breathing rage, and Theocritus of was generally administered by immersion, though breathing slaughter. See Orieni. Lit. No. 1397. I see no proof that it was essential to the institu- Ver. 2. Letters to Damascus.-The Jews to this tion." And the candid Lardner says, "I do not sce day are said to correspond with their brethren any proof that the Eunuch was baptized by im. through most parts of the world; much more at this mersion." How differently men view the same facts

time, when the authority of the Sanhedrim seems to and circumstances !

have extended more or less to all their brethren. Ver. 39. Caught away Philip. See 1 Kings

Ver. 3. Near Dumascus.-It is impossible to cal. xviii, 12.

culate the length of this journey without accurately

knowing the road he went. Doddridge supposes it Ver. 40. Azotus-i, e. Ashdod, more than thirty to have been 151) miles, and it might be more. A miles from Gaza, froin whence he preached in all great way to bring his prisoners, as he proposed, the cities along the coast of the Mediterranean.

ver. 2.

Saul's miraculous]

[conversion. 4 And he fell to the earth, and I have heard by many of this man, heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, how much evil he hath done to thy Saul, why persecutest thou me? saints at Jerusalem :

5 And he said, Who art thou, 14 And here he hath authority from Lord ? And the Lord said, I am Jesus the Chief Priests to bind all that call whom thou persecutest: it is hard for on thy name. thee to kick against the pricks.

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go 6 And, he trembling and astonished thy way: for he is a chosen vessel said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to unto me, to bear my name before the do? And the Lord said unto him, Gentiles, and kings, and the children Arise, and go into the city, and it of Israel: shall be told thee what thou must do. 16 For I will shew him how great

7 And the men which journeyed things he must suffer for my name's with him stvod speechless, hearing a sake. voice, but seeing no man.

17 And Ananias went his way, and 8 And Saul arose from the earth ; entered into the house; and putting and when his eyes were opened, he his hands on him said, Brother Saul, saw no man: but they led him by the the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared hand, and brought him into Damas- unto thee in the way as thou camest,

hath sent me, that thou mightest re9 And he was three days without ceive thy sight, and be filled with the sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Holy Ghost.

10 And there was a certain disciple 18 And immediately there fell from at Damascus, named Ananias; and to his eyes as it had been scales : and he him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. received sight forthwith, and arose, And he said, Behold, I am here, and was baptized. Lord.

19 And when he had received meat, 11 And the Lord said unto him, he was strengthened. Then was Saul Arise, and go into the street which is certain days with the disciples which called Straight, and enquire in the were at Damascus. house of Judas for one called Saul, of 20 And straightway he preached Tarsus : for, behold, he prayeth; Christ in the Synagogues, that he is

12 And hath seen in a vision a man the Son of God. named Ananias coming in, and putting 21 But all that heard him were his hand on him, that he might receive amazed, and said ; Is not this he that

destroyed them which called on this 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, name in Jerusalem; and came hither


his sight.

NOTES. Ver. 4. And heard a voice. It is only here said isting, and was visited lately by Mr. Barker, one of that Saul saw a light from heaven, and heard a the agents of the Church Missionary Society.-Miss. Foice : but as he twice asserts that he did see the Regist. Aug. 1826, p.:83. --Suul, of Tarsus.- The Lord (1 Cor. xi. 1; xv. 8), it is most reasonable to inhabitants of this city are described by Strabo, as conclude that it was at this time. Another appear. remarkable for their attachment to literature and ance of the Lord Jesus to him is mentioned chap. polite learning. Orient. Lit. No. 1402. xxiii. 11, but this is calculated to have been aster Ver. 15. Gentiles.-Ham. and Doddr. “Nations." he had written the first Epistle to the Corinthians, It was not yet understood that the gospel was to be and therefore cannot be here referred to

preached to the uncircumcised Gentiles: and yet Ver

. 5. It is hard for thee 10 kick against the the thing had been so plainly intimated in our prieks-op goads." Compare Dent. xxxii. 15; Lord's command to preach it to all natious," and 1 Sam. ii. 29. As this sentence is also wanting in to "every creature," that it seems strange it was not. many MSS., and some versions, it is also omitted Ver. 17. Putting his hands on him.-It was the by Griesbach, who supposes it taken from Chap. custom among the ancients to lay their liands gently

on any person on whom they conferred their blessa Ver. 7. Hearing a voice.-Boothroyd," a sound” ing, or any benefit--as here recovery of sight. See as phone is often rendered), but not distinguishing Matt. xix. 13; Mark viij. 23.

Ver. 18. Scales-Perhaps the external coat of the Ver. 8. They led him-i.e. his attendants. eye, shrivelled by the splendour of the light which Ver. 11. Called Straight.-This street is still ex- struck him down. Taylor's Expos. Ind. p. 205.

iri. 14: but query.

the words.

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