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543 Barnabas sells his estate, and brings the money to the apostles.
In the mean time, let us frequently lift up our hearts, to the great and ever blessed God, who hath made heaven and earth, and 24 the sea, and all that is in them, that he would support and extend
the progress of that gospel in the world, which he hath so graci25, 26 ously begun to plant. Kings may still set themselves, and rulers
take counsel against it ; but he knows how to turn their counsels into foolishness, and their rage into shame. He hath anointed Jesus bis holy child with the oil of gladness, and placed him on his throne in heaven ; and ail the united malice and fury of his enemies can do no more, than what shall make part of his wise and gracious scheme for the government of his people. Let us pray,
that he would give freedom of speech to all employed in pleading 29 his cause ; and that he will plentifully anoint them with the effu
sion of his Spirit : And let the signs and wonders which were done 30, 31
by the name of Jesus in former ages, encourage us to hope that he will never totally desert a scheme which he once so illustriously interposed to establish ; and consequently let them animate us to exert ourselves in bis service, whatever labours, threatenings, or dangers may meet us in our way!
The sale of estates proceeding, Ananias and Sapphira attempt frau
dulently to impose upon the apostles, and are immediately struck dead. That event, together with other extraordinary miracles wrought about the same time, promotes the increase of the church more and more. Acts IV.36. to the end. V. 1-16.
Acts IV. 36.
Acts IV.36. sect. A MONG the rest of those primitive converts, A phe Joscoe webo
by who so generously contributed of their sirnamed Barnabas, substance for the relief and subsistence of the (which is, being interIV.36, poor believers in so extraordinary a circum- preted, The son of con
stance, there was one Joses, who, on account of of the country of 'Cya
a Joses-surnamed Barnabbasma son of thers, Introd. p. 62.) that this Joses was' consolation.] Considering how comuion called a son of consolation, to express the the names of Joses and Joseph were, there great consolation the brethren received seems no just reason to conclude, as some from the sale of his estate. The name have done, that this was the Joseph men seems rather to refer to his extraordinary tioned chap. i. 23. as a candidate for the abilities for the ministerial work, and to office of an apostle. (Comp. note i. p. 505, those gifts of the Spirit, whereby he was on that text.)-Nor can I see any reason to enabled both to comfort, and to exhort, as conclude with Abp. Wake, (Apost. Fa. the word also signifies.--Ms. Fleming
Ananias sells his, and keeps back part of the price.
549 from being prejudiced against this new religion, sect. as it might seem to oppose bis temporal interest, that he gladly devoted himself to its service:
[and] was a native of another country, being IV. 36. 37 Having land, sold by birth a Cyprian : And having an estate 37 ét, and brought the which was capable of being alienated without money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. any transgression of the law b, be sold it, and
brought the money, as others had done, and laid
to deserve this particular mention. Acts V. 1. But a
But it is in a very different point of light and Acts certain man
V. 1. Ananias, with Sapphi
on a very melancholy occasion, that we are ra his wife, sold a pos- obliged to mention another person before we session,
leave this story. There was also among these
named Ananias, who with the concurrence of ?
certain part of it, he laid it down at the feet of
3 3 But Peter said, But, upon this, the Holy Spirit, under whose Ananias, why hath Sar direction the apostle Peter acted, immediately
to the Holy suggested to him the fraud, and the awful manGhost, and to keep ner in which the Divine Wisdom saw fit to aniback part of the price madvert upon it : In consequence of which inof the land ? ward suggestion, looking sternly upon him, he
tan filled thine heart to lie
makes it a most honourable title indeed, ermen to be treasurers of so considerable a as signifying, a son of the operation of the bank. But nothing can be more unjust Paraclel, that is, of the Holy Ghost. and unnatural, than to suspect, that men,
b An estale, which was capable of being who were so ready to sacrifice their lives alienated, &c.] He could not have sold to the cause of truth and the happiness of that which was his paternal inheritance as a mankind, should be capable of falsifying Levite : But this might perhaps be some such a trust as this, for the sake of legacy or purchase of land in Judea, to little money. Their miraculous powers which he might have a title till the next wcre joined with a thousand marks of Jubilce, or perhaps some land in Cyprus : probity in their daily conduct to warrant and we may suppose it mentioned, either such a confidence, which was but a natural as the first foreign estate sold, or as of some token of due respect. We see in chap. vi. extraordinary value.
2, 3, 4. how ready they were soon e Laid it down at the feet of the apostles.] transfer the management of this affair to Orobio insinuates, apud Limborch. Collat. other hands ; and the following story furp. 134. (and it is one of the weakest and nishes us with an additional answer to this meanest things I remember in his writings) cavil, which is beyond all exception. that it was no small advantage to poor fish
3 2 2
550 Ananias is struck dead as having lied to God SECT. said, 0 Ananias, why hath Satan through-thine
own wickedness in yielding to his temptations, Acts filled thine heart with such a degree of covetousV. 3. nes, falsehood, folly and presumption, (that
thou shouldst audaciously attempt] to impose on
of the land thou hast sold, when thou pret-nd-
ed, was it not thine withstanding thy profession of faith in Jesus ? sold, was it not in And when it was sold, was it not still in thine thine
power? own power e; to have given or not given the ceived this thing in
Why hast thou con.
5 And Ananias hear.
ing these words, rell sound of them was yet in his ears, fell down and
down and gave up the expired'; that by his sad example all might
Ghost ; learn
d Filled thine heart-o impose on the but also on the whole, was wise and graHoly Spirit.] The Hebrews express a cious, both as it served to vindicate the person's being emboidene to do a thing, by honour of the blessed Spirit, so notoriously the phrase on his heart being filled : (Com- affronted by this attempt to impose on those, pare Esth. vii. 5. and Eccles. viii. 11.) who had been so lately and eminently And Bos has abundantly shewn, that anointed by his extraordinary effusion, and Piuraobao fix signifies to lie to a person, farther, as it tended most effectually to pr to impose upon him, (Bos. Erercit. p. deter any dishonest persons from joining the 73, 74.)but I cannot recollect, that it ever Christians, merely for the sake of a present signifies to belye a person, as Dr. Benson aims, to which, by a fraud like this, many would bere render it. Hist. of Christiani- might on easy terms have purchased a prety, Vol. I. p. 103.
lence, wbo would also, no doubt, have c When it was sold, was it not in thine proved a great scandal to a profession taken own power ?] It evidently appears from up on such infamous motives,
(Com. hence, that no Christian converts were pare ver. 13) This likewise was a very obliged to sell their estates. An an wer to convincing attestation of the apostle's most the Popish argument from bence, in favour upright conduct, in the management of the of works of supererogation, may be collect- şums, with which they were intrusted, and ed from our paraphruse on Mat. xix. 12. indeed in general, of their divine mission ;
for none can imagine, that Peter would f Ananias-fell down and expired.] This have had the assurance to pronounce, and sererity was not only righteous, considering much less the power to execute such a that complication of vain-glory and covei sentence as this, if he had been at the ousness, of fraud and impiety, which, as same time guilty of a much baser fraud of Limborch and Mr. Biscoe, (p. 659-661) the like kind, or bad been belying the Holy have well proved, the action contained; Glost, in the whole of his pretensions to be
His wife Sapphira joins in the same lie, and dies. 551 Ghost : and great fear learn how dangerous it was to affront that di- SECT. came on all them that vine Spirit under whose influence the apostles heard these things.
acted And it answered its end, for great fear
on all that heard the report of these things.
struck dead by such an immediate act of the
8 And Peter answer. Peter upon this occasion said to her before them ed unto her, Tell me all, Tell me freely, Sapphira, with that uprightland for so much. And ness which becomes a disciple of Jesus, whether she said, Yea, for so you indeed sold the land only for so much money, much.
as you know your husband brought bither,
discerning the affair or not, and were resolved
they shall forthwith carry thee out, and lay thee 10 Then fell she by him in tlie grave. down straightway at And immediately upon this, she also fell down 10 his feet, and yielded at his feet, and expired 8; And the young men, young men came in, who were just then coming in, found her quite and found her dead, dead in a moment; and accordingly they carried buried her by her hus- her out, and buried her by Ananias her husband. band.
under his miraculous influence and direc- was now in its first rise. So, just at the tion.' See Cradock's Apost. Hist. p. 27. and opening of the Mosaic institution, Nadab Reynold's Lett. to a Deist. p. 245.
and Abihu were struck dead with lightning & She also fell doionand erpired.] To for a fauit (as it seems) of much less agwhat is said before in vindication of this gravated guilt : (Lev. x. 1, 2.) and the seeming severily, in notef, we may add, that wisest human governments generally act on such exemplary punishment of so heinous a the like principle. crime was the more expedient, as Christianity
552 Fear comes on all, and none dare join then on a false pretence. SECT. And great fear came upon all the assembly, who 11 And great fear were eye-witnesses of what had passed, and upon church, and upon as
tbe all others that heard the report, which was soon bang 'as heard these V.11. spread abroad of these things; who could not things.
but acknowledge, that it was the immediate
he was just in this awful dispensation.
were done among the people in the most public of the apostles were
together with the most affectionate expressions
durst no man join
to the in: presumed to join himself to them", as some mean but the people magni. spirited creatures might possibly otherwise bave fied them. done for a while, in a low view of some transient advantage, bv a share in the distributions that were made. But all the people had a mighty veneration for the apostles, and magnified them with the highest expressions of reverence and
respect, as persons who were owned by God in 14 the most signal manner : And though the 14 And believers death of these two unhappy oftenders terrified were the more added
to the Lord, multimany from hypocritically joining their company, tudes both of men and yet the success of the gospel was promoted, women.) rather than hindered by it, so that great mullitudes both of men and women, believing their testimony, were so much the more (willingly] added in a solemn manner to the church of the Lord, and made an open profession of their faith ; wisely inferring from what had happened, how
h None of the rest presumed to join him- cation of madneo In is, as he acknowledges, self to them.] Dr. Lightroot explains this very unusual, and is here quite unnecessary. of the rest of the hundred and tuenty, that –L'Enfant thinks the meaning is, that they durst not join to the twelve, or equal persons of distinction bad not the resolution themselves to the apostles in office or dig- to join them, whatever inward corsiction nity: (Lightf. Comment. in loc.) But as they might have as to the truth of their there is no mention of that number in this doctrine. But after all, it is most natural chapler, so (as Dr. Whitby observes,) they to understand it, as if it had been said, never joined themselves before to the apos “ The people held them in distant admira. iles in this sense; bor is this any where tion, and presumed not on any false prethe meaning of the word monac Jan, tence to join them, if not truly converted which signifies to associate, or unile with, to their religion ;" which yet (as it ap. to adhere or cleave to any. (Compare Acts pears by the next verse,) many were, who ix. 26. x. 28. xvii. 34.) -Beza would readily came into a full and solemn prohave it, that xonao Jai signifies here to session of it, as indeed the late miracle was attack or touch, and that houtwy, the rest, a glorious, though dreadful, demonstratios refers to their powerful enemies as distin- of its truth. guished from the people : But that siguifi