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SFCT.

ix.

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!

SECT. X.

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.

X.

Acts

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
his great benevolence and usefulness, was much prus,
respected in the church, and by the apostles was
surnamed Barnabas, which being interpreted
from the Syriac language, signifies a son of con-
solation a : He was a Levite, who was so far

from

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

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Acts

named

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
it down at the feet of the apostles, desiring they
would dispose of it in such a manner, as might
be most serviceable to the necessities of the
saints : And the addition which it made to the
public stock was so considerable, that it seemed

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
early professors of the gospel a certain man

named Ananias, who with the concurrence of ?
2. And kept back Sapphira his wife, sold an estate ; And fraudu-
wile also being privy Jently secreted part of the price, his wife also
to it, and brought a being conscious (of it ;] and bringing only a
certain part,
it at the apostles' feet.

certain part of it, he laid it down at the feet of
the apostles, as the rest did, pretending that it
was the whole of the purchase-money ; and
consequently intimating, that having deposited
his all in their hands, he should hope for the
future, to be taken care of among the rest of the
brethren.

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

said,

nd laid

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

d Filled

to

Х

own

Thou

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
the Holy Spirit himselfd un:ler whose special
direction we are ; and to secrete part of the price

of the land thou hast sold, when thou pret-nd-
4 est to have brought the whole ? While it re 4 Whilst it remain-
mained unsold, did it not continue thine, not own ? And after it was

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.
whole, or any part of it, into the treasury of thine heart?
the church, as thou shouldst think proper ? hast not lied unto men,
Why then hast thou admitted this thing into but uuto God.
thine heart, so meanly and so profanely to dis-
semble on this solemn occasion » Thou hast not
lied to men alone, to us, or to the church, whose
treasurers we are ; but hast lied to the blessed
God himself, who residing in us by bis divine
Spirit, is determined to make thee a terrible
example of his displeasure for an affront so di-
rectly levelled at himself, in the midst of this
astonishing train of his extraordinary opera-

tions.
5 And Ananias hearing these words, while the

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

under

p. 97.

Acts

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
came not only on the immediate spectator: , vut V.5.

on all that heard the report of these things.
6 And the young Then some of the young and able-bodied men in 6
men arose, wound him the assembly arose, and perceiving there was no
up, and carried him out,
and buried him. room to hope for the recovery of one wbo was

struck dead by such an immediate act of the
divine power, thev bound him up in his mantle,
without any farther circumstance of mourning
or delay, and carrying him out, they buried

him.
And it was about And after the interval of about three hours, his 7
the space of three hours wife Sapphira also, who was absent when this
not knowing what was happened, not knowing what was done, came in
done, came in. to the place in which they were assembled And 3

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,
9 Then Peter said naming the sum. And she said, Yes, it was sold 9
unto her, How is it exactly for so much. Then Peter by an impedi-
gether to tempt the ate impulse of the same Spirit, which had before
Spirit of the Lord ? so awfully interposed, said unto her again, How
Behold, the feet of is it that you huve thus wickediv conspired toge-
them which have bu- ther to tempt the Spirit of the Lord, as if you had
at the door, and shall really suspec-ed, whether he were capable of
Farry thee out,

discerning the affair or not, and were resolved
to bring it to a trial ? Alas, unhappy woman,
it will appear to be a fatal experiment to you
both ; for behold, the feet of those who have just
been burying thy husband, wirom divine ven-
geance has already struck dead on this occasion,
are even now at the door upon their return, and

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.

And

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

None

Acts

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
hand of God by which they both died, and that

he was just in this awful dispensation.
12 And many other stupendous signs and wonders 12 And hy the hands

were done among the people in the most public of the apostles were
manner, by the hands of the apostles : And they ders wrought among
continued in the strictest fellowship, and union the people ; (and they
with the whole company of believers, and were accord in Solomon's
frequently all unanimously together in that spa- porch.
cious building, which we have already mention-
ed by the name of Solomon's portico, conversing

together with the most affectionate expressions
13 of mutual endearment. And none of the rest 13 And of the rest
who were not really converted to Christianity, himself

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

dangerous

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

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