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Reflections on the case of Ananias and Sapphira.
553 dangerous it would be to oppose or suppress SECT. the inward convictions of their minds, in
matter of so great importance. 15 Insomuch that And they were farther animated to boldness V. 15, they brought forth the in their profession, by the many gracious miraand laid them on beds cles which succeeded to this work of terror ; and conches, that at insomuch that all along the most public streets Peter passing by might they brought out the sick, and laid them at their overshadow some of doors on beds and couches, when they were not them.
able to walk ; that at least the shadow of Peter
cumstance. 16 There came also And as the fame of these wonderful works 16 a multitude out of the cities round about unto
spread abroad, multitudes also (out] of the cities
ed; as persons in the like circumstances bad
Let us behold, with humble reverence, this awful instance of Ver. the divine severity, so well calculated to impress the minds of 5, 15 these new concerts, and to prevent any of those frauds, which the charity of those who were most zealous in their profession might have occasioned in some others. Let us learn, how hateful false- 4 hood is to the God of truth, and make it our care to avoid it; and not only shun a direct lye, but the taking undue advantage from any ambiguities of expression, and, in a word, all recourse to the arts of equivocation. God only knows, how soon such treacherous 5, 10 lips may be sealed up in eternal silence.
How does Satan delude the heart which he fills! And how pe-3 culiarly fatal is the delusion, when he leads men to sins, which especially affront the Holy Spirit of God: That Spirit rested on the 9 Apostles, and taught them to discover the hidden things of darkness; so that they who tempted it, fell in the attempt, and became a sign. May integrity and uprightness ever preserve us! (Psal. xxv. 21.) And, while we avoid all the kinds and arts of dissimulation, let us peculiarly detest those, which would offer a double insult to
554 The hig'h-priest and the Sadducees imprison the apostles.
bis own Son has planted.
deterred from intruding into it. If its members are less numerous,
it is a sofficient balance, that it is more pure. We see what sin15, 16 gular miracles were done by the apostles; miracles equal, and in
some respects, as it seems by these instances, superior to those
The apostles continuing to preach to the people, are apprehended and
imprisoned, and, after a miraculous deliverance, are brought be-
Acts V. 17.
extraordinary miracles were done by the that were with him,
were filled with indig-
Acts V. 17.
a The sect of the Sadducees.] There is at Boyle's Lect. chap. v. § 4, p. 110, 111.)
An angel lets them out, to go and preach in the temple.
555 were especially devoted to his interest, and most sect. offended at the doctrine of the resurrection, were filled with zeal and indignation against Acts these men, who, as their enemies affected to v. 17. represent it, made so dangerous an attack both
on their religious and political establishment : 18 And laid their And in support of these unjust charges, they 13 hands on the apostles,
determined to bring them to another trial and put them in the
before the Sanhedrim, and for that purpose common prison.
laid their hands on the apostles, and put them into
tors were lodged b.
their testimony in the midst of oppositions and
alarm to the keepers, or any of the other
prisoners, bringing them out of that place of
opened, and presenting yourselves boldly in the
ness can be secured.
to carry on the work they were engaged in,
b Into the common prison.] That this was the apostles were actually thrust among as the paraphrase expresses it, the place them; and I think ver. 23 makes it rawhere the vilest malefactors were lodged, ther more probable, they were in an apart. cannot be doubted. But it is not certain, ment by themsetres, VOL. VII.
29 But when the
The council are surprised not to find them in prison.
priest Came, and they come, and they that were with him, into the room
with him, where the council was usually beld, they called and called the council V. 21. together all the members of the Sanhedrim, even together, and all the
the childrca (as we have hinted several times betöre, that the senate
of Israel, and sent to name signifies,) the whole senate of the children of the prison to have them Israel, being solicitous that there might be as brought. full a house as possible on so important an oue casion : And when they were convened, they sent proper officers to the cominon prison to take charge of the apostles, and to have them brought into their presence, that the court might pro
ceed to their examination and punishment. 22 But when the officers came thither, to their great
and surprise they found them not in the prison; and officers
found then not in the yet could not discover what way they had took prison, they returned to make their escape, cons:dering the circum- and wid, stances that appeared on inquiry. Returning
therefore to the council, they made their report,
all possible safety, and the keepers stunding with son truly found
had opened, we found not doubt but we should find them, to our great no man within. astonishment we found no one within of those
whom we sought.
of the temple, and the other chief-priests who high-priest, and the
whereunto this would
sons whom such extraordinary circumstances 25 had attended. But one, who knew their disap 25 Then came one pointment and the uneasiness it gave them, came
and told them, saying,
Behold, the men whom into the court, and told them, saying, Behold, ye put in prison, sre the men whom ye put yesterday in prison, are standing in the temple, now standing in the temple, however they canne
and teaching the peou thither, and are teaching the people assembled there with as much freedom and confidence as ever; which indeed does not look like a clandestine escape, which could only bave been
made with a view of fight and concealment. 26 Then the captain of the temple went with the 26 Then went the
officers by the direction of the Sanhedrim, and captain with the offihaving found the apostles in the temple, brought cers, and brought them
without violence: (for them away, but not by violence, for they feared
They are taken again, and brought before the Sanhedrim. 557 they feared the people, the people, lest if they had offered any violence sect. Jest they should have in thuir presence, it might have so provoked been stoned.)
them that they should be stoned : For the people Acts
summons, that they niiglit repeat their testi.
bad done, and set them before the Sanhedrin.
singling out Peter and John, who had so lately 28 Saying, Did not
been examined before them, asked them, Say- 23 we strictly command ing, Did we not strictly charge you two in partiyou, that you sbuild cular but a very little while ago, and so in effect name? And betoli ye
all the rest of your company, that you should not,
name of Jesus of Nazareth ? And behold, instead
were now all before them, answered and said ()
this assembly when we received the charge now
« They feared the people, lest they should temporal d liverance by their means, (combe stoned.] This may seem a surprising parc Acis i. 6) of which they were so exchunia in the people, considering the ei ceeding fond, aod a disappointment in gerness with which they demanded that their hope of which had turned their hosan. Christ should be crucified. But it is exceed- nahs inə the cry, Crucify him, crucify him. ing probable, that, seeing the mighty See Mr. Lardner's Credibility, Vol. 1. p. power which wrought in the apostles, they 179. might entertain some hope of obtaining
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