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xi.

of sins.

553 Their answer to the charge exhibited against ther. SECT. fit and necessary to obey the almighty and ever

blessed God, rather than men, be they ever so Acts great and powerful. We assuredly know, and 30 The God of our

fathers raised up je. V. 30. we testify it to you as we have been testifying

sus, whom ye slew and it to the people, that the God of our fathers hanged on a tree. hath raised up Jesus bis son, whom ye slew in the most infamous manner that ye could invent, hanging him crucified on a tree, as if he had been

the meanest of slaves and the vilest of malefac31 tors : But this very person, notwithstanding

31 Him hath God all the outrage with which you treated him, hand, to be a prince

exalıed with his right haih God eralted at his own right hand [to be and a Saviour, for to a Prince and Saviour to bis people; to give re- give repentance to Is

rael, and forgiveness pentance, or to send terms of peace and reconciliation by him, even unto Israel", by whom he bath been so ungratefully insulted and abused, and to bestow on those that sball repent the free

and full remission of all their aggravated sins. 32 And we are appointed his witnesses of these things, 32 And we are his how incredible soever they may appear to you; things; and so is also

witnesses of these and so is the Iloly Spirit also, whom God hath gi- the Holy Ghost, whom ven not only to us the apostles, but also to many God hath given to otbers of them who submit themselves to his go

them that obey him. vernment', most evidently attesting the same, and proving how absolutely necessary it is for every one, great and small, to lay aside prejudice and opposition, and with humble penitence to

believe in Jesus.
33

When
And the high-priest and the Sadducees, when

they

heard that, they were they heard [this] courageous testimony and faith- cut to the heari, and ful remonstrance, were enraged beyond all mea

took sures of patience and of decency, so that they even grinded their teeth at them, like savage beasts that could gladly have devoured them; and with hearts full of rancour they imme

diately

33

d To give repentance unto Israel.) As mony arising from this miraculous comrepentance was not actually wrought in Is- munication of the Spirit to Christians at that rael hy the efficacious grace of Christ, I time, entirely removes the objection from think it evident, that dovat pelayosex here Christ's not appearing in public after bis resignifies to give place or room for repentance, surrectiou: for, had there been any imlos. just as the same phrase docs in Josephus, ture, it had been easier of the two to have ( Antiq. lib. xx.cap. 8, [al. 6,] $ 7,) where persuaded people at a distance, that he had he says, that the Jews rising up at Cæsarea so appeared to the Jewish rulers, or even to in a tumultuous manner, the wiser people the multitude, and yet had been rejected, among them went to intercede with the than that he had given his servants such ergovernor crver 20.30v 271 TOLSTEET. 2o Susvors, traordinary porcers ; since, had this asseri. e. to publish a pardon to those who tion been false, every one night have been should lay down their arms; agreeable to

a witness to the falsehood of such a prethe turn given to the expression in the tence, without the trouble and expence of paraphrase.

a journey to Jerusalem, or any other dis. e The Holy Spirit also, whom God hath tant place, given to them that submit, &c.] The testi

1 Gene

them.

xi.

Acts V. 33.

34 Then stood there

little space,

The council consult how they may slay them.

559 took counsel to slay diately consulted how they might put them all to sect.

death, either under pretence of blasphemy, or for
sedition and rebellion against the supreme coun-
cil of the State.

But a certain celebrated Pharisce then in the 34 up one in the council, Sanhedrim, whose name was Gamaliel', a doctor maliel, a doctor of laiv, of the law, who trained up a great number of had in reputation a- young students in the most exact knowledge of mong all the people, it, and was in great estcem among all the people and commanded to put the apostles forth a

on account of his learning, wisdom, and piety,
rose up; and as he purposed to speak bis mind
with great freedom on a very tender point, he

commanded the apostles to be taken out for a little 35 And said unto rehile. And then addressing himself to bis 35 them, Yemen of Israel, brethren, the other members of the court,

he
take heed toyourselves,
what ye intend to do, said unto them, le men of Israel, to whom divine
as touching these men. Providence has committed the guardianship of

this people, and the great care of their public
affairs ! I think it my duty, on this important
occasion, seriously to advise you to tuke heed to

yourselves, as to what you are about to do to these 36 For before these

men. For you cannot but know, that several 36 days rose up Thendas, boasting himself to be remarkable occurrences have lately happened, some body, to whom which have awakened a great degree of public

a expectation and regard ; and it may not beim

proper to recollect some of them at this crisis.
You particularly remember, that some time ago
one Theudas aroses, pretending himself to be some

extraor

f Gnmaliel.] This tras the elder of that dividing Jordan before them, but was dename, a man of so great honour among feated and beheaded, most of his followers them, that Onkelos, the author of the being also slain and imprisoned,) appeared Targum, is said to have burnt seventy pound when Fadus was procurator of Juulea, that weight of perfumes at bis funeral : Nay it is, arcording to Capellus seven, or accordis said, the honour of the law fnilerleith him. ing to Dr. Whitby at least ten years after If he were really, as be is reported to have this was spoken, there can be no reference been, the author of those Prayers against to bim here. I am therefore ready to conChristians, so long used in the Jewish syna- clude with Dr. Lightfoot and Basvage, gogues, he must have lost that moderation of (wlose opinion Mr. Lardner has so learnedtemper which be manifested here; perhaps ly defended) that among the many leaders, exasperated at the growth of the nero sect, who, as Josephus assures us, / - Intiq. lib. and the testimony so boldly borue by the xvii. cap. 10, [al. 11,] § 4-8,) took up apostles. He was Paul's musier; (Acts xxii. arms in dcfence of the public liberties, 3,) and no doubt he informed that head when the grand enrolment and taralion were strong youth for such be then was,) of what made by Cyrcnius in the days of Archelaus, now passed, and of many other thins, (see noleb on Lukeii. 2, Vol.VI. p. 62) there which rendered his sin in persecuting the was one called Theudas, which (as Grotius Christians so much the more aggravated. observes,) was a very common name among See Wits. Meletem. cap. 1, § 13, p. 12, 13; the Jews.--He seems to have been supand Mr. Biscoe, at Boyle's Lect. chap. iii. ported by smaller numbers than the second $ 9, p. 77, 78.

of the name, and (as the second afterwards g One Theudas arose.] As the Theudas did,) perished in the attempt: but, as his folmentioned by Josephus, (Intiq. lib. xx. lorers were dispersed, and not slaughtered, cap. 5, [al. 2 ] $ 1,) inder the character of like those of the second Theudas, survivors a false prophet, (who drew a great number night talk much of bim, and Gamaliel of people after him, with a promise of might have been particularly informed of

his

xi.

Acts

560

Gamaliel cites some former cases to appease their rage. SE£T. e.xtraordinary person to ze hom a number of men, a number of mens amounting to about four hundred, adhered; zeho, about four hundred,

themelies: notwithstanding this, was himself quichly slain who was s'ain, and all, V. 56. bv the Roman forces, and all who hearkened to as many as olejed

him, here gailered, him were scattered, and arter all the boating

and brought to nolighi. promises of their leader, cume to nothing. 37 After him" Judas the Galilean arose , in the days

37 After this man of the late enrolment, and endeavouring on the ler, in lievinys ul thie

rose tip Judas of Gali. principles of sacred liberty to dissuade the Jews taxing, and dres away from owning the authority of the Romans in ruch pepe after h m: that instance, he drete a multitude of people after

he a so perished and

all, even as him; and the consequence Bas, that he also him- Cheyed him, were dis

self uus quickly destroyed, and all who had heark- per-ed. 3s ened to him were dispersed". And therefore with

38 And now I say regard to the present affair I say unto you, and lineap ou, Retrain from give it as my most serious and delib, rate advice them alone: For if this now in the present crisis, refrain from these men, counsel, or this work

be and let thein alone to go on as they can, neither siding with them, nor violently opposing them; for if this counsel which they are taking, or this work wbich they have performerl, be of men, if it be merely a human contrivance and deceit, which we are not capable of proving that it is,

it

his history, though Josephus only mentions casion the insurrection of both, I see no it in general. Mr. Lardner, in his judicious ned of departing from the usual rendering remarks on this subject, has shewn, that of the preposition music in this construction, there were many persons of the same name, which every body knows is generally used whose histories greatly resembled each to siznisy after. - To connect file teler other. Sce Lardner's Credib.of Gosp. Hist. with the preceding verse, (as some propose,) Part I. Book ii, chap. 7.

is quite unnatural in grammar, as well as h Ifter him ] Eus bas taken great pains disagreeable to fact. in his note on this text, ( Erere. Sacr. p. i Judas the Gahlean arose.] Josephus's 75–78,) to shell, that pile oxlov may account of this Judas Gaulonites, as he is signify besides him, and even before him in generally called, may be seen in the bethis connection with a suiwy Tuy nuigwy, ginning of the xrinth Book of his Antiquiwhich he would render of iute cars. (Ceim. ties. pare Acts xxi. 38.) This he observes in k All who had hearkened to him were dise favour of his interpretation of ver. 36, which persed.] Mr. Lardner justly observes, this he supposes to reier to the Theudas of does not imply they were destroyed, and Josephus, whose insurrection he thinks imagines, that though Gamaliel would not must have happened before this speech of directly asseitit, yet he insinuates, (agreeCamaliel.--Lui, as Beza and many others ably to his principles, as a Pharisee, that have abundantly proved, that this would perhaps Judas the Galilean, as we!l as the quite overturn ine chronol sy either of St. apostles, might be actuated by some drine Luke or of Josephus, I conclude, that the impulse, and that in one instance, as well as Viry indeterminate expiession Tigo Talwm the other, the doctrine might survive, when mpacter in the preceding verse is nost safely the teachers were taken off (See Lardner's rendered some time ago, which, especially in Credibility, Part I. Bnok ii. chap. 1, $ 3.) an assembly of aged men, (as no doubt many But the argument will be good on the of this council were,) miglit well be used in common inierpretation; and, as the word reference to an affair, which, though it here used +64937.596xy, especially in happened more than 20 years before, must this connection, most naturally implies a be fresh in most of their memorics. (See calanilous and disappointing dispersior, I Mr. Lardner's Credibility, Part I. Book ii. Apprchend, that, had it been intended in clip. 7.) And, as Judas might arise afler the sense my learned and much esteemed Theudas, though the same enrolment might friend suppo-es, the present tense would (as is supposed in the preceding noter) oc Tatler have been used.

XI.

Acts

IIe advises them to act with caution, and to reait the issue. 561 be of men, it will come it will soon sink and come to nothing of itself; SECT. 10 nought :

some incident will arise to discredit it, and the
whole interest of this Jesus will woulder audy,
as that of Theudas and of Judas did, ubiun 1.38.

seemed to be much more strongly supported by 39 Bit if it be of human force. But, on the other hand, if it 37 God, ye cannot over be really the cause of God, which does not apbe found even to fight pear to me impossible, you cannot with all

your against God.

power and policy dissotie it ; but even though
these particular instruments should be taken ott,
be will undoubtedly raise up others; And it
will certainly become you in regard to your own
safety to be particularly cautious, and take
heed] lest you not only lose the benefit of any
deliverance which may be intended for Israel,
but also be yourselves found even fighters against
the power and providence of a mighty God;
an undertaking, which must prove iufinitely
fatal to all, who are so rash and unbappy as to

attempt it. 40. And to him they And, as the council were unable to elude the 40 agrrell: And when force of what Gamaliel said, they yielded to him, they had called the apostle's, and bearen acknowledging that his advice was safe and wise: twin, they commanded And having culled in the apostles, and ordered thai they should not speak in the name of

them to be scourged and beaten with rods in Jesus, and let thein go. their presence, that in some measure they might

vent their indignatio!), and might expose them
to disgrace and shame, they strictly charged them,
as they had done before, (chap.jr. 18) not to
speak any more in the name of Jesus, if they
would not incur vet severer punishment; and,
haring threatened them with what they must
expect, if ever they were brought before than
for the same crime again, they dismissed them

for that time. 41 And they de Thus were the apostles sent away, and, far 41 parted froin the pre- from being terrified by all the cruel usage they sence of the council; had met with, or by the threatenings of their were counted worthy adversaries, they departed from the presence of the to suffer shame for his Sanhedrim, rejoicing thut they were so bonoured

in the course of divine Providence, as to be
counted worthy to suffer for Christ, and to be
exposed to infumy for the sake of his venerable and
sacred name, rightly judging, that a punishment
of this kind, thoug in generally sbameiul, became
a glory to them; when borne in so excellent a
cause, and for the sake of him, who, though
so divinely great and so perfectly happy, bad

submitted not only to stripes, but to death for 42 And daily in the them. Instead therefore of obeying the order 42 temple,

of

pame.

xi.

Acts

562

Reflections on the trial of the twelve apostles. secr. of the rulers, they grew so much the more temple, and in every courageous and diligent in spreading the gospel. house they ceased not

to teach and preach And every day, from morning to night, they Jesus Christ. V.12. ceased not to purslie this great work; but took

all opportunities to preach in the temple, though
within sight of the Sanhedrim,and among many
of its chief members, who, being obliged by
their office often to resort thither, must fre-
quently sce and hear them; and at other times,
between the seasons of public worship, they were
engaged privately from house to house; and on
the whole, one way or another, it was their
constant business to teach and to preach Jesus as
the Messiah, and to proclaim with unspeakable
pleasure the good news of life and salvation
given to sinners by hiin: The Sanhedrim, in the
mean time, by the special providence of God,
suffering them to go on, and affecting to over-
look thein as beneath their notice, though still
with a secret rancour, which at length broke out
into the extremest violence.

IMPROVEMENT.

Ver. Which shall we survey with the greater surprise, the continued 17, 18 courage of the apostles, or the continued malice of their persecutors?

Again they seize them, again they imprison them; but how vainly do these feeble worms, amidst all the pride of dignity and power,

oppose the counsels of Omnipotence ! 19

The angel of the Lord opens the door of their prison, and leads fortli his faithful servants to renewed liberty; An office which this celestial Spirit could not but perform with delight; as it was, no doubt, with unutterable pleasure that he gave them their errand, to go and publish with undaunted freedorn and zeal the words of

this life, of this gospel which enlivens dead souls, and points out the 20 road to an happy immortality. Othat the folly of those who have

heard it had never converted it into a savour of death! 24--26 Yet, behold, the council renewed the attack! The same madness

which instigated the Jews to seise Jesus, when they had been
$truck to the ground by his miraculous power, (John xviii. 6.)
animated these wretches to contrive the destruction of persons whom
God himself bad just before rescued from their hands; as they had
formerly plotted that of Lazarus, (John xii. 10.) who had by a yet
more astonishing wonder been recalled from the grave. To what
fatal extravagancies will not prejudice hurry the mind ? Against
what convincing evidence will it not harden it?''
Ye shall, says our Lord, be brought before councils for my sake;

and

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