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THE UNION OF THE CHURCH-CHAP. IX.
Jalian Pe- voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art Jerusalem. God, which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is;
Valgar Æra, 30.
25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
(27 For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council determined before to be done "3.)
29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal: and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
The Union and Munificence of the Primitive Church.
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses, sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
2 Συνήχθησαν--προώρισε γενέσθαι, this ought to be in a parenthesis, the construction being suspended through several verses, and not being resumed till ver. 29. The construction lies thus : Δέσποτα, συ ὁ θεὸς, v. 24. σὺ ὁ (ποτὲ) είπων, ver. 25. καὶ τὰ νῦν, κύριε, ἔπιδε ἐπὶ τὰς ἀπειλὰς, ver. 29.
Lord thou art God, who hast made, &c.-who (formerly) by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, &c. and now, Lord, behold their threatenings (a.)
The beauty and truth of this affecting application of the prophecy must strike every reader.
(a) Markland ap. Bowyer.
Julian Pe- 35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and dis- Jerusalem. riod, 4743. tribution was made unto every man according as he had
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation, a Levite,) and of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet".
Death of Ananias and Sapphira.
ACTS V. 1-10.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his riod, 4744. wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God 25.
24 This section presents us with a picture of what every Christian Church ought to be, and which every Christian Church will probably be, when the fulness of the Spirit shall be poured out in the last days, and the consummation of all things arrive. Here we meet with no factions or divisions on the part of the people-no jealousy-no party spirit-no desire of distinction disturbed the pure harmony of the Primitive Church. The apostles, as the spiritual fathers of God's household, without opposition, superintended all things; and directed the disposal of the extensive and benevolent contributions of the faithful. The first law of their divine Master was fulfilled-mutual and holy love was the sacred bond of their union, the ruling principle of their life and actions. But in these days of luxury and refinement, Self engages all our thoughts, and all our cares-no other interest can be admitted, and the exploded doctrine of Christian love is alike ridiculed and despised.
25 From these words it is evident that the crime of Ananias was something more than an ordinary act of deception. It was a direct sin against the Holy Ghost. It was a distrust of his power. It was an attempt to impose upon the Holy Spirit him. self, an endeavour to discover if the secret things of the heart were manifest to him. It was therefore necessary that a severe and exemplary punishment should be inflicted on the first offending person, to convince others of the continued presence, and of the divine power of that Holy Spirit under whose influence the apostles acted, and who worked with them for the dissemination of the Gospel. Ananias is here said to lie to God, because he lied to the Holy Spirit, which had descended upon the apostles: hence it is clear, that if he that lieth to the Spirit
Julian Period, 4744. Vulgar Æra,
STATE OF THE CHURCH AT THIS TIME-CHAP. IX.
5 And Ananias hearing these words, fell down, and Jerusalem. gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
State of the Church at this time.
ACTS V. 11-17.
11. And great fear came upon all the Church, and upon as many as heard these things;
13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them 26:
lieth to God-the Holy Spirit must be God. Ananias appears
26 These verses, from 12 to 17, as they stand in our Bibles, are
Bishop Sherlock, however, is of a different opinion, and in a communication which he made to Bowyer, states that they ought to be divided thus
After verse 11, go on to
ver. 14 And believers were the more added to the Lord,
12 And they were all with one accord in Solomon's
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, Jerusalem. riod, 4744. both men and women.
12 And they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.
15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by, might overshadow some of them.
16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
An Angel delivers the Apostles from Prison.
ACTS V. 17-part of ver. 21.
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were riod, 4745. with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were Vulgar Era, filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison-doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught
The Sanhedrim again assemble-St. Peter asserts before
ACTS V. part of ver. 21. and ver. 22-33.
21-But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs
15 Insomuch that they brought forth, &c. &c.
By the oi äravτEC, ver. 12, Bishop Sherlock would understand "the new converts;" by the oi Xoroi, ver. 13, "the unconverted."-See Bowyer.
THE APOSTLES ARE DISMISSED-CHAP. IX.
Julian Pe- 23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all Jerusalem. riod, 4745. safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors:
but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's" blood upon us.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
By the advice of Gamaliel the Apostles are dismissed.
ACTS V. 34. to the end.
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel 28, a doctor of the law, had in reputation
Few circumstances more fully display to us the utter contempt in which the Jews held our Lord and his followers, than this expression. They would not even pronounce his name.
28 We read, Acts v. 34. that a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in great reputation among all the people, was one of the Jewish council, or Sanhedrim. This agrees exactly with what is delivered in the Jewish Talmuds. We are informed by them, that Gamaliel, the son of Simeon, and grandson of Hillel, was president of the council; that he was a Pharisee; that he was so well skilled in the law, that he was the second who obtained the name of Rabban, a title of the highest eminency and note of any among their doctors; and concerning him is this saying, "From the time that Rabban Gamaliel the