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17. It yet remains, before terminating this section, to say something of the speeches reported in the latter part of the Acts. Are they St. Paul's own words, or has Luke in this case also gone over the matter, and left the impression of his style on it?
These speeches are, (a) the discourse to the Ephesian elders in ch. xx. 18—35,—(b) the apology before the Jews, ch. xxii. 1—21,—(c) the apology before Felix, ch. xxiv. 10—21,—(d) the apology before Agrippa and Festus, ch. xxvi. 1—29.
(a) The discourse to the Ephesian elders is a rich storehouse of phrases and sentiments peculiar to Paul. These are so numerous, and so remarkable, that nothing short of a complete study of the passage, with the references, will put the reader in full possession of them. Very faint traces are found of the hand of Luke. Of those mentioned in the note, on this portion of the Introduction in my Greek Test., Vol. II., scarcely any are decisive, whereas hardly a line of the whole is without unmistakable evidences that we have here the words of Paul. In the Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles, I hope to shew the importance of this discourse, as bearing on the very difficult question of the diction and date of those precious and to my mind indubitable relics of the great Apostle.
(b) The apology before the Jews (ch. xxii. 1-21) was spoken in Hebrew (Syro-Chaldaic). Another interesting question is therefore here involved, Did Luke understand Hebrew? The answer to the two questions will be one and the same. We may find the diction of this translation either so completely Luke's, as to render it probable that he was the translator;-or it may bear traces, as usual, of Paul's own phraseology set down and worked up by Luke. In the former case, we may confidently infer that he must have understood Hebrew: in the latter, we may (but not with equal confidence, for Paul may by preference have given his own version of his own speech) conclude that that language was unknown to him. If again the speech is full of Hebraisms, it may lead us to infer that Paul himself was not the translator into Greek, but one who felt himself more strictly bound to a literal rendering than the speaker himself, who would be likely to give his own thoughts and meaning a freer and more Grecian dress.-Now we do find, (1) that the speech is full of Hebraisms: (2) that while it contains several expressions occurring nowhere but in the writings of Luke, not one is found in it peculiar to Paul, or even strikingly in his manner. Our inference then is that Luke himself has rendered this speech, from having heard it delivered, and consequently, that he was acquainted with Hebrew.
(c) The short apology before Felix (ch. xxiv. 10-21) contains some traces of Paul's manner, but still they are scanty, and the evidences of Luke's hand predominate, as may be seen from the reff. Its very com
pendious character makes it probable that it may have been drawn up by Luke from Paul's own report of the substance of what he said.
(d) The important apology before Agrippa and Festus (ch. xxvi. 1— 29) is full of St. Paul's peculiar expressions. It was spoken in Greek, and taken down very nearly as spoken. Some phrases however occur in it which seem to belong to Luke; just enough to shew the hand which has committed the speech to writing. We must remember however that several of these are expressive of meanings not elsewhere occurring in Paul's composition, which therefore he may well, in uttering, have thus expressed.
18. Our conclusion from this examination may be thus stated: (1) That in all cases the diction of the speeches was more or less modified by Luke's hand. (2) That they are not in any case (as some have supposed) composed by him for the speaker, but were really in substance, and for the most part in very words, uttered as written. (3) That the differences apparent in the greater or less amount of editorial diction in different speeches, remarkably correspond to the alleged occasions and modes of their delivery:—where St. Paul spoke Hebrew, hardly any traces of his own style being discernible,—as also where a short compendium only of his speech is given; while on the other hand speeches manifestly reported at length and which were spoken in Greek originally, are full of the characteristic peculiarities of Paul himself.
19. For many other interesting particulars connected with the sources of the narrative in the Acts, I refer the student to Dr. Davidson's Introduction to the N. T. vol. ii.
FOR WHAT READERS AND WITH WHAT OBJECT IT WAS WRITTEN.
1. The Gospel of Luke commences with a preface in which he declares his object with sufficient precision. Dedicating it to his friend. Theophilus, he describes it as a record of "that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed,"-and asserts his purpose in writing it to be, "those things which are most surely believed among us." Now there can be little question that both these descriptions apply to the Acts also. That book is introduced without preface, as a second part following on the former treatise: a "second treatise" to the Gospel.
2. I have stated with regard to the Gospel, that we can hardly suppose Luke's design to have confined itself to Theophilus, but must believe that he followed the common practice of dedicating his work to
some one person of rank or influence, and describing it as written for him. The same applies also to the Acts: and the class of readers for whom Luke wrote is the same as before; viz. Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles.
3. If a further specification of his object in writing be required, it can only be furnished by an unprejudiced examination of the contents of the book. These are found to be, The fulfilment of the promise of the Father by the descent of the Holy Spirit: the results of that outpouring, by the dispersion of the Gospel among Jews and Gentiles. Under these leading heads, all the personal and subordinate details may be ranged. Immediately after the ascension, Peter, the first of the twelve, the Rock on whom the Church was to be built, the holder of the keys of the Kingdom, becomes the great Actor under God in the founding of the Church. He is the centre of the first great group of sayings and doings. The opening of the door to Jews (ch. ii.) and Gentiles (ch. x.) is his office, and by him, in the Lord's own time, is accomplished. But none of the existing Twelve were (humanly speaking) fitted to preach the Gospel to the cultivated Gentile world. To be by divine grace the spiritual conqueror of Asia and Europe, God raised up another instrument, from among the highly educated and zealous Pharisees. The preparation of this instrument for the work to be done,the progress in his hand of that work-his journeyings, preachings and perils, his stripes and imprisonments, his testifying in Jerusalem, and being brought to testify in Rome, these are the subjects of the latter half of the book, of which the great central figure is the Apostle Paul.
4. Nor can we attribute this with any probability to a set design of a comparison between the two great Apostles, or of an apology for Paul by exhibiting him as acting in consonance with the principles which regulated Peter. All such hypothesis is in the highest degree unnatural and forced. The circumstance before the narrator's view would, without any such design, have led to the arrangement of the book as we now find it. The writer was the companion of Paul;—and in the land which had been the cradle of the Church he gathered materials for the portion which might join his Gospel to the narrative with which Paul's history begun. In that interval, Peter was the chief actor: Peter was the acknowledged 'chosen vessel' in the first days of the Gospel. But Luke does not confine himself to Peter's acts. He gives at length the mission of Philip to the Gaza road and the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch, with which Peter had no connexion whatever. He gives at length the history of Stephen-the origin of the office which he held,his apology, his martyrdom,-how naturally, as leading to the narrative of the conversion of him who took so conspicuous a part in the transactions of that day".
9 Schneckenburger, who (as well as Griesbach and Baur) holds the theory against
5. Any view which attributes ulterior design to the writer, beyond that of faithfully recording such facts as seemed important in the history of the Gospel, is, I am persuaded, mistaken. Many ends are answered by the book in the course of this narration, but they are the designs of Providence, not the studied purposes of the writer :—e. g., the sedulous offer of the Gospel to the Jewish people,―their continual rejection of it, the as continual turning to the Gentiles:-how strikingly does this come out before the reader as we advance, and how easily might this be alleged as the design,-supported as the view would be by the final interview of Paul with the Jews at Rome, and his solemn application of prophecy to their unbelief and hardness of heart. Again, in the course of the book, more and more strongly does it appear that God's purpose was to gather a people out of the Gentiles to His name: so that by Michaelis this is assigned as one of two great objects of the book. And so we might pass on through the whole cycle of progress of the faith of Christ, and hypotheses might be raised, as each great purpose of Providence is seen unfolding, that to narrate it was the object of the work.
AT WHAT TIME AND PLACE IT WAS WRITTEN.
1. I see no cause for departing from the opinion already expressed in the Introduction to Luke's Gospel (§ iv. 1) that the Acts was completed and published at the expiration of the two years described in the last verse of chap. xxviii. No reason can be assigned, why, had any considerable change in the circumstances of Paul taken place, it should not have been mentioned by Luke. The same will hold still more strongly of the death of the Apostle.
2. The prevalent opinion of recent critics in Germany has been, that the book was written much later than this. But this opinion is for the most part to be traced to their subjective leanings on the prophetic announcement of Luke xxi. 24. For those who hold that there is no such thing as prophecy (and this unhappily is the case with many of the modern German critics), it becomes necessary to maintain that that verse was written after the destruction of Jerusalem. Hence, as the
which this paragraph is directed, is obliged to suppose that Stephen was purposely introduced to be exhibited as the prototype and forerunner of Paul. That Stephen was so, in some sense, is true enough: but the assimilation of Paul to Stephen is a result springing naturally out of the narrative, not brought about by the writer of the history. Supposing the facts to have been as related, it was most natural that Paul should earnestly desire the whole particulars respecting Stephen to be minutely recorded and so we find them.
Acts is the sequel to the Gospel, much more must the Acts have been written after that event. To us in England, who receive the verse in question as a truthful account of the words spoken by our Lord, and see in them a weighty prophetic declaration which is even now not wholly fulfilled, this argument at least has no weight.
3. The last-mentioned view (which is that of De Wette) differs from that of Meyer, who sees in ch. viii. 26 ("it is desert") a starting point, and in the omission of all mention of the destruction of Jerusalem, a terminus, for the publication of the history; which he would therefore place at the beginning of the Jewish war, after the destruction of Gaza by the revolutionary bands of the Jews, and before the destruction of Jerusalem. But the notice of ch. viii. 26 cannot be fairly thus taken: see note there, in which I have endeavoured to give the true meaning of "desert" as applying to the road and not to Gaza, and as spoken by the angel, not added by the Evangelist. Meyer's latter terminus, and the argument by which he fixes it, I hold to be sound. It would be beside all probability, that so great, and for Christianity so important an event, as the overthrow of the Jewish city, temple, and nation, should have passed without even an allusion in a book in which that city, temple, and nation, bear so conspicuous a part.
4. Meyer also endeavours to render a reason why the subsequent proceedings of Paul in Rome should not have been noticed. They were, he imagines, well known to Theophilus, an Italian himself, if not a Roman. But this is the merest caprice of conjecture. What convincing evidence have we that Theophilus was a Roman, or an Italian ? And this view would hardly (though Meyer labours to make it do so) account for the narration of what did take place in Rome, especially for the last verse of the book.
5. De Wette attempts to account for the history ending where it does, because the words of our Lord in ch. i. 8 had been accomplished, and so the object of the history fulfilled. But how were they more accomplished at that particular time than before? Rome had not been specified in that command: and he who now preached at Rome was not formally addressed in those words. Rather, if the object of the writer had been merely to trace these words to their fulfilment, should he have followed the actual Apostles to whom they were spoken, many of whom we have reason to believe much more literally preached "unto the ends of the earth," than St. Paul. But no such design, or none such in so formal a shape, was in the mind of our Evangelist. That the Lord commanded and his Apostles obeyed, would be the obvious course of history; but that the mere bringing of one of those Apostles to the head of the civilized world should have been thought to exhaust that command, is inconceivable as a ground for breaking off the narration.
6. Still more futile is the view that it was broken off because the