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Introduction

Acts.

to the Acts.

PREFATORY REMARKS TO THE ACTS OR TRANSACTIONS OF THE APOSTLES. The Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke, as appears from the first verse, where, in addressing his friend Theophilus, he mentions his former treatise, the Gospel of St. Luke, in which he had given an account of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which, from the mount of Olives, he ascended into heaven. This, the last of the historical books, may

be considered as a useful appendix to the Gospels, and a proper introduction to the Epistles. There is perhaps no history more interesting and extraordinary. It gives an account of the principal events relating to the church from the ascension of our Lord to thirty or thirty one years after, about which time it probably was written.

The two principal objects, for which st. Luke seems to have •written this book, were—first, to give an authentic account of the effusion of the Holy Ghost, which Christ had frequently promised to his disciples, and which took place on the day of Pentecost, and of the first miracles by which the truth of the Christian religion was established ; and secondly, to establish the claim of the Gentiles to the privileges and blessings of the church of Christ, a claim particularly contested by the Jews abont this time; for they had no idea, that a religion, revealed to them, could ever be designed for the Gentiles or heathen nations ; but we find by the accounts here given, that the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him, whether they be Jews or Gentiles.

In treating these subjects St. Luke gives an account of the wonderful perseverance, fidelity, sufferings, and success of the Apostles in the service of their Master, and the labours and journeys they performed in order to earry the glad tidings of the Gospel into every country. Here we see examples of piety and zeal, which it becomes all, who profess the name of Jesus, to study and imitate.

| THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 1 A repetition of part of Christ's of all that Jesus began both to history after his passion. 9 do and teach. Of his ascension.

2 Until the day in which he THE former treatise a have

was taken up, after that he I made, O Theophilus, through the Holy Ghost had a Former treatise, St. Luke's Gospel, given commandments unto the which was also addressed to his friend apostles whom he had chosen: Theophilus.

3 To whom also he shewed James the son of Alpheus, and expression shows, that even the dis- Simon Zelotes, and Judas the ciples of Jesus were yet ignorant of brother of James. the nature of that kingdom, which 14 These all continued with he came to establish; for they were expecting he would vanquish the Romans, and reestablish their own gov

T

of me.

ye

A repetition of part Chap. i.

of Christ's history. himself alive after his passion b the Father hath put in his own by many infallible proofs,c be- power. ing seen of them forty days, &

8 But

ye

shall receive powspeaking of the things pertain- er, after that the Holy Ghost ing to the kingdom of God:

is come upon you; and ye shall 4 And, being assembled to- be witnesses unto me,g both in gether with them, commanded Jerusalem, and in all Judea, them that they should not de- and in Samaria, and unto the part from Jerusalem, but wait uttermost part of the earth. for the promise of the Father,d 9 And when he had spoken which, saith he, ye have heard these things,while they beheld,

he was taken up; and a cloud 5 Fer John truly baptized received him out of their sight, with water; but shall be 10 And while they looked baptized with the Holy Ghost stedfastly toward heaven as he not many days hence.

went up, behold, two men stood 6 When they, therefore, by them in white apparel; were come together, they ask- 11 Which also said, Ye men ed of him, saying, Lord, wilt of Galilee, why stand ye gaz. thou at this time restore again ing up into heaven? this same the kingdom to Israel ?e Jesus, which is taken up from

7 And he said unto them, It you into heaven, shall so come is not for you to know the in like manner as ye have seen times or the seasons ;f which him go into heaven.

12 4 Then returned they 6 Passion here means death.

unto Jerusalem from the mount The infallible proofs, which our called Olivet, which is from Saviour, after his death and resurrec- Jerusalem à sabbath-day's tion, gave his apostles of his real

person and presence, were walking, con

journey.h versing, and eating with them, and

13 And when they were requesting them to handle him. come in, they went up into an

. The promise of the Father, the upper room, where abode both gift of the Holy Spirit.

Peter, and James, and John, e Restare again the kingdom to Israel, & Andrew, Philip, & Thomas, the kingdom of Israel, or the govern- Bartholomew, and Matthew, ment of the Jews being at this time in the hands of the Romans. This

Witnesses unto me, that I am in

deed the Saviour. of Times and seasons of restoring to b Sabbath-day's journey, nearly three the Jews their kingdom.

quarters of a mile.

ernment.

The apostles join in prayer. Acts. Matthias chosen, &c. one accord i in prayer and sup- 20 For it is written in the plication, with the women, and book of Psalms,n Let his habMary the mother of Jesus, and itation be desolate, and let no with his brethren.

man dwell therein; and, His 15 4 And in those days Pe- bishoprick let another take. ter stood up in the midst of 21 Wherefore, of these men the disciples, and said, (the which have companied with us number of the names j together all the time that the Lord Jewere about an hundred and sus went in and out among us, twenty,)

22 Beginning from the bap16 Men and brethren, this tism of John, unto that same scripture must needs have been day that he was taken up from fulfilled, which the Holy Ghostus, must one be ordained to be by the mouth of David spakek a witness with us of his resurbefore concerning Judas,which rection. was guide to them that took 23 And they appointed two, Jesus.

Joseph called Barsabas, who 17 For he was numbered was surnamed Justus, & Matwith us, and had obtained part thias. of this ministry.

24 And they prayed, and 18 Now, this man purchas- said, Thou, Lord, which knowed a field with the reward of est the hearts of all men, shew iniquity ;l and, falling head- whether of these two thou hast long,m he burst asunder in the chosen, midst, & all his bowels gush- 23 That he may take part ed out.

of this ministry & apostleship, 19 And it was known unto from which Judas by transall the dwellers at Jerusalem; gression fell, that he might go insomuch as that field is called to his own place. in their proper tongue, Acel- 26 And they gave forth their dama, that is to say, The field lots; and the lot fell upon of blood.

Matthias; and he was numthem;

bered with the eleven apostles. i With one accord, unanimously, in perfect agreement.

CHAP. II. j Number of the names, the number of them.

The apostles, filled with the & For these prophecies of David Holy Ghost, speak divers see Psalm xli. 9, and cix. 8.

languages. I Purchased a field, &c. i. e. a field AND, when the day of Perwas purchased with the money, for tecosta was fully come, they which Judas betrayed his Master.

m Falling beadlong, &c. breaking n In Psalms lxix. 25, & cix. 8. from the place on which he hanged a Pentecost was an annual feast of himself (Matt. xxvii. 5) he burst the Jews, in commemoration of givasunder, &c.

ing the law on mount Sinai.

The apostles inspired. Chap. i.

Peter's sermon. were all with one accord in tongues the wonderful works one place.

of God. 2 And suddenly there came 12 And they were all amaza sound from heaven, as of a ed, and were in doubt, saying rushing mighty wind, and it

one to another, What meaneth filled all the house where they this? were sitting.

13 Others mocking, said, 3 And there appeared unto These men are full of new them cloven tongues, like as of wine.b fire, and it sat upon each of 14 But Peter standing up

with the eleven,

lifted

up

his 4 And they were all filled voice, and said unto them, Ye with the Holy Ghost, & began men of Judea, and all ye that to speak with other tongues, as dwell at Jerusalem, be this the Spirit gave them utterance. known unto you, and hearken

5 And there were dwelling to my words: at Jerusalem Jews, devout 15 For these are not drunmen, out of every nation under ken, as ye suppose, seeing it is heaven.

but the third hour of the day.c 6 Now when this was nois- 16 But this is that which ed abroad, the multitude came was spoken by the prophet together, and were confounded, Joel;d beeause that every man heard 17 And it shall come to pass them speak in his own lan- in the last days,e saith God, I guage.

will pour out of my Spirit upon And they were all amaz- all flesh; and your sons and ed, and marvelled, saying one your daughters shall prophesy, to another, Behold, are not all and your young men shall see these which speak Galileans? visions, and your old men shall

8 And how hear we every dream dreams : man in our own tongue where

b Full of new wine, or drunken. in we were born ?

c Third hour, about nine in the 9 Parthians, and Medes, & forenoon-too early for excessive Elamites, and the dwellers in drinking. It may be observed, that Mesopotamia, and in Judea, the Jews divided the day from sunand Cappadocia, in Pontus, rise to sunset into twelve equal parts ; and Asia,

so that at different seasons of the year, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, and would not exactly agree with

the hours were of different lengths, in Egypt, and in the parts of our division of time. Libya about Cyrene, & stran- d Joel ii. 28–32. gers of Rome, Jews and prose- e Last days of the Jewish governlytes,

ment, and of God's peculiar favour 11 Cretes and Arabians, we

to that people, as a nation ; last days

likewise denoted the times of the do hear them speak in our

Messiah.

Sermon

Acts.

continued. 18 And on my servants, and 23 Him, being delivered by on my hand-maidens, I will the determinate counsel and pour out in those days of my foreknowledge of God, ye have Spirit; & they shall prophesy: taken, and by wieked hands

19 And I will shew wonders have crucified and slain'; in heaven above, f and signs in 24 Whom God hath raised the earth beneath; blood, and up, having loosed the pains of fire, and vapour of smoke: death; because it was not pos

20 The sun shall be turned sible that he should be holder into darkness, and the moon of it. into blood, before that great & 25 For David speaketh connotable day of the Lord come: cerning him, I foresaw the

21 And it shall come to pass, Lord always before my face, that whosoever shall call on the for he is on my right hand, name of the Lord shall be saved. that I should not be moved : 22 Ye men of Israel, hear 26 Therefore did my

heart these words; Jesus of Naza- rejoice, and my tongue was reth, a man approved of God glad; moreover also my

flesh among you, by miracles, and shall rest in hope : wonders, and signs, which God 27 Because thou wilt not did by him in the midst of you, leave my soul in hell, neither as ye yourselves also know: wilt thou suffer thine holy One

to see corruption. if Wonders in heaven, &c. These 28 Thou hast made known' doubtless mean the wonderful prodi- to me the ways of life; thou gies which, according to most credi- shalt make me full of joy with ble historians, actually appeared be

thy countenance. fore the destruction of Jerusalem, such

29 Men and brethren, let as a flaming sword suspended in the air over the city; a fiery comet point- me freely speak unto you of ing down

upon
it for a whole year ;

the patriarch David, that he a light shining upon the temple and is both dead and buried, and the altar, as if it had been noon-day; bis sepulchre is with us unto the opening of the great gate of the this day. temple without hands; a voice heard

30 l'herefore being a profrom the most holy place, when no one was in it

, “ Let us depart bence ; " phet, and knowing that God the admonition of one Jesus, son of had swom with an oath to Ananus, who for seven years went up him, that of the fruit of his and down the city crying, wo! wol loins, according to the flesh, wo! the vision of contending armies he would raise in the air, terrible lightnings, thun

Christ to sit

up ders, and earthquakes, &c. which all

on his throne; considered as portending some dreadful calamity; these were indeed Neither wilt thou suffer the body “wonders in heaven, and signs in of thine boly One to continue in the the earth beneath.".

grave, till it is corrupted.

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