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Introduction

Acts.

PREFATORY REMARKS

to the Acts.

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 about 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 1A repetition of part of Christ's history after his passion. 9 Of his ascension.

T

HE former treatise a have I made, O Theophilus, a Former treatise, St. Luke's Gospel, which was also addressed to his friend Theophilus.

THE APOSTLES.
of all that Jesus began both to
do and teach.

2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed

Chap. i.

A repetition of part himself alive after his passion b by many infallible proofs,c being seen of them forty days, & speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4 And, being assembled to gether with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,d which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

6 When they, therefore, were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ?e

7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons;f which

b Passion here means death.

The infallible proofs, which our Saviour, after his death and resurrection, gave his apostles of his real person and presence, were walking, conversing, and eating with them, and requesting them to handle him.

d The promise of the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit.

e Restore again the kingdom to Israel, the kingdom of Israel, or the government of the Jews being at this time in the hands of the Romans. This expression shows, that even the disciples of Jesus were yet ignorant of the nature of that kingdom, which he came to establish; for they were expecting he would vanquish the Romans, and reestablish their own gov

ernment.

f Times and seasons of restoring to the Jews their kingdom.

of Christ's history.

the Father hath put in his own power.

8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me,g both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

9 And when he had spoken these things,while they beheld, he was taken up ; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath-day's

journey.h

13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, & Andrew, Philip, & Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

14 These all continued with

g Witnesses unto me, that I am indeed the Saviour.

b Sabbath-day's journey, nearly three quarters of a mile.

The apostles join in prayer. Acts. one accordi in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

15¶ And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of the names j together were about an hundred and twenty,)

16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spakek before concerning Judas,which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18 Now, this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and, falling headlong,m he burst asunder in the midst, & all his bowels gushed out.

19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

i With one accord, unanimously, in perfect agreement.

j Number of the names, the number of them.

For these prophecies of David see Psalm xli. 9, and cix. 8.

I Purchased a field, &c. i. e. a field was purchased with the money, for which Judas betrayed his Master.

m Falling beadlong, &c. breaking from the place on which he hanged himself (Matt. xxvii. 5,) he burst asunder, &c.

Matthias chosen, &c.

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms,n Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein; and, His bishoprick let another take.

21 Wherefore, of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, & Matthias.

24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

25 That he may take part of this ministry & apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

CHAP. II.

The apostles, filled with the Holy Ghost, speak divers languages.

AND, when the day of Pen tecosta was fully come, they

2 In Psalms lxix. 25, & cix. 8.

a Pentecost was an annual feast of the Jews, in commemoration of giving the law on mount Sinai.

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were all with one accord in one place.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them;

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, & began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7 And they were all amazed, and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?

9 Parthians, and Medes, & Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, & strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our

Peter's sermon.

tongues the wonderful works of God.

12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13 Others mocking, said, These men are full of new wine.b

14 ¶ But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.c

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; d

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days,e saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams :

b Full of new wine, or drunken.

e Third bour, about nine in the forenoon-too early for excessive drinking. It may be observed, that the Jews divided the day from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal parts;

so that at different seasons of the year, the hours were of different lengths,

and would not exactly agree with our division of time.

d Joel ii. 28-32.

e Last days of the Jewish government, and of God's peculiar favour to that people, as a nation; last days likewise denoted the times of the Messiah.

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18 And on my servants, and on my hand-maidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; & they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above,f and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great & notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

f Wonders in heaven, &c. These doubtless mean the wonderful prodigies which, according to most credible historians, actually appeared before the destruction of Jerusalem, such as a flaming sword suspended in the air over the city; a fiery comet pointing down upon it for a whole year; a light shining upon the temple and the altar, as if it had been noon-day; the opening of the great gate of the temple without hands; a voice heard from the most holy place, when no one was in it, "Let us depart bence;" the admonition of one Jesus, son of Ananus, who for seven years went up and down the city crying, wo! wol wo! the vision of contending armies in the air, terrible lightnings, thunders, and earthquakes, &c. which all considered as portending some dreadful calamity; these were indeed "wonders in heaven, and signs in the earth beneath."

continued.

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain;

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holder of it.

25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption. g

28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

g Neither wilt thou suffer the body of thine holy One to continue in the grave, till it is corrupted.

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