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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847,
By LUCIUS R. PAIGE, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts
STEREOTYPED BY S. N. DICKINSON, BOSTON.
The authorship of this Book has been uniformly ascribed to Luke, the Evangelist, and its genuineness and canonical authority have been acknowledged, in all ages, by the Christian Church. The testimony of Eusebius, in the fourth century, is a fair specimen of the opinion expressed by the fathers : "Luke, who was born at Antioch, and by profession a physician, being for the most part connected with Paul, and familiarly acquainted with the rest of the apostles, has left us, in two inspired books, the institutes of that spiritual healing art which he obtained from them. One of these is his Gospel, in which he testifies that he has recorded 'as those who were from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word' delivered to him ; whom also, he says, he has in all things followed. The other is his Acts of the Apostles, which he composed, not from what he had heard from others, but from what he had seen himself.” Book III. chap. 4. Compare Luke i. 3, with Acts i. 1.
Concerning the date, there is very little difference of opinion. The history extends to the close of Paul's second year of imprisonment, supposed to be A.D. 63; and it does not relate his death, which is said to have occurred about A.D. 65. Between these two dates, the history was probably written. For similar reasons, it is supposed to have been written at Rome; for the writer mentions his arrival, with Paul, at that city, but gives no intimation of a subsequent departure.
Although the title was not probably affixed by Luke himself, or by divine authority, it is of very ancient date, and is manifestly appropriate. The Book contains a history of the Acts or the Transactions of the Apostles, for a period of about thirty years next after the resurrection and ascension of our blessed Lord.
Three principal subjects are embraced in this history. (1.) The conversion of disciples and the firm establishment of the church among the Jews; chap. i.-ix: (2.) The conversion of Gentiles, who already feared and worshipped the true God; chap. X.-xii.: (3.) The conversion of Gentiles, who previously neither knew nor feared the true God, and who did not subsequently become subject to the law of Moses ; chap. xiii.—xxviii.
INTRODUCTION TO THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
The first named of these subjects is treated with comparative brevity, because the fact had been previously demonstrated that the Jews should partake the blessings of the Messiah’s reign. It was only necessary, therefore, that the historian should relate the fulfilment of the promise concerning the effusion of the divine Spirit, and the remarkable results which ensued. In
gard to the other two subjects, kindred in their character, the historian is much more particular and minute in his narration. To the Jews, it was scarcely less incredible that the Gentiles were to be admitted to a perfect equality with themselves, in regard to the divine favor and blessings, than it was that the authority of Moses could be superseded by that of a more illustrious prophet. Hence the propriety of relating, more at large, those events which conclusively and unequivocally manifested the divine purpose, that our Lord Jesus Christ should become literally and truly “the Saviour of the world,” by imparting spiritual life to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. This doctrine was offensive even to the Jewish Christians : to the unconverted Jews, it was an utter abomination. But, though they destroyed the life of Paul, the most prominent advocate of this truth, even as their fathers had destroyed his Master, the truth lived and triumphed. Paul himself, at the close of life, when reviewing his laborious struggle against the power of the adversary, was cheered by the conviction that his labor had not been in vain. God had crowned his exertions with success, and had given him abundant and precious seals of his ministry. And although the disciples still endured persecution, he knew the time was rapidly approaching, when the persecating power should be paralysed, and the churches should have peace.
The remarkable manner in which an “exceedingly mad” persecutor of Christians was transformed into their most devoted and successful defender, the many miraculous interpositions of divine power in behalf of him and his fellow-laborers, and other events which were subservient to the great object embraced in the propagation of Christianity throughout the whole world, will be more particularly noticed elsewhere.
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
2 Until the day in which he was
taken up, after that he through the NHE former treatise have I made, Holy Ghost had given commandbegan both to do and teach. had chosen :
apostles after him."--Lightfoot. But I CHAPTER I.
prefer the more common interpreta
tion; namely, that the phrase is a com1. The former treatise, &c. Literally mon Hebraism, equivalent to did and word; but, according to common usage, taught. Thus it is written, that Jea discourse or narrative, whether spok- sus “called unto him the twelve, and en or written. The reference is man- began to send them forth.” Mark vi. 7. ifestly to the Gospel accordinų to Luke; Another evangelist expresses the same which was composed by the : ime au- idea thus: “These twelve Jesus sent thor, addressed particularly io nje same forth.” Matt. x. 5. So also, “Some person, and devoted to the san i general began to spit on him.” Mark xiv. 65. subject, as this second part, or wintinu- The same act is described in the paralation, of the narrative. q The whilus. lel place by an equivalent term, "Then Very little is known concerning this did they spit in his face.” Matt. xxvi. individual. He was probably a b: Niever 67. This form of speech is often used in Christianity; and, from the nanner by Luke. “ Jesus himself began to be in which he is elsewhere addressed, it about thirty years of age;" that is, he is not unlikely that he held some office was about thirty years of age. Luke of civil trust and power. See note on iii. 23. “Then shall they begin to Luke i. 3. f Of all. Rather, concern- say;" that is, then they shall say. ing all. Luke does not profess to have Luke xxiii. 30. “He began to speak related, in his former treatise, every act boldly ;' that is, he spake boldly. Acts and word of his divine Master. . He xviii. 26. “Tertullus began to accuse frequently referred to discourses, with- him ;” that is, Tertullus accused him. out recording the language; see Luke Acts xxiv. 2. To do and teach. The iv. 15, 31; V. 3, 17; vi. 6; xix. 47; former treatise " embraced an account xx: 1; and John, by a common Eastern both of those works which no man hyperbole, assures us that all the acts could do except God were with him, and language of our Lord could not be and of those doctrines which fell from compressed into so sma'' a space. John the lips of him who spake as none other xx. 25. The meaning evidently is, that ever spake. John iii. 2; vii. 46. The the former treatise was concerning the truth of Christianity, and the divine ministry of Jesus, from his birth until commission of its founder, had thus been his ascension to his Father; that it sufficiently demonstrated. The refercontained an abstract of his teaching ence to the preceding work forms a proand of his mighty works; and that it per and very natural introduction to the embraced evidence sufficient to demon- second part of the same general design; strate his Messiahship. | Began luth to in which is related the labors of those do and teach. This phrase has been in- servants whom Jesus elected to speak terpreted thus: “In the former treatise, in his name after his departure. I discoursed of all those things which 2. Until the day, &c. * Our Lord conJesus himself began to do and to teach : tinued to teach the truths of the kingin this, Ifam to give a relation of those dom, and to confirm his doctrines by things which were continued by his miracles, as well after his resurrection 3 To whom also he shewed him-self alive after his passion, by many as before his crucifixion, even until the and in a spirit of divine wisdom and day when he was parted from his disci- truth. Before his crucifixion as well as ples, and carried up into heaven. Luke after his resurrection, he gave comxxiv. 51. To this point of time the mandments through the Holy Spirit; former narrative extended, and at this and there seems to be no impropriety point the present narrative commences. in giving this general application to the After a more full relation of the events phrase here used. The apostles. attending the ascension, than had been The twelve disciples whom he selected given in the gospel, the proper history as his special ministers, and who were of the apostolical labors and succes- styled apostles because they were sent ses begins at ver. 15 of this chapter. forth in his name, to proclaim the ad
He was taken up. Evidently refer- vent of the kingdom of heaven, and to ing to the ascension of our Lord. The perform wonderful works according to form of expression, here used, denotes its spirit. See note on Matt. X. 2. Of that his translation from earth to heav- the original number, eleven remained, en was effected by the same divine one having miserably fallen. I He had power which had enabled him pre- chosen. See Matt. x. 1-8; Luke vi. viously to perform miracles; namely, 12—16. the power of his Father and his God. 3. To whom also he showed himself
Through the Holy Ghost. That is, alive. As it was of the utmost importhe Holy Spirit, or the spirit or energy tance to the establishment of Chrisof God. Different writers have assigned tianity that the resurrection of its different places to these words, in their founder should be distinctly proved, construction of the sentence; some, and as the apostles were selected as the joining them with " was taken,” im- principal witnesses of this fact, our plying that our Lord was taken up into Lord appeared to them repeatedly, unheaven by the divine energy ; some der such circumstances that they could with“ had chosen,” implying that he have no possible doubt that he had selected his apostles under the guid- truly risen. For an account of these ance of divine wisdom; but the more various appearances, see note at the end common and apparently the more nat- of John. | After his passion. That ural construction is that adopted in the is, after his death. The word passion common translation, implying that, is now ordinarily used to denote anger, when our Lord gave commandments to or some other violent excitement of the his disciples, he spake as he was moved mind. Thus of an angry man, we say by the Holy Ghost. This well agrees he is in a passion; or of one who is with his uniform declaration, “I came prone to sudden outbursts of anger, he down from heaven, not to do mine own is a passionate man. Sometimes also will, but the will of Him that sent me, ," the word is applied to the emotions proand'“My doctrine is not mine, but his duced by love or hope, or despondency. that sent me." John vi. 38 ; vii. 16. In But originally it had the signification all which he “began both to do and of suffering or endurance. The kinteach,” he professed to act under the di- dred word, patient, retains its original vine direction and by divine assistance. meaning, when applied to a sick person, | Had given commandments. Literal- that is, one who suffers from disease. ly, having commanded. Some have sup- In this place, as in Luke xxii. 15 ; xxiv. posed particular, if not exclusive, ref-26, 46 ; Acts iii. 18; xvii. 3, where the erence is here made to the very impor- same word occurs in the original and is tant command that the apostles should rendered suffer, it not only indicates go into all the world and preach the gos- suffering in general, but is technically pel to every creature, which was his applied to the death of Christ in parfinal injunction as he was about to as- ticular. The meaning is, Jesus, having cend. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; Mark xvi. suffered death on the cross, afterwards 15. But I see no necessity for limiting showed himself to his disciples, and the meaning to the last commandment, convinced them beyond doubt that he or even to those delivered after the res- was again alive. [ By many infallible urrection of our Lord. From the com- proofs. Proofs which could not deceive. mencement of his ministry, he taught His disciples not only had frequent opand commanded in his Father's name, portunity to see him during the space