Page images

did eat and drink with him after he rose from 46.) Of this the apostle Peter makes much ir the dead.

his argument in chap. xi. 17. By this, God

showed that the Gentiles were to be admitted to Not to all the people.- Not to the nation at large; | the same privileges with the Jews, and to the for this was not necessary in order to establish the blessings of salvation in the same manner. Comp. truth of his resurrection. He however showed chap. ii. 1--4. Which heard the scord. The word himself to many persons. See the harmony of of God; the message of the gospel. the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus at the close of the Notes on Matthew. Chosen of God. VER. 45. And they 9 of the circumcision which -Appointed by God, or set apart by his au

believed, were astonished, as many as came thority through Jesus Christ. Who did eat and drink, &c.—- And by doing this he furnished the

with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also clearest possible proof that he was truly risen ; was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. and that they were not deceived by an illusion of the imagination, or by a phantasm. Comp. John

9 Ver. 23. xxi. 12, 13.

And they of the circumcision.-Who had been' VER. 42. And he commanded us 'to preach unto

each unto Jews. Were astonished.- Were amazed that

Gentiles should be admitted to the same favour the people, and to testify, that mit is he which

as themselves. was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

Ver. 46. For they heard them speak with

tongues, and magnify God. Then answered i Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. m John v. 22, 27. Chap. xvii. 31. 2 Cor. v. 10. 1 Pet. iv. 5. Peter, And he commanded us, &c.—Matt. xxvü. 19,

Chap. ii. 4. 20. Mark xvi. 15, 16. And to testify.To be a

Speak with tongues.- In other languages than witness. That it is he, &c.—See Notes, John v.

| their native language. (Chap. ii. 4.) And magnify 22—27. Comp. the references in the margin.

God.—And praise God.
Of quick.The living. The doctrine of the New
Testament is, that those which are alive when
the Lord Jesus shall return to judge the world,

VER. 47. Can 'any man forbid water, that these shall be caught up in vast numbers like clouds, should not be baptized, which have received to meet him in the air, without seeing death. the Holy Ghost as well as we? (1 Thess. iv. 16, 17.) Yet before this, they shall experience such a change in their bodies, as shall

8 Chap. viii. 12. fit them for the judgment and for their eternal residence--a change which shall like them to Can any man forbid water, &c.—They have those who have died, and have been raised from shown that they are favoured in the same way as the dead. What this change will be, speculation the Jewish converts. God has manifested himmay fancy, but the Bible has not revealed. See self to them, as he did to the Jews on the day of 1 Cor. xv. 52, “ The dead shall be raised, and we Pentecost. Is it not clear, therefore, that they shall be changed.”

are entitled to the privilege of Christian baptism?

The expression here used is one that would natuVER. 43. To him " give all the prophets witness,

rally refer to water's being brought; that is, to a

small quantity ; and would seem to imply that that through his name, whosoever believeth

they were baptized, not by immersion, but by

in him shall receive remission of sins. pouring or sprinkling.

n Luke xxiv, 27, 44, John v. 39.
o John iii. 14, 17. Rom. x. 11.

VER. 48. And he commanded them to be bap

tized in the name of the Lord. To him give, &c.-See Note, Luke xxiv. 27,44.

Then prayed That through his name, &c.— This was implied in

they him to tarry certain days. what the prophets said. See Rom. x. 11. It was not, indeed, expressly affirmed that they

And he commanded them, &c.— Why Peter did who believed in him should be pardoned ; but not himself baptize them, is unknown. But this was implied in what they said. They pro

it might be, perhaps, because he chose to make mised a Messiah ; and their religion consisted use of the ministry of the brethren who were mainly in believing in a Messiah to come. See

with him, to prevent the possibility of future the reasoning of the apostle Paul in Rom. iv. cavil. If they did it themselves, they could not

so easily be led by the Jews to find fault with it. VER. 44. While Peter yet spake these words, the

It may be added, also, that it seems not to hare

been the practice of the apostles themselves to Holy Ghost P fell on all them which heard the

baptize very extensively. This was left to be word.

performed by others. See 1 Cor. i. 14-17. p Chap. iv. 31.

“ Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach

the gospel." The Holy Ghost fell, &c.—Endowing them with the power of speaking with other tongues. (Ver.

prejudice will thus be disarmed, and opposition CHAPTER XI.

will die away, as was the case in regard to the admission of the Gentiles to the church. And

expounded it.--Explained it; stated it as it acVER. 1. And the apostles and brethren that were

tually occurred. In order.-One event after in Judea, heard that the Gentiles had also re

another, as they happened. He thus showed ceived the word of God.

that his own mind had been as much biassed as

theirs, and stated in what manner his prejudices And the apostles and brethren.—The Christians | bad been removed. It often happens that those who were in Judea. Heard, &c.—So extraor who become most zealous and devoted in any dinary an occurrence as that at Cæsarea, the new plans for the advancement of religion, were descent of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles, and as much opposed to them at first as others. They their reception into the church, would excite are led from one circumstance to another, until attention, and be likely to produce much sensi- their prejndices die away, and the providence bility in regard to the conduct of Peter and those and Spirit of God indicate clearly their duty. with him. It was so contrary to all the ideas of the Jews, that it is not to be wondered at that it

VER. 5. I was in the city of Joppa, praying : led to contention.

and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain l'Er. 2. And when Peter was come up to Jeru

vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, salem, they that were of the circumcision

let down from heaven by four corners; and it contended with bim,

came even to me:

6. Upon the which, when I had fastened a Chap. x. 23, 28. Gal. il. 13. Chap. x. 9, &c.

mine eyes, I considered, and saw four-footed They that were of the circumcision.— The Chris beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and tians who had been converted from among the creeping things, and fowls of the air. Jens. Contended with him.- Disputed ; or re

7. And I heard a voice saying unto me, proved him; charged him with being in fault. This is one of the circumstances which show Arise, Peter; slay, and eat. conclasively that the apostles and early Chris 8. But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing tians did not regard Peter as having any par common or unclean hath at any time entered ticular supremacy over the church, or as being in any peculiar sense the vicar of Christ upon

into my mouth. eartb. If Peter had been regarded as having 9. But the voice answered me again from the authority which the Roman Catholics claim heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call for him, they would have submitted at once to

not thou common. what he had thought proper to do. But the primitive Christians had no such idea of his

10. And this was done three times : and all authority. This claim for Peter is not only op were drawn up again into heaven. posed to this place, but to every part of the New 11. And behold, immediately there were Testament.

three men already come unto the house where VER. 3. Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncir

I was, sent from Cæsarea unto me. cumcised, and didst eat with them.

12. And the Spirit bade me go with them,

nothing doubting. Moreover, these six breAnd didst eat with them.-See Note, chap. x.

thren accompanied me, and we entered into 13, 14.

the man's house: VER. 4. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the

13. And he showed us how he had seen an beginning, and expounded it by order unto

angel in his house, which stood and said unto them, saying,

him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon,

whose surname is Peter; But Peter rehearsed.-Greek, Peter beginning,

14. Who shall tell thee words© whereby explained it to them in order. That is, he began with the vision which he saw, and gave a nar

thou and all thy house shall be saved. rative of the various events in order, as they

6 John xvi. 13. actually occurred. A simple and unvarnished

c Psa. xix. 7-11. John vi. 63, 68. statement of facts, is usually the best way of disarming prejudice and silencing opposition. In

On verses 5 to 14, see Notes on chap. x. 9revivals of true religion, the best way of silenc

| 33. And all thy house. – Thy family. This is a ing opposition, and especially among Christians, circumstance which is omitted in the account in 15 to make a plain statement of things as ihey chap. x. It is said, however, in chap. x. 2, that actually occurred. Opposition most commonly Cornelius feared God with all his house. And anses from prejudice, or from false and ex | it is evident, from chap. x. 48, that the family aggerated statements; and those can be best also received the ordinance of baptism, and was sinoved, not by angry contention, but by an received into the church. tarnished relation of the facts. In most cases


VER. 15. And as I began to speak, the Holy | all their long-cherished prejudices; taught them !! Ghost fell on them, as d on us at the begin

to look upon all men as their brethren; and im

pressed their hearts with the truth, never after ning.

to be eradicated, that the Christian church was d Chap. ii. 4.

founded for the wide world, and opened the

same glorious pathway to life wherever man And as I began to speak.--Or, while I was might be found, whether with the narrow preju. i speaking. The Holy Ghost, &c.—Chap. x. 44. dice of the Jew, or amidst the degradations of

the pagan world. To this truth we owe our VER. 16. Then remembered I the words of the

hopes ; for this, we should thank the God of

heaven; and impressed with it, we should seek ! Lord, how that he said, John indeed bap

to invite the entire world to partake with us of tized with water ; but ye shall be baptized the rich provisions of the gospel of the blessed with the Holy Ghost.

e Matt. iii. 11. John i. 26, 33. Chap. i. 5.
s Isa, xliv.3. Joel ii. 28.

VER. 19. Now they which were scattered

abroad upon the persecution that arose about The word of the Lord.— See Note, chap. i. 5.

Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, and VER. 17. Forasmuch then as God gave 8them

Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to the like gift as he did unto us who believed on

none but " unto the Jews only. the Lord Jesus Christ, what " was I that I

j Chap. viii. 1. k Matt. x. 6. could withstand God ?

Now they, &c.—This verse introduces a new i 9 Chap. xv. 8, 9. h Rom. ix. 21—26.

train of historical remark ; and from this point

the course of the history of the Acts of the What was 1.- What power or right had I to Apostles takes a new direction. Thus far, the 1 oppose the manifest will of God, that the Gen- | history had recorded chiefly the preaching of tiles should be received into the Christian church? | the gospel to the Jews only. From this point Withstand God.--Oppose or resist God? He had the history records the efforts made to convert indicated his will; he had showed his intention the Gentiles. It begins with the labours put to save the Gentiles ; and the prejudices of forth in the important city of Antioch, (ver. 19, Peter were all overcome. One of the best means 20 ;) and, as during the work of grace that oc. of destroying prejudice and false opinions, is a curred in that city, the labours of the apostle powerful revival of religion. More erroneous Paul were especially sought, (ver. 25, 26,) the doctrines and unholy feelings are overcome in sacred writer thenceforward confines the history such scenes, than in all the angry controversies, mainly to his travels and labours. Which ueri and bigoted and fierce contentions that have ever scattered abroad. See chap. viii. 1. As far as taken place. If men wish to root error out of | Phenice.-Phænice. or Phænicia. was a province the church, they should strive by all means to l of Syria, which in its largest sense comprehended promote every where, revivals of pure and un a narrow strip of country lying on the eastern defiled religion. The Holy Spirit more easily

coast of the Mediterranean, and extending from and effectually silences false doctrine, and de Antioch to the borders of Egypt. But Phænice stroys heresy, than all the denunciations of fierce Proper extended only from the cities of Laotheologians; all the alarms of professed zeal for

dicea to Tyre, and included only the territories truth; and all the anathemas which professed of Tyre and Sidon. This country was called orthodoxy and love for the purity of the church, sometimes simply Canaan. See Note, Matt. xv. ever uttered from the icebergs on which such 22. And Cyprus.--An island off the coast of champions usually seek their repose and their Asia Minor, in the Mediterranean sea. See home.

Note, Acts iv. 36. And Antioch.There were

two cities of this name, one situated in Pisidia, VER. 18. When they heard these things, they

When they heard these things, they | in Asia Minor, (see chap. xiii. 14 ;) the other, held their peace, and glorified God, saying, referred to here, was situated on the river Then hath God also to the Gentiles · granted | Orontes, and was long the capital of Syria. !!

was built by Seleucus Nicanor, and was called repentance unto life.

Antioch in honour of his father Antiochus. It Rom. x. 12, 13; xv. 9, 16.

was founded three hundred and one years before

Christ. It is not mentioned in the Old TestaThey held their peace. They were convinced, ment, but is several times mentioned in the as Peter had been, by the manifest indications of Apocrypha, and in the New Testament. It was the will of God. Then hath God, &c.- The great long the most powerful city of the East, and was truth is in this manner established, that the doors inferior only to Seleucia and Alexandria. It of the church are opened to the entire Gentile was famous for the fact that the right of citizenworld--a great and glorious truth, that was ship was conferred by Seleucus on the Jews, as worthy of this remarkable interposition. It at well as the Greeks and Macedonians, so that once changed the views of the apostles and of here they had the privilege of worship in their the early Christians; gave them new, large, and own way without molestation. It is probable liberal conceptions of the gospel; broke down that the Christians would be regarded merely as

a section of Jews, and would be here suffered to and that the sacred writer means to say that the celebrate their worship without interruption. On gospel was here preached to those who were not this account it may have been, that the early Jews, for all were called Greeks by them who Christians regarded this city as of such particular were not Jews. (Rom. i. 16.) The connexion importance, because here they could find a refuge would lead us to suppose that they had heard of from persecution, and be permitted to worship what had been done by Peter, and that, imitating God without molestation. This city was honoured | his example, they preached the gospel now to as a Roman colony, a metropolis, and an asylum. | the Gentiles also. It was large; was almost square; had many gates; was adorned with fine fountains; and VER. 21. And the m hand of the Lord was with was a city of great opulence. It was however

them : and a great number believed, and turnsubject to earthquakes, and was several times Dearly destroyed. In the year 588 it expe

ed » unto the Lord. rienced an earthquake in which 60,000 persons m Luke i. 66. - Chap. xv. 19. 1 Thess. i. 9. were destroyed. It was taken by the Saracens in A.D. 638, and after some changes and revolu- And the hand of the Lord. - See Note, Luke i. tions, it was taken during the crusades, after a 66. Comp. Psa. lxxx. 17. The meaning is, that long and bloody siege, by Godfrey of Bouillon, God showed them favour, and evinced his power June 3, A.D. 1098. In 1268 it was taken by the in the conversion of their hearers. sultan of Egypt, who demolished it, and placed it under the dominion of the Turk. Antioch is

| VER. 22. Then tidings of these things came unnow called Antakia, and contains about 10,000 inhabitants. Robinson's Calmet. Preaching the

to the ears of the church which was in Jeruxord.— The word of God, the gospel. To none salem : and they sent forth Barnabas, o that he but unto the Jews only. They had the common should go as far as Antioch. prejudices of the Jews, that the offers of salvation were to be made only to Jews.

o Chap. ix. 27. VER. 20. And some of them were men of Cy- |

Then tidings, &c.—The church at Jerusalem

heard of this. It was natural that so remarkprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come

able an occurrence as the conversion of the to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, 'preaching | Gentiles, and the extraordinary success of the the Lord Jesus.

gospel in a splendid and mighty city, should be

reported at Jerusalem, and excite deep interest 1 Chap. vi. 1; ix. 29.

there. And they sent forth.To aid the disciples Were men of Cyprus and Cyrene.-Were na

there, and to give them their sanction. They tives of Cyprus and Cyrene. Cyrene was a pro

| had done a similar thing in the revival which vince and city of Lybia in Africa. It is at pre

occurred in Samaria. Note, chap. viii. 14. sent called Cairoan, and is situated in the king

Barnabas. See chap. iv. 36, 37. He was a nadom of Barca. In Cyprus the Greek language

tive of Cyprus, and was probably well acquainted was spoken; and from the vicinity of Cyrene to

with Antioch. He was therefore peculiarly Alexandria, it is probable that the Greek lan

qualified for the work on which they sent him. guage was spoken there also. From this circumstance it might have happened that they VER, 23. Who, when he came, and had seen the were led more particularly to address the Gre grace of God, was glad, and exhorted 9 them cians who were in Antioch. It is possible, how

all, that with purpose' of: heart they would ever, that they might have heard of the vision which Peter saw, and felt themselves called on to

cleave unto the Lord. preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Spake unto

p John iii. 4.

q Chap. xiii. 43; xiv. 22. the Grecians, #poc Touc '

E nviaràg.--To the Psa. xvii. 2. 2 Cor. i. 17. Prov. xxiii. 15, 26. · Hellenists. This word usually denotes in the

New Testament those Jews residing in foreign Had seen the grace of God. The favour, or lands, who spoke the Greek language. See Note, mercy of God, in converting sinners to himself. chap. vi. 1. “But to them the gospel had been Was glad. - Approved of what had been done in already preached ; and yet in this place it is evi- preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, and rejoiced dently the intention of Luke to affirm, that the that God had poured out his Spirit on them. men of Cyprus and Cyrene preached to those | The effect of a revival is to produce joy in the who were not Jews, and that thus their conduct | bearts of all those who love the Saviour. And was distinguished from those (ver. 19) who exhorted them all.-Entreated them. They would preached to the Jews only. It is thus manifest | be exposed to many trials and temptations, and that we are here required to understand the Gen- | he sought to secure their affections in the cause tiles, as those who were addressed by the men of of religion. That with purpose of heart. With Cyprus and Cyrene. In many MSS. the word a firm mind; with a fixed, settled resolution ; used here is '

E nvac, Greeks, instead of Hel- that they would make this their settled plan of lenists. This reading has been adopted by | life, their main object. A purpose, 7063EO1C, is Griesbach, and is found in the Syriac, the Ara- la resolution of the mind, a plan, or intention. bic, the Vulgate, and in many of the fathers. | (Rom. viii, 28. Eph. i. 11; ii. 11. 2 Tim. i. 9 ; The Ethiopic version reads " to the Gentiles.” | iii. 10.) It is a resolution of the mind in regard There is no doubt that this is the true reading ; to future conduct, and the doctrine of Barnabas here was, undoubtedly, that it should be a regu- / possess those endowments which distinguished lar, fixed, determined plan, or design, in their Barnabas-a kind, tender, benevolent heart; deminds, that they would henceforward adhere to voted piety; the fulness of the Spirit's influence; God. This plan must be formed by all Chris- and strong, unwavering confidence in the protians in the beginning of their Christian life, and ( mises and power of God. And much people, without such a plan there can be no evidence of | Many people. Was added unto the Lord. --Bepiety. We may also remark that such a plan is came Christians. one of the heart. It is not simply of the understanding, but is of the entire mind, including the Ver. 25. Then " departed Barnabas to Tarsus, will and affections. It is the leading principle;

for to seek Saul : the strongest affection; the guiding purpose of the will to adhere to God. And unless this is

o Chap. ix, 27, 30. the prevalent, governing desire of the heart, there can be no evidence of conversion. That Then departed, &c.- Why Barnabas sought | they would cleave.—Greek, that they would re- Saul is not known. It is probable, however, main, i, e, that they would adhere constantly and that it was owing to the remarkable success faithfully attached to the Lord.

which he had in Antioch. There was a great

revival of religion; and there was need of addi- 11 VER. 24. For he was a good man, and full' of tional labour. In such scenes the ministers of the Holy Ghost, and of faith ; and much the gospel need additional help, as men in

harvest-time seek the aid of others. Saul was people was added unto the Lord.

in this vicinity, (chap. ix. 30,) and he was emi4 Chap. vi. 5.

u Ver. 21. nently fitted to aid in this work. With him

Barnabas was well acquainted, (Acts ix. 27,); For he was a good man.— This is given as a and probably there was no other one in that reason why he was so eminently successful. It is vicinity whom he could obtain. To Tarsus.not said that he was a man of distinguished ta- | Note, Acts ix. 11. lents, or learning; that he was a splendid or an imposing preacher ; but simply that he was a

VER. 26. And when he had found him, he brought pious, humble man of God. He was honest,

him unto Antioch. And it came to pass that and devoted to his master's work. We should not undervalue talent, eloquence, or learning in

a whole year they assembled themselves with the ministry ; but we may remark, that humble the church, and taught - much people. And piety will often do more in the conversion of the disciples were called Christians first in souls than the most splendid talents. No en

Antioch. dowments can be a substitute for this. The real power of a minister is concentrated in this ; and

w or, in.

Matt. xxviii. 19. without this his ministry will be barrenness and a curse. There is nothing on this earth so That a whole year.- Antioch was a city exmighty as goodness. If a man wished to make ceedingly important in its numbers, wealth, and the most of his powers, the true secret would be influence. It was for this reason, probably, that found in employing them for a good object, and they spent so long a time there, instead of trasuffering them to be wholly under the direction velling in other places. The attention of the of benevolence. John Howard's purpose to do apostles was early and chiefly directed to cities, good has made a more permanent impression on as being places of influence and centres of power. the interests of the world than the mad ambition | Thus Paul passed three years in the city of of Alexander or Cæsar. Perhaps the expression, Ephesus. (Acts xx. 31.) And thus he con"he was a good man," means that he was a mantinued a year and a half at Corinth. (Acts xviii. of a kind, amiable, and sweet disposition. Full | 11.) It may be added that the first churches of the Holy Ghost.-Was entirely under the in- | were founded in cities; and the most remarkable fiuence of the Holy Spirit. He was eminently success attended the preaching of the gospel in a pions man. This is the second qualification large towns. They assembled themselves, & mentioned of a good minister. He was not They came together for worship. With the merely exemplary for mildness and kindness of church.-Marg. in the church. The Greek (év) temper, but he was eminently a man of God. will bear this construction ; but there is no inHe was filled with the influences of the sacred stance in the New Testament where the word Spirit, producing zeal, love, peace, joy, &c. See church refers to the edifice in which a congreGal. v. 22, 23. Comp. Acts ï. 4, Note. And of | gation worships. It evidently here means that faith.-Confidence in the truth and promises of Barnabas and Saul convened with the Christian God. This is the third qualification mentioned ; | assembly at proper times, through the space of a and this was another cause of his success. He year, for the purposes of public worship. And confided in God. He trusted to his promises. the disciples were called Christians, &c. - As this He depended, not on his own strength, but on became the distinguishing name of the followers i the strength of the arm of God. With these qua- of Christ, it was worthy of record. The name lifications he engaged in his work, and he was was evidently given because they were the folsuccessful. These qualifications should be sought lowers of Christ. But by whom, or with what by the ministry of the gospel. Others should views, it was given, is not certainly known. not indeed be neglected, but a man's ministry Whether it was given by their enemies in deriwill usually be successful only as he seeks to sion, as the names Puritan, Quaker, Methodist,

« PreviousContinue »