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keepers with great fear; thus causing them to re- maus; who, immediately returning to Jerusalem, move to such a distance, as to remain unnoticed by || relate it to the other disciples, and are not credited, the women and others hereafter, Matt. xxviii. 2-4. || Matt. xvi. 12, 13; Luke xxiv. 13–36. The last time After his resurrection, many bodies of the saints rise of his being seen on the day of his resurrection, from their graves, and are seen by many in Jerusa- || being the fifth, was by the apostles as they sat at lem, Matt. xxvii. 52, 53. Mary Magdalene, Mary meat in the absence of Thomas, 1 Cor. xv. 5; the mother of James, Salome, Joanna, and other Mark xvi. 14–18; Luke xxiv. 36-49; John xx. 19–23. women, (Mark xvi. 1; Luke xxiv. 1; John xx. 1,) This concludes the great and glorious transactions of go very early to the sepulchre, intending to embalm the important day on which Jesus rose from the dead. the body of Jesus, (having bought spices the prece- || About the eighth day after his resurrection, he again, ding evening for that purpose.) In their way they the sixth time, appears to his disciples, when Thomas consult about removing the stone from the door of was present, John xx. 24-29. His seventh appearthe sepulchre. Perceiving it already taken away, ance occurs between the eighth and fortieth day, at they enter into the sepulchre, yet find not the body the sea of Tiberias, to his disciples, (Matt. xxviii. 16; of the Lord Jesus, Mark xvi. 3-5; Luke xxiv. 2, 3;|| John xxi. 1–24,) and his eighth, to them upon the John xx. 1. Mary Magdalene, hastily returning to mountain in Galilee, Matť. xxviii. 16–20. Paul (1 Cor. Jerusalem, relates to Peter and John that they had|| xv. 6) relates his having been seen of above five huntaken the Lord out of the sepulchre, John xx. 2. || dred brethren at once, many of whom, at the time of The other women remaining in the sepulchre, two || his writing this epistle, were living witnesses to this angels appear unto them, and one of them requests || the ninth appearance. His tenth is to James; and his the women to inform the disciples, and Peter in par- final appearance, being the eleventh, is to the aposticular, that Jesus was risen, &c., Matt. xxviii. 5-7;|| tles, on the ascension, 1 Cor. xv. 7; Acts i. 3–12; Mark xvi. 4–7; Luke xxiv. 4-8. The women return || Mark xvi. 19, 20; Luke xxiv. 50–53. from the sepulchre, relate these things to the apos- Verse 25. And there are also many other things tles, and are discredited, Matt. xxviii. 8; Mark xvi. 8;|| which Jesus did—Many which none of the evangelLuke xxiv. 8–11. Peter and John having heard || ists have recorded; which, if they should be written Mary Magdalene's report of his having been taken every one-Every fact, and all the circumstances away, and the women's of his having risen, run to thereof; I suppose-This expression, which softens the sepulchre, and find the body removed according the hyperbole, (if this be one,) shows that John to their information, and wondering at what was wrote this verse; the world itself could not contain come to pass, return home, Luke xxiv. 12; John || the books that should be written-The construction xx. 3-10. The resurrection having been stated to of this verse, in our present translation, is fully justithe disciples at Jerusalem at this period, (Luke fied by adducing from the Old Testament expressions xxiv. 22–24,) Cleophas and his companion leave their || equally hyperbolical. Thus Exod. iii. 8, the land of brethren to go to Emmaus. Mary Magdalene goes Canaan is said to flow with milk and honey. Num. again to the sepulchre, tarries there after the apos-xiii. 33, the spies, who returned from searching the tles, (John xx. 11,) and converses with the two land of Canaan, say they saw giants there of such a angels who had before appeared to the women. prodigious size, that they were, in their own sight, Turning herself back, she perceives Jesus, who as grasshoppers. Judges vii. 12, the Midianites, gradually makes himself known unto her; she con- &c., are said to lie along in the valley like grasssequently hastens to the city, and announces this his hoppers, and their camels to be as the sand by the first appearance to the disciples, but they believe || sea-shore for multitude. 1 Kings x. 27, Solomon is not, Mark xvi. 9-11; John xx. 11-18. The other said to make silver be in Jerusalem as stones. The women, having told the disciples of his resurrection, reader may find more examples of such hyperboles, continue in the city, while Peter and John visit, both in sacred and profane authors, in a note of and Mary Magdalene revisits, the sepulchre: they|| Bishop Pearce on this text. Such expressions are then go back again, and upon finding it deserted, not unusual in the magnificent luxuriance of the return toward Jerusalem. On their way, Jesus oriental style, though rarely occurring in the simple, meets and requests them to direct his disciples to artless narrations of the apostles. Thus understood, depart into Galilee, Matt. xxviii. 9, 10. This is his the clause simply means, that Jesus performed a second appearance. The guards about this time prodigious number of miracles. The text may, leave the neighbourhood of the sepulchre, and in- nevertheless, be considered in a sense somewhat form the Jewish rulers of what had occurred within || different. This evangelist frequently uses the word their knowledge, Matt. xxviii. 11-15. According to Paul, (1 Cor. xv. 5,) the third appearance is to Cephas; and the fourth, to the two who some time prior to this left their brethren to proceed to EmVOL. I. ( 43 )

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world in a general sense, to denote its inhabitants, as chap. viii. 26, and in other places, (see chap. xv 18,) as signifying the carnal and unbelieving part of mankind. The Greek word xwpew, here translated 673

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CONCLUSION OF THE GOSPELS.

contain, is not only used in that sense, but, when || the entertainment of the heavenly world, to learn applied to the mind, denotes the reception and un- || from our blessed Lord himself, or from those who derstanding of any thing, and is rendered to this conversed with him on earth, a multitude of such purpose, Matt. xix. 11, 12; and Philemon 15. By particulars of his life as will be well worthy our adopting these observations the text may be under- || everlasting admiration. In the mean time, let us stood to mean, I am persuaded the world itself || praise God for what is recorded, and let us study the would not receive the books that should be written; || sacred records which contain such authentic and exact which is Doddridge's translation. Whitby, Chand- || accounts of those important facts, in which we are all ler, and many others, have supported this construc- so nearly concerned; records incomparably more valtion. According to it John informs us, that if all uable than the writings of our private estates, or the the miracles which Jesus performed were written, || charters of our public liberties. Let us earnestly pray, the world itself could not receive the books, could || that their great design may be answered in us; and not believe them, because they would appear abso- | make it our importunate request to Him, who is the lutely incredible. But to this interpretation it may || giver of all grace, that through the operations of that be objected, that the phrase, avтov тоv коσμоv, the || Holy Spirit, (without the influence of which, even world itself, cannot mean the men of the world, for || the Scripture itself, with all our advantages for unwhich reason the first sense, it seems, is to be pre-derstanding and improving it, will be but a sealed ferred. I agree perfectly," says Dr. Campbell, book, or a dead letter,) our faith may be nourished "with those interpreters who think that the hyper-and confirmed by every portion of it which we read. bole contained in this verse is much more tolerable || And let us, above all, be concerned that our hearts than the torture to which some critics have put may be so influenced by his word, and, as it were, the words, in order to make them speak a different delivered into the mould of it, that, believing in sense." Christ, under all the characters he bears, we may have life through his name, and may at length receive the end of our faith in the complete salvation of our souls." Amen! So may it be to the author of this work, and to all that do or may peruse it!

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"Perhaps,” says the pious Dr. Doddridge, referring to what St. John here declares respecting the many other things done by Jesus, which have not been recorded, "it may be a most delightful part of

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CONCLUSION OF THE GOSPELS.

THUS endeth the History of the Life of Christ; a life, the greatest and best that ever was led by man, or ever was the subject of any history. The human character of Jesus, as it results from the accounts which the evangelists have given of him, (for they have not formally drawn it,) is entirely different from that of all other men whatsoever. For whereas they have the selfish passions deeply rooted in their breasts, and are wont to be more or less influenced by them in most of their actions, Jesus was so entirely free from them, that the narrowest scrutiny cannot furnish one single action in the whole course of his life, wherein he consulted his own honour or interest. The glory of God and happiness of mankind were what he had only at heart. And while his cotemporaries followed, some one kind of occupation, and some another, Jesus had no other business but that of promoting these great ends of living. He went about doing good. He did not wait till he was solicited, but sought opportunities of conferring benefits on such as stood in need of them, and always reckoned it more blessed to give than to receive; in which respect he differed exceedingly from the rest 674

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of mankind, and was much more like to God than man. In the next place, whereas it is common, even for persons of the most exalted faculties, on the one hand, to be elated with success and applause, and on the other, to be dejected with great disappointments, it was not so with Jesus. He was never more courageous than when he met with the greatest opposition and the worst treatment, nor more humble than when men fell down and worshipped him. He came into the world inspired with the grandest purpose that ever was or will be formed, even that of saving, not a single nation only, but the whole world; and in the execution of it went through the heaviest train of labours that ever was sustained, and that with a constancy of resolution on which no disadvantageous impression could be made by any accident whatever; calumny, threatenings, opposition, with the other evils befalling him, served only to quicken his endeavours in this glorious enterprise, which he pursued unweariedly till he finished it by his death. In the third place, whereas most men are prone to retaliate the injuries that are done them, and all seem to take a satisfaction in complaining of ( 43* )

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CONCLUSION OF THE GOSPELS.

the injuries of those who oppress them, the whole || self touched with the character of Jesus in general, of Christ's behaviour breathed nothing but meek- or with any of his sermons and actions in particular, ness, patience, and forgiveness, even to his bitterest || thus simply delineated in writings whose principal enemies, and in the midst of extreme sufferings. charms are the beauties of truth;-above all, if The words, Father, forgive them, for they know not|| Christ's dying so generously for men strikes him what they do, uttered by him when his enemies || with admiration, or fills him with joy, in the aswere nailing him to the cross, fitly express the tem- surance or prospect of that pardon which is thereby per which he maintained through the whole course purchased for the world,-let him seriously consider of his life, even when assaulted by the heaviest with himself what improvement he ought to make provocations. The truth is, on no occasion did he || of the divine goodness. ever signify the least resentment by speech or action, Jesus, by his death, has set open the gates of imnor indeed any emotion of mind whatever, except mortality to men; and by his word, Spirit, and such as flowed from piety and charity, consequently example, graciously offers to make them meet for, such only as expressed the deepest concern for the and conduct them into, the inheritance of the saints welfare of mankind. To conclude, the greatest and in light. Wherefore, being born under the dispenbest men have had failings which darkened the lustre sation of his gospel, we have, from our earliest years, of their virtues, and showed them to have been men. || enjoyed the best means of acquiring wisdom, holiThis was the case with Noah, Abraham, Moses, Job,|| ness, and happiness, the lineaments of the image of Solomon, Paul, and the other eminent men celebrated God. We have been called to aspire after an exin history. The same thing may be said of all the altation to the nature and felicity of God, set before greatest geniuses in the heathen world, who under-mortal eyes in the man Jesus Christ, to fire us with took to instruct and inform mankind; for, omitting || the noblest ambition. His gospel teaches us that we the narrowness of their knowledge, and the obscurity || are made for eternity; and that our present life is to with which they spake upon the most important || our after existence, what childhood is to man's estate. subjects, there was not one of them who did not fall || But, as in childhood, many things are to be learned, into some gross error or other, which dishonoured many hardships to be endured, many habits to be his character as a teacher. The accounts we have acquired, and that by a tedious course of exercises, in history of the most renowned sages of antiquity, which in themselves, though painful, and, it may be, and the writings of the philosophers still remaining,|| useless to the child, yet are necessary to fit him for are proofs of this. It was otherwise with Jesus in the business and enjoyments of manhood: just so, every respect. For he was superior to all the men while we remain in this infancy of human life, things that ever lived, both in the sublimity of his doctrine, are to be learned, hardships to be endured, and a and in the purity of his manners. He was holy, He was holy, conformity to God, and a participation of the divine harmless, and separate from sinners. Whether nature to be attained, to fit us for the employments you consider him as a teacher or a man, he did no|| and pleasures of our riper existence above. Our sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. His Father, ever mindful of us, sent down Jesus, the whole life was perfectly free from spot or weakness, express image of his own person, to initiate us into, at the same time that it was remarkable for the and carry us through, this course of education for greatest and most extensive exercises of virtue. eternity. Inflamed, therefore, with the love of im|| mortality and its joys, let us submit ourselves to our heavenly Teacher, and learn of him those graces which alone can make life pleasant, death desirable, and fill eternity with ecstatic joys. See Mac

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Such was the person who is the subject of the evangelical history. If the reader, by viewing his life, doctrine, and miracles, as they are here presented to him in the gospels, has obtained a clearer || notion of these things than before; if he feels him- || knight.

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PREFACE

ΤΟ THE

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

THIS book, containing a history of Christ's infant church, and connecting the gospels and the epistles, according to the testimony of the most ancient Christian writers, was composed by the Evangelist Luke: indeed, it is a second part of, or supplement to, his gospel, as appears from the beginning of it, being addressed to his friend Theophilus, as his former work had been. The exact time when it was written cannot be fully ascertained: but, as the narrative is continued to the end of the second year of Paul's imprisonment at Rome, at whatever time it was begun, it could not have been finished earlier than A. D. 63; and, if it had been written much later, it is probable it would have carried the story further, and have recorded events subsequent to that period, and in par ticular would have informed us of the issue of Paul's imprisonment, a subject in which every Christian reader cannot but find himself greatly interested. But though this history comprehends only a period of about thirty years, it contains satisfactory information concerning a variety of most important matters. After a brief recapitulation of the evangelical history, and a continuation of the history of Christ, it shows us the event of his predictions, and gives us a kind of supplement to what he had before spoken to his disciples. We here see the accomplishment of several of the promises which he had made them; his ascension; the descent of the Holy Ghost in his miraculous gifts; the first preaching of the apostles, and the miracles whereby their doctrines were confirmed; an admirable picture of the manners of the primitive Christians; and, in short, every thing that passed in the church till the dispersion of the apostles, who separated themselves in order to propagate the gospel throughout the world. It contains also the seeds and first stamina of all those things which are enlarged upon in the epistles. The gospels treat of Christ the Head; and delineate his doctrine and example, attest his miracles, and describe his labours and sufferings :-this book exhibits the faith and practice, the labours and sufferings, of the members of his mystical body, animated by his Spirit, persecuted by the world, as he was, but defended and exalted by God.

It must not be supposed, however, that Luke intended this to be a complete history of the Christian Church, even during that short period of time comprehended in his narrative. For, though it is entitled THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, it gives no further account of the acts of most of them than what preceded or immediately followed the day of pentecost. It is almost wholly confined to the acts, or rather the labours and sufferings, of two of them, namely, of Peter and Paul. And the history of the former, even of these, is pursued no further than the time of his imprisonment by Herod, his miraculous deliverance out of prison, and the death of that monarch. The apostles having about that time departed from Judea, and gone forth to carry the gospel into different countries, Luke quits their history, even that of Peter, who was then at too great a distance from him, and confines himself more particularly to that of Paul, of the extraordinary circumstances attending whose conversion he has given a most striking and interesting account. He records, however, some particulars of the history of Stephen, the first martyr, of Philip, Barnabas, Silas, and some other apostolic men, who, though not of the twelve, yet were endued with the same spirit, and successfully employed in the same work, of evangelizing the world. But the history of Paul is pursued at a much greater length than that of any other servant of Christ mentioned in this narrative; the author being his fellow-traveller and attendant in most of his missions, journeys, and voyages, having even accompanied him when he carried the collections, made in various places, to the saints in Judea, where he abode during the apostle's two years' imprisonment at Jerusalem and Cesarea, and no doubt was present at his trials

PREFACE TO THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

before Felix and Festus, and heard the speeches which he has recorded in this history. And when the apostle was sent a prisoner to Italy, Luke accompanied him in the voyage, and remained with him in Rome till he was released. Lastly, he was with the apostle also during his second imprisonment in the same city; and, when his other assistants deserted him through fear, this excellent person abode with him and ministered to him, 2 Tim.iv.11; during which time it is probable he composed this narrative. See the preface to Luke's gospel. As a further proof that Luke did not intend this to be a complete history of the Christian Church, we may observe, that he is silent concerning all the transactions of the church at Jerusalem, after the dispersion of the apostles and the conversion of St. Paul; that he omits to record some of that apostle's journeys, as for instance that into Arabia, mentioned Gal. i. 17; several of his voyages; his suffering shipwreck thrice, as mentioned in the second epistle to the Corinthians; and many of his other sufferings, spoken of in his epistles. Nor does he give us any account of the propagation of the gospel and establishment of Christianity in Egypt, Babylonia, Parthia, or in any other country where the Greek or Latin language was not spoken.

In this invaluable book, however, the gospel is fully confirmed, the true Christian doctrine set forth, and the proper method of applying it to Jews, heathen, and believers, that is, to those who are to be converted, and those who are converted, is shown: the hinderances of it in particular men, in several kinds of men, in different ranks and nations, are manifested: the propagation of the gospel, and the grand revolution consequent thereon, among both Jews and heathen, are attested and displayed; as also the victory thereof, in spite of all opposition from all the power, malice, and wisdom of the whole world; spreading from one chamber into temples, houses, streets, markets, fields, inns, prisons, camps, courts, chariots, ships, villages, cities, islands; to Jews, heathen, magistrates, generals, soldiers, eunuchs, captives, slaves, women, children, sailors; to Athens, and at length to Rome. It appears from all this, that, setting aside the consideration of its divine inspiration, this history of the Acts of the Apostles, as a history of the first planting of the Christian religion in the world, is a most valuable work, were it only on account of the variety and importance of the transactions recorded in it, and its certain authenticity;—the effect of the perfect integrity of the author, and the thorough knowledge which he had of the facts that he relates, as being an eye-witness of at least the greater part of them. But it is valuable, also, on account of the manner in which they are related: "For the circumstances of each transaction are selected with judgment, and told in a simplicity and elegance of language truly admirable. And the whole is comprised in a short, but perspicuous narration, which cannot fail to give pleasure to every reader who is a judge of elegant writing. Further, the Acts being a history of persons who travelled through the most civilized and best-known provinces of the Roman empire, for the purpose of preaching the gospel, the historian was naturally led to mention a variety of particulars relating to the geography of those countries, to their political state at that time, to the persons who governed them, and to the manners of their inhabitants. The learned, therefore, from the time of the publication of this history, have had an opportunity of examining all these particulars; and, on the most accurate investigation, they have found them confirmed by the contemporary heathen writers of the best credit, whose writings still remain. Nor is this all. In the Acts there are speeches recorded, said to have been pronounced by persons of the highest character and rank; which are not, like the speeches in most other ancient histories, the production of the historian's own imagination, but the real speeches of the persons to whom they are attributed; such as the speeches delivered by the Apostle Peter on different occasions; by Gamaliel, an eminent Jewish doctor; by the protomartyr, Stephen, when arraigned before the sanhedrim; by the Apostle Paul, in the synagogue of Antioch, and to the Lystrians, and to the senate of the Areopagus at Athens, and to the sanhedrim: also, a letter of Claudius Lysias to the governor Felix, and a speech of the orator Tertullus, in accusation of Paul before the same Felix; Paul's answer to that accusation; Festus the governor's speech to King Agrippa, the chief captains, and the principal men of Cesarea, assembled to hear Paul; Paul's defence, pronounced in the hearing of that august assembly: in all which, the characters, and sentiments, and style of the different speakers are so distinctly marked, that no one who reads them, and is capable to judge of such matters, can doubt of their being genuine. These circumstances united form a convincing proof that the history of the Acts was written, as it professeth to be, by a person who was present at most of the transactions which he hath recorded. And with respect to such of the speeches as he had not an opportunity of hearing, they may have been made known to him by those who heard them, or by

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