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PREFACE TO THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

inspiration. However, not to insist on this, Luke's history of the Acts of the Apostles contains more internal marks of authenticity than any ancient heathen history extant. So that, considering it merely as a human composition, it is by far the most valuable ancient monument of the kind which the world is at present in possession of."-Macknight.

As to the style of this work, which was originally composed in Greek, it is much purer than that of the other canonical writers; and it is observable that Luke, who was much better acquainted with the Greek than the Hebrew language, always, in his quotations from the Old Testament, makes use of the Septuagint version. "Luke," says Mr. Blackwall, in his Sacred Classics, "is pure, copious, and flowing in his language, and has a wonderful and most entertaining variety of select circumstances in his narration. Both in his gospel and apostolical acts he is accurate and neat, clear and flowing, with a natural and easy grace; his style is admirably accommodated to the design of history. The narrative of the Acts is perspicuous and noble; the discourses inserted emphatical, eloquent, and sublime. He is justly applauded for his politeness and elegance by some critics, who seem to magnify him in order to depreciate the rest of the evangelists, when yet it is plain he has as many Hebraisms and peculiarities as any one of them."

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THE

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

CHAPTER I.

In this chapter, (1,) Luke connects this history with his gospel by a more particular account of the ascension of Christ than he had there given, 1–11. (2,) Speaks of the return of the disciples to Jerusalem, of their being assembled together, and employed in social prayer, 12–14. (3,) Represents Peter as relating the history of Judas's wickedness and ruin, in consequence of which Matthias is chosen by lot to be an apostle in his stead, 15–26.

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A. M. 4037. THE* former treatise have I made, || given commandments unto the apos- A. M. 4037. O a Theophilus, of all that Jesus tles whom he had chosen: began both to do and teach, 3 d To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking"

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2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had

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* Ascension Day, epistle, verse 1 to verse 12.—————a Luke i. 3. › Mark xvi. 19; Luke ix. 51; xxiv. 51; Verse 9; 1 Timothy iii. 16.

NOTES ON CHAPTER I.

© Matt. xxviii. 29; Mark xvi. 15; John xx. 21; Chap. x. 41, 42. d Mark xvi. 14; Luke xxiv. 36; John xx. 19, 20; xxi. 1, 14; 1 Cor. xv. 5.

ance on earth, to the last period of his abode upon Verses 1-3. The former treatise have I made,&c. || it; including also an account both of his life and -The treatise here referred to is undoubtedly the doctrine; after that he through the Holy Ghost— gospel, which was written by Luke, and dedicated || With which, as man, he was endowed without meaby him to Theophilus. See note on Luke i. 1, 2.|| sure, to qualify him for the important offices he had That treatise ends, and this begins, in that important to sustain, and the work he had to perform, in order season, which reached from the resurrection of to the redemption and salvation of mankind; had Christ to his ascension; this describing the acts of || given commandments to-Greek, evreihaμevos, had the Holy Ghost, (by the apostles,) as that does the solemnly charged; the apostles whom he had chosen acts of Jesus Christ; of all that Jesus began both to || --To be the prime ministers of his kingdom, and do and to teach—That is, of all things, in a summary || the chief instruments of extending it in the world. manner, or of the most considerable things which || To whom also-In order to fit them more completely Jesus did and taught from the beginning of his for the discharge of their important office, and to ministry. The reader will readily allow, that all, enable them to bear witness to his resurrection from in this verse, cannot mean every single one of the their own certain knowledge of its being a fact; he miracles and sermons which Jesus wrought and showed himself alive, after his passion, by many preached. For to suppose Luke asserted that, would || infallible proofs-Proofs that amounted to a demonbe to make him contradict the testimony of John.|stration, and could not possibly deceive them; for, See his gospel, chap. xx. 30, 31; xxi. 25. By all, "by speaking to, by walking, and by eating with here, we must understand, only all that was neces- them, he gave them a certain indication that he lived; sary or expedient to be related, in order to establish his being seen and handled by them was a sure evithe divine mission of Christ, to convince mankind || dence that he had a true and natural body; and his thereof, and to awaken their minds to a deep sense permitting Thomas to view the scars of his feet and of the importance of it, in order to their salvation, || hands, and put his hand into his side, was a certain that it might be duly improved, and so answer its in- token that the body, which was raised, was the tended end upon them. Until the day in which he || same that was crucified and pierced by the soldier's was taken up-This implies, that Luke considered lance." Being seen of them forty days-That is, himself as having given, in his former treatise, an || many times during that space. He continued on account of the manner in which Christ had opened earth forty days after he rose, and in the several inthe gospel, and confirmed it, from his first appear-terviews which he had with his disciples during that

Luke rehearses his former history

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dom of God:

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A. M. 4037. of the things pertaining to the king- || 5 For John truly baptized with A. M. 4037. water; h 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? 7 And he said unto them, 'It is not for you

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

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e Luke xxiv. 43, 49.1 Or, eating together with them. f Luke xxiv. 49; John xiv. 16, 26, 27; xv. 26; xvi. 7; Chap. ii. 33.-—g Matt. iii. 11 - Matt. iii. 11; Chap. xi. 16; xix. 4.

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period, he gave them convincing proofs of his resur-xliv. 26: but Christ can do more than any of his rection ; and speaking of the things pertaining to the ministers. It is an honour to them to be employed kingdom of God-Discoursing to them from time to in dispensing the means of grace, but it is his prerotime concerning that divine kingdom, or dispensation gative to give the Spirit of grace. Now this gift of the of religion, which he was going to erect in the world|| Holy Ghost, thus promised, thus prophesied of, thus by their ministry. He discoursed to them, doubt- || waited for, is that which the apostles received ten less, "of teaching the doctrine of this kingdom to all days after, namely, at the approaching pentecost, as is nations, and receiving them into it by baptism who recorded in the next chapter. Several other scripbelieved and professed to own it; of the benefits tures speak of the gift of the Holy Ghost to ordinary which were promised to them who cordially believed || believers; this speaks of that particular power which, their doctrine; and the condemnation which be- || by the Holy Ghost, the first preachers of the gospel, longed to them who would not believe it; of the and planters of the church, were endowed with, encouragements and assistances he would afford || enabling them infallibly to relate to that age, and them in the propagation of it by his continual pre-record to posterity, the doctrine of Christ, and the sence with them, and the assistance of his Spirit; and by the miracles by which their doctrine should be confirmed by them and others who believed it."— Whitby.

proofs of it: so that by virtue of this promise, and the performance of it, we receive the New Testament as of divine inspiration, and venture our souls upon it.

Verses 6-8. When they, therefore, were come together-That is, after he had led them out of the town to the mount of Olives, and was come to that part of the mountain which was above Bethany, (see Luke xxiv. 50,) being full of expectation, that he had brought them thither with a view to some remarkable transaction; they asked him, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?-Wilt thou now break the Roman yoke from off our necks, and immediately erect the king

Verses 4, 5. Being assembled together with them -Namely, at Jerusalem, to which place they had gone to prepare themselves for the feast of pentecost, or rather, in obedience to Christ's command, who, after he had met them in Galilee, had appointed || them to meet him there, that he might spend his last days on earth in that once holy city, doing this last honour to the place where God had chosen to dwell,|| and where the most solemn ordinances of his worship had been administered. He commanded that they should wait for the promise of the Father-dom of the Messiah? Their minds were still full That is, for the accomplishment of the promise of a temporal kingdom to be erected by Christ, in made by the Father, to send his Holy Spirit upon which the Jews should have dominion over all nathe disciples of the Messiah. See note on Luke tions; and "they seem to have expected, that when xxiv. 49. Which, saith he, ye have heard of me— the Spirit was in so extraordinary a manner poured Often and lately. See John xiv. 26; xv. 26; xvi. 7. out, and the world, according to Christ's prediction, For John baptized with water only, when he was (John xvi. 8,) convinced of sin, of righteousness, sent to call men to repentance; but ye shall be bap- and of judgment, the whole nation of the Jews tized with the Holy Ghost-There is a nobler bap- would own him for their Messiah, and not only tism prepared for you, and which you shall receive shake off its subjection to the Romans, but itself from me, to furnish you for the great work to which rise to very extensive, and, perhaps, universal doI have commissioned you, of preaching repentance minion. The word aroкabıçavɛiç, [here rendered || αποκαθιςανεις, and remission of sins in my name; and which bap- || wilt thou restore,] intimates the shattered and weaktism you shall receive not many days hence-He does ened state in which Israel now was. And I cannot not tell them how many, because he would have them but think," says Dr. Doddridge, "our Lord's anto keep themselves every day in a state of mind fit swer may intimate, it should at length be restored, to receive it, a disposition of humility, desire, and though not immediately, or with all the circumexpectation of the blessing. It was a great honour || stances they imagined." And he-Waving a direct which Christ did John now, in not only quoting his answer to this curious question, and leaving it to the words, but making this great blessing of the Spirit, Spirit of truth and wisdom, which was shortly to be soon to be given, to be the accomplishment of them. given, to rectify the mistaken notions on which they Thus he confirmed the word of his servants, Isa.proceeded in it; said, It is not for you, &c.—It wil?

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Jesus Christ, in the presence of

CHAPTER I.

his apostles, ascends to heaven.

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not be of any use to you, in your work; to know the not see him in heaven while they continued on earth, times or the seasons-Of the restoration of the king- || he granted them the favour of seeing him go up todom to Israel. Besides, this is one of the things ward heaven, and of having their eyes fixed upon which the Father hath thought fit to conceal from || him with so much care and intention of mind, that mortals, in the abyss of his own omniscience. This they could not be deceived. Observe, reader, our only is of importance for you to know, that you shall || Lord ascended into heaven from the mount of Olives, receive power-Fortitude, strength, and ability; after at or near the place where he had been apprehended that the Holy Ghost is come upon you-In his various and bound, and from whence he had been led away gifts and graces; and by these aids ye shall be wit- like a felon to be tried for his life, insulted, scourged, nesses unto me—Both by word and deed, by preach- and condemned to crucifixion! He now goes off in ing and suffering, and by various miracles, which triumph from the same mountain, into a place and you shall be enabled to perform; both in Jerusalem || state worthy of his innocence and dignity. And and in all Judea, &c.-1st, You must begin at Jeru- while they looked steadfastly toward heaven—That salem, where the Holy Spirit shall be poured out is, continued with their eyes fixed the way that he upon you in his extraordinary gifts, in the presence was gone; as he went up-In his triumphant ascent ; of multitudes of its inhabitants, and of strangers || behold two men-Two angels in the form of men; assembled there to celebrate the feast of pentecost;|| stood by them-Unexpectedly. Though they had where you shall be enabled to do many miracles, and || assumed the form and garb of men, they were, by where many will receive your testimony, and they that do not will be left without excuse. 2d, Your light shall from thence shine through all Judea; where before you laboured in vain. 3d, Thence you shall proceed to Samaria, though at your first mission you were forbidden to preach in any of the cities of the Samaritans. 4th, Your usefulness shall not be confined to these countries, but shall be extended to the utmost part of the earth, and you shall be blessings to the whole world.

the majesty and splendour of their appearance, known of the apostles to be angels. And, indeed, as his resurrection had been honoured with the appearance of angels, it was natural to think that his ascension into heaven would be so likewise; in white apparel-Emblematical of their holiness and happiness; which also said, Ye men of Galilee-So they call them, to put them in mind of the meanness of their original condition: Christ had put a great honour upon them, in making them his ambassadors; Verses 9-11. And when he had spoken these but they must remember they are men of Galilee, things-Had given them these instructions; while illiterate and despised by the wise and learned of the they beheld—And had their eyes fixed upon him, world. Why stand ye here, gazing up into heaven with great earnestness and high expectation of some -With so much surprise and amazement? It seems, extraordinary event, consequent on this solemn pre- they looked up steadfastly after he was gone out of paration, and while they were receiving his blessing,|| sight, expecting, perhaps, to see him come down (Luke xxiv. 51,) he was taken up-Was lifted up again immediately. This same Jesus, which is taken from the ground, in a miraculous manner, gradually up into heaven-Who is gone to that world from rising higher and higher, till at length a cloud-Con- || whence he came, and in which he is to make his ducted probably by the ministry of angels; received final abode; shall so come as you have seen him go him out of their sight-That is, covered him about, || into heaven-He shall come in like manner, that is, and carried him into heaven; not in a sudden, but || visible, in a cloud, in his own person, with the same leisurely manner, that they might behold him de- body, and with such majesty and glory as you have parting, and see the proof of his having come down now seen him ascend with. "The angels spake of his from heaven. He did not grant his disciples the coming to judge the world at the last day, a descripprivilege of seeing him come out of the grave, be- || tion of which Jesus had given in his lifetime, saying, cause they might see him after he was risen, which (Matt. xvi. 27,) The Son of man shall come in the would be a satisfaction sufficient; but as they could || glory of his Father, &c. We may therefore infer

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The apostles continue in prayer

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12 ¶ "Then returned they unto Je- || Zelotes, and a Judas the brother. of A. M. 4037. rusalem, from the mount called Olivet, || James. which is from Jerusalem3 a sabbath day's journey.

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14 b These all continued with one accord 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 together were about a hundred and twenty,)

* Luke xxiii. 49, 55; xxiv. 10.—d Matt. xiii. 55.—————* St. Matthias's Day, epistle, verse 15 to the end.- Le Rev. iii. 4.

on his stupendous undertaking with high ravishment, while they are feasting without interruption on its sweet fruits, ever growing more delicious. The rest of the members likewise of the city of God will contemplate it with perpetual pleasure, as the happy means of recovering their kindred that were lost; and, it may be, as the grand confirmation of the whole rational system, in their subjection to him who liveth and reigneth for ever, and whose favour is better than life.”—Macknight.

the midst of enemies; but it seems, though immediately after Christ's resurrection they were watched, and were in fear of the Jews, yet after it was known that they were gone into Galilee, no notice was taken of their return to the city, nor any further search made for them. In Jerusalem they employed themselves in a daily course of public and private devotion, rejoicing in what they had seen and heard, and firmly believing some extraordinary event was at hand, whereby they should be more fully qualified for the great work assigned them; which, whatever the hazard of it might be, they were firmly determined to undertake and prosecute.

that the cloud whereon he now ascended, being like || Son of God, will view their deliverer, and look back that in which he is to come again, was more bright and pure than the clearest lambent flame; for it was the glory of the Father, that is, the shechinah, or visible symbol of the divine presence, which appeared to the patriarchs in ancient times; which filled the temple at its dedication, (2 Chron. vii. 3,) || and which, in its greatest splendour, cannot be be- || held with mortal eyes, and so, for that reason, is called the light inaccessible, in which God dwells, 1 Tim. vi. 16. It was on this occasion, probably, that our Lord's body was changed, acquiring the Verse 12. Then returned they unto Jerusalem--glories of immortality, perhaps, in the view of his || According to their Master's appointment, having first disciples; for flesh and blood, such as he rose with,|| worshipped him, Luke xxiv. 52. Here they were in cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Accordingly, the body which he now has is called a glorious body, and declared to be of the same nature with that which the saints shall have after their resurrec- || tion, Phil. iii. 21. Wherefore, though the Scripture is silent as to the time when this change passed upon Christ's body, we must suppose that it hap-|| pened either immediately before his ascension, or in || the time of it, or soon after it. As he ascended up into the skies, the flaming cloud which surrounded him, leaving a tract of light behind it, marked his passage through the air, but gradually lost its mag-|| nitude in the eyes of them who stood below, till, soaring high, he and it vanished out of their sight. Verses 13, 14. When they were come, they went "In this illustrious manner did the Saviour depart,|| up into an upper room-Where they usually held after having finished the grand work which he came their meetings. The upper rooms, so frequently down upon earth to execute; a work which God || mentioned in Scripture, were chambers in the highhimself, in the remotest eternity, contemplated with || est part of the houses, set apart by the Jews for pripleasure; which angels anciently with joy described vate prayer. These, on account of their being so as to happen; and which, through all eternity to retired and convenient, the apostles now used for all come, shall, at periods the most immensely distant the offices of religion. Here all the eleven were from the time of its execution, be looked back upon assembled, who all continued with one accord in with inexpressible delight by every inhabitant of || prayer and supplication—And that with great inheaven. For though the little affairs of time may tenseness and ardour of soul; with the womenvanish altogether and be lost, when they are re- Who were formerly mentioned as attending the moved far back by the endless progression of dura- cross of their Lord, and being early at the sepulchre tion, this object is such, that no distance, however || on the day in which he arose; and Mary the mother great, can lessen it. The kingdom of God is erected || of Jesus-Mentioned here the last time in the Scripupon the incarnation and sufferings of the Son of tures; and with his brethren-His near kinsmen, God, the kingdom and city of God comprehending || who for some time did not believe; probably not till all the virtuous beings that are in the universe, made near, or even after, the time of his death. nappy by goodness and love; and therefore none of Verse 15. In those days-While they were waitthem can ever forget the foundation on which their ing for the promise of the Spirit; Peter stood up in happiness stands firmly established. In particular, || the midst of the disciples-Probably being under a the human species, recovered by this labour of the || peculiar divine influence on this occasion The

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