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bad secreted, and where they lay. The plunder was found; and thus, full proof of his guilt being had, the unhappy man was stoned, and then burned, together with the booty, and his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his asses, his sheep, tent, and all that he had, in the valley of Achor (trouble), in the valley, that is, which was after this event so named; thus denoting the sad event, with its cause, which there took place (see Josh. vii. 25; comp. Hos. ii. 13. Isa. lxv. 10).
ACHAIA (G.) — originally termed JEg'mlea, or ' the coast' — denoted, in its narrower application, the strip of land which stretches along the north-west of the Peloponnesus; but, in a wider sense, indicated the entire country of Greece (except Theasaly): in the time to which the narratives of the New Testament refer, it was a province under the government of Bome; having given name to all Greece from the time when the Achcans took the lead, and the Acheean league was formed, in the year 140 before Christ . Greece, under the Romans, was strictly divided into two provinces, Macedonia' and Achaia: the first comprised the country to the north; the second, the country to the south of a line drawn from the Sinus Ambracius to the Sinus Maliacus; that is, from the Gulf of Arta to that of Volo.
There were two kinds of provinces under the Roman empire — the senatorial and the imperial. A senatorial province was governed by a proconsul, appointed by the senate; an imperial province was governed by a procurator, appointed by the emperor. At first, Achaia was a senatorial province; Tiberius changed it into an imperial one; but it was given back by Claudius to the senate. To this latter period Gallio belongs (Actsxviii. 12. Rom. xv. 26. 2 Cor. ix. 2. 1 Thess. i. 7, 8), who is denominated in the Acts proconsul, with a strict propriety, which proves that the author wrote from actual knowledge, in a ease where changes, at no distant intervals, might have convicted an impostor of fraud.
ACHMETHA (C. summer place), a fortified place in Media, that some identify with Eebatana, the chief city of Media, which was a summer's residence of the Median kings (Ezra vi. 2).
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, THE.— A work which is commonly accounted the fifth historical book of the New Testament, and details the foundation of the Christian church after the resurrection of Christ. The titles, which the scriptural compositions bear, rest not on the authority of the authors of those books, but were added at a later period. So the title, 'the Acts, or doings, of the Apostles,' has in itself no authority; nor is it a correct description of the book to which it is prefixed, since that writing relates only a part of the acts of the apostles; after a certain period, almost exclusively those of Paul. Indeed, Peter and Paul are the two
great personages which appear in the work —
Peter, from chap. ii. toxii.; Paul, from chap, xiii. to xxviii: other actors are only occasional and subordinate. The book, in reality, contains a brief, and by no means complete, account of the rise, growth, and spread of the primitive church of Christ. Its contents, however, render its worth inestimable. Though it does not furnish all we might desire, we do not mend our position, by gratuitous assumptions and false pretensions. It is the duty of the Christian, as well as the man, to take God's bounties as they are offered to him, and improve them to the utmost. God's wisdom and goodness are frequently displayed even more in withholding than in giving.
The passages are numerous which serve to show that the object of the work is what we have indicated; but the words of the risen Saviour (Acts i. 8), —' Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon yon, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth,'—set forth, at the same time, the great object of the apostles' lives, and the great purpose which the author of the book had before him. A brief outline of the contents of ' The Acts' will show both its value, and the truth of the remark we have just made.
Having referred to the former treatise, that is, the Gospel according to St. Luke, and given a very brief summary of its contents, the author proceeds to take up the thread of the narrative at the point where it had been dropped. And here the importance of the work appears incalculable. The scattered disciples are found united. What has brought them together? Here is the hinge on which the history and the fate of Christianity turned. How happy a thing is it that we have the statement and testimony of a trustworthy historian! Whence grew the church of Christ? From visions and dreams ? — from fanaticism ? — from selfishness ? — from a love of power? It grew from a fact: this was the grain of mustard-seed,— the fact that Christ had risen from the tomb, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. The writer states most explicitly the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He adds visible proofs of his existence and benign activity; for Jesus, he says, 'showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of the disciples forty days, and speaking of the things pertaimng to the kingdom of God' (i. 3). The ascension of Christ is then distinctly narrated as an object of sight. There follows another proof of the existence of the risen Messiah, and of the concern he took in the foundation of his kingdom; for, agreeably to his promise, the Spirit is poured out on the assembled infant church, so that its members could not doubt that their Master was alive, and that it was his and God's will that they should live and die for the furtherance of the gospel. The importance which the apostles attached, from the first, to their position and work, is seen in the fact, that, before ever they address themselves to their duties, they proceed calmly to fill up their body, by electing (by lot) one in place of the traitor Judas; so that the original number fixed by Jesus might not be broken in upon, but there might be twelve men who had 'companied with the Messiah and his followers all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst tts, beginning from the baptism of John unto his ascension.' Matthias was 'ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.' The effusion of the Spirit is made an occasion, by Peter, for commencing his proclamation of the gospel . He delivers his first sermon, which led to the conversion of three thousand persons, and so to the formation of a Christian church, the usages of which are described in on interesting manner (i. ii.). The apostles become more bold and active in preaching the gospel1 in Jerusalem, and in consolidating the infant community, not without resistance and persecution (iii. vi.). Then the conduct of Stephen is narrated—his activity, his noble spirit, his cruel death — all which contributed greatly to strengthen and advance the cause of Christ (vi. 6; viii. 2). The murder of Stephen, and the general persecution which ensued, alarmed and scattered the disciples; and thus, departing from Jerusalem, they began to preach the gospel in other parts of Palestine, particularly at Samaria, through the agency of Philip (viii. 3—40). Paul had made his first appearance at the stoning of Stephen. At the beginning of the ninth chapter, he enters once for all on the scene, breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples. His miraculous conversion is detailed with much particularity (ix. 1—81), which prepares the way for the greatest change in the gospel affairs they ever underwent; namely, the admission of the Gentiles to Christian privileges. This revolution was not effected without special instrumentalities. Peter, after undergoing suitable influences, concurs, and takes part, in the work of converting the Heathen, beginning with Cornelius, a centurion of Caasarea, and maintaining the propriety of his conduct before the brethren in Jerusalem (x.—xi. 18). The circle of the gospel extends. The fugitive disciples proclaim it in Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch: a great number believe. On hearing this, the mother church at Jerusalem sends Barnabas as far as Antioch; who, having fulfilled his mission, proceeds to Tarsus to seek Saul, whom he brings to Antioch. The twelfth chapter opens with the imprisonment of Peter by king Herod, and relates the miraculous deliverance of that apostle. Herod is punished; and Paul, together with Barnabas, begins active operations (xii. 26;
xiii. 2) in Heathen countries; — Salamis in Cyprus being the first recorded place where they preached the word of God. The question of compliance with the Mosaic rite of circumcision, and, generally, of what obedience Christians owed to the law, is forced on for consideration, and determined at Jerusalem, where the first and only properly constituted and authoritative council was held; who, unlike all succeeding councils, were careful not to lay any unnecessary burden (xv. 28) on the church. Paul now proceeds still further into Heathen countries, going as far as Macedonia and Greece, and founding many churches. Intending to pay a visit to Bome, Paul feels bound first to visit Jerusalem (xix. 21; xx. 22), where he is apprehended, put on his trial, and at last sent to the capital of the world. Here he is abruptly left by tho history (xxviii. 31), preaching the kingdom of God. Thus the declaration of the Lord was accomplished (i . 8).
The book naturally divides itself into two parts at the twenty-fourth verse of the twelfth chapter; which verse may be considered as a point of transition from the first to the second part . The first part is also more miscellaneous than the second, having many subdivisions and transitional passages; whereas the second possesses more unity, in having for its central figure one leading personage, Paul; and for its subject, the apostle's proceedings. The narrative follows pretty much the order of events, and, in points of chronology, is generally exact; as might be expected, considering that the writer stood near to the events narrated. Notices and marks of time are found in xviii. 11; xix. 10; xx. G; xxiv. 27; xxvii. 9; xxviii. 11, 30. The entire piece is conceived in the tone of friendship; being clearly designed, not only to narrate, but to explain and defend, the progress of the gospel. This, however, is done in a fair, impartial, and truthful manner. The writer was obviously a believer, and as such has written. Nor is there visible an undue leaning to any one of the primitive heralds of Christianity. If Paul occupies the latter part of the book, Peter is the leading character in the former part. But nothing can show more strikingly that the book is unfinished, than that the life of neither Peter nor Paul is brought to a termination. Of Peter, except in chap. xv. 7, 14, we hear no more after the record, xii. 19; namely, that the apostle, having escaped from Herod, 'went down from Judea to Ceesarea, and there abode;' while Paul is left a prisoner at Rome. We cannot, under these circumstances, resist the feeling, that it is only a fragment with which we have to do in the Acts of the Apostles. It is hardly to be believed, that a writer, who had detailed at length Paul's conduct and its effects in Athens, should have voluntarily left all but untold the yet more important influence which he exerted in Bome — an improbability which is much increased by the fact, that the writer was united with Paul in the bonds of hnman friendship, as well as of the gospel. Most natural was it that he should have continued his narrative till the decease of Paul, which would have formed a suitable termination of his work.
It would seem that the author must have been interrupted in the prosecution of his task. What interruption so nntural as his own death? Scarcely any thing leas would have been allowed to bring the narrative to a sudden termination. And a sudden termination points to an unforeseen and inevitable cause. The life, then, of a man is the limit of the work. But there are evidences in the work of the pen of an eye-witness. It must, then, be within the threescore years and ten of some one who was contemporary with the events narrated. These events range from 31 to 64, A D.: consequently the book was written within the third quarter of the first century.
We may probably approach somewhat nearer. Paul came to Rome in the spring of 62, A. D. and remained two whole years teaching—that is, till the spring of 64. Now, in June, 64, Home was burnt by Nero; who, to cover his crime and folly, began to persecute the Christians. So important an event would not have been omitted, especially as the thread of the narrative is brought very near it, had the writer then been alive. Consequently the last hand must have been put to the writing before mid-summer, and after spring, 64. Indeed, the concluding verses look very like a hasty summary, drawn up under the pressure of some unexpected event; — a fact which will appear obvious to the reader if he compares the long detail given of the voyage to Bome, with the far more important matter,—the preaching and influence of Paul in the imperial city.
There is a fact mentioned in the book which speaks for a similar period to that which we have already fixed. In Acts viii. 26, the Philistine city Gaza is said to be ' desert,' in ruins. From Josephus (Jewish War, ii. 18, 1), we know that the place was destroyed in the reign of Nero, a short time before the siege of Jerusalem. Now, Vespasian came into Judea A.D. 67. Before this date, then, Gaza was destroyed. But if the writer noticed, in passing, the fact that Gaza was in ruins when he wrote, much more would he have made similar statements in relation to the far more important and interesting places of Jerusalem, of which he speaks. The inference is, that the city was standing when the work was composed. Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus, Sept. 7th, A.D. 70. Whence we are brought to the conclusion, that, to the period between 60 and 70, the Book of Acts may be safely referred — a conclusion which is favoured concurrently by the several lines of evidence which have been adduced.
Lake, the writer of the third Gospel, is generally admitted to be the author of the Acts of the Apostles. This was the opinion of the ancient church. Eusebius places it among the books which were universally received as authentic and credible. Writers in the second century make obvious references to the work. The fathers of the church, from the time of Irencus (born at Smyrna, in the first quarter of the second century), expressly quote the Acts, and speak of it aa written by Luke. The writer of Luke's Gospel wrote the Acts also. There is between the two works a general agreement of manner and diction which bespeaks the same hand. The Gospel and the Acts are dedicated to the same Theophilus. The Book of Acts refers to the Gospel (i. 1) in such a manner as to enforce the inference that they both came from one pen. Indeed the two are only parts of one work, which originally was not divided, nor distinguished by separate titles, but formed a general historical narrative, which, following the substance of the introductory verses of the Gospel, might have been termed 'An accurate account of things that have come to pass among the Christians.' In this view, the terminating lines of the Gospel, and the commencing lines of the Acts, are only transitional words employed in passing on from the first to the second part of the general treatise. If, then, Luke wrote the Gospel called after his name, the probability is that he wrote the Acts also. The writer certainly does not give his name; but, in the second part of the second book (the Acts), he speaks, in connection with Paul, in the first person plural—thus (xvi. 10), 'After Paul had seen the vision, we endeavoured to go into Macedonia' (see also xx. 6—15; xxvii. 1—37). Unquestionably some passages were written by an eye-witness. Besides those just referred to, see xxi. 1—18; xxviii. 15. Who was this eye-witness? The person who wrote 'the former treatise.' This is reputed to be Luke. The colouring under which Christianity appears in the Acts is said to be such as shows that its writer was an associate of and fellow-worker with Paul. Now, in Col. iv. 14, we read,'Luke, the beloved physician, greets you.' In Philem. ver. 24, Lucas is reckoned among Paul's fellow-labourers; and in 2 Tim. iv. 11, are the words 'only Luke is with me;' that is, at Bome, during his imprisonment (see 2 Tim. i. 8). Whence we learn that Luke was a cooperator with, and intimate friend of, the apostle. We cannot, however, hence infer, that therefore Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. The utmost that the evidence before us authorises is, that Luke may have been its author. Indeed too much stress and importance have been laid on the point of fixing a name to each individual book. Sometimes, when a name has been gained, it is little more than a mere name. A name,
however, is, in such a case, only of value when it represents certain facts and ideas, which enable ns to judge of the credibility of an author; bat of Luke, and of other alleged authors, we, in our actual state of knowledge, know too little to make any certain inference from his personal position, qualities, and history. Nor need the Christian be uneasy at these remarks, if only he is concerned more for realities than names. The credibility of the book in question is beyond a doubt . If 90, we have, independently of any personal name, that for giving us which, such name could only be of value to us. We must distinguish between the credibility of a book, and the credibility of men. Of the second we may have few or no means of judging. A book carries with it its own justification, or its own condemnation. The evidence in the case is written in every page, and often found in words and things which are far beyond the reach of artifice or fraud. If, for instance, the reader, by studying our references, should be satisfied that the passages in question emanated from an eye-witness, he will have little need to be concerned whether be can name the author, or fix the exact age, of the book. It is very certain, that, as no name could make a book credible which was in its contents incredible, so a credible book needs no authentication. And it is equally obvious, that this evidence of credibility, found in the general tone and character of a book, is one which addresses the head and the heart of every intelligent reader, and So secures for the gospel a ready recognition among mankind; whereas arguments derived from questions of authorship and criticism are exclusively for scholars, being in themselves, whatever they may borrow from authority, destitute of logical force with the great bulk of men, since the great bulk of men are quite incapable of making those individual investigations which give to scholastic evidence all its value.
The credibility of the things narrated in the Acts will appear the stronger, if we give some attention to the sources whence the writer composed his narrative. The author appears to have made use of written documents, emanating either from his own pen or from the pen of others. Thus, in chap, xv. 23—29, we have a very valuable and very interesting, perhaps the oldest, written document, — inserted, to all appearance, as it was issued, — namely, the letter written by the apostles assembled in council at Jerusalem. In chap, xxiii. 20—30, is another original letter — that of Claudius Lysias to Felix, touching Paul. Many things the writer may have had before him in the form of notes, or have received by word of mouth from others; but it is obvious that he dealt fairly with his materials, and, by the force of his own vigorous mind, infused into them one general character. Passages are found which bespeak
their own paternity. The speeches of Peter (ii. 14, Mo/.; iii. 12, teq.; iv. 8, teq.; v. 29, teq.) are quite characteristic. This Peter is obviously the Peter of the Gospels. Not less characteristic of Paul is his noble speech at Athens (xvii. 22, «?.). With equal confidence we refer any reader of his Epistles to the beautiful address with which he took leave of the church at Ephesus (xx. 17—35). What can be more Pauline than the emphatic words, —'1 have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel'? The entire twelfth chapter may have been taken from some written account of Peter: its particularity shows an intimate acquaintance with the circumstances, and is beyond the reach of imposture.
This book has been subjected to a very close and minute examination, in connection with Paul's Epistles. The duty, begun by Paley (JSorat Paulina), has been completed by Tait . The result is eminently favourable to the credibility of both the Acts and the Epistles; for numerous instances of minute, accidental, and unobvious agreement have been discovered by these crities, which put the idea of falsehood and fabrication out of the question. But, if the Acts of the Apostles is worthy of belief, the Christian religion is a fact, as well as a system of divine truth.
Within the space of thirty years after the death of Christ, the gospel had been carried to all parts of the civilised, and to no small portion of the uncivilised world. Its progress and its triumphs were not concealed. Its great transactions were not 'done in a corner.' It had been preached in the most splendid, powerful, and corrupt cities. Churches were already founded in Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, and at Bome. The gospel had spread in Arabia, Asia Minor, Greece, Macedon, Italy, and Africa. It had assailed the most mighty existing institutions; it had made its way over the most formidable barriers; it had encountered the most deadly and malignant opposition; it had travelled to the capital, and secured such a hold, even in the imperial city, as to make it certain that it would finally overturn the established religion, and seat itself on the ruins of Paganism. Within thirty years it had settled the point that it would overturn every bloody altar; close every Pagan temple; bring under its influence men of office, rank, and power; and that' the banners of the faith would soon stream from the palaces of the Ceesars.' All this would be accomplished by the instrumentality of Jews — of fishermen — of Nazarenes. They had neither wealth, armies, nor allies. With the exception of Paul, they were men without learning. They were taught only by Providence; armed only with the power of God. The success of the gospel never has been, and never can be, accounted for by any other supposition, than that it had God for its author, truth for its substance, human nature for its advocate, and eternal life for its boon. If the Christian religion be not true, the change wrought by the twelve apostles is the most inexplicable, mysterious, and wonderful event that has ever been witnessed in the history of the world. Admit the acconnts furnished in this writing, and the establishment of the gospel in the world, as well as the changes which society underwent, are all clear and easy to be understood: deny them, and you have the greatest revolution that society ever underwent, and the sublimest religious truths that ever dawned on men's minds, unaccounted for and unexplained.
The period over which the book of Acts extends, from 31 to 64, A. D. embraces the following Roman emperors: — 1. Tiberius, who reigned from 19th August, xiv. to I nth March, xxxvii.; 2. Caligula, to the 24th Jan. xli.; 3. Claudius, to the 13th October, liv.; 4. Nero, to the Oth June, lxviii.
It is impossible to write the last date without expressing a regret that the history of the church should have been broken off at so early a period. We may, however, take comfort in the thought, that, had it been consistent with the wise and benign purposes of Providence, a full and complete history would hare been written, and handed down; nor should we have been left to find our way, almost unaided, from the last quarter of the first, to the middle of the second century—a period of the greatest importance for the church, when first it was left to fight singlehanded with the powers of darkness. Yet such is the intrinsic and resistless power of truth, it emerged from the dark and fearful struggle victorious.
ADAM (H. red earth) was originally the individual name of the first man, but afterwards was naturally applied to denote tho race. The account which is given in Gen. i. ii. of the creation of Adam, is not to be regarded as a legend, nor a symbol, nor the translation of an hieroglyph, but as the earliest tradition respecting the origin of the world aud its inhabitants; and, consequently, the best account which, after due diligence and care, the writer could give of these stupendously important events. The view, accordingly, takes its shape and colouring from the ideas and associations prevalent in the minds of the best informed persons at the time when it was written — a state of intellect and feeling which does not involve infallibility, but will be regarded with respect, and studied with care, by every lover of truth, as involving, not only the earliest information of an historical nature that we possess, but also such information as those who were least remote from the events in question were able to gather and hand down. It is easy to conceive that Adam himself wonld, either directly or iudirectly, possess much knowledge on the great change which the
production of the present earthly arrangement of things caused; and, in the then fresh and unslaked curiosity of man, his knowledge would be eagerly sought, and diligently transmitted by his descendants. Nor must the fact be omitted, that fragments of tradition, in other primeval nations, concur substantially with the Biblical account . If, indeed, we look into this account in the expectation of finding nothing but absolute truth, we may suffer some disappointment: equally, if we do not penetrate through the covering to the substance, distinguishing the fact and the thought from its mere investment, we may form false conceptions. But regard the narrative as an account of creation from an earthly point of view, — as contemplated by a human mind and told by a human tongue, placed near the events spoken of, and having peculiar advantages of a higher guidance,— you will find information no less true than useful, while it is of the deepest interest and greatest spiritual value.
It must also be borne in mind, that the Bible does not profess to be a manual of knowledge in the physical sciences, but to be the great repository of religious light . It is, therefore, spiritual truth which it always aims to convey; and it speaks of other things only so far as they may be useful in conveying or illustrating this spiritual truth. The message from on high to its writers was purely of a religious kind: the earthly shell in which they of necessity enclosed it, is, as of the earth, perishable. The mind of the Spirit it is that we are concerned to know; and therefore our great business is to sever the human from the divine; to learn to recognise and revere religious truth in the midst of its earthly concomitants; to evolve the element of inspiration from the baser elements with which it is necessarily blended. 'The pearl of great price' lies hid in a field, where those who would be divinely rich must dig unceasingly.
We will, however, attempt to ascertain, somewhat definitely, the point of view from which the account of the origin of our species ought to be contemplated. That point of view must obviously not be our own; for we are separated by thousands of years, and equally by an entire world of new circumstances, from the record and from the events. Our difference of position must change the appearance of the objects. Every historical record has its parallax; whioh, reversing the astronomioal law, increases in the direct ratio of its distance from the observer. The further we recede from historical events, the less does our vision of them correspond with that of contemporaries. Hence it is clear that theirs is not merely the best, but the only right position. Accordingly, we must study their circumstances and their states of mind; and so, taking our stand in their place, look at objects which the past, in each case, offers