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Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And | 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind
he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
concerning Saul
all that call on thy name.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street
which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for
one called Saul k of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming
in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of
this man, I how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jeru-
salem:

chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a
and P kings, and the children of Israel:

my name's sake.
16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for

and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord,
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house;
7. 2 Tim. 1.11.-o Rom. 1.5.&11. 13. Gal.2.7, 8-p Ch.25.22, 3 & 26.1, &c.-q Ch.99
even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest,
while he was a Pharisee, he had lived in all good conscience
23,& 21.11. 2 Cor. 11.23-r Ch.22. 12, 13.-8 Ch.8.17.
towards God: and consequently in that time, made many
faithful and fervent prayers: but he was praying now for
instruction, and his prayers were speedily answered.
a vision, to go and minister to Saul; he at the same time pre-
12. Hath seen in a vision] While God prepares Ananias by
pares Saul by another vision, to profit by this ministry..
done in a dream, else this sort of reasoning with his Maker
13. Lord, I have heard by many of this man] This was all
would have been intolerable in Ananias. Saul had been a no-
torious persecutor: many could testify of his outrageous acts
against the poor followers of Christ.

Aytot, signifies not only holy persons, but also consecrated Thy saints] That is, the Christians or followers of Christ. persons; from a, negative, and yn, the earth; persons who are separated from all earthly uses, and consecrated to the service of God alone.

k Ch.21.39. & 22.3-1 Ver 1.-m Ver.21. Ch.7 59. & 22 16. 1 Cor.1.2. 2 Tim.2.22. - Ch.13.2.& 22.21. & 26.17. Rom.1.1 1 Cor. 15.10. Gal.1.15, Eph.3.7, 8. 1 Tim.2. mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave, and behold there came a voice unto him, and said, WHAT DOST THOU HERE, ELUJAH? The thunder must have been heard by all; the small still voice by Saul alone. This consideration amply reconciles the passage in the text with that in chap. xxii. 9. where Paul says, they that were with me saw the light and were afraid, but they heard not the voice of him that spake with me. They had heard the thunder which followed the escape of the lightning, but they heard not the voice of him that spake to Saul: they did not hear the words, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest, &c. but they saw and heard enough to convince them that the whole was supernatural; for they were all struck down to the earth with the splendour of the light, and the sound of the thunder, which I suppose took place on this occasion. It has been a question among divines, whether Jesus Christ did really appear to Saul on this occa sion. The arguments against the real appearance, are not strong. St. Luke tells us, that those who were with him heard the voice, but they saw no man; which is a strong intimation edly heard of Saul's coming, and the commission he had re14. And here he hath authority, &c.] Ananias had undoubt that he saw what they did not. Ananias, it seems, was in-ceived from the chief priests; and he was about to urge this formed, that there had been a real appearance, for in address- as a reason why he should have no connexion with so dangering Saul, ver. 17. he says, the Lord Jesus that APPEARED unto ous a man. THEE in the way as thou camest, &c. And Barnabas intimates thus much, when he brought him before the apostles at Jerusalem, for he declared unto them, how he had SEEN the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken unto him: and chap. xxii. 14. where the discourse of Ananias is given more at large, he says, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and SEE that JUST ONE, and shouldst HEAR the voice of his mouth; so we find that hearing the voice, or words of his mouth, was not what is called the appearance; for besides this, there was an actual manifestation of the person of Christ. But St. Paul's own words, 1 Cor. ix. 1. put the subject out of dispute: Am I nat an apos-gifts to the king Messiah; and these are the vessels of the tle? Am I not free? HAVE I NOT SEEN JESUS CHRIST IN THE FLESH to which may be added, 1 Cor. xv. 8. And last of all, HE WAS SEEN OF ME ALSO, as of one born out of due time. 8. When his eyes were opened, he saw no man] Instead of ovdeva, no man, the Codex Alexandrinus, the Syriac, Vulgate, and some others, have ovdev, nothing. He not only saw no man, but he saw nothing, being quite blind; and therefore was led by the hand to Damascus, un Bλerwr, being without sight.

in his reasoning on this subject.
15. Go thy way] He was thus prevented from going farther

and keley, in Hebrew, though they literally signify a res He is a chosen vessel unto me] The word exeus, in Greek, sel, yet they are both used to signify any kind of instrument, or the means by which an act is done. In the Tract. Sohar Exod. fol. 87. on these words of Boaz to Ruth, chap. ii. ver. 9. When thou art athirst, go unto the vessels and drink, &c. there are these remarkable words, " keley, vessels; that is, the righteous, who are called the vessels or instruments of Jehovah for it is decreed that the whole world shall bring Lord: vessels, I say, which the holy and blessed God uses, although they be brittle; but they are brittle only in this world, the holy and blessed God is worshipped in this world; neither that they may establish the law and the worship with which can this ministry be exercised but by vessels or instruments."

and Roman writers. So POLYRIUS, speaking of Damocles,
This mode of speech was common also among the Greek
Excerpta, Vol. III. lib. xiii. [Edit. Ernesti,] says, H npert
κον σκευος, και πολλας έχων εφορμας εις πραγμάτων οικονομίαν.
affairs." We find Paul, in 1 Thess. iv. 4. using the same word
Kevos, for the body, agreeable to the expression of Lucretius,
iii. 441. Corpus, quod vAS quasi constitit ejus. "The BODY,
Pearce on this passage.
which is the VESSEL or instrument of the soul." See Bp.

for an excellent or well adapted instrument. Every reader
of the Bible must have noticed how often the word chosen is
Chosen vessel. Σκευος εκλογής, is properly a Heόταίστη,
used there to signify excelling or eminent: so we use the
word choice," choice men," eminent
excellent articles. So in Jerem. xxii. 7. they shall cut down
thy choice cedars, s vecaretu MIBCHAR ara
persons; "choice things,"
zeyca; Kaι EKKOLOVOL TAS EKλEKTAS Kεdpovs σov, SEPT. They
shall cut the most EXCELLENT of thy cedars; or thy cedar trees,
Whoever considers the character of St. Paul, his education,
which are the most excellent of their kind, they will cut down.
attainments in natural knowledge, the distinguished part he
took, first against Christianity; and afterward, on the fullest
conviction, the part he took in its favour; will at once per
to which God had called him.
ceive how well he was every way qualified for the great work

of the cross among the Greeks and Romans; and by the de-
To bear my name before the Gentiles] To carry the ensign
monstration of the Spirit, to confound their wisdom and learn-
ing; and prove that neither salvation nor happiness could be
apostle of the Gentiles, 1 Tim. ii. 7. 2 Tim. i. 11. See also Gal
ií. 7, 8. and Eph. v. 8.
found in any other. Hence he was emphatically called, the

Tarsus was a city of Cilicia, seated on the Cnidus, and now
called Tarasso. It was at one period the capital of all Cilicia,
and became a rival to Alexandria and Athens in the arts and
sciences. The inhabitants, in the time of Julius Cesar, ha-
ving shown themselves friendly to the Romans, were endowed
with all the privileges of Roman citizens: and it was on this
account that St. Paul claimed the rights of a Roman citizen;
a circumstance, which on different occasions was to him, and
the cause in which he was engaged, of considerable service.
Behold, he prayeth] He is earnestly seeking to know my
will, and to find the salvation of his soul: therefore, go speed-proof of the truth of Christianity.
ily and direct him.-Some have laid needless stress on these
words, as if they intimated, that "though Saul, as a Pharisee,
had often said his prayers, yet he had never prayed them till
now." This is not correct; he could himself testify, that
368

as a persecutor, and inflicting sufferings on others; I will show him how many things he himself must suffer, for preach16. How great things he must suffer] Instead of proceeding ing that very doctrine which he has been hitherto employed in persecuting. Strange change indeed! And with great show of reason, as with incontrovertible strength of argument, has Saul of Tarsus, and his subsequent conduct, as an irrefragable a noble writer, Lord Lyttleton, adduced the conversion of

visionary representation which Christ was iminediately to Some think that the words, I will show him, &c. refer to a give Saul, of the trials and difficulties which he should have to encounter; as also of that death, by which he should seal

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hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be fill. ed with the Holy Ghost.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. *Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, ▾ that he is the Son of God.

21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

C.24 & 4.31 & 8.17. & 13.52-u Ch. 26. 20.—v Ch.8.37.—w Ch.8.3. Ver.1. Gal. 113, 23-Ch 18.28

his testimony to the truth. If so, what a most thorough conviction must Saul have had of the truth of Christianity; cheer fully and deliberately to give up all worldly honours and profits, and go forward in a work which he knew a violent death was to terminate !

17. Brother Saul As he found that the Head of the church had adopted Saul into the heavenly family; he made no scruple to give him the right hand of fellowship, and therefore said, brother Saul. The Lord, even Jesus] Of what use is this intrusive word eren here? It injures the sense. St. Luke never wrote it; and our translators should not have inserted it. The Lord Jesus, the sovereign Jesus, who appeared unto thee in the way, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be fill ed with the Holy Ghost. Christ could have cured him as miraculously by his own power, without human means, as he had enlightened his heart without them; but he will honour man by making him his agent, even in working miracles. 18. There fell from his eyes as it had been scales] This was real: he had been so dazzled with the brightness of the light, that we may suppose the globe of the eye, and particularly the cornea, had suffered considerable injury. The structure of the cornea was doubtless much disturbed, and the whole of that humour would be rendered opaque, and incapable of per. mitting the rays of light to pass through the different humours to the retina; where all the images of things transmitted through the lenses, or humours, are distinctly painted. In the miraculous cure, the membrane was restored to its primitive state, and the opaque matter separated from the cornea, in the form of thin lamina, or scales. This being done, the light would have as free a passage as formerly, and the result would be distinct vision.

And be filled with the Holy Ghost.] So it appears, that the Holy Spirit was given to him at this time; and probably by the imposition of the hands of Ananias. To say, that it would be degrading to an apostle, to receive the Holy Ghost by means of one who was not an apostle, is a very flimsy argument against the evidence which the text affords, that Saul did receive this Spirit by the ministry of Ananias: besides, Saul was not an apostle at this time; he was not even a Christian; and the Holy Ghost, which he received now, was given more to make him a thorough Christian convert, than to make him an apostle. No person will deny that he was baptized by Ananias; and certainly there was as strong an objection against an apostle receiving baptism from one who was not an apostle, as there could be in receiving the Holy Spirit from such a person. It is very likely that Ananias was either one of the seventy disciples commissioned by Jesus Christ himself; or one of those who had been converted on the day of pentecost. If he were the former, any authority that man could have, he had. But, who was the instrument, is a matter of little importance; as the apostleship, and the grace by which it was to be fulfilled, came immediately from Jesus Christ himself. Nor has there ever been an apostle, nor a legitimate successor of an apostle, that was not made such by Christ himself. If we consider the authority, as coming by man, or through any description of men; we should be arrested and confounded by the difficult question, Who baptized the apostles? Jesus Christ baptized no man, John iv. 2. Who then baptized Pe. ter? Can the Roman conclave answer this question? I trow not. It would be as difficult to answer it, as to prove Peter's Supremacy. We have no evidence who baptized the apostles, who themselves baptized so many others. The truth is, none but Christ ever made an apostle; and none but himself can make and qualify a Christian minister.

And arose, and was baptized.] That he was baptized by Ananias, there is every reason to believe; as he appears to have been the chief Christian at Damascus. As baptism implied, in an adult, the public profession of that faith into which he was baptized; this baptism of Saul proved at once his own sincerity, and the deep and thorough conviction he had of the truth of Christianity.

19 When he had received meat, he was strengthened] His mind must have been greatly worn down under his three days' conviction of sin, and the awful uncertainty he was in concerning his state: but when he was baptized, and had received the Holy Ghost, his soul was divinely invigorated; and now, by taking food, his bodily strength, greatly exhausted by three days' fasting, was renewed also. The body is not sup ported by the bread of life; nor the soul, by the bread that perisheth: each must have its proper aliment, that the whole

Christ in the synagogues,

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22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed te join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way,

y Ch. 23. 12. & 25.3. 2 Cor. 11.26-z 2 Cor. 11.32.-a So Josh.2.15. 1 Sam. 19.12.b Ch 22.17. Gal. 1. 17, 18.-e Ch.4.36. & 13.2.

man may be invigorated, and be enabled to perform all the functions of the animal and spiritual life, with propriety and effect.

Then was Saul certain days with the disciples] Doubtless under instructions relative to the doctrines of Christianity; which he must learn particularly, in order to preach them successfully. His miraculous conversion did not imply, that he must then have a consummate knowledge of every Christian doctrine. To this day, we find that even the genuine Christian convert has a thousand things to learn; and for his instruction he is placed in the church of Christ, where he is built up on his most holy faith by the ministry and expe. rience of the disciples. Without the communion of saints, who is likely to make a steady and consistent Christian; even though his conversion should have been the most sincere, and the most remarkable?

20. Preached Christ in the synagogues] Instead of Xpisov, Christ, Inoovv, Jesus, is the reading of ABCE., several others of high importance, together with the Syriac, Coptic, Ethio pic, Armenian, Slavonic, and Vulgate.

The great question to be determined for the conviction o the Jews was that JESUS was the Son of God. That th Christ, or Messiah, was to be the Son of God, they all believ. ed. Saul was now convinced that Jesus, whom they had cru cified, and who had appeared to him on the way, was the Son of God, or Messiah; and therefore as such he proclaimed him. The word Christ should be changed for Jesus, as the latter is, without doubt, the genuine reading.

The first offers of the grace of the Gospel were uniformly made to the Jews. Saul did not at first offer Jesus to the heathens at Damascus; but to the synagogues of the Jews. 21. Is not this he that destroyed them] O ropongas. The verb Topoc has three acceptations in the Greek writers. 1. To treat one as an enemy, to spoil him of his goods. 2. To lead away captive, to imprison. 3. To slay. Paul was properly roo0wv, a destroyer, in all these senses. 1. He acted as the nost determined enemy of the Christians: Being exceedingly mad against them, he persecuted them to strange cities, chap. xxvi. 11. 2. He shut up many of the saints in prison, chap viii. 3. ix. 14. xxvi. 10. 3. He persecuted them unto death gave his voice against them, that they might be destroyed, and was a principal instrument in the martyrdom of Stephen. He breathed threatenings and slaughter. See chap. vii. 58. viii. 1. ix. 1. xxvi. 10, 11. Therefore these three meanings of the original word are all exemplified in the conduct of Saul.

22. Confounded the Jews] EvveXove; overwhelmed them so with his arguments, that they were obliged to blush for the weakness of their own cause.

Proving that this] 'Ovros, this person, viz. JESUS, is very Christ; ε5wv o Xpisos, is THE CHRIST, or Messiah. See on

ver. 21.

23. And after that many days were fulfilled] What fol lows, relates to transactions which took place about three years after his conversion; when he had come a second time to Dafascus, after having been in Arabia. See Gal. i. 17, 18. What he did in Arabia we know not; he probably preached Christ in different Jewish synagogues; but with what fruit we are not told. St. Luke, who could not have been ignorant of this part of his history, passes it over in silence; and any assertion at this distance of time, relative to his employment in Arabia for those three years, must be both foolish and impertinent.

24. They watched the gates day and night to kill him.] At this time Damascus was under the government of Aretas, king of Arabia; who was now at war with Herod, his son-in-law, who had put away his daughter, in order to marry Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. As Herod was supported by the Romans, Saul's enemies might intimate that he was in league with them or Herod; and as the gates of the city were con stantly watched and shut, that no spy might enter, and no fugitive get away, they thought it would be easy to apprehend him; and doubtless got orders for the different officers at the gates to be on the look-out, that he might not be permitted to escape.

25. Let him down by the wall] Favoured, probably, by a house built against or upon the wall, through the window of which they could lower him in a basket; and by this means he made his escape. His escape was something similar to that of the spies at Jericho, Josh. ii. 15.

26. He assayed to join himself to the disciples] Enεiparo Koλdarbai, he endeavoured to get closely united to them, to be in religious fellowship with them.

The Jews lay

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THE ACTS.
and that he had spoken to him, d and how he had preached
wait to kill Saul.
boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down
31 h Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and
to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were
Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the
multiplied.

28 And he was with them, coming in and going out, at Je-
rusalem.

29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and
disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay
him.

d Ver.30.22-e Gal.1.18,-f Ch.6.1. & 11.20g Ver. 23. 2 Cor. 11.26.
Believed not that he was a disciple.] They did not suppose
it possible that such a person could be converted to the faith of
Christ. The full power of divine grace, in the conversion of
the soul, was not yet completely known.

32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all

h See Ch.8.1.-i 1 Cor.3.16.& 6. 19.-k Ch.8. 14.

nius, therefore, marched from Antioch into Judea, with three legions, and a large body of auxiliaries raised in Syria. Al were hereupon filled with consternation, the army being went to the plain near Ptolemais, and entreated Petronius in come as far as Ptolemais. The Jews then gathering together, the first place for their laws, in the next place for themselves. Petronius was moved with their solicitations; and leaving his army and the statues, went into Galilee, and called an assembly of the heads of the Jews at Tiberias; and having exhorted them, without effect, to submit to the emperor's or ders, said, Will ye then fight against Cesar? They answer peror and the Roman people; but that if he would set up the images, he ought first of all to sacrifice the whole Jewish nation; and that they were ready to submit themselves, their wives, and children, to the slaughter." Philo gives a similar account of this transaction. Works, Vol. 1. page 97, &c. See Lardner's Credibility,

about the time mentioned in the text, that their persecution It appears, therefore, that as these transactions took place from the Romans, diverted them from persecuting the Christians; and THEN had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria: the terror occasioned by the imperial decree having spread itself through all those places. building. 1. The ground is marked out; 2. The ichnograph, Were edified] Oikоdoμovuεvar; a metaphor taken from a or dimensions of the building ascertained; 3. The foundation is digged; 4. The foundation-stone laid; 5. The walls builded up, with course upon course; 6. The top-stone brought on; 7. The roof raised, and the whole covered in; and, & The interior part fitted up and adorned, and rendered conve nient for the intended inhabitant. This figure frequently ocment. It has its reason in the original creation of man: God curs in the Sacred Writings, especially in the New Testamade the first human being as a shrine or temple in which 29. Disputed against the Grecians] That is, the Hellenis. ing was destroyed. The materials, however, though all dis himself might dwell. Sin entered, and the heavenly buildtic Jews, viz. those who lived in Grecian cities, spoke the located, and covered with rubbish, and every way defiled, yet Greek language, and used the Septuagint version for their exist; no essential power or faculty of the soul having been Scriptures. And thus the Syriac version has interpreted this lost. place. See the note on chap. vi. 1. where this subject is large-house as it was in the beginning; and rendering it a proper ly explained. The work of redemption consists in building up this sions, are all to be purified and refined by the power of the habitation for God. The various powers, faculties, and pasHoly Spirit; and order and harmony restored to the whole soul. All this is beautifully pointed out by St. Peter, 1 Epist. chap. ii. 4, 5. LIVING STONE, chosen of God and precious, ye also as LIVING To whom (Jesus Christ) coming as unto a offer up spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ. And STONES, are BUILT UP a spiritual HOUSE, a holy priesthood, to St. Paul, who, from his own profession as a tent-maker, could best seize on the metaphor, and press it into this spiritual serinimitable words: Ye are the HOUSEHOLD of God, and are vice, goes through the whole figure at large, in the following Jesus Christ himself being the chief CORNER-STONE, in whom BUILT upon the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, all the BUILDING, FITLY FRAMED together, groweth unto a HOLY TEMPLE in the Lord? in whom ye also are BUILDED together for a HABITATION of God, through the Spirit. Eph. ii. 19-22 Edification signifies, therefore, an increase in the light, life, and power of God; being founded on the doctrine of Christ crucified, having the soul purified from all unrighteousness, and fitted by increasing holiness, to be a permanent residence for the ever blessed God.

31. Then had the churches rest] Instead of di EKKλnotat, the churches, ABC., several others, the Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Vulgate, have n EKKλnota, the church. Every assembly of God's people was a church; the ag. gregate of these assemblies, was THE CHURCH. The word ELOηuny, which we translate rest, and which literally signifies peace, evidently means, in this place, prosperity; and in this sense, both it, and the Hebrew shalom are repeatedly used. But what was the cause of this rest or success? Some say, the conversion of Saul, who, before, made havoc of the church: but this is not likely, as he could not be a universal cause of persecution and distress, however active and virulent he might have been, during the time of his enmity to the Christian church. above, shows that the opposition to the Gospel continued with Besides, his own persecution, related considerable virulence three years after his conversion: therefore, it was not Saul's ceasing to be a persecutor, that gave this rest to the churches. Dr. Lardner, with a greater show of probability, maintains that this rest was owing to the following circumstance: Soon after Caligula's accession to the imperial dignity, the Jews at Alexandria suffered very much from the Egyptians in that city; and at length their oratories were all destroyed. In the third year of Caligula, A. D. 39. Petronius, who was made president of Syria in the place of Vitellius, was sent by the emperor to set up his statue in the temple at Jerusalem. stroke to the Jews, and so occupied them, that they had no This was a thundertime to think of any thing else; apprehending that their temple must be defiled, and the national religion destroyed, or themselves run the risk of being exterminated, if they rebelled against the imperial decree.

The account given by Josephus will set this in a clear point of view. "Caligula sent Petronius to go with an army to Jerusalem, to set up his statues in the temple; enjoining him, I the Jews opposed it, to put to death all that made resistance, and to make all the rest of the nation slaves. Petro370

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quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
33 And there he found a certain man named Eneas, which
had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.
34 And Peter said unto him, Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh
thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose imme-
diately.
Saron saw him, and

35 And all that dwelt in Lydda and
tarned to the Lord.

36 Now there was at Joppa, a certain disciple named Tabi
tha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman
was full of good works and alms deeds which she did.
37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and
1 Ch. 36, 16. & 4.10,-m i Chr.5. 16.—n Ch.11.21.-o Or, Doe, or, Roe-p 1 Tim.
2.10 Tits 3.4.

evidenced that steady, determinate courage, by which St.
Paul was so eminently distinguished; nor did he ever suffer
half so much for God and his truth.

To the saints] The Jews who had been converted to Christianity.

Which dwelt at Lydda] A town in the tribe of Ephraim, almost on the border of Judea, and nigh unto Joppa: it was about ten leagues from Jerusalem, and was afterward known by the name of Diospolis, or the city of Jupiter.

33. A certain man named Eneas] This name has been celebrated in the annals of heathen poetry, in that beautiful work of the poet Virgil, called the Eneid; which gives an account of the misfortunes, travels, wars, &c. of a Trojan prince of this name, after the destruction of his native city Troy. On the difference of names which so frequently occurs in some parts of the Scriptures, Calmet makes the following judicious remarks: As both Greek and Hebrew, or Syriac, were commonly spoken in Palestine; most persons had two names, one Greek, and the other Hebrew. Thus Peter was called Cephas in Hebrew, and Petros in Greek Paul was called Saul in Hebrew, and Paulos in Greek. The person in ver. 36. Tabitha in Hebrew, and Dorcas in Greek. And the paralytic person cured by Peter, Hananiah in Hebrew, and Aineas in Greek. So Thomas was the Hebrew name of the apostle, who in Greek was called Didymus.

Had kept his bed eight years] This was occasioned by a pal sy; and now inveterate and hopeless, through its long standing. 34. Jesus Christ maketh thee whole] Not Peter, for he had no power, but what was given him from above. And as an instrument, any man could heal with this power, as well as Peter; but God chose to put honour upon those primitive preachers of his word, that men might see that they were commissioned from heaven.

Arise, and make thy bed] Give now full proof that Jesus Christ HAS made thee whole, by arising, and by making thy bed. He was at home, and therefore was not commanded, as the paralytic person, to take up his bed; but he was ordered to make it, that all might see that the cure was perfect.

35. All that dwelt in Lydda and Saron, saw him] Saron was that champaign country that lay between Joppa and Lydda. The long affliction of this man had been well known, and his cure, consequently, became a subject of general examination: it was found to be real. It was known to have been performed by the grace and mercy of Christ; and the consequence of all this conviction was, that all these people

became Christians.

36. Now there was at Joppa] This was a sea-port town on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, about a day's journey from Jerusalem. It is supposed to be the same which is called in the Old Testament Japho, which belonged to the tribe of Dan, Josh. xix. 46. It is at present called Jaffa: and is still á place of considerable note.

A certain disciple named Tabitha] This word is more properly Syriac, than Hebrew. 120 tebitho is the word in the Syriac version, and is their manner of writing the Hebrew 2 tsebi; the teth being changed for the tsaddi. The word a tabio, and the feminine 12 tabitho, have the same meaning as the Hebrews tsebi, and the Greek Aopxas, Dorcas, and signify the gazel or antelope; and it is still custo mary in the east, to give the names of beautiful animals to young women. The comparison of fine eyes to those of the antelope, is continually occurring in the writings of the Arabic and Persian poets. The person in the text probably had her name in the same way. She was very beautiful, and was therefore called Tabitha and Dorcas.

This woman was full of good works] She spent her life in acts of kindness and charity. Her soul was full of love to God and man; and her whole time was filled up with works of piety and mercy.

37. She was sick, and died] Even her holiness and useful. ness could not prevent her from sickness and death. Dust thou art, and to dust thou shall return, is a decree that must be fulfilled even on the saints; for the body is dead, sentenced to death, because of sin, though the spirit be life, because of righteousness.

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restored to life by Peter.

died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an up.
per chamber.
38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the dis-
ciples had heard that Peter was there; they sent unto him
two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to
them.

39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was
come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the
widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and gar-
ments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

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Πατροκλον λούσειαν.

Και τοτε δη λουσαν τε, και ελειψαν λιπ' ελαίω.

Iliad, xviii. 343.
"So saying, he bade his train surround with fire
A tripod huge, that they might quickly cleanse
Patroclus, from all stains of clotted gore.
They on the blazing hearth a tripod placed,
Infus'd the water, thrust dry wood beneath,
And soon the flames encompassing around
Its ample belly, warmed the flood within.
Soon as the water in the singing brass
Simmered, they bath'd him, and with limpid oil
Anointed.

They stretch'd him on his bed, then cover'd him
From head to feet with linen texture light,

And with a wide unsullied mantle last."- COWPER
The waking or watching of the dead, was also practised
among the ancient Greeks, as we learn from a preceding pa
ragraph, where Achilles, addressing his dead friend Patroclus,
tells him,

Τόφρα δε μοι παρα νηυσι κορωνίσι κείσεαι αύτως
Αμφι δε σε Τρωάι και Δαρδανίδες βαθύκολποι
Κλαυσονται, νυκτας τε και ηματα δακρυχέου
II. xviii. 338.
"Mean time, among

σαι.

My lofty gallies thou shalt lie, with tears
Mourned day and night, by Trojan captives fair
And Dardan, compassing thy bier around."-COWPER.
A similar description is given by Virgil of the funeral obse
quies of Misenus, Eneid, vi. ver. 212.

Nec minus interea Misenum in littore Teucr
Flebant, et cinere ingrato suprema ferebant.

Pars calidos latices et aena undantia flammis
Expediunt, corpusque lavant frigentis et unguunt
Fit gemitus: tum membra toro defleta, reponunt
Furpureasque super vestis velamina nota
Conjiciunt, &c.

"Meanwhile, the Trojan troops with weeping eyes
To dead Misenus pay his obsequies.
First from the ground a lofty pile they rear,
Of pitch-trees, oaks, and pines, and unctuous fir:
The fabric's front, with cypress twigs they strew;
And stick the sides with boughs of baleful yew,
The topmost part, his glitt'ring arms adorn;
Warm waters then in brazen cauldrons borne,
Are poured to wash his body, joint by joint;
And fragrant oils the stiffened limbs anoint;
With groans and cries Misenus they deplore.
Then on a bier with purple cover'd o'er

The breathless body, thus bewail'd, they lay."-DRYDEN. These rites, in many respects, resemble those still used among the native Irish. See the account of the funeral cere. monies of the Egyptians, in the notes on Gen. chap. 1. 2. The primitive Christians washed the bodies of their dead, not only out of decency and affectionate respect to them; but as a token of their firm belief in the resurrection of the dead.

38. Sent to Peler-desiring that he would not delay to come.] Tabitha died at Joppa, and Peter was at Lydda, about four leagues distant. But why did they send for Peter? We cannot tell. It is not likely that they had any expectation that he should raise her from the dead; for none of the apostles had as yet raised any; and if God did not choose to restore Stephen to life, this favour could not be reasonably expected in behalf of inferior persons. However, they might hope, that he who cured Eneas at Lydda, might cure Dorcas; for it is probable that they had sent for Peter before she died; and in this sense we might understand the areaλar of the text.

39. Showing the coats and garments] Xirwvas xai i paria, the outer and inner garments. These, it appears, she had made for the poor, and more particularly for poor widows, in whose behalf she had incessantly laboured.

40. Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and pray. ed] It was not even known to Peter, that God would work this miracle: therefore he put all the people out, that he might seek the will of God by fervent prayer, and during his sup plications, be liable neither to distraction nor interruption, which he must have experienced, had he permitted this com.

Whom when they had washed] Having the fullest proof that
she was dead, they prepared her for interment. In inost na-
tions of the world, it was customary to wash their dead be-
fore they buried them; and before they laid them out, to lie
in state, as Homer tells us was the case with the body of Pa-pany of weeping widows to remain in the chamber.
troclus:

Ως ειπων, έταροισιν εκέκλετο διος Αχιλλευς,
Αμφι περί ζήσαι τρίποδα μεγαν οφρα τάχιςα

And turning-to the body] Ewpa; the lifeless body, for the spirit had already departed.

Said, Tabitha, arise] During his wrestling with God, he

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Saul of Tarsus was not a man of a light, fickle and uncultivated mind. His natural powers were vast, his character the most decided, and his education, as we learn from his historian, and from his writings, was at once both liberal and profound. He was born and brought up in a city which enjoyed every privilege of which Roine itself could boast; and was a successful rival both of Rome and Athens in arts and science. Though a Jew, it is evident that his education was I 372

Peter larries with Simon

[graphic]

42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.

43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa, with one w Simon a tanner.

not confined to matters that concerned his own people and style, allusions, and quotations, sufficiently prove; and in country alone. He had read the best Greek writers, as his matters which concern his own religion he was instructed by Gamaliel, one of the most celebrated doctors the synagogue had ever produced. He was evidently master of the three great languages which were spoken among the only people who deserved the name of nations; the Hebrew, and its prevailing dialect, the Chaldaio-Syriac; the Greek and the La tin; languages, which, notwithstanding all the cultivation through which the earth has passed, maintain their rank, the universe. Was it likely that such a man, possessing such a mind, cultivated to such an extent, could have been impo which is a most decisive superiority over all the languages of sed on, or deceived? The circumstances of his conversion forbid the supposition: they do more; they render it impossi ble. One consideration on this subject will prove, that impos with Christians; the men that accompanied him to Damascus ture in this case was impossible: He had no communication very name of Christ: and his conversion took place in the open day, on the open road, in company only with such men were of his own mind; virulent, determined enemies to the as the persecuting high-priest, and sanhedrim thought proper to be employed in the extermination of Christianity. In such circumstances, and in such company, no cheat could be prac tised. But was not he the deceiver? The supposition is no motive that could prompt him to feign what he was not; and no end that could be answered by assuming the profes absurd and monstrous, for this simple reason, that there was sion of Christianity. Christianity had in it such principles It exposed the absurdity and folly of Grecian and Roman superstition and idolatry; and asserted itself to be the completion, as must expose it to the hatred of Greece, Rome, and Judea. end, and perfection, of the whole Mosaic economy. It was therefore hated by all those nations; and its followers despised, detested, and persecuted. From the profession of such a religion so circumstanced, could any man, who possessed even the most moderate share of common sense, expect secu lar emolument or advantage? No! Had not this apostle of the fullest proof of its heavenly influence on his own soul, the the Gentiles the fullest conviction of the truth of Christianity, brightest prospect of the reality and blessedness of the spiritual world, he could not have taken one step in the path which the doctrine of Christ pointed out. Add to this, that he lived long after his conversion, saw Christianity and its influence in every point of view; and tried it in all circumstances. What was the result? The deepest conviction of its truth: so that he counted all things dross and dung in comparison of the excellency of its knowledge. Had he continued a Jewe, he would have infallibly risen to the first dignities and honours of his nation; but he willingly forfeited all his secular privileges, and well-grounded expectations of secular honour and emolument, and espoused a cause from which he could not only have no expectation of worldly advantage, but which most evidently and necessarily, exposed him to all sorts of privations, sufferings, hardships, dangers, and death itself! These were not only the unavoidable consequences of the cause he espoused: but he had them fully in his apprehen sion, and constantly in his eye. He predicted them, and knew that every step he took was a progressive advance in additional sufferings, and the issue of his journey must be a

greatest of men; and his conduct after he became a Chris tian, had it not sprung from a divine motive, of the truth of The whole history of St. Paul proves him to be one of the which he had the fullest conviction, would have shown him to be one of the weakest of men. The conclusion therefore is self-evident, that in St. Paul's call there could be no impos ture; that in his own mind there could be no deception, that his conversion was from heaven; and the religion he professed and taught, the infallible and eternal truth of Jehovah. In this full conviction, he counted not his life dear unto him, but finished his rugged race with joy, cheerfully giving up his life for the testimony of Jesus; and thus his luminous sun set in blood, to rise again in glory. The conversion of St. Paul is tion and defence of its doctrines; and his life and death, a glorious illustration of its principles. Armed with the history the triumph of Christianity; his writings, the fullest exhibi of Paul's conversion and life, the feeblest believer needs ut fear the most powerful infidel The ninth chapter of the A of the Apostles, will ever remain an inexpugnable fortress to defend Christianity, and defeat its enemies. Reader, hath not God so done his marvellous works that they may be had in everlasting remembrance 1

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