Images de page
PDF
ePub

He finishes his discourse, and

bids them an affectionate farewell."

[graphic]

25 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure | word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give from the blood of all men.

27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all h the counsel of God.

23 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost k hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his

32 And now, brethren, 1 commend you to God, and to the fChap 18.6. 2 Cor.7.2-g Ver. 20-h Luke 7.30. John 15. 15. Eph.1 11.-11 Tim. 4:16. Pet.5.2-k1 Cor. 12.23.-1 Fph. 1.7, 14. Col.1.14. Heb.9.12. 1 Peter 1. 19. Rev 5.9-m See Heb.9.14.-n Matt. 7.15.2 Pet.2.1.-01 Tim.1.20. 1 John 2.19.Chap. 19.10.-q Heb. 13.9.-r Chap 9.31.

he speaks with a measure of uncertainty; he had not an absolute evidence that he should not return, but in his own mind it was a matter of uncertainty. The Holy Spirit did not think proper to give him a direct revelation on this point.

26. I am pure from the blood of all) If any man, Jew or Gentile, perish in his sins, his blood shall be upon him; he alone shall be accessary to his own perdition. I am blameless, because I have fully shown to both the way to escape from every evil.

27. I have not shunned to declare] On vroseλauny, I have not suppressed or concealed any thing, through fear or faTour, that might be beneficial to your souls. This is properly the meaning of the original word. See the note on ver. 20. All the counsel of God.] All that God has determined and revealed concerning the salvation of man-the whole doctrine of Christ crucified, with repentance toward God; and faith in Jesus, as the Messiah and great atoning Priest. In Isa. ix. 6. Jesus Christ is called the wonderful counsellor, y NSD Pelé Yoets, which the Septuagint translate peyaλns Bovins Ayys Aos The messenger of the great counsel. To this the apostle may have referred, as we well know that this Version was constantly under his eye. Declaring therefore to them the whole counsel of God, waony Tηy Boviny Tov Ocov, the whole of that counsel or design of God, was, in effect, declaring the whole that concerned the Lord Jesus, who was the messenger of this counsel.

28. Made you overseers] E0srо ERLOKOTOVS, appointed you bishops: for so we translate the original word in most places where it occurs; but overseers or inspectors, is much more proper, from en, over, and CKERTOμai, I look. The persons who examine into the spiritual state of the flock of God, and take care to lead them in and out, and to find them pasture, are termed Episcopoi, or superintendents. The office of a bishop is from God; a true pastor only can fulfil this office; it is an office of most awful responsibility; few there are who can fill it; and of those who occupy this high and awful place, perhaps we may say, there are fewer still who discharge the duties of it. There are, however, through the good providence of God, Christian bishops who, while they are honoured by the calling, do credit to the sacred function. And the annals of our church can boast of at least as many of this class of men, who have served their God and their generation, as of any other order, in the proportion which this order bears to others in the church of Christ. That bishop and presbyter, or elder, were at this time of the same order, and that the word was indifferently used of both; see noticed on ver. 17. Feed the church of God] This verse has been the subject of much controversy, particularly in reference to the term con, of GoD, in this place: and concerning it there is great dissension among the MSS. and Versions. Three reangs exist in them, in reference to which critics and commentators have been much divided; viz. EKKANGιav Tov Osov, the church of GOD:-rov Kupiov, of the LORD;-Kvptov Kai Ocov, of the LORD and GOD. From the collection of Wetstein and Griesbach, it appears that but few MSS. and none of them very ancient, have the word Osov, of GOD; with these only the Vulgate and the latter Syriac in the text, agree. Kupiov, of the LORD, is the reading of ACDE., several others, the Sahidic, Coptic, latter Syriac in the margin, Armenian, Ethiopic, and some of the Fathers. Kvptov Kai Osov, of the LORD, and of GoD, is the reading of the great majority; though the most ancient are for Koptov, of the LORD; on this ground Griesbach has admitted this reading into the text, and put Kuptov kat Ocov, in the margin, as being next in authority.

Mr. Wakefield, who was a professed and conscientious Unitarian, decides for Tov Oc", of Gon, as the true reading; but instead of translating rov totov aiparos, with his own blood, he translates, by his own Son; and brings some passages from the Greek and Roman writers, to show, that at pa and sanguis, are used to signify son, or near relative: and were this the only place where purchasing with his own blood occurred, we might receive this saying; but as the redemption of man is, throughout the New Testainent, attributed to the sacrificial death of Christ, it is not likely that this very unusual meaning should apply here. At all events, we have here a proof that the church was purchased by the blood of Christ; and, as to his Godhead, it is sufficiently established in many other

you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
34 Yea, ye yourselves know, " that these hands have minis.
tered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
35 I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye
ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the
Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to
receive.
36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and
prayed with them all.

37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kiss-
ed him,
38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake,
And they accompani
that they should see his face no more.
ed him unto the ship.

Ch.26.11. Eph.1.18, Col.1.12 &3.24. Heb.9.15. 1 Pet. 1.4.-1 Sain. 12.3. 1 Cor
9.12. 2 Cor.7.2 & 11.9.& 12.17.-u Ch. 18 3. 1 Cor. 4. 12. 1 Thess. 2.9. 2 Thess. 3.8.--
2 Thess.3.8.- Ch.7.00.& 21.5.-x Gen. 45. 14. & 46.29-y Ver. 25.
Rom. 15.1. 1 Cor.9.12 2 Cor.11.9, 12.& 12. 13. Eph.4.28. 1 Thess. 4. 11. & 5.14.

places. When we grant that the greater evidence appears to
be in favour of rov Kvptov, feed the church of the Lord which
he has purchased with his own blood; we must maintain that,
had not this Lord been GoD, his blood could have been no pur-
chase for the souls of a lost world.

29. After my departing] Referring, most likely, to his death; for few of these evils took place during his life.

Grievous wolves] Persons professing to be teachers, Judaizing Christians, who, instead of feeding the flock, would feed themselves, even to the oppression and ruin of the church. 30. Also of your own selves, &c.] From out of your own assembly, shall men arise, speaking perverse things; teaching for truth, what is erroneous in itself; and perversive of the genuine doctrine of Christ crucified.

To draw away disciples] To make schisms or rents in the church, in order to get a party to themselves. See here the cause of divisions in the church:-1. The superintendents lose the life of God, neglect the souls of the people, become greedy of gain; and, by secular extortions, oppress the peo ple. 2. The members of the church thus neglected, oppress ed, and irritated, get their minds alienated from their rapacious pastors. 3. Men of sinister views take advantage of this state of distraction, foment discord, preach up the necessity of di vision, and thus the people become separated from the great body, and associate with those who profess to care for their souls, and who disclaim all secular views. In this state of distraction, it is a high proof of God's love to his heritage, if one be found, who, possessing the true apostolic doctrine and spirit, rises up to call men back to the primitive truth: and restores the primitive discipline. How soon the grievous wolves and perverse teachers arose in the churches of Asia Minor, the first chapters of the Apocalypse inform us. The Nicolaitans had nearly ruined the church of Ephesus, Rev. ii. 2, 6. The same sect, with other false teachers, infested the church of Pergamos, and preached there the doctrine of Ba luam, ib. ii. 14, 15. A false prophetess seduced the church of Thyatira, ib. ii. 20. All these churches were in Asia Minor, and probably bishops or ministers from each, were present at this convocation.

31. Therefore watch, and remember] The only way to abide in the truth, is to watch against evil, and for good; and to keep in mind the heavenly doctrines originally received. Unwatchfulness and forgetfulness, are two grand inlets to apostacy.

By the space of three years] Tpisriav. The Greek word here does not necessarily mean three whole years, it may b months, more or less. In ch. xix. 8. and 10. we have an ac count of his spending two years and three months among them; probably this is all that is intended. One MS. perce ving that the time of three years was not completed, insert deriva, the space of two years.

32. I commend you to God] Instead of O, to God; several MSS. have To Kupte, to the LORD; neither reading, makes any difference in the sense.

And to the word of his grace] The doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus.

Which is able to build you up] The foundation is JESUS CHRIST; GOD is the great master-builder the doctrine of his grace, or mercy, points out the order and manner, as well as the extent, &c. of this building. Let us observe the order of these things:-1. The soul of man which was formerly the habitation of God, is now in a state of ruin. 2. The ruins of this soul must be repaired, that it may again become a habita tion of God through the Spirit. 3. Jesus Christ is the only foundation, on which this house can be rebuilded. 4. The doctrine of God's grace is the model or plan, according to which the building can be raised. 5. When re-edified each is to be a lively temple of the Lord, made inwardly pure, and outwardly righteous, and thus prepared for a state of bliss. 6. Being made children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus, and sanctified by his Spir, they have a right to the heavenly inheritance; for only the children of the family can possess the celestial estate. Thus we find they must be saved by grace, and be made thereby children of God; be sunctified by his Spirit, and then, being prepared for, they are removed, in due time, into the heavenly inheritance.

33. I have coveted no man's silver, &c.] And from this cir 423

[graphic]

they had been brought into so glorious a state of salvation, is now going away, in all likelihood, to be seen no more till the and lands at Tyre. day in which the quick and dead shall stand before the throne of judgment. Such a scene, and its correspondent feelings, are more easily imagined than described.

first day of the week, we may learn from this, that ever since the apostolic times, the Lord's day, now the Christian Sab 1. As the disciples are stated to have come together on the bath, was set apart for religious exercises: such as the preaching of God's holy word, and celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's supper. Besides its being the day on which our blessed Lord rose from the dead, the practice of the apostles, and the primitive church, is an additional reason why we should religiously celebrate this first day of the week. They who, bath, have little to support them in the New Testament. How prone is man to affect to be wise above what is written, while professing the Christian religion, still prefer the Jewish Sab laid down in the Divine word. he is, in almost every respect, below the teaching so plainly

Christ at Ephesus and Miletus, contains much that is interesting to every Christian minister:-1. If he be sent of God at 2. The charge of St. Paul to the pastors of the church of all, he is sent to feed the flock. 2. But, in order to feed them, he must have the bread of life. 3. This bread he must distribute in its due season, that each may have that portion that is suitable to time, place, and state. 4. While he is feeding others, he should take care to have his own soul fed: it is possible for a minister to be the instrument of feeding others, and yet starve himself. 5. If Jesus Christ entrust to his care the souls he has bought by his own blood: what an awful ac count will he have to give in the day of judgment, if any of them perish through his neglect? Though the sinner, dying in his sins, has his own blood upon his head; yet, if the watchman has not faithfully warned him, his blood will be required at the watchman's hand. Let him who is concerned read is shortly to give unto God. Ezek. chap. xxxiii. 3, 4, 5. and think of the account which he

highest state of grace. Paul warns his hearers day and night 3. Tenderness and sympathy are not inconsistent with the their beloved pastor. They who can give up a Christian minister with indifference, have either profited little under that with tears. His hearers now weep sore at the departure of The pastors should love as fathers, the converts as children and all feel themselves one family, under that great head, ministry, or they have backslidden from the grace of God. Christ Jesus.

NOTES.-Verse 1. Came with a straight course] Having had, as is necessarily implied, wind and tide in their favour. Coos] An island in the Archipelago, or gean Sea, one of those called the Sporades. It was famous for the worship of Esculapius and Juno: and for being the birth-place of Hippocrates, the most eminent of physicians: and Apelles, the most celebrated of painters.

Rhodes] Another island in the same sea, celebrated for its Colossus, which was one of the seven wonders of the world. This was a brazen statue of Apollo, so high that ships in full sail could pass between its legs. It was the work of Chares, a pupil of Lysippus, who spent twelve years in making it. It was 106 feet high, and so great that few people could fathom its thumb. It was thrown down by an earthquake, about 224 years before Christ, after having stood sixty-six years. When the Saracens took possession of this island, they sold this prostrate image to a Jew, who loaded 900 camels with the brass of it; this was about A. D. 660, nearly 900 years after it had been thrown down.

Patara] One of the chief seaport towns of Syria.

2. Phænicia) A part of Syria. See the note on chap. xi. 19. 3. Cyprus] See the note on chap. iv. 36. and see the track of this journey on the Map

Tyre] A city of Phoenicia, one of the most celebrated maritime towns in the world. See the notes on chap. xii. 20. Matt. xi. 21. 424

[blocks in formation]

7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.

8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Cesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

[ocr errors]

9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, nained Agabus.

11 And when he was coine unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and pound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that own eth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem,

13 Then Paul answered, What ineau ye to weep and to break mine heart 1 for I am ready, not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the naine of the Lord Jesus.

14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

ph.4.11. 2 Tim. 4.5.—f Ch.6.5 & 26, 40 -g Joel 2.08. Ch. 2. 17.-h Ch.11.28Verid Ch 91 21 –k Ch.19.24.4 Matt. 5. 19. & 26 42. Luke 11.2 & £2 42.

9-13.

David prevented the threatened evil by leaving Kei1: Paul fell into it by going to Jerusalem.

5. When we had accomplished those days] That is, the seven days mentioned in the preceding verse.

And they all brought us on our way, with wives and children] It is not likely that Paul, Silas, Luke, &c. had either wives or children with them; and it is more natural to sup pose that the brethren of Tyre, with their wives and children, are those that are meant these, through affection to the aposdes, accompanied them from their homes to the ship; and the coming out of the husbands, wives, and children, shows what a general and affectionate interest the preaching and private conversation of these holy men had excited.

Kneeled down on the shore, and prayed) As God fills hea ven and earth, so he may be worshipped every where: as well, when circumstances require it, on the seashore, as in the temple. We have already seen, in the case of Lydia, that the Jews had proseuchas by the river sides, &c. and an observation in Tertullian seems to intimate, that they preferred such places, and in the open air offered their petitions to God by the seashore: Omissis templis, per omne littus, quocum que in aperto aliquando jam præces ad cælum mittunt. Tertul. de Jejunio.

& Taken-leave] Aotavapevo; having given each other the kiss of peace, as was the constant custom of the Jews and prunitive Christians.

They returned home] That is, the men, their wives, and their children.

7. We came to Ptolemais] This was a seaport town of GaWee, not far from Mount Carmel, between Tyre and Cesarea, where the river Belus einpties itself into the sea. It was at est called Accho, (and this is the reading of the Syriac and Arabic,) and belonged to the tribe of Asher, Judges i. 31. it was enlarged and beautified by the first of the Egyptian PtoTants, from whom it was called Ptolemais. This place terminated St. Paul's voyage: and this is what is expressed in The text: And we came from Tyre to Ptolemais, ichere our royage ended. See the Greek text.

We that were of Paul's company] Oi Tepi Tov Havλoy This clause is wanting in ABCE. and many others, the Syriac, Y ptie, Vulgate, Armenian, &c.

Came unto Cesarea] This was Cesarea of Palestine, alrendy sufficiently described. See on chap. viii. 40.

Philip the evangelist] One of the seven deacons, who see.us to have settled here, after he had baptized the eunuch. See on chap. viii. 40.

9. Four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.] Proba bly these were no more than teachers in the church; for we hive already seen that this was a frequent meaning of the word prophesy: and this is undoubtedly one thing intended by the prophecy of Joel, quoted chap. fi. 17, and 18. of this bk. If Philip's daughters might be prophetesses, why not

.enchers?

10. Agabus.] See the note on chap. xi. 28.

11. Took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands, &c.] This was no doubt a prophet, in the commonly received sense of the term; and his mode of acting was like that of the aneient prophets, who often accompanied their predictions with significant emblems. Jeremiah was commanded to bury his girdle by the river Euphrates, to mark out the captivity of the Jews, Jerem. xiii. 4. For more examples of this figurative or symbolical prophesying, see Jerem. xxvii. 2, 3. xxviii. 4. Isa. xx. Ezek. iv. xii. &c.

Pant would be bound, &c

15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.

16 There went with us also certain of the disciples of Cesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

18 And the day following, Paul went in with us unto" James; and all the elders were present.

19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry,

20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles, to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art coine. 23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;

Ch 15.4.-n Ch.15.13. Gal. 1. 19. & 2.9-o Ch. 15. 4, 12. Rom. 15 18, 19.-p Ch. 1.17. Ch 20.24.-q Ch.22.3. Kom. 10.2. Gal. 1.14-r Gal.2.3.& 5.1.

13. I am ready not to be bound only] He was resolute and determined; but was under ne constraining necessity. See the note on ver. 4.

14. The will of the Lord be done.] May that which is most for his glory take place! They plainly saw from the prophecy what would take place, if Paul went to Jerusalem; and every one saw that he had power to go, or not to go.

15. Took up our carriages] AnoσKεvаTзμɛvot; we made ourselves ready; packed up our things; got our baggage in order. This is what the text means.

16. And brought with them one Mnason, &c.] It is not very likely that they would bring a man with them, with whorn they were to lodge in Jerusalein; therefore, the text should perhaps be read as Bp. Patrick proposes: There went with us certain of the disciples of Cesarea bringing us to one Mnason, with whom we were to lodge. This is most likely, as the text will bear this translation. But it is possible that Mnason, formerly of Cyprus, now an inhabitant of Jerusa· lem, might have been down at Cesarea, met the disciples, and invited them to lodge with him while they were at Jerusa lem; and having transacted his business at Cesarea, might now accompany them to Jerusalem. His being an old disci ple, may either refer to his having been a very early convert, probably one of those on the day of pentecost; or to his be ing now an old man.

18. Went in with us unto James] This was James the less, son of Mary, and cousin to our Lord. He appears to have been bishop of the church in Jerusalem: and perhaps the only apostle who continued in that city. We have already seen what a very important character he sustained in the council. See chap. xv. 13.

All the elders were present] It appears that they had been convened about matters of serious and important moment: and some think it was relative to Paul himself; of whose arrival they had heard, and well knew how inany of those that believed were disaffected towards him.

19. Declared particularly, &c.] He no doubt had heard that they were prejudiced against him; and by declaring what God had done by him among the Gentiles, showed how groundless this prejudice was: for were he a bad man, or doing any thing that he should not do, God would not have made him such a singular instrument of so much good.

20. How many thousands] Пocaι μvpiades; how many my. riads, how many times 10,000. This intimates that there had been a most extraordinary and rapid work even among the Jews: but what is here spoken is not to be confined to the Jews of Jerusalem; but to all that had come from different parts of the land, to be present at this Pentecost.

They are all zealous of the law] The Jewish economy was not yet destroyed; nor had God as yet signified that the whole of its observances were done away. He continued to tolerate that dispensation, which was to be in a certain measure in force till the destruction of Jerusalem; and from that period it was impossible for them to observe their own ritual. Thus God abolished the Mosaic dispensation, by rendering, in the course of his providence, the observation of it impossible. 21. Thou teachest-to forsake Moses, &c.] From any thing that appears in the course of this book to the contrary, this information was incorrect: we do not find Paul preaching thus to the Jews. It is true, that, in his Epistles, some of which had been written before this time, he showed that circumcision and uncircumcision were equally unavailable for the salvation of the soul: and that by the deeds of the law no man could be justified; but he had not yet said to any Jew, forsake Moses, and do not circumcise your children. He told them that Jesus Christ had delivered them from the yoke of the law; but they had, as yet, liberty to wear that yoke, if they pleased. He had showed them that their ceremonies were useless, but not destructive; that they were only dange12. Besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.] For they all rous, when they depended on them for salvation. This is the understood the prophecy to be conditional and contingent; sum of what Paul had taught on this subject. and that it was in Paul's power to turn the scalo 22. The multitude must needs come together] Whether 425

Into the hands of the Gentiles] That is, the Romans, for the Jews had not, properly speaking, the power of life and death. And as Agabus said, he should be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles, he showed thereby that they would attempt to destroy his life. This prediction of Agabus was literally fulfilled, see ver. 33.

Vol.. V.

3 HI

37′ .

[graphic]

mus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought tumult, and sieze upon Paul. into the temple.)

and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forth 30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: with the doors were shut.

chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar: 31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. 32 b Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran Gedown unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and

[ocr errors]

27 And when the seven days were almost ended, w the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and farther brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place, s

29 (For they had seen before with him in the city, Trophi

Num. 6.2, 13, 18. Ch 18.18-1 Ch. 15, 20, 29-u Ch.24. 18-v Nuin. 6. 13.-w Ch. 34.19-x Ch 26.21-y Ch.24.5, 6.-z Ch. 20.4.

this refers to a regular convocation of the church; or to a tumult that would infallibly take place when it was heard that the apostle was come, we cannot pretend to say: but it is evident that James and the elders wished some prudent steps to be taken, in order to prevent an evil that they had too much reason to fear. M

23. We have four men which have a vow] From the shaving of the head, mentioned immediately after, it is evident that the four men in question, were under the vow of Nazariteship; and that the days of their vow were nearly at an end, as they were about to shave their heads; for, during the time of the Nazariteship, the hair was permitted to grow, and only shaven off at the termination of the vow. Among the Jews, it was common to make vows to God on extraordinary occasions; and that of the Nazarite appears to have been one of the most common; and it was permitted by their law, for any person to perform this vow by proxy. See the law produced in my note on Numb. vi. 21. It was also customary for the richer sort to bestow their charity on the poorer sort for this purpose; for Josephus, Ant. lib. xix. cap. 6. sect. 1. observes, that Agrippa, on his being advanced from a prison to a throne, by the emperor Claudius, came to Jerusalem; and there, among other instances of his religious thankfulness shown in the temple, Ναζαραίων ξυρασθαι διέταξε μαλα συχνους, he or dered very many Nazarites to be shaven; he furnishing them with money for the expenses of that, and of the sacrifices necessarily attending it." See Bp. Pearce.

24. Be at charges with them Or, rather, be at charges for them; help them to bear the expense of that vow. Eight lambs, four rams, besides oil, flour, &c. were the expenses on this occasion. See the notes on Numb. vi.

Thou walkest orderly, and keepest the law.] Perhaps this advice meant no more than, Show them, by such means as are now in thy power, that thou art not an enemy to Moses; that thou dost still consider the law to be holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good. Paul did so, and bore the expenses of those, who, from a scruple of conscience, had made a vow, and perhaps were not well able to bear the expense attending it. Had they done this in order to acquire justification through the law, Paul could not have assisted them in any measure with a clear conscience: but as he did assist them, it is a proof that they had not taken this vow on them for this purpose. Indeed, vows rather referred to a sense of obligation, and the gratitude due to God for merties already received, than to the procuring of future favours of any kind. Besides, God had not yet fully shown that the law was abolished, as has already been remarked; he tolerated it till the time that the iniquity of the Jews was filled up; and then, by the destruction of Jerusalem, he swept every rite and cere mony of the Jewish law away with the besom of destruction. 25. As touching the Gentiles] See the notes on chap. xv. and the additional observations at the end of that chapter. 26. To signify the accomplishment, &c.] Atayyelv, declaring the accomplishment, &c. As this declaration was made to the priest, the sense of the passage is the following, if we suppose Paul to have made an offering for himself, as well as the four men: "The next day, Paul taking the four men, began to purify, set himself apart, or consecrate himself with them: entering into the temple, he publicly declared to the priests, that he would observe the separation of a Nazarite, and continue it for seven days, at the end of which he would bring an offering for himself and the other four men, according to what the law prescribed in that case." likely that Paul made no offering for himself, but was merely But it is at the expense of theirs. However we may consider this subject, it is exceedingly difficult to account for the conduct of James, and the elders, and of Paul, on this occasion. There seems to have been something in this transaction which we do not fully understand.alf

27 The Jews which were of Asia] These pursued him with the most deliberate and persevering malice in every place; and it appears that it was through them that the false reports were sent to, and circulated through Jerusalem.

28. This is the man that teacheth, &c.] As much as if they 426

manded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who
33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and com-
he was, and what he had done.

titude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tu
34 And some cried one thing, some another, among the mul
mult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle.
borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.
35 And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was
36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying,
d Away with him.

37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto a Chap. 26.21-b Chap. 23.27. & 24.7-c Verse 11. Chap. 20. 29-d Luke 23. 18 John 19.15. Ch.22.22.

had said, This is the man concerning whom we wrote to you; who in every place endeavours to prejudice the Gentiles against the Jews, against the Mosaic law, and against the temple and its services.

purpose by bringing any Greek or Gentile into the temple; and Brought Greeks also into the temple] This was a most de their having seen Trophimus, an Ephesian, with him, in the liberate and malicious untruth: Paul could accomplish no city only, was no ground on which to raise a slander, that must so materially affect both their lives. Josephus informs us, War, lib. v. cap. 5. sect. 2. that on the wall which sepa rated the court of the Gentiles from that of the Israelites was an inscription in Greek and Latin letters, which stated, that no stranger was permitted to come within the holy place, on pain of death. With such a prohibition as this before his eyes, was it likely that St. Paul would enter into the temple, in company with an uncircumcised Greek? The calumny refutes itself.

and drew him out of the temple, out of the court of the Israel. ites, where he was worshipping: and the doors were shut: 30. They took Paul] They tumultuously seized on him; the doors of the court of the Gentiles, probably to prevent Baul from getting any succour from his friends in the city; for their whole proceedings show that they purposed to mar der him: they brought him out of the court of the Israelites, that court being peculiarly holy, that it might not be defiled they might have the opportunity, unmolested, of killing hin in that place; for the court of the Gentiles was reckoned to by his blood; and they shut the court of the Gentiles, that be less holy than that of the Israelites.

who had a troop of soldiers under him, which lodged, in gene-
ral, in the castle of Antonia, which was built at the angle
31. The chief captain of the band] The Roman tribune,
where the northern and western porticoes of the outer-court of
the temple were joined together. This castle was built by
John Hyrcanus, high-priest of the Jews: it was at first called
Baris, and was the royal residence of the Asmoneans, as long
as they reigned in Jerusalem. It was beautifled by Herod the
Great; and called Antonia, in honour of his friend Mark An-
thony. By this castle the temple was commanded, as it stood
on higher ground. Josephus describes this castle, War, b.
v. cap. 5. sect. 8. As having four towers, from one of which
the whole temple was overlooked; and that one or the towers
was joined to the porticoes of the temple, and had a double pair
of stairs from it, by which soldiers of the garrison were used
to come down with their arms to the porticoes, on the festival
days, to keep the people quiet: for, as the temple was a guard
to the city, so this castle was a guard to the temple." "It
seems, therefore," says Bishop Pearce, "to me very plain.
the court of the Gentiles, the porticoes being there; and that
that the place where the Jews were about to kill Paul, was
of this chief captain or tribune, was Claudius Lysias, as we
learn from chap. xxiii. 26.
the chief captain came down there to his rescue." The name

ticoes mentioned above."
32. Ran down unto them] Ran down the stairs to the por

xxiv. 7. probably meaning an armed force.
33. And took him] With great violence, according to chap.

soldiers; his right hand chained to the left hand of the one,
and his left hand to the right of the other. See the note on
To be bound with two chains] To be bound between two
chap. xii. 6.

in the note on ver. 31.
35. And when he came upon the stairs] Those mentioned

so much this phrase always means in the months of a Jewish
mob. See on Luke xxiii. 18. and John xix. 15.
36. Away with him.] That is, kill him; despatch him! for

ship of Rome with a great sum of money; (see chap. xxii. 28.)
37. Canst thou speak Greek?] Claudius Lysias was not u
and it is very likely that he was but imperfectly acquainted
Roman; he had, as himself informs us, purchased his citizen-
with the Latin tongue; and the tumult that was now made,
hending what was said; and as he wished to know the merit
and the discordant noise, prevented him from clearly appre

[blocks in formation]

the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst theu speak Greek 1

38 Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thonsand men that were murderers?

39 But Paul said, ( I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a e See Chap. 5.36.

of the cause, he accosted Paul with 'BAAŋvist yvwokeis: dost thou understand Greek? And when he found that he did understand it, he proceeded to question him as below.

the people, &c.

| city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.

40 And when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,

f Ch.9.11. & 22.3.- Ch.12.17.

have shown that Tarsus was a city of considerable importance, and in some measure a rival to Rome and Athens; and that because of the services rendered to the. Romans by the inha bitants, Julius Cesar endowed them with all the rights and privileges of Roman citizens. When St. Paul calls it no mean had occasion to speak of Tarsus. XENOPHON, Cyri Anabas. calls it woλiv peyaλny kai evdaipova, a great and flourishing city. JOSEPHUS, Ant. lib. i. cap. 6. sect. 6. says, that it was παρ' αυτοίς των πόλεων η αξιολογώτατη μετροπολις ούσα, είτε metropolis and most renowned city among them, the Cili cians.) And AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS, xiv. 8. says, Ciliciam Tarsus nobilitat, urbs perspicabilis: "Tarsus, a very respectable city, adorns Cilicia."

38. Art not thou that Egyptian, &c.] The history to which Claudius Lysias refers, is taken from Josephus, Ant. lib. xx. cap. 7. sect. 6. and War, lib. ii. cap. 13. sect. 5. and is in sub-city, he speaks a language that was common to those who have, stince as follows: An Egyptian, whose name is not known, pretended to be a prophet, and told his followers that the walls of Jerusalein would fall down before them, if they would assist hita in making an attack on the city. He had address enough to raise a rabble of 30,000 men, and with these advanced as far as the Mount of Olives. But Felix, the Roman governor came suddenly upon him, with a large body of Roman troops, both infantry and cavalry: the mob was speedily dispersed, four hundred killed, two hundred taken prisoners, and the Egyp tan himself, with some of his most faithful friends, escaped; of whom no account was ever afterward heard. As Lysias found such an outery made against Paul, he supposed that he

must be some egregious malefactor; and p that Egyp- of Turnus, when he wished, by single combat between hip

tian who had escaped, as related above.

men agree that St. Luke refers to the same fact, of which Josephus speaks; but there is considerable difference between the numbers in Josephus, and those in Luke: the former having 30,000, the latter only 4,000. The small number of killed and prisoners, only 600 in all, according to Josephus, leads us to suspect that his number is greatly exaggerated; as 600 in killed and pri soners of a mob of 30,000, routed by regular infantry and cavalry, is no kind of proportion; but it is a sufficient proportion to a mob of 4,000. Dean Aldridge has supposed that the number in Josephus was originally 4,000, but that ancient copyists, mistaking the Greek A delta, four, for A lambda, thirty, wrote 30,000, instead of 4,000. See Haverkamp's edition, vol. ii. p. 177. There is another way of reconciling the two historians, which is this: When this Egyptian impostor at first began to make great boasts and large promises, a multitude of people, to the amount at least of 30,000, weary of the Roman yoke, from which he promised thein deliverance, readily arranged themselves under his banners. As he performed nothing that he promised, 26,000 of these had melted away before he reached Mount Olivet: this remnant the Romans attacked and dispersed. Josephus speaks of the number he had in the beginning; St. Luke, of those that he had when he arrived at

Mount Olivet.

That were murderers?} Eikantoor: sicarii, assassins: they derived their name from sica, a sort of crooked knife, which they concealed under their garments, and privately stabbed the objects of their malice. Josephus.

39. I am a man which am a Jew] A periphrasis for I am a Jew. See the note on chap. vii. 2.

Of Tarsus-no mean city] In the notes on chap. ix. 11. 1

40, Paul stood on the stairs] Where he was out of the reach of the moù; and was surrounded by the Roman soldiers. Beckoned with the hand] Waving the hand, which was the sign that he was about to address the people. So VIRGIL says self and Eneas, to put an end to the war: Significatque manu, et magno sic incipit ore: Parcite jam, Rutuli; et vos tela inhibete, Latini. He beckoned with his hand, and cried out with a loud voice, Desist, ye Rutulians; and, ye Latins, cease from throwing your javelins.

He spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue] What was called then the Hebrew, viz. the Chaldæo-Syriac; very well expressed by the Codex Bezæ, ry idia diadekT, in their own dialect.

Never was there a more unnatural division than that in this chapter: it ends with a single comma! The best division would have been at the end of the 25th verse.

Paul's embarkation at Tyre is very remarkable, The sim ple manner in which he was escorted to the ship by the disci ples of Tyre, men, women, and children, and their affectionate and pious parting, kneeling down on the shore and commending each other to God, are both impressive and edifying. Nothing but Christianity could have produced such a spirit in persons, who now, perhaps, for the first time, saw each other in the flesh. Every true Christian is a child of God; and consequently, all children of God have a close spiritual affinity, They are all partakers of the same Spirit, are united to the same Head; are actuated with the saine hope, and are going to the same heaven. These, love one another with pure hearts fervently; and these alone are capable of disinterested and lasting friendship. Though this kind of friendship cannot fail, yet it may err; and with officious affection endeavour to prevent us from bearing a necessary and most honourable cross. See verses 12, 13. It should therefore be kept within scriptural bounds.

CHAPTER XXII.

Paul, in his address to the people, gives an account of his birth and education, 1-3. His prejudices against Christianity 4. 5. and of his miraculous conversion, and call to the apostleship, 6-21. The Jews hearing him say, that God had sent him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, become exceedingly outrageous, and clamour for his life, 22, 23. The chief cap tain orders him to be examined by scourging; but he, pleading his privilege as a Roman citizen, escapes the torture, 2429. The next day the chief captain brings Paul before the chief priests and their council, 30. [Á. M, cir. 4061. A. D. cir. 60. An. Olymp. cir. CCIX. 4.]

Mmake now unto you.
[EN brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence, which I

2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue
to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
31 am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city
in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of d'Gama-
Ch.7.2-h Ch.21. 39, 2 Cor.11.22. Phil. 3.5.-e Deut.33.3. 2 Kings 4. 38. Luke
10. 3-1 Ch 5.34.-e Ch.26.5.

[ocr errors]

NOTES.-Verse 1. Men brethren, and fathers] A Hebrew form of expression for brethren and fathers: for two classes only are addressed. See the note on chap. vii. 2.

Hear ye my defence] Mov rns aroλoytas, this apology of mine: in this sense the word apology was anciently understood: hence the Apologies of the primitive Fathers, í. e. their defences of the Christian Religion. And this is its proper lite. ral meaning: but it is now used only as implying an excuse for improper conduct. That this is an abuse of the term, requires no proof.

2 When they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue] He had probably been traduced by the Jews of Asia, as a mere Gentile, distinguished only by his virulence against the Jew bh religion; which virulence proceeded from his malice and ignorance.

3. I am verily a man which am a Jew] A periphrasis for, I am really a Jew: and his mentioning this, adds weight to the conjecture in the preceding note. He shows that he could not be ignorant of the Jewish religion: as he had the best instructer in it which Jerusalem could produce.

fel brought up, &c.] Bp. Pearce proposes that this verse

liel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

4h And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women;

5 As also the high-priest doth bear me witness, and i all the fCh 21.90 Gal. 1. 14-g Rom. 10.2-h Ch.8.3. & 26.9, 10, 11. Phil.3.6. 1 Tim. 1. 13-i Luke 22.66. Ch 4 5

should be thus read and translated: "But brought up in this city; instructed at the feet of Gamaliel, according to the most exact manner, being exceedingly zealous for the law of our fathers, as ye all are this day."

Born in Tarsus] See the notes on chap. ix. 11. and xxi. 39. Feet of Gamaliel] See a full account of this man in the note on chap. v. 34.

It has been generally supposed that the phrase brought up at the feet, is a reference to the Jewish custom, viz. that the disciples of the rabbins sat on low seats, or on the ground, whilst the rabbin himself occupied a lofty chair. But we rather learn from Jewish authority, that the disciples of the rabbins stood before their teachers, as Vitringa has proved in his treatise De Synag. Vit. lib. i. p. 1. cap. 7. Kypke therefore contends, that rapa res rodas, at the feet, means the same as Anetov, near, or before, which is not an unfrequent mode of, speech among both sacred and profane writers. Thus in chap. iv. 35, 37. chap. v. 2. eridovy rapa rovs rodas Twv añosolv they laid it at the apostles' feet, means only, they brought it to the apostles. So in 2 Maccab. iv. 7. rapa rodas non rov åồny OpVTES KELμevov, they saw death already lying at their feet;

« PrécédentContinuer »