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Gal. iii. 19.
Heb. ii. 2. x ch. v. 33.
y ch. vi. 5.
z Ezek. i. 1.
10: xvii. 7. ch. viii. 1: wii. 20.
u Exod. 21.1. derers : 53 u d who have received the law e by the disposition
of angels, and have not kept it. 54 * When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the
glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of Matt
. i. 16. God, 56 and said, z f Behold, I see the heavens opened, and Dik:13the a Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
s bekeiv. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped a Lempi. their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 and
b cast him out of the city, and stoned him : and a the d render, men who received.
e render, at the injunction.
I render, Lo, I behold. Matt. xxvi. 14–16 :-murderers, by the of the Lord.” Stephen, under accusation hands of the Romans; ch. ii. 23, note. of blaspheming the earthly temple, is
53. at the injunction of angels] granted a sight of the hearenly temple; Many explanations have been given of these being cited before the Sadducee High words. An enumeration and description of Priest, who believed neither angel nor them may be seen in my Greek Testament. spirit, he is vouchsafed a vision of the The key to the right understanding of heavenly High PRIEST, standing and mi. them seems to be the similar expression in nistering at the Throne, amidst the angels Gal. iii. 19, “the law , . ordained by and just men made perfect. 56.] [means of] angels.” The law was given This is the only time that our Lord is by by God, but announced by angels. The human lips called the Son of Man after people received God's law then, at the in- His Ascension (Rev. i. 13; xiv. 14, are not junction of angels. 54.] were cut to instances). And why here? I believe for the heart, see ch. v. 33, note.
Stephen, full of the Holy Certainly, in so far as the vision of Stephen Ghost, speaking now not of himself at all was supernatural, it was not necessary that (ver. 55), but entirely by the utterance of the material heavens should have been the Spirit, repeats the very words, Matt. visible to him: but from the words looked xxvi. 64, in which Jesus Himself, before up stedfastly into [the] heaven, it would this council, had foretold His glorification ; seem that they were. We are not told - and assures them that that exaltation of where the Sanhedrim were assembled. It the Son OF MAN, which they should here. does not seem as if they were convened in after witness to their dismay, was already the ordinary session room : it may have begun and actual. 58. cast him out been in one of the courts of the temple, of the city] See Levit. xxiv. 14. The which would give room for more than the Rabbinical books say, “The place of stomembers of the Sanhedrim to be present, ning was outside the city: for all walled as seems to have been the case.
cities were considered to correspond to the standing] A reason why the glorified camp of Israel.” Compare also Heb. xii. Saviour was seen standing and not sitting, 12, 13. and stoned him] An antici. has been pleasingly given by Chrysostom, pation of the fact, the details of which “ Why standing and not sitting ? that He follow. Stoning was the punishment of may shew His attitude of help to the blaspheming, Levit. xxiv. 16. The ques. martyr. For of the Father also it is said, tion whether this was a legal proceeding on * Arise, O God."" See also the collect for St. sentence, or a tumultuary one, is not easy Stephen's day. But not perhaps correctly: to answer. It would appear from John for 'help' does not seem here to be the xviii. 31, that the Jews had not legally the applicable idea, but the confirmation of his power of putting any man to death (see faith by the ecstatic vision of the Saviour's note there). Certainly, from the narrative glory at God's right hand.- I should be before us, and from the fact of a bloody rather disposed to think that there was persecution having taken place soon after reference in the vision to that in Zech. iii. it, it seems that the Jews did, by conni1, where Zechariah sees “Joshua [Jesus] vance of, or in the absence of the Procn. the High Priest standing before the angel rator, administer summary punishments of
xxi, 6. h Matt. v. 44.
Luke vi. 28: xxii. 20.
witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet,
59 And they stoned Stephen, eg calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, ' receive my choix: 14. spirit. 60 And he & kneeled down, and cried with a loud Leke Ixiii. voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when : 56 he had said this, he fell asleep.
VIII. 1 And a Saul was consenting unto his death. a chi vii. 58: And h at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem ; and b they were all bch. xi. 19. + scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judæa and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried
8 better, praying : it is literally, invoking: no word such as “God” is erpressed.
h literally, in that day. this kind. But here no sentence is re- this sin to their charge] This again was corded: and perhaps the very violence and somewhat similar (though not exactly, see fanatical character of the execution might note there) to our Lord's prayer, Luke constitute it, not an encroachment on the xxiii. 34. he fell asleep] Not a Chrispower of the Procurator, as it would have tian expression only: there are Jewish exbeen if strictly in form of law, but a mere amples : and we have some even in Greek outbreak, and as such it might be allowed heathen poetry. But it became the usual to pass unnoticed. That they observed the Christian term for death. Its use here, forms of their own law, in the place and when the circumstances, and the actors in manner of the stoning, is no objection to them, are remembered, is singularly touchthis view. the witnesses] See Deut. ing, from the contrast. xvii. 7, where it is enacted that the hands CHAP. VIII. 1-4.] PERSECUTION OF of the witnesses were to be first on the THE CHURCH BY SAUL, CONSEQUENT ON criminal to put him to death, and after- TIIE DEATH OF STEPHEN.
1. conward the hands of all the people.
senting] The same Greek word is renthey laid down their clothes] They disen- dered "allow” in Luke xi. 48: “have cumbered themselves of their loose outer pleasure” in Rom. i. 32. Compare St. garments, that they might be light and Paul's own confession, ch. xxvi. 9-11. unimpeded in the throwing of the stones. From this time, the narrative takes up They laid them at Saul's feet that he might Saul, and, at first with considerable interkeep them in safety. Such notices are ruptions (ch. viii. x. xi. xii.), but after ch. deeply interesting, when we recollect by xiii. 1 entirely, follows his history. whom they were in all probability carefully in that day, can hardly mean, as some would inserted. See ch. xxii. 19, 20, and note on render it, on that very day, viz. when ch. xxvi. 10 :- from which it appears that Stephen was stoned. For what follows, Saul can certainly not have been less than “they were all scattered abroad” ... canthirty at this time. He was a member of not have happened on the same day, but the Sanhedrim, and soon after was de- would take some little time. We have the spatched on an important mission with same expression used indefinitely, Luke vi. their authority. 59.] All attempts to 23; John xiv. 20; xvi. 23, 26. In Luke escape from this being a direct prayer to xvii. 31, it has direct reference to a day the Saviour are vain, as I have shewn in just mentioned. all] Not perhaps my Greek Testament. receive my literally, -or some of them soon returned : spirit] The same prayer in substance had see ch. ix. 26–30. It may describe the been made by our Lord on the Cross (Luke general dispersion, without meaning that xxiii. 46) to His Father. To Him was now every individual fled.
Samaria] Con committed the key of David. Similarly, nected with ver. 4: this word is not withthe young man Saul, in after years : “I out importance, as introducing the next am persuaded that he is able to keep that step in the dissemination of the Gospel, which I have committed to him against according to our Lord's command in ch. i. that day.” 2 Tim. i. 12. 60. lay not 8.
except the apostles] Perhaps,
1. 10. 2 Sam.
iii. 31. dch. vii. 58 :
ix. 1, 13, 21:
6. 1 Tim, i.
13. e Matt. x 23.
ch, xi. 19. fch. vi.5.
. Gen. viii. 9: Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over
him. 3 As for Saul, dhe made bavock of the Church, axit. sav. entering into every house, and i haling men and women 13. I committed them to prison. 4 k Therefore e they that were
scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. 51 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 6 And the m people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, n hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
i For 8 Mark xvi. 17. 8 unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of
many that were possessed with them: and many taken i i.e. dragging:
k render, So then. I render, And.
m render, multitudes, 1 render, when they heard them,
see note. from their exalted position of veneration the former. preaching the word] by the people, the persecution did not ex- Here first we become acquainted with the tend to them: perhaps they remained, as missionary language so frequent in the rest possessed of superior firmness and devotion of the book : and we have the word, an But this latter reason is hardly applicable, abbreviated expression very familiar among after the command of our Lord · When Christians when the book was written, for they persecute you in one city, flee to the fuller one which must have prevailed another.' Matt. x. 23. Stier refers their at first, “the word of God.” 5. remaining to an intimation of the Spirit, Philip] The deacon: not one of the Twelve: to stay and strengthen those who were left. this is precluded by vv. 1 and 14. And Mr. Humphry cites an ancient tradition, it is probable, that the persecution should mentioned by Clement of Alexandria, and have been directed especially against the by Eusebius from the Apocryphal work colleagues of Stephen. Philip is mentioned called the Preaching of Peter, that the again as the Evangelist,-probably fron Apostles were ordered by our Lord to re- his having been the first recorded who main at Jerusalem twelve years. But this preached (evangelized) the word,-in ch. could not be the case, as we have Peter and xxi. 8,-as married, and having four John going down to Samaria, ver. 14. daughters, virgins, who prophesied. 2. devout men] Whether Jews or Chris- the city of Samaria] Verbatim as John iv. tians, is not certain. Ananias is so called, 5, in which case it is specified as being ch. xxii. 12, and he was a Christian. Ols- Sychar (Sichem). As the words stand hausen thinks that, if they had been here, seeing that Samaria (vv. 9, 14; ch. Christians the term “brethren" would ix. 31; xv. 3) signifies the district, I should have been used : but this does not seem by be inclined to believe that Sychem is here any means certain : we can hardly reason also intended. It was a place of rising so minutely from the diction of one section importance, and in after-times eclipsed the in the narrative to that of another, espe- fame of its neighbour Samaria, which latter cially in the case of a section so distinct had been, on its presentation by Augustus and peculiar as this one. Besides, “bre- to Herod the Great, re-fortified and called thren” in this very general sense does not Sebaste. It still, however, bore the name occur till ch. ix. 30. Probably they were of Samaria. them] The inhabitants, pious Jews, not yet converts, but hearers implied in the word city.
6. gave and admirers of Stephen. 3. made heed ...] If this place was Sychem, the havock of] The word so rendered is pro- narrative in John iv. will fully account for perly used of wild beasts, or of hostile the readiness with which these people rearmies, devastating and ravaging.
ceived the proclamation of the Christ.' 4–12.] PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL 7.] According to the reading in the IN SAMARIA BY PHILIP. 4.] So then genuine text, which is too strongly upheld resumes the subject dropped at the end of by manuscript authority to be rejected for ver. 1, and determines this verse to be the the easier ordinary one, the literal rendering opening of a new section, not the close of is as follows: For in the case of many who
with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city. 9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which p beforetime in the same city, hq used sorcery, and I bewitched the people of Samaria, 1 ch. xiii.6.
giving out that himself was some great one: 10 to whom i ch. v. 36. they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is s the great power of God. 11 And to him P render, was beforetime.
9 render, using. I render, bewitching. See note, ver. 11.
8 literally, in all our oldest MSS., the power of God which is called great. had unclean spirits, they crying out with successor. Origen makes Dositheus also a a loud voice, came out. The A.V., though Samaritan. His own especial followers founded on a different reading, comes to (Simoniani) had dwindled so much in the the same.
9. Simon] Neander, in time of Origen, that he says there were at the course of some excellent remarks on that day hardly thirty in the world. There this whole history (see further on ver. 14), are reports also of subsequent controversies identities, and I believe with reason, this between Simon Magus and Peter, of which Simon with one mentioned as living from the scene is laid at Cæsarea. According ten to twenty years after this by Josephus,
he met with his death at Rome, and as having been emploved by the pro- having, during an encounter with Peter, curator Felix to tempt Drusilla to leave her raised himself into the air by the aid of husband, and live with him. Simon is evil spirits, and being precipitated thence there called “a Jew, born in Cyprus, and at the prayer of Peter and Paul. I saw in held to be a magician.” The only difficulty the church of S. Francesca Romana, in seems to be, that Simon is stated by Justin the forum, a stone with two dents in it, Martyr, himself a Samaritan, to have been and this inscription : “On this stone
a Samaritan, from a village called Gitton.” rested the knees of S. Peter, when the But it has struck me that either Justin, or dænions carried Simon Magus through the perhaps more probably Josephus, may have air.”—The fathers generally regard him confounded Ghittim with Chittim, i. e. as the founder of Gnosticism : this may be Citium in Cyprus. The account in Jose- in some sense true: but, from the very phus is quite in character with what we little authentic information we possess, here read of Simon : not inconsistent with it is impossible to ascertain how far he ver. 24, which appears to have been uttered was identified with their tenets. Origen under terror occasioned by the solemn distinctly denies that his followers were denunciation of Peter.—Justin goes on to Christians in any sense.
using relate that he was worshipped as a god at sorcery] viz. by exercising magic arts, Rome in the time of Claudius Cæsar, on such as then were very common in the account of his magical powers, and had East and found wide acceptance; ima statue on the island in the Tiber, in- postors taking advantage of the very scribed • Simoni Deo Sancto' (to Simon the general expectation of a Deliverer at Holy God). Singularly enough, in the this time, to set themselves up by year 1574, a stone was found in the Tiber means of such trickeries as 'some great (or standing on the island in the
ones.' We have other examples in according to Smith's Dictionary of Bio- Elymas (ch. xiii.); Apollonius of Tyana ; graphy and Mythology), with the inscrip- and somewhat later, Alexander of Abotion SEMONI SANCO DEO FIDIO noteichos; see these latter in Smith's SACRUM, i. e. sacred to the god Semo Dictionary of Biography and Mythology. Sancus, the Sabine Hercules ; which some great one] Probably not in makes it probable that Justin may have such definite terms as his followers later been misled.— The history of Simon is full are represented by Jerome as putting into of legend and fable. He is said to have his mouth : “I am the Word of God ... studied at Alexandria, and to have originally I am the Paraclete, I am Almighty, I am been, with the heresiarch Dositheus, a all that is in God.” 10. the great disciple of John the Baptist. Of Dositheus power of God] Literally, according to the he became first the disciple, and then the best MS. authorities, the power of God
k ch. i. 3.
they had regard, because that of long time t he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching (a the things] * concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 > Then Simon himself beliered also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the y miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of
t render, they had been bewitched by his sorceries.
X render, And Simon himself also believed. y render, signs and great miracles.
which is called great. Neander and considering besides, that from the nature of Meyer think that they must have referred the case he would for the time have given to the Word, the creating and governing up his magical practices.” Neander. “ It manifestation of God, so much spoken of in is plain,” says Calvin, “from this example the Alexandrine philosophy, and must have of Simon, that the grace which is figured regarded Simon as an incarnation of the in Baptism is not conferred on all in. Word; so that their erroneous belief differently. It is a dogma of the Papists, would form some preparation for the great that unless a man place the bar of mortal truth of an incarnate Messiah, preached by sin in the way, all receive, with the out. Philip. But to this De Wette well replies, ward sign, the verity and effect of the that we can hardly suppose the Alexan- Sacraments. Thus they attribute a magical drine philosophy to have been so familiar force to the Sacraments, making them to the mass of the people; and refers the profitable without faith. But it is for us expression to their popular belief of a great to know, that we are offered by God in the angel, who might, as the angels were Sacraments whatever the promises annexed called by the Samaritans the powers of to them contain, and this in no empty God, be designated by these remarkable words merely, provided we are led by words. 11.] The rendering “he had faith to Christ, and seek from Him what bewitched them” is grammatically wrong. the Sacraments promise. For though the The word rendered “bewitched” (which reception of Baptism was of no profit to is perhaps the best translation here) is him, as the matter stood, yet if his con“ amazed” in Matt. xii. 23,—"astonished” version had followed afterwards, as some in Mark v. 42, Luke xxiv. 22 &c.
think it did, in that case its profit was not 13.] “Simon saw his followers dropping extinguished nor abolished. For it often off, and was himself astounded at the happens that it is a long time before the miracles wrought by Philip: he therefore Spirit of God works, and causes the Sacrathought it best himself also to acknow- ments to begin to prove their efficacy." ledge this superior power.
He attached 14—25.] MISSION OF PETER AND himself to Philip, and was baptized like JOHN TO SAMARIA. A question arises the rest : but we are not, as the sequel on this procedure of the Apostles :-wheshews, to understand that the preaching of ther it was as a matter of course, that the the Gospel had made any impression on newly baptized should, by the laying on his heart, but that he accounted for what of hands subsequently, receive the Holy he saw in his own fashion. He was con- Ghost, or whether there was in the case vinced, from the works which Philip did, of these Samaritans any thing peculiar, that he was in league with some powerful which caused the Apostles to go down to spirit: he viewed baptism as the initiation them and perform this act. (1) The only into communion with that spirit, and ex- analogous case is ch. xix. 5, 6: in using pected that he should be able to make use which we must observe that there it is of the higher power thus gained for his own distinctly asserted that the miraculous gifts purposes, and unite this new magical power of the Spirit followed the laying on of Paul's to his own. All were baptized who pro- hands; and that by the expression “echen fessed belief in Jesus as the Messiah : there Simon saw”in ver. 18, which must be taken was therefore no reason for rejecting Simon, literally, the same is implied here. And