« הקודםהמשך »
Le might be sufficient to notice, that the assertion is totally unfounded; and, consequently, the inference like the proposition from which it is drawn. But let us investigate this matter a little. We are informed, Acts, i. 13. ^ When they were come in, they went into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John," &c. The words " where abode," are descriptive, and will lead us to discover where this upper room was situated. I also would observe that unfawoy, hiper room, is in the nominative case; and as it appears the historian Meant to describe what upper room it was that the disciples met together in, so it follows, of consequence, that the article ought to be translated in its ulefinitive sense, and instead of “ an upper room," we should read " the upper foorn," &c. Let it be also noted that St. Luke was the Tuthor of the Acis of the Apostles, and it is agreed that he wrote this hook after his Gospel. Now nothing is more common, when an author has written on any subject, and he is engaged in writing on another, or a continuation of the same, and lias' occasion to mention any thing already described, to refer you to his first performance for a particular description. This is the case with Luke; he had, in his Gospel, expressly named the place where the apostles resorted after the ascension> of Christ. Luke xxiv. 52, 53. « And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalern with great joy, and were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God." So, when he is about to write the Acts of the Apostles, he introduces his history 'by making mention of the ascension of Christ, with which fact he had concluded his Gospel : thus he connects the history of Christ and his apostles together.
In his Gospel he says, “ Ther returned to Jerusalem, and were continually in the Temfile," and in his history of the apostles, speaking of the same fact, he as expressly says, “ They returned to Jerusalem, and went up into the upper room, where abode both Peter, and Jaines, and John," &c.; consequently the upper room where they resorted to praise God for the fulfilment of his promises, was an upper room in the Temple.
Without going any further, I think it very prolvable that an upper room in this public building might be large enough to hold the whole church together, though they consisted of some thousands.
'But having found the place of meeting, let us take a litile notice of two or three actions said to be performed. " These (the apostles) all continued with one accord, in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days (that is, the days after the ascension, while they were waiting for the spirit) Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (they number of the names together were about an hundred and twenty) Men and brethren," &c. Acts, i. 14-16. An hundred and twenty naines make an upper room begin to look spacious. · When they had considered what Peter had said relative to the choice of a witness for the resurrection of Christ, and chosen one for that purpose, and the day of Pentecost was fully come, the historian informns us, “ They (the hundred and twenty) were all with one accord in one place." And as he gives not the least intimation that they had changed
their situation, neither is it likely they should in so short a time, it is natural to conclude that the place where the disciples were with one accord, was the upper room just now described. Here the promise of the descent of the spirit was fulfilled. “ And they were all filled with the holy ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance." See Acts, ii, 1-4.
This happened at a time when there were many foreign Jews in Jerusalem; and, having heard of this remarkable, event, the multitude came together, and every man htard them speak in the language of his own nation. Then Peter, embracing the opportunity, stood forth, and preached unto them that Jesus was the true Messiah: the consequence was, that three thousand were converted to the faith, were baptizęd, and added unto the hundred and twenty. “ And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” And then, at the end of this first series of facis, the historian once more mentions, expressly, the Temple, as their place of meeting. " And they, continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, breaking te vat osxoy aprov, in the house the bread; they are their food with gladness and singleness of heart."
As this translation is something different from the common, it may be necessary to say a word or two in its defence. The word Orxos, in our translation rendered house to house, in the margin at home, I have simply rendered house; the word is in the accusative case, therefore I have said the house. This word seems to refer, not to the whole of the building called the Temple, but to some one particular part of it, because the Temple is expressly mentioned in the former part of the verse.
That ouxoy may signify a house, or, as we should say, a chamber of the Temple, Dr. Hammond has sufficiently proved in his annotation on Acts, i. 13. to which I refer. Luke might have used this word to save a repetition of vegw, Temple; for by Oixon we sometimes understand the Temple, as Matth. xxi, 13. " My house shall be called the house of prayer,” &c. See Luke, xi. 51.
But yet, as I think it has been proved, from Luke, xxiv. 52, 53. and Acts, ii. 46. that the upper room Acts, i. 13. was a room in the Temple, so it is natural to conclude that ouxow signifies the same place. Here they might meet, without interrupting the Jews, or being interrupted by thein in their daily devotions.
From the whole I would remark, that the apostles did not go out to the multitude, but the inultitude came to them; consequently the apostles did not leave the place, where they first resorted, to preach to the multitude. I would also remark, that the multitude caine together, consequently, they were not in separate classes.
Hence it is demonstrated that the place was large enough to hold them all, though their number was so great as to allow of three thousand being converted. So again, when the church chose the seven deacons, the apostles called the multitude of the disciples unto them and this when their number was encreased.
And now with respect to the apostles using the singular number when they write to the disciples in a city, as for instance, “ The church at,
Jerusalem;" and the plural when they wrote to" those who dwelt in provinces, as, ** the churches in Galatia." The reason of this distinction appears to me to rise out of the very ifature of the case. There could be no inconvenienee arising from the distance of members who dwelt in a city, to prevent their meeting together: for if we take Jerusalem for an example, a person could walk from the remotest pårt of that city to the place of meeting within an hour or two at most. But it was quite different in a province; say, for instance, Galatia, which appears, from a map t have before me, to be between two and three hundred miles long, and from eighty to an hundred broad. Now if the disciples ina province, meeting together once a week, must assemble in one place, it is likely some would have nothing else to do but to walk backwards and forwards, which is surely a very unreasonable, if not an impossible practice.
Hence at proper distances, the apostles formed different assemblies for the conveniency of the whole; but it does not appear that these distinct assemblies had any authority over each other, either as it related to doctrine or practice; but if Mr. T. supposes they had, as appears from the beginning of his piece, I will thank him to shew it.".! !" i ** Mr. T. insinuates that there was but one elder to one assembly, upon which I would remark, that as there is no instarice of any one church that met in separate classes, so there is no account of any church what had but one elder; but, on the contrary, when church officers are mentioned, it is always, I think, in the plural number, and as they stand in connection with one church; as for instance, the church at Jerusalem had its elders. Acts, xv. 2, 4, 6, 22.
Ephesus was a famous city of fonía, a province of Asia Minor; here was a Christian church in which we find a plurality of elders. Acts, XX. 17.
Lycaonia, a province of Asia Minor: here it seems several churches were planted. Paul and Barnabus preached at Iconiuin, Lystra, Derbe, and Antioch, cities of Lycaonia. We are also informed, “ When they had ordained them elders in every church, and bad played with fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom they believed.”... Acts, siv. 23,
Philippi, a city in the province called Macedonia, Here also we $ng a Christian church, and the elders.of it expressly, mentioned Phil. .
Now, if we may argue from the churches whose, otficers are expressly mentioned to those who are not, (and I cannoto, at present, see the fallacy of such a mode) the inference will be that all the assemblies of Chřištians had a plurality of elders in them, With respe&t to,difficulties attending the admission of a plurality of elders in all the churches, I do not know of any ;- perhaps Mr. To may pointout some in his next
I fully grant that we had better be right than wrong in our opinions, let them be ever so trivial; and that party zeal and prejudice should be
* That elder and bishoh are synonymous appears from Tit. i. 570
destroyed by every means in our power, and that all Christians should be joined together in love. But the scriptural plan is certainly the best to obtain such a glorious end, if attended to by all, .
I confess I cannot see the agreement of Mr. Ti's plan with the Scripture account; but I shall wait to see what he will offer further on this subject, relying on the liberality and candour of his mind to pardon the feteness of my animadversions. , . ,.; .4... .
' :,. . .., Ą. BENNETT.
HAVING some doubt upon my mind concerning the existence of
eyil-spirits, you would oblige me greatly if, through the channel of your valuable Miscellany, you give me your thoughts on the xxviith chapter of the first book of Samuel, the 7th yerse. ..i ni S“... ',
is Yours, &c. in ! sur A CONSTANT READER.
* Professor of Humanity at Glasgow," Vol. II. p. 266, speaking of antichrist, says, “ Need I tell a Greek scholar that anti signifies for, and therefore for Christ can only mean a pretended friend?" &CThinking this over in my mind I recollected I had heard you and others say, that anti signifies against, I therefore concluded that one of those explanations must be wrong, and, as I am no Greek scholar, I cannot determine for myself which is right; I shall therefore be obliged to you or any of your readers to point out the true meaning of that word.