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Circumstantial account

THE ACTS.

of our Lord's ascension.

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A. M1033. witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, | 101 And while they looked stedfastly
An. Olymp. and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and toward 'heaven as he went up, be- An. Olymp.

ụnto the uttermost part of the earth. hold, two men stood by them in white 9 . And when he had spoken these things, while apparel; they beheld, bhe was taken up; and a cloud re 11 Which also said, " Ye men of Galilee, ceived him out of their sight.

why stand ye gazing up into heaven ? this same

a Luke 24. 51. John 6.62.

1 ver. 2.

Le Matt. 28. 3. Mark 16. 5.

Luke 24. 4. John 20. 12. ch. 10. 3, 30. ch. 2. 7. & 13.31.

lish word, is a source of misapprehension and error. We Gentile nations : thus, to the whole human race, the gospel must not understand @uro..es, which we translate power, of the kingdom was to be proclaimed.

When the twelve in this verse, as we do Couril, translated by the same disciples were sent out to preach, Matt. x. 5. their commisword, in the preceding verse. In the one, God's infinite sion was very limitedthey were not to go in the way of the authority over all times and seasons, and his uncompellable Gentiles, nor enter into any city of the Samaritans, but liberty of acting or not acting, in any given case, are parti- preach the gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel : cularly pointed out : in the other, the energy communicated but here their commission is enlarged, for they are to go into by him to his disciples, through which they were enabled to all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. See work miracles, is particularly intended; and duvaus, in Matt. xxviii. 18. general, signifies such power; and is sometimes put for that, Verse 9. IIe was taken up] He was speaking face to face of which it is the cause, viz. a miracle. See Matt. vii. 22. with them, and while they beheld, he was taken up; he began xi. 20—23. xiii. 54, 58. Mark vi. 5. Luke x. 13. and to ascend to heaven, and they continued to look after him, Acts ii. 22. The disciples were to be made instruments in till a cloud received him out of their sight-till he had asthe establishment of the kingdom of Christ; but this must cended above the region of the clouds, by the density of be by the energy of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven ; // which, all farther distinct vision was prevented. These cirnevertheless this energy would be given in such times and cumstances are very remarkable, and should be carefully seasons, and in such measures, as should appear best to the noted. They render insupportable the theory that states, infinite wisdom of God. Christ does not immediately an " that our Lord did not ascend to heaven ; that his being taken swer the question of the disciples, as it was a point savouring up, signifies his going into some mountain, the top of which too much of mere curiosity; but he gave them such informa was covered with clouds, or thick vapours; and that the treo tion, as was calculated to bring both their faith and hope into men in white garments were two priests, or Levites, who action. St. Chrysostom has well observed, “ that it is the simply informed the disciples of his revisiting them again at prerogative of an instructor to teach his disciple, not what he some future time.” One would suppose, that an opinion of this wishes to learn, but what his master sees best for him :'' kind could hardly ever obtain credit among people professing Διδασκαλου τουτο εστι μη α βουλεται ο μαθητης, αλλ' α συμ- | Christianity: and yet it is espoused by some men of considerable φερει μαθειν, διδασκειν.

learning and ingenuity. But the mere letter of the text, will be Ye shall be witnessesir all Judea, &c.] Though the word

ever sufficient for its total confutation. He that believes the earth, 1 m, is used often to denote Judea alone, yet here, it text, cannot receive such a miserable comment. Foreign critics is probable, it is to be taken in its largest extent. All the land divines take a most sinful latitude on subjects of this kind. inhabitants of the globe, might at that period be considered Verse 10. Looked stedfastly] Keeping their eyes indivisible into three classes. 1. The Jews, who adhered to tensely fixed on their ascending Lord; continuing to look even the law of Moses, and the prophetic writings; worshipping || after he had ascended above the region of the inferior clouds. the true God only, and keeping up the temple service, as Two men stood by them] Doubtless angels in human shape. prescribed in their law. 2. The SAMARITANS, a mongrel In white apparel] As emblematical of their purity, happipeople, who worshipped the God of Israel in connexion with ness, and glory. other gods, 2 Kings xvii. 5, &c. and who had no kind of Verse 11. Gazing up into heaven] Not to the top of a religious connexion with the Jews. See on Matt. x. 5. And, mountain, to which an unbridled fancy, influenced by infi3. The Gentiles, the heathens through all other parts of the delity, would intimate he had ascended, and not to heaven. world, who were addicted to idolatry alone; and had no This same Jesus] Clothed in human nature, shall so come knowledge of the true God. By the terms in the text we in like munner-with the same body, descending from heaven may see the extent to which this commission of instruction | by his own sovereign and all-controlling power, as ye have and salvation was designed to reach : to the Jezes ; to the seen him go into heaven. Thus shall he come again to judge Samaritans, and the uttermost part of the earth, i. e. to the lithe quick and the dead. It was a very ancient opinion among

The disciples return to Jerusalem,

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and continue in prayer and supplication.

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manner, as ye have seen him go into ther of James. heaven.

14 . These all continued with one accord in 12 IThen returned they unto Jerusalem from prayer and supplication, with the women, the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his a sabbath day's journey.

brethren. 13 And when they were come in, they went 15 I And in those days Peter stood up in the up

e into an upper room, . where abode both midst of the disciples, and said, (the number Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, ||*of the names together, were about a hundred Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Mat- and twenty,)

• Dan. 7. 19. Matt. 24. 30. Mark 13. 26. Luke 21. 27. John 14. 3. 1 Thes. 1. 10. & 4. 16.

2 Thes. 1. 10. Rev. l. 7. Luke 21. 52.

c Ch. 9. 37, 39. & 20.8.d Matt. 10. 2, 3, 4. - Luke 6. 15. Jude 1, & ch. 2. L. 46. Luke 23. 49, 55. & 24. 10. Matt. 13. 55. Rev. 3. 4

Christians, that when Christ should come again to judge the Syriac, the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, Itala, and world, he would make his appearance on mount Olivet. Some some of the primitive Fathers. On this evidence, Griesbach think that his coming again to destroy the Jewish nation is has left them out of the text: and others contend for the what the angels refer to. See a connected account of the propriety of this omission, because say they, TE T'poreuxy and different appearances of Christ, at the end of this chapter. TY CET, ter prayer and supplication, mean the same thing.

Verse 12. A sabbath day's journey.] See the difficulties Whether the reading be genuine or spurious, this inference in this verse explained in the note on Luke xxiv. 50. A is not just. Prayer, may simply imply any address to God, sabbath day's journey was seven furlongs and a half. Olivet | in the way of petition, or request ; supplication, the earnest, was but five furlongs from Jerusalem ; and Bethany was affectionate, and' continued application to God for the blessfifteen. The first region or tract of mount Olivet, which was ings requested from him by prayer. Prayer asks, supplicacalled Bethany, was distant from the city, a sabbath day's | tion expostulates, intreats, urges and re-urges the petition. journey, or seven furlongs and a half; and the same distance With the women] Probably those who had been witnesses did that tract called Bethphage, extend from the city. When of his resurrection, with the immediate relatives of the apostherefore, our Lord came to the place where these two tracts tles. Peter we know was married, Matt. viii. 14. and so touched each other, he there ascended, which place was distant might others of the disciples ; and therefore the wives of the from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey, as St. Luke here apostles as well as of other pious men, may be here intended. remarks. See the notes referred to above.

Verse 15. In the midst of the disciples] MabyTwv; but inVerse 13. They went up into an upper room] This was stead of this aceaewr brethren, is the reading of ABC. a. either a room in the temple, or in the house of one of the few others, with the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Vulgate. disciples, where this holy company was accustomed to meet. This seems the best reading, because of what immediately In Luke xxiv. 53. it is said, that after their return from follows; for it was not among the disciples merely that he mount Olivet, they were continually in the temple praising stood, but among the whole company which amounted to one and blessing God: it is probable therefore, that the upper hundred and twenty. It is remarkable, that this was the room, mentioned in this verse, is that apartment of the number which the Jews required to form a council in any temple mentioned above. But still it is not certain that this city : and it is likely that in reference to this, the disciples place should be so understood; as we have the fullest proofs had gathered together with themselves, the number of one that the upper rooms in private houses were used for the pur- hundred and twenty, chosen out of the many who had been pose of reading the law, and conferring together on religious already converted by the ministry of our Lord, the twelve matters. See several proofs in Lightfoot. Add to this, that disciples, and the seventy-two whom he had sent forth to the room here mentioned seems to have been the place where preach, Luke x. 1, &c. thus they formed a complete council, all the apostles lodged, cu roay xatay.sroutes, and therefore in presence of which, the important business of electing most probably a private house.

person in the place of Judas, was to be transacted. Verse 14. These-continued-in prayer and supplication] Verse 16. The Iloly Ghost by the mouth of David] This Waiting for the promise of the Father, according to the di- is a strong attestation to the divine inspiration of the book of rection of our Lord, Luke xxiv. 49. The words x 1 Tn dengan Psalms. They were dictated by the lloly Spirit; and spoken end in supplication, are omitted by ABC*DE. both the by the mouth of David.

Peter shews the necessity of choosing

THE ACTS,

a disciple in the place of Judas.

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16 Men and brethren, this scripture | 19 And it was known unto all the A. M. 4088. An. Olymp. must needs have been fulfilled, which dwellers at Jerusalem ; insomuch as that An. Olymp.

the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David field is called in their proper tongue, spake before concerning Judas, which was guide | Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. to them that took Jesus.

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, 17 For he was numbered with us, and had | Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man obtained part of this ministry.

dwell therein: and "his 'bishoprick let another 18 e Now this man purchased a field with 'the take. reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he

21 Wherefore of these men which have comburst asunder in the midst, and all his bowelspanied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus gushed out.

went in and out among us,

a Ps. 41. 9. John 13. 18.-_ Luke 22. 47. John 18. 3.- Matt. 10. 4.

Luke 6. 16. ver. 25. ch. 12. 25. & 20.24. & 21. 19.

• Matt. 27.5, 7, 8.

- Matt. 26. 15. 2 Pet 2. 15. - Ps. 69. 25. Ps. 109.8.- Or, office, or, charge.

Verse 17. Obtained part of this ministry.] Enaye Toy xàypox; connected sense. On the case of Judas, and the manner of he obtained the lot of this ministry-not that he, or any of his death, see the observations at the end of this chapter. the twelve apostles was chosen to this ministry by lot, but Verse 19. It was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem] as lot signifies the portion a man has in life, what comes to The repentance of Judas, his dying testimony in behalf of him in the course of the divine providence, or as an especial our Lord's innocence, and his tragical death, were publicly gift of God's goodness, it is used here, as in many other known; as was also the transaction about the purchase parts of the sacred writings, to signify office or station. On of the field ; and hence arose the name by which it was this subject the Reader is referred to the notes on Lev. xvi. || publicly known. These circumstances must have lessened 8, 9. Josh. xiv. 2. see also, this chap. ver. 26.

the credit of the chief priests ; and have prepared the public Verse 18. Purchased a field with the reward of iniquity] mind to receive the gospel of the kingdom, when preached Probably Judas did not purchase the field himself, but the to them after the day of pentecost. money

for which he sold his Lord, was thus applied, see The field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama] This Matt. xxvii. 6-8. It is possible however, that he might proper tongue was not the Hebrew; that had long ceased to have designed to purchase a field, or piece of ground with be the proper tongue in Palestine : it was a sort of Chaldaiothis reward of his iniquity, and might have been in treaty Syriac which was commonly spoken. The word in the for it, though he did not close the bargain, as his bringing the Syriac version is for br chacal-demo, and literally signifies money to the treasury proves: the priests knowing his inten- the field of blood; because it was bought by the price of the tions, might have completed the purchase, and as Judas was life or blood of the Lord Jesus. now dead, applied the field thus bought, for the burial of Verse 20. For it is written in the book of Psalms] The strangers, i. e. Jews from foreign parts, or others who visit- || places usually referred to are Psal. Ixix. 25. Let their habiing Jerusalem, had died there. Though this case is possible, taiion be desolate, and let none dwell in their tents. And yet the passage will bear a very consistent interpretation | Ps.cix. 8. Let his days be few, and let another take his office; without the assistance of this conjecture: for in ordinary 20720 pekudato, his overseership, his charge of visitation, or conversation, we often attribute to a man what is the con- superintendence, translated by the SEPTUAGINT, 'TYY ETICXCTIEV, sequence of his own actions, though such consequence was VULGATE, episcopatum; and we following both, bishoprick, never designed nor wished for by himself : thus we say of a but not with sufficient propriety; for surely the office or man embarking in a házardous enterprize, he is gone to seek charge of Judas, was widely different from what we call his death ; of one whose conduct has been ruinous to his re- || bishoprick, the diocese, estate and emoluments of a bishop. putation, he has disgraced himself; of another who has ETIOXOTOS episcopos, which was corrupted by our Saxon ancessuffered much in consequence of his crimes, he has purchased tors into buy cop biscop, and by us into bishop, signifies literally repentance at a high price, &c. &c. All these, though un an overseer or superintendent, from eai over, and GHETTOUQ. designed, were consequences of certain acts, as the buying I see, a person who had the inspection, overseeing or superof the field, was the consequence of Judas' treason.

intendence of others. The ancient ETIOXOTTO6 were persons And falling headlong, he burst asunder] It is very who had the care of different congregations of the church of likely that the 18th and 19th verses are not the words of Christ; who travelled, preached, enforced the discipline of Peter, but of the historian St. Luke; and should be read in the church, and took care to prevent false doctrines, heresies, a parenthesis, and then the 17th and 20th verses will make a &c. Those who still deserve this title, and it is an august

Troo are proposed, Joseph and

CHAP. I.

Matthias, that one may be elected.

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22 · Beginning from the baptism of "Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, A. M. 4033. An. Olymp. John, unto that same day that he was and Matthias.

An. Olymp. taken up from us, must one be ordain- | 24 And they prayed, and said, ed to be a witness with us of his resurrec- || Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all tion.

men, shew whether of these two thou hast 23 And they appointed two, Joseph called chosen,

• Mark 1. 1. ver. 9,- John 15. 27. ver. 8. ch. 4. 33.

a ch. 15. 22.

• 1 Sam. 16. 7. 1 Chron. 28. 9. & 29. 17. Jer. 11. 20. & 17. 10.

ch. 15. 8. Rev. 2. 23.

and noble one, walk by the same rule, and mind the same as having been most intimately acquainted with our Lord; thing. ETISKIT.95, episcopus, or bishop, is a scriptural or, in being better qualified for the work than any of the rest, and sacred title ; was gloriously supported in the primitive but they knew not which to prefer. church ; and many to the present day are not less ornaments Joseph called Barsabas] Some MSS. read Joses Barnab. to the title, than the title is ornamental to them. The best bas, making him the same with Joses Barnabas, chap. iv. defences of the truth of God, and the protestant faith, are 36. But the person here, is distinguished from the person in the works of the Bishops of the British churches. there, by being called Justus.

The words quoted from the Psalms, were originally spoken Verse 24. Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts] Eu Kuple against the enemies of David ; and as David in certain par- xapoywora. The word xapdroywotns, the searcher of hearts, ticulars, was a type of Christ, the words are applied to him seems to be used here as an attribute of God, he knows the in an especial manner, who had sinned against his own soul hearts, the most secret purposes, intentions, and dispositions and the life of his Master.

of all men : and because he is the knower of hearts, he knew Verse 21. Which have companied with us] They judged which of these men he had qualified the best, by natural and it necessary to fill up this blank in the apostolate, by a per-| gracious dispositions and powers, for the important work, to son who had been an eye-witness of the acts of our Lord. which one of them was now to be appointed.

Went in and out] A phrase which includes all the actions Verse 25. That he may take part of this ministry, &c.] of life.

Instead of toy xanpoy the lot, which we translate part, toy Verse 22. Beginning from the baptism of John] From TOTO the place, is the reading of ABC* Coptic, Vulgate, the time that Christ was baptized by John in Jordan; for it and the Itala in the Codex Bezæ, and from them, the verse was at that time that his public ministry properly began. may be read thus, That he may take the place of this ministry

Must one be ordained] This translation misleads every and apostleship, (from which Judas fell) and go to his own reader who cannot examine the original text. There is no place ; but instead of doy own, the Codex Alexandrinus, and term for ordained in the Greek, yaveriau to be, is the only one of Matthaï's MSS. read dixanov just ; that he might go word in the verse to which this interpretation can be applied. I to his just, or, proper place. The New Testament printed at London, by Robert Barker, This verse has been variously expounded : 1. Some suppose the King's printer, in 1615, renders this and the preceding that the words that he might go to his own place, are spoken verse more faithfully and more clearly, than our common of Judas, and his punishment in hell, which they say must version : Wherefore of these men who have companied with be the own place of such a person as Judas. us, all the time that the Lord Jesus was conversant among us, 2. Others refer them to the purchase of the field, made beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day he was taken by the thirty pieces of silver, for which he had sold our Lord. up from us, must one of them 'BE MADE a witness with us of So he abandoned the ministry and apostolate, that he might his resurrection. The word ordained would naturally lead I go to his own place, viz. that which he had purchased. most readers to suppose that some ecclesiastical rite was used 3. Others with more seeming propriety state, that his own on the occasion, such as imposition of hands, &c. although place, means his own house, or former occupation, he left nothing of the kind appears to have been employed. this ministry and apostleship, that he might resume his former

Verse 23. They appointed two] These two were probably employment in conjunction with his family, &c. This is priof the number of the seventy disciples ; and in this respect, marily the meaning of it in Num. xxiv. 25. And Balaam re. well fitted to fill up the place. It is likely, that the disciples turned to HIS OWN PLACE, i. e. to his own country, friends, themselves were divided in opinion which of these two was and employment. . the most proper person ; and therefore laid the matter be. 4. Others think it simply means the state of the dead in fore God, that he might decide it by the lot. No more general, independently of either rewards or punishments ; as than two candidates were presented; probably because the is probably meant by Eccl. iii. 20. All go unto ONB PLACE: attention of the brethren had been drawn to those two alone, ll all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

They give forth their lots,

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and Matthias is chosen.

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25 « That he may take part of this 26 And they gave forth their lots, A. M. 4033. An. Olymp. ministry and apostleship, from which and the lot fell upon Matthias ; and an. Olymp.

Judas by transgression fell, that he he was numbered with the eleven might go to his own place.

apostles.

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But, 5. Some of the best critics assert that the words (as was to descend upon them and endue them with power before hinted) belong to Matthias-his own place, being from on high, it was necessary that the number twelve should the office to which he was about to be elected. Should any | be filled up previously, that the newly elected person might object, this could not be called his own place, because he was also be made partaker of the heavenly gift. How long it not yet appointed to it, but hell might be properly called was found necessary to keep up the number twelve, we are Judas' own place, because by treason and covetousness, he not informed—the original number was soon broken by per. was fully prepared for that place of torment; it may be secution and death. answered, that the own or proper place of a man, is that for which he is eligible from being qualified for it; though he may

On the death of Judas there is a great diversity of opinions not yet possess such a place; so St. Paul, every man shall re among learned men and divines. ceive His own reward, Toyo door Jorgoy, called there his own, 1. It is supposed, following the bare letter of the text, that not from his having it already in possession; for that was not Judas hanged himself, and that the rope breaking, he fell to take place until the resurrection of the just; but from his down, was burst with the fall, and thus his bowels gushed out. being qualified in this life for the state of glory in the other. 2. That having hanged himself, he was thrown on the See the observations at the end of the chapter.

dunghill, and the carcase becoming putrid, the abdomen Verse 26. They gave forth their lots] In what manner which soonest yields to putrefaction, burst, and the bowels this or any other question was decided by lot, we cannot were thus shed from the body; and possibly torn out by dogs. precisely say. The most simple form was to put two stones, 3. That being filled with horror and despair, he went to pieces of board, metal, or slips of parchment, with the the top of the house, or to some eminence, and threw him. names of the persons inscribed on them, into an urn; and self down ; and thus falling heudlong, his body was broken after prayer, sacrifice, &c. to put in the hand and draw out by the fall, and his bowels gushed out. one of the lots, and then the case was decided. I have consi 4. That Satan having entered into him, caught him up in dered this subject at large on Lev. xvi. 8, 9. and Josh. xiv. 2. the air, and thence precipitated him to the earth ; and thus

lle was numbered with the eleven apostles.] The word his body being broken to pieces, his bowels gushed out. This is συγκατεψηφισβη, comes from συν together with, κατα Dr. Lightfoot's opinion, and has been noticed on Mat. xxvii. 5. according to, and broos a pebble, or small stone, used for 5. Others think that he died or was suffocated through exlots, and as a means of enumeration among the Greeks, cessive grief; and that thus the terms in the text and in Matt. Romans, and Egyptians; hence the words calculate, calcu- xxvii

. 5. are to be understood. The late Mr. Wakefield, lation, &c. from calculus, a small stone or pebble. From defends this meaning with great learning and ingenuity. this use of the word, though it significs in general to sum up, 6. Others suppose the expressions to be figurative: Judas associate, &c. we may conjecture that the calculus or pebble having been highly exalted in being an apostle, and even the was used on this occasion. The brethren greed that the purse-bearer to his Lord and brother disciples ; by his treason matter should be determined by lot; the lots were cast into forfeited this honour, and is represented as falling from a the urn; God was intreated to direct the choice; one drew state of the highest dignity, into the lowest infamy; and then out a lot, the person whose name was inscribed on it, was dying through excessive grief. The Rev. John Jones, in his thereby declared to be the object of God's choice, and ac Illustrations of the four Gospels, sums up this opinion, thus : cordingly associated with the disciples. But it is possible “ So sensible became the traitor of the distinguished rank that the whole was decided by what we commonly call ballot, which he forfeited, and of the deep disgrace into which he God inclining the hearts of the majority to ballot for Mat- precipitated himself, by betraying his Master, that he was thias. Nothing certain can, however, be stated on this head. seized with such violent grief, as occasioned the rupture of Thus the number twelve was made up, that these might be his bowels, and ended in suffocation and death.” p. 571. the fountains under God of the whole Christian church ; as After the most mature consideration of this subject, on the twelve sons of Jacob had been of the Jewish church. which I hesitated to form an opinion in the note on Matt. For it has already been remarked, that our Lord formed his xxvii. 5. I think the following observations may lead to a church on the model of the Jewish. See the notes on John proper knowledge of the most probable state of the case, xvij. 1, &c. As the Holy Ghost, on the day of pentecost, ! 1. Judas, like many others, thought that the kingdom of the

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