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The Gentiles are commanded to

THE ACTS.

abstain from idolatry, fornication, &c.

A.M.cir. 4056.
A. D. cir.52.

A. D. cir. 52.

cir, CCVII. 4

17 That the residue of men might || trouble not them, which from A.M.cir. 4056. An. Olymp. seek after the Lord, and all the Gen- among the Gentiles are turned to

An. Olymp. cir. CCVII. *. tiles, upon whom my name is called, God : saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 20 But that we write unto them, that they

18 Known unto God are all his works from abstain from pollutions of idols, and from the beginning of the world.

fornication, and from things strangled,

and 19 Wherefore a

my sentence is that we from blood.

* See ver. 28.01 Thes. 1. 9. _c Gen. 35. 2. Exod. 20. 3, 23.

Ezek. 20. 30. 1 Cor. 8. 1. Rev. 2. 14, 20. & 10. 20, 28.

d 1 Cor. 6. 9, 13. Gal. 5. 19. Ephes. 5. 3. Col. 3.5. 1 Thes. 4.3.

1 Pet. 4.3. Gen. 9. 4. *Lev. 3. 17. Deut. 12. 16, 23.

stood by the ancient Jews, we have their own testimony. || lating the Old Testament into Latin : and how much all the In Sanhedr. fol. 69. we have these remarkable words : | modern versions owe to St. Jerome's Vulgate, which owes so “ Rabbi. Nachman said to Rabbi Isaac, Whence art thou much to the Septuagint, most biblical scholars know. taught when Bar Naphli will come ?' He saith unto him, Verse 18. Known unto God are all his works from the

Who is this Bar Naphli ? The other replied, "He is the beginning] As if he had said, this is not a new counsel of Messiah.' Dost thou then call the Messiah, Bar Naphli ?' God: he had purposed, from the time he called the Israelites, • Yes,' said he, "for it is written, In that day I will build to make the Gentiles partakers of the same grace and mercy; again the tabernacle of David, nboga HA-NOPHELETH, which || and ultimately to destroy those rites and ceremonies which is falling down.This is evidently a quotation from Amos separated them from each other. He therefore has sent the ix. 11. and a proof that the Jews understood it to be a pro- | gospel of his Son, proclaiming equally peace to him that is phecy concerning the Messiah. See Lightfoot.

afar off, the Gentiles, and to him that is nigh, the Jews. Verse 17. That the residue of men might seek] Instead The whole of this verse is very dubious : the principal of this, the Hebrew has that they may possess the remnant part of it is omitted by the most ancient MSS. and Griesbach of Edom. : Now it is evident, that in the copy from which has left γνωσα απ' αιωνος doubtful, and has thrown εςι τω the Seventy translated, they found 1097 yidreshu, they || EQ narta ta-epya autou out of the text. Of the former might seek, instead of 1994 yireshu, they may possess, where clause, Professor White, in his Crises, says, “ forsitan the whole difference between the two words is the change of delenda,” “ ' probably these words should be blotted out.” the • yod for a 7 daleth, which might be easily done: and they | And of the latter clause he says,

Certissime delenda," found oik adam, man, or men, instead of 0173 Edom, the

0172 Edom, the most assuredly these should be blotted out.” Supposing the Idurneans, which differs from the other only by the insertion whole to be genuine, critics have laboured to find out the of , dau between the two last letters. None of the MSS. sense. Some very learned men, and particularly Schleusner, collated by Kennicott and De Rossi confirm these readings, contend that the word γνωσα, ,

from

γινωσκειν to knoτε, in which the Septuagint, Arabic, and St. James, agree. It should be understood here in the same sense in which yt shews however, that even in Jerusalem, and in the early yadá is, in many parts of the Old Testament, which not only part of the apostolic age, the Septuagint Version was quoted signifies to know, but to approve, love, &c. They therefore in preference to the Hebrew text; or, what is tantamount, would translate the passage thus : All the works of God are was quoted in cases where we would have thought the He ever dear unto him. And if so, consequently we might brew text should have been preferred, because better under- | naturally expect him to be merciful to the Gentiles, as well stood. But God was evidently preparing the way of the as to the Jeres ; and the evidence now afforded, of the congospel, by bringing this venerable Version into general credit version of the Gentiles, is an additional proof, that all God's and use; which was to be the means of conveying the truths works are equally dear to him. of Christianity to the whole Gentile world. How precious Verse 19. Wherefore my sentence is] Alo fyw xpi*** should this august and most important Version be to every || Wherefore I judge. There is an authority here, that does Christian, and especially to every Christian minister! A not appear in the speech of St. Peter; and this authority was Version, without which, no man ever did or ever can critically felt and bowed to by all the council ; and the decree prounderstand the New Testament. And I may add, that with posed by St. James, adopted. out the assistance afforded by this Version, there never could Verse 20. But that we write unto them] Four things are have been a correct translation of the Hebrew text, since | prohibited in this decree : 1. Pollutions of idols; 2. fordithat language ceased to be vernacular, into any language. cation ; 3. things strangled ; 4. blood. By the first, PolWithout it, even St. Jerome could have done little in trans LUTIONS of Idols, or, as it is in ver. 29. meats offered to

The apostolical decree is

CHAP. XV.

sent unto the Gentiles.

A. D. cir. 52.

A.D.cir.52.

A. M. cir. 4056. 21 For Moses of old time hath in send greeting unto the brethren which A.M.cir. 4056 An. Olymp. every city them that preach him, 'be- are of the Gentiles in Antioch and

An. Olymp cir. CCVII. 4.

cir. CCVII. 4. ing read in the synagogues every sab- Syria and Cilicia : bath-day.

24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain 22 1 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, which went out from us have troubled

you

with with the whole church, to send chosen men of words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must their own company to Antioch with Paul and be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we Barnabas ; namely; Judas surnamed "Barsabas, gave no such commandment: and Silas, chief men among the brethren : 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled

23 And they wrote letters by them after this with one accord, to send chosen men unto you manner; The apostles and elders and brethren with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

* Ch. 13. 15, 27.-mbch. 1. 23.

c Ver. 1. Gal. 2.4. & 5. 12. Tit. 1. 10, 11.

idols, not only all idolatry was forbidden, but eating things || sense of this verse seems to be this: As it was necessary to offered in sacrifice to idols, knowing that they were thus write to the Gentiles what was strictly necessary to be oboffered; and joining with idolaters in their sacred feasts, || served by them, relative to these points, it was not so to the which were always an incentive either to idolatry itself, or converted Jews; for they had Moses, that is, the Law, to the impure acts generally attendant on such festivals. preached to them xata Tony in the city, that is, Antioch ;

By the second, FORNICATION, all uncleanness of every and by the reading of the law in the synagogues, every sabkind was prohibited ; for rocveta not only means fornication, bath-day, they were kept in remembrance of those institubut adultery, incestuous mixtures ; and especially the pros- tions, which the Gentiles, who had not the law, could not titution which was so common at the idol temples, viz. in know. Therefore, James thought that a letter to the conCyprus, at the worship of Venus ; and the shocking disor-verted Gentiles would be sufficient, as the converted Jews had ders, exhibited in the Bacchanalia, Lupercalia, and several | already ample instruction on these points. others.

,Verse 22. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the By the third, Things STRANGLED, we are to understand | whole church] James determined what ought to be done ; the flesh of those animals which were strangled, for the pur- and the whole assembly resolved how that should be done. pose of keeping the blood in the body, as such animals were Chosen men of their own company] Paul and Barnabas esteemed a greater delicacy.

were to return ; they could have witnessed to the church at By the fourth, Blood, we are to understand not only the Antioch, what was done at the council at Jerusalem : but as thing itself, for the reasons which I have assigned in the it was possible that their testimony might be suspected, from note on Gen. ix. 4. and for others detailed at the end of this the part they had already taken in this question at Antioch, chapter ; but also all cruelty, man-slaughter, murder, &c. as it was necessary that a deputation from the council should some of the ancient fathers have understood it.

accompany them. Accordingly, Judas and Silas are sent to Instead of tou aquaros blood, some have conjectured that corroborate by their oral testimony what was contained in we should read Xosperas swine's flesh; for they cannot see, the letters sent from the council. first, that there can be any harm in eating of blood ; and, Verse 23. Send greeting unto the brethren--of the Gentiles] secondly, that as the other three things neither have nor can There was no occasion to send such a letter to the brethren have any moral evil in them; it would seem strange that they which were of the Jeros, because that law which had been so long should be coupled with a thing, which, on all hands, is con- read in their synagogues, taught them all those things; and fessed to have much moral turpitude. Answers to such tri- therefore the epistle is sent exclusively to the Gentiles. The fling objections will be found at the end of the chapter. It word greeting is in the original xaspely to be well, to be safe; is only necessary to add, that this Xoupelas, which is the a very usual form in Greek epistles, the word suxou as being critical emendation of Dr. Bentley, is not supported by one upderstood, läish thee to be well. MS. or Version in existence.

Verse 24. Certain which went out from us] So, the persons At the close of this verse, the Codex Bezæ, and several who produced these doubtful disputations at Antioch, &c. others, add a fifth thing, And not to do to others what they had gone out from the apostles at Jerusalem, and were of that. would not have done to themselves. Though this is a very church: persons zealous for the law, and yet, strange to tell, uncient reading, it does not appear to be genuine.

so conscientiously attached to the gospel, that they risked Verse 21. Moses of old time hath in every city] The their personal safety by professing it.

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The apostolical decree and epistle

THE ACTS.

read to the church at Antioch.

A.M.cir. 4056.
A. D. cir. 52.

A. D. cir. 52.

cir. CCVII. 4.

b

26 · Men that have hazarded their titude together, they delivered the A. M. cur. 1956. An. Olymp. lives for the name of our Lord Jesus epistle :

An. Olymp. Christ.

31 Which when they had read, they cir. CCVII. 1, 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, rejoiced for the consolation. who shall also tell you the same things by 32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also mouth.

themselves, 'exhorted the brethren with many 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and words, and confirmed them. to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than 33 And after they had tarried there a space, these necessary things ;

they were let go in peace from the brethren 29 • That ye abstain from meats offered to unto the apostles. idols, and a from blood, and from things strang 34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide led, and from fornication : from which if ye' there still. keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. 35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in An

30 So when they were dismissed, they came to tioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Antioch : and when they had gathered the mul- Lord, with many others also.

a Ch. 13. 50. & 14. 19. 1 Cor. 15. 30. 2 Cor. 11. 23, 26. - Gr. word.

e ver. 20. ch. 21. 25. Rev. 2. 14, 20,- Lev. 17. 14.

e Or, erhortation.

1 Cor. 16. 11.

fch. 14. 22. & 18. 93.Hebr. ll. 31. - ch. 13. 1.

con

To whom we gave no such commandment] As, therefore, direct you! like to that other form of sound words, God be they went out from that church, they should have taught with you! corrupted now into good bye to ye! And of the nothing which was not owned and taught by it; much less same meaning with adieu ! à Dieu, to God; that is, I comshould they have taught in opposition to it.

mend you to God. All these terms savour not only of good Verse 26. Men that have hazarded their lives] This was will, or benevolence, but also of piety. Our pious ancestors a high character of Paul and Barnabas; they had already believed that nothing was safe, nothing protected, nothing suffered much in the cause of Christ, and exposed their lives prosperous, over which the shield of God was not extended; to the most imminent danger, and were intent on the same and therefore in their familiar good wishes, they gave each work, notwithstanding the increasing dangers in the way. other to God. The Greek word epfio errhosthè, here

Verse 27. Judas and Silus-shall-tell you the same things] used, from fwrvuue to strengthen, make strong, has nearly These were proofs that the testimony of Paul and Barnabas the same signification : be strong, courageous, active, be in was true; and that the letter was not forged, as they could health, and be prosperous. What a pity that such benevolent witness the same things which the letter contained.

and pious wishes should degenerate into cool formalities, or Verse 28. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us] unmeaning compliments. 'The whole council had met under his direction; had

Verse 31. They rejoiced for the consolation. It was not a sulted under his influence ; and gave forth their decree from matter of small moment, to have a question on which such his especial inspiration.

stress was laid, decided by an apostolic council, over which Necessary things] They were necessary, howsoever bur- the Spirit of God presided. thensome they might appear; and necessary, not only for

Verse 32. Judus and Silas, being prophets] That is, being the time, place, or occasion; but for all times, all places, and teachers in the church. This signification of the word proall occasions. See this proved in the observations at the end phet, we have often already seen. See the notes on chap. of this chapter.

xi. 27. and xiii. 1. Verse 29. Ye shall do well.) But if they did not keep E.chorted the brethren] To abide steadily attached to God, themselves from these things, they would do ill; that is, they and to each other, in peace, love, and unity. would sin against God, whose Spirit had commanded them And confirmed them.] In the blessed truths they bad alto keep from these things. And who can do any of these ready received. forbidden things, and keep either a guiltless or a tender Verse 33. They were let go] That is, both had liberty to conscience?

depart; but Silas chose to stay a little longer with the breFaremwell] An old English form of expressing good wishes thren. and good will. It is compounded of raran, to go, and pæl, Verse 31. Notreithstanding it pleased Silas, &c.] This much, well, very much. Go well, go prosperously, tanta whole verse is wanting in ABEG. a great number besides, mount with good speed; may you succeed well ! may God | with the Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, Slavonic, Vulgate, and

Paul and Barnabas disagree

СНАР ХУ.

about John Mark.

A.M. cir. 4057
A. D. cir. 53.

A. D. cir. 53.

An. Olymp. cir.CCVIII.1.

cir. CCVIII.4.

4. M.cir. 4057. 36 1 'And some days after, Paul said | 39 And the contention was so sharp

. ** unto Barnabas, Let'us go again and between them, that they departed An. Olymp.

visit our brethren "in every city where asunder one from the other : and so we have preached the word of the Lord, and see Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus ; how they do.

40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, , 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them" being recommended by the brethren unto the John, whose surname was Mark.

grace of God. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, them, o who departed from them from Pamphy-li confirming the churches. lia, and went not with them to the work.

b

• Ch. 13. 4, 13, 14,51. & 14. 1, 6, 24, 25.- ch. 12. 12, 25. & 13. 3. Col.

4. 10. 2 Tim. 4. 11. Philem. 24.- ch. 13. 13. ch. 14. 26.-. ch. 16. 5.

some of the Fathers. It does not appear to have been origi- visited, and the work of God more widely and more rapidly nally in the text.

spread. And why is it that most men attach blame to this Verse 36. Let us goand visit our brethren in every city) difference between Paul and Barnabas? And why is it that This heavenly man projected a journey to Cyprus, Pamphylia, this is brought in, as a proof of the sinful imperfection of Pisidia, Lycaonia, Salamis, Paphos, Perga, Iconium, Lys- these holy apostles ? Because, those who thus treat the subtra, Derbe, Antioch in Pisidia, and elsewhere ; for in all ject, can never differ with another without feeling wrong temthese places he had preached and founded churches in the pers; and then, as destitute of good breeding as they are of preceding year. He saw it was necessary to water the seed humility, they attribute to others, the angry, proud, and he had planted; for these were young converts, surrounded wrathful dispositions which they feel in themselves; and bewith impiety, opposition, and superstition, and had few ad- cause they cannot be angry and sin not, they suppose that vantages among themselves.

even apostles themselves cannot. Thus, in fact, we are al. Verse 37. Barnabas dctermined to take with them John] ways bringing our own moral or immoral qualifications to be John Mark was his sister's son ; and natural affection might | a standard, by which we are to judge of the characters and have led him to the partiality here mentioned.

moral feelings of men who were actuated by zeal for God's Verse 38. But Paul thought not good to take him with glory, brotherly kindness, and charity. Should any man them] On this subject, see the note on chap. xii. 13. say, there was sin in this contention between Paul and Bar

Verse 39. The contention was so sharp between them] For nabas : I answer, there is no evidence of this in the text.' all this sentence, there is only in the Greek text eyEVETO 09Y Should he say, the word TACOEUSu.os paroxym denotes this : saatusuos; there was therefore a paroxysm, an incitement, I answer, it does not. And the verb tacoçurquar is often a stirring up, from Tia požurie', compounded of tacą intensive, used in a good sense. So Isocrates ad Demosth. cap. xx. and oorw to rchet, or sharpen: there was a sharp contention. uansa d'ay Ta počuy Geons opey Syron Twy na dwy fywy But does this imply anger or ill-will on either side ? Cer- . “ But thou wilt be the more stirred up to the love of good tainly not. Here, these two apostles differed, and were stre works." And such persons forget that this is the very form nuous, each in support of the part he had adopted. “ Paul,” used by the apostle himself, Heb. x. 24. xai xataro WP.Ex as an ancient Greek commentator has it, « being influenced αλληλους εις παροξυσμον αγαπης και καλων εργων" which only with the love of righteousness ; Barnabas being actu- these objectors would be highly displeased with me, were I to ated by love to his relative.” John Mark had been tried in translate, Let us consider one another to an angry contention trying circumstances, and he failed : Paul therefore would of love and good works. From these examples, it appears, not trust him again. The affection of Barnabas led him to that the word is used to signify incitement of any kind;

and hope the best, and was therefore desirous to give him another if taken in a medical sense, to express the burning fit of an trial. Barnabas would not give up : Paul would not agree. ague: it is also taken to express a strong excitement to the They therefore agreed to depart from each other, and take love of God and man, and to the fruits by which such love different parts of the work: each had an attendant and com can be best proved; and in the case before us, there was panion at hand; so Barnabas took John Mark, and sailed to certainly nothing contrary to this pure principle in either of Cyprus : Paul took Silas, and went into Syria. John Mark those heavenly men. See also Kypke on Heb. x. 24. proved faithful to his uncle Barnabas ; and Silas proved Verse 40. Being recommended unto the grace of God.] faithful to his master Paul. To all human appearance it was | Much stress has been laid upon this, to shew that Barnabas best that they separated ; as the churches were more speedily I was in the wrong, and Paul in the right, because the bre

Dissertation on Acts xv. 28, 29. concerning THE ACTS,

the unlawfulness of eating blood.

thren recommend Paul and Silas to the grace of God; but life? It is certain, such a monition could have no ill effect; they did not recommend Barnabas and John Mark: this and might, at the same time, be of infinite advantage, in proves that the church condemned the conduct of Barnabas, keeping up a constant sense of dependance upon God, and but approved that of Paul.” Now, there is no proof that gratitude to him, in the minds of his creatures. And what the church did not recommend Barnabas to the grace of God, could answer these ends better, than reserving the blood for as well as Paul; but as St. Luke had for the present sacred use ? and assigning that very reason, because it was dropped the story of Barnabas, and was now going on with the life; as a natural and necessary monition to mankind, that of Paul and Silas, he begins it at this point, viz. his that God was the author and giver of life. being recommended by the brethren to the grace of God; “ When God gave man the fruits of the earth for food, and then goes on to tell of his progress in Syria, Derbe, yet he gave them with an exception to the fruit of the tree Lystra, &c. &c.

See the next chapter. And with this of knowledge ; and in the same analogy, when he gives him verse should the following chapter begin ; and this is the the flesh of the creatures for food, he gives it with an exdivision followed by the most correct copies of the Greek text. ception to the blood. Unlimited grants would but infame

Verse 41. Confirming the churches.] This was the object our vanity, and blot out that sense of dependance upon the of his journey: they were young converts, and had need of Divine Being, which is equally necessary to our humility and establishment; and there is no doubt that by shewing them our happiness. the decision made at the late council of Jerusalem, their " Again : If God foresaw that an unlimited grant would faith was greatly strengthened, their hope confirmed, and be the cause of much unnecessary cruelty to the creatures ; their love increased. It was this consideration, no doubt, that surely was a sufficient reason with infinite goodness, why that led some ancient MSS. and some Versions, to add here, a limitation should be made. Now, if we find such cruelties

They delivered them the decrees of the apostles and elders to wantonly exercised, where such limitations are not known, keep ; which clause certainly was not an original part of the or not regarded, then surely we must conclude, that the litext, but seems to have been borrowed from the fourth verse mitation was merciful, and wise, and well appointed. Plu. of the following chapter. Some have thought that the fourth | tarch tells us, that it was customary in his time, to run red and fifth verses of the next chapter really belong to this place; hot spits through the bodies of live swine; and to stamp or that the first, second, and third verses of it should be read upon the udders of sows ready to farrow, to make their flesh in a parenthesis : but of this, there does not appear to be

more delicious. And, I believe, Christians have heard of any particular necessity.

whipping pigs, and torturing other creatures to death, for

the same reasons. Could these cruelties be committed, if On the precept concerning blood, I have referred not only such men thought themselves bound in conscience to abstain to my note on Gen. ix. 4. but also to additional observations from all unnecessary cruelty to the creatures ? and to blood at the end of this chapter: for these observations, I am in them to death, with all the dispatch they could, before they debted to an excellent work of Dr. Delaney, entitled Reve- || touched them for food. lation examined with Candour; a work of uncommon merit,

“ But this is not all : cruelties are congenial; and rise by and too little known. It is in three small volumes 8vo. and an easy gradation, from being practised upon brutes, to be comprises a number of dissertations on the most important exerted even against men. Thus it is notorious, that the facts and histories in the sacred writings; and especially Scythians, from drinking the blood of their cattle, proceeded those which have been cavilled at by Deists and freethinkers to drink the blood of their enemies, (as Herodotus assures of every description. In every case he is master of his sub us they did ;) and certainly the most natural means of guardject; and in every instance, his pretended Anakim opponents ing mankind against such cruelties, was to guard them against are grasshoppers in his hands.

the least approaches to it; by obliging them to abstain reli

giously from blood, and all unnecessary cruelty to the brute " As to the precept before us, of not eating the blood creation. And if evil foreseen to the brute creation from with the flesh of the creatures, it is evident that, besides the eating their blood, was a wise reason why such food should reason expressly assigned by God himself for this prohibition, || be prohibited to men ; evil foreseen to man himself, from there are also several others (very wise and very important) such an allowance, will, I believe, be owned a very good why it should be made.

additional reason for such a prohibition; and will any man 6 In the first place then, let me ask any, man, that is ca say, that the Scythian cruelty now mentioned, is no evil? pable of rational reflection, Whether he imagines it would be “Again : All animals that feed upon blood are observed bard or unreasonable in Almighty God, when he granted man

to be much more furious than others. Will any man say, a right to take away the lives of other creatures for food; to that much of their fury is not owing to their food ? Have make such a reserve in that grant, as might be a perpetual not creatures of the same kind been found to differ greatly monition to mankind, that God was the author and giver of in their tempers, from the difference of their diet? I believe

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