תמונות בעמוד

Acts i. 4. wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye Galilee.

have heard of me :
5. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be

baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. La. xxiv. 41,

And he said unto them, These are the words which I
spake unto you, while was yet with you, that all things
must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses,

and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might

understand the Scriptures.
46. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it

behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the

third day:
47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be

preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Je-

And ye are witnesses of these things.
49, And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon

you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be
endued with power from on high.


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Christ leads out his Apostles to Bethany, within sight of

Jerusalem, gives them their final Commission, blesses
them, and ascends up visibly into Heaven-from whence

he shall come to judge the Living and the Dead.
MATT. xxviii. 18-20. MARK xvii. 15—20.

LUKE xxiv.
50-53, ACTS i. 6-12 4.
Lu.xxiv.50. And he led them out as far as to Bethany “,

however, to believe, that wbat is related in this, and the follow-
ing section, took place when the apostles where retnrned to
Jerusalem, after they had seen Christ in Galilee. With this
order, “ to tarry in Jerusalem," the instructions contained in
the last chapter of St. Luke, from the end of the 43d verse,
are considered as more nearly connected, in point of time, than
with the transactions which immediately precede them, as given
by that Evangelist. The harmonists likewise refer to this pe-
riod, (the latter part of the forty days,) and all that is related by
St. Matthew, in his last chapter, from the 18th verse; and also
wbat is mentioned by St. Mark in his concluding chapter, from
the end of the 14th verse.

40 The arrangement of the contents of this section has been
principally made on the plan proposed by Mr. Cranfield, which
appears to me to be preferable to that of Dr. Townson.

1 Cranfield is of opinion, that from ver. 18. of Matt. xxviii.from ver. 15 to 19. of Mark xvi.--and from ver. 50 to 52. in Luke xxii. must be referred to the address of our Lord to bis disciples, on the occasion of his ascension into heaven. The speech of our Lord in St. Matthew, he observes, begins thus : “ All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth.” Some barmonists have made this clause to bave been spoken on the mountain in Galilee, separating it from the remaining part of the speech; but, whenever it was uttered, the rest of the speech


Acts i. 6.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of Galilee.

must have been spoken on the same occasion, by reason of the
connective particle sv. Our Lord here declares all power in
heaven and on earth to be given to him at his resurrection; in
consequence of which power, he proceeds to tell his disciples,
that he had the authority and right to commission them lo con.
vert, baptize, and instruct the world: “Go ye therefore,"
that is, in consequence of this power, or absolute authority.
On the above clause our Lord sounds his authority to commis-
sion his disciples : it was therefore rather unskilful to destroy
the force of the argument by dismembering the speech. Now,
as we learn from St. Mark, that our Lord did not commission
his disciples till he led them out to his ascension, so, as we are
not aware of any reasons to the contrary, we think it best to
consign this passage in St. Matthew to the time of the ascension.
Indeed, the passage itself furnishes internal evidence that it
was spoken on this occasion: it implies that the disciples
were fully insti ed, and that our Lord was now going to take
his final leave of them. We say, final leare; for the words,

Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” can have no other meaning than this, “ Though I am going now to ascend with my body into heaven, and therefore will be no longer visibly upoo earth; yet will I be always spiritually with you, and your successors, and direct the Church, even unto the end of the world." This seems to me a strong indication that the passage in question can have been spoken on no other occasion than that of the ascension.

It is observable, that the Evangelists were more careful in giving us the words of our Lord, than in noting on what particular occasions they were spoken. The speech in St. Matthew, for instance, one might think, at first view, was given on the mountain in Galilee. He indeed says, that our Lord spoke then unto his disciples; but I cannot apprehend that he would commission them so soon, and give them to understand that he was tben about to take his fipal leave of them, and ascend into heaven. For the ascension did not take place till what we may call long after the appearance on the Galilean mountain. St. Matthew then, not thinking it material to notice what particular words our Lord spoke on the mountain in Galilee, only says, “ That Jesus came up and spake unto his disciples." This was enough to show us, that he of consequence removed the doubts of those of his disciples who had not beheld him till then after his resurrection. We may render, and point the 18th verse in the following manner : Then Jesus came up, and spake unto them.

We may understand this clause as the ending of the transaction on the mountain in Galilee, so far as we have it recorded. And as our translators have rendered, in innumerable instances, the participle as if it were a verb, so we may be allowed the same liberty here, especially when the true meaning of the Evangelist, and the just method of harmonizing, seem to require it: and render Xeywv, pot literally, Saying, but, He saith. Tbis therefore may begin a new paragraph, continued on till the end of his Gospel ; which paragraph we are under the vecessity of supposing was meant by St. Matthew to relate to the ascension. Had the Evangelist written kau, deyel, the matter would not be capable of dispute. But, on the otber hand, when we discover sufficient reasons to assure us that this paragraph refers to our Lord's last appearance to his disciples, and, consequently, that its place should not be regulated by the

Acts i. 6. him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Galilee.

kingdom to Israel ?
7. And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the

times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own

8. But ye shall receive power “, after that the Holy Ghost

is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me
both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and

unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Mar. xvi.15. And he said unto them,
Mtxxviii18. saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19. Go ye therefore,
Mar.xvi.15. Go ye into all the world,
Mtxxviii19. and teach all nations,
Mar.xvi.15. and preach the Gospel to every creature.
Mtxxviii19. baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Ghost ;

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have

commanded you ; Mar.xvi.16.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but
he that believeth not shall be damned.
17. And these signs shall follow them that believe : In my

name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with

new tongues ; 18.

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them : they shall lay hands

on the sick, and they shall recover. Mtxxviii19. and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the

world. Amen. Mar, xvi.19. So then after the Lord had spoken to them,

Acts i. 9. And when he had spoken these things, Luxxiv.50. he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

51. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, Acts i. 9. while they beheld,

word deywv; and when we also take into account the manner of
the Evangelists in several instances, how they, by reason of
their close adherence to brevity, seem to bring into one view,
as belonging to one and the same transaction, things which,
on a minuter inspection, we find to relate to different transac-
tions; the liberty may be allowed to the harmonist of departing
from the usual translation of the original reading, so far as he
may judge it necessary. The passage in St. Luke contains in-
ternal evidence that it must be understood of no other than
our Lord's last appearance to his disciples on Mount Olivet (a.)

(a) Cranfield's Observations on Towoson. &c. sect. xii. p. 75, 76.

42 We must not understand dúvajiv, which we translate power, in this verse, as we do éžovoia, which is translated by the same word in the preceding verse. In the former, the infinite authority of God over all times and seasons is particularly pointed out : in the other, the energy communicated by him to his disciples, through which they were enabled to work miracles, is particularly intended.


Lu.xxiv.51. he was parted from them,

Galilee. Acts i. 9. he was taken up; La.xxiv.51. and carried up into heaven. Acts i. 9. and cloud received him out of their sight. Mar.xvi.19. he was received up into heaven, and sate on the right hand

of God 3.

43 In each of the three dispensations a visible ascension of the body has taken place. Some holy personage bas been visibly taken up into heaven. In the first of these periods, between the Creation and the Deluge, Enoch was translated : “ He was not,” says the Scriptures," he did not die;" for,

“ he walked with God, and God took him.” During the second period, from the Deluge to the Advent of our Saviour, Elijah was visibly taken up into heaven : “ It came to pass as he and Elisha still went on and talked, that behold there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. During the third period, which has continued nearly two thousand years, in which we and the whole Christian Church now live, and which will be concluded only by the day of judgment, Christ, our Lord, while in the act of blessing his disciples “and while they beheld, was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.” He ascended into heaven, and be now sitteth, till he shall again come to judge the living and the dead, at the right band of God. Whatever were the sundry ways and divers manners in which God, by his prophets appealed to the Jewish world; whatever reception we ourselves may give to the precepts and the sanctions of his Evangelists and Apostles, who have more especially written for the Christian dispensation, this is undeniable: that God, in every age has made most abundant provision to prove and demonstrate to all the certainty of another life, and another state of being. In the great mercy of our Almighty Creator, this solemn truth has beeu enforced by three visible ascensions into heaven, an earnest to the world of the certainty of that great day, when all the Church of God, from the days of Adam, till the sounding of the trumpet of the Archangel, shall assemble before the judgment seat of Christ. As surely as Enoch, and Elijah, and our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, so also shall we ascend from our graves, to give an account of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.

Where is now the body of Christ, which ascended in a visible and tangible shape? Wherever body exists, it must exist in reference to place, and heaven cannot therefore be merely a state or condition. There must be, then, in some part of the universe of God, a place in which the glory of ibe Deity is more immediately and peculiarly manifest, where the body of Cbrist now is, the real « holy of holies,” the true Christian beaven. There is the seat of that happiness which is peculiarly prepared and destined for the faithful followers of Christ. There is tbe abode of angels; there, are the spirits of the just made perfect; there is God, the Judge of all. To that place, and to the state and condition of happiness which is enjoyed there, every son of man may arrive, to whom the invitation of divine mercy has been extended. There is our bome, here is our pilgrimage. There is our Father, here we are pilgrims of strangers. There is the Son of God, our Brother, and our Friend, here we live among fallen creatures, a cold and selfish world. There is peace, and repose, and rest, here is vexation, turbulence, and sorrow. Frail indeed is the veil or

La.xxiv.52. And they worshipped him,

Galilee. Acts i. 10. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven, as he

went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel ;
11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gaz-

ing up into heaven ? this same Jesus, which is taken up
from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye

have seen him go into heaven.

Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath-day's journey“

mortality which separates us from that holy mansion of God our
Father; and poor and contemptible are the toys and follies
that bind us to earth, and prevent us from anticipating, with
serene and rational confidence, the summons to the invisible
world, that most assuredly awaits us. He that numbers the very
hairs of our head, in whose book all our members are written,
will not leave us nor forsake us in the grave. He shall separate
our corrupted and mouldering bodies from the confused mass of
atoms by which they may be surrounded, with as much faithful-
ness and truth as the loadstone will draw to itself the smallest
filing of steel, from the innumerable grains of sand by which it
may be encompassed. Wby then should it seem a thing im-
possible to you that Christ should raise the dead? The voice
of inspiration has declared, “Thy dead men shall live, to-
gether with my dead body shall they arise. And the earth
shall cast out the dead.” (Isa. xxvi. 19.) And that same glori-
fied body which the disciples saw ascend, shall at the last day
descend, and conduct us from the grave and gate of death to
the glorious home of holiness and purity, to the new Jerusa-
lem, the city of the living God.

44 The difficulty of this verse, when collated with the ac-
counts given by the other Evangelists, are thus reconciled by
Dr. Lightfoot.

1. In Luke xxiv. 50. we read," He led them out as far as Bethany,” and in this passage (Acts i. 12.) that when the disciples came back from the place where our Lord had ascended, “they returned from Mount Olivet, distant from Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey.” But now the town of Bethany was about fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, John xi. 18. and that is double a sabbath day's journey.

2. Josephus tells us, that Mount Olivet was but five furlongs from the city, and a sabbath day's journey was seven furlongs and a half. Antiq. lib. xx. cap. vi. O kai ons molewç ävTikpus κείμενον, απεχει στάδια πέντε ; which being situated in front of the city, is distant five furlongs.

These things are all true. 1. That the Mount of Olives lay but five furlongs distant from Jerusalem. 2. That the town of Bethany was fifteen furlongs. 3. That the disciples were brought by Christ as far as Bethany. 4. That when they returned from the Mount of Olives, they travelled more than five furlongs. And, 5. Returning from Bethany, they travelled but a sabbath day's journey. All which may be easily reconciled, if we would observe, that the first space from the city was called Bethpage, which part of the mount was known by the name “ to the length of about a sabbath day's

journey,” till it came to that part which is called Bethany. There was a Bethany, a tract of the mount, and also the town of Bethany. The town was distant from the city about fifteen furlongs, i. e. about two

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