Billeder på siden

ye see and know: that name, I say, and that faith therein hath given him this perfect soundness in the sight of you all.

In this manner may this verse be translated, by only a small alteration in the punctuation, which renders its meaning clear and obvious; whereas it is very perplexed and confused according to the common method of reading. The apostle asserts that the name of Christ, or rather faith in Christ, which the mention of his name excited, produced this extraordinary cure. This declaration corresponds very well with the language of Christ upon similar occasions, who often said to those whom he cured, Thy faith hath made thee whole. It was only upon such as had some degree of faith in the divine power, that God thought fit to confer these favours.


And now, brethren, I wot, "I know," that through ignorance ye did it, without any intention of fulfilling the divine purpose, as did also your rul


18. But those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

The apostle is not here offering an apology for the Jewish people and rulers, in their preceding conduct in rejecting and orucifying the Messiah, by saying that it was the effect of ignorance, and therefore in some degree excusable. But he asserts that in ignorance, or contrary to their intentions, they had fulfilled the purpose of Divine Providence, which had been foretold by all the prophets which spake of Christ, that he should suffer death. In that event, therefore, there was nothing which ought to give them offence.


1. The wretched condition of this cripple, who could neither walk nor move, should teach us to be thankful to God for the use of our limbs. In his case we see and acknowledge the propriety of his praising God for restoring the use of them, and should have charged him with the grossest insensibility and ingratitude, if he had neglected to testify a sense of his obligations in this manner. Yet to a like charge we are ourselves liable, if, after having enjoyed for thirty or forty years, the favour now first conferred upon him, we have not perceived its value and acknowledged it in grateful praise. Whatever our past conduct has been, let us be careful that we do not incur the same reproach in future. Let us admire the skill which framed the curious limb, which endued it with its various movements, and which preserves it in a sound state and fit for use, notwithstanding the many accidents to which it is liable, and the constant exercise in which it is employed. To awaken our gratitude, we need only consider how unhappy our condition must be, if, instead of conveying ourselves. from place to place, we must be conveyed by others; if we could not walk when we pleased, to execute the business of life, to visit our friends, or to attend the house of God: we need only look at those unfortunate men among our brethren who have lost a limb, or cannot use it without pain.

2. This story furnishes us with a striking example of the unassuming disinterested conduct of the apostles. The first converts had already divided their substance, and all things were common; and the apostles of Christ, no doubt, by their superior authority, might have secured a large portion of it to

themselves. But we have no reason to suspect them of any selfish interested views: we still find them poor fishermen, without silver or gold to give away. When a miracle is performed, and the astonished multitude are disposed to regard them with extraordinary veneration, as the authors, they ascribe all the honour to their master, and assume nothing to themselves. Thus we discover that their attachment to the gospel, and their zeal for propagating it in the world, was a pure, disinterested regard; for they sought not to enrich or to aggrandize themselves; and, therefore, in the highest degree honourable to them, and to the cause which they espoused.

3. Let Peter's resolution respecting this man be ours, respecting all those who may be in like circumstances such as I have give I unto thee. Ability to confer alms is confined to a few, and may not be within our reach. But there is a variety of other ways in which we may do good to the distressed. If we cannot relieve them by charitable donations, we may afford them assistance or comfort by personal services, by our advice, or by our company. If we cannot give assistance ourselves, we may recommend them to others, who are better able to afford it.

In which ever of these ways we can give pleasure, or remove pain, that let us adopt; remembering that offerings of this nature will be well received; since every man is accepted according to what he hath, and not according to what he hath not.

Acts iii. 19. to the end. iv. 1-4.

The apostle Peter, having explained to the multitude the design of the miracle performed upon the lame man, namely, that it was intended to confirm the divine mission of Jesus, exhorts the Jews to submit to his authority, and to repent of their guilt in rejecting him.

19. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times, rather, "that the times," of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord:

20. And that he may send Jesus Christ appointed for you;

21. Whom the heaven must receive, until the times of the completion of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets [from the beginning *.]

The repentance to which Peter here exhorts the Jews did not relate to their ill conduct in general, but only in one particular instance, the rejection of the Messiah. In respect to this subject, he exhorts them to change their mind, in consequence of what he had said of the miracle just performed, and to embrace the Christian faith. As an encouragement to do so, he assures them that their sins would be blotted out; that is, that they would be taken from that unholy and dangerous state in which they lay, as unbelievers, into one that was safe and holy. The consequence would likewise be, that the times of refreshing would come from the presence of the Lord. These times of refreshing are supposed to refer to the ease and prosperity which the Jewish converts to Christianity would enjoy, when the persecution of their countrymen ceased, upon the destruction of the Jewish state and government. Another advantage to be derived from their conversion was that Christ, who was fore-ordained for this purpose, would be sent. The coming of Christ is frequently used in the New

The words an awvos are marked by Griesbach as probably


Testament, to express not a personal appearance, but any remarkable display of divine power in his favour, by the accomplishment of his predictions, or the success of his gospel. Thus the destruction of Jerusa lem is called the coming of the Son of man; and in the same, or a like sense, the apostle might intend to speak, when he says that he would be sent. He says, further, that the heaven must receive him; by which we are to understand not any local situation, in which he is to continue, the sky or the presence of God, but a state of dignity and power, which, in netaphorical language, is being in heaven. In this state he will continue until the times of the restitution, or rather to the times of the completion, of all things which have been predicted concerning him by any of the prophets; or until he has subdued all the enemies of his gospel. This corresponds with the language of Paul, who, speaking of Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 25. says that he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. See also Heb. x. 12, 13*.

22. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise

up unto

you of

your brethren, like unto me, rather, "

as he raised me;" him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

23. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.

Peter, having in the preceding verses mentioned the testimony borne to the character of Jesus, as a divine teacher, by the miracle just performed, and called upon them to receive him as the Messiah, reminds

Le Clerc, and Ernesti's Dissert. quoted by Rosenmüller.

« ForrigeFortsæt »