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the people. Some contentious Jews had a disputation with him respecting the Christian doctrine ; and they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Being enraged at this, they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him, and caught him, and brought him before the council. And they set up false witnesses, who said, “This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.” And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. Then said the high priest,

“ Are these things so ?” And he began to speak to them of the wonderful manner in which God had led the people of Israel, and of the continual disobedience which they had manifested ; and he concluded with the following words : “ Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost : as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your


persecuted ? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One,” (the Messiah ;) “ of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it."

Here he was interrupted. They could not restrain their wrath any longer, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, “Behold, I see


the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose


name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.a


48. Saul was consenting to the death of Stephen ; for he was one of those who were actuated by a blind zeal for the Jewish law, and who persecuted the church of Christ. He went hither and thither

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into houses, searching for Christians, that he might seize them and commit them to prison. The Christians were scattered abroad by this persecution throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, and in all the cities and villages to which they went they preached the gospel.

Philip, who was one of the seven deacons, went to the city of Samaria, and found there a great field of labour. After he had preached there for some time, the angel of the Lord said to him,

Arise, and go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning, and sitting in bis chariot was reading Esaias the

prophet. Then


the Spirit said unto Philip, “Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, 6 Understandest thou what thou readest?And

he said, “How can I, except some man should guide me ?” And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the Scripture which he read was this : He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth : in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation ? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch said to Philip, "I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized ?” And Philip said, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” And he answered and said, “ I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he commanded the chariot to stand still : and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.



49. In the mean time, Saul became more and more active in persecuting the Christians. And he went to the high priest, and asked of him letters to the chief men among the Jews in Damas

a Acts viii. 26-39.

cus, desiring them to assist him in apprehending any Christians whom he found there, and to bring them bound to Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus : and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven : and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” And he said, “Who art thou, Lord ?" And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest : it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” And he trembling and astonished said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” And the Lord said unto him, “ Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man : but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Behold, I here, Lord.” And the Lord said unto him, “ Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus : for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered,

Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem : and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.” But the Lord said unto him, “Go thy way: for he is a chosen


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