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Note, Matt. xvi. 16. Which made heaven, &c.- showers of rain. The sun and stars move by He thus showed that he was the only proper fixed laws, whose operation we can see and antiobject of worship. This doctrine, that there was cipate. The falling of rain and dew is regulated one God, who had made all things, was new to s by laws which we cannot trace, and seems there. them. They worshipped multitudes of divinities; fore to be poured, as it were, directly from God's and though they regarded Jupiter as the father hollow hand. Psa. cxlvii. 8, “ Who coveretb the of gods and men, yet they had no conception that heaven with clouds; who prepareth rain for the all things had been formed from nothing by the earth." will of one Infinite Being.
“ He sends his showers of blessings down,
To cheer the plains below;
And corn in valleys grow. to walk in their own ways.
" The cheering wind, the flying cloud,
Obey his mighty word;
Praise ye the sovereign Lord.”- WATTS. Who in times past.-Previous to the gospel ; in past ages. Suffered all nations.----Permitted all | And fruitful seasons.-Seasons when the earth nations; that is, all Gentiles. Acts xvii. 30, produces abundance. It is a remarkable, and a * And the times of this ignorance God winked shining proof of the divine goodness, that so few at." To walk in their own ways.- To conduct
seasons are unfruitful. The earth yields her ia- ! themselves without the restraints and instructions crease; and the labours of the husbandman are ! of a written law. They were permitted to follow
crowned with success : and the goodness of God their own reason and passions, and their own
demands the expressions of praise. His ancient system of religion. He gave them no written
covenant God does not forget, (Gen. viii. 22,) | laws, and sent to them no messengers. Why he
though man forgets it, and disregards his greatdid this, we cannot determine. It might have
Benefactor. Filling our hearts with food.-- The been, among other reasons, to show to the world
word “hearts” is here used as a Hebraism, to conclusively, (1.) The insufficiency of reason to
denote persons themselves ; filling us with food, guide men in the matters of religion. The ex.
| &c. Comp. Matt. xii. 40. Gladness. — Joy ; ; periment was made under the most favourable
comfort--the comfort arising from the supply of circumstances. The most enlightened nations,
our constantly returning wants. This is proof the Greeks and Romans, were left to pursue the
of ever watchful goodness. It is demonstration inquiry, and failed no less than the most degraded | at once that there is a God, and that he is i tribes of men. The trial was made for four thou good. It would be easy for God to withdraw ! sand years, and attended with the same results
these blessings, and leave us to want. A single every where. (2.) It showed the need of reve word, or a single deviation from the fulness of lation to guide man. (3.) It evinced, beyond the benevolence, would blast all these comforts, and possibility of mistake, the depravity of man. In
leave us to lamentation, woe, and death. Psa. all nations, in all circumstances, men had shown cxlv. 15, 16, the same alienation from God. By suffering them to walk in their own ways, it was seen that those “ The eyes of all wait upon thee,
And thou givest them their food in due season. ways were sin, and that some power more than
Thou openest thine hand, human was necessary to bring men back to God.
And satisfiest the desire of all the living."
Ver. 17. Nevertheless he left not himself with. VER. 18. And with these sayings scarce re- !
out witness, in that he did good, and gave us strained they the people, that they had not rain P from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling | done sacrifice unto them. our hearts with food and gladness.
And with these sayings.-- With these arguments.
Scarce restrained they the people. They were so o Rom. i. 20. p Job v. 10. Psa.cxlvii. 8. Matt. v. 45.
fully satisfied that the gods had appeared, and Nevertheless.-Though he gave them no reve
were so full of zeal to do them honour. lation. He left not himself without witness.--He
VER. 19. And there came thither certain Jews gave demonstration of his existence, and of his moral character. In that he did good. By doing
from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the good. The manner in which he did it, he imme people, and having a stoned Paul, drew him diately specifies. Idols did not do good or confer
out of the city, supposing he had been dead. favours, and were therefore unworthy of their confidence. And gave us rain from heaven.
q 2 Cor. xi. 25. Rain from above, from the clonds. (Mark viii. 11. Luke ix. 54 ; xvii. 29; xxi. 11. John vi. And there came thither certain Jews.- Not satis31, 32.) Rain is one of the evidences of his fied with having expelled them from Antioch goodness. Man could not cause it; and without and Iconium, they still pursued them. Persecu. it, regulated at proper intervals of time, and in tors often exhibit a zeal and perseverance in a proper quantities, the earth would soon be one bad cause, which it would be well if Christians wide scene of desolation. There is scarcely any evinced in a holy cause. Men will often travel thing that more certainly indicates unceasing farther to do evil than they will to do good; and care and wisdom than the needful and refreshing many men show more zeal in opposing the gos
I pel than professed Christians do in adrancing it. soori over, and the person restored to strength.
Antioch and Iconium.- Note, chap. xii. 14, 51. | Pricæus and Wetstein suppose that Paul feigned Who persuaded the people. - That they were im- | himself to be dead, and when out of danger rose postors; and who excited their rage against and returned to the city. But this is wholly imthem. And having stoned Paul.- Whom they probable. And came into the city. It is remarkwere just before ready to worship as a god! able that he should have returned again into the What a striking instance of the fickleness and same city. But probably it was only among the instability of idolaters! and what a striking in new converts that he showed himself. The Jews stance of the instability and uselessness of mere supposed that he was dead; and it does not appear popularity. Just before, they were ready to that he again exposed himself to their rage. And adore him ; now, they sought to put him to death. the nert day, &c.—The opposition here was such Nothing is more fickle than mere popular favour. that it was vain to attempt to preach there any The unbounded admiration of a man may soon longer. Having been seen by the disciples after be changed into unbounded indignation and con bis supposed death, their faith was coufirmed, tempt! It was well for Paul that he was not and he departed to preach in another place. To I seeking this popularity, and that he did not de- | Derbe.- Ver. 6. pend on it for happiness. He had a good conscience; he was engaged in a good cause ; he VER. 21. And when they had preached the gos, was under the protection of God; and his happiness was to be sought from a higher source
pel to that city, and ' had taught many, they than the applause of men, fluctuaring and uncer
returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and tain as the waves of the sea. To this transaction Antioch. Paul referred when he enumerated his trials, in 2 Cor. xi. 25, “ Once was I stoned." Drew him
q Had made many disciples. oat of the city.- Probably in haste, and in popular
Had taught many. - Or rather, had made many rage, as if he was unfit to be in the city, and was
disciples, (margin.) To Lystra.- Ver. 6. And to va worthy of a decent burial; for it does not
Iconium.- Ver. 1. We have here a remarkable appear that they contemplated an interment, but
instance of the courage of the apostles. In these indignanily dragged him beyond the walls of the
very places, they had been persecuted and stoned, 1, City to leave him there. Such sufferings and
and yet in the face of danger they ventured to I trials it cost to establish that religion in the world
return. The welfare of the infant churches they I which has shed so many blessings on man, and
deemed of more consequence than their own which now crowns us with comfort, and saves us
safety; and they threw themselves again into from the abominations and degradations of idol
the midst of danger, to comfort and strengthen atry here, and from the pains of hell hereafter.
those just converted to God. There are times Supposing he had been dead.- The next verse
when ministers should not count their own lives shows that he was really not dead, though many
dear to them, (Acts xx. 24,) but when they commentators, as well as the Jews, have supposed
should fearlessly throw themselves into the midst that he was, and was miraculously restored to life.
of danger, confiding only in the protecting care It is remarkable that Barnabas was not exposed
of their God and Saviour. to this popular fury. But it is to be remembered that Paul was the chief speaker, and it was his peculiar zeal that exposed him to this tumult.
VER. 22. Confirming the souls of the disciples,
and exhorting them to continue sin the faith, VER. 20. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round and that 'we must through much tribulation
about him, he rose up, and came into the city : enter into the kingdom of God. and the next day he departed with Barnabas
8 Chap. xii. 43. Rom. viii. 17. 2 Tim. iii. 12. to Derbe.
Confirming.–Strengthening. 'ETLOTYP LOVTEC. Hourbeit.-But. Notwithstanding the suppo- | The expression “to confirm" has in some churches sition that he was dead. As the disciples stood | a technical signification, denoting “to admit to Pound about him.-It would seem that they did | the full privileges of a Christian, by the imposition suppose that he was dead; but might be expect- of hands."-Johnson. It is scarcely necessary to ing that he would revive. He rose up, &c.- say that the word here refers to no such rite. It Most commentators suppose that this was the has no reference to any imposition of hands, nor tffect of a miracle. They have maintained that to the thing which is usually supposed to be dehe could not have risen so soon, and entered into noted by the rite of “confirmation.” It means the eity, without the interposition of miraculous simply, that they established, strengthened, made power. (Calvin, Doddridge, Clark, &c.) But firm, or encouraged by the presentation of truth, the commentators have asserted that which is and by the motives of the gospel. Whether the not intimated by the inspired penman. Nor is rite of confirmation, as practised by some churches, there propriety in supposing the intervention of be founded on the authority of the New Testamiraculous agency where it is not necessary. ment or not, it is certain that it can receive no The probability is, that he was stunned by a blow support from this passage. The truth was, that -- perhaps a single blow-and after a short time | these were young converts ; that they were surrecovered from it. Nothing is more common rounded by enemies, exposed to temptations, and than thus by a violent blow on the head to be to dangers ; that they had as yet but a slight rendered apparently lifeless, the effect of which is | acquaintance with the truths of the gospel, and that it was therefore important that they should properly denotes to stretch out the hand; and as be further instructed in the truth, and established it was customary to elect to office, or to vote, by in the faith of the gospel. This was what Paul | stretching out or elevating the hand, so the word and Barnabas returned to accomplish. There is I simply means to elect. appoint or desimate to not the slightest evidence that they had not been any office. The word here refers simply to an admitted to the full privileges of the church election or appointment of the elders. It is said before, or that any ceremony was now performed indeed that Paul and Barnabas did this. Bat in confirming or strengthening them. The souls. I probably all that is meant by it is, that they pre--The minds, the hearts; or the disciples them- | sided in the assembly when the choice was made. selves. Disciples.--They were as yet scholars, It does not mean that they appointed them withor learners, and the apostles returned to instruct out consulting the church; but it evidently means them further in the doctrines of Christ. And that they appointed them in the usual way of a erhorting them, &c.-Chap. xiii. 43. In the faith. pointing officers, by the suffrages of the people.
- In the belief of the gospel. And that we must, | See Schleusner, and the notes of Doddridge and kai őri oi.-That it is fit or proper that we should, Calvin. Ordained them.-Appointed for the dis&c. Not that it is in itself fixed by any fatal ne- ciples, or for the church. It is not meant that cessity; but that such is the nature of religion, and the elders were ordained for the apostles. Elderi. such the wickedness and opposition of the world, -Greek, Presbyters. Literally this word refers that it will happen. We are not to expect that to the aged. Note, chap. xi. 30. But it may it will be otherwise. We are to calculate on it also be a word relating to office, denoting those when we become Christians. Why it is proper, who were more experienced than others, to preor fit, the apostle did not state. But we may side over and to instruct the rest. What was the remark that it is proper, (1.) Because such is the nature of this office, and what was the design of ! opposition of the world to pure religion, that it the appointment, is not intimated in this word. cannot be avoided. Of this they had had strik- | All that seems to be implied is, that they were to ing demonstration in Lystra and Iconium. (2.) take the charge of the churches during the ab It is necessary to reclaim us from wandering, sence of the apostles. The apostles were about and to keep us in the path of duty. (Psa. cxix. | to leave them. They were just organized into 67, 71.) (3.) It is necessary to wean us from the churches; were inexperienced ; needed counsel world; to keep before one's mind the great truth, and direction; were exposed to dangers; and it that we have here “no continuing city, and no was necessary, therefore, that persons should be abiding place.” Trial here, makes us pant for designated to watch orer the spiritual interests of a world of rest. The opposition of sinners makes the brethren. The probability is, that they perus desire that world where “the wicked cease formed all the functions that were required in the from troubling," and where there shall be eternal / infant and feeble churches; in exhorting, instructfriendship and peace. (4.) When we are perse. | ing, governing, &c. The more experienced and cuted and afflicted, we may remember that it has able would be most likely to be active in exhortbeen the lot of Christians from the beginning. ing and instructing the brethren ; and all would We tread a path that has been watered by the be useful in counselling and guiding the flock. tears of the saints, and rendered sacred by the The same thing occurred in the church at Epheshedding of the best blood on the earth. The sus. See Notes on Acts xx. 17--28. It is not Saviour trod that path; and it is enough that improbable that the business of instructing, or the “ disciple be as his master, and the servant teaching, would be gradually confined to the more as his lord.” (Matt. x. 24, 25.) Through much talented and able of the elders, and that the others tribulation.--Through many afilictions. Enter would be concerned mainly in governing and di.! into the kingdom of God.--Be saved. Enter into recting the general affairs of the church. Ini heaven. Note, Matt. iii. 2.
every church. It is implied here that there were
elders in each church; that is, that in each Ver. 23. And when they had ordained them church there was more than one. See chap. xv.
21, where a similar phraseology occurs, and elders in every church, and had prayed with
where it is evident that there was more than one fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on reader of the law of Moses in each city. Titus whom they believed.
i. 5. “I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest......
ordain elders in every city.” Acts xx. 17, "And And when they had ordained, X ElporovňouvTEG. from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the - The word " ordain” we now use in an ecclesi- | elders of the church.” It could not mean, there astical sense, to denote a setting apart to an office | fore, that they appointed a single minister or by the imposition of hands. But it is evident | pastor to each church, but they committed the that the word here is not employed in that sense. | whole affairs of the church to a bench of elders That imposition of hands might have occurred in | And had prayed with fasting. With the church setting apart afterwards to this office is certainly They were about to leave them. They had inpossible, but it is not implied in the word em- | trusted the interests of the church to a body of ployed here, and did not take place in the trans- men chosen for this purpose ; and they now com. action to which this word refers. The word oc- | mended the church and its elders together to God. curs but in one other place in the New Testament, | Probably they had no prospect of seeing them (2 Cor. viii. 19,) where it is applied to Luke, and again; and they parted as ministers and people translated, “who was also chosen of the church should part, and as Christian friends should part (i. e. appointed or elected by suffrage by the with humble prayer, commending themselves to churches,) to travel with us,” &c. The verb the protecting care of God. They commended
I them, &c.— They committed the infant church to of the church. And, (5.) In the conduct of Paul
the guardianship of the Lord. They were feeble, and Barnabas, missionaries have an example in inexperienced, and exposed to dangers ; but in founding churches, and in regard to their own his hands they were safe. To the Lord, &c.-- trials and persecutions. If Paul and Barnabas The Lord Jesus. The connexion shows that he were persecuted, missionaries may be now. And is particularly referred to. In his hands, the if the grace of Christ was sufficient to sustain redeemed are secure. When we part with Chris them, it is not the less sufficient to sustain tian friends, we may, with confidence, leave them those of our own times amidst all the dangers in his holy care and keeping.
attending the preaching of the cross in pagan
lands, VER. 24. And after they had passed throughout
VER. 27. And when they were come, and had Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
gathered the church together, they rehearsed " Throughout Pisidia.--Note, chap. xiii. 14. They
all that God had done with them, and how he came to Pamphylia.- Note, chap. xiii. 13. These
had opened - the door of faith unto the Genplaces they had visited before.
tiles. Ver. 25. And when they had preached the word
| w Chap. xv. 40. X 1 Cor. xvi. 9. 2 Cor. ii. 12. Rev. iii. 8. in Perga, they went down into Attalia :
They rehearsed, &c.-Chap. xi. 4. They related
what had happened; their dangers and their sucIn Perga.-Note, chap. xiii. 13. They went
cess. This they did because they had been sent down into Attalia. This was a city of Pamphylia,
out by the church, and it was proper that they situated on the sea-shore. It was built by Attalus
should give an account of their work ; and be| Philadelphus, king of Pergamus, who gave it his
cause it furnished a suitable occasion of gratitude own name. It is now called Antali.—Robinson's
to God for his mercy. All thut God had done, &c. Calmet.
-In protecting, guarding them, &c. All was
traced to God. Had opened the door of faith. VER. 26. And thence sailed to Antioch, « from --Had furnished an opportunity of preaching the whence they had been recommended to " the
gospel to the Gentiles. (1 Cor. xvi. 9. 2 Cor.
ii. 12.) grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. u Chap. xiii. 1, 3. o Chap. xv. 40.
Ver. 28. And there they abode long time with
the disciples. And thence sailed to Antioch.- Note, chap. xi. į 19. From whence they had been recommended, &c. And there they abode.--At Antioch. Long time.
- Where they had been appointed to this mis -How long is not intimated; but we hear no sionary tour by the church. (Chap. xiii. 1-4.) more of them until the council at Jerusalem, menTo the grace of God. His favour and protection tioned in the next chapter. If the transactions had been implored for them in their perilous un recorded in this chapter occurred, as is supposed, dertaking. For the work which they fulfilled.-- about A.D. 45 or 46, and the council at JerusaThis shows conclusively, (1.) That they had ac lem assembled A.D. 51 or 53, as is supposed, then
complished fully the work which was originally here is an interval of from five to eight years in '| contemplated. It was strictly a missionary tour which we have no account of them. Where they
among the Gentiles. It was an important and were, or what was their employment in this inhazardous enterprise; and was the first in which terval, the sacred historian has not informed us. the church formally engaged. Hence so much It is certain, however, that Paul made several importance is attached to it, and so faithful a journeys of which we have no particular record record of it is preserved. (2.) It shows that the in the New Testament; and it is possible that act by which they were set apart to this (Acts some of those journeys occurred during this inxii. 1-3) was not an ordination to the ministe terval. Thus he preached the gospel as far as rial office. It was an appointment to a missionary | Illyricum. (Rom. xv. 19.) And in 2 Cor. xi. 23 tour. (3.) It shows that the act was not an ap | -27, there is an account of trials and persecupointment to the apostleship. Paul was an apos- tions, of many of which we have no distinct retle before by the express appointment of the cord, and which might have occurred during this Saviour; and Barnabas was never an apostie in interval. We may be certain that these holy men the original and proper sense of the term. It was were not idle. And we may learn from their exa desiguation to a temporary work, which was ample to fill up our time with usefulness; to bear now fulfilled.
all persecutions and trials without a murmur; We may remark, also, in regard to this mis- and to acknowledge the good hand of God in our sionary tour, (1.) That the work of missions is preservation in our travels ; in our defence when
one which early engaged the attention of Chris | we are persecuted; in all the opportunities which | tians. (2.) It entered into their plans, and was may be open before us to do good; and in all the
one in which the church was deeply interested. I success which may attend our efforts. Christians (3.) The work of missions is attended with dan should remember that it is God who opens doors ger. Men are now no less hostile to the gospel of usefulness; and they should regard it as a
than they were in Lystra and Iconiam. (4.) | matter of thanksgiving that such doors are openį Vissionaries should be sustained by the prayers ed, and that they are permitted to spread the
gospel, whatever toil it may cost, whatever per- they would press it on the attention of Gentile secution they may endure, whatever perils they converts would be very plausible, and such as may encounter.
would produce much embarrassment. For, (1.)
maintained that the religion of the Messiah #26 CHAPTER XV.
only a completing and perfecting of the Jewish
religion ;--ihat it was designed simply to carry i VER. 1. And a certain men which came down out its principles according to the promises, and from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Ex
not to subvert and destroy any thing that had
been established by divine authority. It is usually cept \ ye be circumcised after the manner of
not difficult to perplex and embarrass young conMoses, ye cannot be saved.
verts with questions of modes, and rites, and a Gal. ii. 12. b John vii. 22. c Lev. xii. 3.
forms of religion ; and it is not uncommon that
a revival is followed by some contention just like And certain men.— These were men undoubted this. Opposing sects urge the claims of their ly who had been Jews, but who were now con | peculiar rites, and seek to make proselytes, and verted to Christianity. The fact that they were introduce contention and strife into an otherwise willing to refer the matter in dispute to the apos | peaceful and happy Christian community. tles and elders, (ver. 2,) shows that they had professedly embraced the Christian religion. The
VER. 2. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had account which follows is a record of the first internal dissension which occurred in the Chris
no small dissension and disputation with them, tian church. Hitherto they had been struggling they determined that ^ Paul and Barnabas, and against external foes. Violent persecutions had certain other of them, should go up to Jeru. raged, and had fully occupied the attention of
salem unto the apostles and elders about this Christians. But now the churches were at peace. They enjoyed great external prosperity in An
question. tioch. And the great enemy of souls took occa
d Gal. i. 1. sion then, as he has often done in similar circumstances since, to excite contentions in the church Had no small dissension and disputation. The' itself; so that when external violence could not word rendered “ dissension” (oraois) denotes destroy it, an effort was made to secure the same sometimes sedition or intestine war, and someobject by internal dissension and strife. The times earnest and violent disputation or contro- i history, therefore, is particularly important, as it versy. (Acts xxiii. 7, 10.) In this place it clearly s the record of the first unhappy debate which denotes that there was earnest and warm discus arose in the bosom of the church. It is further sion; but is not implied that there was any im.' important, as it shows the manner in which such proper heat or temper on the part of Paul and controversies were settled in apostolic times; and Barnabas. Important principles were to be! as it established some very important principles settled in regard to the organization of the respecting the perpetuity of the religious rites of church. Doctrines were advanced by the Judaiz- : the Jews. Came down from Judea.--To Antioch, ing teachers which were false, and which tended, and to the regidns adjacent which had been visit to great strife and disorder in the church. Those ed by the apostles. (Ver. 23.) Judea was a high doctrines were urged with great zeal, were deand hiily region, and going from that toward the clared to be essential to salvation, and would level countries adjacent to the sea, was repre therefore tend greatly to distract the minds of sented to be descending or going down. Taught Christians, and to produce great anxiety. I be- | the brethren.-- That is, Christians. They endea- | came therefore necessary to meet them with a voured to convince them of the necessity of keep- | determined purpose, and to establish the truth on ing the laws of Moses. Ercept ye be circumcised. an immoveable basis. And the case shows that - This was the leading or principal rite of the it is right to “contend earnestly for the faith, Jewish religion. It was indispensable to the (Jude 3;) and when similar cases occur it is proname and privileges of a Jew. Proselytes to per to resist the approach of error with all the their religion were circumcised as well as na arguments which may be at our command, and tive-born Jews, and they held it to be indis with all the weapons which truth can furnish. It pensable to salvation. It is evident from this, is further implied here, that it is the duty of the that Paul and Barnabas had dispensed with this ministers of the gospel to defend the truth and to rite in regard to the Gentile converts, and that oppose error. Paul and Barnabas regarded themthey intended to found the Christian church on selves as set for this purpose; Comp. Phil. i. 17, the principle that the Jewish ceremonies were to “ Knowing that I am set for the defence of the cease. When, however, it was necessary to con gospel;” and Christian ministers should be qualiciliate the minds of the Jews and to prevent con- | tied to defend the truth ; and should be willing tention, Paul did not hesitate to practise circum with a proper spirit and with great earnestness to cision. (Chap. xvi. 3.) After the manner of Moses. maintain the doctrines revealed. They determineil. - According to the custom which Moses com -There was no prospect that the controrers manded ; according to the Mosaic ritual. Ye would be settled by contention and argument. cannot be saved.--The Jews regarded this as in- It would seem, from this statement, that those dispensable to salvation. The grounds on which who came down from Judea were also willing
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