« PreviousContinue »
Observations on the
foreknowledge of God.
absolutely certain, having nothing contingent in them, then 11 So without least impulse or shadow of fate, he has ordained them to be so: and if no contingency, then Or aught by me immutably foreseen, no free agency, and God alone is the sole actor. Hence, the They trespass, authors to themselves in all blasphemous, though, from the premises, fair conclusion, Both what they judge, and what they choose, for se that God is the author of all the evil and sin that are in the I formed them free, and free they must remain world; and hence follows that absurdity, that as God can Till they enthral themselves : I else must change do nothing that is wrong, WHATEVER IS, is right. Sin is Their nature, and revoke the high decree no more sin ; a vicious human action is no crime, if God Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained have decreed it, and by his foreknowledge and will impelled Their freedom ; they themselves ordained their fall. the creature to act it. On this ground there can be no pu
Ibid. b. iii. l. 98. 103. 120. nishment for delinquencies; for if every thing be done as God has predetermined, and his determinations must necessarily I shall conclude these observations with a short extract be all right, then neither the instrument nor the agent has from Mr. Bird's Conferences, where in answer to the obdone wrong. Thus all vice and virtue, praise and blame,jection, “ If many things fall out contingently, or as it were, merit and demerit, guilt and innocence, are at once con- by accident, God's foreknowledge of them can be but contikfounded; and all distinctions of this kind confounded with gent, dependent on man's free-will;" he answers: " It is one them. Now, allowing the doctrine of the contingency of thing to know that a thing will be done necessarily; and another, human actions, (and it must be allowed in order to shun the to know necessarily, that a thing will be done. God doth ne above absurdities and blasphemies) then we see every intelli. cessarily foreknow all that will be done ; but he doth not gent creature accountable for its own works, and for the use || know, that those things which shall be done voluntarily, it makes of the power with which God has endued it: and will be done necessarily: he knoweth that they will be done; to grant all this consistently, we must also grant, that God but he knoweth withal, that they might have fallen out other: foresees nothing as absolutely and inevitably certain, which wise, for ought he had ordered to the contrary. So likewise, he has made contingent ; and because he has designed it to God knew that Adam would fall; and yet he knew that he be contingent, therefore he cannot know it as absolutely and would not fall necessarily : for it was possible for him not to inevitably certain. I conclude that God, although omnis- | have fallen. And as touching God's pre-ordination going becient, is not obliged, in consequence of this, to know all that | fore his prescience, as the cause of all events : this would be, he can know ; no more than he is obliged, because he is omni- || to make God the author of all the sin in the world; his potent, to do all that he can do.
knowledge comprehending that, as well as other things. God How many, by confounding the self and free agency of indeed, foreknoweth all things, because they will be done ; God with a sort of continual impulsive necessity, have raised but things are not (therefore) done, because he foreknoweth that necessity into an all-commanding and over-ruling energy, them. It is impossible that any man, by his voluntary man., to which God himself is made subject. Very properly didner of working, should elude God's foresight; but then, this Milton set his damned spirits about such work as this, and foresight doth not necessitate the will; for this were, to take has made it a part of their endless punishment.
it wholly away. For, as the knowledge of things present, Others apart sat on a hill retired,
imports no necessity on that which is done; so, the fore
knowledge of things future, lays no necessity on that which In thoughts more elevate; and reason'd high
shall be : because, whosoever knows and sees things, he Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fute:
knows and sees them as they are, and not as they are not : Fix'd fate, free-will, foreknoroledge absolute,
so that God's knowledge doth not confound things, but reaches And found no end in wand'ring mazes lost.
to all events, not only which come to pass, but as they come Parad. Lost. b. ii. 1. 557.
to pass, whether contingently or necessarily. As for exam
ple: when you see a man walking upon the earth, and at the Among some exceptionable expressions, the following are
very same instant the sun shining in the heavens; do you not also good shoughts on the free agency and fall of man :
see the first as voluntary, and the second as natural? And I made him just and right,
though at the instant you see both done, there is a necessity Sufficient to have stood, though free to full.
that they be done, (or else you could not see them at all); Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere yet there was a necessity of one only, before they were done, Of true allegiance, constant faith or love.
(namely, the sun's shining in the heavens), but none at all When only what they needs must do appear'd,
of the other, (viz. the man's walking upon the earth.) The Not what they would? What praise could they receive? sun could not but shine, as being a natural agent ; the man Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
might not have walked, as being a voluntary one.” This is Made passive both, had served Necessity,
a good argument; but I prefer that which states the knowNot ME,
ledge of God to be absolutely free..
The lame man at the
Beautiful gate of the temple.
CHAPTER III. Peter and John go to the temple at the hour of prayer, and heal a man who had been lame from his mother's
womb, 1-8. The people are astonished, and the apostles inform them that it was not by their own power they had healed the man, but through the power of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had crucified, 9–16. Peter both excuses and reproves them, and exhorts them to repentance, 17—21. Shews that in Jesus Christ the prophecy of Moses was fulfilled; and that all the prophets testified of Jesus and his saltation, 22–24 ; and that in him, the covenant made with Abraham is fulfilled; and that Christ came to bless them by turning them away from their iniquities, 25, 26.
W Peter and John went up i gate of the temple which is called A. M. 4033.
A. M. 4033.
A. D. 29. An. Olymp. CCII. 1.
A. N. 29.
hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. entered into the temple. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother's 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the the temple, asked an alms.
• Ch. 2 46.-b Ps. 55. 17.– ch. 14. 8.
John 9. 8.
NOTES ON CHAP. III.
a more natural division. Men should pray, 1. When the sun Verse 1. Peter and John went up together] The words | rises ; 2. when the sun has gained the meridian ; 3. when BT1 TO auto, which we translate together, and which are the the sun has set, or passed just under the horizon. At each of first words in this chapter in the Greek text, we have al- || these three times they required men to offer prayer to God; ready seen, chap. ii. 47. are added by several MSS. and Ver- and I should be glad to know that every Christian in the sions to the last verse of the preceding chapter. But they | universe observed the same rule : it is the most natural divido not make so good a sense there, as they do here; and || sion of the day; and he who conscientiously observes these should be translated, not together, which really makes no three stated times of prayer, will infallibly grow in
and sense here, but at that time ; intimating that this transaction in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. occurred nearly about the same time that those took place,
Verse 2. A-man lame from his mother's womb] The which are mentioned at the close of the former chapter. case of this man must have been well known, 1. from the
At the hour of prayer] This, as is immediately added, long standing of his infirmity ; 2. from his being daily exposed was the ninth hour, which answers, in a general way, to our
in a place so public. It appears that he had no power to three o'clock in the afternoon. The third hour, which was walk, and was what we term a cripple, for he was carried to the other grand time of public prayer among the Jews, an the gate of the temple, and laid there in order to excite swered, in a general way, to our nine in the morning. See compassion. These circumstances are all marked by St. the note on chap. ii. ver. 15.
Luke, the more fully to shew the greatness and incontestible It appears that there were three hours of the day destined nature of the miracle. by the Jews to public prayer : perhaps they are referred to The gate-which is called Beautiful] There are different by David, Ps. Iv. 17. Evening and MORNING and at Noon opinions concerning this gate. Josephus observes, Bell. Jud. will I pray and cry aloud. There are three distinct times lib. v. cap. v. sect. 3. that the temple had nine gates, which marked in the book of the Acts. The third hour, chap. ii. were on every side covered with gold and silver;"but there 15. answering, as we have already seen, to nearly our nine was one gate, which was without the holy house, and was of o'clock in the morning; the sixth hour, chap. x. 9. answering | Corinthiun brass, and greatly excelled those which were only to about twelve with us; and the NintI hour, mentioned
covered with gold and silver : πολυ τη τιμη τας καταργυρους in this verse, and answering to our three in the afternoon. και περιχρυσους υπεραγουσα. The magnitudes of the other
The Rabbins believed that Abraham instituted the time of | gates were equal one to another ; but that over the Corin. morning prayer ; Isaac that at noon ; and Jacob, that of the thian gate, which opened on the East, over against the gate evening: for which they quote several scriptures, which have of the holy house itself, was much larger: T.EVTT,XOYTA yap little reference to the subject in behalf of which they are πηχων ουσα την αναστασιν, τεσσαρακοντα πηχεις τας θυρας produced. Others of the Rabbins, particularly Tunchum, made , x21 Toy xoomor TOAUTEASOTEÇOV, set 0.117.55 Traxos as
The lame man at the
Beautiful gate of the temple, healed.
4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon || and entered with them into the tem- A. M. 4033. An. Olymp. him with John, said, Look on us. ple, walking, and leaping, and prais- An. Olymp.
5 And he gave heed unto them, ex-ing God. pecting to receive something of them.
9.And all the people saw him walking and 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; praising God: but such as I have give I thee: * In the name of 10 And they knew that it was he which sat for Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple : and
7 And he took him by the right hand, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at lifted him up: and immediately his feet and that which had happened unto him. ancle-bones received strength;
11 And as the lame man which was healed held 8 And he leaping up, stood, and walked, Peter and John, all the people ran together unto
& Ch. 4. 10. Isai. 35. 6.
e Ch. 4. 16, 21. Like John 8.
yucou Te Xpurove for its height was fifty cubits, and its Silver and gold have I none 21 “ It is true, holy Father," doors were forty cubits, and it was adorned after a most replied the angelical Doctor, nor can she now say to the lame costly manner, as having much richer and thicker plates of man, Rise up and walk .!” This was a faithful testimony, silver and gold upon them than upon the other. This last was
and must have cut deep for the moment. One thing is very probably the gate which is here called Beautiful ; because it remarkable, that though the saints of this church can work no was on the outside of the temple, to which there was an easy | miracles while alive, they work many when dead; and it is the access, and because it was evidently the most costly, accorda | attestation of those post mortem miracles, that leads to their ing to the account in Josephus ; but it must be granted that | canonization. Thomas a Becket, who did no good while he the text of Josephus is by no means clear.
lived, is reported to have done much after his death. Many Verse 4. Look on us] He wished to excite and engage have visited his tomb, and in days of yore, many were said his attention that he might see what was done to produce his | to be healed of whatsoever disease they had. The age is miraculous cure; and it is likely, took this occasion to di more enlightened, and the tomb of this reputed saint has lost rect his faith to Jesus Christ. See note on verse 16. Peter | all its power. and John probably felt themselves suddenly drawn by the Verse 7. Immediately his feet and ancle-bones received Holy Spirit, to pronounce the healing name in behalf of this strength.] The suddenness of the cure was the proof of poor man.
the miracle : his walking and leaping were the evidences of it. Verse 5. Expecting to receive something of them.] Because Verse 8. Walking, and leaping, and praising God.] These it was a constant custom for all who entered the temple to actions are very naturally described. He walked, in obedicarry money with them to give to the treasury, or to the ence to the command of the apostle, rise up and walk : he. poor, or to both. It was on this ground that the friends of leaped, to try the strength of his limbs, and to be convinced the lame man laid him at the gate of the temple, as this was of the reality of the cure : he praised God, as a testimony the most likely place to receive alms.
of the gratitude he felt for the cure he had received. Now Verse 6. Silver and gold have I none] Though it was was fulfilled, in the most literal manner, the words of the customary for all those who entered the temple to carry prophet Isa. chap. xxxv. 6. The lame man shall leap as a hart. some money with them, for the purposes mentioned above, Verse 9. And all the people saw him] The miracle was yet so poor were the apostles, that they had nothing to give, wrought in the most public manner, and in the most public either to the sacred treasury, or to the distressed. The Po- place ; and in a place, where the best judgment could be pish writers are very dextrous at forming analogies between St. formed of it: for as it was a divine operation, the priests, &c. Peter and the Pope; but it is worthy of note, that they have were the most proper persons to judge of it; and under their not attempted any here. Even the judicious and generally notice it was now wrought. liberal Calmet, passes by this important saying of the person Verse 11. Held Peter and John] He felt the strongest whom he believed to have been the first Pope. Thomas affection for them, as the instruments by which the divine inAquinas, surnamed the angelical Doctor, who was highly fluence was conveyed to his diseased body. esteemed by Pope Innocent IV. going one day into the Pope's In the porch that is called Solomon's] On this portico, chamber, where they were reckoning large sums of money, see Bp. Pearce's note, inserted in this work, John x. 23. the Pope, addressing himself to Aquinas, said : “ You see Verse 12. As though by our own power] Aurquel, mirathat the church is no longer in an age in which she can say, Il culous energy;
The people wonder at the miracle ;
and Peter preaches to them.
A. M. 4038 them in the porch • that is called So- l denied him in the presence of Pilate, A. M. 4088. An. Olymp. lomon's, greatly wondering.
when he was determined to let him go. An. Olymp. CCII. 1.
12 1 And when Peter saw it, he an 14 But ye denied 'the Holy One 5 and swered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly unto you; on us, as though by our own power or holiness 15 And killed the Prince of life, ' whom God we had made this man to walk ?
hath raised from the dead ; " whereof we are 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and witnesses. of Jacob, the God of our Fathers, " hath glori- 16 'And his name, through faith in his name, fied his Son Jesus ; whom ye " delivered up, and hath made this man strong, whom ye see and
a John 10. 23. ch. 5. 12.-bch. 5. 30, John 7. 39. & 12. 16. & 17. 1.
? Ps. 16. 10. Mark 1. 24. Luke 1. 35. ch. 2. 27. & 4. 27. ch. _ Matt. 27. 9. Matt. 27. 20. Mark 15. 11. Luke 23. 18, 7. 52. & 22. 14. Or, author, Hebr. 2. 10. & 5. 9. 1 John 5. 11.20, 21. John 18. 40. & 19. 15. ch. 13. 28.
ch. 2. 24. I ch. 2. 32. Matt. 9. 22. ch. 4. 10. & 14. 9.
Or holiness] TEUGEÇela, meaning religious attachment to the prime leader or author, a captain, from apyn the beginning, worship of God. Do not think that we have wrought this head, or chief; and ayw I lead. In Heb. ii. 10. Christ is miracle by any power of our own; or that any super-emi- , called Apxayos ang owarpias, the Captain of salvation. He nent piety in us should have induced God thus to honour teaches the doctrine of life and salvation, leads the way
in us, by enabling us to work it. Instead of evostela holiness, which men should walk, and has purchased the eternal life the Syriac of Erpen, Armenian, Vulgate, and some copies ' and glory which are to be enjoyed at the end of the way. of the Itala, have securia, power or authority ; but the first So the Jews preferred a son of death, a destroyer of life, to appears to be the legitimate reading.
the Author and Procurer of life and immortality! Verse 13. The God of Abraham, &c.] This was wisely Whereof we are witnesses.] They had now wrought a most introduced, to shew them that He whom they called their striking miracle in the name of Christ, and immediately proGod, had acknowledged Jesus Christ for his Son, and posed themselves as witnesses of his resurrection from the wrought this miracle in his name ; and by thus honouring dead; the miracle which they had thus wrought being an unJesus whom they slew, he had charged home the guilt of impeachable proof of this resurrection. that murder upon them..
Verse 16. And his name) JESUS, the Saviour: through Denied him in the presence of Pilate] Horroaols, ye have faith in his name, as the Saviour, and author of life, and all renounced him as your king, and denounced him to death | its concomitant blessings, such as health, &c. It is not clear as a malefactor, when Pilate, convinced of his perfect inno- i whether the apostles refer to their own faith in Jesus, or to cence, was determined, xpivartos judged it proper and just the faith of the lame man. It is true Christ had promised to let him go. Pilate wished to act according to justice ; ! that they should perform miracles in his name, Mark xvi. you acted contrary to justice and equity in all their forms. 17, 18. And that whatsoever they asked of the Father in
Verse 14. Ye denied the Holy ONE] Toy aylov, a ma his name, he would grant it, John xvi. 23. And they might nifest reference to Psal. xvi. 10. Thou wilt not suffer thy have been led at this time to make request unto God, to Holy One to see corruption, where the original word be enabled to work this miracle ; and the faith they had in goon Chasideyca, thy Holy One, is translated by the Sep- his unlimited power and unchangeable truth might have in. tuagint coy Oolor cou, a word of the same import with that duced them to make this request. Or, the faith might have used by Peter.
been that of the lame man ; the apostles, in the time they And desired a murderer] Barabbas : the case must have desired him to look on them, might have taught him the nebeen fresh in their own remembrance. Like cleaves to like, cessity of believing in Christ in order to his healing ; and and begets its like : they were murderers themselves, and so the man's mind might have been prepared for this by the miChrist calls them, Matt. xxii. 7. and they preferred a mur- racle of the gift of tongues, of which he must have heard; derer to the Holy and Righteous One of God.
and heard that this mighty effusion of the Spirit had come Verse 15. And killed the Prince of life] Tov apmiyor | in the name and through the power of Christ. However ons kuns, the author of this life : not only implying that the faith may be understood, it was only the means to reall life proceeds from Jesus Christ as its source ; but that the ceive the blessing, which the apostles most positively attri. life-giving influence of that religion which they were now bute, not to their power or holiness, but to Jesus Christ proclaiming, came all through him. Apxayos signifies a alone. Faith always receives; never gives.
Peter exhorts them to repent,
and to believe in Jesus Christ.
A.M. 1038. know : yea, the faith which is by || that your sins may bé blotted out, when A. M. 4039. An. Olymp. him, hath given him this perfect sound the times of refreshing shall come An. Olymp.
ness in the presence of you all. from the presence of the Lord ; 17 And now, brethren, I wot that “through 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which beignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. fore was preached unto you':
18 But those things, which God before had 21 · Whom the heaven must receive until the shewed c
by the mouth of all his prophets, that times of frestitution of all things, which God Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy pro19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, phets, since the world began.
. Luke 23. 31. John 16. 3. ch. 13. 27. 1 Cor. 2. 8. 1 Tim. 1. 13.
Luke 24. 44. ch. 26. 22.
• Ps. 22. Isai. 50. 6. & 53. 5, &c. Dan. 9. 26. 1 Pet. 10, 11. ở ch. 2. 38. Lê ch. 1. 11. _Matt. 17.11.
Verse 17. I wot] Oude I know. Wot is from the Anglo- Numb. v. 23. Their sins were written down against them, Saxon, pitan to know; and hence wit, science or under and cried aloud for punishment; for they themselves had štanding.
said, his blood be upon us, and upon our children, Matt. Through ignorance ye did it] This is a very tender ex- | xxvi. 25. and unless they took refuge in this sacrificial blood, cuse for them; and one which seems to be necessary, in order and got their sins blotted out by it, they could not be saved. to shew them that their state was not utterly desperate : for When the times of refreshing shall come] Dr. Lightfoot if all that they did to Christ had been through absolute ma contends, and so ught all, that οπως αν ελθωσι καιροι αναlice, (they well knowing who he was) if any sin could be i tučews, should be translated, Tuat the times of refreshing supposed to be unpardonable, it must have been theirs.
My come. Avayugis signifies a breathing time, or respite, Peter, foreseeing that they might be tempted thus to think, and may be here applied to the space that elapsed from this and consequently to despair of salvation, tells them that their time till the destruction of Jersusalem by the Romans. This offence was extenuated by their ignorance of the person they | was a time of respite, which God gave them to repent of had tormented and crucified. And one must suppose, that their sins, and be converted to himself. Taking the word in had they been fully convinced that this Jesus was the only the sense of refreshment in general, it may mean the whole Messiah, they never would have crucified him ; but they did | reign of the kingdom of grace, and the blessings which God not permit themselves to receive conviction on the subject. gives here below to all genuine believers, peace, love, joy,
Verse 18. But those things he hath so fulfilled.] Your | and communion with himself. See on ver. 21. ignorance and malice have been overruled by the sovereign Verse 20. Which before was preached unto you] Instead wisdom and power of God, and have become the instruments of apoxempoydevor before preached, ABCDE, 53 others, of fulfilling the divine purpose, that Christ must suffer, in both the Syriac, all the Arabic, the Armenian, Chrysostom, order to make an atonement for the sin of the world. All and others, have a ponex EICICLEYOV, who was before designed, the prophet's had declared this ; some of them in express or appointed ; and this is without doubt the true reading. terms, others indirectly and by symbols ; but as the whole Christ crucified was the person whom God had from the beMosaic dispensation referred to Christ, all that prophesied | ginning appointed or designed for the Jewish people. It was or ministered under it, must have referred to him also. not a triumphant Messiah which they were to expect; but
Verse 19. Repent ye therefore] Now that ye are convinced one who was to suffer and die. Jesus was this person ; and that this was the Messiah, let your minds be changed, and by believing in him as thus suffering and dying for their sins, your hearts become contrite for the sins you have committed. he should be again sent, in the power of his Spirit, to justify
And be converted) ETTEVAT; turn to God through this and save them. Christ, deeply deploring your transgressions, and believing Verse 21. Whom the heaven must receive] He has alon his name: that your sins may be blotted out, which are ready appeared upon earth, and accomplished the end of his not only recorded against you, but for which you are con- || appearing : he has ascended unto heaven, to administer the demned by the justice of God; and the punishment due to concerns of his kingdom, and there he shall continue till be them must be executed upon you, unless prevented by your comes again to judge the quick and the dead. repentance, and turning to him whom ye have pierced. The The times of restitution of all things] The word atoxa. blotting out of sins may refer to the ceremony of the waters | FOOTCOIS, from ano, which signifies from, and xabırtaveiv, of jealousy, where the curse that was written in the book, || to establish, or settle any thing, viz. in a good state ; and was to be blotted out roith the bitter water. See the note on when ato is added to it, then this preposition implies, that