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came in, they found her dead, and carrying her out, they buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
We are not here told, whether Ananias said, in express words, that the money which he brought was the whole price of the land; but it is clear that he desired it should be considered as the whole; and he was thus really guilty of a lie, whether he told one in words or not. His punishment should be a warning to us, to avoid all manner of deceit, whether in word or in deed; for whatever is intended to deceive our neighbour is hateful to God, and will, some time or other, bring down upon us his righteous judgments.
THE STONING OF STEPHEN.
(Acts vi. 8-15, vii. viii. 2.) STEPHEN, one of the Deacons, being full of faith and of power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain persons, who disputed with him, and when they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit with which he spake, they procured men who said, “ We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God."
And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes; and when they had come upon him, they took him, and brought him to the council; and they set up false witnesses, who said, “This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and against the law; for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” And all that
sat in the council looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as if it had been the face of an angel.
Then the high priest said, “ Are these things so ?” Whereupon Stephen recounted the merciful dealings of God with his people, and repeated the words of Moses which he spake to the children of Israel, saying, “ A prophet will the Lord your God raise up to you of your brethren like unto me; him shall ye hear.” Stephen also said unto them, “ Ye stiff-necked and unsanctified in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute ? and they slew those who shewed before of the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers; ye, who received the law by the ministry of angels, and have not kept it.”
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed
on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he 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 they ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul. They stoned Stephen, as he cried out, and said, “ 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.* And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
* That is, he died.
THE CONVERSION OF SAUL.
(Acts viii. 1-3, ix. 1-22.) Now Saul had consented to the death of Stephen, and in the persecution of the Christians which followed, he made havoc in the church, entering into every house, and dragging out men and women, whom he committed to prison. And still breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, he went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues, that if he found there any of this faith, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
And as he journeyed he came near to Damascus, when suddenly there shone round about him a bright light from heaven. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice say to him, “ Saul! Saul ! why persecutest thou me?" And he said, “ Who art thou, Lord?” And the Lord said, “ I am Jesus, whom thou per