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Julian Pe 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were Cæsarea. riod, 4753. VulgarÆra,
astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on about 40. the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
43 And he commanded them to be baptized in the
ACTS xi. 1-19. 1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judea Jerusalem. heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
4. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
5 I was in the city of Joppa, praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners : and it came even to me:
6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay, and eat.
8 But I said, not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
10 And this was done three times : and all were drawn up again into heaven.
11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Cesarea unto me.
12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover, these six brethren accompanied me; and we entered into the man's house :
13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
Julian Pe- 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy Jerusalem. riod, 4753. house shall be saved. 40.
15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning
16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water ; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
18 When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
after the Death of Stephen, having heard of the Vision
Acts xi. 19–21.
persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far as the pro41.
Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word
20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene,
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
Inquiries into this matter?.
6 This section seems to prove, in the most decive manner, that the Gospel was preached to the proselytes of the gate, or to such devout Gentiles as Cornelius, before it was preached to the idolatrous Gentiles. We read, in Acts xi. 19. that the dis, persed in the persecution of Stephen preached the Gospel to the Jews only. In ver. 20. that these same men, when they arrived at Antioch, preacbed to the Greeks. As St. Luke has inserted this account immediately after the narrative of St. Peter's visit to Cornelius, and bis defence of that measure be. fore the Church at Jerusalem, we may consider this preaching to the Greeks at Antioch, as the result of his public declaration of the vision he had seen : which would be justly considered as a command from God to those who were commissioned to preach, to go to the same description of persons as those wbom St. Peter visited. The Jews (ver. 19.) seem purposely contrasted with the Greeks (ver. 20.) and the Evangelist designs to shew that the preachers of the Gospel obeyed the command of God, and visited the devout Gentiles of Antioch.
? After the interview of St. Paul and St. Peter at Jerusalem,
ACTS xi. 22-24. Julian Pe 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of Jerusalem riod, 4754, the church which was in Jerusalem : and they sent forth and Antioch. Vulgar . 41. Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
23 Who when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exh
ed them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith ; and much people was added unto the Lord.
to Antioch, where the Converts were preaching to the
ACTS xi. 25, 26.
26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto
riod 4755. Saul :
(Acts ix. 31, 32. dupxóuevos õlà távrwv, says St. Luke,) St. Peter
8 Dr. Benson (a) endeavours to show that the Christians re.
Vitringa (e) endeavours to prove, from this passage, that the word “Church " here refers to the place where a congregation of Christians assembled for worship; or, rather, to that body of people which could assemble in one place. This is but one, out of many instances, in which this learned writer, in his zoal against episcopacy, has proved nothing, by attempting to prove too much. We are not acquainted with the numbers of the Church at Antioch; but we know that at Jerusalem the thousands of converts could not be assembled in oue place, yet they are still called the Church.
Antioch. riod, 17. a. Herod Agrippa condemns James the Brother of John to ra
Death, and Imprisons Peter, who is miraculously re-
The word xpnuargai, in our common text, which we trans-
(a) Benson's planting of Christianity, 2d edit. p. 248, note. () Meletem. Leidensia De vità Pauli, cap. 3. sect. 5, p. 39. (c) Ap. Critici Sacri, vol. viii. p. 219. (d) Wolfius Curæ Philologicæ, vol. ii. p. 1166. (e) See his discussion De Synag. veteri, lib. i. pars. 1. cap. 3. p. 113, &c. (f ) Bingham's Ecoles. Antiq. vol. i. book 1. Dr. A. Clarke in loc.
9 The situation of the Church at Jerusalem was greatly altered by the Herodian persecution. It had hitherto been directed and governed by the joint council of the apostles. But, after that event, we learn, from ecclesiastical history, that the superintendeuce of the Church was confided to James, the Lord's brother. It asserts that he was the first bishop of Jerusalem. The catalogues of the bishops of Jerusalem, which are extant in the early Christian writers, all place James at their head. In the first chapters of the Acts, St. Peter is constantly spoken of as tbe chief apostle, and the principal person in the Church of Jerusalem ; but from the twelfth chapter of that book, which is the first place wherein James is mentioned with any character of distinction, he is constantly described as the chief person at Jerusalem, even when Peter was present. For when St. Peter was delivered by the angel out of prison, he bid some of the disciples go shew these things, that is, what had befallen himself, to St. James, as the head of the Church; and to the brethron,that is, the rest of the Church. Again, when St. Paul arrived at Jerusalem from his travels in preaching the Gospel to foreign countries, being desirous to give an account of the success which God had given bim, the day following he went in lo St. James, as the bishop of that place, and all the elders, who were next in authority to him, were present. In the synod which was held at Jerusalem, about the great question,
Whether the converts from Gentilism should be circumcised, St. Peter delivers his judgment as one who was a member of the assembly: but St. James speaks with authority, and his sentence is decisive. The name of James is placed by št. Paul before Peter and John ;
ACTs xii. 1-18. and part of ver. 19. riod, 4756. Valgarra, 1 Now about that time, Herod the king stretched forth Antioch. 43. his hands, to vex certain of the church.
“ James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars.” And
From all this together, it plainly appears that the Church of
In interpreting those passages of Scripture, which men of equal judgment, equal piety, and equal knowledge, have rendered differently, there are but three ways of deciding-ope is, to rely on our own judgment, without regard to any commentators or interpreters-another, to rely on those modern theologians who disregard the testimony of antiquity-and the third, to inquire into the conclusions of the fathers, and the ancient defenders of Christianity. The latter plan will never lead us into error. The fathers of the Church are unanimous on all those points which peculiarly characterize true Christianity. They assert the divinity, the incarnation, and the atonement of Christ: and thus bear their decisive testimony against the mo. dern reasoners on those points. They are unanimous in asserting that the primitive Churches were governed by an order of men, who possessed anthority over others who had been set apart for preaching and administering the sacraments: and certain privileges and powers were committed to that higher order, which were withheld from the second and third. The reception of the canon of Scripture, the proofs of its autbenticity and genuineness, rests upon the authority of the fathers. The Christian sabbath is but alluded to in the New Testament: its observance rests on the authority of the fathers. And there are other customs of universal observance which are not commanded in Scripture, and rest upon the same foundation. We are justified, therefore, on these and on many other accounts, in maintaining the utmost veneration for their unanimous authority, wbich has never in any one instance clashed with Scrip. ture--which will preserve in its purity every Church wbich is directed by them, and check or extinguish every innovation which encourages error in doctrine, or licentiousness in disci. plipe.
The labours of the early fathers, therefore, are in many respects invaluable. They could not have been mistaken in their evidence upon some points, which must be considered as the great land-marks of the Christian Church, and which will ever continue to preserve in their purity the doctrines and institutions of the religion of our common Lord.
The Holy Scripture only alludes to the elevation of the apos. tle in the passage before us. St. Peter directs his friends to go and tell James of bis deliverance: James, according to the best and most generally received opinion, decided in the apostolic