might have life through his name; foreseeing these blasphemous notions that divide the Lord, so far as it is in their power." Now, if Irenæus here meant to say, that John only foresaw the errors, which were propagated by Cerinthus and the Gnostics, it must appear very extraordinary that he should say, in the passage above quoted, that John wrote against the errors which had been propagated by Cerinthus. But the contradiction is only apparent; for providens, the expression of Irenæus, does not signify "foreseeing," but guarding against. The latter passage, therefore, when properly explained, does not confute but confirm the former. Besides, as Paul, in his first Epistle to Timothy, speaks of Gnostic errors, it is evident that they must have been propagated long before John wrote his Gospel.

2. The second argument, relied upon by those learned men who dissent from the common opinion, is, that the early fathers, in their catalogues of heretics, for the most part place Cerinthus after Carpocrates, who unquestionably lived and taught in the second century. This circumstance would certainly possess considerable weight, if it appeared that the early fathers had paid due attention to the regular order of time in their enumeration of heretics: but, instead of this, we know the fact to be, that the names of heretics are set down by Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement, and others, at random, and without paying any regard to the times in which they lived. "But even if Irenæus had not asserted that St. John wrote his Gospel against the Gnostics, and particularly against Cerinthus, the contents of the Gospel itself would lead to this conclusion. The speeches of Christ, which John has recorded, are selected with a totally different view from that of the three first evangelists, who have given such as are of a moral nature; whereas those which are given by John are chiefly dogmatical, and relate to Christ's divinity, the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, the supernatural assistance to be communicated to the apostles, and other subjects of a like import. In the very choice of his expressions, such as light, I fe, &c. he had in view the philosophy of the Gnostics, who used or rather abused these terms. That the first fourteen verses of John's Gospel are merely historical, and contain only a short account of Christ's history before his appearance on earth, is a supposition devoid of all probability. On the contrary, it is evident that they are purely doctrinal, and that they were introduced with a polemical view, in order to confute errors, which prevailed at that time respecting the person of Jesus Christ. Unless John had an adversary to combat who made particular use of the words light, and life,' he would not have thought it necessary after having described the Creator of all things, to add, that In him was life, and the life was the light of men, or to assert that John the Baptist was not that light. The very meaning of the word light,' would be extremely dubious, unless it were determined by its particular application in the oriental Gnosis. For without the supposition, that John had to combat with an adversary who used this word in a particular sense, it might be applied to any divine instructor, who by his doctrines enlightened mankind. Further, the positions contained in the first fourteen verses are antitheses to positions maintained by the Gnostics, who used the words yes, {wn, ows, moveyerns, npwuz, &c. as technical terms of their philosophy. Lastly, the speeches of Christ, which St. John has selected, are such as confirm the positions laid down in the first chapter of his Gospel; and therefore we must conclude that his principal object throughout the whole of his Gospel was to confute the errors of the Gnostics."2

In addition to the preceding arguments and proofs, there is one circumstance highly worthy of remark, which greatly strengthens the testimony of Irenæus, as to the object of John in writing his Gospel; viz. that he delivered it within a century after that Gospel was written. Now, as Irenæus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was personally acquainted with the evangelist, he consequently had the best means of procuring information on this subject. The evidence of a credible writer of the second century, uncontradicted by contemporary writers, or by those who lived in the following century, is surely preferable to the conjectures offered by critics of the eighteenth or nineteenth century.3 In order to understand

* Quemadmodum Joannes Domini discipulus confirmat, dicens, "Hæc eutein scripta sunt, ut credatis quoniam Jesus est filius Dei, et ut credentes, vitam æternam habeatis in nomine ejus; providens has blasphemas regulas, quæ dividunt Dominum quantum ex ipsis attinet. Advers. Hæres. lib. iii. c. 16.

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the design and arrangement of John's Gospel, it will be necessary to take a brief review of the tenets of Cerinthus, in opposition to which the evangelist purposely wrote it. This will not only reflect considerable light on particular passages, but make the whole appear a complete work, regular, clear, and conclusive.

Cerinthus was by birth a Jew, who lived at the close of the first century: having studied literature and philosophy at Alexandria, he attempted at length to form a new and singular system of doctrine and discipline, by a monstrous combination of the doctrines of Jesus Christ with the opinions and errors of the Jews and Gnostics. From the latter he borrowed their Pleroma or fulness, their ons or spirits, their Demiurgus or creator of the visible world, &c. and so modified and tempered these fictions as to give them an air of Judaism, which must have considerably favoured the progress of his heresy. He taught that the most high God was utterly unknown before the appearance of Christ, and dwelt in a remote heaven called AHPOMA (Pleroma) with the chief spirits or ons-That this supreme God first generated an only begotten SoN, MONOTENEZ, who again begat the word, Aоrox, which was inferior to the first-born. That CHRIST was a still lower æon, though far superior to some othersThat there were two higher æons, distinct from Christ; one called ZH, or LIFE, and the other on, or the LIGHT-That from the æons again proceeded inferior orders of spirits, and particularly one Demiurgus, who created this visible world out of eternal matter-That this Demiurgus was ignorant of the supreme God, and much lower than the Eons, which were wholly invisible-That he was, however, the peculiar God and protector of the Israelites, and sent Moses to them; whose laws were to be of perpetual obligation-That Jesus was a mere man of the most illustrious sanctity and justice, the real son of Joseph and Mary-That the on Christ descended upon him in the form of a dove when he was baptized, revealed to him the unknown father, and empowered him to work miracles-That the Eon, LIGHT, entered John the Baptist in the same manner, and therefore that John was in some respects preferable to Christ-That Jesus, after his union with Christ, opposed himself with vigour to the God of the Jews, at whose instigation he was seized and crucified by the Hebrew chiefs, and that when Jesus was taken captive, and came to suffer, Christ ascended up on high, so that the man Jesus alone was subject to the pains of an ignominious death-That Christ will one day return upon earth, and, renewing his former union with the man Jesus, will reign in Palestine a thousand years, during which his disciples will enjoy the most exquisite sensual delights.4

Bearing these dogmas in mind, we shall find that Saint John's Gospel is divided into three parts; viz. PART I. contains Doctrines laid down in Opposition to those of Cerinthus. (John i. 1-18.)

The doctrines laid down in the first part, as contra-positions to the tenets of Cerinthus, may be reduced to the following heads, in which the evangelist asserts,

1. That Christ is the Logos or Word of God.

2. That the Logos and Monogenes are not distinct beings, but one and the same person. (i. 14.)

3. That Christ or the Logos is not an inferior Eon, but God. (i. 1.)

4. That he perfectly knew the supreme God, being always with him in the Pleroma. (i. 18.)

5. That he is not to be distinguished from the Demiurgus; for he is the creator of the whole world. (i. 3, 10.)

6. That life and light are not particular and separate spirits, but the same with the Logos and Christ. (i. 4. 7-9 17.) And, therefore, that Christ, the Logos, Life, Light, the Only-Begotten, are not distinct ons, but one and the same divine person.

7. That no particular on entered into John the Baptist by the name of Light, to communicate to him a superior knowledge of the divine will (i. 8.); but that he was a mere man, and, though inspired, much inferior to Jesus, being only the forerunner of him. (i. 6. 8. 15.) 8. That the supreme God was not entirely unknown before the time of Christ; for men had received such lights on this head, under the various dispensations through which they passed, that it was their own fault if they remained ignorant. (i. 9, 10.)

9. That the Jews were not the peculiar people of an inferior God, such

pp. 278, 279. Tittmanni Meletemata Sacra in Evangelium Johannis, pp 14-24. Kuinöel, Comment. in Hist. Libros Nov. Test. vol. iii. pp. 42

et seq.

Mosheim's Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 337-347. Dr. Lardner's Works 8vo. vol. ix. pp. 325-327.; 4to. vol. iv. pp. 567-569. Dr. Owen's Observa tions on the Four Gospels, pp. 88-92. To this learned writer we are chiefly indebted for the preceding observations. The sentiments of Basilides, of Alexandria (who was nearly contemporary with Cerinthus), concerning the Logos, were not very unlike the tenets of that hæresiarch. Mr. Townsend has given an abstract of them in his New Testament, arranged in chronological order, &c. vol. i. pp. 19-21.

Unus et idem ostenditur Logos et Monogenes, et Zoe et Phōs, et Soter et Christus filius Dei, et hic idem incarnatus pro nobis. Iren. lib. i. c i. § 20.

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And lastly,

12. That the Jew has no more right in this divine person, and the privileges conferred through him, than the Gentile; for whoever be. lieves in him, becomes thereby a child of God, and is entitled by that adoption to a glorious inheritance. (i. 12, 13.)

These propositions being settled, the Evangelist proceeds in PART II. To deliver the Proofs of these Doctrines in an Historical Manner (i. 19.-xx. 29.), as being all expressed or plainly implied in the Discourses and Transactions of Jesus Christ, which may conveniently be divided into eighteen Sections: viz.

SECT. 1. John the Baptist himself confesses to the Jewish priests, that he is much inferior to Jesus, refers his own disciples to him, who acknowledge him to be the Messiah, and are confirmed in this faith by the miracle of water converted into wine, at Cana in Galilee. (i. 19.-ii. 11.)

SECT. 2. Jesus conducts himself at Jerusalem as the lord of the temple (ii. 12-25.), reveals himself to Nicodemus as the only begotten Son of God; shows the design of his coming into the world, and the necessity of believing in him, (iii. 1—21.) SECT. 3. An additional testimony of John the Baptist to the superiority of Christ, and the excellency of his ordinances. (iii. 22-36.)

SECT. 4. Jesus visits the Samaritans, declares himself to be the Christ, and foretells the abolition of the Levitical worship. (iv. 1-42.)

SECT. 5. By a second miracle, (the curing of a nobleman's dying child,) Christ demonstrates his divine mission in his own country, where it was most disputed. (iv. 43-54.) SECT. 6. As a further proof of the future abrogation of the ceremonial law, Jesus works a miracle on the Sabbath, by healing an impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, and vindicates his conduct declares himself to be the Son of God, and exhibits various evidences of his mission. (v. 1-47.)

SECT. 7. To show that he was the end of the law, Jesus substitutes himself in the room of the legal sacrifices; and commands the people, who were used to feast on some of those sacrifices, to eat his flesh and drink his blood. And to convince them that he was truly the bread of life, he miraculously feeds above five thousand of them with five barley loaves. The people being disposed by this miracle to make him a king, Jesus disclaims all temporal views. (vi. 1-71.)

SECT. 8. Jesus reproves the ambition of his kinsmen and going

up to Jerusalem at the feast of tabernacles, promises the assistance of the Holy Spirit to all true believers. (vii. 1—53.) SECT. 9. He declares himself to be the light of the world; reproves the Jews for rejecting him; promises immortality to his followers; and speaks of his own existence as prior to that of Abraham. (viii. 12—59.)

SECT. 10. A woman taken in adultery is brought to Jesus, who avoids giving judgment in her case, and turns the consciences of his enemies on themselves. (viii. 1—11.) SECT. 11. In proof of his being the light of the world, he restores a blind man to sight,2 and warns the Jews of that judicial darkness under which they were soon to be sealed up, for perverting so basely those means of knowledge, which were graciously. offered to them. (ix. 1-41.)

SECT. 12. After this he represents himself as the door of the sheepfold, and tells the Pharisees, who called themselves the shepherds of the people, that they "who entered not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbed up some other way," whatever character they might assume, were in reality no better than thieves and robbers. A reflection which the Christians of those days could hardly avoid applying to Cerinthus and other hæresiarchs. Then follows a description of a good shepherd and a hireling, which may be regarded as a kind of test, by which to judge of the different conduct of the apostles and heretics, &c. (x. 1-42.)

SECT. 13. Jesus performs a signal miracle, by restoring Lazarus to life, after he had been dead four days,3 in the presence of a large number of people; which was attended with this peculiar circumstance, that it was wrought after an express invocation of God, that he would apply it to the confirmation of

1 Origen. Philocal. c. i. p. 17. ed. Spencer.

See a critical examination of this miracle, supra, Vol. 1. pp. 104, 105. Ibid. pp. 105, 106.

what our Saviour had taught. (xi. 1-44.) Observe particularly ver. 41, 42.

SECT. 14. A brief account of the different effects which this miracle produced on the minds of the Jews; so different, that though it won upon many of the people, it exasperated most of the priests. (xi. 45-57. xii. 1-11.)

SECT. 15. Christ rides in triumph to Jerusalem, and is proclaimed king of Israel. The Greeks, who may be considered as the first fruits of the Gentiles, apply to him and are admitted. He addresses them in terms suitable to the occasion, and his SECT. 16. Some intimation being now given, that the Gentiles doctrine is confirmed by a voice from heaven. (xii. 12-36.) were to be admitted into the Christian church, Jesus institutes the law of hospitality, and delivers to his disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another as brethren, without distinction, and as members of the same church. (xiii. 1-35.)

SECT. 17. Christ informs his disciples, in a long discourse, that a perpetual and intimate union with him, their head, is indispensably necessary to salvation; and that, after his departure, he would send down the Holy Spirit, who should guide them into all truth, and enable them to fulfil his commandments. (xiv.-xvi.)

SECT. 18. After this, Jesus recommends his disciples, and all who should in future ages believe in him, to the Father, in a pathetic and memorable prayer; and at the same time testifies, that not one of his apostles was lost, but Judas Iscariot. (xvii. 1-26.) As this prayer was favourably heard, and the apostles were afterwards endowed with extraordinary powers, it afforded an argument against Cerinthus of the divine authority of the doctrines they taught.

SECT. 19. Contains a particular account of our Saviour's passion, adapted to prove that he did not die as a mere man (xviii. 1. xix. 42.); and also of his resurrection, in opposition to those who denied that he was risen. (xx. 1-29.)

§i. The apprehension of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. (xviii. 1-11.)

§ ii. His mock trial before the high-priest, in the house of Caiaphas, and Peter's denial of him there. (xviii. 12-27.)

§ iii. The accusation of Christ before Pilate the Roman governor, who having in vain attempted to rescue him from the envy of the Jews, scourged him, and delivered him to be crucified. (xviii. 28-40. xix. 1-16. former part of the verse.)

§ iv. Narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. (xix. 16. latter part
of the verse, to v. 37.)

§ v. The burial of Christ by Joseph of Arimathea. (xix. 38-42.)
§ vi. The resurrection (xx. 1-10), and Christ's appearances, first to
Mary (11-18.), and, secondly, to the disciples on the same day.

$ vii. Christ's appearance eight days after to his disciples, Thomas
being present. (24-29.)

PART III. contains an Account of the Person of the Writer of this Gospel, and of his design in writing it. (xx. 30, 31. xxi.)

SECT. 1. Comprises a declaration of the end which Saint John had in view in composing his Gospel; viz. that his readers might be convinced that Jesus is THE CHRIST the Son of God (xx. 31.); and consequently that the tenets and notions of Cerinthus were altogether false and heretical. In this section is related Christ's appearance to his disciples at the sea of Tiberias, and his discourse to the apostle Peter. (xxi. 81-19.) SECT. 2. Relates to the evangelist John himself; Christ checks Peter's curiosity concerning his death. (xxi. 20—23.) The conclusion. (24, 25.)

This section seems to have been added, as a confutation of the opinion entertained by some, that Saint John was not to die:-an opinion which might have weakened his authority, if he had suffered it to pass unrefuted.

Besides refuting the errors of Cerinthus and his followers, Michaelis is of opinion that John also had in view to confute the erroneous tenets of the Sabeans, a sect which claimed John the Baptist for its founder. He has adduced a variety of terms and phrases, which he has applied to the explanation of the first fourteen verses of John's Gospel in such a manner as renders his conjecture not improbable. Perhaps we shall not greatly err if we conclude with Rosenm .ller,

+ Washing the feet (as we have seen in the early part of this volume) was ler, who was to be hospitably received (Gen. xviii. 4. xix. 2. xliii. 24.): commonly, in the eastern countries, the first kindness shown to a travel whence it came to be used for hospitality in general. (1 Tim. v. 10.) When our Saviour therefore washed the feet of his disciples, and taught them to condescend in like manner to their inferiors, it amounted to the same thing as if he had instituted and established the law of hospitality among all his future followers. Now, as strangers are the objects of this law, and not persons who live in the same community, it was indeed, in the strictest sense, a NEW commandment to them, who thought it their duty "to avoid those of another nation." (Aets x. 28.)

Michaelis, vol. iii. pp. 285-302.

that John had both these classes of heretics in view, and [ that he wrote to confute their respective tenets. Yet, though he composed his Gospel principally with this design, he did not wholly confine himself to it; but took occasion to impart correct views of the nature and offices of Jesus Christ both to the Jews and Gentiles. Should this opinion be acceded to, it will reconcile the various opinions of learned men concerning the real scope of John's Gospel.

contents of this book-VII. Observations on its style.VIII. On the importance of this book, as an evidence for the truth of Christianity.

1. THE book of the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES forms the fifth

and last of the historical books of the New Testament, and script to the former, and a proper introduction to the latter. connects the Gospel with the Epistles; being a useful postOn this account it has been generally placed after the four Gospels, though (as Michaelis has remarked) in several anafter the Epistles of Saint Paul, because it is necessary to cient manuscripts and versions it is very frequently placed the right understanding of them.

VI. It is obvious to every attentive reader of this Gospel, that John studiously omits to notice those passages in our Lord's history and teaching, which had been related at length by the other evangelists, or if he mentions them at all, it is in a very cursory manner. By pursuing this method he gives his testimony that their narratives are faithful and noticed in the critical editions of the New Testament. Thus, Various TITLES have been given to this book which are true, and at the same time leaves himself room to enlarge in the Codex Beza, or Cambridge manuscript, it is called the Gospel history. This confirms the unanimous declarations of ancient writers, that the first three Gospels were PAZEIE TON AПOгOAN, the Acts or Transactions of the written and published before John composed his evangelical Apostles. In the Codex Alexandrinus, and many other manuhistory. In the account of our Saviour's passion, death, and Acts of the Holy Apostles, which title is also adopted by most scripts, it is entitled ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΓΙΩΝ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΩΝ, the resurrection, all the four Gospels coincide in many particu- of the Greek and Latin fathers. The first of these various lars; though here John has several things peculiar to himself. In his Gospel, many things recorded by the other titles is that which is adopted in the printed editions, and in evangelists are omitted. He has given no account of our all modern versions; but by whom it was prefixed, it is now Saviour's nativity, nor of his baptism by John. He takes impossible to ascertain. In the Syriac version, according to no notice of our Saviour's temptation in the wilderness; nor the edition in Bishop Walton's Polyglott, the title is: "The of the call or names of the twelve apostles; nor of their Book of the Acts, that is, of the History of the Blessed mission during the ministry of Christ; nor of his para-in the Arabic version it is, "The beginning of the Book Apostles, composed by my holy lord Luke the Evangelist:" bles, or other discourses recorded by the first three evangelists; nor of his journeys; nor of any of his predictions of the Acts of the [holy] Apostles;"-and in the Ethiopic concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, which are related version, "The Acts of the Apostles, the transactions of the by them; nor has John repeated any of Christ's miracles ministers, that is, the History of the holy Apostles." This recorded by them, except that of feeding five thousand peo-book contains great part of the lives and transactions of Saint ple, which was probably repeated for the sake of the dis-Peter and Saint Paul, and of the history of the Christian course to which it gave birth. But, on the other hand, John church; commencing at the ascension of our Saviour, and mentions several incidents, which the other evangelists have being continued down to Saint Paul's arrival at Rome, after not noticed. Thus, he gives an account of our Lord's cleans- his appeal to Cæsar, comprising a period of about thirty ing the temple at the first passover, when he went to Jeru- years. salem; but all the other evangelists give a similar account of his cleansing the temple at his last passover. These two acts, however, are widely different. He relates the acts of Christ before the imprisonment of John the Baptist; the wedding at Cana; the cure of the man who had been blind from his birth; the resurrection of Lazarus; the indignation of Judas against the woman who anointed our Lord with ointment; the visit of the Greeks to Jesus; his washing the feet of his disciples; and his consolatory discourse to them previously to his passion. John's Gospel also contains more plain and frequent assurances than those occurring in the other Gospels, that Jesus is not only a prophet and messenger of God, but also that he is the Messiah, the Son of God: and asserts his pre-existence and Deity in the clearest and

II. That Saint Luke was the author, of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as of the Gospel which bears his name, is evident both from the introduction, and from the unanimous testimonies of the early Christians. Both are inscribed to Theophilus; and in the very first verse of the Acts there is a reference made to his Gospel, which he calls the former critics have conjectured that Saint Luke wrote the Gospels Treatise. On this account, Dr. Benson and some other and Acts in one book, and divided it into two parts. From the frequent use of the first person plural, it is clear that he was present at most of the transactions he relates. He appears to have accompanied Saint Paul from Troas to Philippi; he also attended him to Jerusalem, and afterwards to Rome, where he remained two years, during that apostle's first confinement. Accordingly we find Saint Luke particularly VII. Salmasius, Grotius, Bolten, and other critics have mentioned in two of the epistles written by Saint Paul, from imagined that John did not write his Gospel originally in Rome, during that confinement. As the book of Acts is Greek, but in the Syriac language. This hypothesis, how-continued to the end of the second year of Saint Paul's imever, is contradicted by the unanimous consent of Christian prisonment, it could not have been written before the year 63; antiquity, which affirms that he wrote it in Greek. In addi- and, as the death of that apostle is not mentioned, it is protion to the observations already offered, respecting the original is supposed to have happened A. D. 65. For these reasons, bable that the book was composed before that event, which language of the New Testament, we may remark, that the Hebraisms occurring in this Gospel clearly prove that it was Michaelis, Dr. Lardner, Dr. Benson, Rosenmiller, Bishop originally written by a Jew. His style is pronounced by Tomline, and the generality of critics, assign the date of this book to the year 63.

most distinct terms.

Michaelis to be better and more fluent than that of the other

evangelists; and he ascribes this excellence to the facility and taste in the Greek language, which the apostle seems to have acquired from his long residence at Ephesus. His narrative is characterized by singular perspicuity, and by the most unaffected simplicity and benevolence. There are few passages in Holy Writ more deeply affecting than this evangelist's narrative of the resurrection of Lazarus.4



early Christian fathers bear unanimous testimony. Not to III. To the genuineness and authenticity of this book, the mention the attestations of the apostolic fathers, in the first century, which have been collected by Mr. Jones, Drs. Benson and Lardner, we may remark that Irenæus and Tertullian, in the second century, both ascribed the Acts of the Apostles to Saint Luke. And their evidence is corroborated by that of Origen, Jerome, Augustine, Eusebius, and all subsequent ecclesiastical writers. Further, Chrysostom and other fathers inform us, that this book was annually read in the churches, every day between the festivals of Easter and Pentecost or Whitsuntide.10 The Valentinians, indeed, as

I. Title.—II. Author and date.—III. Genuineness and authen-well as the Marcionites, Severians, and some Manicheans, ticity.-IV. Scope.-V. Chronology.-VI. Analysis of the

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s Col. iv. 14. Philem. 24.

Jones on the Canon, vol. iii. pp. 129-136. Dr. Benson's Hist. of the First Planting of Christianity, vol. ii. pp. 325-330. 2d edit. Dr. Lardner's Works, Index, voce Acts of the Apostles.

p. 330.

Lardner, 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 162, 163.; 4to. vol. i. p. 368. Benson, vol. ii. 8 Lardner, 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 261, 262.; 4to. vol. i. p. 452. Benson, vol. ii. p. 331. Benson, vol. ii. pp. 321-324. Lardner, 8vo. vol. vi. pp. 145-147.; 4to vol. iii. pp. 206, 207.

10 Benson, vol. ii. p. 332. Lardner, 8vo. vol. v. pp. 133, 134.; 4to. vol. i.

p. 605.


rejected the Acts of the Apostles, not from historical reasons, but because they militated against their opinions; for the Gnostics (of which sect the Valentinians and Marcionites were a branch) affirmed that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of the New Testament: and that another Christ, different from our Saviour, was promised. The Severians and Encratites strenuously insisted upon abstinence from certain articles of food; whereas, in the book of Acts, the promiscuous use of food is allowed. Lastly, Manes wished himself to be taken for "the Comforter," who had been promised by Christ to his apostles; but in the Acts it is related that the Comforter that had been so promised was the Holy Spirit, who had been sent. The reasons, therefore, why the book was rejected by the above-mentioned sects, were not historical, but doctrinal; because the narrative of the sacred historian contradicted their dogmas; and as their errors were detected and refuted by contemporary writers,' the unqualified and unsupported assertions of these heretics are so far from impugning the veracity and genuineness of the Acts of the Apostles, that on the contrary, they afford a decisive and collateral testimony in favour of the book, IV. Saint Luke does not appear to have intended to write a complete ecclesiastical history of the Christian church, during the first thirty years after our Saviour's ascension, nor even of Saint Paul's life during that period; for he has almost wholly omitted what passed among the Jews after the conversion of that apostle, and is totally silent concerning the spread of Christianity in the East and in Egypt, as the foundation of the church of Christ at Rome, Saint Paul's journey into Arabia, and many other topics, though the labours and sufferings of the other apostles could not but have afforded the most interesting materials, had it fallen within his design to have composed an entire history of the church. If we carefully examine the Acts of the Apostles, we shall perceive that Saint Luke had two objects in view:-1. To relate in what manner the gifts of the Holy Spirit were communicated on the day of Pentecost, and the subsequent miracles performed by the apostles, by which the truth of Christianity was confirmed. An authentic account of this matter was absolutely necessary, because Christ had often assured his disciples that they should receive the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers, therefore, whether Jews or Heathens, might have made objections to our religion if it had not been shown that Christ's declarations were really fulfilled.-2. To deliver such accounts as proved the claim of the Gentiles to admission into the Church of Christ,-a claim. disputed by the Jews, especially at the time when Saint Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. And it was this very circumstance which excited the hatred of the Jews against Saint Paul, and occasioned his imprisonment in Rome, with which Saint Luke closes his history. Hence we see the reason why he relates (ch. viii.) the conversion of the Samaritans, and (ch. x. xi.) the story of Cornelius, whom Saint Peter (to whose authority the adversaries of Saint Paul had appealed in favour of circumcision2) baptized, though he was not of the circumcision. Hence also Saint Luke relates the determination of the first council in Jerusalem relative to the Levitical law: and for the same reason he is more diffuse in his account of Saint Paul's conversion, and Saint Paul's preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, than on any other subject. It is true that the whole relation, which Saint Luke has given (ch. xii.), has no connection with the conversion of the Gentiles: but during the period to which that chapter relates, Saint Paul himself was present at Jerusalem (see Acts xi. 30. xii. 25.), and it is probable, for that reason, that Saint Luke has introduced it. But there is, 3. A third opinion which Michaelis thinks not devoid of probability, viz. that Saint Luke might design to record only those facts, which he had either seen himself or had heard from eye-witnesses.3

1 Irenæus adversus Hæreses, lib. iii. c. 12. Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. lib. i. c. 21. Augustine epist. 251. et contra Faustum, lib. xix. c. 31. 2 See Galat. ii. 6-21.

Michaelis, vol. iii. part i. pp 327-331. Dr. Benson, however, is of opinion that Saint Luke designed his book to be only a concise specimen of the doctrines preached by the apostles, and that he was chiefly desirous of describing the nanner in which the Jews, proselytes of the gate, or devout Gentiles, and the idolatrous Gentiles, were respectively converted. Hence this learned author divides the book into three parts or books, viz. 1. The first part contains an account of the propagation of the Gospel among the Jews only, from A. D. 33. to A. D. 41. including chapter ii. to x. 2. The second comprises an account of the spreading of Christianity among the devout Gentiles, together with its farther progress among the Jews, A. n. 41. to A. D 44. (Acts x-xiii.) 3. And the third part comprehends the diffusion of Christianity among the idolatrous Gentiles, together with its further progress among the two preceding classes of persons, A. D. 44. to .D. 63. (Acts xiii.-xxviii.) Benson's Ilist. of the First Planting of Chris tianity, vol. i. pp. 22-24.

V. The Acts of the Apostles, Michaelis observes, were evidently written with a tolerably strict attention to chronological order; though Saint Luke has not affixed a date to any one of the facts recorded by him. There are, however, several parts of this book, in which ecclesiastical history is combined with political facts, the dates of which are known: and these Michaelis has endeavoured to determine, because the chronology will not only contribute to illustrate the Acts of the Apostles, but also will assist us in fixing the year when many of Saint Paul's Epistles were written. Taking for granted, therefore, that this book commences with the year 33, of the Christian æra (in which calculation he follows Archbishop Usher), he has given us the following series of dates :

1. "The First epoch, after the commencement of the book, is at ch. xi. 29, 30. ; for what happened between the first Pentecost after Christ's ascension and this period is without any marks of chronology. But at ch. xi. 29, 30. we have a date; for the famine which took place in the time of Claudius Cæsar, and which induced the disciples at Antioch to send relief to their brethren in Judæa, happened in the fourth year of Claudius's reign, that is, in the year 44 of the Christian æra.

to death the apostle St. James; and about that time Saint Paul 2. "Second epoch. Herod Agrippa dies soon after he had put and Saint Barnabas return from Jerusalem to Antioch. (ch. xii. 21-25.) This is still in the year 44.

of the Jews from Italy by Claudius Cæsar, Saint Paul arrives at 3. "Third epoch. (ch. xviii. 2.) Shortly after the banishment Corinth. Commentators affix the date of 54 to this event; but it is uncertain, for Suetonius, the only historian who has noticed this banishment of the Jews, mentions it without date.

4. "Fourth epoch. Saint Paul comes to Jerusalem, where he is imprisoned by the Jews, not long after the disturbances which were excited by the Egyptian. (ch. xxi. 37-39.) This imprisonment of Saint Paul happened in the year 60, for it was two years before Felix quitted his government of Judæa. (ch. xxiii. 26. xxiv. 27.)

5. "Fifth epoch. Two years after the commencement of Saint Paul's imprisonment, Festus is appointed governer of Judæa, A. n. 62. (ch. xxiv. 27. xxv. 1.)

"From this period the chronology of the Acts of the Apostles is clear. Saint Paul is sent prisoner to Rome in the autumn of the same year in which Festus arrived in Judæa: he suffers shipwreck, passes the winter in Malta, and arrives in Rome in the following year, that is, in 63. (ch. xxvi. xxvii. xxviii.)

"The Acts of the Apostles close with the end of the second year of Saint Paul's imprisonment in Rome: consequently in the year 65. (ch. xxviii. 30.)"

It is difficult to determine the date of the events that happened between the epochs 33 and 34, and between 44 and 60, especially the time of Saint Paul's conversion and of the these transactions A. D. 35, others in 38. But, though we council at Jerusalem: Archbishop Usher places the first of cannot attain to absolute certainty, a probable conjecture may be formed. Thus, Michaelis remarks, Saint Stephen hardly suffered martyrdom before Pilate was recalled from the government of Judæa; because, under that procurator, the Jews had not the power of inflicting capital punishments. Now, according to Usher, the year in which Pilate was recalled, tyrdom, therefore, probably happened after 36.-If this be was the thirty-sixth of the Christian æra: Saint Stephen's marafter 36, and therefore 35 is too early a date. But how long true, Saint Paul's conversion must have happened likewise after 36, whether in 38, cannot be determined.

ranged between 33 and 36, Michaelis cannot determine: for In what manner the chapters iii. iv. v. vi. are to be arwhat chronologers have said is mere conjecture, and not calculation. The same uncertainty prevails in respect to ch. viii. and x.: for we can affirm nothing more, than that the one must be placed before the other after 36. We are likewise in the dark with respect to ch. xiii. xiv. and several other chapters. Of ch. xvi. we may assert, that it belongs to a period at least six years prior to the fourth epoch, or the year 60; for a year and a half at Corinth, three years at Ephesus, and the time spent on several journeys, can hardly be pressed into a smaller compass than that of six years. To ch. XVi., therefore, the latest date which can be assigned is 54: and it is not improbable that it should be dated still earlier.4

4 Michaelis, vol. iii. part. i. pp. 336-338. The chronology of the Acts of the Apostles is discussed at considerable length in Hug's Introduction to New Test. vol. ii. pp. 312-334., and (so far as concerns the travels and writings of Saint Paul) by the reviewer of that work in the British Critic for April 1828, pp. 261-317.

VI. The Acts of the Apostles, as they appear in our copies, may be divided into three principal parts; viz. PART I. contains the Rise and Progress of the Mother Church at Jerusalem from the Time of our Saviour's Ascension to the first Jewish Persecution. (ch. i.—viii.)

SECT. 1. The transactions before and after Jesus Christ's
ascension into heaven. (i.)

SECT. 2. The descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles at the
feast of Pentecost, and Peter's discourse to the people in
consequence of it. (ii.)
SECT. 3. A lame man healed by Peter and John-Peter's
discourse to the people-Events that befel the apostles in
consequence of that miracle. (iii. iv.)
SECT. 4. The death of Ananias and Sapphira-Miracles of
the apostles,-who are scourged and dismissed. (v.)
SECT. 5. The institution of deacons-the discourse and mar-
tyrdom of Stephen, and the first Jewish persecution. (vi.
vii. viii. 1—4.)

PART II. comprises the Dispersion of the Disciples-the Pro-
pagation of Christianity among the Samaritans the Con-
version of Saint Paul, and the Foundation of a Christian
Church at Antioch. (viii. 5.—xii.)

SECT. 1. The planting of the church at Samaria. (viii. 5-25.)
SECT. 2. The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. (viií.

SECT. 3. The conversion, baptism, and first preaching of
Saint Paul. (ix.)

SECT. 4. Account of two miracles performed by Peter, and
the conversion of Cornelius and his family. (x. xi. 1-18.)
SECT. 5. The first Gentile church founded at Antioch. (xi.

SECT. 6. The apostle James put to death by Herod Agrippa,relation of his miserable death. (xii.)

PART III. describes the Conversion of the more remote Gentiles,
by Burnabas and Paul, and, after their Separation, by Paul
and his Associates, among whom was Luke himself during
the lutter Purt of Paul's Labours. (xii.—xxviii.)

SECT. 1. The planting of several churches in the isle of
Cyprus, at Perga in Pamphylia, Antioch in Pisidia, Ico-
nium, Lystra, and Derbe-The return of Saint Paul to
Antioch. (xiii. xiv.)

SECT. 2. Discussion of the question by the apostles at Jeru-
salem concerning the necessity of circumcision, and of
observing the law-Their letter to the churches on this
subject. xv. 1-35.)

SECT. 3. Paul's second departure from Antioch-He preaches the Gospel in various countries, particularly at Philippi in Macedonia-the, conversion of the Philippian gaoler. (xv. 36-41. xvi.)

SEET. 4. The journeys and apostolical labours of Paul and his associates at Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens-His masterly apology before the court of the Areopagites. (xvii.) SECT. 5. Paul's journey to Corinth, and thence to Antioch. (xviii. 1-22.)

other books of the New Testament, particularly in the speeches delivered by Saint Paul at Athens, and before the Roman governors. It is further worthy of remark, that Saint he has introduced as speaking. Thus the speeches and disLuke has well supported the character of each person whom courses of St. Peter are recorded with simplicity, and are destitute of all those ornaments which usually occur in the orations of the Greeks and Romans. Nearly similar are the speeches of Saint Paul, which were addressed to the Jews, while those delivered by the same apostle before a heathen audience are widely different. Thus, in his discourse delivered at Antioch in Pisidia,2 he commences with a long periphrasis, which would not have been either instructive or entertaining in any other place than a Jewish synagogue. On the contrary, the speech of the martyr Stephen (Acts vii.) is altogether of a different description. It is a learned but unpremeditated discourse, pronounced by a person totally unacquainted with the art of oratory; and though he certainly had a particular object in view, to which the several parts of object, because his materials are not regularly disposed. his discourse were directed, yet it is difficult to discover this Lastly, Saint Paul's discourses before assemblies that were accustomed to Grecian oratory, are totally different from any of the preceding. Though not adorned with the flowers of rhetoric, the language is pointed and energetic, and the materials are judiciously selected and arranged, as is manifest in his speech delivered at Athens (Acts xvii. 22-31.), and in his two defences of himself before the Roman governors of Judæa. (xxiv. xxvi.) Dr. Benson and Michaelis, however, are both of opinion, that Saint Luke has given abstracts only, and not the whole, of Saint Paul's speeches; for in his speech before Felix, he must certainly have said more than is recorded by Saint Luke (xxiv. 12, 13.); unless we suppose that Saint Paul merely denied the charge which had been laid against him, without confuting it. Michaelis adds, that abstracts: and that, if he has not retained the very words of in his opinion Saint Luke has shown great judgment in these Saint Paul, he has adopted such as were well suited to the polished audiences before which the apostle spoke.

VIII. The Acts of the Apostles afford abundant evidence of the truth and divine original of the Christian religion; for we learn from this book, that the Gospel was not indebted for its success to deceit or fraud, but that it was wholly the result of the mighty power of God, and of the excellence and efficacy of the saving truths which it contains. The general and particular doctrines, comprised in the Acts of the Apostles, are perfectly in unison with the glorious truths revealed in the Gospels, and illustrated-in the Apostolic Epis tles; and are admirably suited to the state of the persons, whether Jews or Gentiles, to whom they were addressed. And the evidence which the apostles gave of their doctrines, in their appeals to prophecies and miracles, and the various gifts of the Spirit, were so numerous and so strong, and at the same time so admirably adapted to every class of persons, that the truth of the religion which they attest cannot be reasonably disputed.

Further, the history itself is credible. It was written by a SECT. 6. Paul's third departure from Antioch-Consequences which he relates, and who was both able and disposed to person who was acquainted with the various circumstances of his preaching at Ephesus. (xviii. 23—28. xix.) SECT. 7. The labours of Paul in Greece and Asia Minor, and Luke was a companion of the apostles; he was himself an give a faithful narrative of every thing that occurred. Saint his journey towards Jerusalem. (xx.) SECT. 8. The persecution of Paul at Jerusalem-He is sent cerned in many of the incidents he has recorded. In the eye and ear witness of the facts, and was personally cona prisoner to Cæsarea. (xxi.-xxiii. 1-30.) SECT. 9. Paul's arrival at Cæsarea-the charges of the Jews the miraculous facts related in it are neither impossible, history itself there are no inconsistencies or contradictions; against him-His defence before Felix-Appeal to Cæsar-when we consider the almighty power of God to which they His defence before Agrippa, at whose request his cause was reheard. (xxiii. 31—35. xxiv.—xxvi.) SECT. 10. Narrative of Paul's voyage from Cæsarea-His shipwreck on the isle of Malta-His voyage thence to Rome, where he preaches the Gospel to the Jews, and resides for two years. (xxvii. xxviii.)

In perusing the Acts of the Apostles, it will be desirable constantly to refer to the accompanying map of their respect ive journeys, particularly those of Saint Paul. In constructing this map, the accurate geographer D'Anville has principally been followed; the courses of the several winds that usually blow in the Levant or Mediterranean sea, together with their ancient names, are inserted from Dr. Shaw. VII. The narrative of the Acts of the Apostles is perspicuous and noble. Though it is not entirely free from Hebraisms, it is in general much purer than that of most

1 Travels in Barbary, vol. ii. p. 131. 3d edit.

are ascribed; nor improbable, when we consider the grand design and occasion on account of which they were performed. The plainness and simplicity of the narrative are also strong circumstances in its favour. The writer appears to have been very honest and impartial, and to have set down fairly the objections which were made to Christianity both by Jews and Heathens, and the reflections which were cast upon it, as well as upon its first preachers. He has, likewise, with a just and ingenuous freedom, mentioned the weaknesses, faults, and prejudices, both of the apostles and of their converts. The occasional hints, which are dispersed through the epistles of Saint Paul, harmonize with the facts related in the history of the Acts of the Apostles; so that this history is the best guide we can have in studying the epistles. The other parts of the New Testament are in

2 Acts xiii. 16-41.

Michaelis, vol. iii. part i. pp. 331-335. Benson's History of the First Planting of Christianity, vol. ii. p. 255,

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