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inaccuracies in the Hebrew quotations, which are here corrected, and which were probably errors of the press, occasioned by the compositor mistaking one Hebrew letter for another. We are glad to find that the compiler has now included the Acts of the Apostles, which form so necessary an Appendix to the Gospels, within the range of his Annotations; and, though he has not inquired so widely as we think he ought to have done, and has omitted (as we remarked in our former article) some valuable modern commentators, we allow his qualifications for the task which he has undertaken, and must applaud his well-intentioned industry. He is aware of the difficulties which "the stewards and ministers of the Christian mysteries" have to surmount, before they can become "scribes well instructed to the kingdom of heaven;" and he has done them some service by compressing into a narrow compass the critical information which lies scattered through many volumes, and offering it at a moderate price to theological students, who are seldom rich. On some points, we certainly differ from him; and we do not hesitate to say that, in the present as well as the former edition of his work, he seems too tenacious of passages which scriptural critics of the first learning and character have agreed to consider as spurious. A fear of making any concessions to infidels is the ordinary plea for this line of conduct: but, in our judgment, true faith is strengthened, and infidelity prevented from gaining ground, by an ingenuous abandonment of all that is evidently untenable. By trying to make people believe more than reason and evidence will justify, we excite suspicions of our own honesty, and in the end drive them to doubt more than they ought to doubt.
Of the Apparatus Biblicus, contained in the introductory sections to this commentary, we gave some account in the article to which we have made a reference; and we shall only take this opportunity, en passant, of remarking that, since the editor in one place very judiciously refers to the Prolegomena of Walton's Polyglot, as containing the most valuable treatise extant on that branch of literature which includes the oriental languages, and since biblical criticism is become very fashionable with our clergy, some spirited bookseller might perhaps advantageously undertake a reprint of the Prolegomena, detached from the voluminous and now very expensive Polyglot of Walton.
Having already travelled over a great part of the ground here occupied, we shall not retrace our steps, though additional strictures could easily be inserted, but confine ourselves to what is entirely new, viz. the body of notes on the Acts of the Apostles.
The introductory remarks on the title, chronology, and geography of this book, and the table of the journeys of St. Paul, constitute very useful preliminary matter; while the extracts from Michaelis, illustrative of the design, date, and contents of each of the Epistles, which are inserted at their supposed respective places, considerably increase the value of this compilation. As specimens of this part of the undertaking, we shall first transcribe the general note from Vol. III. p. 193. et seq.
Acts of the Apostles.] It is obvious, that this title is too general. It can only be said to contain part of the Acts of St. Peter and St. Paul, and that for a very limited time. Of St. Peter to the death of Herod A. C. 44. and of St. Paul whilst accompanied by Luke from his going to Iconium, A.C. 46. Acts, xiv. 1. (if indeed he accompanied him so early,) to his first arrival at Rome, A. C. 61-63. Acts, xxviii. 30, 31. Grotius. Hammond.
The order is plainly this. To the end of ch. xii. he speaks of the progress of the church amongst the Jews; thence to the end of the book, amongst the Gentiles. Hence the Acts of St. Peter in the one, and of St. Paul in the other part, who were peculiarly the fixed ministers or apostles to the Jews and to the Heathens, are recited. Lightfoot.
St. Luke did not intend to write a general history of the Christian church for the first thirty years after the ascension of Christ; nor even of the life of the apostle Paul during that time; for he has been wholly silent on many important particulars, on the progress of Christianity in Egypt, and in the East, - on the foundation of the Christian community in Rome, -on St. Paul's journey into Arabia, -the assistance received by him from Aquila and Priscilla, Rom. xviii. 2, 3. and on many others.
He appears to have had two principal objects. 1. To relate the manner in which the gifts of the Holy Spirit were communicated on the day of Pentecost; and the subsequent miracles performed by the apostles through its influence. This was essential; for Christ had given the promise of the Holy Spirit, and it was necessary to shew how it was fulfilled. 2. To deliver such accounts, as proved the claim, disputed by the Jews, of the admission of the Gentiles to the church of Christ. Hence, he relates, ch. viii. the conversion of the Samaritans; and the story of Cornelius, whom St. Peter himself baptized, ch. x. xi. and the decrees of the first council of Jerusalem on the Levitical law; and is diffuse on St. Paul's conversion and mission. 3. But a third opinion is probable; that the intention of St. Luke might be only to record those facts which he had himself seen, or heard from the eye-witnesses of them. Michaelis, v. iii. c. viii. sect. ii. p. 327. comp. Whitby. Preface to the Acts.
It is the idea of Benson, that St. Luke was desirous of describing in the Acts, how the conversion of the Jews, of the devout Gentiles, or proselytes of the gate, and of the idolatrous Gentiles was effected; and hence he divides the book into three parts. 1. The first part contains an account of the spreading of the Gospel amongst the Jews only; from A. D. 33. to 41. and from ch. ii. to ch. x. 2. Amongst
2. Amongst the proselytes of the gate, or devout Gentiles; from A.D. 41. to 44. and from ch. x. to ch. xiii. 3. Amongst the idolatrous Gentiles or heathen world; from A. D. 44. to 63. and from ch. xiii. to the end of the book. Benson's Hist. Chr. Rel. Introd. sect. vi. p. 22.
The style of St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles is much purer than that of most other books of the New Testament, especially in the speeches of St. Paul at Athens, and before the Roman governors. But the work is by no means free from Hebraisms, even in the purest parts of it.
It deserves to be remarked, that he hath also well supported the character of each of his speakers. The speeches of St. Peter are recorded with simplicity, and are devoid of the ornaments found in the Greek or Roman orations. The speeches of St. Paul to the Jews are nearly similar to them, and very different from those he delivered before a heathen audience. Thus, Acts, xiii. 16-41. St. Paul commences with a long periphrasis, only suitable to a Jewish synagogue. Again; the speech of the martyr Stephen, Acts, vii. is of a different description. It is a learned discourse pronounced by a person unacquainted with the art of oratory. He spake without preparation, and though he had certainly a particular object in view, it is difficult to discover it, because his materials are not regularly disposed.
Lastly, the speeches of St. Paul before assemblies accustomed to Grecian oratory, totally differ from any of the preceding. They are not adorned with the flowers of rhetoric, but the language is pointed and energetic, and the materials judiciously selected and arranged. St. Luke has shown great judgment in his abstracts of them; and adopted, if not the words of St. Paul, those well adapted to the polished audience, before whom the Apostle spake. Michaelis ut supr. sect. iii.'
This note is an instance of judicious selection and compilement, much valuable information being compressed into a narrow space. In the notes on the passage, Acts, xix. 11—20. no doubt whatever is expressed of its genuineness, though the learned editor must have known that Evanson, from the two words which occur at v. 12. (σουδαρια and σεμικίνθια, which are two Latin words in Greek characters, viz. sudaria and semicinctia) has regarded the whole passage as an interpolation. The student should at least have been told that, since the style of St. Luke is allowed to be more pure than that of any other books composing the N. T., the adoption of these latinisms is not in character with him; and, as the whole relation has a strong legendary cast, where would have been the harm of hinting that it is not altogether impossible that it was inserted for the purpose of supporting the notion prevalent in the Catholic church, of miracles performed by the relics of saints? We mean not to offer any decided opinion on this point, but REV. APRIL, 1815. C c merely
merely state it as matter for consideration; being thoroughly convinced that the cause of the Christian religion will be effectually promoted by separating, in the winnowing-machine of free inquiry, the chaff of human interpolation from the wheat of Divine truth. Might it not be fairly made a question, also, whether the vast amount of the books said in v. 19. to have been burnt, estimated at 6250l. sterling, does not warrant a doubt of the genuineness of this passage?
On the much disputed verse, Acts, xx. 28. we are presented with the following note:
• V.28.-the church of God-] the Alex. MS. and some others read "the church of the Lord;" but Michaelis is clear, that, EOU is the true reading, on the principle, that the reading, which might occasion a correction, is more probably right, than that which is likely to arise from one. Now, "his blood," i.e. "the blood of God" is an extraordinary expression, if not in the real text; but had that been xupov, it is inconceivable how any one should alter it into Θεου. Instead of which there are several different readings, κυριου, χρίσου, κυριου θεου, θεου και κυριου, κυριου και θεου, -- all of which seem to have been alterations on account of the difficulty of the true reading bou, which gave occasion to such a wish to alter it. Michaelis, v. i. c. vi. xiii. p. 336. Also "the church of God," is a phrase very frequent in the N. Test. as 1 Cor. i. 2. x. 32. xi. 22. xv. 9. 2 Cor. i. I. Gal. i. 13. 1 Tim. iii. 5. but the "church of the Lord" is never found in it.
All this appears tolerably fair: but the evidence is not full. The student is not put in possession of the whole truth. Marsh's Michaelis, Vol. ii. p. 96. should have been quoted; and particularly Griesbach's note on the passage, in the second edition of his N. T. The passage at v. 35. is thus illustrated.
More blessed to give-] Thus the antient heathens, as Aristotle, Nicom. iii. της αρετης μαλλον το εὖ ποιεν ή το εὖ πασχειν, &c. Grotius:'- but the student is not informed that this divine saying of Christ does not occur in either of the Gospels.
To ascertain the rank of the ministers and rulers in the pri mitive church is of importance to students in divinity, and the evidence of the N. T. itself on this point ought to be collected in a compressed body of scriptural annotation. We cannot, therefore, approve the manner in which questions that much concern the church are dismissed in the N. B. of the subjoined
Chap. xiii. v. 1. Prophets and teachers.] Some resident at Antioch, others, as Saul and Barnabas, only there for occasional exercise of their ministry. They were all probably of the 120, who were inspired at the Pentecost, and scattered by the persecution; Niger is by Epiphanius, Hær. xx. c. 4. said to have been one of the seventy disciples, and Lucius was of Cyrene. c. xi. 20.
Whitby.) It is supposed by Grotius, who strictly assimilates the forms of the nascent church to those of the synagogue, that, as each synagogue had a ruler or chief elder, primus senum, who taught the people, these teachers were the poECTWTOL, I Tim. v. 17. or her oxy TIXOTO of the several assemblies of Christians formed in so large a city as Antioch. And hence, perhaps, with the imposition of hands, v. 3. Hammond speaks of them, as bishops; but the apostle to the Gentiles, and Barnabas, could have no regular local appointment; and the others probably none, that was stationary and determinate. It is to be observed, that the present mission of Paul to the Gentiles was only temporary, and they rendered an account of it to this church at Antioch. c. xiv. 26. Whitby.
N. B. How the several orders of bishops, priests, and deacons, regularly took their rise; and whether bishops and deacons were not the first; and under what names the former were designated in the N. Test. as TOKOTOL or Toμeves, Eph. iv. 11. 1 Pet. ii. ult. or peσBUTEρo-and how far the priests arose from the greater number of elders, BUTεpo, when the disciples increased, are questions of some difficulty, and are to be referred not so much to any notes on a single passage, as to the treatises written expressly on the subject.'
After the note on Acts, xvii. 7. the editor adds an account of the Epistle to the Galatians, which shall be our last transcript:
It would doubtless be of use to the biblical student, to have the time of writing the several epistles of St. Paul distinctly pointed out to him, as they occur in this history. By showing their connection with the travels, and other events of the life of the Apostle, as far as they are here recorded, it might render their intention and the doctrines they convey, more familiar to him; and prove an advantageous introduction to their perusal. But unfortunately, the materials, on which these dates can be founded, are so scanty, that the best critics vary much in their application of them. All, therefore, that the limits of this short abridgment will permit, is to give a sketch of the dates assigned by Michaelis (Vol. iv. passim. Edit. Marsh) with the reasons of his selecting them, and leave the comparison of his arguments with those of other commentators to the diligence of the student.
The Epistle to the Galatians is held by Michaelis to be the first of those written by St. Paul, and as early as this period. In this he is singular; the first epistle to the Thessalonians being usually* esteemed the earliest. And his reasons only amount to probability.
In the first place he states, that it is the most antient opinion. It was asserted in the second century by Marcion. Epiph. Hær. xlii. 9. a heretic, yet, in this case, à competent witness. And Tertullian, contr. Marc. c. xx. 9. represents St. Paul as a novice in Christianity, when he wrote this epistle. Secondly, it is plain from Acts, xvi, 4, 5, 6. that he preached the gospel in Galatia in this journey, which is confirmed by Acts, xviii. 23. where he again visited Galatia, strengthening the disciples." Thirdly, when he left Galatia in the