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son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be
their king ; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, 'I have found
David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil 23 all my will. Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise 24 raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus : when John had first preached
before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John fulfilled his course, he sail, Whom think yc that I am ? I
am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his 26 feet I am not worthy to loose.' Men and brethren, children of the
stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the 27 word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their
rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets
which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemn28 ing him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired 29 they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all
that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid 30,31 him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead : and he was
seen many days of thein which came up with him from Galilee to Jera32 salem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you
glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 33 God hath fulfilled the same unto ns their children, in that he hath raised
up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, 'Thou art my 34 Son, this day have I begotten thee.' And as concerning that he raised
him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on 35 this wise, 'I will give you the sure mercies of David.' Wherefore he
saith also in another psalm, "Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to 36 see corruption.' For David, after he had served his own generation by
the will of God, (or, after he had in his own age served the will of God), 37 fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption : but he, 38 whom God raised again, saw no corruption.
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you 39 the forgiver.ess of sins : and by him all that believe are justified from all 40 things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Be
ware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the pro41 phets ; ' Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish : for I work a
work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a
man declare it unto you.'” 42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles
besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath, 43 [in the week between, or, in the sabbath between). Now when the
congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas : who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Paul and his companions took ship from Paphos, and sailed from the island of Cyprus, to the opposite coast on the north ; they landed at the town of Perga, in the province of Pamphylia, where John Mark separated from them, and went back to Jerusalem. From what took place afterwards concerning this separation (Acts xv. 37—40), there is reason to fear that. John was influenced by some sinful infirmity in leaving the missionary work.
Paul and Barnabas took their journey northwards; and passing through the whole province of Pamphylia, they went into that of Pisidia beyond it, travelling as far as Antioch, another city of the same name as that from which they had set forth on their missionary labours. Upon the Jewish sabbath they went into the synagogue, and took their seats in the place customary for those teachers, who were prepared to expound to the people some portion of the Scriptures, usually those that were read in the service. It was the office of the principal persons of the congregation (called the rulers of the synagogue) to select those who were to instruct the people'; and upon this occasion, as soon as the proper lessons out of the books of Moses and of the prophets had been read, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to these strangers, inviting them, if they were so disposed, to undertake the exposition. Paul immediately arose, and motioning with his hand to call attention, he addressed the congregation, speaking to them as composed of “men of Israel," Jews by birth; and those that “feared God,” by which he probably meant the proselytes, or Gentiles who attended the Jewish services, without being bound to all the requirements of the law of Moses.
After bidding them attend to what he was about to say, he pointed out the great blessings which God had bestowed upon their forefathers, how he made choice of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-how he had put honour upon
the Israelites, while they were remaining as foreigners amongst the Egyptians; and had especially manifested his own power on their behalf in bringing them out of Egypt. Then, putting his hearers in mind that God put up with the self-willed conduct of the people during the forty years that they wandered in the wilderness, he referred to the destruction of the seven idolatrous nations who occupied the land of Canaan, and the division of the whole country by lot amongst the tribes of Israel. Passing over the period of the Judges, by inentioning only that it lasted for about 450 years, he spoke of Samuel the prophet as closing that kind of government over the people; and reminded them of the way in which the Israelites has asked to be ruled by a king, and that God answered their
prayer by the appointment of Saul, the son of Kish, whose reign lasted for forty years. But when God had put an end to the government of Saul, he supplied his place by anointing David to be their king; concerning whom he testified that he was a man after his own heart,” whom he had appointed to rule instead of Saul. (1 Sam. xiii. 14.)
Having thus brought the attention of his hearers to David, he immediately proceeded to declare that of the offspring of David, which God had promised should establish the throne of his kingdom for ever (2 Sam. vii. 12-16. Isa. ix. 7; xi. 1—9), he had actually raised up a Saviour to Israel, whose name was Jesus; and whose coming had been prepared by the preaching of John the Baptist, who had proclaimed beforehand the baptism of repentance to all the Jews. This John continually gave testimony concerning Jesus, and refused to be looked upon himself as the Messiah, declaring that there was one coming after him, for whom he was not worthy to do the meanest offices, even to unloose the latchet of his shoe. (Matt. iii. 1-3, 11, 12. Luke iii. 16. John i. 19–27.) Paul then repeating his appeal to the congregation, solemnly told them, that the word of this salvation by Jesus was sent to them. The people of Jerusalem, as well as their rulers, had condemned Jesus through ignorance, in spite of their many opportunities of knowing the Scriptures. They heard the prophets read in their services every Sabbathday, but they were unacquainted with the Messiah ; and had therefore fulfilled what had been prophesied concerning him, by the manner in which they had condemned Jesus. They had not been able to find grounds for 'his condemnation to death, but they had required of the
Roman governor that he should be crucified; and thus everything that had been written respecting Messiah in the prophets, was exactly fulfilled in the execution of Jesus. Then he was taken down from the cross, and buried in a tomb, but God had raised him up from amongst the dead; and during many days those persons, who had come with him to Jerusalem from Galilee, had seen him from time to time, after he had thus returned alive again from the tomb. These
persons (said he) are the witnesses of Jesus, in order to testify these things concerning him to the Jews.
Then Paul made an application of his address to the congregation before whom he stood; he told them that he and Barnabas had come there to give them the glad tidings of great joy, that God, who had made the promise of a Messiah to the fathers of the Jewish people, had now performed that promise to their children of the generation of which the persons then present formed a part. This had been done by the resurrection of Jesus, by which the words in the second psalm were fulfilled, " Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Psa. ii. 7. Heb. i. 5.) The apostle drew other proofs from the Old Testament, that God raised Jesus from the dead, no more to return to corruption; namely, the promises of an everlasting covenant with David, ordered in all things and sure, which must have its fulfilment in the blessings of the reign of the son of David (2 Sam. iii. 5); and the special declaration made in another place, “Thou wilt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.” (Psa. xvi. 10.) This could not have referred to king David himself; who, after having fulfilled the course appointed for him in the particular generation in which he lived, died, and was buried in the tomb of his ancestors, and his body did pass into corruption ; but the body of Jesus the son of David, who had been raised from the grave by God, had never passed into corruption, and never would do so. (Acts ii. 29–31.) It was through Him, (Paul urged upon his hearers), that the forgiveness of sins was proclaimed to them. It is by Jesus Christ that all who receive him in faith are made righteous in the sight of God, being acquitted from the guilt of all things, a justification which could not be obtained by the law of Moses. He bid them therefore beware lest the
dreadful things threatened to the heathen in the books of the prophets, should come upon them, even though they were Jews; at the same time quoting the prophet Habakkuk (i. 5), with which he closed his address,“ Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously :
I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”
The congregation separated after this; and on leaving the synagogue some of the Gentiles begged, that the same subject might be preached to them on the following Sabbath-day. It is not clear whether these Gentiles were proselytes who were worshippers in the synagogue, and whom Paul had already addressed ; or idolatrous people of Antioch, who must have been made acquainted with the nature of Paul's sermon by some who had heard it: the great crowd of Gentile inhabitants of the city who did actually come to hear Paul, leads to the supposition that it was the latter class of Gentiles who asked for a repetition of the sermon. When the service was over, and the congregation retired, many persons who had been present, both Jews and proselytes, accompanied Paul and Barnabas, under a conviction that they had spoken the truth. The missionaries conversed with these, and urged them to cleave stedfastly to the faith of that gospel which, by God's grace, they had heard and believed.
1. The sermon preached by Paul upon this occasion, affords us a specimen of the manner in which the apostolic missions were conducted. It was addressed to the Jews, to whom the missionaries went first; and distinctly stated, that the word of Christ's salvation was sent to them. From this we may gather that when our Lord, in opening the understanding of his disciples to understand the Scripture, explained to them “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke xxiv. 45–47), he meant that the first offer of the gospel should be made to the Jewish people, in whatever nation any of them may be found. Accordingly his first missionaries acted upon this view of his directions : and both in our prayers, and