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An Exposition Of The Acts Of The Apostles

ANALYSIS

This first Chapter of the Acts, &c., which may be regarded as the complement of the Gospel of St. Luke—since it resumes the History of our Lord’s Ascension, with which his Gospel closes,—opens with a brief Preface addressed to Theophilus, containing a compendious account of the History of the life of our Lord (1–2).

We have, next, a narrative of the several circumstances that preceded our Lord’s Ascension, with instructions, mandates, answers given by him immediately before that important event (3–8). We have, then, a brief history of the Ascension (9). The address of the Angels (10–11). The return of the Apostles from Mount Olivet (12–13). Their persevering union in prayer with the Blessed Virgin (13–14). The address of Peter relative to the sad fall of Judas, the great dignity he forfeited, his infamy, the necessity of electing a suitable substitute, the Prophetic quotation from the Psalms on the subject (14–20). He, next, exhorts them to elect a suitable substitute. He describes the qualities he should possess (21–22). The election of Matthias by lot, after fervent prayer addressed to God (23).

Commentary

1. The words of this v. 1 mean: I had composed, O Theophilus, a former Treatise or narrative (πρωτον λογον) embracing the chief and most important actions and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, during his life here on Earth. The term, πρωτον, is frequently used in a comparative sense, signifying not, “first;” but, former.

“Of all things.” The term, “all,” cannot be taken literally, in its strict meaning, as it would be impossible to furnish a detailed account of all (John 21:25). Moreover, St. Luke omits many things recorded by the other Evangelists. It, therefore, means the principal actions and teachings of our Divine Redeemer.

“Began to do and to teach.” A Hebrew Idiom for “did and taught.” Of this we have several examples in the Sacred Scriptures. (Genesis 9:20; Luke 3:23, 24:47; Mark 6:7, 14:65, &c.)

“Do,” denotes His marvellous works, performed to bring about our Salvation.

“Teach” refers to His Sacred doctrines, spoken and recorded for our instruction.

It is deserving of remark on the part of those engaged in Missionary work, that our Lord, for our instruction, first taught by His divine example, what he afterwards inculcated by word of mouth. Teaching by example is always more effectual than mere teaching by word of mouth. The period of our Lord’s teaching may be understood of the entire term of His Sacred life, from His Incarnation to His Ascension, or may be said to embrace the interval between His Baptism by John, when he commenced His missionary life, till He gave His final instruction to His Apostles, on Mount Olivet and mounted up to Heaven.

“O Theophilus.” This term most likely designates, not the representative of a particular class or church, as is held by some; but a particular man, or individual probably, one of St. Luke’s converts from Paganism, a man of great moral worth, of exalted station. Hence termed “most excellent,” as in St. Luke’s Gospel (1–3) where this is more fully explained. Though dedicated or addressed to Theophilus, this Treatise was not meant for him alone, but for the entire Christian world to the end of time, of whom Theophilus may be regarded as the representative. Even in our own time, it is by no means unusual to dedicate or address to individuals, writings meant for the general Public. (See Gospel 1–3. Commentary on.)

2. “Until the day,” the fortieth after His Resurrection (v. 3).

“Taken up,” (v. 9). Mounted up to Heaven in a cloud (Luke 24:51).

“Giving Commandments.” The Greek Aorist—εντειλαμενος—signifying “after he had commanded,” may denote one Commandment or more. It was after having done so, he mounted up to Heaven. Most likely, reference is made here, chiefly to his last and most comprehensive mandate, “to preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15, 16) which embraced every thing else.

“By the Holy Ghost,” may be connected with “giving Commandments,” thus conveying that His Commandments were not invested with a human, but a divine character, or, with “Apostles,” as if to say, that His Apostles were constituted such, and received their commission from the Holy Ghost.

The words may also mean, that He gave His final instructions to His Apostles regarding the Holy Ghost whose coming in a few days He promised, telling them not to leave the city till He descended upon them.

“The Apostles—the eleven—whom he had chosen,” at an early period of His missionary life (Matthew 10; Luke 6).

“Taken up,” mounted up to Heaven in a cloud (v. 9) by His own innate Power, through the gift of agility which His glorified body possessed; “taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16) or, “taken up” by His Father, whose Power was identical with His own, just as He rose from the dead by His own power, and was also resuscitated by His Father.

3. “To whom,” Apostles, He exhibited himself as really alive, risen from the dead. The Resurrection of Christ is constantly referred to by the writers of the New Testament, as established by many proofs, being the foundation of Christian faith, the chief proof of our Lord’s Divinity, who predicted it with all its circumstances of time, place, &c.

“After his Passion.” His Sufferings ended in an ignominious death. “Many proofs,” confirming by the clearest and most incontestible evidence, the wonderful miracle of His Resurrection, eating with them, appearing to them, exhibiting his wounds, thus removing all fears of deception.

“Forty days,” not continually, but occasionally at intervals, did he exhibit proofs during “forty days.”

“Speaking of the Kingdom of God”—the church. He taught them all things appertaining to the Government of His church, with instructions to transmit the same to their successors.

4. “Eating together with them.” The Greek word, συναλιξομενος—is rendered by some, “assembled together with them,” a signification the word often bears. It also signifies “eating,” which is conveyed in its root αλς, Salt, so common at all repasts; this is the most suitable meaning here. For it thus furnishes a fresh proof of His Resurrection, on which the Apostles themselves lay great stress (10:41). It also appears from Mark 16:14, that our Lord’s final apparition to His Apostles was while they were at table in Jerusalem, whence, that very day, he brought them out to Mount Olivet.

“He commanded that they should not depart from Jerusalem.” Likely, Jerusalem had but very little attraction for the Apostles, and they were anxious to leave it on account of the cruel death is their Lord there, and the fear of persecution from the Jews, and other reasons besides. Hence, the mandate given here by our Lord. The Apostles had departed from Jerusalem for Galilee eight days after our Lord’s Resurrection. But now they returned immediately before His Ascension. This was Divinely arranged, as it had been foretold that the Law should come forth from Sion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. There it was, that King David exercised the functions of Royalty. There, the greatest hatred and revolt against the Lord’s anointed were signally displayed. It was, therefore, meet that there the reign of the new David, His Son, the promised Messiah, should be inaugurated, and the Laws of His Kingdom first promulgated.

“Wait for the promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49). “Promise” is by metonymy, put for the gift promised or the object of the promise, viz., the Holy Ghost. Our Lord has in view to inflame their desire to receive the Holy Ghost. God the Father promised Him of old, through the mouth of the Prophets, especially Isaias 44:3; Joel 2:26, &c.

“Which you have heard,” &c. Here there is a transition from the indirect to the direct form of address, occasioned by the animated style of His discourse. Our Lord, before his passion, frequently spoke of the Holy Ghost, whom His Father was to send them, though promised by himself also (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7). But out of modesty He calls Him the promised of the Father, the Father being the fountain of the Trinity.

5. “John baptized with water.” Our Lord here institutes a comparison between the effects of John’s Baptism by water, and His own, through the Holy Ghost, which they were soon to receive in its fulness. This He does with a view of conveying to them that this promise of the Father was soon to be fulfilled in their regard.

“Not many days hence,” after the lapse of ten days, Pentecost Sunday. He does not specify the day, in order to keep them in a state of expectant vigilance, longing desire, and anxious preparation.

The words of our Lord in this v. are evidently allusive to those of the Baptist (Matthew 3:14; Luke 3:16; John 1:33. See Commentary on Matthew 3). The preceding words were spoken by our Lord to His disciples, on the occasion of His last appearance to them at table. He, then, took them out to Mount Olivet (Luke 24:50) where the words of following vv. were spoken.

6. “Come together,” viz., the Apostles, disciples, and other followers assembled on Mount Olivet, at His Ascension. The Apostles, doubtless, believed Him to be the Messiah. However, their faith being somewhat imperfect before the descent of the Holy Ghost, they shared in the erroneous ideas of their countrymen regarding the restoration by the Messiah, of the temporal rule of Israel, in a style of splendour far exceeding that of Solomon. This Kingdom, long since destroyed, was now in the hands of Herod, a stranger from Idumea. Hence the words, “restore again,” to its former splendour. Their minds are turned aside from all thoughts of the promised Spirit and His priceless Spiritual gifts to considerations of earthly grandeur.

“At this time.” After having displayed Almighty Power in raising Himself from the dead. “Wilt thou,” after the lapse of “not many days,” now at hand, when sending the Holy Ghost at the same time, restore to Israel her lost kingdom? The disciples hoped that he would have redeemed Israel (Luke 24:21) and rescue the people from the odious yoke of the Romans. They seemed to have no doubt of the fact—they enquire only regarding the time.

7. Gently rebuking them for their inordinate curiosity, without directly answering them. Our Lord tells them, it was no business of theirs, or of any other creature, to pry into the secrets of the Divine Mind reserved by God in the depths of His own Infinite counsels, in which His Consubstantial Son essentially and fully participated.

8. If they could understand it, our Lord gives the answer. He conveys to them that His would be a Spiritual Kingdom, founded on witnesses, commencing with Jerusalem from which the Law was to go forth, and carried by them to the uttermost bounds of the Earth, even to the entire Gentile world, to whom the Gospel was to be preached. He adds this for their consolation, after repressing their undue curiosity. Whence was the extraordinary vigour and energy necessary for them, as founders and propagators of this Spiritual Kingdom, to be derived? Whence the power, on the part of weak, ignorant fishermen, to cope successfully with kings and tyrants and learned Philosophers, and successfully bring all under subjection to the yoke of Christ? It was from the power of the Holy Ghost, who would soon descend on them, and by His power only they could succeed. “But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you.” The whole Earth was open to them, not even excepting “Samaria,” heretofore forbidden to them. Our Lord conveys to His Apostles that His Kingdom should be established far beyond the precincts of Judea, and that they should be instrumental in carrying on and pushing forward the great work.

9. “Raised up.” Gradually mounting up by His own power; blessing them as He ascended (Luke 24:51). Then, it was, that, at His Triumphal Ascension, the words were verified, “adorent cum omnes Angeli Dei” (Heb. 1:6). “Quis est iste qui venit de Edom,” &c. (Isaias. 63). “Attollite portas princepes vestras … et introibit Rex Gloriæ” (Ps. 63).

Among the sights St. Augustine longed to see, was a Roman triumph. “Roman triumphantem.” How poor must the most gorgeous Roman triumph appear, compared with this Magnificent Procession, when all Heaven was emptied of its countless hosts, to meet their triumphant Lord with His splendid trophies, the Saints and just of the old Law, whom rescued from the jaws of death, He carried His train to grace His triumph, throwing open to them the gates of Heaven so long closed. “Elevamini portœ æternales” (Ps. 23).

“And a cloud received Him,” &c. This “cloud” was produced anew for the purpose. A bright “cloud” is often a symbol of the presence of the Deity (Exod. 13:21; Numbers 9:15; Matthew 17:5). “Nubes et caligo in circuitu ejus” (Ps. 96). In the clouds He shall come again in glory, to judge mankind. Unlike Elias, snatched away in a whirlwind (4 Kings 2:11), our Lord mounted up gradually by His own innate Divine power, without any external aid, so that His glorified body could be seen vanishing out of sight; thus furnishing an additional proof of the reality of His Resurrection.

10. “Beholding Him.” Anxiously looking after Him, with a steadfast, loving gaze, as He was vanishing out of sight.

“Two men.” Clearly, angels in human form. Angels are sometimes called men (Luke 24:4).

“White garments.” This indicates their heavenly origin, and denotes the glory and triumph of our Lord, whose messengers they were. Angels are sometimes represented as appearing in white apparel (John 20:12; Matthew 28:3).

“Stood by them,” suddenly and supernaturally.

11. “Ye men of Galilee.” Most of the Apostles were Galileans. Our Redeemer’s followers were mostly from that obscure and despised Province, God thus selecting the weak and poor, preferably to the powerful and rich (1 Cor. 1).

“Why stand you looking,” &c.? Conveying, that henceforth, they must no longer expect to enjoy His visible presence. They must see Him by faith only. They must live by faith, bereft of His corporal presence, until the day when He shall return and visibly appear in Majesty, to judge the world. They should look forward to His second coming.

“This Jesus … shall so come as you have seen Him.” This self-same Man God shall come in glory one day, seated on a cloud, with all the ensigns of Majesty to judge the world.

12. “They returned to Jerusalem,” in obedience to our Lord’s final instructions, commanding them to remain there for some time.

“Olivet,” so called from the olive trees that grew there in great abundance. It would seem it was from this Mount our Lord ascended, at the eastern slope of which lay Bethany, whither, as we learn from St. Luke, our Lord brought His disciples before He ascended. (See St. Luke 24:50, Commentary on.) Likely, it was from this eastern slope He ascended.

Oriental travellers inform us, that our Lord indelibly impressed His foot prints on the spot, which no abrasure could obliterate. St. Helena built a magnificent church there. But no vaulting or covering could stand over the spot; so that it was constantly exposed to view. It was near this place Lazarus and his sisters lived. Near it was the scene of our Lord’s bloody sweat and agony. Hence, it was meet that it should be the scene of His final glorious triumph.

“A Sabbath-day’s journey”—the distance the Jews were allowed to travel on the Sabbath day; something about an English mile. The Law about the Sabbath-day’s journey was not a Mosaic ordinance. It was introduced by the Rabbins. For this they fixed the distance that should intervene between the Ark and the people (Josue 3:4)—or, the distance allowed by law between the centre and farthest boundaries of a Levitical city (Numbers 35:4).

13. “And when they were come in, they went up,” &c. The vulgate punctuation is, “and when they were come in to the upper room, they went up,” &c. The Greek punctuation followed by our English version is preferred by several able Commentators, A. Lapide among the rest. This “upper room” was likely, in some private house. Here, probably, our Lord celebrated the Last Supper. Here, took place two apparitions after the Resurrection (John 20:19, 26). Here, the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles. It was not in the Temple, as some would infer from St. Luke (24:53: See Commentary on).

“Where abode Peter,” &c. Here they spent one portion of their time, communing with God in prayer and with each other in pious conversation. They also devoted another portion of their time to the service of the Temple, attending there regularly and at stated hours (Luke 24:53).

It is deserving of remark, that in the several Catalogues of the Apostles given by the sacred writers (Matthew 10; Luke 6.) Peter always is placed at their head, indicating the Primacy conferred on him by our Lord over the entire Church.

14. “Persevering with one mind in prayer.” Unanimity and concord was a great help towards obtaining their requests, as discord or divisions would be a great obstacle (St. Cyprian, Epis. 8).

“With the women,” most likely refers to these pious and holy women headed by Magdalen, who followed our Lord and ministered to Him out of their temporal substance (Luke 8:2). This shows, the room was not in the Temple, where men and women were kept apart.

“With Mary the mother of Jesus.” She is here particularized and specially distinguished, as she had been by the Angel, from all other is the last notice taken of her in the Sacred Scriptures.

“And His brethren,” the near relatives of our Lord (Matthew 12:46; 13:55; John 7:5). St. Augustine tells us “the relations of the Blessed Virgin were called, the brethren of our Lord. It was the custom of the Scriptures to call near blood relations and kinsmen, brethren” (Tract xxxiii. 3, in Joannem). Hence the absurdity of the opinion that holds them to be the offspring of Joseph by a former marriage. If they were such, our Lord would have commended His Blessed Mother to them at His death, rather than to St. John.

15. “In those days,” in the interval between the Ascension and Pentecost, while they were abiding together before the descent of the Holy Ghost.

“Peter rising up,” &c. Already Peter begins to exercise the Primacy conferred on him by our Lord (Matthew 16, &c.) in proposing to the assembled Apostles the filling up of the vacancy effected in the Apostolic College, by the fall of the Traitor, Judas, and the substitution of another in his place. He thus carries out the mandate, “confirm thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). Whatever might be his own personal powers in the matter, he prudently remits the whole affair to his colleagues, of which he was head and chief.

“Number of persons.” Greek, “of names,” which signifies persons.

16. “Men, brethren.” All were united, as members of one family, by the common bonds of faith and charity. This was a solemn form of address.

“The Scripture must needs be fulfilled.” The prediction of God cannot be falsified. This, however, by no means implies the absence of liberty in man’s actions. If there be question of human actions, God predicts what he foresees man is to do in time, by his own free will. Man does not perform them because God foresees or predicts them. But God foresees them in the manner in which man is to perform them in time, that is, freely. The prevision of God no more interferes with the liberty of man in the performance of a future act, than the actual vision or seeing it performed at the present moment, interferes with the liberty of the agent, who now performs it. The knowledge and foreknowledge are external to the act, in both instances (see John 12:39: Commentary on).

“Which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas.” The quotation is read in v. 20. It primarily referred to David’s traitorous counsellor, Achitophel (2 Kings 15:23), but secondarily and mystically to the Traitor, Judas, “who was the leader,” &c. This is narrated (John 18:3).

17. “Numbered with us.” He was of the number of Apostles called and elected by our Lord, and was associated with them, invested with full Apostolic powers.

“And had obtained part,” &c. The Greek would convey, and had been allotted or obtained by lot a place in “this ministry.” This conveys the gratuitousness of his call, which on his part was quite independent of his merits, just as happens in the case of those who having no claim to it, obtain a thing by casting lots. It was, however, wisely and deliberately determined on the part of God. “Men cast lots; but, God determines the choice.”

18. “Purchased a field,” or caused it to be purchased, as it was he gave the purchase money, which he flung back to the Priests (Matthew 27:5–8) wherewith, not he, but they purchased it. Hence, said by Catachresis, to purchase it himself.

“The reward of iniquity,” It was purchased with the blood money which Judas received in payment for the iniquitous betrayal of his Divine Master.

“And being hanged.” St. Matthew says he did it himself. “He went and hanged himself with a halter” (27:5). The apparent discrepancy between the account given here and that given by St. Matthew (27:5–8), is easily explained. The explanation given fully in St. Matthew (see Commentary on). Both conjointly give a full account of the unhappy event. Similar was the unhappy end of the treacherous Achitophel (2 Kings 17:23), a type of Judas, both as to his crime and unhappy death.

19. “It became known,” &c., viz., the whole history of Judas’ treason, his unhappy end, after having returned the blood money with which the field was purchased. Hence, the field was called, in their tongue, viz., the Aramaic or Syro Chaldaic—the language in use after the captivity—“Haceldama,” which Luke interprets for Theophilus to mean “the field of blood.” For a full account see St. Matthew 27:5, &c. (Commentary on).

Some Commentators of note—among them Beelen—are of opinion that the words recorded, vv. 18, 19, were not spoken by St. Peter on this occasion; but, only inserted parenthetically by St. Luke here in his history, for the information of Theophilus, as nothing was said about it by St. Luke, in his Gospel addressed to Theophilus.

20. “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, let their habitation,” &c. The first member of this quotation is from Psalm (68:26). It is in the plural, in the original. In almost all Greek copies, it is written in the singular in this place, “let his habitation” &c. in accommodation to the case of Judas, to whom St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, applies it.

The Greek for “habitation,” επαυλις, originally denoted a shepherd’s hut. It was afterwards generally used to denote a dwelling of any sort.

“Become desolate,” given over to desolation and utter ruin.

The second member, “and his bishoprick,” &c. is taken from Psalm (108:8) and, indicates another and a different quotation. It signifies, also, as if to say, it is also written. This Psalm was full of maledictions on the unhappy Judas. St. Augustine informs us, that in this Psalm, David curses Doeg, who betrayed him to Saul, and in him, Judas, of whom Doeg was a type.

“His Bishopric.” His office of Apostle. In the original, the word denotes the office of Inspector or Superintendent, sometimes applied to Roman officials (Cicero, Lib. vii, Ep. ad Attium.) Here, in its application to Judas, it denotes the office of Apostle, conferred on Matthias.

21. He, therefore, proceeds to the election of a successor to Judas, in fulfilment of David’s prediction.

22. It is, therefore, fit or necessary that one of those men who have been associated with us during the time that our Lord freely conversing with us, laid open His whole life and lived familiarly with us, commencing with His public life, when John ministering Baptism to him, pointed Him out as the expected Messiah, as the lamb of God; until the day “He was taken up from us,” to heaven, should be appointed or made along with us, an authoritative “witness” of His Resurrection—the crowning mystery of His life—and the great undeniable proof of His Divinity.

“Came in and went out” is a Hebrew Idiom, denoting the whole course and actions of life.

“One of these,” by Hyperbaton, refers to the words, “wherefore of these,” &c., v. 21.

Special reference is made to our Lord’s Resurrection, which was the great fundamental proof of His Divinity—the great truth which was the Summary of the Apostolic preaching, without which our faith would be vain. (1 Cor. 15:14.) It was the formal cause of man’s justification, “Resurrexit propter justificationem nostram” (Rom. 4).

23. “And they appointed two,” &c. “Appointed” means proposed, put forward, nominated as candidates. The fact of their confining the declaration of the Divine choice to “two,” who were deemed most worthy by the assembled Church, could not be understood of any attempt to restrict the free choice of God. It is not for us to enquire, why it was confined to two, as it was done under the influence of the Holy Ghost.

“Joseph, called Barsabas,” meaning, the Son of Sabas, “who was surnamed Justus.” This may be a proper name, given him to distinguish him from others; or, it may have been given him, as title of honor, on account of his well-known sanctity. St. Chrysostom inclines to this latter opinion (Hom. 3 in Acta.). He was said to be one of the seventy-two (Eusebius i. 12).

The original, Ιουστος, is a sort of Latinized Greek, expressive of the Latin epithet given to Joseph. At this period of Jewish History, while the Jews were subject to Rome, it sometimes happened that Latin terms were introduced into the Greek, which was in common use. The Evangelist did so occasionally when writing in Greek. Such are the terms, Prætorium, Legio, Sudarium, &c. (A. Lapide).

Joseph is said to be the brother of James the lesser and Jude, son of Alpheus and Mary, and thus related to our Lord.

“And Matthias”—a contraction for Mathathias, which signifies, a gift from God. This name was common amongst the Jews. It is said he was one of the seventy-two disciples.

24. “And praying, they said.” They have recourse to prayer in common, that God would be pleased to make known, in some unmistakeable way, the Divine choice.

“Thou, O Lord.” This is addressed to our Blessed Saviour, who had now ascended into heaven. To Him omniscience is here attributed. “Lord” is usually addressed to our Divine Redeemer. He is called “Lord” (v. 21), and it is meet that Peter, the head of the Church, should here address Him by whom the other Apostles were chosen.

“Show,” declare, which of the two Thou hast chosen. It is remarked by St. Chrysostom that they do not ask Him to choose; but, assuming that the choice had been already determined on, in His Divine omniscience, to make known the choice He had made. God alone could immediately choose an Apostle (John 6:70).

25. “To take the place,” to be substituted in the Apostolic ministry in room of Judas. “Of this ministry and apostleship,” are by Hendyades put for “of this Apostolic Ministry” “from which Judas hath by transgression fallen,” by the commission of the most heinous of all crimes, the betrayal of his Divine Lord and Master, who had raised him to a dignity so exalted.

“That he might go” expresses not the intended design, but the consequence or result of Judas’s action. “To his own place”—the place deserved by his crime, and thus made “his own”—the place alone suited for him, his destined place in hell. “Heaven could not receive him. Earth could not bear him on her surface” (St. Bernard in Psalm 44:8). Regarding the words “his own place” there is a diversity of opinion. But, the most common opinion understands it of hell. Our Lord himself calls him “the son of perdition” (John 17:12).

26. “And they gave them lots.” How this was done cannot be defined for certain. Whether by voting or by inscribing the two names on tablets to be afterwards drawn out of an urn, the first drawn to be possibly the chosen party. The latter is rendered probable by the words, “the lot fell on Matthias.”

“Gave them.” The Greek αυτων, means “their” lots, that is, the lots of those who were to be elected.

We sometimes find the casting of lots for deciding and determining matters of great importance, sanctioned, in several instances, in the Old Testament, which need not be mentioned here in detail.

Here, the merits of both Candidates were unquestionable. Recource, therefore, to lots to determine which of two worthy subjects might be chosen could be safely resorted to. No doubt, the Apostles, acting under Divine influence, felt they could safely do so. It is not, however, to be inferred from particular cases, of a peculiar nature, as here, that it is generally lawful to look for extraordinary manifestations of the Divine Will or expose exalted responsible functions connected with the Salvation of Souls to hazard by the casting of lots, when ordinary safe means of determining matters could be resorted to. This was a special case and could not establish a precedent. The Apostles only did it once, and they did so clearly by the order of God, and under Divine influence. So that as the eleven Apostles were chosen by Christ, the choosing of the twelfth would not be left to man, but to God, who signified His choice by the extraordinary procedure of casting lots, after having been invited by the infant Church, through fervent prayers.

“And the lot fell on Matthias,” whose merits before men were not so distinguished as were those of “Joseph the Just.” It may be, possibly, in the judgment of God, that Matthias was possessed of greater prudence for Government. God selects men to high offices of His own free will and choice.

“And He was numbered with,” &c. The Greek for “numbered” means, by “common suffrages;” conveying, that all present praised and extolled the Divine choice. God had chosen. Men expressed their full approval of the Divine choice.








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