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Acts 5


 1 But (1) a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,


(1) Luke sheweth by contrary examples, how great a sin hypocrisy is, especially in them which under a false pretence and cloak of zeal, would seem to shine and be chief in the Church.


 2 And (a) (*) kept away part of the price, his wife also being of counsel, and brought a certain part, and laid it down at the Apostlesí feet.


(a) Craftily took away.

(*) Which signified their sacrilege, distrust, and hypocrisy.


 3 Then said Peter, Ananias, why hath Satan (b) filled thine heart, that thou shouldest (c) lie unto the holy (*) Ghost, and keep away part of the price of the possession?


(b) Fully possessed.
(c) For when they had appointed that farm or possession for the Church, they stuck not at it to keep away a part of the price, as though they had to do with men, and not with God, and therefore he saith afterward that they tempted God.

(*) Who moved thine heart to sell thy possession; whereas you turnest part to another use, as if God did not see thy dissimulation.


 4 Whiles it remained, (*) appertained it not unto thee? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own (♣) power? How is it that thou hast (d) conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.


(*) His sin therefore was so much greater in that he committed it willingly.

(♣) Then no man was compelled to sell his possessions, nor to put his money to the common use.

(d) Hereby is declared an advised and purposed deceit, and the fault of the man in admitting the devil's suggestions.


 5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down, and gave up the ghost. Then great fear came on all them that heard these things.


 6 And the young men rose up, and took him up, and carried him out, and buried him.


 7 And it (*) came to pass about the space of three hours after, that his wife came in, ignorant of that which was done.


(*) Because that God so disposed it.


 8 And Peter said unto her, Tell me, sold ye the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.


 9 Then Peter said unto her, Why have ye agreed together, to (e) (*) tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thine husband, are at the (f) door, and shall carry thee out.


(e) Look how oft men do things with an evil conscience, so oft they pronounce sentence against themselves, and as much as in them lieth, provoke God to anger, as of set purpose, minding to try whether he be just and almighty or no.

(*) And to mock him, as if he should not have known your crafty fetch, which declareth that when men do anything of an evil conscience, they do not only pronounce the sentence of damnation upon themselves, but also provoke the wrath of God, because they do prove, as it were, purposely, whether God be righteous and almighty.
(f) Are at hand.


 10 Then she fell down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost, and the young men came in, and found her dead, and carried her out, and buried her by her husband.


 11  (2) And great fear came on all the Church, and on as many as heard these things.


(2) The Lord by his marvelous virtue bridleth some, that they may not hurt the Church; other some he awe and fear; and other some he allureth unto him.


 12 Thus by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders shewed among the people (and they were all with one accord in (*) Solomonís porch.


(*) Read the annotation upon the figure at 1 Kings 6:12 .


 13 And of the other (*) durst no man join himself to them; nevertheless the people (g) (♣) magnified them.


(*) Because of their own evil consciences which made them to tremble; for they that were not assured of Gods mercies in Christ, were astonished at these his strange judgments.

(g) Highly praised them.

(♣) That is, they gave them great praise.


 14 Also the number of them that believed in the Lord, both of men and women, grew more and more.)


 15 Insomuch that they brought the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the leastway the shadow of Peter, when he came by, might shadow some of them.


 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits, who were all healed.


 17  ∂ (3) Then the chief Priest rose up, and all they that were with him (which was the (h) sect of the (*) Sadducees) and were full of (♣) indignation,


(3) The more that the Church increaseth, the more increaseth the rage of Satan, and therefore they proceed from threatenings, to prisoning.
(h) The word which is used here, is Heresy, which signifieth a choice, and so is taken for a right form of learning, or faction, or study and course of life, which the Latinís call a sect; at the first this word was indifferently used, but at length, it came to be taken only in evil part, whereupon came the name of Heretic, which is taken for one that goeth astray from sound and wholesome doctrine after such sort, that he setteth light by the judgment of God and his Church, and continueth in his opinion, and breaketh the peace of the Church.

(*) Which then were the chief among them.

(♣) They were full of blind zeal, emulation and jealously, in defence of their superstition.


 18 And laid hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison.


 19  (4) But the Angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,


(4) Angels are made servants of the servants of God.


 20  (5) Go your way, and stand in the Temple, and speak to the people, all the (i) words of this (*) life.


(5) God doeth therefore deliver his, that they may more stoutly provoke his enemies.
(i) Words, whereby the way unto life is shewed.

(*) That is, of the lively doctrine, whereby the way to life is declared.


 21  (6) So when they heard it, they entered into the Temple early in the morning, and taught. And the chief Priest came, and they that were with him, and called the Council together, and all the Elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison, to cause them to be brought.


(6) God mocketh his enemies attempts from above.


 22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told it,


 23 Saying, Certainly we found the prison shut as sure as was possible, and the keepers (*) standing without, before the doors; but when we had opened, we found no man within.


(*) So that there was no fraud nor deceit, not negligence, but it lively setteth forth the power of God and his providence for his.


 24 Then when the chief Priest and the captain of the Temple, and the high Priests heard these things, they doubted of them, whereunto this would grow.


 25  (7) Then came one and shewed them, saying, Behold, the men that ye put in prison, are standing in the Temple, and teach the people.


(7) The more openly that Christ's virtue sheweth itself, the more increaseth the madness of his enemies which conspire against him.


 26  (8) Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence (for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.)


(8) Tyrants which fear not God, are constrained to fear his servants.


 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the Council, and the chief Priest asked them,


 28  (9) Saying, Did not we straightly command you, that ye should not teach in this Name? And behold, ye have filled (*) Jerusalem with your doctrine, and ye would (k) bring this manís (♣) blood upon us.


(9) It is the property of tyrants to set out their own commandments as right and reason, be they never so wicked.

(*) He accuseth them of rebellion and sedition.
(k) Make us guilty of murdering, that man whom yet they will not voucheth to name.

(♣) And to make us guilty of Christís death.


 29  (10) Then Peter and the Apostles answered, and said, We ought rather to obey God than (*) men.


(10) We ought to obey no man, but so far forth as obeying him, we may obey God.

(*) When they command, or forbid us anything contrary to the word of God.


 30  (11) The (*) God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, and hanged on a tree.


(11) Christ is appointed and indeed declareth Prince and preserver of his Church, in despite of his enemies.

(*) Acts 3:13 .


 31 Him hath God lifted up with his right hand, to be a Prince and a (*) Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.


(*) Meaning that he is the mediator and only means between God and man.


 32  (12) And we are his witnesses concerning these things which we say; yea, and the holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey (*) him.


(12) It is not sufficient for us that there is a right end, but we must also according to our vocation go on forward till we come unto it.

(*) That is, Christ.


 33 Now when they heard it, they (l) brast for anger, and consulted to slay them.


(l) This reckoneth that they were in a most vehement rage, and marvelously disquieted in mind, for it is a borrowed kind of speech taken from them which are harassly cut in sunder with a saw.


 34  (13) Then stood there up in the Council a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor of the Law, honored of all the people, and commanded to put the Apostles forth a little space,


(13) Christ findeth defenders of his cause even in the very route of his enemies, so oft as he thinketh it needful.


 35 And said unto them, Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves, what ye intend to do touching these men.


 36  (14) For before these times, rose up (*) Theudas (m) boasting himself, to whom resorted a number of men, about four hundred, who was slain, and they all which obeyed him were scattered, and brought to nought.


(14) In matters of religion we must take good heed that we attempt nothing under a color of zeal, beside our vocation.

(*) This Theudas was above thirty years before him, of whom Josephus mentioneth, library 20 de Antiquities chapter 4; that was after the death of Herod the Great, when Archelaus his son was at Rome, at what time Judea was full of insurrections; so that it is not sure to give credit to Eusebius in this point.
(m) To be of some fame.


 37 After this man, arose up (*) Judas of Galilee, in the days of the tribute, and drew away much people after him; he also perished, and all that obeyed him, were scattered abroad.


(*) Of him maketh mention Josephus library 18; where he speaketh of the taxing, Luke 2:1 .


 38 And now I say unto you, (n) Refrain yourselves from these men, and let them alone, for if this counsel, or this work be of (o) men, it will come to nought;


(n) He dissuadeth his fellows from murdering the Apostles, neither doeth he think it good to refer the matter to the Roman Magistrate, for the Jews could abide nothing worse, than to have the tyranny of the Romans confirmed.
(o) If it be counterfeit and devised.


 39 But if it be of (*) God, ye cannot destroy it, lest ye be found even fighters against God.


(*) He groundeth upon good principles, but he doubteth of the quality of the cause, neither dare affirm whether it be good or bad; wherein appeareth he was but a worldling.


 40 And to him they agreed, and called the Apostles, and when they had beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go.


 41  (15) So they departed from the Council, rejoicing, that they were counted worthy to suffer rebuke for his Name.


(15) The Apostles, accustomed to suffer and bear words, are at length inured to bear stripes, yet so, that by that means they become stronger.


 42 And daily in the (p) Temple, and from house to house they ceased not to teach, and preach Jesus Christ.


(p) Both publicly and privately.




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