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Acts 8


 1 And (1) Saul consented to his death. And at that time, there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem, and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and of Samaria, except the Apostles.


(1) Christ useth the rage of his enemies to the spreading forth and enlarging of his kingdom.


  (2) Then certain men fearing God, (a) (*) carried Stephen among them, to be buried, and made great (♣) lamentation for him.


(2) The godly mourn for Stephen after his death, and bury him, shewing therein an example of singular faith and charity; but no man prayeth to him.
(a) Amongst all the duties of charity which the godly use, there is no mention made of enshrining up of relics.

(*) From the place where he was stoned.

(♣) When the Church is deprived of any worthy member, there is just cause of sorrow; and note that here is no mention of any relics or prayers for the dead, or worshiping.


  (3) But Saul made havoc of the Church, and entered into every house, and drew out both men and women, and put them into prison.


(3) The dispersion or scattering abroad of the faithful, is the joining together of Churches.


 4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad, went to and fro preaching the word.


 5  ∂ (4) Then came Philip into the city (*) of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.


(4) Philip, who was before a Deacon in Jerusalem, is made of God extraordinary an Evangelist.

(*) The conversion of Samaria was as it were the firstfruits of the calling of the Gentiles.


 6 And the people gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, with one accord, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.


 7 For unclean spirits crying with a loud voice, came out of many that were possessed of them; and many taken with palsies, and that halted, were healed.


 8 And there was great joy in that city.


 9  (5) And there was before in the city, a certain man called Simon, which used (b) witchcraft, and (c) bewitched the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was some great man.


(5) Christ overcometh Satan so oft as he lusteth, and carrieth him about as it were in a triumph in the sight of them, whom he deceived and bewitched.
(b) The word which is used in this place was at the first taken in good part, and is borrowed out of the Persianís language, who call their wise men by that name, but afterwards it was taken in evil part.
(c) He had so allured the Samaritans with his witchcrafts, that as blind and mad harebrains they were wholly addicted to him.


 10 To whom they (*) gave heed from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great (♣) power of God.


(*) This declareth how much more we are inclined to follow the illusions of Satan than the truth of God.

(♣) This is the craft of Satan to cover all his illusions under the Name of God.


 11 And they gave heed unto him, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.


 12 But as soon as they believed Philip, which preached the things that concerned the kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women.


 13  (6) Then Simon himself (*) believed also, and was baptized, and continued with Philip, and wondered, when he saw the signs and great miracles which were done.


(6) The wicked and the very reprobate are constrained oftentimes to taste of the good gift of God, but they cast it up again forthwith.

(*) The majesty of Godís word forced him to confess the truth; but yet was he not regenerated therefore.


 14  ∂ (7) Now when the Apostles, which were at Jerusalem, heard say, that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.


(7) Peter not chief, but as an ambassador sent from the whole company of the Apostles, and John his companion according to the authority which was committed unto them, confirm and build up the Churches of Samaria, whose foundation had been laid afore by Philip.


 15 Which when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the (d) (*) holy Ghost.


(d) Those excellent gifts, which are necessary, especially for them that were to be appointed rulers and governors of the Church.

(*) Meaning the particular gifts of the holy Spirit.


 16 (For as yet he was fallen down on none of them, but they were baptized (*) only in the Name of the Lord Jesus.)


(*) They had only received the common grace of adoption and regeneration which are offered to all the faithful in baptism, and as yet had not received the gift to speak in divers languages, and to do miracles.


 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the holy Ghost.


 18  (8) And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostlesí hands the holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,


(8) Ambition and covetousness do at length pluck the hypocrites out of their dens.


 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay the hands, he may receive the holy Ghost.


 20  (9) Then said Peter unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou thinkest that the gift of God may be obtained with money.


(9) They are the successors of Simon Magus, and not Simon Peter, which either buy or sell holy things.


 21 Thou hast neither part nor (*) fellowship in this (e) business, for thine heart is not (f) right in the sight of God.


(*) Thou art not worthy to be of the number of the faithful.

(e) In this doctrine which I preach.
(f) Is not upright indeed, and without dissembling.


 22  (10) (*) Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, that if it be (♣) possible, the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.


(10) We must hope well even of the vilest sinners, so long and so far forth as we may.

(*) That is, turn away from thy wickedness.

(♣) Hereby he would make him to feel his sin and not that he doubted of Godís mercies, if he could repent.


 23 For I see that thou art (*) in the (g) gall of bitterness, and in the (h) bond of iniquity.


(*) Or thine heart is full of despiteful malice, and devilish poison of impiety, so that now Satan hath thee tied as captive in his bands.

(g) He calleth the inward malice of the heart, and that venomous and devilish wickedness wherewith this Magician was wholly replenished, the gall of bitterness; and he is said to be in the gall, as though he were wholly overwhelmed with gall, and buried in it.
(h) Entangled in the bonds of iniquity.


 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken, come upon me.


 25  ∂ So they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many towns of the Samaritans.


 26  (11) Then the Angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the South unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is (*) waste.


(11) Christ who calleth freely whom he lusteth, doeth now use Philip who thought on no such matter, to instruct and baptize the Eunuch at unawares, and by this means extendeth the limits of his kingdom even into Ethiopia.

(*) After that Alexander had destroyed it, it was not much peopled, as it was afore, and therefore in respect was as waste.


 27 And he arose and went on; and behold, a certain (*) Eunuch of Ethiopia, Candace the Queen of the Ethiopians (i) chief Governor, who had the rule of all her treasure, and came to Jerusalem to worship;


(*) Eunuch signifieth him that is gelded; but because in the East parts great affairs were committed to such, it came in use that noble men were called Eunuchs, although they were not gelded; also all manner officers and servants, that were put in credit or necessary affairs, were called by this name, as Isaiah 39:7 .

(i) A man of great wealth and authority with Candace. Now this word Candace is a common name to all the Queens of Ethiopia.


 28 And as he returned sitting in his chariot, he read Isaiah the Prophet.


 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near and join thyself to yonder chariot.


 30 And Philip ran thither, and heard him read the Prophet Isaiah, and said, But understandest thou what thou readest?


 31 And he said, How can I, except I had (k) a guide? And he desired Philip, that he would come up and sit with him.


(k) To shew me the way how to understand it.


 32  (12) Now the place of the Scripture which he read, was this, (*) He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.


(12) Those things which seem most to come by chance or fortune (as men term it) are governed by the secret providence of God.

(*) Isaiah 53:7 .


 33  (*) In his (l) humility his (♣) judgment hath been exalted; but who shall declare his (m) (♠) generation? For his life is taken from the (♦) earth.


(*) Albeit Christ was in grave and in deathís bands, feeling also his Fatherís anger against sin, yet he brake the bands of death and was exalted, Acts 2:24 .

(l) The Hebrew text readeth it thus, Out of a narrow strait, and out of judgment was he taken; whereby the narrow strait, be meaneth the grave and the very bonds of death, and by judgment, the punishment which was laid upon him, and the miserable state which Christ took upon him for our sakes, in bearing his Father's wrath.

(♣) The punishment which he suffered was the beginning of his glory.
(m) How long his age shall last, for Christ having once risen from the dead, dieth no more, Romans 6:9 .

(♠) That is, how long his age shall endure, for being risen from death, death shall no more reign, neither shall his kingdom ever have end; or else we may take generation, for his Church which never shall have end, for now they sit in the heavenly places with Christ their head, as Ephesians 2:6 .

(♦) And he now reigneth in heaven.


 34 Then the Eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the Prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man?


 35 Then Philip (*) opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.


(*) He declareth at length this matter of so great importance.


 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water, and the Eunuch said, See, here is water, what doeth let me to be baptized?


 37  (13) And Philip said unto him, If thou believest with (*) all thine heart, thou mayest. Then he answered, and said, (n) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.


(13) Profession of faith is requisite in baptizing of them which are of years, and therefore it is evident that we are not then first engrafted into Christ, when we are baptized, but being already engrafted are then confirmed.

(*) With a pure and perfect heart.
(n) The sum of the confession which is necessary for baptism.


 38 Then he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him.


 39 And as soon as they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the Eunuch (*) saw him no more, so he went on his way rejoicing.


(*) This was, to the intent that he might know so much the better that Philip was sent to him by God.


 40 But Philip (*) was found at (♣) Azotus, and he walked to and fro preaching in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.


(*) Or, perceived himself to be.

(♣) Some think this city was also called Ashdod, Joshua 15:47 .






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