View Acts 2 in the note window.
1: At the pentecost of Sinai, in the Old Testament, and the
pentecost of Jerusalem, in the New, where the two grand
manifestations of God, the legal and the evangelical; the one
from the mountain, and the other from heaven; the terrible, and
the merciful one. They were all with one accord in one place - So
here was a conjunction of company, minds, and place; the whole
hundred and twenty being present.
2: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven - So will the Son
of man come to judgment. And it filled all the house - That is,
all that part of the temple where they were sitting.
3: And there appeared distinct tongues, as of fire - That is,
small flames of fire. This is all which the phrase, tongues
of fire, means in the language of the seventy. Yet it might
intimate God's touching their tongues as it were (together with
their hearts) with Divine fire: his giving them such words as
were active and penetrating, even as flaming fire.
4: And they began to speak with other tongues - The miracle was
not in the ears of the hearers, (as some have unaccountably
supposed,) but in the mouth of the speakers. And this family
praising God together, with the tongues of all the world, was an
earnest that the whole world should in due time praise God in
their various tongues. As the Spirit gave them utterance - Moses,
the type of the law, was of a slow tongue; but the Gospel speaks
with a fiery and flaming one.
5: And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews - Gathered from all
parts by the peculiar providence of God.
6: The multitude came together, and were confounded - The motions
of their minds were swift and various.
9: Judea - The dialect of which greatly differed from that of
Galilee. Asia - The country strictly so called.
10: Roman sojourners - Born at Rome, but now living at Jerusalem.
These seem to have come to Jerusalem after those who are above
mentioned. All of them were partly Jews by birth, and partly
11: Cretans - One island seems to be mentioned for all. The
wonderful works of God - Probably those which related to the
miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, together
with the effusion of his Spirit, as a fulfilment of his promises,
and the glorious dispensations of Gospel grace.
12: They were all amazed - All the devout men.
13: But others mocking - The world begins with mocking, thence
proceeds to cavilling, to threats, to
imprisoning, blows, to slaughter.(Ac 4:7,17,5:18,5:40,7:58)These mockers appear to have been some of the
natives of Judea, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, (who understood
only the dialect of the country,) by the apostle's immediately
directing his discourse to them in the next verse. They are
full of sweet wine - So the Greek word properly signifies. There
was no new wine so early in the year as pentecost. Thus natural
men are wont to ascribe supernatural things to mere natural
causes; and many times as impudently and unskilfully as in the
14: Then Peter standing up - All the gestures, all the words of
Peter, show the utmost sobriety; lifted up his voice - With
cheerfulness and boldness; and said to them - This discourse has
three parts; each of which, (Ac 2:14,22,29), begins with the
same appellation, men: only to the last part he prefixes with
more familiarity the additional word brethren. Men of Judea
- That is, ye that are born in Judea. St. Peter spoke in Hebrew,
which they all understood.
15: It is but the third hour of the day - That is, nine in the
morning. And on the solemn festivals the Jews rarely ate or
drank any thing till noon.
16: But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet - But
there is another and better way of accounting for this.(Joe 2:28)
17: The times of the Messiah are frequently called the last
days, the Gospel being the last dispensation of Divine grace.
I will pour out of my Spirit - Not on the day of pentecost only,
upon all flesh - On persons of every age, sex, and rank. And
your young men shall see visions - In young men the outward sense,
are most vigorous, and the bodily strength is entire, whereby
they are best qualified to sustain the shock which usually
attends the visions of God. In old men the internal senses are
most vigorous, suited to divine dreams. Not that the old are
wholly excluded from the former, nor the young from the latter.
18: And upon my servants - On those who are literally in a state
19: And I will show prodigies in heaven above, and signs on
earth beneath - Great revelations of grace are usually attended
with great judgments on those who reject it. In heaven - Treated
of, (Ac 2:20).
On earth - Described in this verse. Such signs were those
mentioned, (Ac 2:22), before the passion of Christ; which
are so mentioned as to include also those at the very time of
the passion and resurrection, at the destruction of Jerusalem,
and at the end of the world.
Terrible indeed were those prodigies in particular which preceded
the destruction of Jerusalem: such as the flaming sword hanging
over the city, and the fiery comet pointing down upon it for a
year; the light that shone upon the temple and the altar in the
night, as if it had been noon - day; the opening of the great and
heavy gate of the temple without hands; the voice heard from the
most holy place, Let us depart hence; the admonition of Jesus the
son of Ananus, crying for seven years together, Wo, wo, wo; the
vision of contending armies in the air, and of entrenchments
thrown up against a city there represented; the terrible thunders
and lightnings, and dreadful earthquakes, which every one
considered as portending some great evil: all which, through the
singular providence of God, are particularly recorded by Josephus.
Blood - War and slaughter. Fire - Burnings of houses and towns,
involving all in clouds of smoke.
20: The moon shall be turned into blood - A bloody colour: before
the day of the Lord - Eminently the last day; though not excluding
any other day or season, wherein the Lord shall manifest his
glory, in taking vengeance of his adversaries.
21: But - whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord - This
expression implies the whole of religion, and particularly
prayer uttered in faith; shall be saved - From all those
plagues; from sin and hell.
23: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God - The apostle here anticipates an objection,
Why did God suffer such a person to be so treated? Did he not
know what wicked men intended to do? And had he not power to
prevent it? Yea. He knew all that those wicked men intended
to do. And he had power to blast all their designs in a moment.
But he did not exert that power, because he so loved the world!
Because it was the determined counsel of his love, to redeem
mankind from eternal death, by the death of his only - begotten Son.
24: Having loosed the pains of death - The word properly means,
the pains of a woman in travail. As it was not possible that
he should be held under it - Because the Scripture must needs be
25: (Ps 16:8).
27: Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades - The invisible world.
But it does not appear, that ever our Lord went into hell. His
soul, when it was separated from the body, did not go thither,
but to paradise, (Lu 23:43). The meaning is, Thou wilt not
leave my soul in its separate state, nor suffer my body to be
28: Thou hast made known to me the ways of life - That is, Thou
hast raised me from the dead. Thou wilt fill me with joy by
thy countenance - When I ascend to thy right hand.
29: The patriarch - A more honourable title than king.
30: (Ps 89:4).
32: He foreseeing this, spake of the resurrection Of Christ - St.
Peter argues thus: It is plain, David did not speak this of
himself. Therefore he spake of Christ's rising. But how does
that promise of a kingdom imply his resurrection? Because he
did not receive it before he died, and because his kingdom was
to endure for ever, (2Sa 7:13).
33: Being exalted by the right hand of God - By the right hand;
that is, the mighty power of God. Our Lord was exalted at his
ascension to God's right hand in heaven.
34: Sit thou on my right hand - In this and the following verse is
an allusion to two ancient customs; one, to the highest honour
that used to be paid to persons by placing them on the right
hand, as Solomon did Bathsheba, when sitting on his throne,(1Ki 2:19); and the other, to the custom of conquerors, who
used to tread on the necks of their vanquished enemies, as a
token of their entire victory and triumph over them.
35: Until I make thine enemies thy footstool - This text is here
quoted with the greatest address, as suggesting in the words of
David, their great prophetic monarch, how certain their own ruin
must be, if they went on to oppose Christ.(Ps 110:1).
36: Lord - Jesus, after his exaltation, is constantly meant by this
word in the New Testament, unless sometimes where it occurs, in a
text quoted from the Old Testament.
37: They said to the apostles, Brethren - They did not style them
38: Repent - And hereby return to God: be baptized - Believing in
the name of Jesus - And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
- See the three - one God clearly proved. See (Ac 26:20).
The gift of the Holy Ghost does not mean in this place the power
of speaking with tongues. For the promise of this was not given
to all that were afar off, in distant ages and nations. But
rather the constant fruits of faith, even righteousness, and
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Whomsoever the Lord our God
shall call - (Whether they are Jews or Gentiles) by his word and
by his Spirit: and who are not disobedient to the heavenly
calling. But it is observable St. Peter did not yet understand
the very words he spoke.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort - In such
an accepted time we should add line upon line, and not leave off,
till the thing is done. Save yourselves from this perverse
generation - Many of whom were probably mocking still.
41: And there were added - To the hundred and twenty.
42: And they continued steadfast - So their daily Church communion
consisted in these four particulars:
- Hearing the word;
- Having all things common;
- Receiving the Lord's Supper;
Ye diff'rent sects, who all declare,
Lo here is Christ, and Christ is there;
Your stronger proofs divinely give,
And show me where the Christians live!
43: And fear came upon every soul - Of those who did not join
with them: whereby persecution was prevented, till it was
needful for them.
45: And sold their possessions - Their lands and houses; and
goods - Their movables. And parted them to all as any one had
need - To say the Christians did this only till the destruction
of Jerusalem, is not true; for many did it long after. Not that
there was any positive command for so doing: it needed not; for
love constrained them. It was a natural fruit of that love
wherewith each member of the community loved every other as his
own soul. And if the whole Christian Church had continued in
this spirit, this usage must have continued through all ages.
To affirm therefore that Christ did not design it should
continue, is neither more nor less than to affirm, that Christ
did not design this measure of love should continue. I see no
proof of this.
46: Continuing daily - breaking the bread - in the Lord's Supper,
as did many Churches for some ages. They partook of their
food with gladness and singleness of heart - They carried the
same happy and holy temper through all their common actions:
eating and working with the same spirit wherewith they prayed
and received the Lord's Supper.
47: The Lord added daily such as were saved - From their sins:
from the guilt and power of them.