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1: But a certain man named Ananias - It is certain, not a
believer, for all that believed were of one heart and of one
soul: probably not baptized; but intending now to offer himself
2: And bringing a certain part - As if it had been the whole:
perhaps saying it was so.
3: To lie to the Holy Ghost - Who is in us. And to keep back - Here
was the first instance of it. This was the first attempt to
bring propriety of goods into the Christian Church.
4: While it remained, did it not remain thine? - It is true,
whosoever among the Christians (not one excepted) had houses
or lands, sold them, and laid the price at the feet of the
apostles. But it was in his own choice to be a Christian or
not: and consequently either to sell his land, or keep it.
And when it was sold, was it not in thy power? - For it does not
appear that he professed himself a Christian when he sold it.
Why hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart? - So profanely
to dissemble on so solemn an occasion? Thou hast not lied to
men only, but to God also. Hence the Godhead of the Holy Ghost
evidently appears: since lying to him, (Ac 5:3), is lying to God.
5: And Ananias fell down and expired - And this severity was
not only just, considering that complication of vain glory,
covetousness, fraud, and impiety, which this action contained:
but it was also wise and gracious, as it would effectually
deter any others from following his example. It was likewise
a convincing proof of the upright conduct of the apostles, in
managing the sums with which they were intrusted; and in general
of their Divine mission. For none can imagine that Peter would
have had the assurance to pronounce, and much less the power to
execute such a sentence, if he had been guilty himself of a
fraud of the same kind; or had been belying the Holy Ghost in
the whole of his pretensions to be under his immediate direction.
7: About the space of three hours - How precious a space! The
woman had a longer time for repentance.
8: If ye sold the land for so much - Naming the sum.
10: The Church - This is the first time it is mentioned: and
here is a native specimen of a New Testament Church; which is
a company of men, called by the Gospel, grafted into Christ by
baptism, animated by love, united by all kind of fellowship,
and disciplined by the death of Ananias and Sapphira.
12: And they were all - All the believers.
13: None of the rest - No formalists or hypocrites, durst join
themselves - In an outward show only, like Ananias and Sapphira.
14: But so much the more were true believers added, because
unbelievers kept at a distance.
17: The high priest - and the sect of the Sadducees - A goodly
company for the priest! He, and these deniers of any angel
or resurrection, were filled with zeal - Angry, bitter,
20: The words of this - That is, these words of life: words
which show the way to life everlasting.
23: We found the prison shut - The angel probably had shut
the doors again.
24: They doubted what this should be - They were even at their
wits' end. The world, in persecuting the children of God,
entangle themselves in numberless difficulties.
28: Did not we strictly command you, not to teach? - See the
poor cunning of the enemies of the Gospel. They make laws and
interdicts at their pleasure, which those who obey God cannot
but break; and then take occasion thereby to censure and punish
the innocent, as guilty. Ye would bring the blood of this man
upon us - An artful and invidious word. The apostles did not
desire to accuse any man. They simply declared the naked truth.
29: Then Peter - In the name of all the apostles, said - He does
not now give them the titles of honour, which he did before,(Ac 4:8); but enters directly upon the subject, and justifies
what he had done. This is, as it were, a continuation of that
discourse, but with an increase of severity.
30: Hath raised up Jesus - Of the seed of David, according to
the promises made to our fathers.
31: Him hath God exalted - From the grave to heaven; to give
repentance - Whereby Jesus is received as a Prince; and
forgiveness of sins - Whereby he is received as a Saviour.
Hence some infer, that repentance and faith are as mere gifts
as remission of sins. Not so: for man co - operates in the
former, but not in the latter. God alone forgives sins.
32: And also the Holy Ghost - A much greater witness.
34: But a certain Pharisee - And as such believing the resurrection
of the dead; a doctor, or teacher of the law - That is, a scribe,
and indeed one of the highest rank; had in honour by all the
people - Except the Sadducees; rising up in the council - So God can
raise defenders of his servants, whensoever and wheresoever he
36: Before these days - He prudently mentions the facts first, and
then makes the inference.
38: Let them alone - In a cause which is manifestly good, we
should immediately join. In a cause, on the other hand, which
is manifestly evil, we should immediately oppose. But in a
sudden, new, doubtful occurrence, this advice is eminently
useful. If this counsel or this work - He seems to correct
himself, as if it were some sudden work, rather than a counsel
or design. And so it was. For the apostles had no counsel, plan,
or design of their own; but were mere instruments in the hand of
God, working just as he led them from day to day.
41: Rejoicing - to suffer shame - This is a sure mark of the truth,
joy in affliction, such is true, deep, pure.