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1: There arose a murmuring - Here was the first breach made on
those who were before of one heart and of one soul. Partiality
crept in unawares on some; and murmuring on others. Ah Lord!
how short a time did pure, genuine, undefiled Christianity
remain in the world! O the depth! How unsearchable are thy
counsels! Marvellous are thy ways, O King of saints! The
Hellenists were Jews born out of Palestine. They were so called,
because they used the Greek as their in other tongue.
In this partiality of the Hebrews, and murmuring of the
Hellenists, were the needs of a general persecution sown. Did
God ever, in any age or country, withdraw his restraining
providence, and let loose the world upon the Christians, till
there was a cause among themselves? Is not an open, general
persecution, always both penal and medicinal? A punishment of
those that will not accept of milder reproofs, as well as a
medicine to heal their sickness? And at the same time a means
both of purifying and strengthening those whose heart is still
right with God.
2: It is not right that we should leave the word of God and serve
tables - In the first Church, the primary business of apostles,
evangelists, and bishops, was to preach the word of God; the
secondary, to take a kind of paternal care (the Church being
then like a family,) for the food, especially of the poor, the
strangers, and the widows. Afterward, the deacons of both sexes
were constituted for this latter business. And whatever time
they had to spare from this, they employed in works of spiritual
mercy. But their proper office was, to take care of the poor.
And when some of them afterward preached the Gospel, they
did this not by virtue of their deaconship, but of another
commission, that of evangelists, which they probably received,
not before, but after they were appointed deacons. And it is
not unlikely that others were chosen deacons, or stewards, in
their room, when any of these commenced evangelists.
3: Of good report - That there may be no room to suspect them of
partiality or injustice. Full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom - For
it is not a light matter to dispense even the temporal goods of
the Church. To do even this well, a large measure both of the
gifts and grace of God is requisite. Whom we will set over
this business - It would have been happy for the Church, had its
ordinary ministers in every age taken the same care to act in
concert with the people committed to their charge, which the
apostles themselves, extraordinary as their office was, did on
this and other occasions.
4: We will constantly attend to prayer, and to the ministry of
the word - This is doubtless the proper business of a Christian
bishop: to speak to God in prayer; to men in preaching his word,
as an ambassador for Christ.
5: And they chose - It seems seven Hellenists, as their names show.
And Nicholas a proselyte - To whom the proselytes would the more
7: And the word of God grew - The hinderances being removed.
9: There arose certain of the synagogue which is called - It was
one and the same synagogue which consisted of these several
nations. Saul of Cilicia was doubtless a member of it; whence
it is not at all improbable, that Gamaliel presided over it.
Libertines - So they were styled, whose fathers were once slaves,
and afterward made free. This was the ease of many Jews who had
been taken captive by the Romans.
14: We have heard him say - So they might. But yet the consequence
they drew would not follow.
15: As the face of an angel - Covered with supernatural lustre.
They reckoned his preaching of Jesus to be the Christ was
destroying Moses and the law; and God bears witness to him, with
the same glory as he did to Moses, when he gave the law by him.