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ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
xv. 3, as the southern extremity of the tribe of | iv. 11), which favours the supposition that he Judah [AKRABBIM]. Another district of the was the writer of the narrative of the apostle's same name is mentioned by Josephus as extend-journey to that city. It was rejected by certain ing between Shechem and Jericho, but it is not heretics in the primitive times, such as the Marmentioned in Scripture. cionites, the Severians, and the Manicheans, or we should rather say, it was cast aside by them because it did not favour their peculiar views. A complaint made by Chrysostom would lead us to infer that in his day, though received as genuine, the Acts was generally omitted from the number of books publicly read in the churches, and had consequently become little known among the people attending those churches.
Many critics are inclined to regard the Gospel by Luke and the Acts of the Apostles as having formed originally only one work, consisting of two parts. But this opinion is at variance with Luke's own description of the relation of these two writings to each other (being called by him, the one the former and the other the latter treatise); and also with the fact that the two works have invariably, and from the earliest times, appeared with distinct titles.
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. This is the title of one of the canonical books of the New Testament, the fifth in order in the common arrangement, and the last of those properly of an historical character. Commencing with a reference to an account given in a former work of the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before his ascension, its author proceeds to conduct us to an acquaintance with the circumstances attending that event, the conduct of the disciples on their return from witnessing it, the outpouring on them of the Holy Spirit according to Christ's promise to them before his crucifixion, and the amazing success which, as a consequence of this, attended the first announcement by them of the doctrine concerning Jesus as the promised Messiah and the Saviour of the World. After giving the history of the mother-church at Jerusalem up to the period when the violent persecution of its members by the rulers of the Jews had broken up their society and scattered them, with the exception of the apostles, throughout he whole of the surrounding region; and after introducing to the notice of the reader the case of a remarkable conversion of one of the most zealous persecutors of the church, who afterwards became one of its most devoted and successful advocates, the narrative takes a wider scope and opens to our view the gradual expansion of the church by the free admission within its pale of persons directly converted from heathenism and who had not passed through the preliminary stage of Judaism. The first step towards this more liberal and cosmopolitan order of things having been effected by Peter, to whom the honour of laying the foundation of the Christian church, both within and without the confines of Judaism, seems, in accordance with our Lord's declaration concerning him (Matt. xvi. 18), to have been reserved, Paul, the recent convert and the destined apostle of the Gentiles, is brought forward as the main actor on the scene. On his course of missionary activity, his successes and his sufferings, the chief interest of the narrative is thenceforward concentrated, until, having followed him to Rome, whither he had been sent as a prisoner to abide his trial, on his own appeal, at the bar of the emperor himself, the book abruptly closes, leaving us to gather further information concerning him and the fortunes of the church from other sources.
Of the greater part of the events recorded in the Acts the writer himself appears to have been witness. He is for the first time introduced into the narrative in ch. xvi. 11, where he speaks of accompanying Paul to Philippi. He then disappears from the narrative until Paul's return to Philippi, more than two years afterwards, when it is stated that they left that place in company (xx. 6); from which it may be justly inferred that Luke spent the interval in that town. From this time to the close of the period embraced by his narrative he appears as the companion of the apostle. For the materials, therefore, of all he has recorded from ch. xvi. 11, to xxviii. 31, he may be regarded as having drawn upon his own recollection or on that of the apostle. To the latter source, also, may be confidently traced all he has recorded concerning the earlier events of the apostle's career; and as respects the cireumstances recorded in the first twelve chapters of the Acts, and which relate chiefly to the church at Jerusalem and the labours of the apostle Peter, we may readily suppose that they were so much the matter of general notoriety among the Christians with whom Luke associated, that he needed no assistance from any other merely human source in recording them.
Respecting the authorship of this book there can be no ground for doubt or hesitation. It is, unquestionably, the production of the same writer by whom the third of the four Gospels was composed, as is evident from the introductory sentences of both (comp. Luke i. 1-4, with Acts i. 1). That this writer was Luke has not in either case been called in question, and is uniformly asserted by tradition. From the book itself, also, it appears that the author accompanied Paul to Rome when he went to that city as a prisoner (xxviii.). Now, we know from two epistles written by Paul at that time, that Luke was with him at Řome (Col. iv. 14; 2 Tim. |
With regard to the design of the evangelist in writing this book, a prevalent popular opinion is, that Luke, having in his Gospel given a history of the life of Christ, intended to follow that up by giving in the Acts a narrative of the establishment and early progress of his religion in the world. That this, however, could not have been his design is obvious from the very partial and limited view which his narrative gives of the state of things in the church generally during the period through which it extends. As little can we regard this book as designed to record the official history of the apostles Peter and Paul, for we find many particulars concerning both these apostles mentioned incidentally elsewhere, of which Luke takes no notice (comp. 2 Cor. xi.; Gal. i. 17; ii. 11; 1 Pet. v. 13). Some are of opinion that no particular design should be ascribed to the evangelist in composing this book beyond that of furnishing his friend Theophilus with a pleasing and instruc
tive narrative of such events as had come under his own notice; but such a view savours too much of the lax opinions which these writers unhappily entertained regarding the sacred writers, to be adopted by those who regard all the sacred books as designed for the permanent instruction and benefit of the church universal. Much more deserving of attention is the opinion that the general design of the author of this book was, by means of his narratives, to set forth the co-operation of God in the diffusion of Christianity, and along with that, to prove, by remarkable facts, the dignity of the apostles and the perfectly equal right of the Gentiles with the Jews to a participation in the blessings of that religion.' Perhaps we should come still closer to the truth if we were to say that the design of Luke in writing the Acts was to supply, by select and suitable instances, an illustration of the power and working of that religion which Jesus had died to establish. In his Gospel he had presented to his readers an exhibition of Christianity as embodied in the person, character, and works of its great founder; and having followed him in his narration until he was taken up out of the sight of his disciples into heaven, this second work was written to show how his religion operated when committed to the hands of those by whom it was to be announced to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem' (Luke xxiv. 47).
Respecting the time when this book was composed it is impossible to speak with certainty. As the history is continued up to the close of the
second year of Paul's imprisonment at Rome, it could not have been written before A.D. 63; it was probably, however, composed very soon after, so that we shall not err far if we assign the interval between the year 63 and the year 65 as the period of its completion. Still greater uncertainty hangs over the place where Luke composed it, but as he accompanied Paul to Rome, perhaps it was at that city and under the auspices of the apostle that it was prepared.
The style of Luke in the Acts is, like his style in his Gospel, much purer than that of most other books in the New Testament. The Hebraisms which occasionally occur are almost exclusively to be found in the speeches of others which he has reported. His mode of narrating events is clear, dignified, and lively; and, as Michaelis observes, he has well supported the character of each person whom he has introduced as delivering a public harangue, and has very faithfully and happily preserved the manner of speaking which was peculiar to each of his orators.'
Whilst, as Lardner and others have very satisfactorily shown, the credibility of the events recorded by Luke is fully authenticated both by internal and external evidence, very great obscurity attaches to the chronology of these events. Our space will not permit us to enter at large into this point, we shall therefore content ourselves with merely presenting, in a tabular form, the dates affixed to the leading events by those writers whose authority is most deserving of consideration in such an inquiry.
to give than to receive, which some have supposed to be taken from some lost apocryphal book But the probability is that St. Paul received the passage by tradition from the other apostles. Various other sayings, ascribed to Christ by early writers, which are alleged to be derived from apocryphal gospels, are in all probability nothing more than loose quotations from the Scriptures, which were very common among the apostolical fathers.
The most remarkable of the apocrypha. Acts ascribed to our Lord is the letter which he is
said to have written to Agbarus, king of Edessa, in answer to a request from that monarch that he would come to heal a disease under which he laboured. Some few historians have maintained the genuineness of these letters, but most writers, including the great majority of Roman Catholic divines, reject them as spurious; and there is good reason to believe that the whole chapter of Eusebius which contains these documents is tself an interpolation.
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, SPURIOUS.
Of these several are extant, others are lost, or only fragments of them are come down to us. The following is a catalogue of the principal spurious Acts still extant: The Creed of the Apostles.-The Epistles of Barnabas, Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp.-The Recognitions of Clement, or the Travels of Peter.-The Shepherd of Hermas.-The Acts of Pilate (spurious), or the Gospel of Nicodemus.-The Acts of Paul, or the Martyrdom of Thecla.-Abdias's History of the Twelve Apostles.-The Constitutions of the Apostles.-The Canons of the Apostles.-The Liturgies of the Apostles.-St. Paul's Epistle to the Laodiceans-St. Paul's Letters to Seneca.
ADAD-RIM'MON, properly HADAD-RIMMON (a garden of pomegranates), a city in the valley of Jezreel, where was fought the famous battle between King Josiah and Pharaoh-Necho (2 Kings xxiii. 29; Zech. xii. 11). Adad-rimmon was afterwards called Maximianopolis, in honour of the emperor Maximian. It was seventeen Roman miles from Cæsarea, and ten miles from Jezreel.
A'DAH (adornment, comeliness): 1. one of the wives of Lamech (Gen. iv. 19); 2. one of the wives of Esau, daughter of Elon the Hittite (Gen. xxxvi. 4). She is called Judith in Gen. xxvi. 34.
ADAM, the word by which the Bible designates the first human being.
It is evident that, in the earliest use of language, the vocal sound employed to designate the first perceived object, of any kind, would be an appellative, and would be formed from something known or apprehended to be a characteristic property of that object. The word would, therefore, be at once the appellative and the proper name. But when other objects of the same kind were discovered, or subsequently came into existence, difficulty would be felt; it would become necessary to guard against confusion, and the inventive faculty would be called upon to obtain a discriminative term for each and singular individual, while some equally appropriate term would be fixed upon for the whole kind. Different methods of effecting these two purposes might be resorted to, but the most natural would be to retain the original term in its simple state, for the first individual: and to make some modification of it by prefixing another sound, or by subjoining one, or by altering the vowel or vowels in the body of the word, in order to have a term for the kind, and for the separate individuals of the kind.
'Let us make man [Adam] in our image;' (i. 27), And God created the man [the Adam] in his own image. The next instance (ri. 7) expresses the source of derivation, a character or property; namely, the material of which the human body was formed: And the Lord God [Jehovah Elohim] formed the man [the Adam] dust from the ground [the adamah]. The meaning of the primary word is, most probably, any kind of reddish tint, as a beautiful human complexion (Lam. iv. 7); but its various derivatives are applied to different objects of a red or brown hue, or approaching to such. The word Adam, therefore, is an appellative noun made into a proper one. It is further remarkable that, in all the other instances in the second and third chapters of Genesis, which are nineteen, it is put with the article, the man, or the Adum.
That language originated in the instinctive AD'AD is the name of the chief deity of the cries of human beings herding together in a conSyrians, the sun. The name of this Syrian deitydition like that of common animals, is an hypois most probably an element in the names of the thesis which, apart from all testimony of revelaSyrian kings Benhadad and Hadadezer. tion, must appear unreasonable to a man of serious reflection. There are other animals, besides man, whose organs are capable of producing articulate sounds, through a considerable range of variety, and distinctly pronounced. How, then, is it that parrots, jays, and starlings have not among themselves developed an articulate language, transmitted it to their successive generations, and improved it, both in the life-time of the individual and in the series of many generations? Those birds never attempt to speak till they are compelled by a difficult process on the part of their trainers, and they never train each other.
This reasoning is exemplified in the first applications of the word before us: (Gen. i. 26),
The question arises, Was the uttered sound, originally employed for this purpose, the very vocable Adam, or was it some other sound of correspondent signification? This is equivalent to asking, what was the primitive language of men?
Upon the mere ground of reasoning from the necessity of the case, it seems an inevitable conclusion that not the capacity merely, but the actual use of speech, with the corresponding faculty of promptly understanding it, was given to the first human beings by a superior power: and it would be a gratuitous absurdity to suppose that power to be any other than the Almighty Creator. In what manner such communication or infusion of what would be equivalent to a habit took place, it is in vain to inquire; the subject lies beyond the range of human investigation: but, from the evident exigency, it must have been instantaneous, or nearly so. It is not necessary to suppose that a copious language was thus bestowed upon the human creatures in the first stage of their existence. We need to suppose only so much as would be requisite for the notation of the ideas of natural wants and the most important mental conceptions; and from these, as germs, the powers of the mind and the faculty of vocal designation would educe new words and combinations as occasion demanded.
That the language thus formed continued to be the universal speech of mankind till after the deluge, and till the great cause of diversity took place, is in itself the most probable suppo|sition [TONGUES, CONFUSION OF]. If there were
any families of men which were not involved in the crime of the Babel- builders, they would almost certainly retain the primeval language. The longevity of the men of that period would be a powerful conservative of that language against the slow changes of time. That there were such exceptions seems to be almost an indubitable inference from the fact that Noah long survived the unholy attempt. His faithful piety would not have suffered him to fall into the snare; and it is difficult to suppose that none of his children and descendants would listen to his admonitions, and hold fast their integrity by adhering to him: on the contrary, it is reasonable to suppose that the habit and character of piety were established in many of them.
The confusion of tongues, therefore, whatever was the nature of that judicial visitation, would not fall upon that portion of men which was the most orderly, thoughtful, and pious, among whom the second father of mankind dwelt as their acknowledged and revered head.
If this supposition be admitted, we can have no difficulty in regarding as the mother of languages, not indeed the Hebrew, absolutely speaking, but that which was the stock whence branched the Hebrew, and its sister tongues, usually called the Shemitic, but more properly, by Dr. Prichard, the Syro-Arabian. It may then be maintained that the actually spoken names of Adam and all the others mentioned in the antediluvian history were those which we have in the Hebrew Bible, very slightly and not at all essentially varied.
It is among the clearest deductions of reason, that men and all dependent beings have been created, that is, produced or brought into their first existence by an intelligent and adequately powerful being. A question, however, arises of great interest and importance. Did the Almighty Creator produce only one man and one woman, from whom all other human beings have descended?-or did he create several parental pairs, from whom distinct stocks of men have been derived? The affirmative of the latter position has been maintained by some, and, it must be confessed, not without apparent reason. The manifest and great differences in complexion and figure, which distinguish several races of mankind, are supposed to be such as entirely to forbid the conclusion that they have all descended from one father and one mother. The question is usually regarded as equivalent to this: whether there is only one species of men, or there are several. But we cannot, in strict fairness, admit that the questions are identical. It is hypothetically conceivable that the Adorable God might give existence to any number of creatures, which should all possess the properties that characterize identity of species, even without such differences as constitute varieties, or with any degree of those differences.
But the admission of the possibility is not a concession of the reality. So great is the evidence in favour of the derivation of the entire mass of human beings from one pair of ancestors, that it has obtained the suffrage of the men most competent to judge upon a question of comparative anatomy and physiology.
The animals which render eminent services to man, and peculiarly depend upon his protection,
are widely diffused-the horse, the dog, the hog, the domestic fowl. Now of these, the varieties in each species are numerous and different, to a degree so great, that an observer ignorant of physiological history would scarcely believe them to be of the same species. But man is the most widely diffused of any animal. In the progress of ages and generations, he has naturalized himself to every climate, and to modes of life which would prove fatal to an individual man suddenly transferred from a remote point of the field. The alterations produced affect every part of the body, internal and external, without extinguishing the marks of the specific identity. A further and striking evidence is, that when persons of different varieties are conjugally united, the offspring, especially in two or three generations, becomes more prolific, and acquires a higher perfection in physical and mental qualities than was found in either of the parental races. From the deepest African black to the finest Caucasian white, the change runs through imperceptible gradations; and, if a middle hue be assumed, suppose some tint of brown, all the varieties of complexion may be explained upon the principle of divergence influenced by outward circumstances. The conclusion may be fairly drawn, in the words of the able translators and illustrators of Baron Cuvier's great work:- We are fully warranted in concluding, both from the comparison of man with inferior animals, so far as the inferiority will allow of such comparison, and, beyond that, by comparing him with himself, that the great family of mankind loudly proclaim a descent, at some period or other, from one common origin.'
Thus, by an investigation totally independent of historical authority, we are brought to the conclusion of the inspired writings, that the Creator hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth' (Acts xvii. 26).
We shall now follow the course of those sacred documents in tracing the history of the first man, persuaded that their right interpretation is a sure basis of truth. At the same time we shall not reject illustrations from natural history and the reason of particular facts.
It is evident upon a little reflection, and the closest investigation confirms the conclusion, that the first human pair must have been created in a state equivalent to that which all subsequent human beings have had to reach by slow degrees, in growth, experience, observation, imitation, and the instruction of others: that is, a state of prime maturity, and with an infusion, concreation, or whatever we may call it, of knowledge and habits, both physical and intellectual, suitable to the place which man had to occupy in the system of creation, and adequate to his necessities in that place. Had it been otherwise, the new beings could not have preserved their animal existence, nor have held rational converse with each other, nor have paid to their Creator the homage of knowledge and love, adoration, and obedience; and reason clearly tells us that the last was the noblest end of existence. Those whom unhappy prejudices lead to reject revelation must either admit this, or must resort to suppositions of palpable ab
urdity and impossibility. If they will not admit a direct action of Divine power in creation and adaptation to the designed mode of existence, they must admit something far beyond the miraculous, an infinite succession of finite beings, or a spontaneous production of order, organization, and systematic action, from some unintelligent origin. The Bible coincides with his dictate of honest reason, expressing these facts in simple and artless language, suited to the circumstances of the men to whom revelation was first granted. That this production in a nature state was the fact with regard to the vegetable part of the creation, is declared in Gen. ii. 4, 5: In the day of Jehovah God's making the earth and the heavens, and every hrub of the field before it should be in the arth, and every herb of the field before it hould bud.' The two terms, shrubs and herbge, are put to designate the whole vegetable Kingdom. The reason of the case comprehends the other division of organized nature; and this s applied to man and all other animals, in the words, Out of the ground-dust out of the ground-Jehovah God formed them.'
It is to be observed that there are two narratives at the beginning of the Mosaic records, lifferent in style and manner, distinct and independent; at first sight somewhat discrepant, but when strictly examined, perfectly compatible, and each one illustrating and completing the >ther. The first is contained in Gen. i. 1, to i. 3; and the other, ii. 4, to iv. 26. As is the ase with the Scripture history generally, they consist of a few principal facts, detached aneclotes, leaving much of necessary implication which the good sense of the reader is called ipon to supply; and passing over large spaces of the history of life, upon which all conjecture would be fruitless.
In the second of these narratives we read, And Jehovah God formed the man [Heb. the idam], dust from the ground [ha-adamah], and lew into his nostrils the breath of life; and the nan became a living animal' (Gen. ii. 7). Here are two objects of attention, the organic mehanism of the human body, and the vitality with which it was endowed.
The other narrative is contained in these words, 'God created man in his own image: in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them' (Gen. i. 27). The image (resemblance, such as a shadow bears to the object which casts it) of God is an expression which breathes at once archaic simplicity and the most recondite wisdom; for what term could the most cultivated and copious language bring forth more suitable to the purpose? It presents to us man as made in a resemblance to the author of his being, a true resemblance, but faint and shadowy; an outline, faithful according to its capacity, yet infinitely remote from the reality: a distant form of the intelligence, wisdom, power, rectitude, goodness, and dominion of the Adorable Supreme. To the inferior sentient beings with which he is connected man stands in the place of God. We have every reason to think that none of them are capable of conceiving a being higher than man. All, in their different ways, look up to him as their superior; the ferocious generally flee before him, afraid to encounter his power, and the gentle court his protection and show their highest joy to consist in serving and pleasing him. Even in our degenerate state it is manifest that if we treat the domesticated animals with wisdom and kindness, their attachment is most ardent and faithful.
Thus had man the shadow of the divine dominion and authority over the inferior creation. The attribute of power was also given to him, in his being made able to convert the inanimate objects and those possessing only the vegetable life, into the instruments and the materials for supplying his wants, and continually enlarging his sphere of command.
In such a state of things knowledge and wisdom are implied: the one quality, an acquaintance with those substances and their changeful actions which were necessary for a creature like man to understand, in order to his safety and comfort; the other, such sagacity as would direct him in selecting the best objects of desire and pursuit, and the right means for attaining them.
The mechanical material, formed (moulded, or arranged, as an artificer models clay or wax) uto the human and all other animal bodies, is called dust from the ground. This would be a atural and easy expression to men in the early ges, before chemistry was known or minute hilosophical distinctions were thought of, to ravey, in a general form, the idea of earthy Above all, moral excellence must have been natter, the constituent substance of the ground comprised in this image of God; and not only on which we tread. To say, that of this the forming a part of it, but being its crown of human and every other animal body was formed, beauty and glory. The Christian inspiration, s a position which would be at once the most than which no more perfect disclosure of God asily apprehensible to an uncultivated mind, is to take place on this side eternity, casts its and which yet is the most exactly true upon the light upon this subject: for this apostle Paul, in ighest philosophical grounds. We now know, urging the obligations of Christians to perfect From chemical analysis, that the animal body is holiness, evidently alludes to the endowments of omposed, in the inscrutable manner called or the first man in two parallel and mutually illussanization, of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitro-trative epistles; the new man, renewed in zen, lime, iron, sulphur, and phosphorus. Now knowledge after the image of HIM that created all the are mineral substances, which in their him; the new man which, after [according to] various combinations form a very large part of GOD, is created in righteousness and true holithe solid ground. ness' (Col. iii. 10; Eph. iv. 24). The expression which we have rendered
In this perfection of faculties, and with these