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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 6 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Looking stedfastly on him. Fixing the eyes intently on him. Probably they were attracted by the unusual appearance of the man, hie meekness, and calm and collected fearlessness, and the proofs of conscious innocence and sincerity.

The face of an angel. This expression is one evidently denoting that he manifested evidence of sincerity, gravity, fearlessness, confidence in God. It is used in the Old Testament to denote peculiar wisdom, 2 Sa 14:17; 19:27. In Ge 33:10, it is used to denote peculiar majesty and glory, as if it were the face of God. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai from communning with God, it is said that the skin of his face shone, so that the children of Israel were afraid to come nigh to him, Ex 34:29,30; 2 Co 3:7,13.

Comp. Re 1:16; Mt 17:2. The expression is used to denote the impression which will be produced on the countenance by communion with God; the calm serenity and composure which will follow a confident committing of all into his hands. It is not meant that there was anything miraculous in the case of Stephen, but is an expression denoting his calmness, and dignity, and confidence in God; all of which were so marked on his countenance, that it impressed them with clear proofs of his innocence and piety. The expression is very common in the Jewish writings. It is common for deep feeling, sincerity, and confidence in God, to impress themselves on the countenance. Any deep emotion will do this; and it is to be expected that religious feeling, the most tender and solemn of all feeling, will diffuse seriousness, serenity, calmness, and peace, not affected sanctimoniousness, over the countenance.

In this chapter we have another specimen of the manner in which the church of the Lord Jesus was reared on earth. It was from the beginning amid scenes of persecution; and encountering opposition adapted to try the nature and power of religion. If Christianity was an imposture, it had enemies acute and malignant enough to detect the imposition. The learned, the cunning, and the mighty rose up in opposition, and by all the arts of sophistry, all the force of authority, and all the fearfulness of power, attempted to destroy it in the commencement. Yet it lived; and it gained new accessions of strength from every new form of opposition, and only evinced its genuineness more and more by showing that it was superior to the arts and malice of earth and of hell.

{e} "his face" Ex 34:30,35

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