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4. Peter and John Before Sanhedrin
1And as they spake unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2being sore troubled because they taught the people, and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3And they laid hands on them, and put them in ward unto the morrow: for it was now eventide. 4But many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. 5And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest. 7And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, By what power, or in what name, have ye done this? 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders, 9if we this day are examined concerning a good deed done to an impotent man, by what means this man is made whole; 10be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner. 12And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved. 13Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14And seeing the man that was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been wrought through them, is manifest to all that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17But that it spread no further among the people, let us threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18And they called them, and charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye: 20for we cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard. 21And they, when they had further threatened them, let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified God for that which was done. 22For the man was more than forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was wrought. 23And being let go, they came to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said unto them. 24And they, when they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: 25who by the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David thy servant, didst say,
Why did the Gentiles rage,
And the peoples imagine vain things?
26The kings of the earth set themselves in array,
And the rulers were gathered together,
Against the Lord, and against his Anointed:
27for of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, 28to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass. 29And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, 30while thy stretchest forth thy hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of thy holy Servant Jesus. 31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul: and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34For neither was there among them any that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35and laid them at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto each, according as any one had need. 36And Joseph, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, Son of exhortation), a Levite, a man of Cyprus by race, 37having a field, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
11. This is the stone. He confirmeth by testimony of Scripture that it is no new thing that the ringleaders 208208 “Praesules,” prelates. of the Church, which have glorious titles given them, and have the chief room in the temple of God, have, notwithstanding, wickedly rejected Christ. Therefore he citeth a place out of the 118th Psalm, (Psalm 118:22,) where David complaineth that he is rejected of the captains [leaders] of the people, and yet, notwithstanding, he boasteth that he was chosen of God to have the chief room. Moreover, he compareth the Church, or the state of the kingdom, by an usual metaphor to a building, he calleth those which have the government the masters of the work, 209209 “Architectos,” the architects. and he maketh himself the principal stone, whereon the whole building is stayed and grounded. For that is meant by the head of the corner. Therefore, this is David’s comfort, that howsoever the captains have rejected him, so that they would not grant him even the basest place, yet did not their wicked and ungodly endeavors hinder him from being extolled by God unto the highest degree of honor. But that was shadowed in David which God would have perfectly expressed in the Messias. Therefore Peter dealeth very aptly when as he citeth this testimony, as being spoken before of Christ, as they knew full well that it did agree properly to him. Now we know to what end Peter did cite the Psalm; to wit, lest the elders and priests being unadvisedly puffed up with their honor, should take to themselves authority and liberty to allow or disallow whatsoever they would. For it is evident that the stone refused by the chief builders is placed by God’s own hand in the chief place, that it may support the whole house.
Furthermore, this happeneth not once only, but it must be fulfilled daily; at least it must seem no new thing if the chief builders do even now reject Christ. Whereby the vain boasting of the Pope is plainly refuted, who maketh his boast of the bare title, that he may usurp whatsoever is Christ’s. Admit we grant to the Pope and his horned beasts that which they desire, to wit, that they are appointed to be ordinary pastors of the Church, they can go no farther at length than to be called chief builders with Annas and Caiaphas. And it is evident what account ought to be made of this title, which they think is sufficient to mix heaven and earth together. Now let us gather out of this place some things which are worth the noting. Forasmuch as they are called master-builders who have government of the Church, the name itself putteth them in mind of their duty. Therefore, let them give themselves wholly to the building of the temple of God. And because all men do not their duty faithfully as they ought, let them see what is the best manner of building aright, to wit, let them retain Christ for the foundation; that done, let them not mix straw and stubble in this building, but let them make the whole building of pure doctrine; as Paul teacheth in 1 Corinthians 3:12. Whereas God is said to have extolled Christ, who was rejected of the builders, this ought to comfort us, when as we see even the pastors of the Church, or, at least, those which are in great honor, wickedly rebel against Christ, that they may banish him. For we may safely set light by those visors which they object against us; so that we need not fear to give Christ that humor which God doth give to him. But if he wink for a time, yet doth he laugh at the boldness of his enemies from on high, whilst they rage and fret upon earth. Furthermore, though their conspiracies be strong and well guarded with all aids, yet must we always assure ourselves of this, that Christ’s honor shall remain safe and sound. And let the fruit of this confidence ensue also, that we be valiant and without fear in maintaining the kingdom of Christ, whereof God will be an invincible defender, as he himself affirmeth.
We have already spoken of Peter’s constancy, in that one simple man, having such envious judges, and yet having but one partner in the present danger, showeth no token at all of fear, but doth freely confess in that raging and furious company, that thing which he knew would be received with most contrary minds. And whereas he sharply upbraideth unto them that wickedness which they had committed, we must let [seek] from hence a rule of speech when we have to deal with the open enemies of the truth. For we must beware of two faults on this behalf, that we seem not to flatter by keeping silence or winking; for that were treacherous silence, whereby the truth should be betrayed. Again, that we be not puffed up with wantonness, or immoderate heat as men’s minds do oftentimes break out more than they ought in contention. Therefore, let us use gravity in this point, yet such as is moderate; let us chide freely, yet without all heat of railing. We see that Peter did observe this order. For at the first he giveth an honorable title; when he is once come to the matter he inveigheth sharply against them; neither could such ungodliness as theirs was be concealed. Those which shall follow this example shall not only have Peter to be their guide, but also the Spirit of God.