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27. Behold, a man, an Ethiopian. He calleth him a man, who he saith shortly after was an eunuch; but because kings and queens in the East were wont to appoint eunuchs over their weighty affairs, thereby it came to pass that lords of great power were called generally 531531 “Promiscue,” promiscuously. eunuchs, whereas, notwithstanding, they were men. Furthermore, Philip findeth indeed, now at length, that he did not obey God in vain. Therefore, whosoever committeth the success to God, and goeth on forward thither whither he biddeth him, he shall at length try 532532 “Experietur,” will experience. that all that falleth out well which is taken in hand at his appointment. 533533 “Ejus auspiciis et mandato,” under his auspices, and by his command. The name Candace was not the name of one queen only; but as all the emperors of Rome were called Caesars,, so the Ethiopians, as Pliny withesseth, called their queens Candaces. This maketh also unto the matter that the writers of histories report that that was a noble and wealthy kingdom, because it may the better be gathered by the royalty and power thereof how gorgeous the condition and dignity of the eunuch was. The head and principal place 534534 “Primaria sedes,” metropolis. was Meroe. The profane writers agree with Luke, who report that women used to reign there.
Came [had come] to worship. Hereby we gather that the name of the true God was spread far abroad, seeing he had some worshippers in far countries. Certes, it must needs be that this man did openly profess another worship than his nation; for so great a lord could not come into Judea by stealth, and undoubtedly he brought with him a great train. And no marvel if there were some everywhere in the East parts which worshipped the true God, because that after the people were scattered abroad, there was also some smell 535535 “Odor,” savour. of the knowledge of the true God spread abroad with them throughout foreign countries; yea, the banishment 536536 “Exilium populi,” the exile of the people, the captivity of the Jews. of the people was a spreading abroad of true godliness. Also, we see that though the Romans did condemn the Jewish religion with many cruel edicts, yet could they not bring to pass but that many, even on [in] heaps, would profess the same. 537537 “Turmatim multi ad eam transirent,” from going over, becoming proselytes, to it in crowds These were certain beginnings 538538 “Praeludia,” preludes to. of the calling of the Gentiles, until such time as Christ, having with the brightness of his coming put away the shadows of the law, might take away the difference which was between the Jews and the Gentiles; and having pulled down the wall of separation, he might gather together from all parts the children of God, (Ephesians 2:14.)
Whereas the eunuch came to Jerusalem to worship, it must not be accounted any superstition. He might, indeed, have called 539539 “Deum precari,” have prayed to God. upon God in his own country, but this man would not omit the exercises which were prescribed to the worshippers of God; and, therefore, this was his purpose, not only to nourish faith privily 540540 “Et clanculum,” and stealthily, omitted. in his heart, but also to make profession of the same amongst men. And yet, notwithstanding, he could not be so divorced 541541 “Divortium facere,” differ from. from his nation, but that he might well know that he should be hated of many. But he made more account of the external profession of religion, which he knew God did require, than of the favor of men. And if such a small sparkle of the knowledge of the law did so shine in him, what a shame were it for us to choke the perfect light of the gospel with unfaithful silence? If any do object that the sacrifices were even then abrogated, and that now the time was come wherein God would be called upon everywhere without difference of place, we may easily answer, that those to whom the truth of the gospel was not yet revealed, were retained in the shadows of the law without any superstition. For whereas it is said that the law was abolished by Christ, as concerning the ceremonies, it is thus to be understood, that where Christ showeth himself plainly, those rites vanish away which prefigured him when he was absent. Whereas the Lord suffered the eunuch to come to Jerusalem before he sent him a teacher, it is to be thought that it was done for this cause, because it was profitable that he should yet be framed by the rudiments of the law, that he might be made more apt afterward to receive the doctrine of the gospel. And whereas God sent none of the apostles unto him 542542 “Neminem ex apostolis illi Deus obtulerit,” God cast none of the apostles in is way. at Jerusalem, the cause lieth hid in his secret counsel, unless, peradventure, it were done that he might make more account of the gospel, as of some treasure found suddenly, and offered unto him contrary to hope; or because it was better that Christ should be set before him, after that being separated and withdrawn from the external pomp of ceremonies and the beholding of the temple, he sought the way of salvation quietly at such time as he was at rest. 543543 “Liberius in otio et quiete,” more freely in ease and quiet.