46. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they did eat their meat with gladness, and singleness of heart, 47. Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added daily unto the congregation those which should be saved.
46. Continuing in the temple. We must note that they did frequent the temple for this cause, because there was more opportunity and occasion offered there to further the gospel. Neither were they drawn with the holiness of the place, seeing they knew that the shadows of the law were ceased; neither meant they to draw others by their example to have the temple in any such reverence; 1 but because there was there great concourse of people, who having laid aside their private cares, wherewith they had been drawn away elsewhere, 2 did seek the Lord; they were continually in the temple, that they might gain such unto Christ. There might be another reason which might induce them hereunto, that they might have a mutual conference and imparting of doctrine amongst themselves, which they could not have done so conveniently in a private house, especially seeing they were so, many.
Breaking bread from house to house. Luke signifieth unto us, that they did not only show some token of true godliness publicly, but that the course and tenor of their private life was alone in that respect. For whereas some do think that in this place, by breaking of bread is meant the Holy Supper, it seemeth to me that Luke meant no such thing. He signifieth, therefore, unto us, that they used to eat together, and that thriftily. 3 For those which make sumptuous banquets do not eat their meat together so familiarly. Again, Luke addeth, in singleness of heart; which is also a token of temperance. In sum, his meaning is to declare, that their manner of living was brotherly and sober. Some do join simplicity and gladness with the praise of God; and both texts may well be allowed. 4 But because there can be no singleness of heart in praising God, unless the stone be also in all parts of the life, therefore it is certain, that there is mention made thereof in this sense, that the faithful did always use the same in all places. 5 And we must also note the circumstance of time, that, being environed and beset with many dangers, they were merry and joyful. The knowledge of God's love toward us, and the hope of his protection, do bring us this goodness with them, that we praise God with quiet minds, whatsoever the world doth threaten. And as Luke spoke a little before of the public estate of the Church, so he declareth now what form and manner of life the faithful did use; that we may learn by their example a thrifty fellowship in our manner of living, and in all our whole life to embrace singleness, to enjoy the spiritual joy, and to exercise ourselves in the praises of God. Furthermore, the singleness of heart reacheth far; but if you join it in this place with breaking of bread, it shall signify as much as sincere love, where one man dealeth plainly with another, neither doth any man craftily hunt after his own profit. Yet had I rather set the same against that carefulness, wherewith worldly men 6 do too much torment themselves. For when as we do not cast our care upon the Lord, this reward hangeth over our heads, that we tremble and quake even when we take our rest.
47. Having favor. This is the fruit of an innocent life, to find favor even amongst strangers. And yet we need not to doubt of this, but that they were hated of many. But although he speak generally of the people, yet he meaneth that part alone which was sound, neither yet infected with any poison of hatred; he signifieth briefly, that the faithful did so behave themselves, that the people did full well like of them for their innocency of life. 7
The Lord added daily. He showeth in these words that their diligence was not without profit; they studied so much as in them lay to gather into the Lord's sheepfold those which wandered and went astray. He saith that their labor bestowed herein was not lost; because the Lord did increase his Church daily. And surely, whereas the Church is rather diminished than increased, that is to be imputed to our slothfulness, or rather forwardness.8 And although they did all of them stoutly labor to increase the kingdom of Christ, yet Luke ascribeth 9 this honor to God alone, that he brought strangers into the Church. And surely this is his own proper work. For the ministers do no good by planting or watering, unless he make their labor effectual by the power of his Spirit, (1 Corinthians 3.) Furthermore, we must note that he saith, that those were gathered unto the Church which should be saved. For he teacheth that this is the means to attain salvation, if we be incorporate into the Church. For like as there is no remission of sins, so neither is there any hope of salvation. 10 Furthermore, this is an excellent comfort for all the godly, that they were received into the Church that they might be saved; as the Gospel is called the power of God unto salvation to all that believe, (Romans 1:16.) Now, forasmuch as God doth gather only a part, or a certain number, this grace is restrained unto election, that it may be the first cause of our salvation.