12. And by the hands of the apostles were done many signs and wonders amongst the people. And they were all with one accord in the Porch of Solomon. 13. And of the other durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14. And the multitude of those that believed in the Lord, both of men and women, grew more and more. 15. So that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them in beds and couches, that at the least way the shadow of Peter, as he came, might shadow some of them. 16. And a multitude of the next cities came together to Jerusalem, bringing their sick, and those which were vexed with unclean spirits, which were all healed.
12. He returneth to miracles of another sort, which are more proper to the gospel; to wit, whereby Christ doth not only declare his power, but also his goodness; to the end he may allure men unto himself with the sweetness of his grace. For he came to save the world, and not to condemn it. Therefore, whereas the sick are healed, and others are delivered from devils, these benefits done to the body do represent the spiritual grace of Christ; and therefore they agree with his natural 1 office that I may so speak. That fearful sign which was showed in Ananias and Sapphira came to pass extraordinarily 2 Luke saith that the Church was increased by miracles, because they serve for faith, 3 (as we have said,) to prepare some, to confirm others. Whereby that is proved again, which I have said elsewhere that miracles must never be separated from the word. Luke showeth the multitude of miracles by this, in that the sick were brought forth everywhere, that they might be healed. For God meant thus to set forth the gospel of his Son, especially at the beginning; that he, might for a certainty testify to the Jews, that that restoring of all things was present, which was so often promised, and in which all their hope was reposed, as they themselves did pretend, (and make semblance.) It is well known that couches were certain little beds in which the men of old were wont to rest at noon. Because they might the more easily carry them out, they laid the sick in them.
For there is a certain secret majesty in holy discipline and in sincere godliness, which doth even fast bind the wicked whether they will or no. But we know not at this day of what sort the same is; yea, rather, we cause ourselves to be despised together with the gospel, through our profane liberty of evil living. Furthermore, the punishment of Ananias and his wife did not a little terrify the wicked, and keep them from breaking in unadvisedly into the company of those men, where God had showed himself so sharp a Judge. Yet we must note that he speaketh of men which were indifferent in this place, and of those which were not of the worst sort; for there were at that time many at Jerusalem, whom neither the reverence of signs, neither yet of the angelic holiness of the godly, could move. Therefore Luke meaneth moderate men, in whom there are some seed of the fear of God; like as we see at this day certain, whom the vanity of the world keepeth back from submitting their necks unto the yoke of Christ; yet because they smell out some divine thing in our doctrine, 5 they dare not despise the same; yet we may see also in what deadly grins [gins] Satan insnareth all those which have not the Spirit of Christ, that they do not only fear to provide for themselves, but purposely avoid those remedies which are offered them unto salvation. They both see and allow those things which are both holy and profitable, and yet, notwithstanding, they are either carried headlong unto things which are worse, or else they wax drowsy in their filthiness.
1 "Genuino," genuine.
2 "Quasi accidentale erat," was, as it were, accidental.
3 "Fidei subserviunt," are subservient to faith.
4 "Intra privates parietes se teneret," as to keep himself within a private buildings.
5 "Sed quia illis divinum aliquid subolet nostra doctrina," but because our doctrine has somewhat of a divine savor to them.