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2. Pentecost

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God,I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

43. And there came. He signifieth unto us that the show and sight of the Church was such, that it made others afraid which did not consent unto [its] doctrine; and that was done for the preserving and furthering of the Church. When there ariseth any seen all men set themselves stoutly against the same; and as novelty is odious, the Jews would never have suffered the Church of Christ to stand one minute of an hour, 144144     “Momentum,” moment. unless the Lord had restrained them with fear as with a bridle. Furthermore, Luke noteth the manner of fear, that it was no such fear as bringeth men unto the obedience of Christ, but such as causeth men to stand in a doubt, and so, consequently, doth, as it were, so bind them hand and foot, 145145     “Sed qui suspensos tenet adeoque constrictos,” but which keeps them in suspense and restrained. that they dare not hinder the Lord’s work. Like as there be some at this day who will willingly be ignorant of the gospel; or, at least, are so holden 146146     “Impliciti,” entangled. with the cares of this world, that they cannot thoroughly join themselves unto Christ; and yet they are not so hard-hearted but that they confess that the truth is on our side; and, therefore, they rest, as it were, in the middle way, neither do they favor the cruelty of the wicked, because they are afraid to strive against God. And whereas he saith, Every soul, he speaketh thus by synecdoche. For it is certain that many did contemn the hand of God, and that other some were stricken with no great fear, but that they did furiously rage together against the Church. 147147     “Alios nullo metu fuisse deterritos quin furiose adversus Ecclesiam saevirent,” that others were not deterred by any fear from raging against the Church. But Luke’s meaning was this, that there appeared such power of God in the Church, that the people for the most part had not one word to say. 148148     “Obmuteceret,” stood dumb.

And many wonders. This member serveth also to the showing of the cause. For the miracles served to make them afraid, together with other works of God, although this was not the only reason, but one of many, why they were afraid to set themselves against God, who was on that side, as they did gather by the miracles; whence we gather that they are not only profitable for this to bring men to God, 149149     “In obsequium Dei,” into obedience to God. but also to make the wicked somewhat more gentle, and that they may tame their furiousness. Pharaoh was a man of desperate stubbornness, (Exodus 8:8, etc. 19,) and yet we see how miracles do sometimes pierce his obstinate heart. He forgetteth them by and by; but when the hand of God is heavy upon him, he is compelled through fear to yield. To be brief, Luke teacheth that the Jews were by this means kept back, that the Church, which might easily have been destroyed, might have got up her head. 150150     “Emergeret,” might emerge, or raise her head. Which thing we have oftentimes tried 151151     “Subinde sumus experti,” have ever and anon experienced. even in our time. And he doth not only declare that they were bridled with fear, lest they should be so bold as to attempt so much as they lusted to do hurt to the Church, but that they were also humbled with reverence to the glory of the gospel.

44. And all Whereas I have translated it joined together, it is word for word in St Luke, Into the same, or into one, which may be expounded of the place; as if he should have said that they were wont to dwell together in one place. Notwithstanding, I had rather understand it of their consent (and agreement;) as he will say in the fourth chapter, “That they had one heart,” (Acts 4:32.) And so he goeth forward orderly, when, as he beginneth with their mind, he addeth afterward their bountifulness, as a fruit proceeding thence. Therefore, he giveth us to understand that they were rightly joined together with brotherly love amongst themselves, and that they did indeed declare the same, because the rich men did sell their goods that they might help the poor. And this is a singular example of love, and therefore doth Luke record the same, to the end we may know that we must relieve the poverty of our brethren with our plenty.

But this place hath need of a sound exposition, because of fantastical [fanatical] spirits, which do feign a commonalty or participation together of goods, whereby all policy or civil government is taken away; as in this age the Anabaptists have raged, because they thought there was no Church unless all men’s goods were put and gathered together, as it were, in one heap, that they might all one with another take thereof. Wherefore, we must in this point beware of two extremes. For many, under color of policy, do keep close and conceal whatsoever they have; they defraud the poor, and they think that they are twice righteous, so they take away no other men’s goods. Other some are carried into the contrary error, because they would have all things confused. But what doth Luke? Surely he noteth another order, when he saith that there was choice made in the distribution. If any man object that no man had any thing which was his own, seeing all things were common, we may easily answer. For this community or participation together must be restrained unto the circumstance which ensueth immediately; to wit, that the poor might be relieved as every man had need. We know the old proverb, “All things are common amongst friends.” When as the scholars of Pythagoras said thus, they did not deny but that every man might govern his own house privately, neither did they intend to make their own wives common; so this having of things common, whereof Luke speaketh, and which he commendeth, doth not take away household government; which thing shall better appear by the fourth chapter, whereas he nameth two alone which sold their possessions of so many thousands. Whence we gather that which I said even now, that they brought forth and made common their goods in no other respect, save only that they might relieve the present necessity. And the impudency of the monks was ridiculous, who did profess that they did observe the apostles’ rule, because they call nothing their own; and yet, nevertheless, they neither sell any thing, neither yet do they pass for any man’s poverty; 152152     “Nec solliciti sunt si quisquam egeat,” nor are solicitous if any man want. but they stuff their idle bellies with the blood of the poor, neither do they regard any other thing in their having of things common, save only that they may be well filled and daintily, although all the whole world be hungry. Wherein, then, are they like to the first disciples, with whom they will be thought to be able to compare? 153153     “Quorum aemuli haberi volunt,” whose rivals they would be thought.

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; 154154     “Ad templi cultum,” to worship the temple. but because there was there great concourse of people, who having laid aside their private cares, wherewith they had been drawn away elsewhere, 155155     “Quibus alibi magis distracti fuissent,” with which elsewhere they might have been more distracted. 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. 156156     “Frugaliter,” frugally. 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. 157157     “Et probabilis est uterque contextus,” and the context makes this probable. 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. 158158     “Eam ubique coluerunt,” did cultivate it everywhere. 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 159159     “Providi homines,” the provident, or over careful. 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. 160160     “Populo grati atque probati essent,” that they were agreeable to, and approved by, the people.

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. 161161     “Praxitati,” wickedness. And although they did all of them stoutly labor to increase the kingdom of Christ, yet Luke ascribeth 162162     “Vendicat,” claimeth. 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. 163163     “Extra eam,” out of it, (the Church,) omitted. 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.


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