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choice in the selection of the reference to the Old Testament, for St. Philip unhesitatingly applies this very interesting prophecy to CHRIST.
- Saul !
V. 3.-As (St. Paul) journeyed, he came near to Damascus; and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven ; 4. And he fell on the earth, and he heard a voice saying unto him, Saul! why persecutest thou me?” 7. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Dan. Ch. x. V. 9.—Yet I heard the voice of his words, and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep.
This miraculous conversion of St. Paul should be seriously reflected on. The vision granted him was to arrest his persecution of the Christians, and to make him a chosen vessel to carry the name of CHRIST among the Gentiles.
V. 20.-And straightway he (Paul) preached Christ in the synagogues,
" That he is the Son of God."
I have so often called the reader's attention to the Jews' interpretation of the true import of the phrases Son of Man and Son of God, that I think it must be superfluous to do more, in this instance, than to refer him to the remarks on St. Mark, chap. xiv. v. 61, and St. Luke, chap. i. v. 35.
V. 22.-And Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
This assertion conveys to us the faith both of Saul and of St. Luke, who report the fact.
“ The very
CHRIST,” must be considered as expressing the faith which they and the other apostles and disciples had adopted, and that is, that Jesus CHRIST was, as Thomas elsewhere exclaims, both LORD and God.
V. 34.--Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. 36. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus CHRIST. He is Lord of all.
Isa. Ch. lvii. V. 19.-I create the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace to him that is afar off, and to him that is near, saith Jehovah, and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
St. Peter, in this instance, declares his belief in JESUS to be, that “ He is Lord of all.” I have so often proved that the term Lord is used by the writers of the New Testament as synonymous with the Jehovah in the Old, that I think it must be superfluous to enlarge upon that fact again.
V. 43.--Peter saith, To him (Christ) give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Micah, Ch. vii. V. 18.—Who is God, like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage. He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
St. Peter, in the preceding quotation, declared his faith to be, “ That he was Lord over all.” In this he teaches us where we must seek for the confirmation of the truth of this belief. This, then, is the faith he enforces, and which, he declares, will procure us remission of sins.
V. 15.-(Peter saith) Then as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water, but
ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Isa. Ch. xliv. V. 3. I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.
These two Scriptures show that the same Holy Spirit was granted to the apostles as was promised to the prophet by Jehovah; and remark, I beg, how beautifully Isaiah explains the metaphor he has used in the former part of the verse.
V. 21.–And upon a set day, Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a God, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the LORD smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
Ezek. Ch. xxviii. V. 1.—The word of Jehovah came again unto me, saying, 2. Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith ADONI JEHOVAH. Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am God; I sit in the seat of Elohim, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of Elohim. 9. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am Elohim? but thou shalt be a man, and no God. 10. Thou shalt die the death of the uncircumcised, by the hand of strangers; for I have spoken it, saith ADONI GOD.
God's judgment against the prince of Tyrus is very severe for the very act, which resembles that thus related of Herod. But JESUS CHRIST, it has been seen, frequently assumed equality with God; and
yet he was not visited by the angel of the Lord in wrath ;" whereas Herod, for merely allowing his subjects' impious adulation, is instantly afflicted with a loathsome disease, and expires. This fact is well worthy attention; and I sincerely wish it would induce the Socinian to re-consider his opinions, which are so much at variance with the declaration of the inspired writers of the New Testament.
V. 24.—But the word of God grew and multiplied.
Isa. Ch. lv. V. 11.-Jehovah saith, So shall my word be, that goeth forth out of my mouth. It shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The histories of those times relate the extraordinarily rapid progress of Christianity, considering that it proceeded only so far as it reformed the lives of its converts, and that there was then nothing in prospect but martyrdom for those who professed belief in CHRIST.
Paul stood up and said, 22. Ye men of Athens, 23. I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God, that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, breath, and all things.
Gen. Ch. i. V. 1.- In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.
Gen. Ch. ii. V. 7.-JEHOVAH Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
I think the “ Unknown God," whom St. Paul so beautifully describes, would, if translated into Hebrew, be designated as Elohim. St. Paul had been taught
his faith in CHRIST by a miracle from heaven ; and no wonder, therefore, that it perfectly accords with the belief inculcated by the other inspired writers of the New Testament. In verse 31, he speaks of Christ as “ The Man,” who is appointed to judge the world in righteousness; in his Epistle to the Colossians, as He in whom dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And thus St. Paul confirms the doctrine that he was God and man.
Paul saith, 6. Now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fatliers.
2 Sam. Ch. vii. V. 12.-And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
Deut. Ch. xviii. V. 15.—Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, (Moses), unto him shall ye hearken.
How strenuously and clearly does St. Paul express his sentiments in this important address to the Jews. He had from his youth been well instructed in their records, and therefore we are bound to suppose that he knew how they generally understood the promises and prophecies made to the patriarchs; but when the eyes of his understanding were opened by a ray from heaven, he could then distinctly discern their spiritual import; and then, with heart and soul, did he boldly assert the divinity of Christ, as will be more particularly seen in the following pages.