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  • JOHN WESLEY'S BIBLE COMMENTARY
    NOTES - ACTS 9

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    1. Acts xxii, 3, &c.; Acts xxvi, 9, &c.

    2. Bound - By the connivance, if not authority, of the governor, under Aretas the king. See Acts ix, 14, 24.

    Verse 3. And suddenly - When God suddenly and vehemently attacks a sinner, it is the highest act of mercy. So Saul, when his rage was come to the height, is taught not to breathe slaughter. And what was wanting in time to confirm him in his discipleship, is compensated by the inexpressible terror he sustained. By his also the suddenly constituted apostle was guarded against the grand snare into which novices are apt to fall.

    Verse 4. He heard a voice - Severe, yet full of grace.

    Verse 5. To kick against the goads - is a Syriac proverb, expressing an attempt that brings nothing but pain.

    Verse 6. It shall be told thee - So God himself sends Saul to be taught by a man, as the angel does Cornelius, chap. x, 5. Admirable condescension! that the Lord deals with us by men, like ourselves.

    Verse 7. The men - stood - Having risen before Saul; for they also fell to the ground, chap. xxvi, 14. It is probable they all journeyed on foot. Hearing the noise - But not an articulate voice. And seeing the light, but not Jesus himself, chap. xxvi, 13, &c.

    Verse 9. And he was three days - An important season! So long he seems to have been in the pangs of the new birth. Without sight - By scales growing over his eyes, to intimate to him the blindness of the state he had been in, to impress him with a deeper sense of the almighty power of Christ, and to turn his thoughts inward, while he was less capable of conversing with outward objects. This was likewise a manifest token to others, of what had happened to him in his journey, and ought to have humbled and convinced those bigoted Jews, to whom he had been sent from the sanhedrim.

    Verse 11. Behold he is praying - He was shown thus to Ananias.

    Verse 12. A man called Ananias - His name also was revealed to Saul.

    Verse 13. But he answered - How natural it is to reason against God.

    Verse 14. All that call on thy name - That is, all Christians.

    Verse 15. He is a chosen vessel to bear my name - That is, to testify of me. It is undeniable, that some men are unconditionally chosen or elected, to do some works for God

    Verse 16. For I - Do thou as thou art commanded. I will take care of the rest; will show him - In fact, through the whole course of his ministry. How great things he must suffer - So far will he be now from persecuting others.

    Verse 17. The Lord hath sent me - Ananias does not tell Saul all which Christ had said concerning him. It was not expedient that he should know yet to how great a dignity he was called.

    Verse 24. They guarded the gates day and night - That is, the governor did, at their request, 2 Cor. xi, 32.

    Verse 26. And coming to Jerusalem - Three years after, Gal. i, 18. These three years St. Paul passes over, chap. xxii, 17, likewise.

    Verse 27. To the apostles - Peter and James, Gal. i, 18, 19. Gal. i, 18,

    19 And declared - He who has been an enemy to the truth ought not to be trusted till he gives proof that he is changed.

    Verse 31. Then the Church - The whole body of Christian believers, had peace - Their bitterest persecutor being converted. And being built up - In holy, loving faith, continually increasing, and walking in - That is, speaking and acting only from this principle, the fear of God and the comfort of the Holy Ghost - An excellent mixture of inward and outward peace, tempered with filial fear.

    Verse 35. Lydda was a large town, one day's journey from Jerusalem. It stood in the plain or valley of Sharon, which extended from Cesarea to Joppa, and was noted for its fruitfulness.

    Verse 36. Tabitha, which is by interpretation Dorcas - She was probably a Hellenist Jew, known among the Hebrews by the Syriac name Tabitha, while the Greeks called her in their own language, Dorcas. They are both words of the same import, and signify a roe or fawn.

    Verse 38. The disciples sent to him - Probably none of those at Joppa had the gift of miracles. Nor is it certain that they expected a miracle from him.

    Verse 39. While she was with the in - That is, before she died.

    Verse 40. Peter having put them all out - That he might have the better opportunity of wrestling with God in prayer, said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, sat up - Who can imagine the surprise of Dorcas, when called back to life? Or of her friends, when they saw her alive? For the sake of themselves, and of the poor, there was cause of rejoicing, and much more, for such a confirmation of the Gospel. Yet to herself it was matter of resignation, not joy, to be called back to these scenes of vanity: but doubtless, her remaining days were still more zealously spent in the service of her saviour and her God. Thus was a richer treasure laid up for her in heaven, and she afterward returned to a more exceeding weight of glory, than that from which so astonishing a providence had recalled her for a season.

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