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The following volume terminates my survey and exposition of the Acts of the Holy Apostles. I have fully explained in the body of this work the reasons which led me to discuss the latter portion of that book more briefly than its earlier chapters. I did this of set purpose. The latter chapters of Acts are occupied to a great extent with the work of St. Paul during a comparatively brief period, while the first twenty chapters cover a space of well-nigh thirty years. The riot in Jerusalem and a few speeches at Cæsarea occupy the larger portion of the later narrative, and deal very largely with circumstances in St. Paul's life, his conversion and mission to the Gentiles, of which the earlier portion of this volume treats at large. Upon these topics I had nothing fresh to say, and was therefore necessarily obliged to refer my readers to pages previously written. I do not think, however, that I have omitted any topic or passage suitable to the purposes of the Expositor's Bible. Some may desiderate longer notices of German theories concerning the origin and character of the Acts. But, then, an expositor's Bible is not intended to deal at length withvi critical theories. Critical commentaries and works like Dr. Salmon's Introduction to the New Testament take such subjects into consideration and discuss them fully, omitting all mere exposition. My duty is exposition, and the supply or indication of material suitable for expository purposes. If I had gone into the endless theories supplied by German ingenuity to explain what seems to us the simplest and plainest matters of fact demanding no explanation whatsoever, I am afraid there would have been little space left for exposition, and my readers would have been excessively few. Those who are interested in such discussions, which are simply endless, and will last as long as man's fancy and imagination continue to flourish, will find ample satisfaction in the eighteenth chapter of Dr. Salmon's Introduction. Perhaps I had better notice one point urged by him, as an illustration of the critical methods of English common sense. German critics have tried to make out that the Acts were written in the second century in order to establish a parallel between St. Peter and St. Paul when men wished to reconcile and unite in one common body the Pauline and Petrine parties. This is the view set forth at length by Zeller in his work on the Acts, vol. ii., p. 278, translated and published in the series printed some years ago under the auspices of the Theological Translation Fund. Dr. Salmon's reply seems to me conclusive, as contained in the following passage, l.c., p. 336: "What I think proves conclusively that the making a parallel between Peter and Paul was not an idea present to the author'svii mind, is the absence of the natural climax of such a parallel—the story of the martyrdom of both the Apostles. Very early tradition makes both Peter and Paul close their lives by martyrdom at Rome—the place where Rationalist critics generally believe the Acts to have been written. The stories told in tolerably ancient times in that Church which venerated with equal honour the memory of either apostle, represented both as joined in harmonious resistance to the impostures of Simon Magus. And though I believe these stories to be more modern than the latest period to which any one has ventured to assign the Acts, yet what an opportunity did that part of the story which is certainly ancient—that both Apostles came to Rome and died there for the faith (Clem. Rom., 5)—offer to any one desirous of blotting out the memory of all differences between the preaching of Peter and Paul, and of setting both on equal pedestals of honour! Just as the names of Ridley and Latimer have been united in the memory of the Church of England, and no count has been taken of their previous doctrinal differences, in the recollection of their first testimony for their common faith, so have the names of Peter and Paul been constantly bound together by the fact that the martyrdom of both has been commemorated on the same day. And if the object of the author of the Acts had been what has been supposed, it is scarcely credible that he could have missed so obvious an opportunity of bringing his book to its most worthy conclusion, by telling how the two servants of Christ—allviii previous differences, if there had been any, reconciled and forgotten—joined in witnessing a good confession before the tyrant emperor, and encouraged each other to steadfastness in endurance to the end."

But though I have not dealt in any formal way with the critical theories urged concerning the Acts, I have taken every opportunity of pointing out the evidence for its early date and genuine character furnished by that particular line of historical exposition and illustration which I have adopted. It will be at once seen how much indebted I am in this department to the researches of modern scholars and travellers, especially to those of Professor Ramsay, whose long residence and extended travels in Asia Minor have given him special advantages over all other critics. I have made a diligent use of all his writings, so far as they had appeared up to the time of writing, and only regret that I was not able to use his paper on St. Paul's second journey, which appeared in the Expositor for October, after this work had been composed and printed. That article seems to me another admirable illustration of the critical methods used by our own home scholars as contrasted with those current abroad. Professor Ramsay does not set to work to spin criticisms out of his own imagination and elaborate theories out of his own inner consciousness even as a spider weaves its web; but he takes the Acts of the Apostles, compares it with the facts of Asia Minor, its scenery, roads, mountains, ruins, and then points out how exactly the text answers to the facts, showing that the author ofix it wrote at the time alleged and must have been an eyewitness of the Apostles' doings. While again by a similar comparison in the case of the apocryphal acts of St. Paul and Thecla he demonstrates how easily a forger fell into grievous mistakes. I do not think a better illustration can be found of the difference between sound historical criticism and criticism based on mere imagination than this article by Professor Ramsay.

In conclusion I ought to explain that I systematically quote the Fathers whenever I can out of the translations published by Messrs. T. & T. Clark, or in the Oxford Library of the Fathers. It would have been very easy for me to give this book a very learned look by adding the references in Greek or Latin, but I do not think I should have thus conduced much to its practical utility. The Fathers are now a collection of works much spoken of, but very little read, and the references in the original added to theological works are much more overlooked than consulted. It would conduce much to a sound knowledge of primitive antiquity were the works translated of all the Christian writers who flourished down to the triumph of Christianity. Authors who fill their pages with quotations in Latin and Greek which they do not translate forget one simple fact, that ten or twenty years in a country parish immersed in its endless details make the Latin and Greek of even good scholars somewhat rusty. And if so, what must be the case with those who are not good scholars, or not scholars at all, whether bad or good? I am often surprised notingx how much more exacting from their readers modern scholars are in this direction than our forefathers of two hundred years ago. Let any one, for instance, take up the works composed in English by Hammond or Thorndike discussing the subject of Episcopacy, and it will be found that in every case when they use a Latin, Greek, or Hebrew quotation while they give the original they always add the translation. Finally I have to acknowledge, what every page will show, the great assistance I have derived from the Lives of St. Paul written by Archdeacon Farrar, Mr. Lewin, and Messrs. Conybeare & Howson, and to express a hope that this volume together with the previous one will be found helpful by some as they strive to form a better and truer conception of the manner in which the Church of the living God was founded and built up amongst men.


All Saints' Vicarage, Blackrock,
     Nov. 4th, 1892.

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