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Commentary On Acts Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Acts 14:5-10

5. And when there was an assault made of the Gentiles and Jews, together with their rulers, to do them violence, and to stone them, 6. When they knew the matter, they fled into cities of Lycaonia, to Lystra and Derbe, and to the country lying nigh there about on every side: 7. And there they preached the gospel.8. And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, who had been lame from his mother's womb, neither had he ever walked.9. This man heard Paul speak: who, beholding him, and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10. Said with a loud voice, Arise upright upon thy feet. And he leapt up and walked.

5. Mark how far forth the holy champions of Christ did suffer. They give not back when their enemies do only set themselves against them; but when the sedition waxeth hot, and they be in danger of stoning, though they have many favorers of their doctrine, they go no further, but remembering the saying of Christ, wherein he warneth the faithful in patience to possess their souls, they avoid the fury of the enemy. And though they fly, lest they throw themselves headlong into death, yet their constancy in preaching the gospel doth sufficiently declare that they feared not danger. For Luke saith that they preached the gospel in other places also. This is the right kind of fear, when the servants of Christ do not run willfully into the hands of their enemies, of them to be murdered, and yet they do not foreslow [abandon] their duty; neither doth fear hinder them from obeying God when he calleth; and so, consequently, they can afford, if need be, to go even through death itself to do their duty.

8. A certain man at Lystra. Luke reciteth one miracle which we may think was one of many; but there was mention made of it alone by reason of the famous event. For we shall see by and by what happened. Luke reckoneth up the circumstances, which do more plainly set forth the power of God, when he saith that the man did never walk, and that he was a cripple even from his mother's womb, and that he was suddenly healed by the voice of Paul alone before the eyes of all men, and that his legs, which were dead, were made nimble, so that he leapt up without making any stop.

9. He heard Paul speak. Hearing is set down first, that we may know that the faith which Luke will commend by and by was conceived of Paul's doctrine. Therefore, when he heard Paul, he hoped to be healed. But the question is, whether this was promised to him specially; for God doth not command us to hope for everything by and by, when he offereth unto us eternal salvation in the gospel. I answer, that this was a singular and extraordinary motion of the Spirit of God in the cripple, as it was on the other side in Paul, when he knew his faith by beholding him only. It may be that many may receive the gospel, and yet they shall not be cured of those diseases wherewith they are vexed. But forasmuch as God was determined to show a token of his grace in the cripple, he prepared his mind before, and made him capable of this that should come upon him. Wherefore we must not make this a common rule, because the cripple believed that he should be healed, but it was a peculiar preparation to receive the gift of healing. And this kind of faith is likewise particular which giveth place to miracles, which many of God's children do want, who are, notwithstanding, indued with the Spirit of adoption.

Whom when Paul beheld steadfastly. We know how doubtful and how deceitful a thing the countenance of man is, therefore there could no sure judgment be given thereby of faith, which hath God alone to be witness thereof; but, as I have already said, the cripple's faith was revealed to Paul by the secret inspiration of the Spirit, as he was to the apostles their only guide and master to work miracles.

10. He said with a loud voice. Many old books, and those of great credit, add, |I say to thee in the name of Jesus Christ,| and surely we see how careful the apostles were to magnify the name of Christ in all miracles; therefore I think that that was expressed by Luke, and yet we cannot find it commonly now in the printed books, [copies.] Whereas Luke saith afterward, that the lame man leapt up, it serveth not only for the commendation of God's power, but also such readiness and willingness to obey did testify that he was rightly prepared by the Lord; so that he did already walk in mind when as his feet were as yet dead. Although his speed in rising made the power of God more manifest, to which end also Paul exalted his voice, that the sudden change might the more move the multitude.

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