And all that believed were together, and had all things common;…
1. When you ascend from the post-apostolic to the apostolic days, you seem to emerge from a stifled, airless cave, where all manner of fungous growths luxuriate, into the open field, where fresh breezes play and sunbeams glitter and dew-besprinkled flowers shed their varied perfume on the air. In the Acts you find not only a purer religion but more of common sense and manliness than in the history of the fathers.
2. We make a great mistake if, while we seek in the Scriptures and by prayer for direction in matters of faith and in the larger turning-points of life, we leave smaller affairs, such as our feasts, to the arbitrament of chance or the example of the world. "In everything by prayer and supplication," etc. Only on the great things may the stranger approach the king, but in everything is the appeal of the child welcome to the Father.The disciples did eat their bread —
I. WITH GLADNESS.
1. A preliminary to this was a liberal contribution to their poorer brethren — a necessary ingredient in all glad Christian festivity.
2. These ancient Christians were not hermits, they enjoyed their food all the more by enjoying it together. The sight of a friend's face, and the sound of his voice while we eat, are as good gifts of God as food. A convivial meeting is an object of dread to Christian parents, but it is not in itself evil: in as far as it retains its etymological meaning — eating together — it is good.
3. A good reason for eating with gladness is that we have something to eat, and a self-acting machinery which reminds us when nourishment is needed, and compels us to take it at the proper time.
4. In the case of a Christian the Giver of food is recognised, and therefore he has more gladness than other men.
II. WITH SINGLENESS OF HEART, as well as gladness, and that without which gladness soon disappears. "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." Simplicity is destroyed and gladness lost —
1. By burdensome and irrational luxury. The cares of the meal are sometimes as heavy as the management of the estate. Instead of singleness, doubleness of a very troublesome type is the. occupant of the heart. One half of the mental vision squints aside to calculate the estimation in which the elaborate festival is held by the guests. Simplicity may be marred, too, by the cost of the entertainment; and some approach to it might both replenish the coffers of charitable institutions and facilitate the settlement of tradesmen's bills. The Christian should "add to his faith courage" here.
2. By immoderately late hours. To turn night into day is not simplicity, and cannot promote gladness. It is like the opinion within lunatic asylums that people should lie in bed while the sun shines, and be active under gaslight during the night. What would you think of the gardener who should cover your greenhouse till noon, and make up for the deficiency of light by burning lamps beside the flowers till midnight. Treat yourselves as you treat your gardens. Young men and women would be more like the lilies in freshness and beauty if they considered and imitated them.
3. The free use and vile abuse of intoxicating drinks.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And all that believed were together, and had all things common;