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Bible Commentaries
Acts 6

Expositor's Dictionary of TextsExpositor's Dictionary

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Verses 1-15

The Angel in Man

Acts 6:15

The angels seen in the New Testament are described as having glorious countenances. The probability is that at this wonderful moment in the life of this remarkable man he was in a measure transfigured. There is in the countenance of Stephen a manifestation of something within him that may be called angelic.

I. In the first place, I would consider the angel in human life in its universal latency. You may put it in another way, viz.: In every human being born into this life of ours there is a possible angel. It may be no new truth, but it is a truth the majesty of which is too often forgotten. Man is fearfully and wonderfully made however you regard him. It is said of one if my memory serves me well it is Goethe the great German it is said of one great man that he never stood in the presence of a group of children without baring his head. Childhood for him was awe-inspiring, not because of what it was so much as because of its latent possibilities. It is only a fallen angel that can make a devil.

II. How is this angel in human life to be quickened and developed? I turn to Stephen. 'A man full of faith.' That is the first step. The angel belongs to the sphere invisible, and the very first step in the quickening of it is faith. For faith involves that a man should begin to live in the eternal, should begin to realise his relation to God, should begin to trust in the Infinite for help and life and love. It may be very ignorant, very crude, very narrow, and very imperfect at first. But where there is a true perception of the invisible and the eternal the angel lives.

III. We next come to consider the manifestation of the angel in this earthly life. (1) The first characteristic of the angelic life is heavenly-minded-ness. (2) The angel life manifests itself further as a life of service. (3) Note particularly the manifestation of the angel in the countenance. The face is a wonderful vehicle for expressing the state of the emotions of the soul.

IV. Consider the ascent of the angel into its liberty and glory. (1) The first thing to be said on that head is that death obviously cannot touch the angel. 'I see the heavens open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' Who saw it? Why the angel saw that. (2) But there is something yet more glorious to tell than that death cannot touch the angel. Death liberates the angel.

John Thomas, Myrtle Street Pulpit, vol. m. p. 67.

References. VII. 7. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iii. p. 121; ibid. (5th Series), vol. v. p. 449. VII. 11. Ibid. (6th Series), vol. vi. p. 49. VII. 14. Ibid. (6th Series), vol. vii. p. 112. VII. 14-43. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlv. No. 2631. VII. 16. Expositor (4th Series), vol. x. p. 249. VII. 22. F. B. Cowl, Preacher's Magazine, vol. xviii. p. 239. Expositor (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 442. VII. 26. Ibid. (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 64. VII. 35. G. Trevor, Types and the Antitype, p. 83. VII. 37. H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1627, p. 65. Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 85. VII. 38. Ibid. (5th Series), vol. x. pp. 236, 240. VII. 41. H. J. Bevis, Sermons, p. 176. VII. 42. Expositor (6th Series), vol. ii. p. 428. VII. 43. Ibid. (4th Series), vol. iii. p. 121; ibid. (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 25. VII. 47. W. Cunningham, Christian World Pulpit, vol.) xliv. p. 118 Expositor (6th Series), vol. vii. p. 117. VII. 53 Ibid. vol. iv. p. 385.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 6". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/acts-6.html. 1910.
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