Section 5, Chapter 9
Philip converts the Samaritans and baptizes the eunuch.
8:1. And at that time, there was raised a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem. And they were all dispersed through the countries of Judea, and Samaria, except the apostles.
8:2. And devout men took order for Stephen's funeral and made great mourning over him.
8:3. But Saul made havock of the church, entering in from house to house: and dragging away men and women, committed them to prison.
8:4. They therefore that were dispersed went about preaching the word of God.
8:5. And Philip, going down to the city of Samaria, preached Christ unto them.
8:6. And the people with one accord were attentive to those things which were said by Philip, hearing, and seeing the miracles which he did.
8:7. For many of them who had unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, went out.
8:8. And many, taken with the palsy, and that were lame, were healed.
8:9. There was therefore great joy in that city. Now there was a certain man named Simon who before had been a magician in that city, seducing the people of Samaria, giving out that he was some great one:
8:10. To whom they all gave ear, from the least to the greatest, saying: This man is the power of God, which is called great.
8:11. And they were attentive to him, because, for a long time, he had bewitched them with his magical practices.
8:12. But when they had believed Philip preaching of the kingdom of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
8:13. Then Simon himself believed also and, being baptized, he adhered to Philip. And being astonished, wondered to see the signs and exceeding great miracles which were done.
8:15. Who, when they were come, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost.
8:16. For he was not as yet come upon any of them: but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
8:17. Then they laid their hands upon them: and they received the Holy Ghost.
They laid their hands upon them, etc. . .The apostles administered the sacrament of confirmation, by imposition of hands, and prayer; and the faithful thereby received the Holy Ghost. Not but they had received the grace of the Holy Ghost at their baptism: yet not that plenitude of grace and those spiritual gifts which they afterwards received from bishops in the sacrament of confirmation, which strengthened them to profess their faith publicly.
8:18. And when Simon saw that, by the imposition of the hands of the apostles, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
8:19. Saying: Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I shall lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said to him:
8:20. Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee: because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
8:21. Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter. For thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
8:22. Do penance therefore for this thy wickedness: and pray to God, that perhaps this thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee.
8:23. For I see thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.
8:24. Then Simon answering, said: Pray you for me to the Lord that none of these things which you have spoken may come upon me.
8:25. And they indeed, having testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem: and preached the gospel to many countries of the Samaritans.
8:26. Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza: this is desert.
8:27. And rising up, he went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch, of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge over all her treasures, had come to Jerusalem to adore.
8:28. And he was returning, sitting in his chariot and reading Isaias the prophet.
8:29. And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near and join thyself to this chariot.
8:30. And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?
8:31. Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
8:32. And the place of the scripture which he was reading was this: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter: and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth.
8:33. In humility his judgment was taken away. His generation who shall declare, for his life shall be taken from the earth?
8:34. And the eunuch answering Philip, said: I beseech thee, of whom doth the prophet speak this? Of himself, or of some other man?
8:35. Then Philip, opening his mouth and beginning at this scripture, preached unto him Jesus.
8:36. And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water. And the eunuch said: See, here is water: What doth hinder me from being baptized?
8:37. And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
If thou believest with all thy heart. . .The scripture many times mentions only one disposition, as here belief, when others equally necessary are not expressed, viz., a sorrow for sins, a firm hope, and the love of God. Moreover, believing with the whole heart signifies a belief of every thing necessary for salvation.
8:38. And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him.
8:39. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took away Philip: and the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing.
8:40. But Philip was found in Azotus: and passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.