Simon the Magian Unmasked and Put to Shame
Acts 8:9-24
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria…

This Simon was the first heretic in the Christian Church, the first to claim its fellowship while out of sympathy with its fundamental truths. His mistakes were many and grievous.

1. He began with an unscrupulous ambition. No sooner had Peter and John begun to confer the gifts of spiritual power by the laying on of hands than Simon saw that his own juggleries were cast into the shade. All that he perceived were the outward phenomena; the inward grace did not occur to him.

2. He was guilty, thus, of utter insincerity. His pious airs and phrases, while he worshipped with the Christians, were all make-believe. His heart was wholly unchanged; he was still an unregenerate sinner, in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity.

3. He was grievously mistaken as to the purchasing power of money. He thought that money could do anything. His mind was so utterly sordid that he was as honest as he could be in proffering coin for the sovereign gifts of God. There are men in our times who seem to have a like confidence in filthy lucre. Their very souls grow yellow as they bow before their wretched golden god. They subordinate all things to persona[ gain. Friendship, beneficence, patriotism, and piety are of value only, as they can be made to serve their selfish ends.

4. He was a blasphemer. He should have been appalled at the mere thought of tampering with the influence of the Divine Spirit; but "fools rush in where angels fear to tread." God was nothing to him, and sacred things were of value only to grind at his mill. It is well that Peter and John had the courage to unmask this miserable impostor. There is no telling what harm he might have done otherwise in the early Church. As it is, he vanishes from our sight cringing under a terrific warning and whining for an intercession which, had it been offered, would have seemed to him only another of the apostles' masterly conjurations. Farewell to him! And may no disciple of his ever again pollute the pure atmosphere of the Church of God!

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

WEB: But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one,

Simon Magus, or Wrong-Heartedness
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