He took pleasure in the execution of Stephen, being zealously resolute to put down the church.
It is not wrong to lament the death of holy men, for they are a great loss to the community.
Driven yet further afield, they carried the gospel into other lands. The winds of persecution fan the fire of faith in the church, and carry the sparks of truth to a distance. The Devil destroys his own kingdom, while he thinks he is crushing the rising empire of Christ.
Stephen is gone, but Philip comes forward; the church will not fail for want of men to bear her standard.
Joy in forgiven sin, joy in healing mercy, joy in God’s gracious presence. See how Christians, though persecuted themselves, make others glad.
But he did not savingly believe, as is clear from his conduct. He was baffled by Philip, and therefore believed his doctrine to be true, made a profession of faith and entered the church, and might have done immense mischief, had he not been detected by his own greed. The church of God has many foes: Saul vexes her without, and Simon within.
Acts 8:18, 19
Hence the purchase of office in the church is called Simony, Wretched distinction, to furnish a name for a new sin.
He did not say, “Pray that I may be forgiven,” his heart only throbbed with carnal desires for power, or slavish fears of judgment. All around him the divine light was spreading, but he remained blinded by sordid feelings. The Lord grant us to rise far above everything mercenary in religion.