Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 36: Acts, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
10. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, called Ananias, unto whom the Lord said in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Here am I, Lord. 11. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the way that is called Straight, and seek in the house of Judas one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth. 12. And he hath seen in a vision a man, named Ananias, entering in, and laying his hand upon him that he might see.
10. We have said before that this man was rather chosen than any of the apostles, that Paul, having laid away the swelling of his arrogancy, might learn to hear the least, and that he [might] come down from too great loftiness even unto the lowest degree. And this vision was necessary for Ananias, lest through fear he should withdraw himself from that function which was enjoined him, to wit, to teach Paul. For though he know that the Lord calleth him, yet he slideth back, or, at least, he excuseth himself. Therefore it was requisite that he should have some certain testimony of his calling, that there should happy success be promised to his labor, that he might take that in hand with a joyful and valiant mind which the Lord commanded. Furthermore, as Christ animateth and confirmeth Ananias, by appearing to him in the vision, so he prepareth and maketh Paul ready for all things, that he may receive Ananias reverently, as if he would receive an angel coming from heaven. The Lord could have sent Paul straightway unto Ananias, and have showed him his house, but this was more fit for his confirmation; because he knew the better that the Lord had a care of him. And also the Lord setteth out his grace unto us, that as he stopped Paul before, so now he reacheth him his hand of his own accord, by his minister. And, in the mean season, we are also taught, by his example, to be more ready and careful to seek out the lost sheep.
In a vision. This word vision signifieth some light 582 which was set before the eyes to testify God’s presence. For this is the use of visions, that the majesty of the Word being well proved, it may purchase credit, amongst men; which kind of confirmation God used oftentimes toward the prophets; as he saith, that he speaketh to his servants by a vision or by a dream. He hath, indeed, suffered Satan to deceive the unbelievers with false imaginations and visures. 583 But forasmuch as Satan’s juggling casts are of power only in darkness, God doth lighten the minds of his children so, that they assure themselves that they need not to fear legerdemain. 584 Therefore Ananias answereth, Here am I, Lord, knowing indeed that it was God.
11. For, behold, he prayeth. Luke showeth that Paul gave himself 585 to prayer those three days; and peradventure this was one cause why he fasted, although it be certain, as I have already said, that he suffered such long hunger, because he was after a sort deprived of sense, as men which are in a trance use to be. Christ doth assuredly speak of no short prayer 586 in this place, but he doth rather show that Paul continued in this kind of exercise until he should be more quiet in mind. For besides other causes of terror, that voice might sound in his ears, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” And it is not to be doubted but that the careful 587 looking for a perfect revelation did marvellously trouble his mind; but this was the reason why the Lord caused him to wait three days, that he might the more kindle in him an earnest desire to pray.
12. He saw a man, named Ananias. It is uncertain whether Luke do yet repeat the words of Christ, or he add this of his own. Those which take it in the person of Luke are moved with some show of absurdity, because it is an unlikely thing that Christ used these words. Although this may be easily answered thus, to wit, that Christ confirmeth Ananias after this sort, There is no cause why thou shouldst fear but that he will receive thee willingly, forasmuch as he already knoweth thy shape by a vision. I have also told him thy name, and whatsoever thou shalt do with him. Yet may the reader choose whether he will.
“Fallacibus spectris,” with fallacious specters.
“Fuisse intentum,” was intent.
“Precatione momenti,” momentary or ejaculatory prayer.