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do?” How shall we save ourselves from the heinousness of this sin ?
The apostles, therefore, had now a power present with them, and accompanying their words, which before was not exerted, The Comforter had come unto them, and was reproving the world by their mouths; was carrying conviction home. The assembly, their “ hearts being opened,” the
eyes of their understanding being enlightened,” gladly received the words of Peter ; "and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
The work performed on the minds of the Jewish assembly must be performed on the minds of all. That Christ died for sin; that being raised from the dead, he ascended into heaven; that he delivers from the power of darkness all who trust in him : this is the sum of Christian faith. But this can no more be received now, than when Peter affirmed it to his countrymen, except through the influence of the same Spirit, proceeding as then from the Father and the Son. We declare the truth, as the husbandman casts the seed into the furrow. And the truth remains unheeded and inoperative, unless the Spirit moves upon the heart; just as the seed lies unchanged within the ground, if there is no warmth or moisture from above to bring it into life. 66 The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God."6 The Spirit, however, has continued to accompany the word spoken, and to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Many, like those who listened to the words of Peter, have “ saved themselves from the untoward generation” of which they formed a part; and “walking in the fear of God and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost,” have shown the power which wrought effectually within them.
It is the same Spirit which worketh all in all.” And we must entreat of him, both for ourselves and others, that he may give us a right judgment in all things : may enable us to perceive the guilt of our own nature, and to understand “ the righteousness which is of God by Jesus Christ:" that being rooted and built up on that foundation, the blessed gifts of the Spirit may be ours, and we may learn by happy experience that “ the kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”?
6 Art. x.
7 Rom. xiv. 17.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PROMISED TO EXPLAIN THE THINGS WHICH THE APOSTLES WERE UNABLE TO COMPREHEND.
JOHN xvi. 12-15.
12. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself ; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come.
There were many things relating to the Gospel which it would be needful for the apostles to know, both for their own faith, and that of others. But as yet they could not bear them.
Even that great fact which is the basis of all, that the Son of God had come “ to give his life a ransom for many ;” even that was at present in no wise understood by them.
by them. A veil was on their hearts when Isaiah was read, which yet remained untaken away, just “ as when Moses was read, a veil was on the hearts'i of all the Jews. was bruised for our iniquities." " For the transgression of my people was he stricken."
1 2 Cor. ii. 15.
siah shall be cut off, though not for himself.” So the prophets had spoken : but light was not yet cast upon these passages, neither was it the divine will that they should be fully understood, till the sacrifice had been already offered, and the atonement completed. Then the Spirit teaching them, they would perceive that he, who they trusted was “to redeem Israel,” did redeem them by that very death which seemed ruin to their hopes. Then the Spirit should guide them into all truth, all the truth · relating to the salvation of man.
To do this was the part of the Spirit in this great work. He did not act independently and alone : he shall not speak of himself. Neither did Christ act independently : he had told them in this same discourse, that all things which he had heard of the Father, he had made known to them: * that the word which they had heard from him, was not his, but the Father's which sent him. So now he adds concerning the Spirit : whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak. The whole “ three persons together” were united in the same object, and each had his separate office, in conferring upon man a blessing, which too often man despises as if it were beneath his care : nay, never values as he ought, until the same Spirit enlightens him who was to enlighten the apostles. But he, as Jesus proceeds to say,
14. He shall glorify me : for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
2 Is. liii. 5–8. Dan. ix, 26.
4 John xv. 15.
15. All things that the Father hath are mine : therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shew it unto you.
Jesus is glorified by the Spirit, because the Spirit teaches men to glorify him. He first teaches the ministers of Christ, as he taught the apostles, to point to the cross of Christ as the means of man's reconciliation with God. And then he teaches those to glorify the Redeemer, who are saved from wrath through him.
It was through the teaching of the Spirit that Peter was enabled to reply to his consciencestricken countrymen, that the blood which they had shed, might atone for their sin in shedding it." And thus Christ was glorified. And when three thousand persons gladly received his word, and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; it was the work of the Spirit upon their hearts, which led them as convinced sinners to the “ fountain opened for sin,” and enabled them to see that they might wash in that and be clean. It was an accomplishment of the words, He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it
When St. Paul explained to the people among whom he ministered “ the unsearchable riches of Christ,” he spoke through the teaching of the Holy Ghost. “For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”6 Left to himself, he would have persuaded his countrymen to seek “ the
5 See Acts ii. 38, &c.
6 I Cor. ii. 10.