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them while they were unanimously gathered together ; perhaps to intimate, that the influences of the Spirit are most to be expected where there is the greatest unanimity, and the greatest devotion. Thus did the blessed Jesus accomplish what had been foretold concerning him, that he should baptize his disciples with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. And surely the sacred flame did not only illuminate their minds with celestial brightness, but did also cause their whole hearts to glow with love to God and zeal for his gospel. To this purposé may he still be imparted to us, whether we hold public or private stations in the church; and may our regards to him be ever most dutifully maintained : Especially may he be poured out upon the ministers of it, to direct them how they should speak the wonderful things of God; and may their hearers, under his gracious energy, gladly receive the word.
Let us not wonder if the more common operations of the Spirit on men's minds be derided by profane ignorance and folly, when there were some, even on this glorious day, who were stupid or malicious enough to ascribe the amazing event we have been surveying, to the supposed intoxication of the apostles, and to say, they were full of sweet wine. But let us observe, how well Peter vindicated himself and his brethren, with words, not of satire and reproach, but of meekness and sobriety, as well as of truth ; shewing at once the most perfect command, both of his reason and of his temper. Justly did he apply on this occasion that celebrated prophecy of Joel, in which this grand event is so exactly described. Let us adore the divine goodness, which has poured fourth the Spirit like a refreshing dew upon his church. Let us pray that we may all receive it, in such de. grees as may suit the present state of things. And let us deprecate those judgments, which the contempt of the Spirit has too evident a tendency to produce
Justly might God have made our land gloomy and horrible with blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. Justly might he have turned our sun into darkness, and our moon into blood. Let us adore his patience, that these national judgments, which are so well deserved, have been thus long with-held. But let us also remember, that the great and notable day is approaching, in which the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that kpow not God, and that obey not a gospel so gloriously attested. Then shall these figurative expressions be literally fulfilled. Then shall the heavenly luminaries be quenched in their orbs; the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth and all that is therein shall be burnt up : But even then, all those that have believed in Christ, and with obedient love have called upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved with an everlasting salvation. May that be, through grace, our happy portion; and may its prospects be daily brightening upon us, till it shall open in its full lustre, and shine beautiful and glorious amidst the flames of a dissolving world!
Peter's discourse to the people continued, shewing that Jesus, whom they cru
cified, was risen and was the true Messiah. Ch. ii. 22-36.
27 VE men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a
T man recommended to you by God, by powerful operations, and wonders, and signs, which God wrought by him in the midst 23 of you, as ye yourselves also know ; him you have seized, being
given up into your hands by the determinate counsel and fore
knowledge of God, and by the hands of sinners, have fastened * 24 to the cross and slain : whom God hath raised up, having loosed
the pains of death, as it was impossible that he should be held 25 under it. For David saith concerning him (Ps. xvi. 8.) “ I have
regarded the Lord as always before me; because he is at my 26 right-hand, that I might not be moved: for this reason my heart
is glad, and my tongue exulteth ; moreover too, my flesh shall 27 rest in hope, that thou wilt not leave my soul in the unseen world, 28 neither wilt thou permit thine holy one to see corruption. Thou
hast made me to know the ways of life, thou wilt make me full of 29 joy with thy countenance." Men and brethren, permit me to
speak freely to you concerning the patriarch David. You well
know that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is among 30 us unto this day : thereforebeing a prophet, and knowing that God
had sworn to him with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins he
would, according to the flesh, raise up the Messiah to sit 31 on his throne ; he foreseeing this, spake of the resurrection of
the Messiah, that his soul should not be left in the unseen world, 32 nor his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God hath raised up, of 83 which ail we are witnesses : being exalted therefore to the right
hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit
from the Father, he hath shed forth this miraculous effusion, which 34 you now see and hear. For David is not ascended into heaven
in the body, but he saith (Ps. cx. 1.) “ The Lord said unto my 35 Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thr 36 footstool.” Let therefore all the house of Israel assuredly know,
that God hath made this Jesus, whom you crucified, Lord and Messiah.
REFLECTIONS. Let us firmly believe the wisdom of the divine counsels, and humbly adore the depths of them ; according to which, without the least violation of that human freedom on which the morality of our actions depends, those events happen which the wickedness of men as really effects, as if Providence were wholly unconcerned in them.--Let us thankfully own the riches of that grace which gave our Lord Jesus Christ, to be a sacrifice for us ; and then raised him triumphant from the grave, to reign, at the right-hand of the Majesty on high, far above
* When ye had mocked. W.
all principality, and power, and might. In him the prophecies are accomplished : His soul was not left in hell*, nor did he so much as sce corrup:iin in the grave. And we may consider his resurrection as a pledge given us for our assurance, that God will not abandon us in that ruinous state, to which his righteous sentence for a while brings our bodies. He will at length rede m them from the power of the grave : He will shew us also the path of life, which our Redeemer hath trodden, and, by treading, has marked out for us ; and will conduct us to his righ-hand, where Jesus reigns, and with him everlas ing pleasure. In him therefore let our hear' be glad, and in him let our tongue rejice; and when it is thus employed, it will indeed be the glory of our frame. In this hope let our flesh res! ; nor let our faith stagger ai the promise of God, as if any thing could be hard to Omnipotence.
In the mean time, behoiding this wonderful effusion of ihe Spirit, as the blessed consequence of the ascension and exaltation of Christ, let us, with that affection which becomes his disciples, take our part in his glory and joy. Let us triumph in the thought, that God hath now said unto him, Sit thou ai my righ-hand, till I maki thine enemies thy footstoul. And while we rejoice in the security which we have as his friends, let us pray that the blessed time may come, when' every opposing power shall be brought down, and when we shall see that sight for which our eyes so long have been waiting, even all things put under his frei. Hasten, O Lord, that glorious day, and whatever our station or furniture is, may we be honoured as the happy instruments of doing something, whether by life or by death, in subserviency to this great design!
Great numbers converted by Peter's discourse, and immediately baptized
Ch. ii. 37, 8c. 37 N OW when they heard these things, they were pierced to the
I heart, and said to Peter, and the rest of the apostles, Men 38 and brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent,
and be each of you baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, in order
to the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of 39 the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made (as you see, Joel ii. 28.)
to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as 40 many as the Lord our God shall call. ---And with many other
words he bore his testimony, and exhorted, saying, Be ye saved 41 from this perverse generation. They therefore, who received his
word with readiness, were baptized : and there were added to the 42 disciples that very day about three thousand souls. And they con
tinued stedfast in the apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, and in 43 breaking of bread, and in prayer. And a reverential fear fell upon
every soul ; and many miracles and signs were wrought by the 44 apostles. And all that believed were in the same place ; and they
* Sheol, the place of the dead.
45 had all things in common*: and they sold their possessions, and 46 effects, and divided them to all, as every one had necessity. And
they continued unanimously in the temple every day; and break
ing bread from house to house, they partook of their common re47 freshment with joy and simplicity of heart ; praising God, and
having favour among all the people. And the Lord added daily to the church those, who were saved.
REFLECTIONS. Faithful are the wounds of a friend ; and far more beautiful than a jewel of gold, or an ornament of fine gold, is a wise reprover on an obedient ear. Happy are they who feel such an holy compunction of soul as these penitents did ! Salvation is come to their house, and though they sow in tears they shall reap in joy. What reason have we for thankfulness, that when we are crying out, What shall we do? the gospel gives us so ready an answer, and directs us to faith and repentance, as the sure way by which we may obtain the remission of our sins, and at length rise to an inheritance among them that are sanctified. Let us rejoice, that the promise is to us, and to our seed ;, and that the important blessings of it will run down from generation to generation. And let all the ardour of our souls be awakened to secure these blessings, and to be saved from that ruin, in which we shall otherwise be involved with the crooked and perverse generation among which we
Glorious effect of this convincing and excellent discourse! when three thousand were in one day added to the church ! three thousand, who not only expressed some present good impressions and resolutions, but continued stedfast in the religion they had embraced, and sacrificed all their wordly interests to it. How glorious an earnest of the future success of the gospel ! How great an encouragement to the apostles, in all the difficulties they were to encounter ; and how convincing a proof to all ages of its truth ! since all these proselytes were made upon the spot, where, if it had been false, it is impossible it should have been believed by any one rational inquirer, how mean soever his capacity, or how low soever his rank in life had been.
Let us reflect with pleasure on the happy change produced in the character and state of these converts. Bitter as the first pangs of their convictions were, anguish soon yielded to delight : Pardon of sin, and the hope of glory added a relish before unknown to the supports of nature, the accommodations of life, and the endearments of friendship. Whilst their hearts were opened in sentiments of grati. tude to God, who had provided a laver for their crimson sins which rendered them like wool, and like snow ; and to that Redeemer who had saved them by that blood which they had cruelly and impiously shed ; they were also dilated in liberality and bounty ; and they undoubtedly found a rich equivalent for all the worldly possessions which they resigned, in that holy joy which sprang up in their souls,,
** Peculiar reasons made this community of goods eligible at that time ; but many passages shew that it was never intended for a general practice.
when the treasures of the gospel were opened to them, and dealt out with so generous a hand. So may the kingdom of Christ spread and flourish in the souls of men ! So niay that blessed time come, when through the operation of the same Spirit (for that Spirit is for ever the same) nalions shall be born in a day. Let us not despair ; the morning was glorious, and in the even-tide it shall be light. In the mean time, let us thankfully own whatever progress Christianity may be making among us, or others, though by slow degrees.; and aca knowledge, that it is the great Lord of the church who, by his secret but powerful influence adds into its respective societies such as shall be saved. May the additions every where be numerous, and may the great author of all good be more thankfully owned in them all.
Peter and John cure a lame man at the temple-gate.-Ch. ii. 1-11.
I N OW about that time Peter and John went up to the temple,
IV at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour (or three in the 2 afternoon). And a certain man, who had been lame from his
mother's womb, was carried, whom they daily laid at the gate of
the temple, which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of those that 3 entered into the temple ; who secing Peter and John about 4 to go into the temple, begged to receive an alms. But Peter, 5 with John, looking stedfastly upon him, said, Look upon us. And
he fixed his eyes upon them, expecting to receive something from 6 them. But Peter said, Silver and gold I have none ; but what I
have, I give thee : In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise y up, and walk. And taking him by the right-hand, he raised him
up : and immediately his feet and ancle-bones were strengthened. 8 And leaping up, he stood, and walked about, and entered with them 9 into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And 10 all the people saw him walking and praising God. And they
knew him, that this was he, who had sat at the beautiful gate of
the temple for alms ; and they were filled with astonishnient and 11 ecstacy at that which had befallen him.-And while the lame man,
who was healed, kept his hold of Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in amazenient to the portico called Solomon's.
. REFLECTIONS. Happy are those souls who are so formed for devotion, that the proper returning seasons of it, whether public or private, are always welcome. Doubly delightful that friendship, which, like this of Peter and John, is endeared not only by taking sweet counset together, but by going to the house of God in company ! If we desire this devotion should be acceptable, let us endeavour not only to lay aside all the malignant passions, and to lift up holy hands without wrath ; but let us stretch out our hands in works of benevolence and kindness. To our piety let us add the most diffusive charity which our circumstances will permit; and there are none, whose circumstances will forbid