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Such are the declarations of ancient pro, phecy, respecting this matter; and if they were, in their season, exactly accomplished, the religion, thus planted, and thus propagated, must have been the work and counsel of God. This therefore let us now proceed to confider.
It has been before observed >, that the baptism of John, the ministry of Christ, and the preaching of the apostles, during their divine Master's residence on earth, were so many preparatory steps, towards the gospel kingdom, rather than its actual commencement with power. Accordingly, if we look at the general effect of the wonderful works, and heavenly discourses, of the blessed Jesus; they seem to have roused and astonished multitudes whom they did not fully convince. There were many, among his hearers, to whom might be applied what was said of one ; they were “not far from the kingdom of God h,” though, as yet, they were not thoroughly persuaded, or had not courage to profess their belief. The hopes of all these were, we may suppose, entirely blasted, by
& Serm. I. p. 24.
Mark xii. 34. See John xii. 42.
that event, which staggered the apostles themselves, the death of their Lord ; and after his resurrection, he did not thew himself to all the people, but to chosen witnesses, who did eat and drink with him, and were permitted to handle his body, which had been crucified. At one interview indeed " he was seen of above five hundred brethren;" but there is some ground for questioning, whether all these were, even now, so unprejudiced as to believe in, or so bold as to acknowledge, him whom they beheld. For after our Lord's ascension, when most of the Jews were already, it is probable, come up, to keep the approaching feast; the disciples being together, - the number of the names was" only, as St. Luke informs us, “about an hundred and twentyk.”
But grant that this is a vain surmise, say that there were now more than five hundred followers of Christ; what are These, if they are to bring about the mighty revolution, foreshewn by the prophets ; if They are to combat Jewish obstinacy, if They are to familh the gods of the heathen', to make their temples forsaken, and their rites ab
ii Cor. xv. 6.
* Aets i. 15
| See Zeph. ii. 11.
horred? But these, how many so ever, or how powerful so ever, they may, in fact, have been, are not the men, to undertake this exploit; they have no such commission. Twelve are the number set apart for the work ; and if God be with them, then indeed - a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation ";" if otherwise, the attempt shall surely be fruitless. Let us mark the event therefore, and let it speak for itself.
“When the day of Pentecost," on which the law was of old delivered upon mount Sinai, and which was observed by the Jews, in remembrance of that blessing; when this day “was fully come"," and the disciples “ were with one accord in one place,” the new law, in exact conformity with the word of God, began to be promulged in Jerusalam. “Suddenly,” says the historian, “ there came a sound from heaven,” not like a gentle breeze, or still small voice, but “as of a rushing mighty wind;" for the effects, which it was to produce, were to be great and astonishing: “ Įt filled all the house ;” and it
* Acts ii, 1 &c. Vide S. Augustin. adv. Jud. §. 9. Patrick on Exod, xix, !: Mede p. 265. and Stanhope on Whitsunday.
was ere long to fill the whole earth. А cloven tongue, like as of fire, sat upon each of them; for the word, in their mouth, was to be “ quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged swordo.” They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
By the division of language, it pleased God once to disunite, and separate, the sons of men ; by the marvelous gift, now imparted, it was his gracious design, to join, in one body and one holy faith, all nations under heaven P. The multitudes, who were then, from all quarters, assembled at Jerufalem to celebrate the feast, flocked together, when this was noised abroad. They were amazed, when they heard the various and diffimilar languages of the world, pronounced by the lips of illiterate Galileans. But Peter stood up, and spake unto them all, with such wisdom, and such power, that “the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
o Heb. iv. 12.
p Vide omnino lectu digniffima apud Chryfoft. Serm. II. in Pentecoften, T. V. p.612. 1. 40. &c.
This wonderful conversion must, without doubt, be principally ascribed to the blessed influence of that Holy Spirit, who had, in such a glorious manner, descended on the apostles. But the speech itself, uttered at such a time, and with so much effect, being recorded for the instruction of all ages of the church, must deserve some attention.
How then did the apostle address his brethren? Did he proclaim to them, what they would have heard of with raptures, a temporal prince of the house of David, who should fight their battles, and deliver them from the Romans, and make them lords of the world ? No such thing. He reasons with his hearers, as all who reason justly must do, upon principles, which they themselves allowed ; and from these he deduces truths, which before they did not allow. He alledges the writings of their own prophets; who testified, while as yet the Spirit was vouchsafed in Judah, that it should, in the last days, be poured out, in greater abundance, upon all filesh. This, says the apostle, is fulfilled
the cause here. of? listen to my words.
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of Gov among you,