Acts 1

** This book unites the Gospels to the Epistles. It contains

many particulars concerning the apostles Peter and Paul, and of

the Christian church from the ascension of our Saviour to the

arrival of St. Paul at Rome, a space of about thirty years. St.

Luke was the writer of this book; he was present at many of the

events he relates, and attended Paul to Rome. But the narrative

does not afford a complete history of the church during the time

to which it refers, nor even of St. Paul's life. The object of

the book has been considered to be, 1. To relate in what manner

the gifts of the Holy Spirit were communicated on the day of

Pentecost, and the miracles performed by the apostles, to

confirm the truth of Christianity, as showing that Christ's

declarations were really fulfilled. 2. To prove the claim of the

Gentiles to be admitted into the church of Christ. This is shown

by much of the contents of the book. A large portion of the Acts

is occupied by the discourses or sermons of various persons, the

language and manner of which differ, and all of which will be

found according to the persons by whom they were delivered, and

the occasions on which they were spoken. It seems that most of

these discourses are only the substance of what was actually

delivered. They relate nevertheless fully to Jesus as the

Christ, the anointed Messiah.

* Proofs of Christ's resurrection. (1-5) Christ's ascension.

(6-11) The apostles unite in prayer. (12-14) Matthias chosen in

the place of Judas. (15-26)

1-5 Our Lord told the disciples the work they were to do. The

apostles met together at Jerusalem; Christ having ordered them

not to depart thence, but to wait for the pouring out of the

Holy Spirit. This would be a baptism by the Holy Ghost, giving

them power to work miracles, and enlightening and sanctifying

their souls. This confirms the Divine promise, and encourages us

to depend upon it, that we have heard it from Christ; for in Him

all the promises of God are yea and amen.
6-11 They were earnest in asking about that which their Master

never had directed or encouraged them to seek. Our Lord knew

that his ascension and the teaching of the Holy Spirit would

soon end these expectations, and therefore only gave them a

rebuke; but it is a caution to his church in all ages, to take

heed of a desire of forbidden knowledge. He had given his

disciples instructions for the discharge of their duty, both

before his death and since his resurrection, and this knowledge

is enough for a Christian. It is enough that He has engaged to

give believers strength equal to their trials and services; that

under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may, in one way or

other, be witnesses for Christ on earth, while in heaven he

manages their concerns with perfect wisdom, truth, and love.

When we stand gazing and trifling, the thoughts of our Master's

second coming should quicken and awaken us: when we stand gazing

and trembling, they should comfort and encourage us. May our

expectation of it be stedfast and joyful, giving diligence to be

found of him blameless.
12-14 God can find hiding-places for his people. They made

supplication. All God's people are praying people. It was now a

time of trouble and danger with the disciples of Christ; but if

any is afflicted, let him pray; that will silence cares and

fears. They had now a great work to do, and before they entered

upon it, they were earnest in prayer to God for his presence.

They were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, and abounded in

prayer. Those are in the best frame to receive spiritual

blessings, who are in a praying frame. Christ had promised

shortly to send the Holy Ghost; that promise was not to do away

prayer, but to quicken and encourage it. A little company united

in love, exemplary in their conduct, fervent in prayer, and

wisely zealous to promote the cause of Christ, are likely to

increase rapidly.
15-26 The great thing the apostles were to attest to the world,

was, Christ's resurrection; for that was the great proof of his

being the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. The

apostles were ordained, not to wordly dignity and dominion, but

to preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection. An appeal

was made to God; "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all

men," which we do not; and better than they know their own. It

is fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far as

he, by the disposals of his providence, or the gifts of his

Spirit, shows whom he was chosen, or what he has chosen for us,

we ought to fall in with his will. Let us own his hand in the

determining everything which befalls us, especially in those by

which any trust may be committed to us.
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