Acts 1** This book unites the Gospels to the Epistles. It containsmany particulars concerning the apostles Peter and Paul, and ofthe Christian church from the ascension of our Saviour to thearrival 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 theevents he relates, and attended Paul to Rome. But the narrativedoes not afford a complete history of the church during the timeto which it refers, nor even of St. Paul's life. The object ofthe book has been considered to be, 1. To relate in what mannerthe gifts of the Holy Spirit were communicated on the day ofPentecost, and the miracles performed by the apostles, toconfirm the truth of Christianity, as showing that Christ'sdeclarations were really fulfilled. 2. To prove the claim of theGentiles to be admitted into the church of Christ. This is shownby much of the contents of the book. A large portion of the Actsis occupied by the discourses or sermons of various persons, thelanguage and manner of which differ, and all of which will befound according to the persons by whom they were delivered, andthe occasions on which they were spoken. It seems that most ofthese discourses are only the substance of what was actuallydelivered. They relate nevertheless fully to Jesus as theChrist, the anointed Messiah. * Proofs of Christ's resurrection. (1-5) Christ's ascension.(6-11) The apostles unite in prayer. (12-14) Matthias chosen inthe place of Judas. (15-26)1-5 Our Lord told the disciples the work they were to do. Theapostles met together at Jerusalem; Christ having ordered themnot to depart thence, but to wait for the pouring out of theHoly Spirit. This would be a baptism by the Holy Ghost, givingthem power to work miracles, and enlightening and sanctifyingtheir souls. This confirms the Divine promise, and encourages usto depend upon it, that we have heard it from Christ; for in Himall the promises of God are yea and amen. 6-11 They were earnest in asking about that which their Masternever had directed or encouraged them to seek. Our Lord knewthat his ascension and the teaching of the Holy Spirit wouldsoon end these expectations, and therefore only gave them arebuke; but it is a caution to his church in all ages, to takeheed of a desire of forbidden knowledge. He had given hisdisciples instructions for the discharge of their duty, bothbefore his death and since his resurrection, and this knowledgeis enough for a Christian. It is enough that He has engaged togive believers strength equal to their trials and services; thatunder the influence of the Holy Spirit they may, in one way orother, be witnesses for Christ on earth, while in heaven hemanages their concerns with perfect wisdom, truth, and love.When we stand gazing and trifling, the thoughts of our Master'ssecond coming should quicken and awaken us: when we stand gazingand trembling, they should comfort and encourage us. May ourexpectation of it be stedfast and joyful, giving diligence to befound of him blameless. 12-14 God can find hiding-places for his people. They madesupplication. All God's people are praying people. It was now atime of trouble and danger with the disciples of Christ; but ifany is afflicted, let him pray; that will silence cares andfears. They had now a great work to do, and before they enteredupon it, they were earnest in prayer to God for his presence.They were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, and abounded inprayer. Those are in the best frame to receive spiritualblessings, who are in a praying frame. Christ had promisedshortly to send the Holy Ghost; that promise was not to do awayprayer, but to quicken and encourage it. A little company unitedin love, exemplary in their conduct, fervent in prayer, andwisely zealous to promote the cause of Christ, are likely toincrease 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 hisbeing the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. Theapostles were ordained, not to wordly dignity and dominion, butto preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection. An appealwas made to God; "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of allmen," which we do not; and better than they know their own. Itis fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far ashe, by the disposals of his providence, or the gifts of hisSpirit, 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 thedetermining everything which befalls us, especially in those bywhich any trust may be committed to us.
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