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of eternal sinning. The question, whe- no remorse, no repentance is conceivather an everlasting punishment is possible, and therefore no conversion, no ble, or not, depends upon another fact, forgiveness-no salvation. namely, whether it is possible to at- All persistence in sin points towards tain to an everlasting sinfulness. There this awful state, and will end there at is a growth and harvest state in grace; last. How solemn the warning, then, but so, too, there is a maturing and of our Key-note! ripening in evil. Both truths are taught us in God's Word, (Rom. vi. 23).
As we quench fire, so may we quench the Holy Spirit :
It is to be noted that our Lord speaks of the sin against the Holy Ghost, as though it lay in some wicked form of speech. "Whosoever speaketh," etc. He does not, however, mean to locate this awful state of the soul in the words of men, any further than men's thoughts, words and actions are the exponents and outgrowths of the inner man. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," (Matt. xii. 34). Because the hearts of the Pharisees were eet in evil, therefore did they blaspheme Jesus, and were in danger of going further to blaspheme the Holy Ghost. As the tree is known by its fruits, so were His enemies exhibiting their spirit and mind, in
their conversation and conduct.
The sin against the Holy Ghost consists-1. Not in an evil Thought-or in many of them;
2. Not in an evil Word-or in many of such;
3. Not in an evil Act-or in thou
sands of them.
Planting Fruit Trees for others.
The Spaniards have a maxim, that a that planted the trees from which he man is ungrateful to the past generation the next generation, unless he plants eats fruit, and deals unjustly towards the seed that it may furnish food for those who come after him. Thus when the roadside, wherever he is, he digs a a son of Spain eats a peach or pear by hole in the ground with his foot and covers the seed. Consequently, all over Spain, by the roadsides and elsewhere, fruit in great abundance tempts the taste and is ever free. Let this practice be imitated in our country, and the weary wanderer will be blest, and will bless the hand that ministered to his
Not to be able to discern and acknowledge God the Father, in the book of Nature, is not a sign of hatred against the truth. Nor is it a proof of final impenitence not to recognize God the Son under the humble garb of a carpenter. But when the soul's eye sores and comfort and joy. We are bound to festers and closes against the Spirit of leave the world as good or better than Light and Truth-that is a symptom of we found it, and he is a selfish churl, a fatal disease of the eye within us, who basks under the shade and eats the which may, indeed, end in stone-blind- fruit of trees which other hands have planted, if he will not also plant trees. which shall yield fruit to coming generations.
Robert Burns, a son of the poet's eldHospital. He was once a school-masest son, has just died in the Dumfries ter, but his school dwindled away till he had to take refuge in the poor-house, from which about eighteen months ago he was transferred to the more comfortable quarters in which he died.
We may repent of all these, and obtain pardon.
But the sin against the Holy Ghost lies in an evil state of the heart.
We may call it
1. A state of criminal indifference;
1.) By a deluge of the waters of iniquity.
2.) By a smothering of convictions. 3.) By a withholding of fuel.
Lord Bacon said: If a man be gracious to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins them.
Trinity Sunday. Acts ii. 14-36.
THE SUBJECT.-ST. PETER'S
KEY-NOTE." THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THE Love of GoD, AND THE COMMUNION OF THE HOLY GHOST BE WITH YOU ALL. AMEN."-2 Cor. xiii. 14.
14. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy :
19. And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke;
20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22. Ye men of Israel. hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed
What name does this Lord's Day bear? In honor of what mystery is it so called? What Three Persons constitute the Holy Trinity? Do the Scriptures teach this doctrine? How does the Baptismal Formula read? Matt. xxviii. 19. Repeat the Apostolic Benediction. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Do we express our belief in the Trinity when the Doxology is sung?
How does God dwell with His Church since the first Christian Pentecost? John iv. 24; xiv. 23. Whose Pentecostal Sermon have we to-day? VERSE 14. What was St. Peter's subject? verses 1-13. How could there be eleven, since Judas was no more? Chap. i. 23-26. Was St. Peter's audience composed of Jews entirely?
15. What charge does St. Peter repudiate? Did a Jew eat or dine before 9 o'clock in the morning? What force had this argument?
16. What Prophet foretold this event? VERSES 17-21. Repeat the substance of Joel's prophecy. Joel ii. 28-32. What time was meant by the last days? Upon what classes should the Spirit come? In what measure? Does the Holy Spirit now dwell in Christians? 1 Cor ii. 16-17; 2 Cor. vi. 16. What figures of speech here teach that hearts enlightened by the Holy Ghost shall know and proclaim the truths of the Gospel? By what other phrases were the calamities of the Jewish Dispensation |
34, For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35. Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
here foretold? What Dispensation was to succeed? What will the Lord do for all who enter His Gospel kingdom?
VERSE 22. By what name does St. Peter call his hearers? Of whom does he begin to tell them? What titles of humiliation does he give our Lord? How does he say God honored them?
23. Had God delivered Jesus, in His wise counsel to be the Saviour of mankind? What did the Jews do with Him? What people are meant by wicked hands? On whom does Peter charge the crucifixion of Christ?
24. What does he say,God did to His Son, then? VERSES 23-28. Whose saying does he quote, to prove the Resurrection of Christ? Ps. xvi. 8-11. VERSE 29. Of whom could David not have spoken this prophecy? Why not?
VERSES 30-32. Of whom must he have spoken it? 2 Sam. vii. 12-3. Who were witnesses of Christ's Resurrection?
33. Of what other event does St. Peter now speak in Christ's history?
34-36. Whose words does he quote to prove Christ's Ascension? Ps. cx. 1-2. How does he conclude his sermon ?
Are the Three Persons in the Godhead mentioned in this sermon? What is the Key-Note? When is this generally used? Do you accustom yourself to receive the Benediction in faith?
REMARKS.-This Lord's Day is and totally destroyed-like as if our named in honor of the Holy Trinity-world were to perish by the sun, moon, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The and stars falling. But a New kingdom mystery of a Triune God is taught us was to be at hand-Christ's kingdom, in the Baptismal Formula, (Matt. xxviii. or Church, in which the Lord is ready 19); in the Apostolic Benediction, 2 to save all who call upon Him. Cor. xiii. 14; and in the Doxology sung by all our congregations.
VERSE 22. Ye men of Israel, i. e., Jews. St. Peter begs them now to hear without prejudice and passion, while he would relate in brief words the history of Jesus, whom they had so wickedly slain, but whom God had so wonderfully exalted. He commences with our Lord's lower stage of humiliation, calling Him Jesus of Nazareth; the title of contempt by which the Jews knew Him. He wisely speaks of Him as a man-lest they might shut their ears against his words, were he to call Him at once the Son of God. But low and mean as they had conceived of Him, they could not deny that He had been approved or owned of God, by the miracles-great works--wonders--strange acts- -and signs, or proofs of God's favor. These they could not gainsay.
VERSE 23. Him God had delivered, or given forth, to be Lord and Christ; by His determinate counsel, or fixed intention, and foreknowledge, by which the proper time, place, and circumstances were arranged. But Him ye have taken, violently and unjustly served, and through the instrumentality of wicked hands, the Gentiles, have crucified-until He was dead-slain. He boldly charges the Jews with the crime of having murdered the Son of God! Unless St. Peter had been emboldened by a Divine Power, he would not have spoken thus.
Since the first Christian Pentecost, God dwells in His Church through the Holy Spirit. See John iv. 24; xiv. 23. St. Peter's Sermon tells us all about the Advent of the Holy Spirit.
COMMENTS.-VERSE 14. St. Peter was the speaker for all the Apostles. Though Judas had hanged himself, there were again eleven. See chap. i. vs. 23-26. The audience was composed of Jews-men of Judea-either residing or sojourning in Jerusalem during the Feast days, (verses 9-11).
VERSE 15. These are not drunken, as had been charged, (v. 13). The third hour was about 9 o'clock, before which Jews would neither eat nor drink any thing.
VERSE 16. The Prophet Joel, speaking 800 years before, had already foretold this event. His Jewish hearers would surely believe what their own Seer had preached.
VERSES 17-21. Here the whole say ing of Joel is repeated for them. See chapter ii. 28-32. In the last days, was understood by the Jews as the age of the Messiah-our Christian era. Then the universal reign of the Spirit was to occur. Not sparingly was the Spirit to come, but copiously-poured out. Not merely for a few prophets, leaders and holy men; but upon all flesh, or mankind; upon young and old; upon sons and daughters; upon servants and handmaidens i. e., all classes, (1 Cor. iii. 16-17; 2 Cor. vi. 16.)
Prophecy-see visions, dream dreams -are phrases which imply that all who are thus enlightened by the Spirit, shall understand and teach the great and glorious truths of the Gospel of Christ.
The wonders in heaven above-the signs in the earth beneath-blood, fire, vapor of smoke-as well as the "darkened sun," and "blood-colored moon"all these expressions are highly figurative of the calamities which were to fall upon the Jewish kingdom. The whole economy of Israel was to be eclipsed
them; and as brethren, or brother Jews, preparing it (it may seem) for Chrishe urges them to reflect on the prophecy tianity. The equitable character of of the Royal Psalmist. There could be their domestic institutions was in harno dispute between them, as to the re-mony with their nobler religion. The markable utterance itself. And, just historian Josephus many times insists as little could the Patriarch David have on the excellence of their social pracmeant to apply it to himself, since he tices and sentiments. What he says of certainly was dead-buried, and his se- their simplicity of life and the absence pulchre well known to all. To whom, of luxury may have been colored by then, did David mean to apply this the contrast reflected from Roman extrasaying? vagances; but what he says in detail of the honor paid to industry, the zeal of all to be self-supporting, the approval of personal work, and their freedom in imparting goods to one another, which he calls colonnia, (community, fellowship,) and andosis, (yielding up, or distribution,) must be accepted literally. We have full reason to believe that mechanical art and rustic labor were honorable then in Judea as now in the American Union or at Salt Lake, and that many doctors of the law maintained themselves with their hands. The case of St. Paul is an obvious illustration Moreover, the laws of Judea were equitable and the punishment mild. Tacitus himself declares that "among themselves the fidelity of the Jews was rigid, (obstinata) and their
VERSES 34-36. This proof St. Pe- tender mercy prompt." Such a people, ter, likewise, draws from their own it might seem, had deserved to live, favorite King and Psalmist-David, even in the Roman Empire. Not so (Ps. cx. 1, &c.) This saying, too, was thought Roman wisdom. That model intended to be realized by Jesus Christ, Emperor Titus, "the delight of manwho had ascended, and was to reign as kind," took counsel with his high offiLord and Christ. cers whether to save the Temple of
VERSES 30-32. Being a prophet, and having been assured of God, (2 Sam. vii. 12-13), that the Messiah was to come through his own posterity, David was evidently speaking of Christ, whose soul was not left in hell, (death); nor his body in corruption, (grave). This Jesus was the Christ, whom God raised up-a fact of which we (120 disciples) are witnesses.
VERSE 33. Having proven the Resurrection of Christ, in which fact David's words found their fulfillment, he now proceeds to prove Christ's Ascension to God's right hand, where He received the Holy Spirit into His glorified Person, and sent them forth, as they could themselves see and hear, from the incidents of the day.
Then, once more, with a holy bold-Jerusalem, a building esteemed magniness, he reminds them of their awful ficent. But they argued that out of crime, charging the house of Israel with Jerusalem had come two detestable rehaving crucified Jesus. In order to ligions, the Jewish and the Christian, awaken penitence in their hearts, he which would best be destroyed by upagain assures them, that this same Jesus rooting their original home; therefore is none other than the Messiah, whom the Temple and the city were to be uttheir own Prophets had foretold. Thus terly demolished. After Roman cruelty did Peter explain the wonders of the had done its worst upon the oppressed first Christian Pentecost to the Jews. and ruined nation, Christian animosity And Christians may, likewise, best un- succeeded, to play a like part. Jewish derstand it from St. Peter's sermon. proselytism ceased, indeed, became impossible, after the violent and deadly war; yet the Jews and their religion have long survived the domineering, oppressive, and self-destroying rule of Rome; it has undergone no deterioration by the lapse of centuries; yet they still have to plead for toleration and justice from Sclavonic Europe.
Titus and the Jews.
Between the era of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Emperor Nero, it appears certain that the Jews made a very beneficial impression on the mind of Western Asia and the Roman world,
First Sunday after Trinity. Acts ii. 37-47.
THE SUBJECT.-THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION.
39 What promise did St. Peter refer to? verses 16-18; Joel ii. 28-29. What people are meant by you and your children? Who are meant by those that are afar off? To whom, still further, does the promise extend?
40. Is the entire sermon of St. Peter recorded for us? What does testify mean? Exhort? Untoward What nation is meant by generation?
41. Did all believe St. Peter's sermon? What did the believers at once submit to? How many were baptized the same day? Did this occur, do you think, at the hands of St. Peter alone, and in one place?
42. Did these converts think their duties over after their baptism was consummated? In what did they continue subsequently? How did they continue? In what famous Creed was the Apostles' doctrine embraced? What does fellowship mean? Of what highest grace
1. Our God is love: and all His saints His image bear below;
The heart with love to God inspir'd,
were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
was their brotherly conduct a proof? 1 Cor. xiii. 13.
To what Sacrament does the breaking of bread, probably, refer? 1 Cor. x. 16-17. What duties does the term prayers, cover here? What example does this congregation of believers set for all others?
2. O may we love each other, Lord,
43. Why did fear fall upon the population in Jerusalem? What followed the Apostles' ministry?
44. Does the expression-were togethermean oneness of mind and heart, or an assembling in one place? How did they regard their individual property? Was this a habit even with the Jews during their Festival times?
45. What did they do with their possessions and goods? Did they, likely, part with everything?
46. Where were they found during the set hours of prayer? Where were they found at other times? What spirit pervaded the congregation?
47. Why did they delight in praising God! How did their daily life and conduct strike the people? Did the congregation grow? What was the character of the new converts? Who should be saved? From what should all men be saved? In what kingdom may all men be saved from the consequences of sin?
When and where was the Christian Church founded? How were the earliest members told to enter Christ's kingdom? What Spirit animated this body of believers? What does all this teach the Church in all ages?