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have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us;

22. Beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained, to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

Besides the twelve apostles, there were other disciples of Jesus who constantly attended him from the beginning of his ministry, namely, from his baptism by John, at which time he received the Holy Spirit, to the time when it closed, when he was taken up from them. How many they were in number, we are not told; but Luke mentions seventy who were sent out to preach. The whole number was probably much greater. Of these persons Peter proposed that one should be chosen, to supply the place of Judas, in order that he might, with them, communicate to the world the knowledge of all that Christ had said or done during his ministry, and likewise of his resurrection.

We see hence what the apostle Peter thought requisite to constitute a man a disciple of Jesus: it was the belief of those things concerning Christ which took place from the commencement of his ministry to the close of it. Respecting those transactions which took place prior to his public appearance, the apostle is silent; they were either unknown, or to communicate the knowledge of them was no part of the business of an apostle. In correspondence with this language, two of the evangelists, Mark and John, begin their history of Jesus with the time of his baptism: and although the two others appear to commence their account at an earlier period, and relate many wonderful things respecting his birth and infancy, many persons have seen reason to doubt whe

ther this part of the history were really written by Matthew and Luke.

23. And they appointed two, Joseph, called Barsabas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias:

24.

And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen;

In Jer. xvii. 10. the prophet represents God as saying, "I, the Lord, search the heart." It is to this, probably, that the apostles allude, when they intreat God to choose him whom he knew to be best qualified for the office for which they designed him.

25. That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, rather, "which he left," or, " from which he departed," that he might go to his own place.

By his own place some understand his original occupation, to which he returned after being an apostle. Others suppose that the phrase means the place of the damned or punished. But it seems most probable that by his own place is meant the grave, the place which he now occupied.

26. And they gave forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

REFLECTIONS.

1. The passage of scripture which we have been reading shows us the strength of the ground on which our faith in the Christian religion is built. It is erected on the testimony of men who were eye and ear-witnesses of the facts which they relate; who accompanied their master during the whole of his ministry, had access to his person at all times, conversed with him in the most familiar manner, were well assured of his death, and saw him after his resurrection from the dead. That so many persons, who had such opportunities of being well informed, should all be mistaken or deceived, is impossible; and it is also impossible that they should all unite in propagating a known falsehood. Their testimony is so far from being destroyed by the apostacy of a solitary individual, that it is greatly strengthened and confirmed thereby. For that individual has no frauds to discover, no impostures to disclose, in order to justify his desertion; on the contrary, the voluntary death which he inflicted upon himself for having betrayed his master, is a striking confirmation of the testimony given by the rest to the innocence and excellence of his character. On evidence of this nature, founded on the testimony of friends, and confirmed by the conduct of enemies, we may rely with the utmost confidence. It stands upon a rock, which nothing will be able to shake.

2. The apostles and first disciples justly regarded every event, however little decided by human agency, even the issue of a lot, as under the direction of Divine Providence, and prayed to God for a favourable issue. In the same light let us learn to regard those occurrences of life in which we cannot readily discern the hand of intelligence; the joy or sorrow which they

bring with them is not the effect of chance, but of design. They are no less a part of the plan of infinite wisdom respecting the world than the regular and uniform operations of nature, and demand no less our grateful acknowledgments and humble submission.

Acts ii. 1-13.

We have here an account of the wonderful miracle of the effusion of the Holy Spirit, or of the descent of miraculous powers, upon the apostles; of the effects of this miracle in enabling them to speak foreign languages, which they had never learnt; and of the impression made hereby upon native Jews, and upon those who inhabited other countries, and were then at Jerusalem.

*

1. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, "was arrived," they were all, i. e. the apostles, with one accord in one place.

Pentecost is a Greek name for a Jewish festival, which was observed fifty days after the passover. It is sometimes called the feast of weeks, because it was seven weeks, or a week of weeks, from the feast of unleavened breadt; sometimes, the feast of harvest, because the first fruits of wheat-harvest were offered to God on that day. This day seems to have been fixed upon for the miracle, because, Jerusalem being then crowded with people who came to observe the festival, there would be the more witnesses of the

event.

2.

And suddenly there came a

* Pearce prefers nuspas, days, which is the reading of most of the ancient versions. Griesbach, 2nd Edit.

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sound from heaven, as

of a rushing mighty wind; and it filled all the house," the whole room where they were sitting.

,

This sound, which resembled that of a great wind, seemed at first to be external, and to come from the sky, but afterwards it was internal, and heard in every part of the room where they were sitting. The design of it seems to have been no more than to announce the presence of the Deity, and to direct the attention to the cause of what was about to take place. Similar examples are to be found in the Old Testament, of the approach of the Deity to produce some miraculous effect, being preceeded by a great noise t.

3. And they saw like tongues of fire, distributing themselves, and settling upon each of them.

I adopt this translation, which is Mr. Wakefield's‡, because it appears to me to correspond better with the meaning of the original than the old translation. Flames of fire, which Luke compares to tongues, supposing probably that they had an allusion to the gift of tongues, appeared in the room, and were distributed upon each of the apostles, over whom they continued to hover. Fire, as well as wind, is well known to have been employed under the Old Testament dispensation, to announce the presence of the Deity. Thus we find that fire appeared to Moses in the bush; to the children of Israel in the cloud, and to the giver of the law upon Mount Sinai. And it is generally supposed that a light appeared over Christ at his bap

* Pearce, who refers to Matt. v. 15.

† Ezek. xliii. 2. 1 Kings. xix. 11.

See Bos, likewise, as quoted by Doddridge.

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