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of my being; and whatever code comes to me in the name of God, and, when wrought out, does not lead to this, cannot be accepted by me as from Heaven.
Secondly: No regulative principle can be in accordance with the Will of God, which, when carried out, does not lead to social harmony amongst men. Humanity is one; we are members one of another. The operations of these members should be such as to conduce to the well-being of each and all. A rule of life which, when carried out, would lead to the infringement of the rights of others, produce a collision of interest, and antagonism of feeling, could never be received as the Will of God. Looking upon man's social instincts and mutual dependence upon his fellow-man, no rule of life can be accepted as Divine that does not go directly against all frauds and violences in the dealings of man with man.
Thirdly: No regulative principle can be in accordance with the Will of God, which, when carried out, does not promote the general happiness of the world. God is good; we feel this, and all nature declares this. He being good, the great end of the universe must be happiness. The happiness of love is in making happy. Whatever rule of life, therefore, promotes not happiness, cannot be from Him.
Now, where is such a regulative principle, such a supreme law of life to be found? In what philosophical code of morals, or in what religious system, do you find a rule of life that insures these three things? Turn over the history of the world, and show me a regulative principle, propounded by any sage, or priest, in any age or clime, which has realized these results. Under the guiding principles which man has obtained by the deductions of his own reason-cruelties, injustice, rapine, wars, slaveries, and countless iniquities and miseries, have abounded in every form and degree.
Now we turn to the Bible, and ask, What of its grand rule? Does it answer to these conditions? What is it? The whole law, says our Saviour, is contained in this :-" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," &c.
Who does not see that this law secures the harmonious development of our natures? Let supreme love to God reign, and all the powers of the soul will be brought into harmonious play, and its path will shine more and more unto the perfect day. It will advance from strength to strength, from glory to glory. Where this principle prevails, society, too, is blessed. The man who obeys it, goes about doing good; he honors all men, he loves the brotherhood, he does justice, he loves mercy, and walks humbly with his God; he loves his enemies, he prays for them that despitefully use him, he overcomes evil by good. Where this principle, moreover, prevails, men's object will be to promote the happiness of the world; their prayer will be, "Let Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase," &c.
The conclusion of our subject is-That the Bible alone gives that supreme law of life for which all men cry out. Nowhere else is it to be found; here it is, and it satisfies your reason and your conscience.
This supreme law of life, as embodied in the life of Christ, meets exactly the moral cry of the world upon this point. His life was the embodiment of this supreme law, and all must see that to live as Jesus of Nazareth lived, is to secure the harmonious development of our nature, to unite the race in the bonds of a happy brotherhood, and to promote the happiness of the universe.
A Homiletic Glance at the Acts of the Apostles.
Able expositions of the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, describing the manners, customs, and localities described by the inspired writers; also interpreting their words, and harmonizing their formal discrepancies, are, happily, not wanting amongst us. But the eduction of its WIDEST truths and highest suggestions is still a felt desideratum. To some attempt at the work we devote these pages. We gratefully avail ourselves of all exegetical helps within our reach; but to occupy our limited space with any lengthened archæological, geographical, or philological remarks, would be to miss our aim; which is not to make bare the mechanical process of the study of Scripture, but to reveal its spiritual results.
SECTION SIXTH.-Acts ii. 1—47.
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judæa, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words," &c.—Acts ii. 1—47. SUBJECT:-The Pentecost the culminating period in the system of Redemption.
HOUGH, we cannot, with Schaff, regard this day of or
was born centuries before this-we are bound to regard it
as the grand crowning period in the development of the Divine plan of human redemption. Periods in the working out of this Divine plan of mercy mark the history of upwards of four thousand years, one period leading to another. From Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, and from Moses to Christ, and now from the Advent of Christ to this day of Pentecost. To this last all the others pointed, and in it they are crowned with glory. Even Christ Himself, the desire of nations, in His public ministry frequently pointed to this advent of the Spirit. He taught His disciples that it was expedient for Him to depart that the Spirit might come. The mission of the Spirit was the burden of His departing discourses before His death and after His resurrection. He bade them tarry in Jerusalem until they should receive this promise of the Father. Before we direct attention to a few of the most salient features of this wonderful epoch, it may be desirable to notice the subjects, and the time of this advent of the Spirit.
Who were the subjects? On whom did the Spirit now descend? Did He descend upon man indiscriminately, or upon any particular class distinguished from their fellows by mere adventitious circumstances? No. He comes only to the disciples of Christ. They, who were all with one accord in one place," were, I conceive, not merely the apostles, but the whole hundred and twenty referred to in the preceding chapter. These disciples had met together in obedience to the command of their Master; they felt His absence deeply; they earnestly looked to heaven for help; they were thoroughly united, "of one accord ;" they prayed and waited for the promised Comforter, and now He came.
What is the issue? We are distinctly told that the day of Pentecost was fully come. The word Pentecost is Greek, signifying fiftieth. The Jews applied it to designate one of their great festivals which began on the fiftieth day after the Passover. It had a two-fold import with the Jews, physical and historical; it was, in the first place, a festival of thanksgiving for the first-fruits of the harvest. The Jews on this
day presented offerings of the first-fruits of the harvest. The offerings consisted in two loaves of unleavened bread, three pints of meal each, and various domestic animals. (Leviticus xxiii. 15—21; Deut. xvi. 9, 10.) It was one of the three great festivals in which all the males were required to appear before the Lord. (Exodus xxxiv. 22, 23.) It is called the "feast of harvest" and the "feast of first fruits." It was a great national harvest-home. But it was more than this; it had a reference to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, which was fifty days after the Exodus from Egypt. The giving of the law was one of the most wonderful epochs in the history of the Jews, which was a history of wonders, and its commemoration was an exercise most proper and important. Now, it was when this festival was being celebrated at Jerusalem by the Jews, who were gathered together from all parts of the civilized world, that this wonderful advent of the Spirit took place. This epoch, this advent of the Spirit, according to the account given in this chapter, was characterized by three things,-A new manifestation of the Divine Spirit,-A new style of religious ministry, and-A new development of social life.
I. THIS PERIOD WAS DISTINGUISHED BY A NEW MANIFESTATION OF THE DIVINE SPIRIT. We are not to suppose that this was the first time that the Divine Spirit visited this world. He strove with the antediluvians, He inspired the old prophets, He dwelt in the old saints. David, who, by his transgression had dispelled the Divine visitant from his heart, prays, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit." He was with the apostles before this. "Ye know him," said Christ, "for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you." But He never came in such a demonstration of power, and plenitude of influence as now; before, He had distilled as the dew, now He comes down as a shower; before, He had gleamed as the first rays of morning, now He appears in the brightness of noon. There are three things here observable in His advent; His action