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Joseph the son of Sabas), whose surname was Justus; the other Matthias. It was agreed that the election of one of these two should be decided by lot; the proper arrangements for which having been made, they all joined in an earnest prayer to the Lord, to whom they appealed, as to Him who knows the secrets of all hearts; and they entreated that He would manifest whom himself would choose as a successor to the ministry and office of an apostle, of which Judas had deprived himself by his wickedness; and that the person so appointed might take the place which had originally belonged to the traitor. Then they proceeded to draw the lots, which appeared in favour of Matthias; who was thenceforth considered as one of the Lord's apostles, along with the other eleven.

APPLICATION. 1. It is deeply affecting to follow the little party of christians from the scene of their parting with their Lord on Mount Olivet, to the upper chamber of their dwelling in Jerusalem, there to hold communion at once with him in spirit, of whom they had lost the sight; and to find gathered together with them the faithful women, amongst whom we hear of the mother of Jesus for the last time. How would her calm sorrow, and her hopeful expectation at this solemn prayer-meeting have been interrupted with distress, if she could have foreseen the idolatry, so honouring to Christ, for which her name has since been employed.

These christians, though not matured by the Holy Spirit, yet shewed at once a pattern of the manner in which our hearts should be occupied during our separation from the Lord; who has gone to prepare a place for us, and whom we expect to come again, and receive us to himself, that where he is, there we may be also. (John xiv. 2, 3.) They continued instant in prayer and supplication, joined in that oneness of heart and purpose, to which a special blessing is promised.


How far do my feelings, connected with the present absence of Christ and his future return, produce in me a constant impulse to prayerfulness, and a desire to join with my fellow-christians with one accord in supplication ?


2. The argument of Peter as to the fulfilment of the Scriptures concerning Judas, may lead us to consider one duty which should follow from even an imperfect knowledge of the mind of God on any point gathered from his word. The treachery of Judas, supplying the application of a part of the forty-first Psalm and of the sixty-ninth, led Peter to another portion of the word of God relating to the same subject, which pointed out a course of conduct for himself, in order to its fulfilment. So we should be led by the study of God's word to discover his purposes, in order that we may work with: Him in the fulfilment of them. There are many opportunities afforded us by the word of God to act upon this principle, besides the fulfilment of direct prophecy, of which this is an example. In the history of God's dealing with sinners through the Saviour, much is set forth by way of illustration, which may lead us to expect the results, and to be active in taking proper steps

to procure them.

QUESTION. In what degree does a believing knowledge of God's word tend to produce in me decided conduct in conformity with it?

3. This little band of christians decided the important matter of the appointment of an apostle by casting lots but the nature of this mode of decision should be carefully considered, before we take it as an example in other circumstances. The drawing of these lots was a direct appeal from the judgment of man in a particular case, to the purpose and will of God.

This was not only a matter understood, but it was plainly expressed in a special prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ upon the occasion. This therefore was an act of religious submission, expressive of a confident faith in Christ's knowledge of all things, and power over all things. It also implied a conviction that the matter in hand was of sufficient importance to justify such an appeal to Jesus, for his interference in the essential concerns of his own people. This example therefore can give no warrant for the use of a similar mode of appeal to chance, in matters of no moment to our spiritual concerns, and belonging entirely to the world. We have another instance of casting lots, which may rather be taken as the model of modern raffles and transactions of a similar character. The four soldiers agreed to raffle for the possession of the Lord's tunic. Each had acquired an equal claim upon it; but as it would lose its value by being divided, they appealed to chance to decide who should possess it, by casting lots. (Matt. xxvii. 35.) But the true christian will never appeal to chance. When an object of sufficient importance calls for a distinct appeal to God in seeking guidance for the decision of a difficult point, the christian will express his faith and his dependence upon Him who knoweth the hearts of all, by making such a matter the subject of earnest prayer; and will then wait for God's own way of directing a decision.

QUESTION. Do I ever use or defend the use of decisions by chance, in any matters ? or am I satisfied by bringing all such before God in prayer?


O thou who hearest prayer, and invitest thy people to come unto thee with the outpouring of the heart in sorrow, in trouble and in doubt, give me the spirit of grace and of supplications, I implore thee, that while I wait for thy coming, O Lord Jesus, I may join with thy people in that spiritual intercourse with thee, which shall prepare us for thy appearing. Help me to search thy holy word; and to find thy will written therein in such wise as shall guide me in fulfilling it. Keep me from a careless dependence upon chance; and teach me to leave all things in thy hands, and to submit every thing to thy direction, knowing that not a sparrow falls to the ground without thee, who upholdest all things by the word of thy power. AMEN.

The descent of the Holy Ghost.

TIME.--Sunday the 26th May, A.D. 30.

May God, for the suke of Jesus Christ, give me the Holy Spirit, that I may understand this portion of His Holy Word, and profit by it. Amen.



Acts, chap. II. verses 1 to 41. 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 Gre, 3 and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy 4 Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out 5 of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, [when 6 this voice was made], the multitude came together, and were confouuded, [or, troubled in mind,] because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, 7 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 ? 8 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, 9 and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and 10 Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear 11 them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” And they were 12 all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, “What meaneth this ?” Others mocking said, “ These men are full of new wine.” 13

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said 14 unto thein, “Ye men of Judæa, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words : for these are not drunken, 15 as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that 16 which was spoken by the prophet Juel ; ' And it shall come to pass in the 17 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: and on my servants 18 and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy : and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs 19 in the earth beneath ; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke : the sun 20 shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great 21 and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that who22 soever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' 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 23 the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him, being delivered by

the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and 24 by wicked hands have crucified and slain : whom God hath raised up,

having loosed the pains of death : because it was not possible that he 25 should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, 'I foresaw

the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should 26 not be moved : therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; 27 moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope : because thou wilt not leave

my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full 29 of joy with thy countenance.' Men and brethren, let me [or, I may]

freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and 30 buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a

prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of

the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to 31 sit on his throne ; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of

Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corrup32 tion. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received

of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, 34 which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens ·

but he saith himself, ' The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right 35 hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.' Therefore let all the house of 36 Israel kuow assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom yo

have crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said

unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, " Men and brethren, what shall 38 we do?” Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one

of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall 39 receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to

your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our 40 God shall call.” And with many other words did he testify and exhort, 41 saying, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Then they

that gladly received his word were baptized : and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

EXPLANATION. The feast of Pentecost was one of the three great festivals which God had appointed after bringing the Jews out

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