Imatges de pÓgina

heaven) Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said (the number of the names together were about an hundred and twenty),

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, who was guide to them that took JESUS.

For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem: insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habi tation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take.

Wherefore of these men who have companied with us all the time that the LORD JESUS went in and out among us,

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.

And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

And they prayed and said, Thou, LORD, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.

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

And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell


tipon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles *.


The Apostles were originally ordained twelve, with a view, as is supposed, to the twelve tribes of Israel; and our SAVIOUR informed them, that there were twelve thrones designed for them in heaven. As the matter was known to the world, the loss of one might have brought discredit upon the society: and it is likely, that amongst the things pertaining to the kingdom of GOD, on which our LORD discoursed with his disciples before his ascension, he might direct them to fill up the vacancy. Peter therefore assembled a number of persons for the purpose, and thus began the Christian Church, of which our LORD prophesied that Peter should lay the foundation, CHRIST himself being the corner-stone.

In mentioning the perfidy of Judas, Peter remarked, that David had foretold this circumstance; and that it might also be collected from the Psalms, what destruction would fall on so treacherous a person, what ignominy would blot his character, and the evil consequences which the crime of the apostate would occasion to his family + part of these predictions the Apostles had seen remarkably fulfilled in the tragical end of Judas, and the appropriation of the sum he had so infamously acquired, to a purpose which would perpetuate the remembrance of his crime; for the name of the field that was

* Note, The History of the Acts of the Apostles is attributed to St. Luke the Evangelist: it is supposed to have been written about the 63d year of the Christian æra, and may be considered as a continuation of his Gospel. Many of the first Christian writers bear testimony to its being genuine.

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purchased with the reward of his iniquity, would prevent its ever being forgotten.

By Peter's allusions to these Psalms, we may under. stand that they were prophetic; and though they might be suitable to David as a type of CHRIST, it may be inferred that they principally relate to our LORD'S history; and that the curses they contain were not denounced by the Psalmist on his personal enemies, but intended as predictions of what would befal the enemies of the MESSIAH. The Apostle had had his mind opened to understand the Scriptures, and like his blessed LORD, he was attentive to the fulfilment of the prophecies; and as it appeared to him, that in this Psalm the HOLY SPIRIT directed those who were the chosen witnesses of the resurrection to elect another into the office of Judas, he prepared to do it immediately; but observed, that it was proper to fix on one who had been a constant attendant on CHRIST from the very beginning of his ministry to the time of his ascension. On this the whole company joined in prayer and supplication for divine direction; and they unanimously selected two candidates, resolving to choose one of them by LOT (which was the ancient method of appealing to GOD): in consequence of this, Matthias was admitted as an Apostle in the place of Judas.

It is likely that Barsabas and Matthias were judged to be the best acquainted with every circumstance of our LORD's ministry, resurrection, and ascension. We may observe, that Peter affected no superiority, nor assumed any authority over the rest of the Apostles on this occasion, but addressed all present as his brethren and equals.

In this Section we are again called upon to consider the sin of Judas, and to take warning by his miserable end, not to imitate his crimes. Ministers of the Gospel

in particular are reminded of the infamy and disgrace which follow a neglect of their duty, and the indulgence of covetous desires; they are also instructed to remember, that the LORD knoweth the hearts of all men, and that it is particularly incumbent on them to study the Scriptures, and make themselves fully acquainted with the evidences for the truths of Christianity, that they may teach them to others.

We will now read what the ancient prophets predicted. concerning the effusion of the HOLY SPIRIT.



From Isaiah, Chap. xliv,-Ezek. xi. and xxxvi.
Zech. xii.-Joel, ii.

I. HEAR now, O Jacob, my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen ;

Thus saith JEHOVAH thy maker, and he that formed thee, and will help thee. Fear not, O my servant Jacob; for I will pour out waters on the thirsty; and flowing streams on the dry ground: I will pour out my spirit on thy seed; and my blessings on thine offspring.

II. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you: and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh; and I will give them an heart of flesh;

That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

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Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations.

Not for your sakes do I do this, saith the LORD GOD, be it known unto you. Be ashamed and confounded

for your ways, O house of Israel.

III. I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only child, and shall be in bitterness for him,'as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

IV. And it shall come to pass that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

And also upon the servants, and upon the handmaids, in those days will I pour out my spirit.

And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD cometh.


The first of these extracts is from the book of Isaiah. Though its full import was not understood at the time it was first published to the world, it evidently alluded to a very extraordinary blessing, which was at some future time to be bestowed by GoD on his faithful


The next is part of Ezekiel's prophecy. It foretels a wonderful

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