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His grace.

Israel's Messiah. They could now enthusi. fragments. The Macedonian phalanx became astically preach His Messiahship in Judæa and the means with which Alexander humbled the Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the East. A united Church filled with the Holy earth. No wonder the multitude heard them Ghost will yet humble East and West. proclaiming the wonders of Divine grace. 5. The gift was the reward of their faith. New wisdom, new love, and new will-power The disciples waited for the supernatural gift had been given them from the Spirit of God. which had been promised.—(M. D. Buell.)

Supernatural aid is as necessary to the modern as it was to the apostolic Church.

THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Intelligence, wealth, numbers, organization,

Acts ii. 37-47. have value as consecrated instrumentalities, LET us survey the system and principles through but the indwelling and sanctifying Spirit is which the new lite began to flow in the first the life-breath of the Church. Without the Christian church. abiding presence of the Holy Spirit Christian Lct us consider the three branches of this life is impossible.

great delta2. The gift was providential. Unwittingly, 1. The Church as a spiritual organism. but in God's providence, messengers had been “Now when they heard this, they were brought to Jerusalem from the uttermost parts pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter of the earth to hear the disciples' testiinony and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what concerning Jesus. These selected witnesses shall we do?” The impact which welded towere to carry back the news of Pentecost and gether the first Christian brotherhood was, the new Gospel message to hundreds of scattered spiritual. Peter's sermon had a powerful Jewish communities ; thus preparing the effect Christward and church ward. Baptism way for the Twelve and for the Apostle Paul. was the scal to be placed on each one as the God's providence always co-operates with sign of the acceptance of the new covenant.

In the solitary desert a Philip The Lord's supper, as we observe it, was reappears for the instruction of the eunuch. cognized “in the breaking of the bread" both Our heavenly Father not only vouchsafes a at home and in the temple. There was a newsupernatural gift to work within, but also sets covenant enunciated in which children were at work providential forces to co-operate included, and the scattered prodigals of every without.

nation. “For to you is the promise, and to. 3. The gift recognized the individuality of your children, and to all that are a far off, even the recipients. The tongues of fire were as many as the Lord our God shall call unto. divided and sat upon each of the one hundred Him." It was anticipated the time would and twenty. It was not enough that Peter, come when the Church would increase by great as he was, should be equipped for work; those who were born into it, as well as by the. James and John also must be similarly and addition of those who were born when they separately qualified. And not the pillar

were old. Apostles only, but the other nine also required We must take into account the varied the supernatural gift.

population gathered in Jerusalem at this time. The miracle of Pentecost shows that the to comprehend the wide influence of this first. supernatural gift is necessary to the complete- Christian brotherhoorl. The Church in its. ness of the human soul. No man can realize simplicity was therefore widely established his true self until, like the one hundred and at the first. The spiritual exercises of prayer, twenty, he is filled with the Holy Ghost and fellowship, attention to the Apostles' teaching, Divine power.

furnished a sufficient liturgy. 4. The gift emphasized the necessity of There was a double movement as a result of unity. It was when all were with one accord the Spirit's work in the hearts of the men in one place that the Spirit descended. No who believed at Pentecost. There was the Christian can be complete in himself. The new birth in the soul and the swarming in lividual needs the Church, and the Church instinct out of the old comb-filled hive. needs the individual.

II. The Church as a social organism. “And The power of the Holy Ghost will not all that believed were together, and had all descend upon a divided Church. It is the things common : and they sold their poswhole and homogeneous lens that brings the sessions and parted them to all according as, distant heavens near, and not its shattered any man had need." The method of asso



ciation of Christ and His disciples doubtless was who bound into a living unity the spiritual, exercised the greatest influence in the moulding social, and official parts of the organization. of the new society. But the early Christians His presence was more than any fixed form, were already familiar with other modes of and a better guarantee for truth in the later social organization than those of the Jewish ages of the Church's history. The words of synagogue.

“ There were then, as now, Newman, before he sought rest in absolute associations for almost innumerable purposes visible authority, show a perception of the in almost all parts of the empire. There were ground of the Church's real security in truth: trade guilds and dramatic guilds ; there were "The safeguard of faith is a right state of athletic clubs, and burial clubs, and dining heart. This it is which gives it birth ; it also clubs; there were friendly societies, and disciplines it. It is holiness, or dutifulness, literary societies, and financial societies ; if or the new creation, or the spiritual mind, we omit those special products of our time, however we word it, which is the quickening natural science and moral science, there was and illuminating principle of true faith, giving scarcely an object for which men combine it eyes, and hands, and feet. It is love which now for which they did not combine then." forms it out of the rude chaos into an image

In many communities the Church can be of Christ.”!_(William R. Campbell.) little more than a wrecking-station. Lodges

THE LAME MAN HEALED. have various principles of selecting ; but they always take picked men. There are no volun.

Acts iii. 1-16. tary associations save the Church, and institu- Two men were on their way to church. What tions supported by it, which take as members is there in that worth the telling? Much, those likely to become a burden to the order. every way. The mere fact is significant, were As an illustration of how well-to-do persons

names and issue unknown. For the churchearly sacrificed and laboured for the new goers are the important people ; they are the brotherhood, we have the story of Barnabas, people who to-day are pressing on the long who “having land, sold it, and brought the

arm of the lever that moves the world. Now money and laid it at the Apostle's feet.” He they have reached the great eastern entrance belonged to Cyprus and to the priestly order of the temple. It was called the Gate of of Levites. The property he sold was the Nicanor, but its best name was “the Gate ancestral acres. The idea of a community of Beautiful.” Josephus says that while the goods was doubtless further fostered by the other gates of the temple were gilded and expectation of Christ's speedy return. If the silvered, this one a masterpiece of Church does not meet the needs of the age, it is Corinthian bronze, “much surpassing those not from lack of a right original charter or ex- that were enriched with silver and gold." pansive principles. No class was left unpro- But henceforth this Gate Beautiful was to vided for, to fall behind or to be crowded have a beauty quite apart from its artistic down. The social organism was as broad as merit. The approaches to Buddhist temples the spiritual.

and Mohammedan mosques are crowded with III. The ecclesiastical organism. “Now blind, halt, and withered. The understanding there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout is that a man on his way to church is most men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts likely to be in the mood of generous doing. ii. 5). It was a strictly ecumenical council Worship and benevolence belong together ; which organized the first Christian church; God and goodness, faith and love, Peter and as much so as that of Nicæa, three hundred John, go arm in arm. Then the strange years later. There were representatives from thing happened. This beggar's day had the whole known world. The decrees of this come, though he knew it not. Two of God's body ought, therefore, to universally bind- men were at hand, with God's love in their ing on the Christian brotherhood for all time. hearts, and clothed with power to confer it. It was the teachers, prophets, and evangelists, I. The Miracle. These two men as described in the twelfth chapter of first specially endowed with spiritual gifts, called Corinthians, who carried on the spiritual charismata, such as were necessary in the labours of the Church. Above all other formative period of the new Dispensation of agencies emphasized in the formation of the

the Spirit. One of these was the gift of Church was that of the Holy Ghost. He it healing. Mark how it was exercised upon this 1 Hatch, p. 26, Bampton Lectures, 1880.

University Sermons.




eripple at the gate. 1. “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.” Attention is the first thing. “Look on me," is the physician's shibboleth of strength. It means, Turn away thy thought from thy wretched self to me ; give thyself up without doubt or questioning to me ; put thyself under my power that I may rend or heal thee. 2. " Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not an immediate panacea for all the ills that human flesh is heir to. The humblest disciple of Jesus has a secret in his bosom that will gladden every soul to whom he is willing to reveal it. What he needs is to be willing to communicate (1 Tim. vi. 18), to say to all spiritual sufferers as they pass by, “Such as we have give we unto thee." 3. "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” The heart of every Christian is a magazine of power. But the latent energy of a coal mine moves no wheels, drives no industries, makes no stir in the world any way. Peter and John had power, and they knew it; and they knew, moreover, that it was good for nothing except as they used it. When the Church awakes and is willing to use the power God has given her, the end will be near ; and the glory of the Lord will soon cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Thus the beggar was healed. The story is told with Divine simplicity : “And he, leaping up, stood and walked.” If, however, there was in all Jerusalem a soul more gladsome than his, it was that of the Apostle at whose word Christ had healed him. For ber the words of the Lord Jesus how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." Would that all who follow the Master wero more familiar with "the generous pleasure of kindly deeds."

II. The Sermon. The scene changes to Solomon's Porch. The healing of the poor cripple made a great stir in Jerusalemn. The text of this sermon was the beggar himself, healed and standing by. The best text in the world for a gospel sermon is a miracle of grace. The Worldly Wiseman may talk back to the best philosophic discourse that ever delivered, but there is no answer to the fact of regeneration. And, fortunately, these proofs of the power of Christianity are not wanting

This sermon of Peter's falls naturally into three parts. First: a setting forth of Christ



as the efficient worker of the miracle. The power is not in us, but in Jesus, the Prince of Life, whom ye crucified. Secular charities fail sooner or later because there is nothing essentially and permanently helpful in them. When you have eliminated the name of Jesus from any moral enterprise there is little or no heart left in it. The excellency of the power is Christ's, and only Christ's, the world over. Second : With this presentation of the power of Christ in explanation of the miracle, Peter proceeds to an indictment. The people whom he is addressing are the very ones who crucified this Christ: “Ye killed the Prince of Life! Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you !” This is plain talking, but plain talking was what the occasion called for. He had preached Christ, but Christ is only for sinners ; therefore he must preach sin. "The needle of the law must enter before the the thread of the gospel.” The moment for a sweeping, glorious presentation of the gospel of immediate salvation had come, and Peter was ready to present it. Third : “Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”-(D. J. Burrell, D.D.)



Act iv. 1-18. A NOTABLE miracle had been wrought at the gate of the temple, and a notable sermon had been preached to the asseinbled crowd, who were filled with wonder and amazement. It is the sequel of that which had been thus done and said which furnishes our present theme. We notice

I. The offence of the Apostles. It was not that they had been the means of bringing healing and health to a disabled man. Most sympathetic souls doubtless

glad. Others, probably (are there not always such ?), after a little, began to question this way of coming to his health. It was not according to the regular practice. It was a reflection upon the professed practitioners of the healing art.

But this was not the grievance to those with whom the two disciples of Jesus are brought into speedy conflict. These were the ruling class, the Sadducees, of whom were also the officials, both ecclesiastical and civil,



who arrested Peter and John and locked them only One by whom we can be saved. We disup for more deliberate examination. These ciples or you priests and Sadducees can be safe were the rulers of the Church in that day; and be saved alone by Him whose name and but they were by no means the religious class. power has wrought this cure." The offence of the Apostles was not that they The defence of those who believe in superhad healed the lame man, or even that they naturalism is not argument. You cannot had been disciples of Jesus, but that “they reason about the particulars in a sphere which taught the people and proclaimed in Jesus the men refuse to recognize. What can you do? resurrection from the dead."

It was an

You can oppose your faith to their unbelief, offence of doctrine rather than of deed which your confidence to their incredulity. You can excited the opposition of these Sadducean give your ringing testimony to what you know. rulers. It was the offence of supernaturalism. Testimony will win the day for Christ

But there was something more than this sooner and more surely than reasoning; for it in it. Men oppose teachings often because will secure a hearing for the reasons of the the teachings conflict with the lives which faith that is in the disciples. Witnesses are they prefer to live. Supernaturalism always more important than advocates. A hundred has its focs, for it implies a present God-a reasons why it should be so are not half as God who works, who sees and will judge. strong as one “It is so."

Ours is a Sadducean age. Natural science III. The Charge of the Judges. After this has engrossed the attention of the learned form of a trial, the accusation and the defence, class to a large degree. They will accept the court retires to consult. They cannot mind cure or hypnotism, but not the healing deny the facts. Facts are unfortunately touch of God. They will allow the inspiration stubborn things. What shall they do? of the poet, but not of the prophet.

“ Let us silence them,” they say ; and so The offence of the cross is not the only one they bring the two unlearned men before them which stirs up hostility. The offence of and charge them, with all the authority they supernaturalism is now equally cause of anger have and with what dignity they can, not to and derision as it was in the days of Peter and speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” John.

How well they were able to enforce their II. The defence of the Apostles. Thus command the further record tells. arraigned and thus accused, the two disciples It is not the last time in the history are put in ward until the morrow.

of the world that men of deep convictions the very time for which they had been pre- have been met with a similar command. pared—the very time to exercise their gift to Right or wrong, it is impossible to correct be witnesses here in the very court of Israel. men's thinking, or, for very long, their And that is what they were : not defenders speaking, by the mere command or comof themselves, but sturdy, truthful, uncom- pulsion to be silent. The very command is a promising witnesses to Jesus and the resur- confession of weakness. To ask your foe not rection.

to strike again is to acknowledge your fear of So they rehearse the facts. “You ask us him. who has done this good deed to the helpless You cannot silence witnesses. The fire man ? Jesus has done it ; Jesus the Christ, which is in men's hearts cannot be smothered the Messiah for whom Israel has looked and by the authority of courts, civil or ecclesiastilonged. Nay, you know Him well, Jesus of cal. The truth of God will overcome all lies Nazareth, the Man whom you so lately con- at last in the kingdom of the truth. In the demned to death, yes, .whom ye crucitied '- hot fires of experience the dross will be run He is the Author of this cure. For God undid off and the pure silver reflect the image of its your murder and raised Him from the dead.” Maker.

So they bore testimony to the thing which All through this passage the name of Jesus had been done. But now they testify to the is set forth as the source of power, of salvation, greater things which He can do. " He is the and of Divine teaching.–(Geo. M. Boynton.)

This was


PROFESSOR Max MÜLLER'S GIFFORD LECTURES.-Dr. Dickson, Professor of Divinity in Glasgow University, has republished a lecture in which he criticizes, in a keen but not a bitter manner, the references to Revealed Religion which occur in the Gifford Lectures delivered by Professor Max Müller. The wish of the founder of this lectureship was that Natural Theology should be treated of “ without reference to or reliance upon any supposed special or exceptional or so-called miraculous revelation " ; but beyond the expression of this wish he did not seek to lay any restraint upon the freedom of the lecturer. There was therefore no apparent necessity for more than casual reference being made to the subject of Revealed Religion. But the Gifford Lecturer, in the exercise of his liberty, chose to do more ; and it is not surprising that in a region which lies outside that in which he has acquired a brilliant reputation, his teaching should be defective and inadequate, if not positively misleading. He makes frequent reference to the views of theologians, and has therefore no reason to complain if one of them who is well qualified to speak in the name of his brethren, undertakes to show that his statements cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged. In the Preface to the third volume of the Lectures, which has recently been published, the writer says: "My chief object has been to show that a belief

: in God, in the immortality of the soul, and in a future retribution can be gained, and not only can be, but has been gained by the right exercise of human reason alone, without the assistance of what has been called a special revelation." Elsewhere he states his object to have been the somewhat more limited one of showing that “ the concept of God arises by necessity in the human mind." And he credits theologians with holding that this concept was “the result of one special disclosure granted to Jews and Christians only." He speaks at another time of " that primeval revelation which, we are assured, was given once and once only to the human race, but preserved in its entirety and purity by the Jews alone”; while yet again he refers to certain persons who maintain " that God has revealed Himself to one race only—the Jews of Palestine.” As Professor Dickson points out, he here seems to mix up, if not to confound, two things which are distinct and ought to be kept apart: (1) The theory, held by some divines and philosophers, of

primeval revelation imparting to man at the outset the concept of God; and (2) The belief in a special disclosure of the Divine attributes and purposes granted later to the Jews and eventually shared by the Christians. The former is a suggestion thrown out by way of accounting for the genesis of the phenomena grouped under the name of Natural Religion ; the latter is the




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