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"come forth," shall "rise again at the last day." But not until they have seen corruption. "It is appointed unto all men once to die ;" to suffer the original sentence, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." But this did not Jesus. His soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. In him, and in him alone, are the words of David verified, which, being a prophet, he before spake of the resurrection of Christ.
Such was the prophecy, hitherto lying in a dark place, on which the light had now shone. And this might prepare their minds for the fact which was to follow.
32. 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, which ye now see and hear.
34. For David is not ascended into the heavens.. but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35. Until I make thy foes thy footstool.5
36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Here Peter brings home to the minds of the assembly that great truth which he must prove, and they receive. God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ. Your nation has long expected a king ;one whom the Lord should send "to rule his people Israel." Your own David speaks of such an one; one who should * Ps. ex. 1.
ascend into heaven, which he himself did not; should sit on the right hand of God, till all his foes were subdued under his feet. Jesus, then, whom God hath raised up, is that Lord, that King. Your nation has always expected a Messiah: one anointed of God to deliver his people. He is that Messiah: God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ.
But why should they believe this? There were strong reasons to prevent their believing it; for it opposed the whole current of their thoughts and opinions. Should their king be crucified? Still more, should they have crucified their king, and thus acknowledge themselves guilty of a most heinous sin 1 This they would be most unwilling to admit; and there must be strong proof and evidence on Peter's side to prevail over the natural resistance of their hearts.
There was, however, such evidence. There was the evidence of that miracle, which had just excited their surprise. Are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in his own tongue wherein he was born? Here was an astonishing fact, which must in some way be accounted for. St. Peter accounts for it. This Jesus hath God raised up: and he hath sent forth that, which ye both see and hear. Such proof could not be set aside, as the Jews had attempted in the case of other miracles. No false reasoning could explain it away. How hear we every man speak in our own language? It agrees with a prophecy. It fulfils a promise which we find in our Scripture. But these prophecies cannot cause the wonder, though they enable us to understand it: the cause must be, some more than human power exerted on these men.
Through this medium the truth was conveyed to the understanding of the assembly, that God had made that same Jesus whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ. And not alone to that assembly is the truth addressed. God has been pleased to leave such indisputable evidence of his Gospel, that it might satisfy all future ages. Only fifty days after the Crucifixion, when all the events were recent, and might be known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem, these apostles appeared as public witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus; and the proofs of it which they alleged were satisfactory to a numerous and mixed assembly of their countrymen. What had not been then proved, could not be proved now. But what was then proved to be certain, is as certain now: has lost none of its claim to be believed.
Thus we are carried back to the foundation of our faith, and find it strong and firm. And that faith is, that God has made that same Jesus, whom the Jews crucified, both Lord and Christ. The Christ who died to atone, the Lord who lives to rule. "Through the tender mercy of our God, the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace."6
6 Luke i. 78.
PETER EXHORTS THE ASSEMBLY TO REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
Acts ii. 37—40.
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 we do?
So great was the effect of the words of Peter, which we lately read, upon the consciences of his hearers. In the phrase of Isaiah, they were " like the hammer which breaks the rock in pieces." In the phrase of St. Paul, they were like a doubleedged sword, "piercing even to the dividing asunder the soul and spirit." Because the Spirit of God accompanied the apostle's words, adding weight to the hammer, and softening the rock; carrying the sword home, and making the soul sensible. They were pricked in their hearts: evidently, because of that particular sin which the apostle had closely pressed upon them, that they had crucified and slain him, whom God had sent to be a Prince and a Saviour.
There were some indeed among the number present, who had not been actively concerned in the death of Jesus. But even these, the foreign Jews from every country, would be conscious that whenever they had heard of Jesus in their visits to Jerusalem, they had neglected or derided him. The "whole company acknowledge themselves to be in the same condition, and anxiously inquire, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
As a patient, whose physician might unexpectedly assure him that he had swallowed poison, and his life was in imminent danger—as the astonished patient would inquire, What shall I do? what hope or remedy remains? you are a man, and a brother, and can feel for such a state: only prescribe, and I am ready to comply ;—such is the anxiety and the eagerness here expressed. Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Such a question, however, might be asked of a physician, and he might have no hope to give. He might be forced to acknowledge that the case was one for which he could offer nothing.
It is not so with the apostle. He has a ready answer, and a certain promise.
38. 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 receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off", even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.1
Observe the confidence with which Peter answers.
1 Be among those saved—o.wflijre.