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ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent. That they may believe that the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee."
So in the present case. The apostles went forth as the messengers of God. But those who go forth as messengers in another's name, must prove that they are messengers, and really have the authority which they profess. The ambassador who is sent from one country to another, exhibits the seal and the commission which he holds. Without these he could make nothing valid. The miracles wrought by the apostles were to them like the seal of the ambassador. The ambassador could not be in possession of the seal, unless the sovereign had entrusted him with it. The apostles could not seal the truth of their words by works beyond human power, unless God were with them. You believe not us, they might say, whom you know to be men like yourselves. Believe the works, and acknowledge that God is with us of a truth.
The cure performed upon the lame man had this its proper effect. It drew attention; and prepared the minds of the people to hear the words of Peter, and receive his explanation.
9. And the people saw him leaping, walking, and praising God:
10. And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
11. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's,3 greatly wondering.
12. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel yc at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
14. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
15. And killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
16. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
When the Lord Jesus performed his cures, his words were, "I will: be thou clean." "Rise, take up thy bed and walk." "Thy sins be forgiven thee." Not so his apostles. They came not in their own power or holiness. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. His name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong. It is an example for the ministers of Christ. If they have a just sense of their commission, they go forth in the same power, and for a like purpose. We know the purpose of the apostles. Peter shows it here. Ye denied the Holy One and the Just; ye killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. Thus he aims to convince them of their sin, and to turn their hearts towards him whom they had crucified. And such must be the object of all who come after them. They also must labour to convince men of the sin of their nature and their habits,—the real cause which crucified the Son of God ;—and to direct them to that same name for pardon of their sin and renewal of their nature. The wickedness of the Jews, was but the character of our original corruption. They denied the Holy One and the Just, and preferred a murderer. What is this, but the preference of our nature? To choose not light, but darkness, not good but evil, not God but Satan?
3 See John x. 23. It was likely that there would be some place where the people might expect to meet with the apostles. And this spacious portico of the temple seems to have been the resort chosen by them. Chapter v. 12, we again find them "all with one accord in Solomon's porch."
This it is easy to set forth. Still will the minister say, What are we, sinful like yourselves, that we should prove this to you? So prove it, that you may repent and be converted? Yet there is a way: a way, that instead of lying in the dust, and cleaving to this earth, ye may rise up, and walk before God in righteousness and holiness; glorifying him in the sight of all by your obedience, and setting your affections on his heavenly kingdom. This name, the name of Christ, through faith in this name, may give you perfect soundness. For he is still the Prince of Life: "hath life in himself, and quickeneth whom he will." And those whom he will quicken, are those who come to him and believe in his name.
PETER CONTINUES HIS DISCOURSE TO THE PEOPLE.-A.D. 33.
Acts iii. 17—26.
17. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
18. But those things, which God before hud shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
In the former part of his discourse, Peter had astonished the people by a view of their enormous guilt. Ye have killed the Prince of Life. Two months have hardly elapsed, since ye cried out with one voice, "Crucify him, crucify him.'* Ye might have known him to be your King by the works which he did in the midst of you, as plainly as ye know it now by the power which he is exercising through our hands.
Perhaps he saw them affected: certainly, he was acquainted with the nature of man's heart. Like Joseph, in former time, who excused his brethren, and said to them, "It was not you that sent me hither, but God ;"1 so the apostle finds a palliation
1 Genesis xiv. 8.
for the offence of the men of Israel. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. And the very sin, which ye ignorantly committed, has accomplished the prophecies of God, and fulfilled his predetermined plan.
Thus soothing them, and preparing them as the dew prepares the soil for the seed after the plough has furrowed it, he proceeds in the same merciful strain.
19. 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;
20. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21. Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
22. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
23. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
Thus the apostle presents those thoughts to their minds, which were most suited to influence them. He sets before them a time, "when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another." Then the "wicked,