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Acts iii. 12. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Te men of Israel, why marvel ye 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 ?
THESE words, as the text tells us, were
1 spoke by St. Peter, on the occasion of his miraculous cure of the lame man, who was laid at the gate of the temple; and, in the beginning of this chapter, he asked an alms of St. Peter and St. John, as they went up together at the hour of prayer;—on whom St. Peter fastening his eyes, as in the 4th verse, and declaring he had no such relief to give him as he expected, having neither silver nor
gold,—but that such as he had, the benefit of that divine power which he had received from his Master, he would impart to him,-he commands him forthwith, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to rise up and walk.And he took him by the hand and listed him up, and immediately his feet and ancle-bones received strength; and he leaped up, stood and walked, and entered with them into the temple, leaping and praising God.
It seems he had been born lame, shad passed a whole life of despair, without hợpes of ever being restored ;-fo that the immediate sense of strength and activity communicated to him at once, in fo surprising and unsoughtfor a manner, cast him into the transport of mind natural to à man so benefited beyond his expectation. Soʻthat the amazing instance of a supernatural power ;-the notoriety of fact, wrought at the hour of prayer ;-the unexceptionableness of the object,—that it was no impofture,—for they knew that it was he which fat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple ;—the unfeigned expressions of an enraptured heart almost beside itself, confirming
the whole;—the man that was healed, in the Toth verse, holding his benefactors, Peter and John, entering into the temple with them, walking and leaping, and praising God;the great concourse of people, drawn together by this event, in the 11th verse, for they all ran unto them, into the porch that was called Solomon's, greatly wondering.–Sure never was such a fair opportunity for an ambitious mind to have established a character of fuperior goodness and power.-To a man fet upon this world, who fought his own praise and honour, what an invitation would it have been to have turned these circumstances to such a purpose ;-—to have fallen in with the passions of an astonished and grateful city, prepoffeffed, from what had happened, so strongly in his favour already, that little art or management was requisite to have improved their wonder and good opinion into the highest reverence of his fanctity, awe of his person, or whatever other belief should be necessary to feed his pride, or serve secret ends of glory and interest.-A mind, not sufficiently mortified to the world, might have been tempted
here to have taken the honour, due to God and transferred it to himself. He might—not fo—a disciple of Christ: for when Peter saw it,—when he saw the propensity in them to be milled on this occasion,-he answered and said unto the people, in the words of the text,Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why look you fo earnestly on us, as though by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk?---the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his son Jesus, —
O holy, and blessed apostle !
How would thy meek and mortified fpirit fatisfy itself in uttering so humble and so just a declaration ? - What an honest triumph wouldst thou taste the sweets of,—in thus conquering thy passion of vain glory,—keeping down thy pride, -disclaiming the praises which should have fed it, by telling the wondering spectators, It was not thy own power, -it was not thy own holiness, which had wrought this, --thou being of like passions and infirmities; --but that it was the power of the God of Abraham, - the holiness of thy dear Lord, whom they crucified, operating by faith thro' thee, who wast but an instrument in his hands.
-If thus honestly declining honour, which the occasion so amply invited thee to take ;if this would give more satisfaction to a mind like thine, than the loudest praises of a mistaken people, what true rapture would be added to it from the reflection,—that in this instance of self-denial-thou hadft not only done well;—but, what was a still more endearing thought, that thou hadst been able to copy the example of thy divine Master, who, in no action of his life, fought ever his own praise, but, on the contrary, declined all possible occasions of it;-and in the only public instance of honour which he suffered to be given him in his entrance into Jerusalem,—thou didst remember,-it was accepted with such a mixture of humility, that the prediction of the prophet was not more exactly fulfilled in the hofannas of the multitude, than in the meekness wherewith he received them, lowly and fitting upon an afs.—How could a disciple fail of profiting by the example of so humble a master, whose whole course of life was a par