Devotional: May 30th
And I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day. - 2 Timothy 1:12.
THE believer’s satisfaction commences here; and we cannot help remarking how frequently this is peculiarly experienced and expressed in the dying hours of believers. At this season they need this assurance, and there is much then to encourage it,- much more, we mean, than even before. “Well,” says the Christian, “he has performed already much of his trusteeship, and with regard to the future I can now rely upon him with more confidence. I have often said, ‘I shall one day perish,’ but, ‘having obtained help of God, I continue unto this day.’ Oh, how much has he done already in the discharge of the office which he undertook! and now I cannot doubt with regard to the remainder of it. I can now venture, or rather it is no venture now, for ‘I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.’”
We may consider this as the language of Paul’s dying experience. For he was now a prisoner, and he had every reason to expect death soon. His situation was so contemptible, and so perilous, that many of his former friends were ashamed to own him. Some censured him for his obstinacy in persevering; some were ready to say, “What profit is there in this melancholy life of yours that you are leading, and that must soon terminate in an ignominious end? Where, Paul, is the blessedness you speak of?” “Oh, as to my blessedness, that is secure: I am now a suffering man, and shall soon be a dead one; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” I am satisfied as to the past, and I look with confidence to the future. What though my wrists are injured by the chains which fasten me to the soldiers; what though my enemies are going to put me to death: let them kill the body; it is all that they can do. They cannot touch the immortal soul,-that is in safe hands; and as to this poor flesh, it will “rest in hope,” and be safe in glory. Let my adversaries reproach me with whatever bitterness they please: their faces will gather shame when I shall be able to lift up my head, and when we shall meet, not at the bar of a Nero, but at the judgment-seat of Christ, for whom I now suffer, and with whom I shall then reign.
Oh, let us listen to this child of faith: how he sings, how he shouts, how he welcomes the executioner that is to bring him home! “l am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing.”
When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. - Acts 2:1-4.
THE account given of the origin of Christianity in this book is both minute and marvellous. Infidelity has endeavoured to account for the fact without the admission of supernatural agency; but it has signally failed, and the very events which it has considered as causes were themselves the effects, and no solution can be given which is satisfactory but that which is here furnished us. And the more we reflect on the nature of God and the character of men, and the more we consider general causes and effects, whatever obscurities there may be, we must yet acknowledge that “this cometh of the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.” Before our Saviour left his disciples, he said to them, “Tarry ye at Jerusalem, and wait for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of me; and ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
It is very likely that they did not entirely comprehend the meaning of this assurance, but they believed the word of the Saviour; they expected some extraordinary communication, and therefore they remained in the city in the exercises of devotion. The event took place on one of three great festivals which the Jews were accustomed to commemorate. It is here called Pentecost, that is, “the fiftieth;” it means fifty days after, the promise not being fulfilled until the day was “fully come.” It was in the morning, and early in the morning, when the disciples were “with one accord in one place,” waiting in earnest and united prayer for this glorious communication; “and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”
This was a solemn harbinger, intended to prepare them for the occasion, and it could not fail to awaken in them the most serious attention. This was an address both to the ear and to the eye, for scarcely had the sound ceased, when “there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” The element of fire was an emblem of the Holy Spirit’s influence; while the peculiar form which it assumed showed the kind of gift conferred upon them; “for they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Their emotion and their zeal could not long remain unnoticed, “for there were dwelling at Jerusalem at this time devout men, out of every nation under heaven;” and when they heard of it they came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language, “and they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we in our own tongue, wherein we were born, the wonderful works of God?”
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