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THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
From Acts, Chap. ii.
AND 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.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude 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 every man in his own tongue wherein we were born?
Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Capadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and Proselytes,
Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.
And it shall come to pass in the last days (saith God) I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants, and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy :
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood and fire, and vapour of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the LORD come.
And it shall come that pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; JESUS of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.
Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain :
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains
of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the LORD always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad moreover also, my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption: Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that GoD had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up CHRIST to sit on his throne:
He seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of CHRIST, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his fresh did see corruption.
This JESUS hath GOD raised up, witnesses.
whereof we all are
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 you now see and hear.
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy foot-stool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same JESUS whom have crucified, both LORD and CHRIST. 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?
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.
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.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart;
Praising Gon, and having favour with all the people. And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The day of Pentecost (the next great festival to the Passover) was kept in remembrance of the LORD's giving the Law from Mount Sinai; it was therefore a peculiarly proper season for the promulgation of the Gospel.
The Feast of Pentecost was celebrated in the midst of summer, which brought great numbers to Jerusalem.
Peter had collected together the whole community of the disciples who were at Jerusalem, which, as we read in the former Section, amounted to an hundred and twenty; these consisted (as we may judge) of the twelve Apostles, the devout women who attended our LORD (amongst whom was his Mother), and a part of the five hundred brethren, to whom he appeared at once. The place in which they were assembled is not certified, but it is likely to have been the large upper room before men. tioned: however, it was in Jerusalem, as GoD originally ordained, and our blessed LORD foretold.
The sound from heaven was doubtless very uncommon and surprising, and raised in the minds of those that heard it an expectation of some great event. It was a proper symbol of the power and energy of the HOLY SPIRIT, and of its incomprehensible nature. The cloven or divided tongues were symbols of the miraculous gift of speaking various languages, with which the Apostles and those with them were suddenly endued, in order to render them capable of propagating the Gospel in the most distant nations, to which GoD had graciously pro-mised to send it.
It is observable, that as the division of tongues at Babel once introduced confusion, and was the mean of casting off the Gentiles, or those who forsook the worship of the true God, and keeping of them from the knowledge of him; so now there was a remedy provided by the gift of tongues at Jerusalem, to bring the Gentilesout of darkness into light, and to remove the veil which had been spread over all nations t.
* See our LORD's discourse with Nicodemus in Sect. xxii. Vol. V ̧ + Doddridge, Vol. III. in the notes.