Acts 1:23
So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
Sermons
The Interval Between the Ascension and PentecostE. Johnson Acts 1:12-26
The Church's First Corporate ActionR.A. Redford Acts 1:15-26
The Path of Sin and the Way of the RighteousS. Conway Acts 1:15-26
Judas, His Opportunity and His Treatment of itP.C. Barker Acts 1:16-20, 25
First Signs of Order in the Early ChurchR. Tuck Acts 1:21-26
A Divine AppointmentBp. Jacobsen.Acts 1:23-26
A Place for Every ManA. Dickson, D. D.Acts 1:23-26
After Life of MatthiasA. M. Loring, M. A.Acts 1:23-26
An Election SermonF. W. Robertson, M. A.Acts 1:23-26
Every Man in His Own PlaceH. C. Trumball, D. D.Acts 1:23-26
Festival of St. MatthiasW. H. Hutchings, M. A.Acts 1:23-26
God Knows the HeartActs 1:23-26
Hypocrisy Does not Disprove the Reality of ReligionE. Payson.Acts 1:23-26
JudasT. M. Herbert, M. A.Acts 1:23-26
Men Sorted in the FutureA. Maclaren, D. D.Acts 1:23-26
Ministers Should be Picked MenC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 1:23-26
Obscure Lives of SaintsG. T. Stokes, D. D.Acts 1:23-26
Readiness and PreparednessW. E. Chadwick, M. A.Acts 1:23-26
The Beginning of Ecclesiastical BusinessW. Hudson.Acts 1:23-26
The Election of MatthiasG. T. Stokes, M. A.Acts 1:23-26
The Election of MatthiasDean Plumptre.Acts 1:23-26
The Fall of JudasF. W. Robertson.Acts 1:23-26
The Holy ChoiceT. Adams.Acts 1:23-26
The Law of Spiritual GravitationG. T. Keeble.Acts 1:23-26
The LotDean Plumptre.Acts 1:23-26
The LotBp. Jacobson.Acts 1:23-26
The Lot: its Lawfulness for ChristiansJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 1:23-26
The Place for Judas, and for Others Like HimJ. N. Norton, D. D.Acts 1:23-26
The Soul in His Own PlaceG. S. Drew, M. A.Acts 1:23-26
Where Would We BeActs 1:23-26
Workers Indicated by GodG. C. Grubb.Acts 1:23-26
In introducing this subject, notice may be taken of the idea that the apostolic body must number twelve. It was a purely Jewish conception, based on the fact that the tribes composing the nation were twelve. But it was a notion suited to the formality of the age, which made so much of numbers, and washings, and ordinances, and ceremonies. It does not appear that our Lord made any sacredness attach to the number; nor did he, after his resurrection, make any suggestions as to the filling up of the betrayer's office. It may further be shown that the conditions of apostleship laid down by Peter are not otherwise indicated. He seems to have gained the idea by dwelling on the fact that the apostles were to be Christ's witnesses; but our Lord's call to witness was made to disciples as well as to apostles. It would rather seem that the one thing essential to apostleship was direct appointment to office by the Lord Jesus Christ himself. In this view we can fully understand the claim St. Paul makes to the rights, standing, and authority of an apostle. The Revised Version makes a suggestive change in ver. 23, reading "they put forward," for "they appointed;" intimating that candidates were first selected by the apostles, and then "put forward" before the entire body of disciples, who made the definite choice. Regarded as the first effort to secure system and order among the Christian disciples, we may find indications of the early recognition of five great practical principles - the five which have been variously powerful in shaping the order of the various Christian communities as one or the other of them has gained prominence. We do little more than state the principles, leaving the questions of their relative values, their adaptations to present religious life, and their influence on the formation of different ecclesiastical organizations.

I. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE NEED FOR OFFICES IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. This is universally recognized. The offices are arranged with more or less precise copying of the early Church models, and with varying sense of the elasticity of the principle. One thing needs to be carefully impressed, viz. that all offices are for use - for the order and edification of the Church.

II. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE EIGHTS OF THE COMMUNITY. All being believers, having the new life and the indwelling Spirit, - all may and should take part in the proposed election. This principle is recognized in all Churches, but is less prominent in some than in others. Prudence provides limitations of the claims which it might inspire.

III. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE EXECUTIVE RIGHTS OF CHRIST. He is the living and present Head and Ruler of the Church, and must be thought of as actually presiding; not only having given us laws, but actually presiding over their execution. All officials in a Church are Christ's ministers and agents, simply carrying out his will.

IV. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE RIGHT OF JUDICIOUS SELECTION. A large number of people cannot make wise and united selection of suitable men for suitable offices. This is a very practical principle, which prudence would have established if for it there had been no early Church precedent. It is found useful in all societies and associations of men,

V. THE PRINCIPLE OF ELECTION BY THE WHOLE COMMUNITY. All the Church joined in the act of choosing one of the two selected ones. It may be impressed that these simple and practical principles lie at the very foundation of Church order, and that the healthy working of Church systems depends upon the wise applications made of them, relative to the circumstances of national and social surroundings, and the "genius" of the community so ordered. - R.T.







And they appointed two.
This, the earliest, stands remarkably distinguished from the episcopal elections of after ages. Every one acquainted with history knows that the election of a bishop was one of the fiercest questions which shook the Church of Christ. Appointment by the people. Presbyters. Various customs. Anecdote of of Milan. Appointment by the Emperor or Bishop of Rome. Quarrel of ages between the Emperor and the Pope. Consider —

I. THE OBJECT OF THE ELECTION. To elect a bishop of the universal Church. It might be that in process of time the apostle should be appointed to a particular city — as St. James was to Jerusalem. But his duty was owed to the Church in general, and not to that particular city; and if he had allowed local interests to stand before the interests of the whole, he would have neglected the duty of his high office, and if those who appointed him considered the interest of Jerusalem instead of the Church universal, they would have failed in their duty. In the third century stated this principle: "The Episcopate, one and indivisible, held in its entirety by each bishop, every part standing for the whole." The political application is plain. Each legislator legislates for the country, not for a county or town. Each elector holds his franchise as a sacred trust, to be exercised not for his town, or faction, or himself, or his friends, but for the general weal of the people of England. We are not to be biassed by asking what charity does a candidate support, nor by his view of some local question, nor by his support of Tractarian or Evangelical societies. We are, in our high responsibility, selecting, not a president for a religious society, nor a patron of a town, nor a subscriber to an hospital, but a legislator for England.

II. THE MODE OF THE ELECTION. It was partly human, partly Divine. The human element is plain enough in that it was popular. The Divine element lay in this that it was overruled by God. The selected one might be the chosen of the people, yet not the chosen of God. Hence they prayed, "Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men," etc. The common notion is, vox populi voxi.e., a law is right because it is a people's will. We have not quite gone to this length in England. On the Continent it has long been prevalent. Possibly it is the expression of that Antichrist "who showeth himself that he is God"; self-will setting itself up paramount to the will of God. The vox populi is sometimes vox, sometimes not. It was so when the people rescued Jonathan from his father's unjust sentence: and when, after the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, they cried, "The Lord He is God." But not when, in Moses' absence, they required Aaron to make them a golden calf for a god. Or when they shouted, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" or "Crucify Him!" Politicians eagerly debate the question, how best to secure a fair representation of the people's voice — a question not to be put aside. But the Christian sets a question deeper far than this — how the popular will shall truly represent the will of God. And we shall attain this, not by nicely balancing interest against interest, much less by manoeuvring to defeat the opposite cause; but by each doing all he can to rouse himself and others to a high sense of responsibility. It is a noble thought, that of every elector going to vote, as these men did, for the Church, for the people, for God, and for the right, earnestly anxious that he and others should do right. Else this was an appeal to chance and not to God; and every election, by ballot or by suffrage, is else an appeal to chance.

III. THE SPIRIT.

1. A religious spirit. "They prayed," etc. Now, we shall be met here by an objection. This was a religious work — the selection of an apostle; but the choice of a representative is only a secular one. But it is not the occupation, but the spirit which makes the difference. The election of a bishop may be most secular; the election of a representative may be religious. St. Paul taught that nothing is profane. Sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, St. Peter learned that nothing is common or unclean. Many relics remain to us from our religious forefathers indicative of this truth. Grace before meals. Dei gratia on coins of the realm; "In the name of God," at the commencement of wills; oaths in court of justice — all proclaim that the simplest acts of our domestic and political life are sacred or profane according to the spirit in which they are performed; not in the question whether they are done for the State or the Church, but whether with God or without God. Observe: It is not the preluding such an election with public prayer that would make it a religious act. It is religious so far as each man discharges his part as a duty and solemn responsibility. If looked on in this spirit would the debauchery, which is fostered by rich men of all parties among the poor for their own purposes, be possible? Would they, for the sake of one vote, or a hundred votes, brutalise their fellow creatures?

2. It was done conscientiously. Each Christian found himself in possession of a new right — that of giving a vote or casting a lot. Like all rights, it was a duty. He had not a right to do what he liked, only to do right. And if any one had swayed him to support the cause of Barsabas or that of Matthias on any motives except this one — "You ought" — he had so far injured his conscience. The worst of crimes is to injure a human conscience. Now bribery is a sin. Not because a particular law has been made against it, but because it lowers the sense of personal responsibility. And whether you do directly by giving, indirectly by withdrawing, assistance, or patronage — you sin against Christ.

3. It was not done from personal interest. If the supporters of the two candidates had been influenced by such considerations as bloodrelationship, or the chance of favour and promotion, a high function would have been degraded. In secular matters, however, we do not judge so. A man generally decides according to his professional or his personal interests. You know almost to a certainty beforehand which way a man will vote, if you know his profession. Partly no doubt, this is involuntarily — the result of those prejudices which attach to us all from association. But it is partly voluntary. We know that we are thinking not of the general good, but of our own interests. And thus a farmer would think himself justified in looking at a question simply as it affected his class, and a noble as it affected his caste, and a working man as it bore upon the working classes. Brethren, we are Christians. Something of a principle higher than this ought to be ours. What is the law of the Cross of Christ? The sacrifice of the One for the whole, the cheerful surrender of the few for the many. Else, what do we more than others? These are fine words — patriotism, public principle, purity. Be sure these words are but sentimental expressions, except as they spring out of the Cross of Christ.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Let us pause a little to meditate upon an objection which might have been here raised. Why fill up what Christ Himself left vacant? some short-sighted objector might have urged; and yet we see good reason why Christ may have omitted to supply the place of Judas, and may have designed that the apostles themselves should have done so. Our Lord Jesus Christ gifted His apostles with corporate power; He bestowed upon them authority to act in His stead and name; and it is not God's way of action to grant power and authority, and then to allow it to remain unexercised and undeveloped. When God confers any gift He expects that it shall be used for His honour and man's benefit. The Lord thus wished to teach the Church from earliest days to walk alone. The apostles had been long enough depending on His personal presence and guidance, and now, that they might learn to exercise the privileges and duties of their Divine freedom, He leaves them to choose one to fill that position of supernatural rank and office from which Judas had fallen. The risen Saviour acted in grace as God ever acts in nature. He bestowed His gifts lavishly and generously, and then expected man to respond to the gifts by making that good use of them which earnest prayer, sanctified reason, and Christian common-sense dictated.

(G. T. Stokes, M. A.)

The Church, like a line of soldiers in action, must have no vacant places; each gap in the line must be made good. The unfilled post is a point of weakness in the system and the work, and the enemy against whom we strive is not slow to take advantage. The weak place is soon detected, and the gap in the line will soon be still further enlarged. A rent unmended rapidly grows greater. The apostles felt this. So at once they proceed to fill the vacant place. Two thoughts meet us here. If a place has to be filled, two requirements must be satisfied. First, we must have one prepared, one fit to fill the position; secondly, we must have one ready and willing to take up the work. Matthias was a disciple of experience. He was not a recent convert, no novice. Hitherto, we may conclude, he had filled no official position. But by attendance on the Lord's ministry he had been preparing himself to take up the work when a call should come. He was probably quite unconscious as to when or how it would come; but as a Christian, as a soldier of Christ, as a servant of his Master, he was always liable. The summons, "I have need of thee," might come at any moment. Would the summons find him fitted to obey it? He had "companied" — come along together — "with them." He had listened to Christ's teaching, watched Christ live and work; he could speak from experience. Is there not here a lesson for all? We do not know when Christ may need us; we do not know exactly how He may wish that we should be employed. But the summons may come. When it comes, in what state will it find us? Shall we know from experience anything of what a Christian life really is? A knowledge of Christian truth and Christian life is indispensable for Church workers. They must be prepared. And as a modern writer has said, "preparation is not preparedness," but it is the secret of it, the means whereby it is obtained. Preparation, constant, ever going on, is the way to be prepared. But the worker, besides being prepared, must be also ready, that is, willing to obey the call when it comes. How often has a clergyman to lament the sorrowful fact that those who might be of the greatest service are sometimes the least willing to take up work. Yet to whom "much is given, of him shall be much required." According to our means, abilities, opportunities, shall we be judged. Notice the example of Matthias and Joseph. There is not a word Of hesitation or excuse. They knew not upon which the lot might fall, but either was willing and ready; it was sufficient that the call had come, they must not dream of disobedience. They did not know what might lie before them-danger, toil, persecution, in all probability a martyr's death. But there is no shrinking, no attempt to excuse themselves or find reasons why they should not take office. It has been of the nature of a national boast that Englishmen sought rather than shunned the point of danger, the life of active service and toil. How often have we read of the soldier chafing under the circumstances which cast his lot in the reserve rather than in the midst of the action which was progressing at the front! Should there not be a like spirit exhibited by the soldiers of the Cross? The life of action and the life of danger is surely in some measure the life of honour.

(W. E. Chadwick, M. A.)

It is said of the Egyptians that they chose their priests from the most learned of their philosophers, and then they esteemed their priests so highly that they chose their kings from them. We require to have for God's ministers the pick of all the Christian host; such men, indeed, that if the nation wanted kings they could not do better than elevate them to the throne.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When Samuel Wilberforce, afterwards Bishop, went to his first charge, some of the parishioners complained that the bishop had seat them a boy. They condemned him before he spoke because of his looks. But after they had heard his first sermon they withdrew their first statement, and said, "We find he is a man." This illustrates the way in which too often we judge men, but we must remember that although man looketh on the outward appearance the Lord looketh on the heart.

"One night, a week before we got to Colombo, Mr. Millard and I were praying to God for special guidance in Ceylon, and I said to him, 'The Lord has told me to bring on from Ceylon Mr. Campbell, Mr. Horan, Mr. Jackson, and David.' 'Well,' said he, 'if you bring on any one, these are the four names.' So day by day we prayed, 'Oh, Lord, is it Thy will that we should bring them on?" We had a fortnight in Ceylon, and we spent the greater part of it in prayer to be perfectly certain of God's will. We were staying at a house a little distance out of Colombo that a friend very kindly put at our disposal, and there we gathered to wait on God in prayer. One day Mr. Millard and Mr. Campbell were there praying. They said nothing to me about it. They prayed, 'Now, Lord, we will put Thee to the test: wilt Thou send up into this room those who are to go to Australia, and only those?' They waited. The door opened, and Mr. Jackson went in and knelt with the other two. Mr. Horan was at his tea, but somehow he thought to himself, 'I must go up'; so he left his tea and went upstairs, and went into the room and knelt down with the others. I also was downstairs, and said to myself, 'I will go up and have a little prayer.' I went into the room and found these friends there before me. But where was David? Was he to come or not? He was, at the time, in Colombo, five miles away. He knew nothing about the prayer in the upper room. As David was walking along the street of Colombo he lifted up his heart to God and said, 'Where am I to go now, and what am I to do?' The Lord told him to take a carriage and drive out to Dellagama House at once. David got into a conveyance and drove out. He appeared with his black face all shining with glory. Now we were certain that David was to go with us to Australia. So we sailed, and arrived at Melbourne.

(G. C. Grubb.)

1. The requisite qualifications of apostleship were discerned in two members of the company. The claims of the two were probably equally balanced and superior to those of the rest.

2. The whole matter was referred to the Head of the Church in prayer.

3. They prayed Him to settle for them what they could not settle for themselves. No choice of theirs could make a man an apostle.

4. They looked for the expression of the Divine decision in the best way known to them. The lot had been sanctioned by God under the Old Dispensation; but it is significant that no more is heard of it. The unction of the Holy One rendered it unnecessary.

5. The decision asked for was cordially accepted. This beginning of ecclesiastical business presents to us —

I. RIGHT-MINDED PEOPLE NOT YET FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. The truth had had its effect upon them, but like many now they were only in a course of preparation for the fulness of Divine knowledge. Such now should do the will of God as they know it as these did, and seek the promised blessing in prayer.

II. RIGHT-MINDED PEOPLE, THOUGH NOT YET FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT, YET DIRECTED BY THEIR CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST. They believed that He, the Searcher of hearts, was surveying them; that prayer to Him would be answered; that they had a work to do for which He must fit them; and though one had fallen another would be found for his place. So now there are servants of Christ who, though not assured of sonship, are yet on the road to assurance. Let such maintain their confidence in Christ, and they will reach the goal as the disciples did.

III. THE APOSTOLIC STAFF COMPLETED IN PROPER TIME. The proper time was during the ten days. The disciples were expectant, but their confidence was increased when they felt that they had done their duty. Seamen are the more hopeful when the breeze strikes on the spread canvas, and physicians when they have used all the resources of their science. So congregations should be ready for what God waits to give, by a full cordial acceptance of His will.

(W. Hudson.)

They begin with prayer; this was the usual manner in the Church of God (Numbers 27:16; John 17:27; Acts 6:6). It is not fit he that is chosen for God should be chosen without God. But for this, Samuel himself may be mistaken and choose even wrong, before he hit upon the right. This prayer respects two things:

I. THE PERSON IS DESCRIBED —

1. By His omnipotence. "Lord" —(1) Of what? Not Lord of such a county, barony, seigniory; nor Lord by virtue of office, but most absolute. His lordship is universal: Lord of heaven, the owner of those glorious mansions; Lord of earth, disposer of all kingdoms and principalities; Lord of hell, to lock up the old dragon and his crew in the bottomless pit; Lord of death, to unlock the graves.(2) To the Lord of all they commend the choice of His own servants. Every mortal lord hath this power, how much more that Lord which makes lords! Who so fit to choose as He that can choose the fit? Who so fit to choose as He that can make those fit whom He doth choose? It is He alone that can give power and grace to the elected, therefore not to be left out in the election. It is happy when we do remit all doubts to His decision, and resign ourselves to His disposition. We must not be our own carvers, but let God's choice be ours. When we know His pleasure, let us show our obedience.

2. Omniscience: it is God's peculiar to be the searcher of the heart. But why the heart? Here was an apostle to be chosen: now wisdom, learning, eloquence, might seem to be more necessary qualities. No, they are all nothing to an honest heart. I deny not but learning to divide the word, elocution to pronounce it, wisdom to discern the truth, boldness to deliver it, be all parts requirable in a preacher. But as if all these were scarce worth mention in respect of the heart, they say not, which is the greater scholar, but which is the better man (1 Samuel 16:7).(1) Why do they not say, Thou that knowest the estates of men, who is rich, and fit to support a high place, and who so poor that the place must support him? Because, at the beam of the sanctuary, money makes not the man, although it often adds some metal to the man; makes his justice the bolder, and in less hazard of being vitiated. But if the poor man have "wisdom to deliver the city" (Ecclesiastes 6:15), he is worthy to govern the city. I yield that something is due to the state of authority. But wise government, not rich garment, shows an able man.(2) Why do they not say, Thou that knowest the birth or blood of men? I know it is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or palace not in decay, or a fair tree sound and perfect timber. But as foul birds build their nests in an old forsaken house, and doted trees are good for nothing but the fire; so the decay of virtue is the ruin of nobility. To speak morally, active worth is better than passive: this last we have from our ancestors, the first from ourselves. Let me rather see one virtue in a man alive, than all the rest in his pedigree dead. It is not the birth, but the new birth that makes men truly noble.(3) Why do they not say, Thou that knowest the wisdom and policy of men? Certainly, this is requisite to a man of place. But a man may be wise for himself, not for God, not for the public good. A cunning head without an honest heart is but like a house with many convenient stairs, entries, and other passages, but never a fair room.

II. THE MATTER ENTREATED. "Show whom Thou hast chosen."

1. What kind of hearts God will not choose.(1) A distracted heart; part whereof is dedicated to the Lord, and part to the world. He that made all will not be contented with a piece. Aut Caesar, aut nihil. Many divisions followed sin.

(a)It divided heart from God (Isaiah 59:2).

(b)It divided heart from heart. God by marriage made one of two, sin doth often make two of one.

(c)It divided the tongue from the heart. So Cain answered God, when He questioned him about Abel.

(d)It divided tongue from tongue at the building of Babel.

(e)It divided the heart from itself (Psalm 12:2): one for the Church, another for the change; one for Sundays, another for working days.(2) A stony heart. A rock, which all the floods of God's mercies and judgments cannot soften; a stithy, that is still the harder for beating. It hath all the properties of a stone: it is as cold, heavy, hard, and senseless as a stone. Were it of iron it might be wrought; were it of lead, it might be molten, and cast into some better form; were it of earth, it might be tempered to another fashion; but being stone, nothing remains but that it be broken. What was Pharaoh's greatest plague? His hard heart. He that knows all hearts, knows how ill this would be in a magistrate or minister; a heart which no cries of orphans, no tears of widows, no mourning of the oppressed, can melt into pity.(3) A covetous heart, the desires whereof are never filled. A handful of corn put to the whole heap increaseth it; yea, add ,water to the sea, it hath so much the more; but "he that loveth silver shall never be satisfied with silver." This vice is in all men iniquity, but in a minister or magistrate blasphemy; the root of all evil in every man, the rot of all goodness in a great man.

2. What kind of hearts God will choose.(1) A wise heart (1 Kings 2:9). There is no trade but a peculiar wisdom belongs to it, without which all is tedious and. unprofitable; how much more to the highest and busiest vocation.(2) A meek heart. The first governor that God set over His Israel was Moses, a man of the meekest spirit. How is he fit to govern others, that hath not learned to govern himself? He that cannot rule a boat upon the river is not to be trusted with steering a vessel on the ocean. Nor yet must this parience degenerate into cowardliness: Moses, that was so meek in his own cause, in God's cause was as resolute. So there is also —(3) A heart of fortitude and courage. The rules and squares that regulate others are not made of lead or soft wood, such as will bend or bow. The principal columns of a house had not need be heart of oak, The spirit that resolves to do the will of heaven, what malignant powers soever would cross it on earth, is the heart that God chooseth.(4) An honest heart. Without this, courage will prove but legal injustice, policy but mere subtlety, and ability but the devil's anvil to forge mischiefs on. Private men have many curbs, but men in authority, if they fear not God, have nothing else to fear. If he be a simple dastard, he fears all men; if a headstrong commander, he fears no man: like that unjust judge (Luke 18:2).

3. Why God will choose men by the heart. Because —(1) The heart is the primum mobile that sets all the wheels agoing, and improves them to the right end. When God begins to make a man good, He begins at the heart. And as naturally the heart is first in being, so here the will (which is meant by the heart) is chief in commanding. If it say to the eye, See, it seeth; to the ear, Hear, it hearkeneth, etc. If the heart lead the way to God, not a member of the body, not a faculty of the soul, will stay behind.(2) No part of man can sin without the heart; the heart can sin without all the rest. The heart is like a mill: if the wind or water be violent, the mill will go whether the miller will or not; yet he may chose what kind of grain it shall grind, wheat or darnel.(3) The heart is what God specially cares for: "My son, give Me thy heart"; and good reason, for I gave My own Son's heart to death for it. It is not less thine for being Mine; yea, it cannot be thine comfortably unless it be Mine perfectly. God requires it principally, but not only; give Him that, and all the rest will follow. He that gives me fire needs not be requested for light and heat, for they are inseparable.(4) All outward works a hypocrite may do, only he fails in the heart; and because he fails there, he is lost everywhere. Who will put that timber into the building of his house which is rotten at the heart? Man judgeth the heart by the works; God judgeth the works by the heart. Therefore God will excuse all necessary defects, but only of the heart. The blind man cannot serve God with his eyes, he is excused; the deaf cannot serve God with his ears, he is excused, etc., but no man is excused for not serving God with his heart.(5) "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Therefore David prays, "Create in me a clean heart." The Lord rested from the works of His creation the seventh day; but so dearly He loves clean hearts, that He rests from creating them no day. As Jehu said to Jehonadab. "Is thy heart right? then give me thy hand, come up into my chariot"; so this is God's question, Is thy heart upright? then give Me thy hand, ascend' My triumphant chariot, the everlasting glory of heaven. Conclusion: Because there is such difference of hearts, and such need of a good one, they put it to Him that knows them all, and knows which is best of all. A little living stone in God's building is worth a whole quarry of the world. One honest heart is better than a thousand other. Man often fails in his election; God cannot err.

(T. Adams.)

We look back upon the career of Judas, who by transgression fell from "this ministry and apostleship"; and, secondly, see what is to be learnt from the election of Matthias.

I. Judas has been described as "one of the standing moral problems of the gospel history." He is not a lay figure, draped in the historical dress provided by the Psalter, a mythical personage. His portrait stands out from the canvas of the Gospels life-like, vivid, .terrible. He is no creation of the imagination, no mere foil to bring out into stronger relief the transcendent virtues of the Christ; but a real man, who betrayed his Master, and then hung himself. He illustrates the possibilities of evil, and the doctrine that "the corruption of the best becomes the worst." And first it must be remembered that Judas "fell." He is sometimes depicted as though he had always had the heart of an alien; and when chosen by our Lord to be one of His apostles, was then a traitor in spirit. This is a mistake. When our Lord said, "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He says "is a devil." He does not say "was." Judas Iscariot had a genuine vocation to the apostolate; that is, he had in him the makings of an apostle; otherwise, our Lord would not have chosen him. But vocations may be lost. Judas fell through yielding to temptation. Two sins mark the stages of his downward course — avarice and despair. It may be asserted, that however hardening may be the effect of this vice of avarice, when it has led to the committal of some heinous crime the benumbed conscience is often painfully and suddenly aroused from its state of torpor, and filled with dismay. The sinner is startled at the lengths which he has gone. Judas, doubtless, had tampered with the moral faculty, and persuaded himself that though he had betrayed his Master, Christ would, after all, escape from the hands of His enemies. His remorse, when he saw the effects of his treachery, bear witness, not to the absence of covetousness, but to the power of conscience, whose voice, though it may be for a time smothered, will assert itself in terrible tones at last. The disciple was not subjected to the trial without sufficient helps and cautions to enable him, had he willed, to vanquish his dominant passion, and to grow into the likeness of his Master. But a greater sin than covetousness followed — that of despair. The sins which are opposite to those great virtues, Faith, Hope, and Love, which have God for their Object, are sins of a deep dye. They are unbelief, despair, and hatred of God. Among these, despair is especially fraught with danger to us, because it takes away the hope "which recalls us from our sins and lead us to good." Despair is a sin against Divine mercy, that attribute in the exercise of which God is said to "delight." If Judas had sought for mercy, he would have found it. He had the semblance of repentance without its spirit. He had no hope; and, so in a frenzy of despair, he fled from the temple, and ended his life — in the strange and awful language, "that he might go to his own place."

II. We turn now to brighter thoughts. Our Lord chose twelve apostles. It seems to have been important that this number should be preserved. It has been called "emphatically the Church number." It occurs again and again in Holy Scripture. There were twelve patriarchs, twelve altars, twelve precious stones in Aaron's breastplate, twelve judges, twelve wells at Elim, twelve loaves of show-bread. In the Book of the Revelation there are twelve stars round the head of the woman clothed with the sun, twelve foundations and gates of the heavenly Jerusalem. The first act of the apostles after the ascension of Christ is to fill up the gap in their number. Matthias was more than a successor of Judas; he was to take his place, to be invested with the dignity of an original apostle. But note how this vacancy was supplied. First, by united prayer — prayer, mark you, to Christ — they sought to know His choice, Who is the discerner of hearts; and then they cast lots; "and — the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles." The Holy Spirit was not yet given, and thus they resorted to a method which had often been adopted for settling doubtful questions by different nations, that of casting lots, not as any precedent for the Church in the future; but as a means for discovering the mind of God in that interim between the missions of Divine persons, when they were left without a guide. Many are the lessons which may be drawn from our subject. Many are the warnings which it suggests. The excess of hope is presumption; its defect, despair. The history of Judas shows the peril of both. "Be not high-minded, but fear." No office or position can insure us against falling. We see those who have had the highest privileges fall from God. Lucifer and the angels, Adam and Eve, David, Solomon, Peter, and Judas. Secondly, let us, on the other hand, never despair. There is no evil in the creature which the mercy of God cannot remedy — "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Despair is worse than covetousness: for "with the Lord there is mercy"; it has its home and origin in the Divine character, and "with Him is plenteous redemption."

(W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)

Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place
It seems very strange that Jesus, who knew the hearts of men, should have admitted as one of the twelve a thief, a devil, a traitor, one who had better never been born. Gifts of some kind he must have had, rendering the choice of him not strange to others, not unfit in itself. Was it that, though our Lord discerned the germs of evil in his character, He saw also germs of good, and hoped that, as a result of association with Himself, these might prevail? If we suppose so, new force is given to many of Christ's sayings. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." What a truth for Judas, if he were vainly trying to follow both! The destructive power of "the cares of this world," and "the deceitfulness of riches," Judas heard of. He heard of the fate of the unfaithful steward, etc. If Jesus had this merciful desire, not least among the griefs of the Man of Sorrows must have been the deepening conviction that His efforts were in vain, and that He was but adding to the condemnation of one from whom "so much would be required," as so much had been given. What a pang each evidence of this must have given to Jesus! e.g., the objection to the costly ointment with which Mary anointed the Lord. At last Jesus said, "One of you shall betray Me," and Judas, "having received the sop, went immediately out." It has been suggested that motives other than base actuated Judas, but these contradict the narrative and every probability.

I. CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF FUTURE PENALTIES. Amidst much obscurity two things are clear:

1. That the consequences of evil will be felt after death; that what is sown here shall be reaped there, and that the "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish" felt, and inflicted by God, will be of such a sort that the strongest and most dreadful images are not too strong or dreadful to express it.

2. That, whatever the reality, the Judge of all the earth will do only right; so that no suspicion of injustice, or distress because of it, need or ought to have place in our minds.

II. EACH GOING TO HIS OWN PLACE. Whether the apostles had clearer knowledge about the fate of Judas than they here express, we know not. At least there is singular moderation and reverence in what they said. One might well have excused sterner language about the betrayer. Their refraining is a pattern to us all. But this statement fits every case as well as that of Judas. It is not a mere confession of ignorance, which says nothing. See how exactly true it is of the material world. The two are so mysteriously allied that, to an extraordinary degree, what is true of the one is true of the other; and it is most useful to study the one to gain hints about God's government of the other. We should avoid many errors if we recognised this oftener. The position of each mass of matter is exactly determined by its quantity and condition in relation to the forces around and within it. No pebble, no star, can be in a place one hair's breadth different from that to which it is guided by its peculiar character. Every difference of character involves a difference of position. The same is true of each of those millions of invisible atoms of which each atom is composed. The place each fills is not determined by chance or by caprice, but by its very nature. Is not that indication of a Divine order, allied to morality and justice? And so no mere caprice will determine the position of spiritual beings in the future world, but each will "go to his own place" there, by a law as true and an order as beautiful as that which regulates the position of each material particle. The true, the pure, the loving and unselfish, will they not tend necessarily towards Him who is truth, and purity, and love, as the nearest planets live in the radiance of the sun? The untrue, the impure, the selfish, will they not as necessarily be repelled from the Divine light by their very condition? So with every intermediate description of character. Conclusion: In view of these sublime laws of Divine order and fitness, what a pitiable and monstrous delusion is it that mere profession will avail; that to say to Christ, "Lord, Lord," is enough; that to be duly baptized and buried by a priest is to be safe for ever. What we are, or by Christ's help become, that is everything — not what we profess to be. So Christ and Judas went "each to his own place"; so you and I shall do also.

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

A zealous partisan of the notion that there is no future punishment was telling his children the story of "The Babes in the Wood," when a shrewd little boy looked up and asked, "What became of the little children?" "Oh, they went to heaven, of course!" was the prompt reply. "And what became of the horrid old uncle?" It was a poser; and for some moments the universalist looked confused. His favourite hobby must, however, be sustained at all costs, and he answered as composedly as he could, "Why, he went to heaven also!" "I am so sorry," said the child, "for I am afraid the bad man will kill them again!" Here was logic in a nutshell, which no theories could overturn. President Nott had preached a sermon setting forth the everlasting punishment of the impenitent, when a man of the same class rudely said, "Well, sir, I have been to hear you preach, and now I want you to prove your doctrine." "I thought I had proved it," was the mild reply, "for I took the Bible for testimony." "Well," persisted the assailant, waxing valiant, "I do not find it in my Bible, and I do not believe it." "What do you believe?" asked Dr. Nott, in a quiet and unconcerned tone. "Why, I believe that mankind will be judged according to the deeds done in the body, and those that deserve punishment will be sent to a place of punishment for awhile, and remain there until the debt is paid, when they will be taken out and carried to heaven." "I have but a word to say in reply," observed Dr. Nott, "and first, for what did Christ die? and lastly, there is a straight road to heaven; but if you are determined to go round through hell to get there, I cannot help it." The man took his leave, the wiser for the interview, and a more careful study of the Bible led him to adopt the orthodox belief. If any one were asked, "Where do you suppose Judas went after death?" could he, in his sober senses, answer, "To heaven?" The thing is utterly preposterous; and we are prepared to read in the text that he went to "his own place" — a place suited to one who had proved himself a child of the devil. Every student knows that the significant expression is used by ancient writers to denote going to one's eternal destiny. Thus the Jewish Targum, in Numbers 24:25, where it is said of Balaam that he "went to his own place," adds, that this "place" was Gehenna, the place of final torment. The Chaldee paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 6:6 declares, "Although the days of a man's life were two thousand years, and he did not study the Law, and do justice, in the day of his death his soul shall descend to hell, to the one place where all sinners go." St. Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Magnesians, wrote, "Because all things have an end, the two things death and life shall lie down together, and each one shall go to his own place." Without referring, then, to many passages of Holy Scripture, the brief allusion to the doom of Judas is enough to settle the question. Hell is not a mere arbitrary appointment of the Almighty, but as the polluted would not be fitted for heaven, and could not enjoy it, there must, of necessity, be some place adapted to their condition, and God teaches us that hell is that place. The guilty and impenitent accordingly will have no ground of complaint if a just God appoints for him precisely such a place as his own conduct in life has prepared him for. An eloquent speaker was attempting to show, from garbled passages of Scripture, that the gospel is peace and good-will, and not terror nor hell fire, when a young man rose and said: "Did Paul preach the gospel before Felix?" "Yes." "And did Felix tremble?" "He did." The young man took his hat, bowed politely, and retired, the rest of the people going out with him. The simplest-minded present could not but understand that the gospel which the apostle preached must have had some reference to future punishment, or the wicked and the haughty Felix would hardly have thus lost his self-command. It is useless to attempt to obviate the necessity for future punishment by insisting that we suffer for our sins in this life. There are such cases, it is true, but they are the excerption, and not the rule. What, then, becomes of the rest? The pirate Gibbs, whose name, for so many years, was a terror to those who sailed among the West Indies, when tried and condemned, confessed that the first few murders did occasion him some twinges of conscience, but that in course of time he could cut the throats of a whole ship's crew, and then eat his supper and lie down and sleep as quietly as a babe! It seems from this that if remorse in this life is God's way of punishing crimes, then the more horrible deeds that bad people commit the less He punishes them! If one act of sin, as in the case of Eve, Uzziah, Miriam, Nadab and Abihu, and thousands more, draw down the wrath of God, what must a whole life of sin! Think of the destruction of the cities of the plain, and then call to mind the Saviour's words, "It shall be more tolerable," etc. Wicked people need no "sending to hell," since they go there of their own accord. The gulf which divides heaven from hell is one of moral unlikeness, and as people have sought the company that suited them here, so they will find themselves in congenial society hereafter. The sinner makes his own damnation, and he cannot blame God with it. "Thou hast destroyed thyself!" There is still another objection, viz., that eternal punishment is too long as the penalty for the sins of a short life. A just God is the best judge of this. The only question is, Was the transgressor duly forewarned? A man who proposes to embark on a steamer does not expect, after he has been told the hour of departure, that the bell will be rung for half a day, or even an hour, in accommodation to his dilatory habits. He may, by losing the voyage, change the prospects of a whole life, and even a few seconds may decide the case. A day is not too short a space for a crime which will be punished by imprisonment for life, and if a note is due at the bank, the loss of credit is not escaped because the promisor had received but one notice. Did any person ever object to eternal salvation, that it is too long to be the reward of this short life? Dante described both heaven and hell most wonderfully, for he had been in both. Once, as the servant of sin, he had known shame and doubt and darkness and despair, — which are certainly the grim portal of hell; and then, through God's forbearing mercy, he had found peace in believing, and love to God, which casteth out fear — and here was the beginning of heaven. And so, when timid people saw him as he glided along the street, they said, with a shudder, "There is the man who has been in hell!" If we would not go where Judas has gone, we must begin our heavenly life on earth.

(J. N. Norton, D. D.)

I. EVERY BEING MUST HAVE ITS OWN PLACE. Nothing can be more obvious than the exact adaptation to each other and to the region in which they dwell, of the objects and beings of this world.

1. Everything which is earthly, whose being belongs to, and will terminate with earth, is in its own place. Who can doubt that the bird, with its curious mechanism of eye and wing, was intented to exist in air; or-that the fish has been expressly formed for its watery abode; or that the beast .of prey is at home in its forest haunts; or that man himself, physically considered, was intended for his abode and position here, and that if removed to another world, differing at all in its constitution from the present, they must either cease to exist, or exist only in a state of disorder and distress?

2. We may extend the observation to the world itself; and say, that our globe moves year after year along its own path, that it revolves in the very orbit for which it was designed.

3. And certainly it is true of the human intellect, that it has been provided with proper objects and occasions for the exercise of its powers, that it is placed in the midst of circumstances which are fitted to educate its faculties. It is required for earthly uses; and it has been accurately adapted to the purposes for which it is required.

4. Spiritual beings have likewise their "own place"; that although it may not be the case here, yet elsewhere, moral natures will find their own appropriate abode, will move amidst scenes and society with the spirit of which they can truly sympathise. The being who loves holiness and truth, must, in its perfect and proper condition, consort only with beings who love holiness and truth, and dwell in a region of holiness; and the being who loves evil and error, must, in its final and proper condition, consort only with beings who love evil and error, and dwell in an abode of evil. And the Scriptures uniformly represent the final abodes of men, as being severally adapted to the righteous and the wicked. But it is evident that these separate states can never exist on earth, nor be entered by those who are yet in the flesh. The infirmities of the body, as well as the influence of external things, must hinder a consummate manifestation of holiness, as well as a perfect development of evil.

II. THE LIGHT WHICH THIS PRINCIPLE THROWS UPON OUR PRESENT STATE. Like Judas while still on earth, we are not now in our own place, but we are going there. Our position is temporary and imperfect. And its difficulties can be explained, only by regarding it as introductory to our perfect and permanent condition. The evil and the good are now joined together in a confused and discordant mass. They are travelling in companies along the same road, and strange appears the disorder and disunion in which they now proceed; but their common path will soon branch into two avenues, along which they will move in separated groups, each in its proper character, and each perfectly united in its course. Think of Judas associating with his fellow apostles and with his Lord; his utter want of sympathy with them; the irksome restraint, of which he must have been ever conscious. He is a type and example to ourselves. Are there any who have a love for holiness? Then earth is not their home, and cannot be their abiding place. Like Judas, they are living amidst circumstances in which they have no delight; among companions with whom they have no fellowship. Are there any who have a love for evil? Like Judas, they must often come among the true disciples of our Lord; but then, like Judas, they would rather be away. They are not now in their own place.

III. THE LIGHT WHICH THIS PRINCIPLE THROWS UPON OUR FUTURE STATE. This principle is applicable to the explanation of the difficulty, that while the varieties of moral character are almost innumerable, we should be told of only two states after death. With respect to the holy or the utterly depraved, there is no difficulty. Heaven is plainly fitted for the one, and hell for the other. But the majority of mankind occupy a medium position; we can hardly affirm that they belong to the one or the other, displaying continually as they do the characteristics of both. There seems no reason why they should spend their eternity with saints; nor in the outer darkness "prepared for the devil and his angels." Then, again, there are vast numbers who may more easily be described by saying what they are not, than by saying what they are. These, again, appear to be without fitness, as without merit, for an abode either with angels or with fiends. Now to this difficulty, our text, taken in connection with other Scriptures, seems to give a decisive explanation. Judas is represented as going unto "his own place," as if, when his soul after death came at once under the dominion and influence of a spiritual law, which removed it to the sphere which was properly its own. And the difficulty will be at once removed, if we can assign this law, and show that it must take effect on every spirit dividing the souls of men into two classes, according to one decisive characteristic which, whatever be their varieties of moral character, either is or is not clearly inscribed upon them all. This law our Lord has Himself asserted. Of every being it may be affirmed either that it does or does not love God. And according to their possession or their want of this affection will some go away to the kingdom prepared for them, and others to that "prepared for the devil and his angels." There are some souls in a state of indifference, and some in a state of hatred to God. But both these want the principle, which alone can make heaven their own place. And there are other souls which love God and are in affinity with Him; such, when they leave earth, must proceed at once to heaven. It is "their own place," for God is there, and they are spiritually united unto Him; for Christ is there, and where He is, there must they also be; for it is an abode of holiness, and they have been sanctified by Almighty grace, they have been made meet for that inheritance of light.

(G. S. Drew, M. A.)

Men will be sorted yonder. Gravitation will come into play undisturbed; and the pebbles will be ranged according to their weights on the great shore where the sea has east them up, as they are upon Chesil beach down there in the English Channel, and many another coast besides; all the big ones together and sized off to the smaller ones, regularly and steadily laid out.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

? — I was in America a few months ago, and went down the Alleghany Mountain on a railway train. It was a thing to remember to see the speed at which we went down the incline. A nervous passenger asked the conductor: "What would happen to us if the brake gave way?" "We have a spare one which we would apply at once," he answered. "If it also gave way, what then?" again queried the passenger. "We have one on the last van, which we can put on." "If it gave way, where would we he?" The conductor looked him in the face, and said gravely: "Friend, that depends upon the way you have lived."

God does not predestinate man to fail. That is strikingly told in the history of Judas. "From a ministry and apostleship Judas fell, that he might go to his own place." The ministry and apostleship were that to which God had destined him. To work out that was the destiny appointed to him, as truly as to any of the other apostles. He was called, elected to that. But when he refused to execute that mission, the very circumstances which, by God's decree, were leading him to blessedness, hurried him to ruin. Circumstances prepared by eternal love became the destiny which conducted him to everlasting doom. He was a predestined man — crushed by his fate. But he went to his own place. He had shaped his own destiny. So the ship is wrecked by the winds and waves — hurried to its fate. But the wind and waves were in truth its best friends. Rightly guided, it would have made use of them to reach the port; wrongly steered, they became the destiny which drove it on the rocks. Failure — the wreck of life, is not to be impiously traced to the will of God. God will have all men to be saved, and come to a knowledge of the truth. God willeth not the death of a sinner.

(F. W. Robertson.)

Will you say that there are no real stars, because you sometimes see meteors fall, which for a time appear to be stars? Will. you say that blossoms never produce fruit, because many of them fall off, and some fruit which appeared sound is rotten at the core? Equally absurd is it to say there is no such thing as real religion, because many who profess it fall away or prove to be hypocrites in heart.

(E. Payson.)

I. Every man HAS his own place, here and hereafter.

II. Every man MAKES his own place, here and hereafter.

III. Every man FINDS his own place, here and hereafter.

IV. Every man FEELS that it is his own place when he gets there.

(A. Dickson, D. D.)

When you know where you will most likely find a man for whom you are looking, you commonly know also what to expect of the man himself when he is found. Nobody would select for a position of trust a youth whom everybody would say was to be looked for at the drinking-saloon or at the idler's corner. A fair question to ask, in the case of any man about whom you would learn, is: Will he probably be found — at the race-course, or in some place of honest business, during the daytime; at the club-room or in his library, in the evening; at the theatre, or at the prayer-meeting? That is also a fair question for every one to ask of himself: Where may those who know me best most reasonably expect to find me? The answer to that question tells a great deal regarding personal character; not because the place makes the man, but because the man chooses his place, and sooner or later he will find the place which is likest to himself. Scripture need say no more regarding the spiritual fate of Judas Iscariot than that he went to his own place.

(H. C. Trumball, D. D.)

1. No event in the history of science more widely known as that of Sir I. Newton and the fall of the apple. From thence the law of gravitation in the law of matter.

2. Similar law in the world of mind.

3. The text teaches us that there is such a law in the world of spirit.

I. IT IS INDEPENDENT OF A MAN'S POSITION. There is no royal road in gravitation by which the delicate flower shall need no support because of its beauty; or by which success shall be secured to an idle man; or in the spiritual life a man be kept secure because his privileges are great. Law is inexorable. The higher the privilege the greater the fall, if the conditions are not observed.

1. The high position of Judas did not save him. Think of the probable effects of such a position as that of apostle, companion of Christ. But behold the actual effects. His advantages were but the instruments of his fall.

2. It is so with us. No man is out of the reach of law. In the matter of privilege our case in many respects analogous. Trace the history of a soul; let it hate what God loves and love what God hates: during all that time it is gravitating to its own place, with all the certainty of law. And when he dies the man does not leave himself behind, the man and his character constitute the undying self.

II. IT IS ACCELERATING IN ITS PROGRESS. Nature is full of instances of this. Things and events tend to a climax; the sun passes on to its meridian, the river to the full, the avalanche to its final crash.

1. Watch this with Judas. His downward course was hastened by his reigning sin (John 12:4; John 13:2, 27; Matthew 27:15), and by the feeling of isolation (Matthew 27:3-5), for he was cut off from the good and spurned by the evil.

2. It is so with all men similarly placed. By the growing strength of a given tendency, and by its power to employ all the mind. For life tends to a unity. More and more one purpose or passion or set of purposes or passions govern the life. Let the backslider and impenitent lay this to heart.

III. IT DETERMINES THE FUTURE BY THE PRESENT. You can see the ill effects of some things, but this great law works more quietly. In Judas it is worked before our eyes. His use of opportunity and position made his place for him. "He was a thief," and that is the cause "he went to his own place"; that is the effect. We are architects of our own fortunes. Apart from repentance and faith there is no cleansing, and it is worse than madness to think that life hereafter will be other than the outcome of the life here.

IV. IT LEADS TO A SELF-MADE DESTINY. He was not doomed to sin, and his destiny was but the natural outcome of such a life. It did not need a Judas to save the world, though his is but the greatest out of a thousand cases in which man's evil is made to work out the saving purposes of God. The destiny of Judas was of his own making, and not of Christ's. It is so with ourselves (note difference between Matthew 25:34 and Matthew 25:41).

(G. T. Keeble.)

And they gave forth their lots
As interpreted by ver. 24 and by the word "fell" here there can be no doubt that the passage speaks of "lots" and not "votes." The two were standing, as far as they could see, on the same level. It was left for the Searcher of hearts to show, by the exclusion of human will, which of the two He had chosen. The most usual way of casting lots in such cases was to write each name on a tablet, place them in an urn, and then shake the urn till one came out.

(Dean Plumptre.)

The only instance of an appeal to lots occurs between the departure of our Lord and Pentecost. The Church could dispense with them after the coming of the Holy Ghost, who was to guide into all truth, through whom we are encouraged to hope for a right judgment in all things. No recourse was had to lots in the appointment of deacons. But the Church regards the appointment as Divine (collect for St. Matthias' day). Under the Old Testament lots were regarded as divinely directed (Proverbs 16:33), and therefore conclusive (Proverbs 18:18). They distinguished the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:8), convicted Achan, designated Saul to the monarchy, and distributed the promised land (Numbers 26:55, 56). Lots also assigned their several duties among the priests in the temple (1 Chronicles 24:5; 1 Chronicles 25:8; Luke 1:9). deemed it lawful to determine by lot what ministers of the Church should remain and who should seek safety by flight, when prosecution threatened. The in had recourse to lots for deciding the question of their having a ministry of their own, and in 1467 for the appointment of their first three ministers. As late as 1731, the retention of their own discipline instead of incorporation with the Lutheran Church, was determined in like manner. Wesley also had, and indulged, a predilection for sortilege.

(Bp. Jacobson.)

When two courses are open to a man, and he is in doubt as to the election of either of them, why should he not, after due religious preparation, involving as this must the entire subordination of his will to God, risk the decision of the case on the casting of lots? Is there anything in such a course inconsistent with the simplicity of the Christian religion? The man, it is presumed, is most deeply anxious to know what God would have him do; he is willing to make any sacrifice the Divine will may impose on him, and however the decision may oppose his own choice he is prepared to accept it. Under such circumstances surely the lot may be used with advantage. But everything depends upon the spirit of the inquirer. For he may almost unconsciously manipulate the lot so as to gratify a wish he would hardly confess even to himself. In almost all cases of doubt, the perplexed man has more or less of a choice. At that point the battle has to be fought. The man has a leaning towards a certain course, yet he would not pursue it if he knew it to be opposed to the Divine will; at the same time he would be most thankful were the lot to confirm his secret bias. That man is not prepared to go to the lot until he has divested himself of every suggestion of his own will. We are not prepared to teach that upon every occasion we should turn the decisions of our life upon the casting of lots. We are not prepared to condemn their use, thus guarded, in very special cases of difficulty.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Matthias
We know no particulars of the after life of Matthias. He was of course partaker with the rest of the twelve of the miraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost; and afterwards of their labours and distresses, at first in Judaea, and then in other parts of the world. But where St. Matthias went is uncertain; some say Macedonia, some say Ethiopia, some say Cappadocia. All authorities, I believe, are agreed that he won the crown of a martyr; but how he died, or where, or when, we cannot certainly tell. One account says that he was taken by the Jews, and stoned, and afterwards beheaded on a charge of blasphemy; another, that he was crucified, "as Judas was hanged upon a tree, so Matthias suffered upon a cross."

(A. M. Loring, M. A.)

recounts for us some sayings traditionally ascribed to St. Matthias, all of a severe and sternly ascetic tone. But in reality we know nothing of what he either did or taught. The vast majority even of the apostles have their names alone recorded, while nothing is told concerning their labours or their sufferings. Their one desire was that Christ alone should be magnified, and to this end they willed to lose themselves in the boundless sea of His risen glory. And thus they have left us a noble and inspiriting example. We are not apostles, martyrs, or confessors, yet we often find it hard to take our part and do our duty in the spirit displayed by Matthias and Joseph called Barsabas. We long for public recognition and public reward. We chafe and fret internally because we have to bear our temptations and suffer our trials and do our work unknown and unrecognised by all but God. Let the example of these holy men help us to put away all such vain thoughts. God Himself is our all-seeing and ever-present Judge. The Incarnate Master Himself is watching us. The angels and the spirits of the just made perfect are witnesses of our earthly struggles. No matter how low, how humble, how insignificant the story of our spiritual trials and struggles, they are all marked in heaven by that Divine Master, who will at last reward every man, not according to his position in the world, but in strict accordance with the principles of infallible justice.

(G. T. Stokes, D. D.)

He was numbered with the eleven apostles
The Greek word is not the same as in vers. 17, and implies that Matthias was "voted in," the suffrage of the Church unanimously confirming the indication of the Divine will what had been given by the lot. It may be that the new apostle took the place that Judas had rendered vacant, and was reckoned as the last of the twelve.

(Dean Plumptre.)

The validity of the appointment, which has been questioned, is incidentally recognised in Acts 2:14; Acts 6:2; the Twelve must have included Matthias. The appointment being directly Divine superseded the laying on of hands.

(Bp. Jacobsen.).

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