Acts 4:29
And now, Lord, consider their threats, and enable Your servants to speak Your word with complete boldness,
Sermons
A Reluctant ReleaseW. Hudson.Acts 4:18-31
Apostolic HeroismW. Hudson.Acts 4:18-31
BoldnessS. S. TimesActs 4:18-31
Christian CourageMonday Club SermonsActs 4:18-31
Christian CourageChristian AgeActs 4:18-31
Christian CourageW. E. Knox, D. D.Acts 4:18-31
Christian TestimonyActs 4:18-31
Constrained to Speak About JesusActs 4:18-31
Duty to God FirstR. Tuck, B. A.Acts 4:18-31
Duty to God the Supreme LawM. Luther.Acts 4:18-31
God Before ManActs 4:18-31
God to be Obeyed At All CostsM. Luther.Acts 4:18-31
Honest Christian SpeechS. Martin.Acts 4:18-31
Making Christ Known to OthersJ. S. Balmer.Acts 4:18-31
Moral HeroismH. O. Mackey.Acts 4:18-31
Not Man's, But God's Voice to be HeardR. Eden, M. A.Acts 4:18-31
Not to Cease Because DespisedH. W. Beecher.Acts 4:18-31
Obedience to GodActs 4:18-31
Obeying God Rather than MenSouthey's Life of Wesley.Acts 4:18-31
ProtestantismJ. A. Froude.Acts 4:18-31
Speaking God's WordD. L. Moody.Acts 4:18-31
Testimony not to be StifledW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 4:18-31
The Apostles' Confidence in GodD. J. Burrell, D. D.Acts 4:18-31
The Apostles' Confidence in GodJohn D. Pickles.Acts 4:18-31
The Connection Between Believing the Gospel and Making it KnownW. Lucy.Acts 4:18-31
The Gospel Cannot be ConcealedC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 4:18-31
The One Question in ConductBp. Huntington.Acts 4:18-31
Praise for Safety and Prayer for PowerR. Tuck Acts 4:23-31
The Grateful, Emboldened, and Prayerful Church, and the Spirit's WitnessP.C. Barker Acts 4:23-31
The Joy of Faith ConfirmedE. Johnson Acts 4:23-31
Being Let GoJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
Being Let GoJ. McNeill.Acts 4:23-37
Christian SocialismD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
CompanyW. M. Taylor, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
Every Creature After its KindW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
Every Man to His Own PlaceG. F. Humphreys.Acts 4:23-37
Features of the Apostolic ChurchR. Hall, M. A.Acts 4:23-37
Happy Only in Our Own CompanyJohn Currie.Acts 4:23-37
Men Will Go At Last. Where They are Fit to GoJ. L. Nye.Acts 4:23-37
Our Own CompanyA. Raleigh, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
Prayer and the Promises are Doubly Dear in ExtremitiesH. G. Salter.Acts 4:23-37
Primitive WorshipDean Vaughan.Acts 4:23-37
Resource in TroubleWayland Hoyt, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
The Apostles At LibertyJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
The Burnt Offering of a True Church PrayerK. Gerok.Acts 4:23-37
The Prayer of the Church At Jerusalem Under PersecutionThomas Jackson.Acts 4:23-37
The Prayer of the Primitive ChurchW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 4:23-37
The Resource of the Devout, EtcW. Clarkson Acts 4:23-37
Their Own CompanyHomiletic ReviewActs 4:23-37
The Two Kingdoms in Array Against One AnotherR.A. Redford Acts 4:28-31
Boldness in PreachingEdward Irving.Acts 4:29-30
God's Holy ServantJ. W. Burn.Acts 4:29-30
How a Christian Ought to Pray for His EnemiesK. Gerok.Acts 4:29-30
The Eternal ChildD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 4:29-30
The Gospel of PentecostF. W. Brown.Acts 4:29-30
The Holy Child JesusC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 4:29-30
The Prayer of Christ's WitnessesW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 4:29-30
The Servant and the SlavesA. Maclaren, D. DActs 4:29-30

I. THE SCRIPTURAL REPRESENTATION RECOGNIZED. The Holy Ghost spake it. The view given in Psalm 2. corresponds with that which pervades the Bible. The Babel power over against the kingdom of God. God making all things to work together for his purposes. The history of Jesus Christ a wonderful confirmation of this view. The disciples in their faith and fellowship following their Master and accepting the responsibilities of the position.

II. THE SPIRITUAL SUPREMACY ASSERTED.

1. By prayer. Appeal to God to justify the faith of his people. Martin Luther, "God must save his own Church." As the Lord of heaven and earth, the Revealer of his own truth and will, the God of history, which shows his faithfulness.

2. By renewed self-consecration. "Grant to thy servants boldness." They did not shrink from the conflict, but laid hold of Divine strength.

3. By expectation of manifestation of power. The miracle already done was but the beginning of great things. We must not be satisfied with mere moral order as a testimony to Christianity. We should pray for and expect moral miracles; not a repetition of ancient signs and wonders, but marvels of spiritual life - souls healed, the dead raised to life.

III. THE KING ENCOURAGING THE SERVANTS OF HIS KINGDOM. Before the battle closes the commander speaks the word of appeal and encouragement along the line of his army. When God has appointed us to do a real work, he prepares us for it by the special gifts of his Spirit. External sign: "The place shaken" - to remind them that earthly powers were in God's hand. Spiritual grace vouchsafed: "All filled." These sense of a brotherhood, of an army going forth to fight, deepened by the outpouring of gifts upon all. The word spoken" with boldness." Force being made manifest; perfect, love casting out fear. We commence from this time a new stage of the history. Persecution is doing its work - calling out the graces of the brotherhood, turning weak men in-to heroes. The simple, devout dependence of those primitive believers a great example to us. The Church is lacking in boldness. We must be prepared to grapple with the enemy. We must bring their threatenings to God and pray that he will look upon them. Above all, we must ask to be filled with the Holy Ghost. - R.







And now, Lord, behold their threatenings. &&&
I. WITHOUT ANXIETY AND FEAR: for he prays to the King of kings. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

II. WITHOUT HATRED AND MALICE; for he prays against wickedness, not against the wicked.

III. WITHOUT PRIDE AND SCORN; for he prays not for himself, but for the cause of God.

(K. Gerok.)

Grant unto Thy servants that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word
I. THAT THEY MAY SPEAK AND NOT BE DUMB.

1. Speech is a chief gift of God and prerogative of man. Where there is a living spring it finds a channel, and where a living soul an avenue of egress. Neither can be imprisoned. On the other hand, where there is no spring, no channel is needed, and none is found. Among living creatures accordingly, where there is not a soul there is not speech; but in that one creature into whom God breathed a living soul, there is speech. Reverence human speech. It is the mark of a being who was made, and may be remade, a child of God; it is a Divinely formed capacity for a Divinely prescribed use. Dread false speech, proud, impure, profane speech, for these are the King's weapons used against Himself.

2. Why should they be silent who have tasted that the Lord is gracious? Let them tell to all what God hath done for their souls. Let the compressed love which glows in renewed hearts find expression in spoken praise.

3. Silence is a sin, if your cry might save a neighbour from stumbling over a precipice; if your neighbours are on the broad path and your word might lead them into the narrow one; if a brother is sliding back and your reproof might urge him on; if a believer is oppressed with doubts and fears, while your lips might pour the consolations of God into his weary heart.

4. The prayer points mainly to a public ministry, and yet nothing is said about sermons, or even preaching. "That they may speak." Whether the address be long or short, whether the audience be few or many, whether the style be eloquent or stammering, the pith and marrow of the whole matter is, that one man hoping in Christ and loving his neighbour, speaks to that neighbour about Christ's redeeming love. Out of this, as the germ, all true preaching springs. If its whole mass were by some chemical process reduced to its elements, this would be the essential residuum remaining indestructible after all ornaments and accessories had been melted away.

II. That they may speak THY WORD. This supplies alike the authority and material of preaching. The seed is the Word; the sower need not scatter any other in his field. This alone is vital; this alone will grow.

III. WITH BOLDNESS. Yet none assume too readily that he has attained this qualification. Here all is not gold that glitters. Beware of counterfeits. To rasp like a file on other people's tender points, because you have none of your own, is not the boldness here prayed for, but that of some of the inferior creatures. An essential constituent of courage is tenderness. In feudal times battle courage was only one half of knightly bearing; the other half consisted of a tenderness almost feminine. The boldness of speech Which costs the speaker nothing is neither beautiful nor successful. Paul was a bold man, accusing people of being enemies of the Cross, but he wept as he did so; and the tears did more than the reproving word.

IV. WITH ALL BOLDNESS. Even courage may be one-sided. That is not true courage which is severe to the poor but quails before the rich. As the water of a reservoir will be lost unless the circle of its lip be kept whole on all sides, all the dignity and power of boldness vanishes when it fails on one point. Perhaps the weakest point of all the circle for every man is himself. A surgeon needs a stout heart when he has to operate on others, he needs a stouter to operate on himself.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

Some preachers are traders from port to port, following the customary and approved course; others adventure over the whole ocean of human concerns. The former are hailed by the common voice of the multitude, whose cause they hold, the latter blamed as idle, often suspected of hiding deep designs, always derided as having lost all guess of the proper course. Yet, of the latter class of preachers was Paul the apostle Such adventurers, under God, this age of the world seems to us especially to want. There are ministers now to hold the flock in pasture and in safety, but where are they to make inroads upon the alien, to bring in the votaries of fashion, of literature, of sentiment, of policy, and of rank?... Where are they to lift up their voice against simony, and acts of policy, and servile dependence upon the great ones of this earth, and shameful seeking of ease and pleasure, and anxious amassing of money, and the whole cohort of evil customs which are overspreading the Church? Truly it is not stagers who take on the customary form of their office and go the beaten round of duty, and then lie down content; but it is daring adventurer who shall eye from the grand eminence of a holy and heavenly mind all the grievances which religion underlies, and all the obstacles which stay her course, and then descend with the self-denial and faith of an apostle to set the battle in array against them.

(Edward Irving.)

"Thy servant David." "Thy holy servant Jesus." "Thy servants" (Acts 4:25, 27, 29). A word or two of explanation may be necessary as to the language of our texts. You will observe that, in the second of them, I have followed the Revised Version, which, instead of "Thy holy child," as in the Authorised Version, reads "Thy holy servant." The alteration is clearly correct. The word, indeed, literally means "a child," but, like our own English "boy," or even "man," or "maid," it is used to express the relation of servant, when the desire is to cover over the harsher features of servitude, and to represent the servant as a part of the family. Thus the kindly centurion, who besought Jesus to come and heal his servant, speaks of him as his "boy." And that the word is here used in this secondary sense of "servant" is unmistakable. For there is no discernible reason why, if stress were meant to be laid on Christ as being the Son of God, the recognised expression for that relationship should not have been employed. Again, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, with which the Apostles were familiar, employs the very phrase that is here used as its translation of the well-known Old Testament designation of the Messiah, "the servant of the Lord," and the words here are really a quotation from the great prophecies of the second part of the Book of Isaiah. So, then, we have here three figures, the Psalmist-king, the Messiah, the disciples. Christ in the midst, on the one hand a servant with whom He consents to be classed, on the other hand the slaves who, through Him, have become sons. And I think I shall best bring out the intended lessons of these clauses in their connection if I ask you to note these two contrasts, the servants and the Servant; the Servant and the slaves. "David Thy servant"; "Thy holy servant Jesus"; us "Thy servants."

I. First, then, notice THE SERVANTS AND THE SERVANT. The reason for the application of the name to the Psalmist lies, not so much in his personal character, or in his religious elevation, as in the fact that he is chosen of God for a specific purpose, to carry on the Divine plans some steps towards their realisation. Kings, priests, prophets, the collective Israel, as having a specific function in the world, and being, in some sense, the instruments and embodiments of the will of God amongst men, have in an eminent degree the designation of His "servants." But then, whilst this is true, and whilst Jesus Christ comes into this category, and is one of these special men raised up for special service in connection with the carrying out of the Divine purpose, mark how emphatically the line is drawn here between Him and the other members of the class to which, in a certain sense, He does belong. Peter says "Thy servant David," but he says "Thy holy servant Jesus." There are many imperfect instruments of the Divine will; thinkers and heroes and saints and statesmen and warriors, as well as prophets and priests and kings; but amongst them all there is One who stands in their midst and yet apart from them, because He, and He alone, can say "I have done all Thy pleasure," and into My doing of Thy pleasure no bitter leaven of self-regard or by-ends has ever, in the faintest degree, entered. "Thy holy servant Jesus," is the unique designation of the Servant of the Lord. And what is the meaning of holy? The word does not primarily refer to character so much as to relation to God. The root idea of holiness is not righteousness nor moral perfectness, but something that lies beyond that — viz., separation for the service and uses of God. The first notion of the word is consecration, and guilt upon that and resulting from it, moral perfection. So then these men, some of whom had lived beside Jesus Christ for all those years, and had seen everything that He did, and studied Him through and through, came away from the close inspection of His character with this thought: He is utterly and entirely devoted to the service of God, and in Him there is neither spot nor wrinkle nor blemish such as is found in all other men. I need not remind you with what strange persistence of affirmation, and yet with what humility of self-consciousness, our Lord Himself always claimed to be in possession of this entire consecration, and complete obedience, and consequent perfection. Think of human lips saying, "I do always the things that please Him"! There followed in Jesus the morn! perfectness that comes from such uninterrupted and complete consecration of self to God. "Thy servant David." What about Bathsheba, David? What about a great many other things in your life? The poet king, with the poet nature so sensitive to all the delights of sense, and so easily moved in the matter of pleasure. is but the type of all other servants in the fact of imperfection. In every machine power is lost through friction; and in every man, the noblest and the purest, there is resistance to be overcome ere motion, in conformity with the Divine impulse, can be secured. We pass in review before our minds saints and martyrs and lovely characters by the hundred, and amongst them all there is not a jewel without a flaw, not a mirror without some dint in it where the rays are distorted, or some dark place where the reflecting surface has been rubbed away by the attrition of sin, and there is no reflection of the Divine light. And then we turn to that meek figure that stands there with the question that has been awaiting an answer for eighteen centuries upon His lips, and is unanswered yet: "Which of you convinceth Me of sin? The holy Servant," whose consecration and character mark Him off from all the class to which He belongs as the only one of them all who, in His fulness, has executed the Father's purpose, and has never attempted anything besides! Now there is another step to take, and that is this. The servant who stands out in front of all the group — though the noblest names in the world's history are included there — could not be the Servant unless He were the Son. This designation, as applied to Jesus Christ, is peculiar to these three or four earlier chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. There is no sign that the proper Sonship and Divinity of our Lord was clear before them at this period. They had the facts but they had not yet come to the distinct apprehension of how much was involved in these. But, if they knew that Jesus" Christ had died and had risen again, and if they were certain that in His character of Messiah there had been faultlessness and absolute perfection, then it would not be long before they took the next step, and said, as I say, "He cannot be the Servant unless He is more than man." And we may well ask ourselves the question — If we admit, as the world does admit, the moral perfectness of Jesus Christ, how comes it that this Man alone managed to escape failure, and deflections from the right, and sins, and that He only carried through life a stainless garment, and went down to the grave never having needed, and not needing then, the exercise of Divine forgiveness? I venture to say that it is hopeless to account for Jesus Christ on naturalistic principles; and that either you should give up your belief in His sinlessness, or advance, as the Christian Church as a whole advanced, to the other belief, on which alone that perfectness is explicable: "Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father."

II. And so, secondly, let us turn to the other contrast here — THE SERVANT AND THE SERVANTS. I said that the humble group of praying, persecuted believers seemed to have wished to take a lower place than their Master's, even whilst they ventured to assume that, in some sense, they too, like Him, were doing the Father's will. So they chose, by a fine instinct of humility, rather than from any dogmatical prepossessions, the name that expresses, in its most absolute and roughest form, the notion of bondage and servitude. He is the Servant; we standing here are slaves. The true place, then, for a man is to be God's slave. The harsh, repellent features of that wicked institution assume an altogether different character when they become the features of my relation to Him. Absolute submission, unconditional obedience, on the slave's part; and on the part of the Master complete ownership; the right of life and death; the right of disposing of all goods and chattels; the right of separating husband and wife, parents and children; the right of issuing commandments without a reason; the right to expect that those commandments shall be swiftly, unhesitatingly, punctiliously, and completely performed; these things inhere in our relation to God. Blessed the man who has learned that they do, and has accepted them as his highest glory and the security of his most blessed life! Remember, however, that in the New Testament these names of slave and owner are transferred to Christians and Jesus Christ. "The Servant" has His slaves; and He who "is God's," and does not His own will, but the Father's will, has us for His, imposes His will upon us, and we are bound to render to Him the same revenue of entire obedience which He hath laid at His Father's feet. Such slavery is the only freedom. Liberty does not mean to do as you like, it means to like as you ought, and to do that. He only is free who submits to God in Christ, and thereby overcomes himself and the world and all antagonism, and is able to do that which it is His life to do. The prison out of which we do not desire to go is no restraint, and the will which coincides with law is the only will that is truly free. You talk about the bondage of obedience. Ah! "the weight of too much liberty" is a far sorer bondage. They are the slaves who say, "Let us break His bonds asunder, and cast away His cords from us." In the wicked old empires, as in some of their modern survivals to-day, viziers and prime ministers were mostly drawn from the servile classes. It is so in God's kingdom. They who make themselves God's slaves are by Him made kings and priests, and shall reign with Him on earth. "If a slave, then a son and an heir of God through Jesus Christ." Remember the alternative. You cannot be your own masters without being your own slaves. Better serve God than the devil; than the world; than the flesh. The Servant-Son makes us slaves and sons. It matters nothing to me that Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled the law of God. So much the better for Him, but of no value for me, unless He has the power of making me like Himself.

(A. Maclaren, D. D)

By stretching forth Thine hand to heal
I. THE HEALING HAND OF GOD IS EXTENDED. The hand is an emblem of power, and the gospel is the hand or "power of God unto salvation." The hand of God is seen in(1) The works of creation; above, around, beneath — everywhere.(2) The course of Providence; through all time, among all nations: it governs, guides, supports, defends.(3) The work of redemption. To this latter the apostles refer — "The hand of God stretched out to heal." The gospel — not a sword to destroy, not a rod to rebuke; but a gracious hand to heal. We need to be healed, for we are all bruised with the worries of life — its puzzling problems, its exacting work, its burdens and bereavements, its sins and sorrows.(a) The gentle ministration of the beauty and bounty of the world.(b) The sympathy and condolence of social love. He heals us by assuring us that He loves us; by the exhibition of His healing hand in the life of His dear Son; by actual aid; by exceeding great and precious promises. In the gospel God's hand is stretched out to heal.

II. THE THOUGHTFUL ATTENTION OF MAN IS ARRESTED. The apostles prayed that signs and wonders might be wrought. They knew how prone men were to be thoughtless and inattentive, and that it needed some loud bell to be rung in the ears of the world. Under the Old Testament dispensation signs and wonders had been wrought to secure attention to the promulgation of the Law and the proclamations of the Prophets. The apostles were privileged to wield miraculous power, thus arresting the attention of their auditors. These things were

(1)credentials of apostleship and

(2)proofs of the supernatural in Christianity.

III. THE PEERLESS NAME OF CHRIST IS EXALTED. The apostles fell into the background and hid themselves under the shadow of the Cross. In the name of Jesus they found the secret of unfaltering faith. To the glorious company of the apostles the name of Jesus was above every name; that name, as "Servant," as the Sent One, the true Messiah, excels all other names of ancient or modern times. Above the names of Peter and Paul, and Luther, Whitfield and Wesley, rises — Like the sun in his splendour — the name of the world's great Redeemer, the Essence of light and sweetness, the Symbol of purity and power, the Source of life and salvation.

(F. W. Brown.)

That signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy Holy Child Jesus
I. THIS DESCRIPTION — Child — seems to be an eternally appropriate characterisation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Is it not appropriate to Him as we dwell on the infinite past? Great as the mystery of His pre-existent life is, we cannot accept the authority of Scripture and deny that pre-existence. He was ever God's holy child.

2. Is it not appropriate of Him as we study His incarnate life o, earth? There are always in His conduct and character the simple beauties we admire in a child — freshness, sensitiveness, wonder, simplicity, even to the point of exquisite artlessness, which is the child's glory. He wanted everybody else to be a child even as He felt He was a child, and, so He said, "Except ye become as little children ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

3. Is it not appropriate of Him as we contemplate the life He is living now? He lives still, and lives to care for, to help, to bless us. "He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for us; for such a High Priest became us, who is holy, guileless, undefiled." That guilelessness is the distinctive virtue of God's holy child Jeans.

II. THE HISTORY OF THIS CHILD CHRIST ILLUSTRATES MUCH IN THE LIFE OF MANY AN ONE WHO IS ALSO GOD'S CHILD. As we have seen, Jesus Christ is in some senses unique as God's child — His only begotten Son. But in many aspects He is the Brother, the Type of every one who is God's child. "He is not ashamed to call us brethren." Remembering that, we notice —

1. God's child may be born in very lowly circumstances.

2. God's child is often brought up in the midst of most adverse circumstances. We recall Nazareth where He was brought up who was "God's holy child Jesus."

3. God's child should early be accustomed to the means of grace. You find it said of God's holy child Jesus, that His custom was to go to the synagogue at Nazareth.

4. God's child will be the subject of the highest spiritual consciousness.

5. God's child will show that he is the subject of this highest consciousness by his daily life.

6. God's child must develop into a future of beauty and strength. Growth is the law of life.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE REAL HUMANITY OF JESUS.

1. While we always contend that Christ is God, let us never lose the firm conviction He is truly man. His humanity was real, for He was born. The gate by which we enter upon the first life, He passed through also. In the circumstances of His birth He is completely human; He is as weak and feeble as any other babe. As He grows up, the very growth shows how completely human He is. "He grows in stature, and in favour both with God and man." When He reaches man's estate, He gets the common stamp of manhood upon His brow. "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread." The carpenter's shop must witness to the toils of a Saviour, and when He becomes the preacher still we read such significant words as these — "Jesus, being weary, sat thus on the well." We find Him needing to betake Himself to rest in sleep, and if sorrow be the mark of real manhood, certainly Jesus has the truest evidence of being a man. If to hunger and to thirst be signs that His manhood is no fiction, you have these. Since the day when the prince of the power of the air obtained dominion in this world, men are tempted, and He, though born pure and holy, must not be delivered from temptation. If, since we have fallen and must endure temptation, we have need to pray, so had He. Leave out sin, and Christ is the perfect picture of humanity. And lastly, as the whole human race must yield its neck to the great iron-crowned monarch, so must Christ give up the ghost.

2. Having thus insisted upon the humanity of Christ, let us gather a few reflections from it.

1. Let us marvel at His condescension. well said, "I do not wonder at any miracle, but I do marvel at this, which is a miracle among miracles, that God should become man." That God should make a creature out of nothing is certainly a marvellous manifestation of power, but that God should take that creature into intimate union with His own nature — this is the strangest of all acts of condescending love. A prince who puts aside his crown, and clothes himself with beggar's rags to investigate the miseries of his country, is but a worm condescending to his fellow worm. An angel that should lay aside his beauty, and become decrepit, and walk the streets in pain and poverty to bless the race of man, were but a creature humbling himself to creatures a little lower than himself.

2. See the fitness of Christ for His work! He is a perfect man, and so "can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, seeing He was tempted in all points like as we are." Being not ashamed to call us brethren, He can compassionate the ignorant and those who are out of the way.

3. Behold His near relationship and union to His people. He is no stranger, He is our Brother; nay, our Head. Not a head of gold, and feet of clay, or limbs of baser metal; but as we are, so was He, that as He is so might we be.

4. See the glory of manhood now restored! Man was but a little lower than the angels, and had dominion over the fowl of the air, and over the fish of the sea. That royalty he lost. But all this is given back to us. We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour. It is our nature, Jesus in our manhood, who is now Lord of providence, which sits upon the throne of God at this very day.

5. Rejoice that a blessed channel is opened by which God's mercy can come to us!

6. See what a door of access is thus opened between us and God!

7. See how safe we are! Our soul's estate was once put in the hands of Adam; he was a fallible man; how unsafe our salvation was then! The salvation of every believer now is in the hand of a man; it is the man Christ Jesus! But what a man! Can He fail? Can He sin? Can He fall?

8. Here is your adoption! You become sons of God, because Christ becomes a son of man.

9. Here is your acceptance! The man, Christ, is accepted, and you, since He stands for you, are accepted in Him.

II. THE HUMANITY AS IT IS HERE DESCRIBED — "Holy Child."

1. Christ's humanity was perfectly holy. Upon this doctrine you are well established; but you may well wonder that Jesus was always holy. He is conceived of a woman, and yet no sort of sin cometh from His birth. He is educated in the midst of sinful persons. It could not be otherwise. He goes into the world, and as a physician must mingle with the sick, so He is found in the very worst of society. The harlot may speak to Him, and from the publican He turns not away, yet from none of these did He receive any corrupt influence. He is tempted, but the prince of this world came and had nothing in Christ. Imputation of sin would be the nearest approach to making our Lord a sinner; but let it ever be remembered that though Jehovah made Him to be sin for us, yet He knew no sin, and even in the conflict, when all the powers of hell were let loose against Him, and when God Himself had withdrawn — which would have hardened our hearts, but did not harden His.

2. Christ is called a "Holy Child" because His character is more aptly pictured by that of a child than that of a man. If you conceive of a perfectly holy child, you have then before you a representation of Christ. There is that in holy childhood which you cannot find even in holy manhood. You note in child. hood —(1) Simplicity, the absence of all cunning. We dare not in manhood usually wear our heart upon our sleeve as children do.(2) Humbleness. There is a king's daughter, and here is a gipsy child. Leave them in a room and see if they will not be at play together in five minutes. If it had been the queen and the gipsy woman they would have sat as far apart as possible. Christ is King of kings. Yet He is always with the poor and needy. You do not find little children sitting down and planning how they shall win crowns, popularity, or applause. They are quite satisfied to do their father's will, and live on his smile. It is so with Christ. When they would have made Him a king, He went and hid Himself.(3) Obedience. Was it not so with Jesus His whole life long?(4) A forgiving temper. We know that sometimes the blood comes up in the little face, and a little angry quarrel ensues, but it is soon over. Well, with Jesus this characteristic of childhood is carried out to the fullest extent, for His latest words are, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."(5) There is something very sweet in this picture of Christ's humanity, because we are none of us afraid to approach a child. Come then, and tell Jesus everything. Whatever your trouble or difficulty may be, stand not back through shame or fear.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

(see Acts 3:26): — The term translated in the Authorised Version here, and in ver. 21, "child" is more correctly rendered in ver. 25, in regard to David, "servant." The word is so given in Matthew 12:18, where Isaiah 13:1 — part of the great prophecy of the Servant of the Lord — is applied to Christ. This prophecy and its fulfilment in Jesus was evidently running in the minds of the apostles throughout these discourses. The term "holy" in conjunction with "servant" suggests that God has servants who are —

I. WITHOUT HOLINESS — creatures whom God has not endowed with a moral being, and can therefore render neither a holy nor an unholy service. This applies to the laws, forces, substances of nature to sun, moon, stars, the earth, and all its inhabitants except man. These perform an unconscious service.

II. UNHOLY — creatures in antagonism to the Divine will; devils and evil men. These are servants by right, for God made them for service, equipped them for service, placed them in spheres for service, and gave them a work to do. But their powers and opportunities are occupied in endeavouring to thwart the Divine purpose. Do they succeed? Nay, they are servants in fact as well as by right. Let the conduct of the rulers, fitting types of their class, show this, and Judas also and his confederates in the Crucifixion. Their service is an unwilling service.

III. IMPERFECTLY HOLY. Such are true Christians, whose lifelong experience is gradual separation from sin and growing approximation to complete consecration to God. In both sides of this experience the Divine and human co-operate. The blood of Jesus Christ is cleansing them from sin, and they are cleansing themselves "from all filthiness of flesh and spirit," thus "perfecting holiness in the fear of God." The Holy Spirit sanctifies, sets them apart for God. They "present themselves living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God." Their service is a conscious and glad service.

IV. HOLY. Such was Adam; such are the angels. But the holiness was not inherent in the first, for he fell; nor in the second, for some of their order fell. Angelic purity is Divinely imparted, and for their Divine work they are Divinely sustained.

V. DIVINELY HOLY. Such and such only is Jesus.

1. He is holy by nature — essentially, eternally.

2. His work is perfectly holy without a flaw, and such as God can accept without the least reservation.

3. His merits make the holiest holy.

(J. W. Burn.)

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