Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
I. PIETY. "Praising God." Behold the natural history of regeneration. Those who are bought with a price are constrained to glorify God. Thanksgiving is a constituent element of prayer without which it is ineffectual. In the case of these converts as in the case of Israel redeemed from Egypt it was spontaneous, and could not be restrained. The gratitude that comes through prompting is not gratitude.
II. POPULARITY. "Having favour," etc. In the first stage of their progress these converts were not persecuted. Two opposite experiences alternate. in the history of the Church: sometimes the world admires and sometimes reviles. This is necessary. If godliness were always to obtain the favour of the world, counterfeits would spring up; if it were always to bring down the world's enmity, the spark of Divine truth in humanity would be quenched. God holds the balance, and permits as much of the wrath of man as suffices to praise Himself and purge the Church, and then He restrains the remainder. This method, as exemplified in history, we see to be the best. When a spark is imbedded in the flax, and it begins to smoke, a blast would blow it out, and therefore the blast is restrained. But after the fire has fairly caught, the blast will spread the flame, and therefore it is permitted to blow.
1. The Lord added them, and yet they added themselves. The Good Shepherd carried the sheep home, but the prodigal walked home. The two are one showing the Divine and human sides of the same transaction. At one place the saved are "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord"', at another they are "As many as the Lord shall call." When I know myself to be like a withered leaf that flows to a sea of perdition, it is sweet to think that help is laid on One that is mighty, and to hope that the Lord adds me to His Church. My comfort arises from the fact not that I hold Him, but that He holds me. But woe to the man who with no liking for God's presence or the company of His people dares to comfort himself that he has no power till God puts forth His strength. The Lord is now ready to do it, if you are willing that it should be done.
2. Every day some were added. There is no blank in the birth registers of God's family. The Lamb's Book of Life has a page for every day, and names on every page, although some pages are more crowded than others.
3. He added the saved to the Church: added them in the act of saving, saved in the act of adding. He does not add a withered branch to the vine; but in the act of inserting it makes the withered branch live. When pure water is drawn from the salt sea, it is added to the clouds in heaven. It is thus that the Lord adds the saved to the Church, winning them from a sea of wickedness and leaving their bitterness behind.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.