And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.…
I. THE DAY. The fiftieth after the Passover; the beginning of the great festival of harvest. What associations of joy! It was a focus of national life. It was a convenient season for the designs of Providence. Jerusalem was thronged, and the multitude was alive with thought. A sound now heard from the depths of the world of spirit must vibrate through the conscience of mankind for ages.
II. THE SOUND. As of a mighty blast from heaven, sweeping through the whole house from top to bottom. The phenomena of the wind and of the storm have ever been the natural symbolism of Divine presence and power to the human intelligence. q he sense of hearing is the peculiarly believing sense; all through the grades of language faith "cometh by hearing." Now it is the soft voice of love, and now that of power, which speaks; in the zephyr or in the boreal blast.
III. THE LIGHT. The eye, too, is addressed. This is the more skeptical sense, and either confirms or corrects the report of the ear. Thomas was in the meeting, and would possibly have explained the sound away. The testimony of the eye is needed for full satisfaction, and is given. Not one but many tongues, cleft and as of fire, are seen; on the head of each disciple rests a tongue. The picture is that of a wing of flame, distributed into manifold parts according to the number of those present. And this is the analysis of the symbol: cleansing, all-penetrating Divine activity; the love that consumes evil, and fuses the material of life to ends of refinement; unity of principle with distributive and various operation in this power. As the burning ray reveals the gem, so does the dispiriting flame reveal the love that ever burns in the center of things, in the heart of the living God. Here, then, was the "Spirit of power and of love" made known through ear and eye in inmost conscience and feeling.
IV. THE EFFECT. It was fullness of conscious life, which in turn breaks forth in wondrous action. All things are for this epoch possible. They begin to speak in foreign tongues. Their utterances are felt to be not their own. It is "according as the Spirit granted them utterance." They are the AEolian harps on which the wind is playing. The best of our speech and thought is in like manner from an inner fullness, and is felt not to be our own. What we do as we say "unconsciously," i.e. conscious that it is not we but God in us, is our true deed. Mozart could not explain to his friend the process of his marvelous musical constructions. At times the thoughts flowed into him in full stream, and he merely reported them as they came. We cannot artificially bring on the hour of inspiration. We must watch and wait and pray. For every faithful heart there are Pentecostal epochs. And of each it will be recorded, "suddenly it came," like all Divine comings, to leave unlooked-for power and blessing behind. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.