And there was great joy in that city.
And there was great joy in that city. City life, its two sides of good and evil the victims of ignorance. Vice. False teaching. Old enmities. Sorcery. Bodily disease. "The multitudes" pressing on one another. The world's joys ruinous, deceptive, consuming, filthy, degrading, hiding the light of truth. No remedy in civilization, science, social schemes, mere intellectual growth.
I. The gospel a proclamation of GREAT JOY to our cities.
1. To the individual heart.
2. To houses and families.
3. To communities.
Religion the only safe basis of social progress. The Christ preached as Redeemer of humanity. Illustrate from the actual results, both in our own cities and in heathendom. Indirect influence of Christianity on the physical condition. Healing ministry of Christ still continued. The life of man lengthened during the last three centuries, since the truth had fuller sway over the thoughts of men and their universal activity. Science the outgrowth of the civil and religious liberty obtained by the victories of spiritual heroes.
II. God works great results with SMALL INSTRUMENTALIES. Philip was one man among multitudes.
1. An encouragement to all mission work both at home and abroad.
2. A lesson as to method. "He proclaimed the Christ unto them." The people will "give head" when the message is adapted to their wants.
3. A manifestation of Divine energy. Philip alone was powerless. The Spirit wrought with him. Moral miracles still accompany faithful preaching. The signs may differ, but still be equally striking and convincing. Witness the work done by Wesley and Whitefield.
4. A prophecy of the future. Great joy in all cities. Samaria might recall the visit of Jesus to Sychar. Some work already done there. So in the world generally, a foundation on which Christian messengers can labor. The heathen world has its measure of light, though mingled with joyless gloom of superstition and falsehood. When the multitudes give heed to the preaching of the Christ, what may not be anticipated? "Great joy" instead of great wars and great famines and great desolation: the great joy of universal progress and a redeemed humanity acknowledging and glorifying Christ. What is our joy? What is the joy of our neighbors? Cast out the lies and let the Spirit of life come in. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And there was great joy in that city.