The Effects of the Sermon
Acts 17:32-34
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear you again of this matter.…

Learn —

1. That whatever might be the diversity in the positions, talents, and sentiments of men, the doctrines of the true religion are important to all. To the "Jews," "Epicureans," and "Stoics," the apostle proclaimed the same doctrines.

2. That whatever might be the power with which the great verities of the true religion are urged, a necessary and uniform result is not to be expected. The same tool, wielded by the same hand, and with the same force and skill, could produce the same effect upon the same species of stone, metal, or timber; but the same doctrines urged by the same man, at the same time produce widely different results in the same place upon the same congregation. Here are three moral classes: — Some amongst his audience heard him —

I. WITH DERISIVE INCREDULITY. "Some mocked." The Epicureans would especially do this. They denied a future state, and regarded death as an eternal sleep. Three things would probably induce them to ridicule this doctrine.

1. It stood opposed to their preconceived notions. Many a sceptic rejects Christianity on this same ground. How foolish, how arrogant is this! Are their little notions the measure, the sum of all truth?

2. It was apparently improbable to them. Are not the generations of men reduced to dust? Have not the particles of which their bodies were composed been wrought into the texture of every species and form of plant and of animal life? Where are the symptoms of a resurrection? But how foolish this The men who saw the priests endeavouring to level the walls of Jericho, by blowing in the rams' horn, would probably "mock" them on this account, but the wails fell notwithstanding. Lot seemed as one that "mocked unto his sons-in-law," when he warned them of the approaching judgment; but the tempest of fire came albeit, etc.

3. He who proclaimed the doctrine to them was not a recognised teacher. He did not belong to their school. He was a poor Jew. What did he, therefore, know about these things?

II. WITH A PROCRASTINATING RESOLVE. "Others said, We will hear thee again of this matter." Probably these were some of the Stoics, who believed in a future state, and who were disposed to give the subject a little attention at some future time. This procrastinating of the subject of religion is exceedingly foolish, because —

1. It is, of all subjects, the most important.

2. Because an important step towards its reception has been taken when an interest has been created.

3. Any portion of future time is very uncertain, and even should it be vouchsafed, the existing interest may never be renewed. A "more convenient season" may never come.

III. WITH PRACTICAL FAITH. "Howbeit certain men clave unto him," etc. These two names suggest — That Christianity is alike suited to both sexes. Let the woman stand as the representative of the intuitional power, and the man as the logical. Or let the woman stand as the representative of those who have to attend to the more private and domestic duties, and the man as the representative of those who have to be out in the open world — in the field, the market, the shop, the senate house — battling with difficulties. Christianity is great enough for the greatest, and simple enough for the simplest. Conclusion: From the whole we may learn —

(1) That the gospel is moral in its influence upon the world. It does not bear man down by violence and force.

(2) That the gospel is not to be restricted to any class.

(3) That ministers should not despair for want of success. Though some deride and some procrastinate, some will believe.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

WEB: Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We want to hear you again concerning this."

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