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t in debaws and virtue...e might be
the fear of God; that he might reverence his sabbaths and his sanctuaries; that he might be as exemplary in holiness and virtue, as he has been eminent in debauchery and wickedness. Consider these things with yourselves; and may God give you a better understanding for the time to come, that ye may see the errpr of your ways, and amend them; and that * "ye may "so endeavour to sanctify the lives of you and " yours, and to fashion them after the rule and " doctrine of Christ, that ye may be wholesome " and godly examples,” of piety, temperance, sobriety; and of every christian virtue !
Acts ii. 37.
IVhen. they heard this, they were pricked in
their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the
rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what : shall we do? .
TF there be joy in the presence of the angels I of God ever one sinner that repenteth, what unspeakable transports must he feel, that opens the gate of heaven to a multitude of sinners, and, at the same time, both saves himself and those that hear him!
Of this pure and transporting pleasure was God pleased to afford St. Peter a very large share, on that remarkable occasion, when the words of the text were spoken. And, indeed, some need he had of consolation, to balance the many evils he had to encounter, The enemies
of that Gospel which he was called to preach, were many and powerful, and, therefore, the course of his ministry could not but be full of trouble and affliction: in fact, when his heavenly Master called him to the apostleship, he also called him to martyrdom: when he said to him, “ Feed my sheep,” he immediately said also, " Verily, verily, "I say unto thee, when thou “ wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst " whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt 66 be old, thou shalt, stretch forth thy hands, “ and another shall gird thee, and carry thee " whither thou wouldest not.”.
To encourage him, therefore, in his arduous undertaking, and to sweeten the bitterness of that cup of sorrow, with which his preaching was to be attended, he gives him the greatest. comfort that can possibly be enjoyed by a man, who labours for the salvation of others; for at his very first discourse, no less than three thousand persons were converted to the faith and obedience of the Gospel: the Spirit of God so wonderfully diffused itself through all those Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, and Egypt, and many others, who were assembled at Jerusalem to celebrate the
feast of Pentecost; that no-sooner had St. Peter declared the mighty power of God in raising up Jesus from the dead, than vast numbers “ were “ pricked in their hearts, and said, Men and “ brethren, what shall we do?"
Nor need we much wonder at the great impression which this discourse made upon their minds, if we attend to the several circumstances with which it was accompanied; such, for example, as the noble boldness and undaunted courage, with which the Apostle addresses himself to them.
Now, no earthly consideration could possibly hinder him from speaking with all imaginable boldness; because he could not doubt either the truth or 'the importance of the great doctrines he taught. He had himself conversed familiarly with his Saviour, and heard him speak as never man spake: he was with him on the holy mount, and “heard that voice which came to him from " the excellent glory, saying, This is my beloved “ Son, in whom I am well pleased;" he saw him risen from the dead, laden with the spoils of death and hell; he saw him taken up into heaven by a cloud, and the angels standing by him in white apparel.
Neither could he doubt of the sufficiency of his own calling: for he had an immediate call from heaven: the Author and Finisher of our faith said to him, “ Thou art Peter, and upon “ this rock will I build my church.”
Neither did he fear the reproaches of men: for he was able to put them all to silence by the purity of his intentions and the innocency of his life. And," had he been so inclined, he could not comply with the corrupt customs of the world in flattering vice or gilding falsehood; for the doctrines of his Saviour compelled him to threaten eternal misery to those that complied with them, and to promise eternal happiness to those that abstained from them.
Neither, again, could he turn his back to pains and torments, or deny the faith through fear of persecution: for he well knew his former cowardice and denial had cost him very dear, and drawn from him many heavy sighs and bitter tears, No wonder, then, if, thus deeply affected with the truth and importance of his doctrines, he spake with boldness and intrepidity, and made such an impression upon his hearers, that " they were pricked in their heart, and " said, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"