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That was indeed an untoward generation; the chief men in Israel, rulers and Pharisees, had before charged that Jesus cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils; and now when the Spirit was poured out and sat upon men in the form of cloven tongues of fire, and when these Galileans, who were afterwards, when they were summoned into the presence of the rulers of Israel, spoken of by them as unlearned and ignorant men,- when they were now heard speaking in the language of all the people who were assembled there out of all nations, a thing which they themselves could not do, they then sought to disparage these things by saying that these men were filled with new wine and drunk. But Peter quickly refuted these slanders and showed that this was a fulfillment of the words spoken by the Prophet Joel, who testified how God would pour out his Spirit in the last days upon all flesh, both upon Jews and Gentiles who should believe and obey the gospel and as a result of this wonderful manifestation, they should dream dreams, and see visions, and prophesy.

But the prophet testifies that before this wondrous manifestation should take place, and this great and notable day should come, the Lord would show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood and fire, and vapor of smoke, saying, “The sun shall be darkened, and the moon turned to blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.” The prophet here manifestly refers to two periods of Jewish history when the Spirit would be poured out upon his people; - first, in the last days of the kingdom of Judah and before the sceptre should depart from Judah, and again, in the latter days of the whole house of Israel; and therefore what was not fulfilled in these days, would be fulfilled in after times. There truly were wonders shown in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, before that great and notable day came when the Spirit was poured out from on high, and when a rushing mighty wind filled the house where they were, and sat upon all of them, when they were filled with the Spirit and spake with tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Some of the notable signs and wonders that were seen before this are testified of as follows: Luke, speaking of the crucifixion of Christ says, “ It was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour, and the sun was darkened, and all the people which came together to that sight, smote their breasts and returned." Matthew adds, “Now from the sixth hour, there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour; and about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the spirit, and "behold the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent; and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept, arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus saw the earthquake, and those things which were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” There was a great earthquake when Christ died, and another great earthquake when he rose from the dead; for it is said, “ Behold there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled

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back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” These were some of the signs and wonders which preceded the baptism by the Holy Spirit, on that memorable day of Pentecost, and afterwards.

Jesus frequently before the close of his ministry spake of this great manifestation of the Spirit, saying, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Again, “ But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Again after his resurrection, and before his ascension into heaven, Luke says (Acts), “And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me: for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” Again Jesus said before he suffered, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do he shall do likewise, and greater works shall he do, because I go unto my Father.”

Therefore, although Jesus did many mighty works in the days of his ministry yet the works that his disciples would do after he ascended to his Father and sent down upon them the gifts of the Holy Spirit would exceed those that he himself had done. It was not said of Jesus that he ever spake in any language but his own in preaching the gospel, for he himself said that he was not sent, save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. His apostles, on the other hand, were sent to preach the gospel for a witness to all nations, and one of the most remarkable things ever witnessed in our world was the fact that twelve unlearned Galileans upon whom the Holy Spirit appeared visibly, and upon whom it sat in cloven tongues of fire, spoke in the languages of every nation under heaven, declaring the wonderful works of God, as the Psalmist had before said of them, foretelling of these days, saying, “ There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard: their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world ” (Ps. 19:3-4). For the strangers that were assembled at Jerusalem out of every nation under heaven were amazed and marvelled, saying, “Are not these Galileans? And how hear we every man in the language, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were amazed, and were in doubt saying one to another, What meaneth this?” But Peter, after showing them what it meant and how it was a fulfillment of what the prophets had said should come to pass in the last days of the kingdom of Judah, spake to the people as follows: Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the

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pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” And the reason why it was not possible that he should be holden of it was because the Scriptures taught the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and Jesus himself says that the Scriptures cannot be broken, - and after citing and enforcing the testimonies that prove the doctrine, he adds, “And we all are witnesses of these things; and therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father, the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.” And then contradicting the popular delusion about David and other righteous men ascending into heaven at death, he says, “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore," saith Peter," let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” This startling statement, among others which Peter here makes to the devout Jews and proselytes assembled at Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and in the languages in which they were born, drew forth from them the inquiries which they made to the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Then Peter answered, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; for the promise is unto you, and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls, and they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and of prayers. And fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles; and all that believed were together, and had all things common, and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

Then Ananias and Sapphira his wife sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part of it, and laid it at the apostles' feet, saying that that was all he realized from the sale of his possession; but the Spirit which appeared in such wonderful manifestation was also a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and when Peter showed how he had lied not unto men, but to the Holy Spirit and unto God, he fell dead before all the people; and when his wife came in, not knowing what was done, Peter said to her, “ Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?” And she said, “Yea, for so much,” reiterating the lie that her husband had told. Then she also was smitten and fell down at Peter's feet and yielded up her spirit, and was carried out and buried beside her husband. It is dangerous to lie to men, but more so to lie unto God. “And great fear,” it is said, came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people,- and believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and on couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by, might overshadow some of them.

cil of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword of their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives, and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss, because of all the plagues thereof."

This valley was named after its ancient owner. It was once a beautiful valley. It was convenient to Jerusalem, but it was prostituted by the vilest and most abominable idolatries. The idolatrous kings of Israel, and Judah selected this place in which to burn incense to strange gods. Here they built high places to Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal; but Josiah, a righteous and zealous king of Judah, defiled this valley which lay on the south east of Jerusalem, and so it is written of Josiah that he defiled Tophet, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech (II Kings 23:10).

This is the manner in which Josiah is said to have defiled this place: they cast out the filth of the city there, and the dead bodies of beasts, and the bodies of criminals who had been executed; and fires were kept constantly burning there to consume these decaying worm-eaten bodies lest they should pollute the air and breed contagion. These fires, therefore, were the fires of Gehenna; and these worms, that which is referred to in the expression, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” The meaning of these terms, therefore, is simple and easy to understand when you lay aside the inventions of men who are bewitched with the heathen theories of immortality, and rewards and punishments. When dead carcases are thrown out to decay, they speedily become food for worms, and it is in a relative sense that they are said to die not. that is, they live until the carcases that they are feeding upon is entirely consumed. So with the fires which are said not to be quenched, this also is said in a relative sense,- that is, the fire burns until the material which it is burning is consumed, and is therefore said to be unquenchable. If a house takes fire and it cannot be put out, we say that the fire is unquenchable, not meaning that the fire will never cease, but that it will continue until the object which it is preying upon is entirely consumed.

It is in the above sense that the wicked are to be burned up with unquenchable fire. Malachi says, They shall be burned up and left neither root nor branch," and therefore the most combustible materials that are known are taken to represent the wicked, such as tow, chaff, wood, hay and stubble, and fat of lambs. None of these things can stand the fire. The Lord said he would kindle a fire in the gates of Jerusalem which never should be quenched. When those gates were consumed, the fires died out. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jude says, are suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, yet those fires died out when these cities were consumed by fire and brimstone which God rained down upon them out of heaven. This is a notable example of the destruction of the wicked and shows how competent it is for God to burn up the wicked in a moment in a lake of fire and brimstone, so that they consume away into smoke and disappear forever.




"The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Peter after unlocking the door of the kingdom of God to the Jews, said unto them (Acts 3: 25-26), “Ye are the children of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed (Gen. 22:18). Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

Now while the apostles were thus instructing the people in the temple, "the priests and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead; and they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day, for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers and elders and scribes and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole, be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised up from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Then later, when the apostles were summoned again before the council, the latter said unto them, “ Did we not straitly command you


ye should not teach in this name, and behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than man. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took council to slay them ” (Acts 5:28-33).

These measures which the rulers of Israel took to suppress the truth afforded excellent opportunities to charge home upon them to their faces their evil deeds, and the apostles discharged their duties with great boldness. They did their work well, their enemies being judges for, as they alleged, “ they had filled Jerusalem with their doctrine," and not “intended," but were thoroughly successful “ in bringing this man's blood " upon them. When therefore these things had been thoroughly made known to all the people and clearly vindicated before the rulers of Israel themselves, then came the time to open the

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