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24. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25. That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
How much of awful interest is involved in that expression concerning Judas, that he might go to his own place. There is a place for the righteous: we are assured so: "prepared from the foundation of the world." And there is a place for the wicked. These are separate one from the other. There is "a great gulf between" them. them. And of each we may say, that it is their own place.
Hell was Judas's own place. He had sold himself to Satan, whilst apparently in the service of Christ. He had followed the example and lived under the influence of "the angels that sinned." Whilst here on earth, the society of the good was not his place; this he had shown, pursuing a sinful habit, and proving that he was still of the earth, earthly; still of the world, worldly. And at last he had done an act of wickedness which manifested the hardness of a heart fast held" in the bond of iniquity."
Therefore, a place where dwell "the wicked and the devilish," "shut out from the presence of the Lord," was his own place. It was the place belonging to his nature, and the place assigned of God to natures like his.
In a like sense we may say of the righteous, that they too go to their own place when called out of this present world. Their nature, originally no purer than that of Judas, has been renewed by the Spirit of God. Through that blood which was "shed for the remission of sin," their sins have been washed away. They have walked as "children of light," and have been made "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." That inheritance is the place prepared for such; and therefore, when they die, they go to their own place. In a double sense it is their own: it is their own, because it is the place for which their regenerated natures have been made fit, and it is their own, because it is the place purchased for them and due to them through the merits of their Lord and Saviour."
Therefore there is a place ready for every individual, when he departs this life, which may be called his own place. At present, whilst the hour of trial lasts, there is no Judas who may not be pardoned, as Simon was pardoned, and become an approved disciple. But that time hastens to an end; and then the sentence takes effect, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still." Let the unjust and the filthy, the righteous and the holy, dwell in their own place for ever.
1 Τον ὀφειλομενον ἀυτοις τόπον, is a phrase used both by Clement and Polycarp.
8 Rev. xxii. 11.
THE HOLY GHOST DESCENDS UPON THE APOSTLES.-PETER ADDRESSES THE JEWISH ASSEMBLY.-a. d. 33.
ACTS ii. 1-21.
1. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
"Faithful is he that hath promised."
little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry."9 So the apostles believed; and patiently waited for the promise, which they had been told they should receive of the Father.1
A day was chosen for this, which was a high day among the Jews--the day of Pentecost-the fiftieth from the Passover--one of the three solemn occasions, when, according to the law, all the men of Israel were commanded to " appear before the Lord." 2
9 Heb. x. 37.
Acts i. 4.
Ex. xxxiv. 23.
This festival had assembled them together. And the season was chosen for bestowing on them a power which was necessary that the mercy of God might take effect, and the gospel be preached unto all nations. They were "baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire," as John Baptist had foreseen and foretold. "There appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they began to speak with other tongues, (other than their native tongue,) as the Spirit gave them utterance.' Formerly, the wickedness of man had caused that separation between the various tribes of the human race, which arises from their different languages. That punishment was now in part remitted; and a door opened for the communication of God's mercy: that "his way might be known upon earth, his saving health unto all nations."
The messengers of this same mercy, the missionaries who now convey the gospel to the heathen, are forced to sit down for a while, in patient silence, and gradually acquire the power of making themselves understood by the people of a strange land. Many years pass before they can effect this perfectly. It pleased God to remove this barrier out of the way of the apostles. Thus no interval occurred between the facts and the declaration of the facts. The memory of what had been done was full and clear.
God, therefore, who, in former times, had given extraordinary powers to men whom he had chosen
3 Gen. xi. 6-9.
as instruments of his will, did thus interfere again, and enable the apostles, who were to "go forth into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," to speak with other tongues, to address every man in his own language, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.*
6. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak, Galileans?
8. And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9. Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10. Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11. Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13. Others mocking, said, These men are full of new wine.5
14. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye
4 Out of all the different countries where Jews resided, who were now come to Jerusalem for the purpose of the festival, 5 New wine, prepared for the uses of the festival.