Acts 2:1
When the day of Pentecost came, the believers were all together in one place.
PentecostMartin LutherActs 2:1
Pentecost MondayMartin LutherActs 2:1
Pentecost TuesdayMartin LutherActs 2:1
The Abiding Gift and its Transitory AccompanimentsAlexander MaclarenActs 2:1
A New Manifestation of the Divine SpiritD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
A Whitsunday MeditationA. Mackennal, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
Are We Ready for Spiritual PowerT. J. Longhurst.Acts 2:1-4
Awaking to TruthTheodore T. Munger.Acts 2:1-4
Belief in the Holy GhostC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:1-4
Effect of the Holy SpiritActs 2:1-4
Holy Spirit: the Method of His Bestowment UnrevealedH. W. Beecher.Acts 2:1-4
It's No' Bilin'Acts 2:1-4
PentecostC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:1-4
PentecostDean Vaughan.Acts 2:1-4
Pentecost -- the First-FruitsGeorge Deane, D. Sc.Acts 2:1-4
Pentecost a Spiritual Spring FeastGerok.Acts 2:1-4
Pentecost; Or, the First Christian DayA. J. Morris.Acts 2:1-4
Revival Preceded by PrayerT. De Witt Talmage.Acts 2:1-4
Revivals -- Occasional ThingsT. H. Skinner.Acts 2:1-4
Revivals of ReligionC. Hodge, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
Spiritual Influence from Another WorldM. G. Pearse.Acts 2:1-4
Sudden Revivals ExplainedC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:1-4
The Advent of the SpiritThe Study and the PulpitActs 2:1-4
The Baptism of the Spirit ExperiencedC. G. Finney, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Baptism of the Spirit: its EffectsArchdeacon Farrar.Acts 2:1-4
The Coming of the Holy SpiritJames Freeman Clarke.Acts 2:1-4
The Day of PentecostBaxter Dickinson.Acts 2:1-4
The Day of PentecostB. Dickinson, M. A.Acts 2:1-4
The Day of PentecostJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Day of PentecostH. Allon, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Day of Pentecost: the Manifestation of the SpiritR.A. Redford Acts 2:1-4
The Descending SpiritG. H. Parkhurst, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Descent of the SpiritD. J. Burrell, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Epoch of the Spiritual DispensationE. Johnson Acts 2:1-4
The Feast of HarvestC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:1-4
The Fitness of the Day of PentecostDean Plumptre.Acts 2:1-4
The Gift of Pentecost the Best Gift of GodGerok.Acts 2:1-4
The Gift of the Spirit Dependent Upon ConditionsJ. Marshall Mather.Acts 2:1-4
The Holy Spirit IndispensableT. Guthrie, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Holy Spirit NeededC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 2:1-4
The Outpouring of the SpiritJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Outpouring of the SpiritJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Outward Unity of the Pentecostal ChurchG. T. Stokes, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The Pentecostal OutpouringFamily ChurchmanActs 2:1-4
The Sending of the Holy GhostBp. Andrewes.Acts 2:1-4
The Symbols of the Spirit's PresenceR. Tuck Acts 2:1-4
The Time of the Spirit's Outpouring Proves the Unity of the Two DispensationsG. T. Stokes, D. D.Acts 2:1-4
The White Sunday (Children's SermonJ. Vaughan, M. A.Acts 2:1-4
Waiting Where the Spirit is Likely to ComeJ. W. Harrald.Acts 2:1-4
Whir-SundayF. W. Brown.Acts 2:1-4
The Coming of God in PowerW. Clarkson Acts 2:1-13
The Day of Pentecost, and its Immediate GiftsP.C. Barker Acts 2:1-41

The ascended Savior was about to come in mighty power to the disciples. They were in Jerusalem, "waiting for the promise of the Father;" doubtless they had no anticipation of the way in which that promise would be fulfilled, and must have been struck with the utmost awe and wonder when they found themselves wrought upon with such Divine energies. Our thought is directed to -

I. THE MANIFESTED PRESENCE OF GOD. God revealed his presence through the media of air and fire; the one in unusual, indeed supernatural agitation; the other in unkindled, lambent flame. Both air and fire are fitting elements for the vehicle of Divine manifestation; their ubiquity, their beneficence, the secret and indeed mysterious powers which reside in them, the mighty and even awful forces which slumber in them, and which, when aroused or kindled, work such terrible results ("Our God is a consuming fire"), - these qualities make them suitable agencies to signify the presence of the Divine. But while our God is in the elemental forces of nature, both when they render the kind and constant ministry to mankind and when they are in unusual and quite exceptional activity - though he is in the soft airs and the life-giving heats which breathe and brighten round us, and though he is in the storm and in the fire which rage above and about us - yet the way in which he manifests himself in answer to our earnest prayer and reverent waiting is not thus. Our Lord comes now to us in

(1) illumination of the mind,

(2) enlargement of the heart,

(3) multiplication of spiritual faculty and force,

(4) renewal of the will and the whole spiritual nature - we are "filled with the Holy Ghost."

II. HIS CHOSEN TIME. Christ came again to his disciples when they were "all of one accord in one place" (ver. 1). When acting together, praying together, feeling together, hoping and expecting together, then he appeared in glorious manifestation. If we who '"wait for his appearing" really desire his coming and would do our best to bring him, we must act in the same way; we must be united in thought, in feeling, in prayer, in expectation, in activity.

III. THE DIVINE END IN SPECIAL MANIFESTATION. It was not only to "sound a bell "calling attention to the birth of a new dispensation that Christ thus came in power. It was to convey redeeming truth to many minds and many peoples (vers. 5-11). "Devout men out of every nation" heard "the wonderful works of God," and carried back with them, whithersoever they returned, the knowledge of the great things God had wrought for the children of men. When men say to us "See here!" or "Lo there!" "Behold these strange phenomena, these supernatural appearances, these remarkable displays of Divine power," etc., let us dismiss them with incredulity unless they are working to the Divine end, the spiritual enlightenment and moral elevation of mankind. By their fruits we shall know them. If they "work not the righteousness of God," they are not of him; if they do, they are. So shall we "try the spirits whether they are of him."

IV. OUR HUMAN RESPONSE. (Ver. 12, 13.) The manifestation of Divine power on this occasion excited amazement and incredulity. Of these the former is wholly insufficient and the latter altogether wrong. Only too often this is the result in our case.

1. We are surprised when we ought to be simply grateful; it ought to be a surprise to us when, in response to our prayer and holy expectation, God does not come to us in renewing, fertilizing power. When the Son of man does come, does he find the expectancy of faith or the astonishment of unbelief (Luke 18:8)?

2. We are incredulous, and perhaps derisive, when we ought to be congratulatory. Some Christian men can account for Divine energy and agency on any principle but the one which should be readiest to their mind, viz. that God is with us, willing to appear on our behalf, prepared to outpour his Spirit in rich effluence on our souls and on our labors. By cur incredulity we

(1) displease him,

(2) hinder the cause we should help,

(3) make impossible any blessed share for ourselves in the shouts of victory. - C.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come.
I. IN THE OCCURRENCES OF THE DAY OF PENTECOST WE DISCOVER EVIDENCE OF A SPECIAL DIVINE INFLUENCE. This idea is too prevalent, that the agency of the Supreme is only of a general character — that the repentance and salvation of sinners are brought about, independently of any direct agency on the part of God. They spake with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Most convincing evidence of a special Divine influence is found also in the effects produced upon the day of Pentecost.

II. THE OCCURRENCES OF THE DAY OF PENTECOST CONFIRMED THE DIVINE MISSION OF JESUS AND THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY. Whilst on earth the Lord Jesus gave abundant evidence that He was from God. Jesus encouraged His disciples to expect that they would be endued with special power from on high.

III. THE OCCURRENCES OF THE DAY OF PENTECOST EXHIBIT THE FOLLY OF OPPOSITION TO THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST. The day of Pentecost assures us that Jehovah regards the kingdom of His Son with supreme affection, and that all His perfections are engaged for its defence and enlargement.



VI. THE OCCURRENCES OF THAT DAY EXHIBIT THE REALITY AND IMPORTANCE OF REVIVALS OF RELIGION. By a revival of religion we understand an uncommon and general interest in the subject of salvation, produced by the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of Divine truth. Such, substantially, was the revival on the day of Pentecost. Do you say that the excitement, denominated a revival of religion, occurs in connection with the special efforts of Christians? We answer, that the excitement on the day of Pentecost occurred in a similar connection. Do you say that the Divine influence to which we allude, as to the mode of its operation, is enveloped in the darkness of mystery? So it was on the day of Pentecost. Do you say there is enthusiasm connected with the excitement denominated a revival of religion? Fanaticism there may have been. But does such a fact prove the entire absence of genuine religion? Does it prove that no revival is a sober, rational work? Do you say that in a time of general excitement there will be instances of gross imposition on the Church? So it was in the Pentecost revival, when, in awful warning to hypocrites, Ananias and Sapphira fell down dead. Do you say that the excitement denominated a revival of religion, is often succeeded by instances of apostacy? We answer, that apostacies have likewise occurred under other circumstances. The occurrences of the day of Pentecost exhibit, likewise, the importance of revivals of religion. In a single day it gave to the Christian Church a weight of influence more than a hundredfold greater than it had previously possessed. It is important to individual happiness and to the community at large.

(Baxter Dickinson.)

But why was the gift of the Spirit delayed until the day of Pentecost was fully come? No man must irreverently pry into the purposes of Deity.

I. PENTECOST WAS THE FEAST OF FIRST-FRUITS; THEREFORE SYMBOLICAL OF THE FIRST-FRUITS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Leviticus 23:15, 17; Deuteronomy 16:9). The first sheaf of the Christian harvest, the first fruit of the Christian reaping was there ingathered.

II. PENTECOST WAS ASSOCIATED IN THE JEWISH WORSHIP WITH THE GIVING OF THE LAW FROM SINAI. Fifty days after the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites received the law from Sinai. To this day the gift of the law is kept in view in the Jewish observance of Pentecost.

1. Conviction of sin is the prominent idea of the apostolic Pentecost. Peter's sermon resulted in the cry, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Conviction of sin is the prelude to a reformed life. In our Christian families and amongst our young people, trained from infancy in Christian virtue, we need not always look for the intense conviction of sin which is apparent on this first day of the Christian Pentecost. No! God's ways are often gentle.

2. The first gift of the Paraclete on the day of Pentecost — the day which, in Jewish thought, was specially consecrated to the giving of the law from Sinai — was specially fitted to the mission of Him "who will convict the world in respect of sin."

III. THE FIRST-FRUITS ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST ARE TYPICAL OF THE INGATHERING OF ALL NATIONS TO CHRIST. More foreign Jews attended the Pentecost than any other Jewish feast. And in the light of Pentecost we look forward hopefully to the time when the "great multitude, whom no man could number, out of every nation, and of all tribes, and peoples, and tongues" shall stand before the throne and before the Lamb, and shall cry with a great voice, saying, "Salvation unto our God which sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9, 10).


(George Deane, D. Sc.)


1. The truth of Old and New Testament prophecies (Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:27; Joel 2:28; Zechariah 4:6; John 14:16; John 15:26; John 16:7; Acts 1:5, etc.).

2. The reality of the Messiahship and mission of Christ. The Holy Ghost would bring to the remembrance of the disciples the words they had heard their Master utter, and reveal the meaning of the things of Christ unto them. The Spirit bears witness with our spirits to-day that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

3. The person, presence, and power of the Holy Ghost.

II. WHAT THE DAY OF PENTECOST GAVE INFALLIBLE PLEDGE OF. The success of the preaching of Peter on that day was the earnest of the successive victories the gospel would achieve over error in the world down to the end of time. Those victories would be won —

1. In spite of the paucity of numbers on the side of the gospel.

2. In spite of the poverty of the preachers of the gospel.

3. In spite of the antagonism of the enemies of the gospel.

4. In spite of the unfaithfulness of professors of the gospel.


1. Wait for the day.

2. Work for the day. Human agony linked with Divine power.

(F. W. Brown.)

I. THE SEASON when the Spirit was given.

1. In God's appointed time. There is a set time to favour Zion, both to try our faith and to prove God's sovereignty. If every drop of rain has its appointed birthday, every gleam of light its predestinated pathway, and every spark of fire its settled hour for flying upward, certainly the will of God must have arranged and settled the period and place of every gracious visitation.

2. After the ascension. The Spirit was not given till after Jesus had been glorified. Various blessings are ascribable to different parts of Christ's work. His life is our imputed righteousness; His death brings us pardon; His resurrection confers upon us justification; His ascension yields to us the Holy Spirit. "When He ascended up on high," etc. It was the wont of the Roman conqueror as he rode along to scatter large quantities of money among the admiring crowd. So our glorified Lord scattered gifts among men.

3. At Pentecost. Some say that at Pentecost the law was proclaimed on Sinai. If so, it was very significant that on the day when the law was issued amid thunders and lightnings, the gospel — God's new and better law — should be proclaimed with mighty wind and tongues of fire. We are clear, however, that Pentecost was a harvest-festival. On that day the sheaf was waved before the Lord and the harvest consecrated. The passover was to our Saviour the time of His sowing, but Pentecost was the day of His reaping, and the fields which were ripe to the harvest when He sat on the well, are reaped now that He sits upon the throne.

4. When there was most need. Vast crowds were gathered. What would have been the use of the many tongues when no strangers were ready to hear? Whenever we see unusual gatherings, whenever the spirit of hearing is poured out upon the people, we ought to pray for and expect an unusual visitation of the Spirit.

5. Where they were all with one accord in one place. Christians cannot all now be in one place, but they can all be of one accord. When there are no cold hearts, no prejudices and bigotries to separate, no schism to rend the one sacred garment of Christ, then may we expect to see the Spirit of God resting upon us.

6. When they were earnest about one grand object.

II. THE MANNER. Each word here is suggestive.

1. Suddenly. It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, and so, though the Spirit may have been secretly preparing men's hearts, yet the real work of revival is done suddenly to the surprise of all observers.

2. There was a sound. Although the Spirit of God is silent, yet His operations are not silent in their results.

3. As of wind. In Greek and Hebrew the word used for wind and for Spirit is the same. The wind is doubtless, chosen as an emblem because of its mysteriousness: "Thou canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth"; because of its freeness: "It bloweth where it listeth"; because of diversity of its operations, for the wind blows a gentle zephyr at one moment, and anon it mounts to a howling blast. The Holy Spirit at one time comes to comfort, and at other times to alarm, etc.

4. It was rushing. This pour-trayed the rapidity with which the Spirit's influences spread — rushing like a torrent. Within fifty years from Pentecost the gospel had been preached in every country of the known world.

5. It was mighty, irresistible, and so is the Spirit of God; where He comes nothing can stand against Him.

6. It filled all the place where they were sitting. The sound was not merely heard by the disciples. When the Spirit of God comes, He never confines Himself to the Church. A revival in a village penetrates even the pot-house. The Spirit of God at work in the Church is soon felt in the farm-yard, work-room, and factory.

7. But this was not all. I must now mention what was the appearance seen — a bright luminous cloud probably, not unlike that which once rested in the wilderness over the tribes by night — which suddenly divided, or was cleft, and separate tongues of fire rested upon the head of each of the disciples. They would understand that thus a Divine power was given to them. Heathens represent beams of light or flames of fire proceeding from their false deities, and the nimbus with which Roman Catholic painters always adorn the heads of saints, is a relic of the same idea. It was said by the ancients of Hesiod, the first of all the poets, that whereas he was once nothing but a simple neat-herd, yet suddenly a Divine flame fell upon him, and he became henceforth one of the noblest of men. We feel assured that so natural a metaphor would be at once understood by the apostles.(1) It was a tongue, for God has been pleased to make the tongue do mightier deeds than either sword or pen; by the foolishness of preaching to save them that deliver.(2) It was a tongue of fire, to show that God's ministers speak, not coldly as though they had tongues of ice, nor learnedly as with tongues of gold, nor arrogantly as with tongues of brass, nor pliantly as with tongues of willow, nor sternly as with tongues of iron, but earnestly as with the tongue of flame; their words consume sin, scorch falsehood, enlighten the darkness, and comfort the poor.(3) It sat upon them. So the Spirit of God is an abiding influence, and the saints shall persevere.(4) It sat upon each of them, so that while there was but one fire, yet each believer received his portion of the one Spirit. There are diversities of operations, but it is the same Lord.

III. THE RESULT. After all this, what are you expecting? Shall the wind blow down dynasties — the fire consume dominions? No; Spiritual and not carnal is the kingdom of God. The result lies in three things.

1. A sermon. The Spirit of God was given to help Peter preach. You turn with interest to know what sort of a sermon a man would preach who was full to the brim of the Holy Ghost. You expect him to be more eloquent than Robert Hall, or Chalmers; more learned than the Puritans. You expect all the orations of Cicero and Demosthenes to be put in the shade. No such thing! Never was there a sermon more commonplace. It is one of the blessed effects of the Holy Spirit to make ministers preach simply.

2. The people were pricked in the heart, and cried, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" What a disorderly thing! Blessed disorder which the Spirit of God gives. Men then feel that they have heard something which has gone right into their inmost nature and receive a wound which only God can heal.

3. Faith and the outward confession of it in baptism.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The circumstances connected with the event.

I. THE TIME. "When the day of Pentecost was fully come." It was the fiftieth day after the Passover, and beginning of the harvest festival. Harvest home! Surely it was no blind chance that made this appointment for the inauguration of the dispensation of spiritual ingathering (Revelation 14:15).

II. THE PLACE. It was "a house," the noteworthy fact being that it was not the temple. Up to this time the temple had monopolised the formal worship of Jehovah; but to-day a new order begins. The privileges of worship are to be everywhere and for all sorts and conditions of men.

III. THE DRAMATIS PERSONAE. Here were a hundred and twenty feeble folk, none mighty or noble among them, distinguished from the multitudinous rank and file of common people only by the fact that God had chosen them to be the nucleus of the Christian Church. Thus, kneeling together, they held the coign of vantage. They were sure of the blessing. May it not be that, under similar conditions, the Church of our times would be similarly blest?

IV. THE ONLOOKERS. There came together to witness this strange occurrence a motley and polyglot assemblage of "Parthians, Modes, and Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia and in Judaea 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." Was ever a more representative body of people? And this was as it should have been, for the thing about to happen was of universal importance, and the power about to descend was, like the sceptre in Balaam's vision, to smite even to the remotest corners of the earth. The time had come for the propagation of a catholic gospel; and this heterogeneous company of people was the first representative Christian congregation that ever assembled on earth. Those who, on this occasion, were "sojourning at Jerusalem out of every nation under heaven," carried back to their countrymen the announcement of the new religion; and thus the seed was sown whose full and glorious fruition will be seen at the close of history, when "a great multitude which no man can number," etc. (Revelation 7:9).

V. WHAT THEY SAW AND HEARD. At this point everything is significant.

1. The "sound as of a mighty, rushing wind." This must instantly have recalled to the minds of the disciples their Master's word, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." In Ezekiel's vision in the valley of dry bones we have a similar association of the wind or breath (Hebrew ruach) with spiritual influence: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live!" The symbol is appropriate, suggesting an influence so elevating and inspiring as to mark the beginning of a new life.

2. The fire. This would instantly recall the words of John the Baptist, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Fire burns, subdues, purifies, penetrates, illumines, energises. .Fire is power. The heart that has received the baptism from on high is "set on fire" with a passion for all things true and right.

3. Cloven tongues. It is to be observed that the symbol used to designate the power of the gospel dispensation was not an iron rod, nor a sword, nor a pontifical mitre, but a cloven tongue — the symbol of speech, of argument, of "the foolishness of preaching." The victory by which the world is to be subjugated to the gospel is to be a moral victory; and the power which is to accomplish it is the simple story of the Cross. Jehovah is not in the storm nor in the earthquake, but in the still, small voice.


1. It marked the reformation and reorganisation of Judaism into the Christian Church. In this company of a hundred and twenty persons — like-minded as to the ruling principle of life and engaged with one accord in prayer for a specific blessing — we behold, in seed and promise, a mighty organism which is destined to survive all shocks and oppositions, gathering meat out of the eater and sweetness out of the strong, until at length it shall bring the world and lay it before its Master's feet. This is the living mechanism that Ezekiel saw by the river Chebar, "a whirlwind out of the north and a fire infolding itself and winged creatures going straight forward: whither the spirit yeas to go they went, and they turned not when they went" (Ezekiel 1:4-10). This working Church of Jesus, inspired by a purpose above all carnal ambitions and endued with power to accomplish it, is at this moment incomparably the greatest force on earth.

2. The miracle of the day of Pentecost marked the beginning of a new epoch. The old economy of types and shadows was over; the dispensation of the Spirit was at hand. Thenceforth the Holy Ghost was to rule in human affairs. It was a transitional point in history. Let us thank God that we live on the hither side of it. Nay, rather, let us thank God over and over that we are permitted to take part in the splendid achievements of these days.

3. This Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit marked the beginning of the end. At that moment God Himself made bare His arm and said, The kingdoms of this world shall be Mine! Those who looked on" were amazed and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?" In answer they were referred by Peter to the prophesy of Joel: "It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.'" It is scarcely to be believed that God will wait upon the slow processes which His people are using for the conversion of the world. He has mighty forces in reserve which we in our poor philosophies have never dreamed of; and who can tell at what moment He may bring them into requisition?

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

1. "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." The exact day was not specified, and still less the precise nature of the gift. Expectation has always been the posture of the Church. For ages the expectation was that of the Messiah's coming; and no sooner did the Messiah appear than a new season of expectation set in; the expectation of His second coming. Nowhere is there, nor ought there to be, mere retrospection or satisfaction. Many chief graces can only be exercised by looking forward and upward.

2. The condition of the disciples between Ascension and Pentecost was one of expectation in a double sense. They were taught by the angels to look for their Lord's return. But there was a near return as well as one more remote. When our Lord said "I will see you again," etc., He said so in three senses — in His own resurrection; in their resurrection; but between these two there lay a spiritual but not therefore an unreal advent.

3. The feast of Pentecost was one of the three great festivals of Israel. It was so called from one particular point in the celebration of the Passover; the waving of the sheaf of the first-fruits of the harvest on the morrow after the Passover-Sabbath. From that day they were to number seven complete sabbaths, and then arrived the feast of weeks or of Pentecost; on which occasion, as at the earlier Passover, and the later Tabernacles, all the men were required to appear before the Lord at His sanctuary in Jerusalem. The Passover had already found its antitype in that season at which Christ the Paschal Lamb was sacrificed for us. The feast of Tabernacles, the celebration of the completion of harvest and vintage, and of the rest which followed the entrance into Canaan, is to find its antitype in that rest which remains for the people of God in heaven. The intermediate festival of Pentecost was to have its antitype in that gift which this chapter describes. Jewish tradition marked out the feast as the commemoration of the giving of the law. And peculiar significance is therefore given to the choice of the day for the giving of that new law, of the Spirit of life, by which the commandments of God were to be written, not on tables of stone, but on the tablets of a renewed and willing heart. At all events the festival of the first-fruits was now to be fulfilled in the Holy Spirit as the firstfruits of the heavenly inheritance. Two things in the narrative need to be distinguished.


1. Men are slow in understanding and stubborn in disputing spiritual or supernatural influences; resolving everything into workings of nature, chance, or imagination. There is no spiritual influence which the philosophers and theologians of this age would not explain away, or laugh down. It is well, perhaps, that the gospel was established in men's convictions in an age of greater simplicity and of less presumption.

2. But if God would make it evident that He is at work, I know not how it can be done without miracle. If our Lord would convince common men that He had all the power of God, was there any mode so really decisive as that which the Gospels describe to us? Those who had actually seen Him still a tempest, raise a corpse, etc., must have felt that God had given them evidence of the Messiahship of Christ. Even thus was it with the coming of the Holy Ghost. Hearts might have been influenced, lives might have been changed, and men might have ascribed it to natural causes; but if it was to be made plain, beyond gainsaying, that the Holy Spirit had descended to make His abode in the Church and in the hearts of men, there must be some sign of which the senses could take cognisance, and from which but one inference could be drawn.

3. Such a sign was that marvellous power of which we have here the first example. If unlettered men were heard to utter sounds recognised by men of diverse nations as their native speech, what other explanation could be given save that which Peter gave?

4. And is there anything irrational in the supposition that God should come in direct personal communication with man, or should make it plain whence that communication was derived? It can be no reproach to a revelation that its utterance is decisive and its proofs intelligible to unlettered men.

5. In the signs which accompanied the descent of the Holy Ghost we can recognise all the emblems by which He had been foretold.(1) The rushing mighty wind, "blowing where it listeth," audible in its sound, inscrutable in its source and destination.(2) The fiery flame which had been taken from the first as the description of the Saviour's baptism.(3) The voice which bore witness to the informing, instructing, and counselling presence within.


1. We read of it in its prediction and in its experience. Look for the one to John 14.-16., and for the other to Romans 8., Galatians 5. Study those and you will see how little they can enter into the fulness of the promise, who either imagine it to have been designed for apostles only, or as consisting principally of miraculous gifts. The Holy Spirit was promised as the Comforter, the Remembrancer, the Teacher, the Guide, the inward Advocate, the Representative of Christ, the Presence of God and of Christ in the soul, whose coming was to make it a gain even that the Saviour should depart. And what then was the experience of this great gift? How did they describe it who had found it for their own? Hear what Paul, who was not present at Pentecost, but only received the gift afterwards as any one of you might receive it in answer to prayer, tells how the Holy Ghost within had set him free from the bondage of sin and death; how He had turned his affections from things below to things above; how he had found the Holy Spirit to be indeed a Spirit not of fear but the Spirit of adoption, etc.

2. The gift of the Spirit is one half of the whole need of man. We need forgiveness first. But there is a need behind, without which forgiveness would be a mockery — the gift of the Holy Ghost pledged in baptism — promised in the Word of life. We are ignorant, poor, weak, sad, and lonely in heart, until the Sun of Righteousness rises upon us with that healing in His wings, which is first the joy of a free forgiveness, and secondly the joy of an indwelling Spirit! And be we well assured that, if we are filled with the Holy Ghost, the other words of the text will be realised in us; we shall also speak with another tongue, the Spirit giving us the utterance. How transforming is the influence of the Holy Spirit upon human lips! Can we live with a man in whom God dwells and not perceive it in his words? Let us pray for the gift of that new Divine speech, in the power of which he who once opened his lips only to trifle, to defame, or to deceive, has begun to breathe the sounds of love and joy and peace, of gentleness and goodness and faith and meekness. Thus shall men take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. Thus shall we bear that testimony, not of word only but of sign, by which minds are convinced and hearts opened, by which God's name is made known on earth, His saving health among all nations.

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. THE SPRING BREEZES WHICH BLOW: stormy blasts and soft zephyrs.

II. THE SPRING VOICES WHICH ARE HEARD: the inspired tongues of the apostles praising the mighty acts of God, and the timid voices of awakened consciences inquiring after salvation.

III. THE SPRING BLOSSOMS WHICH APPEAR: childlike faith and brotherly love.


Family Churchman.

1. The ascension. Christ had taught that His going away was essential to the Spirit's coming.

2. The attitude of the disciples.

(1)Patient waiting.



(4)Fellowship with the risen Christ.

II. ITS SENSIBLE ACCOMPANIMENTS. The elements of nature were now, as so often, symbolical of spiritual realities.

1. The sound like wind indicating the immediacy, secrecy and swiftness of the Divine action.

2. The appearance like fire symbolising warming, quickening, cleansing.

III. THE GIFT ITSELF. The Spirit's influence was —

1. In its nature adapted to affect men's minds and hearts.

2. In its measure as vast as human capacities could receive.

3. In its extent universal, being designed for Christ's whole Church.


1. The apostles were empowered to speak with other tongues, which was a sign of Divine energy.

2. Preaching was made powerful to the conversion of many; enemies of Christ became friends.

3. The Church was established upon a sure and lasting foundation.

(Family Churchman.)

in virtue of —

I. ITS ROOT — the merits of Christ, His humiliation and exaltation.

II. ITS NATURE — the union of the Spirit of God with man.

III. ITS OPERATIONS — the new creation of the heart and of the world.


Next to the day of Christ's death, Pentecost was the greatest day that ever dawned. It was "the birth-day" of the Church, the first day of the new creation, in which chaos began to be fashioned and arranged by the plastic power of the Spirit, the day of the grand and solemn opening of the kingdom of heaven, after the completion of the Christ's preparatory work, the day on which the fountain was unsealed, whose waters should flow forth for the healing and purifying of the nations. And as it was the first of Christian days, so was it a type of Christian days. Note —


1. The season was the Pentecost, a Jewish festival.

2. The hour, "the hour of prayer."

3. The place was one of the apartments of the temple. If we put these things together, we shall have two results.(1) They secured a large and fitting audience. Great numbers of Jews and proselytes visited Jerusalem; and the temple was just the place where they could most easily become parties to the introduction of the new dispensation.(2) It was strikingly taught that the old state of things was giving place to another, which should change its form but perfect its spirit. The shell was being broken to yield a new life; the beautiful fly was being developed from the worm. Judaism was to be displaced by that which should spiritualise and ennoble its truths and principles. The temple was to become a church, and Pentecost to witness a new celebration of harvest, the ingathering of souls.

4. The antecedents. The apostles "continued with one accord," etc.


1. A new Spirit. Whatever spiritual influences had been shed forth in former periods, the Holy Ghost, in the New Testament sense, was to be the gift of the glorified Saviour, the characteristic blessing of His kingdom. We must beware of restricting this fact to miraculous endowments. The gift of tongues, etc., were but signs and seals of the spiritual power intended to draw attention to the inward gift, only as the thunder and lightning of the new spiritual world, occasional and impressive incidents of powers and processes whose constant, silent operation is the very life of men.(1) The world needed the Spirit. It was not a case merely for new religious opinions, habits, or institutions; the need was of life from above; the nature required to be restored and quickened. Sin had cut off the supplies of Divine grace, had converted the temple into a tomb. It was the grand design of the gospel to engraft humanity upon Deity, to breathe into our dead souls the breath of life.(2) The apostles needed the Spirit. Much as they had been with Jesus, they were still strangers to His inner being, the deeper meaning of His acts and words, the glory of His Cross; they were like the skeletons in the valley of vision, very dry, till at the prophet's bidding they became living men.

2. A new truth. "We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God," the same as composed the subject of Peter's discourse; the history of Christ. True, they knew that He had died, and risen again, and ascended: but all this, though familiar as history, was new as truth. And just as a man who has travelled in the dark, looks back at break of day and admires the objects that he passed, aware only of their existence, or deeming them objects of fear, so the disciples recalled the events of their Master's life, and rejoiced in much which had perplexed and grieved them. The death and departure of Christ were to His followers like the fabled statue of Memnon, which sent forth sounds, mournful in the night, but melodious at the rising of the sun: when God's morning light arose, how sweet the notes those facts, once only sad, emitted! Christianity is essentially historical. It does not set men on arduous inquiries, nor answer them by logical expositions; but it points us to the incarnate Son of God; tells us how He lived and suffered and arose to glory; tells us that He was, that He is: He is the object of its faith, its love, its obedience and its joy. Such was evidently Peter's thought when he used "the keys of the kingdom of heaven" to open it to the Jewish world on the day of Pentecost. Such was also Paul's (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). This was the truth which they propounded to men of every class and in every condition — to Greek (1 Corinthians 2:2); to Jew (Galatians 6:14); to Roman (Romans 8:3, 4); and it proved, in the case of all, the power of God unto every one that believeth. The declaration of this truth on the day of Pentecost was therefore not an exceptional thing; it was a specimen of the kind of moral instrumentality which should be characteristic of Christianity.

3. A new vehicle. "They began to speak with other tongues."(1) Had a Jew been told that God was about to introduce a new and transcendent dispensation in a style worthy of its superior excellence, he would probably have expected a grand ceremonial. But he was here taught that Christianity would be a system, not of ceremonialism, but of moral agency, and that its chief means would be uttered thought and feeling, man coming into contact with man, reason with reason, heart with heart. No system of religion has made such use of the voice as Christianity, and its purest forms have always been connected with the largest use of the voice.(2) The manner as well as the fact of the use of the tongue was instructive. In the publicity and indiscriminateness of Pentecostal preaching there was something different from all that had appeared in the best types of heathen wisdom. The philosophers universally disregarded the poor; their discoveries were confined to those who sought and could purchase them. But the gift of tongues declared not only that speech would be the most appropriate organ of the gospel, but that it would "speak to the people" without exception, "all the words of this life."

4. A new world. No power on earth could have brought together, at that time, so typical a congregation. And herein was there an expression of the catholicity of the gospel. It not only declared that the world might enjoy the privileges of the true religion, but it spoke to the world in its own language; it destroyed every "middle wall of partition" between Jew and Gentile, and made the common possession of every race the rich inheritance of "the gospel of the grace of God." The confusion of tongues (Genesis 11:7) was reversed, and it was proclaimed that the effect of the gospel would be the destruction of all that divided and alienated men; that its purpose was to form a new "body," into which all should be "baptized by one Spirit, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free," so creating a "new man," in which there should be "neither Greek nor Jew," etc.

5. A new impression (vers. 37, 41-42).(1) There had been mighty religious movements among Jews and Gentiles, but there had been no seasons similar to Pentecost. Not that we are to dissociate that time from times preceding. "Other men had laboured, and the disciples entered into their labours." Christ had no Pentecost; but He was always doing that without which no Pentecost could have been. He was breaking up the fallow-ground, and sowing seed; the ingathering was to come. It is a far greater thing to make a gospel than to preach a gospel. And when Peter with quickening energy spake to the people, and thousands confessed the sovereignty of truth, he was only the instrument of bringing to bear the virtue and power of Christ's redemption. "The corn of wheat had fallen into the ground and died," but, having died, it now "brought forth much fruit."(2) But however men had been moved or changed before, they had never been moved or changed thus. The sense of guilt was not strange, but penitence had never possessed the depth and the tenderness which belonged to theirs who "looked on Him whom they had pierced, and mourned for Him," Moral and religious reformation had often rewarded the labours of the wise and good, but never had it taken so Divine a type as in those who now "gladly received the Word." Men had often associated themselves together at the bidding of outward law or inward love, but organisation and fellowship had never known their truest life and strongest bonds till the thousands of Pentecost joined the Church at Jerusalem.


1. Let us recognise the fact that this is the dispensation of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is now given because Jesus is glorified. It is the time of spiritual life, "the day of Christ's power."

2. The means whereby "the power from on high" may be obtained for ourselves and others. These are prayer and truth. It was the supplicating Church that was filled with the Spirit; it was the speaking Church that received the addition of three thousand souls. This is & union that evermore prevails, and without which there can be no realisation of Pentecostal times.

3. The pouring forth of the Spirit of Christ is the present, the universal, the urgent necessity of men. The main misery of the world is its carnal life, its separation from God: it will never be whole and happy till it be possessed and regenerated by the Spirit of the living God.

(A. J. Morris.)

The occurrences of the day exhibit —

1. Evidence of a special Divine influence.

2. The Divine mission of Jesus and the truth of Christianity.

3. The folly of opposition to Christ's kingdom.

4. The grand means of advancing Christ's cause and saving sinners.

5. The Christian minister's great source of encouragement.

6. The reality and importance of revivals of religion.

(B. Dickinson, M. A.)

The disciples —

I. BEGAN TO SPEAK. Hitherto they had kept silence. They were learners and asked questions. True, they were sent by Christ to try their "'prentice hands"; but their discourses could not have been much to boast of, or they would have been recorded. But no sooner were they filled with the Spirit than they began to speak out. A man may have a little of the Spirit and be able to observe silence; but if he is filled he cannot hold his peace. "Necessity is laid upon me." From their irrepressible desire to speak, many concluded they were "full of new wine." And herein there is a superficial likeness between "being filled with wine" and "being filled with the Spirit"; in either case there is a powerful desire to speak. A few chapters further on in reply to the magistrates, they said, "We cannot but speak." The Holy Spirit was fermenting within them and bursting through all restraints (see Job 32:17-20, and Marg.).


1. This is a power inherent in all men. Men speak with new tongues every year. Some can converse in many languages. Here the Spirit quickened this power. The first miracle of Christ was the turning of water into wine. There is nothing unnatural in that. Do we not see it every year in the vintages of Europe? The supernatural consisted in its instantaneousness. And so the first miracle of the Holy Ghost consisted in the rapidity with which the knowledge of other tongues was acquired.

2. Some acquire knowledge with much greater rapidity than others. Who can tell how quickly the human intellect may acquire it when inspired by the Holy Ghost? Sir William Hamilton tells us of a servant girl who, under the excitement of fever, repeated long and intricate passages from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew authors, which she had occasionally overheard her old master read as he was walking up and down in his house. If that be the ease under the excitement of fever, is it incredible that the disciples spoke with foreign tongues under the influences of the Holy Spirit? Man is only a degenerate specimen of what he once was. Adam could learn more in five minutes than we can in five years. He could instinctively make language, a much more formidable task than to learn it. Let the wound which sin has inflicted on the mind be healed up, and man will learn a new language with as much facility as Adam made one.

3. The Holy Spirit, it is admitted, ennobles other faculties; then why not this? He made Bezaleel and Aholiab skilful workmen, and still endows men with the knowledge necessary to the successful prosecution of art. When Christianity appeared, the arts and sciences were at a very low ebb. But before long the new religion poured a new spirit into society, and began to ennoble the intellect of the race. Just as you have seen a tree, after being well manured, budding out in early spring with fresh vitality, so Christianity enriched the human mind. Poetry revived under it — the best poetry of the world is Christian. Painting grew under the shadow of its wing — the grand pictures are nearly all representations of scenes in the life of the Saviour. Music and architecture also have chiefly flourished on Christian soil and in immediate connection with Christian worship. And so with the sciences. The revival of learning was coincident with the revival of Christianity. Science did not make the discovery that the sun is the centre of our system until Luther discovered that Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, is the centre of religion. Stephenson was once asked, What was the power that pulled the train along the rails? He answered, The sun. The sun was not the immediate power — that was the fire under the boiler; but he knew that science could trace back the fire of the coal to the fire of the sun. And the power that is now working in the heart of civilization, that is pushing upward and forward all that is good and true is the power of the Spirit of Christ.

4. As sin, which lies like an incubus on the heart of humanity, hindering free movement, will be expunged, we may expect corresponding celerity in our acquisition of knowledge. Possibly the lofty mental state of the apostles is the normal state of man. Daniel was thrown to the lions' den, and the lions hurt him not. That we call supernatural: yet it is perhaps the true natural — the state in which man was placed in Paradise, and in which he will find himself again by and by. The three young men in Babylon were cast into the fiery furnace, and the flame did not singe a hair of their heads. That we call supernatural, yet it may be the true natural. Man was not subject to death either natural or accidental before the entrance of sin into the world; and man redeemed will go through the fire and not be burnt. Christ walked the sea, that we call supernatural: yet I am not sure but it is the true natural — the state in which man found himself in the Paradise of old, and in Paradise regained he will walk through rivers and they will not overflow him. Paul took hold of serpents, and they did not bite him, nor did they bite man in Eden, and they will not bite him in the future. And the disciples on the day of Pentecost spoke with other tongues. The family of man once spoke the same language; and who knows but the partition walls between nations as the result of the confusion of languages will be totally removed by a vast display of intellectual power on the part of the race baptized with the Holy Ghost? The miracle of Pentecost will gradually neutralise the miracle of Babel. Men travel now with greater speed than of old; they correspond with greater rapidity; and who can tell but that learning will move with greater ease, relieved to a certain extent from the present drudgery? "There is a royal road to learning." Let sin be purged out, and man will learn by intuition.


1. His ordinary works are the Creation in its various ramifications. He makes the sun to rise and to set; His wonderful works are as Peter's sermon shows, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The only subjects worthy of the pulpit are not the arts and sciences, but the gospel — a thing specially lacking in the sermons of some leading preachers.

2. It is truly remarkable that the wonderful works of God are easily translatable. Science is not suitable for every language; it cannot speak Welsh, e.g.; but the gospel can. A minister insisted on the importance of knowing Greek to understand the New Testament. "I do not," remarked an old lady, "perceive the necessity, for my Saviour knows Welsh as well as I do. It is in Welsh that I always speak to Him, and that He always speaks to me. He knew Welsh when I was a little girl, and we have talked Welsh together ever since."

3. But the words intimate that the disciples spoke in foreign languages with a thorough command of their peculiar idiom and accent. Not only in their languages but in their "tongues" they had the very twang of natives. Native tongue has very great influence over man. The same truths uttered in another language, though well understood, exercise not the same charm. "Can an Ethiopian change his skin?" Yes, as soon as he can change his tongue. When St. Paul addressed the enraged multitude in Jerusalem in Hebrew, they grew calm and attentive. Latin and Greek would only excite them.

4. Seeing that language is the only weapon in the propagation of the gospel, it is of great importance that its ministers should know how to use it deftly and well. The sword of Cromwell was mighty; all Europe feared the flash of it. But the tongue and pen of Milton did more to ensure liberty of conscience. The pen is stronger than the sword — the tongue can drown the roar of cannon.

5. And the Church leads the van in the study of languages. Commerce and love of learning have done a little in that direction; but they generally follow in the wake of the gospel. Who are the first to learn the languages of distant nations, to write their grammars, to compile their dictionaries? Missionaries of the gospel. What book is the first to speak in the barbarous tongues of the earth? The Bible; but the moment the Bible speaks in those tongues they forthwith cease to be barbarous. Sin has left its deep, black marks upon language. Open your English dictionary and you will find in the first page that three-fourths of the words owe their existence and significance to sin. But these words must gradually grow obsolete, and language be refashioned — the gospel will leave its mark upon the dictionary. The Church of the present day is richly endued with the gift of tongues, every fresh effusion of the Spirit being followed by the certain acquisition of a new language. Go to the Bible Society House, where the Church speaks in no fewer than two hundred and fifty languages. The disciples only began; the Church continues and will continue till all nations shall have heard in their own tongues the wonderful works of God.

6. But we are not taught languages miraculously now. True; and for valid reasons —(1) One is the printing press. What the gift of tongues did for the Church of Pentecost, the printing press has done for the Church of the Reformation.(2) Another is the abundance of the labourers. In the primitive Church there were only a few, whereas there was a whole world to evangelise. So Goal gave them their tools ready made — sickles sharpened for work. But the need for this no longer exists. There are Christians enough in England alone to learn all the languages of the earth, and to preach the gospel to every creature in less than ten years, without in the least disturbing the ordinary course of business at home. God, therefore, has withdrawn the miracle. To continue it would be to patronise indolence, and do for believers what they can easily do for themselves.

7. The miracle has ceased, but the blessing enveloped in the miracle remains.(1) The necessity for miracles arises out of the want and not of the wealth of the age. Hence Jesus turned water into wine, multiplied loaves and fishes and healed the sick, because there were no other means of supply and effectual medicine. It is different now.(2) The miraculous ages are always the most spiritually impoverished. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt is marked by miracles. But the necessity for them arose out of the moral dearth of the times. As the consciousness of God grew, the miraculous continued to wax smaller, till in the reigns of David and Solomon — the richest period materially, intellectually, and spiritually — it ceased altogether. But in subsequent reigns spiritual religion rapidly declined; therefore the gift of miracles was again revived in the persons of Elijah and Elisha. When the Saviour appeared the epoch was the most degraded in the annals of the race. The gift of miracles was therefore granted once more. Miraculous is always in inverse proportion to spiritual power; where the latter grows the former declines. Will miracles be again revived in the Christian Church? Not unless spiritual religion be threatened with speedy extinction.


1. Increased life always demands increased scope for its exercise. There was no power to spread itself in religion under the Old Testament. The Spirit was given in very scanty measures, just enough to preserve, but not to multiply life and replenish the earth. That Judaism should cover only a small portion of the globe was an absolute necessity, for it could maintain its life only by concentration. If the fire be small, it can only be kept burning by being heaped close together. Let the coals be scattered, and the fire will die out. And under the Old Testament only a few sparks came down from heaven to earth; hence it was necessary to gather them together within the narrow confines of Palestine. And in the days of the Saviour the fire was nearly extinguished. Fire was the great need of the age. "I indeed baptize you with water," exclaims the Baptist; but water can only cleanse the surface, but He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. And on the day of Pentecost the prediction is fulfilled. The fire first burns into the hearts of the disciples, then it begins to extend its area, and now it threatens to burn up all the stubble of the world.

2. This increased life reveals itself instinctively in a desire to enlarge its circumference. Whenever the presence of the Spirit is powerfully felt in the Church, it is invariably followed by a renewed effort to evangelise the world. Let the spring impart new life to the roots of the trees, and the life will at once be transmitted to the branches, covering them with abundant foliage. Let the warm, genial months come round, reviving the drooping nature of the bird after the long dreary winter cold, and the bird shows it immediately in his song. He does not sing because he thinks he ought; he sings because he must. And it is a poor way of promoting the evangelistic zeal of the Church to demonstrate constantly what she ought to do. It is useless to lay down rules for the guidance of the Churches unless we supply them with motive power.(1) I do not cry down organisations; they are very valuable in their proper place. But they are only cisterns, and cisterns, though of the most approved pattern, are not of much use to quench thirst. The Pentecostal Church had few organisations; but she had the water of life to give freely to all who were in need. The modern Church can boast of multitudinous organisations; and so far she can claim superiority to the early Church, for cisterns after all are serviceable. What glorious cisterns are missionary societies! They have silver pipes connecting them with every country under heaven; the waterworks are laid to convey the water of life to every thirsty soul. But the results are seldom proportionate to the expenditure. The cisterns too often run dry. How few the triumphs of Christianity at home and abroad! How tardy its onward march! Why? Lack of funds, answer our secretaries. Nay, lack of life, piety, the Holy Spirit of God. Had the apostles funds to back their efforts?(2) Reflection on the part of the Church is not to be discouraged. But stock-taking will not clothe the naked. We spend too much time in surveying our property, and meanwhile our enthusiasm considerably abates. The Greek Church took stock of all the Christian doctrines and reduced them into carefully worded articles. But in reflection she lost her ardour, in speculation evaporated all her life. The most orthodox church became practically a dead church. I have not heard of her sending out missionaries to evangelise the heathen. What then is required to awaken within her the old life and incite her to new adventures? What is wanting to make Roman and Protestant Churches more powerful for good in the world? Another outpouring of the Holy Ghost. We have cisterns enough, pray for the living water; machinery enough, pray the Spirit of the living creature to enter the wheels, and then it will do more work and make less noise.


1. Truth, though it be Christian truth, cannot fill and satisfy our nature. God alone can do that. This, of course, implies that. human nature is capacious enough to take in the Spirit. God is too great for our powers, but not for our wants; too vast for our reason, but not for our hearts. Our abilities are limited enough, but our necessities are verily boundless. "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"; and He made him in the similitude even of His infinitude. I have infinite wants within me, and through the Infinite within I can know the Infinite without, and receive Him in the ample plenitude of His power and grace into my soul. How does the infant know his mother? By his wants. He knows not whether she is rich or poor, accomplished or unlearned, beautiful or plain; but he thoroughly knows her when he is hungry, for she feeds him; when he is cold, for she warms him; when he is in pain, for she soothes him. We know God just in the same way.

2. We may be filled with Him so as to convince unbelievers, not only that we have been with God, but that He dwells in us of a truth. There is a curious invention to fill the human body with electricity. If you only approach the body so filled, it will shoot forth sparks of wild lightning. But all connection between the body and the earth must be severed; the man must stand on a non-conducting material, else the electric fluid will flow out as fast as it flows in. In like manner we me y be recipients of the Divine fire. And sometimes we feel as if we were getting full, we emit Divine sparks at the approach of others they are convinced that God is in us of a truth. But ere many days pass, the hallowed influences have all flowed out. Worldliness is the great sin of the Church; it robs us of the Divine in Christian experience. Oh for another Pentecostal baptism! We need the Spirit now as much as ever to convert unbelievers, and to stir up the dormant energies of the Church. Why is it that Christian workers see so little fruit to their labours? That the success is not commensurate with the organisations? Some answer, The poverty of your sermons. But that cannot be the reason for every preaching qualification met in Christ, and yet He made but comparatively few converts. "He could not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief." A cold church, an unbelieving church robs itself of the choicest blessings of heaven. Let it not blame its ministers for its non-success — roses will not grow in Greenland, trees will not blossom at the North Pole.

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)


1. Thus the creation of man inaugurated an era which continued until the Flood; the covenant with Noah inaugurated another, which continued until the Exodus; the delivery of the law another, which continued until Christ's ascension; and the day of Pentecost another, in the course of which our own generation finds its place. This, too, will be superseded by the Second Advent. And it is well for us to connect the little day of our life with this magnificent progression. As an independent thing our life is utterly insignificant; as a contributing item, it becomes almost sublime.

2. Up to the day of Pentecost every dispensation was preparatory. Christianity is final; and therefore surpasses in importance every other that preceded it. All the constituent elements of Christianity were now provided; the life of Christ had demonstrated the practicability and holiness of God's law; His death had constituted an atonement for transgressors; His resurrection had attested it; His ascension had consummated His incarnate life; and then, after seven or eight days, as if to mark by a solemn pause the broad boundary line of Judaism and Christianity, the Holy Spirit was palpably bestowed; and the spiritual religion of Christ inaugurated.

3. Amongst the anniversaries of the Church, therefore, the day of Pentecost must ever occupy an august position. Christianity was a completed system stereotyped for all men to the end of the world in a historical form.

II. THE DISPENSATIONAL CHANGE WHICH THE DAY OF PENTECOST MARKED AND CONSUMMATED. The dispensation of the Spirit stands in natural and logical order amongst the Divine dispensations looked at.

1. As manifestations of God. Of these there have been three successively presented, and corresponding with the triune distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. First, the revelation of the Father — the manifestation of those ideas of the Divine nature which we associate with the Father — such as power, wisdom, holiness, and law. Secondly, the revelation of the Son — the manifestation of those ideas of the Divine nature which we associate with the Son — such as teaching, mediation, sacrifice, love. Lastly, the revelation of the Spirit — as the Source of life, the Enlightener, the Sanctifier, the Comforter. And these correspond in their order to the spiritual education of men. In their ignorance and guilt they need first to be taught the idea of God. Convinced of sin, they then need to be taught a way of reconciliation; and under the dispensation of the Son, they have the great saving plan revealed. Under the dispensation of the Spirit, a provision is made for the efficiency of the plan; spiritual life is quickened; they are not only forgiven, but sanctified. So with their education in worship. Under the dispensation of the Father, they learn the first rudiments of worship, through material symbols and .pictures; under the dispensation of the Son they worship the spiritual God, but m connection with the living body of the Incarnate One; under the dispensation of the Spirit, they worship without any material medium in "spirit and in truth." The dispensation of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost assumed two distinct forms, and produced two distinct effects.(1) As miraculous endowment it was peculiar to the apostles. This was indicated by material symbols. But such endowment was incidental and subordinate. Just as the miracles of Christ are not to be confounded with His moral mission, so the miraculous endowments of the Spirit are not to be confounded with His moral or sanctifying influences. The miraculous element in both cases is simply the credential or attestation of the moral. It soon, therefore, ceased. As moral evidence for Christianity accumulated, and the written records of the New Testament were completed, miraculous testimony was withdrawn.(2) But the deeper and abiding manifestation was that moral and regenerating influence of it of which Christ discoursed to Nicodemus, and is known, therefore, only by its effects. The former was an endowment of the preacher; this is an endowment of the hearer, qualifying and disposing him to receive it in the saving love and power of it.

2. As a saving provision for man.(1) This dispensation of the Spirit abides with the Church for ever, and is bestowed upon all believers. And this is the grand and transcendent characteristic of Christianity, whereby it provides for the efficacy of its own religious teaching. Other religions give laws, and leave men unaided with the stern requirement; but Christianity gives dispositions as well as laws. It puts a new spirit into those whom it calls to its discipleship.(2) We cannot, therefore, exaggerate the importance of this provision. Without it, all that Christ has taught or done would have been in vain; we should for lack of spiritual discernment have failed to discern spiritual things, and for lack of spiritual affection failed to have embraced them.(3) Of course spiritual influence of this kind must have been in operation before. No holy man ever became such save through the influences of the Holy Spirit, allusions to which are very numerous in the Old Testament. But just as the work of Christ was in efficacious operation before Christ Himself was historically manifested, so was the work of the Spirit. Just as the first pardoned man was justified by faith in Christ, so the first holy man was renewed by the operation of the Holy Ghost, and just as the Nativity was the manifestation of the atoning Christ, so the day of Pentecost was the manifestation of the renewing spirit. As much of the character and work of the Son were revealed as the world could receive; and as much of the influence of the Spirit was exerted as the moral condition of the world would admit of. Hence we may understand how there should be a greater amount of spiritual influence operating in the Christian Church than in the Jewish Church.

(H. Allon, D. D.)

It is natural to assume a purpose in the Divine choice of the day on which the disciples were thus to receive the promise of the Father. That choice may have been determined, if one may so speak, either in view of the circumstances of the feast, or of its history and symbolic fitness.

1. Of all the feasts of the Jewish year it was that which attracted the largest number of pilgrims from distant lands. The dangers of travel by sea or land in the early spring or late autumn (cf. Acts 27:9) prevented their coming in any large numbers to the Passover. At no other feast would there have been representatives of so many nations. It was Pentecost that St. Paul went up to keep once and again, during his mission-work in Greece and Asia (Acts 18:21; Acts 20:16). So there was no time on which the gift of the Spirit was likely to produce such direct and immediate results.

2. Each aspect of the old Feast of Weeks, now known as Pentecost, or the "Fiftieth-day" Feast, presented a symbolic meaning which made it typical of the work now about to be accomplished.(1) It was the "feast of harvest, the feast of the first-fruits"; and so it was meet that it should witness the first great gathering of the fields that were white to harvest (Exodus 23. 16).(2) It was one on which, more than on any other, the Israelite was to remember that her had been a bondman in the land of Egypt, and had been led forth to freedom (Deuteronomy 16:12), and on it, accordingly, they were to do no servile work (Leviticus 23:31); and it was, therefore, a fit time for the gift of the Spirit, of whom it was emphatically true that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17), and who was to guide the Church into the truth which should make men free indeed (John 8:32).(3) It was a day on which sacrifices of every kind were offered — burnt-offerings, and sin-offerings, and meat-offerings, and peace-offerings — and so represented the consecration of body, soul, and spirit as a spiritual sacrifice (Leviticus 23:17-20).(4) As on the Passover the first ripe sheaf of corn was waved before Jehovah as the type of the sacrifice of Christ, of the corn of wheat which is not quickened except it die (Leviticus 23:10; John 12:24), so on Pentecost two wave-loaves of fine flour were to be offered, the type, it may be, under the light now thrown on them, of the Jewish and the Gentile Churches (Leviticus 23:17). And these loaves were to be leavened, as a witness that the process of the contact of mind with mind, which — as the prohibition of leaven in the Passover ritual bore witness — is naturally so fruitful in evil, might yet, under a higher influence, become one of unspeakable good: the new life working through the three measures of meal until the whole was leavened (Matthew 13:33).

3. The Feast of Pentecost had — traditionally, at least — also a commemorative character. On that day — so it was computed by the later Rabbis, though the Book of Exodus (Exodus 19:1) seems to leave the matter in some uncertainty — the Israelites had encamped round Sinai, and there had been thunders, and darkness, and voices, and the great Laws had been proclaimed. It was, that is, an epoch-making day in the religious history of Israel. It was fit that it should be chosen for another great epoch-making day, which, seeming at first to be meant for Israel only, was intended ultimately for mankind.

(Dean Plumptre.)

I. THE CONSECRATED HARVEST OF THE FIELD. It may seem somewhat singular that we should be talking of harvest on the first of June, but in Palestine the harvest is much earlier than where the climate is more severe. At the beginning of the barley harvest the first ripe ears were presented to the Lord in due order, but at the fuller festival they brought into God's house, not the ears of wheat, but two large loaves — the fruit of the earth actually prepared for human food. What did that mean?

1. That all came from God. We regard our bread as the fruit of our own labour; but who gives us strength to labour,, and gives the earth the power to bring forth her harvest? I fear in many houses bread is eaten and the Giver is forgotten. Let us by grateful offerings to the Lord express our thankfulness for all the comforts we enjoy.

2. That all our possessions need God's blessing upon them. Without a blessing from God His gifts become temptations, and bring with them care rather than refreshment. It was a joyous sight to see the loaves and the fishes multiplied; but the best part of it was that the Master looked up to heaven and blessed them. If thou hast little, yet if God has blessed thy little there is a flavour in it which the ungodly cannot know when they fill themselves with stalled oxen. If thou hast ample, yet if thou hast more blessing, thy riches shall not be a snare to thee.

3. That all we have we hold under God as His stewards. These two loaves were a kind of peppercorn rent acknowledging the superior landlord who was the true owner of the Holy Land. We farm our portions and gather the fruit as stewards for the Most High, and bring a part thereof to His altar in token that we would use the rest to His glory. Have we all done this with our substance? Where is that one talent of thine, O slothful servant? Where are those five talents, O thou man of influence and of wealth?

4. That they were afraid they might commit sin in the using of what God had given. The first thank-offering was of barley, fresh plucked from the field; but this second offering of the first-fruits was not wheat as God made it. Why was it ordained that they should present leaven to God? To show us that common life, with all its imperfections, may yet be used for God's glory. We may, through our Lord Jesus, be accepted in shop-life as well as in sanctuary-life, in market-dealing as well as in sacramental meditation. Yet do not fail to notice that they brought also a burnt-offering: so the precious blood of Christ's sacrifice must fall upon our leavened loaves, or they will be sour before the Lord. "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." Nay, that was not all. In consideration of the loaf being leavened, they brought with it a sin-offering as well (Leviticus 23:19). Confessing, as each one of us must do, that however hearty our dedication to God, there is still a faultiness in our lives, we are glad to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

5. All this was done as an act of joy. A new meat-offering was offered unto the Lord with peace-offerings, which two always signify, among other things, a quiet, happy communion with God. In addition to all this they presented a drink-offering of wine, which expresses the joy of the offerer. Pentecost was not a fast, but a festival. When thou givest anything to God, give it not as though it were a tax, but freely; or it cannot be accepted. God loveth a cheerful giver. His service is perfect freedom; to give to Him is rapture; to live to Him is heaven.

II. THE CONSECRATED HARVEST OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, as taught by the events of the great Christian Pentecost. Our Lord is the greatest of all sowers, for He sowed Himself. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground," etc. Had He not said, "The fields are white already to harvest"? and now, when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the fruit was seen of them, and joyfully gathered. Learn —

1. That the first harvest of our Lord Jesus Christ was through the Holy Ghost. There were no three thousand converts till first of all was heard the rushing of mighty wind. Till the cloven tongues had rested on the disciples there were no broken hearts among the crowd. Until the believers were all filled with the Holy Ghost the minds of their hearers were not filled with conviction. If you desire to save your class you must yourselves be endowed with the power of the Holy Ghost. You cannot burn a way for the truth into the heart of another unless the tongue of fire is given to you from on high.

2. That day may be considered to be the ordering of the Christian dispensation. It was exactly fifty days after the original Passover that the law was given on Mount Sinai. At the commencement of the New Testament dispensation the Lord gives the Spirit. Under the old covenant the command was given; but under the new the will and the power to obey are bestowed by the Holy Ghost. Moses on the mount can only tell us what to do, but Jesus ascended on high pours out the power to do it. Now we are not under the law, but under grace, and the Spirit is our guiding force.

3. This Pentecost was also the beginning of a great harvest of Jews and Gentiles. Were there not two loaves? Not only shall Israel be saved, but the multitude of the Gentiles shall be turned unto the Lord. If the first-fruits were so great, what will the ultimate harvest be?(1) The filling of the apostles with the Holy Ghost was a part of the first-fruits. A man full of the Holy Ghost rejoices the heart of Christ.(2) Still, the major part of the Pentecostal first-fruits will be found in the great number that were that day converted.

4. The Christian Pentecost is to us full of instruction.(1) The disciples had to wait for it. "The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth." Sow on: Pentecost will yet yield its loaves unto the Lord.(2) They obtained nothing until they began preaching the gospel, and then in one day the Church was multiplied by twenty-five.(3) Of all those people saved it was acknowledged that they belonged unto the Lord alone.(4) Even if we should see three thousand converted in a day we must not reckon that such first-fruits would be absolutely perfect. In all our successes and additions there will sure to be a leaven. Do not wonder if some converts go back. It will always be so; tares grow with the wheat, and bad fish are taken in the same net with the good.

III. THE CONSECRATED HARVEST FROM EACH PARTICULAR PERSON. In Deuteronomy 26. you will find there a form of service which I pray may serve your turn to-day.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There is a Christian as well as a Jewish year; we ought not to be unmindful of the changes which illustrate God's holy counsel and tender conduct. The Author of natural and spiritual life is one, and He gives many a hint of His gracious purpose in the changes of the year. Christ has taught us to see in seed-sowing a symbol of the Cross, and a call to Christian sacrifice. The "harvest," the solemn fruitful autumn-time, reminds us of "the end of the world," and has its strangely blended influences of mournfulness and hope. Spring is a type of the resurrection; life bursting out of the grave. Of all symbols of the Christian life, this early summer-time is the most blessed. Calm as these warm and not yet sultry days; peaceful as early June mornings; fresh as the dews and showers; rich as the verdure of our landscape, it is given us to know that our Christian life is under the silent energy of the Spirit.


1. The injunction to keep the feast of first-fruits concludes, "and thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt"; the rejoicing followed the commemoration of the deliverance. The Jews call the day of Pentecost the "concluding festival" i.e., the festival that concludes the Paschal celebration. The association is not difficult to trace. The national life of Israel was the sequel to their deliverance from Egypt. It was not enough for them to be set free and to be led into the desert. God had prepared a land for them needing greater labour and more careful cultivation than Egypt, but yielding better fruits. The feast of Pentecost was their memorial that God had fulfilled His promise. They brought the fruits of the land which He had given them, and remembered year by year that He blessed their toil, and was nourishing the men He had redeemed,

2. Spiritual life is the sequel of Christian redemption; the gift of the Holy Ghost was God's purposed supplement of Calvary. Spiritual history begins with the Cross, but it does not end there. It sometimes happens that the first gladness and gratitude of a forgiven soul are followed by a strange restlessness and dissatisfaction, as was the deliverance of Israel. But the Paschal time, of haste and scarce-quelled anxiety, of girded loins and unleavened bread and bitter herbs, are followed by the Pentecost of life, love, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. It is not till this Divine life is formed within us by God's Spirit, strong as the forces that clothe the earth with summer beauty, that we can fully commemorate the death of Christ which is our redemption. The Holy Ghost was needed by the men who were to be preachers of the Cross. He not only unfolded to them its meaning; He dwelt in them an energy tender, earnest, and strong, like that of Christ the Redeemer. They had life in them; and nothing could suppress their faith, their gladness, or their labours; and by all the genial force of life, men were constrained by their influence, and drawn into their communion. And so now, if Christian teaching is ineffective, it is because it lacks the force of Christian life. Our teaching may be scrupulously orthodox, yet very repellent and cold. Our efforts may be unnumbered, and our plans most wisely organised; yet, without the love, the earnestness that only life can give, they will be all in vain. There is something for us besides praying for the Divine life; it is to live it. Christians sometimes ask that "the Spirit may be poured out." He has been poured out.

II. PENTECOST WAS A MEMORIAL OF GOD'S CONSTANT PRESENCE AND POWER. The feast was ordained to remind the Jews who it was who gave them their corn and wine and oil. They were not permitted to eat of the year's harvest till the first sheaves had been waved before the Lord, and the two loaves offered to Him; lest they should think that the earth brought forth fruit of itself, lest they should be undevout, and gluttonous, and drunken in their feasts. This was the consecration of the "first-fruits" which would hallow the "whole lump" of which they were daily partaking. The Jews, like Englishmen, were prone to practical atheism; they, like Englishmen, only recognised God in signal events of their history, unmindful of the care that was daily mindful of them, and the bounty which daily made them glad. All piety decays when we forget that the "Father" is "ever working." Body and soul, as well as spirit, have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Food and raiment, house-room and friends, have been given us by the same Father who gave us His Son. The power that quickened the world from the Cross is ruling over it still; the love that shines in the Cross gives summer flowers and autumn fruits. Men who see nothing more than forces of nature in the power that yearly clothes the hill-sides, and makes the valleys fruitful, see too in the Christian life nothing more than human nature under new developments. The day of Pentecost is the witness of a Divine person abiding near us, and working in us all the energies and influences of a Christian life. It prevents our falling into that despondency which must be our lot if we have none to trust in but ourselves. Where we are powerless, He imparts life; and then truth becomes plain, and motives are felt that we could not awaken. Earnest Christian people need the teaching of the day of Pentecost. There are many who connect the Holy Ghost only with their conversion, and with periods of high-wrought emotion; but in the whole range of Christian life, however varied to our feeling, the Spirit, the source of life, is working. Yes, and in hearts that have not yet yielded themselves to Jesus; in children born into godly households, and abandoned ones listening wonderingly to new words of hope and love; in providential circumstances; by words of kindness and deeds that flow from a heart of love; in everything that has a Christian tendency, in every influence that comes from Christ and moves towards Him, "worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." A few weeks ago, and though ,we knew, we did not feel that summer was nigh. The trees were bare, and the earth was hard, and we shivered beneath the chilling blast. But God was working; the spirit of life was moving in the sluggish sap, the sun was gathering force, and the western winds were on their way to us with refreshing showers. And lo! the summer is hero. Let us work according to God's will, and we shall one day see the glad and genial life that the Divine Spirit is accomplishing; for He is near us and is in us still. "I have planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the increase."

(A. Mackennal, D. D.)

1. Two reasons for the name.(1) On Whitsunday people used to come to be baptized, dressed all in white. Why? Because they wanted to feel that they were going to be made clean. And so it came to be called "White Sunday," or, shortened, "Whit Sunday."(2) If you count Easter Sunday one, and then count on to this Sunday, you will find that this is the eighth. Now the French word for "eight" is "halt." You know a great many French words came into English, but people did not know how to spell some of them, so they spelt this word "bait" as if it were "white."

2. What happened on Whitsunday? The Holy Ghost came down. I cannot explain to you all about the Holy Ghost. It is very deep and mysterious. Perhaps you have heard about the monk who was trying to explain all about God. He went down to the seaside, and found a man with a little shell in his hand scooping up the sea. He said to the man, "What are you doing?" He replied, "I am going to put the sea into this shell." "You cannot do it," said the monk. Then the man replied, "My task is easier than yours. You are trying to put the great God into your little mind."

3. What does "Holy Ghost" mean? Holy Spirit. Sometimes, when we cannot look at the sun, we look at a sunbeam; or we look at the reflection of the sun in a looking-glass. We cannot see the sun in his full lustre. Now I want to speak about the Holy Ghost by emblems.

I. What is that you can feel, but cannot see? THE WIND. You can feel the Holy Ghost, but you cannot see Him. "The wind bloweth where it listeth," etc. The Saviour likened Him to that, and said, "Except a man be born," etc. Now —

1. Nobody can go to heaven unless they are "born again." A man was once asked, "Where were you born?" He said, "In London, and in Salisbury." "What! born in two places?" he was asked. He explained, "My body was born in London, and my soul was born in Salisbury." Now what does it mean? Did you ever see a new-born baby? What a new, strange world it has come into. When you become a real Christian, you enter a new world, and all will be so new to you. Poor little baby! Somebody must feed it, clothe it, carry it. So when you become a Christian you must feel, "Jesus must carry me, clothe me, feed me." When you are "born again" you will have new thoughts, new feelings.

2. Does everybody know when they are "born again"? Some do; but very few. There is a great palm-tree called the Palm Azaleum, and when the blossom comes out of the shield, the flower breaks the shield with a noise as loud as a cannon. Everybody can know when that flower comes out. Some conversions are like that, but most are as quiet as when the little grain comes out of the grass, or when the flower comes out in the bud; you can hardly tell when it happens. One day there was a wicked man driving his cart along a road, and suddenly the wind blew a tract to his feet. Where that tract came from he never knew. He took it up and read it, and a word there changed the man, made him a Christian. The Holy Ghost, like the wind, turned his heart.

3. Did you ever see an AEolian harp? It is a very wonderful thing, a little harp with a few strings. No human fingers play upon it. If you keep it in your room it won't play; but if you put it just outside the window, on a windy day, it will play such sweet music. A great writer has said, "The human heart is a harp of a thousand strings." All the thoughts and feelings in your heart are all strings. If the Holy Spirit comes they will play very sweet music. But your heart won't play without the Holy Spirit.

II. The Holy Ghost is like WATER When you were baptized some water was poured over your head to tell you that the Holy Ghost can make the heart clean. There was a good man who, when he wanted to think about holy things, put before himself three words, "black," "red," and "white." He looked at the word "black," and he thought, "That is my heart, which is very black." Then he looked at the word "red," and thought, "The blood of Jesus can make the black thing white." And then he looked at the word "white," and thought, "I hope my heart has been washed, and made white through the Holy Ghost."

III. When the Holy Ghost came down upon the Lord Jesus He appeared as a DOVE. And a dove is considered an emblem of something very gentle. The Holy Ghost comes very gently, and He makes us gentle. I knew two little girls who were going out of a church, and one little girl pushed by the other, and she made way for her to pass, saying, "Blessed are the peacemakers." That was gentle, like a dove. As a boy was once going to throw a stone at a little bird, the bird sang so sweetly that the boy could not throw. Another, passing, said, "Why don't you throw? You will hit it." "I cannot," he said; "the little bird is singing so sweetly." If you know anybody who is unkind to you, you sing like the little bird, and then see if anybody will hurt you.

IV. The Holy Spirit is like DEW. "Dew" is to be seen in the morning and evening. It is very pretty and makes everything so fresh where it comes. Now, if you wish to be good and please God, take care that every morning and evening yon get a little of the dew of the Holy Spirit upon you; it will make everything fresh and nice. You are in the morning of life. Now is the time to have dew, and may it always abide in and upon you, not like the natural dew, that soon passes away.

V. The Holy Spirit is like FIRE. Supposing I were to give you a piece of iron, and ask you to make an image out of it, what would you do? If you got a hammer and chisel, and worked ever so hard, it would not make it into an image. What, then, would you do? Put it into the fire, then it would get soft; then you could make it into almost any shape you like four hearts are like iron. You have tried to make them good, but you cannot do so; but put them into "the fire," the Holy Spirit will make them soft and make them into right shapes. Supposing I saw two girls quarrelling, and I wanted to make them at one, how can I do it? Supposing I gave you two bits of iron, and asked you to make them one, how would you do it? You must weld them together. You could not do it till you put them into the fire. So if I find two persons quarrelling, and I want to make them one, I should try to do it by the Holy Spirit.

VI. The Holy Spirit is A SEAL NOW, supposing a person had got some very precious jewels, and was going abroad, and he wanted to be quite sure that they would be safe when he came back again. He would lock them up, and put a seal upon the lock, that nobody might be able to break the lock. You are Christ's jewels, and He has gone abroad. By and by He will come back again. He has "sealed" you with the Holy Spirit. If you take care not to break that "seal," then you are quite safe; but if you trifle with it, i.e., if you grieve the Holy Spirit, the "seal" will be broken; then what will become of the jewels? But keep the Holy Spirit in your heart, then you will be safe when Christ comes back. In the time of the Emperor Tiberius, there was a law in Rome that anybody who carried a particular ring on his finger must never go into any dirty or wrong place. You have got the seal; keep it holy!

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

It is the doctrine of the interworking of the Spirit of God upon the souls of men. I have no philosophy about it. All I say is this: that God knows what is the secret way in which mind reaches mind. I do not — you do not. I do not know why words on my tongue wake up thoughts corresponding to those words in you. I do not know why the soul of man, like a complex instrument of wondrous scope, is played upon by my words, so that there are waked up in it notes along the whole scale of being. I do not understand why things are so, but unquestionably they are so. I do not know how the mother pours her affection on the child's heart, but she does. Two stars never shone into each other as two loving souls shine into each other. I know it is so, but I do not know why it is so. I do not know how soul touches soul, how thought touches thought, or how feeling touches feeling, but I know it does. Now that which we see in the lower departments of life — that which exists between you and your friends, and me and my friends — that I take, and by my imagination I lift it up into the Divine nature, and give it depth and scope and universality; and then I have some conception of the doctrine of God's Spirit poured upon the human soul.

(H. W. Beecher.)

It is as if you saw a locomotive engine upon a railway, and it would not go; and they put up a driver, and they said, "Now, that driver will just do." They try another and another. One proposes that such and such a wheel should be altered; but still it will not go. Some one then bursts in amongst those who are conversing, and says, "No, friends; but the reason why it will not go is because there is no steam. You have no fire; you have no water in the boiler: that's why it will not go. There may be some faults about it: it may want a bit of paint here and there: but it will go well enough with all those faults if you do but get the steam up." But now people are saying, "This must be altered, and that must be altered." But it would go he better unless God the Spirit should come to bless us. That is the Church's great want; and, until that want be supplied, we may reform and reform, and stiff be lust the same. We want the Holy Spirit; and then, whatever faults there may be in our organisation, they can never materially impede the progress of Christianity when once the Spirit of the Lord God is in our midst.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Here is a noble ship... The forests have masted her; in many a broad yard of canvas a hundred looms have given her wings. Her anchor has been weighed to the rude sea-chant; the needle trembles on her deck: with his eye on that friend, unlike worldly friends, true in storm as in calm, the helmsman stands impatient by the wheel. And when, as men bound to a distant shore, the crew have said farewell to wives and children, why, then, lies she there over the self-same ground, rising with the flowing and falling with the ebbing tide? The cause is plain. They want a wind to raise that drooping pennon and fill these empty sails. They look to heaven; and so they may; out of the skies their help must come. At length their prayer is heard.... And now, like a steed touched by the rider's spur, she starts, bounds forward, plunges through the waves, and, heaven's wind her moving power, is off and away, amid blessings and prayers, to the land she is chartered for. Even so, though heaven-born, heaven-called, heaven-bound, though endowed with a new heart and new mind, we stand in the same need of celestial influences.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Revivals are not constant, but occasional things; they are like the showers that water the earth.

(T. H. Skinner.)

We are this day to celebrate the yearly memory of the sending down of a benefit, so great and so wonderful, as there were not tongues enough upon earth to celebrate it, but there were fain to be more sent from heaven to help to sound it out thoroughly.

I. THE TIME. The day of Pentecost. Why that day? Pentecost was a great feast under the law; and meet it was this coming should be at some great feast. The first dedication of Christ's Catholic Church on earth, the first publishing the gospel, the first proclaiming the apostles' commission, were so great matters, as it was not meet they should be done in a corner.


1. On their parts on whom the Holy Ghost came. It is truly said by the philosopher, that if the patient be prepared aright, the agent will have his work both the sooner and the better. And so, consequently, the Spirit in His coming, if the parties to whom He cometh be made ready. And this is threefold:(1) Unity. Can any spirit animate or give life to members dismembered? A fair example we have in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:7-9). Now the Holy Ghost is the very essential unity, love, and love-knot, of the two Persons, the Father and the Son, even of God with God. And He is sent to be the union, love, and loveknot of the two Natures united in Christ, even of God with man. And can we imagine that He will enter (essential unity) but where there is unity? There is no greater bar to His entry than discord and disunited minds.(2) Not only of one mind, that is, unanimity, but also in one place too, that is, uniformity; both in the unity of the Spirit, that is inward, and in the bond of peace too, that is, outward. God's will is, we should be as upon one foundation, so under one roof (Psalm 68:6). Therefore it is expressly noted of this company where they prayed, they prayed all together (Acts 4:24). When they heard, they heard all together (Acts 8:6). When they brake bread, they did it all together (ver. 46). Division of places will not long be without division of minds.(3) A disposition in them, whereby they held out, and stirred not, even till the fifty days were fulfilled. That ,former, unanimity; this latter, longanimity. There is in us a hot, hasty spirit, impatient of any delay.

2. On His part. He came sensibly, a rare coming, since the Holy Ghost, an invisible Spirit, cometh, for the most part, invisibly. Yet here it was meet — first, that no less honour done to this law of Zion than to that of Sinai, which was public and full of majesty; and secondly, it pleased Him to vouchsafe to grace the Church, His queen, with like solemn inauguration to that of His own, when the Holy Ghost descended on Him in likeness of a Dove. This coming, then, of His thus in state, is such as it was both to be heard and seen. To the ear, which is the sense of faith; to the eye, which is the sense of love. The ear, that is the ground of the word, which is audible; the eye, which is the ground of the sacraments, which are visible. To the ear in a noise; to the eye in a show. The noise, serving as a trumpet, to awake the world, and give them warning He was come. The fiery tongues, as so many lights, to show them and let them see the day of that their visitation.(1) There comes a sound. Which is to show that the spirit is no dumb spirit but vocal. The sound thereof is gone into all lands, and hath been heard in all ages.(2) It was the sound of a wind. For first, of all bodily things it is the least bodily, and cometh nearest to the nature of a spirit, invisible as it is; and secondly, quick and active, as the spirit is. Now, this wind that came and made this sound is here described with four properties:(a) It fell suddenly, so doth the wind. It riseth often in the midst of a calm, giveth no warning; and even so doth the Spirit, for that cometh not by observation, neither can you make set rules of it: you must wait for it as well when it cometh not as when it comes. Many times it is found of them that seek it not. It creeps not like motions that come from the serpent. And therefore sudden, saith Gregory, because things, if they be not sudden, awake us not, affect us not. And therefore sudden, saith he again, that men may learn not to despise present motions of grace, though suddenly rising in them, and though they can give no certain reason of them, but take the wind while it bloweth as not knowing when it will or whether ever it will blow again.(b) It was a mighty, or vehement, wind. Although the wind is nothing else but a puff of air, the thinnest, the poorest, and to our seeming, of the least force of all creatures, yet groweth it to that violence which pulls up trees, blows down huge piles of building, hath most strange and wonderful effects, and all this but a little thin air. And surely no less observable or admirable, nay, much more, have been and are the operations of the Spirit. Even presently after this, this Spirit, in a few poor weak and simple instruments, waxed so full and forcible as it cast down strongholds, brought into captivity many an exalting thought, made a conquest of the whole world, even then, when it was bent fully in main opposition against it.(c) It came from heaven. Winds naturally come not from thence, but move laterally from one coast or climate to another. To come directly down from heaven, that is supernatural, and points us plainly to Him that is ascended up into heaven, and now sendeth it down from thence that it may fill us with the breath of heaven. To distinguish this wind from others is no hard matter. If our motions come from above it is this wind, which came thence to make us heavenly-minded.(d) It filled that place where they sat. That place, not the places about. The common wind fills all places within his circuit alike. And this is a property very well fitting the Spirit. To blow in certain places where itself will; and upon certain persons and they shall plainly feel it, and others about them not a whir.(2) This wind brought down with it tongues to be seen. Here is not only sent a wind which serveth for their own inspiration, but tongues which serve for elocution, that is, to impart the benefit to more than themselves. It showeth that the Holy Ghost cometh and is given rather to do others good than to benefit themselves. Charity poured into their hearts would serve them; grace poured into their lips was needful to make others partakers of the benefit. This also standeth of four parts, as did the former.(a) There were tongues, and God can send from heaven no better thing, nor the devil from hell no worse. The best member we have (Psalm 108:1). The worst member we have (James 3:6). Both, as it is employed.(b) Cloven tongues — and that very cleaving of right necessary use to the business intended, viz., that the knowledge of the gospel might be dispersed to every nation under heaven. If there must be a calling of the Gentiles, they must have the tongues of the Gentiles wherewith to call them. But with their many tongues they spake one thing.(c) They were tongues as of fire to show that they were not of our elementary fire. As the wind, so the fire from heaven, of the nature of that which made the bush burn and yet consumed it not. The tongues were as of fire to teach that the force of fire should show forth itself in their words, both in the splendour, which is the light of knowledge to clear the mist of their darkened understanding, and in the fervour, which is the force of spiritual efficacy, to quicken the dulness of their cold and dead affections. With such a tongue spake Christ Himself, when they said of Him, "Did not our hearts burn within us while He spake unto us by the way?" With such a tongue St. Peter, here in this chapter; for sure there fell from Him something like fire on their hearts, when they were pricked with it and cried, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" But this is not always, nor in all with us; no more was it with them, but in those of their hearers which had some of the anointing, and that will easily take the fire, in them good will be done; or at least, where there was some smoking flax, some remainder of the Spirit, which without any great ado will be kindled anew.(d) These sat upon each of them. In which sitting is set down unto us their last quality — of continuance and constancy. They did not light and touch and away, after the manner of butterflies.

(Bp. Andrewes.)

The Study and the Pulpit.

1. The Holy Spirit is promised to the Church (John 15:26; John 16:7; Joel 2:28, 29).

2. The promise is not always understood in its full meaning as it ought to be. The disciples did not understand it, nor does the Church of our own age. It would not rest a day without its fulfilment (John 4:10).

3. The promise will certainly be fulfilled. This is seen in the history of the Church at Pentecost. There was delay, but not denial. Then as now the Holy Spirit is given to the Church at the best and most appropriate time. We must wait, for it is determined by infinite wisdom.


1. Frequent in its meetings.

2. United in its spirit.

3. Prayerful in disposition (Acts 1:14).

4. Patient in temper.

5. Catholic in sentiment.Not merely the disciples were present, but many strangers. They had come to the feast, and got a better feast than they expected. Some Churches are so narrow and sectarian in their spirit, that the Holy Spirit is shut out from them.


1. Is set forth under appropriate emblems.

2. Affects the speaking of the Word. When men receive the Holy Spirit it is always evident in their conversation, which is aglow with heavenly fire and feeling. True eloquence is a spiritual gift.

3. Is designed to fill the human soul with Divine and ennobling influences. As the wind filled the house, so the Spirit filled the men, every crevice of their being. The heart of man must be filled with something; if God does not fill it the world will. The Divine filling is the most ennobling and blessed.

(The Study and the Pulpit.)

I am sitting, on a summer's day, in the shadow of a great New England elm. Its long branches hang motionless; there is not breeze enough to move them. All at once there comes a faint murmur; around my head the leaves are moved by a gentle current of air; then the branches begin to sway to and fro, the leaves are all in motion, and a soft, rushing sound fills my ear. So with every one that is born of the Spirit. I am in a state of spiritual lethargy, and scarcely know how to think any good thought. I am heart-empty, and there comes, I know not where or whence, a sound of the Divine presence. I am inwardly moved with new comfort and hope, the day seems to dawn in my heart, sunshine comes around my path, and I am able to go to my duties with patience. I am walking in the Spirit, I am helped by the help of God, and comforted with the comfort of God. And yet this is all in accordance with law. There is no violation of law when the breezes come, stirring the tops of the trees; and there is no violation of law when God moves in the depths of our souls, and rouses us to the love and desire of holiness.

(James Freeman Clarke.)

Notice —


1. It is interesting that the Holy Spirit should have been conferred at Jerusalem, the capital of the old faith. It is not God's way to inaugurate the new by any harsh abandonments of the old. The Christian is only the Jewish Church led forth into a new stage of development. As the two lay in Christ's mind there was no break between them. "I came not to destroy, but to fulfil." It was suitable, then, that where the old Church had matured, the new Church should germinate.

2. It is impossible to say with exactness where in Jerusalem the disciples were gathered. It is barely possible that it was in some portion of the temple edifice. If that were the case it would only be in the line of what has just been said.

3. This first giving of the Spirit was at Pentecost. Still another proof of this is that God would like to have us consider Christianity as a graft upon an old stock.

4. As to the nature of the miracle. Was it a gift of "tongues," or a gift of "ears"? The most casual perusal is sufficient to convince that it was the disciples that were inspired to speak. The hearers were not in a mood to be inspired. The Holy Ghost works inspiringly upon those who are in sympathy with Him; and this these foreign residents at Jerusalem were not.


1. The Christian Church was born at Pentecost. The materials were already present, but standing out of organic relation with each ether. It was the brooding of the Spirit that produced the formless elements of things into a shapely and prolific world. It was the inbreathing of God into the being of our first parent that developed him into a living soul. It was the influx similarly of the Divine Spirit that composed the disciples of Christ into an organised and living Church.

2. This was the first Christian revival of religion. The Church was born in a revival, and the survival of the Church has been along a continuous line of revival. There is nothing in the whole New Testament narrative more startling than the transformation which the Twelve suddenly underwent on the fiftieth day after Calvary. A cultivated ministry and well-appointed churches are well enough in their way; they are suitable for the conveyance of power, but are not themselves power. They are to positive spiritual efficacy only what riverbeds are to the floods that are set to roll in them. The early Church, as compared with the modern, was poor in appliances; but one sermon then converted three thousand men, and now it takes three thousand sermons to convert one man. The difference between the times is largely difference of power.

3. The Spirit descended upon the disciples when they were together. The full meaning of Christianity is not exhausted in any relation in which it sets us individually to Christ. There are blessings that accrue to Christians only by their standing in fellowship with each ether. The first Christian revival was inaugurated in a prayer-meeting. It is easy, and rather common, to treat prayer-meetings with disparagement. But it is generally found that when a revival comes it begins in God's revelation of Himself to saints that draw near to one another in prayer.

4. This first revival of religion began with the spiritual replenishment of those already Christian. It is time wasted, and runs counter to the Divine order of things, for a Church that is not itself revived to attempt revivalistic operations among the unconverted. Christianity, to the degree in which it extends itself, does so as a kind of contagion. The result of "gotten-up" revivals is only man-made Christians; and man-made Christians stand in the way of their own conversion and add to the inertia of the Church.

6. After the Ascension the disciples simply waited for Pentecost. There was no further work that needed to be wrought in them before its bestowment. And we shall always receive the Divine baptism just as soon as there is nothing on our part that hinders it. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove Me now herewith," etc.

6. The Holy Spirit descended upon all the disciples. So far as we are Holy Ghost Christians, all substantial distinctions in this respect between the laity and the clergy are erased.

7. The Holy Spirit revealed Himself outwardly in the shape of tongues. This was prophetic of the way in which revealed truth was to be disseminated. It does not suffice that men should simply live lives of Christian constancy. Christ not only lived, He preached. The first revival, then, opened men's mouths and set men talking. There is no place for silent Christians under the administration of the Holy Ghost. The pressure of God upon the heart inevitably finds escape at the lip.

(G. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)

The late Dr. William Arnot, of Edinburgh, used to tell of his being at a railway station, where he grew weary of waiting for the train to move. He inquired if the trouble was want of water. "Plenty of water," was the quick reply, "but it's no' bilin'." We have no lack of religious machinery in Church and Sabbath-schools and benevolent societies. The engines are on the track, and the trainmen are in their places. If there is little or no progress, may it not be that the water is "no' bilin'"?

I looked recently at a very remarkabIe sight, the burning of a huge floorcloth manufactury. I was just about returning home from my Master's work when I saw a little blaze, and in an incredibly short space a volume of fire rolled up in great masses to the skies. Why blazed it so suddenly? Why, because for months before many men had been busily employed in hanging up the floorcloth and in saturating the building with combustible materials; I do not mean with the intention of making a blaze, but in the ordinary course of their manufacture; so that when at last the spark came it grew into a great sheet of flame all at once. So sometimes when the gospel is faithfully preached a sinner gets present peace and pardon, and he is so full of joy his friends cannot make him out, his progress is so rapid. But be it remembered that God has been mysteriously at work months before in that man's heart, preparing his soul to catch the heavenly flame, so that there was only a spark needed, and then up rolled the flame to heaven. Oh that I could be that spark to some heart in whom God has been working this morning, but He alone can make me so!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Gulf Stream in its beneficent and hidden influence may be taken as a sort of parable of spiritual influence. This England of ours should be naturally and properly a land of almost eternal winter. For some eight months of the year our very seas ought to be frozen over, so that no ship could approach our shores. Our islands should be a rough rude tract of country, where only the hardiest forms of life could survive — a land of forests where wild beasts should roam, whose furs should give to the place almost its only value, and where the deep snows should make agriculture almost impossible. This should be Great Britain — a proud name for so desolate a tract. What mystery is this which delivers us? Away in the distant southern world, in the fierce heat of the tropics, starts the Gulf Stream. It gathers the warmth of the sun, and sends it for thousands of miles across the seas to lave our shores. And thus the arctic winter is driven from us; and our ports are open all the year round; over us stretch the kindlier skies; about us blow the gentler winds; our fields are covered with grass, the valleys are thick with corn; the pastures are covered with flocks and herds, and this favoured land is shut off from extremes, and has the summer of the North with the winter of the South. Now think of some shivering native of Labrador, who has heard of this Gulf Stream, and scornfully shakes his head — "I do not believe it," says he; "it is impossible and absurd." Well, I would not argue the subject. I would only invite him to come and see. "But where is this Gulf Stream which does such wonders? Can you see it?" No, we cannot see it, but it is there — hidden, noiseless, mingling with our waters and transforming our climate. The parable is a many-sided illustration of the truth. Of nature, of ourselves, we do dwell in a land of winter — frozen and well-nigh dead, without the energy to put forth any life of God. But, lo, about us do flow gracious influences from another world. We know not how, but by the Holy Spirit of God, there is breathed about us and within us the love of God, softening, transforming, bringing to us a new heaven and a new earth. And now do grow and flourish blessed things which before we knew not.

(M. G. Pearse.)

(first sermon): —

I. Mark the very critical care of the Divine Head of the Church, in fixing SPECIAL TIMES FOR THE COMMUNICATION OF SPECIAL BLESSINGS. Here we have the largest possible opportunity which God Himself could have secured for the communication of His supreme gift. Pentecost was a harvest festival; about that time people could come with the least degree of danger from various outlying countries and districts. There are opportunities even in Divine providence. The days are not all alike to God. We bind Him down to one day, whereas is there in reality a single day in our life that He has not a lien upon? Does He not come in upon birthdays, days of deliverance, of surprise, of unusual sorrow and joy? God is not the God of one day only; He takes up the one day and specially holds it before us, but only symbolically. What He does with that He wants to do with all the others.

II. On this occasion we have THE LARGEST POSSIBLE UNION —

1. Of nationalities.

2. Of desire. Note the word "accord." The instruments were all in tune together, without mental distraction or moral discord. God has promised nothing to disunion; the man that creates disunion in the Church must instantly be put away — he is worse than an infidel.

3. They were also gathered in one place: that is the transient word. The place is nothing, the accord is everything. Neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem will men worship the Father, but the accord, the rhythmic fellowship — this is the eternal quantity, and he who meddles with it is a violator within the very shadow of the altar. Yet who thinks of this? If a poor moral cripple should be caught suddenly in some moral fault, then is the imperfect and blind Church enraged with him, but the man who is speaking ungracious words, making unlovely statements, breathing a spirit of dissension in the Church — who takes note of him?

III. Then we have THE LARGEST POSSIBLE BESTOWMENT OF THE DIVINE GIFT. The word "all" includes the followers of Christ of every name and degree. We are not to suppose that popes, prelates, preachers, ministers, leaders, alone have this gift of the Holy Spirit. We must not imagine that a minister merely as such has greater spiritual privileges than a mechanic. We are all equally priests before God, our priesthood has no standing but in our holiness. As to the Church all meeting in one place, do not believe in a place-church. God's Church is everywhere. Many of you belong to God's Church and may not know it. What is your heart, what is your heart's desire, what is the sovereign purpose of your life? If you can say it is to know God's will and do it, then you are in the Church, whatever particular place you may occupy. Jesus Christ made a great promise to His disciples when they asked Him whether at that time He would restore the kingdom unto Israel. The very great-nero of the promise necessitates that the fulfilment of it shall be upon a scale proportioned to itself. Now how will He fulfil the promise of enduement with power from on high? That would be no commonplace realisation of that promise, nor was there one (vers. 1-4). Imagination says, "It is enough." God always takes care to satisfy the moral nature, and to call upon conscience to say, "It is right."

IV. We see from this revelation HOW HELPLESS WE ARE IN THE MATTER OF SPIRITUAL REVIVALS. What did the apostles do towards this demonstration of Divine power? They did nothing but wait, pray, hope, expect — what the world, so fond of action, would call nothing. That is all we can do. Have nothing to do with those persons who organise revivals, with any mechanised resurrection of spiritual life. We need to know the power of waiting. There are those who tell us we ought to be doing something practical, and they degrade that word into a kind of mechanical exercise. Is he doing nothing who continues steadfast in prayer? or he who speaks great words of wisdom, and who calms the heart in the midst of its searching trouble? To be practical is not to be demonstrative, to be building wood, hay, stone, and metal, it may be to give thought, to offer suggestion, to stimulate the mind, to check the ambition, to elevate the purpose of life. The disciples and apostles, previous to Pentecost, did everything by doing nothing.

V. We see HOW UNMISTAKABLE FIRE IS. The difference between one man and another is a difference of heat. The difference between one reader and another is a difference of fire; the difference between one musician and another is that one man is all fire, and the other man all ice. The difference between one preacher and another is a difference of fire.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

(second sermon): —

I. IT IS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY GHOST THAT WE FIND THE TRUE UNION OF THE CHURCH. There are diversities of operation, and must always be, but such diversity does not impair the unity of the Spirit. There is one faith, though there be many creeds, one baptism, though there be many forms of it, one Lord, though He shine in a thousand different lights. We have been vainly looking for union in uniformity. Consider how irrational this is. Is the human race one or many? is there any difficulty in identifying a man whatever his colour, form, stature, language? — yet are there any two men exactly alike? Man has, say, some seven features, forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, form or contour, colour or complexion, yet out of those seven notes what music of facial expression has God wrought? It is so in the Christian Church. That is split up into a score of sects, but the Church itself is one. To those who look upon things from the outside merely, it would seem impossible that the Arminian and the Calvinist can both be readers of the same Bible, and worshippers of the same God. But their unity is not found in formality, in creedal expression, in propositional theology, in ecclesiastical arrangement; down in the centre of the heart lies the common organic nerve that unites Christendom in its worship and in its hope; and when the Cross is touched, the defence never comes from any one section, the whole Church with unanimous love and loyalty rushes to the vindication. This has been illustrated by the diversities which occur in the expressions of sorrow, worship, and loyalty. The Eastern sufferer lies prostrate, crying piteously and vehemently. The Western is silent and self-controlled. The difference is not in the sorrow, but in the manifestation of the sorrow. So the Oriental before his king falls fiat on the ground, and the Briton before his God only kneels. Is there, then, a difference in the spirit of worship?


1. No man can mistake the summer sun when he sees it; he will not come home with a half tale of having seen some kind of light, but is not quite sure whether it was a gas jet, or the shining of an electric light, or a new star. The sun needs no introduction, has no signature but its own glory, and needs take no oath in proof of its identity. The shadows know it, and flee away; the flowers, and open their little hearts to its blessing; all the hills and valleys know it and quiver with a new joy.

2. We may have the form, and not the spirit. People say the great thing after all for a man to do is to do good. That is correct. But what would you think of me if I said the great thing after all is for a train to go, when the train has not been attached to the engine? You are perfectly right in saying that the train is useless if it does not go, and if the train is going it is all right. But you must bring within your argument the fact that the engine could not go without the fire, that the tram cannot go unless attached to the engine, that the engine and the train move, vibrate, fly, under the power of light — the light that was sealed up in the bins of the earth ten thousand ages ago is driving your great locomotives to-day I When, therefore, you tell me that a man must do good, and that is enough, you omit from your statement the vital consideration that we can only do these things as we are inspired by the indwelling Spirit of God. I see before me at this moment certain pieces of cord. What is wanted is but to connect these cords with a motive power, but until the connection is established they are but dead useless things. Connect them, set the engine going, let it cause the necessary rotations to fly, and presently an arrangement may be made by which from these cords we shall receive a dazzling glory. They are nothing in themselves, and yet without them the engine might go for a thousand ages and we should get no light. It is even so with us. We are here, men educated, intelligent, well-appointed, and what is it that we need but connection with the heavens, direct communication with the source of light and fire.

III. WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT IS COMMUNICATED TO THE CHURCH, WE MUST NOT IMAGINE THAT WE SHALL BE OTHER THAN OURSELVES, ENLARGED, ENNOBLED, AND DEVELOPED. The Spirit will not merge our individuality in a common monotony. Whatever your power is now, the incoming of the Holy Ghost will magnify and illuminate, so that your identity Will be carried up to its highest expression and significance. And more than that, there will be a development of latent faculties, slumbering powers, the existence of which has never been suspected by our dearest friends. Look for surprises in the Church when the Holy Ghost falls upon it: dumb men will speak, ineloquent men will attract and fascinate by the sublimity of their new discourse, timid men will put on the lion, and those who had hidden themselves away in the obscurity of conscious feebleness will come out and offer themselves at the Lord's altar to help in the Lord's service. The resources of the Church will be multiplied in proportion as the Church enjoys the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. How the old earth has continued to keep pace with all our civilisation and science. The electric light was, as to its possibilities, in Eden, as certainly as it is in the metropolis of England to-day. The locomotive has not created anything but a new combination and a new application and use. It is even so in the Bible. The Church knows nothing yet about the possibilities of revelation. No new Bible will be written, but new readers will come. We have learning and ability and industry enough; what we want is the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

As I turned, and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed, it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me like immense wings. No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love These waves came over me and over me and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out: "I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me." I said, "Lord, I cannot bear any more"; yet I had no fear of death.

(C. G. Finney, D. D.)

It was that baptism which made the might of weakness irresistible; it was that which sent a few poor fishermen and publicans to conquer and regenerate the resisting world. In the might of that Spirit Peter broke down the old wall of partition, and admitted the Gentiles into the Church of God. By the earthquake of that Spirit the veil of the temple was rent, and free access was given to all in the holiest place. Convicted by the might of that Spirit the Rabbi of Tarsus sent the gospel flashing like a beacon fire from Jerusalem to Antioch, from Antioch to Ephesus, from Ephesus to Rome. The might of that Spirit, working among the Roman legionaries subdued their fierce and stubborn hearts; the might of that Spirit dilated the humble intellects of the apologists of Christianity, made ridiculous the wit of Lucian, the taunts of Celsus, the logic of Porphyry, the satire of Julian. That Spirit leapt with Telemachus into the Coliseum, and put an end for ever to the hideous butchery of the gladiators in the arena; it emancipated the wretched millions of ancient slaves; it made childhood sacred with the seal of baptism, and gave to trembling womanhood the rose of chastity and honour. The might of the Spirit again dissipated the radiant glamour of Pagan fancy, broke the wand of the enchantress, hushed the song of the Syren, branded with shame the flushed face of Bacchus, and the harlot brow of Aphrodite. The might of that Spirit, abasing the Roman eagles, wove its cross, the symbol which heathenism loathed as the gibbet of the malefactor, in gold on the banners of armies, and in gems on the diadems of kings. Touched with that Spirit, the rude northern barbarians bowed their heads before the meek white Christ. Clothed in that Spirit, the missionaries went forth from St. Thomas to Ulphilas, from Ulphilas to Boniface, from Boniface to Henry Martin and Coleridge Pattison, until the great Angel stood with one foot upon the land and one upon the sea, with an everlasting gospel in His hands. In the might of that Spirit the Crusaders gave up their lives for their fair Captain, Christ. It was the love which that Spirit kindled, like a pure flame on the altar of their hearts, which made the philanthropists, from Fabula to St. Francis, from St. Francis to St. Vincent de Paul and John Howard and David Livingstone and Lord Shaftesbury, strong to confront the menacing monopolies, and to smite the hoary head of inveterate abuse. So the descending flame, the rushing mighty wind of the Holy Ghost, is the secret of all that Christianity has done for the love of Christ its Lord. Look forward for three poor centuries from the first Pentecost, and on Whitsunday A.D. 337 died, in the white robe of baptism which he had just received, Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor of Rome. Look forward for six centuries, and it was on Whitsunday of A.D. 597 that the conversion of Saxon England began with the baptism of King Ethelbert. Look forward for seven centuries and a half, and it was on Whitsunday A.D. 755 that St. Boniface was martyred, the great apostle of the Germans. Look forward nearly nineteen centuries, and to-day, in tens of thousands of Christian Churches, from the snows of Greenland to the rocky Falkland Isles, from dawn to sunset, and again from sunset to dawn, in every single spot where there are gathered the representatives of any portion of civilised peoples, there is being preached that very same gospel in every essential particular which was preached nearly two millenniums ago in Nazareth and Bethlehem.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

1. Though we cannot regard Pentecost as the birthday of the Church, since the Church was born centuries before, we are bound to regard it as the grand crowning period in the development of the plan of redemption. Periods in the working out of this plan mark the history of four thousand years, one leading to another. From Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, and from Moses to Christ, and now from Christ's Advent to Pentecost. To this all the others pointed, and in it they were all crowned with glory.

2. But we are not to suppose that this was the first time the Divine Spirit visited this world. He strove with the antediluvians, inspired old prophets, and dwelt in old saints. But He never came in such a demonstration and plenitude of power before. Before He had distilled as the dew, now He comes down as a shower; before He had gleamed as the first rays of morning, now He appears as the brightness of noon. Note His action —

I. UPON the disciples.

1. Upon their ear. "Wind," an emblem of the Spirit.




(4)Refreshing.Great ,epochs are usually marked by extraordinary phenomena — e.g., the giving of the Law; the Advent; the Crucifixion, and now Pentecost.

2. Upon their eye. "Fire" is




(4)Diffusive.Perhaps these supernatural appeals to the senses were intended to express the relation of the Divine Spirit.

(a)To life — "wind" or air is vital, the breath of life.

(b)To speech — "tongues" would intimate that the Spirit had given men new utterances.

(c)To purity — "fire" would indicate that the Spirit had to consume all the corruptions of the soul.

II. IN the disciples. "They were filled with the Holy Ghost." He took possession of their —

1. Minds, and made them the organs of Divine thought.

2. Hearts, and filled them with Divine emotions.

3. Bodies, and made them His living temples.

4. Wills, and made them the organs of Divine resolutions. Nothing but the Divine will fill the .soul Without God there will be a boundless vacuum within.

III. THROUGH the disciples. Your things are observable concerning their speech.

1. It followed their Divine inspiration. It was not until the Spirit had given them the right thoughts and feelings that utterance came. Better be dumb than express the sentiments of the unrenewed soul. It is when the Spirit comes that we want speech, and shall have it. A Divinely filled soul must break forth in Divine language.

2. It was miraculous. The coming at once into the possession of a new language is as great a miracle as the possession of a new limb.

3. It was unspeakably useful. It served to impress the multitude with the Divinity of Christianity, and enabled the disciples to proclaim without preparation the gospel to every man. Without it the first age of the Church would have had a different history.

4. It was profoundly religious. This wonderful gift was employed to speak of God's wonderful works. May the day soon come when God-given language, instead of being the vehicle of erroneous thought, impure feeling, depraved purpose, shall convey to men nothing but holiness, goodness, and truth.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

The time when the Spirit was poured out on the body of Christians, and the Church's foundations laid deep and strong, revealed profound reverence for the old dispensation, raising by anticipation a protest against the heretical teaching which become current among the Gentiles in the second century, and has often since reappeared, as amongst the Anabaptists of Germany and the Antinomians at the Reformation. This view taught that there was an essential opposition between the Old and the New Testament, some holding that the Old Testament was the production of a spiritual being inferior and hostile to the eternal God. The Divine Spirit guided St. Luke, however, to teach the opposite view, and is careful to honour the eider dispensation and the old covenant, showing that Christianity was simply the perfection and completion of Judaism, and was developed therefrom as naturally as the bud of spring bursts forth into the splendid blossom and flower of summer. We trace these evidences of the Divine foreknowledge, as well as the Divine wisdom, in these Pentecostal revelations, providing for and forecasting future dangers with which, even in its earlier days, the bark of Christ's Church had desperately to struggle.

(G. T. Stokes, D. D.)

"Tell me," said a father to his son, "what difference you can detect between two needles — one of which has received an electric shock, whilst the other has not. And yet the one has hidden virtues, which occasion will show, of which the other has none. The electric shock has rendered the one needle a magnet, which, duly balanced, will enable man to find his way across the trackless ocean. As this needle, so may that soul be which has received the electric shock of the Holy Ghost: on the ocean of a sinful world, it shall point wanderers to the heaven of everlasting rest."

I. THEIR NATURE. Religion in the soul is sometimes in a lower, sometimes in a higher state. The passage from the one to the other is more or less rapid. So in a community or church. There were periods of decline and refreshing under the Old Testament, in the time of Christ, in the time of the Reformation, in the time of Edwards and since. The phrase has now acquired the meaning of a sudden change from inattention to attention in regard to religions — to those seasons when Christian zeal is manifestly increased, and converts multiplied.


1. This has been denied —(1) By rationalists, and all who deny the supernatural operations of the Holy Spirit.(2) By those who deny that the converting influences of the Spirit are ever exerted except in connection with the sacraments.(3) By those whose theory of religion does not admit of instantaneous or rapid conversions; who hold that the germ of piety implanted in baptism is, by an educational process, to be nurtured unto conversion.(4) By those who, while admitting the facts of She Bible on the subject, seem disposed to regard them as belonging rather to the miraculous than to the normal state of the Church.

2. But granting the fact of supernatural influence, there is no objection to the theory of revivals. There is nothing in them inconsistent with the nature of religion, or with the modes of Divine operation. It is a question of fact, and both Scripture and history are decisive on the point.

3. In regard to the question whether any religious excitement is a revival or not, note —(1) It is, of course, not to be taken for granted that every such excitement is a work of God. It may be nothing but the product of human acts and eloquence, and consist in the excitement of mere natural feelings. Much, no doubt, which passes for revival is more or less of that character.(2) The criteria for the decision between true and false revivals, and true and false religion is the same.(a) Their origin. Are they due to the preaching of the truth?(b) Their character. Is the excitement humble, reverential, peaceful, benevolent: holy; or is it proud, censorious, schismatical, irreverent?(c) Their permanent fruits. This is the only certain test.(3) Perfection is not to be expected in revivals any more than in the religion of individuals, and they are not to be condemned because of some evils.


1. This may be estimated, proximately, in two ways —(1) By the importance of the end which they are assumed to answer — the salvation of many souls and the elevation of the piety of the Church.(2) Historically, i.e., by a reference to the effects they have produced. Pentecost, the Reformation, the Mission of Wesley, etc. Estimated by these standards their importance is incalculable.

2. But there are false views of their importance, viz.,(1) That they are the only ways in which religion can be promoted. Many expect nothing except during a revival, and consequently do nothing.(2) That they are the best way. They are great mercies, but there are greater. When there have been years of famine a superabundant harvest is a great blessing. But it had been better had each harvest been good. General permanent health is better than exuberant joyousness alternating with depression.

IV. Their DANGERS. These may be learned —

1. From their nature. Excitement in proportion to its intensity in an individual or a community calls into vigorous exercise both the good and bad elements which may be extant. It makes the self-righteous, the censorious, the vain, more so. It sets men on new, unauthorised or improper means of promoting religion; and the evil elements often mingle with the good, so as to be far more apparent than the good. The desolations of storm or flood are often more apparent than their benefits.

2. From experience we find the following evils are apt to attend revivals.

(1)False teachers, doctrines, measures, as in the apostolic age.

(2)False views of religion, fanaticism.

(3)Contempt of the ordinary means of grace, and neglect of them.

(4)Disparagement of religion in the eyes of serious, reflecting men.

(5)Denunciation and schisms.

(6)False views of the proper kind of preaching, and neglect of the instruction of the young.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

In the winter of 1875, we were worshipping in the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the interregnum of churches. We had the usual great audiences, but I was oppressed beyond measure by the fact that conversions were not more numerous. One Tuesday I invited to my house five old, consecrated Christian men — all of them gone now, except Father Pearson, and he, in blindness and old age, is waiting for the Master's call to come up higher. These old men came, not knowing why I had invited them. I took them to the top room of my house. I said to them: "I have called you here for special prayer. I am in an agony for a great turning to God of the people. We have vast multitudes in attendance and they are attentive and respectful, but I cannot see that they are saved. Let us kneel down and each one pray, and not leave this room until we are all assured that the blessing will come and has come." It was a most intense crying unto God. I said, "Brethren, let this meeting be a secret," and they said it would be. That Tuesday night special service ended. On the following Friday night occurred the usual prayer-meeting. No one knew of what had occurred on Tuesday night, but the meeting was unusually thronged. Men accustomed to pray in public in great composure broke down under emotion. The people were in tears. There were sobs and silences and solemnities of such unusual power that the worshippers looked into each other's faces as much as to say, "What does all this mean?" And, when the following Sabbath came, although we were in a secular place, over four hundred arose for prayers, and a religious awakening took place that made that winter memorable for time and for eternity. There may be in this building many who were brought to God during that great ingathering, but few of them know that the upper room in my house in Quincy Street, where those five old Christian men poured out their souls before God, was the secret place of thunder.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

"I believe in the Holy Ghost," is not with us a mere formal expression; but the utterance of our heartfelt conviction. I have heard of a Church school in which the children were taught the Apostles' Creed, and each child had to say a sentence. One day the clergyman came in, and asked them to repeat it to him. They managed all right for a time, but all of a sudden there was an awkward silence. The clergyman said, "Why don't you go on?" One trembling little voice replied, "Please, sir, the boy that believes in the Holy Ghost isn't here to-day." I fear that is true of many churches, and many pulpits; those who believe in the Holy Ghost are not there! His very name is scarcely heard in some places of worship; and all ascription of glory and honour to Him is lost in the mention of an "influence."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"That ship does not seem to stir; there's not a breath of wind to move her sails"; said one of our little company. "No," replied another, "but she is where she will get the wind as soon as it begins to blow." And so it proved; for presently her canvas began to fill, and ere long she was speeding towards her desired haven. It is a good thing to be in the way of any blessing that may be coming. Perhaps you are not yet a Christian; but you say that you long to be one. Then seek to get where the sacred wind is likely to blow. The Spirit, like the wind, "bloweth where it listeth"; but there are special times and places in which His gracious influences are usually manifested. See that you are where you may expect the heavenly breeze. Prayer-meetings, Bible-classes, special services, and places of worship where the gospel of the grace of God is preached in all its fulness, are the spots where the Spirit delights to work; go there, and may the Divine afflatus fill thee, and speed thee on thy heavenward voyage!

(J. W. Harrald.)

This power is what we want; but the question is, are we ready for it? Are we fit to be used, willing to be used, to be used anywhere, to be apparently unused, to be nothing, that Christ may be all? The possession of power is a great responsibility; perhaps the self-will and self-esteem of some of us would make the possession of such power a very deadly thing. Andrew Murray says, "We want to get possession of the power, and use it; God wants the power to get possession of us, and use us. If we give ourselves to the power to rule in us, the power will give itself to us to rule through us." We are waiting here this morning to be filled with power. Perhaps we had better wait first to be emptied.

(T. J. Longhurst.)

The Holy Spirit comes like a rushing wind upon the disciples, and in an hour they are new men. The jailer hears and believes in a night. Luther, while toiling up the holy stairs of the Lateran, holding to salvation by works, drops that scheme on the way, and lays hold of the higher one of salvation by faith. Ignatius Loyola, in a dream, has sight of the Mother of Christ, and awakes a soldier of Jesus. It is often so. We do not so much grow into the possession of new spiritual truths as we awake to them. Their coming is not like ,the sunrise, that slowly discloses the shapes and relations of things, but is like the lightning, that illuminates earth and sky in one quick flash, and so imprints them for ever on the vision.

(Theodore T. Munger.)

How to realise the immanence, or possess ourselves of the indwelling of this Holy Spirit, is purely a question of conditions. Let me illustrate my meaning. To a man in perfect health an atmosphere impregnated with disease-germs is comparatively harmless; but should he approach a typhus-stricken patient with a body exhausted by exercise, or faint from want of food, the probabilities are that he will fall a prey to the disease. Again, as a man brings himself into harmony with all the laws of his being, life assumes a bright and joyous aspect. Forms, tints, sounds, the shouldering hill, the roseate hues of dawn, the sweet-voiced song of birds, rouse in him the spirit of devotion, and appeal to him as revelations of a hand and mind Divine. But if his eye be jaundiced, his liver torpid, his pulse irregular, his brain congested, then creation becomes a blank, the world a wilderness, and life a weariness and a woe. Or, once more, take mental conditions. Have you never, in reading a book, marked with pencil some passage that suddenly flashed its meaning in upon your mind; and then, some six months later, in re-reading the same passage, wondered how it was you failed to re-experience the inspiration of the former time? There was no change in the book; the change was in your mental condition. Have you never, in hearing some strain of music, felt that it led you into a world of fancy, a realm of strange unutterable delight, and yet, forsooth, when on a later day the same chords have been touched by the same hands, to your astonishment they languidly and meaninglessly floated past your ear without rousing the imagery of your soul? There was no change in the music, the change was in the mental conditions of your life; at one time you were responsive; at the other, dull and inert. In all spheres of our existence, joy, truth, love, are proportioned to conditions. And so in the realm of the Spirit. Fulfil the Divine conditions and you are en rapport with the Divine life. Permit those conditions to go unfulfilled, and the Divine life will be to you as though it were not. And oh! how simple these conditions are! They do not consist in lashing yourself into a frenzy, nor in shouting yourself into hoarseness, nor in mutilating yourself. No. The conditions are prayer and supplication from hearts one in accord. It is prayer, and prayer only, that fits us for Divine indwelling; it is prayer, and prayer only, that puts us in touch with God. A prayerless life can no more draw to itself the Holy Spirit than glass can draw the electric fire; nor can a prayerless Church bring forth the fruits of holiness any more than the frigid zone can call forth and perfect a tropical growth. "Ye have not because ye ask not; and ye have not because ye ask amiss." Live in the atmosphere of prayer; for therein, and therein only, will you fit yourself for the Divine indwelling; therein, and therein only, will you be vigorous with the life of God.

(J. Marshall Mather.)

All with one accord in one place
There was unity of spirit and unity in open manifestation to the world at large. Christ's disciples, when they received the gifts of heaven's choicest blessings, were not split up into dozens of different organisations, each of them hostile to the others, and each striving to aggrandise itself at the expense of kindred brotherhoods. They had keenly in remembrance the teaching of our Lord's great Eucharistic supplication (John 17:21). There was visible unity among the followers of Christ; there was interior love and charity, finding expression in external union which qualified the disciples for the fuller reception of the spirit of love, and rendered them powerful in doing God's work amongst men. What a contrast the Christian Church presents to this now! There are some persons who rejoice in the vast divisions in the Church; but they are shortsighted and inexperienced in the dangers and scandals which have flowed, and are flowing, from them. It is indeed in the mission field that the schisms among Christians are most evidently injurious. When the heathen see the soldiers of the Cross split up among themselves into hostile organisations, they very naturally say that it will be time enough when their own divergencies and difficulties have been reconciled to come and convert persons who at least possess internal union and concord. Then, again, these divisions lead to a wondrous waste of power both at home and abroad. If men believe that the preaching of the Cross of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, and that millions are perishing from want of that blessed story, can they feel contentment when the great work of competing sects consists, not in spreading that salvation, but in building up their own cause by proselytising from the neighbours, and gathering unto their own organisation persons who have already been made partakers of Christ Jesus? And if this competition of sects be injurious and wasteful within the bounds of Christendom, surely it is infinitely more so when various contending bodies concentrate all their forces, as they so often do, on the same locality in some unconverted land, and seem as eagerly desirous of gaining proselytes from one another as from the mass of paganism. Then, too, to take it from another point of view, what a loss in generalship, in Christian strategy, in power of concentration, results from our unhappy divisions! The united efforts made by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Greeks, are indeed all too small for the vast work of converting the heathen world if they were made with the greatest skill and wisdom. How much more insufficient they must be when a vast proportion of the power employed is wasted, so far as the work of conversion is concerned, because it is used simply in counteracting and withstanding the efforts of other Christian bodies. How different it was in the primitive Church! Within one hundred and fifty years, or little more, of the ascension of Christ, and the outpouring of the Divine Spirit, a Christian writer could boast that the Christian Church had permeated the whole Roman empire to such an extent that if the Christians abandoned the cities they would be turned into howling deserts. This triumphant march was simply in accordance with the Saviour's promise. The world saw that Christians loved one another, and the world was consequently converted.

(G. T. Stokes, D. D.)

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