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us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY GHOST ON THE LIVES OF
BUT YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER, AFTER THAT THE HOLY GHOST IS COME UPON YOU: AND YE SHALL BE WITNESSES UNTO ME BOTH IN
JERUSALEM, AND IN ALL JUDEA, AND IN SAMARIA, AND UNTO THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.”
The lives of the Apostles exhibit two periods of history so different from each other, that it might almost be thought, that they related to two different bodies of men, and not to the same men placed in different circumstances. One period is that which is recorded of them during their attendance on their blessed Master : the other that which distinguished them after his ascension into heaven. It will give us a great insight into the feelings and operations of the human mind, if we examine these two periods of their history; and it cannot but be an interesting theme, as well as an useful occupation of our time and study, to investigate the conduct of those singular men, in whose fortunes we are so vitally concerned. Let us, then, consider, First, that period which comprises their attendance on their blessed Master.
I. Our Lord chose his Apostles from the humbler walks of life. Several reasons may be assigned for this preference; but the chief, no doubt, was to remove every colour of ambition or worldly interest from his motives and actions. Had he been attended by the wealthy or the powerful, it would have been alleged against him that he aimed at secular greatness, and that the success of his mission was not owing to his miracles and his doctrines, but to the influence of his partisans and followers. This was an obvious inference to be drawn from any display of rank or authority. Even, as it was, his enemies taxed him with seditious practices, and he actually fell a victim to the Roman laws against treasonable conspiracies. It was, therefore, of the utmost importance that he should stand to the unprejudiced part of his countrymen and to all posterity, free from any imputation of worldly views, and that his attendants should be such, as not only disarmed suspicion, but were altogether incompetent to aid in any treasonable designs. There was, likewise, another advantage to be drawn from the lowliness of his train. The more feeble his attendants were in all points of view, the more evident it must appear, that he owed his success to causes altogether foreign to their natural capacities, and independent of their aid and influence; and hence his religion gathered strength, from the inadequacy of their means to help
“ Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.”
The Apostles, therefore, by their very obscurity, gave indirect strength to the Christian cause, both showing to the world their inability to render any essential service to their Master as conspirators against the state, (even had they been selected for such an object,) and proving also, that they were too feeble instruments to have established the Christian religion, had it depended altogether on their unassisted powers. The first Apostles whom our
our blessed Lord invited to attend him, seem to have been Andrew and Peter, James and John, Philip and Nathaniel. It is probable that all these were disciples of the Baptist, and had been instructed by him in the general nature of Christ's character, and in the rudiments of the Christian dispensation. For when the Baptist, in the neighbourhood of the river Jordan where he had lately baptized our Lord, saw him coming towards him, he said to two of his disciples, of whom Andrew was one, 6 Behold the Lamb of God :" on which Andrew went to his brother Simon Peter and told him, “ We have found the Messias," that is the Christ, the anointed of God, and brought him to Jesus. That the character of the promised Messias was well understood in its general signification, is evident from the Baptist's description of him as
“ the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” although the particulars of it were. not clearly defined. But Philip, the next day after this meeting, on his first interview with Jesus, declares to Nathaniel, “ we have found him of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph,” showing at once the expectation of the age with regard to Christ's character, and connecting the person of Jesus with the prophecies which announced and described him.
When the fame of his preaching and miracles began to draw after him great numbers of attendants he chose twelve from among his followers, whom he named Apostles. These were to be witnesses, as he styles them, of his life and ministry, companions of his journeys, spectators of his actions, and teachers of his divine word and doctrines. He made his selection from those who were the best fitted for his purposes, and with one exception, they proved themselves worthy of the choice. Some of them were fishermen; one was a tax-gatherer, and the rest, it is probable, followed some lowly occupation. Having chosen them, and ordained or appointed them to the office of apostles or messengers, he afterwards sent them two by two into the villages and remoter towns,