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The last days have truly come. The starlight age has passed, the moonlight age is now closed. The law has waned to wax no more, “the sun of righteousness has arisen with healing in his wings,” the everlasting gospel is being proclaimed for the first time on earth. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”a Peter then goes on to apply a prophecy of David to Christ, which says: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
He speaks of His ascension and concludes this wonderful discourse by saying in the most direct manner, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye
have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Never was there proclaimed to men greater facts, nor were they ever charged with greater crime. Nor from the depths of human conviction and anguish ever came a more direct, earnest and important inquiry, "What must a Acts ii. 22–24.
c Acts ii. 36, 37
b Acts ïi. 27.
we do?” This question demands and receives an answer about which there can be no mistake. Human language is incapable of making either the question or the answer plainer. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”a “Then they that gladly received his
a word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Here and now is opened before us the Christian age. Here we have the first gospel sermon preached by Peter under the ascended, ruling, reigning Christ. The gospel is now before us for the first time in its fulness. We have heard the first discourse based upon its great facts, listened to the first inquiry,“What must I do?” heard the first command given by the authority of Christ, and witnessed the conversion of three thousand persons, and their baptism into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is evident from the preceding narrative, first, that these persons heard; second, that they believed; third, that they repented; fourth, that they were baptized; fifth, that they received the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Upon these conditions they became a Acts ii. 38, 39.
b Acts ïi. 41, 42.
THE DAY OF PENTECOST
subjects of Christ's kingdom. They entered His Church and are the first recorded who "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”a
We come now to a most important inquiry: Were the conditions here imposed applicable to that particular time and occasion only, or were they enjoined by divine authority upon all who subsequently entered the Church, and were they thus designed to be required of all persons alike in all succeeding ages of time? Is there uniformity or diversity in the system of pardon ? Does the amnesty proclamation of Jesus to the world enjoin the same terms upon all? Is there order and harmony in heaven's last great system of redemption, or is it chaos and confusion? If we know that our Redeemer liveth, may we not know how He redeems from sin and be fully assured of pardon? “What must I do to be saved ?” will be asked as long as there is sin and a Savior. Reason, justice, mercy, and love require that this question, springing from the deepest wants of the human soul, should meet with an answer which can be understood and obeyed by all who sincerely ask it. Not only so, but we may expect uniformity in what is required both of saint and sinner. If there is any one thing better established than another it is the uniformity of God's laws both in nature and revelation. Under the former dispensations He required the same initiation of one as of another. He required the same sacrifice for the same sin, and imposed the same punishment for the same crime. We
a Acts ii. 42.
may expect, then, under this last and most perfect development of God's wisdom, mercy, and love, to find uniformity, order, and harmony. But before calling attention to the uniformity of the law of pardon by considering each individual case, we will first notice the order of God's revelation.
THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES
The Significance of the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, and The
Book of the Revelation, and Their Place in the History of Pardon.
We have called attention to the three religions recorded in the Bible, the Patriarchal, the Jewish, and the Christian. There are properly four great divisions in the Old Testament—history, law, prophecy, and poetry. Passing on to the New Testament, there are also four great divisions: The four gospels, the Acts of Apostles, the twenty-one epistles, and the book of Revelation. The four gospels contain the most wonderful history known to earth. There is nothing preceding or succeeding like them in the history of the world. They stand alone among all writings. The age of law, of prophecy, of wisdom, and of national power had long since passed from the Jewish people. The
age of servitude, of sect, of party, and of tradition had come. Hypocrisy, bigotry, intolerance, and selfrighteousness were ruling characteristics. While they boasted of Abraham as their father, Moses as their law-giver, and the prophets as their teachers, the Jews disregarded the faith of the one, the instructions of the other, and had gone about to establish their own