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eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Paul
says: “He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
Again we remark before resuming the history that as a salvation the gospel only“ began to be spoken by the Lord.” “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will ?”. Jude called this salvation “the common salvation.”_ There are many special salvations spoken of in the Bible, but this common salvation, this great salvation, stands alone in its greatness and is complete in its blessings. Noah and his family were saved from the flood, the children of Israel were saved from Egyptian bondage; they were saved from their enemies and from the fiery serpents in the wilderness. They were saved over and over again from invading armies, from disease and pestilence, but all their salvations were temporal-earthly. All their blessings were in basket and in store—all belonged to time and sense. There was no promised salvation even for the pious Jews a Heb. v. 8,9.
b Col. i. 18-20. c Heb. ii. 3, 4.
d Jude 3.
covering time and eternity. No salvation from the grave, no eternal life, no heaven is promised, only prosperity, greatness, and dominion in this life. The law of Moses did not propose or answer the question, Does death end all? The five books of Moses, the religious system of the Jews, do not contain the words immortally, eternal life, nor do they promise heaven as the future abode of man. It is barren of all words containing the idea of future being, blessedness, or salvation. But the great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord proposed to save not only from the effects of sin and from the bondage of sin, but from the wages of sin. It saves from past transgressions, gives strength for present duty, and promises a future salvation from the grave and a glo
a rious immortality. This great salvation “began to be spoken by the Lord.” No government, no system of philanthropy, no religion ever proposed such a salvation-a salvation for Jew and Gentile, for bond and free, a salvation for all nations, for all races, and
, for all time. A perfect salvation-perfect in its precepts, perfect in its promises. Nothing can be added to the depth of love contained in its facts, nothing to the purity of its commands, nothing to the fulness of its rewards. It embraces all of mercy, all of love, all of tenderness known in earth or heaven. It covers the whole range of human obligations, forbids all that is wrong, enjoins all that is right, and rewards all that is good. It explains all that is dark and mysterious in the hitherto unsolved problems of life and death. It cleanses the sinful, makes holy the vile,
lifts up the fallen, comforts the lowly, cheers the sorrowing, relieves the suffering, and takes away the sting of death. Millions of its subjects now live in the hope of dying, and millions more have died in the hope of living
It is a great salvation, worthy of God to devise, Jesus to execute, and the Holy Spirit to consummate. It is a salvation into which “the angels desired to look," and they wondered at the depths of the mercy of God. It is the last great offer of heaven to earth, and is full, free, and everlasting. At first it began to be spoken by the Lord, but it only began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him. God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. This accords with the history, for it was not until after Jesus rose from the dead that He declared that all authority in heaven and earth, was given to Him. “Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” It began to be spoken by the Lord, but we must come to those who confirmed it unto us to know its history; to the apostles, His ambassadors; to those commissioned to open the kingdom.
THE APOSTLES' PREACHING
Preaching of Peter and John. Imprisoned by Jews and Released
by the Power of God. The Community of Interest. We now resume the consideration of the terms of pardon as developed in this great salvation, and the terms of admission into the kingdom of the ruling reigning sovereign, and the requirements made of persons on entering the Church, to the history of the forgiveness of sins as taught by Christ's own ambassadors, who were endued by the Holy Spirit.
We have called attention to the first gospel sermon preached after Jesus had finished the work given Him to do, and to the fact that three thousand gladly received the word. The terms of pardon required of this multitude were so plain that a wayfaring man or the most simple-minded need not err therein. At the conclusion of this discourse we are informed that “the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.”'a After this, when Peter and John were about going into the temple at the hour of prayer, Peter healed in the name of Jesus a man who was “above forty years old,” and had been laid at the Beautiful Gate, being lame from his birth. When
a Acts ii. 47
the people saw that the lame was healed, they ran together unto Solomon's Porch, looking earnestly on Peter and John as if by their own power or holiness they had made this man to walk. Peter charged them with having denied the Son of God, “in the
presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But
, ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong .. given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I know that through ignorance ye did it, as did also
rulers ... Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your
may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”. This is the second time Peter addresses the betrayers of Christ in regard to their duty. The command here given does not differ from the commission given by Christ nor from the previous direction of Peter-hearing and believing are here both implied. Then they were commanded to repent and turn-to obey—that their sins might be blotted out, and they would receive “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” or, that “times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Peter, continuing his discourse, says: "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
a Acts iii. 13-19.