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which he had betrayed Him, went out, we are told, (unable to bear the agony of his feelings,) and hanged himself.
The Disciples then, about a hundred and twenty of them, met together, and chose two men from among their company, who, having been followers of Jesus Christ, might proper witnesses with themselves to the world, of his life, death, and resurrection. Having prayed to their Master for help on this important occasion, as to which of these two men should be chosen, He signified that Matthias should be appointed to fill the place of Judas.
This must have been an anxious
period to the Apostles; prepared,
however, to do their Lord's will, whenever it should be revealed to them, they would now naturally think over, and talk over, all He had ever said while He was living among them. They would remember, no doubt, especially, his command to go and teach all nations, wondering, probably, as you have done, how they-poor, and despised, and unlearned, and timorous-were to spread the knowledge of their Divine Master through the world,to teach all nations! the high and mighty of the earth, as well as the low-born and ignorant. They, unskilled in any language but their own, were to persuade people of all tongues. How could these things be?
Doubtless they relied on their Saviour's words: His Spirit-the Holy Spirit of God, was to come unto them, and to make all things possible. This was the promise they waited for God, who had at different times given glorious signs of his presence to their forefathers, both in the Temple at Jerusalem, and to favoured persons of their nation, He who had dwelt in Christ Jesus with them on earth, was again to reveal Himself, and to dwell in the hearts of good Christians of all nations for ever, as their comforter and guide. We shall see what was now to be the sign of his coming.
Descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost-Gift of Tongues.
THE Disciples of Jesus perhaps expected that their Master's promise would be fulfilled to them on the day of Pentecost, the eleventh day after his ascension; and I will tell you why. It was a feast day, or day of public rejoicing, kept by the Jews at the beginning of their wheat harvest, in which they praised God as the Giver of all the fruits of the
earth; it was also the day on which God had of old delivered his laws to Moses from Mount Sinai, and was the next great festival to the Passover. The Disciples, then, very likely, would look to this day (on which God had formerly spoken to their fathers) for the fulfilment of their Master's promise.
We find, accordingly, that when the day of Pentecost was come, they were all assembled together in one place. "And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them" flames of fire, shaped like cloven tongues; and they sat upon each of them.