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by Robert Hawker
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
In this book of God, we enter upon a very interesting part of the divine records, in what relates to the Church of Christ, from, and after our Lord's ascension. The history of the Church from this period becomes highly important, in that it presents us with the account of the first open manifestation of God the Holy Ghost, in his Almighty Ministry, agreeably to the promise of Christ, before his departure; and thereby becomes a confirmation of the whole. Here it is proved, that God the Holy Ghost is the Founder, and Builder, of the Church, from the beginning. He had framed, and ordained the whole, in all the departments of it. But now, redemption-work being finished, by the Almighty Author of salvation, the Lord the Spirit is here mercifully pleased to reveal himself more openly, in the Almighty Ministry, which belonged to Him in his Covenant-office character.
The Acts of the Apostles, so called, because it contains the records of those holy servants of the Lord, takes up the subject from whence the Gospels had left off, at the ascension of the Lord Jesus; and carries on the blessed history of the Church, through a period of about thirty years, until the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul.
In respect to the Writer of it, there can be no question. Luke is allowed by everyone to have been the inspired Pen-man of it. The preface with which he begins it, and his directing it to the same person, to whom he sent the Gospel which bears his name; are evident proofs, And the Church hath abundant reason to bless God the Holy Ghost, who is the Author and Giver of all Scripture, for the ministry of this man, on both those occasions.
I do not think it necessary to add anything more by way of preface. I only very earnestly request the Reader, to enter upon the perusal of this sacred book of God, with prayer; because this will furnish a well-grounded hope, that the close of it will be in praise. Blessed Author of the whole Scripture of inspiration! (I would say both for myself and Reader,) vouchsafe thy gracious teachings! Open to us both, if it be thine holy will, the precious pages here contained. And, Lord! do thou open our hearts to the right apprehension of all the great truths of God, contained in them. Oh! for an ear to hear, what the Spirit saith unto the Churches! Amen.
the First Week of Advent