the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Behold he prayeth.”
Acts 9:1 , Acts 9:2
His very breath was threatening; all Judea was not a large enough hunting ground for him. What a rebel he was! What a saint he became! How mighty is divine grace!
What surprise filled the soul of Saul when he perceived that the Nazarene whom he had hated was really divine. Little had he dreamed of persecuting the Son of God, he thought he was crushing out a troublesome imposture. O Lord, open the eyes of any other sincere bigot who may be persecuting thy cause without knowing it to be thine!
He rises a changed man, he has seen the Lord and is conquered; he has become the willing servant of Jesus whom he persecuted. His hectoring has ended, his submission is complete.
And no wonder. The light had blinded him, and the revelation from heaven so possessed him that he forgot everything else.
Do we wonder that the good man doubled? Should not we be slow to believe if we were told that the Pope of Rome had given up his superstition, and was humbly seeking a Saviour? Yet the case would not be more wonderful.
Acts 9:15 , Acts 9:16
Paul was not merely to be a saint, but an eminent one. Great sinners usually love much when they are forgiven.
Acts 9:17 , Acts 9:18
He did not neglect baptism, as some do. What the Lord ordains we must not despise.
Thus electing love chose a persecutor; almighty grace made him a penitent; the Holy Spirit made him a believer, and by divine authority he became a minister and an apostle. Grace works miracles.
Lo Satan trembles and gives place
Before the Spirit’s might!
The power of efficacious grace
Puts all his hosts to flight.
His kingdom falls, his spells and charms
By Jesus are o’erthrown,
The Spirit wields victorious arms,
And holds the field alone.
Ah, Grace! into unlikeliest hearts
It is thy boast to come;
The glory of thy light to find
In darkest spots a home.
Thy choice, O God of goodness! then
We lovingly adore;
Oh, give us grace to keep thy grace,
And grace to long for more!
They who feed thy sick and faint
For thyself a banquet find;
They who clothe the naked saint
Round thy loins the raiment bind.
Thou wilt deeds of love repay;
Grace shall gen’rous hearts reward
Here on earth, and in the day
When they meet their reigning Lord.
O Spirit of the Lord, prepare
All the round earth her God to meet;
Breathe thou abroad like morning air,
Till hearts of stone begin to beat.
Baptize the nations far and nigh;
The triumphs of the cross record:
The name of Jesus glorify,
Till every kindred call him Lord.
Come, guilty souls, and flee away
Like doves to Jesu’s wounds;
This is the welcome gospel-day,
Wherein free grace abounds.
God loved the church, and gave his Son
To drink the cup of wrath:
And Jesus says he’ll cast out none
That come to him by faith.
Fly abroad, thou mighty Gospel,
Win and conquer, never cease;
May thy lasting, wide dominion
Multiply, and still increase.
Sway thy sceptre,
Saviour, all the world around.
When he first the work begun,
Small and feeble was his day:
Now the word doth swiftly run,
Now it wins its widening way:
More and more it spreads and grows,
Ever mighty to prevail;
Sin’s strongholds it now o’erthrows,
Shakes the trembling gates of hell.
From Greenland’s icy mountains,
From India’s coral strand,
Where Afric’s sunny fountains
Roll down their golden sand;
From many an ancient river,
From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver
Their land from error’s chain.
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
One God, whom we adore,
Be glory as it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.
“Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.”
Paul’s bold preaching soon aroused the enmity of those who had formerly admired him.
This was three years after his conversion, after he had been in retirement in Arabia. It must have been a hard lesson for Paul to find himself suspected by brethren whom he loved.
This was a right brotherly deed. New converts need a friend.
Christians are always ready to do good to the sick. We cannot now restore them by miracle, and, therefore, by kind nursing and care to provide hospitals, we must do the best we can to show that we care for them. Spiritual healing is, however, still among us, and it is our joy to whisper in the despairing sinners ear, “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.”
Dorcas or gazelle
Peter healed and Dorcas clothed; grace prompts the saints to help the helpless.
and showing the coats and garments or upper and under garments
These are the best relics of the saints. Many leave behind them wealth wrung out of the poor: hers was a noble legacy.
Acts 9:40 , Acts 9:41
nothing can be done without prayer, not even by an apostle
Acts 9:40 , Acts 9:41
Luke describes the weeping of the widows at her death; he relates nothing concerning their joy at her being raised, for that was indescribable. Have we so lived that the poor would rejoice to see us back again when we die? Christian women should make Dorcas their example, and labour according to their ability for the needy ones around them.
Acts 9:42 , Acts 9:43
Whose hospitality has immortalized his name. It matters little what trade a man is, if he serves the Lord in it. Are we doing so in ours?