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There appear to have been several reasons for our LURD's meeting his disciples in Galilee, preferably to any other place. Galilee was the country in which he had resided above 30 years, from his very infancy to the time when he began to preach the kingdom of God. There he began to declare his mission, and in the cities of that region he performed the greatest part of his mighty work ; soʻthat he must certainly have been more known, and have had more followers than in any other region of Judea ; and consequently, was more likely to have the greatest number of competent witnesses in this province.
Galilee was also the native place of most, if not of all his Apostles, to whom a long absence from home might have been very inconvenient at that time, especially when the barley-harvest was either begun or near at hand; and as they were for a short time left to follow their worldly occupations, they would naturally have re. turned after the passover to their own habitations. Our Lord knowing this, promised before his death that after he was risen, he would go before them into Galile; which remarkable expression was again made use of by the angel, who appeared to the women after his resurrection ; and our Lord himself commanded them, by the same women, to go into Galilee, with a promise that they should see him ; which was intended not to alter any resolution they may be supposed to have formed, but as a confirmation of his former promise, and a strong encouragement to expect the performance of it.
The time was not yet come for them to leave their families and all their connections, in order to devore themselves to the apostolic office : therefore, our Lord permitted them to return back, that they might have an
opportunity of seeing and providing in the best manner they were able for their relations and families, before they took their final leave of them. Besides the Apostles, having their habitations in Galilee, might reside and assemble there without any fear of the persecutors and murderers of their LORD and Master, the chief priests and the Roman governor; for Galilee was in the jurisdiction of Herod.
The purpose of our Lord's appearance on the mountain in Galilee was not merely to prove the reality of his resurrection, but also to declare the accomplishment of those prophecies which foretold that the 'Messiah should have universal dominion; and to make known the reward which should be bestowed on those who paid a willing allegiance to him, and the penalty which should be inflicted on those who wilfully rejected him; salvation to the one, damnation to the other. The writ. ings of the Apostles will best explain the full import of them.
That believers might have sensible demonstrations of the power possessed by him, our Lord promised he would endue them with miraculous gifts. The meaning of this promise was explained by the completion of it, as we shall soon have occasion to shew. The terms of admission into our Lord's kingdom upon earth, viz. faith and baptism, have been explained.
We are told in this section, that our Lord showed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, during forty days. He did not appear in the splendor of heavenly glory once only, dazzling their eyes, bearing down their reason, and confounding their undersand. ing, but in his usual form, conversing, eating, and drink. ing; and submitting his body to be handled and examined;
for as a reasonable well-grounded FAITH was required of his Apostles, CHRIST furnished them with every means to obtain it.
It is said that, during his forty days continuance on earth, our LORD conversed with his disciples concerning, the kingdom of heaven. His conversations are not rea corded; but we may suppose, thăt they consisted of directions to them concerning the discharge of the aposto. lic office, the design of the Gospel dispensation, and the means and assistances by which they should be enabled to perform a task so apparently above their abilities; and of encouragement to support them under the difficulties. and dangers they were shortly after to encounter.
THE ASCENSION OF OUR BLESSED LORD AND SAVIOURI
JESUS CHRIST. HE COMMANDS HIS APOSTLES TO
BAPTIZE ALL NATIONS.
From Luke, Chap. xxiv.--Acts, i.-Matt. xxviii.
Jesuş and his apostles being assembled together, he led them out as far as Bethany,
And commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, LORD, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you ; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be 'endued with power from on high.
Then go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost : Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo I am with you alway, even the end of the world.
And when he had spoken these things, he lift up his hands and blessed them.
And it came to pass that while he blessed them, they beheld, and he was parted from them, and was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And he was received into keayen, and sat at the right hand of God.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is. the Christ the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
At what time the Apostles returned from Galilee ta Jerusalem is not related ; but it is very probable that
they remained in Galilee till the usual time of going up to the Holy City, in order to be in readiness for the celebra. tion of the feast of Pentecost; when they might safely repair thither without suspicion, because the law of Moses reqnired every man to appear in the temple at that festival.
Our Lord commanded his Apostles not to depart from Jerusalem to pursue their worldly business, but to wait for the accomplishment of the Divine promise, relating to the descent of the Holy Spirit*; because it was the Divine will, that the visible descent of the Holy Spirit should be made in that Holy City, in which the Divine presence had so frequently been manifested, and because the Gospel, according to the prediction of Isaiah, was to go forth from Jerusalem.
The minds of the Apostles had been already illumi. nated by the Holy Spirit, communicated to them when our Saviour breathed on them, so that they were enabled to understand the Scriptures; but in a short time they were to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, that is, cleansed, purified, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, as the priests of the law were purified by the washing of
The promises of God, respecting his sending the Mes. SIAH, were faithfully accomplished; båt there were other promises, which our Lord himself had lately re. peated, relating to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, which John the Baptist had also foretold +; these, our LORD assured his disciples, should likewise be fulfilled in a few days.
The Apostles, judging that our LORD was preparing for some great solemnity, supposed that the kingdom of the Messiah would immediately take place, and that
* See Section xxy.
+ Section xvi. Vol. V.