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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 2 - Verse 40
Verse 40. Many other words, This discourse, though one of the longest in the New Testament, is but an outline. It contains, however, the substance of the plan of mercy; and is admirably arranged to obtain its object.
Testify. Bear witness to. He bore witness to the promises of Christianity; to the truths pertaining to the danger of sinners; and to the truth respecting the character of that generation.
Exhort. He entreated them by arguments and promises.
Save yourselves. This expression here denotes—Preserve yourselves from the influence, opinions, and fate of this generation. It implies that they were to use diligence and effort to deliver themselves. God deals with men as free agents. He calls upon them to put forth their own power and effort to be saved. Unless men put forth their own strength and exertion, they will never be saved. When they are saved, they will ascribe to God the praise for having inclined them to seek him, and for the grace whereby they are saved.
This generation. This age or race of men, the Jews then living. They were not to apprehend danger from them from which they were to deliver themselves, but they were to apprehend danger from being with them, united in their plans, designs, and feelings. From the influence of their opinions, etc., they were to escape. That generation was signally corrupt and wicked. See Mt 23:12,39; 16:4; Mr 8:38. They had crucified the Messiah; and they were for their sins soon to be destroyed.
Untoward. "Perverse, refractory, not easily guided or taught."— (Webster.) The same character our Saviour had given of that generation in Mt 11:16-19. This character they had shown uniformly. They were smooth, cunning, plausible; but they were corrupt in principle, and wicked in conduct. The Pharisees had a vast hold on the people. To break away from them was to set at defiance all their power and doctrines; to alienate themselves from their teachers and friends; to brave the power of those in office, and those who had long claimed the right of teaching and guiding the nation. The chief danger of those who were now awakened was from this generation; that they would deride, or denounce, or persecute them, and induce them to abandon their seriousness, and turn back to their sins. And hence Peter exhorted them at once to break off from them, and give themselves to Christ. We may hence learn,
(1.) that if sinners will be saved, they must make an effort. There is no promise to any unless they will exert themselves.
(2.) The principal danger which besets those who are awakened arises from their former companions. They are often wicked, cunning, rich, and mighty. They may be their kindred, and will seek to drive off their serious impressions by derision, or argument, or persecution. They have a mighty hold on the affections; and they will seek to use it to prevent those who are awakened from becoming Christians.
(3.) Those who are awakened should resolve at once to break off from their evil companions, and unite themselves to Christ and his people. There may be no other way in which this can be done than by resolving to forsake the society of those who are infidels, and scoffers, and profane. They should forsake the world, and give themselves up to God, and resolve to have only so much intercourse With the world as may be required by duty, and as may be consistent with a supreme purpose to live to the honour of God.
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