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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 20 - Verse 35

Verse 35. I have shewed you. I have taught you by instruction and example. I have not merely discoursed about it, but have showed you how to do it.

All things. Or, in respect to all things. In everything that respects preaching and the proper mode of life, I have for three years set you an example, illustrating the design, nature, and duties of the office by my own self-denials and toils.

How that. Or that. oti. I have showed you that ye should by so labouring support the weak.

So labouring, Labouring as I have done. Setting this example, and ministering in this way to the wants of others.

To support the weak. To provide for the wants of the sick and feeble members of the flock, who are unable to labour for themselves. The weak here denote the poor, the needy, the infirm.

And to remember. To call to mind for encouragement, and with the force of a command.

The words of the Lord Jesus. These words are nowhere recorded by the evangelists. But they did not pretend to record all his sayings and instructions. Comp. Joh 21:25. There is the highest reason to suppose that many of his sayings which are not recorded would be treasured up by those who heard them; would be transmitted to others; and would be regarded as a precious part of his instructions. Paul evidently addresses them as if they had heard this before, and were acquainted with it. Perhaps he had himself reminded them of it. This is one of the Redeemer's most precious sayings; and it seems even to have a peculiar value, from the fact that it is not recorded in the regular and professed histories of his life. It comes to us recovered, as it were, from the great mass of his unrecorded sayings; rescued from that oblivion to which it was hastening if left to mere tradition, and placed in permanent form in the sacred writings by the act of an apostle, who had never seen the Saviour before his crucifixion. It is a precious relic— a memento of the Saviour—and the effect of it is to make us regret that more of his words were not recovered from an uncertain tradition, and placed in a permanent form by an inspired penman. God, however, who knows what is requisite to guide us, has directed the words which are needful for the welfare of the church, and has preserved by inspiration the doctrines which are adapted to convert and bless man.

It is more blessed to give. It is a higher privilege; it tends more to the happiness of the individual, and of the world. The giver is more blessed or happy than the receiver. This appears,

(1.) because it is a privilege to give to the wants of others; it is a condition for which we should be thankful; when we are in a situation to promote their felicity.

(2.) Because it tends to promote the happiness of the benefactor himself. There is pleasure in the act of giving, when it is done with pure motives. It promotes our own peace; is followed by happiness in the recollection of it; and will be followed by happiness for ever. That is the most truly happy man, who is most benevolent. He is the most miserable, who has never known the luxury of doing good, but who lives to gain all he can, and to hoard all he gains.

(3.) It is blessed in the reward that shall result from it. Those who give from a pure motive, God will bless. They shall be rewarded, not only in the peace which they shall experience in this life, but in the higher bliss of heaven, Mt 25:34-36. We may also remark, that this is a sentiment truly great and noble. It is worthy of the Son of God. It is that on which he himself acted, when he came to give pardon to the guilty, comfort to the disconsolate and the mourner, peace to the anxious sinner, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead, and heaven to the guilty and the lost. Acting on this, he gave his own tears to weep over human sorrows and human guilt; he gave his own labours and toils to instruct and save man; he gave his own life a sacrifice for sin on the cross; and he gave his Spirit to awaken and save those for whom he died. Loving to give, he has freely given us all things. Loving to give, he delights in the same character in his followers, and seeks that they who have wealth, and strength, and influence, should be willing to give all to save the world. Imitating his great example, and complying with his command, the church shall yet learn more and more to give its wealth to bless the poor and needy, its sons and its daughters to bear the gospel to the benighted heathen, and its undivided and constant efforts to save a lost world. Here closes this speech of Paul—an address of inimitable tenderness and beauty. Happy would it be if every minister could bid such an adieu to his people, when called to part from them; and happy if, at the close of life, every Christian could leave the world with a like consciousness that he had been faithful in the discharge of his duty. Thus dying, it will be blessed to leave the world; and thus would the example of the saints live in the memory of survivors long after they themselves have ascended to their rest.

{e} "to support the weak" Ro 15:1; Eph 4:28; 1 Th 5:14

{*} "weak" "Infirm" {f} "how he said" Lu 14:12-14

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