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Christian Hope of a Time of Refreshing.

Christian Hope of a Time of Refreshing.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
REV. D. WILSON, A. IM,


" Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times
of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ,
which before was preached unto you ; whom the heaven must receive until the time of
the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets
since the world began." — Acts, iii. 19—21.
REV. D. WILSON, A. IM,


" Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times
of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ,
which before was preached unto you ; whom the heaven must receive until the time of
the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets
since the world began." — Acts, iii. 19—21.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 04, 2013
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CHRISTIA HOPE OF A TIME OF REFRESHIG.REV. D. WILSO, A. IM,
" Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the timesof refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ,which before was preached unto you ; whom the heaven must receive until the time of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophetssince the world began." — Acts, iii. 19—21.
All the great doctrines of Christianity are of a deeply practical nature ; if they do not reach the heart, they fail in their object. They are not matters forspeculation, or hearing only ; they are subjects for individual and personalapplication. The important truths which we have recently considered, embrac-ing tlie suiferings, and the death, and the resurrection of the Son of God, if tliey lead not to repentance, to conversion, to the forsaking of sin, and theseeiving after holiness, they entirely fail of their object : there has been eithera want of plainness and distinctness in tlie manner in which they have beenstated, or there is a deficiency in the application of them to our own hearts andconsciences. The Apostles invaruibly brought their expositions of trutli to apractical close ; they never set forth the wondrous events connected witii tliecrucifixion and resurrection of their Lord and Master, as subjects for curiousinquiry and vain disputcition ; they made them, indeed, the basis of all theirdiscourses, both to Jew and Gentile ; but they never failed to employ tliem asmotives to repentance, and stimulants to embracing the Gusjiel. So in thepassage connected with our text, a most favourable opportunity had beenpresented to them for setting forth the efficacy of faith in their crucified Lord,from the miraculous cure of the lame man at the Beautiful gate of the temple ,they instantly seized the opportunity, not for display and vain glory, but forawakening the wondering populace to a sense of their guiltiness in killing thePrince of Life, and solemnly calling tiiem to repentance and life.The promise which St. Paul here held out, as a motive to their immediatereturn, is one of deep interest to the Church of Christ in every age. Permitme, then, from the words before you, to invite your attention, first, to tliepromise of our text ; and secondly, to the practical exhortation founded upon it.And may tliat blessed Spirit who can alone apply it to the conscience andconvince of sin. be pleased to bless what may now be spoken.I propose to call your attention, first, to the Promise contained in ourText.This refers to a period of peace, and holiness, and righteousness, which shallbe hereafter revealed in the world. In its more confined and limited sense,indeed, it imports tliat peace and joy tiiat shall flow into the soul of every true
 
THE CHRISTIA HOPE OF A TIME OF REFRESHIG. 393convert. It forms tlie fulfilment of tlie Saviour's promise to all who come toliini : — " I will give you rest." It comprises the accomplishment of Isaiah'slofty prophecy, where he describes the future Saviour as coming " to comfortall that mourn ; to appoint unto them that mourn in Ziun, to give unto thembeauty for ashes ; the oil of joy for mourning ; the garment of praise for thespirit of heaviness." The Go9p»l of Jesus Christ is the only true source of refreshment, and peace, and joy. " This," says the prophet, " is the restwherewith ye may cause the weary to rest ; this is the refreshing." This is thesource and spring of hope, under circumstances of disappointment and sorrow,when tlie truth of Christ is admitted by faith into the breast, and the influenceof divine grace begins to operate ; when the promises of mercy are fulfilled, andthe love of Christ shed abroad ; when a sense of refreshing from the presence of the Lord is vouchsafed ; when the moral disorder is destroyed, and every faculty,and every power, of body and mind, is restored to its proper use, and originalpurpose ; when all this begins to take place, and the man is made a new creaturein Christ Jesus.But I am aware this is but a very partial and very imperfect applicationof the promise before me. It evidently looks forward to some future scene of peace and joy, of holiness and of righteousness, which shall prevail moregenerally throughout the earth, when Messiah's reign shall be more fullyestablished, and the influence of true piety shall be more generally spread.What the exact import of these terms mean, I pretend not to explain: "theday shall declare;" the times and seasons the Father hath put in his own power.We may, nevertheless, be able to gather some general ideas respecting the natureof the promise before us, which may be sufficient to stimulate and encourage thehumble and inquiring mind, and which may form a powerful motive on whichto ground our subsequent appeal.The promise before us, then, embraces, in the first place, the assurance, tha'some future period of more general repose and peace shall be granted to theChurch ; " times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." The expressionconveys the idea of relief, repose, consolation, and rest, as following after aprevious period of affliction, trouble, and distress. The Church of Christ is atpresent in a militant state ; a struggle between light and darkness is goingforward. The age in which we live is also remarkably distinguished for thisconflict. Light and truth are spread abroad; the Gospel is proclaimed far andwide ; evangelical religion is no longer a party name, distinguishing a sectwhich is every where spoken against, but embraces, more especially in thisfavoured land, a very large body of the professing Church. On the other hand,the enemy of souls is actively at work ; he is sowing tares among the wheat ,infidelity, scepticism, and false doctrine, are widely propagated. We seem to
 
be on the eve of some great result, momentous to the Church of God. Thepromise, then, before us seems to iniply, that a period shall arrive when thisconflict and agitation shall cease ; when refreshing dews and heavenly graceshall descend ; when Christ, by his Gospel and his Spirit, shall come as the rainupon the new-mown grass, and as the showers that water the earth ; when themountain of the Lord's house shall be established upon the top of the mountains,and be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it; when abreathing time of repose and rest, as it were, shall be granted to the people of God ; when peace shall flow as a river, and rigliteousness as the waves of the sea.The next point connected with the promise before us, is, tfie return of the394 THE CHRISTIA HOPE OF A TIME OF REFRESHIG.risen and ascended Saviour, to take fxdl possession of his glorious kingdomwhen, liaving triumphed victoriously in every age, he shall receive his faithfulservants to final and complete happiness. How and when this shall take place,%ve indeed know not. The heavens have now received the glorified Redeemer;there he sits, until he has subdued all enemies under his feet. The Church isnow waiting his return in humble expectation. The Apostles ever kept in viewthis glorious period ; from the time that their ascended Lord was received outof their sight, they seem to have been perpetually influenced by the expectationof his return: they warned their people to wait in constant expectation; theyrepeatedly employed this stimulating truth as a motive to holy diligence ; andamid the trials, and sufferings, and afflictions which surround them, this formedtheir topic of consolation. "It is a righteous thing with God," says St. Paulto the 'J'hessalonians, " to recompense tribulation to tliera that trouble you ;and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealedfrom heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on themthat know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."The Apostle further speaks of this period, as one which should bring aboutthe restitution, or more perfect restoration, of this disordered world. We cannot,my brethren, look around us without perceiving the want of order and regularity.Sin has deranged the moral system : vice prevails ; and the professor of fairnessis despised and oppressed : unlawful gain succeeds, and is pursued ; and honestynot unfrequently is left without recompence. Religion does not receive in thisworld that proper and just respect which its merit demands ; God is nothonoured with universal benevolence ; his Gospel is not accepted with undevi-ating joy; misery, sorrow,, and trouble, widely prevail in this our earth.The language of our text, then, seems to imply, that a period is fixed in thecouncils of lieaven when God will rectify this state of irregularity in the presentdispensation, and make the cause of righteousness and truth for ever triumphantand glorious. This forms a source of no ordinary consolation to the Church

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