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Conversion Joyful.

Conversion Joyful.

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ACTS, viii. 8.

And there was great joy in that city.

ACTS, viii. 8.

And there was great joy in that city.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 28, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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COVERSIO JOYFUL.BY ELIHU THAYER ACTS, viii. 8.And there was great joy in that city.THIS chapter commences with an account of agrievous persecution, raised against the church of Christ, which was at Jerusalem, in which, youngSaul, afterwards the holy Apostle Paul, was a princi-pal instrument. By this persecution there was a dis-sension of the saints who dwelt in Jerusalem. Fromthis place Philip went down to Samaria, and preachedthe gospel unto them ; and great and wonderful werethe effects. " For the people with one consent gaveheed unto those things which were spoken by Philip,hearing and seeing the miracles which he did ; for un-clean spirits crying with a loud voice came out of many who were possessed with them, and many takenwith palsies, and that were lame were healed." Thenfollows the text, as the consequence. And there was(freat Joy in that city. The occasion of this greatConversion Joyful. 167 joy was, they had heard and embraced the gospel.They not only heard the gospel with their ears ; butthey had attended ,to it, and received it into theirhearts, and become conformed to it. ot that we areto suppose that this was true of every individual ; butthis was the case with a great number, or the greaterpart.The doctrine which I shall illustrate from these
words is this.The conversion of sinners is a sufficient reason Jorgreat joy.This was manifestly the great joy of the Samaritans.The gospel came to them not in word only ; but ac-companied with the power of the Holy Ghost.' Heopened their hearts to receive the truth in the love of it. Before this they were idolaters. The city of Sa-maria was settled long before the days of the apostles,with a people whom the king of Assyria transplantedthere, when he carried away the ten tribes captive.To this people, the disaftected Jews attached them-selves ; and this country became a receptacle for thoseJews who exposed themselves to public censure.Then in combination with those heathen, erected atemple upon mount Gerizim in opposition to the tem-ple at Jerusalem ; and unitedly worshipped the Godof Israel in conjunction with the gods of those coun-tries, from whence these transplanted people came.This occasioned the question by the woman of Sama-ria to our Saviour ; whether the proper pla<ie of worshipwas in this mountain, or at Jerusalem ? She sup-posed Christ a prophet, and therefore capable of de^168 Conversion Joyful.ciding this long religious controversy. On this andother accounts, the Jews and Samaritans hated eachother, and had no dealings together. Until this visitto them by Philip, they were a faithless, deceitful peo-ple, sometimes pretending they were Jews, at others,when Israel was invaded -by their enemies and introuble, disclaiming all kindred with them ; for whichthey were so despised and hated by the Jews, that by alaw, they made it criminal for a Jew even to tradewith a Samaritan. But when Philip preached the gos-
pel to them, great multitudes of them were truly con-verted ; and from being the worshippers of the gods of the heathen, they became the humble worshippers of the only living God. This occasioned the joy spokenof in the text. For the illustration of the doctrine, Ishall show how it appears that the conversion of sin-ners is a reason for great joy. It will be necessary toshow in a few words what conversion is.Conversion is a change of heart, from sin to holi-ness ; and is an effect produced by the spirit of God,attending the plain preaching of the gospel. Thiswas precisely the case with the people of Samaria.They were a company of Idolaters in heart, and butlittle better in the external form of their worship.But the spirit of God attending Philip's preaching,their hearts were detached from the love of sin, to love.and obey the true God. For we are not at liberty tosuppose, that they or any other people were truly con-verted, and renewed in the spirit of their minds, bythe word, without the sanctifying influences of theHoly Spirit. I said we were not at liberty to supposeConversion Joyful. 169this, because it is the voice of inspiration, that Paulmay plant, and Apollos may water to no purpose, un-less God give the increase. This increase however isnot to be expected, where the gospel is not lieard, andeven if heard, not regarded. Because conversion, ac-cording to the method of divine operation, followstrue conviction, which is founded upon a knowledge of God, and our own sinful, lost state. Both these dis-coveries are made to us in the gospel ; and we accord-ingly find, that revivals of religion, in all ages of thechurch, have taken place in consequence of attending tothe gospel. And where the gospel has not been preach-ed, or has not been attended to, nor regarded, there se-

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