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DORCAS.pdf

DORCAS.pdf

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT



" Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by
interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good work: and
almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was
sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper
chamber" etc. ACTS IX. 36-42.
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT



" Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by
interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good work: and
almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was
sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper
chamber" etc. ACTS IX. 36-42.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 02, 2013
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DORCAS.BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT" Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which byinterpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good work: andalmsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that shewassick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upperchamber" etc. ACTS IX. 36-42.AT this point Saul disappears for a time from the horizon of our history. He is left unnoticed in his nativecity, and Peter reappears upon the scene. In thosedays he seems to have found a most appropriate fieldfor the exercise of his energy in making tours of inspection throughout all Judaea. Here is the true work of a primitive bishop. How welcome would the venerable form of the aged apostle be in each of the smallChristian communities scattered through the towns andvillages of the land. Lydda was a small village westward from Jerusalem, and not far from the shore of theMediterranean. In that place Peter performed a miracle of healing. The mighty work was first and lastemployed in the service of the gospel. The formulaemployed was, "Jesus Christ maketh thee whole."These men now were full of the Holy Ghost, and sohad power to be witnesses to their Lord. The resultcorresponded with the design: the miracle was effectualin winning souls. All that dwelt in Lydda and Saronsaw the restored paralytic, "and turned to the Lord."In the neighboring sea-port of Joppa another mira-Dorcas. 209cle was performed, greater in itself, and more interest
 
ing in its circumstances. This work accordingly ismore fully detailed. A disciple, named Dorcas, whohad endeared herself by her skilful benevolence to thewhole community, grew sick, and died. The sorrowingneighbors thereupon sent express to Lydda for Peter, and Peter came at their call. It pleased the Lord,through means of Peter, to restore the dead to life.The fact became known to all the citizens, and "manybelieved in the Lord."The character and special work of Dorcas are fullof interest and instruction for us. She was probablyunmarried, for nothing is said of husband or of widowhood. She probably lived alone, for nothing is said of father or mother, sister or brother. She seems to havebeen one of those "honorable women," of whom not afew have arisen in every country and every age, who,having no family to care for, adopt the poor as theirchildren, and in this form devote their time, and skill,and resources to the service of the Lord.She was not a nun. In order to devote a life to theservice of the poor, it is not necessary to renounce, byan irrevocable vow, the privileges, joys, and duties of family life. The relations and affections of nature areGod s workmanship, and do not necessarily hinder anygood work.Dorcas was a disciple full of good works. One phraseindicates the well-spring, and the other indicates therefreshing stream that overflows. She was a "disciple"behold the root ! She was "full of good works"behold the fruit-bearing branches ! God hath joinedthese two; men should never and nowhere put themasunder. The one is faith, and the other good works.These two are beautiful in unity; but either wantingits mate "is dead, being alone."People who have a smattering of religious knowledge,but have not been taught of the Spirit, fall alternately
 
into two opposite errors in regard to the place andworth of good works in the Christian system. In thefirst instance the crude conception of self-righteousnesssprings up: Let me crowd in as many good deeds as Ican, in order that I may thereby make my peace withGod, and have a good case against the great day. But2io The Church, in tJie Plouse.when this man hears the gospel, and especially thedoctrine of justification by faith alone, he begins tothink that in this way of salvation there is no placeleft for a good life that the gospel is jealous, not zealous of good works.When the work of the Spirit advances another stepin his heart, when he is convinced of sin, and broughtto the blood of Christ for pardon, this man gets a newview-point, and consequently a different view. Goodworks, as a justifying righteousness, he not only doesnot value, but loathes as filthy rags; yet, as fruit to hisRedeemer s glory, he lives and labors in them all hisdays.Such was the place of works both in the professionand the practice of this honorable woman. The branchwas full of grapes, sweet, and ripe, and beautiful; butthe branch was in the vine, and that accounts both forits beauty and its fertility.When she was raised to life, they gave her back tothe saints and widows. She was their property, andtheir property was restored. Such a working Christianbelongs to the neighborhood, and is their richest treasure. The work of Dorcas was personal. This is themost precious kind of benevolence, both to the giverand receiver. She knew each widow whom she clothed,each child whom she fed. Possibly she had not much

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