‘But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.’ Acts 7:55–56
Suggested Further Reading: Mark 13:9–13
You will be struck in reading Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, to find how many of the humblest men and women acted as if they were of noblest blood. When the King of France told Bernard Palissy that, if he did not change his sentiments, he should be compelled to surrender him to the Inquisition, the brave potter said to the king, ‘You say I shall be compelled, and yet you are a king; but I, though only a poor potter, cannot be compelled to do other than I think to be right.’ Surely the potter was more royal than the king. The cases are numberless, and should be as household words among you, in which humble men, feeble women, and little children have shown a heroism which chivalry could not equal. The Spirit of God has taken the wise in their own craftiness, and answered the learned out of the mouths of babes. The answers of uneducated persons among the martyrs were frequently so pat to the point, and hit the nail so well on the head, that you might almost suppose they had been composed by an assembly of divines; they came from a better source, for they were given by the Holy Spirit. The bearing of the bleeding witnesses for our Lord has been worthy of their office, and right well have they earned the title of ‘The noble army of martyrs.’ Now, my brethren, if you and I desire to walk among the sons of men without pride, but yet with a bearing that is worthy of our calling and adoption as princes of the blood royal of heaven, we must be trained by the Holy Spirit.
For meditation: All believers should be ready to answer those who would ask questions (1 Peter 3:15). The best preparation is to have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13) and to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8; Ephesians 5:18). That will produce the right answers (Acts 4:12).
Sermon no. 740
17 March (1867)