And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you…
I. THE TEXT IN ITS IMMEDIATE BEARING — that God hath a "witness" of Himself.
1. In His visible creation. "Which made heaven and earth," etc. Look at nature, composed of an endless diversity of organised substances. Examine these, and you will see that each part is admirably adapted to its particular end. The design indicates a designer. The universe could no more make itself, than a watch could make itself. Intelligence is equally visible in the contrivance by which the minutest creature puts out its smallest antennae to the warm sun, as in the very movements of the solar system. God "left not Himself without a witness" also of tits power; that evidences itself in carrying on the influence under which each thing severally performs its own functions.
2. In His providence. To wisdom and power He has superadded goodness. The great end in view is a benevolent end. The Creator is the Governor. He appointed certain seasons for the benefit of man; and this the apostles referred to. And this too amidst human unworthiness, superstitions, and idolatries. Justly had He swept away a rebellious people; but goodness withheld the sword, and it only pierced the cloud to let down fatness upon their heads. In the midst of wrath He "remembers mercy." Amidst the wonders of the visible creation are not many of you living "without God in the world"? Ask this yourselves; and ask, in all your unworthiness, in all your proneness to idolatry, if aught can restrain the Divine and righteous indignation but the Divine goodness.
II. THE TEXT UNDER ITS MORE AMPLIFIED CONSIDERATION. God has other "witnesses."
1. The Bible — a standing exposition of His will, record of His laws, exhibition of His perfections; containing His judgments against sin; presenting His remonstrance against offending man. But the Bible — pregnant with the great scheme of human redemption; unfolding His new covenant; rich in promises to "all who call upon Him." The Bible is the grandest, the most magnificent monument of the love of God.
2. The Church. God has never been without a band of holy men upon the earth. They have been its salt to preserve it from a universal putrefaction. It is as old as Abel's day. It lived in the forms of patriarchal life. And from the time of Christ, amidst all the malice of the wicked, and the assaults and conspiracies of hell itself, its existence shall continue until the Church militant becomes the Church triumphant. God, in the foundations of His Church, in its appointed ordinances, in the burden of its devoted preachers, in the conversion, the blessed experience of its members, has a witness upon earth.
3. The Holy Spirit. He is a "witness" of God whom believers have within them, in an experimental knowledge of the truths and comforts from God, where all before was the utter darkness of ignorance and the barrenness of perished hopes.
4. The reason of man. This, in its healthy exercise, when it is unwarped by prejudice, makes certain discoveries of God in the moral relations which His character bears to us; and out of which great responsibilities grow. Reason, that in admitting His claims, draws an inference of the guilt of man in not fulfilling them; but whereby man, in His own eyes, becomes obnoxious to punishment, is a "witness" of God.
5. Conscience. If by its fears and its pains, painting a judgment to come, a man is restless and perturbed, there is in it surely a witnessing for God in the verity of His Word, "Be sure your sin shall find you out."
6. Believers are the witnesses of His faithfulness, of His power, of His love.
(T. J. Judkin.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
WEB: "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the sky and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them;