Stephen and the Pilgrim Fathers

Acts 7  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Stephen, when about to die for the truth, glances for a moment to this same faith of the Pilgrim Fathers of Genesis, and in an exceedingly interesting manner.
He 'tells us which the history did not, that this value for the burying-place in Canaan, animated all the Genesis Fathers. Not only was Jacob carried to the cave which Abraham had bought of Ephron, and Joseph to the parcel of ground which Jacob had bought of Humor, but the other fathers who died in Egypt, had the same faith, and the same burial. It mattered not whether the spot was near Hebron or near Sychem, north or south, it was still within the borders of the land promised by the God of glory to their nation, and they would lie there, it mattered not in what spot, so it was there, in sure and certain hope of resurrect ion.
And Stephen, moreover, joins himself with these pilgrim fathers who "died in faith." As the God of glory had called them out from home and kindred, or, as the enmity of their brethren had cast them out from the same, so was he in his day. His brethren were casting him out, but the "God of glory" had marked him as a child of the resurrection, and put him on his way to the "glory of God" (Acts 6:15;7. 55); with this newly developed feature in such a calling, that, in the meanwhile, Jesus would receive his spirit. He thus advances upon them, in the light and understanding of the high calling of God. Till the inheritance in glory comes, he can say, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." But this was beyond the way or hope (at least as far as the record goes) of the Genesis Fathers. "I have waited for thy salvation, O God," was their way; and care about their dead bodies, and the security of their place of sepulture, were the concerns of their faith and hope, looking for resurrection. But in Stephen, faith apprehends another—stage in the path to the kingdom; or rather, fills up the interval from tabernacling in the body, to entrance into the "house eternal in the heavens"; and it is blessed to see the calling of the elect, thus progressively disclosing itself in its full beauty and excellence.