One have nothing to glory of. He is desirous to remove all appearance of haughtiness from his tone. 1 Corinthians 9: 16 ” For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid on me. Yes, woe is to me, If I preach not the Gospel. “ – There was, he says, no merit involved in his preaching the Gospel. He did so from the sense of overwhelming moral compulsion, and he would have been miserable if he had tried to resist it. Necessity is laid upon me – Acts 4: 20 ” For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. ”
A leader’s execution is not a usual recipe for heartening his followers, but it had that effect in this case, and the Peter who was frightened out of all his heroics by a sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued, servant maid, a few weeks after bearded the council and ” rejoiced ” that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. It was not Christ death that did that, and it was not life that did that.
However, the boldness came, these two men before the council were making and epoch at that moment and their grand words are the Magna Charta of the right of every sincere conviction to free speech. Two things, Peter and John adduced as making silence impossible – a definite Divine command, and an inward impulse. Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge you. We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
But, let us use these words now in a somewhat wider application. They may suggest that there are great facts which make silence and non-aggressiveness an impossibility for an individual or a Christian Church, and that by the very law of its being, to be a dumb Christian, unless he is a dead Christian!