« AnteriorContinuar »
other devout Men out of every Nation under Heaven; who were wont to come from all Quarters of the World to the Worship of God at Jerusalem. . Now when this was nois’d abroad, the whole Multitude of them came together, and were confounded or astonish'd at the Strangeness of the thing, because that every Man heard the Apostles Speaking to them in their own Language. This unexpected News to startled them, that they were all amaz’d, and marvelld, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans ! that is, Men born in Galilee, that had lived all their time there : And how bear we every Man of them speaking in our own Tongue wherein we were born; and as readily too, as we who are Natives of those Countries; Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the Dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphilia, in Egypt, and in the Parts of Lybia, about Cyrene, and Strangers of Rome, Jews and Profelytes, Cretes and Arabians; we do hear them Speak in our Tongues the wonderful Works of God: that is, we of so many different Nations and Countries, and likewise of so many different Dialects and Languages, we do hear them preaching the Doctrine of Christ and the Miracles wrought by him in our own feveral Tongues, which they never knew or understood before, nor had any Opportunity of learning. And this Wonder made such an Impression upon them, that the Apostles Preaching convinc'd them of the Truth of their Doctrine; and thereby were daily added to the Church, such as should be saved.
These are the Effects which this Descent of the Holy Ghost had upon the People, it being the Means of teaching and converting all Nations, and of turning them from the Darkness of Paganism and Idolatry, to the Light of the Gospel, and the Hopes of eternal Salvation,
This is, in short, the Mercy we are to call to remembrance this Day; a Mercy too great for all the Tongues, that at this time fell on the Apostles, fufficiently to celebrate ; a Mercy, for which all that fire in which the cloven Tongues appear;d, cannot enough inflame our Breasts with Love and thankfulness to God: In a word, a Mercy for which every Sermon we hear, coming from the Amir tance of this Holy Spirit, should fet us a blessing and praising God, for sending him to us. For 'twas the Holy Ghost's coming down this Day, that endow'd the Apostles with Power from on high, to plant and propagate the Gofa
pel to all the World: by which means it was, that we of these Iands, who before fat in Darkness and in the Regions of the Shadow of Death, had this marvelous Light, which arose and shone among us: by this it was that we at present enjoy the Instructions and Comforts of this Holy Spirit, acquainting us with our Duty here, and the Means of being happy hereafter.
Finally, the Apostles receiving the Holy Ghost at this time, gave them a Commission afterwards to breathe it on others, and thereby to preserve a Succession of Paftors and Teachers, for the Edification of the Church to the World's end.
For these inestimable Benefits and Blessings, let as compafs the Altar with Songs of Thanksgiving : let not the Wonders of this Day, which astonish'd and converted the World, sink into Oblivion, or pass away as things to be Nlighted or forgotten by us; but let us remember them in the Feast of the Holy Communion, where our Saviour gives us himself, and signs over his Merits to us by the Seal of this Holy Spirit. Let us (as the Apostles did) af, femble together this Day, with one accord, and in one place, that we may in some measure partake of the Gifts and Graces of the Holy Ghost, that were this Day pour'd down upon them : at least let us meet together with one Heart and one Mind at God's Holy Table, to celebrate the Memory, and receive the Comforts of it. Let us call to mind that time, when illiterate Fishermen spake more Languages than the most study'd Linguists, and the Foolishnefs of Preaching confounded all the Wisdom of the Wise; which things were done by this glorious Descent of the Holy Ghoft. O Blessed Change! when Ignorance was turn'd into Know. ledg, Sorrow into Joy, Darkness into Light. Let us all then praise and adore the Goodness of God for these miraculous Dispensations, and pay our Tribute of devout Thankfulness to that Holy Spirit by which all these Things were effected. Beware of quenching the pious Ardours of this Holy Spirit, that came down this Day in the form of Fire to kindle in us the Love of God, and to infame our Devotion, lest he come again in a consuming Fire to destroy all that wilfully resist him : in a word, let us not transple under foot the Blood of the Son of God, by turning our backs upon the Holy Sacrament, but rather let us remember him now, that we may be for ever remembred by him hereafter,
St. John xiv. 15-23.
I he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth; whom the World cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knowerb him ; but him, &c.
THE Disciples had fhew'd many Signs and Tokens
of their love to Christ; as the Delight they took
in his Presence, the Fears they had of losing his Company, and the Sorrow they conceiv'd' at the News of his departing from them, and the like : all which were great Marks and Instances of Affection. But our Saviour here minds them of another and truer Token of their Love to him than all these ; and that is, the doing what he had commanded them: If ye love me (faith he) keep my Com mandments. As if he had said, Some of you have professid great Love to me, and yet in a time of Trial have deny'd and forsaken me : Others have cry'd, Hail Mafter! and kifsd me; and yet have soon after betray'd and crucify'd me. And indeed it is but too comnion among Men, to pretend much Love and Friendship, and in words to compliment each other with Your bumble Servant, when in deeds they prove quite otherwise; and when need or occasion requires, to fhew the quite contrary. And therefore if you would prove the Truth and Reality of your Love to me (faith our Saviour) shew it by observing my Precepts, and by doing as I have directed you. This is the best Touchstone and Trial of the Sincerity of your Affection to me: and if you give me that, I will give you a higher Token of my Love to you, than you have yet receiv'd from me; for 1 will pray the Father, and he mall give you another Comforter, that mall abide with you for ever.
I will pray, and he mall give : If Christ will pray, there can be no fear of speeding ; especially considering, that he who is sued to is a Father, and he that fues is a Son : the Nearness of the Relation, and the Dearness of the Affection between them, is abundantly enough to secure the Success of the Petition ; for if earthly Parents know hodo ta give good Gifts to their Children, how much more Mall your Father which is in Heaven, give good things to them that ask them? And if an ordinary Son is commonly heard of his Father, and obtains his Request, how much more shall ani only-begotten and only-beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleas'd, prevail in what he asks? He was ever heard (faith the Apostle) in that he feared, Heb. 5. 7. His Duty and Reverence to his heavenly Father will not suffer his Petitions to be dismiss'd without a gracious and effectual
a Answer: I will pray (faith be) and the Father shall give; and between both ye shall be sure to receive.
But what is the Gift he here promiseth from the Father? Why, Ift, 'tis a Comforter, yea, I say unto you, and more than a Comforter, 'tis a Paraclete ; vegnantes são vuir, he Thall give you a Paraclete : which, beside a Comforter to chear in Distress, fignifies an Instructor in case of Doubts, and an Interceffor in time of Need; all which good Offices are included in the word Paraclete, and are perform’d by him, as was shew'd in the Gospel for the last Sunday. Again,
2dly, Here is promis'd another Comfortér : Your Father, Shall give you another Comforter ; that is, another besides himself: for another always supposes one before or beside, and that can be no other than Christ. He was a Comforter to the Disciples while he was upon Earth, and so he continues still to be in Heaven, where he appears as an Ad. vocate in the presence of God for us, to plead our Cause, and to make Interceffion for us. But another Comforter was neceffary for us here on Earth, to supply the Defect of his bodily Presence ; and this is here promis'd : so that Christians now have a double Comforter, the one in Heaven, to act for them there; the other on Earth, to help their Infirmities : And both are no more than need, to care ry them thro the Troubles and Temptations of this Life, and to bring them to a better. Moreover,
3dly, The other Comforter here promis'd, is one that will stay with us; He mall abide with you for ever. Christ was a Comforter, and a good one too, whilst he staid ; but he was to go away after he had finish'd the Work for which he came, he was to return to the Father that fent hini, and to resume the Glory he had with him before the World began. And 'twas no ' small grief to the Disciples, that when they had one that was a great Comfort to them, they could not keep, him, and their fear was, that when they had another, he would be gone too, and so they should be ever changing, and never be at any certainty. But Christ, to remove these Fears and Troubles, tells them, for their comfort, that there was a Comforter coming to them, that would not move from them, but abide with them for ever; one that would be still at hand, and ever ready to fupport and comfort them : not like the miserable Conforters of this World, that can afford no Relief, and are most apt to leave us when we stand in most need of them; but a permanent, true, and constant Friend, whose Joys and Consolations will never fail : but evermore in the midt of all the Sorrows that are in our Hearts, his Comforts Mall refresh our Souls.
But who or what is this constant and abiding Comforter? Why that the next words tell us, it is the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit of God, that leads into all, and nothing but Truth : 'tis the Holy Ghost, that descended on this day upon the heads of the Apostles, in the form of Fire, to enlighten them with Knowledg, and inflame them with Zeal; in the shape of Tongues, to enable them to speak boldly the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven; and in the shape of cloven Tongues, to enable them to teach all Nations in their several Tongues and Languages. This is the Paraclete or Comforter, that was to come and stay with us always, when Christ was gone: for Christ's abode here was as in a Tabernacle, sorávacs év huiv. Now a Taber. nacle, you know, is movable and of no continúance; but. -the Holy Ghost's abode is as in a Temple, which is perma. nent, and never to be taken down,
This Spirit of Truth (as our Saviour adds) the World cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neithér knoweth him: that is, carnal and earthly-minded Men, whose Eyes are fix'd only on the visible Pomps and Pleasures of the World, cannot perceive or know this Holy Spirit ; The natural or sensual Man disserneth not the things of the Spirit of God,