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and other sects are also persecuted and suffer much; but they do not know Christ and the Father; for they deny the blessing which God bestowed upon them in their first baptism, and establish a new kind of monkish life, with the purpose of obtaining thereby a merciful God and an entrance into heaven. The true Church, however, knows Christ and the Father; she consoles herself with the knowledge that only in Christ is God reconciled unto us; and for this consolation and hope she is persecuted. But she suffers uncomplainingly; it is nothing new to her, for Christ has prophesied this; therefore she submits, and lets the Pope with his followers call her a heretical church and the devil's home. The true Church can look complacently on the fury of her tormentors; she knows Christ and the Father, and is well assured that the Pope and his multitude, much as they vaunt themselves, have no knowledge of God, and therefore they persecute the believers. The true Church suffers willingly with Christ, looking in faith to that time when she will triumph with Him in glory everlasting. God grant us all this glorious triumph through Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
FIRST SERMON FOR PENTECOST.
Acts 2, 1-4. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from leaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. he word Pentecost is Greek, and means in
this connection the fiftieth day. Pentecost was with the Jews a great festival, occurring fifty days after Easter, and was kept in commemoration of the delivery unto them of the ten commandments, which took place at mount Sinai, fifty days after they had eaten the passover and left the land of Egypt. This event was a great blessing to the people; in it God Himself revealed unto them His will from heaven, that they might know what is pleasing to Him and what is displeasing. That this great and important event might be well remembered, God commanded Israel to keep holy the fiftieth day after Easter; for thus should the people learn to value more and more the blessing of God contained in the revelation of His will and to remember the promise which they made to keep His commandments, as we plainly read in the 19. and 20. chapters of Exodus.
The events which occurred in the Old Testament, and which were of great importance to the Jews, were only an example of what should bappen in the new dispensation, in the time of grace, as St. Paul speaks of it, 1 Cor. 10. The blood of the lamb
with which they stained their doorposts in Egypt had no other virtue but to cause the destroying angel to pass by and to spare their first-born; the blood of our Easter Lamb, of Christ Jesus, has more power than this: it frees us from the bondage of that most dreadful Egypt, the slavery and tyranny of the devil, and redeems us from sin and eternal death. Therefore we have a far better Easter sacrifice than they had of old. So we have in the New Testament a far better Pentecost than that which the ancient Israelites celebrated.
They received the Ten Commandments at mount Sinai. These contain a necessary, good and precious revelation of God's will, for which thanks are due unto Him; yet such revelation assists us nothing against the power of the devil, of sin and of death. The law only makes us greater sinners, and prompts our conscience to accuse and to threaten us before God, since we fall far short of doing what is commanded.
As the circumstances amid which the law was given on mount Sinai were terrible, when thunder and lightning intermingled and the whole mountain smoked and quaked, so the law still terrifies guilty hearts and makes them sore afraid, so that they tremble and know not what to do for terror. To know what God demands of us and at the same time to be conscious of our transgressions, must neccessarily arouse our fears and fill the soul with anxiety; for we all know what God threatens those who break His commandments, namely, eternal death and every misery. Hence this Pentecost of the Jews is an unpleasant, terrifying feast, destitute of all happiness. It appoared so liorrible and awful
that the Jews implored Moses in these words: “Speak thou with us, and we will hear : but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
llow different from this is our Pentecost! It has no terror, but is full of cheer and glory and happiness and joy. We have heard how the Evangelist narrates the event: When the day of Pentecost was fully come, while the Jews were busy with thanksgiving for the possession of the Ten Commandments, and considered the occurrence on mount Sinai, the apostles and other Christians were also assembled in a certain house. Then there came of a sudden a sound from heaven as of à rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. At the same time there appeared unto them cloven tongues like flames of fire, flickering heavenwards; and thus the Holy Ghost was publicly seen and heard. He was heard in the mighty rushing of the wind, and was seen in the flames of fire. Thus Christ had promised it, and John the Baptist had prophesied : “You shall be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost."
This occurrence has its peculiar reason and meaning. The cloven tongues indicate that the preaching of the Gospel shall not be in vain; that it will move the hearts and kindle a new light in them, as we shall explain further on. Soon after the rushing of the wind and the appearance of these flames of fire, “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost," who enlightened their hearts and encompassed them to such a degree, that they immediately knew Christ aright, and understood all the Scriptures, and took such courage that they would not keep to themselves this knowledge, but preached it
publicly and boldly. Besides this there occurred the glorious miracle that they could speak in every language, though before they understood only their mother-tongue. For this was the prophesy, that the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel should be at Jerusalem, and that from there it sliould spread abroad right quickly and boldly in every tongue, as the prophets had foretold. The Holy Ghost taught the disciples these various tongues on Pentecost, as an assurance that the Gospel should pass on beyond the boundaries of Judea and be preached throughout the whole world. This then is our Pentecost, the one of the New Testament, on which we are not afraid of God, but learn to know Him aright. We are glad and rejoice. Our conscience shall not frighten us, for Christ is our Saviour; in Him we have courage in the presence of God; and for His sake we are ready to endure all suffering, as is seen in the example of the apostles.
Christ prophesied of such a Pentecost in His last sermon, as did also the prophets David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Zechariah, and others. therefore commemorate this day by preaching of the Holy Ghost, of His office and work, and how we ought to regard it if we would have happy Pentecost and receive the Holy Spirit.
Think not, my beloved, that the Holy Ghost was not active in the Church and among men before this day. He is God from eternity, and omnipotent. Christ says: “He proceedeth from the Father," therefore He must be of the same nature and essence with the Father. We have furthermore reliable testimonies of the workings of the Holy Spirit iu