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civil Society of God's People. But beside this contumelious and reproachful Usage of their Names, our Saviour forewarns them,
(2.) Of greater Hardships and Violences that should be offer'd to their persons; for the time cometh (faith he) that whoever killeth you, will think that he doth God service: that is, fome Persons would arise, who would be so far froni sparing or faving your Lives, that they would think the slaying of you not only lawful, but an acceptable Sacrifice unto God. So it happen'd to many of theni in Jerusalem, which made our Saviour upbraid and lament over that unhappy City, for killing the Prophets, and Atoning of them that were sent unto it; Mat. 23. 37. And in this some think our Saviour refer'd to the Sest of the Zealots among the Jews, who from Elias's calling for Fire from Heaven to consume the Eneiny, and Phineas's Act of sudden Justice upon Zimri and Cosbi, both done by a Divine Impulse, took occafion to conimit many Outrages, Cruelties and Murders without any due Course or Form of Law; their fiery and intemperate Zeal leading them on to a great Rigor and Extravagance of Action, under a Mistake or Mask of Religion : which shews the Sinfulness and Danger of a furious and mistaken Zeal, and what bloody and violent Attempts it runs Men upon. Of such kind of Zealots we have had fad Experience in our Days, who have committed Treason, Sacrilege and Rebellion, under Pretences of Reformation; and both Church and State groan under the direful Effects of such a mad and mistaken Zeal to this day.' : Others again suppose these Words of our Saviour to relate to the many heavy Perfecutions that faon after befel the Christians under their Heathen Governours, who fought to root out Christianity, by putting to death all that were calld by, or call'd upon the Nanie of Christ : Pilate mingled the Blood of some with their Sacrifices; and we read of others hain at the Altar, taking it for a' grateful Offering unto the Lord. St. Paul himself, before his Conversion, breath'd out Threatnings and Slaughter against the Disciples of the Lord; and being exceedingly mad against them, persecuted them from City to City: Acts 9. 1. & Chap. 26. 11. In all which he thought he did God good Service: he did it, as himself tells us, in all good Conscience, for he verily thought with himself, that he ought to do many things contrary to the Name of Jesus of Nazareth; Acts 23. 1. Chap. 26. 9. which shews what great care is to be taken to inform our Vol. IV. Part 2.
Conscience aright in all Matters, that we be not misled by
'Tis the want of the true Knowledg of God, and of his
, and in
I have declar'd these Sufferings to you before-hand, that
This is the sum of thiş Day's Gospel; which we nay thus
First, From Christ's promising a Paraclete, that is, à Çomforter, an Advocate and Instructor, let us be ready to welcome him for all those Purposes; that is, let us hearken to his Consolations in all our Troubles and Distresses, and be ever willing to receive the Cordials he is pleas'd to administer, to keep us from fainting under them.
Again, Let us rely upon him as our Advocate and Intercessor, against the Cry and Guilt of our Sins; let us cast our felves upon the Merits of Christ's Satisfaction, and depend upon his Holy Spirit, who is ever ready to plead our Cause, and to make Intercession for us.
Moreover, Let us hearken to the Advice and Directions of this Holy Monitor, , both in his private Whispers, and more publick Instructions; never turning the deaf Ear to either, but always listning to that Voice, saying to us, This is the Way, walk in it, when we are turning to the right Hand, or to the left. And then he who now guides us by his Couns sel here, will hereafter bring us to Glory.
Lastly, From what hath been fáid concerning Christ's foretelling the Sufferings of his Disciples, let us learn not to be shaken by, or offended at theni, whensoever for Christ's fake they may happen to us; but let us manfully go thro and bear up under them: and then we who now bear the
. Cross with him, fhall e'er long be crown'd with him in his everlasting Kingdom. Which God grant, c.
Acts ii. 1-12.
all with one accord in one place; and suddenly there.came a Sound from Heaven, as of a ruha ing mighty Wind, and it filled all the House where they were fitting. And there appeared unto theme -cloven Tongues like as of Fire, and it fat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Ġhot, and began to speak with other Tongués, As the Spirit gave them Utterance, &c.
HE Collect for this great Festival minds us, that
ful People, by the sending to them the Light of his Holy Spirit; and thence beseeches him to grant us by the Same Spirit to have a right Judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy Comfort.
The Epistle for the Day shews us the Time, the Place, the Manner of God's sending his Holy Spirit, together with the wonderful Effects that follow'd upon this miraculous Defcent: of each of which we have here a brief Account.
For the Time, the first Words tell us, it was when the Day of Pentecoft was fully come, that is, when fifty Days from Easter were fully compleat and ended. But why on that Day? (faith a Reverend Father on these Words) To which, by way of Answer, he adds fome weighty Reasons :
As, ijt, Most meet it was, that the Coming of the Holy Ghost should be at some falemn Season or Festival, that la the Peoples Joy being in some measure ftir'd, they might receive him the more joyfully: as also, that the great Concourse of People, which those great Feasts usually draw to
gether, gether, might afford the more Witnesses of the Truth of it, and spread the News the farther. Now the Day of Pentecost, which, as the Name imports, was on the fiftieth Day after the Passover, was a great and memorable Feast among the Jews, because on that Day the Law was deliver'd to them by Moses on Mount Sinai ; the yearly Renembrance whereof drew much People together at that time to celebrate it with the greater Solemnity, which made this a very fit Season for the Coming of the Holy Ghost. Again,
2dly, This was done on the Feast of Pentecoft above any other Feast, to keep up the Harmony and Correspondence between the Old Testament and the New, 'Twas St. Cyprian's Observation, that our Saviour kept the fame Feasts under the Gospel, that were observ'd under the Law, only upon higher and better accounts. The Jews kept the Paf sover in memory of the destroying Angel's pafling over the Houses of the Israelites; but Christ, in memory of his par Ung from Death to Life: and on the same Day that the Paso chal Lamb was flain, was Christ the Lamb of God offer'd up
for the Sins of the World: which made the Apostle say, Chrift our Pallover is sacrificed for us ; therefore let us keep the Feaft. 1 Cor. 5:7. In like manner, as the Jews, on the fiftieth Day after the Paffover, which was their Feast of Pentecost, receiv'd the Law from Mount Sinai ; so the Christians on the fiftieth Day after Easter, which is our Pentecost, receiv'd the Gospel, or the Royal Law of Liberty, by the Descent of the Holy Ghost : both which are to be remember'd with Joy on this Day, callid antiently the Feast of Pentecost, and now known by the Name of Whitsunday; because the Christians in former times were wont to wear white Garments on this Day, callid therefore Dominica in Albis. At which time likewise great Numbers were wont to be baptiz'd, in memory of the three thousand Souls converted by St. Peter's Sermon, and baptiz'd on this Day; of whom we read in Ver. 38, & 41. of this Chapter, This for the Time when.
Secondly, For the Place where this Holy Spirit descended, that was at Jerusalem, where the Apostles were commanded to stay and wait for the fulfilling of the Promise of Christ's fending to them the Holy Ghost: in order to which 'tis here faid, that the Apoftles were all with one accord in one Place, where (as a Father obferves) there was both Unani.