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subservient. Doth He convince of sin ? It is that He may lead to Christ. Does He act as a Spirit of bondage? It is with a view to another branch of His work in which He acts as the Spirit of adoption. He wounds for the purpose of healing; He casts down, in order that He
up again.,, Is it asked, How doth He fulfil His gracious office of comforting the hearts of His people?'
. Those who know will easily solve the question by answering, It is by the testimony which He bears of Christ; by discovering to the eye of faith the love of God in Christ Jesus and the all-sufficiency of that salvation which Christ hath wrought out for guilty, polluted, and helpless sinners. Speak ye that can, and testify whether this title be not justly given to the Spirit of Jesus. How appropriate to our orphan-lips is this
our church! “We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless, but send thine Holy Ghost “ to comfort us." Look up to your heavenly Father, ye sons and daughters of sorrow and affliction-ye“ prisoners of hope,"-ye forlorn travellers through this vale of tears. "The Lord “ careth for you." "He will hear your cry;" He will “send His Holy Ghost to confort you," and by His grace finally “ wipe away, all tears « from your eyes.”
But we do not satisfy ourselves with praying for present comfort: for we know that this is not the place of our rest, and that, while we are here below, we are only indulged with an occasional taste of the water of life. Our desires therefore extend further. We look with a wishful eye towards the fountain-head of consolation. Nothing will content the awakened believing soul but “an exaltation to the same place whither our
“ Saviour Christ is gone before." For love na turally, affects union with its beloved object. But is not this request presumptuous ? Shall the poor who lie in the dust, and the beggar whose abode is the dunghill, dare to ask that he may be set among the princes of the King of kings? Our petition is not presumptuous: it is not an arrogant and blind confidence which leads us to present this request to the mercy-seat. For it is founded on the declared purpose of God, on the Divine scheme of redemption, on the promises of God, on the merit and intercession of Christ. He is “
gone s before," as “ the Head,” 'Surety," and - Forerunner" of His redeemed. He is gone for the express purpose of “preparing a place “ for us ;"! (John xiv. 2, 3) and He háth said; “ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast “ given me, be with me where I am, that they
may behold my glory, which thou hast given Aye;
for thou lovedst me before the foundation " of the world.” (John xvii. 24.) This is the tenour of Christ's intercession, and we know that " God heareth Him always." On this our confidence in prayer is founded, and we know that it cannot be disappointed.
When we pray for an "exaltation to the place “ whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, we implore every qualification which is needful for that exaftation. We include in our petition sanctifying and persevering grace, as well as “an « abundant entrance" at last 's into God's evers lasting kingdom.”.
And Oh! that while 'we ask for such great and glorious blessings, we may ever remember that our Saviour Christ liveth " and reigneth with the Father and the Holy a'Ghost, ever one God, world without end."
This consideration will quicken our desires, and support our confidence. It will prove a prop to our faith which cannot be shaken. It will encourage us to shew all “ diligence to “ the full assurance of hope unto the end."
God, who, as at this time, didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit ; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort, through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour ; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
“THE conclusion of this great festival-sea
son,” which in the primitive church reached from Easter to Whitsunday, “was Pentecost, taken in the stricter sense for that particular day, commonly called Whitsunday, or Pencost, when they" (the primitive Christians) “ commemorated the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles; which happened upon the day which the Jews called Pentecost, or the fiftieth day after the Passover, (a day of great note among the Jews both for the memorial of the law delivered at mount Sinai, and also for the gathering and bringing in of their harvest.) It retained the same name of Pentecost among the Christians; though they kept it not as a Jewish feast, but only as a commemoration of the glorious effusion of the Spirit in the gift of tongues and other miraculous powers, made at this time upon the disciples. Hence it had also the name of quepee Ilveuplatos, the day of the Holy Ghost, as we find in Nazianzen and others. "And some learned men
think,* it was hence called Whitsunday, partly because of those vast diffusions of light and knowledge, which on this day were shed upon the Apostles in order to the enlightening of the world; but principally because, this being one of the stated times of baptism in the ancient church, they who were baptized put on white garments, in token of that pure and innocent course of life they had now engaged in. The original of this feast is by some carried as high as the Apostles. Epiphanius was of opinion that St. Paul meant it in those words, when he said, " he hastened to be at Jerusalem on the day of “ Pentecost.”. (Acts xx. 16.) But because interpréters generally take it in another sense, we will lay no stress upon it. However it is certain this feast was observed in the time of Origen, for he speaks of it in his books against Celsus; as does also Tertullian before him, and Irenæus before them both, in his book concerning Easter, as the author of the questions under the name of Justin Martyr informs us.". “St. Austin says, The law was written by the finger of God, and given to Moses on this day : and that was a type of the Holy Ghost, called the finger of God in the gospel, which Christ promised to His disciples as a Comforter, and sent to them on the fiftieth day after His passion and resurrection. And all such eminent facts as were done upon certain days were annually celebrated in the church, that the anniversary feast might preserve the useful and necessary memorial of them.”+ 1. The collect for this day consists of a preface and a prayer. In the preface we celebrate that * Cave's Primitive Christianity, part I. chap. vii. p. 192.
+ Bingham's Antiquities of the Christian Church, book XX. chap. vii. sect. 7.