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month. The day is not mentioned, but let us suppose it on the evening of the first; this brings the number up to forty-seven ; and in the 10th and 11th verses of that chapter, we find God commanding Moses, probably after the evening service, when the sun might be set, and the forty-eighth day consequently begun, to sanctify the people that day and the next, for that on the third day he intended to descend visibly. Here then are the remaining two days, and the proof that fifty existed between the feast of the passover and the giving of the law. But a difficulty remains which I am unable to solve: for although fifty days did exist between these two events, yet the feast of Pentecost was annually celebrated two days later than the giving of the law: since, by positive precept, they were to count the time, not from the passover, but from the second day of the passover week op which the first-fruits of the barley harvest were presented. That there must have been a sufficient reason for such a choice, is naturally to be expected; but what that reason was, appears difficult to divine.—Let me add that the day of Pentecost is a memorable epocha in the history of Christianity; as being the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles. It is an event therefore which deserves our attention.

The companions of Jesus had often seen him during the forty days that succeeded his resurrection. They had witnessed his ascension to the heavenly abodes exactly ten days before the feast we are treating of. It was the injunction of God that all the males should be present at Pentecost: and it was customary for the pious to go some days before to perform their lustrations, and pay their

The apostles, however, had a double reason. They had the command of God and the command of Christ. As Jews they appeared to celebrate the feast; and as Christians, they were called upon to tarry at Jerusalem, until they were endowed with power from on high. They therefore went up in anxious expectation ; and the feast which commemorated the descent of God to publish the law, was that at which they hoped to feel the descent of the Spirit to enlighten and enable them to preach the gospel. It is not said at what particular hour the Spirit descended: but it is probable that it was after the conclusion of the evening service at the Temple, and when they had gone to their apartment to reflect on the duties in which they had been engaged, and the hopes they were led to entertain. For the words in Acts ii. 1, which we render 66 when the day of Pentecost was fully come,” literally signify 6 after the conclusion of the day of Pentecost.”b Such an event therefore began to make a noise that evening; and multitudes the next morning went to the Temple, not only to attend the service, but in the hope of meeting with the apostles. Accordingly, after the morning service was ended, and when the worshippers were returning to their several homes at the third hour, or nine o'clock, they were addressed by the disciples, very probably in the Court of the Gentiles. Those who were ignorant of other languages, when they heard a number of mean-looking men uttering uncouth sounds, concluded that they were drunk :d although Josephus tells us, that on festival days they did not eat before noon, and on no account ate any thing before nine in the morning, or the hour of prayer. But the Jewish converts, who either resided at that time at Jerusalem, or were come to attend the feast, and were


a Levit. xii, 15, 16.




a Luke xxiv. 49.

• Εν των συμπληρούσθαι την ημέραν της Πεντηκοστής.-For συμπληρω signifes “compleo, expleo, perficio." « Acts ii. 15. d Acts ii, 13.

e Lib. de Vitâ suâ.


natives of very different and distant countries, were astonished to hear, in their own language, the wonderful works of God; and said one to another, “ What meaneth this ?"

A finer opportunity could scarcely be afforded to the Christian painter, nor a more interesting occasion to the Christian orator. Accordingly, Peter stood up, and delivered a sermon, which by the Holy Spirit was carried to the hearts of three thousand. Such was the success of the apostles of our Lord, on their first appearance among the people in this gifted manner: but it did not rest here, for we are told, that they continued daily in the Temple attending the service, and conversing with those whom they happened to meet. Nay, in the following chapter, the evangelist records another wonderful instance of Peter's success. For, as he and John went up to the Temple at the ninth hour, or three o'clock in the afternoon, which was the hour of evening prayer, they saw a man lame from his birth, at the gate called Beautiful, asking for alms of all those who went into the Temple : him therefore they healed ; accompanied by him, they went into the Court of the Women to attend the evening service, and when it was ended they retired through the Sacred Fence into the Court of the Gentiles; where, under the eastern piazza, or Solomon's porch, the Apostle Peter preached a sermon, which was blessed to the conversion of about five thousand. Thus were eight thousand souls added to the church; and thus do we see the need of the Spirit to convert, sanctify, and save the soul. Indeed, nothing less than power so extraordinary would have fitted the apostles for so arduous a work. “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” It may be added, that the particular day of the week on which the Holy Ghost descended was the Christian sabbath ; and thus an additional honour was

Chap. ii. 1.

· Acts ii. 11, 12 d Acts iii. 11.

6 Acts ï. 46.

Acts iv. 4.

1 put by the Trinity on that holy day. For, when treating of the passover, we noticed that the paschal lamb was eaten on Thursday; that Friday, when our Lord was crucified, was the first day of the passover week; and that on Saturday, the first-fruits were offered up. Consequently, the fiftieth day after, or Pentecost, would fall on a Saturday; after the sunset of which, or on the beginning of the Christian sabbath, the Holy Ghost probably descended."

The modern Jews celebrate the feast of Pentecost, not one day only, but two days; decking their synagogues and houses with garlands of flowers, because Sinai was green at that season, and hearing a sermon in praise of the law, as having been delivered to their forefathers on that day. In Germany, the Jews are said to make a very thick cake for that feast, consisting of seven layers; which cake they call Sinai ; and the layers of which are

; meant to represent the seven heavens through which Jehovah passed when he descended upon, and reascended from, the mountain. But the customs of the modern Jews are very different in different countries.


The Feast of Tabernacles. Reasons of its appointment threefold: the time of the year when kept; way it

was observed during the Tabernacle; first and second Temples; in the days of our Saviour. The lulebs and pomecitrons which they carried in their

a Zech, iv. 6.

See a minute calendar of the time between our Saviour's death, and the day of Pentecost, in Lightfoot's Commentary on the Acts, chap. 2.

6 Buxtorff. Synag. Jud. cap. 20, and Leo of Modena, Cerem. of the Jewis,

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hands. Routine of service during the first day. The ceremony of fetching the water from the Pool of Siloam; singing the Hallel : the peculiar sacrifices for that day ; way in which the courses divided the work among them; their encircling the altar; attendance on the divinity schools in the afternoon; manner of teaching, and subjects tanght; the evening sacrifice; the nightly rejoicing; the fifteen Psalms of Degrees that were sung; the persons who danced; and manner in which the assembly was dismissed : reasons assigned for this singular rejoicing: manner of disposing of their lulebs when parting. The routine of the second day; third; fourth ; fifth; sixth ; seventh, when they encompassed the altar seven times ; eighth, when the solemnity closed. The way in which they were lodged and supported while at Jerusalem. The wonderful promise of divine protection while attending the three yearly festivals. The three great festivals honoured with three remarkable events.

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The last of the three principal feasts, which God appointed to the Israelites, was the Feast of Tabernacles, and the reasons of its appointment were the following:1. To remind them, that their fathers had lived in tents in the wilderness. 2. To be a yearly thanksgiving after the ingathering of the harvest. And, 3. To assure them of God's return to dwell among them, after they had made and worshipped the golden calf. For Moses, after long fasting and prayer, having obtained their forgiveness, and a renewal of the tables of the law, together with a commission to proceed in building the Tabernacle, which had been suspended in consequence of their idolatry, descended from the mount, on the 10th of the 7th month, to communicate to the Israelites these agreeable tidings. Accordingly, that day was observed ever afterwards with religious veneration; and the people, then hearing that they must make the Tabernacle for Jehovah to dwell in, and consequently that they must continue where they were till that was accomplished, proceeded to pitch their tents, and make themselves booths to screen themselves from the weather. Five days, therefore, after Moses's descent, did God appoint the Feast of Tabernacles, to cheer them in their

a Lev. xxii, 40-43.

• Exod, xxxiv. 22. Lev, xxjï. 39. Deut. xvi. 31.

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