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"Saviour Christ is gone before." For love naturally; afifects union with its beloved object. But is not this request presurriptuous? Shall the poor who lie in the dust, arid 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 riot 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 rederhption, on the promises of God, on the merit and intercession of Christ. He is "gone ," 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 hath said^ "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast "given me, be with me where I am, that they "ritay behold my glory, which thou hast given "me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation "of the world." (John xvii. 24.) This is the teribur 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.
Wheu we pray for an "exaltation to the pfoce ." whither our Saviour Christ is gone before," we implore every qualification 'which is needful f6r that ekaftation. We include in our petition sanctifying and persevering grace, as Well as "aft "abundant entrance" at last "into God's ever"hsiihg kingdom." Arid Oh! that while We ask for such great and glorious' blessings, we may ever reriieutber that "our. Saviour Christ liVeth "ariS teigneth with the Father and the Holy "Ghost, ever due God, wdrW 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."
f«W» H'A*>» as at this time, didst teach the hearts $f thy faithful people, by the sending to them the iighj »j/ thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit tit have « 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, zcorld without aid. Amen.
"r ■ AHE 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 onlv as a commemoration of the glorious effusion of the Spirit in the gift ot tongues and other miraculous powers, made at this time upon the disciples. Hence it had also the name of ^fuf» Il"s"jj.aros, 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 interpreters 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; its does also Tertullian before him, and Irenasus 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 01V the fiftieth dav after His passion and resurrection. Arid all such eminent facts as were done upon certain days were anrtuallv celebrated in the church, that the anniversary feast mighv preserve the useful and necessary memorial of them."f' . '' i; The collect for this day consists of a preface and a prayer. In the preface we celebrate that . '. ,'/ j . . ',..." '.-.-'-s,' ''' '„• ''' ~": instance of Divine mercy which God vouchsafed to His church on the day of Pentecost;— and in the prayer we implore the same mercy for ourselves.
* Cave's Primiti"e Christianity, part I. chap. vii. p.,192-. t Bingham's Antiquities of the Christian Church, book XX. chap. vii. sect. ",.
It is scarcely needful to remark that the faithful people, mentioned in our collect as taught of God, were the Apostles and first Evangelists, who were to be employed as God's ambassadors to a lost world in consequence of the commission which tUey had received to "preach the Gospel "to every creature," and to "disciple all na"tions, baptising them in the name of the "Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy "Ghost."
Of this astonishing instance of Divine mercy a particular account is given us in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which properly opens with a relation of the manner in which the Apostles were qualified for the execution of their high offioe, and then proceeds to a detail of the success with which it was attended. On that interesting event, the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit, we shall enlarge a little, as being referred to in the introduction of our collect. <\f,
We are informed by the sacred historian, (Acts ii. 1—4) that "When the day of Pente"cost was fully come, the Apostles were all with "one accord in one place. And suddenly there "came a sound from heaven, 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."
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