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Confcience aright in all Matters, that we be not misled by a falfe Light to do evil; for very bad things have been done by mif-guided Confciences. We have known fome have fhelter'd Schifm, Sedition, and all manner of Disorder and Difobedience under a pretence of Confcience; and tho God hath commanded all Men to be fabject to the higher Powers for Confcience fake, yet too many have pretended Con fcience for disobeying them: Which things proceed either from a wilful Ignorance, or a blind and mistaken Zeal; for into these our Saviour refolves all the Cruelties and Violence us'd against his Difciples, faying in the next words, And thefe things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

'Tis the want of the true Knowledg of God, and of his Son Jefus Chrift, that is the real Caufe of all Perfecutions against the Church; for they that have right and due Ap prehenfions of God, will be fo far from difhonouring of him, and disturbing his People, that they will harbour no thing but Love to him, and all that belong to him. And they that know Jefus Chrift aright to be fent from God, to be the Saviour of the World, will neither disbelieve him, nor deftroy his Members: And therefore St. Paul tells us that this Knowledg was hid from the Princes of the Worlds for had they known it, they would not have crucify'd the Lord of Glory: 1 Cor. 2. 8. And what St. Paul did before his Converfion in blafpheming God, and perfecuting the Church of Chrift, he confefs'd it to be all done ignorantly and in Unbelief; 1 Tim. 1.13. And this may teach us to labour af ter a true faving Knowledg of God and Chrift; for this is Life eternal (faith St. John) to know God, and Jefus Chrift whom he hath fent; John 17.3. To attain to both, we must pray for humble and teachable Minds, and Hearts difpos'd to do the Will of God; for he that doth the Will of my Fa ther (faith our Saviour) he hall know the Doctrine, whether it be of God, John 7. 17. Now these things (faith Chrift in the Clofe of the Gospel) have I told you, that when the time fball come, ye may remember that I told you of them: that is, I have declar'd thefe Sufferings to you before-hand, that you may not be ftartled at them when they fhall happen to you, but being forewarn'd of them, you may be the better arm'd and prepar'd against them when they come.

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This is the Sum of this Day's Gofpel; which we may thus improve.

First, From Chrift's promifing a Paraclete, that is, à Comforter, an Advocate and Inftructor, let us be ready to welcome him for all thofe Purposes; that is, let us hearken to his Confolations in all our Troubles and Diftreffes, and be ever willing to receive the Cordials he is pleas'd to adminifter, to keep us from fainting under them.

Again, Let us rely upon him as our Advocate and Interceffor, against the Cry and Guilt of our Sins; let us caft our felves upon the Merits of Chrift's Satisfaction, and depend upon his Holy Spirit, who is ever ready to plead our Caufe, and to make Interceffion for us.

Moreover, Let us hearken to the Advice and Directions of this Holy Monitor, both in his private Whispers, and more publick Inftructions; never turning the deaf Ear to either, but always liftning to that Voice, faying 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 Coun fel here, will hereafter bring us to Glory.

Laftly, From what hath been faid concerning Christ's foretelling the Sufferings of his Difciples, let us learn not to be fhaken by, or offended at them, whenfoever for Chrift'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 Crofs with him, fhall e'er long be crown'd with him in his everlasting Kingdom. Which God grant, &c.

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DISCOURSE V.

The EPISTLE for Whitsunday

Acts ii. 1-1 2.

When the Day of Pentecoft was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place; and fuddenly there came a Sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty Wind, and it filled all the House where they were fitting. fitting. And there appeared unto them cloven Tongues like as of Fire, and it fat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Ghoft, and began to speak with other Tongues, as the Spirit gave them Utterance, &c.

T

HE Collect for this great Festival minds us, that God did at this time teach the Hearts of his faithful People, by the fending to them the Light of his Holy Spirit, and thence befeeches him to grant us by the fame Spirit to have a right Judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy Comfort.

The Epiftle for the Day fhews us the Time, the Place, the Manner of God's fending 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 Eafter were fully compleat and ended. But why on that Day? (faith a Reverend Father on thefe Words) To which, by way of Anfwer, he adds fome weighty Reafons:

As, 1ft, Moft meet it was, that the Coming of the Holy Ghoft fhould be at fome folemn Seafon or Feftival, that fo the Peoples Joy being in fome meafure ftir'd, they might receive him the more joyfully: as alfo, that the great Concourfe of People, which those great Feasts usually draw to

gether,

gether, might afford the more Witneffes of the Truth of it, and spread the News the farther. Now the Day of Pen tecoft, which, as the Name imports, was on the fiftieth Day after the Paffover, was a great and memorable Feast among the Jews, because on that Day the Law was deliver'd to them by Mofes on Mount Sinai; the yearly Remembrance whereof drew much People together at that time to celebrate it with the greater Solemnity, which made this a very fit Seafon for the Coming of the Holy Ghoft. Again,

2dly, This was done on the Feast of Pentecoft above any other Feaft, to keep up the Harmony and Correspondence between the Old Teftament and the New. 'Twas St. Cyprian's Obfervation, that our Saviour kept the fame Feafts under the Gofpel, that were obferv'd under the Law, only upon higher and better accounts. The Jews kept the Paf fover in memory of the deftroying Angel's pafling over the Houses of the Ifraelites; but Chrift, in memory of his paffing from Death to Life: and on the fame Day that the Pafchal Lamb was flain, was Chrift the Lamb of God offer'd up for the Sins of the World: which made the Apostle fay, Chrift our Pallover is facrificed 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 Feaft of Pentecoft, receiv'd the Law from Mount Sinai; fo the Chriftians on the fiftieth Day after Eafter, which is our Pentecoft, receiv'd the Gospel, or the Royal Law of Liberty, by the Defcent of the Holy Ghoft: both which are to be remember'd with Joy on this Day, call'd antiently the Feaft of Pentecoft, and now known by the Name of Whitfunday; because the Chriftians in former times were wont to wear white Garments on this Day, call'd therefore Dominica in Albis. At which time likewife 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 defcended, that was at Jerufalem, where the Apoftles were commanded to ftay and wait for the fulfilling of the Promife of Christ's fending to them the Holy Ghoft: in order to which 'tis here faid, that the Apostles were all with one accord in one Place, where (as a Father obferves) there was both Unani

D 3

mity

mity and Uniformity, Unanimity in their being of one Accord, and Uniformity in their being in one Place; two neceffary Requifites to the Coming of the Holy Spirit, and the fittest Difpofitions to receive it: for the Spirit of Unity (as the fame Father tells us) will not come, but where there is a Unity of Spirit. The Holy Ghoft being a Spirit of Peace and Love, abandons all Difcord and Diffenfion, and will not come or abide there, where the Hearts are divided: even the natural Spirit or Life cannot come or continue, where the Members are fever'd and difunited; nor can the Soul animate or actuate them, unless they be join'd and meet together; much less will the Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and the Son, and likewise came to make us one with them, and with one another, dwell with divided Hearts or disjoin'd Affections: which made the Apostles fo earnestly exhort Chriftians to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. This for the Place where the Holy Ghoft defcended, which was Jerufalem, defcrib'd to be a Place at Unity within it felf, and therefore a fit Place to receive the Spirit of Peace and Unity.

But what was the Manner of the Holy Ghoft's coming down? Why, that is fet forth here, by the Sound of a rufhing mighty Wind, by the Shape of Cloven Tongues; and by the Likeness of Fire: All which help to exprefs the various Operations of this Holy Spirit, and to fhew the Myftery of its miraculous Defcent. As,

ift, We read here, that the Apoftles and Difciples being thus unanimously met together in one Place, there fuddenly came a Sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty Wind, and it filled all the Houfe where they were fitting: where we read that the Spirit of God came down (as the Pfalmift expreffes it) flying upon the Wings of the Wind, the rufhing Sound whereof was a Token of Infpiration, and fignify'd the breathing into the Apoftles the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, Sometimes indeed he came filently, as he did upon Cornelius and his Company, and many others at Ephefus, where nothing was either heard or feen; but here he came audibly upon the Apostles in a Sound, and fuch a one too as was heard afar off; for the Sound is gone into all Lands, and the Words of it to the Ends of the Earth. And this Sound is faid to be convey'd by a Wind, that fcatter'd it in all Places round about, and denotes the Activity of the Holy Spirit, as alfo the Freeness and Diffusiveness of its Gifts:

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