Images de page

pel to all the World: by which means it was, that we of thefe Iflands, who before fat in Darkness and in the Regions of the Shadow of Death, had this marvelous Light, which arofe and fhone among us: by this it was that we at present enjoy the Inftructions and Comforts of this Holy Spirit, acquainting us with our Duty here, and the Means of being happy hereafter.

Finally, the Apoftles receiving the Holy Ghoft at this time, gave them a Commiffion afterwards to breathe it on others, and thereby to preferve a Succeffion of Paftors and Teachers, for the Édification of the Church to the World's end.

For these ineftimable Benefits and Bleffings, let us compafs the Altar with Songs of Thanksgiving: let not the Wonders of this Day, which astonish'd and converted the World, fink into Oblivion, or pafs away as things to be flighted or forgotten by us; but let us remember them in the Feaft of the Holy Communion, where our Saviour gives us himself, and figns over his Merits to us by the Seal of this Holy Spirit. Let us (as the Apoftles did) af femble together this Day, with one accord, and in one place, that we may in fome meafure partake of the Gifts and Graces of the Holy Ghoft, that were this Day pour'd down upon them at least let us meet together with one Heart and one Mind at God's Holy Table, to celebrate the Memory, and receive the Comforts of it. Let us call to mind that time, when illiterate Fishermen fpake more Languages than the most study'd Linguifts, and the Foolishness of Preaching confounded all the Wifdom of the Wife, which things were done by this glorious Defcent of the Holy Ghoft, O Bleffed Change! when Ignorance was turn'd into Knowledg, Sorrow into Joy, Darkness into Light. Let us all then praife and adore the Goodness of God for thefe miraculous Difpenfations, and pay our Tribute of devout Thankfulness to that Holy Spirit by which all thefe Things were effected. Beware of quenching the pious Ardours of this Holy Spirit, that came down this Day in the form of Fire to kindle in us the Love of God, and to inflame our Devotion, left he come again in a confuming Fire to deftroy all that wilfully refift him in a word, let us not trample under foot the Blood of the Son of God, by turning our backs upon the Holy Sacrament, but rather let us remember him now, that we may be for ever remembred by him hereafter.


The GOSPEL for Whitsunday.
St. John xiv. 15—23.

Jefus faid unto his Difciples, If ye love me, keep my Commandments: And I will pray the Father, and he fball give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth; whom the World cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, &c.


HE Difciples had fhew'd many Signs and Tokens of their Love to Chrift; as the Delight they took in his Prefence, the Fears they had of lofing his Company, and the Sorrow they conceiv'd' at the News of his departing from them, and the like: all which were great Marks and Initances of Affection. But our Saviour here minds them of another and truer Token of their Love to him than all these; and that is, the doing what he had commanded them: If ye love me (faith he) keep my Com mandments. As if he had faid, Some of you have profefs'd great Love to me, and yet in a time of Trial have deny'd and forfaken me: Others have cry'd, Hail Mafter! and kifs'd me; and yet have foon after betray'd and crucify'd me. And indeed it is but too common among Men, to pretend much Love and Friendship, and in words to compliment each other with Your humble Servant, when in deeds they prove quite otherwife; and when need or occafion requires, to fhew the quite contrary. And therefore if you would prove the Truth and Reality of your Love to me (faith our Saviour) fhew it by obferving my Precepts, and by doing as I have directed you. This is the beft Touchstone and Trial of the Sincerity of your Affection to me: and if you give me that, I will give you a higher Token of my Love to you, than you have yet receiv'd from me; for I

will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforters that shall abide with you for ever.

I will pray, and he shall give: If Chrift will pray, there can be no fear of fpeeding; efpecially confidering, that he who is fued to is a Father, and he that fues is a Son: the Nearness of the Relation, and the Dearness of the Affection between them, is abundantly enough to fecure the Success of the Petition; for if earthly Parents know how to give good Gifts to their Children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven, give good things to them that ask them? And if an ordinary Son is commonly heard of his Father, and obtains his Request, how much more fhall an only-begotten and only-beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleas'd, prevail in what he asks? He was ever heard (faith the Apostle) in that he feared, Heb. 5. 7. His Duty and Reverence to his heavenly Father will not fuffer his Petitions to be difmifs'd without a gracious and effectual Answer: I will pray (faith he) and the Father shall give; and between both ye fhall be fure to receive.

But what is the Gift he here promiseth from the Father? Why, Ift, 'tis a Comforter, yea, I fay unto you, and more than a Comforter, 'tis a Paraclete; nanor or vuiv, he fhall give you a Paraclete: which, befide a Comforter to chear in Diftrefs, fignifies an Inftructor in cafe of Doubts, and an Interceffor in time of Need; all which good Offices are included in the word Paraclete, and are perform'd by him, as was fhew'd in the Gospel for the laft Sunday. Again,

2dly, Here is promis'd another Comforter: Your Father, fhall give you another Comforter; that is, another befides himfelf: for another always fuppofes one before or befide, and that can be no other than Chrift. He was a Comforter to the Disciples while he was upon Earth, and fo he continues ftill to be in Heaven, where he appears as an Advocate in the prefence of God for us, to plead our Cause, and to make Interceffion for us. But another Comforter was neceffary for us here on Earth, to fupply the Defect of his bodily Prefence; and this is here promis'd: fo that Christians now have a double Comforter, the one in Heaven, to act for them there; the other on Earth, to help. their Infirmities: And both are no more than need, to carry them thro the Troubles and Temptations of this Life, and to bring them to a better. Moreover,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

3dly, The other Comforter here promis'd, is one that will ftay with us; He fhall abide with you for ever. Chrift was a Comforter, and a good one too, whilft he staid; but he was to go away after he had finifh'd the Work for which he came, he was to return to the Father that fent him, and to refume the Glory he had with him before the World began. And 'twas no fmall grief to the Difciples, that when they had one that was a great Comfort to them, they could not keep him; and their fear was, that when they had another, he would be gone too, and fo they fhould be ever changing, and never be at any certainty. But Chrift, to remove thefe Fears and Troubles, tells them for their comfort, that there was a Comforter coming to them, that would not move from them, but abide with them for ever, one that would be ftill at hand, and ever ready to fupport and comfort them: not like the miferable Comforters of this World, that can afford no Relief, and are most apt to leave us when we ftand in moft need of them; but a permanent, true, and conftant Friend, whofe Joys and Confolations will never fail : but evermore in the midst of all the Sorrows that are in our Hearts, his Comforts Shall refresh our Souls.

But who or what is this conftant and abiding Comforter? Why that the next words tell us, it is the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit of God, that leads into all, and nothing but Truth: 'tis the Holy Ghoft, that defcended on this day upon the heads of the Apoftles, in the form of Fire, to enlighten them with Knowledg, and inflame them with Zeal, in the Shape of Tongues, to enable them to fpeak boldly the Myfteries of the Kingdom of Heaven; and in the fhape of cloven Tongues, to enable them to teach all Nations in their feveral Tongues and Languages. This is the Paraclete or Comforter, that was to come and ftay with us always, when Chrift was gone: for Chrift's abode here was as in a Tabernacle, núvao i uv Now a Tabernacle, you know, is movable and of no continuance; but the Holy Ghoft's abode is as in a Temple, which is permanent, and never to be taken down.

This Spirit of Truth (as our Saviour adds) the World cannot receive, because it feeth him not, neither knoweth him: that is, carnal and earthly-minded Men, whofe Eyes are fix'd only on the vifible Pomps and Pleafures of the World, cannot perceive or know this Holy Spirit; The natural or fenfual Man difterneth not the things of the Spirit of God,


neither can be (faith the Apoftle) because they are spiritually difcern'd. Thefe fpiritual things are invifible to a carnal Eye, and they that live and walk by Sight only, cannot behold or frame any Notion of them.

But ye know him (faith Chrift to his Difciples) for he dwelleth with you, and fhall be in you. You are enabled by an Eye of Faith to difcern and know him, and to feel his invifible Comforts and Operations; for he fhall abide with you, and take up his Refidence in you. Tho the World hath no Knowledg or Experience of these things, yet, by partaking of his fanctifying Graces, you fhall have a true Senfe and Conviction of them: And therefore be of good chear, I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you; you fhall not be left deftitute, aš Orphans bereft of Parents and Guardians, that have none to help or take care of them; for I will come to you by the Prefence of my Spirit, and that fhall be an affur'd Pledg of my Return to you, to your everlafting Joy and Comfort. For in a little while (as he goes on to tell them) the World fhall fee me no more, for I fhall be taken up from this Earth, where Mens bodily Eyes will not be able to follow or behold me any more; but ye fee me, by the Eye of Faith and heavenly Meditation: and because I then live in the Regions of Blifs and Glory, ye alfo, by my Conqueft over Death and Hell, fhall arrive thither too, and live for ever with me. And at that Day (faith he) ye fhall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you, that is, you fhall then, by the means of this Holy Spirit, plainly fee and know the clofe and entire Union that is between the Father and me, and likewife between me and you, and all the Members of my myftical Body; that as I and my Father are one, fo ye alfo fhall be one in us, and fo fhall all live together in one entire Fellowship and Communion with each other.

And now our Bleffed Saviour, having thus fet forth the ineftimable Gift of fending the Holy Ghoft, together with the great and invaluable Benefits and Bleffings that enfue thereupon; he refumes his former Argument, and returns to the Condition upon which this Holy Spirit is promis'd and beftow'd: and that is, the Condition of loving him, together with the beft Proof and Demonftration thereof, which is the keeping of his Commandments; faying in the next Verfe, He that hath my Commandments and keepeth them, be it is that loveth me, and be that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifeft my self


« PrécédentContinuer »