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countenance brighten my steps in their earthly pilgrimage, that I may have some experience of that joy with which the stranger intermeddleth not; let me ever be looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; not coveting great things in the world, nor desiring to continue long in it, but rather seeking to get well out of it, and, at his leisure to enter, through him, into the joy of my Lord. Amen. Amen.
THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY GHOST,
"THIS day is called Pentecost, because it is fifty days between the Jews' Passover and Whitsunday.
"It is called Whitsunday from the glorious light of heaven, which was then sent down upon the earth from the Father of Lights; so many tongues, so many lights, which kindled such a light in the world on this day, as never shall be put out to the world's end; as also because the new baptized, which were many at that feast, and of old called Illuminati, enlightened1 from the spiritual light they received in baptism, were then clothed in white garments, as types both of that spiritual whiteness and purity of soul which they received in baptism, and were carefully to preserve all their life after; as also for their joy as being made, then, by baptism, members of Christ, children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven.
the colour of joy, says Ecclesiastes, iv. 8. garments be always white, for God now accepts of thy works","
1 Heb vi. 4.
Bishop Sparrow's Rationale of the Book of Common Prayer.
I.-The miraculous descent of the Holy Spirit
IN the good days of the Church when the seasons of evangelical events were received with distinguished piety and joy, the interval preceding this holy day was called Expectation Week. They looked forward to the fulfilling of the Lord's promise, "If I go away, I will send the Comforter unto you'." The comforter has come, and the day is now before us. Much and long as we have contemplated the successive changes in the Christian and ecclesiastical year, and many gifts and graces as we may have received in that period, the time has now arrived to celebrate one gift, which in some sense comprehends the whole, the gift of the Holy Spirit; a gift, so wonderful and great, that as if there were not tongues sufficient on earth to celebrate it, says good Bishop Andrews, a supply is sent from heaven to magnify God for his goodness on so valuable an occasion. All the feasts of the Calendar, he adds, are insufficient without this, because this is the seal or signature, whereby we are "sealed unto the day of redemption 2." The great promise of the Old Testament was accomplished by our Lord's appearance in our human nature; and the great promise of the New Testament was completed by our becoming partakers
' John xvi. 7.
Eph. iv. 39.
of his divine nature. In truth, the coming of Christ was the fulfilling of the law, the coming of the Holy Ghost was the fulfilling of the Gospel.
This day of Pentecost was indeed an extraordinary day to the universal Church of Christ; it was a declaration of that unity of spirit which was to animate all the followers of our Lord and believers of his Gospel; some, by wonderful and miraculous gifts, others, by the bond of faith and obedience, the very object of our Saviour's sufferings. The communication of the Spirit was neither the contrivance nor the effect of any private feeling. The circumstance occurred in a populous and an enlightened city, a city where holy prophets and wise men had been frequently assembled, a city where the word of God had been heard and accepted, and even where many pious men, in consequence of that word, had been looking for redemption in Israel; for a Messiah promised by that very word, which was publicly known and publicly read at that period in all the synagogues of the nation of the Jews on every sabbath-day.
This is enough to satisfy any reasonable mind that these things were so. The history of the day has been transmitted through successive generations, and its great value every Christian must appreciate. The diffusion of an holy faith, commencing with this day's miracle, bears with it the character of miracle which will never cease till all the purposes of God shall be finally established. The heavenly fire travels for
ward; tongues unknown on the day of Pentecost have spread the glorious tidings of salvation, even where the tongue of mortal man had not then been heard; large continents and far distant islands, like our own, immersed in barbarism and idolatry, were to share a blessing which then first beamed upon the world. Would to God that the holy and happy truth may be as universally accepted, as it is God's pleasure that it should be universally diffused! Would to God that man's presumption had not frustrated God's kindness; had not turned his blessing to a curse; and spread over many a land the base principles of a sordid religion, the degrading ordinances of a false prophet, and the cruel worship of a vile multitude of idols. Alas! the contemplation is miserable. May it excite the prayer of faith that God would enlarge the fold of the good shepherd, and that all the ends of the earth might see the salvation of our God!
The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, as on this day, descending on the apostles, were three: divers languages, inspiration, miracle. These communications included every gift connected with them, and of course hardly require any explication; but as our hearts are hard to understand spiritual wisdom, and we often, not only resist, but quench the Spirit in our own bosoms, it is good to dwell on subjects of edification, and to be reminded of our folly and of our sin.
1. The first distinguishing gift given to the apos