« הקודםהמשך »
Christ hath gone before.” The epistle exhorts us to make a good use of the gifts of the Holy Ghost; and the gospel contains the promise of this blessed Comforter.
Q. What has the week after the ascension been sometimes called ?
A. During this week, the apostles and disciples continued in the lively expectation of the Comforter, and in earnest prayer for him; on which account this week has been styled the week of expectation.
HAT event does the Church this day commemorate?
A. The Church, in the festival of this day, commemorates the gift of the Holy Ghost, who this day visibly descended upon the apostles.4.
Q. Does not this festival correspond to the feast of Pentecost among the Jews ? A. The feast of Pentecost*
among Jews, instituted in memory of the delivery of the law on mount Sinai, became afterwards distinguished by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles, enabling them to promulgate that spiritual law, which was the perfection and consummation of the law delivered on mount Sinai. This festival, there. fore, corresponds to the feast of Pentecost among the
Jews ; and it has been observed from the very first ages of Christi anity.t
Q. Why was this festival styled Whit-Sunday?
A. This festival was, perhaps, styled metaphorically White, Sunday, that is, White-Sunday, from the diffusion of light which on this day fell on the apostles, and enabled them to become “ lights to lighten the world ;“. or it was so called, from its being one of the two principal seasons of baptism,
u Acts ii. 2. * So called from being the fiftieth day after the Passover, TŁYTYXOSà. Áurea.
# Just- Mar. Tertulian, Origen, bear testimony to its observance..
when all who were baptized wore white garments, in token of the spiritual purity which baptism designated, and the innocence of life to which they then bound themselves.
Q. Why were Easter and Whitsuntide fixed upon as stated seasons of baptism?
A. Easter was appointed as a season for the administration of baptism, in memory of Christ's death and resurrection; corresponding to which are the two parts of the Christian life represented in baptism, dying unto sin, and rising again to newness of life: and Whitsuntide was appointed for this purpose, in memory of the baptism of the apostles with “ the Holy Ghost and with fire,'' and of their having at that time baptized themselves three thousand souls.
Q. Were infants baptized only at these stated times ?
A. Infants and sick persons received baptism at all times;the baptism of adults alone was deferred to these stated periods.
Q. Why were adults baptized only at these stated periods?
A. These stated times were appointed for the baptism of adult converts, in order that they tnight be prepared by catechetical instruction, and by the examination of the bishop or presbyter, for receiving this holy sacrament; for which also i hey prepared themselves by prayer and fasting in the season of Lent.
Q. Explain the psalms appointed for the morning service.
A. The psalms for the morning service, are the 48th and 68th. The 48th psalm, under images taken from the earthly Jerusalem, celebrates God's mercy to his spiritual Zion, the Church; which mercy was powerfully displayed this day in the miraculous descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Church, and the conversion of three thousand souls who were added to the Church.y The 68th psalm, under the emblem of the removal of the ark to mount Zion, describes Christ's ascension and exaltation, with their blessed consequences, his « giving gifts to men;"2 and also describes the conversion of the nations, and the collection and preservation of the Church, by " the company of preachers," who were this day invested with the supernatural powers which enabled them to accomplish this mighty work.
Q. Explain the psalms appointed for the evening service, A. The psalms for the evening service, are the 104th and
Matt. iii. 11.
w Acts ij. 41.
z Eph. iy. &
145th. The 104th psalm, which celebrates the wisdom and power of God in the creation and preservation of the world, is appointed for this day, because many of its expressions refer to the powerful operations of the Holy Ghost, who made “ the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind." « The earth," at first, “ trembled at the look of him ;" but it was afterwards “ renewed by his breath, and filled with the fruits of his works.” The 145th is an eucharistic psalm, celebrating the goodness of God, and the glory of that kingdom” which was this day established in the world by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Q. Explain the lessons, epistle, and gospel for the day.
A. The first less n for the morning (Deut. xvi. to ver. 18,) records the appointment of the Jewish Pentecost, which was a type of the Christian Pentecost; for as the law was at this time given to the Jews from mount Sinai, so also was the new evangelical law this day promulgated by the administration of the Holy Ghost. The first lesson for the evening (Isaiah xi.) contains a striking prophecy of the establishment of Christ's kingdom, and the conversion of the Gentiles to the kingdom of Christ, through the inspiration of the apostles by the power of the Holy Ghost. The second lessons (Acts iv. to ver. 36, and Acts xix. to ver. 21,) record the accomplishment of this prophecy, in the miraculous cures which were wrought by the apostles by the power of the Holy Ghost, and in the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Christian converts. The gospel records our Lord's promise of sending the Comforter, and the epistle describes the miraculous descent of the Holy Ghost and its consequences.
Q. What are we to believe concerning the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Ghost is the third person in the adorable Trivity, distinct from the Father and the Son, and eternally proceeding from both; being called the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of the Son, as well as of the Father.a
Q. What are the various gifts of the Holy Spirit ?
Ă. All the gifts of the Holy Ghost may be ranged under the following: the apostolical, the ecclesiastical, and the ordinary gifts. *
Q. What were those gifts of the Spirit styled apostolical?
a Rom. viii. 9; 1 Pet. i. 11; Gal. iv. 6. See Bishop Horne's excellent sermon, entitled, “ The unspeakable Gift;" from which the following account of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is principally taken.
A. The gifts of the Spirit styled apostolical, were those conferred by God on the apostles, in order that they might proclaim and establish the Christian faith. For this pura pose, they had conferred on them “ the word of wisdom," the revelation of the wisdom of God in the redemption. They had “ the word of knowledge,” or the gift of understanding the Scriptures which contain and describe this wis. dom. They had “ faith," to remove all obstacles by mi. racles, and to give them an invincible confidence and cou. rage. They had the gift of “ healing." all diseases by a single word, and the power of working all “ miracles," of controlling the agency of created nature. They had the gift of " prophecy," to explain things past, and to foretel things future; to preach and pray at all times by the Spirit, till all things were put in order, and the Church services framed and established. They could " discern spirits,” and see through all the devices and disguises of Satan at a glance. And they had the gift of “ tongues, and their interpretation," by which the same persons were enabled to speak and understand all the languages under heaven, without a moment's labour.
6. When were these miraculous gifts conferred on the apostles ?
A. These miraculous gifts were conferred upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost; when there came suddenly a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the place where they were sitting; and there appeared, unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, which sat upon each of them.
Q. What doth this sound from heaven represent to us?
A. This sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, was a fit emblem of the divine Spirit, by whose efficacy the Gospel was to have a speedy and unexpected success : and it signifies to us, that the promulgation of the Gospel was attended with the same divine presence and power that the giving of the law. was, but not with the same circumstances of terror. Q. What do the cloven tongues represent to us?
A. The cloven tongues, as it were of fire, represent to us not only the gift of various languages conferred on the apostles, to enable them to preach to divers nations, but also the quick and piercing efficacy of their speech.
b. Acts ü. 38
Q. What evidence is there that this miracle was real, and that there was no deception in it ?
A. The gift of tongues was conferred on the apostles before many witnesses who were enemies to them; and they gave proof of this miraculous power in the presence of great multitudes of several nations, and in all places where they went preaching the Gospel.
Q. What is the measure of grace styled ecclesiastical?
A. The measure of grace styled ecclesiastical, is that which is given to the ordinary ministry, for the standing government and edification of the Church. This is different, both from the apostolical and from the ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit. The end of the apostolical gifts was the establishment of the Church ; the end of the ecclesiastical is the preservation of it, by the exercise of discipline, the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments. As to its nature, it is a commission, or an office, concerning which it is a rule established, that “no man taketh it unto himself." This ecclesiastical gift, therefore, is also distinct from the ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, which all Christians enjoy; for internal gifts and graces may qualify a man for an office, but they cannot put him into one. No man, however righteous and holy through faith and the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, can have authority to act in the name of Christ, till Christ, by those whom he has appointed for the purpose, gives him that authority. Holiness of office is as distinct from holiness of life, as the cause is from the effect; one is given to the ministry, that the other may be produced in the people: and though all men that are in holy offices ought to lead holy lives, and it should be a part of our daily prayers to God to enable them to do so, yet a failure in duty is not a forfeiture of authority. If this necessary distinction between holiness of office and holiness of person be not kept up, the end for which a ministry was appointed will not be attained ; all will be teachers, and no hearers ; all governors, and no subjects; the Church, as a society, will be dissolved, and confusion introduced into the spiritual system.
Q. What are the ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit ?
1. The ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit are those which are given for the personal sanctification of individuals. Man, as a fallen creature, stands in need of deliverance from the
« Heb. v. 4.