« הקודםהמשך »
but that they could not bear them,” (John xvi. 12,) was now not only made plain to their understanding, but they were also enabled to communicate those things to others. Among those things which they could not bear," was the efficacy of his redemption, which the resurrection could alone have brought to light. For though He had truly said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life,” (John xi. 25,) yet owing to the hardness of men's hearts, it was absolutely necessary that “the sign of the prophet Jonas” should be given them before they could credit or understand his words. Thus, in the epistolary writings, we find the cross of Christ set forth in all the splendor of inspired language. What was to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness, (1 Cor.i. 23,) is logically demonstrated to the one and the other people to be absolutely necessary to the salvation of man. ral we may remark with regard to these writings, that, not only ought this part of the New Testament to be studied attentively, as containing the most magnificent development, through inspiration, of the vital doctrines of our Saviour, but also as conveying
In geneto us most minute rules of conduct, for ministers of the church, for rulers, masters, servants, husbands, wives, and children.
But though it be true that no men could 352. do what the apostles did, without the special aid of the Holy Ghost, yet it is not necessary to understand that they were inspired on all occasions, or in all their actions. There are circumstances in their history which will prove that they must occasionally have omitted seeking for that divine aid which alone could lead them “into all truth."
For example, the assistance of the Holy Spirit must have been wanting when the discussion occurred between Paul and Barnabas. (Acts xv.) And when again at Antioch, Paul withstood Peter to the face. (Gal. ii. 11.) Nor 353. are we to suppose on the other hand, that because the supernatural operations of that Holy Spirit, which enabled the apostles to work miracles, and to convert multitudes, have ceased, its ordinary operations have ceased also. It was absolutely necessary to the planting firmly the Christian religion, that the apostles should have supernatural power given them, at the time of its early publication. When once that necessity no
longer existed, that power ceased with it. But though the Holy Spirit does not now come upon us as a sound from heaven, of a rushing mighty wind,” yet its operation is not less apparent, though it is more silent, resembling our Saviour's description of it to Nicodemus, “ the wind that bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John iii. 8.) Thus, though the miracle be not discoverable by the senses, it is no less faithful in its salutary influence upon us.
But then we must apply for it by prayer, and we must not grieve or deceive that Holy Spirit, by applying for it without sincerity of heart, for in that case it will be refused to us, because we have not (any more than Simon the sorcerer had,) “any part or lot in this matter.” (Acts viii. 21.) On the other hand, by constantly praying for his assistance, by earnestly endeavouring to merit his favour by obeying the commands of our Saviour, and by profiting by the frequent warnings which He gives us in the common occurrences of life to amend our lives, we may hope to obtain that state of “grace"
so much talked of, yet so little under
Our belief in the Holy Ghost leads us naturally, through his grace, to believe the remaining articles of our creed, which are the fruits of that belief, namely, “ the holy ca- 554. tholic, or church universal,”* founded, as we have seen, by our Saviour himself, upon the eternal and pure word of God recorded in the Bible, transmitted to us through the apostles, by a succession of priesthood regularly ordained, and existing in whomsoever
* Although every circumstance in the history of our blessed Saviour whilst on earth, beautifully exemplifies what St. Paul says of his humility, (Phil. ii. 6—8,) “That he took upon him the form of a servant;" that being God, he became man, to be an example of obedience to us; nothing sets before us in a more striking manner that example of dependance on God which he at all times, as man, evinced, than his submission to the Spirit of God. St. John, speaking of him, (John iii. 34,) says, “ That the Spirit was not given by measure unto Him.” We might therefore infer that he acted on all occasions from his own impulses, but we are especially told, “ That he was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.” He put himself under the direction of the Spirit. Why, but to show us that that same Spirit which He has left us," to guide us into all truth,” will, if we call upon Him with sincerity, assist us, as it did our Saviour, in times of danger ? Why, but to show his apostles that it was by their calling upon that Spirit to assist them, that they would be so assisted, that He said to them, “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not come.” (John ivi. 7.)
Why, but to show us how submissive we ought to be to the will of God, did He who was God himself, submit to fulfil all that the Spirit had prophesied of Him as man? (Matt. xxvi. 54; Mark xv. 28; Luke xxii. 37; xxiv. 25. 44. 46.)
has “the kingdom of God within him.” 353. “ The communion of saints ;”+ the meaning
of which is, that all who confess Christ's holy name, do of necessity agree in the truths of
his holy word, and live in unity and godly 356. love. “ The forgiveness of sins, the resurrec
tion of the body,” which being sown in cor
ruption, will rise in incorruption. (1 Cor. xv. 357. 42.) “ And the life everlasting,” which we
receive, as well as forgiveness of sin, as a free gift, through the intercession and merits alone of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thus, my dear children, have we, through God's
grace, gone through the course of religious study which we proposed. Let it not, however, enter your minds, that the
See the Litany. + The Communion of Saints would (one would have thought) form an efficient bond of union among all Chris
tians, and yet some of them, as if spurning so noble a use • of their common faith, have established as its substitute,
the fooleries of Freemasonry, to effect that union.