Page images
PDF
EPUB

ture and Intention of it ; and thereby moft fitly not only excite us to a grateful Remembrance of the divine Beneficence, but also teach us to form true Apprehensions and a just Veneration of so great a Mystery. A Mystery whicli was promis'd by Christ to his Apostles as the greatest of all Benefits, which might alone supply the otherwise irreparable Loss of his Presence, and intirely dispel their Grief arising from the melancholy Apprehension of his approaching Departure. A Mystery which was reserved for the ultimate Consummation of the Christian Religion and divine Dispensation of the Gospel; which being designed by the Father, and founded by the Son, was at last brought to Perfection by the Mission and Defcent of the

No wonder therefore if the Promise of fo great a Benefit was so mightily insisted on by Christ, as a sufficient Remedy to his Disciples for all Afflictions, and the last and greatest Legacy which he could bequeath unto them; if the performance of it was so earnestly expected by the Apostles ; and the remembrance of it with an uninterrupted Solemnity celebrated by the Church in all Ages, more especially by the Antient Church; in which all Christians used to stand continually in time of Divine Service from Easter to Whitsunday, thereby testifying the impatient Expectation wherewith they attended the Deicent of the Holy Ghost as upon this Day.

The

Holy Gloft.

The declaration of this Promise made in the Words of my Text, was occafioned by the great Anxiety which the Apostles expresled at the news of our Saviour's departure; and their wonderful Ignorance of the true Nature and Design of the Christian Religion, after so long and so excellent Instruction from their divine Master.

The former is related in the end of the preceding Chapter, which therefore Christ endeavours to remove by a vehement Exhortation to a steady Faith in the Beginning of this. Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. Assuring them that his Departure was for no other End than to prepare a Place for their Reception into those Mansions, of which they had been by him sufficiently informed. At this, Thomas far from acknowledging any such Information, complains in the 5th verse, that they were ignorant, both of the Place and the Way to it.

Our Saviour answers, that the place was no other than the Society of his Father, whom they had sufficiently known by conversing with Him.

This far from removing the Mistakes of the Apostles, gave Occasion to the Discovery of a far greater Ignorance in them.

For in the 8th verse, Philip desireth him to flew the Father to them, thereby manifesting how widely he liad hitherto mistaken the Doctrine of Christ, and what gross Notions of the Father he entertain'd.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

So strange an Ignorance drew a sharp Expoftulation from our Saviour. Have I been so long time with

you,

and yet hast thou not knoin me Philip? ver. 9.

Thereupon declaring unto him what fufficient Means he had already given them of knowing the Father; and promising to enable them yet further to a more perfect Knowledge of him, by sending the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. He assureth them of a more clear and express Revelation of this Matter at his Resurrection, by manifesting himself, and consequently the Father, to piously disposed Perfons, who loved him and kept his Commandments. Although he intended not to manifest himself in the same Degree and manner to the whole World.

At this Judas Lebbeus seems to be astoniThed, and in a passionate Exclamation, which includeth somewhat of Despair in it, faith unto him, verse 22. Lord how is it that thou wilt manifest thy self unto us, and not unto the World! as imagining this illustrious Manifestation to be no other than taking Possession, in a folemn and magnificent Manner, of that Glorious Worldly Kingdom, which himself with the other Apostles in vain expected to be founded by their Master.

Such strange Mistakes, of which the meanest Christians would be ashamed in the (present Constitution of the Church, might justly be admired to have proceeded from those, who were the familiar Attendants of Christ

through

through a Triennial Preaching, acquainted with all his Discourses, and honoured with a familiar Conversation, if we enquir'd not more narrowly into the Causes of Things and Reasons of the divine Dispensation.

Our Saviour himself seems not in the least to be surprized at it. But only after a short Answer to Lebbeus his Question, hence taketh occasion to renew the Promise of that Remedy, which he had ever design’d, and often before promis’d, I mean the Mission of the Holy Ghost, in these Words: These things have I spoken unto you, being, yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my Name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever i have said

As if he should say: These Answers I have briefly given to your Doubts and Scruples, such as the Thortness and necessity of the time would permit, which still remains to me to be spent in your Company.

I had before sufficiently explained all these Mysteries to you, provided your Minds, by removal of all Prejudices,by ordinary endowments of right Apprehension, and using due diligence, had been rightly disposed to receive them.

But since you still continue ignorant of those great Truths, and infinitely mistake my Doctrine; and not only so, but suffer your selves to be poffefs’d with Terror and

Amazeinent

unto you.

[ocr errors]

will send unto you.

Amazement at the news of my departure, I will not forsake you, or leave you deftitute of the Means, either of Consolation or better Instruction; but abundantly provide for both, by sending to you after my Ascension another Comforter, even the Holy Ghost; whom the Father at my Intercession, and for my fake

He shall erect your drooping Spirits, and remove your Grief by administring Consolation to you: And dispel your Ignorance, by enlightning your Minds with clear Notions, and true Interpretations of whatsoever Í have Taught unto you; and recalling into your Mind all those Doctrines and Lessons of mine, which you may have forgotten.

These Words being thus explained repre. 1. The Promise of sending a Comforter. II. The Person to be fent, the Holy Ghost.

III. The Office to be performed by the Holy Ghost when fent. Which however various is perfectly included, either in the diverse Significations of the Word Mlaegxana or Comforter, (which may be taken as an Advocate, a Monitor, or a Consolator.) Or in the annexed Action of Teaching them all Things, and bringing all things into their Remembrance, whatsoever Clirist had said unto thein.

At present I shall consider no more than the latter Branch of the Third Point; that is, the Office or Teaching the Apostles, which was to be performed by the Holy Ghost.

And

sent to us,

« PreviousContinue »