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over to God's giving the law therea. Whence all the Jewish writers conclude, that this feast was instituted in commemoration of giving the law: which Maimonides says was the great reason of bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt 6. Thus it was likewise fifty days after Christ our pafsover was sacrificed for us (who rested in his grave on the sabbath, and by rising, on the first day of the week, when the sheaf, or the first-fruits of the barley-harvest, was offered unto the Lord, became the first-fruits of those who slept); it was, I say, from that day fifty days, that the Holy Ghost was shed down on the apostles and their company ; to teach them first the laws and doctrines of Christ, or the things of the kingdom of Christ; and then to enable them to publish them to others, from Mount Sion, or Jerusalem (the place that God had appointed for his worship, and from whence Christ's sceptre was to go forth to Jews and Gentiles), who had been ignominiously crucified there fifty days before. At this feast the first-fruits of wheat-harvest were to be offered to God in two loaves, which were for the use of the priests d. And on those loaves, as on all the meatofferings, oil was poured. After which
• See Bishop Patrick's Com. on Exod. xix. 1.
47: de Exod, xii, 12. xxiii. 16. Lev. xxiii. 17.
they began to gather in their wheat-harvest, and compleat it. Thus likewise the apostles, having “themselves received the first-fruits 66 of the Spirit,” gathered in that day three thousand fouls, whom they presented, or offered up unto God, and unto the Lamb, sanctified by the Holy Ghost, as a kind of first-fruits of his creatures, or his new creatures, or as the first-fruits of the Jewish christian-church. And then, agreeably to the feasting and rejoicing at all those feasts, and particularly this of Pentecosts, all the first christians continued daily in the temple; 6 and breaking bread from house to house, “ did eat their meat with gladness, as well as ço singleness of heart; praising God also, as “ well as having favour with the people!. And the apostles proceed farther in their great harvest. Thus was this day well suited to the dignity of the event, as well as to confirm the truth of the christian religion, and to furnith several moral instructions, to those who consider this circumstance of time with the attention it deserves.
And as to the feast of Pentecost being fully come, it carries in it, as Dr. Lightfoot learnedly observes, a manifest reference to the institution of Pentecost; which was to be on the morrow after the fabbath, or after the seventh fabbath from the paflover; which e Deut. xvi. II.
i Aas ii. 46, 47
makes the fifty days complete, and was called, “ the day of the first fruits ?," namely, of wheat-harvest. But as the Jews reckoned their days evening and morning, this fiftieth day began Saturday-evening, but was not fully come, or compleated, till the first day of the week, when the Holy Ghost fell on them in the morning h.
When the Holy Ghost did not descend, but was communicated by the laying on of hands; it is called, the giving and receiving the Holy Ghost', and the ministering of the Spirit k, and imparting spiritual gifts ?.
I cannot tell whether the consideration of these two different ways, by which the Holy Ghost came on believers, either immediately, and in the symbol of cloven tongues as of fire, or by the laying on of hands; will not help us through a difficulty that occurrs Heb. vi. 2. where the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, are reckoned
the first principles of christianity. May not the fense of that place be this; namely, the meaning of the doctrine of baptisms be the baptism of water by which all believers, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire be the baptism by which the first disciples among the Jews, and the first converts among the
& Numb. xxviii. 26.
Atts ii. 15. * Gal, jii. 5.
devout and idolatrous Gentiles, were initiated? And the meaning of the laying on of hands, fignify the conferring these gifts on believers, who had not received them immediately (by the Holy Ghost's coming down upon them with fire) by the laying on of the hands of the apostles : and so both these doctrines be the first principles of christianity, inasmuch as baptisms are the first entrance into it, and the laying on of hands the dence of it; as faith and repentance are the substance of it, and as a resurrection to eternal judgment is the great motive to induce mankind to embrace it?
The most remarkable things which seem to attend the conferring the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, are,
1. That none but apostles could confer it. But I shall do no more than mention this here; referring the reader to the second Eflay, to which this head more properly belongs.
2. The next thing remarkable in the conferring of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the apostles hands is, that they seem to have communicated it to none but believers(I mean believers unto righteoufiets), and to all believers where they came : whereas, the Holy Ghost fell down but on a few, and very rarchy.
That the apostles gave it to none but believers, appears from hence; that they al
ways conferred it after baptism, when with the mouth, “ confession was made of what
they believed in their heart; making the “ answers of a good conscience.” So we find it was, Acts ii. 38–42. viii. 12–18. xix. 3-8. And Acts ii. 38, Peter tells the Jews, in answer to their question, “ What shall we “ do? Repent and be baptized every one of
you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the “ remission of sins, and ye shall receive the “ gift of the Holy Ghost.” And because the Spirit was always imparted after baptism (the case of Cornelius only excepted), therefore are believers said to be a baptized by one
Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Gen66 tiles, bond or free m.
And hence came the ancients to talk of the illumination conferred at baptism, as I have already mentioned on another occasion. From hence it is that St. Paul places the washing of regeneration, and of the renewing of the Holy Ghost, together (λετρον της παλιγΓενεσίας και ανακαινώGEWS wveúpia? Q ázis “). And Acts ii. 32. Peter and the other apostles tell the council, that
they are Christ's witnesses, and so is the « Holy Ghost, whom he hath given to them 6 that obey him.” And St Paul tells the Galatians, that it is because « they are fons, “ that God hath sent forth the Spirit of his rį Cor. xiii. 134
Tit, iii. 5.