« PoprzedniaDalej »
didft leave the World, and ascend to Heaven about the thirty third Year of thy Age, to teach us in the Prime of our Years to dispise this world when we are best able to enjoy it, and to reserve our full Vigour for Heaven and for thy Love.
O thou, whom my Soul loveth, since thou hast left the World, what was there ever in it worthy of our Love ! O let all my Affections ascend after thee, and never return to the Earth more ; for, whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none upon Earth, that I defire in Comparison of thee.
Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen.
CHA P. XXI.
Tzihitsunday. A Moveable Feast. 2.W
HAT Festival doth the Church this Day
celebrate ? 1. The Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apoftles in the visible Appearance of fiery cloven Aas 2. 3. Tongues, and in those miraculous Powers which were then conferred upon them.
Q. Why do we call this Festival Whitsunday ?
A. Partly from the glorious Light of Heaven, which was this Day sent down upon the Earth from the Father of Lights; but principally because this Day being one of the stated Times for Baptism in the ancient Church, those who were baptised, put on white Garments, as Types of that fpiritual Purity they received
in. Baptism; and which they were obliged to preferve in the future Course of their Lives.
Q. Which were the stated Times for Baptism in the Primitive Church ?
A. At first all Persons were baptised as Opportunity and Occasion ferved ; and when there were appointed Seasons, Infants and the Sick received Baptism' at all Times. But when the
Discipline of the Church began to be settled, it Tert. de was confined to two folemn and stated Times. Baptif. of the Year, Easter and Whitsuntide, including
the intermediate Space of fifty Days that is between them ; which was in a Manner accounted
Festival, and Baptism administred during the Orat. 40. whole Time. Besides these Nazianzen-rec
kons the Feast of Epiphany, propably in Memory of the Birth and Baptism of our Saviour, both which went antiently under that Title ; but though this might be a Custom in some Places, yet it is questioned whether it was linia versal ; besides, afterwards it was prohibited and laid aside.
Q. Why were Easter and Whitsuntide appointed for this purpose ?
A. Eafter was appointed in Memory of Chriff's Death and Resurrection, correspondent to which are the two parts of the Christian Life represented in Baptism, dying unto Sin, and rifing again to Newness of Life. Whitsuntide, in
Memory of the Apostles being then baptised, Mat. 3.11. with the Holy Ghost and with Fire, and of their
having at that Time baptised themselves three Acts 2.41. thousand Souls; this Communication of the
Holy Ghost to the Apostles being in some Measure represented and conveyed in Baptisi..
Q. Why was Baptism deferred to those fated Times ?
A. That adult Converts, who made up the Body of baptised Persons in those Days, might be fitted and prepared for their folemn Admirsion into the Church by this Sacrament. In order to this Purpose they were for some confiderable Time catechized and instructed in the Principles of the Christian Faith, from whence the Candidates of Baptism were called Catechu-mens ; they were obliged to give Testimony bf their Proficiency in Christian Knowledge to the Bishop or Presbyter, who was appointed to: examine them upon such Points'; they were farther to give Proof of a sober and regular Con-". versation, and that they might be the better i disposed to receive the great Benefits of this? Sacrament, they prepared themselves by Prayer Cyril. and Fasting in a strict Observation of the holy Præf. Ca
tech. Iren, Season of Lent. As for the Children of Chistian Parents, it is evident they were admitted Tertul
. de to Baptism in their Infancy, from the greatest Bap. Orig. Part of the antient Writers, as Irenæus, Tertul in-Levec.
12. § 1. lian, Origen and Cyprian.
In Rom. Q. When were the miraculous Gifts of the lib. 5.$ 3Holy Ghost conferred upon the Apostles?
Сург. ЕA. Upon the Day of Pentecost, which was ob-pitt. ad Fiserved by the Jerus fifty Days after their Paljover, in Memory of the Law delivered at Mount Sinai, and for the gathering and bringing in of: their Harvest.
Q. What was the firft Effect of the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles ?
A. They began to speak with other Tongues Acts 2. 4. as the Spirit gave them Utterance. Whereby they who were Jews, were enabled in an In
- 1. 2. c. 9.
ftant to publish that Religion, which God had revealed to them, all over the World.
Q. Did the Inbabitants of Jerusalem take any Notice of this Matter ?
A. Yes; at the Noise of it, those Jews, that Acts 2. 6. were assembled at Jerusalem from all Parts to
observe the Day of Pentecost, came together unto the Place, and were confounded, because every Man heard the Apostles speak in their own Language wherein they were born.
Q. Werein did this Gift of Tongues confift?:
A. Not in a Capacity of speaking several Languages at the same Instant, for that is impofsible; but in speaking several Languages, without ever having had the Advantage of
learning them. So that the several Nations then Ve. 8. present heard some or other of the Apostles speak
ing in their own Language.
Q. How was this Gift conferred upon the Apostles ?
A. Suddenly there came a Sound from Hea
ven, as of a mighty rushing Wind, and it filled AQs z. 2, all the House where they were sitting; and there 3. appeared unto them cloven Tongues, like as a
Fire, and it fat upon each of them.
Q. Wbat doth ibis Sound from Heaven, as of a mighty rushing Wind, represent to us?
A. It is a fit Emblem of the divine Spirit, by whose Efficacy the Gospel was to have a speedy and unexpected Success. To this our
Saviour had compared it in his Discourse with John 3. Nicodemus.
And it signifies to us, that the Publication of the Gospel was attended with the fame 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 as it were of Fire represent to us?
A. Not only the Diversity of Languages, miraculously infused into the Apostles, to enable them to preach to divers Nations ; but the quick and piercing Efficacy of their Speech.
Q. What mean these Cloven fiery Tongues fitting upon eacb of them?
Å. It signifies that this Gift of Tongues was constant, because they had continual Ule of it; and that it was common to all the Apostles, because they were all to be Publishers of the Gof-. pel, and the Witnesses of our Lord's Resurrection; which was the great Miracle whereby the Gospel was to be confirmed.
Q. What Evidence is there that this Miracle was real, and that there was no Manner of Deceit in it?
A. It was publickly wrought before many Witnesses, and those Enemies to the Apostles, as being the Disciples of him they had so lately crucified. 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. Might not the Apostles craftily combine together to impose upon the World by the Pretence of such a Miracle, efter having acquired the Knowledge of Languages by Study and Industry?
A. No; because they were not Strangers at Jerusalem ; their Persons were known as the Followers of Jesus; and so was their mean Condition and illiterate Education ; which gave them no Opportunity to attain this Skill in an, ordinary, Way. And where they were not known, their affirming that this Ġift was su-,',