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Christ himfelf declares, that when Tribulation or Persecution ariseth by reafon of the Words by and by they are offended; Mat. 13. 21. Now to prevent this Evil, and to fortify his Followers against all füture Trials, he here tells them before-hand what was like to befal hini and them, and withal adds those Argaments of Confolation that may well enough arm and fortify them against them.
Bat our Saviour does not here rest in Generals, but proceeds to fome particular Instances of the evil and barbarous Treatnient they were like to meet with from the World: As, i
(1.) They shall put you out of the Synagogues; that is, they shall caft you out of all their Assemblies, both Sacred and Civil, and not admit you either into their religious or common Conversation, and thereby fet such a Márk of Reproach upon you, that you fhall not be familiarly convers'd with by any. This fame Evangelist tells us, that the Jeros bad agreed already, that whofoever should confefs Jesuis to be the Chrift, he should be put out of the Synagogue, John 9.22. Accordingly the blind Man, to whom he restor'd' his Sight, confesling of him, was cast out, as we read ver. 35, 36. & Chap. 12. 42. We are told of others that believed on him, but because of the Pharisees were afraid to confess him, lek they should be put out of the Synagogue. Now this cafting out of the Synagogue was done with all manner of contumelious Ufage, the Officers of the Court taking the condemnd Perfon, and thrufting him with Shame and Difgrace out of the Affembly; and if he had any Place of Rule or Government, he was to te depriv'd of his Office or Dignity, which made the Rulers afraid to confess him, John 12. 42. TO this reproachfal Usage our Saviour alludes, when he faid, Blefsed are ye when Men shall hate you, and separate you from their Company, and fhall reproach you, and cafł out your Name as evil, for the Son of Man's fake ; Luke 6. 22. Upon this account it was, that St. Paul, speaking of the Chriftians in his time, faid, We are made as the Filth of the World, and the Off-scour ing of all things to this day; 1 Cor. 4. 13.
But this putting out of the Synagogue fignify'd not only the excluding Men from civil Commerce and Conversation, but likewise from the facred and religious Affemblies; and fo'twas the fanie with Excommunication among the Jews. Hence St. Chryfoftom expounds this putting out of the Syndgogue by cafting out of the Temple, and others by driving out of the House of God, as Persons unworthy of the facred or
civil Society of God's People. But beside this contumelious and reproachful Usage of their Names, our Saviour forewarns them,
(2.) Of greater Hardships and Violences that should be offer'd to their persons; for the time cometh (faith he) that whoever killeth you, will think that he doth God service: that is, fome Persons would arise, who would be so far froni sparing or faving your Lives, that they would think the slaying of you not only lawful, but an acceptable Sacrifice unto God. So it happen'd to many of theni in Jerusalem, which made our Saviour upbraid and lament over that unhappy City, for killing the Prophets, and Atoning of them that were sent unto it; Mat. 23. 37. And in this some think our Saviour refer'd to the Sest of the Zealots among the Jews, who from Elias's calling for Fire from Heaven to consume the Eneiny, and Phineas's Act of sudden Justice upon Zimri and Cosbi, both done by a Divine Impulse, took occafion to conimit many Outrages, Cruelties and Murders without any due Course or Form of Law; their fiery and intemperate Zeal leading them on to a great Rigor and Extravagance of Action, under a Mistake or Mask of Religion : which shews the Sinfulness and Danger of a furious and mistaken Zeal, and what bloody and violent Attempts it runs Men upon. Of such kind of Zealots we have had fad Experience in our Days, who have committed Treason, Sacrilege and Rebellion, under Pretences of Reformation; and both Church and State groan under the direful Effects of such a mad and mistaken Zeal to this day.' : Others again suppose these Words of our Saviour to relate to the many heavy Perfecutions that faon after befel the Christians under their Heathen Governours, who fought to root out Christianity, by putting to death all that were calld by, or call'd upon the Nanie of Christ : Pilate mingled the Blood of some with their Sacrifices; and we read of others hain at the Altar, taking it for a' grateful Offering unto the Lord. St. Paul himself, before his Conversion, breath'd out Threatnings and Slaughter against the Disciples of the Lord; and being exceedingly mad against them, persecuted them from City to City: Acts 9. 1. & Chap. 26. 11. In all which he thought he did God good Service: he did it, as himself tells us, in all good Conscience, for he verily thought with himself, that he ought to do many things contrary to the Name of Jesus of Nazareth; Acts 23. 1. Chap. 26. 9. which shews what great care is to be taken to inform our Vol. IV. Part 2.
Conscience aright in all Matters, that we be not misled by
'Tis the want of the true Knowledg of God, and of his
, and in
I have declar'd these Sufferings to you before-hand, that
This is the sum of thiş Day's Gospel; which we nay thus
First, From Christ's promising a Paraclete, that is, à Comforter, an Advocate and Instructor, let us be ready to welcome him for all those Purposes; that is, let us hearken to his Consolations in all our Troubles and Distresses, and be ever willing to receive the Cordials he is pleas'd to administer, to keep us from fainting under them.
Again, Let us rely upon him as our Advocate and Intercessor, against the Cry and Guilt of our Sins; let us cast our felves upon the Merits of Christ's Satisfaction, and depend upon his Holy Spirit, who is ever ready to plead our Cause, and to make Intercession for us.
Moreover, Let us hearken to the Advice and Directions of this Holy Monitor, , both in his private Whispers, and more publick Instructions; never turning the deaf Ear to either, but always listning to that Voice, saying to us, This is the Way, walk in it, when we are turning to the right Hand, or to the left. And then he who now guides us by his Couna sel here, will hereafter bring us to Glory.
Lastly, From what hath been fáid concerning Christ's foretelling the Sufferings of his Disciples, let us learn not to be shaken by, or offended at theni, whensoever for Christ's fake they may happen to us; but let us manfully go thro and bear up under them: and then we who now bear the Cross with him, shall e'er long be crown'd with him in his everlasting Kingdom, Which God grant, c.
Acts ii. 1-12.
all with one accord in one place; and suddenly there.came a Sound from Heaven, as of a ruha ing mighty Wind, and it filled all the House where they were fitting. And there appeared unto theme -cloven Tongues like as of Fire, and it fat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Ġhot, and began to speak with other Tongués, As the Spirit gave them Utterance, &c.
HE Collect for this great Festival minds us, that
ful People, by the sending to them the Light of his Holy Spirit; and thence beseeches him to grant us by the Same Spirit to have a right Judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy Comfort.
The Epistle for the Day shews us the Time, the Place, the Manner of God's sending his Holy Spirit, together with the wonderful Effects that follow'd upon this miraculous Defcent: of each of which we have here a brief Account.
For the Time, the first Words tell us, it was when the Day of Pentecoft was fully come, that is, when fifty Days from Easter were fully compleat and ended. But why on that Day? (faith a Reverend Father on these Words) To which, by way of Answer, he adds fome weighty Reasons :
As, ijt, Most meet it was, that the Coming of the Holy Ghost should be at some falemn Season or Festival, that la the Peoples Joy being in some measure ftir'd, they might receive him the more joyfully: as also, that the great Concourse of People, which those great Feasts usually draw to