« PreviousContinue »
On the Epiftle for the fixteenth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Gospel for the fixteenth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epiftle for the feventeenth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Gospel for the feventeenth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epiftle for the eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epiftle for the nineteenth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epistle for the twentieth Sunday after Trinity!
On the Gospel for the twentieth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epiftle for the twenty first Sunday after Trinity.
On the Gospel for the twenty first Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epiftle for the twenty fecond Sunday after Trinity.
On the Gospel for the twenty fecond Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epiftle for the twenty third Sunday after Trinity.
On the Gospel for the twenty third Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epiftle for the twenty fourth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Gospel for the twenty fourth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Epistle for the twenty fifth Sunday after Trinity.
On the Gospel for the twenty fifth Sunday after Trinity.
PRACTICAL DISCOURSES upon the Collects, Epiftles, and Gospels, to be used throughout the Year.
The SECOND PART.
The EPISTLE for Afcenfion-Day.
Acts i. I. 12.
The former Treatife have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jefus began to do and to teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given Commandment to his Apoftles, whom he had chofen; to whom also he fhew'd himself alive, &c.
HE Collect for this Day calls to mind our Belief in the Son of God's afcending into the Heavens, and from thence directs us to pray, that we may in Heart and Mind thither afcend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth
and reigneth there world without end.
Of the Time and Manner of this great Action and Exaltation of our Bleffed Saviour, we have fome Account in the Vol. IV. Part 2:
Epiftle for this Day; which begins thus: The former Treatife have I made, O Theophilus, &c. Where by the former Treatife is generally understood the Gospel according to St. Luke and 'tis fo call'd, in refpect to this latter, of the Acts of the Apoftles: for which reafon, St. Luke is fuppos'd to be the Author of both. In both which, he dedicates or directs his Difcourfe to the excellent Theophilus; which is not thought to be the proper Name of any particular Perfon, but a general Title belonging to every true Lover of God, for fo the word fignifies and to all fuch he feems to addrefs himself in both. In the former Treatife or Gospel, St. Luke gave an account of all that Jefus began to do and to teach, until the day that he was taken up; that is, from the day of his Birth to the time of his Afcenfion into Heaven. In this latter he gives a Relation of the Acts of the holy Apoftles; After that Chrift thro the Holy Ghost had given Commandment to those whom he had chofen. And
The first thing he relates of them, was Chrift's confirming them in the Belief of his Refurrection, by his particular Appearance to them; in the third Verfe: To whom he fhew'd himself alive after his Paffion, by many infallible Proofs; as fhewing them his Hands and Feet, with the Print of the Nails that faften'd them to the Crofs, letting them thrust their Hands into the Wound made in his Side by the Soldiers Spear; eating and drinking, and talking freely with them after he rose from the dead; and by many other palpable Evidences convincing them that it was he himself, in the fame Body in which he lived and died. This great Care he took for their Satisfaction, condefcending to all they defir'd to that end, because they were to preach and publish him to the World, and become the Witneffes of his Refurrection to all People. And the better to confirm them in the Truth of these things, he would not prefently leave the World after he was rifen, but ftaid and convers'd with them upon Earth, for the fpace of forty Days. Had he gone away fooner, he might have left the World in great Doubts about the Reality of his Refurrection; they might have concluded him to be only fome Ghost or Spectre, that appear'd for a while, and then vanifh'd away. And therefore to remove all Scruples in fo weighty a matter, upon which all the Faith and Hopes of Chriftians depend, he continu'd forty Days with them before he went from them, to give them all poffible Affurance in that great Point; during which time he was daily feen and heard of them, Speaking
Speaking to them of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God: which things related to the planting and propagating of the Chriftian Church, to the appointing of his Apoltles to be the Overfeers and Inftructors thereof, and to the giving them a Commiffion to appoint others to thofe Offices, for a conftant and orderly Succeffion in it to the world's end.
Our Bleffed Saviour having thus fettled and provided for his Church here upon Earth, he began to difcourfe to them of his afcending into Heaven. But before that,
He affembled his Difciples together at Jerufalem, where at his meeting with them, he commanded them that they Jhould not depart from Jerufalem, but wait there for the Promife of the Father, which (faith he) ye have heard of me. What this Promife of the Father was, appears both by St. Luke and St. John, viz. the Promife of the Holy Ghost, whom the Father promis'd to fend in his Name, Luke 24. 49. John 14. 16. & Joha 15. 26. in all which places he is promis'd as a Comforter, an Advocate, a Witness, and Remembrancer. This Promife was more obfcurely and remotely reveal'd by the Prophets in the Old Teftament, in the Prophecies of pouring out the Spirit upon all Fle, but more plainly by our Saviour in the New. Hence we find St. John declaring in the beginning of the Gospel, I indeed baptize with Water unto Repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whofe Shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghoft and with Fire: Mat. 3. 11. Where the baptizing with the Holy Ghoft and with Fire, is clearly meant of the Holy Spirit's vifible defcending on the Apostles in the form of Fire, partly for the enlightning their Minds with the Knowledg of Divine Truths, partly to inflame their Hearts with the Love of them, and Zeal to promote them; and partly likewife to separate and confecrate them to the Office and Duty of the Apoftleship to thofe ends: for as Chrift was confecrated to his Office by the Holy Ghoft's coming down upon him at his Baptifm in the shape of a Dove, and lighting upon him, and a Voice faying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleafed; fo were the Apoftles anointed and fet apart for their Of fice, by the Holy Ghoft's defcending upon them in the form of Fire, with a Voice faying, As my Father fent me, even fo fend I you. For the compleating of this Promife, Chrift order'd his Difciples to ftay at Jerufalem, where in a little time they fhould fee and find the fulfilling of it; telling