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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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The day of Pentecost was so first called after our Lord's ascension. Before that period the church called it "the feast of weeks," (Exodus 34:22) and it was one of those three great feasts in which all the males were require to appear before the Lord. The word Pentecost means the fiftieth, being fifty days from the Passover. The feast itself was appointed perhaps with a double view; first, to commemorate the giving of the law on mount Sinai, which was on the fiftieth day after the children of Israel had left Egypt; and, secondly, and for which it was enjoined as a feast, to testify that Israel's Lord was the rightful owner of all Israel's property, and they as tenants holding those possessions during the pleasure of their almighty landlord, and thus they were called upon cheerfully to pay their high rent in offering to him the first fruits of all their increase.

This festival in the ancient church was very highly celebrated, as we may plainly perceive from the multitude that came from all parts, to trade on those occasions, on the day of Pentecost, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles. (Acts 2:1-47) How far religious duties occupied the minds of the children of Israel, in those dark ages, is not very easy to determine.

The modern Jews of the present hour, holding by tradition the festival as chiefly referring to the giving of the law on mount Sinai, of which they are very tenacious, and not knowing that it is the ministration of condemnation, they celebrate this festival for two days with great attention. They adorn both the synagogue and their own houses with flowers, and make it altogether a time of festivity. In the religious parts of their services on those occasions, it is said that they read in the Scriptures of Moses what relates to the feast of weeks, and conclude their ceremonies in mutual good wishes for the prosperity of each other and their nation.

What a vast superiority hath the true believer in Jesus in celebrating our Pentecost! This blessed festival in the church of Christ is wholly spiritual. Contemplating the first open descent of God the Holy Ghost as the first fruits of the Lord Jesus's gifts to his people in his return to glory, when he had finished redemption-work upon earth, we are taught to hail the coming of the Holy Ghost as the most blessed of all evidences, concerning the truth as it is in Jesus. And when the soul of a real believer in Christ is truly regenerated, and enabled by divine teaching to enter into a real heartfelt enjoyment of what is contained in the doctrine of the descent of God the Holy Ghost upon the church, then this only festival becomes to every individual believer a renewed Pentecost indeed.

As the proper apprehension of this subject is truly interesting, I shall beg permission from the reader to dwell yet somewhat more particularly upon it.

If we attend to what the word of God hath graciously revealed in, reference to the sacred purposes of JEHOVAH in redemption, we may discover that as all the three divine persons of the GODHEAD have been and are engaged in the accomplishment of the work, so the Scriptures point out the special office of each. In the Old Testament we find God the Father proclaiming to the church the coming of his dear Son. In the New Testament we have that promise realized, and God the Son accomplishing the whole purposes, of salvation. And after his ascension and return to glory we have the visible manifestation of God the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, to carry on and render effectual the great purposes of redemption in the hearts of the people by his almighty grace and power. So that there is a beautiful order in the design and execution of the work itself, as well as grace and mercy in the dispensation.

The day of Pentecost therefore opens with the manifestation of the Holy Ghost in his sevenfold gifts and graces. Hitherto the kingdom of grace had been supplied with the occasional effusions of the Spirit on the church, as the sacred purposes of JEHOVAH'S will required. "The Holy Ghost, it is said, was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:39) But now that the Son of God hath finished the whole of his ministry upon earth, and is returned to glory, the Holy Ghost comes down in a fulness of blessings, and to him is committed the whole efficiency of the work, as the Almighty Minister in the church, to render the whole effectual; and to this agree the words of the prophets: Isaiah 44:3-5; Joel 2:28, etc. Acts 2:14-34.

I beg to add one observation more on this view of our Christian Pentecost, namely, what a confirmation it gives to all the interesting doctrines of our most holy faith. The promise of God the Father in the Old Testament, and the promise of God the Son in the New Testament, both taught the church to be on the look-out for the coming of the Holy Ghost. And as the glorious period drew nigh when this Almighty Spirit would come and dwell in the hearts of his redeemed, the promises concerning him became more clear and pointed. The Lord Jesus, in his farewell sermon, when instituting his holy Supper as the standing memorial of his death, most particularly described his person, character, and offices. (See John 14:1-31; John 15:1-27 and John 16:1-33) And again, in the very moment of his departure, he reminded his disciples of the near approach of this blessed guest. "Behold (said Jesus) I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49) And still farther he added at the same parting interview, "John (said Jesus) truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." (Acts 1:5) And agreeably to this promise, the Holy Ghost actually came down ten days after, on the day of Pentecost when those events took place which are recorded in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. (Acts 2:1-47)

Now from hence the following just and evident conclusion is unavoidable, and must follow: If Christ had not been God, how could he have had power and authority to have sent the Holy Ghost? If Christ had not completed salvation, and finished the work the Father gave him to do, how would his promise have been fulfilled in the gift of the Spirit? If Christ had not ascended, how would the Holy Ghost have descended in exact conformity to what he had said? Can any thing upon earth be more palpable and plain in confirmation of all the great truths of our holy faith, that when the Holy Ghost came down, Jesus was gone up, and God the Father confirmed the perfect approbation he had several times from heaven by a voice given of his dear Son, that he was well pleased in him, by sending down, according to Christ's promise, the Holy Ghost? The Lord Jesus had told his disciples before his departure, that it was expedient for them he should go away. "For (said Jesus) if I go not away, the Comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7) He did depart, and the Holy Ghost came. What an evidence to all the other glorious testimonies of his mission! And I must contend for it, as for one of the plainest matters of fact the world was ever called to judge upon, that in the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, we have as palpable a seal to the truth of the gospel as we have to any one of the most common events in the circumstances of human life; yea, the subject will warrant my going farther, and to say, that in the heart of every individual sinner whom "the Lord hath made willing in the day of his power," that soul is a living evidence of the descent of the Holy Ghost. And surely it is by these evidences now, in the present awful day of infidelity, and a Christ-despising generation, the Lord is bringing forth proofs to the doctrine of his dear Son. The Lord speaks in every one of them in terms similar to the words by the prophet: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen." (Isaiah 43:10)

I have greatly swollen this article beyond my first intention, yet I cannot take leave of it without adding a short observation, just to remark how needful it must be in every follower of the ever-blessed Jesus to examine in his own heart for the evidence of his Pentecost mercy, whether that holy Spirit hath witnessed in his spirit to "the truth as it is in Jesus?"Blessed is the man that can testify to the Spirit's work in his own heart in all the offices, characters, and gifts of God the Holy Ghost. When we know him as Jesus described him, the Spirit of truth to guide into all truth; the Witness to our spirits that we are the children of God; the Glorifier of Jesus; the Comforter of the soul; the Spirit of grace, of supplication, and prayer; the Helper of our infirmities; the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge in the revelation of Christ Jesus in a word, the great and sovereign minister in the church and heart of all his people, from the first quickenings of grace, until grace be consummated in eternal glory. Oh, for the blessed earnest of the Holy Ghost thus to testify to his own impressions on the soul, whereby believers are "sealed unto the day of redemption!" (Ephesians 4:30)

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Pentecost'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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