« ElőzőTovább »
This Name at once explains itself, and points out the Event in Christ's life to which it has reference; even His Ascension into heaven on the fortieth day after His resurrection, as is recorded at length in Acts, i. and Luke, xxiv. Having finished His work on earth, and His course of humiliation being ended, we see Him here, in His subsequent and consequent career of exaltation, first rising from the dead, bursting the bonds of the grave, seeing it was not possible that He could be holden of them; and then ascending up on high, leading captivity captive, to resume there, at the right hand of His Father, that glory He had for a season laid aside : and there He now sits, in our nature as well as in His own, pleading the cause of His people, a faithful and a sympathetic High Priest; who, having been made in all things like unto His brethren, sin only excepted, can be touched with a feeling of their infirmities; and who, “ in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, is able to succour them that are tempted.” To lead us to contemplate Him there, that we may thither “ in heart and mind continually ascend,” and “ being risen with Christ,” may “set our affections on things above,” where that Christ now dwells, is the Object designed by the Church in the com
memoration of this event, and sought to be produced by the Services with which that commemoration is attended.
This Name is generally considered to be a contraction of White Sunday, and to have had its origin in a custom which prevailed in the early Church. The Season of the year which we thus denominate was one of the times specially set apart for the baptism of the converts from heathenism to Christianity; and it was customary for all such converts to array themselves on these occasions in white garments, as emblematic of the purity and holiness of the profession they had put on. The restriction of Baptism to any particular seasons has long since ceased, as well as the custom of dressing in the manner referred to; but the name still remains ; although it has no connexion whatever with the Event which the season commemorates. That Event is the first great event in the history of the rising Church, the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon the assembled believers ; who, to the number of “about an hundred and twenty,” were assembled together “ with one accord, in one place,” as is recorded in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. It took place on the fiftieth day after
the Crucifixion, being the same day as the Jewish Feast of Pentecost: which Feast was so called from the circumstance that it was fifty days after the Passover : the word “Pentecost” signifying “ fifty.” In this event we have our Saviour's fulfilment of the promise made by Him to His sorrowing disciples, that He would send them another Comforter, who should abide with them for ever, to bring “all things to their remem. brance whatsoever He had said unto them,” and to “guide them into all truth,” We see Him having “received gifts for men, yea even for the rebellious,” bestowing those gifts in rich abundance, and thereby preparing them for the work on which they were now about to enter. In commemorating this Event, the Church of Christ would have us consider that the promise was not unto them only, but unto their children also, and “to all that are afar off ;” and incite us to earnest prayer for the out-pouring of the same Spirit upon our slumbering congregations, and our lifeless hearts, that we may be quickened to a new life of diligence and zeal in our Master's cause; that that time spoken of by the prophet may speedily come, when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the seas.”
The name “TRINITY” signifies “ three in one,” and might be applied under any circumstances where such is the case : but is usually restricted to the union of the Three Persons in the Godhead; of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, as One and the same God. This is a Mystery into which our finite capacities are unable to enter, and passing our comprehension. It is above our reason, yet not contrary to it : and so we must be content to receive it in simple faith, and wait for a full understanding thereof, until the arrival of that day when “we shall know even as we are known.” This mystery is brought under our notice at this particular time, because of that manifestation of the truth thereof by which it has just been preceded. God the Father is seen indeed at all times, manifested by His works : God the Son has been seen manifested in the various phases of His chequered career on earth in the flesh; now suffering sorrow, and now again regaining His power: and God the Holy Ghost has just been manifested by His miraculous working on the human heart, on the day of Pentecost. And the Sacred Three having thus been brought under our notice, and their existence thus demonstrated to the Church; to
gether with their several offices in connexion with the conversion of the sinner and his sancti. fication and growth in grace, the Church of Christ has thought good to set apart this day for the commemoration of the doctrine to which she has thereby affixed her seal, and in the truth of which she has thereby affirmed her belief. In commemorating this mystery it behoves us humbly to adore what we cannot fathom; and instead of prying into those “secret things” which “ belong unto the Lord our God," to set ourselves about ascertaining whether we understand what is the work of each of these Persons in the Godhead ; and whether we have any evidences of that work in our own souls; whether we can speak from personal experience of the Father's pardoning mercy, the Son's redeeming love, and the Spirit's quickening power. If such thoughts be awakened in our minds, and such Subjects form the Topics of our conversation and contemplation, on the occasion of our commemoration of this mystery, the design of the Church will have been accomplished, and the services of the day will not have been altogether in vain.
With Trinity Sunday ends what is usually considered as the first half of our Ecclesiastical year: and with the first Sunday after Trinity we enter upon the second half, which extends from