Fourth Sunday After Easter GOSPEL John 16. 5-14 The Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-Way To Heaven By Fr.Thomas Hill 1634
The Descent of the Holy Ghost (detail)
GOSPEL John 16. 5-14.
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: I go to Him that sent Me: and none of you asketh Me: Whither goest Thou? But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He is come, He will convince the world of sin, and of justice and of judgment. Of sin, because they believed not in Me: and of justice, because I go to the Father, and you shall see Me no longer: and of judgment, because the prince of this world is already judged. I have yet many things to say to you; but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself: but what things soever He shall hear He shall speak, and the things that are to come, He shall show you. He shall glorify Me: because He shall receive of Mine and shall show it to you.
All three persons Blessed Trinity do equally concur to the work of our salvation, but every one in his several office. The office of God the Father, is to create and preserve us, and to send his son to redeem us. The office of God the So, to redeem us, and to send God the Holy Ghost to sanctify our souls, & to give us grace to apply our redemption unto us, by such means as Christ should ordain.
When Christ speaketh these words of himself to his disciples: unless I go away,the holy Ghost will not come unto you; God the Father had done his office, God the son our blessed Saviour Christ had done his, it remaineth that God the holy Ghost should come & do his, and unless Christ had gone away he could not come: one reason was, because the disciples were so ravished with the love of Christ,and took such comfort in him as is afore said, that while he was with them, they would receive no other. But the principal was, that the Church of Christ, which was to last to the end of the world, was to have a comforter and guide to be with it to the end of the world: this could not Christ do in his corporal presence, for when he had done his office that God the Father sent him to do, he was to ascend to his Father again: neither was it fit he should remain with his Church will the end of the world in his corporal presence (unless it were in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar) for he being perfect man as well as perfect God, subject to all the infirmities of a man (sin only excepted) if he should have lived here till the end of the world, he should have wanted the chief imperfection of a man, to wit death, or a shorter life, that men might justly have doubted whether he were true man or no: neither could he be present as man, with all his whole Church at all times, & in all places at once, to comfort and direct it; but all this could the holy Ghost do, by his grace diffused in every mans soul as St. Paul sayth it is, after a most sweet internal and familiar fashion, giving them grace and wisdom, not only to govern, comfort & direct themselves, but others committed to their charge: for these respects it was necessary that holy Ghost should come, & this being necessary, it was necessary also that Christ should go away, as he told his disciples.
But in what manner doth the holy Ghost do his office aforesaid? He doth it by way of secret,& inward suggestion, and inspiration in our souls. So sayeth Christ expressly in these words, when the holy Ghost commeth he shall teach you all truth: and how shall he teach it? he shall suggest unto you all things, that is to say, all things necessary to themselves, and to others committed to their charge, and the like to their Successors after them to the end of the world.
And this suggestion or inspiration of the holy Ghost in our souls, is like a kind of speaking unto us: if it be a speech, no doubt it is to that end that we should hearken thereunto,and fulfill it; and therefore we must say with the Prophet David; I will hearken what our Lord, to wit the holy Ghost, sayeth within me, for he will speak peace unto his people, and upon his holy ones,and such as are convert at the heart.
We have seen in what manner the holy Ghost doth his office, it remaineth to consider in what matter or subject he worketh upon. Christ declareth it in these words; when the holy Ghost shall come he will argue the world of sin, of justice, of judgement, that is to say, it maketh our consciences to accuse us of sin which we have, to wit, which we have committed, especially of misbelief, which is the greatest sin of all if it be through our fault, because,without faith, as St Paul sayeth, that is to say,without a true faith, It is impossible to please God unto salvation, and justice, or righteousness, which we have not; and of judgement, because we fear it not: of these three the holy Ghost maketh our consciences to accuse us, if we want them, to the end we may have them: if we have them to comfort our consciences therein, testifying unto us, that we are the children of God,and not of the prince of this world. Which testimony is always present to us in our souls wheresoever we are, which is the greatest comfort in the world, and which Christ by his corporal presence could not do,as fore said, because he could not so be always present with us: but this the holy Ghost doth, not independently of Christ, for he sent him at Pentecost to remain with his Church to the worlds end; nor independently of God the Father, for he sent God the holy Ghost, and therefore Christ sayeth here, the holy Ghost shall not speak of himself. but what he shall hear, to wit of God the Father and the son.
Let us therefor give thanks to God the Father that so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to redeem it. Let us give thanks to God the son that redeemed us with his most bitter death and passion.Let us give thanks to God the holy Ghost that doth sanctify us and give us grace to apply our redemption unto us by holy Sacraments, and such means as Christ hath ordained in the merits of his most precious death and passion