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The Pause Before Pentecost

The Pause Before Pentecost

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By Stopford A. Brooke, M.A.

" Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you, but
tarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on
high." ST. LUKE xxiv. 49.
By Stopford A. Brooke, M.A.

" Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you, but
tarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on
high." ST. LUKE xxiv. 49.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE PAUSE BEFORE PETECOSTBy Stopford A. Brooke, M.A." Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you, buttarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from onhigh." ST. LUKE xxiv. 49.I the history of the education of the world by God,and in the spiritual history of the individual, thereare times when, before a new turn is given to theeducation by a fresh revelation, there is a pause ; atime when nothing seems to be done, when there isin the hearts of men sometimes confusion, sometimescontemplation ; when faith and hope are in a twilight,when some men are in despair and some men pray ;when the old life and thought has come to an end,and no new life or thoughts have shaped themselvesa parenthesis of silence between the old and the newbut, during which, even in those who despair, thereis a vague, trembling, eager expectation of cominglight and life, a waiting hope, a thrill such as movesin the vegetation of the earth when spring is coming.Such a pause, which often occurs outside the spiritualworld in the history of art, politics, wars, literature,national development, was the short space of timebetween the day of the Ascension and the day of 321 21322 THE PAUSE BEFORE PETECOSTPentecost, and on this Sunday after Ascension it isworth our while to think of its history, and itsanalogies.The history of it is briefly told. ot long afterthe words of my text were spoken, he whom theyhad loved so well was taken away from the disciples.The visible manifestation of Christ was succeeded bythe invisible, the Word made flesh by the indwellingWord. Voice was no longer to answer voice, butspirit to touch spirit ; and the new communion was
higher, deeper, more powerful, more vital for theirgrowth, than the old. While they lived with himon earth, they were like children whose personalityis merged in another. He solved every question,every difficulty for them. They had no personaltrouble ; they made no personal effort. That solitaryresponsibility which, in its struggle, develops powerand strengthens character was not theirs. Theywere blind to the ideas of Christ ; their talk was thetalk of childish men. It was, indeed, expedient forthem that he should go away, and come to themagain in another fashion, as an inward Spirit of life,of divine intelligence, and of moving love. Hecame in that noble way, and the change waswondrous. They were indeed endued with powerfrom on high. But the change did not take placeimmediately. Ten days apparently elapsed, whilethey tarried in Jerusalem, before the day of Pentecost.In the growth of Christianity there was, then, apause, marked by this Sunday, between the Ascen-sion, the last act of the dispensation through theTHE PAUSE BEFORE PETECOST 323visible Christ, and the coming of the invisible Christ,the first impulse of the dispensation in the Spirit ;and in that pause the ideas of the new Christianlife were seething together in the souls of men, com-bining and working towards the point when, takingclear form, they were to issue into an active life in thedisciples based on a victorious faith in Christ withinthem who, tenfold more alive than he was in Galilee,urged them incessantly into the telling of his Gospelto all men as the salvation of the world. When thesilent work of this pause had closed, they broke intospeech and power.Such a pause, longer or shorter, occurs before everynew revelation. The silence of winter precedes thespring. It is a law of the development of all revela-tions in the education of the world, in art, law, science,and in the spiritual world, that the new truths arecontained in germ in the older revelation. Thetruths of the teaching of Christ lay hid in Judaism,
and in part, even, in heathenism. As the time of his coming drew near, even one hundred years beforehe came, its germs began to quicken under the oldsoil. Vague rumours arose of a Son of man ;unconscious prophecies grew up among the nationsof a redemption of man ; a multitude of unformedtheories were started ; crude conceptions of a king-dom of God, with crude creeds attached to them,were invented, and decayed, and died. Even amongthe heathen nations there was a strange revival of religious feeling, and a search for a spiritual deliver-ance, for peace within. Hopes, fears, excitements on3 2 4 THE PAUSE BEFORE PETECOSTreligious matters multiplied among men ; doubts andtruths were more sharply outlined ; new questionsarose and demanded solution. Opposite theories of life clashed together the pessimism of Ecclesiastesand the optimism of Daniel.Then, when the Revealer preached his Gospel, thegerms, whose stirring of the soil had produced thisspiritual trouble, shot up into full growth, took formand flowered. The new revelation was delivered ina few years. But coming and flowering so quickly,it also contained within itself germs of further truth,afterwards to be developed. " I have yet," saidChrist, " many things to say to you, but ye cannotbear them now." A higher manifestation of his truthwas at hand. " When he, the Spirit of Truth, shallcome, he will guide you into all truth." And beforehe came, there was this quiet pause of ten days.The pause of the world before Christ's cominglasted about one hundred and twenty years ; thepause before Pentecost lasted only a few days. But,then, it belonged only to a little band of men andwomen ; it was individual, not national. aturally,the time of the pause was brief.Moreover, Christ's teaching had curiously pre-pared the minds of the disciples for a rapid develop-ment within their souls of a new order of things ;for a mighty change, soon to take place, in their

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