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Commentary from 




Rivingtons, London, 1884



The Collect for this day originally, i.e. in 1549, stood in English exactly as it stands in the Latin: "Almighty God, Which dost make the minds of all faithful men to be of one will..."  Bishop Cosin altered the latter words to "make all men to be of one mind," but the present form was eventually adopted, and the idea of unity was thus taken out of the Collect.  The omission is the more singular, since there is in the Gospel a reference to the Holy Spirit by Whom this unity is effected. 

The Epistle and Gospel point in the same direction as those of the preceding Sunday, viz. to the good and perfect Gift which would be bestowed upon the Church after, and through the bodily departure of Christ to heaven.  It seemed strange and hard to bear that it should be expedient for Him to go away Who had been the Leader and Benefactor of His disciples and all who were willing to receive Him; but He spoke these words to them beforehand that they might be comforted with some foreshadowing of the glory and blessing of the New Dispensation which was to be perfected in His Resurrection and Ascension; and be prepared for perceiving, when the fruit of the Resurrection was ripe for gathering, that the departure of Christ to heaven was a greater gain to them through His mystical Presence than His remaining upon earth could have been.  This good and perfect gift, the gift which the Spirit of truth bestows upon the Church, and through the corporate Church on all its individual members, is therefore set before us as we draw near to Ascension Day as the true reason why all sorrow, because of her Lord's departure, should be banished from the Church.  The Comforter will come to bestow the Gift of the Word of God engrafted upon human nature, and in that gift to bestow Light, Truth, and Salvation.