« PreviousContinue »
was, in his nature, invisible to mortal eyes, visible to the
This was effected by the union of the Divine Word with human nature. God, as'a Spirit, was still unseen ; but the Messiah shewed him forth to the world, so that men were sensibly convinced by the spiritual things CHRIST revealed, and the miracles he performed, the there certainly is such a perfect Being as he described ; all mighty, all wise, infinite in goodness, compassien, and mercy ; perfectly just, a searcher of all hearts, a friend to the good, and an enemy to the wicked. Our LORD also proved, by his supernatural knowledge and wighty works, that this great and glorious Being dwelt in him, was essentially united with him; so that those who saw him might be truly said to see Gob, as mex see one another, who behold the bodily' substance, but Rot the spiritual nature.
But our Saviour required' his disciples to believe, not only that he had, by liis discourses and actions, shewn them the FATHER, and proved that he was actually in himself, but also, that they should believe he was in the Father. On this occasion our Lord did not explain to his Apostles in what manner the GodhéaD who dwelt in him was 'one with the FATHER, nor how the union subsisted between the Divine and human natures; for these mysteries were too great for the consideration of persons whose minds were not yet enlightened by the Holy Ghost: but the Apostles had farther revela. tions afterwards, by means of which they understood, and made known to the world, 'that the same Be'ING' who had been, from the very beginning, the visible goa vernor of the universe, whom St. John' calls the Word, took our nature on him, and appeared upon earth as the Messiah. These particulars being made known to them by the Holy SPIRIT, claimed their ready belief, whe:
ther they had faculties fully to comprehend them or not; and as we have no cause to doubt the veracity of the Apostles and Evangelists, or the authenticity of their writings, we ought to receive the mysterious doc? trines they teach us, as objects of faith, though above the power of human reason to explain."
. That the Apostles might not, from our Lord's assertion that he and the FATHER were one, be apprehensive, that when he left the world, the Deity would with.' draw himself, and leave them without a Divine Guide and Protector; He solemnly assured them, that when He should go to heaven, He would perform miracles by their hands, some of which would cause greater astonishment, and make more converts, than those wrought by Him while on earth ; and, that whatever they should ask, if consistent with their ministry, he would certainly effect, that he might still continue to shew forth the power of the FATHER: Our LORD therefore exhorted them, if they had any fore for him, to keep his commandments; and promised to entreat the FATHER TO vouchsafe them another comforter, who should abide with them to the end of the world, and supply the want of his owir personal presence.
We will defer a particolar examination of our LORD'S promise concerning the HOLY SPIRIT, till we can com. pare it with its accomplishment; when we shall be better able to conceive in what manner our LORD manifested himself to his Apostles, and not to the world, and other mysterious parts of this discourse ; but in order to comprehend them, we must in the mean time acquire the necessary qualification ; for if we are”. worldly-minded, and regardless of heavenly things, W shall never be able to understand then at all. The human nature of the MESSIAH, was certainly ine" F 6
ferior to the GODHEAD. Our SAVIOUR might, therefore, with great propriety say, that “ the Father was greater than himself." In respect to the Divine NATURE of the Son of God, it is too sublime for the compass of the most enlarged minds, Let us therefore refer our enqui. ries to a future state, when, if we gain admittance into heaven, we shall behold the Deity as He is, and shall be in no danger of committing errors respecting Him: and, in the mean while, let us rest assured, that if it had been necessary to our salvation, to understand the divine nature more fully, it would have been more clearly re. vealed.
Having finished this discourse, our Lord informed his disciples, that from this time he should converse but little with them, for he should soon be delivered up to the Roman power ; to which he was resolved to submit, as he knew it was the will of the Father that he should do so; but having something yet to do, he would stay no longer in the place where he had kept the passover, but desired his disciples to attend him, and departed, in order to go to the Mount of Olives.
Before our Saviour left the world, he bequeathed Peace to his Apostles, an inestimable legacy, bestowed with the utmost affection; and not coufined to them only, but designed for all who loved and obeyed him. Let us then endeavour to obtain an interest in it, by laying aside anxiods cares, envy, jealousy, malice, anger, resentment, and every tumultuous passion destructive of contentinent and brotherly love ; and let us, to the utmost of our ability, co-operate with our LORD, whose design in coming into the world was to bring peace upon carth, good-will trwards men: and as we read that our Lord left the world in the very manner he predicted, let, as believe that he will also return as he has promised,
and conduct to the mansions of bliss all who sincerely love him.
OUR LORD REPRESENTS HIMSELF UNDER THE EMBLEM
OF A VINE:
From John, Chap. xv.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, ke taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine : no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit : for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch,., and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye
abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you : continue ye in my love.
If ye keep in my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
bandınan's proceedings, that every unprofitable member of Christ's church will be finally rejeeted of God, and that the best will be exercised with trials to purify their hearts. If we withdraw our faith and obedience from our RedeĖMER, we must no longer expect to be favoured, with the
grace of God through His beloved Son; and without this grace we cannot bring forth the fruits of righteousness. Let us then adhere to our CHRISTIAN profession with sincerity and firmness, and we shall be enabled to practise its daties. We are here warned of the danger of apostasy, and encouraged to fidelity. If we depart from our faith, destruction will be our lot; if we continue obedient, all our prayers will be heard ; for by using our best endeavours for the propagation of the gospel in the world, as far as our influence extends, and endeavouring to live holy lives, we glorify our heavenly Father, and prove ourselves true disciples of CHRIST. Our Lord testified his love for the Father by acting inobedience to the Divine Will; he assures us, that he loves his disciples with the same constant affection that He is be. loved by his FATHER; therefore it is our duty to do every thing in our power to secure the continuance of our Lord's love, which can enly be done by an uniform. obedience to his commands, as far as the infirmities of hnman nature will admit.
These things our LORD spake to his apostles, and through them to Christians in general, to every branch, in order to animate and fortify them against the temptations r. of life, that they might rejoice in the midst of tribulation, from the hope of eternal happiness.
Again our Lord repeated his commandment to his apostles, to love one another; conjuring them, by their obligations to him, to maintain mutual friendship and be. nevolence, such as he had shewn to mankind in general,