« PreviousContinue »
God, and that they neither knew the Father nor the MESSIAH, Our Lord added, that the reason he had not taught themr these things at the beginning of his ministry was, that he, being always present with them, could be referred to on all occasions which required his direction ; but he chose to give them previous intimation now of the reception his gospel would meet with afterwards, that the remembrance of his predictions might be a confirmation of their faith when they saw the comple. tion of it. Observing that the thoughts of his departure filled their hearts with sorrow, and that they did not at that time recollect he was going to heaven, he kindly reproved then for their forgetfulness, and assured them, it was more for their advantage that he should leave this world, than constantly abide in it for unless he should appear before his Father as their High Priest, after having offered the sacrifice of his own life as an atonement for their sins, he could not convey for them the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT, which was appointed to be given by him in bis glorified state. And when this Com. forter, this heavenly Advocate, the HOLY SPIRIT, should come, onr Lord said, he would abundantly display the power of divine grace, not only in comforting then under all afflictions, but also by effectually pleading the Christian cause to the world through their ministry; and thus convict unbelievers of sin for not receiving the MESSIAH. " The Holy Spirit would also, our LORD said, enable them to prove the innocence and righteousness of his life, by arguments drawn from his ascen. sion to heaven, and his acceptance with God the FATHER: and shew, by the success of the gospel, that CHRIST was invested with the power of executing judgment against Satan, who might be denominated the prince of this world, so long as the greatest part of mankind left their allegiance to God, anal practised wickedness.
Oar LORD added, that there were many other things of considerable moment requisite for them to know in respect to the establishment of the Gospel, which, as they were not yet prepared to receive them, he should wave at present; but they might depend on finding a faithful guide in the Holy Spirit, who would come, not to reveal any private doctrine of his own, or to set up another spiritual kingdom, but to teach them what was farther necessary to be done for the propagation of the Guspel, and likewise to reveal to them things that would be hereafter; and by this mean the Holy Spirit would glorify Christ, since his operations would be di. rected to the farther illustration of what CHRIST had originally taught.
The things which were to be revealed to the apostles by the Holy Spirit, were certainly such as related entirely to the Christian dispensation, and might justly be appropriated by the MESSIAH; for the gifts of the Spirit, viz. speaking with tongues, prophesying, &c. had all a reference to the Gospel, and were such as God, in his eternal wisdom, ordained that his beloved Son should bestow: therefore, the Holy Spirit would dispense them agreeably to the direction of Christ, as CHRIST would act in conformity to the will of GOD THE FATHER.
To assure his disciples that he did not mean to be absent from them for ever, our LORD intimated, that though he should soon be taken from them, it would be but a little while before he should be with them again, because he should visibly go to his Father. Notwithstanding he had so often made use of the expression, "go 3 bis FATHER,” they had still such expectations of his establishing an earthly kingdom at his return, that they did not at the first apprehend his meaning; our LORD, therefore, rouchsafed to explain to them what he meant by saying, 's a little while, &c.” He knew, that when he was taken from them they would weep and
mourn, whilst his enemies would triumph; but that in a short time, when the hopes of his friends were at the lowest ebb, the scene would be changed, and they should rejoice in their turn; because they should not only see their Lord again, but be eye-witnesses of his ascension to his FATHER; which would give them true and lasting joy, such as the world, with all its train of persecutions, could not deprive them of; for it would mingle itself with their heaviest afflictions.
From the succeeding part of our Lord's discourse con. cerning "praying to his Father in his name," we may learu in general, that he promised his disciples access to God by means of prayer ; but informed them, that their peti. tions must be made in his name, because salvation was given for Christ's sake, and could not be claimed on account of their own righteousness.
When the Holy Ghost descended afterwards upon the apostles, their minds were so enlightened, that had our Lord been personally present they would havé stood in no need of proposing questions to him, in any thing that related to their ministry. Then they understood the nature of Christ's office as the MEDIATOR, which he here intimated. But this part of our Lord's discouçse is involved in some obscurity ; but we may understand it by observing in the writings of the apostles how they worshipped the Father in the name of the Son; and what our Lord himself teaches us should lead us to rejoice, that the prayers of such imperfect creatures as men find acceptance with the SUPREME Being, and resolve to present our petitions in the way pointed out to us by his
infinite love and compassion. Let us with joy and gratitude reflect, that though our Redeemer is removed from earth, he dwelleth in heaven to make intercession
His words, “ I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you," imply, that he will not pray for each individual in his stead; yet we may assure ourselves, that whoever prays with true faith and devotion will have the benefit of our Saviour's intercession. We may, therefore, comfort ourselves, amidst the tribulations of this world, with the thoughts that they will be of short duration; but the joys that are prepared for the faithful, eternal. Let us frequently read these inestimable discourses of our Lorv, in order to animate our love for him and our fellow.creatures.
« * And since the Captain of our Salvation has over. come the world, and disarmed death of its power, let us seek that peace which he has established, and press on with a cheerful assurance, that the least of his fol. lowers shall share in the honours and benefits of his victory."
OUR LORD PRAYS FOR HIS DISCIPLES,
From John, Chap. xvii.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to "heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come ; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee :
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
* Doddridge's Family Txpositor. VoL, VI.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus CHRIST whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth : I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me : and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep, through thipe own name, those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in 'thy name : those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition ; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
And now come I to thee, and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.