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He said to them, If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. He was now desirous to impress upon their minds that every blessing was to be sought at the throne of grace in His name; because, as the Apostle observes, We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins. It is only in His name that guilty sinners can draw nigh to God with acceptance, and call Him their Father. But through Him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. Thus He will give us whatever is for His glory and for our good. By this rule all the gifts of God to His people are directed; and we ought not to desire any thing else. But our unruly wills and affections had rather be gratified with those gifts which would be pleasing to our corrupt nature, instead of saying from the heart to Him whom we address, Thy will be done in us and by us.
Hence arises our frequent disappointment. As St. James said to professing Christians, Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
2 John xv.7. 3 1 John ii. 1, v. 14, 15. 4 Eph. ii. 18. 5 James iv. 3. Unless the glory of God be our end and aim in what we ask, we do not approach Him with the reverence with which it becomes children to ask of their Father the gifts of His bounty; and we cannot in that case have any right to expect that we shall receive what would in reality be hurtful to us, instead of being for our benefit.
While our Lord Jesus Christ was with His disciples in the body, He had not thought fit to instruct them fully respecting His mediatorial character; and therefore He said to them, Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name. Had He made known to them the whole of His character while He was with them, it would have filled them with such awe and dread of His Divine power and glory, that they would have been afraid to hold any familiar intercourse with Him. . As He was now about to leave them, they would be placed in very different circumstances with regard to Him. And the idea of pleading His name, His merits, His mediation for their acceptance with God, would tend to endear His memory to them. By this means they were assured of having continual access into the presence of their heavenly Father, being accepted in His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased. In what a different character do believers in the Lord Jesus Christ appear before the throne of grace, from that in which they would be regarded in themselves. There is now no fear of being rejected on account of our unworthiness. For we ask in His name who is worthy; whom the Father heareth always, because He is well pleased for His righteousness sake, on account of His having magnified the law and made it honourable. The Apostle therefore exhorts us, Seeing that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. We are to come boldly, or with confidence of acceptance in His name; a boldness which is consistent with the deepest humility and self-abasement at His footstool. Thus coming, our Saviour says, Ask, and ye shall receive. There being no doubt of our acceptance, there can be no doubt of our obtaining what we ask according to His will; if not what we are desirous of obtaining, some better gift will be vouchsafed ; so that at all events the end we have in view will be attained ; that your joy may be full. This will satisfy the utmost desire of the new-born soul. The praying people of God shall receive what will make them happy and joyful, so that they shall have reason to praise Him, as the Hearer of
6 Ephesians i. 6.
Matthew jii. 17.
Our Saviour, having thus shown to His disciples the way in which they might enjoy continual communion with their heavenly Father, after He had left them as to His visible presence; reverts to the line of conduct which He had found it needful to pursue towards them while He was with them. These things have I spoken to you in proverbs. He had been under the necessity of limiting His instruction in some measure by their ideas, as they were able to bear it. And even when He was about to leave them, He told them, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.9 After His resurrection He explained some things to them, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.10 But it appears that it was by the teaching of the Spirit of truth that they were to receive full instruction in all things. When they had seen their Master ascend into heaven, they must have had completely new ideas respecting Him, such as had not entered into their minds before. It was in reference to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, which they were then to receive, that He now said, The time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. For then it was that they were made to understand clearly all that related to God the Father, which it was needful for them to know.
9 John xvi. 12.
10 Acts i. 3.
He was now desirous that they should have a right knowledge of His mediatorial character; therefore He again recurs to it. At that day ye shall ask in My name. It was through Him alone that they were to consider the God of heaven as their Father, and to call upon Him as such. We must ever remember this. There is no access to God Almighty in this character of our heavenly Father, but through His beloved Son, our Redeemer and Mediator. Having said this, He showed them that His mediation was not required on account of any want of love to them on the part of the Father; but because they would thereby draw near to God with a full confidence of being accepted in His presence, since they were persuaded of the love which their Lord and Master bore to them. He therefore added, I say not unto you, that I will pray
the Father for you ; for the Father Himself loveth you. It was the love of God" which provided a Redeemer for lost sinners, and to this our Saviour now directed the attention of His disciples, as well as to their access into the Divine presence through His mediation. He informed them that they were to be assured of this; Because, as He said, ye have loved Me, and have believed
11 1 John iv. 9.