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and to them in particular; and was now going to prove, by laying down his life for the benefit of the world, which surely was the highest testimony of sincere affection that was possible for him as Man to give,
Our LORD observed to his apostles, that though they, professed themselves his servants, he had treated them as intimate friends, communicating to them from time to time all things which the FATHER had revealed to him which it concerned their happiness and interest to be made acquainted with from henceforth, therefore, he should call them by the endearing appellation of FRIENDS, so long as their fidelity to him and to each other remained. Yet they were not to suppose, that it was their own merit that procured them this honour; for he had chosen them without solicitation from the rest of his followers to be ministers of his gospel, and given them abilities to execute the office faithfully.
So essential to the discharge of the apostolic duty was brotherly love, that our SAVIOUR once more enjoined it as an indispensable obligation, particularly necessary to his apostles, because they would each be exposed to the enmity of wicked persons: he therefore exhorted them to unite firmly together, and not be discouraged by the hatred of the world, since it was what he had taught them to expect, and had met with himself. Our LORD then predicted the treatment his followers would shortly meet with from the Jews, on account of their attachment to him and to each other; and observed, how highly this. wicked nation had offended GoD by opposing the MESSIAH; and added as a warning, to be uttered afterwards by his apostles to the Jews, that their pretending not to know him would be no excuse, because he had sufficiently proved himself to be the CHRIST: if he had not, indeed, they would, in this particular, have been clear from
the guilt of rebellion against GoD and his beloved
Our LORD then reminded his apostles, that the treat. ment he met with had been foretold by Moses and the prophets; and he intimated, that he had another witness to produce in proof of his mission, namely, the HOLY SPIRIT, who would be a Comforter to them, and a powerful advocate in his cause; and would encourage his disciples also to bear witness to the works he had performed, and the doctrines he had taught.
It is wonderful to remark the great condescension of the Son of God in assuming the tender relation of friend to men of the meanest rank and lowest abilities; for the greatest part of his followers were poor illiterate fishermen. This circumstance should raise the hopes of the humble, and bring down the pride of the lofty. The only qualifications necessary to procure the friendship of our SAVIOUR, and through him of God the FATHER, is a sincere love of God, shewing itself in acts of obedience to his commands, and particularly in those kind and be nevolent offices to our fellow-christians which are, in the very exercise of them, productive of the most rational delight pleasures which riches cannot purchase for the sordid, learning cannot attain in the circle of human sciences, neither can power procure to the unfeeling ́ heart; yet are they within the reach of the poor, the illiterate, and the weak; for every Christian has opportunities at one time or other of his life to contribute something to the happiness of others, and to shew forth the glory of God.
JESUS ENDEAVOURS TO RECONCILE HIS APOSTLES TO THE THOUGHTS OF HIS REMOVAL, AND REPEATS THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
From John, Chap. xvi.
THESE things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth Gop service,
And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
But these, things have I told you, that when the time these, things have shall com 31
come, ye may remember that I told you of them.. And these things I said unto you at the beginning, be
Cause I was with you.
I go my way to him that sent me, and none
asketh me, Whither goest thou?
But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but, if I depart, I will'send,
him unto you.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
Of sin, because they believe not on me ;
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more: Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.".
How beit, when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself;
but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
All this that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while and ye shall not see me and again, a little while and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.
Now JESUS knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
A woman when she is in travel hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing: Verily, verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father.
His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from Gon.
JESUS answered them, Do ye now believe?
Behold the hour cometh, yea is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Having informed his apostles of the opposition they must expect to meet with, our LORD told them, his mo tive for giving them this intimation was, that they might not, when the storm should arise, be discouraged, and driven to renounce their Christian profession. It was certainly true, that they would be persecuted as he described to them; and some of their persecutors would even affect to be led to the execution of such wicked deeds by zeal for the honour of GoD: but this would only prove their own ignorance in respect to the will of