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not only gives, he also “giveth liberally," and does "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Would you then ever have the blessed assurance, that your prayer enters into the ears of the God of Heaven? Would you enjoy the blessed comfort of knowing that your weak voice echoes through the vault of heaven, yea sounds at the throne of God, powerfully, sweetly, acceptably? Then abide in the true vine."

Farther, observe another blessing mentioned by our Divine Master here. In the ninth verse he says, “ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love." If we abide in Christ, therefore, we "continue

" in his love;" and this is what he tells us of his love: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” What mortal eye can gaze undazzled on such a blessing as this? The love of the Father to the Son! Where is its measurement? who has fathomed its depths ? who has laid the plummet to it? who has found it out unto perfection? asks the hosts of heaven. Can they tell? Is it written and engraven on the glorious mansions of heaven, so that it may be read and recorded ? Can the ages of eternity reveal its fulness and its glory? No; and yet as this is, “ 80, says the Saviour, have I loved you !The mind is overwhelmed under the vastness of this thought; to be the objects of a love such as heaven itself cannot describe-a love which the Apostle truly says, in its height and depth, and length and breadth,“ passeth knowledge.” Would you, beloved, continue in the sunshine, the glorious enjoyment of this immeasurable love-then abide in the true vine."

And here mark, by the way, the root of this continuance in the Saviour's love: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's

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commandments, and abide in his love.” As man he kept the whole law, fulfilled all righteousness, magnified the law and made it honourable, and had the testimony of his Father's love, in which by his obedience he continued : “This is my beloved Son.” And so if we would abide in his love we must obey him, by abiding in him as living branches in the true vine, as he hath given us commandment. Surely when the believer sees the glorious blessing set before him of the love of Jesus, he may say of these commandments with one of old, "in keeping of them there is great reward."

ce more listen to the blessing which is contained in the eleventh verse, connected with our union with Christ: “ These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” He did ,

” not then tell them of their spiritual connection with himself, by means of this beautiful figure, to stir up their fears, to overwhelm their hearts with gloomy forebodings at the sufferings and sorrows and provings which they yet should be called on to endure for his sake. He did not, by the striking similitude he had just used, mean to anticipate their hour of darkness and sorrow, which was now pressing on them, assuring them beforehand, that many trials were coming on them. No, these things he said unto them, that "his joy might remain in them, and that their joy might be full.” Yes, beloved, Christ, as the true vine, is not only the source of life and love, he is also the source of joy; he is not only the stay of the weak, he is also the

crown of rejoicing” to all that are “in him.” And he hath told us wherein our great strength lies, even in our union with him, that we may prove wherein our great joy lies. He hath instructed us to “abide in him," that we may find his joy resting, abiding, remaining in us; not as

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a passing guest, but as the constant inhabitant of our heart.

And truly he deals not grudgingly to his people his gift of joy, any more than his gift of love. It is not a little joy, a partial joy, which he desires his people to experience. “That your joy may be fullis the wish of his heart. And thus one of those faithful ones, who heard his Master giving utterance to these gracious words, by which he declared that their joy should be full, has left us the record of his own experience of the faithfulness of his beloved Master in filling that heart with joy, which abides in him by faith.

In him, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice, with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Rest then, believer, on this your everlasting strength, the root of all your blessings. Realize the union between Christ and his members more and more in your every day experience. Strive for a strong faith ; aim at being firmly knit together with Christ, that you may receive a full benefit and reap a full inheritance. If you are weak in the faith, all the blessings we have considered will be but feebly realized and little enjoyed. If, on the other hand, you are strong in faith, you shall, in the participation of them, “ ride on the high places of the earth ;" you shall, in Christ, have the “fulness of joy;" and assuring your hearts before God, with a "hope that maketh not ashamed," you shall at length receive those "pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore."

EXPOSITION IX.

JOHN Xv. 12—25.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth : but I have called you friends ; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain : that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Pather in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own : but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you ; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin : but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

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“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” It is interesting to remark how frequently our Lord breaks off from the immediate subject

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he had in hand, in order to enforce this commandment on his followers. Thus, in the thirteenth chapter, and 34th verse, he says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved

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that love one another." He reiterates the same command in the verse just quoted; and once more, in the 17th verse, " These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

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. This repeated and urgent call on them clearly intimates to us the importance of the precept. And truly it is a commandment of no small moment. It is one which comprises within its limits the very essence of the gospel ;-it is one which in its accomplishment manifests the life-giving principle of the gospel, inasmuch as the love which we bear unto each other for Christ's sake is the same blessed, heavenly principle of love which Christ has implanted in our hearts. It is “as he hath loved us” that we are required to love one another; and therefore whosoever by the grace of God acts out this precept shews the impress of the gospel on his heart. He is putting forth the expansive energy of that spirit of love, which in its power has first been concentrated on his own soul.

It is to this that the Apostle so beautifully and forcibly refers in the thirteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. It is this love which he there describes-a love without which, though we may have every outward gift, we are counted dead before God; -a love which has not its origin in earth, but in heaven, as he hath lored U8,"-a

-a love which shall last for ever in heaven, where faith brightens into sight, and hope is realized by everlasting fruition.

On the Evangelist himself, who records these repeated appeals of the Saviour, that his followers should love one another with his love, we have the strongest evidence that

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