« PreviousContinue »
his sake. Lord ! it is enough for me that thou art mine. Let the worldling hate, thy love is mine; let the worldling despise, in thy favour is life; let the worldling persecute, I am in the “hollow of thy hand." Let the darkest frowns of the world be rolled over my head,—thou art “my light and salvation, whom shall I fear?” Let the bands of wicked men encompass me daily like water,—thou art the “strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid ?”
But besides being able to account for the hatred of the world, according to the declaration of John in his first epistle, “ Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not;” we have to notice that while the world hates Christ and his people, there is one who judges the world, and his judgment is according to truth. “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not bad sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” The sin of the world generally, is as nothing in comparison of their particular sin, in rejecting him whom the Father had sent, for “ he that hateth me, hateth my Father also.” There was much outward zeal for the honour of God among the people of that generation, but they too clearly displayed their real hatred of the Father, by their hating and rejecting his Son. “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they bad not had sin, but now have they both seen and hated, both me and
It is indeed at a fearful cost, that the world dares to reject and to hate the Son of God. All other sins will be as it were forgotten in the enormity of their guilt in this respect. This is the fearful aggravation of their sins, in that after rebelling against God, they break with their own hands the sceptre of mercy held out to them,—they pluck asunder the olive-branch of peace,—they trample under foot the Son of God, and put him to an open shame; they make him, who was willing to be the savour of life unto life, the savour of death unto death. And oh, what a terrible doom is this, to be overwhelmed with death by falling into the hands of the Living God, the consuming fire ;—“death unto death,” a never-ending succession of deaths, and the smoke of their torment ascending up for ever and ever!
But one word more before concluding. Our Saviour adds, "this cometh to pass, that the word which is written in their law might be fulfilled, they hated me without a cause.” The malice of the world against our blessed Lord was indeed causeless. “Which of you convinceth me of sin," was his unanswered challenge, and the whole of his life was but the illustration of his own divine command, “Love your enemies, bless them which curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." And even his unjust judge was compelled to declare, “I find in him no fault at all."
Beloved, let us see that inasmuch as we must resemble our master in being the objects of the world's hatred, we also resemble him in giving no cause for hatred. not call down persecution by unworthy conduct, and then lay the flattering unction to our soul, that we are suffering for Christ's sake, let us exercise ourselves to have a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man. Let us have the mind of Christ in
of Christ adorning us, the love of Christ pervading us, the example of Christ guiding us. Then may we rejoice at the causeless hatred of the world—then may we be happy when reproached for his sake, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth on us.
Then may we pour upon our stricken soul that oil of gospel joy which our gracious master has so
plenteously provided for our comfort. - Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven."
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Pather,
even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from
the beginning. 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 doeth God 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 shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou ! But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
In the verses immediately preceding those now before us, Jesus had warned his disciples of the treatment which they were sure to receive at the hands of the world. For love, they were to receive hatred; for kindness, they were to be evil spoken of; for gentleness and forbearance, they were to be loaded with reproach and obloquy; for unwearied exertions for the salvation of sinners, they were to be rewarded by the world with ridicule, contempt, and persecution. This they were to expect from the character of their enemies. “They know not him that sent me.” • They have both seen and hated both me and
And, from what they had already witnessed of their conduct, " If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute
But now our Lord leads them to the comforting assurance, that although they were hard beset with foes in the world,—though all should hate, despise, and persecute them, —they should have the presence of a friend, in the enjoyment of whose light, and love, and peace they might bid defiance to the bitterest animosities of the world ;- they should have the gracious support and strength of one, who would enable them to cry out triumphantly, in the face of those who cherished the deadliest enmity against the cross of Christ : "If God be for us, who can be against us?”
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." At the time when our Lord was addressing his disciples, they had not received such impressions of divine truth, or such all-powerful influences of the Divine Spirit, as to enable them to rise, with unhesitating boldness, above all the hatred and contempt of the world. Christ had not yet been so “ formed” in them, nor had they yet so "put on Christ” as to make them utterly regardless of the frowns, as well as the smiles, of the opposers of the gospel. Witness their conduct when their Master was betrayed ; they were all offended; they “forsook him, and fled.” And one of the most zealous of their number even denied, with an oath, that he “knew the man.” But when the Spirit of Truth came, he so testified of Jesus in their hearts, so revealed the power and love of Jesus to their souls, that all their fears were given to the winds. There was then no longer any hesitation as to standing against the hatred of the world. They felt themselves ranged under one who