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JOHN XVI. 7-22.
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.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth : for he shall not speak of himself ; but whatsoerer he shall hear, that shall he speak : and he shall shew you things to coral. He shall glorify me : for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it anto you. All things 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 inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me : and again, A littk while, and ye shall see me? Verily, Verily, I say unto you, That yo 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 travail 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. “Sorrow hath filled your hearts," said the Saviour to his disciples," " nevertheless I tell you the truth.” The information which he conveyed to them, was not for “the present joyous, but grievous ;” nevertheless it was true, , and soon should “yield peaceable fruits.” “ It is expedient for you that I go away.
Here we have brought before us the secret spring of the Saviour's work and labour of love. He came into the world because it was expedient for us. He took on him the form of a servant, and endured shame, reproach, persecution, and death, because it was expedient for us ; and when he was about to return to his Father in heaven, still the same motive was present to his mind. It was not necessary for his own happiness that he should appear in his glorified humanity before the throne of God, but it was expedient for us-He had nothing to gain for himself-He had every thing to gain for us. And so constraining was this motive, that we find him after his resurrection, saying to the disciples who were journeying to Emmaus, “ Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Was it not expedient, nay necessary, that all these things should be endured, and fulfilled by Christ, for the sake of his people. Well then does the evangelist in the opening of the book of Revelation exclaim, “Unto Him that hath loved us, be praise and dominion for ever and ever."
How beautifully does this passage exhibit to us the inmost workings of his heart, who “ loved his people unto the end." There is no selfish feeling in his bosom. It is their interest, their welfare, their happiness, which are uppermost in his mind. He came not into the world “to please himself," neither did he leave it for his own sake. He left heaven, and he returned to it, that he might “ bring many sons unto glory," and thus be “the first-born among many brethren." Blessed Lord Jesus,
give us of this character. We have selfish hearts; our will, and not God's will, is what we naturally fulfil; this is the bane of our spiritual life, the poison of our spiritual privileges. It is this which sheds so fatal and so blighting an influence over our inmost thoughts, and over all our works. It is this which diffuses such a base and earthly leaven throughout our whole desires—it is this which robs us of consistency in Christian deportment, and of conformity to thine image—it is this which robs thee of thy glory in us, by causing us to “keep back part of the price," and prevents us from giving our spirits, and souls, and bodies," unreservedly as “a living sacrifice" unto thee. Oh, lay the axe to the root of this evil, and may we for whom thou didst leave heaven, be ready to leave all for thee. May we for whom thou didst suffer and die, be ready to mortify and crucify the flesh, for thy name's sake. May we, for whom thou didst ascend on high to the throne of God, rise in all our affections, and desires, and thoughts above the grovelling selfish considerations of time, and seek thy glory alone !
But while our Lord manifested the continued love which he bore to his people by his declaration, “It is expedient for you that I go away,”—he proceeds to give the reason why it was expedient: “For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” This was the eternal purpose of Jehovah in the scheme of man's salvation, that Christ should complete the work of mercy by suffering on earth, and that on his return to glory the Spirit should be sent to apply the work in all its saving power, efficacy and comfort to the children of men; and just as Christ's work is necessary for the foundation on which the sinner's hope is built, so also is the Spirit's work necessary to “take him from
the hole of the pit,” to “draw him," that he may be placed upon that foundation as a “lively stone” of the spiritual temple. This counsel of peace in the mind of Jehovah was before alluded to by John, in commenting, in the 7th chapter and 39th verse, on the words of Christ,
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” But, adds the apostle, “this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet given ; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” And here we may observe a very important consideration in passing: As the entrance of Christ into heaven, was to him the seal of his finished work; so the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the seal to his people on earth from the Father and the Son, that the sacrifice of Christ was perfect, acceptable, and all-sufficient.
And now mark the work which the Comforter was to undertake when sent forth from the Father and the Son. “ And when he is come he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they believe not in 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.” The marginal reading of the 8th verse, seems most suitable to the context, “ And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin.” This was to be the first work of the Spirit, sent down from heaven, "to convince the world of sin, because they believe not in me,” that is, aggravated sin, the sin of rejecting the Saviour, " of loving darkness rather than light.” To this we have already observed our Lord adverting so forcibly, as if no other sin were to be observed with it, “ If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin." "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin.” And now when he speaks of sending the Holy Spirit down from heaven, it is that he may convince men of their heinous guilt in rejecting the offers of salvation at the hands of a crucified Saviour, in neglecting "so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord.”
How soon this office of the Holy Spirit in convincing of the sin of unbelief in Jesus, was manifested in the world, the history of the Acts of the Apostles unfolds to
On the day of Pentecost we find the apostles engaged in preaching their first gospel sermons to the amazed multitudes around them, and they had “all been filled with the Holy Ghost." Of the pointed and energetic manner in which they charged their hearers with the sin of rejecting the Lord's Christ, that portion of Peter's address recorded in the 22nd and two following verses, is a striking proof. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know ;-Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands hare crucified and slain; whom God hath raised up.” Thus speaking under the inspiration of God's Spirit, they laid this sin at the door of their hearers, that they believed not in him, whom God had sent; but persecuted him even unto death—and what was the result of this testimony which they bore? “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do.” The same Spirit that was speaking mightily by the apostles, was speaking convincingly in the heart of the