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each other.” There is ever a proportionate hollowness in our profession of discipleship, where the bonds of mutual love are not strong—there cannot be much of the spirit of our Divine Master where there is bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour. Love is the badge of Christ's service, and the law of his kingdom. If then we really desire to be his faithful soldiers and servants, let us “see that we love one another with a pure heart fervently;” thus shall all men "take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus,” and be constrained to acknowledge that “God is with us of a truth."
Oh that the “ banner over” the Church and people of God, may be “Love;” that evil-speaking, malice, hatred,
” envy and all uncharitableness, may flee away; and that the children of God clustering round their “ one Lord,” “members one of another," may again have this record Behold these Christians, how they love one another!”
JOHN XIV. 1-3.
Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself ; that where I am, there ye may be also.
I HAVE purposely omitted to dwell at present upon the last three verses of the thirteenth chapter, because I think it better to take these in connection with what we find afterwards narrated in the eighteenth chapter of the conduct of Peter before the High Priest's tribunal.
I shall therefore proceed at once to the parting discourse of our blessed Lord, as we find it in the fourteenth, and three following chapters. It is indeed a discourse of surpassing beauty, and it forms a legacy to the Church of inestimable value. Whether we consider the time, the circumstances, or the speaker, either of these alone is sufficient to quicken our attention and our interest; but there is also in the discourse such a glow of heavenly love, such a bright sunny beam of heavenly light, such fulness of Divine promise, such depth of Divine truth, such richness of Divine grace, that the soul is held in the chains of a sweet fascination. We have, as it were, a delightful glance into the rich fertility of the heavenly Canaan, the land of spiritual promise. We see that it “blossoms abundantly,
and rejoices with joy and singing;”—we see “ the glory of Lebanon given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon,” even “the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.”
Our Divine Master thus opens this his last address before he suffered—“Let not your heart be troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me." This soothing word was peculiarly suitable in the present circumstances of the disciples. Remember what had occurred but a few moments before our Lord began this discourse. One of their number had been marked out as a traitor; and surely if Jesus were troubled in spirit when he looked on the guilty disciple, we cannot but suppose that the rest of his followers must have also been troubled with him. They loved their Master, with an intensity of devoted love, and how then could they behold him sad under the anticipation of his servant's treachery-how could they think of him whom they so loved, being given over to his implacable foes, without having their souls cast down and disquieted within them ? And besides this, the faithful Peter had been warned of his approaching fall; he was to deny his Lord in the hour of the utmost need. He whose eye watched every movement of his Master with the most ardent affection, whose soul was so full of love, that he eagerly demanded, “Why cannot I follow thee now; I am ready to go with thee both into prison and to death ?”—he was in a few short hours to deny that “he knew the man.” Truly the thought of these things must have brought fearfulness and sorrow to the minds of the disciples. And how graciously does the Saviour speak peace to their sad hearts;—“Let not your heart be troubled ;" as if he could not bear to see the cloud of grief over his beloved followers moment before he poured the balm of consolation into their wounded spirit—"Let not your heart be troubled.”
as if his tender heart could not suffer him to rest a
But besides these two causes of mental sorrow and disquietude, it is most probable that our Lord had only a few minutes before the beginning of this address, spoken to his disciples in the language recorded by St. Luke, in the 22nd chapter and 35th verse, which you will observe immediately follows that Evangelist's account of our Lord's prediction of Peter's fall, which closes the 13th chapter of St. John. "And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?
, And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one.
For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, 'And he was reckoned with the transgressors': for the things concerning me, have an end. And they said, Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” These words of their Divine Master must have indeed sounded ominously in the ears of his disciples. They were yet deluded with the prevailing and popular notions respecting the Messiah's kingdom : and now, when their hopes had been raised to the highest by the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and it would appear unto them that he had nought to do but to take unto himself his great power, and reign-at the very moment when these expectations were raised to the highest pitch, then their Lord warns them of an impending conflict; and though they did not then understand the nature of it, yet their very misapprehension of its character must have the more rapidly cast down their hopes And above all, he unfolds to their view a coming event vhich must have caused the ears of every one that heard it to tingle, that he was to be “numbered with the transgressors."
We may well suppose then, whether we think of the treachery of Judas, the predicted denial by Peter, the blow given to the cherished expectations of the disciples, or the mysterious announcement of what was about to befal their beloved Master—that with all these causes of perplexity and grief, trouble and dejection were traced in every countenance around the supper table. Doubtless many a sigh escaped from the labouring breasts of the disciplesdoubtless many a tear trickled down their cheeks, until he, whose gracious office it is to dry the mourner's tears, who tenderly watches the moment when he shall say to the flood of grief, “hitherto shalt thou come, and no further," and then rolls back the ebbing tide,-until he uttered the words of consolation, as at the same moment his Spirit applied them to their fainting spirits, “Let not your heart be troubled."
And then he adds as a reason why they should not be troubled, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me." This was the way by which confidence and peace were to be restored to their souls. As if he had said to them, I have forewarned you of approaching conflicts, and advised you to provide yourselves with weapons ;-you mistake my meaning, when you think that I refer to carnal weapons ; *
* That our Lord, in the passage referred to, did not mean a literal sword, is manifest for the following reasons—Ist, when the disciples said, “Lord, here are two swords," he said, “ It is enough ; "which could not be, if he intended them to arm themselves for self-defence, seeing there were eleven of his followers ;—2nd, the expression, “ It is enough," or
Enough,” does not refer to the number of swords, as if that were enough, but rather implies his wish to check them from drawing a conclusion from his words, which they were not meant to convey, “ Enough ; I perceive you do not at present apprehend my meaning, but I shall shortly give you to understand clearly my words;" and lastly, he rebuked Peter in the garden for using the literal sword.