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JOHN XIV, 4-14.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him,
Lord, we know not whither thou goest ; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also : and from henceforth ye know him, and hare seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, sheio us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto Him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father ; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father ? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me! the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself : but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me : or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
The Lord Jesus, when informing his disciples that he was about to go away from them, made a direct allusion to “ His Father's ” house, thereby distinctly intimating that he was going to the Father; and the whole of his previous ministration and teaching among them were specially calculated to lead them to regard Him as the means of communication between them and God.
God had, on various occasions, before them, recognised their Divine Master as his beloved Son, whom they were to hear and
obey. The Saviour himself had, by frequent allusions in his discourses, given them to understand, that it was by his instrumentality and aid they were to attain the favour, and arrive at length, after the weary pilgrimage of this world was passed, in the house of their loving Father. He told them that he was the "door of the sheep," the "bread of life;" that “whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And surely these were sufficiently plain indications for his followers, both as regards the end of their faith, “his Father's house," and the way by which it was to be reached—“himself.” And therefore he adds, “ And whither I go ye know, and the
way ye know.”
Doubtless they in reality knew this: the Spirit, though not yet poured forth in all the fulness of his glorious light on their hearts, had begun his operation there, and they were then learning the rudiments of that knowledge which was to make them wise unto salvation.
But it was only by little and little that this knowledge was acquired, and they gave repeated proofs of their backwardness in receiving the simplest and plainest truths uttered to them by their Divine Master. And here, in the instance before us, we have one of these proofs. Notwithstanding all that Christ had declared unto them regarding the hope set before them, and the way of attaining it, Thomas answered and said, -speaking probably for the rest as well as for himself,—“Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?” The carnal hearts of the disciples were still perplexed by the notions of a temporal kingdom, and the spot on earth where this kingdom was to be established seemed to be that to which our Saviour alluded; and as they were ignorant of this, how could they know the way ?
To this Jesus replied in words sufficiently plain to leave no doubt on their minds regarding the way of which he spake, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me:"-words pregnant with the most weighty significance—words which in their brief statement contain a full gospel-words which comprise an extent of view for the spiritual mind to contemplate, most wonderful and glorious—words which ought to be, as it were, bound on the forehead of every child of God, as the badge of his profession, the end of his faith, and the ground of his hope—words which ought to be engraven more deeply, and to abide more durably, on his heart, than the writing on the living rock of the “pen of iron, and the point of a diamond.”
Let us pause for a little at this gracious declaration of our Lord, and endeavour, by the help of his Spirit, to gain still greater insight into its depths, and to refresh our souls with the fulness of its promise. How startling is the expression of the prophet, “ Your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” And yet it is but the inspired history of the actual condition of man when fallen from his first estate of glory and dignity. And how tremendous was that fall! In his innocence he was closely and intimately connected with God: he was united to him by every tie. God, who created him, loved the creation of his hands. Man loved and obeyed his Creator. There was nothing to interpose between God and man. Man walked with God, and God's delight was with man. There was no link wanting in the chain which united them. Free love was poured in all its fulness from the father to the child : free obedience was fully offered from a filial heart to the Parent of Good.
But alas! sin at length came, and with it separation,
As in the galleried pathways of the Alps, the traveller's way is broken down and destroyed by the overwhelming fury of the avalanche, when it glides with terrible swiftness from the mountain-side—so did sin, with terrific force, rush between the creature and his Maker, and cut him off from the favour and the love of God. The great Being whom he had offended, remained, as he was from everlasting, holy, pure, just, and true ; but man was cast into the lowest depths of degradation. The gold of his original nature became mixed with dross. The glory of the building was gone; it lay in ruinous heaps. The vigour of undying youth and health, the serene composure of a peaceful mind, the beauty of holiness, life itself, were exchanged for disease, misery, corruption, and death. The ungrateful receiver of God's bounty and goodness was not content with riding his bark in the quiet security of the haven, where the hand of love had placed him, but with fearful recklessness spread his sail, and dashed into the open sea, there to be the victim and the sport of the wind and the tempest, a wreck driven by the wind, and tossed on a barren shore, far distant from the scene of former light
But what says the Saviour to him, who has thus been cast away and separated from God ? “I am the way!” Wide as the gulph is which sin has made, it is not too wide for the "mighty God” to pass, in his determination to visit and redeem his people. And as love caused him to overleap the abyss to man, so the greatness of his power cast up a highway for those he came to seek and save, that they might return to God. And this way he consecrated by his own blood, making it a new and living way, a way of safety, a way of holiness, a way of peace, a way to heaven, He thus realized the patriarch's dream, who saw a ladder
reaching from heaven to earth, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it. He was the communication re-established between an offended God and an offending creature, making the one reconciled, and reconciling the other;—by whom the love and mercy and peace of God again descended to man, and the new-born love and spiritual devotion of man ascended up to God.
But farther, Christ has not only become the way for fallen man to return to God- not only has he wrought so as to give his Apostle occasion for the triumphant declaration, “Now ye who were afar off are brought nigh by the blood of Jesus," he is also “the truth.” It is not sufficient for man that access has been given him to God -it is not enough that a highway has been cast up, by which he may walk securely; he needs instruction, clear direction, sure guidance; he needs to be taught and enlightened as to the way which has been prepared. What is the use of a highway in the desert to the poor traveller who is wandering amid the trackless wastes of sand, ignorant of its existence. So is the way of life opened to the sinner in this wilderness world useless, without the teaching of Him who is “the truth.” “This is the way-walk
“ ye in it.” The heart of man is as truly, as it is pointedly described to be “deceitful above all things;” it is covered with a thick veil, and deals in lying vanities. Christ then, as the truth, removes the veil, gives to the heart Divine knowledge, spiritual understanding, heavenly wisdom ; causes it to see and feel, that all the shadows and types of the law are truly verified in himself : enters in truth into the soul, and by himself as the way, a way which the soul could never otherwise know,—causes it to return to God.
But again : Christ is not only the way by which the sinner may be justified, and restored to the favour of God;