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John xv. 26.


WHEN our blessed Lord and Saviour was about to depart from this world, after having finished the work which was given Him to do upon earth, He instructed His disciples in the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven in a most remarkable manner. In these words, with which the Gospel for this day commences, He speaks of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, and of the Father, and of Himself, as of Three distinct Persons; to each of whom Divine power and operation


is ascribed. As He before said respecting Himself, I proceeded forth and came from God, neither came I of myself, but He sent Me:63 so He speaks of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, as proceeding from the Father; and yet as being sent by Himself, to testify of Him. The Spirit is therefore one with the Father and the Son; and the actions which He is said to perform, are what we are accustomed to consider as personal acts, or those which can only be performed by what we call persons. The Father is a Divine

Person, the Son is a Divine Person, and the Holy Ghost is a Divine Person; yet these three Divine Persons are but One God, the Triune Jehovah.

When our Saviour had given to His disciples. this promise of Divine instruction, to be communicated to them after they should have lost His personal presence; He mentioned the effect which would be produced by means of it with regard to themselves; And ye shall also bear witness. He made them a like promise immediately before His ascension into heaven, Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. It was for this purpose that the Holy Ghost

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descended upon the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, on the day of Pentecost; that they might be qualified to bear their testimony to Him, and to invite all around them to partake of His great salvation. But this was not their only qualification for the great and important office that was committed to them. They were externally, as well as internally, qualified for it. They were able to bear witness to what they had known and seen; because, as He said, ye have been with Me from the beginning. This was considered to be an indispensable qualification for an apostle of Christ in the first instance. When therefore the number of the twelve was to be completed, in consequence of the apostacy and death of Judas Iscariot; St. Peter declared to the infant congregation of the disciples: Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection. The great object of their testimony was the resurrection of Christ from the dead; whereby He was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness,66 and whereby also the realities of the invisible world, and of a future state, were opened to

65 Acts i. 21, 22.

66 Romans i. 4.

the view of those who were made acquainted with this important doctrine of which the Apostles of Christ affirmed that it afforded evidence that there should be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.67 But they would not have had courage to bear this testimony before the world, had they not been endued with power from on highs to enable them to do it. This testimony involved so many material consequences, that it excited among mankind the most determined opposition. It afforded an evident proof of the fallen state of man, of his being dead in trespasses and sins; and of the evil of sin, which had introduced death into the world. It pointed to a separation, which would take place hereafter, between those who should die in their sins, unrepented of and unpardoned; and those who should partake of pardoning mercy, and repentance unto life. It showed that mankind would appear before their Creator and their Judge, stripped of all those external circumstances, those marks of outward distinction, which elevate one above another, in their own estimation, and in that of their fellow-creatures, in this world. It assured men that there would be a future state of existence, in which the soul of man would be chiefly considered; and for the happiness of which preparation must be made in this life.

67 Acts xxiv. 15.

68 Luke xxiv. 42.


And it directed them to Him who rose from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept, as the only Saviour of lost sinners. The testimony concerning Jesus Christ as the resurrection and the life, the only Deliverer of mankind from the wrath to come, met with the most determined opposition from every quarter. The Jews, who trusted to a form of godliness, by which they went about to establish their own righteousness,"1 could not endure the idea that the fabric of the ceremonial law was dissolved by Him who came to fulfil it. The Gentiles, who had made for themselves a system of idol worship, by which they imagined a spirit of devotion to be cultivated, could not bear to have all their vain confidences crumbled into dust. Jews and Gentiles, therefore, however greatly they seemed to differ from each other in their religious observances, united together to oppose, by every means in their power, this new religion, as they deemed it, which claimed universal empire; and every where the sect, which endeavoured to disseminate it, was spoken against, and was persecuted even unto death, with the most unrelenting fury and barbarity.


That such would be the manner in which the people of the world would treat their testimony concerning Himself, our Saviour proceeded to

69 1 Cor. xv. 20. 70 John xi. 25. 7 Rom. x. 3. 72 Acts xxviii. 22.

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