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They should rejoice that he was going to the Father. 311 tejoice, because I said allay your sorrows in the mean time, and, how. SECT. I go unto the Father ; for my Father is great
soever you might have a mournful sense of your er than I. own loss, you would rejoice on my account, be
John cause, I said, I go tothe Father ; for my Father xiv. 28 whose servant I am as Mediator, is in this respect greater than me, and consequently it must be my honour and happiness to be in a state of greater nearness to him than the
present world 29 And now I have will admit. And now I have told you this, that 29 told you before it come
I have been discoursing to you concerning my
descent of the Spirit upon you, before it comes
but also on account of their exact and evident 30 Hereafter I will correspondence with these predictions of miner
It will be your wisdom the rather to observe 30 not talk much with you: for the prince of and review these things, as I shall not hereafter this world cometh, and have time to discourse much more with you about hath nothing in me.
them; for Satan, the prince of this apostate
power over me, nor any inward corruption to But that the take part with his temptation. But he is per-31 world may know that mitted thus to attack me, and I contentedly subI love the Father; and
mit tomy approaching sufierings, that the world commandment, may see and knoce', on the most substantial evieven so I do. Arise, dence, that I love the Futher so well, as to refuse let us go hence.
nothing whereby his glory may be advanced ;
as the Father me
f You may more firmly believe, not only ing from them is the greatest that can on account, &c.] It is very judiciously possibly be conceived. observed by Dr. Jenkin (in his excellent & Arise, let us go hence.] See nole a, Dufence of Christianity,) that when miracu- in the next section.—That zou sometimes lous events, are also the accomplishment signifies though or nevertheless, as I have of prophecies, the degree of evidence aris- rendered it ver. 30. see nole e on John
xvii. 25. ecct, cixxx.
Reflections on the regard of Christ to such as love him.
IMPROVEMENT. SURELY, if we are not entirely strangers to the Divine life, elxxiv. we cannot read such discourses as these without feeling some
warm emotions of love to Christ : and if indeed we feel them, let
us consider how they are to be expressed. Our Lord directs us to 15, 21 do it in the most solid and the most acceptable manner, by a
constant care to keep his commandments; and sure such commandments as his cannot be grievous to a soul that truly loves him :
(1 John v. 3.) The more we live in the practice of them, the 16, 17 more cheerfully may we expect the abundant communications of
his Spirit to animate and strengthen us. 18 If we are Christians indeed, let us not, in any circumstance of
life, look on ourselves as helpless and abandoned orphans. Hu
man friends may forsake us; but Christ will come to us; he will 21, 23 manifest himself to the eye of faith, though to the eye of sense he
is invisible ; and his heavenly Father will love us ; and watch over us for good: yea, he will come and dwell in the obedient soul by the gracious tokens of his intimate and inseparable presence. And do we any of us experience this? We have surely reason to say that by way of admiration which the apostle said by way of inquiry, Lord, how and whence is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not to the world! What have we done to descrve these gracious and distinguishing manifestations ! Nay, how much bare we done to forfeit them! even more than many, from whom they
are withheld ! 27
With unutterable joy let us review this rich legacy of our dying Lord: peace I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you, Lord, everinore give us this peace with God, and with our own consciences ! for if thou wilt give quietness, who can make trouble ? (Job xxxiv. 29.) How serenely may we then pass through the most turbulent scenes of life, when all is quiet and harmonious within? Thou hast made peace through the blood of thy cross, (Col. i. 20.) may we preserve the precious purchase and inestimable gift inviolate, till it issue in everlasting peace ! In this let our hearts be encouraged ; in this let them rejoice ; and not in our
own happiness alone, but also in that of our now glorified and 28 exalted Redeemer. As the members of his body, we ought cer
tainly to maintain a pleasing sympathy with our Head, and to triumph in his honour and felicity as our own. If we love Christ, we should rejoice, because he is gone to the Father. And the same consideration may in its degree comfort us when our pious friends are removed : if we love them with a rational and generous friendship, and are not too much influenced by selfish affections under that specious name, our joy for their exaltation will greatly temper the sorrow which our loss must give us.
Christ represents himself as the true Vine.
313 Our Lord uttered these words in the near views of a grievous assault from the prince of this world, wbo is the prince of darkness ; but there was no corruption in him to take part with the Ver 30 enemy. Too much, alas, does he find in us to abet his temptations : let us earnestly pray that the grace of Christ may be sufficient for us; and that as his love to the Father engaged him to go through this painful conflict with the tempter, his love to us 31 may make us partakers of his victory. In his name let us set up our banners ; and the powers of hell shall Nee before us.
Christ represents himself under the emblem of a vine, and exhorts his disciples to faith and persevering obediencee. John XV. 1-11.
JOHN XV. 1.
John XV. 1. I AM the true vine,
and my father is the SOME accident occasioning a little delay behusbandınan.
fore they left the guest-chamber, in which clxxv. they had eaten the passover, our Lord improved the precious moments in addressing his disciples xv. 1 to the following purpose a: I am, said he, the true and most excellent vine b; by its union with whom my church is nourished ; and my Father is the husbandman, who has planted this
vine, and by whom it is cultivated, that it may
every branch that is in me by an external profes-
. Some accident occasioning a little de- ly read over in a quarter of an hour, and lay, &c.] This may be gathered from the therefore might be spoken in that small conclusion of the foregoing chapter, where interval of time. our Lord had said, Arise, let us go hence : b The true and most excellent vine.] for it seems very unreasonable to imagine So the true light (John i. 9.) and the true that our Lord would address so important bread, chap. vi. 32. evidently signifies. a discourse as this to eleven persons, as (See Raphael. Annot. er Xen. p. 141.)they were walking, especially in the His having lately drank with his disciples streets of Jerusalem, at this public time ; of the fruit of the vine, and having after. much less would be pour out so solemn a wards declared that he would drink no proyer as that in chap. xvii. in such a cir- more of it till he drunk it net in the kingdom cumstance : yet John xviii. 1. (sect. of God, (Mark xiv. 25. page 299.) clxxxi.; strongly implies that all that fol- might possibly occasion Christ's alluding lows between this and that happened to it: (sce Grotius, in loc.) Or perhaps before he went forth from Jerusalem. I they might now be standing near a winconclude, therefore, that all this passed dow, or in some court by the side of the before they quitted the house where the house, where the sight of a vine might passover was eaten, though they probably suggest this beautifulsimile. (Compare Psal. rose from the table as soon as those words, cxxviii. 3.) That circumstance was, no Arise, let us go hence, were spoken. A doubt, common in Judea, which abound. short delay might leave room for this ; for ed with the finest grapes. Sec Gen. xlix, any one who will make the trial will find 11, 12. Numb. xii. 23. and Deut. viii. 8. that these three chapters may be deliberate.
As the cannot bear
314 No branch can bear fruit but by abiding in hin. sect, and bears no fruit, he takeih quite away ; that me that beareth not
is, he cuts it off in his righteous judgment, and fruit, he taketh away:
entirely separates it from me: but every (branch] beareth fruit, be pure John XV. 2. which brings forth fruit, he purgeth, that is, he geth it, that it may prunes and dresses it, and on the whole, exer
bring forth more fruit. cises such wise and kind discipline towards it (though that discipline may sometimes seem severe,) as may best answer the great end of its production, that it may bring forth yet more fruit, than which there can be nothing more desirable . 3.
And thus it is with you ; for now the traitor 3 Now ye are clean, is gone out I may affirm, with the exception through the word which
I have spoken unto that I made before (compare John xiii. 10, 11,
which I have spoken to you, whose sanctifving in-
4 Abide in me, and therefore in me, by the renewed exercise of I in you. humble faith and love ; and I will be in
fruit of itself, except
vital union with me.
5 I am the vine, ye
of my followers, and have already made some 6 considerable attainmen:s. And if any one that
6 If a man abide
not in me, he is cast calls himself my disciple does not maintain such forth as a branch, and a regard to me, as that he may be said to abide
c That it may bring forih more fruit.] more holy, and fit for farther and more This strongly suggests a very sublime and eminent service, though it should be by important thought, viž. that one of the such painsul afilictions as resemble the noblest rewards God can bestow on former pruning of a tine, acts of obedience, is to make the soul yet
The fruitless branch shall be burned in the fire. 315 is withered ; and men in med, he is rejected and cast out with disdain SECT. gather them, and cast and abhorrence, as a fruitless branch lopped off them into the fire, and they are burned.
from the vine, and by consequence is presently John
, and it shall be fastly abide in me, and take care that in consedone unto you.
my words abide in you, so that you maintain a suitable regard to all iny instructions, promises, and commands, this blessed union will entitle you to such signal degrees of the Divine favour, that you shall ask in prayer whatsoerer ye will, and, if it be upon the whole sub
servient to your own happiness, and to the pub-
my Father most eminently glorified, that you, my
your character and relation to me.
engage you to make this your aim : because as in my love.
with the most constant and invariable atlection :
licitous so to behave, as may, on your part,
, and abide in his commandments, and so continue in his love ; for love.
this is the most solid evidence of it, which I I give
d If any one does not abide in me.] It (ver. 2) so plainly signifies making an eris strange that any should think this text ternal profession of Christianity, whetler vain a conclusive argument against the doctrine or sincere. of perseverance; when to be in Christ