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clxxiv.

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
to pass, tbai when it is
come to pass, ye might own removal, my return to the Father, and the
beliere.

descent of the Spirit upon you, before it comes
to pass ; that when it does come to pass, you may
more firmly believe, not only on account of the
extraordinary nature of the events themselves,

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
world, is coming to encounter me, and is raising
a storm against me which will quickly separate
us : nevertheless, I have this comfort, that he hus
nothing in me, no guilt of mine to give him

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 ;
and even as the Faiher has commanded me, so I
do, bow painful or expensive soever that obe-
dience may be. And therefore, that we may
be prepared for this hour of temptation that is
coming upon us, arise let us go from hence :,
and retire to a place where we may more con-
veniently attend our devotions; and where I
may be ready, when my cruel enemics shall come
to apprehend me, to yield myself into their hands
and to subinit to what my Father has appointed
for me.

31

five

as the Father me

IMPROVE

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.

312

Reflections on the regard of Christ to such as love him.

SECT.

John
XIV.

22

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.

Ow

ز

SFCT. clxxiv.

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.

SECT. CLXXV.

Christ represents himself under the emblem of a vine, and exhorts his disciples to faith and persevering obediencee. John XV. 1-11.

SECT.

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 in produce delightful clusters for bis service. And 2

every branch that is in me by an external profes-
sion, which yet is found to be a barren branch,

and

me

. 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.

c That

clxxv.

As the cannot bear

branch

you, to

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,

you.
sect. clxxi.) that you are all thus purged, in such
a manner as to be clean, by means of the word

which I have spoken to you, whose sanctifving in-
4 fluence has operated on your hearts. Continue

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
nourish and supply you, as from a living root, it abide in tlic vine ;
with every necessary grace : for as, in the natu- no more can ye, ex:
ral world, the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, cept ye abide in me.
but must presently wither, unless il continue in
a state of union with the vine, and be nourished
by sap from thence; so neither can you be able to
produce the fruits of genuine and acceptable
obedience, unless you continue in me, and have
the life of grace maintained within you by a

vital union with me.
5 I repeat it again, as a matter of the utmost

5 I am the vine, ye
moment, That I am the vine, and ye [are] the are the branches. He
branches, in the sense I have already explained. that abideth in me,
He therefore that abides in me by such an inti- and I inhim, the same
mare and vital union, and in whom also I abide frut: for without me
by the operations of my Holy Spirit in him, he, ye can do nothing.
and lie only, bringeth forth much fruit, to the
honour of his profession, and the comfort of his
own soul: but the glory of it is still to be re-
ferred to me ; for separate from me you can do
nothing, though you stand in the foremost rank

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

in

is

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

dif clxxv.

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
withered ; and as [men) gather up such dry XV. 6.
sticks, and throw them into the fire, and there
they are burnt, as a worthless kind of wood fit
for nothing but fuel (see Ezek. xv. 2--4), so
in like manner such will be the end of those un-
happy creatures; they shall be gathered as fit
fuel for Divine wrath, and their external rela-
tion to me will not preserve them froin everlast-

ing burnings.
7 If ye abide in me, But as for you, my faithful servants, I assure 7
and my words abide in
you, ve shall ask what you, for your encouragement, that; if you sted-
ve will

, and it shall be fastly abide in me, and take care that in consedone unto you.

quence

of it

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-
8 Herein is my Fa- lic good, it shall be done for you. And let it g
ther glorified, that ye therefore be your care to make the suitable re-
shall ye be my disci- turns of gratitude and obedience ; for in this is
ples.

my Father most eminently glorified, that you, my
apostles, bring forth much fruit, by exerting
yourselves to the utmost for the propagation of
my gospel in the world, and endeavouring to
enforce your instructions by the holiness of your
lives : and in this likewise you shall appear to all
to be my true disciples, and to act worthy of

your character and relation to me.
9 As the Father bath And it is surely with the highest reason I would 9
loved me, so have I
loved you: continue ye the Father has loved me, so have I also loved you,

engage you to make this your aim : because as in my love.

with the most constant and invariable atlection :
continue therefore in my love, and always be so-

licitous so to behave, as may, on your part,
10 If ye kcep my maintain the friendship inviolate. And if you 10
shall abide in any love; diligently and constantly keep my command-
even as I have kept ments, then you will assuredly continue in my
my Father's command- love ; even as I have always kept my

Father's ments

, 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
to my Father, and require from you.

These

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

VOL. VII.

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