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companions, the words uttered. That name which was glorified in the creation of the world, is glorified again in the world's redemption.
THE CRISIS OF THE WORLD.
St. John xii. 30-33.
Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.
At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus spake aloud to the Father for the people's sake;? in the Temple at Jerusalem, the Father, still for their sake, spake aloud to Him. There the Son uttered His prayer of thanksgiving; here the Father proclaimed His word of promise ; and in both cases for the sake of them that stood by. Christ needed not this confirmation, but the people needed the instruction. Not for His sake therefore, but for their sakes, came there such a voice to Him again from the excellent glory. After this marvellous parenthesis, this pause in which God is heard to speak from Heaven, the Lord resumes. He had spoken of an awful and mysterious hour. Here He describes what that hour is. It is the crisis of the world. As once
through every avenue of pleasure, so now through every avenue of pain” 5 will the prince of this world seek to shake from His steadfastness Him who for this purpose was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil." More than once does the Lord in this Gospel speak of the 1 Acts ix, 7 with xxii. 9.
• A Plain Commentary. 2 St. John xi. 41, 42.
6 St. John xiv. 30; xvi. 11; 2 Cor. 3 See the original. It is the same iv. 4; Eph. ii. 2; vi. 12. preposition in both cascs.
; 1 St. John iii. 8. + See the original.
wicked one by this title. For though it be an usurped dominion, yet unhappily men are too willing to become his vassals; unwilling to submit themselves to Him who came to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan
, unto God. But here our Lord anticipates his victory. And He points out the way in which it shall be accomplished ; a way that would not enter into the heart of man; a way which seemed an actual triumph to the enemy. But life issues out of death, and victory out of apparent defeat. “ The Saviour crucified is in fact the Saviour glorified.” 2 And that this should prove the judgment of the prince of this world, however it might appear as a momentary triumph to him, would be seen and acknowledged when the promised Comforter should come, who should convince the world that the prince of this world is judged. Here too our Lord predicts the peculiar manner of His approaching death, and He declares the event of it, the attraction of the Cross. Thus would He, when uplifted, draw all men unto Him; not Jews alone, but also Gentiles, of whom some were offering themselves at that very hour.
THE SONS OF LIGHT.
St. John xii, 31-36.
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man
1 “He speaks of Himself as having Compare St. John xxi. 18, 19. actually entered the hour of His pas- 6 Augustine (De Fid. rer. invisib. sion, and views the result as already c. iv.) has a remarkable passage in come."--Alford.
which he speaks of the attraction of · Alford.
the Cross as a proof of the incarnation 3 Alford notes that the future "sball of Christ. From what we see, we be cast out” is used, “because the believe what we cannot see. We casting out . . . shall be gradual, as cannot see the seed of the woman, the drawing."
but we see that in all nations of • St. John xvi. 8, 11.
the earth are blessed. Compare St. The original signifies " by what John üi. 8, 12. sort of death He was about to die."
must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? Then Jesus said
. unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you : for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spuke Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
From the people's answer it is clear that they sufficiently understood His claim; and as their Scriptures asserted that the Messiah should endure for ever,' and Jesus had stated that the Son of man (which they understood to be another name for the same personage) was about to die, they thought they could convict Him of inconsistency. If you claim to be the Messiah, how come you to speak of dying, when our Scriptures tell us that the Messiah shall never die? Can you, whom we have thus heard foretell your own death, be identical with Him who, as we have heard out of the Scriptures read in our Synagogues, is to live for ever? And then they ask, petulantly, Who is this Son of man of whom you are evermore speaking ?? Can He be the same with Him whom Daniel speaks of by that name ? 3 But He, so David
, declares, endureth for ever. They had just enough knowledge of the Scriptures to render them captious and critical; not enough really to enlighten and instruct. The Lord, as His manner was, takes no notice of their captious question. He tells them that which it was much more needful for them to know. Night probably was approaching. The scanty twilight, the almost sudden nightfall of an Eastern clime, fitly shadowed forth the shortness of the time remaining to | Ps. xlv. 6; lxxxix. 36.
course with Nicodemus, and the sub? The words have been rendered, stance of them in one of His previous “ What kind of Son of man is this?" discourses in the Temple. Doubtless 3 Dan. vii. 13, 14.
our Lord had often uttered them, and * Compare their reasonings in St. the people had often canvassed their John vii. 41, 42. Compare also St. meaning, and now they are running John vui, 13 with v. 31. It is re- in their mind. See St. John vui. 28, markable that they cite in their ob- in which chapter the discourse in jection here, not the words which our great measure runs parallel with this. Lord had just used, but those which On the type to which our Saviour He used on another occasion. These here, as in those other passayes, made exact words are found in llis dis- allusion, sce Wisd. xvi, 6, 7.
Him, the swiftness of His approaching death. Once already we have heard Him teaching them by the rising sun, coming out of his chamber in the East to run his course. Now He teaches them by the same sun about to set.
What was meant by the Light of which He speaks, who that Light is, He had already taught them when He said, “I am the Light of the world.” Not long would they have this opportunity of thus consulting Him. Let them make the most of it, and become without delay His true Disciples; lest darkness overtake them, and judicial blindness for ever seal their eyes. What is walking in the light but believing heartily in the Lord ;3 even as receiving, and coming to, and feeding upon Him, are the same as believing with the heart in Him? For he who believes does these; and he who does these believes. The Lord tells them the result of refusing to walk in the light, of loving darkness rather than light.? Miserable is that moral uncertainty of which physical darkness with its attendant danger is a fitting emblem. A sad comment upon this saying is supplied in those last words of an eminent contemner of the Christian faith, “ I am about to take a leap in the dark.” But contrast with this the blessedness of those who believe and walk in the light;' in other words, who follow Christ. They shall become
' sons of light." Not indeed attaining to this all at once, but
· St. John viii. 2, 12. See also vision, and a full fruition of those i. 4; ix. 4, 5.
joys, which God has in reserve for ? St. John viii. 21, 24; Jer. xiii. 16. them, whom by His grace He shall 3 Compare the terms of vv. 35, 36. prepare for glory.”—South, Ser. vi. · St. John i, 11, 12
“Why Christ's doctrine was rejected 3 St. John vi, 35.
by the Jews." 6 St. John vi. 47-58.
“ The sun can make dark things 7 St. John iii. 19-21.
clear, but it cannot make a blind man & St. John xi. 9, 10.
see them : but herein is the excel91 St. John i. 7.
lency of this Sun, that He illuminates 10 St. John viii. 12.
not only the object but the faculty. ... 11 “ The obedient, and the men of One of the speakers in the Book of practice, are those sons of light that Job, discoursing of the prosperity of shall outgrow all their doubts and the wicked, calls it but his candle, ignorances . till persuasion pass and tells how long it can last. . . into knowle ge, and knowledge ad- If last his lifetime, it shall convey vance into assurance, and all come at him no further; he goes into eternity length to be completed in the beatific in the dark; and therefore ... he knows not whither he goeth.”—Abp. Nor does Christ the original, of whom Leighton, Second Sermon on Is. Ix. 1. light is the image, make any distinc
gradually, yet certainly, growing up into it. “ The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Christ's Sermon is done. That Divine discourse ended, He left the Temple abruptly ; leaving the people to ponder His words; hiding Himself from them with, it might be, the setting sun.
AN EVIL HEART OF UNBELIEF.
St. John xii. 37-43.
But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him : that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our
“ It is to light that all nations and tion between the high and the low, languages have had recourse, when
the humble and the lordly. He comes ever they wanted a symbol of any. to all, unless they drive Him from thing excellent in glory. . . In their doors. He calls to all, unless order however that we may in due they obstinately close their ears against time inherit the whole fulness of this Him. He blesses all, unless they cust radiant beatitude, we must begin by away His blessing.. They who training and fitting ourselves for it. attempted to become like God in Nothing good bursts forth all at once. knowledge, fell in the garden of The lightning may dart out of a black Eden. They who strove to become cloud; but the day sends his bright like God in power, were confounded heralds before him, to prepare the on the plain of Shinar. They who world for his coming. So should we endeavour to become like God in love, endeavour to render our lives here on will feel His approving smile and His earth, as it were, the dawn of Heaven's helping arm; every effort they make eternal day. ... Merely blot out
will bring them nearer to His prelight from the earth, and joy will sence; and they will find His renewed pass away from it; and health will
presence grow more and more vivid pass away from it; and life will pass within them, until the time comes away from it; and it will sink back when they too shall sline forth as the into a confused, turmoiling chaos. ... sun in the kingdom of their Father." Light illumines everything, the lowly -Archdeacon Hare, Victory of Faith, valley as well as the lordly mountain ; Scr. vii. it fructifies everything, the humblest i St. Matt. xxi. 17. herb as well as the lordliest tree. ...