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promise doubtless has its qualifications; nor may we presume to claim it in altogether the same sense as those might claim it to whom it was first addressed; the Elders of the New Covenant, the Apostles and first founders of His Church. Nevertheless it is to us very full of comfort, and we may interpret it with our Evangelist in an Epistle, "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us." 2 So is it ever true, though "our prayers are sometimes best answered when our desires are most opposed."3 Let the man of prayer be persuaded that God "will no longer deny him anything, but when it is no blessing; and when it is otherwise, his prayer is most heard when it is most denied." In our Lord's word
and promise, twice proclaimed, presently repeated more than once, we have the warrant for that custom of the Church whereby her Collects are concluded in the name, and are offered through the mediation of Jesus Christ.
OBEDIENCE THE TEST OF LOVE. THE PROMISE OF THE PARACLETE.
St. John xiv. 15-17.
If ye love me. keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the
1 Rev. xiv. 4, 10. "Four and twenty Elders;" representatives of the Old Dispensation and of the New; according to the number of the twelve Tribes and of the twelve Apostles.
21 St. John v. 14, 15, with iii. 22. 3 South, Ser. xv.
Jer. Taylor, Ser. on The Return of Prayer, or The Conditions of a prevailing Prayer, part iii. Compare the verse in Cowper's hymn :
"Not what I wish, but what I want,
5 St. John xv. 16; xvi. 23, 24, 26.
world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
In the Lord's answer to his Apostles' questions, there was something addressed to the questioner himself, something to the rest of the body looking and listening, something to the whole Church as represented by these. The Lord has already answered the special question of His Apostle Philip, and begun to address the collective band,' and in them the Church of which they were at once the first husbandmen and the first fruits. He has spoken to them of prayer, and now He turns to that to which prayer will help us, obedience. Hence we may learn that the only sure proof that we love His Person is that we obey His Law. The promise of the Paraclete, which follows this exhortation to obedience, seems to have a close connexion with it. Loving and obeying Christ, they should receive God's greatest gift. It is in answer to Christ's prayer. It is the effect of His work. It is the result of His intercession. Not as though the Father were unwilling to grant it, but it must come to us through the Son. And what is this greatest gift of God? It is the Divine Paraclete; the Comforter, so Christ delights to call him; for such is one of the meanings of that comprehensive word. But it stands also for Advocate, Counsellor, Intercessor; one who stands by us, and stands up for us, and helps us. These gracious offices are applied in common to the Son and to the Spirit. And indeed what Christ was to His Disciples while He was on earth, all this should the Spirit be to them after He ascended into Heaven. Christ calls Him "another Comforter," and promises
1 V. 10 above, in which we may note the transition from the singular number to the plural.
2 Wisd. vi. 18; St. Luke viii. 21; Rom. xiii. 8-10.
3 The "I" in the original is emphatically expressed. Lampe notes the word used for ask, which has the force of a demand. The Son of God asks the Father, both as Man and as Mediator.
41 St. John ii. 1. The word "is five times used in the Scriptures, and that by St. John alone; four times in his Gospel, attributed to the Holy Ghost; once in his first Epistle, spoken of Christ . . . Christ who is a Paraclete, said that He would send another Paraclete; and therefore the notion must be the same in both."Pearson On the Creed, Art. viii. Note.
that He shall abide with them for ever, in allusion to His own approaching departure, and to the shortness of His stay. His sojourn in the land is likened to a tent or tabernacle,1 a temporary thing, intended only for a time; but the abiding of the Spirit, and His dwelling among men, is likened to a temple, a permanent structure, never to be taken down or removed, intended not for a time but for ever. Christ calls Him"the Spirit of truth," for in Him we see the fulfilment of Old Testament types. He is "the very Comforter, the unction spiritual," whom that holy oil and other figures of the Law did signify. And His office is to guide His Church into all truth. The Lord predicts that the world, that is the evil part of it, the men of this world, that have their portion in this life, will not receive Him. And He gives the reason of this. They cannot, because they will not. There seems in the expressions here to be allusion to the seeing and knowing mentioned above.' Besides the promise of good things to come, the Lord informs them of an ever-present blessing, which they are failing to realise. He is already among you. But shortly He shall be in you, in unmistakable manifestations, to your great and endless comfort. Here we have proof of the personality of the Holy Ghost.
St. John xiv. 18-21.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me : because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth
1 St. John i. 14 in the original.
2 Veni Creator.
3 St. John xvi. 13; 1 St. John v. 6.
4 1 Cor. i. 12, 14.
5 Acts vii. 51; xxviii. 26, 27.
6 V. 17.
7 Vv. 7, 9.
8 Gen. xxviii. 16; 1 Cor. iii. 16; Eph. ii. 22.
me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
What a word is this that comes next! "I will not leave you orphans." They had left father and mother, they had left all, and followed Him; and now that He, who was all this to them and more, announced His approaching departure, they, like poor desolate children, felt themselves suddenly orphaned.3 But the gracious Saviour, thoughtful as a father, tender as any mother, speaks to their heart words of comfort. By the kindred and endearing term "little children," He had already called them. "I am coming to you," He says now to these. I will not leave you in this lonely state." "I will come speedily to you at my resurrection. I will not be long away, but will be with you again in a little time . . . I will be coming to you. daily in my Spirit . . . I will come certainly at the end of time." Even in His temporary absence they might see Him with the eye of faith. "I live," He says, when the Cross was close at hand, when death must possess Him on the morrow. Nevertheless "I live," because, as David speaketh concerning Him, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." So He comforts His own. Their souls were bound in the bundle of life with the Lord their God. They were the body of Christ, and members in particular. Their safety stands or falls with His." Of this union betwixt Christ and His Church, He speaks again, and deigns to illustrate it by the union between the Father and the Son.10 And this He declares they shall know" and realize in
So in the original. De Dieu cites from the Arabic a sentence which may illustrate this: "For he is not an orphan, whose father is dead; but he is an orphan who has neither knowledge nor manners."
2 Compare Hom. Пl. vi. 429. Compare the scene in the Phado, 149; a sort of faint foreshadowing of this.
St. John xiii. 33.
5 The verb is in the present tense. 6 V. 28 below.
Henry. St. John xvi. 22.
St. John xi. 25, 26. Bengel notes the difference of tense; the present applied to Christ, the future to His people. Rev. i. 18; St. John vi. 57.
10 A reference which harmonizes with His reference to them as children, though for the time orphans.
11 Observe again the seeing and knowing of vv. 19, 20. Compare vv. 7, 9, 17 above.
the coming day or dispensation of the Spirit. He winds up with the same note which He had struck at the outset. This turn in the conversation began with love and obedience; with love and obedience it concludes.2 The Lord shows in what true love to Him consists; and He throws in that parenthesis 3 which intimates how much more there was in this than they might think. It should even ensure them the love of that Father whom Philip had besought Him to show them. The Lord loves them that love Him; and as they prove their love by obeying Him, so festing Himself unto them. here to us in our Christian mourning without the sun. ments let us wait for Him." Him. It shall lead to Divine manifestations."
1 V. 15.
2 Compare 1 St. John v. 3; 2 St. John 6.
Read, "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: (and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father :) and I will love him.
• Isa. 1. 10.
5 St. John xv. 10.
6 Psa. 1. 23; Acts v. 32. See a sermon by Dr. Chalmers on this subject. (Posthumous Works, Ser. xiii.) A few sentences are subjoined: "While some... ramble in pursuit of frames and raptures and manifestations, let me take the humble but obvious path of duty which my Saviour lays before me... Instead of walking on unknown ground, with no other light to direct me than the sparks of my own kindling, I go to the plain way of our Saviour's commandments, and rejoice to think, that while performing the very least of them, I am taking the nearest road to the very light which I aspire after . . . I would be overwhelmed... if I were called upon at this moment to prove a rapture which I do not feel... Jesus Christ
He proves His love by mani-
has poured the clearest light over the every-day path of duty, and has given the solemn authority of a requirement from Him to His lessons and His laws. . . There is nothing incomprehensible in the exercise of kindness among the needy, in the exercise of patience among the irksome, in the exercise of forgiveness among the injurious... Let me rejoice that I have found something which I clearly and certainly know to be the will of my Saviour concerning me . . . He accepts it as the evidence of love . . . O that what I have said could be converted into a lesson of patience or of comfort to any melancholy Christian . . . To divert his melancholy, I give him something to do. . . This is the way revealed in my text for conducting you to the manifestations you long after. Weeks and months and years may elapse before they arrive; but believe and persevere . . . Hold fast by what you do see, and God in His good time will reveal what you do not see. Hold fast by known duties, and you will come to experience what are yet unknown and unfelt privileges."