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and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.
The Lord repeats1 once more His new commandment. He calls it "My commandment," because He it was who brought it out of obscurity into prominence, and illustrated it by His own example. This is the great commandment, which suggests and comprehends all the rest. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law." If we love not, can we be true disciples of the Lord of love? 2 Glancing now at its highest exhibition, the Lord here intimates the approaching sacrifice of Himself! Here too we are taught who are the Friends of Christ. In that country and in those times, when the institution of slavery, which is doomed to fall before the spread of Christianity, was universal,-the Lord's words and illustration here would have a special significance. No longer should they be in any sense as slaves, but be promoted to the position of friends. The Lord had been revealing to them "the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven." He had been treating them as no master was wont to treat a slave. And lest they should be puffed up with pride, so as to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, He reminds them that this position of privilege is owing, not to themselves, but to Him. And reverting to the Allegory going before, He reminds them of the end wherefore all this was done. They were planted in the Church, and advanced to that
1 St. John xiii. 43.
2 St. John xiii. 35; Eph. v. 2; 1 St. John iii. 16, 23; iv. 11.
3 "A difficulty has been unnecessarily found in this verse, because St. Paul cites it as a nobler instance of love, that Christ died for us when we were enemies. But manifestly here the example is from common life, in which if a man did lay down his life, it would naturally be for his friends; and would be, and is cited as, the greatest example of love .. Our Lord does not assert of Himself that
He laid down His life only for his friends. . . but puts forward this side of His love as a great and a practical example for his followers."-Alford. Lampe recites the classic instances, Alcestis for Admetus, Pylades for Orestes, Pythias for Damon, Gracchus for his wife, Terence for Brutus, Codrus for the Athenians, Menaceus for the Thebans; Curtius, Mutius, and the two Decii, for the Romans.
The original word means, “I have placed, or appointed." Compare 1 Cor. xiv. 28.
foremost place in it, that they might go and bring forth fruit; fruit, which like lasting work, might abide1 in the day of declaration. Here seems also reference to their mission, the conversion of the world. Connected with this is that privilege of prayer, to which, in connection with their abiding in Him, He has already adverted. He had chosen and called them to the task of converting a world, and to the privilege of asking boundless blessings from above.* And again He returns to love. This is the circle in which He moves; the centre in which all the lines of grace and duty and blessing meet. Above He had said, "This is my commandment: "5 here he says, " These things I command you, that ye love one another." There it was one thing: here it seems many things. But it is in truth all one and the same thing. The commandment is manifold. Love is one thing, yet how many things are included in it!" For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." "
THE WORLD'S HATE.
St. John xv. 18, 19.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
From the Kingdom of Heaven, the Lord turns to the kingdom of the prince of this world; from heavenly virtue to earthly, even to hell-born, tempers; from love to hate. He had spoken to His Disciples of the love He bare to them,
of the love they should bear to one another: and then, that they may not be deceived or disappointed, He predicts to them the very different atmosphere they shall meet with, when they descend into the world again from this mount of the Lord, on which for a while they have been dwelling. Once He had been constrained to say to them, "The world cannot hate you; "1 but now that they really believed in Him, and loved Him, they too should drink of the cup that He drank of, and with the baptism that He was baptized withal should they be baptized. Only He will prepare them for this. Charged with such a mission, endowed even with miraculous powers of beneficence, they might fondly expect the world to come in as willing captives, won by such power of love. But they must be prepared for disappointment; and this thought may help to sustain them under it, that their Master went through it all before them.3 And then He proceeds to give the reason of the world's hate. The world here means the evil part of it; those to whom this world is all. If now they used the corrupt maxims of the world, thought as the world thought, did in all things as the world around them did,- they would plainly prove that they too were of the world; and the selfish world, which ever inclines to those who will countenance it in evil, would so have no quarrel with them, but would recognize them as of itself, and love them so long as it could make use of them. But with them it was indeed different. They had been chosen out of the world, to teach it, and, where need be, to "testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." They had been picked out, as the well-disposed soldiers of a mutinous army might be, to persuade the rest, and bring them to a better mind. But as "every one that doeth evil hateth the light," so with those whom they addressed. There is a great solemnity in the manner of expression here; this word "the world" thus repeated these five times."
St. John vii. 7.
2 See Abp. Trench's suggestive lines, To a Friend on entering the Ministry.
3 This before you may also mean more than you, or as your leader.
4 St. John xvii. 16.
5 St. John iii. 20.
6 St. John xvii. 14.
Compare 1 St. John ii. 15-17: iv. 10-16. His Lord's last words seem ever ringing in His servant's ear.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xv. 20-27.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law. They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom. I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
The Lord proceeds in the same strain to prepare His Disciples for the scandal of the Cross. He reminds them, first, of what He had come from saying, when after supper He washed their feet and gave them that signal lesson of humility; and secondly, of His words on a previous occasion, recorded by other of the Evangelists. The readers of Church-history will recognize the literal truth of the words which follow. Those who are acquainted with the accounts which have come down to us of those early times will remember, in the ten persecutions which befell the Church while Paganism was powerful, how even to bear the name of Christ was to expose oneself to the enemy; how all who bare the Christian name were subject to the world's scorn and
St. John xiii. 16.
2 St. Matt. x. 24, 25; St. Luke vi.
40, margin. See St. John xx. 30; xxi. 25.
hate.' But it seems to have been Jewish, even more than Pagan enmity that the Lord had in view. They professed to know God, to be the only people that had the knowledge of the true God, and yet they deliberately rejected Him whom He had sent; thus proving, notwithstanding all their boasting, that they were no better than "the Gentiles which know not God." For to outrage the Ambassador, is to insult the Sovereign who sends him and whom he represents; and these slew not the servants only, but even the Son.3 In this phrase, "Know not," is implied the wilfulness of their sin, whose language was, practically, and sometimes even literally, "Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways." For they might have known. The Lord Himself had come and spoken unto them; had come down from Heaven to converse with men on earth. He had given ample proof of His authority, of His Divine mission. He had done among them, as some even of themselves admitted, works which none other 5 had ever done. For He taught as one that had authority; and the miracles He wrought were wrought not as by Divinely prompted men, but in His own name, and by His own inherent power. So that they were without excuse. Their enmity to Christ was enmity to God. In Him they saw the Father," and saw in vain. And so in them was fulfilled the saying of the Psalmist, the word written, and written more than once, in their own Law; that Book thus described by one of its parts, which they had in their hands, but to which they gave so little heed." And
' In Pliny's famous letter to Trajan (Ep. x. 97) we have the difficulty started, whether men confessedly free from fault should be punished for a name. So that as Tertullian (Apol. c. ii.) shows, innocent men were hated on account of a name. St. Matt. x. 22; Acts iii. 6, 16; iv. 7, 10; v. 28, 40, 41; St. James ii. 6, 7; 1 St. Pet. iv. 14, 16.
2 Rom. ii. 17-20.
3 St. Matt. xxi. 33-43.
St. John iii. 2; vi. 14; vii. 31, 40, 46; ix. 32.
5 Neither here (v. 24) nor in ch. yii. 31, is the word man in the original, 6 St. John ix. 39-41.
7 St. John xii. 45; xiv. 9; Heb. i. 3. 8 Ps. XXXV. 19; lxix. 4. The Vulgate has gratis.
St. John v. 38-40; Acts xiii. 26-29, 32-35, 40, 41. "The meaning in this, as in so many other places of the Gospel, is not that the Jews hated Christ in order that the words of David might be fulfilled; but that from their hatred, resulted the fulfilment of certain words spoken pro