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them.” So let those that walk in darkness and have no light, still trust in the name of the Lord and stay upon their God; as the little child, in the gathering darkness and blackness, clings the closer to his father's hand.?
THE SAME SUBJECT continued.
St. John xvi. 8-11.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment : of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more ; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
The Lord proceeds to set forth the work of the Spirit in the world; what should come to pass from that Pentecostal day, when the dispensation of the Spirit should indeed begin. This was the result of His coming, to convince 3 the world of its sin in not believing that Jesus was the Christ; of His righteousness, proved by His ascension into Heaven; of a judgment to come, in that the prince of this world, the adversary of the Prince of peace, has been judged, the oppressor of the first Adam defeated by the second Adam in that momentous duel. The seed of the woman has bruised the head of the serpent. Already had our Lord signalized Satan by that title of bad pre-eminence. It is the beginning of the judgment of the devil and his angels. Here then we have briefly set forth to us the sin of the Jews, the righteousness of Christ, the condemnation of the devil. Concerning the first of these we soon begin to have ample illustration in the Acts of the Apostles. But we are not to limit its application to the people of the Jews, or to those primitive times of the Gospel. This is that same work which the Spirit of God is evermore accomplishing in the world; convincing sinners of their sins, and so leading them into the righteousness of our Saviour Christ. For no man will really value Christ's righteousness, till he begins to realize his own unrighteousness. So we may see the propriety of our Evangelist's language in his Epistle, where he speaks everywhere of
1 Is. 1. 10.
? We may note here the volition of the Comforter. Here are personal actions ascribed to the Holy Ghost. The pronouns in vv. 7, 8, 13, 14, are all masculine. We may note also His oneness with Christ. He comes
of Himself. And yet Christ sends
3 See the original word.
Jesus Christ the righteous.” It means more than mere passive innocence. This was apparent to all. Pilate's wife expostulates with her weak and time-serving husband, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man;" and the Centurion, presiding at His judicial murder, could not help exclaiming as He hung upon the Cross, “ Certainly this was a righteous man.' But He was not only righteous in Himself. He is “the Lord our righteousness.
And the proof of this is His return to the bosom of the Father. That which set the Disciples sorrowing, that they should see Him no longer as before, was for their lasting benefit. He is gone to the Father for their sakes; returned, His mission accomplished, to reap the fruit of His labour. Lastly, by the coming of the Holy Ghost we have the sure proof of that saying, “For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 3
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xvi, 12–15.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself ;
· Acts ii. 32, 33, 36-38, 41; xvi. 30, 31 St. John ii. 8; Col. i. 13; 31.
Heb. ii. 14, 15; Rev. xi. 15; xii. 10. 2 2 Cor. v. 21.
but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak : and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me : for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine : therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
See the tenderness of the Lord. He has more to say, but He will not say it now.
He will leave it to be said to them, and in them, by the coming Spirit. Observe, as before, His high and divine denomination, “the Spirit of truth.” The Spirit that guided and governed the founders of the Christian Church was the Spirit of Him who is “ the Truth ;" and He is Himself also the truth, even truth itself. Observe too His office, and the effect of His coming,—“He shall guide you into all truth.” The foundation of the Church was indeed laid, but the goodly superstructure was not reared, when the Divine Son returned to the bosom of the Father. But the Divine Spirit came, and the building was complete. As Bezaleel and Aholiab were “filled with the Spirit of God ”4 to prepare a material Tabernacle, so were these filled with the same Spirit to rear a spiritual Temple, of which that was but a type and shadow. As in old time holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, so holy men of a later date wrought as they were moved by the
11 Cor. iii. 1-13; Heb. v. 11; vi. Ch. Hist. lib. v. Cent. 16. Remem1. “Should our eyes be instantly bering the abuse of this in the Roman posted out of midnight into noonday, doctrine of Development, itself a decertainly we should be blinded with velopment of a much earlier error, the suddenness and excellency of the older indeed than the time of Tertullustre thereof. Nature therefore bath lian (De Præscript. Hæret. c. xxii.), wisely provided the twilight, as a we shall do well to ponder Augusbridge, by degrees to pass us from tine's words here (in S. Jo. Tr. xcvii. darkness to light. Yea our Saviour 6): “In raising the building, we are Himself . . . had some command- not to take away from the foundation." ments which as yet they were not able ? St. John xiv, 17. “All which to bear; and therefore till they could words are nothing else but so many bear them, His wisdom did bear with descriptions of a Person: a Person them. Thus the best of artists do not hearing, a Person receiving, a Person always work to the height of their testifying, a Person speaking, a Person own skill, but according to the aptness reproving, a Person instructing.”of the instruments wherewith, and Pearson, On the Creed, Art. viii. the capacity of the subjects whereon, 3 1 St. John v. 6. they employ themselves.”—Fuller, * Ex. xxxi. 2, 3, 6.
Holy Ghost. From Him we have the Word of God. From Him we have the Church of Christ. Each owns the same Divine Author. Both are the work of the same Spirit. Ob. serve too the testimony here to the doctrine of the Trinity. The Spirit shall not speak of Himself. He cannot do anything apart from the Father and the Son. All speak but the same thing, for all are one. The Spirit speaks but what He hears. What He speaks therefore is God's truth. By the like argument to that which He has already employed in proving His own veracity, the Lord here illustrates the veracity of the Spirit. In the Apocalyptic vision vouchsafed to our Evangelist, we have one instance of the fulfilment of the promise here recorded, “He will announce ? to you things to come.” The final cause too of the Spirit's coming is here declared. It is to glorify Christ. Christ is glorified when man is benefited. When Christ is glorified, God is glorified. Though there be a distinction of Persons, there is none of essence or of interest, between the Father and the Son."
OUT OF SORROW COMETH FORTH JOY.
St. John xvi. 16-20.
A little while, and ye shall not see me : and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me : and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while ? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see · St. John v. 19; viij. 38, 42.
3 It is the same word in vv. 14, 15, ? So in the original. Rev. i. 1, 10; variously rendered receive and take. x xii. 16, 17; 1 Cor. ij. 9, 10.
* St. John xvii. 10.
me ? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice : and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
In their primary sense our Lord's words here seem to have this force :-Pass a few hours, and ye shall not see me; for death, to which for man's sake I devote myself, shall claim me, and the sepulchre shall receive me, and the stone shall cover me, and hide me from your view. But pass a few hours, and the grave shall give up its dead; Hades shall restore Him whose soul could not be left therein, and ye shall see me again with your eyes. Something like this the Lord has already said, and now He enlarges upon the theme. But in the original there seems a still further force. Two several words are employed; the former referring rather to natural sight, the latter to spiritual. A little while, and ye shall not see me ; that is, with your bodily eyes : and again a little while, and ye shall see me; see me as ye never saw me before ; see me glorified; see me with spiritual eyes; see me by faith, never more to lose sight of me. For I go to the Father, to claim for you, to pour out upon you, that Holy Spirit who shall so enlighten your minds. Now the Lord answers the question Himself had suggested to them above, and tells them whither He is going. But their Lord's words sounded sadly in the ears of His Disciples. They cannot guess the meaning of these parables. Some of them begin to discuss the seeming paradox. And even His expression of going to the Father, is as yet by no means plain to them." Before their doubts one with another can frame themselves into a formal question to propose to Him, the kind Saviour anticipates and answers them. There is something very impressive in this threefold repetition. Not without cause have we it thus repeated these three times,—“A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me.” And yet the Lord does not reply directly to their intended question. He prefers now to hold out to them " St. Luke xxiv. 39, 40; 1 St. John
5 Vv. 25, 29 below. 2 St. John xiy, 18, 19.
* See the original expressions, vv. 3 V. 10 above.
• V. 5.