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THE SAME SUBJECT —continued.
St. John xvi. 28-33.
I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world : again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples
I . said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee : by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe ? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that
, ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone : and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be of good
: cheer ; I huve overcome the world.
In a single sentence the Lord now sums up the history of the Incarnation, and in another sentence anticipates His Ascension. This return to the Father, implies His procession from the Father. The remark with which the Disciples receive this saying is a double proof of their then weakness and imperfection. First, in allusion to His promise that the time was coming when He would no more couch His meaning in proverbs, but show them plainly of the Father,—they fondly imagine that the time is now come, and they as it were commend Him for so speedily fulfilling that promise. As if He had not spoken as plainly as this before. As if even now they understood His words. So too though they speak of knowledge, they show that as yet they know Him not; show how they have altogether
in order to be in a particular place, He remains as being in every place."
2 St. John xii. 42; xiv. 19, 28; vv. 5, 10 above.
3 Literally (v. 30), “ We know that Thou knowest."
missed the meaning of His former statement, “In that day ye shall ask me nothing." But besides this, there is the too confident profession of their faith, to which the Lord plaintively alludes, showing them how little they knew their own hearts; declaring, though still in parables, that they had already entered upon that hour which should witness the fulfilment of the ancient prophecy, “I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad; to their own homes, to their old occupations, seeking their safety in a timid and almost selfish flight.3 Yet while the Lord draws this sombre picture of desertion, looking forth into that dark hour of the night already come upon Him, with His own type of old," He encourages Himself as man, encourages His human heart, in the Lord His God. He concludes with words of comfort. He foretells their future. Like a true and wise Comforter, He will not conceal from them what is coming upon them, but bids them look beyond the present gloom into the future brightness. And this is ever the end of even His saddest sayings, to, finally, produce peace. Ever thinking more of others than of Himself, even in this near prospect of the Cross, He dwells not so much upon His own grief as upon the grief of His Disciples. He is occupied in comforting those who ought to have been His comforters. In the hour of battle He encourages them with the prospect of victory, with the promise of peace. He inspirits them by His own example. At the beginning of His ministry we find “the prince of this world ” ? offering Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would but consent to be his vassal. And now at the close of His ministry, He can claim to have overcome. By “ the world” we are to understand the evil that is in the world. Let a man really set about fulfilling the vows of His Baptism,-a life-long struggle will he have to maintain. But be of good cheer, all ye who are fighting the good fights against the world within and the world without, 1 V. 23 above. Compare vv. 19, 27, 5 St. John viii, 29; 1 St. John iv. 4.
6 In the original of v. 33 the fin 2 St. John xxi. 2, 3, 19, 21, 22. “I” is emphatically expressed. 3 Phil. ii. 21.
7 St. John xiv. 30. + 1 Sa. xxx. 6.
8 1 Tim. v. 12; 2 Tim. iv. 7.
against the worldliness of our own hearts and the heartless worldliness with which we are surrounded. Peace in Christ, and in the world tribulation,- this is the heritage of His Disciples. We may not possess that, until we have first tasted this.
CHRIST'S PRAYER OF CONSECRATION.
St. John xvii. 1, 2.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come ; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee : as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
The Lord has now closed His conference with His Disciples, and proceeds to His mysterious prayer of intercession with the Father. Yet is the matter of the Prayer connected with the matter of the charge which went before. He asks for that which He had proposed. Observe first, before we enter upon the subject, the manner of this Prayer. “Jesus lifted up His eyes to Heaven.” Some have hence supposed that it was offered in the open air, with the firmament above His head. But “nothing hereby is determined as to the locality. The Guest-chamber no doubt was the place of this Prayer. The eyes may be lifted to Heaven in as well as out of doors. Heaven is not the sky, but that upper region, above our own being and thoughts. The Lord, being in all such things like as we are, lifted up His eyes to Heaven. Not His hands, for He prays not here as a suppliant—but as an Intercessor and High Priest, standing between earth and Heaven.”3 St. John “seldom depicts the gestures or looks of our Lord, as here. But this was an occasion of which the impression was indelible, and the upward look could not be
1 St. John xiv. 27.
passed over.” 1
Yet we may remember in another prayer, uttered aloud, as this, because of them that stood by, the prayer beside the opened grave of Lazarus,-then also “ Jesus lifted up
And that with warrantable confidence. Not as that penitent in the parable who “would not so much as lift up his eyes unto Heaven,” nor yet as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their Masters," but as a Son with a Father. Consider next the style of this address. He says not Our Father, seeing that God is His Father in a sense in which He never could be ours also. Nor yet does He say, My Father; “which would be too great a separation between Himself and His for such a prayer;"5 though, when praying for Himself alone, He uses, we may remember, this form. But now He says "simply Father; that Name in which all the mystery of Redemption is summed up.”5 Turn now to the subject matter of this Divine prayer. It divides into three parts. The great High Priest prays for Himself,” for His Disciples, for the Holy Church throughout all the world. Calmly He views the arrival of that mysterious hour, of which we have before heard Him speak, often anticipating its approach. He shrinks not, though that tide has even now reached Him, to which He has consigned Himself for our sakes. Here on the threshold, in
, that short and solemn interval, He prays even for what was promised." As man He asks to be admitted to the Divine glory, that glory which for our sakes He had laid aside; that the human nature He had assumed might be received up into Heaven, and be with the Divine nature for ever glorified." And in His own He sought the Father's glory. 1 Alford.
prayed for them, because He also ? St. John xi. 41, 42; xii. 28, 30. knew that the necessary means to 3 See also Ps. xl. 12; Ezra ix. 6. effect them were His prayers. As in * St. John xix. 17. See the original. the Psalms it is said, “Ask of me, 5 Alford.
and I shall give Thee the heathen 6 St. Matt. xxvi. 39, 42.
for Thine inheritance, and the ends 1 Vv. 1-5.
of the earth for Thy possession.' 8 Vv. 6–19.
Wherefore that which God here pro9 Vy. 20-26.
miseth His Son, the same in the 10 St. John xii. 23, 27, 28, 31; xiii. seventeenth of John He prayeth for.” 31, 32.
- Hooker, Eccl. Pol. v. xlviii. 5. 11 “Some things He knew should 12 Phil. ii. 6-11: Eph. i. 19-22; come to pass, and notwithstanding Acts iii, 13.
The one is bound up in the other. As He has power on earth for the salvation of His servants, so for Himself He seeks once more the bliss of Heaven.
THE SAME SUBJECT—continued.
St. John xvii. 3-5.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth : I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, 0 Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
The Lord explains one of His own terms. He tells us what is that Life eternal of which He speaks. It consists in
1 The words of the original of v. mony... One of the most fruitful 2 must be noted. The boily of be- sources of error is the attempt to relievers is regarded as a whole. The
concile what revelation has not recon"all flesh” may be compared with ciled. Men would unlock the mysteries Gen. vi. 3, 12, 13. Compare also St. of heaven with keys of their own John vi. 37-40. On the doctrine forging and of earthly temper. They which has been inferred from this would track and complete the circle passage, Bp. Jackson (Witness of the of God's designs, of which He has Spirit, Ser. iii.) observes, “ Our tem- shewn us but a few detached seg. poral and eternal destinies must be ments. They would have a system in His hands : and yet we have in our of theology, compact, definite, and power the alternatives of good and harmonious; and they have one : but evil, happiness and misery. Reconcile it is their own, not God's ... There these truths with our present faculties may be limits as to what we know. we cannot. Yet truths they are, and None can plead ignorance of what capable of proof on the same grounds they have to do.”
“ It is tacitly on which our firmest convictions rest; assumed, though it could never be and to deny either of them involves proved, that God has revealed not the reasoner in difficulties far greater only so much truth as is necessary for than to let them stand side by side, our duty and salvation, but the whole irreconcilable perhaps now, but each circle of truth respecting spiritual a certain, independent truth. The things and the procedure of His moral note may be struck hereafter which government.”—Ibid. Ser, vi. will blend these discords into har