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the knowledge of God and of His Son. It implies the recognition of the great end of His Divine Mission. We are apt to look upon eternal life as a future and far distant thing; whereas if we rightly know the only true God,' for whom men have set up so many counterfeits, know Him as He is revealed to us by His Son, know Him so as to be influenced by our knowledge of Him,-it is already begun in us. And so we say in the Second Collect for Peace at Morning Prayer, which is based upon this passage, "in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life.” 2 Observe too how in the titles here employed the offices of the incarnate Son of God are expressed. The name is significant of the thing. It is the anointed Saviour, sent from above; our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. So the Lord turns to the all but accomplished work for which He came into the world.3 He anticipates by these few hours that last cry from the Cross. He speaks of the future as already come to pass. The root had been laid down, from which those fruits would surely follow. I have, so in effect He says, done my part. And so He prays the Father, as it were, according to that Divine counsel and covenant, to do His part; to glorify the humanity of His Christ. The Son on earth had glorified the Father; it only remained for the Father in Heaven to glorify the Son."
Here is no ground for the inference which the followers of Socinus have thought fit to draw. In like manner, in the Gloria in excelsis, the expressions, "Thou only art holy, Thou only art the Lord," applied to the Son, are not exclusive of the Father and the Holy Ghost. Gregory of Nazianzum (cited by Clavius) asks, If you limit this "only true" to the Father, where will you place Him who is "the Truth" itself? Whitby supposes that Christ, having in view the conversion of the world, glances here at both Gentile and Jew: the former clause referring principally to
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xvii. 6-8.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
In this second division of the Prayer of Christ, He prays in particular for His Disciples. This was one part of His work and mission in the world, which He here claims to have accomplished,-to make known to these the Divine name or character; that those thus selected out of the world for this purpose (since all could not be Apostles) might proclaim to the rest of the world what at that fountainhead they had learnt; might disseminate, both among Jews and Gentiles, juster and nobler and more affectionate ideas of God, revealed now as a Father.' So far then as we can fathom the meaning of His mysterious words, it would seem that the Lord traces back this purpose to the Divine counsels. He recognises these as selected for their office, for reasons known to God only, from the very first. Then He advances to the next step, and speaks of them as given to Him, admitted to be His Apostles, Messengers of His mercy, first founders of His Church. Lastly, He commends them that they have not failed of the grace of God, nor rejected the counsel of God against themselves. When from their nets He called one and another, as Simon or the sons of Zebedee; or from some other occupation, as Matthew from the receipt of custom,-they were not disobedient unto the heavenly calling. Nor did these at His hard saying go away,3 but continued in His word." "If any man will do His will," we
1 St. John i. 18.
3 St. John vi. 60-71.
St. John viii. 31.
have already heard Him say, "he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God." This was realised in the case of these. There seems also allusion to that profession of theirs just before.1 Now they recognised the words of their Master as all Divine. They recognise Him as the very
Word of God.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xvii. 9, 10.
pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
From His saying here, it may be observed, no such consequences can be drawn as have been imagined by the advocates of what is called "particular redemption;" as though Christ came only for the sake of a favoured few. If we look a little further on into this Prayer, we shall find that He does pray for the world. The very purpose indeed for which He selected these and set them apart was that they should go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. There is no decree of God to hinder any man's salvation. But His meaning here evidently is, that this is not now the subject of His prayer. Now He is praying, as He professes, for those who have known and believed, as by-and-by He prays that others, through their instrumentality, may believe and know. The prayer for the initiated cannot be altogether the same as the prayer for those who are yet to be initiated. The prayer for the pastor must differ somewhat from the prayer for the people. And
1 St. John xvi. 30.
2 From v. 8 it would appear that "words" not " things" should have been supplied with the "all" of the preceding verse. See St. John xiv.
10; vi. 63, 68.
3 Vv. 20-23 below. Grotius remarks that the things which He is now praying for, unity, &c., pertain only to those that are already believers.
"they are Thine" in a fuller sense than when He said above, "Thine they were." That was past; this is present He speaks of blessings old and new.
and to come. things too He invokes on their behalf, because it is according to the will of God; because these are His chosen, who have kept His word, and believed in His Son, and are labouring for His glory; whom He is well pleased to have commended unto Him. From persons the Lord proceeds to speak of things.2 The former are included in the latter. These Disciples are Thine, as indeed all that I have is Thine. They are Thine no less than they are mine, and therefore with confidence I commend them unto Thee. The Father will take no less interest in them than the Son. These kindly interests are common to the Godhead. There is neither mine nor thine in that Divine community. One plea more the Lord here advances. "I am glorified' in them." It was begun already. It should increase ever more and more. This was but the dawning of their day. The Lord has regard both to what they had done, and to what they were about to do. Their fidelity too shall be to His glory; a thing which cannot but be grateful to the Father. So He prays. And so His Apostle prays after Him, "that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him." 5 Christ is glorified in us when we overcome the evil, when we follow after that which is good, when we reflect His image, when we become like unto Him.
one, as we are.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xvii. 11-13.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in
So short a time has He to remain visibly in the world, that He speaks of Himself as already withdrawn from it. The hour is come, the work finished which it was given Him to do. Now He anticipates His final triumph, and views Himself as restored to the fruition of the Divine glory. But He can neither forsake nor forget His own. Having gained the mountain-top, He beholds with Divinest and most human sympathy those who are yet toiling in the vale of misery below. From the haven He has gained He compassionates and sends succour to those still battling with the breakers, which for their sakes He had Himself encountered and overcome. Regarding this as a Prayer of consecration, there is something singularly appropriate in the epithet which He here employs, Holy' Father. And what is it He asks for these whom He speaks of as the Father's gift, and therefore dear to Him also? It is that He would keep them in 2 His name; that holy name used so often and emphatically in this Prayer; as also in the Prayer Himself hath taught us, wherewith to address our Father which is in Heaven, "Hallowed be Thy Name." A man's name, according to Hebrew usage, is the man himself. It is the character put
1 St. Pet. i. 15, 16.
The same expression is so ren
dered in the next verse.