for the person. Here this holy name includes and expresses all the Divine attributes, in which and by which our Heavenly Father keeps and blesses His obedient children. The Son here commends them to the Father as in a special sense needing His protection, now that His own visible presence is about to be withdrawn. And knowing the blessings of unity, and foreseeing the obstacles thereto, the Lord prays for these that they may be united in one communion and fellowship, after the pattern of the Divine oneness. The spiritual Temple, as well as the material Tabernacle, must take no lower model. Now that Great Shepherd of the sheep looks back upon the work it was given Him to do; and as before He professed that He had manifested or made known to them the Divine Name and character, so here He protests that He had kept them in this Name; kept all who would be kept; all but him who would not stay, but "went out," " departed from grace given, and so failed of the grace of God. Judas Iscariot is the miserable, wilful exception, here described as "the son of perdition," a term applied afterwards to "the man of sin; "7 a term which, according to the Hebrew mode of expression, signifies the congenial embracing of sin, with its consequences; the author of his own undoing. The Lord names him not. He seems unwilling to name him. The sin of Judas, which was his own, was yet the fulfilling of more than one Scripture. But he was under no necessity of turning traitor.10 But now the Lord, returning from this short sad digression, and anticipating the glory which awaited Him, declares why, while still in the world, He so


1 Prov. xvii. 10.

[ocr errors]

2 In v. 12 the pronoun is emphatically expressed, q. d. I have kept: now do Thou keep them.

3 Heb. viii. 5.

4 V. 6 above. See also v. 26 below. 5 There are two words so rendered. The other word means, literally, guarded.

St. John xiii. 30; 1 St. John ii. 19.

7 2 Thess. ii. 3. See St. Matt. xxiii. 15. There is a paronomasia, a correlation of terms, in the original of


v. 12, which cannot be conveyed in a translation.

8 St. John vi. 70, 71; xiii. 18, 21; St. Matt. xxvi. 50.

Pss. lxix., cix., which St. Peter soon proceeds to cite (Acts i. 20) in reference to the dreadful case. Psa. xli. had before been cited by our Lord in reference to the same. St. John xiii. 18.

10 St. John xviii. 8, 9.

11 Compare the phrase at the beginning of v. 13 with the corresponding one of v. 11, in the original.

speaks. It is that these whom He is leaving in the world may be the sharers of His unearthly joy. He speaks of gladness even in the midst of grief. For there is joy in goodness, and satisfaction in the accomplishment of a great purpose. So He desires that their hearts, filled with sorrow at His former sayings,' might by these words of comfort be fulfilled with joy.2



St. John xvii. 14-19.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.


As in His final charge the Lord had warned His Disciples what they were to expect in the world, and from the men of the world, so here in His final prayer He prays for them in this particular; guarding us however by His language here from narrowness in religion; for ever condemning that false view of things, whereby some have bound themselves to a life of seclusion, and cut themselves off from the society and duty and privileges of man, in the vain thought to commend themselves to God. As if man who ever carries a world within his own breast, could so hope to escape all worldliness. For what is this but to decline to take our part in the battle of life, which is not to be won by withdrawing from the contest, and turning our back upon the foe? Such 3 St. John xv. 18-21; Psa. xvii.

1 St. John xvi. 6.

2 St. John xv. 11; xvi. 24.



force is there in the Apostle's alternative," For then must ye needs go out of the world." For what is man in himself but a little world, a world in miniature? "The world is too much with us,"2 and in the retirement of the cloister, and in the remote solitude of the hermit's cell, it will be for ever intruding3 Save me, so each must say, from myself. This is therefore but a request for them that they may be kept from the evil that is in the world. It is an expansion of the Prayer He had already taught them, "Deliver us from evil;" from the evil one, from "the prince of this world," from all that is not of the Father, but is of the world. Again the Lord pronounces those words of consecration over them, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." And so the Apostle professes after Him, "Our citizenship is in Heaven." And He proceeds to pray for them that they may indeed be consecrated, sanctified, set apart for the work to which He had designed them; according to His word, which is truth itself and cannot fail, according to His most true promise. Now then we may see more clearly the propriety of that expression with which this portion of the Prayer begins, "Holy Father," in that He prays that these may be set apart for holy uses. For such is the import of this term sanctify; a phrase familiar to those living under the Law; though used here in a deeper sense than applied to any Israelite of old." Here He pleads with the Father for His own; drawing a gracious analogy between His mission from the Father, and their mission from Him; that this latter may likewise be an object of interest to the Father. In His concluding words here He marks the connection between their consecration and His own, giving us a glimpse of the nobleness and the blessedness of all selfdevotion for Christ's sake. By Him only can they do this,

11 Cor. v. 10.

2 Wordsworth, Sonnets.

3 So the familiar lines in the first poem of The Christian Year:

"We need not bid, for cloistered cell," &c.

"Let the world understand that you can see it every day, and not fall in love with it."-Bp. Patrick,


Parable of the Pilgrim, ch. x.

4 St. John xiv. 30.

5 1 St. John ii. 16.

⚫ Vv. 14, 16.

Phil. iii. 20, in the original.

8 V. 11 above. St. Jude 1.

Ex. xix. 6, 10, 14, 22, 23; xxii. 31; xxviii. 36, 41; Lev. xix. 2; Zech. xiv. 20, 21.

and they shall triumph with Him. They shall be Kings and Priests unto God.1



St. John xvii. 20-23.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.


The third and last part of our Lord's final Prayer of consecration; that in which He makes request for "the Holy Church throughout all the world." He has prayed for the builders now He prays for the building. We have heard His prayer for the Apostles: now we hear Him pray for those to whom they were sent. And what is the chief subject of His prayer for these? "That they all may be one." This is what He desires for His Church, unity; that the unity of the Church may correspond to the unity of the Godhead; that so earth may be assimilated to Heaven. Perfect is the union between the Father and the Son. Such should be the union between the members of the Church; branches as they are of one and the same tree, stones of one harmonious building. "Jerusalem is built as a city that is

1 Rev. i. 6; v. 10.

2 "These were the persons for whom our Saviour next to the Apostles prayed, because by a way next to that of the Apostles they believed . . . Thus the Apostles believed on Christ through His own word, and the


primitive Christians believed on the same Christ through the Apostles' word."-Pearson, On the Creed, Art. i.

3 As Thou, Father, in me, and I in Thee, [are one]-that they also may in us be one.""-A Plain Commentary. Compare St. John xiv. 10, 11.

at unity in itself." This is one reason why in His Church He requires unity: that so it may impress and win the world. For what more helps to encourage the world in unbelief, to foster its hostility, to provoke its ridicule, to countenance its carelessness, than the spectacle and the consequences of "our unhappy divisions?" This confirms men in their too willing unbelief, or gives some colour to their contempt and neglect of that concerning which, so they assert, even its advocates are not agreed. So the Church echoes her Lord's words, beseeching the Divine Majesty," to inspire continually the universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord;" bidding us to pray that all they that do confess His Holy Name may agree in the truth of His Holy Word, and live in unity and godly love; and again, "that all who profess and call themselves Christians, may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." 3 To this same end also, to ensure this unity, the Lord protests He has given to the Church His glory. The Church is the Bride of Christ. He has made us partakers of the Divine nature. His glory is reflected on us. It is communicated to us. In the ministration of the Spirit, in the Sacraments of His grace, He unites us to Himself, and in Him to one another. On this the Lord yet further dwells. He seems loath to leave it. To hear below a single strain of that harmony which is ever heard above, to catch amid the discords of earth one glimpse of that perfect state where love reigns, and all souls are in harmony,-is too rare a vision to be readily let pass. We may not marvel therefore that He dwells so much upon it, and prays that they may thus be perfected. Of two of the ancient Fathers, Gregory and Basil, it is recorded,-so united were they in heart and mind,-that it seemed as though but one soul informed their two bodies.8 Of the Primitive Church we are

1 Form of Prayer for the Twentieth of June.

2 Prayer for the Church Militant here on earth.

3 Prayer for All Conditions of Men.

2, 9.

Eph. v. 23-32; Rev. xix. 7; xxi.

$ 2 St. Pet. i. 4.

62 Cor. iii. 7-18.

' 1 Cor. x. 16, 17; Rom. xii. 5.

Milman, Hist. of Lat. Christi

« ElőzőTovább »