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the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us ;" and to prepare a place for each and all of His servants, according to the degree and capacity of each for the glory that shall be revealed.1 He adds with a touching simplicity, "If it were not so, I would have told you." They might trust Him. He had never deceived them. Truth was His only object. Their overweening ideas of an earthly kingdom He had often had occasion to repress. If now their hopes of a kingdom in the heavens had been excessive, would He not have checked them here also? When in the East a caravan or company of travellers was journeying to some distant place, one of their number usually went on before, to prepare a place of reception for those that followed after. This gracious office of Fore-runner,3 the Lord Himself would discharge for His Disciples. As surely too as He goes on before for this purpose, so surely will He return, and fetch them from the midst of their labours, and take them to the place He has prepared for them, that they may share His reward. This was the subject of His promise before; this the subject of His prayer afterwards.5
THE INTERPELLATION OF THOMAS.
St. John xiv. 4–7.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and
1 "One of Christ's disciples may be more holy, more wise, more righteous than another; but none of His disciples will be excluded from that paternal house, where every child of God will have a mansion proportioned to the use he has made of the grace given him in this life. The term 'many mansions' signifies that there will be different degrees of felicity in the same eternity, as there are stars differ
ing from one another in glory in the
Heb. vi. 20. "They which follow are to go in the same way, and to attain unto the same place . . . and we hope to follow Him as coming late to the same perfection."-Pearson On the Creed, Art. vi.
4 St. John xii. 26.
how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
If the Disciples knew not whither their Lord was going, it was not for want of having been often told of it. If they knew not the way thither, it was not that He had never shown them. Yet Thomas here seems to intimate that Peter's question has not yet been answered. This interpellation is one of three we have at this time. Thomas first, Philip next, Judas (not Iscariot) afterwards, each has his question. In our Lord's reply to the first of these, He inverts the order. He does not speak of the "whither" till He has told them of the "way.' way." He tells them of the Father, when He has first told them of Himself. Often indeed already had He told them of both. His whole life indeed was the demonstration of this. Nevertheless He condescends to His servants' infirmity, and replies plainly, without any parable. Three things the Lord here predicates of Himself. Already in a Divine Allegory we have heard Him utter language like this, "I am the Door of the Sheep." This is the first thing; and it is the point, it will be observed, on which alone our Lord comments in the close of His sentence. Vain all other ways which the fancies of men may fashion for repairing the ruin of our nature. Next, He is not only true, but He is "the Truth." "The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." He is the substance of all those shadows. Lastly, He is "the Life."" He came to a world lying in wickedness, under sentence of death, and infused into it life. He gave it the hope, the prospect, the promise, the power of life eternal. That life which is in Him,' He imparts to His people.
1 St. Johu xiii. 36.
2 St. John x. 7, 9.
3 See George Herbert's Poem of The Call:
"Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life!
4 Acts iv. 12; 1 Tim. ii. 5; Heb. x.
19-22; 2 St. Pet. i. 4.
5 St. John i. 14, 17.
6 St. John i. 4.
71 St. John v. 11-13, 20.
St. John x. 10, 11, 15, 27, 28; xi. 25, 26; xvii. 3.
concludes His answer to His Disciple with what is at once a reproof of past ignorance, and an encouragement to present faith; confirming His former words. Yet His reproof of His Disciples here, though in the like words, is different in degree to His reproof of the Jews before. For these held the language of hatred and unbelief; those "the mournful language of complaining love." 3
THE INTERPELLATION OF PHILIP.
St. John xiv. 8-11.
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
Our Lord had come from telling His Disciples that, if they would see the Father, they must first learn to know the Son. Only through their knowledge of the Son could they arrive at the vision of the Father. Philip, whose faith was at this time imperfect, neither apprehends nor realizes these words. With that strange tendency of the human mind to overlook the more important points of any subject, and to seize only that on which our own thoughts have been running, this Disciple can think only of seeing the Father, not how only He is to be seen. Yet this was the point on which the Saviour had been dwelling; and, with a gentle reproof, He recalls His Disciple's wandering and partial mind thereto. But His
1 St. Johu x. 30.
2 St. John v. iii. 19.
3 A Plain Commentary.
St. John vi. 5-7.
language presently assumes a form we should scarcely expect; and it is worth while to notice it, were it only that we may come to see how much more there is in Holy Scripture than we may at first sight suppose; and be careful also how we correct the Divine speaker according to our human conjectures. The Lord seems to speak of words as corresponding to works, and of speaking as commensurate with doing. Words and works, we might be apt to think, can scarcely correspond; neither are speaking and doing, in human matters, the same thing. But we are not to judge of things Divine by the same standard. For are not the Lord's words works indeed? 1 "He spake, and it was done."2 So neither could the Lord's
words or works be independent of the Father. His works proved His words; and both proved that He and the Father are one. For Christ in His miracles spake always with authority. His language ever is, "I say unto thee;" while the Apostles, in working miracles, had to use His name and authority. For He was God's only begotten Son; they were only His chosen servants. So our Lord appeals to His works as evidencing His Divine mission; proving His claims; declaring Him to be the Son of God with power. And to show the intimate nature of the union between the Father and the Son, that it is not merely the Spirit of God inhabiting the mind of a man, as in the case of prophets and holy men of old, He is careful to present both sides of the case: "I am," and the same works prove it-"in the Father, and the Father in me."
Ecclus. xlii. 15; 2 Esdras vi. 3843. Chrysostom (Ser. vii. In Paraly ticum) says, "There was no interval. The voice went forth. The disease departed. The word became a work." So in 1 Sa. iii. 11, "I will do a thing." The Hebrew is a word." Augustine (Ser. cclii. 1) says, "Christ
is the Word of God, who speaks to men not only by sounds but by deeds."
2 Gen. i. 3; St. Matt. ix. 5-7; St. Luke vii. 14, 15; St. John xi. 43, 44. 3 Acts iii. 6; iv. 10; ix. 39. + St. John x. 37, 38.
5 See the original, v. 11.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xiv. 12–14.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Having spoken of the works which He Himself did, our Lord proceeds to speak to His Disciples of the works which they should thereafter do. But in what sense can it be said that their works should be greater than His? The words which He subjoins suggest the answer. He returned to the Father, that He might pour out upon them the Holy Ghost, and cause the leaven of His Church to leaven the whole world. His miracles, wondrous as they were and altogether Divine, were scarcely at all in the realm of spirit. The hour for that was not yet come.2 "He has sown, we reap; and the harvest is greater than the seed-time." 3 In that great
Pentecostal increase we have the first instalment of the promise, which He procured to be fulfilled; and in the spread of His Church and the propagation of the Gospel, we see its ever accumulating accomplishment. In the twice-proclaimed promise that follows He encourages them to pray. He will present their petitions and procure an answer. It is Christ Himself, one with the Father, who grants our requests. The
1 Compare St. Matt. xi. 11; St. John i. 50, 51; v. 20.
2 St. John vii. 39.
Stier, quoted in Alford.
4 Acts ii. 41, 47.
"And now began to work the greatest glory of the Divine Providence. . . They that had overcome the world, could not strangle Christianity. . . and Christianity without
violence or armies . . . with praying and dying, did insensibly turn the world into Christian, and persecution into victory."-Jer. Taylor, Ser. on The Faith and Patience of the Saints, part i.
The former time seems to relate to the fact, while the latter points rather to the person. The "I" of the original is expressed only in v. 14.