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understand, and which he did not think it well at that time further to explain.*
Silence seems to have followed these words, but how many things had been said that night to fill the Apostles with distress! They sat around their Lord dismayed and depressed He had warned them that in that very night they should be scattered from him—that one of them should betray him, that another, and that the boldest and most zealous of the band, should, before the cock crew for the dawn of another day, thrice deny that he knew him. He had shown them the violent death that awaited him, by breaking bread and pouring out wine, and giving it to them, and telling him that even thus his body should be broken and his blood poured out for them, and that they were to do this henceforth in remembrance of him. He was then to leave them !-and a violent death was to take him from them! What was to become of them ?
Alas! where now were all the bright hopes with which they had gathered round him on the banks of the river Jordan ! the exulting joy with which they had said one to another, “We have found the Messiah, the Christ. We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write.” † All gonesadness and perplexity was upon them. If ever men were in need of comfort, surely it was these eleven, who silent and sorrowful sat around their Lord. Did he not know that he had destroyed all their hopes ? He did, and thus He spoke.
John xiv. 1-3. "Let not your heart be troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
As the Italians say, Basta—" enough"-when they wish to end a conversation.
† John i. 41, 45. VOL. IV.
Thus with kindly wisdom he raised them above their ruined earthly hopes, teaching them that their love for him must be no more a human bond. From henceforth it was to be their religion. While he dwelt among them it had been difficult for them to know how they felt for him, or what they thought of him, for it was only slowly and by degrees that they were able to see that his “kingdom was not of this world," and to comprehend that he s was God manifest in the flesh. Even now they understood it not, therefore Jesus tells them that even as they believe in God the Father they must believe in him, for “ the Father and the Son are one.”
“ Ye believe in God, believe also in me.'
Let them lift their thoughts from earth to heaven. They mourned his loss and their desolation : they need not, he was going to prepare a place for them among the many mansions of their Father's home. Nor shall they arrive there as strangers, he shall come again and receive them unto himself, that they might part no more.
Yes ! He comes again. Through life the believer is never quite apart from Christ, for in Him alone his soul can live ; but he follows Him often in darkness, sometimes in doubt. It is by faith only that he can feel the Saviour near. Not so in death. Then He comes again. Yes, I believe His words. I believe that in that solemn hour when the damp chills of death are gathering on the brow, to each child of His the Saviour comes with His all-consoling promise, "to receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.”
O Christ our Lord ! like thine Apostles we are often sore dismayed. Our hearts are troubled, we believe in God, we also believe in thee. Raise thou our wishes and affections above the trials and disappointments of earth to thy Father's house, where there are many. mansions”-room enough for all. When we chose God for our portion, and resolved to follow Thee, we fondly thought that we had done with care; but it is not so, and our hearts are weary. Thou art gone to thy Father's house, and we are left alone to struggle as we may with a cold world that loves thee not, and turns with careless scorn from those who would seek Thee as their chiefest good.
Thou art preparing a place for thine own, fit us now for that place, prepare us for thy Father's house; and that we may find the way, let this thy last address to thy disciples sink deep into our hearts. Let the power of the Spirit be with every word while we listen.
“ And whither I go ye know, and the way ye
Verse 4. know."
Looking back, as we now do, upon that long past time, we wonder how slow the disciples were to understand their Lord's meaning; but their minds seem to have been too confused with the idea of the immediate parting of which he spake, to be able to take up any spiritual meaning; and Thomas simply said that as they did not know the place he was going to, they could not know the way to it.
Verse 5. “Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest ; and how can we know the way ?”
Our Lord in his answer passes over the idea of a journey that was in his disciples' mind, and replies so as to fix their thoughts upon himself as the beginning, middle, and end of their safety and happiness ; for the knowledge of Christ as the Saviour leads to all else that is needful.
Verses 6, 7. “ 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."
Blessed Lord, we adore Thee, for having thus declared thyself the way, and the truth, and the life. The way, the only way that leads from earth to heaven. The truth, the only truth; that for which each soul of man yearns from the hour in which he ceases to be a child and begins to think; for we, though fallen, are heaven-born, and cannot be put off with lies; we are not happy till we have found the truth. The Life ! yes, the Life. Oh let us pause one moment, and remember how death enshrouds the world, how all things die, how often we have wept for our nearest and our dearest, how we ourselves but wait to die. We may put the thought from us, but we know it-death is at hand. Thanks be to God! Christ is the Life. The knowledge of this sheds a bright sunshine over the Christian's path, and the dark shadow ever moving by our side, disappears in its brightness. Death is lost in Life ; for Christ is the life of our souls, therefore there is no death for the believer; he only “ departs to be with Christ, which is far better." Those who have read much of past times, and those who have seen much of present times, best know how, since the beginning, men have wearied themselves in a vain search after the reality of good in this life, and the reality of hope in the life to come. What else are all the struggles after this and that plan for man's happiness? What else all the different forms of religion that have filled and do fill the earth ?
In a few words Christ settles the whole matter, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me, If the religion of Christ were followed out in simplicity, the world would be happy and man at rest.
One day we trust it shall be so, when He “shall reign in righteousness," and the nations of the earth shall become the kingdom of God and of his Christ.
That the Father has meanwhile shown himself to us in his Son is a truth that is full of mercy; for our thoughts could never even imagine God. He is so far above us that we could
not reach unto Him; but in the person of His Son He has come down to our level. In Him we have a sympathizing friend who knows our griefs because He has felt them all, and by His own experience understands our trials ; thus in Christ the tenderness and almighty love of the Father is brought within the reach of our minds.
All this was not yet plain to the Apostles, and when Jesus said, “If
should have known the Father also, and from henceforth ye both know Him and have seen Him,"
Verse 8. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” There is a tender reproach in the answer of our Lord
Verses 9–11. “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.”
If Philip could not be brought to believe by the word of Jesus, which was indeed the word of God, let him use the evidence of his senses and be convinced by the miracles Christ had performed, which all men knew could only be done by the power of God. For who but God could raise the dead, and cure all kind of diseases by a word ? God only can command and it is done ; therefore when Jesus said to the dead “ arise," and to the blind eyes and deaf ears“ be opened," and was obeyed, he shewed that he was God.
Verse 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that