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bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you : continue ye in
Deep and mysterious is this abiding love that gives to man the power of making the fit return, even as the warmth of the Sun draws fruit and flowers from the cold soil, in which without the sunshine the good seed must die.
Verse 10. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love ; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."
Christ offers to His people a union with Himself like to that which had, while on earth, united him with God his Father. Surely now they would cease to grieve, and understand that they ought rather to rejoice.
Verses 11.-15. « These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth ; but I have called you friends ; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
Do we not seem to see the countenances of the Apostles standing round their Lord, listening to each word he spoke, with the deep sad feeling that soon they must hear His voice no more ?
Grief, hope, and tenderness, must have followed each other in the looks they bent upon him as they heard bim, and the history of each man's separate call from the every-day occupations of his life must have risen to his mind as Jesus said,
Verses 16-19. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain ; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own : but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
The world ever has, and ever will love its own : but it never did and never can love those whose chiefest desires are to advance God's kingdom. Let the thought of this be a wholesome check upon the world's favorites, a soothing influence upon those whose human feelings are apt to droop before the world's neglect and dislike. If Christ is their's, what need they more ? Let them continue in His love, and love one another. This is IIis commandment.
Verses 20-24. "Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin : but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin ; but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father."
The Jews had long prided themselves upon being the peculiar people of God; but they had changed his holy religion into one that better suited the stern pride of their hearts. “By their traditions they had made his commandments of none effect," and now that in the person and character of the Messiah they were as it were brought face to face with the God of Israel, they turned from him with abhorrence. If we compare the description given by God of Himself in Exodus xxxiv. 6, 7. with the whole life and character of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall see that He was in very deed the express image of his Father ; yet the Jews who called themselves the people of God hated him. They hated the long-suffering mercy that forgave the penitent sinner, they hated the purity that will “by no means clear the guilty," and they were fast bringing the awful visitation upon themselves and their children, "unto the third and fourth generation.”*
Verses 25, 26. “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."
By the Holy Spirit the wearied heart of man is led unto its only rest, the rest in Christ. Without Him men in vain may search after God; they will never find Him. Like the Jews of old they will add to, and take away from the truth, till they have made to themselves an idea of God, so unlike Him, that when brought face to face with Him in the Christ, the Messiah of the Scriptures, they know him not. It is the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, who alone can take of the things of Christ that are written in the Scriptures, and testify of them to the human heart.
To the Apostles Christ gave the glorious part to be His witnesses on earth; to them he said
Verse 27. “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."
* Exodus xxxiv. 7.
The Lord Jesus once more repeated to his apostles, the trials their devotion to Him must bring upon them, that when they came they might not be discouraged; but on the contrary might in their very sufferings see a proof of the wisdom of their choice. When they found that he had truly spoken of the cruelty and injustice they should meet with, from the people of the Jews, they would know that with equal certainty the day would come when they “should sit upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Let us remember, when bowed down by sorrow, that all the promises are sure. We find the words of Jesus to be a grievous truth, “In the world ye shall have tribulation, and not less true shall we find the end of the sentence " in me ye shall have peace !' Let us with thoughtful minds dwell on each word of warning and of comfort spoken by the departing Redeemer to His apostles, spoken to them it is true, to sup. port them in their more immediate trial, but spoken also to each of us who through their word still believe on His name.
Joan xvi. 144. “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues : yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father
But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.”
* Romans X. 2.
1 Corinthians ii. 7.
In mercy, the future is hidden. Would the apostles have as willingly left all to follow Christ, had they distinctly seen at the first whither He led ? Step by step as they had trodden that painful path, strength had been given them. They had journeyed for a time by His side, till they learned so to love Him, that all sacrifices seemed light for His sake. When first He called them, they had obeyed the call, because they believed Him to be the Messiah for whom Israel was waiting; but now having dwelt in endearing communion with Him, having seen with their own eyes His works of mercy, having heard the gracious words He spoke, which ever lifted their hopes and fears above the things, on which as Jews their minds had been set, they had slowly learnt, they were even now learning, that his kingdom was not of this world, that if they would reign with Him, they must also suffer with Him. It is thus that self-denial, that the readiness to give up all for Christ's sake, is acquired. It must spring from love to Christ. It is only a new and better affection, that can expel the power of an old and less worthy affection.* By nature we love the world : for by nature we cannot but prefer the things that are seen, to the things that are not seen ; but if we learn to love the Lord who gave. His life for our sakes, then shall we see all things in a new and better light. All that the world contains will take its proper value. The good things it offers will be enjoyed as the gifts of the beloved Lord in whose service they will be used, and we shall learn the great lesson, that nothing in creation is in itself bad, but only becomes bad by the sinful use and abuse men make of it.f The love of Christ, and that alone, can restrain men from turning the very gifts of God into a source of evil; therefore, the love of Christ is the one thing we must strive to cultivate in ourselves, and in those around us; and surely they greatly err, who begin their lessons of religion by re-counting
* See Chalmers's Sermon II. t See Bridgewater Treatise, by Chalmers.