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From the Gospel written by “that Disciple whom Jesus loved,” we learn that our Lord, on the night before his Crucifixion, discoursed and prayed in the presence of his disciples with unwonted freedom, fulness, and affection. Truth and Love flowed from his lips :—Truth, to establish their hearts; and Love, to soothe them.
The words of Christ are recorded for our encouragement. Here He tells us of heavenly things, with the authority of One who came from God, and who was God : while He condescends to our infirmities, with all the tenderest sympathy of the suffering Son of Man. Hence, this part of Scripture is always felt to be peculiarly suitable to the Afflicted. What doctrine is there, either necessary or consolatory for us to know, which is not amply unfolded here?
In reference to the following pages, the Author would simply state, that they were written during a protracted season of domestic sorrow. To that Source, where he himself finds refreshment, he is willing to direct others. These five Chapters of St. John's Gospel-perused with calm meditation, and with earnest prayer for the teaching of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter-will never fail to enlarge and elevate the heart of a Believer: for they are the words of Christ; “ they are spirit, and they are life.” By them, may our Lord himself speak to our inmost souls; re-assuring us of what he said to his distressed Disciples—IN ME YE SHALL HAVE PEACE!
DISCOURSE AND PRAYER
OF OUR LORD:
AS RECORDED IN THE GOSPEL OF SAINT JOHN.
THE LOVE OF CHRIST.
John xiii. 1.
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. ALTHOUGH Jesus had frequently declared to his disciples, whence he came, and whither he was going, yet, till about the close of his ministry, they were very imperfectly aware of his thoughts and purposes. On the evening of the feast of the Passover, however, he more distinctly told them all that was in his heart: and the Spirit of God afterwards brought all these things to their remembrance. In the Gospel, written by “ that disciple whom Jesus loved,” we have a full account of the last Discourse and Prayer of our Saviour. May his Spirit assist us in our meditations on this beautiful and precious part of the word of God !
In this introductory sentence, St. John represents our Lord as having his thoughts occupied about Himself, his Father, and his disciples.
In this and pro assist us
1. First, mention is made of his thoughts concerning Himself. “Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world."
He had, on former occasions, said, “ My time is not yet.” And when his enemies would have apprehended him, they were restrained from so doing, because (the Evangelist says) “his hour was not come.” But now, having dwelt on this earth more than three and thirty years, and during the last three or four years publicly exercised his ministry among men, Jesus knew that the time of his departure was at hand. He therefore prepared his own mind, and the mind of those about him, for the solemn season of separation.
2. “ The Father” is then named. He was going “ unto the Father.” Jesus knew that he was come from God, and went to God.” He had from eternity dwelt in the bosom of the Father. When he entered on his ministry, and at various times, a voice from heaven bare witness unto him, saying, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Father had filled him with the Holy Ghost, giving him the Spirit without measure, that he might be enabled to fulfil the work of Man's redemption. And now, the Father having given all things into his hands, he was about to return to heaven, to sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, there to administer the affairs of the kingdom of God. The time for this great change was at hand.
3. It is also recorded by this Evangelist, (and