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powers of darkness, he brought light and immortality to light by the Gospel.
This view of Christ, as being made our Life, was greatly interesting to the Evangelist, St. John. At the opening of his first Epistle, he exultingly speaks of his Lord and Master, as being “ The Life;" and, as having been “manifested” in this character. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may also have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1 John i. 1—4.)
(2) Another consideration which would heighten the satisfaction of the disciples, was, that their's was to be an abiding joy. St. John, even when grown to a great age, had not lost the consolation of this doctrine: he could yet speak and write of it, as communicating “fulness of joy.” It is a joy which cannot be taken away. Other pleasures may and will vanish; nay, some of them turn to perfect bitterness: those especially, which are in their nature sinful, will lead to eternal “weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” But who can rob a believer of his treasure ? Who can make that man poor and miserable, whom Christ fills with imperishable delights? “Your joy no man taketh from you.” Not the mocker: who, instead of shaking a believer's confidence, only makes him cling more closely to salvation, as a precious reality. Not the persecutor: for a true Christian regards the favour of his Maker as better than life itself. Not the terrors of death: for they do but open the gate of everlasting life.—Only, let us walk by faith. Let us honour Christ, by prizing his promises beyond our chief earthly joy. Let us keep the only way to true happiness, making Christ our All in all : “ whom having not seen, we love; in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
THE PRIVILEGE OF PRAYING TO THE FATHER
IN CHRIST'S NAME.
John xvi. 23–28.
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name : ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs : but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you :
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world : again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
It is no uncommon thing for persons to have, at an early period of their spiritual life, less light and comfort, than they afterwards enjoy. It was thus with the Apostles. The cause of this however, in their case, was, not merely that at the first their knowledge was imperfect, but the work of the Saviour was itself not yet perfected.
If it had been left to the choice of the disciples, they would at this moment have desired that their Lord should not depart, but that he should remain with them as long as possible. To hear his wisdom, to witness his works of mercy, and to delight in intercourse with him, freely asking of him the solution of every doubt and difficulty, appeared to them the highest possible happiness. But there were greater privileges than these, in store for them.
1. First, they would be taught to pray in Christ's name. This hitherto they had not done. They had indeed frequently sought blessings from Christ, and had never been refused. They had also, no doubt, frequently prayed to God; and had received answers to prayer. Every communication of divine grace, moreover, had been vouchsafed to them, though they knew it not, for Christ's sake: but they themselves had been ignorant of the nature of Christ's mediation : consequently, they had not presented their petitions in his name. But after Christ's ascension to glory, they and all believers were to expect every blessing as granted for his sake alone. Life, pardon, and peace; wisdom, holiness, succour, and consolation; every thing needful for time and for eternity, was to be implored in the name of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate.
2. Next, they were to regard this privilege, as a source of unbounded joy: “That your joy may be full." The highest conceivable satisfaction is briefly summed up in these words of promise“ Ask, and ye shall receive.” To ask and not receive, were misery indeed. It would fill our hearts, first, with disappointment; then, with despondency; and at last of all, with despair. But to ask in faith, relying upon a divine promise ; and then, in God's good time and measure, to receive all things needful for life and godliness—this, this is joy: a joy unceasing, ever enlarging, reaching onward to future days and years; and never to be surpassed, but by the delight of dwelling close to the Fountain of the river of the water of life, in heaven itself!
3. Our Lord, as the time of his departure drew nearer, seems more than ever bent on soothing the hearts, and opening the minds of his disciples. Pointing therefore to that future period, which should follow the descent of the Holy Ghost, he assures them that they already possessed, and they should then know that they possessed, the favour of his father in the highest degree. He seems almost to pass by his own office, as Mediator. Not as though any one of our sinful race could ever approach God, except through Christ: but, being once reconciled, through his death, we have boldness of access. We approach freely, cheerfully, fiducially.-“I say not, (Christ declares), that I will
pray the Father for you:” this office indeed I will not omit: but by virtue of it, ye shall advance so far as to know, that “the Father himself loveth you.” He will rejoice over you to do you good : he will honour your faith in me and in him. Your faith, and its accompanying joys, shall be so clear and strong, that the dispensation of the Spirit shall be no mystery to your minds. Once ye walked in darkness. Even while I have been with you, ye have got little further than twilight: but henceforth ye shall be “ light in the Lord.”
In a word, our Saviour seems to sketch in these short and simple propositions the history, first, of his own Ministry on earth; and then, of the dispensation of the Spirit in his Church to the end of time. “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: and ye, my beloved disciples, my chosen and faithful companions, ye are they that have continued with me in my temptations.” Henceforth, when the time of my deepest humiliation shall be ended, " I leave the world, and go unto the Father. My glory and felicity will then be complete. Ye too shall not then be forgotten : my advocacy on your behalf shall then fully commence: ye shall learn, (and that, in a very short