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Spirit would work on the hearts of men by means of this doctrine. This simple, unadorned preaching would prove to be “the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth.” For each individual believer, therefore; yea, for multitudes of believers at that time unborn, Jesus here prays. 6. He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” The humblest and obscurest of his servants
therefore be assured, that Jesus had respect to him, in this very prayer, which he uttered the night before his Crucifixion.
Great and glorious are the blessings, which Jesus here invokes on behalf of believers.
66 That they all may be one:” all united to God in Christ, and thus all united with one another: united, even as the Father and Christ are one! The union of the Son with the Father is a mystery, far above our comprehension : we know only, that it must be intimate and perfect: and as the Father and Son are one, so are believers made one, in them. Christ had received glory from his Father, and he desires that the mystical members of his body may share in the same glory. Thus is Christ in us, as the Father is in him : “I in them (saith Christ), and thou in me.”
Oneness of essential nature, cannot subsist between a created being, and the Creator. But there may be, and there certainly is, oneness of purpose, interest, and affection, between all believers, and Christ. St. Paul speaks of this union with his accustomed force: “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (Eph. v. 30.) And yet more fully when he says, “ There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians iv. 4–6.)
Instead of speculating upon mysteries which are unfathomable, and striving to define wherein the union of believers with God and with one another, resembles the union of the Father with the Son; it is far better to meditate on those practical views, which tend to cement the affections of all genuine Christians in one.—Looking to our origin, let us remember, that once we were all partakers of a common ruin: we were by nature bound in the chains of sin, and children of wrath. We have had also a common deliverance. Our Redeemer is one; Jesus Christ the righteous. If moreover we have become new creatures in him, we have all been made to drink into the same Spirit. We have one common rule of faith, the word of God, When the Lord promised to his people, “ I will give them one heart and one way,” he described that sort of affectionate family-feeling, which unites brother with brother in Christ. They all 6 love the brotherhood.” In the early days of Christianity, this was remarkably exemplified : “the multitude of them that believed, were of one heart and of one soul.” This close affection was what our Lord intended in his prayer.”
Alas! for the professing Church, which for ages
hath been a scene of so much disunion and controversy; grievous beyond expression, to all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity! Can we regard those as like-minded with Christ, who needlessly form parties in his professing Church? Christ himself designed that there should be only one Spirit, animating the whole body; and for this he prayed. They are his truest disciples, who follow out his purpose, not in word and in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Union is best promoted, by our learning to mortify our pride, and to wear the yoke of Him, who was meek and lowly in heart. If all knew their proper station, and kept it; if all knew their proper gift, and cultivated it; in lowliness of mind esteeming others better than themselves —there would then be something like unity amongst us. “ For I say (writes St. Paul) through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” (Romans xii. 3—5.)
Christian union implies an eminent degree of genuine love subsisting among Christians. Charity is 6 the bond of perfectness.” And, would we know what Christian love is, let us hear St. Paul again : “ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; cha
rity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Cor. xüi. 4-7.)
Christians formed by the Holy Spirit agreeably to this model, are objects of delight and complacency to our Heavenly Father. They are dear to him, even as his own beloved Son: “Thou (saith Christ to the Father) thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
It is observable that our Lord adverts to this subject of unity, nearly the last in his prayer. Foreseeing the numbers that would flock into his Church, he prays the more earnestly for their union in heart and affection. A divided house cannot stand. It is Satan's base artifice, to “divide and conquer.” The strength of our Jerusalem consists in her being built as a city that is compact together.
This unity of Christ's disciples, was intended to serve as a perpetual, progressive, and public attestation to the world, (even to persons the most profane), that Christ was come from God: “that the world may
know that thou hast sent me.” As the scattering of the Jews among all nations, is a standing proof of the truth of prophecy; so was the unity of Christians to be a constant demonstration to mankind, that Jesus is the Christ of God. May that evidence gain increasing strength in our days ! May the blessed times, foretold by Isaiah, be hastened in their arrival :--when - the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah xi. 6-—9.)
JESUS CONCLUDES HIS PRAYER FOR HIS
DISCIPLES AND ALL BELIEVERS.
John xvii. 24 - 26.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them. As our great Mediator and Advocate draws toward the close of his prayer, he appears as one gradually