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way, he gradually opens the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, in the parts following of this discourse.
Concerning the offices of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we can understand no more than what Scripture has revealed. So much is told us, as may promote our instruction, edification, and comfort. More than this was not wanted : and our Lord does not reveal more.
Perhaps some may ask, Why did our Lord bring up mysterious subjects, in this his parting discourse; or, Why should there be any mysteries at all in Religion?
We answer, first—That there is no possibility of avoiding mysteries in Religion. For, whether much be revealed, or little, it is all one: much will still remain behind, unrevealed ; much that we cannot understand at present, seeing that God is infinite, and man is finite. If God were to display himself as no higher than our understandings, he would be but a man like unto us; and we should cease to reverence him as God. We cannot conceive of a God, as being on our level; or of a Religion coming from the true God, which shall be without mystery.
Next, consider—That, if no more were told us concerning the deeper mysteries of Religion, than what man might suppose to be necessary and useful, we should most probably have nothing at all revealed: for man, vain and sinful man, would be well content to live without God in the world, or even with the most monstrous and false notions about Him: as may be clearly proved by the case of thousands of blind idolaters.
It appertains solely to the All-wise God to determine, how far He will reveal himself. So far as He does reveal his nature to us, we are bound to give him our adoring thanks. We were sunk in the deepest darkness: the smallest ray from heaven, being the light of pure Truth, is an infinite mercy, and a free gift to man.
Let us now turn to the remarks, in particular, made by our Lord to Philip at this time. He speaks of heavenly things, as one who had himself been in heaven: that is, not in a studied, formal way; but easily and familiarly: just touching great truths, and laying them naturally before our minds.
“ From henceforth (he says to Philip) ye know the Father, and have seen him.” Philip answers, (declaring his ignorance, and yet his desire to be taught,) “ Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” As much as to say-Thou tellest us, that it is possible to see the Father; nay, that we actually have seen Him: and yet we are not conscious of it. Only then explain this point; show us the Father: and we are content.
Our Lord returns a mild, yet deserved rebuke to his disciple:-Have I, thy Master and Teacher, been these three years and upward with thee; have I given thee so many opportunities of knowing me; and yet hast thou not attained to this truth, that he who hath seen Jesus, hath seen the Father? When thou oughtest to be a teacher, art thou still a learner; a child in knowledge, and a child in faith?
Our Lord then uses an expression, intended to show, that the co-existence or unity of the Father and the Son is of the most perfect kind.— It has been called, The mutual In-being of the Fathers and the Son.-So far, however, as this profound subject can be made clear, the words of Jesus himself best declare it: “ I am in the Father, and the Father in me.”
To give additional authority to his doctrine, he reminds Philip, that not his words only, but his miraculous works also, gave him a claim to be believed.
On this great mystery it behoves us to follow closely the declarations of Holy Scripture, and by no means to deviate into human speculations. Briefly then we observe-That Christ and the Father are one. Christ, like the Father, was perfect in holiness : for none could ever convince him of sin. Like the Father also he is infinite in justice: many times did he declare the severity of his judgment against the impenitent; (especially against the Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites). Like the Father, Christ is Almighty; for by his own power he raised the dead; yea, he raised himself to life. Like the Father, he is infinite in mercy and truth: for, whereas God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, Christ likewise so loved the world as voluntarily to give himself to die for our sins; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
He that hath seen Jesus, then, hath seen the Father. “ No man hath seen God at any time: the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Our blessed Lord unfolds this great truth to Philip and the other disciples, (and through them to us), in order to the following important practical ends :—That all men may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father:—that, through the milder glories of Emmanuel, as displayed in the Gospel, we may contemplate the infinite holiness, justice, power, truth, and love of God: and, that we may be touched with the wonderful condescension of our Lord Jesus Christ, in stooping so low to save sinners. Thus beginning to learn heavenly things here on earth, we shall be better prepared for the perfect light of heaven above.
Oh, that there were such an heart in us, that we might earnestly desire, like Philip, to be instructed by Christ! Thus shall we be gradually enabled to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God! Being rooted and grounded in faith, and being taught to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; we shall at the last be filled with all the fulness of God.
CHRIST, OUR INTERCESSOR, ENCOURAGES
PRAYER IN HIS NAME.
John xiv. 12-14.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. Our Lord encourages his disciples, and believers throughout all ages of the Church, by declaring what great things he will perform on their behalf, when returned to his Father in glory. His own ministrations on earth had been distinguished by many works of mercy, and by important revelations of divine Truth: but it was the design of Christ, that the Church in following ages should be yet more largely blessed, through the ministrations of his Apostles, accompanied by the energy of the Holy Ghost.
Let us, with earnest prayers for the teaching of this Holy Spirit, contemplate the three important truths which this passage unfolds to our view.
1. First, our Lord refers to that high Office which he was about to undertake.
“ I go unto my Father.” This expression is often used by him. It signifies, not merely a departing from earth to heaven; but, his going for a particular purpose. What that purpose was, we know from various other parts of Scripture. He