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pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring. And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.”—(Isaiah xliv. 3–5.)
4. Yet this Holy Spirit is rejected by the World.
Awful and affecting as the fact is, yet certain is it, that many neglect to consider, whether there be any Holy Ghost: and some even commit the unpardonable sin of denying Him. The Jews, in rejecting Christ, blasphemed the Spirit also; as St. Stephen declares, “ Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” The world, (that is, all carnal, careless, ungodly persons,) cannot receive the Spirit of truth; because they love Him not. “ This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world; and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” “ The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
May Jesus, in his infinite mercy, keep us from this state of ignorance and delusion! May He cause the light of his Gospel to shine clearly and strongly into our hearts; and not suffer the god of this world to blind our eyes! O let us, with all humility and thankfulness, welcome this abiding guest, the Spirit of truth, the Comforter !
THE DISCIPLES NOT LEFT COMFORTLESS.
John xiv. 18—20.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more ; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. This passage, in the original, literally signifies, “ I will not leave you Orphans.”
When children, yet in their youth, are deprived of wise, kind, religious parents, their desolateness is beyond expression. The mother (it may be supposed) had nursed them with tenderness, cherished their hearts by the sweetness of her disposition, and inspired them with pure and excellent affections. The father would then follow up this early training, by graver counsels. By his industry he was providing for them; by his wisdom he guided them; by his generous treatment he encouraged them; by his authority he restrained them; by his experience he warned them; by his example he fortified them; and by his prayers, in secret and in the family, he brought down a blessing upon them. If any child of such parents behave himself untowardly, the blame is his, not theirs. But, generally speaking, it pleases God, sooner or later, to crown such labours with success : according to the promise, “ Train up a child in the way wherein he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
But now, the parents are removed by death ! Removed, perhaps, not before some good impression has been made upon their offspring: but still these young persons must hereafter struggle on, very much by themselves : and they are perhaps just old enough to appreciate the loss they have sustained, and the difficulties that lie before them. Bitter stroke indeed !
So felt the disciples at this last supper with their Lord. They had some years before left all, and followed him: he had been their Teacher, Reprover, Friend, and Comforter: more kind and wise, than any earthly parent! He had bound them moreover to a service the most important and arduous conceivable:-and now he leaves them.
Jesus could not but know what his disciples felt: they were in all the anguish of children hanging over the death-bed of a revered father. He therefore calms their emotions with a word in season: “I will not leave you orphans.”
He adds, “I will come unto you.” This would be the very wish of their hearts : but Jesus meant it in another sense: “ I am coming, and that soon, by the operation of my Spirit.” How much higher are Christ's intentions, than our expectations; and his gifts better than our desires !
« At that day”—(meaning the day of Pentecost; and further still, the long-extended day of the Gospel-dispensation, ushered in by the descent of the Holy Ghost)-at that day, Jesus tells them, ye shall understand the nature of my Mediatorial Kingdom. Ye shall comprehend how it is that I stand as Mediator between the Father and you. I am, by my essential nature, “in the Father:" and I will, by grace, be “in you :” and by that same grace I will unite you to myself, so that ye shall be “in me;" by a union, inconceivable to others, but known to those who possess faith in me.
Two things are mentioned by our Lord, as attendant on this holy Union : namely, The spiritual beholding of Jesus : and, Life in him.
1. The Beholding of Jesus is the greatest of all delights to a spiritual eye. While Jesus was yet speaking, the eyes of the Eleven were, no doubt, fixed on him, wondering at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. It would be no small consolation to look upon his countenance: to take a last, long, earnest, look! Thus it is with us. We are so habituated to our corporeal senses, and the eye, in particular, exercises so strong an influence over our minds, that we are slow to think how powerfully the eye of faith ought to act, and still more, how intense the spiritual eye in heaven will be. Moses, by his faith, endured, as seeing Him who is invisible:—and of the glorified spirits before the throne of God and of the Lamb, it is said, “ They shall see his face.” So then a far higher privilege is prepared for believers, than the sight of Christ in the flesh. In that character even “ the world” could see him, and did see him; and having profited nothing by the sight, saw him no more. But believers see him unceasingly. “ Ye see me:” and beholding me, ye shall be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2. The other blessing here mentioned, is, Life in Jesus. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Here is both the privilege of the believer, and his security for it. Every member of the mystical body lives, because the Head lives. Christ's vital energy is transfused into all the members, through their faith. Then fear not sin, and Satan, and death, Othou downcast believer! Thy Redeemer is mighty: he unites thee to himself, first, by the lively principle of thy faith : then he imparts to thee the living principle of holiness. And, if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in thee, then shalt thou also be quickened together with Christ. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.” O let us not mourn, then, as orphans; but freely take the comfort offered us by Jesus, our ever-present Lord, our life and our glory!
CHRIST MANIFESTING HIMSELF TO BELIEVERS,
AND NOT TO THE WORLD.
John xiv. 21—26. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world ?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will