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keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Again the conversation is varied, by, a question from Judas: (not the traitor, who had quitted the table; but another disciple of a similar name.) He asks pointedly of our Lord, how it was that He would manifest himself to his disciples, and not to the world. A weighty distinction; though Judas probably did not perceive the entire scope of his own question, till he received an answer to it. By acknowledging our ignorance, and seeking knowledge from those that possess it, we may often give a wise man the opportunity of speaking something highly profitable.
Judas had perhaps some carnal notions concerning Christ's re-appearing to establish a temporal kingdom; a favourite topic with the disciples : and if so, then probably he desired to know what part they, as disciples, were to occupy in that earthly kingdom, to the exclusion of others, whom Christ designated as “the world.” Or if, in any sense, their Master were to appear again, after having been absent, then Judas desired information how it was that he would confine his visit to the company of his disciples.
But our Lord conveyed a far deeper truth in his answer. He availed himself of the distinction expressed by Judas, to point out the real difference between his faithful disciples and the world. This difference, as to its main characters, is the same in all ages. May Christ by his Spirit assist our minds, profitably to meditate on this important distinction : and may he dispose us to cast in our lot with his highly-favoured followers !
1. The disciples of Christ are characterized, mainly, by their possessing and keeping the commandments of their Master. This is their evidence that they love Christ, and that they belong to Him. It is the natural effect of love, to remember with delight the sayings of the person whom we love. Is Christ then the beloved of our souls ? His words will, by necessary consequence, be continually in our memories.
His commands will come with authority to us: his discourses will be the theme of our sweetest meditations: his promises will be our richest consolation. Like one of the ancient prophets, Jeremiah, we shall exclaim, “ Thy words were found and I did eat them; and they were unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Or like Job we shall say, “ I have esteemed the words of thy mouth more than my necessary food.”
Thus it is that Christ manifests himself, in his revealed word, to every believer's heart. The believer beholds in that word the dignity, the holiness, the wisdom, the condescension and tender
mercy of his Lord. The more we are drawn, by the Spirit, to know and have communion with Christ in his word, praying over it, trusting in it, and conforming our minds to it, so much the more will Christ, out of the fulness of his grace, love us. His Father also will love us. We shall be admitted to that intimate knowledge of God, which the beloved disciple describes; 6 Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
There was a further sense, in which our Lord intended to manifest himself to his disciples; namely, by giving them the Holy Ghost, to enable them to write the Scriptures of the New Testament. This was a miraculous gift, special in their case. Christ promises that the Comforter should teach them all things; (that is, all doctrine necessary for salvation ;) and should also bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever he had said unto them. Without this aid, we never should have had the Gospels and the rest of the New-Testament writings. How wonderfully full, exact, and clear, are these lively oracles ! In them, as it were, we see Christ work, and hear him speak. If the account had been written the moment after Christ's actions and discourses, it could scarcely have been more natural or more vivid.
And from whom is this divine word? It is not the word of a disciple: nor yet merely the word of the Son of man: but, the Truth of the Father, who sent Jesus into the world. The Father, through the Son, revealed these things to mankind by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.—And as the Truth comes to us from the Father, so likewise it is He who brings men to a saving knowledge of it. According to our Lord's declaration, “ No man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” When we are thus drawn towards God, then Christ manifests himself to us; and enables us to love and do his holy will.
2. To the world he does not so manifest himself But why? Because the world loves him not. Worldly persons do not like to retain Christ in their knowledge: therefore he stands aloof from them. Their hearts are set on other things: on pleasure, money, honour; on the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and on the sinful lusts of the flesh. “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. · And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof." These are the things with which the god of this world blindeth the minds of them that believe not.
Such is the simple and natural account of Scripture, concerning all men in their unconverted state. But oh, how sad is the condition of such persons ! Whichever way it is viewed, it is terrible. Not to love Christ! Not to keep his words ! Not to know our need of the Saviour; not to be attracted by his infinite love; but to feel always that it is a force upon our spirits to be obliged to hear of his Name, his word, his sovereignty, and the terrors of the day of judgment: oh, in what a tremendous
state of guilt and condemnation is every unconverted man! Worldly men wonder to see believers so affectionately devoted to Christ: believers wonder and tremble to see the world such an enemy to Christ! But as the world will not inquire after this Divine Redeemer, so neither will He suffer persons, while continuing worldly, to approach him. And this is the proper answer to the question, “How is it, or wherefore and in what manner is it, that Jesus manifests himself, spiritually, to his disciples, and not unto the world?' It is, because the world hates him, while his disciples love him.
Let us examine well, on which side we are ranging ourselves. Are we friends, or enemies, of the Lord of glory? May God, by his Almighty Spirit, unite us to the happy company of those, who obtain mercy through Christ Jesus !
THE BLESSING OF PEACE.
John xiv. 27.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. When some great affliction is known to be impending, and the mind naturally dreads the worst, it is no easy matter to subdue and calm the feelings. Our disquietude gradually keeps rising: the tide of sorrow advances: wave upon wave pours in; till at length the heart is well nigh overwhelmed.