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is the gift of God, imparted by him to his friends, whom he makes and keeps faithful ; else they would quickly be ruined, by a heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
(2) They are also Affectionate. Who ever heard of friendship without love? And, the love being so great on the one side, what should be our gratitude and affection toward Christ! Jesus beheld this love in his disciples: and he sees the same in all genuine believers. They are attracted, warmed and melted by his love.— True love is not a selfish principle: it is not like a worldly bargain : “ If ye love them that love you, what do ye more than others?” It is a pure, generous, free attachment of the heart : “ Draw us: we will run after thee.” We see in the Old Testament an account of a very ardent friendship between two eminent men: “ The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David; and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Far stronger let the affection of love be, between Jesus and our souls !
(3) Again : holy, affectionate friendship is Confiding. A friend loves to be trusted. He says“ Unbosom yourself to me: apply to me in your difficulties: tell me all the desires of your heart.” If we fall in with his wishes, then this is the very way to attach him, and make him yet more zealous in our interest. Whereas, on the contrary, if we treat a friend, a valuable friend, with shyness, reserve, and distrust, he becomes alienated: he knows not how to belp us. The Apostles were very open and confiding with their Lord: so let us be! How large and boundless is his offer_5That whatSOEVER ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” Let us then tell him all our wants, all our griefs and infirmities, and even all our sins; for He knows all! “ Pour out your hearts before him.” Commit your soul to him.
Trust him with all you have.—Moreover, keep back nothing from this friend. Be like Abraham, the father of the faithful; who stood prepared to offer up his son, his only son, to God. “And thus the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called, The Friend of God.”
(4) Once more, observe, the friends of Jesus are Obedient. 6 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Here a tone of authority enters the discourse : but then it is the authoritý of the dearest Friend we have; a Superior, a Master, yet a Redeemer! He commands nothing, but what is for our good. “Love me: love one another.” What more reasonable; what more surely tending to our happiness; what more godlike, or more heavenly ?
Thus let us seek to be found among the friends of Jesus. May his Spirit draw us! Then shall we approach Him with a true, a loving, confiding, and obedient heart! Let us entreat Him to take us into the number of his chosen followers; that we may be taught, guided, and saved by Him !
THE WORLD, HATING CHRIST AND HIS
John xv. 18, 19.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own : but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. How painful to a feeling heart, is the transition from a subject infinitely lovely to one infinitely hateful; from friendship to war! But love and hatred, although totally opposite passions, yet lie very near together in the history, of mankind, and of the visible Church. And therefore our Lord, who describes things as they really are, reminds his disciples, that, if they faithfully followed the Gospel, which is all love, they would most certainly incur the hatred of the world. He had often told them so before: he now repeats the declaration.
In three things the world is perfectly consistent with itself; namely, In its hatred of Christ : its hatred of his disciples: and its love for all that is of itself; that is, for whatever is worldly.
1. We will consider the last, first. The world loves its own.
It loves all those pomps and vanities, those sinful pleasures and gaieties, which gratify the senses, and keep the heart far from God. They therefore who minister to this love of pleasure, are welcome guests: the idlest and even the silliest amusements are agreeable to the majority of mankind, and are paid for accordingly: that is, willingly and at a high price.
The world loves what is gainful. Money is the universal idol. Men are not, in general, very scrupulous how wealth is got: it is sufficient to raise a man into repute, to say that he is rich. “As long as thou doest well unto thyself, men will speak well of thee.”
The world loves what is sinful : 6 the whole world (saith this Apostle, St. John) lieth in wickedness.” Oh, the immensity of that flood of iniquity, which overspreads the earth! - The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm xiv. 2, 3.)— And as the world loves sin, so does it also love sinners. The company of the ungodly is not unacceptable to the world: “Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
And then, to complete the whole, the world likes any and every form of religious delusion. False religions, especially corruptions of the Gospel, exactly suit a worldly taste : because they lull the conscience, and yet leave a man in possession of his favourite lusts.“ Speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits”—is the world's cry: and there have always been flattering prophets enough, who have made it their business, to teach false doctrines, and to pervert the truth. A very lucrative trade, this, in the world !
2. On the other hand, the world hated Christ. But why? Because he was holy: because he spared no sin and no error, that came under his notice. He also enjoined holiness on all his followers; humility, purity, self-denial, heavenly-mindedness, and separation from a sinful world. He taught the truth, and nothing but the truth; condemning all hypocritical, self-righteous Pharisees; all infidel Sadducees; all courtly, worldly-minded Herodians. He let in the light upon all the workers of iniquity, and by that light put them to confusion. They hated the light which condemned them : in other words, they hated Christ.
3. For the same reason, the world hates all the followers of Christ; whether Apostles or Ministers, or truly religious persons of whatever age or nation. Votaries of the world seem to know, almost by instinct, that holy men are not of their party. If religious people would but be like other people, if they would but give up their singularity, and go by the rule, “ Eat, drink, and be merry," which governs the rest of mankind; then the world would love them. But this must not be! “ Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.”