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Worldly people frequently express their dislike of the religious, pretending that they “set themselves up as the favourites of heaven.” It is not to be wondered, that they should try to discover or invent some matter of reproach against them, however frivolous. What they cast in the teeth of the godly, is however, in part, the truth : for the saints are indeed the highly-favoured of the Lord: only, they do not boast of it, or despise others. What Jesus said to the Eleven, holds good of all his genuine followers: “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” Oh let us, with all humility, glory in this heavenly distinction! And let us, by the help of God's most Holy Spirit, walk worthily of our high calling, so that Jesus may never be ashamed of us ! Let us strive to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things!
Let us also not forget to pray for those, who hate and persecute the faithful followers of Christ. Who can tell but that they, seeing our light shine before men, may glorify our Father which is in heaven? Oh, that they might be brought to say, “We will go with you, for God is with you!”
THE WORLD, REJECTING CHRIST:-THE PROMISE
OF THE SPIRIT, RENEWED.
John Xy. 20—27. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your's also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. DISCIPLES of Christ, even those who are the best instructed, frequently need to be reminded of the sayings of their Master. “Remember the word that I said unto you.” Those truths especially, which are contrary to flesh and blood, are reluctantly admitted into the mind, and are easily forgotten. Consequently, when the time comes for applying those truths to our own conduct, they have vanished from the memory. This may be the reason why Jesus so often tells the eleven, that they are to expect from the world no better treat
ment, than what he had experienced. They were to follow Christ, not in holiness and love only; but also in suffering for righteousness' sake.
The guilt of the world, however, in rejecting Christ and his ministers, is exceedingly great and aggravated. It will be useful to observe the particular characters of this sin, as they are stated by our Lord.
1. First, the world's rejection of Christ, springs from ignorance, coupled with a natural hatred of God the Father.
The world by wisdom knows not God: and even when God is revealed to man-and this he is by Jesus Christ-still worldly hearts will not learn what is so plainly taught. Men, living under the light of a divine revelation, profess in a general way to know God: and yet, when further taught by Jesus, who came forth from God, they show by their rejection of Christ, that they never knew the first principles of truth aright. In works they deny him. So our Lord had declared to the unbelieving Jews, who boasted, “ We have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God: neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word.”
2. Next, this rejection of Christ is a denial of the evidence of miracles: which are the proper credentials of a teacher come from God.
Often had our Saviour argued on this ground, “ If ye believe not me, yet believe the works.” His miracles were works of power and mercy so stupendous, that none performed by Moses and all the other prophets, could stand a comparison with them: but “for all this, though he had done so many mighty works, yet believed they not on him.”—Can any thing, for example, be imagined more wilfully blind and stubborn, or more thoroughly demoniacal, than the spirit which took possession of the Pharisees, immediately after the raising of Lazarus? They said, “ What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him.” They quarrel with the very end, for which Christ wrought his miracles. And then, showing their horrid baseness and malignity, it is added, that from that day forward they took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. Nay, they even consulted to put Lazarus also to death ; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. Thus, the unbelieving Jews had no cloke for their sin: they were inexcusable. « The vail was upon their heart.”
3. And here, after all, is the main reason why men reject Christ: their sin springs from an inward source; namely, an evil heart of unbelief. Jesus here quotes a verse from the Psalms, prophetic of his rejection: 66 They hated me without a cause:” that is, without any sufficient reason; nay, against the strongest reasons for admiring, loving, and adoring him. Then whence this enmity? It springs from man's fallen nature: “The carnal mind is enmity against God;" and vents itself in rage against Jesus, against his Gospel, his ministers, his people, his very Name! It is an awful fact; but thus it is declared by Jesus:—the unbeliever's own corrupt heart is the cause of his hating the Gospel
Jesus renews his promise of sending the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, to cheer and guide his disciples. Blessed assurance, so greatly needed in this dark and perverse world! With what joy and confidence should we follow the teaching of this Holy Spirit, which proceedeth from the Father, and which is sent by him, in answer to his Son's intercession! Since then the whole Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the eternal, incomprehensible Jehovah, condescends to provide all things necessary for our salvation, let us adore, submit, and obey with humble and teachable hearts. Let us thankfully listen to the doctrine of those holy men, who had the privilege of constantly hearing Jesus himself proclaim the glad tidings of the Gospel. These faithful followers, (Christ notices the important fact,) had been with him “ from the beginning;” and were therefore eminently competent witnesses. And their labours and writings ought to be so much the more precious and honourable in our view, inasmuch as some of them are known to have sealed their testimony to the truth with their own blood.