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notions respecting the nature and attribute of the Su. PREME BEING than mankind had before received. "
The men who were given him out of the world, as ató tendants on his ministry, were the apostles : these, we may judge from their readiness to receive the Gospel, were men of religious dispositions, who were God's servants before they were Christ's apostles. To them our Lord particularly revealed the will of God, because they received his doctrine as the word of God, and be. lieved what he declared concerning his own nature and office. To testify his love for his apostles, our Lord did not only include them in a prayer for the world in ge. neral, but even gave them a distinguished preference to the rest of his disciples.
Though his FATHER had given the apostles to our LORD as members of his mediatorial kingdom, they were still the servants of God: for their duty and alles giance to the MESSIAH had a constant reference to the union which subsisted between GOD THE FATHER and CHRIST.
By the effect which his doctrine had on their lives and conversations, and the testimony they bore to him, our LORD was glorified in his apostles.
The son of perdition was Judas Iscariot; he was lost through his own vices, and not by any neglect of his Divine Master. Jesus knew from the beginning that he would betray him, but admitted him into his society, as it was the will of the Father that he should do so, and also to do the utmost for his reformation. If Judas was so wicked with such advantages for goodness, he would undoubtedly have been sordid and impious in any situation; and his example justified God in leav. ing very bad people to themselves, since it is evident, that there are some persons whom nothing will reform,
How admirably did our Lord at once express his own good will, and teach his disciples what kind of blessings they should themselves pray for !
By imploring THE FATHER to give them joy in the discharge of their duty, such as he himself felt, our Lord taught his disciples to fortify their minds against the hatred of the world ; that, instead of wishing for death, they might be able patiently to endure life, however persecuted. His petition to the FATHER, that he would sanctify the apostles with the Holy Spirit, as he had promised, instructed them always to consider themselves as separated from the world for the peculiar service of God; and to remember, that they were sent by their LORD to preach for the same purpose, as he had been before sent by his FATHER. That the apostles might not forget to be thankful for their own sal. vation whilst they were promoting that of others, they were reminded, that it was for their sakes, as well as for mankind in general, Christ undertook his ministry; and that the doctrine which he delivered to them was the TRUTH.
Our Lord having by this excellent prayer, pointed out to his apostles what was particularly necessary for them to believe and teach, and also besought his FaTHER to give them grace to practise it, offered up his intercession in behalf of all who should at any time believe on him ; that as they through faith and Divine grace were united to God and Christ, they might through love and good works be united to each other; and by means of their union, confirm men in the belief of his mission, and the Divine origin of his religion.
It appears in the beginning of his prayer, that our LORD sought no glory separate from God: in the concluding part he promises, that whatever honour slvall be put upon his human nature, his faithful followers G4
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of th: by means of thood works be
. shall be partakers of it; that God, the MESSIAH, and - all true Christians, may form a spiritual kingdom on
eartb, and an eternal one in heaven : Our Lord once more declared, that he had preexistence with the Father before the foundation of the world. The conclusion of this excellent prayer was a solemn confirmation to his apostles, that what he had , formerly taught them concerning God was true; accompanied with a promise, that he would afford them farther knowledge of the perfections and will of God; that through the love of the Father to himself, his love for his disciples, and theirs for him, a spiritual intercourse might be preserved when his bodily presence was removed. Let us frequently and diligently meditate on this excellent prayer, and may Divine grace make it effectual to our benefit !
Matt. Chap. xxvi.-John, xiii.-.Luke xxii. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. ... Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offend. ed because of me this night : for it is written I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. · But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
Simon Peter said unto him, LORD, Whither goest thou ? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me after wards.
Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee, now! I will lay down my life for thy sake, I am ready to go with thee both to prison and to death. · Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. !
Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thees yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and serip, and shoes, lacked you any thing? And they said, Nothing. a
Then said he unto them, But now he that hath a purse, let him take it ; and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell. his garment, and buy. one.
For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me. And he was reckoned among the transgressors for the things concerning me have: an end.
And they said, LORD, behold, here are tivo swords. . And he said. unto them, It is enough.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS:
In tlie beginning of tliis Section our LORD seems to: allude to a passage in the prophecy of Zechariah, see Zech. cli. xiii. Siinon Peter certainly had a very zealous attachment to his Divine Master, but bie forgot that the infirmities of human nature make all men liable to; temptations, which they cannot overcome by their own strength, unassisted by Divine grace. Our Lory informed Péter, that he would shortly be exposed to such a temptation as he could form no idea of at presentz.
shortly disclaing him to prison his own heart :
when Satan, the great enemy of souls, would endea toa to take advantage of him, by tempting him to apostatize; but that he, foreseeing this danger, had already prayed to his FATHER, that Peter's faith might not sink under a trial so severe.
Our Lord then exhorted Peter to retain ever after wards a constant remembrance of the mercy vouchsafed to him, and to endeavour as much as possible, to engage all, over whom he should have any influence, to be steady to the Christian cause.
Peter, still confident of his own strength, expressed himself with great eagerness and warmth; on which our LORD assured him, that he knew not his own heart: for, so far from following him to prison and to death, he would shortly disclaim all connection with him.
In order to strengthen the faith of his apostles, our LOnD appealed to their own experience, whether they had, when he sent them forth, been in want of any thing necessary for the support of life? To which they replied, that they had not. He told them, that the case would be altered : for, instead of finding in every place the hearts of strangers disposed to receive them, they would be exposed to great sufferings and dangers in the prosecution of their ministry: it was, therefore, necessary that they should be well armed and furnished for the conflicting scenes they would be engaged in; for the time was approaching, when Isaiah's prediction, that " he shall pour out kis soul unto death, and be nunbered with the transgressors," should be fulfilled, by his being executed as a malefactor, and all that was predicted concerning him should suddenly be accom. plished.
From our LORD's expression, “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one, his disciples