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If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 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. 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 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 you 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.
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. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for
my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
Surely, if we are not entirely strangers to the Divine life, we cannot read such discourses as these without feeling some warm emotions of love to Christ; and if indeed we feel them, let us consider how they are to be expressed. Our Lord directs us to do it in the most solid and the most acceptable manner, by a constant care to keep his commandments; and surely such commandments as his cannot be grievous to a soul that truly loves him. (1 John v. 3.) The more we live in the practice of them, the more cheerfully may we expect the abundant communications of his Spirit to animate and strengthen us.
If we are Christians indeed, let us not, in any circumstance of life, look on ourselves as helpless and abandoned orphans. Human friends may forsake us; but Christ will come to us; he will manifest himself to the eye of faith, though to the eye of sense he is invisible; and his heavenly Father will love us; and watch over us for good: yea, he will come and dwell in the obedient soul by the gracious tokens of his intimate and inseparable presence. And do we any of us experience this? We have surely reason to say that by way of admiration which the apostle said by way of inquiry, Lord, how and whence is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not to the world! What have we done to deserve these gracious and distinguishing manifestations? Nay, how much have we done to forfeit them! even more than many, from whom they are withheld!
With unutterable joy let us review this rich legacy of our dying Lord: peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you, Lord, evermore give us this peace with God, and with our own consciences! for if thou wilt give quietness, who can make trouble? (Job xxxiv. 29.) How serenely may we then pass through the most turbulent scenes of life, when all is quiet and harmonious within? Thou hast made peace through the blood of thy cross, (Col. i. 20); may we preserve the precious purchase and inestimable gift inviolate, till it issue in everlasting peace! In this let our hearts be encouraged; in this let them rejoice; and not in our own happiness alone,
but also in that of our own glorified and exalted Redeemer. As the members of his body, we ought certainly to maintain a pleasing sympathy with our Head, and to triumph in his honour and felicity as our own. If we love Christ, we should rejoice, because he is gone to the Father. And the same consideration may in its degree comfort us when our pious friends are removed: if we love them with a rational and generous friendship, and are not too much influenced by selfish affections under that specious name, our joy for their exaltation will greatly temper the sorrow which our loss must give us.
Our Lord uttered these words in the near views of a grievous assault from the prince of this world, who is the prince of darkness; but there was no corruption in him to take part with the enemy. Too much, alas, does he find in us to abet his temptations: let us earnestly pray that the grace of Christ may be sufficient for us: and that as his love to the Father engaged him to go through this painful conflict with the tempter, his love to us may make us partakers of his victory. In his name let us set up our banners; and the powers of hell shall flee before us.
I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
How desirable it is that we may learn from this discourse to regard Christ, at all times, as the spiritual Head, from whom life and vigour are to be derived to all his people! Let us by the exercise of an unfeigned faith abide in him as the true vine; as being always sensible that without him we can do nothing; and that if we are in him only by an external profession, we are not only in danger of being cut off, and taken away, but shall in the end be cast into the fire. May we rather be purged and pruned, though it should be with the most painful dispensations of providence; if by this means our fruitfulness may be promoted to the glory of God, and to the benefit of the world! May his word operate daily upon us, to cleanse us from remaining pollutions! and if we thus desire to be clean, let us take heed to our way, according to the tenor of that word. (Psalm cxix. 9.)
We see our encouragement to pray: let us take it from Christ, and not be dismayed, nor yield to unbelieving suspicions. As the Father has loved Christ, so does he also love his people. Let us preserve and cultivate this sacred friendship; and, whatever it may cost us, let us endeavour to continue in his love, and to avoid whatever would forfeit it; making it above all things our care to keep his commandments. Christ always observing those of his heavenly Father, cannot but always and invariably continue the object of his love and delight may our conduct be such as that he may see reason to rejoice in us! and then we shall also have the surest foundation for a sublime and solid joy.
JOHN XV. 12-27.
THIS is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command Henceforth I call you not servants; for the
servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
These things I command you, that ye love one another. 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. 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 yours 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 cloak 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.
The Son of God condescends to speak under the character of a Friend and with what humble gratitude should we attend to his words! He lays aside the majesty of a sovereign to assume this more tender relation; and surely our overflowing hearts must inquire, blessed Jesus, what shall we do to express the friendship on our side? Let us observe what