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fidelity. May we but be able like him to say, that our Father is with us; and that delightful converse with God, which we may enjoy in our most solitary moments, will be a thousand times more than an equivalent for whatsoever we lose in the creatures. In the world we must indeed have tribulation; and he that has appointed it for us, knows that it is fit we should: but since Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings, has overcome the world, and disarmed it; let us seek that peace which he has established, and press on with a cheerful assurance, that the least of his followers shall share in the honours and benefits of his victory.
JOHN XVII. 1—12.
THESE words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the
world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
With pleasure let us behold our gracious Redeemer in this posture of humble adoration; lifting up his eyes to God with solemn devotion, and pouring out his pious and benevolent Spirit in those Divine breathings which are here recorded. From his example, let us learn to pray; and from his intercession, to hope. We know that the Father heareth him always (John xi. 42); and singularly did he manifest that he heard him now, by all that bright assemblage of glories which shone around him in the concluding scenes of his abode on earth, and in those that attended his removal from it: and in all this too did the blessed Jesus manifest his zeal for the glory of the Father. May we emulate that holy temper! and when we pray even for our own consummate happiness in the heavenly world, may we consider it as ultimately centering in the honour and service of God!
Well may we be encouraged to hope for that happiness, since Christ has an universal power over all flesh, and over spirits superior to those that dwell in flesh; with which he is invested on purpose that he may accomplish the salvation of those whom the Father has given him, even of every true believer. We see the certain way to this life, even the knowledge of God in Christ: let us bless God, that we enjoy so many opportunities of obtaining it; and earnestly pray that he who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, would by his Divine rays shine forth on our benighted souls; and so animate us in his service, from the noblest principles of gratitude and love, that we may be able to say, even in our dying moments, with somewhat of the same Spirit which our Lord expressed, Father, we have glorified thee on earth, and finished the work which thou gavest us to do; and therefore, being no more in the world, we come unto thee. Then may we hope, in our humble degree, to partake of that glory to which he is returned, and to sit down with him on his victorious throne.
In the mean time, may our faith see, and our zeal confess, Christ! May we acknowledge his Divine authority, as having come out from the Father; May we be united in love to him, and to each other; and be kept by that Divine word which is
the security of his people, that none of them shall be lost! Let the son of perdition, who perished even from among the apostles, teach us an humble jealousy over our own hearts, whatever external privileges we enjoy; and engage us to maintain a continual regard to him who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy! (Jude ver. 24.)
JOHN XVII. 13-26.
AND now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: Thy word is truth.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
We have indeed perpetual reason of thankfulness that our gracious Redeemer spake these words in the world, and recalled them thus exactly to the memory of his beloved disciple so many years after, that we in the most distant ages of his church might, by reviewing them, have his joy fulfilled in us. Let us with pleasure recollect that those petitions which Christ offered for his apostles were expressly declared not to be intended for them alone; but so far as circumstances should agree, for all that should believe on him through their word, and therefore for us, if we are real, and not merely nominal believers. For us doth he still pray, not that God would immediately take us out of the world, though for his sake we may be continually hated and injured in it; but that he would keep us from the evil to which we are here exposed. For our sakes did he also sanctify himself as a propitiation for our sins, that we also might be sanctified through the truth; for he gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. (Titus ii. 14.)
May these wise and gracious purposes of his love be fulfilled in us! May we be one with each other, and with him! May that piety and charity appear in the whole series of our temper and behaviour, which may evidently shew the force of our religion, and reflect a conspicuous honour upon the great Founder of it! And may all concur to train us up for that complete felicity above, in which all the purposes of his love centre! It is the declared will of Christ, and let us never forget it, that his people should be with him where he is, that they may behold his glory which the Father has given him. And there is apparent congruity, as well as mercy in the appointment: that where he is, there also should his servants and members be. The blessed angels do undoubtedly behold the glory of Christ with perpetual congratulation and delight; but how much more reason shall we have to rejoice and triumph in it when we consider it as the glory of one in our own nature, the glory of our Redeemer and our Friend, and the pledge and security of our own everlasting happiness! Let us often be lifting up the eyes of our faith towards it, and let us breathe after heaven in this view; in the mean time, with all due zeal, and love, and duty, acknowledging the Father and the Son, that
the joys of heaven may be anticipated in our souls, while the love of God is shed abroad there by his Spirit, which is given unto us; even something of that love wherewith he has loved Jesus, our incarnate Head.
MARK XIV. 26-31. LUKE XXII. 39. JOHN XVIII. 1.
MATT. XXVI. 30-35.
WHEN Jesus had spoken these words, and they had sung a hymn, he went forth over the brook of Cedron, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended 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 that I am risen again I will go before you into Galilee.
But Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said all the disciples.
So feeble is the heart of man, and yet so ready to trust to its own strength! So gracious is the Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, who gave himself to be smitten for his flock when they had forsaken him; and then returning, sought them out again, and fed them in richer pastures than before!
How reasonable is it that our hearts should be fixed in the most inflexible resolution for his service! How fit that we should every one of us say, with the utmost determination of soul, Lord, though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee! For how could death wear a more graceful, or a more pleasing form, than when it met us close by our Saviour's side, and came as the seal of our fidelity to him?
Surely this is the language of many of our hearts before him, especially when warmed and animated by a sense of his dying love to us. Yet let us not be high-minded; for Peter