Page images
PDF
EPUB

you could

myself, as I have often told you, am the true the Jews, but even to do greater things than and only way to life; nor can any man go these : to speak with all the kinds of tongues, thither by any other way. If ye say ye do and to propagate my religion among the Gennot know the Father, I tell you, that no man tiles, even through all the nations of the who knoweth me can be ignorant of my earth, Father, of his will, and the manner of pleasing him: for my Father and I are one; And whatsoever ye shall ask of my Faso that if ye know me, ye must know the ther, in my name, as being my disciples, Father also. And, indeed, ye do know and in order to promote the work of the goshim, and have been sufficiently instructed pel, shall certainly be granted you. That in his precepts.

God may be greatly glorified, by the ex

traordinary success, and spreading the Philip' answered, Lord, she w us but religion of his Son, I say, that whatsoever once the Father, and we shall be fully ye shall ask, I will take care after my return satisfied.

to the Father, that it shall be granted you.

Only ye must remember as the necessary Jesus replied, have I been so conti condition upon which all depends, that ye nually with you, and dost thou not yet be careful above all things to continue stead. know me, Philip? I tell you, I and my Fa fast and immoveable in your obedience to ther are the same; that is, we agree in one my commands; this is the only true mark in respect to every thing I have delivered to you can give of the sincerity of your love you: so that to know one, is to be acquaint- towards me; it is more than your grieving ed with both. What then can you mean by at my departure, or any other external indicadesiring to see the Father, as if

tion of zeal whatsoever. be still ignorant of him, after being so long acquainted with me? Do you not believe The Father, I say, shall send

you another that the Father and I are one and the same? advocate, and comforter, even his Holy Whatsoever I speak is the declaration of Spirit, the Author, and Teacher of truth, his will, and whatsoever I do is the operation who shall guide and direct, assist and com

Believe me, that the Father fort you, in all cases. This Spirit, the senand I are one.

And if ye refuse to believe sual and corrupt world cannot receive; haymy own affirmation, yet, at least, let my ing no knowledge of bim, nor disposition to works convince you ; for they carry in them be governed by him. But ye know him, undeniable evidences of a divine power. and are disposed to entertain him. He is al

ready in you by his secret and invisible efficaSurely then you have matter sufficient to cy; and shall hereafter appear in you openly comfort and support your spirits under the by great and visible manifestations. thoughts of my departure from you. Ye have abundant reason to believe, that I have Thus, though I must depart from you, power to perform all the promises I bave

yet I do by no means leave you comfortless. made you į and the design of my departure I leave witb you a promise of the Holy Spiactually to perform them. When I am re rit; and I leave you in expectation also of turned to my Father, ye shall soon receive my own return.

For though after a very sufficient pledges of my care and remem litile while, I shall appear no more to the brance of you. Ye shall be endued with world; yet to you I will appear again, for I power, not only to perform the same works shall live again : and ye also shali live with ye have seen me do, as healing diseases, giving sight to the blind, casting out devils, and the like, for the conviction of When, therefore, I have conquered and

of his power.

fort

me.

triumphed over death, ye shall understand | Father will look upon him as dishonouring more fully, and it shall appear more visibly, himself. by great and manifest effects, that I act in all things, agreeably to my Father's will, and These things have I briefly spoken to you am perfectly invested with his power: and now, according to the shortness of the time that ye, in like manner, have my power and I am to continue with you, and to comfort commission communicated to you ; so that you, for the present, against my departure. there is a perfect unity and communion be But when the comforter, whom I promised tween us. Only ye must remember, that you, is come, even the Holy Spirit, whom the one necessary condition on which all my Father shall send you on my account, depends, is, that ye continue steadfast and he shall instruct you more fully, recalling immoveable in your faith in me, and in your to your remembrance, what you have forobedience to my commands. He, and he gotten, explaining what is yet obscure, only, who embraces my doctrine, and obeys and supplying what is further necessary and practises it, shall be judged to be sin- | to be taught you, and to be understood by cere in his love towards me. And he who

you. loves me in that manner, shall be loved by my Father; and I myself also will love him, In the mean time I take my leave of you, and manifest myself to him.

and my blessing I leave with you, not for

mally, and after the common fashion of the Here Judas Thaddeus interrupted his world, but affectionately and sincerely ; reMaster, saying, Lord, why wilt thou choose taining a careful remembrance of you, and with to manifest thyself to us, a few particular an earnest desire and intention of returning persons ? and not to the generality of the again speedily to you. Wherefore, be not world?

over much grieved for me and my departure,

nor fearful of what may then befal yourselves. Jesus replied, I have already told you the I go away from you, but it is with an intenreason of my acting in this manner; because tion, as I have already told you, to return the generality of the world are not disposed to you again. If you loved me with a wise to obey my commandments, the necessary and understanding affection, ye would recondition of maintaining communion with joice, instead of grieving, at my present me. But ye are disposed to embrace my doc- departure; because I am going to my Fatrine, and to obey it ; and therefore I mani ther, the supreme Author of all glory and fest myself to you. And whoever else will happiness. so love me as to keep my commandments, him also will I and my Father love, and will These things have I told you before they maintain communion with him, and all spi come to pass, that when ye see them hapritual blessings shall be poured down upon pen, your faith in me, and your expectation him, and he shall be made partaker of hap- of the performance of all my promises, may piness and eternal life.

be confirmed and strengthened; the time

will not allow me to say much more to you On the contrary, whoever loves me not, at present; my end draweth near, the that is, obeys not my commandments, shall ruler of this world,

the prince of the power bave no intercourse or communion with of darkness, is at this instant employing me. Neither will my Father love or honour all his wicked instruments to apprehend and him, or make any manifestations of himself destroy me.

Not that either the power of to him ; for as my commandments are not the devil, or the malice of man, can at all my own, but the Father's commandments ; prevail over me; but because the time of therefore, whoever dishonours me, my my sufferings, according to the appointment

[ocr errors]

of divine wisdom, is arrived, and that I fully confirmed the prediction of our Saviour. may demonstrate to the world my love and From hence, we may learn, how ignorant obedience to my Father! I willingly submit men are of their own hearts, and that the myself to be put to death by the hands of strongest resolutions in their own strength sinful and cruel men. Rise up, let us be avail nothing going, that I may enter on my sufferings.

The compassionate Redeemer of manHaving thus spoken, they finished the kind, not willing to lose one single mopassover, with singing an hymn, and went ment of the short time of his ministry that out to the mount of Olives.

yet remained, continued to instruct his

disciples in the great truths he came into On their arrival at the place which was the world to explain : and from the vines, to be the scene of his sufferings, he desired which where growing round him on the them to fortify themselves by prayer, and mount of Olives, he began his excellent forewarned them of the terrible effects his discourse, with the parable of the vine to sufferings would have upon them; they the following import. would make them all stumble, that very night, agreeably to the prophecy of Zecha. Hitherto, said the blessed Jesus, the riah: “ I will smite the shepherd, and the Jewish church and nation have been the sheep of the Aock shall be scattered abroad." peculiar care of Providence ; as a choice To strengthen their faith, therefore, he not and goodly vine, likely to bring forth much only mentioned his own resurrection, but fruit, is the special care of the husbandmen. told them they should see him in Galilee, But, from henceforth, my church, my disafter he was risen from the dead.

ciples, and the professors of my religion,

of what country or nation soever they be, On our blessed Saviour's mentioning the shall become the people of God, and the offence that his disciples would take at his peculiar care of Divine Providence. I will suffering, Peter recollected what had been be to them as the root and stock of a vine, said to him in particular, before they left of which they are the branches, and my the house. Grieved therefore, afresh, to Father the husbandman and vine-dresfind his Master entertain such thoughts of him, and being now armed with a sword, the vehemence of his temper urged him to As in the management of a choice vine boast a second time of his courageous and the skilful vine-dresser cuts off all barren close attachment to his Master,

* Though and superfluous branches, that they may not all men, said he, should be offended be. burden, nor exhaust the tree, and prunes cause of thee, yet will I never be offended." and dresses the fruitful branches, that they But Jesus, knowing that human confidence may grow continually, and bear more fruit; and security were weak and frail, thought so, in the government of my church, all proper to forewarn him again of his danger ; useless, wicked, and incorrigible members, and told him, that the cock should not crow my Father, by his judgment, cuts off and before he had denied him.

destroys; but those who are sincerely pious

and good, he, by the various and merciful Peter, however, still continued to repeat dispensations of his providence towards his confidence, I will die with thee but them, tries, purifies, and amends, that they neyer deny thee. The disciples all joined may daily improve, and be more and more with Peter in professing the fixed resolu abundant in all good works. tion of suffering death, rather than they would deny their Master : but the event Now ye, my apostles, are such members

[ocr errors]

and

prepared for every good work, by your that his vine should bring forth much fruit.

the lively faith in me, and sincere resolutions to And this is the honour that I myself expect obey my commands. Continue steadfastly from you, that ye should prove yourselves in this state, and then you may be sure of to be really and indeed my disciples, by deriving all spiritual blessings from me, as imitating my example, and obeying my the branches receive sap and nourishment commands. This ye are bound to do not from the vine. But as a branch, without only in duty, but in gratitude also ; for as continuing in the vine, cannot bearany fruit, my Father hath loved me, 60 bave I also but presently dries up and perishes : so ye, loved you ; and ye in like manner ought unless ye continue steadfast in your commu to love me again, that you may continue to nion with me, by a lively faith and sincere be loved by me But the way to express obedience, so as to receive grace and spi your love towards me, and to continue to be ritual blessings, can never bring forth any loved by me is to keep my commandments ; good fruit of true holiness and righteousness, even as I, by keeping my Father's combut will fall into vanity, superstition, and mandments, have expressed my love towickedness, and, at last, utterly perish. wards him, and continue to be loved by

bim. I am, as it were, I say, the root and stock of the vine, whereof ye are the branches. These things have I spoken to you before He that continues to adhere to me, by con my departure, that the comfort ye have stant faith in me, shall bring forth much taken in my presence, may be continued in fruit unto everlasting life; even as the my absence, and even increased to the combranch which continues to grow in a vine, ing of the Holy Spirit, as it will be upon and receives sap and nourishment from it. this condition, which I have so often reBut be that does not continue his relation to peated to you, that you keep my commandme in this manner, is a false and useless ments. And the principal of these comprofessor, and shall be cast out from me, and mandments is, that ye love one another ; perish for ever; even as a fruitless branch is not after the common fashion of the world, cut off from the vine, and left to wither and but in such a manner as I have loved you ; dry, and is, at last, burnt in the fire. nor can you be ignorant what sort of love

that is, when I tell you that I am now going If you continue in me, by believing my to lay down my life for you. This is the words, and holding fast wbat ye believe, highest instance, in which it is possible for and obeying and practising it accordingly, a man to express bis love towards his no power, or malice either of man or of greatest friends and benefactors: but this devils, shall be able to hurt you, or oppose am now going to do for you and for all your doctrines. For though I be absent mankind. I do not consider you as my froin you in body, yet I will hear your pray benefactors, but as my friends, upon this ers, and my Father himself also will bear easy condition only, that ye keep my comyou ; and whatsoever ye shall ask, for the mandments. I might, indeed, justly call glory of the Almighty, and the propagation you servants, considering the infinite dis. of my true religion in the world, shall cer tance between me and you, and the oblitainly be granted you. But above all things gation ye have to obey my commandcarefully remember to demonstrate your ments ; but I have not treated you as sercontinuance in me, by abounding in all vants, , who are not admitted unto their good works of holiness, righteousness, and master's counsels, but as friends, reveal. charity. This is the honour which my Fa- | ing unto you the whole will of my Father, ther desires and expects from you; even as with all freedom and plainness. No. 14.

3 K

[ocr errors]

of

I have, I say, behaved myself to you as able consideration to support you, that the to the nearest friends. Not that you first justice of your own cause, and the injustice obliged me, or did any acts of kindness for of your persecutors, will, by that means, me, but I have freely, and of my own good most evidently appear; seeing ye are perpleasure, chosen you to be my apostles, and secuted only for professing and preaching the preachers of my gospel, that you may in my name the doctrine of true religion and go and declare the will of God to the world, virtue; and they persecute you only beand bring forth much and lasting fruit in cause they know not God, and out of mere the conversion of men to the knowledge of malice will not bear to be instructed in his the truth, and to the profession and practice comma'uds. of true religion and virtue. In the perforin

Indeed, had I not appeared to the world ance of this work, whatsoever ye shall ask

with all possible demonstrations of authority my Father in my name, in order to en

you that

and truth, teaching men a most holy and able you to perform it effectually and with

undeniable doctrine, sufficient to reform full success, shall certainly be granted you.

their manners and amend their lives, and Now all these things which I have spoken sion by such proofs as ought to satisfy and

moreover demonstrating my divine commisunto you concerning the greatness of my

convince the most doubting and suspicious love towards you, in choosing you to be my

minds, they might bave had some plea and apostles, in revealing unto you the whole

But will of my Father, and in laying down my

excuse of ignorance for their unbelief.

now since all reasonable evidence has been life for you; I have urged and inculcated

offered them, and proper methods used for upon you for this reason chiefly, as I at first

their conversion and salvation, and yetthey told ye may learn after my exan)

wilfully and obstinately reject these means ple, to love one another. The world, indeed, you must expect will hate and

of grace, it is plain they have no excuse for per

their sin: but they oppose and persecute secute you upon my account. But this you ought not to be surprised or terrified at; | worldly lusts, and out of mere malice will

you only because they will not forsake their knowing it is no worse treatment than I my

not bear to be instructed in the commands self have met with before you.

of the Almighty. So that those who oppose Be not, therefore, surprised when ye

and persecute you, as they have before meet with opposition; nor think to find bet

persecuted me, shew plainly that they are ter treatment in the world, than I myself | mandments. Which is, as I have already

haters of God, and of his most holy comhave done. Remember what I have already told you, that the disciple is not above bis

told you, a plain evidence of the justice Master; nor is he that is sent, greater than

of your cause, and of the injustice of your he that sent him. If men had generally and

persecutors. readily embraced my doctrine, you might, If I had not, I say, done such works indeed, have some reason to expect that among them as no man ever did, they might, they would willingly have received your's indeed, have bad some appearance of exalso. But since I myself have suffered cuse for their sin. But now, having seen great indignities and persecutions from abundant proofs of my authority, and unwicked and perverse, from obstinate and deniable evidence of the truth of my docincorrigible men, only for opposing their trine, and yet wilfully and obstinately pervices, it is highly reasonable that you should sisting to oppose it, because inconsistent expect to undergo the like treatment upon with their lusts; it is plain that their disthe like account. In all which sufferings you honouring me is dishonour done to God will, moreover, have this further comfort- himself, and a direct contempt of bis

« PreviousContinue »