Imágenes de páginas

As being my disciples, and in order to promote the work of the gospel, whatsoever ye shall ask of my Father in my name, shall certainly be granted you: that God may be greatly glorified, by the extraordinary suc cess and spreading the religion of his Son, I say, that whatsoever ye shall ask, I will take care, that after my return to the Father, it shall be granted you; only ye must remember, as the necessary condition upon which all depends, that ye be careful above all things, to continue steadfast and immoveable in your obedience to my commands: this is the only true mark ye can give of the sincerity of your love towards me; it is more than your grieving at my departure.

I say, the Father shall send you another advocate and comforter, even his Holy Spirit, the author and teacher of truth, who shall guide and direct, assist and comfort you in all cases. This Spirit, the sensual and corrupt world cannot receive, having no knowledge of him, nor disposition to be governed by him; but ye know him, and are disposed to entertain him: he is already in you, by his secret and invisible efficacy; and shall hereafter appear in you openly, by great and visible manifestations of himself. Thus, though I must depart from you, yet I do by no means leave you com fortless: I leave with you a promise of the Holy Spirit, and I leave you in expectation also of my own return: for though, after a very little while, I shall appear no more to the world; yet, as I shall live again, and ye also shall live with me, to you I will appear,

Therefore, when I have conquered and triumphed over death, ye shall understand more fully, and it shall appear more visible by great and manifest effects, that I act, in all things, agreeable to my Father's will, and am perfectly invested with his power; and that ye in like manner, have my power and commission communicated to you: so that there is a perfect unity and community between us; only ye must remember, that the one necessary condition, on which all depends, is, that ye con

tinue steadfast and immoveable in your faith in me, and in your obedience to my commands. He, and he only, who embraces my doctrine, and obeys and practises it, shall be judged to be sincere in his love towards me: And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Judas Thaddeus here interrupted his Master, saying, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

To which JESUS replied, I have already told you the reason of my acting in this manner; because the generality of the world are not disposed to obey my commandments, the necessary condition of maintaining communion with me: but ye are disposed to embrace my doctrine, and to obey it; and, therefore, I manifest myself to you. And whoever else will so love me as to keep my commandments, him also will I and my Father love, and will maintain communion with him, and all spiritual blessings shall be poured down upon him, and he shall be made partaker of happiness and eternal life. On the contrary, whoever loves me not, that is, obeys not my commandments, shall have no intercourse or communion with me; neither will my Father love or honor him, or make any manifestations of himself to him: for as my commandments are not my own, but the Father's commandments, therefore, whoever dishonours me, my Father will look upon him as dishonouring himself.

I have briefly spoken these things unto you now, according to the shortness of the time I am to continue with you, and to comfort you for the present, against my departure. But when the comforter, whom I promised you is come, even the Holy Spirit, whom my Father shall send you on my account, shall instruct you more fully, recalling to your remembrance what you have forgotten, explaining what is yet obscure, and

supplying what is further necessary to be taught you, and to be understood by you. In the mean time I take my leave of you, and my blessing I leave with you; not formally, and after the common fashion of the world, but affectionately and sincerely, retaining a careful remembrance of you, and with an earnest desire and intention of returning again speedily to you. Wherefore, be not overmuch grieved for me and my departure, nor fearful of what may then befal yourselves: I go away from you, but it is with an intention, as I have already told you, to return to you again. If you loved me with a wise and understanding affection, you would rejoice instead of grieving at my present departure; because I am going to the Supreme Author of all glory and happiness, even to my Father.

I have now told you these things before they come to pass, that when ye see them happen, your faith in me, and your expectation of the performance of all my promises may be confirmed and strengthened; the time will not allow me to say much more to you at present; my end draweth near; the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of darknesss, is at this instant employing all his wicked instruments to apprehend and destroy me: not that either the power of the Devil, or the malice of man, can at all prevail over me, but because the time of my suffering, according to the appointment of Divine Wisdom, is arrived; and that I may demonstrate to the world my love and obedience to my Father, I willingly submit myself to be put to death by the hands of sinful and cruel men, Rise up, let us be going, that I may enter on my sufferings. See John, chap. xiv. ver. 1, to the end.

Thus having spoken, they finished the passover with singing a hymn, and went out to the Mount of Olives. The hynin which they sung was probably that which the Jews call the Hallem, or great hymn, which consisted of the hundred and thirteenth and five subsequent Psalms; part of which was sung at the begin ning of the solemnity, and part at the end.

When they arrived at the place which was to be the scene of his sufferings, he desired them to fortify themselves by prayer, and forewarned them of the terrible effects his sufferings would have upon them; they would make them all stumble that very night, agreeable to the prophecy of Zechariah: I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. Therefore, he not only mentioned his own resurrection, but told them they should see him in Galilee, after he was risen from the dead, in order to strengthen their faith.

Peter, on our blessed Saviour's mentioning the of fence that his disciples would take at his sufferings, recollected what had been said to him in particular, before they left the house. Grieving therefore afresh, to find his Master entertain such thoughts of him, and being now armed with a sword, the vehemence of his temper urged him to boast a second time of his courageous and close attachment to his Master, Though ali men, said he, should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. But JESUS, knowing that confidence and security are great enemies to virtue, thought proper to forewarn him against his danger and told him, that the cock should not crow before he had denied him. Peter still however continued to repeat his confidence, I will die with thee, but never deny thee. The disciples all joined with Peter in professing their fixed resolution of suffering death, rather than they would deny their Master; but the event fully confirmed the predictions of our Saviour. From whence we may learn, how ignorant men are of themselves.

Our dear Lord, not willing to loose one single moment of the short time of his ministry that yet remained, continued to instruct his disciples in the great truths he came into the world to explain: and from the vines, which were growing round him on the Mount of Olives, he began his excellent discourse, with the parable of the vine, which we shall endeavour to explain in the fol lowing manner.

Hitherto, said the compassionate Redeemer of mankind, the Jewish church and nation have been the particular care of Providence; as a choice and a goodly vine, likely to bring forth much fruit, is the especial care of the husbandmen: but from henceforth, my church, my disciples, and the professors of my religion, of whatsoever country or nation they be, shall become the people of God, and the peculiar care of Divine Providence: I will be to them as the root and stock of a vine, of which my Father is the husbandman and vinedresser, and they are the branches.

As the skilful vine-dresser, in the management of a choice vine, cuts off all barren and superfluous branches, that they may not burden nor exhaust the tree, and prunes and dresses the fruitful branches, that they may grow continually, and bear more fruit: so in the government of my church, all useless, wicked, and incorrigible members, my Father, by his just judgment cuts off and destroys; but those who are sincerely pious and good, he, by the various and merciful dispensation of his providence towards them, tries, purifies, and amends, that they may daily improve, and be more abundant in all good works. Now ye, my apostles, are such members as these, being purified in heart and mind, and prepared for every good work, by your lively faith in me, and sincere resolutions to obey my commands. Continue stedfastly in this state, and then you may be sure of deriving all spiritual blessings from me, as the branches receive sap and nourishment from the vine but as a branch, without continuing in the vinc, cannot bear any fruit, but presently dries up and perishes; so ye, unless ye continue stedfast in your communion with me, by a lively faith and sincere obedience, so as to receive grace and spiritual blessings, can never bring forth any good fruit of true holiness and righteousness, but will fall into vanity, superstition and wickedness, and will utterly perish at last. I say, I am, as it were, the root and stock of the vine, whereof ye are the branches: he that continues to adhere to

« AnteriorContinuar »