Page images

shall seek me, but as I said to the Jews, "Whither I go ye cannot come, so now say I unto you;" or as he explains himself to Peter," Whither I go thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me hereafter," ver. 33-36.

He now enacted, as the means of following him,


"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Hereby shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love among each other," ver. 34, 35. In what respects this commandment of mutual love was new, will be shewn in the ensuing article of THE SPIRIT OF THE GOSPEL.

These solemn institutions of the peculiar and fundamental laws of CHRISTIANITY were followed by an admirable discourse to his afflicted disciples, breathing consolation, comfort, and encouragement to "trust in God and in HIM also," for protection, support, and final reward; concluding with this benediction.

"Peace I bequeath unto you, my peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor afraid. Ye have heard that I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you; if ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I said I go to the FATHER; for MY FATHER is greater than I," [with whom there is fulness of joy, and pleasure for evermore, Psalm xvi. 11.]

He again referred them to the accomplishment of these his prophecies, for full proof that He was THE CHRIST, the SON OF GOD: and now I tell you before they happen, that when they happen, ye may believe, ver. 27-29.

And he concluded his discourse by indirectly obviating an objection, drawn from the seeming superiority of the powers of darkness, who were speedily to apprehend, and put him to death.

"I will not speak with you much longer; for the ruler of this world, [the Devil,] is coming, though he hath no claim on me, [because of my innocence.] But [I submit, and lay down my life, of my own accord, x. 17, 18,] that the world may know that I love the FATHER, and [that] as THE FATHER enjoined me, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence," ver. 30, 31.

The company now arose from table, but did not immediately

quit the room*. They still remained there, in the more solemn posture of standing, which was customary at prayer, (Luke xviii. 11.) while they listened with reverence to our Lord's continuation of his divine discourse and intercession, recorded alone by John, in the xvth, xvith, and xviith, most precious chapters of his Gospel.


In this parting discourse, he resumes and enlarges on his former topics of comfort and consolation, with a calmness and composure, and a tenderness of affection, worthy indeed of THE SON OF GOD.

1. He begins with the parable of the vine. The Jewish Church had often been symbolized in the Old Testament, by a choice vine, planted in the hill country of Judea, after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, by GoD himself, as "the husbandman," Gen. xlix. 11, Psalm lxxx. 8-11, Isa. v. 1-7, Jer. ii. 21. But when this highly favoured vine degenerated,

There is a considerable difficulty in harmonizing St. John with the other Evangelists in this place. The rest state, that our Lord, when he left the coenaculum, went to the Mount of Olives, Matt. xxvi. 30; Mark xiv. 26; Luke xxii. 39; and afterwards, to the Garden of Gethsemane, Matt. xxvi. 36; Mark xiv. 32; Luke xxii. 40. Whereas, John takes no notice of the Mount of Olives, but only of Gethsemane, John xviii. 1. The usual mode of solving the difficulty is, that our Lord and his disciples went first to the Mount of Olives, as he proposed, John xiv. 31, where he delivered his last discourse and intercession; and afterwards, to the Garden. But to this Archdeacon Churton, in his valuable communications, has opposed insuperable objections: 1. that the word εžŋλ0ov, “they went out," is properly applied by the three Evangelists, to mark departure from the cœnaculum; but would be improperly implied by John to mark departure from the Mount. 2. That in his way from the Mount to the Garden, Christ could not


cross the brook Kedron," (as John asserts expressly that he did,) because the Garden was "beyond the brook," or further from the city, and therefore nearer to the mountain. But he has satisfactorily solved the difficulty, by observing, 1. That the expression εξήλθον εις το ορος των ελαιων should rather be rendered “ they went out toward the Mount of Olives;" for the preposition ac is frequently taken in the sense of toward a place, or in that direction, Luke xiii. 22, where it is so rendered, &c. 2. That the Garden of Gethsemane was within the precincts of the Mount of Olives; and, therefore, that they went to the district of the Mount of Olives in their way to the Garden. To which may be added, 3. That there was no stop or delay at the Mount of Olives; as is evident from Luke's account, exactly corresponding with John's. Compare Luke xxii. 39, 40, with John xviii. 1, 2.

Hence it appears, that our Lord and his disciples did not leave the cœnaculum after the first discourse; and may not his proposal, εγειρεσθε, αγωμεν εντευθεν, (upon which the supposition of quitting the room is founded) be more correctly rendered, "Rise, let us remove from hence," i. e. from the supper table, at which they had been sitting. John xiv. 31.

and "brought forth wild grapes and poisonous berries," or the Jewish Church became corrupt in faith and practice, it was threatened to be rooted up, and to be superseded by the Christian Church, founded in CHRIST himself, as "the true vine," of which his disciples were to be "the branches," or members. But he warns them that the Christian Church was still subject to the same discipline and culture as the Jewish; for that GOD would cut off every barren branch in CHRIST, and prune every bearing branch, in order that it may produce more fruit; while they, by his instructions, were now become "pure," or bearing branches, but must expect to be pruned, xv. 1—3.

2. He warns them against spiritual pride, or self-sufficiency, and reliance on their own strength, and recommends a steady adherence to Him and to his doctrines, as the only means of their "producing much fruit, for without Him they could do nothing." That this only would prevent their rejection, and secure his Father's favour, ver. 4-8.

3. He repeats his new commandment, founded on his own example, to love one another, as he had loved them, and gratuitously chosen them to be his disciples, and that as he was ready to lay down his life for them, whom he condescended to style his friends, so long as they observed his commands, so should they do likewise for his sake and the Gospel's. And he forewarns them of the persecutions they must expect from the world; that it had persecuted him, their chief, without cause, and would persecute them his servants, ver. 9—25.

4. He also repeats his promise of sending them "another Advocate from the Father," even the HOLY SPIRIT, (xiv. 16, 17,) That as he himself was "their Advocate with the Father," (1 John ii. 1,) so he would send them an Advocate also with the world, who should testify of him, by the spiritual gifts and graces miraculously conferred upon them, by the gift of tongues, by guiding them into all the truth of the Christian dispensation necessary for them to know, by bringing all his conversations to their remembrance, and by shewing them things to come, or the future fortunes of his Church. That when the HOLY SPIRIT was come (as on the day of Pentecost), He should, by their mi

The word Tapaкλnтog is used in this forensic sense of an "advocate," who pleads the cause of another, in opposition to karnyopos, 66 'an accuser," by Demosthenes, Barnabas, Philo, the Targumists, and Talmudists. See Wetstein, N.T. Vol. I. p. 934, and Schleusner's Lexicon.

nistry, convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. 1. Of sin, for not believing in CHRIST, after he had done among them the works which no man did, (Matt. ix. 33, John ix. 32.) 2. Of righteousness, or justification through CHRIST, as proved by his resurrection and ascension to the Father, to be the ADVOCATE of mankind, by the imputation of his own righteousness to them*, (Rom. iii. 26, v. 18, 2 Cor. v. 21.) And 3. Of judgment, or the future general judgment, in which Satan, the ruler of this world, is to be judged, with the world itself, (2 Cor. iv. 4, Rev. xx. 10, Acts xvii. 31,) ver. 26, 27. xvi. 1-15.

5. He next reminds them, enigmatically, of his approaching departure. A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the FATHER; intimating, as explained by the event, that he would disappear from them at his death, during three days, and again appear to them after his resurrection, at intervals, during forty days, until his ascension, when they should see him no more on earth. Not understanding this, they debated among themselves what could be its meaning, and wished for an explanation. Our Lord then told them, that he knew their wishes, but waved the explanation, as unnecessary to be given them at that time. Satisfied with this proof of Divinity,-knowing their thoughts,-they declared their belief that He knew all things, and therefore must have come from GOD. To check over confidence, however, in their faith, he forewarned them of their approaching desertion of him, when each of them should be scattered, and leave him alone in the hands of his enemies; though even then he would not be alone, since THE FATHER was with him. And he thus concluded his consolatory discourse.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that in ME ye might have peace; in the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, [and will enable you to overcome the world also," 1 John v. 5, Rom. viii. 37,] ver. 16-23.

• This interpretation seems preferable to the received, that CHRIST's righteousness, or innocence, was proved to the world, by his ascension to THE FATHER. It was modestly and diffidently suggested by Gilpin, in his N.T. on the place.


Our blessed, and ever to be blessed HIGH PRIEST, "fulfilled all legal righteousness," from the beginning to the end of his sacred function, Matt. iii. 15. As Aaron, the first Jewish highpriest, at his consecration, was required to be washed in water, and to have his head anointed with oil, Exod. xxix. 4—7, so CHRIST Was Consecrated to be the world's High-Priest at his BAPTISM, when he was washed in water, and anointed with THE HOLY SPIRIT, descending from heaven, and resting visibly on his head, Psalm xlv. 7, Heb. i. 9, Acts x. 38. During the course of it, he preached the GOSPEL to the poor-to the poor in spirit, Isaiah lxi. 1, Matt. v. 3-10, xi. 5. And as the Jewish high-priest, on the day of atonement, was required to make annual intercession for himself, for his household, the Priests and Levites, and for the whole nation, Levit. xvi. 17, (see Vol. II. p. 250,) so our all-sufficient High-Priest, once for all, Heb. ix. 26, Rom. vi. 10, on this his great day of atonement, solemnly interceded with GOD HIS FATHER for himself, that he might be received into glory, his original glory in heaven, xvii. 1—5, for his household, the Apostles and Disciples, that GOD would preserve them in his name, or in the true religion; give them a spirit of unity and concord, and protect them in, and from the wicked world, ver. 6-19; and that, finally, they might partake of his glory in heaven, and also be supported by his love and presence on earth, ver. 24-26; and also for all future believers, through their preaching, that they might be endued with the same spirit of unity and concord, and for the conversion of the whole world, ver. 20—23.

This seventeenth chapter, thus briefly analyzed, as has been observed by commentators, contains the "easiest words, but the deepest sense of any in all the Scriptures." It unfolds, indeed, in a short compass, that grand mystery of the Gospel, the instituted means of the salvation of mankind, by THE FATHER and THE SON, conjointly, from their love to the world.

"Then JESUS lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, FATHER, the hour is come [of my passing from this world to Thee, xiii. 1.] Glorify THY SON, [with the Glory which I had with thee, before the world was, ver. 5, Phil. ii. 6,] that thy Son may glorify Thee, [or promote thy glory in his preparatory

« PreviousContinue »