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tion which Christ had given : and he should teach them to convey the same to others. They could not have spoken at all, or certainly we could have derived no satisfaction from their words, if we were not assured that they spoke not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but that which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”1
Nor must it ever be forgotten that the same “unction from the Holy One” is needful to those who receive the Gospel, and to those who teach it. Paul spoke, and disclosed the words of scripture : (Acts xvi. 14:) but “ the Lord opened the heart, that it should “ attend unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Truth shines in a dark place, till the eyes of the understanding are enlightened to perceive it. “ Paul planteth, and Apollos watereth ; but it is God which giveth the increase.". " The preparations of the heart are from the
But still further proof of this is seen in what follows :
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
30. Hereafter I will not talk much with you : for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
11 Cor. ï. 13. 2 See I Cor. iii. 6. 3 Prov. xvi. 1
31. 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.
Good reason had our Lord to say, that the disciples, if they loved him, if their love had its
proper exercise, would rejoice that he was now returning to his Father: when both he himself would be in possession of his own glory, and when he would be able to succour those who believed in him with all his Father's power. Now the prince of the world prevailed, who hath nothing in Christ : nothing in common with him, no concern, no interest in him. But as he warned the disciples beforehand of all that should come to pass, and by that prophecy confirmed the faith which would otherwise be shaken by his death ; so would he also secure to them a comfort which should supply all their need. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.
It might seem a vain promise. We remember the warning which he himself had uttered, “ They shall put you out of the synagogue. Yea, the time cometh, when whosoever killeth you, shall think that he doeth God service.” They shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.”+
Is it not strange, then, that he should say to persons whom he forewarned to expect circumstances like these, Peace I leave with you? When we speak
4 Luke xxi. 12.
of peace as any man's lot, we think of an easy tranquil course of life; of the promise of outward comforts ; of the security of a quiet home; of the sweets of domestic affection. But none of these were ever to belong to the apostles.
There must be, then, a sort of peace which is independent of these things, independent of outward circumstances : not always
not always accompanying them, when favourable; not always disturbed by them, when they are adverse.
Certainly there is a peace which this world can neither give nor take away : and which he alone can bestow, who has access to the soul, who can reach and rule the heart. How little can outward comforts effect, when the mind is disturbed, perplexed, and ill at ease! Offer all that the world giveth to the man who has lost what in the world he most valued-his fortune, or his child, or the wife of his bosom-what can it do for him ? Does it restore to him peace?
Yet there is something which can give peace, even in an hour like that : the same which gave comfort to the apostles under persecution and affliction. It is that whisper of God's favour and mercy and lovingkindness, which the Holy Spirit pours into the heart, and calms its worldly anxieties and sorrows, as when oil is poured upon the troubled waves. Supported by this, while the chief priests and the elders “ were filled with indignation,” and “ cut to the heart,” in all the misery of alarm and hatred and malice, the apostles calmly departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ.”5 Supported by this, the hearts of Paul and Silas enjoyed a tranquillity which might well be envied by their persecutors, though many stripes were laid on them, and they were thrust into the inner prison, and their feet made fast in the stocks.” (Acts xvi. 25.).“ At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God.”
This was to have peace; this was to experience the fulfilment of that promise, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you ; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Who can read this promise, and witness its accomplishment, as it may be daily witnessed, without an earnest desire that the like peace may be attained and possessed by themselves ?
It is offered them, it may belong to them. The invitation is clear and universal. “Come unto me, all ye
that labour and are heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; and YE SHAL LFIND
For my yoke is easy,
and my burthen is light.”
REST UNTO YOUR SOULS.
5 Acts v. 41.
CHRIST REPRESENTS HIMSELF UNDER THE
FIGURE OF A VINE.
JOHN xv. 1, 2.
1. I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2. 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.
A natural image is here used, to explain a mysterious truth, by comparing it with what is more familiar. It is a mysterious truth, that the disciples of Christ should derive their spiritual existence and nourishment from him : that he should dwell in them ; that they should be one with him, and he with them. But there is a fact in nature to which it may be compared; the dependence of a branch upon its stem : especially when a branch is taken from its parent tree, and grafted into the stock of another, and becomes one with that other, and receives its nourishment and vigour from it. Our Lord seizes upon this image : led, perhaps, to do so, because he and his disciples might be seated together under the shelter of a vine, or because many might be flourishing around them. And he