« הקודםהמשך »
fined to his secret counsels, but has an outward evidence in the life of those who are thus redeemed as “ a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Looking, therefore, at these words, and practically applying them, this is the conclusion.
“ examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, and prove your own selves,” you ought to be able to say, that Christ has chosen you. For " he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” 4
But the heart may be sad, and afraid to credit this: or the heart may be sanguine, and too ready to be persuaded of it: so that the heart must not be alone trusted, either on one side or the other. Does the conduct of your lives give collateral evidence that he hath chosen you, because you have chosen him, and “ counted all other things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord ?" Are you bringing forth fruit; and engaged in those “ good works, which God hath before ordained that you should walk in them ?"6
This is the evidence, which may calling and election sure," that your joy may be full : this is the proof that the Lord has chosen
you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. And “so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”7
16 make your LECTURE LXXVI.
4 1 John v. 10.
6 Eph. ii. 10.
5 Phil. iii. 8.
DISCOURSE WITH THE APOSTLES CONTINUED.
JOHN xv. 17-27.
17. These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you ; if they have kept my say ing, they will keep yours also.
21. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
Our Lord had frequently prepared his disciples for enmity and persecution. And here he shows what is the ground of such enmity. He had chosen them out of the world : by their preaching and by their practice they would condemn the world : therefore would the world hate them. Their example, if presented to kindred hearts, would excite to godly emulation : but proposed to those who were alienated from God and devoted to this present world, it would provoke malice and jealousy.
So it has always been. Abel might have kept his sheep in safety, if he had not “ offered up to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.”Joseph would have been in no danger from his brethren, if he had consented to partake in their evil deeds. Micaiah would not have incurred Ahab's enmity, if like his brother prophets he had concealed the truth, and prophesied “ peace, when there was no peace,” to that wicked king:3
An example of righteousness in the midst of unrighteousness, as of Lot among the inhabitants of Sodom, stirs up the pride of the human heart, and leads on to malice and hatred. We see its working in the complaint of the Pharisees against our Lord :
Master, so saying, thou condemnest us also.” On the same principle, men argue with themselves--if such and such practices of piety and habits of self-denial proceed from a knowledge of “ the truth as it is in Jesus,” and we do not pursue such practices,—we do not rightly hold the knowledge of the truth. So to act is to condemn us also. Thus the heart reasons with itself: and this is the secret spring of that jealousy which exists against a stricter life, and a more careful course than the generality of a Christian community approve or follow. It is a very favourable sign when that jealousy is not felt, or not indulged. We find honourable mention made of the Bereans, (Acts xvii. 11,) compared with the people of Thessalonica ; for the Bereans, instead of violently opposing the new doctrine preached to them by the
1 Heb. xi. 4. 2 Gen. xxxvii. 2. 3 1 Kings xxii. 8——28.
apostles, “ searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” And“ therefore,” we are told, “ many of them believed." Their “honest and good heart” was favoured, and enlightened more and more.
The sin of the Jewish nation was that they showed a very different spirit. They loved darkness for the sake of darkness. It better suited their habits of iniquity. And this was the great aggravation of their sinfulness. So that Jesus
22. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin,
23. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they both seen and hated both me and
Father. 25. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without
26. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
The apostles might naturally have been discouraged by the tenour of their Lord's discourse. These last words would cheer and refresh them, by promising a time when all should not dishonour him, and there should be some better return of his labour and theirs, than contempt and hatred. When the Comforter is come, he shall testify of me. It was a supernatural work to change the heart, and bring it to love light rather than darkness. The time for this had not yet arrived. As Isaiah had said, “ He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart : that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."4 But it should not continue so always. When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.
The Holy Ghost testified of Jesus as the Messiah, when he confirmed the words of the apostles by “ signs following ;” as in that first miracle, when at the command of Peter the cripple at the gate of the temple “ received strength, and stood, and walked."5 But our Lord here alludes to that
' further testimony which the Spirit should bear within, carrying the truth to the heart, and convincing “ the world of sin, of righteousness, of judgment.” If the testimony of miracles were enough, testimony more than sufficient had been borne already. “The blind had received their sight, the lame had been made to walk, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the dead were raised.” But as the seal is useless, unless the wax is ready to receive the impression ; so was it whilst the word, and the evidence which proved the word to be of God, fell upon stony hearts, which the Spirit had not softened. This was not to continue so for ever. A promise had been given, and was now to be accom
5 Acts iii. 248. 6 See Matt. xi. 5.
+ See xii. 40.