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plished. (Heb. viii. 10—12) “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord ; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people : For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
Learn from this, on what the conversion of the heart depends. Naturally, it is averse from God : not indeed averse from him as a provident and beneficent Creator, but as a moral governor : averse from the holiness which he requires. What did the Jews behold in Jesus but purity, mercy, righteousness, godliness? And in this they saw what God is in his own nature, and what man must be if reconciled to him : and therefore they hated him : as he says, Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. It is a grievous thought, but confirmed by every thing which we see and know of the world. But when the Comforter, whom Christ sends from the Father, comes into the heart, he testifies of him with a force and
penetrates within. God is no longer the object of enmity and dread, but of love and devotion : and the heart's desire is not to be separated from him, not to be alienated from him through sin, but to be renewed more and more after his image in righteousness and true holiness. And the constant
" When wilt thou come unto me? O leave me not, neither forsake me : I will walk in my house with a perfect heart.”
THE APOSTLES ARE TAUGHT TO EXPECT OPPOSITION, AND THE AID OF THE COMFORTER IS PROMISED THEM.
JOHN xvi. 1-11.
1. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2. They shall put you out of the synagogues : yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5. But now I go my way to him that sent me: and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou ?
6. But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
The apostles had much reason for sorrow, and the prophecy here uttered was not of a nature to console them, as far as they looked towards the present world. The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. As was realized in the instance of St. Paul, who declares, “I verily thought within myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth :”1 and God, he says, had compassion on him, “because he did it ignorantly.'
Yet if Saul, and others who thought as he did, that in “ persecuting that way unto death,” they were doing God service ; had these known the Father,-understood his real character, or been acquainted with his will, they would not have done these things. And all should be instructed by such an example to distrust their own judgment, to watch vigilantly and pray earnestly, “ lest haply they be found to fight against God.”
What then would be the remedy against the sorrow of the apostles ? When Jesus here declares,– Now I go my way to him that sent me; had they ventured to ask, Whither goest thou ? the reply would have been their comfort. They would learn, that their Master having ascended up to heaven, could give them stronger support and surer consolation than they had received from him whilst dwelling with him in the world.
7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth : It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send
him unto you.
8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment :
9. Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more ; 1 Acts xxvi. 9.
2 1 Tim. i. 13.
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
The nature of that comfort is here declared, which was intended for the disciples of Christ. It was the presence of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, which should be enjoyed by them in a far greater measure than had ever been before experienced by the people of God. The prophecy in the Psalms had said concerning Christ, “When he ascended up on high, he received gifts for men.”3 And so it would be fulfilled : the king would sit down upon his throne, and then enrich his subjects with his bounty. The presence of the Comforter in their heart would compensate them for the loss of their Master's presence in the flesh. And the “ mouth and wisdom” which he would give them, should have power to turn many to righteousness : would effect that, which without him* might be attempted in vain.
Let the event explain this.
The Jewish nation had refused to believe in Jesus as their Messiah : had denied that he came from the Father, or would return to the Father had joined in the work of Satan, the prince of this world, and shed his innocent blood.
Fifty days afterwards the promise here made was fulfilled. The fit occasion having arrived, the day of Pentecost, Jesus sent the Comforter unto the
3 Ps. lxviii. 18. + The personal pronoun is used, èKELVOS. He will reprove.
apostles. They “ being filled with the Holy Ghost, began to speak as the Spirit gave them ut
And Peter undertook to reprove the men of Israel. To reprove them of sin, because they believed not on Jesus. “Him ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” To reprove them of righteousness, because he had ascended to the Father, and so his righteousness had been manifested. “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. them of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. " God had made that same Jesus whom they had crucified, both Lord and Christ." Thus Satan was condemned ; his reign broken, his power weakened : and the Lord should sit on the right hand of God, " till he had made his foes his footstool.”
Such were the arguments which Peter used. The proofs by which he enforced them, the gift of various languages, were convincing. But not a stronger evidence than Christ had continually given, when the dumb were enabled to speak and the deaf to hear, and the lepers were cleansed, and the dead were raised. Yet when Jesus did these things, the Jews “ took counsel to slay him ; and “ desired the more to kill him, because he had raised Lazarus from the dead.” Now, however, when they heard the words of Peter, “ they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and unto the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we
5 Acts ii. 4_36.