« הקודםהמשך »
swered. We read of the first believers, that they " continued with one accord, in prayer and supplication :"5 that “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul : neither said
any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own : but they had all things common."6 Thus “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,” “ multitudes both of men and women."? And every fresh believer was an additional evidence to the world that God had sent Christ Jesus, whom they, to whom he was sent, had “ with wicked hands crucified and slain.”
The world has never been without this evidence. There have been, as there are, “ divisions among" Christians. All have not been like-minded one towards another.” All have not “ had the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." All have not kept the apostles' rule, and been“ perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment."9 But from the earliest times there have existed multitudes of persons agreeing in this great truth : “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, re
into glory." These, whether more in number or fewer, form the church of Christ : and these, foreseen, foreknown, by him, are here made the objects of his special intercession. I pray for
5 Acts i. 14. 6 iv. 32.
7 ii. 47; and v. 15. 9 1 Cor. i. 10.
them who shall believe in me through my apostles? word.
Of the privileges which belong to them he speaks in terms which surprise us, when he proceeds to say that he imparts to them a share in his own glory.
22. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
St. James had great reason to leave it written in his epistle,
“ Let the brother of low degree”we may say, let the Christian of every degree
rejoice, in that he is exalted.”° Highly indeed, as we here see, are those exalted who are made partakers of the covenant, and, “ being justified by faith, have peace with God, through Jesus Christ. “ The grace of their Lord, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost” is theirs, and unites them, and supports them, and establishes them, and perfects them. And so the world is brought to know that “God is with them of a truth,” that he in whom they trust,“ the author and finisher of their faith,” hath loved them, and is watching over them. Thus they furnish a perpetual evidence of the truth ; as the Lord again says, that the world may know that thou hast sent
When Jesus first began to perform his miracles, and show the power in which he came, we are told
that he cleansed a man of his leprosy: and then said to him, “ Go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”3 It was a testimony that one had come into the world who had a claim to their attention. The Christian church, the body of believers in Christ Jesus, is a perpetual testimony
of the like kind. It may be compared to an ark, ever floating through the wide and troubled waters of the world in which we live ; and inviting all to enter it, and take shelter from the threatening storm. Here they may find rest, though the rains fall, and the winds blow, and beat upon the soul. Many would like the safety which it offers, and many would wish to reach the haven to which it is bound, but they are deterred by the restraints and labours of the voyage, and refuse or delay to enter in.
But there are likewise many who become alarmed by the flood which threatens on the one hand, or allured by the calm which tempts them on the other. And these from time to time are brought by the Spirit to climb the vessel's side, and are added to the number of the ransomed, and join the safe and blessed company who are thus passing over the flood which separates them from the heavenly Canaan.
Let all remember, that the time to seek such a place of safety, is before the danger is come. The time to enter the ark, is while the deluge is still distant. When
When “ the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened”—“ the Lord had shut the door” of the ark which carried Noah and his family. And when “ the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the face of the earth, the ark went upon the face of the waters. ” " All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."
3 Matt. viii. 4.
And so “ when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations,” there shall be comfort and peace and safety to all that have believed in him through the apostles' word.
CONCLUSION OF THE PRAYER OF CHRIST
FOR HIS APOSTLES.
JOHN xvii. 24–26.
24. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me : for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Thus it is seen, according to the words of St. John in a preceding chapter, how“ Jesus, having loved his own which were in the world, loved them
4 See Gen. vii. 11-23.
unto the end."1 He concludes the
which we have been lately engaged in considering, with this petition : Father, I'will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am. From the beginning he had loved them, and separated them from the world; and now before he leaves the world, he provides for their eternal welfare ; provides that " where he is, there also
his servants be,” that they may behold his glory, and the Redeemer and the redeemed may rejoice together. And they are so represented, in every glimpse which is given us of the heavenly kingdom. " There shall be no more curse ; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him : and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads."3
That they may behold my glory! Let this teach us to raise and exalt our conception of the world to come. Scripture says, that they which are “counted worthy to attain that world, and the resurrection of the dead,” are “ as the angels of God in heaven.” Scripture says, that “they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple.” Scripture says, that they "shall ever be with the Lord :" shall see him “ face to face ;” shall behold the glory which he had with the Father before the foundation of the world; though now he had “ humbled himself ;” had condescended to be made flesh, and dwell among” men. This is the heaven which Scripture bids us look for; and not look for only, but pre1 ch. xiii. 1.
xii. 16. 3 Rev. xxii. 3, 4.