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Yes, they would all desert him, and as far as human companionship is concerned, he would be left alone, but could He, the Son, be alone? Never ! One in eternal love, and in the mighty bond of the eternal will, the Father was ever with the Son. All men might forsake him, but He could not be alone, because the Father is with him.
And thus the continual sense of the presence of the Father is the abiding blessing of all who love the Son, and strive to keep his words.* Wherever circumstances may place them, they cannot feel alone.
Ask the Christian Mother what it is that nerves her heart, when her young son leaves her to serve in distant lands ? She will tell you it is the stedfast trust that, go where He will, God is with him. Look into his heart, and you will find that though as yet his religion may be little more than the simple faith that God knows bis thoughts, that Christ is his Saviour, and will give the Holy Spirit if he asks it, yet in that knowledge does he carry his home with him every where. Amidst the clang of foreign tongues, it speaks to him with a kind familiar voice. On the sea, in the desert, in the camp, in the town, while he remembers God, he never can be alone; should he forget Him, then indeed he will feel that he is desolate. The unbeliever is the orphan of Creation. The true believer in Christ is so united to Him, that with Him he may say, Though all may forsake me, "yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”+
* John xiv. 23. t How well does Marie Guion express this !
“ Could I be cast where Thou art not,
That were indeed a dreadful lot ;
Secure of finding God in all."
The Lord Jesus closes his words of divine consolation thus
Verse 33. “These things I have 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."
How many ages have passed since these things were spoken! All earthly things that were mighty then, have fallen into weakness, and crumbled into dust; but the words of Christ have never lost their power. They hide not, they deny not the distresses of life, but they carry us safely over that troubled gulf, as on a bridge of light, opening to our view the bright beyond.
Prayer. O God, my Saviour, let these thy gracious promises light up the darkness of my heart. Thou hast overcome the world, let me then not fear its tribulations, but give me peace in Thee. Let the spirit of truth guide me into all truth, so shall my sorrow be turned into joy. Make me one with Thee, never alone;
in life and in death still conscious that God is with me, and that for thy sake He doth love me. These things I ask in thy name, O Jesus mine adored, depending on thy promise that I shall receive them, and that my joy may be full. Amen.
Solemn, and tender, and full of homely comfort had been, as we have seen, the last conversation our Saviour held with His Apostles. Now He speaks to them no more, but lifting up His eyes to heaven, His soul seeks communion with His Father. Louis XIV., his but half-acknowledged wife? So little was she able to trust in those around her, that she abandoned her hushand on his dying bed, because she could not look for a moment's safety, when the breath had left his body.
Each word that passed His sacred lips is given to us; and we are permitted to see the overflowings of His Spirit,-His sacred joy in the work He looked upon as already finished, -His longing to return to His Father's bosom, now that He could bear with Him those for whom He was about to die,-His tender care for all who believed, and should believe, in His name, to the world's end; and the tenderness with which He regarded all such as His own family.* They were in the world, yet, in mind and spirit, apart from the world, † having a work to do for Him, to win souls, to glorify God in furthering peace on earth, and good will to man. [ All this we see in the prayer that rose from the heart of Jesus to the throne of God, claiming as His own reward that His people should be ever with Him, and should behold the glory which the Father's love had given Him before the foundation of the world.Ş
Blessed be God, who has preserved for us this record of His Son's communion with Himself. Let us dwell upon it with holy reverence, not presuming to bring it down line by line to the level of our own understandings, but praying for the Holy Spirit to raise to it our minds.
John xvii. 1-26. “ These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come : glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee : As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth ; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world : thine they were, and thou gavest them me ; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things, whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee ; for I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me ; for they are thine, and all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
* The 6th and 7th verses.
+ The 15th and 16th verses. The 24th verse.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name : those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition ; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word ; that they all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them ; that they may be one, even as we are one : 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. 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. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee : but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
This prayer of Jesus the Son of God joins heaven with earth, and sheds a flood of glory on the dark clouds of life.
Prayer. Saviour, Lord of heaven and earth, we know assuredly that thou didst come from God; we believe that He did send thee. Pray thou then for us, we are thine: O be thou glorified in us. We are not worthy so much as to lift up our eyes unto thee : yet we believe; Lord, help thou our unbelief; weak, wavering though we be, include us in thy prayer : ‘Holy Father, keep through thine own name, all whom thou hast given me, that they may
one as we are.” Ob! to be one with thee, one with the Father! What can be given that can be compared with this? Lord the Spirit, fill thou our hearts with divine love; while in the world, keep us from the evil: and grant, eternal God, that we may behold thy glory, that our voices may swell the glad Alleluia of the rejoicing multitude, who behold the glories of thy Son.*
O Jesus, blessed Lord, declare thy name to us, that the burning love that filled thee may possess our souls, and we may be one with thee for evermore. Amen.
* Revelation xix,