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change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.54 To Titus he declared, that the gospel of the grace of God teacheth us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.55 St. Peter exhorted Christians to be looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.56 And St. John says of the second coming of Christ, We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.57 St. Paul described to the Thessalonians the manner of the Saviour's appearing. The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first ; then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.58 Then He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, in that day.59 Our Saviour Himself directed the atten
54 Phil.iii. 20,21, 55 Tit. ii. 12–14 562 Pet. iii. 12. 57 1 John iji.2.
tion of His disciples to this subject, more particularly, at the beginning of the discourse of which the chapter from which the Gospel for this day is taken is a part; when He spoke of the many mansions in His Father's house, whither He was going to prepare a place for them; and from whence He would come again to receive them to Himself, that where He should be they might be also. To this then the expectations of believers in Christ in all ages have been directed as the consummation of their joy. He will come again and see them, and will put them in possession of the inheritance which He has purchased for them with His own blood. And then, as He said to His disciples in the text, their heart shall rejoice, and their joy no man taketh from them. This points us
Thirdly, To the blessedness that awaits the true Christian hereafter. What joy of heart will it occasion him to be perfectly conformed to the image of his Lord and Saviour. This is the joy of heaven. The change of the condition of mankind in consequence of the fall of our first parents from that state of righteousness in which they were created, is spoken of as the result of acquiring the knowledge of good and evil. Until man became acquainted with evil in his own experience, he was happy. The knowledge of evil was his
58 1Thess. iv.16,17. 59 2 Thess.i. 10. 60 John xiv.2,3. 61 Gen .ii. 17.
misery: and it has ever since been the unfailing source of grief and woe to the children of men. But notwithstanding, the people of the world look to that which has been introduced by the knowledge of evil as the source of their greatest enjoyments. This they call pleasure, and this constitutes worldly wisdom and prudence. But in heaven, those who are admitted to that blessedness will again know no evil. From that abode of the blessed evil is banished, and together with it all its consequences, sickness, and pain, and
But what is good will be there known in perfection, and that only. How will the the heart of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ rejoice when He shall be admitted to enter into the joy of his Lord. And how ought the hope of it to animate him to run with patience the race that is set before him; while he rejoices in hope of the glory of God. The joy of which he will then partake will be perpetual, none will be able to take it from him. He who gives it, will secure for His people the eternal possession of joy unspeakable and full of glory.
May our hearts be set upon the attainment of this heavenly blessedness. And let us walk in the footsteps of the flock of Christ ; let us feed beside our Shepherd's tent; that loving, and serving, and obeying Him here on earth, we may rejoice in the hope of being admitted into His blissful presence hereafter.
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
THE PROMISED COMFORTER.
John xvi. 15.
ALL THINGS THAT THE FATHER HATH ARE
MINE: THEREFORE SAID I, THAT HE SHALL TAKE OF MINE, AND SHALL SHOW IT UNTO
The benefits bestowed upon mankind by the gift of the Holy Ghost are the subject of the Gospel for this day. We have here an account of them from the lips of our blessed Lord and Saviour Himself. When He intimated to His disciples that He was about to depart from them, and to be no more in this world, the intelligence filled them with grief and disappointment. For it put an end to all the hopes they had previously entertained of the advantages which they were to enjoy under the reign of the Messiah
in a kingdom of this world. In the passage now to be considered, our Saviour made known to them important truths and promises, the consideration of which was calculated to counteract the disappointment which they felt on being informed that He was about to leave them. Let us meditate upon it with prayer that the blessings here spoken of may be vouchsafed to us; and that we may enjoy the consolations which are to be derived from them.
In this portion of Scripture our blessed Lord begins with reminding His disciples whither He was going. Now I go My way to Him that sent Me. He had accomplished the object for which He came into the world, as He declared in the following chapter: I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.69 And as He had come forth from the Father, and had come into the world; and was now about to leave the world, and go again to the Father ,63 He blames them for not making any inquiries from Him on the subject. None of you asketh Me, Whither goest Thou? If they had given Him an opportunity, by asking such a question, He would have told them of the glories of the invisible world; of the glory which He had with the Father before the world was ,62 of the completion of the work which brought Him
62 John xvii. 4, 5.
63 John xvi. 28.