« הקודםהמשך »
own measures, without taking any steps which are inconsistent with our duty to God to restrain them; concluding that if our heavenly Fatuer does not deliver us from our enemies, he will make them instrumental to our eternal happiness hereafter.
“ From our Lord's love to St. John, we learn, that it is consistent with our Christian profession to form friendships with particular persons, provided their characters are such as justify our preference of them. The character of the Evangelist may serve to direct our choice. It appears from his writings and his conduct, that St. John was distinguished for his simplicity and singleness of heart, fervent piety, unbounded benevolence, unaffected modesty, humility, meekness and gentleness of disposition *."
These are the qualities which we ought to seek in a friend, and these virtues we must cultivate in our own hearts, as most likely to procure us a worthy friend, and as the only means to secure the friendship of our heavenly one.
JESUS COMFORTS HIS DISCIPLES BEFORE HIS DEATII.
From John, Chap. xiv. Let not your heart he troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you : I go to prepare a place
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.
* Bishop Porteus's Sermons.
And whither I go, ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, LORD, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father but by mne.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Fa. ther also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Philip saith unto him, LORD, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father: and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father !
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works sake.
Verily, verily, I say upto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do, shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do ; because I
go unto my Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for
Even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him :
but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall
be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more : but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.
At that day ye shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me,
and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me : and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manie fest myself to him.
Judas said unto him (not Iscariot) LORD, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
He that loveth me not, keepeth not my saying: and the word which ye hear; is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it isë, me to pass, ye might believe.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you : for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
But that the world may know that I love the Father; as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Having concluded the solemnity of celebrating the passover and ordaining the Eucharist, our Lord, before he quitted the guest-chamber* to go to the Mount of Olives, entertained his Apostles with a very affectionate discourse. No doubt their minds were greatly troubled at the thoughts of losing Him, and the dangers they should themselves be exposed to ; but the gloomy prospect was cleared, when he taught them to look through the cloud of adversity, and take a mental view of their Saviour in his heavenly state, preparing a place for them, and at length coming in person to introduce them to different degrees of happiness, proportioned to their faith and obedience.
In the beginning of this discourse, our LORD ob. served that his disciples had a source of consolation under their present trials in their belief of God, who, as an infinitely wise and good Governor, would certainly protect his faithful servants: but he intimated, that a inere belief in the existence and providence of the SuPREME Being was not the whole of a Christian's faith;
* It is the opinion of several commentators that these discourses passed in this place, as they could not have been so conveniently heard by eleven persons whilst they were walking on the road. But it might be otherwise; however, this circumstance is immaterial, siuce the instruction conveyed 10 us by them is the same, let thera have been delivered cither in the guest-chamber or on the road.
he was also required to believe in Christ, and this would be a farther antidote against the sorrows of the world. The nature of this belief, and the happy fruits of it, have been already explained.
Whether Thomas understood our Lord's answer to his question at this time is uncertain, but he did afterwards without doubt. It teaches us that the only way by which man can arrive to a certain knowledge of the will of Gov, and obtain eternal life, is through Christ, who revealed the truth, and proposed the terms of salvation. Neither can any one form proper conceptions of the nature and attributes of God, but from the manifestation which He has made of himself by his Divine Word through CHRIST: so that our Lord might justly say, “ If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also." Philip's enquiry shewed, that he had not yet entered into the spiritual meaning of our Lord's discourses; the answer he received was calculated not only for him, but for all persons who are not capable of comprehending figurative language, and is to be taken in a literal sense: we will therefore examine, how our Lord proved, that “those who had seen him had seen the FATHER.” Let us first consider, what he had at different times taught concerning the nature and attri. butes of Gov.. From various discourses of our Lord's, we may
collect, that the DEITY, whom he styled his FATHER, and our IIEAVENLY FATier, is a Spirit, whom no man hath seen at any time, the only true God, the first cause of life; that he is infinite in power, wisdom, goodness, compassion, mercy, justice, truth; that he loves virtue, and hates wickedness.
Let us now enquire, how it is possible for our SAVIOUR to shew the FATHER, or make the Deity, who F 5