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If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now they have both seen, and hated both me and my Father.
But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.
And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
This discourse is by some commentators supposed to have been delivered before our Lord left the guestchamber; others imagine that it passed when he was walking with his disciples towards the mount of Olives. The latter seems to be the most probable opinion ; for, as he was accustomed to borrow allusions from present objects, the sight of a vine might suggest this compa. rison: however this was, we must perceive that it was admirably adapted to the plain understandings of his disciples; and calculated, at the same time, by its elegance, to attract the attention of persons of taste and judgment.
Our Saviour might properly compare himself to a vine, and his FATHER to a husbandman, because it was God who had planted the MessiAH in the world, and to God belongs the supreme government of the Christian church. The allusion is carried on with so much clearness, that we can scarcely fail of understanding it. We may understand from the description of the hus
bandman's bandman's proceedings, that every unprofitable member of Christ's church will be finally rejected of God, and that the best will be exercised with trials to purify their hearts. If we withdraw our faith and obedience from our REDEEM ER, we must no longer expect to be favoured with the grace of God through His beloved Son; and without this grace we cannot bring forth the fruits of righteousness. Let us then adhere to our CHRISTIAN profession with sincerity and firmness, and we shall be enabled to practise its duties. We are here warned of the danger of apostasy, and encouraged to fidelity. If we depart from our faith, destruction will be our lot; if we continue obedient, all our prayers will be heard; for by using eur best endeavours for the propagation of the gospel in the world, as far as our influence extends, and endeavouring to live holy lives, we glorify our heavenly Father, and prove ourselves true disciples of CHRIST, Our LORD testified his love for the Father by acting in obedience to the Divine Will; he assures us, that he loves his disciples with the same constant affection that He is beloved by his Father; therefore it is our duty to do every thing in our power to secure the continuance of our Lord's love, which can only be done by an uniform obedience to his commands, as far as the infirmities of human nature will admit.
These things our LORD spake to his apostles, and through them to Christians in general, to every branch, in order to animate and fortify them against the temptations of life, that they might rejoice in the midst of tribulation, from the hope of eternal happiness.
Again, our Lord repeated his commandment to his apostles, to love one another; conjuring them, by their obligations to him, to maintain mutual friendship and benevolence, such as he had shewn to mankind in
general, and to them in particular; and was now going to prove, by laying down his life for the benefit of the world, which surely was the highest testimony of sincere affection that was possible for him as Man to give.
Our Lord observed to his apostles, that though they professed themselves his servants, he had treated them as intimate friends, communicating to them from time to time all things which the FATHER had revealed to him which it concerned their happiness and interest to be made acquainted with: from henceforth, therefore, he should call them by the endearing appellation of FRIENDS, so long as their fidelity to him and to each other remained. Yet they were not to suppose, that it was their own merit that procured them this honour; for be had chosen them without solicitation from the rest of his followers to be ministers of his gospel, and given them abilities to execute the office faithfully.
So essential to the discharge of the apostolic duty was brotherly love, that our SAVIOUR once more enjoined it as an indispensable obligation, particularly necessary to his apostles, because they would each be exposed to the enmity of wicked persons: he therefore exhorted them to unite firmly together, and not be discouraged by the hatred of the world, since it was what he had taught them to expect, and had met with himself. Our LORD then predicted the treatment his followers would shortly meet with from the Jews, on account of their attach. ment to him and to each other; and observed, how highly this wicked nation had offended God by opposing the MESSIAH; and added as a warning, to be uttered afterwards by his apostles to the Jews, that their pretending not to know him would be no excuse, because he had sufficiently proved himself to be the Christ: if he had not, indeed, they would, in this particular,
have been clear from the guilt of rebellion against God and his beloved Son.
Our Lord then reminded his apostles, that the treatment he met with had been foretold by Moses and the prophets; and he intimated, that he had another witness to produce in proof of his mission, namely, the HOLY SPIRIT, who would be a Comforter to them, and a powerful advocate in his cause; and would encourage his disciples also to bear witness to the works he had performed, and the doctrines he had taught.
It is wonderful to remark the great condescension of the Son of God in assuming the tender relation of friend to men of the meanest rank and lowest abilities; for the greatest part of his followers were poor illiterate fishermen. This circumstance should raise the hopes of the humble, and bring down the pride of the lofty. The only qualifications necessary to procure the friendship of our SAVIOUR, and through him of God the FATHER, is a sincere love of God, shewing itself in acts of obedience to his commands, and particularly in those kind and be nevolent offices to our fellow-christians which are, in the very exercise of them, productive of the most rational delight: pleasures which riches cannot purchase for the sordid, learning cannot attain in the circle of human sciences, neither can power procure to the unfeeling heart; yet are they within the reach of the poor, the illiterate, and the weak; for every Christian has opportunities at one time or other of his life to contribute: something to the happiness of others, and to shew forth the glory of GOD.
JESUS ENDEAVOURS TO RECONCILE HIS APOSTLES TO
THE THOUGHTS OF HIS REMOVAL, AND REPEATS
THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
From John, Chap. xvi. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
They shall put you out of the synagogues ; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth God service.
And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
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 unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me, and none asketh
Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled
heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth ; It is expedient for you that I go away,
for if I
the Comforter will not come unto you; but, if I depart, I will send him unto you.'
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more : Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but not bear them now.
Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of him