« PreviousContinue »
end is, that Christ may be “ the author of eternal life to all that obey him.' “ Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.”1
We are further told, that the presence of the Spirit of truth, the Comforter, is the peculiar privilege of Christ's disciples. Him 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.
Throughout his discourses here, the Lord distinguishes his disciples from the world, and the world from his disciples. As when he says, little while, and the world seeth me no more : but ye see me.”
- The world shall rejoice, but ye shall weep and lament.” And afterwards,—“I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
And the world, he assures us,-“ the children of this generation,
" " the children of this world,” the lovers of this world, cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him. And for an evident reason. It is the heart which receives him : and their hearts are occupied with other things ; are filled with the business, and the cares, and the pleasures, and the pursuits, and the honours of this life, so that they cannot receive the Spirit of truth. The rich young man who inquired of our Lord concerning eternal life; he could not receive the Spirit of truth : for his heart
1 Ps. cxlv. 3.
was full of his “great possessions.' The Pharisees could not receive the Spirit of truth ; for their hearts were full of the love of this world's praise. Martha, sister of Lazarus, was in danger of closing her heart against the Holy Spirit, whilst she was “ careful and troubled about the many things” of this present time, which “ choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Whilst things visible engross the eye, we cannot have “ the evidence of things not seen. Whilst the things cared and hoped for are the things belonging to this world, the heart cannot rise and aspire to him, who is only seen and known by faith.
It is, however, the mark of Christ's disciples, that they do receive the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost. The Lord says ; But ye know him ; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
It is his office to prepare them for that to which they are called : for the service and duties assigned them here, and for everlasting glory hereafter. And in the performance of this office, he dwelleth with them, first, to instruct them. He, says the Lord afterwards, “ he shall guide you into all truth.” “ He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.” He takes the words, the doctrines, the warnings, the promises of Christ, and shows them to the eyes of the understanding As St. Paul declares, “ God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit : for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.". tod.” One and the same Spirit worketh that
2 1 Cor. i. 10.
diversity of gifts and operations, which the people of God exercise in the vocation to which they are called. 3
Secondly, the Holy Ghost dwelleth in them, to renew and sanctify their hearts. " That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Thus the Corinthians had become what they were, new creatures, with whom old things had passed away ; being “ sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”5 The apostle reminds them, that their bodies were“ the temple of the Holy Ghost, which was in them.” For “ if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” 6
Further, the Holy Ghost is in the disciples of Christ, to support and uphold them in the time of trial. So St. Paul prays for the Ephesian church, that they may be “strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man.”? In the contemplation of the perils by which he was encompassed, he encourages himself, “knowing that this shall turn to his salvation through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”: Trusting to his promise,
My grace is sufficient for thee,” he could encounter any danger, and meet any difficulty to which his faith exposed him.
3 1 Cor. xii. 8—12. Eph. iii. 5. 4 Rom. viii. 9. 51 Cor. vi. 11.
6 Rom. viii. 9. 7 Eph. iii. 16.
8 Philip. i. 19.
And lastly, the Holy Ghost is in the disciples of Christ, to comfort them. It is through him that the promise is fulfilled, " I will not leave you comfortless.” He is especially distinguished as the Comforter, who helpeth our infirmities :" removes our doubts, and calms our fears : “ bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God :" is " sent forth into our hearts,” that we may “come boldly to the throne of grace,” as children to a father who “spareth his only son that serveth him.”9
“What manner of men, therefore, ought we all to be, in all holy conversation and godliness,” that we may not “ grieve the Spirit of God,” and provoke him to depart from us.
“ Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." In his presence is life, and joy, and righteousness, and peace. And to vex and resist him, by opposing his holy suggestions, is to drive the author of these blessings from our heart, and count ourselves unworthy of eternal life.
9 See Gal. iv. 6.
1 2 Cor. iii. 17.
2 See Rom. xiv. 17. 1 ορφανους.
THE PRESENCE OF GOD IS PROMISED TO THOSE
WHO KEEP THE WORDS OF CHRIST.
JOHN xiv. 18—24.
18. I will not leave you comfortless : I will come to you.
19. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more ; but ye see me : because I live, ye shall live also.
20. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21. 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 manifest myself to him.
In these words our Lord leaves with his disciples a clear and distinct promise of comfort and support peculiar to themselves, and derived to them not through an earthly but a heavenly channel.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more. I shall be removed from the sight of the eye, and the hearing of the ear. But ye see me: I will come to you: I will not leave you comfortless, as children who have lost their earthly parent: because I live, ye shall live also. Because I live. Though in the sight of men I seem to die, I shall rise again from the