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whole life was one course of self-denial, who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, who “had not where to lay his head ;” and has that heart no self-command, no moderation? Is it not temperate in all things ? Can it be earthly and sensual ?
No further proof is needed, that a man abides not in Christ. The faith that seemed to make an union between them, has no firmness, no consistency: it has given way : the stem does not nourish it: and, says the Lord, If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered ; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
But great indeed is the promise to those who “ hold the beginning of their confidence stedfast unto the end.”+ If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. There is nothing which is expedient for you which shall not be granted. No sorrow shall be without its alleviation. No care without its comfort. No evil passion shall retain dominion. No self-will shall be stronger than the will of God. “For it is God that worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”They shall be enabled to do“ all things: yet not they, “but the grace of God that is with them."
“ All things are theirs. For they are Christ's; and Christ is God's."
4 Heb. iii. 14.
6 Phil. iv, 13. 7 1 Cor. xv. 10. 8 1 Cor. iii. 23.
DISCOURSE WITH THE APOSTLES CONTINUED.
John xv. 9--16.
9. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you : continue ye in my love.
10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Our blessed Lord here places in the strongest light the love which he bore towards his disciples ; for he compares it with the love which the Father bore towards himself. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. The principle of union is the same in both cases; one does the will of the other. The Son keeps the Father's commandments, and abides in his love. The disciples are to keep their Lord's commandments, and they shall continue in his love. For love, properly considered, is not an abstract principle, but a principle of action. We should try onr love to God, by bringing it to the same rule as love to man. If we love a fellow creature, that love produces an instinctive desire of complying with his wishes, of gratifying, pleasing, obeying him. And if there is a real love of Christ in the heart, it will have the same effect. “ If ye love me, keep my commandments,” is at once the most simple and the most reasonable test on which a judgment can be formed, and the state of the heart decided.
More especially when we proceed to the commandment itself, and consider its justness. This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.
What an example of genuine, intense, disinterested love is set us in the gospel ! Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. But St. Paul reminds us, and let it never be forgotten, how much even this unusual love is exceeded by the love of Christ. (Rom. v. 7.) “ For scarcely for a righteous man will one die : yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Died for us whilst enemies, that we might be entitled to be called his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
And here the Lord graciously takes up the term friends, as if pleased with it; and rejoices in the opportunity of testifying the confidence which he reposed in them.
15. Henceforth I call you not servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth : but I have called you friends ; for all things that I have heard of my Father I hare made known unto you.
16. Ye hare not chosen me, but I have chosen you ; and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain : that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
If we look back to the calling of the apostles, the fact here stated appears very clear: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. Peter and Andrew were engaged in their vocation, and casting a net into the sea : for they were fishers." “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make
fishers of men. So likewise James and John ; these also he called : and “
they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” So that in every sense it must be allowed that they had not chosen him. His call that they should follow him, must have been accompanied by an irresistible influence upon their hearts, which should lead them to love him more than the things of this world in which they had been heretofore engaged, and to seek first the kingdom of God. He had “ chosen them out of the world.”
This calling of the apostles was peculiar. Ordinary Christians are not in the same evident manner chosen out of the world, and ordained to the
1 These had before acknowledged Jesus, on the information of John the Baptist. (See John i. 35–42.) But an interval had elapsed, before they were called to be apostles. Compare Matt. iv. 12-25.
purposes which God designs them to serve. But every one who “has the witness in himself” that he is Christ's disciple, will be forward to confess that he has nothing “ which he has not received :" by the grace
of God” he is what he is : that such grace alone has made him to differ from others who show no evidence of the same faith in the habits of their lives. He is " born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of
In one point of view, however, it might be said of the apostles, that they had chosen Christ. They had left all, and followed him. They had said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”
And in the same manner, every one who has the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus, must in this sense have chosen him to be theirs. It is the proof that he chooses them to be his. They must have perceived his offers and his promises to be exactly what their wants require : must have come to him by the movement of their own hearts: must have adhered to him, and continued in his love.
And so likewise, as he ordained the apostles to go and bring forth fruit, he ordains all to whom he
gives power to become the sons of God,” to live as God's children, and to fulfil the work appointed them, for the benefit of man, and the glory of their heavenly Father. So that their being chosen, their “election of God,"3 is not a thing con
? See the Articles of our Church, x. and xvii.
3 1 Thes. i. 4.
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