« PreviousContinue »
name those whom thou hast given me. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name : those that thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition ; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. It must needs be that the Scripture be fulfilled, and that the Son of man should
go, as was written of him.” It must needs be that the Scripture be fulfilled, as to the manner of his being betrayed, that, as is prophesied in the Psalms, (Ps. xli. 9,) “ mine own familiar friend, whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, should lift up his heel against me :” that another should “ take the office of Judas,” whose “ days were few” and evil. The son of perdition therefore is lost, “ being before of old ordained unto this condemna
The rest I have kept in thy name : my doctrine has instructed them, my warnings have defended them, my example has encouraged them. But now I come to thee: and these whom thou hast given me must be left like other men, to be encompassed with difficulties and dangers, and to be assaulted by the evil one. Still let them be left under a protection which all men have notthough all may find it and enjoy it, if they seek it with their whole heart:-Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.
Here the Lord has presented, to all his future disciples, a lively picture of their situation ;-their dangers, and their security. It is evidently no slight or easy task which they have to perform, in
• See Ps. cix. 8; and Acts i. 20. 3 See Jude 4.
“ working out their salvation ;” in “
making their calling and election sure.” They are in the world. He to whom they are given is no more in the world. The world endangers them : it is present, it is visible, it is tangible : they are daily concerned with it: and he is far above out of their sight: not manifestly at hand to protect, or instruct, or warn.
But their security is, that they have one above to care for them, to provide for them; and though
“ desire to have them, that he may sift them as wheat,” to pray for them, “ that their faith fail not.”
And he proves to us by the intercession which is here recorded, how tenderly he is affected towards those who believe in him and commit themselves to him. He still retains the same heart, the same pity, the same compassionate nature, which dictated these words. He is not like what we might imagine in a perfect being, he does not see with contempt and scorn the temptations to which flesh and blood is exposed, and to which it too often yields : he does not despise and reject his people, because of the trifles which disturb or please, occupy or divert them. It is our consolation, and it is told us as our consolation, that “we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”5 Christ, exalted as he is, is tenderly affected towards all those who are left for a while to work out their salvation in the world : he sees their difficulties, and has pity for their trials and their weaknesses.
4 Luke xxii. 31.
5 Heb. iv. 15.
If any man were tossed by a storm at sea, and while striving against it, could be persuaded that his friends on shore knew the perils which he was encountering, and were praying for his deliverance and safety,—the thought would comfort and encourage him.“ And Christ's disciples have this comfort. His heart is with them. He who is always near, is touched with a sense of their infirmities and trials, and is praying for them in heaven.
How ought this to cheer us also, and strengthen us to maintain the contest against the “ lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and whatever is not of the Father, but of the world !” He “ whose we are, and whom we serve,” is praying the Father to help our infirmities, to forgive us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances, and to bring us safely out of a world of dangers, into a world of peace and righte
Now I come to thee, but these are in the world. Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, and who have given themselves to me, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves, and that I may be glorified in them.
6 Manton. Disc. on John xvii.
CONTINUATION OF THE PRAYER OF CHRIST THAT HIS APOSTLES MAY BE PRESERVED FROM THE EVIL OF THE WORLD.
JOHN xvii. 14-16,
14. I have given them thy word ; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Our Lord here speaks of the state of his apostles, in reference to the world in which they were living. They were not of it: they were separated from it by a decided line. They were not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Their views, their pursuits, their interests, all are different from the objects and sentiments of those from among whom they have been taken.
And this difference had been produced by his word; the word which he had given them from the Father. I have given them thy word. That was true of them, which St. Peter applies afterwards to the Christians whom he was addressing. They were
born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."1
This word had told them that it was the Father's will that they should come unto Him through the Son : that they should believe on him whom he had sent : that they should take his yoke upon them, and learn of him, and so find rest unto their souls. They had received this word ; had hearkened to the invitation which Jesus gave; had remained with him, when others “ went back and walked no more with him :"? had deliberately chosen to leave all and follow him, because they believed that he was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The world around them ; its leaders, the priests, and scribes, and Pharisees, and the multitude who were governed by them, had rejected the word which the apostles had received. Therefore the world hated them : as it does hate those who separate themselves from it, who pursue a contrary course from the great majority, and in so doing,by necessary consequence, though with no express intention, seem to cast a censure upon those whom they they leave behind. We have an instance in the man whose blindness had been removed, and who ventured to defend against the Pharisees the character of his benefactor. (John ix. 32.) “ Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, 1 1 Pet. i. 2, 3.
2 John vi. 66.