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others might be partakers of the same, he was now sending these out into the world. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. With the same spirit, humbling themselves, " pleasing not themselves," that by all means they might gain some: and with the same purpose; carrying the message of mercy, "I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God." Christ had been sent, warning men to repent, and "flee from the wrath to come:" and so his apostles were sent, warning every man, that God had appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained."1 Christ had come, declaring that he was "the way, the truth, and the life; that no man cometh unto the Father, but by him." So his apostles went proclaiming that there was no other name under heaven by which we may be saved. Christ had invited all to share his mercy, declaring that whoever came unto him, he would in no wise cast out. And so his apostles went, declaring that "God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."2 Christ had encouraged every one to apply to him; for the grace which he would give them, should be a living purifying stream, "springing up into everlasting life." And so his apostles went, directing men to supply their poverty from his fulness, and sustain their own weakness by his strength and power. Christ had been
sent with one great and general purpose, “to seek and to save that which was lost." And now he sent his apostles out with the command, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
Thus they were sent, as he was sent, to build on his foundation, he himself being "the chief corner
Let each reflect for a moment, and consider whether this message has reached themselves. That which Jesus committed to his apostles, his apostles "committed to other faithful men ;" and the lamp of eternal life has been transferred from hand to hand, till now it has reached us "on whom the ends of the world are come." Have we received it, as the light by which we are to be directed? Are we guided by it? Or are we still in spiritual darkness; and would the apostle have reason to address us in the words of that universal summons, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light?"
The apostles, who were commissioned to call the world to righteousness, must needs be themselves as patterns to all who should become their followers, "in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." And therefore their Master prays that they may be made such. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Called as they were, and chosen as they were, for 4 Eph. v. 14.
3 2 Tim. ii. 2.
5 1 Tim. iv. 12.
God's especial purpose, they were still to be sanctified and fitted for his use, through those means which he has appointed for the renewal of our corrupt nature. Sanctify them through thy word. The word of God is the great instrument of sanctification: the weapon in the hand of the Spirit, by which the work of sanctification is carried on. Ineffective indeed without the Spirit, as the sword without the hand which ought to wield it but mighty through the Spirit of God to the pulling down all the strong holds of Satan. "The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than a twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."6 As they were to be preachers and teachers of this word, so they must needs keep it, and hide it in their hearts: it should prove to them a treasury, out of which they should be able to instruct, and edify, and comfort both themselves and those who heard them. For that which David wrote, will be true to the end of time. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
JESUS EXTENDS HIS INTERCESSION TO ALL WHO SHOULD HEREAFTER BELIEVE IN HIM.
JOHN Xvii. 20-23.
20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
In a few short hours "the Captain of our salvation" was now to "be made perfect through sufferings." And already he looks onward to the recompence of those sufferings; the "bringing many sons to glory." Known unto him are all the children of God from the beginning of the world; and he now makes them, as well as his immediate disciples, the objects of his prayer. He does not pray for his apostles alone, nor for those only who had already followed him, and remained with him; but he extends his view to distant times and future ages; to those who should hereafter come to believe in him through the word of those whom he was now sending forth to complete the work which he had begun. He prays that they, which shall believe in him through their word, may
1 See Heb. ii. 10.
form an harmonious and united body that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. And that being thus united, the children of one family, the members of one body, the subjects of one king, they might act as witnesses to the world: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Our Lord had said before, "I pray not for the world." His first purpose was to pray for those already "given him out of the world :" that they might be maintained in a firm and consistent course of life," a a peculiar people," none of whom should be overcome by the malice of Satan, and so betray the trust and endanger the cause committed to their hands. These, therefore, are the main subjects of his present intercession. But it was not for their own sake, merely, and to secure their own salvation, that these had been "chosen out of the world." They were chosen and prepared and commissioned for the world's sake: that the world might believe that God had sent him: believe that God" was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself" so that through the word, of the apostles first, and afterwards in all future time through the word of "other faithful men," "believers should be added to the Lord:" the "disciples should be multiplied greatly:"3 multitudes might "awake, and arise from the dead, and Christ should give them light."
And it was so. The prayer was heard and an
2 2 Tim. ii. 2.
3 Acts v. 14; vi. 7.
♦ Eph. v, 14.