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"I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me ; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified in them. And, now, I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as we are.
While I was with them in the world, 1 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.”_ Ver. 9-12.
Having read in the earlier portion of this divine prayer that the Father had given the Son power over all flesh, that He might bestow eternal life upon those whom the Father had given Him; it is remarkable that now we find Him again praying for them.
I pray for them. Why should He pray? If He bave power to impart life eternal, why entreat another to impart what He had already the ability to bestow? The answer is, His prayer was not to another. It was the Human looking inwards to the Divine.
How clearly does all this chapter demonstrate that the Son is not an eternal person distinct from the Father, but the Humanity assumed by the Father, which was gradually filled by the Divine Love, and assimilated to its own nature.
This prayer for the rising Church was inspired into the Human
Nature from the Divine Love, that the will of the Humanity might be all-accordant with the Divine Essence.
The Humanity had yet to suffer, that the world might be saved from selfishness and sin. But before it could suffer willingly, it must be filled with the sublime energy of Infinite Love. It must become an embodied yearning, a living prayer.
It must wish with an infinite longing, that, first the Church, and then the world, might be brought into harmony and conjunction with the Divine Love.
To effect this sublime object, when the All-Good undertook that His arm should bring salvation (Isa. lix. 16), three stages of the great work required to be accomplished. First, the assumption of Humanity by Himself, and its being transformed according to the laws of order into complete reconciliation and entire union with Himself; so that from the Glorified Humanity should go forth the Holy Spirit to redeem and regenerate mankind (John vii. 39). Secondly, the formation of the obedient lovers of truth among mankind into a Church, a larger body, in the likeness of His glorious body; that they might be one, as the Father and the Son had become one, and be one with Him; He all in all to them, they entirely obedient to Him. Then, thirdly, from a living Church should go forth those works of love and faith which would win the esteem, command the admiration, and accomplish the regeneration of the world. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in the heavens." (Matt. v. 16.)
The first part of this grand work was virtually completed. The Humanity in Himself was virtually divine. “I and the Father are one ;” “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father, and He that hath seen Me, hath seen Him that sent Me;" had announced that this central portion of the great work had been virtually effected.
Indignities had yet to be endured, sufferings to be sustained, but He could now say all “ Thine are Mine, and Mine are Thine, and I am glorified in them,” or as more explicitly rendered in the Rhenish version, for the word all and the possessive pronouns THINE and MINE are in the neuter gender, “ All My things are Thine, and Thine are Mine."
What a sublime and wonderful declaration, when addressed to the Eternal Father. All My life, My will, My thought, My faculties, sentiments, ideas, words and works are Thine. They are Infinite Love as modified in the natural human degree. All My principles, My words, My acts, My movements are Thine. The Word is from Thee, is Thee,
the Divine Love manifested in the form of Divine Wisdom, and I am the Word Incarnate : a Man who is Divine. All my things are THINE, and O adorable mercy, TAINE ARE MINE. Thy infinite perfections, Thy life, Thy love, Thy mercy, Thine omnipotence, Thine order, Thy perfect patience, Thine unspeakably glorious love, that of restoring the whole intelligent universe to conjunction with Thyself, are Mine, and I am glorified in them. In Me, Man is God, and God is Man : Divinity is Humanized, and Humanity is made Divine. I am glorified in all My powers, and Thou art glorified in Me.
How profound, how adorable is the truth expressed in these marvellous words! They announce the fulfilment of the words of prophecy, “The government shall be upon His shoulder" (Isa. ix. 6); and forestate by a very short period the words spoken by Himself just before His ascension, “ All power is given unto Me, in heaven and on earth” (Matt. xxviii. 18).
In the words immediately following, the Lord announces that all the worldly tendency inherited from the mother was removed from His Humanity. Now, I AM NO MORE IN THE WORLD. We are only really in the world, when the world is in us. That the Captain of our Salvation might be tempted in all points like as we are, and be touched with a feeling of our infirmities (Heb. iv. 15), it behoved Him to be made in all things like unto His brethren (ii. 17). This iniquity was taken into Him (Isa. liii. 6), the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. viii
. 3) was assumed, that He might receive the assaults of worldly spirits ; and the powers of darkness had swarmed around Him with the seductive offers, as if by one chief, “ All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it” (Luke iv. 6), but none of these attractions had any charm for Him. He endured these influences to shew evil spirits their impotence, and His servants how to endure.
But, now, thus far, He had sanctified Himself. He was no more in the world. The prince of this world came, but found nothing in Him (John xiv. 30). He was still for a short time in the same arena with men, but He was not of the world, nor in any worldly feeling. His whole sympathies were absorbed in the one sublime object of Infinite Love, to win the universe from worldliness and self to charity and God.
But these are in the world. The Church is still external and worldly. I come to Thee. I press close to Thee, that our union may be perfect, and a holier glow of Love may go forth to fill them with charity, and make them one finitely, and as members of the Church can be
one, after the infinite pattern of the most perfect union,—the union of the Father and the Son.
Love makes men one, fills them with love. Let them be as one grand body in heavenly harmony. Like the Divine Body, filled with Divine Love, let them be united in order and in charity, some men of the head, some of the eyes, some men of the breast, some men of the trunk, some men of the arms, and some of the feet, making the BODY THE CHURCH (Col. i. 18). All “ holding the head, from which all the body by joints and bands may have nourishment ministered, and be knit together, increasing with the increase of God" (Col. ii. 19). Let them be one, as we are. The “whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. iv. 16).
Love smoothes, love shapes, love conjoins, love inspires, love animates, love invigorates, love purifies, love elevates, love brightens and blesses. Let them be filled with love, that they all may be one as we
Such is the import of the Divine Human desire of our Lord, as expressed in the utterance of His
prayer. While He had been with them, He had guarded them, and trained them in the spirit of love.
He had checked their aberrations, when they wished to send fire upon others, or to be exacting themselves. He had taught them to be poor in spirit, to bless them that cursed them, to pray for them that despitefully used them, to return good for evil.
He had kept them, in the name, in the very spirit and quality of the Divine Fatherhood, and led them to regard each other as brethren, - brethren for earth and for heaven.
None of them is lost, but the one who would not be saved, the son of perdition.
He who makes himself the son of self-love cannot be saved. If he build up his character by selfish deeds and selfish words, coveting, lying, cheating, betraying in the presence of embodied virtue itself, his very nature becomes a living hell. Heaven would be his hell, hell is his only, his miserable heaven.
Every loving soul, every one that Thou gavest me, I have kept. They have had light thrown over their path, they have been led from truth to truth. They loved the truth, they came to the truth, and the truth has made them free. They have been taught to war against themselves, to conquer their tempers, purify their appetites, and elevate
their desires. They have been armed with the sword of truth, and led to seek peace, through the subjugation in themselves of whatever is unholy and impure. None of them is lost. None of them will be lost. They will be a holy seed to transform the world's desert into Eden, and the world's wilderness into the garden of God. None of them is lost. They are the first-fruits of a harvest, which shall issue in the millenniums of the future, into a world-wide plenitude of eternal gain. The sons of obedience, the sons of light, and the sons of love, will be saved, and blessed with a peace that passeth all understanding. But the son of perdition has built himself up so, that death triumphs in him, not
hatred not love; turmoil not rest. How often would I have gathered him, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but he
He must go to his own place, for such is the eternal law. The scripture must be fulfilled. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he who is filthy, let him be filthy still ; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and, he that is holy, let him be holy still.” These are the laws of eternal truth and justice, upon which the very universe is sustained and governed.
Those who, in freedom and reason, build up their characters in righteousness and wisdom become sons of God; and so making themselves heavenly, they can enter heaven. Those, who resist all the attractions of Divine Tenderness, and will not have truth to guide, faith to confirm, or love to hallow them, who prefer darkness to light, evil to good, and impurity to virtue, these lose themselves in the quagmires of the own folly ; but the scripture must be fulfilled. God cannot save them, because they will not be saved. He therefore controls and moderates them, for His tender mercies are over all His works, and makes them useful for the temptations and regeneration of the good, and as warnings and illustrations of the fearful wrecks men become when they will make themselves " sons of perdition.” A man's character is the son of himself, of his principles and his practices. What he has made himself to be that he is, and when a man has loved his own nothingness rather than the divine fulness, his own insanity rather than the divine wisdom, his own ugliness rather than the divine beauty, he is the son of perdition, but of a perdition which he has made, against the innumerable drawings of Eternal Love, and he cannot go to heaven, for to him it would be the most terrific hell. The scripture must be fulfilled.