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mighty would permit those who are in heaven to maintain a communication with their surviving friends on the earth! the person, whose loss you so bitterly deplore, would reproach you with that excess of grief. He would address you in the words of the Saviour to his disciples: "If you loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father, for the Father is greater than I." Would you tear me from the bosom of that Father? Would you recall me to this scene of tribulation and distress? Do you wish to see me again struggling with the calamities which are inseparable from the life of wretched mortals?
But there is something farther which challenges our attention. All that our blessed
I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give
My soul, if these are mere empty ideas with respect to thee, to thyself alone is the evil to be imputed. Thou hast corrupted thy taste: thou art plunging thyself in the world; distracting thyself with its projects: eagerly hunting after its pleasures: thou art suffering thyself to be fascinated with its charms: thou art devoting no portion of thy immortal capacity to the perception of that delight which the regenerated man enjoys, when he can say to himself, "I know the Father;" he is such as I know the Son to be, full of love, full of charity, full of goodness and long-suffering. Jesus Christ has left me his peace;" I bear within me the testimony of "a conscience void of offence:" I give myself up to the joy of reflecting that my salvation is secure." Thou renderest thyself insensible to these sublime attractions: and then, when the world betrays thee; when thy "gods are taken away from thee," Judg. xviii. 24; when thou art bent on every side with a "great sight of affliction," thou findest thyself destitute of every resource. Reform thy depraved taste. Call down paradise to reside within thee; anticipate that glorious period, when thou "shalt see God as he is," 1 John iii. 2. Call to remembrance these words of thy Saviour: "From henceforth ye know the father, and have seen him: he that hath seen me hath seen the father: peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Lord has done for himself, has an intimate relation to us. All the glory which rests on our illustrious head extends its influence to each of its members. All the parts of the economy into which he has entered for our salvation, have a direct reference to our salvation. "He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification: He is even at the right hand of God, where he also maketh intercession for us," Rom. iv. 25; viii. 34. In all your distresses, reflect not only on the place to which Christ is gone, but likewise on what he has thither gone to do, on your behalf. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you," chap. xiv. 2. God no longer dwells in "light which no man can approach unto," 1 Tim. vi. 16. Direct your eyes to heaven. There are no longer "cherubim, and a flaming sword," Gen. iii. 24, to obstruct your passage. "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know:". "Jesus Christ is the way, and the truth, and the life," chap. xiv. 4. 6. Keep but yourselves closely united to the Redeemer in the hour of tribulation; place continually before your eyes this model of patient suffering, and he will himself conduct you to those mansions of glory.
4. But an impenetrable veil conceals from our eyes those mansions in our Father's house: but there is an infinite distance between this little corner of the world, into which God has been pleased to send us, as into a state of exile, and the place which Christ is preparing for God is still, with respect to us, "a strong God, who hideth himself," Isa. xlv. 15. Well, you must learn to look through that veil. With what fortitude was Moses animated by You must learn to fill up the mighty void it! "Wherein shall it be known here," said which is between heaven and earth, and to see of old time that eminent servant of God, "that this God who still conceals himself from our I and thy people have found grace in thy eyes. "Faith is the substance of things hoped sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? for, and the evidence of things not seen," So shall we be separated, I and thy people, Heb. xi. 1. The Christian is instructed to from all the people that are upon the face of unite the present to futurity. The Christian is the earth:" Ex. xxiii. 16. With what fortiinstructed to anticipate periods the most re- tude did it animate the prophet, when he said, mote. The Christian is man already "quick- "When my father and my mother forsake me, ened together with Christ; already glorified; then the Lord will take me up!" Ps. xxxvii. 10. already seated in heavenly places with Christ With what fortitude did it inspire Jesus Christ Jesus," Eph. ii. 5. How so? By the fore-himself, under that universal desertion which tastes of those blessings which are the object he experienced at the hour of death? "Beof his expectations. This is the fourth source hold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that of the consolation which our Lord opens to his ye shall be scattered every man to his own, disciples, and which we, after him, open to you. and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not "From henceforth ye know the father, and alone, because the Father is with me," chap. have seen him: he that hath seen me hath seen xvi. 32. the Father: peace I leave with you; my peace
Let us never lose sight of God in the day of
5. There is a fifth source of consolation which Jesus Christ disclosed to his disciples, and which we, after him, disclose unto you: it is the assurance of his spiritual presence, and of the presence of his heavenly Father in the midst of you. "I will not leave you comfortless," or, as it might have been rendered, I will not leave you orphans. . "If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him:" chap. xiv. 18. 23. In all your distresses call to remembrance that God is with you of a truth. With what fortitude did this reflection inspire those holy men whom the Scriptures have proposed to us as models!
adversity. Let us ever dwell with complacen- of the fulness of joy. Till that blessed period, cy and joy on that expression of the Redeemer, church of Jesus Christ, " thou afflicted, tossed "I will not leave you orphans." Let us ap- with tempest, and not comforted," Isa. liv. 2, ply to ourselves what God said of his ancient a fearful night must involve thee in thick darkpeople: "Surely they are my people, children ness. Till that blessed period, weep; weep, that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In dejected Christian, disciple of the crucified Jeall their affliction he was afflicted, and the an- sus, weep and lament, and let "the world regel of his presence saved them," Isa. lxiii. 8, 9; joice because ye are sorrowful," but ere long, and let us exult in the fulness of a Christian" your sorrow shall be turned into joy... confidence: "I have set the Lord always be- I will see you again, and your heart shall refore me: because he is at my right hand, I joice, and your joy no man taketh from you." shall not be moved," Ps. xvi. 8. What powers of thought are equal to a happy termination of this subject of meditation! What pencil is capable of depicting the joys of the sons of God, in that eventful day, in which they shall behold again, in which they shall embrace, a father, a friend, a child, from whom death had once separated them! Let imagination soar to the highest object which the mind is capable of contemplating. Let nothing divide the love which we entirely owe to our adorable Redeemer, or damp the delight which we derive from the exalted hope of seeing him return to us in the clouds of heaven, with his "angels that excel in strength."
6. Finally, the last source of consolation which Jesus Christ disclosed to his disciples, and which we, after his example, would disclose unto you, is the nearness of his return: "Ye now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you," chap. xvi. 22. In all your distresses call to remembrance, that if Jesus Christ be not now sensibly present in the midst of you, the time is at hand when he will certainly be so. Call to remembrance what the angels said unto the apostles, when lost in astonishment at beholding a cloud receive him out of their sight; "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven," Acts i. 11. Call to remembrance that Jesus Christ will quickly reappear; "Yet a little while, and he who shall come, will come, and will not tarry," Heb. x. 37.
No, this economy is not made for eternity. The world is waxing old; our years are hastening to fill up their measure: we are advancing with rapid strides towards the tomb. The decorations of the universe are speedily to be changed with respect to us. The universe itself is about to undergo a real change. The state of the world, that now is, presents a state of violence, which cannot be of long duration. The last trumpet must ere long utter its voice: yet a little while, and those thunders must be heard which shall shake the pillars of the earth: "arise ye dead," and leave your tombs. Yet a little while, and we shall see again those whose death hath cost us so many tears, and we shall be reunited to them. Yet a little while, and "the sign of the Son of man shall appear in heaven," Matt. xxiv. 30. Yet a little while, and this Son of man shall himself appear in his own, and in his "Father's glory, with all his holy angels."
Ah! my brethren, till that blessed period arrive, we dare not promise you the possession
Who is capable of representing the transport which the return of this Jesus shall kindle in the bosoms of the faithful! There he is, that Jesus in whom we believed: this is he, that Jesus whom we loved, and to whom we were "faithful even unto death." Come, Redeemer of our souls, come and wipe away the tears which thy departure drew from our eyes: come, and compensate to us the heaviness of so long a separation from thee; come and receive the effusions of our gratitude and joy: suffer us, suffer us to yield to the transports of that love which absorbs every faculty, which constrains us, which exalts us to seraphic ardour.
This is the last source of consolation which Jesus Christ disclosed to his disciples; this is that consolation which flows out in copious streams towards you, Christian, confounded, overwhelmed with wave upon wave, in all thy fears, thy sorrows, thy sufferings. O religion of the blessed Jesus, how powerful are thy attractions! What charms dost thou possess for a wretched creature who feels the whole earth a cheerless void: let this religion, my beloved brethren, be the object of our most ardent affection. Let us go on unto perfection: let us transmit it to our children, as the goodliest portion, as the fairest inheritance: let us live with Jesus Christ: let us die with Jesus Christ. May God grant us this supreme felicity. To him be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
CHRIST'S SACERDOTAL PRAYER.
hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thoa hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
THE words of dying persons usually sink deep into the listening ear, and touch the inmost soul. Ah! why are not the impressions which they produce as lasting as they are lively! The words of a dying pastor, more especially, seem calculated to produce an extraordinary effect.
At these last solemn moments of life, every motive of self-interest, or of vain-glory, by which he might have been actuated through the course of his ministry, vanishes away. Then it is that a faithful minister derives from the bosom of that religion which he has taught to others, the means of fortifying himself against the idea of a futurity all gloom, if a man has mere human reason for his only guide, but all light and joy to him who follows the spirit of revelation. Then it is that he feels a more particular concern and tenderness for the church, and that now, himself lifted up, he would draw all men after him.
When it is a pastor of the ordinary rate that expires, no other consequence can be deduced from his perseverance to the last but this, that he had preached what he believed to be the truth, not what was so in fact. And it is possible he may deceive himself when he is dying, as he pretended not to infallibility while he lived. But the death of those extraordinary men, who have established, by their testimony, the facts on which all religion rests, is the touchstone of the doctrines which they taught. As it was impossible they should have been deceived in the points which they attest, there can remain no other suspicion to affect their testimony, but this, that it was their intention to impose upon others: and this suspicion falls to the ground, when we behold them, without deviation, persisting to the end in the faith which they professed, attesting it by new appeals to heaven, calling God to witness their sincerity, and their innocence.
All these different considerations unite in the person of Jesus Christ: all these motives to attention, and in an order infinitely superior, fix our meditation on the words which have been read. Come and behold the sentiments of your Saviour unfolded, without disguise: come and behold the most lofty display of the human soul that ever was exhibited: come and behold whether he, for one moment, doubted, whether he shrunk back: above all, come and behold the charity by which he was animated. Charity formed the plan of the sacrifice which he should offer, and charity is hastening to accomplish it.
Every thought of this dying Jesus is employed on his disciples: is employed about you, my beloved brethren. "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me. I pray for them. I pray for those whom thou hast given me: keep them through thine own name. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word."
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to
Such are the objects, my friends, which I would this day present to your contemplation. I put aside all the theological controversies which have taken their rise from the passage
1. There subsists between God and Christ a unity of nature.
We perceive more than one proof of this in the words of my text. For what are we to understand by "that glory" of which Jesus Christ speaks, which he "had with the Father before the world was," unless it be that he is God, as the Father is God?
under review. My only aim shall be to recom- | tion, subsisting between God and Jesus Christ: mend to your most serious attention the ex- 1. A relation of nature; and 2. A relation of pressions, one after another, the heart-affect- economy. Jesus as God is "one with the Faing, the penetrating expressions of the dying ther;" he is likewise so in his character of MeSaviour of mankind. So far from going abroad diator. in quest of enemies to combat, I could even wish to confine my address, at the present hour, to such of my hearers as have a heart susceptible of those tender sentiments with which the religion of Jesus Christ inspires all who cordially embrace it. On hearts possessed of such sensibility I could wish to engrave the last expressions of the Redeemer's love: I could wish this sermon might accompany you up to your dying hour: I could wish that, in the moment of expiring agony, you might be enabled to oppose, to the fearful threats of the king of terrors, these fervent petitions of the Saviour of the world, which set open to you the gates of heaven, and which establish your eternal felicity on a foundation more unmoveable than those of heaven and earth: "Father I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me." Amen. We shall arrange our subject in the order of the three following ideas, and shall endeavour to point out to you,
I am well aware that in the very chapter we are attempting to explain, some have pretended to discover an argument which militates against this doctrine. The enemies of the divinity of our blessed Lord have frequently employed the words which we have recited, as a bulwark to defend their error: "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," ver. 3. They tell us, that Jesus Christ here distinguishes himself from "the true God," and they have thence concluded, that he is of a different nature. But it is an easy matter to refute this objection by permitting Jesus Christ to explain his own meaning, and interpreting Scripture by Scripture. Let us, from other passages, see how Jesus Christ has distinguished himself from the true God. Is it because he is not a true God? By no means; for it is expressly declared in another place, that he is "the true God, and eternal life," 1 John, v. 20.
I. The relation in which Jesus Christ stands to God.
II. The relation which subsists between the apostles and Jesus Christ.
III. The relation subsisting between believers and the apostles.
We shall distinguish these three ideas only for the purpose of afterward establishing and sublimating the mystery of their union. For the perfect obedience which Jesus Christ yielded to the supreme will of his heavenly Father, has united him to God in a manner ineffable, so that he is one with God, not only as partaking of the divine nature, but considered as a creature.
If then, Jesus Christ has referred to two classes, every branch of Christian knowledge: if he has placed in one class the knowledge relating to "the true God," and in the other class, all knowledge relating to the Son, whom the true God has sent into the world, this is simply reducing the whole of Christian theology to the two great questions which were the subject of discussion in his time, and which contained a summary of all the topics which can be discussed on the subject of religion. The first was the point in dispute between the pagan and the Jew: the other, between the Jew and the Christian.
The matter in dispute between the pagan and the Jew was, whether there were only one God, or more than one. Respecting this question, Jesus Christ pronounces a clear decision: that "eternal life consists in knowing the one true God." The point in dispute between the Jew and the Christian relates to Christ's being the Messiah, the sent of God. But this Jesus whom God has sent, is he, God Creator, or is he a creature merely? Neither the negative nor the affirmative side of this question is directly established in these words: "this is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Once admit what Jesus Christ demands on the subject of the first two questions, and the third will presently resolve itself. For if we know that there is only one God, and that Jesus Christ is sent by him, we must receive, without hesitation, the doctrine which God has taught us by this Son whom he has sent: and if we receive this doctrine, we must believe from the doctrine
Again, the glorious manner in which the apostles have executed the functions of their apostleship; having not only believed the doctrines which their master taught them, but diffused them over the whole world; and, like him, sealed them with their own blood, has united them in the closest intimacy with Jesus Christ, so that they are "one with them as Jesus Christ is one with the Father."
Finally, the respect with which believers receive, and acquiesce in, the doctrine of the apostles, and that of Jesus Christ, raises them to a participation of the same exalted glory and felicity; so that believers being united with the apostles, the apostles with Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ with God, there results, from this union, a society, a whole, noble, sublime, possessing the perfection of glory and blessed
Now it is the complete union of this whole, it is the perfection of this communion among all these orders of beings, that Jesus Christ here asks of the Father.
I. Let us first examine the relations in which Jesus Christ stands to God. Jesus Christ may be considered under two different ideas, as God, and as Mediator.
There are, accordingly, two kinds of rela
itself, that he who is sent must be God: because the divinity of his nature is one point of the doctrine which he has taught.
There are, therefore, relations of nature between Jesus Christ and God. There is a unity of Jesus Christ as God with his Father. There is a glory which Jesus Christ "had with God, before the world was," and which he always possessed, even at the period of his deepest humiliation. This union is as unchangeable as Deity itself. The glory which Jesus Christ derives from it is not susceptible of increase or diminution. All that he prays for in respect of it, is, that it might be known among men: and in this sense we may understand the expression in our text: "Father, glorify me with the glory which I had with thee, before the world was," ver. 5. But,
2. There subsists likewise a relation of economy between Jesus Christ and the Father. Jesus Christ as Mediator is "one with God." I have a conception of three kinds of Unity in this respect: 1. Unity of idea: 2. Unity of will: 3. Unity of dominion.
(1.) There is a unity of idea. I mean, that the human soul of Jesus Christ Mediator was endowed with so much intelligence, that he had the same ideas with God, that he formed the same judgments, and that he possessed the same infallibility. This truth had been predicted of him by the prophets: "the Spirit of the Lord God upon me: because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek," Is. lxi. 1. It was taught by Jesus Christ himself: "my doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me," John vii. 16. "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life," John viii. 12. It is the foundation of the faith which we have, in the truths which flowed from his lips.
thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee," ver. 1.
(2.) The second unity, subsisting between Jesus Christ Mediator and the Father, is a unity of will. Observe to what an extent it has been carried. The incarnation was an effect of the entire submission of this divine Saviour to the will of his Father: "when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure: then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God," Heb. x. 5-7. When Joseph and Mary found fault with him for having parted company with them, he replied, "how is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Luke ii. 49. When his disciples presented him with food, "saying, Master eat: he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of: my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work," John iv. 31, &c.; and, in the text, he says, that for the "sake" of the disciples whom the Father had given him, he "sanctified himself."
But however perfect this unity may have been, it was nevertheless susceptible of degrees. Jesus Christ, considered as Mediator, never could be in an error, but he did not always know the whole truth. He had not in the cradle the same extent of knowledge which he possessed at the age of "twelve years," Luke ii. 42; when in the temple, he, by his profound knowledge, excited astonishment in the most learned of the doctors. Most probably, likewise, he did not yet possess at the age of twelve years, the illumination which he attained unto in the sequel of his ministry. The evangelist expressly remarks that "he grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom," Luke ii. 40. Never did he attain during his abode on earth that height of intelligence which he had, after his ascension into heaven. It is expressly said, that, as "the Son of man," he "knew not the day" of judgment. The soul, to which his mortal body was united, acquired, undoubtedly, after that body left the tomb, an extension of knowledge which it had not, so long as the body to which it was united was yet in a mortal condition. This is the first glory that Jesus Christ asks of his Father. He prays that he would grant him to partake, in a manner more intimate, in his counsels, and to draw from the unbounded ocean of light more abundant supplies of divine wisdom and knowledge: "Father, the hour is come, glorify
It is, however, demonstrably certain, that in proportion as the human soul acquires more light and knowledge, according as it is less distracted by the sinless infirmities of nature, it takes the loftier flight towards the love of order, and conceives a more powerful attachment to the sovereign will of Heaven. There were certain moments in the life of Jesus Christ, during his abode on earth, in which he was entirely absorbed by those objects which incessantly engage the attention of the angels of God. He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness; there "he fasted forty days and forty nights," Matt. iv. 2; and these days and nights were, undoubtedly, passed in contemplation, in rapture, in an ecstacy of zeal and fervour. But after these forty days and forty nights were over, "he was afterwards an hungered."
In like manner, he beheld the glory of God on the holy mountain, and the transfiguration which he underwent, kindled to a higher and a higher degree, the desire which he felt, to discharge, in a manner worthy of his exalted character, the commission which he had received of the Father. But those rays of glory were to be eclipsed, and from that sacred place he must descend. During the whole course of his life, he kept constantly in view the end of his mission, he expressed many an ardent wish to accomplish the sacrifice which he came into the world to offer up.
But at the idea of death he is for a season in heaviness: there is an appearance of desiring, as it were, to compound matters with Deity; and this, some interpreters consider as the sense of these words: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, that I may not drink it," Matt. xxvi. 39; and, perhaps, it is likewise the sense of those which follow: "now is my soul troubled: and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour," John xii. 27. Not that Jesus Christ ever thought he could be saved from that hour, or delivered from drinking that cup which was going to