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[For the Fourth Sunday after Easter.]
JOHN Xvi. 6, 7.
Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for, if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but, if I depart, I will send him unto you.
HE epistle for the day is a part of the last solemn conversation which our blessed LORD held with his disciples, immediately before he was betrayed, by Judas Iscariot, into the hands of the wicked Jews, who had determined to take away his life. He knew that he was shortly to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world
and was desirous of preparing his followers for the melancholy event, and of comforting them under the sorrow which they would feel on his being separated from them by "Having a cruel and shameful death. "loved his own, he loved them unto the "end;" and would not quit the world, without giving them such hopes and promises, as would moderate their grief at his loss, and arm them against those trials, persecutions, and temptations, which were to befal them after he was gone. In the former part of his discourse, he had dwelt particularly on the subject of his death, and the cause for which it took place, the redemption of mankind; mixing the doctri nal part of his conversation with many prac. tical injunctions, that his disciples should love each other, and diligently keep all his commandments. Having thus fully shewn them the melancholy part of the events, which were now about to take place; he proceeds to give them comfort under "the "sorrow with which this had filled their "hearts," by shewing them the necessity of his being "brought as a lamb to the "slaughter;" and the blessed consequences which would follow his going away from the world." It is expedient for you," says he, "that I go away; for, if I go not away,
"the Comforter will not come unto you; "but if I depart, I will send him unto you." The history of the Acts of the Apostles shews how faithfully this promise of CHRIST was fulfilled. We there find, that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and members of the early church, guiding them into all truth; comforting them under all their sorrows; arming them with courage under all their persecutions; giving them ability to confound all their enemies and gainsayers; and endowing them with power from on high, to work the most wonderful miracles, in the propagation and establishment of the gospel. By the assistance of this friend from heaven, the apostles were enabled to convince men of sin; and to teach them the way of repentance; to give them the blessing of truth; and to lead them to amendment and obedience. But, though the Holy Spirit was given in a visible manner to the apostles of JESUS CHRIST; and communicated to them the power of working miracles, and a number of other wonderful gifts; which power was withdrawn, after the gospel was established; yet his assistance to christians did not end with the first ages of the gospel. The promise of JESUS CHRIST is sure "to us, and to our children after us, and to as