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SERMON XXXIV.

JOHN xiv. 6.

Jesus saith, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

THESE words were spoken by our Blessed Saviour to His faithful disciples, in one of those affecting conversations which He held with them but a little while before He suffered, and which have been preserved for our benefit and our comfort, in the gospel as it is written by St. John. The earthly life of the Blessed Jesus was now drawing to a close. It had been spent for the good of sinners, and for their good it was now also to be laid down. A few days more, and the Lamb of God was to be slain for

the sins of the world.

The last great trial

of the cross was to be submitted to, and

the bitter pains of a death which was never laid upon any but thieves and murderers, and the worst of men, were patiently to be borne by the spotless Son of God.

In the midst of a world by which He had been cast out and despised, surrounded by enemies who were soon to show their malice by putting Him to death (though they knew that He was innocent), and by adding their own cruel mockery to His sufferings, our Blessed Saviour had still a chosen few whose hearts were filled with love and gratitude to Him, and who felt towards Him all that they ought to feel: the disciples whom He had chosen, poor and unlearned as they were, to be His companions and friends, to see His mighty works, and to hear His blessed words. Alas! for the wickedness of man! Even amongst them there was one false-hearted and wicked enough to betray his kind and heavenly Master into the hands of His enemies, and to be the means of shedding the precious blood of Him whose boundless mercy and goodness he had been permitted daily to behold. But the rest of His dis

ciples loved Him, as they had reason to do: and when He talked of leaving them, and of going from them whither they were not to follow Him, they could not bear the thought, and for these things sorrow had filled their hearts. But listen to the gracious and encouraging words which their Blessed Master addressed to them; who could forget the sufferings which awaited Himself, to comfort their spirits and dry their tears: He says to them, Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also; and whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. One would think that these words of our Saviour could not have been misunderstood; for they seem to speak as plainly as words can speak of that happy place to which He was now going to return, and whither all, who devoutly love and serve Him, shall most surely one day follow Him; and of that faith and obedience to Christ,

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without which it is impossible for any of us to get there. It appears, however, that Thomas, one of the disciples, did not understand our Saviour's meaning. Thomas was that disciple, who, when Christ was risen from the dead, and the others told him that they had seen the Lord, did not believe them; and declared that he never would believe, unless he should put his finger into the marks which the nails, that had fastened Him to the cross, had left in our Saviour's hands, and should thrust his hand into the wound which the spear that pierced Him had made in His side; and upon the present occasion he seems to have shown a strange dullness of understanding, for, in reply to what Jesus had been saying, he answered, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way? Then Jesus said unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by Me.

My brethren, these words were spoken not for the instruction of St. Thomas only, but for the use and benefit of every disciple of Christ, of every one who bears His

name, and professes to be a follower of Him, that is of every Christian, till the end of time. The kingdom of heaven is what we all are looking forward to: everlasting life and happiness are the glorious prize promised to the faithful when the race of life is run: and Christ has told us by what way, and by what way only, this glorious prize of joy and peace is to be obtained. He has declared to us that he Himself is the way to heaven, that he is the truth; yea, that He is the life itself, and that no man can come to the Father but through Him alone. In vain, then, do we hope to get to heaven by any goodness of our own: in vain do we trust to our own righteousness for salvation: in vain do we think that our own merits can bring us to eternal life: for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, but only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It will be my endeavour to set before you, as plainly as I can, the full meaning of our Blessed Master's words, when He declares to all those who seek for the kingdom of heaven, that He is the way by

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