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worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” And St. Peter says, 1 Pet. 1: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manitold temptations : that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” And once more we read in the 5. chapter: “But the God of all grace, who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
If, therefore, we firmly believe that we here have to undergo ills which last but "a little while," we will be cheered even in sorrows. Hence it behooves us to trust implicitly in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, knowing that His Word is true, though misfortune and affliction overwhelm us for “ a little while;" then will we be comforted in sorrows, even as a woman is comforted in travail by the thought that God will soon turn her pain into pleasure by the sight of the child which is born. We cannot have real joy and gladness without preceding pain and sorrow. Our reason may attempt to persuade us that such afflictions are certainly proofs of God's displeasure and indifference toward us, but we must not heed such insinuations; they are false. A woman in travail must have sorrow and anguish, else the new man cannot be born into this world. Thus God sends us afflictions that we may find a rescue from them, and then much gladness of heart.
The Lord most cheeringly tells His disciples what manner of joy awaits them in "a little while.” He says: “I will see you again.” This promise was fulfilled on Easter, when He did appear unto them in a new life glorified. Thus He appears unto us, and our hearts are glad, when we remember His death and resurrection, His victory over sin, death and hell in our behalf, so that we through Him might live evermore. This is true, unalloyed and everlasting joy, which turns away all sorrow and which cannot be taken away.
Let us therefore not be impatient or unbelieving when affliction comes, but let us hold fast to the comfortable assurance that though we suffer, it will be but for a little while.” Christ has arisen and sitteth at the right hand of the Father to check the devil with his tribulations and to make us happy for ever and for ever. God grant us this blessing through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOURTII SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
(CANTATE.) John 16, 5–15. But now I go my way to Him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest Thou? But becanse I have said these things into you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 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. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth : for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall bear, that shall He speak : and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me : for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall shew
it unto you.
This is a delightful Gospel. It treats especially
of that chief and all-important article of our faith from which we have our name Christians. Therefore we cannot sufficiently learn this lesson, though we hear it once a year; if it is to produce in our hearts a faith that is firm and fruitful, we must hear it often and practice it diligently.
This Gospel, like the one of last Sunday, is filled with words of consolation, which the Lord addressed to His disciples at the table, on that memorable evening before IIe was betrayed and made a captive. He now desired above all to prepare Ilis disciples for the coming tribulation, so that they might not be offended at His pitiable, disgraceful death, but
might know what great blessings would result therefrom, and that thus they might be comforted.
Therefore, as they were cheered in the Gospel of one week ago with the declaration that their sorrows and tribulations would be but for a little while, after which eternal happiness should come, so they are strengthened in the text of to-day by the explanation of the necessity and importance of the death of their Lord and Master.
He says: “But now I go my way to Him that sent me; that is : To-morrow I shall be crucified and put to death, and yet no one among you asks me whither I go or why this takes place, but because I told you of it, your hearts are filled with sadness. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away;" it is done for your welfare. “For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you," and the power of darkness will retain its sway. “But if I depart I will send the Holy Ghost unto you." Christ wants us to learn and to know this, in order that His sufferings may neither offend nor frighten us, but may be unto us a source of consolation, since we know that by them the influence and tyranny of the devil was broken and the Holy Spirit was given and imparted unto us.
The Lord explains still further what the Holy Ghost would accomplish, what He would bring and teach us: “He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Indeed a great task, so vast that its execution seems impossible. Not merely one school, or one village, or one city, or even several of them, but the whole world shall come under the influence and reproof of the Holy
Spirit. It must in truth be a mighty power which can accomplish such a task, and it must be sure of the necessary support. To the world belong all the descendants of Adam, emperors, kings and princes. All these are included among the number of those whom the Holy Ghost, through the preaching of the apostles and other ministers, is to reprove and admonish. He tells them: Ye are all sinners; not one of you is just or wise, whether you live in Jerusalem or in Rome, whether you are of high or low degree; you must all learn true wisdom of me, or not one of you will be saved. If you despise my teachings, you shall all go to hell, just as you are, with your entire baggage of self-righteousness, of holiness and good works. Thus, says Christ to His disciples, will the Holy Spirit execute His office of reproving the whole world through you, the poor and despised preachers of the Gospel.
This reproof, however, is no idle sound, but dread reality. Christ says: "He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” What now, if there is in the world no righteousness, no judgment, nothing but sin—what shall become of us? Hence the reproof of the Holy Ghost is for the world a terrible shock; we hear that we are the devil's own, with all our good works, and that we cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless the Holy Ghost removes our sins, makes us righteous, and frees us from judgment. Many passages in the Scriptures are of similar import. Thus St. Paul says: “God has concluded all under sin;" and again : “We were by nature children of wrath.” Christ also says: “Unless a man be born again he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” With