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cessarily obscure ; but he assures them that the time would come, when, either in person or by his representative and agent, the Holy Spirit, he would instruct them more fully in the designs of the Father respecting the Christian dispensation.
26. At that day ye shall ask in my name, as my disciples: and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father
To have told his disciples that he would do so, would have implied that the Father was not of his own accord inclined to hear them, and that the intercession of another was necessary to their success, which was contrary to fact*.
27. For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
These words contain the reason why the disciples might hope for success by an immediate application to the Father in prayer. It was because God loved them; which love was founded upon their loving his son, and believing in his divine mission.
The last clause of the verse serves to explain to us what Christ intended by “ asking in his name:" it was only asking as those who love him and believe in him, or, in other words, asking as his disciples. This passage also shows that Christ intended that his disciples should apply to the Father for what they might want after his departure from them.
Jesus, having in this verse expressed his divine mission by the phrase " coming out from God,” takes an opportunity of declaring to his disciples in similar phrases, that his mission was about to cease. Another interpretation of this passage is given in the Theological
Repository, Vol. iv. p. 345, &c.
28. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; and, on the contrary, I leave the world and go to the Father.
To come forth from God, is to come with a divine commission; and to come into the world, is to come with it into a state of exercise and trial. To leave the world, therefore, is to withdraw from these trials and to go to the Father, is to return to the Being from whom the commission was received, in whatever place he chooses to manifest his special presence.
This explanation of the phrase “coming into the world,” corresponds with the language used even in modern times, for it is usual to speak of mens' coming into the world, or retiring from it, when we have no reference to quitting the earth, or coming into it; and only mean appearing in public life, or withdrawing into privacy. It is also agreeable to the language of Christ, upon another occasion, who says of his disciples, As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world, John xvij. 18. If any, however, should dislike this interpretation, and suppose that by the world Christ here means, as he does in a variety of instances in the New Testament, the wicked and profligate part of mankind, the sense of the passage will be nearly the same. In neither case is it necessary to suppose that Christ came froin another system of the universe into our own, or that when he left the world he quitted the earth *.
The disciples now understood what he had referred to in his former discourse, and found him so well acquainted with their difficulties and their inquiries, that they could not help regarding it as a proof of supernatural knowledge, and a fresh evidence of his having a divine mission.
* Theological Repository, Vol. iii. p. 357, &c.
29. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and usest no dark speech.
From his having contrasted his leaving the world with his coming into it, they began to understand to what he referred. The next words relate to the miraculous knowledge which he discovered.
30. Now we are sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee.
To know all things, is to know the thoughts of men as well as their actions. That Christ possessed this knowledge they were assured from his having discovered what they were enquiring about among themselves; and hence they infer that it was unnecessary to ask him questions, since he knew before hand what it was about which they wished to be satisfied.
By this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
Thy supernatural knowledge, which could come from God alone, affords us rational proof that God sent thee, and that he gave thee this knowledge as a testimony to thy mission.
31. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
32. Behold the hour cometh, yea is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, rather, “
every man in his own way and shall leave
me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
Do you say that your faith in me is confirmed by what you have now heard from me?
I can assure you that in a very short time from this moment you will behave as if your faith in me were weakened; flying from me in every direction, and leaving me alone, as far as you are able to do so; for I never can be left entirely so, since the Father dwells in me by his divine power.
33. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace; that in my promise ye may find consolation and joy: in the world ye will have tribulation ; but be of good courage, I have overcome the world.
Be not discouraged by the difficulties which you will have to encounter from the wicked part of mankind: for I have been exposed to them myself, and overcome them; and my success you may consider as a pledge of your own.
1. From the language of Christ to his disciples on this occasion, we have great encouragement to go to God, and we learn in what manner we may do it most acceptably. What better argument can be offered to induce us to go to ask a favour of a friend, than that he loves us, and that, he is inclined to do us good of his own accord, and that, to encourage our confidence, he assumes the character of our Father? Such is the character under which the Almighty is here represented; some terms, indeed, he proposes as the conditions of enjoying his favour; but they are such as all may comply with: they consist in believing the divine mission of his Son, in endeavouring to conform to his precepts, and in being sincerely concerned for every instance in which they are known to be transgressed. He who has done this is sufficiently prepared for being introduced into the divine presence, and for enjoying the divine favour, and needs not the intercession or merit of another. To suppose that any other preparation is necessary, is an imputation upon the benevolence of the great Father of mankind, as if he were not sufficiently inclined, of himself, to do them good, and as if the righteousness or persuasion of a third person were requisite to procure his bounty. Far from us be such injurious conceptions of the bountiful author of all good.
2. We may learn where to seek for peace in time of trouble; in the promises and declarations of Jesus, which give us the best views of God and of his providence; teaching us that the hairs of our head are all numbered; that he who takes care of the fowls of the air and of the lillies of the field will not fail to take care of men; that the sorrows to which we are exposed in the profession of his religion are but of short duration, and that the joy by which they are followed is lasting, and such as no one can take from us; that in his Father's house are many mansions, suited to every degree of virtue, and that he is to prepare a place for us, and will come again and receive us to himself. Are you then already in trouble from any cause? In such considerations as these, and in others of a like kind, you will find repose. No calamity can be so great, that under the weight of it you may not hence derive consolation and support. Are you apprehensive of evil to come, and on that account unhappy? Here you may fortify your mind to bear it. Let the discourses of Christ then be continually in your hands and ever in your minds. Nothing can better prepare you for trouble or support you under it.