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The Lord is here comforting his Disciples, to prepare their Minds against the Time of his Departure. He describes the Person, Work, and Grace, of the Holy Ghost
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (2) 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. (3) 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. (4) And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. (5) Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest: and how can we know the way? (6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. (7) If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
It hath been a matter of question, and indeed it cannot be determined with such certainty as to leave the matter without question, at what time or place the Lord Jesus delivered this precious discourse. I do not presume to speak on this, or indeed any other point with decision, but I venture to believe that the whole of our Lord's discourse in this and the two following Chapters, was delivered after or partly at the time of his instituting his holy Supper. This chapter, perhaps at the table, and at the close of this chapter, Jesus said, Arise, let us go hence, it is probable that then they all arose from the table, and went toward the garden of Gethsemane. And as they went, the Lord still continuing his discourse, as contained in the two following chapters. And as his custom was to avail himself of any surrounding circumstances to raise improvement from, and beholding the luxuriancy of the vines, which in warm countries like Judea run over the hedges, and along the ground; the Lord took occasion to compare himself to a vine, and his people to the branches, as the opening of the next chapter begins with. See John 15:0 . But I conceive that both the following chapters, and the prayer which follows in John 17:0 , were all delivered before the Lord and his disciples arrived at the garden of Gethsemane. For the Reader may notice that John 18:0 : begins in this manner: When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into which he entered with his disciples, John 18:1 . Whether the hymn which is said to have been sung by them, was before or after this Chapter, I presume not to say; but it appears to me, that this was the order of the Lord's discourse in those Chapters, and his divine prayer which followed, but I do not determine upon it. Matthew 26:30 .
To enter into the subject of this discourse of the Lord Jesus, would require many volumes, and after all numberless beauties would still remain unnoticed. I shall rather therefore recommend it both to myself and Reader to look to God the Holy Ghost for his sweet teaching, through the several parts of it, to unfold and explain the whole to our hearts while we sit at the feet of Jesus, and hear those gracious words which proceeded from his mouth. John 6:63 .
If the Reader will have in remembrance the season when Jesus delivered this discourse as he goes through it, the recollection will tend to endear yet more every portion of it to his heart. The Lord was now in the moment of departure. This was the last quiet and uninterrupted meeting he knew that he should ever enjoy with his few faithful disciples before his sufferings and death. And if I am right in my conjectures, that this discourse and prayer which followed was after the institution of his Supper, the traitor was then gone out. As a dying father therefore in the midst of his family, and standing now upon the threshold of the eternal world, with his mind full of those glories opening before him, he addresses his disciples in those soul-comforting words, Let not your heart be troubled! And as an everlasting support that they should not be troubled, he begins his discourse, and takes it as a text for his whole sermon; the eternal nature of his Godhead in his oneness and equality with God; and reminds them that he is with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, the equal object of faith; and therefore enjoins their belief in God and in Him, as the grand and sure security for comfort against all the sorrows and temptations of life. Ye believe in God, that is, in his threefold character of persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as God in covenant; believe also in me, that is, as God-Man-Mediator. Which interpretation of the passage, I humbly conceive to be in exact agreement with our Lord's prayer, which immediately followed this sermon, when he said, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3 .
And, Reader! do not fail to observe with what tenderness the Lord speaks to his disciples concerning those sure mansions of glory which he was going to take possession of in their name. He had, and not long before, washed their feet, to convince them both of his condescending love, and that by such an act while he was with them, they might be convinced that there was nothing but what he would do for them when he was gone from them into heaven, and incapable of shewing, by such outward tokens how much he loved them. And now he repeats in the tenderest form of words every assurance of his unalterable affection. I pray the Reader, before he goes further, to gather into one point of view the several very endearing expressions of the Lord Jesus on this one point, as they are interspersed here and there in this our Lord's discourse.
First, He assures them of his unceasing love for them, and proposeth himself in common with God, to be the great object of their faith and love after his departure. Verse 1. Secondly, He gives them the most absolute assurance of his unalterable regard for them. Yea, to convince them of this, he declares that their very life is bound up in his, and because he lives, they shall live also, John 14:19 . Thirdly, He tells them that it is for them, and for their everlasting welfare, for which he goes away. Their interest, as well as his glory, was concerned in his departure. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away. I go to prepare a place for you. If I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 16:7 . The Reader will observe, that I do but just glance at those precious things in the Lord's discourse. To enlarge on them, as I pray the Lord the Holy Ghost to do, in his opening them both to the Reader's mind and my own, would far exceed the limits of any Commentary but God the Spirit's. Fourthly. The Lord declares, that when he had dispatched the great concerns on their account, for which he was about to leave them, and return to glory, and had sent the Holy Ghost to them, and prepared all things for their reception, he would come again and receive them unto himself, that where he was, there they should be also. Reader! pause here. Would it not have been enough in our Lord, and as a proof of his love, had he said, I am going away on your account, and when I have prepared and made everything ready for you, I will send my angels to fetch you, and bring you home to me? No! Our dear Lord, by what he hath here said, hath declared that this would not have been enough in his esteem. I will come myself, said the blessed Redeemer. I will receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also. Oh! matchless love of a glorious lover! The Reader should be told, in order that he may enter yet further into the heartfelt enjoyment of those precious words of Jesus, that it was the custom with the Jews in their marriages, when all things were prepared and made ready for the reception of the bride, the husband goes himself to his bride's house to fetch her home to his own, and trusts not this embassy to any other person. Jesus, therefore, our bridegroom, will not be out-done in acts of love to his spouse, but in the marriage his Father hath made for his Son with his Church, will himself come and bring her home to the marriage supper of the lamb. Revelation 19:9; Revelation 19:9 . Fifthly. The Lord assures them yet further, that though absent in body, he will be present with them in spirit. I will not leave you comfortless, (or as the margin of the Bible renders the word, orphans. John 16:18 .) I will come to you. Yea, he added, that the Father also would come, and we (said Jesus,) will make our abode with you. And the Holy Ghost shall abide with you forever. John 14:26; John 14:26 . So that, however to outward appearance the Lord was gone from them into heaven, yet in reality he was always with them, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:20 ; Isaiah 27:3 . Sixthly. And Jesus, as if to endear himself yet more to them, and to convince them that his whole heart and soul was their's, (Jeremiah 32:41 ) desires them to be continually sending to him their wishes and prayers, that he might present them to his and their Father. And he assures them, that whatsoever they should ask the Father in his name he would do it for them, that the Father might be glorified in the Son, John 14:13 . Yea, the Lord seems to be gently reproving them of a backwardness in those applications in times past; and therefore now bids them be the more bold, as He will be with the Father, when their petitions come before the throne. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name, (that is , in comparison to what you might, and as you shall, when God the Holy Ghost is come upon you to teach you how to pray, and what to pray for,) ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full, John 16:24 . Seventhly. Jesus not only promiseth to send the Holy Ghost to them immediately on his departure, and which he assured them was one great cause wherefore he went away, but he gives them to understand, that in having Him, the Spirit, they would in fact have Christ, for his great office would be to glorify Christ. And so much of union and design there was in all that belonged to the Holy Ghost, in teaching of Jesus that that blessed Spirit was in one and the same moment an Almighty Lord in his own eternal power and Godhead, the promise of the Father, and the effect of Christ's ascension, so that everyone hath the mind of Christ that was under the influences of the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:11 ; Luke 24:49 ; 1 Corinthians 2:16 . And Eighthly and Lastly, to mention no more. The Lord Jesus assured them that God the Holy Ghost would not do as He was now about to do from the necessity of the measure, leave them when once he came, and which would be soon after Christ was gone from them, for he would soon come, but he would abide with them forever, and never for a moment depart from them, until Jesus himself came in person to take them home, where they should then dwell with him, and part no more. These, and many more sweet assurances to the same purport, the Lord Jesus delivered to them in this parting discourse, to convince them of his unalterable affection. And, in confirmation of the whole, in their hearing, and before he went into the garden of Gethsemane, as soon as he had finished his discourse he followed the subject up with prayer, and solemnly committed them into the Father's hands with his whole Church and people. See John 17:0 .
After so long a page of contents (for they are but contents,) as I have given, in reciting some of the many interesting heads of our Lord's discourse, I shall not trespass further in dwelling on our Lord's answer to Thomas, than just to observe, that Christ is not only the way, as pointing to it, teaching of it, and going before in it, but is Himself the way, in being the whole of it in his person, works, offices, characters, and relations. His obedience and death constitute the way, for there is no other. He is the truth, for he is truth itself, in whom Jehovah centers the whole of all grace and all glory; the Amen, the faithful and true witness. Isaiah 65:16 ; Revelation 3:14 ; Ephesians 1:10 . And He is the life and light of the whole creation of God, in all the departments of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal. John 1:4 ; Ephesians 1:3 ; John 3:36 ; 1 John 1:1-2 .
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. (9) Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? (10) Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father, that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (11) Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me, for the very works' sake. (12) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also: and greater works than these shall he do: because I go unto my Father. (13) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. (15) If ye love me, keep my commandments.
The Church hath great reason to bless the Lord for so sweetly answering Philip's question, and thereby removing all doubts on the great subject of Christ's oneness with the Father. Oh! what a flood of light hath the Lord in this one verse, and by this one declaration, thrown upon it, when Jesus said, he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. Blessed oneness indeed! Not only one with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, in the essence of the Godhead, but one in the nature, purpose, and design of all the grand causes for which the Son of God took into union with himself the holy portion of manhood, and became God - Man-Mediator. So that in seeing Christ, as Christ, the believer sees God in all his perfections, attributes, graces, love, and the, purposes of his will and pleasure, in everything relating to the Church before the foundation of the world, in the whole time state of existence, and the eternity to follow. Christ is seen, when properly seen by the enlightened eye of the renewed mind, as the wisdom of God, and the power of God, 1 Corinthians 1:24 yea, the manifold wisdom of God. Ephesians 3:9-10 ; Colossians 2:3 the holiness of God, and the justice of God, Romans 3:25 the love of God, and the faithfulness of God, 1 John 4:9-10 ; Deuteronomy 7:9 ; 1 John 1:9 . In short, all that is communicable of God and his glory, can only be seen, and is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 .
Reader! do not pass away from this most interesting of all subjects, before that you have first enquired at your own heart, whether you yourself have so seen Christ? Every child of God, truly regenerated, can have no other views of Christ. Paul, for himself, saith, that when it pleased God, who separated him from his mother's womb to call him by his grace, he revealed his Son (said Paul) in me. Galatians 1:15-16 . And it must be the same in a greater or less degree in all.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; (17) Even the spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (18) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (19) Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (20) At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you (21) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (22) Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? (23) Jesus answered and said unto him, 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. (24) He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (25) These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. (26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (27) 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.
We here enter upon the great subject of our Lord's Sermon, in what Jesus hath been pleased to teach his Church in relation to the person and glory of God the Holy Ghost. And as the whole efficient government and blessings of the Church are in the hands of this Almighty Lord, we never can be too thankful to our dear Lord, for having dwelt so largely as he hath done, in this and the two following Chapters, (which are but a continuation of the same Sermon,) in instructing the Church concerning his person and ministry. The Reader will perceive by what the Lord Jesus hath said of his coming, and the Father's coming, and the Holy Ghost's coming, and abiding forever with his people, within the compass of those few verses, (see John 14:16-21 ) how needful it must be to have a proper apprehension of God the Holy Ghost, in his person and character. And I hope that he will not complain of my dwelling too particularly on the subject, while I aim to bring before him scriptural testimonies in proof.
That God the Holy Ghost is a person in the Godhead, is a truth to which the whole body of Scripture bears evidence. Indeed it were hardly necessary to go further than to what those words of Jesus afford in confirmation. Christ calls him another Comforter; consequently a distinct person from Jesus. And as he was to be sent by the Father, consequently also a distinct person from the Father, John 14:26 . In both Testaments of Scripture, the personality of God the Holy Ghost is fully proved. He was seen in a bodily shape, like a dove, at the baptism of Christ. Luke 3:22 . And there was a visible representation of Him also on the day of Pentecost, when, according to Jesus's promise of Him, he baptized Christ's disciples. Acts 1:5 compared with Acts 2:3 . Many times under both dispensations of Scripture, the Old Testament, and the New, the Lord the Holy Ghost was heard to speak. Compare Isaiah 6:8-10 with Acts 28:25-27 . Probably the voice which Daniel heard on the banks of Ulai might be God the Holy Ghost. Daniel 8:16 . But whether in this instance or not, we are expressly told, that it was the Spirit in the Prophets, when they spake of the sufferings of Christ, and of the glory which should follow. 1 Peter 1:10-11 And the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21 . And we are further told, that when Philip was sent into the desert to preach to the Ethiopian; the Spirit spake to him, and said, Go near and join thyself to this chariot. Acts 8:29 . So again the Spirit spake to Peter: behold three men seek thee. Acts 10:19 . So again, while the Church at Antioch were waiting upon the Lord, the Holy Ghost said; Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. Acts 13:2 . Surely these are all personal acts, and which as clearly and fully prove Personal Identity, as the existence and actions of a man demonstrate the reality of the being and nature of a man.
Indeed in addition to those testimonies, by which the certainty of Person is definable; in relation to God the Holy Ghost on this point, it should be further observed, that the qualities ascribed to him, and the affections he is spoken of as exercising; come in proof, to put the matter beyond all doubt. Both actively, and passively, such things are said of him as could never be said but on the certain ground of his being a Person. He is said to create and give life, to uphold, and to destroy. Job 33:4 ; Psalms 104:29-30 . He is promised by Jesus, to act as a teacher; as a witness, and to testify of Him. John 14:26 ; Romans 9:1 ; John 15:26 . And all the affections of joy and grief, of mind, and will, and power; such as being tempted, resisted, having despite done unto him, and being blasphemed; these are all expressly spoken of in reference to the Person of the Holy Ghost, and what higher proofs can be desired in confirmation of his Personality? Ephesians 4:30 ; Rom 8:27 ; 1 Corinthians 12:11 ; Romans 15:13 ; Acts 7:51; Acts 7:51 ; Hebrews 10:29 ; Mark 3:29 . If the Reader considers the subject in the important point of view in which it ought to be considered, he will think with me, that too great a stress, and especially in an age like the present, cannot be laid upon this momentous article of the faith, of every true believer. The Person of God the Holy Ghost is with many scarcely ever considered; and with many more, denied. And yet nothing is more plain in Scripture, than that the Lord the Spirit is a Person, equal in every point of view, with the Father and the Son, in glory, in dignity, and in every divine perfection: and no less equal in acts of love, and grace, towards the Church. Reader! is it not then our highest concern to give the Lord the honor due unto his name; and daily, hourly to hear what the Spirit who speaketh expressly, saith unto the Churches? 1 Timothy 4:1 ; Revelation 2:29 .
From the clear conviction of the Personality of God the Holy Ghost, our next enquiry must be in relation to his eternal power and Godhead. Having fully shewn, that He is a Being, defined by personal properties; it must follow, that he is God: One with the Father and the Son in the essence of Godhead, over all, God blessed forever. A few of the more prominent Scriptures on this point, will abundantly explain and confirm this doctrine. The several names by which the Holy Ghost is distinguished in Scripture, and which he possesseth in common with the Father and the Son, are very high proofs. He is called the Eternal Spirit; in express reference to himself. Hebrews 9:14 . And the name of God, is not only his, as One of the Persons in the Godhead, Isaiah 40:28 ; John 4:24 ; but with special regard to the Holy Ghost, he that is called the Holy Ghost in one verse, is in the following declared to be God. Acts 5:3-4 , Moses declared that it was Jehovah alone, which led Israel in the wilderness. Deuteronomy 32:12 . Isaiah confirms the same truth, and saith, that it was the Holy Spirit which led the people with his glorious arm. Isaiah 63:10 . The people are said to have tempted the Lord at the waters of Meribah. But the Apostle explains this in reference to the Holy Ghost. Compare Exodus 17:2 with Hebrews 3:7-9 . Jehovah declared concerning prophecy, that if there was a prophet among the people, I, the Lord, (said Jehovah) will make myself known unto him in a vision. But an Apostle explains this, and refers the whole gifts of prophecy into the immediate agency of God the Holy Ghost. Compare Numbers 12:6 with 2 Peter 1:21 . Are not these decisive evidences in proof?
To the names by which the Holy Ghost is declared to be God, must be added, the attributes and perfections which confirm the same: everyone of which is discoverable as being His, in common with the Father and the Son. The Power of Jehovah is manifested in all the departments of nature, providence, grace, and glory. And hence while we are told, that it is God which worketh in his people, both to will and to do of his good pleasure, we are as expressly told , that it is the Spirit which worketh in them, and divideth to every man severally as he will. Compare Philippians 2:13 with 1 Corinthians 12:11; 1 Corinthians 12:11 . The same holds good in the exercise of every other attribute. The Lord's unceasing and everlasting Presence. Psalms 139:1-2 . Wisdom. Jude 1:25 ; Isaiah 11:2 ; Ephesians 1:17 . Life-giving, Soul-renewing. Strength, Job 33:14 ; John 6:63 ; Ephesians 2:1 ; Romans 8:11 . In short, there is not one perfection of Jehovah definable of God-head, but what we find in Scripture, ascribed to the Holy Ghost.
And what tends yet further to the confirmation of the doctrine, and must, if properly considered, forever silence every doubt, is this, that the Holy Ghost is spoken of as possessing and exercising those Almighty Perfections in the same acts as the Father and the Son. The Father is said to have life in himself. John 5:26 . The Son is said to be the life and light of men. John 1:4 . And the Holy Ghost is said to give life. 2 Corinthians 3:6 ; Psalms 105:29-30 . And, as in time, so in eternity; for while eternal life is said to be the gift of God the Father, Romans 6:23 . eternal life is said to be in the Son, 1 John 5:11 and another scripture saith, that it is of the Spirit, believers in Christ shall reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:8 . And what is the natural and unavoidable result of these and the like testimonies, but what the same holy scripture hath elsewhere declared, that there are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these Three are One. 1 John 5:7 . Hence all the blessed consequences which follow. The Church is baptized into the joint name of the Holy Three in One. Matthew 28:19 . The Church is blessed in their joint name. 2 Corinthians 13:14 . Redemption equally ascribed. 2 Corinthians 5:19 ; Ephesians 1:7 ; Hebrews 9:14 ; Ephesians 5:30 . Justified. Romans 8:33 ; Rom 4:25 ; 1 Corinthians 6:11 . Sanctified. Jude 1:1 ; Heb 13:12 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . And the glory to which the Church will be ultimately brought, the result of the whole. Ephesians 1:4 ; 2Co 8:23 ; 2 Peter 1:1-4 .
From all these undeniable testimonies in confirmation of the person and Godhead of the Holy Ghost, may be added the special and personal office of His, in the everlasting covenant, which tends to endear him to the Church, in equal degrees of affection, in common with the Father and the Son, as well as to entitle Him to an equal degree of adoration, love, obedience, and praise, to all eternity. I need not in this place dwell upon those several covenant offices which peculiarly mark the character of God the Holy Ghost, some of which Jesus hath noted in this Sermon, and will meet us in their proper place. I am now simply endeavouring to establish, from scriptural proofs, the certainty of his person and Godhead. And therefore I shall only for the present observe, that the Personal act of the Holy Ghost, in the great work of the regeneration of the Church, be-comes an equal demonstration of love, and power, with those of the Father's choice of the Church, in giving the Church to his dear Son: and the Son's taking into union with himself his Church, redeeming her, when in the time-state of her being, she had fallen into sin, and became justly exposed to divine wrath. Until this act of regeneration is wrought, the child of God is unconscious of his high birth, and character. He knows nothing of the Father's love, or the Son's grace, respecting the purposes of Jehovah towards the Church from all eternity. And although that everlasting love of God, like the river spoken of Psalms 46:3 , had been always running; and in the Person of Christ had passed through his very heart, in love to his people: yet the whole was hidden from every individual of the Church, until by regeneration, the sinner dead in trespasses and sins had his eyes opened, to behold the fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. Then, and not before, the streams of that river are discovered, which make glad the city of God. Eph 1:4 ; 2 Timothy 1:9 ; Titus 1:2 ; Jude 1:1 ; Titus 3:4-5 ; Zechariah 13:1 .
The several sweet and blessed office characters of the Holy Ghost, which Jesus hath noticed in this Chapter, I postpone the consideration of, to the succeeding Chapters. Enough, I hope, hath been advanced in this, and from scriptural authority, to establish the certainty of His Person, Godhead, and the part he hath in the everlasting Covenant. Here for the present I rest, to attend to a few other points contained in this Chapter, which must not be wholly passed by. See John 15:0 ; John 16:0 ; John 17:0 .
I beg the Reader to notice, what the Lord Jesus hath here said, in respect to his coming to them again, after his departure. He promised that he would not leave them comfortless, or as Orphans. And though the Holy Ghost would come, and abide with them forever, yet this should not supersede his visits. Reader! do not lose sight of this, for it is very blessed. See Song of Solomon 2:10 , etc. Revelation 3:20 .
And I beg the Reader to notice no less, what a sweet promise follows, in what Jesus hath said, that while men of the world who on his departure would see him no more, his people his redeemed should have a spiritual apprehension of his everlasting presence. Because I live ye shall live also. Not only in his eternal nature and Godhead doth the Son of God live, but as God-Man-Mediator, and as such is the life of his people: for they, as members of his body, live in him, and live from him, and live upon him, and live to him. All the springs of spiritual life are in Him. All the springs of eternal life are in Him also. Yea, said Jesus, as if to intimate somewhat more; At that day, meaning that day when the Holy Ghost should come upon them and open to their minds the clearer apprehension of these things; ye shall know, that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. What words are here! Who shall undertake to explain the full extent of the oneness and union which they express? Those unions between the Father and the Son, and between Christ as Christ (that is, God and Man in one Person) and his people, had been from everlasting. But in that day, (saith Christ,) when the Holy Ghost shall more fully open to your view my Person and Glory; ye shall know it. Reader! ponder well the subject. Oh! that the Lord the Holy Ghost may unfold the blessedness of it, more and more, to my heart.
I beg the Reader not to overlook with what tenderness God the Holy Ghost hath mentioned the name of his faithful servant Judas, (or Jude), that he might not for a moment be mistaken for the traitor. Not Iscariot! It is in my esteem a very great mark, of the love and regard of the Holy Ghost to his people.
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (29) And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass ye might believe. (30) Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (31) But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even Song of Solomon 1:0 do. Arise, let us go hence.
I should not think it necessary to pause over what our Lord hath said in relation to himself and the Father, had it not been sometimes perverted, and applied in a way, in which Christ never intended the expression. When Jesus saith, My Father is greater than I; he could not mean in respect to his divine nature: for the One glorious Essence of Jehovah is possessed in common with the whole Persons of the Godhead; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and the whole are equally great and glorious. Neither in the Personal nature of the Godhead could the words be meant. For both the Father and the Son are here also equal. And although the Father be called by the Church, and by way of distinction from the Son and the Holy Ghost, the first in point of order; yet this is never understood, neither is it ever meant, by way of precedency. God the Father had not being before the Son and Holy Ghost: neither though called Father in a way of distinction, is it meant to intimate as if he was the cause of the Son's being; both being in their nature and essence eternal. Equal in the eternity of Being, in dignity, power, and glory: and the whole Three Persons possessing in common every attribute which constitutes the Godhead. So that under these distinctions of Person and character in relation to the Godhead, Jesus could not have reference when speaking of the superiority of his Father. But in respect to his Covenant Office, as God-Man-Mediator; no question for a moment can be entertained, but what the Son of God hath condescended to act in a subordinate character. Hence he is called Jehovah's servant: and the Surety of his Church and People. And in all the departments of those offices, everything manifested that his Father was greater than he. For while Christ was subjected to all the indignities and sorrows of his Mediator nature and character, God the Father lost nothing of his original honor and felicity. The comparison therefore, is not made in relation to the nature of both in the Godhead, for that must be unalterable and impossible to admit of increase or lessening. But the whole refers to the office-character which each Person entered into, and engaged for, in the Covenant. And here Jesus might truly say, as he did in this verse; My Father is greater than I!
Almighty Preacher! give me grace to sit at thy feet and hear by faith thy sweet and all-powerful voice in this unequalled sermon of thine, causing all the gracious truths of it to sink deep in my heart. Yes! thou dearest Lord! thou art indeed the way, and the truth, and the life. None can have access to God but by thee. God hath set thee up in thy Mediator-character. And in thee, and by thee, as the life and the light of thy people, thy whole Church hath access by one Spirit to the Father.
Welcome Holy and Eternal God the Spirit, to thy Church! Thou art indeed the very Comforter: for Lord thy great work is consolation. Oh! give me to know thee in thy sweet manifestations, in comforting my poor soul under all discouragements, with the suitableness of Christ. Yea, Lord, in all thy gifts and graces, make known to me the glory, the grace, the love, the infinite tenderness, and compassion, of my God and Savior, in taking of the things of Christ, and shewing them to me. Be it my unceasing happiness, to be brought daily, hourly, under thy quickening, refreshing, soul-reviving influences, that I may be filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of my faith, even the salvation of my soul.
Father of mercies, and God of all grace! blessed, forever blessed, be that everlasting love, which hath followed up the manifestation of God's dear Son, in the manifestation of God's holy Spirit. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on John 14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17