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and heavy trial was at hand. Jesus perceiving their grief, begins to tell them more plainly of his departure from them; but at the same time gives them such good reasons for it, as could not fail to quiet their minds, and to convince them that his leaving them, instead of being a disaster, was every way necessary for their best interests and happiness. “ It is expedient for you,” says he, in the 7th verse, “ 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." As if he had said, “ The work given me to do is not yet finished : I must yet suffer more before I can reign; but after my exaltation, to which my death is a previous and necessary step, I will send forth the Comforter, who shall fully supply my place, and make up to you for my bodily absence. What though you shall no more hear instruction from these lips, you shall have a teacher within you, even the Spirit of truth, who shall guide you into all truth. Whilst I am yet with you, you have indeed ready access to me, for counsel and direction, in every case of hazard and perplexity; and perhaps you fear that when I am taken from you, you shall want a friend to apply to; but know and rejoice, that I go to my Father who is greater than 1, to him you shall have free access for my sake; and whatever ye shall ask in my name, he shall give it unto you.
If I have befriended you so much in my present humble condition, VOL. III.
what may you not expect from me, when I am exalted at my Father's right hand.”
It is this last ground of comfort which our Saviour enlarges upon in the verses now under con. sideration ; and the design of them is, to confirm his disciples in the belief of this, that whatever suitable prayer they shall offer up to the Father in his name, they may assuredly expect a gracious answer. The argument he uses for this purpose is very conclusive, and is no where else in Scripture, that I know of, expressed with the same degree of energy and force. “ I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you.” That is, My Father is so fully satisfied with my undertaking for the redemption of the world, and my sufferings and obedience are so meritorious and acceptable in his sight, that even though I were to conceal from you that I am to be your constant in. tercessor and advocate in heaven, all of you who love me and believe in me, have abundant reason to expect a favourable hearing from the Father himself: " for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” And if the Father is already so much disposed to hear our prayers, how great must their encouragement be, and how strong their consolation, who know besides that their Redeemer liveth to enforce their requests ; that he maketh intercession for them, according
to the will of God; that his mediation must be always effectual ; and that him the Father heareth always. These are joyful tidings indeed, and must make a strong impression on every one whose conscience testifies that he loves the Redeemer, and believes that he came out from God. The Father is fully reconciled to him, the Son constantly prays for him at the throne of heaven; and what may he not then expect from the fulness of Him who filleth all in all? But that we may have a more complete view of the comfort which this text presents to us, I shall separately consider,
1. The love of the Father.
III. The security which believers derive from them both, as inseparably united together.
J. then, Let us take a view of the love of God separately from the intercession of our blessed Redeemer. And, for our better conceiving of this, let us consider that remarkable declaration which we have, John iii. 16, 17. “ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that. whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” It was the Father who laid the plan of our redemption. It was he who sent his Son into the
world, not in anger, but in love, that his poor lost creatures might be recovered and saved from that dreadful gulf of misery into which they had plunged themselves. Many look upon the Father as an austere and rigid Being, who has no compassion, who delights in punishing, and even suffers a sort of violence in admitting Christ to be surety for sinners. But it appears from the fore-cited passage, that this is by no means the light in which the Scriptures represent him to us. No; goodness and mercy are the attributes in which he glories. “ God is love," saith the Apostle. He is not only represented as accepting the offer when made by the Redeemer, but as being the first mover and spring. How does he rejoice that he has found out a ransom! what special delight does he express towards the Son, when employed in this favoured undertaking! “ This,” says he, by an audible voice, " is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He sent forth his angels from heaven to proclaim the news of good will to men, to minister to the tempted Saviour, to strengthen him under his agony in the garden, and at last to conduct him in triumph to his own right hand.
All these are unquestionable proofs of the Father's love. And if God so loved mankind whilst they were enemies, how much more must he love them when they become friends, when they comply with the terms which he has graciously established for their recovery, by lo
ving and believing in him whom he hath sent? With what delight and complacency must he look upon them? He views us now as ransomed by the blood of his own equal. He looks upon us in the face of his Anointed ; and whilst he does so, how warm and affectionate must his regard be! And O what comfort arises to us from this! If our hearts do not condemn us, what confidence must we have towards such a God! When the sight of our distress, worthless and wicked as we were, moved him to find a Redeemer, will he now reject us when we cry to him, and plead the merit of his own gift? No: “ He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up to the death for us all, will certainly with him likewise freely give us all things.” Thus the love of God, considered singly by itself, gives us the greatest ground of expectation from him, even though the intercession of Christ were less certainly revealed to us than it is. Let us now, in the
II. place, Take under our consideration the intercession of Christ, than which there is nothing more clearly held forth to us in sacred Scripture. He himself says to his disciples, in the 16th verse of the 14th chapter of this gospel, “ I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.” This is a special part of his office, our great High Priest, to intercede for his people ; and his saying ability is particularly concluded