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was, in his nature, invisible to mortal eyes, visible to the senses. This was effected by the union of the DIVINE WORD with human nature. GOD, as a Spirit, was still unseen; but the MESSIAH shewed him forth to the world, so that men were sensibly convinced by the spiritual things CHRIST revealed, and the miracles he performed, that there certainly is such a perfect Being as he described; all mighty, all wise, infinite in goodness, compassion, and merey; perfectly just, a searcher of all hearts, a friend to the good, and an enemy to the wicked. Our LORD also proved, by his supernatural knowledge and mighty works, that this great and glorious Being dwelt in him, was essentially united with him; so that those who saw him might be truly said to see GOD, as men see one another, who behold the bodily substance, but not the spiritual nature.
But our SAVIOUR required his disciples to believe, not only that he had, by his discourses and actions, shewn themthe FATHER, and proved that he was actually in himself, but also, that they should believe HE was in the FATHER. On this occasion our LORD did not explain to his Apostles in what manner the GODHEAD Who dwelt in him was ONE with the FATHER, nor how the union subsisted between the Divine and human natures; for these mysteries were too great for the consideration of persons whose minds were not yet enlightened by the HOLY GHOST: but the Apostles had farther revelations afterwards, by means of which they understood, and made known to the world, that the same BEING who had been, from the very beginning, the visible governor of the universe, whom St. John calls the Word, took our nature on him, and appeared upon earth as the MESSIAH. These particulars being made known to them by the HOLY SPIRIT, claimed their ready belief, whe
ther they had faculties fully to comprehend them or not; and as we have no cause to doubt the veracity of the Apostles and Evangelists, or the authenticity of their writings, we ought to receive the mysterious doctrines they teach us, as objects of faith, though above the power of human reason to explain.
That the Apostles might not, from our LORD's assertion that he and the FATHER were ONE, be apprehensive, that when he left the world, the DEITY would withdraw himself, and leave them without a Divine Guide and Protector, He solemnly assured them, that when He should go to heaven, He would perform miracles by their hands, some of which would cause greater astonishment, and make more converts, than those wrought by Him while on earth; and, that whatever they should ask, if consistent with their ministry, he would certainly effect, that he might still continue to shew forth the power of the FATHER. Our LORD therefore exhorted them, if they had any love for him, to keep his commandments, and promised to entreat the FATHER to vouchsafe them another comforter, who should abide with them to the end of the world, and supply the want of his own personal presence.
We will defer a particular examination of our LORD'S promise concerning the HOLY SPIRIT, till we can compare it with its accomplishment; when we shall be better able to conceive in what manner our LORD manifested himself to his Apostles, and not to the world, and other mysterious parts of this discourse; but in order to comprehend them, we must in the mean time acquire the necessary qualification; for if we are worldly-minded, and regardless of heavenly things, we shall never be able to understand them at all.
The human nature of the MESSIAH, was certainly inferior
ferior to the GODHEAD. Our SAVIOUR might, therefore, with great propriety say, that "the FATher was greater than himself." In respect to the DIVINE NATURE of the Son of God, it is too sublime for the compass of the most enlarged minds. Let us therefore refer our enquiries to a future state, when, if we gain admittance into heaven, we shall behold the DEITY as HE IS, and shall be in no danger of committing errors respecting Him: and, in the mean while, let us rest assured, that if it had been necessary to our salvation, to understand the divine nature more fully, it would have been more clearly revealed.
Having finished this discourse, our LORD informed his disciples, that from this time he should converse but little with them, for he should soon be delivered up to the Roman power; to which he was resolved to submit, as he knew it was the will of THE FATHER that he should do so; but having something yet to do, he would stay no longer in the place where he had kept the passover, but desired his disciples to attend him, and departed, in order to go to the Mount of Olives.
Before our SAVIOUR left the world, he bequeathed PEACE to his Apostles, an inestimable legacy, bestowed with the utmost affection; and not confined to them only, but designed for all who loved and obeyed him. Let us then endeavour to obtain an interest in it, by laying aside anxious cares, envy, jealousy, malice, anger, resentment, and every tumultuous passion destructive of contentment and brotherly love; and let us, to the utmost of our ability, co-operate with our LORD, whose design in coming into the world was to bring peace upon earth, good-will towards men: and as we read that our LORD left the world in the very manner he predicted, let us believe that he will also return as he has promised,
and conduct to the mansions of bliss all who sincerely love him.
OUR LORD REPRESENTS HIMSELF UNDER THE EMBLEM
OF A VINE.
From John, Chap. xv.
I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you, continue ye in my love.
If ye keep in my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye should ask of the Father in my name, he may give it
These things I command you, that ye love one another.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin but now they have no cloak for their sin.