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thing else were required of them to believe, but what he had taught them, and they believed already ; viz. “That he was the Melliah," John xiv. I. « Ye believe in God, believe also in me," ver. 29. “I « have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, « ye may believe.” It is believing on him, without any thing elle, John xvi. 31. « Jesus answered them, Do you now believe?” This was in answer to their profefling, ver. 30. “ Now are we sure that « thou knowest all things, and needeit not that any man should « ask thee: by this we believe that thou comest forth from God.”
John xvii. 20. “ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also « which shall believe on me through their word." All that is spoke of « Believing," in this his last fermon to them, is only « Believing on him," or believing that he came from God;'S which was no other than believing him to be the Messiah.
Indeed, John xiv. 9. our Saviour tells Philip, “He that hath « leen me, hath seen the father ;” and adds, ver. 10. “ Be« lievest thou not that I am in the father, and the father in me? 66 The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but « the father that dwelleth in me, he doth the works.” Which being in answer to Philip's words, ver. 9. « Shew us the father," feem to import thus much : “ No man hath seen God at any time,” he is known only by his works. And that he is my father, and I the son of God, i. e. the Messiah, you may know by the works I have done ; which it is impossible I could do of myself, but by the union I have with God my father. For that by being “ in God," and “ God in him," he signifies such an union with God, that God operates in and by him, appears not only by the words above-cited out of ver. 10. (which can scarce otherwise be made coherent sense ), but also from the same phrase used again by our Saviour presenty after, ver. 20. “ At that day,” viz. after his resurrection, when they should see him again, " ye shall know that I am in my « father, and you in me, and I in you;"' i. e. by the works I shall enable you to do through a power I have received from the father: which whoever sees me do, must acknowledge the father to be in me; and whoever sees you do, must acknowledge me to be in you. And therefore he says, ver. 12. Verily, verily I fay unto you, “ He that believeth on me, the works that I do fhall he also do, be« cause I go unto my father.” Though I go away, yet I shall be in you, who believe in me; and ye shall be enabled to do miracles also for the carrying on of my kingdom, as I have done: that it may be manifested to others, that you are sent by me, as-I have evidenced to you that I am sent by the father. And hence it is that he says, in the immediate preceding ver. II. « Believe me that « I am in the father, and the father in me; if not; believe me for « the sake of the works themselves.” Let the works that I have done convince you that I am sent by the father; that he is with me, and that I do nothing but by his will, and by virtue of the union I have with him; and that, consequently, I am the Messiah, who
am anointed, fanctified, and separated by the father to the work for which he hath sent me.
To confirm them in this faith, and to enable them to do such works as he had done, he promises them the Holy Ghost, John xiv. 25, 26. “ These things I have said unto you, being yet present with " you :” but when I am gone, “ the Holy Ghost, the paraclet” (which may signify monitor, as well as comforter, or advocate), is which the father shall send you in my name, he thall fhew you “ all things, and bring to your remembrance all things which I « have said.” So that, confidering all that I have said, and laying it together, and comparing it with what you shall fee come to pass, you may be more abundantly assured that I am the Mefliah, and fully comprehend that I have done and suffered a! things foretold of the Meffiah; and that were to be accomplished and fulfilled by him, according to the scriptures. But be not filled with grief that I leave you ; John xvi. 7. “It is expedient for you that I go away: « for if I go not away, the paraclet will not come unto you.” One reason why, if he went not away, the Holy Ghost could not come, we may gather froin what has been observed concerning the prudent and wary carriage of our Saviour all through his ministry, that he might not incur death with the least fufpicion of a malefactor: and therefore though his disciples believed him to be the Melliah, yet they neither understood it so well, nor were so well confirmed in the belief of it, as after that, he being crucified and risen again, they had received the Holy Ghoft; and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, a fuller and clearer evidence and knowledge that he was the Messiah. They then were enlightened, to see how his kingdom was such as the scriptures foretold; though not such as they, till then, had expected. And now this knowledge and assurance received from the Holy Ghost was of use to them after his resurrection; when they could now boldly go about, and openly preach, as they did, that Jesus was the Messiah, confirming that doctrine bý the miracles which the Holy Ghost impowered them to do. But till he was dead and gone, they could not do this. Their going about openly preaching, as they did after his resurrection, that Jesus was the Messiah, and doing miracles every where to make it good, would not have consisted with that character of humility, peace, and innocence, which the Messiah was to sustain, if they had done it before his crucifixion: for this would have drawn upon him the condemnation of a malefactor, either as a stirrer of sédition against the public peace, or as a pretender to the kingdom of Israel. And hence we see, that they who before his death preached only the gospel of the kingdom,” that the kingdom or « God was at hand;" as soon as they had received the Holy Ghost after his resurrection, changed their ityle, and every where, in express words, declare, that Jesus is the Merliah, that “ king' which was to come. This, the following words here in St. John xvi. 8-14. confirm; where he goes on to tell thein; “ And when he is come, « he will convince the world of fin, because they believed not on
“ me." Your preaching then, accompanied with miracles, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost, shall be a conviction to the world that the Jews sinned in not believing me to be the Meffiah. « Of « righteousness,” or justice: “ because I go to my father, and ye see « me no more.” By the fame preaching and miracles you shall confirm the doctrine of my ascension; and thereby convince the world that I was that “ just one,” who am therefore ascended to the father into heaven, where no unjust person shall enter. « Of judge“ ment: because the prince of this world is judged.” And by the fame assistance of the Holy Ghost ye shall convince the world that the devil is judged or condemned, by your casting of him out, and destroying his kingdom, and his worship, wherever you preach. Our Saviour adds, “ I have yet many things to say unto you, but you « cannot bear them now.” They were yet so full of a temporal kingdom, that they could not bear the discovery of what kind of kingdom his was, nor what a king he was to be; and therefore he leaves them to the coming of the Holy Ghost, for a farther and fuller discovery of himself, and the kingdom of the Messiah, for fear they should be scandalized in him, and give up the hopes they had now in him, and forsake him. This he tells them, ver. I, of this xyith chapter: “ These things I have faid unto you, that you may “ not be scandalized.” The last thing he had told them before his laying this to them, we find in the last verses of the precedent chapter: “ When the paraclet is come, the spirit of truth, he shall « witness concerning me.” He shall shew you who I am, and witness it to the world; and then, « Ye also shall bear witness, be« cause ye have been with me from the beginning.” He shall call to your mind what I have said and done, that ye may understand it, and know, and bear witness concerning me. And again here, John xvi. after he had told them, they could not bear what he had more to say, he adds, ver. 13. « Howbeit, when the Spirit of truth « is come, he will guide you into all truth; and he will shew you " things to come: he thall glorify me." By the Spirit, when he comes, ye shall be fully instructed concerning me; and though you cannot yet, from what I have said to you, clearly comprehend my kingdom and glory, yet he shall make it known to you wherein it consists: and though I am now in a mean state, and ready to be given up to contempt, torment, and death, so that ye know not what to think of it, yet the Spirit, when he comes, « small glorify « me," and fully satisfy you of my power and kingdom ; and that I sit on the right-hand of God, to order all things for the good and increase of it, till I come again at the last day in the fulness of glory,
Accordingly, the apostles had a full and clear light and persuasion of this, after they had received the Holy Ghost; and they preached it every where boldly and openly, without the least remainder of doubt or uncertainty. But that even so late as this, they understood not his death and resurrection, is evident from ver. 17, 18. “Then « said some of the disciples among themselves, What is this that he « faith unto us; A little while, and ye shail not see me; and again,
16 a little
witner its concern the palace, find in thing heo you, that is of this
a little while, and ye shall see me; and because I go to the fa“ ther? They faid therefore, What is this that he faith, a little “ while we know not what he faith.” Upon which, he goes on to discourse to them of his death and resurrection, and of the power they should have of doing miracles. But all this he declares to them in a mystical and involved way of speaking : as he tells them himself, ver. 25. “ These things have I spoken to you in proverbs," i. e. in general, obscure, ænigmatical, or figurative terms. (All which, as well as allusive apologues, the Jews called proverbs or parables.) Hitherto my declaring of myself to you hath been obscure, and with reserve; and I have not spoken of myself to you in plain and direct words, because ye “ could not bear it.” A Mefliah, and not a king, you could not understand ; and a king living in poverty and persecution, and dying the death of a slave and malefactor upon a cross, you could not put together. And had I told you in plain words, that I was the Messiah, and given you a direct commision to preach to others, that I profefledly owned myself to be the Meffiah, you and they would have made a commotion, to have set me upon the throne of my father David, and to fight for me, that your Messiah, your king, in whom are your hopes of a kingdom, should not be delivered up into the hands of his enemies, to be put to death; and of this, Peter will instantly give you a proof. But “ the time cometh when I shall no more « (peak unto you in parables ; but I shall shew unto you plainly of “ the father.” My death and resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Ghost, will speedily enlighten you, and then I shall make you know the will and design of the father; what a kingdom I am to have, and by what means, and to what end, ver. 27. And this the father himself will fhew unto you; “ For he loveth you, because “ ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from the
father.” Because ye have believed that I am “the son of God, « the Messiah;” that he hath anointed and sent me; though it hath not been yet fully discovered to you what kind of kingdom it shall be, nor by what means brought about. And then our Saviour, without being asked, explaining to them what he had faid, and making them understand better what before they stuck at, and complained secretly among themselves, that they understood not; they thereupon declare, ver. 30. “ Now are we sure that thou knowest all « things, and needest not that any man should ask thee.” It is plain thou knowest mens thoughts and doubts before they alka “ By this we believe that thou comest forth from God. Jesus an“ swered, Do ye now believe?” Notwithstanding that you now believe that I came from God, and am the Meiliah, sent by him; « Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scat“ tered;" and as it is Matt. xxvi. 31. and « shall all be scandalized “ in me." What it is to be scandalized in him, we may see by what followed hereupon, if that which he says to St. Peter, Mark xiv. did not sufficiently explain it. · VOL, IV.
This I have been the more particular in, that it may be seen, that in his last discourse to his disciples (where he opened himself more than he had hitherto done; and where, if any thing more was required to make them believers, than what they already believed, we might have expected they should have heard of it), there were no new articles proposed to them, but what they believed before, viz. That he was the Meffiah, the son of God, lent from the father : though of his manner of proceeding, and his sudden leaving the world, and some few particulars, he made them understand something more than they did before. But as to the main design of the gospel, viz. that he had a kingdom, that he should be put to death, and rise again, and ascend into heaven to his father, and come again in glory to judge the world; this he had told them: and so had acquainted them with the great council of God, in sending him the Messiah, and omitted nothing that was necessary to be known or believed in it. And so he tells them himself, John xv. 15. “ Hence« forth I call ye not servants : for the servant knoweth not what “ his Lord does: but I have called ye friends ; for ALL THINGS “ I have heard of my father, I have made known unto you though perhaps ye do not fo fully comprehend them, as you will shortly, when I am risen and afcended.
To conclude all, in his prayer, which shuts up this discourse, he tells the father what he had made known to his apostles; the result whereof we have John xvii. 8. “ I have given unto them the words “ which thou gavest me, and they have received them, and THEY * HAVE BELIEVED THAT THOU DIDST SEND ME.” Which is in effect, that he was the Messiah promised and sent by God. And then he prays for them, and adds, ver. 20, 21. “ Neither pray I for “ these alone, but for them also who believe on me through their « word.” What that word was through which others should believe in him, we have seen in the preaching of the apostles all through the history of the Acts, viz. This one great point, that Jesus was the Messiah. The apostles, he says, ver. 25. “ know that i thou hast sent me,” i. e. are assured that I am the Messiah. And in ver. 21 and 23, he prays, “ That the world may believe” (which ver. 23. is called knowing) “ that thou hast fent me:" so that what Chrift would have believed by his disciples, we may see by this his laft prayer for them when he was leaving the world, as well as by what he preached whilft he was in it.
And as a teftimony of this, one of his last actions, even when he was upon the cross, was to confirm this doctrine, by giving falvation to one of the thieves that was crucified with him, upon his declaration that he believed him to be the Mefliah; for so much the words of his request imported, when he faid, “ Remember me, “ Lord, when thou comeft into thy kingdom,” Luke xxiii. 42. To which Jesus replied, ver. 43. « Verily I say unto thee, To-day “ Thalt thou be with me in paradise.” An expression very remarkable; for as Adam, by fin, loft paradise, i. e. a state of happy immortality, here the believing thief, through his faith in Jelus the