Page images

and the other gladly confess, that “the suf

ferings of this present world are not worthy “ to be compared with the glory that shall “ be revealed in them.” In both, the triumph of faith will be complete; and “ the Almighty “ will be justified in his saying, and clear “ when he is judged.”


JOHN xiv. 6.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth,

and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


THESE words form a part of that affecting conference which our Lord held with his disciples, on the eve of his sufferings; when he laboured to prepare them for the awful trial of their faith, then fast approaching, and with strong expressions of regard administered such consolation as might best support them under so severe a conflict.

It is impossible to express in stronger terms than in those of our blessed Saviour, that great and momentous truth, that to Him we owe every rational and well-grounded hope or expectation of eternal life. It was on the eve of his departure from this world, that he discoursed with his disciples on those points most calculated to comfort them under the prospect of his removal from them, to en


courage them to persevere in the truths he had inculcated upon them.

them. But when some of them expressed doubts and uncertainties as to the mode in which his promises should be fulfilled, he recalls them to that faith and trust in him which his wonderful works and his heavenly instruction had already entitled him to expect from them ;-and the more impressively to fix these things in their minds, he thus with peculiar force and energy asserts his claim to their affection, reverence, and obedience:-“ I am the way, “ the truth, and the life: no man cometh “ unto the Father, but by me.”

In the verses immediately preceding the text, he assures them that his departure from this world was not to be a final, but only a temporary, separation. “Let not your “ heart be troubled: ye believe in God, be66 lieve also in me.

In my Father's house “ are many mansions: if it were not so, I 66 would have told


I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I


prepare a place for

you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there

ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, " and the way ye know.”

It required, on the part of the Apostles, more than ordinary faith, to receive these sayings without disquietude. Did their Lord mean, that he was about to quit them for a short season only, and to obtain for them some temporal possession, whither they should forthwith follow him ;-or did he mean, that he was about to leave this world, with no intention of meeting them again on this side of the

grave; thus destroying all their earthly hopes and expectations ?

Such appear to have been the doubts and apprehensions floating in the mind of one, at least, of the Apostles, Thomas ; whose conduct, after our Lord's resurrection, shewed him to be somewhat prone to scepticism and mistrust. Lord,” says he, “ we know not whither thou goest : and how can we know “ the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the

way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Our Lord's answer (were we to interpret it largely, according to the tenor of his whole discourse) might admit of some such paraphrase as this : “ The place whither I am

going, and where I have promised to prepare for

your reception also, is a seat of bliss “ in the mansions of my Father. There is “ no way of obtaining this, but by faith in “ me; by embracing my doctrine, and obey

ing my commandments. I am the truth


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]



also, as well as the way; nor can any other “ teacher have the sanction of Divine au“ thority, unless his doctrine corresponds “ with mine. I am the life also: it is by

me alone, that immortality is restored to “ mankind; nor can there, without me, be

any assurance of everlasting bliss. No man, “ therefore, cometh unto the Father, but by “ ME. No man can attain to the true know

ledge of God here, or to the enjoyment of “ his presence hereafter, but through the means which I have provided.”

My intention however, in the present discourse, is to apply it only to some points most essential to human happiness, in which, without the light of the Gospel, man is incapable of discovering the way, the truth, and the life ; and to shew how clearly that light enables him to discern whatever is necessary for his satisfaction in these momentous inquiries.

The attainment of happiness is unquestionably the main object which a rational creature must be supposed to have in view;of happiness through every stage of existence for which he is intended, whether in this life or in another. Any doubt respecting the means of obtaining it must create uneasiness: any hazard being excluded from happiness

« PreviousContinue »