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clay. Others are upright in their conversation, while yet their views of divine truth are very imperfect. Such the Apostles shewed themselves all the time of our Lord's sojourning on earth nor could the plainest instructions wholly eradicate the errors in which they had been educated from their earliest years. Our Lord had just informed them, that he was about to die, and to go to his Father; and that he would soon come again and receive them to himself, that they might be with him for ever. And, knowing that, in general, they were acquainted with his intentions, he said, "Whither I go, ye know; and the way ye know." But, alas! though this was true in the general, their minds were at present so engrossed with the notion of an earthly kingdom, that they supposed him to be speaking of some great palace, where he was about to erect his standard. Hence St. Thomas requested further information: to which our Lord replied in the explicit manner related in the text.
In discoursing on his words, it will be proper to consider,
I. Our Lord's description of himself—
He speaks of himself as,
1. The way
[The first way to heaven was, by the covenant of works. But, when man had sinned, that way was closed for ever. From that time another way was opened, through the incarnation and sufferings of God's only Son. This was announced to the unhappy pair, who were informed, that "the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head." To him therefore they were to look as their mediator and advocate, and through him they were to obtain reconciliation with God. There were two obstacles to their re-admission to the divine favour these were, guilt and corruption. But both of these were to be removed by Jesus; the former by his blood, the latter by his Spirit. Thus is Christ our way also to the Father, making atonement for us by his meritorious death, and renewing us by his all-sufficient grace.]
a Gen. iii. 24.
b Amidst a multitude of passages to this effect, see Ephes. ii. 13, 16, 18. and Heb. x. 19, 20.
2. The truth
[As the Disciples might not be able to reconcile this with the ceremonial law, which appeared to prescribe other means of access to God, our Lord informed them that the legal sacrifices were only shadows, of which he was the substance; and figurative representations, of which he was the truth. There had been many persons raised up as saviours and deliverers. Many different things also were intended to mark out the way of salvation: the manna from heaven; the water from the rock; the brazen serpent; the daily sacrifices, with innumerable others; but they all pointed at him as the one true source of reconciliation, of healing, of spiritual vigour, and of eternal salvation. He was the one scope and end of all, in whom all were united; from whom all derived their efficacy; and by whom they all were both accomplished and annulled.]
3. The life
[It would have been to but little purpose to direct his Disciples in what way to go, if he had not told them how they might obtain life and strength to walk in that way. They, as well as all others, were by nature dead in trespasses and sins. Jesus therefore added yet further, that he was "the life." By this we are not to understand merely that Jesus is the author and giver of life: but that he is really to the soul what the soul is to the body. Without the soul, the body is altogether motionless and senseless. It is the soul that animates, as it were, the different members, and enables them to perform their proper functions. So, without Christ, the soul has no spiritual motion or perception: it is from its union with Christ that it has a sufficiency for any thing that is good. Christ must live in the soul, as the soul does in the body. If we live, it is not we that live, but Christ that liveth in usd." Hence He both calls himselfe, and is called by others, "our life."]
This description will appear of the greatest importance, if we consider,
II. His declaration founded upon it—
Many are the ways which men have devised of coming unto God
[Some have sought for mediators among their fellowcreatures. Others have trusted in their own repentances and reformations Innumerable are the refuges of lies in
c John xv. 5. 2 Cor. iii. 5.
e John xi. 25.
d Gal. ii. 20.
f Col. iii. 4.
which sinners have sought to hide themselves from the displeasure of God
But there is no way to God but through Christ—
[Nothing can be plainer than our Lord's assertion. If we ask, What is the way to God? He answers, 'I am.' If we inquire, What other way there is? He answers, 'None.' If we wish to be informed whether there be not some exception in favour of those who have served God from their earliest infancy, as Timothy, or to the most advanced age, as John? the answer is, No: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me:" Timothy must come as Mary Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were cast; and John, as the thief, who died a few hours after his conversion. All need equally to have their guilt expiated, and their hearts renewed: and there is none but Jesus who can do either the one or the other of these things for us: therefore there is no other name or power but his, that can ever save us 5.]
1. Those who are ignorant of the Saviour—
[Have you so little concern for heaven that you will not inquire the way thither? Or do you suppose that a life of worldliness and carnal ease is the path that leads to God; and that men will find it, as it were, blindfold? If this were the case, Jesus would never have become incarnate, and died upon the cross, to open a way for you; nor would he have warned you to the contrary in such solemn terms as those before us. Consider this; for every tittle of his word, whether credited or not, shall be fulfilled.]
2. Those who desire to come to God-
[Beware lest you attempt for a moment to find any other way than that marked out for you by Christ. He must be your only way of access to God. We do not say that you are not to walk in the way of holiness, (for the Scripture asserts the contrary in the strongest terms) but this we say; It is the blood of Christ, and not your own holiness, that must reconcile you to God; and it is the Spirit of Christ, and not your own natural powers, that must enable you to believe in him, or to serve him. Submit to this at once; for you must be brought to it, if ever you would enter into the kingdom of heaven. You cannot come to God in prayer, but by Christ; much less can you be admitted to him in heaven. Even Christ himself, as the sinner's representative, entered into heaven by his own blood: think not therefore that ye shall enter in by any other way.]
g Acts iv. 12.
i Rom. x. 3.
h Isai. xxxv. 8.
3. Those who have already come to God
[Yes; blessed be God, many have come, through Christ as their way, and by Christ as their life: and O, whither are they going? to their Father's house, whither Christ is gone before to prepare a place for them! What a joyful thought! every day and hour brings them nearer to their home! and, for aught they know, they may arrive at those blissful mansions within the space of a few months, or days, or even hours! Regard not then if your road be occasionally rough; but keep in it; press forward; turn not from it even to the end; and, "when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."]
CHRIST ONE WITH THE FATHER.
John xiv. 8-11. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 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? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works' sake.
IT was a great advantage to the Apostles, that, at the close of his daily ministrations, they were admitted to a more intimate and familiar intercourse with their Lord for by this means they received a much fuller instruction than others, and gained a deeper insight than others into the discourses which had been publicly delivered. Nor do we derive less benefit from this than they: because the explanations which were given to them in private are handed down to us, and unfold to us many things which we should not otherwise have been able to comprehend. We behold, too, their errors rectified. They were greatly mistaken in many things. Their spirit was far from being, on some occasions, what God would approve; as for instance, when they would have called fire from heaven to consume a Samaritan village; and
also when "they disputed amongst themselves which of them should be the greatest." Their views, also,
of the Messiah's kingdom were extremely erroneous; insomuch that, when our blessed Lord told them what was coming upon him, "Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, That be far from thee, Lord"." In like manner, they could not conceive aright of his divine character. Sometimes, indeed, they spake well respecting it: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God":" but, at other times, they shewed that their judgment respecting it was very wavering and ill-informed. When our Lord spake of his equality with the Father, they knew not how to understand him and though he told them, that, in having "seen and known him, they had seen and known the Father," Philip, in the name of all the rest, contradicted him, and said, "Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." And this brought from our blessed Lord an answer, which is of the greatest importance to the Church in all ages, inasmuch as it establishes the doctrine of the divinity of Christ beyond all contradiction.
In opening to you this passage, we will consider, I. The desire expressed
This, in part, was good
[To desire a manifestation of the Father's glory could not but be pleasing to God himself. After the giving of the law, such a revelation had been vouchsafed to Moses, and Aaron, and "the nobles" of Israeld; as, at a subsequent period, it had been in a more especial manner to Moses alone, in answer to that request of his, "Lord, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory." Of this request God had expressed his approbation, by "proclaiming to him his name," and causing "all his goodness to pass before him." Now, therefore, at the first introduction of the Gospel, the Apostles conceived it possible that their Divine Master might favour them with somewhat of a similar manifestation; more especially because he had, without any solicitation on their part, spoken to them on the subject of "seeing the Father."
a Matt. xvi. 22.
c ver. 7.
b Matt. xvi. 16. John vi. 69.
d Exod. xxiv. 9-11.
e Exod. xxxiii. 18, 19. and xxxiv. 6.