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them a cup of cold water only, he would acknowledge it as an obligation conferred on him; and, if any should presume to touch them in a way of injury, he would resent it as if they had "touched the apple of his eye."]
3. As sufficient for their support
[They had seen what wonders he had wrought during his continuance among them: and they must not imagine, that, because he offered up his soul a sacrifice for sin, he was therefore deprived of his power to perform them for though he would, in appearance, be crucified through weakness, he did really possess all power in heaven and in earth. They might still look to him for the relief of every want, and support in every trial; and they should assuredly find his grace sufficient for them.]
4. As coming again to recompense all that they might endure for his sake
[He had told them, that he would come again, and that too in all the glory of his Father, with myriads of attendant angels, to judge the world. They need not therefore be anxious. about any present trials, since he pledged himself to remember all that they should do or suffer for him, and richly to compensate their fidelity to him.
These were subjects on which he had often conversed familiarly with them: and if only they would give him credit for the accomplishment of his promises, they might discard their fears, and be of good comfort.]
It will be not unprofitable to consider more distinctly,
III. The sufficiency of this remedy to dispel all anxiety from their minds—
Faith in Christ is a perfect antidote against troubles of every kind. Faith has respect to him in all his glorious offices and characters:
1. As the Saviour of the soul
[What has that man to do with fear and trouble, who sees all his iniquities purged away by the blood of Jesus, and his soul accepted before God? If he forget these things,
he may be cast down by earthly trials: but if he keep this steadily in view, the sufferings of time will be of no account in his eyes: he will feel that he has ground for nothing but unbounded and incessant joy- --]
2. As the Governor of the universe
[Who that sees how perfectly every thing is under the controul of Jesus, will give way to fear or grief? Not a sparrow
falls, nor a hair of our head can be touched, without him: and, if he suffer any injury to be inflicted on us, he can overrule it so as to convert it into the greatest benefit. What then have we to do, but to let him work his own will, and to expect that all things shall work together for good? -- -]
3. As the Head of his people
[He is to all his people the head of vital influence; and will he forget to communicate what is necessary for the welfare of his members? We are weak; and our enemies are mighty but is that any ground for fear, whilst we remember whose members we are? Can we not do all things through Christ strengthening us?---]
4. As the Judge of quick and dead
[The distribution of rewards and punishments is committed unto him; and he has told us what sentence he will pronounce on all his faithful people. And will not that word, "Come ye blessed," or that, "Well done, good and faithful servant," richly repay all that we can do or suffer for him in this world? Can we survey the thrones of glory he has prepared for us, and be afraid of the trials that await us here?
1. The happiness of believers
[They may, they must, have their trials; and whilst they possess the feelings of men, they will find some trials grievous to be borne: but they neither have, nor can have, any cause for anxious fear: whilst God is for them, none can be against them. Let them therefore "be careful for nothing," but " cast all their care on Him who careth for them."]
2. The misery of unbelievers
[Where has God said to them, "Let not your hearts be troubled?" No such word can be found in all the sacred volume. They have need of continual fear and terror: for, what refuge have they, whilst they are not united unto Christ by faith? Whither can they go under the trials of this life? and what consolation can they have in the prospects of eternity? Better were it, if they die in such a state, that they had never been born. Hear then what Jesus says to you: Look unto ME, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God; and besides me there is none else. His address, in the text, is a proof of his Godhead, and consequently of his sufficiency to save all that come unto God by him.]
THE COMFORT TO BE DERIVED FROM CHRIST'S ASCENSION. John xiv. 2, 3. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
A HOPE of future happiness affords strong consolation under present trials. The children of God, if destitute of this, would be " of all men most miserable;" but this renders them incomparably more happy, even under the most afflictive dispensations, than the greatest fulness of earthly things could make them. Our Lord opened these springs of comfort to his disconsolate Disciples. Being about to leave them, he not only told them whither, and for what purpose, he was going, but that he would assuredly return to recompense all which they might endure for his sake-" In my Father's house," &c. We shall consider,
I. Our Lord's description of heaven
We are taught to conceive of heaven as a place of unspeakable felicity. The description given of it by St. John is intended to elevate our thoughts, and enlarge our conceptions to the uttermost; but a spiritual mind, which is dead to earthly things, may perhaps see no less beauty in our Lord's description. Our Lord thus describes it; "My Father's house with many mansions"—
[Here seems to be an allusion to the temple at Jerusalem: God dwelt there in a more especial manner; around it were chambers for the priests and Levites. Thus in heaven God dwells, and displays his glory; there also are mansions where his redeemed people "see him as he is."]
This description may be depended upon
[The Disciples had left all in expectation of a future recompence: our Lord had taught them to look for it, not on
a Rev. xxi. 19, 21. b 1 Kings viii. 10, 11. c Isai. lvii. 15.
earth, but in heaven. Had no such recompence awaited them, he" would have told them so." Thus he pledges, as it were, his love and faithfulness for the truth of what he had told them.]
Our Lord further acquaints them with the reason of his ascending thither:
II. The end of his ascension thither
All which our Lord did on earth was for the good of his people. He consulted their good also in his ascension to heaven: he went "to prepare a place for them," which he does,
1. By purging heaven itself with his own blood
[Heaven would have been defiled, as it were, by the admission of sinners into it; he therefore entered into heaven to sanctify it by his blood. This was typified by the atonement made for the altar and the tabernacle". The type is thus explained and applied —]
2. By taking possession of it as their Head and Representative
[He is the head, and his people are his members. His ascension to heaven is a pledge and earnest of theirs. In this view he is expressly called "our forerunner."]
3. By maintaining their title to it
[They would continually forfeit their title to it by their sins: but he maintains their peace with God by his intercession. Hence his power to bring them finally to that place is represented as depending on his living in heaven to intercede for them.]
By these means every obstacle to his people's happiness is removed.
III. The prospects which his ascension affords usHis ascension is the foundation of all our hope: as it proves his mission, so also it assures us,
d Lev. xvi. 15-20.
e Heb. ix. 21-24. Here is a parallel drawn not only between the Holy of holies and heaven, but also between the purifying of the Holy of holies by the high-priest, and the purifying of heaven itself by Christ with his own blood: and both are declared to have been necessary; the one as a type, and the other as the anti-type.
f Eph. iv. 15, 16. 1 Heb. vii. 25.
g 1 Cor. xv. 20.
h Heb. vi. 20.
1. That he shall "come again”–
[The high-priest, after offering incense within the vail, was to come out and bless the people. This was a type of our Lord's return from heaven when he shall have finished his work of intercession there.]
2. That he shall take his people to dwell with him—
[He had promised this as a condition of their engaging in his service. He declared it to be his fixed determination just before his departure". It may even be inferred from his ascension; seeing that his ascension would have been utterly in vain without it".]
What a bright and blessed prospect is this! What an effectual antidote against their approaching troubles! INFER
1. How wonderful are the condescension and grace
[We cannot conceive any thing more tender than the whole of this address. Such is still his conduct towards all his people Let us admire and adore this compassionate high-priest.]
2. How highly privileged are they that believe in Christ!
[How different was our Lord's address to unbelievers°; but to believers he says, "Where I am, ye shall be also." Let this inestimable privilege have its due effect upon us; let it stimulate our desires after heaven; let it reconcile us to the thoughts of death; let it engage us more earnestly to serve God P.]
k Heb. ix. 28.
1 John xii. 26. • John viii. 21.
m John xvii. 24.
P 1 Thess. i. 9, 10.
NO WAY TO GOD BUT THROUGH CHRIST.
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.
THERE is in the Christian church a great diversity of character: some, like Nebuchadnezzar's image, have heads of gold, while their feet are of materials as unstable as they are unsuitable, even of iron and