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ting to them that the hour was at hand, when all men should see his glory; but that as a corn of wheat produced no crop, unless it were first buried in the ground and regenerated; so his own death and burial was necessary in order to produce the fruit of salvation. Again he teaches, that whoever was attached to this life, and placed his happiness upon it, would forfeit the life eternal; but he that would secure the life eternal, must detach himself from the things of this world, and be ready to lay down his life, as Christ was going to lay down his. If any would serve Christ, he must follow Christ's example; and he should be honored in the presence of God the Father, whither Christ was going before. All these sayings have immediate reference to the scene of sufferings which he was presently to undergo. But while his human feelings, as the Son of Man," troubled his soul,” so that he cried to the Father to him from that hour;" yet he immediately checked himself, because it was for this very purpose that he came into the world; he therefore only prays that his death may be the means of promoting the glory of God. This is an example, which we ought also to imitate in seasons of trouble and danger; that when the body shrinks from the
apprehension of pain and death, the spirit may still lead us to repose in God, and to rejoice if our sufferings can be made instrumental to his glory. This is the third instance recorded, when a voice was heard from heaven in attestation to the Son of God. And Jesus assures us that it came not because of him, but for his disciples' sake.”
Ver. 31. He proceeds still in contemplation of his crucifixion, which was to ratify, as it were, the covenant of grace, by which the redemption of mankind should be purchased, and the kingdom of Christ gradually established over the world. Even from the period of his death should that dispensation begin to take effect, which in the end would destroy the power of the devil, the prince of this world, by whom men are seduced from the love of God to the love of vanities. Again Jesus refers not only to his death, but to the manner of it, saying, “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to me."
66 Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, and desireth that all men should be saved *.” And if all are not actually saved, at least all are thereby made capable of salvation. Jesus Christ, we are told, is “ the propitiation for the sins of the whole world t." Tim. ii. 4.
+ 1 John ii. 2.
Again, “ God hath given his Son the utmost parts of the earth for his possession.” There always was dispensed to all men a certain measure of instruction from above, which although it came from a more occult and sparing grace, did yet suffice to some for remedy, to all for testimony. What they have is an effect of God's mercy procured and purchased by their Saviour *
To his hearers, who, ignorant of what was going to happen, did not at that time understand him, while he varies his expression, he continues to dwell upon his approaching death, comparing himself to a light, which would soon be taken from them; and he urges them to believe on him, that they might be the children of light: that is, that they might be accepted of God by adoption and grace, and might inherit the promises made to the righteous through the glorious light of the
Ver. 37. Many yet, notwithstanding the miracles he had wrought before them, believed not on him; as Isaiah had foretold. Many however among the chief rulers also did believe him to be the Messiah; but were afraid openly to confess it, through fear of incurring the reproaches of the
* Barrow, vol. iii. p. 321. fol.
Pharisees, and of being put out of the synagogue ; “ for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." But God hath no fellowship with the world; and requires an undivided service; “if the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him *" For although in matters of indifference it be wisdom and good manners to yield to the humour of our company,
and conform to the will of others; yet where duty is concerned, there courtesy hath no place to
Ver. 44. The concluding verses of this chapter bear a strong resemblance to some preceding parts of St. John's Gospel, particularly to the eighth chapter. Jesus's audience, consisting of Jews, who prided themselves upon being the peculiar people of God, he probably on that account the more frequently ascribes all power and glory to the Father, directing them to make God the great object of their faith, in conformity to whose will he conducted himself in all things; for “ whatsoever he spake, even as the Father said unto him, so he spake.” And“ he that believeth on me,” saith he, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.” Whoever therefore denied him before men, did in effect deny the Father. Which seems * 1 Kings xyiii. 21.
to be more immediately addressed to those who believed, yet feared to acknowledge him. Christ however came not to punish men upon the earth, but to save them. Their punishment would be inflicted at the last day, if they continued wilfully to reject him, and refused to hear the words which God had commanded him to deliver to them. Then Jesus emphatically adds, “ And I know that his commandment is life everlasting.”
THE words “ before the feast of the passover," with which the thirteenth chapter opens, indicate the beginning of the last great scene, which was to consummate the redemption of mankind. Christ knew with unerring foresight that the time of his suffering was at hand. And under the influence of this feeling he seems to have redoubled the marks of his kindness; as men exhibit most strongly their affection to their friends previous to a long separation. For “having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the