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St. John xvi. Part of 30:31. Verses.
N the foregoing part of this Chapter, our Sa
viour had discoursed unto the Disciples, and comforted them against Tribulation byhis own Resurrection andăscension and by the Promise of sending to them the Holy Ghost, which should supply their Wants, and furnish them with Spiritual Consolations ; and in all their U
Conflicts, fill their Minds with Joy.
re V. 22. now therefore have Sorrow, but I will see you
again, and your Heart Mall rejoice; and your Foy no Man taketh from you. For though hiş Departure filled their Hearts with Grief, and they were under great Trouble of Mind, for the Loss of so dear a Friend and Companion in Sufferings ; yet he tells them, that he was only going to his Father in Heaven, there to be their faithful Advocate, to obtain a ready Audience, and a gracious Answer to all their Prayers. Verily,Werily, I say unto you, whatsoever je fall ask the Father in my Name, he will give it you. He tells them further, that the Father himself loveth them, because they loved him: At the hearing of these Things, the Fears, and the Doubts, and the Sorrows of the Difciples are cleared ; this obliging Discovery he had made unto thein, 'warmed their Hearts, and raised their Affections into a devout Ex tasie of Faith and Joy; immediately they declared themselves fully satisfy'd and comforted. Now, say they, we believe that thou comeft forth from God. Jesus answered them, do ya now believe?
Which Words express indeed the Assent of the Disciples, and their ready Belief of what our Saviour had fpoke and promised : yet his Answer seems to tax and blame their Faich, as some way or other defective. Do ye now believe? Is a tacit Rebuke, and implies the Charge and imputation of a Fault
. That there was something in their Faith, either as to the I Time, or to the Motives, or to the Sincerity
of it which was justly reprovable. From the ; Words therefore, I will do Two Things.
I. I will briefly examine what was blame
worthy in the Disciple's Faith.
II. From thence I will draw some suitable
Observations concerning the Nature of true Christian Faith in general.
I. Let us briefly examine what was blameworthy in this Profession of the Disciples Faith. Do ye now believe ? Which Speech of
our Lord to them, plainly imports thus much: : Why did ye not believe sooner ? Did not Į
give you sufficient Evidence and Means of
Conyiction before ? Have you not long feen é my Conversation, and heard my Doctrine, and
been instructed by my Miracles? Have I not told you heretofore, that I came from the Father, that I and my Father are one? Strange! That your Faith should not begin, till I have just finished my Course upon Earth; and am ready to go unto my Father, and your Fatber ; unto my God, and your God. I blame it therefore, because it is so late. Again ;
Do ye nowe believe? But what great Virtue is there in it ? What Commendation?
What Thanks are due to you that you do so? Ć What Temptation have you to the Contrary?
I have been declaring unto you the Mitiora Evangelii, the more easie Duties, and Advan
tagious Do&rines of the Gospel : Your Faith lays hold only of my Promises ; particularly of that great Promise of sending the Comforter, my Spirit among you, when I am gone. 1 have not as yet discouraged you by the Apprehensions of Danger, and telling you what you must suffer for my Sake. What Difficulties are ye brought into ; what Hazards do ye run by this private Confession of me? Your Faith therefore is not to be boasted of, because it is so cheap and easy.
Further ; Do ye not believe? But are you sure
you do believe indeed ? Be well advised Is not this a rafh and indeliberate Resolve or a sudden Passion of Nature, or a Civil and Formal Compliment? Look well that you be not too confident of your felves, for 1 hall have Occafion to try you hereafter. Have you examined your own Hearts, and secured the Grounds of your own Perswafion? You say indeed, that you do believe : But I (who know your Hearts better than your selves) fear that I shall find it otherwise. True Faith will never Apoftatize, but you will 'forsake me by and by : For so it follows in the very next Words to my Text. ' Bebold, the Horier cometh, yea, is now come, tbat ye ball be cattered, every one to his own ; leave me alone. "Your Faith therefore is to be blamed, because it is fo confident. Proba! bly all these Defects, at leafť in some measure, were to be found in the present Faith of the Disciples : But it is certain, they are
generally found in the Faith of Christians
j and therefore it may be ufeful to make some further Enlargement and Observations upon them, with regard to the true Nature of Christian Faith in general which was the II Thing I proposed, and which I princi-.
pally designed froin the Words.
First, Let us confider and make some suitable Observations, from the Latenéfs of the Disciples Faith. It must be acknow. Jedged, that the Disciples did believe before, and that they had made muchwhat the same Confession, upon the Sight of his former Miracles : That no Man could do those Miracles which he did, except God was with bim : But it must be acknowledged likewise, that their Faith hitherto, was but weak, imperfect, and labouring under great Difficulties. The common Prejudice of the Jewish Nation (under, which they were born and bred) fuck yet close to their Minds, viz.
That the Messiah was to set up a Temporal Ć State and Kingdom, and to deliver Mankind
from the Inconveniencies, and Dilbonours, and Sufferings of this world. For though, 'tis true, when our Saviour discoursed unto them, concerning Persecution, and the Cross, the great Opinion they had of his Person, of his Veracity, and Goodness would not suffer them to disbelieve what he had said ; yet the great Prejudice of their Education and Country U 3