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Mount of Olives to Bethany, whither he was accustomed to retire every night to sleep
Ver. 31. Jesus, whose mind had long been occupied with the idea of his death, as the moment drew nigh, shewed increased solicitude for his Apostles, and increased care to instruct them, and increased earnestness to confirm, and to comfort them. And no sooner was Judas gone upon his wicked purpose, than Jesus anticipates the glory that would accrue to God, by the great sacrifice about to be offered in his person, for the redemption of mankind, and the establishment of this last dispensation in the world. The expression of "little children," is at once indicative of endearment, and what may be called the infancy of a Christian life, while the Apostles had as yet but recently been made acquainted with the mysteries and secret counsels of God, developed in the Gospel t. It was a very short time that Jesus was now to remain with them, and he exhorts
* Luke xxi. 37.
† Such may probably be the more exact meaning of the same term (Tekvia), 1 John ii. 12.; and it derives confirmation from the 13th and 14th verses of the same chapter, where the words παιδια, νεανισκοι, πατερες, seem rather to denote different degrees of proficience in Christianity, than different ages.
them by the love he bare to them, that after his departure they would continue to love one another with that mutual love and benevolence, which should constitute the distinctive character of his religion. For though it is indeed an old law, coeval with the world itself *, that we “love one another *;" yet may it justly be called a new law, inasmuch as was now enforced by new sanctions, and explained in new perfection, being made the very test of our obedience, the condition of our acceptance.
In the succeeding discourse with Peter, we see another instance of that Apostle's zeal in offering to lay down his life to serve his Lord. But Jesus thought fit to reprove his confidence, and at the same time to afford a singular proof of his own supernatural knowledge, by that memorable circumstance, which he foretold, contrary to all probability, that “the cock should not crow till he had denied him thrice.”
* Lev. xix. 18.
+ 2 John 5. The command “to love one another” may be considered as implied in the blessing pronounced upon our first parents, Gen. i. 28. It is more distinctly expressed, Lev. xix. 18. ; and is declared by our Saviour to be one of the "two commandments, upon which hang all the law and the prophets.” Matt. xxii. 40. Therefore St. John calls it an “old commandment,” 1 John ii. 7., and in the following verse again describes it as new, “because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.”
In the fourteenth chapter Jesus reverts to the subjects connected with his crucifixion, strengthening the faith of his disciples, which would be exposed to so severe a trial, and telling them that his departure was expedient for them, and preparatory to their reception in the mansions of bliss. After he should have been taken from them by death, he would come again by his resurrection from the dead, and would “dwell in their hearts by faith *,” that they might live with him to all eternity in the heavens, whither he was going before. He was himself the way. By him they had been taught the doctrines that would conduct them to happiness “through the blood of the everlasting covenant f." For by the sacrifice of Christ alone could any man be cleansed of his sins, and come to the Father. The Apostles appear throughout to have been possessed with the * Eph. iii. 17.
† Heb. xiii. 20.
prejudices of their countrymen respecting a temporal Messiah ; and previous to the resurrection of their Lord, and the affusion of the Holy Spirit, to have been slow in comprehending the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom. Therefore, when Jesus speaks of the way, or of knowing the Father, they were fain to understand a common road, and a common object of sight, asking him to "shew them the Father, and it would suffice.” But he informs them, that whoever had seen and known Jesus, had in effect seen and known the Father, by whose will he acted in all things. For, as he says, “he is in the Father, and the Father in him ;" or, as it is elsewhere, he is “the express image of the invisible God *,-in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily t." There is so strict an union between the Father and the Son, that whoever seeth the works of the Son, seeth the works of the Father; and whoever heareth the words of the Son, heareth the Father I.
Ver. 12. When Jesus declares, that he, who believeth in him, should do yet greater works than he seeth him do; these expressions probably have reference to the increased propagation of the * Col. i. 15.
+ Ibid. ii. 9. I Clarke on the Trinity.
Gospel under the ministry of the Apostles; a work which Jesus goes on to assure them he would prosper, and would attend to the petitions they should offer up for that purpose; “whatsoever ye shall ask in my name (that is, for the advance. ment of Christ's kingdom upon the earth), that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (that the worship and honour of God may be promoted through the Gospel).” For, to ask, or to do any thing in the name of another, is a form of expression not unusual in profane *, as well as in sacred writings t, and signifies acting in another's support, or for his sake I.
Ver. 16. The promise of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, is not made to the
* “ Ab amicitia Q. Pompeii meo nomine se removerat Scipio," that is, on my account. (Cic. de Amicitia.) And in a letter from Antonius to Cicero, “inimicitias Reipub. nomine susceptas,” that is, in supporting the cause of the republic. Cic. ad Att. 14, 14.
t 'o epxouevos ev ovopati kuplov is, “ he who cometh to accomplish the work of the Lord.” (Matt. xxi. 9.). And when we are directed to “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," (Col. iii. 17.), it must mean, that we should do it “ to promote the honor of Jesus.” St. John has, in another place, expressed the same sentiment with a limitation of similar import, “if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” (1 John v. 14.) See Barrow, Vol. iii. Serm. 1., also Clarke, Serm. 75.