« PreviousContinue »
There is not any thing relating to his Father, the knowledge of which could be at all serviceable to us, that he has not revealed-]
He did not however merely utter these things like the prophets of old 11. How he declared him
Christ had formerly spoken of God in and by the prophetse
But now he declared the Father in a different manner 1. By exhibiting a perfect pattern of him
[He was himself an exact resemblance of the Father".---And in his conduct exhibited every perfection of the Deity
Hence a sight of him was, in fact, a sight of the Father himself 2. By making known his counsels
[Much of the Father's counsels had lien hid from the foundation of the world, or had been very imperfectly revealed —
Christ opened them to his hearers as they were able to bear them"
He made known God's intention to admit the Gentiles into his church
And assured us that the most abandoned of mankind should be cordially received the very instant he returned to Gods
But that none of whatever character could be saved, unless they sought acceptance with God through his mediation
Thus by these declarations he has enabled us to attain a more perfect knowledge of the Father's mind and will) 3. By exerting a secret energy on the minds of men
No man could know the Father unless Christ revealed him inwardly by his Spirit, as well as outwardly by the word?
His very disciples understood not until he opened their eyes
Nor can we attain to a true knowledge of God in any other way
The “ word must come to us in power and in the Holy Ghost," or it will come in vain
p John xv. 15.
91 Pet. i. 11.
John xiv. 7-9.
r Heb. i. 3.
But when applied by his Spirit, it shall teach us plainly of the Fatherd-1 INFER
1. How glorious a person must Christ be!
[The description given of him shews his superiority above every created being
He is not the Son of God by creation, as the angels are, nor by regeneration and adoption, as men; but by an inexplicable generation, his only-begotten
And, as well in his incarnate as in his pre-existent state, was continually “ in the bosom of the Father”e
other worthy to reveal the Father to usLet us then entertain just conceptions of his worth and dignity
And manifest our delight in him as the saints in heaven
Nor was any
2. How precious ought the scriptures to be to us!
[Job and David had but a small portion of the scriptures in their hands
Yet did they value them above every thing in the worlds
How much more should we, who possess the sacred oracles entire!
In these is recorded every thing that Christ has declaredAnd by these we may be made wise unto salvation"
Let us then search them with diligence, and treasure them up in our hearts
Nor let a day pass without digging into those invaluable minesi-]
3. How inexcusable are they who are ignorant of God!
[It is to our shame that many of us are still ignorant of Godk
We have not that knowledge of him that produces correspondent affections towards him
But what excuse can we offer in extenuation of our guilt?
Has not Christ declared the Father in order that we might know him?
And is he not willing also to reveal him in us by a powerful energy on our souls?
Some, doubtless, are more guilty than others in proportion as they have possessed means of instruction
d John xvi. 25.
e John iii. 13. f Rev. v. 5-9. & Job xxiii. 12. Ps, cxix. 72. 2 Tim. iii. 15. i Prov. ii. 4.
1 Cor. xv. 34.
But all will find the consequences of their ignorance most tremendous
Let all begin then to enquire after God with their who e hearts
Nor rest till they have attained that knowledge of him which is life eternal]
12 Thess. i. 8.
m John xvii. 3.
CCCLXXXV. NO WAY TO GOD BUT THROUGH
John xiv. 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way and the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by
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 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.] 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
a Gen. iii. 24. • Amidst a multitude of passages to this effect, see Eph. ii. 13, 16, 18. and Heb. X. 19, 20.
( I am.
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 us.d Hence he both calls himself, and is called by others, “our life.”]
This description will appear of the greatest importance, if we consider II. His declaration founded
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 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, If we enquire, 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.s] ADDRESS 1. Those who are ignorant of the Saviour
(Have you so little concern for heaven that you will not enquire 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.]
e John xv. 5. 2 Cor. iii. 5.
d Gal. ji. 20.
e John xi. 25.