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9. Of sin, because they believe not
on me :
He will convince many of the Jews that they have been guilty of a great sin in rejecting me; for the extraordinary miracles which will be wrought in my pame will prove that God had sent me.
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more :
The miraculous powers conferred on you, joined to the circumstance of my ascending up to God and disappearing from among men, will convince many of the Jews of my righteousness or innocence.
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
That is, that there is a just judge of the world, who will condemn and punish those who oppose his designs; in as much as the Jewish state, which will put me to death, shall be punished for that offence by being entirely destroyed. It has been already observed to you, upon John xiv. 30, that the Jews, and after them Christ and his apostles, speak of the universe as under two masters, the one called Jehovah, the other, Satan, the prince of the world, and several other names; the one, the patron of virtue and piety; the other, of idolatry and darkness; the one, residing in and presiding over the world; the other, enthroned in the heavens. All opposition to the plans and counsels of Jehovah is attributed to this evil being. Henee, in the passage above referred to, Jesus speaks of the prince of the world as coming to apprehend him, when he only means that his agents, the scribes and Pharisees, were about to do so. They are the same persons, likewise, to whom he refers, when he says here that the prince of the world will be judged, meaning the Jewish state, which, for its rejection of him, was entirely overthrown.
12. I have yet many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now.
What these things were can only be matter of conjecture; but Christ might probably wish to speak to his disciples about the abolition of the Jewish law, the call of the Gentiles, and the intercourse and fellowship which ought to subsist between Jews and then), and soine other things of a like obnoxious nature. But they were so opposite to the most rooted prejudices of Jews, that to have mentioned them at this time, might have endangered their attachment to Christianity itself: for this reason they were wisely deferred, and left to be communicated at a future period, when, their faith having derived additional strength from the resurrection and ascension of their master, and from the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost, they could receive these new truths without any danger of abandoning what they had been already taught. He next informs them by whom these obnosions truths were to be communicated.
13. How beit, or, 66 but," when the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all the truth; for he shall not speak from himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak, and he will show you things to come.
“ He shall guide you into all truth.” These general expressions, like others of the same nature, must be limited to the subject of which the person by whom they are used is speaking. It would be extravagant to suppose that Christ meant to promise his disciples that the spirit would instruct them in the principles of natural philosophy, or in the science of the human mind, so as to make them infallible guides on that and every other subject. The phrase "all truth," can certainly mean nothing more than all parts of the gospel dispensation, some of which, although already communicated, they did not understand, and others were not yet disclosed, because they were not able to bear them. This assistance they were to receive from the spirit: he was also to show them things to come, that is, to enable them to foretel future events: but these things must be understood with the same limitation as before, and be confined to those subjects which were connected with religion. In this manner we must have interpreted the general expressions in this passage, if we had been left, as we are in other instances, to our own judgment. But, on the present occasion, Christ himself has directed his words to be understood in this manner: for he tells us that the spirit shall not speak from himself, but the things which he has heard; that is, he will not communicate general information, as he might do if he spoke of his own accord, but such things only as he should receive direction to communicate, or things relating to the
14. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.
15. All things that the Father hath are mine ; therefore said I that he should take of mine, and show it unto you.
Every thing which God intends to communicate to the world by the Christian dispensation, is intrusted to my care and superintendance; whatever part of this system, therefore, the Holy Spirit may be authorized to communicate, must reflect honour upon me, whose agent and representative only he is in ihis matter.
“ All things that the Father hath are mine." This expression has been considered as pointing out the equality of the Son with the Father; and Dr. Macku. night says that those who oppose the divinity of Christ seem to be at a loss for an explanation of this passage; but I conceive that that which has now been given is intelligible and satisfactory. It only requires us to admit, what all interpreters of scripture are obliged to allow in some instances, that general expressions are to be taken with considerable limitation.
1. We may observe what gross ignorance of God, of religion and of human nature they discover, who imagine that to slaughter human beings can be an acceptable sacrifice to the Deity, or tend to promote the cause of truth in the world. How little do they know of the great Father of mankind, who loves ail his children with parental affection, and when they fall into error would have them instructed and reclaimed, not destroyed! How little do they know of the nature of true religion, which seeks support from evidence and not from violence, and teaches us to do good even to our enemies ! How little are they acquainted with the temper of the human mind, who imagine that error can be restrained and truth piomoted by such means ; forgetting that men are disposed to hold the faster what is attempted to be taken from them by force, and that acts of cruelty in no degree tend to soften prejudices and conciliate affection!
2. Let not the friends of truth and virtue be surprised or offended, if they are exposed to the same ill treatment as the apostles and first Christians experienced.
Although the experiment has been made a thousand times without success, the wiokedness and folly of
persecution have not yet been sufficiently exposed. Christians have exclaimed against it, when exercised by Jews and heathens against themselves, but have justified the conduct of both by exercising it against each other. Papists have persecuted Protestants with unrelenting cruelty, and the different sects of Protestants have persecuted each other; and there is reason to fear that the practice will be continued, in one form or another, as long as Christianity shall be in any considerable degree corrupted, or pride, ignorance and ambition occupy the human heart. Persecution is, indeed, disclaimed by all, because expressly condemned by the sacred scriptures, and therefore their unhallowed zeal has assumed various disguises : sometimes it is a concern to preserve the authority of the civil magis. trate; sometimes, a love of peace and a desire of union. The means employed have likewise been various : sometimes stripes, imprisonment and death ; at other times, the lighter evils of prohibitions from the synagogues and places of worship; calumnies and censures : but whatever the nature of the evils inflicted, or the disguise assumed, they all proceed from one and the same spirit; they are all of one family and belong to the same viperous brood. Whenever an injury is done to men on account of their opinions, in their persons, property or reputation, by whatever means effected, there is persecution. But it is no real disgrace to him who suffers the injury, but rather an honour; for it is the hatred of the ignorant, the interested and the vicious, and ranks him with the professors and martyrs of the church, with Christ and his apostles.
3. The conduct of Christ, in chusing the most favourable season for inculcating the truth, is an instance of his wisdom which deserves our imitation. Some things he deferred to teach, because his disciples were not yet prepared to receive them, and a hasty communication might have endangered their attachment to the gospel itself; and he wisely judged that it would be wrong to hazard the whole for the sake of a part. Every judicious instructor will follow the like method,