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Think of Him, after thirty years of suffering spent here among us, going back to the glories of His home above, to dwell with angels and archangels, and with the Father Himself; think of Him entering within the veil as our Forerunner, having trodden the path which we are now treading, having borne the trials which we are now bearing, having fought the fight which we are now engaged in, and having won the victory not for Himself, but for us. · For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. And pow 'He ever liveth' as our Advocate to plead our cause, as our Intercessor to pray for us, and as our Lord and King to reign over us and to bless us.
Of the many gifts which He promised to bestow on His people when He had ascended into heaven, the best and chiefest was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Of this He spoke more than once during His life upon earth. But He dwelt on it especially on the last evening before His crucifixion. In going from the supper room to the Garden of Gethsemane, He repeated four times over the promise that He would shortly bestow this gift. We have one of these promises in the opening words of the Gospel today. He alludes to a time that was very near, ' When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father.'
He now speaks of Him by a name that He had never used before. He calls Him “the Comforter.' And well He might do so; for the disciples were now in great sorrow of heart. They were soon to lose their Master; and so He cheers them by telling them of One who would supply His place, and be unto them a Comforter; not an earthly Comforter, but one sent from heaven from the Father Himself ; even the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father.'
Such was His promise; and He adds, · He shall testify of me, and ye also shall bear witness.' Here then Christ speaks of two who would bear testimony or witness for Him.
First, He says that the Holy Ghost shall bear witness for Him. Now, the Old Testament Scriptures testified of Christ. Our Lord's own miracles also bore witness of His almighty power. But still men did not accept Him. As the seal is useless, unless the wax is ready to receive the impression, so these things had no effect upon men's stony hearts; and the Spirit's power was needed to soften them. Therefore He here declares concerning the Comforter, “He shall testify of Me.' This He would do by preparing men's hearts to know Christ, to love Him, and to receive Him; for it is written, ‘No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.'
And then He goes on to say, ' And ye also shall bear witness '-ye who are my disciples — ye who have been with me as my constant daily companions - ye who have shared my sorrows — who have seen my miracles, have heard my words, and know my true character, “Ye also shall bear witness of me. And our Lord repeated this afterwards in those parting words which He addressed to His followers just before He ascended; · Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.'
And truly they shrank not from thus owning Christ. They bore a noble testimony to Him in the world. By their miracles, by their preaching, by their holy lives, and by their fearless and happy deaths, they plainly showed their brethren around them that He was their Lord, and that they owed everything to Him.
And every faithful and true disciple should remember that he is to bear witness for Christ in the world; to show by his life and conversation what Christ is, what Christ has done for him, how Christ supports him.
Alas, there are many professing Christians, who are bearing no testimony at all. They come into the world, and pass through it, without leaving any mark of Christ behind them. It is clear that they are not really His, for there is nothing of His character and spirit about them. They do not reflect His image. They have not the mind of Christ. Of such Christians He will say hereafter, 'You plainly showed that you loved the world; that you were under its power; that you lived for the world, and laboured for the world. But for Me, your Lord and Master, your Friend and Saviour, you seldom spoke, you never lived. You were called by My name; you were signed with the sign of My cross; but you never confessed Me before men; you never arrayed yourself on My side, or stood boldly forward as My soldiers and servants.'
Oh that we may from this hour bear our witness that Jesus is indeed the Almighty and precious Saviour, whom we love, serve, and obey !
We now pass on to the first four verses of the sixteenth chapter; for the Gospel for today takes in part of two chapters.
Our Lord, referring to the matters which He had already brought before them in this address, says, ' These things have I spoken unto you that ye should not be offended.' He had told them that He was going to leave them, and that the world would hate them, as it had hated Him. He had kept back nothing from them. He had not spoken of their path as an easy one,