Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 35: John, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
1. These things I have spoken to you, that you may not be offended. 2. They will drive you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever shall kill you will think that he offereth service to God. 3. And they will do these things to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4. But these things I have spoken to you, that, when the time shall come, you may remember that I told you of them. And I told you not these things at the beginning, because I was with you. 5. And now I go to him who sent me, and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6. But because I have told you these things, sorrow hath filled your hearts. 7. But I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but shall go away, I will send him to you.
1. These things I have spoken to you. He again states that none of those things which he has spoken are superfluous; for, since wars and contests await them, it is necessary that they should be provided beforehand with the necessary arms. Yet he also means that, if they meditate deeply on this doctrine, they will be fully prepared for resistance. Let us remember that what he then said to the disciples is also spoken to us. And, first, we ought to understand that Christ does not send his followers into the field unarmed, and, therefore, that, if any man fail in this warfare, his own indolence alone is to blame. And yet we ought not to wait till the struggle be actually commenced, but ought rather to endeavor to become well acquainted with these discourses of Christ, and to render them familiar to our minds, so that we may march into the field of battle, as soon as it is necessary; for we must not doubt that the victory is in our hands, so long as those admonitions of Christ shall be deeply imprinted on our minds. For, when he says THAT YOU MAY NOT be offended, he means that there is no danger, lest anything turn us aside from the right course. But how few there are that learn this doctrine in a proper manner, is evident from this fact, that they who think that they know it by heart when they are beyond arrow-shot, are no sooner obliged to enter into actual combat than they give way, as if they were utterly ignorant, and had never received any instruction. 93 Let us, therefore accustom ourselves to use this armor in such a manner that it may never drop out of our hands.
2. They will drive you out of the synagogues. This was no light offense to disturb their minds, that they were to be banished like wicked men from the assembly of the godly, or, at least, of those who boasted that they were the people of God, and gloried in the title of The Church; for believers are subject not only to persecutions, but to ignominy and reproaches, as Paul tells us, (1 Cor. 4:12, 18.) But Christ bids them stand firm against this attack; because, though they be banished from the synagogues, still they remain within the kingdom of God. His statement amounts to this, that we ought not to be dismayed by the perverse judgments of men, but ought to endure boldly the reproach of the cross of Christ, satisfied with this single consideration, that our cause which men unjustly and wickedly condemn, is approved by God.
Hence too we infer, that the ministers of the Gospel not only are ill treated by the avowed enemies of the faith, but sometimes also endure the greatest reproaches from those who appear to belong to the Church, and who are even regarded as its pillars. The scribes and priests, by whom the apostles were condemned, boasted that they were appointed by God to be judges of the Church; and, indeed, the ordinary government of the Church was in their hands, and the office of judging was from God, and not from men. But by their tyranny, they had corrupted the whole of that order which God had appointed. The consequence was, that the power which had been given to them for edification, was nothing else thorn a cruel oppression of the servants of God; and excommunication, which ought to have been a medicine for purifying the Church, was turned to an opposite purpose, for driving away from it the fear of God.
Since the apostles knew this by experience, in their own age, we have no reason to be greatly alarmed at the Pope’s excommunications, with which he thunders against us on account of the testimony of the Gospel; for we ought not to fear that they will do us any more injury than those ancient excommunications which were made against the apostles. Nay more, nothing is more desirable than to be driven out of that assembly from which Christ is banished. Yet let us observe that, though the abuse of excommunication was so gross, still it did not effect the destruction of that discipline which God had appointed in his Church from the beginning; for, though Satan devotes his utmost efforts to corrupt all the ordinances of God, we must not yield to him, so as to take away, on account of corruptions, what God has appointed to be perpetual. Excommunication, therefore, not less than Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, must be brought back, by the correction of abuses, to its pure and lawful use.
But the hour cometh. Christ dwells still more largely on this offense, that the enemies of the Gospel lay claim to so much authority, that they think they are offering sacrifices to God where they slay believers. It is sufficiently hard in itself, that innocent people should be cruelly tormented, but it is far more grievous and distressing that those outrages, which wicked men commit against the children of God, should be reckoned punishments justly due to them on account of their crimes. But we ought to be so fully assured of the protection of a good conscience, as to endure patiently to be oppressed for a time, till Christ appear from heaven, to defend his cause and ours.
It may be thought strange, however, that the enemies of the truth, though they are conscious of their own wickedness, not only impose on men, but even in the presence of God lay claim to praise for their unjust cruelty. I reply, hypocrites, though their conscience accuses them, always resort to flatteries to deceive themselves. They are ambitious, cruel, and proud, but they cover all these vices with the cloak of zeal, that they may indulge in them without restraint. To this is added what may be called a furious drunkenness, after having tasted the blood of martyrs.
3. And they will do these things. Not without good reason does Christ frequently remind the apostles of this consideration, that there is only one reason why unbelievers are so greatly enraged against them. It is, because they do not know God. And yet this is not said for the purpose of extenuating their guilt, but that the apostles may boldly despise their blind fury; for it often happens that the authority which wicked men possess, and the luster which shines in them, shake modest and pious minds. But Christ, on the other hand, enjoins his followers to rise with holy magnanimity, to despise their adversaries, who are impelled by nothing else than error and blindness; for this is our wall of brass, when we are fully persuaded that God is on our side, and that they who oppose us are destitute of reason. Again, these words remind us, what a serious evil it is not to know God, since it leads even those who have murdered their own parents to expect praise and approbation for their wickedness.
4. That when the hour cometh, you may remember. He repeats what he had already said, that this is not a philosophy fitted only for a season of leisure, but that it is adapted to practice and use, and that he now discourses on these matters, that they may actually demonstrate that they have not been taught in vain. When he says, that you may remember, he enjoins them, first, to lay up in their minds what they have heard; secondly, to remember them, when they shall be required to put them in practice; and, lastly, he declares that no small importance attaches to the fact, that he utters predictions of future events.
And I told you not these things at the beginning. As the apostles were still weak and tender, so long as Christ conversed with them in the flesh, their singularly good and indulgent Master spared them, and did not suffer them to be urged beyond what they were able to bear. At that time, therefore, they had no great need of confirmation, while they enjoyed leisure and freedom from persecution; but now he tells them that they must change their mode of life, and as a new condition awaits them, he likewise exhorts them to prepare for a conflict.
5. And now I go to him who sent me. By a very excellent consolation he assuages the grief which they might feel on account of his departure, and this was highly necessary. They who had hitherto been allowed to remain at their ease, were called to severe and arduous battles for the future. What then, would have become of them, if they had not known that Christ was in heaven, as the guardian of their salvation? For to go to the Father is nothing else than to be received into the heavenly glory, in order to possess the highest authority. This is held out to them, therefore, as a solace and remedy of grief, that, though Christ be absent from them in body, yet he will sit at the right hand of the Father, to protect believers by his power.
Here Christ reproves the apostles for two faults; first, that they were too much attached to the visible presence of his flesh; and, secondly, that, when this had been taken away, they were seized with grief, and did not lift their eyes to a higher region. The same thing happens to us; for we always hold Christ bound by our senses, and then, if he do not appear to us according: to our desire, we contrive for ourselves a ground of despair.
And none of you asketh me, whither goest thou? It may appear to be an unfounded charge against the apostles, that they did not ask whether their Master was going; for they had formerly inquired at him on this subject with great earnestness. But the answer is easy. When they inquired, they did not raise their minds to confidence, and this was the chief duty which they were bound to perform. The meaning therefore is, as soon as you hear of my departure, you become alarmed, and do not consider whither I am going, or for what purpose I go away.”
7. Yet I tell you the truth. That they may no longer wish to have him present before their eyes, he testifies that his absence will be advantageous, and makes use of a sort of oath; for we are carnal, and consequently nothing is more difficult than to tear from our minds this foolish inclination, by which we attempt to draw down Christ from heaven to us. He explains where the advantage lies, by saying that the Holy Spirit could not be given to them, if he did not leave the world. But far more advantageous and far more desirable is that presence of Christ, by which he communicates himself to us through the grace and power of his Spirit, than if he were present before our eyes. And here we must not put the question, “Could not Christ have drawn down the Holy Spirit while he dwelt on earth?” For Christ takes for granted all that had been decreed by the Father and, indeed, when the Lord has once pointed out what he wishes to be done, to dispute about what is possible would be foolish and pernicious.
8. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment 9. Of sin, because they believe not in me 10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more. 11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged. 12. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will lead you into all truth; for he will not speak from himself, but will speak all that he has heard, and will declare to you the things that are to come. 14. He will glorify me, for he will take of what is mine, and will declare it to you. 15. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore I said to you, He will take of what is mine, and will declare it to you.
8. And when he is come. Passing by the diversity of expositions, which we have received in consequence of the obscurity of the passage, I shall only state what appears to me to be in accordance with Christ’s true meaning. He had promised his Spirit to the disciples; and now he praises the excellence of the gift from its effect, because this Spirit will not only guide, support, and protect them in private, but will extend more widely his power and efficacy.
He will convince the world; that is, he will not remain shut up in you, but; his power will go forth from you to be displayed to the whole world. He therefore promises to them a Spirit, who will be the Judge of the world, and by whom their preaching will be so powerful and efficacious, that it will bring into subjection those who formerly indulged in unbounded licentiousness, and were restrained by no fear or reverence.
It ought to be observed, that in this passage Christ does not speak of secret revelations, but of the power of the Spirit, which appears in the outward doctrine of the Gospel, and in the voice of men. For how comes it that the voice proceeding from the mouth of a man 94 penetrates into the hearts, takes root there, and at length yields fruit, changing hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, and renewing men, but because the Spirit of Christ quickens it? Otherwise it would be a dead letter and a useless sound, as Paul says in that beautiful passage, in which he boasts of being a minister of the Spirit, (2Co 3:6,) because God wrought powerfully in his doctrine. The meaning therefore is, that, though the Spirit had been given to the apostles, they would be endued with a heavenly and Divine power, by which they would exercise jurisdiction over the whole world. Now, this is ascribed to the Spirit rather than to themselves, because they will have no power of their own, but will be only ministers and organs, and the Holy Spirit will be their director and governor. 95
Under the term world are, I think, included not only those who would be truly converted to Christ, but hypocrites and reprobates. For there are two ways in which the Spirit convinces men by the preaching of the Gospel. Some are moved in good earnest, so as to bow down willingly, and to assent willingly to the judgment by which they are condemned. Others, though they are convinced of guilt and cannot escape, yet do not sincerely yield, or submit themselves to the authority and jurisdiction of the Holy Spirit, but, on the contrary, being subdued they groan inwardly, and, being overwhelmed with confusion, still do not cease to cherish obstinacy within their hearts.
We now perceive in what manner the Spirit was to convince the world by the apostles. It was, because God revealed his judgment in the Gospel, by which their consciences were struck, and began to perceive their evils and the grace of God. for the verb ἐλέγχειν here signifies to convince or convict; and, for understanding this passage, not a little light will be obtained from the words of the Apostle Paul, when he says,
If all shall prophesy, and an unbeliever or unlearned man enter, he is convicted by all, he is judged by all, and thus shall the secrets of his heart be made manifest,
In that passage Paul speaks particularly of one kind of conviction, that is; when the Lord brings his elect to repentance by the Gospel; but this plainly shows in what manner the Spirit of God, by the sound of the human voice, constrains men, who formerly were not accustomed to his yoke, to acknowledge and submit to his authority.
A question now arises, For what purpose did Christ say this? Some think that he points out the cause of the hatred which he had mentioned; as if he had said, that the reason why they will be hated by the world is, that the Spirit, on the other hand, will earnestly solicit the world by means of them. But I rather agree with those who tell us that the design of Christ was different, as I stated briefly at the commencement of the exposition of this verse; for it was of great importance that the apostles should know that the gift of the Spirit, which had been promised to them, was of no ordinary value. He therefore describes its uncommon excellence, by saying that God will, in this way, erect his tribunal for judging the whole world.
9. Of sin. It now remains that we see what it is to convince of sin Christ appears to make unbelief the only cause of sin, and this is tortured by commentators in various ways; but, as I have already said, I do not intend to detail the opinions which have been held and advanced. First, it ought to be observed, that the judgment of the Spirit commences with the demonstration of sin; for the commencement of spiritual instruction is, that men born in sin have nothing in them but what leads to sin Again, Christ mentioned unbelief, in order to show what is the nature of men in itself for, since faith is the bond by which he is united to us, until we believe in him, we are out of him and separated from him. The import of these words is as if he had said, “When the Spirit is come, he will produce full conviction that, apart from me, sin reigns in the world;” and, therefore, unbelief is here mentioned, because it separates us from Christ, in consequence of which nothing is left to us but sin In short, by these words he condemns the corruption and depravity of human nature, that we may not suppose that a single drop of integrity is in us without Christ.
10. Of righteousness. We must attend to the succession of steps which Christ lays down. He now says that the world must be convinced of righteousness; for men will never hunger and thirst for righteousness, but, on the contrary, will disdainfully reject all that is said concerning it, if they have not been moved by a conviction of sin As to believers particularly, we ought to understand that they cannot make progress in the Gospel till they have first been humbled; and this cannot take place, till they have acknowledged their sins. It is undoubtedly the peculiar office of the Law to summon consciences to the judgment-seat of God, and to strike them with terror; but the Gospel cannot be preached in a proper manner, till it lead men from sin to righteousness, and from death to life; and, therefore, it is necessary to borrow from the Law that first clause of which Christ spoke.
By righteousness must here be understood that which is imparted to us through the grace of Christ. Christ makes it to consist in his ascension to the Father, and not without good reason; for, as Paul declares that he rose for our justification, (Ro 4:25) so he now sits at the right hand of the Father in such a manner as to exercise all the authority that has been given to him, and thus to fill all things, (Eph 4:10.) In short, from the heavenly glory he fills the world with the sweet savor of his righteousness Now the Spirit declares, by the Gospel, that this is the only way in which we are accounted righteous Next to the conviction of sin, this is the second step, that the Spirit should convince the world what true righteousness is, namely, that Christ, by his ascension to heaven, has established the kingdom of life, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, to confirm true righteousness
11. Of judgment. Those who understand the word (κρίσεως) judgment as signifying condemnation, have some argument on their side; for Christ immediately adds, that the prince of this world hath been judged But I prefer a different opinion, namely, that, the light of the Gospel having been kindled, the Spirit manifests that the world has been brought into a state of good order by the victory of Christ, by which he overturned the authority of Satan; as if he had said, that this is a true restoration, by which all things are reformed, when Christ alone holds the kingdom, having subdued and triumphed over Satan. Judgment, therefore, is contrasted with what is confused and disordered, or, to express it briefly, it is the opposite (τὢς ἀταξίας) of confusion, or, we might call it righteousness, a sense which it often bears in Scripture. The meaning therefore is, that Satan, so long as he retains the government, perplexes and disturbs all things, so that there is an unseemly and disgraceful confusion in the works of God; but when he is stripped of his tyranny by Christ, then the world is restored, and good order is seen to reign. Thus the Spirit convinces the world of judgment; that is, having vanquished the prince of wickedness, Christ restores to order those things which formerly were torn and decayed.
12. I have still many things to say to you. Christ’s discourse could not have so much influence over his disciples, as to prevent their ignorance from still keeping them in perplexity about many things; and not only so, but they scarcely obtained a slight taste of those things which ought to have imparted to them full satisfaction, had it not been for the obstruction arising from the weakness of the flesh. It was, therefore, impossible but that the consciousness of their poverty should oppress them with fear and anxiety. But Christ meets it by this consolation, that, when they have received the Spirit, they will be new men, and altogether different from what they were before.
But you are not able to bear them now. When he says that, were he to tell them anything more, or what was loftier, they would not be able to bear it, his object is to encourage them by the hope of better progress, that they may not lose courage; for the grace which he was to bestow on them ought not to be estimated by their present feelings, since they were at so great a distance from heaven. In short, he bids them be cheerful and courageous, whatever may be their present weakness. But as there was nothing else than doctrine on which they could rely, Christ reminds them that he had accommodated it to their capacity, yet so as to lead them to expect that they would soon afterwards obtain loftier and more abundant instruction; as if he had said, “If what you have heard from me is not yet sufficient to confirm you, have patience for a little; for ere long, having enjoyed the teaching of the Spirit, you will need nothing more; he will remove all the ignorance that now remains in you.”
Now arises a question, what were those things which the apostles were not yet able to learn? The Papists, for the purpose of putting forward their inventions as the oracles of God, wickedly abuse this passage. “Christ,” they tell us, “promised to the apostles new revelations; and, therefore, we must not abide solely by Scripture, for something beyond Scripture is here promised by him to his followers.” In the first place, if they choose to talk with Augustine, the solution will be easily obtained. His words are, “Since Christ is silent, which of us shall say that it was this or that? Or, if he shall venture to say so, how shall he prove it? Who is so rash and insolent, even though he say what is true, as to affirm, without any Divine testimony, that those are the things which the Lord at that time did not choose to say?” But we have a surer way of refuting them, taken from Christ’s own words, which follow.
13. But when he is come, the Spirit of truth. The Spirit, whom Christ promised to the apostles, is declared to be perfect Master or Teacher 96 of truth And why was he promised, but that they might deliver from hand to hand the wisdom which they had received from him? The Spirit was given to them, and under his guidance and direction they discharged the office to which they had been appointed.
He will lead you into all truth. That very Spirit had lead them into all truth, when they committed to writing the substance of their doctrine. Whoever imagines that anything must be added to their doctrine, as if it were imperfect and but half-finished, not only accuses the apostles of dishonesty, but blasphemes against the Spirit If the doctrine which they committed to writing had proceeded from mere learners or persons imperfectly taught, an addition to it would not have been superfluous; but now that their writings may be regarded as perpetual records of that revelation which was promised and given to them, nothing can be added to them without doing grievous injury to the Holy Spirit.
When they come to determine what those things actually were, the Papists act a highly ridiculous part, for they define those mysteries, which the apostles were unable to bear, to be certain childish fooleries, the most absurd and stupid things that can be imagined. Was it necessary that the Spirit should come down from heaven that the apostles might learn what ceremony must be used in consecrating cups with their altars, in baptizing church-bells, in blessing the holy water, and in celebrating Mass? Whence then do fools and children obtain their learning, who understand all those matters most thoroughly? Nothing is more evident than that the Papists mock God, when they pretend that those things came from heaven, which resemble as much the mysteries of Ceres or Proserpine as they are at variance with the pure wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
If we do not wish to be ungrateful to God, let us rest satisfied with that doctrine of which the writings of the apostles declare them to be the authors, since in it the highest perfection of heavenly wisdom is made known to us, fitted to make the man of God perfect (2Ti 3:17.) Beyond this let us not reckon ourselves at liberty to go; for our height, and breadth, and depth, consist in knowing the love of God, which is manifested to us in Christ. This knowledge, as Paul informs us, far exceeds all learning, (Eph 3:18;) and when he declares that
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ,
he does not contrive some unknown Christ, but one whom by his preaching he painted to the life, so that, as he tells the Galatians,
we see him, as it were, crucified before our eyes,
But that no ambiguity may remain, Christ himself afterwards explains by his own words what those things are which the apostles were not yet able to bear.
He will tell you things which are to come Some indeed limit this to the Spirit of prophecy; but, in my opinion, it denotes rather the future condition of his spiritual kingdom, such as the apostles, soon after his resurrection, saw it to be, but were at that time utterly unable to comprehend. He does not therefore promise them prophecies of things that would happen after their death, but means only that the nature of his kingdom will be widely different, and its glory far greater than their minds are now able to conceive. The Apostle Paul, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, from the first chapter to the close of the fourth, explains the treasures of this hidden wisdom, which the heavenly angels learn with astonishment from the Church; and therefore we need not go to seek them from the archives or repositories of the Pope.
For he will not speak from himself This is a confirmation of the clause, He will lead you into all truth. We know that God is the fountain of truth, and that out of Him there is nothing that is firm or sure; and, therefore, that the apostles may safely place full confidence in the oracles of the Spirit, Christ declares that they will be divine oracles; as if he had said, that every thing which the Holy Spirit shall bring proceeds from God himself. And yet these words take nothing away from the majesty of the Spirit, as if he were not God, or as if he were inferior to the Father, but are accommodated to the capacity of our understanding; for the reason why his Divinity is expressly mentioned is, because, on account of the veil that is between us, we do not sufficiently understand with what reverence we ought to receive what the Spirit reveals to us. In like manner, he is elsewhere called the earnest, by which God ratifies to us our salvation, and the seal, by which he seals to us its certainty, (Eph. 1:13, 14.) In short, Christ intended to teach that the doctrine of the Spirit would not be of this world, as if it were produced in the air, but that it would proceed from the secret places of the heavenly sanctuary.
14. He will glorify me Christ now reminds them that the Spirit will not come to erect any new kingdom, but rather to confirm the glory which has been given to him by the Father. For many foolishly imagine that Christ taught only so as to lay down the first lessons, and then to send the disciples to a higher school. In this way they make the Gospel to be of no greater value than the Law, of which it is said that it was a schoolmaster of the ancient people, (Ga 3:24.)
This error is followed by another equally intolerable, that, having bid adieu to Christ, as if his reign were terminated, and he were now nothing at all, they substitute the Spirit in his place. From this source the sacrileges of Popery and Mahometanism have flowed; for, though those two Antichrists differ from each other in many respects, still they agree in holding a common principle; and that is, that in the Gospel we receive the earliest instructions to lead us into the right faith, 97 but that we must seek elsewhere the perfection of doctrine, that it may complete the course of our education. If Scripture is quoted against the Pope, he maintains that we ought not to confine ourselves to it, because the Spirit is come, and has carried us above Scripture by many additions. Mahomet asserts that, without his Alcoran, men always re-main children. Thus, by a false pretense of the Spirit, the world was bewitched to depart from the simple purity of Christ; for, as soon as the Spirit is separated from the word of Christ, the door is open to all kinds of delusions and impostures. A similar method of deceiving has been attempted, in the present age, by many fanatics. The written doctrine appeared to them to be literal, and, therefore, they chose to contrive a new theology that would consist of revelations.
We now see that the information given by Christ, that he would be glorified by the Spirit whom he should send, is far from being superfluous; for it was intended to inform us, that the office of the Holy Spirit was nothing else than to establish the kingdom of Christ, and to maintain and confirm for ever all that was given him by the Father. Why then does he speak of the Spirit’s teaching? Not to withdraw us from the school of Christ, but rather to ratify that word by which we are commanded to listen to him, otherwise he would diminish the glory of Christ. The reason is added, Christ says,
For he will take of what is mine. By these words he means that we receive the Spirit in order that we may enjoy Christ’s blessings. For what does he bestow on us? That we may be washed by the blood of Christ, that sin may be blotted out in us by his death, that our old man may be crucified, (Ro 6:6,) that his resurrection may be efficacious in forming us again to newness of life, (Ro 6:4;) and, in short, that we may become partakers of his benefits. Nothing, therefore, is bestowed on us by the Spirit apart from Christ, but he takes it from Christ, that he may communicate it to us. We ought to take the same view of his doctrine; for he does not enlighten us, in order to draw us away in the smallest degree from Christ, but to fulfill what Paul says, that Christ is made to us wisdom, (1Co 1:30,) and likewise to display those treasures which are hidden in Christ, (Col 2:3.) In a word, the Spirit enriches us with no other than the riches of Christ, that he may display his glory in all things.
15. All things that the Father hath are mine. As it might be thought that Christ took away from the Father what he claimed for himself, he acknowledges that he has received from the Father all that he communicates to us by the Spirit. When he says that all things that the Father hath are his, he speaks in the person of the Mediator, for we must draw out of his fullness, (Joh 1:16.) He always keeps his eye on us, as we have said. We see, on the other hand, how the greater part of men deceive themselves; for they pass by Christ, and go out of the way to seek God by circuitous paths.
Other commentators explain these words to mean, that all that the Father hath belongs equally to the Son, because he is the same God. But here he does not speak of his hidden and intrinsic power, as it is called, but of that office which he has been appointed to exercise toward us. In short, he speaks of his riches, that he may invite us to enjoy them, and reckons the Spirit among the gifts which we receive from the rather by his hand.
16. A little while, and you do not see me 98 and again a little while, and you will see me; because I go to the Father. 17. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith to us, a little while, and you do not see me and again a little while, and you will see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18. They said, therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? We know not what he saith. 19. Jesus, therefore. knew that they wished to ask him, and he said to them, You ask among yourselves about what I said, A little while, and you do not see me: and again a little while, and you will see me. 20. Verily, verily, I tell you, That you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.
16. A little while, and you do not see me. Christ had often forewarned the apostles of his departure, partly that they might bear it with greater courage, partly that they might desire more ardently the grace of the Spirit, of which they had no great desire, so long as they had Christ present with them in body. We must, therefore, guard against becoming weary of reading what Christ, not without cause, repeats so frequently. First, he says that he will very soon be taken from them, that, when they are deprived of his presence, on which alone they relied, they may continue to be firm. Next, he promises what will, compensate them for his absence, and he even testifies that he will quickly be restored to them, after he has been removed, but in another manner, that is, by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
And again a little while, and you will see me. Yet some explain this second clause differently: You will see, me when I shall have risen from the dead, but only for a short time; for I shall very soon be received into heaven.” But I do not think that the words will bear that meaning. On the contrary, he mitigates and soothes their sorrow for his absence, by this consolation, that it will not last long; and thus he magnifies the grace of the Spirit, by which he will be continually present with them; as if he had promised that, after a short interval, he would return, and that they would not be long deprived of his presence.
Nor ought we to think it strange when he says that he is seen, when he dwells in the disciples by the Spirit; for, though he is not seen with the bodily eyes, 99 yet his presence is known by the undoubted experience of faith. What we are taught by Paul is indeed true, that believers,
so long as they remain on earth, are absent from the Lord, because they walk, by faith, and not by sight,
(2 Cor. 5:6, 7.)
But it is equally true that they may justly, in the meantime, glory in having Christ dwelling in them by faith, in being united to him as members to the Head, in possessing heaven along with him by hope. Thus the grace of the Spirit is a mirror, in which Christ wishes to be seen by us, according to the words of Paul,
Though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet we know him no more; if any man be in Christ, let him be a new creature,
(2 Cor. 5:16, 17)
Because I go to the Father. Some explain these words as meaning that Christ will no longer be seen by the disciples, because he will be in heaven, and they on earth. For my part, I would rather refer it to the second clause, You will soon see me; for my death is not a destruction to separate me from you, but a passage into the heavenly glory, from which my divine power will diffuse itself even to you.” He intended, therefore, in my opinion, to teach what would be his condition after his death, that they might rest satisfied with his spiritual presence, and might not think that it would be any loss to them that he no longer dwelt with them as a mortal man.
19. Jesus, therefore, knew that they wished to ask him. Though sometimes the Lord appears to speak to the deaf, he, at length, cures the ignorance of his disciples, that his instruction may not be useless. Our duty is to endeavor that our slowness of apprehension may not be accompanied by either pride or indolence, but that, on the contrary, we show ourselves to be humble and desirous to learn.
20. You will weep and lament. He shows for what reason he foretold that his departure was at hand, and, at the same time, added a promise about his speedy return. It was, that they might understand better that the aid of the Spirit was highly necessary. “A hard and severe temptation,” says he, “awaits you; for, when I shall be removed from you by death, the world will proclaim its triumphs over you. You will feel the deepest anguish. The world will pronounce itself to be happy, and you to be miserable. I have resolved, therefore, to furnish you with the necessary arms for this warfare.” He describes the interval that elapsed between his death and the day when the Holy Spirit was sent; 100 for at that time their faith, so to speak, lay prostrate and exhausted.
Your sorrow will be turned into joy. He means the joy which they felt after having received the Spirit; not that they were afterwards free from all sorrow, but that all the sorrow which they would endure was, swallowed up by spiritual joy We know that the apostles: so long as they lived, sustained a severe warfare, that they endured base reproaches, that they had many reasons for weeping and lamenting; but, renewed by the Spirit, they had laid aside their former consciousness of weakness, so that, with lofty heroism, they nobly trampled under foot all the evils that they endured. Here then is a comparison between their present weakness and the power of the Spirit, which would soon be given to them; for, though they were nearly overwhelmed for a time, yet afterwards they not only fought bravely, but obtained a glorious triumph in the midst of their struggles. Yet it ought also to be observed, that he points out not only the interval that elapsed between the resurrection of Christ and the death of the apostles, but also the period which followed afterwards; as if Christ had said, “You will lie prostrate, as it were, for a short time; but when the Holy Spirit shall have raised you up again, then will begin a new joy, which will continue to increase, until, having been received into the heavenly glory, you shall have perfect joy.”
21. A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth a child, she remembereth no more her anguish, on account of the joy that a man is born into the world. 22. And you therefore have sorrow now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no man shall take from you. 23. And in that day you will ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I tell you, That whatever you shall ask from the Father in my name, he will give to you. 24. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name: ask, and receive, that your joy may be full.
21. A woman, when she is in labor. He employs a comparison to confirm the statement which he had just now made, or rather, he expresses his meaning more clearly, that not only will their sorrow be turned into joy, but also that it contains in itself the ground and occasion of joy It frequently happens that, when adversity has been followed by prosperity, men forget their former grief, and give themselves up unreservedly to joy, and yet the grief which came before it is not the cause of the joy But Christ means that the sorrow which they shall endure for the sake of the Gospel will be profitable. Indeed, the result of all griefs cannot be otherwise than unfavorable, unless when they are blessed in Christ. But as the cross of Christ always contains in itself the victory, Christ justly compares the grief arising from it to the sorrow of a woman in labor, which receives its reward when the mother is cheered by the birth of the child. The comparison would not apply, if sorrow did not produce joy in the members of Christ, when they become partakers of his sufferings, just as the labor in the, woman is the cause of the birth. The comparison must also be applied in this respect, that though the sorrow of the woman is very severe, it quickly passes away. It was no small solace to the apostles, therefore, when they learned that their sorrow would not be of long duration.
We ought now to appropriate the use of this doctrine to ourselves. Having been regenerated by the Spirit of Christ, we ought to feel in ourselves such a joy as would remove every feeling of our distresses. We ought, I say, to resemble women in labor, on whom the mere sight of the child born produces such an impression, that their pain gives them pain no longer. But as we have received nothing more than the first-fruits, and these in very small measure, we scarcely taste a few drops of that spiritual gladness, to soothe our grief and alleviate its bitterness. And yet that small portion clearly shows that they who contemplate Christ by faith are so far from being at any time overwhelmed by grief, that, amidst their heaviest sufferings, they rejoice with exceeding great joy.
But since it is an obligation laid
on all creatures to labor till the last day of redemption,
(Rom. 8:22, 23,)
let us know that we too must groan, until, having been delivered from the incessant afflictions of the present life, we obtain a full view of the fruit of our faith. To sum up the whole in a few words, believers are like women in labor, because, having been born again in Christ, they have not yet entered into the heavenly kingdom of God and a blessed life; and they are like pregnant women who are in childbirth, because, being still held captive in the prison of the flesh, they long for that blessed state which lies hidden under hope.
22. Your joy no man shall take from you. The value of the joy is greatly enhanced by its perpetuity; for it follows that the afflictions are light, and ought to be patiently endured, because they are of short duration. By these words Christ reminds us what is the nature of true joy The world must unavoidably be soon deprived of its joys, which it seeks only in fading things; and, therefore, we must come to the resurrection of Christ, in which there is eternal solidity.
But I will see you again. When he says that he will see his disciples, he means that he will visit them again by the grace of his Spirit, that they may continually enjoy his presence.
23. And in that day you will ask me nothing. After having promised to the disciples that they would derive joy from their unshaken firmness and courage, he now speaks of another grace of the Spirit which would be given to them, that they would receive so great light of understanding as would raise them on high to heavenly mysteries. They were at that time so slow that the slightest difficulty of any kind made them hesitate; for as children who are learning the alphabet cannot read a single verse without pausing frequently, so almost every word of Christ gave them some sort of offense, and this hindered their progress. But soon afterwards, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they no longer had any thing to prevent them from becoming familiarly acquainted with the wisdom of God, so as to move amidst the mysteries of God without stumbling.
True, the apostles did not cease to ask at the mouth of Christ, even when they had been elevated to the highest degree of wisdom, but this is only a comparison between the two conditions; as if Christ had said that their ignorance would be corrected, so that, instead of being stopped — as they now were — by the smallest obstructions, they would penetrate into the deepest mysteries without any difficulty. Such is the import of that passage in Jeremiah,
No longer shall every man teach his neighbor, saying, Know the Lord for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest, saith the Lord,
The prophet assuredly does not take away or set aside instruction, which must be in its most vigorous state in the kingdom of Christ; but he affirms that, when all shall be taught by God, no room will be any longer left for this gross ignorance, which holds the minds of men, till Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, (Mal 4:2,) shall enlighten them by the rays of his Spirit. Besides, though the apostles were exceedingly like children, or rather, were more like stocks of wood than men, we know well what they suddenly became, after having enjoyed the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name. He shows whence they will obtain this new faculty. It is because they will have it in their power to draw freely from God, the fountain of wisdom, as much as they need; as if he had said, “You must not fear that you will be deprived of the gift of understanding; for my Father will be ready, with all the abundance of blessings, to enrich you bountifully.” Besides, by these words he informs them that the Spirit is not promised in such a manner that they to whom He is promised may wait for him in sloth and inactivity, but, on the contrary, that they may be earnestly employed in seeking the grace which is offered. In short, he declares that he will at that time discharge the office of Mediator, so that whatever they shall ask he will obtain for them from the Father abundantly, and beyond their prayers.
But here arises a difficult question: Was this the first time that men began to call on God in the name of Christ? for never could God be reconciled to men in any other way than for the sake of the Mediator. Christ describes the future time, when the Heavenly Father will give to the disciples whatever they shall ask in his name If this be a new and unwonted favor, it would seem that we may infer from it that, so long as Christ dwelt on earth, he did not yet exercise the office of Advocate, that through him the prayers of believers might be acceptable to God. This is still more clearly expressed by what immediately follows.
24. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name. It is probable that the apostles kept the rule of prayer which had been laid down in the Law. Now we know that the fathers were not accustomed to pray without a Mediator; for God had trained them, by so many exercises, to such a form of prayer. They saw the high priest enter into the holy place in the name of the whole people, and they saw sacrifices offered every day, that the prayers of the Church might be acceptable before God. It was, therefore, one of the principles of faith, that prayers offered to God, when there was no Mediator, were rash and useless. Christ had already testified to his disciples plainly enough that he was the Mediator, but their knowledge was so obscure, that they were not yet able to form their prayers in his name in a proper manner.
Nor is there any absurdity in saying that they prayed to God, with confidence in the Mediator, according to the injunction of the Law, and yet did not clearly and fully understand what that meant. The veil of the temple was still stretched out, the majesty of God was concealed under the shadow of the cherubim, the true High Priest had not yet entered into the heavenly sanctuary to intercede for his people, and held not yet consecrated the way by his blood. We need not wonder, therefore, if he was not acknowledged to be the Mediator as he is, now that he appears for us in heaven before the Father, reconciling Him to us by his sacrifice, that we, miserable men, may venture to appear before him with boldness; for truly Christ, after having completed the satisfaction for sin, was received into heaven, and publicly showed himself to be the Mediator.
But we ought to attend to the frequent repetition of this clause, that we must pray in the name of Christ. This teaches us that it is a wicked profanation of the name of God, when any one, leaving Christ out of view, ventures to present himself before the judgment-seat of God. And if this conviction be deeply impressed on our minds, that God will willingly and abundantly give to us whatever we shall ask in the name of his Son, we will not go hither and thither to call to our aid various advocates, but will be satisfied with having this single Advocate, who so frequently and so kindly offers to us his labors in our behalf. We are said to pray in the name of Christ when we take him as our Advocate, to reconcile us, and make us find favor with his Father, 101 though we do not expressly mention his name with our lips.
Ask, and receive. This relates to the time of his manifestation, which was to take place soon afterwards. So much the less excusable are those who, in the present day, obscure this part of doctrine by the pretended intercessions of the Saints. The people, under the Old Testament, 102 had to turn their eyes to the high priest, (who was given to them to be a figure and shadow 103 ) and to the sacrifices of beasts, whenever they wished to pray. We are, therefore, worse than ungrateful, if we do not keep our senses fixed on the true High Priest, who is exhibited to us as our Propitiator, that by him we may have free and ready access to the throne of the glory of God. He adds, lastly,
That your joy may be full. By this he means that nothing will be wanting which could contribute to a perfect abundance of all blessings, to the accomplishment of our desires, and to calm satisfaction, provided that we ask from God, in his name, whatever we need.
25. These things I have spoken to you in proverbs; but the time cometh when I shall no longer speak to you in parables, but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26. In that day you shall ask in my name and I do not say that I will pray the Father for you; 27. For the Father himself loveth you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28. I came out from the Father, and am come into the world again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
25. These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The intention of Christ is to give courage to his disciples, that, entertaining good hopes of making better progress, they may not think that the instruction to which they now listen is useless, though there be but little of it that they comprehend; for such a suspicion might lead them to suppose that Christ did not wish to be understood, and that he purposely kept them in suspense. He declares, therefore, that they will soon perceive the fruit of this doctrine, which, by its obscurity, might produce disgust in their minds. The Hebrew word, משל (mashal) sometimes denotes a proverb; but as proverbs most commonly contain tropes and figures, this is the reason why the Hebrews give the name of משלים (meshalim) to enigmas or remarkable sayings, which the Greeks call (ἀποφθέγματα) apophthegms, which have almost always some ambiguity or obscurity. The meaning therefore is, “You think that I now speak to you figuratively, and not in plain and direct language; but I will soon speak to you in a more familiar manner, in order that there may be nothing puzzling or difficult to you in my doctrine.”
We now see what I mentioned a little ago, that this is intended to encourage the disciples by holding out to them the expectation of making greater progress, that they may not reject the doctrine, because they do not yet understand what it means; for, if we are not animated by the hope of profiting, the desire of learning must, unavoidably, be cooled. The fact, however, clearly shows that Christ did not employ terms purposely obscure, but addressed his disciples in a simple and even homely style but such was their ignorance that they hung on his lips with astonishment. That obscurity, therefore, did not lie so much in the doctrine as in their understandings; and, indeed, the same thing happens to us in the present day, for not without good reason does the word of God receive this commendation, that it is our light, (Ps 119:105; 2Pe 1:19;) but its brightness is so obscured by our darkness, that, what we hear we reckon to be pure allegories. For, as he threatens by the prophet, that he will be a barbarian to the unbelievers and reprobate, as if he had a stammering tongue, (Isa 28:11;) and Paul says that
the Gospel is hidden from such persons, because Satan hath blinded their understandings,
(2 Cor. 4:3, 4;)
so to the weak and ignorant it commonly appears to be something so confused that it cannot be understood. For, though their understandings are not completely darkened, like those of unbelievers, still they are covered, as it were, with clouds. Thus God permits us to be stupefied for a time, in order to humble us by a conviction of our own poverty; but those whom he enlightens by his Spirit he causes to make such progress, that the word of God is known and familiar to them. Such, too, is the import of the next clause:
But the time cometh; that is, the time will soon come, when I shall no more speak to you in figurative language. The Holy Spirit, certainly, did not teach the apostles anything else than what they had heard from the mouth of Christ himself, but, by enlightening their hearts, he drove away their darkness, so that they heard Christ speak, as it were, in a new and different manner, and thus they easily understood his meaning.
But will tell you plainly about the Father. When he says that he will tell them about the Father, he reminds us that the design of his doctrine is to lead us to God, in whom true happiness lies. But another question remains: How does he say, elsewhere, that
it was given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven?
For here he acknowledges that he has spoken to them in obscure language, but there he lays down a distinction between them and the rest of the people, that he speaketh to the people in parables, (Mt 13:13.) I reply, the ignorance of the apostles was not so gross that they had not, at least, a slight perception of what their Master meant, and, therefore, it is not without reason that he excludes them from the number of the blind. He now says that his discourses have hitherto been allegorical, in comparison of that clear light of understanding which he would soon give to them by the grace of his Spirit. Both statements are therefore true, that the disciples were far above those who had no relish for the word of the Gospel, and yet they were still like children learning the alphabet, in comparison of the new wisdom which was bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit.
26. In that day you shall ask in my name. He again repeats the reason why the heavenly treasures were then to be so bountifully opened up. It is, because they ask in the name of Christ whatever they need, and God will refuse nothing that shall be asked in the name of his Son. But there appears to be a contradiction in the words; for Christ immediately adds, that it will be unnecessary for him to pray to the Father Now, what purpose does it serve to pray in his name, if he does not undertake the office of Intercessor? In another passage John calls him our Advocate, (1Jo 2:1.) Paul also testifies that Christ now intercedes for us, (Ro 8:34;) and the same thing is confirmed by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who declares that Christ always liveth to make intercession for us, (Heb 7:25.) I reply, Christ does not absolutely say, in this passage, that he will not be Intercessor, but he only means, that the Father will be so favorably disposed towards the disciples, that, without any difficulty, he will give freely whatever they shall ask. “My Father,” he says, “will meet you, and, on account of the great love which he bears towards you, will anticipate the Intercessor, who, otherwise, would speak on your behalf.”
Besides, when Christ is said to intercede with the Father for us, let us not indulge in carnal imaginations about him, as if he were on his knees before the Father, offering humble supplication in our name. But the value of his sacrifice, by which he once pacified God toward us, is always powerful and efficacious; the blood by which he atoned for our sins, the obedience which he rendered, is a continual intercession for us. This is a remarkable passage, by which we are taught that we have the heart of the Heavenly Father, 104 as soon as we have placed before Him the name of his Son.
27. Because you have loved me. These words remind us that the only bond of our union with God is, to be united to Christ; and we are united to him by a faith which is not reigned, but which springs from sincere affection, which he describes by the name of love; for no man believes purely in Christ who does not cordially embrace him, and, therefore, by this word he has well expressed the power and nature of faith. But if it is only when we have loved Christ that God begins to love us, it follows that the commencement of salvation is from ourselves, because we have anticipated the grace of God. Numerous passages of Scripture, on the other hand, are opposed to this statement. The promise of God is, I will cause them to love me; and John says, Not that we first loved Him, 105 (1Jo 4:10.) It would be superfluous to collect many passages; for nothing is more certain than this doctrine, that the Lord calleth those things which are not, (Ro 4:17) raises the dead, (Lu 7:22,) unites himself to those who were strangers to him, (Eph 2:12,) makes hearts of flesh out of hearts of stone, (Eze 36:26,) manifests himself to those who do not seek him, (Isa 65:1; Ro 10:20.) I reply, God loves men in a secret way, before they are called, if they are among the elect; for he loves his own before they are created; but, as they are not yet reconciled, they are justly accounted enemies of God, as Paul speaks,
When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,
On this ground it is said that we are loved by God, when we love Christ; because we have the pledge of the fatherly love of Him from whom we formerly recoiled as our offended Judge.
28. I came out from the Father. This mode of expression draws our attention to the Divine power which is in Christ. Our faith in him would not be steady, if it did not perceive his Divine power; for his death and resurrection, the two pillars of faith, would be of little avail to us, if heavenly power were not connected with them. We now understand in what manner we ought to love Christ. Our love ought to be of such a nature that our faith shall contemplate the purpose and power of God, by whose hand he is offered to us. for we must not receive coldly the statement that he came out from God, but must also understand for what reason and for what purpose he came out, namely, that he might be
to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,
Again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. By this second clause he points out to us that this power is perpetual- for the disciples might have thought that it was a temporary blessing, that he was sent into the world to be a Redeemer. He therefore said that he returns to the Father, that they may be fully persuaded that none of those blessings which he brought are lost by his departure, because from his heavenly glory he sheds on the world the power and efficacy of his death and resurrection. He therefore left the world when, laying aside our weaknesses, he was received into heaven; but his grace toward us is still in all its force, because he is seated at the right hand of the Father, that he may sway the scepter of the whole world. 106
29. His disciples say to him, Lo, now thou speakest openly, and speakest no proverb. 30. Now we know that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any one should ask thee; by this we believe that thou camest out from God. 31. Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? 32. Behold, the hour cometh, and is now come, when you shall be scattered, every one to his own, and shall leave me alone; yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33. These things I have spoken to you, that you may have peace in me. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good courage; I have overcome the world.
29. His disciples say to him. This shows how great was the efficacy of, that consolation, for it suddenly brought into a state of great cheerfulness those minds which formerly were broken and cast down. And yet it is certain that the disciples did not yet understand fully the meaning of Christ’s discourse; but though they were not yet capable of this, the mere odor of it refreshed them. When they exclaim that their Master speaketh openly, and without a figure, their language is certainly extravagant, and yet they state honestly what they feel. The same thing falls within our own experience in the present day; for he who has only tasted a little of the doctrine of the Gospel is more inflamed, and feels much greater energy in that small measure of faith, than if he had been acquainted with all the writings of Plato. Not only so, but the roads which the Spirit of God produces in the hearts of the godly are sufficient proofs that God worketh in a secret manner beyond their capacity; for otherwise Paul would not call them groans that cannot be uttered, (Ro 8:26.)
Thus we ought to understand that the apostles were conscious of having made some progress, so that they could say with truth, that they did not now find the words of Christ to be altogether obscure; but that they were deceived in this respect, that they thought they understood more than they did. Now the source of their mistake was, that they did not know what the gift of the Holy Spirit would be. They therefore give themselves up to joy before the time, just as if a person should think himself rich with a single gold piece. They conclude, from certain signs, that Christ came out from God, and they glory in it, as if nothing more were needed. Yet still they were far from that knowledge, so long as they did not understand what Christ would be to them in future.
31. Do you now believe? As the disciples were too highly pleased with themselves, Christ reminds them that, remembering their weakness, they ought rather to confine themselves within their own little capacity. Now, we never are fully aware of what we want, and of our great distance from the fullness of faith, till we come to some serious trial; for then the fact shows how weak our faith was, which we imagined to be full. Christ recalls the attention of the disciples to this matter, and declares that they will ere long forsake him; for persecution is a touchstone to try faith, and when its smallness becomes evident, they who formerly were swelled with pride begin to tremble and to draw back.
The question put by Christ is therefore ironical; as if he had said, “Do you boast as if you were full of faith? But the trial is at hand, which will disclose your emptiness.” In this manner we ought to restrain our foolish confidence, when it indulges itself too freely. But it might be thought, either that the disciples had no faith at all, or that it was extinguished, when they had forsaken Christ, and were scattered in all directions. I reply, though their faith was weakened, and had almost given way, still something was left, from which fresh branches might afterwards shoot forth.
32. Yet I am not alone. This correction is added, in order to inform us that, when Christ is forsaken by men, he loses nothing of his dignity. For since his truth and his glory are founded on himself, and. do not depend on what the world believes, if it happen that he is forsaken by the whole world, still he is in no degree impaired, because he is God, and needs not any assistance from another.
Because my Father is with me. When he says that the Father will be with me, the meaning is, that God will be on his side, so that he will have no need to borrow anything from men. Whoever shall meditate on this in a proper manner will remain firm, though the whole world should be shaken, and the revolt of all men will not overturn his faith; for we do not render to God the honor which is due to him, if we are not satisfied with having God alone.
33. These things I have spoken to you. He again repeats how necessary those consolations are which he had addressed to them; and he proves it by this argument, that numerous distresses and tribulations await them in the world. We ought to attend, first, to this admonition, that all believers ought to be convinced that their life is exposed to many afflictions, that they may be disposed to exercise patience. Since, therefore, the world is like a troubled sea, true peace will be found nowhere but in Christ. Next, we ought to attend to the manner of enjoying that peace, which he describes in this passage. He says that they will have peace, if they make progress in this doctrine. Do we wish then to have our minds calm and easy in the midst of afflictions? Let us be attentive to this discourse of Christ, which in itself will give us peace
But be of good courage. As our sluggishness must be corrected by various afflictions, and as we must be awakened to seek a remedy for our distress, so the Lord does not intend that our minds shall be cast down, but rather that we shall fight keenly, which is impossible, if we are not certain of success; for if we must fight, while we are uncertain as to the result, all our zeal will quickly vanish. When, therefore, Christ calls us to the contest, he arms us with assured confidence of victory, though still we must toil hard.
I have overcome the world. As there is always in us much reason for trembling, he shows that we ought to be confident for this reason, that he has obtained a victory over the world, not for himself individually, but for our sake. Thus, though in ourselves almost overwhelmed, if we contemplate that magnificent glory to which our Head has been exalted, we may boldly despise all the evils which hang over us. If, therefore, we desire to be Christians, we must not seek exemption from the cross, but must be satisfied with this single consideration, that, fighting under the banner of Christ, we are beyond all danger, even in the midst of the combat. Under the term World, Christ here includes all that is opposed to the salvation of believers, and especially all the corruptions which Satan abuses for the purpose of laying snares for us.
“Et que jamais ils n’en eussent ouy parler.”
“La voix sortant de la bouche d’un homme.”
“Leur conducteur et gouverneur.”
“Maistre ou Docteur.”
“Les premieres instructions pour estre amenez a la droite foy.”
“Et vous ne me verrez point;” — “and you will not see me.”
“Combien qu’il ne soit point veu des yeux corporels.”
“Et le jour que le S. Esprit fut envoye.”
“A fin qu’il nous reconcile, et nous face trouver grace envers son Pere.”
“Le peuple sous l’Ancien Testament.”
“Qui luy estoit donne pour figure et ombre.”
“Le coeur du Pere celeste.”
Quoting from memory, our Author has mingled two passages The first is, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, (1Jo 4:10;) and the second is, We love him, because he first loved us, (1Jo 4:19.) — Ed.
“A fin d’estre Empereur et Dominateur de tout le monde;” — “in order to be the Emperor and Ruler of the whole world.”