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both among Jews and Gentiles; looking forward to that period when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.22 The means whereby this is to be effected is by making known Christ crucified as the Saviour of sinners, the good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. This was goodness indeed. It was love that passeth knowledge, love inconceivably great. Greater love hath no man than this, said our blessed Saviour, that a man lay down his life for his friends.23 But says the Apostle, God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us; when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. It is through His death that life is communicated to perishing sinners. We cannot contemplate this wonderful manifestation of Divine love with too lively a consciousness of our personal interest in it. Let us ever recollect that it was for us the sinful children of men, and for our salvation, that our good Shepherd gave His life. He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.25 May the end for which He gave Himself be answered in every one of us.
We have seen in the Gospel for this day the care of our blessed Saviour for the sheep of His
22 Habak. ii. 14. 23 John xy. 13. 24 Rom.v.8, 10. 25 Titus ii. 14.
pasture; His resolution to defend them from every evil and danger; His knowledge of them, and His love for them; and what is consequently their duty, namely, to hear His voice, and to abide in His fold. Great are their obligations to Him who gave His life for His sheep. Let us meditate upon these subjects for our edification and consolation. Let us seek to enjoy the blessedness which He bestows upon His people both in this life and in that which is to come. Let us walk in the footsteps of His flock, and feed beside our Shepherd's tent; and let us endeavour to persuade others to seek the same blessedness for themselves; that they also may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
THE SORROWING DISCIPLES.
John xvi. 22.
AND YE NOW THEREFORE HAVE SORROW, BUT
I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN, AND YOUR HEART SHALL REJOICE, AND YOUR JOY NO MAN TAKETH FROM YOU.
THESE words are a part of the farewell discourse of our blessed Saviour to His disciples. While He addressed them in the surprising manner here recorded, and opened to them the mysteries of the kingdom of God, they appear to have had no idea that He was going so soon to be taken from them. How valuable must they have esteemed this discourse, as soon as their understandings were opened to comprehend it. Our church has appointed portions of this chapter
454 THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTEŘ.
THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
for the Gospels of this day, and the two Sundays which succeed it.
In the portion which has been selected for this day, our Lord Jesus Christ informs His disciples, in the most tender and kind manner, that He should very soon be separated from them. A little while, and ye shall not see Me. Who could have thought that by these words He was signifying to them that, before the next day's sun should have set, He would be put to a violent and painful death; and that His sacred body would be placed out of sight, being laid in the grave. By speaking in this manner He prepared their minds, in some measure, for the event which was to take place. But He added, doubtless to their great surprise, what was calculated to give them consolation under their bereavement. And again a little while, and ye shall see Me. Here He referred to His resurrection from the dead on the third day, of which He had before assured them, though they did not understand Him. He mentioned also the reason why He was leaving them : Because I go to the Father. The work, which He had come upon earth to perform, would be accomplished, and He was then to leave this world, and to return where He was before. When He should have showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God 926 He would, as He afterwards more explicitly informed them, ascend unto His Father and their Father, and to His God and their God 927 to be their Advocate and Intercessor before the throne of the Majesty on high.
Notwithstanding our Saviour had repeatedly spoken to His disciples respecting His death and resurrection; and that He now only intimated to them that these events were near at hand, yet they could not comprehend His meaning. Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see Me; and again a little while, and ye shall see Me; and, because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that He saith, A little while? We cannot tell what He saith. Thus they talked to one another as if what their Lord and Master had said was altogether incomprehensible. They had no idea that they were about to lose Him so soon. Their hopes that He would assume temporal dominion were still alive; and their desire for stations of preeminence in a kingdom of this world were as strong as ever. Only on that very evening, there had been a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest ,28 which our Saviour had endeavoured to make them ashamed of, by Himself washing the feet of all His dis