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Bible Commentary / Bible Study

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible John XVII

Commentary on JOHN Chapter XVII. verses 11-26

Christ's Intercessory Prayer (v. 11-16)

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

After the general pleas with which Christ recommended his disciples to his Father's care follow the particular petitions he puts up for them; and,

1. They all relate to spiritual blessings in heavenly things. He does not pray that they might be rich and great in the world, that they might raise estates and get preferments, but that they might be kept from sin, and furnished for their duty, and brought safely to heaven. Note, The prosperity of the soul is the best prosperity; for what relates to this Christ came to purchase and bestow, and so teaches us to seek, in the first place, both for others and for ourselves.

2. They are such blessings as were suited to their present state and case, and their various exigencies and occasions. Note, Christ's intercession is always pertinent. Our advocate with the Father is acquainted with all the particulars of our wants and burdens, our dangers and difficulties, and knows how to accommodate his intercession to each, as to Peter's peril, which he himself was not aware of (Luke xxii. 32), I have prayed for thee.

3. He is large and full in the petitions, orders them before his Father, and fills his mouth with arguments, to teach us fervency and importunity in prayer, to be large in prayer, and dwell upon our errands at the throne of grace, wrestling as Jacob, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Now the first thing Christ prays for, for his disciples, is their preservation, in these verses, in order to which he commits them all to his Father's custody. Keeping supposes danger, and their danger arose from the world, the world wherein they were, the evil of this he begs they might be kept from. Now observe,

I. The request itself: Keep them from the world.

There were two ways of their being delivered from the world:—

1. By taking them out of it; and he does not pray that they might be so delivered: I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world; that is,

(1.) "I pray not that they may be speedily removed by death." If the world will be vexatious to them, the readiest way to secure them would be to hasten them out of it to a better world, that will give them better treatment. Send chariots and horses of fire for them, to fetch them to heaven; Job, Elijah, Jonah, Moses, when that occurred which fretted them, prayed that they might be taken out of the world; but Christ would not pray so for his disciples, for two reasons:—

[1.] Because he came to conquer, not to countenance, those intemperate heats and passions which make men impatient of life, and importunate for death. It is his will that we should take up our cross, and not outrun it.

[2.] Because he had work for them to do in the world; the world, though sick of them (Acts xxii. 22), and therefore not worthy of them (Heb. xi. 38), yet could ill spare them. In pity therefore to this dark world, Christ would not have these lights removed out of it, but continued in it, especially for the sake of those in the world that were to believe in him through their word. Let not them be taken out of the world when their Master is; they must each in his own order die a martyr, but not till they have finished their testimony. Note,

First, The taking of good people out of the world is a thing by no means to be desired, but rather dreaded and laid to heart, Isa. lvii. 1.

Secondly, Though Christ loves his disciples, he does not presently send for them to heaven, as soon as they are effectually called, but leaves them for some time in this world, that they may do good and glorify God upon earth, and be ripened for heaven. Many good people are spared to live, because they can ill be spared to die.

(2.) "I pray not that they may be totally freed and exempted from the troubles of this world, and taken out of the toil and terror of it into some place of ease and safety, there to live undisturbed; this is not the preservation I desire for them." Non ut omni molestia liberati otium et delicias colant, sed ut inter media pericula salvi tamen maneant Dei auxilio—Not that, being freed from all trouble, they may bask in luxurious ease, but that by the help of God they may be preserved in a scene of danger; so Calvin. Not that they may be kept from all conflict with the world, but that they may not be overcome by it; not that, as Jeremiah wished, they might leave their people, and go from them (Jer. ix. 2), but that, like Ezekiel, their faces may be strong against the faces of wicked men, Ezek. iii. 8. It is more the honour of a Christian soldier by faith to overcome the world than by a monastical vow to retreat from it; and more for the honour of Christ to serve him in a city than to serve him in a cell.

2. Another way is by keeping them from the corruption that is in the world; and he prays they may be thus kept, v. 11, 15. Here are three branches of this petition:—

(1.) Holy Father, keep those whom thou hast given me.

[1.] Christ was now leaving them; but let them not think that their defense was departed from them; no, he does here, in their hearing, commit them to the custody of his Father and their Father. Note, It is the unspeakable comfort of all believers that Christ himself has committed them to the care of God. Those cannot but be safe whom the almighty God keeps, and he cannot but keep those whom the Son of his love commits to him, in the virtue of which we may by faith commit the keeping of our souls to God, 1 Pet. iv. 19; 2 Tim. i. 12. First, He here puts them under the divine protection, that they may not be run down by the malice of their enemies; that they and all their concerns may be the particular care of the divine Providence: "Keep their lives, till they have done their work; keep their comforts, and let them not be broken in upon by the hardships they meet with; keep up their interest in the world, and let it not sink." To this prayer is owing the wonderful preservation of the gospel ministry and gospel church in the world unto this day; if God had not graciously kept both, and kept up both, they had been extinguished and lost long ago. Secondly, He puts them under the divine tuition, that they may not themselves run away from their duty, nor be led aside by the treachery of their own hearts: "Keep them in their integrity, keep them disciples, keep them close to their duty." We need God's power not only to put us into a state of grace, but to keep us in it. See, ch. x. 28, 29; 1 Pet. i. 5.

[2.] The titles he gives to him he prays to, and them he prays for, enforce the petition. First, He speaks to God as a holy Father. In committing ourselves and others to the divine care, we may take encouragement,

1. From the attribute of his holiness, for this is engaged for the preservation of his holy ones; he hath sworn by his holiness, Ps. lxxxix. 35. If he be a holy God and hate sin, he will make those holy that are his, and keep them from sin, which they also hate and dread as the greatest evil.

2. From this relation of a Father, wherein he stands to us through Christ. If he be a Father, he will take care of his own children, will teach them and keep them; who else should? Secondly, He speaks of them as those whom the Father had given him. What we receive as our Father's gifts, we may comfortably remit to our Father's care. "Father, keep the graces and comforts thou hast given me; the children thou hast given me; the ministry I have received."

(2.) Keep them through thine own name. That is,

[1.] Keep them for thy name's sake; so some. "Thy name and honour are concerned in their preservation as well as mine, for both will suffer by it if they either revolt or sink." The Old Testament saints often pleaded, for thy name's sake; and those may with comfort plead it that are indeed more concerned for the honour of God's name than for any interest of their own.

[2.] Keep them in thy name; so others; the original is so, en to onomati. "Keep them in the knowledge and fear of thy name; keep them in the profession and service of thy name, whatever it cost them. Keep them in the interest of thy name, and let them ever be faithful to this; keep them in thy truths, in thine ordinances, in the way of thy commandments."

[3.] Keep them by or through thy name; so others. "Keep them by thine own power, in thine own hand; keep them thyself, undertake for them, let them be thine own immediate care. Keep them by those means of preservation which thou hast thyself appointed, and by which thou hast made thyself known. Keep them by thy word and ordinances; let thy name be their strong tower, thy tabernacle their pavilion."

(3.) Keep them from the evil, or out of the evil. He had taught them to pray daily, Deliver us from evil, and this would encourage them to pray.

[1.] "Keep them from the evil one, the devil and all his instruments; that wicked one and all his children. Keep them from Satan as a tempter, that either he may not have leave to sift them, or that their faith may not fail. Keep them from him as a destroyer, that he may not drive them to despair."

[2.] "Keep them from the evil thing, that is sin; from every thing that looks like it, or leads to it. Keep them, that they do no evil," 2 Cor. xiii. 7. Sin is that evil which, above any other, we should dread and deprecate.

[3.] "Keep them from the evil of the world, and of their tribulation in it, so that it may have no sting in it, no malignity;" not that they might be kept from affliction, but kept through it, that the property of their afflictions might be so altered as that there might be no evil in them, nothing to them any harm.

II. The reasons with which he enforces these requests for their preservation, which are five:—

1. He pleads that hitherto he had kept them (v. 12):

"While I was with them in the world, I have kept them in thy name, in the true faith of the gospel and the service of God; those that thou gavest me for my constant attendants I have kept, they are all safe, and none of them missing, none of them revolted nor ruined, but the son of perdition; he is lost, that the scripture might be fulfilled." Observe,

(1.) Christ's faithful discharge of his undertaking concerning his disciples: While he was with them, he kept them, and his care concerning them was not in vain. He kept them in God's name, preserved them from falling into any dangerous errors or sins, from striking in with the Pharisees, who would have compassed sea and land to make proselytes of them; he kept them from deserting him, and returning to the little all they had left for him; he had them still under his eye and care when he sent them to peach; went not his heart with them? Many that followed him awhile took offence at something or other, and went off; but he kept the twelve that they should not go away. He kept them from falling into the hands of persecuting enemies that sought their lives; kept them when he surrendered himself, ch. xviii. 9. While he was with them he kept them in a visible manner by instructions till sounding in their ears, miracles still done before their eyes; when he was gone from them, they must be kept in a more spiritual manner. Sensible comforts and supports are sometimes given and sometimes withheld; but, when they are withdrawn, yet they are not left comfortless. What Christ here says of his immediate followers is true of all the saints while they are here in this world; Christ keeps them in God's name. It is implied,

[1.] That they are weak, and cannot keep themselves; their own hands are not sufficient for them.

[2.] That they are, in God's account, valuable and worth the keeping; precious in his sight and honourable; his treasure, his jewels.

[3.] That their salvation is designed, for to this it is that they are kept, 1 Pet. i. 5. As the wicked are reserved for the day of evil, so the righteous are preserved for the day of bliss.

[4.] That they are the charge of the Lord Jesus; for as his charge he keeps them, and exposed himself like the good shepherd for the preservation of the sheep.

(2.) The comfortable account he gives of his undertaking: None of them is lost. Note, Jesus Christ will certainly keep all that were given to him, so that none of them shall be totally and finally lost; they may think themselves lost, and may be nearly lost (in imminent peril); but it is the Father's will that he should lose none, and none he will lose (ch. vi. 39); so it will appear when they come all together, and none of them shall be wanting.

(3.) A brand put upon Judas, as none of those whom he had undertaken to keep. He was among those that were given to Christ, but not of them. He speaks of Judas as already lost, for he had abandoned the society of his Master and his fellow-disciples, and abandoned himself to the devil's guidance, and in a little time would go to his own place; he is as good as lost. But the apostasy and ruin of Judas were no reproach at all to his Master, or his family; for,

[1.] He was the son of perdition, and therefore not one of those that were given to Christ to be kept. He deserved perdition, and God left him to throw himself headlong into it. He was the son of the destroyer, as Cain, who was of that wicked one. That great enemy whom the Lord will consume is called a son of perdition, because he is a man of sin, 2 Thess. ii. 3. It is an awful consideration that one of the apostles proved a son of perdition. No man's place or name in the church, no man's privileges or opportunities of getting grace, no man's profession or external performances, will secure him from ruin, if his heart be not right with God; nor are any more likely to prove sons of perdition at last, after a plausible course of profession, than those that like Judas love the bag; but Christ's distinguishing Judas from those that were given him (for ei me is adversative, not exceptive) intimates that the truth and true religion ought not to suffer for the treachery of those that are false to it, 1 John ii. 19.

[2.] The scripture was fulfilled; the sin of Judas was foreseen of God's counsel and foretold in his word, and the event would certainly follow after the prediction as a consequent, though it cannot be said necessarily to follow from it as an effect. See Ps. xli. 9; lxix. 25; cix. 8. We should be amazed at the treachery of apostates, were we not told of it before.

2. He pleads that he was now under a necessity of leaving them, and could no longer watch over them in the way that he had hitherto done (v. 11): "Keep them now, that I may not lose the labour I bestowed upon them while I was with them. Keep them, that they may be one with us as we are with each other." We shall have occasion to speak of this, v. 21. But see here,

(1.) With what pleasure he speaks of his own departure. He expresses himself concerning it with an air of triumph and exultation, with reference both to the world he left and the world he removed to.

[1.] "Now I am no more in the world. Now farewell to this provoking troublesome world. I have had enough of it, and now the welcome hour is at hand when I shall be no more in it. Now that I have finished the work I had to do in it, I have done with it; nothing remains now but to hasten out of it as fast as I can." Note, It should be a pleasure to those that have their home in the other world to think of being no more in this world; for when we have done what we have to do in this world, and are made meet for that, what is there here that should court our stay? When we receive a sentence of death within ourselves, with what a holy triumph should we say, "Now I am no more in this world, this dark deceitful world, this poor empty world, this tempting defiling world; no more vexed with its thorns and briars, no more endangered by its nets and snares; now I shall wander no more in this howling wilderness, be tossed no more on this stormy sea; now I am no more in this world, but can cheerfully quit it, and give it a final farewell."

[2.] Now I come to thee. To get clear of the world is but the one half of the comfort of a dying Christ, of a dying Christian; the far better half is to think of going to the Father, to sit down in the immediate, uninterrupted, and everlasting enjoyment of him. Note, Those who love God cannot but be pleased to think of coming to him, though it be through the valley of the shadow of death. When we go, to be absent from the body, it is to be present with the Lord, like children fetched home from school to their father's house. "Now come I to thee whom I have chosen and served, and whom my soul thirsteth after; to thee the fountain of light and life, the crown and centre of bliss and joy; now my longings shall be satisfied, my hopes accomplished, my happiness completed, for now come I to thee."

(2.) With what a tender concern he speaks of those whom he left behind: "But these are in the world. I have found what an evil world it is, what will become of these dear little ones that must stay in it? Holy Father, keep them; they will want my presence, let them have thine. They have now more need than ever to be kept, for I am sending them out further into the world than they have yet ventured; they must launch forth into the deep, and have business to do in these great waters, and will be lost if thou do not keep them." Observe here,

[1.] That, when our Lord Jesus was going to the Father, he carried with him a tender concern for his own that are in the world; and continued to compassionate them. He bears their names upon his breast-plate, nay, upon his heart, and has graven them with the nails of his cross upon the palms of his hands; and when he is out of their sight they are not out of his, much less out of his mind. We should have such a pity for those that are launching out into the world when we are got almost through it, and for those that are left behind in it when we are leaving it.

[2.] That, when Christ would express the utmost need his disciples had of divine preservation, he only says, They are in the world; this bespeaks danger enough to those who are bound for heaven, whom a flattering world would divert and seduce, and a malignant world would hate and persecute.

3. He pleads what a satisfaction it would be to them to know themselves safe, and what a satisfaction it would be to him to see them easy: I speak this, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves, v. 13. Observe,

(1.) Christ earnestly desired the fullness of the joy of his disciples, for it is his will that they should rejoice evermore. He was leaving them in tears and troubles, and yet took effectual care to fulfill their joy. When they thought their joy in him was brought to an end, then was it advanced nearer to perfection than ever it had been, and they were fuller of it. We are here taught,

[1.] To found our joy in Christ: "It is my joy, joy of my giving, or rather joy that I am the matter of." Christ is a Christian's joy, his chief joy. Joy in the world is withering with it; joy in Christ is everlasting, like him.

[2.] To build up our joy with diligence; for it is the duty as well as privilege of all true believers; no part of the Christian life is pressed upon us more earnestly, Phil. iii. 1; iv. 4.

[3.] To aim at the perfection of this joy, that we may have it fulfilled in us, for this Christ would have.

(2.) In order hereunto, he did thus solemnly commit them to his Father's care and keeping and took them for witnesses that he did so: These things I speak in the world, while I am yet with them in the world. His intercession in heaven for their preservation would have been as effectual in itself; but saying this in the world would be a greater satisfaction and encouragement to them, and would enable them to rejoice in tribulation. Note,

[1.] Christ has not only treasured up comforts for his people, in providing for their future welfare, but has given out comforts to them, and said that which will be for their present satisfaction. He here condescended in the presence of his disciples to publish his last will and testament, and (which many a testator is shy of) lets them know what legacies he had left them, and how well they were secured, that they might have strong consolation.

[2.] Christ's intercession for us is enough to fulfill or joy in him; nothing more effectual to silence all our fears and mistrusts, and to furnish us with strong consolation, than this, that he always appears in the presence of God for us; therefore the apostle puts a yea rather upon this, Rom. viii. 34. And see Heb. vii. 25.

4. He pleads the ill usage they were likely to meet with in the world, for his sake (v. 14): "I have given them thy word to be published to the world, and they have received it, have believed it themselves, and accepted the trust of transmitting it to the world; and therefore the world hath hated them, as also because they are not of the world, any more than I." Here we have,

(1.) The world's enmity to Christ's followers. While Christ was with them, though as yet they had given but little opposition to the world, yet it hates them, much more would it do so when by their more extensive preaching of the gospel they would turn the world upside down. "Father, stand their friend," says Christ, "for they are likely to have many enemies; let them have thy love, for the world's hatred is entailed upon them. In the midst of those fiery darts, let them be compassed with thy favor as with a shield." It is God's honour to take part with the weaker side, and to help the helpless. Lord, be merciful to them, for men would swallow them up.

(2.) The reasons of this enmity, which strengthen the plea.

[1.] It is implied that one reason is because they had received the word of God as it was sent them by the hand of Christ, when the greatest part of the world rejected it, and set themselves against those who were the preachers and professors of it. Note, Those that receive Christ's good will and good word must expect the world's ill will and ill word. Gospel ministers have been in a particular manner hated by the world, because they call men out of the world, and separate them from it, and teach them not to conform to it, and so condemn the world. "Father, keep them for it is for thy sake that they are exposed; they are sufferers for thee." Thus the psalmist pleads, For thy sake I have borne reproach, Ps. lxix. 7. Note, Those that keep the word of Christ's patience are entitled to special protection in the hour of temptation, Rev. iii. 10. That cause which makes a martyr may well make a joyful sufferer.

[2.] Another reason is more express; the world hates them, because they are not of the world. Those to whom the word of Christ comes in power are not of the world, for it has this effect upon all that receive it in the love of it that it weans them from the wealth of the world, and turns them against the wickedness of the world, and therefore the world bears them a grudge.

5. He pleads their conformity to himself in a holy non-conformity to the world (v. 16): "Father, keep them, for they are of my spirit and mind, they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Those may in faith commit themselves to God's custody,

(1.) Who are as Christ was in this world, and tread in his steps. God will love those that are like Christ.

(2.) Who do not engage themselves in the world's interest, nor devote themselves to its service. Observe,

[1.] That Jesus Christ was not of this world; he never had been of it, and least of all now that he was upon the point of leaving it. This intimates, First, His state; he was none of the world's favorites nor darlings, none of its princes nor grandees; worldly possessions he had none, not even where to lay his head; nor worldly power, he was no judge nor divider. Secondly, His Spirit; he was perfectly dead to the world, the prince of this world had nothing in him, the things of this world were nothing to him; not honour, for he made himself of no reputation; not riches, for for our sakes he became poor; not pleasures, for he acquainted himself with grief. See ch. viii. 23.

[2.] That therefore true Christians are not of this world. The Spirit of Christ in them is opposite to the spirit of the world. First, It is their lot to be despised by the world; they are not in favor with the world any more than their Master before them was. Secondly, It is their privilege to be delivered from the world; as Abraham out of the land of his nativity. Thirdly, It is their duty and character to be dead to the world. Their most pleasing converse is, and should be, with another world, and their prevailing concern about the business of that world, not of this. Christ's disciples were weak, and had many infirmities; yet this he could say for them, They were not of the world, not of the earth, and therefore he recommends them to the care of Heaven.

Christ's Intercessory Prayer. (v. 17-19)

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

The next thing he prayed for for them was that they might be sanctified; not only kept from evil, but made good.

I. Here is the petition (v. 17):

Sanctify them through thy truth, through thy word, for thy word is truth; it is true—it is truth itself. He desires they may be sanctified,

1. As Christians. Father, make them holy, and this will be their preservation, 1 Thess. v. 23. Observe here,

(1.) The grace desired—sanctification. The disciples were sanctified, for they were not of the world; yet he prays, Father sanctify them, that is,

[1.] "Confirm the work of sanctification in them, strengthen their faith, inflame their good affections, rivet their good resolutions."

[2.] "Carry on that good work in them, and continue it; let the light shine more and more."

[3.] "Complete it, crown it with the perfection of holiness; sanctify them throughout and to the end." Note, First, It is the prayer of Christ for all that are his that they may be sanctified; because he cannot for shame own them as his, either here or hereafter, either employ them in his work or present them to his Father, if they be not sanctified. Secondly, Those that through grace are sanctified have need to be sanctified more and more. Even disciples must pray for sanctifying grace; for, if he that was the author of the good work be not the finisher of it, we are undone. Not to go forward is to go backward; he that is holy must be holy still, more holy still, pressing forward, soaring upward, as those that have not attained. Thirdly, It is God that sanctifies as well as God that justified, 2 Cor. v. 5. Fourthly, It is an encouragement to us, in our prayers for sanctifying grace, that it is what Christ intercedes for for us.

(2.) The means of conferring this grace—through thy truth, thy word is truth. Not that the Holy One of Israel is hereby limited to means, but in the counsel of peace among other things it was settled and agreed,

[1.] That all needful truth should be comprised and summed up in the word of God. Divine revelation, as it now stands in the written word, is not only pure truth without mixture, but entire truth without deficiency.

[2.] That this word of truth should be the outward and ordinary means of our sanctification; not of itself, for then it would always sanctify, but as the instrument which the Spirit commonly uses in beginning and carrying on that good work; it is the seed of the new birth (1 Pet. i. 23), and the food of the new life, 1 Pet. ii. 1-2.

2. As ministers. "Sanctify them, set them apart for thyself and service; let their call to the apostleship be ratified in heaven." Prophets were said to be sanctified, Jer. i. 5. Priests and Levites were so. Sanctify them; that is,

(1.) "Qualify them for the office, with Christian graces and ministerial gifts, to make them able ministers of the New Testament."

(2.) "Separate them to the office, Rom. i. 1. I have called them, they have consented; Father, say Amen to it."

(3.) "Own them in the office; let thy hand go along with them; sanctify them by or in thy truth, as truth is opposed to figure and shadow; sanctify them really, not ritually and ceremonially, as the Levitical priests were, by anointing and sacrifice. Sanctify them to thy truth, the word of thy truth, to be the preachers of thy truth to the world; as the priests were sanctified to serve at the altar, so let them be to preach the gospel." 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14. Note,

[1.] Jesus Christ intercedes for his ministers with a particular concern, and recommends to his Father's grace those stars he carries in his right hand.

[2.] The great thing to be asked of God for gospel ministers is that they may be sanctified, effectually separated from the world, entirely devoted to God, and experimentally acquainted with the influence of that word upon their own hearts which they preach to others. Let them have the Urim and Thummim, light and integrity.

II. We have here two pleas or arguments to enforce the petition for the disciples' sanctification:

1. The mission they had from him (v. 18): "As thou hast sent me into the world, to be thine ambassador to the children of men, so now that I am recalled have I sent them into the world, as my delegates." Now here,

(1.) Christ speaks with great assurance of his own mission: Thou hast sent me into the world. The great author of the Christian religion had his commission and instructions from him who is the origin and object of all religion. He was sent of God to say what he said, and do what he did, and be what he is to those that believe on him; which was his comfort in his undertaking, and may be ours abundantly in our dependence upon him; his record was on high, for thence his mission was.

(2.) He speaks with great satisfaction of the commission he had given his disciples "So have I sent them on the same errand, and to carry on the same design;" to preach the same doctrine that he preached, and to confirm it with the same proofs, with a charge likewise to commit to other faithful men that which was committed to them. He gave them their commission (ch. xx. 21) with a reference to his own, and it magnifies their office that it comes from Christ, and that there is some affinity between the commission given to the ministers of reconciliation and that given to the Mediator; he is called an apostle (Heb. iii. 1), a minister (Rom. xv. 8), a messenger, Mal. iii. 1. Only they are sent as servants, he as a Son. Now this comes in here as a reason,

[1.] Why Christ was concerned so much for them, and laid their case so near his heart; because he had himself put them into a difficult office, which required great abilities for the due discharge of it. Note, Whom Christ sends he will stand by, and interest himself in those that are employed for him; what he calls us out to he will fit us out for, and bear us up in.

[2.] Why he committed them to his Father; because he was concerned in their cause, their mission being in prosecution of his, and as it were an assignment out of it. Christ received gifts for men (Ps. lxviii. 18), and then gave them to men (Eph. iv. 8), and therefore prays aid of his Father to warrant and uphold those gifts, and confirm his grant of them. The Father sanctified him when he sent him into the world, ch. x. 36. Now, they being sent as he was, let them also be sanctified.

2. The merit he had for them is another thing here pleaded (v. 19): For their sakes I sanctify myself. Here is,

(1.) Christ's designation of himself to the work and office of Mediator: I sanctified myself. He entirely devoted himself to the undertaking, and all the parts of it, especially that which he was now going about—the offering up of himself without spot unto God, by the eternal Spirit. He, as the priest and altar, sanctified himself as the sacrifice. When he said, Father, glorify thy name—Father, thy will be done—Father, I commit my spirit into thy hands, he paid down the satisfaction he had engaged to make, and so sanctified himself. This he pleads with his Father, for his intercession is made in the virtue of his satisfaction; by his own blood he entered into the holy place (Heb. ix. 12), as the high priest, on the day of atonement, sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice at the same time that he burnt incense within the veil, Lev. xvi. 12, 14.

(2.) Christ's design of kindness to his disciples herein; it is for their sakes, that they may be sanctified, that is, that they may be martyrs; so some. "I sacrifice myself, that they may be sacrificed to the glory of God and the church's good." Paul speaks of his being offered, Phil. ii. 17; 2 Tim. iv. 6. Whatever there is in the death of the saints that is precious in the sight of the Lord, it is owing to the death of the Lord Jesus. But I rather take it more generally, that they may be saints and ministers, duly qualified and accepted of God.

[1.] The office of the ministry is the purchase of Christ's blood, and one of the blessed fruits of his satisfaction, and owes its virtue and value to Christ's merit. The priests under the law were consecrated with the blood of bulls and goats, but gospel ministers with the blood of Jesus.

[2.] The real holiness of all good Christians is the fruit of Christ's death, by which the gift of the Holy Ghost was purchased; he gave himself for his church, to sanctify it, Eph. v. 25, 26. And he that designed the end designed also the means, that they might be sanctified by the truth, the truth which Christ came into the world to bear witness to and died to confirm. The word of truth receives its sanctifying virtue and power from the death of Christ. Some read it, that they may be sanctified in truth, that is, truly; for as God must be served, so, in order to this, we must be sanctified, in the spirit, and in truth. And this Christ has prayed for, for all that are his; for this is his will, even their sanctification, which encourages them to pray for it,

Christ's Intercessory Prayer. (v. 20-23)

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Next to their purity he prays for their unity; for the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable; and amity is amiable indeed when it is like the ointment on Aaron's holy head, and the dew on Zion's holy hill. Observe,

I. Who are included in this prayer (v. 20):

"Not these only, not these only that are now my disciples" (the eleven, the seventy, with others, men and women that followed him when he was here on earth), "but for those also who shall believe on me through their word, either preached by them in their own day or written by them for the generations to come; I pray for them all, that they all may be one in their interest in this prayer, and may all receive benefit by it." Note, here,

1. Those, and those only, are interested in the mediation of Christ, that do, or shall, believe in him. This is that by which they are described, and it comprehends all the character and duty of a Christian. They that lived then, saw and believed, but they in after ages have not seen, and yet have believed.

2. It is through the word that souls are brought to believe on Christ, and it is for this end that Christ appointed the scriptures to be written, and a standing ministry to continue in the church, while the church stands, that is, while the world stands, for the raising up of a seed.

3. It is certainly and infallibly known to Christ who shall believe on him. He does not here pray at a venture, upon a contingency depending on the treacherous will of man, which pretends to be free, but by reason of sin is in bondage with its children; no, Christ knew very well whom he prayed for, the matter was reduced to a certainty by the divine prescience and purpose; he knew who were given him, who being ordained to eternal life, were entered in the Lamb's book, and should undoubtedly believe, Acts xiii. 48.

4. Jesus Christ intercedes not only for great and eminent believers, but for the meanest and weakest; not for those only that are to be employed in the highest post of trust and honour in his kingdom, but for all, even those that in the eye of the world are inconsiderable. As the divine providence extends itself to the meanest creature, so does the divine grace to the meanest Christian. The good Shepherd has an eye even to the poor of the flock.

5. Jesus Christ in his mediation had an actual regard to those of the chosen remnant that were yet unborn, the people that should be created (Ps. xxii. 31), the other sheep which he must yet bring. Before they are formed in the womb he knows them (Jer. i. 5), and prayers are filed in heaven for them beforehand, by him who declareth the end from the beginning, and calleth things that are not as though they were.

II. What is intended in this prayer (v. 21): That they all may be one.

The same was said before (v. 11), that they may be one as we are, and again, v. 22. The heart of Christ was much upon this. Some think that the oneness prayed for in v. 11 has special reference to the disciples as ministers and apostles, that they might be one in their testimony to Christ; and that the harmony of the evangelists, and concurrence of the first preachers of the gospel, are owing to this prayer. Let them be not only of one heart, but of one mouth, speaking the same thing. The unity of the gospel ministers is both the beauty and strength of the gospel interest. But it is certain that the oneness prayed for in v. 21 respects all believers. It is the prayer of Christ for all that are his, and we may be sure it is an answered prayer—that they all may be one, one in us (v. 21), one as e are one (v. 22), made perfect in one, v. 23. It includes three things:—

1. That they might all be incorporated in one body. "Father, look upon them all as one, and ratify that great charter by which they are embodied as one church. Though they live in distant places, from one end of heaven to the other, and in several ages, from the beginning to the close of time, and so cannot have any personal acquaintance or correspondence with each other, yet let them be united in me their common head." As Christ died, so he prayed, to gather them all in one, ch. xi. 52; Eph. i. 10.

2. That they might all be animated by one Spirit. This is plainly implied in this—that they may be one in us. Union with the Father and Son is obtained and kept up only by the Holy Ghost. He that is joined to the Lord in one spirit, 1 Cor. vi. 17. Let them all be stamped with the same image and superscription, and influenced by the same power.

3. That they might all be knit together in the bond of love and charity, all of one heart. That they all may be one,

(1.) In judgment and sentiment; not in every little thing—this is neither possible nor needful, but in the great things of God, and in them, by the virtue of this prayer, they are all agreed—that God's favor is better than life—that sin is the worst of evils, Christ the best of friends—that there is another life after this, and the like.

(2.) In disposition and inclination. All that are sanctified have the same divine nature and image; they have all a new heart, and it is one heart.

(3.) They are all one in their designs and aims. Every true Christian, as far as he is so, eyes the glory of God as his highest end, and the glory of heaven as his chief good.

(4.) They are all one in their desires and prayers; though they differ in words and the manner of expressions, yet, having received the same spirit of adoption, and observing the same rule, they pray for the same things in effect.

(5.) All one in love and affection. Every true Christian has that in him which inclines him to love all true Christians as such. That which Christ here prays for is that communion of saints which we profess to believe; the fellowship which all believers have with God, and their intimate union with all the saints in heaven and earth, 1 John i. 3. But this prayer of Christ will not have its complete answer till all the saints come to heaven, for then, and not till then, they shall be perfect in one, v. 23; Eph. iv. 13.

III. What is intimated by way of plea or argument to enforce this petition; three things:

1. The oneness that is between the Father and the Son, which is mentioned again and again, v. 11, 21-23.

(1.) It is taken for granted that the Father and Son are one, one in nature and essence, equal in power and glory, one in mutual endearments. The Father loveth the Son, and the Son always pleased the Father. They are one in design, and one in operation. The intimacy of this oneness is expressed in these words, thou in me, and I in thee. This he often mentions for his support under his present sufferings, when his enemies were ready to fall upon him, and his friends to fall off from him; yet he was in the Father, and the Father in him.

(2.) This is insisted on in Christ's prayer for his disciples' oneness,

[1.] As the pattern of that oneness, showing how he desired they might be one. Believers are one in some measure as God and Christ are one; for, First, The union of believers is a strict and close union; they are united by a divine nature, by the power of divine grace, in pursuance of the divine counsels. Secondly, It is a holy union, in the Holy Spirit, for holy ends; not a body politic for any secular purpose. Thirdly, It is, and will be at last, a complete union. Father and Son have the same attributes, properties, and perfections; so have believers now, as far as they are sanctified, and when grace shall be perfected in glory they will be exactly consonant to each other, all changed into the same image.

[2.] As the centre of that oneness; that they may be one in us, all meeting here. There is one God and one Mediator; and herein believers are one, that they all agree to depend upon the favour of this one God as their felicity and the merit of this one Mediator as their righteousness. That is a conspiracy, not a union, which doth not centre in God as the end, and Christ as the way. All who are truly united to God and Christ, who are one, will soon be united one to another.

[3.] As a plea for that oneness. The Creator and Redeemer are one in interest and design; but to what purpose are they so, if all believers be not one body with Christ, and do not jointly receive grace for grace from him, as he has received it for them? Christ's design was to reduce revolted mankind to God: "Father," says he, "let all that believe be one, that in one body they may be reconciled" (Eph. ii. 15, 16), which speaks of the uniting of Jews and Gentiles in the church; that great mystery, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body (Eph. iii. 6), to which I think this prayer of Christ principally refers, it being one great thing he aimed at in his dying; and I wonder none of the expositors I have met with should so apply it. "Father, let the Gentiles that believe be incorporated with the believing Jews, and make of twain one new man." Those words, I in them, and thou in me, show what that union is which is so necessary, not only to the beauty, but to the very being, of his church. First, Union with Christ: I in them. Christ dwelling in the hearts of believers is the life and soul of the new man. Secondly, Union with God through him: Thou in me, so as by me to be in them. Thirdly, Union with each other, resulting from these: that they hereby may be made perfect in one. We are complete in him.

2. The design of Christ in all his communications of light and grace to them (v. 22): "The glory which thou gavest me, as the trustee or channel of conveyance, I have accordingly given them, to this intent, that they may be one, as we are one; so that those gifts will be in vain, if they be not one." Now these gifts are either,

(1.) Those that were conferred upon the apostles, and first planters of the church. The glory of being God's ambassadors to the world—the glory of working miracles—the glory of gathering a church out of the world, and erecting the throne of God's kingdom among men—this glory was given to Christ, and some of the honour he put upon them when he sent them to disciple all nations. Or,

(2.) Those that are given in common to all believers. The glory of being in covenant with the Father, and accepted of him, of being laid in his bosom, and designed for a place at his right hand, was the glory which the Father gave to the Redeemer, and he has confirmed it to the redeemed.

[1.] This honour he says he hath given them, because he hath intended it for them, settled it upon them, and secured it to them upon their believing Christ's promises to be real gifts.

[2.] This was given to him to give to them; it was conveyed to him in trust for them, and he was faithful to him that appointed him.

[3.] He gave it to them, that they might be one.

First, to entitle them to the privilege of unity, that by virtue of their common relation to one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, they might be truly denominated one. The gift of the Spirit, that great glory which the Father gave to the Son, by him to be given to all believers, makes them one, for he works all in all, 1 Cor. xii. 4, &c.

Secondly, To engage them to the duty of unity. That in consideration of their agreement and communion in one creed and one covenant, one Spirit and one Bible—in consideration of what they have in one God and one Christ, and of what they hope for in one heaven, they may be of one mind and one mouth. Worldly glory sets men at variance; for if some be advanced others are eclipsed, and therefore, while the disciples dreamed of a temporal kingdom, they were ever and anon quarrelling; but spiritual honors being conferred alike upon all Christ's subjects, they being all made to our God kings and priests, there is no occasion for contest nor emulation. The more Christians are taken up with the glory Christ has given them, the less desirous they will be of vain-glory, and, consequently, the less disposed to quarrel.

3. He pleads the happy influence their oneness would have upon others, and the furtherance it would give to the public good. This is twice urged (v. 21): That the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And again (v. 23): That the world may know it, for without knowledge there can be no true faith. Believers must know what they believe, and why and wherefore they believe it. Those who believe at a venture, venture too far. Now Christ here shows,

(1.) His good-will to the world of mankind in general. Herein he is of his Father's mind, as we are sure he is in every thing, that he would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. ii. 4; 2 Pet. iii. 9. Therefore it is his will that all means possible should be used, and no stone left unturned, for the conviction and conversion of the world. We know not who are chosen, but we must in our places do our utmost to further men's salvation, and take heed of doing any thing to hinder it.

(2.) The good fruit of the church's oneness; it will be an evidence of the truth of Christianity, and a means of bringing many to embrace it.

[1.] In general, it will recommend Christianity to the world, and to the good opinion of those that are without. First, The embodying of Christians in one society by the gospel charter will greatly promote Christianity. When the world shall see so many of those that were its children called out of its family, distinguished from others, and changed from what they themselves sometimes were,—when they shall see this society raised by the foolishness of preaching, and kept up by miracles of divine providence and grace, and how admirably well it is modelled and constituted, they will be ready to say, We will go with you, for we see that God is with you. Secondly, The uniting of Christians in love and charity is the beauty of their profession, and invites others to join with them, as the love that was among those primo-primitive Christians, Acts ii. 42, 43; iv. 32, 33. When Christianity, instead of causing quarrels about itself, makes all other strifes to cease,—when it cools the fiery, smooths the rugged, and disposes men to be kind and loving, courteous and beneficent, to all men, studious to preserve and promote peace in all relations and societies, this will recommend it to all that have any thing either of natural religion or natural affection in them.

[2.] In particular, it will beget in men good thoughts,

First, Of Christ: They will know and believe that thou hast sent me, By this it will appear that Christ was sent of God, and that his doctrine was divine, in that his religion prevails to join so many of different capacities, tempers, and interests in other things, in one body by faith, with one heart by love. Certainly he was sent by the God of power, who fashions men's hearts alike, and the God of love and peace; when the worshippers of God are one, he is one, and his name one.

Secondly, Of Christians: They will know that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me. Here is,

1. The privilege of believers: the Father himself loveth them with a love resembling his love to his Son, for they are loved in him with an everlasting love.

2. The evidence of their interest in this privilege, and that is their being one. By this it will appear that God loves us, if we love one another with a pure heart; for wherever the love of God is shed abroad in the heart it will change it into the same image. See how much good it would do to the world to know better how dear to God all good Christians are. The Jews had a saying, If the world did but know the worth of good men, they would hedge them about with pearls. Those that have so much of God's love should have more of ours.

Christ's Intercessory Prayer. (v. 24-26)

24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Here is,

I. A petition for the glorifying of all those that were given to Christ (v. 24), not only these apostles, but all believers: Father, I will that they may be with me. Observe,

1. The connection of this request with those foregoing. He had prayed that God would preserve, sanctify, and unite them; and now he prays that he would crown all his gifts with their glorification. In this method we must pray, first for grace, and then for glory (Ps. lxxxiv. 11); for in this method God gives. Far be it from the only wise God to come under the imputation either of that foolish builder who without a foundation built upon the sand, as he would if he should glorify any whom he has not first sanctified; or of that foolish builder who began to build and was not able to finish, as he would if he should sanctify any, and not glorify them.

2. The manner of the request: Father, I will. Here, as before, he addresses himself to God as a Father, and therein we must do likewise; but when he says, thelo—I will, he speaks a language peculiar to himself, and such as does not become ordinary petitioners, but very well became him who paid for what he prayed for.

(1.) This intimates the authority of his intercession in general; his word was with power in heaven, as well as on earth. He entering with his own blood into the holy place, his intercession there has an uncontrollable efficacy. He intercedes as a king, for he is a priest upon his throne (like Melchizedek), a king-priest.

(2.) It intimates his particular authority in this matter; he had a power to give eternal life (v. 2), and, pursuant to that power, he says, Father, I will. Though now he took upon him the form of a servant, yet that power being to be most illustriously exerted when he shall come the second time in the glory of a judge, to say, Come ye blessed, having that in his eye, he might well say, Father, I will.

3. The request itself—that all the elect might come to be with him in heaven at last, to see his glory, and to share in it. Now observe here,

(1.) Under what notion we are to hope for heaven? wherein does that happiness consist? three things make heaven:—

[1.] It is to be where Christ is: Where I am; in the paradise whither Christ's soul went at death; in the third heavens whither his soul and body went at his ascension:—Where I am, am to be shortly, am to be eternally. In this world we are but in transitu—on our passage; there we truly are where we are to be for ever; so Christ reckoned, and so must we.

[2.] It is to be with him where he is; this is not tautology, but intimates that we shall not only be in the same happy place where Christ is, but that the happiness of the place will consist in his presence; this is the fulness of its joy. The very heaven of heaven is to be with Christ, there in company with him, and communion with him, Phil. i. 23.

[3.] It is to behold his glory, which the Father has given him. Observe, First, The glory of the Redeemer is the brightness of heaven. That glory before which angels cover their faces was his glory, ch. xii. 41. The Lamb is the light of the new Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 23. Christ will come in the glory of his Father, for he is the brightness of his glory. God shows his glory there, as he does his grace here, through Christ. "The Father has given me this glory," though he was as yet in his low estate; but it was very true, and very near. Secondly, The felicity of the redeemed consists very much in the beholding of this glory; they will have the immediate view of his glorious person. I shall see God in my flesh, Job xix. 26, 27. They will have a clear insight into his glorious undertaking, as it will be then accomplished; they will see into those springs of love from which flow all the streams of grace; they shall have an appropriating sight of Christ's glory (Uxor fulget radiis mariti—The wife shines with the radiance of her husband), and an assimilating sight: they shall be changed into the same image, from glory to glory.

(2.) Upon what ground we are to hope for heaven; no other than purely the mediation and intercession of Christ, because he hath said, Father, I will. Our sanctification is our evidence, for he that has this hope in him purifies himself; but it is the will of Christ that is our title, by which will we are sanctified, Heb. x. 10. Christ speaks here as if he did not count his own happiness complete unless he had his elect to share with him in it, for it is the bringing of many sons to glory that makes the captain of our salvation perfect, Heb. ii. 10.

4. The argument to back this request: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. This is a reason,

(1.) Why he expected this glory himself. Thou wilt give it to me, for thou lovedst me. The honour and power given to the Son as Mediator were founded in the Father's love to him (ch. v. 20): the Father loves the Son, is infinitely well pleased in his undertaking, and therefore has given all things into his hands; and, the matter being concerted in the divine counsels from eternity, he is said to love him as Mediator before the foundation of the world. Or,

(2.) Why he expected that those who were given to him should be with him to share in his glory: "Thou lovedst me, and them in me, and canst deny me nothing I ask for them."

II. The conclusion of the prayer, which is designed to enforce all the petitions for the disciples, especially the last, that they may be glorified. Two things he insists upon, and pleads:—

1. The respect he had to his Father, v. 25. Observe,

(1.) The title he gives to God: O righteous Father. When he prayed that they might be sanctified, he called him holy Father; when he prays that they may be glorified, he calls him righteous Father; for it is a crown of righteousness which the righteous Judge shall give. God's righteousness was engaged for the giving out of all that good which the Father had promised and the Son had purchased.

(2.) The character he gives of the world that lay in wickedness: The world has not known thee. Note, Ignorance of God overspreads the world of mankind; this is the darkness they sit in. Now this is urged here,

[1.] To show that these disciples need the aids of special grace, both because of the necessity of their work—they were to bring a world that knew not God to the knowledge of him; and also, because of the difficulty of their work—they must bring light to those that rebelled against the light; therefore keep them.

[2.] To show that they were qualified for further peculiar favors, for they had that knowledge of God which the world had not.

(3.) The plea he insists upon for himself: But I have known thee. Christ knew the Father as no one else ever did; knew upon what grounds he went in his undertaking, knew his Father's mind in every thing, and therefore, in this prayer, came to him with confidence, as we do to one we know. Christ is here suing out blessings for those that were his; pursuing this petition, when he had said, The world has not known thee, one would expect it should follow, but they have known thee; no, their knowledge was not to be boasted of, but I have known thee, which intimates that there is nothing in us to recommend us to God's favour, but all our interest in him, and intercourse with him, result from, and depend upon, Christ's interest and intercourse. We are unworthy, but he is worthy.

(4.) The plea he insists upon for his disciples: And they have known that thou hast sent me; and,

[1.] Hereby they are distinguished from the unbelieving world. When multitudes to whom Christ was sent, and his grace offered, would not believe that God had sent him, these knew it, and believed it, and were not ashamed to own it. Note, To know and believe in Jesus Christ, in the midst of a world that persists in ignorance and infidelity, is highly pleasing to God, and shall certainly be crowned with distinguishing glory. Singular faith qualifies for singular favors.

[2.] Hereby they are interested in the mediation of Christ, and partake of the benefit of his acquaintance with the Father: "I have known thee, immediately and perfectly; and these, though they have not so known thee, nor were capable of knowing thee so, yet have known that thou hast sent me, have known that which was required of them to know, have known the Creator in the Redeemer." Knowing Christ as sent of God, they have, in him, known the Father, and are introduced to an acquaintance with him; therefore, "Father, look after them for my sake."

2. The respect he had to his disciples (v. 26): "I have led them into the knowledge of thee, and will do it yet more and more; with this great and kind intention, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." Observe here,

(1.) What Christ had done for them: I have declared unto them thy name.

[1.] This he had done for those that were his immediate followers. All the time that he went in and out among them, he made it his business to declare his Father's name to them, and to beget in them a veneration for it. The tendency of all his sermons and miracles was to advance his Father's honors, and to spread the knowledge of him, ch. i. 18.

[2.] This he had done for all that believe on him; for they had not been brought to believe if Christ had not made known to them his Father's name. Note, First, We are indebted to Christ for all the knowledge we have of the Father's name; he declares it, and he opens the understanding to receive that revelation. Secondly, Those whom Christ recommends to the favor of God he first leads into an acquaintance with God.

(2.) What he intended to do yet further for them: I will declare it. To the disciples he designed to give further instructions after his resurrection (Acts i. 3), and to bring them into a much more intimate acquaintance with divine things by the pouring out of the Spirit after his ascension; and to all believers, into whose hearts he hath shined, he shines more and more. Where Christ has declared his Father's name, he will declare it; for to him that hath shall be given; and those that know God both need and desire to know more of him. This is fitly pleaded for them: "Father, own and favor them, for they will own and honour thee."

(3.) What he aimed at in all this; not to fill their heads with curious speculations, and furnish them with something to talk of among the learned, but to secure and advance their real happiness in two things:—

[1.] Communion with God: "Therefore I have given them the knowledge of thy name, of all that whereby thou hast made thyself known, that thy love, even that wherewith thou hast loved me, may be, not only towards them, but in them;" that is, First, "Let them have the fruits of that love for their sanctification; let the Spirit of love, with which thou hast filled me, be in them." Christ declares his Father's name to believers, that with that divine light darted into their minds a divine love may be shed abroad in their hearts, to be in them a commanding constraining principle of holiness, that they may partake of a divine nature. When God's love to us comes to be in us, it is like the virtue which the loadstone gives the needle, inclining it to move towards the pole; it draws out the soul towards God in pious and devout affections, which are as the spirits of the divine life in the soul. Secondly, "Let them have the taste and relish of that love for their consolation; let them not only be interested in the love of God, by having God's name declared to them, but, by a further declaration of it, let them have the comfort of that interest; that they may not only know God, but know that they know him," 1 John ii. 3. It is the love of God thus shed abroad in the heart that fills it with joy, Rom. v. 3, 5. This God has provided for, that we may not only be satisfied with his loving kindness, but be satisfied of it; and so may live a life of complacency in God and communion with him; this we must pray for, this we must press after; if we have it, we must thank Christ for it; if we want it, we may thank ourselves.

[2.] Union with Christ in order hereunto: And I in them. There is no getting into the love of God but through Christ, nor can we keep ourselves in that love but by abiding in Christ, that is, having him to abide in us; nor can we have the sense and apprehension of that love but by our experience of the indwelling of Christ, that is, the Spirit of Christ in our hearts. It is Christ in us that is the only hope of glory that will not make us ashamed, Col. i. 27. All our communion with God, the reception of his love to us with our return of love to him again, passes through the hands of the Lord Jesus, and the comfort of it is owing purely to him. Christ had said but a little before, I in them (v. 23), and here it is repeated (though the sense was complete without it), and the prayer closed with it, to show how much the heart of Christ was sent upon it; all his petitions centre in this, and with this the prayers of Jesus, the Son of David, are ended: "I in them; let me have this, and I desire no more." It is the glory of the Redeemer to dwell in the redeemed: it is his rest for ever, and he has desired it. Let us therefore make sure our union with Christ, and then take the comfort of his intercession. This prayer had an end, but that he ever lives to make.

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