Encouragement to Prayer.
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say
unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it
you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive,
that your joy may be full. 25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs:
but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but
I shall show you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in
my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed
that I came out from God.
An answer to their askings is here promised, for their further comfort.
Now there are two ways of asking: asking by way of enquiry, which is the
asking of the ignorant; and asking by way of request, which is the asking
of the indigent. Christ here speaks of both.
I. By way of enquiry, they should not need to ask (v. 23): "In that
day you shall ask me nothing;" ouk erotesete ouden--you shall ask no questions;
"you shall have such a clear knowledge of gospel mysteries, by the opening
of your understandings, that you shall not need to enquire" (as Heb. viii.
11, they shall not teach); "you shall have more knowledge on a sudden than
hitherto you have had by diligent attendance." They had asked some ignorant
questions (as ch. ix. 2), some ambitious questions (as Matt. xviii. 1),
some distrustful ones (as Matt. xix. 27), some impertinent ones, (as ch.
xxi. 21), some curious ones (as Acts i. 6); but after the Spirit was poured
out, nothing of all this. In the story of the apostles' Acts we seldom
find them asking questions, as David, Shall I do this? Or, Shall I go thither?
For they were constantly under a divine guidance. In that weighty case
of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, Peter went, nothing doubting,
Acts x. 20. Asking questions supposes us at a loss, or at least at a stand,
and the best of us have need to ask questions; but we should aim at such
a full assurance of understanding that we may not hesitate, but be constantly
led in a plain path both of truth and duty.
Now for this he gives a reason (v. 25), which plainly refers to this
promise, that they should not need to ask questions: "These things have
I spoken unto you in proverbs, in such a way as you have thought not so
plain and intelligible as you could have wished, but the time cometh when
I shall show you plainly, as plainly as you can desire, of the Father,
so that you shall not need to ask questions."
1. The great thing Christ would lead them into was the knowledge of
God: "I will show you the Father, and bring you acquainted with him." This
is that which Christ designs to give and which all true Christians desire
to have. When Christ would express the greatest favour intended for his
disciples, he tells them that it would, show them plainly of the Father;
for what is the happiness of heaven, but immediately and everlastingly
to see God? To know God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest
mystery for the understanding to please itself with the contemplation of;
and to know him as our Father is the greatest happiness for the will and
affections to please themselves with the choice and enjoyment of.
2. Of this he had hitherto spoken to them in proverbs, which are wise
and instructive sayings, but figurative, and resting in generals. Christ
had spoken many things very plainly to them, and expounded his parables
privately to the disciples, but, (1.) Considering their dulness, and unaptness
to receive what he said to them, he might be said to speak in proverbs;
what he said to them was as a book sealed, Isa. xxix. 11. (2.) Comparing
the discoveries he had made to them, in what he had spoken to their ears,
with what he would make to them when he would put his Spirit into their
heart, all hitherto had been proverbs. It would be a pleasing surprise
to themselves, and they would think themselves in a new world, when they
would reflect upon all their former notions as confused and enigmatical,
compared with their present clear and distinct knowledge of divine things.
The ministration of the letter was nothing to that of the Spirit, 2 Cor.
iii. 8-11. (3.) Confining it to what he had said of the Father, and the
counsels of the Father. what he had said was very dark, compared with what
was shortly to be revealed, Col. ii. 2.
3. He would speak to them plainly, parresia--with freedom, of the Father.
When the Spirit was poured out, the apostles attained to a much greater
knowledge of divine things than they had before, as appears by the utterance
the Spirit gave them, Acts ii. 4. They were led into the mystery of those
things of which they had previously a very confused idea; and what the
Spirit showed them Christ is here said to show them, for, as the Father
speaks by the Son, so the Son by the Spirit. But this promise will have
its full accomplishment in heaven, where we shall see the Father as he
is, face to face, not as we do now, through a glass darkly (1 Cor. xiii.
12), which is matter of comfort to us under the cloud of present darkness,
by reason of which we cannot order our speech, but often disorder it. While
we are here, we have many questions to ask concerning the invisible God
and the invisible world; but in that day we shall see all things clearly,
and ask no more questions.
II. He promises that by way of request they should ask nothing in vain.
it is taken for granted that all Christ's disciples give themselves to
prayer. He has taught them by his precept and pattern to be much in prayer;
this must be their support and comfort when he had left them; their instruction,
direction, strength, and success, must be fetched in by prayer. Now,
1. Here is an express promise of a grant, v. 23. The preface to this
promise is such as makes it inviolably sure, and leaves no room to question
it: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I pledge my veracity upon it." The
promise itself is incomparably rich and sweet; the golden sceptre is here
held out to us, with the word, What is thy petition, and it shall be granted?
For he says, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give
it to you. We had it before, ch. xiv. 13. What would we more? The promise
is as express as we can desire. (1.) We are here taught how to seek; we
must ask the Father in Christ's name; we must have an eye to God as a Father,
and come as children to him; and to Christ as Mediator, and come as clients.
Asking of the Father includes a sense of spiritual blessings, with a conviction
that they are to be had from God only. It included also humility of address
to him, with a believing confidence in him, as a Father able and ready
to help us. Asking in Christ's name includes an acknowledgment of our own
unworthiness to receive any favour from God, a complacency in the method
God has taken of keeping up a correspondence with us by his Son, and an
entire dependence upon Christ as the Lord our Righteousness. (2.) We are
here told how we shall speed: He will give it to you. What more can we
wish for than to have what we want, nay, to have what we will, in conformity
to God's will, for the asking? He will give it to you from whom proceedeth
every good and perfect gift. What Christ purchased by the merit of his
death, he needed not for himself, but intended it for, and consigned it
to, his faithful followers; and having given a valuable consideration for
it, which was accepted in full, by this promise he draws a bill as it were
upon the treasury in heaven, which we are to present by prayer, and in
his name to ask for that which is purchased and promised, according to
the true intent of the new covenant. Christ had promised them great illumination
by the Spirit, but they must pray for it, and did so, Acts i. 14. God will
for this be enquired of. He had promised them perfection hereafter, but
what shall they do in the mean time? They must continue praying. Perfect
fruition is reserved for the land of our rest; asking and receiving are
the comfort of the land of our pilgrimage.
2. Here is an invitation for them to petition. It is thought sufficient
if great men permit addresses, but Christ calls upon us to petition, v.
(1.) He looks back upon their practice hitherto: Hitherto have you asked
nothing in my name. This refers either [1.] To the matter of their prayers:
"You have asked nothing comparatively, nothing to what you might have asked,
and will ask when the Spirit is poured out." See what a generous benefactor
our Lord Jesus is, above all benefactors; he gives liberally, and is so
far from upbraiding us with the frequency and largeness of his gifts that
he rather upbraids us with the seldomness and straitness of our requests:
"You have asked nothing in comparison of what you want, and what I have
to give, and have promised to give." We are told to open our mouth wide.
Or, [2.] To the name in which they prayed. They prayed many a prayer, but
never so expressly in the name of Christ as now he was directing them to
do; for he had not as yet offered up that great sacrifice in the virtue
of which our prayers were to be accepted, nor entered upon his intercession
for us, the incense whereof was to perfume all our devotions, and so enable
us to pray in his name. Hitherto they had cast out devils, and healed diseases,
in the name of Christ, as a king and a prophet, but they could not as yet
distinctly pray in his name as a priest.
(2.) He looks forward to their practice for the future: Ask and you
shall receive, that your joy may be full. Here, [1.] He directs them to
ask for all that they needed and he had promised. [2.] He assures them
that they shall receive. What we ask from a principle of grace God will
graciously give: You shall receive it. There is something more in this
than the promise that he will give it. He will not only give it, but give
you to receive it, give you the comfort and benefit of it, a heart to eat
of it, Eccl. vi. 2. [3.] That hereby their joy shall be full. This denotes,
First. The blessed effect of the prayer of faith; it helps to fill up the
joy of faith. Would we have our joy full, as full as it is capable of being
in this world, we must be much in prayer. When we are told to rejoice evermore,
it follows immediately, Pray without ceasing. See how high we are to aim
in prayer--not only at peace, but joy, a fulness of joy. Or, Secondly,
The blessed effects of the answer of peace: "Ask, and you shall receive
that which will fill your joy." God's gifts, through Christ, fill the treasures
of the soul, they fill its joy, Prov. viii. 21. "Ask for the gift of the
Holy Ghost, and you shall receive it; and whereas other knowledge increaseth
sorrow (Eccl. i. 18), the knowledge he gives will increase, will fill,
3. Here are the grounds upon which they might hope to speed (v. 26,
27), which are summed up in short by the apostle (1 John ii. 1): "We have
an advocate with the Father."
(1.) We have an advocate; as to this, Christ saw cause at present not
to insist upon it, only to make the following encouragement shine the brighter:
"I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you. Suppose I should
not tell you that I will intercede for you, should not undertake to solicit
every particular cause you have depending there, yet it may be a general
ground of comfort that I have settled a correspondence between you and
God, have erected a throne of grace, and consecrated for you a new and
living way into the holiest." He speaks as if they needed not any favours,
when he had prevailed for the gift of the Holy Ghost to make intercession
within them, as Spirit of adoption, crying Abba, Father; as if they had
no further need of him to pray for them now, but we shall find that he
does more for us than he says he will. Men's performances often come short
of their promises, but Christ's go beyond them.
(2.) We have to do with a Father, which is so great an encouragement
that it does in a manner supersede the other: "For the Father himself loveth
you, philei hymas, he is a friend to you, and you cannot be better befriended."
Note, The disciples of Christ are the beloved of God himself. Christ not
only turned away God's wrath from us, and brought us into a covenant of
peace and reconciliation, but purchased his favour for us, and brought
us into a covenant of friendship. Observe what an emphasis is laid upon
this "The Father himself loveth you, who is perfectly happy in the enjoyment
of himself, whose self-love is both his infinite rectitude and his infinite
blessedness; yet he is pleased to love you." The Father himself, whose
favour you have forfeited, and whose wrath you have incurred, and with
whom you need an advocate, he himself now loves you. Observe, [1.] Why
the Father loved the disciples of Christ: Because you have loved me, and
have believed that I am come from God, that is, because you are my disciples
indeed: not as if the love began on their side, but when by his grace he
has wrought in us a love to him he is well pleased with the work of his
own hands. See here, First, What is the character of Christ's disciples;
they love him, because they believe he came out from God, is the only-begotten
of the Father, and his high-commissioner to the world. Note, Faith in Christ
works by love to him, Gal. v. 6. If we believe him to be the Son of God,
we cannot but love him as infinitely lovely in himself; and if we believe
him to be our Saviour, we cannot but love him as the most kind to us. Observe
with what respect Christ is pleased to speak of his disciples' love to
him, and how kindly he took it; he speaks of it as that which recommended
them to his Father's favour: "You have loved me and believed in me when
the world has hated and rejected me; and you shall be distinguished yourselves."
Secondly, See what advantage Christ's faithful disciples have, the Father
loves them, and that because they love Christ; so well pleased is he in
him that he is well pleased with all his friends. [2.] What encouragement
this gave them in prayer. They need not fear speeding when they came to
one that loved them, and wished them well. First, This cautions us against
hard thoughts of God. When we are taught in prayer to plead Christ's merit
and intercession, it is not as if all the kindness were in Christ only,
and in God nothing but wrath and fury; no, the matter is not so, the Father's
love and good-will appointed Christ to be the Mediator; so that we owe
Christ's merit to God's mercy in giving him for us. Secondly, Let it cherish
and confirm in us good thoughts of God. Believers, that love Christ, ought
to know that God loves them, and therefore to come boldly to him as children
to a loving Father.
Christ's Discoveries of Himself.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again,
I leave the world, and go to the Father. 29 His disciples said unto him,
Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30 Now are we sure
that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee:
by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31 Jesus answered them,
Do ye now believe? 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye
shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and
yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have
spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall
have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Two things Christ here comforts his disciples with:--
I. With an assurance that, though he was leaving the world, he was returning
to his Father, from whom he came forth v. 28-32, where we have,
1. A plain declaration of Christ's mission from the Father, and his
return to him (v. 28): I came forth from the Father, and am come, as you
see, into the world. Again, I leave the world, as you will see shortly,
and go to the Father. This is the conclusion of the whole matter. There
was nothing he had more inculcated upon them than these two things--whence
he came, and whither he went, the Alpha and Omega of the mystery of godliness
(1 Tim. iii. 16), that the Redeemer, in his entrance, was God manifest
in the flesh, and in his exit was received up into glory.
(1.) These two great truths are here, [1.] Contracted, and put into
a few words. Brief summaries of Christian doctrine are of great use to
young beginners. The principles of the oracles of God brought into a little
compass in creeds and catechisms have, like the beams of the sun contracted
in a burning glass, conveyed divine light and heat with a wonderful power.
Such we have, Job xxviii. 28; Eccl. xii. 13; 1 Tim. i. 15; Tit. ii. 11,
12; 1 John v. 11; much in a little. [2.] Compared, and set the one over
against the other. There is an admirable harmony in divine truths; they
both corroborate and illustrate one another; Christ's coming and his going
do so. Christ had commended his disciples for believing that he came forth
from God (v. 27), and thence infers the necessity and equity of his returning
to God again, which therefore should not seem to them either strange or
sad. Note, The due improvement of what we know and own would help us into
the understanding of that which seems difficult and doubtful.
(2.) If we ask concerning the Redeemer whence he came, and whither he
went, we are told, [1.] That he came from the Father, who sanctified and
sealed him; and he came into this world, this lower world, this world of
mankind, among whom by his incarnation he was pleased to incorporate himself.
Here his business lay, and hither he came to attend it. He left his home
for this strange country; his palace for this cottage; wonderful condescension!
[2.] That, when he had done his work on earth, he left the world, and went
back to his Father at his ascension. He was not forced away, but made it
his own act and deed to leave the world, to return to it no more till he
comes to put an end to it; yet still he is spiritually present with his
church, and will be to the end.
2. The disciples' satisfaction in this declaration (v. 29, 30): Lo,
now speakest though plainly. It should seem, this one word of Christ did
them more good than all the rest, though he had said many things likely
enough to fasten upon them. The Spirit, as the wind, blows when and where,
and by what word he pleases; perhaps a word that has been spoken once,
yea twice, and not perceived, yet, being often repeated, takes hold at
last. Two things they improved in by this saying:--
(1.) In knowledge: Lo, now speakest thou plainly. When they were in
the dark concerning what he said, they did not say, Lo, now speakest thou
obscurely, as blaming him; but now that they apprehend his meaning they
give him glory for condescending to their capacity: Lo, now speakest thou
plainly. Divine truths are most likely to do good when they are spoken
plainly, 1 Cor. ii. 4. Observe how they triumphed, as the mathematician
did with his heureka, heureka, when he had hit upon a demonstration he
had long been in quest of: I have found it, I have found it. Note, When
Christ is pleased to speak plainly to our souls, and to bring us with open
face to behold his glory, we have reason to rejoice in it.
(2.) In faith: Now are we sure. Observe,
[1.] What was the matter of their faith: We believe that thou camest
forth from God. He had said (v. 27) that they did believe this; "Lord"
(say they) "we do believe it, and we have cause to believe it, and we know
that we believe it, and have the comfort of it."
[2.] What was the motive of their faith--his omniscience. This proved
him a teacher come from God, and more than a prophet, that he knew all
things, which they were convinced of by this that he resolved those doubts
which were hid in their hearts, and answered the scruples they had not
confessed. Note, Those know Christ best that know him by experience, that
can say of his power, It works in me; of his love, He loved me. And this
proves Christ not only to have a divine mission, but to be a divine person,
that he is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, therefore
the essential, eternal Word, Heb. iv. 12, 13. He has made all the churches
to know that he searches the reins and the heart, Rev. ii. 23. This confirmed
the faith of the disciples here, as it made the first impression upon the
woman of Samaria that Christ told her all the things that ever she did
(ch. iv. 29), and upon Nathanael that Christ saw him under the fig-tree,
ch. i. 48, 49.
These words, and needest not that any man should ask thee, may bespeak
either, First, Christ's aptness to teach. He prevents us with his instructions,
and is communicative of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are
hid in him, and needs not to be importuned. Or, Secondly, His ability to
teach: "Thou needest not, as other teachers, to have the learners' doubts
told thee, for thou knowest, without being told, what they stumble at."
The best of teachers can only answer what is spoken, but Christ can answer
what is thought, what we are afraid to ask, as the disciples were, Mark
ix. 32. Thus he can have compassion, Heb. v. 2.
3. The gentle rebuke Christ gave the disciples for their confidence
that they now understood him, v. 31, 32. Observing how they triumphed in
their attainments, he said, "Do you now believe? Do you now look upon yourselves
as advanced and confirmed disciples? Do you now think you shall make no
more blunders? Alas! you know not your own weakness; you will very shortly
be scattered every man to his own," &c. Here we have,
(1.) A question, designed to put them upon consideration: Do you now
believe? [1.] "If now, why not sooner? Have you not heard the same things
many a time before?" Those who after many instructions and invitations
are at last persuaded to believe have reason to be ashamed that they stood
it out so long. [2.] "If now, why not ever? When an hour of temptation
comes, where will your faith be then?" As far as there is inconstancy in
our faith there is cause to question the sincerity of it, and to ask, "Do
we indeed believe?"
(2.) A prediction of their fall, that, how confident soever they were
now of their own stability, in a little time they would all desert him,
which was fulfilled that very night, when, upon his being seized by a party
of the guards, all his disciples forsook him and fled, Matt. xxvi. 56.
They were scattered, [1.] From one another; they shifted every one for
his own safety, without any care or concern for each other. Troublous times
are times of scattering to Christian societies; in the cloudy and dark
day the flock of Christ is dispersed, Ezek. xxxiv. 12. So Christ, as a
society, is not visible. [2.] Scattered for him: You shall leave me alone.
They should have been witnesses for him upon his trial, should have ministered
to him in his sufferings; if they could have given him no comfort they
might have done him some credit; but they were ashamed of his chain, and
afraid of sharing with him in his sufferings, and left him alone. Note,
Many a good cause, when it is distressed by its enemies, is deserted by
its friends. The disciples had continued with Christ in his other temptations
and yet turned their back upon him now; those that are tried, do not always
prove trusty. If we at any time find our friends unkind to us, let us remember
that Christ's were so to him. When they left him alone, they were scattered
every man to his own; not to their own possessions or habitations, these
were in Galilee; but to their own friends and acquaintance in Jerusalem;
every one went his own way, where he fancied he should be most safe. Every
man to secure his own; himself and his own life. Note, Those will not dare
to suffer for their religion that seek their own things more than the things
of Christ, and that look upon the things of this world as their ta idia--their
own property, and in which their happiness is bound up. Now observe here,
First, Christ knew before that his disciples would thus desert him in the
critical moment, and yet he was still tender of them, and in nothing unkind.
We are ready to say of some, "If we could have foreseen their ingratitude,
we would not have been so prodigal of our favours to them;" Christ did
foresee theirs, and yet was kind to them. Secondly, He told them of it,
to be a rebuke to their exultation in their present attainments: "Do you
now believe? Be not high-minded, but fear; for you will find your faith
so sorely shaken as to make it questionable whether it be sincere or no,
in a little time." Note, even when we are taking the comfort of our graces,
it is good to be reminded of our dangers from our corruptions. When our
faith is strong, our love flaming, and our evidences are clear, yet we
cannot infer thence that to-morrow shall be as this day. Even when we have
most reason to think we stand, yet we have reason enough to take heed lest
we fall. Thirdly, He spoke of it as a thing very near. The hour was already
come, in a manner, when they would be as shy of him as ever they had been
fond of him. Note, A little time may produce great changes, both concerning
us and in us.
(3.) An assurance of his own comfort notwithstanding: Yet I am not alone.
He would not be thought to complain of their deserting him, as if it were
any real damage to him; for in their absence he should be sure of his Father's
presence, which was instar omnium--every thing: The Father is with me.
We may consider this, [1.] As a privilege peculiar to the Lord Jesus; the
Father was so with him in his sufferings as he never was with any, for
still he was in the bosom of the Father. The divine nature did not desert
the human nature, but supported it, and put an invincible comfort and an
inestimable value into his sufferings. The Father had engaged to be with
him in his whole undertaking (Ps. lxxxix. 21, &c.), and to preserve
him (Isa. xlix. 8); this emboldened him, Isa. l. 7. Even when he complained
of his Father's forsaking him, yet he called him My God, and presently
after was so well assured of his favourable presence with him as to commit
his Spirit into his hand. This he had comforted himself with all along
(ch. viii. 29), He that sent me is with me, the Father hath not left me
alone, and especially now at last. This assists our faith in the acceptableness
of Christ's satisfaction; no doubt, the Father was well pleased in him,
for he went along with him in his undertaking from first to last. [2.]
As a privilege common to all believers, by virtue of their union with Christ;
when they are alone, they are not alone, but the Father is with them. First,
When solitude is their choice, when they are alone, as Isaac in the field,
Nathanael under the fig-tree, Peter upon the house-top, meditating and
praying, the Father is with them. Those that converse with God in solitude
are never less alone than when alone. A good God and a good heart are good
company at any time. Secondly, When solitude is their affliction, their
enemies lay them alone, and their friends leave them so, their company,
like Job's, is made desolate; yet they are not so much alone as they are
thought to be, the Father is with them, as he was with Joseph in his bonds
and with John in his banishment. In their greatest troubles they are as
one whom his father pities, as one whom his mother comforts. And, while
we have God's favourable presence with us, we are happy, and ought to be
easy, though all the world forsake us. Non deo tribuimus justum honorem
nisi solus ipse nobis sufficiat--We do not render due honour to God, unless
we deem him alone all-sufficient.--Calvin.
II. He comforts them with a promise of peace in him, by virtue of his
victory over the world, whatever troubles they might meet with in it (v.
33): "These things have I spoken, that in me you might have peace; and
if you have it not in me you will not have it at all, for in the world
you shall have tribulation; you must expect no other, and yet may cheer
up yourselves, for I have overcome the world." Observe,
1. The end Christ aimed at in preaching this farewell sermon to his
disciples: That in him they might have peace. He did not hereby intend
to give them a full view of that doctrine which they were shortly to be
made masters of by the pouring out of the Spirit, but only to satisfy them
for the present that his departure from them was really for the best. Or,
we may take it more generally: Christ had said all this to them that by
enjoying him they might have the best enjoyment of themselves. Note, (1.)
It is the will of Christ that his disciples should have peace within, whatever
their troubles may be without. (2.) Peace in Christ is the only true peace,
and in him alone believers have it, for this man shall be the peace, Mic.
v. 5. Through him we have peace with God, and so in him we have peace in
our own minds. (3.) The word of Christ aims at this, that in him we may
have peace. Peace is the fruit of the lips, and of his lips, Isa. lvii.
2. The entertainment they were likely to meet with in the world: "You
shall not have outward peace, never expect it." Though they were sent to
proclaim peace on earth, and good-will towards men, they must expect trouble
on earth, and ill-will from men. Note, It has been the lot of Christ's
disciples to have more or less tribulation in this world. Men persecute
them because they are so good, and God corrects them because they are no
better. Men design to cut them off from the earth, and God designs by affliction
to make them meet for heaven; and so between both they shall have tribulation.
3. The encouragement Christ gives them with reference hereto: But be
of good cheer, tharseite. "Not only be of good comfort, but be of good
courage; have a good heart on it, all shall be well." Note, In the midst
of the tribulations of this world it is the duty and interest of Christ's
disciples to be of good cheer, to keep up their delight in God whatever
is pressing, and their hope in God whatever is threatening; as sorrowful
indeed, in compliance with the temper of the climate, and yet always rejoicing,
always cheerful (2 Cor. vi. 10), even in tribulation, Rom. v. 3.
4. The ground of that encouragement: I have overcome the world. Christ's
victory is a Christian triumph. Christ overcame the prince of this world,
disarmed him, and cast him out; and still treads Satan under our feet.
He overcame the children of this world, by the conversion of many to the
faith and obedience of his gospel, making them the children of his kingdom.
When he sends his disciples to preach the gospel to all the world, "Be
of good cheer," says he, "I have overcome the world as far as I have gone,
and so shall you; though you have tribulation in the world, yet you shall
gain your point, and captivate the world," Rev. vi. 2. He overcame the
wicked of the world, for many a time he put his enemies to silence, to
shame; "And be you of good cheer, for the Spirit will enable you to do
so too." He overcame the evil things of the world by submitting to them;
he endured the cross, despising it and the shame of it; and he overcame
the good things of it by being wholly dead to them; its honours had no
beauty in his eye, its pleasures no charms. Never was there such a conqueror
of the world as Christ was, and we ought to be encouraged by it, (1.) Because
Christ has overcome the world before us; so that we may look upon it as
a conquered enemy, that has many a time been baffled. Nay, (2.) He has
conquered it for us, as the captain of our salvation. We are interested
in his victory; by his cross the world is crucified to us, which bespeaks
it completely conquered and put into our possession; all is yours, even
the world. Christ having overcome the world, believers have nothing to
do but to pursue their victory, and divide the spoil; and this we do by
faith, 1 John v. 4. We are more than conquerors through him that loved