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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 16



Other Authors
Verse 7

John 16:7

Christ's Going Away our Gain

The departure of our Lord was the disciples' gain, and it is ours. It is the gain of His whole Church on earth. Let us see how this can be.

I. And first, because by His departure His local presence was changed into an universal presence. He had dwelt among them as man, under the limitations of our humanity; in Galilee and Jerusalem, on the mountain and in the upper chamber, they had known Him according to the measures and laws of our nature. He had thereby revealed to them His very and true manhood. They had yet greater things to learn. They had to learn His very and true Godhead, His Divine and infinite majesty. And this was to be revealed from a higher sphere and by a mightier revelation of Himself. The day of Pentecost was the enlargement of His presence from a local and visible shape to an invisible and universal fulness. As the Father dwells in the Son, so the Son in the Holy Ghost.

II. His departure changed their imperfect knowledge into the full illumination of faith. While He was yet with them, He taught them by word of mouth. But the mysteries of His passion and resurrection were not as yet fulfilled, and their hearts were slow of understanding. The truth itself lay hid in Him. But when the Comforter came, all things were brought back to their remembrance. Old truths and perplexing mysteries received their true solution. Their very faculties were enlarged; they were no longer pent up by narrow senses and by the succession of time, but were lifted into a light where all things are boundless and eternal. A new power of insight was implanted in their spiritual being, and a new world rose up before it; for the spirit of truth dwelt in them, and the world unseen was revealed.

III. And lastly, Christ's departure changed the partial dispensations of grace into the fulness of the regeneration. It is expedient, then, for us, that He has gone unto the Father. If He had tarried upon earth, all had stood still. It would have been as a perpetual promise of day, a lingering blossom and a retarded fruit, a lengthening childhood and a backward maturity. The word of God is ever unfolding and advancing. When He was upon earth, all was local, exterior, and imperfect; now all is universal, inward, and Divine. The corn of wheat is not alone. It hath borne much fruit, even an hundredfold; and its fruit is multiplied, in all ages and in all the earth, by a perpetual growth and a perpetual reproduction.

H. E. Manning, Sermons, vol. iv., p. 86.

The Invisible Government of Christ through His Spirit

I. The Holy Spirit, in His direct, as in His subordinate or instrumental presence, is the agent, not of disjunction, but of combination, between the faithful and their Lord; Christ still continuing the fontal reservoir of all the graces communicated. The clearest general view of the agency of the Holy Spirit may be obtained by considering it as the counterpart to that tremendous activity of the Spirit of Darkness which has continued incessantly since the Fall of Man. Satan perpetually imitates the operations of God. The evil spirit has the advantage of priority in each soul as it springs to life, and he uses it. No poison so virulent can leave the constitution as it found it, and the Spirit of God in this world has to wander among ruins.

II. The nature of evil being the association of an accursed element with our nature, it surely would seem that it must, in accordance with all the intimations of Holy Writ, be met and counteracted by the introduction of an element of holiness really abiding as it is abiding, really distinct as it is distinct, the seed of eternal life as it is of death eternal. The original corruption consists, not in the evil of every faculty, but in the superadded presence of a principle, once inherent in Adam, thence by the spirit of evil perpetuated to us, which governs the will and perverts the faculties into the machinery of sin. The regenerating gift must in like manner consist, not in the annihilation of any of our natural faculties, but in the indwelling of a principle once inherent in Christ, and from Him transmitted to all who in Him are born of the Spirit—a principle which as it advances displaces its rival, as it retreats admits it; when it shall make us wholly its own, shall wholly dispossess it; when it deserts us, yields the heart once more and altogether to ruin.

W. Archer Butler, Sermons Doctrinal and Practical, p. 272.

Christ's Departure the Condition of the Spirit's Advent

I. It is clear that our Lord speaks here of His ascension to the Father as the departure which was necessarily to precede the advent of the Comforter. The true nature or ultimate ground of the connection which subsisted between the ascension of Christ into Heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit to enrich the Church is, of course, to us quite incomprehensible. The economy of the spiritual world being as certainly regulated by immutable laws of Divine wisdom as that of the world of sensible experience, we may conceive the one event as necessarily a pre-condition to the other as the members of any physical sequence whatever. And when we remember the limits of our knowledge in the latter case, we need not be much surprised at our ignorance in the former.

II. No one, whose inmost spirit has been busy with the New Testament, can fail to be aware that there is everywhere a profound community or even identity of nature intimated between the heavenly world itself and a state of spiritual-mindedness on earth, altogether transcending the mere notion of recompense or sequel. It is as if heaven itself was already, though faintly, realised in the soul, and that some rather accidental than essential obstacle delayed its consummation, as if the sanctified spirit were there, but from a temporary defect of vision could not see or enjoy it. Now, if a connection so intimate do subsist between the two departments of the great empire of grace, it seems highly consistent that that seed should be issued originally from heaven which is to flower here as heaven's image, and to bear its immortal fruits in heaven's own climate.

III. The Holy Spirit was also the fruit of a victory, and dispensed as the gift of triumph. It ought not, then, to be given till the triumph was consummated by the entrance into glory; it could not be given till the victory was publicly evidenced by the appearance of the living sacrifice—priest and victor—in the presence of the expectant Father, the enlargement of the kingdom following naturally and immediately on the recognised defeat of the power of evil, by the principle of righteousness incarnate in Christ.

W. Archer Butler, Sermons Doctrinal and Practical, p. 289.

The Expediency of Christ's Invisibility

I. We know that Christ, being God as well as man, deserved and received adoration during the days of His flesh. In all the instances of this unqualified adoration, however, it is not. certain how far we can answer for the absolute purity of the motives of all the adorers. Men might worship a God in the spirit of idolatry, if they worshipped only the human element of His complex nature. Now, this is just the result which the visible presence of Christ might be apprehended to produce. Perpetually familiar with the humanity, it is scarcely conceivable that men could fix a steady gaze upon the Deity it enshrined. Assuredly such a power of abstraction is not within the habits of the mass of mankind; and yet it is only under this condition that Christ can be legitimately adored with the unbounded homage of the entire man.

II. The principle of faith is the basis and the condition of the spiritual life. The faith which clings to an absent Saviour is very fitly made the connecting link between the reality of this world and the reality of the world to come; and the imagination, under the guidance of Reason and Revelation, anticipates, and by anticipating prepares for the heaven which the purified senses are yet to apprehend by direct experience. Christ stands aloof and superintends the work, Himself unseen, because He knows that at present His visible presence would interfere with the completion of the process. Faith, to qualify for glory, must fight at a disadvantage; love must seek its beloved through clouds and darkness, but could not hereafter know itself for the grace it is; joy must rejoice with trembling and smile through tears, if it will echo the song of Moses and the Lamb.

III. If it were mysteriously requisite that the Captain of our Salvation should be, in relation to His office, perfected through sufferings, it is equally fitting that the many sons to be led to glory should be led through the same pathway of sorrow; that they should be, like Him, undignified and unsustained by the visible patronage of heaven; that, their perfection being wrought out like His, they should present, and glory to present, the counterpart of every grief He bore.

W. Archer Butler, Sermons Doctrinal and Practical, p. 257.

Help from an Absent Saviour

It was expedient that Christ should go away—

I. Because the great work for which He came lay as yet unaccomplished. He must depart to finish His work and their salvation. He had read to them the lesson of life; now He had to read to them the still more wonderful lessons of death; now He had to break through the inexorable door, and open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. The pathway of His degradation was the highway of the world's salvation.

II. To reveal to the disciples the true proportions of His exalted being. Hitherto they had known Christ after the flesh; henceforth they were to know Him so no more. Yes, the Saviour would gain by leaving that little band. How often, in the after years of active ministry, they would recall the old scenes and impressions, the loved walks and words! How, in such mourning, the Lord would gain in their hearts, their eyes overflowing with tears! Divinity would rise out of that manhood.

III. It was expedient to develop their own character. As long as He was with them, they would lean even too selfishly on Him. His departure roused them to action. Men's hearts had to be trained by sorrow and hardship, by trial and suffering; and so He would go away and leave them to themselves—quit them visibly. It was a true, Divine, human lesson; it was rooted in the very deeps of our moral progressive being; it was a lasting theme for faith and aspiration, and effort and hope; and, instead of a life merely in the present, it was a crown held before them in the future.

IV. And, finally, our Lord included all when He Himself gave the reason for His departure. He goes, really the better to help our infirmities. It was that He might be the channel of Divine influence to the world. He is here, by His promise, the Comforter. Thus, Christ daily helps our infirmities—infirmity of will, that paralysis of our moral being—of temper, of speech, of knowledge.

Learn then (1) the reason of Christ's absence from you. It is expedient, and not unkind. When our Lord's absence is no more useful to us, then He will come again and receive us to Himself. In life it is so. He leaves us (a) to show us Himself; (b) to show us ourselves. (2) Learn the expediency of our dead friends' farewell. They are saying to us, in their shrouds and winding-sheets, "It is expedient we go away; we leave you to work for you and with you, and shall be the better fitted to meet you when it is done."

E. Paxton Hood, Sermons, p. 274.

I. One reason of the expediency of the Ascension which must strike a modern believer in our Lord Jesus Christ is, that it seems to him to secure an adequate sense of the true place and dignity of man among the creatures of God. There are several lines of thought—I had almost said, there are some great studies—which, at least as they are sometimes handled, tend to create a degraded and false idea of man. But the Christian falls back upon a distinct fact, which enables him to listen with interest and with sympathy to all that the astronomer, or the physiologist, or chemist, may have to tell him, and withal to preserve the robust faith in the dignity of man; he believes in the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven. Somewhere in space, he knows—somewhere there is at this moment, intimately and for ever associated with the glories of the self-existing Dignity—a human body and a human soul. Ay, it is on the throne of the universe!

II. The expediency of the resurrection is further traceable in the effect which it may produce upon life and character by making room for faith in Christ, and by colouring the whole character of distinctly Christian worship. If Christ our Lord had continued to be visibly present among us, there would have been no room for true faith in Him. If we are to give our hearts and wills to the Author and End of our existence; if our Christian worship is not to be a coldly calculated compliment, but the outcome of a pure and of a soul-consuming passion—then it is well that on the heights of heaven should throb to all eternity a human heart, the sacred heart of Jesus, and that, in the adoration which we pay Him, we should know that we are extending the inmost resources of our nature at the feet of the one Being who has upon them the claim of relationship as well as the claim of duty.

III. And a last reason for the expediency of our Lord's departure is to be found in His connection with His present and continuous work of intercession in heaven. He has entered, so the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us, into the holiest place of all, as the High Priest of Christendom. But while every Jewish priest stood ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which could never take away sins, "This man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down at the right hand of God." It is the knowledge that the great work, on which Jesus Christ our Lord entered at His ascension, proceeds uninterruptedly, that makes hope and perseverance possible when hearts are failing, when temptation is strong, when the sky is dark and lurid. Surely it is expedient for you and me that He should go away!

H. P. Liddon, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii., p. 273.

The Mission of the Comforter

There are three facts which are plainly revealed in Scripture about the coming of the Holy Spirit.

I. It is evident that in some sense the Holy Ghost had come upon men, and had dwelt amongst them, even from the first. That God should say, "My Spirit shall not always strive with men," implies that the Spirit did strive with them during a certain time. That David should pray, "Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me," "Uphold me with Thy free Spirit," implied, of course, that he had enjoyed the presence and assistance of that Spirit.

II. And yet, in the second place, nothing can be more plain than that the Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost, after a totally different fashion from any in which He had come before. It cannot be too strongly expressed that His coming then was an altogether new thing, never before experienced by man, and making an epoch in human history as remarkable and as blessed as that made by the birth of Christ Himself. It was to the Church, in another sphere, what the Incarnation was to the world; if the redeemed world of God date her years from the birth of His Divine Son, His chosen Church counts her age from the Pentecostal coming of His Divine Spirit.

III. In the third place, it is also plain that this change, so unspeakably important, in the manner of the presence of the Holy Ghost, was dependent on and consequent on the finished work of Christ. His presence in us is based on that humanity which is common to Christ and to us, and it is charged with all that was powerful in His atoning sacrifice, with all that was holy and victorious in His life. He comes to minister to us, all that Christ earned by His obedience to our nature, to set forward and continue in us the life that Christ lived in our nature. The Holy Ghost came at Pentecost with the life and victory and immortality of the glorified Son of Man, and bestowed them for ever on the Church.

R. Winterbotham, Sermons and Expositions, p. 276.

We can easily understand that it was in the delicacy of our Saviour's life to feel very jealous lest any of His people should think for a moment that His going away from this world would make any change in His feelings. To us now such a supposition may seem ridiculous, but not to them. Is not history full of such things—men who have bound themselves to a great and spontaneous effort of affection, and when it is done, the heart, like a plant exhausted with its one flower, has lapsed, if not into its apathy, yet certainly into a very low level of feeling? We very seldom sustain anything which rises above the level of mediocrity. It might be in part to meet such a thought that our Lord spoke the words of my text. Look now at one or two of the reasons why it was good for. the Church that Christ's visible presence should be taken away from it.

I. God has so constituted us that a state of pure simple faith, i.e., of dealing with the unseen, is essential to the development of the highest and best faculties of our nature. The best reason I can give for this is, that ultimately we shall all of us have to do with spirit; and therefore we are now disciplined to deal with what is only spiritual, that we may be prepared for perfectly spiritual intercourse.

II. But the departure of Christ was chiefly characterised as being introductory to the descent of the Holy Ghost. Was it not a part of the expansion of the covenant, a note preparatory to the larger developments which were coming, when He said, "It is expedient for you that I go away?"

III. The things which are opening now, during Christ's absence, are to prepare us and make us capable of that Presence. Already God is working towards that point. The expediency of Christ going away was, because, if He should come then in His glory, we were not ready to receive Him. But now He is making us ready to receive Him, that it may be "expedient" for us that He should come back again.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 216.


The peculiarity of the Bible mysteries is this, that they are always associated with life, never with mere thought. They always present themselves to the view of the disciple rather than to that of the mere student; they always address the heart quite as much as the intellect. Observe how very little there is of what can be called speculative revelation in the Bible. The Bible teaches us not how to think, but how to live; and treats the thinking as part of living.

I. Take the doctrine contained in the words of the text, namely, the gift of the Holy Spirit, as an instance of the method which is always observed in the Bible in revealing mysteries. There is nowhere any distinct statement in the Bible of the attributes of the Holy Ghost, or of the part which He takes to Himself in dealing with us. What the Holy Ghost precisely is, and even what He precisely does, is nowhere defined. There is no philosophy of His existence given us. But if this is not given, what is given? Wherever the Holy Spirit acts on our life, there we are told how we can see His action. Wherever He can comfort, strengthen, enlighten, there we meet with a promise that we shall find Him. Whatever is needed to enable us to reverence Him, worship Him, obey Him, that is revealed.

II. One word on the bearing of this mystery on our own lives. In ordinary times, our consciences seem to us no more than one of the faculties of the soul. The guidance that they give does not seem very much to differ in kind from the light given by the understanding, from the influence exerted by the feelings. But every now and then we know that this is not so. Every now and then, that spiritual voice which we call the conscience, seems to rise up within us into a separate being; seems to command, to forbid, to warn us with an awful authority; seems to assert a claim to obedience, even to the death; seems to sting and pierce, or else to inspire or uplift, the soul with a power altogether beyond the power of earth. This is assuredly nothing less than the revelation of the Holy Spirit, which we read in the pages of the New Testament. Then, if we have eyes to see the truth, shall we recognise that the voice which speaks to us is the voice of the Divine Person who has promised to guide all Christians.

Bishop Temple, Rugby Sermons, 2nd series, p. 162.

References: John 16:7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 574; vol. xxviii., No. 1662; H. Wace, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 202; A. Blomfield, Sermons in Town and Country, p. 110; J. M. Neale, Sermons in a Religious House, 2nd series, vol. i., p. 64; Parker, City Temple, 1871, p. 52; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 287; vol. x., p. 253; J. Armstrong, Parochial Sermons, p. 282; T. Howell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 133; T. Gasquoine, Ibid., vol. xvi., p. 229; H. P. Liddon, Ibid., vol. xxiii., p. 273; J. Graham, Ibid., p. 280; H. W. Beecher, Ibid., vol. v., p. 138; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 546; vol. xiv., p. 303; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 406. John 16:7-11.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 140; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xix., p. 245. John 16:7-33.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 224.

Verse 8

John 16:8


I. At the Holy Spirit's operations, as set forth under the New Testament. At one time He is represented as exerting influence upon the understanding. The eyes are opened; the faculty of spiritual discernment is bestowed; the dead letter quickens into a living and sublime reality, and our heart burns within us, as fresh, warm light from heaven streams in upon the sacred word. At other times, the influence seems to be exerted upon the will. The strongholds of the ancient enemy are cast down; the soul is led onwards by the constraint of a sweet captivity, and drawn upwards by the bonds of love. Whilst at other times, the work of the Holy Spirit seems to lie directly with the affections of the heart. Then there is shadowed forth the love of God; we feel the presence and power of a new affection; we are urged on by the inspiration of grateful emotion. "The love of Christ constraineth us," because this love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which He hath given us.

II. Consider the especial work of the Spirit—the reproving or convincing of sin. To convince of unbelief, is to convince of an estranged heart. We should believe more if we loved more; if the persuasion were more habitually cherished; if God's deep tenderness, and the fire of holy gratitude, were kindled on the altar of our languid faith. There is nothing for which we are plainly more responsible than first convictions of sin; they bear marks of, and come direct from God. They follow no law, they are confined to no instrument, they wait no opportunities, and yet they come armed with a force which challenges our obstinacy to disregard, and defies our philosophy to explain. Resisted convictions will in time destroy all religious sensibility. As the difficulty lessens, so also does the pain. Resistance unites resistance, and the heart, like an anvil, grows harder for each succeeding stroke. Instead of resisting first convictions of sin, use all means to deepen them. "To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."

D. Moore, Penny Pulpit, No. 3357.

References: John 16:8.—S. Baring Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, pp. 155, 157; Parker, City Temple, 1871, p. 185. John 16:8, John 16:9.—R. Lorimer, Bible Studies in Life and Truth, p. 143.

Verses 8-10

John 16:8-10

I. The first point of thought suggested here, is the ground on which the charge is founded—"of sin, because they believe not on Me."

II. Note the way in which the Comforter, by revealing Christ, answers the cry for forgiveness, and for power to become righteous. "He shall convince the world of righteousness because I go to the Father." It is not Christ crucified only, but Christ risen and ascended, who reveals a righteousness for man. Three of man's necessities—the assurance of forgiveness of the past, the removal of the terrors of the future, the creation of a new manhood in the present—are all met by the truth that Christ has gone to the Father; and when that is revealed by the Comforter, we have the conviction of righteousness.

E. L. Hull, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 14.

References: John 16:8-11.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix., No. 1708; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 286; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. v., p. 484. John 16:9.—J. Vaughan, Sermons, 11th series, pp. 205, 213.

Verses 9-11

John 16:9-11

Conviction of Sin by the Cross

It is a fixed expectation of Christ Himself, that His mission to the world will have a considerable part of its value in raising a higher moral sense in mankind, and producing a more appalling conviction of their guilt or guiltiness before God.

I. Conviction of sin is a profoundly intelligent matter, and worthy in that view to engage the counsel of God in the gift of His Son. The sense of guilt is itself a pain of the mind, just as light is pain to a diseased eye; but light is none the less truly light, and guilt is none the less truly intelligent, on that account. The returning of guilty conviction is, in fact, the dawning, or may be, of an everlasting and complete intelligence, in just the highest, moral side of the nature, that was going down out of intelligence into stupor and blindness. Is it, then, a severity in Christ that He is counting on a result of His ministry and death so essentially great and beneficent?

II. It is quite evident that such a Being as Christ could not come into the world, and pass through it and out of it in such a manner, without stirring the profoundest possible convictions of character. If the Divine glory and spotless love of God are by Him incarnated into the world, the revelation must be one that raises a great inward commotion. Every guilty mind will feel itself arraigned and brought to know itself, that beholds or looks into the perfect glass of history that describes this life. And, above all, when it is ended by such a death, inflicted by a world in wrong, who that knows himself to be a man will not be visited by silent pangs, not easy to be stifled.

III. Christ was a Being who perfectly knew the pure standards of character and duty, knowing as well what sin is in the breach of them, and what man is in the sin. He knew exactly what to do on all occasions, and with all classes of men, to put the sense of guilt upon them; and we can see ourselves that He has it for one of the great objects of His ministry, even as it was a great expectation, in the matter of His death, that all enemies and rejectors would discover, in bitter pangs of conviction, that, in what they have done upon Him, they have only let their sin reveal its own madness.

IV. In the Scriptures we find many tokens that Christ, before His coming, was expected to come in this character; and also many declarations by Himself and His followers afterward, that He had, especially in His death, accomplished such a result.

V. A very bad act often brings out the show of a bad spirit within, and becomes, in that manner, a most appalling argument of conviction. Hence the immense convincing power to be exerted on mankind through the crucifixion of Christ by His enemies. It rolls back on our thought in a kind of silent horror, that will not always be repelled, that the manifested love of God, impartial and broad as the world, a grace for every human creature, is yet gnashed upon by the world and crucified.

VI. I think I may assert with confidence, that there is no man living who is not made conscious at times of sin, by the simple fact of his own rejection of Christ. No matter what may be reasoned by infidels and Christian speculatists about, against, or for the historic person of Christ; if He is a fiction only, or a myth, a romance of character, got up by three or four of the most unromantic writers in the world, still He is the greatest, solidest, most real truth, ever known to man. The Christ of the New Testament is the want, consciously or unconsciously, of every human heart; and that, aching secretly for Him, it aches the more that it has Him not, and still the more that it will not have Him. "He shall convince of sin, because they believe not on Me."

H. Bushnell, Christ and His Salvation, p. 98.

References: John 16:10.—J. Vaughan, Sermons, 11th series, p. 229.

Verse 11

John 16:11

These words present two thoughts—a fact, and a conviction founded on that fact

I. Christ's conquest over the kingdom of evil It was a conquest won for man, and for this two things were requisite— Christ must overcome the essence of evil by a means common to humanity; and He must show in His conquest, that the facts which seemed to prove the perpetuity of evil were the signs of its overthrow.

II. Christ's conquest and pledge of victory for man. (1) The fact itself is a power. (2) Christ is God's promise. (3) Christ a present friend.

E. L. Hull, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 29.

References: John 16:10.—G. Calthrop, Words Spoken to my Friends, p. 44; R. Lorimer, Bible Studies in Life and Truth, p. 165.

Verse 12

John 16:12

Gradual Revelations

The thought which our Saviour here expressed was in strict accordance with His whole method of life. He was always measuring what and how much His followers could bear, for He was that true wisdom which cometh down from above and is always gentle.

I. And here let us notice the blessedness of having the mind placed under God's own direct teaching. The great power of a teacher lies in being able to have sympathy with the mind of his scholar. God, who knows exactly the real state and power of everyone's heart, marvellously suits the lesson to the capacity, and leads on as we can bear it. The child has the child's milk, and the giant has the giant's meat.

II. But the subject opens to us another field of thought. We are all placed in this world as in a school; we have all to learn of God, His being, His word, His work, His love, His glory. All other knowledge springs out of that knowledge. The Cross itself, the whole life and death of Jesus Christ were, after all, a means to know God. Now, this knowledge lies in a long series, and the different parts range one above another in a continual scale, and by these ranges of knowledge we are all ascending. Now God's system is this: He gives knowledge as a certain reward and privilege to particular states of heart. The spiritual intellect will advance as the spiritual state improves. This principle is contained in that important verse: "If any man will do My will, he shall know of the doctrine." Consequently, the way to grow in Divine wisdom is continually to be attaining a more humble, affectionate, holy, pure, praying, active condition of life. And any man who would be wise, must be patient in the cultivation of his affections; otherwise he cannot receive truth, or if he received it, he could not bear it. If any man without an adequate spiritual preparation were to be admitted at once into the occupations of the blessed, they would be to that man either intensely dull or witheringly grand.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 283.

The Changed Aspect of Christian Theology

I. As regards Christian theology, two things appear to be true. (1) That the Revelation of Christ was taught by the Church through forms, both of doctrine and practice, which were created by the spirit of the world, and that it could not have been received at all except it had been taught through these forms; that therefore the imperial and aristocratic elements in the Church were not created by the religious body acting alone, but by the whole spirit of the age. (2) That in spite of the forms in which the universal ideas of Christ were cast being evil, though not known as evil then, they entered into men's hearts, and in their slow growth is to be sought the real work of the Spirit of God in the development of Christianity. But that inner indirect influence in men's hearts worked against those forms and slowly undermined them, and we look to the ideas which the Spirit of God has evolved in history out of the seeds which Christ sowed for the truest form of His revelation, not to the forms into which the Church threw only a portion of the thoughts of Christ.

II. Now for the first time in history and after a sustained battle, we have nearly worked up to the level at which Christ wrote, we stand upon His platform; we know what He meant when He said: "I have yet many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now." There is a clear path of progress before us, and it will not be long before we may run along it with joy, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Those within the Church who see the position at which the world has arrived have a clear duty, a noble work to do. They have (1) to take away from theology, and especially from its idea of God and His relation to man, all exclusive and limited conceptions. They have to bring the outer teaching of Christ's revelation up to the level of that inner one which has now become outward in society and politics; to confess and accept this as the work of God. (2) Their teaching in the Church should heartily, but temperately, go with the ideas that are collected round the words, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, not serving the wild image which France made of them, but the image which an honest and just idealism presents to our hope. The Church should get nearer in spirit and in life to Him who was the intimate friend of the poor, whom the common people gladly heard, and who never hesitated one instant to proclaim ideas which He knew would overthrow the existing conditions of society.

S. A. Brooke, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 1.

The Continuing Life of Christ on Earth

I. If the life of Christ were visibly to continue on earth and to influence the earth, that continued life and influence must of necessity bear a close resemblance to the life that Christ once lived among His countrymen, and to the influence that He for years exercised over them. Is that what we find? Christ's life was for many years an unobserved life, till His mighty words and loving deeds could be no longer hid. What of His life continued on and by the Holy Spirit, His life infused into His body, the Church, and into us, the individual members of that body. Are not the same marks visibly imprinted? The feature of quiet, unobserved growth marked both the common life of our Lord on earth and His supernaturally continued life on earth as well.

II. Wherever Christ went in Syria, the hearts of men acknowledged Him, some by opposition, some by submission. Where that continued life now goes, the same results follow, as the slow time unrolls itself towards the final judgment. Across a chasm of 1800 years, Christ makes a demand which of all others is most difficult to satisfy. He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart, and He will have it all to Himself. He demands it unconditionally, and forthwith the demand is granted. In defiance of time and space, the soul of man with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. The continued power of the mighty drawing of the unseen love of Jesus Christ our Lord is at once one of the greatest tokens of the presence of His abiding love with us, and one of the most unanswerable proofs of the absolute truth of Christianity.

III. There are two points which we may briefly take here. The first is the message of warning which such a fact conveys to us. Think you not that the disciples took heed to their words, to their deeds, to their habits of life, when, in those forty days, they felt that, all unseen by them, the Lord might be so close to them, and might at any moment manifest Himself to them? We are as near to God as they were. Are we as careful? Secondly, there are both the strength and comfort that flow down to us from the fact of the nearness of Christ to us, near to us in His house, near to us in His church, near to us in His sacraments, in prayer, in our hearts. The life of our God is continued even now upon earth, and where that life is, there is the full, unending, irresistible power by which God will lead us from strength to strength, until at length we come to appear before our God in Sion.

B. Wilberforce, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 22.

References: John 16:12.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 308; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiii., p. 270; Parker, Cavendish Pulpit, p. 70; A. K. H. B., Graver Thoughts of a Country Parson, 3rd series, p. 71; H. Bonner, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 84; H. P. Liddon, Ibid., vol. xxiii., p. 257; Easter Sermons, vol. ii., p. 294.

Verse 12-13

John 16:12-13

In these words our Lord describes two sorts of persons—those who cannot yet bear the truth, and those who, through the guiding of the Spirit, are led into all truth. They who could not yet bear it were, we see, our Lord's disciples; they who had followed Him from the beginning of His ministry; they, of whom He had just before said, that they were all clean, except Judas, who betrayed Him. Still, He had much to say which they could not yet bear, but which they should be able to bear and to understand, when the Spirit of truth should come and lead them into all truth. These words were applicable to our Lord's twelve first disciples, and they are much more applicable to many of us. There are many in every age who cannot bear all that Christ has to say unto them, because they are not yet led by the Spirit, and neither their heart nor their understanding can receive the perfect truth.

I. If we want a more ancient example of this, the whole history of the Old Testament will furnish one. The hardness of the hearts of the Israelites was the reason why they were allowed some things, which in a riper state of knowledge men would shrink from; but there are many who are in this respect Israelites among us, there are many who are yet living under the law, and who cannot yet understand or feel the voice of the Spirit. Christ has many things to say unto them, but they cannot bear them now.

II. The whole of the Gospel message is a comfort to those who feel themselves sinners; to those whose consciences trouble them, and who fear the anger of God and wish to flee from it. It is a medicine for the sick, which they who do not feel themselves sick, cannot be persuaded to care for. It is vain to talk to men of Christ, till they feel their want of Him; it is idle to speak to them of the mercy of their redemption, till they have some sense of the danger from which they have been redeemed. The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; but Christ will never be sought by those who have never learned to fear the law.

T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. ii., p. 64.

The Purposed Incompleteness of Christ's Teaching

I. These words show, first of all, that our Lord's own teaching during His sojourn upon this earth, did not embrace all necessary Christian doctrine. A man, then, who should think himself a good Christian for keeping only to the words of Christ, would deceive himself. He could not keep only to the words of Christ if he really kept to all the words of Christ, for among the words of Christ is the saying in the text which states as clearly as possible that over and above Christ's actual teaching there were truths to be taught in His name and by His direct authority, truths which, as coming from Him, although through others, Christians were to receive and believe.

II. Why was our Lord's teaching thus incomplete—incomplete according to His own will and announcement? Why did He not Himself teach all that could properly be called Christian doctrine? The answer is that the same motive which led Him to teach men at all, led Him to impose these limits, these restraints, these delays, upon His process of teaching. He taught men in their ignorance because He loved them too well to leave them in it. He taught men gradually, and as they were able to bear the strong light of truth, because He loved them too well to shock or blind them by a sudden blaze of that truth, for which in its fulness they were as yet unprepared. The full understanding of who He was and what He came to do was preceded by a twilight. That twilight was itself His own work, and it brightened more and more, moment by moment, towards the day. He rose amidst the mists of imperfect apprehension—of misapprehensions—as to who and what He was; and not until He was high in the heavens did He permit the full truth to break upon the intelligence of the world. In this He was true to God's providential action throughout human history. All along the course of the ages God has taught men gradually. The old Jewish Scriptures were a long series of revelations—the patriarchal first, then the Mosaic, then the prophetical, each being a great advance on its predecessor, and all leading up to the final and complete revelation of God in Christ.

H. P. Liddon, Penny Pulpit, No. 581. (See also Easter Sermons, vol. ii., p. 279.)

References: John 16:12, John 16:13.—E. Bickersteth, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 225. John 16:12-14.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 208. John 16:12-15.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 237.

Verse 13

John 16:13

Notice two out of many errors to be avoided in the search for truth—over-confidence and indifference.

I. I call those over-confident who see no difficulties. To judge from their conversation and demeanour there are many such. Nothing is more attractive, more irresistible than the confidence of one who has strong convictions, who has surpassed his difficulties, who rides at anchor with a noble carelessness on the ebb and flow of human opinion, for he has received Christ into his boat, and is in the haven where he would be. But wait—is the confidence of ignorance attractive? Is the security of blindness a sign of power? A very moderate experience of life will teach you to discern between those who have won their position for themselves by diligent enquiry, and those who in society assume the post of teachers before they have had the heart to become learners. The process of learning is gradual, whatever be its subject. Modesty, perseverance, and an honest love of the truth, are indispensable to its success. The study of art, the investigation of history, the acquirement of languages, a discriminating taste for poetry, a knowledge of business,—these come not by instinct, or in a flash of light. And so it is with our enquiry into religious subjects. It may be said of this domain of the Christian's life as of his moral perfection, "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

II. The error of indifference is of a very different kind, and may be briefly stated. It is often accompanied by a profession of pious veneration for the devotional and practical teaching of Holy Scripture, and as often by an abdication of all the privileges which an intelligent mind may claim in the study of the book. Modesty and patience are the ruling principles of an enquiring mind. Both arise from an honest love of truth. Let those especially who have not yet stiffened into inveterate habits, strive after that character of mind which they admire in those whom they would choose for friends. Let them fix their eyes so fast on Him who is above all controversy, as to sail with a strong bent and graceful ease through the spray cast up by the fretful waters at the bow; the swifter the speed and the straighter the course, the higher the spray is flung, but we have passed along our course before it falls.

C. W. Furse, Sermons, p. 96.


I. The Spirit guiding into all truth in respect of revelation. (1) This means that the Spirit will speak the truth and nothing but the truth, "for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak." It is impossible to be original in speaking the truth—originality is the exclusive property of falsehood. (2) The words further teach that the Holy Spirit will inspire the truth, the truth already extant in the world, and only waiting the breath of inspiration to quicken it. (3) The Holy Spirit further revealed new truths, truths otherwise inaccessible to created intelligences. The truths of the Gospel are His deep things—too deep for human reason ever to fathom, but which nevertheless God has shown to us by His Spirit.

II. The Spirit guiding into all truth in respect of exposition. In other words, the Spirit guiding the readers of the Bible to understand it: "He will guide you into all truth." (1) This sets forth the nature of the Spirit's influence. "He will guide you into all truth;" this word "guide" meaning to show the road, and not only to show it, but to travel along it. The Holy Spirit takes the hand, as it were, and leads the soul to a reasonable apprehension of the great doctrines of salvation. (2) Observe also the subjects of His guidance. "He will guide you"—not the Apostles only, but you also. The Spirit influences the mental movements of the weakest saint. (3) The words further indicate the scope of the Spirit's influence. "He will guide you into all truth"—not into some, but all.

III. The Spirit guiding into all truth in respect of application. In other words, the Spirit guiding the ministers of the Gospel to apply and enforce the truth. (1) This suggests that the Spirit whets the truth, that He may put edge on the ministry of the word. (2) In conclusion, the Spirit imparts warmth to the ministry. "He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Warmth is an essential element in the inspiration of the ministry.

J. Cynddylan Jones, Studies in St. John, p. 300.

References: John 16:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i., No. 50; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 396; J. Clifford, The Dawn of Manhood, p. 98.

Verse 14

John 16:14

Christ Manifested in Remembrance


I. In what special way the Holy Ghost gives glory to the Son of God. The special way in which God the Holy Ghost gave glory to God the Son seems to have been His revealing Him as the only begotten Son of the Father, who had appeared as the Son of Man. Our Saviour said most plainly that He was the Son of God; but it is one thing to declare the whole truth, another to receive it. Our Saviour said all that need be said, but His Apostles understood Him not. Apparently it was not till after His resurrection, and especially after His ascension, when the Holy Ghost descended, that the Apostles understood who had been with them. When all was over they knew it, not at the time. Such is God's rule in Scripture, to dispense His blessings silently and secretly, so that we do not discern them at the time, except by faith afterwards only, of which we have two special instances in the very outline of the Gospel history: the mission of our Saviour, who was not understood till afterwards to be the Son of God most High; and the mission of the Holy Ghost, which was still more laden with spiritual benefits, and is still more secret.

II. And hence it is perchance that years that are past bear in retrospect so much of fragrance with them, though at the time perhaps we saw little in them to take pleasure in; or rather we did not, could not, realise that we were receiving pleasure, though we received it. We feel at the time; we recognise and reason afterwards. Such is the sweetness and softness with which days long passed away fall upon the memory and strike us. The most ordinary years when we seemed to be living for nothing, these shine forth to us in their very regularity and orderly course. What was sameness at the time, is now stability; what was dulness, is now a soothing calm; what seemed unprofitable, has now its treasure in itself; what was but monotony is now harmony; all is pleasing and comfortable, and we regard it all with affection. Such are the feelings with which men often look back on their childhood, when any accident brings it vividly before them. Some relic or token of that early time, some spot or some book, or a word, or a scent, or a sound, brings them back in memory to the first years of their discipleship, and they then see, what they could not know at the time, that God's presence went up with them and gave them rest. They think that they regret the past, when they are but longing after the future. It is not that they would be children again, but that they would be angels and would see God; they would be immortal beings, crowned with amaranth, robed in white, and with palms in their hands, before His throne.

J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. iv., p. 253.

References: John 16:14.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii., No. 465; E. M. Goulburn, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 94; Church of England Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 277.

Verse 14-15

John 16:14-15

This text is a prophecy that Christ's glory, His work, His nature, His teaching, His character should be revealed, brought home to men, progressively; the Holy Spirit should make them more and more clear, should show them to the disciples, open their eyes to them, as time rolled on.

I. It was a prophecy, in the first place, of the full revelation of Christian truth. Christ had lived before the disciples, spoken to them, as they were able to bear it, and His words were in their ears. They would come back to them by and by, when He was gone from them; though even this is attributed in these chapters to the same agency. "He shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." But how little even the Apostles had understood His words. How were they to be the teachers of the churches? The wonder of Pentecost first fully opened their eyes to the truth, the truth never again doubted for one moment amid all discouragement, of the Divine mission and eternal presence of their Lord; and it was the new power of the gift of Pentecost which gave the clearness and firmness, the variety and the unity to their teaching. They built up the Church of Christ, in its members, its doctrines, its institutions. And then beyond the Apostolic age, who shall say that the Church has not needed and received the same guidance into truth? "He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you,"—the meaning and depth of the Divine words, the fulness and perfection of the Christian character, the limits and the largeness of the Christian revelation.

II. But there is yet another sense in our Lord's promise, and one perhaps that touches us yet more closely. It speaks of the gradual bringing home to men of the full force, the length, the breadth, the measure of the stature of the fulness, of Christ's character. Tradition, though so early busy, never put a trait to that character. Criticism has taken nothing from it. Each Christian age has caught something fresh, learnt something more of it, perhaps even, alas, has forgotten again something. Some lessons have been worked slowly but surely into the heart of humanity, have become so much a part of the world's common heritage, that we begin to forget that though Christians did not learn them fully at once, though men have not learnt to practise them fully even now, they had their origin in Christianity, that is, in Christ. Such are (1) the care for the sick and suffering, for human pain because it is human pain, not merely the pain of a friend. (2) The rights, the sanctity of conscience. (3) The unity, the brotherhood of all mankind.

E. C. Wickham, Sermons in Wellington College, p. 101.

I. "All things that the Father hath are Mine," Our Lord might say thus, first, in respect of His original Godhead; and but for His original Godhead, he could not without blasphemy have said it. It is impossible to explain away this absolute and unrestricted claim of a universal right of property in all that is the Father's; no rank, however high, conferred by God; no offer, however honourable and trustworthy in His kingdom; no gifts, no riches, no endowments, however various and costly, bestowed out of His boundless liberality, could sanction the use of words like these, by any created being, or warrant His saying broadly and without reserve, "All things that the Father hath are Mine."

II. When the Lord said, "All things that the Father hath are Mine," He had respect not only to His original Godhead, but also to His suffering manhood. It is this consideration, indeed, which makes the statement practically important in its application to us. It is as being in our nature, in His character of God man, that the Lord Jesus asserts His title to regard all things that the Father hath as His own. When in reference to His manhood as well as His eternal Godhead, our Lord stands forth in this attitude of unhesitating confidence, He virtually appeals to the perfection of His righteousness and the sufficiency of His atonement. He proceeds upon the assurance of His finished work of propitiation being accepted by His Father. And as the recompense of that work, He receives, in His human nature, an interest in all that the Father hath.

III. It is as the head of His body, the Church, that Christ says, "All things that the Father hath are Mine." Taking His people as His own, uniting Himself to them, identifying Himself with them, in the character and capacity of their Head He says, "All things that the Father hath are Mine." Through Him all the energy and all the blessedness of His Divine life are diffused, even as from the fertile vine a healthful influence goes forth into all the branches, causing them to rejoice and blossom and bear forth fruit. "All things that the Father hath are His"—His, not to be retained as His own, but to be communicated to His people.

R. S. Candlish, The Sonship and Brotherhood of Believers, p. 265.

The Revealings of the Holy Ghost

I. There are times when words, over which we once shed tears, are meaningless to us as the stones of the desert. And there are times when the oldest and most familiar passages of the Bible wake up to us like a new creation. Why is this? The Spirit has made them to come forth so prominent and so clear. I believe this to be a constant method of His working. The height of some grand truth looks out, through the purified atmosphere of the thoughts, near, accurate, lovely. You see, and you can almost touch, the smallest sands upon the hill-top, because the difficulties have all melted away, hidden meanings have unrolled themselves, clouds of doubt have been destroyed, like mists by the morning light, and so invisible things have become realities and future promises are present property.

II. Or once more. What the Spirit shows He makes a possession. This is the most blessed fact of all. He manifests that a thing is, and whenever He manifests that a thing is, He manifests that it is yours. He seals it to you with the oath and the impress of Almighty God. There are some who have made very high attainments in Divine knowledge—and why? Not because they have any greater intellect, but because the Spirit being glorified in those men, has put forth more of His power, and has shown them more. How are some so very like their Master? What has made them so? The passing and re-passing of the Holy Spirit, thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of times, from Christ to those hearts; and every time leaving on the soul another and another little line of the transcendent copy. That is the way by which the living likenesses of Jesus are made on some men's hearts. Therefore, wait honouringly on the Spirit. Confess to His supremacy and solitary power to show you truth. Cherish His still movings, His veil-liftings to the understanding, His loving convictions to the conscience—His silken drawings of the affections. If any man perish, it will not be that Christ has not done all for that man's soul, but that He did not seek and cultivate the revealings of the Holy Ghost.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 162.

I. He shall take or receive of Mine. The Lord speaks of the Holy Ghost as well entitled to take of what is His, as well able and well qualified to do so, and as one whom He would willingly have to do so. (1) The Spirit is well entitled to take of what is Christ's, especially considering that it is what the Father has that is Christ's—because He is Himself a Divine person, one with the Father and the Son. (2) He is not less qualified and able than He is entitled to receive of what is Christ's. For having been with the Father in the ordering of the plan from all eternity, and having been with Christ all along in the accomplishment of it, "He searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God," and in dealing with what is Christ's, He is in His element so to speak, and at home. (2) He is one whom Christ must needs be and is altogether willing to have taking of His. "He shall glorify Me," says Christ Himself; He is of My council, and His sole aim is to carry out My work and to exalt My name.

II. What the Spirit thus takes or receives of Christ's He shows to His Church and people. He does not keep it to Himself, He does not conceal or hide it; He does not intercept or appropriate it. He acts in all good faith, if I may so speak with all reverence, in the way of revealing and transmitting it, so that all that is Christ's may be seen and enjoyed by His believing followers, and Christ Himself may be magnified in their esteem. "He shall glorify Me, for He shall take of Mine and shall show it unto you."

R. S. Candlish, The Sonship and Brotherhood of Believers, p. 265.

References: John 16:15.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 298; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 239; Bishop Lightfoot, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 81; J. Vaughan, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 95. B. Baker, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 193. John 16:15-33.—Parker, Christian Commonwealth, vol. vii., p. 155.

Verse 16

John 16:16

Christ Visible to Loving Hearts

What Christ here promises is something special and interior; deeper and more intimate; the peculiar gift of those who "keep His commandments." It is a manifestation, not to the eye or to the ear, but to a sense above both hearing and sight; a spiritual sense, comprehending all powers of perception, to which all other senses are but avenues. And this presence is no mere figure, but a reality; this manifestation no empty metaphor, but a showing of Himself to our spiritual sense; a perception which should be equal to the perception of sight in all fulness, vividness, and truth. Let us therefore take an example. What does the sight of any one, as, for instance, of a friend, bestow upon us? What are its effects?

I. The first effect it produces in us is a sense of his presence; we know what his coming and going awakens. It may be, we were waiting for his arrival full of other thoughts, busy or weary, or musing, or all but forgetful. When he came, we were wakened up in every pulse. We see him, recognise him again; he sees us, and fixes our sight upon himself. Some such effect is wrought in faithful hearts by this promise of our Lord. He shows Himself by a secret unveiling of His presence. His disciples' whole life is full of a sense that He is near; and they know, by an inward faculty, that they are living with Him and for Him.

II. Another effect wrought by the sight of a friend, is a perception of his character. We read the fullest and most detailed biographies and imagine the most vivid picture of the subject; but what is all biography to one meeting? Then the moral life which is in the one speaks to the moral sense which is in the other by a language which has no written character. So is it in those who love the Lord Jesus. When He shows Himself by the illumination of the heart, then all they have read turns to reality.

III. We may take one more effect of sight. It gives us a consciousness of the love of a friend for us. There is something in his eye, looks and bearing, which is expressive above all words and emphatic above all speech. So there is a love with which, as God, Christ loved all mankind eternally; and another deeper love, with which He loved all whom He foreknew would love Him again. In His foreknowledge, all His elect people love Him and are loved. As, one by one, they love Him, He loves them and shows Himself to them. When the disciple whom Jesus loved lay on His breast at supper, the foreknowledge of everlasting love had its fulfilment. So with every one who shall love Him unto the end of the world. "He hath heard of Me by the hearing of the ear, but now his eye shall see Me."

H. E. Manning, Sermons, vol. iv., p. 105.

The Spiritual Presence of Christ in the Church

I. Observe what the promise is in the text and the verses following. A new era was to commence, or what is called in Scripture "a day of the Lord." We know how much is said in Scripture about the awfulness and graciousness of a day of the Lord, which seems to be some special time of visitation, grace, judgment, restoration, righteousness and glory. The day that dawned upon the Church at the Resurrection, and beamed forth in full splendour at the Ascension; that day which has no setting, which will be not ended but absorbed in Christ's glorious appearance from heaven to destroy sin and death; that day in which we now are, is described in these words of Christ as a state of special Divine manifestation, of special introduction into the presence of God. Christ is really with us now, whatever be the mode of it. As God He is ever present, never was otherwise than present, never went away; when His body died on the Cross and was buried, when His soul departed to the place of spirits, still He was with His disciples in His Divine ubiquity.

II. Observe what was the nature of His presence in the Church after His resurrection. It was this, that He came and went as He pleased; that material substances, such as folded doors, were no impediments to His coming; and that when He was present His disciples did not, as a matter of course, know Him. For so it was ordained that Christ should not be both seen and known at once; first He was seen, then He was known. Only by faith is He known to be present; He is not recognised by sight. When He opened His disciples' eyes He at once vanished. He vanished from sight that He might be present in a sacrament; and in order to connect His visible presence with His presence invisible, He for one instant manifested Himself to their open eyes—manifested Himself, if I may so speak, while He passed from His hiding-place of sight without knowledge, to that of knowledge without sight.

J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. vi., p. 120.

The Light of Faith

I. These words announce the departure of our Lord through the grave into the unseen world, when He passed among the long-imprisoned dead, "the spirits in prison," and unveiled His visible form, His soul, to the longing eyes of the saints of the earlier covenant, and, overthrowing the powers of hell, delivered the thralls of ages, opening to their gaze the inner realms of light, and the vision of God which His passion had obtained for redeemed man. The interval between His death and His resurrection was the "little while" during which He was no longer seen by the disciples on earth; and His return from the grave and His lingering among them before He ascended was the "little while" during which they again saw Him.

II. We may understand these words to represent one important feature of the spiritual life which characterises all the people of God in their earthly state. This not seeing Him for a little while, and again for a little while seeing Him, this alternative of brightness and darkness, is what our experience shows us to be the appointed condition of the faithful throughout the time of their probation. The loss of the sensible presence of Christ is, as even our natural reason may discern, necessary for the exercise of this discipline. An unchanging vision, palpable to the sense, would have been as incompatible with this economy of trial as the complete hiding of His countenance from the forsaken soul. In the one case it would have been all rapture, in the other all despair. What is needed is the vision of faith, which is a seeing and yet not seeing—a seeing neither clearly nor darkly, but an inexpressible intermingling of experiences, which are neither fulness of sight, nor yet blindness. And this wonderful discipline of the soul began in earnest, as the law of our regeneration, when our Lord withdrew Himself into His ascended glory, and the invisible and incomprehensible Spirit came forth to be the second Comforter. "Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself." But it is only because we cannot yet see Thee and live that Thou shinest upon us with tempered ray suited to our weakness; but our dim eyes strain after Thee, and seek to discern Thee more and more, not merely in the special means and pledges of Thy presence, but even in all these outer forms, these visible works of Thy hands.

T. T. Carter, Sermons, p. 183.

References: John 16:16.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 359; C. Kingsley, All Saints' Day, p. 109; G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons and Addresses in Marlborough College, p. 137. John 16:16-21.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 302. John 16:16-22.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 195. John 16:16-33.—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 442. John 16:19.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 414. John 16:20.—T. J. Rowsell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvii., p. 248; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 335. John 16:20-22.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiv., No. 1442. John 16:21.—J. M. Neale, Sermons for the Christian Year, vol. ii., p. 29. John 16:21, John 16:22.—D. Fraser, Metaphors of the Gospels, p. 360.

Verse 22

John 16:22

I. "Ye now therefore have sorrow." Sorrow (1) because He was going away; sorrow (2) because of the declared manner of His death. If He had been about to die the common death of all men; if, young though He were, He was to be deprived of the residue of His years by pining sickness; if they could have stood by His bed and watched Him as the fastenings of the earthly tabernacle gave way, this might have lightened that great sorrow. But how different Christ's death was to be. (3) Selfishness entered very largely into the sorrow of the disciples. It is to be confessed that they had been disappointed. The service of Christ had not proved to be what they looked for, and the longer they continued in it the more discouraging their prospects became. "Ye now therefore have sorrow."

II. How beautiful is the law of our mental constitution which makes joy such an overruling, absorbing, past-obliterating thing. So soon as it comes, the preceding suffering becomes expunged, erased from thought, blotted out as a thing which had never been. That dark crucifixion scene, they remembered it no more; that dreadful, distressing sacrifice, they remembered it no more; that burying of their last hope in the garden, they remembered it no more, for joy that Christ had come to them again; and this is the Easter aspect of our subject: "I will see you again." Rejoice (1) to see how kindly He had remembered them, how promptly He had come to them, and how affectionately He had met them again, for the first time, without a word, or look, or gesture that had not love in it. (2) Rejoice, because that in His return from the winepress gloriously apparelled, travelling in the greatness of His strength, they saw proof that their Master had triumphed after all; that all the powers of darkness had been baffled and defeated, and that the shield of omnipotence had been thrown over innocence and truth and right. (3) Rejoice, because in their Master's coming to them again there was an end put to all their dejection, distress, and fear. (4) Rejoice, because they saw in the resurrection the seal of their and our immortality; they understood the force and reality of those many expressions of the Saviour in which He had affirmed His dominion over the issues of life and death; and they would perhaps begin to comprehend for the first time the meaning of that He had said to them, "Because I live ye shall live also."

D. Moore, Penny Pulpit, No. 3320.

References: John 16:22.—H. le Pla, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 139; J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, pp. 345, 355. John 16:23.—E. Bickersteth, Church of England Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 5; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. iii., p. 247; J. Keble, Ibid., p. 445; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 105; vol. v., p. 289; H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, The Life of Duty, vol. i., p. 244; S. Martin, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 96. John 16:23, John 16:26.—A. Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, p. 190. John 16:23-29.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 93; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xviii., p. 227. John 16:23-30.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 68. John 16:23-33.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 264; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 197. John 16:24.—J. Keble, Sermons from Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 436; J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 92; Church of England Pulpit, vol. i., p. 287. John 16:25.—Ibid., p. 282; J. M. Neale, Sermons in a Religious House, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 85. John 16:26.—H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, The Life of Duty, vol. i., p. 268.

Verse 26-27

John 16:26-27

The Intercession of Christ

I. While Christ's advocacy for us is a valuable part of His mediation and a comfort to timid petitioners, there is no doubt that it is very much exposed to serious and perilous misconception. Nothing is more easy than to push an analogy, drawn from human life, beyond that point at which it ceases to apply to the Divine. There is a false idea, according to which Jesus becomes the influential Patron to whose voice, pleading for His unfortunate clients, the ear of the Eternal is open, because He is the Father's Beloved and Jehovah's Fellow. The worst result of this perversion of the doctrine is that it splits the Divine character in two, and apportions its features between the First and Second of the blessed Persons. For the tendency of such a representation is to gather into the remoter Father, at whose judgment seat Jesus pleads, all the sterner attributes of anger, rigorous justice, and hardness to be won; while Jesus Christ becomes the peacable and gentle Friend, full of pity for our case, on whose good offices with His Father we have to build our hope.

II. How are we to represent to ourselves the intercession of Christ, while guarding with jealousy like Christ's own the spontaneous love of the Father? The Scriptural representation of Christ as an intercessor strengthens the faith of penitents, by holding before their mind the ceaseless virtue of His atonement as the sole ground of their acceptance. The Father has assuredly no need to be either prompted, or coaxed, or entreated to extend that mercy which it is the joy and glory of His Fatherhood to extend to every penitent. But we have need to be encouraged to trust in His mercy. Evermore, therefore, is that Man who bore our sins to be thought of as the right hand of advocacy. Beside the Father "of an infinite majesty," as well as infinite love, there is One above whose love is not more, but whose majesty is less. He lies closer in to a man than any one who is not a man can do. Let Him search us, and when by the mysterious link of human brotherhood He has thus known us in our adversity, let Him tell to the Father what we cannot tell. Let Him justify us, if He can, or confess for us, or pray in our name, as to His supreme gentleness shall seem meet; and it shall be well.

J. Oswald Dykes, Sermons, p. 176.

Verses 26-32

John 16:26-32

Love the Evidence of Faith

I. Our Lord here speaks of His disciples' belief in Him as one of the reasons why the Father loved them. But He puts it second. He puts their belief after their love. This is the true and only sure order of the growth of faith in the soul. It begins with love. That which leads a man to the belief in Christ, that which supplies, as it were, the root of his faith, is love. Faith is worth little, can stand little temptation, unless it is rooted in love. The true Christian finds in the character of the Lord that which his heart can love, and because of that he believes. Faith rests on the correspondence between the revelation of God and the soul of man. And the beginning of this correspondence is the love of the heavenly.

II. Nothing is more common than the fancy which leads men to rest their faith on some striking event, on some remarkable experience, or fulfilment, or apparent fulfilment, of prophecy. Nor is there anything wrong in allowing such arguments to strike our minds, provided we recognise how poor and shallow is the faith which rests on any such foundation. Let these things help us if they can, but let us know, too, that if we rely on them, and fancy that the truth of God can be proved by such arguments as these, we should be making the same mistake as the disciples just before our Lord's arrest. The faith which rests on what is outside is at the mercy of what is outside.

III. The man, whether young or old, who is storing up in his soul a real love of what is good, is building within him a sure faith. He may have to change some of his opinions; he may have to give up some that he has cherished much. He may find that arguments that seemed to him weighty are worth nothing. He may at times be sorely tried, and perhaps his faith may even fail, as the faith of the Apostles failed when they saw their Master led off unresistingly to prison. But his faith has a real root, a root deep in the very inmost soul. And he shall not be taken away from God, nor lose his hold on God's truth. He may wander, but he will return; for God's finger has touched him.

Bishop Temple, Rugby Sermons, 3rd series, p. 107.

Verse 28

John 16:28

The Earthly Life of Jesus

Full and momentous as our Lord's life was—infinitely beyond the life of other men—if He could say of it, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father"—if He could put that life into such a parenthesis, and so bracket it between two eternities, what must our sojourn on this earth be? What an insignificant interval! Then, what is life worth but in its bearings on eternity? The life which Christ thus lived, from the Father and for the Father, seen now in a calm retrospect had most strange proportions. He lived thirty-three years—a little life for such a man and to do such a work. And yet, of those thirty-three years, thirty were almost out of sight, spent apparently in preparation. Observe it well: thirty years preparing for three years' working—ten-elevenths of life passed to lay a foundation. What a contrast to ourselves! What a lesson; what a special lesson, to an impatient, superficial, showy, rushing generation! Now, let us look at one or two of the features of this wonderfully proportioned life.

I. It was certainly a progressive life. It was a life which passed (and is not this growth?) from the active to the passive—from the obedience that did to the obedience that bore.

II. And this was singularly a life which showed always the work He had in hand. Everything had its rule, everything had its measure, everything had its principle.

III. He came to receive. It was scarcely more a life of imparting than it was a life of receiving. He was always depending upon some loving follower for the supply of every want He ever had. There is a very high order of greatness in that acceptance of compassion. It was a part of the grandeur of His humility.

IV. And along, from Bethlehem to Bethany, it was a mystic life. There was more than met the common eye. In that life thousands and tens of thousands were living; in that death thousands and tens of thousands were dying. It was always a representative life. All His Church went down with Him to His burial; they rose with Him in the unity of their perfect membership, on the resurrection morning; and in His ascension they all soared with Him to the higher level of a glorified life.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 5th series, p. 211.

References: John 16:28.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 17; W. Dorling, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 356. John 16:31.—Church of England Pulpit, vol. i., p. 12; Ibid., vol. xvii., p. 304.

Verse 31-32

John 16:31-32

The Work of the Comforter

I. Many, perhaps, cannot understand how the condition of Christians now is better than that of the disciples when our Lord was upon earth; how the Comforter, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, can be a greater blessing than the visible presence of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Yet if we look at the character of the apostles, we shall see that our Lord's words were exactly true. It was expedient for them that He should go away, because while He was with them their faith often wavered, and their hearts were more often turned to earthly things than to heavenly; but when He went from them, and the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, visited them in His room, they were led into all truth and their whole minds were renewed by that spiritual baptism, so as to be fit for the kingdom of God. That Comforter is now ever working in the hearts of Christ's true servants, and therefore to them, as was promised, Christ still manifests Himself. Though now they see Him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; a far happier state than theirs who saw Him and yet did not believe in Him.

II. To feel the burden of our captivity is not the same thing as to be free from it; to love God in our better mind, or, as St. Paul calls it, "according to the inward man," is not the same thing as to walk according to that love and show it forth in our lives and actions. So that though we may now believe, yet if the hour cometh when we shall be scattered every man to his own, assuredly we cannot reckon ourselves as belonging to that flock of the good Shepherd, who hear His voice, and also follow Him whithersoever He goeth, so that they may never go astray from the fold. We must attain to the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus; the Spirit of God must abide in us and change us into His own image, that we may be delivered from sin and the flesh, and serve them no more at all.

T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. i., p. 246.

References: John 16:31-33.—W. Roberts, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 171.

Verse 32

John 16:32


I. There is a loneliness inseparable from the spiritual life. To cherish such loves and hopes of heaven, such desires for God's honour, such delight in Jesus' grace, as you dare not drag from the sacred silence of the heart, is not that the burden of all the saints? "Yet not alone." Let it console us under our hidden hopes and fears, under weariness of sin, and under unappreciated efforts to do good, to remember not only that Christ felt it all, but that in the midst of it all He drew into His bosom the sweet companionship of a heavenly confidant and Father. To us, as to Him, shall the sense of such society prove balm to our pain and solace in our loneliness.

II. A special variety of spiritual solitude arises when a Christian is called to endure temptation. In such assaults a Christian can expect little aid and hardly any companionship from man. But it is when no man stands by us that our Joseph discovers himself to His brethren, and the presence of Jehovah is a secret place.

III. There is a loneliness in sorrow. Deep grief loves silence and retirement. When a man would weep, he goes apart to do it. Where is the mourner who has not experienced the twofold desire—desire for a solitude within, that is felt to be indispensable; desire for fellowship within reach, as near at hand as may be, about a stone's cast off. He who could face His trial with the assurance that One above would never leave Him entirely alone, knows how to save you by the angel of His presence.

IV. Exactly in proportion to the preciousness of the Divine presence is the unspeakable solitude of the Divine absence. Yet, has the forlorn soul, under such loneliness of desertion, any right to say that it is passed beyond the fellow-feeling of the Son of God? Out into an absolute loneliness of outer darkness He peered; He crossed the line; He lost the consciousness of that Presence, and felt Himself for the first time alone indeed, bereft of that secret inward instinct whose conscious sympathy had sustained Him in every earlier solitude. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" If He too went through such an awful experience, must He not be drawn to watch you in it with the interest of fellow-feeling?

J. Oswald Dykes, Sermons, p. 326.

References: John 16:32.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 363; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 81; Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 367; J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 10th series, p. 9; E. Bersier, Sermons, 1st series, p. 299; Church of England Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 253.

Verse 33

John 16:33

There is a difficulty in seizing the precise meaning of the word "world." It seems an airy, subtle, impalpable thing, that world of St. John. It refuses to be described, to be precipitated, to be measured, to be defined. It is not the wicked, though they are its victims. It is not Satan, though the Scriptures call him its prince, as presiding over it and rejoicing in it. It is an atmosphere, a temper, a spirit, a power real and most energetic, but dread and invisible. It has hung for ages—this world—like a dark murky cloud over the heart of humanity. It poisons the very air we breathe. It is that warp in the aim and affections of the soul which makes of each of the objects of this visible creation, and of the circumstances of life, a distinct hindrance to getting to heaven. Let us note the character of its influence.

I. First of all, it works secretly and without being suspected. Observe the language which we use with regard to it in daily life. When we speak of the world, we uniformly assume that it is something outside us. The world disguises itself; it is like Satan showing himself in the character of an angel of light; it seeks to be habitually respectable, it dislikes gross sin, it affects very particularly to cultivate the social virtues. It can be prudent, like the old prophet; it can be wise, like Ahithophel; it can be courageous as was Saul; it can be very pious indeed, like the false apostles of the Church of Corinth.

II. The world has a marvellous versatility, a power of self-adaptation to all ages and races and classes. There may be a difference of form; there is a marvellous and awful unity of spirit. The spirit of the world is contagious; it passes, like an infection, from soul to soul.

III. What was the relation of our Lord to the Jewish world in His day and generation? It could not receive His spirit; it rejoiced at His departure. It rested not, that world, till it had led Him to the Cross. And, therefore, His resurrection was not merely a conquest of death, not merely the crowning proof of His Divinity; it was a triumph over the power that had killed Him. It was the conquest of the world. "Be of good cheer," He said, in full view of His Easter triumph; "I have overcome the world."

H. P. Liddon, Penny Pulpit, No. 3847.

The Mystery of Peace

I. The mystery of peace, for the disciples, as for us, could be clearly shown by teaching two truths. (1) First, the Lord brought out to them, as seen in the fact of His conflict, the meaning of the outer life of the Christian. That outer life, so it appeared, was to take its meaning and derive its trial from antagonism with one overwhelming power. In the world ye shall have tribulation. There lay before the Christian, if he had strength to be a Christian, a long and necessary course of trial. (2) But the tribulation is turned to excellent uses. Trial is the school of obedience; trial is the means of growth of character; trial is the method of discipline; trial is the training of faith. There is this sad fact of the outer life of the Christian; but the silence of the winter world witnesses to the coming life of spring; the narrow wrapping of the narrow bud witnesses to the opening flower; the dark night witnesses to the morning; the outer struggle of the Christian witnesses to the inner life.

II. Examine some of the conditions of the mystery of peace. (1) First, we plainly need the forgiveness of sin. Resistance; the onward march of a struggling soul; the yearning towards, the crying for, the seeking after forgiveness; these are needed; then—for Christ is unfailing in His promise—it is the peace, the real rest of the weary, not the stillness and lethargy of decay. (2) "First the kingdom of God and His righteousness" is a condition of peace. When the soul is learning to act in this life on the principles of another—to live, to move, to work, in fact, "in Christ"—then, like the consistent calmness of the sunlight on the quiet summer day, then, like the majesty of stillness in the unfathomed azure of the summer night—then, there is peace. (3) As a condition of peace we must surrender an attractive principle and adopt one at least apparently severe. To have this treasure of peace, so fair, so needed, we must be freed from a tyrannous and trembling anxiety to please ourselves.

III. We are led to peace (1) by Christ's example; (2) by faith in His blood; (3) by growth in grace.

W. J. Knox-Little, The Mystery of the Passion, p. 137.

There is clearly a negative rolled up in this sentence. It is this: that there is no peace out of Christ.

I. Let us be careful that we understand what the peace of God is. It is the feeling of being forgiven—a quiet conscience—a stilling sense of the love of God. That is the first thing. Then, growing out of that, it is a certain contemplative habit of mind that deals silently with unseen things, which lives up high enough not to be tossed and anxious much about the matters which concern the present world. For it is the repose of faith, a trust in promises, a sense of a Father's love, a Father's nearness, a Father's care—the hush of a little child leaning on His bosom.

II. It is of immense importance to have that peace, because (1) first, it is the sweetest and the best and the only satisfying of all possessions. It meets the deepest longings of a man's heart. Pleasure is man's delight, but peace is man's necessity. No man is complete till he has peace. No man knows what he can be—the capabilities of his own nature, or what enjoyment is—till he is at peace. (2) Peace is the root of all holiness. To believe that you are pardoned, to be at leisure from the retrospect, to carry a conscience at ease, to take the unruffled reflection of Christ, even as Christ did of the Father—that is the atmosphere of a daily religious life, and that is the secret of every good thing. (3) Peace is the fulfilment of the work of Christ. Then the eloquence of the Cross has not been in vain. Then His word has accomplished its grand design. "These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace."

III. Three rules for peace. (1) Be more decided. Decision is the parent of peace. Take some steps at once heavenward, and it may be that one step will land you in peace. (2) Confess Christ; confess Him in the world; do not be ashamed of your better portion; begin to speak of Christ to somebody. (3) And lastly, go up and down more in Christ—His work, His person, His beauty, His grace. Listen for His still small voice. He will speak. You will hear Him, and you will feel Him—a strange grand reality—a thing that comes and does not go away again, like everything else—peace.

J. Vaughan, Sermons, 1868, p. 37.

In the world ye have tribulation! Such is our cry when we think of the thousand pains and miseries which we have endured in the year that is gone, when we remember the labour and trouble that we have passed through, eating our bread in the sweat of our brow, sighing under the burden and heat of the day. These are but our own troubles, and life would be an easy thing if each had only his own burden to bear, if the manifold grief of others did not also lie heavy on our hearts.

I. What was the tribulation of which the Lord speaks in the words of our text? A new Divine life had sprung up for the disciples in their Redeemer—a life which the world neither possessed nor understood. They were to bring that life to the world. And the world was hostile to them; not only was it unwilling to receive the life of God, but it would not even listen to the story of that life; it had no heart for the love which God had shown it, no eye for the truth of grace which shone in upon its darkness. So the disciples had tribulation in the world; and their tribulation is ours also. We feel that this is a world of sin. We know the terrible power with which sin rules in the world at large, and in the little world which each man carries within him.

II. "Be of good cheer," says the Lord; "I have overcome the world." He who speaks thus was no idle spectator of our sorrows, but One who Himself fought a battle such as none ever fought before or since. At the very moment when His fiercest conflict was about to begin, He calls to us in these words from the clear joyous heights in which His being had its home. And was not the battle He fought the fiercest ever engaged in? He bore Himself in the contest as no warrior ever did before. There was not one moment of defeat during all that conflict. He was victor from first to last. The fiercer the battle, the more glorious was His victory. And the glorified Victor calls now to us: "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." For him who follows, the world is overcome already. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

R. Rothe, Predigten, p. 70.

The Duty of the Church to the World

I. The world is nothing less than this—any one of God's works enjoyed or possessed without God, be it what it may—the world contemplated without that counterpoise in the other world that exists, and was meant to exist, to prevent us from being slaves of this. Without this love of God which lifts a man above this present world, he must, whether pagan or Christian, become necessarily the slave of the world, the subject of its rule, the very servant of its whims and its caprices. He becomes a very man of the world in the very lowest and poorest sense of the word—not daring to be his own master, but the very servant, not even of the world in its largest and best sense, but of that little fragment of the world and of society to which he appears to belong.

II. We live, every one of us, or we are in danger of living, in the most abject slavery to the world to which we belong. And what will set us free? The truth, and the truth alone, makes man free—the truth that teaches each one of us that we are redeemed and immortal spirits, telling us that we belong not to ourselves nor yet to our party, nor yet to our world, but to the God in heaven Who made us and will judge us, and has redeemed us. This alone gives a man the courage that comes forth from the very depths of self-sacrifice and humiliation before his Lord and Master, to rise up, and in His name, in the name of His law and in the power of His might, to defy the smaller laws—to break through the stringent customs, to brave the hostile opinions of the world in which he lives. And the man who cannot do this is not yet made free with the glorious liberty of a son of God. He is overcome by the world; he has not yet learned to overcome the world.

III. It is not, and never was, the duty of the Church to conform herself to the spirit of the age. It is the duty of the Church to instruct the age, to love the age, and if need be to rebuke the age, but never yet in its whole history has it been her duty to conform to the spirit of the age. And yet, on the other hand, how deeply and intensely it is the duty of the Church to understand and sympathise with her age—to be in very deed a dweller amongst men. She is to go forth wherever men are, and, in the name of her Divine Master, who died to redeem humanity, whatever men are doing and thinking, she is to say with an infinitely deeper meaning than it had on the lips of Him who first said it: "We are human, and there is nothing in or of our age that we can count estranged from us." The Church is to be of her day, and yet of all days and of all ages; having truths deeper, and facts greater, and laws and powers mightier to speak of and to reveal, than even the facts and the truths and the laws which science is revealing to us now. In this way only can the Church hope to overcome the world.

Bishop Magee, Penny Pulpit, No. 579.

References: John 16:33.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1327; Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 124; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 304; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iii., p. 278; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 361; J. Aldis, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 129; J. H. Kitchens, Ibid., vol. xiii., p. 203; E. Johnson, Ibid., vol. xxii., p. 137; New Outlines on the New Testament, p. 67; W. M. Taylor, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 97. John 17:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv., No. 1464; Contemporary Pulpit, vol. x., p. 363; J. M. Neale, Sermons in a Religious House, vol. ii., p. 588; F. D. Maurice, Gospel of St. John, p. 411; J. Armstrong, Parochial Sermons, p. 230; W. Braden, Christian. World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 168; C. Stanford, Evening of Our Lord's Ministry, pp. 151, 157; C. Kingsley, Good News of God, p. 12; Homilist, vol. vii., p. 382. John 17:1, John 17:2.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. viii., p. 72; vol. ix., p. 137.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 16:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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