<< John XIII: Spiritual Meaning and Commentary >>

Between the end of the preceding chapter and the beginning of the present there is a wide interval, not of time, but of circumstance. The raising of Lazarus was the last, and perhaps we may say the greatest of the Lord's miracles, and the discourse he delivered after it was the last he addressed in public to the Jewish people. In his concluding words to the world he talked with them, how fitly! of righteousness and of judgment to come. He left them with the divine assurance that he came not to judge the world, but to save it, and that the only judge that would confront them at the last day were the words he had spoken, and which would only condemn those to whom they had been spoken in vain. Having thus ended that succession of discourses, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, he now retires with his disciples, to commune with them of those more interior things, which could be consistently and profitably addressed to those only who were prepared to enter with him, or rather, perhaps, to obtain a glimpse within the vail, to behold his glory, though to them surrounded as yet with clouds and darkness, which he dissipated only by his resurrection.

lsp28271. Now, before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his time was come that he should depart out of the  world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. The passover, instituted to celebrate the deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, is, as we have had occasion to remark, an ancient type of the feast, by which the redemption of the world was to be celebrated, when our passover, the Lamb of God, of whom the paschal lamb was the symbol, was sacrificed for us. " Before the passover," has been by some understood to mean the day preceding the celebration of the feast; but the opinion that this was the occasion itself, is more consistent with the whole circumstances of the case. Matthew indeed records (xxvi. 2) that when Jesus had finished the last of his sayings to the people, " he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners ;" 'and in the same chapter we read of the supper being eaten. That John combined these two different circumstances in his narrative, without making the distinction, may be admitted without any real contradiction. In the language of the "Word there is, however, a matter of much higher consideration than its literal consistency, for the terms it employs have a higher and more important meaning. " Before," in its inner sense, means what is prior in regard to state, what is interior, whether it applies to persons or to times. Before the feast of the passover is within it. Within the passover lay, representatively, that which was now about to be accomplished. The Lord saw in it his death and glorification, the subjugation of the powers of darkness, and the redemption of the human race. This was the reason why the passover was the occasion on which the Lord entered into a covenant of life with his disciples; why he there revealed to them his inmost mind, there instituted the Holy Supper, and there effected the separation between the clean and the unclean among his own disciples. There and then it was that Jesus knew his hour was come, and his language implies, not only that it was coming, but that to him it was already present. He who sees an event before it comes to pass, sees it as it already exists in its cause, though it may be long before it exists in its effect. It is also because things are thus seen by the eye of omniscience, that things future are, especially in the prophets, spoken of as present. All things of which the Lord now speaks were present to his omniscience. His union with the Father, which was completed on his departure out of the world, already existed internally ; and having loved his own, he loved them to the end. And here the end is not only the end of his life, but the end in which all his operations were to concentrate, and especially the ultimate which they all conspired to produce, and in which they terminated. The Lord loved his own unto the end when his Divine Truth, which had descended through all the heavens and all the lower degrees of finite existence, was now to become Divine Truth in ultimates, in which should be all power in heaven and on earth.

2. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.   The immediate purpose of speaking of the supper, is to mention that Jesus rose from it to wash his disciples' feet. - Not when supper was ended, but during supper, is, however, the correct meaning of the evangelist's language.   Jesus rose from the supper to do a servile office to his disciples.    None of the other gospels  mention   this  affecting circumstance;   but  one  records   an incident which some suppose to have given rise to it.     Luke relates, in connection with the inquiry of the disciples, who it was that should betray Jesus, that there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest (xxii. 24).    That Jesus should adopt this practical and symbolic mode of teaching his followers humility and brotherly love, by each being willing to take the lowest place and perform the lowest-service, is very conceivable.    On another occasion, when they contended which should be greatest in the ideal kingdom of theirs, Jesus at once rebuked and taught them, by setting a little child in the midst, and telling them, that except they should be converted and become as little children, they would not so much as enter the kingdom of heaven.    His washing the feet of the yet ambitious disciples, was a lesson not less striking and edifying, which we shall see as we proceed.    The part of the narrative now before us points out two particulars which require our attention, before the washing itself of the disciples' feet comes to be considered.    The two particulars which the evangelist here relates place the Lord's act of humility in a  strong light by means of contrast.    The devil had put into the heart of Judas to betray him.    Not only Judas as a man, but that most degraded part of human nature which he represented, had now nearly filled up  the measure  of its   iniquity,  which culminated   in the actual betrayal and crucifixion of the Son of man; and it is here described as having reached a particular stage in its evil progress.    The idea of betraying Jesus had now entered the heart of Judas.   The devil had put it into his heart.    There was nothing uncommon in the case of Judas in this respect.    All evil is put into the human heart by evil spirits.    Strictly speaking, evil spirits do not put into the heart anything of their own, or what is not already there.   They excite the evils which are natural to the human heart, and which exist in it as evil inclinations. The evil was in the heart of Judas; the devil stirred it up : and when evil is excited in the heart, it is ready to come forth into act; and this it soon did in the case of Judas.

3.   But at the same time that the devil was putting into the heart of Judas to betray his  Master and ruin his cause, the  Father was putting into the heart of Jesus that he, the Father, had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God.    It is hardly necessary to inquire what those things were which the Father had given to Jesus, and what is to be understood by their being given into his hands.    From other parts of the New Testament we learn that the things given by the Father to the. Son were all things which the Father himself possessed, and these were no other than the divine attributes themselves, even to all power in heaven and on earth.    These things being in their nature divine, are incommunicable ; they cannot be transferred from one to another.    Yet they are said to be given, and therefore also received.    This can be understood only in one way, if we are to have any consistent view of the subject.    The Father and the Son are the divine and human natures in the person of the Lord : and the divine attributes were given by the Father to the Son, as the soul gives its attributes to the body, but which, though given, are not transferred.    The Lord's coming from God and going to God must be understood in the same manner.    The human came from the Divine by conception, and returned to the Divine by glorification.    No other proceeding  and  returning  are  possible  with   God.      We may, - indeed,  speak of the Divine wisdom coming forth from the  Divine love, and returning into the bosom of the Divine love again, but this is not a different but only a more interior view of the same divine truth.

4.   He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and taketh a towel  and girdeth  himself.     As  everything which the Lord did was representative, his washing the disciples' feet has a high and holy significance, in reference to the church and its members in all ages. As he himself was now about to be glorified as to the very ultimates of his humanity, and so return to God from whence he came; this washing of the disciples' feet was designed to signify, that his great work was to provide for the purification and regeneration of the ultimate principles of humanity in the members of his mystical body, the church.    Before the Lord's incarnation and glorification, human nature could not be regenerated as" to the natural principle.    Not till this principle had been glorified in the Lord could it be regenerated in man. The possibility of this work being effected under the gospel dispensation, was represented by the Lord's washing his disciples' feet.    This was an assurance, that now the Lord's regenerating operations could descend to the lowest and most degraded part of human nature, and by this means save man unto the uttermost. But we must look at this subject in relation to ourselves individually ; for only as a matter of experience can it be realized in our salvation. In order to wash his disciples' feet the Lord arose from supper. The disciples supping with their Saviour, implies the inward reception from him of spiritual truth and good, by which the soul is nourished. And when good from the Lord is inwardly received, the Lord, as our supreme good, rises, or is elevated, into the higher affections of the heart. He lays aside his upper garments, and taketh a towel, or linen cloth, and girdeth himself. As Jesus was now about to perform one of the lowest duties of a servant, he laid aside the garment that belonged to him as the Lord and Master of his disciples, and assumed the vesture that was suited to his humble office. This was a representative sign of what was about to be effected in his own person. The office and the garment which. Jesus now assumed represented the very lowest degree and use of the humanity he was about to put on from his divinity, and thus clothe himself for ever with a medium, through which he might communicate his love and truth to his creatures, in their lowest states and most extreme necessities. The higher the Lord ascends, the lower he descends, both in his own glorification and in man's regeneration. The higher the Lord rises in our affections, the lower he comes down into the words and actions of our lives. When his eternal truth had failed to reach mankind, in the low and degraded state to which they had descended, he assumed that degree of truth which was adapted to their state and to the necessities of their condition. Considering the Lord as the Word, his garments represent the literal sense; and this contains truths of various kinds, suited to the different and changing states of the disciples. The towel or linen cloth, with which the Lord girded himself when he washed his disciples' feet, is the fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of saints. But the righteousness of saints is the Lord's righteousness; for he is Righteousness itself, and all the righteousness of the saints is from him. It is not imputed to them by a mere act of faith, but it is wrought into them by a life of obedience. It may seem indeed as if obedience were righteousness, and therefore self-acquired ; but no one can live a life of obedience, that can be called righteous, but by the power and influence of him who is Righteousness itself, and indeed by the power and influence of him who became Righteousness, by fulfilling his own law of righteousness in all its perfection.

wdf928 5. When Jesus had girded himself, then he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe  them with the towel wherewith he was girded. The Lord pours water into the bason when his truth flows from himself, as its source, into the faculty of the human mind, which was originally created, and is now prepared by regeneration, to receive it. This faculty is the human understanding. With the water here received, the Lord begins to wash the disciples' feet. The feet of the body are symbolical of the lowest degree of the human mind. The lowest or most external degree of the mind consists of the natural affections and appetites, which, being nearest to, and immediately connected with, corporeal and earthly things, become soiled by their contact with the outer world. Not only is this the case with the careless and impenitent; the pilgrim in his journey through life contracts impurities which require to be washed away. But the impurities from which the Christian disciple needs to be washed are not, properly speaking, evil deeds. One who has any claim to the character of a Christian has ceased to live an evil life, or to commit intentional evil, and sins not, except as the result of human infirmity. Purification from such outward evils was represented by baptism, which, with the disciples, was administered at the beginning of the religious life. The washing of the feet, which the Lord performed at the end of the first period of their discipleship, represented, not the purification of the life from evil works, but the purification of the works from evil motives. The evil which adheres to the good deeds of the Christian are the evils of merit and self-righteousness. This will appear still more clearly if we regard the disciples as representing, not only the persons who are being regenerated, but the principles by which regeneration is effected. These principles in the human mind become soiled by contact with the impure affections, thoughts, and acts of our corrupt nature; and they require to have these impurities removed before they can be fully operative, as agents in the Lord's hand, for effecting, the regeneration of the Christian disciple. When he had washed the disciples' feet, he wiped them with the towel wherewith he was girded. The water and the towel, the washing and wiping of the feet, point to that completed purification which is effected by the united operation of the Lord's truth and goodness. Truth is that by which the cleansing is commenced, and the good of truth is that by which it is completed. Truth is the water with which the feet of the disciples are washed; the good of truth, which is righteousness, is the linen cloth with which they are wiped.

6. In the Lord washing the disciples' feet, then cometh he to Peter, who saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet ? Peter, as the type of the faithful, and of the grace of faith itself in the mind, appropriately asks this question. The question of the apostle, besides expressing humility, implies obscurity and doubt. Peter's conduct expresses and represents that of a true but imperfect disciple, and of a sincere but imperfect faith. He does not refuse, as he afterwards did, to have his feet washed. He utters an exclamation of astonishment, that Jesus should be so condescending as to propose, and that he should be so presumptuous as to accept his offer, to wash the feet of one so lowly and unworthy. But his mind is obscure as to the use of such a cere­monial, to regard it as such; and a doubtful inquiry as to the meaning of such an act is involved in the question he ventures to propose. Peter does not indeed directly ask a reason for the Lord's offered act of humble service, but his question includes a desire for it. It con­tains an objection to his Lord performing an act so far beneath the dig­nity, which even his disciples, in their yet obscure state, were disposed to assign to him, but it expresses also a willingness joyfully to yield sub­mission to his Master's will, when a reason is given for the act.

7.   Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.    This answer to Peter's question is not such a one as he desired and expected, but it is such a one as he needed.    It expresses a truth which it is needful we should, in this and in many other things, act upon.    Many acts of providential and saving mercy are inscrutable to us at the time, and can only be seen as the future of our advancing wisdom and experience unfold them to us. The wisdom of experience should teach us to confide in the Lord, even where we cannot clearly "see the wisdom or the special purpose of his operations.    But how often do we neglect to learn this most salutary lesson, as Peter did !

8.  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.    To doubt the apostle objected to the Lord washing his feet, principally because he regarded it as an act of condescension too great for him to perform. But all such ideas conceal within them a repugnance to the nature of the act and its intended consequences.    When the disciple objects to the Lord's washing his feet, it is partly because, however unaware he may be of the fact, he is unwilling to have them washed, because he is not sufficiently impressed with the necessity of complete purification, as a condition of eternal life.    This lesson our Lord proceeds to enforce upon his reluctant disciple.   Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.    This positive statement of the absolute necessity  of purification,  is worthy of our  most   serious  attention. Without the washing of the heart from wickedness and the life from sin there is no salvation. Evident is it from this, that this washing was a symbolical act; for the washing of the disciples' feet could contribute nothing to their preparation for heaven. But without the purification of the life from the pollution of sin, there can be no salvation. There is no washing but that which the Lord performs that can save us. Not only must we be washed, but we must be washed by the Lord. He is the author of purification. He is also the pattern of purification; for the purification of man is an image of that which his own humanity experienced. It is this connection between the work in him and the work in us that makes our salvation consist in having a part with him.

9.   When the truth, that if the Lord washed him not he could have no part with him, was brought home to his mind, Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.   From objecting to any washing, Peter goes at once to the opposite extreme of wishing to have his whole body purified.    This certainly is expressive of the earnestness of the apostle to be all that was necessary for having a part with his Saviour.    But it also implies, what it representatively expresses,  obscurity and  confusion  of ideas  as  to   the  distinction which exists between the internal and external man, and thus between the inward principles and outward duties of religion,  between the graces of 'the mind and the virtues of the life.    This distinction should be known, not merely as the means of accurate thinking,  but as a means of right acting.    These two are designed to be one; but we cannot intelligently strive after their union, till we know and understand the nature of their distinction.     The want,  or at least the imperfect knowledge or perception, of this distinction is implied, both in Peter's refusal to let the Lord wash his feet, and his desire that he should wash, not his feet only, but his hands and his head.

10.   But Jesus saith unto him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.    The purification which the Lord's act represented was not general but special.    That which the present washing represented was the purification of the external man, meant by the apostles' feet, not the purification of the internal man, signified by their hands and their head.     In the disciple who has followed  the Lord in the regeneration thus  far,   the  internal  has already been purified, I and nothing now  remains  to  complete  the work of regeneration but to bring the external into a corresponding state of purification, that the inferior may act as one with the superior, and so make of the twain one entire and perfect man.    The first part of this purification the  disciples generally,  and Peter in particular, had already undergone. There was but one who had not passed through this process ; who had not washed his heart from wickedness, and that one was Judas. Therefore our Lord added, and ye are clean, but not all. Judas, we may suppose, was on this occasion washed with the others, but when the inner man is unclean, the washing of the outer man effects nothing. If we consider the disciples as the types of principles in the mind of the regenerate, then we see in this declaration of our Lord a revelation of the humbling truth, that even when the internal is clean, there is a part of the external which is still the seat of deadly impurity, the Judas of the human heart, through which the last temptation comes, by which that evil is put off, as Judas was separated from the rest, though not until he had delivered the Lord into the hands of his enemies. As the last temptation, like that of our Lord, is the greatest, so the greatest and deepest evil is stirred up for bringing it about; rather, it is brought about by the deepest evil of the selfhood being excited by the powers of darkness for that end.

11. For he knew who should betray him, therefore he said. Ye are not all clean. In. the Lord's foreknowledge of who it was that should betray him, we have an instance of what he does universally in regard to the states of men. The Lord's foreknowledge extends to all men, the evil as well as the good. It is by this that he is able to provide for all, and to bring the best possible results out of the worst possible circumstances. Evil itself, in its activity, is of divine permission, but the law of providence is, that a less evil is permitted to prevent a greater. The Lord still knows who shall betray him. From his divine order the Lord sees not only all in the universe that is in order, as being from and in harmony with himself, but all that is in disorder, as being the inversion and the opposite of what proceeds from himself. For evil, as the root of disorder, is not an independent production or separate existence. It is the abuse and perversion of good, not the past perversion of a past good, but the present and continuous perversion of a present good. The evil could not exist without the good. Good Hows from the Lord as a constant stream, and all evil is the constant perversion of this good; and as the evil is constantly reacting against the good, the good cannot but see and be otherwise sensible of the evil. The foreknowledge of God is no doubt difficult for us in any measure to comprehend. We can see that infinite wisdom must know all things. And while from his divine truth he sees its opposite, the opposite is not permitted to operate against it farther than to effect its glorifica­tion. It is enough for us to know this, and adore. In regard to the regenerate man, the general knowledge is imparted to him that he is not wholly clean, although he may not as yet know where the unclean-ness lies, a knowledge which is only revealed to him by self-examina­tion and temptation.

12.  When the Lord had washed his disciples' feet, and had taken his garments, and sat down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you ?    In all probability they only thought of their Lord's act as one of great condescension, or at most as an initiatory rite, by which they became entitled to a place in his temporal kingdom. His question was intended to produce other reflections,  and prepare them for receiving the spiritual lesson he intended for them.    He had told Peter that what he was about to do he could not then know, but would know thereafter.    He now prepares the disciples for the know­ledge which he had promised them.    Many of the merciful operations of which the Christian disciple is the subject can only be explained to him after he has been the subject of them.    Outward revelation conies alike to all; inward revelation comes only to those whom the outward revelation has prepared to receive it.    Experience is the true teacher. Know ye what I have done to you? is the Lord's question to the disciples now as it was then.    This is intended to lead them to reflect on his purpose, which is the real meaning of the act; for we know not what the Lord has done to us until we know what his act teaches us to do, which he now proceeds to point out.   There is some resem­blance of this act of the Lord to that of the Jewish priest removing the ashes of the altar.    When the priest did so he laid aside his ordi­nary garment and put on one of linen; after having completed the duty, .he resumed his ordinary habit.    So did the Lord when he had removed the dust from the feet of the disciples.
13.   Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. To call Jesus Master and Lord is to acknowledge him as Teacher and Ruler, as the supreme Truth and Good.    And as we are to call no man our master, for one is  our Master, even Christ;  so  is  Jesus, supreme and alone, our authority in all matters of faith and practice, in everything relating to spiritual and eternal life.    But the point which the Lord here emphasizes is one of great importance.    "Ye call rne Master and Lord."     And he tells them that they said so rightly. But he proceeds to tell them that they were now to do more than call him so.    It deserves our attentive consideration that while the Lord displays in his conduct towards his disciples the greatest condescension, he yet asserts his claim to their homage.    While he assumes the office and performs towards them the duties of a servant, he declares himself their Lord and Master. It is not less deserving of our attention, that he does not assert this claim, as the natural man does, for the purpose of exalting himself, but for the purpose of humbling them.

14. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. Here is the great and blessed lesson which his disciples were to learn from their Lord and Master having washed their feet. The ceremonial act which the Lord had performed was to teach them that the spiritual feet-washing is the Christian's passage from the theory to the practice of religion—from saying to doing. "If I your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." The Lord's blessings are dispensed, not that they may remain with those who receive them, nor even that they may be returned to him in direct acknowledgment, but that they may descend, and carry their blessed influence to those who require them. Every blessing which the Lord bestows must descend to the lowest sphere of activity and usefulness, before it can ascend and return to him again. Unless his Word completed this circle of order, it would return unto him void, without accomplishing that whereto he sent it, and effecting that which he pleases (Is. lv. 11). Every purified disciple must help on the purification of his brethren; and not less must he cause the purification, which has been begun in himself, to descend to the lowest degree of his mind and acts of his life, that he may be wholly clean. If, therefore, the Lord has washed our feet; how ought we to transmit his blessing to others, that we may be like him, ever labouring to promote the improvement and happiness of others. This turning of the mind and life from the theoretical to the practical in religion is an inversion of state. In the former state truth is in the first place and good in the second; in the latter state, good is in the first place and truth in the second. This is indicated in the Lord's words. In the previous verse he says, " Ye call me Master and Lord;" in the present sense, he speaks of himself as their Lord and Master. He is our Master and Lord, when, in our minds, his truth is before his good; he is our Lord and Master, when his good is before his truth.

15. The Lord proceeds further to say, For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. The Lord was indeed an example to us in all things; but his example is much more than an outward pattern for our imitation. Our whole religious life and experience is an image of his. In whatever we do we can but follow where he has led. The Incarnation was the doing of what the Lord had taught before it. It was to bring down his truth into deed that he came down into the world. The Word made flesh was the em­bodiment of the eternal principles of good and truth in fulness, that they might be embodied in human, action and experience; for the Lord thereby became what he desires and requires us, in our measure, to become.

16.   As a reason for our imitating him, he says, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord ; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.     If the servant is not greater than his lord, he cannot claim or expect to be exempted from the duties which his lord takes upon himself.      The Christian disciple must therefore do as Jesus Christ himself has done.    In the spiritual sense, the Lord here teaches the duty and necessity of the external being subservient to the internal; and that it may be truly so it must do as the internal has done.    Truth also is subservient to good, and is sent of good;   for truth proceeds from good, as thought does from affection.    If we regard external, as more to us than internal things, if we regard truth as more than good, faith more than charity, we spirit­ually place the servant above his lord, and make him that is sent greater than him that sent him.    We must, to be true disciples, place these principles in their true order, both in doctrine and in practice.

17.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.    Great is this truth, and blessed are they  who  realize  it!    In all things, as well as in this particular lesson, this is the rule of right conduct, and the way to true happiness.    Needful indeed is it to know the things which relate to spiritual and eternal life, for without knowledge there can be no intelligent action; but action is the end of all knowledge.    And not only is it our duty, but it is our happiness also, to do as we know.    The laws of God, as rules of conduct, have happiness as their reward.    The reward is in the work.    Happiness arises from right action, as the fruit of right principles.    What are the things, the doing of which brings happiness ?    Knowing that the Lord is our example, true happiness consists in doing as he has done.

18.  Jesus had. said to his disciples,  "Ye are clean, but not all." The exception was Judas, who, the Lord knew, should betray him. He now returns to this, and says, I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen: but, that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.    We have seen   (10,   11)   that  Judas   represented   the   corrupt  selfhood   of man.    Specifically, he represented the lowest or corporeal principle of human nature, through which our Lord's last and severest temptation came.    This principle,  with  those within the church,  perverts the truth, and "betrays it into the hands of its open and avowed enemies, in and out of the church, as Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of " sinful men," to he spit upon, buffeted, and put to death. This principle of human nature is not capable of being made clean; but the regenerate man is elevated above it, so as to be no longer drawn down by it, and so immersed in earthly and sensual things. When therefore the Lord said, " I speak not of you all," he intimated that Ms cleansing does not extend to all the principles of human nature, but only to those he has " chosen," which means, to all that allow themselves to be drawn into conjunction with himself; for the Lord's choice is in all instances, both with persons and principles, determined by their quality; he chooses the good and refuses the evil. Judas remained unclean, " that the Scripture might be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me." The testimony of Divine truth teaches this truth, which was repre­sented by the conduct of Judas. In the general sense Judas repre­sented the Jewish church, the bread which he did eat with Jesus being the heavenly bread, which had been provided in the Scriptures of truth, for feeding the souls of the members of that dispensation; but not­withstanding they were fed with the bread of God, they opposed themselves to him, especially as he appeared in the person of Jesus, directing against him the very lowest and bitterest feelings of their degraded nature. He that unworthily eats the Lord's bread and body, lifts up his heel against him. The heel is the lowest degree of the corporeal principle of man's nature. When this principle is lifted up above the spiritual and celestial principles of the mind, it is lifted up against the Lord, being opposed to all that is heavenly and divine.

19. The Lord shows his disciples, not only from fulfilled, but from yet unfulfilled prediction, what they are to believe.    Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.    He does not indeed ask them to believe for the prediction, but he gives them the prediction that they may believe through its fulfil­ment.    Future states, like future events, can only be believed when they exist.    We truly believe the Lord to be our Saviour only when we are saved.    We cannot indeed be saved without faith ; but it is not till his words are verified in our experience that we truly believe in him.    When the things which he has told us before have thus come to pass, then " ye may believe that I am he."

20.  When religion has become a matter of experience, the mind ascends from the lower degrees of truth to the higher, and even to the highest.     Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth, whomsoever I send, receiveth me ; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. Naturally understood, this means that those who received the apostles received Jesus; and those who received Jesus received the Father who sent him. By this we are instructed that Jesus and the Father are one ; the Father being in the Son as the Son is in the disciples, according to the Lord's words, " I in them and thou in me." Not that there is a similarity, but a correspondence. The Father is in the Son personally, and therefore infinitely; the Lord is in the dis­ciples by influx, and therefore finitely ; for the humanity of the Lord receives the divinity without measure, but the humanity of the disciples receives the divinity of the Lord according to their limited and vary­ing capacities. But in the internal sense, the Son is the divine truth proceeding from the divine good, and the apostles are the principles of truth and good proceeding from the Lord, as we possess and understand them. The lower not only reveal, but contain, the higher. And he who truly receives even the lowest, receives in it all that it contains, which will be unfolded as he becomes regenerated. This will be effected progressively both in this world and in the next. If we consider it in reference to the Word, the apostles represent the truths of the literal sense, and Jesus and the Father are divine truths in the spiritual and celestial senses. He who receives the truth as it is in the letter of the Word, receives also the truths of the two higher senses ; and although they may not be developed, still they are there, and sanctify the lower by their presence. If we consider it in reference to the church ; he who receives the truth as it is in the church, receives in it the truth as it is in heaven, into which he will come when he passes out of this world into the next.

21. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and tes­tified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you. That one of you shall betray me. Understanding this in its spiritual sense, and in reference to Christian progress and experience, we learn from it that the soul's ascent from the lower to the higher degrees of truth and spiritual de­velopment is not effected without conflict. The Lord was no doubt actually troubled in spirit, not simply at the contemplation of the treachery of Judas and the suffering of the cross, but because the in­ward conflict with the powers of darkness, to be followed by their more open and vigorous assault, had already begun. If, considering the disciples as representing the church, Judas was typical of those of its professed members who crucify the Lord afresh, and are inwardly devils, which they afterwards openly appear, the Lord's anguish of spirit will express the mourning of his love over every lost one ; for it is his desire that all should he saved and his redemption includes all within its wide embrace.

22.   Then the disciples looked on one another, doubting of whom he spake.   Well might they look upon one another at this startling an­nouncement -, and well might they doubt of whom he spake ; for which of them, except the traitor himself, could imagine it possible that any one of them could think of betraying so blessed a Master 1    But what are we to understand the meaning of this to be in regard to ourselves 1 This looking of the disciples on one another is expressive of self-exa­mination—looking into our own thoughts, and through these into our affections; for the disciples represent principles in one mind.    Such examination is attended with doubt as to where the evil lurks.    "When we are assured by divine wisdom that our hearts are evil above all things, and desperately wicked, we may consent to the truth, but we cannot realize it till experience makes it manifest.    But when we are told of any particular evil of a desperate character that we inherit, and may be guilty of,   we naturally doubt that it can have an abiding place within us.    When Hazael was told by the prophet of the cruel­ties he would commit when he had become king of Syria, he answered, " Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing ?" (2 Kings viii 13.)     The trouble which the disciples felt was the trouble which Jesus experienced now communicated to them.    When anguish seizes upon the interior of the mind, it descends into the exterior also, though it is there felt at first as an undefined evil, whose origin and operation are yet undiscovered.

23.  Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.   Self-examination, when the thoughts only look one upon another, leads the mind into doubt, which cannot be removed but by looking higher, even to the Lord himself, for a solution of the difficulty. But the Lord can only be approached by mediums ; the supreme Good and Truth can only be reached through goods and truths of a lower degree.    The highest of these mediums is the good of love to the Lord. This was represented by John, who, for that reason, leaned on Jesus' bosom.    The bosom of Jesus is the divine love itself; and " he who dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him."    Jesus is said to have loved the disciple who reclined on his bosom.    Not that the Lord does not love all his disciples, and even all the human race; but he is said to love those in whom his love dwells.    All are the objects of his love; those who are the recipients of his love are the disciples whom Jesus loves, and who lie in his bosom; for love is spiritual conjunction,    In the abstract sense it is love in the disciple through which he has immediate conjunction with the Lord, and therefore through which he has immediate communion with him.

24.  But there is a lower grace by which the mind ascends through this to the Lord.    That grace is faith, and was represented by Simon Peter.    Simon Peter, therefore, beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.   When this disciple is called Simon Peter, it expresses faith more intimately connected with love.    Peter beckoning to John to ask Jesus is expressive of an act of the mind, by which it looks from faith through love, to receive from the Lord a revelation of that which deeply concerns it, to know what and where the evil is, of which the Lord speaks of as his betrayer.

25.  He then, lying on Jesus' breast, saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Momentous question.    In regard to the disciple, in the progress of his spiritual life, the question means, What in me is it that is traitor to thee 1    How shall I know the traitor in my own heart 1

26.  Jesus answered, He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.    And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the Son of Simon.    The sop of which Jesus spake was the morsel which he, who presided at the feast of the passover, dipped in the vessel containing the bitter herbs.    And as the bitter herbs eaten with the paschal lamb were symbolical of temptation, with which the reception of spiritual good is attended, and by which its appropriation is effected, the giving of the sop to Judas was an appropriate act, by which the disciples were to discover him of whom the Lord spake. Temptation is that which, in Christian experience, makes the evil of the heart manifest.   This is the use of temptation, and that for which it is per­mitted; and its permission was represented by Jesus giving Judas the sop.

 LSP56227.  And after the sop Satan entered into him.    At verse 2 it is said that the devil had put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus ; here it is said that Satan entered into him.    The devil is the name for spirits who are actuated by the love of evil; Satan is the name for those who are actuated by the love of falsity.    The stages of the progress of wickedness are in this expressively pointed out.    First evil enters into the heart, prompting it to sin, then falsity enters into the understanding, pleading the justification of evil, and devising the means of committing the sin.    Evil may enter as an impulse into the heart without our incurring guilt; but when it is confirmed by false reasonings in the understanding, it only wants the opportunity and the. immediate temptation to become sin    Temptation is induced by evil spirits. They enter into and excite the evils of the heart, which rise up in the form of concupiscence, prompting to the commission of sin.    This is the Christian's opportunity for resisting, and "by resisting of overcoming, and thereby removing, the evil from which the concupiscence springs. When the evil is excited it may, it is true, he confirmed by perverse reasonings, in which case the evil becomes sin. But this is the fault of the person in whom the evil resides. All the disciples must have partaken of the bitter herbs, even as they were to taste the bitterness of the temptation that awaited them. Although they stumbled at the cross of Christ, none of them by transgression fell as Judas did. His sin was entirely different from theirs. Judas deliberately betrayed his Master; all the others were themselves betrayed by their yet uncon-quered love of self and the world. They did nothing to take away the Lord's life; they were only unprepared as yet to lay down their own. The trial, therefore, to which Judas was subjected was not peculiar to him. Temptations are common to all Christian disciples. They are the bitter waters of Marah, where the Lord proves his people (Exod. xv. 25). Those who cannot overcome temptation cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It was no doubt to teach us this solemn and useful lesson, that the incident took place and was recorded of Judas coming under the dominion of Satan, after receiving the sop. One purpose for which Satan was permitted to enter into Judas was that the Lord's work might be finished, and that his finished work might provide for the conquest of all evil, and of hell as the exciting cause of evil. The evil which became active in Judas was, or at least represented, the greatest and most direful evil that can dwell in the human heart; and it was necessary that this evil should be brought into action, and directed against the Lord himself; for unless such had been the case, redemption would not have gone to the lowest depths of sin, nor overcome the deepest malignity of the kingdom of evil. The Lord's giving Judas the sop was not to expose him to the assault of Satan. It was only an outward act typical of an inward operation that was going on in the mind of that disciple ; for the bread given him by Jesus was a symbol of the good which the Lord gives to feed the soul, while the dish in which he dipped it represented the natural mind, containing the bitter herbs of its own depraved nature, in which the inflowing good of the divine love becomes immersed, and by which it becomes changed into the bread of sorrows. When he had given him the sop, Then Jesus said unto him, That thou doest do quickly. What the Lord commands is not always of his will; it is sometimes only of his permission, as when he com­manded Israel to slay the nations of Canaan. The Lord's command also expresses the operation of his laws, and is often the revelation of what will be, rather than of what he wills to be. So in the present instance. " What thou doest do quickly," speaks of what Judas would do. And quickly enough he did what Satan had now put into his heart to do. But quickly in the spiritual sense has no relation to time, but to state. Quickly means certainly. And when the Lord uttered these words he expressed the truth, that now nothing would be with-holden from corrupt man to do; that now the end was certain, and the bright beginning which was to succeed it drew nigh. For while we are inclined to regard his words as only pointing to the awful reality of his passion, he himself looked through it to the glorious con­summation, his resurrection and ascension, and to the pouring out of his Spirit from on high, by which the world was to be regenerated, and the sin of Judas finally wiped out of the catalogue of human crimes.

28.  Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake thus unto him.    Those previously called disciples are now spoken of as those who were at the table, the former title having relation to truth and the present to goodness.    Meat, and the table on which it is placed, have the same signification, with the distinction that the meat is the internal, and the table is the external on which it rests.    Those at table are, therefore, those who are in conjunction and communion by a common principle of goodness—goodness derived from the Lord, and in which he is.    But none of those at table knew for what intent Jesus thus addressed Judas.    Those who are principled in good never suspect evil; and so far as any one thinks under the influence of good, he thinks no evil of others.    The Lord's words, moreover, do not of themselves imply evil action, but only his desire that what Judas was to do he should do quickly.    And none but the Lord knew what that was which he was desired to hasten.

29.  Although the disciples did not know what Judas was required to do, they conjectured, and their conjecture was in harmony with their own character.   For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that toe have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. Judas being the purse-bearer of the little brotherhood, suggested this interpretation of the Lord's mysterious words.    What this office of Judas spiritually implies we , have already stated.     Money is the symbol of knowledge ; and the memory is the receptacle in which it is deposited, and from which it .is drawn forth when it is employed for the uses of life, either in supplying the demands of the higher faculties for the good things of love, or of the lower for the good things of charity, which is to buy the things needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor.    Judas having the bag, indicates that he represents those whose knowledge of divine and spiritual things is a mere possession of the memory. The idea of the other disciples, that the Lord meant that Judas should buy for the feast, or distribute to the poor, implies that the true disciples of the Lord regard knowledge as having no other legitimate end than use. But when, contrasted with this sentiment of the eleven, Judas, as the bearer of the bag, is called a thief, we are instructed that such as he have no other than a selfish end in the use of the knowledge they possess ; they appropriate it to themselves, and cultivate it for their own glory, without respect to the profit of the neighbour, or the glory of the Lord, to whom the glory and merit of everything good and useful should be ascribed.

Jlc756 30.  He then, having received the sop, went immediately out; and it was night.     How impressive is this statement, how impressive  the lesson it teaches !     This reception  of the  sop was but  a  sign of Satan having entered into him, of his having admitted into his heart the dreadful false principle, which Satan inspired or rather excited. Judas, notwithstanding the devil had put evil into his heart, remained in the presence of the Lord, and in company with the rest of the dis­ciples ; but as soon as Satan entered into him he went out.    "What he had admitted into his heart being now confirmed in his understanding, he went out—out from the presence of the Lord and from the fellow­ship of the faithful.    He went out immediately.    Immediately, like suddenly, means certainly;  being expressive of a deep and settled confirmation of mind in the cherished evil, and a fixed determination of the will to carry it out into act.    And it was night.    Eight spiri­tually means a state of the understanding.    The seasons, which are determined by varying degrees of heat and cold, are expressive of the varying states of the will; but night and day, which are determined by light and its absence, are expressive of the different and opposite states of the understanding.    Night is mental and spiritual darkness. It is therefore recorded that it was night when Judas went out.    Then indeed was it the night of the Jewish church, which Judas represented ; but it is night with the sinner when the evil, which that of Judas repre­sented, has taken entire and undisputed possession of the mind.    He goes out from the presence of Him who is the light, into the darkness, to do the deeds thereof.

31.   Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.   Now that Judas had gone out, Jesus spake exultingly of his glorification.    He saw in the precipitate departure of the traitor the certainty and proximate comple­tion of his great work, and in it the redemption of the human race. But the Lord's exultation was expressive of the free expansion of his love and truth among his disciples, when evil is removed from among them ; when the saying is no longer applicable to them—" Now ye are clean—but not all."    The uncleanness is removed, and the Son of man is glorified in them, and God is glorified in him.    Jesus, there­fore, speaks as if he were already glorified, not only because to him all the future is present, but because when evil is gone out from his disciples, he is glorified in them.    The Lord's glorification, as effected in himself,  was the making of his humanity divine, and this was effected by the removal from it of every thing evil and finite inherited from the virgin mother.    When these were gone out, then was the Son of man glorified.    And God was glorified in him.    The Lord's glorification included two great acts—the making of his humanity divine, and the making of his divinity human.    In him man is God and God is man.    Manhood is raised up into Godhead, and Godhead is brought down into manhood.    These are but two coincident and concordant effects of the same glorifying work.    The one could not take place without the other.    Every act of glorification brought the divine down into the human, and raised the human up into the divine.    There was a perpetual ascending and descending—an ascend­ing of the human into the divine, and a descending of the divine into the human.    It is from, this ascent and descent in the Lord's glorification that God has come down to man, and that man can be elevated to God.    Such is the glorification of which the Lord speaks, considered in relation to himself.    But considered in relation to his disciples, it is to be understood in a corresponding sense.    The Son of man is the Lord as Divine Truth, and God is the Lord as Divine Goodness.    The Lord is glorified in his disciples when they receive his, truth in fulness and purity; and God is glorified in him when they receive his goodness in his truth, or his love in his wisdom, or what is the same, when they receive his divinity in his humanity. Truth lived is truth glorified; and in truth glorified good is realized. So far as we live according to the truth, good enters into the truth, and into us through it.    So that if the Son is glorified in us, God is glorified in Him.

32. But there is another effect of this glorification of the Father in the Son; for the Lord proceeds to say, If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him. The reciprocal work of making the human divine and the divine human is still spoken of. The glorification of the Father in the Son is the subject of the preceding verse, the glorification of the Son in the Father is the subject of this. " God shall glorify him in himself.'1 This was accomplished in .the Lord, when the human was taken up into the divine. The Father was glorified in the Son when the Lord had made his humanity divine truth, and the Son was glorified in the Father when the Lord made his humanity divine good. The Father is glorified in the Son in the experience of the disciple, when he has received the divine truth into his understanding, and lives according to it; and the Son is glorified in the Father when the disciple has elevated the divine truth into his heart, and loves it with a love inspired by the Lord from his divine love. To express it otherwise, God is glorified in the Son when love is in our truth, and God glorifies the Son of man in himself when our truth proceeds from love. In the first state we do good from truth, in the second state we do good from love. God glorifies the Son in himself when the truth we have received in the understanding is united with good in the will; for then truth is no longer a law leading by obedience to goodness, but a law proceeding from goodness to obedience; no longer light directing us to love, but love proceeding by light. The Lord, after saying that God shall glorify him in himself, adds, " and shall straightway glorify him." The certainty and completeness of the Lord's glorification is taught in these words, meaning, that when the Father had glorified the Son in him­self, then would the glorification of the Son be certain and complete. This reciprocal and therefore complete glorification is further treated of in the next chapter, where we shall have occasion to speak of it again.

33. From speaking of himself he turns to his disciples, Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say unto you. The Lord now for the first time calls his disciples little children. Children he had already called them; but they had now, by becoming more innocent, acquired more of the true character of those of whom it is said, that of such is the kingdom of heaven. They had become little in their own eyes, and more and more completely purged of the leaven of hypocrisy and iniquity. But their innocence and trust in their Lord was now to undergo a severe trial. The time was fast approaching when he was to be taken away from them. The'' little while " he was to be with them was a time and a state of joy and security. But when that time was ended, they would seek the Lord as one whom they had lost. Severely would they feel his absence. Yet it was expedient for them that he should go away. One state, however pleasing and pros­perous, cannot continue always. The Christian must go on unto per­fection, and perfection cannot be attained without alternations of state. The greatest change of state which the Christian disciple can experience, and the most severe trial he can undergo, were represented by those on which the Lord's disciples were now about to enter. It was passing through death into life. The Lord's sensible presence with them was accordant with their sensuous state. He was about to die out of their sensual mind that he might rise again in their spiritual mind. The events that took place in the world without them were correspon­dent with those which took place in the world within them. These were to follow, for they are the image of the states through which the Lord passed. When the Lord intimated that he was about to leave them, he added, " And as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go ye can­not come, so now I say unto you." The divine Teacher here instructs his disciples, that they could not come where he was going in their present state. He said' this to them as he had said it to the Jews, because as yet they were, like the Jews, in an external state of mind. They could not come whither the Lord was to go, but the Lord had promised that he would come again to them and receive them unto himself, that where he was there they should be also. They were now indeed, reformed, but they required to be regenerated; they were con­ceived anew, but they required to be born again, before they were fit for the kingdom of heaven. The Lord had to go away in the flesh and come back in the spirit, before they could "he born of the spirit, and become spiritually united.

34. The Lord delivers a commandment to them, by obedience to which they would be prepared to receive him at his coming. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Why was this called a new commandment? It had been required by the old law that men should love their neighbour as themselves (Lev. xix. 18). This com­mandment was new, because, under the Christian dispensation, it was to be done from a new principle and after a new pattern. Christians are to love one another as spiritual and immortal beings, and from a spiritual and eternal principle of action; and they are to love one another, not only as they love themselves, but as the Lord has loved them. This marks the grand distinction between the mutual love of Christians and that of the Jews, and of all others who know not or receive not Christ. While we were yet enemies to hfm? he loved us with a pure disinterested love, and so far from loving us as he loved him­self, he gave himself for us. It is with a love like this that Christians are to love one another. They -cannot indeed love with the same ardour and purity as the Lord loved and still loves them; but they can strive to imitate him, and to reflect, in the innocence and usefulness of their lives, something of his human perfection. Their love can he a likeness of his, and it can he no more. And it can be like his, be­cause they not only have his bright and sinless example before them, but they have his presence in them, with the love wherewith he has loved them ever ready to be shed abroad in their hearts, and his word which requires only to have free course and be glorified. In their measure all can receive and manifest this love. Nor need they think how it is possible for frail and sinful creatures to imitate their Saviour; for it is not their own love, but his love in them that they manifest. To say that we are unable thus to love, is in effect to say that Jesus is unable to inspire us with his love. "What he requires us to do he gives us the power of doing. He gives us, therefore, power to do the new commandment which he gave unto us, that we love one another, even as he loved us. Gratitude as well as duty demands our willing however imperfect obedience.

lsp999 35. "While obedience to this commandment is necessary to make us disciples in the sight of the Lord, it is equally requisite to make us disciples in the sight  of men. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another. This test of discipleship is one that all men can apply, and which they cannot help apply­ing. Many may be unable to distinguish truth from error, but all are able to distinguish between good and evil, love and hatred. The reason of this is, that truth and error belong to the thoughts, and their quality is arrived at by a process of reasoning; but good and evil be­long to the affections, and their quality is known by an act of per­ception. The language of the affections is a universal language which all understand. It is the only language of animals, of which they have an intuitive knowledge. Human beings intuitively know the difference between the sound of love and hatred; and as they . discern it in sound, so can they perceive it in action. Love, expressed in word and deed, is the language of Christianity ; and by this shall all men know that we are the disciples of Jesus, that we have love one to another. If we would at once honour our Lord, and do good to our neighbour and to ourselves, we must cultivate mutual love, and en­deavour to love one another, even as our Saviour loved us. If this new commandment were carried into life with any degree of consis­tency and constancy, how beautiful a spectacle would the church pre­sent ! how beneficial an influence would it exercise on the world with­out, and what a blessed effect would it have on the communion of the faithful! War and contention would cease, and the human familywould live  as the children of their heavenly Father,   peaceful  sub­jects of the Prince of peace.

36.  The disciples do not seem to have fully appreciated the value and blessedness of this lesson.    Their faith was as yet more active than their love; and so Peter, by whom their faith was expressed and represented, reverts to  the  Lord's declaration respecting his departure, which had made a deeper impression upon them than the new commandment he had given them.    Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou ?    Jesus answered him,  Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.    The disciples were as yet ignorant of the real import of the Lord's declaration. This question shows that they knew nothing whatever of the mystery of redemption, but only thought of the Lord's going away as a change of place.    The Lord does not answer Peter's question, although he no doubt anticipated his purpose in asking it, which was that he might follow him.    Future states cannot be revealed to those who have not entered on them, or into which the Lord, as the way, the truth, and the life, has not yet been manifested in their hearts and minds.    It is enough to be instructed in the truth relating to themselves, " "Whither I go thou canst not follow me now," and so receive the promise, " but thou shalt follow me afterwards."    This is supposed to refer to the disciples following Jesus, in becoming martyrs in his cause, which they were neither required nor prepared to be now, but afterwards would willingly become.    But there was a martyrdom of another and still more trying kind, which they were then unprepared for, and which they could not triumphantly endure until the Lord h?id suf­fered ; for the disciple could not lay down the life of his self-hood until the Lord had laid down the life of his frail humanity.    After­wards, the disciple could follow his Lord through the great temptation, and experience the great change from nature to spirit, from death unto life.     And then would be exhibited the fruits of that change, as spoken of by the apostle, " "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (1 John iii. 14).    And here we see the reason of the Lord's delivering, in connection with the sub­ject  of his  death and  life,  the  new commandment,   to  love  one another, which is not very apparent from the literal sense.

37.  The disciples were not,  it would  appear, satisfied with the Lord's assurance of their inability to follow him,   Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now ?     I will lay down my life for thy sake.    As they did not know whither the Lord was going, they could not know that they were unable to follow him.    But the question and declaration of Peter express the state and character of those who are as yet in faith without works, as indeed the event showed; for not only did Peter deny the Lord, hut all the others forsook him and fled. Those who are yet in this speculative and persuasive faith, are not disposed to believe in their inability to follow the Lord whithersoever he goeth, or to doubt of their being able to lay down their life for his sake. They feel that the spirit is willing, but they have yet to learn that the flesh is weak.

38. To Peter's assertion, Jesus answered, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. The Lord here showed his pre­science. He, who knew what was in man, saw into Peter's inmost soul, and knew how he would act in 'the trial that awaited him. Im­pressive is this lesson. Since we know so little of our own hearts, it shows how humbly and meekly we should hear the words of the Most High, when they tell us of our weakness and warn us of our danger. In the spiritual sense, the Lord's words to Peter are addressed through him to the church. The crowing of the cock is the announcement that the night of the church is past, and that the morning of a new dispen­sation has dawned. Before the cock crew, was before the morning twilight had appeared. Peter's denying the Lord three times before the crowing of the cock, represented the utter denial of the Lord in the night of the expiring church, both at the time of the Lord's first coming, and at the time of his second advent. The plenary denial of the Lord is expressed by the thrice that Peter denied him. As Peter represented faith, his defection was a representative exhibition of that which our Lord predicted, when he said, "When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith in the earth ?" If Peter denied his Lord, where may faith be expected to be found ? But how blessed a pros­pect does this dark prediction contain ! Peter indeed should deny his Lord; but after the dark sin, there is a bright prospect. The cock is to crow, and the morning of a new day is to dawn, which will bring light and love to the sons of men.

Author: William Bruce --1870

Pictures: James Tissot----Courtesy of the Brooklyn museum

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