RPM, Volume 18, Number 1, December 27, 2015 to January 2, 2016

Sermons on John 17

Sermon I

By Thomas Manton

'These words spake Jesus, and lift up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.' JOHN 17.1

I shall, in the following exercises, open to you Christ's solemn prayer recorded in this chapter - a subject worthy of our reverence and serious meditations. The Holy Ghost seemeth to put a mark of respect upon this prayer above other prayers which Christ conceived in the days of his flesh. Elsewhere the scripture telleth us that Christ prayed; but the form is not expressed, or else only brief hints are delivered, but this is expressed at large. This was, as it were, his dying blaze. Natural motion is swifter and stronger in the end; so was Christ's love hottest and strongest in the close of his life; and here you have the eruption and flame of it. He would now open to us the bottom of his heart, and give us a copy of his continual intercession. This prayer is a standing monument of Christ's affection to the church; it did not pass away with the external sound, or as soon as Christ ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father; it retaineth a perpetual efficacy; the virtue remaineth, though the words be over. As the word of creation hath retained its vigour these five or six thousand years: 'Increase and multiply, and let the earth bring forth after its kind;' so the voice of this turtle is ever heard, and Christ's prayers retain their vigour and force, as if but newly spoken.

In this prayer he mentions all blessings and privileges necessary for the church. He prayeth for himself, for the apostles, for all believers. He beginneth with his own glorification, as the foundation; and goeth on to seek the welfare of the apostles, as the means; and then the comfort of believers, as the fruit of his administrations in the world. Christ's merit, the apostles word, the believers comfort, are three things of the highest consideration in religion. I shall open these in the order and method in which they are laid down.

In the first verse we have:-

1. The preface to the whole prayer, these things said Jesus, etc.;

2. Christ's free request, glorify thy Son; which is backed with reasons taken from—

[1.] His special relation, Father, and thy Son.

[2.] His present necessity, the hour is come.

[3.] The aim of his request, that thy Son also may glorify thee.

I shall go over the phrases as they are offered in the order of the words.

'These things spake Jesus;' that is, when he had spoken these things.

This clause serveth -

1. To show the order of the history; his prayer followed his farewell sermon.

2. The suitableness of his prayers to the sermon. The points there enforced are here commended to God in prayer. It were easy to suit the requests to the consolations and instructions of that sermon.

From hence -

[1.] Observe how fitly Christ dischargeth the office of a mediator. The office of a mediator, or day's-man, is 'to lay his hand upon both,' Job ix. 33; to treat and deal with both parties. Hitherto Christ hath dealt with men in the name of God, opening his counsel to us; now he dealeth with God in the name of men, opening our case to him. As Moses, the typical mediator, was to speak to God, Exod. xix. 19, and from God, Exod. xx. 19, so did our Lord speak from God and to God. He still performeth the same work and office. He speaketh to us in the word, and for us in prayer. The word never works till we hear Christ speaking in it: 2 Cor. Xiii. 3, 'Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me;' and our prayers are not accepted, but by virtue of Christ's intercession. Those that made their addresses to King Admetus, brought the prince with them in their arms; or as Joseph charged his brethren that they should not see his face unless they brought Benjamin with them, their brother; we cannot see God's face unless we bring our elder brother with us. Acts xii. 20, when Herod was displeased with the men of Tyre, they made Blastus, the king's chamberlain, their friend. It is good to have a favourite in heaven. Among all the favourites, none so acceptable as Christ; get him to make intercession for you. Out of the whole, Learn to see Christ in the word, to use Christ in prayer; he is the golden pipe by which our prayers ascend, and the influences of heaven are conveyed to us: 1 Cor. viii. 6, 'One Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.' All things come from God to us through Christ.

[2.] Observe Christ's order and method. From preaching he descendeth to prayer; the word worketh not without the divine grace. We may open the word, but God must open the understanding, Luke xxiv.28, with 45. Christ himself, you see, sealeth his doctrine with the seal of prayer. Moral suasion worketh not without a divine and real efficacy. The apostles said, Acts vi. 4, 'We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and the ministry of the word.' When God hath spoken to us, we must speak to God again. Prayer is the best key to open the heart, because it first openeth heaven. Those that hear a sermon, and do not pray for a blessing, see nothing of God in his ordinances, nothing but what is of man's oratory and argument. Efficacy is quite another thing and when God speaketh in his word with Samuel, they think it is Eli. It reproveth them that, when the sermon is ended, go out, and turn their backs upon prayer; this is to neglect Christ's method. And it presseth you still to help on the word by your prayers: Rom. xv. 30, 'I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers.' If you would have Christ's glory and the Spirit's efficacy promoted, you must take this course.

[3.] Observe the industry and diligence of the Lord Jesus in holy things. He letteth no time pass without some saving work; from doctrine he turneth himself to prayer. He began with the supper, and goeth on with discourse, and finisheth all with prayer. It upbraideth us that are soon weary of holy things. We are like foolish birds that leave the nest, and are often straggling, and let the eggs cool before they are hatched. Our religion cometh by flashes, which are never perfected and ripened. Now especially should we imitate Christ upon solemn days of worship; as the Lord's-day, our whole time should be parted into meditation and prayer and conference. And yet more especially after the Lord's supper we should continue the devotion, and make the whole day a post-communion, as civet-boxes retain their scent when the civet is taken out; and when the act is over, our thoughts and discourse and actions should still savour of the solemnity. Certainly it is an argument of much weakness to be all for flashes and sudden starts. If we would refresh ourselves with change, it should be with change of exercise, and not of affection. If it seem irksome, consider, it is more easy to persevere in a heavenly frame than to begin again; and when the heart is warm, we should take heed we do not lose the present advantage. A bell is kept up with less difficulty than raised; and when a horse is warm in his gears he continues his journey with more ease than if he should stand still a while and grow stiff. If we yield to weariness, how shall we hope to raise the heart again, and to get it to this advantage? Corruption doth but cheat thee if thou thinkest to get a fresh start by intermission. As I said before, there is refreshment in change of exercise; and when one teat is drawn dry, we may, as the lamb, suck another that will yield new supply and sweetness.

'And lift up his eyes to heaven.'

The scripture taketh notice of the gesture. Christ's gestures are notable, because real significations of the motions of his heart. In the garden, when he began his passion, he fell on his face and prayed, Mat. xxvi. 39; but here he lifted up his eyes. When he travailed under the greatness of our sins, his posture is humble; but now, when he is treating with God for our mercies, he useth a gesture that implieth a more elevated and generous confidence. Gestures, being actions suited to the affections, are significant, and imply the dispositions of the heart. Let us see what may be collected out of this gesture, lifting the eyes to heaven.

1. The raising of the heart to God in prayer. Prayer is anabasis tou nou pros ton Theon, the ascension or elevation of the heart to God, the motion of the body suiting with that of the soul; so David expresseth it, Ps. xxv. 1, 'I lift my heart to thee.' When you pray, know what is your work. If you would converse with God, you need not change place, but raise the affection. God boweth the heavens, and you lift up the heart; it is not the lifting up the voice, but of the spirit. The lifting up of the voice, or of the eye are good, as outward significations, but the chief work is to lift up the heart; the understanding in raised thoughts of God, the affections by strong operations of desire and love. Usually our hearts are heavy, and sink as lead within us; it is a work of difficulty to raise them. We must pull up the weights, proskarterountes tei proseuchei, 'continuing nr prayer,' Acts i. 14. As Moses his hands easily fell and sunk, so do our hearts, Exod. xvii. There are plummets and weights of sin hang upon us, which must be cut off if we intend to get up the heart in prayer.

2. Spiritual reverence of God: 'The heavens are his throne and dwelling-place,' Ps. ciii. 19. There his majesty and power shineth forth, there we behold his majesty, in that sublime and stately fabric. Earthly kings, that their majesty may appear the greater to their subjects, have their thrones exalted, and made of precious matter, with cunning and curious artifice. But what are these to that sublime and admirable fabric of the heavens? The very sight of the heavens show how excellent God is. So that looking up to heaven noteth the raising the heart in the reverent consideration of God's majesty and excellency. We may come with hope; we speak to our Father: but we must speak with reverence; we speak to our Father in heaven. When we lift up our eyes, and look upon that stately fabric, the awe of God should fall upon us. We are poor worms crawling at God's footstool. By looking up to heaven we do most seriously set God before us. So when Solomon speaketh against the slightness of our addresses to God, he propoundeth this remedy, Eccles. v. 2, 'Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth.' There is a distance; there God appeareth in his royalty. We tremble to come before the thrones of earthly princes; they are but thy fellow clay: how far do the stars of heaven excel their richest jewels! What is all their state to the pure matter of the heavens, to that blaze of light wherewith he is clothed? Pa. civ. 2, 'Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.' What are the coaches of princes to the chariots of the clouds, and wings of the wind, and that majesty and state that God keepeth in the heavens?

3. It noteth confidence in God, or a disclaiming of all sublunary confidence. The godly, in all their prayers and cries, look up unto the heavens, to note their confidence in God, and not in fleshly aids; as Ps. cxxi. 1, 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help;' meaning, his relief and deliverance should come from God alone. A christian looketh round about him, and seeth no ground of help hut in the tops of the hills. So Ps. cxxiii. 1, 'Unto thee I lift up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.' The thrones of princes are places slippery and unsafe; but our supports are out of gunshot: Lam. iii. 41, 'Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.' We must not rest upon anything in the world. He that made the heavens can accomplish our desires. The constant course of the heavens noteth God's faithfulness. A man may foresee some natural events some hundred years before. The glorious fabric of the heavens is a monument of his power.

4. To show that their hearts are taken off from the world, and from carnal desires. Christ's eyes were to heaven; there his Father was: and christians lift up their eyes to heaven, because they mainly 'seek those things that are above, where God's throne is,' and 'where Christ is now sitting at his right hand,' Col. iii. 1. It is for beasts to grovel and look downward. Our home is above, in those upper regions; there is our Christ, our pure and sweet companions. Their heart cannot be severed from their head. When we expect one, we turn our eyes that way; as the wife looks towards the seas when she expects her husband's return. It doth them good to look towards these visible heavens, remembering that one day they shall have a place of rest there. God hath fixed his throne, and Christ hath removed his body out of the world, that we may look upward. These things from the gesture.

'And said.'

The word noteth a vocal expression of the prayer. Moses cried, Exod. xiv. 15, which noteth an inward fervency. There are no words mentioned, but Christ 'said; 'that is, with an audible voice.

I shall from this word inquire - (1.) Why he prayed; (2.) Why he pronounced his prayers in the hearing of the apostles.

First, Why he prayed; for it seems strange that Christ should be brought upon his knees, and that he, who was the express image of his Father's glory, should need the comfort of prayer, and that the heir of heaven, who hath the key of David, and openeth and no man shutteth, should stand knocking at the Father's door. I answer -

1. This was the agreement between God and him, that he was first to establish a right, and then to sue it out in court: Ps. ii. 8, 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.' This prayer is nothing else but Christ presenting his merits before the tribunal of God. In the whole transaction of man's salvation, God the Father would sustain the person of the ruler and governor of the world; and Christ was to come and make his plea before him, to give an account of his work, and to sue out his own right, and the right of his members. Oh! wonder at the business of our salvation, the love of God, the condescension of Christ, when he took the quality of our surety upon him. He is to make a formal process, to plead his own merits and our interest; for so he is less than the Father as mediator : 'My Father is greater than I.' Not only as man, but as mediator, Christ sustained a lesser place.

2. That we might have a copy of his intercession. Christ is good at interceding; he gave the world a taste in his last prayer. It is a pledge of those continual groans which, as a mediator of the church, he putteth up for us in heaven. We have an excellent advocate: 1 John ii. 2, 'If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' When thou art in danger of temptation, he saith, 'They are in the world; keep them from the evil of the world.' When thou art practising holinesss, Christ speaketh a good word of thee behind thy back: 'Father, they keep thy word.' He is a good shepherd, that knoweth the state of his flock, and readily giveth an account to the Father.

3. That these prayers might be a constant fountain and foundation of spiritual blessings. Christ's prayers are as good as so many promises; for he is always heard, John xi. 42. In this prayer, Christ speaketh as God-man. There is not any eroto, I ask, but thelo, I will. Ver. 24, 'Father, I will that they also be with me where I am.' A word, not of request, but of authority. The divine nature giveth a force and efficacy to these prayers. When he prayeth, whole Christ prayeth, God-man; and as his passion received efficacy from his godhead, so did his prayers: Acts xx. 28, 'Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.' As it was the blood of God, so it is the prayer of God. The godhead is interested in all these actions; it is the prayer of the Son of God made flesh. The things which he asketh belong to the human nature, yet he prayeth as God. He that heareth with the Father, will be heard by the Father. Christ's prayer is not like the prayers of other holy men recorded in scripture for a form and pattern, but as a fountain of comfort and blessing. This should beget a confidence in the accomplishment of all these promises, the safety of the elect, the success of the word, the unity of the church, and the possession of glory.

4. To commend the duty of prayer. He commanded it before, and commended it by promise: John xiv. 13, 14, Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it; John xv. 16, 'That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.' Now, to precept and promise he would add his own example. Certainly there are none above ordinances, if Christ the eternal Son of God was not. If Christ, who was of the same majesty and power with his Father, did pray so earnestly and seriously, when, in the light of omnisciency, he saw the fruit of his passion, how much more are prayers necessary for us, under such infirmity of flesh to which we are subject, and such rage of Satan and the world! In all cases we must use this remedy. They that are above prayer are beyond religion. In his greatest works Christ despised not this remedy. Christ knew his own deliverance, and was sure of it; yet he will not have it but by prayer. He had an eternal right to heaven and glory, and a new right by purchase, yet he would have his charter confirmed by prayer. And so, though we have assurance of mercy, we must take this course to get it accomplished; though we have large possessions and a liberal supply, when it is at the table we must receive it as a boon from grace: 'Give us this day our daily bread.' If for no other reason, prayer is necessary for submission to God, and that we may renew the sense of that tenure by which we hold a charter of grace, that by asking we may still take it out of free grace's hands. Christ had a right, yet, because of that mixture of grace with justice in all divine dispensations, he is to ask.

5. That our prayers might be effectual. Christ's prayer is large and comprehensive. We can mention nothing but he has begged it already in terminis, or by consequence. The prayers of the saints have their efficacy, but not from any virtue in them, but by Christ's merits, by virtue of his prayers. Now Christ hath consecrated the way, it is like to be successful; no prayer can miscarry. God may cast out the dross, but he will be sure to receive the prayer. Now he doth not refuse your money, but rubbeth off the filth of it. It is very notable that Christ consecrated all ordinances, and made them successful by his own obedience. Baptism; he made the waters of baptism salutary. Hearing; Christ was one of John's auditors: 'Behold the Lamb of God,' John i. 29. Singing, prayer, receiving the supper; he loveth the society, ever since he himself was a communicant: Mat. xxvi. 29, 'I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of this vine, until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.' Christ doth but act over that ordinance in heaven. So for prayer.

Secondly, The next thing is why Christ spake aloud in prayer.

I answer - He might have prayed in silence, but he would be our advocate, but so that he might be our teacher. When he prayed for us, he prayed publicly and with a loud voice, for our comfort and instruction, and to give vent to the strength of his affection by leaving this monument in the church: ver. 13, 'These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves;' that in all trials and afflictions we might draw consolation from the matter of this prayer. You may observe hence, that it is of advantage to use vocal prayer, not only in public, when we may quicken others, as one bird setting all the rest a-chirping, and we profess we are not ashamed of God or his worship, but in private also. God made body and soul, and will be served by both. Words are as giving vent to, or as the broaching of, a full vessel. Strong affections cannot be confined to thoughts: Ps. xxxix. 2, 3, 'My heart was hot within me; while I was musing, the fire burned; then spake I with my tongue.' Musing makes the fire to burn. There is a continual prayer by ejaculations and thoughts; but words become solemn and stated times of duty. Words are a boundary to the mind, and fix it more than thoughts, which are usually light and skipping. The mind may wander, but words are as a trumpet to summon them again into the presence of God. Our roving madness will be sooner discerned in words than in thoughts. When a word is lost or misplaced, we are more ashamed; and by words, a dull sluggish heart is sometimes quickened and awakened. It is good to use this help. Now I come to the prayer itself.


It is a word of confidence and sweet relation, in which there is much of argument, in that Christ, as God's only Son, speaketh to his own Father: 'Father, glorify thy Son.' A father is wont to be delighted with the glory and honour of a son, as the mother of Zebedee's children sought their preferment, Mat. xx. 20. It is good to observe that Christ doth not say, 'Our Father,' as involving our interest with his, because it is of a distinct kind. Christ would observe the distinction between us and himself: he is a Son that is equal with the Father, co-eternal with his Father; but we are adopted sons, made so. When he speaketh to his disciples, he saith not, Our heavenly Father, but 'Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things,' Mat. vi. 32; and John xx. 17, 'I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God;' clearly distinguishing his own interest from ours. And mark, Christ useth the argument of son and father to show that he was not therefore glorified because a son, but therefore a son because glorified. We may note hence -

1. That it is very sweet and comfortable in prayer when we can come and call God Father. It is a word of affection, reverence, and confidence; in all which the excellency of prayer consisteth. So Christ in all his addresses: 'Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,' Mat. xxvi. 39. So also all his prayers are bottomed on this relation; ver. 5, 'And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self;' Mat. xi. 25, 'I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,' etc. He hath taught us the same, to pray. 'Our Father which art in heaven,' Mat. vi. 9. The great work of the Spirit is to help us to speak thus to God; not with lips that feign, but from our hearts: Rom. viii. 15, 'Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.' We confine the Spirit's assistance to earnest tendencies and vigorous motions; the main work is, to help us to cry, Father, with a proper and genuine confidence. Now all cannot do this: a wicked man cannot say safely to God, My Father. Whosoever claims kindred of God, while he is unjust and filthy, it is not a prayer, but a contumely and slander: 'He that sanctifieth, and those that are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,' Heb. ii. 11. Christ counteth none to be of his kindred but the regenerate. Pagans are strangers, and carnal men in the church are bastards; they had need study holiness that would claim kindred of Christ. Consider then what claim and interest have you in God? It is sad if we can only come as creatures, cry as ravens for food, out of a general title to his providence, or to cry, Father, and lie; to take his name in vain. It is sweeter to speak to God as a son than as a creature; 'Lord, Lord,' is not half so sweet as, 'Our Father.' This is a sweet invitation to prayer: Mat. vii. 9, 'What man of you, who if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?' Ver. 11, 'if ye then, that are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him?' It is a consolation in prayer: Gal. iv. 6, 'Because ye are sons, he hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' It is a ground of hope and expectation after prayer: 'Ye have received the spirit of adoption, to call God, Father.'

2. Christ was about to suffer bitter things from the hand of God, and yet he calleth him Father. In afflictions, we must still look upon God as a Father, and behave ourselves as children. Christ felt him a judge, yet counts him a father. God, as a judge, was now about to lay on him the sufferings of all the elect, yet Christ calls him Father, to declare his obedience and trust. The hour was come in which the whole weight of God's displeasure was to be laid upon him; yet, in this relative term, he acknowledgeth his Father's love, and manifesteth his own obedience. We should do so in all our afflictions:

(1.) Maintain the comfort of adoption; (2.) Behave ourselves as children.

(1.) Maintain the comfort of adoption. It is the folly of the children of God to question his love because of the greatness of their afflictions, as if their interest did change with their condition, and God were not the God of the valleys as well as the God of the hills. We have more cause to discern love than to question it. Bastards are left to a looser discipline: Heb. xii. 8, 'If ye are without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.' To be exempted from the cross is to be put out of the roll of children. The bramble of the wilderness is suffered to grow wild, but the vine is pruned. The stones that are designed for a noble structure or building are hewed and squared when others lie by neglected.

(2.) Behave ourselves as children, with patience and hope.

[1.] With a submissive patience. 'Father' is a word that implieth authority and love and care, all which are arguments of patience. Fathers have a natural right to rule; we must take it quietly and patiently at their hands. Isaac yielded to his father when he went to be sacrificed. It is said, Gen. xxii. 8, 'They both went together;' which noteth his quiet submission. But fatherly acts are not only managed with authority, but with love and care. Slaves may be corrected out of cruelty and hatred by their masters, but fathers do not deal so with children: Heb. xii. 9, 10, 'Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?' For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. The apostle argueth a minori ad majus. None can be such a father as the Lord, so wise as he, so loving as he. God putteth on all relations: he hath the bowels of a mother, the wisdom of a father. He is a mother for tenderness of love: Isa. xlix. 15, 'Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.' A father for wisdom and care: Mat. xi. 31, 32, 'Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat?' etc., for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Earthly parents sometimes chastise their children out of mere passion, at least there is some mixture of corruption; but the Lord's dispensations are managed with much love and judgment. Therefore say, as Christ, John xviii. 11, 'The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink of it? 'It is a bitter cup, but it cometh from the hand of a father: our Father gave it us, and our elder brother began it to us. We should love the cup the better ever since Christ's lips touched it.

[2.] With hope. When we are perplexed, we should not be in despair, but sustain ourselves under our great hopes: 1 John iii. 2, 'Now we are the Sons of God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be.' We have the right of children, though afflicted; our estate and patrimony is in the heavens. An heir in his nonage is under tutors and governors; he is born to a great possession, but kept under a severe discipline.

'The hour is come,' hei ora, that hour.

1. That hour which was defined in God's decree, set down and appointed by the council of the Trinity; not by fate, or any necessity of the stars, but by God's wise providence and ordination. No man could take Christ till his hour was come: John vii. 30, 'Then they sought to take him; but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.' But when this hour was come, the Son of God was brought under the power of men, and liable to the assaults of devils. Therefore he saith, Luke xxii. 53, 'This is your hour, and the power of darkness.' No calamity can touch us without God's will. The hour, the measure, all the circumstances of sufferings, fall under the ordination of God. It is not only a general ordinance that we shall suffer affliction; the apostle mentioneth that, 1 Thes. iii. 3, 'Let no man be moved by this affliction; for yourselves know that you were thereunto appointed.' It is the ordinance of God that the way to heaven should lie through a howling wilderness. All the saints in heaven knew no other road; afflictions seem one of the waymarks. But we speak now of another appointment, of determining all the circumstances of the affliction, the time, the measure, the instruments. It is the comfort of a christian that nothing can befall him but what his Father wills: 'A sparrow cannot fall to the ground without our heavenly Father,' Mat. x. 29. The wise Lord hath brewed our cup, and moulded and shaped every cross. All the ounces of gall and wormwood are weighed out by a wise decree, and our cup is tempered by God's own hand. We storm many times because of such and such accidents, and circumstances of the cross, as if we would have God ask our vote and advice, and as if our opinion were a better balance wherein to weigh things than divine providence. Providence reacheth to every particular accident. Your doom was long since written: such a vessel of mercy shall be thus and thus broached and pierced; every wound and sorrow is numbered.

2. That hour which was determined and foretold in the prophecies. God doth all things in fit seasons; he hath his days and hours. Daniel 'understood by books the number of the years,' Dan. ix. 2; Hab. ii. 3, 'The vision is for an appointed time.' It easeth the heart of much distraction when we consider there is a period fixed. There is a clock with which providence keepeth time and pace, and God himself setteth it. 'It is good for us to wait the Lord's leisure.' God himself waiteth as well as we: Isa. xxx. 18, 'He waiteth that he may be gracious.' He letteth the course of causes run on till the fit hour and moment of execution be come, when he may discover himself with most advantage to his glory and the comfort of his servants; and God waiteth with as much earnestness as you do (I speak after the manner of men): Isa. xvi. 14, 'But now hath the Lord spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of a hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned,' etc.; as the hireling waiteth for the time of his freedom, and when he is to receive his wages. Moab was a bitter enemy. Therefore let us wait: John viii. 7, 'Your times are always ready, but my time is not yet come.' We draw draughts of providence with the pencil of fancy, and then confine God to the circle of our own thoughts, as if he must be always ready at our hours.

3. 'The hour is come;' the sufferings of God's people are very short. To our sense and feeling they seem long, because carnal affections are soon tired; but the word doth not reckon by centuries and years, but moments: Ps. xxx. 5, 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.' All temporal accidents are nothing compared to eternity. The sorrows of our whole life are but one night's darkness: 'This light affliction, that is but for a moment,' saith the apostle, 2 Cor. iv. 17. Set time against eternity, and we shall want words to declare the shortness of it. Our hour will be soon ended. Wait a while and we shall be beyond fears. The martyrs in heaven do not think of flames, and wounds and saws; these were the sufferings of a moment: John xvi. 21, 'A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world;' John xvi. 16, 'A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me.' To faith, the time between Christ's departure and his second coming is but as the time between his death and resurrection; for of that Christ also speaketh, as is clear by the subsequent context. We measure all by sense, and therefore cry, How long, how long; as men in pain will count minutes ; but look to the endless glory within the veil, and it is nothing. We should especially take this comfort to ourselves in sickness and death; it is but an hour. Wink and thou shalt be in heaven, said a martyr.

4. The hour is come, saith Christ, and therefore prayeth. When the sad hour is come, the only remedy is prayer. We should not despond, but meet sorrows with a generous confidence. Now the only way is to pray. If we cannot look for a deliverance, we may pray for a mitigation, for shortening affliction: Mat. xxiv. 20, 'Pray that your flight be not in the winter, nor on the sabbath-day,' when it may be tedious to body or soul. Pray that you may glorify God in sufferings, as Christ sueth out support in this request. Usually when evils are unavoidable we give over all addresses; yet our condition is capable of mercy. If the hour be come, beg that a spirit of glory may rest upon you.

5. Christ knew his hour. There was no traitor by; Judas was not present; the soldiers were not come to apprehend him; all was yet in the dark, and kept secret in the bosom of the priests and elders. It confirmeth us in the belief of the omnisciency of Christ. He knew the moment of his suffering before there was any appearance of it: 'All things are open and naked before him with whom we have to do;' and he 'seeth our thoughts afar off.'

6. Christ knew the hour was come, yet he seeketh not a hiding-place, or to avoid the storm by flight. How many natural and supernatural ways had Christ to escape! He could have smitten them with a beam of majesty. It noteth the willingness of Christ to suffer all this trouble and danger for our sakes as our conqueror. When Christ was to grapple with our enemies, he did not decline the battle, but with courage and confidence entered into the lists with death and hell. As our sacrifice, he went willingly to the altar, not like a swine, but like a sheep; not with howling and reluctaucy, but with a ready patience.

7. The act of Christ's death was quickly over; it was but a short space of time; he calleth it an hour: Ps. cx. 7, de torrente bibet, 'He shall drink of the brook in the way;' a draught of death: 'He tasted death for every one,' Heb. ii. 9. At one draught he drunk hell dry as to the elect.

Object. But we were to suffer eternally, and Christ was to bear our sorrows. I answer - Though Christ paid the same debt, yet, through the excellency of his person, it was done in a shorter time. A payment in gold is the same sum with a payment in silver or brass; only, through the excellency of the metal, it taketh up less room.

8. The hour is come. By way of argument, he showeth the occasion of his prayer in this hour of sadness and ignominy. I am to be betrayed, condemned, buffeted, crucified; my majesty will be obscured, and my death, like a veil, drawn upon my glory: now, glorify me in this hour. Indeed, thus it was in all Christ's weakness and abasement, there was some adjunct of glory. In his incarnation, he is thrust out into a manger, a place for horses; but there he is worshipped. A star in heaven is hung up for a sign of that inn where Christ lay; a new bonfire to welcome that great, but poor prince, into the world. He is apprehended by the soldiers, but they are driven back, and twice checked in their rude attempt by the beams and emissions of his divine glory. He is tempted by the devil in the wilderness, but angels are sent to minister to him. He had not wherewith to pay tribute to Caesar, but the sea payeth tribute to him, and a fish bringeth the money. When he was crucified and scoffed at, heaven itself becometh a mourner, and puts on a veil of darkness; the high priest did not rend his clothes, but the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom. One thief scoffed him, but another proclaimed him king. When man denied him, the creatures preached up his glory. Thus Christ, in the saddest hour, is still glorified. And thus it is with the children of God. Afflictions on wicked men are evil, and all evil; but to the saints, a mixed dispensation: sweet experiences they have in the midst of sad calamities, and mercy in the midst of wrath.

'Glorify thy Son.'

This is the request itself: what is the meaning of it? Origen understandeth it of the very ignominy of the cross itself, which was to Christ a glory; Gloria salvatoris, patibulum triumphantis. The cross was not a gibbet, but a throne of honour; and Calvary to Christ was as glorious as Olivet. It is expressed by lifting up. But certainly this cannot be intended here, because it was the lowest act of his humiliation and abasement. This is made the motive and reason of his request: 'The hour is come,' by which, as we have seen, he intendeth that sad ignominious hour. In short, it is meant either of God's glorifying him in his sufferings, or God's glorifying him after his sufferings; as will appear by the sequel and two parallel places.

1. Glory in his sufferings. It is said, John xiii. 31, 32, 'Therefore when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.' The meaning is, now he is to show himself a glorious Saviour, by which God shall also be glorified, for which he will uphold and reward him. So, 'Glorify thy Son;' he intendeth those passages by which his glory is manifested to the world. And so he intends -

[1.] Miracles; while Christ suffered, the frame of nature seemed to be out of course: Mat. xxvii. 51, 'The veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;' and ver. 54, 'When the centurion, and they that were with him, saw these things, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.'

[2.] Support and strength. This was Christ's last combat, and he was to discover the strength and the power of the Godhead. Now he prayeth for those tokens and significations of the divine power in his death, to undeceive the world, and that the disciples might receive no scandal by his cross.

2. Glory after death; so it is said, John vii. 39, 'That the Spirit was not yet given, because Christ was not yet glorified.' Till his resurrection and ascension into heaven, he was not inaugurated into the headship of the church, and gave not out those royal largesses and gifts of the Spirit. So that by this prayer Christ intendeth the resurrection and all the consequents of it. His resurrection, by which his divinity was declared: Rom.i.4, 'And declared to be the Son of God, with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.' His ascension and invisible triumph: Col. ii. 15, 'Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it;' Eph. iv. 8, 'When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.' The reception of his humanity to heaven, and his sitting down at the right hand of God: Phil. ii. 9 - 11, 'Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' His inauguration into the throne, and authority over all things. The preaching of the gospel in his name, together with the success of it: Isa. lv. 4, 5, 'Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knewest not; and nations that know not thee, shall run unto thee; because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.' His return at the day of judgment, with power and great glory. The petition must be explained according to the event of all the glory that God put upon Christ after his passion. The meaning of the whole is, Hitherto I have laid aside my glory, and now lay down my life; sustain me by thine arm, that I may overcome death; and raise me again with triumph and honour, that I may go into glory, leading captivity captive, and receive the principality; that by the resurrection, publication of the gospel, and last judgment, the glory of my divinity may be known and acknowledged.

But how doth Christ pray, 'Glorify me,' when he saith elsewhere, John viii. 5, 'I seek not my own glory'?

I answer - Christ speaketh there of himself in the judgment of his adversaries, who thought him a mere man, and showeth that he came not as an impostor, to seek himself. God would well enough provide for his glory and esteem. There he disclaimeth all particular private aims, affections, and attempts; here he sueth out his right according to his Father's promise.

Observe hence -

1. Christ saith, 'The hour is come;' and then, 'Father, glorify me.' The true remedy of tribulation is to look to the succeeding glory, and to counterbalance future dangers with present hopes. In this prayer Christ reviveth the grounds of confidence. One is, 'Father, glorify me.' This was comfort against that sad hour; and so it must be our course 'not to look to things which are seen, but to things that are not seen,' 2 Cor. iv. 17, to defeat sense by faith. When the mind is in heaven, it is fortified against the pains which the body feeleth on earth. Strong affections give us a kind of dedolency; a man will venture a knock that is in reach of a crown, 1 Tim. iv. 8. It is the folly of christians to let fancy work altogether upon present discouragements. Faith should be fixed in the contemplation of future hopes. It is a sad hour, but there is glory in the issue and close.

2. Observe again, first, Christ had his hour; then he saith, 'Glorify me.' Luke xxiv. 26,

'Ought not Christ to suffer; and then to enter into his glory?' Shame, sorrow, and death is the roadway to glory, joy, and life; the captain of our salvation was thus made perfect, Heb. ii. 10; and all the followers of the Lamb are brought in by that method. It is the folly of some that think to be in heaven before they have done anything for God's glory upon earth. You would invert the method and stated course of heaven. None is crowned except he strive lawfully, 2 Tim. ii. 5, 6: and ver. 11, 12, 'It is a faithful saying; for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.' It hath the seal of a constant dispensation, it is a faithful saying. All the promises run, 'To him that overcometh.' We must have communion with Christ in all estates: Rom. viii. 17, 'If so be that ye suffer with him, that ye may be also glorified together.' It is a necessary condition: 'We are heirs, if so be that we suffer with him,' etc. We are too delicate; we would have our path strewed with roses, and do not like this discipline. Abel signifies mourning, and Stephen a crown, they were the first martyrs of either testament. If you want afflictions, you want one of the necessary waymarks to heaven.

3. 'Glorify me.' Christ seeketh not the empty things of this world, but to be glorified with the Father. We want some spiritual ambition, and are too low and grovelling in our desires and hopes: 'If you be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God,' Col. iii. 1. It is no treason to aspire to the heavenly kingdom: Mat. vi. 33, 'Seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof;' and to seek a place on Christ's own throne. Neither is it any culpable self-seeking to seek self in God: John v. 44, 'How can ye believe, that receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God alone?' John xii. 43 They 'loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.' Here we may seek our own honour and glory without a crime. Oh I behold the liberality and indulgence of grace! God hath set no stint to our spiritual desires; we may seek not only grace, but glory.

4. Christ himself prayeth to be glorified; it noteth the truth of his abasement. He is the Lord of glory, 1 Cor. ii. 8, and had a natural and eternal right: 'He thought it no robbery to be equal with God;' and yet Christ himself is now upon his knees. If he had said, Let them be glorified, that had been much, that he would open his mouth to plead for sinners; but he saith, 'Glorify me,' or 'Glorify thy Son;' which is a strange condescension, that he that had the key of David should now be knocking at the Father's gate, and receive his own heaven by gift and entreaty. He might take, without robbery, glory as his due; yet, as our mediator, he is to ask. When he took our nature, he brought himself under the engagement of our duty.

5. Christ asketh what he knew would be given. So John viii. 50, 'I seek not my own glory; there is one that seeketh and judgeth.' The Father was zealous for the Son's glory; there was an oracle from heaven to assure him of it: John xii. 28, 'Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again;' meaning, by strengthening him in the work of redemption. And yet now again, 'Glorify thy Son, that he may glorify thee.' Observe, providence doth not take away prayers. We are to ask, though our heavenly Father knoweth we have need of these things, and we know God will give them to us: John xvi. 26, 27, 'At that day ye shall ask in my name; I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you.' The meaning is, though there be need of my great instance, and I need not tell you I will make intercession; I pass by that now; I only tell you of that free access you have to God, and his great affection to you; yet still you must ask. Assurance is a ground of the more earnest request. When Daniel understood by books the number of the years, then he was most earnest in prayer; and when Elijah heard the sound of the rain, he prayed. Prayer is to help on providences that are already in motion.

'That thy Son also may glorify thee.'

Here is another argument. It is usual in prayer to speak of ourselves in a third person; so doth Christ here, 'That thy Son may glorify thee.' This may be understood many ways; partly as the glory of the Son is the glory of the Father; partly by accomplishing God's work; that I may destroy thy enemies, and save thy elect; partly by the preaching of the gospel in Christ's name, to the glory of God the Father. He doth, as it were, say, I desire it for no other end but that I may bring honour to thee.

From this clause -

1. Observe, that God's glory is much advanced in Jesus Christ. In the scriptures there is a draught of God; as coin bears the image of Caesar, but Caesar's son is his lively resemblance. Christ is the living Bible; we may read much of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We shall study no other book when we come to heaven. For the present, it is an advantage to study God in Jesus Christ. The apostle hath an expression, 2 Cor. iv. 4, 'Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.' Christ is the image of God, and the gospel is the picture of Christ, the picture which Christ himself hath presented to his bride. There we see the majesty and excellency of his person; and in Christ, of God. And ver. 6, the apostle saith, 'To give the light of the excellency of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.' In Christ, we read God glorious; in his word, miracles, personal excellencies, transfiguration, resurrection, we read much of God. There we read his justice, that he would not forgive sins without a plenary satisfaction. If Christ himself be the Redeemer, justice will not bate him one farthing. His mercy; he spared not his own Son. What scanty low thoughts should we have of the divine mercy if we had not this instance of Christ! His truth in fulfilling of prophecies: Ps. xl. 7, 8, 'Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, 0 my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.' This was most difficult for God to grant, for us to believe; yet rather than he would go back from his word, he would send his own Son to suffer death for a sinful world. All things were to be accomplished, though it cost Christ his precious life. God had never a greater gift, yet Christ came when he was promised: he will not stick at anything, that gave us his own Son. His wisdom, in the wonderful contrivance of our salvation. When we look to God's heaven, we see his wisdom; but when we look on God's Son, we see the manifold wisdom of God, Eph. iii. 10. The angels wonder at these dispensations to the church. His power, in delivering Christ from death, and the glorious effects of his grace; his majesty, in the transfiguration and ascension of Christ. Oh! then study Christ, that you may know God. There is the fairest transcript of the divine perfections; the Father was never published to the world by anything so much as by the Son.

2. Observe, our respects to Christ must be so managed that the Father also may be glorified; for upon these terms, and no other, will Christ be glorified: 2 Cor. 1. 20, 'For all the promises in him are Yea, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us;' Phil. ii. 10, 11, 'That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father;' John xiv. 13, 'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.' Look, as the Father will not be honoured without the Son: John v. 53, 'That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that hath sent him;' so neither will the Son be honoured without the Father. It condemneth them who, out of a fond respect to Christ, neglect the Father. As the former age carried all respect in the name of God Almighty, without any distinct reflection on God the Son, so many of late carry all things in the name of God the Son, that the adoration due to the other persons is forgotten. The wind of error doth not always blow in one corner. When the heat of such a humour is spent, Christ will be as much vilified and debased. Our hearts should not be frigidly and coldly affected to any of the divine persons.

3. Observe, it is the proper duty of sons to glorify their father: Mal. i. 6, 'If I be a father, where is mine honour?' Mat. v. 16, 'Let your light so shine before men, that others, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven.'

How must this be done?

[1.] By reverent thoughts of his excellency, especially in worship; then we honour him when we behave ourselves before him as before a great God; this is to make him glorious in our own hearts, when we conceive of him as more excellent than all things. Usually we have mean base thoughts, by which we straiten or pollute the divine excellency.

[2.] By serious acknowledgments give him glory: Rev. iv. 11, 'Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.' Now this is not in naked ascriptions of praise to him, prattling over words; but when we confess all the glory we have above other men, in gifts or dignity, is given us of God, this is to make him the Father of glory: Eph. i. 17, 'That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him.'

[3.] When we make the advantage of his kingdom the end of all our actions: 1 Cor. x. 31, 'Whether ye eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God;' Phil. i. 20, 'Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.' Christ had glorified him, yet he seeks now to do it more. Self will be mixing with our ends, but it must be beaten back. We differ little from beasts if we mind only our own conveniences.

[4.] By making this the aim of our prayers. We should desire glory and happiness upon no other terms: Eph. i. 6, 'To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.' It is a mighty encouragement in prayer when we are sure to be heard: John xii. 28, 'Father, glorify thy name: then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.' He begs that God would glorify his name in giving him the victory in this last combat. We ask of God for God: 'Those that honour me, I will honour them,' 1 Sam. ii. 30.

[5.] When we are content to be put to shame so God be honoured, to hazard all so we may glorify his name, though it be with the loss of life itself: Josh. vii. 19, 'My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him;' Mal. ii. 2, 'If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my Name '(that is, by an ingenuous confession), 'I will even send a curse up[on you.'

[6.] When you make others to glorify God: 2 Cor. ix. 13, 'They glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ.' Christians are to be holy, for Christ's honour lieth at stake.

[7.] When we can rejoice in God's glory, though advanced by others, be the instruments who they will; as Paul did, Phil. i. 18, 'Notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached, and I herein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.'

[8.] When we are affected for God's dishonour, though done by others.

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