John 14:16
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
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(16) And I will pray the Father.—Comp. Note on John 16:26. The pronoun is again emphatic—“I have given you your part to do. I on My part will pray the Father.” The word used for “pray” is one which implies more of nearness of approach and of familiarity than that which is rendered “ask” in John 14:14. It is the word which John regularly uses when he speaks of our Lord as praying to the Father, and occurs again in John 16:26; John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20. The distinction is important, but it has sometimes, perhaps, been unduly pressed. Both words occur in 1John 5:16. (See Note there.)

And he shall give you another Comforter.—The better rendering is probably another Advocate. The word is used of the third person in the Holy Trinity here, and in John 14:26, and in John 15:26 and John 16:7. In each of these instances it is used by our Lord. It is found once again in the New Testament, and is there applied by St. John to our Lord Himself (1John 2:1). In the Gospel the English version uniformly translates it by “Comforter.” “In the Epistle it is rendered by “Advocate.” But the whole question is of so much interest and importance that it will be convenient to deal with it in a separate Note. (Comp. Excursus G: The Meaning of the word Paraclete.) The word “another” should be observed as implying that which the Epistle states—the advocacy of the second Person in the Trinity, as well as that of the third.

That he may abide with you for ever.—The thought of the permanent abiding is opposed to the separation which is about to take place between them and the person of our Lord. He would come again to them in the person of the Paraclete, whom He would send to them (John 14:18), and this spiritual presence should remain with them for ever. (Comp. Note on Matthew 28:20.)



John 14:16 - John 14:17

The ‘and’ at the beginning of these words shows us that they are continuous with and the consequence of what precedes. ‘If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments, and I will pray . . . and He will send.’ Such is the series; but we must also remember that, as we have seen in previous sermons, the obedience spoken of in the clause before my text is itself treated as a consequence of some preceding steps. The ladder that is fixed upon earth and has its summit in heaven has for its rungs, first and lowest, ‘believe’; second, ‘love’; third, ‘obey.’ And thus the context carries us from the very basis of the Christian life up into its highest reward, even the larger gift to an obedient spirit of that Great Spirit, who is the Comforter and the Teacher.

And there is another very striking link of connection between these words and the preceding. There are, if I may so say, two telephones across the abyss that separates the ascended Christ and us. One of them is contained in His words, ‘If ye ask anything in My name I will do it’; the other is contained in these words, ‘If ye keep My commandments I will ask.’ Love on this side of the great cleft sets love on the other side of it in motion in a twofold fashion. If we ask, He does; if we do, He asks. His action is the answer to our prayers, and His prayers are the answer to our obedient action. So we have here these points-the praying Christ and the giving Father; the abiding Gift; the blind world and the recipient disciples.

I. Note, then, first, the praying Christ and the giving Father.

‘I will ask and He will give’ seems a strange drop from the lofty claims with which we have become familiar in the earlier verses of this chapter. ‘Believe in God, believe also in Me’; ‘He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’; ‘If ye shall ask anything in My name I will do it’; ‘Keep My commandments.’ All these distinctly express, or necessarily imply, divine nature, prerogatives, and authority. But here the voice that spake the perfect revelation of God, and gave utterance authoritatively to the perfect law of life, softens and lowers its tones in petition; and Jesus Christ joins the rank of the suppliants. Now common sense tells us that apparently diverse views lying so close together in one continuous stream of speech cannot have seemed to the utterer of them to be contradictory; and I venture to affirm that there is no explanation which does justice to these two sides of Christ’s consciousness-the one all divine and authoritative and lofty, and the other all lowly and identifying Himself with petitioners and suppliants everywhere-except the old-fashioned and to-day discredited belief that He is ‘God manifest in the flesh,’ who prays in His Manhood and hears prayer in His Divinity. The bare humanistic view which emphasises such utterances as these of my text does not, for the life of it, know what to do with the other ones, and cannot manage to unite these two images into a stereoscopic solid. That is reserved for the faith which believes in the Manhood and in the Deity of our Lord and Saviour.

His intercession is the great hope of the Christian heart. His intercession is the great activity of His present exalted and glorious state. His intercession is no mere verbal utterance, nor the representation to the Father of an alien or a diverse will, but His intercession, mysterious as it is, and unfathomable to our poor, short lines and light plummets, must mean this at all events-His continual activity in presenting before the divine Father, as the motive and condition of His petition being granted, His own great work upon the Cross. The High Priest passes within the veil, bearing in His hand the offering which He has made, and by reason of that offering, and of His powerful presence before the mercy-seat, all the spiritual gifts which redeem and regenerate and sanctify humanity are for ever coming forth. ‘I will pray, and He will give,’ is but one way of saying, ‘Seeing then, that we have a great High Priest over the House of God who is entered within the veil, let us draw near.’

But I would have you notice how, as is always the case in all utterances of Jesus Christ which express the lowest humiliation and completest identification of Himself with humanity, there is ever present some touch of obscured glory, some all but suppressed flash of brightness which will not be wholly concealed. Note two things in this great utterance; one, Christ’s quiet assumption that all through the ages, and today, nineteen centuries after He died, He knows, at the moment of their being done, His servants’ deeds. ‘Keep my commandments, and, knowing that you keep them, I will then and there pray for you.’ He claims in the lowly words an altogether supernatural, abnormal, divine cognisance of all the acts of men down the ages and across the gulf between earth and heaven.

And the other signature of divinity stamped on the prayer of Christ is His certitude of the answer. ‘I will ask and He will give’: He puts, as it were, the Father’s act in pledge to us, and assures us, in a tone of certainty, which is not merely the assurance of faith, but the certitude of One who is ‘one with the Father,’ that His prayer brings ever its answer. ‘Father! I will that they whom Thou hast given Me be with Me.’ How strange! How far beyond the warrantable language of man! And how impossible for a fisherman of Bethsaida to imagine, if he had not heard, that strange blending of submission and of authority which speaks in such words!

Then, remember what I have already said, that, according to the teaching of this verse, taken in connection with its context, that which put in motion Christ’s Intercessory activity, as represented in my text, is the obedience of a Christian man. If you obey He will pray, and the Father will send. So the reward of imperfect obedience is the larger measure given to us of that divine Spirit by whose indwelling obedience becomes possible, and self-surrender a joy and a power. And that is not merely because of the natural operation by which any kind of conduct tends to repeat itself in more complete measure, nor is it merely a case of ‘to him that hath shall be given’; as a man’s arm is strengthened by exercise, and any faculty becomes more assured, and swift, and at the command of its owner, by use. But there is a distinct supernatural impartation to every obedient heart of divine gifts which come straight through Jesus Christ to it. He Himself, in this immediate context, says, ‘If I depart I will send Him unto you,’ and the true conception is that in that Spirit’s gift, which is a reality waiting as its crown and reward upon our poor stained obedience, the whole Godhead is present; the Father the Source, the Son the Channel, the Spirit the Gift.

II. And so, secondly, note what our text tells us of that abiding gift.

‘He will send another Comforter,’ ‘that He may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth.’ I suppose I may take it for granted that most of my audience know all that need be said as to the meaning of this word ‘Comforter.’ In our present modern English it has a very much narrower range of meaning than its etymology would give it, and than probably it had when it was first used in an English translation. ‘Comforter’ means a great deal more than ‘consoler,’ though we have narrowed it to that signification almost exclusively. It means not only one who administers sweet whispers of consolation in sorrow, but one who, in any circumstances, by his presence makes strong. And the original Greek word, of which it is the translation here, has a precisely analogous meaning; its original signification being that of ‘one who is called to the aid of another,’ primarily as an advocate in a court of law, but more widely as a helper in any form whatsoever. And that is the idea which is to be attached to the word here:-a Comforter who makes strong by His presence; the Paraclete, who is our Advocate, Helper, Guide, and Instructor. Need I dwell upon the great thoughts that spring from that metaphor; how we have to look for a Person, and not merely a vague influence; a divine Person who will be by our sides on condition of our faith, love, and obedience, to be our Strength in all weakness, our Peace in all trouble, our Wisdom in all darkness, our Guide in every perplexity, our Comforter and Cherisher, our Righteousness when sin is strong, the Victor over our temptations, and the Companion and Sweetener of our solitude? The metaphors with which Scripture represents this great personal Influence are full of instruction and beauty. He comes as ‘the Fire,’ which melts, which warms, which cleanses, which quickens. He comes as the ‘rushing, mighty Wind,’ which bears health upon its wings, and sometimes breathes softly as an infant’s breath, and sometimes sweeps with irresistible power. He comes as the ‘Oil,’ gently flowing, lubricating, making every joint supple, nourishing. He comes as the ‘Water of Life,’ refreshing, vitalising, quickening all growth. He comes fluttering down as the Dove of God, the bird of peace that will brood upon our hearts. The predicates which Scripture attaches to that great Name are equally various, and are full of teaching as to the manner in which He is the Comforter and the Advocate. He is the Spirit of Holiness, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Love, the Spirit of a sound Mind, the Spirit of Sonship, the Spirit of Supplication, and of many great things besides. And this sweet, strong, all-sufficient Person is offered to each of us, and waits to enter our hearts.

And, says Christ, this Strengthener and Advocate is to replace Me and to carry on My work. ‘He will send another Comforter.’ Who was the other but the Master who was speaking? So all that that handful of men had found of sweetness and shelter and assured guidance, and stay for their weakness, and enlightenment for their darkness, and companionship for their solitude, and a breast on which to rest their heads, and love in which to bathe their hearts, all these this divine Spirit will bring to each of us if we will.

And further, our Lord tells us that this strong continuer of His presence will be a permanent Companion. ‘He will abide with you for ever.’ He was comforting the disciples who were trembling at the thought of His departure, and knowing that all the sweetness of these three short years had come to an end; and He says to them, and through them to all the ages to the end of time: ‘Here is the abiding Guest, that nothing but your own sin will ever cast out from your hearts.’

And Christ tells us how this great Spirit will do His work. He is the ‘Spirit of Truth,’ not as if He brought new truth. To suppose that He does so, opens the door to all manner of fanaticism, but the truth, the revelation of which is all summed and finished in the person and work of Jesus Christ, is the weapon by which the divine Spirit works all His conquests, the staff on which He makes us lean and be strong. He is the Spirit by whom the truth passes into our personal possession, by no mere imperfect form of outward teaching which is always confused and insufficient, but by the inward teaching that deals with our hearts and our spirits.

But Christ speaks, too, of the blind world. There is a tone of deep sadness in His words. The thought of the immense multitude of men who were incapacitated to receive this Strengthener steals across and casts a momentary shadow upon even the brightness and greatness of His promise. ‘The world cannot receive because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him.’ The ‘world’ is the mass of man, considered as godless and separate from Him, and there is a bit of the world in us all; but there are men who are wholly under its influence and dominion. And these men, says Christ, are perfectly incapable of receiving the teaching of this divine Comforter. Of course there are other operations of that Great Spirit of which we shall have to hear as we go on further in this context, in which His work ‘convicts the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment.’ But what our Lord is speaking of here is the work of that Spirit who comes in response to His prayer which rises in consequence of our obedience, and who, coming, brings with Him strength and purity and peace and wisdom; and that aspect of His operations a heart that is all full and seething with the world is unfit to receive. It cannot see Him. Embruted natures are altogether incapacitated for high thoughts, for the perception of natural beauty, for the appreciation of art; and worldly men, by the very same law, are incapable of receiving this divine Spirit. A savage stares at the sunshine and sees nothing but a glare. And worldly men-that is to say, men whose tastes, inclinations, desires, hopes, purposes, strivings, are all bound by this visible diurnal round-lack the organ that enables them to see that divine Spirit moving round about them. Whether you have put your eyes out by fleshly lusts, or, as many men in this generation have done, by intellectual self-sufficiency and conceit, if the world, in its grosser or in its most refined forms, is your master, you are stone blind to all the best realities of the universe, and you cannot see the things that are. If you look out upon the history of the Church, or upon the present condition of Christendom, and say, ‘I see no divine Spirit working there’; well, then, the only thing that is to be said to you is, ‘Go to an oculist; your sight is bad. Perhaps there is solid land, as some of us see it, where you see only mist.’ This generation needs the preaching of a supernatural power at work beside us, and among us, and until we come to believe that, we do not understand the fullness of Christ’s gift.

III. Then, lastly, note the recipient disciples.

Observe that the order of clauses is reversed in the last part of the text. The world cannot receive, because it does not know. The disciple knows, because he receives. Possession and knowledge reciprocally interchange places, and may be regarded as cause and effect of one another. That is to say, at bottom they are one and the same thing. Knowledge is possession, and possession is the only knowledge. These disciples knew Christ in a fashion. He had just been telling them that they did not know Him; but so far as they did dimly grasp Him, they saw the Spirit-in another form, indeed, than they would hereafter see-but still truly, though imperfectly. Beholding the Spirit, though ‘through a glass darkly,’ and cherishing their partial possession of Him, they will come to more, and steadfastly increase from the morning’s twilight to the midday glory. So He says: ‘He dwelleth with you’ now, and ‘He shall be in you’ hereafter. There is a better form of possession opening before them, which came at Pentecost, and has lasted ever since. From thenceforward we have a Spirit that not only stands by our sides and holds fellowship with us {for the two ‘withs’ of our text are two different words, expressing respectively proximity and communion}, but who actually dwells in the central depths of our natures, and whom we thus possess more perfectly and blessedly than is possible to even the closest outward proximity, and the sweetest outward fellowship.

That possession of an abiding and indwelling Spirit is the gift of Christ to every Christian soul, and is to be found by us all upon the path so plainly marked out in our text and its connections-’believe,’ ‘love,’ ‘obey.’ Then the Dove of God will flutter down upon our heads and nestle in our hearts, and brooding over the solemn and solitary sea of our chaotic spirits, will bring up from it a new world glistening in fresh order and beauty, and ‘very good’ in its Maker’s eyes.

14:12-17 Whatever we ask in Christ's name, that shall be for our good, and suitable to our state, he shall give it to us. To ask in Christ's name, is to plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ's mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here, signifies an advocate, counsellor, monitor, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere, plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfections. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon the disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favour God bears to his chosen. As the source of holiness and happiness, the Holy Spirit will abide with every believer for ever.I will pray the Father - This refers to his intercession after his death and ascension to heaven, for this prayer was to be connected with their keeping his commandments. In what way he makes intercession in heaven for his people we do not know. The fact, however, is clearly made known, Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14-15; Hebrews 7:25. It is as the result of his intercession in heaven that we obtain all our blessings, and it is through him that our prayers are to be presented and made efficacious before God.

Another Comforter - Jesus had been to them a counsellor, a guide, a friend, while he was with them. He had instructed them, had borne with their prejudices and ignorance, and had administered consolation to them in the times of despondency. But he was about to leave them now to go alone into an unfriendly world. The other Comforter was to be given as a compensation for his absence, or to perform the offices toward them which he would have done if he had remained personally with them. And from this we may learn, in part, what is the office of the Spirit. It is to furnish to all Christians the instruction and consolation which would be given by the personal presence of Jesus, John 16:14. To the apostles it was particularly to inspire them with the knowledge of all truth, John 14:26; John 15:26. Besides this, he came to convince men of sin. See the notes at John 16:8-11. It was proper that such an agent should be sent into the world:

1. Because it was a part of the plan that Jesus should ascend to heaven after his death.

2. Unless some heavenly agent should be sent to carry forward the work of salvation, man would reject it and perish.

3. Jesus could not be personally and bodily present in all places with the vast multitudes who should believe on him. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, and can reach them all. See the notes at John 16:7.

4. It was manifestly a part of the plan of redemption that each of the persons of the Trinity should perform his appropriate work the Father in sending his Son, the Son in making atonement and interceding, and the Spirit in applying the work to the hearts of men.

The word translated "Comforter" is used in the New Testament five times. In four instances it is applied to the Holy Spirit - John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7. In the other instance it is applied to the Lord Jesus - 1 John 2:1; "We have an advocate (Paraclete - Comforter) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." It is used, therefore, only by John. The verb from which it is taken has many significations. Its proper meaning is to call one to us Acts 27:20; then to call one to aid us, as an advocate in a court; then to exhort or entreat, to pray or implore, as an advocate does, and to comfort or console, by suggesting reasons or arguments for consolation. The word "comforter" is frequently used by Greek writers to denote an advocate in a court; one who intercedes; a monitor, a teacher, an assistant, a helper. It is somewhat difficult, therefore, to fix the precise meaning of the word. It may be translated either advocate, monitor, teacher, or helper. What the office of the Holy Spirit in this respect is, is to be learned from what we are elsewhere told he does. We learn particularly from the accounts that our Saviour gives of his work that that office was:

1. to comfort the disciples; to be with them in his absence and to supply his place; and this is properly expressed by the word Comforter.

2. to teach them, or remind them of truth; and this might be expressed by the word monitor or teacher, John 14:26; John 15:26-27.

3. to aid them in their work; to advocate their cause, or to assist them in advocating the cause of religion in the world, and in bringing sinners to repentance; and this may be expressed by the word advocate, John 16:7-13. It was also by the Spirit that they were enabled to stand before kings and magistrates, and boldly to speak in the name of Jesus, Matthew 10:20. These seem to comprise all the meanings of the word in the New Testament, but no single word in our language expresses fully the sense of the original.

That he may abide with you for ever - Not that he should remain with you for a few years, as I have done, and then leave you, but be with you in all places to the close of your life. He shall be your constant guide and attendant.

15-17. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, &c.—This connection seems designed to teach that the proper temple for the indwelling Spirit of Jesus is a heart filled with that love to Him which lives actively for Him, and so this was the fitting preparation for the promised gift.

he shall give you another Comforter—a word used only by John; in his Gospel with reference to the Holy Spirit, in his First Epistle (1Jo 2:1), with reference to Christ Himself. Its proper sense is an "advocate," "patron," "helper." In this sense it is plainly meant of Christ (1Jo 2:1), and in this sense it comprehends all the comfort as well as aid of the Spirit's work. The Spirit is here promised as One who would supply Christ's own place in His absence.

that he may abide with you for ever—never go away, as Jesus was going to do in the body.

This verse containeth a new argument by which our Saviour relieveth his disciples under their affliction for the want of his bodily presence; that is, the mission of the Holy Spirit,

another Comforter, as our translation reads it. For this he saith that he

will pray the Father; not that himself had no concern in the mission of the blessed Spirit; for himself telleth us, John 16:7, that he would send him; only for the attestation,

1. Of his human nature;

2. Of himself, as our Mediator; and:

3. Of his Father’s concern, as well as his own, in sending the Holy Spirit; he here saith, I will pray the Father, and he shall send you another Comforter.

That term

another, signifieth the personal distinction of the Third from the First and Second Person in the blessed Trinity. And the name here given to the blessed Spirit, Paraklhton, (which we too narrowly translate comforter), is a term exceedingly proper to signify all the operations of the blessed Spirit in and upon the souls of his people. The same word, 1Jo 2:1, where it is applied to Christ, (as here it is to the Spirit), is there much better translated Advocate; and it is most probable that our translators here translate it

Comforter, because he is here promised to the disciples troubled, as fitted to their present distress. The verb from whence the word derives, signifies not to comfort only, but to exhort, and to be an advocate for another. Now it belongs to the office of an advocate to suggest to his client what may be for his advantage; which is also the office of the blessed Spirit: if he seeth his client in an error, to reprove and to convince him; which is also the work of the Spirit, John 16:8: if he seeth him weak and discouraged, to uphold, strengthen, and encourage him; this is also the Spirit’s work, Ephesians 3:16: if he seeth him running into an error, to restrain him; if he findeth him dull and heavy, to quicken him; if he seeth him ready to be run down, to defend him; if he hath any thing to do in the court, to prepare and dram it up for him, and, as occasion serveth, to speak for him. All these things (as might be largely showed) fall within the office of an advocate, and under the comprehensive term here used. And (saith our Saviour) he shall

abide with you for ever: I shall be with you but for a while, but he shall abide with you to eternity (as some observe this word is constantly used by this evangelist). So that the promise of the Spirit is not to be restrained only to the apostles and their successors in the ministry, or to be understood only of those extraordinary gifts bestowed on the apostles and first ministers of the gospel; but to be extended further, both with reference to persons and influences: and without doubt the influences of the Spirit, both as to gifts and graces, both upon ministers and more private Christians, are much more plentiful since the sending of the Holy Ghost, after Christ’s ascension, in the days of Pentecost, than ever they were before: not as to particular persons; a David, a Solomon, or some particular persons, might have greater measures than any or the most have since had; but as to the generality of ministers and Christians. Doubtless, since the pouring out of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost, there have been greater measures of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit given out, and will be to the end of the world, than ever was in any age before Christ’s ascension; which is no more than what was prophesied, Isaiah 44:3 Joel 2:28, applied to the days of Pentecost, Acts 2:17, but not to be limited to that time or age, either for gifts or gracious habits: for as the extraordinary gifts and powers held in some degree after the apostles’ age, (if we may give any credit to ecclesiastical history), so both in those ages, and ever since, as to the generality both of ministers and Christians, (that is, such as are mentioned John 14:15, that love Christ, and keep his commandments), there have been fuller measures of gifts, of more constant, standing use for the church, such as those of knowledge and utterance, &c., and also of inward graces, than ever before was.

And I will pray the Father,...., Here Christ speaks as Mediator, and promises his disciples, that he would intercede for them with the Father; which is designed as an encouragement to them to ask for what they want, in his name, and to comfort their hearts, which were troubled at the news of his departure from them;

and he shall give you another Comforter. This is no inconsiderable proof of a trinity of persons in the Godhead; here is the Father prayed unto, the Son in human nature praying, and the Holy Ghost the Comforter prayed for; who is the gift of the Father, through the prevalent mediation of the Son, and is another "Comforter"; distinct from the Messiah, to whom reference is here had! One of the names of the Messiah, with the Jews, is (u), "a Comforter"; such an one Jesus had been to his disciples; and now he was about to leave them, and for their support under their sorrows, he promises to use his interest with his Father, that he would give them another Comforter, meaning the Spirit, who performs this his work and office, by taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to his people; by shedding abroad the love of the Father, and of the Son, into their hearts; by opening and applying the precious promises of the Gospel to them; by being a spirit of adoption in them; and by abiding with them as the seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory; and with this view Christ promises to pray for him,

that he may abide with you for ever: not a few years only, as I have done, but as long as you live; and with all those that shall succeed you in the work of the ministry, and with the church, and all true believers unto the end of the world: this is a proof of the saints' final perseverance. When we consider these words, in connection with the preceding exhortation, to keep the commands of Christ, and as an encouragement so to do, it brings to mind a saying of R. Eliezer ben Jacob (w);

"he that does one commandment gets for himself , , the very word here used, "one advocate", or "comforter"; and he that transgresses one command, gets for himself one accuser.''

But though the word signifies both an advocate and a comforter, the latter seems to be the meaning of it here, as being more suited to the disconsolate condition of the disciples.

(u) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 5. 1. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2.((w) Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 11.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
John 14:16-17. The καί is in both instances consecutive. On the concession of thoughts, see John 14:21.

ἐγώ] Emphatically introducing, after what He had required of the disciples, what He on His part will do as the Mediator of the divine love. The ἐρωτήσω does not conflict with John 16:26-27, where there is a different relation of time. ἐρωτᾶν is in John the standing word in the mouth of Jesus, when He addresses the Father in prayer, John 16:26, John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20. But there is no difference of meaning from αἰτεῖν, see 1 John 5:16.

ἄλλον παράκλητον] another Advocate (instead of myself), another, who will as counsellor assist you. The word is found in the N. T. only in John, namely, also in John 14:26, John 16:7, 1 John 2:1, and the signification given holds good in Dem. 343. 10, Diog. Laert. iv. 50, Dion. Hal. xi. 37, and passages from Philo in Loesner, p. 496 f., both in the proper judicial sense (Advocate), and also in general as here (so also Philo, de opif. m. p. 4 E, and Letter of the Church of Vienne in Eusebius, v. 2). With this agrees also the Talmudic פְּרַקְלִיט. See Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1843, and generally Wetstein in loc.; Düsterdieck on 1 John 2:1, p. 147 ff. Rightly, after Tertullian and Augustine, Melanchthon, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wolf, Lampe, and several others, have most of the moderns so interpreted it (see especially Knapp, I. p. 115 ff.). See also Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 225. The equally ancient explanation: Comforter (Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Jerome, Erasmus, Castalio, Luther, Maldonatus, Jansen, Lightfoot, and several others, including van Hengel, Annott. p. 40 ff.), rests on a confusion with παρακλήτωρ (LXX. Job 16:2) in Aquila and Theodotion, Job 16:2, which, on account of the passive form, is on that ground contrary to usage.[148] Equally incorrect is the rendering Teacher in Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ernesti, Opusc. p. 215, Luthardt, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 17.

Observe on ἄλλον, that in 1 John 2:1 Christ Himself might also be designated as παράκλητος, without implying any difference of doctrine (Baur, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld). Nonnus aptly says: ΧΡΙΣΤῷ ΣΎΓΓΟΝΟΝ ἌΛΛΟΝ.

] in order that He may; not as I now, again be taken from you, but be with you (i.e. may stand at your side protecting, helping, strengthening you against all hostile powers; comp. Matthew 28:20) for ever. Comp. 2 John 1:2. In the Paraclete, however, Christ Himself is present with His own (Matthew 28:20); for in the mission of the Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6), the self-communication of the exalted Christ takes place (Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20), without, however, the Paraclete ceasing to be an ἄλλος, a different—although dependent on the Son—subject than He;[149] the obscure idea that the Paraclete is “the Christ transfigured to Spirit” (Tholuck) is un-Johannean and unbiblical generally. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 3:17. See also, against the mingling together of the idea of the Logos with that of the Spirit, in Reuss; Godet, II. p. 480.

τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας] the Spirit of Truth, i.e. the Holy Spirit, who is Possessor, Bearer, and Administrator of the divine ἀλήθεια. He is the divine principle of revelation, by whose activity in human hearts the redemptive truth given by God in Christ, i.e. the truth κατʼ ἐξοχήν, is transformed into knowledge, made to be vitally appropriated, and brought to powerful moral expression. Nonnus: ἈΤΡΕΚΊΗς ὈΧΕΤΗΓΌΝ. Comp. John 15:26, John 16:13. The opposite: ΤῸ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ Τῆς ΠΛΆΝΗς, 1 John 4:6.

Ὁ ΚΌΣΜΟς] The unbelieving, as opposed to Christ and His work. These are unsusceptible to the Spirit, because the capacity of inward vision (of experimental perception) of the Spirit is wanting to them, and He is to them something unknown and strange, so that they have thus no subjective point of attachment at all for the reception of the Spirit. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:14.

ὑμεῖς δὲ, κ.τ.λ.] The presents ΓΙΝΏΣΚΕΤΕ and ΜΈΝΕΙ (not manebit, as the Vulgate has, and as Ewald also proposes μενεῖ) are as little to be taken as future as the presents in the first clause of the verse. They denote the characteristic relation of the disciples to the Spirit without reference to any definite time. They are absolute presents: but you know Him, since He has Sis abiding amongst you (not far from you, but in your midst, in the Christian community), and (the discourse now first enters the point of view of definite time) will be in you (in your own hearts). This being the specific character of His relationship to you, how should He be an unknown something to you? Let the gradation be observed: παρʼ ὑμῖνἐν ὑμῖν. On the latter, Nonnus: ὉΜΌΣΤΟΛΟΝ ἜΣΤΑΙ ὙΜῖΝ, ΠΆΝΤΑς ἜΧΟΝ ΝΟΕΡῸΝ ΔΌΜΟΝ.

Note, generally, the Trinitarian relation here and John 14:26, and particularly (against B. Crusius and Tholuck) the definitely expressed personality of the Paraclete. See Köstlin, p. 109; Hofmann, I. p. 192 f.; Melanchthon, in loc. But in passages, again, like John 1:33, John 20:22, the presupposition of the personality, whose life and powers are communicated, is by no means excluded.

[148] Certainly it is obvious that the interpreter could not be responsible for this confusion which is opposed to the language; but for this he is responsible, that he should not thrust it upon John, if another use of the word, grammatically correct, is undoubtedly before us. This in answer to Hofmann’s too readily adopted observation in his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 16.—Luther has correctly explained the word itself by advocate, but inconsistently translated it Comforter. The Vulgate has paracletum, the Codd. of It. in some cases the same, in others advocatum. Goth. has paraklêtu.—Were the word not Advocatus, but the active form, it must have been, not παράκλητος, but παρακλητικός (Plato, Rep. p. 524 D). Comp. ἑπικλητικός, ἀνακλητικός, and others.—The usual designation of counsel in the Greek writers is, moreover, σύνδικος or συνήγορος. On παράκλητος, comp. Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 142. 16.

[149] Comp. Wörner, d. Verhältn. d. Geistes zum Sohne, p. 93.

16. And I will pray the Father] ‘I’ is emphatic: ‘you do your part on earth, and I will do mine in Heaven.’ Our translators have once more rightly made a distinction but an inadequate one (see on John 13:23; John 13:25). The word for ‘pray’ here is different from that for ‘ask’ John 14:13-14; but of the two the one rendered ‘pray’ (erôtân) is (so far as there is a distinction) the less suppliant. It is the word always used by S. John when Christ speaks of His prayers to the Father (John 16:26, John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20); never the word rendered ‘ask’ (aitein) which however Martha, less careful than the Evangelist, uses of Christ’s prayers (John 11:22). But the distinction must not be pressed as if aitein were always used of inferiors (against which Deuteronomy 10:12; Acts 16:29; 1 Peter 3:15 are conclusive), or erôtân always of equals (against which Mark 7:26; Luke 4:38; Luke 7:3; John 4:40; John 4:47; Acts 3:3 are equally conclusive), although the tendency is in that direction. In 1 John 5:16 both words are used. In classical Greek erôtân is never ‘to make a request,’ but always (as in John 1:19; John 1:21; John 1:25, John 9:2; John 9:15; John 9:19; John 9:21; John 9:23, &c.) ‘to ask a question.’ (See on John 16:23.)

another Comforter] Better, another Advocate. The Greek word, Paraclete (Παράκλητος) is employed five times in the N.T.—four times in this Gospel by Christ of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7), once in the First Epistle by S. John of Christ (John 2:1). Our translators render it ‘Comforter’ in the Gospel, and ‘Advocate’ in the Epistle. As to the meaning of the word, usage appears to be decisive. It commonly signifies ‘one who is summoned to the side of another’ to aid him in a court of justice, especially the ‘counsel for the defence.’ It is passive, not active; ‘one who is summoned to plead a cause,’ not ‘one who exhorts, or encourages, or comforts.’ A comparison of the simple word (κλητός = ‘called;’ Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; Romans 1:1; Romans 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, &c.) and the other compounds, of which only one occurs in the N.T. (ἀνέγκλητος = ‘unaccused;’ 1 Corinthians 1:8; Colossians 1:22, &c.), or a reference to the general rule about adjectives similarly formed from transitive verbs, will shew that ‘Paraclete’ must have a passive sense. The rendering ‘Comforter’ has arisen from giving the word an active sense, which it cannot have. Moreover, ‘Advocate’ is the sense which the context suggests, wherever the word is used in the Gospel: the idea of pleading, arguing, convincing, instructing, is prominent in every instance. Here the Paraclete is the ‘Spirit of truth,’ whose reasonings fall dead on the ear of the world, and are taken in only by the faithful. In John 14:26 He is to teach and remind them. In John 15:26 He is to bear witness to Christ. In John 16:7-11 He is to convince or convict the world. In short, He is represented as the Advocate, the Counsel, who suggests true reasonings to our minds and true courses for our lives, convicts our adversary the world of wrong, and pleads our cause before God our Father. In the Te Deum the Holy Spirit is rightly called ‘the Comforter,’ but that is not the function which is set forth here. To substitute ‘Advocate’ will not only bring out the right meaning in the Gospel, but will bring the language of the Gospel into its true relation to the language of the Epistle. ‘He will give you another Advocate’ acquires fresh meaning when we remember that S. John calls Christ our ‘Advocate:’ the Advocacy of Christ and the Advocacy of the Spirit mutually illustrating one another. At the same time an important coincidence between the Gospel and Epistle is preserved, one of the many which help to prove that both are by one and the same author, and therefore that evidence of the genuineness of the Epistle is also evidence of the genuineness of the Gospel. See Lightfoot, On Revision, pp. 50–56, from which nearly the whole of this note is taken.

It is worth noting that although S. Paul does not use the word Paraclete, yet he has the doctrine: in Romans 8:27; Romans 8:34 the same language, ‘maketh intercession for,’ is used both of the Spirit and of Christ.

that he may abide with you for ever] Their present Advocate has come to them and will leave them again; this ‘other Advocate’ will come and never leave them. And in Him, who is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), Christ will be with them also (Matthew 28:20).

John 14:16. Καὶ ἐγώ, and I) The twenty-first verse gives the connection of this verse with the preceding verses.—ἄλλον, another) Therefore Jesus Christ is also an advocate [Comforter, Engl. Vers.] Let Zechariah 9:12 be considered, as to whether it is a parallel in point: for in this very passage He saith, ἐρωτήσω, I will pray.[349] One Paraclete is Himself distinct from the other; and the office too of the one differs from that of the other. Therefore Ἡ ΠΑΡΆΚΛΗΣΙς, the advocacy of the Holy Spirit, was intended to have something peculiar in it. Comp. ch. John 16:7-8, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”—Παράκλητον [‘Comforter’], Advocate, Paraclete) This word is not found in the LXX., and John alone of the writers of the New Testament has it. Παρακαλεῖν is the Latin advocare, to call in to one’s help a patron: thence comes the term Παράκλητος, one called in to render aid; one’s defender, patron (counsellor); one who speaks in a person’s behalf, and suggests to him what he ought to say. See John 14:26, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost—shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Comp. John 14:13 as to what we ought to say to God: “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son;” ch. John 16:8, as to what ought to be said to the world, “When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” The appellations, Paraclete, and, the Spirit of truth, occur conjoined also in ch. John 15:26. The former corresponds to the economy of Christ, comp. 1 John 2:1, “If any man sin, we have a Paraclete, or Advocate, with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous;” the latter, to the economy of the Father, comp. ch. John 4:23, “The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” [The largest promises in this passage succeed one after another: as to the Holy Spirit, from John 14:15-17; as to the Lord Jesus Himself, from John 14:18-21; as to the Father, from John 14:22-24; and again as to the Holy Spirit, ch. John 16:12-15; as to the Lord Jesus, John 14:16-23; as to the Father, John 14:23-28.—V. g.]—μένῃ, that he may abide) So John 14:23, “If a man love Me,” etc., “we will come unto him and make our abode (μονὴν, lasting stay) with him.”—εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, for ever) Not merely for one or two years.

[349] The quotation from Zechariah, though given as it is found both in Modern Editions of Bengel’s Gnomon and in that of 1759, seems to me a misprint for John 10:12, “I will strengthen (κατισχύσω) them in the Lord: and they shall walk up and down in His name, saith the Lord;” where the distinctness of the Paraclete-advocacy of the Son from that of the Holy Ghost may be implied.—E. and T.

Verses 16-21. -

(c) The greatest Gift - the other Advocate. Verses 16, 17, - Consequent on this obedient love, conditioned by it, is the Lord's assurance: And I will ask the Father - ἐρωτᾷν is used of an asking which is based on close and intimate fellowship; it is the word which implies the presentation of wish or a desire from an equal to an equal, while αἰτεῖν represents the prayer or seeking which rises from an inferior to a superior (see note, John 16:26, and other usage of the same words, John 17:9, 15, 20) - and he will give - make a Divine and free manifestation of himself by his Spirit, give to you as your inalienable possession - another Paraclete, that he may be with you for evermore. Great deference is due to the Greek expositors, beginning with Chrysostom, who translate this word "Comforter," and who point back to the LXX. παρακαλεῖτε (Isaiah 40:1), and because παρακλήσις very often, if not always, means "consolation;" but the word is passive in form, and denotes "one called in," or "called to the side of another," for the purpose of helping him in any way, but especially in legal proceedings and criminal charges, so that the word "Advocate," Pleader for us and in us, is the translation that most generally is accepted by almost all modern expositors. "Another" implies that Christ had already stood in this position while present with them, helping with tender care their first efforts to stand or serve. John (1 John 2:1) distinctly says, "We have now a Paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous," etc. And in this place (Ver. 17) the coming of the Paraclete was his own true return to his disciples. The following is the substance of Westcott's "additional note" on this word: "The two renderings of Paraclete as ' Comforter' in the Gospel, and 'Advocate' in the Epistle, are found in the English versions, with exception of Rhenish, from Wickliffe to Authorized Version and Revised Version. In the ancient versions, with the exception of Thebaic, the original word Paracletus is preserved. Its passive form by all analogous words will not justify here an active or transitive sense, but means 'one called to the side of another' with the secondary sense of helping, consoling, counseling, or aiding him. The classical use is 'advocate,' so used in Demosthenes, not found in LXX. Philo uses it in the same sense, and the rabbinic writers adopt the Greek word פרקליט, in opposition to 'accuser.' The apostolic Fathers use the word in this sense, but the patristic writers, Origen, Cyril, Gregory of Nyssa, Use it for ' Comforter.' In 1 John it. I no other word is satisfactory but 'Advocate,' and the suggestion is that the only meaning here that is adequate is that of one who pleads, convinces, convicts in a great controversy, who strengthens on the one hand, and defends on the other. Christ, as the Advocate, pleads the believer's cause with the Father against the accuser (1 John 2:1; Romans 8:26; Revelation 12:10). The Holy Spirit, as the Advocate, pleads the cause of the believer against the world (John 16:8), and pleads Christ's cause with the believer (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:14)." Archdeacon Watkins has presented a large portion of the Talmudic evidence to the same effect. Thus from the 'Pirke Aboth,' 4:11, "He that keepeth one commandment obtains for himself one paraklit, but he who committeth one sin obtains for himself one kattegor (κατήγορος)." The word was incorporated into the Syrian language, as seen in the Peshito Syriac translation, both of the Gospel and the First Epistle of John. The Advocate who is to be with the disciples forever, arguing down opposition and silencing cavil, is the Spirit of truth. The abundant proof of this great function of the Holy Spirit is not wanting. There is Christ's promise (Matthew 10:19, 20; Mark 13:9-11). Then in Acts 4:8 and 13, whatever Christ had been to the twelve, that would the other Advocate, Mediator of Divine grace, be to the whole Church when the Lord's earthly manifestation should terminate. The genitive after "Spirit" sometimes denotes its great characteristic (cf. Romans 1:4, "the Spirit of holiness;" Romans 8:15, "Spirit of bondage" and "of adoption;" but in the same context we have "Spirit of God," "the Spirit;" Ephesians 1:17, "Spirit of wisdom and revelation; cf. also Romans 8:9, "Spirit of Christ;" 1 Peter 4:14, "the Spirit of glory"); and the idea is that this other Advocate, even the Spirit of truth, shall reveal truth to the disciples, convince them of truth, as Christ had done. Whom the world cannot receive. There are antipathies between "the world" (as conceived by St. John) and "truth," which will render the world strangely unsusceptible of Divine teaching. Still, since the whole process of conviction is the distinct effect of the Holy Spirit upon the world (see John 16.), the λάβειν must not mean that the world cannot accept its convincing power, but cannot exert its power of convincing. Through apostles, who are his organs and representatives, the world will be convinced, and not apart from them. Because it seeth him not (θεωρεῖ) - does not behold him in his external revelations - and knoweth him not by personal experience, "is not learning to know him" as these disciples even hitherto have been able to do in Christ. The world has proved by its rejection of Christ that it cannot behold the Divine energy in him, nor perceive by any inward experience his nature or the real nature of God; but ye, said Christ, are now learning to know him; for he abideth with you. He has begun his abiding presence with you, and shall be in you; and this state of things will continue to the end of time. "The future shows that the whole matter belongs to the domain of futurity" (Hengstenberg). The world cannot "receive," because it is dependent on visible things, and it cannot know because it cannot behold. You have no need to behold, and can and do know by another process. The passage is very difficult, because, if the world cannot receive the Spirit by reason of its own unspirituality and ignorance, how is the threefold conviction to be realized? May λάβειν be regarded in the sense of καταλάμβανειν, "to seize hold of"? Rost and Palm give the following instances of this use of λαμβανεῖν in Homer: ' Od.,' 6:81; 8:116; ' II.,' 5:273; Herod., 4:130, etc. (cf. John 19:1; Revelation 8:5). If so, the whole of this passage would read, "He will give you another Helper or Advocate, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot seize (or take from you), because it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye are learning to know him, because he, according to the eternal laws of his being, dwelleth with you, and will be in you, and be altogether beyond the malice of the world." John 14:16I will pray (ἐρωτήσω)

See on John 11:22.

Comforter (παράκλητον)

Only in John's Gospel and First Epistle (John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; 1 John 2:13. From παρά, to the side of, and καλέω, to summon. Hence, originally, one who is called to another's side to aid him, as an advocate in a court of justice. The later, Hellenistic use of παρακαλεῖν and παράκλησις, to denote the act of consoling and consolation, gave rise to the rendering Comforter, which is given in every instance in the Gospel, but is changed to advocate in 1 John 2:1, agreeably to its uniform signification in classical Greek. The argument in favor of this rendering throughout is conclusive. It is urged that the rendering Comforter is justified by the fact that, in its original sense, it means more than a mere consoler, being derived from the Latin confortare, to strengthen, and that the Comforter is therefore one who strengthens the cause and the courage of his client at the bar: but, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, the history of this interpretation shows that it is not reached by this process, but grew out of a grammatical error, and that therefore this account can only be accepted as an apology after the fact, and not as an explanation of the fact. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, by the word παράκλητος, of which Paraclete is a transcription, represented as our Advocate or Counsel, "who suggests true reasonings to our minds, and true courses of action for our lives, who convicts our adversary, the world, of wrong, and pleads our cause before God our Father." It is to be noted that Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit is represented as Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is to be another Paraclete, and this falls in with the statement in the First Epistle, "we have an advocate with God, even Jesus Christ." Compare Romans 8:26. See on Luke 6:24. Note also that the word another is ἄλλον, and not ἕτερον, which means different. The advocate who is to be sent is not different from Christ, but another similar to Himself. See on Matthew 6:24.

With you (μεθ' ὑμῶν)

Notice the three prepositions used in this verse to describe the Spirit's relation to the believer. With you (μετά), in fellowship; by you (παρά), in His personal presence; in you (ἐν), as an indwelling personal energy, at the springs of the life.

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