John 15:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
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(26) But when the Comforter is come.—Better, But when the Advocate is come. (Comp. Excursus G.)

Whom I will send unto you from the Father.—Comp. John 14:16, and Note on John 15:26. The pronoun is here emphatic. “Whom I will send . . .” The mission by the Father in answer to the Son’s prayer, and the mission by the Father in the Son’s name, and the mission by the Son Himself, are thought of as one and the same thing.

Even the Spirit of truth.—Comp. Note on John 14:17.

Which proceedeth from the Father.—The force of these words is to give weight to the witness which the Spirit shall bear of the Son. He is the Advocate whom the Son will send from the Father, but He is also and emphatically the Spirit of Truth proceeding from the Father, and His witness therefore will be that of the Father Himself. These two clauses (“whom I will send unto you from the Father,” “which proceedeth from the Father”) are to be regarded as parallels; and both of them probably refer to the office of the Holy Spirit. The Vulgate renders the verb in the latter clause by the word “procedit,” and the older expositors generally understood it of the person of the Holy Ghost. The Eastern Church, from the days of Theodore of Mopsuestia downwards, have claimed this text as proving the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father only, and have quoted it as decisive against the addition of the “filioque clause” in the Nicene Creed. The Western Church, comparing it with John 16:15, and such texts as Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6; Philippians 1:9; 1Peter 1:11, have held that it includes the procession from the Son. If it refers to the person of the Holy Spirit, it must be granted that the ipsissima verba of our Lord are in favour of the interpretation of the Greek Church; but if it refers, as with much greater probability it does, to the office of the Holy Ghost, then these words have no bearing upon the doctrinal question at issue. The student should read on this subject, Pearson On the Creed, Art. viii., more particularly his invaluable collection of notes.

He shall testify of me.—Better, shall bear witness of Me. (Comp. Notes on John 1:7 and 1John 5:6).



John 15:26 - John 15:27

Our Lord has been speaking of a world hostile to His followers and to Him. He proceeds, in the words which immediately follow our text, to paint that hostility as aggravated even to the pitch of religious murder. But here He lets a beam of light in upon the darkness. These forlorn Twelve, listening to Him, might well have said, ‘Thou art about to leave us; how can we alone face this world in arms, with which Thou dost terrify us?’ And here He lets them see that they will not be left alone, but have a great Champion, clad in celestial armour, who, coming straight from God, will be with them and put into their hands a weapon, with which they may conquer the world, and turn it into a friend, and with which alone they must meet the world’s hate.

So, then, we have three things in this text; the great promise of an Ally in the conflict with the world; the witness which that Ally bears, to fortify against the world; and the consequent witness with which Christians may win the world.

I. Now consider briefly the first of these points, the great promise of an Ally in the conflict with the world.

I may touch, very lightly, upon the wonderful designation of this Champion-Friend whom Christ sends, because on former occasions in this course of sermons we have had to deal with the same thoughts, and there will be subsequent opportunities of recurring to them. But I may just emphasise in a few sentences the points which our Lord here signalises in regard to the Champion whom He sends. There is a double designation of that Spirit, ‘the Comforter’ and ‘the Spirit of truth.’ There is a double description of His mission, as being ‘sent’ by Jesus, and as ‘proceeding from the Father,’ and there is a single statement as to the position from which He comes to us. A word about each of these things.

I have already explained in former sermons that the notion of ‘Comforter,’ as it is understood in modern English, is a great deal too restricted and narrow to cover the whole ground of this great and blessed promise. The Comforter whom Christ sends is no mere drier of men’s tears and gentle Consoler of human sorrows, but He is a mightier Spirit than that, and the word by which He is described in our text, which means ‘one who is summoned to the side of another,’ conveys the idea of a helper who is brought to the man to be helped, in order to render whatever aid and succour that man’s weakness and circumstances may require. The verses before our text suggest what sort of aid and succour the disciples will need. They are to be as sheep in the midst of wolves. Their defenceless purity will need a Protector, a strong Shepherd. They stand alone amongst enemies. There must be some one beside them to fight for them, to shield and to encourage them, to be their Safety and their Peace. And that Paraclete, who is called to our side, comes for the special help which these special circumstances require, and is a strong Spirit who will be our Champion and our Ally, whatever antagonism may storm against us, and however strong and well-armed may be the assaulting legions of the world’s hate.

Then, still further, the other designation here of this strong Succourer and Friend is ‘the Spirit of truth,’ by which is designated, not so much His characteristic attribute, as rather the weapon which He wields, or the material with which He works. The ‘truth’ is His instrument; that is to say, the Spirit of God sent by Jesus Christ is the Strengthener, the Encourager, the Comforter, the Fighter for us and with us, because He wields that great body of truth, the perfect revelation of God, and man, and duty, and salvation, which is embodied in the incarnation and work of Jesus Christ our Lord. The truth is His weapon, and it is by it that He makes us strong.

Then, still further, there is a twofold description here of the mission of this divine Champion, as ‘sent’ by Christ, and ‘proceeding from the Father.’

In regard to the former, I need only remind you that, in a previous part of this wonderful discourse, our Lord speaks of that divine Spirit as being sent by the Father in His name and in answer to His prayer. The representation here is by no means antagonistic to, or diverse from, that other representation, but rather the fact that the Father and the Son, according to the deep teaching of Scripture, are in so far one as that ‘whatsoever the Son seeth the Father do that also the Son doeth likewise,’ makes it possible to attribute to Him the work which, in another place, is ascribed to the Father. In speaking of the Persons of the Deity, let us never forget that that word is only partially applicable to that ineffable Being, and that whilst with us it implies absolute separation of individuals, it does not mean such separation in the case of its imperfect transference to the mysteries of the divine nature; but rather, the Son doeth what the Father doeth, and therefore the Spirit is sent forth by the Father, and also the Son sends the Spirit.

But, on the other hand, we are not to regard that divine Spirit as merely a Messenger sent by another. He ‘proceeds from the Father.’ That word has been the battlefield of theological controversy, with which I do not purpose to trouble you now. For I do not suppose that in its use here it refers at all to the subject to which it has been sometimes applied, nor contains any kind of revelation of the eternal depths of the divine Nature and its relations to itself. What is meant here is the historical coming forth into human life of that divine Spirit. And, possibly, the word ‘proceeds’ is chosen in order to contrast with the word ‘sent,’ and to give the idea of a voluntary and personal action of the Messenger, who not only is sent by the Father, but of Himself proceeds on the mighty work to which He is destined.

Be that as it may, mark only, for the last thought here about the details of this great promise, that wonderful phrase, twice repeated in our Lord’s words, and emphasised by its verbal repetition in the two clauses, which in all other respects are so different-’from the Father.’ The word translated ‘ from’ is not the ordinary word so rendered, but rather designates a position at the side of than an origin from, and suggests much rather the intimate and ineffable union between Father, Son, and Spirit, than the source from which the Spirit comes. I touch upon these things very lightly, and gather them up into one sentence. Here, then, are the points. A Person who is spoken of as ‘He’-a divine Person whose home from of old has been close by the Father’s side-a Person whose instrument is the revealed truth ensphered and in germ in the facts of Christ’s incarnation and life-a divine Person, wielding the truth, who is sent by Christ as His Representative, and in some sense a continuance of His personal Presence-a divine, personal Spirit coming from the Father, wielding the truth, sent by Christ, and at the side of all the persecuted and the weak, all world-hated and Christian men, as their Champion, their Combatant, their Ally, their Inspiration, and their Power. Is not that enough to make the weakest strong? Is not that enough to make us ‘more than conquerors through Him that loved us’? All nations have legends of the gods fighting at the head of their armies, and through the dust of battle the white horses and the shining armour of the celestial champions have been seen. The childish dream is a historical reality. It is not we that fight, it is the Spirit of God that fighteth in us.

II. And so note, secondly, the witness of the Spirit which fortifies against the world.

‘He shall bear witness of Me.’ Now we must especially observe here that little phrase, ‘unto you.’ For that tells us at once that the witness which our Lord has in mind here is something which is done within the circle of the Christian believers, and not in the wide field of the world’s history or in nature. Of course it is a great truth that long before Jesus Christ, and to-day far beyond the limits of His name and knowledge, to say nothing of His faith and obedience, the Spirit of God is working. As of old He brooded over the chaotic darkness, ever labouring to turn chaos into order, and darkness into light, and deformity into beauty; so today, all over the field of humanity, He is operating. Grand as that truth is, it is not the truth here. What is spoken of here is something that is done in and on Christian men, and not even through them on the world, but in them for themselves. ‘He shall testify of Me’ to you.

Now it is to be noted, also, that the first and special application of these words is to the little group listening to Him. Never were men more desolate and beaten down than these were, in the prospect of Christ’s departure. Never were men more utterly bewildered and dispirited than these were, in the days between His crucifixion and His resurrection. Think of them during His earthly life, their narrow understandings, their manifold faults, moral as well as intellectual. How little perception they had of anything that He said to them, as their own foolish questions abundantly show! How little they had drunk in His spirit, as their selfish and ambitious janglings amongst themselves abundantly show! They were but Jews like their brethren, believing, indeed, that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, but not knowing what it was that they believed, or of what kind the Messiah was in whom they were thus partially trusting. But they loved Him and were led by Him, and so they were brought into a larger place by the Spirit whom Christ sent.

What was it that made these dwarfs into giants in six weeks? What was it that turned their narrowness into breadth; that made them start up all at once as heroes, and that so swiftly matured them, as the fruits and flowers are ripened under tropical sunshine? The resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ had a great deal to do with the change; but they were not its whole cause. There is no explanation of the extraordinary transformation of these men as we see them in the pages of the Gospels, and as we find them on the pages of the Acts of the Apostles, except this-the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ as facts, and the Spirit on Pentecost as an indwelling Interpreter of the facts. He came, and the weak became strong, and the foolish wise, and the blind enlightened, and they began to understand-though it needed all their lives to perfect the teaching,-what it was that their ignorant hands had grasped and their dim perceptions had seen, when they touched the hands and looked upon the face of Jesus Christ. The witness of the Spirit of God working within them, working upon what they knew of the historical facts of Christ’s life, and interpreting these to them, was the explanation of their change and growth. And the New Testament is the product of that change. Christ’s life was the truth which the Spirit used, and a product of His teaching was these Epistles which we have, and which for us step into the place which the historical facts held for them, and become the instrument with which the Spirit of God will deepen our understanding of Christ and enlarge our knowledge of what He is to us.

So, dear friends, whilst here we have a promise which specially applies, no doubt, to these twelve Apostles, and the result of which in them was different from its result in us, inasmuch as the Spirit’s teaching, recorded in the New Testament, becomes for us the authoritative rule of faith and practice, the promise still applies to each of us in a secondary and modified sense. For there is nothing in these great valedictory words of our Lord’s which has not a universal bearing, and is not the revelation of a permanent truth in regard to the Christian Church. And, therefore, here we have the promise of a universal gift to all Christian men and women, of an actual divine Spirit to dwell with each of us, to speak in our hearts.

And what will He speak there? He will teach us a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ. He will help us to understand better what He is. He will show us more and more of the whole sweep of His work, of the whole infinite truth for morals and religion, for politics and society, for time and for eternity, about men and about God, which is wrapped up in that great saying which we first of all, perhaps under the pressure of our own sense of sin, grasp as our deliverance from sin: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ That is the sum of truth which the Spirit of God interprets to every faithful heart. And as the days roll on, and new problems rise, and new difficulties present themselves, and new circumstances emerge in our personal life, we find the truth, which we at first dimly grasped as life and salvation, opening out into wisdom and depth and meaning that we never dreamed of in the early hours. A Spirit that bears witness of Christ and will make us understand Him better every day we live, if we choose, is the promise that is given here, for all Christian men and women.

Then note that this inward witness of Christ’s depth and preciousness is our true weapon and stay against a hostile world. A little candle in a room will make the lightning outside almost invisible; and if I have burning in my heart the inward experience and conviction of what Jesus Christ is and what He has done and will do for me-Oh! then, all the storm without may rage, and it will not trouble me.

If you take an empty vessel and bring pressure to bear upon it, in go the sides. Fill it, and they will resist the pressure. So with growing knowledge of Christ, and growing personal experience of His sweetness in our souls, we shall be able, untouched and undinted, to throw off the pressure which would otherwise have crushed us.

Therefore, dear friends, here is the true secret of tranquillity, in an age of questioning and doubt. Let me have that divine Voice speaking in my heart, as I may have, and no matter what questions may be doubtful, this is sure-’We know in whom we have believed’; and we can say, ‘Settle all your controversies any way you like: one thing I know, and that divine Voice is ever saying it to me in my deepest consciousness-the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him that is true.’ Labour for more of this inward, personal conviction of the preciousness of Jesus Christ to strengthen you against a hostile world.

And remember that there are conditions under which this Voice speaks in our souls. One is that we attend to the instrument which the Spirit of God uses, and that is ‘the truth.’ If Christians will not read their Bibles, they need not expect to have the words of these Bibles interpreted and made real to them by any inward experience. If you want to have a faith which is vindicated and warranted by your daily experience, there is only one way to get it, and that is, to use the truth which the Spirit uses, and to bring yourself into contact, continual and reverent and intelligent, with the great body of divine truth that is conveyed in these authoritative words of the Spirit of God speaking through the first witnesses.

And there must be moral discipline too. Laziness, worldliness, the absorption of attention with other things, self-conceit, prejudice, and, I was going to say, almost above all, the taking of our religion and religious opinions at secondhand from men and teachers and books-all these stand in the way of our hearing the Spirit of God when He speaks. Come away from the babble and go by yourself, and take your Bibles with you, and read them, and meditate upon them, and get near the Master of whom they speak, and the Spirit which uses the truth will use it to fortify you.

III. And, lastly, note the consequent witness with which the Christian may win the world.

‘And ye also shall bear witness of Me, because ye have been with Me from the beginning.’ That ‘also’ has, of course, direct reference to the Apostles’ witness to the facts of our Lord’s historical appearance, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension; and therefore their qualification was simply the companionship with Him which enabled them to say, ‘We saw what we tell you; we were witnesses from the beginning.’

But then, again, I say that there is no word here that belongs only to the Apostles; it belongs to us all, and so here is the task of the Christian Church in all its members. They receive the witness of the Spirit, and they are Christ’s witnesses in the world.

Note what we have to do-to bear witness; not to argue, not to adorn, but simply to attest. Note what we have to attest-the fact, not of the historical life of Jesus Christ, because we are not in a position to be witnesses of that, but the fact of His preciousness and power, and the fact of our own experience of what He has done for us. Note, that that is by far the most powerful agency for winning the world. You can never make men angry by saying to them, ‘We have found the Messias.’ You cannot irritate people, or provoke them into a controversial opposition when you say, ‘Brother, let me tell you my experience. I was dark, sad, sinful, weak, solitary, miserable; and I got light, gladness, pardon, strength, companionship, and a joyful hope. I was blind-you remember me when my eyes were dark, and I sat begging outside the Temple; I was blind, now I see-look at my eyeballs.’ We can all say that. This is the witness that needs no eloquence, no genius, no anything except honesty and experience; and whosoever has tasted and felt and handled of the Word of Life may surely go to a brother and say, ‘Brother, I have eaten and am satisfied. Will you not help yourselves?’ We can all do it, and we ought to do it. The Christian privilege of being witnessed to by the Spirit of God in our hearts brings with it the Christian duty of being witnesses in our turn to the world. That is our only weapon against the hostility which godless humanity bears to ourselves and to our Master. We may win men by that; we can win them by nothing else. ‘Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servants whom I have chosen.’ Christian friend, listen to the Master, who says, ‘Him that confesseth Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father in heaven.’

15:26,27. The blessed Spirit will maintain the cause of Christ in the world, notwithstanding the opposition it meets with. Believers taught and encouraged by his influences, would bear testimony to Christ and his salvation.In their law - Psalm 35:19. All the Old Testament was sometimes called the law. The meaning here is that the same thing happened to him which did to the psalmist. The same words which David used respecting his enemies would express, also, the conduct of the Jews and their treatment of the Messiah. In both cases it was without cause. Jesus had broken no law, he had done no injury to his country or to any individual. It is still true that sinners hate him in the same way. He injures no one, but, amid all their hatred, he seeks their welfare; and, while they reject him in a manner for which they "can give no reason in the day of judgment," he still follows them with mercies and entreats them to return to him. Who has ever had any reason to hate the Lord Jesus? What injury has he ever done to any one of the human race? What evil has he ever said or thought of any one of them? What cause or reason had the Jews for putting him to death? What reason has the sinner for hating him now? What reason for neglecting him? No one can give a reason for it that will satisfy his own conscience, none that has the least show of plausibility. Yet no being on earth has ever been more hated, despised, or neglected, and in every instance it has been "without a cause." Reader, do you hate him? If so, I ask you why? Wherein has he injured you? or why should you think or speak reproachfully of the benevolent and pure Redeemer? 26, 27. (See on [1863]Joh 14:15; [1864]Joh 14:17). Concerning the Holy Ghost as a Comforter we have spoken largely, John 14:16,26; as also his mission from the Father and the Son, and in what sense he is called

the Spirit of truth: See Poole on "John 14:16". See Poole on "John 14:26". What proceeding from the Father is here meant, is questioned amongst divines: some understand it only of his coming out from the Father, and being poured out upon the disciples in the days of Pentecost: others understand it of the Holy Spirit’s eternal proceeding. Those that interpret it of the first, urge the use of the Greek word, here used to signify God’s manifestation of himself by some external sign, as they say the Septuagint useth the same word. They also urge the same use of a parallel word, John 8:42 16:28. But the generality of the best interpreters think it is best understood of the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit:

1. Because Christ here distinguishes the Spirit’s proceeding from the Father from his sending.

2. Having himself promised to send the Spirit, he seemeth further to describe him as proceeding from the Father.

3. The word here used is not any where used in the New Testament to signify a temporal mission.

Some will say: But doth not the Spirit proceed from the Son?

Answer. The Greek Church in latter ages hath denied this, and this is the principal text they rest on; but those churches that are more orthodox have constantly affirmed it:

1. Because he here saith he would send it.

2. Because he is often called the Spirit of Christ, Romans 8:9 Galatians 4:6.

3. Because otherwise there were no personal relation between Christ and the Spirit.

Our Saviour here having first said he would send him, here only nameth his proceeding from the Father; that they might not suspect his testimony, or think that he spake arrogantly.

He shall testify of me; the Spirit, he saith, should testify of him, both by those gifts with which he was to fill the apostles, and to the hearts of God’s people.

But when the Comforter is come,.... Or advocate, the Spirit of God; who was to be, and has been an advocate for Christ, against the world, and for his people, against all their enemies; and who as he was to reprove, and did reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, in favour of Christ, so he was to assist his people, and plead their cause, and help them, in vindication of themselves, before the princes of the earth, as he did: and who also was to act, and has acted the part of a "comforter" to them, under all the hatred and violence they have met with from the world; by taking and applying the things of Christ to them; by shedding the love of God in them; by applying the promises of the Gospel to them; by witnessing their adoption, and sealing them up to the day of redemption:

whom I will send unto you from the Father; visibly, as on the day of Pentecost, in cloven tongues as of fire; and invisibly into their hearts, by the secret influence of his light and grace; which mission, as it suggests no inferiority in the spirit, either to the Father or the Son; since the same spirit with the Father, was the sender of Christ; so it is expressive of the equal deity of Christ, and his joint power and authority with the Father:

even the Spirit of truth; who is the true Spirit, truth itself; yea, the true God, with the Father and Son; the Spirit of him who is truth; the dictator of the Scriptures of truth; who leads his people into all truth; and is the Spirit of truth, as he is a witness or testifier of Christ, hereafter promised:

which proceedeth from the Father; Christ is not content to describe him by his work and office, as, an, advocate and comforter, and as the Spirit of truth: and from his mission by him from the Father; all which shows his usefulness and authority; but also from his nature and essence, which is the same with the Father's; and from his peculiar personal and distinctive character, expressed by his proceeding from the Father; and which is mentioned, as what is distinct from his mission by Christ, from the Father before spoken of; and designs no other, than the eternal, ineffable, and continued act of his procession, from the Father and the Son; in which he partakes of the same nature with them, and which personally distinguishes him from them. The ancient Jews (x) spoke of him just in the same language; "the Spirit of God", in Genesis 1:2; they say is the Holy Spirit, "which proceedeth from God": very pertinently does Christ take notice of this his character here, when he was about to speak of him as his testifier:

he shall testify of me: of his deity and sonship, of his incarnation, of his being the Messiah, of his sufferings and death, of his resurrection and ascension, of his exaltation at the right hand of God, and of his ordination to be the Judge of quick and dead; all which he bore testimony to, by the gifts bestowed upon the apostles, and the great grace that was upon them all; by the signs, wonders, and divers miracles, by which the Gospel of Christ was confirmed; and by the power, influence, and success, which attended the preaching of it every where. Thus he testified of Christ, against the blaspheming Jews, and persecuting Gentiles, to the reproof and confusion of them; and he testified of him to the apostles, and all true believers, to their great joy and comfort, and to the support of them, under all the malice and hatred of the world.

(x) Zohar in Gen. fol. 1. 4.

{8} But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

(8) We will surely stand against the rage of the wicked by the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit speaks in no other way and is consistent with what he spoke by the mouth of the apostles.

John 15:26-27. Over against this hatred of the world, Jesus further appeals confidently, and in the certainty of His future justification, to the testimony which the Paraclete, and also the disciples themselves, will bear regarding Him. The Paraclete was to give testimony of Christ through the disciples, in speaking forth from them (Matthew 10:20; Mark 13:11). But the testimony of the disciples of Christ was at the same time also their own, since it expressed their own experiences with Christ from the beginning onwards, John 1:14; 1 John 1:1; Acts 1:21-22. Both were, in so far as they, filled and enlightened by the divine πνεῦμα, delivered His instructions (John 14:26), and what they themselves had heard and seen of Jesus, both consequently ἐν πνεύματι, one witness; it is, however, separated into its two actual factors (comp. Acts 1:8; Romans 8:16; Romans 9:1), and they are kept apart.

ὃν ἑγὼ πέμψω ὑμ. παρὰ τοῦ πατρ.] How? see John 14:16. As ἐγώ is used with the weight of authority, so also has the more exact definition: τὸ πνεῦμα τ. ἀληθ. (see on John 14:17), and the addition ὃ π. τ. πατρ. ἐκπορ., in emphatic confirmation of the above παρὰ τοῦ πατρός, the pragmatic weight of causing to be felt the truth and validity of the Spirit’s testimony, which thus goes back to the Father. The general expression ἐκπορ., however, which is without any definite limitation of time, does not refer to the immanent relation of subsistence (actus hypostaticus), but, agreeably to the connection, to the being efficaciously communicated outwards[170] from the Father, by means of which, in every case that occurs, the Spirit is received. “Itaque hujusmodi testimonia nec a Graecis (against the filioque) nec contra Graecos (against the διὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πατρός) … satis apposite sunt citata,” Beza. For the dogmatic use in the interest of the Greek Church, see already in Theodore of Mopsuestia. Recently, Hilgenfeld especially has laid great stress on the hypostatic reference, and that in the sense of a Gnostic emanation.

ἘΚΕῖΝΟς] opposed to the Christ-hating world.

ΠΕΡῚ ἘΜΟῦ] of my Person, my work, etc. Comp. 1 John 5:6.

ΚΑῚ ὙΜΕῖς ΔΈ] atque vos etiam. Comp. on John 6:51, John 8:17.

μαρτυρεῖτε] ye also are witnesses, since ye from the beginning (of my Messianic activity) are with me (consequently are able to bear witness of me from your experience). Jesus does not say μαρτυρήσετε, because the disciples were already the witnesses which they were to be in future. They were, as the witnesses, already forthcoming. ἐστέ denotes that which still continues from the commencement up to the present moment. Comp. 1 John 3:8. ΜΑΡΤΥΡ. taken as imperative would make the command appear too abrupt; considering its very importance, a more definite unfolding of it was necessarily to be expected, which, however, is not missed, if the words are only a part of the promise to bear witness (in answer to B. Crusius and Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 19). An echo of this word of Christ regarding the united testimony of the Spirit and of the apostles is found in Acts 5:32, also in Acts 15:28.

[170] The Spirit goes out if He is sent, John 14:16; John 14:26; Galatians 4:6. Comp. the figurative expression of the outpouring. Seo also Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 203 f.

John 15:26. But the work of the Apostles was not to be wholly fruitless, nor was their experience to be wholly comprised in fruitless persecution. Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃπερὶ ἐμοῦ. The Spirit of Truth will witness concerning me. The Spirit is here designated, as in John 14:16, “the Paraclete,” and the Spirit of Truth. There, and in John 14:26, it is the Father who is to give and send Him in Christ’s name: here it is ὃν ἐγὼ πέμψω παρὰ τοῦ πατρός, as if the Spirit were not only dwelling with the Father, but could only be sent out from the Father as the source of the sending. This is still further emphasised in the added clause, ὃ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται. To define the mode of being of the Spirit, or His essential relation to the Father, would have been quite out of place in the circumstances. These words must be understood of the mission of the Spirit. What the disciples needed to know was that He came out from the Father, and of this they are here assured. ἐκεῖνος μαρτυρήσει περὶ ἐμοῦ, “He,” that person thus elaborately described, who is truth and who comes out from Him who sent me, “will witness concerning me”.

John 15:26 to John 16:11. The conquest of the world by the Spirit.

26. the Comforter] Better, the Advocate (see on John 14:16).

whom I will send] ‘I’ is emphatic. Here it is the Son Who sends the Paraclete from the Father. In John 14:16 the Father sends in answer to the Son’s prayer. In John 14:26 the Father sends in the Son’s name. These are three ways of expressing that the mission of the Paraclete is the act both of the Father and of the Son, Who are one.

from the Father] See note on ‘from God’ John 1:6 : the preposition and case are here the same; παρά with the genitive.

the Spirit of truth] See on John 14:17.

which proceedeth from the Father] It seems best to take this much discussed clause as simply yet another way of expressing the fact of the mission of the Paraclete. If the Paraclete is sent by the Son from the Father, and by the Father in the Son’s name and at the Son’s request, then the Paraclete ‘proceedeth from the Father.’ If this be correct, then this statement refers to the office and not to the Person of the Holy Spirit, and has no bearing either way on the great question between the Eastern and Western Churches, the Filioque added in the West to the Nicene Creed. The word used here for ‘proceed’ is the same as that used in the Creed of Nicea, and the Easterns quote these words of Christ Himself as being against not merely the insertion of the clause ‘and the Son’ into the Creed (which all admit to have been made irregularly), but against the truth of the statement that the Spirit, not only in His temporal mission, but in His Person, from all eternity proceeds from both the Father and the Son. On the whole question see Pearson On the Creed, Art. viii.; Reunion Conference at Bonn, 1875, pp. 9–85, Rivingtons; Pusey On the Clauseand the Son,” a Letter to Dr Liddon, Parker, 1876. The word rendered ‘proceedeth’ occurs in this Gospel only here and John 5:29, but is frequent in the other Gospels and in Revelation (Matthew 3:5; Matthew 4:4; Matthew 15:11; Matthew 15:18; Mark 7:15; Mark 7:18; Mark 7:20-21; Mark 7:23; Luke 4:22; Luke 4:37; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 4:5, &c.), and there seems to be nothing in the word itself to limit it to the Eternal Procession. On the other hand the preposition used here (para = ‘from the side of’) is strongly in favour of the reference being to the mission. Comp. John 16:27, John 17:8.

he shall testify of me] Better, He shall bear witness. It is the same word as is used in the next verse and is one of the words characteristic of this Gospel (see on John 1:7). ‘He’ is emphatic, in opposition to the world which hates and rejects Christ. Christ has the witness of the Spirit of truth, which has the authority of the Father: it is impossible to have higher testimony than this.

John 15:26. Δὲ, but) The testimony of the Paraclete (Comforter) and of the disciples is put in contrast with the ignorance and hatred of the world.—παρὰ τοῦ Πατρὸς, from the Father) The Spirit of God is the same as the Spirit of Christ: Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6. Both are here implied; for as the Son is said to “send the Paraclete” (Comforter), not to the exclusion of the Father: so “the Spirit of Truth” is said to ‘proceed’ from the Father (not to the exclusion of the Son).—ἐκπορεύεται, proceedeth) Revelation 22:1. Separation from the person or thing from which the procession takes place is not always denoted by this verb, LXX., Exodus 25:35, “According to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick” (τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τῆς λυχνίας).

Verses 26, 27. - A new source of consolation now appears. Already twice over he has spoken of the Paraclete (John 14:16 and 26),

(1) as being sent by the Father in answer to his prayer, to be the compensation to his disciples for his personal departure, and also

(2) as the Instructor and Leader into all truth. Once more he promises great things and mighty aid in their conflict with the world's hate by the mission of the Comforter. This great mission is said to be his own. Whensoever the Paraolete of whom I have spoken shall have come, whom I will send to you from (the side of, παρὰ) the Father, the Spirit of the truth, which proceedeth from (παρὰ) the Father, he (ἐκεῖνος) shall bear witness concerning me, and you also bear witness because ye are with me from the beginning of the Messianic work (ἀπ ἀρχῆς, not ἐν ἀρχῆ). This is the great text on which the Western Church and the Greeks have alike relied for their doctrine concerning the "procession of the Spirit," the timeless, pre-mundane relations among the Personalities of the Godhead. The expression ἐκπορεύεται only occurs in this place, and from it ἐκπορεύσις became the ecclesiastical term for the relation which the Holy Spirit sustains to the Father, just as γεννήσις was the especial term to denote the peculiarity of the Son, and just as ἀγεννήσια, the condition of unbegottenness and paternity was that used to denote the Father's own hypostatic distinction. The Holy Spirit is ever proceeding, issuing forth from, sent by the Father on his work of Divine self-manifestation and Divine activity in the universe. Of this there can be no question, and the Nicene symbol originally expressed it without amplification, and the Greeks founded upon it their conception of the Trinity. The relation of the Son and Spirit to the Father were believed to be co-ordinate; and, though both were of the same eternal substance, yet both were equal to the Father. But the Western Church in after-years - notwithstanding the tremendous anathemas against all alteration which guarded the Nicene and Chalcedonian formulae - felt that the whole truth concerning the Divinity of the Son was concealed, if the idea was not also conveyed which our Lord utters side by side with the ἐκπορεύεται παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός in this verse. Christ says, "I will send him παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός," and this must be compared with (John 14:26), "whom the Father will send in my Name;" and the Latins, to express this thought, added filioque to the phrase, "proceeding from the Father," and claimed our Lord as equally the Source of the Divine Spirit with the Father, so that it runs, "proceeding from the Father and the Son." In the endless discussions that arose, the two Churches probably meant to effect the same thing, viz. to affirm the glory and perfect Deity of the Lord Christ. The Greeks, in ancient times, never limited their statement to proceeding from the Father only;" nor did they object to add, "through or by the Son;" but it is probable that Augustine and the Western Church, and the liturgical forms that arose in it, approach a little more closely to the reality and quality of him who said, "I and my Father are one" in this respect, that the Spirit proceedeth from the Father and Son, when he comes into human hearts and testifies of Christ. There are those (Beza, Luthardt, Alford, Meyer) who urge that these passages do not bear at all upon the internal relations of the Godhead, but simply refer to the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit. "The words," says Luthardt, "must be understood historically, not metaphysically," and much may be said in favor of this view. If this verse does not furnish the basis of an argument, there is no other which can be advanced to establish the view either of the Eastern or Western Church. The witness of the Paraclete is said here to cover the gravest difficulties and provide the richest consolations. If the Lord intended to teach the fundamental nature of the Holy Spirit, the literal statement would be a powerful defense of the Greek doctrine; but if the passage here speaks of the official work and temporal mission, the words have no direct bearing upon that doctrine. The denial of the filioque has the logical tendency to make the Spirit and Son co-ordinate and subordinate emanations of the Father, and so to go back to the monarchianism from which the Church escaped at Nicaea. (See Pearson on the Creed, art. 8; 'Dict. Christian Biography,' art. "Holy Ghost;" Smeaten, 'Doctrine of the Holy Spirit;' Hagenbach, 'History of Christian Doctrines.') The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit will counteract the hatred in the world by regenerating individuals within it. More than that, said Christ, he (ἐκεῖνος) will bear witness to me, in the Divine strength and courage which he will give to you, in the new and corrective ideas which he will supply, in the great works seen to be mine, which you will have grace to initiate (see Acts 1:8 , - passages where the "Acts of the Apostles" are seen to be "Acts of the Risen Jesus"); and ye also bear witness, etc. Your own experience of me from the commencement of my ministry will give you a class of testimony which will leave an indelible impression on the heart of the world.

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