Part 2 Chapter 6

Section 16óJohn 14:16.

[with John 4:14, and John 6:35]
And 1 will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.

The other Comforter Christ prays to his Father for, is no other than the Spirit of truth (v. 17), which is the Holy Ghost (v. 26), who, when he once takes up his residence in the hearts of any, never departs, but abides for ever; otherwise, this prayer of Christ would not be answered. Whence it follows that true believers, who are the temples of the Holy Spirit, shall certainly persevere to the end, and not be eternally destroyed. In answer to this,

1. It is affirmed,[1] "that the Holy Spirit may entirely depart from them, in whom he once inhabited." This is said, but not proved: the graces of the Spirit may be very low as to the exercise of them, believers may be without the comforts and gracious influences of the Spirit; they may so vex and grieve him, as that he may leave them, for a while, without his sensible presence; and yet not entirely depart from them who know him,and have had an experience of his powerful operation on them; for he dwelleth with them, and shall be in them, and that for ever.

2. It is urged,[2] that this "promise is only made on condition that they continue so to love Christ as to keep his commandments.To which I reply: that this promise is entirely absolute, nor is there the least intimation of a condition in it: Christ says not, if ye love me so as to keep my commandments, I will pray the Father;or, if ye do keep my commandments, the Father will give you another, Comforter;or, if ye do whatsoever I enjoin you, then the Spirit shall abide with you forever;but he says, I will pray, he shall give, that he may abide.Besides, the giving of the Spirit to the Lord's people, is antecedent to their keeping of the commands of Christ, and in order to cause them to walk in his statutes,and to keep his judgments, and do them (Ezek. 36:27).

3. It is said,[3] that this promise "seems only to concern Christ's apostles, with whom he was then corporally present; or to concern only the Spirit's presence with his church in general, not in the heart of every Christian; for so Christ himself abode not with them." I answer; admitting that it concerns the apostles only, it will be allowed, it is to be hoped, that it secured their perseverance: and why may not the perseverance of others be as certain, who have been all made to drink into one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 4:13), have received the same spirit of faith,and have been baptized into one and the same body?Though if this promise only concerned the apostles, why should it be said, that he may abide with you for ever?It seems rather to concern a succession of men, of believers unto the end of the world (see Isa. 54:21). Moreover, should it be thought that it rather concerns the presence of the Spirit with the church of Christ in general; the Spirit dwells there, by dwelling in the hearts of particular believers; where also Christ dwells by faith,and with whom he makes his abode: it is in the hearts of particular saints, that the Spirit of the Lord is a well of water springing up into everlasting life;which must certainly secure their final perseverance: for he is a well of water,to supply all their wants, and satisfy their thirst, and as such abides for ever, and can never be expelled; otherwise, it could not be said to be springing up into everlasting life,nor be the earnest of their future inheritance,[4] though this text now mentioned (John 4:14, together with John 6:35), He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst,it is said, may be understood of Christ's doctrine; and the meaning be, "he that cometh to learn my doctrine, and believeth it when he hath learnt it, shall need no further teaching in order to his future happiness; because the observance of what he hath learned from me already will bring him to eternal life." Now, besides the falsehood of the last sentence, which attributes eternal fife to what they have learnt, being contrary to the grace of God, and the righteousness of Christ, which only bring persons to it; let it be observed, that sensible sinners come to Christ, not barely to learn his doctrine; but they come to him as the bread of life, for food for their souls, for righteousness and eternal life, for grace here, and glory hereafter. Besides, they first learn the doctrine of eternal life and salvation, and him, in some measure, before they come to him for it: Every man that hath heard and learnt of the Father, cometh unto me;and such shall be preserved and nourished unto everlasting life.


[1] Whitby, p. 474; ed. 2.453.

[2] Ibid., ed. 2.454: Remonstr. Coll. Hag. art. 5: p. 77.

[3] Whitby, p. 474; ed. 2.454; Remonstr. Coll. Hag. Ibid.

[4] Whitby, p. 474, 475.

Gill Index