13.But when he is come, the Spirit of truth. The Spirit, whom Christ promised to the apostles, is declared to be perfect Master or Teacher (96) of truth And why was he promised, but that they might deliver from hand to hand the wisdom which they had received from him? The Spirit was given to them, and under his guidance and direction they discharged the office to which they had been appointed.
He will lead you into all truth. That very Spirit had lead them into all truth, when they committed to writing the substance of their doctrine. Whoever imagines that anything must be added to their doctrine, as if it were imperfect and but half-finished, not only accuses the apostles of dishonesty, but blasphemes against the Spirit If the doctrine which they committed to writing had proceeded from mere learners or persons imperfectly taught, an addition to it would not have been superfluous; but now that their writings may be regarded as perpetual records of that revelation which was promised and given to them, nothing can be added to them without doing grievous injury to the Holy Spirit.
When they come to determine what those things actually were, the Papists act a highly ridiculous part, for they define those mysteries, which the apostles were unable to bear, to be certain childish fooleries, the most absurd and stupid things that can be imagined. Was it necessary that the Spirit should come down from heaven that the apostles might learn what ceremony must be used in consecrating cups with their altars, in baptizing church-bells, in blessing the holy water, and in celebrating Mass? Whence then do fools and children obtain their learning, who understand all those matters most thoroughly? Nothing is more evident than that the Papists mock God, when they pretend that those things came from heaven, which resemble as much the mysteries of Ceres or Proserpine as they are at variance with the pure wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
If we do not wish to be ungrateful to God, let us rest satisfied with that doctrine of which the writings of the apostles declare them to be the authors, since in it the highest perfection of heavenly wisdom is made known to us, fitted to make the man of God perfect (2 Timothy 3:17.) Beyond this let us not reckon ourselves at liberty to go; for our height, and breadth, and depth, consist in knowing the love of God, which is manifested to us in Christ. This knowledge, as Paul informs us, far exceeds all learning, (Ephesians 3:18;) and when he declares that
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ,
he does not contrive some unknown Christ, but one whom by his preaching he painted to the life, so that, as he tells the Galatians,
we see him, as it were, crucified before our eyes,
But that no ambiguity may remain, Christ himself afterwards explains by his own words what those things are which the apostles were not yet able to bear.
He will tell you things which are to come Some indeed limit this to the Spirit of prophecy; but, in my opinion, it denotes rather the future condition of his spiritual kingdom, such as the apostles, soon after his resurrection, saw it to be, but were at that time utterly unable to comprehend. He does not therefore promise them prophecies of things that would happen after their death, but means only that the nature of his kingdom will be widely different, and its glory far greater than their minds are now able to conceive. The Apostle Paul, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, from the first chapter to the close of the fourth, explains the treasures of this hidden wisdom, which the heavenly angels learn with astonishment from the Church; and therefore we need not go to seek them from the archives or repositories of the Pope.
For he will not speak from himself This is a confirmation of the clause, He will lead you into all truth. We know that God is the fountain of truth, and that out of Him there is nothing that is firm or sure; and, therefore, that the apostles may safely place full confidence in the oracles of the Spirit, Christ declares that they will be divine oracles; as if he had said, that every thing which the Holy Spirit shall bring proceeds from God himself. And yet these words take nothing away from the majesty of the Spirit, as if he were not God, or as if he were inferior to the Father, but are accommodated to the capacity of our understanding; for the reason why his Divinity is expressly mentioned is, because, on account of the veil that is between us, we do not sufficiently understand with what reverence we ought to receive what the Spirit reveals to us. In like manner, he is elsewhere called the earnest, by which God ratifies to us our salvation, and the seal, by which he seals to us its certainty, (Ephesians 1:13.) In short, Christ intended to teach that the doctrine of the Spirit would not be of this world, as if it were produced in the air, but that it would proceed from the secret places of the heavenly sanctuary.