on John 15 :5
Without me ye can do nothing - Χωρις εμου ου δυνασθε ποιειν ουδεν - Separated from me, ye can do nothing at all. God can do without man, but man cannot do without God. Following the metaphor of our Lord, it would be just as possible to do any good without him, as for a branch to live, thrive, and bring forth fruit, while cut off from that tree from which it not only derives its juices, but its very existence also.
Nearly similar to this saying of our Lord, is that of Creeshna (the incarnate God of the Hindoos) to his disciple Arjoon: "God is the gift of charity; God is the offering: God is the fire of the altar; by God the sacrifice is performed; and God is to be obtained by him who maketh God alone the object of his works." And again: "I am the sacrifice; I am the worship; I am the spices; I am the invocation; I am the fire; and I am the victim. I am the Father and Mother of this world, and the Preserver. I am the Holy One, worthy to be known; the mystic figure Om; (see on John 1:14 (note)) I am the journey of the good; the Comforter; the Creator; the Witness; the resting-place; the asylum, and the Friend. I am the place of all things; and the inexhaustible seed of nature; I am sunshine, and I am rain; I now draw in, and now let forth." See Bhagvat Geeta, pp. 54 and 80. Could such sentiments as these ever come from any other source than Divine revelation? There is a saying in Theophilus very similar to one of those above: Θεος ου χωρειται, αλλα αυτος εστι τοπος των ὁλων. - God is not comprehended, but he is the place of all things.
on John 15 :5
I am the vine - John 15:1.
Without me ye can do nothing - The expression "without me" denotes the same as separate from me. As the branches, if separated from the parent stock, could produce no fruit, but would immediately wither and die, so Christians, if separate from Christ, could do nothing. The expression is one, therefore, strongly implying dependence. The Son of God was the original source of life, John 1:4. He also, by his work as Mediator, gives life to the world John 6:33, and it is by the same grace and agency that it is continued in the Christian. We see hence:
1. that to him is due all the praise for all the good works the Christian performs.
2. that they will perform good works just in proportion as they feel their dependence on him and look to him. And,
3. that the reason why others fail of being holy is because they are unwilling to look to him, and seek grace and strength from him who alone is able to give it.
on John 15 :5
15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches - Our Lord in this whole passage speaks of no branches but such as are, or at least were once, united to him by living faith.