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The reports concerning Jesus had by this time become generally spread. So that on a public occasion like that of the feast now kept, there was an expectation about him. Where is he? The opinions, too, which prevailed, were just as might be supposed, according to the candour or the jealousy, the good or the bad disposition of those who spoke of him. Some called him a deceiver; while others justly argued of the tree from its fruits, and could not believe that a deceiver should work deeds of mercy, or utter words of wisdom. But no man dared openly to avow himself on his side or speak in his favour. The powers which ruled at Jerusalem were against him. Satan was yet upon his throne, and would not readily give way.
14. Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.1
15. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?
16. Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
18. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
We have here an example of the manner in which our Lord disclosed his divine mission. He went up into the temple, and taught. He taught“ as one having authority :” and the people were
1 He had before said, I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
tonished at his doctrine." Whence is this wisdom? they asked : it proceeds from no ordinary source: it has been learned from no human teachers. Jesus answered and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. It is not that which I have derived from man, or which belongs to this world : it is not, like the doctrines of human philosophy, wrought out by the natural understanding : in that sense the doctrine which I teach is not mine : it conveys the will of Him that sent me : it is a gracious message that bringeth salvation, and offers eternal life as the gift of God, through Jesus Christ.
Should any complain, that this were hard to believe? There shall be proof of its truth, satisfactory and sufficient to every honest, meek, and simple heart. If any man will do the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine that it comes from God. When the seed falls on good ground,” on the “honest and good heart,” that honest and good heart shall be led on till it sees and understands the wisdom of God in the revelation of his Son.
This is a great promise ; and assists in explaining what was declared in the preceding chapter : “ All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me.” We are here informed who those are, to whom it is given of the Father to come unto Christ Jesus for salvation. They who are minded to do the will of God. Sometimes, indeed, in the history of those who have been brought to repentance and the knowledge of the truth, the prophet's words have
2 Ει τις θελει ποιειν.
been fulfilled : “ I am sought of those that asked not for me; I am found of those that sought me not.” The goodness of God has no limits that we can discover. But though
But though“ he giveth not account of any of his matters,” and “ will have mercy on whom he will have mercy;"
we have here a sure promise that no man shall ever be passed over by that mercy who is willing to do his will. He may be feeble, but he shall become strong ; he may be weak and wavering, but his faith shall be more and more confirmed ; he may be simple and ignorant, but he shall be made “ wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” They, who like the Bereans, “ search the scriptures daily, whether these things are so," shall, like the same Bereans, see reason to believe, 5
We may trace an example of this, in the wellknown case of Cornelius. (Acts x.) God saw fit to disclose to the apostle Peter, that he had granted, was one whom divine grace had already disposed to profit by the privileges which he enjoyed, when placed in the country of Judea, among a people who knew and worshipped the Creator. We read, (ver. 2–5,) that Cornelius “ was a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius, thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter : he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do; (xi. 14;) he shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”
granted unto the Gentiles repentance unto life :" and explained to him, what his Jewish prejudices made him so slow to believe, that the partition wall was now thrown down which had hitherto separated the Israelite from the Gentile. So he made it evident to Peter that he had revealed himself in a vision to a man who was of a heathen nation, an officer in the Roman
then stationed in Judea. But the person chosen for this purpose, the man to whom this vision was
3 Is. lxv. i.
4 Job xxxiii. 13. Rom. ix. 15. 5 Acts xvii. 11, 12.
Here that was done by a special vision, which is commonly brought to pass through the secret agency of the Spirit. Cornelius was one whose heart was set upon doing the will of God : and he experienced the truth of the prophetic promise, “ Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord : his going forth is prepared as the morning ; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” 6 He was especially selected to know, and to make manifest to others, “ the mystery which had been hid from ages and generations ;” that “ now in Christ Jesus they who sometime were far off, were made nigh by the blood of Christ."? He was taught to know of the doctrine of Christ, that it was of God, and that “ he is the Saviour of all that believe."
6 Hosea vi. 3. 7 Eph. ii. 13.
Thus it is ordained, that “to him who hath, shall be given,” that “ every one that seeketh, findeth,” and that “ to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” We do not pretend to search out the ways of God, or to limit the exercise of his grace : but “ the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever :" namely, that “ his
“his mercy is on them that fear him, throughout all generations."
JESUS CONTINUES HIS DISCOURSE WITH THE JEWS, AND SHOWS THAT THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
JOHN vii. 19-30.
19. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law ? Why go ye about to kill me?
The Jews were attached to Moses, and made their boast of his law. And yet how little did