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Christ before Abraham.

St. JOIIN.

The Jews attempt to stone him.

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58. Jesus said unto them, Verily,| at him : but Jesus hid himself, A. M. 4055, Ar. Olymp. verily, I say unto you,. Before Abra- and went out of the temple, ‘going An. Olymp. ham was, 'I am.

through the midst of them, and so 59 | Then took they up stones to cast passed by.

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· Exod. 3. 11. Isai. 43. 13. ch. 17. 5, 21, Col. 1. 17. Kev. 1. 8.

Ch. 10. 31, 39. & 11. 8. — Luke 4. 30.

on this subject, which are scarcely worthy of being copied, escape. Ist. Ile hid himself, by becoming invisible; and then, may be found in Calmet.

Wly. He passed through the midst of them, and thus got clear Verse 58. Before Abraham wus, I am.] The following is a away froin the place. See a similar escape mentioned, Luke literal translation of Calmet's note on this passage:-“ I am

iv. 30, and the note there. from all eternity. I have existed before all ages. You consider in me, only the person who speaks to you, and who has The subjects of this chapter are both uncommon, and of appeared to you within a particular time. But besides this vast importance. human nature, wbich ye think ye know, there is in me a di

1. The case of the woman taken in adultery, when properly vine and eternal nature. Both united, subsist together in my and candidly considered, is both intelligible and edifying. It person. Abraliam knew how to distinguish them. He adored is likely that the accusation was well founded; and that the me as his God; and desired me as his Saviour. He has seen me Scribes and Pharisees endt avoured maliciously to serve themin my eternity, and he predicted my coming into the world.” selves of the fact, to embro:l our Lord with the civil power, or

On the same verse Bishop Pearce speaks as follows:-“What ruin his moral reputation. Our Lord was no magistrate, and Jesus here says, relates (I think) to his existence antecedent 10 therefore could not, with any propriety, give judgment in the Abraham's days, and not to his having been the Christ ap- case—had he done it, it must have been considered an invasion pointed and foretold before that time: for if Jesus bad meant, of the rights and office of the civil magistrate, and would have this, the answer I apprehend would not have been a pertinent afforded them ground for a process against him. On the other one. He might have been appointed and foretold for the hand, had he acquitted the woman, he might have been conChrist; but if he had not had an existence before Abraham's sidered not only as setting aside the law of Moses, but as being days, neither could he have seen Abraham, (as, according to indulgent to a crime of great moral turpitude ; and the report our English translation, the Jews suppose him to have said), of this, must have ruined his moral character. He disapnor could Abraham have seen him, as I suppose the Jews un- pointed this malice by refusing to enter into the case; and derstood him to have said in the preceding verse: to which overwhelmed bis adversaries with confusion, by unmasking words of the Jews the words of Jesus here, are intended as an their brearts, and pointing out their private abominations. It answer.”

is generally supposed that our Lord acquitied the woman: Verse 59. Then took they up stones, &c.] It appears that the this is incorrect: he neither acquitted nor condemned her: he Jews understood him as asserting his Godhead; and supposing did not enter at all juridically into the business. His saying, him to be a blasphemer, they proceeded to stone him, accord-neither do I condemn thee, was no more than a simple declaraing to the law: Lev. xxiv. 16.

tion that he would not concern himself with the matter; that But Jesus hid himself ] In all probability he rendered him- being the office of the civil magistrate ; but as a preacher of self invisible--though some will have it that he conveyed righteousness, he exhorted her to abandon her evil practices, lest himself away from those Jews who were his enemies, by mix- the punishment, which she was now likely to escape, should ing bimself with the many who believed on him, (ver. 30, 31.) be inflicted on ber, for a repetition of her transgression. and who, we may suppose, favoured his escape. . Pearce.

2. In several places in this chapter, our Lord shews his inBut where did they find the stones, Christ and they being timate union with the Father both in will, doctrine, and deed: in the temple? It is answered, Ist. It is probable, as the and though he never speaks so as to confound the persons, yet buildings of the temple had not been yet completed, there he evidently shews that such was the indivisible unity subsistmight have been many stones near the place: or, 2dly. They ing between the Father and the Son, that what the one witmight have gone out to the outer courts for them; and before nessed, the other witnessed: what the one did, the other did: their return, our Lord had escaped. See Lightfoot and Calmet. and that he who saw the one, necessarily saw the other.

Going through the midst of them, and so passed by.] These 3. The original state of Satan is here pointed out-he abode words are wanting in the Coder Bezæ, and in several editions not in the truth, ver. 44. Therefore he was once in the truth, and Versions. Erasmus, Grotius, Bezu, Pearce, and Griesbach, in righteousness and true holiness--and he fell from that truth think them not genuinc. The latter bas left them out of the into sin and falsehood, so that he became the father of lies and text. But notwithstanding what these critics have said, the the first murderer. Our Lord confirms here, the Mosaic acwords seem necessary to explain the manner of our Lord's count of the fall of man; and shews that this fall was brought

The account of the man

CHAP. IX.

who was born blind.

about by his lies, and that these lies issued in the murder or we find two grand virtues united, which are rarely associated destruction both of the body and soul of nan.

in man, MEEKNESs and fidelity-patience to bear all insults 4. The patience and meekness, exercised by our Lord towards and personal injuries; and boldness, in the face of persecution his most fell and unrelenting enemies, are worthy the especial and death, to declare the truth. The meek man, generally leaves regard of all those who are persecuted for righteousness.- the sinner unreproved: the bold und zealous man, often betrays When he was reviled, he reviled not again. As the searcher a want of due self-management, and reproves sin in a spirit of hearts, he simply declared their state, ver. 44. in order to which prerents the reproof from reaching the heart. In this their conviction and conversion : not to have done so, would respect, also, our blessed Lord has left us an example that we have been to betray their souls. In this part of his conduct || should follow his steps. Let him that readeth understand.

CHAPTER IX. Account of the man who was born blind, 1-5. Christ heals him, 6, 7. The man is questioned by his neighbours,

8—19. lle is brought to the Pharisees, who question him, 13–17. and then his parents, 18—23. They again interrogate the man, who, vindicating the conduct of Christ, is excommunicated by them, 21—34. Jesus hearing of the conduct of the Pharisees, afterwards finds the man, and reveals himself to him, 35-38. He sentence on the obduracy and blindness of the Pharisees, 39—41.

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a man which was blind from hising, Master, who did sin, this man, or An. Olymp. birth.

his parents, that he was born blind ?

He passes

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NOTES ON CHAP. IX.

body, by the afflictions which he endures in this: they profess Verse 1. And as Jesus passed by] This chapter is a continu- | also to tell the cures for these. For instance, they say the headation of the preceding, and therefore the word Jesus is not in | ache, is a punishment for having, in a former state, spoken the Greek text: it begins simply thus-- And passing along, xan irreverently to father or mother. Madness, is a punishment for mazaywy, &c. Having left the temple where the Jews were having been disobedient to father or mother, or to their spiritgoing to stone him, (chap. viii. 59.) it is probable our Lord ual guide. The epilepsy, is a punishraent for having, in a went, according to his custom, to the mount of Olives. The former state, administered poison to any one at the command next day, which was the Sabbath, ver. 14. he met a man who of his master. Pain in the eyes, is a punishment for having, had been born blind, sitting in some public place, and asking in another body, coveted another man's wife. Blindness, is a alms from those who passed by, ver. 8.

punishment for having killed his mother: but this person they Verse 2. Who did sin, this man, or his parents] The doc- say, before his new birth, will suffer many years torment in trine of the transmigration of souls appears to have been an hell. See many curious particulars relative to this in the article in the creed of the Pharisees, and it was pretty general Ayeen AKBERY, vol. iii. p. 168–175. and in the Institutes of both among the Greeks and the Asiaties. The Pythagoreans Menu, chap. xi. Inst. 48 to 53. believed the souls of men were sent into other bodies for the The Jewish Rabbins have had the same belief from the very punishment of some sin which they had committed in a pre-remotest antiquity. Origen cites an apocryphal book of the eristent state. This seems to have been the foundation of the Hebrews, in which the patriarch Jacob is made to speak thus : disciples' question to our Lord. Did this man sin in a pre- I am an angel of God; one of the first order of spiries. Men existent state, that he is punished in this body with blindness ? call me Jacob, but my true nume, which God has given me, is Or, did his parents commit some sin, for which they are thus Israel. Orat. Joseph. apud Orig. Many of the Jewish doctors plagued in their offspring?

have believed that the souls of Adam, Abrahum, and Phineas, Most of the Asiatic nations have believed in the doctrine of have successively animated the great men of their nation. transmigration. The Hindoos still hold it; and profess to tell | Philo says, that the air is full of spirits, and that some, through precisely, the sin which the person committed in another their natural propensity, join themselves 10 bodies; and that Jesus makes clay and

ST. JOHN.

anoints the blind man's eyes.

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3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this 5 As long as I am in the world, 'I 4.1.495. An. Olymp. man sinned, nor his parents: but am the light of the world.

that tlie works of God should be 6 When he had thus spoken, " he spat made manifest in him.

on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and 4. "I must work the works of him that sent he anointed the eyes of the blind man with me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no the clay, man can work.

7 And said unto him, Go, wash 'in the pool

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others hare an arersion from such a union. See several other to God. Many of the Jews thought that marks on the body things relative to this point in his treatises De plant. Noem were proofs of sin in the soul. From a like persuasion, proDe gigantibusDe Confus. Ling-De Somniis, &c.; and see bably arose that proverb among our northern neighboursCalmet, where he is pretty largely quoted.

Nurk him, whom God marks. Josephus, Ant. b. xviii. c. 1. s. 3. and War, b. 2. c. 8. s. 14. Verse 4. While it is day] Though I plainly perceive that gives an account of the doctrine of the Pharisees on this sub-| the cure of this man, will draw down upon me the malice of ject. Ile intimates that the souls of those only who were the Jewish rulers, yet I must accomplish the work for which I pivus, were permitted to reanimate human bodies, and this came into the world while it is day; while the term of this life was rather by way of reward than punishment; and that the of mine shall last. It was about six months after this that our souls of the vicious are put into eternal prisons, where they are Lord was crucified. It is very likely that the day was now continually tormeuted, and out of which they can never escape. declining, and night coming on; and he took occasion from But it is very likely, that Josephus has not told the whole truth this circumstance to introduce the elegant metaphor immedihere; and that the doctrine of the Pharisees on this subject, ately following By this we are taught, that no opportunity was nearly the same with that of the Papists on purgatory. for doing good should be omitted --Day representing the opThose who are very wicked go irrecoverably to hell; but portunity: Night the loss of that opportunity. those who are not so, have the privilege of expiating their ve- Verse 5. I am the light of the world.] Like the sun, it is nial sins in purgatory. Thus, probably, is the Pharistan doc- my business to dispense light and heat every where; and to trine of the transmigration to be understood. Those who were neglect no opportunity that may offer to enlighten and sare comparatively pious, went into other bodies for the expiation the bodies and souls of men. See chap. viii. 12. of any remaining guilt which had not been removed previously Verse 6. Anointed the eyes of the blind man] It would be difto a sudden, or premature death; after which they were fully ficult to find out the reason which induced our Lord to act tbus. prepared for paradise'; but others who had been incorrigibly It is certain, this procedure can never be supposed to have wicked, were sent at once into hell, without ever being offered been any likely medical means to restore sight to a man who the privilege of amendment, or escape. For the reasons which was born blind—this action, therefore, had no tendency to assist may be collected above, inuch as I reverence Bishop Pearce, the miracle. If his eye-lids had been only so gummed together, I cannot agree with his note on this passage, where he says, that they needed nothing but to be suppled and well washed, that the words of the disciples should be thus understood :- it is not likely that this could possibly have been omitted from Who did sin? This man, that he is blind? or his parents, || his birth until now. The Jews believed that there was some that he was born so? He thinks it probable that the disciples virtue in spittle to cure the diseases of the eye; but then they did not know that the man was born blind: if he was, then it always accompanied this with some charm. Our Lord might was for some sin of his parents—if he was not born so, then make clay with the spittle, to shew that no charms or spells this blindness came unto him as a punishment for some crime were used; and to draw their attention more particularly to of his own. It may be just necessary to say, that some of the the miracle which he was about to work. Perhaps the best Rabbins believed, that it was possible for an infant to sin in the lesson we can learn from this is : That God will do his own womb, and to be punished with some bodily infirmity in conse- work in his own way; and to hide pride from man, will often gucice. See several examples in Lightfoot on this place. accomplish the most beneficial ends by means not only simple

Verse 3. Neither hath this man sinned, nor his purents] That or despicable in themselves, but by such also as appear entirely is, the blindness of this person is not occasioned by any sin of contrary, in their nature and operation, to the end proposed to his own, nor of his parents; but has happened in the ordinary | be effected by them. course of divine providence; and shall now become the instru. Verse 7. Siloum] Called also Shiloah, Siloe, or Siloa, was ment of salvation to his soul, edification to others, and glory | a fountain under the walls of Jerusalem, towards the East, beThe blind man washes in Siloam,

CHAP. IX.

and his sight is restored.

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fore, and washed, and came seeing. ointed mine eyes, and said unto me, 8 The neighbours therefore, and they which Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash : and I went before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is and washed, and I received sight. not this he that sat and begged ?

12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? 9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is He said, I know not. like him: but he said, I am he.

13 , They brought to the Pharisees him that 10 Therefore said they unto him, How were aforetime was blind. thine eyes opened?

14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus

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tween the city and the brook Kidron. Calmet thinks that this stances, was this: XX nox X30 79 23 Look back was the same with En-rogel, or the Fuller's fountain, which and see what I have been ; look upon me now and see what I is mentioned in Josh. xv. 7. xviii. 16. in Lam. xvii, 17. and See Lightfoot. in 1 Kings i. 9. Its waters were collected in a great reservoir Verse 9. Some said, This is he] This miracle was not for the use of the city; and a stream from it, supplied the wrought in private-nor before a fer persons-nor was it pool of Bethesda.

lightly credited. Those who knew him before, were divided By interpretation, Sent.) From the Hebrew nw shalach, in their opinion concerning him : not whether the man who he sent : either because it was looked upon as a gift sent from sat there begging was blind before ; for this was known to all : God, for the use of the city; or because its waters were di- nor whether the person now before them saw clearly ; for rected or sent by canals or pipes into different quarters, for this was now notorious : but whether this was the person who the same purpose. Some think there is an allusion here to was born blind, and who used in a particular place to sit Gen. xlix. 10. that this fountain was a type of Shiloh, the begging. Christ, the sent of God; and that it was to direct the man's Others said, Ile is like him] This was very natural: for mind to the accomplishment of the above prophecy, that our certainly the restoration of his sight, must have given him a Lord sent him to this fountain. This supposition does not very different appearance to what he had before. appear very solid. The Turks have this fountain still in great Verse 11. A man that is called Jesus] The whole of this veneration ; and think the waters of it are good for diseases relation is simple and artless in the highest degree. The blind of the eyes. Lightfoot says, that the spring of Siloam dis- man had never seen Jesus, but he had heard of his name-he charged itself by a double stream into a twofold pool—the felt that he had put something on his eyes, which he afterupper was called nosew shiloach, the lower now shelach; the wards found to be cluy—but how this was made, he could not one signifying anisa? usvos, sent, the latter xwdowv, fleeces : and tell; because he could not see Jesus when he did it :--therethat our Lord marked this point so particularly, to inform fore he does not say, he made clay of spittlebut simply, he the blind man that it was not to Shelach, but to Shiloach, made clay, and spread it upon my eyes. Where a multitude of that he must go to wash his eyes. These two pools seem to incidents must necessarily come into review, imposture and be referred to in Isai. vii. 23. xxii. 9.

falsehood generally commit themselves, as it is termed : but Verse 8. That he was blind] 'Oti tupaos ny : but instead of however numerous the circumstances may be in a relation of this, mocantmi, when he begged, or was a beggar, is the read-fact, simple truth is never embarrassed. ing of ABC*DKL. seren others, both the Syriac, both the Verse 12. Where is he?] They had designed to seize and Arabic, latter Persic, Coptic, Æthiopic, Armenian, Sahidic, deliver him up to the Sanhedrin, as a violator of the law, beGothic, Slavonic, Vulgate, eight copies of the Itala, and soine cause he had done this on the sabbath day. of the primitive Fathers. This is in all probability the true Verse 13. They brought to the Pharisees These had the reading; and is received by Griesbach into the text.

chief rule, and determined all controversies among the peoBeggars in all countries have a language peculiar to them- ple: in every case of religion, their judgment was final : the selves. The language of the Jewish beggars was the follow-li people now fully convinced that the man had been cured, ing: 3 37 Deserve something by me-Give me something that brought him to the Pharisees, that they might determine how

reward you. 79 92 937 19 O ye tender hearted, this was done, and whether it had been done legally.. do yourseltes good by me.

Another form which seems to have Verse 14. It was the sabbath] Some of the ancient Rabbeen used by such as had formerly been in better circum-l bins taught, and they have been followed by some moderns,

God may

The Pharisees cavil at the cure

ST. JOHN.

wrought on the blind man.

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15 Then again the Pharisees also him that had received his sight.

asked him, how he had received his 19 And they asked them, saying, Is sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon this your son, who ye say was born blind? how mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

then doth he now see? 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This 20 His parents answered them and said, We man is not of God, because he keepeth not the know that this is our son, and that he was born sabbath day. Others said, · How can a man blind : that is a sinner do such miracles ? And bthere 21 But by what means he now seeth, we know was a division among them.

not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know 17 They say unto the blind man again, What not: he is of age; ask him : he shall speak for sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine himself. eyes ? He said, “He is a prophet.

22 These words spake his parents, because 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed him, that he had been blind, and received his already, that if any man did confess that he was

Ver. 33. ch. 3. 2.—> c. 7. 12, 43, & 10. 19.––– ch. 4. 19. & 6. 14.

& Ch. 7. 13. & 12. 42. & 19. 58. Acts 5. 13.

not much better skilled in physic than themselves, that the grace, he sends power to preserve it, and wisdom to improre saliva is a cure for several disorders of the eyes : but the for- | it. The man said, He is a prophet. Now, according to a mer held this to be contrary to the law, if applied on the sab- Jewish maxim, a prophet might dispense with the observation bath. See Lightfoot's Hor. Talm.

of the subbuth. See Grotius. If they allow that Jesus was a Verse 16. This man is not of God] He can neither be the prophet, then, even in their sense, he might break the law of Messiah, nor a prophet, for he has broken the sabbath. The the sabbath, and be guiltless : or if they did not allow him Jews always argued falsely on this principle. The law relative to be a prophet, they must account for the miracle some other to the observation of the sabbatlı, never forbade any work but way than by the power of God; as from Satan or his agents what was of the servile and unnecessary kind. Works of neces no good can proceed :—to do this it was impossible. So the sity and mercy, never could be forbidden on that day, by him || wisdom of God taught the poor man to give them such an whose name is mercy, and whose nature is love ; for the sab- answer, as put them into a complete dilemma; from which bath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. they could not possibly extricate themselves. How can a man that is a sinner, &c.] They knew very

well Verse 18. But the Jews did not believe] All the subterfuge that though magicians and impostors might do things appa- they could use, was simply to sin against their conscience, by rently miraculous, yet nothing really good could be perform- | asserting that the man had not been blind: but out of this subed by them. We might have safely defied all the magicians | terfuge they were soon driven by the testimony of the pain Egypt, who are said to have been so successful in imitating rents, who, if tried farther on this subject, might have prosome of the miracles of Moses, to have opened the eyes of duced as witness, not only the whole neighbourhood, but one blind man, or to have done any essential good either to nearly the whole city : for it appears the man got his bread the body or to the soul.

by publicly begging, ver. 8. And there was a division among them.] Exiona, a schism, That he had been blind, and received his sight] This clause a decided difference of opinion, which caused a separation of is omitted in some MSS. probably because similar words octhe assembly

cur immediately after. There is, however, no evidence against Verse 17. He is a prophet.] They had intended to lay it, sufficient to exclude it from the text. snares for the poor man, that getting bim to acknowledge Verse 21. He is of age] Haoxoay 9%86, literally, he has staChrist for the Messiah, they might put him out of the syna- ture, i. e. he is a full grown man: and in this sense the phrase gogue, ver. 22. or put him to death ; that such a witness to is used by the best Greek writers. See Kypke and Raphelius. the divine power of Christ, might not appear against them. | Mature age, was fixed among the Jews, at thirty years. But as the mercy of God had given him his sight; so the wis Verse 22. Put out of the synagogue.] That is, ercoinmunidom of God taught him how to escape the snares laid for his cated separated from all religious connection with those who ruin. On all thy glory there shall be a defence, says the pro- || worshipped God. This was the lesser kind of excommunicapbet, Isai. iy. 5. When God gives any particular mercy or I tion among the Jews, and was termed nidui. The cheren 07.

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