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John viii. 4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in Jerusalem..
adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded that such should be
accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger
wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
and said unto them, He that is without sin among you,
conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest,
woman standing in the midst.
the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those
thine accusers ? hath no man condemned thee?
Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
JOHN viii. 12-20.
light of the world'; he that followeth me shall not walk
appointed for that crime, and which, through a pretended
(a) Comment. in libros Histor. N. T. vol. iii. p. 286. (6) On the
• Our Lord here claims one of the titles given by the Jews to the Deity. Tanchuma. fol. 63. 3. and Banamidbar rabba, sect. 15. fol. 229. 1. The Israelites said to God, Holy, blessed,
, . Thou art the light of the world. If our Lord applied the word in this sense, He made himself equal with God. But the expression was sometimes used also as a title of honour to Moses; whom the Jews called obvyn 77x, the light of the world: if our Lord referred
John viii.13. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest Jerusalem.
record of thyself: thy record is not true.
Jesus answered, and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true : for I know whence I come, and whither I go: but ye cannot tell
whence I come, and whither I go.
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
two men is true.
that sent me beareth witness of me.
answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father : if ye
had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 20.
These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him, for his hour was not yet come.
Christ declares the Manner of his Death.
JOHN viii. 21 to the end.
ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go
Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself ? because he
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am
sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in
your sins. 25.
Then said they unto him, Who art thou ? And Jesus
he that sent me is true ; and I speak to the world those
They understood not that he spake unto them of the
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lift up the
to this custom, He made himself equal to Moses, as the foun-
John viji.29. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not Jerusalem.
left me alone; for I do always those things that please
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples in-
shall know the truth, and the truth shall make
33. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were
never in bondage to any man : how sayest thou, Ye shall
be made free?
Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.
the Son abideth ever.
word hath no place in you.
Father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's
children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We were not born of fornication; we have one Fa
ther, even God. 42.
Jesus said unto them, If God were your father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth, and came from
God: neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because
father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own;
for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45.
And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say
He that is of God, heareth God's words: therefore
not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil ?
Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my
John viii.50. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that Jerasalem.
seeketh and judgeth.
Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou
dead ? and the prophets are dead : whom makest thou
I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto
you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
saw it, and was glad.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
say, that he is
10 Had our Lord been younger than the age at which the priests asumed their office, the Jews would have charged him with presumption, ignorance, or vanity. His exalted love, his generous compassion, his fervent piety, would have been attributed to inexperience, to the sallies of imagination, or to the youthful ardour of the passions. His virtues would have been associated in their minds with extravagance or romance, with enthusiam or superstition. His pity and forbearance would bave been considered as the effect of mere feeling, or weakness ; his austerity as ungatural, presumptuous, and morose.
Had our Lord, on the other hand, been an old man, it would have been said, He had lost all interest or concern in those objects and pursuits, which kindle the most active and extensive desires; that he saw things with different views from human beings in general: that he had outlived the remem. brance of the peculiar trials and temptations of early life, and made not proper allowances for the infirmities of others. Some might have reminded him, that the wisdom and experience of age were incompatible with the sprightliness and gaiety of youth ; others might have deemed his opposition to the vices and corruption of the times, as proceeding from the love of singularity, or desire of distinction. His patience and forbear. ance might have been attributed to a deficiency of energy and spirit; and even his resignation in the hour of death, to the want of the power of enjoyment among the living; and, if he had delayed the work of his ministry to a later period, the question would have been asked, why he had deferred so long the reformation of a sipful and degenerate people.-See on this subject, a Sermon by Mr. Hewlett, on the Duties of Middle Life, rol. iii. p. 278.
" As the end of our Lord's ministry approaches, He proelaims, in still plainer language, that He possessed the attributes and
Then took they up stones to cast at him : but Jesus Jerusalem.
characters of the Messiah. John, in the commencement of his
It appears to me, that our Lord here alludes to his eternity,
Nothing is there to come, and nothing past,
But an eternal Now, does always last.
God fills his own eternal Now,
And sees our ages waste.
The general body of Christians have understood this passage
It is the belief of the Christian Church, and it was the faith also of the ancient Jews, that the Word of God, their Messiah, existed before his permanent incarnation. He existed before the creation of the world, when He was one with the Father; He existed also after the creation of the world, as the Angel Jehovah.
It will not be possible, in these notes, to discuss the various misinterpretations to which the Socinian writers have resorted, to explain away the grammatical sense of this, and other passages of Scripture, which assert the divinity of Christ. The expression, however, “ Before Abraham was, I am," or before Abraham existed, I exist, is so satisfactory and so decisive, that it might have been supposed to have set the question at rest for ever. But the supporters of the Socinian heresy bave, at various times, employed all their ingenuity and learning to give anotber interpretation to these words--and have presented the world with such a selection of absurd and contradictory illustrations, as to draw upon them the undivided censure of their mildest opponent. Dr. Pye Smith, who seems to write every sentence of his reply to Mr. Belsham with a smile, an apology, or a bow, condemns the interpretation of this passage as trifling, and absolute folly. Archbishop Magee, in the higher tone of dignified rebuke, which becomes a champion of the truth, cbas. tises the ignorance, or blasphemy of the Socinian heresy, with more unsparing severity.
Πρίν 'Αβραάμ γενέσθαι, εγώ είμι, are the words in the origipal.' This is translated by Socinus : Before Abraham can be