תמונות בעמוד

his own glory ; but he that seeks the glory of him that sent him, 19 He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Hath not

Moses given you the law ? And yet none of you observes the law.

He has given you that precept, Thou shalt not kill ;" wherefore 20 then do you go about to kill me? The multitude answered and

said, Thou art possessed and distracted to talk thus ; who goes 21 about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have

some time ago performed one remarkable work (viz. at the pool of Bethesda) and you all to this day wonder on account of it, that I

should order the man I cured to carry his couch on the sabbath. 22 Your cavil is unreasonable on your own principles ; for Moses gave

you a precept which required circumcision (not that it is originally of Moses, but of the fathers, ages before Moses was born and

you scruple not to circumcise a man child on the sąbbath-day, if it 23 be the eighth from his birth. If then to prevent the violation of

Moses's law, by deferring this right, you acknowledge it fit that a man receive circumcision on the sabbath, Why are you incensed against me that I have cured a man entirelyt on the sabbath ?

and to manifest the perfection of the cure, commanded him to carry 24 his couch ? Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

REFLECTIONS. Let ys learn of our meek and humble Master to refer the honour of all we know and do to divine instructions communicated to us, and divine grace working in and by us ; that, seeking the glory of God, we may have the sureşt evidence that we are truly his. Let us on all occasions remember that integrity and uprightness will be a certain security to us against dangerous mistakes in matters of religon. If the light we already have be faithfully improved, we may humbly hope that more will be given in ; nor shall we then fail of convincing evidence that the gospel-doctrine is of God ; for the experience of its power on our hearts will check our passions, and destroy the prejudices that would prevent the truth from taking place in our minds.

Let us receive his doctrine as divine, and hearken unto Christ as sent of God; and whatsoever be the vile reproaches we may meet with from a wicked world, and the malicious designs it may form against uș, let us be resolute and steadfast in the practice of the duties he has taught us, that with well-doing we may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Qur Lord was reviled as a demoniac and a lunatic; but instead of rendering railing for railing, he replied in the words of gentleness and sobriety. So let us endeavour to conquer the rudeness of those attacks we may meet with in his cause ; that we may, if possible, remove the prejudices so fatal to those that entertain them, and form men to that equitable and impartial judgment which would soon turn all their cayils against Christ into admiration, praise, and obedience.

+ Or, made a man sound throughout: literally, I have healed a whole man, [not only removed his disorders, but at once perfectly recovered his strength.]


The Jews pass various censures on Christ ; and the sanliedrim send offi

cers to seize him, but without effect. John vii. 25–36.

25 THEN while our Lord was thus discoursing, some of the in

1 habitants of Jerusalem said, Is not this he whom they seek 26 to put to death? But behold he speaks openly, and they do not

say any thing to him. Do the rulers indeed know that this is re27 ally the Messiah? But we many of us know this man, whence he

is; whereas, when the Messiah comes no man will know whence 28 he is. Then Jesus as he was teaching in the temple, cried out

and said, Do ye indeed both know me, and know whence I am ? It is great rashness and folly to assert it ; yet it is certain I am not

come of myself; but he who sent me is true, whom ye know 29 not. But I know him, for I am from him, and he hath sent me. 30 Then they sought opportunity to seize him; but no one laid hands 31 on him, because his hour was not yet come. And many of the

people were so much affected with his discourse that they secretly believed on him, and said to each other, When the Messiah comes

will he do greater miracles than these which this Jesus has done? 32 The Pharisees, when they heard that the people whispered such

things concerning him, were displeased and alarmed; and the

Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to seize him, as he 33 preached. Then Jesus said to them, as soon as they appeared,

Yet a little while I am with you, and then I go to him that sent 34 me. You shall seek me and shall not find me ; and where I am 35 you cannot come. The Jews therefore said among themselves,

Whither is he about to go, that we shall not find him? Will he go

to the dispersed among the Greeks, afier being rejected by his own 36 nation, and teach the Greeks, the idolatrouls Gentiles ? What sort

of saying is this which he has spoken, “ You shall seek me and shall not find me, and where I am you cannot come ?Thus they cavilled at his words, yet were so over-awed by his presence that they did not offer him any violence.

REFLECTIONS. So confident is error in its own decisions, and so vain in its self-applauses ! These unhappy people, every way mistaken, censure their rulers for a supposed credulity, in seeming, as it were, to acquiesce in Christ's claim to be the Messiah ; and imagined themselves, no doubt, exceeding wise in rejecting him, while they blindly took it for granted he was the son of Joseph, and had not patience to wait for the authentic story of his miraculous conception. Surely men had need to look well to the force of those arguments on which they venture their souls by rejecting the gospel. Our Lord answered their secret reasoning in a manner which might justly have alarmed them, charging them with ignorance of that God whom they pretended to know, and whoin, with a presumptuous confidence, they claimed as theirs. And oh, that it may not be found at last, that many who have Vol. I.


appeared most confident of their interest in God, neither know him, nor are known by him!

The blessed Jesus, who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person, has the completest knowledge of the Father. May we be so wise and happy as to seek instructions from him, that the eyes of cur understandings may be enlightened, and the temper of our hearts proportionably regulated, by all the discoverjes of the Divine Being which he makes ! How obstinate and desperately hardened were the hearts of those who, notwithstanding all the proofs that Jesus gave of his divine mission, were yet so far from hearkening to him, as to seek opportunities to destroy him! So dangerous and fatal is the prevalence of error, in such as like not to reiain God in their knowledge, that they will even venture on the greatest wickedness, when once they are given over to a reprobate mind.May God preserve us from a spirit of delusion, and fill us with that wisdom, that we may know the things belonging to our peace ; and, being ready to receive the truth in the love of it, may we acknowledge and attend to Christ as sent of God !-May we learn this heavenly wisdom in time, since the hour is approaching when Christ will be sought in vain, and all correspondence between him and sinners will be finally cut off! Where he is they cannot then come ; and to be excluded from him will at length appear insupportable misery, even to those who, with proud foliy and fatal felf-sufficiency, are now most ready to say unto him Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thee or thy ways.


Christ's gracious invitation on the last day of the feast : the officers re

turn to the sanhedrim without him ; where a debate arises between them and Nicodemus. JOHN vii. 37, &c.

37 TN the last day, that great day of the feast, of tabernacles*.

1 ( when it was customary to draw water out of the fountain of Siloam, and pour it before the Lord in the temple) Jesus stood

and proclaimed saying, If a man thirst, let him come unto me 38 and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath in ma

ny places said, shall not only be réfreshed himself, but, out of his

belly, (or from within him) shall flow rivers of living water.39 Now this he spake of the Spirit, which they who believed on him

should receive : for the holy Spirit, was not yet given, because 40 Jesus was not yet glorificd. Then many of the people, when

they heard this saying of Jesus, said, surely this is a prophet. 41 Others said, This is the Messiah. But some said, Shall the Mes42 siah come out of Galilee ? Hath not the scripture said that the

Messiah is to come from the seed of David, and from the town

* See Lev. xxiii. 34-36. Numb. xxix. 35. The custom above-mentioned, some Jewish writers say, was meant as a way of invoking the influences of the blessed Spirit. The context favours this supposition. See Lightfoot and Tremellius.

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43 of Bethlehem, where David was born ? Thus there was a dissen44 tion among the people on his account. And some of them would

llave seized him ; but they were so far restrained that no man laid

hands on him. 45 Then the officers came back to the chief priests and Pharisees :

and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him with you? 46 The officers replied, No man ever spake as this man doth*. 47 Then the Pharisees answered them, Are you also deceived ? Sure. 48 ly you cannot be thus infatuated. Have any of the rulers believed 49 on him, or any of the Pharisees? -But this people who are so en

chanted with him, who know not the law, are cursed. 50 Upon this, Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, being one

of them, both a ruler and a Pharisee, took so much courage that he 51 said to them, Doth our law judge any man before it hear him, 52 and know what he hath done? They answered him only by say

ing, What, art tholl also of Galilee ? Search and see, for no 53 prophet is raised up from Galileet. And having said this, they

broke up the court, and every man went to his own house.

REFLECTIONS. With what delight and thankfulness should we hear this gracious proclamation of Christ, which he now made in the temple, and a while after repeated from the throne of his glory! If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink; yea, whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. Blessed Jesus, had we been allowed to have prescribed to thee a form of words, in which thy kind purposes towards us should have been expressed, what could we have invented more pathetic, more condescending, or more reviving !May we thirst for the blessings of thy grace, and in the confidence of faith apply unto thee for them ; and particularly for these communications of thy Spirit, which are so highly excellent and desirable, and indeed so necessary for us! Supply us with them, we entreat thee in so rich an abundance, that we, in our different spheres, may supply others, and from us there may flow rivers of living water !

Well might such gracious words as these disarm the rage of enemies and persecutors. Let us add our testimony to theirs, and say, Never man spake as Jesus speaks. Let us hear him with calm and thankful attention, while his voice still sounds in his word. Happy are those that know the joyful sound! The Pharisees, like deaf adders, stopped their ears against the voice of the Charmer ; and, while they proudly censured the populace as a brutal herd, and gloried in their own superior wisdom, rejected the counsel of God; rashly judging

* Plutarch mentions it as a proof of the extraordinary eloquence of Mark Antony, when Marius sent soldiers to kill him, that when he began to plead for his life, he disarmed their resolution and melted them into tears. But these officers are thus vanquished merely by hearing Christ's gracious discourses to the people.

† The answer was mean and trilling, and the abrupt manner of breaking up the assembly intimates their consciousness that it would not bear exanmation.

without serious inquiry, and weakly borne down by vulgar, senseless prejudices against names and places, which is all the senate of Israel opposes to the solid argument of Nicodemus ! That good man, already considerably improved by his interview with Jesus, was undoubtedly confirmed in his adherence to him, by observing the methods of their opposition : and where magistrates arm their authority to overbear argument, they will probably, in the judgment of impartial men, produce a suspicion, at least, that they know their cause to be incapable of a rational defence.


Christ, having spent the night in retirement, returns to the temple,

where an adulteress is brought before him. JOHN viii. 1-11.

1 W H EN the assembly thus broke up, Jesus went to the mount 2 VV of Olives. But he returned to the temple early in the

morning, and all the people came to him ; and sitting down he 3 instructed them as usual. And the Scribes and Pharisees brought

to him a woman taken in adultery. And setting her in the midst, 4 they said unto him, Master, this woman was taken in the very act 5 of adultery. Now Moses in the law has commanded us that such 6 women should be stoned. What therefore dost thou say? This

they said tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But

Jesus, stooping down, wrote on the ground with his finger (as 7 though he heard them not*]. But as they continued asking him,

he raised himself up, and said to them, Let him of you that is 8 without sin, throw the first stone at her. And stooping down 9 again, he wrote on the ground as before. But having heard his

answer, and being convicted in their consciences, they went out one by one, beginning from the eldestt, even to the last. And

Jesus was left alone by all the accusers, and the woman standing in 10 the midst of the crowd. And Jesús raising himself up, and seeing

none but the woman, said unto her, Woman, where are those

thine accusers ? Has no man condeinned thee? is there none re11 maining to bear witness against thee ? And she said, No man,

Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I, under this circumstance judicially condemn thee. Go thy way, therefore, and sin no more.

REFLECTIONS. The devout retirements of Christ, and his early renewed labours, so often come in view, that, after having made some progress in his

* [As this clause is wanting in some of the best manuscripts, the author had omitted it.] The whole story is wanting in the Syriac version, in the Alexandrian, the Bodleian, and oiher ancient MSS. But I acquiesce in the arguments of Dr. Mill to prove it authentic. [The objection to it, that it represents our Lord as making light of a heinous sin, is utterly groundless.] See Luke xii. 13. See also p. 182, Note *

+ This only intimates that those elders of the people who had been most eager in the prosecution, were some of the first that left the assembly,

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