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history, we are ready to pass them over as things of course. But let us remember, that in some degree they call upon us to go and do likewise ; and will another day condemn those who, while they call themselves his disciples, are given up to ease and luxury, and suffer evey little amusement or sensual gratification to lead them into an omission of their duty to God and their fellow creatures ; an omission especially aggravated in those whom he has appointed to be teachers of others, and who have therefore so many peculiar errands to the throne of grace, and so many engagements in the morning to sow, or to prepare the seed of religious instruction, and in the evening not to with-hold their hand from dispensing it.
While Jesus is teaching, his enemies address him, not only as an instructor, but as a judge : and yet, by this specious form of honour and respect, they sought only to ensnare and destroy him. So unsafe would it be always to judge of men's intentions by the first appearances of their actions. But our Lord, in his answer, united, as usual, the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence and gentleness of the dove ; and in his conduct to this criminal, shewed at once that tenderness and faithfulness which might have the most effectual tendency to impress and reclaim her; if a heart capable of such infidelity and wickedness could be impressed and reclaimed at all. Go thy way, said he to this adulteress, and sin no more. Perhaps the charge may have little weight with such abandoned transgressors as she; but let all learn to improve their escapes from danger, and the continued exercise of divine patience towards them, as an engagement to speedy and thorough reformation.
Let the force of conscience, and the power of Christ over it (both which so evidently appeared in this instance) teach us to reverence the dictates of our own minds, and to do nothing to bring them under a sense of guilt ; which, through the secret energy of our Redeemer, wrought so powerfully on these Pharisees, that, hypocritical and vain-glorious as they were, they could not command themselves so far as even to save appearances; but the eldest and gravest among them were the first to confess their guilt, by withdrawing from the presence of so holy a Prophet, from the temple of God, and from the criminal whom they came to prosecute. A like consciousness of being ourselves to blame will abate the boldness and freedom of our proceedings with others for their faults, if, while we judge them, we are self-condemned ; nor will the authority of a superior age or station of life bear us out against these inward reproaches.
Our Lord speaks of himself as the light of the world, urges the testi
mony of his father, and warns the Jews of the danger of' persisting in their infidelity, John viii. 12-29.
THEN Jesus, after dismissing the adulteress, observing the sun 1 lately risen, again spake unto them saying, I am the light of
the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but 13 shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto
him, Thou bearest witness of thyself, therefore thy testimony is 14 not to be admitted as true. Jesus answered and said unto them,
Though I bear witness of myself, yet my testimony is true, for I know from whence I came and whither I am going ; but though I
have often declared it, you know not from whence I come or 15 whither I am going. You judge according to the flesh, and will
believe nothing in opposition to your carnal principles ; but I now 16 judge no man*. Yet if I should judge, my sentence is true, for
I am not alone in what I say, but I and the Father that sent me 17 concur in the testimony I give. And it is written in your law, that 18 the testimony of two men is to be admitted as true. Now I am
one, who bear witness of myself, and the Father who sent me is
another, who also bears testimony to me. 19 Then said they to him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered,
You neither know me nor my Father : if you had known me you 20 would also have known my Father. These words Jesus spake as
he was teaching in the temple, in the treasury ; yet no one seized 21 him, because his hour was not yet come. Jesus then said to
them again, I am going away and you shall seek me, and inquire after the Messiah in vain, but as a just punishment for reject
ing me you shall die in your sin : for you cannot come whither I 22 am going. The Jews then said, Will he kill himself, that he says, 23 You cannot come whither I am going? And he said to them,
You are from beneath, I am from above : you are of this world, 24 but I am not of this world. Therefore I said unto you that you
shall die in your sins; for if you believe not that I am he you shall
die in your sins. 25 Then said they to him, Who art thou ? And Jesus [waving a
direct answer] said to them, Trulyt, because I am speaking to 26 you, I have many things to say and judge concerning you, but,
for the present I will only remind you that, be who sent me is
true ; and I speak to the world only those things which I have 27 heard from him. Yet they did not understand that he spake to 28 them of the Father. Jesus therefore said to them, When you
shall have lifted up the Son of man, you shall then know that I
am HE, and that I can do nothing of myself, but speak these 29 things according as my Father has instructed me. And he that
sent me is with me : the Father has not left me alone, for I always do the things which are pleasing to him.
* Christ appeared under the character of a Saviour rather than of a judge. Compare ch. iii. 17.
† The common translation is not just and grammatical. Thy agyma (rendered from the beginning often signifies indeed or truly. The difficulty of the passage arises from the pointing. [The above sense however is not very clear. Wakefield translates it thus: I have indeed, as I assure you, many things to say of you and to condemn in you.]
REFLECTIONS. Such may our character ever be, as we desire the supports of the divine presence! Whoever be displeased, may we always do the things which please him ; and with all diligence let us labour, whether present, in the body, or absent from it, to be still approved and accepted of him!
Our blessed Redeemer is the light of the world. With how much pleasure should we behold his rays! With how much cheerfulness should we follow, whithersoever he leads us ; as well knowing that we shall not then walk in darkness ; and God forbid we should ever choose to continue in it, as the shelter and skreen of wicked works! May we, with all candour and humility, regard and submit to the testimony which the Father has borne to him in so express and incontestable a manner ! Dreadful would be the consequence of our refusing to do it. The doom of these wretched Jews would be ours, to die in our sins. And oh, how insupportable will that guilty burden prove in a dying hour, and before the tribunal of God! How will it sink us into condemnation and despair! In vain shall those who now despise him then seek admittance to the world where he is : thither they cannot come ; and if excluded from him, must be excluded from happiness.
Justly might it long since have been our case : for surely he has many things to say of us, and to judge concerning us, should he lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, after his having been so long with us, yea, after we have, as it were, seen him lifted up and set forth as crucified among us. May this faithful admonition prevail to our conviction and reformation ; that our everlasting condemnation may not further illustrate the reasonableness, yea, the necessity, of it, and the madness of hardening our hearts against it!
Our Lord continues his discourse with the Jews, to convince them how
vain their pretences were to liberty and to the privileges of the children of Abraham, while they rejected and persecuted him. John yüi. 30-47.
AND as he was speaking these words to warn the Jews of the
danger of rejecting him, many believed in him. Then Jesus, knowing the difficulties which would lie in their way if they attempted to follow him, said to those Jews who professed that they
believed in him, If you continue in my word, then are you my 32 disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth 33 shall make you free. Some that heard him were displeased at this
insinuation ; and they answered him, We are the seed of Abra
ham, and have never been in slavery to any man : how then dost 34 thou say, You shall be made free ? Jesus answered them, Verily,
verily I say unto you, that every one whch practises sin, is the 35 slave of sin. Now the servant does not always abide in the fami
ly ; but may be dismissed at his master's pleasure ; and you being
the servants not of God, but of sin, cannot promise yourselves the continuance of your privileges as the descendants of Abraham : but
the Son abides always, Thus do I, the Son of God, who have the 36 power of receiving whom I will. If therefore I the Son make you 37 free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are the posterity
of Abraham ; but what can that avail you while you are 80 unlike him 38 that you seek to kill me because my word has no place in you. I
speak that which I have seen with my Father, and you do that 39 which you have seen with your father. They replied with warmth
and said, Abraham is our father. Jesus says to them, If you were in.
deed the children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abra40 ham. But now you seek to slay mc, a man who has told you the 41 truth which I have heard from God. Abraham did not this. Ye
do the works of your father. Then said they to him, We are not 42 born of fornication : we have all one father, which is God. Jesus
said to them, If God were indeed your father, you would love me,
for I proceeded, and do come to you from God ; for I came not 43 of myself, but He has sent me. Why do you not understand my .
language? It is because you cannot hear my word ? The case is 44 plain : you are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father
you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and continued not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar himself and the 45 father (of lying] being the first forger of it. And you, being
under the influence of this false spirit, because I speak the truth 46 you do not believe me. Which of you convinces me of sin ? But 47 if I speak the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God,
hears the words of God; therefore you do not hear mine because you are not of God.
REFLECTIONS. May we approve ourselves the sincere disciples of Jesus, by continuing in his word, and being faithful even unto death, as ever we expect a crown of life ! Without this, external privileges will turn to but little account. The children of Abraham may be the children of Satan ; and they are so, if they imitate the temper and works of the accursed fiend, rather than of the holy patriarch. The devil was from the beginning a liar and a murderer ; and all falsehood and malice are from him. Let us earnestly pray that we may be freed from them, and from the tyranny of every other sin to which we have been enslaved ; that Christ, the Son, may make us free of his Father's Family, and of his heavenly kingdom ! Then we shall be free indeed, and no more be reduced to bondage.
May we prove that we are the children of God by our readiness to hear and receive the words of our blessed Redeemer, the words of incarnate truth, and wisdom, and love; whom none of his enemies could ever convict of sin, nor ever accused him of it, but to their own confusion ! May we resemble him in the innocence and holiness of his life ; that we may the more easily and gracefully imitate that courage and zeal with which he reproved the haughtiest sinners, and
bore his testimony against the errors and yices of that degenerate age and nation in which he lived !
Jesus promising immortality to his followers, and speaking of his own
eristence as prior to that of braham, the Jews attempt to stone hini. JOHN viii. 48, &c. ;
48. N OW when the Jews heard Jesus declare that they were the
N children of the devil, they answered him therefore with great
rage, and said unto him, Do we not well say that thou art a Sama49 ritan, and art possessed by a demon ? Jesus meekly answered, I
am not a demoniac : but I honour my Father, and therefore you 50 dishonour me. But I scek not my own glory : nevertheless there 51 is one that seeketh it, and now judgeth of all that fiasses. Verily,
rerily I say unto you, If any one keep my word, he shall never 52 see death. Then the Jews said to him, Now we know that thou
hast a demon : for Abraham is dead, and all the prophets, yet
thoni sayest, If any one keep my word he shall never taste of 53 death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is
dead ? and the prophets who also are dead? Whom dost thou 54 pretend thyself to be ? Jesus replied, If I only glorify myself, my
glory is nothing : but it is my Father that glorifies me, of whom 55 you say that he is your God. Yet ye have not known him; and
if I should say that I know him not I should be a liar like you : 5 6 but I know him and kecp his word. Your father Abraham was
transported with a desire that he might see my day, and he saw 57 it, and rejoiced.-Then the Jews said unto him, Thou art not 53 yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham ? Jesus said • unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was 59 born I am. Then they took up stones that they might cast
them at him, to destroy him ; but Jesus miraculously concealed himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them unknown, and so passed on.
REFLECTIONS. With what patience did our blessed Redeemer bear, and with what ineekness of wisdom did he answer, the most virulent and opprobrious language! When he was rudely charged with being a Sainaritan, and having a demon, he endured the contradiction of sinners against himself ; and being thus reviled, he reviled not again. And shall we too keenly resent the reflections which are thrown upon us ? May but our conscience witness for us, and we need not fear all that are against us! Christ honoured his Father, and sought not his own glory. So may we be careful of the honour of God, and cheerfully commit to him the guardianship and care of our reputation ! And we shall find there is one that seeketh, and judgeth in our favour.
It is a great and important promise which our Lord here makes, If any one keep my svord, he shall never see death. Sense seems to plead