« PreviousContinue »
Messialı, but what is true, and will all be to improve every opportunity of hearing the
The Jews, who did not understand that ceive this character remarkably fulfilled in
our blessed Saviour alluded to his own me, and be convinced that I came froni the death, resurrection, and ascension to the Almighty God of Jacob.
right hand of the Majesty on high, whither
their sins would not permit them to follow This defence, however powerful, and his him, wondered at this doctrine, and imareasons, however solid, were far from dis-gined, that he intended to leave Judea, and arming his enemies of their malice : for preach to their bretliren dispersed among some of them were desirous of apprehend the Gentiles. But this supposition was not ing himn : but Providence would not suffer sufficient : because, if he did go and preach any to lay hands on him, because the time among the Gentiles, they thought it was of his sufferings was not yet come. Many not impossible for them to follow hïn thi, of the people, however, convinced by the thers. Then said the Jews among thempowerful miracles he had lately wrought, selves, "Whither will he go, that we sbal} and the unauswerable reasons he had advan not find him? Will be go unto the dispersed ced in support of his character, believed on among the Gentiles, and teach the Genhim, and affirmed publicly in the temple, tiles? What manner of saying is this that that he was the Messiab. - And many of he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not the people believed ou him and said, When find inė: and where I am, thither ye canChrist cometh, will he do more miracles not come.” John vii. 35, 36.01. than these which this inan liath done ?" John vii. 31.
-While the divine Teacher was thus in
structing the people in the temple, the The scribes and pharisees, were highly water from Siloam was brought in, acprovoked at this attachment of the common cording to the appointment of the prophets people to Jesus ; and accordingly, on the Haggai and Zachariah, part of which they last and great day of the feast, they met in drank with loud acclamations, in commemocouneil, and sent several officers to appre ration of the mercy shewed to their fathers, hend bim, and bring him before them. who were relieved by a stream which miraJesus, during these transactions in the culously flowed from a rock, and relieved a council, continued in the temple teach whole nation, then ready to perish with ing the people. My ministry, said he thirst in a dreary and sandy waste; and the to the multitude, is drawing near its other part they poured out as a drink-offerperiod; and therefore you should, during | ing to the Almighty, accompanying it with the short time it has to last, be very careful their prayers, for the former or latter rain to
fall in its season: the whole congregation nishment; they condemned themselves for singing the following passage, “With joy having undertaken the office, and soon reshall ye draw water out of the well of salva turned to the rulers of Israel without pertion." Isaiah xii. 3.
forming it. It was the custom of our Saviour, to If our Lord had pleaded for his life before deliver moral instructions, in allusion to any the officers of the council, who were sent to occurrences that happened ; and he accord apprehend him, the success of his eloquence ingly took this opportunity of inviting, in the even in that case, had been truly wonderful : most affectionate manner, all who were but in the case before us, it was surely desirous of knowledge or happiness, to superior to all praise : for in a discourse adcome to him and drink, alluding to the cere dressed to others, and even on a spiritual mony they were then performing. And to subject, it disarmed a band of inveterate encourage all such as were desirous of be
enemies, and made them his friends. lieving in him, he promised them the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which he represented
Nor were the officers the only persons under the similitude of a river flowing out of affected by this discourse, for many of them their belly. “In the last day, that great
declared that he must be one of the old proday of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, say phets; and others, that he was no other ing, If any man thirst, let him come unto than the Messiah himself. Some, however, me and drink. He that believeth on me, led a way with the common mistake that he as tbe scripture hath said, out of his belly was born at Nazareth, asked with disdain, shall flow rivers of living water.” John vii. If the Messiah was to come out of Galilee? 37, 38.
And whether they would acknowledge a
Galilean for the Messiah, when the scripture During this discourse to the people, the had absolutely declared, that he was to be officers from the council came to apprehend born in Bethlehem, the native town of his bim ; but hearing that the topic he was Father David ? 6. Many of the people, discussing was a very singular one, and he therefore, when they heard this saying, said, seemed to deliver his discourse with remark
Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, able fervour, their curiosity induced them to
This is the Christ. But some said, Shall listen some time to his discourse before they
Christ come out of Galilee ? Hath not the laid hands on him. But the eloquent manner
scripture said, That Christ cometh of the in which he delivered his subject melted
seed of David, and out of the town of away their rage; the sweetness of his pro
Bethlehem, where David was ?" John vii. nunciation, and the plainness and perspicuity 40, 41, 42. of his discourse elucidated the beauties of truth, and caused them to shine before the
Such were the dissensions on this subject; understanding, with their native lustre,
that some of his enemies, knowing that the Accordingly his very enemies, who were officers were sent to apprehend him, threatcome from the council on purpose to appre ened to lay hands on him; but the Alhend him, were astonished; the greatness mighty would not suffer them to execute of the subject, made as it were visible by their wicked design. “And soine of them the divine Speaker, filled their understand. would have taken him ; but no man laid ings: the warmth and tenderness with hands on him,” John vii. 44. which be delivered himself, penetrated their hearts; they felt new emotions, and being The officers now returned to the council, overwhelmed with the greatness of their and were asked, why they had not brought admiration, were fixed in silence and asto Jesus of Nazareth ? When the officers ans
swered, “Never man spake like this man.” Our blessed Lord, early the following
woman (said they to Jesus) was lowers the very dregs of the people, who taken in adultery, in the very act. Now are totally ignorant of all the prophecies Moses in the law commanded us, that such concerning the Messiah ?
should be stoned ; but what sayest thou ?"
John viii. 4, 5. These officers made no answer to these railing accusations of their Masters; but Had our Lord disapproved tbe sentence Nicodemus, a member of the council, of the law, they would doubtless have reprearraigned their conduct in a very poignant sented him to the multitude as a person manner, “ Does our law (says he) condemn who contradicted Moses, and favoured adulany man before he has been heard ?” They tery; which could not have failed of renderhad before condemned their officers for be- ing him odious to the people. On the other ing ignorant of the law, when it appeared band, bad he ordered her to be stoned, it they were themselves far more ignorant in would have afforded a plausible pretence pretending to condemn a person before they for accusing him to the Roman governor, as a had proved him guilty. They were acting person who stirred up the people to rebellion, directly contrary to the fundamental princi- the Romans having now taken the power of ples of the law of equity, at the time they life and death into their own hands. boasted of their profound knowledge of its precepts.
But Jesus, who well knew their maliciou*
intentions, made them no answer, but Incensed at this reprimand of Nicodemus, “ stooped down, and with his finger wrote they asked him, with an air ol' disdain and on the ground, as though he heard them surprise, if he was also one of those mean not.” John. viii. 6. persons who had joined together to support the pretences of a Galilean; though the scrip They, however, still continued pressing tures had plainlysaid, that Bethlehem wasthe him to give an answer, and at last, Jesus, place of the Messiah's nativity: Adding, in allusion to the law, which ordered that ihat if he refused to listen to them, he should the hands of the witnesses, by whose testisoon be convinced that the great Prophet mony an adulterer was convicted, should mentioned by Moses was not to be born in be first upon him, said, “ He that is without Galilee. “ Art thou also of Galilee? Search, sin among you, let him first cast a stone at and look : for out of Galilee ariseth no her." Let those wbo are remarkably zeaprophet.” John vii. 52.
lous for having justice executed upon others,
at least, take care to purify themselves from Having made this reply to Nicodemus, all heinous crimes. the council broke up, and Jesus, who well knew their malicious intentions, retired to This reply had its desired effect. The the mount of Olives, where he spent the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees were conmight with his disciples.
victed of sin by their own consciences : so
that they immediately retired, fearing Jesus things ye are totally ignorant of; and therewould have made their particular sins public.fore judge aceording to outward appear“And they which heard it, being convict ances, and condemn me because I do not ed by their own coliscience, went out one destroy those who oppose my authority. by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto But the design of the Messiah's coming is the last.” John viii. 9.
very different from your mistaken notions ;
he is not to destroy, but to save, the children The woman's accusers being all retired, of men. Though I bear record of myself, Jesus told her, that as no man had pro- yet ny record is true : for I know whence nounced sentence of death upon her, neither I came, and whither I go ; but ye cannot would he pronounce it ; but advised her to tell whence I come, and whither I
Ye very careful for the future to avoid the judge after the flesh, I judge no man.” temptations which had induced her to com John viii. 14, 15. He added, that if he mit so black a crime.
should condemn any person for unbelief,
the condemnation would be just, because The wisdom, knowledge, and power of
and power of his mission was true, being confirmed by our blessed Saviour, were eminently dis his own testimony, and that of his Almighty played on this occasion : his wisdom in Father, the God of Jacob, by whose audefending himself against the malicious at- thority, and agreeable to whose will, all tempts of his enemies ; his knowledge in his sentences would be passed. “And yet discovering the secrets of their hearts : and if I judge, my judgment is true ; for I am bis power, in making use of their own con not alone, but I and the Father that sent sciences to render their artful intentions me." John viii, 16. abortive. It was, therefore, with remarkable propriety that the great Redeemer of Having thus asserted the divinity of bis mankind now called himself the “ Light of mission, and shewn that his judgment was the World ;” as if he had said, I am the just, he proceeded to inform them that the spiritual sun, that dispels the darkness of Father himself bare witness to the truth of ignorance and superstition, in which the
his mission. You cannot, said he, justly minds of men are immersed, and enlightens complain, even if I should punish you for the paths that lead to eternal life, nor shall
your unbelief, because you are, by your any who follow me ever be involved in own laws, commanded to believe the testidarkness. “I am the Light of the World: mony of two witnesses that my mission he that followeth me shall not walk in evidently is true. For the actions of my darkness, but shall have the light of life.” | life, which are perfectly agreeable to the John viii. 12.
character of a messenger from heaven, bare
sufficient witness of me; and the Father: This assertion of our Lord highly provoked by the miracles he has enabled me to perthe Pharisees, who told him that he must form, beareth witness of me ; ye are therebe a deceiver, because he boasted of bim fore altogether culpable in objecting to my self. To which the great Redeemer of mission. It is also written in your law, mankind replied, You are not to imagine that the testimony of two men is true. I that I called myself the Light of the World am one that bear witness of myself, and the from a principle of pride and falsehood Father that sent me, beareth witness of that title justly belongs to me : nor would me." John vii. 17, 18. , you yourselves refuse to acknowledge it, did you know from what authority I received The Jews theu asked him, Where is the my commission, and to whom, when I Father, the other witness to whom thou. bave executed it, I must return. But of these appealest ? Jesus replied, Your conduct
sufficiently demonstrates that ye are stran The Jews by no means comprehended gers both to me and my Father; for had ye this departure of which our Lord told them. known who I am, ye must have always They even fancied he would destroy himself, known who it is I call my Father ; had ye because they thought the only retreat where been convinced that I am the Messiah, you he was not to be found was the gloomy baniust also have been convinced that the Fa bitation of the grave. To which the blessed ther is no other than that Omui potent Jesus replied, Your vile insinuation betrays Being, who created and upholds all things, at once the wickedness of your hearts, and by the word of his power.
66 Then said the baseness of your original. Ye are from they unto him, Where is thy Father ? Jesus the earth, and therefore subject to all the answered, Ye neither know me, nor my evil passions that infect human nature : Father : if ye had known me, ye should and from the dictates of your own hearts you have known my Father also.” John viii. fancy that I can be capable of compitting 19.
the horrid crime of self-murder. But my
extraction is very different: it is from heaven, This discourse, the Evangelist tells us, and consequently my mind is not tainted was held in the treasury, or court of the with the corruption of this world. You, women, where the chests were placed for therefore, must believe, that I am the receiving the offerings of all who came up
“ bread of life," the heavenly manna, the to worship in the temple ; and must there light of the world, the true Messiah, if you fore have been a place of great resort, be are desirous of being cleansed from those ing frequented by all, even the priests and pollutions which flow from your earthly orirulers. But notwithstanding the public gin ; but if ye still continue in your unbemanner in which our blessed Saviour now lief,“
you shall die in your sins.” asserted his claim to the character of the Messiah, no man attempted to seize him ; The Jews now, in order to vindicate them. Providence not suffering them to put their selves, demanded what sort of person he malicious designs in execution, because pretended to be ? To which Jesus answerhis “hour (or time of bis sufferings) was not ed, “ Even the same that I said unto you yet come.”
from the beginning (that is, at the beginning
of this discourse) the light of the world." The debate being ended, Jesus again Adding, “ I have many things to say, and repeated what he had before told them : to judge of you : but he that sent me is true; namely, that he should shortly depart from and I speak to the world those things which them ; and that they should then seek him, I have heard of him." John viii. 26. but not be able to find bim. way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in This discourse, however plain it may your sins : whither I go ye cannot come." appear, was not understood by the perverse John viii. 21. As if he had said, After Jews ; they did not perceive" that he spoke my ascension into heaven, when the Roman to them of the Father.” But Jesus told armies shall spread horror and desolation them, that when they had crucified him, they in every corner of the land, ye shall then would be convinced, by the miracles accomearnestly wish for the coming of the Mes panying that awful hour, the resurrection siah, in expectation of being delivered by from the dead, the effusion of the holy his powerful arm from your cruel enemy; Spirit on his disciples, and the destruction but ye shall then find your mistake; ye shall of the Jewish nation, who he was, and the die in your sins, and be for ever excluded Father that sent him." When we have listed from the mansions of happiness.
up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself;
" I go my