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of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
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, t be still approved and accepted of him! (2 Cor. v. 9.)
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 screen 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 incontestible 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. (Gal. iii. 1.)
May this faithful admonition prevail to our conviction and reformation; that our everlasting condemnation may not farther illustrate the reasonableness, yea, the necessity of it, and the madness of hardening our hearts against it!
JOHN VIII. 30-47.
As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 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 ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your 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. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
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! (Rev. ii. 10.) 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 vices of that degenerate age and nation in which he lived!
JOHN VIII. 48-59.
THEN answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil; Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I
honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
With what patience did our blessed Redeemer bear, and with what meekness of wisdom did he answer the most virulent and opprobrious language! When he was rudely charged with being a Samaritan, and having a demon, he endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, (Heb. xii. 3.) and being thus reviled, he reviled not again, (1 Pet. ii. 23.) 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 word, he shall never see death. Sense seems to plead against it; but he is the resurrection and the life, and hath assured us he will make it good. Let us therefore be strong in faith, giving glory to God: (Rom. iv. 20.) Though not only Abraham and the prophets, but Peter and Paul, and the other apostles are dead, yet this word shall be gloriously accomplished. Still they live to him and shortly shall they be for ever recovered from the power of the grave: so that death is to them comparatively as nothing. With them may our final portion be, and we may set light by the reproaches, clamours, and accusations of prejudiced, ignorant and sinful men !
Adored be that gracious Providence that determined our existence to begin in that happy day which prophets and patriarchs desired to see, and in the distant view of which Abraham rejoiced!
Let it be also our joy; for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; nor could the heart of those holy men fully conceive those things, which God had prepared for them that love him, and which he has now reveaied unto us by his Spirit. (1 Cor. ii. 9, 10.)
JOHN IX. 1-23.
AND as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath-day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him, How he had received his sight? He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some