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from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
So little does truth fear repeated examination ; and thus does it, after every trial, come forth like pure gold out of the furnace. So did this miracle of Christ appear to these subtile adversaries, so will the Christian cause appear to all who will diligently search into its evidence.
Who can forbear wondering at the obstinacy of these Phari sees; and, on the same principles, at that of the present Jews, who, while they acknowledge that God spake by Moses, because he wrought miracles, will not, on the evidence of yet more various and glorious miracles, and those attested beyond all contradiction, acknowledge the authority of the Son of God himself?
But we see this poor illiterate creature (for such he undoubtedly was,) with the advantage of truth on his side, baffles all the sophistry of his most learned antagonists. Great is the truth, and it will prevail. Great is this truth, so fundamental to the gospel, that Jesus is the Son of God: and this also, which is so important to natural religion and revealed, that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and do his will, him he hears, and most favourably regards. May we be truly devout, and add to our devotion an obedient regard to the Divine will, and the eyes of the Lord will be upon us, and his ears be open to our cry! (Psalm xxxiv. 15.) Then, being favourably owned of God, we shall have no reason to fear the censures of men. If they cast us out, Christ will receive us, and perhaps reveal himself to us with more freedom, in proportion to the injuries we sustain from them.
John ix. 39–41, X. 1-10. AND Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see ; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief or a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth ; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out; and when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from bim: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers : but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy : I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Let us hear, with an holy awe on our spirits, that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world for purposes of judgment as well as of mercy, and make it our humble prayer that we may be enlightened by him, and not sealed up under aggravated darkness, as a punishment for our obstinacy and impe. nitence; for then all the means of knowledge which we have so basely perverted will rise up to condemn us.
Let Christ be regarded by us as the door from whom all true teachers derive their authority, and to whom they direct their administrations : and let it be our care that we enter by this door. Let inferior shepherds learn their duty, so plainly suggested here, let them learn to know their sheep, and take as par: ticular notice as they can of each single person committed to their care; and let them go before them in all the paths of duty: for what could the greatest enemy to the flock do worse than to lead them by example into the paths of destruction ?
Happy souls, who are entered in by this gate! Their safety, their comfort, is secure; they enjoy a holy liberty and plenty, and going in and coming out they find pasture. If we are strangers to that entertainment and refreshment which arises from ordinances (those green pastures which Christ hath provided for his sheep in the wilderness,) we have a great deal of reason to fear that we belong not to his flock. He came that his sheep might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly; that greater provision might be made for their instruction and consolation now, till they are brought to those better pastures he intends for them above: May his grace prepare us for them! and his hand will certainly conduct us to them ; nor need we fear the darkest passage in our way.
John X. 11—21. I am the good shepherd : the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth : and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an bireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold : them also I must bring, and they shall hear my. voice: and there shall be one fold, and one shep
herd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from me; but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, these are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind ?
There is not, perhaps, any where to be found a greater instance of the force of prejudice than in these perverse Jews, who censured Christ as a lunatic and a demoniąc for one of the gravest and most excellent speeches that was ever delivered. Let us review it with all due attention and regard.
Let us consider Christ as the good Shepherd, and humbly commit our souls to him, as ever we desire they should be safe and happy. We have known his kind regards to the flock in exposing and laying down his life for them. And he hath not laid it down in vain. Delightful thought! Our compassionate Shepherd, even when the sword of the Lord was awakened to smite him, has not so fallen as to rise no more; but as in this great and good work he voluntarily laiil down, so he has also re-assumed his life; and still bears on his heart the same concern for his flock, and uses his renewed life and exalted dignity for their security and happiness.
Let us humbly acknowledge him as acknowledged by the Father : let us courageously and gratefully own him, and be ready to lay down our lives also for him. We are those other sheep, of whom he spake, who were not originally of the fold, but by his grace are now brought in to the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls. Let us pray that the boundaries of his fold may be still more extended, and the whole number of his elect accomplished; that all the flock may at length appear together, and may be conducted by him to the regions of that immortal life which he determines to give it.
In the mean time let us maintain all proper regards to him, and especially the most cheerful confidence in his care; repeating with evangelical views, and so with a peculiar sublimity of sense, those words of David as our own, (Psalm xxiii. 1--4.) “ The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want : he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters : he restoreth my soul : he leadeth me
in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake: yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
JOHN X. 22-42. And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken ; Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.