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bearest witness," of thyself, thy witness is not true.
We cannot depend upon what thou sayest: for it is said in praise of thyself, in doing which men are apt to transgress the bounds of truth.
14. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear witness of myself, yet my testimony is true: for I know whence I came and whither I go, rather, *c that I know whence I came and whither I go*."
Jesus here explains the substance of that testimony which he had just been bearing respecting himself, and which he affirms to be true, that he knew whence he came, or that he had a commission from God, and whither he was going, or that he was about to die', and to ascend up on high.
But ye cannot tell whence I come and whither I go.
You do not see that I am come from God, and that I am to rise to immortality; you will not therefore acknowledge the truth of what I assert.
15. Ye judge after the flesh : I judge no man.
You judge according to appearances, and therefore conclude that I cannot be the Messiah, because I do not appear in outward splendour. I pass sentence of condemnation upon no man at present, my object being to save men, and not to condemn them.
16. And yet if I judge, my judgement is true. For I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent me.
He tells the Pharisees that if he had condemned *nen, yet his decision must be just, since he would bo
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assisted by the wisdom of his Father, who had sent him. For. the truth of evidence when supported by the testimony of two witnesses, he appeals to the maxims of their law, which allows of the testimony of two witnesses in the most important cases, those in which lj.fp is concerned.
17. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
18. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
The testimony which the Father had given in favour of Jesus, was the miracles which he performed} works which no one but God could do, and which he would never perform in favour of an impostor.
19. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me nor my Father. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
If you had had just notions of me, as a divine teacher, you would have entertained just notions of that Being whom I speak of as my father; for I should not have failed to give them you. But, being ignorant of the true character of one, you are of course unacquainted with the character of the other.
20. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; and no man laid hands on him: for his hour was not yet come.
The circumstance of Christ's speaking thus in the. treasury is mentioned, to show his courage and intrepidity; and his not being apprehended in consequence of them, is attributed to the providence of God, which would not yet suffer him to be seized.
1. The Jewish law, which punished the adulterer with death, seems to hate been a wiser institution to prevent the commission of that crime than the provisions of other states, which impose only a light fine. How inefricacious these punishments are for the purpose for which they are employed, is but too evident from the great increase of this crime, and the growing frequency with which it is committed. If the hcinousness of an offence, and the many opportunities which occur for committing it, ought to regulate the measure of punishment, there is none which requires greater severity; for there is none to which the temptations are more numerous, which occasions more private distress, or, when frequent, so much depraves the manners of a people.
To remedy the defects of human laws, and to prevent as far as we are able the spread of the evil, let men impress upon their own minds, and labour to impress upon that of others, a strong abhorrence of this odious crime. Let them strictly guard against every thought and action which may lead to it; remembering what our Saviour has said upon this subject, upon another occasion; that the guilt of adultery may be incurred, where the crime has not been committed; and that he is chargeable with it, who does not repress improper desires, or who only tempts others to the sin.
2, .The story which we have been reading illustrates the power of conscience over very bad men: the Pharisees had presented this woman to Jesus, and requested his opinion, in order to insnare him; that they might be furnished with an opportunity of taking away his life. This discovered deliberate malice, and much depravity of heart; yet it seems that conscience had not entirely lost its power: when Christ appeals to this principle in their breasts, it makes each of them Confess his guilt, and expose himself to shame in the presence of the multitude. Let us take care how we violate the dictates of conscience; it will often condemn where there is none to accuse, and even when others applaud. It can make men wretched in the moment of success, and when surrounded with the greatest outward prosperity. If) on the contrary, we always listen to its voice, its approbation will support the mind under the censures of the world, and afford us inward peace in the njidst of outward trouble.
3. Let us rely on the evidence which we have for the divine mission of Jesus: it is supported by credible and unexceptionable testimony; by the declarations of Christ, who gave the strongest proofs of integrity which it was possible for man to give; both teaching the truth with the utmost boldness in the midst of malignant enemies, and sealing it with his blood; and by the voice of God himself, who cannot lie, nor impose upon his creatures, by giving to a false prophet a power to work miracles, and hereby to display the credentials of heaven. - These are the witnesses whom we have for the truth of the gospel, and blessed be God it is such testimony as ought to satisfy every rational being. Upon much slighter evidence we take the most important measures, and risk our most valuable interests in the common concerns of life; it is wise and right, therefore, to do so here, where our spiritual interests are concerned.
4. Let us gratefully accept that light which Christ gives in the gospel: it is the light of life; it discovers to us an existence beyond the grave, and shows us the way by which we may arrive at it. This light is so much more valuable than that of the sun, as the latter only guides our steps during a short and .transitory existence, liable to pain and trouble; the former leads us to a life that will never end, which will be free from trouble, and the happiness of which will be continually increasing. It is so much more valuable than. the light of nature, as that shines more dimly, and. opens to us no certain prospect beyond the grave, Let us, my brethren, be careful to improve the light of day, by walking jn the path marked out for us by tike. heavenly luminary.
John viii. 21—41.
21. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins. Whither I go ye cannot come.
As the Jews refused to believe in the divine mission of Jesus, and made light of his pretensions, he warns them of the evil consequences of their conduct, telling them that the time would come, when they would be sensible of the value of the Messiah, and seeking him with the utmost diligence; that is, when the Roman armies began to ravage their country; but that they would not then be able to find him, since he should go to a place where they could not come to him, and would leave them to perish by those calamities which they would bring upon themselves by rejecting him. This reference to his own ascension the Jews did not understand; but as they imagined, when Jesus used the same language before, chap. vii. 34, 35, that he spoke of going among the Jews dispersed over the Gentile nations, so now they supposed that he referred to putting himself to death.
22. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? Because he saith, Whither I go ye cannot come.
Jesus, without making any reply to this absurd construction of his language, goes on to mention the causes of their rejecting him, and their consequent destruction. .