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be taxed, persuaded the people to stand to their liberties *.
Ver. 41. “ We have one father," said the Jews, one God;" that is, one common to all.”. And it may be well to take notice, that this is very generally the proper meaning of the word. Therefore when it is said “ There is one God,” it is to be understood not as one, in contradistinction to more than one (though that is true likewise), but
one common to all.” Josephus, himself a Jew, explains it in this manner, “and to know one God common to all the Hebrews f."
Ver. 44. “ Ye are of your father the devil,” said Jesus. Instead of being free sons of Abraham, as ye pretend, ye by your sins make yourselves the slaves of sin: by your conduct and the stubbornness of your hearts ye manifest an evil disposition, conformable with the author of evil, at whose suggestion ye seek to take away my life; for the devil was a murderer from the beginning. By falsehood he deceived Eve, and became the murderer of the whole human race, having brought death into the world through the transgression of
* Josephus, Antiq. Jud. book xviii. chap. I. § 6.
+ θεον τε ένα γινωσκειν τον Εβραιοις άπασι κοινον. Αntig. v. 27. See Appendix, No. II.
very next scene is again a scene of murder committed on the person of Abel at his suggestion, Referring back to the expression of “ your father the devil,” it may be observed, that as he, who heareth God's words, is said to be of God; so St. John, in his first Epistle says, “ He that committeth sin, is of the devil," he being the head and counsellor of disobedience and all únrighteousness.
Ver. 47. St. John has said in another place, “ he that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth us not *.” For there is no surer sign of an honest and good man, than that he have a tractable disposition, and willingness to receive the truth t. Whoever sets himself obstinately against the truth, can never be one of God's accepted children.
Ver. 48. That the term Samaritan should be used in a reproachful sense, will excite no surprise to one who recollects in what abhorrence that nation was held by the Jews I.
Ver. 51. It is observable how earnestly and
.] John iv. 6.
+ Διο θειοτητος ορεξις εστιν ή της αληθειας μαλιστα της περι JEWV epeous. Plut. Is. et. Osir. §. 2. See chap. iv. 9.
unequivocally Jesus declares to his hearers the important truth, that if a man receive his doctrines and keep them, he should assuredly be exalted to everlasting life.
Ver. 55. It might be thought at first sight that the expression of our Saviour in the 55th verse is wanting both in dignity and temper; “ If I should say I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you.” But this arises partly from the simplicity of ancient language; and partly from a misapprehension of the sense, which is the same as if it were said, “I should misrepresent myself, even as ye do misrepresent me.”
Ver. 58. The conclusion of Jesus's discourse is remarkable from the assertion of his pre-existence; “ before Abraham was, I Am." He had before said that Abraham “ rejoiced to see his day;” the force of which can only be fully appreciated by recollecting that from Abraham, the called of God, the Jews derived all their peculiar privileges. To him therefore they looked up, as to the root and stock of their nation. If then through faith this their great ancestor rejoiced at the prospect of Christ's coming, when it was yet afar off; how degenerate were his descendants, who now rejected him from their presence? But the words,
“I Am," besides the more obvious meaning of Christ's existence prior to the age of Abraham, contain likewise a signification of his eternal being, and participation in the divine attributes *. For it will be remembered that this was the name by which God called himself, when he spoke to Moses out of the burning bush: “thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you t." And in the subsequent part of this Gospel, at the 13th chapter and 19th verse, what is in the English, “I Am he," would be more correctly rendered “I am he i that exists ;” or, as it is in Exodus, “I Am that I Am.” Jesus then seeing that his discoure did but the more inflame his persecutors, so that they took up stones to kill him, made himself to be unperceived by them while he retired from the temple.
* Plato has in like manner designated the Supreme Being by the name of to ov," that which exists,” and is known by its works : ούτω ξυν όλη τη ψυχη εκ του γιγνομενου περιακτεον ειναι, έως αν εις το ον, και του οντος το φανωτατον, δυνατη γενηται ανασxeodai Dewjevn. (Plato. De Repub. L. 7. p. 695. Ficin.)
+ Exod. iii. 14.
Η εγω ειμι ο ων. This expression of St. John is in the very words of the Septuagint version of Exod. iii. 14.
Though the 9th chapter begins, as the preceding one had closed, by saying that “ Jesus passed by,” it by no means follows that they both relate to the same time, and that the cure of the blind man, which is the subject of this chapter, should have been performed on his way back from the temple, which was the scene of the former chapter. It was more probably wholly unconnected with that occasion. There are many particulars deserving of attention in this history of the blind man, which is given in more detail, than most others. In the very opening we may gather instruction from the precipitate judgment of the disciples, too ready to impute the poor man's calamity either to his own sins, or to those of his parents. But God's ways are not our ways; nay, so far from it, that what seems to be a misfortune, is not unfrequently found to be a real blessing. Could we see events in all their consequences, we should, no doubt, universally perceive the truth of this saying, that “all things work together for good to them that love God *.”
* Rom. viii. 28.