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of myself, yet my record is true: for 1 know whence I came, and whiiher I go; but ye cannot tell whence 1 come, and whither 1 go. 15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. 17 It is also written in your law, That the testimony of two men is true. 18 1 am one that bare witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 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. 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.
Our blessed Saviour having baffled the design which the Pharisees had upon him, and showed a spirit of divine wisdom, in delivering himself from that snare which they had laid for him, he returns to instruct the people in the treasury. And here note, 1. He instructs them in the nature of his office, which was to enlighten all men with the knowledge of divine truth; so that they should not walk in darkness, either of sin or error, but be led to eternal life. Learn hence, That the great end and errand of . Christ's coming into the world, was to give light unto poor souls that sat in darkness. Observe, 2. The exception which the Pharisees made against our Saviour's testimony of himself: Thou bearest record of thyself: thy record is not true. Indeed, such is the corrupt nature of man, which is prone to seek itself, and hunt after vain-glory, that it may render a person's testimony of himself suspected; but Christ being true God, that cannot lie, and coming out of the bosom of his Father, as his ambassador, his testimony of himself is above all exception, and ought to be credited without farther proof. Observe, 3. How Christ challenges his enemies the Pharisees for judging carnally of him, and according to the meanness of his outward appearance, whereas he judged no man; that is, 1st, No man, as they judged, according to outward show. Or, 2dly, /
judge no man; that is, at present. My proper work is not to condemn any, but to teach all; and my present office is that of a prophet, not of a judge. My coining now is to instruct and save the world; my next coming will be to judge and condemn it. Observe, 4. Christ declares that he is not alone in the testimony given of himself, but that the Father did also testify and bear witness of him, and that according to their own law, the testimony of two was always accounted and esteemed valid. "Now, says Christ, if so much weight be to be laid upon the testimony of two men, how much more forcible should the testimony of the Father, and of him whom the Father hath sent, be, to satisfy you, that what I say of myself is true?" Learn hence, 1. That the Father and the Son, though one in essence and operation, yet are distinct persons. 2. That these distinct persons did bear joint witness concerning Christ. God the Father testified of him by a voice from heaven; and Christ, as God, bare witness of himself as Man, and as Mediator. Surely out of the mouth of two such witnesses, the truth of Christ's divine mission is sufficiently established.
21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whi-i ther I go, ye cannot come. 22 Thcu said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither 1 go, ye cannot come. 23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, That ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not i that I am Ac, ye shall die in your sins.
Observe here, A dreadful threatening denounced by Christ against the obstinate and unbelieving Jews, Ye shall die in your sins; that is, in the guilt of your sins, under the power, and undergoing the punishment, of your sins. Lord, what a sad word is this, Ye shall die in your sins! O belter is it a thousand times to die in a ditch; for they that die in their sins, shall rise in their sins, and stand before Christ in their sins: such as lie down in sin in the grave, shall have sin lie down with them in hell to all eternity. The sins of believers go to the grave before them, sin dieth -while they live: but the sins of unbelievers go to the grave with them. While they live they are dead in sin; and by sin they fall into death; from which there is no recovery unto life. Observe, 2. The grand sin for which this great punishment is threatened; and that is, the sin of unbelief: If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Plainly intimating, that, of all sin, infidelity or unbelief is the grand damning sin under the gospel. The devil hath as great an advantage upon men, by making them strong in unbelief, as God hath by making his people strong in faith. Unbelief renders a sinner's case desperate and incurable; it doth not only procure damnation, but no damnation like it.
25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say, and to judge of you : but he that sent me is true ; and I speak to the world those things which 1 have heard of him. 27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. 28 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.
The Jews hearing our Saviour's denouncing such a terrible threatening against them, because they believed not on him, in the foregoing verses; here they perversely ask him, Who he was? Our Saviour replies. That he was the same that he was from the beginning, even the very Christ, and that they were the very same that they were also, the mortal enemies and opposers of the truth. But that the time was hastening, when they should be fully convinced who he was; namely, when they had lifted him up upon his cross, when he was risen again, and ascended into heaven, and brought that destruction upon them which he had so often threatened. Learn hence, That the sufferings of Christ were clear and convincing demonstrations, both who he was, and what ho was. The darkening of the sun, the quaking of the earth, the rending of the rocks, the opening of the graves, were such convincing proofs of his deity,
that they could not but say, Verily ihit was the Son o f God.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone ; for I do always those thioss that please him.
That is, He that sent and commissioned me for the great work of redemption, be » continually with me, both to assist and to accept me, I doing every thing that E agreeable to his holy will and pleasure. Hence leam, 1. That the work of redemption, in the hands of Jesus Christ, was a work well pleasing to God the Father; the work itself was highly pleasing to him; and Christ's way of managing it was wellpleasing also. 2. That the reason why it was thus well-pleasing to God, was, because he acted in a constant conformity to his Father's will, kept to his Father's commission, and executed his Father's commands, doing always those things that plrcsed him. Leam, 3. That as the Father sod Christ were inseparable in respect of tbe unity of the divine essence; so the Father was always "with Christ as Mediator, both to support and to uphold him, to accept and to reward him. The Father hath not left me alone, either in the doing of hs will, or in the suffering of his pleasure. Learn, 4. That those who desire tbe gracious and special presence of God with them in all conditions, particularly in times of sufferings and trouble, they must make it their care and stud v to please God, and to observe his will in all thmgs; then 6od will be with them in his guiding presence, in his strengthening presence; in his comforting, in his quickening, in his sanctifying, sympathizing, and accepting presence.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him. 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my w4 then are yemv disciples indeed : 32 And ye shall know the truth, anil the truth shall make you free.
Observe here, 1. The blessed fruit success of our Saviour's foregoing discourse concerning his person and office. Ai he spake these words, many believed on hit*: not by their own natural power and abihty, but by Christ's omnipotent and efficacious grace: he that spake to the ear, caused his word to reach the heart; Christ himself that planted and watered, gave also the increase. Observe, 2. The love and care of Christ mentioned to these new converts; he watereth immediately these plants with wholesome advice and counsel: If ye continue in my -word, then are ye my disciples indeed. Where note, It must be Christ's word, the true doctrine of the gospel, and this ahided and continued in, which will evidence our discipleship. Observe, 3. A special privilege which shall follow upon ahiding in the doctrine of Christ: they shall increase in the knowledge of it, and be made free by it. Yc shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Where note, That man is naturally in bondage and captivity, by blindness of mind, by hardness of heart, by rebellion of will. 2. That the means appointed by God for setting him at liberty from this captivity and bondage, is the word of Christ, and the doctrine of the gospel. The truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say est thou, Yc shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant ahideth not in the bouse for ever: but the Son ahideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Observe here, How these carnal Jews understand all that our Saviour said, to be spoken in and after a carnal manner: when he spake to them before, of eating his flcsh, and drinking his blood, they understand it grossly of his natural body. When he speaks to them here of a spiritual freedom from sin, they understand it of a civil freedom from servile bondage and subjection; alleging they were Abraham's seed, and never in bondage to any man. This was a manifest untruth, having been in bondage, in their ancestors, to the Egyptians and Babylonians; and, in their own persons, to the Romans. But this was not the bondage that Christ meant; but a spiritual slavery and thraldom under the dominion of sin, and power of Satan: For he that rommitteth sin, is the servant of sin; that i?, whosoever doth hahitually, wilfully, deliberately, and constantly, allow and
tolerate himself in a sinful course, he is under the servitude and thraldom of sin. Every sinner is a bond-slave; and to live in sin, is to live in slavery. And this every man doth till the Son makes him free; then, and not till then, is he free indeed. Learn hence, That interest in Christ, and continuance in his doctrine, sets the soul at liberty from all that bondage whereunto it was subject in its natural and sinful state. O happy exchange, from being the devil's slave, to become Christ's freeman; and also freed from the rigorous exactions and terrible maledictions of the law.
37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed: but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 l speak that which I lmve seen with my Father; and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 30 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were A. braham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have beard of God: this did not Abraham.
The Jews boasting again that they were Abraham's seed, and bearing themselves much upon it, our Saviour tells them, he knew they were so, his natural children according to the flesh; but not his genuine children according to the spirit. This be proves, because they did not tread in Abraham's steps, and do his works; for if either the temper of their minds, or the actions of their lives, were agreeable to Abraham, they would not seek, as they did, to destroy and kill him, only for bringing the doctrine of salvation to them, which he had heard and learned of the Father. Thence learn, 1. How prone we are to glory in our outward privileges, and to rely upon them. Whereas these are arguments of God's goodness towards us, but no evidence of our goodness towards him. 2. That it is very dangerous and unsafe to pride ourselves in, and depend upon, any external privileges and prerogatives whatsoever; as our being born within the pale of the visible church, or descending from pious parents and holy progenitors: for unless we be followers of their faith, admirers of their piety, and imitate their example, we arc none of their children; but belong to another father, as our Saviour tells the Jews in the other verses.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication ; we have one Father, even God. 42 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. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 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.
In the former verses the Jews made their boast that they were the children of Abraham; in these, that they are the children of God. We have one Father, even God. This our Saviour disproves, telling them, that if God were their Father, they would love him, as proceeding from him by eternal generation, and in his office employed by him as Mediator. Also, if God were their Father, they would understand him speaking from God; whereas now they were so transported with malice that they could not endure his doctrine with patience, though it came from God. All which were undeniable proofs, that they were not the children of God. Hence learn, That none can justly pretend any interest in God as his children, but they that love Christ, as being the express image of his Father's person, and do hear and receive his doc trine, as coming from God. This the Jews did not do; therefore, says Christ, they are not the children of God. Observe farther, Having told them whose children they are not, our Saviour tells them plainly whose children they were: Ye are o f your Father the devil. This appears by their beingacted by him, by their resembling and imitating of him, their inclinations, dispositions, and actions, being all to fulfil the lusts of the devil. Now, as his servants we are whom we obey; so his children we are, whom we resemble. Learn hence, That men's sinful practices will prove them to be Satan's children, let their profession
be what it will; if in the temper of their minds, and in the actions of their lives, there be a conformity to Satan's disposition, and a ready compliance with his temptations, they are certainly his children, what pretensions soever they make of being the children of God. Nonecould pretend higher to the relation of God's children ttian these Jews did; yet says Christ, Ye are the children of the devil, for his worbs ye do. Note hence, That the devil bath the relation of a father to all wicked men; and this fatherhood did not proceed from the act of the father, but of the children ; for the devil doth not make wicked men his children by begetting them, but they make the devil their father by imitating of him.
45 And because 1 tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin ? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil ? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory; there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
Here observe, 1. The free reproof which Christ gave the Jews for their obstinate unbelief; Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 2. The challenge which lie gives the worst of his adversaries: Which of you convinceth me of sin? So perfectly pure, innocent, and spotless, was the doctrine and life of Christ, that although his enemies loaded him with slander and false accusation, yet none of them could justly convict him of, much less condemn him for, the least known sin. Observe, 3. The Jews being enraged at this free reproof, fell a railing at his person, charging him with being a Samaritan, possessed with an evil spirit. Our Saviour meekly replies, That be did not deal with the devil; but was honouring his Father in what he did and said; and therefore his Father would take care of his honour, and judge between him and them. Here note, That though Chrisi used some sharpness in reproving the Jews, and representing them to themselves; yet he answers with wonderful mildness and meekness, when he discovers his resentment of his own reproaches. How cool -was Christ in his own cause; but warm enough in God's!
51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 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. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 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: 55 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.
Observe here, 1. The blessed fruit and effect of observing our Saviours doctrine: fie that keeps my saying shall never sec death; that is, shall be secured from eternal misery, and enjoy eternal life. Observe, 2. How the Jews misunderstood our Saviour's words, He that keeps my saying shall never see death, as if he meant a freedom from temporal death ; and hereupon they looked upon him as beside himself, to promise a privilege which neither Abraham nor the prophets did ever enjoy. Whereas it was not exemption from temporal death, but freedom from etemal destruction, which our Saviour promised to them that keep his saying. Hence learn, That the misunderstanding of Christ's doctrine, and taking it in a carnal sense, has given occasion for the many cavils and objections made against it. Observe, 3. How Christ cleats himself of all amhition in this matter, and shows that he did not make this promise of delivering his followers from death vain-gloriously, but that God whom they called their Father, had honoured him with power to make good whatever he had promised to them that keep his saying. Learn hence, That as Christ entirely sought his Father's glory, so the Father conferred an honour and glory upon Christ as Mediator; thereby testifying, how infinitely
pleased he was with the redemption of mankind performed by him. If I honour myself, my honour is nothing; it is my Father that honoun th me.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
That is, "Abraham having received 3 promise, that the Messias should come of his seed, he exceedingly rejoiced to see the day of my coming in the flesh, though afar oil", with the eye of his faith, and in a figure, in his sacrificed son Isaac; and this sight of his faith was so transporting, that he leaped for joy." Learn hence, That a strong faith gives such a clear sight of Christ (though at a distance) as produceth an holy delight and rejoicing in him.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 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.
Observe here, 1. What a false and ridiculous construction the Jews make of our Saviour's words, as if he had affirmed that he had seen Abraham, and Abraham him, with bodily eyes; whereas Christ only asserted, that Abraham had seen his day; that is, he foresaw by faith the day of his incarnation, and coming in the flesh. Observe, 2. Our Saviour's positive assertion of his divinity, or that he had a being as God from all eternity; for, says he, Before Abraham -was, I am. Where note, That Christ does not say, Before Abraham was, I was, but, Before Abraham was, I am; which is the proper name of God; whereby is signified the eternal duration and permanency of his being. The adversaries of Christ's divinity say, that, before Abraham was, Christ was; that is, in God's foreknowledge or decree ; but this may be said of any other person, as well as Christ, that he was in the foreknowledge of God before Abraham was born. Whereas undoubtedly it was Christ's design in these words to give himself some preference and advantage above Abraham, which this interpretation