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John

an

man

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They excommunicate him. SECT. and are too firmly attached to that great and cxxxi. holy prophet to regard such a deceiver as this.

IVe well know that God spake to Mosesd, and 29 We know that 1X. 29. gave the most ample evidence of sending bim God spake unto Mo

ses: as for this fellow,
with a Divine commission ; but as for this man, we know not from
we know not from whence he is, nor can we per- whence he is.
ceive any satisfactory credentials of his bringing

any message from God to us.
30 But, not discouraged by their unjust reflec-

SO The man tions, the man replied with a becoming freedom swered and said unto

them, Why, hercin is of spirit, and said unto them, IVhy, in this respect, a marvellous thing, it is strange that you know not from whence he is; that ye know not from and yet it is plain that he has opened mine eyes, he hath opened mine

whence he is, and yet 31 Now we all know in general that God heareth eyes. not sinners, and that persons of infamous cha

31 Now we know racters and immoral lives cannot expect the Di- that God beareth not vine acceptance in any common petition which be a worshipper they offer, much less for the performance of a of God, and doeth his miracle; but if any man be·truly devout, and will, him he heareth. faithfully do his will, him indeed he heareth with a favourable regard: when therefore God is found to hear a man in such an extraordinary instance as this, there seems the greatest reason

to believe he is a person whose temper and cha32 racter are approved by him. And this is

32 Since the world plainly an extraordinary instance ; for from the began was it not heard beginning of the world it was never heard that that any man opened

the eyes of one that any man opened the eyes of one who, like me, was burn blind. was born blind. It is surprising, therefore, that you, who allow that Moses was a prophet, on the authority of bis miracles, should in this case

judge so hardly of my deliverer, whoever he be. 33 But every unprejudiced person may easily sec that if this man were not sent of God, he could do

not of God, he could

do nothing.
nothing of this kind.
34 And, not being able to endure so plain and 34 They answered

forcible a reproof, which even stung them to and said unto him,
the heart, they answered and said to him, with born in'sins, and dost
great hatred and scorn, Thou vile presumptuous thou teach us? And
wretch, thou wast entirely born in sins, and didst they cast him out.
bring into the world with thee most evident to-
kens of Divine wrath and vengeance ; und dost
thou insolently take upon thce to teach us, the

guides

33 If this man were

d We know that God spake to Moses.] miracles, wrought daily among them, when
Their partiality here was inexcusable; for they might in many instances have been
if they believed the mission of Moses, on eye-witnesses to the facts; and one of
the evidence of miracles, credibly attested which, notwithstanding all their malice,
indeed, but perforined two thousand years they were here compelled to own, or at
before they were born; it was much more least found themselves utterly unable to
reasonable, on their own principles, to be disprove.
lieve the mission of Jesus, on at least equal

e With

God?

Reflections on the force and prevalence of truth.

79 guides of the national faith, and members of the sect. supreme court of ecclesiastical judicature? We cxxxi. sball find out a way to correct this arrogance.

John And immediately they cast him out of the syna- 1X. 34. gogue, passing a solemn sentence of excommunication upon him, though there was no sha

dow of proof that he had deserved it. 35 Jesus heard that Now Jesus quickly heard of their arbitrary 35 they had cast him out; proceedings, that they had thus passed sentence found him, he said on the poor man, and had cast him out for his unto him, Dost thou sake ; and, finding him soon after, he said to him believe on the Son of privately, Dost thou believe on the Son of God,

the great expected Messiah ?
36 He answered and Ile answered and said, Sir, who is he that I 36
saidWho is he, Lord, may believe on him ? I know that such a glorious
that I might believe Person is expected ; and if he be already come,
on him?

tell me but who he is, and where I may meet
with him, and I am ready to express a due re-
gard to him who shall be pointed out to me under

that honourable and important character.
37 And Jesns said Then Jesus, to encourage him under what he 37
unto him, Thou hast was now suffering on his account, said to him,
it is he that talketh with a degree of freedom which was very un-
with thec.

usual", Thou hast no need of going far to seek
him ; for thou hust both already seen him, and
had experience of his power and goodness : it
was he that miraculously opened thine eyes, and
indeed it is even he that is now talking with thee

who is that very Person.
38 And he said, And, immediately yielding to that convincing 38
Lord, I believe. Aud
De worshipped him.

argument which arose from what he had him-
self experienced of his almighty power, he said,
Lord, I most readily believe that thou art be,
and humbly prostrate myself before thee, to
render thee due homage as such. And, falling
down at his feet, he worshipped him.

IMPROVEMENT.

So little does truth fear repeated examinations ; and thus does Ver. it, after every trial, come forth like pure gold out of the furnace. 24--27 So did this miracle of Christ appear to these subtile adversaries ; so

will

e With a degree of freedom very un great inconveniences attending a sentence usual.) We have formerly observed the of excommunication out of zeal for the ho. wise caution of Jesus on this bead. See nour of Christ. No doubt this passed sect. xxix. note 1, Vol VI. p. 166 –The privutely between our Lord and this good freedom here used may be accounted for by man, though presently after others joined considering the extraordwary circumstan- the conversation, as we observe in the ces of the case; this being the first in- beginning of the next section. siance in which any one had incurred the

f More

cxxxi. .

80

Jesus reproves the blindness of the Pharisees. SEC?. will the Christian cause appear to all who will diligently search

into its evidence. 28, 29

Who can forbear wondering at the obstinacy of these Pharisees ; 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 contradic

tion, acknowledge the authority of the Son of God himself? 30 But we see this poor illiterate creature (for such he undoubt

edly was, with the advantage of truth on this 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 31 if any man be a worshipper of God, and do his will, him he hears,

and most favourably regards. May we be truly detout, 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! 34 (Psal. xxxiv. 15.) Then, being favourably owned of God, we

shall have no reason to fear the censures of men. If they cast us 35--37 out Christ will receive us, and perhaps reveal himself to us with

more freedom, in proportion to the injuries we sustain from them.

SECT. CXXXII.

Christ admonishes the Pharisees of their danger; and represents

himself as the door of the sheepfold through which men must necessarily enter, if they desire their own salvation, or that of others committed to their care. John IX. 39, to the end

li X. 1-10.

JOHN IX. 39.

am

John IX. 39. CSEST: WHILE Jesus stood talking with the blind AND Jesus said, For

man who had received his sight, several come into this world : John

people, who were then entering into the tem- that they which see 1X. 39. ple, knowing thein both, and desirous to hear not, might see; and

that they which see, what passed, gathered together about them: and might be made blind. Jesus said, so that they all might hear him, You may see in this man, and in what has happened in relation to him, an illustration of the effects which my appearance is to produce : for I am come into this world for judgment as well as

mercy :

f More various and glorious miracles.] Limb. Collat. cum Judro, Scrip. ij. Quast. A beautiful parallel between the miracles 4. No. 3. p. 131. & seq. and Resp. ad of Moses and Christ is drawn by Orobio on Scrip. iii. p. 151. & seq. the one hand, and Limborch on the other,

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He declares himself to be the true Shepherd.

81 mercy ; that, on the one hand, they who see not, Sect: might see, or that the ignorant souls, who are cxxxii. willing to be instructed, might learn Divine John knowledge ; and, on the other hand, that they ix. 39. who see, may be made blind ; that such as are proudly conceited of their own science and wis.. dom may either be humbled or exposed ; and they who wilfully stand out, and harden their hearts against my instructions, may bring upon

themselves yet greater darkness. 40 And some of the And (some of the Pharisees who were then 40 Pharisees which were present with him, heard these things, and apprewith him, heard these words, and said unto

hending that he glanced at them, said to him, him, Are we blind Are we also blind? and dost thou mean to insi. also?

nuate any thing of that kind ? If thou dost,
speak plainly. Now this they said, hoping
thereby to draw him into some dangerous re-
flection on the sanhedrim, who had lately passed
their censure on the man whose eyes he had

opened. 41 Jesus said unto Jesus said to them, If you were indeed blind, 41 them, If ye blind, ye should have and Jaboured under unavoidable ignorance, you no sin : but now ye would not then have any sin in comparison of say, We see; there- what you now have", but now you say, Surely, fore your sin remain

we see much more clearly than the rest of man-
kind, therefore your sin abides upon you with
greater aggravation; and this conceit which
you have of your own knowledge hinders con-
viction, and prevents the first entrance of in-
struction into

your

minds. JOHN X. 1. Verily, Nevertheless, whether you will hear, or whe- John verily, I say unto you, ther you will forbear, I will for a while longer by the door into the continue my adınonitions ; and therefore, verisheepfold, but climb- ly, verily, I say unto you who call yourselves the way, the same is a thief shepherds of the people, That he who enters not and a robber. by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some

other private way, whatever be the character be

may assume, the same is to be looked upon as no
2 But be that enter- better than a thief and a robber. But he that 2
eth in by the door is comes in at the door of the sheepfold is the true
the shepherd of the
sheep.

shepherd of the sheep; and such a one will always
choose to enter in by that which is the regular

appointed

were

eth,

X. 1.

. If you were indeed blind, you would which might convince you of the impornot have any sin, &c.] Elsner (Observ. tance of such a miracle, and of the Divine Vol. I. p. 326.) understands this of corpo- power by which it is wrought."-But the real blindness, as if our Lord had said, following words, But now you say, We see, It is a great aggravation of your per- suit much better with the sense given in verseness, that you know by experience the paraphrase. the difference between blindness and sight,

» The

and

John

5 And

voice of strangers.

82

He is the door by which we are to enter in. SECT. appointed way. To him, as soon as he

3 To him the porter

apçxxxii,

the proaches, the door-keeper opens the fold b; and sheep hear his voice;

the sheep themselves hear his voice with regard ; and he calleth his own X. 3. and he is well acquainted with each of them, sheep by name, and

leadeth them out. insomuch that he calls each of his own sheep by 4 name , and leads them out to pasture. And 4 And when he

when he thus puts forth his own sheep from the putteth forth his own fold, he himself goes before them, to guide them sheep, he goeth beto good pastures, and to defend them from any sheep follow him ; for danger which may occur ; and the sheep cheer- they know his voice.

fully follow him ; for they well know his voice, 5 being daily accustomed to it. But if a stran

a stranger

will they not follow, ger come to lead them out, they will not follow but will tice from him: him ; but, on the contrary, they will flee away for they know not the from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.

This short parable Jesus spake unto them; but Jesus unto them? but they did not understund what it was that he said they understood not to them, but were quite at a loss to conjecture what things they were his meaning ; though his intent in describing which he spake unto

.
the character of the good Shepherd was plainly
to shew how far the Pharisees, who assume the
name, were from answering it ; and to warn
the true sheep, or persons of real integrity and
simplicity, of the danger of being blindly go-

verned and guided by them.
7 Then Jesus, to clear up what was most obscure by Then said Jesus
in his former discourse, said to them again, Ve- unto them again, Ve-

rily, verily, I say unto a'ily, verily, I say unto you, and soleninly you, that, however you neglect me, I am the ihe shcep.

you, I am the door of door of the sheep“, and it is only by authority

derived

6

assure

The door-keeper opens the fold.] Gro- heril's leading them oul, &c. agree with this tius does not attempt the accommodation circumstance. In countries where there of this circumstance : Mr. Cradock inter were so many savage beasts it migit be prets it of the Holy Ghost ; and Dr. Whit- ordinarily necessary to have the folds, betby of God the Father, as giving free ad ter secured than among us; and the chief mission to those teachers who maintained a shepherd might often leave a servant towatch due regard to Christ : an interpretation tliem while thus shut up,aod come himself which seems much more reasonable than to lead them out to pasture in a morning to refer it (as some do) to ministers. It is c Calls his own sheep by name.) Dr. suggested by Sir Isaac Newton, that, as Hammond justly infers from hence, that these words were spoken near the temple, the eastern shepherds, at least those of Juwhere sheep were kept in folds to be sold dea, gave particular names to their sheep. for sacrifices, Christ here alludes to what as most men do to their dous and horses. was peculiar in those folus ; that, as they Their custom also was to lead the sheep', were kept locked, they not only excluded playing on some musical instrument. the thief, but the shepherd, till the door-keep d I am the door, &c.] It would be very er opened them. (See Nexeton on Proph. iinpertinent to run a long parallel here bep. 148.) But I cannot think, whatever tween Christ and a door. The resemblance occasion Christ might take from the sight plainly centres in this one circumstance ; of sheep to represent his people under that that as a' man must observe and pass image, and himself as a Shepherd, he would through the door, in order to his making a describe them like sheep shut up in a pen to regular and unsuspected entrance into a be sold for sacrifice : nor does the shepa sheepfold ; so he must maintain a proper

regard

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