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rubbish which passed under the name of knowledge, was assuredly no great disadvantage to them. It arose, however, from the most mischievous of all principles—which has, in every age and country, too widely operated--that knowledge was to be the reserved treasure, known only by its infnences, the peculiar property and distinction of a class, with which the people had no concern whatever but to reverence it, into which it were impertinence for them to pry, and to communicate which to them were profanation. Thus the people were carefully shut out from the chambers of kaos. ledge, and then scorned and cursed because they were out. 'It is difficult to convey an idea of the thorough and intense contempt with which the mass of the people were regarded, on the express ground of their ignorance of this oral law, as it was called, which none cared to communicate to them. Thus the "wise men,” as they styled themselves, carried their contempt of the uninstructed to such an extent, that they would not receive a testimony from them or give one for them, nor commit a secret to them, nor proclaim anything of theirs that was lost, nor constitute any of them trustees or guardians, nor walk with them on the road. These poor “people of the earth," as they were scorafully called, however upright or attentive to the requirements of the written law, were not by any means held to be truly religious or acceptable to God; but rather profane and abominable, abandoned to sin, rejected of God, and to be cast out by men of wisdom and knowledge. It was not even allowed that they should have any part in the resurrection, unless, perchance, it might be for the sake of some wise man to whom they were allied, or to whom they had readered some service.
From this statement it will appear probable that “the law,” as expressed in this exceedingly characteristic speech of the Pharisees, is to be understood to denote the oral law, or, at least, the oral in connection with that written in the books of Moses. The oral law itself we shall find another occasion to notice..
again into the temple, and all the people 1 Christ delivereth the woman taken in adultery.
came unto him; and he sat down, and 12 He preacheth himself the light of the world, taught them. and justifieth his doctrine : 33 answereth the Jews 3. And the Scribes and Pharisees brought that boasted of Abraham, 59 and conveyeth him- unto him a woman taken in adultery; and self from their cruelty.
when they had set her in the midst, Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman 2 And early in the morning he came was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall that such should be stoned: but what say. die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot est thou ?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they 22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himmight have to accuse him. But Jesus self? because he saith, Whither I go, ye canstooped down, and with his finger wrote on not come. the ground, as though he heard them not. 23 And he said unto them, Ye are from
7 So when they continued asking him, he beneath; I am from above: ye are of this lifted up himself, and said unto them, 'He world; I am not of this world. that is without sin among you, let him first 24 I said therefore unto you,
that cast a stone at her.
die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I ; 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote am he, ye shall die in your sins. on the ground.
25 Then said they unto him, Who art 9 And they which heard it, being con- thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even victed by their own conscience, went out one the same that I said unto you from the beby one, beginning at the eldest, even unto ginning. the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the 26 I have many things to say and to woman standing in the midst.
judge of you: but he that sent me is true; 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and I speak to the world those things which and saw none but the woman, he said unto I have heard of him.
her, Woman, where are those thine accusers ? 27 They understood not that he spake to i hath no man condemned thee?
them of the Father. 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus 28 Then said Jesus unto them, When yo said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye go, and sin no more.
know that I am he, and that I do nothing of 12 | Then spake Jesus again unto them, myself; but as my Father hath taught me, saying, 'I am the light of the world : he that I speak these things. followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but 29 And he that sent me is with me: the shall have the light of life.
Father hath not left me alone; for I do al13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, ways those things that please him. Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record 30 As he spake these words, many beis not true.
lieved on him. 14 Jesus answered and said unto them, 31 Then said Jesus to thosc Jews which “Though I bear record of myself, yet my re- believed on him, If ye continue in my word, cord is true: for I know whence I came, and then are ye my disciples indeed; whither I
ye cannot tell whence I 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the come, and whither I go.
truth shall make you free. 15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no 33 | They answered him, We be Abraman.
ham's seed, and were never in bondage to 16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be true: for I am not alone, but I and the Fa- made free? ther that sent me.
31 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I 17 'It is also written in your law, that the say unto you, "Whosoever committeth sin is testimony of two men is truc.
the servant of sin. 18 I am one that bear witness of myself, 35 And the servant abideth not in the and the Father that sent me beareth witness house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. of me.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you 19 Then said they unto him, Where is free, ye shall be free indeed. thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither 37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; know me, nor my Father: if ye had known but ye seek to kill me, because my word me, ye should have known my Father also. hath no place in you.
20 These words spake Jesus in the trea- 38 I speak that which I have seen with sury, as he taught in the temple: and no my Father: and ye do that which ye have man laid hands on him; for his hour was seen with your father. not yet come.
39 They answered and said unto him, 21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto i Levit. 20.10. * Deat. 17.7. Chap. I. 5, and 9. 8. in Chap. 6. 31. Dent. 17 6. Matt. 18. 16.
* Rom. 6. 20. 2 Pet. 8. 10.
them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye | but I honour my Father, and ye do dishowould do the works of Abraham.
nour me. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man 50 And I seek not mine own glory : there that hath told you the truth, which I have is one that seeketh and judgeth. heard of God: this did not Abraham.
51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. man keep my saying, he shall never see Then said they to him, We be not born death. of fornication; we have one Father, eren 52 Then said the Jews unto him. Now God.
we know that thou hast a deril. Abraham 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, your Father, ye would love me: for I pro- If a man keep my saying, he shall never ceeded forth and came from God; neither taste of death. came I of myself, but he sent me.
53 Art thou greater than our father Abra43 Why do ye not understand my speech? ham, which is dead? and the prophets are even because ye cannot hear my word. dead: whom makest thou thyself?
44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, the lusts of your father ye will do. He was my honour is nothing: it is my Father that a murderer from the beginning, and abode honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is not in the truth, because there is no truth in your God: him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I of his own: for he is a liar, and the father know him: and if I should say, I know him of it.
not, I shall be a liar like unto you : but I 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye know him, and keep his saying: believe me not.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin ? my day: and he saw it, and was glad. And if I say the truth, why do ye not be- 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou lieve me?
art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou 47 He that is of God heareth God's seen Abraham? words : ye therefore hear them not, because 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, ye are not of God.
I unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said 59 Then took they up stones to cast at unto him, Say we not well that thou art him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out a Samaritan, and hast a devil ?
of the temple, going through the midst of 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; them, and so passed by.
Verse 6. “ This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.”—The nature of the snare, here laid for our Saviour, may not, at the first view, appear to the reader. It was quite true, as the Scribes and Pharisees stated, that the law of Moses commanded the adulteress to be stoned ; and had Jesus declared against such execution, they would have obtained a ground of undermining his influence with the people. by representing him as contradicting Moses, and, perhaps, as favouring adultery. On the other hand, had he directed ihe woman to be stoned, in conformity with the law, there would have been a pretence for denouncing him to the Romans, as a person who stirred up the people to rebellion. For the Romans had at this time taken the power of life and death into their own hands; and hal, to a considerable extent, re-modelled the criminal jurisprudence of the country, and had modified many of the penalties fixed by the law of Moses, in order to bring its operation into greater conformity with their own notions; and, in particular, they had abolished the punishment of death, which the law inflicted upon the adulterous woman. The Jewish council, or Sanhedrim, did indeed retain the power of trying criminals in the manner prescribed by the Law: but the sentence which they passed could not be carried into execution until it was recognized and allowed by the Romaa governor. This, indeed, sufficiently appears in the history of our Lori's own condemnation and death. Without any reference, however, to the Romans, the question would have been sufficiently ensnaring; as, if he had determined for the woman to be stoned, there was the alleged contradiction to the law of Moses; and, if he had declared againt her being punished, he might have been denounced by the public teachers to the people as a promoter and encourager of crime.
“ Jesus slooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.”—The object of this action has been very variously explained. Lightfoot is of opinion that it bore some reference to the action of the high priest, who when he tried å suspected wife, in the form directed by the law (Num. v.), stooped down and gathered dust from the floor of the sanctuary, to be mixed with the water which was to be given to the woman to drink. This explanation is inadequate, as the woman now produced, was not a merely suspectel wife, and therefore liable to this trial, but one taken in the fact, and therefore to be punished with death by stoning. It also seems a more probable opinion, sanctioned by the suca ceeding clause, that our Lord intended this as a significant action, to convey some expression of contempt, by intimating that a question proposed with so insidious an intention to one who had so repeatedly made known that he came to assume no political or judicial power, was unworthy of liis attention and deserved no answer. This is the more probable, when it is known that the Jews, when an irksome inquiry was brought forward to wbich they did not choose to give either an affirmative or negative answer-were accustomed to write something down on their tablets, and thus seem to be otherwise employed. Christ, who probably carried no tallets, would, with a similar intention, write on the ground, which was an action far less forced than it would seem in this countıy, since writing on the ground-that is, in dust or sand- with the finger or with a rod, was, and still is, very common in the East, under various circumstances ;-and particularly in the absence of other writing materials. In different countries of the East, for example, children learn writing by tracing characters in the dust or sand from copies set them by their instructors. Not incompatible with this explanation is that given by Lampe, and which Dr. Bloomfield cites with approbation, tliat " Jesuis by this gesture meant to intimate that the questioners merited tid other answer than that which they had themselves suggested by appealing to the Mosaic precept. It seems therefore that Jesus was pleased thus to inculcate the propriety for judges sitting in Moses's seat, to keep to the written commands of the legislator: that this ought to satisfy them because they had acknowledged to him that, by those writings, a decision ought to be made. Thus Jesus followed his constant custom of appealing to the Scriptures, and inculcating on every occasion that he taught nothing besides them.” :
7. “ He that is without sin among you.”—Most surely our Saviour did not mean "without sin, in the large sense, for, in that sense, “what man is he that sinneth uot ?" but rather, we may suppose, he appeals to the consciences of those who knew that they also had sinned in like fashion with the woman, now brought forward by them for judgment. This is most credible: for their own writers bear witness that adultery and fornication had in this age increased to such a degree, that they were obliged to discontinue the trial of suspected wires, in the manner directed by the Law, because the husbands themselves were generally guilty in the same manner; and when that was the case, as they say, the bitter waters produced no effect upon the woman. (See Num. v.) Although they received not Christ, yet in his time was most abundantly fulfilled one of their own rules for the distinguishing the time in which the Messiah should appear. “In that age when the Son of David cometh, the house of assembly (which is interpreted to mean the place where the disciples of the wise men met to learn the law) shall become a brothel house."
" Let him first cast a stone at her."— This doubtless refers to the regulation which required that the principal witness was to cast the first stone at the culprit who had been condemned to death on his evidence. The throwing of this stone was the signal for the persons present to commence the execution of the sentence.
8. “Again he stooped down."— This repetition of the action would seem to have had an object different from its previous exhibition. Perhaps it may have been designed to give the baffled hypocrites an opportunity of withdrawing with the less confusion.
10 Therefore said they unto him, How I The man that was born blind restored to sight.
were thine eyes opened ? 8 He is brought to the Pharisees. 13 They ure
11 He answered and said, A man that is ofjended at it, and excommunicate him: 35 but called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine he is received of Jesus, and confesseth him. 39
eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Who they are uhom Christ enlighteneth.
Siloamn, and wash : and I went and washed, And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which and I received sight. was blind from his birth.
12 Then said they unto him, Where is 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, he? He said, I know not. Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, 13 | They brought to the Pharisees him that he was born blind ?
that aforetime was blind. 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man 14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus sinned, nor his parents: but that the works made the clay, and opened his eyes. of God should be made manifest in him. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked
4 I must work the works of him that sent him how he had received his sight. He said me, while it is day: the night cometh, when unto them, He put clay upon mine no man can work.
I washed, and do sce. 5 As long as I am in the world, 'I am 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, the light of the world.
This man is not of God, because he keepeth : 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on not the sabbath day. Others said, How the ground, and made clay of the spittle, can a man that is a sinner do such miraand he 'anointed the eyes of the blind man
cles? And there was a division among with the clay,
them. 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the 17 They say unto the blind man again, pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened Sent.) He went his way therefore, and thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. washed, and came seeing.
18 But the Jews did not believe concern8.1 The neighbours therefore, and they ing him, that he had been blind, and rewhich before had seen him that he was ceived his sight, until they called the parents blind, said, Is not this he that sat and of him that had received his sight. begged ?
19 And they asked them, saying, Is this 9 Some said, This is he: others said, He your son, who ye say was born blind ? how is like him: but he said, I am he.
then doth he now see? 1 Chap. 1.9. ? Or, spread the clay upon the eyes of the blind man.
20 His parents answered them and said, I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind :
26 Then said they to him again, What 21 But by what means he now seeth, we did he to thee? how opened he thine know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we
vel 2 27 He answered them, I have told you know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall already, and ye did not hear: wherefore speak for himself.
would ye hear it again? will ye also be his 22 These words spake his parents, because disciples ? they feared the Jews : for the Jews had 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou agreed already, that if any man did confess art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples
. that he was Christ, he should be put out of 29 We know that God spake unto Moses : the synagogue.
as for this fellow, we know not from whence 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of he is. age; ask him.
30 The man answered and said unto them, 24 Then again called they the man that why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye was blind, and said unto him, Give God know not from whence he is, and the praise : we know that this man is a hath opened mine eyes. sinner.
31 Now we know that God heareth not 25 He answered and said, Whether he sinners: but if any man be a worshipper be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.