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though a sacred, day; on which we may call to mind all that is consolatory, as well as all that is awful, in Revelation. For we celebrate it in commemoration of our Saviour's resurrection, by which he was "declared to be the Son of God, with power." And every argument which evinces to us the certainty of the event, also demonstrates to us the certainty of that declaration, that "he that believeth on the Son of God, hath everlasting life;" but also, on the contrary, that "he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." Though, therefore, I wish not to check the feelings of gratitude and " 'triumph in Christ," but to encourage and excite them; yet, referring to those last cited words of our Lord, in which he speaks of his coming to judgment, I would say in the language of our excellent Lightfoot, "I shall leave it to him, who hears and reads them, to make the most feeling and dread commentary upon them that he can, towards the awing of his heart to a preparedness against that dreadful time when it shall come"."
THE REASONINGS OF OUR LORD RESPECTING THE EVIDENCES TO
WHICH HE APPEALED IN CONFIRMATION OF HIS CLAIMS.
OUR LORD'S RECAPITULATION
OF HIS CLAIMS CON
NECTED WITH A REFERENCE TO THE PRESUMPTION IN THEIR FAVOUR FROM HIS NOT SEEKING HIS OWN WILL.
St. JOHN V. 30, 31.
I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. In these words our Lord recapitulates the declarations made in the opening of his discourse; and, while he in some measure enlarges them, he also passes on to notice those considerations, which evinced the justice of his claims, by first stating the presumption in their favour, which his whole life, conduct, and doctrine, suggested; and then the principle upon which plain and positive proofs were provided for their complete establishment. The principle, to which we here allude, is laid down in the conclusion of our text. On a different occasion, our Lord stated another, which is, in expression, the reverse of this; which, therefore, it will be expedient to compare with it, in
order that the force and application of each may be ascertained.
It being our object to consider the question of our Lord's divine mission in the precise point of view, in which his own discourses present it, we shall proceed on this occasion, first, to prepare the way for our future inquiries by the examination of the two principles which we have noticed; secondly, to consider the statements repeated, and enlarged, in our text; and, thirdly, the presumption therein also noticed in favour of the truth of those statements.
I. The principle laid down in the text is thus expressed; "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." This is briefly and generally expressed, without noticing the limitation, which it obviously admits and requires. We do not, universally, conclude, that every testimony so circumstanced is necessarily false; for we are continually acting on the contrary supposition. But we are satisfied in so acting, only when we are concerned with a person of known veracity, when we have no reason to suppose him influenced by undue motives, and when he is fully qualified, in point of information, to deliver a true testimony in the particular instance in question. But our unhappy experience of the deceit and falsehood of our fellow men, frequently disposes us to receive such unsupported testimony with