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caution, even in the ordinary affairs of private life; and, in solemn and judicial proceedings, it is considered wholly insufficient. In such cases we at least suspend our judgment, unless we have independent corroborating testimony. And, therefore, our Lord, having granted the equity of such a maxim, proceeds, after having stated his record respecting himself, to specify some separate and independent testimonies in support of it. But if none of them had existed, it would not therefore follow, that his record was absolutely and necessarily untrue. On the contrary, in this, as well as in many other cases, we must learn from the person himself the claims which he advances, and then, having ascertained the nature and circumstances of the matter in question, we proceed to investigate and consider that which is offered in confirmation of it. Hence the maxim is to be interpreted as applicable, not to the absolute truth of the matter in debate, but to the grounds upon which we can properly judge of its truth, and to the degree of our conviction. Our Lord grants, that if he bear record of himself, and can offer nothing more than his unsupported assertion, his testimony is not true; that the maxim, in compliance with which they usually rejected such a record, is just, proper, and expedient; and, therefore, he appealed and referred them to the positive confir
mation, which God had vouchsafed to supply for the satisfaction, even of the most scrupulous inquirer. But, at another time, when they cited this obvious, and to them familiar, maxim, and wished to urge it beyond its proper application, he then stated that the contrary maxim is, in some circumstances, really admissible, and that it was so with respect to himself. Teaching in the temple, he declared himself to be "the light of the world," and stated the consequences of such a doctrine. "The Pharisees, therefore, said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself, thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I came, nor whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." Our Lord here advances some assertions similar to those in our text; and briefly alludes to one of those independent testimonies, which, in the subsequent part of the discourse more immediately before
a John viii. 12-19.
us, he states more fully and distinctly. In the former part of it, as we have already seen, he is occupied in stating those claims, of the correctness of which he, who thus advanced them, had the fullest knowledge, inasmuch as he could not but "know whence he came ;" and, therefore, if we find his words established by the mouth of two or three other witnesses, how can we, upon any principles of right judgment, refuse our assent to them? Nay, further, are we not often even independently of collateral testimony, and before we have at all proceeded to examine it, disposed to feel a strong and justifiable conviction that we may safely rely upon a single testimony; a conviction which is rather strengthened and matured, than newly produced, by any additional confirmation? Do not the general character, conduct, and aims, of an individual, and also the matter and manner of his statements, frequently induce us to confess, that there is a strong previous presumption in his favour, which recommends him to our favourable regard, 'patient attention, and unbiassed judgment? Such a presumption in favour of our Lord's divine mission and authority will be suggested to every candid and serious inquirer, who takes even a general view of his character, proceedings, and instructions; and he, who has most fully-considered these, will most decidedly entertain such a
presumption. Our Lord himself frequently noticed the considerations by which it is suggested; and, in our text, he adverts to it, in its natural and immediate connexion with what he had previously stated respecting his commission. In the two remaining divisions of this discourse, it will be our aim to illustrate each of these topics in the order in which they lie; principally by citing, or alluding to, other passages in our Lord's instruction and history, which are parallel with them.
II. We were to consider, secondly, the statements which are repeated, and somewhat enlarged, in our text. It will be remembered, that, upon being arraigned for a supposed violation of the sabbath, our Lord took occasion, in his defence, to lay before the Jews the whole extent of his commission; within which that particular right, of acting as he had done on the sabbath, though important and extensive in its connexion, was in fact included. He spoke of himself as the Son of God, as if God were his own proper Father; but with reference, not so much to his prior and divine glory, as to his commission and authority as the incarnate Mediator, and as invested with all judicial authority, "because he is the Son of man." Having proceeded to state that he was commissioned to exercise that authority in all its bearings, even until its last and final exertion, when it would really and truly be the judgment of all mankind
at the general resurrection, he again addresses himself to the establishment of his authority, in answer to their disbelief of his being invested with it. And, in the outset, while he spoke of it as derived from, and exercised in, the name of the Father, he yet spoke of it as unlimited in extent. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, the same doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth." After having branched out this his commission into all its bearings, with reference to the performance of greater works than he had yet done, and having spoken of its final exercise in the day when he shall appear no longer as a Saviour, but as a judge, he then, in our text, restates the source whence he derived his authority to execute judgment, and the original and character of that judgment itself: "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."--The words are few, but weighty, and important. In other parts of our Lord's instructions we find statements, the knowledge of which is necessary to the full understanding of this passage, and which fully elucidate the several particulars contained in it.