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Early in the morning," on the day after the feast of tabernacles, "he went into the temple, and all the people came unto him." Borrowing an illustration from the rising sun, and thereby also applying to himself several prophetic descriptions of "the Redeemer who should come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob," he said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."-A discussion arose in consequence of this declaration; in the course of which Jesus stated, in answer to the objection of the Pharisees, that even his record concerning himself was true," because he knew whence he himself came, and whither he went." And he also reminded them that "the Father had borne witness of him," as well as he himself by his miracles.But we need not dwell upon this part of the discussion, as we have already had occasion to consider it c.

"Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come "."-When they cavilled at him, as if he had spoken of an intention to kill himself, he reproved them be

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Isai. lix. 20, 21; lx. 1.

a John viii. 12-20.

See the former part of Lecture VI, and Lecture XI,

d John viii. 21, &c.

cause of the earthliness of their minds, which not only made them indulge the hope of a temporal Messiah, but also seemed to incapacitate them for learning better things. "Ye are from beneath, I am from above; ye are of this world, I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”—Our Lord was evidently now conversing with some of those, who were disposed to side against him; and he was kindly cautioning them against persisting in those interested and deluding prejudices, which now so effectually blinded their understandings. Had they but had a disposition to judge impartially, or even to suspend their judgment, they would, at the period to which he alluded, when he said, "I go my way," have seen fully that he was the Messiah that was to come, though not such as they expected. But he foresaw that they would, unhappily for themselves, cling to the fond hope of a Messiah triumphant upon earth, while they rejected him who was indeed the Messiah, but who had then "ascended where he was before," and "gone whither they could not come." The promised Messiah would have gone his way; they would still seek him; and in the agony of disappointed hope, and amidst the destruction which

* John vi. 62.

threatened them, would die in their sins. Because of their inveterate carnal prejudices, would they die in their sins; "for if ye believe not that I am he"-I, who appear in humility, in righteousness, in the character of a prophet and divine instructor, not of a warrior and monarch-" if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Whether Jesus were proved to be the Messiah or not, he had already given them such proofs that "God was with him," that he had the full sanction of heaven to demand of them a confidence in such a declaration as he now made; and the awful alternative which he announced to them, might justly dispose them to inquire, as they immediately did, "Who art thou?"-Jesus saith unto them, "Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning." He had already made many declarations respecting himself. At Jerusalem at a preceding passover he had publicly, before the Sanhedrim, stated to them the authority which as the Son of man he had received of the Father. During the feast of tabernacles, which was just over, he had not been backward in speaking of his doctrine, of the source from whence he derived it, and of the blessings which he would be empowered to bestow on all that believed on him. On that very morning, in the beginning of this conver

b See Note in page 319.

sation with them, he had declared himself to be "the light of the world." But he proceeded to inform them that he had not yet fully declared either his own office, or their responsibility; but that, at a certain period, and after a certain event, they would have the whole matter before them; and such complete evidence would then be proposed to them, as would make their unbelief no longer excusable." "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 I have heard of him.' They understood not that he spake unto them of the Father. 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. And he that hath sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him."

The Evangelist adds, that " as he spake these words, many believed on him." They were probably impressed with an admiration of his fearless declaration of his doctrine in the midst of danger; they recollected both his former and his recent instructions, and they could not but confess their truth and propriety; they felt an assurance, justified by the past wonders which had borne witness to Jesus, that the future instruction and evidence

of which he spoke would hereafter be afforded them; and that "what they knew not now, they should know hereafter." Perhaps they did not understand what he meant by "the lifting up of the Son of man." They might even still understand this as spoken of his exaltation to the temporal throne of David, rather than of his being "lifted up from the earth" upon the fatal tree. Probably, however, they had some imperfect notion of his meaning; for we find them afterwards observing, upon his use of the same expression, "We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of mana?" Jesus did not, even then, explain it; for the event, which so speedily followed, could alone properly explain it. But he then added a caution, which might also have suited the occasion and connexion of the words before us, if the question had been at that time proposed to him, CC Yet a little while the light is with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light."

As far as it respects the full understanding of this difficulty, of the way in which the Son of man was lifted up, and of all the glorious consequences

a John xii. 34.

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