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But the Jews misunderstanding or perverting what Jesus had said, asked him, not whether Abraham had really seen his day," but whether
he, not being yet fifty years old, had seen Abraham." Jesus did not shrink even from meeting this new state of the question, which demanded an answer respecting his pre-existence. He unequivocally answered "Before Abraham was, I am."
On many other occasions had Jesus virtually affirmed the same position. His divinity, if he did really and justly claim it, certainly implied his pre-existence. And he frequently used language from which the Jews inferred, that he made himself equal with God," nor did he disavow the claim. When the Pharisees asked, " Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" he cured the paralytic, for the express purpose of proving that "the Son of man had power on earth to forgive sins a." He spoke of the Son of man "ascending up where he was before," to prove that he said truly, "I came down from heaven".' He appealed to prophecy to prove that he, who was David's Son, was also David's Lord'. He appealed, on another occasion, both to the Scriptures of the Old Testament as justifying, and to his
a Matt. ix. 6. Mark ii. 10. b John vi. 42, 61, 62.
Luke v. 24.
© Matt. xxii. 42-45.
own works as proving, his claim to divinity. it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works, that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in hima.” He again appealed to his works in proof of the assertion that he ought to be believed in such declarations, when he said to Philip, "He, that hath, seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself, but the Father, that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works' sake."
Thus does it appear, that Jesus supported by the most cogent argumentation, and by diversified evidence, every claim which he advanced. This very circumstance itself, that he thus founded his religion on argument, the truth also and the purity of his doctrine, the unimpeachable purity and
4 John x. 29-39.
e Ibid. xiv. 6-11.
disinterestedness of his own life, the accomplishment of every type and prophecy in the events and purposes of his mission, and the many and various attestations of a miraculous nature which evinced its divine authority,-all these considerations may justly demand "the obedience of our faith." And having now considered at length this debate of our Lord with the Jews, let me briefly direct your attention to the circumstances under which it was concluded.
Jesus delivered himself by a miracle from the effects of that indignation, which the assertion of his pre-existence had excited. "They took up stones to cast at him; but he was concealed from them, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by "."-But remark also what followed." As Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth "." He restored to him his sight; and the severest scrutiny of the perplexed rulers, only proved the reality of the miracle, and that it had been wrought by Jesus. Shall we then consent to the declaration, of the Pharisees, that "we know not whence Jesus is?" Rather let every such thought give way to the force of that rational expostulation of the man, on whom this signal miracle was wrought.
Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know
a John viii. 59. -Ἰησοῦς δὲ ἐκρύβη, καὶ, &c.
b Ibid. ix. 1.
not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began, was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing." When Jesus declared to this candid, and reflecting man, that he was the Son of God, he answered, Lord, I believe," and worshipped him. Jesus also declared, at the commencement of the debate which we have been reviewing, that he is "the light of the world." And he avowedly wrought this very miracle to demonstrate the truth of that assertion. For, immediately before he wrought it, he assigned to his disciples his reason for so doing. "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world'."—We may know then the blessedness to which we are invited; for Jesus himself declared, "he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." But hear also the condemnation of those, who persist in unbelief; for this also our Lord declared after the miracle. "For judgment am I come into this world, that
d John ix. 30-33.
8 Ibid. viii. 12.
'Ibid. 4, 5.
they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind"."
Sensible, then, of our necessities, and touched with gratitude to him, who hath visited, enlightened, and redeemed us, let us "walk in the light of the Lord;" let us not shrink and retire from it, even though it discovers to us our sinfulness and guilt, our responsibility and danger. Let us not disbelieve Jesus "because he tells us the truth." When it is demanded of us, "Dost thou believe in the Son of God?" we can now have no plea to offer in excuse for that ignorance, which would lead us to say, as the man who was cured of his blindness said, "Lord, who is he, that I might believe on him?" Let us then answer with him, "Lord, I believe."-He worshipped Jesus. And we must also" honour the Son even as we honour the Father."-Jesus hath also declared that "whoso keepeth his saying, shall never see death, but shall have the light of life." He has "visited us, as the day-spring from on high, to guide our feet into the way of peace." And oh! that “ the things, which belong to our peace, may never be hid from our eyes;" that "the God of this world, who blindeth the minds of them that believe not, may not prevent the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, from shining
a John ix. 39.