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how suddenly the moment of death may come, and how great danger there is that one may have no time, perhaps, no power to repent. It is a dreadful thought that Christian souls through Satan's wiles too often become guilty of spiritual suicide; they destroy themselves. How earnestly then should we pray that we may not die in mortal sin.
Third Thought.-The connection between murder and lying is not immediately apparent, yet our Lord's meaning seems to be that Satan has found falsehood the most potent weapon in his work of slaying souls, or of persuading them to slay themselves. He abode at first in the truth, amid all the true things of God's kingdom; but he chose himself as the end of his being instead of his Maker. He had taken the false good for the true, and he was speedily undeceived. But ever after that he has made falsehood his tool-it may be no other tool is allowed him. He persuaded Eve in the garden that the forbidden tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise. It was all a lie, but it was successful. Since that time he has been ceaselessly persuading men that sensual indulgence is not wholly bad; that there are a great many sinless and satisfying pleasures to be found among
the things which God forbids. He has been persuading men that covetousness is by no means altogether wrong; that we must acquire wealth if we would be happy, even though God's law warns us of the snare of desiring money. He has been persuading men that pride is a very necessary and useful thing to everyone here in this world, no matter if God teaches it to be a sin. Men suffer themselves to be deceived, though they know that the things which Satan says contradict those which God says. The lie is more attractive to human nature, and they go on repeating it as if they did not know it to be a lie, and so they become forever the children of the Evil One.
"And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?"-St. John viii. 45, 46.
Exposition.-Alford paraphrases the first verse thus: "The very reason ye do not believe me is because I speak the truth-you not being of the truth, but of him who is falsehood itself. This implies a charge of wilful striving against known and recognized truth." Euthymius fills up the context, "If I should speak a lie ye would believe me, as speaking what properly belongs to your father."
Isaac Williams comments as follows: "False children of Abraham, with false show of piety, seeking false honour, false riches, false freedom, falsely accusing, falsely pretending a love of truth; all these things show you to be the children of the devil. Therefore ye love not Christ, the Truth, and are not the sons of God; but the false Christ ye will receive. Which of you convinceth me of sin? Thus afterwards, before the
Sanhedrim If I have done evil, bear witness of the evil; and thus often, in the Old Testament, as if in type and anticipation of His standing in judgment. The Lord hath a controversy with His people. O my people testify against me. 'Consider here,' says St. Gregory, 'the meekness of Christ, Who, when He came to release from sins, and by the power of His Godhead could justify the sinner, yet deigns from reason to Ishow that He is not a sinner.'
St. Chrysostom represents our Lord asking: "For on what account would ye kill me? What charge have ye to bring against me? If there be none, why do ye not believe me?" He goes on: "Thus then having proved them to be of the devil by their lying and their murder, He showeth them also to be alien from Abraham and from God, both because they hated One Who had done no wrong, and because they would not hear His word; and in every way He proveth that He was not opposed to God, and that it was not on this account that they refuse to believe, but because they were aliens from God. For when One Who had done no sin, Who said that He came from God and was sent of God, Who spake the truth, and so spake it as to challenge all to the proof, after this was not believed, it is clear that He was not believed because of their being carnal. Since sins do use, yea they do
use to debase a soul. Wherefore It saith, Seeing ye are become dull of hearing; for when a man cannot despise earthly things, how shall he ever be wise concerning heavenly things?"
Sadler says: "They believed Him not, because the truth He had been telling them was unwelcome to them. But what truth had He been pressing upon them? No other than His divine claims as working with the Father, seeing what was in the Father, teaching what He had learned in the bosom of the Father. They ostensibly rejected these high supernatural pretensions as blasphemy, but they really rejected them because the nearer the Lord claimed to be to the eternal Father, the greater His demands on their obedience, and the less likely that He should be the carnal Messiah which they desired. Which of you convinceth me of sin? None but a sinless Being, One Who was wholly unconscious of any deviation from the good and right within Him, would be able to say this." Godet says, "Had He been merely a supereminently holy man, with a conscience as tender as such a degree of sanctity implies, He would not have suffered the smallest sin, whether in His life or heart, to pass unperceived; and what hypocrisy it would, in this case, have been to put to others a question whose favourable solu