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Jesus reproves the Blindness of the Pharisees.

209

39.

SECT. CXXXII.
CHRIST admonishes the Pharisees of their Danger ; and

represents himself as the Door of the Sheepfold, thro' which
Men must necessarily enter, if they desire their own Sal-
vation, or that of others committed to their Care. John
IX. 39, to the End. X. 1,---10.
John IX. 39.

John IX. 39. AND Jesus said, For W H ILE Jesus stood talking with the Sect. 132. ^ Judgment I am come

Blind Man who had received h into this World : that they

the John IX. which see not, might see several People, who were then entering into the and that they which see, Temple, knowing them both, and desirous to might be made blind. :

hear what passed, gathered together about them:
And Jesus said, so that they all might hear him,
You may see in this Man, and in what has hap-
pened in relation to him, an Illustration of the
Effects which my Appearance is to produce : For
I am come into this world for Judgment, as well
as Mercy; that, on the one Hand, they who see
not, might see, or that the ignorant Souls, who
are willing to be instructed, might learn Divine
Knowledge ; and on the other Hand, that they
who fee, may be made Blind ; that such as are
proudly conceited of their own Science and Wif-
dom, may either be humbled, or exposed ; and
they who wilfully stand out, and harden their
Hearts against my Instructions, may bring upon

themselves yet greater Darkness.
..40 And some of the Pha- And I some of the Pharisees, who were then 40
Tisees which were with him, present with him, heard these Things, and appre-
heard these Words, and said
unto him, Are we blind also? nenam

hending that he glanced at them, said to him, Are
we also Blind? and dost thou mean to insinuate
any thing of that Kind ? If thou dost, speak
plainly. And this they said, hoping thereby to
draw him into fome dangerous Reflection on the
Sanhedrim, who had lately passed their Censure

on the Man whose Eyes he had opened.
,,41 Jesus said unto them, Yesus said to them. If you were indeed Blind, 41
If ye were blind, ye should

and laboured under unavoidable Ignorance, you
would not then have any Sin, in Comparison of
Vol. II.

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210 He declares himself to be the true Shepherd, Sect. 132. what you now have (a); but now you say, Surely have no Sin : but now ye w we see' much more clearly than the reft of Man- tako

an fay, We see ; therefore your

Sin remaineth. hn IX. kind, therefore your Sin abides upon you with

greater Aggravation; and this Conceit which you
have of your own Knowledge hinders Conviction,
and prevents the first Entrance of Instruction into

your Minds. . John X. 1. Nevertheless, whether you will hear, or whe- JOHN X. 1. Verily, ther you will forbear, I will for a while longer verily I lay unto you, He

that entreth not by the continue my Admonitions; and therefore, Verily, Door into the Sheepfold, but verily I say unto you, who call yourselves the Shep- climbeth up fome, other herds of the People, that he who enters not by the way, the same is a Thief

and a Robber. Door into the Sheepfold, but climbeth up some other private Way, whatever be the Character he may affume, the same is to be looked upon as no better than a Thief and a Robber. But he that 2 But he that entreth in comes in at the Door, is the true Shepherd of the by the Door, is the Shepherd

of the Sheep. Sheep; and such a one will always chuse to enter

in by that which is the regular appointed Way. 3. To him, as soon as he approaches, the Door-keeper 3 To him the Porter opens the Fold (b); and the Sheep themselves bear openeth; and the Sheep hear

his Voice : and he calleth his Voice with Regard ; and he is well acquainted his own Sheep by Name, with each of them, infomuch that he calls each and leadeth them out.

of his own Sheep by Name (c), and leads them out 4 to Pasture. And when he thus buts forth his 4 And when he putteth own Sheep from the Fold, he himself goes before eth before ihem, and the

forth his own Sheep, he gothem, to guide them to good Pastures, and to Sheep follow him ; for they defend them from any Danger which may occur; know his Voice. and the Sheep chearfully follow him ; for they well

know bis Voice, being daily accustomed to it. 5 But a Stranger they will not follow ; but on the 5 And a Stranger will they

not con

ci Blindness and so your Perver Corporeal bli not have any

(a) If you were indeed Blind, you would not have any Sin, &c.] Elsner, (Obferv. Vol. i. pag. 326.) understands this of Corporeal Blindness; as if our Lord had said, “ It is a great " Aggravation of your Perverseness, that you know by Experience the Difference between « Blindness and Sight, which might convince you of the Importance of such a Miracle, and “ of the Divine Power by which it is wrought."- But the following Words, But notu you say, We fee, suit much better with the Sense given in the Paraphrase.

(b) The Door-keeper opens the Fold.] Grotius does not attempt the Accommodation of this Circumstance : Mr. Cradock interprets it of the Holy Gholt ; and Dr. Whitby of GOD the Father, as giving free Admission to those Teachers who maintained a due Regard to Chrift: An Interpretation, which seems much more reasonable, than to refer it (as fome do,) to Ministers.

(c) Calls his own Sheep by Name.) Dr. Hammond justly infers from hence, that the Eastern Shepherds, at least those of Yudea, gave particular Names to their Sheep, as most Men do to their Dog's and Horses, Their Custom also was, to lead the Sheep, playing on some Musical Instrument.

(d) I am

unto them.

and the Door by which we are to enter in.

211 not follow, but will Alee from contrary, they will flee from him, because they do Sect. 132. him: for they know not the not know the Voice of Strangers. Voice of Strangers.

6 This Parable (pake Je This Thort Parable Jesus spake unto them ; but John IX. 6.. sus unto them : but they un- they did not understand what it was that be said to derstood not what Things them

Things them, but were quite át a Loss to conjecture his

buto they were which he spake

Meaning; tho' his Intent in describing the Cha-
racter of the good Shepherd was plainly, to Thew
how far the Pharisees, who assumed the Name,
were from answering it; and to warn the true
Sheep, or Persons of real Integrity and Simplicity,
of the Danger of being blindly governed, and

guided by them.
y Then said Jesus unto Then Yesus, to clear up what was most obscure 7
them again, Verily, verily

y in his former Discourse; said to them again, Verily,

in his for
I say unto you, I am the
Door of the Sheep. verily i Jay unto you, and solemnly assure you,

that however you neglect me, I am the Door of
the Sheep (d), and it is only by Authority derived

from me, that the People of God are to be
8 All that ever came be- taught and fed. All that ever came before me, 8
fore me, are Thieves and affuming the Messiah's Character, or setting up
Robbers : but the Sheep did
not hear them.

for a despotic Authority in the Church, and teach-
ing other Methods of Salvation than by me (e),
are Thieves and Robbers, Persons of very bad
Designs, who had no Warrant from Above for
what they did ; and whatsoever their Pretences
were, their Administration has a fatal Tendency.
to make Havock of the Souls they should watch
and feed; but the true Sheep, i. e. fincere and

well-disposed Persons, have not heard them, so as
9 I am the Door : by me to relish and regard their Doctrine. I there- 9

'fore repeat it again, as a most important Truth,

that I myself am the Door; and if any one enter

(d) I am the Door &c.] It would be very impertinent to run a long Parallel here, beTween Chrif, and a Door, The Resemblance plainly centers in this one Circumstance ; that as a Man must observe and pass thro' the Door, in order to his making a regular and unjuspected Entrance into a Sheepfold; so he must maintain a proper Regard to Christ, in Troer to his being a true Teacher in the Church, and must pass (as it were) thro' him, or by his Authority, into his Office. It is by a Simile very near resembling this, that Chrift ellewhere calls himself the Way. Yohn xiv. 6. Sett, 173... !) All that ever came before me, &c.] If it could be thewn by any proper Authority,

apo eus ever signifies in Neglect of me, ur apo Jepas palling by a Door, I should with her, Objerv. Vol. i. pag. 327.) prefer that rendering to any other : But as this does not pear; it is evident that the Words must be understood with the Limitation added in the

raphrafe ; for otherwise they would imply such a Reflection on Mofes and the Prophets, as we know our Lord could neyer intend.. . Dd 2

(f) That

Elsner, (Objer

212 Reflektions on Christ's being the Door of the Sheep. Sect. 132. by me, and acknowledge my Authority, be shall if any Man enter in, he shall w w be like a Sheep in his Fold,' safe from the Inva- be saved, and shall go in and

out, and find Pasture. John X. 9. fion of what might injure and destroy him; and

mall go in and out under my Care and Guidance,
and Thall still find good Pasture ; i. e. in Confe-
quence of his Regard to me, and the Enjoyment
of Communion with me, his Soul shall be fed

and nourished with true Doctrine, and shall ob-
10 tain substantial Happiness. For whereas the 10 The Thief cometii

Thief only comes; that he may steal, and kill, and not, but for to steal, and to destroy ; I am come for the Benefit of all my Sheep, come that they might have

kill, and to destroy : I am even that they may have true Life, and that at Life, and that they might length they may have it yet more abundantly (f); have it more abundantly.. a most plentiful Provision being made for their everlasting Comfort and Happiness, even far beyond what has ever been known before.

IMPROV E M E N T.

John ix. 39. I ET us hear with an holy Awe on our Spirits, that the Lord Jesus.

I Christ came into the World for Purposes of Yudgment, as well as of Mercy; and make it our humble Prayer, that we may be inlightened by him, and not sealed up under aggravated Darkness, as a Punishment for our Obstinacy and Impenitence ; for then all the Means of Knowledge, which we have so ba

rted, will rise up to condemn us. - X.7.

· Let Cbrift be regarded by us as the Door, from whom all true Teachers derive their Authority, and to whom they direct their Administrations : And let it be our Care; that we enter by this Door. Let inferior Shepherds

learn their Duty, so plainly suggested here : Let them learn to know their Ver. 3. Sheep, and take as particular Notice as they can, of each single Person

committed to their Care ; and let them go before them in all the Paths of Duty : For what could the greatest Enemy to the Flock do worse, than to lead them by Example into the Paths of Destruction?

Happy Souls, who are entered in by this Gate! Their Safety, their Comfort, is secure; they enjoy a holy Liberty and Plenty, and going in, and coming out, they find Pasture. If we are Strangers to that Entertainment and Refreshment, which arises from Ordinances, (those green Pastures, which Cbrift hath provided for his Sheep in the Wilderness,)

Ver. 9.

we

(f) That they may have it more abundantly.) To refer this latter Clause, at least ultimately, to the Provision which Christ has made for the future and eternal Happiness of all his People, seems beft to suit the other parts of this Discourse, as well as the Genius of the whole Christian Dispensation. Perhaps the Word Episov may intimate, how much this Provision exceeded that made by Mofes.

CHRIST, as the good Shepherd, will die for his Sheep. 213 we have a great deal of Reason to fear, that we belong not to his Flock. Sect. 132. He came, that his Sheep might have Life, and that they might have it morem abundantly ; that greater Provision might be made for their Instruction Ver. 10.. and Consolation now, till they are brought to those better Pastures he intends for them Above. May his Grace prepare us for them and his Hand will certainly conduct us to them ; nor need we fear the darkest Passage in our Way.

II.

S E C T., CXXXIII.
CHRIst describes himself as the good Shepherd, who will

lay down bis Life for the Sheep. John X. 11,---21.
John X. u.

John X. II. I Am the good Shepherd: N U R Lord having thus represented himself Sect. 1330

the good Shepherd giveth. as the Door of the Sheep, and intimated his Life for the Sheep.

the Regards to be maintained towards him, par-John X.. 11..
ticularly by those that professed themselves Teach-
ers of others, now changed the Similitude, and
said, I may also very properly add, that I am
myself, by Way of Eminence, the good Shep-
berd' (a), the Person frequently foretold in Scrip-
ture under that Character. ; (Isa. xl. 11. Ezek.
xxxiv. 23. xxxvii. 24. and Mic. v. 4.) and I most
folly answer it in all its Branches ; especially in
this, that as the good Shepherd on Occasion layeth>
down his very Life for the Defence of his Sheep,
and will expose himself to any Danger for their
Safety, (compare 1 Sam. xvii. 34, 35.) I not only
expose, but sacrifice my Life. for the Good of

my People.
12 But he that is an Hire- The Hireling indeed, who is not the true Shep. 122
ling, and not the Shepherd, herd, and whose own Property the Sheep are not,
whose own the Sheep are
not, seeth the Wolf coming, as soon as he is apprehensive of approaching Dan-
and ger, and sees the Wolf, for instance, or some.:

other (6)I am the good Shepherd. ] Lamy (in his Harmony, pag. 339.) very justly supposes, that there might be some Allusion here to Ifa. xl. 11. But nothing can be more precarious than the Argument he seems to draw from hence, for placing this Discourse at the Feast of Tabernacles, even tho' it should be allowed, that the xlth of Ifaiah was read in the Syna.. gogue at that Time of the Year : For it is certain, our Lord does not confine himself to the . bellen for the Day, in his Quotations from Scripture, or his Allusions to it.

(6) I have

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