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For be only Spake what the Father had taught him.
Dall unavoidably die in your Sins, and are in Ef- Sect. 103.
fect the Murtherers of your own Souls (e). w 25 Then said they unto Then said they. to him, in proud Derision, Wbo
be John VIII.,
26. him, Who art thou ? And art thou, that such great Regard should be paid to Jesus faith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you thee, and that it should be so fatal a Thing to from the Beginning. neglect thee? And Jesus said to them, Truly, be
26 I have many Things cause I am still speaking to you to this very Day in
rity, and pass an immediate Sentence of Condem-
Perverseness and Contempt..
pared with what he had said before ; (yet) fo Father.
exceeding stupid, and so prejudiced were their
- obstinate (e) Are in Effect the Murtherers of your own Souls.] The Repetition of the Threatning here, from ver. 21. is a very awful Rebuke to the Folly of their Answer, ver. 22. as if our Lord had said, " It very ill becomes you, to trifle and amuse yourselves with such filly and “ spightful Turns, when your Life, even the Life of your Souls, is at Stake, and to talk “ of my killing myself, when by your Unbelief and Impenitency you are plunging yourselves " into eternal Death.” Thus do those Passages in our Lord's Discourses, which to a careless Reader might seem flat Tautologies, appear, on an attentive Review, to be animated with a most penetrating Spirit, and to be full of Divine Dignity. A Remark, which will frequently occur, especially in reading those Discourses of Christ, which Yohn has thro' the infinite Goodness of God to his Church recorded, after they had been omitted by the other Evangelists.
(f) Truly, because I am still speaking to you, I have many Things to say and judge concerning you.] I entirely agree with the learned Raphelius, ( Annot. ex Herod. pag. 292,- 303.) that all the Difficulty of these Words arises from a Mistake in the Pointing, as they stand in molt Copies; and I think his Method of restoring the true Reading and Sense, the easiest and jultest, I have ever met with. He would point them thus, 'Inv apznv, ble ned adhw vulv, mondd $%w mepl um.cv daney xeli XplVEV. All that know any thing of the Greek Language, know that Tuy ap x nv often signifies indeed, or truly; and so the Translation I have given is very literals. and ma kes a very good Sense. Mr. Fleming would render it, I am, as I said to you, The, Beginning, i.e. the Person spoken of Gen. i. I. and elsewhere, under that Title : But this, . as well as our own Version, is not any thing like a just and Grammatical Translation ; tho' to be su re there is a Sense in which Christ may most properly be called the Beginning. Com-. pare Cod, i. 18. Rev. i, 8. xxi. 6. xxii. 13. (See Fleming's Christology, Vol. i. pag. 281.),
70 Reflections on the Danger of neglecting CHRIST. Sect. 103. obstinate as to persist in your Infidelity, till you the Son of Man, then shall proceed, even to take away my Life ; but when,
Je know that I am he, and John VIII. ?
hat I do nothing of nivfelf. after all your profeffed Desire of his Appearance but as my Father hath taught 28.
and Kingdom, you shall have lifted up that glorious me, I speak these Things.
not left me alone : for I do
IMPROV E M E N T. CUCH may our Character ever be, as we desire the Supports of the Fohn viii. D Divine Presence! Whoever be displeased, may we always do the 29. Things which please him, and labour, whether present or absent from the
Body, to be still approved and accepted of him! (2 Cor. v. 9.) Ver. 12. Our Blessed Redeemer is the Light of the World. With how much
Pleasure should we behold his Rays ! With how much Chearfulness should we follow, whithersoever he leads us; as well knowing, that we shall not then walk in Darkness; and God forbid, we should ever seek it, as the Shelter and Screen of wicked Works!
May we with all Candour and Humility regard, and submit to the Ver. 17, 18. Testimony, which the Father has borne to him in so express, and incontestable
a Manner! Dreadful would be the Consequence of our refusing to do it. Ver. 21, 24. The Doom of these wretched Yews would be ours, to die in our Sins. And oh, how insupportable will that guilty Burthen prove in a dying
(s) You Mall then know, that I am he.] This undoubtedly refers to the Prodigies attending his Death, his Resurrection, and Ascension, the Descent of the Spirit, the amazing Miracles wrought by the Apostles in his Nanie, &c.— But I am careful not to put such Words into our Lord's Mouth in the Paraphrase, as would have been unsuitable to the Reserve, which, on some of these Heads, Prudence obliged him to keep ; or such, as in other Instances, would have superseded farther Enquiry into the Meaning of what he said. I think it most natural to refer these to the Notes, or to the Paraphrase on some following Paflage.
Many believe, and are inclined to follow him. Hour, and before the Tribunal of GOD! How will it sink us into Condem- Sect. 103. nation, and Despair ! In vain shall those, who now despise him, then seek w Admittance to the World where he is : Thither they cannot
ne is : Thither they cannot come, and if Ver. 21. excluded from him, must be excluded from Happiness.
Juftly might it long tince have been our Case : For surely he has many Ver. 25, 26. Things to say of us, and to judge concerning us, should he lay Judgment to the Line, after his having been so long with us; yea, after we have, as it were, seen him lifted up and set forth as crucified among us. (Gal. iii. 1.)
May this faithful Admonition prevail to our Conviction and Reforma- Ver. 28. tion, that our everlasting Condemnation may not farther illustrate the Reafonableness, yea the Necessity of it, and the Madness of hardening our Hearts against it!
Treasury, the Day after the Feast of Tabernacles; and
John VIII. 30.
m i Heavenly Father, as authorizing the whole of John his Administration; and as he was speaking these so Words, many of his Hearers were lo struck with them, that they believed on him (a), and were strongly inclined to follow him as the Messiah.
Then (a) Many believed on him.] One can hardly think, that the Ambiguity of the Expression of the Son of Man's being lifted up, (ver. 38.) engaged them to this, in Hope that it might intimate some Exaltation to a Temporal Kingdom. It is more reasonable to believe, that they felt their Hearts impressed with what they heard from him in the whole preceding Discourse. Yet it is obfervable, that in the Series of it, he advances no new Proof of his Mision : So that probably these people were wrought upon, by what they observed in the Temper and. Conduct of Chrift; bearing the Perversenefs of his Enemies with so much Patience, speaking of an ignominious and painful Death with such holy Composure, and expressing so genuine and lively a Sense of his Heavenly Father's Approbation, and so sweet a Complacency in it.- And, perhaps, would Ministers generally allow themselves to open with Freedom the native Workings of a Heart deeply impressed with the Gospel, the secret Charm might subdue those, whose Subtlety and Prejudice might be Proof against the most conclufive abstract Reasoning.
72 If they continued in his Word, the Truth would make them free. Sect. 104. Then y ejus, knowing the Weakness and Treach- . 3. Then said Jefus to
e ry of the human Heart, and the Difficulties which thole Jews which believed John VIII.
on him, If ye continue in 1. would lie in the Way, if they attempted to put my Word, then are ye my 31.
that Inclination into Practice, said to those of the Disciples indeed ;
ciples indeed, and I will finally own you as such.
. in its full Compass and Extent, so far as it is ne-
shall make you free.
is the Privilege of my Disciples alone.
We be Abraham's Seed, and not already free ; and strangely forgetting the Ser- any Man: how fayeft thou, vitude of Egypt and Babylon, and how often their Ye shall be made free! Nation had been conquered by others, and even how low it was at present reduced by the Roman Power, confidently answered him, "We are the Seed of Abraham, a Person always free, and the peculiar Favourite of Heaven ; and we have never been in Slavery to any Man whatever, nor do we fear that God will permit us to be so; how thendost thou say to us, "You shall be made free upon
becoming my Disciples ? 34. Jesus waving what he might easily have re- „,34 Jesus answered them, plied as to their former History, and the prelent Whosoever comặitteth Sin,
Verily, verily I say unto you, State of their Civil Affairs, that he might give no is the Servant of Sin. unnecessary Offence, answered them, Verily, verily I say unto you, and recommend it to your Confideration as a most important Truth, that every one who habitually practises Sin (b), and goes on in a Course of it, is the Slave of Sin; and that is a Servitude by far meaner, and more dreadful, than the Yoke of an Earthly Tyrant. Now as the 35 And the Servant aServant does not always abide in the Family of his
bideth not in the House for
ever : Master, but is at his Lord's Pleasure, liable to be
(6) Who habitually practises Sin.] Tolev audpleov seems a Phrase of the very fame Import, with working Iniquity : I have therefore rendered it, practises Sin, as that Word generally Signifies an habitual Course of Action.
. If the Son made them free, they should be free indeed. 73
John VIII. of Sin, promise yourselves, that you shall still,
ther's House, and his Power and Influence are
only Only-begotten Son of God, and the Heir .
tural Way the Posterity of Abraham (e), as Ishmael
but is of a Tenour directly contrary to your Pre-
have is to
(d) If the Son make you free, &c.] Archbishop Tillotson (Vol. iii. pag. 578.) thinks, that this alludes to a Custom in some of the Cities of Greece, and elsewhere, whereby the Son and Heir had a Liberty to adopt Brethren, and give them the Privileges of the Family.
(e) I know that you are the Pofterity of Abraham.] It seems probable, that our Lord speaks this, not to those who believed in him, but to some others in the Company; and that the Phrase, They answered him, ver. 33. only signifies, that some who were present, made such VOL. II.