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of man bringeth a snare; but they whose eyes Christ has opened in a spiritual sense will see a glory and excellence in him which will animate them boldly to bear their testimony to him, in defiance of all the censures which men can pass, or of all the penalties by which they can enforce them.
The man who had received his sight is again examined before the sanhe
drim, who excommunicate him. John ix. 24–38.
24 "HE sanhedrim were not able to discover any fraud in the mira
cle, they therefore called a second time for the man who had been blind, and said to him, Give glory to God; we know 25 that this man is a profligate sinner. Then answered he and said,
If he be a sinner, I know not of it ; but one thing I know, that 26 whereas I was, blind, I now see. But they again said to him, 27 What did he do unto thee? how did he open thine eyes ? He an
swered them, I have told you already, and ye have not regarded : 28 why would you hear it again ? Would you also become his disci
ples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art this fellow's* 29 disciple, but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God
spake to Moses ; but as for this man*, we know not from whence 30 he is. The man replied and said unto them, Why, in this' re
spect, it is strange that you know not from whence he is, and yet 31 he has opened mine eyes.
Now we know that God heareth not sinners, but if any man be devout, and do his will, him he hear32 eth. From the beginning of the world it was never heard, that 33 any man opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this man 34 were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said
to him, Thou wast entirely born in sins ; and dost thou take upon thee to teach us? And they cast him out, passing a solemn sentence
of excommunication upon him. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and finding him so073 36 afier, he said to him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God ? He
answered and said, Sir, who is he, that I may believe on him? 37 Then Jesus said to him, Thou hast both already seen him, and he 38 that is talking with thee is that very Person. And he said, Lord,
I believe. And he worshipped him.
REFLECTIONS. So little does truth fear repeated examinations; and thus does it, after every trial, come forth like pure gold out of the furnace. So did this miracle of Christ appear to these subtile adversaries ; so will the Christian cause appear to all who will diligently search into its evidence.-Who can forbear wondering at the obstinacy of these Pharisees ? and, on the same principles, at that of the present Jews, who,
* There is nothing in the Greek to answer to the distinction between this fellow” and “ this man.' ED.
while they acknowledge that God spake by Moses, Lecause he wrought miracles, will not, on the evidence of yet more various and glorious miracles, and those attested beyond all contradiction, acknowledge the authority of the Son of God himself?
But we see this poor illiterate creature (for such he undoubtedly was) with the advantage of truth on his side, baffles all the sophistry of his most learned antagonists. Great is the truth, and it will prevail. Great is this truth, so fundamental to the gospel, that Jesus is the Son of God : and this also, which is so important to natural religion and revealed, that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and do his will, him he hears, and most favourably regards. May we be truly devout, and add to our devotion an obedient regard to the divine will, and the eyes of the Lord will be upon us, and his ears be open to our cry! Then, being favourably owned of God, we shall have no reason to fear the censures of men. cast us out, Christ will receive us, and perhaps reveal himself to us with more freedom, in proportion to the injuries we sustain from them.
Christ admonishes the Pharisees of their danger; and represents him
self as the door of the sheepfold through which men'must enter to be saved. John ix. 39. &c. x. l-10.
39 ND while he talked with the man who had received his sight,
the people gathering together about them, Jesus said, I am come into this world for judgment as well as mercy; that they who 40 see not might see, and that they who see might be made blind. And
some of the Pharisees who were with him, heard these things, and 41 said to him, Are we also blind ? Jesus said to them, If you were blind,
you would not have any sin in comparison of what you have : but now you say, Surely we see, therefore your sin abides upon you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, he who enters not by the door* into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a % thief and a robber. But he that comes in at the door, is the shep3 herd of the sheep. To him the door-keeper opens; and the sheep
hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them 4 out to pasture. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes
before them, and the sheep follow him ; for they know his voice. 5 But a stranger they will not follow ; but will flee from him, because 6 they do not know the voice of strangers. This parable Jesus
spake unto them ; but they did not understand what it was that he 7 said to them. Then Jesus said to them again, Verily, verily, I 8 say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came be
fore me, are thieves and robbers : but the sheep have not heard 9 them. I myself am the door : if any one enter in by me, he shall
* It was customary in that country to have sheep secured within walls, Had they only such penns as ours, there would have been no propriety in speaking of the thief climbing up, or of entering by the door. En.
10 be safe, and shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief only
comes that he may steal, and kill, and destroy ; I am come that they may have life, and that, at length, they may have it yet more abundantly.
REFLECTIONS. Let us hear, with an holy awe on our spirits, that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world for purposes of judgment as well as of mercy; and make it our humble prayer that we may be enlightened 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 basely perverted will rise up to condemn us.
Let Christ be regarded by us as the door: [as that glorious person] 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 sheen, 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 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 Christ hath provided for his sheep in the wilderness) we have a great deal of reason to fear that we belong not to his flock. He came that his sheep might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly ; that greater provision might be made for their instruction 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.
Christ describes himself as the good Shepherd. JOHN x. 11-21.
11 UR Lord having represented himself as the door of the sheep,
changed the similitude and said, I am the good shepherd, foretold in scripture under that character*. The good shepherd 12 layeth down his life for the safety of the sheep. The hireling in
deed, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and
leaves the sheep, and slees away, and so the wolf seizes some of 13 them, and disperses the rest of the sheep. Now the hireling flies
because he is an hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 But I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known 15 by mine ; even as the Father knoweth me, and owns his regard
* Isa. xl. 11. Ezek. xxxiv. 13.
to me, and I know, acknowledge, and honour the Father: and I lay 16 down my life for the sheep which he has given me. And I have
other sheep which are not of this fold*: them also must I bring
in, and they will hear my voice, and there shall be one sheep-fold, 17 and one shepherd, For this reason does my Father love me, be18 cause I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes
it from me, but I lay it down of myself; for I have power thorityt to lay it down, and I have power to resume it : this com
mandment I have received of my Father. 19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews, on ac20 count of these words. And many of them said, He has a demon 21 and is distracted; why do you hear him? Others said, These are
not the words of a demoniac : could a demon open the eyes of the blind, as it is plain this man has done ?
REFLECTIONS. There is not, perhaps, any where to be found a greater instance of the force of prejudice than in these perverse Jews, who censured Christ as a lunatic and a demoniac, for one of the gravest and most excellent speeches that was ever delivered. Let us review it with all due attention and 'regard.—Let us consider Christ as the good Shepherd, and humbly commit our souls to him, as ever we desire they should be safe and happy. We have known his kind regards to the flock in exposing and laying down his life for them. And he hath not laid it down in vain. Delightful thought ! Our compassionate Shepherd, even when the sword of the Lord was awakened to smite him, has not so fallen as to rise no more ; but as in this great and good work he voluntarily laid down, so he has also re-assumed his life ; and still bears on his heart the same concern for his flock, and uses his renewed life and exalted dignity for their security and happiness.
Let us humbly acknowledge him as acknowledged by the Father : let us courageously and gratefully own him, and be ready to lay down our lives also for him. We are those other sheep, of whom he spake who were not originally of the fold, but by his grace are now brought in to the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls. Let us pray that the boundaries of his fold may be still more extended, and the whole number of his elect accomplished ; that all the flock may at length appear together, and may be conducted by him to the regions of that immortal life which he determines to give it.
In the mean time let us maintain all proper regards to him, and especially the most cheerful confidence in his care ; repeating with evangelical views, and so with a peculiar sublimity of sense, those words of David as our own (P8. xxiii. 1-4.) The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want : he maketh me to lie down in green pastures ; he leadeth me beside the still waters : he restoreth my soul : he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake : yea, though I walk
* The elect of God among the Gentiles.
through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thout art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Christ, discoursing of his union with the Father, is charged with blas
phemy ; and, being assaulted by the Jews, retires beyond Jordana
John X. 22, &c. 22 OW it was the feast of dedication at Jerusalem, and it was winter.
And Jesus was walking in the temple, in 24 Solomon's porch. Then the Jews surrounded him and said
unto him, How long dost thou hold us in suspense ? If thou art 25 the Messiah, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I have in
effect told you, yet you believe not. The works which I do in my 26 Father's name, they bear witness of me. But
do not believe because you are not of my sheep: you are not possessed of such 27 simplicity as they discover; for, as I said unto you, My sheep hear 28 my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto
them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any 29 pluck them out of my hand. My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of
Father's 30 hand. I and the Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones 32 again to stone him. Jesus answered them, I have shewed you
many good works from my Father: for which of these good works 33 do you stone me? The Jews replying said, We do not stone thee
for a good work, but for blasphemy; even because thou, being a 34 man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written 35 in your law (Ps. Ixxxii. 6.) “I said ye are gods?” Now if he
called them gods to whom the word of God came, merely with re36 gard to their office (and the scripture cannot be broken*) how do
you say concerning him whom the Father hath sanctified and
sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am 37 the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me 38 not. But if I do, though you believe not me, yet believe the works
I perform, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me 39 and I in him.--Then they sought again to seize him ; but he es40 caped out of their hands, and went again beyond Jordan t, to the * Or-This scripture cannot be set aside. W.
The compound text of Matt. xix. 1, 2. and of Mark x. 1. (with which the author begins the next section) relating to the above circumstances, should have been interwoven with this passage. At present it has the appearance of a needless tautology. The editor has therefore begun the next section with the 3d verse, and thrown the passage omitted into this note. “ it came to pass that when Jesus had finished these discourses ( 93—116) he
arose from thence and departed from Galilee. And (after he had been at “ Jerusalem) he came into the borders of Judea, beyond Jordan, [Mark, by " the further side of Jordan.) And great multitudes followed him; and the
people who had formerly seen him at Bethabara resorted to him again; and according to his custom he taught them again, and healed them there.” After this, the words v. 41. would naturally follow :-“ And they said, John indeed, &c.