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I before referred to, that the circumstance which gave so much offence to the Jews was not his saying, that he and the Father were one, but his calling God his father, which, as the Jews thought, or at least pretended to think, implied some peculiar derivation from the Divine Being, and something of a divine nature, which it was highly criminal in a man to affect. To this objection Jesus replies, by showing from the scriptures, that men were called Gods when invested with authority by the Divine Being, and that there: fore he was assuming no divine honours by calling himself the Son of God. He directs their attention to his miracles, however, and not to his own declarations, as the best proof of his claim to the character of the Son of God.
37. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
If I do not those things which none but God can perform, give no credit to my pretensions.
38. 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 hini.
Regard the attestation which he gives to my character, and believe that he is in me, working the miracles which I perform, and I in him, by the knowledge which I have of his counsels, and by the obedience which I pay to his will.
39. Therefore they sought again to take him, but he escaped out of their hands.
They intended not to stone him, as before, for the crime of blasphemy, from which he had vindicated himself; but to bring him before the Jewish council, who, they knew, were desirous to have him apprehended and brought before them.
40. And he went away again, beyond Jordan, rather, “ by the side of Jordan,” into the place where John at first baptized, and there he abode.
He thought that by visiting this place he should recal to their recollection what John had said of him, and induce them to believe in him; and the event proved that he judged rightly.
41. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle.
In that respect he was inferior to most other prophets; but what he said respecting this man proves him to deserve that character.
But all things that John spake of this man were true.
Such declarations as that he should work miracles, be far superior to himself, &c.
42. And many believed on him. there.
1. Let Christians rejoice in the firin foundation on which their faith in the divine mission of Jesus, and the truth of the Christian religion rests. It is built upon miracles, which are the sole work of God in every case, and in the present instance the attestation of the Deity to the declarations of a man professing to have authority from Heaven to instruct the world. To such testimony no reasonable man can refuse to yield: on authority so supported every one may rely, To the simple declarations of a man of an upright and benevolent character much credit is due, especially if his declarations are made in opposition to his own interest, and at the hazard of his life: for nothing but a firm persuasion of the truth could induce any one to affirm what exposes him to so much danger. But it is possible that even a good man may be deceived; that, being misled by the illusions of his own imagination, he may conceive that he has received communications from heaven which were never made, and that, being himself mistaken, he may attempt to impose upon others. But where to the declarations of a man is added the attestation of God, expressed not perhaps always in words, but by facts, which speak a stronger language than any words, we have every security which we can desire for the truth. There is here no room for error or mistake, unless God himself can be mistaken. Such, Christians, is the ground of your faith, and, while it rests upon this foundation, the arts and sophistry of man will attempt in vain to shake it.
2. What reason have we to rejoice in the promise bere made by Christ to his sleep, that he will give them eternal life, and that they shall never be destroyed! A being that will never end; that is to be spent in the best society, and in the enjoyment of the purest delights; which, as it extends in duration, will continually increase in happiness, without any limits, is indeed a valuable gift, in comparison with which every other object of human ambition sinks into nothing, whether it be wealth or power or honour. But who is it that is to bestow so great a blessing, and to communicate so inestimable a prize? Is it only a man, who had all the weakness of human nature, and was himself obliged to submit to death? However weak in himself, he is strong in the power of God. He and the Father are one. The power which belongs to the Father is intrusted to the direction of the Son, and will be employed by him for fulfilling the promises which he has made to his people; particularly, for fulfilling that important promise which assures them of a resurrection fiom the dead, and the possession of an endless life. On him let us rely, without fear,
for all which he has promised, however great or difficult to be accomplished it may appear.
John xi. 1-44*.
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1. Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, fumes,” and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
3. Therefore his sister sent unto him, saying, Lord, Master, behold he whom thou lovest is sick; hoping that he would come and heal him.
4. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
* What is related in the last chapter took place at the feast of dedication (verse twenty-two) which was celebrated about the time of our December; but the resurrection of Lazarus, mentioned in this chapter, happened but a short time before the passover (verse fifty-five) which fell in March: there was, therefore, an interval of about three months between the two periods of those miracles and discourses, of which John gives no account, because they are recorded in the other evangelists. (See Bishop Pearce.) The usual reasons assigned for the omission of so remarkable a story as that of the resurrection of Lazarus, in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, is, that Lazarus was still alive when they wrote, and that a circunstantial relation of his being raised from the dead would have exposed him to danger from the unbelieving Jews; but that being dead, when John wrote his gospel, he was under no such restraint.
This sickness is not designed to produce a permanent death, but only a temporary interruption of life, that God may honour his Son, by enabling him to raise Lazarus from the dead.
5. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
They were his disciples, and showed their respect to him by frequently entertaining him at their house.
6. When he had heard, therefore, that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
This he did that there might be no doubt of his death, when he came to restore him to life.
7. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judæa again.
8. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again ?
9. Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world,
10. But if a man walk in the night he stumbleth, because there is no light in him, rather, “ in it," that is, in the world.
By this obscure language Christ intimates that there was no occasion to fear that his life would be taken away, before the time appointed by infinite wisdom. The disciples had expressed their surprise at the pro