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him should not perish, but have 17. everlasting life. For God sent
not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be 18. saved. He that believeth on him is not (t) condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because (u) he hath not believed in the name of the only19. begotten Son of God. And this is (x) the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were 20. evil. For every one that doeth
evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his 21. deeds should be reproved: But
he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made
was upon him, and with his stripes we "are healed." So 1 John iv. 9. "In this "was manifested the love of God to"wards us, because that God sent his "only begotten Son into the world, that "we might live through him."
(t) "Not condemned," i. e. escapes condemnation; is exempted from the condemnation to which he would otherwise be liable.
(u)" Because," &c. If all have sinned, (and who has not?) if condemnation is the ordinary consequence of sin, and faith in Christ is the only condition upon which God will exempt from condemnation, it follows, that he who will not perform the condition (by believing in Christ) must continue in a state of condemnation. This corresponds with what St. Peter says, Acts iv. 12. "Neither is "there salvation in any other: for there " is none other name under heaven given "among men whereby we must be "saved." Ought not we to turn in our minds the observation, Heb. ii. 3. "How "shall we escape, if we neglect so great "salvation?"
(x)"This is the condemnation," i. e. (perhaps) this justifies it, this shews its propriety and reasonableness, that it is sin only that obstructs this belief: whoever
manifest that they are wrought in God.
Tuesday in Whitfun Week.
For the Epistle. Acts viii. 14. WHEN the apostles which were
at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John (y) who, when they were 15. come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost (for as yet he was fallen 16. upon none of them; only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then (z) laid they 17. their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
has a good disposition, is ready to walk in God's commandments, and to do his will, must be convinced: the proofs are so decisive, it is only where the disposition to examine and judge is obstructed by sinful habits and sinful propensities, that belief can be withheld. If when our Saviour has put into our hands the power of driving out Satan we do not choose to co-operate, but rather prepare ourselves to give him again a welcome reception, we have no right to complain if we are worse off than if our Saviour had not given us this power. Matt. xii. 45. (See post, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.
(y)" John," i. e. the Evangelist. (2) "Laid," &c. This was a point .17. on which the apostles could not well be deceived. They must have known whether the persons on whom they laid their hands did receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And their conviction as to this, and their other extraordinary powers, with their assurance of our Saviour's Resurrection and Ascension, would satisfy them beyond all doubt that God was with them, and accounts decisively for their courage, intrepidity, and exertions in preaching the gospel.
(a) This is a continuation of our Saviour's reproof to the Pharisees, after he
66 you, He (b) that entereth not || by the door into the sheepfold, "but climbeth up some other "way, the same is a thief and a 2. " robber. But he that entereth "in by the door is the shepherd "of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep "hear his voice: and he calleth "his own sheep by name, and "leadeth them out. And when "he putteth forth his own sheep, " he goeth before them, and the "sheep follow him: for they "know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but "will flee from him for they "know not the voice of stran6. "gers." This parable spake Jesus unto (c) them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
had restored to sight the man that was born blind. The Pharisees had been questioning the man; and upon his inferring from the miracle that Jesus must be of God, had cast him out.
(b)" He that entereth," &c. i. e. as a clandestine intruder; one who does not come in openly, or by the ordinary entrance, is naturally concluded to be a thief and a robber; so may you fairly conclude, that he does not come from God, whose works are such as God would never sanction: if the means are bad, it is not unfair to infer that the end cannot be good. You may judge by what he does, whether a man is an impostor or not. And on the contrary, as he who enters in by the door is rightly supposed to be the shepherd, so if my works are such as none but one who came from God could do, you ought to be convinced that I really did come from God. And I not only "enter in by the "door," that is, do these works, but I am the door itself, (verse 7.); it is through me alone that any can enter. See infra, verse 7.
(c) "Them," i. e. the Pharisees. (d) "The door." Our Saviour here advances one step farther. He had be
Then said Jesus unto them again, 7. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, "I am the (d) door of the sheep. "All that ever came before me 8. "are thieves and robbers: but "the sheep did not hear them. "I am the door : by me if any 9. "man enter in, he shall be "saved, and shall go in and out, "and find pasture. The thief 10. "cometh not, but for to steal, "and to kill, and to destroy: I
am come that they might have "life, and that they might have "it more abundantly."
TRINITY SUNDAY. (e)
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God,
fore inferred, that he was the true Shepherd, because "he entered in by the "door ;" and he now intimates, that it was by him only that any could enter; that there was no other means of salvation but through him. So he says, John xiv. 6. "I am the way, and the
truth, and the life: no man cometh "unto the Father, but by me." And agreeably thereto St. Peter says, Acts iv. II. "There is none other name under "heaven given amongst men whereby 66 we must be saved."
(e) Upon the subject of this great mystery, it may not be amiss to notice, with some little alteration, the humble language of the great Hooker, Book 1. s. 2. p. 71. Dangerous it were for
"the feeble brain of man to wade far "into the nature of the Most High; "whom although to know be life, and "joy to make mention of his name, yet "our soundest knowledge is, to know, "that we know him not as indeed he is, "neither can know him and our safest "eloquence concerning him is our si"lence, when we confess, in humble contemplation, that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness above our capacity and reach. He is above, and we
who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee, that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.
For the Epistle. Rev. iv. 1. AFTER this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, "Come up hither, and I will "shew thee things which must be "hereafter." And immediately And immediately I was in the (f) Spirit: and, behold, a throne (g) was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine-stone : and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like 4. unto an emerald. And round
upon earth; therefore it behoveth our "words to be wary and few." The words in italics are alterations.
(f)" In the spirit," i. e. in a vision, or trance ;-spiritualized.
(g) "A throne," &c. This seat, and those of the twenty-four elders, &c. &c. correspond exactly with the form of the encampments in the wilderness. See infra note on verse 7. The throne answers to the tabernacle, the elders to the Levites and priests, and the beasts to the four camps of Israel.
(b) "Four beasts." the Christian churches quarters of the world.
These represent through the four
(i) "A lion," &c. The Israelites had four standards, that of Judah, Ephraim, Reuben, and Dan; and the first had the ensign of a lion, the second that
about the throne were four and twenty seats and upon the seats. I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And be fore the throne there was a sea of glass, like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four (b) beasts, full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a (i) lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them (k) six wings about him; and they were full of (1) eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying," Holy, "holy, holy, Lord God Al
mighty, which was, and is, and "is to come." And (m) when 9. those beasts give glory and ho
of an ox, the third that of a man, and the fourth that of an eagle. In their encampments and marches in the wilder ness, according to Numb. ii. Judah was to take the east, Ephraim the west, Reuben the south, and Dan the North; and the tabernacle and Levites were to be in the midst. So Ezek. i. 10. the four living creatures which came from the north had the faces of a man towards the south, of an eagle towards the north, of a lion on one side, and of an ox on the other.
(k) "Six wings," to fly about every v where to fulfil God's commands.
()" Of eyes," i. e. sharpsighted, to understand God's mysteries.
(m)" When," &c. i. e. when the v churches perform their services, the elders fall down, &c.
(n)" By night," therefore probably secretly, for fear of the Jews."
(0) Verily," " &c. This was per
haps intended as a rebuke to him, for coming by night: and the meaning probably is, it is not sufficient for you privately to acknowledge me, I must have a public avowal. If you are really_convinced I am the Messiah, no fear of man must deter you from professing it. Agreeably to Matt. x. 32. "Whoso66 ever shall confess me before men, him " will I also confess before my Father "which is in heaven; but whosoever "shall deny me before men, him will I "also deny before my Father which is "in heaven.” So Luke xiv. 26. “If
any man come to me, and hate not" (i. e. in comparison of his duty to me) "his father and mother, and wife and "children, and brethren and sisters, yea, " and his own life also, he cannot be my "disciple."
(p) "Born again," i. e. regenerate, putting off all carnal habits, dispositions, &c. and putting on spiritual ones. "Put"ting off," according to Ephes. iv. 22. "the old man, which is corrupt," &c. "and putting on the new man, which "after God is created in righteousness, " and true holiness." The expressions of "being renewed," "putting off the "old man," and "putting on the new << man," or 66 putting on Christ," are not unfrequent. Thus, Ephes. iv. 23.
Jesus by (n) night, and said unto him, "Rabbi, we know that "thou art a teacher come from "God; for no man can do these "miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." Jesus 3 answered and said unto him, Verily (0), verily, I say unto "thee, Except a man be born again (p), he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicode- 4. mus faith unto him, "How can a "man be born when he is old? cc can he enter the second time "into his mother's womb, and be "born?" Jesus answered, " Ve- 5′ rily, verily, I say unto thee, "Except a man be born of
St. Paul tells the converts to put off the old man, and put on the new, and "to be "renewed in the spirit of your mind." So Col. iii. 9, 10. he speaks of them as having "put off the old man with his deeds, "and having put on the new man, which "is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him," viz. God. In Rom. xii. 2. he tells them to be "transformed in the renewing of their "mind." And Rom. xiii. 14. he exhorts them to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, "and not make provision for the flesh, 66 to fulfil the lusts thereof." In Gal. iii. 27. he reminds them, that " as many "them as had been baptized into Christ, "had put on Christ." And Gal. vi. 15. he says, "In Christ Jesus neither circum"cision availeth any thing, nor uncir"cumcision, but a new creature." And 2 Cor. v. 17. "If any man be in Christ, "he is a new creature." So in the Old
Testament, Ezek. xi. 19. "I will give "them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh." And Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. "I will sprinkle "clean water upon you, and you shall "be clean, &c. a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put "within you." So Ps. li. 1o. "Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Persons admitted as proselytes into the Jewish
(q)" Of water and of the spirit," i, e. purified from his evil propensities, habits, &c. and disposed to spiritual virtues.
(r) "Is flesh," i. e. is carnally disposed. "Is spirit," i. e. is spiritually disposed. So Gal. v. 17. "The flesh lusteth against "the spirit, and the spirit against the "flesh." And Rom. viii. 5. 66 They "that are after the flesh, do mind the
things of the flesh, but they that are "after the spirit, the things of the spi"rit; for to be carnally minded is "death," &c.
(s) The wind," &c. The meaning probably is, your inability to account for a thing should not induce you to conclude it cannot exist. You cannot account for the wind: you know not whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth, yet you do not conclude that it has no existence; on the contrary, its effects prove to you that it has so your inability to account for this "being born again," or " being "born of water and of the spirit," must not induce you to conclude it impossible. So far from it, its effects will be so plain, as to put the matter past all doubt.
(t) "That we do know," &c. Not upon conjecture, or with doubt; we have. the assurance of knowledge and sight, and therefore speak with perfect confi-dence.
(u)" Earthly things," i. e. perhaps, things to which you have something bearing a resemblance: as the notion of
being born again" prevails upon the admission of a proselyte, and might therefore in this instance also be understood.
(x)" But he," &c. Therefore who but he, or so well as he, can tell you of heavenly things, can know God's plans, the scheme of man's redemption, the necessity of being born again, &c.
(y)" As," &c. our Saviour apprizes him that part of God's scheme was his crucifixion-this is one of the " heavenly things" mentioned in verse 12. (z) "The serpent," &c. God had ' sent serpents amongst the Israelites for murmuring against him, which bit them, so that they died: Moses, at their instance, interceded with God for them, and God ordered him to make a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole, and promised, that every one that was bitten, when he looked upon it, should live: Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole; and it came to pass, if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived. Numb. xxi. 7, 8, 9.