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Nevertheless, although I punish him not, he must not expect to escape with impunity. John iii. 17.


48. He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him, "that condemneth him, the word that I have spoken, the same shall condemn him in the last day.

The doctrine which I have taught is so excellent, and bears such evident marks of having come from God, that to have rejected it will be found sufficient ground for condemnation at the day of judgment.

49. For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father who sent me he gave me a commandment what I should say, or, "what I should command," and what I should speak.

That is, as some understand the words, what miracles I should work and what doctrine I should teach. Jesus grounds the guilt of those who rejected him upon the circumstance of his having had a commission from God for saying and doing as he did.

50. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting, obedience to it is the only means of obtaining everlasting life. Whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

These last words are to be connected with the preceding verse, in which he declares that he did not assume even the office of a public teacher of himself,

From this verse some have inferred that men are not to be tried by Christ in person, but by his gospel. Vol. 2.] 3 N

but that God gave him authority to teach: he now adds that whatever he taught he had instructions for teaching.


1. The conduct of these chief rulers, who believed Jesus to be the Messiah, but were afraid to acknowledge their faith publicly, affords a striking example of the fatal effects of the love of praise, where it becomes the leading object of men's attention. From this motive they refused Christianity the benefit of their testimony in its favour; the testimony, no doubt, of some of the ablest, wisest and most impartial men in that learned body, which would probably have drawn after it the faith of many more in that assembly, and certainly would have had much weight with the common people. By practising concealment and disguise themselves, they sanctioned the like conduct in others, and hereby did unspeakable injury to the interests of truth: yet these men valued themselves for their sagacity in discovering the truth, and for their prudence in avoiding those evils which were connected with the profession of it. Although Christians at heart, they enjoyed the reputation of being Jews, were admitted to the company of the great, and partook of all the pleasures which agreeable and refined society could afford; while they saw those honest but weak men who had the folly and rashness to avow their faith in Christ, prohibited the synagogue, excluded from the company of the rich and learned, and exposed to every kind of mortification and insult. But mark the consequences of their prudence; to secure a little temporary honour, they lost the truly valuable and lasting honour of being steady confessors of the truth in a corrupt age, their names being buried in silence, while those of two of their colleagues, who had the resolution and virtue to do what they declined, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, are handed down with honour

to the latest generations. By courting the favour of men, they lost, what was of far greater value, the favour of Christ and of God; by concealing the truth, they lost all the advantage arising from the knowledge of it: for such prudent and timid believers shall not be ranked with the disciples of Christ, but shall be punished with those who rejected his pretensions altogether. Of those who are thus ashamed of him before men, he will be ashamed before his Father in heaven. If we, my brethren, wish to avoid a like fate, let us beware of imitating the conduct of these timeserving and interested rulers: let us learn to make an open and unreserved profession of the truth, on every subject, without regard to the consequences, whether it relate to the divine authority, to the person or the doctrine of Christ: regarding this profession as a sacred duty, required from us both by God and Christ, and necessary to the welfare of mankind. For truth is the proper food of virtue, and as requisite to its nourishment and perfection as bread is to the support of the animal body, and those can have little regard to the happiness of their brethren, who withhold from them this necessary provision, or suffer them to feed upon what is noxious and unwholesome, or destitute of proper nutriment.

2. Let us learn to respect the authority of Christ. On all subjects to which his commission extended it is the same with that of God: for he teaches nothing but what God authorizes. If his maxims should, therefore, differ ever so much from those adopted by men of the world, or from the rules laid down by philosophers of ancient or modern times, let us bow to his decisions, which are those of infallible truth. If his commandments are ever so hard to be obeyed, let us chearfully submit to them, knowing that he is commissioned to reward our obedience with life everlasting, and to punish our refusal with unspeakable misery. As the words of his gospel are to be the rule by which we are to be tried hereafter, let us make it the rule of our conduct now.

John xiii. 1-17.

In the preceding chapter we found Jesus confessing that he was troubled at the prospect of a violent death, and almost ready to pray that he might be delivered from it; and the subsequent history will afford us further proof of the same painful apprehensions; but this was no more than a transient and momentary feeling. The general state of his mind was a settled composure and calm tranquillity, which left him in full possession of his faculties, and enabled him to attend with his wonted benevolence to the instruction and consolation of those about him. Of the justice of this observation the transaction related in the beginning of this chapter affords a striking proof, and many other examples of it will occur from this time to the period of his death.

The three first verses of the chapter are to be regarded as a general introduction to the incidents and discourses which follow, and were intended to explain the language and conduct of Jesus in making such constant reference to his death and departure from the world.

1. Now Jesus having known before the festival of the passover that his hour was come, when he was to go out of the world, and having loved his own who were with him in the world, he showed his love to them to the last.

Of this the evangelist proceeds to give several examples. In this verse I have followed the rendering of Bishop Pearce principally, which is more correct and intelligible than the common.

2. And supper time being come,

for this is the most approved reading, and the succeeding transactions show that sup per was not begun, the devil having already entered the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, that he might betray him,

By saying that the devil had entered into the heart of Judas, the evangelist only means to say that he had formed the dark design of delivering up his master; attributing that to the devil which was in reality the act of his own mind, and speaking, agreeably to the prevailing language of the Jews, of the devil as the author of moral as well as natural evil. But the truth is that neither one nor the other proceeds from him, and that he has no other existence than in the language or imaginations of the inhabitants of eastern countries. For the clear language of scripture in other places is that the evils of life, as well as its pleasures, proceed from the hand of God, and that the vices of men are to be attributed to themselves. It was proper to men tion here the knowledge which Jesus had of the designs of Judas, in order to account for the expectation which he discovers of his sufferings, and the method which he takes to prepare himself and his disciples for them.

3. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,

That is, that the Father had subjected the heathen world as well as the Jewish, to his authority. In scripture language Jews and Gentiles constitute the whole creation, and that is spoken of in this passage as done, which it was in the divine purpose to do; a mode of speaking which is very common in the New Testament. To this extension of his authority over the heathen world he refers in the last chapter, xii. 23, 24. when visited by the Greeks *.

Or perhaps the words may only mean that all things relating to the Christian dispensation were placed under his direction. John iii. 35.

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