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The Scribes and Pharisees pursued him with unabating resentment, and were determined either to render him odious to the people, or an offender in the eye of the Roman governor. Accordingly, they brought before him, a woman who had been taken in the act of adultery; desiring him to declare what punishment she ought to şuffer: This woman, said they to our great Redeemer, was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law, commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou ? Had Jesus presumed to pardon the adulteress, and inflicted no punishment on her, they would, doubtless, have represented him as a person who contradicted the law, and favored adultery, which would certainly have rendered him odious in the eyes of the people. On the other hand, had he ordered her to be stoned, it would have afforded an opportunity of accusing him to the Roman governor, as a person who stirred up the people to rebellion; the Romans having, at that time, taken the power of life and death out of the hands of the Jews. But Jesus well knew their wicked intentions, and therefore made them no answer, but stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. They, not satisfied, still continued pressing him to give an answer; when at last, JESUS, in allusion to the law, which ordered that the hands of the witnesses, by whose testimony a criminal was convicted, should first be upon him, said, Ile that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. Our Lord well knew the hearts, and the secret crimes of these furious accusers, and he delivered these words in such a manner, as convinced every person present, that he was acquainted with their secret lewdness and debauchery. This sudden rebuke, had such an effect on them, that they could not reply, but immediately departed, no doubt, fearing if they had staid, Jesus would have exposed their most secret transactions and abominable crimes : they, therefore, durst not proceed in their accusation, but, being convicted by their own consciences, went out one
by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman, who had been standing in the midst. Jesus had been, all the while the Jews were retiring, stooping down and writing on the ground, as though he did not perceive what they were about: but now rising up, and looking upon the woman who stood alone, he asked her, if she had been condemned? To which she answered in the negative. Our Lord saw her covered with shame, and knowing her repentance was sincere, he looked upon her with an eye of pity and for. giveness; and dismissed her with these gracious words, Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.
Curist declareth himself to be the Light of the world,
and justifieth his Doctrine against the Pharisees: He promiseth Freedom, through Knowledge of the Truth, to those Jews who believed on him: Confuteth their vain Boast of being Abraham's Seed, and the Children of God: Answereth their Reviling, by sheving his Authority and Dignity; and, by Miracle rescueth himself from their Attempts to stone him: He restoreth to Sight, a Man that was born blind, who relateth to his Neighbours the Means of his Cure; and he is brought to the Pharisees, who examine strictly into the Fact, and are offended with his Acknowledgment of the divine Mission of the Author; they excommunicate him; he is received of JESUS, and confesseth him. CHRIST taxeth the Pharisees with spiritual Blindness: He declareth himself to be the Door, and the good Shepherd: Divers opinions concerning him. Christ reproveth the fiery Zeal of James and John against the Samaritans, who would not receive him; and proposeth Terms to three Persons, who offer to follow him: He sendeth out the seventy Disciples a second time, to work Miracles and to preach: He pronounceth a Woe against Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum: The seventy return with joy; CHRIST sheweth them wherein to rejoice: He thanketh his Father for having revealed "his Gospel to the Simple only: He teacheth a Lawyer how to attain eternal Life; and, by the Parable of the good Samaritan, sheweth whom we are to consi
der as our Neighbour. Jesus having, by an amazing display of his wisdom and penetration, defeated the malice and mortified the pride of the Scribes and Pharisees, and they being sent away ashamed, under a full conviction that he knew the secrets of their hearts and lives, and having, by his superior wisdom, made use of their own consciences to
defeat their cruel and villainous designs, turned to the people, and with the utmost propriety declared, that he was the light of the world; that light which could
penetrate through the darkness of the human heart, and discover and bring to light the dark designs and wicked devices of the sons of men; that light which could pierce through the outside shew of sanctity and holiness, and discover the secret abominations of the most proud and accomplished hypocrite; and that light which could discover the paths of darkness and error, and lead those who are enabled to follow our Redeemer, in the road to eternal blessedness and rest. Hence, our blessed Saviour declared, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.' John viii. 12,
Some of the enemies of our Lord were amongst the people who heard this declaration, and they were so highly provoked, that they told him, he must be a deceiver because he boasted of himself: Thou bearest record of thyself, said they, thy record is not true. To this, the great Saviour of sinners replied, that he did not call himself the light of the world, from a principle of pride and falsehood, but it was a title that justly belonged to him, which they would acknowledge, had they conceived true ideas of the Messiah's kingdom: but their carnal views had blinded their eyes, and corrupted, and depraved their judgments, so that they did not know from what authority he had received his com. mission, nor whether he should return when he had executed it: Though I bear record of myself, said he, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I
but ye cannot tell whence I came, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. Nor, added he, is there any truth or justice in your remark, that Į bear witness of myself, and have none to witness for me: for let it be known, that my Father is with me; and joins me in whatsoever I say or do: And yet if I judge, said he, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent mo. Įi
is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me, beareth witness of me.
The Jews then inquired, where is thy Father, the other witness to whom thou appealest? To which our Lord replied, that their conduct and foolish inquiries, sufficiently demonstrated, that they were strangers, both to him and to his Father: for, had they known who he was, they would certainly have been at no loss to know who it was that he called his Father; had they known that he was the Messiah, they must have understood that his Father was the great JEHOVAH, that all-wise and all-powerful Being, who was the great Maker, the all-wise and all-potent Preserver, the Supreme Governor, and King of the universe: Ye neither know me, nor my Father, said our great Redeemer; if ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also.
This discourse, the evangelist informs us, was held in the treasury, where the chest was placed for receiving the offerings of all who came up to worship in the temple, and must, therefore, have been a place of great resort, being frequented by all sorts of people; but, notwithstanding the public manner in which our Lord advanced his claim to the character of the Messiah, and the pride and rage of the Scribes and Pharisees, no man attempted to seize him; Divine Providence did not permit them to put their cruel designs into execu. tion, because his hour, or the time of his sufferings and death, was not yet come.
After this discourse was ended, Jesus repeated what he had before told them, declaring that he should short. ly depart from them, and that then they should seek him, and not be able to find him: I go my way, said he, and ye shall seek me,and shall die in your sins. Whither I go, ye cannot come. Perhaps, in these words, he might allude to the state of the Jewish nation after his death, and may be supposed to say, I spon shall depart