Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]



to exhibit truth as that the soul may flourish, the strengthened, and the hope confirmed. My lambs.' rch is often compared to a flock. See ch. x. 1-16. expression my lambs' undoubtedly refers to the the young in the christian church; to those who were years and in christian experience. And the Lord Jesus has been confirmed in the experience of the church, uccess of the gospel among men depended on the care ministry would extend to those in early life. It is in e to this command that Sunday schools have been estaand it is not merely, therefore, the privilege, it is the duty of ministers of the gospel to countenance and patrose schools, as well as other means for spiritual instruction. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, i Jonas, lovest thou me ? He saith unto him, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith nim, Feed my sheep.

od my sheep. The word here rendered 'feed' is different The word in the previous verse. It has the sense of governf judging, and of protecting-the kind of faithful vigilance a shepherd uses to guide his flock, and to make provision st their wants and dangers. It may be implied that the needed for the church is to instruct the young; and both struct and govern those in advanced years. My sheep.' -term commonly denotes the church in general, without ect to age, ch. x.

7 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of nas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because


said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? nd he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; ou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, eed my sheep.

The third time.'

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Jesus three times proposed this question,

eter had thrice denied him. Thus he tenderly admonished im of his fault; reminded him of his sin; and solemnly harged him to be faithful, and vigilant, in the discharge of the luties of the pastoral office. The reason why the Saviour addressed Peter in this manner was doubtless because Peter had just denied him-had given a most melancholy instance of the instability and weakness of his faith, and of his liability to fall. As he had thus been prominent in forsaking him, he took this occasion to give to him a special charge, and to secure his future obedience. This same charge, in substance, he had on other occasions given to all the apostles, Matt. xviii. 18, and there is not the slightest evidence here that Christ intended, as the Papists pretend, to give Peter any peculiar primacy, or eminence in the church. It is worthy of remark that the admonition was effectual.

Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

'Many other things.' Many miracles, ch. xx. 30. Many discourses delivered, &c. 'I suppose,' &c. This is evidently the figure of speech called a hyperbole, This is a mode of speech where the words express more, or less, than is literally true. It is common among all writers. It is commonly the effect of sur prise; or having the mind full of some object, and not having words to express the ideas. At the same time the words convey no falsehood. The statement is to be taken as it would be understood among the persons to whom it is addressed; and as no one supposes that the author means to be understood literally, so there is no deception in the case, no falsehood, and consequently, no impeachment of the man's veracity, or inspiration. Virgil says of a man, "he was so tall as to reach the stars," and mears only that he was very tall. So when John says that the world would not contain the books that should be written if all the deeds and sayings of Jesus were recorded, he clearly intends nothing more than that a great many books would be required; or that it would be extremely difficult to record them all-intimating that his life was active-his discourses numerous-and that he had not pretended to give them all, but only such as should go to establish the main point for which he wrote-that he was the Messiah, ch. xx. 30, 31. The figure which John uses here is not uncommon in the sacred scriptures, Gen. xi. 4; xv. 5. Num. xiii. 33. Dan. iv. 20.

This gospel contains, in itself, the clearest proof of inspiration. It is a connected, clear, and satisfactory argument, to establish the great truth that was the contains the record of the Saviour's profoundest discourses; of his most convincing arguments with the Jews, and of his declarations respecting himself and God. It contains the purest and most elevated views of God to be found anywhere. It is in the highest degree absurd to suppose that an unlettered fisherman could have originated this book. Any one may be convinced of this by comparing it with what would be the production of a man in that rank of life now. But if John has recorded the words of the Lord Jesus, and preserved the true record of what occurred so many years before, then it shows that he was under a Divine guidance, and he is himself a proof-a standing proof of the fulfilment of the promise that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth, John xiv. 26. Of this book, as of all other books of the sacred scriptures, we may, in conclusion, apply the words spoken by John, respecting his vision of the future events of the Church. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this" book "and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand," Rev. i. 3.


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »