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“ witness of me; and I know that the wit“ ness which he witnesseth of me, is true.”
Our Saviour here argues, that had he possessed no other claim to their faith in him, than his own mere declaration, they might have been justified in doubting him; but he had another witness, whose truth could not be doubted; namely, God the Father; who gave testimony of him at his baptism, at his transfiguration, and by his miracles.
33. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. * 34. But I receive not testimony from man : but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
35. He was a burning and a shining “ light: and ye were willing for a season
to rejoice in his light.”
Our Lord goes on to put them in mind of the testimony of John; whom they had
received at first favorably, and who, upon their inquiring concerning him, had expressly pointed him out as the long-expected Messiah that should come into the world ; but declares that, although in compassion to their infirmities and with the hope of bringing them to salvation he appealed to human evidence, his testimony was of a much higher nature.
“ 36. But I have greater witness than " that of John: for the works which the
Father hath given me to finish, the same
works that I do, bear witness of me, " that the Father hath sent me.
37. And the Father himself, which “ hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. “38. And ye have not his word abideing in you : for whom he hath sent, him ye
Besides the testimony given of him by the Father, in the instances before-menFf 2
tioned, the miraculous works which he did, loudly proclaimed his truth; and nothing less than the pride and obstinacy of the Jews, could have withheld their assent from such evident proofs. The works given him by the Father to finish, were to publish the gospel of peace and good-will towards men, and to beat down the partition-wall; that the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, might be admitted into the Catholic or Universal Church.
When God appeared upon mount Sinai, the children of Israel were terrified: “And
they said unto Mofes, Speak thou with “ us, and we will hear; but let. not God
speak with us, left we die.”—(Exodus, chap. xx. ver. 19.) The Jews had not the same excuse to plead, respecting our Saviour: so far were they from fearing him, that, blinded by prejudice, they not only denied, in opposition to the clearest evidence, that he was the Messiah whom the prophets foretold should come into the world, but frequently derided him and his pretensions : they neither saw God, nor
heard his voice, though he dwelt amongst them ; for had they known him, they would have known the Father also.
39. Search the Scriptures ; for in “ them
ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
What an unanswerable reference to unbelievers! The Scriptures were the only guides that the Jews had to point out the Messiah; and they plainly proved Jesus Christ to be the person: there were some parts, however, which did not suit their taste; such as those in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, where he is described as “ a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief;" as despised and rejected of
men.” These, and similar passages which were truly characteristic of our Saviour, they chose to overlook; attending only to such
parts as, by the false construction of spiritual glory into temporal power and rule, flattered their vanity; and which the lowly situation of our Lord by no means fulfilled.
One great reason, says Stanhope, why many who read the scripture history very much, make improvement by no means answerable to their time and pains, is certainly this; that men usually content themselves with a general knowledge of facts related there, without descending to nice circumstances and the manner of performing them, whereas here it is chiefly that the beauty and advantage of history lies: these, rightly judged and aptly applied,
parts best qualified to inform our understanding, and to season all our conversation with prudence and all our behaviour with propriety.
40. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
Strange folly! to reject, by their disbelief in him, fv great salvation! Let us,
whilft we pity their supidity, take care to guard