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that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ?”
The fault, then, must have been in the Jews themselves, whose hearts were hardened. Let us consider their behaviour.
Jesus did among them works beyond the power of man. They could not deny it. What then ? Did they come forward in a body, and acknowledge with Nicodemus, “ Thou art a teacher come from God?” Or say, like Simon Peter, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God ?” No: they perverted the people's minds, by affirming, “ This man doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils :”+ and agreed, that “ if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Again, in the course of Jesus's teaching, many things fell from him which they either could not understand, or did not like to understand. What did they then? Wait for further instruction ? Inquire humbly, examine patiently? No. They complained, “ This is a hard saying; who can hear it? From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” 6
Others heard what they could not refute, and saw what they could not deny. But, as we are here told, because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.
4 Matt. xii. 24.
5 John ix. 22.
6 John vi. 60. 66.
Now without doubt God could have so changed the hearts of all these persons, that they should have cast away their worldly fears, and their presumptuous murmurings, and their obstinate defiance, and have fallen on their knees before Jesus, confessing, " Thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel.” He did this in the case of Saul, and stopped his career of malice and blasphemy. “ He will have mercy on whom he will
” " And who art thou, O man, who repliest against God ?”? But such is not the usual course of his dealings
"The earth which drinketh in the rain which cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God.”8 This is the ordi
rule. While “ he that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”9 So it proved with this generation ;-as Isaiah had foretold, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted. There is nothing uncommon either in the conduct of the Jews, their hardness of heart; or in its consequence, their rejection. Some of them turned away their eyes from evident truth : could not deny it, but would not see it. How many do the same ! cast aside the book which they are unable 7 See Rom. ix. 16. 19.
8 Heb. vi. 7. 9 Prov. xxix. 1.
to refute, but unwilling to be ruled by:-avoid the preacher, who presses closely upon their consciences, with much the same words perhaps as were used towards our Lord himself “he perverteth the people :"_" we know not whence he is.”
Others of the Jews stifled conviction. man doth many miracles : but if we let him alone, the Romans will come and take away our place and nation.” Or, because of the Pharisees, did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. How many do likewise ; and are led by some worldly reasons to resist the impression of their conscience ! They engross themselves in continual cares: never leave their minds unoccupied ; feel an inward sense that all is not right, yet do not live as disciples of Christ, because of the habits to which they are attached, the companions or the pleasures which they do not choose to resign.
And shall it be said, that God is unrighteous, if he leaves such hearts in their barren lifeless state, and that in calling them to account hereafter, he is as one who seeks to reap where he has not sown? The truth is, that men WILL NOT come unto Him, that they might have life.” How often would he have gathered his children together, “ even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and they would NOT ?” i
They would NOT : and have left us a warning “ lest there be in any an evil heart of unbelief,” so
1 Matt. xxiii. 37.
as to “receive the grace of God in vain.” Rather “ seek the Lord, while he may be found, call upon him while he is near :" and walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.
CHRIST REPRESENTS HIMSELF AS SENT BY THE FATHER, TO BE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
John xii. 44-50.
44. Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
45. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
66 No man
Our Lord repeats here, what he had often affirmed before, that what we know of the Father, we know of him through the Son. knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.'
It is not so much respecting the nature or the majesty of God that he speaks, as respecting his will and counsels. And this is what concerns us. In regard to the being and majesty of God, what Job has expressed will be always true : “Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection ?” But in regard to the will of God towards man, that is revealed to us in
the gospel; and whoever sees by faith, that is, believes in-Jesus Christ, sees God, whose will he represents, whose counsels he discloses. So in what follows.
46. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49. For I have not spoken of myself ; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
The terms here used are well worth our considering. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. This clearly implies, that without him, men are in darkness; and it is a just description. Consider what it is to be in darkness. Our Lord himself describes it : “If any man walketh in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him." He stumbleth ; or he wanders out of the way altogether, and in the end finds that he has wearied himself in vain, that his whole course has been mistaken. Such was the case with the heathen. They worshipped as God they knew not