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As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Fa." ther : and I lay down my life for the sheep. · And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice ; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of my. self: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
Others said, These are not the words of him, that hath a devil? Can a devil
eyes of the blind ?
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The discourse between our Saviour and the man born blind, which we lately read*, is supposed to have passed in private : but it seems that a number of persons soon assembled about him, when he took occasion to speak of the judicial power with which he was invested, to be, exerted agreeably to the will of God, and declared the principal end of his coming to be, that ignorant-souls, who were willing to learn, might be instructed in Divine truths; and that such as were proudly conceited of their own wisdom, and wilfully opposed his doctrine, might involve themselves in still greater darkness.
The Pharisees, by their question, Are we blind also ?
* See latter end of Section 1xxxvi.
meant to draw from him some censure upon the San. hedrim. Our LORD wisely defeated their design by replying, that if they had been unavoidably ignorant, they would have had no sin in this case ; but that theirunwillingness to be convinced was a great crime, and prevented their having a knowledge of the truth.
We must observe, that the Pharisees and Scribes pretended they were the true pastors of the church, and that Jesus was an impostor ; and insisted, that the people were bound in duty to adhere to them, and oppose him. To rectify this mistake, our LORD spake a pa. rable *, the design of which was to shew how far the Pharisees, who assumed the name of pastors, were fron answering the character of good teachers; and to warn persons of real integrity and simplicity, of the danger of being blindly governed and guided by them. By calling himself the door, in the following part of his discourse, our Lord intimated, that as a shepherd must pass through the door in order to make a regular and unsuspected entrance into a sheepfold, so every true teacher in the church must pass, as it were, through him, or his authority, into his office, and teach such doce trine as' he should appoint. Our LORD affirmed, that all who before him had pretended to be the MESSIAH were impostors, and pious persons had disregarded them; and that they might do so in future he repeated, that the only way to salvation was through him; and he promised that all who would submit to his care and guidance, should be fed and nourished with true doce trine and substantial happiness ; as the end of his com. ing was to make a plentiful provision for their everlast. ing felicity, far beyond what had ever been known bė. fore. Our LORD then changed the similitude, and re. presented himself as the good Shepherd: which was, in
* Doddridge's Family Expositor. Vol. V,
fact, declaring, that he was the Messiah, or the ARM of the Lord united to the prince of David's race, who was to make a covenant of peace with the world, and call the teachers of Israel to account for their perverted doctrine, covetousness, and deceit.
Our LORD having declared himself to be the good Shepherd, proceeded to assert his intimate knowledge of the FATHER, which implied a constant union with the GODHEAD. He then foretold the calling of the Gentiles into his church; in: ..ating, that his pastoral care, was not confined to the Jewish nation, but, on the con. trary, extended to his sheep, wheresoever dispersed. By his sheep we may understand all who were or should be desirous of knowing the truth, and willing to do their dacy; these by the aid of Divine graće, when the Gos. pel should be offered to them, would easily discern its excellency and embrace its doctrines. Our Lord encouraged his faithful people to love him, by assuring them that he would lay down his life to purchase salvation for them. This, he informed them, would be received as an eminent act of duty by his FATHER, who had appointed this sacrifice, and ordained that he should have power to renew his life. Our LORD declared, that it was not in the power of any man to kill him, unless he voluntarily submitted to death, as he had in himself the principle of life, from his union with God; which Divine principle, in order to reward his obedience, would remain with his soul even in the place of the dead, and enable it to re-animate his body. This extraordinary declaration of our LORD's, occasioned great divisions ; some, blinded by prejudice, treated him as a madman; while others, who were rational and willing to be convinced, discerned the divine energy of his words. How delightful it is to contemplate our Saviour as
the Shepherd of our souls, and to think that' he wily continue his care to the end of the world! Let us then acknowledge him, as he was acknowledged by the FATHER, and be ready to lay down our lives rather than forsake him. We are ourselves living proofs of the faithfulness of his gracious promise, “ that he would bring other sheep besides the Israelites into the fold," being descended from the Gentiles, who were not ori. ginally of his flock. Let us, therefore, improve the glorious advantage, and pray that those who yet remain unconverted
be received also into CHRIST's flock; that all may be one fold under one shepherd, who will lead them through the paths of righteousness to the regions of bliss.
AND it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not.
The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not; because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and S 2
they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.
My father who gave them me is greater than all : and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand, I and my Father are one.
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father ; for which of those works do ye stone me?
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy, and because that thou being a man, makest thyself God.
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If
ye called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken :
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest ; because I said, I am the Son of God?
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Therefore they sought again to take him ; but he escaped out of their hand, and went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baprized ; and there he abode.
And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man
believed on him there,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS,
The All of the dedication, observed by the Jews,