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§ 193. He explains the Nature of his Doctrine as Divine Revelation (John, vii., 16-19.)

Anew the power of Christ’s words over the hearts of the people displayed itself. Even those who were prepossessed against him had to wonder that one who had not been taught in the schools of the scribes could thus expound the Scriptures; yet they could not, from the force of prejudice, admit that his knowledge was derived from any higher source. Their conclusion was soon made up that nothing could be true that had not been learned in the schools; and that one not educated in them had no right to set up for a teacher. In view of this, Christ said publicly, in the Temple, “Wonder not that I, all uneducated 293in your schools, appear to teach you; my teaching is not mine, but his that sent me; not invented by me as a man, but revealed by God. But for your lack of the right will, you might be convinced of this.533533   John, vii., 17. With Schott and Lücke, I deviate from the old exegesis which refers this passage to the testimony of inward experience, the testimonium Spiritus Sancti. Not the will of God, as revealed by Christ, was the aim of discourse here, but the will of God, as far as the Pharisees themselves might have known it; so that, “to do the will of God” = “to make the glory of God the object of one’s actions,” as opposed to “following one’s own will, and seeking one’s own honour.” When Christ had to do with such as did not fully believe, but were on the way to faith, he could say, “Try only to follow the drawing within you, to submit to my teaching and practice it, and all your doubts will be practically solved. Your hearts will feel the Divine power of my teaching, and this experience will remove the difficulties from which you cannot free yourselves.” But the persons to whom he was speaking in this instance were far removed from faith; and to such he had to point out objective tests by which they might judge of the Divinity of his mission; but, as they were destitute of the dispositions requisite to apply these tests properly, he had to show them distinctly that they lacked the will to be convinced, the earnest of which is obedience to the will of God. He was justified in making this demand or a proper disposition universal, as without it all argument and proof must be in vain. Whoever in heart desires to do the will of God, will, by means of that disposition, be able to decide whether my teaching is Divine or human. Such a one may see that no human self-will is mixed up with my labours, but that in them all I seek only to glorify Him that sent me. But (v. 19) that ye lack the spirit essential to this, is shown by your deeds; pretending to zeal for the Mosaic law, and using that pretence to persecute one who seeks only to honour God, you care not, in reality, to keep that law.”

It astonished the people to find that Jesus could testify thus openly against his opponents, and yet no hand be laid upon him; and they asked, “Can it be possible that the members of the Sanhedrim know this man to be the Messiah?” (v. 26). But they continued, still held in the prejudice and bondage of sense, “ How can it be so, when we know him to be the son of the Nazarene carpenter? while the Messiah is to reveal himself suddenly in all his glory, so that all must acknowledge him” (v. 27). To expose the vanity of these expressions, Christ said, “ It is true, ye both know me, and ye know whence I am; and yet ye know not; for ye know not the heavenly Father who hath sent me, and therefore ye cannot know me.” Thus does he ever return to the principle that “ only those who know God, and belong to him in heart (i. e., who really endeavour to do his will), can be in a condition to recognize the Son of God in his self-manifestation, and to acknowledge that he is from heaven. Those who are estranged from God and slaves to sense, think they know him, but in fact do not.”


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