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Remarks of the ruler of the feast

ST. JOHN. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

6 And there were set there six water-pots of stone, fafter the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

6 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

8 And he saith unto thein, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew ;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, Mark 7.3 Ch.4.46 –h Ch 1.14—1 Matt, 12:46.—k Exod. 12.14. Deut. 16. 1, Ver.23 Ch.5.1 & 6.4.& 11.50.


as he did the Samaritan woman, John iv. 21. as he addressed his disconsolate mother when he hung upon the cross, chap. xix. 26. as he did his most affectionate friend Mary Magdalene, chap. xx. 15. and as the angels had addressed her before, ver. 13. and as St. Paul does the believing Christian woman, 1 Cor. vii. 16, in all which places the same term yovat, which occurs in this verse, is used; and where certainly no kind of disrespect is intended; but on the contrary, complaisance, affability, tenderness, and concern; and in this sense it is used in the best Greek writers.

Mine hour is not yet come.] Or, my time; for in this sense the word apa is often taken. My time for working a miracle is not yet fully come. What I do, I do when necessary, and not before. Nature is unsteady-full of haste; and ever blundering in consequence. It is the folly and sin of inen, that they are ever finding fault with the divine Providence. According to them, God never does any thing in due time he is too early or too late: whereas it is utterly impossible for the divine wisdom to forestall itself: or for the divine good ness to delay what is necessary.

5. His mother saith, &c.] The Virgin seems to have under stood our Lord as hinted above. It was not yet time to grant them a supply, because the want had not as yet been generally felt. But silently receiving the respectful caution, she saw that the miracle should be wrought, when it best suited the purposes of the divine wisdom.

6. After the manner of the purifying of the Jews) Or, for the purpose of the purifying of the Jews. The preposition Kara, which I have translated for the purpose, often denotes, in the best Greek writers, the final cause of a thing. See several examples produced by Raphelius from Arrian and Herodotus. These six vessels were set in a convenient place, for the purpose of the Jews' washing their hands before they sat down to meat, and probably for other purposes of purifi. cation. See this custom referred to in Matt. xv. 2. As to the number six, we need seek for no mystery in it; the number of pots was proportioned to the number of the guests.

on the water made wine, fo.

and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mo ther, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.

13 And the Jews' pass-over was at hand: and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,

14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money, sitting:

15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

18 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, "What

1 Matt 21.12. Mark 11.15. Luke 19. 45.-m Luke 2 49.-n Psa. 9. 9.—0 Max. 12. 38. Ch. 6.30.

direct manner, that these guests were at all intoxicated. 2 The words are not spoken of the persons at that wedding at all: the governor of the feast only states that such was the common custom at feasts of this nature; without intimating that any such custom prevailed there. 3. The original word bears a widely different meaning from that which the objection forces upon it. The verbs udvor and pervo, from ev, wine, which, from pera Sveiv, to drink after sacrificing, signify not only to inebriate, but to take wine, to drink wine, to drink enough: and in this sense the verb is evidently used in the Septuagint, Gen. xliii. 34. Cant. v. 1. 1 Mace. xvi. 16. Hag. i. 6. Ecclus. i. 16. And the prophet Isaiah, chap. lviii. 11. speaking of the abundant blessings of the godly, coinpares them to a watered garden, which the Septuagint translate, WE KROS PEI, by which is certainly understood, not a garden drowned with water, but one sufficiently saturated with it, not having one drop too much, nor too little.

10. The good wine until now. That which our Lord now made being perfectly pure, and highly nutritive.

11. This beginning of miracles] It was probably the first he ever wrought;-at any rate, it was the first he wrought after his baptism, and the first he wrought publicly. His glory) His supreme divinity; chap. i. 14. His disciples believed on him] Were more abundantly con firmed in their faith, that he was either the promised Messiah, or a most extraordinary prophet, in the fullest intercourse with the ever-blessed God."

13. And the Jew's pass-orer was at hand] This was the reason why he staid but a few days at Capernaum, ver. 12. as he wished to be prescut at the celebration of this feast at Jerusalem. This was the first pass-over after Christ's baptism. The second is inentioned, Luke vi. 1. The third, John vi. 4. And the fourth, which was that at which he was crucified, chap. xi. 55. From which it appears, 1. That our blessed Lord continued his public ministry about three years and a half, according to the prophecy of Daniel, chap. ix. 27. And, 2. That having been baptized about the beginning of his thir tieth year, he was crucified precisely in the middle of his

Containing two or three firkins apiece.] Measures, or me tretes, unrperas. Bishop Cumberland supposes that the Syri-thirty-third. See Martin. an metretes is here meant, which he computes to have held seven pints and one eighth of a pint. And if this computation be right, the whole six water-pots might have contained about fourteen gallons and a quart. Others make each me tretes to contain ten gallons and two pints: see Arbuthnot. But the contents of the measures of the ancients are so very uncertain, that it is best in this, and numberless other cases, to attempt to determine nothing.

14. Found in the temple those that sold oren, &c.] This is a similar fact to that mentioned Matt. xxi. 12. Mark xi. 15. Luke xix. 45. See it explained on Matt. xxi. 12. If it be the same fact, then John anticipates three years of time in relating it here; as that cleansing of the temple mentioned by the other evangelists, took place in the last week of our Lord's life. Mr. Mann, Dr. Priestley, and Bp. Pearce, contend that our Lord cleansed the temple only once; and that was at the last pass-over. Calvin, Mr. Mede, L'Enfant and Beausobre, Dr. Lardner, Bp. Hurd, and Bp. Newcome, contend that he purged the temple twice; and that this, mentioned by John, was the first cleansing, which none of the other evan gelists have mentioned. Let the reader, says Bp. Newcome, observe the order of events.

8. Governor of the feast.] The original word, apxırpıkλivos, signifies one who is chief or head over three couches, or tables. In the Asiatic countries, they take their meals sitting, or rather reclining on small low couches. And when many people are present so that they cannot all eat together, three of these low tables or couches are put together in form of a crescent, and some one of the guests is appointed to take "Jesus works his first miracle at Cana of Galilee, chap. ii. charge of the persons who sit at these tables. Hence the ap. 11. then he passes a few days at Capernaum, which brings pellation of architriclinus, the chief over three couches or ta-him on his way to Jerusalem, ver. 12. The pass-over being bles; which in process of time became applied to the gover near, he goes up to Jerusalem, ver. 13. and casts the traders nor or steward of a feast, let the guests be many or few: and out of the temple, ver. 15. 16. At the pass-over he works many such person having conducted the business well, had a fes- miracles, ver. 23. While he is in Jerusalem, which city he tive crown put on his head by the guests, at the conclusion of does not leave till chap. iii. 22. Nicodeinus comes to him by the feast. See Ecclesiasticus, chap. xxxii. 1, 2, 3. night, chap. iii. 1, 2. Chap. ii. 2. contains a reference to chap. And they bare it.] A question has been asked, "Did our ii. 23. After these things, Jesus departs from Jerusalein, Lord turn all the water into wine which the six measures and dwells and baptizes in Judea, chap. iii. 22. And all these contained " To which I answer: There is no proof that he incidents take place before John is cast in prison, ver. 24. did; and I take it for granted that he did not. It may be ask But the second cleansing of the temple, happens most clearly ed, "How could a part be turned into wine, and not the during the last week of our Lord's life, after the death of the whole?" To which lanswer: The water in all likelihood was Baptist, and at a time when it would be absurd to say that changed into wine as it was drawn out, and not otherwise. afterward Jesus dwelt and baptized in Judea." "But did not our Lord by this miracle minister to vice, by The vindication of God's house froin profanation, was the producing an excess of inebriating liquor?" No; for the fol-first and the last care of our Lord: and it is probable he began lowing reasons: 1. The company was a select and holy com- and finished his public ministry by this significant act. pany, where no excess could be permitted. And, 2. Our Lord does not appear to have furnished any extra quantity, but only what was necessary, and as it was necessary. "But it is intimated in the text, that the guests were nearly intoxicated before this miraculous addition to their wine took place; for the evangelist says, orav μevowo, when they have become intoxicated." I answer, 1. It is not intimated, even in the most in.

It certainly appears that John directly asserts an early cleansing of the temple, by the series of his history: as the other three evangelists assert a latter cleansing of it. And though the act mentioned here seems to be nearly the same with that mentioned by the other evangelists, yet there are some differences. St. John alone mentions the scourge of rushes, and the casting out of the sheep and oxen.



Lord with Nicodemus.


sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? | lieved the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, P Destroy this temple,
and in three days I will raise it up.

20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple
in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples
remembered that he had said this unto them; and they be
Matt 95,61. & 27.40. Mark 14.58. & 15.29.- Col.2.9. Hebr.8.2. So 1 Cor.3. 16.
&6 19 2 Cor. 6.16-r Luke 24.6.

there is a considerable difference in our Lord's manner of doing it: in the cleansing mentioned by the three evangelists he assumes a vast deal of authority, and speaks more pointedly concerning himself than he appears to do in this cleansing mentioned by St. John': the reason which has been given is: In the first cleansing he was just entering upon his public ministry, and therefore avoided (as much as was consistent with the accomplishment of his work,) the giving any offence to the Jewish rulers: but in the last cleansing, he was just concluding his ministry, being about to offer up his life for the saivation of the world; in consequence of which, he speaks fully and without reserve. For answers to all the objections made against two cleansings of the temple, see the notes at the end. of Bishop Newcome's Greek Harmony of the Gospels, pp.7,8,9. 17. The zeal of thine house] See Psal. lix. 10. Zeal to pro mote thy glory, and to keep thy worship pure.

18. What sign showcest thou] See on Matt. xii. 38. and xvi. 1. When Moses came to deliver Israel, he gave signs or miracles, that he acted under a divine commission: What miracle dost thou work to show us that thou art vested with similar authority ?

19. Destroy this temple] Tov vaov Tovrov, this very temple: perhaps pointing to his body at the same time.

20. Forty and six years was this temple in building] The temple of which the Jews spake, was begun to be rebuilt by Herod the Great, in the 18th year of his reign: Jos. Ant. b. xv. c. 11. s. 1. and xx. c. 9. s. 5, 7. But though he finished the nain work in nine years and a half, yet some additional buildings or repairs were constantly carried on for many years afterward. Herod began the work sixteen years before the birth of our Lord: the transactions which are here related, took place in the thirtieth year of our Lord, which make the term exactly forty-six years. Rosenmuller. Josephus, Ant. b. xx. c. 8. s. 5, 7. has told us, that the whole of the buildings belonging to the temple, were not finished till Nero's reign, when Albinus, the governor of Judea, was succeeded by Gessius Florus, which was eighty years after the 18th year of Herod's reign. See Bp. Pearce.

21. Of the temple of his body] Rather, the temple, his body: his body had no particular temple: but it was the temple of his divinity-the place in which, as in the ancient temple, his Godhead dwelt. See how the Jews perverted these words, Matt. xxvi. 60. and the notes there.

231 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the pass-over, in the
feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the
miracles which he did.

24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he
knew all men,

25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he
knew what was in man.

81 Sam. 16.7. 1 Chron. 25.9. Matt.9.4. Mark 2.8. Ch. 6.64. & 16.30. Acts 1.
24. Rev.2.23.

22. Remembered that he had said this unto them] AvroLS, to them, is wanting in AEHLMS. Matt. BV, upwards of one hundred others; both the Syriac, Fersic, Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Slavonic, Vulgate, and Itala. Griesbach has left it out of the text.

They believed the scripture] The scripture which the evangelist immediately refers to, may have been Psalm xvi. 10. Compare this with Acts ii. 31, 32. and with chap. xiii. 35-37. See also Psalm ii. 7. and compare it with Hebrews i. 5. and chapter v. 5. and with Acts xiii. 33. They understood these Scriptures in a sense in which they never before understood them.

It is the property of many prophecies, never to be understood except by their accomplishment; but these are so be misunderstood, or applied to any other event. marked, that when their fulfilment takes place, they cannot

23. Many believed in his name] They believed him to be the promised Messiah, but did not believe in him to the salvation of their souls: for we find from the following verse, that could not trust himself to them. their hearts were not at all changed, because our blessed Lord

24. He knew all men] Instead of #avras, all men, EGH. and about thirty others, read avra, every man, or all things: and this I am inclined to believe is the true reading. Jesus knew all things, and why? because he made all things, chap ter i. 3. and because he was the all-wise God, ver. 1. and he He knows who are sincere, and who are hypocriknew all men, because he alone searches the heart, and tries the reins. tical: he knows those in whom he can confide, and those to whom he can neither trust himself nor his gifts. Reader, he also knows thee: thy cares, fears, perplexities, temptations, afflictions, desires, and hopes: thy helps and hinderances: the progress thon hast made in the divine life, or thy declension from it. If he know thee to be hypocritical or iniquitous, he looks upon thee with abhorrence: if he know thee to be of a meek and broken spirit, he looks on thee with pity, compla knowest all things, thou knowest that I do love thee, and mourn cency and delight. Take courage-thou canst say, Lord, thou because I love and serve thee so little; then expect him to come in unto thee, and make his abode with thee: while thy eye and heart are simple, he will love thee, and thy whole soul shall be full of light. To him be glory and dominion

The conversation between Nicodemus and our Lord, about the new birth and faith in his testimony, 1-15.

The love of

God, the source of human salvation, 16. Who are condemned, and who are approved, 17-21. Jesus and his disciples come to Judea, and baptize, 22. John baptizes in Enon, 23, 24. The disciples of John and the Pharisees dispute about purifying, 25. The discourse between John and his disciples about Christ, in which the excellence, perfection, and privi. leges, of the Christian dispensation are pointed out, 26-36. [A. M. 4031. A. D. 27. An. Olymp. CCI. 3.] MIERE was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.


2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rab bi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except 4 God be with him.

Ch.7.50 & 13.39-b Ch 9. 16, 33. & 2.23. & 7. 13. & 12.42.- Ch.9.16, 33. Acts 2. 2-4 Acts 10 38

NOTES.-Verse 1. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.] One of the members of the grand sanhedrim; for such were ordinarily styled rulers among the Jews. A person of the name of Nicodemus, the son of Gorion, is mentioned in the Jewish writings, who lived in the time of Vespasian, and was repu ted to be so rich, that he could support all the inhabitants of Jerusalem for ten years. But this is said in their usual extravagant mode of talking.

2. Came to Jesus by night] He had matters of the utmost importance, on which he wished to consult Christ: and he chose the night season, perhaps less through the fear of man, than through a desire to have Jesus alone, as he found him all the day encompassed with the multitude; so that it was impossible for him to get an opportunity to speak fully on those weighty affairs, concerning which he intended to consult him. However, we may take it for granted, that he had no design at present to become his disciple: as baptism and circumcision, which were the initiating ordinances among the Jews, were never administered in the night time. If any person ri ceived baptism by night, he was not acknowledged for a proselyte. See Wetstein.

Rabbi My Master, or Teacher, a title of respect given to the Jewish doctors, something like our Doctor of Divinity, i. e. teacher of divine things. But as there may be many found among us, who though they bear the title, are no teach ers, so it was among the Jews: and perhaps it was in reference to this, that Nicodemus uses the word didagkaλos, dida

| 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say
unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God."

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born whea
and be born?
he is old ? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb,

e Chapter 1.13. Gala. 6. 15. Tit.3.5. James 1.18. 1 Pt.1.23. 1 John 3.9-f Or,
from above.
skalos, immediately after, by which, in chap. i. 39. St. John
translates the word Rabbi. Rabbi, teacher, is often no more
than a title of respect: didaskalos signifies a person who not
We know that thou art a teacher come from God] We, all
only has the name of teacher, but who actually does teach.
the members of the grand sanhedrim, and all the rulers of the
racles. We are all convinced of this, though we are not all
people, who have paid proper attention to thy doctine and mi-
candid enough to own it. It is possible, however, that oldaper,
we know, signifies no more than, it is known, it is generally ac
No man can do these miracles] It is on the evidence of thy
knowledged and allowed, that thou art a teacher come from God.
miracles that I ground my opinion of thee. No man can do
3. Jesus answered] Not in the language of compliment:
what thou dost, unless the omnipotence of God be with him.
he saw the state of Nicodemus's soul, and he immediately ad-
dressed himself to him on a subject the most interesting and
important. But what connexion is there between our Lord's
reply and the address of Nicodemus? Probably our Lord saw,
kingdom, and in reference to this, he immediately says, Ex-
that the object of his visit was to inquire about the Messiah's
cept a man be born again, &c.

The repetition of amen, or verily, verily, among the Jewish writers, was considered of equal import with the must solemn oath.

Be born again] Or, from above: different to that new 259 birth, which the Jews supposed every baptized proselyte en

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5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born b again. 8 i The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

g Mark 16.16. Acts 2.38-h Or, from above.-i Eccles, 11.3. 1 Cor. 2.11.-k Ch. 6.2,60-1 Matt. 11.27. Ch.1.18. & 7. 16, & 9.28. & 12.49 & 14.24.

joyed; for they held that the Gentile, who became a proselyte, was like a child new born. This birth was of water from below the birth for which Christ contends is avlev, from above-by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Every man must have two births, one from heaven, the other from earth: one of his body, the other of his soul: without the first, he cannot see nor enjoy this world; without the last, he cannot see nor enjoy the kingdom of God. As there is an absolute necessity that a child should be born into the world, that he may see its light, contemplate its glories, and enjoy its good; so there is an absolute necessity that the soul should be brought out of its state of darkness and sin, through the light and power of the grace of Christ, that it may be able to see, dew, or, to discern, the glories and excellencies of the kingdom of Christ here, and be prepared for the enjoyment of the kingdom of glory hereafter. The Jews had some general notion of the new birth; but like many among Christians, they put the acts of proselytism, baptism, &c. in the place of the Holy Spirit and his influence: they acknowledged that a man must be born again, but they made that new birth to consist in profession, confession, and external washing. See on ver. 10.

The new birth which is here spoken of, comprehends not only what is termed justification or pardon, but also sanctification or holiness. Sin must be pardoned, and the impurity of the heart washed away, before any soul can possibly enter, into the kingdom of God. As this new birth implies the renewing of the whole soul in righteousness and true holiness, it is not a matter that may be dispensed with: heaven is a place of holiness, and nothing but what is like itself, can ever

enter into it.

4. How can a man be born when he is old?] It is probable that Nicodemus was pretty far advanced in age at this time; and from his answer we may plainly perceive, that like the rest of the Jews, and like multitudes of Christians, he rested in the letter, without paying proper attention to the spirit: the shadow, without the thing signified, had hitherto satisfied him. Our Lord knew him to be in this state, and this was the cause of his pointed address to him.

5. Of water and of the Spirit] To the baptism of water, a man was admitted when he became a proselyte to the Jewish religion; and in this baptism. he promised, in the most solemn manner, to renounce idolatry, to take the God of Israel for his God; and to have his life conformed to the precepts of the divine law. But the water which was used on the occasion was only an emblem of the Holy Spirit. The soul was considered as in a state of defilement, because of past sin: now, as by that water the body was washed, cleansed, and refreshed; so by the influences of the Holy Spirit, the soul was to be purified from its defilement, and strengthened to walk in the way of truth and holiness.

When John came baptizing with water, he gave the Jews the plainest intimations that this would not suffice; that it was only typical of that baptism of the Holy Ghost under the similitude of fire, which they must all receive from Jesus Christ: see Matt. iii. 11. Therefore, our Lord asserts that a man must be born of water and the Spirit, i. e. of the Holy Ghost, which, represented under the similitude of water, cleanses, refreshes, and purifles the soul. Reader, hast thou never had any other baptism than that of water? If thou hast not had any other, take Jesus Christ's word for it, thou canst not, in thy present state, enter into the kingdom of God. I would not say to thee merely, read what it is to be born of the Spirit: but pray, O pray to God incessantly, till he give thee to feel what is implied in it! Remember, it is Jesus only who baptizes with the Holy Ghost: see chap. i. 33. He who receives not this baptism, has neither right nor title to the kingdom of God; nor can he with any propriety be termed a Christian, because that which essentially distinguished the Christian dispensation from that of the Jews, was, that its Author baptized all his followers with the Holy Ghost.

of the new birth.

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?


11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13 And " no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that m Ver.32-n Prov. 30. 4. Ch.6.33, 28, 51, 62. & 16. 28. Acts 2. 34. 1 Cor. 15.47. Eph. 4, 9, 10.

born of the Spirit, resembles the Spirit; for as he is who begat, so is he who is begotten of him. Therefore the spiritual regeneration is essentially necessary, to prepare the soul for a holy and spiritual kingdom.

8. The wind bloweth] Though the manner in which this new birth is effected by the Divine Spirit be incomprehen. sible to us; yet, we must not on this ground, suppose it to be impossible. The wind blows in a variety of directions; we hear its sound, perceive its operation in the motion of the trees, &c. and feel it on ourselves-but we cannot discern the air itself. we only know that it exists by the effects which it produces; so is every one who is born of the Spirit; the ef fects are as discernible, and as sensible as those of the wind: but itself we cannot see. But he who is born of God, knows that he is thus born: the Spirit itself, the grand agent in this new birta, beareth witness with his spirit, that he is born of God, Rom. vii. 16. for, he that believeth hath the witness in himself, 1 John iv. 13. and v. 10. Gal. iv. 6. And so does this Spirit work in, and by him, that others, though they see not the principle, can easily discern the change produced; for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, 1 John v. 4.

9. How can these things be?] Our Lord had very plainly told him how these things could be; and illustrated the new birth by one of the most proper simiñes that could be chosen: but so intent was this great man on making every thing submit to the testimony of his senses, that he appears unwilling to believe any thing, unless he can comprehend it. This is the case with many-they profess to believe because they comprehend-but they are impostors who speak thus: there is not a man in the universe that can fully comprehend one operation, either of God, or his instrument, nature: and yet they must believe, and do believe, though they never did, nor ever can fully comprehend, or account for, the objects o their faith.

10. Art thou a master of Israel, &c.] Hast thou taken upor thee to guide the blind into the way of truth; and yet know. est not that truth thyself? Dost thou command proselytes to be baptized with water as an emblem of a new birth: and art thou unacquainted with the cause, necessity, nature, and effects, of that new birth? How many masters are there stil in Israel, who are in this respect deplorably ignorant; and strange to tell, publish their ignorance and folly in the sight of the sun, by writing and speaking against the thing itself. It is strange that such people cannot keep their own secret.

"But water baptism is this new birth." No. Jesus tells you a man must be born of water and the Spirit: and the water and its effects upon the body, differ as much from this Spirit, which it is intended to represent, and the effects pro duced in the soul, as real fire does from painted flame.

"But I am taught to believe that this baptism is regenera tion." Then you are taught to believe a falsity. The Church of England, in which perhaps you are a teacher or a member asks the following questions, and returns the subjoinet answers.


"Q. How many sacraments hath Christ ordained in his church?" "A Two only, as generally necessary to salvation; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord." How many parts are there in a sacrament?" "A. Two. The outward visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace." "Q What is the outward visible sign, or forin, in baptism ?” “A. Water, wherein the person is baptized, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." "Q. What is the inward and spiritual grace?" "A. A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature horn in sin, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace."

Now I ask, Whereby are such persons made the childrea of grace? Not by the water, but by the death unto sin, and the new birth unto righteousness: í. e. through the agency of the Holy Ghost, sin is destroyed, and the soul filled with holiness. 11. We speak that we do know] I and my disciples do not exemplify in our conduct. A strong but delicate reproof to Nicodemus, who, though a master of Israel, did not under stand the very rudiments of the doctrine of salvation. He was ignorant of the nature of the new birth. How wretched is the lot of that minister, who, while he professes to recommend the salvation of God to others, is all the while dealing in the meagre, unfruitful traffic of an unfelt truth! Let such either acquire the knowledge of the grace of God themselves, ar cease to proclaim it.

Though baptism by water into the Christian faith, was necessary to every Jew and Gentile that entered into the king-profess to teach a religion which we do not understand, nor dom of the Messiah, it is not necessary that by water and the Spirit, (in this place,) we should understand two different things: it is probably only an elliptical form of speech, for the Holy Spirit under the similitude of water; as in Matt. iii. 3. the Holy Ghost and fire, do not mean two things, but one, viz. the Holy Ghost under the similitude of fire-pervading every part, refining and purifying the whole.

6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh] This is the answer to the objection made by Nicodemus in ver. 4. Can a man enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Our Lord here intimates, that were even this possible, it would not answer the end: for the plant will ever be of the nature of the seed that produces it-like will beget its like. The kingdom of God is spiritual and holy; and that which is

Ye receive not our witness] It was deemed criminal among the Jews, to question or depart from the authority of their teachers. Nicodemus grants that our Lord is a teacher come from God; and yet scruples to receive his testimony relative to the new birth, and the spiritual nature of the Messiah's kingdom.

Those who believe are saved;


came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so P must the Son of man be lifted up;

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

• Nam 21. 9-p Ch 8. 8 & 12. 3.—q Ver 36. Chap. 6. 47. Rom. 5.b. 1 John 4A-◄ Luke 9.55. Ch 5.45, & 8, 15 & 12.47 1 John 4. 14.

12. If I have told you earthly things] If, after I have illustrated this new birth by a most expressive metaphor, taken from earthly things, and after all you believe not; how can you believe, should I tell you of heavenly things, in such language as angels use, where earthly images and illustrations can have no place? Or, if you, a teacher in Israel, do not understand the nature of such an earthly thing or custom of the kingdom, established over the Jewish nation, as being born of baptism, practised every day in the initiation of proselytes: how will you understand such heavenly things, as the initia. tion of my disciples by the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire from heaven, if I should proceed further on the subject?

13. No man hath ascended] This seems a figurative expression for, No man hath known the mysteries of the kingdom of God; as in Deut. xxx. 12. Psal. lxxiii. 17. Prov. xxx. 4. Rom. xi. 34. And the expression is founded upon this generally received maxim: That to be perfectly acquainted with the concerns of a place, it is necessary for a person to be on the spot. But our Lord probably spoke to correct a false notion among the Jews, viz. that Moses had ascended to heaven, in order to get the Law. It is not Moses who is to be heard now, but Jesus; Moses did not ascend to heaven: but the Son of man is come down from heaven to reveal the divine will. That came down] The incarnation of Christ is represented under the notion of his coming down from heaven to dwell upon earth.

those who believe not, are condemned.

18¶ile that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, "that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the ..ght, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made inanifest, that they are wrought in God. 22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the 1 Ch.5.4.& 6.49, 47, & 20,31,-u Ch 1.4,9,10,11.& S. 12. -v Job 24. 13,17, Eph. 5. 13-w Or, discovered.

merit, than what the urgent necessities of the case required. Fourthly. That sin must be an indescribable evil, when it required no less a sacrifice to make atonement for it, than God manifested in the flesh. Fifthly. That no man is saved through this sacrifice, but he that believes, i. e. who credits what God has spoken concerning Christ, his sacrifice, the end for which it was offered, and the way in which it is to be applied, in order to become effectual. Sixthly. That those who believe, receive a double benefit. 1. They are exempted from eternal perdition-that they may not perish. 2. They are brought to eternal glory-that they may hare everlasting life. These two benefits point out tacitly the state of man; he is guilty, and therefore exposed to punishment: he is impure, and therefore unfit for glory.

They point out also the two grand operations of grace, by which the salvation of man is effected. 1. Justification, by which the guilt of sin is removed, and consequently the person is no longer obnoxious to perdition. 2. Sanctification, or the purification of his nature, by which he is properly fitted for the kingdom of glory.

17. For God sent not, &c.] It was the opinion of the Jews, that the Gentiles, whom they often term the world, nohy olmah, and yn o omoth hâolam, nations of the world, were to be destroyed in the days of the Messiah. Christ corrects this false opinion; and teaches here a contrary doctrine. God, by giving his Son, and publishing his design in giving him, shows that he purposes the salvation, not the destruction of the world-the Gentile people: nevertheless, those who will not receive the salvation he has provided for them, whe

Which is in heaven.] Lest a wrong meaning should be taken from the foregoing expression, and it should be ima gined that in order to manifest himself upon earth, he must necessarily leave heaven; our blessed Lord qualifies it by add-ther Jews or Gentiles, must necessarily perish; for this plain ing, the Son of man who is in heaven: pointing out by this, the whiquity or omnipresence of his nature: a character essentially belonging to God; for no being can possibly exist in nore places than one at a time, but He who fills the heavens and the earth,

reason, There is but one remedy, and they refuse to apply it.
18. He that believeth] As stated before on verse 16.
Is not condemned] For past sin, that being forgiven on his
believing in Christ.

But he that believeth not] When the Gospel is preached to him, and the way of salvation made plain.

Is condemned already] Continues under the condemnation which divine justice has passed upon all sinners: and has this superadded, he hath not believed on the name of the only-begotten Son of God, and therefore is guilty of the grossest insult to the divine majesty, in neglecting, slighting, and des pising the salvation which the infinite mercy of God had pro. vided for him.

19. This is the condemnation] That is, this is the reason why any shall be found finally to perish, not that they came into the world with a perverted and corrupt nature, which is true; nor that they lived many years in the practice of sin, which is also true; but because they refused to receive the salvation which God sent to them.

11. As Moses lifted up] He shows the reason why he descended from heaven, that he might be lifted up, i. e. crucified for the salvation of mankind; and be, by the appointment of God, as certain a remedy for sinful souls, as the brazen ser pent elevated on a pole, Numb. xxi. 9. was for the bodies of the Israelites which had been bitten by the fiery serpents in the wilderness. It does not appear to me, that the brazen serpent was ever intended to be considered as a type of Christ. It is possible to draw likenesses and resemblances out of any thing: but in such matters as these, we should take heed that we go no further than we can say, Thus it is written. Among the Jews, the brazen serpent was considered a type of the resurrection-through it the dying lived: and so by the voice of God, they that were dead shall be raised to life. As the serpent was raised up, so shall Christ be lifted up: as they who were stung by the fiery serpents, were restored by looking up to the brazen serpent: so those who are infected with, and dying through sin, are healed and saved by looking up to, and believing in Christ crucified. These are all the analogies which we can legitimately trace, between the lifting up of the brazen serpent, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The lifting up of the Son of man may refer to his mediatorial office at the right hand of God. See the note on Numb. xxi. 9. 15. That whosoever believeth] Bp. Pearce supposes that this verse is only the conclusion of the 16th, and that it has Deen inserted in this place by mistake. The words containing to the human race-it shines to all, envies none, and calls the reason of the subject in the following verse, and seem to break in upon our Lord's argument, before he had fully stated The words un arodnṛai alda, may not perish but, are nitted by some very ancient MSS. and Versions.

16. For God so loved the world] Such a love as that which induced God to give his only-begotten Son to die for the world, could not be described:-Jesus Christ does not attempt it. He has put an eternity of meaning in the particle ouro, so, and left a subject for everlasting contemplation, wonder, and praise, to angels and to men. The same evangelist uses a similar mode of expression, 1 Epist. iii. 1. Behold WHAT MANNER of love, ποταπήν αγάπην, the Father hath bestowed upon us. From the subject before him, let the reader attend to the following particulars: First. The world was in a ruinous, condemned state, about to perish everlastingly; and was utterly without power to rescue itself from destruction. Secondly, That God, through the impulse of his eternal love, provided for its rescue and salvation, by giving his Son to die for it. Thirdly. That the sacrifice of Jesus was the only mean by which the redemption of man could be effected, and that it is absolutely sufficient to accomplish this gracious design: for 1 would have been inconsistent with the wisdom of God to have appointed a sacrifice, greater in itself, or less in its

Light is come] That is, Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, the fountain of light and life; diffusing his benign influences every where, and favouring men with a clear and full revela. tion of the divine will.

Men loved darkness] Have preferred sin to holiness, Belial to Christ, and hell to heaven. chashac, darkness, is frequently used by the Jewish writers, for the angel of death and for the devil. See many examples in Schoettgen.

Because their deeds were evil.] An allusion to robbers and cut-throats, who practise their abominations in the night season, for fear of being detected. The sun is a common blessall to necessary labour. If any one choose rather to sleep by day, that he may rob and murder in the night season, he does this to his own peril, and has no excuse:-his punishment is the necessary consequence of his own unconstrained actions. So will the punishment of ungodly men be. There was lightthey refused to walk in it. They chose to walk in darkness, that they might do the works of darkness-they broke the divine law, refused the mercy offered to them, are arrested by divine justice, convicted, condemned, and punished. Whence then does their damnation proceed? From THEMSELVES. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light] He who doth vile or abominable things; alluding to the subject mentioned in the preceding verse. The word pavdos,, evil or vile, is supposed by some to come from the Hebrew phalas, to roll, and so cover onesself in dust or ashes, which was prac tised in token of humiliation and grief, not only by the more eastern nations, see Job xlii. 6. but also by the Greeks and Trojans, as appears from Homer, Iliad xviii. I. 26. xxii. 1. 414. xxiv 1. 640, compare Virgil, En. x. 1. 844. and Orid, Metam. lib. viii. 1. 528. From the above Hebrew word, it is likely that the Saxon ful, the English foul, the Latin vilis, and the Eng. lish vile, are derived. See Parkhurst under pavλos.

Lest his deeds should be reproved] Or, discovered. To

John's further

land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, tized.


testimony to Christ.

and bap-|joiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

23 And John also was baptizing in Ænon, near to Salim, because there was much water there; and they came and were baptized.

24 For John was not yet cast into prison.

25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.

26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, bto whom thon barest witness, behold the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. 27 John answered and said, 'A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, "I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, re

* Ch.4.2.-y Sam. 94.- Matt. 3, 5, 6.-a Matt. 14. 3-b Ch. 1. 7, 15, 27, 34e 1 Cor 4.7. Heb. 5.4. James 1.17-4 Or, take unto himself.- Ch.1.20,27-f Mal. 3.1. Mark 1.2 Luke 1. 17. Mau 22.2. 2 Cor. 11.2. Eph.5.25.27. Rev 21 9.h Cant. 5.1.-i Ver. 13. Ch.8.23.-k Mart. 28. 18. Ch.1.15,27. Rom.9. 5-11 Cor.

manifest or discover, is one sense of the original word cλɛyxw, in the best Greek writers; and it is evidently its meaning in this place.

21. Wrought in God] In his presence, and through his assistance. This is the end of our Lord's discourse to Nicode. mus: and though we are not informed here of any good effects produced by it; yet we learn from other scriptures, that it had produced the most blessed effects in his mind, and that from this time he became a disciple of Christ. He publicly defended our Lord in the sanhedrim, of which he was proba bly a member, chap. vii. 50. and with Joseph of Arimathea, gave him an honourable funeral, chap. xix. 39. when all his bosom friends had deserted him. See Dodd.

22. Came-into the land of Judea] Jerusalem itself, where Christ held the preceding discourse with Nicodemus, was in Judea but the evangelist means, that our Lord quitted the city and its suburbs, and went into the country parts. The same distinction between Jerusalem and Judea is made, Acts i. 8. x. 39. and in 1 Macc. iii. 34. and in 2 Macc. i. 1, 10. See Bishop Pearce.

And baptized] It is not clear that Christ did baptize any with water: but his disciples did; chap. iv. 2. and what they did by his authority and command, is attributed to himself. It is a common custom in all countries and in all languages, to attribute the operations of those who are under the government and direction of another, to him by whom they are directed and governed. Some however suppose, that Christ at first did baptize; but when he got disciples, he left this work to them; and thus these two places are to be understood:-1. This place, of Christ's baptizing before he called the twelve disciples: and, 2. chap. iv. 2. of the baptism administered by the disciples after they had been called to the work by Christ. 23. In Enon] This place was eight miles southward from Scythopolis, between Salim and Jordan.

There was much water] And this was equally necessary, where such multitudes were baptized, whether the ceremony were performed either by dipping or sprinkling. But as the Jewish custom required the person to stand in the water, and having been instructed, and entered into a covenant to renounce all idolatry, and take the God of Israel for their God, then plunge themselves under the water; it is probable that the rite was thus performed at Enon. The consideration that they dipped themselves, tends to remove the difficulty expressed in the note on Matt. iii. 6. See the observations at the end of Mark.

25. John's disciples and the Jews] Instead of lovdator, Jews, ABELS. M. BV. nearly 100 others, some Versions and Fathers, read Iovdatov, a Jew, which Griesbach has admitted into the text. The person here spoken of, was probably one who had been baptized by the disciples of our Lord; and the subject of debate seems to have been, whether the baptism of John or that of Christ was the most efficacious towards purifying.

26. And they came unto John] That he might decide the question.

27. A man can receive nothing, &c.] Or, a man can receive nothing from heaven, unless it be given him. I have received not only my commission, but the power also by which I have executed it, from above. As I took it up at God's command, so I am ready to lay it down when he pleases. I have told you from the beginning, that I was only the forerunner of the Messiah; and was sent, not to form a separate party, but to point out to men that Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world: ver. 28.

29. He that hath the bride] The congregation of believers. Is the bridegroom] The Lord Jesus-the Head of the church. See Matt. xxii. 2, &c. where the parable of the marriage feast is explained.

The friend of the bridegroom] The person whom the Greeks called the paranymph-there were two at each wedding; one waited on the bride, the other on the bridegroom: their business was to serve them, to inspect the concerns of the bride chamber, and afterward to reconcile differences between husband and wife, when any took place. John considers himself as standing in this relation to the Lord Jesus while espousing human nature, and converting souls to himself; this is the

30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He that cometh from above k is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly; and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth: and no man receiveth his testimony

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33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit P by measure unto him. 35% The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things inte his hand.

36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

15.47-m Ch.6 33. 1 Cor.15.47. Eph.1.21. Phil.2.9.- Ver.11 Ch.8.25 & 15, 15. — o Rom 3.4. 1 John 5 10-p Ch. L. 16-q Matt. II, 7. & 28. 16. Luke 10.2 Ch. 5.2), 22. & 13. 3. & 17 2. Heb. 2. 6- Hab. 2. 4. Ch. 1. 12 & 6. 47. Ver.15, 16. Rom. 1. 17. 1 John 5. 10.

meaning of standeth by, i. e. ready to serve. See the obser vations at the end of the chapter.

30. He must increase] His present success is but the beginning of a most glorious and universal spread of righteousness, peace, truth, and good will among men.

I must decrease] My baptism and teaching, as pointing out the coming Messiah, must cease; because the Messiah is now come, and has entered publicly on the work of his glorious ministry.

31. Is above all] This blessed bridegroom who has descended from heaven, ver. 13. is above all, superior to Moses, the prophets, and me.

He that is of the earth] John himself, who was born in the common way of man.

Speaketh of the earth] Cannot speak of heavenly things as Christ can do; and only represents divine matters by these earthly ordinances; for the spirit and meaning of which, you must all go to the Messiah himself.

32. And no man receiveth his testimony] Or, And this his testimony no man taketh up. That is, the testimony which John had borne to the Jews, that Jesus was the promised Messiah. No man taketh up-No person is found to tread in my steps, and to publish to the Jews that this is the Christ, the Saviour of the world. See this sense of the original fully proved and vindicated by Kypke in loc.

33. Hath set to his seal] That is, hath hereby confirmed the truth of the testimony which he has borne; as a testator sets his seal to an instrument in order to confirm it, and such instrument is considered as fully confirmed by having the tes tator's seal affixed to it; so 1, by taking up this testimony of Christ, and proclaiming it to the Jews, have fully confirined it, as I know it to be a truth: which knowledge i have from the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit. See ch. i. 33, 34 34. For God giveth not the Spirit by measure] He is the most perfect of all teachers, as having received the Holy Spirit, as none before him ever did. Without measure-not for a particular time, people, purpose, &c. but for the whole compass of time, and in reference to all eternity. Former dispensations of the Holy Spirit made partial discoveries of infinite justice and mercy; but now the sum of justice, in requiring such a sacrifice, and the plenitude of mercy, in providing it, shall, by that Spirit with which he baptizes, be made manifest to all the children of men. It is worthy of remark, that this was fully done after the out-pouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Acts ii. 1, &c. as may be clearly seen in all the apostolic epistles. The Jews observe, that the Holy Spirit was given only in certain measures to the prophets; some writing only one book, others two. So Rab. Acba.

35. All things into his hand.] See on Matt. xi. 27. A principal design of John is, to show that Christ was infinitely above every teacher, prophet, and divine messenger, that had ever yet appeared. The prophets had various gifts; some had visions, others dreams; some had the gift of teaching, others of comforting, &c. but none possessed all these gifts; Christ alone possessed their plenitude, and is all things in all. 36. Hath everlasting life]* He has already the seed of this life in his soul, having been made a partaker of the grace and spirit of him, in whom he has believed. See on ver. 8.

He that believeth not] Or, obeyeth not-amiSov: from a, negative, and new, to persuade, or medopal, to obey-the want of the obedience of faith. The person who will not be persuaded, in consequence does not believe; and not having believed, he cannot obey.

Shall not see life] Shall never enjoy it: there being no way to the kingdom of God, but through Christ Jesus, Acts iv. 12 And none can expect to enter into this kingdom, but those who obey him; for to such only he is the Author of eternal salva tion. Heb. v. 9.

But the wrath of God abideth on him] Opyn, the displeasure of God. I should prefer displeasure to wrath, because the common acceptation of the latter, (fury, rage,) is not property applicable here. Perhaps the original word is used in the same sense here, as in Rom. ii. 5. iii. 5. xiii. 4, 5. Eph. v. 6. 1 Thess. i. 10. v. 9 where it evidently means punishment, which is the effect of irritated justice. Taken in this sense, we may consider the phrase as a Hebraism; punishment of

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