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and tempest; and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words, which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: for they could not endure that which was commanded ; And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned or thrust through with a dart : and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake : : But we are come to a prophet from among our brethren, to the meek and lowly Jesus, who was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and graciously adapted himself to them.
THAT HE SHEWED A KNOWLEDGE OF MEN'S SECRET WORDS AND
ACTIONS, AND EVEN OF THEIR THOUGHTS.
A WONDERFUL circumstance appeared in our Lord's conduct and discourse, that all things, even the inmost recesses of the human mind, were ta naked and open” to his view.
The position which we are illustrating is thus laid down by St. John : “ Now when Jesus was in Jerusalem at the passover, at the feast, many be. lieved in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men : and needed not that any should testify of man : for he knew what was in man.” And we find the disciples in one place, and Peter in another, declaring that our Lord knew all things.
· Deut. xviii. 18. Matt. xi. 29. Heb. iv. 15.
* Heb. iv. 13. John ii. 23—25. • i. e. during the eight days of its continu. ance : not on the feast day, as we injudiciously render it here and Matt. xxvi. 5. and p.p.
It will be useful to purstre this subject throughout our Lord's history : and here, as in the preceding section, I shall compile the observations of others, and distinguish my own additions.
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, he thus characterized him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” Nathanael, who really had “a & conscience void of offence," was astonished that a stranger should thus address him, and therefore asked, " Whence knowest thou me ?" Jesus answered, “ Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee :” alluding, it is most probable, to private acts of devotion which he had been there performing. Nathanael, struck with this instance of supernatural knowledge in addition to the
Baptist's testimony, thus expressed his belief in Jesus as the Messiah : “ Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel.”
St. John also relates that “there i was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher sent from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, unless God be with him.” The answer of
d John xvi. 30. xxi. 17. See also John xiii. 11. See Benson's Life of Christ, c. v. Bishop Law's Considerations, p. 350. f John i. 47, &c. & Acts xxiv. 16.
h John i. 36.
John jü. 1, 2.
Jesus does not seem to be direct; and therefore k Le Clerc thus explains it: “Having premised this, Ni. codemus was about to ask Jesus what he ought to do that he might be admitted into the kingdom of heaven, which was at hand; and this is the conceal. ed part, which Jesus's reply has regard to.” The passage thus understood will furnish an instance of what Lord 'Bacon mentions, though in too general terms: “ It is an excellent observation, which hath been made upon the answers of our Saviour Christ to many of the questions which were propounded to him, how that they are impertinent to the state of the question demanded : the reason whereof is, because not being like man, which knows man's thoughts by his words, but knowing man's thoughts immediately, he never answered their words, but their thoughts.” This great writer should rather have said, “ he sometimes answered, not their words but their thoughts." Read our Lord's reply with this clue, and nothing can be more pertinent.“ Verily," verily, I say unto thee, Unless a man be born again” [by a spiritual birth, and by baptism receive the extraordinary gifts of the spirit,] " he cannot see the kingdom of God:” he cannot become a subject of my present or future kingdom.
Nor is there any other way of explaining such texts but what is suggested; or recurring to the supposition that more was said on both sides than the evangelists record, and that rather the heads of the discourses than the particulars are delivered down to us.
k Harm. fol. p. 520.
"Works, vol. ii. fol. Lond. 1740. ** John iii. 3.
• The word ävedey may be translated again, or, from above. See Gal. iv. 9. for the former sense, which I prefer on account of . 4: and see o. 31. xix. 11. James i. 17. ii. 15, 17. for the latter. o See Luke xvi. 15-18. P John iv. 16, 17, 18. 4 Matt. ix. 2, &c. and p. p.
We have another instance of our Lord's divine knowledge in his conversation with the woman of Samaria. Proposing to discover his high prophetic character among the Samaritans, he said to her, “Go, P call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband. For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband : in that saidst thou truly."
To proceed in the order of events. When Jesus said to a paralytic in Capernaum, “ Take ? courage, son, thy sins are forgiven thee ;” there were certain Scribes and Pharistes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, “Why doth this man speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only ?” “And immediately when he perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves,” or, as St. Matthew expresses it, “ when he saw their thoughts,” he said to them, “ Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins are forgiven thee : or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk ? [Which is easier, to ' see the heart and to know that a person is worthy of forgiveness ; or to work a miracle ?] But that ye
• It is said that Jesus saw their faith, Matt. ix. 2. This refers to the faith of the paralytic himself, as well as of those who brought him.
may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk.” Thus he leaves them to infer his more than human knowledge in selecting fit objects of forgiveness, from an act of more than human power, and from their consciousness that he was acquainted with the operations of their minds.
When the Scribes and Pharisees a watched Jesus whether he would heal a man with a withered hand on the sabbath day, “ he knew their thoughts," commanded the man to arise and stand forth in the midst of the synagogue, reasoned the case with them, and, alluding to their 'secret plot against him, asked them in return, “Is it lawful on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil ? to save life or to destroy it ?” contrasting his own benevolent design with the murderous one which they were harbouring against him.
* When the Roman centurion respectfully be.. sought him by the elders of the Jews to preserve the life of his servant, who was at the point of death, and in deference to Jewish u customs, declined seeking a personal interview notwithstanding his station ; our Lord knew the reply which would be made, the occasion for displaying the centurion's faith, and the entire series of events, when he answered, “I will come and heal him.”
When a woman who had been a sinner anointed Jesus while he was sitting at meat with Simon the Pharisee, “ he who had bidden him spake * within
# Acts x. 28.
s Luke vi.7. w Matt. yiii. 7.
* This is Benson's interpretation,