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Ser m. and Tendency of his Doctrine ; and the 1.
Testimony the Father Þore of him, by his miraculous Works,, ver. 14 and 18 ; concerning his Departure out of the World, and the Reafon of the Jews refufing to believe on him, ver. 21 and 23 ; concerning the manner of his Death, and the great. Success wherewith the Gospel should afa. terward be propagated, ver. 28; The Evangelist, I say, having at large recorded these Discourses of our Saviour, proceeds. in the next place to relate the Effect these Discourses had upon the People, ver. 30; As be jpake these Words, many believed on bim : Namely, Upon Jesus's foretelling several Things that were to happen to Himself and to the Nation of the Jews, many that heard him were disposed to consider and compare what they had known and heard of him before ; and being perfwaded that he was a Person fent from God, they declared that they would become his Disciples. But Jesus, knowing who these Converts were, and that their Faith was not firm and well-ground
and that with those new Difciples many also of the unbelieving Jews hypocritically joyned themselves, with intent
to take some private Opportunity of kil-Serm. ling him ; as appears from the following
1. part of the History: He faid unto them, ver. 31. If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my Disciples indeed; If ye will be truly my Disciples, ye must not only profess by a sudden perswalion to be convinced of the Truth of what I say, but ye must so retain and steddily adhere to my Doctrine, as to conform your Lives and Practises thereto; If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my Disciples indeed. And then he adds in the Words of the Text; And ye hall know the Truth, and the Truth ball make you
Free. The meaning is; And by such Practise, you will continually attain a more and more perfect Knowledge of the Truth; and That Knowledge will secure to you the greatest and most desirable Freedom in the World.
THAT by Truth in the New Testament, is meant the general Doctrine of the Gospel revealed to us by Christ, I suppose needs not any particular Proof in this place. That continuing in the Practise of Christ's Commandments, and sincerely endeavouring to obey the Will of God, iş
Ś er m.one of the best and greatest Helps to ent1.
able a man to understand perfectly, the Truth and Reasonableness, the Necesity and Excellency of the Doctrine of the Gospel ; is also sufficiently evident, without farther Explication at This Time.
The only Difficulty in the Words of the Text, is the Sense of that latter part, And the Truth Mall make you Free. For what Relation there is between Truth in the Understanding and Liberty in the Actions, does not appear at first sight : And 'tis still in the reading of Scripture as great a Paradox to fome Christians : at This day, as it seemed to be to the Jews at the time when it was spoken ; that it should be faid of fuch Persons as had never been Slaves, that the Truth should make them Free. The Explication is given by our Saviour in the Words following the Text; and yet given in such a manner, as not to appear but to those who read with Attention. For the Jews, when our Saviour had spoken these Words, The Truth Mall make you Free, taking them in the grofs and literal Sense, replied, " vero-33. We be Abraham's Seed; we have by. Defcent a natural Right to Freedom, and
were never in bondage to any man; How S e RM. sayest thou then, Ye Mall be made Free? I. Upon This, our Lord opens to them the true Sense of the Words, ver. 34. Verily. I say unto you, Whosoever committetb Sin, is the Servant of Sin. Which is to say: Ye fancy, because with respect to Bodily Service ye are not in bondage to any man, that therefore
ye are really free But forasmuch as to whomsoever men yield themselves servants to obey, bis Servants they are to whom they obey ; and of whomfoever a man is overcome, of the jame is be brought in bondage ; therefore, so long as you continue in your Sins, you are as really Slaves, as any person that is in bondage to the severeft Master ; For there cannot be a greater Slave, than he who is under the Power and Dominion of unreasonable Lusts. This is the evident meaning of that expression ; Whofoever committeth Sin; not by inadvertency or surprize, not by mistake or sudden incurfion, but deliberately and habitually, as was the Case of those Jews our Saviour difcoursed with ; whosoever fo committeth Sin, is the Servant of Sin. And This will illuStrate the meaning of that more difficult
SER M.passage, which follows immediately in the I.
next words, ver. 35. And the Servant abideth not in the House for ever; but the Son abideth for ever : If the Son therefore mall make you Free, ye mall be Free indeed. I know indeed, says our Lord, that you esteem yourselves highly, upon your belonging to the Family and House of God, which was first set in order by MoJes; and that upon this account you will claim to yourselves even That spiritual Freedom, whereof I am now speaking. But, let me assure you, neither is that Privilege you boast of, your being the peculiar people of God, sufficient of itself to give you real Freedom from the Do. minion and Guilt of Sin; neither, if it could, was the Authority of Moses intended to continue always, but only for a Time, like that of a Servant, and to give place at length to the Authority of the Son, whose Government in God's house is to continue for ever. Wherefore the only means, by which you can preserve to yourselves the Privilege of God's peculiar Family, and obtain a perfect Freedom from the Slavery of Sin, is, that ye submit to the Authority of the Son who