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I. 13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
To them, I say, which are truly regenerate; who, besides their natural birth from their earthly parents of whom they received flesh and blood, have been born again; and, from the Spirit of God, have received a new life of grace, which no means of nature could possibly convey into them.
I. 14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father.
And as this substantial Word of the Father was, from all eternity, one Spirit with him and the Holy Ghost, so, in the time appointed by the determinate counsel of God, he came into the world, and took flesh upon him, and dwelt among us men, in a plain, familiar, and sociable manner; yet so, as we, that were his inward and domestical followers and faithful disciples, beheld, in that mean condition of his, many evident demonstrations of his Glory and Majesty ; even such glory and majesty, as was meet for the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father.
I. 16. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
For we, that are of ourselves empty of all good, have, from his infinite bounty, received all the good gifts that we enjoy ; and those spiritual graces, which were without measure in himself, hath he pleased, in a due proportion, to communicate unto us, in those several measures and degrees which he knows fit for us.
I. 17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
And, if your thoughts fly back to the ancient courses of God's favour to his people by the hand of Moses, as if, under and by him, grace were conveyed to men: yet know, that, howsoever the Law was indeed given by the hand of Moses, yet as the truth of those promises, which were shadowed out in the Law, is accomplished and fulfilled in Jesus Christ; so the grace and power of performing all those good duties, which the Law requireth, is only given by Christ, and wrought by his Spirit.
I. 18. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
God is, in his nature and essence, altogether invisible, as being an Infinite Spirit: no man hath ever, or can with mortal and bodily eyes, see him: we could never, of ourselves, hope to attain unto the knowledge of him; the Only Begotten Son therefore, who is one with the Father, hath graciously revealed and declared the knowledge of him to the world : He,
being the perfect image of his Father, by being himself manifested in the flesh hath manifested God the Father unto me.
I. 33. And I knew him not : but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
I had no knowledge of him, by any outward denotations ; but the same God, that sent me to baptize with water, gave me this charge and revelation concerning him; That man, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit of God descending from heaven, in the form of a dove, and remaining for some time upon him, the same is that Messiah, whose forerunner thou art: he it is only, that, together with the outward element of water, can give the Holy Ghost, both in the sanctifying and miraculous graces thereof.
I. 42. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the Son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, &c.
I know thee already, Simon, who thou art, even the son of Jona, an obscure father; but, out of my fore-knowledge also of what thou shalt be, both of that faith which I will give thee, and of that service wherein I shall employ thee, I will give thee from henceforth a new name: thou shalt be called Cephas, or Peter, &c.
I. 46. Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Is it possible, that either Galilee, or therein the obscure village of Nazareth, should yield any such eminent good thing as that Messiah of whom thou speakest? We have learned to expect him out of Bethlehem, and how is it then, that thou namest him of Nazareth ?
I. 51. Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
Hereafter ye shall see more clear demonstrations of my Divine Power; for ye shall know and find, that the command of heaven is mine : so as, both I only open it to all believers, and do thence familiarly command the ministration of angels for the attendance of me and mine; and, at the last, ye shall see heaven open, and me, the Son of Man, coming, in a glorious and dreadful manner, to judgment, with all the attendance of thousand thousands of angels.
II. 4. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
Thou, who art my parent according to the flesh, mayest justly look for all due respects from me, in all earthly occasions; but, when it comes to divine matters, the business of my Heavenly Father, it is not for thee to interpose thyself: the will of God is known to me; and the times are in his most wise and eternal counsel set, when my miraculous works shall be done: it is not, as yet, proper and seasonable for me, to do that which thou requirest; but when I see my meet season for this act, I will accordingly effect it.
II. 6. And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
And there were six large vessels of stone, for the receipt of water, for those frequent washings, which the Jewish traditions had brought into use; each of them containing two or three firkins: so as the measure of them was great, and far more than the proportion of that quantity of liquor, wbich the present necessity might seem to require.
II. 11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
This was the first of those miracles, which he wrought, with intention of the public notice of the world ; for the manifestation of his glory, in the execution of this public office of the Messiah ; and his disciples, upon the sight hereof, believed in him.
II. 19. Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, fc. See Matthew xxvi. 61.
II. 24. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.
Many believed in him, but Jesus did not rely upon their fidelity, because he knew all the hearts of men ; and therefore well understood, who were truly affected to him, and who were false and hollow notwithstanding their pretences of reverence and kind respects to him.
III. 2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
The same man, being, on the one side, desirous to hold his reputation with the Jews, and especially them of his own sect; and, on the other side, one who secretly honoured Jesus, and willing to be his disciple; came to Jesus by night, and said, Master, howsoever the envy of thine enemies is ready, both to deny thee thy due, and to cast false imputations upon thee, yet we do well know thou art a teacher sent from God; for it is not possible for any man to do those miracles, which thou doest, but by a divine power.
III. 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.
Thou hast indeed given a true confession of me; but this is not enough, without a real change wrought in thy soul: let me therefore most certainly assure thee, that, except a man be regenerate and born anew, he is not fit for that spiritual life and holy profession, which is required of the children of God.
III. 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.
Except a man be born again by the effectual working of God's Spirit, as by the Author of this new birth; and, in the ordinary course of God's proceedings, in his Church, by the water of Baptism, as the sign appointed by God in the Sacrament of our Regeneration, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
III. 6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh ; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
We receive nothing of our fleshly parents, but a corrupt nature; neither can they convey any thing into us, but what they have: if we will have any goodness or grace, it must be wrought in us by the Spirit of God; which only can bring forth effects like itself, spiritual and holy.
III. 7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Let it not seem so strange a thing unto thee, as if it were past thy belief, that I said, Ye must be born again.
III. 8. 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.
It is not for us, to measure the works of God by our own conceit and comprehension : how possible is it, that we may be born again by the Spirit of God, and yet can give no account of the manner how it is done! Even in natural things, we see it to be thus: the wind bloweth, at uncertainties, from all coasts; thou hearest the sound, &c. How much more is it so in the supernatural works of God! his Spirit moves, where and how it pleaseth ; and no man can understand the secret operation thereof.
III. 11. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our uitness.
Both myself, and the prophets that have been before me, speak that, which we know to be the truth of God; and testify that, which both he hath revealed to us, and which we have experimentally felt in ourselves : but ye, that are carnally minded and worldly wise, find no savour in our words, and believe not our witness.
III. 12. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things ?
And if, while I have only discoursed to thee of these principles of Christianity, which both our enlightened reason and experience can easily make good, thou believest not; but findest such difficulties, both in apprehension and assent; what likelihood, yea possibility, is there, that thou shouldst believe me, when I shall tell thee of the greatest mysteries of salvation, and of those high and incomprehensible matters of another world ?
III. 13. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven.
These are things, whereof no man can tell thee, but He, that hath been in heaven; and no man hath been there to see them, but He, that is now come down from heaven, even that Son of Man, that talketh with thee, who, in respect of his Deity, is still in heaven.
III, 14, 15. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
And, as the brazen serpent was erected by Moses in the wilderness, for the cure of those Israelites, that were stung with the fiery serpents, there; so must the Son of Man be lifted up, on the cross, that all they, who are envenomed by that old serpent the Devil, and stung with the conscience of their sins, looking up unto him, by a true faith, may be healed and live for ever.
III. 17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
It was not the end and intention, that God had in sending his Son into the world, that the world should be condemned for not believing in him; but his holy and gracious drift and purpose therein was, that the world of mankind should by him be saved, in that, by a lively faith, they apprehend that Allsufficient Redeemer.
III. 18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already.
Whosoever believeth in him, how great soever his unworthiness and iniquity be, yet shall not come into condemnation; but he, that believeth not, is in a certain way of inevitable condemnation, and is left, without all remedy, in a state of eternal death.
III. 19, 20. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light.
And this is that, which brings just condemnation upon the world of unbelievers; that, whereas the Son of God is come into the world, and hath sent his Gospel, the means of man's