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CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF
REVIEW AND ILLUSTRATION OF JOHN III, 1-9.
The conversation of Christ with Nicodemus, as related in the third chapter of John's Gospel is, on several accounts, a very interesting portion of sacred history. The following observations will have reference chiefly to that part of it, which is usually considered as inculcating the necessity of regeneration.
It may be premised, that the concluding verses of the preceding chapter appear to have an immediate connexion with the beginning of the third. The Evangelist had said, 'Now when he (Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed 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.' It was apparently in confirmation of this testimony to the effects of our Lord's preaching and miracles, and especially to that searching penetration into the thoughts and motives of men, indicative of more than human knowledge, which he had ascribed to him, that the historian introduces in this part of his narrative the incidents of a private discourse with Nicodemus. It may be added, that as neither of the other Evangelists alludes to this interview, it is not improbable that the only witness of it, was the beloved disciple.'
That we may be prepared to apprehend as clearly as possible the full import of the language occurring in this