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1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
Ver. 1. For he would not walk in Jewry ] The Roman rule in battle was, Nec fugere, nec sequi, Neither to flee dangers nor to follow them. The Christian’s motto is, Nec temere, nec timide, Neither timorous, nor temerarious (reckless). As we must not basely desert the cause of Christ when called out to defend it, but η ταν η επι ταν , as she said to her son (Plutarch), Either vanquish or die, as the Black Prince’s father said to him, Either live with the gospel or die for it; so we may not rashly run ourselves upon unnecessary dangers, but decline them where we can with a good conscience. He that flees may fight another time, said Demosthenes, ριψασπις . Christians also are permitted to flee, when they are sought for to the slaughter, so it be with the wings of a dove and not with the pinions of a dragon. It was a masculine resolution of that good woman celebrated by Jerome, Non ideo negare vole, ne peream: sed ideo mentiri nolo, ne peccem. I will rather die than lie.
2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.
Ver. 2. The feast of tabernacles ] The Jews at this feast dwelt without doors, in booths and bowers, in remembrance of their wandering of old through the wilderness. This gave occasion to Plutarch, and other profane heathens, to devise and broach so many base lies of the Jews, as if they were worshippers of Bacchus. Florus calls the temple of Jerusalem, impiae gentis arcanum. Another tells us that the Jews were forced to rest every seventh day, for an evil disease they had cleaving unto them.
3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
Ver. 3. Depart hence ] Saucily enough, and sarcastically too; pricked on by ambition, likely, which ever rideth without reins, and cares not whose ruins it buildeth upon.
4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
Ver. 4. For there is no man, &c. ] Here they proceed to charge Christ with folly; and presume to lesson him with their
" Vile latens vlrtus: quid enim submersa latebris
Proderit? Obscuro veluti sine remige puppis:
Vel lyra quae reticet, vel qui non tenditur arcus. "
5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
Ver. 5. For neither did his brethren believe ] This the Jews of this day read with much wonderment; and take occasion from this text to slander our Saviour’s miracles, as nothing so manifest as we conceive them, since his own kindred believed not in him.
6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
Ver. 6. My time is not yet come ] sc. My time of journeying to Jerusalem; I must take my best opportunity, when I may go up with most safety. You may take your own time: you can hardly take amiss, since the world loveth his own, John 15:19 ; and huggeth them to death, as the ape doth her young.
7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Ver. 7. But me it hateth, because I testify ] Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit, Truth breeds hatred, as the fair nymphs are feigned to bring forth the ill-favoured fauns and satyrs. An expectes ut Quintilianus ametur? said he; Canst thou expect that I with my plain dealing should be favoured? Quintilian saith of Vespasian the emperor, that he was patientissimus viri, a man most patient, one that could well endure to be told his own. And of Gerson (that great Chancellor of Paris) it is recorded that he rejoiced in nothing so much as in a round reprehension by some faithful friend. But few such to be found today. Praedieare iam nihil aliud est, quam totius orbis furorem in se derivare, said Luther out of his own daily experience. They "hate him that reproveth in the gate." Preachers are called lights, which sore eyes cannot look upon without offence. Salt also they are called, which cast upon wounds, maketh them smart grievously. Hence the world’s hatred, as Zechariah 1:11 ; all the earth was at rest, and desired not to be disquieted by the sound of a trumpet.
8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
Ver. 8. I go not up yet ] q.d. I will ere long: lest haply they should think that he disliked the public services, and would not come at them, because of the manifold corruptions that were then crept into them. All which notwithstanding, Christ never separated, nor commanded others so to do, but the contrary: "Go show thyself to the priest,"Matthew 8:4; Matthew 8:4 ; "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ chair; hear them," Matthew 23:2 . It is noted as a great fault in Eli’s time, that men "abhorred the offering of the Lord," though the sin of the priests was very great before the Lord, and all was out of order; yet in abhorring the sacrifice, they "transgressed, even to a cry,"1 Samuel 2:17; 1 Samuel 2:17 .
9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
Ver. 9. He abode still in Galilee ] Which he needed not to have done, could he but have complied with the world, as his kinsmen did. But that man purchaseth his peace at too dear a rate that payeth his honesty to get it.
10 But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
Ver. 10. Not openly, but as it were in secret ] To kindle the desire of seeing and hearing him so much the more; or to discover whether there were any numbers disposed by his first preaching to receive him, to the end he might not show himself in vain. He had lost most of his hearers, who thenceforth walked no more with him, John 6:66 ; yet might haply afterwards have a better mind to him.
11 Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
Ver. 11. Where is he? ] Not, "where is Jesus?" They could not find in their hearts to call him by his name, they were so full of malice against him. So Joseph’s brethren called him not Joseph, but the Dreamer: Saul asked not for David, but the son of Jesse. After Stephen Brune the martyr was put to death, his adversaries commanded it to be cried, That none should make any more mention of him, under pain of heresy. And ubicunque invenitur nomen Calvini, deleatur, whereever, the name of Calvin is found, let it be removed, saith the Index expurgatorius. But what saith our Saviour, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake," Luke 6:22 . The wise historian observed, that the statues of Brutus and Cassias, Eo praefulgebant, quod non visebantur. They shine forth there because they were not visited. (Tacit. Annal.) And Cato said, he had rather men should question why he had no statue or monument erected to him than why he had.
12 And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
Ver. 12. For some said ] All men were not of a mind concerning Christ. Sooner shall the fingers of their hands be all of a length, than men will be all of a judgment in matters of religion. Nullum bellum citius exardescit, nullum deflagrat tardius quam theologicum, ut sacramentarium. (Bucholcer.)
13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
Ver. 13. For fear of the Jews ] Who had made an order (it seems) somewhat like that of the Jesuits’ edict at Dola in the country of Burgundy, that for prevention of heresy, no man should speak of God, either in good sort or bad. This the Jews did, 1. To save themselves a labour of confuting our Saviour’s doctrine. 2. To persuade the people that it was such horrible blasphemy as was not fit to be named. So the Papists debar the people all sound of the religion, in prohibiting the books of the reformed writers, and hiding their own treatises, wherein the tenet of the Protestants is recited only to be confuted: so that you shall seldom in all Italy meet with Bellarmine’s works or any of the like nature to be sold.
14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
Ver. 14. About the midst of the feast ] That he might have the better audience.
Went up into the temple and taught ] Sacerdotum tunc fere muta officia, populi caeca obsequia, ut iam apud Pontificios.
15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
Ver. 15. And the Jews marvelled ] As well they might; but this marvel of theirs came to nothing. Look how a swine, finding a precious jewel, grunts only, and goes his way: so here.
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
Ver. 16. My doctrine is not mine ] As if he had said, this should not be scandalum, sed scala; not a stumblingblock, but a ladder to lift you up to see the Divine handiwork, and to make you say, as Ezekiel 3:12 ; "Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place:" since I have my learning from above, and am (as Nicodemus acknowledged) "a teacher sent from God."
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Ver. 17. If any man will do his will ] Let knowledge and practice run parallel, and mutually transfuse vigour and vivacity, the one into the other. Keep open the passage between your heads and hearts, that every truth may go to the quick.
18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Ver. 18. Seeketh his own glory ] All seducers are self-seekers, and drive on their own interests, how to set up themselves in the hearts of the people: they study their own share more than God’s, and yet they would seem to do otherwise; as those proud boasters that cried out, "Let the Lord be glorified," Isaiah 66:5 ; and the Swenckfeldians (stenck-feldians Luther calleth them, from the ill-savour of their opinions) entitled themselves with that glorious name, "The confessors of the glory of Christ." Schlusserib.
19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
Ver. 19. Did not Moses give you the law ] q.d. You bear me still an old grudge, an aching tooth, for healing an impotent man upon the sabbath day, John 5:9 . But Quis tulerit Gracchos, &c. (Juv.) Yourselves are greater sabbath breakers a fair deal. Publius Clodius (the most irreligious of all the Romans), religionem in Ciceronis domo neglectam questus est, complained of Cicero’s family, for neglect of religion. a Who so forward to cry, Treason, treason, as Athaliah the arch-traitor alive? and who cry out so much, Persecution, persecution, as Papists and other fierce persecutors?
a Cicero de Harusp. Respons.
20 The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?
Ver. 20. Thou hast a devil ] This he passeth by as a frontless slander, not worth refuting, but proceeds to maintain the lawfulness of what he had done on the sabbath day. Sincerity throws off slanders, as Paul did the viper; yea, in a holy scorn, it laughs at them, as the wild ass does at the horse and his rider. Wicellius and Cochleus say that we betrayed the Rhodes (saith Melancthon), and some other such foul businesses they lay to our charge. These are such gross lies, that we need not disprove them; let them tell as many such lies of us as they will, dicant ipsi talia quoad velint, our names are oiled, they will not stick.
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
Ver. 21. And ye all marvel ] i.e. ye all murmur: but he speaks the best of them, as not willing to enrage them.
22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
Ver. 22. Moses therefore ] Tam severus sabbati exactor, As strict as he was for the observation of the sabbath, yet he was not against circumcision, and the healing again of the child’s wound, upon that day. And if any object that circumcision was a sacrament, and so a sabbath day’s work, it may be answered, 1. That this cure also was much to the glory of God. 2. That the man was cured on both sides, and received both sanitatem in corpore, et sanctitatem in corde, health in the body and purity of the heart.
Ye on the sabbath day circumcise ] q.d. If you may wound a man on the sabbath day, may not I heal one? If you may heal on the sabbath one member of the circumcised, may not I make a man whole every whit? If you be at pains to cure such a one with your hand, may not I without pains cure a man with my word only? What if circumcision be a sacrament? so was this that I have done a special means of bringing much glory to God.
23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
Ver. 23. That the law of Moses should not be broken ] Gr. loosened, shattered. The law is one entire copulative; so that he that offendeth in any point is guilty of all, James 2:10 . Hence when the sabbath was broken, the Lord said to Moses, "How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?"Exodus 16:28; Exodus 16:28 .
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Ver. 24. Judge not according to the appearance ] Nothing is more ordinary with many than to precipitate a censure, to exercise their critics, and to reprehend that which they do not comprehend. Arbitror saith Augustine (de Trim i. 3), nonnullos opinaturos me sensisse quod non sensi, aut non sensisse quod sensi, I suppose that several in reading some places in my books will think that I thought that which never came into my mind to think, and the contrary. This was his fear, and this befell him, as Baronius witnesseth. Compertum est, saith Erasmus. It is well known that many points are condemned as heretical in Luther’s books, which in Augustine’s and Bernard’s books are read and received for good and orthodox. a Hill, in his Quartern of Reasons, saith, the Catholics follow the Bible, but the Protestants force the Bible to follow them. And the author of the Gag for the New Gospel assures his Catholics, that our condemnation is so expressly set down in our own Bibles, and is so clear to all the world, that nothing more needs hereto than that they know to read, and to have their eyes in their heads, at the opening of our Bible. This is their judgment of us. But what among themselves! He that tastes an egg, saith Erasmus, at an undue time, is cast into prison, and made to answer for his heresy; but he that spends all the Lord’s day in drinking, drabbing, dicing, is called a good fellow, and passeth unpunished. Qui totam diem Dominicam vacat temulentiae scortis et aleae audit bellus homo, &c.
a Erasm. epist, ad Cardinal. Maguntin.
25 Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?
Ver. 25. Then said some of them of Jerusalem ] That knew more of the ruler’s mind than the common people, who believed not that there was any such deadly designs, John 7:26 . Howbeit these wits of Jerusalem take no notice at all of God’s hand in Christ’s deliverance, and his present boldness in so extreme a danger.
26 But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?
Ver. 26. But lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing to him ] God restrained them, putting his bit in their jaws, his hook in their nostrils. In the year 1159, lived John, bishop of Salisbury, qui et praesens praesentem Pontificem redarguit, et Polycraticon conscripsit, in quo clerum libere flagellat, who reproved the pope to his face, and wrote his Polycraticon, wherein he freely scourgeth the clergy. (Jacob. Revius.) After this, Robert Grosthead, bishop of Lincoln, called the pope in a letter, Antichrist sitting in the chair of Pestilence, and next to Lucifer himself. As in battle they that stand it out do usually speed best; so here, many times.
27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
Ver. 27. No man knoweth whence he is ] This error might arise out of some texts of Scripture misunderstood, as Isaiah 53:8 ; Psalms 110:4 . We should, whenever we open the Bible, pray, "Lord, open mine eyes, that I may see the wondrous things of thy law," Psalms 119:18 .
28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
Ver. 28. Ye both know me ] Either this is an irony, or else a heavy aggravation of their sin; a proof that they sinned that sin unto death, 1 John 5:16 , for which there remains no more sacrifice, Hebrews 10:26 . Two sorts of men in our times are in danger of this sin: 1. Hypocritical professors. 2. Those they call the wits of the world, your most knowing men.
29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
Ver. 29. But I know him ] And am known of him. I will not therefore be baffled or beaten out of my confident boasting by any your frontless affronts or basest buffooneries.
30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
Ver. 30. Because his hour was not yet come ] i.e. God would not suffer them. Those that bandy and bend their forces against the Lord and his Anointed are bounded by him, in whose hands alone are the issues of death, with the manner and time.
31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
Ver. 31. Many of the people believed on him ] Some fruit followed his doctrine; these lesser fishes began to bite. They are said to believe that were not altogether averse, but began to be better affected. The very first stirrings in the womb of grace are accepted of God, Ephesians 2:1 ; he blesseth our buds, Isaiah 44:5 .
32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
Ver. 32. The Pharisees heard ] They had their scouts, and lay perdu to listen, and to keep down Christ. Like unto these are the Jesuits of this day, who give out that the devil stirred up Luther to trouble the Church; and God hath sent them forth to withstand and hinder him.
33 Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
Ver. 33. Yet a little while am I with you ] Christ is but a while with men in the opportunities of grace. There is a prime of man’s life, yea, a prime of every man’s ministry. Christ stands (not sits at the door) and knocks. Now, while one is standing, he is going.
34 Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me : and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
Ver. 34. Ye shall seek me, &c. ] Because ye shall die in your sins, which is worse than to die in a ditch.
35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
Ver. 35. Teach the Gentiles ] Which the Jews could not endure to think on. They profess to this day, that rather than the heathen bastards should have benefit by their Messiah, they would crucify him over and over, Luke 4:25-29 . The rustics of Nazareth understood our Saviour of preaching to the Gentiles, which put them into an anger, and him into a danger.
36 What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me : and where I am, thither ye cannot come?
Ver. 36. What manner of saying is this? ] He would not tell the Jews what he meant by this dark saying. His disciples he told afterwards, in John 13:1-38 ; John 14:1-31 . "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him," Psalms 25:14 : when the wicked shall be neither of his court nor council.
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Ver. 37. In the last day ] In this eighth day (which the Jews called Hosanna Rabbah) they read the last section of the law, and likewise began the first; lest they might otherwise seem more joyful in ending their sections than willing to begin them. (Tremel. ex Talmud.) Upon this day also, by the institution (say they) of Haggai and Zechariah (but more likely by their own superstition), they did, with great solemnity and joy, bring great store of water from the river Shiloh to the temple; where it being delivered unto the priests, it was poured upon the altar, together with wine; and all the people sang that of the prophet,Isaiah 12:3; Isaiah 12:3 ; "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." Hereunto our Saviour is thought to allude, John 7:38 ; "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of water;" provided that he believe in me, so as the Scripture saith he should. For so (after Chrysostom) Heinsius, De Dieu, and others expound it.
He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said ] sc. That men should believe on me, to such I make a promise, that out of his belly, that is (by a catachresis), a out of the bosom and bottom of his soul "shall flow rivers," &c.: he shall not only have sufficient for himself, but wherewith to refresh others.
a Improper use of words; application of a term to a thing which it does not properly denote; abuse or perversion of a trope or metaphor. ŒD
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Ver. 38. See Trapp on " Joh 7:37 "
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given ; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Ver. 39. But this spake he of the Spirit ] Which is many times compared (as to fire, so) to water for its properties of cooling, cleansing, quenching thirst, fructifying, &c.
Should receive ] Princes at their inauguration use to receive great gifts from their subjects. Christ also received gifts, not of his subjects, but of his Father, Psalms 68:18 ; and it was for men, and on men he bestowed them, Ephesians 4:8 , as holding it a "more blessed thing to give than to receive," Acts 20:35 .
Because that Jesus was not yet glorified ] As the sun, the nearer it runs to the earth, the weaker (as in winter); but the higher in heaven, the hotter and more effectual; so this Sun of righteousness.
40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
Ver. 40. Of a truth this is the prophet ] This was somewhat, but not enough; this was well, but not all. The buzzard’s wings serve him to get up a little from the earth, but not to bear him up far toward heaven.
41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
Ver. 41. Shall Christ come out of Galilee? ] Satan (that subtle sophister), though he confessed Christ to be the Holy One of God, Mark 1:24 , yet he calleth him Jesus of Nazareth, to nourish the error of the multitude, that thought he was born there, and so not the Messias. Neither did his cunning deceive him, as here appeareth. Satan etsi semel videatur verax, millies est mendax, et semper fallax, saith Bucholcerus. Diabolus capite blanditur, ventre oblectat, et cauda ligat, saith Rupertus.
Others said, This is the Christ ] Why, this was somewhat like; and if they held them to this, no man can say with the fiducial assent of his heart, "that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost," 1 Corinthians 12:3 . He was Christ before he was Jesus, John 6:27 . Jesus is nothing else but Christus protensus et effusus, Song of Solomon 1:5 . Christ shows him to be a sealed Saviour, anointed and appointed by the Father to that blessed office.
Shall Christ come out of Galilee? ] Galilee of the Gentiles, whose manners likely they had learned by so near neighbourhood. Some countries have an ill name. Can any good come out of Nazareth? Hesiod complains of Ascre where he was born, that it was good for nothing ( Ασκρη χειμα κακη, θερος αργαλεη, & c.) In mea patria, saith Jerome, Deus est venter, et in diem venitur, et sanctior est ille qui ditior. In my country they are neither temperate, nor provident, nor godly given. And Buchanan cries out that he was born, nec caelo, nec solo per saeculo erudite, where learning was not in fashion. But as little Hippo was better known by great Austin, who was bishop of it, than he by Hippo; so was Galilee by Christ, than he by Galilee. And as hardly as it was thought of, he is not ashamed to call himself Jesus of Nazareth, Acts 22:8 , which yet was commonly cast as a reproach upon him.
42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
Ver. 42. Hath not the Scripture said? ] See Trapp on " Mat 2:5 "
43 So there was a division among the people because of him.
Ver. 43. So there was a division ] And yet these were the visible Church and favourers of Christ. That is no just cause of offence then that some take at our dissensions. Rare enim abit sine aliquibus dissensionibus etiam inter bonos et sanclos haee vita (Bucholcer), still Satan is thus busy, and Christians are thus improvident, that as if they lacked enemies, they deal blows among themselves, and fly in one another’s faces. It was never well since the Church was "all of one heart and one soul, neither was there any controversy at all among them," as one ancient Greek copy hath added to that text, Acts 4:32 .
44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
Ver. 44. Some of them would have taken him ] Semper crudelis est superstitio. There can be no greater argument of an ill cause than a bloody persecution: whereas truth holds herself by mildness, and is promoted by patience.
45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
Ver. 45. Why have you not brought him? ] Out of the pride of their power they wonder what should hinder. But the Lord knoweth how to deliver his, 2 Peter 2:9 ; and wherein the enemies deal proudly, he is above them, Exodus 18:11 .
46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
Ver. 46. Never man spake like this man ] It is good to come to the world, though with ill intent; they that come to see fashions only, as Moses came to the bush, may be called as he was. They that come but to sleep, may be taken napping, as Father Latimer saith. They that come to catch, may be caught, as these in the text. The serpent that comes forth to sting, may be charmed ere he go back. When Henry Zutphen was preacher at Breme, the holy Catholics could not be idle, but sent their chaplains to every sermon, to trap him in his words. But God (whose footpaths are in the midst of the flood) would have his marvellous power to be seen in them, for he converted many of them; insomuch, that the greater number of them that were sent to hearken, did openly witness his doctrine to be God’s truth, against which no man can contend, and such as in all their life before they had not heard, persuading them likewise that they, forsaking all impiety, should follow the word of God, and believe the same, if they would be saved. But the chief priests, canons, and monks were so indurate and hardened, with Pharaoh, that they became the worse for these admonitions.
Never man spake ] For he spake with grace, Psalms 45:2 , and with gravity,Matthew 7:29; Matthew 7:29 . E cuius ore nil temere excidit, saith Scaliger, of Virgil, may we much more of Christ; they were all oracles that he uttered, honey drops that fell from him. Of Christ it might better be said than ever it was of Marcus Crassus, the Roman orator, Caeteros a Crasso semper omnes, illo autem die etiam ipsum a sese superatum. Cic. de Orat. lib. i.
47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
Ver. 47. Are ye also deceived? ] As the rude rabble are? we looked that you should have stuck to us. How ill taken was England’s defection from the pope’s devotion! England was the first that took upon it the pope’s yoke, and the first that shook it off again. What wondering was there at Luther, Vergerius, Caracciolus, and other stiff Papists, when they made escape out of Babylon! Apostates they were called for so doing, and Luther confesseth the action; but withal addeth, that they were holy apostates, and had made defection only from the devil, who therefore set up his bristles at them, and pursued them with so much spite. Prorsus Satan est Lutherus, Satan is entirely Lutheran, saith he in a certain epistle, sed Christus vivit et regnat, Amen, but Christ lives and reigns, Amen. (Ep. ad Spalat.)
48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
Ver. 48. Have any of the rulers, &c. ] Argumentum stultum, saith Theophylact. Sapientes sapienter in infernum descendunt, saith one. And Potentes potenter torquebuntur, saith another. None so deep in hell as knowing men; they are too wise to be saved by the foolishness of preaching. But Paul, the babbler, must be heard, ere heaven can be had.
49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
Ver. 49. But this people, &c. ] He howled and wept (said Dr Story concerning Philpot) in the convocation house, and made such ado as never man did, even as all the heretics do when they lack learning to answer. When as yet Mr Philpot disputing in the convocation house against the sacrament of the altar, made this offer: If I shall not be able to maintain by God’s word that I have said, and confound any six of you, let me be burned with as many fagots as be in London, before the court gate: and this he uttered with great vehemency of spirit, which the cankered doctor haply called howling and weeping.
50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
Ver. 50. Nicodemus saith unto them ] Good blood will not belie itself; love, as fire, will not long be hidden. Croesus’s dumb son could not but speak to see his father ready to be slain, a Nicodemus, though hitherto a night bird, now shows himself for Christ in a council. How far had Judas outstripped Nicodemus till it came to the upshot! Nicodemus was only a night professor, Judas in the sight of all. Nicodemus a slow scholar, Judas a forward preacher. Yet at last, when Judas betrayed Christ in the night, Nicodemus faithfully professed him in the day, &c.
a ανθρωπε, μη κτεινε Κροισον . Herod.
51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
Ver. 51. Doth our law condemn any man ] This was no great matter to say, and yet it did the deed; so God would have it. Now, he is ever like himself; and whensoever he pleaseth, he both can and will dissipate all our enemies’ endeavours, and that in the very nick of time. This we have had plain and plentiful experience of in this land lately, when we were at such an under, that our enemies seemed to be above fear, and we below hope: when there was not faith in earth to believe, then were there bowels in heaven to turn our captivity like streams in the south.
Before it hear him, and know what he doth? ] Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, was condemned before heard; and murdered by the Popish bishop. So was the Lord Cromwell, whose enemies dared not bring him to his answer, nor try him by his peers, but procured an act of attainder, and so put him to death unheard.
52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
Ver. 52. Art thou also of Galilee? ] They thought to mock him out of his religion, as the devil doth many at this day. But Nicodemus was well resolved; and if we can bear reproach for Christ, it is an argument we mean to stick to him; as the servant in the law, that was brought to be bored in the ear. And Cajetan gives the reason, Ut si non horreret servitutem, horreret saltem ignominiam publicam, ut multos habeat inspectores et testes.
53 And every man went unto his own house.
Ver. 53. And every man went, &c. ] Nicodemus, with one word seasonably put in, dissolves the council; and keeps them, for this time, from attempting against Christ. See what one man may do against a mischievous multitude otherwise. Ille regit dictis animos, et pectora mulcet. (Virgil.) What a stickler was Nehemiah at Jerusalem, Paphnutius at the Nicene Council, Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, in their generations. It is good to be doing, though there be few or none to second us; and though we be asked, as that good Bishop Liberius was by the Arian emperor Constantius, Quota pars es tu orbis terrarum? (Theodoret, ii. 16.) It is said of Luther, Quod unus homo solus totius orbis impetum sustinuerit.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12