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stepped in before him. “ Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked; and on the same day was the sabbath.” The Jews, seeing him carry his bed, tell him it is unlawful to do so on the sabbath day. The man replied, “ He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.” The Jews ask him who it was that gave him such orders; but the man could not inform them who his benefactor was, for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Soon after this the Saviour discovered himself to the man in the temple, and said unto him, “ Behold, , thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” It seems by this, that his long-standing infirmity was a judgment from God upon him for some heinous sin that he had been guilty of; for the Lord intimates that something more dreadful would fall upon him if he relapsed into it again. This man does not appear to me to be one of God's elect, for there is not one covenant blessing pronounced on him; such as his being called a son of Abraham, or that his faith had saved him, or his faith had made him whole, or Thy sins are forgiven thee, or Go in peace, as was commonly done when the recipient of a cure was a chosen vessel. Christ came into this world to save sinners, and took the name of Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins: but he says nothing of salvation to this man, but leaves him under a strict command, “Sin no more;" and intimates that a heavier judgment would ensue if he broke it, “ lest a worse thing come unto thee.” But man has no power against sin. A strict commandment, armed with a threatening sentence, makes sin rage the more, and Satan to labour the harder. Adam and Eve both broke through the bounds. The law is weak through the flesh; without Christ man can do nothing; and it is well for us that the elect are kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation.
The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus which had made him whole: “ Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” Thus did this poor creature raise a persecution against his greatest benefactor. From the whole, there does not appear one favourable symptom that this man belonged to the election of God. He, with many others, receives temporal mercies, deliverances, and benefits, when not one thing that accompanies salvation appears upon them.
The answer that our Lord gives to his persecutors is, that he ever hath been, and still is a joint-worker with his own Father; “ My Father worketh hitherto, and I work;" and therefore, if he is a profaner of the sabbath, the same reproach must be cast upon his Father. But the Jews were the more stirred up at this, as supposing it to be adding sin to sin; and therefore the Jews sought
the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his father, making himself equal with God. If this deceiver, as the Jews called our Saviour, had deceived them in this assertion, of God being his father, and of his being a co-worker with him, and equal to him, he never drops one hint to undeceive them; he neither denies his sonship, nor his equality with the Father, but goes on to confirm it by infallible proofs as will appear hereafter.
My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” In giving you my thoughts on this text, I shall take but little notice about creating the world, upholding the world, governing the world, disposing of all things in the world, destroying and renewing the world, or judging the world; for all these things are subservient to one grand end; all things are for the elect's sake. Christ created all things: he upholds all things by the word of his power; and he has power over all flesh; all things that the Father hath are his. He will destroy this world, burn up the earth, and fold the heavens together; he will make all things new, and be the only judge of quick and dead. The work that our Lord and his father are engaged in appears to me to be one principal work; and to serve the turn of this are all other things created and upheld; and it was this work that our Saviour had in his eye when he spoke the words in my text. To form a human race, and to bring an innumerable company of that race to eternal glory by Jesus Christ, is the
grand work that God had in view from everlasting. Hence Christ was set up to be future man and mediator from that date. Moreover, it was the determination of God that the multitude of his elect should be brought to glory in the likeness of his dear Son. This was determined on in God's councils of old, whose councils are faithfulness and truth, and in both which we are deeply concerned. Hence at the creation, when the first man was formed and we in him, Adam is said, by the Holy Ghost, to be the figure of him that was to come, Rom. v. 14. To this likeness were the elect predestinated, and in this likeness was man created; and it is as plain that the greatest blessing of all blessings, or the principal thing in God's image in man, was life; and therefore with the loss of this invaluable blessing was he threatened, in case of disobedience, “ In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die; dying thou shalt die,” Gen. ii. 17. But man sinned: “Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all, for all have sinned.” Hence the image of God, with all its divine adornings on the mind, is utterly defaced, and the greatest of all blessings, that of life, is lost. To restore this image, and bestow this blessing of divine life, is the sole work that our Lord alludes to in my text, as plainly appears in the whole of his reasonings with the Jews, Then answered Jesus and said unto them, “ The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth; and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” And these greater works follow; “ For, as the Father raiseth
up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will,” John v. 20, 21. This work of raising dead sinners and quickening them, justifying and sanctifying them, keeping them alive and saving them, quickening their mortal bodies, and raising them up in his own image and likeness, and bringing them to a life of glory in heaven, is called greater works than healing a cripple; and, indeed, it is greater than all miracles; and this the Saviour tells his persecutors would make them all marvel. And, indeed, the completion of this great work at the last day, will be a wonder and an astonishment to all the enemies of Christ and his church, and to all whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life. In handling these words, I shall endeavour to prove,
1. That the grand work, determined on in the se
cret council of the Holy Trinity from everlasting, was to bring a certain and determinate number of the human race, in the likeness of the Son of God, to heaven and endless glory by him.
II. That the image of God in Adam was the no
blest and the grandest work that appeared in the whole creation when the world was made.
III. That the principal thing, or the most invalu
able blessing, in the whole image of God in Adam, was life.