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Life of Jesus Christ in Its Historical Connexion and Historical Developement.
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§ 195. Christ a Spring of Living Water, and the Light of the World. (John, vii., 38, seq.)—The Validity of His Testimony of Himself. (John, viii., 13, seq.)—He foretels the subsequent Relations of the Jews to Him. (John, viii., 21.)

It was the last chief feast of the last year of Christ’s labours upon earth; and he could not let it pass without, at its conclusion, giving a special message to the multitudes who were soon to be scattered through the country, and many of whom would never see him more. Under various figures he represented himself to them as the source of true riches and unfailing contentment, and thus stimulated their longing for him.

Thus did he cry out to the congregation in the Temple (probably alluding to the ceremony in which the priests, in great pomp, brought water from the spring of Siloa to the altar), “ Here is the true spring of living water; if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. Whosoever believeth on me, his inward life shall become a well-spring, whence shall flow streams of living water.”534534   These words were not uttered by Christ as a prediction, but as a declaration of the power of faith in developing the Divine life. But as it was not fully realized until the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, that stream of living water which flows without ceasing through the communion of believers in all ages, John justly applied them to this (v. 39), as illustrated in the progress of the Church before his eyes when he wrote. And in another figure (viii., 12) he declared that he was to be in the spiritual world what the sun is in the material. “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light which beams forth from life and leads to life.”535535   Cf. these words, “the light of life, the light which giveth life,” with “the bread of life,” p. 266. The “light” precedes; as Christ enlightens the darkened world, and thus leads it from death unto life. He appears first to the dark soul as the enlightening teacher of truth, in order to raise it to communion with himself, and so to partake of the Divine life. The relation of “light” and “life” is not outward and indirect, but inward and direct. The light and the life are from the same Giver; sometimes the one is made more prominent, sometimes the other, according to the bearings in which he is spoken of; the life as light (John, i., 4), or the light of life.

The Pharisees objected (viii., 13) that Christ s testimony was worthless, because it was given of himself. Christ, in reply, admitted that self-witness is not generally valid, but declared that in his case it was, because he testified of himself with the confidence and clearness of a consciousness founded in Divinity. “Though I bear witness of myself, my testimony is true for I know whence I came and whither I go” (a higher self-consciousness, transcending, in its confidence, all doubt and self-deception; the eternal Light beaming through the human consciousness). Judging merely by outward appearance, and incapable of apprehending the Divine in him, they were deceived (v. 15). But his testimony and judgment were true, because not given by himself as a man of himself, but by him with the Father (v. 19). Thus there were two witnesses: his own subjective testimony, infallible because of his communion with the Father; and the objective testimony of the Father himself, given in his manifestation and ministry as a whole.

But these carnal-minded men, unsusceptible for this spiritual revelation of the Father in the manifestation and works of his son, still asked, “Where is this witness? let us hear the Father’s voice, and behold his appearance.” He showed them, in turn, that the knowledge of Him and of the Father were interdependent; that they could not know him as he was, because they knew not the Father; and that they could not know the Father, because they knew not the Son in whom he revealed himself.

Again, with reference to the continued persecutions of the Sanhedrim, Christ repeated the saying, “I go, and you will seek me;” adding, also, the reason why they should seek in vain (v. 21), “Because ye will not believe in the Redeemer, but die in your sins, and there fore be excluded from heaven;” because (as he himself explained it, v. 23) there was an impassable gulf between those that belong to this world and Him who did not. But the prophetic words in v. 28 were not spoken with reference to these, but to others: “When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am lie, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” This was spoken of such as then mistook the Son of Man in his human appearance (who might have fallen into the pardonable sin of blasphemy against the Son of Man, Matt., xii., 32), but who, still possessing a dormant susceptibility kept down by prejudice, would be led to believe, by the invisible workings of his Divine Spirit, when they should see that work which was believed to be suppressed by his death, spreading abroad with irresistible power.


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