33.We stone thee not for a good work. Though wicked men carry on open war with God, yet they never wish to sin without some plausible pretense. The consequence is, that when they rage against the Son of God, they are not content with this cruelty, but bring an unprovoked accusation against him, and constitute themselves advocates and defenders of the glory of God. A good conscience must therefore be to us a wall of brass, by which we boldly repel the reproaches and calumnies with which we are assailed. For whatever plausibility may adorn their malice, and whatever reproach they may bring on us for a time, if we fight for the cause of God, he will not refuse to uphold his truth. But as the wicked never want pretences for oppressing the servants of God, and as they have also hardened impudence, so that, even when vanquished, they do not cease to slander, we have need of patience and meekness, to support us to the end.
But for blasphemy. The word blasphemy, which among profane authors denotes generally every kind of reproach, Scripture refers to God, when his majesty is offended and insulted.
Because thou, being a man, makest thyself God. There are two kinds of blasphemy, either when God is deprived of the honor which belongs to him, or when anything unsuitable to his nature, or contrary to his nature, is ascribed to him. They argue therefore that Christ is a blasphemer and a sacrilegious person, because, being a mortal man, he lays claim to Divine honor. And this would be a just definition of blasphemy, if Christ were nothing more than a man. They only err in this, that they do not design to contemplate his Divinity, which was conspicuous in his miracles.