John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 8:9 - 8:9

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 8:9 - 8:9


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9.And being reproved by their conscience. Here we perceive how great is the power of an evil conscience. Though those wicked hypocrites intended to entrap Christ by their cavils, yet as soon as he pierces their consciences by a single word, shame puts them to flight. This is the hammer with which we must break the pride of hypocrites. They must be summoned to the judgment-seat of God. Though it is possible that the shame, with which they were struck before men, had greater influence over them than the fear of God, still it is a great matter that, of their own accord, they acknowledge themselves to be guilty, when they thus fly away as if they were confounded. It is immediately added,

Beginning from the eldest even to the last. Our attention is drawn to this circumstance, that, according as each of them surpassed the others in honorable rank, he was the more quickly moved by his condemnation. And would to God that (209) our scribes, who in the present day sell their labors to the Pope to make war with Christ, had at least as much modesty as those men; but they are so destitute of shame that, while they have rendered themselves infamous by every detestable crime, they glory in the fact that they are permitted to be as abominable as they choose, without being punished. We ought also to observe how widely this conviction of sin, by which the scribes were affected, differs from true repentance. For we ought to be affected by the judgment of God in such a manner, that we shall not seek a place of concealment to avoid the presence of the Judge, but rather shall go direct to Him, in order to implore his forgiveness.

Jesus was left alone. This was brought about by the Spirit of wisdom, that those wicked men, having gained nothing by tempting Christ, went away. Nor is there any reason to doubt that we shall succeed in defeating all the contrivances of our enemies, provided that we permit ourselves to be governed by the same Spirit. But it frequently happens that they gain an advantage over us, because, not attending to their snares, we are not careful to take advice, or rather, trusting to our own wisdom, we do not consider how much we need the government of the Holy Spirit. He says that Christ remained alone; not that the people, whom he was formerly teaching, had left him, but because all the scribes, who had brought the adulteress, gave him no farther annoyance. When it is said that the woman remained with Christ, let us learn by this example that there is nothing better for us than to be brought, as guilty, to his tribunal, provided that we surrender ourselves mildly and submissively to his government.



(209) “Pleust a Dieu que.”