John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 9:15 - 9:15

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 9:15 - 9:15

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15.The Pharisees also asked him. The people had already heard this confession from the mouth of the blind man; and now the Pharisees also are made witnesses of it, who might have objected that a report had been groundlessly circulated by the common people, and had been as groundlessly believed. And, first, leaving out of view the question as to the fact, they dispute only about the law of the case; for they do not deny that Christ restored sight to the blind man, but they find a crime in the circumstance of the time when it was done, and assert that it is not a work of God, because it violated the Sabbath. But we ought first to inquire if a work of God was a violation of the Sabbath. And what hinders them from seeing this, but that, in consequence of having been blinded by sinful motives and by malice, they see nothing? Besides, they had already been abundantly instructed by Christ, that the benefits which God bestows on men are not more inconsistent with the Sabbath than circumcision; and the words of the Law enjoin men to abstain from their own works only, and not from the works of God, (Exo_20:8.) When they take for granted an error which has been so frequently refuted, it must be imputed to obstinate malice; or at least there is no other reason why they go wrong but because they choose to go wrong.

Thus the Palmists do not cease to bring forward, with hardened effrontery, their idle and foolish slanders, which have been answered a hundred times. What, then, must we do with them? When an opportunity occurs, we must endeavor, as far as lies in our power, to oppose the wicked attempts of those who, actuated by false zeal, reproach and slander the gospel. If no defense, however just, shut their mouth, we have no reason to be discouraged, but ought to trample under foot, with boldness and magnanimity, that eagerness to slander by which they wish to oppress us. They take up maxims which we readily grant to them, that we ought not to listen to those who revolt from the Church, and break up the unity of the faith. But they pass by, and pretend not to have observed — that which ought to form the principal subject of inquiry, and which we have explained clearly in many passages — that nothing can be farther removed from the Church than the Pope with all his band; that a medley composed of lies and impositions, and stained by so many superstitious inventions, is widely distant from the purity of faith. But with all their furious arrogance, they will never hinder the truth, which has been so frequently and so firmly maintained by us, from being at length successful. In like manner, the Pharisees brought against Christ a plausible maxim, That he who does not keep the Sabbath is not from God; but they unjustly and falsely asserted that the work of God is a violation of the Sabbath.