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“He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” —John 1:11-13
Hypocrisy and self-righteousness never probably rose to such a height as at the period when the Lord of life and glory was upon earth. The besetting sin of the Jewish nation before the Babylonish captivity was idolatry, as we find recorded in the pages of the Old Testament; but after their return from that captivity (more than five hundred years before Christ came into the world), they never relapsed into open idol-worship. The form of ungodliness in them was changed. The human heart, ever “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9), put on a new mask; and though they no longer bowed down to gods of wood and stone, nor went after the vain idols...