Page images
PDF
EPUB

higher mysteries, and shew us, as in a wonderfully blest with sight, by the pecuglass, that it is the effect of the same di

liar mercy of the Almighty ; Lain he who vive power who at first created man out was blind from my birth, whom ye have of the dust of the earth, and gave sight to all seen, and many relieved in my miserbis eyes, that now restores and regenerates able distress! I am he who was, even lapsed mankind, and opens the eyes closed from my mother's womb, involved in total with the black cement of sin.

darkness, but now enjoy the enlivening

light of day. This person seems to have known the power of the Redeemer, or at least to have So genuine an acknowledgment of the been informed by some person near him, fact excited their curiosity to know how who Jesus was, the fame of whose mira

this admirable effect was produced. “How eles had been published in every corner were thine eyes opened ?" To this question of Judea. Indeed, we cannot otherwise he readily replied, “A man that is called account for the inplicit and ready obedi Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, ence paid him by the blind man, who was and said unto me, Go, to the pool of Siloam, so amply rewarded for his faith and con and wash; and I went and washed, and I fidence, by receiving the invaluable gift of

received sight.” John ix. 11. They then -sight.

asked bim where the person was, who had

performed so stupendous a work? To which This miraculous operation could not fail the man answered, “I know not:" For of producing a general curiosity and sur Jesus had retired while the man went to prise, and, induced those who had seen this wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam, probablind man in his dark and deplorable con bly to avoid the applauses which would dition, to be very particular in their en naturally have been given him, and which quiries into the means of so singular a mi we see through the whole gospel, he generacle. It was doubtless the subject of rally studied to avoid. general conversation; and it is natural to think it should also have proved the means The neighbours, either stimulated by of a general conversion ; but as too fre envy, or excited by a desire of having the quently happens, a perverse curiosity pre truth of this extraordinary event searched vented its salutary effects upon their souls. to the bottom, brought the man before the Unbelief, and hardness of heart, led some council as the proper judges of this affair. of them even to doubt of the plainest fact ; Accordingly, he was no sooner placed bea fact the most evident, and indisputable, fore the assembly, than the pharisees began and plainly the work of supernatural power, to question him,

- how he had recovered while others persecuted at once both the his sight.” Not daunted by this awful asobject, and the Author of it! “ The neigh- sembly, though terrible to a man of his bours, therefore, and they which had before mean circumstances, he boldly answered, seen him, that he was blind, said, Is not He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washthis he that sat and begged ? Some said, this ed, and do see." John ix. 15. is he: others said, he is like him: But he said, I am he.” Jobn ix. 8, 9.

On hearing this aceount of the miracle,

the pharisees declared that the Author of it The man, transported with gratitude and must be an impostor, because he had, by joy, and perceiving his neighbours to doubt performing it, violated the Sabbath day. of the identity of his person,

proclaimed hini But others, more candid in their way of self to be the very same, whom they lately thinking, gave it as their opinion, that no saw begging in total darkness. I am he, thus deceiver could possibly work a miracle of

that kind, because it was too great and be- | useless, had recourse to their usual method neficial of any evil being to have either the of calumniating the Author of it. They inclination or power to perform.

called again “ the man that was bliud, and

said unto him, Give God the praise : we The court being thus divided in their

know that this man is a sinner." Jobu ix. opinion with regard to the character of Jesus, they asked the man himself what

24. To which the man boldly answered these

rulers of Israel, 66 Whether he be a sinner or he thought of the person who had conferred on him the blessing of sight? To which

no, I know not : one thing I know, that, he boldly and plainly answered, “ He is a

whereas I was blind, now I see.” John

ix. 25, Prophet.” But the Jews hoping to prove the whole a cheat, started another objec This reply prevailed not with the obstinate tion, namely, that this person was not born Jews ; they were desirous of confounding blind, though all his neighbours bad rea him with repeated questions, and the art dily testified the truth of it. Accordingly, of sopbistry, and accordingly asked him, they called his parents, and asked them, “ What did he to thee? How opened he thine Whether he was their son ; if he had been eyes ?They had before asked these quesborn blind ; and by what means he had tions, but now proposed them a second time, obtained bis sight? To which they answer in order that the man, by repeating his aced, that he was truly their son, and had count of the servile work performed at the been born blind; but with regard to the cure, might become sensible that Jesus had manner in which he received his sight, and thereby violated the Sabbath, and consethe person who had conferred it on bim, quently must be an impostor. they could give no information ; their son was of age, and he should answer for him Thus the enemies of our Redeemer would self. “ These words spake his parents, gladly have prevailed on the person

who had because they feared the Jews ; for the Jews received the invaluable gift of sight, to join had agreed already, that if any man did with them in the judgment they passed on confess that he was Christ, he should be put the great person who had wrought so stuout of the synagogue.” John ix. 22. pendous a miracle. But their obstinacy in

denying the truth appeared so criminal to This

proves that the convictions of con hini, that he boldly answered, “I have told science act powerfully on the mind. The you already, and ye did not hear: whereparents of this blind man well knew by fore would ye hear it again ? will ye also be what means their son had received his his disciples ?” John ix. 27. sight; and, like him, they should have glorified the divine hand that had wrought so The council were highly exasperated at marvellous a work, and dared to have con this retort. They reviled him, and said, fessed him before all men, whatever dangers Thou art his disciple ; but we are Moses' might have threatened them. Let us learn disciples.

Let us learn disciples. We know that God spake unto from hence, to fear our own, and pity human Moses : as for this fellow, we know not frailty, and to implore the assistance of the from whence he is." John ix. 28, 29. Holy Spirit, to give us courage and resolution in the day of trial; and let us take The poor man incensed at their unbelief care, not to love the praise of men more and bardness of heart, replied, It is very than the praise of God.

strange that you should not acknowledge.

the divine mission of a Teacher who performs The Pharisees, finding that all attempts such astonishing miracles; for common sense either to discredit, or disprove the fact, sufficiently declares, that God never assists

impostors in working miracles : and ac that is, they passed on him the sentence of cordingly there cannot be a single exam excommunication, which was the 'bighest ple found since the creation of the world, punishment they had power to inflict. But of any such persons opening the eyes of though he was put off from the Jewish soone'born blind. My opinion, therefore is, ciety, the Almighty thought proper to unite that if this man had not been sent by God, him to one, where no unjust sentences can he could not work any miracle at all. The ever be passed, por any member be man answered and said unto them, Why, ever separated, during a joyful eternity. herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath The presumption of the Pharisees should opened mine eyes. Now we know that God teach us to contemplate the various arts and heareth not sinners; but if any man be a subtle endeavours of all the adversaries and worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him enemies of the gospel and cross of Christ ; he heareth. Since the world began, was it and not be surprised to find them, though in not heard that any may opened the eyes of different shapes, employed against ourselves. one that was born blind. If this man were If we zealously embrace the truth of Christ, not of God, he could do nothing." John as well as against those who are not afraid ix. 30, &c.

to confess before all men the glory of him

who hath opened their eyes. It is impossible The honest man's arguments, though that the world should love those who boldly plain, were powerful, and founded upon

declare that its works are evil. Let us not truths they could not deny. They all owned therefore, be shaken, when we come to that “ God heareth not sinners :" they all

experience it, but learn from this blind man, knew that God had heard Jesus, by the freely and openly to confess the faith, and miracle be had wrought, which was a fact

to declare the power of that God, who hath proved beyond any possibility of doubt, and brought us from darkness to this marvellous was such as never man performed; it there light, and turned our feet into the way of fore undeniably followed, that Jesus was not

peace. a sinner, but sent from God, since otherwise he could do nothing.

The feast of dedication now drew near. The Pharisees were not ignorant that this This solemnity was not appointed by Moses, argument was conclusive; they felt its but by that heroic reformer, Judas Maccawhole force, and well knew that it could beus, in commemoration of his baving not be resisted. Accordingly they did not

cleansed the temple, and restored its worattempt to answer it, but had recourse to ship, after both had been polluted by Anpunishment and abusive language. Thou

tiochus Epiphanes. wieked, illiterate, imprudent mortal, said they, whose understanding is still as blind Although this feast was merely of human as thy body lately was, and who was born institution, Jesus determined to be present under the heaviest punishment of sin, dost at it, even though he knew that farther atthou pretend to instruct in a matter of this tempts would be made against bis life. His kind, the guides of the people, and those public ministry, was, indeed, now drawing who have rendered themselves eminent for near its period : and therefore the blessed their knowledge in the law? “ Thou wast

Jesus would not omit any opportunity of altogether born in sin, and dost thou teach preaching to the lost sheep of the house of us?". John ix. 34.

İsrael, and of doing good to the children of

men. Nor did he now, as he had forinerly After their presumptuous taunts, the | done, travel privately to the capital, but Evangelist adds, that 's they cast him out;" openly declared his intention of going to

;

Jerusalem, and set forwards on his journey ferent spirit; and the intention of the Meswith great courage and resolution.

siah's coming into the world was not to de

stroy, but to save the lives of the children The road from Galilee to Jerusalem, lay of men... through Samaria, and the inhabitants were those which entertained the most inveterate Ye wise of this world, who reject saving hatred against all who worshipped in Jerusa knowledge, behold here an instance of palem.. Jesus, being no stranger to this dis tience, under a real and unprovoked injury, position of the Samaritans, thought proper which you cannot parallel among all your to send messengers before him, that they boasted heroes of antiquity! An instance might, against his arrival, find reception for of patience which expressed infinite sweethim in one of the villages. The prejudiced ness of disposition, and should be imitaSamaritans, finding the intention ofhis jour ted by all the human race, especially by ney was to worship in the temple at Jerusa those who call themselves the disciples of lem, rufused to receive either him or his Christ. disciples into their houses.

Being denied reception by the inhospita. The messengers, being thus disappointed, ble inhabitants of this Samaritan village, returned to Jesus, and gave him an account Jesus, attended by his disciples, directed of all that had passed ; at which James and his way towards another; and as they traJohn were so exceedingly incensed, that velled, a certain man said unto him, “Lord, they proposed to their Master to call for fire I will follow thee, whithersoever thou from heaven, in order to destroy such inhos goest." But Jesus, to whom the secret pitable wretches; alledging in excuse for purpose of all hearts were open, knowing such violent proceedings, the example of he only.desired the riches and honours of the prophet Elijah, “ Lord, wilt thou, that the. Messiah's kingdom, thought proper we command fire to come down from hea to make him sensible of his mistake ; and ven and consume them, even as Elias did ?" accordingly said to him," Foxes have holes, Luke ix. 54.

and birds of the air have nests, but the

Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.” Our Lord, desirous of displaying an exam

Luke ix. 58. I am so far from boasting ple of humility on every occasion, sharply of a temporal kingdom, and the power and rebuked them for entertaining so unbecom pomp attending it, that I have not even the ing a resentment for this offence.

accommodations provided by nature for the know not (said he) what manner of spirit

beasts of the field and the fowls of the air. Ye are ignorant of the sinful-. They have safe and secure retreats; but ness of the disposition ye have now expres

the Son of Man is destitute of an habitased; nor do ye consider the difference of

tion.. times, persons, and dispensations.

Jesus, in the course of bis wandering, The severity exercised by Elijah on the met with one who had formerly been his men who came from Ahab to apprehend disciple, and ordered him to disengage hinhim, was a just reproof to an idolatrous king self from all worldly employments, and to and people; very proper for the times, and follow him ; but he was desirous of excusvery agreeable to the characters, both of ing himself for the present, under the prethe prophet who gave it, and of the offend tence, that he was bound by the ties of ers to whom it was given; and at the same gratitude to continue with his aged father, time not unsuitable to the Mosaic dispensa till death had put a period to his existence, tion. But the gospel breathed a very dif

and he had laid his remains in the sepulchre No. 8.

66 Ye

ye are of."

1.

[ocr errors]

of his ancestors. • Lorul (said he) suffer The harvest was plenteous in Judea and me first to go and bury iny father.” To Perea, as well as in Galilee, and the labourers which Jesus answered, “ Let the dead also few; and being never more to preach in bury their dead; but go thou and preach Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, the the kingdom of God.” Luke iv. 60. Let cities wherein he had usually resided, he those that are immersed in worldly affairs, could not help reflecting on the reception follow the affairs of the world ; but those he had met with from the inhabitants of who have embraced the doctrines of the th

those cities. He foresaw the terrible consegospel, do every thing in their power to quences that would tlow from their rejecting spread the glad tidings of salvation in every his doctrine, and the many kind offers he corner of the earth.

had made them. He was grieved for their

obstinacy ; and, in the overflowing tenderA third person offered to follow him, pro ness of his soul, he lamented the hardness vided he would give him the liberty to of their hearts. “ Woe (said he) unto thee, return to his house, and take leave of his

Chorazin, woe unto thee, Bethsaida : for if family : but Jesus told him, that he should

the mighty works had been done in Tyre not suffer any domestic affairs to interfere and Sidon, which have been done in you, with the care of his salvation ; that the calls they had a great while ago repented, sitting of religion were too pressing to admit of in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more the least delay or excuse whatever ; and tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of that all who set themselves to seek the wel- judgment, than for you. And thou, Caperfare of their souls, should pursue the work naum, which art exalted to heaven, sbalt be assiduously, without looking carelessly thrust down to hell.” Lukex. 13, 14, 15. around them, as if they were regardless of To which our Saviour added, as some conthe work they had undertaken to perform.solation to his disciples, “ He that beareth “ Noman having put his hand to the plough, you, heareth me: and be that despiseth me, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of despiseth him that sent me." Luke x. 16. God.” Luke ix. 62.

Such a token of heavenly regard could not As our blessed Saviour's ministry was, fail of comforting the seventy, and alleviatfrom this time, till its final period, to being their minds when thinking of the i!! confined to Judea, and the countries be usage they expected to meet with during yond Jordan, it was necessary that some the course of their mission. They well harbingers should be sent into every town knew that the preaching of Christ himself and village he was to visit, to prepare bis bad been often despised, and often unsucway. Accordingly, he called his seventy cessful, with respect to many of his heardisciples unto him, and after instructing ers; and, therefore, they had not the least them in the duties of their mission, and reason to expect that they should find a more the particulars they were to observe in their welcome reception than their Master, journey, he sent them into different parts of the country, to those particular places The seventy disciples, having received whither he himself intended to follow them, | their instructions, and the power of working and preach the doctrines of the gospel to

miracles from the Messiah, departed to ein habitants.

execute their important commission in the

cities and villages of Judea and Perea. And Our Lord, according to his own declara- after visiting the several places, publishing tion, dispatched these disciples on the same the glad tidings of salvation, and working important message as he had done the many miracles in confirmation of their mistwelve before.

sion, they returned to their Master with

« PreviousContinue »