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beggar recognized Him as anything more than "a man called Jesus.” The accuracy with which he recites all the facts of his cure, is well worthy of notice. “He first put clay on my eyes ;
then He bid me go and wash in Siloam ;-I went: I was cured." 12.-[Then said they... where is He?.. He...know not.] The desire to
see the worker of this wonderful miracle was natural, but the question, “Where is He?” was probably asked with a mischievous intention. Those who asked it wished to lay hands on our Lord, and bring Him before the rulers. The man's answer certainly seems to show that he did not return to the place where he had sat and begged, but to his house. Had he gone back to the temple gates, he might have replied, that Jesus was here only a short time before, and was probably not far off. The questioners seem to suppose that the worker of such a miracle and the subject of it, could not be far apart. They did not understand that our Lord always avoided, rather than courted public notice.
13 They brought to the Pharisees him this your son, who ye say was born that aforetime was blind.
blind? how then doth he now see! 14 And it was the sabbath day when 20 His parents answered them and Jesus made the clay, and opened his said, We know that this is our son, and eyes.
that he was born blind : 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked 21 But by what means he now seeth, him how he had received his sight. He we know not; or who hath opened his said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask eyes, and I washed, and do see.
him; he shall speak for himself. 16 Therefore said some of the Phari 22 These words spake his parents, besees, This man is not of God, because cause they feared the Jews : for the he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others Jews had agreed already, that if any said, How can a man that is a sinner do man did confess that he was Christ, he such miracles? And there was a divi should be put out of the synagogue. sion among them.
23 Therefore said his parents, He is 17 They say unto the blind man agai of age : ask him. What sayest thou of Him, that he hath 24 Then again called they the man opened thine eyes? He said, He is a that was blind, and said unto him, Give prophet.
God the praise : we know that this man 18 But the Jews did not believe con is a sinner. cerning him, that he had been blind, | 25 He answered and said, Whether and received his sight, until they called | he be a sinner or no, I know not: one the parents of him that had received his thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, sight.
now I see. 19 And they asked them, saying, Is'
THESE verses show us, how little the Jews of our Lord's time understood the right use of the Sabbath day. We read that some of the Pharisees found fault because a
blind man was miraculously healed on the Sabbath. They said, “This man is not of God, because He keepeth not the Sabbath day." A good work had manifestly been done to a helpless fellow-creature. A heavy bodily infirmity had been removed. A mighty act of mercy had been performed. But the blind-hearted enemies of Christ could see no beauty in the act. They called it a breach of the Fourth Commandment !
These would-be wise men completely mistook the intention of the Sabbath. They did not see that it was “made for man,” and meant for the good of man's body, mind, and soul. It was a day to be set apart from others, no doubt, and to be carefully sanctified and kept holy. But its sanctification was never intended to prevent works of necessity and acts of mercy. To heal a sick man was no breach of the Sabbath day. In finding fault with our Lord for so doing, the Jews only exposed their ignorance of their own law. They had forgotten that it is as great a sin to add to a commandment, as to take it away.
Here, as in other places, we must take care that we do not put a wrong meaning on our Lord's conduct. We must not for a moment suppose that the Sabbath is no longer binding on Christians, and that they have nothing to do with the Fourth Commandment. This is a great mistake, and the root of great evil. Not one of the ten commandments has ever been repealed or put aside. Our Lord never meant the Sabbath to become a day of pleasure, or a day of business, or a day of travelling and idle dissipation. He meant it to be “ kept holy” as long as the
world stands. It is one thing to employ the Sabbath in works of mercy, in ministering to the sick, and doing good to the distressed. It is quite another thing to spend the day in visiting, feasting, and self-indulgence. Whatever men may please to say, the way in which we use the Sabbath is a sure test of the state of our religion. By the Sabbath may be found out whether we love communion with God. By the Sabbath may be found out whether we are in tune for heaven. By the Sabbath, in short, the secrets of many hearts are revealed. There are only too many of whom we may say with sorrow, “ These men are not of God, because they keep not the Sabbath day.”
These verses show us, secondly, the desperate lengths to which prejudice will sometimes carry wicked men. We read that the “Jews agreed that if any man did confess that Jesus was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” They were determined not to believe. They were resolved that no evidence should change their minds, and no proofs influence their will. They were like men who shut their eyes and tie a bandage over them, and refuse to have it untied. Just as in after times they stopped their ears when Stephen preached, and refused to listen when Paul made his defence, so they behaved at this period of our Lord's ministry.
Of all states of mind into which unconverted men can fall, this is by far the most dangerous to the soul. So long as a person is candid, fair, and honest-minded, there is hope for him, however ignorant he may be. He may be much in the dark at present. But is he willing to
follow the light, if set before him? He may be walking in the broad road with all his might. But is he ready to listen to any one who will show him a more excellent way? In a word, is he teachable, childlike, and unfettered by prejudice ? If these questions can be answered satisfactorily, we never need despair about the man's soul.
The state of mind we should always desire to possess, is that of the noble-minded Beræans. When they first heard the Apostle Paul preach, they listened with attention. They received the Word “with all readiness of mind.” They “searched the Scriptures,” and compared what they heard with God's Word. “And therefore, we are told “many of them believed.” Happy are they that go and do likewise! (Acts xvii. 11, 12.)
These verses show us, lastly, that nothing convinces a man so thoroughly as his own senses and feelings. We read that the unbelieving Jews tried in vain to persuade the blind man whom Jesus healed, that nothing had been done for him. They only got from him one plain answer :-“ One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” How the miracle had been worked he did not pretend to explain. Whether the person who had healed him was a sinner, he did not profess to know. But that something had been done for him he stoutly maintained. He was not to be reasoned out of his senses. Whatever the Jews might think, there were two distinct facts of which he was conscious :—“I was blind : now I see.”
There is no kind of evidence so satisfactory as this to
the heart of a real Christian. His knowledge may be small. His faith may be feeble. His doctrinal views may be at present confused and indistinct. But if Christ has really wrought a work of grace in his heart by His Spirit, he feels within him something that you cannot overthrow. “I was dark, and now I have light. I was afraid of God, and now I love Him. I was fond of sin, and now I hate it. I was blind, and now I see.” Let us never rest till we know and feel within us some real work of the Holy Ghost. Let us not be content with the name and form of Christianity. Let us desire to have true experimental acquaintance with it. Feelings no doubt are deceitful, and are not everything in religion. But if we have no inward feelings about spiritual matters, it is a very bad sign. The hungry man eats, and feels strengthened; the thirsty man drinks, and feels refreshed. Surely the man who has within him the grace of God, ought to be able to say, “I feel its power.”
NOTES. JOHN IX. 13—25.
13.-[They brought to the Pharisees...blind.] The prime movers in
this matter, seem to have been the neighbours of the blind man. They thought that so marvellous an event as this sudden cure demanded investigation.
The “Pharisees” in this passage, if we may judge by the context, must have been the great council, or Sanhedrim, of the Jewish nation, the same body before whom our Lord made His defence, in the fifth chapter of this Gospel. At any rate, we can hardly imagine any other body at Jerusalem “excommunicating "a man. (See verse 34.)
Whitby observes how wonderfully the providence of God ordered things, that the Pharisees should be put to silence and open shame by a poor blind man!