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of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath-day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

Oh that the zeal of our great Master might quicken us his too negligent servants! Still is he the light of the world, by his doctrines, precepts, and example. May our eyes by Divine grace be opened to see, and our hearts be disposed to love and to follow this light! It was a governing maxim with him, and he meant it also for our admonition, I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh, wherein no man can work. We are sent into the world on an important errand, to work out our own salvation, and that of others : may we improve the present day; and so much the rather, as we see the night approaching! On some the shadows of the evening are already drawing on; and as to others, their sun may go down at noon. Let us therefore, waving the curiosity of unprofitable speculations, apply ourselves seriously to the business of life, and zealously seize every opportunity of usefulness.

Our Lord, as it should seem unasked, and by the person on whom it was wrought unknown, performed this important and extraordinary cure. And the manner in which he did it is worthy of notice: he anointed his eyes with clay, and then commanded him to wash. Clay laid on the eye-lids might almost blind a man that had sight; but what could it do to

wards curing blindness? It reminds us that God is no farther from the accomplishment of any purpose or event when he works with, than without means; and that all the creatures are only that which his almighty operation makes them.

The blind man believed, and received the immediate benefit of it. Had he reasoned, like Naaman on the impropriety of the means, he had justly been left in darkness. Lord, may our proud hearts be subdued to the methods of thy recovering grace! And may we leave it to thee to choose how thou wilt bestow favours, which it is our highest interest on any

terms to receive.

It must be a satisfaction to every true Christian to observe the curiosity and exactness with which these Pharisees inquired into the miracles of Christ, and how thoroughly they canvassed every circumstance of them. A truth like this need not fear any examination. Every new witness which they heard confirmed the case, and confounded the obstinacy of their unbelief.—But surely the weakness of the parents was very pitiable, who, in the midst of the evidence and obligation of such a miracle, were more afraid of incurring a human sentence than of offending God, by failing to own so great a favour, and to confess the blessed Person by whom it was wrought. The fear of man bringeth a snare, (Prov. xxix. 25;) but they whose eyes Christ has opened in a spiritual sense will see a glory and excellence in him which will animate them boldly to bear their testimony to him, in defiance of all the censures which men can pass, or of all the penalties by which they can enforce them.


JOHN IX. 24-38.

THEN again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not

from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

So little does truth fear repeated examination; and thus does it, after every trial, come forth like pure gold out of the furnace. So did this miracle of Christ appear to these subtile adversaries, so will the Christian cause appear to all who will diligently search into its evidence.

Who can forbear wondering at the obstinacy of these Phari sees; and, on the same principles, at that of the present Jews, who, while they acknowledge that God spake by Moses, because he wrought miracles, will not, on the evidence of yet more various and glorious miracles, and those attested beyond all contradiction, acknowledge the authority of the Son of God himself?

But we see this poor illiterate creature (for such he undoubtedly was,) with the advantage of truth on his side, baffles all the sophistry of his most learned antagonists. Great is the truth, and it will prevail. Great is this truth, so fundamental to the gospel, that Jesus is the Son of God: and this also, which is so important to natural religion and revealed, that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and do his will, him he hears, and most favourably regards. May we be truly devout, and add to our devotion an obedient regard to the Divine will, and the eyes of the Lord will be upon us, and his ears be open to our cry! (Psalm xxxiv. 15.) Then, being favourably owned of God, we shall have no reason to fear the censures of men. If they cast us

out, Christ will receive us, and perhaps reveal himself to us with more freedom, in proportion to the injuries we sustain from them.


JOHN IX. 39-41, x. 1-10.

AND Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief or a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out; and when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Let us hear, with an holy awe on our spirits, that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world for purposes of judgment as

well as of mercy, and make it our humble prayer that we may be enlightened by him, and not sealed up under aggravated darkness, as a punishment for our obstinacy and impenitence; for then all the means of knowledge which we have so basely perverted will rise up to condemn us.

Let Christ be regarded by us as the door from whom all true teachers derive their authority, and to whom they direct their administrations: and let it be our care that we enter by this door. Let inferior shepherds learn their duty, so plainly suggested here, let them learn to know their sheep, and take as particular notice as they can of each single person committed to their care; and let them go before them in all the paths of duty: for what could the greatest enemy to the flock do worse than to lead them by example into the paths of destruction?

Happy souls, who are entered in by this gate! Their safety, their comfort, is secure; they enjoy a holy liberty and plenty, and going in and coming out they find pasture. If we are strangers to that entertainment and refreshment which arises from ordinances (those green pastures which Christ hath provided for his sheep in the wilderness,) we have a great deal of reason to fear that we belong not to his flock. He came that his sheep might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly; that greater provision might be made for their instruction and consolation now, till they are brought to those better pastures he intends for them above: May his grace prepare us for them! and his hand will certainly conduct us to them; nor need we fear the darkest passage in our way.


JOHN X. 11-21.

I AM the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold, and one shep


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