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was a very absurd opinion, and beneath our Saviour's dignity to refute, as he was not discoursing with hea. thens ; because no such doctrine had been revealed by God to the Jews, and human reason alone might dis. cover the inconsistency of it: instead of satisfying their curiosity, he informed them, that the design of the man's being born blind was, that the miraculous power of God might be manifested in giving him sight; therefore, it was a peculiar part of his business, as the MESSIAH, to cure him: which he should do, though it was the sabbath-day, notwithstanding it would pro. voke his enemies to persecute him. Our Lord knew, that the time of his ministry was drawing to a conclu. sion, and he would lose no opportunity of fulfilling his commission. He had often declared himself to be the light of the world; and proved that he was so, both in a natural and a spiritual sense, having restored the eye. sight of many, and illuminated the minds of thousands, who were blinded by sin and prejudice.
The circumstances of this miracle were singular and significant; but it is needless to enquire exactly into the meaning of each particular : it is sufficient to re. mark, that anointing the eyes with clay was, according to the usual course of nature, more likely to blind than to clear the sight; which added to the wonder, and proved that it was Divine power, and not any medicinal quality in the means our LORD made use of, that effected the cure. The performance of such a miracle must certainly have made a great alteration in the man's appearance ; for the eyes are the distinguished orna. ments of the human face, and give liveliness and ani. mation i
to all the rest : 'yet the man was not 80 entirely altered, but that he easily convinced his neighbours he was the same person and his parents acknowledged
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him to be their son, though their sinful timidity req strained them from shewing gratitude to his benefactor.
The members of the Sanhedrim, we find, made very particular enquiries concerning this miracle. They examined every circumstance, and each new witness confirmed the truth of it; yet, instead of acting as became men in authority, and professors of righteousness, they would not hear the voice of reason in our Lord's favour, but proceeded against him with prejudice, malice, and passion. What scandal did they endeavour to throw on our blessed SAVIOUR ! We read, that they even made an express law to excommunicate whoever should acknowledge JESUS to be the Christ, thus openly rebelling against Jehovah and his anointed One : but the man who had received the cure, having truth on his side, baffled all the arguments of these learned Pharisees, boldly reproved them for their ob. stinate infidelity, and, in spite of their power, professed himself the disciple of Jesus, because he was convinced that he came from Gov. When the Pharisees found they could not confound the man, nor bring him to their purpose, they resolved that he should feel the effects of their resentment; they, therefore, çast him out of the synagogue, and cut him off from being a member of the church of Israel.
The poor man, whose eyes had never beheld his deliverer, was, as we may suppose, earnestly desirous of an opportunity of expressing his gratitude ; and Jesus, to whom every circumstance of his altercation with the Pharisees was known, came forth to meet him; and it is probable intimated to him that he was the person who had cured him. Our Lord resolved to prove his faith, and then to enlighten his, understand. ing: As soon as the man professed his willingness to believe in the Son of God, CHRisT revealed himself to him, and the man acknowledged his Divinity without hesitation, and expressed his belief by humble ado. ration.
The man who was born blind certainly could not commit sin before he came into the world ; and our SAVIOUR expressly declared, that he was not born in that miserable condition, for the punishment of his pa. rents; but that the works of Gov might be manifested in him. Besides it is very reasonable to suppose, that this affiction was in many respects conducive to the man's spiritual interest ; a sense of his calamity might make him more attentive to the duties of religion, and more solicitous to obtain the favour of God, by humi. lity and patient resignation, than he would have been in a happier condition ; and the practice of these duties had a' natural tendency to mitigate his affliction. But supposing it to have been attended with every uncoma? fortable circumstance that can possibly be conceived, none can deny that he was amply 'recompensed by the knowledge of SALVATION."
We ought to receive the account of this miracle as: a farther proof that our SAVIOUR 'was the Son of God; and from his permitting the man to worship him. we may infer, that he is worthy of adoration.'
Every Christian is, in a spiritual sense, in the con. dition of a man born blind, and receiving sight by the hand of Christ. If this consideration excites our gratitude, how shall we express it ? What homage short of adora. tion can we offer to the Son of God.? He who came forth and proceeded from the FATHER, to enlighten our minds with - Divine knowledge, the benevolent Sad VIOUR; who felt as Man every tender affection of the human heart, and whese delight is to give happiness!
Let us then, as Christians, take the man born blind for our example, and let us learn from our Lord's
Own words, that it is very wrong to regard any one as a no. torious sinner, who meets with an uncommon calamičy. Each man's own conscience will best teach him in what light to consider his affliction'; but charity should in. cline others to suppose they may be sent as trials ef virtuei al 6170
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PREDICTIONS CONCERNING THE GOOD SHEPHERD ni
OF ISRAEL Viime <!my ...... From Isaiah, Chap. xl. xli.
" 5* O Zion, 'that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain: o Jerusalem; that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength : lift it'up, be not afraid say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your GOD.
Behold, the LORD God will come with a strong hand, and his ARM shall rule for him behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
Like a shepherd shall he feed his flock; in his arm shall he gather up the lambs, and he shall bear then in his bosom; the nursing ewes shall he gently lead.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his kand; and meted out the heavens by his span; and
* The two first verses in the above prediction are according to the Bible translation; my reason for giving them so is, that the variations in the Bishop of London's translation are so gieat, as to require a long note to explain them; besides, the learned prelate has not pointed out who is to be understood by the string one, in the second verse, and I was fearful of giving my own comment
hath comprehended the dust of the carth in a tierce, and hath weighed in scales the mountains, and the hills in a balance ? . Who hath directed the Spirit of JEHOVAH; and, as one of his council, hath informed him?
Whom hath he consulted, that he should instriet him, and teach him the path of judgment; that he should impart to him science, and inform him in the way of understanding ?
Behold, the nations are as a drop from the bucket; as the small dust of the balance shall they be accounted : behold the islands he taketh up as an atom.
All the nations are as nothing before him; they are esteemed by him as less than nought and vanity.
Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that JE. HOVAH is the everlasting God, the creator of the bounds of the earth : that he neither fainteth, nor is wearied ; and that his understanding is onsearchable ?
Will ye not know? Will ye not hear? Hath it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have ye not understood it from the foundations of the earth?
S It is He that sitteth on the circle of the earth; and the inhabitants are to him as grasshoppers : that ex. tendeth the heavens as a thin veil; and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in :
That reduceth princes to nothing, that maketh the judges of the earth a mere inanity,
If he byt blow upon them, they instantly wither; and the whirlwind shall bear them
like stubble. He giveth strength to the faint, and to the infirm he multiplieth force; they that trust in JEHOVAH shall gather new strength, they shall put forth fresh feathers like the moulting eagle: they shall run and not be wearied : they shall march onward and not faint,