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of sight would not be so severely felt as in some others, inasmuch as he had never enjoyed the blessing. The power of our Lord, however, would on this very account be more eminently displayed while he extended his compassionate relief, and communicated unexpected joy.

The disciples of our Lord, observing the blind man, and understanding that he had been in that state from the time of his birth, proposed to their Master a question of curious speculation, as well as of a very singular kind. Supposing the man's blindness to be a punishment inflicted in consequence of some special sin, they wished to know whether it were his own sin, or that of his parents, which had been visited in such a manner. The question they proposed was probably founded on a notion extensively prevalent among the Jews in the time of our Saviour, that the souls of men had a previous existence before their birth, though they had no consciousness or recollection of it ; and that according to their behaviour in such pre-existent state, they were rewarded or punished in this life. Hence the disciples were curious to know, whether this blind man had himself been some flagrant offender, before his present existence in this world; or whether some sin of his parents had induced Almighty God to visit them with this affliction in the person of their child.

Our Saviour, without dwelling on the subject of their inquiry, gives them to understand that their conjecture, as it respected either the parents or their child, was altogether erroneous. He meant not indeed absolutely to affirm that the parents were not sinners, or that the man himself was not, like others, conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity : but that this blindness was not a judicial visitation upon any particular sin of either of the parties. He intimates that a special end was designed to result from the case before them—even a wonderful display of Divine power, which would accordingly now take place. He further declares that the works of God were to be performed by himself; and that a limited period was appointed for that purpose: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work :"-a solemn admonition to all duly to improve present opportunities, which will soon be for ever gone ! Our Saviour, moreover, takes occasion from the dismal condition of the blind man, as connected with the miracle which he was about to perform, to intimate the benefits which he confers upon mankind, not only in giving sight to the natural eye, but in illuminating the soul with the light of spiritual life. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Let us remember, my brethren, that though he is not now in the world as to his visible presence, he still shines with the light of his doctrine, and the illuminating grace of his Holy Spirit, into the hearts of those who come unto God by Him. That light, and that grace, let us then diligently seek evermore.

Our Saviour now applies himself immediately to the work before him : “ When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle;

to

ensue.

and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.)” Neither the application made, nor the direction given, had a natural tendency to produce the effect which was

The application, indeed, might be supposed more calculated to obstruct than to aid the attainment of the desired object; and the direction given appeared likely to answer no other end than to remove that obstruction, and thus to bring things precisely to the state in which they were before.

The blind man, however, obeyed that direction, and was amply compensated for so doing : “ He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”

The virtue by which this change was effected was not in the pool of Siloam, but in Him who commanded the blind man to go to it. The meaning of the word Siloam, as the Evangelist tells us, is Sent. It is only the Greek mode of writing the Hebrew word Shiloh, which has the same signification, and is one of the titles given to the Messiah, Sent of God, for the redemption of the world. Fanciful interpretations are certainly to be discouraged. But why is the word here interpreted at all, if nothing is to be learned from it? And what can we so naturally suppose to be intended by the mention of it, as that the true Shiloh, of whom the pool in this transaction was but an emblem, is the Grand Restorer of sight to the blind ? He was sent to open the blind eyes;”-to give light to

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them that sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” May God, in his abounding mercy, grant to us all, that by Him the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, that so we may know and rejoice in Him, not only as the light of the world, but as the light of life!

Having thus noticed the circumstances of the cure which is here recorded, proceed we to consider,

II. THE NOTORIETY AND REMARKABLE CONFERENCES

WHICH ENSUED.

The former of these topics is so necessarily involved in the latter, that a distinct consideration of it would only occasion a needless expenditure of time. We pass on therefore at once to observe,

1. That, in the first place, there was a conference of the neighbours, and those who had seen the man when blind, both among themselves, and with the man now enjoying his sight. A question was immediately started concerning his identity: “ The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged ?” The fact of there having been a person who was accustomed to resort to some place, probably contiguous to the temple, where he took his seat and craved the charity of those who passed by, seems to have been notorious. The only doubt was, whether he whom they now saw were the same person.

“ Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him.” Nor is it at all surprising that he

should not at once be identified by every one present; since it is probable that many, in hastily passing by the place where he was accustomed to sit, had never minutely observed him : and even if they had, the change which had now taken place must have so greatly affected his general aspect, that it might not be easy immediately to recognise him. The man himself, however, settled the point by his positive declaration. They might be divided in opinion : some among them might doubt : “but he said, I am he.” A question then arose as to the mode in which so remarkable a change had been effected : “ Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened ?” This inquiry he meets with a simple statement of facts. “ He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash : and I went and washed, and I received sight.” Another question was then proposed ; but whether from mere curiosity, from some better motive, or, as there is reason to fear, with an insidious design, we cannot absolutely determine. The immediate object of that inquiry was to ascertain where Jesus might be found. It seems, however, that the man was not able to give the desired information : “ Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.” This answer not satisfying the inquirers, we remark,

2. That a conference was next effected between the Pharisees and the man who had been cured :

They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime

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