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The goodness and power of Christ, manifested by his works on earth, conclusive proofs of his divine nature.
JOHN, CHAP. 9, VERSE 32.
"Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened of one that was born blind."
MY present object is, in the first place, to make a few remarks on the history recorded in this chapter, and then to state the force of the argument implied in the text; that since Jesus opened the eyes of the blind, and did many miracles, he must have been something more than man; must have been commissioned and countenanced by heaven for since the world began it was never heard that any man altered the course of nature, or opened the eyes of one who had been born blind.
Who can sufficiently admire the wisdom and goodness of Jesus in choosing the person
spoken of in this chapter of the Evangelist as the subject of a miracle. He was a poor blind man who sat begging at the gate of the temple. The great and the mighty of this world would have passed by without noticing such a child of misery, or they would perhaps have made him an object of their scorn, and a subject for their diversion. But Jesus, though higher than the highest, always practised the most endearing condescension and humility, and preached good tidings unto the poor. went about continually doing good; seeking objects of distress whom he might relieve, constantly employed in that merciful errand on which he was sent.
His miracles were all
of the humane and benevolent kind. The infinite power with which he was armed, was never employed but for the benefit of mankind. In order to display it he did not command fire to descend from heaven and consume his enemies; he did not let loose the tempest as a scourge to punish mankind; he did not strike dumb the tongue which blasphemed him, or deprive of sight them who sought to apprehend him. On the contrary, he bound up the broken hearted, he proclaimed liberty to the captive, he fed the hungry,
he opened the eyes of the blind, he gave hearing to the deaf, and feet to the lame. How forcible a demonstration of his divine original. So gracious a messenger could proceed only from him who is love and goodness itself. How beautiful and striking a characteristick of that dispensation of grace which he came to reveal! How noble an example for our imitation !
This poor man was not only blind, but he had been so from his infancy. His blindness was not the effect of any accident or disease, which art or medicine might remove. It was a natural defect in the organ, to supply which the same infinite power and wisdom were requisite as to form the organ at first. This precluded the possibility of any kind of deception, and fully evinced the truth and certainty of the miracle.
It is, farther, worthy of remark that the person now cured was well known to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. His misfortune, his profession, his situation, must have attracted the attention of multitudes. As he daily sat at the gate of the temple asking alms from the passengers, he must have been known to all who went thither to pay their morning and
evening sacrifice. This circumstance was an undeniable proof of the certainty of the miracle; it shewed that there was no collusion in the case; that this man was not suborned to declare that he had been born blind while he really had not; but, being known to the mall, it was evident that, if he was restored to sight, a miraculous work had actually been perform
As Jesus, therefore, went out of the temple, he cast an eye on this hapless sufferer, whom he immediately discerned to be a proper object of compassion, and the fit subject of a miracle. His disciples also beheld the blind man, but with very different impressions. With a disposition, of which we have still too many examples, to consider the misfortunes of others as judgments from heaven, and with a very unseasonable spirit of curiosity, they ask, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his
parents, that he was born blind?" The answer is direct and positive; there was an higher cause, the glory which would redound to God by this demonstration of his mercy and power. We are as clay in the hands of the potter, who maketh one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour. The divine vis
itations are not all punishments: some are for our trial, our warning, our reformation: all shew forth the power, the justice, and the goodness of God.
He who at first said, let there be light, and there was light, could with one word have opened the eyes of the blind. Nay, without utterance his will was sufficient to have produced the effect. But he chose to employ the instrumentality of means. Nor did this detract in the least from the miraculous nature of the cure. For it surely required power equally infinite to communicate to clay and water, the ability of curing the blind, as it does to open their eyes instantaneously, and without the intervention of second causes. But Jesus would try the faith and obedience of his patient; he would teach us that it is only by the use of those means which he has appointed that we can expect the cure of our spiritual diseases: he would shew that the most improbable means will produce the desired effect when he determines that it shall be so: that bread and wine can strengthen and refresh the soul when received by faith according to his appointment: that water can avail to the mystical washing away of sins, when accom