Sidor som bilder

to place, he restored friends to the bereaved, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the and health to the diseased. He raised the only son of his mother, and she was a widow." dead. He made the lame to leap as an hart, And so here: “It came to pass, that as he and the tongue of the dumb to sing. He was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind gare ears to the deaf, and eyes to the blind. man sat by the way-side begging.” Was

These things, even in a temporal view, then, you may ask, was his finding these obcannot fail of exciting in us a sympathetic jects accidental or designed ? Unquestionajoy with the poor wretches who received bly designed. He was not taken by surprise. relief, and adoring praise to the Author of He saw the end from the beginning.. His their deliverance; but as intended to convey plan was formed; and he was "working all spiritual instruction, they acquire additional things after the counsel of his own will." importance. For if these miracles are not But he would show us that he is master not to be considered aš types, they furnish us only of events, but of occasions, and of cirwith illustrations in explaining the disorders cumstances; and that though these circumand cure of the mind.

stances appear loose, irregular, and continLet us therefore review the circumstances gent to us, they subserve his pleasure, and of the history before us—and endeavour to all occur in their proper time and place. derive some useful admonitions from it. Thus the bow “ drawn at a venture," carried

The subject of the miracle was “a blind the arrow which fulfilled the purpose and the man." We are not informed whether he word of God in the death of the king of Israel. was born blind, or whether the calamity had! The occurrence, however, was casual to befallen him by disease or accident. This Bartimeus himself; and when he rose in the however was his melancholy condition; and morning, and was led forth by some friendly a more pitiable one perhaps cannot be found. hand to the place where he was accustomed It is worthy of compassion even when found to beg, little did he imagine that before the in circumstances of affluence and ease—but evening he should obtain his sight, and be how much more so when it is attended with walking at the distance of some miles from indigence and want! And this was the ad-home without a guide! This was the most ditional affliction of blind Bartimeus—" He successful of all his begging days. Boast not; sat by the way-side begging." Poor people despair not—of to-morrow, for thou knowest should be thankful to God for the preserva- not, either as to evil or good, what a day may tion of their limbs and senses. If they have bring forth. no patrimony nor independence, they can Imagine him then sitting under the shadow labour; and while they have hands and eyes, of some hedge or tree, against the side of the they should scorn habits of beggary. But road, listening to apprehend if any travellers the helpless are not to starve; nor are we were approaching, of whom he might ask a indiscriminately to reject every application small pittance of alms. For though he could we meet with upon the road.—Though, bless- not see, he could hear—this was an allevia ed be God, there is less need of this in our tion of his distress; and it has been remarked, highly-favoured land than in most other coun- that scarcely ever was there an instance of a tries, owing to the legal provision made in man being naturally both blind and deaf. And all our parishes for the poor and needy who in many cases we find the loss of one sense are unable to gain a subsistence by labour. in some measure made up by the greater per

One of the characters of our Saviour's fection of another. Blind people are generally miracles was publicity. Impostors require very quick of hearing; as may be observed secresy and darkness. There have been mi- by those who visit their asylums. Well, racles designed to delude the ignorant and while musing a noise strikes him, and the credulous—but where have they been manu- sound draws nearer and nearer. He asks factured? In cells, convents, and deserts. what it means and being told that “Jesus Before whom have they been performed? A of Nazareth was passing by”-he cried, sayfew selected, interested witnesses. But says ing, “ .Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy our Saviour, In secret have I done nothing. I on me! Though I am not deserving, my He wrought his miracles in the face of day; case is distressing. O pity me. O help me!" in the most open and exposed situations; be- But whenever was it known that a poor fore crowds of spectators; and among whom suppliant met with no hinderance in coming were found not only the curious, but mali- to the Deliverer for mercy? “They which cious. Thus he recovered this man before a went before rebuked him that he should hold multitude in the high way, and close to the his peace.” From what principle could this city of Jerieho.

proceed? Knowing that silver and gold the Several of our Saviour's miracles seem tol master had none, did they suppose that he have been unintentional. Thus it is said, was clamorous for alms? Did they conclude “ As he entered a certain village, there met that his entreaties would be deemed noisy him ten men, that were lepers, who stood and troublesome? Did they deem him beafar off.” Thus again we read, that “when neath the Saviour's notice, and suppose that be came nigh to the gate of the city of Nain, the Son of David would have nothing to do with him? Alas! they discovered too little receiver, the agent and the subject, the phytenderness themselves, and were too little ac- sician and the patient. It is in this way that quainted with their Lord and Saviour, who so much is ascribed in the Scriptures to the never did and never will consider such im- influence of faith. portunity unreasonable or presumptuous; And what would be the feelings of this never did and never will break a bruised man as soon as he received sight! ( what reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Nor was joy, what ecstasy, what gratitude, would he Bartimeus to be discouraged. He felt wisely. discover! How would he look, and gaze “ This is my opportunity, and it may never all things are become new !-But the first return. I have addressed thousands who object upon which he would fasten his eyes could give me bread-but never did I meet would be his Benefactor and Deliverer. He with one before who could give me eyes. would admire-and weep-and adore-and And, oh! in a moment he will be out of hear- kneel—and arise-and resolve never to leave ing—and when may he pass by again? •He him. Thus the man lame from his mother's cried so much the more, Thou son of David, womb no sooner received strength in his feet have mercy on me!""

and ancle-bones than he, “lea ping up, stood Such a cry arrests our Lord in his journey; and walked, and entered" with his deliverer he cannot take another step—“He stood." “ into the temple-walking—and leapingWhat cannot prayer do? Once the sun of and praising God:” how exquisitely natural nature stood still at the desire of Joshua, who is all this! But what follows is no less so: was eager to complete his victory. And, lo! it is said—“The lame man which was healed now, "the Sun of righteousness” stands still, held Peter and John, while all the people ran with “healing under his wings," at the de- together unto them, in Solomon's porch :" he sire of Bartimeus, who begs a cure. “He held them, grasping their hands or their garstood." And has thereby taught us never to ments-it was a grasp of affection of gratithink it a hinderance in our journey to pause tude-perhaps also of fear, lest the malady to do good. To do good is our chief business; should return, and he should not be near those and to this every thing else is to be rendered who alone could cure him. subordinate and subservient. “And com- So here: as soon as Bartimeus received manded him to be brought." By this circum-sight from the Lord Jesus, "he followed him stance he administered reproof and instruc- in the way, glorifying God.” We may view tion. Reproof-by ordering those to help the this two ways. It was first an evidence of poor man who had endeavoured to check him; the reality and perfection of the cure. In instruction-by teaching us that though he other cases where human skill has removed does not stand in need of our help, he will blindness by couching—the restored orbs not dispense with our services; that we are cannot be immediately used ; light is admitted to aid each other; that though we cannot re-into them by degrees; the man cannot meacover our fellow-creatures, we may frequently sure distances, nor judge with accuracy; and bring them to the place and means of cure. he is not fit to be left to himself. But it is

Our Saviour is acquainted with all our sins, said, our Lord, "did all things well.” His but he requires us to confess them; he under-manner distinguished him—the man saw at stands all our wants, but he commands us to once clearly: and was able to conduct himacknowledge them; he is always graciously self. Secondly, it was an improvement of the affected towards our case, but he would have greatness of the mercy. “I can never," says us properly affected with it ourselves. He he, “ discharge my obligations to such a graknew the desire of this man--the case was cious and almighty friend. But let me devote too plain to be mistaken-but he would know myself to his service-let me continually it from himself; and therefore when he was ask, · Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?'” come near, he asked him, saying, “What From the narrative thus explained, I wilt thou that I shall do unto thee!-And he wonld take occasion to bring forward FOUR said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And ADMONITIONS. Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy! And the First is this. BE PERSUADED THAT faith hath saved thee." Wherein did this YOU ARE ALL SPIRITUALLY IN THE CONDITION man's faith appear? I answer, in his confes-OF BARTIMEUS-and that without divine illumsion-calling him the Messiah, and Jesus, ination, you are no more qualified for the conthe son of David: and also in his application cerns of the moral world than a blind man is

-for had he not believed in his power as able, for those of the natural world. It may be as and in his goodness as willing, to succour difficult as it is important to convince perand relieve him he would not have address- sons of this truth. For • vain man would be ed himself so earnestly to him. Thus his faith wise, though he be born like a wild ass's honoured Christ, and Christ honoured his colt;" and inany, like the offended Pharisees, faith. Thus his faith excited prayer, and ask—“ Are we blind also ?" But to the law prayer brought him relief. Thus his faith and to the testimony. There is no image produced a unity of design and a correspond- under which the Scripture more commonly ence of disposition between the giver and the holds forth our natural condition than blind

ness. We read of our being "alienated from him for spiritual and everlasting deliverance. the life of God, through the ignorance that Hence, says the Evangelist, speaking of the is in us, because of the blindness of our signs which Jesus did truly in the presence hearts;" and we are told that “the God of of his disciples—“These are written that ye this world hath blinded the minds of them might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the that believe not.” Our Saviour sends Paul Son of God; and that, believing, ye might * to open their eyes;" the Apostle prays for have life through his name.” Rejoice, therethe Ephesians, “that the eyes of their un- fore, that He who raised the dead can quicken derstanding may be enlightened ;" and David those who are dead in trespasses and sins. prays for himself, “ Open thou mine eyes, that He who healed the leper can cleanse the that I may behold wonderous things out of soul from all unrighteousness, -and that He thy law."

who opened the eyes of the blind can lead inIf a blind person were to say, “I see," we quirers into all truth. should be disposed to censure or pity him;! Did he refuse this man? Did he ever rewe should suspect that he was influenced fuse any who applied to him in distress? Had either by pride or insanity; and be satisfied he rejected but one suppliant, it would have that if a trial were made, the result of it been the means of discouraging some to the would prove that what he affirmed was false. end of the world ; they would have feared that “Let him work-see where he seeks for his there was something similar in their own instruments, and how he uses them. Let him case. But what can we say now? We see walk-see whether he can escape that stum that his actions spoke the same language blingblock or that pitfall. Desire him to pull with his gracious lip" Him that cometh a mote out of a brother's eye. Show him a unto me, I will in no wise cast out.”—“Come fine painting, and ask him to mark its beau- unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy ties." Men may deny their ignorance; but laden, and I will give you rest." This is to their lives and actions prove it. For instance : characterize him in every age: he is “the “ He that loveth not, knoweth not God.” same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." He And do men love God? Is he in all their is therefore equally willing thoughts? Is their meditation of him sweet?! “But I am so poor and mean. Many of Are they inclined to speak of him? The Sa- my fellow-creatures, who are only raised a viour is “ fairer than the children of men; little above me in circumstances, despise me. yea, he is altogether lovely”—but they see And will the King of glory concern himself “no form nor comeliness in him; no beauty in my affairs ?" Yes; he condescends to men that they should desire him." “ Though de- of low estate. He preached the Gospel himstruction and misery are in their paths,” they self principally to the poor—and to show you see them not; " and the way of truth, though that your mean condition is no disadvantage revealed in the Scripture, have they not in applying to him-behold him pausing, and known." Is not this blindness?

listening to a beggar in the road. “This Though Bartimeus was surrounded with poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and landscapes, they were nothing to him. Though saved him out of all his trouble.” the sun shone upon his head, he saw nothing But you say, he is no longer here. Oh! of its lustre. He saw not the guide that led were he now on earth, dwelling among us, him to and fro: he never saw his own fea- how happy should we be to betake ourselves tures; and had he been possessed of the finest to him in all our difficulties and distresses ! mirror in the world, it could not have shown but the heavens have received him until the him what manner of man he was. Thus blind restitution of all things. Yet though no longer is man; thus unacquainted is he even with visible, he is still accessible; though not to himself: thus ignorant is he, under all the be seen, he is to be found to be found in his advantages of external helps, and even of the word, and upon his throne, and in his house: Bible too without divine teaching. “The we read of "the goings of our God and King natural man receiveth not the things of the in the sanctuary;" he is now passing by, “ full Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto of pity, joined with power;" address him. him ; neither can he know them, because Bartimeus only heard that he was passing they are spiritually discerned. But he that by; he did not see him when he addressed is spiritual judgeth all things; yet he himself him. Address him, then, in the same circumis judged of no man."

stances, and you will soon find that he “is Secondly. BE PERSUADED THAT, WITH RE- nigh unto them that call upon him, to all that GARD TO THE REMOVAL OF THIS BLINDNESS, call upon him in truth." YOU ARE IN AS HOPEFUL A CONDITION AS THIS Take therefore a Third admonition. BE POOR MAN. In all these miracles our blessed PERSUADED TO IMITATE THE IMPORTUNITY OF Lord holds himself forth as the all-sufficient THIS BLIND BEGGAR, IN CRYING FOR MERCY. helper of sinners. By the cures which he For this purpose reflect upon the sadness of wrought on the body, he shows how able your present condition. Think what a dehe is to save the soul; and they were per-graded, uncomfortable, unsafe state you are formed and recorded on purpose to lead us to in, and how certainly, unless you are deli.

vered from it, you will soon pass from the I the praises of him who hath called you out darkness of sin into the darkness of hell. And of darkness into his marvellous light." Folthen consider the happiness of those who low him, then, as an imitator of his example. have been delivered from the kingdom of Follow him as a servant, to obey his orders darkness. “Blessed is the people that know and to bear his reproach. Follow him, to the joyful sound ; they shall walk, O Lord, in spread his fame and to be a witness of his the light of thy countenance. In thy name power and his goodness. shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy What an affecting sight must it have been righteousness shall they be exalted; for thou in the days of his flesh, to have seen him art the glory of their strength, and in thy fa- moving about, followed by a number of pervour our horn shall be exalted." Pray there- sons whose complaints he had removed, and fore that you may be made a partaker of the who acknowledged that to him they owed all inheritance of the saints in light.

the happiness they enjoyed—to hear one sayAnd especially let your importunity, like ing, He restored my son another, He unthis poor man's, appear with regard to two stopped my deaf ears—and a third, He opened things. First, like him, seize the present mo- my blind eyes! He is not alone now in our ment. Let not the opportunity afforded you world. There are some who are following be lost by delay. You know not whether you him in the regeneration. They are the will have another. Your indifference may trophies of his free and almighty grace. They provoke him to withdraw in anger, resolving 'were once sinners, but are now renewed in to return no more. Your heart may be hard the spirit of their mind. They were once ened through the deceitfulness of sin. You darkness, but they are now light in the Lord, may be deprived of reason. This very night and are all looking to him and saying, “ Not your souls may be required of you! How unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy many are falling around you in the bloom of name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy life! How many are called away without truth's sake!" warning! And are you secure? « Seek ye. But what will it be, when he will be seen the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon in company with all his people on the heahim while he is near." Secondly, like him, venly plains! What a day when the Rebe not silenced by discouragement and oppo- deemer will be seen with all his captives; sition. Many may try to check you. Infi- the Physician of souls with all his patients; dels may tell you to hold your peace—and and all of them acknowledging that by his say, “ It is all delusion.” Philosophers may grace they are what they are! What a mul. tell you to hold your peace and say, “ It is titude! How full of joy, and how full of all enthusiasm.” Physicians may tell you to praise! And on his head will be many hold your peace and say, " It is all nervous crowns! He will inhabit all the praises of depression-away to company and the thea- Israel! “ Then he shall come to be gloritre.” Even divines may warn you to be sober-fied in his saints, and to be admired in all minded, and to avoid being righteous over-them that believe !" much. Formalists may tell you, “ It is needless to be so warm.” Companions, friends, relations, may surround you with objections, DISCOURSE XXXVIII. entreaties, insults, threatenings—And youwhat will you do under all this? Do !--why say, “ This is a case in which another is not

WINTER. to judge for me. It is a personal concern

Thou hast made winter.—Psalm lxxiv. 17. and it is an affair infinitely, everlastingly important. I must succeed or perish. Lord, And he makes nothing in vain. Winter help me!"

therefore is as worthy of our attention, as Fourthly, If he has healed you ! If you can either of the former seasons which have say, “One thing I know, that whereas I was passed under our review. blind, now I see"-LIKE BARTIMEUS, BE The scenes indeed all around us, which CAREFUL TO FOLLOW THE SAVIOUR.

we lately beheld, have assumed a new and This is the best way to evidence your cure. chilling appearance. The trees are shorn of None follow him blind: but those whose eyes their foliage. The hedges are laid bare. he has opened, see so much to admire and so The fields and favourite walks have lost their much to desire in him; they feel such a de-attractions: and the garden, now it yields no pendence upon him, and such an attachment perfumes and offers no fruits, like a friend in to him; that they are willing to forsake all, adversity, is forsaken. The vegetable creain order to follow him whithersoever he goeth. tion looks dead. The tuneful tribes are dumb. And every proof of your conversion, separate The cattle are grave, and no longer play in from this adherence to the Saviour, is falla- the meadows. The north wind blows. “He cious and ruinous.

sendeth abroad his ice like morsels; who can This is also the best way to improve your stand before his cold?"-We rush in for deliverance. Thus you will "show forth shelter.

But let us take some particular views of | are less abroad, we have more intercourse this subject.

within. If rural pleasures are diminished, And First, Winter belongs to the plan of social ones are increased. heaven, and is a season indispensably neces

"O Winter! sary. It aids the system of life and vegeta I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st, tion; it kills the seeds of infection, and de And dreaded as thou art !" stroys pestilential damps; it refines the blood;

"Compensating his loss with added hours

Of social converse and instructive ease, it gives us vigour and courage; it confirms And gath'ring, at short notice, in one group the nerves, and braces up the relaxed solids. The family dispersed, and fixing thought,

Not less dispersid by daylight and its careg Snow is a warm covering for the corn;

-I crown thee king of intimate delights, and while it defends the tender blades from Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness, nipping frosts, it also nourishes their growth.

And all the comforts that the lowly roof

or undisturb'd retirement, and the hours Isaiah remarked this long ago; and speaks Of long uninterrupted evening know." of “the snow-coming down from heaven,

Yes, there are amusements to be found, and watering the earth, to make it bring forth and bud." The case is this. When the

without having recourse to noisy, public dissnow thaws, it melts into genial moisture;

sipations, in which health, innocency, and sinks down into the soil, and leaves the ni

peace, are frequently sacrificed; where vi

cious passions are cherished, and persons are trous particles with which it is charged in the pores. Thus the glebe is replenished with

rendered incapable of relishing genuine pleathat vegetable nutriment which will produce


"-Cards are superfluous here, with all the tricks the bloom of spring and the fertility of autumn.

Tbat idleness has yet contrived Winter therefore is only the needful re To fill the void of an unfurnished brain,

hoho .. ..chod buri pose of Nature, after her labours for the wel

To palliate dulness, and give time a shove." fare of the creation. But even this pause is " Discourse ensues, yet not trivial, yet not dull,

Nor such as with a frown forbids the play only to acquire new strength; or rather it is

Of fancy, or proscribes the sound of mirth: a silent and secret energy of preparation to Nor do we madly, like an impious world, surprise and charm us again with fresh

Who deem religion phrensy, and the God

That made them an intruder on their joys, abundance. Nor has the Creator forgotten Start at his awful name, or deem his praise our well-being and comfort during this period : 1 A jarring note."

For Winter is, Secondly, a season which Thirdly. Winter is a season in which we has its pleasures. I love to hear the roaring should peculiarly feel gratitude for our resiof the wind. I love to see the figures which dence, accommodations, and conveniences. the frost has painted on the glass. I love to Things strike us more forcibly by comparison, watch the redbreast with his slender legs, Let us remember how much more temperate standing at the window, and knocking with our climate is than that of many other counhis bill to ask for the crumbs which fall from tries. Our winter is nothing, when we turn the table. I love to observe the husbandman to the Frigid Zone. Think of those who carrying forth the provender for his harmless live within the Polar Circle: dispersed; excharge while the creatures of his care, not posed to beasts of prey; their poor huts furwith boisterous impatience, but with waiting nishing only a miserable refuge; where eyes turned towards the place of their sup-linger months of perpetual night and frost; plies, ask for their “meat in due season"— and, by the absence of heat, almost absolute and I here see one of the many ways in which barrenness reigns around. " HE openeth his hand and satisfieth the de- When the French mathematicians wintersire of every living thing."

ed at 'Tornea, in Lapland, the external air sudIs it not pleasant to view a landscape denly admitted into their rooms, seizing the whitened with snow? To gaze upon the moisture, became whirls of snow; their breasts trees and hedges dressed in such pure and were rent when they breathed it; and the consparkling lustre? To behold the rising sun tact of it with their bodies was intolerable, labouring to pierce a fog which had enveloped We read of seven thousand Swedes who pethe heaven and the earth, and gradually suc- rished at once, in attempting to pass the mouncessful in dispersing these vapours—so that tains which divide Norway from Sweden. objects by little and little emerge from their And while our Winter reigns here with obscurity, and appear in their own forms, great comparative mildness, how many blesswhile the mist rolls up the side of the hill ings distinguish our portion from that of others and is seen no more?

around us, and demand our praise ! We A few things also brave the rigour of the have a house to defend us; we have clothes season and remain evergreen. The box, the to cover us; we have fire to warm us; we laurel, the yew-tree, the laurustinus, are have beds to comfort us; we have provisions grateful exemptions from the law of desola- to nourish us;—“ What shall we render? tion. Nor should we forget the curling ivy, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all nor the crimson berries of the wild hawthorn. his benefits."

Winter affords recreation for the under Fourthly. This season calls upon us to standing, as well as for the senses. If we exercise Benevolence. Sympathy is now

« FöregåendeFortsätt »