« FöregåendeFortsätt »
It was never meant that this clay should | him. Had he sat in some obscure village dwell upon those pits of the eyes : it is only of Judea, or in some blind lane of Jerus 1. put on to be washed off, and that not by salem, perhaps he had not been heeded of
every water; none shall do it but that of Sj. many; but now, that he took up his seat loam, which signifies Sent; and if the inan in the heart, in the head, of the chief city, had not been sent to Siloam, he had been whither all resorted from all parts, what still blind. All things receive their virtue Jew can there be that knows not the blind
from divine institution. How else should beggar at the temple gate? Purposely did in a piece of wheaten bread nourish the soul? | our Saviour make choice of such a subject
how should spring-wate wash off spiritual for his miracle; a man so poor, so public: filthiness ? how should the foolishness of the glory of the work could not have preaching save souls ? how should the ab. reached so far, if it had been done to the solution of God's minister be more effectual wealthiest citizen of Jerusalem. Neither than the breath of an ordinary Christian ? was it for nothing that the act and the man Thou, O God, hast set apart these ordi- is doubted of, and inquired into by the benances; thy blessing is annexed to them : holders : “ Is not this he that sat begging? hence is the ground of all our use, and their some said, It is he; others said, It is like efficacy. Hadst thou so instituted, Jordan him." No truths have received so full would as well have healed blindness, and proofs as those that have been questioned. Siloam leprosy.
The want, or the sudden presence, of an That the man might be capable of such eye, much more of both, must needs make a miracle, his faith is set on work; he mu: t a great change in the face; those little balls be led, with his eyes daubed up, to the pool of light, which no doubt were more clear of Siloam. He washes and sees. Lori', than nature could have made them, could what did this man think when his eyes were not but give a new life to the countenance. now first given him ? what a new world did I marvel not if the neighbours, who had he find himself now come into! how did he wont to see this dark visage led by a guide, wonder at heaven and earth, and the faces and guided by a staff, seeing him now walkand shapes of all creatures, the goodly va- ing confidently alone out of his own inward rieties of colours, the cheerfulness of the light, and looking them cheerfully in the light, the lively beams of the sun, the vast face, doubted whether this were he. The expansion of the air, the pleasant trans. miraculous cures of God work a sensible parence of the water! at the glorious piles alteration in men, not more in their own ap. of the temple and stately palaces of Jeru. prehension than in the judgment of others. salem! Every thing did not more please than Thus in the redress of the spiritual blindastonish him. Lo! thus shall we be affected, ness, the whole habit of the man is changed. and more, when, the scales of our mortality Where, before, his face looked dull and being done away, we shall see as we are earthly, now there is a sprightly cheerfulseen; when we shall behold the blessednessness in it, through the comfortable knowof that other world, the glory of the saints ledge of God and heavenly things; whereas, and angels, the infinite majesty of the Son before, his heart was set upon worldly things, of God, the incomprehensible brightness now he uses them, but enjoys them not; of the all-glorious Deity. O my soul, that and that use is because he must, not bethou couldst. be taken up beforehand with cause he would: where, before, his fears the admiration of that which thou canst and griefs were only for pains of body, or not as yet be capable of foreseeing!
loss of estate or reputation, now they are It could not be but that many eyes had only spent upon the displeasure of bis God, been witnesses of this man's want of eyes. and the peril of his soul. So as now the He sat begging at one of the temple gates ; neighbours can say, “Is this the man?” not only all the city, but all the country, others, “ It is like him, It is not he.” must needs know him : thrice a-year did! The late blind man hears, and now sees they come up to Jerusalem ; neither could himself questioned, and soon resolves the they come to the temple and not see him: doubt: “I am he." He that now saw the his very blindness made him noted. De- light of the sun, would not hide the light formities and infirmities of body do more of truth from others. It is an unthankful easily both draw and fix the eye, than an silence to smother the works of God in an ordinary symmetry of parts.
affected secrecy. To make God a loser Besides his blindness, his trade made by his bounty to us, were a shameful in. him remarkable; the importunity of his justice. We ourselves abide not those begging drew the eyes of the passengers ; spunges that suck up good turns unknown. but, of all other, the place most notified O God, we are not worthy of our spiritual eye-sight, if we do not publish thy mercies ments of thine apostles and evangelists, but on the house-top, and praise thee in the the relations of the blind man's guide, what great congregation.
and how thou has wrought for us? On Man is naturally inquisitive: we search these we strongly rely, these we do no less studiously into the secret works of nature, confidently believe, than if our very eyes we pry into the reasons of the witty in- had been witnesses of what thou didst and ventions of art; but if there be any thing sufferedst upon earth. There were no that transcends art and nature, the more place for faith, if the ear were not worthy high and abstruse it is, the more busy we of as much credit as the eye. are to seek into it. This thirst after hidden, How could the neighbours do less than yea, forbidden knowledge, did once cost us ask, where he was that had done so strange dear ; but, where it is good and lawful to a cure? I doubt yet with what mind; I fear, know, inquiry is commendable; as here in not out of favour. Had they been but in. these Jews: “How were thine eyes open-different, they could not but have been full ed ?" The first improvement of human of silent wonder, and inclined to believe in reason is inquisition, the next is information so omnipotent an agent. Now, as preju. and resolution; and if the meanest events diced to Christ, and partial to the Pharisees, pass us not without a question, how much they bring the late blind man before those less those that carry in them wonder and professed enemies unto Christ. advantage!
It is the preposterous religion of the He that was so ready to profess himself vulgar sort to claw and adore those which the subject of the cure, is no niggard of have tyrannically usurped upon their souls, proclaiming the Author of it: “A man that though with neglect, yea, with contempt, of is called Jesus made clay, and anointed | God, in his word, in his works. Even unmine eyes, and sent me to Siloam to wash, just authority will never want soothing up and now I see.” The blind man knew no in whatsoever courses, though with disgrace more than he said, and he said what he ap- and opposition to the truth. Base minds, prehended : “A man.” He heard Jesus where they find possession, never look afspeak, he felt his hand; as yet he could ter right. look no farther : upon his next meeting he Our Saviour had picked out the Sabbath saw God in this man. In matter of know-for this cure. It is hard to find out any ledge we must be content to creep ere we time wherein charity is unseasonable. As can go. As that other recovered blind man mercy is an excellent grace, so the works saw first men walk like trees, after like men; of it are fittest for the best day. We are all so no marvel if this man saw, first this God born blind; the font is our Siloam : no day only as a man, after this man as God also. can come amiss, but yet God's day is the Onwards he thinks him a wonderful man, properest for our washing and recovery. a mighty prophet. In vain shall we either This alone is quarrel enough to those expect a sudden perfection in the under- scrupulous wranglers, that an act of mercy standing of divine matters, or censure those was done on that day wherein their envy that want it.
was but seasonable. How did this man know what Jesus did? I do not see the man beg any more when He was then stone-blind; what distinction he once had his eyes : no burgher in Je. could he yet make of persons, of actions ? rusalem was richer than he. I hear him True, but yet the blind man never wanted stoutly defending that gracious Author of the assistance of others' eyes; their rela- his cure against the cavils of the malicious tion hath assured him of the manner of his Pharisees : I see him, as a resolute concure : besides the contribution of his other fessor, suffering excommunication for the senses, his ear might perceive the spittle to name of Christ, and maintaining the innofall, and hear the enjoined command; hiscence and honour of so blessed a benefeeling perceived the cold and moist clay factor : I hear him read a divinity lecture upon his lids; all these conjoined, gave to them that sat in Moses' chair, and con. sufficient warrant thus to believe, thus to | vincing them of blindness, who punished report. Our ear is our best guide to a full him for seeing. apprehension of the works of Christ. The How cannot I but envy thee, O happy works of God the Father, his creation and man, who, of a patient, provest an advogovernment, are best known by the eye : cate for thy Saviour! whose gain of bodily the works of God the Son, his redemption sight made way for thy spiritual eyes ! who and mediation, are best known by the ear. hast lost a synagogue, and hast found heaO Saviour! we cannot personally see what ven! who, being abandoned of sinners, are thou hast done here. What are the monu. / received of the Lord of Glory!
disciples. The clouds and vapours do not CONTEMPLATION XIX.-THE STUBBORN DEVIL sooner scatter upon the sun's breaking forth, EJECTED.
than these cavils vanish at the presence
of Christ; instead of opposition, they are How different, how contrary, are our straight upon their knees; here are now conditions here upon earth! While our Sa- no quarrels, but humble salutations, and if viour is transfigured on the mount, his dis | Christ's question did not force theirs, the ciples are perplexed in the valley. Three scribes had found no tongue. of his choice followers were with him above, T Doubtless, there were many eager patients ravished with the miraculous proofs of his in this throng; none made so much noise as Godhead; nine other were troubled with the father of the demoniac. Belike upon the business of a stubborn devil below. this occasion it was that the scribes held
Much people met to attend Christ, and contestation with the disciples. If they there they will stay till he come down from wrangled, he sues, and that from his knees. Tabor. Their zeal and devotion brought Whom will not need make both humble and them thither; their patient perseverance eloquent? The case was woful and accordheld them there. We are not worthy the ingly expressed. A son is a dear name, but name of his clients, if we cannot painfully this was his only son. Were his grief ordiseek him, and submissively wait his leisure. nary, yet the sorrow were the less; but he
He that was now awhile retired into the is a fearful spectacle of judgment, for he is mount to confer with his Father, and to lunatic. Were this lunacy yet merely from receive the attendance of Moses and Elias, a natural distemper, it were more tolerable; returns into the valley to the multitude. but this is aggravated by the possession He was singled out a while for prayer and of a cruel spirit, that handles him in a most contemplation; now he was joined with the grievous manner. Yet were he but in the multitnde for their miraculous cure and rank of other demoniacs, the discomfort heavenly instruction. We that are his spi. were more easy; but lo! this spirit is worse ritual agents, must be either preparing in than all other his fellows; others are usually the mount, or exercising in the valley; one dispossessed by the disciples, this is bewhile in the mount of meditation, in the yond their power : “I besought thy disvalley of action another; alone to study, ciples to cast him out, but they could not; in the assembly to preach : here is much therefore, Lord, have thou mercy on my variety, but all is work.
son." The despair of all other helps sends Moses, when he came down from the us importunately to the God of power.hill, heard music in the valley; Christ, | Here was his refuge: the strong man had when he came down from the hill, heard gotten possession ; it was only the stronger discord. The scribes, it seems, were setting than he that could eject him. O God, spi. hard upon the disciples : they saw Christ | ritual wickednesses have naturally seized absent; nine of his train left in the valley, upon our souls: all human helps are too those they fly upon. As the devil, so his weak; only thy mercy shall improve thy imps, watch close for all advantages. No / power to our deliverance. subtile enemy but will be sure to attempt What bowels could choose but yearn that part where is likelihood of least de. at the distress of this poor young man ? fence, most weakness. When the spouse Phrensy had taken his brain; that disease misses him whom her soul loveth, every was but liealth, in comparison of the tyran. watchman hath a buffet for her. O Sa- nical possession of that evil spirit, whereviour, if thou be never so little stepped with it was seconded. Out of hell there aside, we are sure to be assaulted with could not be a greater misery : his senses powerful temptations.
are either bereft, or else left to torment him; They that durst say nothing to the Mas. | he is torn and racked so as he foams and ter, so soon as his back is turned, fall foul gnashes; he pines and languishes; he is cast upon his weakest disciples. Even at the sometimes into the fire, sometimes into the first hatching, the serpent was thus crafty water. How that malicious tyrant rejoices to begin at the weaker vessel : experience | in the mischief done to the creature of God! and time hath not abated his wit. If he Had earth had anything more pernicious still work upon “ silly women laden with than fire and water, thither had he been divers Justs," upon rude and ungrounded ig. thrown, though rather for torture than norants, it is no other than his old wont. despatch. It was too much favour to die
Our Saviour, upon the skirts of the hill, at once. O God, with how deadly enemies knew well what was done in the plain, and hast thou matched us! Abate thou their therefore hastes down to the rescue of his power, since their malice will not be abated.
How many think of this case with pity | all justice_thy will ? Yet even these weak and horror, and, in the meantime, are in- eyes can see the just grounds of thine acsensible of their own fearsuller condition! tions. That child, though an Israelite,
It is but oftentimes that the devil would was conceived and born in that sin, which cast this young man into a temporary fire: both could and did give Satan an interest he would cast the sinner into an eternal fire, in him; besides, the actual sins of the ps. whose everlasting burnings have no inter-rents deserved this revenge upon that piece missions. No fire comes amiss to him; the of themselves. Rather, O God, let me fire of affliction, the fire of lust, the fire of magnify this mercy, that we and ours escape hell. O God, make us apprehensive of the this judgment, than question thy justice, danger of our sin, and secure from the fear-that some escape not. How just might it ful issue of sin.
have been with thee, that we, who have All these very same effects follow his spi- given way to Satan in our sins, should have ritual possession. How doth he tear and way and scope given to Satan over us in rack them whom he vexes and distracts with our punishments! It is thy praise, that any inordinate cares and sorrows! how do they of us are free; it is no quarrel that some foam and gnash whom he hath drawn to an suffer. impatient repining at God's afflictive hand! Do I wonder to see Satan's bodily posses. how do they pine away, who hourly decay sion of this young man from a child, wben and languish in grace!
I see his spiritual possession of every son of Othe lamentable condition of sinful souls, Adam from a longer date; not from a child, so much more dangerous, by how much less but from the womb, yea, in it? Why should
not Satan possess his own? We are al by But all this while, what part hath the nature the sons of wrath. It is time for us moon in this man's misery? How comes to renounce him in baptism, whose we are the name of that goodly planet in question ? till we be regenerate. He hath right to us Certainly these diseases of the brain follow in our first birth; our new birth acquits us much the course of this queen of moisture from him, and cuts off all his claim. How
That power which she bath in humours is miserable are they that have nothing but na drawn to the advantage of the malicious ture! better it had been to have been onspirit; her predominancy is abused to his born, than not to be born again. despite. Whether it were for the better op And if this poor soul, from an infant, were portunity of his vexation, or whether for the thus miserably handled, having done none drawing of envy and discredit upon so noble actual evil, how just cause have we to fear a creature, it is no news with that subtile the like judgments, who, by many foul of enemy, to fasten his effects upon these se fences, bave deserved to draw this execucondary causes, which he usurps to his own tioner upon us! O my soul, thou hast not purposes. Whatever be the means, he is room enough for thankfulness to that good the tormentor. Much wisdom needs to dis-God, who hath not delivered thee up to tinguish betwixt the evil spirit abusing the that malignant spirit. good creature, and the good creature abused The distressed father sits not still, neglects by the evil spirit.
not means: “I brought him to thy dis. He that knew all things asks questions : ciples.” Doubtless, the man came first to • How long hath he been so ?" not to in-seek for Christ himself ; finding him absent, form himself, -(that devil could have done he makes suit to the disciples. To whom nothing without the knowledge, without the should we have recourse, in all our spiritual leave of the God of spirits)_but that, by complaints, but to the agents and messenthe confession of the parent, he might layers of God? The noise of the like cure forth the woful condition of the child, that, had surely brought this man, with much the thank and glory of the cure might be so confidence, to crave their succour; and Dor, much greater, as the complaint was more how cold was he at the heart, when he found grievous: “ He answered, from a child.” that his hopes were frustrated! “ They
O God, how I adore the depth of thy could not cast him out." No doubt the dis. wise, and just, and powerful dispensation! ciples tried their best; they laid their wopted
Thou that couldst say, “I have loved charge upon this dumb spirit, but all in vain. Jacob, and Esau have I hated, ere the chil. They that could come with joy and triump's dren had done good or evil," thoughtst also to their Master, and say, “The devils are good, ere this child could be capable of good subject to us,” find now themselves matched or evil, to yield him over to the power of with a stubborn and refractory spirit. Their hat evil one. What need I ask for any way was hitherto smooth and fair; they met Other reason than that which is the rule of l with no rub till now: and now, surely, the father of the demoniac was not more troue ! There could not be a greater crimination bled at this event than themselves. How than “ faithless and perverse :" faithless in could they choose but fear, lest their Master not believing; perverse in being obstinately had, with himself, withdrawn that spiritual set in their unbelief. Doubtless, these men power which they had formerly exercised ! | were not free from other notorious crimes ; Needs must their heart fail them with their all were drowned in their infidelity. Moral success.
uncleannesses or violences may seem more The man complained not of their impo. heinous to men, none are so odious to God tence; it were fondly injurious to accuse as these intellectual wickednesses. them for that which they could not do. What a happy change is here in one Had the want been in their will, they had breath of Christ! “How long shall I suffer well deserved a querulous language; it was you? bring him hither to me." The one is no fault to want power : only he complains a word of anger, the other of favour. His of the stubbornness, and laments the invin- just indignation doth not exceed or impeach cibleness of that evil spirit.
his goodness. What a sweet mixture there I should wrong you, O ye blessed fol. is in the perfect simplicity of the divine lowers of Christ, if I should say, that as nature ! “In the midst of judgment he reIsrael, when Moses was gone up into the members mercy,” yea, he acts it: his sun mount, lost their belief with their guide, so shines in the midst of this storm. Whether that ye, missing your Master, who was now he frown, or whether he smile, it is all to ascended up to his Tabor, were to seek for one purpose, that he may win the increduyour faith. Rather the wisdom of God saw lous and disobedient. Whether should the reason to check your over-assured forward. rigour of all our censures tend, but to edi. ness, and both to pull down your hearts by fication, and not to destruction ? We are a just humiliation, in the sense of your own physicians, we are not executioners; we weakness, and to raise up your hearts to give purges to cure, and not poisons to kill. new acts of dependence upon that sovereign It is for the just Judge to say one day to power from which your limited virtue was reprobate souls, “ Depart from me;" in the derived.
meantime, it is for us to invite all that are What was more familiar to the disciples spiritually possessed to the participation of than ejecting of devils? In this only it is mercy, “Bring him hither to me." denied them. Our good God sometimes 0 Saviour, distance was no binderance finds it requisite to hold us short in those to thy work. Why should the demoniac be abilities whereof we make least doubt, that bronght to thee? was it, that this deliver. we may feel whence we had them. Godance might be the better evicted, and that will be no less glorified in what we cannot the beholders might see it was not for no. do, than in what we can do. If his graces thing that the disciples were opposed with were always at our command, and ever alike, so refractory a spirit ? or was it, that the they would seem natural, and soon run into scribes might be witnesses of that strong contempt: now, we are justly held in an hostility that was betwixt thee and that awful dependence upon that gracious hand, foul spirit, and be ashamed of their blas. which so gives as not to cloy us, and so | phemous slander? or was it, that the father denies as not to discourage us.
of the demoniac might be quickened in that Who could now but expect that our Sa- faith, which now, through the suggestion of viour should have pitied and bemoaned the the scribes, began to droop; when he should condition of this sad father and miserable hear and see Christ so cheerfully to underson, and have let fall some words of com take and perform that whereof they had fort upon them? Instead whereof, I hear bidden him despair? him chiding and complaining, “O faithless The possessed is brought; the devil is reand perverse generation, how long shall I buked and ejected. That stiff spirit which be with you ? how long shall I suffer you?" stood boldly out against the commands of complaining, not of that woful father and the disciples, cannot but stoop to the voice more woful son- it was not his fashion to | of the Master: that power which did at add affliction to the distressed, to break first cast him out of heaven, easily dispossuch bruised reeds; but of those Scribes, | sesses him of a house of clay: “ The Lord who, upon the failing of the success of this rebuke thee, Satan," and then thou canst suit, had insulted upon the disability of the not but flee. followers of Christ, and depraved his power; The disciples, who were not used to thesc although, perhaps, this impatient father, se affronts, cannot but be troubled at their duced by their suggestion, might slip intomis.success: “ Master, why could we not some thoughts of distrust.
| cast him out?" Had they been conscious