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rents of him that

74 His parents are called, and examined concerning him. SECT. the marks of a divine original that can be ima. And there was a divi. cxxx.

gined? And there was a warm debate and divi. sion among them. John sion among them on this important question; the 18. 16. few friends of Christ among them not failing to

urge so great an advantage against the rest h 17 But, to prevent the offence that might be taken ..17. They say unto at their dispute, they turned and said again to what sayest thou of

the blind man again, the blind man (that is, to him who had been him, that he hath openblind, and still was spoken of by that title), ed thine eyes? He What sayjest thou concerning him, since he hath,

said, He is a Prophet. as thou declarest, opened thine eyes? And he freely said, It is clear to me that he is a most illustrious Prophet; for surely otherwise he would have been unable to perform so great a mi

racle. 18 The Jews therefore of this great council, be 18 But the Jews did ing generally displeased with his reply, and yet

- not believe concerning

him, that he had been unable to invalidate it if the miracle was allow- blind, and received his ed, would not believe concerning him on his own sight, until they called credit, that he had formerly been blind, and had ih

had received his sight. now received his sight ; but represented it as a confederacy between him and Jesus, by an easy fraud, to get the reputation of so extraordinary a cure : and in this view they went on roundly to censure it, till they had called in the parents of the man, who maintained that he had thus received

his sight, that they might strictly examine them 19 on this question. And they asked them, saying, 19 And they askIs this indeed your son, of whom it is reported

ed them, saying, ls

pou this your son, who re that you say he was born blind? Give us an ac- say 'was born blivå? count of the whole matter ; and particularly tell How then doth he now

us, if you are sure that he was blind from his see? 20 birth, how then doth he now see? His parents 20 His parents an.

I swered them, and said, answered them and said, IVe assuredly know that this is our son ; and asfirm it to be true that he our son, and that he

was born blind, and hath continued so from his was born blind: 21 infancy: But as for this strange fact, how he 21 But by what

mcans he now seeth, now sees, we know not ; or who has opened his

; or who nus pencu. Nis we know not; or who eyes, we know not any more than he has told us, hath opened his eyes, not being present when the cure was wrought : we know not : he is of

age, ask him, he shall he is himself of a sufficient age to answer such a

speak for himself.
question ; if you please therefore to ask him, he
will undoubtedly speak concerning himself, and

is best able to tell you his own story.
22 These things his parents said in this cautious 22 These words
manner, not that they had any doubt of the cure spake his parents, be-

cause

as

h The few friends of Christ among naturally distinguish themselves on this them, &*c.) If Nicodemus, and Joseph Occasion; and Gamaliel 100, on the prin. of Arimathea, both meinbers of the siinciples le afterwards arowed (Acts v. 38, hedrim, were now present, they would 39), must have been on their side.

Reflections on the curc of him that was born blind.

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cause they feared the as wronght by Jesus, but because they were afraid SECT. Jews: for the Jews of the

cxxx. bad agreed already,

of the Jews : for the Jews, in this their highest ** that if any man did con- court, had already agreed, that if any one should John fess that he was Christ, shew such regard to Jesus of Nazareth as to con- IX. 22. he should be put out of fess him to be Christ, he should immediately be the synagogue.

excommunicated and cast out of the synagoguei;
a censure which was reckoned very infamous,

and attended with many civil incapacities and
23 Therefore said his penalties. Not knowing therefore but such an 23
parents, lle is o

of age; interpretation might be put on their owning ask him.

the truth of this miracle, his parents declined
giving any particular testimony concerning it;
and rather chose to refer them to their son, and
said, He is of age sufficient to be heard as an evi-
dence, and it will therefore be most proper that
you should ask the particulars from him.

IMPROVEMENT.

Oh that the zeal of our great Master might quicken us his too Verg negligent servants ! Still is he the light of the world, by his doctrines, precepts, and example. May our eyes by Divine grace be opened to see, and our hearts be disposed to love and to follow this light! It was a governing maxim with him, and be meant it also for our admonition, I must work the works of himn that sent 4 me while it is day; the night cometh, wherein no man can work. We are sent into the world on an important errand, to work out our own salvation, and that of others : may we improve the present day; and so much the rather, as we see the night approaching! On some the shadows of the evening are already drawing on ; and as to others, their sun may go down at noon. Let us therefore, waving the curiosity of unprofitable speculations, apply ourselves seriously to the business of life, and zealously seize every oppor-2, 3 tunity of usefulness.

Our Lord, as it should seem unasked, and by the person on 6.1whom it was wrought unknown, performed this important and extraordinary cure. And the manner in which he did it is worthy of notice : He anointed his eyes with clay, and then commanded him to wash. Clay laid on the eye-lids might almost blind a man that had sight; but what could it do towards curing blindness ? It

. reininas

i If any one should confess him to be character. It also farther appears from Christ, &c.] Hence it appears, that though hence, that the parents, and indeed this our Lord was cautious of professing him- sanhedrim, knew who it roas that opened self to be the Christ in express terms, yet this man's eyes, though he himself was many understood the intimations he gave; hitherto a stranger to him, and was not and that most of his disciples by this time yet acquainted with the dignity of his perdeclared their faith in him under that son. Compare ver. 25, 36. Vol. VII.

K

a Give

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The man is called again before the sanhedrim. SECT. reminds us that God is no farther from the accomplishinent of

any purpose or event when he works with, than without means ; 6,7- and that all the creatures are only that which his almighty ope

ration makes them. -7 The blind man believed, and received the immediate benefit of

it. Had he reasoned, like Naaman on the impropriety of the means, he had justly been left in darkness. Lord, may our proud hearts be subdued to the methods of thy recovering grace! And may we leave it to thee to choose how thou wilt bestow favours,

which it is our highest interest on any terms to receive. 15, 17 It must be a satisfaction to every true Christian to observe the 18, 19 curiosity and exactness with which these Pharisees inquired into

the miracles of Christ, and how thoroughly they canvassed every circumstance of them. A truth like this need not fear any examination. Every new witness which they heard confirmed the

case, and confounded the obstinacy of their unbelief.-But surely 20--23 the weakness of the parents was very pitiable, who, in the midst

of the evidence and obligation of such a miracle, were more afraid of incurring a human sentence than of offending God, by failing to own so great a favour, and to confess the blessed Person by whom it was wrought. The fear of man bringeth a snare (Prov. xxix. 25); but they whose eyes Christ has opened in a spiritual sense will see a glory and excellence in him which will animate them boldly to bear their testimony to himn, in defiance of all the censures which men can pass, or of all the penalties by which they can enforce them.

SECT. CXXXI.

The man who was born blind that had received his sight is a second

time examined before the sanhedrim, who, provoked by the freedom of his replies, excommunicate him ; but Jesus meets him, and declares himself to be the Son of God. John IX. 24–38. .

called

John IX. 24.

JOHN IX. 24. SECT. NOW, as the sanhedrim were not able to dis- THINA cxxxi. No

- they the man that cover any fraud in the miracle mentioned was blind, and said unJohn in the preceding section by examining the pa- tobim, Give God the IX. 27. rents, they therefore called a second time for the P

to this man is a sinner. man who had been blind, and said to him, Give glory to God, by a free confession of the fraud, if there be any collusion or artifice in this affaira; or, if the cure was really wrought in the

manner a Gice glory to God, by a free confession vidence that persons who are guilty of of the fraud, &c.] As it is greatly for the crimes not fully proved against them should honour of the Divine omniscience and pro- freely confess them, and not presume,

against

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They are provoked at his replies. manner thou affirmest, acknowledge the power, sect. sovereignty, and goodness, of the Divine Being. in working by so unworthy an instrument ; for John we certainly know that this Jesus of Nazareth, ix. 24. the man of whom thou speakest, is a profligate sinner b, and deserves public punishment rather

than esteem. 25 He answered and Then answered he and said, If he be a sinner, I 25 said, Whether he be a

know not any thing of it, having no personal ac

b
sinner, or no, I know *
not: one thing I know, quaintance with him ; but one thing I certainly
that whereas I was know, and will stand to the truth of it, that
blind, now I see.

whereas I was blind, even from my birth, I now
see perfectly well, and owe my sight to the very

person whom you condemn.
26 Then said they But they again said to him, hoping that, in some 26
to him again, What minut

minute circumstance at least, he might contra

e
did he to thee? how
opened he thine eyes ? dict his former account, and give them some

advantage against him, Tell us once more, as
particularly as thou canst, what did he unto thee?

and how did he open thine eyes? 27 He answered And as the man perceived that they intended 27 them. I have told you only to inngre him he anstrered the -already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would I have told you already, and ye have not regarded ye hear it again ? will what I said, nor would at all believe me : why ve also be his disci. Nulla

would you desire to hear it again? Would you also ples?

become his disciples, as many have lately done,
and some, perhaps, on occasion of this miracle

which he has performed on me?
28 Then they re. The Pharisees then were filled with indigna- 28
vild him, and said, tion

tion, and were so greatly exasperated at what

and were so greatly avanerater
Thou art his disciple? "
but we are Moses dis- appeared to them so insolent a speech, that they
ciples.

reviled him in very opprobrious language, and
said, Thou art indeed this fellow's disciple, as
many of the herd of ignorant people are ; but
we would have thee to know that we scorn the
imputation, for we are the disciples of Moses',

and

against the dictates of conscience, to main- a notoriously wicked man. It was certain
tain their own innocence; there is a great from the principles of their sacred writings,
propriety in the phrase taken in this sense: that a person not entirely sinless might per-
(compare Josh. vii. 19, and Rev. xi. 13.) form very illustrious miracles. But how
Yet some have taken it as a general adju- severe an insult was here on the character
ration by the glorious name of God; as of our Redeemer, to be pronounced a known
1 Kings xxii. 16; 2 Chron. xvüi. 15; scandalous sinner by this high court of judi.
ad Mat. xxvi. 63.)-The words also ad- cature! An infamy which bas seldom, in
mit another sense, which I have coinpre- any civilized country, fallen on any person
hunded in the paraphrase ; but I prefer the not legally convicted.
former.

cWe are the disciples of Moses.] Hereby
This man is a sinner.) I cannot, with they craftily, but most maliciously and
Mr. Locke (Reasonableness of Christianity, falsely, insinuated that there was such an
p. 28), imagine this any proof of a tradition opposition between Moses and Jesus, that
among the Jews that the Messiah should it was impossible for the saine persons to
be perfectly free from sin ; but rather con- be the disciples of both.
clude that sinner here, as ver. 16, signifies

We

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in he hcareth.

They cxcommunicate him.
SECT. and are too firmly attached to that great and

holy prophet to regard such a deceiver as this.
We well know that God spake to Moses d, and 29 We know that

denne of conding hien God spake unto MoIX. 29. gave the most ample evidence of sending biin

ses: as for this fellow, with a Divine commission ; but as for this man, we know not from we know not from whence he is, nor can we per- whence he is. ceive any satisfactory credentials of his bringing

any message from God to us. 30 But, not discouraged by their unjust reflec- 30 The man an

swered and said unto tions, the man replied with a becoming freedom the

Ito a becoming meedom them, Why, herein is of spirit, and said unto them, Why, in this respect, a marvellous thing, it is strange that you know not from whence he is, that ye know not froin and yet it is plain that he has opened mine eyes. he hath opened nine

whence he is, and yet 31 Now we all know in general that God heareth eyes.

not sinners, and that persons of infamous cha- 31 Now we know racters and immoral lives cannot expect the Di

hed; that God heareth not

sinners : but if any vine acceptance in any common petition which man be a worshipper they offer, much less for the performance of a of God, and doeth his miracle; but if any man be truly devout, and will, faithfully do his will, him indeed he heareth with a favourable regard: when therefore God is found to hear a man in such an extraordinary instance as this, there seems the greatest reason

to believe he is a person whose temper and cha32 racter are approved by him. And this is 32 Since the world

plainly an extraordinary instance ; for from the began was it not heard beginning of the world it was never heard that

the eyes of one that any man opened the eyes of one who, like me, was born blinda was born blind. It is surprising, therefore, that you, who allow that Moses was a prophet, on the authority of his miracles, should in this case

judge so hardly of my deliverer, whoever he be. 33 But every unprejudiced person may easily see 33 If this man were

that if this man were not sent of God, he could do not of God, he could

nothing of this kind. 34 And, not being able to endure so plain and 34 They answered

forcible a reproof, which even stung them to and said unto him, the heart, they answered and said to him, with

im with Thou wast altogether

" born in sins, and dost great hatred and scorn, Thou vile presumptuous thou teach us ? 'And wretch, thou wast entirely born in sins, and didst they cast him out. bring into the world with thee most evident tokens of Divine wrath and vengeance; and dost thou insolently take upon thee to teach us, the

guides

d We know that God spake to Moses.] miracles, wrought daily among them, when Their partiality here was inexcusable ; for they might in many instances have been if they believed the mission of Moses, on eye-witnesses to the facts; and one of the evidence of miracles, credibly attested which, notwithstanding all their malice, indeed, but performed two thousand years they were here compelled to own, or at before they were born ; it was much more least found themselves utterly unable to reasonable, on their own principles, to be- disprove. licve the mission of Jesus, on at least equal

e With

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