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“ Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.' His accents reach that ear which is ever open to the complaints of those who call in faith, and Jesus stands and commands him to be summoned. “ Be of good comfort,” say they who bear the message, “rise, he calleth thee.” “ Be of good comfort, thou hast attracted the notice of the Saviour, thou mayest look upon thyself as restored to sight already, only rise and obey his call.” The summons falls upon willing ears. Delighted, the blind man starts up, and casting from him the loose outer garment, which would have impeded his eager movement, he hurries to Jesus. “ And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way."
When our blessed Lord enquired of Bartimæus, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” it does not appear that he hesitated one moment for an answer. Superiority over their brethren was the great thing, which James and John had lately sought from him.—The man who had great riches set so much store by them, that he thought his wealth more precious than eternal life. But neither of these objects of desire, so generally coveted, was that for which the present applicant prayed. Though in station the lowest of the low--and of poverty so abject, as to depend for his very subsistence on the alms of the chance passenger, he felt that the enjoyment of the light of heaven was a blessing more to be desired than thousands of gold and silver, or the loftiest pride of place, and therefore his petition to Christ was “Lord, that I might receive my sight.” And the same doubtless would have been the prayer of every one labouring under the same infirmity.
But can we not imagine a sense in which it may be offered up by many whose natural organs are unimpaired.
For instance-are not they blind, who cannot see themselves ?-—And surely there are many such. Look abroad into the world, my brethren, or look to the right and left of you, upon those with whose characters you may be the best acquainted, or look (this will be the most profitable study) into your own hearts, and say whether of all knowledge, selfknowledge is not the most rare. This is true of self-knowledge according to the general acceptation of the term. As men there are very few who understand their own characters, or see themselves as others see them. It is still more true, more universally and more emphatically true, of that peculiar kind or degree of self-knowledge which the Gospel inculcates. The Gospel has made the study of our own hearts much more simple, but much less inviting than it is when taught by mere human ethics. The mere moralist confesses that he summons us to a very difficult task. He allows that the path which he invites us to thread with him, is tangled and intricate, and sometimes dark and gloomy; but then he promises many a glorious prospect to cheer us on the way.
The mind of man, according to human philosophy, exhibiting on the one side many weaknesses and imperfections, displays on the other, qualities of the noblest order : virtues, the most exalted, and powers the most sublime. But what become of these when we turn to the Gospel ? They are passed by altogether. If not expressly denied, they are at all events carefully excluded from the picture presented to us.- Man is simply described as being of himself utterly lost and helpless—and is told, that if he would exhibit any real excellence, he can do so only by the aid of a power not his own.
Now of two teachers, one of whom tells us that we are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing
-the other, that we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked—it is not surprising if we lend a readier ear to the more flattering. That we do so, cannot be doubted.
not be doubted, but that with the Gospel open
before us—with the account it gives of man, his spiritual wants and moral weakness constantly upon our lips, and acknowledged and felt to be true,-we do not deal with ourselves as if it were true, but in our practice follow those who hold that man is independent and self-sufficient.-Ask your own hearts, my brethren, whether this be not the fact. I speak of those, and to those who are sincere in their religious professions, and who, if they are wrong in this matter, are wrong not by deliberate intention, but for want of due care and watchful
I ask, even among the most sincere, are there not many who forget the fact of their natural weakness, on the very occasions in which they have most need to remember it ? Otherwise, why are so many good resolutions broken ?
- Why are are so few temptations overcome ?—Why is so little progress made in righteousness - Why is all this, I repeat, but because the doctrine which we fully believe to be true in theory, we disbe