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intended to make the miracle more taken notice of: for a crowd of people would naturally gather round him, to observe the event of so strange a prescription. And it is exceeding probable, the guide who must have led him, in traversing a great part of the city, would mention the errand he was going upon, and so call those who saw him to a greater attention. From the fountain of Siloam, which was without the walls of Jerusalem, a little stream flowed into the city, and was received in a kind of basin, near the temple, and called, the Pool of Siloam, “Which is by interpretation, Sent." And so was a type of the Messiah, who was sent of God. went and washed, and came seeing.” He believed, and obeyed, and found a blessing. 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 method of thy recovering grace!
Rev. ). WESLEY. “ The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down." -Psal. cxlvi. 8. That the Lord, of whom all these things are spoken, is the Messiah, or Jehovah incarnate, appears, as Dr. Hammond hath justly observed, from what is said of him in verse 8, “ The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind;" the miracle of restoring sight to men born blind being one reserved for the Son of God to work, at his coming in the flesh. « Since the world began," saith the man to whom sight had been thus restored, “ was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.”—John ix. 32. This, therefore, was the first of those tokens given by Jesus to the disciples of John, whereby it might be known that he was the expected Christ; “ Go and tell John the things which
ye have heard and seen; the blind receive their sight,” &c. But how did this evince him to be the Messiah ? Plainly, because it had been foretold by the prophets, as in Isai. xxix. 18, xxxv. 5, xlii. 18, that Messiah, when he came, should give sight to the blind. Now, if one part of the Psalmist's description belongs to Christ, the other members of it must do so likewise, it being evident that the whole is spoken of the same person. He, therefore, is “the God of Jacob, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is:" and, upon his appearing among men in the body of our flesh, he showed himself possessed of power to relieve all the wants, corporal and spiritual, of poor lost mankind. When he rescued men from the bondage of Satan, he “ executed judgment for the oppressed :” when he fed thousands by a miracle, or when he preached the word to such as desired to hear and receive it, he 6
gave food to the hungry:" when, by pardon and grace, he released those who were bound with the chains of their sins, he “ loosed the prisoners :" when he poured light into the sightless eye-ball, or illuminated with saving knowledge the understanding of the ignorant, he “ opened the eyes of the blind :" when he made the crooked woman straight, or rectified the obliquity of a depraved will, he “ raised those that were bowed down." Happy the people of such a God! happy the subjects of such a King! Rejoice, and sing, and shout aloud : for lo, “ The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, o Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD!”
“ Why herein is a marvellous thing.” As if he had said, This is wonderful indeed! Is it possible that such persons as you are, who pretend to know a true from a false prophet, cannot decide in a case so plain ? Has not the man opened my eyes ? Is not the miracle known to all the town, and could any one do it who was not endued with the power of God ?
“ Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. Our Lord performed no surgical operation in this cure: the man was born blind, and he was restored to sight by the power of God. That there are cases, in which a person who was born blind may be restored to sight by surgical means, we know; but no such means were used by Christ: and it is worthy of remark, that from the foundation of the world, no person born blind had been restored to sight, even by surgical operation, till about the year of our Lord, 1728 ; when the celebrated Dr. Cheselden, by couching the eyes of a young man, fourteen years
who had been born blind, restored him to perfect soundThis was the effect of well-directed surgery : that performed by Christ was by miracle.
DR. ADAM CLARKE. These three, the case of the man born blind, John ix. 1-7; the blind man of Bethsaida, Mark viii. 22-26; and the deaf man near the sea of Galilee, viii. 32-37; are the only instances where a deliberate external application is related to have been used, and in all these cases the reason for using it seems to have been one and the same, namely, to convey to the individuals, on whom the miracles were performed, a clear assurance that Jesus person at whose command, and by whose agency the cure was wrought, and to enable them to state to others the grounds of this assurance fully and circumstantially.
A blind man can know another only by the voice or the touch. The blind man near Bethsaida, our Lord led out of the town, remote from the crowd, that he might be sure of the person who spoke to or touched him ; he then spat on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, and restored him to sight, though imperfectly; after that, he put his hand again upon and he saw clearly. What mode could give him more assurance that the cure was wrought by the interposition of Jesus ? The deaf man could judge of the intentions of another only by seeing what he does ; him therefore our Lord took aside, that he might fix his attention to himself, and then he put his fingers into his ears, and touched his tongue, thus signifying to him that he intended to produce some change in those organs;
he then looked up to heaven, at the same time speaking, to signify that the change would proceed from a Divine power, exercised at his interposition.
The very same purpose was equally answered by our Lord's application to the eyes of the man born blind. Immediately, on approaching our Saviour, after receiving his sight, he must have recognized him by his voice. Had the grounds of his assurance been less full and circumstantial, he never could have so unanswerably replied to the captious queries of the Pharisees.
These three men do not appear to have had any previous knowledge of
our Saviour's character. The man born blind, he healed without any solicitation. The blind man at Bethsaida, and the deaf man, were brought by their friends. When the two blind men at Capernaum, Matt. ix. 27-31, and the two others near Jericho, xx. 30, 34, applied to our Saviour, crying, “ Son of David, have mercy upon us !” a less external application was sufficient; as they professed their belief, Jesus only required that their profession should be sincere, “ Believe ye,” said he, “ that I have power to do this ? they said, Yea, Lord: then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you; and their eyes were opened.".
These incidents display the miraculous nature of the facts, and the admirable propriety of our Lord's conduct in every circumstance, displaying the sobriety and dignity becoming his Divine character. DR. GRAVES. “ Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders ye
will not believe.—John iv. 48. Dumb the father stood in apprehension ; but nature triumphed over his fears ; and again he urges his suit : “ The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down, ere my child die!” Here is importunity! He would not leave the Saviour till he had obtained his request. He could not take a denial. It was his last resource. For a moment, the answer of Jesus staggers him. For a moment, and only for a moment, he doubts whether he must return home. Home! His dying child rises before his eyes ; he hears again all his groans ; he sees life quivering upon his lips; and he reiterates his plea, with renewed earnestness. Here is perseverance !
The good Physician saw and pitied the agony of his soul. “ Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way, thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him; and he went his way.”
Thy son liveth !” What notes ever sounded half so sweet in a mortal ear! Not the cry of the infant Isaac in the ears of Sarah ; nor the lisping of Samuel in the ears of Hannah. Not more sweet did the voice of Joseph sound in the ears of Israel, after an absence of twenty years, and when he received him again, as it were from the dead. Thy son liveth !” In a moment, a mountain of anguish removes from his heart.
66 And as he was going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth! Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend : and they said unto him, Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed and his whole house." “ The fever left him!” it was no regular abatement of the disorder : it was a sudden transition from the borders of the grave to perfect soundness. The faith of the father, built upon evidence so incontrovertible, respected not merely the miracle which he had witnessed, but the person, character, and glory of the Saviour ; and his family participated his joy. Apply this affecting and encouraging subject, ye parents, who are weeping over your children. Do not despair. While you see traces of disease on their countenances, spread their case before this great Physician !.
“ Great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them. And they glorified the God of Israel.”—Matt. xv. 30, 31. With what a circle is our blessed Lord surrounded! Let us pause a little, and endeavour to paint him to our imagination, on this mountain, where the astonished multitudes so justly extolled all these mingled wonders of power and grace. Let us reflect upon the dumb speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, and the blind seeing, that with them we may glorify the God of Israel !
But who can describe the sentiments of these happy creatures, who, without any dangerous or painful operation, found themselves, in a moment, restored beyond all the efforts of nature, and beyond all the prospects of hope! With what pleasure did the ear which had just been opened, listen to the pleasing accents of his instructive tongue! How did the lame leap around him for joy! and the maimed extend their recovered hands in grateful acknowledgments of his new-creating power ! While the voice of the dumb sang forth his praises in sounds before unknown; and the
eye of the blind checked the curiosity which would have prompted it to range over the various and beautiful objects of unveiled nature, to fix its rapturous regard on the gracious countenance of him that had given it the day! Let us further reflect, with what correspondent pleasure must our Lord survey these grateful and astonished creatures, while his benevolent heart took its share in all the delight which he gave! These trophies of his greatness, how unlike to those of the field, the monuments of desolation and slaughter !
Suppose that a learned heathen writer, who lived within sixty years of our Saviour's crucifixion, after having shown that false miracles were wrought in obscurity, and before few or no witnesses, speaking of those which were wrought by our Saviour, has the following passage :
-6 The works of our Saviour were always conspicuous for they were true; both those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead; who were seen not only when they were healed or raised, but for a long time afterwards ; not only whilst he dwelled on this earth, but also after his departure, and for a good while after it, insomuch, that some of them have reached to our times,”
I dare say you would look upon this as a glorious attestation for the cause of Christianity, had it come from the hand of a famous Athenian philosopher. These fore-mentioned words, however, are actually the words of one who lived about sixty years after our Saviour's crucifixion, and was a famous philosopher of Athens. This person, Quadratus, embraced Christianity, and died a martyr!
Rt. Hon. J. ADDISON.
There were always very many amongst the worshippers of Christ who were of good judgment, and of no small learning ; such as, not to mention Jews, Sergius the president of Cyprus (Acts xiii. 12), Dionysius the Areopagite (xvii. 34), Polycarp, Justin, Irenæus, Athenagoras, Origen, Tertulsian, Clemens Alexandrinus, and others ; who being such men, why they should themselves be worshippers of a man that was put to an ignominious death, especially when almost all of them were brought up in other religions, and there was neither honour nor profit to be had by the Christian religion. There can be no reason given but this one; that upon a diligent inquiry, such as becomes prudent men to make, in a matter of the highest concern to them, they found that the report which was spread abroad, concerning the miracles that were done by him, was true, and founded upon sufficient testimony; such as healing sore diseases, and those of a long continuance, only by a word, and this publicly; restoring sight to him that was born blind; increasing bread for the feeding of many thousands, who were all witnesses of it; restoring the dead to life again, and many
others such like. Which report had so certain and undoubted a foundation, that neither Celsus nor Julian, when they wrote against the Christians, dared to deny that some miracles were done by Christ: the Hebrews also confess it openly in the books of the Talmud.
The number of Christ's miracles was very great. If we consider only those which are recorded at large, they are about forty ; but it is evident that they must have been beyond all number.
There was a great variety of Christ's miracles. It was the number and variety of the miracles of Moses, which at length convinced the Egyptian magicians that the power by which he wrought them was Divine. But a variety of effects, all mutually distinguished, and each perfect in each kind, suggests the idea of a perfect agent, powerful and designing, employed in producing them. And this is the case with the miracles of Christ : for, not one disease only, but all are subject to the power of Christ and his apostles : even death,—the last enemy,—gives up his prey at their command, especially at the command of Christ. We behold him, giving sight to the born-blind; making those who wanted a limb, perfect; those who were bowed double, straight; those who shook with palsy, robust; nerving the withered arm with strength; restoring the insane and demoniacs to reason ; and raising the dead to life. That great miracle of raising the dead, in particular, Christ performed no less than four times; once on the ruler's daughter, just after she had expired; again, on the widow's son as he was carried on his bier to be interred; a third time, on Lazarus, when he had lain in his grave four days; and lastly,—the greatest instance of all, —in himself. And the design was every way worthy of their Almighty Author!
Rev. T. H. HORNE.
Whose heart is so insensible as not to feel devout pleasure in the history of these miracles of our Lord, though the subjects on which they were wrought are long since mouldering in the dust ! But let us further recollect, that our Divine Leader has other yet more noble and more permanent trophies,—those immortal spirits which he has redeemed, and sanctified, and saved! So may our transported souls, O blessed Jesus, in the consciousness of health, vigour, and salvation, behold thee as our Deliverer!