John 9
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
This graphic and dramatic narrative begins with the healing of a bodily privation by the exercise el Christ's miraculous power. But its chief interest lies in the spiritual process which it unfolds. It relates how a young man, poor and blind, but intelligent, candid, and brave, received spiritual as well as bodily illumination, and how he displayed insight in apprehending Christ's character, courage in resisting Christ's adversaries, and gratitude in acknowledging Christ's claims. The several steps of this process deserve attentive study.

I. THE COMMENCEMENT AND THE REAL EXPLANATION OF THE WHOLE PROCESS IS TO BE FOUND IN THE MERCY OF GOD. Our Lord gives what may be called the final cause of this man's blindness when he instructs his disciples that the intention of the Creator was to be found in the opportunity afforded for the manifestation of the Divine energy and grace in the work of restoration. It is well to look for human explanations, but it is better to receive, when they are afforded, such as are Divine. In studying the transformations of human character the wise man will look for the deepest reasons in the purposes of the Eternal.

II. THE ATTENTION AND INTEREST OF THIS MAN WERE EXCITED BY JESUS' COMPASSION AND BENEFICENCE. Himself receiving a signal proof of Christ's pity in the exercise on his behalf of Christ's healing power, the man could not fail to feel the charm of his Benefactor's character. In this the experience of many has been parallel with his. There are ever those who, seeing what Christ has effected for the benefit of humanity, and reflecting upon the advantages which have accrued to themselves through the work of Christ upon earth, are led to inquire into the gospel, and to ask what there is in the Savior to account for the influence he has exerted over human society. What he has done naturally leads to the inquiry, "Who is he?"

III. THE REFLECTION OF THIS MAN UPON THE MISSION OF CHRIST WAS FURTHER PROMOTED BY THE INQUIRIES OF HIS NEIGHBORS. Those who had long been acquainted with him asked him of his own experience, asked him of his healer; and such inquiries naturally led him to form more definite convictions.

"Truth, like a torch, the more 'tis shook it shines." Seasons of religious interest and inquiry often serve the purpose of compelling the unsettled and undecided to endeavor at least to understand and to justify their own position.

IV. THIS MAN'S CONVICTIONS WERE CLEARED AND HIS FAITH STRENGTHENED BY OPPOSITION AND PERSECUTION. The fire that burns the dross purifies the gold. A weak nature may be harmed by adversity, terrified by threats, coerced by violence. But this man's best nature was brought out by contact with opposition. He was not to be browbeaten. He turned round upon his persecutors, and put them in the wrong. Even their injustice in excommunicating him was unavailing; he was gaining a spiritual standing from which he could smile at the threats and actions which were intended to dismay him. Often has it happened in the history of Christianity that times of persecution have strengthened and steadied the faith of true believers. Some of the noblest characters that have adorned the Church have been cradled in the storm.

V. CIRCUMSTANCES AND DIVINE TEACHING LED THIS MAN FROM STAGE TO STAGE OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF. This appears in a very marked manner from the view he gradually came to take of his Benefactor. First he spoke of him as "a Man called Jesus;" then he pronounced him to be "a Prophet;" later on he asserted him to be "from God." He was following the light he had, and this is ever the way to fuller and clearer light. Thus he was led to take the final step, the natural result of those preceding.

VI. THIS MAN'S ARDENT FAITH AND PROFOUND WORSHIP WERE CALLED FORTH BY THE INTERVIEW HE HAD WITH JESUS HIMSELF. There was already a candid and teachable disposition; there was already an affectionate gratitude towards Jesus. It was only needed that Christ should fully declare himself. And when he did this, it is observable that the man restored to sight saw spiritually as well as physically. He beheld the Son of God standing before him; he believed and worshipped. All that had gone before led up to this, and without this would have been incomplete. Now at length this once blind soul passed into the clearness and the fullness of the light of heaven, Now he could say with reference to his spiritual state what he had before said of his earthly vision, "Whereas I was blind, now I see." - T.

Notice this blind man -


1. To them he was a notorious object of retributive justice. His blindness they regarded as a special punishment for some particular sin; they looked upon him, as Lot's wife of old, as a standing monument of iniquity, only with this difference, he was alive, bearing his punishment on this side. Their notion is, upon the whole, correct. Sin is punished, and sometimes in this world.

2. An object of speculative curiosity. Suggesting a problem not easily solved, and a difficulty which they wish to be removed. In the light of popular Jewish teaching and also in that of heathen teaching the difficulty stared them. Of one thing they were certain, that his blindness was a retributive punishment for sin - the sin of his parents or that of his own. But which? That it should be on account of the sins of his parents they could easily understand; but if on account of his own, how could this be when he was born blind?

3. An advantageous object to present the question for solution to Jesus. The blind man was probably well known to them, and they had often before discussed this aspect or' his blindness, with various results; but now here is an opportunity of a final solution of the difficulty. They have full confidence in Jesus' ability and readiness to clear the matter forever, and they lost no time, but asked, "Master, which did sin," etc.?

4. An object who did not excite in them any practical sympathy. They regarded him as the religious teachers of the nation generally would regard him - as the child of sin, a monument of retributive justice, a subject for curious speculation; and, as far as they were concerned, they would leave him with feelings of proud contempt, and satisfaction with their own state as compared with his.


1. To him he was an object who attracted his special attention. "As he passed by, he saw a man," etc. How many passed by without seeing him at all, and how many saw him with indifference! And probably the disciples did not notice him before they saw the Master's attention fixed upon him. He saw him first, and saw him as no one saw him before. He had many eyes fixed upon him, but never such as these; he had many a gaze from passers-by, but not one containing such feelings, sentiments, and meaning as the one which was on him now.

2. To him he was not an object of retributive justice, but a specially befitting one or, whom to manifest Divine operations. While fully admitting the law of retribution, he excludes this case from the category, and at once removes the disciples' question

(a) from the speculative to the practical,

(b) from the human standpoint to the Divine.

And although the blindness of this man could not be viewed entirely apart from sin, yet to Christ it appeared as a special occasion to manifest Divine operations.

(1) The operation of Divine mercy. Where there is no misery, no mercy is needed; and the greater the misery, the greater and Diviner the mercy which relieves. This was a special case of human misery, advantageous to a special display of Divine mercy. The man was blind from his birth.

(2) The operation of Divine power. Where human skill is helpless, the power which helps must be Divine. To restore this man to sight no human doctor could, nor even would sincerely make the attempt. His restoration was evidently and gloriously the work of God.

(3) The operation of Divine grace. He had a mind requiring enlightenment, a soul in need of salvation, and this popular child of sin presented a glorious opportunity for the display of redeeming grace.

(4) In this man Divine operations were signally manifested. God works continually, in giving sight to men at first, and in an infinite variety of ways, but his operations are unseen and unobserved; but in this man they shine and blaze, so that all must see them but the totally blind. They were manifested to the man himself, and through him to others.

(5) This man restored by Christ was a most convincing and attractive specimen of Divine operations. He was so well known as being helplessly blind from his birth, and was now about to be even better known as perfectly restored by Jesus. Thus he who was popularly thought to be a monument of sin and its terrible consequences, becomes the popular monument of Divine power, the convincing specimen of Divine mercy, and the notorious advertisement of redeeming grace in Christ. Still, he was only a specimen, extraordinary only in the manifestation, but quite ordinary in this course of Divine operations. It is only the work of God, what he ever performs in Christ.

3. To Christ this man was an object who vividly reminded him of his mission on earth.

(1) As a mission of real and untiring activity. "I must work," etc.

(2) As a mission involving a great variety of activities. "The works." Not one or a few, but many and various - as various as the physical and spiritual wants of the human family.

(3) As a mission which is Divine and representative in its character. "The works of him," etc. He never forgot the Divine and representative character of his mission, involving special duties, obligations, and responsibilities in relation to him who sent him.

(4) As a mission which must be performed in due season. "While it is day," etc. He had only a day, and with regard to his earthly life this was short. Even in this hour of his triumph and brilliancy, in giving sight to the blind man, he was reminded of its brevity. This very act hastened the approaching night, Those who shine brightly on the night of the wicked world cannot expect a long day.

(5) As a mission which his disciples had to share. "We" (the proper reading) "must work," etc. The Master and the disciples were one, and their mission one. He came not only to work himself, but also to teach them to work. They were as yet apprentices, but row it was time to begin to break them in under the yoke and remind them of their duty, and all the more as day was drawing to a close.

(6) As a mission the necessity of its fulfillment was felt by him with increasing force. "We must," etc. This came from his Divine commission, from human woe, from the greatness and importance of the work, and the brevity of the time. From above, around, and from within came the inspiration of his work, which found appropriate expression in "We must work," etc.

4. To Jesus this man was an object on whom he would give a practical illustration of his mission. "When he had spoken these things," etc. The speech ended in action, and the action was in perfect keeping with the speech - a grand but most natural and touching peroration. Christ taught his disciples by practical illustrations. The miracle was a full answer to their question, and a practical specimen of his mission.

(1) Means were used in the performance of the miracle. Sometimes he would exercise his Divine power without the use of means at all, even without a word, only the fiat of his will; but here very few words are used - it is all action. "I must work."

(2) The means used were in themselves utterly inadequate to produce the ultimate end. Clay and spittle and washing in the pool of Siloam. These means, however efficacious in popular esteem, were utterly futile to give the man his sight.

(3) These means, nevertheless, were suitable to answer the end Jesus had in view. He knew when and when not to use means, and knew as well what means to use. He never thought that these would bring the man to see outwardly, but they would help him to see inwardly. They served best to strengthen his faith and give due publicity to the miracle. He could not go to and return from Siloam without attracting attention. Jesus caused every movement to serve some useful purpose; thus the man began at once to manifest the works of God.

(4) The faithful use of the prescribed means answered the ultimate end of Divine mercy and human want. The man's faith was strong and prompt. He was not promised his sight, only told what so do; the rest he inferred. He believed and obeyed, and the Divine energy came with the obedience, lie washed, and came seeing. He was born first blind, he was born now seeing, and some saw the Divine glory flashing from his eyes.


1. There are full compensations for all evil in the Divine economy. If there is misery, there is Divine mercy. If some are born blind, their blindness will answer some benevolent purpose. There is One born to help and give sight. Evil must ultimately serve goodness, and misery must glorify mercy. Divine compensations are seen now, but to a greater extent hereafter.

2. The fact of human sin and misery is not for curious speculation but for practical sympathy. The life of Christ was one of benevolent activity rather than of idle speculation and theory. What right-minded man, when a house is on fire, will stop to know its cause before doing all in his power to put it out? Rather than idly inquiring into the origin and mystery of human evil and misery, by every possible effort let sin be destroyed, and misery and sorrow be alleviated, and with and after the effort will crone satisfaction, and ultimately full light.

3. God answers better than we ask. Our requests may be idle and wrong, but the answers are right and Divine. Still let us ask, and our mistakes will be rectified in the Divine answers. We are glad that the disciples asked respecting the man's blindness. The full reply is found in Christ's miracle of Divine mercy and might.

4. The humblest means are not to be despised if prescribed by Christ. From the human side Divine means are apparently very inadequate, and even contemptible. The spittle and clay and washing in the pool of Siloam for Jesus and the blind man were very humble beginnings, but led to a glorious result. Faithful use of divinely prescribed means were the channel through which Divine energy came to the man which resulted in his sight, and through the same channel of faith and obedience Divine illumination will ever come to the soul. - B.T.

Jesus had just been, as we should reckon, in danger. If a furious crowd had taken up stones to cast at us, we should have been too much concerned for our safety to notice people by the way. Of course Jesus was in no real danger. His time was not yet come. His whole demeanor was worthy of the sublime utterance, "Before Abraham was, I am." Notice -

I. WHAT SORT OF OBJECT ATTRACTED THE ATTENTION OF JESUS. A blind man, blind from birth, so known possibly from a label on his breast. Such a one might not attract attention from the disciples, at least not at first. As strangers comparatively in Jerusalem, their attention would be arrested by the splendors and novelties of the capital city. We remember how they were impressed by the huge stones with which the temple walls were built. Jesus did not go about the world as a sight-seer; he went about as a Doer of good. The blind man was to Jesus a far more interesting sight than any building. We may be sure Jesus looks down on the world in the same spirit today. And surely we also, if we claim to have any abundance of the Spirit of Jesus in us, will also note all such as are here represented by the man blind from his birth. We must note the blind rather than those that see, the crushed and sorrowing rather than those who are full of life's natural enjoyments.

II. THE QUESTION OF THE DISCIPLES. The question no doubt seems to us, upon first looking at it, to have neither wisdom nor consistency in it; yet there is this merit about the disciples, that they did ask a question. The blindness of this man was not to be taken as a matter of course, like the rising of the sun or the blossoming of the flowers. Note where the emphasis lies in the question. It lies on the word "born," not on the word" blind." The disciples did not profess to be in utter darkness on the point. Either the man himself must have sinned, they thought, or else his parents, that he should be born blind. Probably they had some belief in the transmigration of souls. They would think he had existed already in some other state, where perhaps he had been a dreadful sinner, and so now for his sins in that former state he would be born into this present life blind. The alternative supposition, and a very natural one, was that his parents had sinned. For the sins of the fathers are visited on the children. "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." So the question of the disciples was partly excusable. On the other hand, they narrowed the field of inquiry, nor was there anything practical in their question. They were dwelling on the irrevocable past. How different is the spirit in -


1. Ere takes off all blame from the man and his parents. They had quite enough burden to bear already. Consider what a charge and grief a blind child must have been to its parents. They may have been to blame, but even where blame is, it is not the first thing to be thought of. Jesus came, not to condemn, but to save. A physician goes none the less readily to the bed of a sick man because his sickness has come through his own reckless and vicious ways.

2. Jesus points out one good result of this man's blindness. He looks not so much at the past as at the present and the future. The blind man is to have no more years of privation, idleness, and emptiness. Here a great compensation came to him, that a work of God should be manifested in him. Jesus wants us to face the misery of the world in all its magnitude, meaning that we should have the same comforting reflection with Paul, that where sin abounds grace much more abounds. We have a Physician who never shakes his head, saying he can do nothing, and then goes empty away. We should say boldly of every evil now afflicting men that it is here to give occasion for manifesting the works of God. - Y.

No man, with an eye to observe and a heart to feel, can look abroad upon human life without being impressed and saddened by the spectacle presented to his view. There is so much of privation, of pain, of weariness, of disappointment, of distress, that it sometimes seems as if "the whole head were sick, and the whole heart faint." "Life," it has been said, "is a tragedy to those who feel." But men are so constituted that they cannot be satisfied to observe and to feel. They are compelled to think, and many are compelled to theorize. The prevalence of want and misery leads many to formulate a pessimistic philosophy, which accounts the evil in the world to exceed the good, and which seeks an explanation of the facts in the theory that there is no benevolent Deity, but that the supreme power in the universe is a brutal and unconscious Fate. This daring and blasphemous doctrine has, indeed, many advocates. But there are very many more who seek a less bold solution to the difficulty. It does not follow, because a speculation is comparatively modest, it is therefore sound. Our Lord's disciples faced the fact of human suffering, and by suggesting an explanatory theory, which was altogether inadmissible, gave him an opportunity both of rejecting it and of offering an authoritative interpretation of the facts.

I. SIN IS IN A GENERAL VIEW TO BE REGARDED AS THE CAUSE OF HUMAN PRIVATION AND SUFFERING Our Lord himself taught this on such occasions as that on which he said, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee." Experience and observation teach us that violation of the Divine laws impressed upon nature is the cause of very many of the hardships, pains, and calamities that befall mankind. The link between sin and suffering is forged and riveted by the hand of the Divine Governor of the universe.

II. MEN, WHOSE KNOWLEDGE IS VERY LIMITED, SHOULD BE SLOW TO ATTRIBUTE INDIVIDUAL PHYSICAL ILLS TO INDIVIDUAL SINS. Sin as a whole is answerable for most of human evils, and many are the evils which devolve upon every generation as an inheritance. But we should often do injustice did we charge a man's sins, or the sins of his ancestors, with his bodily infirmities. Our Lord warned his disciples not to deem those Galilaeans sinners above others, on whom the tower of Siloam fell. And he expressly exonerated both the blind man and his parents from responsibility for his affliction and privation.

III. IF WE CANNOT ALWAYS DISCOVER THE EFFICIENT CAUSE OF HUMAN PRIVATION AND SUFFERING, WE MAY ACCEPT OUR LORD'S REVELATION OF ITS FINAL CAUSE. There is a prevalent tendency of mind, especially among the scientific inquirers of our day, to disparage teleology. We are told to observe that a thing happens, to inquire how it happens, but not to venture into the speculation why it happens. Intention, design, are widely denied as the explanation of human actions, as the explanation of natural phenomena. Our Lord Jesus, the great Prophet, the Divine Enlightener of man, tells us that there is a reason for human infirmities and calamities. "That the works of God should be made manifest in him" - such was the reason why this man was born blind. Here opens up before our mental vision a vast field of inquiry and thought. For if this be so, then there is a purpose in physical evil, and that a moral purpose; then it is permitted and appointed by God, the All-Merciful. Then God does concern himself alike with the existence add the alleviation or cure of such evil; then the works of our beneficent God may be made manifest in the case of even a lowly sufferer. Thus there opens up before us the possibility and the prospect that the world may come to be pervaded by the illumination of Divine love and pity, and by the radiance of a blessed and glorious hope.

"And even pain is not in vain;
For out of discord springs a sweet harmonious strain."
- T.

Very instructive and very encouraging is the way in which, in this passage, our Divine Lord associates his people with himself. In assuming our nature he accepted the ordinary conditions of our life, its duties and its limitations. Generally speaking, what no man could do he would not do; what all men must submit to he would submit to also. Neither then nor now is he ashamed to call us brethren. As Son of man, he partakes both our nature and our lot. His Spirit and his language assure us of this. Accordingly, his experience is not merely something for us to admire; it is for us so to ponder that we may share it. He partakes our conflict that we may partake his victory. In the words of the text these principles are made manifest, in their application to the "work" which gives meaning to human life.

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE EARTHLY SERVICE. The works themselves to which Jesus here referred were special. By "works" he undoubtedly intended miracles, signs, wonders - such deeds of power and mercy as that which the condition of the blind man suggested that he should perform for his benefit. But our Lord often spoke of his "work" in a more general sense; and even here there is nothing exclusive of his spiritual ministry, to which this language certainly applies. This saying of Jesus casts light upon the character of the earthly service rendered by himself, and required of all his faithful disciples and followers.

1. Diligence is characteristic both of the Master and of his servants. No reader of the Gospels can fail to be impressed with the laboriousness of Christ's public life. There were times when he had no leisure even to eat; there never was a time when he neglected an opportunity of benevolence. Whether in teaching or in healing he was ever occupied, and occupied for purposes unselfish and brotherly.

2. His works were the proof of his obedience. Our Lord evidently lived a life of devotion to the Father who "sent" him. He did not his own will, but the Father's. It was his meat to do the will of him who sent him, and to finish his work. His advent, his ministry, his death, were all proofs of his obedience. Though a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. How much more must subjection to the Father's will befit us, who are the creatures of his power, the subjects of his dominion! It gives dignity to our life to feel that we too are sent into the world by God - that we are his messengers, his servants, his children, bound to do his behests, and to live as accountable to him.

3. Obligation characterizes all true service. Even the Son of God could say, "I must." On his part there was no compulsion. He of his own accord undertook a life of consecration and self-denial. What he did he "must needs" do, for the fulfillment of the Divine purposes, for the satisfaction of the benevolent yearnings of his own heart, and for the salvation of mankind. In our case there is a stringent moral obligation to serve God. As creatures, we are bound to obey a righteous Maker; as redeemed, emancipated freedmen, we are bound to glorify a Divine Deliverer. We are not our own. The duty that binds us to service is indeed a duty sweetened by grateful love, but a duty it cannot cease to be.

II. THE LIMITATION OF THE EARTHLY SERVICE. Our Lord condescended to accept the natural limits of human life. The day is for labor. Christ's day was from the dawn at Bethlehem to the evening on Olivet. There are those of his followers whose day is even shorter than his. There are many whose day is far longer. But in the case of every one of us there are limits which we cannot pass over. There are the "twelve hours" of the day, to which we cannot add. From this language we learn that the day, the period for our work on earth, is:

1. A prescribed, unalterable period. We cannot add a cubit to our stature, a year to our life. There is "an appointed time" for man upon earth.

2. A period during which the light still shines upon our path. If a man walk in the day he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of the world. Christians are favored with the light of revelation - with the light of the Spirit given during the gospel dispensation. It is for them to walk and to work while the daylight lasts.

3. A period during which strength is unspent. The laborer toils until the lengthening shadows tell him that the day's work is approaching the close. He needs repose with evening, but until the evening his vigor enables him to continue his efforts. Whilst the Christian lives, God gives him power to serve. God is not a hard Taskmaster; his demands do not exceed his gifts. The voice from eternity that speaks with authority bids us "work while it is day."

III. THE SPECIAL MOTIVE TO THE EARTHLY SERVICE. "The night cometh, when no man can work." There has never been spoken by human lips anything more solemn, and at the same time more precious, than this. We all, when we think upon the matter, feel this declaration to be so indisputably true. Yet we are all prone to overlook, sometimes almost anxious to forget it.

1. Consider this reflection as bearing upon Christ himself. He knew that the end of his earthly life and ministry was near. But he knew also that much remained for him yet to do and to suffer. There was a work for him to accomplish whilst he was still in this world - a work which he must accomplish within the swiftly closing day, or not at all. His advanced and final lessons to his disciples, his last assertions of supernatural power, his crowning revelation of majestic meekness and patience, his mysterious sufferings, - these all had to be crowded into his last brief days. The cup had yet to be drained, the cross had yet to be borne. All must be finished before the twilight deepened into darkness. For the Father had given him all this to do; and he would leave undone nothing-that he had undertaken.

2. How powerfully does this reflection bear upon our own moral life! Every one of us who is alive to the real meaning of his existence, must feel, and does feel, that this short day of life is given us, not for pleasure, but for progress; not for ease, but for toil. If, through weakness and temptation, this feeling sometimes fails us, there is one effectual method of reviving it. "The night cometh!" Venit nox! There is much to be done that must be done before the sunset of life's day, if it is not to remain undone forever. Here or nowhere; now or never! That the future life will be a scene of service is not to be doubted. But earthly service must be rendered upon earth. Here the gospel must be embraced; here the new birth to spiritual realities must commence the life that is Divine. Now is the day of salvation. The earthly service must be rendered in this life. The voice comes, "Go, work today in my vineyard." Neglect or refuse to obey that summons, and that piece of work will remain undone. Yet the time is very short, and night is very near. Labor, before the hand be palsied. Give, before the substance be beyond control. Speak, before the tongue be forever silent. Do all as looking forward, onward, to the end.

APPLICATION. Let the laborious remember that not all labor is wise and blessed. Work for self, and such work will be consumed in the fire that shall try all things. But work for God shall stand; no power can destroy it. Let the indolent remember that time unredeemed can only witness against them at the last. Let the young remember that, if a lengthened day be given them, the greater will be their responsibility and the larger their opportunity of commending themselves as faithful laborers to the just and gracious Master. Let the aged remember that, near as is night for them, they have a witness yet to bear, and a memory of inspiration to leave behind. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." - T.

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. This, like so man y of the memorable sayings of our Lord, is an incidental one, arising out of the circumstances of the hour. On a sabbath day in autumn - the last autumn of his earthly life - our Lord paused as he passed through the streets of Jerusalem to look at a blind beggar, known to be blind from his birth. The sight was sad enough, but instead of exciting the pity of Jesus' disciples, it seems only to have awakened their speculative curiosity. Taking it for granted, as was usual in their days, that special suffering must needs be a retribution for special sin, they asked their Master the question, "Who was to blame for this man's blindness?" Was he sent eyeless into the world for some fault of his own, or was he suffering for transgressions of his parents? Our Lord put the unwise question aside. The disciples were far from the mark. There was a wider and deeper philosophy of suffering than they were dreaming of, and for the calamity before them there was more than sufficient reason in this, that the man's blindness was now to be the occasion of God's signal mercy. Christ, therefore, refuses to be drawn into any fruitless and bootless discussions regarding the origin of evil either physical or moral. This was not his mission into the world. He had come amongst us to triumph over evil, not to explain it, and so he says to his disciples, "I must work the works of him," etc. No saying of Christ's brings his true manhood more distinctly before us than these words do. Before he could utter them he must have "emptied himself of his glory, and taken upon him the form of a servant." There were times, indeed, in his ministry when he used language which could only become the Son of God, as when he spoke of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was. But here he speaks with equal plainness as the Son of man, in all things made like unto his brethren. We can never forget that Christ's mission into the world was unparalleled, even as he stands alone in his relation to the Father. Still, it was in our nature that he accomplished this whole work of his. He did not seem to be a man, he was "the Man Christ Jesus." These words, therefore, reveal to us the spirit, the motive, the principle, of the only perfect human life that ever was lived, and it is in this respect that they set him forth as our Example.

I. OUR LORD HERE DISTINCTLY ACKNOWLEDGES A WILL HIGHER THAN HIS OWN, and tells us that in laying out his earthly life this will was his guiding star. He had all the sensibilities of a sinless human being. He not only knew by experience the urgencies of hunger and thirst, and longed for rest from exhausting toil, but he loved congenial society like that of the family of Bethany. How must he have recoiled from the contradiction of sinners! How sensitively must he have shrunk from contact with vice and squalor! But he allowed not such natural feelings, pure as they were, to reign supreme among his motives, or interfere with his life-work. "Even Christ pleased not himself." "I came down from heaven," he said, "not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me." Here, surely, there are great, though simple, lessons for us all. In our daily lives we feel the force of a hundred different motives. We are swayed by our own tastes, by the example and opinions of others, by the force of outward circumstances; but do we see rising above all these, and piercing through them, and shedding a light over them, the will of our Father in heaven? We are sent into the world with different gifts and capacities. We find ourselves placed in widely different stations and spheres. But have we laid it to heart that God has a purpose in placing us here, and that this mysterious gift of life is not like a freehold - an independent possession - still less like a plaything which we may do what we like with, but that it is a trust from above, a stewardship under its Giver? Plainly this was Christ's view of life, and to reveal this to us in light and clearness, by example as well as by precept, was one great end for which he came into the world. For he came not only to atone for our sins and to reconcile us to God, but also to show us, as it had never been seen before, the meaning and purpose of life, connecting the whole of it with a perfectly holy and righteous will. Multitudes without number have realized this in their own experience, and. thus the humblest lives have been ennobled, and the busiest lives consecrated by a motive and an influence not of this world. Oh! if we would work without becoming the slaves of our work, if we would enjoy our freedom without being ensnared by it, we can only do so as the servants of God. Have you learned this great life-lesson from Christ? Let no one say that because our Lord's work was necessary for the redemption of the world, therefore ours is of no consequence. On the contrary, it is as important for us to do the will of God in our sphere as it was for Christ to do it in his, and assuredly he will impart his Spirit to all who come to him in faith and take his yoke upon them. And how do these words of Christ, "I must work," speak to us of the sacredness of duty! They show that the idea of obligation was distinctly present to his mind. lie felt that it was right to obey his God and Father who had sent him, and instead of this feeling being irksome or burdensome, it was one source of his spiritual strength. "He put on righteousness as a breastplate." On the one hand his love to God did not make his obedience seem superfluous, and on the other hand t he idea of duty never chilled nor lessened his love. lie showed how love and obedience are like two fair blossoms which spring from the same root. And what is that root? It is the life of God in the soul of man. Here, again, "let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Seek to cherish and cultivate the spirit of loving obedience. If Christ, by his infinite sacrifice, has reconciled you to God, redeemed you from the curse of the Law, it is that you may serve his Father and yours from the heart. If he has stripped obligation of its terrors, he has strengthened instead of weakening its power. "This is the love of God, that ye keep his commandments."

II. The text teaches us that CHRIST FELT THE PRECIOUSNESS OF OPPORTUNITY AND THE VALUE OF TIME. He calls his earthly life day, and its termination he calls the coming might, when no man can work. This language of his cannot be mistaken. He foresaw, indeed, with perfect clearness the glory which awaited him, and the unending work which he was to accomplish by his Spirit in the ages to come; but his life-work here below was the necessary and divinely appointed preparation for it all. The seedtime was essential to the harvest, and it was a limited seed-time, not to be repeated. It was only in the present that Christ's words of life, fresh from his human lips, could be spoken; that his acts of personal kindness and compassion could be performed; that his example, destined to be so infinitely fruitful, could be set forth. And therefore he prized that present, the day allotted to him, and not in feverish haste, but in all the calmness of spiritual strength, he took possession of it, and used it for his Father's glory. "The night cometh, when no man can work." Taken by themselves, these words only express a simple fact which no one would think of proving or dream of denying. Life comes but once to each of us, and however we may spend it or misspend it, no portion of it will return to be spent over again. We cannot prolong it at will, or persuade it to linger. Relentlessly it moves like the hand of a clock or the shadow on the sun-dial. All our earthly activities, our duties, our charities, our services in the cause of God and man, must needs be included in it. When the night cometh they must cease. Every man who has any earnestness of purpose about him has felt the stimulus of such thoughts as these. Whatever his pursuits may be, whether the objects he takes an interest in are of a lower or higher kind, his heart often whispers to itself, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do," etc. Nay, further, many an idler has been rebuked into activity, and many a dreamer wakened up out of his useless reveries, just by the thought fastening itself upon him that he is allowing life, with all its opportunities, to slip away, and that it will never return. Now, if you have entered on the life of Christ's disciples, does this motive lose its force? Surely not. You have learned from your Master the true worth and importance of life, and you have been taught to spend it under the eye of "the Father who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work." Whatever be your station or sphere, this is the case. Here and now, within the narrow limits of the present, you have your opportunities of service allotted to you, your only sphere for "works of faith and labors of love." And these opportunities, if wasted or let slip, can never be recalled. Why should they be lost? These words contain a motive which no Christian can afford to lose. Does any one say, "It does not apply to me or to the multitudes who are already tasked to the uttermost by the necessary cares of life and the stern demands of business"? Ah! God is not like a hard master, reaping where he has not sown, and gathering where he has not strawed. If your necessary toil is performed in a Christian spirit, in the spirit of a faithful servant, it will be accepted as a free-will offering. Even to the slaves at Colosse the Apostle Paul says, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not to men Ye serve the Lord Christ." Yet surely in the busiest life there is room for deeds of kindness and words of sympathy, for giving the cup of cold water, for proffering the timely advice, for doing many things for Christ's sake which no man can require at your hands. But especially those whose position in the world is independent, and who have much freedom of choice as to how they shall employ, their time, should lay these words to heart. It is you who are most of all tempted to lead a desultory life. Society, as it is called, seems to expect it of you. People suppose that you must have time for every trifling engagement, and it is so much easier to let each day be passively surrendered in this way than to redeem the time for any definite purpose. But how should this one thought, "the night cometh," help you resolutely to resist or break through such petty distractions! It is but a portion, alter all, of this brief life that you can call your working day. Necessary cares, needful rest, and relaxation must have their share. Sickness may at any time swallow up you know not how much of the remainder. See that you consecrate your yet unbroken daylight to the service of God and man. You have every motive to do so, and you may well be stimulated and encouraged by the example of many around you; but oh, how affecting the thought that your Master, when he dwelt on earth, said to his disciples, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work"! - G.B.

Here is a universal illustration. We need no investigation of the local and the ancient to comprehend its meaning. We all understand the difference between night and day in respect of opportunity for work. Not but what civilization has made considerable encroachments on the realm of night in this particular. It is now true, not only of the astronomer and of the ardent student, but of many besides, that "night is the time for toil." And yet, even with all the increased night-work of the world, it is to be hoped that such work will ever be the exception and not the rule. Night is Nature's way of announcing her daily sabbath. Day is peculiarly the season for useful work, for honest pursuits; to take too much of the day for rest is, in a measure, to waste it. Night is peculiarly the season for rest, and those who are out in it must be on some special, perchance some dishonest, errand. Day is the largest opportunity the honest man can get; night is the largest opportunity for the thief.

I. APPLY THE LIMITS OF OPPORTUNITY IS THE CASE OF JESUS HIMSELF. Of course, it is only true in a particular sense that a night came to Jesus in which he could not work. But in that sense there was great importance in the truth. There were certain things which Jesus could do in flesh and blood, but let him pass into the spiritual body, and those things become impossible. When the records of his life came to be written, those records had to be filled with instances of benevolent industry. Every day found him looking out for every chance of doing a good work. No one can bring against Jesus the charge of being one who talked a great deal and did very little. Every human being comes into this world to do a work of God, though the vast majority never seem to apprehend the mission. All the more reason that Jesus, therefore, should make manifest that he came into the world for action. Others were busy about their own work, and, however long life might be, it would be all too short to complete their aims. And so Jesus felt that life had to be full of useful, strenuous, God-manifesting work.

II. THE LESSON TO US FROM THE BRIEF LIMITS OF WORKING TIME. We waste much of life through not making the best of opportunities. Here were the disciples idly speculating on how a certain thing had come about. There was no way of knowing, and no practical result could come from the inquiry. Not that Jesus would deter us from speculations and conjectures; there can be no harm in imagining the causes of what is; no harm in guessing at the possibilities and probabilities of the future. But in this world of need there is so much to do, that we must never let anything come between us and doing. To know what men have thought is all very well; and we do well to meditate on every possible cause and origin of what is evil; but we may meditate so much as to become mere skeptics, hanging in uncertainty between belief and unbelief. When life has all closed up and its last day faded into the west, the question will be, "What hast thou done? This life of flesh and blood is given to serve our day and generation. - Y.

Here is a weapon that attacks religion in the name of religion. Here are people whom the plainest facts would prompt into a confession of Jesus as the Christ, if only they were left to themselves. The truth as it is in Jesus is on one side; threatenings of dire consequences on the other; and truth suffers for the time from the ecclesiastical powers that be.

I. SUPERSTITION AS OPPOSED TO JESUS. Here is a special foe, over and above the ordinary foes with whom Jesus has to deal. Whether any real confession of Jesus would have come from the parents of the blind man, if they had been left to themselves, cannot be conjectured. That which deters one does not deter another. There are people who would not be deterred from confessing Jesus by any amount of physical pain. They can rise above that; it is merely a thing of the body; something specific and measurable. But the same people, if a threat of excommunication came in, would at once begin to hesitate. We do well to study the difficulties the gospel has ever met with through superstition, just because they are difficulties foreign to most who are brought up in a Christian land. We are not likely either to be threatened into Christianity or threatened out of it. But undoubtedly there are many parts of the world where the fear of some dreadful spiritual consequence operates to keep many from even looking at the claims of Jesus. How different the spirit of the true religion is from the spirit of the false ones! The priests of superstition have to use every available means to keep their dupes under control.

II. THE SUCCESS OF THESE SPIRITUAL THREATENINGS. While we have to deplore the hindrances to the gospel which come from these erroneous instructions and traditions, we must also rejoice at what good there is in evil. That is not utterly evil which proves the hold of the supernatural on mankind.

III. THE FAILURE OF THESE SPIRITUAL THREATENINGS. In the case of the parents the threat was successful; in the case of the son it failed. There will always be a few, at all events, whom no possible inducement can keep back from faithfulness to truth. Fear of losing their place in the true great assembly is a mightier motive than that of keeping connection with any visible ecclesiastical system. - Y.

In this instance, as in many others, the miracle is also the parable. The whole narrative is full of spiritual teaching and beauty. The candor and sagacity of the man who received his sight from Jesus are evident in the witness he bore - witness to what was within his own experience, witness which none other was so competent to bear as he. All who have felt Christ's spiritual power will adopt this language. Whatever they know not, this they know, that, whereas they were blind, now they see.


1. This is compatible with keenness of natural vision and of intellectual discernment. Men "having eyes, see not." It is marvelous how far-sighted people may be in worldly affairs, and yet may lack spiritual vision.

2. It evinces itself in privation:

(1) Of true knowledge - the knowledge of self, and, above all, the knowledge of God.

(2) Of Divine guidance. In great darkness the blind man is led, not knowing whither he goeth. The spiritually unenlightened sees not the way of life, of safety.

(3) Of heavenly joys. Sight is the occasion of much natural pleasure; and they who see not Divine realities know nothing of the highest delights of which the soul is capable.

3. It is unconscious of its own loss. As the blind from birth are, whilst in their blindness, utterly unable to conceive how much they lose, so those whom the god of this world hath blinded say, "We see," and know not that they are blind and miserable.


1. Observe the motive which animated him in the fulfillment of this beneficent work. It was pity. Common humanity pities the naturally blind; Divine love commiserates those who lack spiritual vision.

2. The power that effects this marvelous change. The poor man upon whom Christ wrought this miracle justly argued that his Benefactor must possess Divine authority. Spiritual enlightenment is the prerogative of God. He "hath shined into our hearts." And we are justified in attributing to a Divine Savior the many glorious miracles of spiritual illumination which our Lord has wrought for men.

3. The means by which Christ works. The provision of the gospel dispensation is all-sufficient for this purpose. On the side of man, there is faith exercised by the sufferer in the Healer, without which no soul is opened to the heavenly rays. On the side of God, there is the illumining Spirit, whose agency is indispensable, who sheds forth the light, and who cleanses the spiritual organ, and renders it susceptible to the quickening, celestial beams.

4. The manner of this enlightenment. It is immediate, thorough, and enduring.

III. THE SPIRITUAL SIGHT WHICH CHRIST CONFERS. The exclamation, "Now I see!" was an indication of present experience, and an earnest of future development. Christ, in bestowing the gift of spiritual vision, opens the eyes:

1. To self and sin.

2. To God himself - his attributes and his purposes.

3. To the meaning of life - its realities and opportunities.

4. To the unspeakable privileges of the Christian calling.

5. To the unseen realities of eternity.

APPLICATION. The language of the man who received his' sight is especially encouraging to those who are troubled in their mind because they have not consciously undergone changes of which others speak with confidence. It is neither the process, nor the time, nor the mode of enlightenment, which is of supreme importance. It is the fact that the change has taken place. Our natural state is one of spiritual blindness. If "now we see," then we have reason for rejoicing, and for grateful acknowledgment of our Savior's healing mercy. - T.

I. THE REST ANSWER TO CRITICS OF JESUS. Here are the fitting representatives of that vast multitude who in all ages have striven to heap scorn on the Name of Jesus. "We know," they say. That was just the way Nicodemus talked when he came to Jesus. He came with patronage on his tongue - "We know thou art a Teacher come from God." Thus also we read concerning some of Jerusalem that they were sure Jesus could not be the Christ, for as to the Christ no one knew whence he would come; but as to Jesus, they knew whence he was. And the quondam blind man did well in not meeting argument with argument. Let the opponents of Jesus bring forth the knowledge in which they are so confident; those give them their best answer who can point to some indubitable change in their own experience. Christianity is propagated by testimony rather than argument. Many people are quite capable of appreciating evidence who would be utterly bewildered at the very entrance of an argument. Controversy, which some are so fond of, has done little for the cause of Christ. But testimony has done a great deal, even such testimony as was here presented - testimony to the senses. He who used to be seen as a blind man is now seen with full power of vision. Here is a welcome change - a change that has to be accounted for, not as to the disposition producing it, but as to the power. It must be a kind and gracious power that gives sight to the man born blind. if the reverse had happened, if the seeing man had been struck blind, this would need explaining, even as really happens in the case of Elymas (Acts 13:11). There, of course, the explanation lies ready to hand in the judicial and admonitory. Happy those who, when specious and conceited arguments against faith in Jesus are laid before them, can fall back on the testimony of their own experience. Something good has happened to them which they believe Jesus to have produced.

II. THE STRONGHOLD OF A CHRISTIAN'S FAITH. A Christian is under no compulsion to answer the questions, the doubts, the arguments, of other people, unless indeed he has set himself the task of convincing them. If we would win people to Christ, we must be all things to them, and meet argument with argument, if that will do good. But questions and doubts may sometimes rise in our own minds, and the true answer to them is in getting down to fact, and observing how those who once were blind have now come to see. A living Christianity, actual and manifest results of the gospel, these are our strongholds when the struggle comes.

III. A QUESTION AS TO OUR OWN EXPERIENCE. All our intellectual conclusions concerning Jesus are in vain unless there has been a deep personal experience. No matter how careful the search, no matter how sound the reasoning, it is all in vain. Many have written to support Jesus as the Christ, but when we read between the lines, we see how all their talk is from the outside. They can recommend Jesus to others, but it is pretty plain they have not accepted him for themselves. How can we truly know Jesus, how can we be sure of our hold upon him, unless there has been some deep beneficial change in ourselves? A far deeper experience is possible for every one of us than this man went through. Of all those born naturally blind, only a few have ever had natural vision added to them - the few, namely, that Jesus dealt with. But of those born spiritually blind, i.e. all of us, it is the Divine intent that we should all say in due season, "Whereas I was blind, now I see." - Y.

Admirable, indeed, were the bearing and the language of this poor man when in the presence either of Jesus or of the Pharisees. When confronted by the Lord's enemies, he was not worsted in the discussion, and he was silenced only by violence. If there was a shade of irony in this appeal, still there was justice in it. The language is such as may well be addressed, by those who have benefited by Christ and have attached themselves to Christ, to all whom their influence may reach.

I. THE CHARACTER OF THIS DISCIPLESHIP. There was reason in the designation "disciple," as applied to all who attached themselves to the Lord Jesus. Observe:

1. The Master and his lesson. Christ is supremely able to teach. There may be learned

(1) wisdom from his lips;

(2) holiness from his life;

(3) love and pardon from his cross;

(4) obedience from his throne.

2. The scholar and his spirit. On the part of him who would be Christ's true pupil, there must be

(1) reverence for the Master's authority;

(2) diligence in the study of his character, his words, and his life;

(3) subjection to all commands, however this submission may involve self-denial;

(4) perseverance in application to Divine lessons.

II. THE HINDRANCES TO THIS DISCIPLESHIP. There may be observed, as militating against such pupilage:

1. Pride, which flatters men that they need no teaching, that they are a sufficient lesson and law to themselves.

2. Irreligion, which assures men that other masters are as good as Christ, that there is no special faculty to instruct and to govern residing in him rather than in others who claim obedience.

3. Unspirituality, which too readily suggests that Christ's teaching is too holy, that his standard of goodness is too high, for human attainment. By these several formidable obstacles multitudes are kept from resorting to Jesus in that reverent, lowly, and teachable temper of mind which alone can secure their enlightenment and salvation.


1. It is our nature and our need to learn.

2. None is so able to instruct us as is the great Teacher, the Divine Master.

3. To stand aloof from his teaching is to remain ignorant of what it most concerns us to know.

4. Christ is willing to receive and to welcome us into his school. There is no need, in order to become his disciples and to learn of him, to abandon lawful avocations; no need to dispense with human teachers who are not rivals to Jesus. The door of the school is open, and the great Master is waiting and ready.


1. A question to answer for yourselves. "Will ye also be his disciples?" It is not the first time this question has been put to the hearers of the gospel; it is urged once again. It is not too early for any to begin discipleship. And it is not too late for any who may have delayed hitherto, now to respond to the summons.

2. A question to propose to others. This is the invitation which the Church is bound to address to the world. If one who had been a poor blind beggar could urge it upon his superiors; if he could speak for Jesus, though persecuted for his boldness; why should any Christian be deterred from witnessing and appealing to his fellow-men, either by the sense of his own unworthiness and insufficiency, or by the seeming unsuitableness and insensibility of those to whom the appeal is made? - T.

Notice -

I. A MARVELLOUS IGNORANCE. "Why herein is a marvelous thing," etc. Their ignorance of the origin and history of Jesus was marvelous considered in reference to the persons themselves. Ignorant:

(a) While they really knew so much. The sum of their general religious knowledge must be considerable.

(b) While they professed and were supposed to know so much. They professed to know all about the Divine communications to Moses; professed to know the less, but profoundly ignorant with regard to the greater.

(c) While they ought to know so much. From their religious training and position as the religious leaders of the people, they ought to know much. Their ignorance was marvelous when considered in relation to the case before them, very marvelous indeed in the light of the following considerations so lucidly and cogently brought under their notice by the man that was blind.

1. The testimony of the miracle.

(1) The miracle was an unquestionable fact. As proved by the man himself, by his parents, by his neighbors; and the genuineness of the miracle was admitted by the council.

(2) It was an unquestionable fact, unquestionably involving the exercise of Divine power. This was generally admitted. Admitted by the opponents themselves. "Give glory to God."

(3) The Divine power was unquestionably exercised by Christ. "He opened mine eyes." This connects him most intimately with the Source of Divine power, if it does not point to him as that Source.

2. The usual way of God's impartation of his Divine power.

(1) It was imparted in answer to prayer. This was the law by which God's extraordinary power was imparted to the prophets and seers of old. In answer to prayer.

(2) It was imparted only in answer to the prayer, of the devotional and obedient. Notorious sinners are not in the habit of prayer, and their prayers as such would not be answered. If they prayed so as to be answered, they would cease to be notorious sinners. "God heareth not sinners: but if any man be the worshipper," etc.

(3) This rule of Divine impartation of power was well and generally known. "We know," etc. As if he were to say," Even I know this, much more you."

(4) Ignorance of the Divine character and origin of Christ was marvelous. "He opened mine eyes."

3. The uniqueness of the miracle.

(1) It was unique in relation to the general experience of that age. Such a miracle was never witnessed by any one present, nor by any one then living.

(2) Unique in relation to the oral and written history of the world. "Since the world began was it not heard," etc. History, oral or written, ancient or modern, does not furnish such an instance of Divine power in sight-giving as this.

(3) Unique in relation to the miraculous performance of the great men of the past. As compared with theirs, it stands alone and singular. "It was not heard that any man." Jewish history could boast of the names of great men who through God performed works of wonder and might; but this eclipsed them all. Not even Moses nor Elijah performed such an act with regard to sight.

(4) Unique in its peculiar character and originality. An equal amount of power had been displayed before, but not in the same way. Defective sight had been restored, and total blindness had been removed; but never a man who had been born blind had his eyes opened. This was reserved for Jesus. This original and new miracle was reserved for a new dispensation - a dispensation of spiritual insight and Divine illumination. And if Christ was a sinner, he was more original, eminent, and Divine than the most illustrious and boasted saints of all past ages.

4. The temporal circumstances of Christ. These were such as to be most unfavorable to impress the public and gain a personal reputation. Temporal circumstances are generally favorable and productive of this. Such as:

(1) An illustrious lineage. To come down upon society in the splendor of an illustrious descent goes far with it. But this Jesus did not. He appeared as the Son of Joseph and Mary. True, he descended from David; but this was scarcely known, and the connection was so distant that the effect would be little.

(2) Great wealth. This has a great influence. This Jesus had not. He was the reputed Son of a poor carpenter, and was a poor Carpenter himself, and as such appeared before the public and was known by them.

(3) The patronage of the great. This goes very far in gaining popularity and reputation. But Jesus had not this. From his first public appearance the aristocratic element of the nation was against him, and the social and religious leaders of the people were his deadly foes.

(4) The fame of learning. This is a most powerful element of success; but Jesus had not this. He was not brought up in any of the celebrated schools of his nation, nor sat at the feet of any illustrious rabbi. It is not known that be ever enjoyed the advantage of any school besides that of home, and he was notorious as a Teacher who had no human learning. From the poor village and the common workshop he emerged as the teacher of his nation. All his outward circumstances were against him, so that it was well said, "If this man were not of God, he could do nothing." But, in spite of his disadvantage, his doings far eclipsed those of his most eminent predecessors, which plainly and irresistibly leads to the inference of the man that was born blind that he was of God - he was indeed Divine.

II. THE MOST OBSTINATE RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY, Their marvelous ignorance was the offspring of the heart rather than of the head, of the will rather than the understanding. It was the offspring of the most obstinate religious bigotry whose character their conduct here reveals.

1. As most bitter in spirit. "Thou wast altogether," etc. This language is:

(1) Most slanderous. A slander on the man, on his parents, on the Creator who made him, and on the Savior who healed him. The charge was not true.

(2) Extremely mean. To upbraid the man with a calamity for which he was not responsible, and to rake up in his breast the painful reminiscences of a misery which he had so long endured, but which happily now had passed away.

(3) Most irrelevant. It is not to the point. What mattered it whether the man was born in sins or not? That had nothing to do with the fact of the miracle, and the character and claims of him who had performed it.

2. As most proud in spirit. "And dost thou teach us?' The spirit evinced here is:

(1) Most contemptuous. "Dost thou," etc.? Contempt of all who dare to differ from their opinion is characteristic of bigots. This man not only differs from the council but teaches them; their contempt is unbounded.

(2) Most proudly self-satisfying. "Teach us!"

(3) Most unphilosophic and unprogressive. What philosopher worthy of the name would disdain to listen with respect to one who was the object of such a wonderful operation, in whose eyes were still rays of Divine light, and in whose soul was still burning the inspiration of such an experience? Where is the man in his right mind who would not listen with attention and due deference to such a talc? The members of the Jewish council listened with consummate pride and seething contempt, proving themselves to be most unphilosophic, ungodlike, unprogressive, and blind to the greatest and most brilliant light.

3. As most intolerant in spirit. "And they cast him out." And for what? For exercising the right of private judgment, and respectfully expressing his honest convictions and defending the truth. Their conduct was:

(1) Most weak. Mentally and morally weak. They could not refute his arguments nor stand the light.

(2) Most unreasanable and unjust. A Church has a right to exclude those who are immoral, and violating its fundamental principles. But this was not the case here. A coming Messiah was the most fundamental doctrine of the Jewish Church. This man was excluded for accepting him.

(3) Most cruel.

(4) Most fatal. When a Church begins to persecute, it begins to cease to exist; when it excludes the light of truth, it cannot last long. - B.T.

The natural good sense of the man born blind was sharpened by the experience through which he passed, and by the controversy in which he was involved. Hence it was that several of his sayings anticipate the mature arguments of the most thoughtful defenders of the Christian faith. The manner in which he here argues from the character of our Lord's works to his Divine commission and authority, is deserving of all admiration. This is an argument as valid as, and perhaps more effective now than, when it was first spontaneously propounded.

I. THE SPIRITUAL CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S WORK PROVES HIS DIVINE ORIGIN AND POWER. God is a Spirit; the realm of spirit is that which is to him of deepest interest. It is evident that if the Son of God has visited earth, it must have been in order to introduce principles of vitality and blessing into the spiritual existence of men. This is exactly what Christ has undeniably been doing. To him men owe the enlightenment of the mind by spiritual truth; the new law of moral life; the new motive of Divine love; the great distinctive social principle of self-denying benevolence; the effective consolation for human sorrow; the true encouragement for those tempted to depression and hopelessness; the glorious prospect of the spiritual renewal of mankind; the mighty inspiration owing to the revelation of an immortal life.

II. THE INCOMPARABLE EFFICIENCY WITH WHICH THIS WORK WAS DONE IS PROOF OF CHRIST'S DIVINE ORIGIN AND AUTHORITY. To appreciate this, we should compare the work of Christ with that of others, e.g. with that of the most renowned of earth - conquerors and kings, sages and religious leaders. How meager their sway! how transitory their dominion! How rapidly have they become merely a memory, a name! On the other hand, what moral significance has characterized the work of the Lord Jesus! During his ministry, what transformations of character he wrought, what extreme and desperate cases of sin and wretchedness he successfully dealt with] And, after his ascension," greater works "than these - which were yet equally his works - accompanied the preaching of his gospel. Well might Julian the apostate exclaim, Vicisti, Galilaee! Well might Napoleon acknowledge that the empire of Christ transcended all earthly monarchies in true and lasting solidity and glory. If this Man were not Of God, could such results have attended and followed his earthly mission - fulfilled, as it was, upon a scene so limited, in a period so brief, and in circumstances so lowly?

III. THE WIDE EXTENT OF OUR LORD'S WORK IS EVIDENCE OF HIS DIVINITY. Even during his three years of labor, Jesus brought blessing, not to Israelites alone, but to Samaritans, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans. And when Pentecost inaugurated the mission of the Church, then the descent of the Spirit and the utterances in many tongues were a prediction of a universal religion. The middle wall of partition was broken down. One new humanity was fashioned from diverse and seemingly discordant materials - from Jews and from Gentiles. And Christianity has from that time onward been proving its adaptation to man as man - to the barbarian and the civilized, to the East and the West, to persons of all ages, ranks, and characters. The Son of man is proving himself to be the Savior of man.

IV. THE DIVINE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST IS SUPPORTED BY THE PERPETUITY AND BY THE EVER-GROWING PREVALENCE OF HIS WORKS. Other systems are for a period, for a generation, or for a century; "they have their day, and cease to be." But Christ's mighty works go forward as in an unbroken and ever-swelling procession, testifying to their Author. His power to save and bless is as yet undiminished, and it is reasonable to believe it to be inexhaustible. "This Man" has done, and is doing, all this! Who can he be but the Son of the Eternal? - T.

In this interview the purposes of Christ's love with regard to this poor man were fully accomplished. The opening of his bodily eyes, the trials to which he was afterwards subjected, led up to the consummation desired by his Benefactor. By gradual stages he had come to that point, at which only a fuller revelation of the Lord was required, in order that his faith might be perfected.

I. A MOMENTOUS QUESTION ROUSES INTEREST AND HOPE. The man whose eyes had been opened had already acknowledged Jesus to be a Prophet. And now he, whose claims had hitherto been but partially understood, was about to advance them in such a manner as to elicit a full comprehension and a full admission of them on the part of the disciple. Startled indeed must the poor man have been by the question, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" This language opened up before his mind a new vision, to behold which needed indeed a new illumination. It is clear that the man whose sight was restored had begun to see with the eyes of the spirit. Was he now prepared to owe all to Jesus - to see all in Jesus?


1. An inclination to receive teaching is apparent in the inquiry, "Who is he?"

2. A reverential submission to the qualified Instructor may perhaps be discerned in his deferential manner of addressing his Benefactor - "Lord!"

3. A resolve to follow out the dictates of reason and conscience is evident in the language, "that I might believe on him." Let him but know the Divine, and he would hasten to present his homage and his faith.


1. He declares that he is already actually seen and known. The Son of God, who was seen by the man whose eyes were opened, is, in a sense, seen and known, through his incarnation and advent, by all to whom his gospel comes.

2. He condescends to stoop to the level of our capacity and fellowship. He "talketh with" all who are willing to listen to his words, to welcome his conversation and counsel. There is marvelous condescension and grace in the revelation which Jesus makes of himself to all who are disposed to direct the eye of the soul to his presence, the ear of the soul to his voice.

IV. THE EAGER RESPONSE OF FAITH AND WORSHIP. The unhesitating confidence and confession here recorded were not unreasonable. Many causes concurred in bringing about this spiritual attitude. The benefit the man himself had received, no doubt disposed him to give his favorable attention to every representation made by Jesus of himself. But the miracle was itself, at all events to him, conclusive evidence of the superhuman authority of his Benefactor. The queries, denunciations, and reproaches; of the Pharisees had made him think more profoundly upon the mission, the character, perhaps even the nature, of Jesus. And thus, when the Lord advanced his Divine claim, the poor man was prepared, not only to admit that claim, but to welcome and to rejoice in it. He could not suspect such a Being of vain egotism or of falsehood. There was but one alternative. Jesus was what he declared himself to be - the Son of God. And, this being the case, what more natural and reasonable than his confession and his conduct? He believed; he worshipped. Less than this would not have been justifiable; more than this would not have been possible. For in his implicit confidence and in his devout homage this poor man anticipated the action of the Church of Christ throughout all time. Convinced by his own works of the justice of his claims, Christ's people delight to confess his lordship and to live to his glory. - T.

We have in this passage -


1. He had lost sight of him for a while. He had not seen him since he went on the path of duty and obedience to the pool of Siloam. It was well that they should be apart for some time. Important purposes were thus answered. But neither Jesus nor the man was idle. Jesus was about his Father's business; and the man that had been blind, according to Christ's statement, was busily manifesting the works of God. Establishing the miracle and pointing to the claims and Divinity of its wonderful Performer.

2. Jesus sought him. If out of sight, he was not out of mind. "Jesus heard that," etc. He listened for him; his ear was on the watch for intelligence respecting him. If you listen attentively you will hear soon. Jesus sought him in distress, when his need was greatest.

3. He found him. "Seek, and ye shall find." Jesus knew this law and obeyed it. No one sought so sure to find as be. He never gave up the search till it resulted in finding, whether for the lost, piece of silver or for the wandering sheep. Why did he seek this man?

(1) There was a fellow-feeling. He heard that they had cast him out. By the law of sympathy he looked out for him. He was an outcast from the synagogue himself; he had now a companion.

(2) The man sought him. We are not told this by the recorder, but we know it. He was full of Christ since he had received his sight. He could scarcely see nor talk of anything else. His mind and heart yearned for him. Especially now in his distress and persecution.

(3) Jesus was anxious to succor and help him. To give him his soul's want and his heart's desire - what would make him satisfied and happy. He knew that he needed and desired a spiritual Guide and a Savior, and he hastened to give to him himself. Jesus is a Friend in need, and the need of the guilty and weary soul.

II. JESUS' DEMAND FOR FAITH. "Dost thou believe," etc.?

1. This is the reasonable and natural demand of the miracle. Faith in its great Performer. It was a Divine act of mercy, and was eminently calculated to inspire faith - to open the eye of the soul to see the spiritual, the eternal, and the Divine. Christ looked out for fruit after cultivation and sowing.

2. A most worthy Object of faith is introduced. "The Son of God." The human soul should have an object of faith suitable to its spiritual condition and wants, and worthy of its native dignity and high capacities. Such an Object is here introduced - the Son of God, who also is the Son of man, whom faith can grasp, and being grasped will elevate the soul and fill it with satisfaction and joy.

3. A simple test of adherence is only required. "Dost thou believe," etc.? The memory is not taxed, the understanding is not burdened, but the willing acceptance of the heart, or faith, is made the test of adherence and the bond of union. It is very simple and easy, and yet most effective. "Dost thou believe?" - that is all.

III. FAITH IN PRAYER. This was the prayer of faith inspired by the demand of Jesus.

1. The prayer is to the proper object. "Lord." Although the man's knowledge of Jesus was limited, yet he knew sufficient to appeal to him for more light. He felt confident that he who opened his eyes could, and would give him greater illumination still.

2. The prayer is for a necessary revelation. "Who is he?" The elementary exercise of faith requires some elementary knowledge of its object. We are not expected to believe on a Savior we know nothing or but little of. Christ requires faith, and faith requires knowledge, and no sooner is it born than it begins to ask questions respecting its object, and the first is, "Who is he?" He is worth inquiring after. The choice of the object of faith is most important; this man very properly prays for light to choose.

3. The prayer is made in the proper spirit. The spirit of reverence, importunity, and readiness to believe and accept. "Who is he, that I might believe?" Not that I might consider and think over it; but let me know the Son of God, and I will believe in him. He prayed for knowledge for a practical and for the highest purpose - to believe.


1. It was answered at once. The man was fortunate enough to ask the question respecting the Son of God, "Who is he? "to the Son of God himself, and who could answer it so well and so readily. There is no delay in the transmission of the prayer, nor in the return of the reply. The prayer was eager, and the answer quick.

2. The answer was very modest. "Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that," etc. Modesty is ever characteristic of true greatness, and was characteristic of Jesus. Often he preferred the third person to the first in speaking of himself. In heavenly and Divine society he thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but in the form of a servant he naturally felt and manifested the modesty of a servant, especially in revealing to the soul his real glory and position as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Genuine faith feels modest in the presence of its genuine object, and its genuine object feels modest in the presence of genuine faith. The mutual recognition produces the natural and modest blush of virgin love.

3. The answer revealed the Son of God as nearer to the man than he perhaps expected. We say "perhaps," for there was but a thin veil between him and the full recognition of Jesus. Doubtless he believed him already to be the greatest prophet that ever lived, but had not as yet known him as the Son of God and the promised Messiah, and scarcely expected to find him so near. Faith often finds its object nearer than expected. When faith is intense and eager, the Son of God, the Savior, is present then, and reveals himself.


1. It is very prompt. If Christ's revelation of himself surprised the man at all, the surprise was most agreeable and sweet. The revelation did not damage the interest of Jesus nor retard the movements of faith, but rather improved the one and hastened the other. There was not a moment's hesitation, but straight and swift as an arrow's course faith flew to embrace and confess Jesus as the Son of God and her sovereign Lord. "Lord, I believe."

2. It is very short. All the questions and answers which passed between our Lord and the man were characteristically brief. It was business and not talk. Intense faith, being the concentrated sentiments and a decoction of the truest feelings of the heart, occupies but little time and language in expression. Some of the most important transactions between faith and her fondest object are very brief. Intense earnestness wastes not itself in words.

3. It is very decisive and fall. "Lord, I believe." In an ocean of language you may not find a drop of thought, while in a few drops of language you may find an ocean of meaning and reality. This man's confession of faith is as short as it can well be, but is quite as comprehensive and hearty. This short confession contains a long and a full faith. It is full of heart and soul, fall of submissive and willing obedience, and, better than all, it is full of Christ.

VI. FAITH WORSHIPPING. "And he worshipped him."

1. An act of overwhelming gratitude.

2. An act of the profoundest reverence.

3. An act involving the highest exercise of faith.

The man could speak no more, his heart was too full for speech. The attitude of prayer alone suited his condition and shall alone express his feelings; and, overburdened with the splendor and love of the Son of God and the delight of finding him, he falls before him and worships. We gladly leave him there, and disturb him not. Gladly do we leave faith at the feet of her Lord in the glow of devotion, in the glory of worship, and in the ecstasies of Divine fellowship. What passed between the soul and her Savior was too sacred to be recorded in our Gospels, but was faithfully recorded in the gospel of eternal life.


1. Comparatively trivial occurrences are often the occasions of the greatest results. The ejection of this man who was born blind and cured by Jesus was the occasion of the founding of the Christian Church. To this outcast Jesus first revealed himself as the universal Object of faith, and faith in him as the test of adherence and fellowship. In tiffs sense the outcast was the first member of the Christian society. The Jewish Church failed to fulfill its mission and embrace its own Messiah and the Savior of the world, hence the establishment of the Christian society, and the ultimate secession of Christ and his followers from the Jewish forever.

2. What was considered at the time a painful loss may ultimately prove to be the greatest gain. The practical ejection of this man from the religious privileges of Judaism was to him doubtless a great trial and a serious disadvantage, but when he found Christ he found infinitely more than he had lost. Cast out from the ship of Judaism into an angry sea to take his chance, but the surging waves threw him on the "Rock of ages" - a most happy exchange, from a sinking ship to a high and solid rock.

3. When Jesus is on the look out for faith, and faith for him, a quick bargain is struck when they meet. Such was the case here.

4. Faith often gets much more than its highest expectation. This man defended Jesus of Nazareth, but found in him the Son of God. There are sweet surprises in the experience of faith, and happy fortunes in spiritual merchandise. In a short time this poor man found an eternal fortune. - B.T.

Christ's first coming to this world was not for judgment, but for salvation. Yet it appears, again and again in the course of his ministry, that judgment was a necessary incident of his teaching and authoritative action. By him "the thoughts of many hearts were revealed." There was a virtue of moral discrimination and separation in his ministry of which he himself was well aware. Hence his assertion that whilst he brought sight to some who were blind, the result of his coming was that some who boasted that they saw were proved to be spiritually blind.


1. This power was exercised for the benefit of the ignorant, the sinful, the helpless. The blind man, whose story is told in this chapter, is an example. He needed not only physical but spiritual sight. His know- ledge was very limited; but it was in his favor that whatever knowledge he had, he used aright. The blindness which befell Saul of Tarsus, in the crisis of his spiritual history, was symbolical of that imperfection of spiritual vision of which he only became conscious when Christ met him by the way. These two examples are from two opposite extremes of society.

2. This power was exercised by the communication of truth, accompanied by the influences of the enlightening Spirit. Gradually did Jesus reveal himself to the man born blind; by signs, by words, by his own gracious character. Thus did light enter into that hitherto obscure nature, and penetrate all its recesses. A heavenly influence called forth faith and reverence, gratitude and love. The mission of the Messiah, as foretold by the prophet, included the recovering of sight for the spiritually blind - a beneficent service which the Lord Jesus has been rendering from the time of his earthly ministry onwards until now. In his light his people learn to "see light."


1. Although our Lord says that he came "that they which see might become blind," it must not be supposed that this was the aim of our Lord's mission to earth, in the same sense as were the diffusion of Divine light and the impartation of spiritual vision. He said on one occasion that he came, not to send peace on earth, but a sword; yet we know that the main object of his coming was that peace might prevail, although one necessary consequence of his work would be that men should be divided against one another.

2. The explanation of the blinding result of the Savior's ministry is to be found in the action of a law divinely appointed, according to which those who have good brought near to them, and who are indifferent to that good, have their indifference intensified into hatred. Neglect of privilege leads to deprivation of privilege. It is said that organisms secluded for generations from the light of day lose the organ of sight. So is it in spiritual relations. Such was the ease with those Pharisees who boasted of their spiritual discernment, but who in fact loved darkness rather than light, and abode in darkness until their spiritual vision was quenched in blindness and the night of impenetrable gloom. - T.

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, etc. If the words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened in a sure place, we need not wonder that the words of Christ himself should sometimes be startling in their sharp-ness-should pierce like a two-edged sword. The text before us is an example of this, and though it contains a paradox which in substance occurs frequently in the Bible, it is expressed here with peculiar point and severity.

I. First of all, LOOK AT THESE WORDS IN THE LIGHT OF THE OCCASION WHICH CALLED THEM FORTH. They are the solemn verdict of our Lord on the opposite effects of the work of mercy which he had just wrought in Jerusalem. He had opened the eyes of a blind beggar by sending him to wash at the pool of Siloam. The miracle had excited attention, wonder, discussion, and ere long the thoughts of many hearts were revealed by it. On the man himself the immediate effect of the miracle was remarkable. It brought out the simplicity of his character, and his loyalty to his Benefactor and to truth. He already knew Jesus by name, and in the joy and wonder of his heart he rightly concluded that the common report was true, and that Jesus was a Prophet. But a severe ordeal awaited him. The great religious guides of his nation summoned him into their presence, and with all the skill of practiced casuists they urged him to disown his Benefactor or deny his Divine power. Still the man stood firm, and rather than prove false to his conviction that Jesus was a Prophet, he submitted to the terrible sentence of excommunication. Ere long our Lord heard of this good confession, sought out and found the man who made it, and revealed to him the mighty secret that he was the Son of God. And at his words the smoking flax of true faith burst into flame in the poor man's heart, and he fell down and worshipped the Messiah. Thus, in a spiritual as well as a- natural sense, Jesus gave sight to the blind. But now what was the effect of the same miracle on the Pharisees? Had they known nothing of Jesus before, it was surely enough in itself to awe their minds and prepossess them in his favor. Common generosity, common fairness, would have required this. But, in fact, Jesus had been before them for well-nigh three eventful years, so that they were far from ignorant of his character and career. He bore all the marks of a prophet, and more than a prophet. He spake as never man spake, and they knew it. He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, raised the dead, cast out devils, and they knew it. His life was one of perfect moral loveliness and unapproachable moral grandeur, so that none of them dared to reply when he said, as he had a right to say, nay, as he was bound to say, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" Yet, with some exceptions, these Pharisees had shut their eyes to this great Light that had come into the world, and each new exhibition of it made them blinder still. They had even said, "He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils." And see how they dealt with the work of mercy which had just been wrought in their streets. They had sifted and resifted all the circumstances, and it was well they did so.

"Truth, like a torch, the more 'tis shook it shines." But when the great fact had become patent to all, they willfully shut their eyes to its meaning, and wreaked their hatred of the Holy One on the lowly object of his mercy; and all the time these Pharisees boasted that they had the key of knowledge, and in their own esteem were the clearest-sighted men of their day. And now the two parties stood before our Lord - the poor blind beggar who had entered the kingdom of light, and the supercilious Pharisees who were drifting further and further away from it. Thus is explained the seeming paradox of the text, "For judgment," etc.

II. EVER SINCE CHRIST AND HIS GLORIOUS GOSPEL CAME INTO THE WORLD THESE WORDS HAVE BEEN RECEIVING FRESH FULFILMENTS. Among his greatest titles are these, "the Light of the world," "the Sun of Righteousness;" and one of the greatest objects of his mission is to give light to them that sit in darkness, to deliver men from pernicious error and bewildering doubt, to clear up and answer the questions that are alike urgent for the old and the young, for the learned and the unlearned, declaring to us why we are placed here, and what destiny awaits us, and above all showing us the path of life. I need only add that our Lord's claims to do this are partly based on the great open standing wonder of his life and death and resurrection, and partly on the intrinsic power of his gospel itself - his words, which are "spirit and life." But how do people deal with this great light that has come into the world? Some accept it gladly in early life, even in the first dawnings of intelligence; and some are sooner or later brought to accept it, after much providential discipline and many mental struggles. But one thing is very noteworthy. Both the former and the latter accept it humbly and thankfully. They give to God in Christ all the praise. The very light they receive reveals to them by contrast the natural darkness of their minds, and they know how that darkness would again enwrap them were they left to themselves. Hence, so far from being proud of their spiritual vision, they habitually pray "that the eyes of their understanding may be enlightened," and they at least can set their seal to this word of Christ, "I am come... that they that see not might see." Surely there is grace and truth in this saying of Christ for each one who feels how blind he is by nature to the mystery of God's light and love. Is it strange that some consciousness of this blindness - sad and painful as it is - should be the beginning or the accompaniment of a good work in you? It is not, it cannot be, a state to rest in - "a land of darkness and of the shadow of death" - but it brings you practically within the sweep of Christ's mission. He came "to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners out of the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house." Yours is a case for the great Physician, for the mighty Deliverer and Restorer. Go to him in the simplicity of faith and prayer; for this is the method of his grace, to be found of them that seek him. You have heard how he hath revealed himself to others. Tell him that a cloud you cannot sweep away, a veil you cannot lift, comes between you and him. He will be faithful to his promises. For you also "he will destroy the face of the covering cast over all nations, and the veil that is spread over all people." "With thee, O Lord, is the fountain of life; in thy light we shall see light," But, sad to say, there is another alternative. Too many continue unconscious of their darkness. We may put aside for the present open scoffers and presumptuous sinners, who make no secret of it that they hate the light and love the darkness, and who can scarcely keep their tempers when sacred things are mentioned in their presence. There is no need to speak of such as glory in their shame, and sport themselves with their own deceivings, and sear their consciences as with a hot iron. The text does not apply probably to these, but to a different class. There are men who are neither attracted nor gladdened by the Light of the world, and in whose case the chief reason is that they turn a cold and critical and unhumbled eye on the Object of faith. Ah! were they to listen to some of the graver whisperings of their own consciences, which we believe are the strivings of God's Spirit within them, they might become conscious of want and darkness; but they cannot bear this. Dismissing such feelings as unworthy of them, they persist in saying, "We see!" Instead of looking up to Christ with the reverence due to One who is so immeasurably exalted above them, and who, in all that he is and all that he has done, is so wondrous an exception to the whole human race, they rather seek to weigh him in their own poor balances and assign him a place in their own narrow system. They must needs find some explanation of his miracles which would then be no miracles, and of the mysteries of his kingdom which would then be a mere province of the kingdom of nature. And is it at all wonderful that the gospel should be foolishness to such, and that the more they cherish such a state of mind the less fit they should be to profit by the great Light which yet shines around them? By an inevitable consequence (if God prevent not) their prejudices become stronger and their eyes become blinder. When God's hand is lifted up, they will not see. When his Spirit works in the hearts and lives of others, some explanation - perhaps a very shallow one - suffices for them. Conversion they will call a reaction from one extreme to another; heavenly tempers, even happy death-beds, the effects of a sanguine temperament; the spread of Christ's kingdom the mere contagion of enthusiasm. But thus the words of Christ are still verified, "I am come... that they which see might be made blind." For there is such a thing as being "wise in our own eyes, and prudent in our own sight." It is an old warning, "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches." Ah, if the pride of wealth is a blinding thing, so that it is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven; if the pride of power or social position is a delusion and a snare; - so it is with the pride of human wisdom. Strange to say, it is not seldom found among men who, by whatever standard you estimate them, are no wiser than their fellows; just as, on the other hand, some of the greatest minds have been the humblest. But wherever this pride of fancied wisdom reigns, it blinds the eye to the glory of the Redeemer. If you think you can look down, as it were, from above on Christ and his grace; if your ambition is to

"Sit as a god holding no form of creed,
But contemplating all;"

you must needs be in a false and perilous position. It is not thus that you can hold communion with the Holy One. Christ has no blessing for the self-sufficient, no healing for the whole. Remember his words, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Hence -

III. THESE WORDS TEACH US THE GRAVE RESPONSIBILITY OF HAVING TO DO WITH CHRIST. "For judgment he is come into the world." Not yet for final judgment and retribution; that is reserved for the last day. But one inevitable result of his appearing among men has ever been to test and prove them, and to manifest the secrets of their hearts. And this must be so; for he is the supreme Revelation of God - of his holiness and truth, of his grace and love, of all that makes up his glory. Even in the depths of his humiliation this was the case. Think of the day when he stood arraigned as a Prisoner before the Jewish and the Roman tribunals; surely it was he, betrayed and forsaken as he was, who sat in reality on the judgment-seat, while Annas and Caiaphas, and Herod and Pilate, and priests and people, passed in review before him, and were weighed in his balances and found wanting. And so it must ever be as each human soul is brought face to face with Jesus Christ. Ah! some of you may think that you are judging him, but all the time it is he that is judging you. If you will not humbly acknowledge your poverty and ignorance, and thankfully accept his grace, it is a righteous thing that he should leave you to become blinder than before. His glorious gospel cannot leave you as it found you. It must be the savor of life unto life, or the savor of death unto death. And hence the solemn words which Jesus spoke of some of the men of his day, "If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin." This must be so. You cannot escape from Christ. His love and grace cannot be trifled with. "God is not mocked." You remember that the declared purpose of his mission is one of infinite mercy. "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." - G.B.

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