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ble to set aside the divine authority of him who wrought it, and who asserted that he came from God.
Upon the man's frankly telling them, that he was persuaded that the person who had healed him, whoever otherwise he might be, was a prophet of God, they began to suspect him also, as if he had not been really born blind, but, being secretly a disciple of Jesus, had only pretended blindness for some time, to bring honour to his master for the reputation of healing him.
They therefore send for his parents, who, by the especial providence of God, to give undeniable evidence of the truth of the miracle, and
all excuse of the malicious unbelief of the Pharisees, were yet alive. But being able to learn nothing from them but what confirmed the reality and greatness of the miraculous cure; resolved not to believe
testimony whatsoever in favour of it; they ordered the man to be called in before them the second time; and quite infatuated with their prejudices, they try to infuse the same into him against Jesus, as if he was a sabbath-breaker and a deceiver, and therefore no true prophet. But his plain good sense and honest mind
led him to see their weakness and malice, and he quite confounded them by the pertinency and acuteness of his answers and the strength of his arguments. And when they alleged that they were persuaded that Moses was a prophet sent from God; as for this fellow, we know not whence he is, or that he can pretend to any divinę authority at all :
The man replied, that it was a strange thing that a man should have a power to work such an extraordinary miracle, as giving sight to one born blind, and yet that they who were the great and learned of the nation should not be able to judge by what authority he acted !
That if they knew any thing, they must certainly know that God would not give such a power to a bad man to deceive others.
That of all the miracles that were recorded, even of those done by Moses himself, there is no example of sight being given to one that was born blind. That it was impossible, therefore, but this man must be a prophet sent from God, since he did as great or greater miracles than those whom they themselves acknowledged to have a commission from him.
“ The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know
not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God and doer of his will, him he heareth. Since the world began, it was not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing."
One cannot help observing here, in how small a compass does the proper evidence for Christianity, and the divine mission of Christ, lie; and the unlearned as capable judges of it, as the most learned ! But not to dwell upon this. The Pharisees enraged that the man should presume to argue and dispute with them, and having no other way to evade or refute the force of his reasoning, they immediately pronounced against him their sentence of excommunication.
After which our Saviour meeting with him, asked him if he believed on the Son of God, or the Messiah. And when he replied, intimating that he expected and hoped for his coming, and that, if he was already come, he begged to know who and where he was ; Jesus thereupon discovered himself to him. And the man, conscious of his power and divine autho- $
rity, declared himself fully satisfied and convinced; and, as the sacred historian tells us, worshiped him ; i. e. bowed down with gratitude and reverence to Jesus, as the Messiah, their great expected prophet and deliverer.
Then follows our Lord's pious and edifying remark on the whole of this transaction, in the words of the text, which is thus paraphrased *:
“ With most admirable wisdom and justice hath the divine providence and unerring counsel of God so ordered things, that, by means of
my preaching to them, they that were blind might receive their sight; and, on the contrary, they that think they see best, might be discovered to be truly blind.” “ Meaning, by an easy
allusion to the matter before him, that as the gracious dispensation of the Gospel was a glorious and effectual means of bringing ignorant but humble and teachable persons to the knowledge of the truth, and of the way to eternal life (of which his giving sight to the blind man was a most apt emblem and similitude); so, on the contrary, the ignorance of proud and incorrigible men, such as were the unbelieving Jews, was by this very means, of the preaching * Vide Dr. Clarke's Paraphrase.
of the Gospel, rendered only more manifest and inexcusable.”
I would now lay before you some remarks : And,
I. The design of our Lord, in this miracle, was to prove himself the Messiah, the light of the world, a teacher with an extraordinary commission from God; and to show the utter inexcuseableness of those of his countrymen, who rejected him that came with such evidence of a divine authority,
He could have healed the man, as he had restored sight to the blind son of Timeus, by a word speaking ; but by the method he used, the evidence of the 'cure came out more strong and particular, and better answered his benevolent purpose.
For the circumstances which followed were peculiarly adapted to the
persons present, who consisted of friends and enemies, his disciples and the Pharisees. It was very animating and encouraging to blind
man, for it seems he sat begging in the streets, and to all like him of honest humble dispositions, to hear Jesus declare that he was sent from God, and commissioned by him on