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-- which does not merely mean, as some explain it (Chrysostom, Maldonatus, Grotius, Tholuck), rudely fung him forth from the hall of judgment, wherever that may have been; but, according to the decree which had gone before, they declared him to have come under those sharp spiritual censures denounced against any that should recognize the prophetic office of the Lord. Only so would the act have the importance which (ver. 35) is attached to it (cf. John xi. 32 ; 3 John 10). No doubt the sign and initial act of this excommunication was the thrusting him forth and separating him from their own company (Acts vii. 58);' and so that other explanation has its relative truth. Yet this was not all, or nearly all, involved in the words. This violent putting of him forth from the hall of audience was only the beginning of the things which he should suffer for Christ's sake. Still there was, to use the words of Fuller on this very occasion, this comfort for him, that 'the power of the keys, when abused, doth not shut the door of heaven, but in such cases only shoot the bolt beside the lock, not debarring the innocent person entrance thereat.'
And in him were eminently to be fulfilled those words, • Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake' (Luke vi. 22). He is cast out from the meaner fellowship, to be received into the higher,—from that which was about to vanish away, to be admitted into a kingdom not to be moved. The synagogue, so soon to be 'the synagogue of Satan,' rejects him ; the Church of the living God, and Christ the great bearer of the keys in that kingdom, receives him ; for in him the words of the Psalmist shall be fulfilled,
· Corn. a Lapide : Utrumque eos fecisse est credibile, scilicet cæcum ex domo, et hoc symbolo ex Ecclesiâ suâ, ejecisse. 'ExBaldev will then have the technical meaning which it afterwards retained in the Church (see Suicer, Thes. 8. v.).
See Vitringa, De Synagoga, p. 743.
• When my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord taketh me up' (Ps. xxvii. 12). He has not been ashamed of Christ, and now Christ reveals his true name and his glory unto him; so that he beholds Him no longer as a prophet from God, which was the highest height to which hitherto his faith had reached, but as the Son of God Himself. Thus to him that hath is given, and he ascends from faith to faith. • Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and, Himself the Good Shepherd, went in search of his sheep in this favourable hour for making it his own for ever, bringing it safely home to the true fold ;—and when He had found him,' it may be in the temple (cf. John v. 14), 'He said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?' with an emphasis in the original on “thou' which it is hard to reproduce in the English : Believest thou (oú), while so many others are disbelieving ?' The man knows what this title Son of God' means, that it is equivalent to Messiah, but he knows of none with a right to claim it for his own: such trust, however, has he in his Healer, that whomsoever He will point out to him as such, he will recognize. He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee' (cf. John iv. 26). This Thou hast seen Him,' does not refer to some anterior seeing; for, so far as we know, the man, after his eyes were opened at the pool, had not returned to the Lord, nor enjoyed any opportunity of seeing Him since. It is rather a reply to the question, · Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?' • He is one whom thou hast seen already; thou askest to see Him, but this seeing is not still to do; ever since thou hast been speaking with Me thine eyes have beheld Him, for it is no other than this Son of man that talketh with thee.''
And now the end to which all that went before was but as
1 Corn. & Lapide : Et vidisti eum, nunc cum se tibi ipse videndum offert.
the prelude, has arrived : “He said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped Him :'not that even now we need suppose him to have known all which that title, Son of God,' contained, nor that, “worshipping' the Lord, he intended to render Him that supreme adoration, which is indeed due to Christ, but only due to Him because He is one with the Father. For God manifest in the flesh,' is a mystery far too transcendant for any man to embrace in an instant: the minds even of Apostles themselves could only dilate little by little to receive it. There were, however, in him the preparations for that crowning faith. The seed which should unfold into that perfect flower was safely laid in his heart; and he fell down at the feet of Jesus as of one more than man, with a deep religious reverence and fear and awe. And thus the faith of this poor man was accomplished. Step by step he had advanced, following faithfully the light which was given him; undeterred by opposition which would have been fatal to a weaker faith, and must have been so to his, unless the good seed had cast its roots in a soil of more than ordinary depth. But because it was such a soil, therefore when persecution arose, as it soon did, for the word's sake, he was not offended (Matt. xiii. 21); but enduring still, to him at length that highest grace was vouchsafed, to know the only-begotten Son of God, however he may not yet have seen all the glorious treasures that were contained in that knowledge. In him was grandly fulfilled the prophecy of Isai. xxix. 18; and at once literally and spiritually : ' In that day the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.'
So wonderful was the whole event, so had it brought out the spiritual blindness of those who should have been the seers of the nation, so had it ended in the illumination, spiritual as well as bodily, of one who seemed among the blind, that it called forth from the Saviour's lips those remarkable words in which He moralized the whole: “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind. I am come,'
316 OPENING THE EYES OF ONE BORN BLIND.'
He would say, “to reveal every man's innermost state; I, as the highest revelation of God, must bring out men's love and their hatred of what is divine as none other could (John iii. 19-21); I am the touchstone; much that seemed true shall at my touch be proved false, to be merely dross ; much that for its little sightliness was nothing accounted of, shall prove
true metal : many, whom men esteemed to be seeing, such as the spiritual chiefs of this nation, shall be shown to be blind; many, whom men counted altogether unenlightened, shall, when my light touches them, be shown to have powers of spiritual vision undreamt of before’(Matt. xi. 25; Luke v. 25; xv. 7). Christ was the King of truth, and therefore his open setting up of his banner in the world was at once and of necessity a ranging of men in their true ranks, as lovers of truth or lovers of a lie;' and He is here saying of Himself the same thing which Simeon had said of Him before: Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed' (Luke ii. 34, 35). He is the stone, which men build, and against which men stuinble,—and set for this purpose as for that (1 Pet. ii. 6-8; cf. 2 Cor. ii. 16). These words call out a further contradiction on the part of the Pharisees, and out of this miracle unfolds itself that discourse which reaches down to ver. 21 of the ensuing chapter. They had shown what manner of shepherds of the sheep they were in their exclusion of this one from the fold : ' with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them' (Ezek. xxxiv. 4; which whole chapter may be profitably read in the light of these ninth and tenth chapters of St. John): our Lord proceeds to set over against them Himself, as the good Shepherd and the true.
Augustine (In Ev. Joh. tract. xliv.): Dies ille diviserat inter lucem et tenebras,
19. THE RESTORING OF THE MAN WITH A WITHERED
Matt. xii. 9-13; Mark iii. 1-5; LUKE vi. 6-11.
THIS is not the first among our Lord's cures
on the Sabbath day,' which stirs the ill-will of his adversaries, or which is used by them as a pretext for accusing Him; twice already we have seen the same results to follow (John v. 16; ix. 12); but I have reserved till now the consideration, once for all, of the position which our Lord Himself took in respect of the Sabbath, and the light in which He regarded it. For such consideration the present is the most favourable occasion ; since here, and in the discourse which immediately precedes this miracle, and which stands,
1 The cures recorded are seven in number, namely, that of the demoniac in the synagogue of Capernaum (Mark i. 21); of Simon's wife's mother (Mark i. 29); of the impotent man at Bethesda (John v. 9); of this man with a withered hand; of the man born blind (John ix. 14); of the woman with a spirit of infirmity (Luke xiii. 14); of the man who had a dropsy (Luke xiv. 1). We have a general intimation of many more, as at Mark i. 34; and the one work' to which our Lord alludes, John vii. 21-23, is perhaps no recorded miracle, but one which is only referred to there. On the many miracles which our Lord thought good to effect on this day, we have these remarks by Jeremy Taylor (Life of Christ, pt. iii. sect. 14): "Jesus, that He might draw off and separate Christianity from the yoke of ceremonies by abolishing and taking off the strictest Mosaical rites, chose to do very many of his miracles upon the Sabbath, that He might do the work of abrogation and institution both at once; not much unlike the sabbatical pool in Judæa, which was dry six days, but gushed out in a full stream on the Sabbath ; for though upon all days Christ was operative and miraculous, yet many reasons did concur and determine Him to a more frequent working upon those days of public ceremony and convention.'