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Vain is that prayer that comes from a divided heart. Vain the petition for pardon, when we have determined not to part with the sin. With what countenance can we ask to be forgiven for any sin past, when we intend to go and act that sin over again ? We must be honest with God and with ourselves. But this is not to deter any penitent from prayer. In this sense God does hear sinners. His ear is attentive to the prayer of those who desire to fear His name."
THE SAME SUBJECT--continued.
St. John ix. 35-38.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God ? 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. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
This news was brought to our Lord probably by some of His Disciples, who had witnessed the miracles, and sympathized with the sufferer. He knew it by His Divine omniscience before they told Him; but it shows their friendly zeal, their indignation at the injustice, and their confidence in Jesus. The Good Shepherd (soon He sets Himself forth to us under this similitude) goeth after that which was lost until He find it. The man recognized his Benefactor. He understood what that title, Son of God, implied," but was at a loss, as yet, to know who could justly claim it. For
take up the words that follow,-wit-
| Neh. i. 11.
3 St. Luke xv. 4; xix. 10.
* Compare that primitive Creed in Acts viii. 37. The Creeds, it must be remembered, grew out of the Baptismal formula.
hitherto Jesus had been to him but a man, though a man of God. He had been blind from his birth, and had had no opportunity, as the rest of the people, to witness the many ways
in which He had been declared to be the Son of God. Yet so assured is he of the wisdom and goodness of his Benefactor, that he only requires Him to point Him out, and he is prepared stright way to acknowledge Him. “The expression is that of a longing and inquiring soul.”? Was there not in that word “ a faith-exciting remembrance of the miracle wrought, of the blessing bestowed ? Thou, bornblind, not only seest, but hast seen thy Lord. Now he can say with old Simeon in the Temple, “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” To two senses does the Saviour here appeal. It were privilege and marvel enough even to behold Him, but he vouchsafes also to converse with Him. Eye and
* ear both satisfied. The man believed with the heart, and confessed with the mouth. He did Him reverence. Nor does the Son of God reject it." Unjust judges had pronounced against the man a curse; but the Lord his God turned the curse into a blessing. He is cast out by those hireling shepherds of Israel,”! that by the Good Shepherd He may be sought out and saved. Cast out of the synagogue of the Jews, to be admitted into the Church and fold of Christ. Cast out by men, to be taken up of God. Thus the reviling of the Pharisees 10 had another meaning than they meant. “He grasped as an honour, what they offered as a reproach."
| Vv. 31, 33 above.
Compare St. John iv. 25, 26.
? Compare Rev. xix. 10.
St. Luke vi. 22. 9 St. John X. 12, 13; Eze. xxxiv, passin.
5 St. Matt. xiii. 16, 17.
10 V. 28 above.
St. John ix. 39-41.
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see ; and that they which see might be made blind And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also ? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin : but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
We have here our Lord's comment on the foregoing history. It is not inconsistent with that which He says elsewhere, “I came not to judge the world.”? This was the
2 purpose of His coming, the cause for which He came, “ that the world through Him might be saved.” But what He says here, denotes the varied effect. Such difference of result followed His coming. When the Light appeared, those that were doers of truth came to the Light; those that loved darkness rather than light withdrew to their congenial darkness. When Christ came, the children of light and the children of darkness ranged themselves each on his own side. Even now is being carried on that work of separation, even now is being developed that difference of character, which shall precede, which must decide, the final judgment. Even now we are justifying the sentence of the great day. We are passing judgment on ourselves. By our faith or by our unbelief, by our obedience or by our unfaithfulness, by our Christian or by our un-Christian conduct and character, we
· Possibly this was the beginning of one of the Lord's discourses, continued, with interruptions, through the following chapter; the miracle being recorded as introductory to it, according to our Evangelist’s manner, anıl as marking another step in that growing enmity of the Jews which brought on the final catastrophe.
· St. Jolin üi, 17 ; xii. 47; x. 10.
1 Thess. v. 5; Job xxiv. 16, 17;
Christ is here dividing the light from the darkness,'—which had been also His work on the birthday of creation. . Tlie work of the great and terrible Day became exhi. bited in emblem, even at the first Advent of Christ."-A Plain Commentary.
are even now anticipating the final award. This present time decides it. That distant day will only declare it. The Judge on the great white throne will then no more than pronounce what all our life long we have been proclaiming concerning ourselves. So in the case of these “blind" Pharisees on the one hand, and of those who on the other
1 hand only required to be directed to the Light that they might believe. They fancied they saw. “ Those who see was a title actually applied by their devotees to these doctors of the law. They loved to be called Rabbi, Rabbi. They knew not that they were blind. And so their sin and self-conceit became its own appropriate punishment. Their spiritual blindness grew upon them, and in some cases became past cure. While to those simple souls which, though as yet they saw not, were not unwilling to see, did not shut their eyes to the Light when it was manifested, He revealed Himself more and more. And immediately, as if to justify His judgment, some of these same Pharisees, who were ever marking His steps, take exception at His words. They perceived that He had spoken this parable against them. They fitted this cap to themselves. The Lord, in His answer to their angry question, is referring to the sin of rejecting Him. They did it with their eyes open.” i St. Matt. xxiii. 26.
God; whether miracles could prove 2 V. 36 above; ch. xii. 35, 36. anything, or signs could signify; and 3 Rev. iii. 17.
lastly, whether He that fulfilled all + 2 Cor. iv. 4.
prophecies was intended by them.”5 St. John i. 50, 51. “The obedi. South, Post. Ser. Iv. ent and the men of practice, are those “An incurable blindness, caused sons of light, that shall outgrow all by a resolution not to see; and to all their doubts and ignorances, that intents and purposes, he who will not shall ride upon those clouds, and open his eyes, is for the present as triumph over their present imperfec- blind as he that cannot. . . . . Still tions, till persuasion pass into know- that beloved thing possesses, and even ledge, and knowledge advance into engrosses him, and like a coloured assurance, and all come at length to glass before his eyes casts its own be completed in the beatific vision." colour and tincture upon all the ideas -South, Ser. vi.
and images of things that pass from 6 Ps. lvi. 5, 6.
the fancy to the understanding."? “But they were purposed not Id., Ser. vi. Compare Hooker's words to believe their eyes; to question (Answer to Travers, 6), “But what if whether it was day when the sun in the end it be found that he judgeth shincd; to doubt whether He that my words, as they do colours, which did the works of God was sent by look upon them with green spectacles, VOL. II.
By their proud boast "we see,” they cut away any plea of ignorance from under their feet.' And so their sin remained, witnessing against them. And so long as they cherished that spirit, they were in a state of sin, which was in danger of increasing, proceeding to more ungodliness, even to the killing of the Prince of life. “Their eyes have they closed :” this was their wilful blindness. “Lest they should see with their
eyes: :” this was their judicial blindness. The former their sin, the latter their punishment.
THE SHEPHERD AND HIS SHEEP.
St. John x. 1-5.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth ; and the sheep hear his voice : and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him : for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him : for they know not the voice of strangers.
This allegory of the Shepherd? and His Sheep has a very close connection with what has gone before. It is indeed part and parcel of that Divine discourse in which the Lord moralized the miracle He wrought upon the man that was born blind. It was a subject with which His hearers were
and think that which they see is green, (II. i. 263) makes Nestor give one of when indeed that is green whereby his model leaders. There is an inthey see.'
teresting exposition of it by Socrates i St. John xv. 22, 24. In v. 41 (Xen. Mem. iii, 2), who however apthe words may be literally rendered propriates it to Agamemnon. Nestor “ Ye should not have sin.”
is speaking of Pirithoüs and Dryas. 2 This is the title which Homer