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the morning rose was a beggar asking alms, is now raised above the governors of the land and the leaders of the people. He acts according to his reason and his conscience, which neither Herod nor Pilate dared to do: he declares the honest conviction of his soul that if this man were not of God, he could do nothing. He is one of the many examples of the foolish things of the world which "God hath chosen to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world which God hath chosen to confound the things which are mighty." What "he hath hid from the wise and prudent, he hath revealed unto babes."
THE HAUGHTY AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS SPIRIT OF THE PHARISEES CONDEMNED.
JOHN ix. 35-41.
35. 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?
36. He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
21 Cor. i. 27; Matt. xi. 25.
37. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
Thus the man who had lost the favour of his countrymen, received an ample recompense. Jesus did not neglect or overlook him; did not leave him comfortless. He searched him out and found him, and revealed himself as the Son of God, of whose power the man had already seen such undoubted evidence.
There were no reasons of prejudice or interest to cloud this poor man's mind: no worldly mists to interrupt the clearness of his view. At once he exclaimed, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped
This gives an instance of the manner in which our blessed Lord observes the circumstances of his people. This man had risked every thing and lost every thing, by daring to "confess that he was Christ." But he should lose nothing in the end; nay, he should have "manifold more in this present time;" manifold more in the favour of the Son of God, than he could have gained by the praise of men.
Many sincere Christians have complained that they walk in darkness, and have no light; that to them the comforts seem to be denied which others have enjoyed. Is it not that, in the possession of ease and outward prosperity, they have less needed the special refreshments of the Spirit? Perhaps, indeed, they have rather needed to be humbled and
kept low. But we here learn how surely he whom they believe, he whom they worship, keeps his eye upon them; and should the season of their need arrive, will find them, and manifest himself unto them. He giveth not " as the world giveth," but when the world giveth not. "When my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord taketh me up.
Very different, however, is the effect of the same truth on different minds. Therefore Jesus saidobserving the case of this humble worshipper, and of the obdurate Pharisees
39. For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41. Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
The effects of all spiritual instruction are similar. It brings character to light: it shows what is in the heart. And, as the apostle says, "The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing."1
In this case, the warnings of Jesus shewed the obstinacy of those who heard them; his expostula
1 Heb. vi. 7.
tions proved their contempt of God's word; and his instructions, their self-conceit and pride. Are we blind also? We who are We who are "instructed out of the law, and make our boast of God," can we have any thing to learn?
Upon which they are told the awful truth, that the unavoidable ignorance of many meets with more favour in the sight of God, than the pride of others, who in their conceit are "rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." Now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Consider then, the spirit, the state of mind, which is here condemned. It is seen in action, when the Pharisee says thus within himself, "Lord, I thank thee that I am not as other men are." It is seen in the language of a previous discourse, "This people who knoweth not the law are cursed." It is seen in what had been just said to the man whose eyes had been opened, "Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us ?" These men are confident, that they are guides to the blind, instructors of the foolish ;' and know not that they are "blind guides," who think themselves to be something, when in fact they "seeing see not, and hearing they do not understand."
There is a self-satisfaction and complacency which is implied in the sentiment, we see which is directly opposed to the spirit that accompanies salvation. That spirit is never satisfied: never thinks that enough is known or enough done. The
? Rom. ii. 17, 18.
children of this world are active as well as "wise. in their generation:" they are always seeking, "Who will shew us any good?" Who will discover for us a new mode of pleasure, or open a new path of gain? And so the children of God will be ever inquiring, how they can discover more of his character or of his will. They do not indeed pay implicit credence to every teacher. Jesus did not demand this. He expressly says, "If I had not done amongst them deeds such as never man did, they had not had sin." It is one thing to believe every teacher; and another to refuse to try the spirits, whether they be of God." The Jews refused to try the spirit in which Jesus came. And multitudes, from a like disposition of mind, set themselves against an argument or an expostulation, because it may possibly prove them to be wrong. It was the true prophet whom Ahab refused to hear and there is something of his disposition in many who reject a book, or turn away from an argument, because it "does not prophesy good concerning them." Whereas the rule is to " prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." It is no proof that we are wrong, that others think us so: but neither is it any proof of being right, that we believe ourselves right. "With me," says St. Paul," it is a very small thing to be judged of man, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself: (I am conscious of no evil against myself:) yet am I
3 See 1 Kings xxii. 8.