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thus justify what he himself faid, that the CHAP. kingdom of heaven is to be taken by violence, II. and carry'd as a town by storm.
circumstances, which ascertain the
S Jesus passed by Jerusalem, he sawa a
man which was blind from his birth." (The history is well known to all the world ; and my design is also visible: I do not write to make a fulsome repetition, but to establish the truth of this miracle ; now 'tis the + history itself that must furnish me with proofs, which neceffarily depend on the detail.) « His dif
ciples (who saw the blind man) asked him,
saying, Master, who did fin, this man or “ his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus “ answered, Neither hath this man finned, “ nor his parents; but that the work of God 66 should be made manifest in him. I must < work the works of him that fent me, while “ it is day : the night cometh when no man s can work. As long as I am in the world, “ I am the light of the world. When he had “ thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and « made clay of the spittle, and he anointed ♡s the eyes of the blind man with the clay, “ and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool
+ John ix. 1.
Part “ of Siloam (which is by interpretation, sent.) IV. “ He went his way therefore and washed, and
came seeing. His neighbours therefore, " and they I which before had seen him
asking alms, faid, Is not this he that fat and begged. Some faid, This is he: others
faid, He is like him : but he said, I am he. “ Therefore said they unto him, How were " thine eyes opened? He answered and said, “ A man that is called Jesus, made clay and “ anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go
to the pool of Siloam, and wash : and “ went and washed, and I received fight; « Then said they unto him, Where is he? • He said, I know not."
The bare recital above made in scripture terms, is sufficient, methinks, to convince unprejudiced minds, and such as have not lost all relish of truth. And I am thoroughly persuaded, that no one would resist the impression made on reason, by the circumstances and the fimplicity with which they are written, if the miracle of which we are treating, were not a convincing proof of a religion which some people are desirous to render suspected.
1. The man was certainly born blind. All, who knew him, were witnesses of it; and many knew him, because he asked alms in a public street. We fhall see afterwards that his father and mother affirmed it to the pharilees, tho' they dreaded their displeasure, and
† Or, as in the Greek, “ Whol ad before seen that he was
did not care to defend a miracle, which mėn CHAP. in power were willing to suppress.
II. 2. The blind man does not ask to be restored to his fight, as some others did, who were become accidentally blind. Thus there is no room for suspicion on his part. And Jesus Christ, after having sent him to the pool of Siloam, did not wait for his return to receive the glory of such a miracle; so that the blind man receiving his fight, did not know whither the person who cured him was gone. Every circumstance therefore, is pure and disinterested on both sides, and there is no possibility of collusion.
3. 'Tis the question proposed by the disciples of Jesus Christ, that occasioned this miracle ; and this very question is a proof that the man's blindness was from his nativity. But the answer that Jesus Christ made them is so little conformable to their notions, or to those of other men, that it is impossible it could have ever entered their minds, if they had not heard it from his mouth.
4. Jesus Christ is not satisfied with attributing the natural defect of the blind man to a particular providence; he fays farther, that it is for the glory of his Father, who sent him, and to manifest his works, that this man was born blind in order to be cured. Who ever spoke thus ? who could have dared to think this of Jefus Christ, if he had not said it? for 'tis observable, that it is not after the success, that he speaks thus, but ’tis by exposing himself to be contradicted (according to the opini
PART on of men) by him, who, he says, had sent IV. him, that he declares the future proof of his
miffion; and what is admirable, and points out his divinity, he stiles himself the light of the world, before the miracle, which was to prove it; and he withdraws, and conceals himself after it had been evidently proved by the miracle.
5. Was it natural to imagine, that clay put on the eyes of a man born blind, should restore him to fight? could one have framed such an expedient, so improbable, so contrary to the wish’d-for effect, fo proper for destroying the fight, if the power and wisdom of Jesus Christ had not employed it ?
6. Was there no other clay, no other expedient for making it, than the mixing it with the spittle of our Saviour? is it not plain from this, that the first origin of man was taken from the earth, which the hands of God fashioned, and animated by the breath of his mouth? The blind man wanted a natural organ : the creator bestowed it on him, by adding a new clay to the old, and thus rendering his work perfect:
7. But why did he fend the blind man to the pool of Siloam? what virtue was there in that pool ? and what mystery is concealed in its name, who was sent? why did he put clay upon his eyes,
since it was to be removed by washing them ? why was it only after a kind of a second voluntary blindness, that the natural blindness was cured? why did his eyes open, when the water of the pool caused the clay to
fall off, with which they were purposely co-CHAP. vered ? Do we fee in all this any trace of hu- II. man thought?
8. Is it likely, that a man born blind from his birth, Thould fo easily credit what Jesus said to him ; that he should obey him so punctually; that he should expose himself to public ridicule by carrying the clay on his eyes, and causing himself to be conducted to the pool of Siloam, with the hopes of being restored to his fight? are we not still even surprised at such a docility ? and how then could any such thing, be imagined before it happened?
One must be very little acquainted with the nature of man, to imagine him capable of counterfeiting any such thing, and to have but little discernment in respect to truth and falsehood, to be guilty of a mistake on such an occasion. Yet if any one should still deny to surrender, let him but join the pharisees, who, with utmost care, scrutinized the miracle, with an intent, if they could, to suppress it: for I do not imagine, he is more capable to examine it, than men of weight and authority of the same times, nor that he can fhew as much malignity as they to obscure it.