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4. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
When the impotent man had received his cure at the pool of Bethesda, he was dismissed with the warning, Go, and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee." Perhaps this was remembered by the disciples and led them to the question, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Or perhaps they wished to hear him resolve that difficult question, in the words of Job, (iii. 20, 21,) "Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; which long for death, but it cometh not?"
One thing is certain, that all evil began with sin. " By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." When we look upon sufferings of mind or body, they should at once suggest the thought to us, that we witness the effects of sin.
But we are here taught not to ascribe particular calamities to particular sins. Though the hand of God ought always to be acknowledged, the purpose of God cannot always be discovered. Here he had a wise and merciful purpose, which men could never have divined: that the works of God should be made manifest in this man that the light of the world, He whom God had sent to deliver the 1 Rom. v. 12.
world from spiritual blindness, might show forth in him the power in which he came.
Unquestionably a similar purpose is answered, by the various conditions and numerous calamities which exist in the world. They give opportunity for manifesting those characters and qualities which God expects to be employed. Active sympathy, self-denying charity are works of God: and are manifested when indigence is assisted, when pain is assuaged, when sorrow is relieved, when the fatherless and widow are visited in their affliction.
It would be happy if all felt and acted upon the sentiment which Jesus utters-I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day. Short indeed is the time which is given to any man, to prove his faith; to show what master he serves, and for what world he lives. And bitter has been the remorse of many, who when the night came upon them, have been haunted by the sad reflection, how much they had done for a world which was now vanishing; how little they had done for God!
6. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
7. And said unto him, Go, wash in (which is by interpretation, Sent.)
the pool of Siloam,
therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
He went his way
8. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
9. Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him : but he said, I am he.
10. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
11. 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 I went and washed, and I received sight.
12. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.
It would be loss of time to inquire why it pleased Jesus to spit on the ground, and make clay of the spittle, and anoint the eyes of the blind man with the clay; instead of saying to the man at once, Receive thy sight. We may suppose, however, that the command given to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, was intended as a trial of his faith. A similar method was employed with Naaman the Syrian; (2 Kings v. 10;) "Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." The reason of this command we know. It tried the faith and temper of the Syrian. At first he was indignant; but being brought by wise remonstrance to a better mind, "he went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God and his flesh came again, like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."
This man, like Naaman, might have found much to say, why the water of Siloam could never give sight to a man who had been blind from his birth. But he did not argue; he obeyed. He went his
way therefore. And his faith was rewarded: he came seeing.
How well does this illustrate both the character and the effect of Christian faith! The invitation is universally given : "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.' "Come unto ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." We are exhorted, under a sense of the evils of life, of the bondage of sin, of the fear of death, to apply to him whom God sent into the world to be a Prince and a Saviour for the remission of sins. The human heart may find many reasons, like those of Naaman, for refusing. "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them and be clean?" So Naaman thought: and it might be asked, How could the nature of God be united with the nature of man? How could God undergo suffering? How could the suffering of one atone for the sins of another? How can the belief of that atonement overcome the evil dispositions of the heart, or renew the spirit of the mind?
It were easy to argue thus; and thus we fear too many do argue, and put from them the word of life, the offer of salvation. But as the man who washed in Jordan was recovered of his leprosy : as this man who went blind to the pool of Siloam, left his blindness there, and came back seeing: so will it be found by all who simply credit the commands and promises of Scripture, and act upon
them. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Wash away thy sins in the blood of the cross, and the blessings of God's covenant are thine. The effect will be as clearly seen, as in the case of this miracle. Comfort succeeds, where before was anxiety: peace exists, where before was turbulence: the heart is set on things above, where before this world was predominant. And the cause may be explained; the account as clearly given. He that on earth was called Jesus invited me to trust in him, that I might find rest unto my soul: and I prayed him to grant me peace, and I enjoy it: I prayed him to give me strength against my sins, and I possess it. Such has been the experience of multitudes: and such may be the experience of all.
The man who had received sight, was asked, Where is he? We have a certain answer to that question; he is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, where he ever liveth to make intercession for us. "Ask of him, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."