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It was observed above, that God can punish and forgive at the same time; because punishment from him, when it falls upon good men, is not the punishment of wrath and vengeance, but that of love and correction; it is therefore a sign that he forgives, and it ought to be so un derstood. It may seem a strange doctrine, that God should punish while he forgives; but it is certainly true. When Nathan said to David, the sword shall never depart from thy house; he said at the same time, the Lord hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die. God therefore forgives while he punishes, and punishes because he forgives. It may possibly be a privilege of the godly to suffer under him and every wise Christian will pray, as many have been known to do, that they may have all their punishment in this world. If they are the sons of God, they must be corrected when they offend: for what wise father is there who doth not correct his own children? It is a sign that they belong to God; who speaking to his people Israel, saith, You only have I known of all the families of the Earth, therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities. What a comfort is it under every affliction for a Christian to know, that his sufferings mark him for a child of God, under the cure of the Almighty! He has little to fear, in life or in death.


On the other hand, when we see the wicked not only unpunished, but even prosperous, it is no sign that they are in a safe way, but the contrary; they are neglected and left to their own ways, because they are bastards and not sons: they escape in this world, because they are reserved for the punishment of another, and miserable will they be when the day of their visitation shall come! We see one in the Gospel, possessed for a time of his good things, and faring sumptuously every day but how soon does he lift up his eyes in

torment! This is the end of such a man, be he never so easy and prosperous in his life. The sentence may be speedily executed upon him, and often is. He has no security against it, and he has reason to fear it every day but however slow it may be in its approach, it is sure to come at last. Cloud after cloud may pass over him: but one will come, a black and dark one, from whence the storm will break upon his head. How foolish and mad are all the ungodly speeches, by which he and his empty companions set judgment at defiance. Alas, poor sinner! whilst thou art boasting that no harm shall happen to thee, the judge is standing at the door, ready to enter, and condemn thee to everlasting torment.

I speak not to them who sin of malignity and unbelief, for they come not for instruction; but if there be

any here, whose hearts are set to do evil, from carelessness and inconsideration; O, let them awake, and consider these things: let them judge themselves here, and pray that God also may touch their hearts, and take them under his correction in the time present, that their souls may be saved in the day of the Lord!

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THESE words are introductory to an history so curious in the subject of it, and so remarkable in all its circumstances, that there is nothing of the kind, which can be more worthy of our meditation.

We have here the story of a man blind from his birth; on whose case a question is raised; how and for what reason Providence had ordered such a thing?

Next we have the cure of this man, with the manner of it, and the moral of it: the explanation of which would, of itself, furnish matter enough for a


After this we have a particular account of the effect wrought upon the Pharisees; where we see how truth operates upon those that will not receive it.

Then there is the condition and disposition of those that do receive it: which we see in the account of the man himself.

And last of all, the Judgment of Jesus Christ upon both parties" For judgment I am come into this

world, that they which see not might see, and they which see might be made blind."

These things let us examine in their order: and first, the case; which, it seems, had occasioned some speculation among the disciples. They had reasoned thus; "As the misery of man is punishment, and as all punishment is for some offence, where could the offence be, of which a man brought the punishment into the world with him? so they asked their Master, who did sin, the man or his parents? They enquire curiously about the cause or beginning of the fact; but our Saviour answers in few words with respect to the end of it: they speak of the evil that was in it; he of the good that would come out of it; that the thing was not designed as a punishment for the sin of any person, but as a case that would afford an opportunity for the works of God to be made manifest: the man was born blind, that Jesus Christ might give him sight. What wisdom is here, in giving such a turn to the subject! How many vain, tedious, and fruitless questions about causes and beginnings might be avoided, if we did but consider ends and effects, and the good which there is in every thing which is easy to be seen, and is worth all the rest. How does the rain fall, says the Philosopher? is it by its own weight, or by the state of the Heavens? Is the cause in the water itself, or is it in the air, or in something else? What an opening is here for disquisition! Whereas the answer of Truth and Wisdom is exactly like what we have heard already: "It falls, that the fruits of the earth may grow; that man may be fed, and may be thankful to the Giver of all good." That is enough for us; this is the best part of the subject; and here we are in no danger of being mistaken. The best way then to answer the great question about the origin of Evil,

is to consider what is the end of it; what good comes out of it; this makes the subject at once plain and useful. Why was the man born blind? That the works of God might appear, and Christ might cure him. Why did man fall? That God might save him. Why is evil. permitted in the world? That God may be glorified in removing it. Why does the body of man die? That God may raise it up again. When we philosophize in this manner we find light, and certainty, and comfort we have a memorable example of it in the case before us; and, I humbly think, this is the use we ought to make of it.

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Next in order is the cure of the blind man; concerning which, we are first taught the manner of it, and then the moral of it; the manner of it is very instructive; but the moral is more so. The power of God being invisible in its operation, is always attended with some outward forin, as a visible sign of it. In the present case, Jesus anoints the eyes of the patient with clay, and bids him go and wash it off with water, in the Pool of Siloam: in consequence of which, when the water should wash away the clay, the Divine Power would take away the blindness. Now, if this man had been a modern Philosopher, he would have put a question or two: he would have said, "Clay! What can that do? it will make my eyes worse instead of better. And as to the water that is to wash it away, when did that make a blind man see? And why the waters of Siloam? What are they more than others? Thus does human wisdom stand questioning and expecting to have a reason for every thing; and this, in cases where, perhaps, a reason cannot be given; the will of God being the only reason, and the best of all; but it is such as human reason never yet submitted to: nothing but faith can submit to the will of God: and.

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