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1.2. In the second thing to be noticed, concerning the beggar on the way to Jericho, namely, his immediate application for help, under the sense of his blindness, to Him who was able to heal him. 'They told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.' Jesus of Nazareth! His fame was now spread abroad. He was approved amply of God, by signs and wonders which he wrought. This blind beggar had heard, that by him * the blind received their sight, and the lame did walk, the lepers were cleansed, and the deaf did hear, the dead were raised up, and the poor had the Gospel preached to them.' Of his character as the Messiah, he had obtained some knowledge ; for he addressed Him as the 'Son of David.' Probably he had heard of his wonderful compassion; that none who sought of him deliverance from misery, however poor, or friendless, or wretched, were turned away. Perhaps he recollected, without understanding the spiritual import, that in the days of the ' Son of David,' the eyes of the blind should be opened. At any rate, he who might heal him, was passing by. He would not wait for a better opportunity. He would not stop to calculate the probability of success. Without asserting any claim to his help; yea, with a consciousness that he had nothing to give, in compensation for his cure, he immediately cast himself upon the pity of the Redeemer: he cried, 'Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.' And thus should the blind beggar in the spiritual sense seek for deliverance. The fame of Jesus, as the Saviour of sinners, has been spread abroad through all ages. Prophets have proclaimed it. Apostles have declared it. His own miracles of grace have testified it. By raising him from the dead, God hath also approved him unto all men, as his 'Messenger of the covenant' to this lower world, to give salvation to its sinful inhabitants, by the remission of sins. Destitute of the joys and benefits of the light of life, exposed to innumerable perils and privations, poor and friendless,—shall sinful men, when this Messiah, who is 'mighty to save,' passes near them, neglect to call upon him, defer to seek his help? What though they have no claim to his assistance? What though they cannot remunerate his love? He offers his mercy 'without money and without price.' With confidence in the fame they have heard of his almighty power, and the declarations he hath vouchsafed of his authority, they should stretch out their hands to him as needy supplicants, and beg the mercy, which is Jehovah's alms. 'Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on us.' They will not cry in vain, if they imitate the blind beggar,—
I. 8. In the third particular to be noticed in him, namely, his perseverance, notwithstanding the obstacles which were thrown in his way. 'And they which went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David have mercy on me." Great and innumerable are the difficulties which sinners may have to surmount, in coming to Christ. 'How shall I,' says one, who is poor and naked, mean and despised, 'look for a place in the Church of the saints?' " What," says an uncharitable multitude concerning the ignorant and stupid, the blindest and poorest beggar by the way-side, 'can these expect to attract the attention of the Son of God, and to be made heirs of his covenant, and of the household of the Most High? Hold thy peace, wretched sinner, saith the'adversary. Cease from thy prayers, thy hopes, and thy inquiries. Canst thou hope for deliverance whose sins have caused thee to be given up to blindness, who art too wicked to be regarded by God?" Thus the world derides; conscience intimidates; the adversary terrifies. But a sense of his dangers and miseries, and a confidence in the power and mercy of the Saviour, will render the sinner importunate and persevering in his prayers. The pressure upon him of his miseries and danger, together with his apprehension of the power of the Messiah to set him free, will not suffer him to remit his importunity. He will supplicate so much the more earnestly, as God the longer deferreth to deliver him. Like the blind man in the Gospel, whose perseverance is recorded for our instruction, obstacles and delay will add strength to his cries; he will continue to call, till Jesus hears him.
I. 4. The success and happiness of such perseverance, are taught us in the fourth particular we have to notice, concerning the subject of this miracle,—the wonderful recovery of his sight. * And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God.' Who can forbear to picture to himself the joy, which now rushed as a torrent over the blind beggar's heart? The sun in the heavens, he saw with delight and wonder; the face of nature transported him with its beauty and sublimity, and the relations and proportions of all its parts. iie gazed upon the fair colours of the flowers, which had refreshed him with a fragrance, that came from objects which he could not behold. He lifted lus eyes with admiration to the source of that heat, which had sometimes imparted to his impoverished frame a genial warmth, with the origin of which and its transcendent glory he was unacquainted. He felt, too, free. He saw the face of man. He walked without a leader. What wonder that he clung to the being, who had given him such independence, and opened to him such views and hopes! Well nught he follow Jesus, 'glorifying God.' This is but one of many instances, in which our Lord teemed not to hearken to 'the prayer of the poor destitute,' till their earnestness had been proved, and their faith and per. severance manifested. And as the importunate widow overcame by her continual supplications even the unjust 'judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man;' so God will help the needy, who 'cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them.' Nor will their joy and the sources of their happiness be less than the blind man's, when he turueth him unto their prayer, and granteth their desire. His reconciled 'countenance,' they will behold pleasant and glorious, * as the sun shineth in his strength.' Faith, and hope, and charity, and all the objects of the moral world, will be seen in all their beauty and grandeur, their proportions and relations to each other. The source of the good feelings which, while yet they were blind, occasionally warmed their souls; and the fair complexions of the grace, with whose benevolent deeds they were occasionally refreshed, will be seen. They see man in lus true character and destination. They feel their spirits free. They lift up their eyes, and a heaven is seen above, ethcrial, unbounded, glorious: and beyond the reach of their spiritual vision, they imagine regions of immortality, where God dwells. To these regions they hope to come. The joys of this immortality, the restoration of their sight is a pledge to them, that they shall one day share. And how shall they forbear to follow him, to whom they owe this * great salvation P
From Bartimcus we turn to Jesus of Nazareth; from the conduct of the blind beggar, to the conduct of the Son of God, who gave him sight. Three things here deserve our consideration—the extent of his benevolence; his gracious condescension; and his ascription to the blind man's faith of the salvation which he found.
II. 1. The extent of our Lord's benevolence is worthy of remark. It embraces the whole human race. The rich and honourable counsellor of Arimathea, and the blind beggar on the way from Jericho, are alike observed by him, and have his regard. In like manner his redemption embraces all mankind. The penitent Magdalene shares it with faithful Abraham. No sinner is so far removed from God, that he may not be brought * nigh by the blood of Christ.' Poor blind man by the way-side, despair not to call upon Jesus, if he come in thy way f He died for thee.
II. 2. Another thing remarkable in the conduct of our Lord, is his gracious condescension. He • stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.' The Son of God, the heir of all worlds, stops on his way to hearken to the prayer of a blind beggar: he calls him to him, and enters into an enquiry concerning his wishes and his wants; and this for our instruction :—that when awed by the greatness of our Creator, and overwhelmed by the distance between him and us, we may be encouraged to call upon him, and hope in his name. The blind man put confidence in his goodness, and obtained his desire.
II. 3. It is important also to observe, that the faith of this suppliant procured him his relief. The Scriptures give us no example of any blessing obtained from our Saviour, without this quality. • If thou canst believe, all things arc possible to him that believeth.' And again, 'O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee, even as thou wilt.' And here in the case before us, Jesus said unto him, 'Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.' Awakened sinner; wouldst thou share the mercies, and come unto him, believing that thy God hath sent him into the world for thy redemption? Have confidence in his goodness, and the sufficiency of his power to save thee. If there were no other reason why faith should be required of thee, it were a sufficient and an awful one, which St. John hath given, • he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. '
Brethren, the application of this interesting portion of Scripture is to yourselves. God has placed you, though blind and poor, in the way in which you may hear of his Son the Redeemer. When you hear the voices of the prophets, and the movements of the types and the sacrifices are set before you, do you ask what it meaneth? 'Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.' When the Church calleth you to joy in the Christmas, to keep the Lent fast, to solemnize the Good-Friday, to observe the Easter festival, to celebrate the ascension, do you ask what it meaneth? * Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.' When the altar of God hath upon it its white covering, and there are placed thereupon bread and wine, do you ask what it meaneth? 'Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.' Are your desires to go to him for the salvation you need, restrained by your fears or the opposition of the enemy, or the cavils of an evil world? * Rise, he calleth you.' Are you guilty? He calleth you to pardon. Are you feeble? He calleth you to grace. Are you afflicted? He calleth you to consolation. Are you mortal? He calleth you to eternal life. 'Come unto me,' saith he, 'all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Be not deterred then by the difficulties in the way. Lay aside the upper garment of your own sufficiency. It may entangle you in going to Jesus. Think not of your claim to his help. Regard not your inability to compensate him for your cure. Have faith in his character. Have faith in his pity, and his power. His name is Saviour. Contemplate him by his name, and cry to him perseveringly, 'Jesus, thou Son of David have mercy on me.' He standeth still when the poor calleth; '. He also will hear their cry, and will help them.'