Images de page
PDF
ePub

the miracle of feeding numbers with a few loaves, and fishes, in a desert place, and followed it up with a caution to them to avoid the prejudiced view of God's dealings, and promises, exhibited in the conduct of the Pharisees. The particular prejudice which they on the occasion betrayed, was that of being content with no sign but the appearance of the Messiah in the sky. This they were led to expect by interpreting literally a figurative description of the Messiah's coming contained in Chapter vii. of the book of Daniel. It was one of the many mistakes into which the Jews fell, under the teaching of their blind guides; hence the severe rebukes with which He followed up this miracle, the effect of which He knew would be neutralized in so many instances by the leaven of the Pharisees. The circumstances of the two miracles are so alike, that the reflections suggested by the one apply equally to the other. There is however a point of view, not dwelt upon before, which may be worth considering now. Not only do we see in these miracles an assurance that He who has given us life, will certainly furnish us with the means of sustaining that life, as long as we truly look to Him for them; but there is in them also much to remind us of the method in which our gracious Father does actually supply our present wants, by multiplying the seed sown, and causing the earth to bring forth abundantly. Do we not see year after year, a miraculous increase of bread, as wonderful as that which is here brought before us? If it was strange that so many thousands of persons should be fed by seven loaves, is it not strange, and incomprehensible, that from so small a quantity of corn as is every year sown in the ground, there should be in due time such an abundant produce?

Suppose, e.g., a man were to sow in his field as much corn as would suffice to make seven loaves, what a large quantity of corn he would have at harvest time, and if it were then converted into bread, for what a multitude would it provide an ample meal. The seed cast into the ground is placed as it were in God's hands, like the seven loaves which the disciples brought to Christ. Men have nothing more to do with it, it is given up to God, and He multiplies it as He sees fit, so that the harvest of each year is really to those who will consider it, a kind of repetition of these miracles, a most wonderful instance of God's almighty power. It is He alone who gives seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; we are as altogether helpless in regard to the supplying ourselves with food, as were the multitude in the wilderness.

SECTION CIV.

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. to his house, saying, "Neither go into the

in the town."

And he sent him away town, nor tell it to any

The miraculous cure of the blind, has always been considered as having special allusion to the intellectual blindness of men, even of our Lord's disciples, as spoken of in the former section. In reference to this our Lord

had asked them, "Having eyes, see ye not, and having ears, hear ye not?" The slow, and gradual way in which His miracle of healing the man's bodily infirmity was performed, makes it a still more apt type of His removing intellectual, and spiritual blindness. Why our Lord employed the peculiar means here recorded, why He chose to perform this miracle, as it were in private, we are not told; possibly it might have been to avoid the collecting of a multitude, and thus to have frustrated the design of the Pharisees, who were plotting to take His life, chiefly on a charge of sedition, and exciting the people. Be this however as it may, we have here a wonderful, and striking picture set before us of the Saviour holding the blind man's hand, and Himself leading him along the road, figuring thereby the great work which the good Shepherd came into the world to effect, viz., to be the leader of those who were spiritually blind, the only true guide of lost, and wandering man. Why He did spit on his eyes, as on a former occasion He had spit and touched the tongue, we know not; a simple word would have effected an equal cure. Possibly it may have been to shew that the healing power resided in His own body, was inherent in Him. But we cannot doubt that this gradual cure was meant to be an emblem of spiritual things, for the gradual recovery, vouchsafed to the blind man, answers exactly to the gradual manner in which the gracious Lord enlightens the souls of His people. How often does He in the first instance, while men are yet blind, as all men naturally are, and ignorant in matters. which concern their souls, draw them aside, by the various dealings of His providence, from the business, and allurements of the world, and cause them to be, as it were,

alone with Him, and then lay His hands upon them, and open their eyes to perceive His truth. But not all at once does the darkness disperse, and the true light shine. Not all at once do even they on whom Christ's hand is laid, see things clearly, and arrive at the full understanding of the truths He would teach. Sometimes He delays to enlighten them because their faith is weak, and their prayers lukewarm; sometimes in order to let them feel more fully the extent of their blindness, and the necessity of His grace. In the mean time the nature of the doctrines, and ordinances of the Gospel are dimly seen by them, and imperfectly understood, or like the man before us, who at first saw men as trees walking, their vision may be dazzled, and unaccustomed to the new world into which they have been introduced. It is not till the work of the Spirit has become deeper, and their experience more matured, that they see all these things clearly, and give to each part of religion its proper place. Finally let us see, in the gradual cure of this blind man, a striking picture of the present position of Christ's believing people in this world, compared with that which is to come-we see in part, and know in part, in this present dispensation; we see, as it were, through a glass darkly-we are like those who travel by night-we know not the meaning of much that is passing around us. In the providential dealings of God with His children we see much that we cannot understand, and cannot alter; in short we are like him who saw men as trees walking. But let us look forward, and take comfort: the time is at hand when we shall see all clearly. The night is far spent, the day is at hand, let us be content to wait, to watch, and work, and pray; when the day of the Lord comes, our spiritual

eyesight will be perfected, we shall see as we have been seen, we shall know as we have been known.

SECTION CV.

When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, "But whom say ye that I am ?" And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

the cure of the blind from our Lord to his Him, and a freer com

We learn from this passage that man was followed up by questions apostles respecting their faith in munication of light to them. On His way to Cæsarea Philippi, He asked them whom do men say that I am? On their replying that there was a great variety of opinion concerning Him, some considering that He was John Baptist, others Elias, some Jeremias, others one of the old prophets; He asked them, "but whom say ye that I am?" In reply to which Peter in the name of himself, and the other apostles, poured forth his noble confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." At first sight there may seem nothing remarkable in the

« PrécédentContinuer »