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believe irrthe Son of God, Christ revealed himself to him, and the man acknowledged his Divinity without hesitation, and expressed his belief by humble adoration.
The man who was born blind certainly could not commit sin before he came into the world; and our Saviour expressly declared, that he was not born in that miserable condition, for the punishment of his pa. rents; but that the works of God might be manifested in him. Besides it is very reasonable to suppose, that this affliction was in many respects conducive to the man's spiritual interest; a sense of his calamity might make him more attentive to the duties of religion, and more solicitous to obtain the favour of God, by humility and patient resignation, than he would have beert in a happier condition; and the practice of these duties had a natural tendency to mitigate his affliction. But supposing it to have been attended with every uncem-' fortable circumstance that can possibly be conceived, none can deny that he was amply recompensed by the knowledge of Salvation.;"
We ought to receive the account of this miracle as a farther proof that our Saviour was the Son O*. God; and from his permitting the man to worship him. we may infer, that he is worthy of adoration*' 'Every Christian is, in a spiritual sense, in the condition of a man born blind, and receiving sight by the hand of Christ. If this consideration excites our gratitude, how shall we express it? What homage short of adora.. tion can we offer to the Son of Gob? He. who came forth and proceeded from the Father, to enlighten our minds with Divine knowledge, the benevolent Sa~. ViooRi who felt as Man every tender affection of the human heart, and whose dslight is to give happiness, 1? Let us then, as Christians, take the man bom blind for our example, and let us learn from our Lord's ozuif words, that it is very wrong to regard any one as a notorious sinner, who meets with an uncommon calamity. Each man's own conscknee will best teach him in what light to consider his affliction; but charity should incline others to suppose they may be sent as trials ef virtuei . .:. . . .'• bt tt.-i r
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SECTION LXXXVII. ,
PREDICTIONS CONCERNING THE GOOD SHEPHERD OF ISRAEi. "" '"' . .
.5l! }..::; .' -From Isaiah, Cbap.-ith&u i..- ..• • 'I 5 * O Zion, that bringest good: tidings, get thee up into the high mountain: O Jerusalem; that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength: lift it up,' be hot afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your GOD.- 'Aa -'• :U/'J '•-.('.'.-•./'•-'
Behold, the! Lord God will come with a strong hand, and his Arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. , :Like a shepherd shall he feed his fleck; in his arm shall he gather up the lambs, arid he shall bear them irv his bosom; the nursing ewes shall he gently lead.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his kand; and meted out the heavens by his span; and
* The two first verses in the above prediction are according to the Bible translation; my reason for giving them so is, that the variations in the Bishop »f London's translation are so gieat. as ta require a long note to explain them; besides, the learned prelate has not pointed out who is to be understood by the strung one. in the seeond verse, and I was fearful of giving my own comment on it.
hath hath comprehended the dust of the earth in a tierce, and hath weighed in scales the mountains, and the hills in a balance?
Who hath directed the Spirit of JEHOVAH; and, as one of his council, hath infotmed him?
Whom hath he consulted, that he should instruct him, and te;ich him the path of judgment; that he should impart to him science, and inform him in the Way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are as a drop from the bucket; as the small dust of the balance shall they be accounted: behold the islands he taketh up as an atom.
All the nations are as nothing before him; they are esteemed by him as less than nought and vanity.
Hast thou not known, hast thouYiot heard, that JEHOVAH is the everlasting God^ the creator of -the bounds of the earth: that he neither fainteth, nor is wearied; and that his understanding is unsearchable?
Will ye not know Wilji ye not hear? Hath if. noj been declared t» you from the beginning? Have ye not understood it from the foundations of the earth r
It is He that sitteth on the circle of the earth; and the inhabitants are to him as grasshoppers: that extended! the heavens as a thin veil; and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: ; _''
That reduceth princes to nothing, that rnaketh the judges of the earth a mere inanity.
If he but blow upon them, they instantly wither; and the whirlwind shall bear them away like stubble. , He giveth strength to the faint, and to the infirm he multiplieth force; they that trust in JEHOVAH shall gather new strength, they shall put forth fresh feathers like the moulting eagle: they shall run and not be wearied: they shall nwch onward and not faint.
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Let the distant nations repair to me with new force •f mind; and let the people recover their strength.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
In the above extract from Isaiah's prophecy it is expressly predicted, that God Himself would come and visit bis people, and manifest his almighty power by means of his Arm (that is, as we may judge from other parts of Scripture, his Word), who would hold our before him the reward and the recompence, which he intended to bestow on his faithful servants; that he should not appear in terrible majesty, as on Mount Sinai, but like a good shepherd, gathering together all who were willing to be received into his flock; feeding them with heavenly doctrine, and comforting the faint-hearted. But that the world might not suppose the Almighty would divest himself of his glorious majesty to effect his purpose, the Prophet was inspired to call to mind the infinite and incomprehensible power and wisdom of the Supreme Being; and how presumptuous it is to judge of his dispensations by the short standard of human abilities! The Lord, therefore, encouraged the faithful to trust in the completion of his promises, however unintelligible they might appear. How comfortable is it to reflect, as this portion of prophecy suggests, that the " infinite power and unsearehable wisdom of God is unweariedly and everlastingly engaged in strengthening, comforting, and saving his people! It is impossible to read this description of God, the most sublime that ever was penned, without being struck with inexpressible reverence and self-abasement at the contrast between the Great Jehovah and every thing reputed great in this world, how admirably imagined, how exquisitely finished!
What What atoms and inanities are they all before him, who sittcth on the circle of the immense heavens, and views the potentates of the earth in the light of the grasshoppers; those poor insects that wander over the barren heath for sustenance, spend the day in insignificant chirpings, and take up their contemptible lodging at night on a blade of grass*!" We will now see what Ezfkiel prophesied concerning the shepherds or teach, ers of Israel.
PART OF THE FROPHECT OF EZEKIEL.
From Ezekiel, Chap, xxxiv.
And the word of the Lord came unto Ezekiel, say. ing, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord unto the shepherds, Wo be to the shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves: should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe yourselves with the wool: ye kill them that are fed; but ye feed not the flock.
The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and cruelty have ye ruled them.
And they were scattered because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
* Dr. Smith's Summary View,