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9. Healing of Man Born Blind

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 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. 6When 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, 7And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

8The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. 10Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? 11He 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. 12Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

13They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. 14And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. 16Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 17They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. 18But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. 24Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. 26Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. 35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

39And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

16. How can a man who is a sinner do these things? The word sinner is employed here, as in many other passages, to denote a person of immoral conduct and a despiser of God.

Why doth your Master eat with publicans and sinners?
(Mark 2:16.)

That is, “Why doth your Master eat with men of ungodly and wicked lives, whose baseness is stamped with universal infamy?” For from the violation of the Sabbath the enemies of Christ inferred that he was a profane person, and destitute of all religion. Those who stand neutral and judge more candidly, on the other hand, conclude that he is a good and religious man, because God has endued him with remarkable power to work miracles. And yet the argument does not appear to be quite conclusive; for God sometimes permits false prophets to perform some miracles, and we know that Satan, like an ape, counterfeits the works of God so as to deceive the incautious.

Suetonius relates that, when Vespasian was in Alexandria, and was seated on his tribunal to dispense justice in the open court, a blind man requested him to anoint his eyes with spittle, and said that one Serapis 259259     “Un certain Serapis.” had pointed out to him that cure in a dream; that Vespasian, being unwilling to expose himself to contempt without any good reason, was slow and reluctant to comply; but that, when his friends urged him on all sides, he granted to the blind man what he asked, and that in this way his eyes were instantly opened. Who would reckon Vespasian among the servants of God on that account, or adorn him with the applause of piety? I reply, among good men and those who fear God, miracles are undoubted pledges of the power of the Holy Spirit; but it happens by a just judgment of God, that Satan deceives unbelievers by false miracles, as by enchantments. What I have just now quoted from Suetonius I do not reckon to be fabulous; but I rather ascribe it to the righteous vengeance of God, that the Jews, having despised so many and so illustrious miracles of Christ, were at length — as they deserved to be — sent away to Satan. For they ought to have profited in the pure worship of God by the miracles of Christ; they ought to have been confirmed by them in the doctrine of the Law, and to have risen to the Messiah himself, who was the end of the Law. And undoubtedly Christ, by giving sight to the blind man, had clearly proved that he was the Messiah.

They who refuse to acknowledge God in his works make this refusal, not only through indifference, but through malicious contempt; and do they not deserve that God should give them up to the delusions of Satan? Let us then remember that we ought to seek God with a sincere disposition of heart, that he may reveal himself to us by the power of his Spirit; and that we ought to lend our ears submissively to his word, that he may clearly point out true prophets by miracles that are not delusive. Thus shall we profit, as we ought to do, by miracles, and not be exposed to the frauds of Satan.

As to the men themselves, though they act commendably in this respect, that they speak with reverence about the miracles in which the power of God is displayed, still they do not bring forward a sufficiently strong argument, to prove that Christ ought to be reckoned a Prophet of God. And even the Evangelist did not intend that their answer should be regarded as an oracle. He only exhibits the wicked obstinacy of the enemies of Christ, who maliciously pick a quarrel with what they cannot but acknowledge to be the works of God, and, when warned, do not even attend to them for a short time.

And there was a division among them. A schism is a highly pernicious and destructive evil in the Church of God; and how comes it then that Christ sows the occasion of discord among the very teachers of the Church? The answer is easy. Christ had no other object in view than to bring all men to God the Father, by stretching out his hand to them. The division arose from the obstinate malice 260260     “De la malice obstinee.” of those who had no disposition to go to God. All who do not yield obedience to the truth of God, therefore, rend the Church by schism. Yet it is better that men should differ among themselves, than that they should all, with one consent, revolt from the true religion. 261261     “De la vraye religion.” Wherefore, whenever differences arise, we ought always to consider their source.

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