To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
What a grievous affliction is blindness! It was no frivolous boon which Christ, in the days of His sojourn on earth, thought proper to confer, when, in the external sense, He opened blind eyes. In the paragraph of which the text is a part, Jehovah is describing the Messiah in His spiritual character and work; and, great as the marvel of removing natural blindness was, and great as similar miracles were which Christ performed, their principal value consisted in their being symbols and pledges of those spiritual operations which He could accomplish on the souls of men.
I. THE CALAMITY OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS WHICH HAS OVERTAKEN OUR RACE. You would very greatly aggravate the evil of natural blindness by dilating on the numerous and diversified beauties of nature, for the poor blind man sees none of these things! But how much greater is the calamity by which the soul is excluded from the sight of the glory of God! There is very high criminality connected with the origin of this spiritual blindness. The Divine displeasure never arises without a cause, or beyond the cause. What, then, must have been the cause which led to such a fatal condition? The incontestable and melancholy fact is, that man has sinned! As there was high criminality connected with the origin of this blindness, so there is high criminality connected with the continuance of it. If men, struck with this blindness, were to humble themselves on account of it, it would be some alleviation of the matter; but, generally, I find men taking advantage of their darkness, and receding further and further from God; and, indeed, many of them seem never to be so completely happy as when they have most effectually succeeded in banishing all thought of God. This spiritual blindness is so complete that it leads a man to pervert the very instruments which God has appointed for its removal. Take an observation of the state of mankind around us, and see whether or not it sustains this description.
II. THE GREAT ORDINANCE OF JEHOVAH FOR THE REMOVAL OF THIS CALAMITY. See what light Christ has thrown on the character of God! Consider the light which He has thrown on the providence around us. The difficulties of the virtuous, and the shouting success of the villainous, almost seemed, to conscientious men, to indicate very bad management on the part of God; and they have had recourse to a great many theories to explain it. Christ has thrown light on the afflictions which happen to the people of God. And on that immortality which is before us. And on the spiritualities which are required within us.
III. THE GRANDEUR OF THAT OPERATION OF THE SPIRIT BY WHICH THE REMOVAL OF THIS SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS IS EFFECTED.
(J. E. Beaumont, M. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.