Mark 10:46
Next, they came to Jericho. And as Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho with a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.
Sermons
BartimaeusAlexander MaclarenMark 10:46
A Gospel Sermon to OutsidersC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 10:46-52
A Great Number of PeopleProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
And When He HeardProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
Arresting ChristProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
Attachment to ChristMark 10:46-52
BartimaeusR. Green Mark 10:46-52
Begging Begins in ChildhoodProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
Blind BartimaeusA.F. Muir Mark 10:46-52
Blind BartimaeusE. Johnson Mark 10:46-52
Blind Bartimaeus: the Publicity of Christ's MiraclesA. Rowland Mark 10:46-52
Blind BartimeusS. Cox, D. D.Mark 10:46-52
Blindness Disqualifies the CriticProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
Blindness RemovedMark 10:46-52
Christ and His Many FollowersJ. Morgan.Mark 10:46-52
Christ and the BlindJ. H. Godwin.Mark 10:46-52
Christ and the True FriendsJ. Morgan.Mark 10:46-52
Christ Revealed to the NeedyJ. B. Brown, B. A.Mark 10:46-52
Christ's Recognition of FaithH. Bonar, D. D.Mark 10:46-52
Every Sinner is a BeggarProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
He Calleth TheeProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
How to Procure Blessing from GodT. T. Lynch.Mark 10:46-52
Light no Remedy for BlindnessProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
Observations on the Narrative of Blind BartimeusA. G. Fuller.Mark 10:46-52
Our Wants Must be ExpressedProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
Pertinacity Successful in the EndC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 10:46-52
Prayer of a Solitary Individual HeardS. Cox, D. D.Mark 10:46-52
Sightless SinnersC. S. Robinson, D. D.Mark 10:46-52
That He Should Hold His PeaceProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
The Blind BeggarC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 10:46-52
The Blind Beggar of JerichoC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 10:46-52
The Blind Man HappyMark 10:46-52
The Cure of Two Blind Men At JerichoJ.J. Given Mark 10:46-52
The Danger of the BlindProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
The Gate of the CityS. Cox, D. D.Mark 10:46-52
The Lord's AnswerMark 10:46-52
This Man Came Out of Cursed JerichoC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 10:46-52
Three Kinds of BlindnessProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52
Thy Blind Man a Earners CriesC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 10:46-52
What Wilt ThouA. Thomson.Mark 10:46-52
When May a Man be Called PoorProf. W. J. Hoge.Mark 10:46-52

I. THE BEHAVIOUR OF THOSE WHO ARE IN EARNEST ABOUT BEING SAVED. They will:

1. Seize every opportunity that presents itself.

2. Make the most of it, by

(1) putting all their knowledge to the proof, and

(2) exerting all their powers to attract attention and help.

3. Not be easily discouraged.

4. Hasten to do what Jesus commands.

II. THE SPIRIT THAT OUGHT TO BE SHOWN BY CHRIST'S SERVANTS TOWARDS THOSE SEEKING SALVATION. TWO standards of conduct observed by them, viz. the dignity and glory of their Master, and the good of men. The mistake has been in overemphasizing the one or the other of these, or in divorcing them. They are really but the two sides of one thing. The glory of Christ is that of a Savior, i.e. in saving from misery and sin.

1. Christ corrects what is faulty in their attitude.

2. Employs them to further his purpose of mercy.

3. Infuses his own spirit of gentleness and love. "Be of good cheer: rise, he calleth thee," is the expression of the spirit of the gospel as it ought to be proclaimed to the world.

III. CHRIST PROVING HIMSELF THE SAVIOUR OF MEN.

1. By his sympathy for distress. He heard the cry of the beggar notwithstanding the tumult, and the thoughts which agitated his mind. It was natural for him to postpone everything to attend to such a cry.

2. My inspiring others with his own spirit, and employing them to further his purpose.

3. By calling forth and exercising the principle of faith in the subjects of his mercy.

4. By freely and completely delivering from distress, pain, and sin. - M.







Blind Bartimeus.
I. Observe HOW SINGULARLY IS THE PROVIDENTIAL GOODNESS OF GOD DISPLAYED IN THE DIRECTION OF THE EVENTS LEADING TO THIS INTERVIEW. The blind man takes his place by the roadside, not to meet with Jesus or anyone else whom might restore his sight, but merely to procure from the uncertain compassion of travellers a small pittance that should serve to prolong his weary existence. Just at this juncture Jesus, having left Jericho on His way to Jerusalem, passes that way. Many travellers came and returned, but he knew them not. In this instance the rush of a multitude attracts his notice. That God who has denied him the use of sight can convey His blessings through another organ. It is affecting to think on what a trifle appear to hinge the most important relations and destinies of our existence.

II. THE NOTICE BARTIMEUS TAKES OF THE INFORMATION CONVEYED TO HIM. It is with him no idle speculation. He did not fix on mere circumstantials, or on a topic of interest to others; he contemplated the matter in direct and prompt reference to his own case. Go at once to Christ, and cry so as to be heard through the crowd. The petition of Bartimeus deserves notice not less for the terms in which it is expressed than for the urgency with which it is preferred — "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." It contains a full and prompt confession of Christ in that character, in which of all others He demanded the recognition of mankind, and of that age and nation in particular, and in which He was most obnoxious to the malice of His enemies. Nor is this testimony to Christ as the Son of David less valuable as an indication of great faith in the covenant mercies of God as set forth in prophecy (Isaiah 55:3; Psalm 72:12).

III. THE COLD AND CHILLING REPULSE WHICH HE MET WITH, not from Jesus but from the bystanders, perhaps even the disciples, for they had not yet learnt much of the spirit of the Master. Some undervalue accessions to the kingdom of Christ from the ranks of the poor. Indifference and suspicion often hinder religious inquiry.

IV. THE CONDUCT OF BARTIMEUS. When thwarted in your approach to the Saviour how has it operated? it has grieved you; but has it driven you back? Like the tide pent up, which bursting every barrier, rushes with accumulated force, Bartimeus is prompted by this ungracious repulse to cry so much the more. Go thou and do likewise.

V. JESUS STOOD STILL AND COMMANDED HIM TO BE BROUGHT. Of what importance is it, in the career of the great mass of individuals, when they move along or when they stop? There are men whose movements are eyed with anxious care. The steps of a Caesar, an Alexander, or a Napoleon, have borne hope or dread with them; the incidental halting of such characters has been identified with the fate of a city or a province. It is only of such as preach the gospel of peace that we can say, "How beautiful are their feet upon the mountains." The cry of one poor man was of sufficient importance to arrest Christ in His progress.

VI. THE COMMANDS ARE OBEYED WITH ALACRITY.

VII. THE SAME PROMPTITUDE AND DETERMINATION WHICH BARTIMEUS BEFORE MANIFESTED GUIDES HIM IN THIS NEW ASPECT OF AFFAIRS. His tattered cloak is cast away as a hindrance. He has an all-absorbing object before him. The sinner rejects as idle encumbrances his self-righteousness and self-indulgence, which have clung to him as his second self, and rushes alone into the arms of a compassionate Saviour.

VIII. The scene now increases in interest. THE MAN IS HEALED IN THE WAY OF INQUIRY, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? "This is the way disconsolate sinners are encouraged to tell their own tale.

IX. WHAT REPLY IS MADE TO THIS INQUIRY? "Lord, that I might receive my sight." He came by the shortest step to the matter in hand; in prayer we should have a specific object in view.

X. HOW IT SUCCEEDED IN THE CASE BEFORE US? "Go thy way."

(A. G. Fuller.)

I. We look closely at Bartimeus on this occasion. It is true that Jesus is the centre of the picture, as He always is. But this miracle is peculiar in that the details of it am more than usually brilliant as an illustration of simple human nature in the one who receives the advantage of it.

1. The state of this poor creature is given at a stroke of the pen. It would be difficult to crowd more biography into one verse than we find in here. He was sightless. He had come to be called by that name, "Blind Bartimeus." He was a pauper. "Begging" was his business. He was a professional mendicant. We do not look upon him as one who had got behind-hand for a little, and so was out on the street for a day or two, until he could get into employment. He "sat by the highway side begging." He was helpless. There is no evidence that he had any friends who cared for him; they would have made themselves conspicuous after his cure, if there had been many of them. He was hopeless. It was impossible for him to do anything; he could not see to learn a trade. He was unpopular. Anybody had a right to snub him, the moment he said a word (see Luke 18:39). He was uneasy, and fiercely on the alert to better his condition.

2. Now notice his action. Here we need the verse which has just been quoted from Luke's Gospel, for a link between the two apparently disjointed verses of Mark's (see Mark 10:47). The way in which this man "heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth" is shown there; the multitude told him. Bartimeus sought information. He was not too proud to acknowledge he did not know. Does anyone suppose this poor beggar got offended because someone insisted that he was sightless? If a neighbour had showed himself a little friendly, and proposed to lead him up for a cure, would Bartimeus simply spite him for being impertinent about other people's concerns? Then, next, this blind man began to ask for help (see Luke 18:38, 39). His request was singularly comprehensive and intelligent. His cry was personal and direct: "have mercy on me." He wastes no time in graceful opening or becoming close; what he wanted he tells. His prayer was courageous and importunate (see Mark 10:48). Bartimeus then "rose, and came to Jesus." It would have been the height of folly for him to say to himself, "If it is the will of this rabbi to open my eyes, he can do it from a distance just as well as if I were there." Then, also, this blind man put away the hindrance which it was likely would delay him in going for his cure (Mark 10:50). A simple garment, no doubt, but almost indispensable to him. Still, if it interfered with the restoration of his eyesight, it could well be spared.

3. Notice, in the next place, Bartimeus's full surrender (see v. Mark 10:51). Two things are to be noted in this remarkable speech. We shall not understand either of them unless we keep in mind the most singular question which Jesus puts to the man, the moment he comes within hearing. It was not because He did not know this beggar's condition, that our Lord asked him so abruptly what he would have Him to do. It must have been because He desired to fasten his faith upon one chief object of supreme desire. There was no end to the needs of Bartimeus: he wanted food, friends, clothing, home, everything that anybody demands in order to make a mendicant a man. But, more than all besides, he wanted eyesight; and he found that out when he went in upon his own soul to make inquiry. This explains his reply. He speaks with a declaration, "Lord." This address, most inadequately Tendered here in Mark's Gospel, means far more than mere respect. The word in Luke is different from this; here it is actually the same as that Mary Magdalene uses when she discovers that one she thought was the gardener is Jesus: "Rabboni!" There is concentrated in just a single word, a whole burst of generous and affectionate feeling: "My Master!" Faith, reverence, love unspeakable, adoring wonder, were in that word. He speaks with an ellipsis. As, before, we found more in his utterance than we expected, so now we find less. Bartimeus does not reply directly to our Lord's question. He cannot: how could he know what a miracle worker should do? All he knew was what he himself wanted to be done. So his answer would read in full: "I do not understand what Thou writ do, nor even what I would have thee to do — oh, do anything, anything — that I might receive my sight!"

4. Once more, notice Bartimeus's cure (v. Mark 10:52). It was instantaneous — "immediately." It was perfect — "whole." It was sovereign — "go thy way." It was complete, including salvation — "thy faith hath saved thee" (see Luke 18:42).

5. Lastly, notice the man's experience (Luke 18:43). He was full of joy; a new world had been suddenly opened upon him. He was obedient: he followed Jesus as a disciple. He was grateful: he glorified God. He was zealous. We may be sure he left not so much as one blind man in all Jericho without the knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth. "Oh that all the blind but knew Him, and would be advised by me! Surely would they hasten to Him, He would cause them all to see."

II. So much then, concerning this miracle as a wonder; let us now study its lessons as a parable. It very beautifully pictures the steps of a sinner coming for spiritual relief to Jesus; the state, the action, the surrender, the cure, the experience. Indeed, this was a real part of the story that day.

1. Sightlessness is the symbol of sin. Not darkness now, for Christ has come (see John 8:12). The trouble is in the heart (see Ephesians 3:18). Who did this? (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). How deep is it? (see Revelation 3:18).

2. Sin destroys the whole nature. We do not say Bartimeus was injured in any of his senses except his eyes. But his blindness made him a beggar. His touch, hearing, and taste may have been perfect: indeed, they may have been rendered sensitive, sharp, and alert more than usual. But he walked as a blind man, he reasoned as a blind man, he thought as a blind man, and he went to his regular stand as a blind man, and then begged.

3. Awakening of sinners is often due to Christian fidelity.

4. In the salvation of his soul the sinner has a work to do. It is of no use to fall back on one's blindness; the first step is to confess blindness, and go to Christ for help.

5. Prayer is indispensable in every case. No one can be saved who will not ask for salvation. The petition might well become a "cry." And whatever hinders, let the man continue to pray, and pray "the more a great deal."

6. All hindrances must be put away if one is in ear, eat to be saved. Many a man has seemed to start well, but has been tangled in the running by his garments of respectability, fame, fortune, social standing, literary eminence, or pleasant companionship. One may obtain the "whole world," and lose "his own soul."

7. Jesus is always ready to save anyone who cries to Him. Oh, most impressive moment is that when the Lord of Glory pauses in the way, and commands a soul "to be called"!

8. Unqualified acceptance of Christ in all His offices is the essential condition of acceptance by Him. The sinner must say "Lord," "Jesus of Nazareth," "Son of David," and "Rabboni."

9. Experience of salvation is the instrument to use incur efforts to save others.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. CRY ALOUD. "What is the noise?" asks this blind man. "Who is it?" "Jesus," they say. And at once he cries, "Son of David, have mercy on me." "Hush," say some; "hush," — not liking the loudness of the cry, nor the shrill, sad tone of it. But Bartimeus only cries the louder. Misery often makes a great noise in the world, a great and displeasing noise, if it can but get opportunity to make its want and its woe known. Surely, happy people should be ready to bear with the disturbance a little time; for misery has perhaps had to bear its sorrow for a long time.

II. BE IN EARNEST. It has always needed an effort to come at Jesus. You must not be discouraged by hindrances.

III. CAST OFF INCUMBRANCES. The blind man throws aside his garment, lest it should hamper him, in his eagerness to get at Christ. Give him his sight, and he will not care even to look for this soiled and tattered garment any more, but will find a better. People that have their eyes opened will at the very least get their clothes washed. A neat, decent dress is often an early sign that a man is becoming careful who has hitherto been reckless. And new talk, new tempers, new estimates of things, are garments of the spiritual man, that show he has become a new man.

(T. T. Lynch.)

This man is a picture of what we would fain have every seeker of Christ to become. In his lonely darkness, and deep poverty, he thought and became persuaded that Jesus was the Son of David. Though he had no sight, he made good use of his hearing. If we have not all gifts, let us use those we have.

I. HE SOUGHT THE LORD UNDER DISCOURAGEMENTS.

1. No one prompted his seeking.

2. Many opposed his attempts.

3. For awhile he was unheeded by Christ Himself.

4. He was but a blind beggar, and this alone might have checked some pleaders.

II. HE RECEIVED ENCOURAGEMENT. This came from Christ's commanding him to be called. There are several kinds of calls which come to men at the bidding of Christ.

1. Universal call (John 3:14, 15).

2. Character call (Matthew 11:28; Acts 2:38, 39).

3. Ministerial call (Acts 13:26, 38, 39; Acts 16:31).

4. Effectual call (Romans 8:30).

III. BUT ENCOURAGEMENT DID NOT CONTENT HIM: he still sought Jesus. To stop short of Jesus and healing would have been folly indeed.

1. He arose. Hopefully, resolutely, he quitted his begging posture. In order to salvation we must be on the alert, and in earnest.

2. He cast away his garment, and every hindrance.

3. He came to Jesus.

4. He stated his case.

5. He received salvation. Jesus said unto him, "Thy faith hath made thee whole." He obtained perfect eyesight: complete health.

IV. HAVING FOUND JESUS HE KEPT TO HIM.

1. He used his sight to see the Lord.

2. He became His avowed disciple.

3. He went with Jesus on His way to the cross, and to the crown.

4. He remained a well-known disciple, whose father's name is given.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Are there not some to come from our slums and degraded districts? This man at least was a beggar, but the Lord Jesus did not disdain his company. He was a standing glory to the Lord, for everyone would know him as the blind man whose eyes had been opened. Let seeking souls persevere under all drawbacks. Do not mind those who would keep you back. Let none hinder you from finding Christ and salvation. Though blind, and poor, and miserable, you shall yet see, and smile, and sing, and follow Jesus.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WE TAKE THOSE POINTS WHICH SPEAK TO US OF OUR LORD. We are struck by the obvious fact that though attended by a wondering joyful crowd, He has an ear, grace, gifts, for the one; so to the one miserable man. We are apt to think the Lord of all has so many dependent upon Him, our distress may be overlooked by Him; and this fear is strongest when we are weakest. "Lord, that I may receive my sight." "Receive thy sight" responds Christ. Christ gives us just as much as we can take — as much as we really ask for.

II. LET US NOW GLANCE AT BARTIMEUS AND HIS FAITH. It is to his faith that our Lord attributes his healing; therefore our attention is specially called to it. It was surprisingly great. There was pertinacity in his faith. Those who stand near Christ may rebuke the cry for mercy. The doctrinal rebuke. The philosophical rebuke.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

The gate of the city was, in the East, the favourite resort of the mendicant class; for there, not only must all travellers, and caravans, and peasants bringing their wares to market, pass them by, but the broad side arches of the gate, with their cool recesses and divans, were the justice halls in which suits and quarrels were adjusted, and the lounging place in which, when the labours of the day were over, the citizens gathered to discuss their local politics or to enjoy their neighbourly gossip. The very reason, therefore, which draws the beggars of Italy to the fountains or the steps of churches, and the beggars of Ireland to the doors of hotels, or to the spots haunted by tourists, and the beggars of England to the crowded thoroughfares and market places, drew the beggars of the East, and still draws them, to the gates of the cities. There men most congregate, and there they are most likely to meet some response to their appeals for pity and help.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

You have seen a mother laughing and making merry with happy friends. Suddenly she pauses, listens, and leaves the noisy room. She has heard a tiny wail of distress which you could not hear, and she cannot be content till the cry of her babe be hushed, its wants satisfied. And shall God, who made the mother's heart, be less tender, less pitiful, than the creature He has made? I tell you, Nay; but "as one whom his mother comforteth," so will God comfort all the distressed who cry to Him.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

I.THE ORIGIN OF THIS POOR BLIND MAN'S FAITH.

II.ITS QUICKNESS IN GRASPING THE GRACIOUS OPPORTUNITY.

III.LISTEN TO THIS FAITH WHILST IT CRIES AND BEGS.

IV.OBSERVE HOW EAGERLY IT OBEYED THE CALL.

V.LISTEN TO THIS FAITH DESCRIBING HIS CASE. HE TOLD IT AT ONCE.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Wherever Jesus Christ is found, His presence is marvellously mighty Providence at all times co-works with grace in the salvation of the chosen people.

I. THE BLIND MAN'S EARNESTNESS AS A CONTRAST TO THE BEHAVIOUR OF MANY HEARERS OF THE WORD. By a very short sermon he was led to prayer. Instead of praying over sermons, a great many disport themselves with them. Some are anxious for others, whilst this man cried for himself.

II. NOTICE THIS MAN'S INTENSE DESIRE AS AN ABSORBING PASSION. Some plead the excuse of poverty, and demands of business; and these are the two obstacles that Bartimeus overcame. Passover: and the passover time when roads crowded with pilgrims, was his harvest.

III. HIS VEHEMENCE WAS A MOST REASONABLE ZEAL. He knew the misery of blindness. He was a beggar, and had learned the weakness of man. He knew that Jesus Christ was near. He felt it was now or never.

IV. HE EXPERIENCED CHECKS IN HIS PRAYER.

V. HIS IMPORTUNITY AT LAST BECAME SO MIGHTY, THAT REBUFFS BECAME ARGUMENTS WITH HIM.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A great number of people.
I. THAT THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST ARE NOT NECESSARILY HIS FRIENDS OR TRUE DISCIPLES. "He went out of Jericho with His disciples, and a great number of people."

1. In the multitudes who accompanied Jesus out of Jericho, some, doubtless, followed Him out of mere curiosity.

2. Some followed because it was just then fashionable to do so.

3. Some followed with a view to future worldly advantage.

4. Such following is generally useless, deceptive, and mischievous, being of no real or permanent advantage to anyone.

(1)It confers no substantial benefit on any Christian country.

(2)It is of no real advantage to those followers themselves.

II. The text suggests to us THAT AMONG A MULTITUDE OF CHRIST'S FOLLOWERS YOU MAY GENERALLY EXPECT TO FIND SOME FRIENDS. "With His disciples." Out of those who follow from curiosity Christ is drawing many real followers.

1. This should encourage us to persevere in our own following.

2. This should encourage us in relation to other followers.

(J. Morgan.)

I. THAT THE TRUE FRIENDS OF CHRIST SHOULD FOLLOW HIM CONSTANTLY, CLOSELY, AND COLLECTIVELY. But why should we be anxious to follow Christ thus?

1. Because it would gratify and glorify Christ.

2. Because it would bring great blessings to our own souls.

3. Because such following would exert a blessed influence over our fellow creatures.

II. But while the friends of Christ should thus follow Him constantly, closely, and collectively, THEY SHOULD ALSO PREACH HIM SIMPLY, DIRECTLY, AND LOVINGLY. "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by."

1. The sermon was a very simple one.

2. It was a very evangelical one.

3. It was a very sympathetic or loving one.

(J. Morgan.)

There he sits hoping for mere worldly gain. He has not come to meet Christ. It was not in all his thoughts to get his eyes opened. How many like him are before me — dying sinners on whom God's curse is resting, who yet did not come to secure the great salvation. God grant a further parallel; that you may get what you did not come for, even a solemn meeting and saving closing of your souls with Jesus Christ. A multitude with Jesus! a multitude of followers! How can He then complain, I have laboured in vain, I have spent My strength for nought? Simply because He had many followers, but few friends. A multitude with Jesus! But it is not all following that blesses. A multitude with Jesus! Yes, when His march is at all triumphal — when as He goes He invests His progress with the splendour of miracles, there will be no want of a crowd to gape after Him. A multitude with Jesus! Take care, then, ye members of the Church. Examine yourselves closely. Profession of religion is easy now. Numbers give power, respectability, fashion, even enthusiasm. A multitude with Jesus! Blessed be God, in that multitude some true disciples may be found; some who, though weak and sinning, forward, like Peter, when they should be backward, and then backward, of course, when they should be forward; ambitious, like Zebedee's children, or doubting, like Thomas, are still true friends of Jesus, living for Him, suffering for Him, growing like Him day by day, and dying for Him without a murmur, if He so appoint. Among the professed people of God there have always been real people of God. "And hearing the multitude." Oh, what a blessing is that! His ears are open though his eyes are shut. Thus God remembers to be gracious. Where He takes one mercy He leaves another. My text shall be my guide. The roadside was the church, the multitude preached, and Bartimeus was the hearer. And now for the sermon — "And they told him, Jesus of Nazareth passeth by!" "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by! "So you see it was a powerful sermon. It went to the heart and took complete possession of it. It was a very simple sermon. Who cannot preach it? "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by." There is no follower of Jesus who cannot tell poor blind souls this. A good preacher tries to make all truth simple. He is a bad shepherd, say the old writers, who holds the hay too high for the sheep. According to Lord Bacon, little minds love to inflate plain things into marvels, while great minds love to reduce marvels to plain things. "The very essence of truth," says Milton, "is plainness and brightness; the darkness and crookedness are our own." "Better the grammarian should reprehend," says Jenkyn, "than the people not understand. Pithy plainness is the beauty of preaching. What good doth a golden key that opens not?" An old lady once walked a great way to hear the celebrated Adam Clarke preach. She had heard he was "such a scholar," as indeed he was. But she was bitterly disappointed, "because," said she, "I understood everything he said." And I knew a man who left the church one morning quits indignant, because the preacher had one thing in his sermon he knew before! It was a little explanation meant for the children; dear little things — they are always coming on, and I love to see their bright little faces among the older people. We used to need and prize these simple explanations, and why shouldn't they have them in their turn? But, best of all, this sermon was about Christ. He is mentioned alone. "The excellency of a sermon," says Flavel, "lies in the plainest discoveries and liveliest applications of Jesus Christ." He passeth by! Now is your time; make haste to secure your salvation. How near He is! He passeth by in the light of every Sabbath sun, in every church built to His name, in every reading of His Word, in every gospel sermon, in sacraments and prayers and psalms, but most of all in every movement of His Spirit on the heart. But He "passeth by!" He will not always tarry. The day of grace is not forever. Its sun will go down, and the night that follows is eternal despair. Christ never passed that way again; He may never pass your way again. That was His last visit to Jericho; this call may be His last visit to you. This was Bartimeus' only opportunity; today maybe your only opportunity.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

Blind Bartimeus.
The eye of the body may be out, and we have no name for the result but blindness. The eye of the intellect may be out, and we name the result idiocy. We say the man is a fool. The eye of the soul may be out, and God names the result wickedness. He calls the man a sinner. Think of Bartimeus. He rose this morning, and his wife blessed him, his children climbed his knees and kissed him. They ministered to his wants. They led him a little way by the hand. But he did not see them. He knew of them, but he could not behold them. Their smiles or beauty were nothing to him — he was blind. Think of yourself, O sinner! You rose this morning, and the eye of your heavenly Father looked upon you. His hand led you, His power guarded you, His goodness blessed you. But your soul did not see Him. A vague idea that God had done it all may have occurred to you, but it had no vividness. He was no blessed reality to you. You saw not the lineaments of a father — the loving eye, the benignant smile. You saw nothing — your soul was blind. Think again of Bartimeus. He went abroad, and the rich valley of the Jordan spread out before him. The stately palms rose toward heaven, and waved their feathery tops in the early breeze. The gardens of balsam were clothed in their delicate spring verdure, and Jericho sat in the midst of these vernal glories, deserving its name — Jericho, the place of fragrance, deserving its frequent description among the ancient writers — the City of Palms. And high above all was the blue sky, bending over as if to embrace and bless so much loveliness of earth; and the great sun, filling earth and sky and balmy air with glory. But what was all this to Bartimeus? It might have been narrow and black for aught he could tell. It was an utter blank, a dreadful gloom to him. All was night, black, black night, with no star. Why was it so to him, when to others it was splendour and joy? Ah! he was blind. Unregenerate man, think again of yourself. You went abroad this morning, on an earth once cursed, as of old Jericho had been, but spared and blessed by redeeming mercy, even as Jericho was that day blessed by the presence and healing grace of Jesus. Around you, too, was spread a world of spiritual beauty. The walls and bulwarks and stately palaces of the city of our God were before you. The rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the vine, the palm, the olive, and the fig tree all stood about you in the garden of the Lord. Through them flowed the river of life, reflecting skies more high and clear than the azure of summer mornings ever imagined, and lit to its measureless depth by a sun more glorious than ever poured splendour even upon Eden, in our poor world's ancient prime. You walked forth amid all this beauty, and many saw it — none perfectly, yet some very blessedly — but you saw nothing. You see nothing now. Nay, you cannot see it. Strain your blind soul as you will, you cannot see it. I see a beautiful mother gaze anxiously on her babe. She is trying a fearful experiment. She stretches out her arms to it, beseeches it with loving looks, holds out sparkling jewels to it, and flashes them before its eyes in the very sunshine at the open window. But the little eyes move not, or move aimlessly, and turn vacantly away. And she cries out in anguish, "Oh, my poor child is blind!" And now I understand why even tender children turn away from Christ, seeing no beauty in Him that they should desire Him, and caring nothing for all His smiles or tears, or offers of the rich jewelry of heaven. They see nothing of it all. They are blind, born blind.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

I once saw a man walk along the edge of a precipice as if it were a plain. For anything he knew, it was a plain, and safe. He was calm and fearless, not because there was no danger, but because he was blind. And who cannot now understand how men so wise, so cautious in most things, can go so securely, so carelessly, even so gaily on, as if everything were safe for eternity, while snares and pitfalls are all about them, and death may be just at hand, and the next step may send them down the infinite abyss! Oh, we see it, we see it — they are blind! A blind man is more taken up with what he holds in his hand, than with mountains, ocean, sun, or stars. He feels this; but those he can neither touch nor see. And now it is plain why unconverted men undervalue doctrine, saying, that "it is no matter what a man believes, so his heart is right;" that "one doctrine is as good as another, and for that matter, no doctrines are good for much;" and that "they don't believe in doctrinal preaching at any rate." They, forsooth, they! blind worms, pronouncing contemptuously of the stupendous heights and glories of God's revelation, where alone we learn what we are to believe concerning Him, and what duty He requires of us. It is plain, too, why they see no preciousness in the promises, no glory in Christ, no beauty in holiness, no grandeur in the work of redemption; why they make a mock at sin, despise God's threatenings, brave His wrath, make light of the blood of Christ, jest at death, and rush headlong on certain perdition. They are blind.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

"But we want to see them. If they are real, they are our concern as well as yours. Oh, that some preacher would come, who had power to make us see them!" Poor souls, there is no such preacher, and you need not wait for him. Let him gather God's light as he will, he can but pour it on blind eyes. A burning glass will condense sunbeams into a focus of brightness; and if a blind eye be put there, not a whit will it see, though it be consumed. Light is the remedy for darkness, not blindness.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

Let the people of God no more wonder then at the clamours of infidels against the Scriptures. Would you heed a blind man criticising pictures, or raving against your summer skies? If he denies that the sun has brightness, or the mountains grandeur, will you believe him? And if a hundred blind men should all declare that they cannot see the stars, and argue learnedly that there can be no stars, and then grow witty and laugh as you as stargazers, would the midnight heavens be less glorious to you? When these men had thus satisfactorily demonstrated their blindness, would not the mighty works of God still prove their bright reality to your rejoicing vision? Would they not still declare His glory and show His handiwork? And shall the spiritually blind be more trusted?

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

In a journal of a tour through Scotland, by the Rev. C. Simeon, of Cambridge, we have the following passage: — "Went to see Lady Ross's grounds. Here also I saw blind men weaving. May I never forget the following fact. One of the blind men, on being interrogated with respect to his knowledge of spiritual things, answered, 'I never saw till I was blind: nor did I ever know contentment when I had my eyesight, as I do now that I have lost it: I can truly affirm, though few know how to credit me, that I would on no account change my present situation and circumstances with any that I ever enjoyed before I was blind.' He had enjoyed eyesight till twenty-five, and had been blind now about three years." "My soul," Mr. Simeon adds, "was much affected and comforted with his declaration. Surely there is reality in religion."

Begging.
Is wealth for the body alone? Has She heart no riches? May not a mind be impoverished, a soul be bankrupt? Ah! yes, there are riches besides money, wealth to which gold and rubies are as nothing. A man is poor when his need is not supplied. The higher the wants, the deeper the kind of poverty, the more the want, the deeper its degree. A man with neither food nor shelter is poorer than he who lacks shelter only. And is not the man without love or hope poorer than he who has merely no fire nor bread? Who shall deny the name of poor to him whose soul is unfurnished? What is the chaff to the wheat, the body to the soul? Are not the soul's desires larger and more insatiable than those of the flesh? Does not the heart hunger? Is there no such thing as "a famine of truth and love"? Do desolate spirits never cower and shiver and freeze, like houseless wretches in stormy winter nights? Night and winter and storm — are they not also for the soul? And when it has no home in its desolations, no refuge from its foes, no shelter from the blast, no food for its hunger, no consolation in its sorrows, is it not poor? poor in the deepest poverty, which almost alone deserves the name of poverty? How much of such poverty is there, dwelling in princely halls, clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day! How often does it walk in royal processions, and flash with jewels, and handle uncounted gold.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

How can it be otherwise? Can such poverty be independent? In outward poverty, a well-furnished mind, a wealthy soul may be an inward solace. But when it is the soul that is bankrupt, there is no region still within, where it may retire and comfort itself. It will seek for happiness, and it must look without — it is forced to beg. And thus I see poor, guilty, blinded souls begging — begging of earth and sky, and air and sea, of every passing event, of one another, of all but the great and merciful God, who would supply all their need through Jesus Christ. They must beg. The vast desires of the soul, which God gave that they might be filled from Himself, and which nothing but His own fulness can satisfy; the noble powers degraded to work with trifles; the aspirations which thrill only as they mount heavenward, but now struggle and pant like an eagle with broken wing, and his breast in the dust; the deathless conscience, filled with guilt and touched with unappeasable wrath, drugged indeed, and often sleeping heavily, but waking surely, and then lashing the soul inexorably — all these compel it to be a beggar.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

We beg then with eager hope. We are sure we shall not be disappointed. Games, holidays, sight-seeing, all promise much, and childhood begs them to make it blessed. Vexed, wearied, sent empty away again and again, the boy sees, further on, the youth, pursuing his great hopes, and hastens to join him, confident that in higher excitements and larger liberty, in new aspirations and tenderer love, his soul's thirst shall be slaked. Deluded once more, he grows sober and wise and firm. He is older. He is a man. He lays deep plans now, puts on a bolder face, and begs with sterner importunity. He can take no denial. He must have happiness; he will be blessed. Fame, wealth, power — these have the hidden treasure he has sought so long. He knows now where it is, and they must give it up. Years are passing, his time will soon be gone, and now he begs indeed! How these idols lead his soul captive! How he toils, cringes, grovels, sacrifices for their favour! Fame, wealth, power — deceitful gods! — still promise that tomorrow the long-sought good shall be given. But how many tomorrows come and go, and leave him still trusting to the next! Now he forsakes the pleasures he might have, dries up the fountains of his early love, sweeps all sentiment from his heart, crushes his dearest affections, tasks every power to the utmost, wrings out his heart's blood, and lays all his soul before his idol's feet — and is disappointed! Disappointed alike in failure and success! If he wins the prize, this is not what he coveted, and worshipped, and bargained away his soul for, and he curses it for a cheat. If he fails, he still believes that the true good was there, and he was near it; and he curses the chance, or envy, or hate which snatched it from his grasp. But who shall describe the base arts of this beggary? The disguises, the pretences, the fawnings — all the low tricks of street beggars — are adopted and eclipsed by those who will be rich, will be great, will have fame. And what are the profits of thus begging the world for what God alone can give? Observe a street beggar for a while. How many go by and give nothing, where one drops even a penny in the hat! So many of the passing things of time refuse altogether to give the soul the good it asks. See again. Do you mark the impudent leer of that mean boy? He knows the beggar is blind, and so he comes up pretending sympathy, and puts a pebble, a chip in that trembling hand. So a thousand times have you seen the world do for a begging soul. But there comes a still meaner boy; he puts that which, when the grateful old man's hand closes on it pierces or stings it, and, laughing loudly in the blind, bewildered face, he runs away. And thus have I seen the gay, polished world put a sparkling cup to the young man's lips; but when at last it bit him like a serpent and stung him like an adder, the polished world, jeered his imprudence, and turned him from its door. His excesses and agony and death must not be seen there! And when the beggar's gains for the day are fairly counted, what are they? A few copper coins, foul with gangrene, and little bits of silver, rarely, — enough to buy a scanty meal and a poor lodging, and tomorrow all is to begin again. And thus the world gives — few pleasures, low pleasures, brief pleasures. They stay the soul's hunger for a while, but never satisfy it, so that straightway we must go out and beg again. The world never raised a man's soul above beggary. It is both too selfish and too poor. It gives but little of what it has, and if it gave all, gave itself, that would not fill and bless an immortal soul. These things make me think how sadly all this begging from the world ends. The hour comes when the world can do no more. It is a bitter hour — an hour of pain and anguish, of weakness and despair — the hour of death. The world is roaring away as ever, in business and mirth, all unconscious that the poor man who loved and worshipped it so, is dying. But oh, the begging of God which now begins! Bitter crying to Him whose gracious heart has been waiting to bless these many years, waiting in vain for one sigh of contrition, one prayer of faith to His infinite grace! But it is too late. His patient, insulted Spirit has been grieved at length. He has departed.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

And when he heard.
Eternal salvation depends on right hearing. There are just two kinds of hearing, not three. There is a hearing unto life, and another hearing unto death; but there is no hearing between — none to indifference. You may try to hear merely that you may hear, and let that be the end of it — but that will not be the end of it. The end of it will be life or death! You may resolve that the preaching shall make no difference in you; but it will make a difference in you, and the difference will be salvation or perdition! The gospel leaves no man where it found him. If it be not wings to bear him to heaven, it will be a millstone to sink him to hell. Some of you think it the lightest of pastimes to come to church and hear a sermon.

I. His hearing LED HIM TO ACTION. His very soul seemed to be roused, and he began to do something. Oh, for a pulse of life in those frozen hearts! A flush of blood, even though it were angry blood, in those pale cheeks! "I came to break your head," said a man once to Whitefield, "but by the grace of God you have broken my heart." That was a vile purpose to go to church with, but if he had gone in a complacent frame, and quietly slept or coolly criticised the preacher, it would have been far worse. He would not have carried away that priceless treasure — a broken heart. If what we say is true, why do you not act upon it? If false, how can you bear to be charged with it? If our charges are false, they are also insulting and outrageous. If you believe them to be false, your conduct, in hearing them so calmly, and coming back to hear them again, and even sometimes applauding us for the vehement way in which we assail and denounce you, is perfectly astonishing. Or if you say you believe these things to be true, your conduct is still more amazing. If true, they should concern you infinitely: yet you are not concerned at all. You will call Bartimeus a fool if he does not try to get his eyes opened this very day. But what name will you reserve for yourselves, if, while I this day, as one of these ambassadors of God, offer you pardon and healing and eternal life through Jesus Christ, who now passes by to bestow them, you once more refuse the Saviour, and go on as before toward perdition?

II. This reveals to us the second mark of right hearing — IT FILLS A MAN WITH EARNESTNESS. If he has heard such truth as he ought, he not only acts, but acts with energy. Thus Bartimeus acted. "When he heard he cried out." So it must be with you, O sinners. If you would enter heaven you must be in earnest about it. Let us now see how this earnestness found expression. So shall we have another mark of true hearing.

III. When the gospel is heard aright, IT LEADS TO PRAYER. This was the first thing Bartimeus did, when he was told that Jesus was passing by — he prayed. And this is always the first thing for a lost sinner who hears of Christ — let him pray. A soul truly in earnest after salvation will cry for help. Self-preservation is the first law of nature, and when our strength fails, prayer is nature's messenger for helpers. And when did nature fail to pray in her need? Hunger will beg and pain cry out. Though the fever have caused madness, the sufferer will still cry for water. None need teach the babe to clamour for its nurture. Birds can plead for their young, and the dog entreat you, with all the power of speech, to follow him to the forest, where his master lies robbed and bleeding. And has the soul no voice in its sickness unto death? Is the instinct of the brute a sure guide, and do the reason and conscience of men slumber or lie? Or are they quicksighted and honest about bodily wants and earthly things, only to show themselves utterly besotted, when glory, honour, and immortality are at stake? When your souls are in jeopardy, must you be plied with such urgency before you will cry for help? If the voice of grace, sometimes warning, sometimes inviting, cannot wake you and bring you to your knees, God will try the voice of unmixed vengeance.

IV. And do it at once. PROMPTNESS is another mark of a good hearer of the gospel. It is found in Bartimeus. "And when he heard," that is, as soon as he heard, "he began to cry out." But what need of such haste? "Jesus is going slowly," he might say, "and some little while must pass before He is gone. Be sure I will be in time." "Or if He does get a little out of sight," Bartimeus might say, "while I am attending to some little matters, I will run after Him and call Him." "But I only want a little time, and that for most important business," Bartimeus might plead. But if Bartimeus choose to attend to his alms instead of his eyes, see if he has not a still stronger reason. Begging is not only his business, but this happens to be a very "busy season," as we say in the city, or "harvest time," as they say in the country. A multitude was passing! He might go home almost rich — might almost retire from business! And after all has not Providence given him this opportunity, and would it be exactly right to throw it away? So have I heard professors of religion and non-professors reason. So do they put earth's business above all the calls of God.

V. and

VI. Two other marks of a good hearer of the gospel are found in Bartimeus. He heard with FAITH AND HUMILITY. He trusted in Jesus and was lowly in heart. His faith even outran the word of the multitude. They spoke of "Jesus of Nazareth," — Nazareth of Galilee — a despised town of a despised province: but he could call Him "Son of David," and "Lord." And how deep was his humility! He hid nothing, pretended nothing. He came as he was. Blind, he came as blind. Poor, he came as poor. A beggar, he came as a beggar. And so it is always. Faith and humility meet in the sinner's experience, not as occasional companions only; they ever walk lovingly together as sisters. They cannot separate. Like the Siamese twins they live in each other's presence alone; should they part, they would die. A sinner cannot believe in Jesus and not be humble; he cannot be truly humble without believing in Jesus.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

That he should hold his peace.
There is never a knock at heaven's gate but it sounds through hell, and devils come out to silence it. The ungodly world bids anxious souls to hold their peace. It cannot bear the sinner's distress. If his conscience is disturbed its own is not quite easy. Therefore the world sets itself to make an end of these convictions. For this it has innumerable devices. It will flatter or curse. For some it has persecutions, for others promotions. But I pause not on any of these. I wish now to address the professed people of God. I say, then, plainly: you are in great danger every day of rebuking anxious souls, and charging them to hold their peace.

I. BY INJUDICIOUS CRITICISM OF SERMONS you may stifle convictions and drive sinners away from Christ. I cannot better illustrate this caution than by a true narrative from "The Central Presbyterian." "A pious lady once left a church in this city (Richmond), in company with her husband, who was not a professor of religion. She was a woman of unusual vivacity, with a keen perception of the ludicrous and often playfully sarcastic. As they walked along toward home, she began to make some amusing and spicy comments on the sermon, which a stranger, a man of very ordinary talents and awkward manner, had preached that morning in the absence of the pastor. After running on in this vein of sportive criticism for some time, surprised at the profound silence of her husband, she turned and looked up in his face. He was in tears. That sermon had sent an arrow of conviction to his heart! What must have been the anguish of the conscience-stricken wife, thus arrested in the act of ridiculing a discourse which had been the means of awakening the anxiety of her unconverted husband!"

II. Beware also of UNSEASONABLE LEVITY AFTER SOLEMN APPEALS.

III. This brings to mind another way by which you may bid sinners hold their peace — by BLINDNESS TO ANY BEGINNING CONCERN. Would you see how you should watch? Come with me to the chamber where a babe lies dying. A breathless messenger has gone for the physician, but still he comes not. How the worn mother gazes on her little sufferer in an agony of fondness and fear; how she sinks in anguish before the mercy seat, and pleads like the Syrophenician woman at the feet of Jesus; how she rises wildly, and watches at the window for the physician; how at every sound of wheels she flushes with eagerness, and then grows sick at heart as they turn the corner, and the sound dies away; how she springs to the door as his well-known step is heard on the stair; and then, as he searches every symptom, how she waits on his every look, living on a gleam of hope, ready to die if his face is darkened by a cloud!

IV. Nor is this the worst. Professing parents often LAY PLANS FOR THEIR CHILDREN DIRECTLY OPPOSED TO THE SPIRIT'S WORK.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

Success in this world comes only to those who exhibit determination. Can we hope for salvation unless our mind is truly set upon it? Grace makes a man to be as resolved to be saved as this beggar was to get to Jesus, and gain his sight. "I must see him!" said an applicant at the door of a public person. "You cannot see him," said the servant; but the man waited at the door. A friend went out to him, and said, "You cannot see the master, but I can give you an answer." "No," he replied; "I will stay all night on the doorstep, but I will see the man himself. He alone will serve my turn." You do not wonder that, after many rebuffs, he ultimately gained his point: it would be infinitely greater wonder if an importunate sinner did not obtain an audience from the Lord Jesus. If you must have grace, you shall have it. If you will not be put off, you shall not be put off. Whether things look favourable or unfavourable, press you on till you find Jesus, and you shall find Him.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And Jesus stood still.
When Jesus thus "stood still," He was on His way for the last time to Jerusalem. His "hour" was drawing nigh, and He was hastening to meet it. Can He be arrested in this journey? Where is the event mighty enough to stay His course? What destiny of man or empire is worthy even of a thought from Him now? "He stood still." Let us also stand and admire. Here let us learn the grace of our Redeemer, and lay up in our hearts the blessed teaching. Then may we learn how unreasonable and how unnatural is a favourite clamour of infidels against the gospel. They say they cannot believe that the Son of God came to this world and died for its redemption. This world is too small and mean in the great scale of the universe, to allow them to think that the Creator of countless millions of glorious suns and systems, could have stooped to love and care and suffer and die for the poor creatures of a day, who live on this insignificant planet. To a narrow vision a structure may seem unsightly from its vastness, while in miniature the same eye might find the proportions exquisite. And have we not, in this standing still of Jesus, amidst the urgencies of such a journey, at the call of a beggar, a miniature of the very things by which some are confounded or repelled, in the immense transactions of the Atonement? It was worthy of the illustrious Stranger — nay, it was beautiful, it was sublime — to stay for the relief of the unhappy beggar, though His own mind was burdened with the weight of the infinite sacrifice He was about to offer. Then who shall so vilify the redemption of men by the Cross, as to pronounce it unworthy of the Sovereign of a universe to which our earth is but an atom? Shall an astronomer be so lost in God's glory declared by the heavens, in their measureless and bright immensity, as to scorn the thought of His upholding and blessing each sun and star? Then. if these philosophers gaze on the luminous, illimitable fields of creation, until their dazzled minds turn back with contempt to the world on which they dwell, and find no worth nor grandeur in the Cross which redeems it, though it saves numbers without number from perdition, and glorifies them in the light of God, and displays His Attributes before an admiring universe, let us hold up the confessed truthfulness and beauty of this simple incident, till, "like a mirror of diamond, it pierce their misty eyeball" and lead them on to the acknowledgment of the truth. "Jesus stood still," and when did He ever refuse to stay at the call of the distressed sinner? Nay, if He stayed then, when can He refuse? Is He not the same yesterday, today, and forever? The fires of eternal vengeance stood still over Sodom till Lot was gone out. The waves stood still, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea till the children of Israel passed over. The down-rushing waters of swollen Jordan stood still, as the feet of the priests touched their brim, and rose up as a wall till the chosen tribes had gained their inheritance. At the cry of Joshua, the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the Lord's hosts had avenged themselves upon their enemies. So we may look upon His call, and the gracious call of every sinner who becomes a saint, in its Divine origin, its gentle instruments, and its effectual aids.

I. "He called." Our vocation is of God. He hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. "He called." This word of Matthew contains, as in the seed, the expressions of Mark and Luke. All the agencies, by which the soul is persuaded and enabled to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel, are hidden in this, His loving call, as the leaves and flowers and golden fruit are all folded in the germ. Many providences, many scriptures, many ordinances, many movements of the Spirit may lay hold on a soul to draw it to Christ; but they are all so many threads which Christ holds in His own hand. They have all their power from His drawing. Then let us use this truth for holy fear. If you resist the appeals of God's ministers, you resist God. "He called." In Jesus Christ we behold the best of preachers — the Divine Exemplar after whom all should copy.

II. "He commanded him to be called." The Lord gave the word; great was the company of them that published it. Let him that heareth, say, Come! Then all the called may themselves become callers.

III. And now what a word of good cheer the third evangelist speaks — "He commanded him to be brought unto Him!" Admire the Lord's grace to the blind man. He will not leave him to grope his dark way alone. Some shall lead him by the hand. In whatever way, he shall have all the aid he needs to come into the Saviour's very presence. Blessed thought t that we who are but men may have some share in this dear work of guiding blind souls to Jesus. But here I rather choose to think of the higher than human aid, which Christ sends with His word to the souls of His chosen. The energy of Almighty power accompanies the preaching of the truth. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come!

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

I. Many persons who are really seeking the Saviour greatly want comforting. There is a sort of undefined fear that these good things are not for them. They are cast down because they think they have been seeking in vain. They are sad because many round about them discourage them. Their sadness also rise from their spiritual ignorance. They regard conversion as something very terrible.

II. This comfort is to be found in the text. The general gospel call ought to yield great comfort to any seeking soul. But there is also an effectual call.

III. This comfort should lead to immediate action. The exhortation to rise means instant decision. It means also resolution. You are also to cast away everything that would hinder you from finding salvation.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The analogy would be perfect, if those who were sent to Bartimeus had themselves been blind, until their eyes had been opened by Christ. And who can say that it was not so with some of them? Then with what generous indignation must they have heard the cruel rebukes of the multitude! Then, too, with what alarmed sympathy would these men, once blind, now seeing, have regarded Bartimeus, if he had wavered in his earnestness after Christ! And with what alacrity would these messengers of Christ have hastened to bear His words of welcome to the blind man! Joy beyond expression would have inspired them. I have heard of a caravan which had lost its way in the desert. For days they could find no water. The suffering was sore, and many were perishing. Men were out in all directions searching for the water that was to be indeed water of life. At last, faint and ready to die, one man lighted on a spring. Cool and clear the stream gushed from the rock. Almost frantic with thirst, he rushed forward and drank, drank. Oh, how deep was the bliss of that draught! Is it strange that for one moment be thought only of himself? But suddenly the perishing multitude came before his mind, and he leaped up, and ran shouting, "Water! water! Enough for all! Come and drink!" And so from rank to rank of that scattered host he sped, until he had told them all, and was himself thirsty again. But when he saw the eager crowds rushing to the fountain, when be beheld the refreshment and gladness of all hearts and faces, and then stooped once more himself to drink the liberal stream, was not his second draught full of deeper bliss than even the first? Had he ever tasted such water as that? O blessed souls who have drank of the river of life, lift up your voice upon the mountains, and let your feet be swift upon the plains, publishing the good tidings of salvation. This brings to view the joyfulness of the gospel. It is not a message of gloom, a thing to be whispered in darkness as a dreadful secret. We dishonour the gospel when we would recommend it by a melancholy visage. Such is the spirit of the tidings these messengers bring to Bartimeus, in this, his second gospel sermon. The first told him simply that Jesus was passing by. Now he hears these heart reviving words, "Be of good comfort; rise; He calleth thee." "Be of good comfort." On thy long night, without moon or star, or even a dim candle in thy dwelling, the Day star is dawning. Thine eyes have never been used but for weeping; they seemed only made for tears. But now they shall serve thee for seeing. Sinners, poor, wretched, and blind, but crying for the Saviour, be not disconsolate. "Be of good comfort." After your night of weeping, your morning of joy has come. "Rise!" say the preachers to Bartimeus, and so we cry. There is salvation for the sinner, none for the sluggard. Rise, then, ye unpardoned, Away with your fears and doubts. They are unreasonable and wicked. Break off your indifference. It is a noiseless chain, indeed, but be not deceived; the chain that does not clank is the tightest. Let me take the trumpet of the Holy Ghost, and may He fill it with sound that shall pierce your heart; — Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light! "He calleth thee." What more canst thou want, Bartimeus? If He calls thee, He will cure thee. If He calls, who can forbid? Thy call is thy warrant. The call of Christ is warrant enough for any sinner. He may use it against the Law and Satan and his own evil conscience. For example, Satan comes to him and says — "What, wretch! art thou going to Christ?" "Ay, that I am, with all my heart." "But will He receive thee?" "Ay, that He will, with all His heart." "Truly, thou art a brave talker! Who taught thee this lofty speech?" "Nay, my speech is lowly, and I learned it of my Lord." "But where is thy warrant?" "None can go to Christ without a warrant." "He calleth me — be that my warrant!" "But where is thy fitness?" says Satan, shifting his ground. "Be my warrant my fitness — He calleth me," answers the sinner, keeping his ground, his only ground. "But listen, soul! Thou art going before a King. He cannot look upon iniquity" (for you see Satan can quote Scripture), "and thou art but a mass of iniquity" (here the devil affects a great horror of it, to fill the sinner with fear). "The heavens are not clean in His sight; how then shall thy filthiness appear before Him? Look at thy rags, if thy blind eyes will let thee, and say, what a dress is this to take into His presence!" "It is all true," says the contrite sinner, "still I will go, for He calleth me. I will bind this call about me and it shall be my dress, till He give me another. I will hold up this call, written with His own hand, and signed with His own name, and sealed with His own blood, and it shall be my defence and plea. Miserable and unworthy as I am, and deserving, I know, to die, with this I have boldness and access with confidence, saying only, like little Samuel, Here am I, for Thou didst call me!" Bartimeus needed no more. "Casting away his garment, he rose and came to Jesus." It could not be otherwise. True earnestness does not wait. Conscious wretchedness in the presence of a trusted Saviour cannot delay. Only half-convictions can procrastinate. The ancient heathen had this saying: "The feet of the avenging deities are shod with wool." Shod with wool! Yes, they crept with noiseless steps, that the touch that aroused might be the blow that destroyed. It is not so with our merciful God. He sounds an alarm that we may seek a refuge. His thunder rolls along the distant horizon, that we may take in sail and be ready for the storm, the storm which would have burst upon us no less surely without this gracious warning. As Bartimeus rose to hasten to Jesus, he "cast away his garment," his loose upper robe. He would suffer no hindrance. He may have thrown it aside unconsciously, but it was the action of nature — nature in earnest for some great end. Let us take the lesson. If we would win Christ, we must lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us — the sin we have daily wrapped about us like our garment.

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

What wilt thou?
If we would commune with Christ, we must draw near to Him. If we would hear His voice, we must fall down before Him. It is only there that heaven and earth may meet in peace. "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? "A goodly word, indeed! What would not a soul, struggling in the depths and entanglements of sin, give once to hear it from his Lord? Let us admire —

I. The FULNESS OF THE GRACE. The tender love of Christ to lost souls is a great deep, without bottom and without shore. The wing of no angel can bear him so high that he can look over all its extent. The guilt of no sinner has been able to sound all its depth. King Ahasuerus said unto Queen Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of my kingdom shall it be performed. And so the monarchs of the East delighted to speak. But their utmost premise was half the kingdom, and their kingdoms were earthly, bounded and unsubstantial, and their pompous generosity often but the flourishing rhetoric of lust, pride, and wine. But Jesus puts no limit to His offers. Ask, it shall be given you. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do. In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth.

II. Let us also admire THE FREENESS OF CHRIST'S OFFERS TO LOST SINNERS. The freeness of the offer springs from the fulness of the grace. "What wilt thou?" Choose for thyself, Bartimeus. If thou dost not carry away a noble gift, it is thine own fault. I do not set bounds to thy desires. The treasure is infinite, and thou hast it all to choose from. The Spirit of the Lord is not straitened, and if we are, it is in ourselves. God's grace is always larger than man's desire, and freer than his faith. If we take little pitchers to the well, we shall carry little water away. Though the golden bowl be full of golden off, the lamp will burn dim, if the golden pipe be narrow or choked. The ocean itself can pour but a scanty stream through a slender channel.

III. SEE HOW CHRIST'S GRACE CONDESCENDS TO EVERY SOUL'S PECULIAR NEED. He will suit His granting to our asking. To every soul He says, "What wilt thou?"

IV. This question teaches that, though CHRIST KNOWS WHAT WE WANT AND WHAT HE WILL DO, HE WILL HAVE US EXPRESS OUR WANTS. Through all the cold, dark night the petals of the flower were shut. So the sun found it and poured his rays upon it, till its heart felt the warmth. Then it yearned to be filled with these pleasant beams, and opened its bosom to drink them in. And so it is with man's prayer and God's grace. How pointless are the prayers we often hear. They scatter weakly over the whole ground. They have no aim and do no execution. If we would pray well, we must have something to pray for, something we really crave, we must know our wants, feel our wants, express our wants. We must have "an errand at the Throne." I learned that expression from a pious old slave. He was asked the secret of the fervour and spirit with which he always prayed. "Oh," said he, "I have always an errand at the Throne, and then I just tell the Lord what I come for, and wait for an answer." Thus, too, shall we wait for an answer. Even the sportsman, who cares not for his game, follows the arrow with his eye, till he sees it strike. But how many never cast a second glance after a prayer which has left their lips!

(Prof. W. J. Hoge.)

?: — Did the omniscient Redeemer not know what was the calamity under which this man groaned? He did. It was evident to all the world. Was He not aware of the desire of Bartimeus' heart? and that what he sought was not an ordinary alms? Undoubtedly, and He had already resolved to restore his sight. Why then did He put this question? It was that He might more fully manifest His Father's glory; that He might awaken the man to a deeper consciousness of his misery; call forth his faith into liveliest exercise; and, especially, teach him and all of us the nature and necessity of fervent prayer.

1. God has appointed a definite way in which we are to obtain His aid and deliverance. If we would have we must ask. Prayer is the means He has prescribed. Why? We could not enjoy the blessing of God without it. It is indispensable as a preparation of our hearts.

2. Our prayers must be definite and precise. Beware of vague, general, pointless prayers. State at once the evil you would have removed, the want you would have supplied, the promise you would have fulfilled.

3. He who asks the question in the text, can answer it. Jesus has all things at His disposal. There is no limit either to His resources or His readiness to help. Be not afraid to ask much, to expect much, and much you shall obtain. He in, poses no conditions, no price, no merit.

(A. Thomson.)

Immediately he received his sight.
I. What, then, does this healing stand for in the higher spiritual world? Surely, nothing less than regeneration — the new birth of the soul. Of the many images employed by the Holy Ghost to set forth our natural state, perhaps none is more frequent than blindness. Darkness is ever the chosen symbol of the kingdom of Satan, and light of the kingdom of God.

1. That the new birth is from God. If the harp be broken, the hand of the maker may repair it, and wake the chords again to their old power and sweetness. There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground, yet through the scent of water it will bud and bring forth boughs like a plant. But who can restore the shattered crystal, so that the sunbeams shall stream through it without finding a flaw, and flash, once more, as of old, in the ever-changing play of their splendour? And who can open the eyes of the blind? Who can restore to that most lustrous and precious of gems, its expression and power, when distorted and blotted by disease or violence? Who shall open again those delicate pathways for the light of two worlds — the outer world shining in and filling the soul with images of beauty, and that inner world shining out in joy, love, and thankfulness? Surely none but the Maker of this curious frame, who, when sin had so cruelly marred it, came in compassion as infinite as His might, to be Redeemer and Restorer where He had already been Creator. Only He can open the eyes of the blind. The power of God is in that work. But if a man die shall he live again? Oh, if the soul be dead, dead in guilt and corruption and the curse of Almighty God, can it revive? Yes, thanks be to God! by reason of the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead (after He had been delivered for our offences), we also may be quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, and children of wrath, we may be quickened together with Christ; for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

2. In the light of this miracle we also learn that, whatever activities the sinner may put forth before and after his regeneration, in the great change he is passive. All, the agonies of the blind man, all his tears and cries, all his rolling and straining his sightless balls, had just nothing at all to do with the act of restoration. That was Christ's alone. And so in the new birth — "born of God," tells it all. It is the "unparticipated work" of the Holy Ghost. In this, regeneration is distinguished from conversion. God turns the man, but the man, so moved, turns with his whole heart. It is the day of God's great "power," but also of the sinner's great "willingness." The fire which the sun has kindled mounts toward it at once. The kindling of the heavenly flame is regeneration; its upward motion, conversion. Regeneration is the Divine cause; conversion, the sure effect. Where there is the grace of life, there will be a life of grace.

3. Light did not open Bartimeus' eyes, nor does truth alone regenerate the sinner. Pouring light on blind eyes will not heal them. Flashing truth, even God's glorious truth, on the sinner's mind will not regenerate him. Bartimeus was as blind at noon as at midnight. The sinner is as blind under the blaze of the gospel as amid the glooms of heathenism.

II. Let me now speak of the greatness and glory of this change.

III. As "Bartimeus immediately received his sight," so, in regeneration, the great change is instantaneous. There is some one moment when the vision of the blind man, and the new life of the sinner begins. It may be feeble, but it has begun, and for the faintest beginning the creative act is needed. The main thing for every sinner is, to be able on good ground to say, Whereas I was blind, now I see. If he can say this, and have the witness of the Spirit to its truth, it matters little whether he is able to add, On such a day, in such a place, by such and such means, my eyes were opened. A good ship has been broken by the tempest. Mast and rudder and compass, all are gone. The storm is over, but the wreck is drifting away blindly through night and fog. At length all is still, and the wondering sailors wait for the day. Tardily and uncertainly it dawns, and as the heavy mists slowly dissolve, all eyes are busy trying to discover where they are. At length one descries a cliff which seems familiar, another a pier in which he can hardly be mistaken, a third the old church spire, under whose shadow his mother is sleeping, and now, as the sun breaks forth, they all cry out in joyful assurance, that they are in the desired haven! Mysteriously and without their aid, the Ruler of wind and wave has brought them there, and all are exulting in the great deliverance. Nay, shall we say not all? Can you imagine one poor melancholy man refusing to rejoice, and even doubting these evidences, because he cannot tell the hour and angle of his arrival, nor whether he was borne chiefly by currents of air or ocean?

IV. On the blessedness of this change in Bartimeus — image of the spiritual blessedness of him who is first tasting that the Lord is gracious — I can hardly bring myself to comment. When after long imprisonment in the chamber of suffering, we go forth again, leaning, perhaps, on the arm of a congenial friend, to breathe once more the fresh air, and rejoice in the measureless freedom of nature, she seems to have clothed her green fields and forests, her blue skies and waters, in a brighter pomp of "summer bravery" than ever before, and the strange beauty fills and almost oppresses the soul. In what affecting terms does Dr. Kane describe the almost adoring rapture with which the return of the first sunshine was hailed, after the long horror of an Arctic night — the frozen blackness of months' duration, when he eagerly climbed the icy hills "to get the luxury of basking in its brightness," and made the grateful record, "Today, blessed be the Great Author of light! I have once more looked upon the sun;" while his poor men, sick, mutilated, broken hearted, and ready to die, crawled painfully from their dark berths to look upon his healing beams; when "everything seemed superlative lustre and unsurpassable glory," when they could not refrain; they "oversaw the light." But what was this, what were all these, to the wonder and joy of Bartimeus' first vision of the mighty works of God? They already had the sense of sight, and had enjoyed many pleasurable exercises of it. To him the very sense is new, unimagined before. And now, at the word of Christ, the glorious element comes streaming, suddenly and for the first time, and in its fulness, with thrills of inconceivable bliss, upon the sense and soul buried from birth in utter darkness. And what did he see first? Jesus, his best friend, his Saviour! Jesus, chiefest of ten thousand and altogether lovely; O enviable lot! The first image which the light of heaven formed in his soul was the image of that dear face; O rich recompense for the long pains of blindness! The first employment of his eyes was in beholding Him that opened them; O blessed consecration of his new powers and pleasures! Gaze on, old man! Thou canst not look too ardently or too long. But is the joy which attends spiritual illumination answerable to this? Not always (we have seen) as the immediate result. But it is attainable, and very soon the believer aught to have it, and, unless through ignorance, error, or guilt, will have it, and that abundantly. Moreover, the Bible is the sole Revealer of a conception of joy, in comparison with which every other idea of it, wherever found, is poor, earthly, and already darkened with the taint of death. It is a conception in which every best element of every earthly delight, by whatever name known — all the serenity of peace, all the exhilaration of hope, all the satisfaction of fruition, all the liveliness and sparkle of joy, all the mellower radiance of gladness, all the flush and bound of exultation, all the thrill and movement of rapture, are wrought into one surpassing combination, which, chastened by holiness, softened by charity, dignified by immortality and transfused by the beams of the all-encircling glory of the Godhead, is Blessedness. It elevates the soul to know of such a state as possible for itself; it purifies it to hope for it; strengthens it to strive after it. What, then, must it be to taste it, as we may on earth, and drink it to the full, as we shall forever in heaven!

An echo from within the Veil! "Lord, that I might receive my sight!" cried the suppliant without. "Receive thy sight!" answers the Sovereign within. And so, if Christ suits His granting to our asking, it is because the Spirit has first shaped our asking to His granting. The purpose of grace is the foundation of the prayer of faith. Eternal grace is the mould into which faith is cast. Therefore there is harmony between faith and grace. "Grace crowns what grace begins." And so "faith saves" and grace saves; faith as the instrument, and grace as the Divine efficiency; faith the channel, and grace the heavenly stream; faith the finger that touches the garment's fringe, and grace the virtue that pours from the Saviour's heart. Faith cannot scale the dreadful precipice from which nature has fallen, but it can lay hold on the rope which grace has let down even into its hands from the top, and which it will draw up again with all the burden faith can bind to it. And this is all the mystery of faith's saving. Christ reaches down from heaven, and faith reaches up from earth, and each hand grasps the other; one in weakness, the other in power. Yea, the hand of faith is often but a poor, benumbed hand, stretched out in anguish from the dark flood where the soul is sinking.

Followed Jesus in the way.
Whoever has looked unto Jesus as the Author of his faith, will look unto Him as the Finisher. If the eyes be opened truly to see Him, the heart will be opened truly to love Him; and when the heart is thus enlarged, like David, we will run in the way of His commandments. This is the test of discipleship: "If any man serve Me, let him follow Me." O friends, let us follow Him whithersoever He goeth. Let us follow Him "in the way" — the way laid down in His Word, the way opened by His Providence, the way of which the Spirit whispers, "This is the way, walk ye in it." Sometimes His way is in the sea, and His path in the great waters, and His footsteps are not known. The path of many of us may lie much in the Valley of Humiliation — a life of obscurity, poverty, and lowly toil. We may be Christ's hidden ones all our days. So thy way, believer, must lie by the cross and the grave. But beyond the grave is the resurrection, and then the crown of life forever.

The loss of sight is spiritually the most significant of all privations. The loss of Eden was perhaps truly a loss of sight — a great shadow, as of an eclipse, fell over all the beauty and splendour of the world, as the sinner's eye grew dim. Sin is privative. It works on us by limiting and finally destroying our powers. But this blind beggar had learned in, perhaps through, his blindness, more than Scribes and Pharisees knew. None of them have an eye for the Son of David, whom he saw in his blindness. Christ is revealed to those who need Him most. The man's importunity. He cast aside his garment and came to Jesus. It means impetuosity, and carelessness about external things. He came in the naked simplicity of his need.

I. To see spiritually is to see Christ, the Light of the world, and to be penetrated with the sense of the beauty and fulness which are in Him.

II. A soul fully enlightened sees that in Jesus is all its salvation and all its hope.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

I. THE APPLICATION.

1. He applies in the right quarter.

2. In the right spirit.

3. At the right time.

II. THE RECEPTION.

1. Most gracious.

2. Most satisfactory.

III. THE EFFECT OF THE CURE. He followed Jesus in the way up to Jerusalem. The love of Christ constrained him. Thus gifts from the hands of Jesus attach us to His Person. They form a link between us and Him. They are as a magnet to draw us.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

I. Christ came to open the eyes of the blind, and to be the Light of the world.

II. He did not disregard the meanest, and was ever ready to do good.

III. Some wait long in darkness before obtaining the help desired.

IV. Faith perseveres, receives encouragement, and attains its end.

(J. H. Godwin.).

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