The Two Blind Men Restored To Sight
And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying and saying, You Son of David, have mercy on us, etc.
Q. YOU have already told me that the Leprosy, the Palsy, the Fever, the Possessed of Devils, and the Bloody Issue, are to be understood not only literally, but figuratively, as expressing the spiritual disorders prevalent at that time in the Jewish church, and that there is reason to suppose that all the infirmities and distempers, for which the blessed Jesus provided a remedy, are to be considered in this same figurative character. Can you tell me then, according to this idea, what is to be understood by the two blind men above-mentioned ?
A. By blindness, according to its figurative meaning, is to be understood, the want of spiritual intelligence respecting the things of heaven and of the church, for what the eye is to the body, that the understanding is to the mind, and consequently what the loss of eye-sight is to the corporeal part of man, that the loss of intellectual sight is to his spiritual part. By these two blind men, therefore, was figured the want of spiritual understanding in the Jewish church at that period; and since the want of spiritual understanding ie two-fold, namely. the want of the understanding of truth; and the want of the understanding of good, therefore two blind men are here recorded. For the same reason, and in agreement with the same figure, man is gifted with two eyes, one having reference to the understanding of good, and the other to the understanding of truth; on which ground it is that Jesus Christ says, If your right eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you, (Matt. 5:29), for by the right eye is signified the understanding of good, and therefore this eye, and not the left, was to be plucked out, and cast away, in case it offended; in other words, in case it favoured the love of evil, since the left eye, as denoting the understanding of truth, was not capable of offending in the same degree.
Q. But it is said of these two blind men, that they followed Jesus, crying, and saying, Son of David, have mercy on us — how do you understand these words?
A. By the two blind men following Jesus, is to be understood, according to the figurative or spiritual sense of the history, that they were made sensible of their want of spiritual understanding; and not only so, but they were also sensible that the blessed Jesus was able to open their spiritual eyes, and give them the spiritual sight which they wanted. They accordingly are described as crying and saying, in the supplication which they make on the occasion; because the term crying is expressive of the strong desire of their wills to receive the light of truth, as the term saying is expressive of the thought of their understanding on the same subject. It is remarkable also, that they address the great redeemer under His two-fold character, as a man, and as a god ; as a man, when they call Him the Son of david; and as a god, when they say, have mercy on us. Thus they supplicate Him as a god-man; or as god made manifest in a divine humanity, and dwelling bodily with all His fullness in that humanity.
Q. And what do you understand by the words which follow, where it is written, When He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him; and: Jesus says to them, Believe you that I am able to do this? They say to Him, Yea, Lord.
A. According to the spiritual sense of this history, by Jesus coming into the house, is to be understood His divine influx of love and wisdom into His church, which is properly his house and temple ; His house, so far as His church is principled in heavenly good of love and charity; and His temple, so far as she is principled in heavenly truth of wisdom and intelligence. And by the two blind men coming to Him in the house, is to be understood, their spiritual communication and conjunction with Him by virtue of that influx. Again, by Jesus saying to them, Believe you that I am able to do this? was intended to be expressed an exploration of the nature and quality of their faith, and how far they believed in His omnipotence; and by their replying, Yea, Lord, is to be understood their full persuasion of His divine ability, and their consequent conviction that from His divine power they might hope to receive the blessing of spiritual sight, or of a right understanding both of what is good and what is true,
Q. But it is lastly written, that Jesus touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it to you: and their eyes were opened; and Jesus strictly charged them, saying. See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country — what do you conceive to be the meaning of these words?
A. By Jesus touching their eyes, isto be spiritually understood, His communication by divine influx with the understanding, or intellectual principle of His church or people, since the touch is figurative of communication; and by His saying, According to your faith be it to you, is further to be understood, in agreement with the spiritual idea, that the recovery of spiritual light, or, what is the same thing, of intellectual light in the church, would depend entirely on a right belief in the divine omnipotence of the incarnate god, or, what amounts to the same, in the omnipotence of the divine humanity of that god; consequently, that there can be no true understanding, or no understanding of truth in the church, only so far as Jesus Christ is acknowledged to be the only god, and approached and worshiped in His divine humanity. By their eyes being opened, is further to be understood, the effect of the above faith in the imparting of spiritual understanding, – or the understanding of truth; and by Jesus strictly charging them, saying, See that no man know, is meant divine caution, lest the omnipotence of the divine humanity, thus exercised in the recovery of spiritual sight, should be regarded in a mere speculative way, as a truth manifested merely in the understanding, instead of making its proper impression on the will, and thus exciting devout affection of love and gratitude to the giver of all good, and particularly to the bestower of all spiritual light of intellectual truth. Lastly, by the men, when they were departed, spreading abroad His fame in all the country, is denoted that the divine honour due to the incarnate god, in His divine humanity, is made known in the church, in proportion as the understanding of truth is restored, and the human intellect becomes thus receptive of the light of heavenly wisdom; for by country, is here spiritually to be understood, the church ; and by His fame, is meant the divine honour and worship due to the divine humanity of the blessed Jesus ; and by His fame being spread abroad, is manifestly denoted its being made known, acknowledged, and celebrated.
Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from this miracle?
A. I learn again to adore the omnipotence of the incarnate god, as exercised in removing the infirmities of mankind, and particularly in restoring the great blessing of bodily sight to those who had lost it. I learn also, that this miracle, like all the others performed by the great redeemer, is figure, and that in its figurative sense or meaning, it involves in it the restoration of spiritual sight to the church, or the recovery of that spiritual understanding of heavenly truth which had been lost. Lastly, I learn, that spiritual sight, or spiritual understanding, can only be recovered by faith in Jesus Christ, as the manifested god ; thus by faith in His divine humanity, as being one with the eternal father, and therefore containing in it all the fullness of the Godhead. I am resolved, therefore, now on to draw near to this omnipotent god, as the only restorer of spiritual sight; thus as the only Deliverer from the natural blindness into which I was born, and in which I have been educated, that so my understanding may be opened to see by the bright light of the eternal truth, and my will may accordingly be affected, and elevated to the pursuit of the supreme good. And since I cannot hope to attain these signal blessings, only so far as I prepare myself for their reception, I am further resolved, under a deep sense of my natural ignorance and blindness, to imitate the example of the two blind men recorded in the history of this miracle, by following my redeemer, crying and saying, You son of david, have mercy on me. Thus may I hope to experience the virtue of His divine touch, and to hear His blessed words, According to your faith be it to you: and thus too will my spiritual eyes be opened, and like the blind men of old, I shall be admitted to the inestimable privilege of spreading abroad the fame of my god and saviour, by acknowledging Him in His divine humanity to be the only Deliverer from spiritual blindness, because the only Giver of true light, as well as of the faculty to receive it. amen.