And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.
~ Isaiah 29:18-19, Isaiah 35:5, Isaiah 42:16-18
For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
~ Psalm 33:9
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
~ Matthew 12:22, Matthew 9:22
And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
~ Matthew 9:28-30
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
~ Luke 7:50
And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.
~ Mark 1:31
Blind Bartimeus, by George Whitefield.
And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
~ Mark 10:46-52
When the apostle Peter was recommending Jesus of Nazareth, in one of his sermons to the Jews, he gave him a short, but withal a glorious and exalted character, “That we went about doing good.” He went about, he sought occasions of doing good; it was his meat and drink to do the works of him that sent him, whilst the day of his public administration lasted. Justly was he stiled by the prophet, the sun of righteousness. For, as the sun in the natural firmament diffuses his quickening and reviving beams through the universe, so, wherever this sun of righteousness, the blessed Jesus arose, he arose with healing under his wings. He was indeed a prophet like unto Moses, and proved that he was the Messiah which was to come into the world, by the miracles which he wrought; though with this material difference, the miracles of Moses, agreeable to the Old Testament dispensation, were miracles of judgment; the miracles of Jesus, who came to bear our sicknesses and heal our infirmities, were miracles of mercy, and were wrought, not only for the cure of people’s bodies, but also for the conversion of their precious and immortal souls. Sometimes, one and the same person was the subject of both these mercies. A glorious proof of this, we have in the miraculous cure wrought upon a poor blind beggar, named Bartimeus, who is to be the subject of the following discourse, and to whom the words of the text refer. “Jesus said unto him, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”
My design is, first, to make some observations on the matter of fact, as recorded by the evangelists. And then,
Secondly, to point out the improvement that may be made thereof. May Jesus so bless this following discourse, that every spiritually blind hearer may receive his sight, and, after the example of Bartimeus, “follow Jesus in the way!”
If we would take a view of the whole story, we must go back to the 46th verse of this chapter, “And they (our Lord and his disciples, who, we find by the context, had been conversing together) came to Jericho,” a place devoted by Joshua to the curse of God; and yet, even this place yields converts to Jesus; Zaccheus had been called there formerly; and Bartimeus, as we shall hear by-and-by, in all probability, was called now. For some good may come even out of Nazareth. Christ himself was born there, and his sovereign grace can reach and overcome the worst of people, in the very worst of places. Jesus came to Jericho. Let not his ministers, if providence points out their way, shun going to seemingly the most unlikely places to do good, some chosen vessels may be therein. Jesus and his disciples came to Jericho. They were itinerants; and, as I have frequently observed, seldom stayed long in a place; not that this is any argument against the stated settlement of particular pastors over particular parishes. But however, our Lord’s practice, in this respect, gives a kind of a sanction to itinerant preaching, when persons are properly called to, and qualified for, such an employ. And I believe we may venture to affirm (though we would by no means prescribe or dictate to the Holy One of Israel) that, whenever there shall be a general revival of religion in any country, itinerant preaching will be more in vogue. And it is to be feared, that those who condemn it now, merely on account of the meanness of its appearances, would have joined with the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees, in condemning even the Son of God himself, for such a practice.
“And as he went out of Jericho with his disciples, and a great number of people;” a great number of mob, or rabble, as the High-priests of that generation termed them; for these were the constant followers of Jesus of Nazareth; it was the poor that received his gospel, the common people heard him gladly, and followed him from place to place. Not that all who followed him, were his true disciples. No, some followed him only for his loaves, others out of curiosity; though some undoubtedly followed to hear, and be edified by the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. Jesus knew this, and was also sensible how displeasing this crowding after him was to some of the rulers of the Jewish church, who, upon every occasion, were ready to say, “Have any of the Scribes and Pharisees believed on him?” But, notwithstanding, I do not hear of our blessed Lord’s sending them home but once; and that was, after they had been with him three days, and had nothing left to eat, he saw they were as sheep having no shepherd, and therefore had compassion on them, and taught them. A sufficient warrant this for gospel-ministers to preach to poor souls that follow to hear the word, whatever principle their coming may proceed from. At the same time, they should caution people against thinking themselves Christians, because they follow Christ’s ministers. This our Lord frequently did, For there are many that followed Jesus, and not follow his ministers, and hear them gladly; nay, perhaps do many things, as Herod did, who, it is to be feared, will never follow them into the kingdom of heaven. Much people followed Jesus out of Jericho, but how many of them were offended in him; and afterwards, it may be, cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Who would depend on popularity? It is like the morning cloud, or early dew, that passeth away. But what a press, and seemingly continued hurry of business did the blessed Jesus live in! He could not be hid; go where he would, much people followed him. He had scarce time to eat bread. Happy is it for such who are called to act in a public station in the church, and to be more abundant in labours, that their Jesus has trodden in this dangerous path before them. Popularity is a fiery furnace, and no one, but he who kept the three children amidst Nebuchadnezzar’s flames, can preserve popular ministers from being hurt by it. But we can do all things through Christ strengthening us. And I have often thought, that there is one consideration sufficient to extinguish, or moderate at least, any excess of joy and self-complacence, which the most popular preacher may feel, when followed even by the greatest multitudes; and that is this, “How many of these hearers will go “away, without receiving any saving benefit by my preaching; nay, how many, it may be, will only have their damnation increased by it!” As we find many will say at the great day, “hast thou not taught in our streets;” to whom Jesus shall answer, “Verily, I know you not.”
But to proceed, “As our Lord went out of Jericho with his disciples, and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus, (the son of Timeus) sat by the highway-side begging.” It should seem that he was a noted, though by no means what we commonly call, a sturdy beggar; having no other way, as he had lost his sight, to get his bread; his case was still the more pitiable, if he was, as some think the name imports, the blind son of a blind father. It may be, her begged for his father and himself too; and if so, then this may give us light into that passage of Matthew 20:22 where we are told, that “two men spake to Jesus.” It might be father and son, though only one is mentioned here, because he only followed Jesus in the way. Thus that holy, judicious, and practical expositor of holy writ, Mr. Henry. But however this be, he is not blamed for begging, neither should we discommend others for so doing, when providence calls to it. It was the unjust steward that said, “To beg I am ashamed.” It is our pride that often makes us unwilling to be beholden; Jesus was not thus minded, he lived, as it were, upon alms; the women that followed him, ministered to him of their substance. Bartimeus, not being able to dig, begs for his living; and, in order to make a better trade of it, sat by the highway-side, in all probability, without, or near the gate of the city, where people must necessarily pass in and out. But though he had lost his sight, he had his hearing perfect; and it should comfort us, if we have lost one sense, that we have the use of another, and that we are not deprived of the benefit of all. Happy was it for Bartimeus that he could hear, though not see. For in all probability, upon hearing the noise and clamour of the much people that followed after our Lord, his curiosity set him upon inquiring into the cause of it, and some one or another told him, “that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by;” Jesus of Nazareth, called so, because he was bred there, or out of contempt; Nazareth being either a very mean, or very wicked place, or both, which made guileless Nathaniel say, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” And what does Bartimeus do when he hears of Jesus? We are told, ver. 47: “And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out.” This plainly denotes, that though the eyes of his body were shut, yet the eyes of his mind were, in some degree, opened, so that he saw, perhaps, more than most of the multitude that followed after Jesus; for, as soon as he heard of him, he began to cry out; which he would not have done, had he not heard of him before, and believed also, that he was both able and willing to restore sight to the blind. “He began to cry out.” This implies, that he had a deep sense of his own misery, and the need which he had of a cure; his prayers did not freeze as they went out of his lips; he began to cry out, that Jesus might hear him, notwithstanding the noise of the throng; and he began to cry out, as soon as he heard he was passing by, not knowing whether he might ever enjoy such an opportunity any more. “He began to cry out, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.” The people called him Jesus of Nazareth. Bartimeus stiles him, “Jesus, thou Son of David.” Thereby evidencing, that he believed him to be the Messiah who was to come into the world, unto whom the Lord God was to give the throne of his father David, and of whose kingdom there was to be no end. “Jesus, thou Son of David;” or, as it is in the parallel place of St. Matthew 20:30, “O Lord, thou son of David;” of whom it had been long foretold, Isaiah 35, that when he should come, “the eyes of the blind should be opened.” “Have mercy upon me,” the natural language of a soul brought to lie down at the feet of a sovereign God. Here is no laying claim to a cure by way of merit; no proud, self-righteous, God I thank thee that I am not as other men are: not bringing in a reckoning of performances, nor any doubting of Jesus’ power or willingness to heal him, but out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaketh, and, in the language of the poor, broken-hearted publican, he cries out, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus, thou friend of sinners, thou Saviour, who, though thou be the true God, wast pleased to become the Son of David, and to be made man, that thou mightest seek and save those that were lost, have mercy upon me; let thy bowels yearn towards a poor, miserable, blind beggar?
One would have thought that such a moving petition as this would have melted the whole multitude, that heard his piteous cry, into compassion, and induced some at least to turn suitors in his behalf, or help to carry him to the blessed Jesus. But instead of that, we are told, ver. 48, that “many charged him.” The word in the original seems to imply a charge, attended with threatening, and spoken in an angry manner. They charged him “to hold his peace;” and it may be, threatened to beat him if he did not. They looked upon him beneath the notice of Jesus of Nazareth, and were ready enough to ask, whether he thought Jesus Christ had nothing else to do but to wait upon him. This was, no doubt, very discouraging to blind Bartimeus. For opposition comes closest when it proceeds from those who are esteemed followers of the Lamb. The spouse complains as of something peculiarly afflicting, that her own mother’s children were angry with her. But opposition only serves to whet the edge of true devotion, and therefore Bartimeus, instead of being silenced by their charges and threatenings, “cried out the more a great deal, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Still he breaks out into the same humble language, and, if Jesus, the Son of David, will have mercy on him, he cares not much what some of his peevish followers said of, or did unto him. This was not a vain repetition, but a devout reiteration of his request. We may sometimes repeat the same words, and yet not be guilty of that battalogia, or vain speaking , which our Lord condemns. For our Lord himself prayed in his agony, and said twice the same words; “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” Thus Bartimeus, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.” And how does the Son of David treat him? Does he join issue with the multitude, and charge him to hold his peace? Or does he go on, thinking him beneath his notice? no; for, says St. Mark, ver 49, “And Jesus stood still,” though he was on a journey, and it may be in haste (for it is not losing time to stop now and then on a journey to do a good office by the way) “and commanded him to be called:” why so? To teach us to be condescending and kind even to poor, if real beggars, and tacitly to reprove the blind, misguided zeal of those who had charged him to hold his peace. By this also our Lord prepares the multitude the better to take the more notice of the blind man’s faith, and of his own mercy and power exerted in the healing of him. For there are times and seasons when we are called to perform acts of charity in the most public manner, and that too very consistently with the injunction of our Saviour, “not to let our right hand know what our left hand doeth.” For there is a great deal of difference between giving alms, and exercising acts of charity, that are seen of men, and doing them, that they may be seen; the one is always sinful, the other often becomes our duty. Jesus commanded Bartimeus to be called, “and they called him.” Who called him? It may be, those who a little before charged him to hold his peace. For it often happens, that our opposers and discouragers, afterwards become our friends, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes his enemies be at peace with him.” And it is to be wished, that all who have charged poor souls, that are crying after Jesus, to hold their peace, and to spare themselves, and not be righteous over-much, would imitate the people here, and encourage those they once persecuted and maligned. “They call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, ruse, he calleth thee.” The words, and manner of speaking them, implies haste, and a kind of solicitude for the blind man’s relief. O! that we might hereby learn to be patient and long-suffering, towards opposers. For it may be, that many may oppose awakened souls, not out of enmity, but through prejudice and misinformation, through ignorance and unbelief, and a real, though perhaps false, persuasion, that their relations are going in a wrong way. By and by they may be convinced, that Christ is indeed calling them, and then they may become real and open friends to the cause and work of God; if not, it is our duty to behave with meekness towards all, and not to render railing for railing, but contrary-wise blessing, knowing that we are thereunto called, that we may inherit a blessing; Jesus did not break out into harsh language against these opposers, neither did Bartimeus. “Our Lord stood still, and commanded him to be called; and they call the blind man; saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise, he calleth thee; and he, casting away his garment, rose and came to Jesus.” Had Bartimeus not been in earnest when he cried, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me,” he might have said, why do you mock me? why bid ye me arise; rise indeed I can, but after I am risen, how can I, being blind, find my way unto him? If he will come to me, it is well; if not, all you r calling availeth nothing, it being impossible for me to find my way. Thus thousands now-a-days object to evangelical preachers, saying, Why do you bid us come to, and believe on Jesus Christ, when you tell us it is impossible of ourselves to turn to God, or to do good works; and that no one can come unto him, unless the Father draw him. Is not this like the people’s calling upon Bartimeus, to arise and come to Jesus, when he could not possibly see his way before him? true, it is so; and would to God that all who make this objection, would imitate Bartimeus, and put forth the strength they have! What if we do call you to come, and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that you may be saved? Does this imply, that you have a power in yourselves to do so? No, in no wise, no more than Jesus saying unto Lazarus’ dead and stinking carcass, “Come forth,” implied, that Lazarus had a power to raise himself from the grave. We call to you, being commanded to preach the gospel to every creature, hoping and praying, that Christ’s power may accompany the word, and make it effectual to the quickening and raising of your dead souls. We also call to you to believe, upon the same account as Jesus said unto the lawyer, “do this, and thou shalt live;” that you seeing your utter inability to come, might thereby be convinced of your unbelief, and be led to ask for faith of him, whose gift it is, and who is therefore in scripture emphatically stiled the Author, as well as Finisher, of our faith. Add to this, that it is your duty to wait at the pool, or to make us of the strength you have, in the earnest and steady performance of all commanded duty. For though you cannot do what is spiritually good, because you want spiritual principles of action, yet ye may do what is morally and materially good, inasmuch as ye are reasonable creatures; and though doing your duty as you can, no ways deserves mercy, or entitles you to it, yet it is the way in which you are required to walk, and the way in which God us usually found. While you are attempting to stretch out your withered arm, peradventure it may be restored; and who knows but Jesus may work faith in you, by his almighty power?
Bartimeus has set before such objectors an example; O that they would once submit to be taught by a poor blind beggar! For he, casting away his garment, rose, and blind as he was, came to Jesus; “casting away his garment.” This seems to be a large coat or cloak, that he wore to screen himself from the rain and cold; undoubtedly, it was the most necessary and valuable vestment he had, and one would have thought, that he should have taken this along with him; but he knew very well, that if he did so, it might hang about his heels, and thereby his reaching Jesus be retarded at least, if not prevented entirely. Valuable therefore as it was to him, he cast it away. The word implies, that he threw it from off his shoulders, with great precipitancy and resolution, knowing that if he got a cure, which he now hoped for, by Christ’s calling him, he should never want his garment again. And thus will all do that are in earnest about coming to Jesus here, or seeing and enjoying him in his kingdom eternally hereafter. They will cut off a right hand, they will pluck out a right eye, they will leave father and mother, husband and wife, yes, and their own lives also, rather than not be his disciples. The apostle Paul, therefore, exhorts Christians, to “lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth most easily beset them,” or hand about their heels, as the word in the original imports; alluding to the custom of the Romans, who wore long garments. Such a one was this, which Bartimeus had wrapped round him. But he, to show that he sincerely desired to recover his sight, casting it away, arose and came to Jesus. And what treatment did Jesus give him? did he say, come not nigh me, thou impudent noisy beggar? No, “he answered and said unto him, What wilt thou, that I should do unto thee?” an odd question this, seemingly. For did not our Lord know what he wanted? Yes, he did; but the Lord Jesus dealt with him, as he deals with us. He will make us acknowledge our wants ourselves, that we thereby may confess our dependence upon him, and be made more sensible of the need we stand in, of his divine assistance. The blind man immediately replies, “Lord, (thereby intimating his belief of Christ’s divinity) that I might receive my sight.” Methinks, I see the poor creature listening to the voice of our Saviour, and with looks and gestures bespeaking the inward earnestness of his soul, he cries out, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” As though he had said, I believe thou are that Messiah who was to come into the world. I have heard of thy fame, O Jesus! And hearing the long-wished-for glad tidings of thy coming this way, I cry unto thee, asking not for silver and gold, but what thou, thou alone canst give me, Lord, that I might receive my sight. No sooner does he ask, but he receives. For, verse 52, “Jesus said unto him, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole; and immediately he received his sight.” With the word there went a power; and he that spake light out of darkness, saying, “Let there be light, and there was light,” commanded light into this poor blind beggar’s eyes, and behold there was light. The miracle was instantaneous; immediately he received his sight. And next to a miracle it was, that by breaking into open light all at once, he was not struck blind again: but he that gave the sight, preserved it when given. O! happy Bartimeus! Thy eyes are now opened, and the very first object thou dost behold, is the ever-loving, altogether-lovely Jesus. Methinks I see thee transported with wonder and admiration, and all the disciples, and the multitude, gazing around thee! And now, having received thy sight, why dost thou not obey the Lord’s command, and go thy way? Why doest thou not haste to fetch thy garment, that thou just now in a hurry didst cast away? No, no! with his bodily eyes, I believe he received also a fresh addition of spiritual sight, and though others saw no form or comeliness in the blessed Jesus, that they should desire him; yet he by an eye of faith discovered such transcendent excellencies in his royal person, and felt at the same time such a divine attraction towards his all-bountiful benefactor, that instead of going his way to fetch his garment, “he followed Jesus in the way;” and by his actions, says with faithful, honest-hearted Ruth, “entreat me not to leave thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people; and thy God, my God.” He followed Jesus in the way; the narrow way, the way of the cross; and I doubt not but long since he has followed him to his crown, and is at this time sitting with him at the right hand of his Father.
And now, my dear hearers, how find you your hearts affected at the relation of this notable miracle which Jesus wrought? Are you not ready to break out into the language of the song of Moses, and to say, “Who is like unto thee O Lord, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, continually doing wonders!” Marvellous are thy works, O Jesus, and that our souls know right well! But we must not stop here, in admiring what the Lord did for Bartimeus; this, no doubt, as well as other parts of Scripture, was written for our learning, upon whom the ends of the world are come; consequently, as was proposed in the —
Second place, we should see what spiritual improvement can be made of this history, upon which we have already been making some remarks.
A natural man, indeed, goes no further than the outward court of the Scripture, and reads this, and the other miracles of our blessed Saviour, just in the same manner as he reads Homer’s battles, or the exploits of Alexander. But God forbid, that we should rest in only hearing this matter of fact. For I tell thee, O man, I tell thee, O woman, whoever thou art, that sittest this day under a preached gospel, that if thou art in a natural state, thou art as blind in thy soul, as Bartimeus was in his body; a blind child of a blind father, even of thy father Adam, who lost his sight when he lost his innocence, and entailed his blindness, justly inflicted, upon thee, and me, and his whole posterity. Some think indeed, that thy see; but alas! such talk only like men in their sleep, like persons beside themselves; the scriptures every where represent fallen man, not only as spiritually blind, but dead also; and we no more know, by nature, savingly the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, than Bartimeus, when he was blind, knew the colours of the rainbow. This, I trust, some of you begin to feel, I see you concerned, I see you weeping, and, was I to ask some of you, what you want to have done unto you? I know your answer would be, that we may receive our sight. And God forbid, that I should charge you to hold your peace, as though Jesus would not regard you! No, your being made sensible of your natural blindness, and crying thus earnestly after Jesus, is a sign at least, that you are awakened by his holy Spirit (though it is possible, that you may cry with an exceeding bitter cry, as Esau did, and be lost at last); however, Christian charity induces me to believe and hope the best; I will therefore, in the language of those who afterwards encouraged Bartimeus, say unto you, Arise, take comfort for, I trust, Jesus is calling you; follow therefore the example of Bartimeus; cast away your garment; lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth most easily beset you, arise, and come to Jesus. He commands me, by his written word, to call to you, and say, “Come unto him, all ye that are weary, and heavy laden, and he will refresh you, he will give you rest.” Be not afraid, ye seek Jesus of Nazareth; behold, he comes forth to meet you; ye are now on the highway side, and Jesus, I trust, is passing by; I feel his presence, I hope many of you feel it too; O then, cry mightily to him, who is mighty and willing to save you; lay yourselves at the feet of sovereign grace, say unto him, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me,” in the same frame as Bartimeus did, and Jesus will answer you, he will not cast out your prayer; according to your faith, so shall it be done unto you. Blind as you are, you shall notwithstanding, receive your sight; Satan, indeed, and unbelief, will suggest many objections to you, your carnal relations will also join issue with them, and charge you to hold your peace; one will tell you, that your blindness is too inveterate to be cured; another, that it is too late; a third, that though Jesus can, yet he will not have mercy upon such poor, blind, despicable beggars, as ye are; but, the more they charge you to hold your peace, do you cry out so much the more a great deal, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on us.” Jesus, thou Saviour, thou friend of sinners, thou Son of David, and therefore a Son of man! Gracious words! Endearing appellations! Be encouraged by them, to draw nigh unto him. Though David’s Lord, yet he is become David’s Son, after the flesh, that ye through him may be made the sons of God: no matter what thou art, O woman, what thou art, O man; though thou art literally a poor beggar, think not thy condition too mean for Jesus to take notice of; he came into the highways and hedges, to call such poor beggars in; or, if you are rich, think not yourselves too high to stoop to Jesus; for his is the King of kings; and you never will be truly rich, until you are made rich in Jesus; fear not being despised, or losing a little worldly honour: one sight of Jesus will make amends for all: you will find something so inviting, so attracting, so satisfying, in the altogether lovely Lamb of God, that every sublunary enjoyment will sicken, and die, and vanish before you; and you will o more desire your former vain and trifling amusements, than Bartimeus, after he had received his sight, desired to go back again and fetch his garment. O that there may be many such blind beggars among you this day!
Here is a great multitude of people following me, a poor worm, this day. I rejoice to see the fields thus white, ready unto harvest, and to spread the gospel-net amidst so many; but alas! I shall return home with a heavy heart, unless some of you will arise and come to my Jesus; I desire to preach Him, and not myself; rest not in hearing and following me. Behold, believe on, and follow the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world. Indeed, I do not despair of any of you, neither am I discouraged, on account of my preaching in the highways and hedges; Jesus called Zaccheus; Jesus called Bartimeus, as he passed through Jericho; that cursed, that devoted place; and why may he not call some of you, out of these despised fields? Is his arm shortened, that he cannot save? Is he not as mighty now, and as willing to save, even to the uttermost, all that come to the father through him, as he was seventeen hundred years ago? Assuredly he is; he hath said, and he also will do it, “Whosoever cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” In no wise, or by no means. O encouraging words! Sinners, believe ye this? arise then, be of good comfort, for Jesus is indeed calling you. Some of you, I trust, have obeyed this invitation, and have had a sight of him long ago; I know then, you will bless and love him; and if he should say unto you, as he did unto Bartimeus, go you your way; your answer would be, we love our master, and will not go from him. But suffer ye the word of exhortation:
Suffer me to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, show that you have indeed seen him, and that you do indeed love him, by following him in the way; I mean, in the way of the cross, the way of his ordinances, and in the way of his holy commandments; for alas! the love of many waxeth cold, and few there are that follow Jesus rightly in the way; few there are that cast away their garments so heartily as they should; some idol or another hangs about us, and hinders us in running the race that is set before us. Awake therefore, ye sleepy, though, it may be, wise virgins. Awake, awake, put on strength; shake yourselves from the dust; arise and follow Jesus more closely in the way, than ever you did yet. Lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. Provide right paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but rather be ye healed. For though the way be narrow, yet it is not long; “though the gate be straight, (to use the words of pious bishop Beveridge) yet it opens into everlasting life.” O that ye may get a fresh sight of him again this day! That would be like oil to the wheels of your graces, and make your souls like the chariots of Aminadab. It is only owing to your losing sight of him, that you go so heavily from day to day. A sight of Jesus, like the sun rising in the morning, dispels the darkness and gloominess that lies upon the soul. Take therefore a fresh view of him, O believers, and never rest until you are translated to see him as he is, and to live with him for evermore, in the kingdom of heaven. Even so, Lord Jesus, Amen and Amen!