The man receives sight

The man receives sight

The Man Blind from his Birth.

(The Gospel History, Section 80)

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and anointed his eyes with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent). He went away therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which saw him aforetime, that he was a beggar, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Others said, It is he: others said, No, but he is like him. He said, I am he. They said therefore unto him, How then were thine eyes opened? He answered, The man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to Siloam, and wash: so I went away and washed, and I received sight. And they said unto him, Where is he? He saith, I know not.

They bring to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. Now it was the sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. And he said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Some therefore of the Pharisees said, This man is not from God, because he keepeth not the sabbath. But others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such signs? And there was a division among them. They say therefore unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, in that he opened thine eyes? And he said, He is a prophet. The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, and asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but how he now seeth, we know not; or who opened his eyes, we know not: ask him; he is of age; he shall speak for himself. These things said his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

The man receives sight

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book IV Poem LIV)

And as they spake, the blind man heard;
Thoughts unaccustomed rose and stirred
Within that darkened room, his mind;—
Of light, of work, of how to find
The Man who owned that gracious voice
Which moved him to make glad, rejoice
That, not for sin, his God had dealt
The misery he erst had felt
Shut him from out that smile of God
Which glorifies the very sod.

Now steps draw near; a tender touch
Falls upon him had suffered much;
A coolness laid on the poor eyes
Soothes him to peace; but, hark,—“Arise,
Go wash thee in Siloam’s pool.”
He dipped his face in waters cool;
The clay removed, he lifted eyes;
Beauty and light, supreme surprise,
Were for the man who had never seen:
For the first time, the leaves were green,
(How often had he felt their sheen!)
For the first time, the winds made play
With dancing shadows in the way:
The children gazed, and flitted by,—
At last he saw life’s pageantry
Who had sat as blindfold at a play,
Scarce heeding what the actors say.

As mother seeking child she’s lost,
Small heed had he for sights that crossed
His eyes, amazed: where then was He
Had taught his stone-blind eyes to see?
Scarce guided by his new found sense
He finds the temple; (how immense!)
There he the tones he knew might hear,
And see that Face had grown so dear
As imaged in his curtained mind;—
“O that I knew where I might find!”

The folk observed him seek about;
Some strangeness in him roused their doubt;
He went not with the accustomed ease,
Familiar, of the man who sees:
Neighbours were there who knew the man;
With eyes brought close his face to scan,—
“Sure this is he who begged for alms,
(Extracted oft from grudging palms!)”
“Nay, but that beggar’s image, he,”
Said others, “but this man can see.”
“I am the man,”—the beggar said;
And all the folk, astonishéd,
Cried, “Who hath ope’d thine eyes then, say,
That thou goest seeing on thy way?”
As one intones a holy song
Then took he up his tale—not long:—
“The man named Jesus, He made clay,
Anointed mine eyes, nor let me stay,
But bade me to Siloam go
And wash; I see;—no more I know.”
“Where is He?” cried the impatient crowd;
“I know not,” said the man aloud,
But cried he ever in his mind,—
“O that I knew where I might find!”

They bring him to the Pharisees—
This marvel, one born blind who sees;
Now it was on the Sabbath day
That Jesus, merciful, made clay;
“How gottest thou thy sight?” they cry;
“He put clay on mine eyes, and I
Washed, and do see.” “Who Sabbath keeps,
Nor any law of God o’erleaps,
He is of God;” these proud men cry;
“This Jesus doth His laws defy!”
But others, men of candid mind
Though strait by prejudice confined,
Said, “How may a man such marvel do
Except he doth God’s ways pursue?”
Disputings follow; they divide,
Some this and some the other side
Espousing in their heat;—“Let be,
What says yon blind man made to see?”
But long has he made up his mind,
Nor hesitates fit word to find:
“He is a prophet;” cried he, sure:
The Jews would not this word endure,
And reviled the man: then, “’Tis not true
That the man was born blind; go, you,
Find out his parents; they will tell.”
In panic came they, knowing well
The fate of them who opposed the Jews,—
Cast out of synagogue, who refuse
Agreement with the rulers. Fear
Gives counsel ere the two appear:
“He is our son and was born blind;
How sees he now, is to our mind
A mystery; but let him tell,
He is of age to answer well.”
So said the fearful parents, knowing
That to own Christ were their undoing.

St. John ix. 6–23.

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