The Blind Man Led by a Child

WE saw a tall, powerful, and well-built man frequently passing down a certain street, led by the hand of his little boy, a child of about six years of age. It was a most touching sight to witness the great man so docile and obedient to the touch of the little fingers, as day by day he was led forth to his work-so much strength, by loss of sight, seemingly lost, and made dependent upon weakness. It seemed, however, quite enough for the father that his strong hand was grasped by the little one; and he followed, apparently with the most implicit confidence, up one street and down another, willing to be led, helped and guided by the little hand lost in his own.
The source, however, of all this dependence and docility in which, through his child, he found guidance and safety, was to be traced to the fact that he was blind and knew it!
And in this blind man, and his docility of spirit, we have a striking illustration of the history and experience of many who, through the teaching of God's Spirit, have been guided to truth, certainty, and rest. There was a time in their spiritual history and experience when they were strong and robust intellectually, and very tall in their own estimation, especially in relation to what they believed to be true religion. With great contempt, they looked upon everyone's creed but their own as no creed. When lo, all at once and suddenly, as it seemed to us, we have seen such brought to a stand, and become glad to sit at the feet of some humble Christian of the very type most despised by them, and who, compared with them intellectually, was but a mere child. A striking fulfillment of the declaration, that "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.”
And how this is frequently brought to pass will be well illustrated by the experience of one whom we know, a very fair type of the proud and scornful skeptic just described. This young man happened to be passing through a certain street when his attention was arrested by some voices singing hymns. Partly from curiosity to see what was going on, and partly from a wish to find some fresh materials from the religion of the common herd, through which to exhibit his superior knowledge and destructive ridicule, he entered the building whence the singing issued. While in this spirit, expecting only to hear some worn-out, religious platitudes, illustrative of ignorance—to use some of his own phrases—God's own words, through the lips of the speaker (a poor and illiterate man), were brought home, in their true meaning to his understanding and his attention was riveted. He went out impressed with the nature of God's law and the evil of sin. He could not shake off the sense of personal guilt. His conscience troubled him. This anxiety of soul continued for some days in spite of all his skeptical reasoning, and issued at last through a deep sense of sin in the publican's prayer, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
In this state of mind, almost unconsciously, he turned into the same building again, and listened to the same preacher, whose theme was that of a full and free salvation for the guilty and the lost through the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The proud and educated despiser of the gospel of God's grace, perceiving now, through his wounded conscience, its divine adaptation to his condition as a sinner before God, was led joyfully to receive it in faith, and thus he found rest and peace with God. He was convinced of sin by the Spirit and word of God, and made willing and glad to receive the gospel of Christ from the lips of one whom he had despised.
Reader, are you despising the gospel of God's grace? Do not forget that God's message of mercy is still His, and that it is worthy of Himself, and of your reception through whatever medium it may reach you.
In this day, therefore, of intellectual activity, when hearing a preacher or reading a book, let not your first inquiry be, "Who is this who speaks or writes?" but, "What is communicated, and is it the Word of God?"—and that you may understand and receive, may He anoint your eyes by His Spirit, for God cannot give a book to supersede His own teachings and grace. Remember, too, that the gospel does not make its appeal to the abstract reason of man, but to his awakened conscience and sense of sin, and that a Saviour living and dying for sinners, even the worst, can only be understood and received by a broken-hearted sinner. If such be now your state, He bids you to renounce all hope in yourself: to look to Him and be saved. W. P. B.