Blind leading blind


C.H. Spurgeon

“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.” [Isaiah 42:16].

This promise is not made to every blind man, or to all sorts of blind people, for there are some blind people whom God does not lead. There is only a peculiar sort of blind people to whom this promise is given, that He will guide them and not forsake them.

If you go outside the Tabernacle, take the first turn on the left and walk down what is called the St. George’s Road till you come to the end, you may see asylums built for three sorts of blind people. On your right hand you will have the Blind School. That is for the physically blind—those who have lost the sight of these outward eyes. On the left hand you will see the Bethlehem Hospital. That is for the mentally blind, who have lost the inner sight and are in the more unhappy state of lunacy. Then straight before you, you will see the St. George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. That is for the spiritually blind, whose case is all the more pitiable, because these blind people have blind leaders, and their deluded souls are prescribed for by physicians who foster their delusions.

Now, the promise of Divine guidance is not addressed to any of these. It is not necessarily given to the physically blind, for, alas, some of them, in addition to their loss of natural sight, are without a sight of Christ. Nor is it given to the mentally blind, for some of them, before they lost their reason, had made ill use of it and had despised the Savior. Neither is it made to the spiritually blind, for strong delusion is upon them that they should believe a lie and, alas, they wander in the light as in the darkness, and grope like the blind at noonday.

There is, however, a fourth kind of blindness which you, who are genuine Christians, will attribute to yourselves. A painful experience has made it clear to you. The promise is made to the confessedly, the consciously blind—and I shall try to show that this fitly describes every Christian! Every Believer in Christ is a witness of that “judgement for which Christ came into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind” (John 9:39). It is to him and to such as him, that the Lord has said, “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not: I will lead them in paths that they have not known.”

Our first enquiry shall be, WHO ARE THEY? Who are these blind people? We have already said they are consciously blind people and they confess that they were once totally blind. Years gone by, before they knew the Savior, they knew nothing aright. Before the light from Heaven shone upon them they were in the gross darkness of their natural state. Now, it is not every man that knows that he is, by nature, in the dark—and when he does know it, he becomes one of the blind to whom the Lord makes this promise!

The Pharisees in Christ’s day were as blind as bats. But they said, “We see.” “Therefore,” said Christ, “your sin remains.” They were the very people whom it was hard to save because they were a seeing people in their own estimation. But the man who has been converted knows, now, that there was no light in him by nature, that he did not understand anything aright, that he put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, darkness for light, and light for darkness. He knows that in him—that is in his flesh—there was no good thing, but all manner of corruptions, tendencies towards evil, envy of mankind and hatred of God.

Soul, have you ever seen your own darkness? Have you ever seen that Nature’s light is nothing better than midnight? Have you ever been made to see that, as it were, through Adam’s Fall, you were plunged into the state of the blind and could not possibly find your way? Well, if you are of that sort, the promise is made to you! These blind people, knowing their infirmity and feeling their privation, recognize that what they thought was sight, before, was all delusion.

Ah, there was a time with me when I thought I was righteous. And as I looked upon myself I saw fair white linen upon my loins, but now I know that it was my blindness that made me think I was fully dressed when I was naked. I thought I had much goods and many treasures.

I used to go from case to case to inspect my jewels. I would gladly persuade myself that I was rich. But now I see that I was in the delirium of sin and, therefore, flattered myself that I was rich when I was poor. I thought then, too, that I was happy. There was a mirth and a frothy joy which I thought well worth the having. But now I call that joy, misery, which is sinful, and that mirth to be wretchedness, which is apart from God. Now our eyes are open to see that we did not see and to discover that it was all dark, and yet we thought it light! Phantoms passed before us—mere shapes of things that were not—but we counted these to be substantial realities.

Dear reader, have you discovered that those bright eyes of yours which you used to possess, which made you see such righteousness in yourself and such pleasure in sin, were, after all, blind eyes and that you did not see at all, but were duped and deluded, and under the witchcraft of Satan, fascinated by the world and beguiled by your own corrupt heart? Well, if it is so, you are one of those blind people who confess their blindness, to whom the promise is most graciously made. But I think I hear you say, “You are telling us rather of a blindness that we used to be afflicted with than of one from which we are now suffering.” Well, the figure will not run on all fours. We must use it, however, to set forth the present truth and this is as it ought to be used.

Surely, the description, “blind,” may well be applied to the Christian for this reason—that now he does not expect to see that upon which he builds his hope. All that he sees is nothing to him! That which is to him substantial and real is that which he believes. If you ask any Believer what he rests his hope upon, he will tell you that it is upon an unseen Christ, “whom having not seen we love.” He will tell you that there is a promise, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” And he has realized the sweetness of that word. He does not rest his confidence on a crucifix which he can see with his eyes, but on the Savior who is not here—for He is risen and ascended into Heaven! He does not rest upon a priest whose voice he can hear—a man like himself—his confidence is in another Priest who has gone within the veil and entered into Glory!

He depends no longer upon his own doings. These he can see, but what he sees of them makes him despondent. He dares not rest in his own works—he rests in the works of Another who has gone up to the Throne of God and carried a matchless righteousness into Jehovah’s Presence. He will tell you that he does not even depend upon his own feelings—he is very conscious that they are fickle—they change like the weather. As one day we have a little bright sunshine and, perhaps, in an hour we have a hailstorm, and by-and-by are brought back to the very cold of winter, so is it with our feelings.

Our experience is always varying and the man that knows himself aright dares not trust in his feelings, nor rely upon his experiences. No, he rests in the feelings of Him who sweat great drops of blood in the garden! His confidence is in the anguish of One who was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death, and not in his own anguish.

He rests in the death and resurrection—in the wounds and in the triumphs—not of himself in any respect, but of Christ whom, having not seen, he, nevertheless, trusts and relies upon! Oh, it is a blessed thing to be thus blind, so that you cannot see any good in yourself, cannot see any good upon which you could rest—cannot discover, even in God’s work apart from Christ—any foundation on which to build! You cannot find in Heaven or earth any prop and pillar for the soul, except Jesus Crucified. Ransack the universe and where others can see grounds of confidence these truly blind men are unable to see anything, and only say,

“These we count dross and dung that we may win Christ and be found in Him, not having our own righteousness which is of the Law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Oh, blessed blindness, never more to be able to see a solitary ray of hope except in Christ—never more to be able to find any confidence anywhere but in Him whom God the Father has set forth to be a Propitiation for sin, through faith in His precious blood!

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