John 9:4
While it is daytime, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
A Motive for DiligenceC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:4
All Must WorkC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:4
Christians Feel that They Must WorkC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:4
Day and NightD. Fraser, D. D.John 9:4
Definite WorkersC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:4
Diligence in the Work of ReligionR. South, D. D.John 9:4
Earnest Views of LifeA. Phelps, D. D.John 9:4
Life a Sphere of WorkH. W. Beecher.John 9:4
Lost OpportunitiesJohn 9:4
One Metaphor and Two MeaningsAlexander MaclarenJohn 9:4
Responsibility to GodH. O. Mackey.John 9:4
Signs of NightKnox Little.John 9:4
Soul Winning is Our WorkC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:4
The Benefit of WorkFamily ChurchmanJohn 9:4
The Brevity of LifeJohn PercivalJohn 9:4
The Day and its ToilW. A. Gray.John 9:4
The Day is for LaborJ.R. Thomson John 9:4
The Divine Dignity of WorkT. Guthrie, D. D.John 9:4
The Folly of DelayH. O. Mackey.John 9:4
The Inevitableness of DeathA. Maclaren, D. D.John 9:4
The Limits of OpportunityD. Young John 9:4
The Need of Preparation for DeathPonder and Pray.John 9:4
The Night ComethA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.John 9:4
The Night ComethS. S. TimesJohn 9:4
The SpurC. H. Spurgeon., H. W. Beecher.John 9:4
The Supreme Worker and His OpportunityGeorge Brown John 9:4
The Work of LifeJ. Bowers.John 9:4
The Work of LifeA. Jessop, D. D.John 9:4
The Works of GodF. B. Meyer, B. A.John 9:4
Time Cannot be Lengthened Out by ManJ. Abbott.John 9:4
To Every Man His WorkKnox Little.John 9:4
Two Ways of Lengthening LifeWhitecross.John 9:4
We Must Do God's WorkKnox Little.John 9:4
We Must Do Our Work PromptlyJohn 9:4
We Must not TrifleS. J. Moore.John 9:4
We Must Work with Our Whole HeartC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:4
WorkC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:4
Work is HealthfulJohn 9:4
Work While it is DayH. O. Mackey.John 9:4
Work While it is DayH. O. Mackey.John 9:4
Work, and Work RightlyJ. McConnell Hussey, D. D.John 9:4
The Blind Man and the Sight-Giving SaviorB. Thomas John 9:1-7
Characteristics of BlindnessM. G. Pearse.John 9:1-25
Characteristics of the MiracleBp. Ryle.John 9:1-25
Christ and the Blind ManDe Witt S. Clark.John 9:1-25
Christ and the Blind ManBoston HomiliesJohn 9:1-25
Christ's Sight of SinnersC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:1-25
Congenital BlindnessL. W. Bacon, D. D.John 9:1-25
General Remarks on the MiracleW. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 9:1-25
Instances of BlindnessJohn 9:1-25
Jesus and the Blind ManS. S. TimesJohn 9:1-25
Jesus and the Blind ManSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 9:1-25
Miracle AuthenticatedJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.John 9:1-25
Opening the Eyes of One Blind from His BirthJohn 9:1-25
Spiritual BlindnessJohn 9:1-25
The Compassion of ChristJ. Trapp.John 9:1-25
The Healing of the Man Born BlindW. Kirkman.John 9:1-25
The History of the Man Who was Born BlindJ. P. Lange, D. D.John 9:1-25
The Light of the WorldChristian AgeJohn 9:1-25
The Opening of the Eyes of a Man Born BlindW. M. Taylor.John 9:1-25
The Saviour and the SuffererJ. L. Hurlbut.John 9:1-25
Types of Character in Relation to ChristD. Thomas D. D.John 9:1-25
The Passage of a Soul from Darkness into LightJ.R. Thomson John 9:1-41
Blindness a Talent to be Used for God's GloryJohn 9:2-8
Blindness Leading to Spiritual SightJohn 9:2-8
Blindness not JudgmentJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.John 9:2-8
Christ and the Blind ManHistory, Prophecy, and GospelJohn 9:2-8
Christ's Explanation of SufferingC. Vince.John 9:2-8
Explanations of the Disciples' QuestionBishop Ryle.John 9:2-8
Origin of EvilR. Cecil, M. A.John 9:2-8
Our Proper Attitude Towards MysteriesT. Arnold, D. D.John 9:2-8
Suffering: its Causes and PrivilegesJ. W. Diggle, M. A.John 9:2-8
The Blind Man's Eyes Opened; Or, Practical ChristianityC. H. Spurgeon.John 9:2-8
The Purpose of Chronic SufferingC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 9:2-8
What the Master and What the Disciples SawM. G. Pearse.John 9:2-8

Very instructive and very encouraging is the way in which, in this passage, our Divine Lord associates his people with himself. In assuming our nature he accepted the ordinary conditions of our life, its duties and its limitations. Generally speaking, what no man could do he would not do; what all men must submit to he would submit to also. Neither then nor now is he ashamed to call us brethren. As Son of man, he partakes both our nature and our lot. His Spirit and his language assure us of this. Accordingly, his experience is not merely something for us to admire; it is for us so to ponder that we may share it. He partakes our conflict that we may partake his victory. In the words of the text these principles are made manifest, in their application to the "work" which gives meaning to human life.

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE EARTHLY SERVICE. The works themselves to which Jesus here referred were special. By "works" he undoubtedly intended miracles, signs, wonders - such deeds of power and mercy as that which the condition of the blind man suggested that he should perform for his benefit. But our Lord often spoke of his "work" in a more general sense; and even here there is nothing exclusive of his spiritual ministry, to which this language certainly applies. This saying of Jesus casts light upon the character of the earthly service rendered by himself, and required of all his faithful disciples and followers.

1. Diligence is characteristic both of the Master and of his servants. No reader of the Gospels can fail to be impressed with the laboriousness of Christ's public life. There were times when he had no leisure even to eat; there never was a time when he neglected an opportunity of benevolence. Whether in teaching or in healing he was ever occupied, and occupied for purposes unselfish and brotherly.

2. His works were the proof of his obedience. Our Lord evidently lived a life of devotion to the Father who "sent" him. He did not his own will, but the Father's. It was his meat to do the will of him who sent him, and to finish his work. His advent, his ministry, his death, were all proofs of his obedience. Though a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. How much more must subjection to the Father's will befit us, who are the creatures of his power, the subjects of his dominion! It gives dignity to our life to feel that we too are sent into the world by God - that we are his messengers, his servants, his children, bound to do his behests, and to live as accountable to him.

3. Obligation characterizes all true service. Even the Son of God could say, "I must." On his part there was no compulsion. He of his own accord undertook a life of consecration and self-denial. What he did he "must needs" do, for the fulfillment of the Divine purposes, for the satisfaction of the benevolent yearnings of his own heart, and for the salvation of mankind. In our case there is a stringent moral obligation to serve God. As creatures, we are bound to obey a righteous Maker; as redeemed, emancipated freedmen, we are bound to glorify a Divine Deliverer. We are not our own. The duty that binds us to service is indeed a duty sweetened by grateful love, but a duty it cannot cease to be.

II. THE LIMITATION OF THE EARTHLY SERVICE. Our Lord condescended to accept the natural limits of human life. The day is for labor. Christ's day was from the dawn at Bethlehem to the evening on Olivet. There are those of his followers whose day is even shorter than his. There are many whose day is far longer. But in the case of every one of us there are limits which we cannot pass over. There are the "twelve hours" of the day, to which we cannot add. From this language we learn that the day, the period for our work on earth, is:

1. A prescribed, unalterable period. We cannot add a cubit to our stature, a year to our life. There is "an appointed time" for man upon earth.

2. A period during which the light still shines upon our path. If a man walk in the day he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of the world. Christians are favored with the light of revelation - with the light of the Spirit given during the gospel dispensation. It is for them to walk and to work while the daylight lasts.

3. A period during which strength is unspent. The laborer toils until the lengthening shadows tell him that the day's work is approaching the close. He needs repose with evening, but until the evening his vigor enables him to continue his efforts. Whilst the Christian lives, God gives him power to serve. God is not a hard Taskmaster; his demands do not exceed his gifts. The voice from eternity that speaks with authority bids us "work while it is day."

III. THE SPECIAL MOTIVE TO THE EARTHLY SERVICE. "The night cometh, when no man can work." There has never been spoken by human lips anything more solemn, and at the same time more precious, than this. We all, when we think upon the matter, feel this declaration to be so indisputably true. Yet we are all prone to overlook, sometimes almost anxious to forget it.

1. Consider this reflection as bearing upon Christ himself. He knew that the end of his earthly life and ministry was near. But he knew also that much remained for him yet to do and to suffer. There was a work for him to accomplish whilst he was still in this world - a work which he must accomplish within the swiftly closing day, or not at all. His advanced and final lessons to his disciples, his last assertions of supernatural power, his crowning revelation of majestic meekness and patience, his mysterious sufferings, - these all had to be crowded into his last brief days. The cup had yet to be drained, the cross had yet to be borne. All must be finished before the twilight deepened into darkness. For the Father had given him all this to do; and he would leave undone nothing-that he had undertaken.

2. How powerfully does this reflection bear upon our own moral life! Every one of us who is alive to the real meaning of his existence, must feel, and does feel, that this short day of life is given us, not for pleasure, but for progress; not for ease, but for toil. If, through weakness and temptation, this feeling sometimes fails us, there is one effectual method of reviving it. "The night cometh!" Venit nox! There is much to be done that must be done before the sunset of life's day, if it is not to remain undone forever. Here or nowhere; now or never! That the future life will be a scene of service is not to be doubted. But earthly service must be rendered upon earth. Here the gospel must be embraced; here the new birth to spiritual realities must commence the life that is Divine. Now is the day of salvation. The earthly service must be rendered in this life. The voice comes, "Go, work today in my vineyard." Neglect or refuse to obey that summons, and that piece of work will remain undone. Yet the time is very short, and night is very near. Labor, before the hand be palsied. Give, before the substance be beyond control. Speak, before the tongue be forever silent. Do all as looking forward, onward, to the end.

APPLICATION. Let the laborious remember that not all labor is wise and blessed. Work for self, and such work will be consumed in the fire that shall try all things. But work for God shall stand; no power can destroy it. Let the indolent remember that time unredeemed can only witness against them at the last. Let the young remember that, if a lengthened day be given them, the greater will be their responsibility and the larger their opportunity of commending themselves as faithful laborers to the just and gracious Master. Let the aged remember that, near as is night for them, they have a witness yet to bear, and a memory of inspiration to leave behind. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." - T.

I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day.
To speak of life and death as day and night is so natural that one does not think of it as a metaphor. Every man has his day. One longer, another shorter; one bright, another shaded and even stormy. Then night falls perhaps suddenly, as in the tropics, where there is no twilight; perhaps with a gentle descent as in the north or south.

I. THE BREVITY OF THE DAY. Christ would impress us with the value of time and opportunity and to lay out our short day to good account. How brief His was, yet in calm trust He worked on and found it long enough in which to finish His work; and the Jews with all their craft could not shorten it by one hour.

II. THE WORK OF THE DAY. Christ's was to open the blind man's eyes. In this we can. not follow Him, but in the general direction and use of life we must.

1. We must work in order to live. Idlers are few, and are not to be envied. Jesus did not claim exemption from this rule. In his obscurity at Nazareth He earned the plain bread of a carpenter's table, and afterwards only accepted the ministrations of others as a recognition of His public work. Thus He would have us industrious in our daily callings.

2. Our first work is to believe on Him (John 6:28, 29). This excludes working for justification. Our good works can. not obliterate our misdeeds. Divine grace is our only refuge. Yet this must not be turned into a bed of sloth. The law said — Do and live! The gospel says — Live and do!

3. There is the obligation to do good unto all men, etc. The care of our own spiritual life is apt to become morbid unless accompanied by unselfish exertion for others.

III. FOR ALL THERE IS BUT A DAY. The time is long enough for the work but too short to allow trifling. It is well when men begin early. Alas, some are no more than morning Christians. They promise well in childhood, but as morning passes on to noon they fall away (Hosea 6:4). Others postpone their religion till the evening. This is to run a dreadful risk, for the night may come suddenly; and even if they do find time it is a poor homage to God to offer the dregs of life.

IV. DAY IS FOLLOWED BY NIGHT. In western countries, through the exigencies of trade, night is often turned into day. But in the East when the sun goes down work closes (Psalm 104:20-28). Here part of the thought is that rest follows toil. How welcome is night to those who have spent a long and busy day, when "He gives His beloved sleep." But this night is brief and is only a prelude to the eternal morning.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

1. The works of God mean(1) such as are God appointed. Christ wrought as one in possession of a chart, each hour charged with its special commission. Hence the speed and certainty with which each work was done. Amidst all the multiplicity of His activities He never hesitates, recalls a step, or regrets it, "Faithful to Him that appointed Him," during these long years of self-repression at Nazareth, and up to the time when He died at the moment the Father had appointed.(2) Such as are God revealing. There is not an act that is not in some way reflective of God or contributive to our knowledge of God, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," and every relation and step adds its own special touch to the picture. His miracles of mercy tell something of the Father's love; His miracles of judgment of the Father's wrath. The Cross discloses every attribute of the Father at once.

2. Making allowance for the difference of power and vocation, the works of the servant should possess the same two-fold character as those of the master. Here we have the Christian theory of work. Much is said about work now-a-days. But work for work's sake is a doubtful evangel to preach. Inactivity has its sins, but so has work. Some work till they are carnalised. Wrong work may be done, and right work wrongly. Let us illustrate the rule as it runs through a three-fold relationship.(1) Toward the world our work should be —(a) God assigned. Our daily callings, however worldly or menial, can be conscientiously regarded as the appointment of God. But here inclination, parental wishes, advantageous prospects, etc. often hold sway. There are few things more critical than the choice of a profession, and one may miss one's way grievously. But let us feel "This is the task appointed me," and then we may regard it as sacred, and among the works of Him who hath sent us.(b) God revealing. Your faithfulness will be a miniature of Him who is faithful in all things; your punctuality will be God-like because a reflection of Him who is true to His promises; your patience under business provocations will resemble His longsuffering, who is slow to wrath; your conscientiousness will be the reflection of Him who never begins but He finishes. Nor will any vocation be too mean for this. from the statesman down to the shop lad the principle is the same.(2) Towards the Church. Our works —(a) Must be God appointed. "But," some say, "I have no special sphere in the Church. Beyond the fact that I avail myself of its privileges Church life has no interest for me. What was assigned to me as my work I found unsuitable or too taxing." The excuse will hardly pass muster. Christ "is as one taking a far journey, and left His house, and gave every man his work." That house is the Church. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a husbandman who went hire labourers for his vineyard." That vineyard is the Church; and it can scarcely be argued that they who enjoy the shelter of the one and the fruits of the other can absolve themselves from the duty of serving in them. More generous and consistent is the spirit which says, "Give me some door to keep, some plot to till. Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"(b) When once we feel our work God appointed we shall try to make it God revealing in its thoroughness, for the God we represent is a God of order; in its perseverance because we testify to a God who faints not, neither is weary; in its humility, not losing interest in a work because others are preferred in it, realizing that I bear witness to a God who "humbled Himself."(3) Towards your personal life and the care and culture it demands. Preeminently is this task the appointment of God, for His will concerning us is our sanctification: and preeminently, too, is the task a revelation of God "for herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."

II. THE MOTIVE. If Christ kept before Him a coming night much more should we. For Christ knew the length of His day, and could have told how many hours were left, but we are ignorant here. We know what lies behind, and how we have cheated ourselves with purposes and dreamings, but we cannot cheat time. With some the freshness and dew of the morning have given place to the burden and dust of the mid-day; with some that is succeeded by a grey and monotonous afternoon; while others are passing on amidst the frosts and dreariness of the fast falling twilight. And the thought may never have been faced, yet "the night is coming to me." What shall we say to these things? "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do," etc.

(W. A. Gray.)

A speculative question was put to Christ, and this is His answer, "You may think, talk, argue, I must work." The Saviour has a greater respect for work than for speculation.

I. A NECESSITY TO LABOUR. With Christ it was not "I may if I will," "I can if I like," but "I must." The cords which bound Him, however, were the cords of duty — the cords of love bound Him who is love.

1. It was because He loved them so well that He could not sit down still and see them perish.

2. The sorrow without compelled Him. That blind man had touched the secret chord that set His soul on work.

3. He had come into this world with an aim that was not to be achieved without work; and therefore He must work because He desired to achieve His end. The salvation of the many the Father had given Him; the finding of the lost sheep, etc. — He must accomplish all this.

4. Do we feel that we must work?

(1)There are those who feel that they must be fed.

(2)There are others who feel that they must find fault.

(3)Others who will dodge anyhow to get off any task. Do be a Christian or else give up being called one!

(4)But some must work. Why? To be saved? No; but because they are saved and Christ's love constrains them to save others.

II. A SPECIALITY OF WORK. There are plenty who say, "I must work" to get rich, to support a family, to become famous. Christ did not pick or choose. He worked the "works," not some but all, whether of drudgery or honour, suffering or relief from suffering, prayer or preaching. It is easy to work our own works, even in spiritual things, but difficult to be brought to this "I must work," etc. Many think it their business to preach who had much better hear a little longer. Others think their work the headship of a class, whereas they would be useful in giving away tracts. Our prayer should be, "Show me in particular what Thou wouldst have me to do." All Christians have not yet learned that each is personally to do the will of Him that sent him. We cannot work by proxy.

III. A LIMITATION OF TIME. Christ the immortal says this. If anyone could have postponed work it was He. Work —

1. While it is day to you. Some days are very short. Young brother or sister, your sun may go down ere it reaches noon. Mother, if you knew you had only another month, how you would pray with your children! So Sunday school teacher.

2. While it is day with the objects of your care. You will not have the opportunity of speaking to some in London tomorrow, for they will die tonight. With some their "day" is brief although they may live long; it is only the one occasion when they go to a place of worship, when there is sickness in the house and the missionary enters, when a Christian comes across their path.

IV. A REMEMBRANCER OF OUR MORTALITY. "The night cometh." You cannot put it off, however much you may dread it. It comes for the pastor, missionary, father, mother, etc. The warrior who loses a battle may yet live to win the campaign; the bankrupt may yet be rich; but if you lose the battle of life you shall never have it to fight again, and bankruptcy in spiritual service is bankruptcy forever.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Note —


1. Negatively: Not —



(3)learning — however important these may be relatively.

2. Positively: to "work out our own salvation," etc. This as a work —

(1)Of repentance;

(2)of faith;

(3)of obedience.

3. Without Christ in this great work we can do nothing; but His grace is sufficient for us.


1. The day of youth.

2. The day of health.

3. The day of religious opportunity.

4. The day of spiritual influence.


1. Of affliction.

2. Of religious abandonment.

3. Of death — "when no man can work."

(J. Bowers.)

It is not enough to work, we must work in the right way. To do this —

I. WE MUST BE PREPARED FOR THE WORK, and since it is Divine, by God Himself. It is not by might nor by power, physical or intellectual. There is no tendency in the unconverted to seek the Father's glory, and therefore we must be regenerated by the Spirit. Excitement may press us into the field, an anxious feeling may give us a momentary energy, but a few cold blasts from the world, and a little of the irksomeness of the task will soon extinguish the flame and drive us from the field.

II. WE MUST WORK WITH ALL OUR HEART. God's demand is not "Give me thy body or thine intellect" but "thy heart." Half-heartedness in His cause is an abomination in His sight. God will not have a man swing between the world and Himself, halting between two opinions. And surely the character of the Master, the nature of the work and its reward, are enough to engage the energies of the whole soul.

III. WE MUST WORK EXPECTING SUCCESS. We are not to imagine that we embark on an impossibility; if we do we shall lose nerve and fail in application. We must be buoyed up by the conviction that God will bless us in our labour of love. This He pledges Himself to do, and this should stimulate us, especially when we remember that success means the salvation of souls, and that God has granted this to other labourers.

IV. WE MUST WORK AND NOT BE ASHAMED OF IT. There is a good deal of cowardice in religious work which contrasts strangely with the courage we display in business, etc. And yet if manliness be demanded in anything it is in this. We are to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, witnesses for God, and are to act in capacities where boldness is the one thing needful. And what is there to be ashamed of? — the Master? the work? the fellow workmen? the reward? Remember —

1. The object you have in view. Would you be ashamed to awaken the sleeper in the burning house, to cry to the foundering sailor to grasp the rope?

2. That if you are ashamed of Christ here, He will be ashamed of you at the Judgment.

V. WE MUST WORK THOUGH WE SEE NO PROSPECT OF SUCCESS. Duty is ours, results are God's. But we have room for encouragement, for the unlikeliest field has often become the most prolific. Remember Mary Magdalene, the dying thief, Saul of Tarsus. But, whatever the likelihood or otherwise of success, we must work. We must realize that we are our brother's keeper, and not wait to inquire about his characteristics, but acquaint him with his want and bring the supply. If he rejects it that is his responsibility, not ours.


1. Because the adversary is active.

2. Because our time is drawing to a close.

(J. McConnell Hussey, D. D.)

Like Jesus —

I. WE HAVE EACH OUR MISSION. We are Divinely sent. It is by no act of ours that we are here, by no migration from a pre-existent life, still less did we construct this abode of ours. Yet here we are on the theatre of this particular world, and as its lords to replenish and subdue it, but confined to it. Whence have we this range, so large and yet so defined? Because we have a definite mission, which missed or marred, the result is tragic.

II. WE HAVE EACH A PRACTICAL MISSION. We are sent to "work." There are some nobles who are sent on mere missions of pageantry or pleasure; one as ambassador, to gratify at some refined court his taste for music and the fine arts. Another, fond of travel, contrives in this way to see classic or romantic lands. But man's mission from the King of kings is sternly practical. Had he kept his first estate it would have been so, for work is Divine and older than the fall. All legitimate work is —

1. Productive. Other is not so — the thief, e.g., the marauding conqueror, the publican. But the mechanic, merchant, explorer, etc., are productive, whether of food, comforts, wealth, or knowledge, which is power.

2. Ennobling, directly contributing to the decencies and moralities of life as may be seen when we contrast the condition of the poorest in this city with that of the savage. The Jews had an excellent proverb: "He that has not learned to work, is brother to him that is a thief." From this let every man learn to honour productive and useful work wherever found. Let not the operative refuse the name of workman to the thinker, because the fabric of his thoughts cannot be seen; for our manufactures, buildings, machines are but the vesture of previous thought. And let not the non-manual class look down on the brawny arm and horny hand! for they are the solid basis of the social pyramid.


1. Our daily callings, if they are honest and honourable, and done inside our Father's vineyard, and for Him, and not outside the sacred ground as done for man merely or self. "I have not time to serve God" was once said to an evangelist. "God wants no more of your time than you give to the devil," was the reply.

2. The more special works God has laid upon us in the culture of personal religion and in the works of philanthropy. We need but read the context to find out what works Christ meant, such works as are grouped in the formula, "He went about doing good."

3. The bulk of these works is individually not great but little. The entire pyramid of human progress is made up of littles. The vast ocean is made up of drops, and the great globe of atoms; and just so in the intellectual, moral, and spiritual world life is made up of little duties. Great and brilliant services are possible only to a few, and in rare emergencies, and weighed against the ordinary, they are but of small account. What keeps the world moving is not the great deeds of kings, conquerors, etc., but the brave, patient, prayerful work of fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, etc.

4. In order to these little works being good works there is a previous work, viz., believing in Jesus and being reconciled to God.


1. Beware of the many things that seek to rob us of one day.

2. Time lost can never be retrieved.

3. Time is inestimably precious for all our interests, but infinitely more as involving our eternity.

4. Flee to Jesus without delay, for "now is the accepted time," etc.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Family Churchman.
In seeking others' good we achieve good ourselves. I know of no way to get rid of a good deal of the prevalent dulness and drowsiness and spiritual ennui with which many Christians are afflicted than by shaking it off like cobwebs and going to work. Work is the pre-requisite of growth, and exercise of health and development. When good people tell me about being in a saddened condition, and confess to spiritual stagnation, it does not seem wonderful at all. The man who does not work has no right to expect anything but distrust, dissatisfaction, and ultimate degradation, and he will get it. For any Christian man to suppose that he is simply a sanctified sponge, to continuously absorb the light and life of others and grow, is sheer nonsense. He will by and by rot! He will not be able to keep even with salt. If you would be healthily developed, work. If there is a single organ in the body that is weak, use it well, and strength will come to it. So with regard to your spiritual life. There is no such beneficent arrangement for spiritual growth, like the effort to prove a blessing to mankind.

(Family Churchman.)

I. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER SENT US INTO THIS WORLD TO DO HIS WORK AND TO LIVE FOR HIS GLORY. We are bidden to "replenish the earth and subdue it"; fill it, that is, with all things right and good, and bound to do our best to make ourselves and all men more like the true image of the Holy God, and to leave the world better than we found it.

II. OUR LIFE ON EARTH IS AS A DAY, AND NO MORE THAN A DAY. It has its morning, for preparation; its sunny hours, for labour; its evening, for meditation; and then the night cometh, when all is over. Life is but as a day; no more. Wherefore it is folly and madness to indulge ourselves in the fancy that we have time to loiter, a time to be idle. No. The longest day is short enough for all that a wise man wishes to put into it; and the longest life is not too long to spend in the earnest seeking after God. For the soul of man is like some primeval forest, which contains in itself a glorious fertility, and an almost boundless capacity for bearing fruitful harvests for the careful tiller of the soil; but until it is tilled and tended, it is but the haunt of wild beasts — it is but a rank, dark, silent, wilderness, where the ranker and more noxious the weed, the stronger and ruder is its growth; but if the brave husbandman begins to labour, if the sun of heaven shines through the sullen gloom, and the winds of God blow softly through the branches, and the watchful eye seeks out the poisonous plants, and the careful hand fosters the fruitful soil, then, by and by, but only after a long time of travail, the wilderness and the solitary place will be glad, and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose.

(A. Jessop, D. D.)

Christian earnestness has for its elements —

I. A CONSCIENTIOUS ESTIMATE OF THE WORTH OF TIME. Life is not a day too long. Go into the Mint, and you will find the gold room constructed with double floors. The upper one acts like a sieve, and the lower one catches and retains the infinitesimal particles of gold which are sifted through. Every human life needs some such contrivance for the economy of fragments of time. Lord Nelson said: "I have always been fifteen minutes before the time, and it has made a man of me." Napoleon said: "Remember, that every lost moment is a chance of future misfortune." Sir Walter Scott, when asked what was the secret of the marvellous fertility of his pen, replied: "I have always made it a rule never to be doing nothing." An intruder upon the morning study hours of Baxter apologized: "Perhaps I interrupt you." Baxter answered rudely, but honestly: "To be sure you do." The spirit of such men, refined by Christian culture, is the spirit with which, in the Christian view of life, time is to be valued. Every life is made of moments; a kingdom could not purchase one of them. An earnest man will often reckon time as if he were on a death bed. There are hours in every man's life in which the tick of a watch is more thrilling to an earnest spirit than the roll of thunder. There come moments in which the beat of a pulse is more awful than the roar of Niagara.

II. ABSTINENCE FROM FRIVOLITY OF SPEECH. Do we adequately revere the sacredness of language? All nations have a tradition that it came down from heaven. We all have respect for a man of reticent speech. If a man talks twaddle, there is more hope of a fool than of him. The Scriptures pronounce him a great man who can rule his own spirit; but the chief element in that power is the power to govern his tongue. Many times one word has saved life. Peace and war between rival nations have often trembled in scales which the utterance of one word has decided. A certain man attributed his salvation to one word in a sermon preached by Whitefield. "A word spoken in season, how good is it!" There are men who specially need to correct the overgrowth of risibility in their habits. They make a pet of frivolous speech. There are men whose reputation for levity was so great that their very rising in a public assembly set going a ripple of laughter before they had opened their lips. There are worse things in the world than a laugh, but no earnest man will make a business of it. Men of frivolous tongue are apt to have a frisky intellect. That is worse than St. Vitus's dance. A certain nervous disease relaxes the risible muscles from control, and gives to the countenance the smile of idiocy. So are there certain minds which by habitual levity of tongue become morally idiotic. They cannot think intensely, nor feel profoundly. In God's estimate of things, what must be the verdict when such a debilitated mind is weighed in the balances! What must be the ending of such an impoverished and wasted life? "The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips."

III. THE CONSECRATION OF LIFE TO GREAT DESIGNS. Aurungzebe, an Indian prince, had lived, as other Oriental monarchs do, in selfish and sensual indulgences. In a farewell letter to his son he says: "I came a stranger into the world, and a stranger I go out of it. I know nothing about myself, what I am or what is my destiny. My life has been passed vainly, and now the breath which rose is gone, and has left not even a hope behind." This is in every respect just what the Christian idea of life is not. A Christian life in its true conception is a great and a good one. It is devoted to objects worthy of a man. Dr. Arnold expresses it in brief when he says: "I feel more and more the need of intercourse with men who take life in earnest. It is painful to me to be always on the surface of things. Not that I wish for much of what is called religious conversation. That is often apt to be on the surface. But I want a sign which one catches by a sort of masonry, that a man knows what he is about in life. When I find this, it opens my heart with as fresh a sympathy as when I was twenty years younger." One of the merchant princes of Philadelphia made it a rule to build at his own cost one church every year. When he began his career he was a mechanic, engaged in making trinkets. But one day the thought came to him: "This is a small business; I am manufacturing little things, and things useless to the world." It was no sin, but it did not seem to him a man's work. It made him restless till he changed his trade, and became as expert in the manufacture of locomotives as he had been before in that of earrings and gewgaws. The Christian spirit in the very germ of it is essentially a great spirit, an ambitious spirit, which is not content till it identifies life with great and commanding objects. It puts into a man the will to do, and so develops in him the power to do grand things, in which the doing shall be as grand as the thing done. Christianity has bestowed on the world a magnificent gift in the single principle of the dignity of labour. It is a sublime thing to work for one's living. To do well the thing a man is created for is a splendid achievement. A rich fool once said to a rising lawyer: "I remember the time when you had to black my father's boots, sir." "Did I not do them well?" was the reply, and it spoke inborn greatness. Our Lord disclosed the same spirit when in His early boyhood He said: "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Every Christian young man has his Father's business to attend to, and he is not a full-grown man till he gets about it.

IV. THE RESOLVE TO GIVE LIFE TO THE SAME OBJECTS FOR WHICH CHRIST LIVED. Trades and professions, and recreations even, can be made Christ-like. He was a mistaken and untrained Christian who gave up a large practice at the bar, because, he said, a man could not be a Christian lawyer. A man can be a Christian in anything that is necessary to the welfare of mankind. Everything in this world belongs to Christ, and can be used for Him. One of the humblest of the mechanical trades has been glorified by the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter. Making money is a Christian thing, if a man will do it in Christian ways. If it is some men's duty to be poor, it is other men's duty to be rich. Both should identify life with Christ's life. This was Paul's ambition: "To me to live is Christ." Let a man once get thoroughly wrought into and through his whole being the fact that this world is to be converted to Jesus Christ, and that his own business here is to work into line with God's enterprize in this thing, and he cannot help realizing in his own person the Christian theory of living. He will meditate on it, he will study it, he will inform himself about it, he will talk of it, he will work for it, he will dream of it, he will give his money to it, if need be he will suffer for it and die for it. Such a life of active thoughtful sympathy with Christ will make a man of anybody. No matter who or what he is, no matter how poor, how ignorant, how small in the world's esteem, such a life will make him a great man. Angels will respect him. God will own him.

(A. Phelps, D. D.)

An eminent divine suffering from a chronic disease, consulted three physicians, who declared, on being questioned by the sick man, that his disease would be followed by death in a shorter or longer time, according to the manner in which he lived; but they unanimously advised him to give up his office, because, in his situation, mental agitation would be fatal to him. "If I give myself to repose," inquired the divine, "how long will you guarantee my life?" "Six years," answered the doctors. "And if I should continue in office?" "Three years at most." "Thank you, gentlemen," he replied; "I should prefer living two or three years in doing some good to living six in idleness."



1. He takes His own share in the work, "I." How encouraging! It is enough for the general if he directs the battle, but Jesus fought in the ranks. As the great Architect He supervises all, yet He helps to build the Spiritual Temple with His own hands. It made Alexander's soldiers valiant, because, when they were wearied with long marches, he dismounted and walked with them; and if a river had to be crossed in the teeth of opposition, foremost amidst all the risk was the general.

2. He laid great stress on the gracious work which was laid upon Him. There were some things He would not do — dividing inheritances, etc. But when it came to the work of blessing souls, this He must do, and He did it with all His might. The unity of His purpose was never broken.

3. He rightly describes this work as the work of God. If ever there was one who might have taken the honour to himself it was Jesus; yet He ever says, "The Father doeth the works." He sets us the example of confessing that whatever we do God does it and should have the glory.

4. He owned His true position. He had not come forth on His own account. He was not here as a principal, but as a subordinate, an ambassador sent by the king. God gave Him a commission and the grace to carry it out.

5. He threw a hearty earnestness into the work He undertook. Though sent, the commission was so genial to His nature that He worked with all the alacrity of a volunteer. He was commissioned, but His own will was the main compulsion.

6. He clearly saw that there was a fitting time to work, and that this time would have an end. He called his lifetime a day: to show us that He was impressed with the shortness of it. Thou hast but a day — youth is the morning, manhood the noon, old age the evening. Be up and doing, for beyond that is night. But as with Christ, so with us. We cannot die till our day is over.


1. On us there rests personal obligation. We are in danger of losing ourselves in societies and associations. The old histories are rich in records of personal daring. There is little of that now because fighting is done so much by masses and machinery. So our Christian work is in danger of getting mechanical, so much en masse that there is barely room for singular deeds of valour. Yet the success of the Church will lie in this last. Each man should feel "I have something to do for Christ which an angel could not do for me."

2. Our personal obligation compels us to just such work as Christ did. We are not called meritoriously to save souls, for He is the only Saviour, but we are called to enlighten them. This work must be done, whatever else is left undone. And how paltry is every other gain compared with that of a saved soul! We have our secular callings and ought to have them, but we have a high calling of God in Christ, and while other things may be this must be.

3. It is God's work we are called upon to do. What greater motive can we have than to have a Divine work and Divine strength to do it? Your mission is not less honourable than that of angels, and how blessed it is! How desperate the case of those we are sent to save, and how short the time in which to save them!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The night cometh when no man can work. — Although our Lord's ministry began late, it was marked by incessant activity. His disciples marvelled at it, and Be accounts for it by the fact that He had much to do and but little time to do it in. This declaration is worth attention. It is not wise to dwell in a cold sense of death. Dying need not be gloomy; but life has a certain duration, and there is allotted to every man a certain round of duties; and as in a journey a man divides the distance into stages according to the time he has to accomplish it, so a man ought to look forward to death in order to accomplish in life the things that are to be done. The husbandman says, "If my ground does not receive the seed early in the spring, I shall have no harvest in the autumn. I know the measure of the summer and labour accordingly."

I. I address THOSE WHO LIVE AIMLESS LIVES. Many of you will not live long, and yet there are incumbent upon you great duties toward God, man, yourselves. You may not be stained with vice; but there is great wrong done by every man who in life has no plan but that of idly floating out of one day into another. That is to surrender the dignity of life and to make yourselves like the gauzy ephemerides that float in the air. But you are not born to be insects, and however cheerful you may be you ought to answer the great questions: "What am I born for? how long have I to stay here?"

II. I also address THOSE WHO ARE ALWAYS INTENDING TO DO THE THINGS THEY ADMIRE. How many are saying, "When there is a more convenient season it is my purpose to reform." But no man is wise who does not say day by day, "What I do I must hasten to do, for life is not very long for me." For whatever you mean to do you have no time to spare. Putting off till prosperity is established is substantially putting off forever. They who late in life attain to any considerable excellence are rare exceptions. Men usually plant in childhood the seeds which blossom and bear the fruits on which they feed in later years.


1. It is part of a Christian man's duty to make provision for his household. No man has a right to leave out of view the fact that he may be taken away, and when that is the case the breadwinner is gone. It is wicked therefore for a man, because he admires his wife and loves his children, to live beyond his means to gratify their tastes or whims. Where a man does this, when the collapse comes there is nothing but misery.

2. It is a Christian man's duty to secure the provision he has made. There are many men whose business is in such a state that if they were to die their affairs would be like a ship from whose rudder the pilot has been shot down. "Set thy house in order," then. Make your will, and have your affairs so straight that it will be easy to wind them up and dispose them according to your wishes.


1. In personal spiritual growth. The time for the development of the graces, the acquisition of knowledge, the contraction of good habits is brief — make the most of it.

2. In Christian work. If you have anything to do for the poor, for the Church, for the world's purity and happiness, you have no time to lose. And yet how few, however active, are using the whole economy of their natures according to the power that is in them?

(H. W. Beecher.)

Therefore —

I. DO NOT SET YOUR AFFECTIONS ON EARTHLY THINGS. Wealth, reputation, pleasure, etc., will then perish. You would not tie your earthly happiness to a flower that is to fade at sunset; and is it more reasonable for a being who is to live forever to choose for his portion what must pass from his grasp whenever the sun of this short life goes down?

II. DO NOT REPINE AND LOSE HEART AMID YOUR CARE AND SORROWS. The occasions of these last only for life's little day, and dark as that day may be, it will drag through at last. And sweet as is the evening hour of rest for the labourer, that is nothing to the rest that remaineth for the people of God. Let this prospect infuse courage and hope to endure our loss and to bear our cross.

III. DO NOT WEARY OF YOUR DUTIES. Some of them are delightful enough, but others are burdensome; but the time is coming when both will be laid aside and the reward bestowed.

IV. WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION, for that can only be accomplished during the day. And who knows how many hours remain and what accident may not cut it short?

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

S. S. Times.
There is a difference between the ancient Oriental and the modern Occidental idea of night, owing to the comparative security of life and property in modern times. In the ancient East (and it is so still in the modern East), the man who camped outside of the city walls was liable to attack from prowling Bedouins, from professional thieves, and from wild animals; while he who slept within city walls hardly dared to venture out of doors by night, for fear of the troops of half-savage dogs that scoured through the narrow streets, fighting each other for the offal which they found there. The darkness was also the time when evil spirits had most power: Lilith, the female demon, and Asmodai, and other evil spirits, hid in dark places during the day; but during the night they issued forth to prey upon mankind. A certain trace of this same feeling is seen in the evil epithets applied to night by the classical writers. The night is "terrible," "destructive." To these writers, as well as to the Orientals, the night was the time of peril and of enforced cessation from work. To us, night is the period of repose and safety.

(S. S. Times.)


1. As he is a member of the body politic, he is obliged to contribute his proportion of help to the public as sharing the benefits of society.

2. As he is a subject of a spiritual kingdom, he is to pursue the interest of his salvation. He is sent into this world to make sure of a better. These two capacities are very different: by the former a man is to approve himself a good citizen; by the latter a good Christian. The former too is subordinate to the latter, and when it clashes with it must give way. According to these capacities there is a double work.

1. Temporal, by which a man is to fill some place in the commonwealth by the exercise of some useful profession; and God, who has ordained society and order accounts Himself served by each man's diligent pursuit, though of the meanest trade, and requires no man to be praying or reading when he ought to be hammering or sewing. The great Master is still calling upon all His servants to work: a thing so much disdained by the gallant and epicure, is yet the price which God and Nature has set upon every enjoyment (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

2. Spiritual. This is threefold.(1) To make our peace with God. God is indeed reconciled by the satisfaction made by Christ, and peace is now offered, but upon conditions, viz., repentance and faith.(2) To get our sins mortified. For after we are transplanted into a state of grace, we are not to think that our work is wholly done. Every man has sinful habits with which he is to wage war, and this is the most afflicting part of his duty.(3) To get his heart replenished with the proper virtues of a Christian. Christianity ends not in negatives. No man clears his garden of weeds, but in order to the planting of flowers and herbs. And as every trade requires toil, so this.

II. THE TIME OF THIS LIFE BEING EXPIRED, THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF PERFORMING THIS WORK. There is no repenting, believing, doing the works of charity in the grave. A day notes —

1. The shortness of it. What is a day but a few minutes' sunshine, an indiscernible shred of that life which is itself but a span. God allows us but one day, which shows what value He puts on our opportunities by dispensing them so sparingly. Our life is a day's journey, therefore it concerns us to manage it so that we may have comfort at our journey's end.

2. Its sufficiency. A day, short as it is, equals the business of the day; and he that repents not during his short life would not were it prolonged five hundred years.

3. Its determinate limitation. As after a number of hours it will unavoidably be night, and there is no stopping the setting sun, so after we have passed such a measure of our time, our season has its period — we are benighted, and must bid adieu to our opportunities.


1. The work is most difficult. It is "warfare," "wrestling," "resisting the devil," and "unto blood." "Agonizing" before the doer is closed to enter in. Hard work, and little time to do it in. He that has far to go and much to do should rise early, and mate the difficulty of the business with the diligence of the prosecution.

2. It is necessary, in so far as it is necessary for a man to be saved; which argument will be heightened by comparing this necessity with the limitation of time. There is no tomorrow in a Christian's calendar.

(R. South, D. D.)

As the light was fading away on the evening before the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon, pointing towards the setting sun, said, "What would I not give to be this day possessed of the power of Joshua — enabled to retard thy march for two hours!"

(J. Abbott.)

"The time is short" — or as we might perhaps render it, so as to give the full force of the metaphor, "the time is pressed together." It is being squeezed into narrower compass, like a sponge in a strong hand. There is an old story of a prisoner in a cell with contractile walls. Day by day his space lessens. He saw the whole of that window yesterday; he sees only half of it today. Nearer and nearer the walls are drawn together, till they meet and crush him between them. So the wails of our home, which we have made our prison, are closing in upon us.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

A young prince asked his tutor to give him some instruction about preparing for death. "Plenty of time for that when you are older," was the reply. "No," said the child; "I have been to the churchyard and measured the graves, and there are many shorter than I am." A courtier, who had passed his life in the service of his prince, having fallen dangerously ill, the prince went to visit him, accompanied by his other courtiers. He found him in an agony of suffering, and at the point of death. Touched with the sad spectacle, he said, "Is there anything I can do for you? Ask unhesitatingly, and fear not that you will be refused. Prince, replied the sufferer, in the sad situation in which you see me, I have but one thing to ask of you; give me a quarter of an hour of life." "Alas!" said the prince, "what you demand is not in my, power, to give;, ask something else, if you wish me to aid you." "Oh, what!" said the dying man, "I have served you for fifty years, and you cannot give me a quarter of an hour of life! Ah! if I had served the Lord thus faithfully, He would have given me, not a quarter of an hour of life, but an eternity of happiness." Very soon after he died. Happy it he himself profited by the lesson which he gave to others on the nothingness of human life and the necessity of working out one's own salvation.

(Ponder and Pray.)

After the battle of Chancellorsville, General Hooker, instead of quickly following up his victory with another attack, delayed it for a day. The golden moment was thus lost, and it never afterwards appeared to the same extent. Soldiers' legs have as much to do with winning great victories as their arms.

(H. O. Mackey.)

Generalities in religion are always to be avoided, more especially generalities in service. If a man waits upon you for a situation, and you say to him, "What are you?" if he replies, "I am a painter," or "a carpenter," you can find him work perhaps; but if he says, "Oh! I can do anything," you understand that he can do nothing. So it is with a sort of spiritual jobbers who profess to be able to do anything in the Church, but who really do nothing. I want my conscript brethren tonight to consider what they are henceforth going to do, and I beg them to consider it with such deliberation, that when once they have come to a conclusion that they will not need to change it, for changes involve losses. What can you do? What is your calling? Ragged schools? Sunday schools? Street preaching? Tract distribution? Here is a choice for you; which do you select? Waste no time, but say, "This is my calling, and by God's grace I will give myself up to it, meaning to do it as well as any man ever did do it."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"Ah! Mr. Hervey," said a dying man, "the day in which I ought to have worked is over, and I now see a horrible night approaching, bringing with it the blackness of darkness forever. Woe is me! When God called, I refused. Now I am in sore anguish; and yet this is but the beginning of sorrows. I shall be destroyed with an everlasting destruction."

The old naturalists, who tell us a good many things which are not true, as well as some which are, say that the birds of Norway always fly more swiftly than any others, because the summer days are so short, and therefore they have so much to do in such a little time. Surely we should fly more swiftly to do our Lord's work if we would only meditate upon the fact that the day is so short, and that the night is so near at hand.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Oh! I could not do much, says one. Then do what you can. No one flower makes a garden, but altogether the fair blossoms of spring create a paradise of beauty. Let all the Lord's flowers contribute in their proportion to the beauty of the garden of the Lord. "But I am so unused to it." Then, my brother, that is a very powerful reason why you should do twice as much, so as to make up for your past idleness. "Oh! but I am afraid nothing would come of it." What has that to do with you? God has promised a blessing, and if the blessing should not come in your day, yet, if you have done what the Master bade you, you will not be blamed for want of success. "Sir," asks another, "will you give me some work to do?" "No, I will not; for if you are good for anything, you will find it for yourself."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In the Californian bee pastures, on the sun days of summer, one may readily infer the time of day from the comparative energy of bee movements alone: drowsy and moderate in the cool of the morning, increasing in energy with the ascending sun, and at high noon thrilling and quivering in wild ecstasy, then gradually declining again to the stillness of night. Is it not, or should it not be, a picture of our life?

(H. O. Mackey.)

Daniel Webster was present one day at a dinner party given at Astor House by some New York friends, and, in order to draw him out, one of the company put to him the following question: "Would you please tell us, bit. Webster, what was the most important thought that ever occupied your mind?" Mr. Webster merely raised his head, and passing his hand slowly over his forehead, said, "Is there anyone here who doesn't know me?" "No, sir," was the reply; "we all know you, and are your friends." "Then," said he, looking over the table, "the most important thought that ever occupied my mind was that of my individual responsibility to God." Upon which subject he then spoke for twenty minutes.

(H. O. Mackey.)

When someone expostulated with Duncan Matheson, the evangelist, that he was killing himself with his labours, and ought to have rest, he replied: "I cannot rest while souls are being lost; there is all eternity in which to rest after life is done."

(H. O. Mackey.)

We are not sent into life as a butterfly is sent into summer, gorgeously hovering over the flowers, as if the interior spirits of the rainbow had come down to greet these kisses of the season upon the ground; but to labour for the world's advancement, and to mould our characters into God's likeness, and so, through toil and achievement, to gain happiness. I would rather break stones upon the road, if it were not for the disgrace of being in a chain gang, than to be one of those contemptible joy mongers, who are so rich and so empty that they are continually going about to find something to make them happy.

(H. W. Beecher.)

It is one of the first and last qualifications of good workman for God that he should put his heart into his work. I have heard mistresses tell servants when polishing tables that elbow-grease was a fine thing for such work; and so it is. Hard work is a splendid thing. It will make a way under a river, or through an Alp. Hard work will do almost everything; but in God's service it must not only be hard work, but hot work. The heart must be on fire. The heart must be set upon its design. See how a child cries! Though I am not fond of hearing it, yet I note that some children cry all over; when they want a thing, they cry from the tips of their toes to the last hair of their heads. That is the way to preach, and that is the way to pray, and that is the way to live: the whole man must be heartily engaged in holy work.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When I have been unable to preach through physical pain, I have taken my pen to write, and found much joy in making books for Jesus; and when my hand has been unable to wield the pen, I have wanted to talk about my master to somebody or other, and I have tried to do so. I remember that David Brainerd, when he was very ill, and could not preach to the Indians, was found sitting up in bed, teaching a little Indian boy his letters, that he might read the Bible; and so he said, "If I cannot serve God one way, I will another. I will never leave off this blessed service."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

On one occasion a neighbouring minister warned Dr. Morison, of Chelsea, that he was doing too much work. "Depend upon it," said Dr. Morison, "the lazy minister dies first." Six months afterwards he was sent for by his friendly monitor, and found him dying. "Do you remember what you once said to me?" inquired the dying man. Stunned by finding his words so vividly remembered at this time, he replied, "Oh, don't speak of that." "Yes, I must speak of it," said his friend. "It was the truth! Work, work while it is called day; for now the night is coming, when I cannot work."

I like that expression of Mr. Wesley's preachers, when they were asked to interfere in this or that political struggle, they replied, "Our work is to win souls, and we give ourselves to it." Oh, that churches would listen to this just now!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There are men, there are women — men and women of high capacities, of great mental endowment — who, in every division of human thought and human labour, have furrowed their track deep in the fields of history. There are men, as you all know, of scientific attainments, who have been powerful in illuminating the meaning of the laws of God with regard to the physical creation before the minds of their fellow men; men who have drawn out the secrets from this world, who have exposed to us the meaning of much that once we believed to be almost magical, and now is known to be only natural. There are men of historical power, who have been able to co-ordinate the various human motives and thoughts which have gone to form the springs of history, until they have succeeded, in part at least, in reading some of those general laws of our Great Creator, even in fields belonging not strictly to His divine revelation. There are, again, men of artistic faculties, who have been able — in throwing out thoughts upon canvas, which have startled us, sometimes with the beauty of execution, and always with the wonderful mystery of various colourings, combining into one picture before the eye — have been able, I say, thereby to exhibit to us things that all mankind, more or less, have dreamed of, but that all mankind found themselves incapable to express. There have been men — as you and I, who live in this great city, know — who, by the mere activity of their life, have left a very deep impress upon their generation. But, after all, when we turn to the Christian life, we have to acknowledge, even without the divine revelation, that all that kind of work, all that outcome of what is mere human activity, is not at all work in the sense in which Christ means it, as becoming and glorifying an immortal. Not at all!

(Knox Little.)

In the private journal of a lady in New York, recently deceased, were found these words: "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

We have all of us special endowments; each has got some place in the providential ordering of God; not one soul but has his or her place. God has given each a work. His will for you is to be measured by the capabilities that you have. Some have power of brain, some of heart, some of hand. Some can illuminate a quiet home by the tender brightness of a holy life; some can lead vast masses of their fellow creatures by a splendid example of energetic and determined fixity of purpose; some can think of God with peculiar depth and power in quiet times, when alone with Him. They can so meditate that the meditation of their soul is felt, rather than heard, by those who associate with them in life. Some can go forth into the great working world, and speak or do a work for God amongst those around them. But for each one, old or young — O loved of God! O child of Jesus! O turned to the Master with a whole heart and a loving determination! — for each, therefore for you, there is a special work in the history of this universe.

(Knox Little.)

You will find within your breast the waning power of the exercise of influence you had in your home; you find the difficulty, mere than ever, of fighting down some wretched habit for which not only do you want forgiveness, but which, too, you desire to conquer for the love of Jesus; you find, perhaps the witness of a failing memory, or of failing health; you find that in some way or other the finger of God is touching you. The world may not see it; friends may not read it; those who are dear to .you may not tell it; but you know it — the witness, whatever it is, is come — is coming. It speaks to you in the silence of the night. It wakens with you when you waken in the morning; it travels with you as a settled consciousness, when you are going about the world; it is the whisper of that unrelenting law of unchanging changefulness — "the night is coming."

(Knox Little.)

The utter restfulness which filled the heart of the Lord Jesus is beautifully manifested in the introductory verses of this chapter.

I. THE CONDITIONS IN WHICH GOD'S WORKS ARE DONE. The phrase, "works of God," is a familiar one throughout this Gospel. To do them fed the Redeemer's soul (John 4:34); they were in an ever ascending scale (John 5:20); they were of a certain definite number, given Him to finish (John 5:36); they were the signs and seals of His mission (John 10:38); they were not His own, but wrought through Him by the Father (John 14:10); they were unique in the history of the world (John 16:24); they were definitely finished ere He left it (John 17:4). But it becomes us to learn the conditions under which they were wrought, that we may be able to do those greater works of which He spoke.

1. His heart was at rest in God. Nature herself teaches the need of repose for the putting forth of her mightiest efforts. It is in the closet, the study, the cave, the woodland retreat that problems have been solved, resolves formed, and schemes matured. It is not possible for us all to have a life of outward calm. But beneath all the heart may keep its Sabbath.

2. He was specially endued with the Holy Spirit.

3. He was willing that the Father should work through Him.

II. THE NEED FOR THESE WORKS. "A man blind from his birth." If there is need for the works of God to be manifested, we must be at hand, and willing at all costs to manifest them. If there is the opportunity for the glorifying of Christ, we must not be slow to seize it. Make haste, the night is coming, in which no man can work. What works await us yonder we cannot tell. But the unique work of healing blindness and enriching beggary is confined to earth, and we must hasten to do all of this allotted to us before the nightfall. He lives intensely whose eye is fixed on the fingers of the dial, as the poor seamstress works swiftly whose last small wick of candle is rapidly burning down in its socket.

III. THE SUBJECT OF THESE WORKS. What a contrast between the opening and the close of the chapter. The soul ignorant of Christ owns Him as Son of God. And all this because of the individual interest our Lord took in him.

1. He detected what was working in his mind. Beneath that unpromising exterior were the elements of a noble character.

2. He developed the latent power of faith. It was there, but it had nothing to evoke it, and yet it must be evoked ere Christ could give him sight. He could feel, though he could not see.

3. He found him when cast out by all besides. Does not Jesus always steal to our side when we are cast out, or deserted by our friends?

4. He answered his hunger for faith. "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" If we live up to what we know, at all costs, we shall most certainly be led into further discoveries of truth. We think we are going to plough a field, and we suddenly come on a box of treasure, struck by our plough, which makes us independent of work for the rest of our lives. And so obedience passes into worship, and we see that He who has made our life His care, tending us when we knew Him not, is the Christ of God, in whom are hid all the riches of time, all the treasures of eternity: and we worship Him.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Rev. Charles Simeon kept the picture of Henry Martyn in his study. Move where he would through the apartment, it seemed to keep its eyes upon him, and ever to say to him, "Be earnest, be earnest! don't trifle, don't trifle!" And the good Simeon would gently bow to the speaking picture, and, with a smile, reply, "Yes, I will be in earnest; I will, I will be in earnest; I will not trifle; for souls are perishing, and Jesus is to be glorified." O Christian! look away to Martyn's Master, to Simeon's Saviour, to the Omniscient One. Ever realize the inspection of His eye, and hear His voice.

(S. J. Moore.)

Jesus, Disciples
Jerusalem, Siloam
Able, Behoveth, Daylight, Working, Works
1. The man born blind is restored to sight.
8. He is brought to the Pharisees.
13. They are offended at it;
35. but he is received of Jesus, and confesses him.
39. Who they are whom Jesus enlightens.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
John 9:4

     2021   Christ, faithfulness
     2078   Christ, sonship of
     4836   light, and people of God
     4957   night
     5047   opportunities, in life
     5408   messenger
     5533   sleep, physical
     5979   waste
     6696   necessity
     8225   devotion
     8329   readiness
     8438   giving, of time
     9021   death, natural

John 9:1-7

     5285   cures
     9165   restoration

John 9:1-16

     5381   law, letter and spirit
     7430   Sabbath, in NT

John 9:1-34

     7505   Jews, the

John 9:1-41

     8442   good works

John 9:3-4

     1305   God, activity of

John 9:4-5

     4921   day

John 9:4-7

     2354   Christ, mission

June 13 Evening
Dost thou believe on the Son of God?--JOHN 9:35. Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.--The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.--I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 9 Evening
The night cometh when no man can work.--JOHN 9:4. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, . . . they . . . rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.--There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.--Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.--The dead praise not the Lord, neither any
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

August 24 Evening
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day.--JOHN 9:4. The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.--He that watereth shall be watered. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest: behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

One Metaphor and Two Meanings
'I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.'--JOHN ix. 4. 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.'--ROMANS xiii. 12. The contrast between these two sayings will strike you at once. Using the same metaphors, they apply them in exactly opposite directions. In the one, life is the day, and the state beyond death the night; in the other, life is the night,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sixth Miracle in John's Gospel --The Blind Made to See, and the Seeing Made Blind
'When Jesus had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7. And said unto him, Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent). He went his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing.'--JOHN ix. 6, 7. The proportionate length at which this miracle and its accompanying effects are recorded, indicates very clearly the Evangelist's idea of their relative importance. Two verses are given to the story
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

What Think Ye of Christ?
Matthew 22:42 -- "What think ye of Christ?" When it pleased the eternal Son of God to tabernacle among us, and preach the glad tidings of salvation to a fallen world, different opinions were entertained by different parties concerning him. As to his person, some said he was Moses; others that he was Elias, Jeremias, or one of the ancient prophets; few acknowledged him to be what he really was, God blessed for evermore. And as to his doctrine, though the common people, being free from prejudice, were
George Whitefield—Selected Sermons of George Whitefield

The Brevity of Life.
"I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh."--ST. JOHN ix. 4. There are few things more commonly disregarded by us in our early years than the brevity of our life through all its successive stages, and the fleeting nature of its opportunities. In childhood we are almost entirely unconscious of both these characteristics of life. Indeed, it would hardly be natural if it were otherwise. That reflective habit which dwells upon them is the result of our experience,
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby

On the Words of the Gospel, John ix. 4 and 31, "We must Work the Works of Him that Sent Me," Etc. Against the Arians. And
1. The Lord Jesus, as we heard when the Holy Gospel was being read, opened the eyes of a man who was born blind. Brethren, if we consider our hereditary punishment, the whole world is blind. And therefore came Christ the Enlightener, because the devil had been the Blinder. He made all men to be born blind, who seduced the first man. Let them run to the Enlightener, let them run, believe, receive the clay made of the spittle. The Word is as it were the spittle, the Flesh is the earth. Let them wash
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Same Lesson of the Gospel, John ix. , on the Giving Sight to the Man that was Born Blind.
1. We have heard the lesson of the Holy Gospel which we are in the habit of hearing; but it is a good thing to be reminded: good to refresh the memory from the lethargy of forgetfulness. And in fact this very old lesson has given us as much pleasure as if it were new. Christ gave sight to one blind from his birth; why do we marvel? Christ is the Saviour; by an act of mercy He made up that which He had not given in the womb. Now when He gave that man no eyes, it was no mistake of His surely; but a
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

A Pressed Man Yielding to Christ
"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on he Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him."--John 9:35-38. D LAST Sabbath morning,[9]* I spoke to you concerning one who was impressed into the King's service. That was Simon, the Cyrenian, who was compelled to bear
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 46: 1900

Contention Over the Man Born Blind.
(Jerusalem.) ^D John IX. 1-41. [Some look upon the events in this and the next section as occurring at the Feast of Tabernacles in October, others think they occurred at the Feast of Dedication in December, deriving their point of time from John x. 22.] ^d 1 And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. [The man probably sought to waken compassion by repeatedly stating this fact to passers-by.] 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Healing of the Man Born Blind.
After the scene in the Temple described in the last chapter, and Christ's consequent withdrawal from His enemies, we can scarcely suppose any other great event to have taken place on that day within or near the precincts of the Sanctuary. And yet, from the close connection of the narratives, we are led to infer that no long interval of time can have elapsed before the healing of the man born blind. [4116] Probably it happened the day after the events just recorded. We know that it was a Sabbath,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Doctrine of Christ.
2 John 9-11. "WHOSOEVER transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11). What then is the doctrine of Christ? It is the revealed truth concerning the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

The Opened Eyes
Gerhard Ter Steegen John ix. 37 "Where is a God?" doth weary Reason say-- "I see but starlit skies." "Where is the sun?" So calleth at noonday The man with sightless eyes. Thou, little child, from thee God is not far; Look inwards, not above: Thou needest not to roam from star to star, For God is Love.
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

The Man Born Blind and Joseph of Arimathea
There were two extraordinary men living in the city of Jerusalem when Christ was on earth. One of them has come down through history nameless--we do not know who he was; the name of the other is given. One was not only a beggar, but blind from his birth; the other was one of the rich men of Jerusalem. Yet in the Gospel of John, there is more space given to this blind beggar than to any other character. The reason why so much has been recorded of this man is because he took his stand for Jesus Christ.
Dwight L. Moody—Men of the Bible

Whether a Man Can Merit Perseverance
Whether a Man can Merit Perseverance We proceed to the ninth article thus: 1. It seems that a man can merit perseverance. For a man in grace can merit what he obtains through petition, and men obtain perseverance through petition, since otherwise perseverance would be asked of God in vain by the petition of the Lord's prayer, as Augustine says (2 De Bono Persev.). [47] It follows that perseverance can be merited by a man in grace. 2. Again, to be unable to sin is more than not to sin. Now to be unable
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

Sight Given to the Blind.
"And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Rabbi, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. We must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work. When I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay
Marcus Dods—The Expositor's Bible: The Gospel of St. John, Vol. I

Use to be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
Sections. 1. Summary of the doctrine of Divine Providence. 1. It embraces the future and the past. 2. It works by means, without means, and against means. 3. Mankind, and particularly the Church, the object of special care. 4. The mode of administration usually secret, but always just. This last point more fully considered. 2. The profane denial that the world is governed by the secret counsel of God, refuted by passages of Scripture. Salutary counsel. 3. This doctrine, as to the secret counsel of
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Jesus and the Blind Man.
This miracle is reported only by John, a fact that is not strange when we remember that he alone gives a report of the ministry in Judea in which it occurred. The time cannot be certainly determined. Some have supposed that it occurred on the same day, only a few moments after Christ had escaped from the attempt to stone him; others regard it improbable that he should have stopped at such a moment to perform a miracle. All that is certain is that it was on the Sabbath day; a fact that intensified
B.W. Johnson—The New Testament Commentary Vol. III: John

Triumph. L. M.
Go, labor on, while it is day; The world's dark night is hastening on; Speed, speed thy work,--cast sloth away! It is not thus that souls are won. 2 Men die in darkness at your side, Without a hope to cheer the tomb; Take up the torch and wave it wide-- The torch that lights time's thickest gloom. 3 Toil on, faint not;--keep watch and pray! Be wise the erring soul to win; Go forth into the world's highway; Compel the wanderer to come in. 4 Go, labor on; your hands are weak; Your knees are faint,
Edmund S. Lorenz—The Otterbein Hymnal

Letter Lxviii. To Castrutius.
Castrutius, a blind man of Pannonia, had set out for Bethlehem to visit Jerome. However, on reaching Cissa (whether that in Thrace or that on the Adriatic is uncertain) he was induced by his friends to turn back. Jerome writes to thank him for his intention and to console him for his inability to carry it out. He then tries to comfort him in his blindness (1) by referring to Christ's words concerning the man born blind (Joh. ix. 3) and (2) by telling him the story of Antony and Didymus. The date
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

Mr. John Bunyan's Dying Sayings.
OF SIN. Sin is the great block and bar to our happiness, the procurer of all miseries to man, both here and hereafter: take away sin and nothing can hurt us: for death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, is the wages of it. Sin, and man for sin, is the object of the wrath of God. How dreadful, therefore, must his case be who continues in sin! For who can bear or grapple with the wrath of God? No sin against God can be little, because it is against the great God of heaven and earth; but if the sinner
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Struggler;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Transfiguration: an Emergency Measure. Matthew 16:28-17:1-8. Mark 9:1-8. Luke 9:27-36.
God in Sore Straits: the darkest hour save one, fugitive, John 7:1. ban, John 9:22, 34. pushing, Matthew 15:1. Mark 7:1.--the danger zone, "withdrew," Matthew 4:12. 12:15. 14:13. 15:21. Tabernacles, John 7:32. 8:59.--Galileans desert, John 6:60-66.--the inner circle infected, John 6:67-71.--God needs men. Fire and anvil for Leaders: mental strength--seasoned leadership--Simon and Peter. An Irresistible Plan: alone with the twelve--the changed plan, Matthew 16:18-21.--Peter's stupid boldness,
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

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