34.Thou wast altogether born in sins They alluded, I doubt not, to his blindness; as proud men are wont to teaze those who have any distress or calamity; and, therefore, they continually insult him, as if he had come out of his mother’ womb, bearing the mark of his sins For all the scribes were convinced in their hearts, that souls, after having finished one life, entered into new bodies, and there suffered the punishment of their former crimes. Hence they conclude that he who was born blind was, at that very time, covered and polluted by his sins.
This undeserved censure ought to instruct us to be exceedingly cautious, not always to estimate the sins of any person by the chastisements of God; for, as we have already seen, God has various ends to accomplish, by inflicting calamities on men. But not only do those hypocrites insult the wretched man; they likewise reject disdainfully his warnings, though they are holy and good; as indeed it very frequently happens that one cannot endure to be taught by him whom he despises. Now, since we ought always to hear God, by whomsoever he may talk to us, let us learn not to despise any man, that God may find us always mild and submissive, even though he employ a person altogether mean and despicable to instruct us. For there is not a more dangerous plague than when pride stops our ears, so that we do not deign to hear those who warn us for our profit; and it frequently happens that God purposely selects vile and worthless persons to instruct and warn us, in order to subdue our pride.
And they cast him out. Though it is possible that those haughty Rabbis (273)cast him, with violence, out of the temple, yet I think that the Evangelist has a different meaning, that they excommunicated him; and thus the casting of him out would have the semblance of law. This agrees better also with what follows; for if they had only cast him out in a disdainful and furious manner, it would not have been of so great importance as to make it probable that the report of it would reach Christ.