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John Milton: On His Blindness

I just began reading a book called “The Letters of Samuel Rutherford” which was recommended by Alex on the podcast The Rugged Marriage. In the Rutherford book I came across a poem writtenhealing-of-the-blind-man by the English poet John Milton, who is best known for his epic poem “Paradise Lost“. The poem I found in the book was written about Milton’s own blindness.

After reading the poem a few times, I was reminded of my father’s own blindness. He lost his sight to diabetes when I was seven years old. His disability had quite an impact on him and our family. My father was a believer, and I am prompted to think if he had ever heard this poem. Although my father had some down times due to his frustrations with his handicap, his outlook on life was mostly upbeat. My father has been gone for over 40 years (diabetes complications of the past), but right now I long to discuss this jewel of a poem with him. Maybe someday we can discuss it with the original author, in Paradise, in the presence of the Creator. Here is the poem:

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Soli Deo Gloria!

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