John Milton On His Blindness
Faith,  Humility and Doxology,  Life Lessons

They also serve who only stand and wait

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On His Blindness John Milton

Milton dictates to his daughters, by Eugène Delacroix

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Maybe you, too, need to hear the hope and patience found in Milton’s exquisite sonnet.

It’s for the times:

you feel small and insignificant…

you wonder if you’re enough…

you’re frantically seeking to find measurable success…

you’re facing discouragement at the death of a dream…

you need to be reminded to cease your striving and your working and your self-righteousness and your anxious desperation to please God through your work…

It was certainly a message I needed to heed, again, this week.

On His Blindness

by John Milton

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
   Lodged 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.”
 
 
 

Isn’t it truly beautiful?  Milton – scholar, author, and poet – became completely blind in his early 40s.  He went on to write his most well known and beloved masterpiece, Paradise Lost, while blind, dictating to family and friends.

Do you hear echoes of Exodus 14 in those final lines?

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

And the “mild yoke” brings to mind Christ’s promise in Matthew 11:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


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Amy Sloan and her husband, John, are second-generation homeschoolers by grace alone to 5 children ages 4, 7, 9, 12, and 14. Their educational philosophy is one of humility and doxology, and follows primarily a classical approach. Amy loves coffee, and starts getting nervous if the stack of to-be-read library books beside her bed is less than 2 feet tall. Get her started on Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Homer, or Hamilton the Musical and it might be hard to get her to stop. Mostly, though, she gets really excited about the Gospel. The Sloan family adventures in North Carolina.

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