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heavy yoke of sin, and the cruel
pangs the great Redeemer of mankind, who, to wounded conscience ?
convince him that he was a prophet, and
that he knew not only the characters of men, Having concluded this public address, but even the secret thoughts of their hearts, one of the Pharisees desired he would eat immediately conversed with him on the with him. The blessed Jesus accepted the very subject he had been revolving in bis invitation, accompanied him to his house,
mind. He did not indeed expose him, beand sat down to meat. He had not con
fore the company, by relating what he had tinued long at the table, before a woman,
said in secret, but with remarkable delicacy, who had lately left the paths of vice for pointed out to Simon alone, the unreasonthose of virtue, placed herself behind him, ableness of his thoughts. and from a deep conviction of her former blessed Jesus) I have something to say to crimes, and the obligation she owed the
thee. There was a certain creditor, who Saviour of mankind, for bringing her to a
had two debtors ; the one owed five hunsense of them, shed such quantities of tears, dred pence, and the other fifty. And when that they trickled down on his feet, which, they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave according to the custom of the country, was
them both. Tell me, therefore, which of then bare. But observing that her tears them will love him the most ? Simon an-had wet the feet of her beloved Instructor, swered, and said, I suppose that he to she immediately wiped them with the hair whom he forgave most. And he said unto of her head, kissed then with the most ar
him, thou bast rightly judged.” And then dent affection, and anointed them with immediately applied this short parable to precious ointment she bad brought with her
the subject of the womai), on which the for that purpose.
Pharisee had so unjustly reasoned with bim
self, “Simon ( continued our Saviour) seest It was a custom among the inhabitants
thou this woman : I entered into thine of the east, to pour fragrant oils on the house, thou gavest me no water for my heads of such gaests as they intended par
feet : but she hath' washed my feet with ticularly to honour, while they sat at meat, her tears, and wiped them with the hair of and probably the woman's original intention
her head. Thou gavest me no kiss ; but was to anoint Jesus in the usual manner.
this woman, since the time I came in, hath But being exceedingly humbled on ac
not ceased to kiss my feet. Mine hand count of her former crimes, she could not
with oil thou didst not anoint: but this wopresume to take that freedom with him, and man hath anointed my feet with ointment.” therefore poured it on his feet, to express at
Luke vii. 44, &c.
This woman's kind services were in no
danger of loosing their reward from the The Pharisee, who had attentively ob blessed Jesus, who possessed the softer and served the woman, concluded from thience, finer feelings of human nature, in their utthat our Saviour could not be a prophet. | most perfection. Accordingly he added in “This man (said the Pharisee to himself) if pursuance of the kind invitation he had, behe were a prophet, would have known fore made, to weary and heavy laden sinwho, and what manner of a woman this is,
“ Wherefore, I say untot hee, her that toucheth him ;. for she is a sinner." sins which are many, are forgiven ; for she Luke viii. 39.
loved much ; but to whom little is forgiven,
the same loveth little.” Luke vii. 47. But though Simon spoke this only in his heart,, his thoughts were not concealed from The blessed Jesus having thus coipmend
ed the conduct of the wornan, to the com bath or pool, called in the Hebrew tongue, pany, and rebuked with great délicacy, 'the Bethesda, that is, the House of Mercy, on unjust suspicions of Simon, turned himself account of the miracles wrought there by to the woman, and in the kindest manner, the salutary effects of the water, at certain assured her, that “ her sins were forgiven.” seasons. This bath was surrounded by five But the power he assumed in forgiving sins porches or cloisters, in which those who greatly offended the Jews, who not being frequented the place, were sheltered both acquainted with his divinity, considered bis from the heat and cold ; and were particuspeech as derogatory to the honour of the
larly serviceable to the diseased and ivfirm, Almighty. Jestis, however, contemned their who crowded thither to find relief in their malicious murmurs, and repeated bis assur a fillictions, ance, telling the woman that her faith had saved her, and bidding her depart in peace. These porches were now filled with a
“great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, The next day Jesus travelled from Caper halt, withered, waiting for the moving of naum to different parts of Galilee, going the water. For an angel descended into " through every village, preaching and the pool and troubled the water. Whososhewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of ever then tirst, after the troubling of the God.” Luke viii 1. That is, he declared water, stepped in, was made whole of to the people, the welcome tidings of the whatsoever disease he had.” John v. 3, 4, Almighty's being willing to be reconciled to the children of men on condition of their This is the account of this miraculous repentance, and embracing the gospel of pool given us by St. John, the only writer the grace of God.
who has mentioned it. Many controversies
have arisen, concerning the place, the time, Leaving Galilee, he repaired to Jerusa and the nature of the pool ; questions lem, to keep the passover, being the second which will perhaps never be answered, feast of that kind since his public ministry. because the pool of Bethesda is not menIn this journey he was accompanied by cer: tioned by any Jewish writer, sacred or pro. tain pious women, “who ministered to him fane. of their substance."
The time when this miraculous effect took amoros place cannot be determined : but it is al
most universally agreed, that it could not CHAP. XII.
be long before the coming of our Saviour and that the miracle was intended to lead
us to the Son of God. For the gift of proMiraculous Cure effected at the Pool of phecy and of miracle had ceased among the Bethesda. Reproof of the Superstition Jews, for above four hundred years; and
of the Jeres, in condemning the Perform therefore to raise in them a more ardentdesire ance of necessary Works on the Sabbath.
for the coming of the Messiah, and to inAfter doing many Acts of Mercy and duce them to be more circumspect in observWonder, our blessed Lord is visited by ing the signs of his coming, God was pleased his Mother and Brethren, on which In.
to favour them with this remarkable sign at cident he makes a spiritual Reflection. Bethesda. And as the descendants of Jacob,
in the last times, were very obuoxious, not UR Lord had no sooner entered the only to the irruptions and tyranny of the
ancient city of Jerusalem, so long Gentiles, but had wholly lost their liberty : famous for being the dwelling place of the 80 God favoured them with this eminent Most High, than he repaired to the publicl token of bis favour, this wonderful pool,
that they might not despair of the promises and make him the happy object to demonmade to their forefathers being fulfilled. strate that his power of healing was infinite
ly superior to the sanative virtue of the waThe port was situated near the gate of ters; while the rest were suffered to remain victims, which were figures of the propitia in their affliction. tory sacrifice of Christ, that they might be convinced God had yet a regard to the pos
Had our Lord at this time restored one terity of Abraham, and the worship which
of them to health, he would have acted he himself had established ; and might thus
contrary to the general account which the support themselves with the pleasing hope evangelists give of his goodness, on other of the coming of the Messiah, the great
occasions, namely, that he healed all who
came unto him.” For such diseased persons, Angel of the covenant, to his temple.
who left their habitations through a persuaAnd as this miracle of the angel descend sion of his power and kindness, were proing from heaven, begun when the coming per objects of his mercy ; whereas the sick. of the Messiah was at hand, to advise them in the cloisters of Bethesda were no more so of the speedy and near approach of that than the other sick, throughout the whole promised salvation ; so Christ entered these country, whom he could have cured with a porches, which were situated without the single word of his mouth, had he been temple, and performed the miracle which pleased to have uttered it. will presently be related, to indicate what was the true intent of this gift of healiog,
Our compassionate Lord now approached namely, to lead men to himself, “the foun
the man whom he had singled out as the
person on whom to manifest his power. tain opened for sin and for uncleanliness."
He asked him whether he was desirous of The waters were troubled only at this certain season of the passover, or at other being made whole ? A question which stated periods, and one only healed each
must induce the man to declare publicly bis time the angel descended, to shew them at
melancholy case, in the hearing of the mulonce the weakness of the law, and the
titude, and consequently render the miracle great difference between that and the
more conspicuous. And as this was done gospel dispensation ; and to teach them not
on the sabbath-day, our blessed Saviour to rest satisfied with the corporeal benefit
seems to have wrought it, to rouse the sons only, as in the ministration of an angel,
of Jacob from their lethargy, and convince but to reflect attentively on the promises of
the inhabitants of Jerusalem that the longthe Messiah's approaching advent.
expected Messiah was now come, and that
“God had actually visited bis people.” Such remarks, we conceive, will not be unacceptable to the reader, with respect
This distressed mortal beholding Jesus
with a sorrowful countenance, and underto the celebrated pool, and shall now return to our Saviour, who thought proper to
standing that he peast his being healed by
the immediate virtue of the waters, answered visit the porches of Bethesda, now crowded with persons labouring under divers dis
ini a plaintive accent, “Sir, I bave no man, wheir the water is troubled, to put me
into the pool : But while I am coming Among these objects of pity, was oue another steppeth down before me.” John who had laboured under his infirmity no v. 7. But the beneficeat Redeemer soon less than thirty and eight years. The length convinced in that he was not to owe his and greatness of this man's affliction, which cure to the salutary nature of the waters, were well known to the Son of God, were but to the unbouaded power of the Son of sufficient to excite his tender compassion, God: and accordingly said to him, “Rise,
take up thy bed and walk.” Nor was the brought on hinself by irregular courses, he heavenly mandate any sooner uttered, than should be careful to abstain from them for the impotent man, to the astonishment of the future, lest the Almighty should think the multitude, was made whole, and took proper to inflict him in a more terrible manup his bed, and walked.” John v. 9.
The man, overjoyed at having found
the divine physician, who had relieved hiin This miraculous atchievement could not from bis melancholy condition, repaired to fail of having a proper effect on the specta the scribes and pharisees, and with a heart tors ; and his carrying his bed on the sab overflowing with gratitude, innocently told bath-day, which the Jews considered as a them that it was Jesus who had performed profanation of that day of rest, tended on him so astonishing a cure; being, doubtgreatly to spread his fame of the iniracle less, persuaded that they would rejoice at over the whole city. Nor did the man beholding so great a Prophet. scruple to obey the commands of bis kind physician : he well knew that the person
But alas! this was far from being the case : who had the power of working such wira the rulers of Israel, instead of being pleased cles must be a great prophet ; and con with accounts of his many stupendous works sequently that his injunction could not be of mercy and kindness, attacked bim tusinful. He therefore thought that he gave multuously in the temple, and carried him a sufficient answer to those Jews, who told before the Sanhedrim, probably with an inhim it was pot lawful to carry his bed on tention to take away his life, merely because the sabbath-day, to say, “ He that made me he had done good on the sabbath-day. whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.” John v. 11. He then Jesus, however, soon vindicated by irre. restored my strength in an instant, and re fragable arguments, the propriety of his moved, with a single word, a disease that works; observing that in performing works had many years afflicted me, commanded of mercy and beneficence on the sabbathme at the same time to take up my bed and day, he only imitated bis heavenly father, walk : and surely a person endued with such the God of Jacob, whose providence was power from on high, could not have or continually employed, without any regard dered me to do any thing but what is truly to times or seasons, in doing good for the right.
children of men. Aud surely be must be
more than blind who cannot discover, that The votaries of infidelity should remem the Almighty, on the sabbaths, as well as ber, that this signal uniracle was performed on other days, supports the whole frame of in an instant, and even when the person the universe ; and, by the invisible operadid not expect any such favour, nor even tions of his power, continues the motion of knew the person to whom he owed it. No the heavenly bodies, on the revolution of one, therefore, can pretend that imagina. which the vicissitude of day and night, tion had any shew in performing it. In of summer and winter, 80 necessary to short, the narrative of this miracle of mercy the production of the fruit of the eartb sufficiently proves, that the person who
who depend. performed it was really divine.
But the Jewish prejudice could not be Soon after the miracle was performed, overcome by arguments. Nay the very apoJesus met in the temple the man he had logy increased their malice, as he claimed healed at the pool of Bethesda ; and took a peculiar relation to God; and by asserting the opportunity of reminding him, that as he that he acted like him, insinuated that he was now freed from an infirmity he had was equal to the Almighty himself.
The Saviour of the world did not deny according to his works. “ Marvel not at this conclusion : but shewed that he acted this ; for the hour is coming, in the which agreeably to the will of God, doing what all that are in the grave shall bear his voice, soever the Father commissioned him to all shall come forth; they that have done perform.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, good, unto the resurrection of life ; and The Son can do nothing of himself but they that have done evil, unto the resurrecwhat he seeth the Father do ; for what tion of damuation.” John v. 28, 29. things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the
The great day of tribulation will distinSon, and sheweth him all things that him
guish between the good and the evil : for self doeth : and he will shew him greater
the tremendous has been privy to all the
actions of the sons of men, from the works than these, that ye may marvel.” John v. 19, 20.
beginning to the end of time ; nor has he any interest to pursue, or any inclination to
satisfy, different from those of his heavenly The blessed Jesus added, that he had
Father. “ And my judgment is just, benot only power to heal the sick, but even
cause I seek not mine own will, but the to raise the dead; and his Father bad
will of the Father, which hath sout me." constituted him the universal Judge of the
John v. 30. world : and therefore those who refused to honour him, refused to honour the Father.
Nothing could more evince the character But whoever believed on him, should inherit
of our Lord, than these assertions ; though eternal life.
be did not require his bearers to believe And that they might not doubt of the
them merely on his own testimony; he aptruth of his mission, but that he was ac pealed to that of John, who was a burning tually invested with the power of raising the and a shining light : aud in whom, for a dead, he desired them to remember the un time, they greatly rejoiced, because the doubted instances he had already given of prophetic spirit, which had so long ceased it, in restoring the daughter of Jairus, and in Ísrael, was revived in that holy man. the widow's son of Nain, to life : and con Nay, he appealed to a much greater testisequently, that he could on any future mony than that of John, even that of the occasion, exert the same power : “ Verily,
God of Jacob himself, who was continually verily, I say unto you, The bour is coming bearing witness to the truth of his mission, and now is, when the dead sball hear the by the many miracles he overpowered him voice of the Son of God : and they that
to perform ; and who, at his baptism, had, hear shall live. For as the Father hath
in an audible voice from the courts of healife in himself, so bath he given to the Son
ven, declared him to be his beloved Son ; to bave life in bimself: and bath given
a voice which multitudes of people had him authority to execute judgment also,
heard, and probably even some of those to because he is the Son of Man." John v.
whom he was now speaking. 25, &c.
The Jews had long expected the MesOur Lord added to this, be not surprised siah : but they had expected bim to appear at the power of raising a few individuals as a temporal prince, who would not only from the dead, and the authority of inflict restore the former lustre to the throne of ing punishment on a small number of the David, but infinitely augment it, and even buman race, I have a far greater power place it over all the kingdoms of the earth. committed to me, even that of raising all And hence they were unwilling to acknowthe sons of Adam, at the last day, and of ledge Jesus for their Messiahi, notwithstandjudging and rewarding every one of them | ing the proofs of his mission were so unde