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the Lord hath in his people; the everlasting love he hath invariably borne towards his people; his delights (as he said himself,) "being with them, when there were no depths, nor fountains abounding with water, and his goings forth, as their glorious Head and Husband, having been from everlasting." Surely, he then eyed them, watched over them for good, and had communion with him; yea, when they had no consciousness of communion with him; yea, had no conciousness of their own being, or their having been, from everlasting chosen in him. Oh! what discoveries will eternity have to unfold, when the church of our most glorious Christ will be brought" to see Him as he is, and to know even as they are known." But in the mean time, during a life of faith, it is blessed to be made acquainted from holy Scripture with the certainty of these divine truths, and to live in the full enjoyment of them by faith; being thereby assured, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the love of Christ and the affection and sympathy of Christ towards his own, whom the Father hath given him, were as great in the eternal state, before all worlds, as they have been, or can be now in time, or to all eternity. Nothing can add to, or take from, a love that is in itself infinite. And, therefore, when by regeneration, a child of God is brought to know the Lord; or (as Paul more properly states it) be known of the Lord; then the desire of the soul is, as Paul's was, and as he expresseth it, to "apprehend that for which also (said he) I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Philip. iii. 12.)
Though the subject proposed in this memoir, ended with the miracle; yet I must not close without observing, that when afterwards the Lord Jesus met his patient, as it is said in a following verse he did, in the temple, whither it may be supposed he went to give praises to the Lord; and our Lord reminded him of his being made whole, and cautioned him against the
commission of sin, lest a greater evil should come upon him; let it not be supposed, as if the Lord meant the sovereignty of his grace would be suspended, and the glorious display of his mercy would be recalled. Sin, in every instance of mankind, in consequence of the original fall of man, hath induced sickness, punishment, and sorrow. And it is sin in the root, the essence, the very being of our nature. And this is alike the same in all; however diversified it may be, in the variety of appearances. And as none but Christ can take away sin; neither any thing but the blood of Christ, cleanseth from all sin; without him, there is no healing. So express is that declaration of Scripture: "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." (1 John i. 7.)
In conclusion, allow me to add, that the cloisters of Bethesda, crowded with the miserable objects and subjects of disease in body are striking emblems of the ordinances of the gospel: and which are graciously appointed for the reception of such as know and feel, by reason of sin, their own misery of soul. But as the descent of an angel, at a certain season, was absolutely necessary to give a sanative efficacy to the waters of the pool, so it is the presence of the Lord, in the assemblies of his people, which can alone render means of grace beneficial to his people. Here indeed the ordinances of the gospel differ from the pool of Bethesda; and manifest the superiority of the one to the other. The Lord limited the cure of the pool to certain seasons; and that not without the water being troubled; yea, and even then, confined to the cure of a single individual. But to all seasons, and to all times, the Lord hath extended the riches of his grace in his house of prayer; and not one, but many may be and through Almighty grace, frequently are, made whole, when the power of the Lord is present to heal.
Lord! be thou always present with them; and do
thou teach thy people, and instruct thy ministers, whom thou hast ordained to the service of the sanctuary, to whom to look for blessing; and from whom their expectation alone can be answered; that in looking through and beyond the ordinance, they may behold the God of ordinances, whose sole prerogative it is to say: "Fear not, I am thy salvation."
Ye that have long attended the ordinances of the gospel, without deriving (as in your apprehension you conclude) blessings from them, do not despond, neither give over. Look at this poor man, with his eight-and-thirty years perseverance; and observe at length the blessed issue. There can be no doubt but that the eye of the Lord Jesus had followed him, and watched over him, every step of the way in his eventful life. And such is the grace of the Lord Jesus to all his people now. "There is a set time to favour Zion." And when that time arrives, the past is but as a moment. The Holy Ghost, by James, gives a blessed direction to the church on this ground: "Behold, we count them happy which endure." But this is not according to man's estimation. Men of the world count them happy that do not endure. Affliction and sickness are not in their catalogue of good; but health, and wealth, and sensual enjoyments. "But," saith the Lord, "ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy;" or "as the margin renders it, full of bowels." (James v. 11.) And we have seen no less, at this pool, the same in this man. And so is it now, in all the gospel ordinances, where the Lord gives the blessing of his presence.
Precious Jesus! Cease not to manifest thy presence in all the assemblies of thy people. And to all the various maladies under which they labour; sinewshrunk, and halt, and blind, and withered; as all are
by nature, until healed by sovereign grace, the same wretched objects of misery; let thy soul-reviving word go forth, as to this man; saying, "Rise, take up thy bed and walk ;" and instantly the souls of thy people will be healed.
LORD JESUS CHRIST MAKING HIS PUBLIC
ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM.
"And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
"Saying unto them: Go into the village over against you: and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her : loose them, and bring them unto me.
"And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
"All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass. (Matt. xxi. 1-5.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
THE triumphant entrance of our most glorious Christ into Jerusalem, five days before his crucifixion, was considered in the esteem of God the Holy Ghost, so very important to the church, and so very expressive of the highest purposes, that the event was not only foretold under the spirit of pro
phecy, five hundred years before it was to be accomplished, but that gracious God, the Spirit, caused it to be recorded by the whole of the evangelists; and handed it down and preserved the sweet and sacred relation of it, through a period of near two thousand years, to the present hour. And the same Almighty Author of Holy Scripture, who hath been thus gracious in giving, hath blessed it, and doth bless it, and will bless it, to the church in the reading and hearing of it, to the remotest time-state here upon earth, until all the events in the economy of grace to the church are accomplished; and the church herself is brought home to her Lord in glory.
The history is very affectionately introduced in the account, as stated in this Scripture; to which, once for all, let me observe, all the other evangelists bear like testimony. (See Mark xi. 1, &c. Luke xix. 29, &c. John xii. 14, &c.) We read, that when the Lord Jesus, and his little family, drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, he began the preparations for his entrance into the city. It should be observed that Bethphage and Bethany, so called, were villages, by reason of a few straggling houses, running one into the other; here and there scattered, as is very common in the present hour, in the suburds of large towns and cities; the whole together making eight furlongs; or a mile from the extreme point to Jerusalem. Here also in the road near Jerusalem, was situated that memorable mount, the mount of Olives; where David, as a type of our most glorious Christ, ages before, had gone up barefoot. (2 Sam. 15-30.) And where, according to the prophet, the Lord's feet shall again stand, when he goeth forth "against the nations in battle." (Zech. xiv. 4.)
There were many very significant circumstances attending this entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem,