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many things had departed from the divine institutions, yet Christ did not withdraw from her communion ; but he constantly attended with her on the festivals appointed by the law.

The Evangelist says, “Now at Jerusalem, by the sheepmarket,” or sheepgate, as it is elsewhere call. ed, “there is a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bathesda, having five porches.” The word rendered a pool, properly signifies a bath, or a place for swimming. It was just within the walls of the city, near one of the principal gates ; and it had several porches, or covered walks, for the convenience of those, who came thither to bathe themselves. “ At a certain season,” it is said, “ an angel went

” , down into the pool and troubled the water," or put it in motion; "whosoever then first after the troubling of the water, stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had."

Some have conjectured, that the healing virtue of this water was derived from the entrails of the beasts, slain for sacrifice, which they suppose, were thrown into it; and that the angel, who stirred the water, was only a messenger, or officer, sent at certain times to put it in motion. But it seems altogether incredible, that water, from any natural cause, should cure all sorts of diseases that its healing virtue should operate only at particular seasons that it should help only the person who first stepped in-or that such multitudes should wait for a certain officer to come and stir the water ; and should not rather do it themselves, or call on some person to do it for them. Nor does it appear probable, that the sacrifices were washed in this pool, as there was in the temple a laver for that purpose. It is manifest, therefore, that the efficacy of this water was miracų. lous.

This pool seems to have been the same which is elsewhere called the pool of Shiloah, or Siloam, whither Jesus sent the blind man to wash, after he had anointed his eyes with clay.

We find some allusions to it in the Old Testa. ment.

The disobedience of the Jews to the mild gov. ernment of the Prince of Peace, is, in the prophet, expressed by “their rufusing the waters of Shiloah, , which go softly.” The faith of such as received the gospel is foretold by a similar allusion. “ With joy shall they draw water out of the wells of salvation,or the fountains of health. The word Shiloah, which signifies one who was sent, is a name by which the Messiah is called, in prophecy, particularly in that of Jacob, “ The sceptre shall not depart from Judah-until Shiloah come.” As these waters were typical of Christ, and of the blessings which flow from him, God might communicate to them this healing virtue, to prepare the Jewsfor the reception of the true Shiloah, and to lead them unto that fountain, which he should open for uncleanness.

The historian tells us, that, in the porticoes of this pool, “lay a great multitude of impotent folk, blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.”

What pains men will take, even on the most doubtful prospect, for the cure of their bodily dis. eases; and yet under their spiritual maladies, how negligent are they to seek relief, though they enjoy the most efficacious means! Multitudes came and lay at the pool to be healed of their blindness, lame. ness and other infirmities; but of those, whose souls were perishing under guilt, how few applied to the Divine Physician! They wholay at these salutary waters, came to them with great sincerity—with real dea sires to be healed. This was their sole intention. There was not a dissen.bler among them. But of

those, who went to hear the Heavenly Preacher, many were influenced by the most unworthy mo. tives. Their aim was not, to learn their duty by his instructions, to receive conviction from his re. proofs, or to obtain salvation through his righteous. ness ; but rather to eat of his loaves, or to ensnare him in his talk, or to gratify their vain curiosity.

Look into your own hearts-Do you find no such hypocrisy, or inconsistency there? If you are sick, you apply to the physician with an unfeigned desire of health; and his prescriptions you strictly observe. Is there the same sincerity in your prayers; and the same attention and obedience in hearing the word of salvation ? Are your confessions of sin accompanied with penitence of heart, your petitions animated with inward desires, and your thanksgivings enlivened with real sentiments of gratitude ? Do you hear the divine word, with a concern to under. stand it, with honesty to apply it, and with a resolution to be governed by it? If not ; To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to God? He will not delight in them.

Great numbers of sick people were waiting at this pool, though it was only at a certain season, that any could receive a cure. But the fountain of divine grace is always open and easy of access. Thence may you draw water for your use in every time of need. They, with painful anxiety, waited for the distant, uncertain opportunity of applying the means of health. Will you, with unfeeling indifference, neglect the present, inviting, happy season for securing eternal life?

They had but a doubtful prospect of success ; for only the first who stepped into the water, would be made whole : Yet, when so great an object, as their health, was depending, they thought it their wisdom to watch, seek and strive. How much more in a case of such infinite importance as yours

It is not your bodily health, or your mortal life, but your soul, which is now in danger. What would you be profited, if you should gain the world, and lose your soul? This is not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ. If you despise and trample on his blood, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. When your soul is lost, what will you give in exchange for it? Its redemption will cease forever, if there was only one in a multitude, who could be saved, you would have as much encouragement, as the people at Bethesda. But your hope stands on much better ground. This is the invitation of the gospel. “Ho, every one who thirsteth, come to the water.” “ Whosoever will, let him take the water of Kife freely.”

In their case, success depended on being fore. most. If, while one was going to the water, another stepped in before him, his labour was lost. But from this forwardness in others you have nothing to fear. You may suffer by your own negligence, but you will not be supplanted by their diligence. You may be too indolent; but they will not be too active. Their zeal will throw no obstruction in your way; it will rather assist your exertions, and facilitate your success. The fountain of divine grace, hors mány soever have washed in it, is still open and free; it is still pure and salutary, Go, as soon, and in as large a throng as you please. Go; there is room for

you
all--and room now.

You need not wait for one another. Go, hand in hand ; aid and encourage each other along. When the master sent forth his servant into the street to call into his house the poor, maimed, halt and blind; the serv. ant, having done as he was commanded, returned, and said, " Yet there is room.” Then said his Lord, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

The pool

Among the people, which lay in the porches of Bethesda, there was one, whose case was peculiarly distressing. For thirty and eight years he had been aMicted with an obstinate infirmity. He was become intirely helpless. For some time past he had lain at the pool; but he could receive no benefit; for, poor man, he had no friend to assist him in the critical moment. While he was crawling toward the water, another stepped down before him. Physicians he had, doubtless, tried in vain. was the last resort. Here, though often disappointed, still he waited with anxious wishes, but drooping hopes. Great were his discouragements : And great his patience.

Ye who feel your spiritual wants and infirmities, go, repair to God, and trust in his mercy.

You are under no such discouragements. Watch at his gates; wait at the posts of his doors ; continue instant in prayer. He has not said to you, Seek ye me in vain. If you find not immediate success, still hope and quietly wait for his salvation. You have need of patience, that after you have done his will, you may receive the promises. It is by faith and patience that you will inherit them.

will inherit them. Let the desire of your souls be unto God, and to the remem. brance of his name. With your souls desire him in the night, and with your spirit within you seek him early. He will keep those in peace, whose minds are stayed on him.

The advantage of constancy and fervency in prayer our Saviour has illustrated in two parables : The one concerning a man, who, though illiberal in his disposition, yet, by the importunity of a friend, was persuaded to rise at midnight and relieve his urgent necessities: The other concerning a judge, who, though he had not one principle of piety or justice in his heart, yet, by the repeated solicitations of a poor widow, was moved to redress the wrongs

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