which she suffered. Hence we are taught to conclude, that a God of infinite goodness and power will much more hear and answer his own elect, who cry to him day and night, though lie should seem for a time to delay.

An example of perseverance under discouragements we have in the story of Bartimeus. This poor, blind man sat by the wayside, asking alms of travellers. Hearing a company pass along, and being informed that Jesus was among them, he cried, saying, “ Jesus, have mercy on me.” The Saviour went on his way, and seemed not to hear him. Some of the company rebuked the clamorous beggar, and charged him to hold his peace. But he cried the more a great deal ;

1. Thou son of David, have mercy on me.” Then Jesus stood and called him ; attended to his case, and granted him relief.

Another example we have in the woman of Canaan. She cried to Jesus, saying, “ Have mercy on me, O Lord; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” But he answered her not a word. The disciples interceded in her behalf. “ Send her

grant her request and dismiss her ; " for she crieth after us ;" cries with an earnestness that speaks distress. But he said, “ I am not sent, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” To tho Jews I am first sent : Why do you ask me to shew mercy to that gentile ? One would have expected, the poor woman should now withdraw her petition. But she renewed it with greater importunity. She came and worshipped him, saying, “Lord, help me.” Jesus then seemed to give her little less than a peremptory denial. “ It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs.” Christ here alludes to the invidious distinction which the Jews made between themselves and the Gentiles; a dis.



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tinction, which this woman, being conversant de mong the Jews, must often have heard. She humbly answers ; “Truth, Lord ; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs, which fall from their masters' table." She confesses her unworthiness, and begs an inferiour place among the children, to eat the crumbs, which they throw away. Jesus now says, “O woman, great is thy faith. Be it unto thee, even as thou wilt."

We may observe farther, how attentive these infirm people were to the particular seasons, which favoured their recovery. It is said, “ They waited for the moving of the water.” The impotent man says, “ While I am going, another steppeth in before me.” All were on the watch for the friendly moment; and all on the strife, who first should seize it.

Be ye, my friends, as attentive to the interest of your souls, as they were to the health of their bodies. Behold, now is the accepted time: Behold, now is the day of salvation."

Life is the only season of probation. There is no work in the grave. The events of futurity are hidden from mortal sight. None knows what a day may bring forth. Know, in this your day, the things which belong to your peace.

There are some seasons peculiarly favourable to you-seasons when the spirit of grace strives with you, admonishes you of danger, and urges your escape-seasons when your hearts are awakened to an apprehension of the judgment to come, and affected with the vast concerns of religion. Watch these motions, as the impotent people watched the motion of waters; and embrace them with equal avidity. Neglect not present advantages under pretence of waiting for future excitations. Improve the former now; obey the latter whenever they oc

cur." Seek the Lord, while he may be found ; call upon him, while he is near.

“ When Jesus saw the impotent man lie” in his helpless condition, “and knew that he had now been a long time in that case, he said unto him, Wilt thou be made whole ?"

The length and greatness of this man's calamity, and the peculiar imbecility of his state, seem to have been the reasons, why Jesus made choice of him, as the subject on whom to display his healing power ; while the rest were left under their infirmities.

The evangelists tell us, that “Christ healed all who came to him.” They who made application to him in their own behalf, or in behalf of their friends, received the favour, which they asked. But the sick at Bethesda never applied to him at all. They were looking for relief from another quarter. They were not, therefore, such persons, as those, to whom he usually extended his healing, mercy. Among them, however, there was one, whom he singled out from the multitude, and favoured with unsolicited health.

Analogous to this is the method of his grace in the salvation of sinners. Them who come to him he will in no wise cast out. Them who apply to him, with humble and penitent hearts, he will not reject. To obtain that grace which is necessary to repentance, awakened sinners must attend on the instituted means of religion. And it is usually, in an attendance on these means, that they arę first brought to serious consideration. Particular in. stances, no doubt there are, in which God is found of them who sought him not. He sometimes, by his special providence, or powerful grace, arrests sinners, when they are in full pursuit of their guilty designs, and quite out of the way of ordinary means; as Jesus shewed mercy to the impotent man, who was looking for help only from the pool.

But this is not God's ordinary method. And for sinners to neglect the use of means, because, now and then, one has been suddenly and surprisingly awakened to conviction and repentance, is as absurd, as it would have been for the sick people in Jerusalem to expect a cure from Jesus without applying to him, because one impotent man at Be. thesda had received this favour. In healing those who came to him, he acted as a faithful Saviour, In choosing this man from a number, he acted as a wise sovereign, He had mercy on whom he would have mercy. The man who was healed, had reason to admire this distinguishing goodness. They who were left under their infirmities had no cause to complain ; for, though they saw the power of Christ in this remarkable instance, yet it does not appear, that they ever applied to him. This is his complaint of the unbelieving Jews; and this will be the condemnation of sinners under the gospel; " they would not come to him, that they might have life.”

Christ says to the impotent man, “ Wilt thou be made whole ?The man now opens his sorrowful case.“ Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool ; but while I am going another steppeth down before me.”

Jesus puts the question, that the man, in the presence of the multitude, might declare the greatness and inveteracy of his disorder. Thus the mir. acle to be performed would become more conspicuous, and others, from his goodness and power, would be encouraged to seek relief, shewn to this poor man, was mercy offered to all in distress. If the impotent people, who saw the miracle, would not apply to the Saviour, well might they be left under the burden of their diseases.

It is observable, that, though Jesus made the first motion to the unhappy patient, yet he did not

The mercy

actually heal him, till the man had humbly expressed his desire of health, and his inability to obtain it. In this manner, the Saviour usually dispenses his spiritual benefits. “ Behold,” says he, “ I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.” To those who have not sought him, he applies himself in a way of ex. hortation and address : He calls them by his word, admonishes them

by his providence, and awakens them by his spirit. These kind influential visits are grant. ed previously to any promising and towardly disposi. tions in them. But before he actually bestows on them his saving mercy, they must see their guilt, feel their impotence, and repair to him as the only Saviour. They who are whole need not the physician ; and they who think themselves to be whole, will not seek to the physician; but they who are sick. There are some, “ who say, they are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not, that they are wretched, and misera. ble, and poor, and blind, and naked.” These des . pise the counsel of Christ, to “buy of him gold tried in the fire, that they may be rich; and white raiment, that they may be clothed, and to anoint their eyes with eyesalve, that they may see.The invitations and offers of the gospel, which are made to all indiscriminately, are often addressed, in a very particular manner, to the hungry and thirsty, the weary and heavy laden,

Jesus says to the man, Arise, take up thy bod and walk."--" And immediately he was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.” This order was given, that, by the perfection and suddenness of the cure, the miracle might be rendered indubitable. It is added,

It is added, “ The same day was the sabbath.” When the people, who on this day rested from their labours, should reprove the man

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