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4. Finally. We may learn from the subject we have considered, that if we are cured of the palsy of sin, we shall then become active in the service of Him by whose healing power the malady has been removed. Like the restored paralytic we shall glorify God, and shall prepare ourselves to execute his command, and perseveringly to do his will. While the life which we live in the flesh will be a life of faith in the Son of God, it will also be a life devoted to Him who has saved us by his grace, and inspired us with a cheering hope of glory and immortality. We shall seek to know his will more and more; and the desire of our souls will be to run the way of his commandments with enlarged hearts.
If then, my brethren, we have no such disposition as this ; if we are not devoting our energies of body and mind to the service of our God and Saviour, or at least earnestly desiring so to do,—we are still under the prevailing influence of spiritual malady, and have need to seek that deliverance which is essential to our health and comfort here, and to our endless joy and happiness hereafter.
May the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord be extended to us all, that so we may receive forgiveness of our sins through His merits and mediation, who was manifested to take away the sin of the world. Renewed by His Spirit, and sustained by His power,-animated with love, and filled with holy zeal, may we constantly evince the gratitude of our hearts in the obedience of our lives; “ glori
fying Him, in our body and in our spirit which are his, who forgiveth all our iniquities, who healeth all our diseases; who redeemeth our life from destruction; who crowneth us with loving kindness and tender mercies."
To Him, the God of all grace,--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, let us gratefully ascribe all praise and glory for ever and ever. Amen. .
THE IMPOTENT MAN MADE WHOLE.
JOHN V, 14-16.
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said
unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
A REGULAR attendance on the appointed ordinances of religion is a matter of the first importance, though alas ! too generally neglected among those who bear the Christian name. In this respect, as in many others, we have the high example of our blessed Saviour for our imitation. Though he would not unnecessarily expose himself to the intrigues and assaults of his adversaries, who were desirous to lay their hands upon him with some shew of justice, and were continually on the watch against him, with this object in view ; yet he failed not openly to observe the solemn seasons of religious worship, which were specially appointed, by Divine direction, in the Law of Moses. At the same time he had also purposes of mercy to effectuate, and evidences of his own power, and of his claim to the character of the Messiah to exhibit.
“After this,” says the Evangelist,—that is, after the manifestation which he had given of his power and mercy in the instance recorded in the closing portion of the preceding chapter,—" After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”
On this occasion, which is supposed to have been the celebration of the passover, our Saviour availed himself of an opportunity which was presented to him, of effecting a remarkable cure in the case of a person who had been long a severe sufferer in a state of helpless infirmity. This is the subject which we are now to contemplate. Let our attention then be directed
I. TO THE GENERAL INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: II. TO THE NARRATIVE OF THE IMPOTENT MAN :
III. TO THE ACCOUNT OF WHAT ENSUED UPON HIS CURE.
May the grace of God be with us in this and in all our meditations! We consider then
I. In the first place, THE GENERAL INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT. It is thus presented to us by the Evangelist : “ Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt,
withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”
It would be altogether a misapplication of our time to examine the various conjectures to which this account has given rise. St. John is the only one of the Evangelists who makes mention of the pool of Bethesda ; nor do we know any thing with certainty respecting it, beyond what is here recorded. It has been thought that the remains of its five porches, which are said to have been constructed in a style of magnificence, were existing even in modern times. This, however, is nothing more than conjecture on which no reliance is to be placed. The same may be said of several other particulars which have been stated, in reference to this extraordinary lake and its appurtenances.
The word Bethesda signifies the house of mercy; and the pool was probably called by that name on account of the many instances of mercy which, by the gracious appointment of God, occurred there in the curing of diseases. It appears from the short statement of the Evangelist before us, that at certain times the water in this pool was supernaturally agitated, and that sick persons in great numbers, and afflicted with various maladies, resorted to the pool, where they waited in expectation of its periodical commotion,-hoping by a speedy immersion when that commotion became apparent, to obtain an effec